September 15, 2008: McCain takes a slight lead, as Ike slows the campaign

The week that was….

  • September 13, 2008: As Hurricane Ike lashes Texas, Obama cancels on ‘SNL’ and asks supporters to help the victims … Pelosi says McCain’s choice of Palin as running mate was “poor judgment” … Moose-hunting Republican from Palin’s hometown casts crucial vote to subpoena her husband … Palin’s return to Alaska brings reality of national campaign, stirs opinions back home … Once a Clinton critic, Palin heaps praise on her and says Obama must regret not choosing her … Hunter Biden, son of veep candidate, quits work as federal lobbyist. – AP, 9-13-08
  • Steve Fenn/Reuters, via ABC)

    John McCain appeared on “The View.” (Photo: Steve Fenn/Reuters, via ABC)

  • September 12, 2008: McCain takes slim lead over Obama in AP-GfK poll, helped by whites and views of experience … In spite of past statements, Palin says she has never disputed human impact on climate change … Obama campaign sharpens attacks against McCain in memo and ad … McCain campaign seeks to downplay Palin’s book incident, hoping to nip online controversy … Groups question whether McCain broke 9/11 pledge not to air ads; company says no evidence. – AP, 9-12-08
  • September 11, 2008: Palin declares readiness for high office as she takes small step out of protective bubble … Biden says 9/11 showed world what it means to be an American … Palin: “I didn’t hesitate” when McCain offered spot on Republican ticket … Former GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee calls Palin a ‘cocky wacko’ … Bill Clinton predicts Obama will defeat McCain ‘pretty handily’ … Poll: McCain gains support in 2 swing states. – AP, 9-11-08….
    On 9/11 anniversary, McCain and Obama ask citizens to take on best qualities of Americans … Obama health plan follows where some states have struggled … Poll: McCain gains support in 2 swing states – AP, 9-11-08
  • September 9, 2008: Obama says Bush plan to increase Afghanistan force is too slow and not enough … Obama promises twice the money for charter schools … Report: Palin’s expense statements shows she tapped state travel allowance while at home … Biden says McCain doesn’t understand that economy is in tough times … Former NY Mayor Ed Koch endorses Obama … Gore to give keynote at Iowa Democratic dinner… AP, 9-9-09
    Obama embraces charter schools, ouster of bad teachers in bipartisan approach to education … At Chicago fundraiser, McCain talks up new running mate, who helps raise $4 million for GOP … Obama says Palin as mother, governor, moose hunter may be cool, but she’s just another politician. – AP, 9-9-09
  • September 8, 2008: Palin: Obama shouldn’t ‘go there’ when talking about earmarks … Obama talks about the economy in Michigan … No dustup with Palin in sight as Clinton asserts the election is about issues … Bush, Cheney say Palin would be a good veep, praise her speech as “superb” … Biden says Obama administration would make middle class top priority … Obama drops daughters off for first day of school… AP, 9-8-08
    ABC News’ Gibson lands first interview with Palin since she was named McCain’s running mate … Biden says he looks forward to Oct. 2 vice presidential debate against Palin in St. Louis … Poll: McCain gets big post-convention bounce over Obama in national survey. – AP, 9-8-08

The Stats

  • September 12, 2008: Drawing Even The new NEWSWEEK Poll shows McCain and Obama deadlocked McCain is now tied with Obama among registered voters nationwide, 46 percent to 46 percent – Newsweek, 9-12-08
  • September 12, 2008: Whites lift McCain to slim lead over Obama in poll – AP, 9-12-08
  • September 11, 2008 – Palin Boosts McCain In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds; But Obama Leads In Two Of Three Battlegrounds — FLORIDA: McCain 50 – Obama 43; OHIO: Obama 49 – McCain 44; PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 48 – McCain 45 – Quinnipiac University, 9-11-08
  • September 8, 2008: McCain leads Obama 49 percent to 44 percent among registered voters in a new Gallop Poll.
  • Palin Lifts McCain’s Support – WSJ, 9-9-08
  • Polls: After Palin Push, McCain and Obama in Dead Heat – PBS Newshour, 9-9-08

In the News…

  • Obama Raised a Record $66 Million in August – NYT, 9-14-08
  • Republicans fault both campaigns for negative ads – AP, 9-14-08
  • Gibson-Palin: Ratings Hot Despite His Chilly Start – WaPo, 9-13-08
  • Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is defending the nearly $200 million in federal earmarks she has sought as Alaska governor. She also tried to explain why she was for the infamous Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. – AP, 9-12-08
  • Obama, feeling heat from McCain, hits back hard – Miami Herald, 9-12-08
  • In First Big Interview, Palin Says ‘I’m Ready’ for the Job – N”YT, 9-12-08
  • Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,left, and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., share a moment of silence at the reflecting pool during a commemoration ceremony in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Peter Foley, Pool)

  • McCain, Obama put politics aside to mark Sept. 11 – AP, 9-11-08
  • Driver-in-Chief: What Does the Next President of the United States Drive? – Forbes Autos, 9-11-08
  • McCain, Palin Draw Big Crowd in Va. – NYT, 9-10-08
  • Democrats’ advice for Obama: Tie McCain to Bush – AP, 9-10-08
  • JIM DEMINT: Yes, Palin Did Stop That Bridge – WSJ, 9-9-08
  • Final score of the day – Politico
  • Voters Give Voice to Palin’s Appeal – WSJ, 9-9-08
  • McCain camp: Obama’s ‘lipstick’ remark disgraceful – AP, 9-9-08
  • Obama puts heat on Palin as she boosts GOP ticket – AP, 9-9-08
  • McCain, Palin criticize Obama on earmarks – AP, 9-8-08
  • Obama accuses Republican rivals of dishonest – AP, 9-8-08

Campaign Bloopers

Historians’ Comments

  • Steve Haycox on “In Alaska, Sarah Palin hired friends, hit critics hard”: “She is bright and has unfailing political instincts,” said Steve Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska. “She taps very directly into anxieties about the economic future.” “But,” he added, “her governing style raises a lot of hard questions.” – NYT, 9-14-08
  • Gil Troy on “The More Things Stay the Same”: The candidates of 2008 seem to agree about one thing — we need a change. Sen. Barack Obama is campaigning for “Change We Can Believe In,” having defeated John Edwards, who cried “Join the Campaign to Change America,” and Hillary Clinton, who insisted that she was “Ready for Change.” Now, Obama’s rival, Sen. John McCain, has warned “the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.” … – WaPo, 9-14-08
  • Cheryl Heckler on “WHAT DO WOMEN VOTERS WANT? ‘They can and will make the difference in this election,’ one activist says”: “This election may tell us alot about female voters,” said Miami University Professor Cheryl Heckler, who specializes in presidential history. “Up until now we’ve been talking about how the youth have been influencing the vote. It’s very possible that there’s been a silent group of women conservatives who might really come out and have a big influence on the McCain side because of (vice presidential candidate Sarah) Palin.” – Middletown Journal, OH, 9-14-08
  • James Durham on “What if Obama, McCain tie?” – The Wichita Eagle, 9-14-08
  • Carol Gold on “Female voters view Palin with mixed reactions”: The denial of support for Palin from a women’s political caucus shouldn’t be a surprise, according to Carol Gold, a history and women’s studies professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks. The right for women to make personal choices about reproductive health is a cornerstone for many women’s groups.
    “Long-term, this is really very good for women,” Gold commented. “It’s good to see women up there at a national level being taken seriously as candidates, not as women.” Gold was surprised to see some polls reporting that Palin is gathering support among white women in spite of the governor’s anti-abortion position.
    “I’ve always thought, as a historian, that the first woman president would probably be very conservative,” Gold said. A conservative woman would probably get support from some radicals, she said, while a radical candidate would likely not generate support among conservatives. – Fairbanks Daily News Miner, AK, 9-14-08
  • “Buckets of Warm Piss”: A History of Vice Presidential Picks – Tufts Observer, 9-15-08
  • Byron York “Mad about Sarah”: “Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School, wrote that Palin’s “greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman” and denounced “the Republican Party’s cynical calculation that because [Palin] has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies … she speaks for the women of America.”

    Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan, wrote that Palin’s values “more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers” and asked: “What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.” – The Hill, 9-11-08

  • American gladiators Two pumped to prove they’re picture of health – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, 9-9-08
  • Presidential historian Allan Lichtman, author of “The Keys to the White House” and other political books. on “American gladiators Two pumped to prove they’re picture of health”: “Sure, it reflects the superficiality of politics, but it also reflects a reality a modern president has to go through,” says Lichtman, a professor at American University in Washington. “Health and fitness of a candidate is a legitimate issue. The president is under enormous pressures and tensions. “And when you look at the two candidates, the electorate is bound to make (physical) comparisons. Robust health has been a positive image for a president for over a century.”… “Certainly, there are serious questions about McCain’s health, and he’s got to counter them,” Lichtman says. “He’s not as robust as Reagan was back then.” – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, 9-9-08
  • Robert Gilbert on “American gladiators Two pumped to prove they’re picture of health”: Projecting an aura of vigor, even if it has to be manufactured, is essential, according to Robert Gilbert, a historian at Northeastern University in Boston and author of a book on Calvin Coolidge’s depression. “Look at (Ronald) Reagan,” Gilbert says. “When he had his first debate with (Walter) Mondale (in 1984), he stumbled badly. The Wall Street Journal even ran an editorial questioning senility. But Reagan came back strong in the second debate. But I think everyone knows that during his second term he was not operating at peak capacity.”… While Gilbert says it’s more difficult today to keep health issues a secret, it still can be done. “I don’t think everything should be publicized,” he says. “Candidates and presidents have privacy rights like the rest of us.” – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, 9-9-08
  • Robert Huckfeldt on “American gladiators Two pumped to prove they’re picture of health”: Maybe not, but appearance often is reality in the political arena. Which is why it’s smart for McCain’s campaign staff to stress the Arizona senator’s energy level, says University of California-Davis history professor Robert Huckfeldt. “McCain’s people are always talking about how they can’t keep up with him on the campaign trail,” Huckfeldt says. “I don’t think it’s an issue for most voters. Voters think, as long as you can get out on the stump, you’re fine.” – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, 9-9-08
  • Health of candidates called a legitimate issue McCain and Obama are under scrutiny – Sacramento Bee, 9-7-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Face-off ahead on offshore drilling ban It tops Congress’s agenda, now colored by lawmakers’ preelection calculus”: “It’s almost impossible to separate any vote or debate in Congress now from the election,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. “For a legislator to go to Capitol Hill and try to remove the sounds and sights of Denver and Minneapolis is impossible,” adds, referring to the parties’ national conventions in those host cities. “All of the votes are calculated in terms of how they will affect Barack Obama, John McCain, and the congressional races.” – Christian Science Monitor, 9-8-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Campaign Adviser: Palin on Fey “She thought it was quite funny,” the adviser said in an email response to inquiries, “especially because the governor has dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween.”
  • Obama’s Tone Sharpens as Party Frets, Sept. 12, 2008 “Our ads have been pretty tough. I just have different philosophy: I’m going to respond with the truth… I know there are a lot of Democrats and some independents and some Republicans who really want change and are getting really nervous because they have seen this movie before.”
  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) participated in a discussion on tax relief for middle class workers at the McConnell Center in Dover, NH September 11, 2008. Damon Winter/The New York Times

    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) participated in a discussion on tax relief for middle class workers at the McConnell Center in Dover, NH September 11, 2008. Damon Winter/The New York Times

  • ‘The View’ Couch Not So Cozy for McCain, Sept. 12, 2008 “We politicians are never given to exaggeration or hyperbole. But the fact is, she’s a great person, a great governor, she’s the most popular governor in America, she understands energy issues which is a fundamental challenge…”

    “The Democrats have been in charge of both houses for the last two years,” Mr. McCain replied. Pressed, he added: “The Republicans, the Democrat party, even the independents. She’ll reform all of Washington.”

    Mr. McCain went on to say that Ms. Palin was “a reform governor,” had taken on and beat the incumbent governor of her own party, “she sold the plane, she fired the chef.”

    Ms. Walters noted that she sold the plane at a loss.

    “You wanted her to keep it?” Mr. McCain asked.

    “No,” said Ms. Walters, “I wanted her to get her money back.”

    Mr. McCain said that Ms. Palin “freed Alaska for the first time,” saying she “took government out of the hands of the special interests and the oil companies and the old-boy network and gave it back to the people of Alaska” and “that’s what we have to do in Washington.” But what exactly will she do?

    “The same thing,” Mr. McCain replied. “Break the old-boy network, the special interests that control our agenda in Washington.”

    “I’m the same person and I have the same principles, and the same issues whether it be spending, whether it be climate change, whether it be the war on Iraq, whether it be torture of prisoners – no matter what it is… I’m the same guy,”

    “Senator Obama chooses his words very carefully. Ok? He shouldn’t have said it… and this is a tough campaign.”

    “I know that she wants to stay in the Senate, but I will work with Hillary Clinton because I’ve worked with her in the past, we’ve traveled together, Barbara, you know that, we have a working relationship that’s of mutual respect and frankly, appreciation,” he said. As she comes back to the Senate, he said, “she will be one of the most influential and powerful members of the Senate. You got to work together.”

    Ms. Walters asking Mrs. McCain how many houses she owned.

    “You know something, that’s not part of this campaign,” Mrs. McCain replied. “We’re fortunate enough to come from a family, particularly my dad and mom, who worked very hard to give me the best that they could and we are fortunate to be able to live a good life and share and give to other people who are not so fortunate.”

  • ABC’s Palin Interview: She Didn’t Blink When Asked to Run

    Charles Gibson, the interviewer, asked her if she didn’t hesitate and question whether she was experienced enough.

    Donna Svennik/ABC, via Associated Press)

    Gov. Sarah Palin spoke with ABC’s Charles Gibson in Fairbanks, Alaska. (Photo: Donna Svennik/ABC, via Associated Press)

    “I didn’t hesitate, no,” she said.

    He asked if that didn’t that take some hubris.

    “I answered him yes,” Ms. Palin said, “because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can’t blink. So I didn’t blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.”

  • Bill Clinton predicts an easy win for Barack Obama, Sept. 11, 2008

    Clinton was asked about the state of the race. He replied: “I predict that Sen. Obama will win and win handily.”

    The perked up Obama, who said: “There you go. You can take it from the president of the United States. He knows a little something about politics.”

    Clinton, without specifying, said he’s “agreed to do a substantial number of things” on behalf of Obama’s campaign. “Whatever I’m asked to do,” he added.

    Statement: President Clinton and Senator Obama had a great conversation in Harlem today. They discussed the campaign briefly, but mostly talked about how the world has changed since September 11, 2001.

    Sen. Obama praised the work of the Clinton Foundation around the world and President Clinton applauded Sen. Obama’s historic campaign which has inspired millions around the country.

    They also spoke about what the next President can do to help make the economy work for all Americans, as it did under President Clinton, and ensure safety and prosperity far beyond the coming election. President Clinton said he looks forward to campaigning for Senator Obama later this month.

  • Obama Responds to ‘Phony Outrage’, Sept. 9, 2008

    “Enough!” Mr. Obama said, interrupting a speech on education to address the latest controversy in the heated presidential campaign. “I don’t care what they say about me, but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics. Enough is enough.”

  • Biden says McCain reprising 2000 attacks, Sept. 9, 2008

    It’s my greatest disappointment….
    What really disappoints me is the very tactics used against him, they’re trying to use against Barack Obama now. It’s literally saddening. I didn’t expect it, I didn’t expect it. But I guess I should learn to expect everything….
    Swiftboating is not going to work this time, and the reason it’s not is No. 1, I’m going to smack ’em right square in the chops….
    Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States. Let’s get that straight. She is qualified to be president of the United States of America. She is easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America, and quite frankly, might’ve been a better pick than me….
    I actually demanded, I actually, before I would accept the nomination, I insisted that I spend three hours with him. … I wanted to hear from his own lips that he understood and believed that this was such an incredible moment….

  • Obama, Dems sharpen personal attacks on Palin, Sept. 8, 2008

    “There’s no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick.”… “You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still going to stink after eight years.”

  • Barack Obama, Sept. 6, 2008:

    “But, you know, when you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it’s convenient, and then suddenly you’re the champion anti-earmark person, that’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.”

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