Friday, October 31

Why I'm Voting for Barack Obama!

There are only 4 more days before we, the people, get to cast the final vote for President of the United States. I thought about asking one mom from each side to write why they're voting for their candidate, but I'm going to open it up to everyone!

So for today and tomorrow, if you are going to vote for Barack Obama I'd like you to share one or two reasons why you think he should be the next President. It doesn't have to be long, or philosophical. Just give us a few compelling reasons that may help to sway a few of those undecideds.

McCain supporters will get their chance to sound off on Sunday and Monday when they answer the question, "Why I'm Voting for John McCain."

So tell me, why are you voting for Barack Obama for
President of the United States?

One in Seven Voters Still Persuadable

According to an article by The Associated Press, one in seven voters are still undecided.

Who are they?

They look a lot like the voters who've already locked onto a candidate, though they're more likely to be white and less likely to be liberal. And they disproportionately backed Hillary Rodham Clinton's failed run for the Democratic nomination.

These people trust Obama less than decided voters do to handle the economy, the Iraq war and terrorism. They are less accepting that the Illinois senator has enough experience to be president.

And by a 17 percentage-point spread, more see Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin favorably than unfavorably, unlike the narrow majority of voters already backing a candidate who dislike her.

On the other hand, these wavering voters can be equal-opportunity skeptics. A quarter don't trust either Obama or McCain to deal with the economy and a third are uncomfortable with both on the federal deficit.

"I don't have a feel for either one of these guys," said Jeff Condatore, 47, an independent and computer analyst from Ringwood, N.J. "I don't like any of the choices."

Are you still undecided? Why?

Thursday, October 30

The Presidential Forum

I attended a Presidential Forum last night that had representatives from Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain's camps debating. Here are some of the highlights from the night that was targeted at evangelicals.

Representing the Democrats: Don Miller- New York Times Bestselling Author, Blue Like Jazz; Shaun Casey- National Evangelical Coordinator, Obama Campaign; Paul Montiero- National Deputy Director of Religious Affairs, Obama Campaign

Representing the Republicans: Renee Amoore — Founder and President of The Amoore Group; Marlys Pompa — National Evangelical Director, McCain Campaign; David Barton- Founder and President, Wall Builders Organization

On Abortion

McCain's Camp
  • Before Roe vs. Wade, 36 states had laws that protected the unborn. With Roe vs. Wade, those state laws were overturned. Sen. McCain would like to see Roe vs. Wade overturned and put rule back closer to the people. He would appoint constructionists for judges; judges who interpret the law, not create it.
  • McCain would not use tax payer money for abortions.
  • In last 8 years, 4 federal laws have put restrictions on abortion, lowering the rate 24%. (Obama's people refuted the number and said it was only 8%) Obama did not vote for any of those restrictions.
Obama's Camp
  • If Roe vs. Wade hasn't been overturned by now, it's not going to happen. We can't put all our eggs in the judge basket. So what can we do instead to help the mom envision this child's life? Obama wants to give them an alternative plan. Provide health care.
  • Medicaid funding for impoverished women to get abortions.
  • Wants a pragmatic approach rather than a philosophical approach.

On Education

Obama's Camp
  • Expand Pell Grant, look at lengthening school day and year.
  • Opposes vouchers because it pulls resources out of public schools.
  • Supports Charter schools and merit pay for teachers.
  • $500m in grants to faith based organizations for reading tutoring for third graders and younger.
  • Receive a school grant if you do public service (i.e. military, peace corp, etc)
McCain's Camp
  • He is looking to implement meaningful reform, equality of choice, empower parents, bonuses for teachers, funding for tutoring.
  • $250B for online education for kids and adults.
  • 27 states have works.
  • Stated that with Obama's faith-based initiative for tutoring, organizations that take the money will have no protections for hiring. For example, a Baptist organization would have to hire a Mormon or a Catholic organization would have to hire an atheist, etc. (Obama people disputed this saying that those organizations already have protection under the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

On Marriage Amendment

McCain's Camp
  • McCain does not support a Federal Marriage Amendment. He believe the Federal government should protect the right of any states to pass a marriage amendment.
  • Does not support civil union.
Obama's Camp
  • He also supports the marriage amendment. He supports man and woman unions and civil unions.
On Health care

Obama's Camp
  • He believes that 1/3 of health care costs are administrative. He wants to fully computerize health care process.
  • Problem is also not dealing with treatable and preventative health care.
  • People who don't have health insurance use the emergency room as their primary care giver. We pay for that.
  • Wants universal access as he sees health care as a moral obligation and right.
  • You can keep your current coverage.
  • He does not oppose a single player health care system, but if he was starting the system from scratch he'd make it universal.
McCain's Camp
  • Reform tax credit to be $3,000 for singles and $5,000 for families.
  • Health insurance will follow you.
  • Tort reforms

Spreading the Wealth
The question was asked to the Obama people by the audience, "How is Marxism and Socialism different from "spreading the wealth?" The Obama people offered another explanation at their economic plan but never answered the above question directly.

The McCain people said that when the Pilgrims were settling here they had a "common pot" for all work, earning and resources. But after a couple of years, they discovered that their settlement was in shambles because not everyone was working, but everyone was living off the "pot" and it was draining their resources and causing discontent among the people. They ended up abandoning that way of living and had people take responsibility for their own needs. They began to flourish again. In fact, they began to flourish so much that the Virginia Colony took notice and implemented the same type of system.

Obama, McCain Health Care Comparison

Health care is a hot issue in this election cycle. Here's a summary look at how each candidate would address the health care crisis.

  • McCain opposes universal health care.
  • He supports importing prescription drugs to lower costs.
  • He would offer a refundable $2,500 tax credit and $5,000 for families.
  • He would open health care markets by allowing providers to practice nationwide, rather than restricting them regionally, allowing the purchase of health care insurance across state lines.
  • Give veterans ability to use their VA benefits to pay for timely high quality care from providers in the best locations.
  • Work with states to create a federally-supported Guaranteed Access Plan for people who are denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Premiums in the plan would be limited and financial assistance given to those below a certain income level.

  • He would mandate all children have health care coverage.
  • He would create a national public insurance program that would allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health care similar to that available to federal employees.
  • He supports universal health care and believes government should buy prescription drugs in bulk to lower costs.
  • His plan would require all employers to contribute toward health coverage for their employees or toward the cost of the public plan.
  • He wants hospitals to be graded on performance and switch to more cost-effective, computerized record keeping systems.
  • Obama would create a national health insurance exchange to reform the private insurance market.

sources:, Obama-McCain comparisons

Wednesday, October 29

Obama TV Time

I was attending a Presidential Forum tonight (more on that later) and completely missed Sen. Obama's 30-minute speech to the nation. I even missed all the post-speech commentary.

So here's what I want to know:

1. What was the one big idea or theme you took away tonight?
2. Did Sen. Obama change your mind on anything?
3. Was this unprecedented event a risk or success for his campaign?

Tuesday, October 28

Tax Plan Comparison

The economy has gotten a lot of attention over the last several weeks. A lot of the discussion has centered around the tax plans of each campaign. To help break down the facts from fiction, here is a summary of agreements and differences in the two plans.

The candidates do have some large areas of agree­ment. Both agree that:

  • The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) should be indexed for inflation to prevent more and more taxpayers from being forced to pay the AMT. Senator McCain wants to increase the AMT exemption even more in future years;
  • Many elements of the Bush tax cuts should be made permanent, such as the child tax credit, provisions that reduce the marriage penalty, and lower tax rates for most income brackets.
  • The capital gains tax rate and the tax rate for qualified dividends should be equal; and
  • The portion of estates that is tax exempt should be increased. (The candidates differ on lowering the estate tax rate. McCain wants to increase the exemption to $5 million and supports a tax rate of 15 percent while Obama wants to keep the exemption at the 2009 level of $3.5 million and supports a tax rate of 45 percent).

Of course, there are many large differences in how each candidate would approach taxes in their economic plans.

Senator McCain's plan extends all of the Bush tax cuts, while Senator Obama's does not extend the cuts for the top two rates.

Senator Obama would impose a new tax on those who earn more than $250,000 a year, which would be dedi­cated to paying for Social Security.

Senator McCain has proposed a few other cuts, highlighted by a cut in the corporate tax rate and a change in the tax treatment of health care.

Senator McCain's tax plan for health care is the following: Currently, workers do not pay tax on the value of insurance they receive from their employers. Senator McCain would end this preferential tax treatment and replace it with a tax credit that would allow families to purchase health insurance.

Senator Obama has many new proposals, including several new tax credits. Senator Obama proposes a refundable health care tax credit to help low-income individu­als purchase health care. Many of the other ele­ments of Senator Obama's health care plan are outside the income tax system, such as issuing mandates that children have health insurance.

sources: Heritage Foundation, John, Barack

Monday, October 27

Scholastic: Countdown to Election '08

I've been surprised about how interested kids are in this year's election. Wherever I go I hear kids talking about the candidates.

If you'd like to help your kids learn more about the issues, candidates and the process, send them over to Scholastic where they have a fun, informative and interactive site devoted to this election.

The Scholastic Kids Press Corps, a team of about 80 hard-working, articulate kids, ages 9-14 report on the election from their hometowns across the country. The Kid Reporters cover the election from their “kid’s eye” perspectives, which helps other kids see the relevance of current events to their own lives.

The site also has a Presidential Election Poll, an opportunity for students to cast their vote for President. Since 1940, the outcome of the Scholastic Election Poll has mirrored the outcome of the general election, in every election but two (in 1948 when students chose Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman and in 1960 when more students voted for Richard M. Nixon than John F. Kennedy). In the 2004 election, more than half a million students in first through eighth grades participated in the poll.

Where I Vote

If you have any question about where your polling site is located, then click on the "Where I Vote" button on the sidebar. This innovative web site is for voters to locate polling sites, find sample ballot information, network online, and access candidate information from non-partisan

Utilizing proprietary software, data systems and social networking functionality, is a quick and easy-to-use online election resource designed to connect voters to candidates and their communities nationwide.

Obama Abortion Policy

In the last post I summarized McCain and Obama's position on life issues. That brought up several readers looking for more specifics and clarification on Obama's stance. Thanks to all the readers who provided more sources and links on that subject.

In my search for unbiased information, I often try to go back to the candidates themself and hear in their own words exactly what they think on a subject. So I'm including two videos that show Sen. Obama speaking on the subject of abortion. The first clip is from the Saddleback forum in August. The question from Rick Warren was "at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?"

The second video is from an appearance Sen. Obama made at a Planned Parenthood meeting in 2007.

Friday, October 24

Comparison of Obama/McCain on Life Issues

Obama supports abortion rights and thinks the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion was rightly decided.

  • Obama in 2006 was one of 42 senators who voted against advancing a bill to criminalize transport of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion. (Senate Roll Call Vote 263, Sept. 29, 2006)
  • Obama advocates a comprehensive sex-education program in which both abstinence and contraception are priorities. He also says, "we should make sure that adoption is an option."

McCain opposes abortion rights. He thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

  • McCain was among the 57-senator majority that voted to advance the bill to criminalize transport of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion. (Senate Roll Call Vote 263, Sept. 29, 2006)
  • McCain in 2003 was on the winning side of a 64-34 vote to ban an abortion procedure opponents call "partial birth" abortion, except when it is needed to save the woman's life. (Senate Roll Call Vote 402, Oct. 21, 2003)
  • McCain in 1993 was one of 59 senators who voted against allowing federal funding for most abortions. (Senate Roll Call Vote 290, Sept. 28, 1993)
  • McCain supports abstinence-based initiatives and has said that he hopes there might be "a point where [Roe v. Wade] is irrelevant … because abortion is no longer necessary."

Stem Cell Research
McCain supports federally funded embryonic stem cell research on existing lines of stem cells, but not new lines.

McCain opposes embryonic stem cell research that uses cloned human embryos. In 2006 he supported a trio of U.S. Senate bills designed to increase federal funding for adult stem cell research, ban the creation of embryos for research and offer federal support for research using embryos slated for destruction by fertility clinics. In 2007, in what he described as "a very agonizing and tough decision," he voted to allow research using human embryos left over from fertility treatments.

Obama supports federally funded embryonic stem cell research. Obama supports relaxing federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which was vetoed by President Bush. The bill would have allowed federal funding to be used for research on stem cell lines obtained from discarded human embryos originally created for fertility treatments.

sources: Pew Forum on Religion and Politics, CQ Politics, Obama McCain Comparisons

Thursday, October 23

Politics for Moms on Twitter

If you are on Twitter, you can find me there tweeting about the election. And the price of milk. And about sensible shoes. But mostly the election.

Comparison of McCain and Obama Health Care Plans

"I've made it very clear that what I want is for families to make decisions about their health care, not government..." -- McCain*
  • Coverage would not be mandatory for anyone.
  • Change how health care subsidies are taxed.
  • Offer refundable tax credit for anyone who buys health insurance: $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families.
  • Create a federally subsidized state-administered program to offer coverage for low-income people.
  • Give veterans ability to use their VA benefits to pay for timely high quality care from providers in the best locations.
  • Adopt malpractice reforms that limit frivolous lawsuits and excessive damages and provide safe harbors for practice within clinical guidelines and safety protocols.
  • Promote competition among providers by paying them only for quality and promote use of alternative providers (e.g., nurse practitioners) and treatment settings (e.g., walk-in clinics in retail outlets).
  • Invest in prevention and care of chronic illnesses.
  • Promote competition and individual choice of insurance by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.

"...We need to pass a plan that lowers every family's premiums, and gives every uninsured American the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves." -- Obama**
  • Coverage would be mandatory for children.·
  • Offer an income-based federal subsidy for people who don't get insurance from an employer or qualify for government plans like Medicaid.
  • Create a national network of public and private plans for those without other access to insurance.
  • Require employers to offer “meaningful” coverage or contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the public plan; small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.
  • Require hospitals and providers to publicly report measures of health care costs and quality.
  • Promote and strengthen public health and prevention.
  • Reform medical malpractice while preserving patient rights by strengthening antitrust laws and promoting new models for addressing physician errors.
  • Prohibit insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Create a new public plan so that small businesses and individuals without access to other public programs or employer-based coverage could purchase insurance. Plan coverage would offer comprehensive benefits similar to those available through FEHBP.
sources:,, Obama. McCain Comparisons

Wednesday, October 22

Comparison of McCain & Obama Education Plans

This site has been swamped with google searches for information on McCain and Obama's education plans. It's nice to see so many people doing their homework on the issues.

So with only 13 days until we all head to the polls, I thought it would be a good idea to turn our attention back to the issues and look again where each candidate stands. Let's start with Education and see where the candidates agree and disagree on these big issues: Funding Public Education, No Child Left Behind, School Choice, College Costs and Teacher Training.

Funding Public Education
McCain intends to keep the full federal funding for schools; he just wants to give more of that money to parents for them to send their kids to the public, private or religious schools of their choice. He has also said that he would like to commit a total of $750 million to develop "virtual schools" and curriculums, allowing students to take online classes in science, math and foreign languages.

Obama has said that his education proposals would cost about $18 billion and would be funded by trimming NASA's budget and auctioning surplus federal properties, among other measures. But most of the Illinois senator's education proposals are so costly that they would require Congress to approve additional new spending. He says he wants to make "a historic commitment" to education, because he wants to give every American child the same chances he had.

Rethinking the No Child Left Behind Act
McCain voted for the 2001 law, which has given the federal government unprecedented authority over testing, academic standards and the rating of the nation's public schools. However, he has joined critics — Democrats and Republicans alike — who say the law needs major fixes. Unlike conservatives and some members of Congress, McCain does not want to scrap the law entirely. Instead, he wants to provide more tutoring services for students who are behind before he tackles NCLB.

Obama was not in the U.S. Senate when Congress voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, but he supported it in the Illinois state legislature. His biggest criticism of the law is that it has been ineffective and inadequately funded. He also has said it relies too heavily on poorly designed tests to gauge progress in reading and math at the expense of a well-rounded education. Obama says he doesn't want to get rid of testing, but he does want to work more closely with governors to come up with better written tests that help teachers pinpoint students' weaknesses.

School Choice: Vouchers, Charters and Home Schooling
McCain supports vouchers, home schooling, charter schools and generally any policy that helps parents choose the private or public school that they want their children to attend. School choice, McCain argues, will create market forces that will spur competition among schools, not just for students but for the best teachers. He has also said that he would expand federally funded vouchers called Opportunity Scholarships that would let more parents pick the school of their choice.

Obama also wants to give parents more options when they pick a school for their children, but he would limit those choices to public charter schools. He does not support vouchers for children to attend private and parochial schools.

Keeping College Costs Low
Both McCain and Obama support providing more money for needy college students, as well as the recent efforts by Congress and the Bush administration to shore up the student loan program, which has been hit hard by the credit crunch.

Obama would like to introduce a new tax credit to ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is free for most students, in exchange for 100 hours of community service. This plan would cost about $10 billion a year. Obama says he can save billions of dollars by overhauling the federal student loan program, and creating a system that bypasses banks and private lenders in favor of having the U.S. Education Department run a direct lending program. He also wants to double the size of the Peace Corps and expand Ameri-Corp and other national service programs.

McCain wants to make college more affordable by supporting a big increase in Pell Grants that Congress approved for needy students in 2007. McCain also backed the expansion of low-interest loans for middle-class families who are struggling to keep up with college tuition increases.

Training Teachers
Obama would require all schools of education to be accredited and then figure out which colleges are doing the best job of training teachers. Obama is the first presidential candidate ever to make such a proposal. His proposal borrows many ideas from several commissions that promote the national certification of teachers, more mentoring programs for first-year teachers, and merit pay for the best teachers.

McCain has said that he supports merit pay for teachers, including giving bonuses to teachers who work in the most troubled schools. He also wants to recruit more top teachers who have graduated in the top 25 percent of their class, or who participated in an "alternative teacher recruitment program," such as Teach for America.

How much of these plans will be possible given the new economic climate of the nation? That remains to be seen, but it's a safe bet that many of their aggressive and costly ideas will be put on hold.

via NPR

Monday, October 20

Newspaper Endorsement or Impartial Journalism?


While we're on the subject of endoresments, I read on another blog recently (can't remember where, sorry) someone questioning why newspapers endorse candidates if they are suppose to be impartial reporters of the news.

I thought that was an excellent point. Any thoughts?

*****I've been e-mailing back and forth with a reader that wanted me to make the distinction that it's not the newspaper that's making the endorsement but the newspaper's editorial board. The editorial board is paid to have opinions and write about them.

So does that change the way you think about newspaper endorsements?

Do Endorsements Matter?

I read this yesterday on Twitter from an undecided voter:

"I still have a ton of questions, uncertainty, and frankly doubts....but I am no longer undecided. Locked and loaded and voting for Obama."

He said this after Colin Powell threw his support behind Sen. Obama yesterday.

It made me wonder, do candidate endorsements really have that much influence to sway voters?

Are there any undecideds or former-undecideds who want to chime in on the subject?

60 Second Politics

With just over two weeks left in the campaign, the candidates are hitting the trail hard and continued to make news over the weekend.

  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he plans to vote for Sen. Barack Obama. "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming into, onto the world stage and the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama," said Powell.

  • When asked about the endorsement, McCain offered this: "Well, I have always admired and respected General Powell. We are longtime friends. This doesn't come as a surprise. But I am also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state ... and I am proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired army generals and admirals," McCain said, noting the support offered by Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Alexander Haig.

Friday, October 17

Still Thinking About Polls

Despite the prior two posts I've done in two days on polls, I don't usually pay a ton of attention to them. But my interest was piqued today on by a headline I've seen all day, "Poll: Voters Souring on McCain, Obama Stays Steady." To be honest, I thought voters had soured on McCain about a week ago so I was expecting to see an even larger dip when I clicked over to the article.

The article is a couple of pages long and goes through all kinds of questions that were posed to voters on whether they find the candidates likable, experienced, honest, compassionate, inspiring, attractive, ethical, etc. On those questions, the poll shows that favorable reaction to McCain has trended downward since September. For Obama, his favorable results have trended upward.

The question I wanted answered was "who would you vote for if the election was today?" Well, if you read the article you won't find that answer. You walk away concluding that probably Obama has widened his lead on McCain based on the results given.

However, I noticed they had a link to a PDF file for the full poll results. If you go to page 6, it says the question was asked, "If the 2008 general election for President were being held today and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?"

According to the full poll results, Obama only leads McCain by 3 percentage points (39-42), with a 3 percent margin of error.

Another interesting fact to note is that at the very top of the full poll results, it says that this poll sampled 873 Democrats and 650 Republicans. Not quite an even amount.

I'm not a statistician by any means, but this is a good example of why you can't put all your eggs in the presidential poll basket.

Speaking of Polls

I found a really neat interactive chart at the Wall Street Journal site that plots the results of 26 different polls over the last five months. If you run your cursor over each dot, information will pop up regarding the particular poll. The chart does a great job showing you how many ups and downs this campaign has had and gives you a good visual look of where we are at today.

Go check it out!

Thursday, October 16

Joe the Plumber Takes Center Stage

As I predicted last night, Joe the Plumber has become the new political darling. Here are just a sampling of the articles that have been written about him since last night.

Joe the Plumber is Real Hero Debate, Times Online

Joe the Plumber's Story Could Change the Race, Telegraph

What Joe the Plumber Can't Fix, Washington Post

Who's Joe the Plumber,

The Joe the Plumber Debate,

Joe the Plumber Cuts to the Heart of the Presidential Choice, Wall Street Journal

Politics by the Numbers

Polls are a fixture of politics. Polls are also hard to depend on for answers. As you'll see below, these are results from polls taken a few days before last night's debate. The numbers range from Obama having a 5-point lead to a 14-point lead. Why the disparity? Usually it's in the methodology used to take the poll, the number of voters sampled, and probably most importantly, what is that voter's party affiliation.

But for what it's worth, here are the most recent poll results from several of the leading polls:

Zogby/Reuters/C-Span Poll
Democrat Barack Obama has a 5-point lead over Republican John McCain in the U.S. presidential race, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/ZOGBY poll released on Thursday.

Rasmussen Poll
Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote while John McCain earns 45%. That’s the fourth straight day with identical numbers and the twentieth straight day that Obama’s support has stayed in the narrow range from 50% to 52% while McCain has been at 44% of 45%

Gallup Daily Tracking Poll
National registered voters continue to prefer Barack Obama (50%) to John McCain (43%) for president.

LA Times/Bloomberg Poll
Three weeks before election day, Obama leads McCain 50% to 41% among voters likely to cast ballots Nov. 4.

CBS News/NY Times Poll
Heading into the final debate, the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden has widened its lead over the Republicans, John McCain and Sarah Palin. 53% of likely voters support Obama/Biden while 39% support McCain/Palin.

Wednesday, October 15

An Unconventional Review of Last Presidential Debate

Doing something a little different tonight. Just for kicks, I'm going to blog my immediate thoughts as I listen to tonight's debate. I'll try to leave out my opinion on policy and make general comments...but I'm not promising. Come back tomorrow for a more refined recap of the debate.

  • Walking out, Obama looks very stoic. Upset even?
  • I like the exchange between the two at the outset. Respectful.
  • I'm watching the debate on CNN because I like the tracker that runs along the bottom of uncomimitted voters. It tracks, via a dial, the immediate feedback pro or con to what they are hearing. It tracks by men and women.
  • McCain is a leftie. What's Obama? Isn't there a stat that says a large percentage of American presidents are left-handed?
  • I bet Joe the Plumber never dreamed he could own a business and be pandered to during a presidential debate by name. Look for Joe to be all over the news tomorrow.
  • McCain: "We need short and long term fixes for the economy."
  • Awwww. McCain is blinking out of control. What's that all about?
  • Obama's got the uhhhhhs going.
  • I'm already noticing a trend with the CNN tracker: When McCain speaks, the men respond very positively. When Obama speaks, the women respond very positively. Will be interesting to see if that trend continues.
  • I'm loving this give and take format. It's getting them outside their talking points.
  • Obama: "I don't mind paying a little more taxes."
  • And we're still spreading the wealth around.
  • Shocking! Both economic plans will increase the national deficit. Not reduce it.
  • I like how Bob S. interrupted and redirected Obama to answer the question.
  • Since when is "living beyond our means" a federal issue when it comes to individuals.
  • McCain is getting fired up. It's nice to see him show some emotion.
  • Is an "across the board spending freeze" even possible when we're talking govt?
  • Obama: The deficit has doubled in last 8 years. Can't pursue the same type of policies.
  • McCain: "I'm not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush you should've run 4 years ago."
  • Let me answer that question! I think it's impossible to say that the budget could be balanced in 4, 14, or 24 years. Not going to happen in our life time.
  • The men are dialing high for McCain right now.
  • You take the high road and I'll take the low road and...what's the next line of that song?
  • This is what your mama always told you. Don't say anything behind someone's back that you wouldn't say to their face.
  • Repudiate.
  • The women are dialing low for McCain. I guess women don't like all the negative ads.
  • I'm watching a split screen. Wonder if their reactions to each other through body language will have any effect on voters. Al Gore would probably say yes.
  • Shout out to the Arizona Cardinals!
  • Can't we just all get along.
  • Holla to Joe the Plumber again.
  • Yes, this American citizen has certainly become cynical about politics. Amen.
  • McCain: Ayers is a washed up terrorist.
  • Obama: "Only involvement I had with ACORN was I represented them along with the Justice Department to help them get a IL motor voter law."
  • How do you spell "cockamammy"?
  • Sorry...missed most of the energy question. Took a phone call.
  • This is what makes me crazy. Obama says the average health plan costs $12,000 and McCain says the average plan costs $5,000. Who's right? Probably they both are but they aren't comparing apples to apples.
  • Finally. Questions on abortion and supreme court judges.
  • McCain: "Education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century."
  • Yep, men are still tracking upward for McCain and women upward for Obama.
  • Obama: We agree on two points...charter schools and removing bad teachers. We disagree on giving vouchers as way to cure educational system.
  • McCain citing voucher program in effect in Washington. About 1000 offered, 9000 people applied to get them.
  • McCain: "We need to reform these programs (Headstart), not just throw money at schools."
  • He had me at the word "voucher."
  • Shout out to Joe the Plumber. We haven't heard about Joe's education needs.
  • I think Bob Schieffer did a great job. Loved the variety of questions.
  • Schieffer: "Go vote now. It'll make you feel big and strong."
  • McCain's best debate by far.
  • Obama had a weak start by got better as the debate went along.

If you made it all the way to the end, I salute you. Now go read some real analysis from your favorite site.

60 Second Politics

Despite my lack of blogging in over a week (pox on those darn school fundraisers), there has been plenty of political fodder coming out of both campaigns. So to bring us up to speed, here's another addition of 60 Second Politics:

  • Allegations are amassing that community group ACORN has turned in thousands of fraudulant voter registrations in at least 6 states. Acorn workers have been indicted in Missouri and convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado, and investigations are still under way in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Acorn officials bill themselves as nonpartisan community organizers merely interested in giving a voice to minorities and the poor. In reality, Acorn is a union-backed, multimillion-dollar outfit that uses intimidation and other tactics to push for higher minimum wage mandates and to trash Wal-Mart and other non-union companies."

  • The McCain campaign has been hitting Sen. Obama hard over the last week on his ties and associations to questionable figures like terrorist Bill Ayers. An article from gives an analysis of why these associations and character does matter.

  • published an interesting article about the various "makeovers" Sen. McCain has gone through over the past few weeks and months in an effort to re-energize his campaign and to connect with voters.

  • Sen. Obama recently purchased 30-minutes of air time from two national networks and is in negotiations with two other networks. What he'll do with the air time remains to be seen. Along the same lines, here is a great article on the amount of money each candidate is spending on commercials.

  • Of course, the economy is on everyone's mind. The Wall Street Journal helps you sort out the latest plans and moves to stabilize the economy: "What Paulson is Trying to Do."

Final Presidential Debate Tonight

The final debate of this campaign season will be held tonight at Hofstra University. This 90-minute showdown with moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS will focus on domestic issues. It will include two-minute answers and then five minutes of discussion.

Analysts expect it will provide more revelations than the previous matches. The format allows more time for follow-ups, particularly compared with the "town hall" debate last week.

Let's hope so.

Tuesday, October 7

Tennessee Debate Winner?

I had a prior commitment tonight and only got to watch about 30 minutes of the debate. Thirty minutes was more than enough.

If I can be honest for a minute, I have to say I'm sick of the same old answers to the same old questions. I'm sick of the rhetoric that goes on forever and says nothing. I'm sick of promises that we know can't be kept.

So riddle me this:

1. Were there any moments of brilliance that I missed?

2. If you could ask a question in a debate, what would you ask?

3. Have these debates changed your opinion about a candidate?

Monday, October 6

Second Debate

The second presidential debate will take place Tuesday evening between Sens. Obama and McCain. at 9:00PM eastern time. This debate will be a town hall format held at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. The town meeting will include all topics and will be moderated by Tom Brokaw.

60 Second Politics

A lot of time there are just little snippets of political news that don't warrant an entire post, but I still think you'd find interesting. So I'm going to start a new feature called "60 Second Politics" where I just give you the latest political news fast and dirty.

  • A new global poll of 17 countries finds a huge preference for Barack Obama over John McCain in the presidential election in 16 of those countries. In the 17th country -- the U.S. -- McCain was edging out Obama.
  • The Biden campaign has canceled Senator Biden’s public schedule for Monday and Tuesday after his wife Jill’s mother passed away this afternoon. he’d already suspended events last night in Washington and today in Virginia due to her illness.
  • McCain's campaign pulled out of Michigan last week.
  • Meghan McCain has a new book called My Dad John McCain.
  • Palin declared over the weekend that "The heels are on, the gloves are off" as she talked at a rally for the first time about Barack Obama’s friendship with Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.
  • The Obama camp responded with a series of ads that link Sen. McCain to the Keating 5 in the 1980s.

Debate Numbers Are In

70 million people watched the vice presidential debate last week. It was the most watched vice presidential debate ever.

In comparison, the first debate between Sens. McCain and Obama drew 40 million people.

Friday, October 3

Fact Checking the Debate

I think what I've become most frustrated with in American politics is that you just can't take most politicians at their word. More often than not their words are half-truths, flat out lies, stretches of the truth or twisting the truth to fit their agenda.

That is especially true during debates when both sides are throwing out numbers and facts and dates and voting records and attributions. The average American doesn't have time to go line by line and seek out the truth. So where does that leave us?

Unfortunately, it leaves us skeptical and cynical and before long we don't care if our candidate was telling the truth because we don't even know what the truth is anymore. We just want them to say what we want to hear.

Thankfully, there are some sites you can go to that have all the resources to follow-up on the promises and assertions of our candidates. For a very comprehensive look at just about every fact given last night, The Washington Post's Fact Checker is a good place to start. If you continue to scroll down, you'll also see their fact checking from the first presidential debate.

Another reliable site is, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. You'll find the check of the debate as well as many other checks on each candidate's proposed policies.

Don't just assume what you heard is fact. Do your homework and become informed.

Thursday, October 2

Clear Winner of Vice Presidential Debate?

The debate just ended and the spin has started. Billed as sort of a David versus Goliath match up, it was the folksy, straight-talking hockey mom versus the seasoned, smooth talking and charismatic senator.

Who won?

As expected, both sides are claiming victory. The people will weigh in over the next several days via numerous polls and we'll start to see if the electoral map budges any.

But the bigger question was not who won but did Gov. Palin do enough to shore up the Republican base and bring a new wave of enthusiasm. After a few weeks of major interview gaffes, she not only had to prove that she was not an embarrassment to the McCain ticket but someone who'd actually be an asset.

Did she accomplish that? The consensus among the pundits is that she gave a strong showing and redeemed herself on the issues.

Biden needed to demonstrate a solid command of the issues and do it without sounding condescending or making a gaffe. There was no doubt he was well-spoken and pounded home Obama's agenda.

VP debates don't historically have any bearance on the elections. Do you think this one will be a game changer?

Palin vs. Biden

Tonight is the only debate for the vice presidential candidates. Of course, what would be politics without a few pre-debate questions to ponder.

  • Is it a conflict of interest for Gwen Ifill to moderate tonight's vice presidential debate? Ifill has written a book on Sen. Obama that is set to release around the election.
  • Can Palin overcome her dismal interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson to put forth a strong showing tonight?
  • Will Biden say something outrageous or insult Palin directly?
  • Will the outcome of this debate have any real bearing on the election?

Unlike the last debate which was not watched by many people, I have a feeling tonight's debate will be must see TV in most homes tonight.

So what do you think? Any opinions on the four questions above? Are you going to watch the debate?


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