Archive for the ‘New Hampshire’ Category

AP Poll: Obama leads or tied in 8 crucial states

October 29, 2008

Barack Obama now leads in four states won by President Bush in 2004 and is essentially tied with John McCain in two other Republican red states, according to new AP-GfK battleground polling.

The results help explain why the Democrat is pressing his money and manpower advantages in a slew of traditionally GOP states, hoping not just for a win but a transcendent victory that remakes the nation’s political map. McCain is scrambling to defend states where he wouldn’t even be campaigning if the race were closer.

BY Ron Fournier And Trevor Tompson, Associated Press Writers

Less than a week before Election Day, the AP-GfK polls show Obama winning among early voters, favored on almost every issue, benefiting from the country’s sour mood and widely viewed as the winning candidate by voters in eight crucial states — Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“If you believe in miracles,” said GOP consultant Joe Gaylord of Arlington, Va., “you still believe in McCain.”

Despite a mounting chorus of Republicans predicting their nominee’s demise, McCain aides insist their internal surveys show victory is still within reach.

Indeed, polls are mere snapshots of highly fluid campaigns, and this race has been unusually volatile. McCain was written off prematurely last year, and Obama seemed poised for victory in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary just before Hillary Rodham Clinton thumped him.

Even this close to Election Day, racial tensions and….

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Will a funny thing happen on the way to the White House?

October 20, 2008

A funny thing has happened to a sure date at the White House before….

By Edward Luce
Financial Times, London

At what was the first – and probably last – humorous occasion of this dyspeptic campaign, John McCain and Barack Obama gave comic speeches on Thursday at the annual dinner in memory of Al Smith, the great Catholic-American.

Both revealed a side they have kept well concealed in recent months. “Contrary to popular opinion, I was not born in a manger,” said Mr Obama. “I just call him ‘That One’”, said Mr McCain of his opponent. “He doesn’t mind at all: He even has a pet name for me: George Bush.”
In the best humorous tradition, the funniest line was the one that cut closest to the bone. “We all know that Senator Obama is ready for any contingency – even the possibility of a sudden and dramatic market rebound,” said Mr McCain. “I’m told that at the first sign of recovery he will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address this crisis.”

With barely two weeks left before polling day, the media, the Democratic party and the rest of the world (the safest Democratic state of the lot) have virtually called a halt to the election. Barack Obama will be the winner. His momentum is now unstoppable. And for that he has the financial meltdown to thank.

All of which is probably true. To judge by some, although by no means all, of the recent polls, Mr Obama may even pull off a 1980-style Ronald Reagan landslide. Parts of America, such as North Carolina and Virginia, which last elected a Democrat when Mr Obama was in diapers, show him in the lead by ground-shifting margins.

Then there is the money. No candidate has ever raised anything like Mr Obama’s tally, which could exceed $600m (£350m, €450m) if the recent escalation in donations is any guide. By my estimate, Mr Obama’s remaining war chest could fund at least two back-to-back British general elections. Mr McCain, meanwhile, might be able to finance a creditable shot at the New Jersey governorship.

Nor, in spite of the acuity of Mr McCain’s punchline, would a dramatic stock market recovery be likely to dent Mr Obama’s fortunes. It would come too late to restore the American public’s badly shaken confidence in their financial system and in the free-trade economy that Mr McCain so gallantly defends.

Besides, no resurgence in the Dow Jones could reflate a property market that has been the chief source of household spending since the Bush administration took office. Mr Obama can rest easy: Joe Public – and even Joe Plumber – will be feeling the pain for many months to come.

Yet conventional wisdom is often wrong. For a start, as any property analyst can attest, it tends to be self-affirming. The media has leapt on recent polls that show Mr Obama with double-digit margins. But until Friday, when the conservative Drudge Report led on the much narrower two-point lead that Gallup gave Mr Obama, those polls that have not hinted at a landslide have been downplayed. And there have been quite a few.

The RealClear Politics website’s average of polls, which gives Mr Obama a lead of 6.8 per cent over Mr McCain, offers a better guide to the situation. It compares to John Kerry’s lead just a few weeks before he lost the 2004 election to Mr Bush. It is also slightly lower than Mr Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton shortly before she bested him – and the media – in the New Hampshire primary at the start of the year.

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Vietnam veteran McCain back from the dead … again

January 9, 2008

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (AFP) – Vietnam veteran Senator John McCain, who triumphed in Tuesday’s Republican New Hampshire primaries, was a proven survivor long before he entered the cut-throat world of politics. 

Shot down as a naval aviator over North Vietnam in 1967, McCain spent more than five years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, including two years in solitary confinement in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

Polls show that while McCain has never led among the Republican field nationally, voters see him as the Republican presidential candidate most capable of defeating a Democratic rival to win the White House in 2008.

The 71-year-old was leading in the vote for the Republican nomination, on 37 percent, with 91 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney second on 32 percent.

“My friends, you know, I’m past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it. But tonight, we sure showed them what a comeback looks like,” McCain told his cheering supporters.

“Tonight we have taken a step, but only the first step toward repairing the broken politics of the past and restoring the trust of the American people in their government,” he said, to chants from the crowd of “The Mac Is Back!”

But McCain knows from bitter experience that the game is not over yet as he chases the Republican nomination to stand in the elections and succeed President George W. Bush.

In 2000, he was poised for victory, having won over Republicans here only to fall at the next hurdle to Bush in South Carolina, crashing out of the race.

This time, McCain has already been forced to strip back his campaign after he was left trailing in the summer in the crucial fund-raising battle.

But he won an important boost in Iowa last week, coming in third even though he had not campaigned heavily in the state, which helped re-energize his campaign and propel him to first place in New Hampshire.

Perhaps the biggest handicap he now faces is his age. If he wins the election, he would become the nation’s oldest ever president, entering the White House in January 2009 at the age of 72.

John Sidney McCain was born August 29, 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone — formerly under US jurisdiction — and was raised moving from one military post to another.

Both his grandfather and father were naval officers, so it was no surprise that at 17 he enrolled in the naval academy.

The brutal treatment he suffered as a prisoner of war — his injuries from being tortured still prevent him from raising his arms high enough to comb his hair — marked him for life.

His wartime experiences forged a man of unshakeable convictions, who remains a maverick at heart, criticized at times for a quick temper and a tendency to make unfortunate, off-the-cuff remarks.

“I didn’t go to Washington … to get along or to play it safe to serve my own interests,” he said in his speech Tuesday evening. “I went there to serve my country.”

“I learned long ago that serving only one’s self is a petty and unsatisfying ambition,” added McCain, who won his first race for the House of Representatives in 1982 and captured a Senate seat in 1986.

Despite his long-term loyalty to Bush, McCain was one of the first Republicans to attack the White House policy on Iraq, saying not enough troops had been committed to the 2003 invasion.

And despite the wave of anger at the war here, he was one of the first to call for more troops to be deployed there.

He is also one of the rare Republicans to favor reforming the immigration system, and for years has campaigned for fiscal reform and spoken out on global warming.

He is fiercely opposed to any use of torture by the United States in its “war on terror.” But in many other areas, he remains a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, opposing abortion, gay marriage and stricter gun control laws.

In his 1999 autobiography “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain listed what he considers the three greatest mistakes in his life: a forced confession under torture when he was a prisoner, his role in a banking scandal and his infidelity in his marriage to his first wife.

She was disabled in a car accident and McCain admits that his “wandering” led to their divorce. He re-married in 1980 and now has seven sons.

McCain Resurects Vietnam POW Experience With Video

Clinton, McCain in “Masterful Upsets”!

January 9, 2008
January 8, 2008 (Late Editions)
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won the New Hampshire Democratic primary in a surprising show of strength after losing the Iowa caucuses to Senator Barack Obama last week. Senator John McCain prevailed meanwhile on the Republican side, breathing life into a campaign that had been given up for dead just months ago and scrambling a race that now has no clear front-runner.
Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., as she takes the stage in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, after her Democratic primary win in the state.
AP Photo/Jim Cole

“Now it’s a one-on-one race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama,” said Terry McAuliffe, Mrs. Clinton campaign manager. He said that Mr. Obama came out of Iowa with momentum but Mrs. Clinton turned it around with her debate performance Saturday night and what he called a humanizing moment on the campaign trail on Monday.Mr. Obama conceded the race to Mrs. Clinton, congratulating her on a “hard-fought victory.”

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NH voters come out in large numbers

January 8, 2008
By CALVIN WOODWARD and PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writers 

MANCHESTER, N.H. – John McCain placed his revived Republican presidential campaign on the line against a weakened but determined Mitt Romney as New Hampshire primary voters came out in large numbers Tuesday. Barack Obama declared Americans were ready to “cast aside cynicism” as he looked for a convincing win in the Democratic contest.

Republican Presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ...
Republican Presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., hugs a veteran as he stops by a polling station at the Broad Street Elementary school the morning of New Hampshire’s primary election, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, in Nashua, N.H.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

 Weather was spring-like and participation brisk, although it remained to be seen whether New Hampshire would match the record-busting turnout of the Iowa caucuses won by Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee only five days earlier. Republicans, their national race for the nomination tangled, watched a New Hampshire contest unfold between McCain and Romney at the top of their field, polls indicating McCain had an edge but no clear-cut advantage.

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Hillary, Desperate, Tries to Avoid Becoming Toast

January 8, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 8, 2008 

Mark Leibovich writes that even former President Bill Clinton is now greeted with listless, sleepy, lifeless New Hampshire audiences.

And, in a move some have said is pure desperation, Bill Clinton’s former hit men James Carville and Paul Begala will join Team Hillary Wednesday.  But they want no part of New Hampshire.

James Carville

Rumor has it Carville and Begala will not accept any money for their work.  Don’t expect them to accept any blame, either, if they cannot get the Hillary Train back on the tracks.

It is a trainwreck, America.  Great for TV.

Mr. Leibovich’s column appeared in the International Herald tribune today.  The title is: “As a surrogate, Bill Clinton doesn’t cause the same stir in New Hampshire.”
As a surrogate, Bill Clinton doesn’t cause the same stir in New Hampshire
By Mark Leibovich
International Herald Tribune
January 8, 2008

DURHAM, New Hampshire: Is this what it would have been like had Elvis been reduced to playing Reno?
Former President Bill Clinton has been drawing sleepy and sometimes smallish crowds at big venues in the state that revived his presidential campaign in 1992. He entered to polite applause and rows of empty seats at the University of New Hampshire on Friday. .
Several people filed out mid-speech, and the room was largely quiet as he spoke, with few interruptions for laughter or applause. He talked about his administration, his foundation work and some about his wife.
“Hillary’s got good plans,” Clinton kept saying as he worked through a hoarse-voiced litany of why his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is a “world-class change agent.” He urged his audience to “caucus” on Tuesday for Mrs. Clinton, before correcting himself (“vote”). He took questions, quickly worked a rope line and left.

Maybe the sluggish day was a blip. It was, in fairness….

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Brian Snyder/Reuters

Clinton, McCain in “Masterful Upsets”!

Mitt and Hillary: Running Into a Head Wind

January 7, 2008

 By Robert D. Novak
The Washington Post

January 7, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney and Sen. Hillary Clinton wanted to use Saturday night’s televised presidential debates to further their respective goals: keep Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama from winning Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Neither accomplished that mission, but the failure is much more damaging for Romney than for Clinton.

Romney looks like a clear loser of the state’s Republican primary to McCain, which his once-promising campaign can hardly afford on top of his decisive loss in Iowa‘s caucuses last week. While Clinton cannot come close to matching the fervor of Obama’s supporters, polls still show a close race on the Democratic side. Despite her embarrassing third-place finish in Iowa, Clinton can withstand another defeat without dooming her once-certain procession to the nomination.

McCain Captures the Immagination in New Hampshire

January 7, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 7, 2008

Senator John McCain is relaxed, confident and “on top of his game” in New Hampshire.

With the opening of the polls in New Hampshire just hours away, the veteran U.S. Senator, presidential campaigner, war hero and former prisoner of war, McCain’s hopes and dreams never seemed brighter.

McCain beat George W. Bush in New Hampshire by 18 points in 2000, but this is a different year with different issues. In fact, the issues today favor McCain and his experience even more than in 2000.

“It’s mostly the same old team on board, but it’s a different set of circumstances,” he said.

“We’re in two wars. And we face the threat of radical Islamic extremism. We are in a little bit of a different environment.”

McCain has little in the way of personal wealth and other financial resources. But he is not afraid of going after Mr. Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts who has little foreign policy experience and has spent well over $10 million in his own personal wealth on his quest for the presidency.

When pressed by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” Sunday to comment upon Mr. Romney, his opponent, Senator McCain said:

“I think he’s a, a good man, a good family man….”

“He [Romney] has changed his positions on almost every major issue. That is a fact. I could chronicle it for you. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good person. I—look, we’re in a political campaign here, and, and we have—I want to debate this, this campaign on the issues, not on personalities. And that’s the important thing. And I think when I say that to the people at town hall meetings, they say, ‘Good, let’s hear the issues. Let’s not hear whether there’s any personal animosity or not between the candidates.’ They don’t care about that. That’s not what determines their futures.”

On terrorism and finding Osama bin Laden, Senator McCain said:

“I’ll get Osama bin Laden. I’ll get him even if I have to follow him to the gates of hell.”

“I’ll get him.”

“But understand, if we go in, we could very well destabilize Pakistan, perhaps bring about the overthrow of President Musharraf.”

Senator McCain, it would seem, is on a roll. But we won’t know for sure until the voters of new Hampshire decide.

And that is why politics captures our interest.

Hillary and Mitt: Sliding Down the Polls (and the pole)

Today’s New York Times on McCain:
Retracing Steps, McCain Is Feeling Rejuvenated

Mr. Russert’s “Meet the Press” interview with Senator McCain:

Retracing Steps, McCain Is Feeling Rejuvenated

January 7, 2008

By Adam Nagourney and Marc Santora
The New York Times
January 7, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign wheeled out a confetti gun on Saturday in Peterborough to boom a festive end to his 100th town-hall-style meeting. It was the same place he began his New Hampshire primary campaign of 2000.

Matt Campbell/European Pressphoto Agency

John McCain at a meeting Sunday in Salem, N.H. His campaign in the state this year has crucial differences from 2000.

Mr. McCain, a Republican, is methodically returning in these last days before the New Hampshire primary to the same venues he visited in that campaign, in which he defeated George W. Bush by 18 percentage points. He is surrounded by many of the same New Hampshire aides, telling many of the same jokes, appealing to the same voters and promising what seems like unlimited access to the state’s residents and reporters.

“It’s superstition,” Mr. McCain said Sunday. “And a bit of nostalgia.”

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Read the “Meet the Press” transcript of Senator McCain interviewed by Tim Russert of NBC on January 6, 2008:

Mitt and Hillary: Running Into a Head Wind