Posted: 21 Aug 2008 12:09 PM CDT
The debates will be sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates and both the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign have agreed to the terms and framework to be applied to each of the debates.
John McCain and Barack Obama have issued a joint statement on an agreement the two campaigns have come to about three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, naming dates, locations and term agreements.
The John McCain website offers the joint statement which states, "The Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns have agreed to hold three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in September and October sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The campaigns have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history. This announcement reflects the presidential campaigns' agreement on dates, locations, and the formats for the fall debates. Campaign-appointed debate negotiators House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said they were pleased to have reached an early agreement to provide the American people with the opportunity to see and hear the candidates debate the critical issues facing the country. The two campaigns have accepted sponsorship of the debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates, subject to the debates being conducted under the terms of their agreement."
All the debates will last 90 minutes.
The first of the Presidential debates will be held on September 26, 2008, at the University of Mississippi and the topic of the debate will be "Foreign Policy & National Security".
It will be a podium debate and the moderator will be Jim Lehrer.
This first debate will broken into nine-minute segments, with the Lehrer introducing the topic and each candidate will have two minutes to comment. Then the moderator will open a 5 minute discussion, making sure each candidate gets equal time to comment.
The second Presidential debate will be held on October 7, 2008, at Belmont University.
It will be a town-hall style debate and the moderator will be Tom Brokaw.
The agreed framework for that debate will have the moderator calling on the audience to ask questions, some questions will come from the Internet as well, each candidate will have two minutes to answer the questions, then the candidates will each have one minute to respond to each of the answers given, assuring equal time be given to both candidates.
The third debate will be on October 15, 2008, at Hofstra University, and the topic will be "Domestic and Economic policy."
The candidates will be seated at a table for that debate and the moderator will be Bob Schieffer.
The framework agreed upon for that debate will be the same as for the first debate with the exception of both candidates having 90 seconds at the end for closing statements.
The fourth debate agreed to will be for the not as yet named vice presidential running mates and will be held on October 2, 2008, at Washington University in St. Louis.
The moderator for that debate will Gwen Ifill and the framework for that debate is to be determined after both presidential candidates have been chosen.
All four debates will begin at 9pm ET.
After the candidate's performances at Saddleback, I think John Mccain will do better at these debates because they will not have a teleprompter to read from and especially the town-hall style debate where the candidates have to answer questions from the audience.
These are the types of settings that John McCain does very well in and that Barack Obama doesn't.
H/T The Swamp.
Posted: 21 Aug 2008 11:15 AM CDT
Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook
In addition to spelling out that U.S. troops would move out of Iraqi cities by next summer, the Iraqi government has pushed for a specific date — most likely the end of 2011 — by which all U.S. forces would depart the country. In the meantime, the U.S. troops would be positioned on bases in other parts of the country to make them less visible while still being able to assist Iraqi forces as needed.Zebari was asked about the reactions of nearby countries to the agreement. Speaking in Arabic, he said:
...this decision (agreement) is a sovereign one and Iran and other neighboring countries have the right to ask for clarifications. ... There are clear articles (that) say that Iraq will not be used as a launching pad for any aggressive acts against neighboring countries and we already did clarify this.Moqtada al-Sadr a controversial and militant cleric, railed against the pact, saying that Washington was trying to "twist Baghdad's arm to sign it."
Today, Condoleezza Rice, the occupation foreign secretary, arrived in Iraq to try to put pressure on the government of Iraq to accept terms dictated by the occupation to sign this ominous treaty," said a statement read out by Sadr political adviser Liwa Smeism at the cleric's office in Najaf.Secretary Rice will also attempt to get Iraq's failed election law back on track to allow an October 1st "provincial vote. The legislation stalled over how to "run the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk."
Posted: 21 Aug 2008 09:46 AM CDT
A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of special interests. An earmark is legislation which provide funds to a specific special interest, usually that interest is in the home state of the politician which has been lobbied and has inserted the earmark into a bill.
John McCain sat down with a The Politico reporter for a half hour after his town-hall style meeting and spoke about a variety of issues, one being lobbyist and earmarks, something he had been a longtime critic of. He called them "birds of prey".
John McCain has been a longtime critic of lobbyists and earmarks and in his career, first in U.S. House of Representatives where he served two terms, then in the U.S. Senate which he was elected as Senator of Arizona in 1986, easily winning reelection in 1992, 1998 and 2004.
In those years of his career, McCain has never met an earmark he liked and is one of the few politicians in Washington who has never earmarked what is called a pork-barrel project.
When he sat down with The Politico reporter, after a town-hall style meeting in New Mexico, right off the bat he made it clear he would not discuss his vice presidential pick and they describe him as clearly weary of the question.
What he did discuss was lobbyists and earmarks, making the comparison between himself and Barack Obama, pointing to the amount of money for earmarks Obama has asked for in his career, stating, "Senator Obama has asked for nearly a billion dollars in earmarked pork-barrel projects. And he rails against lobbyists? I've never taken a single one."
He also referred to lobbyists as "birds of prey".
McCain was asked about the lobbyists working for him and he asserts that anyone working in his administration would not be allowed to go back to lobbying and they would have to make a pledge agreeing to it.
He pointed to his own example to which he says, "I point out what my record is, which is one that has not won me Miss Congeniality over the years. People want change in America — we all know that — and very legitimately so."
The senator went so far as to say: "Lobbyists don't come to my office. Because they know they're not going to be an earmark. They know they're not going to get a pork-barrel project. Senator Obama's gotten lots of 'em.:"
McCain maintains there are too many lobbyists in Washington and goes on to say they are "they are the symptom of a disease", declaring, "As long as you have earmarking and pork-barrel spending and bridges to nowhere and money for DNA of bears in Montana and museums and all that, then you're going to have lobbyists.
"So it's kind of entertaining to me to attack the lobbyists rather than the source of the problem, which is the earmark. They'd all be out of business – most of 'em would be out of business if we stopped pork-barrel and earmark spending."
Despite the daily rhetoric from both campaigns, The Politico article mentions lobbying and the Russia/Georgia conflict were the rare times in the interview that McCain mentioned Obama.
On the topic of Russia and Georgia and Obama's response to the situation when it occurred, McCain draws other comparisons and he states he doesn't question Obama's patriotism but he does question his judgment. McCain's states for the record, "I have, and continue to question his judgment, whether it be his initial reaction to the Russian invasion of Georgia, or whether it be his failure to acknowledge that the surge has succeeded, or his opposition to nuclear power, among others. So I question the judgment. I don't question the patriotism."
Another topic he spoke about was the recent book "Obama Nation" which hit number 1 on the New York Times' best seller list, and has unsubstantiated personal attacks against Barack Obama and questions his ties to Islam, with McCain saying he was not comfortable with that type of attack helping his campaign. He also points out that he had previously condemned similar lines of attack.
He was referring to the commercials used in other campaigns which invoked Obama's longtime Pastor Jeremiah Wright after video emerged of him making controversial comments in his sermons, which McCain denounced at the time.
John McCain did admit that he has not read the "Obama Nation" book, so he could not comment directly to the content nor denounce the book outright.
The Politico report states that McCain "Punted on several opportunities to whack Obama".
They refer to when he was asked if Hillary Clinton would make a better president than Obama, to which he answered, "I don't know, " and when asked if he felt the United States would be more vulnerable to a terrorist attack under a President Obama than it would be under a President McCain, he responded with, "I'm sure that if Senator Obama were president of the United States, if the American people chose him to be their president, that he would act as a president who would get my full and complete support."
John McCain did a good job in this interview as The Politico did. He is right, lobbyists are like vultures but if they did not have vulnerable and waek politicians that felt the need to bribe their constituents with special interest funding for their home states, then lobbyists wouldn't be what they are or be capable of what they do.
It is the corrupt politicians and the earmarks that are the problem. Politicians use those earmarks to buy their reelections and lobbyists simply lobby them because they understand that weakness and the corrupt nature of Washington.
I am glad McCain pointed out the massive amount of spending Obama has asked for in earmarks. For a man chanting the word "change" he seems more than willing to continue a practice that costs this country billions of dollars for pork that is generally inserted into must-pass bills.
McCain has walked the walk, for decades, on the high road on this topic and it is a point people need to be aware of.
I would disagree strongly with his not making it clear that we would be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks if Obama was elected because enemies seize on weakness and inexperience, which is all Obama has to offer.
I would also go as far as to say if the choices were only Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Clinton would be better equipped and stronger to protect this country than Obama is or ever could be.
The Democrats have chosen their weakest candidate, which is something it looks like the rest of the country is finally catching on to, if the recent variety of polls are any indicator.
McCain seems to be on his game now and people are starting to sit up and take notice.
Posted: 20 Aug 2008 06:31 PM CDT
In a very unusual move, Clinton's staff, organized by longtime Clinton staffer Craig Smith, has been asked to create a 40-member "whip team" to work along with Obama convention floor workers to prevent any "embarrassing" anti- Obama demonstrations during the time that Hillary Clinton will be on stage or during the state by state roll call vote which her name has been placed in nomination for.
Hillary Clinton's staff has been assigned to create a "whip team" for the Democratic National Committee Convention later this month, The team is being created to stop any floor protests from Clinton supporters against Barack Obama.
As reported by The Politico's, The Crypt, a person involved with the planning says, "If people get down there on the floor and want to start blowing kazoos and making a scene we want to make sure we've got people who stand in front of them with Obama signs."
That person goes on to state, "Is it typical for a losing candidate to have their own whip team? No. But it's also not usual for a losing candidate to get 18 million votes either."
It was also reported that some Clinton staffers baulked at the idea of being forced to police their own supporters, but they wanted a floor pass which was hard to come by for Clinton supporters at a convention run by Barack Obama.
Kathleen Strand, a Clinton spokesperson asserts that the whip team will not be trying to convince anyone to vote for Hillary Clinton, but they would offer Hillary signs to those that ask.
This news along with the recent speculation about Clinton supporters and/or Clinton herself planning some sort of coup, certainly promises much entertainment if things do not go exactly as planned and if the diehard Clinton supporters have their way.
.One has to wonder if the news saying Obama wants to diminish the role and reduce the power of superdelegates by the 2012 election as Washington Post's, The Trail is reporting, he might have wanted to announce that after the convention when he no longer needs these superdelegates to vote for him.
Posted: 20 Aug 2008 06:01 PM CDT
There was a bit I didn't mention in the part one of this piece, namely the Politico piece and the Reuters piece, so consider this part #2 and Part #1 can be found here.
The Politico reports their findings as they track recent polls and finds Barack Obama taking a serious hit in a variety of polls from multiple polling organizations for a number of different reasons.
Polls are but a snapshot in time, but when a variety of polls start showing a trend, it begins to outline a pattern and Reuters reports the most recent poll while The Politico tracks the pattern of multiple polls, all showing Obama's declining numbers.
They start off by saying "John McCain has overtaken Barack Obama in the presidential race, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released Wednesday morning."
The most recent Reuters/Zogby poll can be found here and the results are called a dramatic reversal over a previous poll conducted in July.
The previous July poll showed Barack Obama held a 7 percentage point lead over McCain and when Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr were added in, Obama held a ten point lead over McCain.
The August Reuters/Zogby Poll shows Obama has not only lost his 7 point lead over McCain individually, but has lost the 10 point lead in the four way race.
The August poll brings good tidings for John McCain, he now leads Obama by 5 points and keeps the same five point lead over Obama in the four way race with Nader and Barr included, which is a 12 point swing against Barack Obama when individually matched up with McCain and a 15 point swing against Obama in a four way race.
Between July and August Obama has lost 9 percentage points among Democrats, lost 8 points among women, lost 11 points among catholics, lost 12 points from people over 35, lost 11 points from college graduates, lost 11 points from those living in cities, lost 7 points from those with an income over $50,000 and lost 11 points from Southerners.
Reuters calls this a "sharp turnaround" and highlights the issue that most concerns likely voters is the economy and "McCain now has a 9-point edge, 49 percent to 40 percent, over Obama on the critical question of who would be the best manager of the economy."
The July poll had Obama up by four points last July on the same question about the economy.
"There is no doubt the campaign to discredit Obama is paying off for McCain right now," pollster John Zogby said. "This is a significant ebb for Obama."
The Politico takes it a step further and tracks other recent polls for a variety of polling organizations, which shows in some polls Obama still holds a slight lead, within the margin of error, but when compared with the same organization's previous polls on the same topic, Obama is showing a decline in numbers and support.
They point to a poll released yesterday, the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll , which had Obama up, within the margin of error, by 2 percentage points, 45 percent to 43 percent and show the same poll in mid-June has Obama ahead by 12 points. A net loss of 10 points.
A more tepid shift was measured in another national poll taken Aug. 12-17 by Quinnipiac University. That survey had Obama leading 47 percent to 42 percent. However, the same poll in mid-July had Obama leading McCain 50 percent to 41 percent.
In looking around I found other polls, such as CNN's polling of polls, which was written before the latest Reuters/Zogby Poll was released today, which showed Obama ahead by three, which they say has seen his lead cut in half in just one week.
According to Real Clear Politics state by state polling page, which lists the latest polls from multiple organizations for individual states, the same type pattern is emerging. Obama has gone from being well ahead of McCain to it being a neck-and-neck race to the finish line.
The good news for Obama is with him due to announce his presidential candidate within days and the Democratic convention being held next week, it is expected he should see some sort of "bounce" in the polls as the coverage focuses on the Democrats that week.
The bad news is reports say John McCain will announce his vice presidential pick on the 29th of August which is the day after the Democratic convention ends, which is the weekend before the Republican convention starts where McCain will then be expected to get the same type of "bounce".
Posted: 20 Aug 2008 03:51 PM CDT
The speaker lineup is out and although there may be additional speakers it does help eliminate some of those names that have been floated and speculated on as John McCain's VP choice.
For example the first speaker on the first night of the Republican National Convention will be Joseph Lieberman, hence, it can be loosely assumed that Lieberman will not be the VP choice for McCain.
For his loyalty to McCain I could see Lieberman being offered a cabinet seat in a McCain administration.
The first night's speakers will be:
Monday, Sept. 1
So far so good, that should cause a sigh of relief from people that were concerned about McCain picking a pro-choice running mate.
Yesterday Fox News assured everyone that according to the RNC, the other pro-choice candidate that was being speculated about, Tom Ridge, was also out of the picture.
This seems to be confirmed by the second night's roster of speakers, where Ridge is slated to speak after Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mike Huckabee.
Generally those speaking on the second night are not called upon to be the running mate, although nothing is written in stone and McCain does like to be unpredictable.
Tuesday, Sept. 2
Which brings us to other names that have been floated, Mitt Romney, Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal...all for which are slated to speak on the third night.
Wednesday, Sept. 3
Which leaves the fourth and final night, the night where John McCain will give his acceptance speech and where you would expect the VP choice to be on the list somewhere......hmmmm..... maybe as the first speaker of the fourth night?
Which happens to be.....Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
Does this mean Pawlenty is the choice...no...but he sure could be.
Fourth night's line up is:
Thursday, Sept. 4
Would they start night four with the vice presidential pick and end it with the presidential pick?
Maybe, maybe not... but it bears noting that some wonder about names not on the isn't, such as Rob Portman and as the American Spectator points out, Portman happens to live close to the Dayton, Ohio rally at which McCain is expected to announce his choice next Friday. They also float two other names, which are Fred Smith and Eric Cantor.
Names will still be added, the RNC announcement made that clear.
It is starting to look like it is between Pawlenty and Portman, then again, it could all be a mind game to keep the speculation running high.
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