The Latest On The Obama Birth Certificate Fantasies

In case anyone really cares to see debunking of the latest nutty claims about Obama’s birth certificate coming from the lunatic Clinton supporters such as Larry Johnson, David Weigel of Reason has written on this. I have a previous post on this topic here.

As with the previous conspiracies, one would have to imagine an amazing amount of power and even advanced scientific knowledge for Obama’s parents to have pulled off such deception aimed at one day allowing their son to run for president.

Not Even Fox Can Tolerate McCain’s Lies About Obama’s Tax Policies

Fox News can generally be counted on to promote the Republican line and Republican candidates, but sometimes a candidate is so dishonest that even Fox cannot tolerate. I’ve noted several times, such as here and here, how McCain’s campaign has been outright lying about Obama’s tax policies and previous votes. Yesterday Rick Davis, his campaign manager, was on Fox News Sunday and repeated their usual lies. Chris Wallace did not let him get away with them, confronting Davis first on his negative ads and then on the dishonest message:

WALLACE: According to a recent poll — and let’s put it up — people rate Obama’s ads as positive by a margin of 38 percent to 13. But they view McCain’s ads as negative 31 percent to 19.

Mr. Davis, why is the McCain campaign spending so much time and so much of its money attacking Obama?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, I don’t think that we are spending that much time and money attacking Obama. And I would say Obama is spending exactly the same amount of time attacking us and, frankly, probably more money.

Obama started negative campaigning on John McCain long before we started punching back, and I think a lot of our effort is really to get back into this game, try and galvanize some of the public attention back onto this race, make sure everybody understands there’s two people in this race, not just one, and I think we’ve been successful in doing that.

And you know, look. You could read a lot of polls right now, and it’s August before a presidential election, and I really don’t think that these polls are going to make a bit of difference come September.

WALLACE: All right. Let’s take a look at one of your campaign’s recent ads. Here it is.


NARRATOR: Life in the spotlight must be grand. But for the rest of us, times are tough. Obama voted to raise taxes on people making just $42,000.


WALLACE: Mr. Davis, especially that last sentence, isn’t that misleading?

DAVIS: Nothing misleading about it. Barack Obama voted for a budget resolution that would have increased taxes on people, families, making $42,000. What’s misleading about that?

WALLACE: Well, in fact, it only would be single people making $42,000. It would be families making over $60,000. But Obama — as you say, he voted for a non-binding budget resolution that overall talked about doing away with the Bush tax cuts.

In fact, he says, that’s not his tax plan, that he supports a middle-class tax cut. And I want to put something up on the screen. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center says someone making $37,000 a year under Obama’s plan would get a tax cut of $892. Under McCain’s plan, they get a tax cut of $113.

DAVIS: Look, Obama wants to take away the current tax cuts that people now have. That includes a $1,000 child tax credit for people exactly in that category. It means doing away with the marriage penalty and many other things.

In the short period of time Barack Obama has been in the United States Senate, less than 300 working days, he has voted for 90 tax increases.

Now, we could have an ad on every tax increase he’s voted on every single day between now and the election and still not get them all in. So I don’t think anybody’s going to question — who’s going to raise your taxes as president of the United States? Barack Obama.

Who’s going to cut your taxes and hold down spending as president of the United States? John McCain.

WALLACE: But again, when you have a nonpartisan group saying that, in fact, for the exact group that you’re talking about, people making $37,000, $40,000 a year, that Obama would cut their taxes more than McCain…

The tough questioning for Davis did not end there. Wallace showed a clip from a McCain ad which says, “We’re worse off than we were four years ago.” He questioned whether McCain might be responsible for us being worse off:

Last year, he voted to support Bush legislation 95 percent of the time.

Given that, if the country’s worse off, isn’t both the president and John McCain — aren’t they both responsible?

Obama Compared to Kerry In The Polls

I have been paying little attention to the polls at this stage in the election as polls before September have little predictive value on the outcome of an election. Unfortunately there are far too many articles recently claiming Obama is not doing well because his lead is not as great as some believe it should be. Josh Goodman has compared where Obama stands now compared to John Kerry at this stage four years ago and the results are encouraging:

The overall picture is very favorable for Obama. McCain is only running ahead of Bush’s 2004 result in four states. Obama is doing at least 2.46 percentage points better than Kerry in 41 states. In 2004, 2.46 was Bush’s margin of victory in the national popular vote.

Another way of thinking about this: If you take the 50 figures and then weight them according to the populations of the states (a very crude way of extrapolating a national popular vote forecast from state polling), you end up with Obama 46.4%, McCain 41.6%. In other words, state polling is consistent with the recent Time, AP-Ipsos, and CBS polls that had Obama up by 5-6 points, not with the Gallup poll that gave McCain a four-point advantage. That also means that, nationally, Obama is running a little more than seven points ahead of Kerry.

Edwards Accused Of Lying About Onset of Affair

ABC News reports that a friend of Rielle Hunter has been claiming that Edwards was dishonest in his account of his affair with Hunter during his recent confession:

A one-time close friend of John Edwards’ ex-mistress says the former Senator is still not telling the whole truth about how his affair with Rielle Hunter began.

Edwards told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff last week (STORY | VIDEO) that he and Hunter began their affair only after Hunter was hired for the campaign to produce a series of films for the internet and she began traveling with him.

“She was hired to come in and produce films and that’s the reason she was hired,” said Edwards.

But that version of events is now being challenged by a one time close friend of Hunter’s, Pidgeon O’Brien.

“The affair began long, long, long before she was hired to work for the campaign almost half a year before she was hired to work on those videos,” O’Brien said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

O’Brien says Hunter told her that in late February, early March 2006 she met an amazing man from North Carolina named John at a New York City hotel bar. She referred to her new man as ‘Love Lips’, whom she said was married with small children and a wife who had been ill.

Some say Hunter, a devotee of new age spirituality, is given to exaggeration.

O’Brien said she later realized this man was John Edwards.

With no previous filmmaking experience, Hunter was paid $114,000 by Edwards’ political action committee to produce a series of internet videos that included many scenes of the two on flirtatious banter.

Campaign finance records show the payments to Hunter’s newly-formed film company did not begin until July, 2006. Edwards now insists that he told the truth that the affair did not begin until after she joined the campaign.

It would not necessarily be illegal to use campaign money to pay a mistress, but hardly in keeping with the high moral tone Edwards set during his run for President.

Former Edwards campaign manager David Bonior, to whom Edwards also lied, is outraged.

“People put their heart and soul into the John Edwards campaign for President of the United States,” said Bonior. “They put their energy, they put their time, the put their resources in, they gave them their confidence and in the end, he wasn’t there for them.”

There’s been no public reaction from Hunter. She had been living, under an assumed name in a $3 million Santa Barbara, California home arranged by Edwards’ national finance campaign chairman.

If Edwards was lying in his account of the affair it creates two types of problems. If Edwards has any chance of restoring his reputation, it is important that he is perceived as having come clean by providing an honest account. If elements of his confession turn out to be untrue it will do further harm to Edwards’ credibility.

This also keeps the story alive longer. Edwards no doubt hoped that by making his confession on a Friday night at the start of the Olympics the story would not get very much attention. This clearly did not work. It would have been better to get everything out at once so that the story might have been in the headlines one day but no longer be a major story in subsequent news cycles. A report that Edwards may have lied on Friday makes this a story again on Monday. If the source is the one lying then Edwards could not help this, but if Edwards is the one who lied on Friday it was yet another error in judgment in handling this matter.

Obama Responds to McCain Celebrity Ad

Obama’s campaign has responded to McCain’s celebrity attack ad with an ad of their own (above). Besides demonstrating that McCain has been far more of a Hollywood celebrity than Obama over the years, it also hits McCain with valid criticism on his policies. After describing the ad, Steve Benen writes:

The spot does a lot in 30 seconds, connecting McCain to Bush, characterizing him as a flip-flopper, hitting McCain’s disconcerting ties to lobbyists, and, of course, putting all of this in the context of “Washington’s biggest celebrity.”

One could probably make the case that the ad has a few too many messages, but overall, I thought it worked just fine, and the mocking tone sounded like the right pitch.

An example of McCain as a celebrity can be seen in this video of his appearance on Saturday Night Live playing the creepy husband:


With all the recent talk of John Edwards’ affair, McCain might not want to have this video shown as it might remind people of what a creepy, cheating husband he really was to his first wife.

Obama To Have Third Book Out in September

All those pundits and  bloggers writing about how Obama’s campaign appears to be stalling forget that the major events are to come, and Obama’s campaign certainly will be doing more before the election to increase Obama’s support. One such effort is another book by Obama, Change We Can Believe In. The Politco reports:

The Book will hit stores on Sept. 9, just as the fall campaign is heating up.

“Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise” includes a campaign photo album from the road, a collection of seven of the hit speeches by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and new essays outlining his policy proposals.

Since everything Obama is selling well these days, that means the senator’s picture and policies will be in the front of most bookstores in America throughout the heart of the general-election campaign.

The secret project—both a collectible, and an answer to questions about his substance—was launched just a month ago, and got to the printer with no leaks.

Three Rivers Press—a paperback imprint of Crown Publishing, which published Obama’s two previous bestsellers—is announcing the book Monday, and plans a monster first printing of 300,000 copies.

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Everything Is All About Hillary

Once again we see that the whole world revolves around Hillary Clinton. Even the Edwards scandal is about Hillary, at least according to former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson. According to ABC News. Wolfson says that Clinton would have won in Iowa, and therefore won the nomination, if Edwards had been exposed earlier and forced from the race.

Wolfson believes that, “Our voters and Edwards’ voters were the same people.” Maybe, but I don’t think Clinton could have counted on such votes. There was a similarity in terms of both taking a more populist economic tone. While Edwards courted many of the same voters as Clinton, he never really caught on with such groups and many of his actual supporters would have likley prefered Obama.

In making this assessment, Wolfson, as with the rest of the Clinton campaign, fails to realize how strong the anyone but Clinton sentiment was among many voters. As the article points out, after Edwards dropped out, Obama won eleven straight contests in a row. This is ignored by the Clinton campaign and her supporters, who have generally been in denial as to how how Obama actually beat Clinton in the vote, as many remain convinced that somehow Obama stole the nomination or had it handed to him by party insiders.

ABC also notes that Iowa was never a very hospitable state to Clinton, partially due to her support for the war which likely would have caused many Edwards supporters to back Obama over Clinton. They note:

In May 2007, Mike Henry, then Clinton’s deputy campaign manager, thought the terrain so hostile to Clinton he wrote a memo to “propose skipping the Iowa caucuses and dedicating more of Senator Clinton’s time and financial resources on the primary in New Hampshire on January 22, the Nevada caucus on January 19, the primaries in South Carolina and Florida on January 29, and the 20 plus state primaries on February 5th.”

The idea that Clinton could have won in Iowa sounds like yet another Clinton fairytale. This campaign was Clinton’s to lose as she began with all the advantages. They lost due to both a poorly run campaign and due to having a candidate who repeatedly demonstrated that she was unfit to be president. Blaming external factors, as they have thorughout the campaign, does not change this.