Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Powell Endorses Obama. In No Uncertain Terms.
October 19, 2008

Colin Powell has announced he's supporting Barack Obama. He did it during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press"; he then discussed the subject further afterwards, in a session with reporters outside of the studios. The endorsement was neither ambiguous nor qualified. Powell began by expressing his admiration for both candidates. He then talked about the performance of the two, particularly in reaction to the financial crisis of the last few weeks.

What's So Awful About "spreading The Wealth"?
October 18, 2008

It is hard to imagine we’ve heard the last of Barack Obama’s interactions with William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. But lately John McCain seems much more interested in talking about another Obama encounter. It’s the now infamous conversation Obama had with “Joe the Plumber”--and one particular phrase that Obama uttered in the course of it. For those who may have been in hibernation the last few days, Joe the Plumber--whose real name is Joe Wurzelbacher--met Obama during an Ohio campaign event last weekend.

John Mccain Thinks You Are Stupid
October 18, 2008

Here's John McCain, speaking today to an audience in Concord, North Carolina:  You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero? Well, that's the key to Barack Obama's whole plan: Since you can't reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will have to cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe.

Michelle Malkin Bids For Self-parody Award
October 17, 2008

I try really hard not to dignify Michelle Malkin by responding to her rants. But I can't let this one pass.  It seems that Malkin is angry over the recent treatment of Joe Wurzelbacher--a.k.a., "Joe the Plumber." As you may recall, John McCain invoked Wurzelbacher a few times during Wednesday's debate, using Joe's situation to suggest that Barack Obama would raise taxes on the middle class. Since that time, reporters and Democratic partisans have been digging into Joe's story, to see whether McCain's claims are right.

Is Joe The Plumber The Same As Joe Six-pack?
October 16, 2008

John McCain didn't utter the phrase "middle class" in debates one and two. He didn't utter it tonight, either. Instead, he talked about "Joe the Plumber." Joe, whose full name is Joe Wurzelbacher, is the plumber who asked Barack Obama about tax policy during an Ohio campaign event this week. Wurzelbacher hopes to buy his own business. But, as he explained during their now-famous exchange, he worries that he'd face higher taxes if Obama were to become president. It's not clear to me that Wurzelbacher really would be worse off financially if all of Obama's plans were implemented.

Stan Greenberg's Focus Group: "decisive" For Obama
October 15, 2008

As I type this, Stan Greenberg is briefing reporters on his focus group of undecided voters in Colorado. He said the respondents felt Obama "won" and that the results were "more decisive than either of the last two." That's a reference to Greenberg's previous focus groups, which also came away preferring Obama. The most striking result came on the favorability ratings. Although the focus group was officially undecided, it leaned towards McCain.

Joe The Plumber Should Like Obama's Health Plan
October 15, 2008

Would Barack Obama's health care plan be bad news for Joe the Plumber? Not at all. In fact, Joe the Plumber would be among the plan's primary beneficiaries. It's no secret that small businesses have a really hard time finding affordable health insurance right now. And it's no secret why. For one thing, it costs an insurer a lot more money to solicit, and then run, an insurance plan for multiple small businesses than it does for one large employer with the same number of employees.

Already The Media Is Flubbing The Economics
October 15, 2008

Here is CNN's Bill Schneider reacting to the candidates' answer about which priorities they'd set aside because of the financial crisis: Obama is once again not answering the question about which programs he will cut. He says that he will go through the budget line by line and eliminate the programs that don't work…but he won't specifically name any. McCain is also avoiding specifics on this issue.

More Deficit Nonsense At The Debate
October 15, 2008

John McCain says he will balance the budget in four years. I'm aware of no credible economic analyst who believes that's possible, given the enormous tax breaks McCain has promised. But it's worth mentioning that balancing the budget in four years shouldn't be the goal. In the short term, we need deficits in order to stimulate the flagging economy. And, over the medium term, we need to spend money on the sorts of investments--like public works, energy independence, and health care reform--that will make our economy more productive in the future. Don't take my word for it.

Those Poor Corporations
October 15, 2008

John McCain just trotted out his usual line about corporations in America facing the second highest tax rate in the world. It's a very misleading claim: Most corporations pay far less than the stated rates, because of loopholes. For the full explanation, see this Nobel Prize-winning economist. --Jonathan Cohn