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Obama for VP

Could Barack Obama be Kerry's VP? I'm overstating it (his 1999 Congressional run failed when he "decided to challenge four-term Representative Bobby Rush"), but he's hot right now. For months he has been the darling child of bloggers everywhere, but he's now starting to make waves in mainstream media.

Polls show Obama with a solid lead in the Illinois Senate race-the latest figures give Obama an eight point lead. And when your opponent claims victory with an eight point deficit, you know things are looking good.

TNR praises Obama, saying his speeches “would make John Edwards blush. Obama's success, according to Noam Scheiber, comes from his popularity among both black and white voters.

And finally, his opponent has had enough. “Republican Jack Ryan has assigned one of his campaign workers to record every movement and every word of the state senator while he is in public.” That includes following Obama to the bathroom door, and waiting at the exit. Hmm, maybe things have gone too far.

Zinni on Bush

Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. Central Command and Middle East special envoy for the Bush administration, has come out with Battle Ready, a critique co-authored by Tom Clancy. Read Zinni's insightful remarks from the Director's dinner at the Center for Defense Intelligence on May 12. It's a lesson in mismanaged nation building.


Ouch. It seems everyone else noticed Bush's mangled "Abu Ghraib." "[W]orst of it was the way Bush got stuck on the word, parsing out the syllables lamely, as though he'd never read or heard them before."

Forget Reggie the Registration Rig

More on Strippers for Kerry. The Campaign Desk has this synopsis of the Wisconsin strip club/voter registration story. They point here and here.

Bush's Fall

The headlines should read: "Bush Falls to 'Beautiful Mind.'" Hopefully we'll see that in November, but nonetheless, it was true last night when all the networks aired their previously-scheduled programming, including "Beautiful Mind" on ABC.

Daily Kos noticed that the Bush administration felt it was even necessary to lie about the bike fall. White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters, "It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose. You know this president. He likes to go all-out. Suffice it to say he wasn't whistling show tunes."

Each sentence is sillier than previous one. But Kos points out, "May 13th saw some serious rain, but other than some sprinkles on the 14th, Crawford saw nothing but sun. In the last week alone, the temperature was in the high 80s the entire time."

Swing State Update

The American Prospect has this detailed analysis of the swing states. Despite those reports that say Bush leads in swing state polls, the Prospect's report looks good for Kerry.

Jersey Goes Red

What's going on with New Jersey. Polls are showing and neck-and-neck race in the garden state, and it's now being considered an official swing (or purple) state by pundits.

How? Please tell me, how did this happen? And will it last?

This Reuters piece checks out Jersey and some of the weak spots on the Democratic side:

"Republicans are looking at New Jersey, a Democratic state that Gore won by more than 16 percentage points in 2000, and tiny Delaware, which Gore carried by 13 percentage points.

"Bush has been running even with Kerry in the polls in both states, giving his campaign new hopes there, and Bush has been running advertisements in Delaware, which is relatively cheap and sees many of the ads that are run in nearby Philadelphia.

'"As long as you're advertising in Pennsylvania, you might as well throw some money at Delaware," Rebovich said."

But then read this brilliant analysis from The Campaign Desk at the Columbia Journalism Review:

"To begin with, a number of other polls have shown Kerry ahead of Bush. In early April the Newark Star-Ledger found that, counting leaners, 49 percent of registered voters supported Kerry, while 40 percent supported Bush. Then in late April, a Rasmussen Report poll showed Kerry with a double-digit lead over Bush, 51 percent to 39 percent.

"More importantly, however, the New-Jersey-as-battleground hype ignores the fact that, in 2000, while Gore ultimately crushed Bush, early polls 2000 depicted a close race. In early May of that year, American Research Group found Gore receiving 45 percent, Bush 44 percent, and 11 percent undecided. In June 2000, a Quinnipiac poll had Gore at 41 percent, Bush 37 percent, and Nader 7 percent. That same month Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released a poll that measured Gore's support at 42 percent, Bush's at 40 percent, and Nader's at 4 percent, and a Gannett New Jersey Poll suggested a Bush victory with the Republican out dueling Gore 35 percent to 34 percent (29 percent were undecided).

"Then, in August 2000, Gannet measured Bush's lead at 8 percent, before the numbers miraculously shifted in the middle of month giving Gore a 10 percent lead.

"Simply stated, the early polls out of New Jersey have not proven to be accurate forecasts of the November vote. Rather, they have proven to be entirely unreliable. (This holds for non-presidential elections also. For example, in 1996, a Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers Poll administered just days before the election depicted a dead heat between the Republican candidate Dick Zimmer and the Democratic candidate Bob Torricelli at 41 percent and 42 percent, respectively. But, when the votes were tallied on Election Day, Torricelli defeated Zimmer by a ten-point margin, 53 percent to 43 percent.)

"New Jersey is a "weird state," according to John Hassell, the chief political writer for the Newark Star-Ledger, who added that "polls show things close and tend to break Democratic in the end." Likewise, Cliff Zukin, director of the Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll said, "New Jersey has been considered a solid Democratic state in the last few presidential contests, and it looks like that will probably be the case this year ... Unless there is some dramatic foreign happening that causes a rally for the president, Kerry will probably increase his lead as he becomes better known after the Democratic convention."'

Fox News, Again

The Pew Research Center released today the findings from a study on the liberal-conservative presence in the media. According to the report, journalists were five times more likely to identify themselves as liberal (34%) than as conservative (7%).

But one item in particular caught my eye:

"The poll also discovered that while the reporters, editors, producers and executives have a great deal of trouble naming a "liberal" news outlet, they had no problem seeing a "conservative" outlet, with an incredible 69 percent readily naming the Fox News Channel."

Yes, Fox News the proud source of so much conservative propaganda. Looks at this example taken from Dave Copeland. Mr. Copeland found this entry on ProfNew, a site where news agencies can find "experts":

I'm looking for academic "experts" who can speak about the "liberal bias" at college campuses and/or the dominance of liberal professors at colleges. I prefer someone who has written a book about this topic. No phone calls, please.
Need leads by 03:00 PM US/Eastern MAY 20
Monitored by eWatch

Elisa Cho elisa.cho@foxnews.com



Cheney's News Source

The Washington Post reports that Cheney endorsed Fox News in a conference call to tens of thousands of Republicans on Thursday night:

"The comment came as Cheney took questions from supporters at 5,245 parties that were held in 50 states to energize grass-roots volunteers building a precinct-by-precinct army for President Bush's campaign.

'"It's easy to complain about the press -- I've been doing it for a good part of my career," Cheney said. "It's part of what goes with a free society. What I do is try to focus upon those elements of the press that I think do an effective job and try to be accurate in their portrayal of events. For example, I end up spending a lot of time watching Fox News, because they're more accurate in my experience, in those events that I'm personally involved in, than many of the other outlets."'

It's an unusual move for a public official to endorse a specific news source, but it's even more unusual for a public official to endorse a news source that's been known to mislead its viewers. One study from the University of Maryland showed that Fox News viewers had a disproportionately higher rate of misunderstanding the ties between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Eighty percent Fox News views had inaccurate impressions of the war, as oppose to the 23 percent of PBS viewers. Thanks to the Center for American Progress for pointing this out.

Need a Job?

If you're wondering why the CPA has mismanaged so much in Iraq, read this article from the Washington Post. The piece looks at the recruiting practices for the lower-level positions within the CPA. Instead of recruiting experienced "nation builders," the U.S. government has selected a bunch of young, untested twenty-somethings who are looking for some overseas experience. And surprise, surprise...they're Republicans:

"For months they wondered what they had in common, how their names had come to the attention of the Pentagon, until one day they figured it out: They had all posted their resumes at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank."

The rest of the article is just as fascinating. Thanks to Atrios for picking up on this. He also points to this story in Slate and this Washington Monthly article.

Outsourcing Bush

The Bush administration has had a less-than-stellar history with outsourcing. Earlier this year, the White House's chief economic advisor Greg Mankiw suggested that outsourcing was healthy for America's economic growth (he was probably right, but the timing of his statements were disastrous). Then in March, it was announced that the Bush team was using outsourced labor to manufacture campaign merchandise. What made this story even worse was that the Bush/Cheney fleeces in question were made in Myanmar, a country that's on the list of banned importers. According to this New York Times piece:

"The merchandiser, Ted Jackson, said his company, the Spalding Group, sold up to 10 Bush-Cheney pullovers made in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Each cost $49.95.

"Last summer, Mr. Bush signed legislation that barred imports from Myanmar to pressure that country's military dictatorship to take steps toward democracy."

The Hindustan Times now reports that Bush-Cheney fundraising and out-sourcing was performed out of call centers in India. From New Dehli:

"[T]his was handled by two call centres located in our own friendly neighbourhood in Noida and Gurgaon.

"For 14 months between May 16, 2002 and July 22, 2003, HCL BPO Services —the 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Shiv Nadar-promoted HCL Technologies — had some 125 agents working in seven teams soliciting financial contributions for the Republican Party. US presidential elections are slated for November 2004.

"The mandate for the teams was to mobilise support for President George W. Bush and solicit political contributions ranging between $5 and $3,000 from lakhs of registered Republican voters. The voters' database was provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC), the party's premier political organisation."

Strippers for Kerry

I've seen this mentioned in a few paces: Wisconsin strip clubs are entering this political fracas this year. They're asking their patrons to fill out voter registration forms and to vote for Kerry.