Ex-McCain Aide Blasts Former Boss

John Weaver, a long time confidant and friend of Sen. John McCain, told Marc Ambinder that McCain’s current campaign strategy “diminishes John McCain” and the recent ad linking Sen. Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears was “childish.”

Said Weaver: “For McCain to win in such troubled times, he needs to begin telling the American people how he intends to lead us. That McCain exists. He can inspire the country to greatness. There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn’t at Obama’s. For McCain’s sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop.”

Related on Political Insider: Is being a celebrity good politics?


CNN Poll: Obama Leads Nationally by 7 Points

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows the presidential race has remained virtually unchanged since Sen. Barack Obama took his foreign trip, with Obama holding a 51% to 44% edge over Sen. John McCain.

“The new survey also suggests the trip — carefully designed to burnish Obama’s foreign policy credentials — did little to alter voters’ perceptions of how the Illinois senator would handle national security issues.”

“But in what is good news for Obama, the poll suggests few of the McCain campaign’s criticisms of the trip have stuck — especially charges Obama was presumptuously acting as if he had already won the election, and claims he nixed a visit with injured troops because members of the media could not accompany him.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think there’s some great people he could choose from and I expect he will do that. But I don’t plan on being part of the ticket.”

— Mitt Romney, in an interview with WILM-AM, on Sen. John McCain’s runnning mate.

Richardson Steps Up to Help Clinton

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson “is set to announce today that he’s hosting a pair of fundraising events for Hillary Clinton in New Mexico August 17, which is being cast as one of the higher-profile installments of Obama’s effort to help Clinton retire her debt,” according to Ben Smith.

“Though Richardson seems to be hosting the events in his capacity as an Obama backer, it’s also a move which could repair Richardson’s own relationship with the Clintons — some of whose supporters resented his Obama endorsement . It could also soothe Clinton backers concerns that Obama isn’t raising enough money for Clinton.”

NBC News notes Richardson’s own debt from his presidential run (as of June 30) is $292,726.

The Opinion Makers

An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the PollsOut in a couple days: The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls by David W. Moore.

The author — a former senior editor of the Gallup Poll — says that today’s opinion polls misfire due to an intrinsic methodological problem: survey results don’t differentiate between “those who express deeply held views and those who have hardly, if at all, thought about an issue.”

Specifically, Moore notes that in the period leading up to the invasion of Iraq, every major media poll showed substantial public support for a preemptive strike. In truth, there was no majority of Americans calling for war.

McCain Links Obama to Paris Hilton, Britney Spears

Josh Marshall: “I note with interest today, John McCain’s new tactic of associating Barack Obama with oversexed and/or promiscuous young white women. Presumably, a la Harold Ford 2006, this will be one of those strategies that will be a matter of deep dispute during the campaign and later treated as transparent and obvious once the campaign is concluded.”

Kaine Keeps Talking

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine tells NBC News that he doesn’t “have any idea about where the process is” for the selection of the vice presidential nominee, and that he has not spoken to Sen. Barack Obama “for a number of weeks.”

Kaine insisted that he has “no hints about timing” for when the pick might be announced, but added, “It’s nice to be speculated about.”

Marc Ambinder: “Assuming that Gov. Tim Kaine and Gov. Kathleen Sebilius are both on Obama’s short list, I wonder what the tight-lipped Obama world thinks about the leaks coming from Kaine allies as compared to the nada-nothing-bupkis coming from Sebelius’s orbit?”

PPP Poll: Michigan Remains a Toss Up

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan shows Sen. Barack Obama with a slight lead over Sen. John McCain, 46% to 43%.

Analysis: “With Michigan almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans this is one state where the race could really come down to the choices of independent voters. While only 8% of Democrats and 4% of Republicans are undecided, 20% of those who don’t identify with either party are.”

Record Spending on Television Ads

The Wisconsin Advertising Project has a new report showing that more than $50 million has been spent on television ads for the general election campaign so far — $27 million by Obama, $21 million by McCain, and smaller amounts by the RNC and outside groups.

Key takeaway: McCain’s spending is in the most-likely battleground states, but Obama has pumped money into six Republican leaning states — Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Montana and Alaska.

ABC News notes that “over 90 percent of the ads aired by Obama are positive in nature and do not mention Senator McCain. Approximately a third of the McCain campaign’s ads are negative, contrasting the two presidential candidates.”

Well-Funded Democrats Compete for Open House Seats

In yet another sign Democrats are likely to pick up seats in the House of Representatives this year, CQ Politics notes that seven of the 10 best-funded House candidates in open-seat contests are Democrats. 

“The party’s edge is even more pronounced when you consider that the three Republicans on this list are seeking Republican-held seats, so their victories would not help the Republicans come any closer to overturning the current 236-199 Democratic majority. By contrast, six of the seven Democrats on this list are seeking seats that Republican incumbents are leaving open; Democratic victories in one or more of those six seats would help the party augment its majority.”

McCain Loses the Tax Issue

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign is focused on the economy this week with the important side goal of making sure everyone understands Sen. John McCain is unclear about whether he will raise taxes or not. Multiple emails come each day from Obama operatives showing McCain’s contradictions on the issue.

Well, the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page is convinced and publishes a blistering editorial about McCain’s flip flops.

“One of the miracles of this Presidential election campaign is that John McCain still has a chance to win, notwithstanding his best attempts to kick it away. In his latest random policy improvisation, the Arizona Senator tried to give up the tax issue… If Mr. McCain can’t convince voters that he’s better on taxes than is a Democrat who says matter-of-factly that he wants to raise taxes, the Republican is going to lose in a rout.”

Quote of the Day

“There has been a long list. It seems to be getting shorter. And I’m still being mentioned. A lot can change day-to-day. But we’ll see.”

— Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, quoted by ABC News, on his chances of being named Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate.. 

Another Alaska Republican in Trouble

In the wake of Sen. Ted Stevens’ indictment, Hays Research released a new poll for Alaska’s at-large congressional seat that involves another scandal-plagued Republican. 

Challenger Ethan Berkowitz (D) now edges Rep. Don Young (R-AK), 33% to 30%.

Young has faced a highly publicized federal corruption probe that raised questions about his ties to campaign contributors.

CQ Politics rates the race No Clear Favorite.

The Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals & Dirty Politics

The Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals and Dirty PoliticsHere’s a timely book that came in the mail today: The Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals & Dirty Politics by Kim Long. 

From the book cover: “American history is marked by era-defining misdeeds, indiscretions, and the kind of tabloid-ready scandals that politicians seem to do better than anyone else. Now, for the first time, one volume brings together 300 years of political wrongdoing in an illustrated history of politicians gone wild — proving that today’s scoundrels aren’t the first, worst, and surely won’t be the last.”

I have a feeling this will become a useful book in my library.

McCain Tried to Hire AP Reporter

“Before Ron Fournier returned to the Associated Press in March 2007, the veteran political reporter had another professional suitor: John McCain’s presidential campaign,” according to Politico.

“In October 2006, the McCain team approached Fournier about joining the fledgling operation… Fournier was considered for ‘a senior advisory role’ in communications.”

McCain aide Mark Salter says Fournier “was an attractive target because of his knowledge about the political process, not because of his ideological or partisan leanings. Salter says he still does not know what, if any, those are.”

Kaine Cancels Appearance Tomorrow

Due to a “scheduling problem,” the Politicker has learned that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine will not attend tomorrow night’s fundraiser for the Maryland Democratic State Central Committee as previously planned.

Meanwhile, NBC News reports Obama was at veep vetter Eric Holder’s office for the second day in a row.

Indictment Gives Democrats Advantage

In the immediate aftermath of the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), and with no major GOP candidate on the Senate ticket other than Stevens, CQ Politics is changing its rating of the race from Leans Republican to Leans Democrat.

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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