Campaign 2008 Roundup

Historians’ Take on the 2008 US Presidential Campaign Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

Posts Tagged ‘Allan Lichtman’

Republican National Convention Day 4: September 4, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 4, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

The Republican Ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin after McCain accepted the Republican nomination. (CNN)

The Republican Ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin after McCain accepted the Republican nomination. (CNN)

2008 Republican National Convention and Reflections Photography

Day 4 Schedule

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2008The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Thursday, Sept. 4. The evening’s program will feature John McCain’s speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Mrs. Cindy McCain. The speakers’ remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,”and the theme for Thursday’s events, which is “peace.”
Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

    THURSDAY’S SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

    Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (Okla.), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Joe Gibbs, Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.), Mrs. Cindy McCain. Presidential Nominee John McCain.
    GOP Convention 2008

John McCain waving to the audience at the GOP convention. (CNN)

John McCain waving to the audience at the GOP convention. (CNN)

Highlights:

  • PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer: Photos from the Final Day of the Republican Convention – PBS/Flickr
  • September 4, 2008: McCain preps for big TV speech at convention as workers rebuild stage … Obama strategist: Palin looks a lot like Washington politics she seeks to change … Biden says he’ll vigorously challenge Palin but refrain from personal attacks … Environmentalists say Palin’s record on wildlife as harsh as Alaska itself. – AP, 9-4-08
    McCain caps GOP convention vowing ‘change is coming’ to Washington … Obama says Republicans attack him to avoid talking about economy and housing problems … Palin keeps up criticism of Obama as she ventures out solo to campaign … Biden says he’ll vigorously challenge Palin but refrain from personal attacks. – AP, 9-4-08
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Stats & In the News…

  • Galvanized Parties Head to Homestretch – WaPo, 9-5-08
  • Gallup Inc.’s tracking polls show that McCain’s support grew among white Republican women after Palin joined the ticket on Aug. 29. – Bloomberg, 9-4-08
  • Palin Pick May Narrow The Enthusiasm Gap – WaPo, 9-4-08
  • The Party in Power, Running as if It Weren’t – NYT, 9-5-08
  • To G.O.P., McCain Issues Call for Change – NYT, 9-5-08
  • McCain Casts GOP Ticket as Force for Reform – Fox News, 9-4-08
  • Protesters interrupt McCain speech – AP, 9-4-08
  • McCain to give acceptance speech on rebuilt stage – AP, 9-4-08
  • The campaign on the Talk Show Circuit- Fox News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin electrified the Republican convention Wednesday, all the while reading off a faulty teleprompter and an outdated draft – Fox News, 9-4-08
  • Sarah Palin’s speech wins TV ratings battle in landslide – NY Daily News, 9-4-08
  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
McCain accepting the Republican nomination for president (CNN)

McCain accepting the Republican nomination for president (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss, Peniel Joseph on “Historians Examine McCain’s Message of ‘Change’”: panel of historians discuss the strengths and weaknesses of John McCain’s acceptance speech and the GOP message of “change” in Washington. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: I think so. You know, it’s interesting. Clearly, the Democrats have no monopoly on hope and change, because the biggest change that occurred this week is this party has hope. This is a party that came in to St. Paul, if not defeatist, then, quite frankly, highly skeptical of its own chances. This was a party that came here not terribly unified, not altogether thrilled about its nominee. All of that, I think, has been transformed in the course of the last three days. You could feel it last night during Governor Palin’s speech. You can feel it tonight. It’s interesting the pivot away from George Bush. Senator McCain spent more time tonight apologizing for the last eight years than he did boasting about the last eight years. And, finally, we’ve talked several times about whether this was too biographical, whether there was a lack of specifics, particularly on economic issues….My sense is the Republicans are very good at stagecraft. And I think the biography that we’ve heard all week long melded very nicely into the substance, if you will, of the speech. Sen. Obama is in for the fight of his life. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Three big things stand out to me about this week, Jim, first, God, guns, and country. Those are the resounding themes of this convention linked to biography and really linked to the pick of Sarah Palin. Second, Palin has successfully solidified McCain’s conservative base. And she really gave a speech last night that echoed Pat Buchanan’s 1992 culture wars speech, but she did it more elegantly. Finally, diversity, or lack thereof. This convention’s delegates are 93 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black. This party has seemingly ceded the minority vote to Barack Obama and the Democrats, which may have real clear electoral implications. In 2004, George Bush got 14 percent of the black vote in Ohio and 56 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, two key swing states that got him re-elected. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Yes, it sure is. You know, it was a great speech, Jim, easily the greatest speech that John McCain ever gave. And you can see the difference between Tuesday night and tonight. This is a party with enormous intensity, especially after a very powerful speech by Sarah Palin last night. And the interesting thing is, about 10 days ago, John McCain by all accounts was intending to choose Joe Lieberman and go in a very different direction, which would have been to — you know, cause there to be a bridge to Democrats, try to go for independents, knowing that the group in this room probably would not have been as enthusiastic as they are tonight with the choice of Sarah Palin. The interesting thing is going to be whether he can augment this kind of intensity in the hall, in this party, in his base with the kind of independents in swing states he’s going to need to win the election….You know, when you look at these speeches, you know, the people who write them always looked at acceptance speeches of the past. And this one had references to other acceptance speeches by earlier nominees, but the ones that I found were all Democrats. Harry Truman, 1948, both he and McCain referred to a do-nothing Congress. John Kennedy, McCain talked tonight about getting this country moving again. And of all things, Al Gore in 2000, “I will fight for you.” I think one of the things that we would have expected perhaps least would be that John McCain would be quoting Al Gore. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton-Smith and Peniel Joseph: Historians Explores Trends Within Both Parties as RNC Wraps Up Richard Norton-Smith and Peniel Joseph sat down with Ray Suarez as the Republican National Convention enters its last day. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith, Peniel Joseph: Making GOP History Analysts and historians offer perspective on the first Republican woman nominated to be vice president and the campaign road ahead. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: “Historians See Goldwater, Reagan as Top GOP Acceptance Speeches” – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith: Norton Smith chose Barry Goldwater’s 1964 address in San Francisco, where he had the choice as the nominee to reach out to moderate Republicans angry with his policies. In the end, Goldwater “ran as himself.” “He denounced the pale pastels of the opposition. He basically read the liberals and moderate in his own party out of the party. It is a militant speech. It is a principled speech. It is courageous speech. It is a speech fundamentally at odds with the political climate of 1964,” Norton Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Joseph picked Ronald Reagan’s 1980 speech in Detroit in which he criticizes the previous four years of Democratic control. “He really says and argues that the Democratic Party is claiming that America’s best days are behind us,” Joseph said. “And Reagan says, I disagree, the best days are ahead of us. And we need to do this through tax cuts; we need to do it through economic stimulus, by letting big businesses explode. We need to have a strong defense. Reagan really succeeds in tapping into a notion of optimism.” – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “Hawaii, Alaska embrace campaign connections”: Natives of both states hope that the campaign-driven media attention will help mainlanders understand them better. But so far it hasn’t helped, said Stephen Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
    And Alaska? Haycox noted the names of Palin’s children in commenting: “I suppose the perception is that people here are a wee bit odd. . . . But with kids with names like Bristol, Willow and Piper, I think it’s going to confirm all the images about Alaska.” – Boston Globe, 9-4-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Palin Pick Shows Lost Clout of Republicans’ Old Establishment”: McCain’s surprise selection of the 44-year-old Palin was clearly aimed at firing up the Republican Party’s core of social conservatives, said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University. “In an election where everyone was talking about the return of moderates, this is a clear move to the right,” Zelizer said. “This is not a Joe Lieberman choice.” – Bloomberg, 9-4-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention ‘08: Live From St. Paul, It’s Convention Analysis – Chronicle for Higher Education, 9-4-08
  • Allan Lichtman on CTV Newsnet: Allan Lichtman, history professor at American University, says Sarah Palin didn’t completely outline her stance on key issues – CTV Newsnet, 9-3-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy on the Republican National Convention: McGill University Professor of History, Gil Troy, weighs in on the Republican National Convention in the United States. – CTV Newsnet, 9-3-08

The Speeches….

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination. (CNN)

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination. (CNN)

Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for president of the United States…

Thank you. I — and I accept it with gratitude, humility, and confidence.

In my life, no success has come without a good fight, and this nomination wasn’t any different. That’s a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters. They’re leaders of great ability who love our country and wish to lead it to better days. Their support is an honor that I won’t forget.

I’m grateful to the president of the United States for leading us in these dark days following the worst attack in American history.

The worst attack on American soil in our history and keeping us safe from another attack that many — many thought was inevitable.

And to the first lady, Laura Bush, a model of grace and kindness in public and in private.

And I’m grateful to the 41st president and his bride of 63 years for their outstanding example…

… for their outstanding example of honorable service to our country. As always, I’m indebted to my wife, Cindy, and my seven children. You know, the pleasures of family life can seem like a brief holiday from the crowded calendar of our nation’s business. But I have treasured them all the more and can’t imagine a life without the happiness that you’ve given me.

You know, Cindy said a lot of nice things about me tonight. But, in truth, she’s more my inspiration than I am hers.

Her concern for those less blessed than we are — victims of land mines, children born in poverty, with birth defects — shows the measure of her humanity. And I know that she will make a great first lady.

My friends, when I was growing up, my father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone. Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief that we’re all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.

And she doesn’t want me to say this, but she’s 96 years young.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped me win this nomination and stood by me when the odds were long. I won’t let you down….

And, finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it — we’ll go at it over the next two months — you know that’s the nature of this business — and there are big differences between us.

But you have my respect and my admiration.

Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.

We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. No country — no country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

But let there be no doubt, my friends: We’re going to win this election.

And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

I know these are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about…

Please, please, please. My friends, my dear friends, please. Please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static.

You know, I’m going to talk about it some more. But Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK?…

And I’ve found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah…

Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

And I want to thank everyone here and all over America for the tremendous, wonderful, warm reception you gave her last night. Thank you so much. She deserves it. What a great beginning….

I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington.

And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.

John McCain accepting the Republican Partys nomination.  (CNN)

John McCain accepting the Republican Party's nomination. (CNN)

I’m not — I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Governor Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it.

We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment, and backbone to keep our word to you.

You well know I’ve been called a maverick, someone who…

… someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes it’s meant as a compliment; sometimes it’s not. What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you….

I’ve fought the big spenders in both parties, who waste your money on things you neither need nor want, and the first big-spending pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. I will make them famous, and you will know their names. You will know their names….

I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.

I fight for Americans. I fight for you….

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us.

We lost — we lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties — and Senator Obama — passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles.

We’re going to change that.

We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.

In this country, we believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential, from the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We’re all God’s children, and we’re all Americans.

We believe — we believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.

We believe — we believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life…

… personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench.

We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods, and communities. We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open…

I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them.

I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

My tax cuts will create jobs; his tax increases will eliminate them….

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy, and it often sees that your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for the unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch.

Now, my opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away….

Education — education is the civil rights issue of this century.

Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need… We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice.

Let’s remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parent — when it fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them.

Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have the choice, and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students.

And when I’m president, they will.

My fellow Americans, when I’m president, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades.

We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much, and some of that money…

We’ll attack — we’ll attack the problem on every front. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off-shore, and we’ll drill them now. We’ll drill them now….

Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that.

We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet.

My friends…… it’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we’ve faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead….

As president, I’ll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.

We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them.

I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it.

I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don’t.

I know how to secure the peace….

In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me.

I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination.

I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of our ideals — to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

In America, we change things that need to be changed. Each generation makes its contribution to our greatness. The work that is ours to do is plainly before us; we don’t need to search for it.

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.

All these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, the information technology revolution, and the end of the Cold War. We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington….

Again and again — again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again.

My friends… … I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.

Instead — instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn’t think of them first, let’s use the best ideas from both sides. Instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let’s try sharing it.

This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I’ll ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me. And my administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability.

We’re going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us, and I won’t care who gets the credit.

My friends, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I’ve been her servant first, last, and always. And I’ve never…

I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege….

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people.

I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need.

My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

My friends, if you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist…

Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an — an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed.

Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your president. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. And with hard work — with hard word, strong faith, and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.

Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up, and fight.

Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up.

We never quit.

We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America.

Cindy McCain addressing the Republican National Convention before her husband, Sen. John McCain accepts the partys nomination for President. (CNN)

Cindy McCain addressing the Republican National Convention before her husband, Sen. John McCain accepts the party's nomination for President. (CNN)

…John and I are so pleased and so happy to have them here with us tonight. Nothing has made me happier or more fulfilled in my life than being a mother.

But while John and I take great joy in having been able to spend time together this week as a family, our hearts go out to the thousands of families who have had to leave their homes, once again, due to devastating weather.

It’s not — it’s not our natural instinct to rally to them, to lift them up with our prayers, to come to their aid. It’s also our duty as a country.

That duty is what brings me before you tonight, and it’s a much larger, more important than John or me or any of us. It’s the work of this great country calling us together, and there’s no greater duty than that, no more essential task for our generation right now.

That’s been very much on my mind these last few months as I’ve traveled our country. Each day, after the bands packed up, and the speeches were done, and the camera lights darkened, I always came back to how blessed and honored I was to be a part of our national conversation.

And in these times, when so many of our fellow Americans face difficult situations, what I saw moved me deeply: Families worried about losing their homes. Towns deserted by industries once at their center. Mothers with no choice but to send their children to unsafe and underperforming schools.

But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I’ve heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other.

Despite our challenges, our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in the individual ability to make things right, if only the federal government would get itself under control and out of our way.

And so tonight is about renewing our commitment to one another, because this campaign is not about us. It’s about our special and exceptional country. And this convention celebrates a special and exceptional Republican Party. The hand we feel on our shoulder belongs to Abraham Lincoln. Our country was born …

Our country was — our country was born amidst the struggle for freedom, and our party arose from a great battle for human rights, dignity, and equality for all people.

We give way to no one and no other party in that cause.

From its very birth, our party has been grounded in the notion of service, community, self-reliance, and it’s all tempered by a uniquely American faith in and compassion for each other’s neighbors. A helping hand and friendly support has always been our way.

It’s no surprise that Americans are the most generous people in history.

That generosity of spirit is in our national DNA. It’s our way of doing things. It’s how we view the world.

I was taught that Americans can look at the world and ask either what do other countries think of us or we can look at ourselves and ask, what would our forefathers make of us and what will our children say of us?

That’s a big challenge. In living up to it, we know the security and the prosperity of our nation is about a lot more than politics. It also depends on a personal commitment, a sense of history, and a clear view of the future. I know of no one who better defines how to do that, whose life is a better example of how to go about that than the man I love, whom I’ve shared almost 30 years of my life, my husband, John McCain.

From the beginning of time, no matter how accomplished in other fields, women have always sought a husband with an eye to what kind of father that man would be. Well, I hit a home run with John McCain. I got…

I got the most marvelous husband, and friend, and confidant, a source of strength and inspiration, and also the best father you could ever imagine.

In that most sacred role, he brought to our children his great personal character, his life-long example of honesty, and his steadfast devotion to honor. He has shown the value of self-sacrifice by daily example and, above all, John showers us with unconditional love and support every family dreams of.

I know what his children say of him. And his courageous service to America in war and peace leaves no doubt what our forefathers would make of him.

It’s these virtues of character that led him to this campaign, to this moment. John McCain is a steadfast man who will not break with our heritage, no matter how demanding or dangerous the challenges at home or abroad….

I know John. You can trust his hand at the wheel.

But you know something? What I’ve always thought, it’s a good idea to have a woman’s hand on the wheel, as well.

So how about that Gov. Sarah Palin?

John has picked — John has picked a reform-minded, hockey- momming, basketball-shooting, moose-hunting, salmon-fishing, pistol- packing mother of five for vice president.

And as a fellow hockey mom myself and a Western conservative mother, I couldn’t be prouder that John has shaken things up, as he usually does.

No one can get the job done alone. And that’s why I’m glad John will have Governor Palin by his side. We all to have work together, build consensus, the way John has done all of his life.

His leadership inspires, and empowers, and places ultimate success in all of our hands. Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “With freedom goes responsibility, a responsibility that can only be met by the individual himself.”…

I think John was a hero in Vietnam.

But you know something? John just thinks it was his turn.

Our son, Jack, will graduate from the United States Naval Academy next year, fourth generation, ready to do his service.

And our son, Jimmy, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps, served honorably in Iraq.

Jimmy served honorably in Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of other young men and women just like him are doing for America and freedom everywhere.

The stakes were never more clear to me than the morning I watched my son, Jimmy, strap on his weapons and board a bus headed for harm’s way. I was born and raised in the American West, and I will always see the world through the prism of its values.

My father was a true Western gentleman. He rose from hardscrabble roots to realize the American dream. With only a few borrowed dollars in his pocket, and a strong back and a can-do spirit, he built a great life for his family.

His handshake was his solemn oath. He looked you straight in the eye and always believed the best of you, unless you gave him good cause not to.

Modest and good-natured, he had deep roots in our American soil. He taught me life is not just about you; it’s also about nurturing the next generation, preparing a better world for all of our children and helping them find the right way up.

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Cindy McCain with her children at the convention. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

We all come to that knowledge in different ways. For me, the great moment of clarity was when I became a mother. Something changed in me. I would never see my obligations the same way again.

It was after that I was walking through the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, surrounded by terrible poverty and the devastation of a cyclone. All around me were the children and the desperate faces of their mothers. The pain was overwhelming, and I felt helpless.

But then I visited an orphanage begun by Mother Teresa, and two very sick little girls captured my heart. There was something I could do. I could take them home, and so I did.

Today, both of those little girls are healthy and happy. And one of them you just met tonight: our beautiful daughter, Bridget.

Much is expected of a country as blessed as America, and our people are at work all over the globe making it a better planet, doing their part. It was my privilege to work with the men and women of the American Voluntary Medical Teams in places like Zaire, Micronesia, Vietnam, watching as they relieved whole towns from disease and rescued countless children from sickness.

The reward for sharing in that work is truly indescribable. To see a child rescued from a life in the shadows by Operation Smile is to witness and share a joy that is life-changing.

And the challenges go on. I just returned from the Republic of Georgia, where HALO Trust, an organizing — an organization specializing in the clearing of the debris of war, are rescuing innocent victims from landmines and missiles.

Sometimes the courage of others leaves me breathless. I only need to speak the word “Rwanda,” and the images it conjures up are beyond description.

In my box tonight is Ernestine, a woman, a friend, a mother like myself, whom I met in Kigali. She suffered unimaginable horrors and was made to watch appalling havoc wreaked by her family.

Yet, as the violence in her country subsides, she doesn’t seek retribution. Instead, she offers love and seeks reconciliation for her people. She says simply, “It’s time to move on for me and my country.”…

Ernestine, your courage is humbling. Your forgiveness is healing. You are my hero.

Forgiveness is not just a personal issue. It’s why John led the efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam, to retrieve the remains of our MIAs, to bring closure to both sides. That’s leadership, national leadership. And it’s leading by example.

The presidential contest will begin in earnest when this convention closes. If Americans want straight talk and plain truth, they should take a good close look at John McCain.

A man tested and true, who never wavered in his devotion to our country, a man who served in Washington without ever becoming a Washington insider, and who always speaks the truth, no matter what the cost, a man of judgment and character, a loyal and loving and true husband, and a magnificent father.

This is a good man, a worthy man. I know. I have loved him with all my heart for almost 30 years, and I humbly recommend him to you tonight for nominee for the next president of the United States.

I am so grateful — I am so grateful to have had the chance to speak with you tonight and for the honor that you are about to grant my husband and, indeed, our entire family.

I promise you, I will work every day to help John strengthen our freedom and to serve this great country with the honor and dignity and the love it deserves from each and every generation it blesses. advertisement

May God bless all of you in America, the citizens of the Gulf Coast, and all the sons and daughters serving this great country around the world tonight.

Thank you.

How do we measure the content of a person’s character? How do we recognize their fitness to serve?

Barack Obama gives a good speech.

But the best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.

John McCain’s whole life is a testimony to service, duty, courage and common sense. John McCain has walked the walk, and he has always put our country first!

When he showed guts and courage as a Prisoner of War, John McCain put our country first!

When he stood up to special interests, and fought against earmarks and pork-barrel spending in Congress, John McCain put our country first!

When he saw the need to change strategy in Iraq and boldly called for the surge, John McCain put our country first!

When he responded to our energy crisis with an all-of-the-above energy plan, John McCain put our country first!

And when John McCain is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, we know he will always put our country first!

We’ve seen in this man the very best our country has to offer….

We live in a dangerous world.

With John McCain as President, there will be no misunderstanding about where America stands and what we stand for.

John McCain is tough — but he’s also compassionate. I’ve gotten to know John, and I can tell you he is a Purple Heart recipient with a heart of gold.

He understands the concerns of everyday Americans like you and me.

What I like to call “Sam’s Club Republicans.”

These voters are on a tight budget.

They’re looking for value and accountability at the store. And they’re looking for value and accountability from their government.

John McCain connects with Sam’s Club voters.

He gets it.

He will force government to live within its means, just like families do.

He knows that small businesses are the job growth engine for our country.

He knows the last thing they need is MORE taxes.

John also understands that health care costs are budget busters for too many American families.

He’ll provide help but will put consumers and their doctors in charge, not the federal government.

John also knows it’s getting tougher for us to afford to fill-up at the pump.

His energy plan is classic McCain – bold and aggressive.

In this time, we don’t need a president who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd.

We don’t need rhetoric or empty promises.

We need a president who has the integrity and courage to make the tough choices so America will be stronger and safer.

I believe the times call out great leaders.

This time, our time, calls out for John McCain.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Barack Obama doesnt get it.  (CNN)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Barack Obama "doesn't get it." (CNN)

  • Lindsey Graham speaking at the Republican National ConventionBy every measure, the surge of the troops into Iraq has worked.

    It has worked. Sectarian violence and coalition casualties are at record lows. Fifteen of the 18 political benchmarks have been met by the Iraqi government.

    The Iraqis have a larger, more capable army. Oil production is dramatically increasing. This week, Anbar province, once an Al Qaeda stronghold, was turned over to the Iraqis.

    American combat brigades, who made up the surge, have returned home in victory.

    Now, we know the surge has worked. Our men and women in uniform know it has worked. And I promise you, above all others, Al Qaeda knows it has worked.

    The only people who deny it are Barack Obama and his buddies at MoveOn.org.

    Why won’t they admit it? Because Barack Obama’s campaign is built around us losing in Iraq. Without John McCain’s courageous leadership, there would never have been a surge.

    I know. I was there with John McCain and Joe Lieberman every step of the way.

    In our visits to Iraq — ladies and gentlemen, in our visits to Iraq, we saw the situation deteriorate. The troops we met, the sergeants, the captains, and the colonels had such respect and admiration for Sen. McCain, they felt comfortable giving him something he knows a lot about: straight talk.

    They said, “Sen. McCain, this ain’t working.” John heard their message and put their interests ahead of his own. He came back to Washington and told everyone, including Republicans, “We must change course.”

    For his honesty, some accused John of being disloyal, but John McCain’s loyalties, ladies and gentlemen, have always been to his country and to our men and women in uniform, not a political party.

    Calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq was one of the most unpopular things John McCain could have done. Some said it was political suicide. But you know what? It was the right thing to do… because losing in Iraq would have been a nightmare for America. Al Qaeda would have claimed victory over our nation. Sectarian violence would spread throughout the region, and Iran would fill the vacuum.

    Last summer, we came within two votes — two votes — of a congressionally mandated surrender. One Democrat, one Democrat broke with his party to support the surge. Ladies and gentlemen, thank God for Joe Lieberman.

    It was John McCain’s voice and credibility that stopped the Democratic Congress from losing this war.

    Gen. Petraeus’ plan will be a model for generations to come, and our troops will be heroes for the ages. Those who predicted failure, voted to cut off funding for our troops, and played politics with our national security will be footnotes in history.

    Let there be no — let there be no doubt about it. We are on the road to victory.

    Victory! You can say it at this convention. We are winning!

    And you know what? America is safer because we’re winning in Iraq. A Muslim nation in the heart of the Arab world that rejected Al Qaeda, a nation where the rule of law replaces the rule of gun, a place in the Mideast where a woman can finally have a say about her children’s future.

    While Barack Obama expresses appreciation for our troops’ service, he refuses to acknowledge their success. They have worked too hard, they have sacrificed too much for a patronizing pat on the back.

    Barack Obama went 2½ years between visits to Iraq and never once sat down with Gen. Petraeus. If Barack Obama cannot appreciate that our troops are winning in Iraq, he should not be their commander in chief.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Barack Obama doesn’t care. I’m just saying he doesn’t get it.

    Not once — not once was Barack Obama’s eloquent voice ever raised in support of victory in Iraq. Not once was it used to rally our troops in battle. Instead, he inspired those who supported retreat and would have accepted our defeat.

    We should all be grateful, ladies and gentlemen, that Barack Obama was unable to defeat the surge.

    The surge was a test for Barack Obama. He failed miserably.

    Our troops deserve a commander in chief who acknowledges their success, has walked in their shoes, speaks their language, shares in their suffering, and will lead them to victory in a war we cannot afford to lose.

    That person is my dear friend, John McCain.

    John often says he would rather lose a campaign than lose a war. Here’s the good news: We’re going to win this war and John McCain will be our next president of the United States.

    But wait. But wait. It gets even better, because John McCain has one of the toughest and most talented political reformers in America as his running mate….

    God bless America.

Former PA Governor Tom Ridge addressing the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

Former PA Governor Tom Ridge addressing the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

I speak to you with a grateful heart and enormous pride.

I speak to you as one friend about another.

About a proven leader, a world statesman, an untiring and effective public servant. I speak to you about a warrior who has sometimes stood alone or shown the way in fighting for the most vulnerable of our citizens for the country he so dearly loves and for the founding principles we all so deeply cherish.

I speak to you about a friend who was first pointed out to me in the same way he is proudly pointed out wherever he goes today — “That’s John McCain.”

John and I have been friends for 26 years.

Both of us got elected to Congress in 1982, and both of us are Vietnam veterans.

Some might say that is our common bond. For certainly the Vietnam experience is a uniting one. But I would also say that our friendship blossomed over many a laugh as we told jokes that only we thought were funny….

It was only a little more than a year ago, in August of 2007, that I drove to John’s office to offer an encouraging word.

You all remember that time.

It was really rough going for the campaign. Some were ready to count John out.

Some questioned his resolve.

Some wondered and waited for the white flag of surrender.

Having rehearsed my pep talk, I walked into John’s office, put my arm around him and asked, “Hey, how are you doing?”

He paused for a moment.

From his shoulders came a quick shrug.

Then he looked at me and said, “Tom, you and I both know I’ve been through worse.”

We sat down, he spread some papers across a table and said, “NOW, let me tell you how I think we can win.”

He talked strategy, a way forward, next steps.

And later I would leave my friend’s office thinking what I share with you tonight: “That’s John McCain.”

Where some people see adversity, John McCain accepts a challenge.

Where some people see a crisis, John McCain creates an opportunity.

Where some people see defeat, John McCain pursues victory.

John knows the purpose of elections is not merely to win.

You run to win, but you win to govern.

So who of our two candidates is the most qualified to govern the freest, strongest, most blessed nation on earth?

Who but John McCain understands that America’s security and prosperity will — now and forevermore — be tied to the security and prosperity of the rest of the world?

Who but John McCain has the experience, the sheer will, the steady hand and the informed judgment to advance our economic and political interests during these perilous 21st century times? And who but John McCain — and only John McCain — can negotiate from a position of strength and proven ability because he’s already earned the trust, respect and admiration of our friends and allies around the world? And I suspect he has the attention of those who would oppose us.

Now more than ever we need a leader who fits the times — not a candidate who merely thinks it’s his time to lead.

For the consideration before us is not about who can take a 3 a.m. call.

It’s about who has answered the call throughout his life.

It’s not about building a record.

It’s about having one.

It’s not about talking pretty.

It’s about talking straight.

The challenge of our times is not simply to change.

The challenge of our time is to leave nothing to chance….

Today, we have a leader — some people call him a maverick — who, for his country, has put his life on the line.

Who, for his country, leads with his conscience.

Who, for his country, has worked to preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free.

That’s John McCain.

John dares to think differently, to act boldly and to put country before self.

He dares to believe that we are all called to serve as long as we call ourselves free.

He dares to embrace the founding principle that our responsibility to one another extends from a national crisis to an individual need — from nation to nation, community to community — in this, the greatest community ever formed.

So may we rise to the occasion, to the moment, to the vision of our Founding Fathers.

May we summon ourselves to our best efforts and call this maverick forward.

Let us elect a man who has firmly and unequivocally laid out his vision of where this country can go.

Who offers a better way, a better day and a greater say for all who call this great country home.

That’s John McCain.

Let us elect a public servant who refuses to think in terms of red versus blue, but only in terms of red, white and blue.

That’s John McCain.

An artful leader, a diplomat, a tenacious legislator.

Say it with me!

That’s John McCain!

Someone who speaks truth to power, truth to the American people, and rises above politics to get things done.

That’s John McCain.

A consensus builder, a reformer, the patriot who always puts his country first.

That’s John McCain!

A Reagan conservative, an optimist.

America’s go-to guy.

That’s John McCain!

That’s John McCain.

That’s John McCain.

I am so very proud to say, ‘That is my friend, John McCain.’

The next president of the United States.

The next commander in chief.

Ready to lead.

Ready to serve.

Ready to deliver.

God bless you, John.

God bless you all.

And may God continue to bless our brave troops who serve our country so well.

Thank you.

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (NYT)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Obama Appears on Fox on McCain’s Night – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Obama Brushes Back Convention Attacks when speaking to media at the Voith Siemens Hydro Power Plant in York, Penn., September 4, 2008:“I understand they don’t have much of an agenda to run on. But I think the American people deserve better than to get the same old vitriol and slash-and-burn politics that we’ve been seeing over the last couple of days. We are going to tell the American people exactly what I and Joe Biden and an Obama administration intend to do to make their lives better. And I hope at some point the Republicans decide to engage in that debate….

    They’re talking about the three years of work that I did right out of college, as if I’m making the leap from two or three years out of college into the presidency. I would argue that doing work in the community, to try to create jobs, to bring people together, to rejuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job training programs in areas that have been hard hit when the steel plants closed, that that’s relevant only in understanding where I’m coming from. Who I believe in. Who I’m fighting for. And why I’m in this race. And the question I have for them is, why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for? They think the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives, is somehow not relevant to the presidency? Maybe that’s the problem….

    If they want to work the refs they are free to do so. And I think the public can make their judgments about this. The notion that any questions about her work in Alaska is somehow not relevant to her potentially being vice president of the United States, doesn’t make too much sense to me. I think she’s got a compelling story. But I assume she wants to be treated the same way that guys want to be treated, which means that their records are under scrutiny. I’ve been through this for nineteen months. She’s been through it what, four days so far?…

    “John McCain’s running for president. I’m running against John McCain….That speech that she delivered was on behalf of John McCain. The central question in this campaign is, who’s got a better plan, a better agenda, to move this country forward and fundamentally change it from the economic and foreign policy failures that we’ve seen over the last eight year? I believe that the American people need change, they want change, and I’m in the best position to bring it….

    What did you guys expect? I anticipated this last Thursday in my acceptance speech. This is what they do. They don’t have an agenda to run on. They haven’t offered a single concrete idea so far in two nights. They spent the entire two nights attacking me and extolling John McCain’s biography, which is fine — they can use their convention time any way they want. But you can’t expect that I’d be surprised by attacks from Republicans. And by the way, I’ve been called worse on the basketball court.”

  • Biden vows to challenge PalinUSA Today, 9-4-08
  • Palin criticizes Obama again in solo appearance with Republican Governors: “We don’t have a ‘present’ button as governor – we are expected to lead, we are expected to take action and not just vote ‘present. So there’s a big difference, of course, between the executive and legislative branches and our experience…. a big job cut out in front of me running for vice president. I intend to give this campaign all that I have to give. And I look forward to these 60-plus days on the trail. My family looks forward to this, we’re up for it, we’re excited about it.”
  • Sarah Palin telling reporters she is looking forward to McCain’s acceptance speech: “We are all very excited about tonight. The people of this country will once again see tonight the conviction and the character that make him a great man, an honorable man and will make him a great president.”
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

The Audience at the Republican National Convention (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

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Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 27, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 27, 2008

The day that was….

  • August 27, 2008: Obama and Biden plan post-convention bus tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan … GOP ‘war room’ revs up as high-profile figures hit airwaves to slam Obama … Democrats plan heavy presence at GOP convention, will greet delegates with Bush billboard – AP, 8-27-08
  • Senator Barack Obama arriving at the Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

    Senator Barack Obama arriving at the Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

  • August 26, 2008: Democrats bicker over how hard to hit McCain as Clintons take center stage next 2 days … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Obama sounds economic themes on way to Denver … Republicans debate platform shaped by conservative base, McCain … Former president warns of global warming, trying to float above convention fray…. Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq. AP, 8-26-08
    Democrats rip into McCain at national convention; Clinton salutes Obama … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Former president’s odd moment in Denver: in the spotlight but on the sidelines … In crafting a platform, GOP takes a hard line on abortion, moderate stand on climate change … Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq – AP, 8-26-08

The Stats

  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08
  • August 27, 2008: Obama had received 1549.5 votes to Clinton’s 341.5 when Clinton called for the roll call to be suspended. – Detroit Free Press, 8-27-08
  • FactCheck: Claims omit details on McCain record – AP, 8-26-08
  • August 26, 2008: A new Gallup Polls shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin — the first time McCain has led since June. Christian Science Monitor, 8-26-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Freudian Slip: Mr. Biden’s Freudian slip gets a big laugh — when he says “George” when he means “John.” That’s the subtext of his speech, which hasn’t come yet — that Mr. McCain is Mr. Bush. – NYT, The Caucus Blog, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Richard Fulton on “Obama names V.P.; McCain’s still mystery”: History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science Professor Richard Fulton said Biden’s experience will add to Obama’s campaign. “He’s (Biden) got experience, he’s very down to Earth, he complements Obama, I think quite well with maturity and experience, especially in foreign affairs,” Fulton said. He also noticed Biden seems to be popular with Democrats and Independents in his home state, Delaware. “I think from the very beginning, once he clinched the nomination, he was what I thought would be the better choice for vice president,” Fulton said. – NW Missouri News, 8-28-08
  • Allan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University on “Can Biden rebuild broken Democratic bridges?”: “On the minus side, Biden has bombed out twice as a presidential candidate. The first time he ran there were accusations of plagiarism. He can be gaffe prone. But he does bring what Obama needs on this ticket; experience, gravitas and tremendous knowledge in the area of foreign policy….. Joe and I have been friends for many, many, years and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection.” – EuroNews, 8-27-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Barack Obama Does Not Have to Be Another Jimmy Carter – Huffington Post, 8-27-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) at breakfast discussion hosted by Politico, The Denver Post and Yahoo News: Beschloss agreed with Emanuel that race often played a role in presidential elections, “sometimes in subtler ways.”…. Answering a question about the most important qualities a president should possess, Beschloss mentioned the ability to “get things through Congress,” noting that Obama’s short experience in Washington could make that a challenge. But he added, gesturing toward Daschle, “That’s a talent that a president can hire.”… Beschloss added that a president should be willing to dump any advisers who end up being less helpful — or more troublesome — than expected. “Sometimes you will appoint someone,” Beschloss said, “and sometimes it is not working, and you have to cut the friend adrift. It is excruciatingly painful.”… And Beschloss, the historian, suggested the migration from Daschle’s staff to Obama’s was an early sign of the Illinois senator’s national political potential. – Politico, 8-27-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. – Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Fred Siegal: The Facebook Candidate Meets the Real World – Huffington Post, 8-26-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • Gil Troy on “Are We at War, Senator Obama? A gentle reminder for the Democrats: This is not a peacetime election for Al Qaeda.”: “When you think about Obama’s vulnerabilities, and his need to capture wavering Democrats and swing voters, questions about whether he is strong enough and patriotic enough are definitely on the table,” says Gil Troy, a historian at McGill University and a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist Washington think tank. “The challenge is showing the American people on a deep, deep level that terrorism is a core issue, and you’re really passionate about this. Obama has to show, and the Democrats have to show, that they are passionately opposed to and disgusted by terrorism.” Troy, the author of a new book, Leading From the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, argues that Obama should give a detailed speech “about all the things Bush did right in the war on terrorism. After I had explained where I agree with him, then I would talk about where I disagree.” – National Journal, 8-23-08

On the Campaign Trail….

    Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alongside other Republicans, says Obama is not qualified to be president. (CNN)

    Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alongside other Republicans, says Obama is not qualified to be president. (CNN)

  • GOP cheers Obama’s historic stride, but doubts his experience – CNN, 8-27-08
  • At 4:48 p.m. local time, Mrs. Clinton called on the Democratic National Convention to end the roll call and nominate him by acclamation: “With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president. I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    The crowd in the Pepsi Center roared as one and then began to chant, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.” – Download
  • Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer of the New York delegation on Wednesday.

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer of the New York delegation on Wednesday.

  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates: “I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday. “I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do,” she said. “Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we’ve been on want the chance to vote for what’s in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.” “I am not telling you what to do,” she said to loud applause, but added, “I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.” “It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call,” Clinton said. “We’ve got win in November.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits: “I’m not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. “I think it’s unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics.”
  • Mitt Romney Speaking to Fox News, 8-26-08: You know, Neil, I got nothing for you on the V.P. front… I can only tell you that I have — I have confidence in — in John McCain. And his instincts — his instincts have been proven right time and again. I trust him to pick a good person to be on his ticket and somebody who views the country and the economy the way he does. And I think he’s going to strengthen his ticket with that pick…. You know, it’s been a little while since we have chatted. But, again, I’m not going to — I’m not going to open the door to this big secret that you’re talking about. I got nothing for you on that front… You know, I’m not a political strategist, even though I have run for office a couple of times, once successfully. You know, I think — I think John McCain is going to do what he thinks is best for — for his chances of getting his message across. I — I think there will be a bounce from the Democratic Convention. I thought it got off to a good start last night. I think Ted Kennedy did a fine thing of coming to the convention and speaking. He — he’s proven once again he’s a lion, and I respect him for that. But I think, in the final analysis, that, despite these bounces and all of the confetti and the — and the glitz associated with a convention, people are going to focus on the issues. And, on the issue of the economy they’re going to see that Barack Obama, who wants to raise taxes, cut back on trade, and prevent drilling for oil offshore and no new nuclear power plants, is simply wrong for the economy….. – Fox News, 8-26-08

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Obama Chooses Joe Biden as his Running-Mate

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 25, 2008

The week that was….

Barack Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joe Biden in Springfield, Ill., August 23, 2008

Barack Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joe Biden in Springfield, Ill., August 23, 2008

  • August 23, 2008: Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama confirmed that he chose six term Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. CNN scooped Obama’s announcement reporting that the Democratic candidate had chosen Biden at 12:45am on Saturday, the campaign intended to send out the text messages at 8am, but then where forced to send them out at 2:45am. CNN Biden was chosen partially to compensate for Obama’s lack of foreign policy credentials, for his ability to play hardball with the opponent, and his appeal to working class voters. The Democratic ticket formally appeared together for the first time in a rally in Springfield, Illinois.
  • August 22, 2008: Speculation mounts as to who Obama will chose as his running mate. Hoax text messages were sent out prompting the Wall Street Journal to announce that Obama had chosen Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as his running mate, which the paper had to quickly retract. The Obama campaign informed Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana that they were not chosen as Obama’s VP.
  • August 21, 2008: McCain Denver campaign offices received an envelope filled with white powder, which prompted an medical evaluation; it later proved to be a hoax and not anthrax. The Fall Presidential Candidate debates calendar was released and scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 7, and Oct. 15, with the Vice-Presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 2. – NYT, 8-21-08
  • August 20, 2008: GOP convention speakers announced: Rudy Giuliani will give the GOP convention Key note address; President Bush, Laura Bush and Dick Cheney to speak on first night, Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democratic VP candidate, will speak Monday. The speaker choices demontrates that “McCain wants showcase the GOP’s “diversity”,” McCain’s running mate will accept the nomination Wednesday, the same night Mitt Romney will speak. CNN, 8-20-08 McCain gives an interview to Politico.com, when asked about the number of homes he owns, McCain gaffes, saying he has to ask his staff. The Obama campaign jumps on this as an opportunity to show McCain is out of touch with American voters because of his family’s wealth. Senator Joe Biden emerges as the Democratic Party’s top choice for Obama running mate because of his foreign policy credential, and ability to attack the Republican opponent, two qualities Obama has been faltering with. AP, 8-20-08
  • August 19, 2008: Obama spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, and told them that he continues to support his position against the war in Iraq and the surge. Obama challenged McCain to stop questioning his “character and patriotism,” and said “Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country.”
  • August 18, 2008: McCain spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention and told them that Obama’s position on Iraq is based primarily on his political aspirations and not for the good of the country. “With less than three months to go before the election, a lot of people are still trying to square Sen. Obama’s varying positions on the surge in Iraq. First, he opposed the surge and confidently predicted that it would fail. Then he tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge,” McCain said.

The Stats

  • August 24, 2008: In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Sunday night: 47 percent are supporting Barack Obama the same number support John McCain a sharp contrast to polls in July when Obama had a 51 to 44 percent advantage. – CNN, 8-24-08
  • August 24, 2008: Washington Post-ABC News poll, showed Obama with 49 percent support and McCain with 45 percent.
  • August 24, 2008: An instant USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds for many Americans, though, the question is “Joe who?” Among those surveyed, 23% say they’ve never heard of the Delaware senator and another 28% say they don’t have an opinion of him. – USA Today, 8-24-08
  • August 20, 2008: McCain’s advantage is 50-40, a seven-point increase from Public Policy Polling’s July poll, which showed him leading by three points. Obama’s biggest issue is with white voters, who support McCain by a 56-35 margin, observers say. – St. Louis Business Journal, 8-20-08
  • August 19, 2008: A new Times/Bloomberg poll has Obama with 45% to McCain’s 43%, “a statistical dead heat.” – LA Times, 8-19-08

In the News…

  • Founding Fathers’ dirty campaign – CNN, 8-24-08
  • MIKE LITTWIN: The Obama phenomenon: a view to history in making Insights gained from 18 months on the campaign trail – Rocky Mountain News, 8-23-08
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin on 1968 chaos opened door for Obama 40 years later: “Had there been party leaders who had a major role in choosing the nominee this year it is probably much more likely it would have been a Hillary Clinton rather than a young Barack Obama,” said presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin….. “The cautionary note of that convention to the party was to avoid at all costs the kind of open warfare on a platform issue and a large dispute that could take place in prime time,” said Kearns Goodwin. – AP, 8-23-08
  • 100th birthday party will celebrate LBJ’s legacy – Houston Chronicle, 8-23-08
  • Barack Obama: Are critics targeting his race? As the presidential campaign heats up, there is an elephant in the room – the colour of Barack Obama’s skin. Reporting from Mississippi, Philip Sherwell looks at how the nation’s troubled past is affecting his chances – and the challenges he is about to face – Telegraph, UK, 8-23-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Joe Biden as the Springfield, Illinois rally introducing him as Obama’s Vice-Presidential running mate: “Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem. But all kidding aside …” – LA Times, 8-23-08
  • Barack Obama introducing his running mate Joe biden for the first time in Springfield, Ill.: “So let me introduce to you, the next president, the next vice president of the United States of America – Joe Biden.”
  • When John McCain was asked by Politico how many houses he owns in an interview he responded: “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you… It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.” – Politico, 8-20-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Gil Troy: Channeling Cheney: Did Obama Overcompensate with Biden? – HNN, 8-24-08
  • Char Miller: ‘Change’ is the face of new America – Daily Bulletin, 8-23-08
  • Randall Miller on “Son of working-class Catholics, Biden may bolster Obama’s weak spots”: Randall Miller, a professor of history at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, noted that Philadelphia TV covers Biden extensively and reaches voters not just in the city and its suburbs but into the Lehigh Valley. Baltimore TV also covers him, and reaches into central Pennsylvania. “He is a very well known quantity here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the mother lode of votes in the state,” Miller said. – Kansas City Star, 8-23-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Obama seeks to inspire US voters”: Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University, agreed Obama’s White House hopes may rest in defining himself, before Republican political shock troops do it for him. “If he doesn’t, he is going to have a big problem,” Zelizer said. “He has had a really difficult month in August, and the Republicans have done a pretty good job in framing him.” “I assume we are going to hear more contrast between what Democrats are about and what he is about versus McCain,” said Zelizer. “We are going to hear a lot of connecting between McCain and Bush.” – AFP, 8-24-08
  • Patty Limerick on “Obama prospecting for electoral gold in Old West”: Patty Limerick, a professor of history and environmental studies at the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West, said swathes of voters in the region have grown frustrated with the status quo of US politics. “There are growing numbers of voters who are scratching their heads and saying, ‘Where did my party go?’. And I’ve heard more Republicans than Democrats saying that,” Limerick told AFP. “The Republican Party has a great challenge in knitting together those people who are Republicans because they don’t want people interfering in their private lives, and the people who are Republicans because they want to interfere in other people’s private lives,” Limerick said. “Those aren’t groups that are easy to reconcile.” While national issues such as the state of the economy were certain to be at the forefront of voter concerns, the environment, energy policy and immigration were all likely to play a part in November elections, Limerick said. “There’s so much in our regional economy of construction, development, tourism, hospitality, agriculture, in which immigration labor is vital,” Limerick said. “And a lot of people realize that closing the border is going to lead to significant changes in things like food prices and food availability.” – AFP, 8-24-08
  • Jonathan Zimmerman on “Politicians OK if rich but not if seen as out of touch”: Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of education and history at New York University, sees “a curious American blend of romanticism and cynicism.” Americans, he said, “like to imagine their leaders once came from log cabins” and made good. But then they worry that the newfound wealth will affect their common touch – something not backed by the records of wealthy presidents such as the two Roosevelts and John F. Kennedy. Zimmerman said the stakes this year are heightened because “there is a sense that neither candidate is really a man of the people.” “They are both loaded compared to 95 or 97 percent of all Americans,” Zimmerman said. Yet Obama would not meet the definition of “rich” tentatively offered last week by McCain, a statement that has drawn scorn from liberal and conservative economists alike. – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Donald Richie on “Politicians OK if rich but not if seen as out of touch”: Donald Ritchie, associate historian of the U.S. Senate, said, “People want politicians to be . . . somebody who is comfortable (with) and understands situations that the average person faces.” “But the first direct election was in 1914, and every incumbent senator who was running was re-elected,” Ritchie said. “The people elected the exact same people the state legislatures did.” – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Ignacio Garcia on “Viva Obama Clubs target Latinos”: How successful those clubs will be remains to be seen, said Ignacio Garcia, a history professor at Brigham Young University and author of “Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans in search of Camelot.” Garcia said the Kennedy clubs succeeded in speaking to the dreams and needs of Latinos. Further, they empowered a new generation of political leaders who eventually became mayors, congressman, governors and federal judges. “The question is whether Obama really inspires Latinos, and whether these groups can create a movement that will include the political majority of the community,” Garcia said. – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Conventions: a bounce for the candidates”: “Campaigns are a multistage process – but the convention is a key step,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “That speech for both candidates constitutes a very important introduction to the nation,” says Mr. Zelizer. Christian Science Monitor, 8-21-08
  • Allan Lichtman on “McCain to Keep Pressure on Obama During Dems’ Convention”: “The candidate usually keeps a low profile during the opposition convention. Certainly Bush did in 2004,” American University history professor Allan Lichtman said. That said, he added: “I don’t think you give them the spotlight entirely.” Lichtman, a Maryland Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2006, said McCain needs to be careful not to over-respond, or he’ll be seen as going too negative. “He’s taken Obama down a peg … and he doesn’t want to overplay that hand,” Lichtman said. “It’s always a tightrope walk.” – Fox News, 8-21-08

On the Campaign Trail….

Script For “Passed Over” (TV :30)ANNCR: She won millions of votes.But isn’t on his ticket.Why?For speaking the truth.On his plans: HILLARY CLINTON: “You never hear the specifics.” ANNCR: On the Rezko scandal: HILLARY CLINTON: “We still don’t have a lot of answers about Senator Obama.” ANNCR: On his attacks: HILLARY CLINTON: “Senator Obama’s campaign has become increasingly negative.” ANNCR: The truth hurt. And Obama didn’t like it. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approved this message.

Katie Couric’s interview with John McCain on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” August 24, 2008 I think he’s a good selection. Joe and I have been friends for many, many years, and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection. I know that Joe will campaign well for Senator Obama, and so I think he’s going to be very formidable. Obviously, Joe and I have been on different philosophical sides, but we have been – I consider him a good friend and good man…. Well, I’ve always respected Joe Biden, but I disagreed with him from the time he voted against the first Gulf War to his position where he said you had to break Iraq up into three different counties. I never agreed with that. But I appreciate very much his dedication to trying to solve this genocide that’s going in Darfur and other things that Joe Biden has done. But we really have different approaches to many national security issues. I look forward to whoever my running mate will be having a respectful debate with him on that as well.

Senator Biden’s Remarks in Springfield, Ill:
I’ll say straight up to you – John McCain and the press knows this, is genuinely a friend of mine. I’ve known John for 35 years. He served our country with extraordinary courage and I know he wants to do right by America. But the harsh truth is, ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America when you boast. And these are John’s words, quote, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what he said. You can’t change America when you supported George Bush’s policies 95% of the time. You can’t change America when you believe, and these are his own words, that in the Bush administration we’ve made great progress economically. You can’t change America and make things better for our senior citizens when you signed on to Bush’s scheme of privatizing social security. You can’t change America and give our workers a fighting chance when after 3 million manufacturing jobs disappear, you continue to support tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas. You can’t change America and end this war in Iraq when you declare and, again, these are John’s words, no one has supported President Bush in Iraq more than I have, end of quote. Ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America, you can’t change America when you know your first four years as president will look exactly like the last eight years of George Bush’s presidency.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Vice President Announcement Springfield, IL, August 23, 2008

Nineteen months ago, on a cold February day right here on the steps of the Old State Capitol, I stood before you to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

We started this journey with a simple belief: that the American people were better than their government in Washington – a government that has fallen prey to special interests and policies that have left working people behind. As I’ve travelled to towns and cities, farms and factories, front porches and fairgrounds in almost all fifty states – that belief has been strengthened. Because at this defining moment in our history – with our nation at war, and our economy in recession – we know that the American people cannot afford four more years of the same failed policies and the same old politics in Washington. We know that the time for change has come.

For months, I’ve searched for a leader to finish this journey alongside me, and to join in me in making Washington work for the American people. I searched for a leader who understands the rising costs confronting working people, and who will always put their dreams first. A leader who sees clearly the challenges facing America in a changing world, with our security and standing set back by eight years of a failed foreign policy. A leader who shares my vision of an open government that calls all citizens – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – to a common purpose. Above all, I searched for a leader who is ready to step in and be President.

Today, I have come back to Springfield to tell you that I’ve found that leader – a man with a distinguished record and a fundamental decency – Joe Biden.

Joe Biden is that rare mix – for decades, he has brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn’t changed him. He’s an expert on foreign policy whose heart and values are rooted firmly in the middle class. He has stared down dictators and spoken out for America’s cops and firefighters. He is uniquely suited to be my partner as we work to put our country back on track….

We know what we’re going to get from the other side. Four more years of the same out-of-touch policies that created an economic disaster at home, and a disastrous foreign policy abroad. Four more years of the same divisive politics that is all about tearing people down instead of lifting this country up.

We can’t afford more of the same. I am running for President because that’s a future that I don’t accept for my daughters and I don’t accept it for your children. It’s time for the change that the American people need.

Now, with Joe Biden at my side, I am confident that we can take this country in a new direction; that we are ready to overcome the adversity of the last eight years; that we won’t just win this election in November, we’ll restore that fair shot at your dreams that is at the core of who Joe Biden and I are as people, and what America is as a nation. So let me introduce you to the next Vice President of the United States of America…

Hillary Clinton’s formal comment on Obama’s choice of Biden as his running mate: In naming my colleague and friend Senator Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Senator Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant. Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will help Senator Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country.

Obama speaking in Chester, Va., August 21, 2008: “Somebody asked John McCain, ‘How many houses do you have?’ And he said, I’m not sure. I’ll have to check with my staff. True quote: I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff. So they asked his staff and he said, at least four. At least four! … If you’re like me and you’ve got one house – or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don’t lose their home — you might have a different perspective. By the way, the answer is: John McCain has seven homes. So there’s just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain’s world and what people are going through every single day here in America.”

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers in response to Obama “Seven” ad, about the nuber of houses the McCain’s owns, August 21, 2008: “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people ‘cling’ to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans? The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.

Obama on His Veep Thinking a Time interview Download

Barack Obama describing his ideal running-mate, 8-19-08:
I want somebody who has integrity, who’s in politics for the right reasons, I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, ‘You know what, Mr. President, I think you’re wrong on this and here’s why,’ and who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, would be a key advisor. I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust to be president. That’s the first criteria for VP. And the final thing is, I want a president (SIC) who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now. I want someone who is not in it just because they want to have their name up in lights or end up being president. I want somebody who is mad right now that people are losing their jobs. And is mad right now that people have seen their incomes decline, and wants to rebuild the middle class in this country. That’s the kind of person that I want; somebody who in their gut knows where they came from and believes that we have to grow this country from the bottom up.

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June 30-July 14, 2008: Floundering on the Campaign Trail

Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 14, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: HNN, June 30-July 14, 2008

The week that was….

  • July 13, 2008: Obama claims “little doubt we’ve moved into recession.” McCain experienced a bumpy week after unveiling a new campaign hierarchy; McCain made a a concritized joke about U.S. cigarettes killing Iranians, he criticized the Social Security program, and one of his top ecomnic advisors called the country “a nation of whiners” suffering a “mental recession.”
  • July 12, 2008: Obama’s statement that the United States should be a multilngual nation has spawned criticism from Republicans.
  • July 11, 2008: McCain devotes a day to Women voters he spoke with female business owners in Minnesota and in Wisconsin held a women-oriented town-hall meeting, where he told the audience that his tax cuts will help women in small business. McCain also released a new ad titled “God’s Children aimed at drumming up support from Hispanic and Latino voters with its pro-immigrant message.
  • July 10, 2008: McCain distanced himself from Phil Gramm, one of his top ecomnic advisors’s comments where he called the country “a nation of whiners” suffering a “mental recession.” McCain told reporters “I strongly disagree” with Phil Gramm’s remarks. Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me.”
    Obama hosted with Hilary Clinton a “Women for Obama” breakfast fundraiser, where they criticized McCain on Women’s issues and Obama claimed “I will never back down in defending a woman’s right to choose.”
    While campaigning in Michigan McCain stated that Fannie and Freddie Mac “have been responsible for millions of Americans to be able to own their own homes, and they will not fail, we will not allow them to fail.”
  • July 9, 2008: Both Obama and McCain agreed there is a need to renew pressure on Iran after they tested missiles. Obama stressed diplomacy, while McCain emphasized tougher economic sanctions and the need to create a new missile defense system.
    Obama is planning a trip to Germany, however, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is uneasy about the prospects that Obama will speak at the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
  • July 8, 2008: Both McCain and Obama pitched different economic plans to Hispanic voters in attempts to woo voters.

The Stats

  • July 11, 2008: Gallup Poll Daily tracking claims Obama has a 6 point lead over McCain (48 percent to 42 percent).

Historians Comment

  • Julian Zelizer on “Is John McCain too old to be President?” Does age matter? There may be no starker test of that question than the U.S. election, which features the widest age gap between the two parties’ presidential nominees in U.S. history:
    “This is a moment when a lot of voters are talking about change and reform, and youth is often part of what we equate with that.” – National Post, 7-12-08
  • Devin Fergus, a history professor at Vanderbilt College and the author of Black Power, Soft Power on “Jewish leader looks to Obama
    Rabbi hopes strong ties to black leaders will be rekindled”: “One thing that works in Obama’s favor is his mantra that the ’60s are so yesterday. He’s not a descendent of slaves. He’s not trying to refight the cultural wars. That gives him space to distance himself from the divisive politics of Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan.” – Winston-Salem Journal, 7-12-08
  • Jonathan Sarna on “Jewish leader looks to Obama Rabbi hopes strong ties to black leaders will be rekindled”:
    Either way, Jews, blacks and other minorities have started moving away from voting as a block — a trend that American Jewish historian Jonathan Sarna sees as healthy, both for Jews and the political process. “Nothing could be better for the Jewish community than to have both parties vying for the Jewish vote,” said Sarna, who teaches at Brandeis University. “What makes America a great country, in my view, is that both parties have learned that it’s dangerous to write a group off. We have very close elections and every vote counts.” Winston-Salem Journal, 7-12-08
  • Rick Perlstein on “Vietnam remains politically potent”
    “It was such a profound trauma to the American psyche that has never been fully reckoned with or worked through,” said Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland, a book examining the debates of the 1960s and their effect on contemporary politics. “We’re just as divided over the meaning of that event (today) as the Democrats were at their 1968 convention.” – The Kansas City Star, 7-6-08
  • Mary Ann Wynkoop on “Vietnam remains politically potent”
    “There are still so many unresolved questions over our involvement in Vietnam,” said Mary Ann Wynkoop, history professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, “and the shadow it casts over almost every conflict that we get in.” …”It was the first war where patriotism was really questioned,” Wynkoop said. “There is still no closure to the issues that were raised.” – The Kansas City Star, 7-6-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Why Do We Care About Flag Pins?
    NPR, 7-4-08
  • Andrew J. Bacevich: What Bush hath wrought
    Now only two candidates remain standing. Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both insist that the presidential contest will mark a historic turning point. Yet, absent a willingness to assess in full all that Bush has wrought, the general election won’t signify a real break from the past.The burden of identifying and confronting the Bush legacy necessarily falls on Obama. Although for tactical reasons McCain will distance himself from the president’s record, he largely subscribes to the principles informing Bush’s post-9/11 policies. McCain’s determination to stay the course in Iraq expresses his commitment not simply to the ongoing conflict there, but to the ideas that gave rise to that war in the first place. While McCain may differ with the president on certain particulars, his election will affirm the main thrust of Bush’s approach to national security.

    The challenge facing Obama is clear: he must go beyond merely pointing out the folly of the Iraq war; he must demonstrate that Iraq represents the truest manifestation of an approach to national security that is fundamentally flawed, thereby helping Americans discern the correct lessons of that misbegotten conflict….

    This is a stiff test, not the work of a speech or two, but of an entire campaign. Whether or not Obama passes the test will determine his fitness for the presidency. – Boston Globe, 7-1-08

  • Robert Dallek on “Obama Hits Back at Questions About His Patriotism”
    “I give him credit. He is taking this very seriously,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek, who compared Obama’s travails to those of John F. Kennedy, which was plagued by whisper campaigns about the divided loyalties of the would-be first Catholic president. Those anti-Catholic whispers were a real threat to Kennedy, Dallek said, but they were not abetted by the stubborn, unruly Internet, nor were they stoked by the undercurrent of racial suspicion that Obama faces. – WaPo, 6-30-08
  • Allan Lichtman: Why Obama Is Colorblind and McCain Is Ageless
    Obama has shut down the dialogue by largely ignoring the most troubling and vexing issues of race relations in America… Obama has followed the lead of Bill Cosby in extolling the virtues of responsible fatherhood — staking a safe, responsible political position that meets the approval of blacks as well as whites. According to a survey conducted by the Suffolk University Political Research Center in 2007, 80% of black respondents agreed with Cosby’s “comments regarding personal responsibility within the black community.”…. This is just smart politics; it raises no risks for the candidate, and opens no fresh wounds. Obama has shied away from controversial racial issues at a time when 46% of whites and 63% of blacks say race relations are “not so good” or “poor,” according to a Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in June. About a third of both white and black respondents admitted to feelings of personal race prejudice.A similar silence has emerged from John McCain’s campaign on the most sensitive issue of his campaign: age. If McCain, who turns 72 in August, prevails in the general election, he will become the oldest non-incumbent candidate to be elected president. Ronald Reagan was 69 when first elected in 1980, and 73 when reelected in 1984. In dealing with the age issue, McCain has borrowed from both Reagan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Like Reagan, the presumptive Republican nominee he has used humor to diffuse the issue. In an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” McCain quipped, “I ask you, what should America be looking for in a president? Certainly someone who is very, very, very old.”… Like Obama on race, McCain has shrewdly sought to preempt any criticism that suggests he is too old for the presidency….
    In 2008, as in 1932 and 1980, most Americans are unhappy with both their incumbent president and the condition of their country. The challenge for Obama and McCain is to demonstrate that, like Roosevelt and Reagan, they have the rare mix of lofty vision and practical skill that is needed to achieve lasting, positive change. – The Forward, 6-26-08
  • Julian E. Zelizer, Meg Jacobs: Energy Talk Democrats Need to Learn to Sell Their Priorities
    …The United States is a country defined by suburbanization, cars, big houses and the extravagant use of fuel. With all its progress, the environmental movement did not halt this trend. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, has, over the years, been more complex in his actual policy positions but he just recently embraced the traditional GOP response of calling for off-shore drilling. Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will have to work on this challenge. As in the 1970s, Americans are again frustrated with the rising price of oil. But Democrats need to work on how they frame and sell their policies — or they could end up like Carter in 1979. – Washington Independent, 6-24-08
  • Michael Kazin and Julian E. Zelizer: A New Social Contract
    For the first time since 1964, Democrats have a good chance not just to win the White House and a majority in Congress but to enact a sweeping new liberal agenda. Conservative ideas are widely discredited, as is the Republican Party that the right has controlled since Ronald Reagan was elected. The war in Iraq has undermined the conservative case for unilateral military intervention and U.S. omnipotence. Economic insecurity has led Americans to question the rhetoric about “big” government, while President Bush’s embrace of new federal programs has undermined GOP promises to cut spending…. – WaPo, 6-22-08
  • Allida Black on “Arming Obama Sen. Jim Webb — Vietnam Vet, ‘Redneck’ — Is Emerging As the Democrats’ Military Point Man; The ‘VP!’ Chant”
    “Jim Webb is an enigma, and his silence on women’s issues makes us nervous,” says Allida Black, history professor and editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. Wall Street Journal, 6-21-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Barack Obama speaking at a High School in repose to his remarks from July 8, 2008 in Powder Springs, Ga.:Response: “The Republicans jumped on this. I said, absolutely immigrants need to learn English, but we also need to learn foreign languages. This is an example of some of the problems we get into when somebody attacks you for saying the truth, which is: We should want our children with more knowledge. We should want our children to have more skills. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s a good thing. I know, because I don’t speak a foreign language. It’s embarrassing.”

    Previous comments: “I agree that immigrants should learn English. But instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they’ll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language.”

  • Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Joint Event with Senator Hillary Clinton, July 10, 2008 …It’s something I hear all the time from working parents, especially working women – many of whom are working more than one job to make ends meet. And then there are the jobs you have once the workday ends: whether it’s cleaning the house or paying the bills or buying the groceries, helping with that science project or enforcing those bedtimes. The jobs you don’t get paid for, but that hold our families together. Jobs that still, even in the year 2008, far too often fall to women.

    But let’s be clear: these issues – equal pay, work/family balance, childcare – these are by no means just women’s issues. When a job doesn’t offer family leave, that also hurts men who want to help care for a new baby or an ailing parent. When there’s no affordable childcare or afterschool programs, that hurts children who wind up in second rate care, or spending afternoons alone in front of the TV. When women still make just 77 cents for every dollar men make – black and Latina women even less – that doesn’t just hurt women, it hurts families who find themselves with less income, and have to work even harder just to get by….

    And let’s be clear, the Supreme Court’s ruling on equal pay is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s at stake in this election. Usually, when we talk about the Court, it’s in the context of reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade. And make no mistake about it, that’s a critical issue in this election. Senator McCain has made it abundantly clear that he wants to appoint justices like Roberts and Alito – and that he hopes to see Roe overturned. Well, I stand by my votes against confirming Justices Roberts and Alito. And I’ve made it equally clear that I will never back down in defending a woman’s right to choose.

  • Remarks By John McCain On His Jobs For America Economic Plan, July 7, 2008:
    “…I have a plan to grow this economy, create more and better jobs, and get America moving again. I have a plan to reform government, achieve energy security, and ensure that healthcare and a quality education are affordable and available for all. I believe the role of government is to unleash the creativity, ingenuity and hard work of the American people, and make it easier to create jobs.
    At its core, the economy isn’t the sum of an array of bewildering statistics. It’s about where Americans work, how they live, how they pay their bills today and save for tomorrow. It’s about small businesses opening their doors, hiring employees and growing. It’s about giving workers the education and training to find a good job and prosper in it. It’s about the aspirations of the American people to build a better life for their families; dreams that begin with a job….
    Americans are having a tough time. But we’ve been through worse, and beaten longer odds. Even in these difficult days, we must believe in ourselves. Nothing is inevitable in America. We’ve always been the captains of our fate. All you’ve ever asked of government is that it stand on your side, not in your way. I intend to do just that: to stand on your side; to help business and not government create jobs; to fight for your future and not the personal ambitions of politicians and bureaucrats.”
  • Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: League of United Latin American Citizens, July 08, 2008: …That’s something I want to talk about because I’m told that today’s theme is “diversity in government.” So I’ve been thinking about why that’s important and about what it means to have a government that represents all Americans. It’s not just about making sure that men and women of every race, religion, and background are represented at every level of government – though that’s a critical part of it. It’s not just about sending a message to our children that everyone can lead and everyone can serve – although that too is important. It’s about making sure that we have a government that knows that a problem facing any American is a problem facing all Americans.

    A government that works for all Americans – that’s the kind of government I’m talking about. And that’s the kind of government I’ve been fighting to build throughout my over 20 years in public service.

    It’s why I reached across the aisle in the Senate to fight for comprehensive immigration reform. It’s why I brought Democrats and Republicans together in Illinois to put $100 million in tax cuts into the pockets of hardworking families, to expand health care to 150,000 children and parents, and to help end the outrage of Latinas making 57 cents for every dollar that many of their male coworkers make. It’s why I worked with LULAC and MALDEF as a civil rights lawyer to register Latino voters and ensure that Hispanics had an equal voice in City Hall….

    That’s the commitment I’m making to you. I marched with you in the streets of Chicago to meet our immigration challenge. I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President – not only because we have an obligation to secure our borders and get control of who comes in and out of our country. And not only because we have to crack down on employers who are abusing undocumented immigrants instead of hiring citizens. But because we have to finally bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. Yes, they broke the law. And they should have to pay a fine, and learn English, and go to the back of the line. That’s how we’ll put them on a pathway to citizenship. That’s how we’ll finally fix our broken immigration system and avoid creating a servant class in our midst. It’s time to reconcile our values and principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That’s what this election is all about.

  • Remarks by John McCain at the NALEO Conference, June 28, 2008: …Let me close by talking briefly about my respect and gratitude for the contributions of Hispanic-Americans to the culture, economy and security of the country I have served all my adult life. I represent Arizona where Spanish was spoken before English was, and where the character and prosperity of our state owes a great deal to the many Arizonans of Hispanic descent who live there. And I know this country, which I love more than almost anything, would be the poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of those millions of Americans whose families came here from Mexico, Central and South America. I will honor their contributions to America for as long as I live.

    I and many other colleagues twice attempted to pass comprehensive immigration legislation to fix our broken borders; ensure respect for the laws of this country; recognize the important economic necessity of immigrant laborers; apprehend those who came here illegally to commit crimes; and deal practically and humanely with those who came here, as my distant ancestors did, to build a better, safer life for their families, without excusing the fact they came here illegally or granting them privileges before those who did. Many Americans, with good cause, did not believe us when we said we would secure our borders, and so we failed in our efforts. We must prove to them that we can and will secure our borders first, while respecting the dignity and rights of citizens and legal residents of the United States. But we must not make the mistake of thinking that our responsibility to meet this challenge will end with that accomplish ment. We have economic and humanitarian responsibilities as well, and they require no less dedication from us in meeting them.

  • Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: A Serious Energy Policy for Our Future, June 24, 2008: …After all those years in Washington, John McCain still doesn’t get it. I commend him for his desire to accelerate the search for a battery that can power the cars of the future. I’ve been talking about this myself for the last few years. But I don’t think a $300 million prize is enough. When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn’t put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win – he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people. That’s the kind of effort we need to achieve energy independence in this country, and nothing less will do. But in this campaign, John McCain offering the same old gimmicks that will provide almost no short-term relief to folks who are struggling with high gas prices; gimmicks that will only increase our oil addiction for another four years….

    I realize that gimmicks like the gas tax holiday and offshore drilling might poll well these days. But I’m not running for President to do what polls well, I’m running to do what’s right for America. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make gas prices go down, but I can’t. What I can do – and what I will do – is push for a second stimulus package that will send out another round of rebate checks to the American people. What I will do as President is tax the record profits of oil companies and use the money to help struggling families pay their energy bills. I will provide a $1,000 tax cut that will go to 95% of all workers and their families in this country. And I will close the loophole that allows corporations like Enron to engage in unregulated speculation that ends up artificially driving up the price of oil. That’s how we’ll provide real relief to the American people. That’s the change we need….

    When all is said and done, my plan to increase our fuel standards will save American consumers from purchasing half a trillion gallons of gas over the next eighteen years. My entire energy plan will produce three times the oil savings that John McCain’s ever could – and what’s more, it will actually decrease our dependence on oil while his will only grow our addiction further.

  • Remarks by John McCain on Energy Security and Safeguarding Our Environment, June 24, 2008: We’re in the middle of a great debate in this presidential campaign about the energy security of the United States. For my part, in recent days I’ve been laying out a clear agenda to protect our economy from runaway energy costs, and to break America’s dependence on foreign oil. This is going to require the best efforts and ideas of our country, and I am confident we are up to the task. At a time when a gallon of gas is running at more than four dollars, our government needs to shake off years of partisan paralysis that have prevented America from achieving energy security. Nothing is more urgent right now than regaining our energy security — we need to get it done and get it right.

    The immediate problems of high gasoline prices and of our strategic dependence on foreign oil are upon us. And on recent days I’ve been setting forth a plan of action. When people are hurting, and struggling to afford gasoline, food, and other necessities, common sense requires that we draw upon America’s own vast reserves of oil and natural gas. When nations across Europe and Asia are building nuclear power plants to meet their electricity needs, America, too, must make more use of this clean, efficient, and proven source of power. And we must turn all the brilliance and ingenuity of America loose in the search for alternative energy sources — from cleaner coal and wind power to biofuels and solar….

    This is why I further propose we inspire the ingenuity and resolve of the American people by offering a $300 million prize for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars. This is one dollar for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency — and should deliver a power source at 30 percent of the current costs….

    In these and other ways, we can meet the challenge of global warming with all the resources of human ingenuity at our disposal. Like other environmental challenges — only more so — climate change presents a test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next. We Americans like to say that there is no problem we can’t solve, however complicated, and no obstacle we cannot overcome if we meet it together.

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June 23, 2008: Campaign Financing & Future First Ladies in the Spotlight

Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 23, 2008

Reprinted from HNN

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    The week that was….

  • June 16, 2008: Former Vice President Al Gore endorses Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination.
  • June 17, 2008: Obama reached the million mark in Facebook supporters. That is more supporters than any other page on the most popular social network site.
    A McCain adviser claims “Senator Obama is a perfect manifestation of a September 10th mind-set. … He does not understand the nature of the enemies we face.”
  • June 18, 2008: Barack Obama said in bring Osama bin Laden to justice he would not allow him to become a martyr. “First of all, I think there is an executive order out on Osama bin Laden’s head. And if I’m president, and we have the opportunity to capture him, we may not be able to capture him alive.”
    McCain disccussed energy issues and ways to reduce depency on foreign oil, which would include construction of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030 and $2 billion “to make clean coal a reality.”
  • June 19, 2008: Barak Obama opted-out of the public campaign financing system. Previously Obama claimed he would use the system if Republican John McCain decided to use it. McCain visits flood ridden Iowa despite Gov. Chet Culver request to cancel the campaign visit.
  • June 20, 2008: Barack Obama is considering Former Senators John Edwards and Sam Nunn as potential running mates, former Vice-President Al Gore is also being mentioned.
  • June 21, 2008: Obama criticized McCain for opposing federal flood prevention programs and spending on levees. The issue is in the spotlight since areas of the Mid-West are still flooded from tornadoes and heavy rains that swept through the area. While McCain critized Obama’s opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • The Stats

  • A Quinnipiac University poll found that Obama leads in the three critical states; Florida (47 percent to 43 percent), Ohio (48 percent to 42 percent), and Pennsylvania (52 percent to 40 percent).
  • Michelle Obama is viewed more favorably by voters than Cindy McCain, 48 percent to 39 percent ABC News, 6-18-08
  • Unfavorable view by voters: Obama 29 percent vs. McCain 25 percent – ABC News, 6-18-08
  • Historians Comments:

  • Betty Koed, assistant historian of the Senate:
    Mr. Obama’s Washington He wants to change the culture there. But it’s hard to fix a place you’ve never really known. – Newsweek, 6-30-08
  • Victor Davis Hanson Obama promises to bring change — but what kind?
    By this point in the presidential campaign, the public knows that a charismatic Barack Obama wants sweeping “change.” While the national media have often fallen hard for the Illinois senator’s rhetoric — MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said he felt a “thrill going up my leg” during an Obama speech — exactly what kind of change can Obama bring if he’s elected in November?…

    Overall, Obama’s announced policies are sounding pretty much the same old, same old once promised by candidates like George McGovern, Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale, Al Gore and John Kerry. Of course, a return to the standard big- government nostrums of the past may well be what the angry voters want after 20 years of the Bushes and Clintons.

    But it is not a novel agenda, much less championed by a post-racial, post-political emissary.

    So what are the Democrats thinking? That a mesmerizing, path-breaking African-American candidate — coupled with Bush exhaustion — will overcome past public skepticism of Northern presidential Democratic candidates, traditional liberal agendas and Obama’s own relative lack of experience.

    In other words, we should count on hope rather than change. – Fresno Bee, 6-22-08

  • John Hope Franklin Calls Obama Success “Amazing” – NPR, 6-20-08
  • John Hope Franklin on an Obama Presidency Esteemed historian reacts to a historic race, one he never believed he would witness in his lifetime:
    “Franklin reminisces about how his mother encouraged him as a youngster to tell people he wanted to become “the first Negro president of the United States.” He says the phrase then seemed “so far-fetched, so incredible that we used to really have fun just saying it.”

    “He has shown an ability to bridge the divides in our society and unite people behind his agenda for change,” he said in his mid April endorsement of Obama. – TheRoot.com, 6-19-08 Video of the Interview

  • Robert Mutch, a campaign-finance historian on “Obama Opts Out of Public Funding for His Campaign”:
    “I’m very much in favor of public financing. However, the existing public-financing law has been flawed from the start. The main problem with the public-financing system for nearly the last 30 years is that it became too easy to get around it.” – Christian Science Monitor, 6-19-08
  • Myra Gutin, a first lady historian at New Jersey’s Rider University and author of the 1989 book “The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the 20th Century” on ” Michelle Obama Makes Appeal to Women Voters, Co-Hosts ‘The View’ Potential First Lady Attempts to Soften Image as Husband Fights for Critical Votes “:
    “She needs to relax, show she has a sense of humor and is someone who can laugh at herself. I see Michelle Obama taking advantage of more of the opportunities of the White House, making speeches on causes important to her, and see Cindy McCain taking on a more traditional, supportive spouse role.” – ABC News, 6-18-08
  • Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University on “Race for first lady”: Top Picks : Race for first lady : CTV Newsnet: Gil Troy, presidential historian With five months till the presidential election, the spotlight is now on the political wives. Both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama are trying to court the public but have stereotypes working against them. – CTV NewsNet, 6-18-08
  • Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a first ladies historian on “Michelle Obama preps for general election close-up”:
    Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a first ladies historian, said it’s important for Michelle Obama to define herself before others define her. “One comment made off-hand … might be easily misinterpreted by the opposition,” he said. – CNN, 6-18-08
  • Allan Lichtman: The (Non-Electoral) Case for the Obama-Clinton Ticket – Britannica Blog, 6-17-08
  • Bruce Bartlett: Election 2008: Obamacons: Conservatives That Support Obama – NPR, 6-13-08
  • On the Campaign Trail….

    Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Predicting that Ohio and the Presidency will go to Barack Obama, June 21, 2008
    “Barack Obama is the nominee of our party. He is a bright, committed, energizing young leader. I met with him yesterday in Chicago and I pledged to him then, as I had previously, that I will work my heart out for him and that Ohio will work her heart out for him.”

    Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: A Metropolitan Strategy for America’s Future, June, 21, 2008 This is something of a homecoming for me. Because while I stand here today as a candidate for President of the United States, I will never forget that the most important experience in my life came when I was doing what you do each day – working at the local level to bring about change in our communities….

    And it’s precisely because you’re on the front lines in our communities that you know what happens when Washington fails to do its job. It may be easy for some in Washington to remain out of touch with the consequences of the decisions that are made there – but not you….

    And just the other day, Senator McCain traveled to Iowa to express his sympathies for the victims of the recent flooding. I’m sure they appreciated the sentiment, but they probably would have appreciated it more if he hadn’t voted against funding for levees and flood control programs, which he seems to consider pork. Well, we do have to reform budget earmarks, cut genuine pork, and dispense with unnecessary spending, as we confront a budget crisis left by the most fiscally irresponsible administration in modern times….

    But understand – while the change we seek will require major investments by a more accountable government, it will not come from government alone. Washington can’t solve all our problems. The statehouse can’t solve all our problems. City Hall can’t solve all our problems. It goes back to what I learned as a community organizer all those years ago – that change in this country comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom up. Change starts at a level that’s even closer to the people than our mayors – it starts in our homes. It starts in our families. It starts by raising our children right, by turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; by going to those parent-teacher conferences and helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example. It starts by being good neighbors and good citizens who are willing to volunteer in our communities – to keep them clean, to keep them safe, and to serve as mentors and teachers to all of our children.

    That’s where change begins. That’s how we’ll bring about change in our neighborhoods. And if change comes to our neighborhoods, then change will come to our cities. And if change comes to our cities, then change will come to our regions. And if change comes to our regions, then I truly believe change will come to every corner of this country we love.

    Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker in a statement for the McCain campaign on Barack Obama’s Decision not to use Federal Campaign Funding, June 19, 2008 “Today, Barack Obma has revealed himself to be just another typical politician who will do and say whatever is most expedient for Barack Obama. The true test of a candidate for president is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people. Barack Obama has failed that test today, and his reversal of his promise to participate in the public financing system undermines his call for a new type of politics.”

    Remarks By John McCain On Energy Security, June 17, 2008

    I first addressed this issue at the outset of my primary campaign. And in just that time — a little more than a year — the price of a barrel of oil has more than doubled. And the price of a gallon of gas in America stands at more than four dollars. Yesterday, a barrel of oil cost about 134 dollars. And various oil ministers and investment firms have confidently informed us that soon we can expect to pay 200 dollars for every barrel, and as much as seven dollars for every gallon of gas. That may come as good news in Moscow, Riyadh, or Caracas, where economic growth and rising oil prices are more or less the same thing. But their oil prosperity is our energy vulnerability. And the jobs, family budgets, and futures of the American people should not depend on the whims of foreign powers. Oil and gasoline are the most vital of all commodities in a modern economy. Their price affects the cost of things even more basic and essential. America’s dependence on foreign oil is a matter of large and far-reaching consequences — none of them good….

    The next president must be willing to break with the energy policies not just of the current Administration, but the administrations that preceded it, and lead a great national campaign to achieve energy security for America. So in the days ahead I plan to return to the subject in a series of discussions to explain my reform agenda. And I will set forth a strategy to free America once and for all from our strategic dependence on foreign oil.

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June 16, 2008: It’s the economy again, stupid as both candidates tout their plans

Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 21, 2008

The week that was….

  • June 16, 2008: Former Vice President Al Gore endorses Obama.
  • June 15, 2008: McCain cancels a fundraiser in Texas after questions concerning the host Texas oilman, Clayton “Claytie” Williams’ 1990 jokes about rape. Many black conservative consider voting for Obama because he is making history as the first black to capture a Presidential nomination.
  • June, 14, 2008: John McCain publicly opposes the Supreme Court decision that would allow suspected terrorist detainees the right to appeal for their release in federal courts.
  • June 13, 2008: Obama proposes taxing incomes above $250,000. The McCain, Obama camps fail to agree on the town hall sessions, McCain wants ten, Obama wants just one around July 4th.
  • June 12, 2008: The Obama campaign creates a website http://www.fightthesmears.com to debunk campaign myths after Michelle Obama was accused of using the racial slur “whitey.”
  • June 11, 2008: at the start of the general campaign, Obama is the favorite to win Iowa in the election. Obama’s adviser and top vetter for Vice Presidential candidates, Jim Johnson resigned amid calls of a loan scandal.
  • June 10, 2008: McCain, Obama criticize each other’s plans to rejuvenate the economy, jabs traded on taxes.
  • June 9, 2008: Nominees John McCain and Barack Obama negotiate to meet for 10 hall meetings in the next couple of months, but reject NYC Mayor Bloomberg and ABC’s offer to host the first one on grounds that they do not want just one network airing it.

The Stats

  • June 12, 2008: Gallup Poll Daily reports Barack Obama leads John McCain 48 percent to 42 percent.

Historians Comment

  • Blair Kelley a historian of social movements at North Carolina State University in Raleigh on “How Clinton and Obama boosted feminism, civil rights The primary contest helped both of the historical causes, though some tensions erupted”:
    “Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have transformed what people, from all walks of life, believe is possible.” – Christian Science Monitor, 6-17-08
  • Norman McRae on “Obama’s candidacy is writing history”:
    Obama, win or lose, will become the symbol. But Detroit historian Norman McRae wants more. “I think that every African American should go to the polls and vote for Barack Obama,” he said. McCrae, who first voted for Harry S. Truman in 1948, is 82. He said that Obama “validates all the activities from Frederick Douglass to Jesse Jackson, from Ida B. Wells to now. It validates all of them.” – Detroit Free Press, 6-15-08
  • Jeremy Varon, a historian at Drew University on “McCain ad asserts his hatred of war Senator shifts tone to draw moderates”:
    “To me, the ad is much more playing off Bush than playing off Obama,” said Jeremy Varon, a historian at Drew University in Madison, N.J., who has studied antiwar movements. “The point of this is for McCain to say: ‘I’m very different from my predecessor even if I want to fight the same war.’” – Boston Globe, 6-11-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Obama rebuts rumors on new Web site”:
    “There is a line between scurrilous nonsense and serious discussion, that laps over, especially in this day and age, when you’ve got all this electronic media and these blogs and this kind of fanatical impulse to bring down the opposing candidate…. You never know what’s going to take hold… Dallek, the historian, said it was not surprising to see the latest swirl of political rumor and innuendo. “There have always been rumors,” he said: “That Andrew Jackson was a polygamist, that Grover Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child, that James G. Blaine was a corruptionist.” Some claims – such as those in 1960 that John F. Kennedy was a womanizer – were even true, he added. – International Herald Tribune, 6-11-08
  • Robert Dallek, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles on “Historians See Little Chance for McCain”:
    “These things go in cycles. The public gets tired of one approach to politics. There is always a measure of optimism in this country, so they turn to the other party.” – Politico.com, 6-15-08
  • James Campbell, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo who specializes in campaigns and elections on “Historians See Little Chance for McCain”:
    “Open-seat elections are somewhat different, so the referendum aspect is somewhat muted. McCain would be in much better shape if Bush’s approval rating were at 45 to 50 percent. But the history is that in-party candidates are not penalized or rewarded to the same degree as incumbents.” – Politico.com, 6-15-08
  • Sidney Milkis, a professor of presidential politics at the University of Virginia on “Historians See Little Chance for McCain”: “I can’t think of an upset where the underdog faced quite the odds that McCain faces in this election.” Even “Truman didn’t face as difficult a political context as McCain.” – Politico.com, 6-15-08
  • Allan Lichtman, an American University presidential historian who ran in a Maryland Democratic senatorial primary in 2006 on “Historians See Little Chance for McCain”:
    “This should be an overwhelming Democratic victory.” Lichtman, whose forecasting model has correctly predicted the last six presidential popular vote winners, predicts that this year, “Republicans face what have always been insurmountable historical odds.” His system gives McCain a score on par with Jimmy Carter’s in 1980. – Politico.com, 6-15-08
  • Joan Hoff, a professor at Montana State University and former president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency on “Historians See Little Chance for McCain”:
    “McCain shouldn’t win it,” said presidential historian She compared McCain’s prospects to those of Hubert Humphrey, whose 1968 loss to Richard Nixon resulted in large part from the unpopularity of sitting Democratic president Lyndon Johnson. – Politico.com, 6-15-08
  • Allan J. Lichtman’s KEYS TO THE ELECTION in “Political patterns favor Obama, scholars say “:
    Historian Allan J. Lichtman is renowned in political circles for his “13 keys to the White House.” Over nearly a century and a half, no candidate from the incumbent party has won the presidency if six or more of the keys are going against him. Key 1: Party mandate. After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House than it did after the previous midterm elections.
    Key 2: Contest. There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination.
    Key 3: Incumbency. The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president.
    Key 4: Third party. There is no significant third-party or independent campaign.
    Key 5: Short-term economy. The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
    Key 6: Long-term economy. Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
    Key 7: Policy change. The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
    Key 8: Social unrest. There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
    Key 9: Scandal. The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
    Key 10: Foreign/military failure. The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
    Key 11: Foreign/military success. The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
    Key 12: Incumbent charisma. The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
    Key 13: Challenger charisma. The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. – www.signonsandiego.com, 6-16-08
  • Alan Schroeder: Historian Imagines McCain-Obama Debate – NPR, 6-17-08
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin on “Next for Clinton: Vice President? Senate? Governor?” – NPR, 6-5-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on “Town Hall Meetings for McCain, Obama?” – NPR, 6-5-08
  • Mary Frances Berry, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and former chair of the Civil Rights Commission on “Obama: History in the Making” – NPR, 6-4-08

On the Campaign Trail….

    Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Change That Works for You, June 9, 2008 …I’ve often said that this election represents a defining moment in our history. On major issues like the war in Iraq or the warming of our planet, the decisions we make in November and over the next few years will shape a generation, if not a century.That is especially true when it comes to our economy….We will begin this general election campaign by traveling across the country for the next few weeks to talk about what specifically we need to do to build a 21st economy that works for working Americans. I will speak with economic experts and advisors at the end of the tour, but first I want to speak with you, and hear about your thoughts and your struggles in the places where you live and work. And at each stop, I will take the opportunity to lay out the very real and very serious differences on the economy between myself and Senator McCain….

    This is the choice you will face in November. You can vote for John McCain, and see a continuation of Bush economic policies – more tax cuts to the wealthy, more corporate tax breaks, more mountains of debt, and little to no relief for families struggling with the rising costs of everything from health care to a college education.

    But I don’t think that is the future we want. The Americans I’ve met over the last sixteen months in town halls and living rooms; on farms and front porches – they may come from different places and have different backgrounds, but they hold common hopes and dream the same simple dreams. They know government can’t solve all their problems, and they don’t expect it to. They believe in personal responsibility, and hard work, and self-reliance. They don’t like seeing their tax dollars wasted.

  • Remarks by John McCain at the NFIB and eBay 2008 National Small Business Summit, June 10, 2008…Now that we know who I will be facing in the general election, the real debate over economic policy can begin. And as you may have heard, Senator Obama and I might well be meeting soon in a series of town hall discussions. Just the two of us, in direct conversation with voters. No need to turn it into a big media-run production with process questions from reporters, a spin room, and all the rest of it. To keep things friendly, I also suggested that my opponent and I travel to these town hall meetings together in the same plane.Our disagreements in these town hall meetings will be civil and friendly, but they will also be clear for all to see. On tax policy, health-care reform, trade, government spending, and a long list of other issues, we offer very different choices to the American people. And those choices will have very different consequences for American workers and small business owners.

    No matter which of us wins in November, there will be change in Washington. The question is what kind of change? Will we enact the single largest tax increase since the Second World War as my opponent proposes, or will we keep taxes low for families and employers? This election offers Americans a very distinct choice about what kind of change we will have. This is especially true for the small business community.

    Let me speak to you about the change I will seek….

    My goal, however, is not to denigrate government but to make it better, not to deride it but to restore its good name. Government should be on your side, not in your way. It will be hard work, but it is a cause worthy of our best efforts. And if we do it well, in the right spirit, it will be because we have again put our country’s interests before the interests of parties, bureaucracies and self-interest. And then we will finally reclaim the confidence of the people we serve.

  • Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore in an email…, June 16, 2008
    Dear Friend,A few hours from now I will step on stage in Detroit, Michigan to announce my support for Senator Barack Obama. From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States.Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges — including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.

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