POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/23 & 24

Rasmussen: McCain Holds Slim Lead in North Carolina

A new Rasmussen Reports poll in North Carolina shows Sen. John McCain leading Sen. Barack Obama by two points, 50% to 48%.

Obama held a three point lead earlier this week.

Obama Running More Ads in Swing States

Nielsen is releasing daily ad tracking data from seven key swing states — Colorado,FloridaGeorgiaMissouriOhioPennsylvania, and Virginia — which when combined shows Sen. Barack Obama placed 150% more ad units (53,049 v. 21,106) than Sen. John McCain between October 6 and October 22.

There’s no surprise on the three biggest targets: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

 

Quote of the Day

“Unless we win Pennsylvania, I don’t think McCain is elected president.” 

— Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R), quoted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When asked if the race would be different had McCain picked him as his running mate, Ridge said, “I think the dynamics would be different in Pennsylvania. I think we’d be foolish not to admit it publicly.”

Winthrop/ETV: Obama Just Ahead in North Carolina, Virginia

A new Winthrop/ETV poll shows Sen. Barack Obama with one point leads in North Carolina and Virginia.

North Carolina: Obama 45%, McCain 44%

Virginia: Obama 45%, McCain 44%

Strategic Vision: McCain Leads in Ohio, Florida

New polls from Strategic Vision show a much closer presidential race in three key states than other polls released in recent days.

Ohio: McCain 48%, Obama 45%

Florida: McCain 48%, Obama 46%

Pennsylvania: Obama 50%, McCain 43%

NPR Poll: Obama Crushing McCain in Battleground

The latest NPR Poll shows Sen. Barack Obama holds an 11-point lead across 15 battleground states, 52% to 41%. This represents a 15-point swing since 2004 when President Bush carried these states by 4 points. 

Key finding: Obama now holds a 12-point lead among independent voters in these swing states.

The battleground states included in this sample are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Ayers Book to be Released After Election

Memoirs of an Anti-War ActivistAccording to Washington Whispers, Bill Ayers “may have been a radical leftist ‘domestic terrorist’ back in the day, but it doesn’t mean he’s above making a buck now.” 

Beacon Press plans to release a new edition of Ayers’s 2001 memoir,Fugitive Days, on November 12.

Said the publisher: “Given the recent interest in Mr. Ayers because of the election, we decided to move the release up. Mr. Ayers, however, did not want the new edition released until after the election, and we have respected those wishes.”

InsiderAdvantage: Georgia Up For Grabs

Here’s more confirmation of yesterday’s report that Georgia could tip to the Democrats this year: A new InsiderAdvantage survey shows the state is a toss-up in both the U.S. Senate and presidential races. 

In the presidential race, Sen. Barack Obama has a slight edge over John McCain, 48% to 47%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has a 2-point lead over challenger Jim Martin (D), 44% to 42%.

Update: A new Strategic Vision poll shows McCain leading Obama, 51% to 45%, and Chambliss leading Martin, 46% to 44%.

SurveyUSA: Obama Grabs Lead in Indiana

A new SurveyUSA poll in Indiana shows Sen. Barack Obama ahead of Sen. John McCain by four points, 49% to 45%.

In the last month, McCain is down 3, Obama is up 4.

Obama Swings for the Fences

Charlie Cook: “For a political analyst, the normal posture this time of year is much like a baseball umpire’s: hunched over, peering carefully as the ball approaches the plate, watching for whether it breaks left or right, whether it’s coming in high or low. But, these days, we analysts are more like outfielders, watching in awe as a ball seems on a trajectory to not only clear the fence but very likely land in the upper deck.”

Murtha’s Hold on PA-12 Slips

A Pennsylvania source leaked a new poll to Michelle Malkin showing Republican challenger Bill Russell (R) leading Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), 48% to 35%.

The news comes after Murtha called Western Pennsylvania “a racist area.”

Yesterday, a more public Susquehanna Poll showed Murtha leading by just four points.

Ferrell Returns to SNL

The return of Will Ferrell to Saturday Night Live as President Bush last night made for one of the best skits ever.

Palin’s Makeup Artist Highest Paid Staffer

Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist was the highest paid person on Sen. John McCain’s campaign staff during the first half of October, the New York Times reports.

Amy Strozzi, “who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show So You Think You Can Dance?, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone.”

McCain Met With Pinochet

Huffington Post: “John McCain, who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that. In 1985, McCain traveled to Chile for a friendly meeting with Chile’s military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, one of the world’s most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others. The private meeting between McCain and Pinochet has gone previously un-reported anywhere by the U.S. media.”

Another Republican Governor Backs Obama

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R) endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president, the Boston Globe reports.

Said Weld: “Senator Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who will transform our politics and restore America’s standing in the world. We need a president who will lead based on our common values and Senator Obama demonstrates an ability to unite and inspire.”

Yesterday, former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson (R) announced his support for Obama.

Bachmann Loses Lead in MN-6

A new SurveyUSA poll in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district shows Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) edging past Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), 47% to 44%.

The district had been considered safe for Republicans until Bachmann claimed liberals and other Obama supporters were anti-American in a MSNBC interview.

“During the field period for this survey, the National Republican Congressional Committee suspended its advertising in the District and the Democratic candidate raised $1 million. The full impact of those events would not yet be reflected in these poll results.”

CQ Politics says that one factor “working in Bachmann’s favor is the fact that the district is hardwired with a Republican lean that may let her prevail despite a major uproar.”

Finger Pointing Starts in McCain Camp

Sen. John McCain’s critical comments about the Bush administration “sparked the latest and most nasty round of Washington finger-pointing,” reports Politico, “with senior GOP hands close to President Bush and top congressional aides denouncing the candidate for what they said was an unfocused message and poorly executed campaign.”

“These public comments offer a whiff of an increasingly acrid behind-the-scenes GOP meltdown — a blame game played out through not-for-attribution comments to reporters that operatives know will find their way into circulation.”

Nonetheless, the New York Times notes that some McCain aides — and even some Democrats — “argue that he still has a viable path to victory.”

Former Bush Aide Backs Obama

Former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said he will vote for Sen. Barack Obama in the presidential election, according to ABC News.

Said McClellan: “From the very beginning I have said I am going to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done and I will be voting for Barack Obama and clapping… It’s a message that is very similar to the one that Gov. Bush ran on in 2000.”

Miami Herald Poll: Obama Expands Lead in Florida

A new Miami Herald poll in Florida finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 49% to 42%.

Key finding: “Boosting Obama: independent voters, who back him over McCain by a 57-22 percent margin — a 38 point shift toward the Democrat since the last poll in September.”

NYT/CBS Poll: Obama Way Ahead Nationally

A new New York Times/CBS News poll shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain nationally among likely voters, 52% to 39%.

Key finding: “Underscoring the building strength of Mr. Obama’s candidacy in the final phase of the campaign, he was ahead of Mr. McCain among various groups that voted for Mr. Bush four years ago: those with incomes greater than $50,000 a year; married women; suburbanites; white Catholics, and is even competitive among white men — a group that has not voted for a Democrat over a Republican since 1972, when pollsters began surveying people after they voted.”

Beyond Typical Political Damage Control

Joe Klein asked Sen. Barack Obama whether he ever makes decisions “from the gut.” Obama’s response shows he actually practices politics differently than most politicians.

OBAMA:  Well, during the course of this campaign probably our response to those Reverend Wright videos had to be a spot decision, because frankly it was unanticipated and I hadn’t seen those incendiary videos before. The decision to make it big as opposed to make it small. 

KLEIN: To make the speech

OBAMA: To write a speech in two days and deliver it at a time when there was a singular focus on the topic I think is an example of having to make decision based on what in my gut would make sense. 

KLEIN: What was your gut telling you? 

OBAMA:  My gut was telling me that this was a teachable moment and that if I tried to do the usual political damage control instead of talking to the American people like an adult — like they were adults and could understand the complexities of race that I would be not only doing damage to the campaign but missing an important opportunity for leadership.

MSU Poll: Obama Leads in Montana

A new Montana State University Poll shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain in Montana, 44% to 40%.

Key finding: “Both Obama and McCain did a pretty good job in the poll of holding their party’s base, but Obama held an advantage among self-described independents.”

SurveyUSA: Obama Way Ahead in Pennsylvania

A new SurveyUSA poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Barack Obama way ahead of Sen. John McCain, 53% to 41%.

Key findings: “Compared to a SurveyUSA poll 9 days ago, McCain is up 1, Obama is down 2. There is movement to McCain among white voters, where McCain had been down 7, today is down 3.”

This is the fourth poll today giving Obama a 10+ point lead in Pennsylvania. Others:QuinnipiacAllstate/NJBig Ten Battleground.

National Journal Poll: McCain’s Options Dwindling

Sen. John McCain’s options for reaching 270 electoral votes are narrowing, according to the latest Allstate/National Journal poll. Sen. Barack Obama now has double-digit leads in three of McCain’s last remaining targets that went Democratic four years ago.

Minnesota: Obama 50%, McCain 40%

Pennsylvania: Obama 51%, McCain 41%

Wisconsin: Obama 53%, McCain 40%

Key finding: “Arguably, McCain’s most daunting problem in Pennsylvania is the overwhelming discontent with Bush as his second term concludes. Just 24 percent of those surveyed approved of Bush’s performance; 71 percent disapproved.”

Greenspan Admits Ideology Failed Him

In testimony before Congress, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan “conceded that his free-market ideology shunning regulation was flawed,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Greenspan: “Yes, I found a flaw. That is precisely the reason I was shocked because I’d been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

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