October 28, 2008

Tnr Exclusive: The Backstory Behind That Syria Strike
12:00 AM

 Eli Lake has the scoop on last Sunday's attack in Syria. According to his reporting, the administration has escalated the war on terror in its closing days. Money quote:  We have entered a new phase in the war on terror. In July, according to three administration sources, the Bush administration formally gave the military new power to strike terrorist safe havens outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Before then, a military strike in a country like Syria or Pakistan would have required President Bush's personal approval.

Happy Thought For The Day
12:00 AM

 Here's a White House memo with a headline and opening guaranteed to make your heart beat a little faster: Ensuring A Smooth And Effective Presidential Transition The Administration's Preparations for the Transition are Unprecedented in Scope and Depth Today, the Transition Coordinating Council (TCC) will meet for the second time, continuing the Administration's comprehensive transition efforts.   ... Obviously, I would have preferred that John McCain not make the race to succeed George W.

If It's Vilsack Anecdotes You Want, It's Vilsack Anecdotes I've Got
12:00 AM

Rumors that Tom Vilsack might be Obama's Secretary of Agriculture give me just the news peg I've been waiting for to get some mileage out of this Vilsack-ag anecdote (that my editors inexplicably didn't see fit to include in my David Axelrod profile). There was one major bone of contention between candidate Vilsack and consultant Axelrod during Vilsack's 1998 Iowa gubernatorial campaign. As Vilsack explained it to me: I was absolutely in love with my idea that Iowa was going to become a "food capital," by which I meant we'd do more with crops--producing fuels and paper and things like that.

October 27, 2008

Critical Mass
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--It has become commonplace in American politics: Certain Roman Catholic bishops declare that the faithful should cast their ballots on the basis of a limited number of "nonnegotiable issues," notably opposition to abortion. Conservative Catholics cheer, more liberal Catholics howl. And that is usually the end of the story.Not this year. Catholics, who are quintessential swing voters and gave narrow but crucial support to President Bush in 2004, are drifting toward Barack Obama.

A Suspended Apocalypse

We are living in an extraordinary time. The world has been badly shaken. In the space of a few days a system that we thought was as secure and assured as the air we breathe lost all its landmarks, its clarity, and was seemingly swallowed up by a black hole. Money--essential to the spirit of peace--congealed, like blood in veins. Credit--this fine word is also expressive of people's faith in others--like a machine that jammed, and then stopped. Confidence--the famous "confidence" that is also integral to the pact among citizens and the reasons it must be perpetuated--like a spell that is evapor

Florida Follies
12:00 AM

ORLANDO -- Florida provides the appropriate closing metaphor for the 2008 campaign.    If John McCain were on a clear path to victory, there would be no campaign here at all. Yet there was McCain's running mate Sarah Palin, battling on Sunday across the state's crucial central corridor in Tampa and Kissimmee. Come Wednesday, Bill Clinton will campaign with Barack Obama--the former president's first joint appearance with the Democratic nominee--at an evening rally here.    Rep.

Today's Polls: Obama Steady In Battlegrounds, Running Up Score In Blue States
12:00 AM

John McCain is making no progress in his pursuit of the White House. Our model now projects Barack Obama to win 351 electoral votes to John McCain's 187, and to win the Electoral College 96.7 percent of the time to McCain's 3.3 percent. Both numbers are unchanged from yesterday.Let's take a look at the polls, and then run through a couple of big-picture themes:Theme #1.

Down With Divided Government
12:00 AM

I am a great fan of the Financial Times, and I was interested to see that they endorsed Barack Obama for president. But they couldn’t do so without perpetuating one of the great fallacies of American politics--a fallacy that is currently echoed by the McCain campaign and the Republican party.

October 26, 2008

Who Would Obama's Treasury Secretary Be?
12:00 AM

In a long, useful piece about the closing days of the campaign and the beginning of a likely Obama administration, John Heilemann writes: Given the unusually crisis-plagued environment into which Obama will be stepping, he will want to move quickly, especially when it comes to selecting his Cabinet. Almost certain to come first, perhaps within days, will be his economic and national-security teams. And with those choices, they say, he will want to send a message of centrism and bi-partisanship.

Today's Polls: Race Remains Stable
12:00 AM

While there are a few surprises here and there, once again the theme of today's polls is stability in the race for the White House.John McCain narrowed his gap significantly in today's Zogby tracking poll, drawing from 9.5 points behind to 5.3. As you probably know, I have a signifiacnt critique of Zogby's weighting mechanism, which assumes that the partisan identification breakdown will be roughly equal to 2004, when about the same number of Democrats and Republicans turned out for the election. Neverthless, McCain also improved slightly in the Research 2000, IBD/TIPP, and ABC/Post polls.