POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/1

Quote of the Day

“I’m not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she’s a woman and a conservative. Well, she’s a better speaker than McCain.”

— Faye Palin, the mother-in-law of Gov. Sarah Palin, quoted by the New York Daily News.

McCain Attracts Biggest Crowd Yet

Jonathan Martin notes that Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin drew a crowd of 17,000 to his rally in Missouri.

“Yes, yes, it’s just about a routine crowd for Obama. But there is perhaps no better indicator of how Palin is helping McCain close the enthusiasm gap than the number of people showing up the past two days in Pennsylvania and Missouri.”

CNN Poll: Race Still Very Tight

A new CNN poll shows the Obama-Biden ticket leading the McCain-Palin ticket by one point, 49% to 48%.

The survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, after both the conclusion of the Democratic convention and McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “The convention — and particularly Obama’s speech — seems to be well-received. And the selection of Sarah Palin as the GOP running mate, also seems to be well-received. So why is the race still a virtual tie? Probably because the two events created equal and opposite bounces — assuming that either one created a bounce at all.”

Obama Pledges to Help Hurricane Victims

Sen. Barack Obama said that he plans to mobilize his huge e-mail list of supporters to volunteer or send money once the impact of Hurricane Gustav becomes apparent and authorities know better what kind of help is needed. 

Said Obama: “We can activate an e-mail list of a couple million people who want to give back. I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary.”

Experience Isn’t The Issue

The following guest post is offered by Dan Conley, a former speechwriter for Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The debate over Gov. Sarah Palin has devolved into something very typical — jokes about her relative inexperience, followed up by righteous indignation over the “condescension” being shown towards her.  Both sides are missing the real point.

We voters simply do not — and will not — know enough about Governor Palin by election day to make an informed decision about her.

By choosing a candidate with no public record on any foreign policy issues and most domestic policies, McCain has insulated his campaign from any attacks on his Vice Presidential ideology.  Palin is known purely for her positions on Alaskan issues and a few cultural issues she has decided to become known for.

Now that she’s the VP nominee, Palin will just assume all of John McCain’s positions on foreign and domestic policies.  It’s what a VP candidate always does.  But in this case, when she has never been asked to express her opinions or her thinking behind those views, we’re left with a terrifying national scenario — if John McCain were to die shortly after taking office, we would elevate someone to the Presidency who could be in support of anything … fill in the blank.

If the McCain campaign is being truthful and did in fact vet Palin fully, then they are guilty of hiding Palin.  Unlike other longshot candidates like Bobby Jindal, she was kept off the campaign trail and away from the Sunday talk circuit.  What they’ve done is taken the well-developed GOP strategy for Supreme Court justices … drop them into Circuit Court slots shortly before tapping them for the top job … to avoid a paper trail which could cause a public backlash.

This strategy is cynical, undemocratic and frankly, unpatriotic.  Americans have a right to know who they are elevating to the Presidency.  The McCain campaign is using Gov. Palin for tactical political gain with no regard for the voters’ right to select a candidate who they know and trust. 

Bush May Skip Convention

NBC News: “The White House has confirmed the speculation that President Bush is unlikely to go to the RNC convo. They are working on alternative plans but don’t have anything to announce yet. Expect details mid-morning.”

An address by video may be arranged.

Fowler Caught on Camera

Redstate catches former DNC Chairman Don Fowler joking that the hurricane about to hit the Gulf Coast just as the Republican convention is starting is proof that God prefers Democrats.

Meanwhile, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin called Hurricane Gustav “the mother of all storms” and ordered a 100% evacuation of his city, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Palin Revs Up Christian Conservatives

The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate “has electrified conservative activists, providing a boost of energy to the GOP nominee-in-waiting from a key constituency that had been previously had been lukewarm — at best — about him,” according to Politico.

“By tapping the anti-abortion and pro-gun Alaska governor just ahead of his convention, which is set to start here Monday, McCain hasn’t just won approval from a skeptical Republican base — he’s ignited a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grassroots activists to weep with joy.”

David Brody: “I’m telling you folks. The Evangelical base is revved up about this pick. A McCain campaign source told me that there is so much excitement from the Evangelical community about this pick that it’s making their head spin.”

66 Comments | August 31, 2008

Feinstein May Run for California Governor

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, “who has been forced to sit out this week’s Democratic convention in Denver because of a broken ankle, acknowledged in an interview” with the San Francisco Chronicle “that she is actively considering running for governor in 2010.”

“In a wide-ranging interview about presidential politics and the convention, the state’s senior U.S. senator said she first wants to see the results of the November election. If Democrats gain a big enough majority in Congress to move major legislation, she might choose to stay in Washington.”

Smart Tactical Pick?

This guest post is offered by pollster David Johnson, the president of Strategic Vision.

Sarah Palin may be one of the smartest tactical moves made by the McCain Campaign and the Democrats should be very careful in their line of attack against her.  Depending on how she is defined at the Republican Convention she could be a game changer.
 
Barack Obama is underperforming among female voters in the key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin in our polling.  In these states he is only leading John McCain by 2% to 3% among females where traditionally there has been a double digit lead for Democrats.  If Palin can help keep these voters in play and then energize base Republican voters, these states have the potential to flip.
 
The Obama line of attack against Palin may further alienate voters in these states.  By attacking her as being a Mayor of a small town of 9,000, the Democrats open themselves up to charges of elitism and revive the “bitter” comments that Obama made in his race against Hillary Clinton.  Remember there are numerous small towns of 9,000 or even less in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 
 
Finally, by attacking Palin as being inexperienced the Obama Campaign may actually help bolster McCain’s own arguments of inexperience against Obama.  If Palin is inexperienced to be Vice President based upon her record in Alaska, how can Democrats argue that Obama is experienced to be President based upon his record.
 
Polling will not reflect whether this selection was the worst pick ever as some allegeor a masterstroke until Americans see her this week at Minneapolis.  But at this point, the Democratic line of attack against her could backfire.

Quote of the Day

“It’s a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I’d be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it’s John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.”

— Former Bush speechwriter David Frum

Worst Pick Ever?

This guest post is offered by pollster Del Ali, the president of Research 2000.

Sarah Palin will wow cultural conservatives in areas where they may not have come out to vote before the selection. This is right out of Karl Rove’s strategy of getting more of your own to show up and vote.

However, in many of the swing states that Bush carried in 2004, there were anti gay ballot measures to motivate the cultural conservatives to vote. There are very few of these measures on the ballots in those key states in 2008. Palin may not be enough for them to get out and vote. Clearly Rove felt in 2004 that Bush would not have been enough, thus the ballot measures. 

In fact, as Palin’s cultural views become better known — she oppose abortion in all cases and opposes the use of birth control pills and condoms even among married couples — she will undoubtedly scare the hell out of the soccer moms and 98% of Hillary voters. In fact, many of these women may feel insulted by this choice in that McCain and the GOP think they are stupid and would bypass their own interest (reproductive and economic) to vote for the ticket due to gender and anger that Hillary was not the nominee. 

In my estimation as a pollster and analyst, while historic for the GOP in selecting their first woman on a national ticket, this choice may be the worst selection by a major party nominee for President in modern times

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