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January 28, 2008


Appalled Moderate

Romney vs. Billary will be Romney vs. Bloomberg vs. Billary.


I pretty much agree with this, but I think you may underestimate the extent to which the Obama-McCain contrast might also play out to Obama's advantage. McCain is pretty old, but not as old as he seems. That could all prove to be a problem, and Obama is a strong contrast, obviously.


Thanks for the link!!

Crunchy Frog

My guess - neither he nor Obama will be inclined to run anything like a dirty campaign.

My guess - since he's already starting to go dirty against Romney in Florida, you can pretty much give up on that pipe dream right now.


McCain is pretty old, but not as old as he seems.

What do you mean by that?

JM Hanes

McCain versus Obama: Just for starters, you've apparently forgotten what Nixon looked like next to JFK on the tube.


Well, at least there will be the World Series and football to watch.

Cecil Turner

McCain was on the receiving end of some dirty tricks in South Carolina back in 2000 . . .

I know this is the conventional wisdom, but the evidence is pretty thin (generally sourced to op-eds citing flyers). Moreover, the one charge that never gets much play in that "dirty trick" summary is that he collaborated with the enemy during his POW stint, which is presumably the part that got his back up on the SwiftVet issue, and (at least to some degree) true.

Not sure whether unproven accusations of dirty tricks qualify as dirty tricks themselves, but at any rate I'd be surprised if McCain was above 'em (as opposed to just happening to be on defense at that particular moment).


Bill versus Hillary Victor Davis Hanson.


What do you mean by that?

McCain not only is pretty old, he comes across as being even older than he actually is, and I think in that regard the Obama-McCain contrast plays to Obama's advantage. Along the same lines, I think there is a pretty decent chance that McCain will prove tired and cranky by the time the election comes around, and that can't be helpful. McCain would obviously emphasize the experience-inexperience dimension of the contrast, as TM suggests; but there is another dimension that would help Obama, and that shouldn't be neglected.


I'm sending checks to NOW and Emily's case if these scenarios are accurate.

Other Tom

This discussion of McCain's age reminds me of what Mark Twain said about Wagner's music: "I understand it's better than it sounds."

I'm predicting a Romney win in Florida. Just the vibes, man.


the press will dwell endlessly on every Romney flip-flop and every bit of Mormon arcana (to the tune of "Getting to Know You") as they carry Obama to the goal line.

Romney is more electable, and Obama less, than this suggests. Nor is the MSM as all-powerful (else we'd have President Gore or Kerry right now). I think Obama's obvious shallowness and inexperience will scare away voters and make him unelectable in the general election.

Billary is somewhat more electable in that she's guaranteed about 40% of the vote, but equally guaranteed not to get about 45%.

Romney just needs to confront the "flip-flop" charge head-on. He should say, "I was governor of a very liberal state, and had to set realistic policy goals in light of that." Or something along those lines.

I'm not happy about the Romney v. McCain choice, but I still would bet on a Republican being inaugurated next January.


Let me just say here that McCain tempered his remarks about the Swiftees when they teamed up with the POWs. Bud Day's and Paul Galanti's involvement changed his attitude greatly.


McCain has gone negative against Bush, for cutting taxes; Romney, a supporter of the war; and the Republican base, for opposing his amnesty schemes. You'd think a tax-hiking war-losing pro-Mexican like Obama would have no chance of drawing McCain's ire.

But wait! Remember this:
"Dear Senator Obama:

I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership's preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won't make the same mistake again."

Was he swayed by Sen Il-Jung Chavez Hussein's reply?
"I confess that I have no idea what has prompted your response. But let me assure you that I am not interested in typical partisan rhetoric or posturing. The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you nor my willingness to find a bipartisan solution to this problem."


I wish someone would ask all of the candidates where they stand on the International Criminal Court. Does anyone have a link to the stated positions of any of them on this issue?


http://whereistand.com/JohnMcCain/1399>Aw crap. I should have known.


Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain all want to join the ICC.

Romney has no stated position.

Huckabee and Paul are against our joining the ICC.

Oh crap. I hope Romney starts talking. Okay Romney lurkers, get your man to start dishing the ICC.

I'm not voting for McCain. Not gonna do it. A republican giving our sovereignty to the ICC. Not gonna do it. If it happens, a democrat will have to be the one that gets tagged with it.


Hillary probably can be beat just by raising her negatives with negative attacks. I have no doubt the Hillary has a strategy to counter these attacks. I suspect that even a Republican win will be an ugly one.

The press prefers a narrative. The Dems have a War narrative, a Failed Economy narrative, a Unite America narrative, and a Two Americas narrative ready now.

I would much prefer to win on an optimistic narrative than, "Hillary is a bitch, so vote for me."

Rick Ballard

"I'm predicting a Romney win in Florida."

Me too. Former Thompson supporters plus the money and organizational edge. I hope we get splits showing the Panhandle vote. If McCain can't achieve a decisve victory in the Panhandle then he will find Feb 5th to be very long day.


>i>Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has criticized the United Nations; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has suggested that the United States look for alternatives to the United Nations; and Hunter, a congressman from San Diego, who has denounced "treaties that infringe on basic U.S. sovereignty." Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee opposes U.S. membership in the court.

Okay, people. How do you get an issue to the candidates? I guarantee you conservatives, which John McCain isn't, won't like the idea that McCain supports the US joining the ICC.


Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has criticized the United Nations; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has suggested that the United States look for alternatives to the United Nations; and Hunter, a congressman from San Diego, who has denounced "treaties that infringe on basic U.S. sovereignty." Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee opposes U.S. membership in the court.

Okay, people. How do you get an issue to the candidates? I guarantee you conservatives, which John McCain isn't, won't like the idea that McCain supports the US joining the ICC.


How the hell did we get this far into the republican nominating process without someone asking this question?


"Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain all want to join the ICC.

Romney has no stated position.

Huckabee and Paul are against our joining the ICC. "

Providing that isn't the Internet Chess Club or the Internet Cricket Council,then it is an appalling idea.
You may as well disband your military since you will end up with travesties like this


I got to ask Senator McCain a question today on the Swiftees in a blogger call and he corrected me. His objection was the initial focus on Kerry's combat duty and medals; when they moved on to talking about Kerry's activities with the VVAW and his postwar record (especially his notorious speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), he felt their questions were absolutely legitimate.

I can appreciate the distinction.



Yeah, it is appalling. And I just assumed a republican nominee would be against it. And we all know what assume does. Sheesh.



As with everything political, I would have to go back and look at McCain's statements during that timeframe. As I recall his statemente were more along the lines of can't we let bygone's be bygone's.


"I'm predicting a Romney win in Florida."

Me three, but who the hell knows? I think McCain comes off badly in this latest set of attacks and Romney is finally looking a bit more relaxed. I also think if the economy is issue numero uno in the election he does have a prayer.

Health insurance is a big issue for the left, and Romney has actually passed such a bill, using private markets not the government. McCain's allegation that it has put MA in a hole is not,I believe well founded. Our current governor has dug that hole starting with the $25,000 drapes he bought for his office.


McCain not only is pretty old, he comes across as being even older than he actually is

Wow. I couldn't disagree more.
Yes, compared to Obama he'll look old, but I think most people that only follow politics a little would be surprised at McCain's age.

The guy looking older than he is, lately, is Bill Clinton. He does that old man mouth hanging open thing.


The latest Survey USA poll that Hugh Hewitt and NRO are touting, {that shows Romney up by a statistically insignificant 1%} -only polls 10% of the Northwest Panhandle.

That could be a mistake.

The Panhandle ever since it felt time tabled out in 2000 votes in droves-also 40,000 military absentee ballots go to the Panhandle counties-with Pesnacola NAS, Hurlburt Field, and Eglin AFB located there.

In Survey USA's own poll McCain is taking the Panhandle, with Huckabee coming in second.

Also as an aside if you know republican inside baseball Crist VP material endorsed MCCain but bet you didn't know Pawlenty also long considered VP material is campaigning for McCain along with Ridge.

The governors really ain't coming out for Mitt-now fancy that....

Rick Ballard

SUSA polled eight days ago as well as yesterday.

Comparing the "actual" column under Early Voting shows one measure of the liklihood of a Romney win. Looking at the drop in support for McCain in the Northwest Region from 47% eight days ago to 33% yesterday provides another. Small sample size make those comparisons statistically meaningless but the drop in the percentage of voters who are veterans from 15.3% of the electorate in 2000 to 12.5% today does have statistical validity.

It's going to be close but McCain doesn't have any momentum.


On Mark Levin's radio show John Fund sticks by his claim, with multiple sources, that John McCain told them he might not have appointed a justice like Alito because he wears his conservatism on his sleeve.


SurveyUSA's 9th tracking poll, conducted exclusively for WFLA-TV Tampa and WKRG-TV Mobile. Romney has 32%, McCain 31% at this hour, effectively tied. Rudolph Giuliani and Mike Huckabee are far back. Romney leads by 17 points among voters focused on the Economy, and leads by 24 points among voters focused on Immigration. McCain leads by 14 points among voters focused on Terrorism and by 22 points among voters focused on Iraq. Romney leads by 16 among Conservatives. McCain leads by 28 among Moderates. Romney leads by 14 in SE FL. McCain leads Romney by 14 in NW FL

from Hugh


Rick, I'm just a little dubious about all those early votes for Romney; he's never polled at 36% in Florida and in fact was still in the teens only a week or so ago.

Rick Ballard


That's why I put in "statistically meaningless". I would also note that SUSA's turnout model for SC was off by 40% wrt blacks (on the Dem side). I'm only looking at trend and momentum and I wouldn't say that I'm more than 51/49 convinced that Romney will pull it off. The drop in absolute numbers of +128K veterans is no help to McCain and I'm not sure how active service people will actually break for him.

FL '08 just isn't FL '00.


Reasonable points, Rick. I'm just wondering if some of those reported early votes for Romney aren't votes that were actually cast for someone else and the poll respondent is a little embarrassed that they voted for Giuliani or Thompson, now that the latter is out and the former is headed towards the door. I've been thinking about this because I'm in a prediction contest with some others as to the % that each candidate will get. I've been assuming all along (based on the fairly substantial early voting reported a week or so ago) that Giuliani will get more than his latest reported polling percentage because of all the votes that have been banked already.

Oh well, I guess we'll know tomorrow night!


Sue--I had a brief correspondence with Anne-Marie Slaughter after seeing her on Charlie Rose (she was promoting her book) and her statements on the ICC.
Here is a portion of her response:

I am well aware of the limits of words. The point about having a court to indict someone as a war criminal is that it makes it possible for governments to put pressure on a government to turn him over (that is how we got Milosevic, who was one of the worst dictators of the 1990s, to the Hague), or for special forces to go get him legally, or for his internal enemies to kidnap him and turn him over to US, UN, or NATO troops. It changes hte political balance in our favor. And w/ respect to Guantanamo, I am not advocating simpl;y letting people go, but rather holding them subject to law. If we don't have anything on them that we can actually prove, how can we actually know we have the right people? Our government makes mistakes all the time. Imagine if your child were being held in Afghanistan by a government that had captured him hanging around with U.S. troops, or even as a U.S. soldier, and accused him of spying for the CIA (which happens often). We demand some PROOF -- whether presented to a military tribunal or a regular court -- and then an actual sentence. We can't just hold people forever with no rights. The Administration itself recognizes that victory against terrorism in the long term is a war of ideas rather than just a war of force -- we cannot possibly hope to fight the entire Middle East w/ our troops. And in the war of ideas, our willingness to hold a lot of people without any proof of why we are holding them other than they are Muslims whom we captured in Afghanistan and Iraq supports the worst images of the U.S. that al Qaeda and other groups put forth. That is what terrorism experts and Middle East experts in our government and outside have been telling us for a long time.
I wrote my book to start precisely this kind of conversation among as many Americans as possible. I love this country and I believe in it. But I sometimes no longer recognize the country I grew up in. 9/11 was terrible. But if the result is that we give up our values to save our skins, then al Qaeda will have truly won. I grew up in Virginia -- in grade school we of course learned Patrick Henry's "give me liberty or give me death." What that meant was that even though we could have lived perfectly safely under British rule, we thought that our liberty was worth dying for, and our democracy, and our notion of justice and equality and tolerance. It didn't mean that we were soft, or that we didn't recognize danger when we saw it, or that we couldn't protect ourselves. But it did mean, as I quote in my book from Captain Ian Fishback, who has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we would "rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is America."
Anne-Marie S.


Patrick Tyson


The polls you link were completed on 1/24 and 1/27. There was one completed on 1/20 that included Thompson. Survey USA did not put the regional numbers into words for 1/20 and they didn't include SW for 1/27. I've rearranged their words and added my own for what's missing (in italics) below:

1/21 McCain leads by 15 in SE FL. McCain leads by 8 in NW FL. McCain leads by 10 in SW FL. Romney and McCain are essentially tied in Central FL. Romney leads by 16 in NE FL.

1/24 McCain leads by 18 in SE FL. McCain leads by 28 in NW FL. McCain and Romney are tied in SW FL. Romney leads by 13 in Central FL. Romney leads by 16 in NE FL.

1/27 Romney leads by 14 in SE FL. McCain leads by 14 in NW FL. McCain leads by 7 in SW FL. Romney and McCain are effectively tied in Central FL. Romney and McCain are effectively tied in NE FL.

What stands out here are that according to their polling McCain somehow lost a 15 point lead that became an 18 point lead in SE FL and now trails by 14 and that Romney somehow lost a 16 point lead through two polls in NE FL and now trails by 2. How is that possible?

Patrick Tyson


Sorry about the above. I was going to add something regarding the NW numbers and Huckabee and then I decided to check the candidate itineraries for today as my impression is that the regional numbers don't support what I'd read concerning where they appeared to be strong. I was also going to check the numbers one more time. Then I decided I was spending too much time on something that will be meaningless in 24 hours. I don't remember hitting post before moving on, but I guess I did.



Ah yes, Ian Fishback, the McCain for '12, if not sooner. I don't know detainees usuallly have explosives, jihadist video streams, or other paraphenalia on them when captured. Fishback's high standards of proof will likely lead to more battlefield
'terminations' and less interrogations. After Mohammed Atta pre/911 could at worst
be charged with associating with militant elements in a mosque; just another European educated urban planner with a pilot's license (Flying while Arab is a crime; would
be the retort)Al Midhar and Al Hamzi would have been easier prey; but their status could be challenged by a devious enough attorney. the 7/7 bombers; one was an elementary school teacher with no criminal record (travelling to visit his folks in Pakistan isn't a crime?)

Rick Ballard

"How is that possible?"


Same way that it's possible to headline a 1/24 poll with 8 Days to Florida GOP Primary, McCain and Romney Consolidate Support:, I guess.

The reality is that I'm pretty sure that their sample sizes per area will generate MOEs up in the 8-10 (or larger) range. There were 10,956,682 votes cast for Republicans in FL in '04. SUSA uses 10-11% for NW for its turnout model with a total sample of 59 and 60 for the two polls. How accurate can we expect a sample of 60 to be for a potential population of over 1 million?

If one assumes an overall primary turnout rate of 40% then it's still too small a sample (60-400,000) to deliver much in the way of a believable answer. I get an MOE of 11 for a four way with a sample of 60.

Gimme a dart board and I'll do as well as the pollsters.

Cecil Turner

His objection was the initial focus on Kerry's combat duty and medals . . .

That may be what he was thinking, but it's not the way it came across:

In an exclusive television interview, Arizona Sen. John McCain told Tapper, "I condemn the ad, it is dishonest and dishonorable, I think it is very, very wrong." McCain, who feels that he was the victim of a similar attack in 2000, thinks it is irrelevant that the attack today, just as in 2000, is coming from Bush allies but not from the Bush campaign itself. "I hope that the President will also condemn it," McCain said, in a challenge to his fellow Republican.
Moreover, his claim to the moral high ground here--or his assumed authority to tell other veterans what's off-base in political speech--is pretty weak. Looks to me like he was seeing it through the lens of what was good for J.S. McCain III and his personal political vulnerabilities . . . and while that's understandable, it's not particularly attractive.

Rick Ballard

Naming his ego "Country" is a tipoff.



It isn't really just theory anymore. "Human Rights" legal theory is being used by Spain to hound 3 US soldiers and the same is being done in Italy. In practice the ICC will be used by Russians, French, and Chinese to harass and grind down US military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel. The "human rights" lobby has had much success in hunting down the anti-communists in South and Central America and their big victory in the US was the 95 Torricelli Amendment which produced the agent scrub leaving the CIA blind to the threat of islamic terrorism.


And who wins? America, first of all.

gag me with a spoon

Patrick Tyson


That's the point. They're already meaningless.


Jim Miller

In the 2000 Republican race, the dirtiest campaign ploy by any candidate was McCain's use of anonymous phone calls in Michigan calling Bush anti-Catholic.

Nothing that the Bush campaign did came anywhere close, though it is true that some who supported him went way over the line, especially in South Carolina.

And I say this as someone who would cheerfully vote for McCain against Clinton or Obama.


Rich--Thank you for your link and for reading a portion of the correspondence I had with Ms. Slaughter. It has lost some of its luster since Ms. Slaughter's appearance on Charlie Rose last June. My only reason for posting here was that Sue had expressed some consternation over the ICC and Sen. McCain's position regarding that organization. I wanted to show some thinking from a strong advocate of the ICC and with whom I had disagreed.
Thank goodness our government has not turned over those persons charged in the Spain and Italian courts.

Patrick Tyson


Final SUSA numbers for Florida have McCain up .4% after being down .6% previously. Momentum?

See you tomorrow.

Looks to me like he was seeing it through the lens of what was good for J.S. McCain III and his personal political vulnerabilities . . . and while that's understandable, it's not particularly attractive.
I would go further and say that it's always the lens of McCain's personal vulnerabilities. McCain has a guilty conscience for whatever weakness he showed in captivity all those years ago, so he excuses Kerry's utter craveness all those years ago. McCain has a guilty conscience for accepting Keating's bribes, and so he projects his failings onto all lawmakers, and then excuses them all and blames the lobbyists for tempting the lawmakers to take bribes.

That's what freaks me about McCain -- we already tried 8 years of President Narcissus, and we know how that turned out...

bio mom

A change of 1% is an irrelevant number statistically. This could go in either direction today.



I can't imagine Patrick Henry would have advocated giving up one ounce of our sovereignty.

And the quote from Captain Ian Fishback, does he consider giving up any portion of our sovereignty as part of the American idea?


Sue--I knew when I initiated the correspondence with Anne-Marie S. that I wasn't going to change her thinking. I just wanted her to know that there are some folks who disagree--I mean it seems all those intellectuals just talk to each other and don't hear what an ordinary soul feels.




I can't stand being lectured to by an intellectual. Here in Texas, we have a saying that fits them perfectly. Involving book learnin' and lack of common sense. It goes something like they don't have enough sense to pour piss out of a boot with instructions written on the heel.

I think that is why I disliked John Kerry so much. Not that I consider him an intellectual, but he considers himself one and wants you to know it. I much prefer Bush's downhome style. And, book learnin' without common sense gets you John Kerry. ::grin::

Anyway, the ICC is a deal breaker with me on McCain. I keep waffling with I'll vote for him if he is the nominee and I won't ever vote for him.

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