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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Barack W. Bush, Aiming to Dismantle the Network of Death!



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Finally, change we can believe in:

There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

“Don’t speak English, huh, ISIS? All right, let’s try a language you do understand.”

Obama later added, “Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can.”

Jonah offers a detailed assessment of Obama’s speech here. I’m a bit cheerier.

Before the United Nations, Obama pointed out that all too often, the “international community” isn’t worth a hill of beans:

Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so. And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.

The average foreign-policy wonk can speak at length about the differences among core al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda affiliates, ISIS, Boko Haram, and this new Khorosan Group. The average American looks at each group and sees . . . “Islamist maniacs who want to kill us . . . more Islamist maniacs who want to kill us . . . another group of Islamist maniacs who want to kill us . . . a different group of Islamist maniacs who want to kill us, and finally, Islamist maniacs who want to kill us.”

Here’s Obama today:

The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day.

Notice the reference to “ideology,” singular, and “it,” not “they.” Despite their locations, their ideology is the same.

If you’ve ever complained that the Muslim community around the world is far too tolerant of homicidal maniacs acting in the name of their faith . . . here’s Obama today:

It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al-Qaeda and ISIL.

Look, we’re stuck with this guy as president for the next two years. I’d rather have Barack W. Bush than the guy golfing his way through his second term.

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Team Player



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Senator Lisa Murkowski, team player: The Republican senator from Alaska tapes an ad for her fellow GOP challenger against Alaska’s other senator, Mark Begich.

Transcript:

“We are all tired of the negative ads, and I’m especially disappointed by the dishonest attacks on Dan Sullivan.

“As our attorney general, Dan protected women from domestic violence and sexual assault.

“As our DNR commissioner, Dan fought back against federal overreach to defend Alaska jobs.

“I need a partner in the Senate who will work to advance Alaska’s interests, not the Obama agenda.

“Alaska needs Dan Sullivan.

“I’m Dan Sullivan and I approve this message.”

Tags: Lisa Murkowski , Dan Sullivan , Mark Begich

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A Not-So-Mysterious Silence About Obama’s Fundraising



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James Oliphant of National Journal asks, “Why Won’t Democrats Talk About Obama’s Fundraising?”

Good for him for asking, and there’s a lot of reporting in his article, but the answer is pretty simple. Acknowledging that Obama “headlined a $100,000-a-plate fundraiser at the swank Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington on behalf of the Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm” disrupts the narrative of a plucky, underfunded group of noble community activists taking on the little guy in the top hat from the “Monopoly” game.

Professional Democrats — officeholders and their staff — rely on these big-dollar fundraisers for their livelihood. The non-professional Democrats care about the issue of campaign finance only when it can be used to reinforce the belief that their GOP opponents are rich, powerful, corrupt and selfish. They don’t care about Mike Bloomberg spending his fortune to promote gun control or Tom Steyer spending his fortune to promote climate-change causes. It’s only the other guy’s big money that is corrupting.

And the Holy Grail of our public policy debates is “a clean narrative.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Fundraising

Expect a Lot More ‘Soccer Mom’ Ads in North Carolina



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From the midweek Morning Jolt:

Expect a Lot More ‘Soccer Mom’ Ads in North Carolina

Remember when I showed you the television commercials for Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis, and asked if they were too soft?

Are the TV ads from Thom Tillis’s Senate campaign in North Carolina too generic or nice? Look them over, and you can see the points Tillis and his team want to emphasize:

• Tillis raised school funding and raised teachers’ pay.
• He’ll work with both parties.
• Hagan voted with Obama 96 percent of the time.
• He’s been a paperboy.

Well, here’s the answer . . . 

The most recent Fox News poll in North Carolina has Democrat incumbent Kay Hagan winning among women, 46 percent to 30 percent.

The most recent PPP survey finds, “Hagan continues to have a massive advantage with women at 49 percent to 33 percent.”

And then the most recent Civitas poll, which has Hagan ahead among women, 52 percent to 38 percent.

So there you have it. Thom Tillis is trailing by a handful of points against an incumbent stuck in the mid-40s, and she’s hanging on because of her margin among women. So North Carolina television watchers can continue to hear more about Tillis’s paper route, and his first election as president of the PTA, and more visuals of him at the diner and in the school library.

Not the red meat that conservatives want to see, but then again, Thom Tillis already has most conservatives voting for him — 71 percent of self-identified conservatives in the Civitas poll, 76 percent of self-identified Republicans in the Fox News poll, and 81 percent of the self-identified “very conservative” and 63 percent of the “somewhat conservative” in the PPP poll.

Some of you may be asking, ‘Why isn’t he getting 90 or 100 percent?’ But remember that some portion of self-identified conservatives have completely misidentified themselves. A national Gallup poll found 20 percent of self-identified conservatives say they have a positive view of socialism.

One other thought — as mentioned in last week’s article, North Carolina is one of the most expensive states to run in this cycle (at least one of the most expensive with a competitive Senate race). Yes, the DSCC committed $9 million to helping save Kay Hagan. But if they find themselves needing to triage . . . all that money going to help her might go a lot farther in Arkansas, or Alaska, or Louisiana, or some other cheaper state.

Tags: Thom Tillis , Kay Hagan , North Carolina

Mitch McConnell Hasn’t Trailed a Poll Since June



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Remember when Alison Lundergan Grimes was the Democrats’ hot rising star and big hope for the 2014 midterms?

Apparently her “I’m not Barack Obama” ads aren’t working.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Kentucky

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Minnesotans Are Casting Ballots Already. Really.



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Happy Election Day Month Season!

In Minnesota, early in-person voting started September 19.

In Vermont, as well.

Absentee-ballot applications are now being accepted in South Dakota.

In Iowa, the number of absentee-ballot requests has doubled.

This site lists the early-voting rules for most states, although it indicates quite a few states have early in-person voting starting September 19, but that doesn’t match the information on the state Secretary of State web sites.

Tags: Minnesota , Early Voting

America at War . . . Again . . . in a New Country This Time



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From the Morning Jolt:

America at War . . . Again . . . in a New Country This Time

This just handed to me: The ISIS morning staff meeting at the municipal building in Raqaa, Syria, is postponed indefinitely.

ISIS wanted our attention with those barbaric beheadings. Now they’ve got it.

The United States and five Arab allies launched a wide-ranging air campaign against the Islamic State and at least one other extremist group in Syria for the first time early Tuesday, targeting the groups’ bases, training camps and checkpoints in at least four provinces, according to the United States military and Syrian activists.

The intensity of the attacks struck a fierce opening blow against the jihadists of the Islamic State, scattering its forces and damaging the network of facilities it has built in Syria that helped fuel its seizure of a large part of Iraq this year.

Separate from the attacks on the Islamic State, the United States Central Command, or Centcom, said that American forces acting alone “took action” against “a network of seasoned Al Qaeda veterans” from the Khorasan group in Syria to disrupt “imminent attack planning against the United States and Western interests.”

Officials did not reveal where or when such attacks might take place.

Al Qaeda cut ties with the Islamic State earlier this year because the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, disobeyed orders from Al Qaeda to fight only in Iraq. Just days ago, American officials said the Khorasan group, led by a shadowy figure who was once in Osama bin Laden’s inner circle, had emerged in the past year as the Syria-based cell most intent on launching a terror attack on the United States or on its installations overseas.

The latest campaign opened with multiple strikes before dawn that focused on the Islamic State’s de facto capital, the city of Raqqa, and on its bases in the surrounding countryside. Other strikes hit in the provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka, whose oil wells the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have exploited to finance its operations.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) launches Tomahawk Land-Attack Missiles (TLAM) against ISIL targets.

The good news is that the world has fewer ISIS members walking around this morning.

The bad news is that we’ve got a long way to go before we have anything resembling a reliable partner on the ground:

The army base in Iraq’s western Anbar province had been under siege by Islamic State militants for a week, so when a convoy of armored Humvees rolled up at the gate, the Iraqi soldiers at Camp Saqlawiyah believed saviors had arrived.

But this was no rescue attempt. The vehicles were driven by militants on suicide missions, and within seconds on Sunday the base had become a bloody scene of multiple bombings.

On Monday, a day after the attack, five survivors — including three officers — said that between 300 and 500 soldiers were missing and believed to be dead, kidnapped or in hiding. Army officials said the numbers were far lower, leading to accusations that they were concealing the true toll.

If the survivors’ accounts are correct, it would make Sunday the most disastrous day for the Iraqi army since several divisions collapsed in the wake of the Islamic State’s capture of the northern city of Mosul amid its cross-country sweep in June.

Here we go.

During the Ken Burns documentary series The Roosevelts, he mentioned that FDR, at the beginning of the war, after Pearl Harbor, prepared America for difficult times ahead. He noted that inevitably, there would be defeats, setbacks, and tragic losses. But he laid out why the fight was necessary, and why America could and would win.

I’ll stand and applaud our men and women in uniform as they take the fight to any foe, anywhere on earth. But I sure hope our president can and will prepare the public for the difficulties in the fight ahead.

Tags: ISIS , Syria , Iraq , Barack Obama

Thom Tillis’s Television Ads: Folksy, but Are They Tough Enough?



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Are the TV ads from Thom Tillis’s Senate campaign in North Carolina too generic or nice? Look them over, and you can see the points Tillis and his team want to emphasize:

  • Tillis raised school funding and raised teachers pay.
  • He’ll work with both parties.
  • Hagan voted with Obama 96 percent of the time.
  • He’s been a paperboy.

There’s only so much a campaign can squeeze into a 30-second ad, but perhaps he needs to explain why it’s such a problem for North Carolina that Hagan votes with Obama 96 percent of the time . . . 

(UPDATE: Maybe with poll results like this . . . 

. . . the connection to Obama is damaging enough!)

This ad, “PTA,” is a newer one; it was added to YouTube three days ago. Still quasi-biographical in tone:

Contrast his approach with Kay Hagan’s attack ad, suggesting that the North Carolina state budget left teachers “without a textbook” in order to give money to “corporations and millionaires.”

Tags: Thom Tillis , Kay Hagan

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Awesome Weekend



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When you see this:

. . . you can spin it one of two ways.

One: Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, demonstrates at this weekend’s college-football game that she’s willing to go the extra mile for constituent service.

Two: Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, is so terrified of losing in this year’s midterm election that she’s incapable of saying, “No, I’m not going to help you do a keg stand, I’m a U.S. senator and this job used to have a little dignity to go with the title.”

Tags: Mary Landrieu

Hillary: Congress Is Out of Touch; We Need to ‘Take the Future Over’



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Of course: “The Congress, increasingly, despite the best efforts of my friends and others, is living in an evidence-free zone where what the reality is in the lives of Americans is so far from the minds of too many,” said Hillary Clinton.

Note this golden gem of clarity and vision from her in that speech: “We need people to feel that they are part of a movement. That it’s not just about an election, but about a movement—a movement to really empower themselves, their families and take the future over in a way that is going to give us back the country we care so much about.”

Who took the country away from Hillary Clinton?

When Hillary Clinton laments that Congress is out of touch, does she fear that too many members of Congress just don’t know what it’s like to be “dead broke,” as she described herself when her husband left the White House?

Yes, Hillary Clinton, who made two speeches to Goldman Sachs executives in late 2013 for the low, low, price of $400,000, now claims Congress is out of touch with “reality.”

Reality for the Clintons: Bill and Hillary have an estimated net worth of $200 million.

In Washington, D.C., the Clintons own a five-bedroom, brick colonial-style house near Embassy Row that the District of Columbia assessed at more than $5 million:

In Chappaqua, N.Y., the Clintons own a Dutch Colonial that the Town of New Castle assessed at $1.7 million; Zillow estimates the property could sell for $9 million.

Still, sometimes the former president and his wife feel the need to get away from it all and hang out in a nicer house:

Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton are renting a virtual Shangri-La in this lush, beachside paradise in the Hamptons. The $11 million mansion sprawls over 3.5 acres of prime real estate, with four fireplaces, six bedrooms, a heated pool and private path to the beach.

Tags: Hillary Clinton

Monday Morning’s Polling Roundup: Michigan and Illinois



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After most polls in Illinois showed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner ahead of Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn, the Chicago Tribune offered a stunning poll showing Quinn ahead by 11. Had the race suddenly and completely turned upside down? Or was the Tribune’s poll just a wildly-off-base sample?

This morning, We Ask America offers a new result that comes down somewhere in the middle, finding Rauner ahead, but by a much smaller margin, 44 percent to 41 percent.

We Ask America concludes:

After holding a double-digit lead a few weeks ago, the gap narrows . . . just as it did four years ago when Republican State Senator Bill Brady led Quinn by 10 points a month out from the election only to lose a relatively close race. Despite running a state that’s home to massive debt, terribly low job creation rates, and a pension system that has almost single-handedly lead to a credit rating close to “non-investment grade”, Pat Quinn has pulled within the margin of error.

There is time left, and Bruce Rauner has the wherewithal to unleash the hounds with a wave of his checkbook, but the ticking of the clock is growing louder every day.

That pollster also surveyed Michigan, and found incumbent GOP governor Rick Snyder tied with his Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer.

It should be noted that no first-term Michigan governor has lost a re-election bid in more than 100 years. Snyder, who some say waited too late in the game to hit the airwaves with his pro-business campaign messaging, seems to be banking on the fact that Mr. Schauer will run out of funds before this thing is all said and done. But blood in the water usually leads to increased contributions, so that may be a false hope.

To this point, all we know is this one is close . . . real close.

In the state’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Terri Lynn Land has proven competitive, but rarely ahead of Democrat Gary Peters. The latest poll shows more of the same, with Peters ahead, 42 percent to 39 percent.

Tags: Bruce Rauner , Pat Quinn , Terri Lynn Land , Gary Peter

Goodell and Barra: Students of the Obama Era of American Leadership



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From the Monday Morning Jolt:

Goodell & Barra: Students of the Obama Era of American Leadership

Does our president just reflect a broad cultural trend in the behavior of leaders, or does he set the tone from the top?

Consider some recent examples of leaders of large organizations with important responsibilities, once they find themselves in the public eye:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS This Morning he never saw the second tape of Rice striking his wife before Monday. He said, “when we make a decision we want to have all the information that’s available. When we met with Ray Rice and his representatives it was ambiguous about what actually happened.” Friday afternoon, he announced the league would be making a new effort in dealing with unacceptable player conduct . . . by forming a special committee.

Then there’s General Motors CEO Mary Barra, whose company has recalled 2.6 million cars with defective ignition switches. The faulty parts have been linked to at least 13 deaths and 54 accidents since 2009 and have led to numerous lawsuits. She said, “I don’t really think there was a cover up. I think what we had, and it was covered in the report, there were silos of information, so people had bits and pieces and didn’t come forward with the information or didn’t act with a sense of urgency, and it simply was unacceptable.”

Did anyone at NBC News ever answer for the decision to hire Chelsea Clinton for $600,000 a year for three years?

Freedom Industries, that company that spilled ten thousand gallons of chemicals into the Elk River, forcing 300,000 residents to stop drinking, cooking, washing or bathing in their tap water, will face a ton of lawsuits. Their management and leadership has been hard to identify, much less hold accountable; apparently no one with the company feels the need to stand before the public and face the consequences of their actions and inaction. (Notice this is a story tailor-made for even the left-leaning MSM — evil corporation pollutes water of innocent people — and yet there’s been little coverage outside of West Virginia.)

These are all private-sector scandals, of course. Every administration and every era has its scandals. What our current moment seems to feature is a bumper crop of (alleged) leaders insisting they can wait out the storm, often displaying a glimpse of indignation at suggestions that they resign because something terrible happened on their watch. Somehow tapes of criminal behavior never reach the folks at the top, nor reports of a defect in ignition switches.

Everybody’s got rogue low-level staffers in Cincinnati, it seems.

You get that joke because you’re a well-read audience, but also because we’ve seen leaders point the finger below them so many times. The moves of the unaccountable leader, caught with a mess on his watch, are so predictable now: This is the first I’m hearing of it. I learned about it from media reports. I’m as outraged as anyone. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. I’m promising a comprehensive review. It will report to me, and I will let you know about the results of that review, several news cycles from now. Subtext: Hopefully in a few weeks you’ll have forgotten about it.

No, Obama didn’t invent this “leadership” dynamic, but you can argue America’s frustration with it in the previous administration helped drive the president there: The wrong intelligence about Iraq. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” The Abramoff scandal. The Wall Street meltdown, jeopardizing the entire economy, with the lingering sense that few of those who made the decision to invest heavily in the “toxic assets” ever paid the price for bad judgment.

The country feels deeply betrayed by its governing and economic elites. Enter Obama. He’s elected. In his inaugural, he declares, “In the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. . . . Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.”

And you know what we got. Stimulus waste; State Department employees on paid leave over Benghazi; “At this point, what difference does it make?”; the VA, where the secretary belatedly discovered an “unacceptable lack of integrity within some of our veterans health facilities,” Obamacare, where Kathleen Sebelius let the president go out and say things about the website she knew weren’t true, and still kept her job for several months. The NSA.

Now here’s the new IRS commissioner, allegedly in place to clean up the mess of the last one:

Under his management, the agency has ignored and strung out congressional demands for documents and witnesses. Mr. Koskinen waited months to tell Congress the IRS had “lost” the emails of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center the probe, and arguably only did so because an outside lawsuit revealed that the email record was incomplete. He testified that there were no backup tapes with Lerner emails, but we have since learned there are 760 server drives that may contain copies.

The message has been sent, far and wide: Accountability is for suckers.

Leadership!

Tags: Barack Obama , Roger Goodell , Mary Barra , GM , NFL

Chris Christie, Victim of a Reckless, Partisan National Media



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You may love Chris Christie, you may hate him. But wherever you are on the spectrum, you have to admit, he’s one of the biggest victims — er, no pun intended — of partisan agenda journalism in modern U.S. politics.

Will he get an apology from Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen?

And the consequences for MSNBC will be absolutely nothing. This is why people hate the media.

Tags: Chris Christie

It’s a United Kingdom After All!



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From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

It’s a United Kingdom After All!

Sorry, lassies.

The ‘nays’ have it!

Voters in Scotland decisively rejected independence from the United Kingdom in a referendum that had threatened to break up the 307-year union, but also appeared to open the way for a looser, more federal Britain.

With results tallied from all 32 voting districts, the “no” campaign won 55.3 percent of the vote while the pro-independence side won 44.7 percent. The margin was greater than forecast by virtually all pre-election polls. . . . 

The decision spared Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain a shattering defeat that would have raised questions about his ability to continue in office and would have diminished his nation’s standing in the world.

“WHAT?”

One of the first voices I want to hear from when there’s big news in the British Isles is Daniel Hannan, member of the European Parliament and friend of NR:

Thank God. Just thank God. I don’t much care at the moment whether God is Scottish, and is glowering approvingly at Great Britain from over His bands and Geneva gown, or whether He is English and is raising a glass of sherry with an absent-minded smile. At least my country is intact.

When I say, “my country”, I don’t just mean what it says on my passport. I’m one of those UK nationals — a minority, perhaps, but not an insignificant one — who self-identify as British. In England, Scotland and Wales, older patriotisms generally take precedence (Northern Ireland is a special case, obviously). Although many people across Great Britain are convinced, indeed passionate, Unionists, a “Yes” vote wouldn’t have forced them to redefine their identity. The UK might have been divided, and they might have been sorry to see it go, but they’d have carried on being English or Scottish or Welsh.

Those of us who are British first had no such fall-back. A “Yes” vote would have meant the end of the country we belonged to — the end of its name, of its flag, of our internal map of home.

Hannan notes a likely future step is expanded local control for certain government powers — something both capital-C Conservatives and small-c conservatives generally like to see.

A happy ending in the news, for once!

Last night’s tweets as Sean Connery can be found here.

Tags: Scotland , United Kingdom

Senate Democrats: We Won’t Vote on War Until After the Election



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Of course:

Senate Democrats plan to debate and vote on a broad resolution authorizing military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the election, dodging the danger of angering liberal voters this fall.

CLUCK-CLUCK!

Above: Democratic senators emerge from the caucus room and announce their decision to postpone a vote on military action until after the election.

Tags: Senate Democrats , ISIS

The Great Big Polling Roundup for Thursday



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Also in today’s Jolt, a quick update on some key midterm races . . . 

At least the polls are coming rapidly now, instead of the one-a-month schedule we endured this summer.

A slew of polls hit the public late Wednesday.

Kansas: A bit of relief for Republicans: A Fox News poll finds incumbent Senator Pat Roberts at 40 percent, and “Independent”-who’s-really-a-Democrat Greg Orman at 38 percent. As a couple of analysts have noted, it’s Kansas, and while Roberts survived a brutal primary, Kansas voters are not in the habit of tossing out Republicans in favor of options to the left. Republicans ought to keep this one on the radar screen, but a decent get-out-the-vote effort from the Kansas GOP should keep this one safe. Check back in early October.

Louisiana: Fox News puts Landrieu at 31 percent in the open primary, 38 percent when head-to-head with Republican Bill Cassidy. This is the worst poll for Landrieu in a while, but it’s not that much worse; she’s consistently been on course for a runoff and then trailed the head-to-head matchups for a runoff. Of course, national Democrats will spend every last dime they have to save her in a runoff.

Colorado Senate: Right after NRO posts my lengthy piece on how Cory Gardner still has a shot for a narrow win in this state, USA Today/Suffolk drops a poll showing Gardner ahead by 1. The guy needs money, he needs the outside conservative groups to come in and blast the airwaves, he needs to keep targeting those casual voters who are sour on Obama and the direction of the country, and he needs to chip a few percentage points off incumbent Democrat Mark Udall’s numbers among rural Democratic voters.

Of course, this morning Quinnipiac blew up the conventional wisdom on this race by showing a big Gardner lead.

Regarding the Gardner/Tillis strategy, one reader responded, “This mining for votes is a timid strategy that Karl Rove used to eke out two extremely narrow victories for a dismally poor politician. . . . Try to win big, try to win over large swaths of voters to your side. Talk about Obamacare, the IRS scandal, Benghazi. Call your opponents out on these issues. Make them answer for their pro-abortion extremism rather than cowering in fear lest you have to talk about the issue at all.”

I’d really like to live in a world where a Republican candidate can win big in a state like Colorado by talking about “Obamacare, the IRS scandal, Benghazi, and pro-abortion extremism.” But I’m about 99 percent convinced we don’t live in that world. The Coloradans who care about Obamacare, the IRS scandal, Benghazi and pro-abortion extremism are already voting for Gardner. We have yet to find a surefire way to get the low-information and low-interest voters to care about these sorts of issues; it’s not merely a matter of getting conservatives and GOP candidates to talk about these issues more.

Colorado Governor: Take your pick. Either incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper is ahead by 2, or he’s trailing Republican Bob Beauprez by 10. For what it’s worth, the poll with Beauprez ahead big has a much bigger sample. Either way, Hickenlooper’s got good reason to work like he’s trailing.

Wisconsin Governor: Rasmussen puts Scott Walker up 2, Marquette puts him up 3. As ominous as that sounds, remember that this is a state Walker won 52–46 in 2010. Ron Johnson won the Senate race that year with 51.9 percent. A Republican candidate is going to have a hard ceiling of about 5253 percent here. Yes, Walker won the recall election by a bigger margin, but he enjoyed the benefit of some voters who opposed the concept of the recall election and voted “no” on that basis — a factor not around in this routine election year.

Florida Governor: Survey USA puts incumbent Republican Rick Scott ahead of Charlie Crist, 44 percent to 39 percent. I feel like the national coverage of that race hasn’t really noted how consistently Scott has been ahead — usually by a small margin, but ahead nonetheless:

Tags: Pat Roberts , Greg Orman , Rick Scott , Charlie Crist , 2014 Midterms

BOOM! Quinnipiac Finds Gardner Ahead of Udall, 48–40



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WHOA!

Colorado U.S. Sen. Mark Udall trails U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, his Republican challenger, 48 – 40 percent among likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Independent candidate Steve Shogan gets 8 percent.

With Shogan out of the race, Rep. Gardner leads 52 – 42 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters.

In the three-way matchup, Gardner leads Udall among men 53 – 34 percent, with 9 percent for Shogan. Women go 46 percent for Udall, 43 percent for Gardner and 7 percent for Shogan.

And to think, I just wrote in my state-of-the-race piece, “Cory Gardner is not going to win big.”

(Despite this poll, it’s probably still likely to be a close result. But I guess we’ll see how the next few polls go!)

Tags: Cory Gardner , Mark Udall

Can Our Forces Bomb an Outhouse in Syria Without Presidential Approval?



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Can Our Forces Bomb an Outhouse in Syria Without Presidential Approval?

Great.

The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.

Welcome back to Vietnam, and General William Westmoreland’s experience:

Somewhere, some Baby Boomers are chuckling about what happens once you elect a president too young to have served in — or, it seems, remember — Vietnam.

Remember Obama’s boast, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.” I guess he thinks he’s a better general than his generals and a better bomber than his bombers.

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book “Double Down: Game Change 2012” notes President Obama commenting on drone strikes, reportedly telling his aides that he’s “really good at killing people.”

Oh. So he really does think he’s an expert at killing people.

How the heck did we end up in this mess?

Through tight control over airstrikes in Syria and limits on U.S. action in Iraq, Mr. Obama is closely managing the new war in the Middle East in a way he hasn’t done with previous conflicts, such as the troop surge in Afghanistan announced in 2009 or the last years of the Iraq war before the 2011 U.S. pullout.

In Iraq, Mr. Obama had delegated day-to-day management to Vice President Joe Biden.

Oh.

Well, that explains a lot.

In other news, Mr. Vice President, look out for that bus!

Tags: Iraq , Syria , ISIS , Barack Obama , Joe Biden

And You Thought You Didn’t Like Mark Udall Before!



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From today’s Morning Jolt:

And you thought you didn’t like Mark Udall before:

Republican operatives believe they have found a smoking gun against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who said during a 2008 debate he was against a “government-sponsored” solution for health care.

The then-congressman, who was running for an open seat in the U.S. Senate, echoed arguments made by conservatives.

“I’m not for a government-sponsored solution,” Udall said. “I’m for enhancing and improving the employer-based system that we have.”

In a debate overshadowed by other issues — rising energy prices and the war on terror — Udall’s answer that July barely created a ripple. But in the context of Sen. Udall’s vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and his tough re-election bid against Republican Congressman Cory Gardner in November, the statement takes on new meaning.

These red and purple state Democrats just lie. They say they oppose these liberal ideas, and then once they’re in, they go along with Pelosi and Reid and all the rest.

Because by 2010, Udall, the guy who insisted he didn’t want “a government-sponsored solution,” said he supported the public option:

Bennet made national headlines by writing a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding the chance to put a “public option,” government-run insurance alternative in the final legislation. More than 40 senators signed the letter, but the public option was never reconsidered. Udall, however, was not among the Democrats who signed Bennet’s letter.

Udall said he supports creating a public option, but added, “I thought we needed to bring this drawn-out process to an end.”

Words don’t have much meaning anymore, huh?

Tags: Mark Udall , Obamacare

New Poll Puts GOP’s Ernst Ahead in Iowa, 50–44



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Remember when I said Republicans should be a bit more concerned about the Senate race in Iowa? Never mind, apparently:

Neutralizing the traditional Democratic lead among women voters, Republican State Sen. Joni Ernst leads U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democrat, 50 – 44 percent among likely voters in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin in Iowa, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Ernst leads among men 56 – 39 percent, while Braley leads among women by a smaller 50 – 44 percent margin, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters.

That likely-voter screen is a real pain for Democrats, huh?

Cheer up, Congressman Braley. Ernst’s hog had a worse morning.

Tags: Joni Ernst , Bruce Braley , Iowa

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