September 22, 2008: The Economy, Wall Street Dominate the Campaign

The week that was….

  • September 20, 2008: Presidential candidates raise personal records and jointly spend more than $90 million in August … Still without a bridge, Alaska town gets its ‘road to nowhere,’ thanks to US taxpayers … Obama criticizes McCain on lobbyists, Social Security; McCain says Obama using scare tactics … – AP, 9-21-08
  • September 19, 2008: McCain says Fed shouldn’t bail out failing financial institutions … Obama backs ‘broad authority’ to deal with credit, no details … Investigator: Palin probe to conclude before election … Biden calls for end of ‘cowboy mentality’ on Wall Street … Poll: When it comes to watching football, more would hang with Obama than McCain — by a nose – AP, 9-20-08… Investigator: Palin probe to end before election, but without witnesses who refused to testify … McCain, aides defend idea of private Social Security accounts amid Wall Street turmoil … New CD featuring songs from Kanye West, John Mayer and others to benefit Obama campaign … – AP, 9-20-08
  • September 18, 2008: Palin’s husband joins witnesses stonewalling probe of charges GOP VP nominee abused power … First Clinton, now Palin out of NYC rally; organizers say no American politicians coming … Barack Obama on the ballot in Brazil; Is the Democrat keeping his options open after November? … AP, 9-19-08…. Amid financial turmoil, McCain says he would fire SEC chairman … Obama mocks McCain’s call for fire SEC chairman, says vote out Republicans in November … Biden calls McCain’s economic answers ‘the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere’ … Palin: Biden will bring experience, sound bites to vice presidential debate … Michelle Obama says don’t vote because ‘she’s cute’… – AP, 9-18-08
  • September 17, 2008: Opposed to taxpayer bailouts, McCain says govt. ‘forced’ to propose $85 billion plan for AIG … Obama pitches voters on economy in national ad that cites a campaign of ‘petty’ distractions … Top Clinton fundraiser and member of Democratic platform committee backing McCain over Obama … McCain operatives flock to Alaska, head off embarrassing disclosures about Palin – AP, 9-18-08
  • September 16, 2008: Obama raises about $9 million in Hollywood with Barbra Streisand’s help … Economic crisis suddenly dominates presidential campaign, leaving pigs, lipstick behind … Sarah Palin to speak to Katie Couric of CBS News. – AP, 9-17-08… Economic crisis suddenly dominates presidential campaign, leaving pigs, lipstick behind … McCain adviser says GOP ticket doesn’t have the business experience to run a major company … McCain campaign keeps Palin far from prying eyes and reporters’ questions … Women’s rights groups back Obama … Obama taps Barbra Streisand to sing at big-money fundraiser in Beverly Hills – AP, 9-16-08
  • September 15, 2008: McCain calls for a commission to study economic crisis; Biden says GOP policies are to blame … McCain campaign releases Palin administration e-mails in seeking to quell ‘Troopergate’ … Obama taps Barbra Streisand to sing at big-money fundraiser in Beverly Hills … No gaps in political ads; outside groups add their voices to presidential contest – AP, 9-16-08 Obama, McCain blame policies, greed for Wall Street troubles … McCain acknowledges Obama didn’t really call Palin a pig, defends campaign ad anyway … Obama says McCain offers nothing new on the economy from President Bush … Biden: Ex-reformer McCain practicing ‘Karl Rove’ politics … Palin lays out her role in McCain administration, says government too often is the problem – AP, 9-15-08

The Stats

  • McCain, Obama in tight race as debates loom – CNN, 9-21-08
  • Poll shows McCain, Obama in dead heat in key states – Kansas City Star, 9-21-08
  • September 21, 2008: Poll: McCain’s slight edge in Florida may hinge on economy The poll, taken Sept. 14-17, when Wall Street turmoil dominated world and national news, gives McCain a narrow lead over Obama — 47 percent to 45 — with 7 percent undecided. The poll’s margin of error was 3.5 percentage points. – Miami Herald, 9-21-08
  • September 19, 2008: Poll: People prefer Obama over McCain as teacher People picked the Democrat over Republican John McCain to catch a game with by 50 percent to 47 percent, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Friday. Asked which they’d choose to be their child’s teacher, Obama was the choice by a more decisive 55 percent to 44 percent, including a markedly stronger performance by the Illinois senator among whites. –
  • September 19, 2008: Whites — who have favored Republican John McCain throughout the campaign season — say they would rather watch football with him than Democrat Barack Obama, 55 percent to 43 percent, according to a recent AP-Yahoo News poll.
  • September 18, 2008: Polls Show Obama Leads McCain on Message of ‘Change’ – PBS Newshour, 9-18-08
  • September 18, 2008: A Gallup Inc. daily tracking poll taken Sept. 15-17, put Obama ahead of McCain among registered voters nationally, 48 percent to 44 percent. – Bloomberg, 9-18-08

In the News…

Campaign Bloopers

  • Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. . . . “We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Biden said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America…. It’s time to be patriotic . . . time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.” – Sept. 18, 2008
  • McCain BlackBerry Easily Connects With Gore Internet – WaPo, 9-17-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Frank Stricker on “Race and the union vote”: Frank Stricker, a history professor at California State University and a union expert, says race is a key to what alienates segments of the labor movement, especially in Ohio and west of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Stricker says that other than people not voting for a black candidate, a couple of factors — such as Obama’s cultural style and pro-choice stand — do not sit well with culturally conservative union members. – Town Hall, 9-21-08
  • Larry Sabato on “Race and the union vote”: University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato is blunter: “There’s no question that race is at the heart of Obama’s problem with blue-collar white union members. You’d have to be pretty naive to think otherwise.” Sabato explains that, normally, today’s severe economic dislocation would send union members flocking to the Democrats’ nominee. “Well, they are not flocking. McCain is their kind of guy. His biography and maverick nature are appealing.”
    “Approximately a quarter of all American households say there is a union member in the home,” Sabato explains. “They are much more Democratic than average, but in GOP landslide years like 1972 and 1984, a majority has voted Republican.” Sabato says that a third or more union members consistently vote Republican for president, despite their union leaders’ recommendations. – Town Hall, 9-21-08
  • Joseph Crespino on “Emory Faculty Share Election Views”: Associate Professor of History Joseph Crespino said the state of the economy, the War in Iraq and America’s role in the world are important issues the candidates should address. “There’s been so little discussion of issues as of late. I think the economy is the big issue and hopefully the candidates will get back to that more in the closing weeks of the campaign.”
    Crespino said although he thinks McCain is an American hero and an honorable man, it will still be a challenge for him to distance himself from the Bush administration. He also said that it was surprising McCain was able to secure the Republican nomination, considering he had a long history of being alienated from the religious base of his party. In terms of the Democratic nomination, Crespino said Obama has been a remarkable candidate. “Just the fact that he could win the nomination from Hillary Clinton is just a remarkable achievement given all the Clintons have meant to the Democratic Party for the past 15 years,” he said.
    Crespino said Palin has given McCain a huge boost and has re-energized his supporters. “Palin has totally thrown this race for a loop”, Crespino said. “Clearly she’s energized supporters, but how many new supporters she’s brought, I think, is still unclear.” Crespino said Biden was a very smart choice as Obama’s running mate because they make a compelling twosome that balances the other’s weaknesses. Given Palin’s impact, Crespino said, the vice presidential debate is going to arguably be even more closely watched than the main candidates’ debates.
    Crespino, on the other hand, is less sure. “I am just a very fascinated observer and as I’m telling all my friends, it’s hard to get a lot of work done because I’m always watching election coverage and keeping up,” he said. – Emory Wheel, 9-18-08
  • Harvey Klehr on “Emory Faculty Share Election Views”: Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History Harvey Klehr said a big issue is national security and foreign policy and deciding “who is the candidate best able to protect the United States’ national interests and deal with the threats we face both from terrorism and hostile regimes abroad.” With these issues in mind, Klehr said Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin make a great ticket, especially because of McCain’s national security experience. “I think both he and Palin are reformers who have demonstrated their willingness to take on their own political party and I think they will have the ability to help navigate the country during the next four years,” he said. – Emory Wheel, 9-18-08
  • Patrick Allitt on “Emory Faculty Share Election Views”: Goodrich C. White Professor of History Patrick Allitt said there has been a lot of fanatical enthusiasm for Obama during the primaries, when his main job was to make himself look as different as possible from his predecessors. “A lot of people I know completely lost their minds over Obama and they acted as though he was at least the equal of the second coming of Jesus,” he said. “But now, of course, he’s got to appeal to at least 51 percent of the electorate, so he’s trying to make himself look as unremarkable as possible.” Allitt said Obama is now trying to depict himself as an ordinary politician. “So for people who are Democratic enthusiasts, it must be bitterly disappointing to hear him saying all these deeply monotonous and conventional things,” he said. Allitt said the choice of Palin was interesting because it suggests that the Republican party “felt as though they had to do something fairly drastic if they were going to stand a chance in the election.”
    Allitt said he is not an American citizen and is watching the election with more detachment than most people he knows. He said he finds the media’s constant election coverage “almost unendurable.” “I virtually never watch or listen to the news because all that you get is election talk — it’s not news, because nothing is happening, nothing’s happened for months,” he said.
    Allitt said the rest of the world would prefer Obama to win because they regard him as much more sympathetic to the interests of the global community and diplomatic commitments. He said there is a lot of resentment toward President Bush’s “high-handedness” and “the damage he’s done to [America’s] international credibility, which has been made worse by things like Guantánamo and prisoner abuse.” “So I do think the outgoing Bush administration has got a dreadful reputation abroad and that therefore, symbolically, it would probably be a good thing for the Democrats to win to restore American prestige and credibility,” Allitt said. Allitt predicted Obama will win because there is an equilibrium cycle in American politics, and that over a long-term period, what tends to happen is that one party dominates until the pendulum swings back and the other party gets its turn. – Emory Wheel, 9-18-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • McCain Says New York’s Cuomo Possible Replacement for SEC’s Cox – Bloomberg, 9-21-08
  • McCain says Fed should stop government bailouts, Sept. 20, 2008

    “A strong dollar will reduce energy and food prices. It will stimulate sustainable economic growth and get this economy moving again.”

  • Obama Pushes Domestic Agenda to Boost Economy, Sept. 20, 2008
  • McCain Offers New Choice: ‘Country First or Obama First’

    “People like Senator Obama have been too busy gaming the system and haven’t ever done a thing to actually challenge the system. Thats not country first, that’s Obama first.”

  • Obama at Bethune-Cookman University, September 19, 2008

    “There’s only one candidate who’s called himself ‘fundamentally a deregulator’ when deregulation is part of the problem…. So let me get this straight. He wants to run health care like they’ve been running Wall Street. Well, Senator, I know some folks on Main Street who aren’t going to think that’s a good idea…. Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

  • McCain on Obama and the Economy, Sept. 18, 2008:

    McCain now says the economy is in crisis. But he says Senator Obama and the Democratic-led Congress are partly responsible. “My opponent sees an economic crisis as a political opportunity instead of a time to lead. Senator Obama isn’t change. He is part of the problem in Washington,” McCain said.

  • Bill Clinton: ‘Mistake to Underestimate’ Palin “She is an instinctively effective candidate with a compelling story. And I think it was exciting to some that she was a woman, that she is from Alaska…. I think that you know, I disagree with them on many issues and that’s why aside from my party affiliation I would be for (Barack) Obama and (Joe) Biden anyway. But I get why she has done so well. It would be a mistake to underestimate her. She has got — her intuitive skills are significant.”
  • McCain Says He Would Fire SEC’s Cox If President, Sept. 18, 2008: “The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president, and in my view has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were president today, I would fire him.”
  • Obama mocks McCain’s call to fire SEC chairman, Sept. 18, 2008

    “I think that’s all fine and good but here’s what I think. In the next 47 days you can fire the whole trickle- down, on-your-own, look-the-other way crowd in Washington who has led us down this disastrous path. Don’t just get rid of one guy. Get rid of this administration,” he said. “Get rid of this philosophy. Get rid of the do-nothing approach to our economic problem and put somebody in there who’s going to fight for you…. This comment was so out of touch that even George Bush’s White House couldn’t agree with it when they were asked about it. They had to distance themselves from John McCain…. Everywhere you look, the economic news is troubling. But here’s the thing for so many of you here in northern New Mexico and for so many Americans — this isn’t really news at all. Because you’ve been going through hardships for a lot longer than Wall Street has. Here’s what I also know. This is not a time for fear, it’s not a time for panic. This is a time for resolve and it is a time for leadership.”

  • Obama picks up about $9 million in Hollywood, Sept. 16, 2008:

    “I’m skinny but I’m tough. I’m from Chicago and we don’t play. Just keep steady…. If we can cut through the nonsense and the lipstick and the pigs and the silliness, then I’m absolutely convinced that we are going to win… The reason I’m calm … is I’ve got confidence in the American people. I really think they want to see us do better. It’s about those who will never see the inside of a building like this…. It’s reminded people that this is not a game. This is not a reality show, no offense to any of you. This is not a sitcom.”

  • McCain said at a rally Tuesday in Vienna, Ohio, Sept. 16, 2008 “He talks about siding with the people — siding with the people — just before he flew off to Hollywood for a fundraiser with Barbra Streisand and his celebrity friends.”
  • Hillary Clinton to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, aboard the “Good Morning America” Whistle-Stop Express, Sept. 16, 2008 “A lot of people are missing the boat here.” Palin has generated a great deal of interest, Clinton acknowledged, but added, “That’s not a good enough reason to vote for that ticket. There’s a lot of talk in the country about who are you for in this election, but that’s not the right question. The right question is, who is for you.” Clinton suggested that the McCain-Palin team doesn’t understand “the struggles you face.” “So I don’t think it’s inconsistent for a lot of people to say well hey, that’s exciting, what an exciting pick, and still say, but that’s not the ticket for me and my family,” she said.
  • Palin touches familiar territory in first stops, Sept. 14, 2008

    “I reminded people there that government is not always the answer, in fact, too often government is the problem. So, we’ve got back to basics.”

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