"Love of country, my friends, is another way of saying love of your fellow countrymen." --Sen. John McCain
John McCain's commitment to his fellow Americans, a commitment forged in service to his country, is one of the defining hallmarks of his life. Tuesday's events will highlight John McCain's record of service and sacrifice and reflect his commitment to serving a cause greater than one's own self-interest. Speakers will include:
President George W. Bush (via satellite)
First Lady Laura Bush
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.)
Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.)
U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Jo Ann Davidson, Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Chairman of the 2008 Republican National Convention Committee on Arrangements
5 things to watch tonight The 2008 Republican National Convention could not have gotten off to a more bizarre start — jolted by a shocker of a VP pick, delayed by a hurricane and then overshadowed by the news that a 17-year-old girl you’d never heard of a week ago is carrying the baby of her hockey-playing high school sweetheart. >> Politico
Prediction Market Starts Betting On Chance That Palin Will Withdraw From Ticket The Intrade prediction market has opened trading on whether "Sarah Palin [is] to be withdrawn as Republican VP nominee before 2008 presidential election." >> HuffingtonPost
Hundreds gather for Ron Paul rally Hundreds of people unhappy with the two major political parties offered a noisy endorsement today of Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman whose failed bid for the Republican nomination for president garnered heavy support on the Internet. >> TwinCities.com
RealClearPolitics Electoral College 270 Electoral Votes Needed to Win Obama - 273 McCain - 265 no change since last projection
I nestled into bed last night and got ready for Obama's speech. I wasn't sure what to expect, but my expectations were high. And to be honest, the show I saw blew me out of the water.
Before one word was uttered, the night was already historic. The first African-American candidate from a major party running for President...accepting his nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech...in from of 80k+ people...it was an extraordinary moment in political history.
This historical backdrop, combined with the actual staging of the event, then the introductory video, then the speech, then the celebration; if I was asked to script the last hour of a political convention, it would be something like that.
There was nothing major in the speech that alarmed me. He hit all the popular themes that got him the nomination, and even reached out to centrists with his comments regarding gun control and gay marriage. It was a little light on specifics, but that's what the next few months are for.
The speech, in and of itself, will be mostly forgotten in a few weeks, but the impressions will linger. Challenging McCain, standing up to criticism of his patriotism, challenging the people watching to continue the movement...these snapshots of emotion are what people will remember.
Once the emotion has died down, it will be interesting to see the reaction to the speech. Will it continue to go down as one of the best in history? Time will tell...and a win in November would go a long way.
So, we had the history from last night, and then today, a little bit more. By now you know John McCain announced his VP nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She is the second woman to be selected for a major party ticket, and come November 5, we will have either a woman or African-American elected to the executive branch for the first time.
I had the television on in my office this morning, the background noise of Joe and Mika is very comforting, waiting for some sort of breaking news. The McCain camp did a great job of concealing the choice of Palin. Every TV talking head kept revising their selection as potential picks were confirmed to not be in the mix. Blackberrys would go off, prompting everyone to stop what they were doing to see if one of their contacts had just responded.
CNN put up a graphic that 'signs' pointed toward Palin, but FOX got the first confirmation (surprise, surprise). With less than an hour before the rally was to begin, it was confirmed by the McCain campaign, and the scramble to find out something about Palin began.
Compared to the event from the night before, or even the introduction of Biden, the event in Dayton earlier today seemed amateurish. Issues with the microphone, music, no one seeming to know where to stand...combined with the smaller venue, crowd, and nervousness of Palin in her speech...it just wasn't flattering for the Republican roll-out.
Her speech was also a stark contrast from Bidens. Instead of delving into policy or political themes, it was more of an introduction of herself and family. Almost as an afterthought, she mentioned how much she admired McCain and was grateful to be selected by him. It could have been better...and probably needed to be better...but I think that the shock of the selection muted the criticism.
We will find out more about her in the near future, so stay tuned. Once the media (and Democrats) start finding out more about her (the beauty pageant, the Vogue photo shoot, etc.), we'll see how well she can stand up to the scrutiny and criticism.
Tonight, on ABC, six of the remaining Republican Presidential contenders square off live from New Hampshire. Sponsored by ABC and Facebook, this important debate is just a few days away from the NH primary.
For the Republicans, we will see John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul.
A different format to start off with. Charlie Gibson will have the candidates sit down and try to talk to each other.
Will the candidate embrace the Bush foreign policy, or run away from it. Huckabee starts off with being asked to defend his comments about the US having a bunker mentality. Giuliani gives Bush credit for putting the US on offense instead of defense, and knocks Bill Clinton for slashing the military.
McCain also gives Bush credit for the doctrine the US follows, and believes that the country is safer now. He points out that he also advocated the surge strategy before anyone else did. He wraps things up by giving Giuliani credit for handling 9/11
Romney points out that Bush is not arrogant, and that the US owes him a debt of gratitude for what he has done to make the US safer (who knew that Bush would be given this much support - especially in New Hampshire - it seems risky considering the independent nature of the state).
Romney and Huckabee going after each other; McCain is in the corner, keeping quiet, holding onto his lead and smiling as the others leave him alone.
I love the spirited back-and-forth. Charlie Gibson is going to have to remind everyone that he is paying for this microphone.
Gibson wants McCain and Romney to talk about (to paraphrase) why they hate each other and accuse each other of following polls to create opinion. Neither takes the bait and keeps it civil. Gibson even points out that they both seem different tonight, and not like the candidates who are running the television commercials.
Gibson goes right down the line and calls out each candidate for political/issue changes that they have made over the course of their lives, under the guise of scoring political points.
I had to rewind that to watch it again; it was an amazing moment that I have not seen before from the media...especially in a national televised debate. I would love to see him do that to the Democrats as well just to see what he says about them.
Health care is now the topic, and Gibson points out that the basic Republican philosophy is that free-market consumer-purchased insurance is better than government run. All the candidates generally believe that the US has the best health care system in the world, and as Giuliani said, this is where Canadians and the world come to get treated.
Ron Paul points out that we would have the money for a great health care system if we ended the war and got the billions back.
You can tell I am a political junkie - I forgot there were NFL playoff games going on tonight. BTW, final score: SeattleSeahawks 35 WashingtonRedskins 14
Some interesting ideas coming out about health care that I have never heard before. I want to know a little more about how Massachusetts set up a system where individual families could purchase insurance, and the prices of premiums eventually dropped to be half of where they started.
McCain takes on pharmaceutical company policies; Romney defends how the companies operate.
Commercial time. Besides the YouTube debate, this is the most substantive debate I have seen during this race. I really like how the candidates can speak to each other, and how fewer people allows for more time to answer (it ought to be even better for the Democrats).
Second half starts, with direct questions to candidates and time limits. We start off with immigration, and McCain is reminded about the last debate in New Hampshire where he was hammered on the topic - coming on the heels of a failed Senate bill (remember when everyone thought McCain was close to dropping out?).
Romney - all illegal immigrants need to leave the country and can then apply for entry and citizenship.
Giuliani - it is impossible to get everyone out. Focus on the people who are committing crimes and get them out first.
McCain and Romney go after each other. McCain calls him out on the attack ads he has been running about McCain's amnesty plan.
(McCain to Romney) 'It is easy to get mis-quoted when you change your position on issues.' (or something close to that - whatever the words, it got an 'oooooooo' from the audience)
Giuliani brings up the Reagan microphone incident (lol - video above) and says that Reagan's view on immigration would put him in one of Mitt's negative ads.
Paul and Huckabee have been strangely quiet about this topic. Neither has spoken - and Gibson calls out Huckabee, saying he is sitting there with a smile on his face letting the others fight it out.
Why to not vote for Obama?
Romney - he wants government to take over health care; Washington needs to change, and Romney has the experience of doing it
Thompson - Obama has adopted the position of every liberal interest group; his alternative to all issues is to have the federal government solve the problem
McCain - says that Romney is the 'candidate of change' (laughs from crowd); Obama does not have the knowledge and experience to do the job
Giuliani - Obama has never had executive experience; change is a concept, but change could be very bad versus good
Huckabee - differences on 2nd and 10th amendments, life, national defense, taxes, same sex marriage; points out that Obama has touched a chord with the voters, and has excited people about this election, and warns the party about not recognizing this fact
Paul - their campaigns are similar, using and welcoming young people; Paul talks more about economics and monetary policy, where Obama talks more about the welfare state
Does it make Obama happy that he has the assumed the role of presumed Democratic nominee for purposes of these types of questions?
Thompson would not tax excess profits of the oil companies, pointing out that we are not a country that regulates our economy. At least he is honest, by also pointing out that we are not going to be energy independent any time soon.
WOW! How many times could Romney be accused of changing his positions?
All in all, I think Romney handled himself very well, and you could tell that he and McCain were the top two by the way they went at each other. Huckabee disappeared entirely (since no one thinks he can win in New Hampshire, it may have been his philosophy to get through this without doing any harm - but leaders should not act this way), and Giuliani reminded everyone that he is still running. Thompson woke up long enough to participate and show how he could be a force if he wanted to be. Who thought Paul would outlast Brownback, Hunter and Tancredo to make the final six?
Kudos to ABC for this debate. The first half went extremely well, and Gibson gave them all enough freedom to mix it up, and yet knew when to reign them in. I have to look this up to see if the moderators have been announced yet for the general election debates, but tonight was Gibson's application for doing one of them.
Gibson is also going to have candidates from both parties on stage at the same time. And out come the candidates - the audience gives them a well-deserved standing ovation. Onto the Democratic debate.
Tonight at the Koehler Center on the campus of The University of Findlay, I attended the 2007 Hancock County Republican Party Fall Picnic. Now, besides being a Republican and attending this annual Columbus Day tradition, this event holds another special memory for me.
Back in 1992 after I had recovered from cancer surgery and treatments, my family asked what I wanted to do for my birthday (which is on October 9th). Because of college, I hadn't been to this event for a few years, and I persuaded my family and fiance (now the FCP's wife) to forgo any presents and just join me at this BBQ. My mother got tickets for everyone, and they all joined me...my favorite hobby and my family together in the same room was very life affirming.
Anyway, tonight's event kicked off a little late, but soon got rolling as Judge Vern Preston got up and shared a few barbs about Democrats.
For those who forget, Portman was a six-term Congressman from the Cincinnati area. He hit the national stage by serving on the House ways and Means committee, and later when he left to join GWB White House staff as a trade representative. He was later named budget director, but left the position this past June so he could spend more time with his wife and three children.
Portman might run for Governor or US Senate in a few years when Strickland or Brown come up for re-election...or maybe Voinovich will face a conservative challenge (unlikely, but possible considering some of the comments and votes he has made over the past few years). The crowd responded enthusiastically to his speech, and I believe he would make a great representative for the state.
I hope that the recordings and pictures are adequate. I am in the market for a nice unit to record audio at these events, so if you have any ideas, let me know.
A special RepublicanParty Presidential candidate issue of GUGD.
Mitt Romney Anytime you win two straw polls within a week, you are doing something right. Let's see how he does outside the Midwest...let's say, South Carolina.
Mike Huckabee Anytime you finish second in the Ames Straw Poll, you are doing something right. Let's see how he does with the other top-tier candidates in the mix.
Fred Thompson Anytime you finish above other top-tier candidates in the straw polls, and you yourself have not yet announced, you are doing something right. Let's see how he does once he makes things official and appears side-by-side the others in a few debates.
Rudy Giuliani Anytime you finish below a candidate who has not entered the race, you may have something to think about. Let's see how his strategy of waiting for Super Tuesday (Feb 5) works out.
Ron Paul Anytime you finish higher in the straw polls then people expect, you must be doi...oh, forget it. Ron Paul (and his supporters) has to be excited. Top 5 in Ames, and Top 3 in Illinois? On to Texas!! Paul is going to be expecting some more questions and air time come the next debate in September.
Late announcement from the Illinois Republican Party...
“Congratulations to Mitt Romney, whose strong showing today indicates he has begun to put together a strong statewide organization. There’s no question that Illinois’ demographics closely match those of the United States and this could be an indication as to whom Illinois voters are leaning toward this coming February.”
Off his recent win in Iowa, Romney won the 'Land of Lincoln'straw poll, doubling up on runner-up Fred Thompson:
Mitt Romney – 40.35%
Fred Thompson – 19.96%
Ron Paul – 18.87%
Rudy Giuliani – 11.61%
John McCain – 4.12%
Mike Huckabee – 3.04%
Sam Brownback – 1.08%
Duncan Hunter - .65%
Tom Tancrado - .33%
What's most surprising...
Romney's win? Not really. With the proximity to Iowa, and coming off of Iowa, this can hardly be considered out of the ordinary.
Fred Thompson doing better than Rudy Giuliani? Perhaps a little considering the spread between the two. Let's see what happens when the two are on the same stage.
Ron Paul in third place? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. This shows that Iowa was not a fluke, and his supporters are a force to be reckoned with (at least in the midwest).