News from the Votemaster
More Veeping Monday.
John McCain challenged Barack Obama to 10 town hall meetings this summer. Obama came back with a proposal for 5 debates in a variety of formats. Talks between the camps have apparently broken down. This is not really surprising since McCain wants the town hall meetings for three reasons. First, he is a wooden speaker in a formal setting so using the town hall format he would do much better. Second, Obama will have far more money than he so all the free publicity and TV time would be a godsend for him. Third, he is hoping that his much greater experience will show up in the unlikely event someone asks a hard question ("senator, do you know how many cows there are in Wisconsin?". Obama, of course, realizes why McCain made the challenge and made a counterproposal with fewer meetings and different formats. Ideally Obama would like at least one Lincoln-Douglas style debate where the candidates can directly address each other. He is aware that McCain has a legendary temper and he could try to trigger it ("John, is it true that you recently said you would veto the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill that you wrote together with Sen. Kennedy?")
Ron Paul has converted his campaign for President into a movement for smaller government. He is scheduling his own convention in Minneapolis at the same time the Republican convention will be going on in adjacent St. Paul. Paul has a good sense of dealing with the media and knows most TV stations will be bored with the Republican convention so he is giving them something else to cover. While this is not going to be the Chicago Democratic convention of 1968, it will certainly detract from John McCain's message when he says he is for smaller government and Paul pipes up "Oh no you're not."
Two Democratic senators, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), apparently got sweetheart deals from Countrywide Financial, the mortgage lender at the center of the subprime mortgage meltdown. Both senators have said they didn't do anything wrong. Fortunately for them, neither one is up for reelection this year.
Two new presidential polls today, in Minnesota and Oregon, both showing Barack Obama comfortably ahead of John McCain. Maybe having the Republican convention in Minnesota will help McCain there; otherwise, he is likely to lose the state (unless he puts Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the ticket).
Rasmussen has four new Senate polls, given below. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Carl Levin (D-MI) are in no danger at all, in part because NRSC chairman Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) was not able to recruit first-tier challengers. However, Minnesota and Oregon are going to be exciting races. In Minnesota, comedian turned politician Al Franken is in a statistical tie with incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN). Minnesota is a blue state and it elected a professional wrestler as governor so anything is possible here.
An important development has occured in the Oregon Senate race. It was a three-way race between the incumbent, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), the speaker of the Oregon house, Jeff Merkley, and independent John Frohnmayer Frohnmayer was expected to appeal to Republicans who don't like Smith--thus pulling potential antiSmith votes from Merkley. Frohnmayer has now dropped out which will probably help Merkley. Smith is ahead by 9 points right now, but this is going to be an expensive and close-fought race with lots of outside attention and money.
-- The Votemaster