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Spin Control

Archive for March 2008

Monday’s quickie political briefing

Here’s a look at the headlines in the presidential race, from The Associated Press.

McCain highlights military heritage at start of the biographical tour

Obama leads in ongoing tally of Texas caucus results

Bill Clinton courts superdelegates in California

Should Hillary Clinton drop out? Obama says no. Watch today’s video:

———
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. John McCain gave a speech in Mississippi.
———
QUOTE OF THE DAY“Between Barack and a hard place, I chose Barack.” — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who endorsed fellow Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president on Monday, saying it had been difficult being uncommitted in the race.
———
STAT OF THE DAY:
Pennsylvania has an estimated 3.8 million Catholics, or just over 30 percent of the state’s population, and the percentage among Democrats is estimated to be slightly higher.

What’s in a name (besides confusion)

As Boise bureau chief Betsy Russell reports at Eye on Boise, Idaho is about to have a new law that could add parenthetical information to the ballot.

Candidates who have changed their names, as one Senate hopeful who goes by the name of Pro-Life has done, will now be followed on the ballot with (a person formerly known as…).

The only real question is, in the interests of full disclosure to voters, why stop there?

Cantwell: Let ‘em play it out

Democratic super delegate Maria Cantwell said she’s sticking with Hillary Clinton and waiting for voters in the remaining states before discussing what – if anything – could make her switch.
“I’m not going to make any decisions about anything until all the states have voted,” Cantwell, Washington’s junior senator, said in an interview after a speech to the Downtown Spokane Rotary Club. “We had the process play out here and I think it’s important to let the rest of the states have their say.”
Cantwell endorsed Clinton, a long-time legislative ally, at the end of last year and was at her side when Clinton campaigned in Spokane and other Washington cities before the state’s precinct caucuses.
“I was glad that she came here to Spokane to campaign,” Cantwell said. “I think when it comes to understanding the issues of Washington state, whether it’s Fairchild or high energy prices Spokane has paid, she talked about all of those issues when she was here.”
Are there conditions that would make her switch to Barack Obama?

Tuzla’s 15 minutes of fame

The “landing under sniper fire” mis-speak is a story that apparently has legs on the Web.

After the original footage of the landing was put up late Tuesday, video-philes started playing with it.

First, they added sound effects


Click to see more.

Jumping ship

A presidential candidate in his 70s, who developed a reputation as a maverick within his party for some of the stances he took in the debates but couldn’t get the nomination, has switched to the Libertarian Party.

And if you think we’re talking about Ron Paul, you’re wrong.

Animated debate

The debate continues over what Jeremiah Wright, Geraldine Ferraro and others connected to the presidential campaigns said, and what the candidates should have done.

Even for those who are tired of the debate, this is an entertaining video.

Tuesday’s quickie political briefing

Here’s a quick look at the presidential campaign headlines from The Associated Press:

McCain leaves housing crisis options on table but places limits on government assistance

Party squabbles parallel ’84 for Democratic convention’s lady of the House

Former first lady Nancy Reagan to endorse Republican John McCain

Write on

When Gov. Chris Gregoire signs bills into law, her office needs to bring a the proper supplies.

Mainly, a big pile of pens.

When Gregoire stopped by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture on Thursday, they needed about 50 pens, even though she only signed 15 pieces of legislation.

Not just a so, so comment

With one word — “So?” — Vice President Cheney managed to spawn a fair amount of outrage among people opposed to the War in Iraq. It’s spawning a whole raft of YouTube submissions, most of them not suitable for this blog.

But if you want to see what Cheney said, here’s a clip:

And if you want to see White House press secretary Dana Perino discuss it further, click to read more.

Today’s discussion: Slip of the tongue or something more?

Sen. John McCain is taking some heat for yesterday’s comment that Iran was supporting Al-Qaeda in Iraq, a comment he corrected after prompting from Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is accompanying him on the trip to the Middle East.

Clips are available many places on the Web, but here’s an version with no voice over, no analysis.

Today’s discussion topic: Is too much, not enough or the right amount of attention being given to McCain’s comment? Offer an opinion here.

Eye on Oly: Senate GOP rumble

Republican leaders in the Washington state Senate apparently are involved in a spitting match.

As Spokesman-Review’s Olympia Bureau Chief Rich Roesler reports, Sen. Pam Roach is pretty much calling out her caucus leader, Sen. Mike Hewett.

How do we know? The Tacoma Morning News Tribune acquired a fairly blistering e-mail.

Read more about it by clicking here.

See Obama’s racism speech

Barack Obama’s speech on racism may be seen as a milepost in the campaign.
Watch the entire speech here:

Reax to the Top 2 ruling

Reaction is trickling in on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the state’s Top Two primary.

Not surprisingly, Secretary of State Sam Reed, a big supporter of the proposal, is pretty happy:

“This is a victory for the voters of Washington because our democracy belongs to them,” he said in a press release.

Gov. Chris Gregoire was also positive:

“Washingtonians are known for their independence, and I applaud today’s ruling allowing them to continue to voice their opinion,” she said in a press release.


State Democrats, who had fought the change, were predictably less chipper:

“We are disappointed that the Court appears to have made elections more complicated in Washington State,” state Democratic Chairman Dwight Pelz said.

State Republicans were similarly disappointed at being, in state GOP Chairman Luke Esser’s words, “back to square one” and held out the prospect of more litigation:

“We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to defend our constitutionally-protected right of association,” Esser said.

Want to read the full comments? Click here

Discussion topic: Supremes and the Top 2

A huge decision for this year’s election came down from the U.S. Supreme Court today.

The Top Two primary, which voters approved but the top political parties managed to block in the lower federal courts, is not unconstitutional, the Supremes said. At least, not on its face.

The voters had the ability to pass that law by initiative, and can be presumed smart enough to figure some things out, among them whether a candidate who claims to be a member of a party really is.

What this means isn’t exactly clear yet, but at a minimum, it throws the state’s August primary into a new dimension. Washington voters will go back to a single ballot, and will pick among however many candidates sign up for each elective position.

The top two advance to the general, whether it’s one nominal Republican and one nominal Democrat or two claiming to be Republicans or two claiming to be Democrats or an alleged independent and an avowed Communist.

Most of the time, it’s likely to be one candidate claiming allegiance to the Democrats and one espousing such to the Republicans. But not always.

One could envision a scenario this year, should there be several Republicans and several Democrats running for the open legislative seat in the Valley’s 4th District, where the top two could be Republicans. Same thing could happen, except with two Democrats, should a similar primary lineup occur in central Spokane’s 3rd District and create a general election between two presumable Ds.

And in any district where an incumbent is considered so safe that the opposing party doesn’t mount a challenge, a third party candidate could advance.

But for the most part, the independents, Libertarians, Greens and Constitutionalists could be left out in the cold.

You can read the High Court’s 33 page opinion here.
What do you think about the decision? Click here to add a comment.

Can’t get much satisfaction

Or so it would seem in this latest Gallup Poll report, which shows only about one American in five is satisfied with the way things are going right now.

See the video,

Swearing off

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who celebrates St. Patrick’s Day Monday by officially jumping into re-election mode, is swearing off fat. Not transfats or polyunsaturates or certain types of cholesterols. There may even be something more than granola at her campaign breakfast.

She’s attempting to go cold turkey from congressional pork.

She joined a Republican effort to quit sticking extra projects into a spending bill to get a little money for the folks back home. Sign her up for Earmarks Not-so-anonymous.

(Yes, we made that name up. Gotta love the prospects for such a group’s meetings, though: “Hi, I’m Sen. Snerd and I’m a congressional spendaholic. But I haven’t larded an approps bill with a dumb project supported by my campaign donors for three days.”)

Washington congressional bucks

Here’s a look at what congressional candidates in Washington are raising, courtesy of the folks at MAPLight.org.

McMorris McRunning

This will come as no great surprise to anyone, but Cathy McMorris Rodgers is running for re-election.

Only slightly more surprising, she’s announcing it starting Monday, on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s a tradition for the Eastern Washington Republican, who started her two previous congressional campaigns with events timed to the venerable Irish saint.

She’s got her Top O’ The Morning breakfast — get the Irish reference? — at 7:30 a.m. at the Convention Center. There’s also a Top O’ the Day Lunch — a bit of a stretch, even if your name does start with Mc — at Mirabeau Park Hotel in the Spokane Valley. She’s got another gig in Walla Walla on Wednesday.

Who says you can’t have fun with elections?

T
he candidates may be trying to carve each up in little pieces, but folks on the Internet can still have fun.

Case in point, the USARPS League — which stands for the United States of America Rock, Paper, Scissors League, in case you’re wondering.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, the kids’ handgame, used to require at least two people willing to shake their hands in competition.

But the league has a new online game for one, where you can compete, via mouse, with animated characters.

Appropos of the season they call it

Barack, Paper, Scissors.

(We can’t make stuff like this up.)

For those of you who think this can’t be a real sport league, Spin Control 2.0 can only say: It must be real; it’s sponsored by a beer company.

Click on the image above, or the link, if you want to play.

Wednesday’s quickie political briefing

Here are the presidential campaign headlines for Wednesday at lunchtime from The Associated Press:

Obama beats Clinton in racially polarized Mississippi Democratic primary; Pennsylvania is next

AFL-CIO calls McCain ’Bush 3,’ targets his record on labor, economic issues
Obama accuses Ferraro of ’slice and dice’ politics

From April to June contests, Democrats do the math in planning strategy

Obama camp, Florida congressional delegation raise questions about possible vote-by-mail
Click for details on the headlines.

State Democrats daring McCain to visit

Washington state Democrats are practically licking their chops at the prospect of John McCain campaigning in the state any time soon.

They pretend otherwise. In a press release Tuesday, State Chairman Dwight Pelz suggested McCain “steer clear” of Washington because of questions about ties that members of the likely GOP nominee’s campaign staff have to Airbus manufacturer EADS.

There’s also that letter McCain sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that subsidies EADS gets for Airbus not be held against the combined Northrop-EADS bid for a tanker.

Trash talk on the campaign trail

By ANN SANNER
Associated Press Writer
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she disagrees with Geraldine Ferraro, one of her fundraisers and the 1984 vice presidential candidate, for suggesting that Barack Obama only achieved his status in the presidential race because he’s black.

In a brief interview with The Associated Press, Clinton was questioned about Ferraro’s remarks. The Obama campaign has called on the New York senator to denounce them.

Ferraro told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif.: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

Monday evening quickie political briefing

Here are this evening’s presidential campaign headlines from The Associated Press:

Obama ridicules idea of second spot on a Clinton ticket

McCain aims to ignite campaign with money, bio and issues tours

Bush backs into acknowledging a Democrat could win the White House this year

New Philadelphia mayor, who is black, sticks with early endorsement of Clinton

Today’s discussion: Ongoing tanker dispute

Lou Dobbs weighed in this weekend on the new air refueling tanker contract.

With typical Dobbsian diplomacy, he labelled it idiotic, and questioned the intelligence of Air Force officials who made it.


The controversy apparently has “legs”, which is to say, it’ll be around for a while as Congress questions the Air Force officials and sorts through the competing claims. What do you think the next step in this saga should be?

Click here to comment.

Fun videos for the weekend: Part 2

With Episode 2, the animators decide to add more genres. You’ll need to know Star Wars as well as “24” to get the most laughs.

That’s a wrap for Ron Paul

Not with a bang, but with this video, Republican presidential candidate tiptoed out of the race on Thursday.

Mid-morning quickie political briefing

Here’s Friday’s mid morning quick look at what’s going on in politics, courtesy of The Associated Press.
The Headlines
Obama adviser resigns after telling UK newspaper Clinton is “a monster”

Clinton, in Mississippi, again raises possibility of ticket with Obama

McCain calls for tax cuts, job training to lift the faltering economy

After months of trial and error, Bill Clinton settles into new role in wife’s campaign

Click to read full entry

Money update for Democrats

The mid-morning report had Hillary Clinton’s fund-raising total. The Associated Press afternoon update has numbers for Barack Obama, too:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama raised a record $55 million in February for his presidential campaign, eclipsing rival Hillary Rodham Clinton’s own substantial fundraising for the month. All told, Obama has raised $193 million during his yearlong bid for the White House.

Mid-morning quickie political briefing

There are no big primaries, caucuses or prima-caucuses on today’s agenda, but here’s a quick look at what’s going on in the political world from the Associated Press.

Clinton raises $4 million online after Ohio, Texas, RI wins … McCain, campaigning with Florida governor, is noncommittal on veep choice … Clinton aide compares Obama to independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr … DNC’s Dean urges do-over contests in Florida, Michigan, but won’t help pay for the contests … Democratic voters take lead in some historically GOP counties in Ohio

Click to read full entry.

Afternoon discussion topic: The race goes on

With all the hand-wringing taking place on national news networks today, you’d think that the continuation of the Democratic primaries, without a clear winner, is the worst thing since
1. Bubonic Plague
B) Polyester leisure suits
Third: A new baby for Britney Spears
Lastly, another round of The Bachelor.

Not everyone shares this opinion, of course. But there is a lot of what in some quarters would be called the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

So are they right? Or on balance is this a good thing or a bad thing, for Democrats specifically, the presidential campaign generally and the country as a whole?

Weigh in by clicking here.

How Clinton won Ohio

Hillary Clinton won big in Ohio.

The exit polling available on the CNN campaign site shows just exactly how.

She beat him among women voters 58 percent to 40 percent, and among men, 51 percent to 47 percent.

She won among most reliegions denominations, and she did better among the nearly three-fourths of voters who said recent debates were important in deciding their vote.

Voters were also more likely to say Clinton has a clear plan for the country.

Click for the Associated Press report on tonight’s exit polling.

What about Ron Paul?

Ron Paul supporters may not be as numerous as they once were, but they are no less vocal. So all this news about John McCain clinching the GOP nomination and Mike Huckabee dropping out probably has them asking:

What about Ron? Why are you folks in the media ignoring our guy?

He’s currently in single digits in all four states: 5 percent in Ohio, 7 percent in Rhode Island, 5 percent in Texas and 7 percent in Vermont.

So that means Paul, who is from Texas, is doing best in the eastern states. No word from the campaign on any plans to quit.

On the contrary, his Web site has a link that says “Now there are two” with all the other candidates except him and McCain crossed out. They apparently just X-ed Mike Huckabee in the last hour or so.

Click for latest GOP numbers

Clinton ahead in Ohio, Obama in Texas

Hillary Clinton snapped Barack Obama’s winning streak by winning the Rhode Island primary, and maintains a commanding lead in Ohio, where she currently has 57 percent of the vote with about 750,000 ballots counted.

That’s about 35 percent of the precincts.

Obama remains ahead in Texas, but by a narrowing margin: 50 percent to 48 percent. That’s with about 1.3 million ballots counted, or 15 percent of the precincts reporting.

Texas also has caucuses that will award some delegates tonight.

Clinton wins R.I.

Hillary Clinton picked up her first campaign victory in weeks, beating rival Barack Obama in Rhode Island, the Associated Press says.

CNN — which has not yet called the race for Clinton — is reporting she’s ahead of Obama with 53 percent of the vote to his 46 percent.

Exit polls showed Clinton ahead among white voters, Catholics and those over 65.

The bigger states, Ohio and Texas, are still too close to call.

Click to see the latest numbers from the Associated Press.

McCain has nomination in bag — AP, CNN

Arizona Sen. John McCain has all the delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination, the Associated Press and CNN say.

The AP’s count of delegates says McCain picked up enough delegates from wins tonight in Vermont, Ohio and Texas. He’s expected to win Rhode Island, too, where polls closed just a few minutes ago.

He needed 1,191 delegates, or at least 50 percent of those going to the Republican National Convention in September.

The numbers as we get ‘em

Depending on what source you use, numbers can be a bit different on election night.

Right now, Spin Control is using the Associated Press, and here’s what they tell us about the Democratic races:

Ohio5 of 11,238 precincts - 0 percent
Hillary Clinton 9,974 - 60 percent
Barack Obama 6,371 - 38 percent
John Edwards 332 - 2 percent

Texas
113 of 8,279 precincts - 1 percent
Barack Obama 502,626 - 54 percent
Hillary Clinton 413,949 - 45 percent
John Edwards 6,386 - 1 percent
Bill Richardson 2,604 - 0 percent
Joe Biden 1,354 - 0 percent
Chris Dodd 929 - 0 percent

Vermont
96 of 260 precincts - 37 percent
x-Barack Obama 23,047 - 60 percent
Hillary Clinton 14,993 - 39 percent
John Edwards 445 - 1 percent
Dennis Kucinich 231 - 1 percent

We’ll attach AP updates to future posts.
GOP numbers in a minute

Obama moves ahead in Texas

Barack Obama moved into the lead in the Texas Democratic primary, partly on a strong showing in early returns from Dallas County.


With about 850,000 votes counted, CNN was reporting Obama had 56 percent of the vote compared to431 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton was reported ahead in Ohio, with about 14,000 votes counted, with 62 percent of the vote compared to 36 percent for Obama. Some polls in Ohio that ran out of ballots were ordered to stay open longer.

McCain way ahead in Texas, too

Early counting in Texas has John McCain way ahead of the field there, as he has been in other contests tonight.

In Texas, were only about 3,000 votes have been counted, he has 60 percent, to Mike Huckabee’s 31 percent.

In Ohio, McCain has 66 percent to Huckabee’s 23 percent.

In Vermont, it’s McCain 70 percent, Huckabee 16 percent.

And what about Ron Paul? He’s in single digits in all three contests: 6 percent in Vermont, 5 percent in Ohio and 3 percent in Texas.

Clinton takes early lead in Ohio

Hillary Clinton took an early lead in the Ohio presidential primary in her bid to end a string of victories by Democratic rival Barack Obama.

With only a few thousand votes counted, Clinton was polling 56 percent and Obama 42 percent. Chlinton was also ahead of Obama among voters questioned for exit polls, but the number of votes reported is so low that news organizations were not yet calling the race for either candidate.

Obama was declared the victor of the Vermont primary, where vote totals are also low but exit polls showed him with strength among all groups of voters.

In Republican primaries, John McCain was the easy winner in Vermont and Ohio, and on track to pick up all delegates in each state.

Polls in Rhode Island close at 5 p.m. Pacific, and most polls in Texas close at 5 p.m. but some in the western portions of the state close at 6 p.m.

McCain, Obama win Vermont

Barack Obama and John McCain won the primaries in Vermont, the Associated Press, CNN, NBC, and practically everyone else said as soon as the polls closed.

There are no results yet. Exit polling says Obama beat Hillary Clinton pretty much across the board, winning among white women, women overall, men, senior citizens, voters without college degrees, voters who earn less than $50,000 a year. Based on that, there wasn’t much left for her.

McCain will get all 17 delegates at stake in Vermont’s Republican primary.

Actual results of votes are probably a few minutes away.

Today’s tracking polls: Democrats in tossup

Zogby has Hillary Clinton slightly ahead of Barack Obama in Texas in this morning’s polling, and the two Democrats dead even in Ohio.

In Texas, the numbers flipped, with Clinton at 47 percent and Obama at 44 percent. Obama had been a few percent ahead for the last four days in the tracking polls.

In Ohio, both are at 44 percent. This after Obama was ahead yesterday, Clinton ahead on Sundah, and the two were tied, at 45 percent, on Saturday.

The message: It’s very close, and the electorate may be shifting around, or not. These spreads are all within the poll’s margin of error, which is 3.5 percent.

John McCain is still way ahead in both states, the polls of GOP voters show. He’s up a bit, to 57 percent, in Texas, and down a smidge, to 59 percent, in Ohio. Mike Huckabee is at 29 percent in both polls, and Ron Paul is at 5 percent in Ohio and 6 percent in Texas.

Needless to say, we’ll know in a few hours.

Whose ad is whose?

Two television commercials started airing over the weekend in Ohio. They represent an interesting punch-counterpunch in the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over who has the most — or the right — experience.

Here’s the opening gambit, from Clinton:

Here’s the Obama response:

Today’s discussion
Whose ad is better? Click on Comments to weigh in.
And for a historical look at this whole topic,
click below.

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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.

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