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The Campaign Spot

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

The Coming Effort to Persuade You That You Really Like Hillary



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In the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

The Coming Attempt to Persuade You That You Really Like Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is already making a preemptive strike against any critical media coverage in the coming years:

Hillary Clinton, eyeing a second presidential bid and constantly at the center of intense press coverage, lamented Tuesday that modern media scrutiny has made it more difficult to be a leader today.

“We have created very difficult hurdles for people who want to serve, who believe they can lead, to do be able to do so. And the media has intensified that,” the former secretary of state said at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, sponsored by the tech company Salesforce.

Clinton said she had watched Ken Burns’ documentary on the Roosevelt family, noting that reporters kept hidden Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s handicap. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio at age 39 in 1921 and was largely confined to a wheelchair as president.

“Instead of, in a democracy, doing what we should to be doing, which is giving people information so they can be decision makers,” Clinton said reporters today are only interested in “the best angle, quickest hit, the biggest embarrassment.”

@Drawandstrike offers a series of Tweets, preparing us for the two years of the media “build[ing] Hillary up into the Awesome Special Champion You Can Trust With Ever-Growing Government Power.”

Every presidential campaign tries to build a heroic narrative around the life story of their candidate. Sometimes the material is there – think John McCain enduring the years of torture as a POW in Vietnam, and not coming out embittered or enraged or broken with despair. Sometimes the campaign has to stretch. I tried to lay out a heroic narrative for Mitt Romney back in August 2012; I think his campaign really didn’t try particularly hard in this area, other than some portions of his convention speech. (He was a young, barefoot, street-brawling vigilante who later in life gave away his inheritance, physically grabbed state officials who tried to skip out on hearings after accidents, and rescued drowning people on his jetski. He’s Ward Cleaver crossed with Bruce Wayne.)

The media tends to do this in a rather ham-handed way. Sometimes it comes in the cookie-cutter “This Democrat in a Red State Smashes All the Stereotypes” profiles. Sometimes it comes in increasingly heavy-handed attempts to persuade you that the offspring of the Chosen Messiah Candidate is particularly special and admirable:

That particular cover story in Fast Company tried to dance around its obvious mission of glamorizing a young woman whose adult life consists mostly of stepping through doors opened by her parents’ power and meandering through the highest levels of high society without actually doing much.

Over on NRO this morning, I look at the intensely depressed national mood and point out that the country could use someone with a bit of a heroic shine these days.

Tags: Hillary Clinton

Is Joni Ernst No Longer the Underdog Candidate in Iowa?



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In addition to Colorado, Iowa is another state where the conventional wisdom may need to change. The political media treats it as a neck-and-neck race or Republican candidate Joni Ernst as a slight underdog. But this morning Quinnipiac finds her up 2, which may not sound like much, and indeed, Quinnipiac’s last poll in late September showed her ahead by 6. But she led in five of the last seven polls over Democrat Bruce Braley, and one of the other two was tied.

And note this detail in Quinnpiac: “By a 47 – 41 percent margin, Iowa likely voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst. Braley gets a split score, with 42 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.”

The favorite?

Tags: Joni Ernst , Bruce Braley , Iowa

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Cory Gardner, Leading 7 of the Last 8 Polls In Colorado



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CNN, further confirming the notion that Cory Gardner is no longer the underdog in Colorado:

Republican Cory Gardner has opened up a four-point lead in a Colorado Senate race that’s key in determining whether Democrats can hold onto their majority, a new CNN/ORC poll shows.

Gardner held a 50 percent to 46 percent edge on first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in the survey of 665 likely voters, conducted Oct. 9-13. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Gardner has now led 7 of the last 8 polls in Colorado.

CNN also finds the Democratic incumbent governor, John Hickenlooper, ahead by one point in the governor’s race.

Tags: Cory Gardner

Grimes, Davis, and the Great Democratic Rural Hopes



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It is the time of year when leaves fall from the trees and races fall from the national committee’s priorities list.

Republicans went through their sad moment a few days ago when the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled their ads from Michigan, an ominous indicator for former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land. If the NRSC is going to spend an additional $6 million trying to help Thom Tillis in North Carolina, those resources have to come from somewhere.

Now the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is pulling the plug on its television ads in Kentucky, to help Allison Lundergan Grimes: “The DSCC had not reserved time for the final three weeks of the race and, as of today, is no longer on the air.”

Grimes follows a long and not-so-proud tradition of Democratic candidates running in traditionally red states who were heralded by the national media as signs of a changing era, helping usher in an era of a permanent Democratic majority. Call them the Great Democratic Rural Hopes. The national media loves to write these sorts of stories. They’re usually pictured on a farm or at a state fair. The headline is some variation of, “You may think that [insert Southern or Midwestern state here] is Republican territory. [Insert candidate name here] is about to prove you wrong.”

The glowing profiles go on to showcase how the candidate grew up on a farm, goes to church, wears cowboy boots, offers some kind of pro forma claim to want a more efficient government, and then veers into standard anti-corporation populism. Their campaign commercials feature them shooting a lot, but they’re often leaving some wiggle room for the nebulous “common-sense gun reform.” If they’re not managed by “Mudcat” Saunders, they’ve at least read his book.

Sometimes the Great Democratic Rural Hopes go on to win. Sometimes they have decent careers. Very rarely do they genuinely signal a shift in a state’s identity, and quite often they end up flopping, a greater indicator of what the national media wants to see in these states than what’s actually going on.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore technically qualify as Great Democratic Rural Hopes, although the irony is that Arkansas and Tennessee shifted more to the Republicans after 1992.

A reasonably successful Great Democratic Rural Hope includes Mark Warner in Virginia, and we can put former senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius in the “somewhat successful” category. (The cabinet is where rising stars go to disappear, isn’t it? Has anyone seen Julian Castro lately?) North Carolina’s John Edwards certainly got this treatment. Georgia governnor Roy Barnes was set to get this until he lost his reelection bid in 2002.

Every once in a while, you see a Blue State Republican get roughly the equivalent coverage — Scott Brown, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie — although in the case of Christie, the profiles tend to emphasize how moderate and sensible and centrist this Republican is compared to all of those scary, extremist ones elsewhere.

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis also got the treatment this year. This year Alison Lundergan Grimes raised more than $11 million; Davis raised more than $13 million. Lucky for Republicans that media hype helped persuade Democratic donors to give money to their longshot campaigns instead of races where it could have made a bigger difference.

Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes , Wendy Davis , DSCC , Red State Democrats

The Left, Hoping the Lack of a Surgeon General Becomes a Huge Issue



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Since the Ebola outbreak began to dominate the news cycle, you’ve heard liberals contending that the lack of a surgeon general is some sort of major impediment to the U.S. government effort to control the disease. As the Washington Post summarized,

Vivek Murthy, the president’s nominee to be the next surgeon general, was too politically outspoken for some. He was an Obama supporter and an advocate for Obamacare. But he also said gun violence in America is a public health issue. So senators, including some Democrats, withheld support.

Today on Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC program, the host invited former surgeon general Richard Carmona, who served under President Bush, on the program. The former surgeon general offered a bluntly harsh assessment that Murthy was “a young man who has great potential, but just a few years out of training, with no public health training or experience” and “a resume that only stands out because he was the co-founder of Doctors for Obama.” Carmona made similar comments on Fox News a few days ago.

“So substantive objections as well as well as partisan ones,” Farrow said quickly, moving on from the interview.

Later in the program, Farrow asked Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News whether Republicans would pay a price for opposing Murthy.

Farrow: Both Ted Cruz and Rick Perry oppose that nomination of Dr. Murthy. Tell me, how have Senators Cornyn and Cruz’s opposition played politically? Is that something that could backfire when we’re in the midst of this Ebola response that would seem to necessitate a surgeon general being in place?

Slater: Not likely, Ronan. Not here in Texas. Let me tell you, this is a political no-brainer for a Republican in a state like Texas — you vote for an Obama nominee, even in a crisis situation, a difficult like this, you vote against the NRA. The NRA wins every time. So don’t look for Cornyn or Cruz to be rallying around a new surgeon general, unless it’s someone the NRA doesn’t oppose.

Naturally, a few minutes later, Farrow asked Slater, “Looking at this nationally, how likely do you think it is that Ebola will become a political football heading into the midterms?”

Tags: Surgeon General , Ebola , Texas , Ted Cruz

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Is Cory Gardner Still an Underdog in Colorado?



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Is Cory Gardner still an underdog in Colorado?

Here’s the Denver Post’s latest poll:

“There has been movement to Gardner that is unmistakable and what had been nominal advantage for Udall has been erased,” said Jay Leve at SurveyUSA.

A 10-point lead among independents in a September poll that favored Udall disappeared. It’s now tied at 40 percent, the poll found. And a 13-point gap among woman that favored Udall is now seven points.

Tags: Cory Gardner , Mark Udall

The Next Big Wedge Issue: Stopping Flights from Ebola Countries



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Meet the next big issue before Election Day:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and about the same amount say they want flight restrictions from the countries in West Africa where the disease has quickly spread.

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows 67 percent of people say they would support restricting entry to the United States from countries struggling with Ebola. Another 91 percent would like to see stricter screening procedures at U.S. airports in response to the disease’s spread.

“Those horrible anti-African racists!” Er, 60 percent of Democrats want these restrictions, 76 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents.

Some Republican candidates were already making this point:

Mr. Cotton is among a number of Republican Senate candidates calling for a ban on flights from West African countries grappling with Ebola. On Monday, Rep. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican running for the Senate, said he had signed a letter to Mr. Obama calling for travel restrictions. His office also said he had called earlier this year for full funding of the NIH for work on “infectious diseases such as Ebola.” Obama administration officials have said a travel ban would impede aid to the region.

In all likelihood, this will become the next issue where red and purple state Democrats insist they disagree with the administration, but with no real consequence to this decision. Last night Senator Mark Warner said the screening process at airports has been insufficient.

This may suddenly be a very big issue in Virginia:

A woman who dropped by a South Richmond clinic with a low-grade fever Monday found herself being evaluated as the city’s first potential Ebola patient and was transferred to VCU Medical Center last night after being isolated most of the day at the clinic where she had sought treatment.

Tags: Ebola

NRSC Feeling More Confident About Tillis in North Carolina



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Somebody at the NRSC feels good about Thom Tillis:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is planning to reserve more than $6 million in additional North Carolina airtime Monday, sources tell POLITICO.

The article says the committee is “seeing overnight tracking numbers that show the race tightening.”

It’s worth noting that the Libertarian candidate, Sean Haugh, continues to draw a significant percentage of voters. In the latest Survey USA poll, Tillis actually leads head-to-head with Hagan, 46 percent to 45 percent. But when the Libertarian candidate is an option, Hagan leads, 44 percent to 41 percent.

Haugh — “Libertarian” — not only supports term limits, but (tongue-in-cheek?) calls for term limits for “aides, bureaucrats, journalists, and anyone in the political class.” That may be a good idea or a bad idea, but it’s hardly a limited-government idea to impose new rules on who can participate in the political process.

He also wants to “stop all war” and this is his response to U.S. military action vs ISIS:

Somebody has got to look you dead in the eye and remind you that killing people is wrong. And I guess that somebody has got to be me. . . . If you want an excuse to keep on killing, you’ve come to the wrong guy. Killing people is wrong, period. Somebody has got to be smart enough to see the results and realize that we’ve got to try another way. Somebody has got to be moral enough to be the first to stop the killing. And it’s got to be us . . . 

The people you see on the news are not abstract concepts. Those dead bodies are real. Real human beings who have been murdered to advance some government policy of ours, whether it’s in Mosul, or Gaza, or Ferguson, or Nogales.

It’s long past time we tried different, peaceful solutions. I’m Sean Haugh, and I am not at war.

Maybe Tillis’s messaging in the closing weeks ought to be something that can peel off a portion of the Libertarian demographic? His desire to eliminate the federal Export-Import Bank? Concerns about NSA abuses?

Gay marriage and drug testing for those collecting public benefits are out, obviously.

Tags: Thom Tillis , Kay Hagan , North Carolina

Clinton Charges University $225,000 for Speech on High Cost of Tuition



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Only Hillary Clinton can take a $225,000 speaking fee from a public university and then, in the speech, lament how high the cost of higher education is.

“Higher education shouldn’t be a privilege for those able to afford it,” she said, seeming to not grasp that one reason tuition may be high is that universities think it’s a good idea to spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars to pay a multimillionaire to speak on campus.

America Rising noted:

When she lands in Vegas she will be paid $225,000 to give brief remarks. Following the event, Clinton will take a motorcade to a Democratic party event where she will lay the foundation for her 2016 campaign on the UNLV Foundation’s dime with Nevada politicos like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Her evening will end at a presidential suite that was required as part of her speaking contract.

“For $225,000, I expected to see live tigers.”

Tags: Hillary Clinton

Now He Tells Us: ‘We Have to Rethink the Way We Address Ebola Infection Control.’



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

Oh Look, the Official Statements About Ebola Are Subtly Shifting.

Uh-oh:

“We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable,” Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news conference.

Frieden did not detail precisely how the extensive, government-issued safety protocols in place at many facilities might need to change or in what ways hospitals need to ramp up training for front-line doctors or nurses . . . 

Officials have said Pham wore protective gear, including a gown, gloves, a mask and a face shield, while caring for Duncan on multiple occasions. But Ebola can easily infect those who come into contact with the bodily fluids of Ebola patients, and the smallest slip in putting on or taking off protective gear can open the door to the virus.

“We need to consider the possibility that there could be additional cases, particularly among the health-care workers who cared for [Duncan] when he was so ill,” Frieden said. “We would not be surprised if we did see additional cases.”

Hey, remember when our government was all gung-ho, assuring us they were going to “stop it in its tracks”? The same guy, nine days ago:

Health officials stressed that they are confident they can control this situation and keep the virus from spreading in the U.S.

“We’re stopping it in its tracks in this country,” Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, declared during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

See if you can spot the unnerving detail in our new airport screening policy:

JFK airport is the first U.S. airport to begin screenings for Ebola. Washington Dulles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will begin screenings this week.

Those five airports account for 94% of all the 150 travelers who on average arrive daily from those most affected countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past 12 months, JFK received about half the passengers from those countries entering into the U.S., according to the CDC.

So what about that other 6 percent? Are we just hoping that no one in that remaining 6 percent has Ebola? Sure, it’s just 9 people a day, but that’s 45 people a week, about 180 a month. . . . And before someone says, “Oh, what are the odds of someone with Ebola getting on a plane and coming to the United States?,” remember, this already happened.

Does this mean “rethinking” the U.S. troops in the hot zone over there?

Small numbers of highly-trained U.S. troops wearing full-body protective gear have been testing the blood of potential Ebola victims without coming into direct contact with them, the head of the U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

Army Gen. David Rodriguez initially said at a Tuesday Pentagon briefing that teams of three or four personnel working at mobile test labs were likely to have direct contact with Ebola victims. However, he later issued a correction to conform with White House and Pentagon policy directives against direct contacts by U.S. troops.

“I want to clarify my remarks,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “U.S. military personnel working in the labs are not interacting with patients, only samples.”

In last night’s Senate debate here in Virginia:

Amid news that a health care worker in Dallas had become infected with the disease, both candidates agreed that President Barack Obama has been too slow to deal with the Ebola crisis.

[Sen. Mark] Warner said it may be time to consider restrictions on flights as some European nations have done, “particularly with a nation like Liberia, where Ebola has spread so widely.”

[GOP Senate candidate Ed] Gillespie said it’s too late to merely consider stopping flights from West Africa where there is an Ebola outbreak. “It’s time to impose a flight ban in that regard and that’s what this administration should do.”

Tags: Ebola , CDC

Miserly GOP House Passed Budget Increasing CDC Spending 8.2 Percent



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The DCCC unveiled advertising declaring “Republicans voted to cut CDC’s budget to fight Ebola. Republicans protect tax breaks for special interests.”

In January, that allegedly miserly and cruel and callous GOP-controlled House also approved a budget that increased CDC’s budget by a lot:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will see an 8.2 percent budget increase for fiscal 2014, thanks to a $1.1 trillion spending bill announced by Congress Jan. 13.

This influx of cash will raise the CDC budget to $6.9 billion, which is $567 million more than it received in 2013. This is more than the agency anticipated, because the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for it was just $6.6 billion — a decrease of $270 million from fiscal 2012.

Of the $6.9 billion, $1.3 billion was allocated to protect the United States from foreign and domestic threats, both intentional and naturally occurring. $255 million will go to support bio-defense efforts, and $160 million will be set aside for states to address their most pressing public health needs. The CDC will get $30 million for Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD), which will help identify potential disease outbreaks earlier and more accurately.

The harsh, merciless, tightwad House of Representatives passed the omnibus spending bill 376 to 5.

And if health funding is so vital, no matter the circumstances . . . remember when House Republicans introduced a bill to fund the National Institutes of Health during the government shutdown, and the Senate Democrats refused to consider it?

CNN’s DANA BASH: But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. To have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless.

BASH: I’m just asking a question.

Tags: CDC , House Republicans

Pat Roberts Isn’t Out of the Woods Yet, but . . .



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If the election had been held in early October, “independent” candidate Greg Orman might have won the Kansas Senate race. As October began, NBC News/Marist put Orman up by 10 and Survey USA put him up by 5.

But as Pat Roberts’ campaign shook off the complacency and lethargy, Republicans from Jeb Bush to Sarah Palin came to help out the incumbent, and Orman grew even more evasive about his political leanings, polls shifted. CNN put Roberts up by 1, and Fox News put Roberts up by 5. Tea-party groups are getting back on board with Roberts, and conservative groups are starting to fill the airwaves with anti-Orman ads. Roberts, hurt by a deeply divided GOP primary, a long, long period of service in Washington, and an iffy status of residency in the state, may turn out to be quite lucky that he had as much time as he has to right the ship.

Now even Public Policy Polling is throwing some cold water on Democrats’ hopes that Orman will derail Roberts’ bid for reelection:

In the Senate race Greg Orman leads Pat Roberts 44-41, with Libertarian Randall Batson at 5%. In a head to head match up without Batson, Orman has a 46/43 advantage. A month ago he led Roberts 46/36- Orman has held onto his support since then, but the incumbent is on the rise. Roberts’ gains have come pretty much exclusively with Republicans — he’s gone from leading by 26 points with them at 57/31 in September to now a 37 point advantage at 62/25. Roberts remains unpopular- only 37% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 47% who disapprove. But Orman’s negatives are rising as the campaign progresses too- his net favorability of +4 at 42/38 is down 16 points from last month when it was +20 at 39/19.

There’s still one big data point in Kansas pointing to the possibility of Roberts ultimately coming back to win this race. By a 52/35 margin, voters in the state would rather Republicans had control of the Senate than Democrats. And among those who are undecided there’s a 48/25 preference for a GOP controlled Senate. If voters make up their minds based on the national picture in the closing stretch it could mean voting for Roberts even if they don’t really care for him personally.

How long can an “independent” remain a blank slate in a Republican-leaning state? Roberts and Republicans have to hope, “not long enough to win.”

Tags: Pat Roberts , Greg Orman

Sometimes, Supporting Wendy Davis Is a Drag.



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Wendy Davis’s campaign staff, going the extra mile for the paraplegic supporter at today’s event:

Full video here:

Who could possibly not think well of this woman and the team around her?

Tags: Wendy Davis

Hillary’s DNC Fundraising E-Mail Pledges to Help Democratic Women, Mentions Iowa Senate Race



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Hillary Clinton has attached her name to a women-focused fundraising e-mail from the Democratic National Committee:

Democrats across our country are fighting for hard-working American families to have a fair shot at the American dream.

Strong Democratic women like Alison Lundergan Grimes, Michelle Nunn, and Natalie Tennant give me hope. They’re running to join great leaders like Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, and Jeanne Shaheen in the United States Senate, where they will stand up for our values and our future.

I take hope from all our terrific Democratic women running for governor, including Mary Burke, Martha Coakley, Wendy Davis, Maggie Hassan, and Gina Raimondo. You can count on them to always put our families first.

These women can win — but not without your help, [E-MAIL RECIPIENT NAME HERE].

Apparently you didn’t need a shot at winning to get mentioned in the e-mail. Among the senatorial candidates, Grimes is down in the RealClearPolitics average by 3 points (but has led only one of the past 12 polls) in Kentucky, Nunn is down 2.7 points (but hasn’t lead any of the past nine polls) in Georgia, and Tennant is down by 17 points in West Virginia. Hagan is ahead by 2.4 points in North Carolina, Landrieu trails runoff polling by 5.6 points in Louisiana, and Shaheen leads by 6.5 points in New Hampshire.

Burke trails by half a percentage point in Wisconsin, Coakley leads by 1.6 points in Massachusetts, Hassan leads by 11.3 points in New Hampshire, and Raimondo leads by 4 points in Rhode Island.

Of course, Wendy Davis trails by 11.3 points in Texas, but perhaps that wheelchair ad is just the magic wand she’s needed.

The e-mail suggests that the funds will only be going to certain candidates:

With your help, we’ll keep building an organization that can go door-to-door and have meaningful conversations with voters about the issues that matter most to them. We can cut through the fog of negative ads on TV in Kentucky, North Carolina, or Iowa.

So DNC e-mail list is being asked to send money to help “strong Democratic women” . . . which apparently includes Bruce Braley, running against Republican Joni Ernst in Iowa’s Senate race.

Tags: Wendy Davis , Hillary Clinton , DNC , Fundraising

Colorado Newspapers Rip Udall’s One-Note Campaign



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It’s not just the Denver Post editorial board that finds Senator Mark Udall’s relentless, ill-supported “war on women” argument unpersuasive and insulting.

Here’s the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board:

Maybe Udall finally gets it. Few believe the pretense of a Republican war on women. The message was at first a waste of money and time. Now, it has backfired.

On the average day for the past several months, Udall’s campaign has produced multiple statements with each mentioning his support of “birth control,” “contraception” and/or “abortion” a dozen times or more. They did not come from 527s or other outside groups, but directly from the campaign. One might think Roe v. Wade hadn’t been decided 41 years ago. Or that women had no other pressing concerns.

The Fort Collins Coloradan chose not to endorse a candidate, and complained about Udall’s ads:

This year, the Coloradoan editorial board will not be endorsing a Senate candidate because Rep. Cory Gardner declined to participate in an editorial board meeting. Gardner, a Republican, had scheduled a meeting, canceled it and his team representative said he would reschedule. But emails and phone calls were left unanswered. We encourage voters to eschew the TV ads and research Gardner’s stand on issues and votes in the U.S. House to better understand if he should represent Colorado.

Incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, did visit the editorial board. His answers were direct and forthright, except for his weak justification of continuing abortion attack ads. He chose to blame Gardner.

And the Grand Junction Sentinel, which did endorse Gardner, despite concerns about his position on abortion, also complained about both campaigns’ tone:

Indeed Udall’s campaign and that of his Republican opponent Cory Gardner have both taken to warning voters that each candidate is too extreme for Colorado. Gardner’s incessant drumbeat is that Udall has voted “99 percent” of the time with President Barack Obama. Udall has zeroed in on Gardner’s conflicting and confusing stance on personhood legislation as evidence that he’s trying to hide an ultraconservative agenda.

This fear-mongering, of course, is aimed at independent and undecided voters because those with entrenched party views have already made up their minds.

Of course, the Denver Post’s Lyn Bartels, moderating one of the debates, called the senator “Mark Uterus.”

The Denver Post editorial board’s endorsement was perhaps the most blunt:

Rather than run on his record, Udall’s campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman’s call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.

Tags: Mark Udall , Colorado , Cory Gardner

Doesn’t the Panic Over the Early-Voting Totals Look Silly Now?



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Remember in late September when Democrats were giddy and Republicans were despondent over “the early-voting totals”? Even though only about 2,000 ballots had been returned in Iowa and North Carolina? Even though about 1 million votes will be cast in Iowa’s statewide races, and about 2 million in North Carolina’s? You may recall my observation, “This is kind of like that moment a half-hour or so after the polls close, when a handful of precincts have reported, and some people freak out with 1 percent of the vote counted.”

A couple weeks later, the outlook for Republicans is considerably brighter. University of Florida professor Michael McDonald tracks the data and sees Republicans rapidly making up ground and catching up with Democrats in Iowa . . . 

. . . and Republicans have now caught up in North Carolina:

This does not mean Republicans are certain to win the high-profile Senate races in these states; polling still shows an exceptionally tight race in Iowa and a slight lead for Senator Kay Hagan in North Carolina. But it confirms that it’s silly to draw a conclusion about who’s going to win based upon the registered party affiliation of the first few thousand absentee ballots returned.

Tags: Early Voting , Iowa , North Carolina

Why Georgia Republicans Shouldn’t Be Too Nervous This Morning



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The first poll out this morning comes from Georgia, where the WSB/Landmark survey finds both the Senate race between and the governor’s race tied.

At first glance, this is an ominous indicator for Republican governor Nathan Deal and Senate candidate David Purdue, as most polls in the past two months showed both men with small but consistent leads.

But look a little closer. The last poll that showed Purdue trailing Michelle Nunn was . . . the WSB/Landmark survey, conducted from September 9 to 11, showing Nunn ahead by three points. So by the measuring stick of this particular pollster’s turnout model, the new survey shows movement in the GOP direction. In fact, of the past 13 polls, only two have not shown Purdue ahead — both of the WSB/Landmark surveys. (Note, this doesn’t mean that the poll is wrong, “skewed,” biased, or is some other deliberate effort to misinform. It’s just that their particular samples seem to bring slightly better results for the Democratic candidates than those of the other pollsters.)

In the governor’s race, the last WSB/Landmark survey showed Deal trailing Jason Carter by three points as well. So this morning’s survey also represents movement in the direction of the GOP candidate, compared to the last time this pollster went into the field. Deal has led 11 of the past 14 polls.

Tags: Nathan Deal , David Purdue , Michelle Nunn , Jason Carter , Georgia

Git-R-Done America vs. Washington



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Git-R-Done America vs. Washington

You work hard. You pay what you think is more than enough in taxes. The economy hasn’t really felt good since 2008, but you managed to get by. If you’ve got a 401(k), it’s grown in the past few years – but the real estate bubble burned you, and the dot-com bubble burned you before that. You know that nice sum in your 401(k) could plummet without warning. What you would really like is a nice better job, so you could feel better about the amount of income coming in every month.

You’re trying to play all of your roles – worker, parent, sibling, child, friend, neighbor, parishioner, and somehow find time to take care of yourself so you don’t keel over from a heart attack. It’s tough. Time is at a premium. Speaking of which, your insurer announced your premiums are going up again. You’ve been thinking of trading in the old car, but you’re not so sure you could handle new car payments and the higher premiums.

But you get up every day and you take care of everything that needs care, because that’s who you are and what you do. You get it done. You take some pride in that. You look at your loved ones, your friends and neighbors, your colleagues, and you know that they know that they can count on you.

You kind of wonder about everybody else, though.

What’s with the Centers for Disease Control? They keep telling you “we’re going to stop Ebola in its tracks here” and then there are new cases. The NIH director seems to think he’s reassuring us by telling us “the system worked” as we learn about new infections. Then there’s that enterovirus 68 floating around, killing kids. Terrifying, heartbreaking. Hey, guys, maybe a little less time studying gun control and a little more time spent on, you know, disease control? That’s your job.

What’s going on with everybody who’s supposed to be protecting us? First Obama says “We don’t have a strategy yet” – why not? Don’t we spend billions, even trillions, on national security agencies, intelligence agencies and a Department of Defense? Isn’t somebody in those vast, expensive organizations supposed to come up with a strategy? Then he said “they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria” – isn’t that their job? Wasn’t anybody watching?

Now they’re saying the airstrikes over in Iraq and Syria aren’t doing enough, and ISIS is knocking on the door of Baghdad. Sunday morning, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said we’re not reassessing our strategy. Well, shouldn’t somebody? Just in case? Doesn’t anybody over there believe in having a Plan B? Isn’t that the job of a national security advisor?

How the hell did the top guys at the Department of Veterans Affairs not know about the wait lists and that veterans were dying, waiting for care? That’s their job.

How the heck did the federal government AND so many state governments manage to spend so much money and not build insurance-exchange websites that worked? That was their job.

The president keeps insisting that test scores are up and that college attendance is up, when it’s actually been the opposite. Obviously, the public schools aren’t good enough for his kids. He promised the moon when it came to improving schools back in 2008. Wasn’t that his job?

In your life, failure is not an option. If you don’t pick up the kids from school, they’re stuck there. If you don’t go shop for groceries, the kids don’t eat. All around you, every day, you see things that have to get done, and you do them. You don’t tell the kids, “well, our intentions were good. We tried. We had some glitches.” You don’t get to blame your predecessor or the opposition party. You don’t get to tell them, or your spouse, or your boss, that the situation is the same, as normal, and that they’re “just noticing now because of social media.”

Where is this “get it done” attitude in Washington? Every time you turn around, it’s some new excuse. Americans do not accept this kind of incompetence and unaccountability in their personal and professional lives. Why should they accept it from Washington?

Tags: Washington , Barack Obama , Culture , Bureaucrats

Liberal Group’s Ad Blames Congressional GOP for Ebola



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Perfect. The tax-exempt “Agenda Project” is airing an ad declaring “Republican cuts kill,” directly blaming congressional Republicans for the Ebola outbreak:

From their even-tempered, fair-minded release:

Today the Agenda Project Action Fund launched “Republican Cuts Kill,” a multi-pronged blitzkrieg attack that lays blame for the Ebola crisis exactly where it belongs — at the feet of the Republican lawmakers. Like rabid dogs in a butcher shop, Republicans have indiscriminately shredded everything in their path, including critical programs that could have dealt with the Ebola crisis before it reached our country. Yesterday, a health worker tested positive for the virus — now, the effects of the GOP’s fanatical hatred for our government may finally be exposed.

. . . In launching this effort, we will be the first major progressive group to directly blame GOP budget cuts for the nearly 4,000 deaths caused by the Ebola crisis.

Our plan is to place a paid buy in Kentucky the week of October 18 with North Carolina, Kansas, and South Dakota to follow provided we complete the financing we need.

The NIH budget has doubled since 2000, allocations to the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases rose to $4.3 billion in 2004 from $1.8 billion in 2000, and as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal notes:

Consider the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a new series of annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare. Over the past five years, the CDC has received just under $3 billion in transfers from the fund. Yet only 6 percent — $180 million — of that $3 billion went toward building epidemiology and laboratory capacity.

Hey, could any of that $1 billion spent on HealthCare.gov been spent on vaccine research?

Tags: Ebola , Republicans , NIH

NIH Director: ‘The System Worked’ in Ebola Infection



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The spirit of Janet Napolitano lives on in Washington:

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on Sunday the system put into place to slow the spread of Ebola transmission in the United States was working.

“The system worked,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On Sunday, officials in Texas announced that a second person in Dallas had tested positive for the deadly virus — a health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week.

“She was on voluntary self-monitoring,” he said about the latest victim. “She found she got infected, and she immediately did what she was supposed to have done.”

“So even in this troublesome situation, the system is working,” Fauci said.

Napolitano famously boasted that “the system worked” when a Nigerian bomber got onto a U.S.-bound plane on Christmas 2009.

Tags: NIH , Ebola , Janet Napolitano

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