Category Archives: GOP Presidential Candidate John McCain

McCain Adviser: Sarah Palin Uninformed on Hispanic Issues; Quits Interviews Twice

Sarah Palin, feeling unprepared, pulled out of a Univision interview that John McCain wound up doing by himself in Colorado Springs.

Sarah Palin, feeling unprepared, pulled out of a Univision interview that John McCain wound up doing by himself.

A top adviser on Hispanic issues to John McCain’s presidential campaign said Sunday that a joint interview with McCain and Sarah Palin planned for Univision last fall had to be canceled because Palin was unprepared to discuss Latin America policy.

“She did not feel comfortable speaking about issues regarding Hispanics and Latin America,” GOP consultant Ana Navarro told Univision anchor Jorge Ramos in an interview. “Those are not topics that come up frequently in Alaska. So she asked to cancel the interview and, unfortunately, you were already there.”

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‘Sarah From Alaska’ Review

"Sarah From Alaska" by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe.

"Sarah From Alaska" by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe.

There are only so many hours in the day, and we want to help you. So here’s the first in an occasional series rounding up what you need to know about big politics books you want to read, if only you could find the time.

In between election returns, we read “Sarah From Alaska” by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, two reporters who covered last year’s presidential race. It’s out now from PublicAffairs Books (with the teasing subtitle, “The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar”). We found enough in it to sustain a week of cocktail conversations.

Here are the highlights:

— Getting the news from Fox: Sarah Palin learned from Fox News that she and John McCain wouldn’t win last year’s presidential election. When she heard anchor Brit Hume announce that Barack Obama had won Ohio, “Palin swallowed a mouthful of air. ‘Oh, well, that’s it,’ she said.”

— No concession on the concession: Palin wanted to give a concession speech, but that was nixed by McCain and his aides. It had been written by former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully, and would have had her say, “when a black citizen prepares to fill the office of Washington and Lincoln, that is a shining moment in our history that can be lost on no one.” And Palin would have offered her own lavish praise for Obama and his “beautiful family,” McCain and the “honor of a lifetime” that he had given her, and a shout-out to a boy with Down syndrome who she had met on the campaign trail. McCain and his staff were adamantly opposed, though the authors offer no real explanation beyond the general friction between the McCain and Palin camps by the end of the campaign.

— The awkward goodbye with McCain: McCain and Palin parted ways that night after she saw him getting into a Chevy Suburban outside the Arizona hotel where the campaign had gathered on election night. The conversation went like this: “‘John? Is that you?’ Palin asked. Cindy [McCain] was already in the car, and the senator had just given a final hug to his press secretary and personal aide, Brooke Buchanan. He spun around. ‘Oh, hey. How are you, Sarah?’ ‘Are you leaving?’ ‘Yup, we’re out of here.’ Palin paused. ‘Okay, well, good night.’ ‘Yes, good night. We’re headed back to the house.’ The now former running mates exchanged final pat-on-the-back hugs and a muffled thank you or two.”

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“Sarah From Alaska” Book: McCain Turned Lights Out On Palin In “Civil War” (VIDEO)

In Sarah From Alaska, two campaign reporters share the behind-the-scenes story of Sarah Palin‘s rise to national stardom and surprising resignation.

On the “Early Show” on CBS, authors Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe said Tuesday there was a “remarkable internal war” at the end of the campaign between Palin and McCain’s teams when the VP candidate was told she could not deliver a concession speech. “Governor Palin tried to create some confusion” so that she would be able to speak, but she ultimately failed. “It really turned into an all-out civil war,” Walshe said. On election night, Palin went back out onstage to take pictures with her family and McCain’s staff was so terrified that she would give a speech after all that they turned out the lights on her.

According to a copy of the book obtained by Huffington Post, when senior McCain aide Carla Eudy heard the news, she immediately called campaign manager Steve Schmidt, who barked, “Take the set down. Unplug it.”

The McCain staff didn’t believe Palin’s claim that she just wanted to take pictures with her family on stage – to one aide, it sounded like a “dubious cover story.”

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Sarah Palin’s 2008 Victory and Defeat Speeches Leaked

Leaked copies of two speeches Sarah Palin prepared for last year’s US election night have revealed she planned to salute her husband Todd as the nation’s “first ever Second Dude” in the event of victory.

Sarah Palin: The undelivered speeches she wrote for US election night have been leaked.

In defeat, which she suffered with Senator John McCain at the hands of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the Republican vice-presidential candidate wanted to tell Todd to “get ready for the Iron Dog snow machine race!”.

A new book, Sarah from Alaska, details how the then state governor fought tooth and nail to introduce Sen McCain on stage in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona, in the early hours of the morning.

She decided not to tell her own staff members that permission had been denied by senior McCain staff hours before the candidates took the stage, apparently in the hope of a last minute reprieve.

After formalities were over, authors Scott Conroy of CBS News and Shushannah Walshe, formerly of Fox News, who were “embedded” with Palin’s campaign, revealed that McCain aides “literally turned the lights out on Palin when she retook the stage later that night to take pictures with her family, fearing that she would give the concession speech after all”.

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John McCain’s Latest Sarah Palin Lie

John McCain and Sarah Palin on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

GOP candidates Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

John McCain’s duplicitous defense of his 2008 GOP running mate Sarah Palin this past weekend is as dishonest as it is shameful. He knows better–but for reasons that are rooted deeply in McCain’s peculiar sense of chivalry and his political self-interest, he has refused to come clean about Palin with the American people.

“There are fundamental facts that cannot be denied,” he asserted on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “When we selected, or asked, Sarah Palin to be my running mate, it energized our party. We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed.”

The implication is that the Republicans would have won were it not for the economic collapse that took place on September 15.

Many McCain and Palin operatives in the aftermath of the election have blamed the economy for their loss. That’s like blaming a lake in the middle of the 18th fairway for costing one a golf match. The lake doesn’t cost you the match–driving your ball into it does.

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2008 Early Voting Statistics by States

Early Voting Statistics by States*

State Mainpage Early Voting Stats 2008 Total Early Vote Selected
Stats
2008 Early Vote / 2004 Total Vote 2004 Total Votes Cast 2004
% Early
(Ass.Press)
Last Updated
United States  
23,438,889
  19.0% 123,535,883 22.5%  
Alabama         1,890,317 3.5%  
Alaska         314,502 21.4%  
Arizona         2,038,069 40.8%  
Scottsdale City html 31,562   28.8% 109,469   10/24
Arkansas   340,964
Ballot  
Absentee 7.7%
In-Person 92.3%
31.8% 1,070,573 33.4% 10/31
California
(58 of 58 counties reporting, thnx to Joe Holland)
  3,293,617   25.8% 12,589,367 33.2% 10/24-11/1
Colorado html 1,477,836
Party  
Dem 37.7%
Rep 35.9%
No/Oth 26.4%
Ballot  
Absentee 75.3%
In-person 24.7%
68.8% 2,148,036 47.9% 10/31
(Party
stats
current through 10/30)
Connecticut         1,607,808 8.9%  
Delaware         377,407 4.9%  
District of Columbia         230,105 8.1%  
Florida^
(in-person & absentee returned)
html Election Code 9250 3,787,414
  2008 2004
Party    
Dem 45.6% 40.7%
Rep 37.8% 43.5%
No/Oth 16.6% 15.8%
Ballot    
Absentee 39.4%  
In-person 60.6%  
46.9% 7,640,319 36.1% 11/1
Georgia html
1,994,990
Race  
White 60.2%
Black 35.1%
Other/Unk 2.2%
Sex  
Men 40.4%
Women 56.2%
Unk 0.9%
Ballot  
Absentee 11.1%
In-person 88.9%
60.1% 3,317,336 20.2% 11/1
Hawaii         431,662 31.0%  
Idaho         612,786 15.9%  
Illinois         5,350,493 5.6%  
Champaign Cnty html 7,685   9.1% 84,153 4.9% 10/30
Cook Cnty html 226,090   22.1% 1,024,876   10/31
Chicago City html 260,703   24.7% 1,056,830   10/30
Indiana html 455,035   18.1% 2,512,142 10.4% 10/30
Marion Cnty   57,249 In-person only 19.3% 296,243 8.0% 10/31
Iowa   454,274
Party  
Dem 47.3%
 
Rep 28.8%
No/Oth 23.9%
29.8% 1,521,966 30.8% 10/31
Kansas         1,213,108 20.4%  
Johnson Cnty html 109,190   42.1% 259,599 37.8% 10/30
Kentucky         1,816,867 5.4%  
Louisiana html 266,880
Party  
Dem 58.5%
Rep 28.4%
No/Oth 13.1%
Race  
White 60.8%
Black 36.3%
Other 2.9%
Sex  
Men 43.5%
Women 56.5%
Ballot  
Absentee 5.1%
In-Person 94.9%
13.6% 1,956,590 6.5% 10/29
(In-person early voting period ended 10/28)
Maine html 163,981
Party  
Dem 42.9%
Rep 28.2%
No/Oth 28.9%
21.8% 751,519 21.4% 10/31
Maryland         2,395,791 5.8%  
Massachusetts         2,927,455 6.0%  
Michigan         4,875,692 17.9%  
Minnesota         2,842,912 8.2%  
Mississippi         1,152,365 6.1%  
Missouri         2,764,635 7.6%  
Montana   184,632   40.5% 456,096 21.7% 10/29
Nebraska   147,992   18.7% 792,906 13.9% 10/30
Nevada# html 500,339   60.2% 831,563 53.1% 10/30
Clark Cnty html 347,491
Party  
Dem 52.5%
Rep 30.4%
No/Oth 17.2%
63.5% 546,858 59.4% 10/30
Washoe Cnty html 90,638
Party  
Dem 47.8%
Rep 35.0%
No/Oth 17.2%
56.8% 159,511 33.0% 10/30
New Hampshire         683,672 9.0%  
New Jersey         3,638,153 5.4%  
New Mexico         775,301 50.6%  
Bernalillo Cnty html 162,452
Party  
Dem 53.4%
Rep 32.9%
No/Oth 13.7%
Ballot  
Absentee 37.6%
In-person 62.4%
61.9% 262,617   10/30
New York         7,448,266 5.1%  
North Carolina zip 2,350,712
  2008 2004
Party    
Dem 51.8% 48.6%
Rep 30.0% 37.4%
None 18.2% 14.1%
Age    
18-29 13.9%  
30-44 22.7%  
45-64 40.7%  
65+ 22.7%  
Race    
White 69.5%  
Black 26.3%  
Other 4.1%  
Sex    
Men 42.7% 42.9%
Women 56.4% 56.6%
Unk 0.2% 0.4%
Ballot    
Absentee 8.0% 13.1%
One-Stop 92.0% 86.9%
66.2% 3,552,449 30.8% 11/1 5:26am
North Dakota         316,049 17.8%  
Ohio*         5,722,443 10.7%  
Champaign Cnty html 3,666   19.2% 19,080 8.4% 10/31
Cuyahoga Cnty Pdf 228,003
Ballot  
Absentee 81.0%
In-person 19.0%
33.2% 687,255 12.4% 10/31
Franklin Cnty html 178,260   33.4% 533,575 8.8% 10/30
Gallia Cnty html 2,168   15.1% 14,391 11.1% 10/28
Greene Cnty html 5,736   7.1% 80,602 10.5% 10/28
Knox Cnty html 7,336   26.9% 27,302 13.2% 10/30
Montgomery Cnty html 50,577   17.6% 287,635 10.2% 10/30
Muskingum Cnty html 6,629   16.8% 39,565 12.6% 10/28
Ross Cnty html 8,086   25.3% 31,979 12.3% 10/30
Seneca Cnty html 4,156   15.1% 27,607 10.8% 10/30
Summit Cnty html 73,920   26.2% 281,735 10.1% 10/31
Tuscarawas Cnty html 9,339   21.3% 43,760 11.1% 10/31
Union Cnty html 3,324   14.5% 22,911 7.7% 10/28
Oklahoma         1,463,758 10.1%  
Oregon Pdf 931,310   50.3% 1,851,671 100.0% 10/30
Pennsylvania         5,769,590 5.5%  
Rhode Island         440,228 4.4%  
South Carolina         1,626,720 9.5%  
South Dakota         394,930 24.0%  
Tennessee Pdf 1,550,939   63.1% 2,456,610 47.3% 10/30
(Early voting ended 10/30)
Texas
(15 largest counties)
html 3,117,005
Ballot  
Absentee 6.4%
In-person 93.6%
42.1% 7,410,765 51.1% 10/30
Utah         942,010 7.2%  
Vermont         314,220 19.1%  
Virginia         3,223,156 7.0%  
Fairfax Cnty   78,425   17.0% 426,126 10.5% 10/30
Washington         2,883,499 68.2%  
Clark Cnty html 106,053   61.6% 172,277 62.8% 10/31
King Cnty html 316,995   35.3% 899,199 62.8% 10/31
Pierce Cnty Pdf 125,330   39.5% 317,012 80.3% 10/31
Snohomish Cnty Pdf 126,709   42.6% 297,187 65.3% 10/30
Spokane Cnty Pdf 132,172   64.8% 203,886 64.3% 10/31
Whatcom Cnty html 60,165   65.7% 91,515 72.8% 10/31
West Virginia   96,239
Party  
Dem 59.4%
Rep 31.5%
No/Oth 9.2%
Ballot  
Absentee 9.5%
In-Person 90.5%
12.5% 769,645 19.1% 10/29
Wisconsin         3,016,288 12.1%  
Wyoming         245,789 19.6%

* Link below for full spreadsheet of complete statistics

2008 Early Voting Statistics

Op-Ed: Sarah Palin as the American Margaret Thatcher?

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaking before a crowd of supporters.

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaking before a crowd of supporters.

Although some in the media have extolled Sarah Palin as an ‘American Thatcher,’ there is no comparison between Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, concludes writer Ronald Maxwell in a candid op-ed.  One was the “embodiment of gravitas, inner strength and a deeply informed conviction” while the other exemplifies “inexperience, lack of curiosity, intellectual dimness, pettiness, inarticulateness, inability to form and express cogent thoughts and ignorance of history and the modern world.”

In the waning hours of the campaign, otherwise known as the end days of Republican rule, acolytes of Sarah Palin are preparing the way for her triumphal return after the dust of defeat has settled.  She is the future of a re-born party and the flag bearer for a new populist Conservatism – so they say – an American Thatcher.

One wonders if these promoters know anything at all about Margaret Thatcher or indeed about the long and honorable Conservative tradition. Margaret Thatcher was reserved, collected, calm and serious. She was the embodiment of gravitas, inner strength and a deeply informed conviction. Yes, she was from the common man. But like most thinking commoners, she appreciated a sharp mind, thriving in the presence of men and women of high wattage intellectual power. She was well read and formally educated at Somerville College, Oxford. Its what contributed to the thoughtful, considered way in which she comported herself, argued her positions in the presence of hostile politicians and made her decisions. She may have been an Iron Lady, but she was no Tin Thinker.

Anyone who doubts this description wasn’t watching her at the time. Maybe some of those who seek to make the ludicrous comparison with Sarah Palin just weren’t old enough to live through the Thatcher era. In case you missed it, read John O’Sullivan’s The President, the Pope and the Prime Minister, among other excellent accounts of Britain’s formidable leader.

In normal circumstances Sarah Palin or anyone like her would never be placed in a position to invite comparison with Margaret Thatcher. But that changed when the governor of Alaska was plucked from obscurity and thrust to the center of the world stage in the self-serving, desperate act of a war hero who lost his own center of gravity.

Long after John McCain’s candidacy fades into a historical foot-note, his lingering gift to America will have been Sarah Palin.

Thanks to John McCain there will be a Sarah Palin wing of the Republican Party for years to come. This shrill, pandering, small-minded, anti-intellectual lite-weight will be pontificating on all manner of issues, pretending to represent rural America, or Christian America, or Joe six-pack America or Joe the Plumber America. As Barack Obama recognizes in the American people a deep yearning to get beyond divisive labels and the politics of disunity, Sarah Palin can only talk in terms of slicing, dicing and dividing Americans into ever smaller sub-groups and simple-minded abstractions: soccer moms, pit-bulls with lip-stick, real Americans, patriotic parts of the country, good guys and bad guys.

Even a casual observer would notice that if Sarah Palin were a man she would never have been selected by John McCain. The same human being in the opposite sexual package, with the same inexperience, lack of curiosity, intellectual dimness, pettiness, inarticulateness, inability to form and express cogent thoughts and ignorance of history and the modern world would not have made the long list, let alone the short one. What is truly remarkable about Sarah Palin is the juxtaposition of her outsized ambition and high self regard with the small person who is really there. Its not to be fixed by a shopping spree at Neiman-Marcus or Saks. Did ever a politician more personify the fable of The Emperor’s New Clothes?

It isn’t good enough just to spout the expected slogans or to take the “correct” positions. With all due respect, cab drivers do that every day. (Or should we say Charley-the-cab-driver?) Whether their politics arise from traditions of the Scottish Enlightenment on the Right or from the French philosophes on the Left, we should expect our potential leaders to have learning, discerning minds and personal qualifications of distinction.

A sad part of this spectacle has been to watch the effusive, unwarranted praise from so many people who should know better. Are thoughtful Conservatives so desperate that they will suspend disbelief to this extent just for temporary political advantage? And did they figure on just how brief that temporary advantage would be? What was it, two, three weeks? To persist any longer in this blind celebration of Sarah Palin is to make a mockery of Conservatism and to provide its distracters with an easily ridiculed caricature.

In the memory of Richard Hooker, Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and yes, in honor of Margaret Thatcher, can we end this nonsensical talk of Sarah Palin as the future of Conservatism in America? Please.

Sarah Palin as the American Thatcher?