Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Using President Bush - but Carefully

In an article today in the NY Times, more coverage was given to McCain's use of President Bush for the purposes of campaigning. Many in the GOP want to walk a very fine line - using Bush to reach the far right, but limiting his position on the campaign trail so as to not hurt McCain with the general public that do not favor Bush.

McCain and Bush try not to appear together too often...

The last time the two met — 83 days ago — President Bush promised that he would do whatever Senator John McCain asked him to do to help elect him the 44th president.

“You know, if he wants me to show up, I will,” Mr. Bush said in the Rose Garden. “If he wants me to say, ‘You know, I’m not for him,’ I will.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Bush’s role became much clearer when he held his first event for Mr. McCain. He will show up to raise money (thank you very much), and he will say and do as little as possible, at least in public view.

A large, and presumably public, fund-raiser at the Convention Center here was hastily rescheduled for the seclusion of a private home on Tuesday evening in Scottsdale. Mr. McCain’s main public appearance of the day was a foreign policy speech in Denver, not the visit by the president to his home state.

Mr. McCain used the speech, like others in recent weeks, to draw differences between his policies and Mr. Bush’s, even as Democrats redoubled their efforts to lash them together into an inextricable McBush ’08.


Democrats Miss Marks to Finance Convention

The Democratic Party is struggling to raise money for its convention in Denver on Aug. 25-28, with fund-raising by the host committee falling far short of the party’s goals and lagging behind the Republicans’ efforts for their convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

So far, the Denver host committee is about $15 million short of the $40.6 million it must raise by June 16. With only $25 million raised so far, the committee is scrambling to offer a new round of special deals for corporate underwriters, as well as to devise a backup plan should the fund-raising fall short and plans for the convention need to be scaled down.

“We will raise the money,” Chris Lopez, a spokesman for the host committee, said. “We are working every day to get it done. We are in a situation where we have to get it done and we will. We can’t make any excuses.”

There are many reasons that have been floated for the money woes faced by the Denver committee. It is not uncommon for host committees to lag in fund-raising, only to see large donations arrive in the month before the convention. And some are concerned that the protracted nominating fight between Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has made fund-raising more difficult.


Obama’s Staff Corrects WWII Story

The family tree of Senator Barack Obama has been the subject of much discussion – and inspection – since he arrived on the national political stage four years ago.
In response to a question at a Memorial Day appearance in New Mexico, Mr. Obama said an uncle helped liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during World War II. The problem? That story didn’t track with history, considering Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet forces.
So on Tuesday, the campaign acknowledged the senator made a mistake and mentioned the wrong camp. It actually was Buchenwald, according to spokesman Bill Burton.

“Senator Obama’s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II – especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald,” Mr. Burton said in a statement. “Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically.”
The correct story is that Mr. Obama’s great uncle, Charlie Payne – his grandmother’s brother – actually helped liberate Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald. Mr. Payne was a member of the 89th Infantry Division.
The Republican National Committee, which carefully tracks Mr. Obama’s statements, first distributed a copy of a story that questioned the Memorial Day claim.

Clinton’s Grand Design

The campaigns have become fond of those teaser e-mail messages. They make you think they’re making some big announcement (like, say, suspending their campaigns), but then it’s just some silly pitch.
So we knew something was afoot when we received a note from Chelsea Clinton with the subject “An important decision…”
Inside: “We need your help to make a critical decision — our next official campaign T-shirt.”

That’s right, with less than a week left in the primary campaign, the Clinton campaign is still working the silk screen. Supporters can vote among the finalists in a design contest the campaign held earlier this month.
The choices range from the snarky – “She was for universal health care before universal health care was cool” – to the earnest: “For everyone who’s been counted out but refused to be knocked out and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you!” (Proper comma inclusion evidently was not a chief concern of the judges.)
The winning shirt will go on sale at the campaign’s online store.

I guess it's not over after all - at least - not to Hillary!

Want one? Click here to go to Hillary's store!

Senate Republicans block plan to improve medical care in California prisons

In a LA Times article this morning, it was announced that the GOP is blocking medical plan improvements for prisoners.

In an ominous sign for efforts to end federal oversight of state prisons, state Senate Republicans on Tuesday rejected a $7-billion proposal to build medical facilities intended to improve unconstitutionally poor healthcare for inmates.

The plan was created by a federal receiver and backed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who appointed the receiver, wrote a letter last week urging lawmakers to approve it.

But Senate Republicans balked at the bill's high price tag and objected that it had not been coordinated with other plans that could dramatically affect state prisons, such as a proposal for settling a federal court case on overcrowding by reducing the inmate population by tens of thousands.

In two days, some of the same Republican legislators, the Schwarzenegger administration, inmates' lawyers and other parties to the overcrowding case are scheduled to report in federal court whether they agree to the settlement, which would divert some convicted criminals and parole violators into local treatment programs, county jails and alternative forms of incarceration.

Advocates for inmates in the case assert that overcrowding is the main cause of substandard healthcare in California prisons. Republican lawmakers and some local officials have expressed reservations about the proposed deal. A panel of three federal judges is poised to hold a trial that could result in a mass release of prisoners if the settlement talks fail.


Fla., Mich. can't be fully restored !!!

A Democratic Party rules committee has the authority to seat some delegates from Michigan and Florida but not fully restore the two states as Hillary Rodham Clinton wants, according to party lawyers.

Democratic National Committee rules require that the two states lose at least half of their convention delegates for holding elections too early, the party's legal experts wrote in a 38-page memo.

The memo was sent late Tuesday to the 30 members of the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee, which plans to meet Saturday at a Washington hotel. The committee is considering ways to include the two important general election battlegrounds at the nominating convention in August, and the staff analysis says seating half the delegates is "as far as it legally can" go.

Saturday's meeting is expected to draw a large crowd, with Clinton supporters among those encouraging a protest outside demanding that all the states' delegates be seated. Proponents of full reseating have mailed committee members Florida oranges and pairs of shoes to get their attention.

DNC officials are concerned about a potentially large turnout at the "Count Every Vote" rally outside the event and have asked the hotel staff to increase security to keep everyone safe. The DNC says the roughly 500 seats available to the public inside were taken within three or four minutes of becoming available online Tuesday.

Obama competitive against McCain

Barack Obama has done poorly in the Democratic primaries with women, Catholics and others who will be pivotal in this fall's presidential election. Yet early polling shows that with several of these groups, he's competitive when matched against Republican John McCain.

A look at voters who have been closely contested in recent presidential elections — or veered from one party to the other, making them true swing groups — shows a significant number have leaned toward Obama's rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the primaries. Besides women and Catholics, these include the elderly, the less educated and suburbanites, leading Clinton to argue that this makes her the Democrats' stronger candidate for the fall campaign.

Yet Obama's performance with these voters in the primaries doesn't necessarily mean he'd do poorly with them in the general election, assuming he nails down the last few convention delegates he needs to win the nomination.

Polls this month show the Illinois senator leading McCain among women, running even with him among Catholics and suburbanites and trailing him with people over age 65. Results vary by poll for those without college degrees. And though Obama trails decisively with a group that has shunned him against Clinton — whites who have not completed college — he's doing about the same with them as the past two Democratic presidential candidates.

Obama is doing well against McCain with groups he has dominated in the primaries. Polls show him ahead of the Arizona senator with young people and college graduates, though the results vary from poll to poll among independents.