December 1, 2008: The Obama Transition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, First Ladies, and the Bush Legacy.


Damon Winter/The New York Times

Barack Obama’s national security team is to include, from left, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gen. James L. Jones, a retired Marine commandant.


  • A timeline of the Obama campaign – Newsday
  • Get to know the Obamas: Bios of Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha – Newsday

The Headlines…

    President-Elect Barack Obama Transition office:

  • Consensus emerging on universal healthcare The prospect of bold government action appears to be accepted among key players across the ideological and political spectrum, including those who staunchly opposed the idea in the 1990s. – LA Times, 12-1-08
  • Hillary Clinton’s test at State: How she’ll work with Obama – USA Today, 11-30-08
  • Jonah Goldberg: The Obama School Scandal? National Review Online: Public Schools Are Unacceptable To Pretty Much Anyone, Liberal Or Conservative – NRO, CBS News, 11-30-08
  • Obama turns to friends, foes for White House posts – AP, 11-30-08
  • Obama’s small-donor ‘myth’ The campaign’s base was dominated by those who gave less than $200, the political standard for small donors. But a new study asks, are you still a small donor if you do that five times? – La Times, 11-30-08
  • Officials: Obama set to introduce Clinton Monday: A deal with Bill Clinton over his post-White House work helped clear the way for Hillary Rodham Clinton to join President-elect Barack Obama’s national security team as secretary of state, reshaping a once-bitter rivalry into a high-profile strategic and diplomatic union. Obama was to be joined by the New York senator at a Chicago news conference Monday, Democratic officials said, where he also planned to announce that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would remain in his job for a year or more and that retired Marine General James L. Jones would serve as national security adviser. – AP, 11-30-08
  • Obama’s strong-willed national security team: With Clinton as secretary of State, retired Marine Gen. James Jones Jr. as national security advisor and Gates remaining in Defense, Obama will have a choice among often starkly differing views. – LA Times, 11-30-08
  • Liberals Angry Over Obama Keeping Gates as Pentagon Chief President-elect Obama’s expected selection of Robert Gates as his defense secretary and retired Gen. Jim Jones as his national security adviser is raising eyebrows among liberals. – Fox News, 11-29-08
  • Bill Clinton agrees to release donor’s names – Reuters, 11-30-08
  • Inauguration turning into D.C. windfall Frenzy to find accommodations sparks complaints of price-gouging – Houston Chronicle, NYT, 11-29-08
  • Bush Offers Support To India After Attacks Terror Ends With At Least 195 Dead; Tensions High Between India And Pakistan – CBS News, 11-29-08
  • Obama’s Supporters Spoke With Wallets – The Tampa Tribune, 11-30-08
  • on the Bush legacy: The most damaging president since Herbert Hoover – National Post, 11-29-08
  • Bush legacy remains to be written – National Post, 11-21-08
  • Remembered Unkindly Some say Bush will displace Buchanan as worst president – National Post, 11-21-08
  • Meet Obama’s financial SWAT team Three star advisers have formidable reputations and loads of experience. Now all they have to do is get the derailed U.S. economic engine back on trackAll three star nominees: Timothy Geithner, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as the new treasury secretary, and prominent academic economists Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer as top advisers – looked decidedly glum as they were introduced by a beaming Mr. Obama. – Globe & Mail, 11-29-08
  • National Security Pick: From a Marine to a Mediator: James L. Jones, a retired four-star general, was among a mostly Republican crowd watching a presidential debate in October when Barack Obama casually mentioned that he got a lot of his advice on foreign policy from General Jones. – – NYT, 11-29-08
  • Obama to Name Defense Secretary on Monday President-elect Barack Obama is expected to announce Monday who will be his secretary of defense. – Fox News, 11-28-08
  • Barack Obama set to roll out national security team; Hillary could be first: President-elect Barack Obama plans to roll out his national security team next week and could officially name Hillary Clinton secretary of state as early as Monday, Democratic sources said. – Ny Daily News, 11-28-08
  • Hillary Clinton as diplomat Obama’s bold choice for his secretary of State shows the two can be partners on the world stage. – LAT, 11-28-08
  • Obama Picks May Leave Big Holes As Elected Officials Migrate, Democratic Seats Are Vulnerable – WaPo, 11-28-08
  • Malia Obama Calls Dibs on Lincoln’s Desk Obama Talks to Barbara Walters About Homework, History and Happy Family – ABC News, 11-26-08
  • Obama’s Speechwriter Moves to the White House: In his latest round of White House staff announcements, Mr. Obama said Wednesday that he was naming Jon Favreau as his director of speechwriting. Mr. Favreau, 27, has had a hand in practically every speech that the president-elect has delivered over the last four years, following Mr. Obama from his Senate office to the presidential campaign. – NYT, 11-26-08
  • Bush twins show Obama girls fun White House tricks – AP, 11-26-08
  • McCain Plans to Run Again (for the Senate) – NYT, 11-25-08
  • Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware will be replaced in the United States Senate by his longtime aide, Edward Kaufman, when Mr. Biden resigns the seat to become vice president. – NYT, 11-24-08

President-elect Barack Obama, flanked by National Economic Council ...


Mon Nov 24, 1:16 PM ET

Political Quotes

  • First Lady Laura Bush describes post-White House plans: I’ll miss being with the military, too, and that’s one of the things about Camp David that we liked so much, and that’s going to church at Camp David with the people who are posted there. I’ll miss all the people that are around us all the time. From the ushers and the butlers who are there for every president and have been there four or five administrations, to our own staff, of course, that we love to laugh with and talk with and solve problems with. And so I’ll miss the people the most….
    She also said her husband “is going to build a freedom institute with his presidential library and museum at SMU [Southern Methodist University] in Dallas, and that’ll be a really good vehicle, I think, for me to continue to work with, especially, women and children in Afghanistan.”…
    “The main point I wanted to say to her is that this is — the White House is a home, and it can be a very happy home for her and for her children and her husband, and it certainly has been for us.” – CNN, 11-30-08

Mrs. Laura Bush is framed by equipment on the set of "Meet the Press" as she joins NBC host Tom Brokaw for the Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008, edition of the weekly TV show at the NBC studios in Washington, D.C. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Mrs. Laura Bush is framed by equipment on the set of “Meet the Press” as she joins NBC host Tom Brokaw for the Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008, edition of the weekly TV show at the NBC studios in Washington, D.C. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

  • President Bush Weighs In on His Legacy: “I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn’t going to sacrifice those values; that I was a President that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them. I surrounded myself with good people. I carefully considered the advice of smart, capable people and made tough decisions.”…
    But he said he wanted to be known “as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace; that focused on individuals rather than process; that rallied people to serve their neighbor; that led an effort to help relieve HIV/AIDS and malaria on places like the continent of Africa; that helped elderly people get prescription drugs and Medicare as a part of the basic package; that came to Washington, D.C., with a set of political statements and worked as hard as I possibly could to do what I told the American people I would do.”…. “I’ve been in the Bible every day since I’ve been the President, and I have been affected by people’s prayers a lot. I have found that faith is comforting, faith is strengthening, faith has been important…. “And the greatness of America — it really is — is that you can worship or not worship and be equally American. And it doesn’t matter how you choose to worship; you’re equally American. And it’s very important for any President to jealously protect, guard, and strengthen that freedom.” – NYT, 11-28-08
  • Barack Obama: Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect: In a preview of his weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama addressed the nation on the occasion of Thanksgiving, nearly one hundred and fifty years after President Lincoln called for the last Thursday in November to be set aside to acknowledge our blessings. You Tube, 11-26-08
  • Swing voters give Obama flexibility to solve US economic crisis: Even President-elect Barack Obama’s least enthusiastic supporters seem willing to cut him slack in solving the nation’s problems.That is one conclusion of a focus group conducted Nov. 22 by pollster Peter Hart among Virginia voters who might not have been expected to vote for Obama. Eight of the 12 voted for George Bush in 2004, nine considered backing John McCain. The focus group session, conducted for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, will air Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on C-SPAN. – Christian Science Monitor, 11-28-08
  • President-elect Obama announces two more leaders of economic team: At a press conference in Chicago today, President-elect Barack Obama announced additional members of his economic team — nominating Peter Orszag as Director and Rob Nabors as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. – You Tube, 11-25-08
  • President-elect Obama announces economic team: At a press conference in Chicago today, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their economic team, naming Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council. – You Tube, 11-24-08
  • A Barbara Walters Special: Barack and Michelle Obama Watch the Full Special With Barbara Walters and the President-Elect on – ABC News, 11-27-08 Video: Barack and Michelle Obama on ‘Barbara Walters Special’ – Ace Showbiz, 11-27-08
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman: Obama ‘about perfect’ in Cabinet picks: “Everything that President-elect Obama has done since election night has been just about perfect, both in terms of a tone and also in terms of the strength of the names that have either been announced or are being discussed to fill his administration….
    I will ask them to judge me by my record. Generally speaking, I’ve had a record, a voting record, which is really ultimately what it’s about, not unlike most Democrats….
    It appears to me that the war in Iraq is coming to a successful — I don’t want to say conclusion yet, but it’s moving in a way that it will not be a divisive issue either in the Democratic Party or between Democrats and Republicans in the time ahead. And therefore, I think we’ll return to more normal times, which I welcome. – AP, 11-26-08
  • Obama reassures nervous nation on ailing economy: “Help is on the way…There is no doubt that during tough economic times family budgets are going to be pinched. I think it is important for the American people, though, to have confidence that we’ve gone through recessions before, we’ve gone through difficult times before, that my administration intends to get this economy back on track….
    “People should understand that help is on the way. And as they think about this Thanksgiving shopping weekend, and as they think about the Christmas season that is coming up, I hope that everybody understands that we are going to be able to get through these difficult times, We’re just going to have to make some good choices….
    The American people would be troubled if I selected a treasury secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council at one of the most critical economic times in our history who had no experience in government whatsoever. What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking. But understand where the vision for change comes from. First and foremost, it comes from me. That’s my job.
    What I don’t want to do is to somehow suggest that because you served in the last Democratic administration, that you’re somehow barred from serving again. Because we need people who are going to be able to hit the ground running – AP, 11-26-08
  • Obama and the Budget: “This isn’t about big government or small government; it’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works.”…. Mr. Obama gave an example of the kind of cuts he intends to make (look out, subsidized farmers, here may come the ax): “There’s a report today that from 2003 to 2006, millionaire farmers received $49 million in crop subsidies even though they were earning more than the $2.5 million cutoff for such subsidies,” he said. “If this is true, it is a prime example of the kind of waste I intend to end as President.” “We had a decisive win. I don’t think that there’s any question that we have a mandate to move the country in a new direction and not continue the same old practices that have gotten us into the fix we’re in.”… “Friendship doesn’t come into this. That’s part of the old way of doing business.” He says he wants to undertake projects that will “give the American economy the most bang for the buck.”… – NYT, 11-25-08
  • Obama urges Congress to pass costly stimulus bill: “If we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.”…. “The economy is likely to get worse before it gets better. Full recovery will not happen immediately. I know we can work our way out of this crisis because we have done it before.” – AP, 11-24-08
President-elect Barack Obama, with his wife, Michelle, left, and daughters Sasha and Malia, handed out food for Thanksgiving during a visit yesterday to Chicago's St. Columbanus Parish.
President-elect Barack Obama, with his wife, Michelle, left, and daughters Sasha and Malia, handed out food for Thanksgiving during a visit yesterday to Chicago’s St. Columbanus Parish. (Jim Watson/ AFP/ Getty Images

Historians’ Comments

  • George Herring: “Will Obama and Clinton work as a team? They’ve had differences, but Obama is expected to name her as secretary of State.”: “I do think the differences between them on some of these foreign-policy issues were magnified by the heat of campaign rhetoric,” says George Herring, a historian and professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky. “I don’t buy into the whole idea that Obama is, more than anything else, viewing Clinton as a rival.”…. “Nixon and Kissinger had a close but very weird relationship, suspicious of each other and each demeaning the other when he wasn’t around. But they respected each other’s views and capabilities, and they worked together,” he says. – Christian Science Monitor, 11-30-08
  • Paul C. Light: “For Obama, a chance to push big changes”: “Everything that he talked about during the campaign that can be seen as stimulus is going to be in that package,” predicted Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University’s graduate school of public service. “It will be one of the heaviest pieces of legislation passed by Congress in the last 20 years, and I mean heavy in terms of actual weight and page numbers.” – Boston Globe, 11-30-08
  • Paul Light “Liberals to keep pressure on Obama for results”: “I think he’s moving center-left, rather than left-center. It’s fair to call him pragmatic,” said Paul Light, a public policy professor and presidential historian at New York University. “I think labor is going to get a lot from him. I think his liberal supporters are going to get a lot from him. But they’re going to be disappointed if they want all liberal all the time.” – AP, 11-30-08
  • Carl Anthony “FIRST LADIES Very Little in Common But That ‘O'”: “There seems to be this moving train that simply insists that Mrs. Obama is the new Mrs. Kennedy,” says Carl Anthony, historian for the National First Ladies’ Library, who has been fielding calls from reporters eager to connect the dots. But Anthony thinks they’re worlds apart. – Newsweek, 11-30-08
  • Michael Beschloss: “Historian: Obama’s message also liability lower expectations”: Hope is the greatest asset and greatest liability for Barack Obama, said Michael Beschloss, author and scholar on presidential history. “He knows how damaging it could be to a new president (for voters) to expect a Superman, especially at a time when the problems are so great that everyone is looking for miracles,” Mr. Beschloss said…. “many people had doubts about, I would say, down to the evening of Nov. 3,” he said, adding some predicted a last-minute swelling of racial prejudice to bare itself at the polls. “That did not happen.” “If al-Qaida is saying that America has been captured by a white reactionary clique … Barack Obama does not look that way, and I think they’re going to have a much harder time recruiting,” Mr. Beschloss said. – The Times Tribune, 11-14-08
  • Betty Caroli: “Defining the job has challenged first ladies”: Many a first lady has said, in retrospect, that she had no idea how hard being first lady would be. Even the current one, Laura Bush, according to author and first lady historian Betty Caroli. Of all the first ladies, she should have known what was in store: Her mother-in-law, Barbara, was first lady from 1989-1993. “So no matter I suppose how well prepared … she’s probably going to be surprised by the enormity of the publicity, the focus, the demands and so forth,” Caroli said of Michelle Obama. – AP, 11-28-08
  • Robert P. Watson: “Defining the job has challenged first ladies”: Still, the job description is ill-defined, said Robert P. Watson, who has written two books about first ladies and directs the American studies program at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. “The first lady has to find her own way and match that with her husband’s interests,” Watson said. – AP, 11-28-08
  • Gerald Gawalt: “Scenes from Obamas’ love story Their affection stands out among presidential pairs”: Historians say Ronald and Nancy Reagan were perhaps the most adoring first couple. Like the Obamas, they appeared to genuinely enjoy being together. They often exchanged love notes and cards, including one in which the president declared his wife “my valentine forever.” “They seemed to be one of these couples that were head over heels in love with each other, even as they got older,” said Gerald Gawalt, a Library of Congress historian. – Chicago Tribune, 11-30-08
  • Michael Beschloss “Barack and Michelle: A more perfect union? First Couple-to-be could be relationship role models for nation, experts say”: In general, the relationship between the American president and his wife has always been an important one, and does have an impact on the public, said NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “We know that a person’s partner [choice] is one of the biggest clues to what that person is all about,” he said. Beschloss said that in the past, how a political figure interacted with his or her spouse didn’t matter as much, and as with the Kennedys, the media often looked the other way when it came to philandering. “Presidents are so intensely covered, we know so much about their personal lives that it’s inevitable that the public is going to know a lot about, and make judgments on, what happens between political wives and husbands,” he said. “John and Jackie Kennedy almost never held hands or showed affection in public — nowadays, people would think something was wrong.” – MSNBC, 11-29-08
  • Gil Troy “Barack and Michelle: A more perfect union? First Couple-to-be could be relationship role models for nation, experts say”: The Obamas have the best of both worlds, said Gil Troy, professor of history at McGill University and author of “Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons.” “The Obama marriage is a modern partnership between equals; they are a working couple just like the Clintons,” he said. “But, unlike the Clintons — and more like the Bushes — the Obamas appear to be a solid couple, devoted to each other, with no fidelity questions hovering overhead.” – MSNBC, 11-29-08
  • Liza Mundy “Barack and Michelle: A more perfect union? First Couple-to-be could be relationship role models for nation, experts say”: “Their friends have observed that they have a very positive relationship,” said Liza Mundy, author of “Michelle: A Biography.” “One of Barack’s friends pointed out how effusive he is in his praise of Michelle — he knows how much his career has demanded of her, and he’s very appreciative of that.” – – MSNBC, 11-29-08
  • Stephen J. Wayne “Obama has a hand on the helm weeks before taking oath of office”: – “It’s a consequence of the state of the economy and the invisibility of President Bush,” said Georgetown University’s presidential historian, Stephen J. Wayne. “I don’t think Obama expected it.” Kasas City Star, 11-29-08
  • David Bercuson “Bush legacy remains to be written:” “Kennedy’s got a great legacy. But what did he ever do? He got killed before he did anything,” suggests David Bercuson, a University of Calgary historian. After Kennedy dragged his heels on civil rights, it was Lyndon Johnson who finally advanced the cause. But “all poor old Johnson gets credit for is the Vietnam War,” which Kennedy set in motion, Prof. Bercuson argues….
    “He [Bush] will wear this recession, rightly or wrongly, the same way [Herbert] Hoover wore the Depression and the great crash,” says Prof. Bercuson. National Post, 11-29-08
  • Bush legacy remains to be written – Mr. Bush’s legacy in the academy is not off to a propitious start: Princeton University’s Sean Wilentz, one of the country’s leading historians, speculated a couple years ago that Mr. Bush could be the “worst president in all of American history.” In an unscientific poll earlier this year of 109 historians by the History News Network, 98.2% rated the Bush presidency a failure; 61% called it the worst ever. National Post, 11-29-08
  • Allen C. Guelzo: The Bush legacy: The five best things he ever did The war in Iraq, ‘Axis of Evil’ speech, Faith-based initiatives, Blunting the metastasis of abortion, Balancing the bench – National Post, 11-21-08
  • Robert S. McElvaine “The Bush legacy: The five worst things he did”: Fight against terror, ‘Pre-emptive war’, Economic policies, Trashed the constitution, ‘Gulf coast war’ – – National Post, 11-21-08

Barack and Michelle Obama on ‘Barbara Walters Special’: Full Interview Video

Text and Video Source: Ace Showbiz

The recently-elected U.S. president, Barack Obama and his wife talk to Barbara Walters about serious political issues to their life as a family.

President-elect Barack Obama sat down with Barbara Walters for a one-on-one interview and joined by his wife Michelle afterwards, on “Barbara Walters Special”. The show garnered a high rating for ABC that broadcast it, absorbing 11.7 million viewers at 10 P.M. ET/PT on Wednesday, November 26.

Walters started out with a strong question, asking Obama, “As you prepare to lead the country, what is your biggest fear?”. Obama admits that one or two things keep him up awake at nights, especially the economical state of the nation that has become weakened each day. He said that in the next 60 days he will assemble the best team to anticipate the issue so that the chart won’t go further down.

Michelle Obama then enters in the middle of the session, dishing out more on how she will take the role as the first lady and more personal issues such as their plan for Thanksgiving as well as what the family has done in preparation to move to the White House on January 20. The full interview can be watched below.

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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