Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Palin. McCain chooses Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. The Obama team knocks Palin as "the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience." Much of the right seems happy with the choice. The biggest anxiety among McCain supporters would seem to be worries about Palin's "experience" (or lack thereof) and the way that will play in the media; she was just elected as governor in 2006 and is a few years younger than Obama. But they also like her positions on social and cultural issues and her reputation as a reformer. She's also extremely popular in Alaska--a recent poll has her approval rating at 80%.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Obama campaign continues to push to shut down discussion of Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers. In an alert sent to supporters, the campaign attacks National Review writer Stanley Kurtz as a "slimy character assassin" and urges supporters to call a Chicago radio station to complain about giving Kurz air time on a program to discuss his research into the Annenberg Challenge:

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Obama Action Wire
Date: Wed, Aug 27, 2008
Subject: Chicago: CALL TONIGHT to fight the latest smear

[Name] —

In the next few hours, we have a crucial opportunity to fight one of
the most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.

Tonight, WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a
forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears. He's
currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00
p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and
University of Illinois professor William Ayers.

Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing
baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of
political discourse.

Call into the "Extension 720" show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200

(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)

Then report back on your call at

Kurtz has been using his absurd TV appearances in an awkward and
dishonest attempt to play the terrorism card. His current ploy is to
embellish the relationship between Barack and Ayers.

Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack's
connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the
board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has
been disproved in numerous press accounts.

It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character
assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our
public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest
rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies.

Kurtz is scheduled to appear from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the Chicago market.

Calling will only take a minute, and it will make a huge difference if
we nip this smear in the bud. Confront Kurtz tonight before this goes
any further:

Please forward this email to everyone you know who can make a call tonight.

Keep fighting the good fight,

Obama Action Wire
Interestingly, it seems as though Milt Rosenberg's show invited the Obama campaign to send a spokesperson to counter Kurtz's claims--to be in the studio for the whole two-hour interview--but the campaign declined. So the show did offer a chance for a "rebuttal." Instead of taking that chance, though, the Obama campaign instead decided to mobilize its supporters to assail the radio station airing this discussion with complaints. Audio of Kurtz's appearance is here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A behind-closed-doors fight happens over some of the language relating to immigration during the drafting of the Republican party's official platform:

Delegates were split into different subcommittees and it was in the national security meeting where members got into heated discussion surrounding the issues of amnesty and English as the official language of the United States.

Two delegates wanted to harden the language surrounding the issue of amnesty. The draft read, “We oppose amnesty.” But, delegates from North Carolina and Colorado wanted to include opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” because they believe it is a code word for amnesty. This sparked a heated discussion between members with a delegate from Washington DC who said that the Republican Party is a “not a xenophobic party, not an intolerant party. We are a compassionate party that follows the rule of law and endorses federal law,” said Bud McFarlane. Kendal Unruh from Colorado, who wanted to include “opposition to comprehensive immigration reform” to the draft, seemed to take offense to that statement citing her missionary work and saying that she would “never have the label” of xenophobic “slapped on me.” She continued to press that the committee add the tougher language to stop “behind the door tactics” to prevent “amnesty” of illegal aliens.


After much debate the amendment was not adopted and the language will remain as, “We oppose amnesty” without a mention of comprehensive immigration reform.

The immigration debate continued when the topic of English being the “accepted” language of the country opposed to the “official” language of the United States. The draft stated that English is the “common” and “accepted” language. The delegates from North Carolina and Colorado again wanted stronger language to make English the “official” language of the country.

Sam Winder from New Mexico wanted to add language that welcomed other languages, but did state that English was the official language of the country. Disagreement between the two sides continued, but a compromise was agreed on and put into the draft.

H/T Hot Air

Angered by Obama-Ayers Ad, the Obama Campaign Raises the Specter of Legal Challenge: In addition to rallying Obama's supporters to write letters of protest to stations that air the "Know Enough?" ad, which connects Obama to 60s radical and bomber Bill Ayers, the Obama campaign now threatens legal challenges against both the group that finances the ad, the American Issues Project (AIP), and television stations that air the ad. The Politico has a roundup of some of the threats the Obama campaign has issued. The campaign's general counsel, Robert Bauer, has written to the Department of Justice, demanding an investigation of the group, its officers, and its donors. Bauer argues that the AIP is in violation of election laws and argues that, though it is registered as a 501(c)(4), it is doing acts outside the realm of 501(c)(4) rules.
The AIP has responded in their own letter to the Department of Justice, written by their counsel, Clita Mitchell. Mitchell's letter counters Bauer's charges that about the way it is organized and compares its operations to those of NARAL. NARAL is also registered as a 501(c)(4), and Bauer once served as counsel for that organization.
Bauer has sent two letters to station managers. One aims to refute some of the specific charges of the AIP ad. The other warns that airing this as would be "inconsistent with your station's obligations under the Federal Communications Commission regulations." Could this be a threat--that stations which air the ad could face some difficulty under an FCC appointed by a President Obama? Some see this as another example of Obama playing "Chicago hardball." Though Obama (or at least his press secretary) says that he does not support the return of the "fairness doctrine," many of his fellow Democrats do, including high-ranking Democrats in the House and Senate. Those kinds of increases in the regulatory power of the FCC could increase an administration's ability to use the instruments of regulation for political retaliation.

UPDATE: Bauer sends another letter to the DOJ, reiterating his request for an investigation of those associated with the American Issues Project and requesting the prosecution of AIP donor Harold Simmons. The AIP responds, calling the Obama campaign's letter "reminiscent of the kind of censorship one would see in a Stalinist dictatorship." The Politico has more.