Friday, March 21, 2008
McCain, on the other hand, was taking a victory lap. But that didn't seem to help him on the fundraising side. The New York Times reported today that McCain raised just $11 million in February -- less than he had raised in January, when he was trailing a handful of Republicans for the nomination.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
After toiling all day Wednesday on his bracketology, Barack Obama has revealed his politically astute picks. The final four will include the University of North Carolina, whose primary looms in seven weeks. The South region will go to Pitt, on one end of a state that votes April 22. His Midwest nod goes to a home state of sorts, Kansas, from whence his grandparents hail. The West? UCLA, Clinton country, but the land of the fundraiser. And how does it all end? According to Obama, UNC will overtake UCLA for the national title.
Over at The War Room, Alex Koppelman highlighted a CBS poll, which he claimed showed that it may "actually be easier for an African-American to be elected president than it would be for a woman." The poll results he noted are as follows:
Survey respondents were asked two separate questions, whether -- all other things being equal -- they would prefer to vote for a man or a woman and whether they would prefer to vote for a white candidate over a black candidate. Five percent of those polled said they would prefer a white candidate; 2 percent said they'd prefer a black candidate. On the other hand, 17 percent said they'd prefer to vote for a man over a woman, while only 3 percent said they'd prefer the woman.
But over at The Caucus, Janet Elder highlighted what appears to be the opposite conclusion -- from the same poll. Elder noted that, based on the poll, "a plurality of Americans, 42 percent said racism was a more serious problem for the country compared to 10 percent who said sexism was the more serious problem. Twenty-three percent said neither racism nor sexism was a problem for the country and another 23 percent volunteered that the problems were equally serious for the nation."
As many now know, during a trip to the Middle East, "100 years" falsely linked Iran to Al Qaeda in Iraq. He made the connection repeatedly before his pal Joe Lieberman leaned forward to correct him. First of all, it's worth taking a minute to read the item on Media Matters about the repeated mistakes McCain has made in his apparent area of expertise -- foreign policy. Here's a key passage:
But it wasn't the first time McCain made the same false statement. During an interview with nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt just one day earlier on March 17, McCain had said, "As you know, there are Al Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders, and they're moving back into Iraq."
And how have the media responded? Has there been wall-to-wall coverage on this major foreign policy gaffe by a politician that claims to be "ready from day one," according to his campaign website? Hardly. As NBC News political director Chuck Todd observed, "[H]ad Clinton or Obama done something like this, this would have been played on a loop, over and over." Some reports even offered possible excuses for McCain. In a post on his Political Punch blog, ABC News' Jake Tapper wondered, "Jet lag?" after noting Lieberman's correction of McCain.MSNBC's First Read now points out that McCain has made another "gaffe." From the report:
In Israel yesterday, NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum reports, Lieberman once again intervened when McCain made an incorrect reference about the Jewish holiday Purim -- by calling the holiday "their version of Halloween here."
McCain made the incorrect statement during a press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak after touring the Israeli city of Sderot to view buildings damaged by Hamas rocket fire. McCain was discussing the numerous rock attacks on the city. "Nine hundred rocket attacks in less than three months, an average of one every one to two hours. Obviously this puts an enormous and hard to understand strain on the people here, especially the children. As they celebrate their version of Halloween here, they are somewhere close to a 15-second warning, which is the amount of time they have from the time the rocket is launched to get to safety. That's not a way for people to live obviously."
Purim is not the equivalent of an Israeli Halloween, Appelbaum notes. The holiday -- although a joyous one -- commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from mass execution. When Sen. Lieberman had a chance to speak at the press conference, he placed the blame of the mistake on himself. "I had a brief exchange with one of the mothers whose children was in there in a costume for Purim," Lieberman, who is Jewish and celebrates the holiday, said. "And it's my fault that I said to Senator McCain that this is the Israeli version of Halloween. It is in the sense because the kids dress up and it's a very happy holiday and actually it is in the sense that the sweets are very important of both holidays."
The foolishness of the media's hype of this story is equally unsurprising and unfortunate. It's a shame not only because it is now, as it was in the 90s, irrelevant, but it's also, as it was in the 90s, a distraction from actual news.
ABC News, to its credit, later pointed out that the released schedule also shows that Hillary Clinton, in 1993, hosted gatherings to show her support for NAFTA; the same NAFTA that her campaign has repeatedly pledged she was not necessarily in support of. The schedules, therefore, provide a smoking gun. Whether Clinton was privately for NAFTA is another discussion, but the schedule proves that she was most certainly working to get her husband's controversial trade agreement passed.
This is the actual kind of news that the media should be looking for as it wades through her schedules. Unfortunately, it looks as though, 10 years later, we're still only interested in a stained blue dress.