POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/28

“The Hug” Featured in New Democratic Ads

Democrats are planning to use advertisements of Sen. John McCain embracing President Bush on billboards and in bus stops around Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention.

Giuliani Not Helping McCain

In an interview on MSNBC, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — a strong backer of Sen. John McCain and the keynote speaker at next week’s Republican convention — essentially disqualified his party’s presidential candidate saying, “this is not the time to have somebody with no executive experience as President of the United States.”

He was obviously trying to take a shot at Sen. Barack Obama, but it backfired and the Obama campaign is letting everyone know about it.

Democratic Convention Getting Good Ratings

The Nielsen ratings for the first two days of the Democratic National Convention are out and they show a couple of interesting things:

  • Hillary Clinton’s speech (26.0 million viewers) had higher ratings than Michelle Obama’s speech (22.3 million viewers).
  • African Americans continue to watch the convention in a higher proportion than the rest of the population
  • Almost five times as many people (26 million) watched Day Two coverage in 2008 vs. Day Two in 2004 (5.9 million) when only the cable networks covered the convention.

McCain Having Final Veep Meeting

Byron York reports Sen. John McCain’s inner circle “is having a final meeting on the vice presidential issue. It’s not entirely clear whether it is to go through the choices again and reach a final decision, or whether it is for McCain to inform his inner circle of his choice. In any event, it looks like the decision will be set in stone today.”

McCain is expected to unveil his choice in Ohio Friday afternoon.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Many of you feel a responsibility to the voters in your state. Others want the choice to vote what’s in your heart. I am not telling you what to do.”

— Sen. Hillary Clinton, essentially releasing her delegates to vote for Sen. Barack Obama.

Time/CNN Poll: Obama Leads in Key Battlegrounds

A new Time/CNN poll finds Sen. Barack Obama leads Sen. John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states — Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania — while McCain just edges Obama in Colorado.

Nevada: Obama 49%, McCain 44% 
New Mexico: Obama 53%, McCain 40% 
Pennsylvania
: Obama 48%, McCain 43% 
Colorado
: McCain 47%, Obama 46%

Complete survey results are available.

Hutchison Added to McCain Short List

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-TX) “long-shot prospect for vice president is getting a push from conservative and other pundits in the lead-up to next week’s Republican National Convention,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Akron Buckeye Poll: Ohio is a Dead Heat

The new Akron Buckeye Poll in Ohio finds Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain tied at 40% each with another 20% still undecided. 

Key findings:

  • Obama’s supporters are more satisfied with the candidates and enthusiastic about the campaign than McCain’s supporters.
  • Only 45 percent of Clinton primary voters were supporting Obama.
  • McCain’s age may be a bigger factor than Obama’s race among Ohio voters.
  • A majority of registered voters say Obama will win Ohio in 2008, despite the fact that the candidates are tied in the level of support.

Stratego: Democrats vs. Republicans

StrategoThe item of choice for many Democratic convention attendees to bring home to their children is the new version of the classic Stratego board game. Instead of soldiers on a battlefield, it pits Democrats and Republicans against each other in their campaign for the White House.

It’s a must have for any family of political junkies.

Novak: Lieberman Warns McCain Against Picking Him

Robert Novak, who retired after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, is back writing occasional columns throughout the election season. 

“Reports of strong support within John McCain’s presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.”

“But they can’t get away with it — and this has been made clear to McCain by none other than Joe Lieberman himself.” 

Clinton Expected to Make Case for Obama

While most Democrats felt Sen. Hillary Clinton gave an outstanding speech Tuesday night in support of Sen. Barack Obama, one criticism is that she didn’t make the case for why Obama is ready to be president. It’s been the main Republican talking point for several weeks.

Obama campaign officials we’ve spoken to are unconcerned since they believe that Bill Clinton is better positioned as a former president to make that point in his speech.

CNN quotes Clinton adviser Paul Begala: “I think things are actually progressing better than maybe some of us might have thought in terms of the relationship between the two of them.”

Biden’s Night

Walter Shapiro raises expectations for Sen. Joe Biden’s speech.

“For all of Barack Obama’s eloquence, for all of the quiet confidence of Michelle Obama, it may well be Biden’s own star turn on Wednesday night that provides the mile-high lift to the Democratic prospects in November.”

The main reason: “Biden is the only big-name speaker whose primary mission is to pin the tail on John McCain… All signs, including guidance from the Obama and Biden camps, suggest that the six-term Delaware senator will not back away from combat in the erroneous zone, portraying McCain as a good man who has fallen into bad company with conservative Republicans.”

Young Hanging On in Close Alaska Primary, Stevens Wins

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) — “whose three and a half decade hold on Alaska’s sole House seat was imperiled by political ethics controversies — trailed Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell in a protracted vote count in Tuesday’s primary that appeared headed for a cliffhanger finale,” CQ Politics reports.

The Anchorage Daily News has the latest vote tally.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) “easily fended off challengers in his Tuesday contest even though he faces more immediate legal problems than Young.”

Obama Losing Conservative Democrats

The latest Gallup tracking poll finds Sen. John McCain inching into the lead for the first time this year. The key reason is that Sen. Barack Obama “has been struggling to maintain his Democratic base thus far in August” and “the problem seems to be with conservative Democrats.”

“The 63% of conservative Democrats supporting Obama over McCain in Aug. 18-24 polling is the lowest Obama has earned since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June. At the same time, there have been no similar drops in support for Obama in the preferences of liberal or moderate Democrats.”

In addition, Obama “has mainly seen his support eroding among moderate and liberal Republicans, from 19% to 13% during August.”

Brown Poll: Obama Holds Big Lead in Rhode Island

A new Brown University poll in Rhode Island puts Sen. Barack Obama way ahead of Sen. John McCain, 51% to 30%. 

Key finding: President Bush’s approval rating in the Ocean State is just 11%.

McCain Plans Veep Rollout This Weekend

Sen. John McCain “is planning to rollout his vice-presidential nominee in three battleground states this weekend, with large-scale rallies planned for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri,” according to Politico.

“The GOP nominee-in-waiting will move to immediately change the campaign conversation from Barack Obama’s football stadium acceptance speech Thursday to the new Republican ticket, to be revealed at a noontime Friday rally in a Dayton, Ohio, basketball arena.”

Quote of the Day

“Look, I owe the American people an apology.  If I had beaten the old man you’d of never heard of the kid and you wouldn’t be in this mess.  So it’s all my fault and I feel that very, very strongly.  So this is an important election for us. Let me tell ‘ya.”

— Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, in an interview with CBS News.

Reactions to Clinton’s Speech

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention put to rest the idea that her party is not unified in support of Sen. Barack Obama for president. While disunity has been a constant theme of the cable news channels, it’s barely noticeable among delegates. Clinton nailed her speech and put Democrats in the mood to enthusiastically nominate Obama on Thursday night.

Other reactions:

Ben Smith: “Hillary’s speech — a success in the hall — was a study in the virtue of low expectations.”

Nick Gillespie: “I’d say that Sen. Clinton has had the best performance so far, by a wide margin, both in terms of attacking John McCain and the Republicans head-on and defining a nauseatingly comprehensive set of plans for raising taxes, getting mad at companies for ‘shipping job overseas,’ and pushing universal health care (or more accurately, even more expensive and less effective health care).”

Andrew Sullivan: “She started out a little dull and a little self-obsessed. But then she rallied — a little. ‘No Way. No How. No McCain’ was a good line. And the Twin Cities analogy was a great little riff on Bush and McCain. But I have to say her speaking style, although much improved over even a year ago, is still a little flat. When she’s passionate, she has little inflection. When she’s quieter, she’s a little drony. The ‘keep going’ theme, moreover, was a little unnerving. A thinly veiled threat?”

Craig Crawford: “Stunning. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s convention speech on Tuesday was so NOT what Barack Obama needed.”

Mark Halperin: “She gracefully marked her place as one of America’s premiere politicians with a firm, commanding, gracious argument on behalf of Barack Obama.”

Warner’s Keynote Bombed

There have been some great keynote addresses at previous Democratic conventions — Mario Cuomo in 1984, Ann Richards in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2004 — but the address by former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was not one of them. Delegates gave polite applause during the speech but by the end you could hear the buzz of many talking to each other rather than listening to the man at the podium.

As Mark Halperin noted, “His efforts at bi-partisanship were confusing, his specifics irritatingly vague, his style bland, and his speech meandering.”

The speech that should have been billed as the keynote was that of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. He was funny, whipped up delegates into a frenzy and was very well received.

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

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