Friday, September 29, 2006


Republican Congressman Mark Foley of Florida resigned from his seat this afternoon in the midst of a growing controversy involving his bizarre and possibly sexually explicit emails - including requests for photos and contact information- to a then-16-year-old male page of a colleague in Congress. A link to the emails can be found here.

Foley issued this statement: "I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent.''

He was a lock for re-election in November, but this development changes everything. His seat is now going to the Democrat in the race, Tim Mahoney. That's big in the battle for Congress.

John McCain interview and update

Real Clear Politics has an interview with Sen. John McCain. Nothing great (lots of softballs), but McCain does delve into some of his varied opinions on many subjects. It's worth a look.

John Batchelor at the New York Sun gives us a good idea of how conservatives really view a McCain run for president, and how the GOP nomination process will function if JMac remains the front-runner.

Feingold: "I've never been just an anti-war guy"

Russ Feingold tries to broaden his image in an AP interview.

"I've never been anywhere near one-dimensional on these issues," Feingold said in an interview. "I think that I've become -- I hope -- a credible spokesman for a muscular view of anti-terrorist activity by the Democrats as well as the country. The fact is, I've never been just an anti-war guy."

"I believe in the right of self-defense" -- including the invasion of Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "I believe what we did in Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with self-defense."

Russ needs to change his attitude when the debates roll around. His only chance of even contending for the nomination or a Veep spot is if he plays up his anti-war mojo.

Nelson vs. Harris poll

A new poll in the Senate race between Bill Nelson and Katherine Harris shows Nelson leading by 18 points. Nelson is at 53% with Harris at 35%. This should be an easy race for Nelson as long as he stays above 50% in the polls.

Don't forget to check out our exclusive interview with Katherine Harris.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Democrats still lead in election polls + analysis

Two new polls covering the upcoming elections show that the Democrats are easily retaining - even padding - their lead on Republicans in the race to control Congress. The Dems have a lead of 9-points in the Reuters poll, leading 42% to 33%. That poll also showed that Iraq is concern of voters heading into November. Iraq was at 33%, terrorism/security was at 30%.

In a new FOX News poll, the Dems have an 11-point lead over the GOP in the infamous "who would vote for if the election were held today" question. Another part of that poll showed that most Americans blame Pres. Bush rather than Bill Clinton for not being able to snag Osama bin Laden before 9/11. This comes after the now infamous Clinton/Wallace interview on FOX News Sunday. Interesting...

Here are the complete poll results.

There is no question that the Dems are holding on to their lead because of that number on Iraq. As long as the Iraq war stays as the most important issue to voters, the Dems should easily get the House and probably the Senate. Although, with close to double-digit leads in both of these polls, the Democrats may still be safe even if that Iraq number drops. But they sure don't want to find out.

Any new terror incident or threat close to 11/7 is the wild-card in all of this. If the Bush administration and GOP happen to pull something out of the bag right before the election, GOPers sweep it all. However, there is a chance that, if the hypothetical terror incident/threat is not very serious, Americans will start to get a bit tired of the constant threats and alerts and sour on the GOP and the terror/security issues. Don't know if that's likely, but it is a possibility.

New poll in Lieberman vs. Lamont race

The latest poll in the race in CT between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont shows Joe with a hefty 10 point lead with only 40 days to go until November 7. Lieberman has 49% in the Quinnipiac poll to Lamont's 39%. The Republican candidate, Alan Schlesinger, is well back at 5%.

Lamont probably realizes the tight spot his campaign is in, because he has given $750,000 of his own vast fortune to his Senate campaign. When that happens, it's a bad sign.

A final burst of anti-war fever could push Lamont to a close finish with Joe, but the GOP support for Lieberman doesn't appear to be wavering, and that spells doom for Ned Lamont.

Barack gets another supporter

And, if you can believe it, it's Oprah. Despite the efforts of some die-hard Oprah fans, she dismissed any thoughts of her running in '08 and instead has been talking up the potential candidacy of one of her "favorite people", Sen. Barack Obama.

Oprah Winfrey says she is not urging Barack Obama to run for president, but wishes he would and pledged to "do everything in my power to campaign for him" if he did.

"I'm reading his book right now called The Audacity of Hope, and I think his sense of hope and optimism for this country and what is possible for the United States is the kind of thing that I would like to get behind," Winfrey said.

"It's the kind of the thing that if I were ever gonna run myself, he says all the things that I would want to say for this country."

Obama is certainly not letting Oprah down this weekend, for he' once again traveling to Iowa. He's campaigning with House candidate Bruce Braley on Saturday.

Another note on Barack: He and his wife, Michelle, earned a collective sum of $1.67 million last year, a hefty boost from past years.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GOP falters in elections for governor

NPR has a nice rundown of the outlook for all of this year's races for governor in their various states. The Democrats are looking awfully good in those.

Of the 36 contests for governor this year, Republicans are clearly at a disadvantage. For one thing, the GOP has more statehouses at stake (22) than do the Democrats (14). And in the 10 races where no incumbent is running --usually the best opportunity for a change in party -- Republicans currently hold nine of them.

Control of the top spot in the statehouse is gaining in importance, with the last few years seeing many big-time state initiatives making headlines. Or, sometimes, it's the Guv's themselves. Just look at Ahnold.

While the fight for Congress will probably be the biggest story in this election, as it should be, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the races for governor. The big Dem leads in most of them could be an indicator of what happens in D.C.

New Political Buzz poll!

PB's very first poll is now up and running. Just head for the poll on the right side of the page to vote.

Feingold update

Russ Feingold, that anti-war champion of the left, shed some light on his 2008 ambitions in Philadelphia yesterday.

Maverick Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold said yesterday the outcome of this November's elections could determine whether he runs for president in 2008.

Before giving a speech at the National Constitution Center yesterday, the Democrat said "a discouraging outcome would be if the Republicans didn't lose any ground in the Senate or didn't lose much ground, if they kept the House, if the analysis of the election was people really were squeamish about leaving Iraq."

Feingold, a vocal opponent of President Bush and the war in Iraq, said public attitudes about issues he champions - including universal health care - would help him decide if he should take the plunge.

On New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, widely considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, he said, "She's very able and I think ready to be president. We disagree on some fundamental issues, particularly this war on terrorism and Iraq."

--- As one insightful PB reader commented on, Feingold's main impact in 2008 will most definitely be in the debates. He could put Hillary in some awkward situations at the podium.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

POLITICAL BUZZ EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Congresswoman Katherine Harris.

To inaugurate our new interview series, Political Buzz sat down for an exclusive telephone interview with Republican candidate for Senator, Congresswoman Katherine Harris. The interview covers everything that you want to know: Congresswoman Harris's views on Iraq, her comments on the new ethics troubles plaguing her campaign, her controversial comments on religion, and the latest burst of Republican support for her Senate campaign.

Click here for the complete transcript of our interview with Congresswoman Harris.

Complete audio of the interview will be posted shortly.

Here are some excerpts of PB's exclusive interview with Congresswoman Harris:

On Iraq -
"We can cut and run, we can tell the terrorists the day we’re gonna pull out, or we can stand and fight to make sure we are far safer here at home. When we’re capturing and killing terrorists on their own soil and not our own.

That’s really not hyperbole when we go we don’t wanna fight these terrorists in our own neighborhoods cause just a few miles away from where I live Mohammad Atta is trying to fly planes into buildings, not to land them. So it’s really important to try to assist the Iraqi’s as they complete their quest for liberty and freedom. That’s certainly important, that beacon of light in the Middle East.

But most importantly to be and my constituents throughout the state is that were safe. And that’s the most important thing I can do in Congress is to make sure were safe, give our troops everything they require, and to help the Iraqi’s secure their country. To make sure that were safer here."

On her Congressional campaigns receiving money from Rep. Bob Ney's PAC -
"We have always donated those contributions to charity. However he has not contributed to our US senate race. We’re looking into that, he contributed to our congressional races. However Bill Nelson has received tens of thousands of dollars from those who have been convicted and gone to prison and has never reimbursed those funds, ever. And we have made it a practice to do that every single time. We are in a different cycle. We are looking into that."

On her controversial statements on religion -
"So many of my comments weren’t taken in the context that they were given. I was speaking to a group of, church, a church. Which largely we have been intimidated into thinking there is a separation of church and state such that those attending in church shouldn’t be involved in politics. And it’s quite the opposite. support of Israel goes unquestioned and I always think how important it is to advocate for our Judeo Christian ethics and values and those of our founding fathers.

Click here for the complete transcript of the interview.

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New Iowa poll = Bad news for Hillary

A new poll of 2008 presidential candidates done for the Des Moines Register shows that, in Iowa at least, Hillary Clinton may be stumbling in her campaign. The poll put Republicans in a hypothetical head-to-head match up against various Democrats who may run, and Hillary lost to every single GOPer in her match ups, which were against John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Bill Frist. The poll also showed that Hillary is viewed unfavorably by 49& of Iowans. That is not good. But Dems like her, with the vast majority giving her favorable numbers. Still...

Clinton enjoys much greater popularity within her own party. Roughly eight in 10 likely Democratic voters have favorable feelings toward her.

"I think she's a fine person. I think she can give you a good speech. I just think she has some real baggage - too much Senate votes, too much support for the Iraq war," said poll participant Alice Davis, a member of the Democratic Central Committee in Appanoose County.

Could these numbers suggest an Iowa upset is in the works? Or that Hillary may bow out of the race entirely? Not exactly. But this may cause her campaign to try a new strategy in order to make Hillary more likable.

Meanwhile the big winners for the GOP were clearly Giuliani and McCain. They defeated all Democrats in their hypothetical races.

Clinton gets "angry" on FOX Sunday

The much-hyped FOX interview with Bill Clinton turned out to be quite entertaining, with Clinton "getting angry" as Chris Wallace tried his best to bash Bill. Wallace's constant smirk was rather annoying.

Clinton: “You got that little smirk on your face and you think you’re so clever.”

The rest of the interview matched the transcript released before the event.

However, In a post-interview interview, Wallace got a bit defensive himself about Clinton's "conspiratorial view" of some of the questions asked.

"All I did was ask him a question, and I think it was a legitimate news question. I was surprised that he would conjure up that this was a hit job," Wallace said in a telephone interview.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Clinton - FOX interview

What an interview between Chris Wallace and Bill Clinton. Lots of sparks in this one. Here's the transcript.

Crist rakes in more cash

Charlie Crist blew Dem opponent Jim Davis out of the water in the latest fundraising report. Crist raised nearly $1.2 million while Davis brought in less than $149,000. That's really bad news for Davis. He needs all the cash he can get if he even wants a shot at defeating the lovable Crist.

Crist also snuffed out another small controversy involving his campaign. He fired a minister that was working with his campaign after The Rev. O'Neal Dozier termed Islam a ''cult'' and a ''dangerous religion".

''While Charlie Crist respects Rev. Dozier's right to express his political and religious beliefs, he does not agree with Rev. Dozier's recent statements and writings concerning Islam,'' according to a statement issued Friday by Crist's deputy press secretary Erin Isaac.

`While radical jihadists give Islam a bad name, Charlie Crist believes that we must not confuse those who practice any religion with a prayer toward peace with extremists who pervert religion to further a radical cause.''


The Hotline has finally announced what readers of Political Buzz have known for a long time: Barack Obama is a vice presidential contender. Granted, Hotline has Obama going with Hillary - which is still quite possible - while PB has Obama going to another candidate. But the premise is the same: Obama is going to have an impact in 2008.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Obama back to Iowa

Barack Obama is heading to Iowa again next Saturday where he will campaign for Iowa House candidates Phil Hare and Bruce Braley. We all know what this means (he's running! Well, at least as a Veep.), but Obama's spokesman is downplaying the return visit.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the events had been planned for Obama's first visit but the scheduling didn't work out.

Black Republicans start a nasty ad campaign

The National Black Republican Association has started running a hard-hitting radio attack ad against Democrats in Maryland. It is meant to benefit black GOP Senate candidate Micheal Steele. It alleges that MLK Jr. was a Republican and that Democrats founded the KKK. Ouch. These allegations are being disputed by Democrats and historical experts.

The Washington Post spoke to a University of Maryland political scientist who slammed the ad's "distortions."

"It is a totally fallacious rendition of the platform of the parties because, in effect, what happened is, the two parties essentially switched ideology," Ronald Walters said.

A link to the ad.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tom Ridge... going to Iowa? Yes, he's the headline speaker at the Iowa GOP's big-time Ronald Reagan Dinner. What's that all about?

Charlie Crist controversies?

The previously bulletproof Charlie Crist campaign has been smacked with two simultaneous episodes of some serious dirt being exposed on Charlie and Jeff Kottkamp, his running mate.

The first controversy concerns the investigation into the 1951 assassination of Florida civil rights leader Harry Moore. Specifically, the controversy is about Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist's handling of the investigation.

The investigation by Attorney General Charlie Crist into the 1951 assassination of Florida civil rights pioneer Harry T. Moore and his wife is flawed and the probable killers were named without enough evidence, an expert in the case said.

Ben Green, author of "Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America's First Civil Rights Martyr" and chief consultant on the 2001 PBS documentary on Moore, said the conclusions announced by Crist at a news conference last month contradicted the results of earlier FBI investigations and the work of Crist's own staff.

On Monday, Green sent a critique of the report to Allison Bethel, who ran the 20-month investigation as chief of the Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights.

Crist and Bethel said they stand behind the conclusions and the naming of four long-dead Ku Klux Klan members as involved in the plotting and murder of the Moores.

Granted, this isn't big-time stuff. But hold on, there's more...

Crist's running mate in the Governor's race, FL. Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, is in the center of a bigger political faux pas his vigorous support of a 2001 state bill that would have kept the Confederate flag flying above the Florida Capitol. Kottkamp is, of course, denying that the bill had anything to do with a Confederate flag. He says the bill addressed "...historical monuments. “I don’t ever remember the flag being mentioned.”

The 45-year-old trial lawyer added: “I think it was primarily to preserve historical monuments, like Confederate monuments and World War I monuments. I don’t think there was anything to do with flags in that bill.”

It was all about the flag. The bill (HB 591) was filed by Rep. Bev Kilmer, a Quincy Republican, weeks after Gov. Jeb Bush discreetly ordered the stars and bars removed from the Capitol at a time when memories of a flag controversy in South Carolina were still vivid.

Outraged black lawmakers met with House Speaker Tom Feeney and demanded that the proposal be withdrawn to cool racial tensions. The bill sped through two House committees and then quietly disappeared.

Crist is likewise taking the controversy in stride.

“Why wouldn’t we want to protect monuments in our state?” Crist said. “I mean, I don’t see the big deal.”

I'm sure that sentiment is strictly for the benfit of the public. Internally, the Crist campaign is probably in full damage control mode, readying to address the flood of queries that this info is sure to generate. Like, how can Crist court the black vote (his strafing of Jim Davis for his vote against Pitts-Lee restitution was clearly that) when his runnning mate supports the Confederate flag? This issue may tarnish Crist's "happy sunshine" image and, with the race getting very close, may allow Jim Davis to steal some of Charlie's momentum.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Polls!

A collection of new polls have come out in the last two days, with some interesting numbers:

  • Jim Davis has cut into Charlie Crist's lead in the Florida Governor's race. A new Strategic Vision poll has Davis only 8 points behind Crist. Crist is at 49%, with Davis at 41%.

  • Ned Lamont has also trimmed the lead of the favorite in his Connecticut Senate race against Joe Lieberman. An ARG poll puts Lamont at 45%, with Lieberman at 47%. Lamont has stormed back from his previous double-digit deficit. Could there be an upset in CT? One interesting note in this poll: 66% of CT Republicans support Lieberman. That will decide this election. Will GOPers back Joe, or will they stick with the faltering Republican candidate?

Mark Warner interview

In an interview with The Hotline today, Mark Warner talks taxes, Bush tax-cuts, and his slap at John Kerry.

More McCain fallout

John McCain continues to take serious hits from the right on his solid stand against Pres. Bush on the terror detainee/Geneva Conventions bill in the Senate. Meanwhile, centrists are proclaiming their unabashed love of the man.

"...biographers will conclude that--whether one agrees or disagrees with him, loves or loathes him--the man is, in his sturdy mind and his redoubtable heart, first and foremost, a patriot. "

But, unfortunately for JMac, centrists aren't GOP kingmakers. The right-wingers of the GOP are, and they are mad as hell.

A selection of the very worst vitriol from the right against the good Senator -


"Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain was on to talk about his disagreement with the President.
His basic premise is terrorists are soldiers; and we should not tamper with Geneva Convention common article 3. Which would open up American soldiers to be treated more harshly by countries like Iran if they were captured.
I worry about Senator McCain, where is the common sense in all this? I think it insults American soldiers to compare them to terrorists or put them in the same class as terrorists. I think it insults the American people to try and make us believe countries like Iran and Somalia are going to abide by the Geneva Convention."

The article itself is bad enough, but the comments about the posting from the average conservatives are the killer blow for McCain.

  • "Please remember this pandering, drooling bit of foolishness when '08 rolls around. John McCain is not fit to hold elective office of any kind, anywhere. Except maybe Venezuela."

  • "McCain, who increasingly appears to be insane, would toss right into the trash this huge advance in making war a little less horrific; rewarding those who hide among civilians with the same benefits accorded those who agreed not to do such a thing.
    The issue is no longer how to keep McCain away from a presidential nomination. The issue now is how long we have to wait before his physical and mental infirmities conspire to remove him from the stage. He has become a Gong Show in need of a gong."

The American Thinker:

"If a team of geniuses sat down to design a man who should never be President of the United States they would come up with John McCain. Fortunately the character flaws that make him unfit for the Oval Office also put that office well beyond his reach. Sometimes the universe really does unfold as it should.
McCain considers himself a conservative and any number of his apologists are eager to cite his support for military action in our “war on terror” and his predominantly pro-life and conservative voting record. Nevertheless, many conservative Republicans loathe him and there’s a reason for this antipathy.
McCain is a moral exhibitionist. The principal goal of all his public acts is to showcase his exquisite decency. His only apparent ideology is sanctimonious self-congratulation. Consider, for example, his approach to the two defining issues of his career, campaign finance “reform,” and the al Qaeda bill of rights."

"It is also disqualifying for a Republican presidential candidate. Moral exhibitionism is a characteristic disease of the left. Conservatives are accustomed to ridiculing leftists for their hollow self-congratulation in connection with issues as diverse as minimum wage laws and hate crimes legislation. They associate moral exhibitionism with their political enemies and they won’t accept it in a presidential candidate.

And it gets worse in the AT article...

Town Hall:

"Senator John McCain has championed reform of military interrogation, succeeding in placing severe restrictions on the intelligence-gathering techniques our troops use on enemy prisoners. Because of his experience as a prisoner of war, McCain’s views are seldom challenged. They should be."

"John McCain is in the same position. After being captured on the battlefield, wounded, tortured, imprisoned and brutally questioned, how can he dispassionately decide on the merits of various methods of interrogation used by our military?

"This veteran, who served his country as a naval aviator conducted himself courageously and honorably under the most brutal conditions as a prisoner of war has earned our gratitude, respect and admiration. But his experience gives him no greater authority than any other senator over the rules governing our own interrogators, who are bound by codes of conduct stricter than those of any nation on earth. Because Senator McCain has deeply held beliefs about the issues in this case, he should recuse himself. Otherwise, his understandably strong feelings will hinder the interrogators who save American lives with every answer they extract from enemy prisoners."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More attacks on McCain

GOP conservatives will not let up in their attacks on John McCain for straying from the Bush administration line on terror detainees and the Geneva Conventions. Even the "pro-family" groups are bashing McCain. Not sure what torture and terrorists have to do with pro-family issues, but...

The attack from the right, which coalesced over the weekend, could undercut McCain's effort to woo Bush backers and other party regulars for an anticipated 2008 presidential bid. His position on terrorism prisoners has fueled critics' skepticism about McCain's conservative credentials.

"This very definitely is going to put a chilling effect on the tremendous strides he has made in the conservative evangelical community," said the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, one of several conservative activists who support Bush's proposal on interrogation techniques.

But this could be a big plus for JMac with independents and conservative Dems in the general. His posse sure believes it.

His aides say McCain's position in the interrogation dispute is a matter of conscience — not calculation — but they still see a political upside."When he does the right thing and he knows it, that works out well for him," said John Weaver, a top political advisor to McCain. "He's going to see this through."

2008 Rankings From Political Buzz: The Democrats

Here is the first look at the ranking of 2008 Democratic presidential contenders from Political Buzz. This is what we think, but feel free to give PB your opinion on our rankings, and also your own listing of Dem contenders. Our GOP rankings will be posted soon.


Hillary Clinton -

Hillary is obviously at the top of the heap for the Dems. Besides her minimal scare when Ned Lamont was rallying the anti-war movement in the Democratic Party Hillary has had a smooth journey to the nomination. Some recent comments show that she is running and that she expects to win. Something big will have to happen for Hillary’s arrow to start pointing downward.

Al Gore -
A few weeks ago, Gore would be nowhere on this list. But his very public saber-rattling concerning an ’08 run has vaulted him to a clear contender in the race. Gore is well liked by almost all in the party and has insurmountable anti-war cred with the left-wing Dems.

John Edwards -

If Gore doesn’t run, Edwards will make an attractive alternative to Hillary for many Dems. His apology for voting for the war in Iraq is a big plus for him. Still, he has a long way to go to reach Hillary or Gore. Gains in some polls a few months ago have already leveled out.

John Kerry -

Kerry has plummeted from his post-election popularity and wave of sympathy. His vigorous campaigning for ’08 has hurt him more than it has helped, with top Dems wanting him to step aside for Hillary and Al. His recent comments about Iowa voters “accepting” him more this time around show his deluded state of mind. Iowa and the primaries weren’t the problems for Kerry in ‘04: it was everywhere else in the general.

Mark Warner -
Warner’s stunning jolt of publicity from his virtual reality interview has pushed him up the ranks of Dem contenders for 2008. Polls show him steadily gaining ground, and his huge popularity in Virginia may spread. But Warner, like everyone not named Hillary or Al, is a non-factor in the presidential race. A vice presidential spot may be open for him. A good ticket could be Hillary-Warner. A moderate-to-liberal woman from the north paired with a moderate-to-conservative man from down south.

Bill Richardson/Evan Bayh/Russ Feingold -
This trio will only serve to crowd the debating platforms in the winter of ‘07/’08. They have no chance – with Hillary or without her. A double team of Feingold and Gore in the debates may produce a few gulps amongst the Clinton and Edwards crowds, but that’s about it. Richardson is another Veep possibility.


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Charlie Crist...

...continues to rake in some serious cash. Mitt Romney, under the auspices of the Republican Governors Association, gave the Florida GOP $1 million specifically to help Crist in November.

Romney, who is considering a run for president in 2008, said the check from the Republican Governors Association is the largest the group has donated so far in any state."This is the highest priority state for us," said Romney, who chairs the RGA. "We have a couple of others that are in this category, but nobody's higher than Florida."

McCain and Romney helping Crist, Edwards and Warner helping Davis...What is this, Iowa in 2008?

McCain gets ripped

John McCain, in New Hampshire for his constantly moving presidential campaign, got shredded for blocking Pres. Bush's attempt to change the Geneva Conventions in his favor. The right-wing Manchester Union-Leader and 2008 opponent Mitt Romney fairly blasted McCain for his wavering support of Bush.

"I am foursquare behind the president on this," Mr. Romney said. "I believe that we should do everything possible to support those people at the front line who are responsible for enforcing the war on terrorism."

Asked if this was his sharpest difference with Mr. McCain, Mr. Romney said: "No. There are a number of things. We have different views on McCain-Feingold, differing views on immigration policy, differing views on the interrogation of terrorists. There are also many other areas where we see eye to eye."

McCain desperately tried to play down the issue, but a slight air of iciness with Bush and the White House came through in some statements.

"There is no acrimony with the White House," Mr. McCain said. "I certainly consider him a friend. And I hope he considers me as one. We just have a disagreement."

Will this allow McCain to reclaim his maverick status, or will it only exacerbate his slide in the polls?

Barack at the steak fry

The general consensus on Barack Obama's appearance yesterday at Tom Harkin's big bash in Iowa is that he just turned himself into a 2008 contender. Iowans love the guy.

"The sooner he runs, the better," is how Sheila Pottebaum, a Des Moines psychologist, described her feelings about calls for the first-term Illinois Democrat to jump into the presidential race. "He has the personality and the moral convictions."

Obama overjoyed the Dem brass by taking a tough stance on national security during his speech.

But he tried to cool down heated speculation about him running in '08.

"My only attentions right now are focused on ’06," said Obama. "Whoever is looking toward 2008 without focusing on 2006 makes a mistake."

The question is, how long will that attitude last? A new poll shows that 38% of llinois voters want Obama to wait until 2012 to run for president. Will he listen? Or will he just tag along as Hillary's Veep?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Al Gore speculation

The ever-mysterious Gore has silently signed a deal to write a new book, which would be released next May. The Washington Post thinks this may confirm that Gore is running in 2008. That's possible. Or maybe it doesn't indicate that at all. But it could. In the meantime, expect Gore to lay low while the other candidates sling the mud. Anti-war Al vs. "anti-war" Hillary? What a match up.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Is Barack Obama too popular?

Some worry that he is.

If there's any cloud over U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's seemingly charmed political life, it may be that one.

With national political pundits now using words such as "messiah" in connection with the Chicago Democrat - and one former campaign opponent calling on him to run for president - some say he could ultimately be rising so fast and high in the American consciousness that he may end up with nowhere to go but down.

But what would happen to Obama to make him take a fall? He seems to have a squeaky clean record and background. The only political worry he has is whether the anti-war left gets angry over his Kerry-esque position on Iraq, Iran, and the war on terror.

An Obama presidential run is still highly unlikely, as the Dems want a seasoned campaigner to head the ticket in '08. A Veep post is probable, though maybe not with Hillary Clinton.

Yes, a Hillary-Barack ticket in '08 seemed inevitable to PB at first. But now, after reflecting on that possibility, it appears to be a no-go.

Why? Hillary's a woman, and Obama's black. And they are Democrats. Those traits won't do well in a general election, especially when Rovian Republicans will surely shred the Dems to pieces for it. A white moderate will be selected to balance Hillary out. Obama will have to settle for John Edwards.

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2008 Update

  • Barack Obama, Tom Vilsack, and Mark Warner will be at the infamous Tom Harkin steak-fry in Iowa today. This solidifies Obama's position as at least a Veep hopeful in '08.

Edwards helps Davis

2008 presidential hopeful John Edwards paid a visit to Florida yesterday, campaigning for Gov. candidate Jim Davis - and himself. The scene in Miami seemed to be right out of the '04 Kerry-Edwards campaign.

With Bruce Springsteen's The Rising blaring over the loudspeakers, Edwards, Davis and his running mate, former state Sen. Daryl Jones, walked into an ebullient crowd of 150 supporters at Miami-Dade College in downtown Miami.

"These are two men who I think represent the best of Florida, the best of America," Edwards said. "Two men who show strength together, what's possible. I look at them, and I see hope and potential."

The Davis campaign has many campaign staffers that have worked for Edwards in the past, and Davis is politically similar to Edwards as well. Edwards is no doubt playing up his ties to Davis and Florida in preparation for his '08 run. Can JE position himself as the Florida candidate? It won't make much difference if he doesn't make it out of the primaries.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

NBC/WSJ poll

The new poll shows that the Democrats still have the upper hand leading up to the November election, and will probably pick up a gaggle of seats. Will this trend continue? Stay tuned...

Crist picks a running mate

Yesterday, Charlie Crist selected FL Rep. Jeff Kottkamp as the Lieutenant Governor on his ticket. The choice of Kottkamp, a right-wing conservative, is no doubt a ploy by Crist's campaign to reach out to religious conservatives and others on the right who were previously concerned about Crist's moderate stances on most issues. It also helps that Kottkamp is married and has a small child. Crist's bachelor status and non-home ownership was building up to be a significant issue in the campaign if Jim Davis went after him on it. That issue may be dead.

Bottom line: Kottkamp's solid conservative views and "pro-family" tag will bring out voters on the right and should seal the deal for Charlie Crist in November.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Al Sharpton is back? And on PB's home turf.

Wait a minute. Phone calls for Rod Smith, long speeches in front of students... Is he running for president again?!

John Edwards Update

John Edwards, that spotless Southern gentleman, is a huge favorite among the anti-Hillary types in the Democratic party.

According to national polls and years of punditry, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Someone should tell the Democratic Party.
Its leaders and activists are trying to end her campaign before it begins in earnest. And many of them have settled on an alternative: North Carolina's John Edwards.

Can Edwards ride out the early storm of fierce campaigning and mud-slinging and leave Hillary to be trashed to death by anti-war Dems? Maybe not. The latest polls actually show Edwards losing ground in the '08 race. Meanwhile, Hillary continues to demolish all other Dem contenders - even al Gore - in every single poll. It may be seen as significant that Edwards is tied in the polls with John Kerry. Will the ex-running mates go down together?

Pat Buchanan on Al Gore

Pat Buchanan gives his take on an Al Gore campaign in 2008.

When Gore said in Australia he did not rule out running, he was careful to add, "but I don't expect to." Which is understandable. Gore has a good life, fame and fortune, and the possibility of being called to serve in high office in any future Democratic administration.

But he can also see -- indeed the numbers says so -- that there is a path to the nomination, and the presidency, narrow though it may be, that has opened up for him. And it will be open for only a few months before it closes again, forever.

Al vs. Hillary. The Gores demanding that the Clintons, who once put them a heartbeat away from the presidency, stand aside, because it is Al's turn, not Hillary's. How would Bill and Hillary deal with that?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Jim Davis apology

FL Governor candidate Jim Davis apologized today for his "mistake" of voting against restitution for two black men, Freddie Pitts and Wilber Lee, wrongfully convicted in 1993. Davis did so with the two men right beside him.

With Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee at his side, Jim Davis apologized Tuesday for his 1990 vote to deny restitution to the wrongfully convicted men.
"I made a mistake,"Davis said during a 1 p.m. news conference at the Carrie Meek center in Miami. "If you're looking for the perfect candidate, it's not me."

That smacks of a political stunt, but at least Pitts and Lee dthink thinl so.

Said Lee: "It takes a good person to stand up and admit he made a mistake."

Will the apology put this issue behind him? The Charlie Crist campaign has been able to belittle Davis for the vote, all the while threatening someull soke black votes away from the Dem. After this, the '93 vote issue may be dead.

Chafee/Laffey update

Incumbent Lincoln Chafee has a 10-point lead over challenger Steve Laffey with only 3% of votes counted in the big GOP primary race in Rhode Island. The results are slow to come in, so it will be some time before a winner is known. Hotline is reporting that Steve Laffey campaign workers are predicting victory for Laffey after they met their voter targets for turnout.

Steve Laffey's campaign aides will be stunned if they lose. Campaign sources say they hit all their target numbers in every targeted precinct etc, assuming a turnout of 50 to 55k voters.
These are just targeting predictors, not vote counts, so anything can happen, but everything has gone as planned for their turnout operation.

Meanwhile, Chafee and supporters are partying in Providence.

Will the outcome of this race really determine which party controls the Senate in November? Probably. Which is why Karl Rove and the GOP brass are pouring money and attack ads into RI to help Chafee.

For constantly updated results, head to The Hotline. If you're thinking of checking out the Rhode Island Div. of Elections page, don't do it. No updates at all.

George Allen in trouble again

The nightmare that began for Sen. (and possible '08 candidate) George Allen when he uttered the now infamous word "macaca" at that small-town political rally in Virginia just goes on and on. Allen tried to bury the hatchet with minorities by recently hosting an "ethnic rally" in northern Virginia, complete with photos from the event on his website. Shaking the hands of a few Indian-Americans may not be enough for Allen to put "macaca-gate" behind him.

The more serious issue for Allen are his rapidly sagging poll numbers in his Senate race with Democrat Jim Webb. The most recent poll done, and the first since his "macaca" statement, has Allen with 46% to Webb's 42%. The difference between the two is within the poll's margin of error. Allen's numbers have precipitously dropped in the last few months, making the race wide-open. This would obviously be devastating for Allen After all, an embarrassing defeat as the incumbent in his Senate race is not a very good way to launch a presidential bid.

Which brings us to Allen's stalled '08 campaign. A new poll and analysis of an Allen bid in 2008 show that even Virginia voters have cast him aside as a presidential candidate.

In a new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, more than half of the Virginia voters polled said they would not consider voting for Allen if he gets the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Only 37 percent said Allen should even try for the job.

Voters appear more enthusiastic about a possible presidential bid by former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat who has been traveling the country to increase his profile and help his party's congressional candidates in the midterm elections. In the poll, 54 percent said Warner should run for president and 56 percent said they would consider voting for him if he gets the Democratic nomination.

Allen is done in '08, and maybe even in his Senate race. Good numbers for Nextel Warner though. Did his infamous virtual reality interview actually work?

Monday, September 11, 2006

McCain Update

John McCain hit the campaign trail yesterday, not for himself but for a fellow GOPer running in California. While there McCain made a bevy of comments that were very interesting. JMac criticized the American public (and voters) of being schizophrenic in regards to the war in Iraq.

"Americans are really kind of schizophrenic about this issue," Mr. McCain said just prior to a fund-raising lunch for Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican of California. "They're frustrated, and they want us to get out, but if we ask the American people if we should set a certain date or a calendar, they agree with the president, and with me..."

McCain also questioned Bush administration policy of "special interrogations" for terrorists.

"I do know that many times when you physically torture someone, they'll just tell you whatever they think you want to know in order to stop the pain," the Arizona Republican said. "I know that the Israelis have prohibited torture..."

McCain went on to say that therehade been "serious mistakes" in the way the Iraq war had been carried out, but didn't go deeper than that.

Al Gore running in '08?

In an appearance in Australia yesterday, Al Gore caused quite a stir in the political world with the comment that he hasn't "completely ruled out running for president again in the future". A Gore campaign in '08 is still very unlikely, but Al may be intrigued by his high poll numbers, still behind Hillary but well ahead of any other Democrat. Al is someone that wouldn't need a long time to build up a campaign structure or name recognition, so it could be awhile before he decides for sure.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Will ABC's "Path to 9/11" Have any Political Effect?

The answer to this pressing question is...maybe. With the ABC miniseries under fire from Democrats and former Clinton officials over the now well-known inaccuracies present in the TV special, and with Republicans praising the docu-drama and bashing the Dems over their criticisms, one would think that the voting public would pay attention to the row and that it would influence their vote in November. The show does, after all, seem to fit right into the GOP's argument for staying in power in November: we can protect you - Democrats cannot. Combine that pitch with the close proximity to both the 9/11 anniversary and the November election, and you appear to get a perfect situation for GOPers desperately trying to focus attention away from Iraq and onto the war on terror/9/11.

Why, then, does PB think that it's a tossup whether or not the miniseries will have any impact in November? Many reasons come to mind. First, ABC may not even air the second installment of the series on Monday night, as Pres. Bush is set to give a 9/11 anniversary primetime speech at the same hour; 9 PM. Tonight's NFL game on NBC may also squash the viewership of the first installment of "PT9/11". But, more importantly, will anyone really care? And, if they do, will that outrage at Clinton and the Dems last until November? Other factors involved in the election - such as Iraq , the economy, or gas prices - may heat up before then, wiping terrorism off of the collective radars of voters. Some recent analysis even shows that the GOP is actually losing ground on the issue of national security.

The White House strategy isn't subtle. With Republicans worried about losing the House and conceivably even the Senate in November, the President is taking a big gamble that an unflinching focus on national security will be his party's political salvation. That approach helped Bush defy history in 2002 when the Republicans, the party in power, avoided midterm losses. Two years later, his re-election rode largely on reminding Americans that they were a nation at war. But will the gambit work one more time? Many Republicans harbor doubts, and a few dissenters are even steering clear of the President and his game plan. One problem with rerunning an old play is that the opposition figures out how to thwart it. Democrats, having largely steered clear of national-security issues in the 2002 and 2004 campaigns for fear their war reservations and civil-liberties concerns would brand them as effete, are embracing the topic, and they appear to have found their voice with a steady insistence that Iraq has been mishandled. Thus, for the first time in the five years since 9/11, national security is a jump ball.

If "PT9/11" comes across as nothing more than a GOP attack ad, any voters watching may see it as Republican desperation to focus attention on terrorism and the way the bumbling Dems supposedly handled Osama and Co. No doubt that result will lead to a backlash and certain defeat for GOPers in November.

Prediction: What effect will "PT9/11" really have? Not much. Most viewers will probably have heard about the controversy surrounding the show, and will be aware that it will probably be one-sided. If it came out with no attention and no controversy, minds may have been changed. Any Dem criticism after it aired would have been seen as weak and childish - meaning a big boost for the GOP. Now, people will simply tune in out of curiosity, watching to see who plays Madeline Albright. Oh, and counting how many times the Clinton Admin. gets bashed.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Quick Hits

  • Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack appears to be getting serious in preparation for his '08 presidential bid. He's hosting a barbecue picnic at his house this weekend, where many big-name supporters will gather. Interesting...

  • The buzz surrounding a possible 2008 run for Rudy Giuliani is getting louder. The recent poll from CNN showing Rudy tops among GOPers in '08 and the upcoming 5th anniversary of 9/11 are fueling that buzz. If Rudy can sustain this wave of popularity until after the November election, at which time he says he will decide whether to run, he will be the huge favorite in the race. That is, he will be if Newt Gingrich doesn't steal Rudy's thunder.

  • Not yet cleat what kind of political effect the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on there being no ties between Saddam and Al-Qaeda will have. Any effect will probably be negated by the emotion surrounding the 9/11 anniversary.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Florida analysis

The Hotline's John Mercurio has a good analysis of the recent Florida primaries, and what they mean for the rest of the country. Hint: incumbents are safe.

It's a good piece, but PB disagrees with some of what Mercurio says. The situation here in Florida is unlike anything else in the country. We have a wildly popular moderate/conservative governor in Jeb Bush, who is virtually identical to GOP candidate for governor Charlie Crist, with the exception being that Crist is even more centrist on most issues. FL voters won't want to change that. And the situation with Bill Nelson is the same. Nelson is a popular moderate who is facing a far-right Republican who has really stumbled during her campaign. Florida is not a good place to look at when predicting what will happen nationally.

New CNN poll on '08 contenders

A CNN poll that came out today shows that a few surprises have come up in the race. The poll shows Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani has the clear favorites to grab their respective nominations.
The results of the poll are found below. The first number is the number for all party members, and the second number is only registered party members. Remember, registered GOPers or Dems are much more likely to vote in primaries. That is the number that really counts.

Click here for the complete poll info


Giuliani 31% - 32%
McCain 20% - 21%
Gingrich 12% -12%
Allen 7% - 7%
Frist 5% - 4%
Romney 5% - 6%
Pataki 4% - 3%
Brownback 1% - 1%
No opinion 14% - 13%


Clinton 37% - 38%
Gore 20% - 19%
Kerry 11% - 9%
Edwards 11% - 12%
Feingold 3% - 3%
Richardson 3% - 3%
Warner 3% - 3%
Bayh 2% - 2%
Biden 2% - 3%
Vilsack 1% - 0%
No opinion 8% - 8%

For the Dems, it seems to between Hillary or Gore - that's it. With Al not running, Hillary has the nomination in the bag.

The GOPers are somewhat more wide-open. Giuliani has just recently made a run, so he may fall just as fast. Newt Gingrich is the real surprise, as he has made several excellent showings in many recent polls. He is definitely one to watch.

Lieberman vs. Lamont poll

A new poll in the CT Senate race has Ned Lamont trailing Joe Lieberman by a whopping 16 points.

Lieberman 51% - Lamont 35% - Schlesinger 4% - Undecided 10%

With only 10% undecided, Ned Lamont looks done in this race. GOP support is Lieberman's key to victory.

Harris Update

After Katherine Harris wrapped up an easy victory Tuesday night, she immediately went on the offensive against Bill Nelson, bashing him for being an "ultra-liberal" Senator. Although the attacks against Nelson may turn some voters away, the Harris campaign needs to hit Nelson hard to stay in the race.

Primary aftermath

With Charlie Crist and Jim Davis getting the victory in their respective primaries Tuesday night, the campaign for November has quickly begun. Crist has it easy - getting help from Jeb Bush and already being a darling of the GOP establishment in Florida and nationally. Crist starts a three-city tour with Jeb today.

Jim Davis faces a tougher road to Tallahassee - and not just because he's a Democrat. The fallout from Davis' 1990 vote against restitution for two wrongly convicted black men has reached a fever pitch. Charlie Crist is bashing Davis for that everywhere he goes (unlike Rod smith, and Davis is even getting blasted by Florida Dems.

Davis invited reporters to listen in on a conference call with a prominent black lawmaker from South Florida. But the stagecraft did more to illustrate the challenge ahead than Davis could have imagined.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, skipped the congratulatory banter and instead plowed into a blunt, sometimes critical, assessment of Davis' standing with African-American voters and the ground he needs to cover.

"Y'all can't take black folks for granted," Hastings said, the urgency in his voice filling a barren room at Davis' headquarters in Tampa.

And Hastings wasn't done. He had something else to tell Davis: Charlie Crist had beat him to this punch. Crist called Hastings as polls closed Tuesday night - roughly 16 hours before Davis picked up the phone.

Hastings said he was "astounded" to get the call, adding Crist remembered meeting him about eight years ago.

"One thing that he said, and this is the trap I don't want us to fall into, was 'Nobody is going to work harder about civil rights,' " Hastings recalled. "Jim, you have to be a different white man. And it's just that simple. Black folks have the same damn problems that white folks have."

There's rumors about Davis making a turnaround on his policy towards that vote, with talk of apology letters to the two men and even setting up a public apology/campaign event with them. Would that help his situation, or just make it look like he's using the guys for a political stunt? Either way, Davis is in trouble.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Political Buzz calls the primaries

Results are at the State of Florida election website.

While the two Republican primaries are going as planned (Harris leads by 20.5%, Crist by 33%), the Democratic primary for Governor is getting close. As of 10 PM, Jim Davis leads Rod Smith 47% to 41%. Close enough to maybe make it interesting, but Davis will still win. 6 points is a big lead this late in the vote counting.

Enough votes are in for Political Buzz to call the big races. PB's calls on races in the FL primaries are...

GOP FL Senator: Katherine Harris
GOP FL Governor: Charlie Crist
DEM FL Governor: Jim Davis

Will these calls hold up? Absolutely...

Al Sharpton

As a last minute push before today's primary, the Rod Smith campaign turned to Al Sharpton (!!??) for assistance. Sharpton voiced a recorded phone call that trashed Jim Davis for his race record. That probably didn't help Rod too much...

Early Returns in Florida!

The very earliest returns from the various Florida primaries are in. These are mostly early voting and absentee ballots. No surprises...yet.

This info is from the State of Florida election website:

As of 8:14 PM :

U.S. Senator - Republican
Katherine Harris -
William McBride -

Governor - Republican
Charlie Crist -
117, 616
Tom Gallagher
Governor - Democrat
Jim Davis -
Rod Smith