September 6, 2010: Larry Sabato Predicts Republican Congress in November; Obama Officially Ends Combat in Iraq

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

The President in the Rose Garden
The President and his economic team in the Rose Garden, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 9/3/10

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Blacks, Young Voters Not Poised for High Turnout on Nov. 2 Republicans — and conservative Republicans in particular — are already tuned in to midterms: Minority and young voters made a significant mark on the 2008 presidential election with their high turnout; today, however, these groups appear to have reverted to previous levels of interest in voting in the context of midterm elections. Most notably, in contrast to 2008, when whites and blacks were about equally likely to say they were giving “quite a lot of” or “some” thought to the presidential election, whites are much more likely than blacks to be thinking about the 2010 elections: 42% vs. 25%, a gap exceeding those from recent midterm elections…. – Gallop.com, 9-3-10Center for Politics
  • Analysis: Democrats face grim election prospects: An unrelenting sour mood among voters has steadily eroded support for President Barack Obama’s Democrats, putting the party’s grip on Congress at growing risk two months before the November 2 election. Worries about the economy and plummeting confidence in Obama have Democrats on the defensive in dozens of once-safe races, sparking new predictions of a 1994-style sweep that would restore Republicans to power in the House of Representatives and even the Senate.
    “A big wave for Republicans is almost guaranteed in November barring some cataclysmic event,” said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, who on Thursday increased his projected Republican gains in the House to 47 seats — enough to win a majority. “The political climate for Democrats has deteriorated badly over the summer,” Sabato said. “The rotten economy and President Obama’s failure to turn it around is killing Democrats.”
    Obama and Democrats got little help on Friday from the latest jobless report, which showed the unemployment rate inching up to 9.6 percent after employment fell for the third consecutive month…. – Reuters, 9-3-10
  • GOP will take over House, political guru Sabato predicts: The Democrats are likely to lose 47 seats and control of the House of Representatives in November’s elections, a top political analyst says in a new forecast Thursday. Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, also says that the Democrats are likely to lose eight or nine seats in the Senate, eight governors’ offices and 300 to 500 seats in state legislatures.
    “The numbers are eye-catching. Republicans are dramatically gaining in all categories,” Sabato said in an interview. “It’s generated by a rotten economy and a strong conservative reaction against President Obama.”
    The analysis marks the first time this year that Sabato and the University’s Center for Politics have predicted a Republican takeover of the House. Sabato is one of the most consistently accurate election prognosticators. His final pre-election analysis in 2006 got the exact number of Democratic gains in the House and Senate and was off by only one in governors’ races. In 2008, he missed the final Electoral College count by only one, and missed the final House tally by only five seats.
    “2010 was always going to be a Republican year, in the midterm tradition. It has simply been a matter of degree,” Sabato said in a written analysis released Thursday. “Had Democratic hopes on economic revitalization materialized, it is easy to see how the party could have used its superior financial resources, combined with the tendency of Republicans in some districts and states to nominate ideological fringe candidates, to keep losses to the low 30s in the House and a handful in the Senate.”
    With Labor Day looming, Sabato wrote, it’s now clear that the summer didn’t turn out as Democrats wanted. “Conditions have deteriorated badly for Democrats over the summer. The economy appears rotten, with little chance of a substantial comeback by November 2nd. “Unemployment is very high, income growth sluggish and public confidence quite low. The Democrats’ self-proclaimed ‘Recovery Summer’ has become a term of derision, and to most voters – fair or not – it seems that President Obama has over-promised and under-delivered.”
    Across the board, Sabato forecasts larger Democratic losses than he projected in the spring, when he and his Center for Politics predicted that the Democrats could lose 32 House seats. That would be a large setback, but Republicans must gain 39 seats to take control of the House. Democrats now control the House by 255-178, with two vacancies, one previously held by each major party. A switch of 47 seats would put the Republicans in charge by at least 226-209, assuming the two vacant seats remain in the same partisan control. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is in line to be the new speaker of the House. His party would chair all House committees, and would gain subpoena power to force the Obama administration to answer questions.
    At least one other nonpartisan analyst also is now predicting a Republican takeover of the House. University of Buffalo political scientist James Campbell forecasts that the Democrats will lose 51 or 52 seats. Sabato’s new forecast also envisions larger losses in the Senate: eight or nine, up from the seven seats he previously predicted. Republicans must gain 10 Senate seats to take control there, however…. –
    McClachy Newspapers, 9-2-10
  • James E. Campbell: UB professor predicts House will go to Republicans: A University at Buffalo political scientist with a sterling record of prognosticating presidential elections is predicting that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will turn over her gavel to the GOP come January. The presiding Democrats stand to lose about 51 seats in November, says James E. Campbell, professor of political science at UB. His prediction stems from a crystal ball filled with scientific equations based on polling and current events, all pointing to a stunning reversal of fortune for Democrats, who took over the House in 2006.
    “After two election setbacks, they are poised for a comeback,” Campbell says of Republicans. “Partisanship, ideology, the midterm decline from the prior presidential surge, the partisanship of districts being defended, and even President Obama’s approval ratings have set the stage for significant seat gains by Republicans in the House.”
    In a paper he will deliver this week to the American Political Science Association meeting in Washington, Campbell analyzes a variety of political elements that he plugs into his final equation….
    “In June 2010, 42 percent of respondents told Gallup that they were conservatives, while 20 percent claimed to be liberals, and 35 percent said they were moderates,” he said. “The nearly even division in partisanship and the conservative tilt in ideology suggest that the current equilibrium in the electorate is far more Republican than the status quo in the House.” “Polls, primary turnouts, the emergence of the tea party movement, and Republican victories in 2009 [including Scott Brown’s 2010 Senate win in Massachusetts] are unmistakable stirrings of a revitalized right,” he concluded.
    “Although President Obama is not unpopular at this point [his approval ratings stand in the mid- 40s], neither does he have the strong approval ratings that would provide much help to his party in staving off significant midterm losses,” Campbell said. “There is still an outside chance the Democrats could hold on,” he said Saturday…. –
    Buffalo News, 9-2-10
  • Shock Prediction: GOP to Take House, Maybe Senate in 2010 Election UVA’s Larry Sabato also sees Republicans gaining eight governorships in his crystal ball: Typically cautious Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, is rocking the political world with a new “Crystal Ball” prediction: The GOP will win the House, making Ohio’s John Boehner speaker, might get a 50-50 split in the Senate, and will pick up some eight new governors.
    “2010 was always going to be a Republican year, in the midterm tradition,” Sabato said in his latest prediction, issued Thursday. “But conditions have deteriorated badly for Democrats over the summer. The economy appears rotten, with little chance of a substantial comeback by November 2nd. Unemployment is very high, income growth sluggish, and public confidence quite low. The Democrats’ self-proclaimed ‘Recovery Summer’ has become a term of derision, and to most voters—fair or not—it seems that President Obama has over-promised and under-delivered.”
    Sabato on House elections: “Given what we can see at this moment, Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net. This is a ‘net’ number since the GOP will probably lose several of its own congressional districts in Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana. This estimate, which may be raised or lowered by Election Day, is based on a careful district-by-district analysis, plus electoral modeling based on trends in President Obama’s Gallup job approval rating and the Democratic-versus-Republican congressional generic ballot. If anything, we have been conservative in estimating the probable GOP House gains, if the election were being held today.”
    Sabato on the Senate: “In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of +7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control (+10), but are more likely to end up with +8 (or maybe +9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react). GOP leaders themselves did not believe such a result was truly possible just a few months ago. If the Republican wave on November 2 is as large as some polls are suggesting it may be, then the surprise on election night could be a full GOP takeover. Since World War II, the House of Representatives has flipped parties on six occasions (1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006). Every time, the Senate flipped too, even when it had not been predicted to do so. These few examples do not create an iron law of politics, but they do suggest an electoral tendency.”
    US News, 9-2-10

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama meets with the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jor

President Obama with leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan & Egypt, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 9/1/10

  • Obama to hold press conference next Friday: President Barack Obama will hold a press conference on Friday, September 10, the White House said on Thursday…. – Reuters, 9-3-10
  • Obama: New jobs numbers ‘positive’ but not enough: President Barack Obama welcomed news Friday of better-than-expected private sector job growth. But with the unemployment rate ticking upward nevertheless, he said he’d roll out new plans next week to spur the economy. Obama spoke after the Labor Department reported that private employers added 67,000 new jobs last month, and both July and June’s private-sector job figures were revised upward. Those numbers were better than first thought and pushed stock prices up.
    Standing with his economic team in the Rose Garden, Obama said the jobs report was “positive news, and it reflects the steps we’ve already taken to break the back of this recession. But it’s not nearly good enough.” “That’s why we need to take further steps to create jobs and keep the economy growing including extending tax cuts for the middle class and investing in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest,” the president said…. – AP, 9-3-10
  • Obama Declares an End to Combat Mission in Iraq: President Obama declared an end on Tuesday to the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq, saying that the United States has met its responsibility to that country and that it is now time to turn to pressing problems at home.
    In a prime-time address from the Oval Office, Mr. Obama balanced praise for the troops who fought and died in Iraq with his conviction that getting into the conflict had been a mistake in the first place. But he also used the moment to emphasize that he sees his primary job as addressing the weak economy and other domestic issues — and to make clear that he intends to begin disengaging from the war in Afghanistan next summer.
    “We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home,” Mr. Obama said. “Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it’s time to turn the page.”… – NYT, 9-1-10
  • Obama’s Oval Office Address: In Oval Office address last night, Obama said the country was turning the page on Iraq… But it’s still something we’ll have to return to — when violence continues and when judging whether the war was worth the sacrifice… Surprisingly, Obama used a good part of the speech to discuss the economy… He also talked about Afghanistan, his opposition to the war, and George W. Bush… What he didn’t say: whether the surge worked… Today, Obama turns the page from Iraq to Middle East peace, meeting individually with the heads of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Egypt… The president makes statement to reporters at 5:20 pm ET… Murkowski concedes, becoming the seventh incumbent to lose a primary for re-election this cycle… Three takeaways on Pawlenty’s executive order… Profiling AZ-8… And Boxer and Fiorina debate…. – MSNBC, 9-1-10
  • Biden marks transfer of U.S. command in Iraq: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates helped usher in the next chapter for the United States in Iraq on Wednesday, presiding over a ceremony launching a new military operation designed to train, assist and advise the Iraqis.
    Biden said Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, but promised that “American engagement with Iraq will continue” with the new stability mission.
    “This change of mission, to state the obvious, would never have been possible without the resolve and tremendous sacrifice and competence of our military — the finest, if our Iraqi friends will forgive us, the finest fighting force in the world, and I would argue the finest fighting force that ever has existed,” Biden said. ….
    On Tuesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Americans about the transition in a televised speech.
    “The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people,” Obama said from the Oval Office. “We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people — a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization.”
    Obama said he was “awed” by the sacrifices of service members and their families and that the U.S. has met its responsibility.
    “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country,” Obama said. “We have removed nearly 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq. We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq.”… – CNN, 9-1-10
  • Why Wall St. Is Deserting Obama: Daniel S. Loeb, the hedge fund manager, was one of Barack Obama’s biggest backers in the 2008 presidential campaign. A registered Democrat, Mr. Loeb has given and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democrats. Less than a year ago, he was considered to be among the Wall Street elite still close enough to the White House to be invited to a speech in Lower Manhattan, where President Obama outlined the need for a financial regulatory overhaul. So it came as quite a surprise on Friday, when Mr. Loeb sent a letter to his investors that sounded as if he were preparing to join Glenn Beck in Washington over the weekend.
    “As every student of American history knows, this country’s core founding principles included nonpunitive taxation, constitutionally guaranteed protections against persecution of the minority and an inexorable right of self- determination,” he wrote. “Washington has taken actions over the past months, like the Goldman suit that seem designed to fracture the populace by pulling capital and power from the hands of some and putting it in the hands of others.”… – NYT, 8-31-10
  • Blair: Bush world view had ‘immense simplicity’: Former U.S. President George W. Bush was a “true idealist” who displayed “genuine integrity and political courage,” former British prime minister Tony Blair reveals in his memoirs. Detailing the close professional and personal relationship which developed between the two leaders in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S. and during the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003, Blair writes that Bush was “very smart” while having “immense simplicity in how he saw the world.” “Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership… he sincerely believed in spreading freedom and democracy,” he writes in “A Journey;” which hit book stores in the UK on Wednesday.
    But Blair, whose premiership overlapped the presidencies of Bush and Bill Clinton, reserves his warmest words for Bush’s Democratic predecessor, describing him as a “political soulmate” and “the most formidable politician I had ever encountered.” He also defends Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair. CNN, 9-1-10
  • Pawlenty Rejects “Obamacare” Funding for Minnesota: Attacking President Obama’s health care reforms from all angles, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty today issued an executive order directing state agencies to turn down any discretionary funding from the legislation. The health care reform package signed into law earlier this year “represents a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country’s health care system,” the potential Republican presidential candidate wrote in the executive order…. – CBS News, 9-1-10
  • NYC mayor disapproves of probe of mosque financing: New York’s mayor says an investigation by the state attorney general into the finances of a proposed Islamic center and mosque near ground zero would set “a terrible precedent.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there’s no reason for the government to investigate donations to religious organizations. Congressman Peter King disagrees. The ranking minority leader of the Homeland Security Committee says “a number” of terrorist plots have “emanated from mosques.” He cites the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center as an example… – AP, 8-31-10
  • Glenn Beck rally attendance: calculating how many really showed up: Glenn Beck rally attendance has become hotly contested following Saturday’s event in Washington. But from Woodstock to the Million Man March, figuring out the number of people who show up at big events has never been easy. CS Monitor, 8-30-08
  • For New Orleans, Katrina anniversary is both solemn and festive: Dancing, singing, mourning, and crying mixed throughout New Orleans this weekend as the city showcased the progress made since Katrina and honored those who died…. – CS Monitor, 8-30-10
  • Biden in Iraq to mark end of U.S. combat mission The vice president will press Iraqi leaders to form a new government and reassure them that the U.S. is not abandoning the country, officials say. LAT, 8-30-10
  • Obama Dismisses Faith Rumors: President Obama said on Sunday that he was not worried that increasing and significant numbers of Americans believe he is Muslim.
    Mr. Obama attributed the spread of the rumors about his religion and birthplace to “a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly.” “We dealt with it when we were first running for the presidency,” he said. ‘There were those who said I couldn’t win as U.S. senator because I had a funny name and people would be too unfamiliar with it. “And yet we ended up winning that Senate seat in Illinois because I trusted the American people’s capacity to get beyond all this nonsense and focus on, ‘Is this somebody who cares about me and cares about my family and has a vision for the future?'” Mr. Obama said. “And so, I will always put my money on the American people. And I’m not going to be worrying too much about whatever rumors are floating on out there.”… – NYT, 8-29-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Boxer, Fiorina debate: California economy is center stage: Sen. Barbara Boxer and GOP challenger Carly Fiorina faced off Wednesday night, drawing sharp distinctions between them. The Boxer, Fiorna debate was gaffe-free but too scripted, analysts say…. – CS Monitor, 9-2-10
  • Democratic party braced for midterm beating: Barack Obama’s party likely to lose heavily in November elections, polls suggest The Democratic party is staring at heavy losses in Congress and at the state level in the November midterm elections, according to several public opinion polls. The latest weekly survey from Gallup gives the Republicans a 10-point advantage – 51% to 41% – among registered voters. The lead is the Republican party’s largest so far this year and its widest margin in 68 years. The national poll, released this week, also found Republicans twice as likely to say they are “very” excited about voting in November, amid widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, where the unemployment rate is near double digits…. – Guardian UK, 9-1-10
  • Murkowski was ‘capable, energetic’ for Alaska: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s stunning defeat in the Alaska primary ends a 30-year family legacy of holding that seat, an era that spanned a majority of Alaska’s statehood. Joe Miller, a self-styled constitutional conservative backed by the Tea Party Express and former Gov. Sarah Palin, upset Murkowski in a close primary race. Miller had a more than 1,600-vote lead with outstanding ballots yet to count, but Murkowski conceded Tuesday night. There are multiple theories on what led to Murkowski’s demise — from her not taking Miller seriously or being aggressive enough, to Palin’s endorsement of Miller, to an abortion ballot measure that drew conservative voters to the polls…. – AP, 9-1-10
  • Palin returns to Iowa for GOP’s biggest fundraiser: Potential 2012 presidential candidate Sarah Palin will headline the Iowa Republican Party’s biggest annual fundraiser, party officials announced Tuesday in the state that launches the presidential nominating process. The Sept. 17 speech at the annual Reagan Dinner in Des Moines will be the first Iowa appearance by the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate since a brief book-signing stop last December. “I know Iowa Republicans will be energized and motivated by Governor Palin to stand up and fight for these principles all the way to Election Day and beyond,” said Matt Strawn, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party…. – AP, 8-31-10
  • 1980 revisited: Are upstart Republicans ready to be US senators?: Will Senate candidate Joe Miller be part of a 2010 Republican takeover in D.C. this fall? While we’re waiting for absentee and questioned primary ballots to be counted in Alaska, Carl Hulse of The New York Times wonders whether the November midterm election will bring results resembling that of 1980, when Republicans riding Ronald Reagan’s coattails — including Frank Murkowski, father of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski — surprised Democrats by taking over the U.S. Senate…. – Anchorage Daily News, 8-31-10
  • Murkowski narrows gap in US Senate seat in Alaska: Sen. Lisa Murkowski gained ground Tuesday on Republican challenger Joe Miller in their razor-thin GOP primary as Alaska began counting thousands of outstanding ballots. Murkowski trailed Miller by 1,294 votes in early counting Tuesday. She was down by 1,668 votes after the Aug. 24 primary. The contest has turned bitter in recent days with Miller accusing Murkowski of trying to steal the election by tampering with the vote. Murkowski shot back by saying Miller is paranoid and dealing in trumped-up, misleading rhetoric…. – AP, 8-31-10
  • Strategist: “Enthusiasm Gap” Between GOP, Dems: Says Republicans Have Midterm Advantage With Dems Facing “Toxic” Combination of Tea Party Activists, Economy, Afghanistan. The success in several primary races of far-right candidates backed by Tea Party activists, and the energetic crowd assembled in Washington last Saturday for Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, indicate an “enthusiasm gap” that portends trouble for Democrats in November, according to a Republic strategist. Appearing on CBS’ “The Early Show” this morning, Dan Bartlett said, “The Tea Party and whoever else assembles with the Tea Party, like they did this weekend, is demonstrating that Republicans in this election cycle coming up in November have that advantage. “In midterm elections, that is a crucial difference.”…. – CBS News, 8-30-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President speaks to the Nation from the Oval Office
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 8/31/10
  • Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the End of Combat Operations in Iraq Oval Office:
    At every turn, America’s men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve. As Commander-in-Chief, I am incredibly proud of their service. And like all Americans, I’m awed by their sacrifice, and by the sacrifices of their families.
    The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future. They shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people, trained Iraqi Security Forces, and took out terrorist leaders. Because of our troops and civilians — and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people — Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain.
    So tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. Having drawn down 100,000 troops since taking office, a much smaller force will stay to train and assist the Iraqi forces during the transition period. All U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year….
    Americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who attacked us on 9/11. Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what’s at stake. As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. In fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen al Qaeda leaders — and hundreds of al Qaeda’s extremist allies — have been killed or captured around the world….
    Unfortunately, over the last decade, we’ve not done what’s necessary to shore up the foundations of our own prosperity. We spent a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle-class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.
    And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. They have met every test that they faced. Now, it’s our turn. Now, it’s our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for — the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.
    Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.
    Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and we will do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. This is a sacred trust. That’s why we’ve already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We’re treating the signature wounds of today’s wars — post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury — while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. And we’re funding a Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II — including my grandfather — become the backbone of our middle class, so today’s servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American economy. Because part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it…. – WH, 8-31-10
  • Obama formally ends Iraq combat mission President says nation’s top priority now is repairing economy: President Barack Obama made it official Tuesday: Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the nation’s No. 1 priority is fixing the economy. “The end of our combat mission in Iraq” comes at “a time of great uncertainty for many Americans,” Obama said in a nationally televised address from the Oval Office of the White House.
    “But this milestone should serve as a reminder to all Americans that the future is ours to shape if we move forward with confidence and commitment,” he added. “It should also serve as a message to the world that the United States of America intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership in this young century.”
    And it opens up another opportunity “to rebuild our nation here at home,” the president said, declaring that “now, it is time to turn the page.”… – MSNBC, 8-31-10Read the full text of the speech
  • Meghan McCain’s ‘Conflicting Feelings’ About Sarah Palin: Meghan McCain, who has tended to keep any strong feelings she may have about Sarah Palin to herself, opened up a bit on “Good Morning America” today while promoting her new book, “Dirty Sexy Politics.” McCain’s opinion on the former Alaska governor is of greater interest than most, since some Republicans blame Palin’s vice-presidential bid for derailing her father’s presidential campaign. “I do clearly state at the end that we did not lose because of her,” McCain said, referring to her book. When pressed by host George Stephanopoulos, McCain admitted to “conflicting feelings” about Palin and went on to discuss the way Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was mishandled by the campaign…. – WSJ, 8-31-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Time for Obama to put cards on table: If current polls are a guide, the midterm elections probably won’t be good for President Obama and his party. The Democrats are in danger of losing control of the House of Representatives and of seeing their majority in the Senate diminish.
    With Obama’s approval rating sagging to 45 percent according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll, even his most ardent supporters admit that he will need a stimulus act for his presidency before 2012 comes around.
    One of Obama’s biggest challenges has been his reticence about defining a clear agenda and a set of governing principles. Doing so has been at odds with his legislative strategy, which has hinged on avoiding big proclamations to give himself wiggle room with Congress….
    But Obama must also do a better job at telling voters what he is about. While the president has a large legislative record to boast of, it remains unclear to many voters, including Democrats who support much of the record, what it all adds up to.
    It’s time for Obama to state his agenda and lay out a set of governing principles that will guide him in his next two years as president. It’s likely that the pressure of the 2010 midterm elections will compel Obama to present an argument to the public to build a case for his presidency. – CNN, 8-30-10
  • KATHRYN OLMSTED: Why Americans love conspiracies: According to recent polls, large numbers of Americans are convinced of two things that are verifiably not true: that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, and that Muslims are building a mosque at ground zero. A great many are also convinced that Obama was not even born in America. The tendency of most pundits and public officials is to dismiss these stories as the easily ignored theories of the lunatic fringe. But the “ground zero mosque” and “Obama-is-a-Muslim” stories have traction in the media for two reasons.
    First, they’re highly effective because they tap into deep, historic American anxieties about “un-American” agents within the republic — perhaps even within the White House. Second, these stories have some powerful sponsors in the media and in politics, sponsors who insinuate their paranoid theories into the mainstream debate to promote their own political goals. Americans have a special relationship to conspiracy theories involving insidious foreigners. Immigrants to America have brought a wider mix of religions and ethnicities and political histories than to any other New World country, and Americans have worried that their country is especially open —and vulnerable — to alien subversion. The historian Richard Hofstadter argued that there was a “paranoid style” in U.S. politics, prompted in part by Americans’ need to define themselves by casting out the un-Americans — or anyone who was not white, native-born and Protestant.
    Over the past two hundred years, frightened Americans have targeted Roman Catholics, Masons, Mormons, and Jews because these native groups were allegedly guided by the instructions of an alien power. Now, it’s the Muslims’ turn…. – Politico, 8-27-10
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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.”

June 9, 2008: Hillary Concedes, Obama Cliches Democratic Nomination

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH

The week that was….

June 3, 2008: The Presidential campaign primaries end, Barack Obama reaches the number necessary to capture the Democratic Nomination. However, Hillary Clinton, chooses not to concede on the same night.

June 4, 2008: Hillary Clinton’s campaign announces she will suspend her candidacy, and will have a rally on Saturday June 7, 2008 to concede and endorse Obama’s nomination

June 4-5, 2008: Hilary Clinton’s key supporters call for a “dream ticket” with Clinton as the Vice Presidential candidate. Obama will not commit.

June 6, 2008: Clinton and Obama have what should have been a secret meeting to discuss the terms of Clinton’s endorsement.

June 7, 2008: Hillary Clintons throws her total support behind Obama’s candidacy and urges her supporters to do the same.

The Stats

NYT — Primary Season Election Results

Democrats Delegate Count (AP) :

Barak Obama: Pledged: 1,765 — Superdelegates: 425 — Total: 2,190

Hilary Clinton: Pledged: 1,640 — Superdelegates: 274 — Total: 1,914

Historians Comments

  • Professor James Taylor, who teaches politics and African American history at the University of San Francisco on “Obama faces tough task healing rift with women”:
    “Winning over the women is a real challenge. This will be a sad day when Hillary Clinton steps down for a lot of people, because … a whole generation of women thought it would be possible in their lifetime to see a woman administer the American state.” Many feminists believe Clinton was the focus of unforgivable sexism during the race – such as charges that she was “shrill” and an excessive focus on her clothing and emotions – and they are inclined to blame Obama, he said. “Women will have to forgive,” he said. “They will have to ask themselves: Are they even angrier now than when George Bush was elected in 2004? “Even though Barack isn’t responsible … for the sexism Hillary has experienced, many people supporting him have done it,” he said. So “it’s a soul-searching moment for Americans in general.” –

    San Francisco Chronicle, 6-6-08

  • Professor James Taylor on “Obama: Triumphant end to long primary season”:
    “This is perhaps the second greatest moment in African American history – symbolically right up there with the abolition of slavery,” said Professor James Taylor, who teaches politics and African American history at the University of San Francisco. “It will have tremendous effect across the world … overnight, the world will exhale and say, ‘My God, America has done something different, unprecedented.’ ” – San Francisco Chronicle, 6-4-08
  • Simon Sheppard, Boston University: Hillary, Continued A poli-sci prof talks about what comes next Interview – BU Today, 6-5-08
  • Larry Sabato, University of Virginia political professor on “What Went Wrong for Hillary”: “They thought they were going to knock Obama and everybody else out of the box with the first few primaries and caucuses, and they were just dead wrong.” – Voice of America, 6-6-08
  • Bruce Miroff, a professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany on “What Went Wrong for Hillary”:
    The seeds of defeat for the Clinton campaign may have been planted as early as 2002, when Senator Clinton voted in favor of waging war in Iraq. Although she later renounced support for the war, that vote may have put Clinton at a disadvantage against Obama, who opposed the war from the start. “Because Hillary Clinton voted for the resolution in 2002 authorizing President Bush to use military force in Iraq, there was always the likelihood that there would be a significant anti-war challenger to her in the Democratic primaries, and that a lot of the activist base of the party would rally behind such a challenger. So the premise that Hillary was a kind of inevitable nominee was always questionable,” he said. Voice of America, 6-6-08
  • Patricia Turner, professor of African-American studies at the University of California, Davis on “Young voters: Obama’s race as an asset, non-issue”:“Obama’s race is just one factor that makes him more accessible to younger voters. She recalls a conversation at a recent university dinner where her table included a few Asian-American students and a white woman in her 30s who was married to a man of mixed race. Asked what struck them about Obama, they listed everything from his age and rearing by a single mother to the fact that he is biracial. “There’s something about the sophisticated and complex ethnic identity that resonates with younger voters as well,” says Turner, who is black. “Younger people are able to say ‘we’ — and that ‘we’ includes Barack Obama.” For Turner, the progress made is notable and moving. At age 52, she has vivid memories of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. So Obama’s candidacy is a reminder of how far the nation has come. “There have been times in the Obama campaign when I think, ‘I wish Dad could’ve seen that’ or ‘I wish my mother were here’ to just see him holding his own,” Turner says of her parents, who are no longer living. “They would have been proud.” – AP, 6-6-08
  • Bruce Schulman, a political historian at Boston University on “Clinton vows to work hard to get Obama elected”: “She can certainly run an I-told-you-so campaign four years from now, and she might have a strong chance to win the nomination then.” – San Francisco Chronicle, 6-8-08
  • Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University on “Clinton vows to work hard to get Obama elected”: Unlike Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, Clinton has lost a primary, not the general election, and so is not perceived “as the one who lost it for the party,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “So I think that actually helps her in terms of her future. The party’s not going to blame her if things go wrong in November.” – San Francisco Chronicle, 6-8-08
  • Who Said Senators Can’t Be President? Never Before Have Two Sitting Senators Run Head To Head As Major Party Nominees – CBS News, 6-5-08

The Candidates Comments:

Barack Obama, Final Primary Night, June 3, 2008:

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said – because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another – a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

…All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren’t the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn’t do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say – let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America….

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

John McCain, Remarks in light of Obama’s Presumptive Nominee Status, June 3, 2008:

…Tonight, we can say with confidence the primary season is over, and the general election campaign has begun. I commend both Senators Obama and Clinton for the long, hard race they have run. Senator Obama has impressed many Americans with his eloquence and his spirited campaign. Senator Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received. As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend. Pundits and party elders have declared that Senator Obama will be my opponent. He will be a formidable o ne. But I’m ready for the challenge, and determined to run this race in a way that does credit to our campaign and to the proud, decent and patriotic people I ask to lead.

The decision facing Americans in this election couldn’t be more important to the future security and prosperity of American families. This is, indeed, a change election. No matter who wins this election, the direction of this country is going to change dramatically. But, the choice is between the right change and the wrong change; between going forward and going backward.…

The wrong change looks not to the future but to the past for solutions that have failed us before and will surely fail us again. I have a few years on my opponent, so I am surprised that a young man has bought in to so many failed ideas. Like others before him, he seems to think government is the answer to every problem; that government should take our resources and make our decisions for us. That type of change doesn’t trust Americans to know what is right or what is in their own best interests. It’s the attitude of politicians who are sure of themselves but have little faith in the wisdom, decency and common sense of free people. That attitude created the unresponsive bureaucracies of big government in the first place. And that’s not change we can believe in….

I have seen Republicans and Democrats achieve great things together. When the stakes were high and it mattered most, I’ve seen them work together in common purpose, as we did in the weeks after September 11th. This kind of cooperation has made all the difference at crucial turns in our history. It has given us hope in difficult times. It has moved America forward. And that, my friends, is the kind of change we need right now.

Hillary Clinton, Remarks in Washington, DC, June 7, 2008:

“…It is this belief, this optimism, that Senator Obama and I share, and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard.

So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can….

…As we gather here today in this historic magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.

Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time. That has always been the history of progress in America.

Think of the suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women could cast their votes. Think of the abolitionists who struggled and died to see the end of slavery. Think of the civil rights heroes and foot-soldiers who marched, protested and risked their lives to bring about the end to segregation and Jim Crow.

Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote. Because of them, my daughter grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could go to school together. Because of them, Barack Obama and I could wage a hard fought campaign for the Democratic nomination. Because of them, and because of you, children today will grow up taking for granted that an African American or a woman can yes, become President of the United States.

When that day arrives and a woman takes the oath of office as our President, we will all stand taller, proud of the values of our nation, proud that every little girl can dream and that her dreams can come true in America. And all of you will know that because of your passion and hard work you helped pave the way for that day.

So I want to say to my supporters, when you hear people saying – or think to yourself – “if only” or “what if,” I say, “please don’t go there.” Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.

Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next President and I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort….”

Barack Obama, Reactions to Hillary Clinton’s Endorsement:

“Obviously, I am thrilled and honored to have Senator Clinton’s support. But more than that, I honor her today for the valiant and historic campaign she has run. She shattered barriers on behalf of my daughters and women everywhere, who now know that there are no limits to their dreams. And she inspired millions with her strength, courage and unyielding commitment to the cause of working Americans. Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I’m a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her in this campaign. No one knows better than Senator Clinton how desperately America and the American people need change, and I know she will continue to be in the forefront of that battle this fall and for years to come.”

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