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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Republican Rep. Endorses Obama

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, a maverick Republican from Maryland, endorsed Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president in an interview with WYPR, Baltimore's National Public Radio station Wednesday.

Gilchrest, who lost a primary campaign and is retiring from Congress, has already endorsed the Democrat running for his seat, Frank Kratovil. Justifying his endorsement of Obama, Gilchrest said that "we can't use four more years of the same kind of policy that's somewhat haphazard, which leads to recklessness."

Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), "have the breadth of experience. I think they're prudent. They're knowledgable."

Original here

Huge Voter Protection Effort To Be Launched Today

By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld

A group of civil rights lawyers is launching what it bills as the largest voter-protection effort in American history, planning to raise and spend millions of dollars to station hundreds of lawyers and thousands of volunteers at polling places across the country to help voters having trouble with the polls on Election Day.

The non-partisan group, called Election Protection -- to be announced at a press conference later this morning -- is being headed up by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a legal group established in 1963 in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement.

While the group ran a similar effort in 2004, the new effort will be on a far grander scale, reflecting a growing sense that private efforts to combat the bureaucratic ineptitude and premeditated shenanigans that continue to mar the voting process just haven't been up to the task.

"This will be the largest voter protection effort in the history of the country," project head Jonah Goldman, a longtime civil rights and election reform lawyer, insisted in an interview yesterday with Election Central. The backbone of their effort is a hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, that voters can call to have their questions answered, and to report problems.

Goldman says that the Lawyers' Committee has already raised $2.5 million for the effort, coming from individual donors and foundations like the Open Society Institute and the Tide Foundation, along with pro bono work from law firms.

Election Protection 2008 vows to employ hundreds of lawyers and law students at call centers across the country on Election Day. "We've expanded our volume, our capacity from 2004, and we expect to be able to handle over a quarter of a million calls this time," says Goldman, who's also director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections.

On top of that, the group plans to enlist tens of thousands of volunteers to physically assist people get to their polling station.

Goldman argued that his group's work was necessitated by the shabby state of America's disorganized and understaffed voting infrastructure -- which, he said, continues to get worse and not better.

"We are in the same situation as in 2004, it's only slightly different," Goldman said. "And that was only slightly different from 2000."

Goldman added that the group would also be taking on outright efforts to disenfranchise voters. For instance, we've seen recent allegations that the Michigan Republican Party is trying to prevent people on foreclosure lists from voting -- as well as efforts in Virginia to prevent college students from registering where they go to school.

"I think that if past elections are any indication, we'll see more of this in various different forms," Goldman said. "We're already seeing it now."

Original here

Palin's transparency proposal already exists in D.C.

Sarah Palin says she will bring the same kind of transparency she brought to Alaska to Washington, D.C..
Sarah Palin says she will bring the same kind of transparency she brought to Alaska to Washington, D.C..

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) – Sarah Palin likes to tell voters around the country about how she “put the government checkbook online” in Alaska. On Thursday, Palin suggested she would take that same proposal to Washington.

“We’re going to do a few new things also,” she said at a rally in Cedar Rapids. “For instance, as Alaska’s governor, I put the government’s checkbook online so that people can see where their money’s going. We’ll bring that kind of transparency, that responsibility, and accountability back. We’re going to bring that back to D.C.”

There’s just one problem with proposing to put the federal checkbook online – somebody’s already done it. His name is Barack Obama.

Watch: Palin says 'Obama hasn't lifted a finger'

In 2006 and 2007, Obama teamed up with Republican Sen. Tom Coburn to pass the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, also known as “Google for Government.” The act created a free, searchable web site – USASpending.gov — that discloses to the public all federal grants, contracts, loans and insurance payments.

In June of this year, Obama and Coburn introduced new Senate legislation to expand the information available online to include details on earmarks, competitive bidding, criminal activities, audit disputes and other government information.

Palin might also have noted that her running mate, John McCain, was an original co-sponsor of the 2006 transparency bill that became law.

UPDATE: A campaign spokesperson insisted that Palin was referring not to that specific proposal, but rather to "that kind of transparency in general."

Original here

Palin staff won't testify in trooper probe, AG says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) -- Aides to Gov. Sarah Palin won't comply with subpoenas issued by state lawmakers investigating the firing of Alaska's former public safety commissioner because Palin "has declined to participate" in the probe, her attorney general says.

Gov. Sarah Palin has refused to cooperate with an inquiry into the firing of her public safety commissioner.

Gov. Sarah Palin has refused to cooperate with an inquiry into the firing of her public safety commissioner.

"As state employees, our clients have taken an oath to uphold the Alaska Constitution, and for that reason, they respect the Legislature's desire to carry out an investigation in support of its lawmaking powers," Attorney General Talis Colberg, a Palin appointee, told the investigation's manager in a letter released Wednesday.

"However, our clients are also loyal employees subject to the supervision of the governor."

The chairman of the bipartisan panel that commissioned the probe said Colberg is breaking an agreement his office made a week ago.

"I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy moved the football," state Sen. Kim Elton, the Democratic chairman of the state Legislative Council, wrote back to Colberg.

Palin once pledged to cooperate with the state Legislature's investigation into the July firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. After his dismissal, Monegan accused Palin of trying to pressure him into firing her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper who had been involved in an acrimonious divorce from the governor's sister.

Palin has denied wrongdoing. Her allies argue the investigation has become a "partisan circus" since she became Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's running mate, and they argue that any investigation should be handled by the State Personnel Board.

"Moreover, two lawsuits have been filed challenging the legitimacy of the investigation," Colberg wrote. "On behalf of our clients, we respectfully ask that you withdraw the subpoenas directed to our clients and thereby relieve them from the circumstance of having to choose where their loyalties lie."

It was unclear whether the letter covered Palin's husband, Todd Palin, who was among those subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Colberg's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The letter was sent to Sen. Hollis French, the Democratic chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the subpoenas last week. Palin's allies have blasted French over comments he made to ABC News in early September, warning that the investigation into Monegan's firing could yield an "October surprise" for the GOP ticket in the form of criminal charges.

The campaign began holding daily press conferences this week to blast French, Special Counsel Steve Branchflower and Elton. That bipartisan panel voted unanimously to commission the investigation in July, but the McCain-Palin campaign said it has now been "tainted" by partisan politics.

Five Republican state lawmakers went to court Tuesday in Anchorage to shut down the Legislature's investigation, arguing that its leaders "are unable to hold the balance between vindicating their own political interests and the interests of those who are being investigated."

But Elton, a Democrat, called the lawsuit "a distraction."

"I'm comfortable with the notion that the court will review the substance of the suit and find the council acted properly, and that the decisions made during the course of the investigation so far are appropriate and well within the mandate of the council," Elton said in a written statement. The investigation will continue until otherwise ordered, he added.

Other Palin allies filed a similar suit in Fairbanks the same day.

The judge assigned to hear the Anchorage case, John Suddock, recused himself Wednesday. Suddock heard the divorce case between Palin's sister and the trooper at the center of the allegations, Mike Wooten -- and he warned the governor's family against trying to get her then-brother-in-law fired long before the Monegan controversy erupted, according to court records.

Wooten and Palin's sister, Molly McCann, began divorce proceedings in 2005 after four years of marriage. Palin, then a private citizen, and other members of her family filed several complaints about Wooten with the state police, accusing him of threatening his in-laws and other improper conduct.

Wooten was suspended for five days in March 2006, after state police commanders determined he had used a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson "in a training capacity;" drove his patrol car while drinking beer; and illegally shot a moose using his wife's hunting permit.

Palin initially denied that anyone in her administration or family had pressed for action against Wooten, whom she has branded a "rogue trooper." But in August, two weeks before her nomination as a vice presidential candidate, she acknowledged that members of her staff had contacted Monegan's office nearly two dozen times about the trooper. An aide was suspended after being taped telling a state trooper lieutenant that the Palins were concerned that there had been "absolutely no action for a year on this issue."

Monday, the McCain campaign released documents it said bolster its argument that Monegan was fired over budget disputes and "egregious insubordination." The records include e-mails in which Palin advisers complain Monegan was continuing to seek funds for programs the governor opposed.

Original here

McCain Seen as Less Likely to Bring Change, Poll Finds


By ROBIN TONER and ADAM NAGOURNEY

WASHINGTON — Despite an intense effort to distance himself from the way his party has done business in Washington, Senator John McCain is seen by voters as far less likely to bring change to Washington than Senator Barack Obama. He is widely viewed as a “typical Republican” who would continue or expand President Bush’s policies, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Polls taken after the Republican convention suggested that Mr. McCain had enjoyed a surge of support — particularly among white women after his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate — but the latest poll indicates “the Palin effect” was, at least so far, a limited burst of interest. The contest appeared to be roughly where it was before the two conventions and before the vice-presidential selections: Mr. Obama had the support of 48 percent of registered voters, compared with 43 percent for Mr. McCain, a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and statistically unchanged from the tally in the last New York Times/CBS News poll, in mid-August.

The poll showed that Mr. McCain had some enduring strengths, including a substantial advantage over Mr. Obama as a potential commander in chief. It found that for the first time, 50 percent of those surveyed in the Times/CBS News poll said they considered that the troop buildup in Iraq, a policy that Mr. McCain championed from the start, had made things better there.

The poll also underlined the extent to which Mr. McCain’s convention, and his selection of Ms. Palin, had excited Republican base voters about his candidacy, which is no small thing in a contest that continues to be so tight: 47 percent of Mr. McCain’s supporters described themselves as enthused about the Republican Party’s presidential ticket, almost twice what it was before the conventions. As often happens at this time of year, partisans are coalescing around their party’s nominees and independents are increasingly the battleground.

But the Times/CBS News poll suggested that Ms. Palin’s selection has, to date, helped Mr. McCain only among Republican base voters; there was no evidence of significantly increased support for him among women in general. White women were evenly divided between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama; before the conventions, Mr. McCain led Mr. Obama among white women, 44 percent to 37 percent.

By contrast, at this point in the 2004 campaign, President Bush was leading Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic challenger, by 56 percent to 37 percent among white women.

Among other groups, Mr. Obama had a slight edge among independents, and a 16-percentage-point lead among voters ages 18 to 44. Mr. McCain was leading by 17 points among white men and by the same margin among voters 65 and over. Before the convention, voters 65 and older were closely divided. In the latest poll, middle-age voters, 45 to 64, were almost evenly divided between the two.

The latest Times/CBS News nationwide telephone poll was taken Friday through Tuesday with 1,133 adults, including 1,004 registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all respondents and for registered voters.

The poll was taken during a period of extraordinary turmoil on Wall Street. By overwhelming numbers, Americans said the economy was the top issue affecting their vote decision, and they continued to express deep pessimism about the nation’s economic future. They continued to express greater confidence in Mr. Obama’s ability to manage the economy, even as Mr. McCain has aggressively sought to raise doubts about it.

This poll found evidence of concern about Ms. Palin’s qualifications to be president, particularly compared with Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Mr. Obama’s running mate. More than 6 in 10 said they would be concerned if Mr. McCain could not finish his term and Ms. Palin had to take over. In contrast, two-thirds of voters surveyed said Mr. Biden would be qualified to take over for Mr. Obama, a figure that cut across party lines.

And 75 percent said they thought Mr. McCain had picked Ms. Palin more to help him win the election than because he thought that she was well qualified to be president; by contrast, 31 percent said they thought that Mr. Obama had picked Mr. Biden more to help him win the election, while 57 percent said it was because he thought Mr. Biden was well qualified for the job.

This poll was taken right after Ms. Palin sat down for a series of high-profile interviews with Charles Gibson on ABC News.

Over the last two weeks, Mr. McCain has increasingly tried to distance himself from his party and President Bush, running as an outsider against Washington. The poll suggested the urgency of Mr. McCain’s task: The percentage of Americans who disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is conducting his job, 68 percent, was as high as it has been for any sitting president in the history of New York Times polling. And 81 percent said the country was heading in the wrong direction.

The poll found that 46 percent of voters thought Mr. McCain would continue Mr. Bush’s policies, while 22 percent said he would be more conservative than Mr. Bush. (About one-quarter said a McCain presidency would be less conservative than Mr. Bush’s.) At a time when Mr. McCain has tried to appeal to independent voters by separating himself from his party, notably with his convention speech, 57 percent of all voters said they viewed him as a typical Republican, compared with 40 percent who said he was a different kind of Republican.

Although nearly half of voters also described Mr. Obama as a typical Democrat, the party’s brand is not as diminished as the Republicans’; the Democratic Party had a favorability rating of 50 percent in August, compared with 37 percent for the Republicans, a fairly consistent trend in the Times/CBS News Poll since 2006, and part of the general political landscape that many analysts believe favors the Democrats.

In one of the sharpest differences highlighted in the poll, 37 percent said that Mr. McCain would bring real change to Washington, up from 28 percent before the two parties’ conventions. But 65 percent of those polled said that Mr. Obama would bring real change to Washington.

Despite weeks of fierce Republican attacks, Mr. Obama has maintained an edge on several key measures of presidential leadership, including economic stewardship. Sixty percent of voters said they were confident in his ability to make the right decisions on the economy, compared with 53 percent who felt that way about Mr. McCain. Sixty percent also said he understood the needs and problems “of people like yourself,” compared with 48 percent who said that of Mr. McCain.

More than twice as many said an Obama presidency would improve the image of the United States around the world, 55 percent, compared with those who believed a McCain presidency would do so. Mr. Obama also gets high marks for “sharing the values most Americans try to live by,” despite concerted Republican efforts to portray him as elite and out of touch with average voters. Sixty-six percent said Mr. Obama shared their values, compared with 61 percent who said that about Mr. McCain.

Mr. McCain, however, was maintaining some core advantages, particularly on preparedness to be president and ability to serve as commander in chief. Forty-eight percent said Mr. Obama was prepared enough to be president, compared with 71 percent who rated Mr. McCain as adequately prepared.

Fifty-two percent said it was “very likely” that Mr. McCain would be an effective commander in chief, twice as many as felt that way about Mr. Obama.

The two men received similar rankings when voters were asked about what had long been perceived as a McCain strength: the ability to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq. Fifty-two percent said they were “very” or “somewhat” confident in Mr. Obama’s ability on this front; 56 percent said they felt that way about Mr. McCain.

In general, Ms. Palin was viewed more favorably (40 percent) than unfavorably (30 percent). She was particularly popular among fellow Republicans, conservatives and white voters who describe themselves as evangelical Christians, which explains her energizing effect on the Republican base. Nearly 70 percent of Mr. McCain’s supporters said they were enthusiastic about the selection of Ms. Palin; 27 percent of Mr. Obama’s supporters said they were enthusiastic about the selection of Mr. Biden.

When asked who they thought would win in November, 45 percent said Mr. Obama and 38 percent said Mr. McCain.

Original here

Sen. Hagel doubts Palin's ready

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is the nation's most prominent Republican officeholder to publicly question whether Sarah Palin has the experience to serve as president.

"She doesn't have any foreign policy credentials," Hagel said Wednesday in an interview. "You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything."

Palin was elected governor of Alaska in 2006 and before that was the mayor of a small town.

Democrats have raised questions about Palin since Sen. John McCain picked her as his vice presidential running mate. Most national Republican officeholders have rallied to Palin's candidacy.

The McCain campaign has cited the proximity of Alaska to Russia as evidence of her international experience.

Hagel scoffed at that notion.

"I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,'" he said. "That kind of thing is insulting to the American people."

Hagel said today in a conference call he had received no reaction from fellow Republicans on his Palin comments.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he hoped Hagel would trust McCain's judgment, considering he supported the Arizona senator for president in 2000.

Grassley said Palin has more executive experience than the men in the race. He said he wasn't surprised, however, that Hagel would depart from the party line.

A senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hagel has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and had considered making his own run for president. He skipped the Republican National Convention in favor of a trip to Central and South America.

Hagel, who says he has no plans to endorse either presidential candidate, traveled with Democratic nominee Barack Obama to the Middle East in July.

In criticizing Palin, Hagel broke with other Nebraska Republicans, including Gov. Dave Heineman, who have praised the selection.

Tom Kise, a McCain campaign spokesman, responded to Hagel's comments by questioning Obama's experience.

Kise pointed to statements that Obama's running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden, made during the Democrats' primary fight. At that time, Biden was seeking the nomination and questioned whether Obama was prepared to be president.

"It's much more alarming that Barack Obama's own vice presidential nominee doesn't think he has the experience or the judgment for the job," Kise said.

Palin herself addressed the question of her foreign policy experience in a recent interview with ABC News.

"We've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time," she said. "It is for no more politics as usual, and somebody's big, fat résumé, maybe, that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state."

"I'm ready," Palin said. "I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink."

Hagel offered a couple of caveats on his assessment of Palin: Experience is not the only qualification for elected officials — judgment and character are indispensable.

Washington experience isn't the only kind of experience, Hagel said, and he noted that many White House occupants have been governors with no time inside the Beltway.

"But I do think in a world that is so complicated, so interconnected and so combustible, you really got to have some people in charge that have some sense of the bigger scope of the world," Hagel said. "I think that's just a requirement."

So is Palin qualified to be president?

"I think it's a stretch to, in any way, to say that she's got the experience to be president of the United States," Hagel said.

Hagel said voters ultimately will decide between McCain and Obama, and he hopes that the debates will refocus both campaigns on the important issues of the day, including the economy, energy policy and international relations.

One recent squabble between the campaigns revolved around whether Obama was being sexist toward Palin when he used a turn of phrase about putting lipstick on a pig.

That kind of back-and-forth is not what the American people want or need, Hagel said.

"It's terrible," he said. "It debases the system."

Original here

John McCain and the Lying Game

Politics has always been lousy with blather and chicanery. But there are rules and traditions too. In the early weeks of the general-election campaign, a consensus has grown in the political community — a consensus that ranges from practitioners like Karl Rove to commentators like, well, me — that John McCain has allowed his campaign to slip the normal bounds of political propriety. The situation has gotten so intense that we in the media have slipped our normal rules as well. Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy ... or, as the Associated Press put it, "McCain's claims skirt facts." But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. You might well ask, What has McCain done to deserve this? What unwritten rules did he break? Are his transgressions of degree or of kind?

Almost every politician stretches the truth. We journalists try to point out the exaggerations and criticize them, then let the voters decide. When McCain says, for example, that Barack Obama favors a government-run health-care system, he's not telling the truth — Obama wants a market-based system subsidized by the government — but McCain's untruth illuminates a general policy direction, which is sketchy but sort of within the bounds. (Obama's plan would increase government regulation of the drug and insurance industries.) Obama has done this sort of thing too. In July, he accused McCain of supporting the foreign buyout of an American company that could lead to the loss of about 8,000 jobs in Wilmington, Ohio. McCain did support the deal, but the job loss comes many years later and was not anticipated at the time. That, however, is where the moral equivalency between these two campaigns ends.

McCain's lies have ranged from the annoying to the sleazy, and the problem is in both degree and kind. His campaign has been a ceaseless assault on his opponent's character and policies, featuring a consistent—and witting—disdain for the truth. Even after 38 million Americans heard Obama say in his speech at the Democratic National Convention that he was open to offshore oil-drilling and building new nuclear-power plants, McCain flatly said in his acceptance speech that Obama opposed both. Normal political practice would be for McCain to say, "Obama says he's 'open to' offshore drilling, but he's always opposed it. How can we believe him?" This persistence in repeating demonstrably false charges is something new in presidential politics.

Worse than the lies have been the smears. McCain ran a television ad claiming that Obama favored "comprehensive" sex education for kindergartners. (Obama favored a bill that would have warned kindergartners about sexual predators and improper touching.) The accusation that Obama was referring to Sarah Palin when he said McCain's effort to remarket his economic policies was putting "lipstick on a pig" was another clearly misleading attack — an obnoxious attempt to divert attention from Palin's lack of fitness for the job and the recklessness with which McCain chose her. McCain's assault on the "élite media" for spreading rumors about Palin's personal life — actually, the culprits were a few bloggers and the tabloid press — was more of the same. And that gets us close to the real problem here. The McCain camp has decided that its candidate can't win honorably, on the issues, so it has resorted to transparent and phony diversions.

This new strategy emerged during the first week of Obama's overseas trip in late July. McCain had been intending to contrast his alleged foreign policy expertise and toughness with Obama's inexperience and alleged weakness. McCain wanted to "win" the Iraq war and face down the Iranians. But those issues became moot when the Iraqis said they favored Obama's withdrawal plan and the Bush Administration started talking to the Iranians. At that point, McCain committed his original sin — out of pique, I believe — questioning Obama's patriotism, saying the Democrat would rather lose a war than lose an election. Ever since, McCain's campaign has been a series of snide and demeaning ads accompanied by the daily gush of untruths that have now been widely documented and exposed. The strategy is an obvious attempt to camouflage the current unpopularity of his Republican brand, the insubstantiality of his vice-presidential choice, and his agreement on most issues — especially economic matters — with an exceedingly unpopular President.

The good news is that the vile times may be ending. The coming debates will decide this race, and it isn't easy to tell lies when your opponent is standing right next to you. The Wall Street collapse demands a more sober campaign as well. But these dreadful weeks should not be forgotten. John McCain has raised serious questions about whether he has the character to lead the nation. He has defaced his beloved military code of honor. He has run a dirty campaign.

Original here

Huckabee: McCain Has Always Been Against Regulation, Knows Market ‘Will Correct Itself’

In the wake of the sudden collapse of Wall Street giant banks, Sen. John McCain spent yesterday “scrambling to recast himself as a champion of regulation,” trying to erase his past support of legislation “to broadly deregulate the banking and insurance industries helping to sweep aside a thicket of rules established over decades.” Reacting to the Fed takeover of AIG, McCain decalred today, “We need strong and effective regulation” in the future.

However, last night one of his chief campaign surrogates was singing a different tune. On Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, former governor Mike Huckabee emphasized McCain’s past as a dergulator who would allow the market to “correct itself”:

HUCKABEE: Regulation isn’t the answer to this. In fact, if we go back and overregulate and tinker with it, we’re going to do more damage than we are in terms of a fix. … John McCain has a long history of being against an overreaching government, regulatory environment. It’s a dangerous place for us to go, and what we need to do is recognize the marketplace will correct itself. It’s painful, but it will correct itself.

Watch it:

Huckabee is right that McCain “has a long history of being against…[a] regulatory environment.” He has consistently opposed the kind of robust regulation and oversight that could have helped prevent the current crisis:

— “I don’t think anyone who wants to increase the burden of government regulation…has any real understanding of economics and the economy and what is needed in order to ensure the future of this country.” [McCain Town Hall in Inez, KY, 4/23/08]

– “We need to return to the Reagan years. We need to have fiscal conservatism. We need less government. We need less regulation.” [PBS, 1/25/08]

– “I am a deregulator. I believe in deregulation.” [CNN, 7/13/03]

– “I have a long voting record in support of deregulation.” [St. Petersburg Times, 6/5/03]

It’s no surprise that the McCain campaign believe the current economic crisis “will correct itself.” After all, McCain’s most prominent — and ardent — supporter calls the chaos mere “adjustments.”

Original here

John McCain Confused about Spanish Prime Minister

By Josh Marshall

Well, it doesn't appear to have registered in the American press yet. But the story keeps bubbling in the Spanish press about McCain's bizarre gaffe about the Spanish Prime Minister. Here's the front page cut out from the Spanish news channel that did the interview. They've talked to the interviewer now. Her take? McCain didn't know who Zapatero was ...

Late Update: So McCain is the candidate with the foreign policy experience ready to lead on day one. But he doesn't know who the leader of Spain is. He gets confused in an interview, apparently thinking Zapatero is someone from Latin America who is an enemy of the United States and manages to create a minor international incident.

Later Update: Here's another Spanish press reax. In Spain, there seem to be two lines of thinking. The great majority appear to think the McCain was simply confused and didn't know who Zapatero was -- something you might bone up on if you were about to do an interview with the Spanish press. The assumption seems to be that since he'd already been asked about Castro and Chavez that McCain assumed Zapatero must be some other Latin American bad guy. A small minority though think that McCain is simply committed to an anti-Spanish foreign policy since he's still angry about Spain pulling it's troops out of Iraq. Finally, a few of those who lean toward the first view speculate that McCain may have confused Zapatero with the Zapatista rebel group in Mexico.

Even Later Update: One representative reader response, from among many ...

I listened to the interview. The characterization is correct. I originally gave McCain the benefit of the doubt, thinking that he was just snubbing Zapatero (something that would be welcomed by the Spanish right). When I was there, there was a lot of agitation among Spanish conservatives because Zapatero was ignoring the country's relations with the U.S. and making overtures to more leftist countries in the Latin America--Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia (all the countries mentioned in this interview before Spain). There was even a controversy because Zapatero sat down when the U.S. flag was passing by in a parade. I believe his excuse was "his legs were tired." So I figured McCain was giving the Zapatero the cold shoulder in the same manner as the Bush administration has done.

After listening to the interview, however, I agree with the characterization that McCain was unaware of our relations with Spain, or even the country's geographical and political position. When asked about meeting with Zapatero and the country's relationship with the U.S., McCain ignored the question and went into some boilerplate about America's friends and enemies and analyzing relations (think Palin and the Bush Doctrine). Then, he tried to transition his answer into more friendly territory, discussing President Calderon's government in Mexico. He never really addressed Spain, but pushed right into commenting about Mexico. The interviewer actually tried to redirect him several times (again, think Charlie Gibson and Palin), until she actually stated that she wasn't talking about Latin America anymore, but rather Europe. For whatever reason, McCain responded to this question by repeating what he said before about analyzing America's relationships with our friends and enemies.

Seriously, this was pretty bad.

Original here

Mr. McCain and the Economy

John McCain spent Monday claiming as he had countless times before — that the economy was fundamentally sound. Had he missed the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the sale of Merrill Lynch, which were announced the day before? Did he not notice the agonies of the American International Group? Was he unaware of the impending layoffs of tens of thousands of Wall Street employees on top of the growing numbers of unemployed workers throughout the United States?

On Tuesday, he clarified his remarks. The clarification was far more worrisome than his initial comments.

He said that by calling the economy fundamentally sound, what he really meant was that American workers are the best in the world. In the best Karl Rovian fashion, he implied that if you dispute his statement about the economy’s firm foundation, you are, in effect, insulting American workers. “I believe in American workers, and someone who disagrees with that — it’s fine,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer.

Let’s get a few things straight. First, no one who is currently running for president does not “believe in American workers.”

More to the point, the economy is stressed to the breaking point by fundamental problems — in housing, finance, credit, employment, health care and the federal budget — that have been at best neglected, at worst exacerbated during the Bush years. And as a result, American workers have taken a beating.

In clarifying his comments, Mr. McCain lavished praise on workers, but ignored their problems. That is the real insult.

For decades, typical Americans have not been rewarded for their increasing productivity with comparably higher pay or better benefits. The disconnect between work and reward has been especially acute during the Bush years, as workers’ incomes fell while corporate profits, which flow to investors and company executives, ballooned. For workers, that is a fundamental flaw in today’s economy. It is grounded in policies like a chronically inadequate minimum wage and an increasingly unprogressive tax system, for which Mr. McCain offers no alternatives.

As for Wall Street, Mr. McCain blamed the meltdown on “unbridled corruption and greed.” He called for a commission to find out what happened and propose solutions. His diagnosis and his cure are misguided. The crisis on Wall Street is fundamentally a failure to do the things that temper, detect and punish corruption and greed. It was a failure to police the markets, to enforce rules, to heed and sound warnings and expose questionable products and practices.

The regulatory failure is rooted in a markets-are-good-government-is-bad ideology that has been ascendant as long as Mr. McCain has been in Washington and championed by his own party. If Mr. McCain adheres to some other belief system, we would like to hear about it.

Original here

Sarah Palin's wasteful ways

By David Talbot

Sarah Palin in Anchorage, Alaska, Aug. 8, 2002. Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, from 1996-2002.

WASILLA, Alaska -- Sarah Palin has been touting herself as fiscal watchdog throughout her political career. But Palin's tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, was characterized by waste, cronyism and incompetence, according to government officials in the Matanuska Valley, where she began her fairy-tale political rise.

"Executive abilities? She doesn't have any," said former Wasilla City Council member Nick Carney, who selected and groomed Palin for her first political race in 1992 and served with her after her election to the City Council.

Four years later, the ambitious Palin won the Wasilla mayor's office -- after scorching the "tax and spend mentality" of her incumbent opponent. But Carney, Palin's estranged former mentor, and others in city hall were astounded when they found out about a lavish expenditure of Palin's own after her 1996 election. According to Carney, the newly elected mayor spent more than $50,000 in city funds to redecorate her office, without the council's authorization.

"I thought it was an outrageous expense, especially for someone who had run as a budget cutter," said Carney. "It was also illegal, because Sarah had not received the council's approval."

According to Carney, Palin's office makeover included flocked, red wallpaper. "It looked like a bordello."

Although Carney says he no longer has documentation of the expenditures, in his recollection Palin paid for the office face-lift with money from a city highway fund that was used to plow snow, grade roads and fill potholes -- essential municipal services, particularly in weather-battered Alaska.

Carney confronted Mayor Palin at a City Council hearing, and was shocked by her response.

"I braced her about it," he said. "I told her it was against the law to make such a large expenditure without the council taking a vote. She said, 'I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.'"

"I'll never forget it -- it's one of the few times in my life I've been speechless," Carney added. "It would have been easier for her to finesse it. She had the votes on the council by then, she controlled it. But she just pushed forward. That's Sarah. She just has no respect for rules and regulations."

Carney, who comes from a long-established homesteading family in the area and once ran the city's garbage collection business, has decided to speak out for the first time since Palin's vice-presidential nomination. He is viewed as a longtime Palin gadfly, ever since he sided with her opponent in the 1996 mayor's race. After Palin won, she froze out Carney, refusing to call on him at City Council meetings and deep-sixing his proposals. "That's the way Sarah is," Carney said. "She rewards friends and cuts everyone else off at the knees."

Other local officials -- who lack Carney's acrimonious history with Palin -- share his dim view of her mayoral reign. When Palin ran for mayor, she dismissed concerns about her lack of managerial expertise by saying the job was "not rocket science." But after a tumultuous start, marked by controversial firings and lawsuits against the city, Palin felt compelled to hire a city manager named John Cramer to steady the ship.

"Sarah was unprepared to be mayor -- it was John Cramer who actually ran the city," said Michelle Church, a member of the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, who knows Palin socially. "As vice-president she'll certainly have to rely on faceless advisors with no public accountability. Haven't we had enough of that in the past eight years?"

Other officials in the borough government -- the equivalent of county government in other states -- point out that Palin actually had very little executive responsibility, since the borough oversees many of Wasilla's vital functions.

"After all her boasting about her executive experience, what did she do?" asks a longtime borough official, who, like many in local circles, requested anonymity because of Palin's reputation for vengeance. "The borough takes care of most of the planning, the fire, the ambulance, collecting the property taxes. And on top of that she brought in a city manager to actually run the city day to day. So what executive experience did she have as mayor?"

Palin does have two major accomplishments to her name as mayor: the by now highly publicized sports complex on the outskirts of Wasilla, which she pushed through city government, and the less well-known emergency dispatch center, which she also brought to her hometown.

The sports complex, however, is seen by many local officials as a budget-busting white elephant.

"I feel sorry for our current mayor, because of the mess that Sarah left behind," said Anne Kilkenny, a respected government watchdog in Wasilla. "And the sports arena is still a money loser for the city."

"Sarah was very focused on the sports complex," said Wasilla council member Dianne Woodruff, who began serving after Palin's tenure. "But somebody forgot to buy the land before they started building on it. Somebody dropped the ball. It was the fault of the people running the city at the time. As a result, we've spent well over a million dollars more than we should have. And we're still paying for it."

Today, the sports complex sits like a huge airplane hangar outside the Wasilla city limits, in a clearing in the woods. Since Palin's administration decided to build the complex far from Wasilla's population center, kids can't walk there or ride their bicycles. On a recent, drizzly afternoon, the cavernous building sat nearly empty. Inside, two girls glided aimlessly around on the ice rink.

But the quiet arena still held Palin's charged presence. A wall plaque commemorated Mayor Sarah Palin and her City Council for constructing the edifice. And on the walls, big, bold quotations urged young athletes to attempt impossible, Sarah Barracuda-like feats: "'You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.' -- Wayne Gretzky."

Local officials are also highly critical of Palin's decision to build an emergency dispatch center -- even though Wasilla and nearby Palmer already shared the costs of an emergency operation for the Mat-Su Valley. As a result of the duplication, there are now two expensive operations for an area with 85,000 people, while the city of Anchorage, with a population of over 300,000, makes do with one emergency station.

"Don't tell me about earmarks," snorts a borough official. "Because of Palin's ego, she couldn't stand the idea of sharing an emergency dispatch operation with Palmer, which has been Wasilla's town rival ever since her high school basketball days. So she ran to [Senator] Ted Stevens to get an earmark for her own system. Now we have two expensive emergency systems and both are losing money. She's no budget cutter -- give me a break. She's just the opposite."

Nick Carney, who is now retired in Utah, has a lot of time to ponder Sarah Palin's rise these days. When he and his wife picked Palin to run for City Council in 1992, because they felt the council needed an average-mom type like her, Carney had no idea how far their protégé would soar. "It was a very casual process, she wasn't even our first choice. We had known her since she was a girl, she went to school with our daughter. It wasn't that she was the brightest thing on the horizon, a rising star or anything like that."

But, in hindsight, Carney can see the qualities that have rocket-propelled Palin to where she is today.

"'Sarah Barracuda' -- she's proud of that name now, she uses it in her campaigns," said her former mentor. "But she got that name from the way she conducted herself with her own teammates. She was vicious to the other girls, always playing up to the coach and pointing out when the other girls made mistakes. She was the coach's favorite and he gave her more playing time than her skills warranted. My niece was on her team; she was a very good player. I used to sit there in the stands, and I would wonder, Why on earth is Sarah getting so much playing time?"

Original here

McCain Flip-Flops On AIG Bailout In 24 Hours

Yesterday, the federal government offered insurance giant AIG an $85 billion loan to in the biggest government takeover thus far in the ongoing credit crisis. Interviewed on NBC’s Today Show before the decision yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that “we cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else”:

No, I do not believe that the American taxpayer should be on the hook for AIG and I’m glad that the Secretary Paulson has apparently taken the same line.

Interviewed on ABC this morning, however, McCain suggested that he supported the bail out:

I didn’t want to do that. And I don’t think anybody I know wanted to do that. But there are literally millions of people whose retirement, whose investment, whose insurance were at risk here. They were going to have their lives destroyed because of the greed and excess and corruption.

ABC observed that McCain today “sound[ed] somewhat accepting of the Fed’s action on AIG.” Watch a compilation:

McCain’s change on AIG comes on the heels of economy-related flip flop. McCain told NBC yesterday, “Of course I don’t like excessive and unnecessary regulation.” But on CBS’s Early Show minutes later, McCain said, “Do I believe in excess government regulation? Yes.”

Yglesias observes, “It would be pretty mavericky of McCain to stick with his guns on this. … The good thing about being a maverick, I guess, is that either response would have sufficed as a mavericky one. Or else that McCain just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” See ThinkProgress’s running tally of McCain’s flip-flops here.

Original here

A Conservative for Obama

My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.

Leading Off By Wick Allison, Editor In Chief

THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

Original here

Okay, now she's OFFICIALLY a pathological liar (UPDATED with transcripts)

This is something I can't let pass--not without taking notice. Sarah Palin has just made her most blatant lie yet. It's one that the average television viewer can catch. And most tellingly, it's a lie that exposes not just mendacity, but a compulsion to lie.

In a transparent attempt to shore up her feminist appeal, she's changed her story on how she accepted the offer to run for vice-president.

Which one is it, Sarah? The problem with lying isn't so much putting the lies out there. It's in sticking to them.

Here's what she said to Sean Hannity today, in an interview with so many softballs it must have felt like a relaxing massage. This is from the Time magazine excerpt:

On her family’s reaction to be picked as the VP nominee:
It was a time of asking the girls to vote on it, anyway. And they voted unanimously, yes. Didn’t bother asking my son because, you know, he’s going to be off doing his thing anyway, so he wouldn’t be so impacted by, at least, the campaign period here. So ask the girls what they thought and they’re like, absolutely. Let’s do this, mom.”

As Andrew Sullivan helpfully points out, this is a direct contradiction to her now-famous interview with Charlie Gibson:

PALIN: I didn't hesitate, no.
GIBSON: Didn't that take some hubris?
PALIN: I -- I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.

Oooooph. I imagine the same handlers that threw Carly Fiorina under the bus are wishing they could manage another tactical banishment right about now. But that's just not possible, is it? She HAS to make at least a few appearances--and even in near-scripted situations she's letting her reality-disconnect slip.

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Let's look at her words. FIRST she says that the accepted the job offer unhesitatingly, "without blinking". NOW she says it took some deliberation--a vote, even--in her household. But just as revealingly, she says she only let "the girls" vote. Her son, "off doing his thing" (i.e., fighting in Iraq) was purposefully excluded from this decision-making process. Because, of course, being the son of the vice president would have NO impact on his life whatsoever, since he'd be...you know, in a foreign country and stuff.

Folks, I'd rather this latter story be true. I'm much prefer to have someone, when offered a shot at the second-highest office in the land, at least blink a bit, and ponder it over. Preferably with their family.

But if, by some perchance, this was how it really went down, why is she revealing this now? Why did she lie before? Or vice versa: why is she bothering to lie about this now?

This was the moment she entered the national consciousness--when she became, for better or worse, part of history. And she's lying about even that?

I think it's time to back off on the Dick Cheney comparisons. The esteemed governor of Alaska is nowhere in his league; at least HE made his bold moves to re-order reality behind the scenes, not in the light of day. And certainly not for no discernible reason.

With statements like these, Sarah Palin's lies leave the realm of politics and enter pathology.

UPDATE: Sullivan has a crushing refutation of this latest flight of fancy: "Here's the official tick-tock of the announcement from McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker on August 29:"

"Later that morning, John McCain departed for Phoenix and Governor Palin departed with staff to Flagstaff, Arizona. Governor Palin, Kris Perry, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter proceeded to the Manchester Inn and Conference Center in Middleton, Ohio. They were checked into the hotel as the Upton Family. While there, Governor Palin’s children, who had been told they were going to Ohio to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary, were told for the first time that their mother would be a nominee for Vice President of the United States of America."

"So did Palin ask the girls to vote on it or not? If they were told that they were on a plane to celebrate their parents' wedding anniversary, the decision had already been made, right? So Palin was lying to Hannity, right? The girls were not asked, let alone asked to vote. They were told. Or am I wrong? Is there another explanation? Maybe the full context will clear this up."

UPDATE II: Kossack The Termite pegs it:

"Sure, Mom. I mean I know you just found out I was pregnant and all, and that you and Dad forced Levi at gunpoint to make me a respectable woman but the one thing I've really felt was missing from my life at this time was national scrutiny. Please, Mom, if for no other reason than to make your eldest daughter into a national punchline, please, please accept this opportunity."

UPDATE III: Cripes, even Palin's husband puts the lie to this one. On Fox, of all places:

VAN SUSTEREN: And what did she say? What were the exact words when she said that she'd gotten picked?

TODD PALIN: Just, you know, What do you think? And I said, Of course.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, the kids -- the kids are now cell phone-less, incommunicado. How many are with you at this point?

PALIN: Three -- four.

VAN SUSTEREN: And did anyone a little bit suspicious that something was going on?

PALIN: Yes, they were -- you know -- well, it was pretty suspicious.

VAN SUSTEREN: Didn't you say, like, what kind of anniversary...

PALIN: I said four or five times, I said, I don't want to hear any questions. Just sit back and don't ask any questions. If we go into something that's not familiar with you, don't ask any questions, like a plane or -- just be quiet.

P.S. Wow. I appreciate every click on the Recommend button. Just hope the word gets out on this.

P.P.S. And hey--now you can Digg this up by clicking here.

Original here

Obama: Old Boys Network = McCain Campaign Staff Meeting

Update & bump (1:37PM): As great as the "staff meeting" line was, it wasn't the only good one, so I've now updated this post with a video including some of the other material:


YouTube link

Original post (12:16PM): Barack Obama on the trail in Elko, Nevada about twenty minutes ago:

Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he's president that he'll take on, and I quote, 'the old boys network in Washington.'

Now I'm not making this up. This is somebody who's been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign.

And now he tells us that he's the one who's gonna' to take on the old boys network. The old boys network? In the McCain campaign that's called a staff meeting. Come, on!

Original here

The Motherlode of All Voter Registration Diaries. Recommend and Get Busy.


THE MOTHER OF ALL VOTER REGISTRATION DIARIES

It is bookmark time and forwarding the LINK time. All 50 States of the Union, Voter Registration Information Here. NO EXCUSES.

::

A few things, you must be a U.S. citizen, resident of the state you are voting in, at least 18 years old by November 4, 2008, and sign your form. Changing or registering for the first time and mailing in your application, make sure you bring I.D. to the polls.

Voting Absentee for military or citizens living outside of the U.S., information at Vote from Abroad or Overseas Vote Foundation.

Domestic absentee voters, ones that are not traveling overseas, can get more information from Long Distance Voter.

Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming has same day registration and voting.

Most on-line registration, STILL, requires you to download the form, sign and mail it in.

National registration form is here. This form is applicable for all 50 states, remember you must show valid identification for first time voters. In Spanish, here.

Felon Voting Information, per state, here and ACLU.

Election Protection Hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE; (1-866-687-8683)

Lastly, the Obama Campaign has a voter registration tool on their website, here. Since the date is upon us to to register to vote, this tool allows you to register to vote, find out if you are already registered, get absentee ballot information and to give information where to go vote on election day. Again, another tool to get folks registered to vote. Please pass this link along. We need every vote to win on election day.

Digg It!!!

::

Alabama

Deadline for registering to vote is Friday, October 24, 2008.

Voter registration form is here. Request a form to be mailed you, here.

All forms should be sent to your county board of registrars, the list is here.

Absentee Ballot download, here. Information on absentee ballots, here.

Contact Information:

Alabama Secretary of State
334-242-7210

Alaska

Deadline for voter registration is Sunday, October 5, 2008. (must be post marked by October 4, 2008)

Print out the application here.

Read all the information, here.

You can mail, fax of hand-deliver your completed application (and if mailing along with proof of residency) to you local elections office, here.

Early Voting/Absentee in person October 20, 2008. Here is the location for early voting.

Contact Information:

Division of Elections

Arizona

Deadline for registering to vote is October 6, 2008.

Register online, by ez voters registration here

Print voter registration form in English or Spanish, here. Information of where to mail your voter registration form is at the bottom of the form.

Early ballots or Absentee ballots request must be submitted by October 24, 2008. Click here, for your county to request an early voting ballot. Early voting begins October 2, 2008.

Contact Information:

Arizona Secretary of State
(602) 542-8683

Arkansas

Voter registration ends October 6, 2008.

Early voting begins, October 20-November 3rd. Contact your county office to find out where your early voting location is.

Arkansas Voter Registration Form, download here, and in Spanish here.

Other information and to register in person, here.

Contact Information:

Arkansas Secretary of State
501-682-1010

California

All voter registration forms must be postmarked by October 20, 2008.

Print out a voter registration form in English or Spanish, here.

Request a voter registration form in English here, Spanish here.

Additional information here.

Vote by Mail is for registered voters and must be requested seven days prior to the election. Application for vote by mail, here. All the information for vote by mail is here.

Anyone can vote early in California. Contact your county elections office for the dates, addresses and phone numbers, here.

Contact Information:

California Secretary of State
(916) 657-2166

and

English: 1-800-345-VOTE
Chinese: 1-800-339-2857
Japanese: 1-800-339-2865
Korean: 1-866-575-1558
Spanish: 1-800-232-VOTA
Tagalog: 1-800-339-2957
Vietnamese: 1-800-339-8163

Colorado

Deadline for Colorado voter registration is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter Registration form, here and in Spanish, here.

Mail in ballot request must be received by October 28, 2008. All information and form is here and in Spanish, here. Addresses to mail in the form is above under voter registration form.

Additional information, here.

Early voting is permitted at the local election office and at other designated locations. No excuse is needed. Contact your county office, here. Early voting is October 20-October 31st, in person, and by mail/absentee deadline is November 3rd.

Contact Information:

Colorado Secretary of State
303.894.2200

Connecticut

Deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, October 21, 2008.

Print out the voter registration form in English, here. In Spanish, here.

Print out a request for an Absentee Ballot form, here. In Spanish, here. Absentee ballot requests must be turned in 31 days before the election. Absentee ballot information, here.

Mail your voter registration form and absentee ballot request to your county registrar's office.

Additional information, here.

Contact Information:

State of Connecticut Secretary of State
1-800-540-3764

Delaware

Deadline for voter registration is Saturday, October 11, 2008.

Register to vote online, here.

Additional information, here.

Absentee voting information, here. In office absentee voting ends, November 3rd.

Contact Information:

Commissioner of Elections for the State of Delaware

Florida

Deadline for voter registration, Monday, October 6, 2008.

Print out for voter registration application, here. In Spanish, here.

Questions on filling out the voter registration form, here.

Absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on the 6th day before an election. Information on requesting an absentee ballot by mail or phone, here.

Early voting is October 20-November 1st. More information on early voting is here. Phone number: 1-866-308-6739

Contact Information:

Florida Division of Elections
(850)245-6200

Georgia

Deadline for voters registration is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration application, here.

Absentee Ballot information, here.

Advanced Voting (Early Voting) information, here. Any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot. Contact your county election office, here. Window for advanced (early voting) is October 27th-October 31st(in person) and up until election day, November 4th for absentee voting.

Contact Information:

Georgia Secretary of State
404-656-2871

Hawaii

Deadline for voters registration is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Print out voter registration from and information, here.

Information for vote by mail/absentee ballot, here.

Early voting is October 21-November 1, 2008. Early voting sites and times to vote, here. Information is here.

Contact Information:

Office of Elections
(808) 453-VOTE (8683)

Idaho

No deadline, voters can register at polls and vote.

Idaho voter registration form, here.

Absentee Ballot request information, here.

Additional information, here.

Contact Information:

Idaho Secretary of State
(208) 334-2852

Illinois

Deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, October 7, 2008.

Print out the voters registration application, here. In Spanish, here. Mailing address to the county clerk's office, here.

Absentee ballots accepted by mail, 5 days prior to the election and in person, 1 day prior. Absentee ballot information, here.

Illinois is an early voting state. Early voting starts October 13, 2008 and ends October 30, 2008.

Early voting information is here.

Contact Information:

Illinois State Board of Elections
Springfield: 217-782-4141
Chicago: 312-814-6440

Indiana

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration application, here. In Spanish, here.

Absentee ballot information, here. Deadline for absentee ballot by mail, October 27, 2008. Print out application for absentee ballot by mail, here. In Spanish, here. Other Absentee Ballot information, here.

Anyone can vote early in Indiana. The window is October 6-November 3rd, in person at your county election board office. The office location and contact numbers are at the end of this document, here.

Contact Information:

Indiana Secretary of State
317.232.6531

Iowa

Deadline for registering to vote is Friday, October 24, 2008.

Iowans can register to vote on Election Day at their polling place/precinct. Proper ID and proof of residency is required.

Application for Iowa voter registration form, here.

Application for Absentee Ballot, here.

Additional information for voting and absentee ballot voting, here.

Contact Information:

Iowa Secretary of State
888-767-8683.

Kansas

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 20, 2008.

Voter registration on-line application and instructions, here. In Spanish, here. Fill out the application on line, print out and mail to your county office, all information included.

Additional information, here.

Advanced voting is for any registered voter. Here is the application to vote by mail or in person. Ballot must be received in person or by mail by close of polls on election day. More information, here.

Contact Information:

Kansas Secretary of State
(785) 296-4561

Kentucky

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration application, here. When completed, mail to your county clerk office, here.

Absentee ballots can only be obtained through the county clerk’s office. You may request an application for an absentee ballot through your county clerk’s office in person, by phone, by mail or by fax. Also, the voter’s spouse, parent or child can request an application for a mail-in absentee ballot. List of clerk offices and phone numbers, here. Additional information, here.

Contact Information:

State Board of Elections
502-573-7100

Louisiana

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration application, here. Additional information on requirements, here.

Absentee ballot form, here. Ballot needs to be recieved the day of election. Information, here.

Louisiana is an early voting state. Early voting starts Tuesday, October 21, 2008 and ends on October 28, 2008. Voters can vote at their registrar's office, list here. Additional information, here.

Contact Information:

Louisiana Secretary of State
800-883-2805

Maine

Is there a deadline for registering?

No. It's never too late to register to vote in Maine. You can register to vote until, and including, Election Day. There is no cut-off date for registering to vote in person at your town office or city hall. If you want to register to vote by mail, the cut-off date is the close of business on the 21st day before the election. That date is October 14, 2008 for the General Election.

On-line absentee ballot request, here. Absentee ballot information, here.

Contact Information:

Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions
207-624-7736

Maryland

Deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, October 14, 2008.

Voter registration application, here. Additional information, here.

Absentee ballot request, here. You must be registered already, to receive an absentee ballot. The ballot must be received by October 28, 2008, 4:30 p.m. More information on absentee ballot, here.

No early voting in Maryland.

Contact Information:

Maryland State Board of Elections
410-269-2840
800-222-8683

Massachusetts

Deadline for registering to vote is Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

Printable voter registration form, here. Or call to request a form at 617-727-2828 or 800-462-VOTE. Identification required for first time voters. Additional information, here. Voter registration forms can be requested by email at elections@sec.state.ma.us

Absentee ballot form, here. In Spanish, here. Information on the requirements for absentee ballot, here.

Contact Information:

Elections Division
1-800-462-VOTE (8683)

Michigan

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration form is here.

Absentee voter registration form, here.

Voter identification requirement in Michigan.

Additional information on voting in Michigan, here.

Contact Information:

Michigan Secretary of State
(888) SOS-MICH; (888) 767-6424

Minnesota

Same day registration at the polls to vote.

Register to vote, here. Cut off for pre-registering is Tuesday, October 14, 2008. Other than that, you must register at your polling place on election day. Voting application for Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese, here.

Absentee ballot and information, here.

Contact Information:

Minnesota Secretary of State
651-215-1440
1-877-600-VOTE (8683)

Mississippi

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Printable voter registration form, here. County registars offices, here.

For absentee ballots, contact the county voter registrars.

More information, here.

Mississippi voter information, here.

Contact Information:

Mississippi Secretary of State
601-359-6359

Missouri

Deadline for registering to vote is Wednesday, October 8, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. Requesting a form sent to you, here.

Absentee ballot form, here.

DO NOT SEND ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE. ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS MUST BE SENT TO THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITY BY THE DEADLINE IN ORDER TO BE VALID.

Local election authority contact information, here. Information on the guidelines of Missouri absentee ballot, here.

Additional voter registration information, here.

Contact Information:

Missouri Secretary of State
(800) NOW VOTE

Montana

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. Mail the form or drop it off, here. Additional information and guidelines, here.

Absentee ballot form, here. Information on absentee ballots and where to mail the ballot, here.

The only early voting is absentee ballot. You may start voting 30 days before election day.

Contact Information:

Montana Secretary of State
(406) 444-2034

Nebraska

Deadline for registering to vote is Friday, October 24, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. In Spanish, here. If mailing must be post marked by October 17, 2008.

Application for early voter ballot, here. In Spanish, here. Address where to mail the form is above, click on the voter registration form.

Information on voting and early voting request, here.

Contact Information:

Nebraska Secretary of State
(402) 471-2555

Nevada

Deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, October 4, 2008, by mail; October 14, 2008 in-person at the registrar office.

Voter registration application, here. Mail the application to your county registrar office, here.

Absentee ballot is for registered voters, only. Request a form, from your county registrar by calling here. For Clark County residents, absentee ballot form here. Full instructions for Clark County absentee voting, here.

Early voting in Nevada is October 18th – Friday, October 31st. All the information, per county and where to go is here.

Contact Information:

Nevada Secretary of State
775-684-5708

New Hampshire

Same day, registration and voting for election day.

There is no minimum period of time you are required to have lived in the state before being allowed to register. You may register as soon as you move into your new community.

All information on voting in New Hampshire, including absentee voting, college students is here.

October 25, 2008: Last day to register to vote until the General Election.

ABSENTEE REGISTRATION
If you meet the state's voter requirements and qualifications and are unable to register in person because of physical disability, religious beliefs, military service, or because of temporary absence, you may register by mail. You should request an absentee voter registration affidavit and a standard voter registration form from your town/city clerk. The absentee voter registration affidavit must be witnessed and then both the affidavit and the voter registration form are to be returned to your town/city clerk.

Contact Information:

New Hampshire Secretary of State
603-271-3242

New Jersey

Deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, October 14, 2008.

Voter registration application, here. In Spanish, here. Other languages, here. More information, here.

Absentee voting ballot, here. In Spanish, here. Information and guidelines to voting absentee, here.

Contact Information:

Division of Elections
877-658-6837

New Mexico

Deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, October 7, 2008.

Voter registration form, here.

Absentee voting form, here. Address to mail form, here.

Additional information for voting in New Mexico, here.

Early voting is October 18 through November 1st. Contact your county office for information and location of where to early vote. Additional information for early voting here.

Contact Information:

New Mexico Secretary of State
505.827.3600 or 800.477.3632

New York

Deadline for registering to vote is Friday, October 10, 2008.

Voter registration printable form, here. In Spanish, here.

Voter registration on-line form, here. Fill out the form on-line, click in the box to choose your county and print out. In Spanish, here.

Absentee ballot form, here. Mail your form to your county election office, here.

Information for voting in New York, here.

Contact Information:

New York State Board of Elections
Voter Information: 800-367-8683
Albany: (518) 474-6220

North Carolina

Deadline for registering to vote is Friday, October 10, 2008.

Register to vote information is here and here.

Board of Elections, per county, address and phone numbers are here. If you missed the deadline to register, you can through "one-stop sites", information below.

Early Voting in North Carolina is called "One-Stop Sites". Dates for one stop sites voting is October 16-November 1st. This allows voters to register and vote at the same time. Persons already registered to vote, can vote at these sites as well. Addresses and times for early voting locations, here.

Absentee voting information is here.

More information is available, here.

Contact Information:

North Carolina State Board of Elections
866-522-4723

North Dakota

Welcome to the only state that does not have voter registration.

In order to vote in North Dakota, you must be:

A U.S. citizen.
At least 18 years old on the day of an election.
A legal North Dakota resident.
A resident in the precinct for 30 days preceding the election.

Remember, for the purposes of voting, a person may have only one residence, shown by an actual fixed permanent dwelling, or any other abode. Residency in North Dakota is defined in North Dakota Century Code, Section 54-01-26 which states:

Every person has in law a residence. In determining the place of residence, the following rules must be observed:

It is the place where one remains when not called elsewhere for labor or other special or temporary purpose, and to which he or she returns in seasons of repose.

There can be only one residence.

A residence cannot be lost until another is gained

The residence can be changed only by the union of act and intent.

Voter Registration, History and Background, here.

Contact Information:

Secretary of State, North Dakota
800-366-6888

Ohio

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

On-Line voter registration form, here. Mail form to your county election board, addresses and phone numbers here.

Request a voter registration form to be sent to you, here.

Absentee ballot form, here. Instructions on requesting an absentee ballot in Ohio, here.

May a college student register and vote from his or her school address in Ohio?

Yes, a student may vote using his or her Ohio school residence address. However, the student may not also vote an absentee ballot where he or she last lived (e.g. with one or more parent or guardian). When a college student votes from his or her school address, the school residence is considered to be the place to which the student's habitation is fixed and to which, whenever the student is absent, the student intends to return, and is considered by the student to be his or her permanent residence at the time of voting.

One-Stop-Shop Early Voting, Sept. 30 to Oct. 6th. Information, tentative here. Specifics are being finalized, this will be a big push for the Obama Campaign to organize young college voters, to register and vote at the same time.

Voter registration information for Ohio, here.

Contact Information:

Ohio Secretary of State
614-466-2585

Oklahoma

Deadline for registering to vote is Friday, October 10, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. Request form, here.

Absentee ballot information, downloads here.

Early voting is allowed in Oklahoma at the County Election Board office, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. County addresses and phone numbers, here.

Information to vote in Oklahoma, here.

Contact Information:

Oklahoma State Election Board
(405)521-2391

Oregon

Deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, October 14, 2008.

Voter registration form, here.

Voter requirements for Oregon, here.

Oregon is a mail only state.

Contact Information:

Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division
(503) 986-1518

Pennsylvania

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. In Spanish, here. Information on voting in Pennsylvania, here.

Absentee ballot request form, here. This form must be submitted to your county. County addresses and phone numbers, click on the voter registration form link above.

Other requests, including emergency absentee ballot requests, here.

Contact Information:

Bureau of Commissions, Elections & Legislation
877-868-3772

Rhode Island

Deadline for registering to vote is Saturday, October 4, 2008.

Rhode Island voter registration form, here. In Spanish, here. Information on voting in Rhode Island, here.

Vote by Mail is for registered voters only. All information is here.

Contact Information:

Rhode Island Board of Elections
(401)222-2345

South Carolina

Deadline for registering to vote is Saturday, October 4, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. Mail your form to the county board, information here. Information for voting in South Carolina, here.

Students may register to vote where they reside while attending college.

Students can use the following documents as proof of residency:

* a copy of a current, valid photo ID (driver's license, student ID, DMV-issued ID cards, etc.) * copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address in the county

Many college students who live on campus receive their mail at a campus post office box. These students must register at the physical address of their dormitory. The student's P.O. Box can be provided for mailing and contact purposes.

Absentee ballot request is by phone, mail or in person. List of county offices, here.

You may vote early in South Carolina at your local election office by casting an absentee ballot.

Contact Information:

South Carolina State Election Commission
(803)734-9060

South Dakota

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 20, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. Upon completion send to your county auditor, here.

On-line voter registration form, here. Click in the box and fill out the form. Click on the down arrows to select the right information for your field. Mail to the county auditor, link on this page.

Absentee ballot request, here. Mail to county auditor, here.

Information for voting in South Dakota, here.

You may vote early in person at the local county office, by using an absentee ballot, information to call is below.

Contact Information:

South Dakota Secretary of State
(605) 773-3537

Tennessee

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Voter registration application is here. Mail the completed application or take in person to your county election office, here.

Persons can also register to vote at the following locations:

County Clerk’s Offices
County Election Commission Office
Department of Health (WIC program),
Department of Human Services,
Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation,
Department of Safety (motor vehicles division)
Department of Veteran’s Affairs
Public Libraries
Register of Deeds Offices

Voting by Mail or Absentee Voting, to qualify read here. If you qualify, request by writing to the voter's local county election commission office. The request can be mailed or faxed to the county election commission office. For further information, contact your county election commission office.

Early voting is allowed in Tennessee. Any registered voter can early vote. Early voting begins 20 days before the election and ends 5 days before the election. A voter may vote on any Saturday during this time frame. Persons may vote at the county election commission office or any designated satellite voting location. Contact your county election commission office for locations and times.

Contact Information:

Tennessee Department of State
(615) 741-7956

Texas

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Texas On-Line voter registration form, here. Sign, print out the form and mail it to the county voter registrar. The County Voter Registrar's address can be found at the top of the online outputted voter registration application once you have submitted your information from the fill-in-the blanks screen.

Check to see if you are already registered to vote in Texas, here.

List of county voter registration offices, here.

Early voting in Texas

Early voting in person may be easier than you think. You don't have to stand in long lines on Election Day. Registered voters may vote early at a location convenient to them within their political subdivision. Early voting in person generally starts 17 days before each election and ends 4 days before each election. Early voting for the May uniform election date begins 12 days before the election and ends on the 4th day before the election. If you can drive or if you have a friend or relative who can drive you, you don't even have to get out of the car. Call ahead to notify the early voting clerk that you want to vote from your car. This procedure is called "curbside voting" and is available to any voter who has difficulty walking or standing for long periods. The election official will bring your ballot to your car outside the polling place. Curbside voting is available during early voting and on Election Day. State and Federal law requires all early and Election Day polling locations to be physically accessible to voters with disabilities. Call your election official for information on your particular voting sites.

Vote early in person (you don't need to vote in your precinct, you can cast your ballot at any early voting site in your county which is convenient to YOU) or vote early by mail (this is done by requesting an application for a ballot to be mailed to you or downloading an application form). Voting early in person is convenient and, unlike early voting by mail, you don't need an excuse.

Early Voting dates are October 20-October 31, 2008. Contact your county registrar for voting locations.

To request an application ballot to be mailed to you (ABSENTEE), click here. Or request an application for a ballot (absentee) by mail, here.

Contact Information:

Texas Secretary of State
1.800.252.VOTE (8683)

Utah

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008, by mail. In person, Tuesday, October 28, 2008.

Voter registration form, here.

Apply for an absentee ballot, here.

Anyone can vote early in person at their local election office and any designated early voting sites in their county. Early voting is October 21-31st. Contact your county clerk for location information, here.

Check if you are already registered to vote, here.

Contact Information:

State of Utah Elections Office
(801)538-1041

Vermont

Deadline for registering to vote is Wednesday, October 29, 2008.

Voter registration form in adobe (pdf) format to print off, here. In Microsoft Word format to print off the link is on this page.

Town Clerks information, here, or call 1-800-439-VOTE.

Early voting is absentee voting in Vermont. To request a form for an early/absentee ballot, click here. For a word document, click the link on the page, here. Early voting/absentee starts October 6, 2008.

Other information on early voting and requirements, here.

Contact Information:

Vermont Secretary of State
In State: (800) 439-8683
Out of State: (802) 828-2464

Virginia

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008. Deadline for Absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 28, 2008. Last day for in-person absentee voting is Saturday, November 1, 2008.

Virginia voter application registration form, here. In Spanish, here. Absentee ballot application form, here. And your

Contact Information:

Virginia State Board of Elections
800 552-9745

Washington

Deadline for registering to vote is Saturday, October 4, 2008. Or Monday, October 20, 2008 in person.

On-Line voter registration application, here. Printable voter registration forms in English, Chinese, Spanish, Cambodian, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Vietnamese, here on the right hand side of the page

Voting by Mail

What are mail elections?
Mail elections are an alternative to polling place voting. Prior to each election a ballot is automatically mailed to every eligible registered voter to the address on record.

Why are elections conducted by mail?
Many Washington State voters had already requested to receive permanent absentee ballots at each election rather than go to an assigned polling place to vote on Election Day. In many counties, because of the low turnout at the polls on Election Day, it is not cost effective to continue to conduct poll site elections. Many voters enjoy the extra time to review the ballot before casting a vote that comes with voting by mail.

Which counties vote by mail?
37 of Washington's 39 counties vote by mail. King and Pierce Counties still maintain poll sites, but King County plans to switch to vote by mail elections in 2009.

As a registered voter, what do I have to do to vote by mail?
If you live in a county that conducts all elections by mail you will automatically receive a ballot. You will need to keep your residence and mailing addresses current with your County Auditor to ensure your ballot is mailed to the correct location.

If you live in a county that offers both absentee ballot voting and poll site voting, you'll need to request an absentee ballot from your County Auditor. You may choose to request an absentee ballot for a single election or to receive absentee ballots permanently.

When are the ballots mailed to the voters?
Washington State law requires ballots be mailed to voters at least 18 days prior to an election.

More information on Vote by Mail, here.

County Auditors/Elections Departments, here.

Contact Information:

Washington Secretary of State
(800) 448-4881

Washington, D.C.

Deadline for registering to vote is Monday, October 6, 2008.

On-Line voter registration, here.

Request an absentee ballot, here. In person absentee voting begins October 15, 2008 and ends November 3, 2008.

Additional information on voting in the District, here.

Contact Information:

District of Columbia Board of Elections & Ethics
1-866-DC-VOTES or (202) 727-2525

West Virginia

Deadline for registering to vote is Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

Voter registration form, here. Sign and mail your form to your clerk of the county commission office, list of counties here.

Absentee voting and early voting in person.

Early voting is casting a ballot at your county office for any registered voter, list and times here. Dates are October 15-November 1st.

Absentee ballot by mail dates are August 12-October 29th. Last day to hand-deliver absentee ballot by mail is November 3, 2008. Request an absentee ballot by phone, fax, email or application here.

Contact Information:

West Virginia Secretary of State
(866) SOS-VOTE

Wisconsin

Deadline for registering to vote is Wednesday, October 15, 2008. Or register to vote on election day at your polling place.

On-line form, here. Click on the space, fill in the information and print it out to mail. Click here, for a printable form to fill out by hand. Mail to your county clerks office, list is here.

To register to vote on election, you must comply to the following:

If you wish to register to vote at your polling place, you must bring proof that you have lived at your present location for at least 10 days preceding the election. For purposes of voter registration, acceptable forms of proof of residence must include:

  1. A current and complete name, including both the given and family name; and
  1. A current and complete residential address, including a numbered street address, if any, and the name of a municipality.

Additional information and instruction, here.

Apply for an absentee ballot, here.

Contact Information:

Elections Division
608-266-8005

Wyoming

No deadline. Voters can register at the polls with proper I.D.

Voter registration form, here. Sign, send copy of identification, and mail to here.

More information on voting in Wyoming, here.

Contact Information:

Wyoming Secretary of State
(307) 777-7378

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