Google+

The Campaign Spot

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

Hm. Immigration Deal Opponents Wouldn’t Call McCain an Innocent Man



Text  



The hold music for the McCain conference call with bloggers is Billy Joel’s “Innocent Man”. Hm. Maybe appropriate lyrics:

I’m not above going back to the start
To find out where the heartache began

Some people hope for a miracle cure
Some people just accept the world as it is
But I’m not willing to lay down and die
Because I am an innocent man

And now we’re on to perhaps the more appropriately ironic, “Foolish Heart”:

Foolish Heart
Hear me callin’
Stop before
You start fallin’
Foolish heart
Heed my warnin’
You’ve been wrong before
Don’t be wrong anymore

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Hillary: Tax Wall Street Investment Managers at 35 percent, not 15 percent



Text  



This is the sort of thing that makes Larry Kudlow so mad he turns into the Incredible Hulk:

Hillary Clinton today announced her support for cracking down on the tax loophole that allows some Wall Street investment managers to pay dramatically lower tax rates on their income than those paid by average working Americans. Current tax laws allow investment managers in certain partnerships to take large amounts of their compensation in the form of “carried interest,” which is taxed at the low 15% capital gains rate, rather than at income tax rates as high as 35%.

“Our tax code should be valuing hard work and helping middle class and working families get ahead,” Clinton said. “It offends our values as a nation when an investment manager making $50 million can pay a lower tax rate on her earned income than a teacher making $50,000 pays on her income. As President I will reform our tax code to ensure that the carried interest earned by some multi-millionaire Wall Street managers is recognized for what it is: ordinary income that should be taxed at ordinary income tax rates.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Clinton continued, “private equity and venture capital play important roles in our economy, and we should continue to support the entrepreneurial spirit that makes America great. We can close this loophole that unfairly benefits some of the best paid people in America, while continuing to encourage investment in innovative, young companies. This is common-sense, pro-fairness tax reform. And I would use the funds generated by the change-which some have estimated at $4-$6 billion per year-to invest in our middle class and working families.  These funds can provide a down payment to help make college more affordable, provide tax relief for hard working Americans, and meet other key priorities to promote shared prosperity in America.”

So she pretty much came out and said she would increase taxes on the investor class by $4 billion to $6 billion, right?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

ADVERTISEMENT

For Those of You Who Watch the News on Saturday Nights...



Text  



I’m tentatively scheduled to be on CNN Saturday night, probably around 10 p.m., almost certainly talking about a Republican scandal (Vitter) after talking about Libby, Gonzales, and Foley. I’ll be on with my usual left-of-center sparring partner, John Avarosis, who appears to be calling for the invasion of Pakistan.

Okay, I give up. He out-hawked me.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

My Little Bit For the “Surge of Facts”, a Report from the Kurdish Region



Text  



As noted over in the Corner, Bill Bennett wants the Republican field to come out and make clear their thoughts on the current debate in Iraq right now. (To his credit, of sorts, I think we know where Ron Paul stands.) I was delighted to receive this e-mail from a .mil address:

I am an American officer currently stationed in Kurdish Iraq.  You mentioned women being trained at a Peshmerga base near (if it’s the one I’m thinking of, then it’s actually within the city limits of) Sulaymaniyah.  I may have visited this base, and have visited quite a few.

Americans, you see, are rock stars here.  Why?  Because for decades the Kurds have been hunted and killed by everyone around them; the Iraqis, Syrians, Turks and Iranians.  Everybody hates them.  But the Americans came to their aid.  So Kurds love Americans.

I am one of two Americans embedded with the Iraqi military academy near here.  We are the only Americans in a 40 mile radius.  I am not on a base, but am surrounded by hundreds of Peshmerga.

We go shopping in the city (population: 1.2 million) and walk around freely.  Everyone who sees us waves, shakes our hands, or asks us to take a photo with them.  We spent several hours walking around Freedom Park, which was Saddam’s detention (and murder) facility before 1992.  The Kurds turned it into a garden park.

The Kurds never want the Americans to leave; actually, they want us to build permanent bases here.  Why?  Because they know if we’re here, no one will attack them anymore.  All they want to do is live without being exterminated.

If those who support the war can get our friends on the left side of the aisle to recognize that the work we’re doing over there is important, that it is a good thing, and that we should not abandon communities like the ones described in the e-mail above, the debate will be more than halfway won. At that point, we would no longer be arguing over what the goal should be (U.S. troops out as soon as possible vs. a stable Iraq), but the best way to get there.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Time to Stir Up the Ron Paul Crowd



Text  



Erick Erickson has a very funny parody interview of Ron Paul. A taste:

Erick: You are nowhere in the polls, ranking members of your own party are trying to exclude you from the debate, and your supporters are more often than not seen as nuts by members of the media and the blogosphere. What do you have to say?

“Ron Paul”: Technicalities, technicalities.

Erick: But seriously, according to the Gallup poll, you don’t even register with members of your own party.

“Ron Paul”: Oh, I’m going to blow it up.

See if you recognize the voice used for Paul.

I know, I know. Ron Paul once shot a man in Reno just to watch the federal government stop spending money on him.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

ADVERTISEMENT

Fred Meets With an Anti-Rudy Firefighter



Text  



Phil Klein is more than a little irked with Fred Thompson for meeting with Steve Cassidy, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association who appears in that attack video against Rudy Giuliani.

I wondered if there was a marginal defense is that Cassidy’s comments are among the milder on that video; he didn’t seem to be the one floating the most outrageous or unfair attacks. But he’s not a shrinking violet, either.

Cassidy begins, “This image of Rudy as America’s mayor is a myth.” And then during the discussion of removing debris, and whether it should have been done slower to ensure further searches for human remains, Cassidy says, “Scoop up the debris, don’t put it in a landfill. To heck with the fact that it was firefighters, or others, who would never have a funeral for their family.”

He also charges, “We did need radios that worked, we didn’t have ‘em. We did need proper respiratory protection, he didn’t give it to us. The things that we needed to do our jobs even better, we didn’t have, because of his administration.”

He concludes, “On the heroic memory of 343 dead firefighters, he wants to run for President of the United States? It’s a disgrace.”

His separate commentary indicates his union supported George W. Bush in the last election, and so should not be seen as a partisan screed.

Does Thompson really want to be associated with this line of criticism? These types of attacks? Bad move and bad timing on Thompson’s part.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

I Think This Ticket Would Carry The South Again



Text  



Via Patrick Ruffini (and read his thoughts on message vs. tactics online), a concept for the GOP ticket in 2008: “The Man Who Will Get It Done, and The Man Who Will Git-R-Done.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Hillary, John Edwards Want to Get Rid of the ‘Trivial’ Candidates



Text  



Kucinich suspects, with some evidence, that Hillary and John Edwards are teaming up to get rid of him.

Pretty gutsy, and/or stupid, for Hillary and Edwards to talk about “they are being trivial” “Yeah, not serious,” and the need to get rid of the also-ran candidates, on stage in front of live microphones.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

McCain Notes Hillary No Longer Mentions Fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq



Text  



John McCain noticed the same thing Rich Lowry did in Hillary’s op-ed. From his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“To talk about the struggle against Islamic extremists is, of necessity, to talk about our war with al Qaeda in Iraq.  Many Democrats claim this is a conflict we cannot win.  They ignore the consequences of a US defeat at the hands of al Qaeda – and some ignore al Qaeda altogether.  Just this week, Senators Clinton and Byrd wrote an op-ed about the war in Iraq and never once mentioned al Qaeda or the terrorist presence in Iraq.  Foreign jihadists—Al Qaeda operatives–are responsible for at least 80% of the suicide bombings that are the driving force of sectarian strife.  They are in this war to win and we cannot let them.

“Defeatism will not buy peace in our time. It will only lead to more bloodshed—and to more American casualties in the future.  If we choose to lose in Iraq, our enemies will hit us harder in Afghanistan hoping to erode our political will and encourage calls in Western capitals for withdrawal and accommodation with our enemy there as well.

McCain’s doing a conference call with bloggers this afternoon. Should be interesting, come back here later today for updates.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Not a Decepti-Con, So She Must Be a Decepti-Lib



Text  



Heh. I was wondering when someone was going to use the “Transformers” movie as an excuse to paint an opponent as a “Transformer” on changing positions. Turns out it’s the RNC, going after Hillary on changing her position on Iraq timetables:

Hillary Unveiled New Anti-War Speech In Iowa After Consulting The Polls:  “Top Campaign Aides To The New York Senator Say They Chose Iowa To Lay Out Her Plan To Withdraw U.S. Troops … In Part Because She Trails In The Race For The Caucuses, With Six Months To Go.” (Thomas Beaumont, “Clinton Focuses On Strategy On Iraq, Not Anti-War Stance,” The Des Moines Register, 7/12/07)

“Senior Campaign Aides … Insist Internal Polling Shows Clinton’s Support Increases When Voters Associate Her With Her Plan To Get Out Of Iraq.” (Thomas Beaumont, “Clinton Focuses On Strategy On Iraq, Not Anti-War Stance,” The Des Moines Register, 7/12/07)  

In Speech, Hillary Attempted To Transform Her Iraq Record: Sen. Clinton Said She “Consistently” Supported U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq. Clinton: “It is long past time that the President ended American combat involvement Iraq’s multi-sided, sectarian civil war, fought for power, revenge, and personal advantage. That is what I have been trying to do in the Senate, after calling for and consistently voting for phased redeployment of our troops out of Iraq.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Temple For The Performing Arts, Des Moines, IA, 7/10/07)

But In 2006, Clinton Voted Against Legislation “To Require The Redeployment Of United States Armed Forces From Iraq.” (S. 2766, CQ Vote #181: Not Agreed To 13-86-1: R 0-55; D 12-31; I 1-0, 6/22/06, Clinton Voted Nay)

FLASHBACK: Clinton Said “An Immediate U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq Would Be ‘A Big Mistake.’” “Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said … that an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be ‘a big mistake.’ The New York Democrat said she respects Rep. Jack Murtha, D-PA. … But she added: ‘I think that would cause more problems for us in America.’” (Jim Fitzgerald, “Hillary Clinton Says Immediate Withdrawal From Iraq Would Be ‘A Big Mistake,’” The Associated Press, 11/21/05)

NOTE: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) Also Voted Against Setting A Timetable For Withdrawal. (S. 2766, CQ Vote #181: Not Agreed To 13-86-1: R 0-55; D 12-31; I 1-0, 6/22/06, Obama Voted Nay)

Media Starting To Notice Hillary’s Iraq Transformation: “But Democratic Front-Runner Hillary Clinton — Who Was For The Iraq War Before She Was Against It — Has Been Getting Mostly A Free Pass As She’s Morphed Into An Antiwar Candidate.” (Mark Murray, “Is Hillary Clinton Getting A Free Pass On Iraq?,” NBC News’ First Read, 7/12/07)  

“Of Course, Most Of The Democratic Presidential Candidates Have Shifted Their Views On Iraq In The Past Few Years … But None Of These Other Democrats … Is Largely Getting Such A Free Pass On The Nation’s Biggest Issue — Iraq.” (Mark Murray, “Is Hillary Clinton Getting A Free Pass On Iraq?,” NBC News’ First Read, 7/12/07)

“Her Campaign, In Fact, Deserves Plenty Of Kudos In Making Clinton Sound Like Dennis Kucinich When It Comes To Iraq …” (Mark Murray, “Is Hillary Clinton Getting A Free Pass On Iraq?,” NBC News’ First Read, 7/12/07) 

Can you see that line showing up in an attack ad in the future? “NBC news declared Hillary sounds like Dennis Kucinich” with an unflattering picture of the two together…

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Team Thompson Clarifies on His Call To Sununu



Text  



A friend of Fred Thompson tells me:

Regarding Jennifer Rubin’s accusation that the Thompson team had “contradicted” Fred Thompson, I’m afraid that was a misunderstanding.   Rubin apparently thought she was asking whether Thompson had called Sununu at all. Corallo thought she was asking whether they’d spoken to coordinate their stories.  Obviously, Thompson had called Sununu, and we’d already said that.

We weren’t denying something we’d already confirmed…it was just a case of distinctions being lost in the text translation.

Hmm. “Rubin apparently thought”? I haven’t heard from her, but I don’t think she’s one to lack clarity in her questions. Still, I suppose it’s possible she and Corallo got their wires crossed, and Corallo gave an accurate answer to the question he thought she asked, instead of the question she asked.

I can’t help but wish Thompson had offered a clearer answer the first time this was asked. Something like, “Way back when I was just another Washington lawyer, I was asked by a partner to help out with a client that wanted to loosen the first Bush administration’s stance on abortions overseas. I was pretty doubtful that the White House would change its policy on any abortion-related issue. Still, I was low man on the totem pole, and it wasn’t my place to object. This group couldn’t even get their phone calls returned from the administration, so as a favor to the partner I made some calls. As expected, they went nowhere. I had some pleasant enough meetings with the folks from that group, but if they’re making me sound like some supremely effective ally in influencing polcy, they’re either showing off the soft bigotry of the lowest expectations of all time, or mistaking me for some other guy who worked for them. My spokesman erred when he said I did nothing for the group; what he should have said was I did nothing productive.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Highlights from Tony Snow’s Conference Call With Bloggers



Text  



Selected comments from Tony Snow’s conference call with bloggers, just completed:

 

“We pursued the surge to create enough security and stability in order to create maneuvering room for the Iraqi government to deal with sectarian and regional tensions…

The military part comes first… The political progress comes after that has created the maneuvering room. Political progress is not the leading indicator, it is the lagging indicator…  If you take a look, we’ve seen a significant decrease in violence, IEDs and sectarian tensions in Baghdad… There has been considerable turnaround in Anbar. You now have the real prospect of a civil society and blooming economy in Anbar.”

“The purpose of benchmarks is not to find excuses to leave, it is to measure progress… “On the economic side the Iraqis are stepping up… It’s a mixed bag, but progress there as well.” 

“We need a surge of facts. We’re going to be working on. I’m going to be doing it from the podium. Only images they have are carnage and death.

 

There have been very few visuals to confirm what Americans want to believe. We have an amazing and heroic American military. Only way to change public opinion [on Iraq] is to present a fuller, more nuanced and more accurate picture.”

 

“We’re gonna present bad news too. You have to… It’s a miracle anyone supports the war, based on the characterizations that have been painted.”

 

“I was saying last week, that no matter what happens in Iraq, we’re gonna plant a seed. It’s either going to be a seed of democracy, or a seed of tyranny.”

 

Snow laid out how leaving Iraq to al-Qaeda empowers them, affects the region, which then spreads out there through Europe and elsewhere. Nations and groups hedge their bets, grow closer to Iran or al-Qaeda and shift their policies and allegiances further away from us.

 

“The idea that just leaving creates peace is just wrong.”

 

“As people who have looked at Michael Yon’s reporting, there’s some real evil going on here… I don’t know if the White House is the proper conduit for those kinds of images, in fact it probably isn’t, but Americans need to get a sense of the kind of evil that we’re dealing with. Al-Qaeda is not a liberating force, they’re an invading force.”

 

Q: Rasmussen has a poll out today saying only 19 percent of Americans “believe the American surge was a success – like it’s over!”

 

Snow: That’s just an irresponsible and sloppy poll question. Sorry Rasmussen, but it is.

 

Mirengoff of Powerline: You had an e-mail blitz, two three, four times a day during immigration.

 

Snow: We’re going to retool what we’re doing here and be a lot more aggressive. Also, check the web site…

 

“These guys [lawmakers] are responding to what they’re hearing at home (in their home states and districts) and what they’re hearing at home is based on what they see on their television screens.”

 

“Americans don’t want failure in Iraq. They want reassurance that the mission is constructed in a manner that can lead to success.”

 

“Sunni parties are now talking about everybody working together. Iraqi government understands the importance of American public support. They realize a certain amount of urgency in making progress.”

 

On explaining the surge is not just more troops doing the same thing but a different, more aggressive, and so-far, more effective way of engaging and defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq: This is one we’re gonna have to pound and pound and pound and pound… You need not merely some facts, but some images that make people say, “ah-ha, so that’s what we’ve been doing.” … You can’t be timid, but you hav eto be careful. You put out one piece of bogus information, and you get killed… We’re going to defend the facts and be vigorous. I would rather have us out there and telling the story as opposed to a reactive component.”

 

“The only way you’re going to change Congressional opinion is to change public opinion.”

 

Asked for victory in a phrase, Snow tried, “Iraqis able to control the basics of their state, and to provide for their own security and freedoms.” One caller wanted “defeat al-Qaeda” in there, prompting Snow to give a much longer one.

 

This is not a typical war. Al-Qaeda is not going to come to the table and sign a document of surrender.

 

Q: Why is al-Sadr still alive?

 

Snow: (chuckles) Because he is… We’re not doing assassinations, but according to the press reports I’ve read, he’s not in Iraq.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Firefighters’ Video: Too Slipshod With Facts For the New York Times



Text  


That’s Funny, Because Mitt Would Say You Just “Brownbackedoff” Your Vote



Text  



Matt Lewis spotlights a new message from the Brownback campaign:

The Brownback for President Campaign announced today it is officially proposing a new word be added to Webster’s Dictionary: “Mitt-amorphasis.”

Below are the details for the proposed word.

MITT-AMORPHASIS

Pheonetic:

Mitt-a-mor-pha-sis

Definition:

1. (v) A self-directed and self-contradictory cyclical process, occurring in even-numbered years, by which a Massachusetts politician transforms at will.

I kinda like Brownback, and he’s got some good people working for him. But man, you just cannot go after an opponent on flip-flopping when you just voted ”yes”, then “no” on cloture for the immigration deal in a span of about 13 minutes. You just can’t.

This would be like Hillary charging that Obama has likeability and baggage issues.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Boy, When It Rains, It Pours



Text  



I’m sure somebody at the McCain campaign said Tuesday, “boy, what a horrible day. Glad this week couldn’t get any worse.”

And then they log onto the Internet this morning and see:

McCain Official Busted on Sex Charge

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Reviewing the Firefighters Union’s Attack Video Against Giuliani



Text  



The International Association of Fire Fighter’s video against Rudy is out. I watched it, trying to see if there were any legitimate gripes among the attacks.

They are few and far between, and the overall tone of the video makes the Swift Boat Vets for Truth ads look like C-SPAN. The video opens with Harold Schaitburger – a man credited with saving John Kerry’s campaign – declaring the video ”part of an ongoing political education process,” and that “we’re not going to tell you how to vote.” Riiiiight.

Schaitburger begins, “One candidate is running on what he perceives as his 9/11 credentials.”

Right. Rudy’s credentials are only a matter of his own perception. Yeah, the former mayor’s the only guy in the country who thinks he showed any leadership or grit under fire that day. Oh, and Time magazine, when they named him Man of the Year:

With the President out of sight for most of that day, Giuliani became the voice of America. Every time he spoke, millions of people felt a little better. His words were full of grief and iron, inspiring New York to inspire the nation…

When the day of infamy came, Giuliani seized it as if he had been waiting for it all his life, taking on half a dozen critical roles and performing each masterfully. Improvising on the fly, he became America’s homeland-security boss, giving calm, informative briefings about the attacks and the extraordinary response. He was the gutsy decision maker, balancing security against symbolism, overruling those who wanted to keep the city buttoned up tight, pushing key institutions–from the New York Stock Exchange to Major League Baseball–to reopen and prove that New Yorkers were getting on with life. He was the crisis manager, bringing together scores of major players from city, state and federal governments for marathon daily meetings that got everyone working together. And he was the consoler in chief, strong enough to let his voice brim with pain, compassion and love. When he said “the number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear,” he showed a side of himself most people had never seen.

(Really, you remember those details, those moments, and you don’t even want to hear the rest of the attack video. Shaitburger’s asking, “Who ya gonna believe, me, or your lying eyes (and memories)?”)

But yeah, Rudy is only perceived as a great leader by himself. And Democrats like Andrew Cuomo.

And Chelsea Clinton, who declared “I thanked God that my mother was a senator representing New York, and that Rudy Giuliani was our mayor.” (Interview with Talk magazine, December 2001.)

And the Queen of England.

I have great respect for the firefighters of New York, no matter what their views on politics or Rudy are, but I’m not persuaded by, “He’s running on his 9/11 leadership, and there was lacking, and there was none” and “Whenevah I hear him talk, I just wanna scream out to the world, ‘God, he’s so full of it.’”

They charge that “Rudy Giuliani’s urban legend begins on February 26, 1993, when al-Qaeda terrorists bomb the World Trade Center.” Of course, while their careful phrasing suggests that Rudy was AWOL that day, they neglect to mention that the mayor of New York City in 1993 was David Dinkins.

They charge that the radios should have been changed quicker, and that the new ones put in March 2001 didn’t work. Is testing new radio systems part of the mayor’s job?

Giuliani’s campaign points out that whatever the flaws in management of the radio system, his administration upgraded just about every other form of protective equipment. As mayor, he “directed the FDNY to purchase and outfit every firefighter with new, state-of the-art protective bunker gear. By the end of his first year in office, the City had distributed 11,300 sets of bunker gear at a cost of approximately $10 million. The new bunker gear resulted in a decrease of burn injuries by nearly 60% between 1994 and 1996.”

His administration “purchased thermal-imaging cameras for all FDNY Ladder Companies, allowing firefighters to see into smoke-filled spaces, locate victims more quickly, and detect hidden pockets of fires in walls and ceilings.”

In 1998, FDNY purchased Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) alarms for all firefighters to assist in the search and rescue of immobile/unconscious firefighters. The PASS alarms are integrated with the self-contained breathing apparatus, activating the alarm any time the air pack was in use so that firefighters no longer had to worry about activating their PASS in the middle of a fire response.

These actions are not the mark of a neglectful administration. Could the management of the upgrading of the radio system be better? Perhaps. But the IAFF, coming up empty on critiques for other vital lifesaving equipment, focuses in on the radio system, without giving credit for any other decision the mayor made. It’s a fundamentally unfair attack, and a revealing one, demonstrating that the pledge to “help [members] make an informed decision” is bunk.

They contrast the problems with the fire radios with the success of police radios; but why is Rudy himself to blame for the problems with the FDNY, but not credited for what worked with NYPD?

One firefighter says, very dramatically, “He gave us nothing, when we needed a life-saving radio.” But the record on the bunker gear, the thermal imaging cameras, and the PASS alarms demonstrate that the charge is manipulative hyperbole.

They go after Rudy for putting the command center – which the New York Times endlessly derided as “Rudy’s bunker,” the mark of a paranoid man obsessed with a mythical threat of terrorism –  in the World Trade Center, which they call the number one terrorist target in New York. (That’s easy to say in hindsight. Remember, we had an angry Palestinian shooting up the Empire State Building observation deck in 1997.) Besides that, it was in World Trade Center number 7, not the towers themselves. Why not have your entire crisis management team near the site they’re most likely to need to work? Who the hell ever imagined the towers collapsing onto lower Manhattan?

Then the attacks get really out of line. They say Rudy was “running” through the streets and “running away from the scene” - I have yet to see any footage of Rudy running, and as for “leaving the scene”, didn’t a building just come down on top of the building he was in? - and “talking to the media.” There are a million cameras in his face, and New Yorkers wanted – no, needed – to know what they should do in the crisis. What the heck was he supposed to do?

At this point, the union members are just grasping for what they can find, throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticking.

There’s a strange interlude where the firefighters criticize the removal of gold in the wreckage from Bank of Nova Scotia. One firefighter charges, “He said, ‘don’t worry, firefighters will believe whatever I tell them. It’s about your safety.’ We knew it wasn’t, we knew it was a lie.” Having not found the villainous comments they would like to spotlight, IAFF members resort to putting the words in Rudy’s mouth.

They refer to the cleanup as Rudy’s “scoop and dump” operation, and claim that the cleanup did not take into account the firefighters’ desire to recover the remains of every firefighter. I can imagine that if you lost a friend, family member and loved one on that day, that decision must be supremely difficult to accept. But we’re talking about 1.2 million tons of wreckage. If America had resolved to go through every piece, looking for human remains, we would probably still have a pile of rubble in lower Manhattan, six years later. (Although considering the ludicrous delays in building anything on the site that we’ve seen, maybe we could have spared the time.) Giuliani relented, and some found remains that might not have been found if the mayor’s original decision has stood. But I don’t think it’s fair to characterize Giuliani’s effort to balance competing interests as “an appalling lack of respect,” as the figures in this video call it.

Every Rudy decision is looked at with the benefit of hindsight and the least sympathetic interpretation possible. It’s a hit piece, and whatever legitimate gripes firefighters may have with Rudy are subsumed by a nasty, sneering contempt.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Saints Barack, Hillary, and Edwards



Text  



I’m not going to call this media bias, I’m just going to ask, can anyone remember a non-conservative magazine portraying three Republican candidates in such a flattering light in an illustration?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

McCain’s Donations Dried Up After - Surprise! - the Immigration Deal



Text  



This line from Novak confirms what many of us suspected:

The [McCain] campaign’s cash flow dried up when his sponsorship of immigration reform (“amnesty”) virtually ended small contributions.

RedState wants the media to stop insisting that Iraq is what’s ailing the McCain campaign, and not his support for the immigration deal. They also lay out the enormous stakes in the pre-September Senate debate on Iraq.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Huckabee Looks to Ames; How Long Until the Field Thins?



Text  



Looks like Huckabee is putting a lot of his chips on the table (sorry for the gambling metaphor) on the Ames Straw Poll.

I like Huckabee, but if he can’t make much of a splash in that contest, with several of the bigger names sitting out, one has to wonder if he can make a splash anywhere.

(Why do I like Huckabee? Oh, comments like this one:

Frankly, Michael Moore is an example of why the health care system costs so much in this country. He clearly is one of the reasons that we have a very expensive system. I know that from my own personal experience,” said Huckabee, who lost more than 110 pounds and became an avid runner after he was diagnosed with diabetes.

“I know how much more my health care cost when I didn’t take care of myself than when I do take care of myself, not only in terms of doctor visits but regular diseases, illnesses, chronic things that come up, monthly prescription bills,” Huckabee said. “All of those things have gone dramatically down since I’ve taken care of myself and worked to live a healthier lifestyle.” 

Taking a page from Fred Thompson’s playbook…)

If we get to the fall, and a bunch of these guys are still in the one, two, three percent range in major polls, will it be time to start thinning out the debates? Has anyone seen anything from Tommy Thompson in these debates that makes us say, “Yes, that’s the guy I want”? Jim Gilmore? Tom Tancredo? I like Duncan Hunter, too, but is that campaign really going anywhere?

[Insert obligatory shot at nonexistent prospects for Ron Paul's campaign in order to enrage his supporters and drive up web traffic here.]

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Okay, You Guys Can Stop Lowering Expectations Now



Text  



My first thought was that the New York Times was kicking John McCain when he’s down with this story, but it is a violation of Senate rules to solicit funds on Capitol grounds, and the candidate was playing with fire by making the calls that he did from the Senate cloakroom. The question is, did McCain say, “please donate” or just “don’t panic”?

This will be a one-day story, unless someone shows up saying, “Yes, I heard McCain, and he did ask for a donation on that call.”

This line in the story made me laugh out loud:

Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s new campaign manager, joked that the campaign had been “exceptionally successful” in lowering expectations about its chances in Iowa.

That’s the spirit! When life gives you a lemon…

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Pages

Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review