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Spin Control

Archive for August 2008

Wasting no time on Palin

The McCain campaign — make that the McCain/Palin campaign — wasted no time in getting the veep pick onto video and onto YouTube.

Here’s their Web ad:

From this we know
1. They’ve been working on it for at least a couple of days.
and even more important,
2. They were able to keep it quiet.

So much so that they took the national media by surprise…or maybe the correct word is “shock.”

Go inside to see MSNBC’s early report, and note the candor from their embedded McCain reporter that she didn’t even have Palin on the radar.

Thursday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s video: Madame secretary, from the nosebleed section, Idaho casts its Democratic votes…

What about Washington? They didn’t get a chance to talk about “the Evergreen State, the place that brought you triple vente soy lattes, the home of the Mariners and geoducks…” because the roll call was cut off at New York so Obama could get the nomination by acclamation.

Today’s discussion: If you were doing the intro to Washington state’s votes, what would you say? Write your intro here.

Spokane Democrats will gather at 5:30 p.m. to watch Obama’s speech from Toad Hall, their quasi clubhouse at 1427 W. Dean.

North Idaho Democrats will gather at 6 p.m. to watch the speech at Cricket’s Bar & Grill, 424 Sherman, in Coeur d’Alene.

AP’s headlines in the presidential campaign are “all Democratic Convention, all the time”, so if you’re tired of the convention, we’re sorry.
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

Want to see video of the convention? Click here.

To read the stories behind the headlines, click here and scroll down.

“Everything I learned in my eight years as president and in the work I’ve done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.” — Former President Clinton.
The Democratic National Convention is expected to generate $160 million and draw as many as 50,000 visitors.

Where the heck are our delegates?

Wondering where the Washington and Idaho delegations are hanging out during the convention?

Might be hard to spot them in those shots from the podium. Idaho was supposed to be up front, but got moved to the back of the hall to make room for veep candidate Joe Biden’s home state. (See previous post here.)

They’re only slightly behind where Washington state started.

Facing out from the podium, Washington is back and to the right, between Texas and Hawaii. Idaho is next to the District of Columbia and behind Tennessee, which is behind Kansas, which is behind Texas.

For a version of the floor map that can be enlarged to your heart’s content click here.

For details of tonight’s Democratic National Convention schedule, go inside the blog.

New maps in the gov’s race

Dino Rossi has been gaining a bit of ground in the gubernatorial vote tally as the primary count continues.

His percentages are getting bigger east of the Cascades, while incumbent Chris Gregoire’s percentages are getting smaller in most Western Washington Counties.

To see how the vote total percentages look this morning, click here.

To see how the vote total percentages looked last Wednesday, after the election night counts,
click here

Gregoire is currently ahead by 27,665 votes statewide. To see how many votes Gregoire is leading (or losing) by in each county right now, click here.

Biden’s gain is Idaho delegation’s loss

The Idaho delegation to the Democratic National Convention were in line to be front and center — or at least front, and a bit to the left of the podium — for the gathering in Denver.

They were, that is, until Joe Biden was named Barack Obama’s running mate. That meant the delegation from Biden’s home state of Delaware got moved to the foreground and Idaho got Delaware’s location.

A location which was described by a network news reporters as “in the nose bleed section.”

Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brady writes about the switcheroo in his blog and says the delegation was relatively unfazed by it:

“Idaho delegates seemed not the least disturbed by this Sunday. Many were dancing the early night away at a spashy party thrown by the Louisiana Delegation at the Colorado Convention Center to highlight the transformation taking place in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.”

That was the week that was

It started with Barack Obama on vacation, and John McCain talking tough on Georgia and gaining ground in the polls.

It ended with Obama announcing his pick for vice president in Springfield. (Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, if you haven’t heard.)

In between there were two new guessing games: How many houses does John McCain own? How many commercials can the campaigns get out of one comment? Click here to see the three so far.

On Tuesday, Washington voters cast their ballots in the first-ever top two primary that had few surprises but set up the gubernatorial grudge match between Dino Rossi and Chris Gregoire. With votes still being counted, both sides were proclaiming themselves pleased with the results, and dissing their opponent’s showing. The results basically show a split in voter preferences between the Puget Sound and the rest of the state. Click here to see a map of the votes.

Looking ahead: The Democratic Convention in Denver starts Monday, and everyone seems ready.
Even the McCain campaign, which posted this video on the Web:

The only question is, what would Charlton Heston think of the implication he’s a Democrat?

The “How many houses” volley continues

Apparently smelling blood in the water, the Obama campaign countered the McCain counterpunch ad (see below) with another new commercial ad today.

Is that a counter-counterpunch? Whatever.

This one is probably more pointed than the one in the post below.

Meanwhile, a media group says the first Obama ad, known as “Seven” wasn’t too effective. Click to read.

New numbers released in Spokane County

Spokane County elections officials have released the latest tallies from the state primary, and it would seem that Republicans are more likely to vote closer to election day than Democrats.

Dino Rossi overtook Chris Gregoire in the Spokane County returns (Gregoire still leads statewide). To see a state map of their vote percentages, click here.

State Rep. John Ahern put a bit more distance between himself and Democratic challenger John Driscoll in the 6th District.

County Commissioners Todd Mielke and Mark Richard also have a bit more breathing room against challengers Kim Thorburn and Brian Sayrs.

There were no changes for winners or losers.

Here’s a link to the complete list…including the precinct committee officer contests.

Thursday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s video: For those who’ve had enough of the Red State/Blue State discussion.

Check it out: a comparison of the 2008 primary votes for Rossi and Gregoire with the 2004 general election. Click here.

Asked how many houses he and his wealthy wife own, McCain not really sure

Obama outspends McCain in July $55 million to $32 million; most of money pays for advertising

After years of Democratic dominance, McCain sees opportunity in the upper Midwest

McCain, Obama agree to 3 presidential debates, 1 vice presidential
Barack Obama campaigns in the Virginian towns of Chester and Chesapeake. John McCain has no publicly scheduled events.
“It’s been almost 50 years. I’m thinking it’d have to be a perfect storm.” — T.J. Thomson, lead organizer for the grassroots Idaho for Obama campaign, on the odds of a Democrat winning the state in a presidential election.
Republican John McCain spent nearly $19 million on producing and placing advertising spots in July, according to documents submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Democrat Barack Obama spent about $33 million on producing and airing commercials.

Wednesday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s video: Surprise pick for GOP Veep?

Looking for results from Tuesday’s primary? Click here.

Here are the headlines in the presidential campaign from The Associated Press.
Joe Lieberman, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, to speak at GOP convention

Adviser says Obama to campaign with newly named running mate Saturday

Text message approach in vice presidential announcement could help Obama with turnout

AFL-CIO jabs McCain on his economic record in new mailer

Obama makes unannounced stop in Greensboro, NC

To read the stories behind the headlines, click here and scroll down.
Barack Obama campaigns in the Virginia cities of Martinsville and Lynchburg. John McCain campaigns in Las Cruces, N.M.
“What Obama is creating is this army of individuals, these grass-roots activists, who are out there trying to change the world in 160 characters or less.” — David All, a Republican strategist, on Democrat Barack Obama’s plan to break the news of his running mate by text messaging supporters.
U.S. soldiers have given more money to Democrat Barack Obama than Republican John McCain. Obama received $335,536 from 859 members of the military. McCain got $280,513 from 558 military donors, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics, which looked at donations of $200 or more.

Spokane County commissioner races

As of Tuesday night, the races were very close:
District 1
Todd Mielke, 12,070
Kim Thorburn, 11962

District 2
Mark Richard, 10,981
Brian Sayrs, 11,493

A couple things to remember:

Thousands of ballots left to count, so the spread could change.

The primary is held in the district, the general is countywide. It’s unclear whether that benefits the Republican incumbents or the Democratic challengers. District 3 currently has a Democratic commissioner, Bonnie Mager; but it had a Republican commissioner, Phil Harris, for 12 years before that; and a Democrat, Pat Mummey, for eight years before that; and a Republican, Grant Peterson for four years before that.

5th District Congression race

Mark Mays will have an uphill — or perhaps up mountain — race against Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

District wide, she’s pulling in about 55 percent of the vote. The Republican incumbent has almost three times as many ballots as the Democratic challenger.

The challenge from the right didn’t really play out with voters. Republican Kurt Erickson got about 7 percent of the vote, while Libertarian John Beck and Constitutionalist Randall Yearout are both under 3 percent.

If there’s a bright spot for Mays, it’s that the other Democrat, Barbara Lampert, got about 13 percent of the vote, so together the Ds pulled about 33 percent.

Still, it’s a long way from 33 percent to 50 percent plus 1.

One count confirmed

Spokane County Elections Office says they will release the results of 70,073 ballots shortly after 8 p.m.

And that will be it for the night. They’ll process and count more on Wednesday afternoon.

Tuesday’s quickie political briefing

Last, final, no-kidding-this-is-it reminder: To have your primary ballot count, it must be postmarked today, or deposited in a box at a drop-off site or a voter service center. For a list of locations, click here.

Today’s video: Something to consider as Obama gets ready to name a veep.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Here are the headlines in the presidential race from The Associated Press:

As speculation over veep choice grows, Obama plans to visit Ill. capital where campaign began

McCain flies to Gulf of Mexico oil platform, calls on Obama to support offshore drilling

Western states, traditionally Republican, offer possible opening for Obama

Obama tells military veterans that McCain is wrong to question his character and patriotism

Obama prepares to announce choice for vice president in the coming days

Atlanta fundraiser tied to Abramoff scandal figure brings in more than $1.75 million for GOP

To read the stories behind the headlines, click here and scroll down.

Prez: Barack Obama speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Orlando, Fla., and holds a town hall meeting in Raleigh, N.C. john McCain campaigns in Louisiana.
Gov: Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi attend going-away ceremonies for Washington National Guard units being sent to Iraq. Click here for previous post.
Local: Spokane Democrats and most of their candidates hold an election night gathering at Franklin Park from 5:30 p.m. until dusk. GOP legislative candidate Diana Wilhite has a gathering at the Mirabeau Park Hotel in Spokane Valley. Legislative candidate Matt Shea has a gathering at All Sports Grill in Liberty Lake.
“Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country.” — Barack Obama.
Republican John McCain is leading Democrat Barack Obama by 10 points among whites, according to a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Troop farewell

Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi are scheduled to cross paths Tuesday, and with the heated words being exchanged by their campaigns lately, it’s probably a good thing there will be plenty of people around to break up any fight.

People with guns, no less.

Gregoire is scheduled to speak at a going away ceremony for an Auburn-based unit of the 81st Brigade, the Washington National Guard Unit being sent to Iraq. There are 12 such farewells around the state on Tuesday, and this is one of two she’ll be attending.

The Rossi campaign has also scheduled him for the event, although he won’t be at the podium.

Underhanded scheming by Gregoire, you may be thinking. Nope, Pentagon rules, said the Guard.

Monday’s quickie political briefing

Reminder: Tuesday is Primary Election Day in Washington State. That means your ballots must be dropped off or mailed and postmarked by Tuesday evening.
Wondering where to drop them off in Spokane County? Click here.

Lost your ballot? The dog ate it or the baby threw up on it or the kids used it for a paper airplne? You can get a replacement, or other help, Tuesday at a Voters Service Center. Click here for Spokane County locations.

Today’s Video: Web videos on the campaign trail hit the terrible twos. It was August ‘06 when Sen. George Allen of Virginia stepped in it by referring to an opposition staffer with a videocamera as “Macaca” and started down the road to becoming the first YouTube casualty in history. In honor of that, here’s the historic Allen video.

Here are today’s headlines in the presidential campaign, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Keeping up strong pace, Obama raises $7.8 million in one day

McCain says Obama tried to legislate failure in Iraq for political gain, is not ready to lead

Showbiz politics: Conventions offer priceless exposure, more choreography than a Broadway show

To read the stories behind these headlines, click here and scroll down.
Prez: Barack Obama campaigns in New Mexico. John McCain spoke at the Annual Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States National Convention in Orlando, Florida.
Gov: Christine Gregoire attends farewell ceremonies for departing National Guard soldiers in Everett and Auburn. Dino Rossi attends a farewell ceremony for the Guard in Auburn.
“I think that would be up to, first of all, to John to decide whether he wants a pro-choice running mate; then we would have to see how the Republican Party would rally around it. At the end of the day, I think the Republican Party will be comfortable with whatever choice John makes.” — Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge on possibility of McCain choosing a pro-choice running mate.
John McCain’s overall advertising budget for August is expected to exceed $20 million, and, by the convention in early September, the Republican presidential candidate is on track to spend some $60 million on TV expenditures, according to his campaign manager.

WA Gov Race still close, SurveyUSA says

The latest poll in Washington’s gubernatorial grudge match shows the two main candidates virtually tied, with very few voters undecided.

SurveyUSA has the race at 50 percent for Chris Gregoire, 48 percent for Dino Rossi, 1 percent for other candidates and 1 percent undecided. Margin of error is 3.7 percent, so the race is statistically tied. That’s about what this polling company said a month ago, and most other polls agree. Check out a range of surveys at

This comes as the Rossi campaign is trying to lower expectations for the Aug. 19 primary, contending that turnout might be light and weighted toward so-called “perfect” voters, who they contend will break for Gregoire.

The Gregoire campaign, meanwhile, is suggesting that’s a lot of hooey, because Rossi commercials are hot and heavy on the television and he’s got a big get-out-the-vote push.

The good news: next Tuesday we won’t have to rely on polls, at least for 24 hours, because we’ll have real votes to count.

Not from around here?

The McCain Campaign announced its Washington “Grassroots Leadership Team”, which has some familiar Republican names.

Former Secretary of State Ralph Munro. State Attorney General Rob McKenna. Former Spokane County Commissioner and FEMA exec Grant Peterson.

And one — “Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gordon” — that might be even more familiar if it had been spelled correctly.

Gorton with a “t”, folks.

Numbers gaming

Dino Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign seems to be trying to downplay expectations for the Aug. 19 primary.

Rossi obviously expects to make it through next Tuesday’s election to face Democrat Chris Gregoire in November. But a press release sent out by the campaign seems to be an attempt to inoculate him against any questions about getting fewer votes than she gets.

A memo from Campaign Manager Afton Swift explains why Gregoire might come out of the top two primary as the top one, because

turnout is sluggish and

the so-called 4 of 4s (people who have cast ballots in all of the last four elections) are most likely to vote, and

polling shows Rossi does better with less likely voters, and

less likely voters are probably going to vote in November in greater numbers, and

there’s more Democrats than Republicans in Washington, and

Republicans hardly ever get the most votes in gubernatorial primaries, even if they win the general election, and

Democrats are more likely to vote in the primary, while Republicans and independents will probably turn out heavier in November, and

Gregoire has spent more than Rossi on TV ads.

So don’t even think about looking at his totals, and comparing them with her totals, Swift seems to be suggesting. Unless of course his are bigger, in which case, it’s a sure bet they’ll be declaring a huge victory that portends an even bigger win in November.

Lots of choices for president

Washington voters will have eight options for president to pick from on their November ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office announced on Monday afternoon the minor party candidates who managed to supply the required 1,000 valid signatures by the Aug. 1 deadline to qualify for the ballot.

John McCain and Barack Obama automatically qualify, because they’re members of major parties.

Not surprisingly, independent Ralph Nader and Libertarian nominee Bob Barr made the cut. How many of the others can you name?

Click to see the rest of the list.

That was the week that was

It was a week that saw Paris Hilton weigh in on the presidential campaign.

The presidential candidates weigh-in on the efficacy of tire gages.

John McCain started the week at the biker rally in Sturgis, S.D.

Barack Obama ended the week by going on vacation.

Washington voters began mailing their primary ballots back.

State Republicans questioned Gov. Chris Gregoire’s campaign contributions from Native Americans and she accused them of being racist.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers pumped gasoline for her television commercial.

Her main Democratic opponent, Mark Mays, aired a commercial suggesting she seems like a nice person, but she’s really just a George Bush clone.

Much as it pains us to admit it, Paris Hilton probably was the week’s winner, and her video is really worth watching — once — if you haven’t caught it.

The final word goes to the only serious discussion of the debate over inflated tires vs. drilled coast lines. But when we say serious, be warned that what we really mean is “pretty technical and dull.” Still, it’s worth a look if you want to dominate the discussion on energy politics at the coffee counter next week.

The next thing in military technology?

Bonus video: Some of the latest in military technology — especiallly the stuff that flies really, really fast and loud — is on display at Fairchild Air Force Base this weekend. But here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at where technology might take the Pentagon in its fight against one of its oldest adversary.

Pentagon’s Unmanned Spokesdrone Completes First Press Conference Mission

Ballots coming in

With ballots for Washington state’s top two primary streaming in to county elections offices, state officials are unveiling a new Web site to give voters even more help with their ballot and registration.

Secretary of State Sam Reed said voters seem to prefer the new voting system, in which they can vote for any candidate in each race, to the “Pick a Party” primary used 2004 and 2006. In those years, voters could cast a ballot that had only one of the major party’s candidates on it.

Wednesday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s video: What happens when you start mixing politics with celebrities. Paris for prez?
(Warning: Some people might find language in this objectionable.)

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Here are the headlines in the presidential campaign from The Associated Press:
Obama taunts McCain for criticizing him over tire pressure, then agreeing it’s energy-saving

In new ad, McCain questions whether ’celebrity’ Barack Obama is ready to help families

McCain, like Obama, will run TV ads during the Olympics

Obama overexposed? Nearly half say they’re hearing too much about him, poll says

McCain gives Marshall football players pep talk on teamwork

St. Paul police get $50 million federal grant to prepare for GOP convention

To read the stories behind the headlines, click here and scroll down.
Prez: John McCain stopped by the Marshall University football practice in Huntington, W.Va., and campaigns in Ohio. Barack Obama talked to voters about energy at a town-hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind.
Gov: Chris Gregoire talks to members of the Washington National Guard being called up to Iraq.

“Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?” — An announcer in Republican John McCain’s new TV ad, which criticizes rival Barack Obama. Click to see the ad.
About 135,000 Wisconsin residents have registered to vote for the first time since the beginning of this year, bringing the total number of voters there to more than 3.4 million, according to the state’s Government Accountability Board. Another 169,000 have updated their registration with their current address or new name.

Tuesday’s quickie political briefing

Today’s fun video: The best skewering of the “race card” over analyzing so far. (Warning: some folks may find this offensive in parts.)

Here are today’s headlines in the presidential race, from The Associated Press:
New McCain ad emphasizes independent streak to counter Obama charge he’s same as Bush

Obama says economy is in turmoil, sets goal of ending American dependence on overseas oil

No plans yet for Vice President Dick Cheney to appear at Republican National Convention

Obama, McCain campaigns engage in hard-hitting politics, but show differences in style, tone

To read the stories behind these headlines, click here and scroll down.———
John McCain stops at a nuclear power plant in Newport, Mich. Barack Obama talks to voters about energy at two town-hall meetings in Ohio.
“President Bush, he had an energy policy. He turned to Dick Cheney and he said, ’Cheney, go take care of this.” — Democrat Barack Obama, at a town-hall meeting on energy in Youngstown, Ohio, in which he sought to tie the troubled economy with administration energy policies that he asserted Vice President Dick Cheney helped shape.
John McCain won 70 of Michigan’s 83 counties in the 2000 Republican presidential primary against President Bush.

That was the week that was

Brittany Spears made an appearance in campaign commercials.

The presidential candidates “town halled” individually — and somewhat relentlessly — but apparently won’t town hall together.

Meanwhile, each presidential campaign accused the other of playing the race card.

Gov. Chris Gregoire got carded at a bar. Challenger Dino Rossi was there for the coin toss at the Spokane Shock game.
And, in what may be a new low water mark for television journalism, Barack Obama was asked the “alien question.” (And by this, we don’t mean he was asked about people from other countries picking apples in Wenatchee.) It’s today’s video:

Cue the music from that old ‘60s TV show:
That was the week that was.
It’s over let it go.

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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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