Showing posts with label US ELECTION 2008. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US ELECTION 2008. Show all posts

4 Nov 2008

McCain-Obama 11-3-08 FINAL


3 Nov 2008

Nyumbani kwa Obama kijijini Kogelo,Kenya.

Kwa mujibu wa ripota wa CNN aliyeko kijiji cha Kogelo huko Kenya,ambacho kinahusiana kwa karibu sana na asili ya Barack Obama,kuna kundi la viumbe-hai wanaoombea mgombea wa urais huyo asishinde kesho ili viumbe hao wasalimike.Hao ni ng'ombe ambao wanaandaliwa kwa ajili ya sherehe kubwa pindi Obama atapotangazwa mshindi.Ni dhahiri kwamba asiposhinda,ng'ombe hao nao watasalimika.Who would you  have felt more sorry for?

Wakati ng'ombe hao wakisubiri hatima yao,sangoma mmoja kijijini hapo ametabiri kuwa Obama atashinda uchaguzi huo wa kesho.Of course,sangoma huyo-John Radima-sio pundit wa major TV networks au pollster kutoka Gallup,lakini ameweza kukamata attention ya vyombo vya habari vya kimataifa.

Kwa upande wa grandmother wa Obama,yeye anasema hawezi ku-take things for granted hadi hapo mshindi atapotangazwa,na anafuatilia kwa karibu maendeleo ya mjukuu wake kwenye runinga inayotumia solar power kwa vile hakuna umeme katika makazi yake.Sarah Onyango Obama,wenye miaka 86,anasema kwamba katika soka huwezi kutabiri ushindi mpaka goli lipatikane.Wakati bibi Sarah (pichani chini) akisubiria kwa hamu matokeo ya kesho,upanuzi wa uwanja wa ndege wa Kisumu umewafanya baadhi ya watu kutania kwamba huenda ni maandalizi ya ujio wa Air Force One ikiwa na Obama.

1 Nov 2008

DEARBORN HEIGHTS/DEARBORN - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will win Tuesday's election and become the next president of the United States, according to a recent poll conducted by Zogby International, an American market research and opinion-polling firm.

Their Reuters/C-SPAN/-Zogby Poll out Friday morning indicates the support for both candidates had solidified and remained unchanged from the previous several days. Obama was at 50.1 percent among likely voters, while McCain was at 43 percent. That put Obama outside the margin of error five days before the actual vote.

"With less than a week to go, today's numbers are not a good development for McCain," said John Zogby, founder of Zogby International. "There is no momentum for him, and the clock is starting to fun short."

Out of 1, 202 likely voters polled Oct. 27-29, Obama increased his lead among independent voters to 19 points — up from 16 points on Oct. 29 — while McCain's support among his base of Republican voters waned just slightly, dropping two points to 85 percent.

Obama's support among Democratic Party voters remained steady at 84 percent, the poll showed.

According to the Zogby International Web site,, the poll sampled 1,202 likely voters by phone with approximately 33 questions asked. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. Interviews were conducted using live telephone interviewers in Zogby's in-house call center in Upstate New York.

A poll released Thursday shows Obama leads by five points among men, 49 percent to 44 percent for McCain. Among women, the Democratic candidate leads by a 10-point margin, 52 percent to 42 percent.

Among liberals, Obama wins 86 percent support, while McCain wins 75 percent of conservatives. Among moderates, Obama wins 65 percent support, compared to 26 percent for McCain.

"But six days, including Election Day, is an eternity and McCain cannot be counted out yet, though he may need a wing and a prayer," Zogby said Thursday.

According to a Zogby poll conducted Oct. 10-15, Arab American voters are expected to have a significant impact on Tuesday's election. The poll sampled 504 likely voters with approximately 41 questions asked. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The poll finds about one-third of Arab Americans live in battleground states — Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, Arab Americans comprise about 5 percent of the state's total population, compared to 1.5 percent in Pennsylvania.

According to the poll, Obama leads McCain by a three-to-one margin among Arab American voters, in both the two-way match-up and the four-way match-ups. This represents the greatest support ever recorded for a Presidential candidate among Arab American voters, the poll finds.

Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden also out-performs Republican candidate Sarah Palin among all groups, including Arab Americans, with Biden's margin being 58/31 and Palin's 58/39.

When asked to name the two most important issued in the election, jobs and the economy were the most frequently mentioned, according to the poll. The second and third most important issues are the Iraq war and health care.

A recent statement issued by Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said than an estimated 5 million voters, or approximately 70 percent of registered voters, will case ballots on the Nov. 4 election.

SOURCE: Press&Guide
"Voter enthusiasm is at an all-time high and because of that I expect an unprecedented number of voters to attend the polls on Election Day," Land said. "I encourage you to take time to educate yourself on the candidate and issues, and the cast your ballot on Election Day."

30 Oct 2008

Read it HERE

26 Oct 2008

Remember this post?Well,here is a follow up:

Who cares?

That's what I wondered when George Packer (ace of the New Yorker) asked whether he could post my intention to vote for Obama on his blog.

So I duly ignored him. Only when he bugged me two days later did I say okay, and responded in quick, instinctive emails back.

Little did I know the splash this would make. Not until a day later, when my wife and I were up in Philadelphia to teach leadership via scenes from Shakespeare's Henry V for the Wharton Business School. When friends joined us for dinner at UPenn, they said their taxi driver had talked about my "endorsement of Obama," having read it online during a break.

What's most fun about unexpectedly "breaking through" on an issue is not feeling powerful, that you're molding minds out there. People make up their own minds, based on lots more information than my personal inclinations.

Okay, this type announcement can give (maybe a few) conservatives some cover -- not publicly to use with others, but privately to assure themselves that it's actually okay to break away. To break with the most conservative, or Republican, candidate and vote (in my case, the first time ever) for "the other guy."

And it's not most fun dealing with longtime friends, fellow conservatives. Most are polite and say they understand, and they'll get over it. Yet a few do get heated, show their disappointment, and say they can't understand my taking a public stance (even if I privately stray).

I don't enjoy those discussions, since I've long prided myself in being a staunch conservative.

Not a neo-con, since I was never liberal along the way (having campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964, when at that hotbed of lefty politics, Grinnell College). I'm really a con-con.

And not a staunch Republican, as I've never been to a Republican rally or convention (I came closest in 1980, after writing Don Rumsfeld's speech and after we drove there; but I left Detroit before the convention opened).

So I've considered myself less of a partisan than an ideologue. I cared about conservative principles, and still do, instead of caring about the GOP.

Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years.

McCain's temperament -- leading him to bizarre behavior during the week the economic crisis broke -- and his judgment -- leading him to Wasilla -- depressed me into thinking that "our guy" would be a(nother) lousy conservative president. Been there, done that.

I'd rather a competent moderate president. Even at a risk, since Obama lacks lots of executive experience displaying competence (though his presidential campaign has been spot-on). And since his Senate voting record is not moderate, but depressingly liberal. Looming in the background, Pelosi and Reid really scare me.

Nonetheless, I concluded that McCain would not -- could not -- be a good president. Obama just might be.

That's become good enough for me -- however much of a triumph (as Dr. Johnson said about second marriages) of hope over experience.

Now what's most fun about the media breakthrough is hearing from gobs of people from previous lives. Many long forgotten, reminding me of long forgotten times together. People emerging suddenly, from the dark matter of time, into the recesses of the brain.

These folks were important at various stages of my life -- grammar school playmates, Grinnell classmates, Indianapolis cousins, Dan Quayle, Dick Allen, colleagues from the Reagan arms control agency (chuckling over my quip to Packer that I wouldn't have hired Sarah Palin to a mid-level job there).

A veritable stroll down memory lane, to see a line of people who have touched my life at various times, in its varied stages, reconnecting in a most unexpected (even bizarre) manner.

Now that's fun.

SOURCE: Huffington Post

25 Oct 2008

24 Oct 2008

Click HERE and HERE to read the stories.

Police: Campaign Volunteer Lied, Injured Self
Ashley Todd, 20, is now facing charges for filing a false report to police

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― Police say a campaign volunteer confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter B in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker. 

At a news conference this afternoon, offiicals said they believe that Ashley Todd's injuries were self-inflicted. 

Todd, 20, of Texas, is now facing charges for filing a false report to police.

Todd initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car.

Police investigating the alleged attack, however, began to notice some inconsistencies in her story and administered a polygraph test.

Authorities, however, declined to release the results of that test. 

Investigators did say that they received photos from the ATM machine and "the photographs were verified as not being the victim making the transaction." 

This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story. 

Todd told investigators that she didn't remember what happened.

Police say they do not believe any other people were involved; and her friends believed the story about the attack.

According to police, investigators working on the interview process detected several inconsistencies in Todd's story that differed from statements made in the original police report.

Pittsburgh Police Public Information Officer Diane Richard released a statement earlier today, saying: "Because of the inconsistencies in her statements, Ms. Todd was asked to submit to a polygraph examination which she agreed to do."

No photos of Todd are being released by Pittsburgh Police at this time.


HERE is the story.

CLICK HERE for the story.

23 Oct 2008

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Conventional polls this year are fraught with doubts -- from the "Bradley Effect" to the elusive cellphone-only households. But one poll based in the all-important swing state of Ohio has never failed since its inception in 1984, and it has Barack Obama with an almost insurmountable lead over John McCain. 

The Busken Cookie Poll, in which the chain of Cincinnati-area retail bakeries sells cookies bearing cartoon images of each candidate, as of Thursday morning had Mr. Obama ahead 6,477 to 3,090 -- a 68% to 32% margin. Daily updates can be found at 

Unscientific? Perhaps. But Brian Busken, VP-marketing of the family business, said that since the poll's inception in 1984, it has accurately predicted the winner of the presidential election every four years and never been further than 4 percentage points from the final popular vote tally nationwide. (Note: While the website shows a smiling Obama cookie and a frowning McCain cookie, the cookies sold in stores have both smiling.) 

"We've never seen a spread like this before in the numbers," Mr. Busken said. "I don't know if there's going to be a crumbslide or not. ... We may still predict the winner, but probably by way too many cookies." 

Already there are allegations of irregularities. Commenters on a story at the website of the Cincinnati Business Courier allege some bookstores have Obama cookies up front, McCain cookies in the back, and that Remke stores in Northern Kentucky had run out of the McCain cookies. 

Mr. Busken said wholesale sales such as those referenced in the comments don't count. Nor does a recent bulk purchase of 400 McCain cookies by Rob Portman, former Republican congressman and White House budget director. If Acorn buys cookies online for the Dallas Cowboys and their cheerleaders, those don't count either. Only cookies sold in the 11 Ohio stores tracked by the poll count. 

Busken milks the poll, of course, for all the publicity it can get, and has incorporated it into outdoor ads from the Creative Department, Cincinnati. The chain will advertise cookie-poll results on the Norton Digital Network in the area during the four days leading up to the election.

22 Oct 2008

Barack Obama akifanikiwa kushinda urais hapo Novemba 4 atakuwa ameweka historia kwa kuwa Mweusi wa kwanza kuwa rais wa Marekani.Lakini mafanikio ya Obama yanawasumbua wachambuzi wa siasa (hususan za tabia za uchaguzi wa Marekani).Hayawasumbui kwa vile Obama na wao ni wabaguzi.La hasha,bali ni namna hisia kwamba Bradley effect ingemwangusha zinavyoelekea kuwa wrong.

Nilishakiri katika post yangu moja huko nyuma kwamba awali nilitamani Hillary Clinton apitishwe kuwa mgombea wa Democrats.Sababu yangu kuu ilikuwa ni katika hofu kwamba Obama angeshinda nomination basi Weupe wangeungana bila kujali itikadi zao kuhakikisha mtu mweusi haingii White House.Baada ya kumbwaga Hillary,nililazimika kukubaliana na busara za stadi za siasa kwamba lolote linawezekana katika fani hiyo.

Tukirejea kwenye kinachowasumbua wachambuzi wa siasa ni namna Bradley effect inavyoelekea kushindwa kuwa na impact kwa Obama,hasa kipindi hiki ambacho sio tu anapambana na Mweupe bali Mweupe kutoka chama cha weupe wahafidhina (Republican).Kuna wanaoamini kwamba Bradley effect ni uzushi (myth) wa aina flani.I dont.Lakini kama sio myth basi kwanini Obama anazidi kupaa kwenye opinion polls?

Binafsi nadhani hii ni REVERSE BRADLEY EFFECT.Yaani,wapiga kura Weusi hawaonyeshi dhamira zao hadharani (kwa wanaochukua opinion polls) kwamba watamsapoti Mweusi mwenzao.Kwa lugha nyingine,wanashusha matarajio ya support ya Weusi kwa Mweusi mwenzao.Lakini kwa vile Weusi ni wachache Marekani,na hata kama wangefanya nacho-hypothesize hapo juu bado wasingeweza kuifanya hali kuwa kama ilivyo sasa,nachoamini zaidi ni tabia "mpya" ya Weupe kudai hadharani kuwa hawajaamua wampigie kura nani (undecided) au Weupe (hasa wa Republicans) kuongopa hadharani kwamba wanamsapoti McCain ilhali dhamira na sapoti yao ni kwa Obama.

Weusi wa Obama ni issue kwenye uchaguzi huu,nami ni muumini wa hoja kwamba kama Obama angekuwa Mweupe basi muda huu tungeshafuta uwezekano wa McCain kuwa rais hapo Novemba.Kwanini nasema hivyo?Wamarekani wengi wamechoshwa na Republicans na uhafidhina kwa ujumla.Bush ameendelea kuwa one of the most unpopular US presidents ever,na Democrats wanaonekana kama ndio watakaoleta ufumbuzi wa matatizo ya Marekani.Sababu zote hizo ni tosha kumfanya mgombea anayekubalika wa Democrats kuwa mbali sana kwenye kura za maoni.Kwanini Obama anamwacha McCain kwa wastani wa kura 10 tu?Jibu la haraka ni Weusi wake.

Whether Bredley effect ni hype au ndio ujio wa Reverse Bredley effect itajulikana baada ya exit polls hapo Novemba 4.However,no matter what happens to Obama,alipofika ni historia tosha,japo itanoga zaidi akishinda kiti hicho.

19 Oct 2008

CLICK HERE to read the story

17 Oct 2008

NEW YORK – John McCain hung his final presidential debate performance on an Ohio plumber who campaign aides never vetted. 

A day after making Joseph Wurzelbacher famous, referencing him in the debate almost two dozen times as someone who would pay higher taxes under Barack Obama, McCain learned the fine print Thursday on the plumber’s not-so-tidy personal story: He owes back taxes. He is not a licensed plumber. And it turns out that Wurzelbacher makes less than $250,000 a year, which means he would receive a tax cut if Obama were elected president. 

McCain likes to say that he isn’t George W. Bush – and in this case of bungled public relations, it is clear he is not. The famously-disciplined Bush campaign operation would likely have found the perfect anonymous citizen to illustrate a policy proposal, rather than spontaneously wrap itself around an unknown entity with so many asterisks. 

While the arc of Wurzelbacher’s breakneck trip through the news cycle – from private citizen to insta-celebrity to political target – offers a curious insight into the political media culture, it also appears to offer a glimpse into the McCain campaign’s on-the-fly decisionmaking style. 

A McCain source said Thursday that the campaign read about Wurzelbacher on the Drudge Report, while another campaign aide confirmed that he was not vetted. Senior McCain adviser Matt McDonald told Politico after the debate that Wurzelbacher was not aware that he would become central to the candidates’ third and final showdown, although Wurzelbacher told reporters Thursday that the McCain campaign contacted him earlier in the week to ask him to appear with the candidate at a Toledo rally scheduled for Sunday. (He may not make it, now that he's scheduled to be in New York for TV interviews.) 

“Joe, if you're watching, I'm sorry,” McCain said Thursday, referring to the press attention that the Ohio man had received, during a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman.

McCain said he has not spoken to Wurzelbacher yet. Aides have reached out, hoping to get him on the stump at some point. 

By Thursday evening, though, the McCain campaign had tied itself even closer to Wurzelbacher than the night before. 

His campaign released a web ad titled “Joe the Plumber.” McCain opened his rally in Downingtown, Pa., with a shout-out to Wurzelbacher.

“We had a good debate last night. I thought I did pretty well, but let's have a little straight talk: the real winner last night was Joe the Plumber,” McCain told 1,000 people. “He won and small businesses across America won, because the American people are not going to let Senator Obama raise their taxes in a tough economy.” 

For a few moments, the crowd chanted, “Joe! Joe! Joe!” 

“Joe’s the man!” McCain yelled back. 

Obama veered from his prepared remarks in Londonderry, N.H., to question McCain’s use of Wurzelbacher, saying the Republican senator’s tax plan would do more for corporations and wealthy individuals than, say, a plumber. 

“He is trying to suggest that a plumber is the guy he’s fighting for,” Obama said told a rally with 4,100 people. “How many plumbers do you know making a quarter of a million dollars a year?” 

Obama’s remarks echoed those of his vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, who criticized McCain for “the notion of this guy Joe the Plumber.” 

“I don’t have any Joe the Plumbers in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year that are worried,” Biden said on NBC’s Today show. “The Joe the Plumbers in my neighborhood, the Joe the Cops in my neighborhood, the Joe the Grocery Store Owners in my neighborhood – they make, like 98 percent of small businesses, less than $250,000 a year. And they’re going to do very well under us, and they’re going to be in real tough shape under John McCain.” 

Wurzelbacher, 34, a single father and self-described conservative, emerged as a symbol for a tax debate that has become a mainstay of the give-and-take on the campaign trail, and also of the white working-class voters who have been pursued so vigorously by both candidates. 

The exchange between Obama and Wurzelbacher that first brought him to the McCain campaign’s attention, occurred Sunday while the Democratic nominee was canvassing for votes in Toledo. 

“I'm being taxed more and more for fulfilling the American Dream,” Wurzelbacher told Obama, adding he was concerned about having to pay more taxes as he worked towards his goal of buying his own plumbing business, which could draw income of $250,000 a year. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” 

Obama said that, under his proposal, those making $250,000 or less would not pay more in taxes, but incomes above that level would be subject to a higher tax rate. 

“It’s not that I want to punish your success, I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got the chance at success too,” Obama told Wurzelbacher. “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” 

Since then, the encounter has also provided fodder for conservatives alleging his tax plan would amount to a massive redistribution of wealth. 

McCain said Obama's plan would stop entrepreneurs such as Wurzelbacher from investing in new small businesses and keep existing ones from growing. 

Even before the debate concluded Wednesday, local TV stations, network producers and journalists from around the country were trying to reach Wurzelbacher. By Thursday afternoon, he had been picked to pieces. 

Wurzelbacher acknowledged to reporters that he doesn't have a plumber's license, but said he didn't need one because he works for someone else at a company that does residential work. State and local records show Wurzelbacher has no license, although his employer does.David Golis, manager and residential building official for the Toledo Division of Building Inspection, said Wurzelbacher still would need to be a licensed apprentice or journeyman to work in Toledo. 

Wurzelbacher also owes the state of Ohio $1,182.98 in personal income tax, according to Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records. The Ohio Department of Taxation filed a claim on his property until he pays the debt, according to the records. The lien remains active. 

The McCain campaign weighed in on Wurzelbacher’s behalf, using the opportunity to take digs at two frequent targets. 

“It's an outrage that the Obama campaign and the media are attacking Joe the Plumber for asking a legitimate question of a presidential candidate. This is why voters still have so many questions about Barack Obama. Instead of answering tough questions, his campaign attacks average Americans for daring to look at the reality behind his words, said Tucker Bounds, spokesman the McCain-Palin campaign. “John McCain will continue to fight on behalf of all hardworking Americans like Joe for policies geared toward increasing prosperity and reducing the burden on taxpayers -- not 'spreading the wealth around' for Senator Government to distribute as he sees fit.” 

Leaning against his black Dodge Durango SUV, Wurzelbacher at first was amused by it all, then overwhelmed and finally a little annoyed. 

“I don't have a lot of pull. It's not like I'm Matt Damon," he said "I just hope I'm not making too much of a fool of myself." 

SOURCE: Politico

16 Oct 2008

Beware an October surprise from bin Laden
By Joseph Nye
Published: October 15 2008 19:31 | Last updated: October 15 2008 19:31

Americans are transfixed by the aftermath of the September surprise in financial markets. Could there be a very different surprise coming in October?

The public thinks Democrats do better on economic issues, and the financial crisis erased the bounce in the polls that John McCain received from the Republican convention. After the second presidential debate, Mr Obama widened his lead, but dangers remain. Polls show that Republicans do better on the issue of terrorism. Last June, McCain adviser Charlie Black was reprimanded for having the temerity to point out that the intrusion of a terrorist event into the campaign would “certainly be a big advantage” for Mr McCain. Mr Black may have been politically incorrect but an objective analysis suggests he might be right.

On October 29 2004, four days before the last election, Al Jazeera aired an 18 minute video tape in which Osama bin Laden addressed the American people and threatened further retaliation and a desire to bankrupt the US. In the first poll after that tape was released, President George W. Bush opened up a six point lead over Senator John Kerry. The deputy director of the CIA commented that “Bin Laden certainly did a nice favour today for the president”.

Since the election turned on 120,000 votes in Ohio, it is plausible Mr bin Laden was able to affect the election. From the al-Qaeda leader’s point of view, Mr Bush’s policies were more useful for his efforts to recruit supporters than Mr Kerry’s might have been. Mr bin Laden is involved in a civil war within Islam. He wants the US to pursue policies that create the appearance of a clash of civilisations. Anything that polarises the mainstream of Muslim opinion helps his recruiting. As the deputy director for analysis at the CIA commented at the time: “Certainly, he would want Bush to keep doing what he’s doing for a few more years.”

From that point of view, Barack Obama must be unsettling for Mr bin Laden. An African-American with a father born in Kenya and a childhood spent partly in Indonesia presents a very different face to the world. A recent BBC poll of 22 countries found that if the world could vote, Mr Obama would win in a landslide. The pro-Obama margin varied from 82 percentage points in Kenya to 9 points in India.

Of course, Americans do not like outside interference in their elections. When Mr Obama attracted a crowd of 200,000 to a speech in Berlin last summer, Republican critics portrayed him as an elitist who appeals overseas but not to blue collar workers at home. On the other hand, in a recent poll that asked Americans to rate a series of foreign policy goals for the next president, 83 per cent ranked “improving America’s standing in the world” as most important. Certainly, the election of the first African-American as president would do wonders to restore the soft power that the Bush administration has squandered over the past eight years. That is why Mr Obama is such a threat to Mr bin Laden.

Some voters worry that even though Mr Obama might be good for US soft power, he might not understand hard power. Mr Obama’s statements in the two presidential debates suggest that he gets it. He has promised to give priority to finding and killing Mr bin Laden but there is more to the story. Niccolò Machiavelli said that it is more important for a prince to be feared than to be loved but we sometimes forget that the opposite of love is not fear, but hatred. Machiavelli made it clear hatred is something a prince should avoid at all costs. Smart power is the ability to combine hard and soft power into an effective strategy.

Both Mr McCain and Mr Obama have impressive hard power political and organisational skills, or they would not be where they are today. After all, Mr McCain has a military background and Mr Obama came up through the rough and tumble of Chicago politics. More over, Mr Obama’s campaign has set a new standard for political organisation. But on the crucial soft power skills of emotional intelligence, vision and communication, Mr Obama has the edge as reflected in the global polls and that must be giving Mr bin Laden a headache. In the next few weeks, as the remaining undecided voters have to make up their minds, Mr bin Laden may again be tempted to enter the fray. Given the scale of the financial crisis, it might take more than a video tape to refocus the attention of the American electorate this year but we should be alert to Mr bin Laden’s temptation and the danger it presents.

The writer is a professor at Harvard University and author most recently of The Powers to Lead


"Hata ingekuwa Ronald Reagan katika nafasi ya John McCain dhidi ya Obama,ni dhahiri ingekuwa hadithi ileile...McCain ameshindwa."Hii ni tafsiri isiyo rasmi ya kauli ya Charles Krauthammer kwa Brit Hume,baada ya mdahalo wa mwisho kati ya McCain na Barack Obama.Bill Kristol nae ametoa more or less same conclusion.

Kwa mujibu wa kura za maoni za watazamaji wa mjadala huo kwa CNN na CBS (na Frank Luntz's focus group ya undecided voters,Obama ameshinda mjadala huo.Pia wachambuzi wa mdahalo huo wameonekana kukubaliana kuhusu mwonekano wa wagombea hao wakati wa mjadala,ambapo mara kadhaa Obama alikuwa akitabasamu na kucheka huku akiwa more relaxed wakati takriban muda wote McCain alikuwa serious na kama mtu anayekimbizana na muda.

Ni vigumu kufanya utabiri kwenye siasa,ni vigumu zaidi kufanya utabiri kwenye uchaguzi,na ni vigumu mno kufanya utabiri wa uhakika takriban siku 19 kabla ya uchaguzi mkuu wa Marekani.Hata hivyo,kama hakuna Bradley effect katika opinion polls zinazoonyesha Obama akiongoza katika karibu kila poll,na kama hakutatokea tukio kubwa (kwa mfano,God forbid,shambulizi la kigaidi kama la September 11,au kukamatwa kwa Osama bin Laden) Obama anasimama katika nafasi nzuri ya kuwa rais wa kwanza mweusi wa Marekani hapo November 4.

13 Oct 2008

If John McCain is as serious as he says about running a "respectful" campaign against an opponent he considers "a decent person," word hasn't yet trickled down to his newly opened storefront field office in Gainesville, Virginia.

No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Virginia since 1964, and most election years both campaigns pretty much ignore the state. This time, however, McCain is running behind Barack Obama in statewide polls, thanks in large part to the head start he got on the ground there. "We haven't seen a race like this in Virginia — ever," said state GOP Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick. "The last time was 40 years ago, and they didn't run races like this."

Indeed, Frederick, a 33-year-old state legislator, hadn't even been born yet. But earlier this year Frederick unseated a moderate 71-year-old former lieutenant governor (who also happens to be Jenna Bush's father-in-law) to become head of the Virginia GOP, promising "bold new leadership" for a state party recently on the decline.

The McCain campaign invited me to visit Frederick and the Gainesville operation on Saturday morning, to get a first-hand glimpse of its ground game in Prince William County, Virginia, a fast-growing area about 30 miles from Washington, D.C.

With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary." It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama's controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. "And he won't salute the flag," one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born." Actually, we do; it's Hawaii.

Ground operations — the doughnut-fueled armies of volunteers who knock on doors and man the phone banks — are the trench warfare of political campaigns. These are the people charged with finding and persuading voters who might support their candidate, and then making sure they actually show up at the polls. A good ground operation might mean just an additional percentage point or two on Election Day, but in a close race, that margin could easily be the difference between winning and losing. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe calls his ground operation the "field goal unit," and it was one of the big reasons the Illinois Senator bested Hillary Clinton in the primaries. But Obama's team has yet to be tested against a Republican operation that was built and perfected over decades, culminating in the astonishing ground game that put George W. Bush over the top in 2004.

The Republicans wouldn't allow me to tag along with their volunteers, so I drove 30 minutes across the county to the Obama field office. Where the Gainesville GOP office that opened last week was still furnished only with a few folding tables and chairs (workers were hanging the McCain/Palin sign out front as I drove away), Obama's in Woodbridge has been up and running since July, and has the dingy, cluttered, lived-in feel that every campaign office eventually acquires. The campaign's "Votebuilder" software — with house-by-house data on every registered voter in the area — dominated a bank of computer screens, and the walls were covered with cartoons, volunteer signatures and lists of "star phonebankers." Young volunteers bustled in and out with stacks of clipboards and canvassing materials to hand to the volunteers who were showing up by the carful in the parking lot. Word had gotten out that a new load of yard signs had arrived, so they were handing those out to Obama supporters who had shown up asking for them.

The campaign handed me a packet of addresses and sent me out to meet Brian Varrieur. He's a 34-year-old lawyer who lives in Washington, D.C. and looks barely old enough to vote himself. This was the fifth weekend he returned to his parents' home in the neighborhood where he grew up to knock on doors for Obama. Brian is soft-spoken — not exactly a natural personality for this kind of work; back when his elementary school would hold candy-sale drives, "I was one of those kids who would get their next-door neighbor and their mom to buy some, and that was it," he told me. "But this [presidential election] really matters to me."

It must. Saturdays in the suburbs aren't the ideal time to find people at home. I followed Brian to 13 houses on his list, and no one answered at 10 of them. (He left an Obama brochure in the door of each.) At one, the woman at the door told him she was "leaning" toward McCain, though I thought she seemed more settled in her decision than that. At another, a teen-aged girl told him: "My dad is a super-strong Republican. You're probably at the wrong house." (He duly marked that down, to save future canvassers the trouble.) Still, the yard signs we saw suggested that this was in fact a neighborhood divided. We discovered that was true when we approached another house on the list and found a father and son raking the front yard. "I'm voting for McCain," the father told us. But his 19-year-old son, a college student home for the weekend, told us he plans to send in his absentee ballot for Obama. His reason? "Palin's a retard," he said. As for the lady of the house? McCain, the man said. "She has to live here. The kids I can kick out."


12 Oct 2008

IF you think way back to the start of this marathon campaign, back when it seemed preposterous that any black man could be a serious presidential contender, then you remember the biggest fear about Barack Obama: a crazy person might take a shot at him.

Some voters told reporters that they didn’t want Obama to run, let alone win, should his very presence unleash the demons who have stalked America from Lincoln to King. After consultation with Congress, Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, gave Obama a Secret Service detail earlier than any presidential candidate in our history — in May 2007, some eight months before the first Democratic primaries.

“I’ve got the best protection in the world, so stop worrying,” Obama reassured his supporters. Eventually the country got conditioned to his appearing in large arenas without incident (though I confess that the first loud burst of fireworks at the end of his convention stadium speech gave me a start). In America, nothing does succeed like success. The fear receded.

Until now. At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.

All’s fair in politics. John McCain and Sarah Palin have every right to bring up William Ayers, even if his connection to Obama is minor, even if Ayers’s Weather Underground history dates back to Obama’s childhood, even if establishment Republicans and Democrats alike have collaborated with the present-day Ayers in educational reform. But it’s not just the old Joe McCarthyesque guilt-by-association game, however spurious, that’s going on here. Don’t for an instant believe the many mindlessly “even-handed” journalists who keep saying that the McCain campaign’s use of Ayers is the moral or political equivalent of the Obama campaign’s hammering on Charles Keating.

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise thatsomeone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today.

That’s a far cry from simply accusing Obama of being a guilty-by-association radical leftist. Obama is being branded as a potential killer and an accessory to past attempts at murder. “Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family” was how a McCain press releaselast week packaged the remembrance of a Weather Underground incident from 1970 — when Obama was 8.

We all know what punishment fits the crime of murder, or even potential murder, if the security of post-9/11 America is at stake. We all know how self-appointed “patriotic” martyrs always justify taking the law into their own hands.

Obama can hardly be held accountable for Ayers’s behavior 40 years ago, but at least McCain and Palin can try to take some responsibility for the behavior of their own supporters in 2008. What’s troubling here is not only the candidates’ loose inflammatory talk but also their refusal to step in promptly and strongly when someone responds to it with bloodthirsty threats in a crowded arena. Joe Biden had it exactly right when heexpressed concern last week that “a leading American politician who might be vice president of the United States would not just stop midsentence and turn and condemn that.” To stay silent is to pour gas on the fires.

It wasn’t always thus with McCain. In February he loudly disassociated himself from a speaker who brayed “Barack Hussein Obama” when introducing him at a rally in Ohio. Now McCain either backpedals with tardy, pro forma expressions of respect for his opponent or lets second-tier campaign underlings release boilerplate disavowals after ugly incidents like the chilling Jim Crow-era flashback last week when a Florida sheriff ranted about “Barack Hussein Obama” at a Palin rally while in full uniform.

From the start, there have always been two separate but equal questions about race in this election. Is there still enough racism in America to prevent a black man from being elected president no matter what? And, will Republicans play the race card? The jury is out on the first question until Nov. 4. But we now have the unambiguous answer to the second: Yes.

McCain, who is no racist, turned to this desperate strategy only as Obama started to pull ahead. The tone was set at the Republican convention, with Rudy Giuliani’s mocking dismissal of Obama as an “only in America” affirmative-action baby. We also learned then that the McCain campaign had recruited as a Palin handler none other than Tucker Eskew, the South Carolina consultant who had worked for George W. Bush in the notorious 2000 G.O.P. primary battle where the McCains and their adopted Bangladeshi daughter were slimed by vicious racist rumors.

No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnistfamous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

The operatives who would have Palin quote Pegler have been at it ever since. A key indicator came two weeks after the convention, when the McCain campaign ran its first ad tying Obama to the mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Rather than make its case by using a legitimate link between Fannie and Obama (or other Democratic leaders), the McCain forces chose a former Fannie executive who had no real tie to Obama or his campaign but did have a black face that could dominate the ad’s visuals.

There are no black faces high in the McCain hierarchy to object to these tactics. There hasn’t been a single black Republican governor, senator or House member in six years. This is a campaign where Palin can repeatedly declare that Alaska is “a microcosm of America” without anyone even wondering how that might be so for a state whose tiny black and Hispanic populations are each roughly one-third the national average. There are indeed so few people of color at McCain events that a black senior writer from The Tallahassee Democrat was mistakenly ejected by the Secret Service from a campaign rally in Panama City in August, even though he was standing with other reporters and showed his credentials. His only apparent infraction was to look glaringly out of place.

Could the old racial politics still be determinative? I’ve long been skeptical of the incessant press prognostications (and liberal panic) that this election will be decided by racist white men in the Rust Belt. Now even the dimmest bloviators have figured out that Americans are riveted by the color green, not black — as in money, not energy. Voters are looking for a leader who might help rescue them, not a reckless gambler whose lurching responses to the economic meltdown (a campaign “suspension,” a mortgage-buyout stunt that changes daily) are as unhinged as his wanderings around the debate stage.

To see how fast the tide is moving, just look at North Carolina. On July 4 this year — the day that the godfather of modern G.O.P. racial politics, Jesse Helms, died — The Charlotte Observer reported that strategists of both parties agreed Obama’s chances to win the state fell “between slim and none.” Today, as Charlotte reels from the implosion of Wachovia, the McCain-Obama race is a dead heat in North Carolina and Helms’s Republican successor in the Senate, Elizabeth Dole, is looking like a goner.

But we’re not at Election Day yet, and if voters are to have their final say, both America and Obama have to get there safely. The McCain campaign has crossed the line between tough negative campaigning and inciting vigilantism, and each day the mob howls louder. The onus is on the man who says he puts his country first to call off the dogs, pit bulls and otherwise.


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