Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

In Re: Senator Clinton as Secretary of State

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:

November 15, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, foreign policy, Obama cabinet | , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s Almost Gametime!


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.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lawrence Eagleburger Blasts Palin: ‘Of Course’ She’s Not Ready

This is NOT how you stay on message. Lawrence Eagleburger, a McCain advisor and one of the fave five Secretaries of State he remembered has gone on the record absolutely BLISTERING Sarah Palin. This is unbelievable. Below the jump for the details.

HuffPo with the story:

A former Republican Secretary of State and one of John McCain’s most prominent supporters offered a stunningly frank and remarkably bleak assessment of Sarah Palin’s capacity to handle the presidency should such a scenario arise.

Lawrence Eagleburger, who served as Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and whose endorsement is often trumpeted by McCain, said on Thursday that the Alaska governor is not only unprepared to take over the job on a moment’s notice but, even after some time in office, would only amount to an “adequate” commander in chief.

“And I devoutly hope that [she] would never be tested,” he added for good measure — referring both to Palin’s policy dexterity and the idea of McCain not making it through his time in office.

The interview was with NPR which was apparently supposed to show off how qualified Sarah Palin is. Of course, we know that’s not the case:

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October 31, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy, talking points, Veepstakes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ratings for Obama Campaign Commercial: 26.4 Million Viewers on Networks

Not bad at all:

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.


October 30, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Media Strategy | , , | Leave a comment

McCain Now Running Robocalls Attacking Obama In Arizona

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.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Media Strategy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Al and Tipper Gore to Rally for Obama in Palm Beach Friday

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.

Senator Obama has been going full bore in Florida, spending much of his time this week in that crucial state. In addition, he’s bringing Bill Clinton to Orlando for their first joint appearance.

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.

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October 29, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Media Strategy | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

McCain Nearly Down to the Felt: $12 Million left to Spend

As any good Texas-Holdem poker player (like Barack Obama) knows that when your chips get low and you are almost out of the game (down to the felt in poker terms), you wait for the best hand you can get and move all in an attempt to “double up”. Translating that to politics, with McCain constrained by taking public financing, that decision is turning into potentially a fatal one. And it explains his decision to move his ad spending out of a number of battleground states.

We have news today that McCain is drastically cutting his ad spending in a number of states:

In another sign that John McCain is on the defensive as time runs out, the McCain campaign is shifting its ad money out of blue tossup states and into red tossups and even traditionally red states, according to ad maven Evan Tracey.

McCain has dramatically slashed his ad spending in Wisconsin and New Hampshire and reduced it in Pennsylvania, suggesting that he’s either losing hope or giving up hope in winning in three states that went for John Kerry in 2004, or that he doesn’t have ample enough resources for them.

He’s also reduced his spending in Colorado, which went for Bush but is showing a lead for Obama, suggesting he may be losing hope there, too.

“There’s definitely a scaling back in those states,” says Tracey, who tracks national ad spending for the Campaign Media Analysis Group and gave TPM some numbers so we could flesh out and synthesize disparate reports about various spending shifts into a big picture.

It’s a curious decision to move out of some of these states, especially Colorado where Obama has a solid but not insurmountable lead. Of course, if Obama wins Colorado along with Iowa and New Mexico and holds the Kerry states, he wins. But Colorado is not an outrageously expensive state, so throwning some coin there seems like a no-brainer. Until you get a look at how much money McCain has left to spend:

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October 24, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Solution For the Palin $150k Spending Spree

-Now, I’m not in the habit of giving McCain advice, but I’m starting to feel a little sorry for them. So here’s a little advice.

So the McCain camp is getting a lot of grief over spending $150k for Gov. Palin’s wardrobe, and even republicans aren’t happy:

“Republicans, RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures. … The heat for this story will come from Republicans who cannot understand how their party would do something this stupid … particularly (and, it must be said, viewed retroactively) during the collapse of the financial system and the probable beginning of a recession.”

Now the press is having a field day, even speculating there may be tax implications:

I just got off the phone with a well-respected and well-known tax attorney who doesn’t want to be identified.

I asked him earlier in the day whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin can avoid paying taxes on the $150,000 worth of clothes the RNC bought her, as she and the RNC maintain. (They said the RNC now owns the clothes; she’s just borrowing them.)

He said that, after consulting with a number of experts at his prominent firm, he thinks the RNC and Gov. Palin are wrong.

“It’s probably not a ‘gift,'” he said. “The issue is whether it counts as ‘income.'”

Now, I have a simple solution to this problem. Sell the clothes to Rich “Starbursts” Lowery. You remember Rich. He revealed after the Vice Presidential debate that Gov. Palin’s performance was so awesome, that he saw “starbursts”:

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October 22, 2008 Posted by | Economy | , , , , | 2 Comments

NYT to Raise New Questions on McCain’s Health

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.

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October 20, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Media Strategy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Justin Timberlake Wants You to Vote in the Box

Justin Timberlake remixes one of the funniest SNL sketches ever (warning: crass language):

October 15, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Media Strategy | , , , , | Leave a comment