Archive for October 20th, 2008

Obama’s Appeal Rises And No Gains For McCain

Obama Appeal Rises in Poll; No Gains for McCain

Published: October 20, 2008

As voters have gotten to know Senator Barack Obama, they have warmed up to him, with more than half, 53 percent, now saying they have a favorable impression of him and 33 percent saying they have an unfavorable view. But as voters have gotten to know Senator John McCain, they have not warmed, with only 36 percent of voters saying they view him favorably while 45 percent view him unfavorably.

Even voters who are planning to vote for Mr. McCain say their enthusiasm has waned. In New York Times and CBS News polls conducted with the same respondents before the first presidential debate and again after the last debate, Mr. McCain made no progress in appealing to voters on a personal level, and he and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, had alienated some voters.

Personal appeal is an intangible element in voters’ decisions. Each voter has a personal reason for connecting with a candidate or not. But the percentage of those who hold a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama is up 10 points since last month. Opinion of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Obama’s running mate, is also up, to 50 percent last weekend from 36 percent in September.

In contrast, favorable opinion of Mr. McCain remained stable, and unfavorable opinion rose to 45 percent now from 35 percent in September. Mrs. Palin’s negatives are up, to 41 percent now from 29 percent in September.

Mr. Obama’s favorability is the highest for a presidential candidate running for a first term in the last 28 years of Times/CBS polls. Mrs. Palin’s negative rating is the highest for a vice-presidential candidate as measured by The Times and CBS News. Even Dan Quayle, with whom Mrs. Palin is often compared because of her age and inexperience on the national scene, was not viewed as negatively in the 1988 campaign.


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McCain Ties To Group Involved In Iran-Contra Affair

McCain linked to group in Iran-Contra affair

Posted on Monday, 10.20.08

Associated Press Writer

Republican Sen. John McCain served on the advisory board to the U.S. chapter of an international group linked to ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America in the 1980s.

The U.S. Council for World Freedom also aided rebels trying to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua. That landed the group in the middle of the Iran-Contra affair and in legal trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, which revoked the charitable organization’s tax exemption.

The council created by retired Army Maj. Gen. John Singlaub was the U.S. chapter of the World Anti-Communist League, an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. After setting up the U.S. council, Singlaub served as the international league’s chairman.

McCain’s tie to Singlaub’s council is undergoing renewed scrutiny after his presidential campaign criticized Barack Obama for his link to William Ayers, a former radical who engaged in violent acts 40 years ago. Over the weekend, Democratic operative Paul Begala said on ABC’s “This Week” that this “guilt by association” tactic could backfire on the McCain campaign by renewing discussion of McCain’s service on the board of the U.S. Council for World Freedom, “an ultraconservative right-wing group.”

In two interviews with The Associated Press in August and September, Singlaub said McCain became associated with the organization in the early 1980s as McCain launched his political career. McCain was elected to the House in 1982.

Singlaub said McCain was a supporter but not an active member.

“McCain was a new guy on the block learning the ropes,” Singlaub said. “I think I met him in the Washington area when he was just a new congressman. We had McCain on the board to make him feel like he wasn’t left out. It looks good to have names on a letterhead who are well-known and appreciated.

“I don’t recall talking to McCain at all on the work of the group,” Singlaub said.

McCain has said he resigned from the council in 1984 and asked in 1986 to have his name removed from the group’s letterhead.

“I didn’t know whether (the group’s activity) was legal or illegal, but I didn’t think I wanted to be associated with them,” McCain said in a 1986 newspaper interview.

Singlaub does not recall any McCain resignation in 1984 or May 1986. Nor does Joyce Downey, who oversaw the group’s day-to-day activities.


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McCain Supporter Spreading Anti-Muslim Smears (VIDEO)

Doing The Right Thing

Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 01:10:04 PM PDT

The American News Project brings us this video of McCain campaign supporters turning against one of their own because he was spreading vile anti-Muslim smears. They chased him off completely, and it’s a good thing to see. In the end, we’re all in this thing together.

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Obama Leaving Campaign Trail To Be With His Sick Grandmother

AP |  JENNIFER LOVEN   |   October 20, 2008 at 09:29 PM

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is canceling nearly all his campaign events Thursday and Friday to fly to Hawaii to visit his suddenly gravely ill 85-year-old grandmother, his communications director said.

Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Obama’s plane that Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, who helped raise him, was released from the hospital late last week. But he said her health had deteriorated “to the point where her situation is very serious.”

Events originally planned for Madison, Wis., and Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday will be replaced with one in Indianapolis before he makes the long flight to Hawaii. On Friday, Obama’s wife, Michelle, will sub for Obama at rallies in Akron and Columbus, in Ohio, said campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Obama was expected to resume campaigning on Saturday, at an undecided location in the West, she said.

“Senator Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has always been one of the most important people in his life, along with his mother and his grandfather,” Gibbs said. “Recently his grandmother has become ill and in the last few weeks her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious. It is for that reason that Sen. Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her.”

Citing the family’s desire for privacy, Gibbs would not discuss the nature of Dunham’s illness. It seemed likely that she was close to death, as Gibbs said that “everyone understands the decision that Sen. Obama is making.”


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Nightly (Gulp) Special Comments: Hatred Repackaged As “The Real America”

Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 03:39:52 PM PDT

When I wrote the first Special Comment more than two years ago, I had no idea if there’d be a second one, let alone an irregular series. Flatly, I didn’t know if I’d still have a job the next day – or even a country.
But as the premise evolved (and my bosses asked, shyly), I was adamant that they would never become a regularly scheduled feature.
And tonight, with Bill Hurt’s line in Body Heat fresh in my mind(“Sometimes (it) comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat”), I may have to break that self-imposed limitation.
If they’re going to pile it on for the next two weeks, I’m going to have to throw it back.
Barring the pleasantly unforseen outbreak of common sense and restraint, the Special Comment will briefly become a nightly feature.

First it was Sarah Palin and her “Pro-America” pockets.
Then it was Michele Bachmann and “Anti-America” Congressmen and Senators.
Even after that, Nancy Pfotenhauer and her redrawing of the map to include Virginia and “Real” Virginia.
And today it’s Rush Limbaugh trashing Colin Powell as a reverse racist.
It’s hatred is re-packaged as “The Real America,” and I’ve had enough of it.


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The Spin, I’m In!

GEF @ 8:06 PM ET

Write Your Own Caption!

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Obama Accused McCain Of “Small” And “Ugly” Politics

Obama chides McCain for ‘small,’ ‘ugly’ politics

Published: Monday October 20, 2008

Democratic White House nominee Barack Obama on Monday accused his Republican foe John McCain of pursuing “small” and “ugly” politics in an eleventh hour bid to rescue his White House hopes.

Obama launched a blitz of crucial swing state Florida, which will see him hold a double-bill rally with former primary foe Hillary Clinton later Monday, by rebuking McCain for his tactics, 15 days before election day.

“In the final days of campaigns, the say-anything, do-anything politics too often takes over,” Obama told thousands of supporters in a rally at the spring training headquarters of baseball’s New York Yankees.

“We’ve seen it before and we’re seeing it again — ugly phone calls, misleading mail, misleading TV ads, careless, outrageous comments,” Obama said.

“It’s getting so bad that even Senator McCain’s running mate denounced his tactics last night. As you know, you really have to work hard to violate Governor Palin’s standards on negative campaigning,” Obama said.

“But we’re not going to be distracted. We’re not going to be diverted. Not this time. Not this year. Our challenges are too great for a politics that’s so small.”


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