POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/4

Biden’s Votes

Political Wire reader notes that Mike Huckabee’s convention applause line that Sarah Palin got more votes as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Sen. Joe Biden got running for president isn’t even close to accurate. 

In the state of Florida alone, Biden got more votes from voters who didn’t even know if their primary would even count — after his his campaign was already suspended — than live in Wasilla.

Palin Still Undefined

According to a CBS News poll conducted over the weekend, 66% of Americans had no opinion of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. In new polling completed on Monday and Tuesday, 60% still had no opinion about her.

Republicans Lose TV Viewers

Nielsen released television ratings for the second day of the Republican National Convention. 

Some of the highlights include:
 

  • Overall viewing was more than 4.3 million people lower than the second day of the Democratic convention, and 600,000 people lower than the second day of the GOP convention four years ago.
  • More women (11.2 million) than men (9.5 million) watched the GOP convention, a similar trend as found for the Democrats this year.
  • African American viewing of the GOP convention (2.1 million) is less than half what is was for the Democratic convention (4.6 million)

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It’s over.”

— Peggy Noonan, caught on a live mic talking to political consultant Mike Murphy about the pick of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain’s running mate.

More interesting is that she contradicts her own column in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Update: Noonan responds: “Well, I just got mugged by the nature of modern media, and I wish it weren’t my fault, but it is.”

Time/CNN: Obama Leads in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa

The latest Time/CNN polls in three key battleground states shows Sen. Barack Obama widening his lead in Minnesota and Iowa while holding tight in Ohio.

Minnesota: Obama 53%, McCain 41% 

Iowa: Obama 55%, McCain 40%

Ohio: Obama 47%, McCain 45% 

GQR Poll: North Carolina Looks Close

A new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) poll in North Carolina shows Sen. John McCain just edging Sen. Barack Obama, 47% to 44%.

The survey was conducted before the Democratic convention.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate race, Kay Hagan leads Sen. Elizabeth Dole, 50% to 45%.

Enthusiasm Gap Still Apparent at RNC

Matt Welch: “As photographic evidence confirms, there were more empty seats even in prime-time than there are at the end of a Dodger game. At the Democratic Convention, if you didn’t take root two hours before anything important, the fire marshal wouldn’t let you in. Here, you walk right up and find a nice bar stool and table looking directly at the stage. A sign of flagging enthusiasm?”

Is Matthews Laying Groundwork for Senate Bid?

How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The GameThe Morning Call reports Hardball host Chris Matthews visited the Pennsylvania delegation at the Democratic convention last week and says that if it “was an attempt to work the state’s political heavy hitters, it appeared to work.”

The speculation is that Matthews wants to run against Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010.

When asked repeatedly if he was considering a run for Senate, Matthews responded: “You know what I do for a living. I have this job.”

Of course, the contract for that job expires in 2009. 

Interestingly, the Morning Call notes the Pennsylvania delegation at the GOP convention rejected his request to speak to them this week.

Historical Quote of the Day

“The gifts that God has given to Barack Obama are as enormous as his future is unlimited. As his mentor, as his colleague, as his friend, I look forward to helping him reach to the stars and realize not just the dreams he has for himself but the dreams we all have for him and our blessed country.”

— Sen. Joe Lieberman, introducing Sen. Barack Obama at the 2006 Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey dinner in Connecticut.

Palin Not Helping McCain with Women Voters

A new survey conducted for EMILY’s List suggests Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is not helping the Republican ticket with female voters. Among all women surveyed, Obama-Biden leads McCain-Palin, 53% to 35%.

When asked how the running mates were picked, half of those surveyed said Obama chose Biden based on his experience, while 29% said he was chosen for political reasons. Meanwhile, 20% said McCain chose Palin for experience and 59% said his pick was for political purposes.

Key finding: A 55% majority of women voters who backed Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary say that Palin’s inclusion on the ticket makes them less likely to vote for McCain; just 9% say her presence on the ticket makes them more likely to support McCain.

McCain Backs Out of CNN Interview

Sen. John McCain “pulled out of a scheduled interview” with CNN “after a segment with Campbell Brown and a top McCain spokesman Monday night in which Brown asked for examples of a foreign-policy decision made by Republican vice president pick Sarah Palin,” according to Broadcasting & Cable.

We mentioned McCain’s falling out with the national news media yesterday. The McCain campaign has now directly taken on the New York Times, NBC News and CNN.

Politico notes McCain is “lashing out at the media to deflect Palin from scrutiny and to rally a party base that has fallen hard for the conservative Alaska governor.”

A question: Is it a good strategy to battle with the media just two months before an election?

Will McCain Die in Office?

Politico looks at the likelihood of Sen. John McCain living out his presidency, if elected this November.

“It’s a macabre point to raise on the night when Palin will speak to the convention here — but a look at the actuarial tables insurance companies use to evaluate customers shows that it’s not an irrelevant one. According to these statistics, there is a roughly 1 in 3 chance that a 72-year-old man will not reach the age of 80, which is how old McCain would be at the end of a second presidential term. And that doesn’t factor in individual medical history, such as McCain’s battles with potentially lethal skin cancer.”

“The odds of a 72-year-old man living four more years, or one full White House term, are better. But for a man who has lived 72 years and 67 days (McCain’s age on Election Day this year), there is between a 14.2 and 15.1 percent chance of dying before Inauguration Day 2013… Going by the Social Security Administration’s tables, that’s nearly ten times the likelihood that a man aged 47 years and 92 days (Barack Obama’s age on Election Day this year) will die before Jan. 20, 2013.”

Quote of the Day

“There’s no middle ground on this for John McCain. She is either going to be a wild success or a spectacular failure.”

— Former Bush aide Dan Bartlett, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. 

Aides Admit Palin Lacked Sufficient Vetting

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin “was not subjected to a lengthy in-person background interview with the head of Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential vetting team until last Wednesday in Arizona, the day before McCain asked her to be his running mate, and she did not disclose the fact that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant until that meeting,” the Washington Post reports.

McCain Campaign Controls Access to Palin

Sen. John McCain’s campaign “scrambled to take control of the public debate over vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin, canceling her public appearances and teaming her with high-powered Republican operatives as she prepared for a speech Wednesday night that will be her first, and perhaps most important, chance to define herself to the American public,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Campaign officials were heartened by the strong support the Alaska governor continued to receive in the halls of their nominating convention here… But Republican officials remained nervous about how the choice was playing in the country as a whole.” 

The Washington Post says Palin “has been holed up” in her hotel while a parade of McCain’s top advisers “have briefed her on the nuances of his policy positions, national politics and, above all, how to introduce herself to the national audience she will address Wednesday night at the Republican convention.” 

Violence Outside the Convention Hall

Police used pepper spray and flash bang grenades to disperse crowds on the streets of St. Paul Tuesday, as protests outside the Republican National Convention turned violent for the second straight day,” CQ Politics reports.

First Night of the GOP Convention

President Bush — speaking by video from the White House — gave a decent speech in typical Bush style but with little more than a small embrace of Sen. John McCain. It was as if Bush consciously tried to prevent any clips of his speech from being used in ads for Sen. Barack Obama.

Immediately after Bush’s speech they went straight to a video tribute of Ronald Reagan. It was a blatant and effective attempt to prevent the television talking heads from spending any time talking about Bush. 

Next up was former Sen. Fred Thompson who threw red meat to the delegates by attacking Obama and really kicked off the Republican convention.  He also gave a very interesting overview of McCain’s time as a prisoner of war and stressed that Americans want character, not change, in this election. I’m not sure he’s right, but overall Thompson gave the most effective speech of the night.

The first full length session ended with Sen. Joe Lieberman calling himself a Democrat at a Republican convention. However, few Democrats will consider him welcome in their party tomorrow morning. While his speech was billed as a bipartisan tribute to a close friend, it was surprisingly harsh on Obama. His brief tribute to Gov. Sarah Palin was just plain weird — especially since he disagrees with her on nearly every social issue.

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