POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/16

Affiliations of Cable News Watchers

The latest Pew Research survey on the partisan make up cable news network viewership:

CNN: 51% Democrats, 18% Republicans, 23% independents

MSNBC: 45% Democrats, 18% Republicans, 27% independents 

Fox News: 33% Democrats, 39% Republicans, 22% independents

The 49 State Strategy?

The New York Times notes that Sen. Barack Obama campaign officials “have made much of their desire to expand the traditional Democratic playing field into states like Idaho, Indiana, Missouri and Montana and have promised they will run a 50-state campaign.” 

However, the campaign has no office in Arkansas, even though the state has “a Democratic governor, an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, two Democratic United States senators and three Democratic Congressional representatives out of four.” 

“But while Arkansas on paper might entice a Democratic candidate, Arkansas in person is a different story, and the fact that Mr. Obama’s campaign is not yet here reveals much about his strategic approach to turning red states blue.”

Obama, McCain Will Appear at Faith Forum

What on Earth Am I Here For? (Purpose Driven® Life, The)Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain “make back-to-back appearances Saturday at an evangelical conference aimed at getting the presidential hopefuls’ views on issues dealing with leadership and compassion,” USA Today reports. 

Rick Warren, the pastor of the 22,000-member Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life, “will interview each candidate separately for about an hour on the presidency and Constitution, the role of the United States in the world, global poverty and, possibly, abortion.”

However, in an interview with David Brody, Warren suggests he’ll also ask both candidates about personal issues each has had to deal with. Expect questions on McCain’s marriages and Obama’s past drug use.

McCain Has Big Fundraising Month

Sen. John McCain raised $27 million in July, “his largest one-month fundraising haul since clinching the Republican presidential nomination,” the AP reports.

McCain also had $21.4 million available to spend — a sum he must spend before he accepts the Republican nomination during the first week of September since he accepted public financing for the general election.

Edwards Cover Up Continues

A front page New York Times piece investigates an elaborate attempt by John Edwards to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter, “one that is continuing even after he admitted last week that he had an affair with Ms. Hunter but denied that he fathered her child.”

“The revelations of ties among the lawyers” involved in the effort to protect Edwards “emerged through public records and interviews with people close to Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter, which suggested that their affair went on longer than Mr. Edwards admitted and that the effort to conceal it by Mr. Edwards’s inner circle was much more extensive than has been reported.”

The paper says the Edwards “went to unusual lengths” to make a final $14,000 payment Ms. Hunter. As the AP notes, the payment to Hunter “is significant because its source was Edwards’ OneAmerica political action committee, whose expenditures are governed by U.S. election laws. Willfully converting money from a political action committee for personal use would have been a federal criminal violation.”

Several people close to Edwards have told Political Wire that Edwards’ insistence that the affair was over before he announced his candidacy — which photos now call into question — is important to protect him from campaign finance violations. 

Why the Tabloids Got the Edwards Story First

Sharon Waxman nails it: “My guess is that there is a simple reason why the mainstream media is unable to confirm the Edwards-Hunter affair during these past weeks. Because very few people knew what had been going on. Edwards’ staff didn’t know. Elizabeth Edwards didn’t know. The group may have been as small as three: Edwards, Hunter and her pal Bob McGovern. One of those, in my view (and not Edwards), sold the information.”

The National Enquirer‘s editor talks to Cindy Adams: “We have exclusive photographic evidence, pictures, videos, hard proof to further incriminate Edwards. He doesn’t at this point know what we have, which is why I’m asking that we don’t reveal too much yet. And which we will use unless and until he acknowledges paternity.”

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