Obama Zinging Into Home Stretch

Pareene · 10/29/08 11:30AM

Barack Obama's finally taken a shot at Republican Vice Presidential charade Sarah Palin, America's Favorite Halloween Joke-slash-Future of the Republican Party. The official campaign ad repeats the fun old McCain quote about how he doesn't understand that "economy" thing and his VP pick will probably have to help him with math. Then, cut to Palin winking. Remember how she can't even wink correctly? It was stupid when George W. Bush winked in debates, but at least the man can actually wink. Palin flinches. When it comes to the economy, can America handle flinching? Until we read otherwise, we're going to assume this is one of those ads that are just sent to political journalists and not necessarily played on real tv? There isn't even any talking in it. Click through to watch, and also read a preview of a zinger to be delivered in North Carolina today! Click to view From Obama's prepared remarks for a rally in Raleigh, today:

Bounty On Terrorist Obama Muslim Tape Can Save Newspapers!

Hamilton Nolan · 10/29/08 11:19AM

You may have heard that the Commie LA Times has in its possession a video of Barack Hussein Obama giving a speech in 2003 in which he declares his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia professor and Palestinian activist who, clearly, probably knows some terrorists from the Middle East. The LAT says they won't release the video because they promised their confidential source they wouldn't, which is pretty ironclad reasoning. But the truth about these two Muslims and their plotting must come out—and be available on YouTube!—according to the McCain campaign. Luckily there's a way for the layoff-plagued newspaper to appear heroic and score some much-needed cash at the same time: A guy allegedly actually named Aston Grimaldi II, of Dune Capital, is offering $150,000 for a copy of the tape. So why doesn't the LA Times just sell theirs to him? They're a Tribune paper. The company's strongest asset is a parking lot, for god's sake, and that's up for sale. They need every last penny they can get. Plus you would bring a smile to the twisted visage of John McCain, American hero! The only losers would be Hussein Obama and the paper's secret "source," a terrorist. U no U want 2 sell it LAT, LOL!

Barack Obama On Daily Show Tomorrow. Eep.

Ryan Tate · 10/28/08 10:53PM

Barack Obama is a stimulating speaker. The Daily Show is of course an entertaining and provocative show. Barack Obama on the Daily Show less than a week before the election? Stomach-knotting, sweat-inducing and nerve-wracking. It will be hard for supporters to laugh during Obama's confirmed appearance on the news-comedy show Wednesday if they spend the whole time cringing at the thought of the Democratic presidential nominee making some sort of gaffe that would blow his commanding lead over rival John McCain. Opponents, meanwhile, will be far more ready to laugh at Obama than with him. (Video from Obama's Aug. 2007 appearance is after the jump)

The Socialist Menace!

Pareene · 10/27/08 09:48AM

There is a spectre haunting the Conservative commentariat—the spectre of socialism! Barack Obama just might be the President, and should that happen, he will immediately redistribute all the wealth and hand over control of the means of production to the workers. Also the government will round up whitey and send him to reeducation camps run by the creepy YouTube singing children! We know all of this is true because Obama told a pretend plumber that he would "spread" the man's pretend "wealth around." Also he proposes some sort of "progressive income tax" policy and he said the words "redistribution of wealth" once on public radio. "Public" is code for Communist! This is seriously the dumbest attack yet in a season of incredibly dumb attacks. Over the summer, the McCain campaign presented Barack Obama as "a celebrity," a neat, slightly po-mo attack on Obama's popularity. It was, at least, an argument with some resonance in our tabloid-y popular culture. It didn't destroy Obama's brand, but it hurt it. But the desperate and confused McCain campaign never again came up with a coherent attack line on Obama that pleased anyone but the truest of believers. And that is how we got to "palling around with terrorists," a neat line that manages to incorporate 9/11 dread of four years ago and, more importantly, the culture wars of the 1960s, which make guest appearances in every American election. But this year, of course, no one gives a shit about the 1960s, at all. For the first time since the '60s ended, in 1972! So the McCain camp has switched to an attack last used effectively in the 1920s. As Hendrik Hertzberg explains:

'Whassup' Remix Changes Things

Hamilton Nolan · 10/24/08 03:27PM

Remember those Budweiser "Whasssssssssupppppppppppp!!!" ads, that made you want to crush and kill everyone in your path? Yes, well someone has put the idea to use for the sake of good. We won't ruin the clip for you. We'll just say that this is two minutes of poignant political genius, and if you don't like it then you might as well just go live in a world in which you drink Budweisers all day with John McCain as Sarah Palin shouts "Whassssuupppp!!" in your ear, forever and ever. You must check it out kids:

Our 5 Favorite Election Parody Videos

Richard Lawson · 10/23/08 03:19PM

It's a stark reality of American politics that (gulp) most of the grainy election spoof videos that you find online are really terrible. Tired old jokes done unoriginally without any thought toward editing and seeing if your joke has been made five thousand times before. So it is a rare treat when you stumble upon a little gag clip skewering the presidential candidates (but, um, usually mostly John McCain—what's that thing about funny Conservatives, again?). Again, there aren't many, but there are a proud few. We've put five of our favorites (plus a little bonus!) after the jump. Feel free to add your own in the comments. Portrayal Of Obama As Snob Hailed As Step Forward For Blacks Trenchant and sad, like all the best 'Onion' pieces.

'Times' Finally Reveals Who's Destroying McCain Campaign

Pareene · 10/22/08 12:07PM

The explosive New York Times Magazine story on the complete disarray of the McCain campaign is live online! It's full of revealing exclusive info that one was previously forced to just infer based on the available evidence! Like: the tone, strategy, and narrative of McCain's campaign has been inconsistent because the candidate himself is terrible with organization and consistency, and has relied on metanarrative crafter/biographer Mark Salter, Rovian media guru Steve Schmidt, and close friend and day-to-day campaign head Rick Davis to work it all out between the three of them. And there is infighting, of course, and everyone will soon blame everyone else, but honestly the ultimate responsibility for the failure of the campaign (should it fail in two weeks, obv) comes down to Senator McCain. He's a terrible candidate, unable to read from teleprompters and unwilling to do campaign events before 9 a.m.. He chafes at taking directions—told to gently explain once in the first debate that Obama might not understand an issue, McCain condescendingly repeated the mantra "Senator Obama doesn't understand..." ten times. These are unfair and surely maddening criticisms—ability to read from a teleprompter is not actually that presidential a quality, or else Sarah Palin would be qualified—but this is the world we live in, and GOP strategists certainly helped create it. But more importantly, his high self-regard makes him utterly unable to forgive or get over minor personal slights. He can't understand why everyone else doesn't see how much of an unprepared phony Barack Obama is, and the "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy" attitude is always, always a loser—ask the last five Democrats to run for President not named Clinton. His ability to justify his own inconsistencies isn't shared by the electorate either. In his mind, he can square Palin's inexperience and robocalls and negative campaigning with the honorable man he's always been. The constant schizophrenic narrative changes are, of course, Steve Schmidt's fault. And here's some inside shit on the Palin pick—the serious grownups had a decent shortlist that included Pawlenty, Romney, and even Bloomberg. But they weren't exciting and mavericky ernough, so Schmidt and Davis quietly picked Palin based entirely on image without examining substance.

Little Piper Palin's $790 Designer Handbag

Richard Lawson · 10/22/08 11:39AM

That's Piper Palin, Alaskan governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's 7-year-old daughter. In her hand is a $790 monogram Louis Vuitton handbag. That's over a hundred dollars per year of lil' Pipe's life! So maybe part of her mom's $150,000 Neiman Marcus shopping spree was picking up sweet ass designer shit for her chic and worldly seven-year-old. Or maybe Piper just saved her allowance for a real, real long time. Orrr... heh. It's fake. Who knows! [via Deceiver]

Obama Campaign Milks Star-Struck Media For Every Last Cent

Hamilton Nolan · 10/21/08 02:27PM

The Obama campaign, not content with the eleventy billion dollars it raised last month, is going to squeeze countless thousands of dollars out of news outlets who want the "privilege" of covering election night in Chicago. That'll be $935 for access to the filing center, please. Or for those publications on a budget (all of them), $880 will buy you a nice spot on a riser! The public must know what the view is like from the sixth step on the riser there, fellas! The campaign says it's just covering costs, which would indicate risers made of white gold. Full rate card after the jump; reporters across the country are, right now, literally begging for their bosses to purchase them access to the heated section. Sad:

Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

ian spiegelman · 10/19/08 09:53AM

Former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, endorsed Barack Obama for President on Meet the Press this morning. Powell, a Republican and longtime friend of John McCain, said, "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama... He's thinking that all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values." As for McCain and his supporters' straw-grasping, "terrorist" and "Muslim" talk, "I have been disappointed frankly in some of the approaches Senator McCain has taken recently... The party has moved even further to the right and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration." Click through to watch the full endorsement. Click to view

The Definitive John McCain Crazy-Face Gallery

Richard Lawson · 10/17/08 03:02PM

Republican presidential nominee John McCain finally made a much-belated appearance on Late Night with David Letterman last night, and he doddered his way through with his "legendary" sense of humor. He's like a grampa making silly jokes at your miserable family birthday party! And it's not just what comes out of his mouth that's funny, it's what he makes his face do—intentionally or not. Our videographer Richard Blakeley has sifted through dozens of photographs and video stills and found the best of McCain's crazy facial expressions. Some say he's on Adderall, others that he's just a weird, bemusing old dude who isn't quite spring chicken enough for the highest office in the land. We just think he makes funny faces. Take a look at the photos after the jump and decide for yourself.

Snakes On A Plane

Richard Lawson · 10/16/08 04:06PM

[From Getty Images, these are full-size cutouts of presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate, Marge Gunderson. The curtain separates the press from the real people on McCain's Straight Talk Air Express campaign plane.]

After Only 219 Years, Americans Tire Of Negative Ads

Hamilton Nolan · 10/16/08 10:21AM

Negative ads usually work, despite the fact that everybody whines about them. Not this year! Political scientists (A real job title? Not sure) say that this year's campaign is—as old Bob Schieffer grouchily pointed out last night—the most negative in the history of history. But they also say that this time, that negativity is actually backfiring, for once. Apparently "imaginary bullshit" ranks lower on voters' priority lists than ever before:

Defeated By His Temper

Ryan Tate · 10/16/08 06:51AM

Sure, John McCain is a MAVERICK, but there is, as many voters have learned, a flipside to that. The Republican presidential nominee can be impulsive and temperamental, and it's only been getting worse toward the end of the campaign, making past incidents, like his hollering at Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller or his meltdown in front of the New Republic's Jeff Dearth, look like part of a very real pattern. Last night's debate was probably the last straw. McCain posted his worst-yet ratings in the post-debate polls, with his numbers falling most sharply, within live-reaction panels, in the wake of his comments on William Ayers, ACORN and opponent Barack Obama's alleged negative campaigning (which voters were predisposed not to believe). His incessant face-pulling, insane blinking and cranky interrupting (see videos after the jump) were equally destructive to his cause.

Tired Old John McCain Just Recycling Speeches At This Point

Richard Lawson · 10/15/08 10:50AM

You know when you're drunk and trying to have some sort of heated discussion about topics and you just keep repeating the same thing, slurry verbatim, over and over again? Well slogging your way through a presidential campaign is much the same! John McCain, for example, the flailing senator blown in by the desert winds of the American Southwest, is basically giving the same speech time after time. The wizards at The Daily Show, who tend to skip the mortal plane and transcend to god-like heights during election seasons, have mashed-up McCain's speech from the Republican National Convention and his most recent nü-McCain stump oratory. And they overlap almost perfectly. I'm sure the same could be said for Obama, but we're not going to harp on it because we're just so proud of him for being so articulate. Watch the clip above.

Baseball Stat Geek Knows Exactly How Much Obama Will Win By

Hamilton Nolan · 10/13/08 12:16PM

Nate Silver is the crazy kid who invented PECOTA for Baseball Prospectus and now he's made good in the political prediction world! Can I get a "Woop woop?" Baseball fans? Anybody? Well look, Baseball Prospectus is like The Bible to stat geeks, and PECOTA is like a particularly important passage in that Bible (John 3:16, for example), so the fact that this 30-year-old guy who made it up is suddenly the hottest thing in political polling is unlikely and heartwarming to sports fans and political obsessives alike, to say the least! Nate Silver started writing about how wrong polls were in a little Daily Kos diary, and lo and behold, he ended up predicting the primaries better than anyone! Then all the pros were like, who is this kid? When he revealed himself as a Baseball Prospectus writer, a very thin slice of stat geeks were all like, "ZOMG unbelievably awesome!" Imagine if you found out that Richard Lawson had been selected as the new announcer on Monday Night Football. That's the level of thing that I'm talking about here, people. So of course New York did a big story on this kid, what with his acceptable level of quirk. He's basically the smartest pollster in America now, amazingly. And we'll cut through all the technical mumbo-jumbo and give it to you straight:

McCain's New Stunt: He's Nice Again!

Pareene · 10/13/08 10:24AM

Here comes the McCain campaign reboot! It soft-launched on Friday, with the candidate angrily rebuking the wackos who go to his rallies these days. Attached: Matt Drudge's front page. Drudge has been broadcasting live from a bizarro world these last few weeks. In this world, people still like Sarah Palin and McCain is ever-so-close in the national tracking polls. (Also everyone finds it funny that Obama said "pie" a bunch of times in a recent appearance. That is one of those links, to a YouTube of Barack Obama saying "pie" a bunch of times.) Now, simply because it is decreed, it must happen: it's comeback time! What does that entail? Let's take a sneak peek at this week's new McCain narrative. First, the Bill Kristol column! Kristol is always a great barometer for the mood of McCain's political team. And, according to Bill, McCain is going to fire that political team, maverick style!

McCain: Obama is "Touchy" and "Angry"

Pareene · 10/06/08 04:31PM

The cornerstone of so-called Rovian politics is "attack your opponent on his strengths." At its most basic, perfect level, it means attack war hero John Kerry for being a spineless anti-American coward. McCain tried it early this season: Obama is popular and energizing, just like a dumb blonde celebrity. Everyone cooed and said "oh good one Mr. McCain." But that line wasn't enough to get McCain through the end of the summer, let alone the fall. So now, yes, Steve Schmidt and John McCain have developed and employed a brilliant new twist on Karl Rove's old dictum: attack your opponent on your own weaknesses! In McCain's terrible new speech today on how none of us know who this mysterious and dangerous terrorist Barack Obama actually is, he says, literally, that Obama gets "touchy" and "angry" whenever he's attacked or criticized or accused of lying. As Josh Marshall points out, this is called "projection," because Obama actually remains infuriatingly cool and collected in the face of things that would drive us insane. Meanwhile, McCain is notorious for his temper, for his pettiness, and for his grudges. So naturally McCain found that he was being criticized by everyone for lying all the time, and he decided that meant that he was hitting a nerve with Obama (and not just all the dudes in the press who used to have man-crushes on him), and decided further to expand this into a whole new line of attack. A line of attack based entirely on projection. So when we said "a brilliant new twist on Karl Rove's old dictum" what we actually meant was "a sad foray into the extreme disconnect between perception and reality that is probably the logical conclusion of Rovian politics."