Obama Campaign Calls McCain Camp’s VP Bluff

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign hit back at speculation that Sen. John McCain would leak the name of his running mate tonight to distract from Obama’s acceptance speech.

Obama communications chief Dan Pfeiffer told Politico: “Tonight would be political malpractice. It’s one more piece of evidence that the McCain campaign is a war room masquerading as a presidential campaign.”

However Pfeiffer did say that, “If they do it, I will pay all of McCain’s mortgages next month.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American — even illegal aliens — as uninsured… So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

— John Goodman, a health care adviser to Sen. John McCain, quoted by the Dallas Morning News

McCain Still Trying to Find Spectators

According to the Dayton Daily News, Sen. John McCain is still giving away tickets to his Friday rally where he will unveil his running mate. He’s having trouble filling a 10,000 seat arena.

The contrast with Sen. Barack Obama giving a speech before 75,000 people tonight is striking and speaks to the excitement factor between the candidates. Obama tickets have been sold out for weeks.

Connecticut Delegates Want Lieberman Punished

Connecticut delegates “are demanding that party leaders punish Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-Independent, because of his support of Sen. John McCain,” according to The Hill.

“For many of them, Lieberman’s plan to speak at next week’s Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., is the latest offense from the man who represented their state as a Democrat in Washington for 18 years.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, however, is being practical, He realizes that if Lieberman were to caucus with Republicans the Democrats would lose control of the U.S. Senate until at least January.

The Latest McCain Veep Buzz

Reports suggest Sen. John McCain has made his running mate pick and will unveil his decision at an event in Ohio on Friday. The New York Times reports it’s mainly three men who are under consideration: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Joe Lieberman.

According to ABC News, Romney was followed to the airport yesterday “by a grey unmarked Chevy SUV with police lights. Two men wearing suits using ear pieces were in the driver and passenger seats.” Has his Secret Service protection already arrived?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune says Pawlenty will be in Denver today to go on attack against the Democrats. “The high-visibility mission is the latest stop in a whirlwind campaign swing that for several days recently sent Pawlenty barnstorming for Republican candidate John McCain across the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. It culminates months in which Pawlenty’s national profile has risen amid speculation about his chances of being chosen as McCain’s running mate.”

Meanwhile, Lieberman refused to take himself out of consideration despite pressure from conservatives. However, there are also reports that Lieberman advised McCain of the dangers to the Republican party of picking him.

Mason-Dixon: Florida Remains a Toss Up

A new News-Press Florida Poll of likely Florida voters shows Sen. Barack Obama barely beating Sen. John McCain, 45% to 44% with 11% undecided.

Said pollster Brad Coker: “Once again, the battle for Florida appears to be at the political epicenter of another presidential race.”

Quote of the Day

“No, I never thought I would live to see it. I thought it would happen one day, but I never thought I would live to see it. It will be a great thing to have lived to see it.”

— Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), quoted by CQ Politics, on an African-American accepting the nomination of a major party for president.

Obama’s Speech

Sen. Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech tonight at Invesco Field — previously known as Mile High Stadium — on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”

Aboard a campaign plane to Denver yesterday, Obama’s chief strategist told Politicothat Obama “is drawing inspiration for his acceptance speech Thursday night from three past convention speeches: those of Bill Clinton in 1992, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and John F. Kennedy in 1960.”

Said David Axelrod: “The speech is substantially written, but as with all Obama speeches he will be refining it and buffing it up right to the end.”

“Obama began thinking about the speech before he left for vacation in Hawaii and has been working it intermittently ever since, Axelrod said, sometimes with speechwriters, other times alone in a Chicago hotel room. He writes longhand on a legal pad, types his notes into a computer and circulates drafts among his staff.”

The Washington Post sets expectations: “Succeed here… and Obama’s speech will be remembered as one of the most powerful moments in modern politics, a perfect launch into the final stage of the general election. Fail, and Obama risks fueling Republicans’ criticism that he is an aloof celebrity, fond of speaking to big crowds but incapable of forming genuine connections.”

Obama Makes History

The big story of the night was Sen. Barack Obama becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major political party.

As CQ Politics notes, Obama’s nomination “was sealed after Sen. Hillary Clinton stepped forward to cast New York’s 282 votes midway through the state-by-state roll call Wednesday afternoon. But in a carefully orchestrated gesture, she moved that delegates dispense with the rest of the formalities.”

Said Clinton: “Let’s declare in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate.”

Sign of progress: The new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows a jump in the percentage of black voters who think their children could one day grow up to be president. 

Rove Tried to Kill Lieberman Pick

Republican strategist Karl Rove “called Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) late last week and urged him to contact Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration,” according to Politico.

Lieberman dismissed the request.

Another Politico report says McCain has already made his choice and will inform him or her tomorrow. 

The Big Dog

If you ever wondered how Bill Clinton was twice elected president, tonight’s speech cleared up any questions. He did exactly as I expected and was simply extraordinary. For the time and place, it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Other reactions:

Andrew Sullivan: “Readers know my personal disdain for Bill Clinton. But longtime readers will also know I have always defended his solid centrist, smart record in office and defended him against his most over-reaching enemies. Tonight, I think, was one of the best speeches he has ever given.”

Ezra Klein: “The speech he offered could have been a joint release from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for American Policy foreign affairs department. But somehow, when Clinton reads it, policy slips free of the weighty terms and looping sentences that press it down, and drifts upward to read easily as part of the human condition, engaged with our everyday experience. It’s a remarkable skill, and one that no other current politician possesses.”

Michael Crowley: “He may nevert be completely absolved by Obama’s core supporters, and his standing will probably never be restored to the Olympian heights of a couple of years ago. But that was full-throated, sincere-sounding, and sophisticated case for his wife’s former mortal rival.”

Glenn Reynolds: “Bill Clinton just demonstrated that he’s still the best the Democrats have.”

Mark Halperin: “He himself rose to the occasion with a decisive, hopeful and generous affirmation that ‘Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.’ This unambiguous declaration was the most important phrase uttered since the convention began.”

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

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