John McCain

Conferencia de NALEO

La Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios Hispanos Electos (NALEO por su sigla en inglés) está en éste momento llevando a cabo su Conferencia Anual tal como lo ha hecho por los últimos veinticinco años. Éste año la Conferencia se celebra en Washington D.C , en el Hotel Renaissance ubicado en 999 9th St, NW.

La Conferencia, que tiene una duración de tres días, y comenzó ayer Jueves 26 de junio, atrae a Funcionarios Hispanos en los niveles tanto locales como estatales de todas partes del país. Entre invitados destacados que subieron al podio ayer para dirigirse a la audiencia estaban la Senadora Clinton, la Presidenta de la Cámara de Diputados Nancy Pelosi, y el líder del Senado, Senador Demócrata de Nevada Harry Reid.

Algunos de los temas centrales de ésta conferencia fueron la importancia del voto latino en las elecciones presidenciales del 2008; el Censo del 2010 (los beneficios del Censo para la comunidad latina y los obstáculos que se anticipan), el impacto de la crisis económica para las familias latinas (particularmente para los latinos que son propietarios de sus viviendas) ; el acceso a la educación para los latinos; raza, género y política y la campaña Ya Es Hora, entre otros temas.

La Conferencia culminará mañana Sábado, día en que ambos candidatos para la presidencia de la nación, los Senadores McCain y Obama darán sus discursos a las 11 AM y 12 PM, respectivamente.

El ambiente en la Conferencia ha estado lleno de energía y de muchas preguntas, reflejando la inquietud de la comunidad latina frente al futuro que nos espera. Así como lo ha dicho NDN muchas veces, los latinos somos la minoría más grande y que ha demostrado más rápido crecimiento demográfico en éste país. Ésta es una idea central de la Conferencia de NALEO: que los latinos tenemos el poder de elegir al próximo Presidente de los Estados Unidos, convirtiendo al año 2008 en el año del voto latino.


Quick '08 Update

- As this is being posted, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are appearing together in Unity, NH. Quoting Obama: "She rocks".

- In The Fix, Chris Cillizza looks at the presidential politics of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn DC's ban on handguns. On the same subject, PrezVid offers a video of Obama expressing his belief that the Second Amendment is an individual right. For more of the legal aspects, keep checking SCOTUSblog.

- Will there be a new debate format this Fall? According to the WSJ's Washington Wire, the Commission on Presidential Debates is hoping so.

- The Obama campaign continues to push the PowerPoint that Campaign Manager David Plouffe went over in DC this week, showing the strength of the campaign as well as highlighting fundraising realities among the candidates and party committees. All this comes as two more states shift to Obama.

- Michael Bush has an article worth reading in AdAge entitled "The Web Is Where It's At for Youth Vote". Here's a provacative quote:

"The good news for Democrats is that they [have proved they] can connect with voters, and the good news for Republicans is that this isn't about party or candidate; it's about the tool," Mr. Irving said. "So the candidate who is good at using these tools will have better success at reaching these voters. These voters are going [online] to find information because they can shape the message they receive and that's the watershed."

- As I wrote this morning, both U.S. Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will be addressing the 25th Annual NALEO Conference tomorrow.

- John McCain has a new ad, "Purpose". Check it out below:

Obama and McCain Address NALEO

Tomorrow in Washington, DC, U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain will address the 25th Annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Conference. Their presence at the conference alone verifies that the Latino community is truly an emerging power in American politics, both in terms of size and impact. But be mindful of the tone and tenor of each candidate's speeches considering these facts from our recent report, Hispanics Rising II:

  • At 15% of the US population today, Hispanics are now America’s largest “minority” group, and are projected to be 29% of all those living in the United States by 2050.
  • Hispanics have become one of the most volatile and contested swing voting blocks in American politics. Realizing this helped deliver George W. Bush to the White House.
  • In 2005, the immigration debate introduced a new dynamic in this electorate. The GOP rejected Bush's "Nos Conocemos" approach to Hispanics and adopted a much more anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic approach. This approach was instrumental in fueling the massive immigration rallies in the spring of 2006, and swinging Hispanics significantly to the Democrats and increasing their turnout in the 2006 elections.
  • Initial data from 2008 shows that Hispanics have tripled their turnout from the 2004 primaries and increased their share of the vote in the Democratic primaries by 66%. Seventy-eight percent of Hispanics who voted in the presidential primaries this year have voted Democratic.

These facts present a bleak outlook for Sen. McCain in particular, who will address NALEO at 11 a.m., immediately before Sen. Obama's address at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel. For more background, check out these recent columns from Carla Marinucci, Andres Oppenheimer, Gebe Martinez, Peter Wallsten, Sam Stein, Bill Lambrecht, and Tyche Kendricks.

The Story of the Race So Far - the Surprising Weakness of John McCain

First Newsweek showed Obama up 51-36. Now LATimes/Bloomberg has it 48-33. The two daily tracks Rasmussen and Gallup still have it 4-6 points. So where are we?

I believe deeply that the race for President wants to be a 10 point Obama victory. The underlining structure of the 2008 campaign has Democrats with 10 plus point advantages in all the major measures - party ID, congressional and presidential generic ballot test. In 2006, the national vote for Congress broke about 53-46, and Tom Davis, the savvy GOP Congressman, says the environment is much worse this year. Democrats are showing incredible intensity, and have created a new model of politics that will allow them to involve millions of partisans to help the campaign as never before. As I wrote recently, Democratic leaning groups - women, African-Americans, Hispanics and Millennials - turned out in very high numbers in the Democratic primaries, offering what might be a very different electorate in 2008. McCain is by any historic measure, a weak and bumbling candidate, ill-suited for a presidential race, and is still struggling to bring his party together - a party which has never liked him very much anyway.

The polling has been remarkably consistent in one regard. In almost every poll, Obama is in the high 40s, which would lead one to believe this is actually where he is now. What is changing is McCain's number, which is moving around in a range from the low 40s to mid-30s. 42, 42, 38, 36 and now 33.

The conclusion - Obama is definitively ahead of John McCain at this point. Obama has unified his party and overcome problems he had with groups in the primary. He is already ahead in polls in enough states, including CO, FL, MI, NM and PA to see his path to electoral college victory. All rather remarkable for this bi-racial candidate with a funny name who few had heard of even a year ago. McCain, on the other hand, is clearly struggling to get even into the low 40s on a consistent basis. He is having a hard time bringing his party together, and his electoral college map looks problematic now. Even if Obama wins by 4-5 points, it is by presidential standards a landslide. Bush never won by that amount in either of his races. These new double digit polls also show that it is possible for this race to end up where it wants to be - which is Obama winning by 10 or more. Even the ambition of the Obama buy this week is as much about McCain's weakness as it about Obama's strength.

I always assumed that this race would be close until October and then would break open for Obama with him winning by 5-10 points. But the fact that we are seeing this degree of McCain weakness this early is suprising to me, and it is this weakness that is the story of the presidential race so far.

Quick '08 Update

- MTV will now accept political ads according to Ad Age. Ira Teinowitz explains:

The Viacom MTV Networks channel -- once known for round-the-clock music videos and now home to a host of reality shows -- says it will now take political ads, though only from political candidates and party political committees, not from third parties.

- Rolling Stone has a cover story on U.S. Sen. Barack Obama. If the picture speaks the truth, not only does Obama know how to use a computer, but he's also an Apple user!

- The Obama-Clinton relationship is starting to take shape. Obama is saying he needs the Clintons' help, and is reaching out to help Sen. Hillary Clinton retire her campaign debt, placing calls to Clinton fundraisers and hearing some criticism in return.

- Yep. Ralph Nader just went there. (via TPM)

- The WSJ's Washington Wire blog shows U.S. Sen. John McCain is heading to Colombia to talk trade, with a stop in Mexico City scheduled on the way back.

- For those paying attention to the Supreme Court decisions, check out SCOTUSblog.

- Ben Smith from The Politico has insight into Obama's plan to focus resources in 14 states George Bush won in 2004.

- Las Vegas is the place to talk energy, as McCain will be there today to boast his green credentials and raise money. (Sorry CBS, but it's kind of ironic that a post on John McCain's energy policy is advertising ground for Exxon Mobil...)

Cillizza looks at Obama, McCain Strategies

Chris Cillizza weighed in today with an interesting take on the early general election strategies of the two Presidentials. He writes:

The coverage of Barack Obama's decision last week to forego public financing for the general election centered on the fact that the Illinois senator is almost certain to have a considerable spending edge in the fall campaign over John McCain.

What was largely overlooked, however, is how Obama's decision impacts McCain's fundraising between now and when he formally accepts the party's nomination on Sept. 4. Since McCain opted out of public financing for the primary race, he can raise and spend as much as he likes over the next 73 days. And, if he wants to have a real chance at the presidency, he must find a way to come within financial shouting distance of Obama over those next two and a half months.

"Advertising in the summer will be more important than advertising in the fall," said Curt Anderson, a Republican media consultant who advised the presidential candidacy of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. "After the conventions are over there will be a very tiny sliver of the electorate that remains undecided. The pool of undecided voters is bigger in the summer than it will be in the fall."

Recent presidential election history backs up Anderson's contention.

Back in 1996, President Bill Clinton effectively closed out the contest against Sen. Bob Dole (Kans.) during the summer with a slew of advertising that portrayed the Kansas senator as out of touch. Dole, essentially bankrupted after the primary fight, was unable to respond as he waited for his general election money to kick in. By the time it did, the race was over; Clinton sat on his lead and Dole was never able to overcome first impressions....

I wrote about the significance of the Obama buy last week here. And I agree with Cillizza - early media matters, and it is clearly possible given the bigger trends and early poll data that Obama could put this thing away in the next few weeks. All eyes on the McCain response now.

Update: Frank Rich had a great column yesterday, one that touched upon the early advertising strategy of the McCain campaign.

The Audacity of the Obama Buy

Yesterday, Senator Obama bought advertising in 18 states. Three of these 18 come from the 19 states Democrats have won in each of the last four presidential elections - MI, PA, WI. The rest - 15 - are purple or red states. (For more on this, visit Aaron's post from yesterday, which had some very good maps and the ad itself).

The most interesting thing about this buy is that in addition to the nine states widely believed to be the race's true battleground - CO, FL, IA, MO, NC, NH, NM, NV, VA - the campaign has bought in states few had been predicting would be in play - Alaska, Georgia, Montana, Indiana and North Dakota.

I don't have dollar figures, but this appears to be a huge buy. The ad is 60 seconds, twice as long as a traditional spot. And the campaign is up in states - these last five - that can best be described as speculative at this point. What this shows is what Obama's incredible fundraising success is able to buy him - an early buy in a lot of states, a 60-second ad and and a dramatic effort to expand the playing field by putting five small to medium size states in play with early media.

This buy says two things about the campaign to come. First, that it is going to be largely played on red or purple turf, and that McCain's claim to be able to dig deep into traditional Democratic turf is more bluster than reality (for more on this see this post). Additionally, it says that the Obama campaign has begun its general election campaign in a big, bold, aggressive - audacious - manner. The Obama team is swinging big and trying hard to change the rules of the game.

It will be very interesting to see the McCain response in the days ahead. He cannot afford to let Obama set the terms of the debate, or start to open up a lead in the electoral college as it might begin to lead to national news stories that his campaign is "in trouble." This is a big, early and important test for what has been a very wobbly McCain campaign.

Mon am update - The Post has an interesting piece this am looking into the emerging Obama general election strategy. 

Quick '08 Update

This is going to be a quick post since we've got our LAPI event today, but here are a few things worth mentioning:

- As my Mom just reminded me, Michelle Obama is about to be a guest co-host on ABC's The View, an appearance that should do well to counter Pew numbers reported on CNN:

In the latest Pew research poll conducted June 13 through 16, 78
percent have heard a least a little bit about the wife of Barack Obama,
but up to 26 percent of those said the coverage of Michelle Obama has
been mostly negative. In contrast, 54 percent of those surveyed claim
to know a little bit about Cindy McCain and of those polled 31 percent
say the coverage they have seen has been mostly positive, while only 7
percent felt she has been represented negatively.

- Rudy Giuliani is back with his favorite subject: terrorism. As Josh Marshall points out, Rudy is now a surrogate for the McCain campaign on terrorism.

- Barack Obama has over one million supporters on Facebook. In comparison, John McCain has about 147,000 supporters. (Let's not get started on the RNC Facebook numbers...)

- Continuing along a theme that Simon has been covering, the New York Times has a really fascinating article on the Obama effect on the consciousness of France's black population. (It would've been really interesting to see what Césaire would've written about Obama...)

McCain Running on Empty

Sen. John McCain has a new ad out today on climate change. Check it out:

Sounds great right? John McCain doesn’t follow the President on climate change and wants to curb greenhouse gasses.

Not so fast.

From the New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller:

Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is to provide an audience of Houston oil executives with more details of his proposal to lift the federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration in states that want it. Mr. McCain’s position is welcome news for the oil industry, which has called for years for the ban to be lifted.

"With gasoline running at more than four bucks a gallon, many do not have the luxury of waiting on the far-off plans of futurists and politicians," Mr. McCain plans to say. "We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production, and I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use." Mr. McCain first made public his position on the moratorium on Monday in Virginia.

Just so this is clear: On the same day that John McCain releases a new ad discussing his commitment to confronting climate change, he also proposes drilling for offshore oil and gas.

Politically, McCain may be seeking the energy security mantle, but he will have trouble claiming to care about climate at the same time, especially when it looks like he is just giving handouts to the oil industry. This move will not help in the short term as wells in these places will not come online tomorrow, and the amount of oil and natural gas extracted would not lower prices in any meaningful way.

Plus, offshore drilling is so unpopular in Florida, that even Jeb Bush opposed it as Governor. In fact, as First Read points out:

No Republicans in Florida have gotten elected statewide without endorsing the moratorium on off-shore oil drilling.

Between this drilling proposal and the gas tax holiday, it sounds like John McCain’s Straight Talk Express may be in bad need of a fill-up.

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