Blogs > HNN > September 1, 2008: John McCain's VP Pick.... Gov. Sarah Palin

Sep 1, 2008 1:07 am

September 1, 2008: John McCain's VP Pick.... Gov. Sarah Palin



Democratic Convention Roundup


The week that was....

  • August 31, 2008: McCain Cancels First Day of Republican National Convention - Wall Street Journal, 8-31-08
  • August 30, 2008: McCain, Palin spend first full day of campaigning in Pa.; GOP leaders keep wary eye on Gustav ... As Gustav approaches Gulf Coast, Obama expresses hope that lessons leaned from Katrina ... Magazine: Obama told Petraeus some US forces in Iraq should be shifted to Afghanistan fight - AP, 8-31-08
  • August 29, 2008: McCain selects Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin to be vice presidential candidate ... Obama's acceptance speech at Democratic convention seen by 38 million-plus viewers ... Palin choice as McCain running mate raises eyebrows, even within her own state.... - AP, 8-30-08 John McCain Chooses Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his running-mate, making her the first woman on the Republican ticket. - NYT, 8-30-08
  • August 28, 2008: Obama accepts historic nomination; first black nominee says he'd cut taxes, end oil dependence ... Ohio woman seeks to debunk Internet rumors in convention speech ... McCain makes decision on his vice presidential pick ... - AP, 8-29-08
  • August 27, 2008: Barack Obama to woo nation 45 years after Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech ... Biden tells Democratic convention needs more than a good soldier, reference to McCain ... Clinton delivers strong endorsement for Obama while passing torch.... - AP, 8-28-08
    Obama and Biden plan post-convention bus tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan ... GOP 'war room' revs up as high-profile figures hit airwaves to slam Obama ... Democrats plan heavy presence at GOP convention, will greet delegates with Bush billboard - AP, 8-27-08
  • August 26, 2008: Democrats bicker over how hard to hit McCain as Clintons take center stage next 2 days ... Using Clinton's words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call ... Obama sounds economic themes on way to Denver ... Republicans debate platform shaped by conservative base, McCain ... Former president warns of global warming, trying to float above convention fray.... Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes ... McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq. AP, 8-26-08
    Democrats rip into McCain at national convention; Clinton salutes Obama ... Using Clinton's words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call ... Former president's odd moment in Denver: in the spotlight but on the sidelines ... In crafting a platform, GOP takes a hard line on abortion, moderate stand on climate change ... Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes ... McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq - AP, 8-26-08
  • August 25, 2008: Hillary Rodham Clinton implores supporters to back the man who defeated her ... In convention's first major speech, Michelle Obama tries to connect with families ... Voice firm, ailing Kennedy tells Democratic convention"the dream lives on." - AP, 8-26-08
    Ailing Ted Kennedy to be at convention's opening, may speak ... Obama ad ties McCain to Bush ... Obama's life story, tribute to Sen. Kennedy top convention's opening night ... Biden stops to wish Amtrak"family" well before leaving for Denver ... Obama's choice of Biden as running mate raises stakes for McCain's vice presidential pick. - AP, 8-25-08

The Stats

  • August 31, 2008: CNN Poll: Obama 49, McCain 48 - CNN, 8-31-08
  • Mr. McCain enters this year's convention with the enthusiastic support of nearly 9 in 10 delegates, according to a poll of Republican delegates by The New York Times and CBS News. Just 8 percent have reservations about him, the poll shows. - NYT, 8-31-08
  • Sarah Palin, Profile in the New York Times - NYT
  • FactChecking Obama: He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them. - Newsweek, 8-29-08
  • FactCheck: Claims omit details on McCain record - AP, 8-26-08
  • August 26, 2008: A new Gallup Polls shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin — the first time McCain has led since June. Christian Science Monitor, 8-26-08

In the News...

  • Republicans Drop Most Convention Action on Monday - NYT, 9-1-08
  • Gauging Gustav's Political Impact - WaPo, 8-31-08
  • McCain orders convention curtailed for Gustav - AP, 8-31-08
  • McCain hopes to reclaim reformist mantel - AP, 8-29-08
  • The Palin Stunner - WaPo, 8-29-08
  • Experts: Palin chosen for women's votes - USA Today, 8-29-08
  • Choice of Palin brings praise from Texas Republicans But Dems note Palin's inexperience, warn that just being a woman isn't enough - Houston Chronicle, 8-29-08
  • McCain Veep Watchers on High Alert - WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Denver to help provide counterattacks against the Democratic Party convention, canceled participation in a news conference and other appearances, a Republican official said. - Reuters, 8-28-08

Campaign Bloopers

  • Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler apologizes for joking about hurricane:"The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side," Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that"everything's cool."...

    "This is a point of national concern. I think everybody of good will has great empathy and sympathy for people in New Orleans," Fowler also said."Most religious people are praying for people in New Orleans. There is no political connotation to this whatsoever. This was just poking fun at Jerry Falwell and the nonsensical thing he had said several years ago." - CNN, 8-31-08
  • Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine also took a few jabs at McCain, one of the first speakers of the night to do so. Referencing McCain's inability to remember how many houses he owned, Kaine joked:"Maybe for John McCain the American Dream means seven houses and, if that's your America, than John McCain is your candidate." - WaPo, 8-28-08
  • DNC Chairman Howard Dean took over after the Rocky Mountain state lawmakers spoke, introducing himself to the crowd and immediately criticizing McCain for his gaffe about the number of house he owned and tying him to President Bush:"I know exactly how many houses I own. ... John McCain is a yes man," Dean said. WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Freudian Slip: Mr. Biden's Freudian slip gets a big laugh — when he says"George" when he means"John." That's the subtext of his speech, which hasn’t come yet — that Mr. McCain is Mr. Bush. - NYT, The Caucus Blog, 8-27-08

Historians' Comments

  • Henry Robertson on"McCain's VP choice surprises La. GOP leaders": And associate history professor Henry Robertson at Louisiana College in Pineville says the history doesn't end there, with both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates snubbing political tradition by choosing their running mates from states with few electoral votes. Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, hails from a state with three electoral votes, the same as Palin's Alaska."On both counts, I think, it was kind of a surprise that they didn't pick people to geographically balance or to have the kind of electoral count you would expect," said Robertson, who also is the faculty adviser to the College Republicans, a student group at LC. Robertson did praise Palin's selection, though, calling her"an excellent choice, a fresh new face" who will make the Republican ticket a strong contender. But as Republicans expressed glee with their completed ticket, they also expressed concern as Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc just as their convention kicks off. Robertson suggested that the party should consider delaying the convention should Gustav become a large national event."I don't think you want to have a convention when you have a major emergency in the United States," Robertson said."I do think it would be wise if they waited, or delayed certainly, the convention because the focus needs to be on what is going on, on the Gulf Coast." - The Town Talk, LA, 8-30-08
  • John Fea on"GOP up for a big week Convention plans could stall when Gustav hits::"This could be the split-screen convention," said John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., in a swing state where McCain hopes his choice of Palin could help him. - Detroit Free Press,
  • William Lass on"Party like it's 1892 For the Republican Party, this week's gathering in the Twin Cities is a return engagement -- after 116 years.":"The principal reason Minneapolis got the convention in 1892 was the fear that the Populists were going to win Minnesota and adjacent states and therefore deny the Republicans an election win," said William Lass, retired history professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato."The similarity between then and now is that the Upper Midwest could have the swing votes that would decide the election," he said. - Star Tribune, 8-31-08
  • Cornel West on"Obama avoids race on King's 'Dream' anniversary":"It looks like he's running from history," Dr. Cornel West, a professor of African-American studies and religion at Princeton University, said after the speech."He couldn't mention Martin, he couldn't mention the civil rights movement, he couldn't mention those who sacrificed and gave so much. It's very, very difficult to actually create a new world if you don't acknowledge the world from which you are emerging." - AP, 8-29-08
  • Edward"Ted" Frantz, associate professor of history at U of Indianapolis on"Historian: McCain's choice adds surprise element to historic race":"It's certainly historic for the Republican Party," says Edward"Ted" Frantz, associate professor of history at UIndy."This is a landmark election that will be studied throughout American history."..."Except for the extreme insiders, I don't think anybody anticipated this," Frantz said. Palin's youth may appeal to voters who otherwise have been attracted to Barack Obama's youth-oriented campaign, Frantz said. And her gender might inspire support from Democrats who have not yet warmed up to Obama."I think it's designed for those disaffected Hillary voters," Frantz said. - University of Indianapolis, 8-29-08
  • Professor Tom Baldino of Wilkes University, Pennsylvania on"McCain's surprise VP pick is little-known woman governor":"It clearly makes it more difficult for McCain to criticize Obama's experience." - AFP, 8-29-08
  • U.S. to make election history one way or another - Reuters, 8-29-08
  • Waldo Martin, Jr. on"Obama's Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate's Nomination at Yesterday's Democratic Convention":"I was thrilled," Martin said."The whole idea of his nomination is thrilling. In my lifetime, I would not have predicted this could happen." Yesterday also marked the first session of the class that Martin is co-teaching with Mark Brilliant, an assistant professor in history and American studies, titled"Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History: Struggles for Racial Equality in Comparative Perspective, World War II-Present." Martin said he wants to examine how Obama has built a multifaceted coalition that includes young voters, African Americans and Democrats."One thing that Obama talks a lot about is hope," Martin said."How do you sustain hope, possibility? How do you create change? These are the kinds of issues we talk about in class." - Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Mark Peterson on"Obama's Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate's Nomination at Yesterday's Democratic Convention": Obama's rise to national prominence also carries significance for UC Berkeley scholars of early American history. One such individual is associate professor Mark Peterson, whose History 7A class will largely focus on slavery."(Obama) is an African American who is somewhat statistically or historically in the minority in that the vast majority of African Americans in the U.S. have ancestors who were brought to the New World as slaves," he said."It gives him an interesting perspective on the variety of the American historical experience." Peterson said he has known about the senator since before his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention-all the way back to the mid-1980s, when he saw a"tall, striking-looking" figure walking around the Harvard Law School campus."I never met him," Peterson said."There are common people on campus that you just sort of recognize." - Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Robert Allen, an adjunct professor of African American studies and ethnic studies on"Obama's Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate's Nomination at Yesterday's Democratic Convention": For Robert Allen, an adjunct professor of African American studies and ethnic studies, the changes between 1963 and 2008 seem astonishing."While I thought we were making great progress with the March on Washington, I thought we were also generations away from the possibility of electing a black president," said Allen, who grew up in racially segregated Georgia."For me, history has been speeded up." The syllabus for Allen's fall seminar,"Men of Color in the United States," includes for the first time Obama's memoir"Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." Allen said he plans to use it to study the politician's background as a community organizer. Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Sean Wilentz: Barack Obama vs. Jimmy Carter: More Similar Than You'd Think?: There are many ways, several ways in which Barack Obama's candidacy, his rhetoric is more like Jimmy Carter's than any other Democratic president in recent memory. He has talked about rejecting the old politics, attacking special interests and lobbyists, wearing his Christian ideals on his sleeve. All of that is very much Carteresque in many ways...
    He came across that way in his speech tonight in some ways. He tried to in terms of squaring the circle, and saying you can have this and you can have that. The difference is, I think, President Clinton did something of a better idea, gave you a better idea how he was going to do, which is what you were saying before, how he was going to do the things that he said he was going to do it...
    It is hard to judge judgment when you do not have a long record. Look, I am a Democratic liberal and I am all for him and I want to see him do well, and I think he is started to show something of that in the speech tonight. There was more meat on the bones, if you will, about not simply his judgment but about where he wants to take the country. But you do have to see how a person reacts under fire. Now, in some ways, you only find that out after a person is in the Oval Office; that is one of the gambles we take. You have to take a measured -- make your own measured judgment really about what the person is saying to you, is the person going to deliver on what you want, and does that show the kind of thought, the kind of appreciation of the fix that we're in as a country as well as what is good for us as a country to lead us forward. It is harder to do without a record, there's no question about it, but you can tell something -- that's what a presidential campaign all about -- you can tell something about that from speeches like tonight...
    For Barack Obama, I think just to build on what he started on tonight and to tell us more, particularly on foreign policy, actually. I think that that was not one of the strongest parts of the speech tonight. Not just to say that he can be commander in chief, but to show that he knows something about the international situation, that he an overall idea of the international situation and he's going to act on it. - Fox News, 8-29-08
  • Gil Troy: Historical immortality Obama has made his mark by seizing leadership of the party that was once the bastion of racists - The Montreal Gazette, 8-29-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. - PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama's Oratory Skills:"He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good," said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter."He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage - all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event." - Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on"Panel says Chicago forged Obama's political skill": Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House."If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn't help too much; same with governorships," he said. - Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama's Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich - ..."Jimmy Carter, his famous 'malaise' speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter's argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter's warning and embraced Reagan's promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice."That's the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts." - The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on"Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch": Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his"I Have a Dream" speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King's words come true."Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder," Black said. - ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson's Dream, Obama's Speech - NYT, 8-28-08
  • Gil Troy"Obama's lousy summer": ...This failure to embrace his centrism played into his larger mistake -- he did nothing this summer to advance the narrative, to give Americans a new reason to vote for him. In the absence of a new plot dictated by Obama, the growing case of buyer's remorse dominated the headlines, and shaped the pre-convention plot lines.
    Just as it was a mistake to count out McCain prematurely, it would be foolish to underestimate Obama's chances. Four years ago, a self-described"skinny kid with a funny name" wowed the Democratic National Convention--and most Americans -- with the greatest convention speech since William Jennings Bryan's populist Cross of Gold speech in 1896. That 2004 speech catapulted Barack Obama into the Democratic stratosphere.
    Obama plans to accept the nomination tonight on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's now-legendary"I have a dream" speech. Obama actually has the skill to match that historic moment. The race is indeed on -- but in order to win it, Barack Obama will have to use his tremendous assets, both personal and political, to overcome his disappointing summer. - National Post, 8-28-08
  • Richard Fulton on"Obama names V.P.; McCain's still mystery": History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science Professor Richard Fulton said Biden's experience will add to Obama's campaign."He's (Biden) got experience, he's very down to Earth, he complements Obama, I think quite well with maturity and experience, especially in foreign affairs," Fulton said. He also noticed Biden seems to be popular with Democrats and Independents in his home state, Delaware."I think from the very beginning, once he clinched the nomination, he was what I thought would be the better choice for vice president," Fulton said. - NW Missouri News, 8-28-08
  • Allan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University on"Can Biden rebuild broken Democratic bridges?":"On the minus side, Biden has bombed out twice as a presidential candidate. The first time he ran there were accusations of plagiarism. He can be gaffe prone. But he does bring what Obama needs on this ticket; experience, gravitas and tremendous knowledge in the area of foreign policy..... Joe and I have been friends for many, many, years and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection." - EuroNews, 8-27-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Barack Obama Does Not Have to Be Another Jimmy Carter - Huffington Post, 8-27-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) at breakfast discussion hosted by Politico, The Denver Post and Yahoo News: Beschloss agreed with Emanuel that race often played a role in presidential elections,"sometimes in subtler ways.".... Answering a question about the most important qualities a president should possess, Beschloss mentioned the ability to"get things through Congress," noting that Obama's short experience in Washington could make that a challenge. But he added, gesturing toward Daschle,"That's a talent that a president can hire."... Beschloss added that a president should be willing to dump any advisers who end up being less helpful — or more troublesome — than expected."Sometimes you will appoint someone," Beschloss said,"and sometimes it is not working, and you have to cut the friend adrift. It is excruciatingly painful."... And Beschloss, the historian, suggested the migration from Daschle’s staff to Obama's was an early sign of the Illinois senator’s national political potential. - Politico, 8-27-08
  • Robert Dallek on"Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage": But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important,"all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate". The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney's accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney"will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority". - Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Fred Siegal: The Facebook Candidate Meets the Real World - Huffington Post, 8-26-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History - Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party:"It's hard to think of a single speech that did more," said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith."On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat." - PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson's 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. - PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University:"Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party's Fractious Evolution" - PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it's almost as if -- imagine the two parties swapping identities. First of all, this is the oldest political party in the world. It was for 100 years the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party that said the best government is the least government. That began to change dramatically with William Jennings Bryan 100 years ago, here in Denver, who brought the populist strain, who became a champion of the dispossessed. And then, of course, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, transforming the role of government in the economy, and critically bringing African-Americans into this party after being part of the party of Lincoln....
    I mean, the last 40 years, frankly, since Richard Nixon's election in 1968, broadly speaking, have been a period, a conservative period in American politics. We've had two Democratic presidents, both southerners, relatively speaking conservatives. This has also been a party torn apart more than once regarding American foreign policy. You know, there's the Woodrow Wilson messianic quality -- America, in effect, preaching to the world -- and then, of course, Vietnam, which tore this party apart, brought us George McGovern and a host of reforms, which, in many ways, lead to the diversity that we see in this hall tonight....
    Well, that's fascinating, because this party looks much more diverse than it might have 40 years ago. Ideologically, I think you could make a very strong case that it's far less. And by the same token, the same thing applies to the Republican Party. For years there were people in this country who said,"We need a liberal party and a conservative party." Well, guess what? You've got it. And it has led to all sorts of unintended consequences. So I think there is a much less degree of ideological diversity in this hall, which, as Michael says, leads to sort of head-scratching about the intensity of the Clinton-Obama fight. - PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: He was, and especially in the way that Richard just mentioned, because Roosevelt was liberal in all sorts of ways, but he sure wasn't on civil rights. Roosevelt would not even support an anti-lynching bill; 1936, when Roosevelt was re-nominated, there was an African-American preacher who gave a prayer at the convention. Southern senators walked out. They thought this was outrageous that you would have an African-American on the podium. That all changed with John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, civil rights and voting rights, mainly Johnson. In 1965, Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. He hoped that African-Americans would come into the mainstream in a big way. On that floor, 24 percent of the delegates are African-American....
    And that's the irony, because there should be no conflict here this week. You know, they're not arguing over big issues. They agree on economics, Iraq, foreign affairs, all sorts of stuff. Yet we're hearing about this roll call vote, and angry delegates, and factions, and all sorts of stuff. That's so amazing that this long conflict between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ended this way....
    The people who voted for Hillary Clinton this spring are very different for the most part from the people who voted for Barack Obama. So the great irony is that, while ideologically Democrats think pretty much the same, those voters are in different enough groups that it's a hard time getting them together. That's what's sad about that. - PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Lyndon Johnson transforms the Democratic Party, especially in terms of racial diversity. 1964, at that Atlantic City convention, Fanny Lou Hamer and the African-Americans who came to represent the true interracial Mississippi, were actually disallowed from being seated. By 1984, Jesse Jackson delivers his very famous rainbow address, telling the party that diversity is actually its strength rather than a weakness....
    Democracy is messy. So when we think back to 1948, when Truman supports a civil rights plank, the Southern Dixiecrats actually leave, and Strom Thurmond has a third-party run. 1968, the whole world is watching, according to the new left, and Mayor Daley actually calls in troops to basically harass and assault new left demonstrators. 1980, the very fractious convention between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. But, again, by 1984 and '88, you have Jesse Jackson, who was the consummate outsider finally on the inside of the Democratic Party, and he's actually invoking people like Fanny Lou Hamer and different civil rights activists....
    Well, the liberal wing of the party reaches its heyday in the early '70s, with people like George McGovern and people like Walter Mondale. So that liberal wing has really been -- I don't want to say beaten into submission, but certainly they've seen better days. In a way, Obama has written himself that people see him as a Rorschach, and they read whatever they want into him. So people who are liberals see Obama as a liberal in the party. Conservatives in the party actually say,"Obama's on my side." People who are moderates or centrists actually say,"Obama's my guy." So Obama actually has united, I think, a three-part party. It's a tri-headed party of liberals, centrists, and conservatives who see in Obama a person who they can all appropriate. - PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • Sean Wilentz on"Obama Hope of Audacity Means Race Isn't About Losing Liberals": Obama has shown an"enormous ability to arouse the intense admiration and affection of his base," says Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton University."Exactly what he means by change, hope and transformation -- all the sort of big-payoff words that appear in his speeches -- he has yet to clearly define." - Bloomberg, 8-25-08
  • Fred Siegel on"Obama's ideological elusiveness": Some critics voice skepticism. They see an ambitious fellow who remains intentionally undefined."His philosophy is ambition," said Fred Siegel, a historian at the Cooper Union in New York."I see him as having a rhetoric rather than a philosophy." Senator, what is your view of the Supreme Court decision barring the execution of child rapists? The question was standard fare for a politician who has questioned the equity of the death penalty. But Obama's answer set reporters to typing furiously."I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," he said."I think the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime." - International Herald Tribune, 8-25-08
  • Gil Troy on"Are We at War, Senator Obama? A gentle reminder for the Democrats: This is not a peacetime election for Al Qaeda.":"When you think about Obama's vulnerabilities, and his need to capture wavering Democrats and swing voters, questions about whether he is strong enough and patriotic enough are definitely on the table," says Gil Troy, a historian at McGill University and a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist Washington think tank."The challenge is showing the American people on a deep, deep level that terrorism is a core issue, and you're really passionate about this. Obama has to show, and the Democrats have to show, that they are passionately opposed to and disgusted by terrorism." Troy, the author of a new book, Leading From the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, argues that Obama should give a detailed speech"about all the things Bush did right in the war on terrorism. After I had explained where I agree with him, then I would talk about where I disagree." - National Journal, 8-23-08

On the Campaign Trail....

  • John McCain's Statement on Hurricane Gustav

    ...So of course this is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans. We have to join with 3 million other Americans on behalf of our fellow citizens. It's a time for actions. So we're gonna suspend most of our activities tomorrow except for those absolutely necessary. Rick Davis, our campaign manager, will be coming on right after me to tell you about the details of it.

    But I know you agree with me, it's time to open our hearts, our efforts, our wallets, our concern our care for those American citizens who are now under the shadow and the probability of the natural disaster.

    So I hope that all of us and I'm very, I know that all of us will not only keep in our thoughts and our prayers the people of the Gulf Coast but we will act, we will act together, we will provide the necessary relief, the necessary comfort, we will open our arms as Americans always have in time of challenge to those in our society who are less fortunate because of any circumstance but in this circumstance because of this hurricane.

    So ahead of time I wanna thank all of my fellow Republicans as we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats and we say"America, we're with you. America, we're going to care for these people in their time of need" and we're gonna display it in every possible way as Americans always have and Americans always will.

    I thank you. I can hardly wait to get up there and I hope and pray that we’ll be able to resume some of our normal operations as quickly as possible but some of that is, frankly, in the hands of God. So keep 'em in your prayers and also when you get a chance to thank these wonderful thousands and thousands of volunteers who have turned out in these efforts not only now but will in the future, God bless them and thank God, it makes me proud to be an American. Thank you. The time for action is now.
  • Senator Barack Obama on Hurricane Gustav:

    "We can activate an e-mail list of a couple million people who want to give back. I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary."..."The thing that I always am concerned about in the middle of the storm is whether we are drawing resources away from folks on the ground," Obama said."Because the Secret Service and various security requirements, sometimes it pulls police and fire and other departments away from concentrating on the job."
  • Rudy Giuliani speaking on"Face The Nation" with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin:"You know why? She had to make decisions. All Senator Obama has had to do is talk. That's all he does."... Palin is"somebody of accomplishment" because"she's vetoed legislation, she's taken on corruption, and in her party, and won. She took on the oil companies and won. She administered a budget successfully.".. Obama"is the least experienced candidate for president in the last 100 years.""I mean, he's never run a city, he's never run a state, he's never run a business, he's never administered a payroll, he's never led people in crisis," Giuliani said...."there's no question" that McCain would put the focus of the Republican National Convention"on the South and on Louisiana and Mississippi" because of Hurricane Gustav."Senator McCain has already indicated that it would be inappropriate to have celebrations, that things have to be scaled back," Giuliani said.
  • Joe Lieberman speaking on"Face The Nation" with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: McCain’s decision to add Palin to the ticket “is a little bit like opening a door and letting some fresh Alaska air into Washington."I think here he wanted to send the message, get somebody fresh, somebody really who represents the other America outside of Washington where people don't care whether you have an 'R' or a 'D' after your name, they just want you to get something done to help them deal with the problems they have," Lieberman said."And Sarah Palin comes from that other America."
  • Carly Fiorina, a senior McCain advisor, speaking on"Face The Nation" with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: Palin is"a person of great accomplishment" and suggested she excites women because she is"a woman trying to balance her work life and her family life, not to mention her incredible track record of reform and taking on, as she said, the good old boy network."... Fiorina said Palin's anti-abortion rights position would not keep former Hillary Clinton supporters from backing a McCain-Palin ticket."I think, frankly, the Democratic Party has done a disservice to women by trying to hold women hostage to the issue of Roe v. Wade," she said."The truth is the most important issue to women, all the polls say this, is the economy. Women are not single issue voters. Yes, there are some women for whom the issue of reproductive rights trumps everything else. But the truth is most women are not that way."
  • John McCain talks Palin on Fox News Sunday: She's a — she's a partner and a soul-mate. She — she's a reformer. I don't particularly enjoy the label"maverick," but when somebody takes on the old bulls in her own party, runs against an incumbent governor of her own party, stands up against the oil and gas interests — I mean, they really are so vital to the economy of her — of the state of Alaska. I mean, it’s remarkable. It's a remarkable person.
    And I've watched her record, and I've watched her for many, many years as she — as she implemented ethics and lobbying reforms. And I mean, she led. She didn't just vote for it. She led it. I've seen her take on her own party.
    Look, one thing I know is that when you take on your own party in Washington, you pay a price for it. You do. You pay a price for it. And she's taken on the party in her own state. She takes on — she took on a sitting governor and defeat him — defeated him.
    And so I've — I'm so pleased and proud, because this — this is a person who will help me reform Washington and change the way they do business. And that's what Americans want....
  • Barack Obama Explains His Choice, Reacts To Palin:

    Tells 60 Minutes Biden"Can Step In And Become President," Calls McCain's VP Pick An"Up-And-Coming Public Servant"
  • Sens. Obama and Biden issued a more carefully considered response:

    "We send our congratulations to Gov. Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for vice president. It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics. While we obviously have differences over how best to lead this country forward, Gov. Palin is an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.
  • John McCain's Response to the Obama Campaign's attack on Gov. Palin
    She first ran for office back in 1992. I don't know what Senator Obama was doing then, but the first time she ran was 1992. That’s 16 years. I think that's a pretty, pretty event-filled and record- filled resume.
  • Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman"Obama Response to Palin" Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies — that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same.
  • Senator John McCain of Arizona speaking in Dayton, Ohio:

    ...I'm very happy -- I'm very happy today to spend my birthday with you and to make a historic announcement in Dayton, a city built on hard, honest work of good people.

    Like the entire industrial Midwest, Dayton has contributed much to the prosperity and progress of America, and now, in these tough, changing times, after all you've done for our country, you want your government to understand what you're going through, to stand on your side and fight for you. And that's what I intend to do.

    That's why I'm running for president: to fight for you, to make government stand on your side, not in your way.

    Friends, I've spent the last few months... ... looking for a running mate that will who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people that are counting on us.

    As I'm sure you know, I had many good people to choose from, all of them dedicated to this country and to getting us back on the road to prosperity and peace. And I am very grateful to all of them, and honored by their willingness to serve with me.

    And I'm going to continue to rely on their support and counsel during this campaign, and after we win this election, when the real work begins.

    But I could only choose one. And it's with great pride and gratitude that I tell you I have found the right partner to help me stand up to those who value their privileges over their responsibilities, who put power over principle, and put their interests before your needs.

    I found someone with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies; someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past; someone who's stopped government from wasting taxpayers' money... ... on things they don't want or need and put it back to work for the people; someone with executive experience, who has shown great tenacity and skill in tackling tough problems, especially our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; someone who reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and independents to serve in government; someone with strong principles of fighting spirit and deep compassion...

    ... someone who grew up in a decent, hardworking, middle-class family, whose father was an elementary school teacher and mother was the school secretary.

    They taught their children to care about others, to work hard and to stand up with courage for the things you believe in.

    Both of them were coaches, too, and raised their children to excel at sports.

    And I'm sure they taught them skills that will surely come in handy over the next two months.

    The person I'm about to introduce to you was a union member and is married to a union member and understands the problems, the hopes and the values of working people, knows what it's like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries; a standout high school point guard; a concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA, then a city council member, and then a mayor, and now a governor...

    ... who beat the long odds to win a tough election on a message of reform and public integrity. And I am especially proud to say in the week we celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage, a devoted... ... a devoted wife and a mother of five.

    She's not -- she's not from these parts and she's not from Washington. But when you get to know her, you're going to be as impressed as I am.

    She's got the grit, integrity, and good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today.

    She knows where she comes from, and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what's right, and she doesn't let anyone tell her to sit down.

    She's fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve.

    She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight...

    ... to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second.

    My friends and fellow Americans...

    I am very pleased and very privileged to introduce to you the next vice president of the United States... ... Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.
  • Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska speaking in Dayton, Ohio:

    And I thank you, Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain, for the confidence that you have placed in me. Senator, I am honored to be chosen as your running mate.

    I will be honored to serve next to the next president of the United States.

    I know that when Senator McCain gave me this opportunity, he had a short list of highly qualified men and women. And to have made that list at all, it was a privilege. And to have been chosen brings a great challenge.

    I know that it will demand the best that I have to give, and I promise nothing less.

    First -- first, there are a few people whom I would like you to meet. I want to start with my husband, Todd.

    And Todd and I are actually celebrating our 20th anniversary today. And I promised him...

    I had promised Todd a little surprise for the anniversary present, and hopefully he knows that I did deliver.

    And then we have as -- after my husband, who is a lifelong commercial fisherman, lifetime Alaskan. He's a production operator.

    Todd is a production operator in the oil fields up on Alaska's North Slope. And he's a proud member of the United Steelworkers union. And he's a world-champion snow machine racer.

    Todd and I met way back in high school. And I can tell you that he is still the man that I admire most in this world.

    Along the way, Todd and I have shared many blessings. And four out of five of them are here with us today.

    Our oldest son, Track, though, he'll be following the presidential campaign from afar. On September 11th of last year, our son enlisted in the United States Army.

    Track now serves in an infantry brigade. And on September 11th, Track will deploy to Iraq in the service of his country. And Todd and I are so proud of him and of all the fine men and women serving this country

    Next to Todd is our daughter, Bristol, another daughter, Willow, our youngest daughter, Piper, and over in their arms is our son, Trig, a beautiful baby boy. He was born just in April.

    His name is Trig Paxson Van Palin.

    Some of life's greatest opportunities come unexpectedly. And this is certainly the case today.

    I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office. My mom and dad both worked at the local elementary school. And my husband and I, we both grew up working with our hands. I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska, raising...

    We're busy raising our kids. I was serving as the team mom and coaching some basketball on the side. I got involved in the PTA and then was elected to the city council, and then elected mayor of my hometown, where my agenda was to stop wasteful spending, and cut property taxes, and put the people first.

    I was then appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And when I found corruption there, I fought it hard, and I held the offenders to account.

    Along with fellow reformers in the great state of Alaska, as governor, I've stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies, and the good-old- boy network.

    When oil and gas prices went up so dramatically and the state revenues followed with that increase, I sent a large share of that revenue directly back to the people of Alaska. And we are now -- we're now embarking on a $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

    I signed major ethics reform. And I appointed both Democrats and independents to serve in my administration. And I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress -- I told Congress,"Thanks, but no thanks," on that bridge to nowhere.

    If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves. Well, it's always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk, to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built.

    Politics isn't just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons.

    And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good.

    Now, no one expects us to agree on everything, whether in Juneau or in Washington. But we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant's heart.

    Now, no leader in America has shown these qualities so clearly or present so clear a threat to business as usual in Washington as Senator John S. McCain.

    This -- this is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line. And this is a man who has always been there to serve his country, not just his party.

    And this is a moment that requires resolve and toughness, and strength of heart in the American president. And my running mate is a man who has shown those qualities in the darkest of places, and in the service of his country.

    A colleague once said about Senator McCain,"That man did things for this country that few people could go through. Never forget that." And that speaker was former Senator John Glenn of Ohio.

    And John Glenn knows something about heroism. And I'm going to make sure nobody does forget that in this campaign. There is only one candidate who has truly fought for America, and that man is John McCain.

    This is a moment -- this is a moment when great causes can be won and great threats overcome, depending on the judgment of our next president.

    In a dangerous world, it is John McCain who will lead America's friends and allies in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    It was John McCain who cautioned long ago about the harm that Russian aggression could do to Georgia and to other small democratic neighbors and to the world oil markets.

    It was Senator McCain who refused to hedge his support for our troops in Iraq, regardless of the political costs.

    And you know what? As the mother of one of those troops, and as the commander of Alaska's National Guard, that's the kind of man I want as our commander in chief.

    Profiles in courage: They can be hard to come by these days. You know, so often we just find them in books. But next week when we nominate John McCain for president, we're putting one on the ballot.

    To serve as vice president beside such a man would be the privilege of a lifetime. And it's fitting that this trust has been given to me 88 years almost to the day after the women of America first gained the right to vote.

    I think -- I think as well today of two other women who came before me in national elections.

    I can't begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984...

    ... and of course Senator Hillary Clinton, who showed such determination and grace in her presidential campaign.

    It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America...

    ... but it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.

    So for my part, the mission is clear: The next 67 days I'm going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of reform to every voter of every background in every political party, or no party at all.

    If you want change in Washington, if you hope for a better America, then we're asking for your vote on the 4th of November.

    My fellow Americans, come join our cause.

    Join our cause and help our country to elect a great man the next president of the United States.

    And I thank you, and I -- God bless you, I say, and God bless America. Thank you.
  • President George W. Bush said in a statement after calling Palin to wish her luck:"By selecting a working mother with a track record of getting things done, Senator McCain has once again demonstrated his commitment to reforming Washington." - AFP, 8-29-08
  • Mrs. Clinton issued a statement acknowledging the historic moment that John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running-mate:"We should all be proud of Gov. Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate."
  • Senator Barbara Boxer sent a strongly worded statement calling Mr. McCain's VP choice"dangerous": The Vice President is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour's worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.

    If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken. The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.

    Senator McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a women on his ticket, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Olympia Snowe – they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice. In addition, Sarah Palin is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature which makes this more incomprehensible.
  • Hillary Clinton's Statement on Barack Obama's Democratic Nomination Acceptance Speech:

    Barack Obama's speech tonight laid out his specific, bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children's future.

    His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain. Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face: revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world. I am proud to support Senator Obama, our next President of the United States and Joe Biden, our next Vice President of the United States.
  • Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech:

    For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just"muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell but he won't even go to the cave where he lives....
  • McCain to extend his congratulations to Obama in special ad

    "Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day." McCain also says in reference to the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ' I Have a Dream' speech."Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done."
  • Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota the ABC program"Good Morning America.":"I just can't address it, but we'll all know soon. I've certainly heard it through news accounts he's having a rally in Ohio tomorrow. Speculation is he'll unveil his running mate there. Beyond that I don't have much to add or say about the vice presidential issue."
  • GOP cheers Obama's historic stride, but doubts his experience - CNN, 8-27-08
  • At 4:48 p.m. local time, Mrs. Clinton called on the Democratic National Convention to end the roll call and nominate him by acclamation:"With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president. I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    The crowd in the Pepsi Center roared as one and then began to chant,"Hillary, Hillary, Hillary." - Download
  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates:"I'm here today to release you as my delegates," Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday."I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do," she said."Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we've been on want the chance to vote for what's in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.""I am not telling you what to do," she said to loud applause, but added,"I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.""It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call," Clinton said."We've got win in November."
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party's nominee for President, 8-27-08:"I'm not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives.... I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was... I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That's not the question on voters' minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits:"I'm not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton," Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews."I think it's unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics."
  • McCain campaign regional communications director Tom Kise on"Angry Clinton supporters toast McCain, roast Obama," August 25, 2008: Four years ago, if you said we'd be at a Hillary happy hour at the DNC, I would have called you crazy. But today is a great opportunity for people who agree that Sen. Barack Obama doesn't have the experience to be president of the United States. - CNN
  • Rudolph Giuliani discusses Obama-Biden ticket, CNN, 8-26-08:

    The normal political thing to do, in terms of the best decision to make to win, would've been to pick Hillary Clinton. It is a no-brainer. She got 18 million votes, Joe got 9,000 votes. She commands about 45, 48 percent of this convention. That's what the choice for a president comes down to. It doesn't come down to a choice between the abstract and the abstract; it comes down to a choice between two people. You can't avoid that comparison. You've got one [candidate] with a lot of experience and one with virtually no experience.
  • Mitt Romney discusses Obama-Biden ticket, CNN, 8-26-08:

    He's a charming guy, he's a celebrity, but does he have the judgment and experience that comes from a life-long service in one sector or another? Joe Biden is an impenetrable thicket of words. I can't imagine anybody who is ready to debate Joe Biden. I'm not sure when John McCain will make his vice president announcement or who it'll be. I have confidence in his instincts. He's proven time and time again that those instincts serve him well, and I think he'll make a wise choice.
  • Mitt Romney Speaking to Fox News, 8-26-08: You know, Neil, I got nothing for you on the V.P. front... I can only tell you that I have — I have confidence in — in John McCain. And his instincts — his instincts have been proven right time and again. I trust him to pick a good person to be on his ticket and somebody who views the country and the economy the way he does. And I think he's going to strengthen his ticket with that pick.... You know, it's been a little while since we have chatted. But, again, I'm not going to — I'm not going to open the door to this big secret that you're talking about. I got nothing for you on that front... You know, I'm not a political strategist, even though I have run for office a couple of times, once successfully. You know, I think — I think John McCain is going to do what he thinks is best for — for his chances of getting his message across. I — I think there will be a bounce from the Democratic Convention. I thought it got off to a good start last night. I think Ted Kennedy did a fine thing of coming to the convention and speaking. He — he's proven once again he's a lion, and I respect him for that. But I think, in the final analysis, that, despite these bounces and all of the confetti and the — and the glitz associated with a convention, people are going to focus on the issues. And, on the issue of the economy they're going to see that Barack Obama, who wants to raise taxes, cut back on trade, and prevent drilling for oil offshore and no new nuclear power plants, is simply wrong for the economy..... - Fox News, 8-26-08

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