All 11 entries tagged Race For 2008

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November 05, 2008

God Bless America

Barack Obama and family

I went to bed at about 2.15am last night (9.15pm ET), confident that John McCain was out of it.

He was.

Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio were all being pushed towards Obama wins. Just one of them was probably enough.

The Obama that spoke in Chicago a few hours ago was an older, wiser and certainly more tired one than was thrust onto the political stage back in 2004. That date – and its closeness to the present day – is just one of the amazing things about this election.

In few races could a junior senator from a Northern state with relatively left-wing values beat an experienced war hero like John McCain.

Throw in his race – but more importantly his full name, Barack Hussein Obama – and the result of the 2008 election could have been written by Hollywood.

  • Dizzy makes a good point that this wasn’t the landslide that the electoral college would suggest. As I write, McCain received 47% of the popular vote. If this wasn’t an election, that’d be rounded up to ‘half’. The United States is still a divided country, even if state boundaries have conspired to suggest otherwise.
  • I stumbled across this website yesterday which is very cute. It’s the online equivalent of “are we nearly there yet”. Until a few hours ago, it said “almost”.
  • The TV coverage on both sides of the Atlantic was interesting. David Dimbleby on the BBC was useless, and must surely be approaching retirement. He had to ask his studio guests to help him identify Joe Lieberman, kept barking at the control room while still on-screen, and didn’t give the impression he knew much about U.S. politics.
  • Sky did better, but the constant ad-breaks made me give up. It’s a bit like watching Formula 1 on ITV – you know something’s going to happen while you’re learning about washing powder.
  • Stateside, MSNBC was a bit dry, Fox News was a bit depressed and CNN brought Star Wars to the Presidential Election – their correspondents appeared in the studio by hologram. I loved it.

Later I’ll probably write something about what all of this means for the UK.

October 29, 2008

Race for 2008: Is tonight when the tide turns?

Thank goodness for our election laws.

Tonight, Barack Obama will straddle three national TV networks to tell the American people what he will do for them.

It’s an interesting idea, but could it spectacularly backfire?

The backlash has already begun, with Obama’s ten-year-old daughter Malia. She asked her mum: “Are you going to interrupt my TV?”. She was reassured the broadcast wouldn’t be going out on the Disney Channel.

But it will be going out on Fox, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Univision, BET and TV One.

Fox has had to push back a major sporting fixture to avoid a clash with the Obamathon.

He’s also appearing on tonight’s The Daily Show – an appearance I’ll definitely be checking tomorrow on More4 – as well as doing several big interviews over the next couple of days.

Obama isn’t so much going for blanket coverage, as suffocation.

There’s a real danger that the 30-minute broadcast will come across as arrogant.

McCain’s already jumped on it, saying: “No one will delay the World Series with an infomercial when I’m president”.

The piece is apparently high on ‘Americana’ – flags, strings and Presidential imagery.

But why’s he spending $6m on broadcasting it when it’d still get millions of views if he stuck it on YouTube?

The polls are apparently beginning to tighten – could one last burst of arrogance pop the bubble?

(He’s already joked about his face being on Mount Rushmore!)

Race for 2008: Is the media rooting for Obama?

The Republicans have been facing an uphill battle ever since George W. Bush won the 2004 election.

The media hunt as a pack, and the collective pendulum has been swinging towards the Democrats for the last two years.

I might have called it just a little bit wrong when I said of Joe Biden: “[calling Obama ‘clean’ will] probably be his only notable contribution to the campaign”, but I wasn’t alone when I predicted whoever won the Democrat primary would take the White House.

But the ease with which Obama has got this far is starting to worry people.

Michael Malone writes that as a journalist, he’s ashamed of the bias shown towards Obama.

While the media has gone through Sarah Palin’s bins, trashed John McCain’s wife Cindy and given anything John’s said little serious attention, Obama and Biden have had it easy.

Malone says it’s not because of journalists, but because their editors have only been selecting – and commissioning – stories which help smooth the wheels of the Obama campaign, and perpetuate the narrative that appeals most.Obama worship


The media pack loves a good story. America’s first mixed-race President is an incredible one, which everyone (including the British media) have got caught up in. This is only the biggest, most expensive, most anticipated election in decades because of Barack Obama’s colour.

There’s also a slightly more sinister side to this. McCain dying in office would be an enormous story. Obama dying in office would make the death of Princess Diana look like a footnote in history.

No matter what happens, an Obama presidency will bring with it more drama than President Bartlet managed in seven seasons of The West Wing.

A changed dynamic in Congress also appeals to their instincts. It’ll give them a common enemy in just a few months, and a filibuster-proof 60 seats for the Democrats in the Senate means the effective opposition isn’t the Republicans, but the media.

Put simply, if Obama wins next week, it’s the end of business as usual.

And that’s why virtually every newshound is rooting for him.

News coverage of George Bush – in fact his lame duck status – has come about because the media got bored with him. The war in Iraq isn’t working. The war in Iraq isn’t working. The war in Iraq isn’t working. Say it several times, and people get bored of that story. You can change Iraq for ‘financial stimulus package’, ‘healthcare’ or really any other Bush policy, and it becomes tiresome pretty quickly. News coverage of the White House has been minimal since early 2007, when the race for 2008 really began.

The narrative of the past six years has been full of failure. Obama might not have intended to woo the media with it when he came up with his slogan, but change is exactly what they want, never mind the electorate.

The bias in the coverage of this election looks more than likely to help bring that change about.

> Politico in the States defends itself against pro-Obama bias

February 07, 2007

Race for 2008: Place your bets now…

Race for 2008

With the field so widely spread, I thought it would be interesting to see what odds bookies are offering on the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. I think the odds on Clinton and Obama are quite poor at this stage of the race, while some of the outsiders may well be worth a punt.

Hillary Clinton 2/1
John McCain 10/3
Barack Obama 11/2
John Edwards 7/1
Rudolph Giuliani 10/1
Mitt Romney 12/1
Al Gore 14/1
Condoleeza Rice 20/1
Joseph Biden 25/1
Bill Richardson 28/1

Joseph BidenOf the Top 10, six are Democrat and four are Republican. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Democrats are favourites though – instead it probably means there’s fewer standout Democrat candidates.

In fact, you’ll get odds of 4/5 on a Democrat President and 11/10 on a Republican in the White House, suggesting the Democrats are currently ahead. But if a Republican pulls away from President Bush’s shadow, that will all change.

And it’s interesting to see the difference between betting on the President and betting on the candidates. For instance, Joseph Biden is the ninth most likely to be President, but the 12th most likely Democrat candidate. Which suggests people think he’s not likely to win the nomination, but if he did, he’d do well. Either that, or people don’t know much about him.

If we’re talking bad odds, how about Arnold Schwarzenegger at 100/1. Being that he’s not eligible to stand, it seems a bit unlikely he’ll win.

And my tip? Well, I think Obama vs McCain looks the most likely at the moment, but I think that’ll change. I’d put money on Bill Richardson at 28/1 – he’s half Mexican, popular and won’t be seen as liberal. At the very least he’s got to be a possible for Vice President. If I had any money I’d lay a speculative pound or two.

February 01, 2007

Race for 2008: Dick Morris says…

Dick MorrisDick Morris ran Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996. He’s since turned on his former boss, and even more so on his former boss’s wife. He gave a speech on Wednesday at the offices of Americans for Tax Reform:

  • Although Barack Obama is an “exciting phenomenon,” he is the equivalent of “political stem cells: You can make him into any tissue you want.”
  • “It is in the national interest that, if there is a Democratic president, that it not be Hillary.”
  • “The Republican field is like the New York Yankees: They’ve got a pitching rotation of really great names who are 45 years old and who probably won Cy Young Awards when they were younger. But they’ll have a sore arm by the World Series and will end up on the [disabled list]. Republicans need to look to the minor leagues.”
  • He laid out the political future: “Hillary will be the next president, and she’ll be the worst president we’ve ever seen.” No matter what happens, the situation in Iraq will “assure that the GOP gets massacred in 2008 congressional elections.” In 2010, the Republicans will take back the Congress — “Hillary will give Republicans the same gift she gave them in 1994” — and they’ll win the presidency in 2012, but thanks to demographic shifts favoring Republicans (namely the rising Hispanic and African-American populations), “that will be the last Republican president we’ll ever see.”


Race for 2008: Democrats start bitching already

Race for 2008

Senator Joe Biden Senator Barack ObamaSenator Joe Biden announced he was running for the Democrat nomination yesterday.

And then promptly put his foot firmly in it. On his rival, Barack Obama, he said:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

This went down like a lead balloon, and highlights how carefully people will have to tiptoe around the ‘race issue’ over the next two years. Because Joe Biden clearly didn’t mean he was clean-rather-than-unwashed. One of Obama’s most obvious characteristics is that he’s clean, rather than dirtied by the American political system. He’s new to it. He’s been a Senator for under three years. He’s fresh.

But that’s not how Biden’s remarks go down. And it’ll probably be his only notable contribution to the campaign, even though it was completely innocuous.

January 31, 2007

Race for 2008: getting a bit crowded

It’s turning into a two-year Olympic event. The race for 2008 now has at least 21 serious contenders, 9 for the Democrats and 12 for the Republicans1.

They’re going to need heats and semi-finals long before it gets to the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries next January.

So here’s Round 1:

Who do you find more convincing?

1 There’s also three Libertarian candidates. They don’t stand a chance. The only other possibility is Michael Bloomberg, the New York Mayor, who might run as an independent. He also has little chance. Unbelievably the Prohibition Party still exists: its main policy still being the banning of alcohol.

January 24, 2007

Kerry out of 2008

It’s not even begun, but already a potential candidate has pulled out of the race.

John Kerry (right)Senator John Kerry, who lost to President Bush in 2004, has reportedly said he won’t run again. Instead he’ll seek another six-year term in the Senate.

Kerry will have noticed the momentum in the Clinton and Obama campaigns and realised he doesn’t have a hope of losing his ‘yesterday’s news’ tag. He dashed his hopes during the 2006 midterm elections by making an inappropriate joke about the President.

His withdrawal reduces the main field of Democrat candidates to nine. I’d wouldn’t be surprised to see others follow him over the coming months.

January 20, 2007

Hillary's In

It doesn’t come as a surprise to see Hillary Clinton announce a bid for the U.S. Presidency. But it does feel strange to hear her talking about it openly and passionately.

You see, for over a year now, Hillary’s said things like “We’ll see when the time comes”, “Whatever will be, will be”, and my personal favourite “I haven’t decided”.

She’s dodged every question about a potential run for the White House and so it’s nice to finally see her open up about her intentions. For one thing, it looked like a relief to her. When asked about a run, “I haven’t decided” was probably as close to a barefaced lie as you’ll get out of Clinton. She’s been working towards this for months.

There’s a train of thought that the last thing America needs is a inward-looking Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton theme to the Presidency. Hey, Jeb Bush might even make it five in a row!

But I’m not sure I give this ‘problem’ much truck, if only because the two families – apart from their obsession with politics – are so different.

For now though, I still find Barack Obama the more interesting candidate. Clinton spent eight years as the most proactive First Lady in history. We know pretty much what she stands for and what her priorities would be in office.

But Obama turns the personality up to 11. So if he can find a good reason to run, offer good answers to America’s problems and steady the rocky ship, then he’s got a pretty good chance of undoing the Bush/Clinton lock on the White House and ruining Hillary’s plans.

December 05, 2006

Hillary gets going

The Race For 2008.

Hillary is quickly making moves in the 2008 Presidential Election before Barack Obama gets ahead.

She’s been putting calls into Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the first states to vote in the Democrat primaries, and shoring up support from local leaders. Adding complication, Iowan Governor, Tom Vilsack, has already announced he intends to run, although he isn’t the current favourite in his home state.

Clinton has, apparently, been making new appointments to her team, indicating she is starting to crank up the effort on key states.

She’s running top in most of the polls, but still being beaten by potential Republican challengers like John McCain.

December 04, 2006

And they're off!

The Race For 2008.

The race is definitely on. Like it or not, the starting gun has been fired on the race for the most visible elected post in the world. The Democrats have broken first, with Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, in danger of jumping before the gun was fired.

The Democrats

Barack ObamaThe election for George Bush’s successor takes place on November 4th 2008. A full two years early, 55-year old Vilsack sought to breathe some of the pre-mayhem oxygen by going on a five-state tour outlining his vision for America. It’s a risky strategy, but given his low profile – and, it seems, his lowly chances of winning the Democrat nomination – it’s the best way to get ahead.

While his move didn’t force the rest of the field, comments by another contender are making waves in the Democrat race. Barack Obama, held up as the anti-Bush by his supporters, suggested last month he “might” think about running. Such is his credibility, it’s forced more established names like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to rethink when they might officially throw their hats into the ring.

Senator Evan Bayh is another hopeful. He reacted to the Obama threat by announcing an “exploratory committee” this weekend. It doesn’t sound like much, but for the serious contenders, it’s their way of proving that they’re serious.

Looking forward, it looks like there will be two themes in the Democrat primaries. One is Iraq. Obama opposed it, while others didn’t. The other is Bill. Not being married to Bill Clinton is – bizarrely – going to be a major asset in 2007-8.

The Republicans

On the other side of the ring, the Republicans are playing much more quietly. They seem to be quite happy watching the Democrats argue and aren’t worried about getting involved yet.

Rudy GiulianiOut in front are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, but behind them are a number of people few Americans have heard of. That’s not to say it’s a sure thing that these two will make it. Both have ‘interesting’ pasts, with Giuliani fairly unpopular before two aeroplanes hit skycrapers in his city. And McCain is a political butterfly, appealing to some Democrats, but not necessarily to everyone in his own party. They’ll sit things out for a while, but it’ll be interesting to see the incumbent party start the race for 2008 as the underdog.

Perhaps the results of the midterms have made the Democrats think this is their big chance, causing them to rush out of the blocks.

What remains to be seen is whether the American public have the appetite for two years of wrangling, and whether it will damage either party to spend too many months naval-gazing.

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