Archive for September 2008
Governor Tim Kaine, who has been relatively quiet in the presidential race, set off a verbal bomb today, that has already moved in some national outlets. He said that John McCain “phoned in” his VP choice of Sarah Palin. He made the remarks on his weekly WTOP radio show.
Here is what he said via the AP:
(Kaine) said McCain met Palin once in a large crowd, interviewed her by phone, then offered her the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket.
He said McCain knew so little about her that he had to crib her biography off her resume when he introduced her.
In Kaine’s words, “Most people would take hiring someone for a summer job more seriously.”
Tough words for a guy, who was passed over for the same job on the democratic side and certainly seems to be making the argument that Barack Obama knew him far better than McCain knew Palin.. and he still didn’t get picked.
There is a very important deadline ahead on the calender that could be the difference in who wins the race for president in Virginia. Voter registration efforts end on October 6th, after that no new voters will be allowed to cast their ballots. That means the Obama campaign is working overtime to get new voters in the mix, in an effort to close an 8 point gap that was the difference in Virginia going Republican in 2004.
Our political analyst Dr. Daniel Palazzolo from the University of Richmond, explained this important strategic move to me over the weekend. He believes that the top brass of the Obama campaign have a specific number of new voters that they believe need to be registered by the deadline, in order for them to have a chance to win.
They are working off the premise that, of the voters that participated in 2004, a very small percentage will change their vote to a new party. Even if it is a monumental swing of 5%, that still leaves the democrats 3% short of winning in 2008. That means they have to overcome that swing by figuring out the raw number of voters they are behind by and then registering at least 30% more. (Based on the idea that only 70% of new registrants will vote at all and for their guy).
There are any number of ways to determine what the new registrant figure will be and I am sure they have internal polling, which shows them just what kind of a percentage of voters will swing from ’04 to ’08. But when those new numbers come out sometime in mid-October, we’ll do some figuring on our own to see if the Obama camp was as successful as they hoped to be.
According to the latest data provided by the State Board of Elections, 251,261 new voters have been registered and and almost 43% of them are under the age of 25. That is good news for Obama. But will it be enough? It is clear their campaign will continue to push. Here is a text message that was sent out to people who signed up to learn “first” as to who Obama’s running mate will be. Expect this to continue, right up until October 6th.
The back and forth over the Washington bailout debate can be very confusing. The very intricate discussion about the country’s financial system, and the involved options congressional officials are proposing, is a lot to try and get a handle on by itself. But on top of that, is a very complex bit of strategy being used to wield the power of parliamentary procedure in the halls of congress.
In order to pass the package, in needs enough votes in the Senate, the House and be signed by the President. It was the President’s idea, so he is on board, and enough Republicans and Democrats have agreed to move forward in the Senate. The problem comes in the House. The Democratic majority supports the original plan, or a reasonable faximille their of. In fact if the bill was brought to the floor, they probably have enough votes for it to pass. However, the Democratic leadership in the house wants what they call a “bi-partisan” plan. That means they want a healthy number of House Republicans to vote for the bill, so it is viewed as something that had broad support.
There are any number of reasons that the Democrats refuse to bring the bill forward without the Republican support. One could be that they want speculators on Wall Street to believe that it is the best possible plan to rescue the failing credit market and by having a broad spectrum of support, investors will again put their money back into the market to get things moving again. On the other side, a cynic may say that Democrats want Republicans to vote for the plan so that when it fails, the blame is shared equally. You can make that decision for yourself.
Regardless, this scenario has put the ball in the hands of a small group of House Republicans, who for the most part, are the weakest group of lawmakers in Washington. But because they are the only ones not on board, they are the ones who have a chance to put their imprint on this bill.
Enter Eric Cantor. The longtime member of Republican House Leadership, Cantor has become an important deal maker on behalf of the fiscally conservative wing of the Republican house. Last night, it appeared that a “deal in principle” was reached by the players involved, but this morning on CNN, Cantor said his fellow Republicans weren’t on board just yet.
Cantor said that his collegues still have some concern that the proposed mortgage insurance option is exactly where they want it to be.
Expect Cantor to be one of the main people involved in this discussion before a deal is finally reached.
In the wake of debate 1, we have the democratic nominees in the commonwealth, a new poll that is painting Virginia blue, and very positive reactions to our liveblog which you were able to participate in.
First looking forward, in another example of just how important the Democrats regard Virginia, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be here today. They will hold a rally in Fredericksburg the day after the first debate. You may recall that Obama made Virginia his first stop after Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race for president.
And there is no doubt the Democrats are spending more time here and it appears to be paying off. A new poll, this one out by Rasmussen, gives Barack Obama the lead in the commonwealth. They have Obama up 50%-45% and that is enough to bump him up in the RCP Average to a lead of 1.8%. Interestingly if you have paid any attention to the RCP electoral college map in the last three weeks, you probably noticed that if the map has changed it has been because the numbers in Virginia keep going back and forth.
Back to last night’s debate, the overall reaction was that there was no clear winner. Both candidates seemed to overcome some of the criticisms of their earlier debate styles. Some viewed the exchange as boring. It seems unlikely that it will provide any seismic shift in the poll numbers, which could mean the upcoming VP debate is going to be even more important.
And we were glad to provide instant, local reaction from people right here in Central Virginia in our liveblog. We had a very lively exchange and help from some terrific student reporters from Manchester High School. You can take a look back at what every one said on decisionvirginia.com.
We don’t have a 6pm newscast tonight, so I will see you later at 11pm, and I’ll update you with any new political information right here.
Our first debate liveblog just wrapped up and I want to thank all of our contributors. I think we had an excellent exchange on the issues.
You can take a look back at what was said by logging on to: www.decisionvirginia.com.
Feel free to also leave comments right here on this blog as well!
Thanks again to everyone who took part.
I just wrapped a meeting with our four livebloggers, students from the Mass Communications program at Manchester High School. Two of them will be with Obama supporters at a debate watching party in downtown Richmond, another group will be with McCain supporters in the West End. I will be here watching from NBC12 and I hope you will join us by commenting on the liveblog from home. Everyone is welcome.
Here is a rundown of where everyone will be and what perspective they will bring.
Ryan Nobles- NBC12
NiQuay Harper/Victoria Millefolie- Obama Watching Party 700 N 3rd St, Richmond
Jonathan Nixon/Dean Speed- McCain Watching Party- 2207 Ashcreek Drive, Richmond
Now that the debate is back on, so are our coverage plans. We plan to give Central Virginia voters an instant view of how local people are reacting to the event on our web site and then during our 11pm newscast. Here is a breakdown of our plans:
On the Web: Through our political web site www.decisionvirginia.com we will be running a liveblog that will be open to viewer comment during the debate. I will moderate the discussion from our NBC12 studios and we will have contributions from two sets of student reporters embedded at debate watching parties hosted by both campaigns. Our online coverage will begin at 8:55pm and you will be able to give your opinions as you watch the debate and read the reactions from supporters on both sides.
On the Air: We will have comprehensive local coverage of the debate before and after the event on NBC12. Tonight during our 5:30 newscast I will preview the debate, with insight from two heavyweights from both campaigns. We will hear from McCain’s state co-chair Jerry Kilgore and Obama’s National Communications Director Robert Gibbs. I plan to ask them both about the back and forth leading up to the debate and how it will impact tonight’s proceedings.
Then at 11 after the debate, we will look back at what viewers had to say about the debate and specifically what issues were discussed that impact voters in Virginia.
Check back often for updates.
John McCain’s campaign just released the following lengthy statement regarding the situation in Washington. Nestled in at the very end of the statement was this line:
The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.
Now that we know the situation, I can share with your our coverage plans for tonight which we are very excited about. Check back in a few minutes for that update. You can see the entire McCain statement after the jump.
Tonight in our 11pm newscast I am reporting on a concern among voters in Virginia about the wearing of campaign related clothing and apparel on the day of the vote. There are quite a few widely dispersed emails throughout Central Virginia warning people if they wear gear supporting a candidate they could at best be denied the right to vote and at worst even arrested. Tonight we are using my “Reality Check” segment to cut through to the truth related to this rumor.
The basics are, that according to Virginia Law no campaign material is allowed within 40 feet of the polling location. Where the confusion comes in, is that the law is enforced at the discretion of each election district. So what could be campaign material in one spot (ie: a shirt, a hat or a button) may be interpreted differently somewhere else.
However, what is not in danger is your right to vote. There is also no chance that you may face criminal charges. Polling place officials will simply ask you to remove the clothing before you go into vote. As long as you comply with the law, your vote is safe.
Generally a good rule is, keep your gear at home and wear it to your victory party later that night.
There is an interesting back story as to what precipitated this confusion, which I will share with you tomorrow, in addition to a look at what are plans are to cover the first debate (if it even happens).
I must admit, I thought this was an interesting campaign pitch when it ventured into my mailbox. Jason Alexander aka George Costanza from Seinfeld making a pitch to Virginia voters to donate money to Mark Warner’s campaign. Interestingly the pitch hammers a do-nothing congress, a congress that last I checked was in the hands of Democrats. Here is what he said:
If you thought Seinfeld was a show about nothing, you should check out Congress. I can’t remember such a lack of productivity since the summer of George.
In all seriousness, the gridlock in Washington is extremely worrisome. This crowd has already set an all-time record for filibusters in a single Congress, and they’re still in session! No matter how many good ideas are out there, if we can’t move beyond the same partisan politics, not much is going to happen.