Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quick Hits

  • Did anybody catch the live interview of Katherine Harris on 'Hardball" this evening? She was consistently wacky - as always - answering questions from Norah O'Donnell like it was one long TV ad. She seemed very distant and scripted (well, she is a politician...), even calling Bill Nelson "our President-Senator". Don't know what that was all about.

  • The highly anticipated transcript from former Dem VA Governor Mark Warner's bizarre interview this afternoon with the virtual world site "Second Life" has been posted. The setting was incredibly odd (The virtual Gov. Warner flew onto the "stage" where the "interview" was conducted.), but the interview with the Dem contender in '08 was rather dull.

  • CA Sen. Barbara Boxer announced today that she will present an amendment to a defense bill in the Senate that calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "I think it's time that the Senate hold this administration accountable for the people in their administration." Is a Democratic backbone emerging in Congress?!?

  • Charlie Crist and Katherine Harris have solidified their leads heading into Tuesday's Republican primaries in Florida. The results from the new Survey USA poll:
  • FL Governor:
    57% - Crist
    34% - Gallagher
    1% - Other
    8% - Undecided
  • FL Senate
    12% - Collins
    45% - Harris
    22% - McBride
    5% - Monroe
    1% - Other
    15% - Undecided

Updated 2008 Rankings From The Hotline

National Journal's The Hotline has released their newly updated White House 2008 rankings. TH's top 5 on both sides is a bit strange - especially placing Mark Warner 3rd for the Dems. And why is Rudy Giuliani only 3rd for the Republicans? PB was very skeptical of Rudy's potential in the '08 race at first, but he has built up some momentum in the last month, topping a recent poll of GOP contenders. Mitt Romney cannot be ahead of Rudy at this point. Needless to say, PB has some issues with this ranking. Watch out very soon for our own look at the '08 contenders.

Here are the rankings from The Hotline. (More info - including analysis - for subscribers. This is just a listing of the top 5 from each party.)


  1. John McCain
  2. Mitt Romney
  3. Rudy Giuliani
  4. Mike Huckabee
  5. George Allen


  1. Hillary Clinton
  2. John Edwards
  3. Mark Warner
  4. Evan Bayh
  5. Barack Obama (!!??)


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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

2008 Update: George Allen

Things just continue to get worse for VA Sen. George Allen as he campaigns for both reelection to the Senate and a probable GOP run in 2008 for president. Allen's small burst of popularity came and went in February, and has rapidly disappeared as Allen struggles with many problems. His infamous 'macaca" statement (we all know about that..right?) was only the beginning, with newly intensified scrutiny bringing up previous controversies over Allen's many displays of the Confederate flag while in high school, college, and later.

Allen's recent sordid past is now being dredged up again, with a story in The Nation showing that Allen has forged very close ties to influential white-supremacist groups in Virginia, and also another controversy involving the Confederate flag.

From the article:

Only a decade ago, as governor of Virginia, Allen personally initiated an association with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups.

In 1996, when Governor Allen entered the Washington Hilton Hotel to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movement organizations, he strode to a booth at the entrance of the exhibition hall festooned with two large Confederate flags--a booth operated by the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), at the time a co-sponsor of CPAC. After speaking with CCC founder and former White Citizens Council organizer Gordon Lee Baum and two of his cohorts, Allen suggested that they pose for a photograph with then-National Rifle Association spokesman and actor Charlton Heston. The photo appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC's newsletter, the Citizens Informer.

According to Baum, Allen had not naively stumbled into a chance meeting with unfamiliar people. He knew exactly who and what the CCC was about and, from Baum's point of view, was engaged in a straightforward political transaction. "It helped us as much as it helped him," Baum told me. "We got our bona fides." And so did Allen.

Allen's campaign is denying the entire thing:

Asked whether Allen supports or deplores the CCC, John Reid, his communications director pleaded ignorance. "I am unaware of the group you mention or their agenda and because we have no record of the Senator having involvement with them I cannot offer you any opinion on them," Reid told me in an e-mail response.

Allen's growing difficulties have now spread to his Senate reelection campaign. A new poll has Allen trailing Jim Webb, his Democratic opponent, by 1.3 points: Webb 47.9 - Allen 46.6. That's obviously not a big gap - well within the margin of error. However, with Allen's lead once at nearly 20 points, a dead heat is bad news for the Sen.

His 2008 bid is treading water as well, with these latest controversies not helping his cause at all. The GOP needs to have a likeable candidate that is seen as somewhat moderate on most issues, and that's not George Allen. A poll of GOP contenders in '08 released on the 18th from Polling Report shows that Allen hasn't experienced a big drop yet, but that could be because he's only at 5% to begin with. Also, this poll was conducted before the "macaca" statement really blew up (although that may help Allen with certain GOPers).

The numbers:

Rudy Giuliani
Condoleezza Rice

John McCain
Newt Gingrich
George Allen
Mitt Romney
Bill Frist
Sam Brownback
Other (vol.)
None (vol.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

"The McCain Makeover"

The Washington Post has a very good article from Sunday on John McCain's amazing turnaround in regards to his relationship to George W Bush.

IT'S FEBRUARY 15, 2000, a pivotal moment in the race for the Republican nomination for president, and at the televised candidates' debate in Columbia, S.C., temperatures are rising.

John McCain, fresh off an upset victory in the New Hampshire primary, has run into a buzz saw of negative advertising about his record and rumor-mongering about his personal life, and he blames his main opponent, George W. Bush.

"You should be ashamed," a tight-lipped McCain scolds Bush...

Six years later, Bush is president and McCain is preparing for another run for the White House. He's in Michigan on a Friday afternoon at the start of a long weekend of raising money for local Republican candidates and laying the groundwork for 2008. And everywhere he goes, he's got only good things to say about George W. Bush.

He praises Bush's steadfastness on the war in Iraq and says he's especially proud of Bush's support for the Senate's immigration bill. "I think the president has shown a lot of courage on this issue," he tells a crowd of activists at Kent County GOP headquarters in Grand Rapids, many of whom seem a lot less certain on the matter.

JMac has certainly mellowed his previous animosity towards Bush. McCain has definitely turned into a Bush cheerleader (pun intended) on many issues - most notably Iraq and even social issues (case in point: his appearance with Jerry Falwell.). But JMac has recently blasted the Bush Administration on the Iraq war. He complained that the BA said Iraq would be "a day at the beach". Yep - JMac's still a recovering maverick.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

GOP RI Senate: Chafee/Laffey Debate

The Democrats aren't the only party with vicious internal dissension. A tight race that has been virtually ignored in Rhode Island is pitting right-wing conservative Stephen Laffey against moderate GOP incumbent Lincoln Chafee. The Providence Journal offers a good rundown of what went on at that feisty meeting. Chafee is quickly turning into the GOP's Lieberman. Maybe if they both win, they'll end up switching parties and the status quo will return in the Senate. Maybe...

GOP using "racial scare tactics"?

Republicans, in an apparent desperate push to retain control of the House, are steer moderate voters away from voting for Democrats in November by "...Raising the specter of a Judiciary Committee headed by Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, a banking committee steered by Barney Frank of Massachusetts, a tax-writing committee led by Charles B. Rangel of New York..." Of course, Conyers and Rangel are black, while Frank is gay. The GOP is obviously very scared of their horrid numbers in Congressional polls (Dems 50%, GOP 39%).

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hillary backs Ned Lamont

Hillary Clinton gave Senate candidate Ned Lamont a big boost today, meeting with him, his wife, and his campaign manager Tom Swan in the living room of her Chappaqua, N.Y., home for a seemingly exuberant meeting. Hillary gave Lamont fundraising tips and pledged to campaign for Lamont against Ind. (aka GOP) Joe Lieberman.

Lamont's campaign was ecstatic: "It was very productive," Swan said. "We welcome Senator Clinton's offers of assistance and are confident that we will find ways to work with her and her team to get Ned Lamont elected to the Senate in November."

Lieberman's campaign was biting in its remarks on Ned's visit with Hillary, comparing Hillary's pro-war vote with Joe's views: "So, we'll be curious to see whether Ned Lamont attacks Hillary Clinton's record the way he has distorted Joe Lieberman's," Gerstein said. "We suspect he won't, which just goes to show that so much of what he is doing is political opportunism and not principle."

This may be a boost for Lamont in the moderate Dem department, but a sour note for his anti-war base. However, advantage Lamont after this. Hillary's fundraising machine can only help him.

FL Governor campaign update:

  • Jim Davis has struck back at Rod Smith with his first real "attack ad" on Friday. This is after Smith has been berating Davis over TV for several days with ads that are generally not true. The ad from Davis isn't exactly hate-filled or very provocative, parroting Smith's infamous "helicopter" ads and trashing Smith on strictly Florida issues like phone rates and Everglades protection. No doubt nasty ads will pop up all over the place as Sep. 5 nears.

  • Before the Davis ad came out, Rod Smith supporters launched their own ad campaign to bash Davis. Fliers accusing Davis of possessing a "record of shame" concerning racial issues were passed out to African-American Democratic voters this week. The flier specifically mentioned a 1990 case in which then-State Rep. Davis voted against giving compensation to two black men who were falsely imprisoned.

Rod Smith immediately backed away from the controversial ad:

"While I believe the content of the piece to be accurate and that U.S. Rep. Davis made a terrible vote on the Pitts and Lee compensation bill, any implication that U.S. Rep. Davis' overall record on racial matters is one of 'shame' went too far," Smith said in a statement released by his campaign.

  • In a new poll, the GOP favorite in the race, Charlie Crist, now has only a 10 point lead over right-wing conservative Tom Gallagher. Crist now leads 39% to Gallagher's 29%. Gallagher, who was being pressured to drop out of the race only weeks ago, is being aided by burgeoning support from anti-abortion religious conservatives who find themselves troubled by Crist's pro-choice platform. Crist has even put out a new Gallagher attack ad. This race will be close right to the end, despite Crist's early domination. Right-wing GOPers and religious conservatives will, in the end, head for the "religiously converted" Tom Gallagher.

A Democratic majority in the House?

That's what political analyst Stuart Rothenberg is predicting. He sees a gain of 15 to 20 seats for the Dems in November - which would give them a House majority.

"To hold the House, Republicans must retain at least a handful of districts that now appear likely to go Democratic, probably by discrediting Democratic challengers and open seat hopefuls. Unlike previous cycles, when the burden was on Democrats to create upsets, the onus is now on the GOP to save at least a handful of seats before Election Day. Therefore, we are raising our estimate of likely Democratic gains from 8-12 seats to 15-20 seats, which would translate to between 218 and 223 seats – and a majority – in the next House."

Monday, August 21, 2006

New 2008 presidential polls

Pew Research has released data from two polls focusing on the 2008 presidential race, covering both Republicans and Democrats. The polling for Democrats shows Hillary Clinton - at 28% - with a wide lead over any other potential candidate in the race, with Al Gore second at 13%. John Edwards is the closest Dem contender that will actually run, coming in at 11%. Unless support builds around a Ned Lamont/anti-war Dem, Hillary has the nomination wrapped up.

The numbers:

Hillary Rodham Clinton 29%
Al Gore 13%
John Edwards 11%
John Kerry 9%
Joe Biden 6%
Bill Richardson 5%
Mark Warner 3%
Russ Feingold 3%
Other 2%
None 16%

Don’t know 3%

The numbers for Republicans show a much tighter three-way race between John McCain (26%), Rudy Giuliani (24%), and Condi Rice (18%). No other potential candidate is higher than 5%. That included publicity-hound Newt Gingrich. His recent blathering about "World War III" doesn't seem to have found much support, even in the right-wing GOP. Other GOP candidates that are virtually nowhere in this poll are George Allen (3%) and Bill Frist (2%). Too be polling that low at this time is not a good sign for those campaigns.

Condi Rice is still the big shocker in here, as Republicans ignore her pleas that she will nor run and continue to give her high marks. Pressure may build from - of all places - the right-wing GOP for her to run and present a GWBush-style ideology to compete with maverick John McCain. The rumblings are already there.

The numbers:

John McCain 26%
Rudy Giuliani 24%
Condoleezza Rice 18%
Newt Gingrich 5%
George Allen 3%
Mitt Romney 3%
Bill Frist 2%
Sam Brownback 1%
Other 1%
None 13%
Don’t know 4%

Sunday, August 20, 2006

TIME poll on Hillary

A new poll from Time focuses on the electability of Hillary Clinton.

Most Americans agree that Hillary Clinton is intelligent (81%) and that she's politically moderate (67%). She's the Democratic nominee they'd support the most if she runs for President (leading the field with 46%, just ahead of Al Gore's 41%). And a majority (53%) agree that she makes a generally favorable impression. They don't agree on much else.

An interesting part of the poll found that Dems and Republicans viewed her on the opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Partisan divisions even color views of her partisanship. Democrats mostly think she's a moderate (67% ); Republicans think she a liberal (62% ). Hillary proponents have a small reed of hope to grasp in the 60% of independents that agree with Democrats that politically she's "somewhere in between" liberal and conservative.

The poll is really a mixed-bag for Hillary. The GOP numbers are meaningless; of course they'll call her a rabid liberal. But the numbers showing that Democrats feel she is moderate may not be a good sign. If the anti-war/Ned Lamont wave of emotion continues on the Dem side, she may be tossed aside as "Lieberman-lite" in favor of a more strongly anti-war voice - such as Al Gore (if he decides to run. Those big numbers for him in the poll are intriguing.).

An article accompanying the poll delves deep into the political prospects for Hillary.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"Katherine Harris crazy"

The Katherine Harris campaign continues on its journey way past full-fledged farce. Now, online site has added the noun "Katherine Harris crazy" to its list of "slang words and phrases". It was apparently added in May, but only discovered now. Harris has now become so demented it seems that they had to invent a phrase to describe her. Sad...

From the site:

n.) As insanely optimistic as Congresswoman Katherine Harris. Usually characterized by an overly optimistic estimation of someone's chances of achieving success.

Did you hear Jim just bought 500 dollars in lottery tickets? That boy is Katherine Harris crazy if he thinks he's going to hit the jackpot.

Here is the page for "KHC"

Newt endorses Joe Lieberman

Deep in the NYT article on the GOP's efforts to support Joe Lieberman posted earlier on Political Buzz, there was a small snippet in which Newt "WWIII" Gingrich firmly endorsed Lieberman in his Independent Senate bid.

"The right thing for people who believe the world is deeply dangerous is to re-elect Lieberman," Mr. Gingrich said. That is especially true, he said, because "the Republican Party's own candidate does not have any possibility of winning."

Do Gingrich and Republicans really love Joe that much? Does Lieberman now see himself as a right-wing conservative? Probably not. This seems to be just the first push in the complicated effort by Karl Rove and GOP strategists to boost Lieberman past Ned Lamont, and in the process paint the left as a "pro-terrorist" anti-war bunch

This strategy could end up backfiring for the GOP and for Lieberman, the more-than-willing recipient of the right's assistance. If Republican's continue to pledge support for Lieberman, and if his campaign begins to sound a bit too much like GWBush's, CT Dems could very well bolt. These polls showing Lieberman leading Lamont by double-digits are very early, and don't yet reflect Dems reaction to the torrent of GOP support for Joe. It would be no surprise if the next poll in the race would have Lieberman coming back to Lamont by a considerable number.

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Lieberman gets a GOP consultant

Joe Lieberman, the newly Independent CT Senate candidate, has grabbed two new consultants to work on his burgeoning campaign. The surprise in that? On of them is well-known GOP consultant Neil Newhouse. Joe's Republican connections continue to multiply, and the GOP is ramping up its efforts to help Lieberman's I campaign.

FL political watch

New fundraising numbers are out in the Florida race for Governor, with GOPer Charlie Crist once again blazing past both his Republican and democratic opponents in getting the cash. Crist raised $158,000 in from August 5-11, while fellow GOPer Tom Gallagher took in $22,000 in the same period. Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith were well behind Crist in the same period, though with higher totals than the slumping Gallagher. Rod Smith raised $81,000 and Jim Davis raised $57,000. The higher totals fro Smith is surprising, considering he is trailing Davis in the polls and only has $302,000 left in campaign cash.


Charlie Crist - $158,000

Tom Gallagher - $22,000


Rod Smith - $81,000

Jim Davis - $57,000

Friday, August 18, 2006

NASCAR fans turn to the Democrats

New analysis of the political leanings of so-called"NASCAR dads" finds that what used to be a firm Republican constituency has now turned undecided or to the Democrats. Blue-collar rural voters are turned off by the GOP's continued support of the war in Iraq and inability to control inflation and high gas prices, and are concerned with the rising number of U.S. troops being killed in Iraq.

While politicians focused on NASCAR's core in 2004, some polls indicate cracks may be appearing in the overall fan base of an estimated 75 million people.

Polling by Zogby International in August found that while more than half of NASCAR fans voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, 56 percent now say the country is on the wrong track.

Almost one-third of NASCAR fans now intend to vote for Democrats in congressional races this fall, similar to the number planning to vote Republican, according to the Zogby poll. According to political analysts, this has occurred despite no significant increase in Democratic campaigning aimed at this group.

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FL political watch

The news for the embattled Senate candidate Katherine Harris continues to get worse. Besides her various other scandals and controversies (you all know what they are), Harris is now apparently losing endorsements. Harris had considered state Sen. Dan Webster a supporter who had given Harris his endorsement. However, Webster denies that he ever endorsed Harris, and is now actively supporting her GOP primary opponent Will McBride. The problem was, Harris expected Webster to attend a rally for her in Orlando. KH was befuddled as to why Webster went AWOL. "They called back twice and said he'd be here," said Harris. "He said he was going to be here on the stage with me today." That Orlando event soon went from bad to worse:

"He wasn't the only no-show for Harris' "Soaring for the Senate" rally.

None of the nine officials listed on her event flier appeared, leaving Harris on her own to address a group of about 40 supporters, reporters and campaign staff members.

The most prominent official on hand was former State Rep. Allen Trovillion who left office four years ago.

Harris spoke in an airplane hangar that seemed to highlight the modest size of the crowd. She said a last-minute location change - required because a tree fell on the hangar where the event was supposed to be held - kept crowd numbers down.

Airport officials, however, said no hangar had been damaged by a downed tree and that the rally was held in the hangar that had been originally booked.

Harris spoke for 10 minutes saying she was the only candidate with the conservative credentials to defeat Nelson. When she finished, red, white and blue balloons dropped onto an empty stage, rendered unnecessary by the sparse crowd."

That is really sad...really sad. And, to cap it all off, Harris' GOP primary opponents, including that thief Will McBride, are inching closer to her in the polls, and one of them could very well pull off what would be a huge upset.

Iowa Straw Poll!

The first Iowa straw poll from the Iowa State Fair was released on Wednesday, and it indeed had some interesting results for the many 2008 contenders. The "Iowa Votes" blog was even kind enough to give a quick sample of what Cornhusker voters thought of the hopefuls:

From the IV blog:

The dems:
Hillary Clinton 33% (Love her or hate her, Iowans know who she is)
John Edwards 33% (Still popular. And how many ladies told me he's hot?)
Tom Vilsack 13% (At least he did better than the Des Moines Register's Poll)
John Kerry 9% (2004 is a long time ago)
Evan Bayh 3% (One guy called him Birch)
Russ Feingold 2% (Who is he, many asked us)
Joe Biden 2% (1988 is really a long time ago)Tom Daschle 2% (Will he really run?)
Wesley Clark 1% (The General could be in for a quite a battle)
Mark Warner 1% (The new democrat is a new name to many Iowans)

The repubs:
John McCain 24% (Met many friends at the fair)
Rudy Giuliani 22% (9/11 made him strong among "r's")
Condoleeza Rice 22% (Never been a politician. Many here say she should)
Newt Gingrich 10% (Contract with America still pretty strong)
Mitt Romney 9% ("R" in a "D" state at home; middle of the pack here)
Bill Frist 6% (The doc may need some more patients)
Mike Huckabee 2% (Lost a ton, hasn't found a ton of support)
George Pataki 2% (Stands tall among peers, falls short in poll)
George Allen 1% (Is the Hall of Fame coach more known here?)
Sam Brownback 1% (So much for sharing the midwestern love)

These numbers aren't that surprising - save for the big support for Condi Rice. We all know that people love her, but enough to put her in a near tie with John McCain (who is currently on a tour of Iowa, trying to drum up even more support)? The pressure for her to run may already be building. The GOP brass may see her as a solid alternatvie to the maverick JMac.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

John Kerry stumps for Ned Lamont

It appears that John Kerry is back in the anti-war camp after he used his large list of supporters email addresses to raise some serious cash for Ned Lamont. Kerry also included a little blurb that urged his supporters to back Lamont. "Ned Lamont has caused a national stir by successfully challenging the Bush position on Iraq that ignores the utter failure of the President's policy". Kerry also has pledged support for two more Senate candidates who are Iraq skeptics, Bob Menendez and Daniel Akaka. Whether this burst of anti-war fever from Kerry will last is highly debatable. The true test will be if the Iraq war becomes popular again (!!!), or if GOPers really hammer Kerry on his support of Lamont.

McCain as President

John McCain made a surprising move and actually responded in detail to the question of what JMac's top priorities would be as president. It happened in Iowa (of course) on Tuesday, as a voter asked him point blank about JMac as Prez. Leave it to JMac to be so sincere...

  • “I start by vetoing spending bills. There is just too much pork-barrel spending and we must become fiscally responsible.”*
  • “I would work more closely with our military allies. We need their support in the struggle that is ahead.”*
  • “I would speak every two weeks to the American people. You need to know what is happening — about the war and the many serious issues we face.”*
  • “I would make sure we don’t torture prisoners. I would close Guantanamo Bay.”

All of these stances are directly opposite to what Pres. Bush is doing, and McCain knows that. It seems all of his "support the Prez" tlak is just that; talk. McCain still wnats to be viewed as somewhat of a maverick, as he sees that as being the only way for him to get in the White House.

Lamont falters

Ned Lamont, formerly a formidable progressive juggernaut, has been slammed in the polls by Joe "GOP" Lieberman due to Joe's huge amount of support from Republicans.
A new poll shows these ominous numbers:

Lieberman - 53%
Lamont- 41%
Schlesinger - 4%

Karl Rove's help seems to be working for Joe, as this huge support from GOPers may give him the victory.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


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