Daily Archives: October 15, 2008

Presidential Debate Liveblog! v3.0 UPDATE: He DID! He DID! He DID say “Senator Government!”

Final debate, Hofstra University in Long Island.  McCain’s last chance to turn things around, if the Obama campaign’s carefully disseminated talking points memo is to be believed, which it apparently has been by most of its recipients at the networks.

Pundits upon pundits today have piled an avalanche of advice on McCain for tonight:  stay on the economy, stay on Obama’s character, keep Rev. Wright on the table, keep Rev. Wright off the table, and so on.  Frankly, I’ve given up trying to predict what McCain’s going to go with tonight, though I can’t say I’m optimistic about his chances, given that tonight’s debate doesn’t look to be any more spontaneous than the previous two snooze-fests; a condition that favors Obama.  (I’m surfing past Fox News Channel now, on which Bill O’Reilly and Brit Hume are both complaining about how the formats for the other two debates were so full of strictures and constraints that spontaneity of any kind was a practical impossibility.)

No co-livebloggers in DC this evening; this time it’s just me and my flatscreen back home.

Full liveblog, wrap-up, links, and an UPDATE below the break.

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Murtha grasps at petty little straws UPDATE: “Oh, hey, sorry, just kidding. But not about the murder.”

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), America’s newest “ex-Marine,” is still living in his own big fat bloated bubble of denial.

The congressman accused eight Marines in 2006 of the murder of Iraqi civilians after a firefight in Haditha, without any evidence to back it up except a sensational story in TIME Magazine.  Today, now that six of the eight have had their charges dropped, one other acquitted of all charges, the last still awaiting court-martial on reduced charges, and two of the Marines filing or preparing to file lawsuits against him for slander and defamation, he is repeating his smear to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha stands by a controversial remark he made previously that U.S. Marines killed women and children “in cold blood” in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

The blunt description changed how American troops engaged Iraqis and improved overall conditions in the war, Murtha, an 18-term Democrat from Johnstown, said today during a wide-ranging interview with Tribune-Review reporters and editors.

“There are all kinds of things that have happened that have made a difference, but one of the big differences is that we are not bullying our way through like we used to,” said Murtha, a former Marine and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. “The rules of engagement are clear — and it’s changed. One of the things that has made it better in Iraq is we are no longer just breaking down doors.”

“It’s my obligation to speak out. I try everything I can to get things done,” Murtha said.

Right.  He’s a real prince, that Jack Murtha.  See you in court, pal.  Here’s hoping you graduate to Citizen Murtha real quick, courtesy of the targets of your other bizarre smear:  your own constituents, whom you tarred today as racists for not uniformly supporting Barack Obama (Allahpundit and Miz Michelle have more).

Tool.

UPDATE: Murtha apologizes a day later in a media release for calling Western Pennsylvanians racists.  No apology to be found about sliming the Haditha Marines (twice now).  And Murtha’s Iraq vet opponent Bill Russell gets a neat new campaign ad out of it.

Too bad he can’t get in Murtha’s face about it now, because Murtha has suddenly cancelled their debate tonight. Reminds me of that video of Murtha running for the elevator, no?  Hopefully Russell can put together a nice little ad slamming him for that.

Well, guess we don’t need the debate, now…

The Drudge Report has fired off some Flash Traffic with a bit of good news:  we don’t need to have the debate tonight!

The Obama campaign was kind enough to release a full complement of talking points to the press, 12 hours before the debate has even started.  The talking points memo comes in an email from Sean Smith, the Obama campaign’s communications director for Pennsylvania.  As Drudge notices (and I’ve been noticing all day),

The memo oddly mirrors much of the main press analysis and theme of the current campaign.

Who’da thunk it.  Man, they don’t even try to hide it anymore…they just keep a “marching orders” email list to send to their press contacts, and wait for the parroting to begin.  I’m halfway to hoping Obama loses just for the sake of keeping the press from thinking they can fix an election.

View the text of the memo as reported by Drudge, and further links, below the break.

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Philly: 8,000 bad ACORN forms and counting

And Pennsylvania gets worse.  CNN is on the case (link via Hot Air), with the seemingly unstoppable Drew Griffin on his ACORN beat, which is really taking on a life of its own:

1,500 registration forms in Philadephia have been sent to the U.S. Attorney by city officials after having been deemed “problematic” (read: sufficiently obvious in their fraudulence to warrant investigation by a U.S. Attorney).  They are part of a total of 8,000 forms — a total that is growing as I write — which have been screened out by election officials as unsuitable for processing; every last one of those 8,000 forms bear ACORN’s stamp of approval.

Deputy City Commissioner Greg Voigt says his office is catching them, but admits that his staff is limited:

Are there going to be bad votes? Sure, there are going to be bad votes. There are always bad votes. Am I concerned this is a close election? Of course, I’m concerned it’s a close election. But, you have to weigh everything in terms of your capacity to find things out.

Yes, that’s pretty much the point.  Drop an avalanche of paper at the latest possible date on an office whose priority is making sure that registrations are processed before Election Day.

Voigt, in a fit of common sense, implicitly blames not the field operators, but ACORN management itself, for hiring people desperate for money (homeless people, drug addicts, recent parolees) and telling them they get paid per signature before setting them loose with a pen and clipboard full of registration forms, when the field people know they can just “fill in any old name” and turn them in.  Griffin confronts the local ACORN chairperson, Jeannette Marcano, with this systemic flaw, and her response is:

“That’s not the point.”

More at Power Line, which has a spiffy new design.

Frog-marching ACORNers in Michigan now

A 23-year-old convicted felon and field operative for ACORN in Michigan is being charged with six counts of forging a public document, says the Detroit News.  He faces a maximum of 14 years on each charge.

The charges against Antonio Johnson, now held on a parole violation are summed up as follows by Republican state attorney general Mike Cox:

Johnson was working for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now between May and June of this year when he filled out, signed and submitted six voter registration applications, using two Jackson residents’ names, without their knowledge, Cox said.

“This is an obvious case of forgery and that is why I am taking action today,” said Cox. “This office will not stand by while criminals interfere with the voting rights of Michigan citizens.”

My take?  This may be a sign that AG Cox may be contemplating a criminal RICO investigation against the larger ACORN group.  Antonio Johnson is way-small potatoes, certainly not worth this kind of publicity.  That’s why I don’t think this ends with him.

As with most corrupt organizations, it’s nearly impossible to go after the organization heads directly; you have to establish leverage over small fish and trade leniency for further information leading up the food chain.  Since the state is confronting Johnson with a parole violation plus as much as 84 years on top of it for the forgery counts, they’ve got lots to bargain with.  If he turns state’s evidence, and the state can come up with others like him (hardly a stretch of the imagination), the ACORN brass could be next.

Incidentally, I don’t know what the law is in Michigan regarding hiring convicted felons in the first place for gathering registration signatures, but in some other states such as Nevada it’s definitely frowned upon.  Michigan may be closing in; there’s only so many times the higher-ups at ACORN can blame illegal tactics on “a few bad apples” out in the field.

Jesse Jackson, always eager to help

Rev. Jesse Jackson is now exulting that the impending Obama presidency would mean an end to “decades of putting Israel’s interests first,” according to reports from the World Economic Forum in France. (Link via Hot Air. Gateway Pundit has more.)

Jackson, last heard from in July when a live mike caught him voicing fantasies about performing genital mutilation on Barack Obama, has always been tough to pin down with regard to whether he actually wants Obama elected; he consistently says he does, though his actions result in — ahem! — mixed signals.  When Obama says that as president he’d be Israel’s best friend, it doesn’t help his case when Jackson proclaims to an audience of international VIPs at a global conference that “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” would in fact see their influence in the White House diminish.

The Obama campaign scrambled away from these radioactive comments:

“Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is not an adviser to the Obama campaign and is therefore in no position to interpret or share Barack Obama’s views on Israel and foreign policy,” Obama national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement. “As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship … As president, he will ensure that Israel can defend itself from every threat it faces, stand with Israel in its quest for a secure peace with its neighbors, and use all elements of American power to end Iran’s illicit nuclear program.”

The outcome in more than one swing state depends very much on which candidate comes off as more appealing and more comfortable for Jewish and pro-Israel voters.  Major retirement havens like Florida and Nevada have above-average concentrations of Jewish voters; many of those are senior citizens, who turn out to vote in greater numbers than any other age group.  Even Pennsylvania has a greater-than-average concentration of Jewish voters, and considerable business and industrial ties to Israel.

Obama’s courting of the Jewish and pro-Israel vote has been a bit clumsy.  In a June speech to AIPAC he declared flatly that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” only to backtrack the very next day.  He has a history of associations with such anti-Israel figures as the late professor Edward Said, former PLO operative Rashid Khalidi, and of course Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  Combine that with his stated willingness to sit down face to face with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions (his running mate, Joe Biden, has also been criticized as weak on Iran), and the historical tendency of American Jewish voters to vote with liberal Democrats will meet with a serious test.

ACORN in Minnesota joins the lineup

The newest rotten ACORN has sprouted in Minnesota.

The county prosecutor in Hennepin County, MN has announced it is considering a criminal investigation into ACORN’s operations in that county.  (Link via Hot Air.)

Suspicion arose when ACORN claimed a malfunctioning scanner forced them to turn in a huge batch of registration cards after the submission deadline.  (The cards were all successfully processed.)

The lateness in itself isn’t cause for considering criminal charges; from what I can see, the prosecutor’s office is hesitating to buy ACORN’s “malfunctioning scanner” excuse.  They suspect the intent was to delay submission until the last minute so as to overwhelm the election office’s screening capacity.

The prosecutor’s office hasn’t gone into great detail, but they have commented that if criminal charges are sought, they will likely be targeting individuals rather than ACORN as an organization.  No telling whether “individuals” means field operatives (the clipboard guys) or ACORN officers or managers.