Joe Not Vetted

Political Insider: It turns out that “Joe the Plumber” from last night’s debate isn’t a licensed plumber, owes back taxes and his real name isn’t even Joe. Oh, and he’s related to Charles Keating.

Obama Prepares Push Into Red States

“Leading in polls and exuding confidence,” Sen. Barack Obama “is edging into traditionally GOP states — now including West Virginia — as Republican John McCain looks to protect his turf less than three weeks before the election,” according to theAssociated Press.

Obama “is launching TV ads in West Virginia, which George W. Bush won four years ago and hadn’t been on the list of target states until recently.”

He also “is considering pouring money into reliably Republican Kentucky and may yet return to the airwaves in North Dakota and Georgia. Those are two states Obama had tried to put in play over the summer, but he pulled out when they appeared out of reach.”

Quote of the Day

“For those of you who are feeling giddy or cocky or think this is all set, I just have two words for you: New Hampshire. I’ve been in these positions before when we were favored, and the press starts getting carried away and we end up getting spanked.”

— Sen. Barack Obama, quoted by the New York Times.

It’s About You

First Read: “Obama has gotten much better about referring to voters more than himself while McCain refers to himself more than the voters. Check out the closing statements. Here’s McCain’s: ‘I have a record of reform, and taking on my party, the other party, the special interests…’ And Obama’s: ‘You know, over the last 20 months, you’ve invited me into your homes. You’ve shared your stories with me. And you’ve confirmed once again the fundamental decency and generosity of the American people. And that’s why I’m sure that our brighter days are still ahead.'”

Reactions to Last Night’s Debate

If you missed last night’s presidential debate, CQ Politics has the “bests and mosts.”

I thought Obama won. Here are some other reactions.

Ezra Klein: “McCain scored the most points, and lost the debate. He was looking to land shots, and often succeeded. But the effort to find openings and vulnerabilities left him with little time to appear presidential. And if he connected with jabs, he never found his knockout blow. Worse, the attacks came at a cost: The angry energy showed on McCain’s face as clearly as in his answers.”

David Yepsen: “John McCain lost the final debate of the 2008 presidential campaign Wednesday night. As a result, he may well have lost the election, too.”

Chuck Todd: “As for the big pic, it’s hard to see how this debate changed the trajectory of this race. It’s now clear, for posterity, that Obama won the debate season. McCain won the convention season and that got him in the game, but the combination of the massive economic downturn with the debates has put McCain in as deep of a hole as any nominee has been this late in the process since Bob Dole. The map continues to look more favorable to Obama than McCain. But it’s now in the hands of the voters. There’s not much more information left to learn.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Obama won this for the third time. A small prediction: there will be YouTube mash-ups of McCain’s facial reactions on the split screen. And they will have a longer life, for good or ill, than many of the substantive exchanges.”

Kevin Drum: “I know I’m partisan, but McCain seemed completely out of his depth tonight. He was flitting from point to point all night without ever putting together a coherent argument, and then grabbing miscellaneous attacks from the rolodex in his head whenever some bright idea popped into his mind. His energy level was weirdly erratic, tired at times but then suddenly perking up whenever he got annoyed by something and remembered some zinger that he wanted to fire off.”

Marc Ambinder: “Tonight, we saw a McXplosion. Every single attack that Sen. McCain has ever wanted to make, he took the opportunity tonight to make. Around 30 minutes in, McCain seemed to surrender the debate to his frustrations, making it seem as if he just wanted the free television.”

Joe Klein: “The structural weakness of McCain’s position was evident every time Obama described a program — health care, education, energy — in the third debate. CNN’s focus group of independent Ohioans would send the dials on their electric gizmos spinning into the stratosphere. They loved the idea that government would spend more on education or energy or regulate the health-insurance companies.”

Radioactive President

Using footage from last night’s debate, Sen. Barack Obama releases a devastatingnew ad that ties Sen. John McCain even tighter to President Bush.

Interestingly, the McCain follows with their own ad that also blasts the last eight years though does not mention the president.


Instant Debate Reaction

The instant polls conducted just after the final presidential debate found Sen. Barack Obama the clear winner.

CNN poll of debate viewers: Obama 58%, McCain 31%

CBS poll of uncommitted voters: Obama 53%, McCain 22%

In addition, both focus groups of uncommitted voters on CNN and Fox News found Obama the winner.

The Final Presidential Debate

This was Sen. John McCain’s best debate yet. He scored many points and effectively distanced himself from President Bush with the comment, “I am not president Bush. If you want to run against president Bush, you should have done that four years ago.” It was probably the only memorable soundbite from any of the debates.

However, Sen. Barack Obama ultimately won the debate by repeatedly bringing it back to the issues. He occasionally lapsed into wonkish, policy speak, but it seemed to register well with the Ohio focus group CNN was tracking. It was refreshing that Obama understands the important issues facing the country. He did a much better job simply explaining his own policy positions.

In contrast, McCain tried too hard to land a knockout punch. He also made serious errors. He didn’t know that he’s running nearly all negative ads right now and he tried to attack his rival’s health care plan without really understanding it. But most striking, his defense of running mate Sarah Palin was very, very weak.

McCain also lost this debate stylistically. The split screen showed him impatient, angry, rolling his eyes and making some very odd faces. This type of body language caused Al Gore to lose the second presidential debate in 2000. I suspect it will go over poorly with viewers as well.

Bob Scheiffer was outstanding as the moderator. He made it a very good debate.

Obama Breaks 270

CNN is the first traditional media outlet to publish a forecast that shows Sen. Barack Obama with enough electoral votes to win the presidential election. If the election were held today, Obama would beat McCain, 277 to 174 with 87 still undecided.

Of course, the Votemaster has had Obama above the necessary 270 votes for several weeks.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove also forecasts an Obama win, 313 to 174 with 51 still up for grabs. The only states rated as “toss ups” were won by President Bush four years ago: Nevada, Missouri, Ohio and North Carolina.

GOP Pulls Ads in Louisiana Senate Race

The NRSC “has decided to pull its television advertising out of Louisiana, a decision that drastically reduces the party’s chances at its lone takeover opportunity in this election cycle,” according to The Fix.

“The decision to stop advertising in the race against Landrieu reflects a recognition by the NRSC of the stark financial reality it faces in the fall campaign. The Republican committee has been consistently outraised by its Democratic counterpart and, as the political environment has worsened for the GOP in recent weeks, several Republican senators that appeared safe — Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to name two — have suddenly appeared more vulnerable.”

Telecom Companies Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch

Washington Post investigation finds that Verizon and AT&T offered a free “cell site on wheels” for McCain’s property in Sedona, Arizona to better their cell phone coverage.

“Over the course of the past year, Cindy McCain had offered land for a permanent cell tower and Verizon embarked on an expensive process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits even though few people other than the McCains would benefit from the tower.”

“Ethics lawyers said Cindy McCain’s dealings with the wireless companies stand out because Sen. John McCain is a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry.”

The McCain campaign responds it was a Secret Service request for cell service, however Marc Ambinder notes “it’s also fairly clear that the original request had nothing to do with the Service, and that Verizon was well on its way to building a tower by the time McCain became the nominee and reluctantly accepted the Service’s services.”

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

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