Archive for the ‘campaign’ Category

“You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life.” – Bush to Obama

November 5, 2008

President Bush has called Barack Obama to congratulate him on winning the presidency.

The two-term Republican president told the Illinois senator upon his historic win: “What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters.”

Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president Tuesday night in dominant fashion, besting Republican John McCain.

Bush promised Obama a smooth transition to the White House.

Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president told Obama: “You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself.”

From the Associated Press

President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Senator ... 
President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) during a congratulatory phone call from the Treaty Room at the White House November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Draper/Handout

The “Trust Me With Blind Faith” Campaign Ends; Reality Starts Wednesday

November 4, 2008

This election will be remembered as the campaign that ignited a religious revival. Never have so many atheists, skeptics, agnostics, secularists, heretics, freethinkers and rationalists hit the sawdust trail to imbibe so much on blind faith, and to make it their religion. Eat your heart out, Billy Graham.

The Hyde Park messiah’s flock makes up a weird and unlikely congregation, ranging from the true believers on the left yearning for the Kool-Aid moment to mainstream white voters eager to shut their eyes, spin around twice, cross their hearts and hope to die, squeeze a rabbit’s hind foot, throw the ivories over a shoulder, and audaciously hope for the best.

By Wesley Pruden 
Editor Emeritus
The Times

The most disappointed may be the Kool-Aid fans, who expect to be out of Iraq by Friday noon. Or the most disappointed may be the voters seduced from the mainstream, including the recovering conservatives who have persuaded themselves that the senator from Nairobi (or Jakarta or Honolulu or Chicago) doesn’t really believe all that stuff he says about raising taxes, redistributing the wealth, apologizing to Europe and becoming good buddies with the radical Muslims eager to kill us and decapitate the culture and values of the West. They’re convinced that once in the White House the messiah will cut loose the friends, mentors and allies he has collected over his 46 years and govern like the closet Ronald Reagan they know he really is. Such is true faith in the supernatural.

Nobody will be more disappointed than those who follow Mr. Obama because he’s of a darker (barely) hue than the presidents on the paper money. The whites in the coalition of the credulous are counting on President Obama to put the politics of racial resentment behind us for good, to bring in the era of mellow feelings. He wants to give the world a Coke.

Blacks in the coalition expect to wake up Wednesday morning to find the sticky residue of slavery, segregation and discrimination to have been magically washed into the sea of forgetfulness. When it doesn’t quite happen, the disappointment will become despair; Barack Obama as winner will be more disappointing than Barack Obama as loser.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, stopped by a reporter last week in Evian, where he was taking the French waters, was asked whether an Obama victory would “close the chapter of black grievances linked to memories of slavery,” and the Rev paused for a long time, no doubt seeing a vision of the lucrative race-hustling industry slipping away, and finally replied: “No, that chapter won’t be closed.”

The Rev does not speak for Mr. Obama, but the record is clear that he accurately reflects the hopes, fears and expectations of millions of black voters who tell the pollsters they’re faithful to the messiah of Hyde Park. Their anger will be total when white voters who fully expect an Obama presidency to “close the chapter on black grievances” tell the still-aggrieved blacks to “sit down and shut up, what else could you want?” (This is how the elites think of the rest of us.)

Bitterness will be the portion of everyone, with the election results making a toxic sour mash of the politics of resentment. Mr. Obama can write about this in his third memoir, entitled “The Audacity of Hype.”

Jewish voters, who polls show are breaking for Mr. Obama with only slightly less enthusiasm than black voters, are likely to take the hardest fall.

Jonathan Rosenblum, an Israeli author and columnist, asks in the Jerusalem Post, “Who says Jews are smart?” Arab-Americans, he notes, support Barack Obama in overwhelming numbers, and so do American Jews.

“One of these two groups,” he says, “either does not care much about the Arab-Israeli conflict and/or is stupid. My money is on the Jews.”

This is harsh, but the Israelis are entitled to their frustration. Some American Jews even argue that Israel’s survival depends on retreating to its 1967 borders, lost to the Arabs when Israel didn’t have the grace to lose a war imposed on them. (They couldn’t have found anyone to surrender to, anyway.)

Now, Israel faces the nuclear threat in Iran. Mr. Obama thinks he can tame Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by making him a buddy, and would sanction Iran only if a couple of other buddies, China and Russia, join him. He’s counting on these buddies to renounce who they are, just as millions of American voters expect him once in office to renounce who he is.

His old buddies in Hyde Park – the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi and others – are sure he’s one of them. But not to worry. Laissez les bons temps rouler! (We must be ready with our French.) Let the good times roll.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Times.

Luck, Superstition and The Presidential Election

November 4, 2008

Barack Obama’s Grandmother has died and we mourn her loss and pray for her peaceful repose.

But this is not lucky.

Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election and be the next president.

But my Asian American family members all responded the same way to the news of the death of Brack’s Grandmother: this is not lucky.  In fact; this is an ill wind like a curse.

I assured them again that Barack would be the next President of the United States.

“Even worse,” said one.  “Bad luck then covers America.”

I put my lucky ACORNs in my pocket….

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wipes away tears ...
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wipes away tears while speaking about his grandmother during a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. Americans vote in an election of rare historic potential Tuesday with front-running Democrat Barack Obama seeking to become the first black president and Republican John McCain hoping for a poll-defying comeback.(AFP/Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

By Campbell Brown
CNN

On the eve of the election, the campaigns are relying on their lucky charms. That was the gist of a story on Politico.com Monday.

Did you know there are 20 guys in Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s Ohio office who haven’t shaved since Obama pulled ahead of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain in that state?

Or that there is a McCain aide who wears only his pair of socks that have the palm trees on them? McCain fan Sen. Joe Lieberman is sporting his lucky sweater, while an Obama press secretary is putting on her lucky cowboy boots.

So far, it is reported, thank goodness, that no one has outdone James Carville and his decision to wear the same pair of underwear for an extended time when Bill Clinton’s poll numbers started going up. Watch Campbell Brown’s take on lucky charms

The candidates themselves are hardly immune to superstition.

Read it all and see the video:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/03/campbell.brown.
lucky.charms/index.html

Acorns in Scotland.jpg

London Newspaper: Barack Obama asks voters to help ‘change the world’

November 4, 2008

The Democrat, who is on the verge of becoming the first black president of the US, stormed through Florida, North Carolina and Virginia – three states he is bidding to wrench from the Republicans – on the final day of his dramatic battle against John McCain.

Barack Obama has declared he is 'feeling good' as polling day closes in

From The Telegraph (UK)

“Virginia, let’s go change the world,” Mr Obama told more than 90,000 people at the end of his closing rally in Manassas.

“Fired up?” he demanded to know of the sea of supporters. “Ready to go!” they responded in a deafening roar.

But if the polls are correct and Mr Obama triumphs against McCain on Tuesday, the Democrat’s white grandmother Madelyn Dunham will not be there to see it.

The last survivor of the family that raised him died on Monday aged 86.

Mr Obama said the “unlikely journey” that started out 21 months ago was now on the cusp of remaking the stricken US economy, end the war in Iraq, take the fight to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and restore the nation’s global leadership.

“That’s how we’re going to change this country, because of you,” he told the vast crowd, while urging his supporters on the campaign’s climax not to “slow down or sit back or let up, not for one hour, not for one second.”

Read the rest and see the video:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection
2008/barackobama/3376437/Barack-Obama-asks-vot
ers-to-help-change-the-world-at-final-campaign-ra
lly.html

Grandmother’s Death Casts Pall of Death, Ill Wind on Optimistic Election Eve

November 4, 2008

My Asian American family members all responded the same way: this is not lucky.  In fact; this is an ill wind like a curse.

I assured them that Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election and be the next president.

“Even worse,” said one.  “Bad luck then covers America.”

By Shailagh Murray and Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; Page A01

The senator from Illinois spent yesterday campaigning in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, states that have not supported a Democratic presidential nominee in years. He posed for a group photo with his traveling staff, grinning broadly in front of the gleaming white campaign plane emblazoned with the slogan that has carried him through his 632-day candidacy: “Change We Can Believe In.”

“This is our last rally,” Obama told a sea of supporters in Manassas last night. “After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and 21 months of a campaign, we are less than one day away from bringing about change in America.”

But the final day on the campaign trail was rooted in sadness. Obama learned yesterday morning that his maternal grandmother, the only survivor among the adults who shaped his young life in Hawaii, had died overnight at age 86.

Madelyn Dunham, or “Toot,” as he called her, had been a beloved figure, described by Obama in countless speeches and interviews as a surrogate mother, pioneering female executive and proud World War II wife who worked on a bomber assembly line. [Obituary]

“She was the cornerstone of our family,” Obama and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said in a statement announcing Dunham’s death. “She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.”

Dunham and her husband, Stanley, had raised Obama in Hawaii during part of his high school years when his mother was living in Indonesia, and the candidate spoke to his grandmother often. Her poor health had not permitted her to campaign for him, but she had corneal transplants this year so she could see him more clearly on television.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/03/
AR2008110303464.html?hpid=topnews

It took nearly two years, many ups and downs, countless smart moves, missed chances and lucky breaks. But finally Barack Obama could say the words: “One more day.”

Campaign: Positively Negative Home Stretch

November 3, 2008

By Shailagh Murray, Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, November 3, 2008; Page A01

The waning hours of the longest presidential campaign in history elicited a fresh round of stinging attacks from Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain and their supporters on Sunday, a departure from the positive messages that candidates normally revert to before an election.


Above: John McCain and Barack Obama make their cases on the last weekend before Election Day. (Photos: Post)

The two candidates kept swinging at each other as their campaigns focused on a handful of states that will determine the election. Obama cut an ad that used Vice President Cheney‘s endorsement of McCain to reinforce his central argument that his rival represents a third term of the unpopular Bush administration.

Republicans in Pennsylvania brought back the controversial comments of Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., despite McCain’s admonition that he should not be used as a political weapon, and the campaign unleashed robo-calls that employed the withering dismissal that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made of Obama’s experience when the two were competing against each other in the Democratic primaries.

McCain adviser Charlie Black said his candidate would have preferred that the Pennsylvania GOP not air the ad using Wright’s controversial anti-American statements. But “as McCain said back in the spring, he can’t be the referee of every ad,” Black said.

Ending a campaign on a positive note, said Republican strategist Scott Reed, “may be part of the old way, but this is unlike any campaign we’ve ever seen. There is such a small slice of undecided out there, I think both sides are going to finish the campaign really going after them.”

Those voters, according to polls, represent McCain’s last, best hope. But his campaign manager, Rick Davis, made the rounds of the talk shows to forcefully rebut pollsters and pundits uniformly predicting an Obama victory. “I think what we’re in for is a slam-bang finish,” Davis said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I mean, it’s going to be wild. . . . John McCain may be the greatest closer politician of all time.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/02
/AR2008110202604.html?hpid=topnews

Omama, McCain target knife-edge races

November 2, 2008

The presidential rivals focus their efforts on swing states on the penultimate day of campaigning in the White House race.

From the BBC (what U.S. news organization would use the word “penultimate”?)

The US presidential candidates are focusing their efforts on key swing states on the penultimate day of campaigning in the White House race.

In Pennsylvania, Republican John McCain urged supporters to “knock on doors – with your help we can win”.

His Democratic rival Barack Obama and Mr McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin were each speaking three times in Ohio.

Ohio, which narrowly voted Republican in 2004, is seen as a must-win for Mr McCain in Tuesday’s election.

John McCain and Barack Obama

Both candidates have urged their supporters to keep working hard

Under the system used in US presidential elections Ohio carries 20 electoral votes, making it one of the largest states where polls show the result could still go either way.

Pennsylvania is another crucial state. It boasts 21 electoral votes and voted Democratic in 2004.

‘We will win’

Analysts say Mr McCain, 72, needs to win in Ohio to stand a chance of reaching the White House, while Mr Obama needs to hold on to Pennsylvania for the Democrats if his poll lead is to be translated into a result on election day.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/
us_elections_2008/7704869.stm

Election’s Last Two Days: 4 Big Questions

November 2, 2008
Who wins, and where, will give clues about the nation’s feelings on race, the role of government and the hold of partisanship.
By Peter Wallsten and Janet Hook
The Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington — Iowa gave the first sign that the American political landscape had changed.

Democrats in an overwhelmingly white state, many from small towns and farms, said an African American man from Chicago was the best choice for president — and by a convincing margin.

Barack Obama went on to build a broader coalition than any previous black candidate, winning the Democratic nomination on an agenda of “change.” John McCain emerged as the GOP nominee, despite a history of breaking from Republican beliefs. He too promised “change” from the nation’s current course.

On Tuesday, as results from the presidential election roll in, so will clues to what kind of change the nation wants, and to how much it has changed in the last four years.

Who wins, and where, will shed light on the nation’s feelings on race, the role of government and the hold of partisanship on the public dialogue. Here are four big questions arising from the 2008 presidential campaign:

Has America’s racial divide narrowed?

Barack Obama, Pueblo, Colorado, presidential campaign

Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama stands with his wife Michelle, daughters Sasha, center left, and Malia, center right, during a campaign rally in Pueblo, Colorado.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-
questions2-2008nov02,0,3848411.story

Washington Times Excluded From Obama Campaign Aircraft: And Responds

November 1, 2008

Editorial
The Washington Times
November 1, 2008
.
Reporter Christina Bellantoni of The Washington Times will be kicked off of Barack Obama‘s campaign plane starting Nov. 2, making it much more difficult to cover the candidate during the critical final days of the election. The Obama campaign insists that politics had nothing to do with it. We note that all three newspapers that had reporters booted from the plane — The Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News — endorsed John McCain. An Obama spokesman insists that it is just a coincidence.

Aides to Mr. Obama told us Friday that the decision was made in part in order to accommodate his hometown newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, which have not traveled with the candidate very frequently in the past. They also claim that the decision to kick The Washington Times off the Obama plane could not have possibly been due to this newspaper’s endorsement, which was published Tuesday. The Obama campaign insists that it notified Miss Bellantoni on Oct. 25 that it might not have room for her on the plane. Miss Bellantoni protested. Later that day she was told that she could stay on the plane until Friday night. Starting Monday, Miss Bellantoni sought an update about her status each day until Thursday. That afternoon, while covering an Obama rally in Florida, she learned that effective Nov. 2, she would no longer be traveling on Mr. Obama’s campaign plane.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. ... 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. boards his campaign aircraft at the airport in Columbia, Mo., Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Upon learning of that decision, John Solomon, executive editor of The Washington Times, protested the decision to David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager. The decision “unfairly deprives her and this newspaper of the opportunity to cover the final 72 hours of a campaign that she has reported on with distinction from the beginning,” Mr. Solomon wrote. “Christina has traveled routinely with the Obama campaign from the start, pulled many shifts as the campaign pool reporter and been cited across the country for stories that were fair, balanced and insightful.” He also noted that The Times’ vast online readership places it in the Top 20 news sites in the United States. Moreover, Mr. Obama himself has recognized the importance of this newspaper’s work, citing two prominent examples: In June, Mr. Obama wrote a letter citing an investigative project by The Washington Times that highlighted government mistreatment of veterans. In his August acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Obama prominently mentioned this newspaper’s interview with former Sen. Phil Gramm, in which he referred to a “mental recession” and a “nation of whiners.” More than a dozen other Democratic speakers also cited that interview, “clearly demonstrating the far-reaching relevance and impact of our news coverage,” Mr. Solomon wrote in an e-mail.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Solomon received a reply from from Anita Dunn, senior adviser and chief communications officer with the Obama campaign, telling him that that the demand for seats on the plane far exceeded supply, and “for logistical reasons, we made the decision not to add a second plane.” Added Mrs. Dunn: “We have a huge amount of respect for the reporting of Christina Bellantoni and this decision is by no means a reflection on her.” In an interview Friday with The Times, Jen Psaki, press spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, reiterated these points and claimed the decision could not have been retaliation for The Times endorsement of Mr. McCain because Miss Bellantoni was notified last Saturday that she might not be able to stay on the plane beyond Oct. 31. Sure.

This argument, however, collapses upon closer examination. For one thing, there is no getting around the fact that all three newspapers kicked off the plane just happened to endorse Mr. McCain. Moreover, Mr. Obama’s supporters have been furious with The Times when it publishes stories that are not favorable to their candidate. One was an Oct. 10 report by Barbara Slavin of The Times about Mr. Obama’s efforts to delay signing an agreement with the United States on the status of U.S. forces in Iraq. Another was a piece by reporter Joseph Curl pointing to Mr. McCain’s role in mobilizing support for the Iraq troop surge, which Mr. Obama opposed. Viewed in this context, the Obama campaign’s decision to remove Miss Bellantoni smacks of being the latest effort by Mr. Obama and his supporters to retaliate against reporters that ask tough questions. After Barbara West, a reporter on WFTV-TV in Orlando, had the temerity to ask some tough questions to Joe Biden, the Obama campaign cancelled an interview with Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill. Obama supporters even called for Miss West’s ouster. After a reporter for KYW-TV in Philadelphia pressed Mr. Biden too forcefully on some matters, the Obama campaign said it would grant no more interviews to the station. When WGN Radio in Chicago announced it would interview Stanley Kurtz, author of several unflattering investigative pieces about Mr. Obama, supporters of the candidate flooded the station with telephone calls and e-mails demanding that Mr. Kurtz not be put on the air. It is a disturbing pattern. If this is how Mr. Obama acts as a candidate, how would he treat the press as president?

Miss Bellantoni doesn’t deserve this shabby treatment and neither does The Times. It would be wiser to resist the impulse to punish those who ask hard questions and wiser still to show more respect for the free exercise of the press.

Obama’s Staff Expells Conservative Newpaper Reporters

October 31, 2008

According to the Fox News Channel, reporters from the Washington Times, New York Post and perhaps other conservative newspapers have been asked or told to remove their reporters from the Obama campaign aircraft…..

By The Washington Times
.
The Washington Times, which has covered the Barack Obama campaign from the start, was kicked off the Democrat’s campaign plane for the final 72 hours of the race.

The Obama campaign informed the newspaper Thursday evening of its decision, which came two days after The Times editorial page endorsed Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama. The Times editorial page runs completely independent of the news department.
.
“This feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars covering Senator Obama’s campaign, traveling on his plane, and taking our turn in the reporter’s pool, only to have our seat given away to someone else in the last days of the campaign,” said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon.

Above: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, talks on the phone aboard his campaign plane

“I hope the candidate that promises to unite America isn’t using a litmus test to determine who gets to cover his campaign.”

The Times formally protested the decision, noting that it has one of the top 20 largest newspaper Web sites in the country, distributes its print edition in the key battleground state of Virginia, and has had its stories repeatedly cited by Mr. Obama and other Democrats throughout the campaign.

“Sen. Obama himself demonstrated he appreciates the importance of The Washington Times and its news coverage. In June, he wrote a letter citing a Times’ investigative project that highlighted government mistreatment of our veterans. Sen. Obama requested an investigation by Congress and the administration, both of which confirmed the problems and led to corrective action at the VA. In his August acceptance speech, Sen. Obama also prominently mentioned our interview with Sen. Phil Gramm and the now infamous comments about a ‘mental recession’ and a ‘nation of whiners’,” wrote Mr. Solomon in an e-mail to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Times reporter Christina Bellantoni, who has covered the Democratic campaign since 2007, is being asked to leave the campaign plane starting Sunday. In defending its decision, the Obama campaign said it respected Ms. Bellantoni’s reporting and simply ran out of seats on the campaign plane for the finale because of high demand. It also noted that the Obama campaign is allowing some news media critical of the Democrat to travel, including Fox News.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/31/
washington-times-kicked-obama-plane-finale/

******************************

By Ben Smith, Politico

Obama spokesman Bill Burton confirms Drudge’s report that two right-leaning papers, the Washington Times and the New York Post, have lost their seats on the Obama plane, along with the Dallas Morning News.

“We’re trying to reach as many swing voters that we can and unfortunately had to make some tough choices. but we are accommodating these folks in every way possible,” he said.

The Post and the Morning News are both read primarily in states that aren’t in play, but the Washington Times is read in Northern Virginia.

Burton said the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times had returned to the plane, and confirmed that Ebony and Jet magazines have seats on the plane. (The Tribune has had a reporter on the plane for most of the cycle, but recently added a photographer.)

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said in an email that, contrary to Drudge’s suggestion, she won’t be on Obama’s plane.

“I’ll be at Saturday Night Live covering Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin and possibly the real John McCain,” she said.

Burton said the campaign was making space for the dropped outlets on the campaign bus where possible, and that they were encouraged to travel with Senator Joe Biden. He also noted that Fox News, whose schedule includes perhaps the most openly hostile programming to Obama, has a seat on the plane.

McCain barred Dowd and Time’s Joe Klein, two columnists seen as leaning toward Obama, from his campaign plane, and space has grown very tight on Obama’s in recent days. But Obama aides have also been heard to complain about the coverage from the New York Post and the Washington Times, if not as vociferously as they have about Fox News’s coverage.

The Times took an ideologically-charged shot at Obama in response to its barring, a reminder of the political undercurrent to the choice.

*******************************

From the Drudge Report

The Obama campaign has decided to heave out three newspapers from its plane for the final days of its blitz across battleground states — and all three endorsed Sen. John McCain for president!WASHINGTON TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs — and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The NY POST,

Despite pleas from top editors of the three newspapers that have covered the campaign for months at extraordinary cost, the Obama campaign says their reporters — and possibly others — will have to vacate their coveted seats so more power players can document the final days of Sen. Barack Obama’s historic campaign to become the first black American president.

MORE

Some told the DRUDGE REPORT that the reporters are being ousted to bring on documentary film-makers to record the final days; others expect to see on board more sympathetic members of the media, including the NY TIMES’ Maureen Dowd, who once complained that she was barred from McCain’s Straight Talk Express airplane.

After a week of quiet but desperate behind-the-scenes negotiations, the reporters of the three papers heard last night that they were definitely off for the final swing. They are already planning how to cover the final days by flying commercial or driving from event to event.