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USA > Politics > Presidential elections
2 Close House Races Decided;
4 Still Up in Air
November 8, 2008
Filed at 2:41 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Democrats have gained another foot soldier in
Congress: Democrat Frank Kratovil has won an open seat in the U.S. House from
Maryland's 1st District.
He claimed a seat held for 18 years by the GOP, beating Republican Andy Harris
by about 2,000 votes.
Meanwhile in Washington state's 8th Congressional District, Republican U.S. Rep.
Dave Reichert (RY-kert) has beaten back a challenge from Democrat Darcy Burner
for a second time. With 80 percent of the vote counted Reichert leads by 8,000
votes, 51 percent to 49. Burner conceded Friday night.
The victories give Democrats some 256 House seats, to 175 for the GOP. Democrats
have picked up 20 seats. Four House races -- in Alaska, California, Virginia and
Ohio -- are still too close to call.
Filed at 2:23 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(AP) -- Barack Obama swept to victory as the nation's first black president
Tuesday night in an electoral college landslide that overcame racial barriers as
old as America itself. ''Change has come,'' he told a jubilant hometown Chicago
crowd estimated at nearly a quarter-million people.
The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, the
Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his historic triumph by defeating
Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground
states -- Ohio, Florida, Iowa and more. He captured Virginia and Indiana, too,
the first candidate of his party in 44 years to win either.
Obama's election capped a meteoric rise -- from mere state senator to
president-elect in four years.
Spontaneous celebrations erupted from Atlanta to New York and Philadelphia as
word of Obama's victory spread. A big crowd filled Pennsylvania Avenue in front
of the White House.
In his first speech as victor, to an enormous throng at Grant Park in Chicago,
Obama catalogued the challenges ahead. ''The greatest of a lifetime,'' he said,
''two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.''
He added, ''There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make
as president, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will
always be honest with you about the challenges we face.''
McCain called his former rival to concede defeat -- and the end of his own
10-year quest for the White House. ''The American people have spoken, and spoken
clearly,'' McCain told disappointed supporters in Arizona.
President Bush added his congratulations from the White House, where his tenure
runs out on Jan. 20. ''May God bless whoever wins tonight,'' he had told dinner
Obama, in his speech, invoked the words of Lincoln, recalled Martin Luther King
Jr., and seemed to echo John F. Kennedy.
''So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility
where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder,'' he said.
He and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of
office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009. McCain remains in the
Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, returns to Alaska as governor after a
tumultuous debut on the national stage.
He will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost
certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in
The popular vote was close -- 51.7 percent to 47 percent with 84 percent of all
U.S. precincts tallied -- but not the count in the Electoral College, where it
There, Obama's audacious decision to contest McCain in states that hadn't gone
Democratic in years paid rich dividends.
Shortly after 2 a.m. the East, The Associated Press count showed Obama with 349
electoral votes, well over the 270 needed for victory. McCain had 144 after
winning states that comprised the normal Republican base, including Texas and
most of the South.
Interviews with voters suggested that almost six in 10 women were backing Obama
nationwide, while men leaned his way by a narrow margin. Just over half of
whites supported McCain, giving him a slim advantage in a group that Bush
carried overwhelmingly in 2004.
The results of the AP survey were based on a preliminary partial sample of
nearly 10,000 voters in Election Day polls and in telephone interviews over the
past week for early voters. Obama has said his first order of presidential
business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most
U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.
In Washington, the Democratic leaders of Congress celebrated.
''It is not a mandate for a party or ideology but a mandate for change,'' said
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California: ''Tonight the American people have
called for a new direction. They have called for change in America.''
Democrats also acclaimed Senate successes by former Gov. Mark Warner in
Virginia, Rep. Tom Udall in New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall in Colorado. All won
seats left open by Republican retirements.
In New Hampshire, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican Sen. John
Sununu in a rematch of their 2002 race, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole fell to Democrat
Kay Hagan in North Carolina.
Biden won a new term in Delaware, a seat he will resign before he is sworn in as
The Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, survived a scare in Kentucky,
and in Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss hoped to avoid a December runoff.
The Democrats piled up gains in the House, as well.
They defeated seven Republican incumbents, including 22-year veteran Chris Shays
in Connecticut, and picked up nine more seats where GOP lawmakers had retired.
At least three Democrats lost their seats, including Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney,
turned out of office after admitting to two extramarital affairs while serving
his first term in Florida. In Louisiana, Democratic Rep. Don Cazayoux lost the
seat he had won in a special election six months ago.
The resurgent Democrats also elected a governor in one of the nation's
traditional bellwether states when Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon won his
An estimated 187 million voters were registered, and in an indication of
interest in the battle for the White House, 40 million or so had already voted
as Election Day dawned.
Obama sought election as one of the youngest presidents, and one of the least
experienced in national political affairs.
That wasn't what set the Illinois senator apart, though -- neither from his
rivals nor from the other men who had served as president since the nation's
founding more than two centuries ago. A black man, he confronted a previously
unbreakable barrier as he campaigned on twin themes of change and hope in
McCain, a prisoner of war during Vietnam, a generation older than his rival at
72, was making his second try for the White House, following his defeat in the
battle for the GOP nomination in 2000.
A conservative, he stressed his maverick's streak. And although a Republican, he
did what he could to separate himself from an unpopular president.
For the most part, the two presidential candidates and their running mates,
Biden and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, spent weeks campaigning in
states that went for Bush four years ago.
McCain and Obama each won contested nominations -- the Democrat outdistancing
former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton -- and promptly set out to claim the
mantle of change.
Obama won California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia,
Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and
McCain had Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South
Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
He also won at least four of Nebraska's five electoral votes,
with the other one
November 4, 2008
Filed at 1:01 p.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democratic lawmaker in charge of increasing the
party's majority in the House says he's confident of solid gains, even though
there has been a tightening in several races.
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen says he's cautious because so many House races
are being fought in GOP-leaning districts, so he's not predicting the 20-plus
seat gains that others see. Van Hollen says that a 10 to 15 seat gain would be a
He says to expect a big night for Democrats if they pick up a GOP seat in
Indiana, where polls close at 7 p.m.
But if endangered Democratic incumbents lose battles in Pennsylvania and New
Hampshire, Democratic gains would be more limited.
All 435 House seats are up for grabs tonight. Democrats currently hold a 36-seat
— Outspent and under siege in a hostile political climate, Congressional
Republicans scrambled this weekend to save embattled incumbents in an effort to
hold down expected Democratic gains in the House and Senate on Tuesday.
With the election imminent, Senate Republicans threw their remaining resources
into protecting endangered lawmakers in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, New
Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon, while House Republicans were forced to put
money into what should be secure Republican territory in Idaho, Indiana,
Kentucky, Virginia and Wyoming.
Sensing an extraordinary opportunity to expand their numbers in both the House
and Senate, Democrats were spending freely on television advertising across the
campaign map. Senate Democrats were active in nine states where Republicans are
running for re-election; House Democrats, meanwhile, bought advertising in 63
districts, twice the number of districts where Republicans bought advertisements
and helped candidates.
“We are deep in the red areas,” Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland,
chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on Sunday. “We
are competing now in districts George Bush carried by large margins in 2004.”
What seems especially striking about this year’s Congressional races is that
Democrats appear to have solidified their gains from the 2006 midterm elections
and are pushing beyond their traditional urban turf into what once were safe
Republican strongholds, creating a struggle for the suburbs.
Trying to capitalize on economic uncertainty, House Democrats are taking aim at
vacant seats and incumbents in suburban and even more outlying areas — the
traditional foundation of Republican power in the House. With many of the most
contested House races occurring in Republican-held districts that extend beyond
cities in states like Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, Democrats said
expected victories would give them suburban dominance.
The same is true for Senate Democratic candidates, who are seeking to nail down
swing counties outside urban centers and move the party toward a 60-vote
majority. That majority could overcome a filibuster, if party leaders could hold
the votes together.
Among open House seats Democrats say they have a good chance of capturing
include those being vacated by Representatives Ralph Regula and Deborah Pryce in
Ohio, Jim Ramstad in Minnesota, Jerry Weller in Illinois and Rick Renzi in
On the list of incumbents Democrats believe they can defeat are Representatives
John R. Kuhl Jr. in New York, Joe Knollenberg in Michigan, Tom Feeney and Ric
Keller in Florida, Don Young in Alaska, Robin Hayes in North Carolina and Bill
Sali in Idaho.
Democrats say they have been able to peel away suburbanites by emphasizing
Republican culpability for the economic decline, a point they say House
Republicans helped make themselves by initially balking at the $700 billion
bailout and sending the markets into a tailspin that depleted retirement and
college savings accounts.
“Suburban voters are angry that their quality of life and standard of living is
under attack,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the
House Democratic Caucus and a leading advocate of Democrats trying to broaden
their appeal in the suburbs.
The partisan spending gap was stark. As of last week, Senate Democrats had spent
more than $67 million against Republican candidates, compared with $33.7 million
in advertising by Republicans. In the House, the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee had spent $73 million, compared with just over $20 million
for the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to campaign
Most of the House Republican money was spent on behalf of incumbents or in
districts where a Republican is retiring, emphasizing how much the party was
playing defense. By contrast, House Democrats spent most of their money in the
last month going after Republican seats in Colorado, Nebraska, Washington, West
Virginia and elsewhere. On Sunday, Democrats prepared one last radio
advertisement to begin running Monday in an effort to claim the seat of Thomas
M. Reynolds, a Republican retiring from his upstate New York district near
“That kind of says it all,” said Representative Thomas M. Davis III, a retiring
Virginia Republican whose own suburban seat is likely to go Democratic on
Tuesday. Mr. Davis said Republicans simply faced too many disadvantages heading
into Election Day, including a higher number of retirements in the House and
Senate, an unpopular president and an economic collapse.
“You like to see a fair fight,” said Mr. Davis, a former chairman of the
Republican Congressional campaign committee, “but basically we are playing
basketball in our street shoes and long pants, and the Democrats have on their
uniforms and Chuck Taylors.”
Neither of the national Senate campaign arms was advertising in Colorado, New
Mexico or Virginia, indicating that Republicans were virtually ceding those
states, where members of their party are retiring, to the Democrats. Senate
Democrats were also optimistic about the prospects of unseating Senator John E.
Sununu in New Hampshire and Senator Ted Stevens in Alaska, where Mr. Stevens
campaigned despite being newly convicted on felony ethics charges.
Democrats said they saw themselves with the advantage in Minnesota, North
Carolina and Oregon, giving them a reasonable chance at claiming eight seats and
enlarging their Senate majority to 59 if they hold their current seats.
If Democrats swept those races, it could leave the potential 60th vote to break
filibusters resting on the outcome in Georgia, Mississippi or Kentucky, where
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is in a competitive race with
Bruce Lunsford, a businessman. Polls show Democrats trailing but within striking
distance in all three races, with the final results potentially hinging on the
presidential race and turnout among Democratically inclined black voters.
In Mississippi, which has not sent a freshman Democrat to the Senate since John
C. Stennis was elected in 1947, Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican appointed
last year to fill the seat left vacant by Trent Lott’s resignation, is in a
tight race with former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat.
“We feel we have a lot of momentum,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New
York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, “but we are ever
mindful that getting to 60 is an extremely difficult thing to do because we are
in so many red states.”
Republicans privately acknowledged that there was little hope for some of their
candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. But Republicans
have not given up on the idea of unseating Senator Mary L. Landrieu in
Louisiana, a state where Senator John McCain was running well against Senator
Barack Obama in the presidential race. A victory over Ms. Landrieu by John
Kennedy, the state treasurer, would be a significant moral victory for
Republicans, and they pointed to internal polls that show a close race.
In Louisiana, North Carolina and Oregon, Republicans were trying to energize
voters with the threat of Democratic dominance in Washington, running
advertisements that warn voters about “complete liberal control of government.”
“We agree with Chuck Schumer that this is a tectonic election,” said Rebecca
Fisher, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “And if
Democrats get their way, this country will shift so far left it will take
generations to get back on track.”
Both parties were focusing substantial final energies on the Senate race in
Minnesota, where Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican, was in a heated clash
with his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, a former comedian and radio talk
The race remained close as Mr. Coleman was named in a last-minute lawsuit in
Texas alleging that a businessman had funneled $75,000 to him through his wife’s
business. Mr. Coleman, who has filed an unfair campaign practices complaint
accusing Mr. Franken of broadcasting falsehoods in his advertisements, denied
any impropriety, but the lawsuit led to a flurry of news accounts only days
before the election.
In Kentucky, Mr. McConnell enlisted hundreds of volunteers to knock on doors and
to make phone calls in the remaining hours. He was to embark on a fly-around of
the state’s cities Monday in his effort to repel the serious challenge from Mr.
Lunsford, who brought in one of Kentucky’s favorite daughters, the actress
Ashley Judd, to campaign on his behalf in the closing days.
Strategists for both parties said it seemed increasingly possible that the full
Senate picture might not even be settled Tuesday, given that a third-party
candidate could cause both Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, and
his Democratic opponent, Jim Martin, to fall short of 50 percent of the vote,
forcing a runoff on Dec. 2.
Party operatives also warned that Tuesday was likely to produce some surprises,
considering the strong resentment toward Congress that has been reflected in
polls for months. They predicted upsets of some House incumbents not thought to
be in trouble.
Republicans said they believed some top Democratic targets, like Representative
Dave Reichert of Washington and Christopher Shays of Connecticut, would be able
to hang on because they, and others, had run strong campaigns built on their
individual images and records.
“Republican candidates who have established their own personal brand, and have
framed their respective races around creating a clear choice, will succeed on
Election Day despite the turbulent political environment,” said Ken Spain, a
spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
One problem for House Republicans was that freshmen lawmakers who gave Democrats
control of the House after the 2006 elections were faring much better than party
leaders had expected. Some, like Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, who
represents the Hudson Valley in New York, became prime Republican targets
virtually from the moment they were elected but are now favored to win second
terms after raising formidable sums of money and cultivating moderate voting
records that insulated them from attack.
Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the president of the Democrats’ 2006
freshman class, said only two of its members were in serious trouble:
Representative Nick Lampson of Texas, who represents a heavily Republican
district south of Houston, and Representative Tim Mahoney of Florida, who has
been entangled in a scandal over extramarital affairs.
Mr. Yarmuth credited House Democratic leaders with pursuing an agenda that gave
the freshmen substantial achievements to promote back home, especially a
generous new education benefit for veterans that counterbalanced the Democrats’
opposition to the war in Iraq
“I think that was a trademark of this last Congress that created a moderate
image that we were pro-military, pro-troops,” Mr. Yarmuth said.
Filed at 4:21 a.m. ET
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York Times
(AP) -- Democrats are on track for sizable gains in both houses of Congress on
Nov. 4, according to strategists in both parties, although only improbable
Southern victories can produce the 60-vote Senate majority they covet to help
them pass priority legislation.
A poor economy, President Bush's unpopularity, a lopsided advantage in
fundraising and Barack Obama's robust organizational effort in key states are
all aiding Democrats in the final days of the congressional campaign.
''I don't think anybody realized it was going to be this tough'' for
Republicans, Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the party's senatorial campaign
committee said recently. ''We're dealing with an unpopular president (and) we
have a financial crisis,'' he added.
''You've got Republican incumbent members of the Congress'' trying to run away
from Bush's economic policies, said Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs
the House Democratic campaign committee. ''And they can't run fast enough. I
think it will catch up with many of them.''
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California predicted recently that Democrats would win
at least 14 House seats in Republican hands.
But numerous strategists in both parties agreed a gain of at least 20 seems
likely and a dozen or more GOP-held seats are in doubt. Only a handful of
Democratic House seats appear in any sort of jeopardy. They spoke only on
condition of anonymity, saying they were relying on confidential polling data.
In the Senate, as in the House, only the magnitude of the Democratic gains is in
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic committee, said his party
would have to win seats in ''deeply red states'' to amass a 60-seat majority,
but added, ''We're close.''
Obama's methodical voter registration efforts in the primary season and his
current get-out-the-vote efforts are aiding Democratic candidates in several
Southern races. They start with North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole
trails in the polls, and include Georgia and Mississippi, where Sens. Saxby
Chambliss and Roger Wicker respectively are in unexpectedly close races.
''Overall, I think Obama will help us in the South because, first, his economic
message resonates with Southerners, both white and black, and obviously there
will be an increased African-American turnout,'' Schumer said.
Also in a close race is the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,
although that is not a state where Obama has made much of an effort.
Compounding Republican woes, the same economy that has soured voters on their
candidates is causing some of the nation's wealthiest conservative donors to
stay on the campaign sidelines.
Freedom's Watch, a conservative group that once looked poised to spend tens of
millions of dollars to help elect Republicans, had spent roughly $3 million as
of midweek. Its largest single contributor is Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire
with gambling interests in the United States and China.
Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the current Senate, counting two independents
who vote with them. In the House, Democrats have 235 seats to 199 for
Republicans, with one vacancy.
It has long been apparent that Democrats would retain control of both houses of
Congress, and in recent weeks, the party's leaders have mounted a concerted
drive to push their Senate majority to 60. That's the number needed to overcome
a filibuster, the technique of killing legislation by preventing a final vote.
If Obama were to win the White House, it would be the Republicans' last toehold
In reality, Ensign noted this week that even if Democrats merely draw close to
60 seats, they will find it easier to pick up a Republican or two on individual
bills and move ahead with portions of their agenda that might otherwise be
Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to pick up seats in Virginia, New Mexico
and Colorado where Republicans are retiring.
Additionally, GOP Sens. John Sununu of New Hampshire, Norm Coleman of Minnesota
and Gordon Smith of Oregon are in jeopardy. So, too, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens,
whose fate may rest on the outcome of his corruption trial, now in the hands of
a jury in a courthouse a few blocks from the Capitol.
Even if they win all four of those races -- a tall order -- Democrats would be
two seats shy of 60 and looking South to get them.
In the House, Democrats are so flush with cash that they have spent nearly $1
million to capture a seat centered on Maryland's Eastern Shore that has been in
Republican hands for two decades.
It is one of 27 races where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has
spent $1 million or more -- a total that the counterpart Republican group has
yet to match anywhere.
''We've had to hold most of our resources for the final two weeks and that's
beginning to make a difference,'' said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, chairman of
the GOP House committee.
Cole declined to make an overall prediction. ''A lot depends on what happens
presidentially in the next 10 days. We're very closely tied with John McCain and
we got a lot of open seats and a strong financial disadvantage,'' he said. He
predicted the party's Republican presidential candidate would mount a strong
finish and help other candidates on the ballot.
Still, the party's campaign committee recently pulled back from plans to
advertise on behalf of incumbents in Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Minnesota
who face competitive challenges.
For its part, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently invested
in a race in the Lincoln, Neb., area held by Republican Rep. Lee Terry. Obama
has a dozen or more paid staff as well as volunteers there hoping to win one
Democrats express confidence they will pick up at least two and possibly three
Republican-held New York seats where incumbents decided against running again
and at least one each in Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico and Arizona. There
are additional opportunities in at least a half-dozen other states.
Republican incumbents in greatest jeopardy include Reps. Don Young in Alaska,
Tom Feeney and Ric Keller in Florida, Joe Knollenberg and Tim Walberg in
Michigan, Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado, Jon Porter in Nevada and Robin Hayes in
Among the few Democrats in close races are Reps. Nick Lampson in Texas, who is
in a solidly Republican district; Tim Mahoney in Florida, who recently admitted
to having two extramarital affairs; Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire and Paul
Kanjorski in Pennsylvania.
October 19, 2008
Filed at 3:32 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
IN THE HEADLINES
As racism is stirred on campaign trail, Alaska minorities question Palin on
diversity ... Democratic, GOP senators criticize McCain for 'robo calls' linking
Obama to '60s-era radical ... McCain aide says Republican nominee remains strong
in 'real Virginia' away from Washington
Alaska's minorities feel ignored by Palin
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Alaska's black leaders say they're not surprised to
see Gov. Sarah Palin at the center of the controversy over injecting the race
issue into the presidential campaign.
Palin, Republican John McCain's running mate, has repeatedly insisted that
Barack Obama's former preacher, the inflammatory Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a
legitimate issue even though McCain himself has said it's out of bounds.
''She has no sensitivity to minorities,'' said the Rev. Alonzo Patterson, a
Baptist minister and president of the Alaska Black Leadership Conference.
''She's really inciting a lot of African-Americans to get out and vote.''
Since taking office in December 2006, Palin has had a sometimes tense
relationship with black leaders, who say they've been ignored in their efforts
to get more minorities hired in her administration.
In Alaska, blacks chafed when Palin failed to issue a proclamation last year
endorsing a festival that marks the freeing of slaves, though she did issue one
this year. On the campaign trail, her events sometimes have attracted fringe
groups hostile to minorities. At one rally attended by Palin, a supporter told a
black cameraman to ''sit down, boy.''
This week, in the final debate of the campaign, Obama himself noted the hateful
tone of some the McCain-Palin crowds, singling out Palin herself for not doing
enough to ease the friction.
Many of Palin's black constituents say they are disgusted with the campaign's
''It's really been like you're going to a Ku Klux Klan rally,'' said Javis Odom,
an Anchorage minister. ''Gov. Palin is really showing her true colors on the
The Palin administration says her appointments and chief advisers reflect the
state's diversity. For example, her communications director, Bill McAllister, is
McCain draws bipartisan criticism for 'robo calls'
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Senators in opposing political parties asked Republican
presidential candidate John McCain to stop the automated phone calls that link
Democratic candidate Barack Obama to a 1960s radical.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, Sen. Norm Coleman, a
Minnesota Republican and Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, made separate
appeals to McCain on Friday. Collins faces a tough race for re-election and
serves as a co-chairwoman of his Maine campaign.
''These kind of tactics have no place in Maine politics,'' Collins spokesman
Kevin Kelley said. ''Sen. Collins urges the McCain campaign to stop these calls
Coleman, in a tight re-election campaign, said he hoped all candidates and
outside groups would stop their attacks.
In Nevada, a four-page campaign flier mailed this week by the state Republican
Party also focused on Obama's past relationship with former Weather Underground
leader Bill Ayers, calling the college professor a ''terrorist, radical, friend
of Obama'' and featuring several images of Obama and Ayers.
Reid told reporters at a news conference in Las Vegas that he's surprised at the
''scummy'' tactics employed by McCain's presidential campaign and ''can't
believe John McCain knows what's going on.''
The McCain campaign says the calls are warranted because Obama's connection to
Ayers -- the two met many years after Ayers' anti-Vietnam War activities had
ended -- raises questions about the Democrat's judgment and record.
McCain aide says he's strong in 'real' Virginia
WOODBRIDGE, Va. (AP) -- A top aide to John McCain said the Republican
presidential nominee still has a strong chance of winning the state because of
his support in ''real Virginia,'' the downstate areas far removed in distance
and political philosophy from the more liberal northern part of the state.
''As a proud resident of Oakton, Va., I can tell you that the Democrats have
just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia,''
McCain senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said Saturday on MSNBC. ''And that's
really what you see there. But the rest of the state, real Virginia, if you
will, I think will be very responsive to Sen. McCain's message.''
Program host Kevin Corke asked Pfotenhauer if she wanted to retract the comment,
prompting her to reply, ''I mean 'real Virginia' because northern Virginia is
where I've always been, but 'real Virginia' I take to be the -- this part of the
state that is more Southern in nature, if you will. Northern Virginia is really
Earlier this month, McCain's brother, Joe, told those at an event for the
Republican nominee that two Democratic-leaning areas in Northern Virginia,
Arlington and Alexandria, were ''communist country.'' He quickly apologized and
called the remark a joke.
The senator's campaign headquarters is in Arlington, as is the home he uses
while in Washington. McCain also attended high school in Alexandria.
Barack Obama stops in Fayetteville, N.C.
Joe Biden holds a rally in Tacoma, Wash.
John McCain speaks with Jewish leaders in a teleconference and holds campaign
rallies in Westerville and Toledo, Ohio.
Sarah Palin holds a rally in Roswell, N.M.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
''Hard economic times, a disappointing Republican administration and the
seductive promises of a master orator are pushing America toward a
European-style social democracy. If you don't want that to happen, vote for
Republican Sen. John McCain.'' -- The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune in its endorsement of
STAT OF THE DAY:
New Mexico has five electoral votes up for grabs in presidential election.
The New York Times
By PATRICK HEALY and JO BECKER
at least 10 swing states are receiving hundreds of thousands of automated
telephone calls — uniformly negative and sometimes misleading — that the
Republican Party and the McCain campaign are financing this week as they
struggle to keep more states from drifting into the Democratic column.
Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, has denounced such
phone calls in the past: In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of
misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in
part for his loss to George W. Bush. This January, too, in South Carolina, Mr.
McCain described the calls against him as “scurrilous stuff,” and his campaign
set up a “truth squad” to debunk them.
On Friday, a Democratic official in Minnesota said he had received one of these
so-called robocalls and had tracked it to a company owned by a prominent
Republican consultant, Jeff Larson. According to published news reports, Mr.
Larson and his previous firm helped develop the phone calls in 2000 that took
aim at Mr. McCain.
A spokesman for the McCain campaign could not say Friday night whether it had
contracted with Mr. Larson’s current company, FLS Connect. Phone messages left
for Mr. Larson were not answered Friday, nor were messages left at a
subcontractor, King TeleServices, which is making the actual calls to voters in
The Minnesota Democrat, Christopher Shoff, a commissioner in Freeborn County,
said the automated call described Mr. Obama as putting “Hollywood above America”
because he attended a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills hours after the federal
government seized control of the insurance giant American International Group.
The call was first reported by The Huffington Post.
“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an
interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time,
and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans
should be talking about serious issues.”
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the “Hollywood”
robocall was based in fact. “I would argue that much of these calls are based on
hardened facts that American voters should consider,” Mr. Bounds said.
Another McCain spokesman, Brian Rogers, said the automated calls placed this
year were different from those used against Mr. McCain in 2000 because they were
“100 percent true.” Mr. Rogers added that it was “crazy” to compare these calls
to the calls in 2000, which sought to hurt Mr. McCain by describing his
“interracial child” — a reference to the McCains’ adopted daughter from
On Friday, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, urged Mr. McCain to stop
placing automated calls in her state, The Associated Press reported.
Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said Mr. McCain’s use of
automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has
changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his
tactics.” In response to the calls, the Obama campaign on Friday added a link on
its Web site to FightTheSmears.com, asking supporters to report robocalls.
Mr. LaBolt said the Obama campaign was currently making robocalls, but he added:
“The focus of all of our communications is on the direction Senator Obama will
take the country and on policy differences between the candidates on issues like
health care.” Republican National Committee officials said they were not aware
of any Obama robocalls.
Such calls are a relatively cheap way to reach large numbers of voters in a
short time. A review shows that the current calls on Mr. McCain’s behalf are
uniformly negative and at times misleading.
The phone campaign hammers familiar themes that have been playing out for months
in the campaign, focusing on Mr. Obama’s past associations and trying to portray
him as a friend of radicals and liberal Hollywood celebrities.
In one widely reported call, Mr. McCain raises Mr. Obama’s links to William
Ayers, a founder of the 1960s-era radical Weather Underground. “You need to know
that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers,” a
recorded voice says.
Mr. Obama, 47, and Mr. Ayers, now a 63-year-old education professor at the
University of Illinois at Chicago, served together on two of that city’s
philanthropic boards as well as on the board of an education project, the
Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The two men have been described as friendly, but
are not known to be close.
In an Oct. 10 letter to The New York Times, William C. Ibershof, the lead
federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s, expressed outrage that Mr.
Obama was being tarred with the association, adding that he was pleased to learn
that Mr. Ayers had “become a responsible citizen.”
The “Hollywood” robocall, meanwhile, asserts that “on the very day our elected
leaders gathered in Washington to deal with the financial crisis, Barack Obama
spent just 20 minutes with economic advisers, but hours at a celebrity Hollywood
The information is based on a newspaper report from Sept. 16, when the
government took control of the American International Group in an $85 billion
bailout. Mr. Obama attended a cocktail reception that night in Beverly Hills
that featured celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Leonardo DiCaprio, after a
20-minute briefing by economic advisers.
But Mr. LaBolt said Mr. Obama’s schedule that day also showed that he was
briefed by staff members twice more and spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry M.
Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.
Mr. McCain was not in Washington, either, on the day Mr. Obama was in Beverly
Hills; he was campaigning in Ohio. The Obama campaign noted that Mr. McCain had
also raised money from Hollywood.
Voters in North Carolina have received calls accusing Mr. Obama of opposing
legislation aimed at protecting aborted fetuses that show signs of life, a
position the call states is “at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.”
“Please vote,” the call continues, “vote for candidates that share our values.”
The 2003 measure in Illinois that Mr. Obama opposed was virtually identical to
federal legislation that Mr. Bush signed into law in 2002 after it was
overwhelmingly passed by Congress. But Mr. Obama and other opponents of the
Illinois bill have said that the state already had a law protecting aborted
fetuses born alive. The Illinois State Medical Society, which also opposed the
legislation, said the bill would increase civil liability for doctors and
interfere with their patient relationships.
Michael Cooper and Michael Moss contributed reporting.
The New York Times
By JIM RUTENBERG
PHILADELPHIA — Senator Barack Obama is days away from breaking the advertising
spending record set by President Bush in the general election four years ago,
having unleashed an advertising campaign of a scale and complexity unrivaled in
the television era.
With advertisements running repeatedly day and night, on local stations and on
the major broadcast networks, on niche cable networks and even on video games
and his own dedicated satellite channels, Mr. Obama is now outadvertising
Senator John McCain nationwide by a ratio of at least four to one, according to
CMAG, a service that monitors political advertising. That difference is even
larger in several closely contested states.
The huge gap has been made possible by Mr. Obama’s decision to opt out of the
federal campaign finance system, which gives presidential nominees $84 million
in public money and prohibits them from spending any amount above that from
their party convention to Election Day. Mr. McCain is participating in the
system. Mr. Obama, who at one point promised to participate in it as well, is
expected to announce in the next few days that he raised more than $100 million
in September, a figure that would shatter fund-raising records.
“This is uncharted territory,” said Kenneth M. Goldstein, the director of the
Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin. “We’ve certainly seen heavy
advertising battles before. But we’ve never seen in a presidential race one side
having such a lopsided advantage.”
While Mr. Obama has held a spending advantage throughout the general election
campaign, his television dominance has become most apparent in the last few
weeks. He has gone on a buying binge of television time that has allowed him to
swamp Mr. McCain’s campaign with concurrent lines of positive and negative
messages. Mr. Obama’s advertisements come as Republicans have begun a blitz of
automated telephone calls attacking him.
The Obama campaign’s advertising approach — which has included advertisements up
to two minutes long in which Mr. Obama lays out his agenda and even
advertisements in video games like “Guitar Hero” — has helped mask some of Mr.
Obama’s rougher attacks on his rival.
“What Obama is doing is being his own good cop and bad cop,” said Evan Tracey,
the chief operating officer of CMAG, who called the advertising war “a blowout”
in Mr. Obama’s favor.
Based on his current spending, CMAG predicts Mr. Obama’s general election
advertising campaign will surpass the $188 million Mr. Bush spent in his 2004
campaign by early next week. Mr. McCain has spent $91 million on advertising
since he clinched his party’s nomination, several months before Mr. Obama
The size of the disparity has even surprised aides to Mr. McCain, who traded
accusations with Mr. Obama over the advertising battle in this week’s debate,
with Mr. Obama telling Mr. McCain that “your ads, 100 percent of them have been
negative” and Mr. McCain saying that “Senator Obama has spent more money on
negative ads than any political campaign in history.”
The most recent analysis of the presidential advertisements by the University of
Wisconsin, based on the period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 4, found that nearly
100 percent of Mr. McCain’s commercials included an attack on Mr. Obama and that
34 percent of Mr. Obama’s advertisements, which were more focused that week on
promoting his agenda, included an attack on Mr. McCain.
That finding reflected the McCain campaign’s strategy of trying to make Mr.
Obama an unacceptable choice in the eyes of undecided voters and Mr. Obama’s
goal of making undecided voters comfortable with him.
But the Wisconsin Advertising Project says that since Mr. Obama wrapped up the
Democratic nomination in June, 54 percent of Mr. McCain’s advertisements have
been completely focused on attacking him, roughly a quarter have mixed criticism
of Mr. Obama with a positive message about Mr. McCain, and 20 percent have been
devoted solely to promoting Mr. McCain.
In the same period, the study found that 41 percent of Mr. Obama’s
advertisements had been devoted solely to attacking Mr. McCain, one-fifth mixed
criticism of Mr. McCain with a positive message about Mr. Obama, and 38 percent
were solely devoted to promoting Mr. Obama.
The group reported that Mr. Obama has also had several weeks in which his
advertising was nearly 100 percent negative or contrast advertisements, though
considerably fewer such weeks than Mr. McCain has had.
The percentages do not reflect the vastly greater number of spots run by Mr.
Obama. But Mr. Goldstein said Mr. McCain had shown more purely negative
advertisements than Mr. Obama had, in spite of Mr. Obama’s spending advantage.
Here in Philadelphia, the biggest media market in a critical state, both
candidates showed a mix of positive and negative advertisements on Friday. The
spots seemed to show up across the dial as regularly as the affable Geico gecko
or the ambling ne’er-do-wells of FreeCreditReport.com.
During “Dr. Phil” on the CBS affiliate here, Mr. Obama showed a minute-long
positive commercial recounting “one of my earliest memories: going with
Grandfather to see some of the astronauts, being brought back after a
splashdown, sitting on his shoulders and waving a little American flag.”
But minutes earlier during the late afternoon news on the NBC station, Mr. Obama
had criticized Mr. McCain over a health care plan that an announcer alleges
“could leave you hanging by a thread.”
Toward the end of the 4 p.m. newscast on the CBS station, Mr. McCain ran one of
his rare purely positive spots, speaking directly into the camera and telling
viewers, “The last eight years haven’t worked very well, have they?” He
promises, “I have a plan for a new direction for the economy.”
But on the NBC affiliate an advertisement approved by Mr. McCain was tying Mr.
Obama to Antoin Rezko, a Chicago real estate developer convicted of fraud who is
listed as among the friends Mr. Obama is said to reward “with your tax dollars.”
That spot was co-sponsored by the Republican National Committee, which is
allowed to split the costs with Mr. McCain on an unlimited number of
advertisements, helping him to double the number of advertisements he can buy.
Mr. McCain has used such advertisements to keep up with Mr. Obama’s advertising
in vital cities like this one, where the campaigns have combined to spend the
most in the general election but where Mr. Obama has recently outpaced Mr.
McCain by nearly two to one. But such advertisements come with a caveat: they
must include a reference to Congressional issues and leaders, making the message
generally less direct.
The spot with Mr. Rezko also shows the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of
California, and Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts.
But for every city like Philadelphia, in a state Mr. McCain views as important
to his chances for victory, there are those like Miami, Washington and Chicago,
where Mr. Obama has often been able to run advertisements nearly unopposed.
Washington and Chicago are particularly expensive, and Mr. Obama will easily win
both. But their stations reach parts of the contested states of Indiana and
Mr. McCain is also getting help from the Republican Party’s independent
advertising unit, but it cannot coordinate with the party leadership or Mr.
McCain’s campaign, meaning it is not always in line with Mr. McCain’s campaign
message. And a smattering of outside groups are running hard-charging
advertisements against Mr. Obama, but he has the money to immediately meet those
attacks with spots directly addressing their charges.
Now spending almost as much as he can in local television markets, Mr. Obama has
increased his advertising on the broadcast television networks, including on
National Football League games and soap operas.
“They’re doing the networks” said Mr. Tracey, of CMAG, “because they’ve
saturated these markets and they’re looking for more time.”
Last Sunday, Mr. Obama bought so heavily on football games and other nationally
televised programs that, according to CMAG, he spent $6.5 million on a day when
Mr. McCain spent less than $1 million.
The following is the text of a speech given by Senator Barack
Obama on his economic policy in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday as prepared for delivery
and provided by the Obama campaign.
We meet at a moment of great uncertainty for America. The economic crisis we
face is the worst since the Great Depression. Markets across the globe have
become increasingly unstable, and millions of Americans will open up their
401(k) statements this week and see that so much of their hard-earned savings
The credit crisis has left businesses large and small unable to get loans, which
means they can't buy new equipment, or hire new workers, or even make payroll
for the workers they have. You've got auto plants right here in Ohio that have
been around for decades closing their doors and laying off workers who've never
known another job in their entire life.
760,000 workers have lost their jobs this year. Unemployment here in Ohio is up
85% over the last eight years, which is the highest it's been in sixteen years.
You've lost one of every four manufacturing jobs, the typical Ohio family has
seen their income fall $2,500, and it's getting harder and harder to make the
mortgage, or fill up your gas tank, or even keep the electricity on at the end
of the month. At this rate, the question isn't just "are you better off than you
were four years ago?", it's "are you better off than you were four weeks ago?"
I know these are difficult times. I know folks are worried. But I also know this
– we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Because we are the United States of
America. We are the country that has faced down war and depression; great
challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to
meet these challenges – not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans.
We still have the most talented, most productive workers of any country on
Earth. We're still home to innovation and technology, colleges and universities
that are the envy of the world. Some of the biggest ideas in history have come
from our small businesses and our research facilities. It won't be easy, but
there's no reason we can't make this century another American century.
But it will take a new direction. It will take new leadership in Washington. It
will take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years.
And that's why I'm running for President of the United States of America.
My opponent has made his choice. Last week, Senator McCain's campaign announced
that they were going to "turn the page" on the discussion about our economy so
they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead. His
campaign actually said, and I quote, "if we keep talking about the economy,
we're going to lose." Well Senator McCain may be worried about losing an
election, but I'm worried about Americans who are losing their jobs, and their
homes, and their life savings. They can't afford four more years of the economic
theory that says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires
and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. We've seen where that's
led us and we're not going back. It's time to turn the page.
Over the course of this campaign, I've laid out a set of policies that will grow
our middle-class and strengthen our economy in the long-term. I'll reform our
tax code so that 95% of workers and their families get a tax cut, and eliminate
income taxes for seniors making under $50,000. I'll bring down the cost of
health care for families and businesses by investing in preventative care, new
technology, and giving every American the chance to get the same kind of health
insurance that members of Congress give themselves. We'll ensure every child can
compete in the global economy by recruiting an army of new teachers and making
college affordable for anyone who wants to go. We'll create five million new,
high-wage jobs by investing in the renewable sources of energy that will
eliminate the oil we currently import from the Middle East in ten years, and
we'll create two million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and
But that's a long-term strategy for growth. Right now, we face an immediate
economic emergency that requires urgent action. We can't wait to help workers
and families and communities who are struggling right now – who don't know if
their job or their retirement will be there tomorrow; who don't know if next
week's paycheck will cover this month's bills. We need to pass an economic
rescue plan for the middle-class and we need to do it now. Today I'm proposing a
number of steps that we should take immediately to stabilize our financial
system, provide relief to families and communities, and help struggling
homeowners. It's a plan that begins with one word that's on everyone's mind, and
it's spelled J-O-B-S.
We've already lost three-quarters of a million jobs this year, and some experts
say that unemployment may rise to 8% by the end of next year. We can't wait
until then to start creating new jobs. That's why I'm proposing to give our
businesses a new American jobs tax credit for each new employee they hire here
in the United States over the next two years.
To fuel the real engine of job creation in this country, I've also proposed
eliminating all capital gains taxes on investments in small businesses and
start-up companies, and I've proposed an additional tax incentive through next
year to encourage new small business investment. It is time to protect the jobs
we have and to create the jobs of tomorrow by unlocking the drive, and
ingenuity, and innovation of the American people. And we should fast track the
loan guarantees we passed for our auto industry and provide more as needed so
that they can build the energy-efficient cars America needs to end our
dependence on foreign oil.
We will also save one million jobs by creating a Jobs and Growth Fund that will
provide money to states and local communities so that they can move forward with
projects to rebuild and repair our roads, our bridges, and our schools. A lot of
these projects and these jobs are at risk right now because of budget
shortfalls, but this fund will make sure they continue.
The second part of my rescue plan is to provide immediate relief to families who
are watching their paycheck shrink and their jobs and life savings disappear.
I've already proposed a middle-class tax cut for 95% of workers and their
families, but today I'm calling on Congress to pass a plan so that the IRS will
mail out the first round of those tax cuts as soon as possible. We should also
extend and expand unemployment benefits to those Americans who have lost their
jobs and are having a harder time finding new ones in this weak economy. And we
should stop making them pay taxes on those unemployment insurance benefits as
At a time when the ups and downs of the stock market have rarely been so
unpredictable and dramatic, we also need to give families and retirees more
flexibility and security when it comes to their retirement savings.
I welcome Senator McCain's proposal to waive the rules that currently force our
seniors to withdraw from their 401(k)s even when the market is bad. I think
that's a good idea, but I think we need to do even more. Since so many Americans
will be struggling to pay the bills over the next year, I propose that we allow
every family to withdraw up to 15% from their IRA or 401(k) – up to a maximum of
$10,000 – without any fine or penalty throughout 2009. This will help families
get through this crisis without being forced to make painful choices like
selling their homes or not sending their kids to college.
The third part of my rescue plan is to provide relief for homeowners who are
watching their home values decline while their property taxes go up. Earlier
this year I pushed for legislation that would help homeowners stay in their
homes by working to modify their mortgages. When Secretary Paulson proposed his
original financial rescue plan it included nothing for homeowners. When Senator
McCain was silent on the issue, I insisted that it include protections for
homeowners. Now the Treasury must use the authority its been granted and move
aggressively to help people avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. We don't
need a new law or a new $300 billion giveaway to banks like Senator McCain has
proposed, we just need to act quickly and decisively.
I've already proposed a mortgage tax credit for struggling homeowners worth 10%
of the interest you pay on your mortgage and we should move quickly to pass it.
We should also change the unfair bankruptcy laws that allow judges to write down
your mortgage if you own six or seven homes, but not if you have only one. And
for all those cities and small towns that are facing a choice between cutting
services like health care and education or raising property taxes, we will
provide the funding to prevent those tax hikes from happening. We cannot allow
homeowners and small towns to suffer because of the mess made by Wall Street and
For those Americans in danger of losing their homes, today I'm also proposing a
three-month moratorium on foreclosures. If you are a bank or lender that is
getting money from the rescue plan that passed Congress, and your customers are
making a good-faith effort to make their mortgage payments and re-negotiate
their mortgages, you will not be able to foreclose on their home for three
months. We need to give people the breathing room they need to get back on their
Finally, this crisis has taught us that we cannot have a sound economy with a
dysfunctional financial system. We passed a financial rescue plan that has the
promise to help stabilize the financial system, but only if we act quickly,
effectively and aggressively. The Treasury Department must move quickly with
their plan to put more money into struggling banks so they have enough to lend,
and they should do it in a way that protects taxpayers instead of enriching
CEOs. There was a report yesterday that some financial institutions
participating in this rescue plan are still trying to avoid restraints on CEO
pay. That's not just wrong, it's an outrage to every American whose tax dollars
have been put at risk. No major investor would ever make an investment if they
didn't think the corporation was being prudent and responsible, and we shouldn't
expect taxpayers to think any differently. We should also be prepared to extend
broader guarantees if it becomes necessary to stabilize our financial system.
I also believe that Treasury should not limit itself to purchasing
mortgage-backed securities – it should help unfreeze markets for individual
mortgages, student loans, car loans, and credit card loans.. And I think we need
to do even more to make loans available in two very important areas of our
economy: small businesses and communities.
On Friday, I proposed Small Business Rescue Plan that would create an emergency
lending fund to lend money directly to small businesses that need cash for their
payroll or to buy inventory. It's what we did after 9/11, and it allowed us to
get low-cost loans out to tens of thousands of small businesses. We'll also make
it easier for private lenders to make small business loans by expanding the
Small Business Administration's loan guarantee program. By temporarily
eliminating fees for borrowers and lenders, we can unlock the credit that small
firms need to pay their workers and keep their doors open. And today, I'm also
proposing that we maintain the ability of states and local communities that are
struggling to maintain basic services without raising taxes to continue to get
the credit they need.
Congress should pass this emergency rescue plan as soon as possible. If
Washington can move quickly to pass a rescue plan for our financial system,
there's no reason we can't move just as quickly to pass a rescue plan for our
middle-class that will create jobs, provide relief, and help homeowners. And if
Congress does not act in the coming months, it will be one of the first things I
do as President of the United States. Because we can't wait any longer to start
creating new jobs; to help struggling communities and homeowners, and to provide
real and immediate relief to families who are worried not only about this
month's bills, but their entire life savings. This plan will help ease those
anxieties, and along with the other economic policies I've proposed, it will
begin to create new jobs, grow family incomes, and put us back on the path to
I won't pretend this will be easy or come without cost. We'll have to set
priorities as never before, and stick to them. That means pursuing investments
in areas such as energy, education and health care that bear directly on our
economic future, while deferring other things we can afford to do without. It
means scouring the federal budget, line-by-line, ending programs that we don't
need and making the ones we do work more efficiently and cost less.
It also means promoting a new ethic of responsibility. Part of the reason this
crisis occurred is that everyone was living beyond their means – from Wall
Street to Washington to even some on Main Street. CEOs got greedy. Politicians
spent money they didn't have. Lenders tricked people into buying home they
couldn't afford and some folks knew they couldn't afford them and bought them
We've lived through an era of easy money, in which we were allowed and even
encouraged to spend without limits; to borrow instead of save.
Now, I know that in an age of declining wages and skyrocketing costs, for many
folks this was not a choice but a necessity. People have been forced to turn to
credit cards and home equity loans to keep up, just like our government has
borrowed from China and other creditors to help pay its bills.
But we now know how dangerous that can be. Once we get past the present
emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle
of debt. Our long-term future requires that we do what's necessary to scale down
our deficits, grow wages and encourage personal savings again.
It's a serious challenge. But we can do it if we act now, and if we act as one
nation. We can bring a new era of responsibility and accountability to Wall
Street and to Washington. We can put in place common-sense regulations to
prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again. We can make investments in
the technology and innovation that will restore prosperity and lead to new jobs
and a new economy for the 21st century. We can restore a sense of fairness and
balance that will give ever American a fair shot at the American dream. And
above all, we can restore confidence – confidence in America, confidence in our
economy, and confidence in ourselves.
This country and the dream it represents are being tested in a way that we
haven't seen in nearly a century. And future generations will judge ours by how
we respond to this test. Will they say that this was a time when America lost
its way and its purpose? When we allowed our own petty differences and broken
politics to plunge this country into a dark and painful recession?
Or will they say that this was another one of those moments when America
overcame? When we battled back from adversity by recognizing that common stake
that we have in each other's success?
This is one of those moments. I realize you're cynical and fed up with politics.
I understand that you're disappointed and even angry with your leaders. You have
every right to be. But despite all of this, I ask of you what's been asked of
the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history. I ask
you to believe – to believe in yourselves, in each other, and in the future we
can build together.
Together, we cannot fail. Not now. Not when we have a crisis to solve and an
economy to save. Not when there are so many Americans without jobs and without
homes. Not when there are families who can't afford to see a doctor, or send
their child to college, or pay their bills at the end of the month. Not when
there is a generation that is counting on us to give them the same opportunities
and the same chances that we had for ourselves.
We can do this. Americans have done this before. Some of us had grandparents or
parents who said maybe I can't go to college but my child can; maybe I can't
have my own business but my child can. I may have to rent, but maybe my children
will have a home they can call their own. I may not have a lot of money but
maybe my child will run for Senate. I might live in a small village but maybe
someday my son can be president of the United States of America.
Now it falls to us. Together, we cannot fail. Together, we can overcome the
broken policies and divided politics of the last eight years. Together, we can
renew an economy that rewards work and rebuilds the middle class. Together, we
can create millions of new jobs, and deliver on the promise of health care you
can afford and education that helps your kids compete. We can do this if we come
together; if we have confidence in ourselves and each other; if we look beyond
the darkness of the day to the bright light of hope that lies ahead. Together,
we can change this country and change this world. Thank you, God bless you, and
may God bless America.
It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in
their final weeks. But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been
running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember.
They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and
distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting
and xenophobia. Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain,
but there is no comparison.
Despite the occasional slip (referring to Mr. Obama’s “cronies” and calling him
“that one”), Mr. McCain tried to take a higher road in Tuesday night’s
presidential debate. It was hard to keep track of the number of times he
referred to his audience as “my friends.” But apart from promising to buy up
troubled mortgages as president, he offered no real answers for how he plans to
solve the country’s deep economic crisis. He is unable or unwilling to admit
that the Republican assault on regulation was to blame.
Ninety minutes of forced cordiality did not erase the dismal ugliness of his
campaign in recent weeks, nor did it leave us with much hope that he would not
just return to the same dismal ugliness on Wednesday.
Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack. Her campaign rallies have become
spectacles of anger and insult. “This is not a man who sees America as you see
it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.
That line follows passages in Ms. Palin’s new stump speech in which she twists
Mr. Obama’s ill-advised but fleeting and long-past association with William
Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and confessed bomber. By the time
she’s done, she implies that Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers
— and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government. The Democrat, she
says, “sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around
with terrorists who would target their own country.”
Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent
Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill
him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an
African-American member of a TV crew.
Mr. McCain’s aides haven’t even tried to hide their cynical tactics, saying they
were “going negative” in hopes of shifting attention away from the financial
crisis — and by implication Mr. McCain’s stumbling response.
We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt
for win-at-any-cost politics. He was driven out of the 2000 Republican primaries
by this sort of smear, orchestrated by some of the same people who are now
running his campaign.
And the tactic of guilt by association is perplexing, since Mr. McCain has his
own list of political associates he would rather forget. We were disappointed to
see the Obama campaign air an ad (held for just this occasion) reminding voters
of Mr. McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five savings-and-loan debacle, for
which he was reprimanded by the Senate. That episode at least bears on Mr.
McCain’s claims to be the morally pure candidate and his argument that he alone
is capable of doing away with greed, fraud and abuse.
In a way, we should not be surprised that Mr. McCain has stooped so low, since
the debate showed once again that he has little else to talk about. He long ago
abandoned his signature issues of immigration reform and global warming; his
talk of “victory” in Iraq has little to offer a war-weary nation; and his
Reagan-inspired ideology of starving government and shredding regulation lies in
tatters on Wall Street.
But surely, Mr. McCain and his team can come up with a better answer to that
problem than inciting more division, anger and hatred.
Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton both spent at the furious clip of nearly
a million dollars a day in January as they battled to win the initial contests
for the Democratic nomination, according to filings on Wednesday with the
Federal Election Commission.
But by the end of the month, Mr. Obama was in a much better position financially
because he raised more than twice as much as Mrs. Clinton did in January, giving
him a commanding cash advantage heading into a pivotal series of contests in
Mr. Obama spent more than $30 million in January, compared with the $28.4
million spent by Mrs. Clinton. But Mr. Obama brought in $36.1 million in
January, more than anyone has ever raised in a single month in the history of
American politics, with $28 million coming over the Internet, according to his
campaign. Mrs. Clinton raised just $13.8 million in January. She also lent her
campaign $5 million at the end of the month and still has $7.6 million in
As a result, aided by money he began the month with in the bank, Mr. Obama ended
January with $18.9 million heading into the coast-to-coast primaries and
caucuses on Feb. 5.
In contrast, Mrs. Clinton was left at the end of January with just $8.9 million
in cash available for the nominating contests, along with more than $20.3
million set aside for the general election that cannot be used to help her in
As of the end of January, the Clinton campaign had spent $106 million over all
on Mrs. Clinton’s primary campaign and raised $118 million, including money for
both the primary and the general election, although her total receipts were $138
million, including transfers from her Senate campaign fund as well as her loan
and other money. Mr. Obama had spent $115 million for operating expenditures and
raised $137 million. Most significant, all but $6 million of his money is
available for use in the primary.
On the Republican side, candidates saw their financial fortunes in January rise
and fall with their political prospects. Senator John McCain, who emerged at the
end of the month as the Republican front-runner, brought in $11.7 million in
contributions for the month, close to the most he had ever raised in a
three-month span, as Republican donors jumped on his bandwagon with his
victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
Even with his best fund-raising month yet, however, Mr. McCain had raised just
$48 million since his campaign began through January, a fraction of the nearly
$140 million that Mr. Obama brought in during the same period.
Mr. McCain’s financial report for January illustrates the depths he rose from.
With his hopes for the Republican nomination pinned almost entirely on winning
the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 8, Mr. McCain turned to what was left of a $4
million loan that he took out in November to bolster his final push there.
Mr. McCain had already drawn down nearly $3 million from that loan in multiple
installments in November and December to keep his flagging campaign afloat. In
early January, he pulled out another $950,000 — almost all of what was left in
the loan — to help him in the homestretch for New Hampshire’s primary. The
infusion of cash enabled him to beat back Mitt Romney’s well-financed campaign
in New Hampshire, setting Mr. McCain on the path to the nomination.
Mr. Romney’s report showed that he pumped in another $7 million of his own money
into his campaign, bringing the total amount of money he gave his campaign to
$42.3 million. He also raised $9.7 million in January and was left with $8.8
million in the bank at the end of the month, although he would ultimately pull
out of the race after a disappointing performance in the states that voted on
Bolstered by his newfound fund-raising prowess and the loan to his campaign, Mr.
McCain ended up matching Mr. Romney’s spending for the month as they battled
each other from New Hampshire to Michigan and then on to South Carolina and
Florida, which proved to be pivotal. Mr. McCain spent $10.4 million in January,
compared with Mr. Romney’s $10.3 million.
Mr. McCain finished the month with $5.2 million in cash on hand, although his
campaign owes $5.5 million to various creditors. Also, $2.5 million of his money
is general election money. At this point, however, he is the presumptive nominee
of his party. His advisers said many former fund-raisers for rival Republican
campaigns are signing up to help Mr. McCain, and he is beginning to build a
fund-raising apparatus to be able to compete with the eventual Democratic
Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucus in the beginning of January but went
winless throughout the rest of the month before rebounding in Southern states on
Feb. 5, reported raising nearly $4 million for the month. After spending nearly
$5 million, he finished the month with $929,401 in cash in hand.
Rudolph W. Giuliani’s campaign, which went into a free fall in January after
leading national polls and many early state surveys for months, raised $3.1
million in January and finished the month with nearly $9 million on hand,
although the campaign also listed $2.2 million in debt. Almost $6 million of his
money was also set aside for the general election.
Some senior staff members voluntarily went without salaries in January, but the
filings revealed that many continued to be paid, a sign that the campaign was
not necessarily on the verge of bankruptcy but had been trying to save money to
prepare for contests that would never materialize after Mr. Giuliani pulled out
at the end of the month.