Barack Obama: September 2008 Archives

WASHINGTON--John McCain took some hits in a story about his gambling and associates who have represented the gambling industry. Republicans were taking note that Barack Obama was a regular, as a state senator, in a Springfield poker game where lobbyists were allowed at the table. Obama wanted to use the gambling story--what a metaphor opportunity--but must have realized his poker games could be used against him.

Here's how he handled it in a speech Monday, in a pre-emptive move.

"I read the other day that Senator McCain likes to gamble. He likes to roll those dice. And that's OK. I enjoy a little friendly game of poker myself every now and then," Obama said.

WASHINGTON--On the failure of the House to pass a bailout bill:

President Bush's bully pulpit had no juice; a critical mass of Republicans ran from the bill.

John McCain's direct intervention--suspending his campaign to run to Capitol Hill--did not work.

Barack Obama's working the phones--saying he was in touch with the key players--did not work.

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service

How long will it take for the Obama campaign to react to John McCain's new line he introduced at a Monday rally.

"Country first," McCain said, mentioning one of his signature slogans. "Or Obama first and I have a feeling I know which side you are all on."

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama finance chair Penny Pritzker sent out a talking points memo --sort of an Obama 101-- last week to the National Finance Committee, the high dollar best fund-raisers on the Obama team.

Taking note: the memo makes clear people still have questions regarding Obama's stand on Israel.

Obama Chief of Staff Jim Messina offers some "staggering" numbers from the field: Contacts made last week: 1,567,919.
Total Volunteers signups since June: 1,831,633.
Total email signups from field staff since June: 2,902,423

click below for the memo

WASHINGTON--Over at The Page, Mark Halperin has the tape--Barack Obama adviser Robert Gibbs and the folks at "Fox and Friends" squaring off over a post debate matter much discussed in the blogosphere--Obama's mention of a bracelet he wears with the name of a soldier, Ryan David Jopek, killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb.


SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION


Section 1. Short Title.
"Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008."

Section 2. Purposes.
Provides authority to the Treasury Secretary to restore liquidity and stability to the U.S. financial system and to ensure the economic well-being of Americans.

Section 3. Definitions.
Contains various definitions used under this Act.


Title I. Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Section 101. Purchases of Troubled Assets.
Authorizes the Secretary to establish a Troubled Asset Relief Program ("TARP") to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. Establishes an Office of Financial Stability within the Treasury Department to implement the TARP in consultation with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the FDIC, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Requires the Treasury Secretary to establish guidelines and policies to carry out the purposes of this Act.

Includes provisions to prevent unjust enrichment by participants of the program.

Section 102. Insurance of Troubled Assets.
If the Secretary establishes the TARP program, the Secretary is required to establish a program to guarantee troubled assets of financial institutions.

The Secretary is required to establish risk-based premiums for such guarantees sufficient to cover anticipated claims. The Secretary must report to Congress on the establishment of the guarantee program.

Section 103. Considerations.
In using authority under this Act, the Treasury Secretary is required to take a number of considerations into account, including the interests of taxpayers, minimizing the impact on the national debt, providing stability to the financial markets, preserving homeownership, the needs of all financial institutions regardless of size or other characteristics, and the needs of local communities. Requires the Secretary to examine the long-term viability of an institution in determining whether to directly purchase assets under the TARP.

Section 104. Financial Stability Oversight Board.
This section establishes the Financial Stability Oversight Board to review and make recommendations regarding the exercise of authority under this Act. In addition, the Board must ensure that the policies implemented by the Secretary protect taxpayers, are in the economic interests of the United States, and are in accordance with this Act.

The Board is comprised of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Federal Home Finance Agency, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Section 105. Reports.
Monthly Reports: Within 60 days of the first exercise of authority under this Act and every month thereafter, the Secretary is required to report to Congress its activities under TARP, including detailed financial statements.

Tranche Reports: For every $50 billion in assets purchased, the Secretary is required to report to Congress a detailed description of all transactions, a description of the pricing mechanisms used, and justifications for the financial terms of such transactions.

Regulatory Modernization Report: Prior to April 30, 2009, the Secretary is required to submit a report to Congress on the current state of the financial markets, the effectiveness of the financial regulatory system, and to provide any recommendations.

Section 106. Rights; Management; Sale of Troubled Assets; Revenues and Sale Proceeds.
Establishes the right of the Secretary to exercise authorities under this Act at any time. Provides the Secretary with the authority to manage troubled assets, including the ability to determine the terms and conditions associated with the disposition of troubled assets. Requires profits from the sale of troubled assets to be used to pay down the national debt.

Section 107. Contracting Procedures.
Allows the Secretary to waive provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation where compelling circumstances make compliance contrary to the public interest. Such waivers must be reported to Congress within 7 days. If provisions related to minority contracting are waived, the Secretary must develop alternate procedures to ensure the inclusion of minority contractors.

Allows the FDIC to be selected as an asset manager for residential mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities.

Section 108. Conflicts of Interest.
The Secretary is required to issue regulations or guidelines to manage or prohibit conflicts of interest in the administration of the program.


Section 109. Foreclosure Mitigation Efforts.
For mortgages and mortgage-backed securities acquired through TARP, the Secretary must implement a plan to mitigate foreclosures and to encourage servicers of mortgages to modify loans through Hope for Homeowners and other programs. Allows the Secretary to use loan guarantees and credit enhancement to avoid foreclosures. Requires the Secretary to coordinate with other federal entities that hold troubled assets in order to identify opportunities to modify loans, considering net present value to the taxpayer.

Section 110. Assistance to Homeowners.
Requires federal entities that hold mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the FDIC, and the Federal Reserve to develop plans to minimize foreclosures. Requires federal entities to work with servicers to encourage loan modifications, considering net present value to the taxpayer.

Section 111. Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance.
Provides that Treasury will promulgate executive compensation rules governing financial institutions that sell it troubled assets.  Where Treasury buys assets directly, the institution must observe standards limiting incentives, allowing clawback and prohibiting golden parachutes.  When Treasury buys assets at auction, an institution that has sold more than $300 million in assets is subject to additional taxes, including a 20% excise tax on golden parachute payments triggered by events other than retirement, and tax deduction limits for compensation limits above $500,000.    

Section 112. Coordination With Foreign Authorities and Central Banks.
Requires the Secretary to coordinate with foreign authorities and central banks to establish programs similar to TARP.

Section 113. Minimization of Long-Term Costs and Maximization of Benefits for Taxpayers.
In order to cover losses and administrative costs, as well as to allow taxpayers to share in equity appreciation, requires that the Treasury receive non-voting warrants from participating financial institutions.

Section 114. Market Transparency.
48-hour Reporting Requirement: The Secretary is required, within 2 business days of exercising authority under this Act, to publicly disclose the details of any transaction.

Section 115. Graduated Authorization to Purchase.
Authorizes the full $700 billion as requested by the Treasury Secretary for implementation of TARP. Allows the Secretary to immediately use up to $250 billion in authority under this Act. Upon a Presidential certification of need, the Secretary may access an additional $100 billion. The final $350 billion may be accessed if the President transmits a written report to Congress requesting such authority. The Secretary may use this additional authority unless within 15 days Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval which may be considered on an expedited basis.

Section 116. Oversight and Audits.
Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct ongoing oversight of the activities and performance of TARP, and to report every 60 days to Congress. The Comptroller General is required to conduct an annual audit of TARP. In addition, TARP is required to establish and maintain an effective system of internal controls.

Section 117. Study and Report on Margin Authority.
Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a study and report back to Congress on the role in which leverage and sudden deleveraging of financial institutions was a factor behind the current financial crisis.

Section 118. Funding.
Provides for the authorization and appropriation of funds consistent with Section 115.

Section 119. Judicial Review and Related Matters.
Provides standards for judicial review, including injunctive and other relief, to ensure that the actions of the Secretary are not arbitrary, capricious, or not in accordance with law.

Section 120. Termination of Authority.
Provides that the authorities to purchase and guarantee assets terminate on December 31, 2009. The Secretary may extend the authority for an additional year upon certification of need to Congress.

Section 121. Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Establishes the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of the actions undertaken by the Secretary under this Act. The Special Inspector General is required to submit a quarterly report to Congress summarizing its activities and the activities of the Secretary under this Act.

Section 122. Increase in the Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Raises the debt ceiling from $10 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

Section 123. Credit Reform.
Details the manner in which the legislation will be treated for budgetary purposes under the Federal Credit Reform Act.

Section 124. Hope for Homeowners Amendments.
Strengthens the Hope for Homeowners program to increase eligibility and improve the tools available to prevent foreclosures.

Section 125. Congressional Oversight Panel.
Establishes a Congressional Oversight Panel to review the state of the financial markets, the regulatory system, and the use of authority under TARP. The panel is required to report to Congress every 30 days and to submit a special report on regulatory reform prior to January 20, 2009. The panel will consist of 5 outside experts appointed by the House and Senate Minority and Majority leadership.

Section 126. FDIC Enforcement Enhancement.
Prohibits the misuse of the FDIC logo and name to falsely represent that deposits are insured. Strengthens enforcement by appropriate federal banking agencies, and allows the FDIC to take enforcement action against any person or institution where the banking agency has not acted.

Section 127. Cooperation With the FBI.
Requires any federal financial regulatory agency to cooperate with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies investigating fraud, misrepresentation, and malfeasance with respect to development, advertising, and sale of financial products.

Section 128. Acceleration of Effective Date.
Provides the Federal Reserve with the ability to pay interest on reserves.

Section 129. Disclosures on Exercise of Loan Authority.
Requires the Federal Reserve to provide a detailed report to Congress, in an expedited manner, upon the use of its emergency lending authority under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act.

Section 130. Technical Corrections.
Makes technical corrections to the Truth in Lending Act.

Section 131. Exchange Stabilization Fund Reimbursement.
Protects the Exchange Stabilization Fund from incurring any losses due to the temporary money market mutual fund guarantee by requiring the program created in this Act to reimburse the Fund. Prohibits any future use of the Fund for any guarantee program for the money market mutual fund industry.

Section 132. Authority to Suspend Mark-to-Market Accounting.
Restates the Securities and Exchange Commission's authority to suspend the application of Statement Number 157 of the Financial Accounting Standards Board if the SEC determines that it is in the public interest and protects investors.

Section 133. Study on Mark-to-Market Accounting.
Requires the SEC, in consultation with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, to conduct a study on mark-to-market accounting standards as provided in FAS 157, including its effects on balance sheets, impact on the quality of financial information, and other matters, and to report to Congress within 90 days on its findings.

Section 134. Recoupment.
Requires that in 5 years, the President submit to the Congress a proposal that recoups from the financial industry any projected losses to the taxpayer.

Section 135. Preservation of Authority.
Clarifies that nothing in this Act shall limit the authority of the Secretary or the Federal Reserve under any other provision of law.


Title II--Budget-Related Provisions

Section 201. Information for Congressional Support Agencies.
Requires that information used by the Treasury Secretary in connection with activities under this Act be made available to CBO and JCT.

Section 202. Reports by the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office.
Requires CBO and OMB to report cost estimates and related information to Congress and the President regarding the authorities that the Secretary of the Treasury has exercised under the Act.

Section 203. Analysis in President's Budget.
Requires that the President include in his annual budget submission to the Congress certain analyses and estimates relating to costs incurred as a result of the Act; and  

Section 204. Emergency Treatment.
Specifies scoring of the Act for purposes of budget enforcement.


Title III--Tax Provisions

Section 301. Gain or Loss From Sale or Exchange of Certain Preferred Stock.
Details certain changes in the tax treatment of losses on the preferred stock of certain GSEs for financial institutions.

Section 302. Special Rules for Tax Treatment of Executive Compensation of Employers Participating in the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
Applies limits on executive compensation and golden parachutes for certain executives of employers who participate in the auction program. 

Section 303. Extension of Exclusion of Income From Discharge of Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness.
Extends current law tax forgiveness on the cancellation of mortgage debt.

Click below for show transcripts, including SNL Tina Fey as Sarah Palin skit

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service


OXFORD, Miss. -- The economy is going to hell, we may be on the brink of a depression and John McCain and Barack Obama, during their first presidential debate Friday at Ole Miss, found it impossible to simply say what Congress should do -- right now for real people who are worried sick they may be losing their homes.

I've been on such a long journey covering Obama's presidential bid -- for two years now, counting the run-up -- that it's something to realize that he may well be elected president in a few weeks. He went into the debate in good shape and came out fine.

OXFORD, MISS. The campus of the University of Mississippi on Sept. 26, 2008, the day of the first presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama.

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The Obama campaign set up a studio in the press filing tent to do live remotes. Right, campaign manager David Plouffe; left, strategist Robert Gibbs

OXFORD, MISS.--At 3:28 p.m. central time I blogged about how the Obama campaign was sending out a text message urging people to watch the debate on CNN. A short time later FOX's Greta Van Susteren on her Gretawire blognoted how the campaign was playing favorites.

Soon, a revised Obama team text message....not promoting any one outlet.

"Watch Barack Obama debate John McCain tonight at 9 p.m. ET on any of the major networks or cable......"

OXFORD, MS.--I just got this text message on my cell phone--the Obama campaign is urging people to watch the first presidential debate tonight on CNN. Why did the Obama campaign want to endorse one outlet when so many are showing the debate here at the University of Mississippi?

"Watch Barack Obama debate John McCain tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern on CNN," the message said. Also, remind friends to register to vote at VoteforChange.com. Please forward this message.

The Obama campaign has a giant list of text message numbers, gleaned in part from the run-up to the announcement of Barack Obama's running mate; Obama's team bolstered their lists by saying they would break the vice presidential pick news first via text message.

"It says a lot about the candidates' priorities that while John McCain was focused on rescuing the economy, Barack Obama's campaign was drafting a debate memo. Strong leadership does not transparently attempt to lower expectations by circulating clips criticizing yourself. We are confident people are smart enough to see through Obama's silly spin and recognize it as just another blatant example of the old political tricks." - Alex Conant, RNC Spokesman

# # #

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With or without John McCain, greeters at the Memphis airport on Friday morning were getting ready for visitors headed to Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi for the first presidential debate. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

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top, outside the West Wing. bottom, Obama at press conference. (photos by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON -- Usually reporters are not allowed to linger under the canopy covering the entrance to the West Wing of the White House, but it was raining Wednesday afternoon, and someone in charge allowed the crowd of McCain and Obama reporters to keep dry as they waited for the senators, one who will be the next president of the United States and have to handle this horrible economic mess we are in.

The mixer was happening a day early; the squads who cover Barack Obama and John McCain were supposed to be crossing paths for the first time today in Oxford, Miss., for the initial presidential debate.

WASHINGTON--Waiting for Barack Obama press availability to begin in about seven minutes.

WASHINGTON--I'll be in Oxford, Mississippi on Friday to cover the presidential debate, though it is not clear as I write this if John McCain will show up to face off against Barack Obama.

McCain wanted to postpone the debate if Congress did not strike a deal for economic bailout legislation. It seems there is some kind of a deal in the works--even if GOP House leadership is not on board as I write this.

Anyway, something will happen Friday night and it is an opportunity to start to create a political community where we can chat about an event as it happens, and not wait for a specific post to come up or for me to have time to upload comments. I hope our online audience will join me to live chat online during the presidential and vice presidential debates.

Since I will have to also write a print column on deadline off the debate, post some items and chunks of transcripts, I'd like to get a running start today in organizing the Sweet blog community and make sure that I have some folks lined up in advance to comment in order to keep the conversation going through the debate.

Please send me a note at lsweet@suntimes.com if you want to be part of the first live political chat at the Sun-Times.

Michael in Seattle, that means you. Bill G. in Santa Monica, Calif. that means you. NFS in Highland Park, that means you. Eddie in Key West, that means you. Phil who posts comments in CAPS, that means you. Judy H. in McClean, Virginia, that means you.

The guys over at Sun-Times sports did a live chat during a Chicago Bears game recently and lots of voices joined in.

Please join the conversation.

WASHINGTON--At the White House briefing today, spokesman Dana Perino takes questions about whether the idea for the White House bipartisan summit on the economic rescue package was McCain's idea and whether any real work will get done on the bill in the West Wing when the action is on Capitol Hill.


WASHINGTON--Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Thursday Wall Street Journal calls for a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures as part of any bailout package approved by Congress.

"We should also put in place a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and freeze rate hikes in adjustable-rate mortgages. We've got to stem the tide of failing mortgages and give the markets time to recover," Clinton said.


In the Thursday Washington Times, a look at McCain's congressional fund-raisers who are also requesting the earmarks McCain deplores.

WASHINGTON--"I believe the debate is going to happen as scheduled," said Barack Obama top advisor Robert Gibbs on Thursday morning about the first presidential debate scheduled for Friday night in Oxford, Mississippi.

John McCain said he will not show up if Congress had not made a deal on an economic bailout package. McCain, Obama and the congressional leaders meet with President Bush at the White House this afternoon to find common ground on a rescue plan. Congress balked at the $700 billion bill Bush sent to Capitol Hill. Bush on Wednesday night signaled he is open to a bi-partisan compromise.

While the debate is supposed to be focused on national security and international affairs, Gibbs said the rivals have been told the subject of the financial crisis would be incorporated in the questioning.

McCain caught Obama off guard

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WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama and his team were caught off guard by John McCain's suspension of his campaign and his call to delay the first presidential debate so he could return to Capitol Hill to work on the financial crisis -- just as they were surprised when McCain tapped little-known Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The Obama team has not figured out yet that McCain is waging an asymmetrical campaign, meaning at times he will take a risky, counterintuitive course, just as he did on Wednesday.

The Obama campaign is very smart, but in the closing weeks of this long presidential campaign, perhaps Obama needs more "red cell" thinking. Red cell is a term used by the intelligence community to describe wild, out-of-the-box approaches to potential situations.

Katie Couric talks to Sarah Palin

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WASHINGTON--John McCain and President Bush talked Wednesday afternoon about a bipartisan meeting about the economic crisis, according to McCain top adviser Mark Salter. Bush called Barack Obama, who agreed to a Thursday meeting in Washington.

Check prior posts for statements, etc. about today's surprising turn of events.

WASHINGTON--Thirty minutes before President Bush speaks to the nation about the need for Congress to act in this time of economic crisis, Barack Obama and John McCain issue a joint statement calling the Bush Administration plan "flawed."

click for full statement

WASHINGTON--Less than an hour before President Bush addresses the nation over the economic crisis, at 9 p.m. eastern time, the president called Barack Obama to ask him to attend a meeting here on Thursday. Obama, in debate preparations in Florida, agreed. This comes as John McCain said he suspended his campaign--including Friday's debate--until Congress reaches a bailout deal. The McCain operative I just spoke to said he was unaware if Bush also called McCain in.


"A few moments ago, President Bush called Senator Obama and asked him to attend a meeting in Washington tomorrow, which he agreed to do. Senator Obama has been working all week with leaders in Congress, Secretary Paulson, and Chairman Bernanke to improve this proposal, and he has said that he will continue to work in a bipartisan spirit and do whatever is necessary to come up with a final solution. He strongly believes the debate should go forward on Friday so that the American people can hear from their next President about how he will lead America forward at this defining moment for our country," said Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton.

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama scoffed at the notion that the first presidential debate had to be cancelled because Obama and McCain may have to be on Capitol Hill working on the economic bailout package. "It is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once," Obama said at a press conference. The Obama campaign sent along a list of big news happening on other debates, going back to 1960.

WASHINGTON--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) said Wednesday there is no need for Barack Obama and John McCain to rush back to Congress to work on the stalled bailout package and certainly no need to delay the first presidential debate, as McCain is urging. Obama is expected to call for the debate to go on as planned.

Reid said both men returning to their Senate jobs will "risk injecting presidential politics into this process. ....We need leadership, not a campaign photo op," Reid said. McCain is suspending his campaign--as of Thursday afternoon--until Congress works out a plan. Congress is resisting approving the $700 billion package sent by the White House.

WASHINGTON--Despite John McCain's call to postpone Friday's debate--so McCain and rival Barack Obama can work with congressional leaders on financial bailout legislation--the Obama team is inclined to want the debate to go on as scheduled.

WASHINGTON--In a dramatic move, John McCain on Wednesday said he will suspend his campaign and return to Congress to work on the stalled emergency financial bailout legislation, rushed to lawmakers to address the U.S. economic crisis. He also asked Barack Obama to join him in crafting a joint plan with House and Senate leadership to be ready before the markets open on Monday. McCain also asked Obama to postpone the first presidential debate on Friday night in Mississippi. Obama's team is not inclined to want the postponement.

Earlier Wednesday, Obama phoned McCain at 8:30 a.m. to ask him to issue a joint statement addressing the bailout plan offered by the Treasury Department that members of Congress from both parties are balking at accepting. At 2:30 p.m. McCain returned Obama's call to agree and soon after talked about suspending his campaign


In New York, McCain said, "It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

"Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

"I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem."


From the Obama campaign....

At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.


WASHINGTON---Barack Obama campaign finance chair Penny Pritzker and Democratic National Committee finance chair Phil Murphy have a message for some 45 high end slackers part of the National Finance Committee: make the 1,000 calls they all collectively promised to make or they will find someone who will. That's in a memo just sent to Obama's best fund-raisers. Pritzker and Murphy are also hunting for hot prospects, asking each NFC member to come up with 25 names. The duo is offering to "research their giving history" to give them some good intelligence before they make the contact.

Here's the memo


Subject: Call-a-thon Update / Next Phase from Penny Pritzker & Phil Murphy

The call-a-thon has produced great results but we still have more work to do.
Thank you to those who have taken the time and effort to make these calls. It
is paying off tremendously. We know this is not easy work.

As of this morning, the program has produced over $2 million with $1.1 million
IN-HAND.

First, we have not heard back from over 45 NFC members who originally agreed to
make calls. Please either make them or send them back to Julie Tagen to be
re-distributed. Those 1,000+ calls could be made by others willing to make the
calls. Also, we still have 600 calls from our original list that need to be
made, so if you have an extra hour or two for the campaign, please request an
additional list today.

Barack Obama Sept. 23 press conference. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

WASHINGTON--John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis--under the spotlight because of his work for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--is skipping a Wednesday lunch with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

On Tuesday, word came that McCain political director Mike DuHaime will substitute for Davis because he is "heading out on the trail" today.


Davis is the subject of stories in the New York Times and Newsweek about his work for the failed mortgage market makers. At issue right now: did Davis contradict McCain's statement that he has not been involved with Fannie and Freddie for some time.

WASHINGTON--Joe Biden delivers a National Security speech Wednesday in Ohio.

excerpt from prepared text.....

"Barack Obama has been clear: no country poses a greater security challenge to the United States, Israel and our allies than Iran. Under the policies George Bush has pursued and John McCain would continue, Iran, not freedom, has been on the march. Iran is much closer to the bomb; its influence in Iraq is expanding; its terrorist proxy Hezbollah is ascendant in Lebanon; its ally, Hamas controls Gaza and launches rockets at Israel. Beyond bluster, what would John McCain actually do about these dangers? He doesn't say."



WASHINGTON--Can a few quick meetings with world leaders (Sarah Palin) make up for years of international dealings (Joe Biden)?


Biden's depth is unchallenged. On Tuesday, Biden, speaking to the National Jewish Democratic Council noted that his first trip abroad was to Israel and he met Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. Biden said he has had a chance to "meet with and get to know every Israeli Prime Minister, all nine."

WASHINGTON--The Republican National Committee is turning up the heat on Joe Biden on Wednesday. Their oppo team is keeping tabs on what they consider gaffes at the Biden Gaffe Clock

Not to pile on, but here's what Biden said on Tuesday at the National Jewish Democratic Council: In recounting his 1972 race for the Senate, Biden said, "I was a 29-year-old kid nominated for president, excuse me, nominated for senator."


WASHINGTON--CBS anchor Katie Couric asks Barack Obama and John McCain answer two questions on Tuesday night:
-When is it appropriate to lie to the American public?
-What is your favorite movie?

By Fran Spielman
Chicago Sun-Times City Hall Reporter

You want to play rough? Let's get it on.

A new ad from Sen. John McCain's campaign accuses Sen. Barack Obama of being a product of the Chicago political machine. Convicted former Obama supporter Tony Rezko is among those referenced in the ad.

That was Mayor Daley's angry message to Republican presidential nominee John McCain on Tuesday about the McCain ad that smears Daley's brother in an attempt to tie Barack Obama to the "corrupt Chicago political machine."

In essence, Daley warned McCain that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. He was talking about McCain's role in the so-called "Keating Five" savings and loan scandal.

WASHINGTON-NBC'S Today Show's Matt Lauer asked Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday "if you had been Barack Obama's running mate: would she have "neutralized the so-called Sarah Palin effect?

Clinton said, "You know, Matt, there's no point in going back and, you know, talking about something that didn't happen. I want to keep focused on the future and to talk to those people who are worried about their jobs, their home, affording gas and groceries, you know, thinking that the government has just turned its back on them, making them feel almost invisible."

WASHINGTON--Chicago Sun-Times reporters Annie Sweeney and Frank Main have the story about the arrest of a man near Barack Obama's Kenwood home who had a gun and bulletproof vest in his car.


WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign sent the Florida Democratic Party a $250,000 check on Aug. 22, $200,000 to Colorado Democrats and lesser amounts to 22 other states--all but one a battleground-- on the same day, according to FEC records I checked.

The day after Barack Obama's nominating convention wrapped up in Denver--and as John McCain tapped Sarah Palan to be his running mate on Aug. 22-- the Obama campaign opened the checkbook for the general election.

WASHINGTON--With the retooled "change is coming slogan," John McCain accuses Barack Obama of not producing a plan to solve the economic crisis, triggered by the collapse of the mortgage market.

My Chicago Sun-Times colleagues are reporting that Chicago police are questioning a man who may have been stalking Barack Obama's house on Chicago's South Side.

The man was arrested at about 6:30 a.m. today near 50th & Greenwood after he
approached the security perimeter that's been set up around the house.

Why he was arrested is not exactly clear as yet.


Obama's Chicago ties are the subject of a new John McCain spot unveiled Monday, asserting, incorrectly, that Obama was "born of the corrupt Chicago political machine."

The ad centers on William Daley, the mayor's brother and former commerce secretary; convicted political fixer Tony Rezko, and Illinois state Senate President Emil Jones and Gov. Blagojevich, who have their own ethics problems.

Daley -- a national Obama campaign co-chair -- should have been left off this list. McCain "voted for me to be commerce secretary," Daley noted when we talked. ''I am part of the Evil Empire? It's not the John McCain that people respected for so many years in Washington."


WASHINGTON --Barack Obama, who portrays himself on the campaign trail as a crusading reformer -- underscoring the theme in a speech Monday in Green Bay -- rarely used his considerable bully pulpit to clean up Springfield, Chicago's scandalized City Hall or inept Cook County government.

Obama's Chicago ties are the subject of a new John McCain spot unveiled Monday, asserting, incorrectly, that Obama was "born of the corrupt Chicago political machine."

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama demonstrated again that wealthy Chicago donors are not tapped out, raising more millions of dollars for his White House bid in two fund-raisers in the city on Monday night. One was at the Standard Club, hosted by a who's who of the Obama Chicago donor world; the other was aimed at Greek-American pocketbooks hosted by Illinois State Treasurer and Obama friend Alexi Giannoulias at the Powerhouse Restaurant and Bar at 215 N. Clinton St. For a full listing at hosts, the invites are reproduced below.


Rival John McCain is a former Navy pilot; at the Standard Club Obama talked about the times we are in and said, taking a poke at McCain-not by name: "Each time we found a way and found the leadership to move us toward that more perfect union, the same thing will happen this time. But we're not going to chart a new course with the same pilot."

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From the Hillary Rodham Clinton political shop...

Tuesday, September 23
New York, NY

7:00 a.m. ET
Hillary Clinton Discusses Solutions to the Economic Crisis in Morning Show Interviews
--CBS' Early Show
--CNN's American Morning
--NBC's Today Show
--MSNBC's Morning Joe

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama returns to Chicago Monday night for high-dollar fund-raising. He's at the Standard Club at 320 S. Plymouth this evening for a reception; chairs donate or raise $28,000; hosts raise at least $10,000.

WASHINGTON--The McCain campaign conference call with campaign manager Rick Davis and senior strategist Steve Schmidt was organized to draw attention to the "Chicago Machine" spot launched Monday against Barack Obama. The McCain leadership team used the call to bash the New York Times coverage of their campaign.

The "Chicago Machine" ad will run the "depth and breadth" of battleground states and will be a "real buy," the McCain leadership team said. That "real buy" comment is a reference to this: sometimes campaigns produce videos and call them ads to get the attention of the press when the actual amount of time bought on television to show the ad (called the "buy") is tiny. In that case, the video is sort of like a press release. Political reporters who may ignore a press release--video or otherwise--will pay more attention to the contents and message if it is an ad.


WASHINGTON--Sarah Palin is quizzed on a number of topics by FOX News Sean Hannity, co-host of "Hannity & Colmes," in the second part of his exclusive interview running Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008.

Palin and Joe Biden debate once, next month at Washington University in St. Louis. Getting ready for that is a challenge, Palin told Hannity.

"Senator Biden has tremendous amounts of experience. I think he was first elected when I was like in second grade. He's been in there a long, long, long time. So he's got the experience. He probably has the sound bites. He has the rhetoric. He knows what's expected of him. He is a great debater, also. So yes, it's going to be quite a task in front of me."

To read Part 1 of Hannity's interview with Gov. Palin

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama on Thursday mocks John McCain's suggestion to create a commission to study the economic meltdown. Later Thursday McCain called for firing of the SEC commissioner.

From the Speech: The events of the past few days have made clear that we need to do more right now. We do not have time for commissions and we can't afford to lurch back and forth between positions when dealing with an economic crisis, like my opponent has. That is why I am calling on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to use their emergency authorities to maintain the flow of credit, to support the availability of mortgages, and to ensure that our financial system is well-capitalized. Tomorrow I will be convening a meeting with my top economic advisors to discuss a plan based on the ideas I've been talking about with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and other advisors of mine. Then I'll call for the passage of a Homeowner and Financial Support Act that would establish a more stable and permanent solution than the daily improvisations that have characterized policy-making over the last year..

WASHINGTON--John McCain appearing with Sarah Palin, accuses Barack Obama in harsh terms on Thursday of not doing much to avoid the economic meltdown; called for the firing of the SEC chief and said he would create a new regulatory agency. These specific suggestions come a day after he said a commission may be needed to "study" the problem. Barack Obama waltzed through that door.

Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

McCain said, "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president, and in my view has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him. (Cheers, applause.)

We can't wait any longer for more failures in our financial system. Structures like the Resolution Trust Corporation that dealt with the failed savings and loan industry were designed to clean up the system and worked. Today we need a plan that doesn't wait until the system fails.

I'm calling for the creation of the Mortgage and Financial Institutions Trust, the MFI. The priorities of this trust will be to work with the private sector and regulators to identify institutions that are weak and take remedies to strengthen them before they become insolvent. For troubled institutions, this will provide an orderly process through which to identify bad loans and eventually sell them.

WASHINGTON--The Illinois Senate will get back to work on an ethics measure, the day after Barack Obama called to prod his political godfather, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who was holding the bill hostage. Jones was content to let it die from inaction.

"I plan to call the Senate back into session to deal with the issue of ethics only at the request of my friend Barack Obama," Jones said in a statement released Thursday.

It's rare for Obama to use his political muscle to help clean up the ethics challenged Illinois political environment, either on the state or local level. Obama is making ethics a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. While he has worked to pass tougher ethics rules in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate, he has very rarely used his bully pulpit to comment on any assortment of scandals stemming from Chicago's City Hall or Springfield.

The call to Jones came after my colleague, Dave McKinney, the Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief, wrote about the impending death of the bill.

WASHINGTON--Both the McCain and Obama campaign are focusing on the economic meltdown. John McCain just mocked Barack Obama for tapping former Fannie Mae chief Jim Johnson to lead his vice presidential search committee. McCain did not mention Johnson by name--or that he stepped down as a vetter early in the process after some controversies surfaced-- but the point was to associate Obama with the failed mortgage giant.

Then again, Obama has a commercial running claiming McCain's campaign is run by lobbyists that makes no reference McCain last spring ordered all is staff to cut their lobbying ties. Obama also has former federal lobbyists helping his campaign.

WASHINGTON---Sarah Palin, on FOX News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes"--her second big national interview--defends John McCain for saying the "fundamentals" of the economy are strong as the meltdown continues. The latest: Lehman Brothers and AIG, the insurance giant failing. Barack Obama has been slamming McCain on the stump and in paid ads for being out of touch on populist pocketbook issues. McCain was put on the defensive, having to explain what he really intended to say, which Palin channels in her FOX interview.


On reaction to Obama's attack on McCain for saying that the "fundamentals" of the economy are strong:

"Well, it was an unfair attack on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use because the fundamentals, as he was having to explain afterwards, he means our workforce, he means the ingenuity of the American people. And of course, that is strong and that is the foundation of our economy," Palin said.

WASHINGTON--Ethics legislation is stalled in the Illinois State Senate, bossed by Barack Obama's political godfather, Senate President Emil Jones who put the brakes on the measure and may let it die. Obama called Jones from the road in Nevada this morning. Jones indicated to Obama--according to the Obama team-- he would bring the bill to a vote and would support it.

This comes after my colleague Dave McKinney, Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief, wrote an article that a Springfield good government leader said Obama was ducking pushing Jones on the ethics front.

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama addressed nervous supporters at a Tuesday high dollar Beverly Hills fund-raiser, tiered events capped with a performance by Barbra Streisand; the evening hauled an estimated $9 million to benefit the campaign.

"I know that a lot of you, just in conversations while we were in the photo lines, had all sorts of suggestions," Mr. Obama said. "I know that won't surprise you. And a lot of people have gotten nervous and concerned. Why is this as close as it is? And what's going on?"

Beau Biden on Tonight Show.

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Joe Biden's son-- Attorney General Joseph R. Biden, III of Delaware -- hits the couch on the Tonight Show this evening.


Joseph R. "Beau" Biden, III took office as Delaware's Attorney General in January 2007.

WASHINGTON--Once a Clinton backer, ardent Democrat Barbra Streisand is in the Obama camp and stars at a big dollar concert for him Tuesday night in Beverly Hills.

Variety's Ted Johnson reports "Organizers said Obama's two events on Tuesday sold out by Monday afternoon, including a dinner at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills and a reception and concert at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where Barbra Streisand and Ben Harper are scheduled to perform. In fact, one estimate from the Politico website said the campaign could raise as much as $9 million, perhaps shattering single-day fund-raising records."


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WASHINGTON--As major female Democratic Hillary Rodham Clinton backers are consolidating around Barack Obama, the Obama campaign is cranking up its pitch to women voters, with a joint Clinton/Biden video forum Wednesday, part of a "Women's Week of Action."

This activity comes as polls show Obama has not been able to win over a chunk of Clinton backers--and as Sarah Palin threatens to drain off crucial female voters. The Obama campaign is, I was told, "redoubling" its efforts to lock-in support of women, especially the Democratic leaners who by logic should be with Obama.

Senators and House members and other women leaders will be out stumping for the ticket as part of an upcoming Women for Change Weekend.

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama conferred with "some of his key economic advisors including Paul Volcker, Bob Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Laura Tyson about the state of the financial markets," spokesman Linda Douglass said Monday.

"They discussed what to expect from financial markets today and over the course of this week, how these events would impact the overall economy, and what steps should be taken to address the problems in our financial markets and economy more broadly," she said in a statement


WASHINGTON-- Barack Obama and John McCain have to be careful with the Lehman Brothers failure--they both commented early Monday--but said nothing to make the nervous markets even more shaky.

click below for statements

Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service

REMARKS BY GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (R-AK), REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT, AT A MCCAIN-PALIN "VICTORY 2008" RALLY

CARSON CITY, NEVADA
5:00 P.M. PDT, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2008


WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign's promised offense started early Monday morning, with spot titled "Honor" slamming the McCain team for running smear ads to run on national cable and key states.

Minutes after release of the spot, the Democratic National Committee followed with its "Count the Lies," webpage, a feature of the DNC's "McCainPedia," launched earlier this year.

WASHINGTON--Spending Sunday in Chicago, Barack Obama visited his national headquarters on Michigan Avenue for a few minutes and then headed to the River North offices of his top strategist David Axelrod.

Earlier Sunday, Obama traveled from his Kenwood home to a friends place in the Regents Park high rise in Hyde Park--possibly to work out there.

In the afternoon, Obama, wearing jeans, a black jacket and a White Sox hat motorcaded to his headquarters and after seven minutes, departed for Axelrod's office.

WASHINGTON--Hillary Rodham Clinton, scheduled to headline a Sunday fund-raiser for Barack Obama in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, cancelled hours before the reception, citing bad weather socking the city.

Clinton stumped for Obama in the key battleground state of Ohio earlier Sunday. She was to have been the draw at an event in the home of Kevin Conlon, a Democratic activist who helped spearhead Clintons' Illinois drive.

WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign raised $66 million in August--a new record--besting the $55 million previous monthly best set last February. Obama also added 500,000 new donors, according to Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Obama opted not to take $84 million in public funding for his general election campaign-- because the Obama team was confident they could raise more. McCain took the $84 million check. Besides the Obama and McCain presidential warchests, each campaign also benefits from money raised by the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.

McCain raised $47 million in August, more than double his previous best month, fueled in part by a $10 million donation surge triggered by adding Sarah Palin to his ticket.

WASHINGTON--Sara Palin wears Tina Fey glasses and look where she is now. Tina Fey returned to NBC's "Saturday Night Live" to play her look-alike in a skit with Amy Poehler reprising her dead-on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

excerpt...
FEY AS PALIN: "It's truly amazing and I think women everywhere can agree,
that no matter your politics, it's time for a woman to make it to the White House."

POEHLER AS CLINTON: "No. Mine! It's supposed to be mine! I need to say something. I didn't want a woman to be President.

I wanted to be President and I just happen to be a woman. And I don't want to hear you compare your road to the White House to my road to the White House. I scratched and clawed through mud and barbed wire and you just glided in on a dog sled wearing your pageant sash and your Tina Fey glasses."

WASHINGTON--With a deadly hurricane aimed at Texas, Barack Obama cancelled his appearance on Saturday Night Live this evening, spokesman Jen Psaki in a statement.

"In the light of the unfolding crisis in Texas, Senator Obama has decided it is no longer appropriate to appear on Saturday Night Live tomorrow evening," she said.

WASHINGTON--Sarah Palin, talking about domestic policy with ABC's Charles Gibson in his second day of exclusive access on Friday, seem confused about entitlement programs--and unaware that Congress cannot significantly cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

When she seemed to equate these entitlement programs to agencies "where we can find efficiencies in every department" Gibson lectured her that agencies are not involved in entitlements. Palin--who as governor of Alaska should be well versed in Medicaid--it is a joint state and federal program-- did not skip a beat, just plowed on about the growth of government.

Other points of the Palin interview--in the segment shown on the ABC Nightly News on Friday, and not including what will be on 20/20 later Friday-- suggested that a Vice President Palin was not going to crusade on the hot button social issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research and homosexuality and would embrace John McCain's positions. She referred to the Arizona senator as "McCain" several times in the interview.

The voiceover, "Things have changed in the last 26 years. But McCain hasn't. He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an email.

WASHINGTON--The headline on the ABC News Charles Gibson exclusive interview with Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin Says Barack Obama Might Regret Not Picking Hillary Clinton

from ABC NEWS


Gov. Sarah Palin says Sen. Barack Obama just might regret not picking Sen. Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate.

"I think he's regretting not picking her now, I do. What, what determination, and grit, and even grace through some tough shots that were fired her way -- she handled those well," the Alaska governor told Charles Gibson in her third and final exclusive interview with ABC News.

WASHINGTON--Hillary Rodham Clinton hits Wilmette on Sunday for a fund-raiser to benefit Barack Obama--with the hosts a blend of of the Chicago area's prominent Obama and Clinton money people.

The desert reception will be held at the home of Kevin Conlon, a long-time Democratic activist who was active on Clinton's presidential campaign. Hosts pledge to give or raise $5,000; to get in the door costs $1,000.

click for co-host list

WASHINGTON--New York Magazine set this up: I did an IM chat with David Frum of the National Review this afternoon. Frum got the ball rolling wanting to know if folks in Obamaland were in a panic.

WASHINGTON---Mark Penn--Hillary Rodham Clinton's top strategist-- tells Brian Goldsmith of CBS News that the "media" so far has been the "biggest loser in this race."

excerpt....

"Well, no, I think the people themselves saw unfair media coverage of Senator Clinton. I think if you go back, the polls reflected very clearly what "Saturday Night Live" crystallized in one of their mock debates about what was happening with the press.

I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don't do that for all four of the candidates, they're on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race."

And I think that that's a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media -- not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan -- but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/11/politics/politicalplayers/main4442492.shtml

WASHINGTON--Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Friday said he will respond with "speed and ferocity" to what he called John McCain's "gutter" attacks. Click for entire Plouffe memo.

WASHINGTON--Cindy McCain just joined the ladies on ABC's "The View," sitting next to John McCain, who came on first. Asked about issues they disagree on--besides the tv remote control, Cindy said they see "eye to eye" on most things.

Barbara Walters, asking about abortion, said Cindy McCain does allow for exceptions for rape and incest--making her at odds with McCain vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The show just ended. Walters, angling for a Palin visit to "The View," told McCain to pass on the message to Palin about how nice they were.

WASHINGTON--This McCain Palin spot released on Thursday-accusing the Obama Biden team of Sarah Palin disrespect and sexism--"goes down new paths of deception," according to an analysis by FactCheck.org.

excerpt of FactCheck findings:

The new McCain-Palin ad "Lashing Out" begins like an earlier ad we criticized, with its reference to Barack Obama's celebrity, but then goes down new paths of deception. It takes quotes from news organizations and uses them out of context in an effort to portray Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, as unfairly attacking Sarah Palin and making sexist remarks. We've long been a critic of candidates (Obama included) usurping the credibility of independent news organizations and peddling false quotes, and this ad is particularly egregious...."

WASHINGTON-- Sarah Palin showed herself as steely and supremely confident--even when she stumbled over a question about the Bush Doctrine --and brushed off whether it mattered that she had never met a foreign head of state in her much anticipated first network interview as John McCain's running mate.

ABC anchor Charles Gibson--who had something to prove as an interviewer after a controversial turn as a debate moderator--at times seemed exasperated at Palin's rehearsed patter in the segments of the interview shown on the evening newscast.

Gibson, in the first of two days with Palin in Alaska pressed and probed in an interview where he was under as much pressure as his subject. In their own way, they both did well. Palin kept calling him "Charlie."

Sarah Palin on ABC News. Video

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WASHINGTON--Sarah Palin tells ABC's Charlie Gibson--in the exclusive interview everybody has been waiting for--that she is ready to lead the country.

excerpt:
GIBSON: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say "I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?"

PALIN: I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, we'll be ready. I'm ready.


Joint statement from spokesmen to former President Bill Clinton and Senator Barack Obama

"President Clinton and Senator Obama had a great conversation in Harlem today. They discussed the campaign briefly, but mostly talked about how the world has changed since September 11, 2001.

WASHINGTON--- While a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama never championed a bill intended to teach kindergartners "comprehensive sex education," contrary to accusations by John McCain on Wednesday. McCain echoed a sexy--but misleading-- line of attack made last year by Mitt Romney and in 2004 by Alan Keyes, who Obama trounced in their U.S. Senate race.

McCain in an ad released on Wednesday tried to portray Obama as out of the mainstream when it comes to sex education. At issue is an extremist--and incorrect-- interpretation of sex ed legislation Obama backed in the Illinois state Senate.

WASHINGTON--Campaigning in Virginia on Wednesday, Barack Obama said the flap over his using the cliche putting "lipstick on a pig" was a "made up controversy" as John McCain's team said it was a smear against Sarah Palin in a web ad. Obama said the lipstick wars was "catnip" for the news media.

The McCain camp was successful in seizing the storyline of the day as the Obama campaign put up a stream of female surrogates and spokesmen--Linda Douglass, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Jennifer Palmieri and Stephanie Cutter to say the whole discussion was a silly distraction. Schakowsky pivoted to the main point in her MSNBC interview-- McCain has a poor record on many issues of interest to women.

I take Douglass at her word that Obama was not referring to Palin when he made the remark on Tuesday. Obama was indeed talking about McCain and how McCain was trying to portray himself as the change candidate; still his political radar was turned off when it should have been on.

What Obama knew or should have known (as lawyers say) was that even using the word "lipstick" could be taken as a reference about Palin since she just used the word last week at the GOP convention to define herself.

In her keynote speech last Wednesday Palin asked, what's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. "Lipstick," she said.

Obama himself spoke about the controversy--manufactured or otherwise--while in Virginia.


"Before we begin today, I want to say a few words about the latest made-up controversy by the John McCain campaign. What their campaign has done this morning is the same game that has made people sick and tired of politics in this country. They seize on an innocent remark, try to take it out of context, throw up an outrageous ad because they know that it's catnip for the news media.

"I'm assuming you guys heard this watching the news. All right. I'm talking about John McCain's economic policies. I say, this is more of the same. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. And suddenly, they say, oh, you must be talking about the governor of Alaska! See, it would be funny except, of course, the news media decided that that was the lead story yesterday. They'd much rather have the story -- this is the McCain campaign -- would much rather have the story about phony and foolish diversions than about the future."


WASHINGTON--In an exclusive interview, Fox's Bill O'Reilly has the most detailed exchange to date with Barack Obama over his relationship with Bill Ayers, the University of Illinois-Chicago education professor who was a member of the radical, violent, "Weather Underground" in the 1970s.

Ayers spent 10 years as a fugitive--and now lives in Hyde Park with wife Bernardine Dohrn--also a Weather Underground fugitive. They faced federal charges when they surfaced, eventually dropped. Ayers and Dohrn--who runs a program at Northwestern's law school--have become well regarded members of Chicago's civic community. I wrote a column in April explaining how the past of Ayers---an urban education specialist embraced by Mayor Daley--did not bother anyone in Chicago by the time Obama showed up on the scene.

Here's O'Reilly.....

MR. O'REILLY: Now for our top story tonight, part three of my interview with Barack Obama. After speaking with him last week, I have a new respect for the man. I believe he is sincere in his beliefs, and his presence has definitely changed politics forever.

click below to continue transcript, courtesy Federal News Service


BY ABDON M. PALLASCH
Sun-Times Political Reporter

CHICAGO--Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden assured a crowd of donors in Lincoln Park Tuesday night that he would handle himself just fine in his debate with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has even agreed to spend several days with him as Palin's stand-in for him to practice, he said. But he said "we'll see" whether he takes her up on her offer.

Courtesy of Federal News Service.

WASHINGTON--Turns out Barack Obama--who has taken pains to woo Jewish voters and donors--has a prominent rabbi in the family. He's Rabbi Capers Funnye, the leader of a Southwest Side Chicago synagogue, Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation.

Michelle Obama and Funnye are first cousins once removed. They have not been in touch since Sen. Obama has been running for president. The Forward first wrote about Funnye last week and the story was picked up in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. Michelle Obama spokesman, Katie McCormick Lelyveld confirmed to the Sun-Times that Funnye and Michelle are cousins. "They're not close," she said.

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WASHINGTON--The McCain-Palin ticket is up in the polls--but wait--it's a fund-raising opportunity for the Obama team, a chance to sound the alarm to high end female donors. The Obama campaign is planning a major fund-raising push aimed women next month in Chicago. Men are welcome--if they donate at least $1,000--the price of a general admission ticket. To be a national chair of the event, raise $100,000 or contribute $57,000

"Women for Obama" and the Democratic National Committee had holding a two-day conference in the city featuring the who's who of Obama's policy and political world. (complete schedule is at the click) For donors who want to elbow with the Obama big shots, this conference, as one fund-raiser put it is "absolutely the best buy in the campaign in terms of bang for your buck."

One fund-raiser, in sending out a pitch, said this conference "will be the most visible statement of support for women the campaign will be making. Don't let McCain and Palin take this from us."

Barack Obama

WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign is heavily reliant on big names and high powered surrogates to draw in big dollar donors. Barack Obama is under enormous pressure to raise millions because he did not talk public financing. John McCain has a head start--he received $84 million in public funds when he officially became the GOP nominee in St. Paul last week. Here's a list of recent and upcoming Obama campaign fund raising events.

My Sun-Times column on this ran in the Sunday Sun-Times, on Sept. 7.

9/3/08 - Los Angeles, CA
The home of Bryan Lourd
1071 Brooklawn Drive
5:30pm - VIP LGBT Reception with Michelle Obama
6:00pm - LGBT Reception with Michelle Obama
Host/VIP/Ticket Price: $25,000, $2,300, $1,000

9/3/08 - Beverly Hills, CA
17 Beverly Park South
6:30pm - VIP Reception with Michelle Obama
7:30pm - General Reception with Michelle Obama
VIP/Ticket Price: $25,000, $2,300

click below for more

value="http://www.youtube.com/v/NBtbG5xjFBY&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&fs=1">

Are you as surprised as I am that people in the year 2008 are debating whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin should have thought twice about being John McCain's running mate because she has a baby and her teen unwed daughter is pregnant? Here's a column by Jodi Enda that ran in The Root wondering where the feminists are on this one.

excerpt....

So where are the feminists?

The very people who have done the most to make Americans aware of sexism and its dangers - defenders of women like Anita Hill, Lilly Ledbetter and Clinton - have remained mum where Palin is concerned.


BARTLETT, N.H. -- Under pressure to raise millions of dollars in the coming weeks, Barack Obama's campaign is raising the bar for entree into his elite fund-raising world while heavily scheduling big political names and celebrities to help him raise campaign cash fast.

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MANCHESTER, NH.--MIchelle Obama strikes a pose on the cover or More; earlier in the week she was the draw for a high dollar Los Angeles fund-raiser targeted gay and lesbian donors and another big bucks event in Beverly Hills.

CHICAGO--When John McCain hits the Windy City Monday for a high dollar fund-raiser at the Chicago Hilton, it's part of a four-city "Road to Victory Tour" package designed to lure high end donors. McCain is expected to haul at least $2 million out of the city on Monday to be divided between the Republican National Committee and state parties in the key battle ground states of Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The latest word I have is NOT to expect McCain running mate Sarah Palin to show up with him. Even though McCain is taking public funding for his general election campaign--he can still headline events for party warchests.

The "Road to Victory Tour" receptions moves from Chicago to Miami on Sept. 15 to Los Angeles on Oct. 1 to New York on Oct. 14.

*An individual pledging to raise $200,000 gets a "universal pass" to all four events and all perks.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Listening to the speeches at the GOP convention here, what becomes clear is that the McCain campaign -- as did the failed Hillary Clinton Democratic primary bid -- sees Barack Obama's soaring rhetoric as a weapon to be used against him.

But in the view of the McCain messaging department, Clinton went about it the wrong way. Clinton attacked Obama's speeches as "just words." McCain's team wants to emphasize how wonderful the words in Obama's speeches are and then take the next step -- asking him what else he's got.

MR. O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the Impact Segment tonight, our first conversation with Senator Barack Obama. It's been a long time coming, as you know, but this afternoon, I met with the senator in York, Pennsylvania. Now, we're going to play you the first part of the interview right now, and the rest of it which is fairly extensive and provocative will be seen next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

ST. PAUL, MN.-- 'Nothing is inevitable here," said John McCain as he wrapped up his speech at the 2008 Republican convention. Transcript courtesy Federal News Service.

ST. PAUL, MN.--The Obama campaign said Thursday night it raised $10 million online in the 24 hours since Sarah Palin delivered her vice presidential acceptance speech at the GOP convention here.

ST. PAUL, MN.--Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told NBC's "Today Show" host Matt Lauer counterpart Sarah Palin will be a "formidable" contender. But in the end, said Biden, "It's what they are going to do? Show me.

"This is show me. What are you going to do to dig us out of the hole you dug us into? How are you going to convince the American people it's just not four more years of the last eight years? And if they can do that, they win. If they can't do that, they're going to lose," Biden said.

click for transcript.


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- So this is "Pit bull Palin."

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin --in the GOP convention's most anticipated appearance -- asked the delegates Wednesday night who got their first look at John McCain's surprise pick as a running mate if they knew "the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull."

"Lipstick," said Palin.

ST. PAUL, MN.--Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani bolsters Sarah Palin and goes after Barack Obama in his GOP convention speech. Transcript courtesy Federal News Service.

ST. PAUL, MN.--Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accepts vice presidential nomination in GOP convention speech. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

ST. PAUL, MN.--Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her keynote speech Wednesday downgrades Barack Obama's organizing experience and hits media elite who have raised questions about why John McCain tapped her to be his running mate.

Excerpts: Remarks by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Vice Presidential Nominee to Address the 2008 Republican National Convention


SAINT PAUL, Minn. - This evening Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, will address the 2008 Republican National Convention. Excerpts from the governor's remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.

On her experience as a public servant:

"I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn't need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too. Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

On why she is going to Washington, D.C.:

"I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

ST. PAUL, MN.--Stylish anti-war "Code Pink" protesters were peacefully arrested outside the Xcel Center here on Wednesday. (photos by Lynn Sweet)

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ST. PAUL, MN.--In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room," Obama top strategist Robert Gibbs on Wednesday has harsh words for Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Independent Democrat who addressed the GOP convention Tuesday, attacking Barack Obama for not--contrary to his assertion--reaching across party lines.



GIBBS: It's actually -- it's pathetic what Senator Lieberman did here last night. He can pick whoever he wants to. But do everybody in this country a favor, don't walk out on stage and make things up about another candidate because you can't fill your air time thinking of good things to say about the candidate you've decided to pick.

Click for transcript

ST. PAUL, MN.--Gary Bauer, an unofficial advisor to the McCain campaign and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, a conservative PAC, talking about Sarah Palin coverage on Tuesday:

Bauer said that a press ready to pounce on any Rush Limbaugh seeming transgression is giving a pass to "absolutely disgusting comments that should be beneath American politics" on "left wing web sites" and from "those left wing spokesmen."


Memorandum

To: Interested Parties
From: Obama Campaign Senior Strategist Robert Gibbs & DNC advisor Jamal Simmons
Date: September 3, 2008

Re: Daily Message Memo: More of the Same


Courtesy of Federal News Service......

REMARKS BY SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (ID-CT) AT THE 2008 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION


GOP stalwarts blame media for Palin uproar


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Republicans at their convention here are blaming the lefty media for the political travails Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may face.

After John McCain surprised everyone by tapping her to be his running mate on Saturday, Palin's been kept sequestered someplace here as news outlets raise questions about whether Palin has been properly vetted, if McCain knew her unwed teen daughter was pregnant before he picked her or if McCain's most important decision as a presidential candidate was somehow botched.

I had not seen Phyllis Schlafly for years, and when I ran into the president of the Eagle Forum --one of the nation's leading anti-abortion conservatives -- in the halls of the Xcel Center on Day Two of the GOP convention, I of course wanted to know her take on Palin.

MINNEAPOLIS--Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Az.) discuss how Barack Obama or John McCain would govern if president with Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein at a Tuesday seminar at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet and New York Times' Jackie Calmes were also on the panel.
(Video by Lynn Sweet)

ST. PAUL, MN--From the McCain campaign on Tuesday morning....

Please see our campaign's response to Barack Obama's remarks that his experience as a candidate is equal to Governor Palin's executive experience:

"For Barack Obama to argue that he's experienced enough to be president because he's running for president is desperate circular logic and it's laughable. It is a testament to Barack Obama's inexperience and failing qualifications that he would stoop to passing off his candidacy as comparable to Governor Sarah Palin's executive experience managing a budget of over 10 billion dollar dollars, and more than 24,000 employees." ---Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008

MINNEAPOLIS--Barack Obama told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday's edition of "360" that he has more executive experience than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. He compares his national campaign organization to Palin's stint as a mayor of a small town and ignores that she is a governor.

On CNN's "360" Obama "also countered critics who suggest that he has less executive experience in this situation compared to Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin saying, "...my understanding is, is that Governor Sarah Palin's town of Wasilla has, I think, 50 employees. We have got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So, I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute, I think, has been made clear over the last couple of years.

And, certainly, in terms of the legislation that I passed just dealing with this issue post-Katrina of how we handle emergency management, the fact that many of my recommendations were adopted and are being put in place as we speak, I think, indicates the degree to which we can provide the kinds of support and good service that the American people expect."

Transcript at click.


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- I'm trying to connect the dots here. . . . Unmarried teen five months pregnant, will marry father. . . . She's the daughter of the GOP vice presidential nominee, the little-known Alaska governor, at the center of a controversy over a fired Alaskan state trooper. . . . Republicans at their convention Monday adopt platform calling for increased funding for abstinence education.

There's another hurricane in the news, and it is not Gustav -- it's John McCain's surprise choice for vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Hurricane Sarah is energizing the Republicans.

Obama e-mail appeal...

xxxx --

Today, the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with those in the path of Hurricane Gustav -- and many of you are asking what you can do to help.

MINNEAPOLIS--Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband acknowledged Monday that their teen daughter is pregnant. She will eventually marry the father and keep the baby.

The Palin's said in a statement, "Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support."


MINNEAPOLIS -- It's just crazy to predict the political impact the abbreviated Republican convention -- cut short by Hurricane Gustav -- will have on the outcome of the McCain/Obama presidential contest.

There is no polling model for this. Until the severity of the storm -- expected to hit the gulf region today -- is known, GOP convention planners can't decide if they will do any political business here in the Twin Cities. The hand dealt to John McCain does not translate into an automatic boost for Obama.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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