Sep. 13 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 268   McCain 270  
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 243   GOP 192  

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (140)
weak Dem Weak Dem (70)
barely Dem Barely Dem (58)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (57)
weak GOP Weak GOP (87)
strong GOP Strong GOP (126)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: MO NJ OH OK WA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Newsweek Poll: Presidential Race Dead Even Marist Poll: Obama Holds Small Lead in New Jersey
Biden's Tax Returns Show Little Charitable Giving National Poll Update
Historical Quote of the Day Democrats Slip in Battle for Congress

News from the Votemaster

Biden Releases Tax Returns

Joe Biden has made good on his promise to release his tex returns for the previous 10 years. Even something fairly standard like a candidate releasing his tax returns gets spun. For example, the CNN story emphasizes that he is the second poorest senator, with an average income of $245,000. Open Secrets says he was the poorest in 2006. In contrast, the USA Today story is headlined "Biden gave average of $369 to charity a year." There is no mention of his not being a millionaire (like Obama and McCain) and having only one house, from which he commutes to his Senate office everyday 90 minutes each way by train. Why is small charitable giving more important than his relatively modest circumstances? Depends on the point you want to make. Obama gave $240,000 to charity last year and McCain gave $105,000. Both of them are millionaires. Obama made his money from royalties on two books he wrote. McCain's money comes primarily from the beer distributorship his wife inherited from her father. Sarah Palin has not released her tax returns.

Replacing McCain

I made an error yesterday. If John McCain is elected President, Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) indeed gets to pick his replacement, but the new senator must be from McCain's party, that is, a Republican. Here is the statute. The error was corrected midday when several readers pointed out the law. Sorry for the confusion.

A similar situation occurred in Wyoming when Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) died in 2007. However, in Wyoming, state law required the (Democratic) governor, Dave Freudenthal, to choose from a list of three candidates supplied by the Wyoming Republican Party. He chose now-senator John Barrasso from the list. Arizona does not appear to have a similar requirement so Napolitano, who is eyeing a Senate run herself in 2010, could either choose (1) a totally unknown small-town mayor who would have little chance to get reelected in the special election in 2010 or (2) someone who privately promised her he would serve only until Jan. 2011. One name that comes to mind is former 11-term representative Jim Kolbe. Kolbe might be willing to come out of retirement to serve 2 years in the Senate and thus make history by being the first openly gay senator. Napolitano could easily defend this choice by saying he was elected to Congress 11 times, he knows how Congress works, and he is the most experienced person around to represent the whole state.

Obama's Mistakes

Howard Fineman wrote a very good column detailing what Obama has done wrong. In brief. he

  • Declined to take public funding (meaning too much time wasted fundraising in NY & LA)
  • Turned down the offer of 10 town hall debates where he could be lambasting McCain now
  • Wasted time and money and energy on states he has no hope of winning
  • Didn't get the Clintons and their supporters fully engaged
  • Acted like a dispassionate observer of the scene instead of a fired-up leader of a movement
  • Failed to attack McCain early and hard

Some of these are irreversible, like the funding, the town halls, and the effort wasted in Montana, but many people are just beginning to pay attention, so he can still work on the last two or three. Remember, in politics, a week is a long time. The first debate is on Sept. 26 and that could shake up everything. Here is the full debate schedule.

Today's Polls

We have six presidential polls today.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Missouri 46% 51% Sep 11 Sep 11 Rasmussen
New Jersey 48% 45% Sep 05 Sep 08 Marist Coll.
Ohio 44% 48% Sep 05 Sep 10 U. of Cincinnati
Oklahoma 32% 63% Sep 11 Sep 11 Rasmussen
Washington 45% 39% Sep 06 Sep 08 Elway Poll
Washington 49% 47% Sep 10 Sep 10 Rasmussen

We also have a New Jersey Senate poll. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) isn't in much danger.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 51% Richard Zimmer 40% Sep 05 Sep 08 Marist Coll.

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-- The Votemaster