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Bernie Sanders Is Running Again. Could He Win?

Video    NYT News    20 February 2019


Senator Bernie Sanders

is embarking on a second run for president.

This time the field will be bigger, more diverse

and filled with candidates

who have adopted his progressive populist mantle.


















Who Is Amy Klobuchar?

2020 Presidential Candidate

NYT    11 February 2019





Who Is Amy Klobuchar? | 2020 Presidential Candidate

Video        NYT News        11 February 2019


Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota,

is running for president.

Ms. Klobuchar is hoping her Midwestern roots

and history of working across the aisle

will help her candidacy.


















Who Is Kamala Harris?

2020 Presidential Candidate    NYT

21 January 2019





Who Is Kamala Harris? | 2020 Presidential Candidate

Video        NYT News        21 January 2019


Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California,

is joining the race for the White House.


Ms. Harris

becomes the fourth woman currently serving in Congress

to announce her presidential ambitions.


















Who Is Kirsten Gillibrand?

2020 Presidential Candidate

NYT    16 January 2019





Who Is Kirsten Gillibrand?

Video        2020 Presidential Candidate | NYT News        16 January 2019


The senator from New York

announced on Stephen Colbert’s show Tuesday night

that she’s running for president in 2020.


Ms. Gillibrand is the latest candidate to join

what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary.


Here’s what you need to know about her.



















US Elections -- How do they work?

24 October 2012





US Elections -- How do they work?        24 October 2012


This 5 minute video introduces A Level Government and Politics students

to the key features of elections, democracy and representation in the USA.


YouTube > UK Parliament





















The Independent

2 November 2008



Barack Obama















US presidential elections        Nov. 8, 2016


Ballot themes on ballots

this November

include marijuana, elections,

education, guns, tobacco,

minimum wage and the death penalty.






US presidential elections - in pictures        UK






US elections        2016



















Mike Lester


Rome News-Tribune

Rome, GA




Barack Obama

















Jeff Parker


Florida Today





















President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago.        Video

4 November 2008



Sen. Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech in Chicago, Ill.

















Barack Obama > Transition        UK






Barack Obama's finest speeches        2002-2008        UK






Jon Favreau,

head speech writer

for US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama        UK






Portraits of President-Elect Barack Obama






Barack Obama > Time > Person of the Year 2008












Barack Obama > Time > The best Time photographs






Barack Obama > student years






Full coverage of the US elections        2008








presidential election > 2008 > Democratic presidential candidate > Barack Obama




















Obama's White House tour        10 November 2008






Barack Obama's Flickr page

shows family as their lives changed forever


Intimate photographs from a Chicago hotel room

show the anxious moment before Obama becomes president-elect







Barack Obama's Flickr page






Obama's election triumph: the front pages






Guardian Daily: Obama triumphs in US election > podcast






Milestones: Barack Obama

An interactive timeline of Barack Obama’s life and career












presidential election > 2008 > Republican presidential candidate > John McCain
















Milestones: John McCain

An interactive timeline of John McCain’s life and career






presidential election > 2008 > Barack Obama > cartoons



















presidential election > 2008 > Democratic vice presidential candidate > Joe Bidden







presidential election > 2008 > Joe Bidden > cartoons






presidential election > 2008 > John McCain > cartoons






presidential election > 2008 > Republican vice presidential candidate > Sarah Palin








presidential election > 2008 > Sarah Palin > cartoons










presidential election > 2008 > democratic national convention > cartoons






presidential election > 2008 > republican national convention > cartoons






presidential ticket






Republican presidential ticket        2008





true-blue Conservatives











presidential election > 2008 > Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber"











presidential election > 2008 > 'Joe the Plumber' > cartoons


















Pat Bagley


Salt Lake Tribune, Utah




M to R: Sarah Palin

and Joe Wurzelbacher,

also known as "Joe the Plumber"















presidential race












watch?v=NvM_oa2yblw - NYT - 20 February 2019


watch?v=TjPsgmoiCtA  - NYT - 11 February 2019


watch?v=cO_CZCebc5U - NYT - 21 January 2019


watch?v=IslkHiMcK0E - NYT - 16 January 2019






















drop out of the presidential race










USA > bow out of presidential race        UK










close race








tight race










a tight race for the White House








USA > deadlocked presidential race        UK










neck and neck








neck-and-neck race










deadlocked race























presidential run






run for President






presidential bid





























Factbox: Republican White House contenders in 2012

















presidential running mate











nominating season






run for the Republican nomination





hold a two-point national lead on N





Democratic publicity drive





front-runner / frontrunner











running mate



















Tom Toles



May 20, 2012































































































Mike Keefe


Denver Post





L: 43rd U.S. president George W. Bush






























stance on N













hard-line stance on immigration













stand on the issues





win on the issues





issues > On the Issues: Economy/Taxes






key issues























climate change






minimum wage






maijuana laws








death penalty












clash on immigration issues






Proposition 60,

California's controversial ballot measure

that would require adult film performers to use condoms






right to die measure






soda tax measures



























battleground states










blue state








red state








swing state


- video - G - 29 September 2020













a Republican heartland        UK










ACORN > cartoons        2008










UCLA Online Campaign Literature Archive

Every American election

produces thousands of campaign flyers,

pamphlets, posters, and bumper stickers,

generally called "campaign literature."


These documents provide an important record
of the campaign, its participants, issues, and tactics.
Despite this value, the small size, short production period,
and irregular distribution of the documents,
all outside the bounds of the traditional publishing industry,
put most campaign literature

beyond the scope of standard library collections.


These materials are seldom saved for posterity.

In order to fill this gap,
since the 1920s
the government documents section of the UCLA Library
has built and maintained a Campaign Literature Collection,
containing printed ephemeral election materials
distributed by campaigns for local, state, and federal offices
and ballot measures affecting the Los Angeles area.
In response to changes in election campaigning
brought about by the internet,
in 1998 the Library also began to capture and preserve
copies of campaign websites.

The UCLA Online Campaign Literature Archive presents
a subset of the materials
in the complete Campaign Literature Collection.
It contains copies of all archived websites
plus scanned images of selected print materials.
(Currently, this includes all elections from 1908 to 1939,
and some materials from 1940 and 2000.)
These are made available on the web for the use
of scholars and students across the world.
New websites and newly scanned print materials
are added to the Online Archive as they become available.


















Rick McKee


The Augusta Chronicle (GA)

 Augusta, Georgia


13 October 2008



L:  2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain















presidential hopeful



















maverick approach






rally        UK






at a rally








At a rally in Indiana for Sarah Palin on Friday















erupt in cheers










at a campaign election rally



























greet supporters





wave to supporters






























campaign / political signs



















US presidential election






US presidential election > How they voted > State by state        UK





















campaign        UK / USA

100000004708124/one-election-in-two-minutes.html - Nov. 7, 2016









permanent campaign






campaign worker





door knob hangers










campaign trail





hit the campaign trail





campaign mastermind        UK






ads / TV spots / political spots





Republican TV advertisement





ads >  'I approved this message'
















campaign fodder > job numbers        2012






US President > campaign > rally













slogan > 'America first'








The top 25 moments of the election campaign        2008






campaign manager





campaign trail






on the presidential campaign trail






on the trail








From LA to Washington DC,

election road trip through 14 key states > 40 films        UK        2008






presidential campaign
















Joe Biden For President 2020

27 October 2020






Video        Ad        Joe Biden For President 2020        27 October 2020

















advertising campaign        October 2008












advertisement / ad










campaign ad








television advertisements








The Ad Wars


Over $400 million

was spent

from April 3 to Oct. 27, 2008

to broadcast over 320 ads,

according to statistics compiled

by Campaign Media Analysis Group,

which tracks political advertising expenditures.


















media blitz




















From Ike to Obama:

Candidates vie for votes on the small screen        UK


The Living Room Candidate

provides a fascinating insight

into changing campaign styles

with more than 300 television ads

from US presidential elections

dating back to 1952

























election misinformation


how-to-spot-and-fight-election-misinformation - October 23, 2020








emails > disinformation










campain robocall










robocalls > disinformation


the-fbi-is-investigating - Nov. 3, 2020










negative ads










dirty tricks








nasty campaigns








character assassination








smear campaign








campaign mudslinging        2008

























stump speech





victory speech








concession speech









politics-obama-newsmaker-idUSTRE49U10D20081031?virtualBrandChannel=10112  - Oct. 31, 2008





speak to supporters





























keep his / her promises







































 Terry Mosher



6 November 2012

Terry Mosher (Aislin)

draws cartoons for The Montreal Gazette.

























the incumbent president







































 The Opinion Pages

How to Win an Election        Op-Docs

By SARAH KLEIN and TOM MASON        NYT        FEB. 18, 2016
















state legislatures





legislative chambers





US congressional election results

Complete results > Senate > Senate Map

Complete results > Senate > House of Representatives Map

statehouse races

Washington state’s ballot

2008 Election Map calculator: Senate

Senate majority

seats in Congress

seats in the House

state ballots
















battle for the Senate






Senate race / races








state Senate




































power broker






hold on to power





balance of power





a shift in power










Corpus of news articles


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



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.

2 Close House Races Decided; 4 Still Up in Air,
NYT, 8.11.2008,
AP-US-House-Close-Races.html - broken link






Obama Sweeps to Victory

as First Black President


November 5, 2008
Filed at 2:23 a.m. ET
The New York Times


WASHINGTON (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 guests earlier.

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 Senate.

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 Afghanistan.

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 mattered most.

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 vice president.

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 race.

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 uncertain times.

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 Wisconsin.

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 in doubt.

Obama Sweeps to Victory as First Black President, NYT, 5.11.2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/washington/AP-Election-Rdp.html - broekn link






Democrats Head

for Bigger House Majority


November 4, 2008
Filed at 1:01 p.m. ET
The New York Times


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 solid win.

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 edge.

    Democrats Head for Bigger House Majority, NYT, 4.11.2008,






Republicans Scrambling

to Save Seats in Congress


November 3, 2008
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — 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 Arizona.

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 finance reports.

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 Buffalo.

“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 show host.

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.

David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.

    Republicans Scrambling to Save Seats in Congress, NYT, 3.11.2008,






Democrats Headed

Toward Big Gains

in House, Senate


October 25, 2008
Filed at 4:21 a.m. ET
The New York Times


WASHINGTON (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 doubt.

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 power.

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 stalled.

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 electoral vote.

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 North Carolina.

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.

    Democrats Headed Toward Big Gains in House, Senate, NYT, 25.10.2008,






Today on the Presidential

Campaign Trail


October 19, 2008
Filed at 3:32 a.m. ET
The New York Times


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 racial overtones.

''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 national stage.''

The Palin administration says her appointments and chief advisers reflect the state's diversity. For example, her communications director, Bill McAllister, is part black.


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 immediately.''

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 metro D.C.''

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.



''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 McCain.



New Mexico has five electoral votes up for grabs in presidential election.


Compiled by Ann Sanner and Ronald Powers.

    Today on the Presidential Campaign Trail, NYT, 19.10.2008,






Republicans Rain

Negative Automated Calls

on Voters in Swing States


October 18, 2008
The New York Times


Voters in 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 Minnesota.

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 Bangladesh.

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 fund-raiser.”

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.

    Republicans Rain Negative Automated Calls on Voters in Swing States, NYT, 18.10.2008,






Obama’s Ad Effort

Swamps McCain

and Nears Record


October 18, 2008
The New York Times


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 clinched his.

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 Virginia.

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.

    Obama’s Ad Effort Swamps McCain and Nears Record, NYT, 18.10.2008,






Obama’s Speech

on Economic Policy


October 13, 2008
The New York Times

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 have disappeared.

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 bridges.

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 well.

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 Washington.

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 feet.

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 prosperity.

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 anyway.

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.

    Obama’s Speech on Economic Policy, NYT, 13.10.2008,







Politics of Attack


October 8, 2008
The New York Times

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.

    Politics of Attack, NYT, 8.10.2008,





Obama and Clinton

Spending Furiously


February 21, 2008

The New York Times



Senators 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 February.

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 outstanding debts.

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 the primaries.

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 Feb. 5.

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 nominee.

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.

Leslie Wayne, Griffin Palmer and Aron Pilhofer

contributed reporting.

Obama and Clinton Spending Furiously,
February 21, 2008










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