Jonathan Martin at Politico reminds us of one of the signature lines from the primary contest, where in response to a question (and a guffaw from Senator Clinton) about why there were so many Clinton advisers on Obama’s team, President-elect Obama lets loose with possibly the zinger of the election season:
I heard Chuck Todd on MSNBC today saying that Obama will likely not campaign for Jim Martin in his Senate runoff campaign. I can understand that he’s focused on the transition right now, and also that Martin faces an uphill climb. Still, I think it’s a mistake. For one thing, with the Alaska race moving our way and Minnesota still a good possibility, Georgia could end up being the Dems’ shot at 60 seats. Now, given the fluidity of cloture votes, I don’t believe that 60 is the magic number some have made it out to be, but it does represent a psychological hurdle, and besides, a Sen. Martin is a heck of a lot less likely to join a filibuster than Sen. Chambliss.
I also don’t really see what Obama has to lose by getting involved. If Martin loses, that will be what was expected, so Obama will hardly be associated with that loss. On the other hand, if he helps Martin pull off the upset, it will have Republicans shaking in their boots and will serve to validate not only his coattails but also his 50-state strategy. Besides, it’s not like this race is in Mississippi; Obama came within a few points of McCain in Georgia. Nor is Martin running away from Obama; in fact, he seems eager to have him visit.
The Republicans are going all out to crank up their base. Obama is the one guy who can truly help the Democrats turn out theirs. He should go to Georgia.
Big news out of Alaska:
The elections division still has over 10,000 ballots left to count today and thousands more through next week, but the latest numbers show Mark Begich leading Sen. Ted Stevens 125,019 to 125,016.
The new numbers, reflecting nearly 43,000 absentee ballots counted today, are from all over the state. Election night, Ted Stevens led the Democratic Begich by about 3,000 votes.
The state today is counting a total of about 60,000 absentee and questioned ballots.
I’ve frankly been very confident about the Dems picking up this seat, given the number of outstanding ballots, and the fact that I found it confounding that Alaska voters would vote to send a convicted felon back to Washington. It appears that many outstanding votes are from Dem friendly districts. So we’re getting closer to getting to the magical 60 senate number.
I’ll be poll-watching as part of the legal Voter Protection Team here in Washington. It’s gonna be a long day for me (about to hit the bed to get a relatively decent night’s sleep), but it will be well worth it. I see that Obama won Dixville Notch, the first of the election day voting. A good start to what will hopefully be a great day.
Interesting. McCain has decided that his last chance is to persuade voters with an intense barrage of commercials that will, for the last few days of the campaign, bring him to parity with Obama on air. However, there is one thing to note about this decision:
The decision to finance a final advertising push is forcing McCain to curtail spending on Election Day ground forces to help usher his supporters to the polls, according to Republican consultants familiar with McCain’s strategy.
The vaunted, 72-hour plan that President Bush used to mobilize voters in 2000 and 2004 has been scaled back for McCain. He has spent half as much as Obama on staffing and has opened far fewer field offices. This week, a number of veteran GOP operatives who orchestrate door-to-door efforts to get voters to the polls were told they should not expect to receive plane tickets, rental cars or hotel rooms from the campaign.
On average, Obama’s 30-minute primetime infomercial managed to outperform the usual broadcast programming in the 8 p.m. time period.
The Obama special was seen by about 26.4 million viewers across broadcasters CBS, NBC and Fox, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. If you add Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, that total climbs to 30.1 million.
File this in the “this can’t be good” department:
John McCain and the Republican National Committee are now running robocalls attacking Obama as weak on terrorism — in McCain’s home state of Arizona, according to multiple readers from the state.
The call signals genuine worry about McCain’s home state at a time when several polls show the race to be much closer than expected there.
McCain’s robocall, which was played to us over the phone by Mary Joe Bartel, a retiree who lives south of Tuscon, attacks Obama as unprepared to defend the country from terrorism, singling out Joe Biden’s recent remarks about the likelihood of Obama being tested by an international crisis early in his first term.
Flatly, this is disastrous for McCain. There is absolutely no reason Obama should be competitive in a right-leaning state (admittedly not as red as say Tennessee when Gore lost it) where the GOP presidential nominee makes (one of) his home. It will be interesting to see if this gets any media play.
We’re obviously in the home stretch here, and Flordia, while giving Obama a slight slight lead, is still very close and will likely be decided by a few points in either direction.
Given the tight race there, it’s great to see that he is bringing out all of the big guns:
Former Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential contender in 2000, will be joined by his wife, Tipper Gore, at a rally for Barack Obama on Friday afternoon at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.
Convention center officials announced the event today. It will be held in the Center’s Grand Ballroom, and is expected to be limited to about 2,000 attendees.
One of the stories bubbling just over the surface is the issue of John McCain’s health. While the story of his frequent bouts with cancer have been well documented, and he did allow reporters to see his records in a very controlled setting, many have demanded a more thorough accounting of his various medical issue. The New York Times will be shedding some additional light on this issue.
The New York Times will break new ground on the health of the presidential candidates and their running mates in a major expose set to be published in Monday’s print edition.
Lawrence Altman — the veteran Times reporter, George Polk Award winner, and one of the few medical doctors working as a full-time journalist — has spent weeks working with the campaigns and medical professionals on the piece, sources say.
Much of the speculation centers on new questions about the status of John McCain’s cancer raised by the story. The Washington Post reported last week that a growing number of doctors believe that McCain’s melanoma is “more advanced than his physicians concluded and that the chance of recurrence is consequently higher.”
But another peculiar facet of the Times story involves the McCain campaign’s refusal, as of this weekend, to turn over Sarah Palin’s medical information.