Tag Archives: John McCain

Obama and McCain Share Somber Moment at Ground Zero

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain with Cindy McCain and Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the World Trade Center site on Thursday.

from the New York Times

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Sarah Palin’s Alaskonomics

From Time.com – By MICHAEL KINSLEY

Sarah Palin thinks she is a better American than you because she comes from a small town, and a superior human being because she isn’t a journalist and never lived in Washington and likes to watch her kids play hockey. Although Palin praised John McCain in her acceptance speech as a man who puts the good of his country ahead of partisan politics, McCain pretty much proved the opposite with his selection of a running mate whose main asset is her ability to reignite the culture wars. So maybe Governor Palin does represent everything that is good and fine about America, as she herself maintains. But spare us, please, any talk about how she is a tough fiscal conservative.

Palin has continued to repeat the already exposed lie that she said, “No, thanks,” to the famous “bridge to nowhere” (McCain’s favorite example of wasteful federal spending). In fact, she said, “Yes, please,” until this project became a symbol and political albatross.

Back to reality. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 21/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska’s government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.

Alaska is, in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89% of the state’s unrestricted revenue. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state. Alaska residents each get a yearly check for about $2,000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1,200 pushed through by Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices. Any sympathy the governor of Alaska expresses for folks in the lower 48 who are suffering from high gas prices or can’t afford to heat their homes is strictly crocodile tears.

As if it couldn’t support itself, Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950). Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states, and in the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.

Under the state constitution, the governor of Alaska has unusually strong powers to shape the state budget. At the Republican Convention, Palin bragged that she had vetoed “nearly $500 million” in state spending during her two years as governor. This amounts to less than 2% of the proposed budget. That’s how much this warrior for you, the people, against it, the government, could find in wasteful spending under her control.

One thing Barack Obama and McCain disagree on is an oil windfall-profits tax. McCain is against it, on the theory that it is a tax and therefore bad and also on the theory that it would discourage domestic production. Obama is for it, on the theory that if oil companies can make a nice profit when oil sells for $50 per bbl., they can still make a nice profit when it sells at more than $100, even if the government takes a bit and spreads the money around to those who are hurting from higher oil prices.

Although Palin’s words side with McCain in this dispute, her actions side with Obama. Her major legislative accomplishment has been to revamp Alaska’s windfall-profits tax in order to increase the state’s take. Alaska calls it a “clear and equitable share” tax. The state assumes that extracting oil from the tundra costs about $25 per bbl. and takes as much as 75% of the difference between that and the sale price.

Why is a windfall-profits tax good for Alaska but not for the U.S.? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? People in Alaska are better than people in the rest of the U.S. They’re more American. Although there are small towns and farms and high school hockey teams in the lower 48, there are fewer down here, per capita, than in Alaska. And there are many more journalists and pollsters and city dwellers and other undesirables who might benefit if every American had the same right to leech off the government as do the good citizens of Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

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Eisenhower ‘s Warning to the American People: The Military Industrial Complex

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Gustav updates: DIY data, RNC recycled, energy infrastructure, rehabbing wetlands

Gustav updates: DIY data, RNC recycled, energy infrastructure, rehabbing wetlands


Image: a work created by Banksy in New Orleans last week, photographed by Jonno.

Image: a work created by Banksy in New Orleans last week, photographed by Jonno.

(1) Jim Graham wipes the playa dust off his keyboard and types,

John Graham (no relation) has created .kml and .kmz files integrating satellite imagery of Gustaz, updating every 15 minutes. Files are available at: (one) (two)

(2) Jeff Masters at Weather Underground blogs:

The main concern from Gustav is the storm surge. NHC is still predicting a 10-14 foot storm surge along the east side of New Orleans (Figure 2). This storm surge is characteristic of a Category 3 hurricane, providing a significant test of New Orleans’ rebuilt levee system. Recent tide gauge readings from the east side of New Orleans show that a storm surge in excess of 7 feet has already occurred in Lake Borgne (Figure 1).

(3) BB reader Quincy Webster points us to an infographic modeling estimated Gustav damage to energy infrastructure in the Gulf. “Graphic below is damage models based on LBAR hurricane forecast track, key is below. Numerical damage estimates are below the fold for oil and natural gas shut-in and damage.”

(4) DHunter says,

This pachube url has a little google map showing the current reported location of the hurricane and its wind speed and pressure (and, if you’re prone to making things electronic, via Pachube also the data that can be used with Arduinos to make a remote monitor, device, whatever; or embed the 24hour windspeed graph in webpages).

(5) Video: John McCain pops a lulz on FEMA, Katrina, and Arabian Horses, back in 2005. (via Siege)

(6) In the New York Times, a profile of Mark Schleifstein, the 24-year veteran of NOLA’s Times-Picayune , known as “the man who predicted the flood.” He believes restoring natural wetlands and indigenous ecosystems in the Gulf region is the only way to prevent recurring catastrophic damage.

“If the federal government ever awakens to the disastrous consequences of inaction on that front — the importance of coastal restoration and the rebuilding of barrier islands — Mark will deserve much of the credit,” [Times-Picayune editor Jim] Amoss said. In the aftermath of Katrina, Mr. Schleifstein and a team of reporters investigated the failure of the levees surrounding New Orleans. He also reported on the rebuilding of the levee system and the efforts to replenish the area’s wetlands and coastlines. His most recent series, “Last Chance,” published in March 2007, outlined why scientists believe the next decade is crucial to the wetlands restoration process.

Here is Shleifstein’s blog at the Times-Picayune — he’s been posting items daily over the last few days.

(7) Here are two frequently-updated Twitter feeds from folks on the ground on NOLA: @raynola = Ray Shea, and @gustavreporter, Chicago Tribune reporters who are there to cover the storm and its aftermath. (thanks @unapologetic)

(8) The New Orleans metbloggers are at it again today, with posts about “staying in town, CNN panic and levees getting topped.”

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Country First – Go Repulican 2008 Video

Country First

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What is McCain Thinking? One Alaskan’s Perspective.

Lovely Downtown Wasilla, Alaska

From Mudflats“Tiptoeing Through the Muck of Alaskan Politics”

“Is this a joke?”  That seemed to be the question du jour when my phone started ringing off the hook at 6:45am here in Alaska.  I mean, we’re sort of excited that our humble state has gotten some kind of national ‘nod’….but seriously?  Sarah Palin for Vice President?  Yes, she’s a popular governor.  Her all time high approval rating hovered around 90% at one point.  But bear in mind that the 90% approval rating came from one of the most conservative, and reddest-of-the-red states out there.  And that approval rating came before a series of events that have lead many Alaskans to question the governor’s once pristine image.

There is no doubt in my mind that many Alaskans are feeling pretty excited about this.  But we live in our own little bubble up here, and most of the attention we get is because of The Bridge to Nowhere, polar bears, the indictment of Ted Stevens, and the ongoing investigation and conviction of the string of legislators and oil executives who literally called themselves “The Corrupt Bastards Club”.

So seeing our governor out there in the national spotlight accepting the nomination for Vice Presidential candidate is just downright surreal.  Just months ago, when rumors surfaced that she was on the long version of the short list, she was questioned if she’d be interested in the position.  She said she couldn’t answer  “until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day. I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here….”

There is no doubt that Palin has fierce territorial loyalties.  When elected governor there was much concern because she came right out and said she would favor her own home town of Wasilla (where she was mayor) and its surrounding environs collectively known as “the Valley” while leading the state.  And it’s obvious from her statement that Alaska was on her mind when accepting the VP nod (see my emphasis above).

So what is it that we’re “trying to accomplish up here”?

  • Palin is currently in the middle of a controversial gas pipeline project in Alaska.  She’s favored the ‘Trans Canada’ proposal that will run the pipeline through Canada, in effect shipping US jobs over the border.  Many Alaskans, including former governors, have favored the “All Alaska Route”.
  • She is also suing the federal government over listing the polar bears as a threatened species.  The science was even compelling enough to convince the Secretary of the Interior that the bears needed to be listed.  But acknowledgement of this issue, and the potential disruption to development on Alaska’s oil-rich north slope spurred Palin to attempt to stop the listing.
  • Does she want to open ANWR?  Yes.  Every politician in Alaska wants to open ANWR.  It’s basically a requirement if you ever hope to get elected for anything.  Even Mark Begich, the progressive Democrat running against the indicted Senator and Alaskan institution Ted Stevens, is pro-drilling.  That’s the sea we swim in up here.  There are a few anti-drilling folks, but you have to look hard to find them, and work hard to have them admit it.

Will all this wash with voters in the ‘Lower 48′?  Time will tell.

18 Million Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

It was obvious anyway, but became beat-you-over-the-head-with-a-two-by-four obvious when Palin referenced the ‘glass ceiling’ line, that this choice is a blatant pander to women.  I would like to believe that women will actually feel insulted by this.  Yes, it would have been historic if Hillary had gotten the nomination.  It was historic that she made it as far as she did.  Yes, it would be great to have a woman in the oval office, or in the VP slot if they are the right woman…a woman who got there with her own drive, grit, determination, intelligence, skill and merits.  When you’re hand-picked by a man to win votes simply because you are a woman, that doesn’t count, and it doesn’t break any kind of ceiling.  Would we have had a Stan Palin as our VP pick?  No.  So choosing a woman because you think her gender will get votes is insulting.

Governor “Squeakyclean”….or not.

Another focus of Palin’s introduction today was her reform image.  Listen to John McCain and you’ll hear about a maverick reformer who took on big oil, took on corrupt Alaska politicians, and whose ethics are unquestioned.

Alaskans really want to like Sarah Palin.  In a state where corruption is the rule, and the same faces keep recycling over and over and over again like a bad dream, a new face, with a promise of reform seemed like a breath of fresh air.  Palin defeated incumbent governor Frank Murkowski (father of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski who he appointed to his own Senate seat when he was elected governor) because he was such an obnoxious, bloviating, downright BAD politician.  This staunchly republican state voted with relief, not having to cross over and vote Democratic, but still able to get Murkowski the hell out of office.  In the general election Palin swept into office running against a former Democratic governor, Tony Knowles, who was capable but came with baggage.  And he represented to Alaskans more of the same, tired old-style politics, and special interests that we have come to loathe.

So, if McCain had made his selection six months ago, the squeaky-clean governor meme would have made a little more sense.  But, Sarah Palin is currently under an ethics investigation by the Alaska state legislature.  The details of this investigation read like a trashy novel, and I suspect that the players will soon have new found celebrity on the national stage.  I’ll try to explain for all you non-Alaskans who suddenly have good reason to want to know more about Sarah Palin.  For those of you not interested in trashy novels, feel free to skip ahead.  Here it is…what we in Alaska call “TrooperGate”.

Sarah Palin’s sister Molly married a guy named Mike Wooten who is an Alaska State Trooper.  Mike and Molly had a rocky marriage.  When the marriage broke up, there was a bitter custody fight that is still ongoing.  During the custody investigation, all sorts of things were brought up about Wooten including the fact that he had illegally shot a moose (yes folks this is Alaska), driven drunk, and used a taser (on the test setting, he reminds us) on his 11-year old stepson, who supposedly had asked to see what it felt like.  While Wooten has turned out to be a less than stellar figure, the fact that Palin’s father accompanied him on the infamous moose hunt, and that many of the dozens of charges brought up by the Palin family happened long before they were ever reported smacked of desperate custody fight.  Wooten’s story is that he was basically stalked by the family.

After all this, Wooten was investigated and disciplined on two counts and allowed to kept his position with the troopers.  Enter Walt Monegan, Palin’s appointed new chief of the Department of Public Safety and head of the troopers.  Monegan was beloved by the troopers, did a bang-up job with minimal funding and suddenly got axed.  Palin was out of town and Monegan got “offered another job” (aka fired) with no explanation to Alaskans.  Pressure was put on the governor to give details, because rumors started to swirl around the fact that the highly respected Monegan was fired because he refused to fire the aforementioned Mike Wooten.  Palin vehemently denied ever talking to Monegan or pressuring Monegan in any way to fire Wooten, or that anyone on her staff did.  Over the weeks it has come out that not only was pressure applied, there were literally dozens of conversations in which pressure was applied to fire him.  Monegan has testified to this fact, spurring an ongoing investigation by the Alaska state legislature.  But, beforethis investigation got underway, Palin sent the Alaska State Attorney General out to do some investigative work of his own so she could find out in advance what the real investigation was going to find.  (No, I’m not making this up).  The AG interviewed several people, unbeknownst to the actual appointed investigator or the Legislature! Palin’s investigation of herself uncovered a recorded phone call retained by the Alaska State Troopers from Frank Bailey, a Palin underling, putting pressure on a trooper about the Wooten non-firing.  Todd Palin (governor’s husband) even talked to Monegan himself in Palin’s office while she was away.  Bailey is now on paid administrative leave.

As if this weren’t enough, Monegan’s appointed replacement Chuck Kopp, turns out to have been the center of his own little scandal.  He received a letter of reprimand and was reassigned after sexual harassment allegations by a former coworker who didn’t like all the unwanted kissing and hugging in the office.  Was he vetted?  Obviously not.  When he was questioned about all this, his comment was that no one had asked him and he thought they all knew.  Kopp, defiant, still claimed to have done nothing wrong and said to the press that there was no way he was stepping down from his new position.  Twenty four hours later, he stepped down.  Later it was uncovered that he received a $10,000 severance package for his two weeks on the job from Palin.  Monegan got nothing.

After extensive news coverage about all this nasty behind-the-scenes scandal, which is definitely NOT squeaky clean, Palin’s approval ratings fell to 67%, still high, but a far cry from the 90% number that’s being thrown around so glibly by the Republicans today.  Alaskans are quickly becoming disillusioned once again.

“Executive Experience”

Before her meteoric rise to political success as governor, just two short years ago Sarah Palin was the mayor of Wasilla.  I had a good chuckle at MSN.com’s claim that she had been the mayor of “Wasilla City”.  It is not a city.  Just Wasilla.  Wasilla is the heart of the Alaska “Bible belt” and Sarah was raised amongst the tribe that believes creationism should be taught in our public schools, homosexuality is a sin, and life begins at conception.  She’s a gun-toting, hang ‘em high conservative.  Remember…this is where her approval ratings come from.  There is no doubt that McCain again is making a strategic choice to appeal to a particular demographic – fundamentalist right-wing gun-owning Christians.  And Republican bloggers are already gushing about how she has ‘more executive experience’ than Obama does!  Above is a picture of lovely downtown Wasilla, for those of you unfamiliar with the area.  Behind the Mug-Shot Saloon (the first bar I visited when I moved to Alaska long ago) is a little strip mall.  There are street signs in Wasilla with bullet holes in them.  Wasilla has a population of about 5500 people, and 1979 occupied housing units.  This is where your potential Vice President was two short years ago.  Can you imagine her negotiating a nuclear non-proliferation treaty?  Discussing foreign policy?  Understanding non-Alaskan issues?  Frankly, I don’t even know if she’s ever been out of the country.  She may ‘get’ Alaska, but there are only a half a million people here.  Don’t get me wrong….I love Alaska with all my heart.  I’m just saying.

I, and all Alaskans will be interested to see how this whole process unfolds.  This is definitely a gamble for McCain, and in my humble opinion, a gift to Obama and to Joe Biden who just got thrown a big hunk of red meat for the vice presidential debate.

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SARAH PALIN ASKS: “WHAT DOES A VP DO”

?…

!

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Palin vs Polar Bears

From The Atlantic

By Andrew Sullivan

Sarah Palin and Hugh Hewitt are both enraged at the decision to list polar bears as an endangered species. I’ve followed Hewitt’s bizarre Colbertian horror at protecting polar bears the way I usually follow him, with morbid amusement and fascination. Here’s a classic column from May. Palin’s opposition to protecting the species brought her into conflict with the Bush administration’s Interior secretary:

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne last week made the listing decision and said it was based on three findings. “First, sea ice is vital to polar bear survival. Second, the polar bear’s sea-ice habitat has dramatically melted in recent decades. Third, computer models suggest sea ice is likely to further recede in the future,” he said…

Polar bear researchers fear recent effects of the loss of sea ice on Alaska polar bear populations. A 2006 study by the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that far fewer polar bear cubs in the Beaufort Sea were surviving and that adult males weighed less and had smaller skulls than those captured and measured two decades previously — trends similar to observations in Canada’s western Hudson Bay before a population drop.

A U.S. Geological Survey study completed last year as part of the petition process predicted polar bears in Alaska could be wiped out by 2050.

Kempthorne said last week he considered every point Palin made, and rejected them. However, he sought to limit the economic effect of the decision with the inclusion of “administrative guidance” that said the listing would not be used to create back-door climate policy outside the normal system of political accountability. He said that the threat to polar bears did not come from the petroleum industry.

I’m not sure what Palin’s position on climate change is, but it would be worth asking.

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Obama Takes Aim at Bush and McCain With a Forceful Call to Change America

From The New York Times

DENVER — Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party presidential nomination on Thursday, declaring that the “American promise has been threatened” by eight years under President Bush and that John McCain represented a continuation of policies that undermined the nation’s economy and imperiled its standing around the world.

The speech by Senator Obama, in front of an audience of nearly 80,000 people on a warm night in a football stadium refashioned into a vast political stage for television viewers, left little doubt how he intended to press his campaign against Mr. McCain this fall.

In cutting language, and to cheers that echoed across the stadium, he linked Mr. McCain to what he described as the “failed presidency of George W. Bush” and — reflecting what has been a central theme of his campaign since he entered the race — “the broken politics in Washington.”

“America, we are better than these last eight years,” he said. “We are a better country than this.”

But Mr. Obama went beyond attacking Mr. McCain by linking him to Mr. Bush and his policies. In the course of a 42-minute speech that ended with a booming display of fireworks and a shower of confetti, he offered searing and far-reaching attacks on his presumptive Republican opponent, repeatedly portraying him as the face of the old way of politics and failed Republican policies.

He said Mr. McCain was out of touch with the problems of everyday Americans. “It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care,” he said. “It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.”

And he went so far as to attack the presumed strength of Mr. McCain’s campaign, national security. “You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives,” he said.

The speech loomed as arguably Mr. Obama’s most important of the campaign to date. It was an opportunity to present himself to Americans just now beginning to tune in on this campaign, to make the case against Mr. McCain and to offer what many Democrats say he has failed to offer to date: an idea of what he stands for, beyond a promise of change.

To that end, he emphasized what he described as concrete steps he would take to address the anxieties of working-class Americans, promising tax cuts for the middle class and pledging to wean the country from dependence on Middle East oil within 10 years to address high fuel prices.

With the speech, Mr. Obama closed out his party’s convention here and prepared for a quick shift of public attention to the Republicans as Mr. McCain moved to name his running mate and his party got ready for its convention in St. Paul on Monday.

He delivered it in a most unconventional setting, becoming the third nominee of a major party in the nation’s history to leave the site of his convention to give his acceptance speech at a stadium. In this case, it was Invesco Field, set against the Rockies and about a mile from the arena where he had been nominated the night before. His aides chose the stadium to signal a break from typical politics and to permit thousands of his supporters from across the country to hear him speak.

And it came on a night that offered — by the coincidence of scheduling — a reminder of the historic nature of the Obama candidacy: 45 years to the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the Mall in Washington. Mr. Obama is the first African-American to be nominated for the White House by a major party, a fact that, for all its significance, has been barely mentioned over the course of this four-day gathering.

Even in invoking the anniversary of the King speech, Mr. Obama only alluded to race. But he quoted a famous phrase from Dr. King’s address to reinforce a central theme of his own speech. “America, we cannot turn back,” Mr. Obama said. “Not with so much work to be done.”

Mr. McCain marked the occasion of the speech by releasing a television advertisement in which, looking into the camera, he paid tribute to Mr. Obama and his accomplishment. “How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day,” Mr. McCain said. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight, Senator, job well done.

The advertisement stood in stark contrast to a summer of slashing attacks on Mr. Obama by Mr. McCain that apparently contributed to the tightening of this race. And the softer tone did not last; Mr. Obama was still on the stage, watching the fireworks, when Mr. McCain’s campaign issued a statement attacking him.

“Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama,” said Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain.

In his speech, Mr. Obama scored Mr. McCain for raising questions about his patriotism, and trying, he said, to turn a big election into a fight on small squabbles.

I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain,” Mr. Obama said, an American flag lapel affixed to his left lapel. “The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag.”

“So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first,” he said, prompting the crowd to break into a chant of “U.S.A., U.S.A.”

Mr. Obama looked completely at ease and unintimidated by his task or the huge crowd that surrounded him. And he chastised Mr. McCain for trying to portray him as a celebrity, an attack aides say has been particularly damaging, offering a list of people who he said had inspired him, from his grandmother to an unemployed factory worker he met on the campaign trail.

“I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine,” he said. “These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.”

Mr. Obama delivered his speech on a day of considerable political churn. Even as Mr. McCain was paying tribute to Mr. Obama on television, his aides disclosed that he made a choice for vice president and would announce it on Friday, timing intended to draw attention away from Mr. Obama on a day in which he and his running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., would be starting a joint campaign swing.

Mr. Obama’s audience began lining up to go through security and enter the stadium eight hours before he was to speak. As seats filled, they watched a series of musical performances, including by Stevie Wonder, who sang, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”

But the table for Mr. Obama was also set by speeches from some of the best-known Democratic leaders. They were led by Al Gore, the former vice president who confronted a question that has, fairly or not, hovered over Mr. Obama as he struggles in his contest with Mr. McCain.

“Why is this election so close?” Mr. Gore asked. “Well I know something about close elections, so let me offer you my opinion. I believe this election is close today mainly because the forces of the status quo are desperately afraid of the change Barack Obama represents.”

Mr. Obama used much of his speech to link Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush — a line of attack that his aides view as their strongest going into the fall — and signaled that he saw next week’s Republican convention, when Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush are to appear together, albeit briefly, as a way to press that line of attack.

“Next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third,” he said. “And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: ‘Eight is enough.’ ”

Speaking in generally broad terms, Mr. Obama offered a contrast between Republican and Democratic views of the role of government.

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500,” he said, “but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job — an economy that honors the dignity of work.”

The outdoor acceptance speech was by any measure a risky gambit by a campaign that has shown a taste for taking chances and breaking with convention, as his aides acknowledged. Bad weather could have soaked the moment. Mr. Obama’s first question to aides when they proposed this was, “Will it rain?” It did not; the day was dry, if hot.

When John F. Kennedy held his outdoor rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in June 1960, half the seats were empty, as a dispatch in The New York Times noted in dismissively describing the event as a “fresh air vaudeville.” The stadium here was packed by 5:15 mountain time, three hours before Mr. Obama was to take the stage, after a week in which Democrats and Obama supporters had been hustling for tickets.

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McCain grabs top Google ad spot for searches on Joe Biden

August 28, 2008 11:39 AM PDT

From CNET

DENVER–If you thought that the Republican Party would try to overshadow the Democratic convention this week and the attention paid to Barack Obama’s choice of a running mate, you’d be right. Just do a search on Google.

As The Wall Street Journal has pointed out, the McCain campaign has nabbed the top ad spot on Google for the search terms “Joe Biden” and “Biden.” Presumably it outbid the Democrats for the top spot.

The ad that appeared reads, “What Does Joe Biden Say About Barack Obama? Find Out Today!” and takes searchers to a page on McCain’s site with a 30-second ad showing Biden in a debate saying that Obama is not ready to be president, followed by a clip of the Delaware senator saying he would be honored to run with McCain because “the country would be better off.”

By around 1 p.m. PDT, the ad at the top of the page had disappeared and a McCain ad had been moved to a less-visible position on the right side of the page, below the one from the actual Obama-Biden campaign.

The McCain camp was the highest bidder for ad space tied to the Biden terms and has also bought search ads for terms like “U.S. economy” and “housing crisis.”

This is an offline effort as well. Just a couple of miles away from Invesco Field, where Obama is scheduled to accept the nomination to be the Democratic presidential candidate on Thursday night, a plane circled overhead this week pulling a banner that reads, “Biden was right–Obama not ready.”

An ad from John McCain’s campaign appears above the ad from the Obama campaign on searches for “Joe Biden,” as well as “Biden.”

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