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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Do people lie to pollsters? Old, twice-divorced, smoking Mormons sure hope so!
The new AP/WaPo poll is out, and it has some interesting info about people's attitudes regarding the current president, and a future president to be. First, on the future:

21. On another subject: I'm going to read a few attributes that might be found in a candidate for president. Please tell me if each would make you (more likely) to vote for that candidate for president, or (less likely) to vote for that candidate, or if it wouldn't matter.

2/25/07 - Summary Table

a. someone who is a woman More: 14, Less: 13, wouldn't matter: 72 no op: 1
b. someone who is black More: 7 Less: 6 Wouldn't matter: 87 no op: *
c. someone who is a Mormon More: 4 Less: 29 Wouldn't matter: 66 no op: 1
d. someone who is over age 72 More: 3 Less: 58 Wouldn't matter: 39 no op:*
e. someone who has been divorced twice More: 3 Less: 26 Wouldn't mat: 71 no op:1
f. someone who smokes cigarettes More: 2 Less: 21 no mat: 77 no op: *

The worst news in the poll is for John McCain. It seems the worst thing a candidate can be in the eyes of the voting -- or at least the poll-taking public -- is old. A whopping 58 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who is over 72 years of age. McCain is 71, and looks every freaking day of it.

Also on the no-no list for voters: being twice divorced. 26 percent of voters were sour on that. Sorry, Rudy. (Lucky for Rudy, the WaPo didn't ask how voters felt about a candidate who once was married to his cousin ... )

On the female question, poll respondents have become considerably less unlikely to support a woman for president over time. When the question was asked in May of 1988, 25 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was a woman. Now, it' sdown to 13 percent, with a high 72 percent saying it "wouldn't matter."

On the race question, 27 percent of respondents in May 1988 said they would be less likely to support a candidate who is Black, versus just 6 percent now. It's on this question that the cynic in me is tempted to ask whether people are as willing in 2007, to tell pollsters honestly, that they would have a problem supporting a Black candidate. I'm tempted to believe that the number who would have said trouble is considerably higher than 6 percent...

Moving on to the Mormon question, there is a sizeable minority of respondents who apparently have closed that door, with 29 percent of respondents less likely to give a Mormon candidate a chance, and a whopping 60 percent of those who said they would be less likely, adding that there is, in fact, "no chance" that they would vote for a Mormon for president. And 29 percent of the "no Mormon" respondents said they feel that way because they are "uncomfortable with, or dislike" Mormonism (6 percent went with the polygamy angle.) Not good news for Mr. Romney, who's internal strategy memo made the BoGlobe today, elucidating the fact that "electorate is not where it needs to be for us to succeed." A salient bite:
The plan, for instance, indicates that Romney will define himself in part by focusing on and highlighting enemies and adversaries, such common political targets as "jihadism," the "Washington establishment," and taxes, but also Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, "European-style socialism," and, specifically, France. Even Massachusetts, where Romney has lived for almost 40 years, is listed as one of those "bogeymen," alongside liberalism and Hollywood values.

Indeed, a page titled "Primal Code for Brand Romney" said that Romney should define himself as a foil to Bay State Democrats such as Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry and former governor Michael Dukakis. Romney should position himself as "the anti-Kerry," the presentation says. But elsewhere in the plan, it's clear that Romney and his aides are aware he's open to the same charge that helped derail Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004: that he is a flip-flopper who has changed positions out of political expediency.

Also interesting in the poll, and this one's for Barack Obama, is the rather sizable percentage of voters who said they could not support a smoker (21 percent).

One good piece of news for Hillary Clinton, I suppose, is that of those respondents who said they would be less likely to support a woman candidate, only 15 percent said it was because they didn't like Mrs. Clinton in particular. Twice that number -- 31 percent -- said it was because they simply don't think a woman can do the job. How nice.

Next, on the ever present subject of President Bush: two thirds of respondents disagree with his decision to surge 21,500 troops into Iraq, including 56 percent who "strongly disagree." And 58 percent support John Murtha's idea of limiting U.S. troop activities in Iraq to training Iraqi troops, plus guaranteeing rest time for the troops who've already served in theater. By 51-46, respondents opposed the idea of limiting funding for the Iraq war. Two thirds support the idea of "reducing U.S. military and financial support for the Iraqi government if the Iraqis fail to make progress toward national unity and restoring civil order," however, and by 53-46 percent, respondents favored setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

And there's this:
18. Overall, do you feel that you can or cannot trust the Bush administration to honestly and accurately report intelligence about possible threats from other countries?

Can Cannot No opin.
2/25/07 35 63 2
Which is probably why respondents split right down the middle, 47-44 in favor, on the question of whether the Bush administration has the evidence to support their allegations about Iran's meddling in Iraq.

Go figure. For the WaPo's analysis on the poll, click here.

Other polling fun: Watch out mama, here comes Obama ... in the Zogby poll dated February 26, Hil's lead in the Dem primary is now 33-25. Barack was at 14 the last time the poll was done.

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posted by JReid @ 4:41 PM  
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Oh, goody!
Ah, the sweet smell of political napalm in the morning...

The Clinton-Obama avoidapallooza is finally getting good and nasty ... let's review...

Round one: Obama non-fan Maureen Dowd takes notes as former Clinton funder David Geffen goes postal on the Clintons, saying:
"Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling..."
Ouch! The Hotline has more Geffen nastiness for those who, like me, are too cheap to pay for Times Select:
Geffen, who is backing Barack Obama, called Bill Clinton "reckless" and clearly is still upset that Clinton didn't grant a pardon to cause celeb native American Leonard Peltier. More Geffen: "Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?"
Double ouch!!! What next??? Full-on fisticuffs?

Round two: the Clinton camp demands that Obama denounce mean Geffen comments ... asking, is this the "new politics" you promised??? Barack, we hardly knew ye!!!
Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson issued the following statement today demanding that Barack Obama disavow personal attacks that his campaign finance chair made against Senator Clinton in this morning's New York Times:

"While Senator Obama was denouncing slash and burn politics yesterday, his campaign's finance chair was viciously and personally attacking Senator Clinton and her husband.

"If Senator Obama is indeed sincere about his repeated claims to change the tone of our politics, he should immediately denounce these remarks, remove Mr. Geffen from his campaign and return his money.

"While Democrats should engage in a vigorous debate on the issues, there is no place in our party or our politics for the kind of personal insults made by Senator Obama's principal fundraiser.

Round three: Obama responds, with a hearty, Lincoln Bedroom smackdown:
From spokesperson Robert Gibbs: "We aren’t going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom. It is also ironic that Senator Clinton lavished praise on Monday and is fully willing to accept today the support of South Carolina State Sen. Robert Ford, who said if Barack Obama were to win the nomination, he would drag down the rest of the Democratic Party because ’he's black.’"
Ow!!! It smarts!!!

If this keeps up, Rudy G is gonna have to put that dress on to get Chris Matthews attention!

And by the way, the Hotline blog also has the scoop on Obama's million dollar Hollywood babies ... and Jesse Jackson, too...

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posted by JReid @ 4:50 PM  
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Death of the 'accidental' president

Gerald Ford has died at 93 years of age. He was the longest living ex-president, and the only president to serve, never having been elected (Bush's 2000 "election" notwithstanding...) Whatever the hallmarks of his tenure (those images of the last choppers rising away from a desperate Saigon as Ford brought an end to the tragic Vietnam war, the Helsinki accords, surviving not one, but two assassination attempts -- ironic as he was a member of the Warren Commission -- being the first "Saturday Night Live" president, and making Chevy Chase a star, and his being among the last of a dying breed of relatively moderate Republicans. ... oh an add one more: Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens ... may he live to torment the wackadoo right for many years to come... and yeah, gifting the world with the public careers George H.W. Bush, his CIA director, Don Rumsfeld, his SecDef, and ... yeesh ... then Chief of Staff Dick Cheney...) he will forever be known for his most controversial decision: the "full, free and absolute pardon" of Richard M. Nixon on September 8, 1974, avoiding what could have been a savage and ugly court battle. (read the full text of the pardon without commentary here.)

Ford defended the pardon to the end, and many historians agree with him, that like Lincoln after the Civil War, Ford chose the path of national healing. After Watergate, Vietnam, Roe v. Wade, the civil rights struggles and more, America was an exhausted, beaten down, angry nation, desperately in need of healing. And Gerald Ford was the healer in chief. Maybe the historians have a point, though the questions, about whether there were back-room deals with Alexander Haig, or with party leaders, or with Nixon himself, will always linger over the pardon, along with the unrequited yearning for Nixon's confession of guilt (he claimed until the end, to have been impeached because he "lost political support...")

Although, there is something to the argument that Nixon should have been made to answer for his crimes, and give the country their catharsis that way. But given how bitterly divided we were then, and the 30 year outgrowth of partisan hatred and retribution that followed the pardon (including the "revenge impeachment" of Bill Clinton by hysterical, ultra-partisan Republicans in Congress), imagine the civil war that would have erupted between Democrats and Republicans had Nixon been clapped in irons. (More on Ford's "fast, clean start" here)

I guess it's a question for history. Ford, for his part, is now at rest. (Image credit:

Links: What Bush can learn from Ford

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posted by JReid @ 6:23 PM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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