Friday, August 29, 2008

Aug. 29, 2008 — Political Courier Webcast



I brought her name up for some serious consideration on July 13th.

We still thought it would be Pawlenty through last night, but it would have taken an IDIOT to pick Mitt Romney, and John McCain is a smart smart man.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Done Deal

[Photo: Luke N. Vargas.]

Meet the new First Family.

Getting ahead of myself, you say?

Well, my (Democratic) predictions have done alright so far...


The Competition

"The 15,000."

Uh oh.

Last Minute RNC Hotels

In case you're traveling to Minneapolis/St. Paul, rooms are still available at:

St. Paul's Hotel 340


The Hotel Minneapolis

Other than that, good luck; Minneapolis is fully booked.

Make it Official

The Political Courier will be in St. Paul next week for the Republican National Convention.

Prepare yourself...

Who Is Ben Domenech?

I wish I'd found this guy earlier.

It's always fun to listen to Republican pundits after a week or more of Democratic talking heads providing their VP and DNC spin.

Ben Domenech (founder of RedState—a great GOP read) chimes in on his own site to offer some stellar John McCain vice presidential speculation:

Biden slightly hurts the rationale for Romney. I do think that Romney would've been a bad choice from the get-go, and very out of character for McCain, but this makes it even less appealing, because Romney eliminates a good 2/3rds of the attacks that can be launched on Obama-Biden - on flip flops, on using quotes from debates against each other, on the economy. Romney's chief attributes shine when he sounds like a technocrat - but Biden is going to go populist in response, and I doubt Romney is an astute enough debater (he certainly didn't show it in the primary) to avoid getting tripped up and coming off as out of touch, wealthy, etc.

Blue collar executive experience = good.

White collar executive experience = bad.

Well put, Mr. Domenech.

Quicker Isn't Always Better

It seems Boston now falls under the NH media market, because Granite State Senate ads have been all over television coverage of the DNC this week.

Senator Sununu's opponent, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, spoke today at the DNC. While Shaheen is far from energizing and youthful, Sununu doesn't have a shot at holding onto his Senate seat this year.


Because "younger, faster, quicker, great dad, big-hearted, funny, and kind" aren't the keys to winning a campaign in New Hampshire.

Hold me to it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy I'm Not Picking Vice Presidents

Photo: Luke N. Vargas.

Evan Bayh, for all he might have done in delivering Indiana for Obama, didn't deliver tonight the way I expected him too.

Good, but not great.

Let's see how Biden (and President Clinton!) performs...

The Moment We (I) Had Been Waiting For

Some people find it hard to believe that the Obama campaign would allow Hillary Clinton to take over one whole night of the DNC. In truth, while Clinton was the main focus of last night, the Obama campaign put the "keynote" speaker of the convention, Mark Warner, on the same night.

So, for the sake of Democratic party unity, I'm glad Clinton gave the speech she did and made sure the focus was on her.

I'm not one of those ex-Clinton supporters who automatically jumped the fence and decided to vote for John McCain this November, but it has never been easy for me to get excited about Barack Obama. That lack of enthusiasm is not rooted in a belief that Barack Obama is a weak candidate that cannot win the general election, but because I never felt Obama and his campaign properly acknowledged Hillary Clinton; joint appearances by the two weren't enough to pacify me.

In Unity, NH, the small New Hampshire town where the Obama campaign sought to introduce Obama and Clinton voters to each other with a big rally, I picked up on a hesitation among Clinton voters. They felt it was difficult to cheer proudly for Hillary Clinton with Barack Obama sitting behind her and with avid Obama fans surrounding them in the audience. If they cheered too loudly or began chanting "Hillary," they could almost hear reporters blogging away at their keyboards about "unhappy Hillary voters" and sense heads turning all around them.

Plain and simple, Clinton supporters needed a moment when they could join together, raise their "Hillary" signs, chant, cry, and cheer as much as they wanted. It's not that Hillary Clinton supporters dislike Barack Obama, but we simply don't want Hillary Clinton to be presented to us by Barack Obama.

Last night, Hillary Clinton was ours again. It was nice to picture the Obama campaign advisors sweating a bit as she began delivering her speech, unsure if she was going to call in the air-strikes and ruin all their fun. But anyone who knows Hillary Clinton or supported her in the Primaries knew she wouldn't do that; Hillary Clinton may have needed her time in the spotlight, but her supporters needed it one last time as well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In 100 Words : Michelle Obama's DNC Speech

"She's been on the trail for more than a year, but still gives the impression of being a little realer than the seasoned pols."                                  — Ben Smith,

I can't agree more.

On three occasions I've watched Michelle Obama deliver prepared speeches, each time reacting similarly to the awkward, albeit charming, beginnings to her remarks.

To fully appreciate what Michelle says, look past what Obama’s staff insert into her scripts and find the parts where Michelle speaks naturally and from the heart; that is where the lasting importance of what she says exists.

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine.                                                                                   — Michelle Obama

Simply put, Barack and Michelle share an upbringing that, despite the Democrats’ lack of direct McCain attacks tonight, is 180˚ different (and a better sell in battleground states) than the “Seven Houses” McCains.

The Democrats need Michelle Obama.

Monday, August 25, 2008

NH Schedule

I'm off for a few days in New Hampshire interviewing voters around the state to gauge Obama's support leading up to his convention acceptance on Thursday.

I am planning trips to Keene, Manchester, and Peterborough to survey young voters before attending a Manchester "convention watch party" on the 28th.

Not So Fast

I mobilized very quickly Sunday night to try and arrange airfare, hotels, rental cars for a last-minute trip to the DNC in Denver. Though I won't rule out the possibility of somehow ending up at Invesco Field on Thursday night, I'm holding off on the trip for now.


Because the main reason to travel out to Denver would be to "say I was there," and looking back, I've been fortunate enough to be able to say I was at a lot of the big moments of the '08 campaign already, and have had countless memorable experiences:

—Unity, NH
—A GOP Primary Debate
—The Oprah/Obama rallies
—The Iowa Caucuses
—Seeing Hillary in Indiana
—The Pennsylvania Primary
—Interviewing John Edwards
—Hearing Mike Huckabee play rock n' roll
—Meeting Dodd, Huckabee, Biden, McCain, Kucinich, Richardson, Romney, Gravel, Edwards, Duncan Hunter, Tancredo, Brownback, and Giuliani

I'm sure I could walk out of Denver with some good photos and stories, but the best stories from the election aren't always where everyone else is looking, and EVERYONE is staring straight at Denver this week.

Enjoy some good old Granite State political coverage the next few days!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stuck Between the DNC and a Hard Place

There's a chance I'm off to Denver, Colorado tomorrow to cover the Democratic National Convention....the thing is I don't have any credentials...

If you see me loitering outside the Pepsi Center with my laptop and my usual black shirt and jeans, feel free to say hello.

Do I go to Denver? Do I not go to Denver?

....crossing my fingers on getting into Invesco Field....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Framing This Soon

An already great photo takes on some new importance.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Make it (99.9%) Official

There's a damn good chance Senator Joseph Biden will be the Vice President of the United States in January, 2009.


Biden may have been one of a few great candidates on Obama's "shortlist," but there are precious few statesmen like Biden left in politics, and Obama is lucky to have him on the ticket.

...though we agree with the comment left by "Eli" (likely an Evan Bayh supporter) on NBC New's online forum:

Suffice to say Obama will not win Indiana now no matter how many offices he opens there.


If Andrea Mitchell is correct that Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine are out of contention for the VP spot, I have only one thing to say:


...which is not to say that I won the VP prediction contest by any means. Rather, that it pays off to see all the presidential candidates during the primary season and see who impresses you the most; if they're a downright impressive candidate and they don't end up winning the nomination, put them on VP watch...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Inspiring Vision for the Future

Even if it's an ad by a company that made its money "Killing the Electric Car" in the 1990's...

Cross your fingers for a future of electric, solar, fuel cell, etc. cars.

An awesome TV spot.

Good work, GM's advertising division.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Unimportant State?

Think again.

If you need another reason to pick Evan Bayh, it's because with Indiana switching back to Republican control in recent polls, the electoral map looks way too close for a "landslide" candidate like Obama who's supposed to turn all those red states into blue states.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Backstage with Barack": Some Darn Good Fundraising

It's a pretty simple concept.

If you give $5 or more to the Obama campaign, your name is entered into a drawing to spend some time with Obama before he goes on stage to accept the Democratic nomination.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems very unlikely that a politician about to give the biggest speech of his life would enjoy being bothered by ten strangers and their guests. Just think what would happen if the campaign actually randomly selected the winners and ended up with a bunch of ex-Hillary supporters that didn't really love Obama but wanted to give him a few bucks anyway to win in November.

Not very good publicity there, right?

I can't say I'm at all surprised by the ten guests that will be with Obama in Denver (the list was released yesterday). Here are some good ones:

A teacher from a small Montana farming village.

An evangelical grandfather and ex-MIKE HUCKABEE supporter from a swing state.

A female college student from Alaska who is "interviewing native elders about their experiences with segregation" for summer break.

And Trinance, "a single mother and disabled veteran who served overseas for the Iraq War."

My apologies to the many thousands who donated money hoping to win and were instead overlooked as the Obama campaign hunted for some "lucky winners" with relevant and juicy stories. the Obama campaign laughs all the way to the bank...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Obama in Europe: Nowhere to Hide

Ignoring how effective the Obama campaign's voter registration drive is, it's starting to be a wee bit irritating.

Yes, those are Obama signs at Rome's Piazza Navona.

"Americans in Italy for Obama" are some nice folks, and registration drives for Americans Abroad in Europe says a lot about the strength of Obama's worldwide strength.

Really. Impressive.

...even if vacations better without campaign '08 sneaking in...

Friday, August 15, 2008


It's hasta luego to Barcelona as I begin my return to the U.S. after quite a long and lovely time in Europe.

Rest assured I have been keeping up with polls and the latest election news to avoid any surprises when I open up the papers back home.

P.S. Will John and Elizabeth Edwards still appear together in September at the speech they were supposed to give (and I had been planning to attend)?!?

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I remember lingering around a half-empty ballroom at a Des Moines hotel this past January after John Edwards left the stage and many of his supporters had filed out of the room. It was obvious that Edwards' second place finish would damage his chances of winning future states and becoming the Democratic nominee, but I felt like I had witnessed an amazing moment in election history. For someone who's listened to every candidate's stump speech numerous times, I felt like Edwards had broken from the mold and was speaking fromt the heart.

As the Democratic field narrowed down to Obama, Clinton, and Edwards through January, it seemed only a matter of time before Edwards would have to drop out, but I still loved seeing him on debate stages and delivering his talking points on television. Up until yesterday I wished Edwards had been the nominee instead of Obama; I thought he had a better chance of winning this November.

Now, after meeting Edwards twice (once privately for an interview), publicly voicing my support for him, and arguing on his behalf to friends and colleagues, I can't help but feel outraged that Edwards would hide such important information for so long.

As every Democrat is aware, the most important criteria in choosing a nominee for the party this year is electability--finding someone who can beat John McCain and put a Democrat back in the White House. That a major presidential candidate would withold a scandal (while maintaining innocence and touting his amazing family values) that would have destroyed his campaign and elected John McCain overnight, shows John Edwards' true motives: being elected President was more important for him than having a Democrat elected in 2008.

I (still) love Edwards' 2004 and 2008 political platforms, but he will never be the same in my eyes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Conversation Between Barack and Michelle

Back in 2006 I bought a "Bayh 2008" button on I wore the button around, put up an Evan Bayh picture as the background on my laptop, and tried to get people to ask for more information about him.

I dug through his Senate homepage and soon was able to list his accomplishments for the state of Indiana in conversation. Though Bayh ended his campaign long before many other candidates officially announced their own, Bayh's record, lasting popularity as a Democrat in Indiana (then considered deeply Republican), and the son of the remarkable Birch Bayh, made it impossible for me to forget his name and prospects for an executive position in the future.

Fast forward to April, 2008 and I'm crouching down 5 feet in front of Evan Bayh to take photos of him and Hillary Clinton and a campaign stop in Valparaiso, Indiana. I finally felt like the perfect Democratic presidential ticket had descended down right in front of me.

Hillary Clinton may be out of the picture now, but Bayh certainly isn't as a prospective Vice-President for Barack Obama.

Bayh and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine look to be the top contenders in this year's "veepstates," especially as the two campaigned with Barack and Michelle respectively yesterday and today.

Just imagine the conversation Michelle Obama will have with Barack over the next few days. Each will share their experiences about the two candidates and, together with their advisors, work towards an official decision.

As one of the most exciting events of a presidential election--not only because it serves as a candidate's "first Presidential decision," but because 90% of each party's voters have to deal with another high-profile politician until the election whether they like them or not--I would love to hear what Barack and Michelle have to say about Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine.

...and hopefully they like Evan the most...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Getting Past the Euro

Once you get past the terrible exchange rate, Europe is still tremendously exciting to travel through.

Menton, Venice, and now Florence; from the French waterfront to the art capitol of the world.

No political posts from me for now, but I have a guest post lined up for next week.