Political MoJo

DeLay To 110th Congress: 'Make My Day'

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 8:40 PM EST

Via ThinkProgress.org:

Moments ago on MSNBC, Christ Matthews asked former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) about what he would do to "stop" the 110th Congress from investigating the misdeeds of the 109th Congress and the administration. "My only answer to that," DeLay replied, "is make my day."

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Bush Snubbed By GOP Candidates on Campaign Trail

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 8:27 PM EST

Get the details here.

In our current issue, April Rabkin reported on host of candidates running as fast as they can from Bush. Check it out.

A Big Day Calls for a Big Lie

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 8:26 PM EST

Yesterday, in an attempt to rally the conservative base before the midterms, Bush's press secretary Tony Snow had a sitdown with Rush Limbaugh. Snow urged listeners to take the media's portrayal of gloom and doom in Iraq with a grain of salt, saying: "The war is more popular in Iraq than it is in the United States because the Iraqis actually get to see the Americans in action."

Now, no one expects Limbaugh to keep a close tally of the facts, but sitting in a recording studio shouldn't give his guests, especially those from the White House, carte blanche to mangle the truth. Considering that Iraq couldn't be much less popular stateside ("most polls show that only a third of Americans approve of the President's handling of the situation), Snow's remark is akin to Bush pointing at Robert Mugabe and saying, "hey my approval ratings are higher than that guy's."

Even using a low threshold of popularity as a basis for comparison, sentiment in Iraq towards U.S. forces hardly seems convivial. To put it in perspective, a recent poll done by Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, found that six in ten Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces. Moreover, it found that 78 percent of Iraqis think "the U.S. presence provokes more violence than it prevents." These findings are confirmed by the State Department's own poll that found two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. The dismal situation in Iraq can be described as many things, but "popular" probably isn't one of them. In any case, it's safe to say that the White House's version of truth always comes with a not-so-small margin of error.

—Koshlan Mayer-Blackwell

A Soldier's Letter or Death Rattle?

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 8:20 PM EST

A Republican poll watcher writes in to the National Review's Jonah Goldberg:

Jonah,

Spent my lunch hours working the polls in the People's Republic of Old Town, Alexandria. My polling place is city hall, where Clinton et al. had their rally last night. I couldn't avoid the rally, since it was right around the corner from my house. The turnout and the energy of the crowd made me very concerned about the results today. True, this is a very liberal area, but I've been through many elections and never seen that sort of buzz for a political rally here. These people are pretty fired up. True to form, Clinton arrived late and spoke to long, crowding others off the schedule.

Turnout today was about 1,000 voters by lunchtime. Last year for the gubernatorial election, it was less than half that. While passing out Allen literature, I was called macaca once, and another person said he was getting his noose for Allen – a reference to a Post story about a noose he kept in his office I believe. The talk was generally that Allen ran a terrible campaign, and if this election decides anything, it is that Allen and Kerry are both toast for 2008.

A pickup truck with a coffin in it was parked in front of Market Square, the site of last night's rally. The owner appeared to be a middle aged Hispanic man, mourning his son who was killed in Iraq. He had a pickup truck with information on his son, and a coffin in the back with his service information. I wasn't close enough to hear, but he appeared to be blaming Bush for his son's death to the TV cameras. It was really a pretty moving sight. Although I think the conclusions he has drawn are incorrect, I am sure that sort of thing can sway many people.

My report from the front.

First Numbers of Key Senate Races Released

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 7:55 PM EST

What are supposedly CNN's early exit poll numbers (Hat Tip, ThinkProgress):

VIRGINIA

Webb (D): 52
Allen (R): 47

RHODE ISLAND

Whitehouse (D): 53
Chafee (R): 46

PENNSYLVANIA

Casey (D): 57
Santorum (R): 42

OHIO

Brown (D): 57
DeWine (R): 43

NEW JERSEY

Menendez (D): 52
Kean (R): 45

MONTANA

Tester (D): 53
Burns (R): 46

MISSOURI

McCaskill (D): 50
Talent (R): 48

MARYLAND

Cardin (D): 53
Steele (R): 46

TENNESSEE

Ford (D): 48
Corker (R): 51

ARIZONA

Pederson (D): 46
Kyl (R): 50

Lawsuits Filed by Democrats in Two States Push to Keep Polls Open Late. More Suits May be Pending. In Colorado, a Suit Rejected.

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 7:52 PM EST

A judge in Colorado denied an emergency request by Democrats to keep polls in Denver open an additional two hours after computer problems and unusually high turnout led to lines of up to 100 people.

According to the Denver Post, District Court Judge Sheila Rappaport argued that she didn't have the authority to keep the polls open, citing case law from Missouri and Arkansas. The Post story and a story in Denver's Rocky Mountain News didn't elaborate on the judge's reasoning.

In Ohio, CNN reported Democrats are awaiting a ruling on a similar suit. Democrats are asking that 16 precincts in Cuyahoga County—the Cleveland area—stay open until 10:00 pm tonight. Confusion over the use of new electronic voting machines had created long lines there. (Four to five House Republicans are in danger in Ohio, as well as Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who has been running behind in his race for governor)

According to Bloomberg, the voting rights group Election Protection is considering filing suits in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida to extend voting hours due to similar delays.

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MORE Early Exit Polls from CNN

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 7:05 PM EST

Feed me, CNN, feed me. Just reported on America's most trusted name in news:

- The network asked voters, "Was the economy a very important issue in how you voted?" Those who said yes voted for the Democrat more frequently than the Republican, by a 20% margin. Recent good news on jobs and the economy, which Bush trumpeted frequently on the campaign trail, does not appear to be helping the Republicans.

- CNN also asked, "Was terrorism a very important issue in how you voted?" Those who said yes voted for the Republican in their district 53% of the time, and for the Democrat 45% of the time. The "terror gap" seems to shrinking.

- And finally, CNN asked, "Was illegal immigration a very important issue in how you voted?" Those who said yes actually split, voting for the Republican as frequently as the Democrat.

Early Exit Poll Results

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 6:14 PM EST

Hot off the CNN stove:

- This is not a one issue race. When asked what the extremely important issues of the election were, 42% of respondents said "corruption in Washington," 40% said "terrorism," nearly 39% said "the economy," and 37% said "Iraq."

- When asked if they approve or disapprove of the war in Iraq, 57% said disapprove and 41% said approve.

- And finally, not all politics is local. When asked if they voted on national issues or local issues, 62% of voters said national and only 33% said local. The death of Tip O'Neill's axiom is good for the Democratic Party.

Robo-Calls Make it to CNN. It's Not Good

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 5:37 PM EST

On CNN, Wolf Blitzer just asked Ken Mehlman about the robo-call story. (The story has been slow to make its way off the internet and into the more major outlets.) Mehlman said he didn't know anything about it, and used the opportunity to list every questionable voting tactic alleged against Democrats from 2000, 2004, and 2006. Mehlman literally went on for five solid minutes, with no interruption from Wolf.

To recap, false-flag robo-calls have been common throughout the nation. Voters receive phone calls that appear to be automated campaign spots for the local Democrat candidate. If the voter hangs up, they get a call back. This can continue six, seven, or eight times. If the voter has the patience to listen to the whole thing, the ad is revealed to be paid for by Republicans. Democratic activists at the polls have reported that people are showing up irritated with Democratic candidates, and are unwilling to listen to the explanation that, in fact, the opposing party is responsible for their frustrating morning.

Talking Points Memo has been all over this story, as has the rest of the blogosphere. Mother Jones may have gotten there first, though, with this story from Daniel Schulman on October 26.

For Some Virginia Voters It's "The Best Day of the Year.'' Dispatches from Around the State

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 5:34 PM EST

By mid afternoon, voters had slowed to a trickle at polling booths in towns along the fringes of northern Virginia exurbia, which often provides the swing vote for the state as a whole. Voters we talked to tended to be disgusted in general with the Bush Administration and fed up with the dirty Senate campaign. Nonetheless, there were numerous Allen diehards, who noted he had been dependable in the past and now could be viewed as the lesser of two evils.

Reston, once a model new town, is situated well out from Washington in northern Virginia, the key swing area of the state. At the Community Center, Jane Bullock, 58, an entrepreneur, formerly Chief of Staff for FEMA, said she had to leave her job at FEMA because of the administration. She was plenty mad. "This country is on the wrong track, the president is deranged. We need senators who will bridge the gap. I think Webb is more conservative than I am but he's the better choice. He's got the right attitude on the war in Iraq." She went on, "This administration, they don't care about government. You saw what happened with Katrina. They simply don't care about people and it shows in their government."

Linda Cooper, 37, bartender, former graphic designer, came up to the polling station skipping and singing: "This is the best day of the year!" She declared, "Mr. Bush is inarticulate and the Republican Party follows a not very well thought out foreign policy, and a not very well thought out domestic policy. I don't think they care about the average American who earn less than $30,000 a year. He is insular in his wealth and I think the majority of Republicans are. And I think the average American is suffering." Time for a change, she said.

Justin Salop, 26, accountant, said he voted for Allen: "There was a lot more negative ads and campaigning and more shock than what I have seen in the past. It has made me increasingly upset with the parties and politics." He decided to vote for "the lesser of two evils," adding, "Being a business guy I have always been for growth and expansion, but I think we have hit a point, at least in this area where it has gone way too far. I'm getting tired of every little area being turned into a condo."

Dave Spanbauer, 62, retired high school basketball coach, voted for George Allen "because he's an athlete and because I'm a basketball coach. I would have voted Democrat if the Democrat person had enticed me to vote for him. But the fact that he came on to slander Allen."

Further west is Leesburg, offering a nostalgic glimpse of a Virginia long gone. In the early 1970s you could still see chain gangs of prisoners working along the roadside under a shotgun toting police officer. Segregation died hard around here, if in fact it did die. By its looks, Leesburg remains a memento of an earlier time. At the town firehouse, Mary Kraseman, 65 and retired, said "George Allen has always come through on what he said he was going to do."'

A 58 year old woman teacher, who asked that her name not be used, said "I think it's time for a change and the Republicans have messed things up totally."

Purcellville, once a farm town center not far from Leesburg, now part of the sprawling exurbia. At the elementary school, Mary Coate, 50, a housewife said, "I am for the marriage amendment. I believe it should be between a man and a woman and I don't want people from Massachusetts coming and demanding recognition for their gay marriages."

-- Reporting in Virginia by Caroline Dobuzinskis and Jessica Savage