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Spin Control

Archive for April 2008

What kind of debate?

Sen. Hillary Clinton recently challenged Sen. Barack Obama to a debate, which isn’t surprising because candidates who are behind always challenge candidates who are ahead to debates.

It may make them look desperate; it may make them look combative.

But there’s a twist in Clinton’s challenge. She said she wanted a 90-minute, no moderator, Lincoln-Douglas style debate. They could do it on the back of a flat bed truck, she said.

Think she really wants that? Probably not.

Tuesday’s quickie political briefing

Gallup: Clinton v. Obama education gap?

Here’s Tuesday’s headlines in the presidential campaign from The Associated Press:

McCain wants to shift health insurance from employers to marketplace

Clinton picks up prized endorsement in North Carolina ahead of May 6 Democratic primary

Kentucky Rep. Ben Chandler endorses Obama in presidential race

Heated presidential campaign increasingly souring Democrats on rival candidates (Here’s another take on that very theme:)

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are statistically tied nationally in the Democratic presidential race, according to the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update.
Barack Obama: 1728.5
Hillary Rodham Clinton: 1594.5
John McCain gives a speech on health care in Tampa, Fla. Hillary Rodham Clinton tours a factory and holds meetings in Indiana. Barack Obama meets with voters and played hoops with the University of North Carolina basketball team in North Carolina.
“There’s been lots of ’Yes we can, yes we should.’ Hillary Clinton is ready to deliver.” — North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, in announcing his support for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Forty-four percent of the Democratic-leaning respondents in an AP-Ipsos poll said the protracted Democratic presidential primary will hurt their party’s chances in November; more supporters of Barack Obama than backers of Hillary Rodham Clinton said they had that fear.

Click to read behind the headlines.

Monday quickie political briefing

Good morning. I’m stepping in for Jim one last morning. Let’s start off, per custom, with…

Today’s videos:

Barack Obama was in Indiana over the weekend in preparation for that state’s primary. In this video from Saturday, a resident of Marion introduces the candidate.

Hillary Clinton visited the Hoosier state too, saying she’s the best candidate to take on special interests.

Now today’s headlines:

  • Clinton: Attempt to assassinate Karzai shows Afghanistan needs more US attention

  • McCain raps Obama as insensitive to the poor, criticizes his policies on taxes and Iran

  • Former pastor of Barack Obama tells Detroit NAACP he’s descriptive, not divisive

Thursday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s video: John McCain will tour the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans today, and a local news report looks at the attention newly elected Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is getting out of the visit.

In the headlines:
Clinton raises $10 million, aided by 80,000 new donors, after Pennsylvania win

North Carolina expected not to matter, but is excited to help decide between Clinton and Obama

Obama, Clinton battle third opponent: campaign fatigue

Wednesday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s videos: After the Pa. votes rolled in

Clinton’s victory speech

Obama on to Ind.

Clinton’s Pennsylvania win sends her campaign forward, against odds still favoring Obama

Clinton victory in Pennsylvania yields new cash just when she needs it

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry tosses support to Obama
Barack Obama picked up at least 66 delegates in the Pennsylvania Primary, plus a superdelegate on Wednesday; Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up at least 80 delegates in the primary. Clinton leads among superdelegates, 258-234, but Obama leads in the overall competition, 1,715.5-1,589.5, with 2,025 needed for the nomination.
Barack Obama campaigns New Albany, Ind.
Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns in Indianapolis. John McCain meets with voters in Inez, Ky.
“It’s the toughest process to pick the person for the toughest job. And, you know, I’ve put up with it. I’ve tried to answer the questions. Sometimes I’m successful; sometimes not so much.” — Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking about the presidential contest Wednesday on Fox News’ “Fox Friends.”
In 1988, Al Gore defeated Jesse Jackson in North Carolina’s Democratic primary by almost 2 percentage points.

Tuesday’s quickie political briefing

The campaign comes to WWE

Clinton, Obama go on attack in last-minute scramble for Pennsylvania votes

Michael Moore announces his endorsement of Obama in Web post

North Carolina Democrats ditch effort to host debate
Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are in Pennsylvania. John McCain speaks to voters in Youngstown, Ohio.
“This election is starting to feel a lot like King of the Ring. The only difference? The last man standing may just be a woman.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a taped message on World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Monday Night Raw.”
The last time Pennsylvania voted Republican in a presidential election was in 1988. George H.W. Bush garnered almost 51 percent of the vote, while Michael Dukakis grabbed 48 percent.

Thorburn press conference

Kim Thorburn, who is challenging County Commissioner Todd Mielke this fall, called a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Monday on the Spokane Raceway Park issue.

Just a guess, but she’s probably not going to be giving it the thumbs up.

Press conference is at the entrance to Raceway Park. Let’s hope everyone brings their parkas.

Update: The newspaper got notice of this event late and did not have anyone to send. The campaign issued a press release, which can be read by clicking here.

As predicted, Thorburn’s take on the deal is not positive.

Did Apple get hit harder than deserved?

The report of the state Public Disclosure Commission’s fine of $4,200 against City Councilman Bob Apple for failing to file campaign reports last year has generated some criticism — of the PDC, and the newspaper.

The PDC has let others off much easier, said two longtime observers of city politics. Jock Swanstrom and Dick Adams both brought up the failure of Momentum, a pro-business group in the 1980s and ‘90s, which had gone for years without filing forms and funnelled nearly $500,000 into local campaigns. When it was brought before the board in 1996, it was fined $1,000.

Red stuff, blue stuff

State Democrats and state Republicans are both busy at their keyboards Friday, honing their knives for the upcoming state campaigns.

Democrats continued their panning of GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi’s state transportation plan, which was announced earlier this week. They don’t really have anything new to say about it, but are trying to get more mileage by saying it on video, and starting a new web site.

It even features a few Spokane-based TV news scenes, although it cuts off Rossi’s answer to the question the video keeps asking about where he gets his numbers. Rossi’s answer: from the state Department of Transportation.

Across the pond in Bellevue, Republicans are getting ready to wail on Peter Goldmark for his run against incumbent GOP Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland. They skewer Goldmark for raising money in Seattle while saying people in cities don’t understand land management issues.

More amusing is the suggestion that Goldmark ran a “divisive, negative campaign” in 2006 against U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris. By comparison to the scorched-earth tactics Republicans used to hold that seat in several previous elections, ‘06 was a model of decorum.

Apple hammered by PDC

Brought to you with an assist from Olympia Bureau Chief Rich RoeslerSpokane City Councilman Bob Apple was fined $4,200 – the maximum under the state’s disclosure law – for failing to file spending records from last year’s re-election campaign.

The state Public Disclosure Commission Thursday ruled Apple violated three different areas of campaign reporting laws:
He was between 17 and 80 days late in filing some reports and never filed others.
He didn’t file his campaign reports electronically, which was required because of the amount he spent in his previous campaign.
He didn’t update his registration forms when he changed treasurers.

Debate taking hits

ABC’s presidential debate on Wednesday night is getting panned by various journalism sources, such as Editor & Publisher and Columbia Journalism Review, some liberal blogs and The Washington Post.

It’s also drawing boos from MoveOn.Org, the liberal political activist organization, which has already put together a “worst of” video as part of a petition campaign. MoveOn, it should be noted, is in the middle of a competition to create the best independent 30-second commercial backing Obama.

Here’s their poke at ABC:

Clips of the debate are available by clicking here.

Stuff on the ballot

Candidates running for partisan office this year will have one of two descriptions on the primary ballot after their names, Secretary of State Sam Reed said.

John Q. Candidate (prefers _____ Party)
John Q. Candidate (States No Party Preference)

This in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that paved the way for the first ever “Top Two” Primary.

Democrats were quick to react.

Story ‘bout a man named Judd

Keith Russell Judd, a Texas prison inmate, will share Idaho’s presidential primary ballot with regulars Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Boise Bureau Chief Betsy Russell reported Wednesday.

Judd apparently met the minimum requirements, filling out the form and sending in a cashable check for the $1,000 filing fee. Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysura, a Republican, is apparently a bit embarrassed that the office was snookered into putting a felon on the ballot.

That’s probably better than bragging that the state made a grand off the filing and it’s the Democrats’ job to figure out who should get their vote.

The presidential primary doesn’t really count for much for Idaho Democrats, who already apportioned their delegates based on the caucuses.

So the only real question is, how many votes will Judd get?

Spin Control 2.0 predicts 3 percent:

Just being on the ballot should be good for 1 percent

Having the same last name as popular country stars could be good for another percent (Is he Ashley’s brother? Is he Naomi’s husband?)

And at least another 1 percent are tired of the Barack v. Hillary fighting going on in Pennsylvania.

But we could be way off. Click to weigh in with a prediction at Comments

Talking points: Can “bitter” be gated?

Ever since Richard Nixon was forced out of office, any major scandal has been given a -gate suffix.

Watergate. Contragate. Fostergate. Nannygate.

Now we have Bittergate, the scandal of Barack Obama’s comments about some voters being so bitter about government that they cling to their religious values or guns.

It’s spawning campaign commercials by Hillary Clinton. Counter commercials from Obama. It’s apparently driving Clinton to drink.

Here’s some analysis of how bitter gate is playing.

Today’s discussion point: Do you care what Obama said…or for that matter, what any of them are saying in Pennsylvania?

Monday’s quickie political briefing

Obama questions Clinton’s opposition to free trade agreements

McCain says he supports bill to protect identity of confidential news sources

Clinton says she would correct husband’s NAFTA mistakes

McCain seen as independent despite conservative voting record

Today’s fun video

Barack Obama has a 10-point lead nationally over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential race, 50 percent to 40 percent, in the latest Gallup Poll. The survey had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll was conducted April 11-13 and involved interviews with 1,271 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. The survey was a tracking poll, in which Gallup interviews voters every night and uses the results from the three most recent evenings.

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attend a forum on manufacturing in Pittsburgh. Obama later addresses The Associated Press’ annual meeting in Washington. John McCain spoke at AP’s annual meeting.
“You can’t say you are opposed to the Colombia trade deal, while your key strategist is working for the Colombian government to get the deal passed. That’s not respect. That’s just more of the same old Washington politics.” — Democrat Barack Obama, chiding rival Hillary Rodham Clinton who opposes the policy that her top campaign strategist, Mark Penn, helped the Colombian government push. Penn has since been demoted.
According to a recent Associated Press-Ipsos national poll, about a quarter of Barack Obama supporters say they’ll vote for Republican John McCain if Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee. About a third of Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain if it’s Obama.

Spokane GOP raps Iraq War policy

The Spokane County Republican Party formally rejected the Iraq policy of their current president and their party’s likely nominee, saying American troops shouldn’t be on overseas missions for more than six months without a formal declaration of war.

At a county convention Saturday that some party leaders said may have set an attendance record for Republicans in Spokane, supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul handily defeated an attempt to scale back the platform’s stringent limitation on using American troops on foreign soil.

They beat back an attempt by delegate Ritajane Boyce, of Spokane, to swap the platform’s position on the use of American troops for a simple statement of support for American troops. The platform plank’s limit of 180 days for peacekeeping or combat missions without a declaration of war was irresponsible, she said.

The plate on the bus goes round and round

Scandalous news from Washington’s gubernatorial campaign Thursday.

You know that biodiesel bus that Gov. Chris Gregoire is driving around the state for her campaign kickoff, including for her stop Wednesday in Spokane? Well it’s got — wait for it, wait for it

Oregon license plates.

OMG as people much younger than Spin Control’s author would say.

The Washington State Republican Party sleuthed out this fact, and sent out photographic confirmation late Thursday.

State GOP Chairman Luke Esser’s condemnation was swift, as was the counter punch from the Gregoire campaign.

County GOP convention: How exciting will it be?

Spokane County Republicans gather for their biennial convention Saturday with the presidential nomination already settled.

That doesn’t mean they’ve got nothing to do at the Lewis and Clark High School Field House. There’s a platform to adopt, delegates to the state convention to elect. Speeches to listen to.

Gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi gets about 15 minutes right at the 9 a.m. start as the keynote speaker, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will get about five minutes, county chairman Curt Fackler said. After that, candidates are going to be on a shorter time line.

(That’s the plan. We’ll see how it works in practice.)

Platform discussions could be interesting because the delegates are going to be split — no one knows on what ratio — between the John McCain folks and the Ron Paul folks.

More singing presidential endorsements

It’s not just a case of the Obama Girl slugging it out with The Clintons for campaign music videos. John McCain has the McCain Girls.

They probably shouldn’t quit their day jobs to live off singing gigs. But their video isn’t bad.

Click to see McCain’s response.

Gregoire campaign swing hits Spokane

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s campaign bus trip through the state made a stop in Spokane Wednesday morning, where she added a few local items to the standard “four more years” stump speech.

Under criticism from Dino Rossi and the state Republicans for increased spending and higher taxes, Gregoire responded with the state’s low unemployment figures and high ratings from a pair of national magazines for being a good place to do business.

Some of that state spending had gone to projects near her campaign stop on Washington State University’s Spokane campus, she told a crowd of more than 200. Med school students are working out of new program on campus and a nursing center is under construction, she said. The state is building a new veterans cemetery on the West Plains, she added.

“We invested in the community colleges for our technicians and assistants, to make sure they have a career ladder. We have renovated the downtown, the Fox Theater, and that building is putting people back to work,” she said.

Click on “Read full entry” to hear audio from the appearance.

Afternoon hearings for Petraeus, Crocker

Here are video clips from the Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Feinstein questions Crocker about “The Kiss”

For more Foreign Relations Committee videos, including questioning by Sen. Barack Obama click here.

For the morning’s Armed Services Committee hearing, including video clips of questions by Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton, click here.

Watch the Senate’s Iraq hearings

Here’s the latest clip from the Armed Service Committee hearing, courtesy of YouTube.

Petraeus and Crocker say it’s worth it.

Or you can watch it live by clicking here for the link to the C-Span coverage.

Click here for more clips of the Armed Services Committee Hearing. Afternoon Foreign Relations Committee hearings are above.

More meetings for Washington Democrats

Unhappy with a court ruling that requires a change in Washington’s primary, state Democrats said Monday they will hold conventions to nominate their candidates for partisan offices this year.
The move, which is part of a long-running battle between the parties and state elections officials over the state’s first-ever Top Two Primary, could result in added confusion for voters and means extra meetings for party officials.
State Republicans are also studying whether they want to hold nominating conventions. The practical effect of the Democrats’ decision is hard to gauge at this time.
Democratic State Chairman Dwight Pelz said the conventions are necessary because the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the state primary initiative took away the influence parties can have in naming their candidates. Democrats will try to regain some control by having precinct officers attend nominating conventions for legislative, county and congressional seats. For statewide offices, delegates to the state convention will be asked which candidate they support.
“We don’t want precinct committee officers to nominate candidates, we want the public to do that. But that’s been taken away from us,” Pelz said.

Gregoire campaign kickoff

In the Not So Surprising News category: Gov. Chris Gregoire is officially starting her re-election campaign today.

She’s taking a bus around the state, and started this morning in her old hometown of Auburn. She’ll hit Tacoma and Vancouver later in the day, Yakima and the Tri-Cities on Tuesday, and will be in Spokane at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the WSU Spokane Campus, south of Spokane Falls Boulevard, near the Bookie. She finishes in Seattle Thursday evening.

Look for reports from The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia Bureau Chief Rich Roesler’s Eye on Olympia Blog.

That was the week that was

The Democratic race continued, as did the calls for Hillary Clinton to step down because she’s not winning.

But that’s not all

Approaching video parody parity

Hillary Clinton is way behind Barack Obama in terms of raising money. But she may be catching up in one other important metric for the 21st Century

Musical videos that other people stick on the Internet.

Until recently, Obamagirl made the Illinois senator the clear frontrunner in terms of YouTube videos. Now, however, a Montana band, named The Clintons — no relation, but that’s part of the joke for their latest video — have Hillary love ballad.

Got any spare time?

Turning the Spokane Valley into its own city apparently has brought one of the typical problems of urbanization.


So concerned are city leaders about people plying they highways and byways for spare change that they’ve decided to put together an ad hoc committee on panhandling.

The seven-member committee — four volunteers still needed, should you be interested — will “research regional efforts to determine the source of and solutions to panhandling throughout the City of Spokane Valley.”

Not sure about the solutions, but the source of panhandling should be pretty obvious.

Discussion topic: Answer the #@*! phone

The new Hillary Clinton campaign commercial has a familiar ring to it. The phone at 3 a.m.

The commercial debuted Wednesday, about the same time that a pro-Obama group in Hollywood released the following video parody of the first 3 a.m. commercial. Click to see video and read more.

Can’t they take a joke

Hillary Clinton tried an April Fool’s Day joke in the campaign on Tuesday. Dan Abrams of MSNBC showed that he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, and that he doesn’t know much about bowling, where strikes are a good thing, and the one with the most strikes wins.

King County cops backing Rossi

The King County Police Guild dropped a line to Dino Rossi recently, telling the GOP governor’s candidate he’s got their support in his grudge rematch with Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The letter did not come with a check, although no one should be surprised if the guild’s support isn’t worth some coin later.

A couple of notable observations: the King County Police Guild didn’t back either Rossi or Gregoire in ‘04; they threw pre-primary support to Democrat Ron Simms, then sat out the general.

In her former job, Gregoire was once the state’s top law enforcement officer, as the attorney general.

This year the guild proclaims itself impressed with Rossi’s views on public safety and its pension issues.

How long can the Democratic race go on?

Dean says wrap it up by July 1

Tuesday’s quickie political briefing

Here are today’s headlines in the presidential campaign, from The Associated Press.

Pelosi says superdelegates have right to vote their conscience, Democratic race should go on

Clinton likens herself to legendary film boxer Rocky, says she won’t quit

Obama stops at Pa. factory as he makes his case that he’ll protect jobs

Party switching picks up in late primary states as voters seek to cast historic vote

TODAY’S VIDEO: Batter up. Bush throws out first pitch.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. John McCain holds a town-hall style meeting in Virginia.
“The bottom line is, this is the first Oregon presidential primary I have ever voted in my life that actually could matter, and I am not going to pass up that chance just because I am registered with the wrong party.” — Matthew Buckingham, 45, a stay-at-home father and lifelong Republican who temporarily switched his party affiliation to vote in Oregon’s Democratic primary.
Only 10 percent of Pennsylvanians are between age 18 and 24, a group that Democrat Barack Obama has captured in other states.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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