Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain vs. Romney: Immigration

Romney and McCain have clashed at the California debate. I’ve looked at each site to compare what they officially say about illegal immigration and border security. Both have this covered in their respective “issues” web pages. Romney is much more specific and focused on stopping illegal immigration. McCain is more vague about what he will actually do but also focuses on the larger immigration issues. Romney’s position is more about us living in a big gated community. McCain’s big picture view implies more of a let’s all work together philosophy. The specifics are below:

Mitt Romney has a six-part plan to “stop illegal immigration.” The main points are:

· Secure The Border.

· Implement An Enforceable Employer Verification System.

· Reject Amnesty.

· Punish Sanctuary Cities.

· Improve Interior Enforcement.

· Encourage Legal Immigration.

John McCain says he will secure the border but offers no specifics as Romney does. He has some bullet points but they pertain rather to things that we should also do to improve the immigration situation. Here are his five bullets (these are excerpts):

· Recognize the importance of building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America

· Recognize the importance of pro-growth policies -- … -- so American businesses can hire and pay the best.

· Recognize the importance of a flexible labor market …

· Recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population …

· Recognize that America will always be that "shining city upon a hill," a beacon of hope and opportunity …

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Florida Statements

With Florida being punished by the Democratic National Committee for moving its primary date up, its hard to know what to make of the voting results since no delegates were at stake. Both candidates made the best of the news however. Here are statements from campaign officials:

Hillary Clinton chief strategist, Mark Penn, said: "Hillary Clinton won a significant victory today in the Florida primary with biggest turnout in Florida Democratic primary history. ... The vote turned out to be far more than symbolic. Well over 1.5 million Democrats cast their ballots, more than twice the number of voters who came out to vote in the 2004 primary. ..."

Mark Penn later adds this dig on Obama: "This result comes after Senator Obama ran TV commercials that reached Florida homes and after the enormous publicity he received for South Carolina and for the Ted Kennedy endorsement. The exit polls show widespread recognition of the endorsement -- but even so among those who decided on Election Day, a plurality of those chose Hillary."

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said: "...Now that Senator Clinton has lost badly in South Carolina, she’s trying to assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates and where no campaigning has occurred. Senator Clinton’s own campaign has repeatedly said that this is a ‘contest for delegates’, and tonight, Florida awarded zero. ..." Below the statement is a delegate count.
Current pledged delegates:

Obama – 63 pledged delegates

Clinton – 48 pledged delegates

Edwards – 26 pledged delegates

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

McCain ("Reagan conservative") vs. Romney: Florida press releases

Very shortly after it was determined that John McCain was the victor over Mitt Romney in the Florida republican primary, both candidates put out press releases. It is interesting to note that since the results were so close, McCain seems to be reaching out to the conservatives in the republican party. Accused by Romney as being too liberal, McCain used these words in his press release:
"I stand for the principles and policies that first attracted me to the Republican Party when I heard, in whispered conversations and tap codes, about the then Governor of California, who stood by me and my comrades, and who was making quite a reputation for standing by his convictions no matter the changing winds of political thought and popular culture. ... And I am as proud to be a Reagan conservative today, as I was then. ... Our party has always been successful when we have, like Ronald Reagan, stood fast by our convictions."
Perhaps he was feeling the heat of being endorsed by the New York Times, which some conservatives saw as a negative endorsement.

Romney's press release contained his usual rhetoric but very well balanced in terms of the economy, the war on terror, etc. It is also very anti-Washington, undoubtedly a dig against McCain although he does not mention him.

CNN vs. Fox: State of the Union Address 2008

Although this blog is now primarily about the election campaigns, I thought I would do this post in the spirit of what was the initial purpose for this blog. That is, I would look at how and would cover various stories. With the State of the Union address recently completed, I decided to look at how they are reporting the story. The headlines (as of 11:30 pm EST) are very telling of their respective biases.

CNN's headline points out the negative "period of uncertainty":

[Note: CNN's article quickly points out some negative information about President Bush in the second sentence: "With his approval ratings in the low 30s, an opposition-led Congress and his presidency overshadowed by the race for his successor, Bush offered little new."]

Fox's headline touts the conservative mantra:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Analogy: Democrats vs. Republicans

Previously, I made an analogy of democrats and republicans as parents. Here's another. Let's say a democrat is walking downtown and passes a homeless person on the sidewalk who asks for some spare change. My impression , in general of the democrats' approach, is that the democrat would give the person some money. A republican in the same situation would say "Get a job!" and walk on by. Neither approach is necessarily the right one. The issue is complex. Are the poor to blame for being poor? Your answer to that question probably has a lot to do with where you are politically.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fox News: Associating Obama with Confederate anthem

I wonder if the people at Fox News realize what they have done. To note Barack Obama's South Carolina Victory they have used the headline "Obama is Whistling Dixie."

The National Public Radio site has an article on the song which opens with these words about the song Dixie (emphasis added):

Nov. 11, 2002 -- "Dixie" -- a song strongly identified with the South -- stirs emotion and exposes timeworn rifts across American society.

It has been that way almost since "Dixie" was born in the days just before the Civil War. Adopted as a Confederate anthem, it was offered up by President Abraham Lincoln as a gesture of reconciliation after the war. It's accepted with affection by many whites and scorned by many blacks. ...

Wikipedia has an informative entry on "Dixie." Here is a quote (emphasis added):

The song became the unofficial anthem of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. This and the tune's minstrel-show origins have created a strong association of "Dixie" with the Old South. As a result, some today view the song as offensive and racist while others see it as a legitimate part of Southern heritage.

Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama: Can they both be winning?

It takes delegates to win the nomination but both Hillary and Obama are claiming a lead after Obama's victory in South Carolina. A press release on Hillary's campaign site entitled "Campaign Memo: South Carolina, Florida and February 5" says (emphasis added):

This remains a delegate fight, with 1,681 delegates at stake on February 5th, and 2,025 needed to secure the nomination -- and we are ahead in that fight.

Yet, in Barack Obama's South Carolina victory speech (text as prepared for delivery) he says (emphasis added):

After four great contests in every corner of this country, we have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of Americans we’ve seen in a long, long time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hillary Clinton photo: Too good to be true?

I do not want to be too mean here but I was looking at the official photo of Senator Hillary Clinton as posted on her campaign web site. Under the "Newsroom" tab there is a link to "Official Headshot" where you will find the black and white photo that I show below. On that page there are instructions for how to download it, presumably so media sources can use it. Now, I do not fault anyone for wanting their official photo to look their best. However, when I looked at the official photo it just looked to good to be true. It is a great picture of her but it doesn't seem to look very realistic.

So, I looked at the photos listed under "Newsroom/Photos" and saw lots of candid shots of Hillary campaigning recently. Now, I know there are differences between candid shots and those that are posed but still it seems that the official picture must be from 10 years ago or it was significantly doctored. You can make your own judgment. Below you will find candid shots of Hillary (from her web site) that show a similar profile compared with her official photo.

By the way, I checked all of the other candidates web pages. While many have a "photos" tab or link, only John Edwards (besides Hillary) has an "official photo." His picture looks like an accurate picture of what he looks like now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hillary vs. Obama: Who's keeping score?

Apparently is keeping score. This organization claims to be non-partisan. In an article dated January 22nd,recent they checked the facts in some of the mud-slinging that went on during the South Carolina debate. Overall, they seem to indicate that Hillary, Obama, and Edwards all made some false statements. I recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hillary vs. Obama: Here’s where they sling the mud

Well the South Carolina Democratic debate really stirred things up between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If you want to check out their official mud-slinging pages on their campaign web sites, check out Hillary’s “The Fact Hub” and Obama’s “Know the Facts.” Here is some of what both are saying based on what was posted for January 21st and 22nd.

Hillary: Stop calling me names. [Obama Continues False Attacks On Hillary]

Obama: Stop calling me names. [News Sources Agree: Clinton Has Been Misrepresenting Obama's Comments on Republicans]

Hillary: Liar, liar, pants on fire. You lied about sponsoring a bill. [Factcheck: Sen. Obama Claimed He Sponsored Bill Protecting Privacy of Sex Abuse Victims]

Obama: Did not. [Obama's Strong Record on Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault]

Hillary: Did so.

Obama: Did not. [Present Votes Are an Accepted Legislative Strategy in the Illinois Senate]

Obama: You lied about your work at Wal-Mart. [The facts on Clinton and Wal-Mart]

Hillary: Oh yeah, well you lied about single payer health care. [UPDATE Now and Then: Sen. Obama on Single Payer Health Care]

Obama: Did not. I’m rubber and you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. [Fact Check: Obama Consistent in His Position on Single Payer Health Care]

You’ve got to be kidding me! Reminds me of two little kids fighting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Campaign Buttons - Rudy

This is my last in a series of posts on campaign buttons. Of the republicans, Rudy has the biggest selection (a button store of similar size to Hillary and Obama). I’ve shown a classic blue which they all seem to have in one form or another. I like the simplicity of just having "Rudy" on this one.

I am also showing this black and orange button because it is so different from the standard red, white, and blue. Rudy has a number of options: a rectangle “Rudy,” an oval button, several with his picture, and a “Viva Rudy” button. There are several "fill in the blank for Rudy buttons." So far, these include “veterans,” “women,” students,” “Italian-Americans,” “sportsmen,” “firefighters,” and “law enforcement.” If Rudy does not do well in Florida there may not be much demand for these buttons.

Rudy's button store.

Monday, January 21, 2008

*Update* Democrats vs. Republicans on Martin Luther King Day

My post was originally made at 9:30 am EST. Since then some of the candidates have added some recognition of MLK Day. It is now almost 3:00 pm EST. Updates are indicated in red:

Here is what the Democratic Candidates are showing on their web sites to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Three of the candidates (Hillary, Edwards, and Kucinich) have prominent pictures of Dr. King on their home pages as shown below. Obama does not but his site features him speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where he obviously talks about Dr. King.

So what about the Republicans? No republican candidate has a picture of Dr. King on their site. Only Mitt Romney has a press release honoring Dr. King. The others have nothing at all that I can find at the time of this posting.

Mitt Romney: Nothing on the home page but there is a press release honoring Dr. King. Now there is a big picture of him and his wife at an MLK event as one of his rotating pictures on the home page.

Rudy Giuliani: Nothing. Still nothing.

John McCain: Nothing. There is now a link to a statement on the home page.

Mike Huckabee: Nothing. There is now a link to a blog post from his home page.

Fred Thompson: Nothing. Still nothing.

Campaign Buttons - Kucinich

Like McCain below, Kucinich has a poor selection of buttons, in fact he has only these two traditional style buttons.

Kucinich button store.

Campaign Buttons - McCain

Here's another in my posts on campaign buttons. Someone tell McCain to get with it. He only has state related campaign buttons like the one you see here. The design is not all the great either. Booorrriiinnnnggg.

McCain Store

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Which Democrat Really Won Nevada?

Some interesting results of the Nevada Democratic primary. Here is what Barack Obama has on his web site today:

While he did not win the majority of the popular vote, he is claiming more delegates. However, here is a statement released today on Hillary's web site:


Clinton Campaign Statement on Nevada Victory

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Caucuses today by winning a majority of the delegates at stake.

The Obama campaign is wrong. Delegates for the national convention will not be determined until April 19."

So, what's up? Here is a statement from what appears to be an official Nevada Democratic Caucus web site:

"Just like in Iowa, what was awarded today were delegates to the County Convention, of which Senator Clinton won the majority. No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support."

So, it appears to me that Hillary is probably technically correct and that Obama may be jumping the gun a bit (but with some reasonable sense that this is how it will turn out in the end).

Campaign Buttons - Edwards

The button above is very traditional and includes his little “rising star” logo. The other image that I have posted takes the most colorful award. He doesn’t have a great selection but there are a few others including a button for “labor” and one for “unions.” He also has a few with his picture on it.

Edwards' Store

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chuck and Huck

Based on the comment to the post below. Here is the YouTube video. It's pretty funny.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Campaign Buttons - Huckabee

This is the fourth in a series looking at campaign buttons. The "Chuck for Huck" button below has to win the award for strangest button. I guess "Chuck" is for Chuck Norris based on the picture.

Huckabee's web store also offers "A Buck for Huck" button, three traditional style (one is shown below) , and a different looking ""I Like Mike" button (which is the logo I see in my url address bar of my browser). Overall, not much variety and a couple of rather odd choices for button designs, in my opinion.

Huckabee's Store.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Campaign Buttons - Obama

Here is the third installment on campaign buttons. The above button for Obama is more traditional and somewhat typical except it has an interesting logo which gives it a nice look. I couldn’t resist adding a picture of this one:

Like Hillary, there are several "fill in the blank for Obama buttons." So far, these include "women," "veterans," "GLBT," "African-Americans," "Latinos," "Republicans," and a couple of states. He also has a button in Hebrew and a few with pictures of himself.

His store:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Campaign Buttons - Mitt

Mitt Romney has eight types of buttons. Here are two styles which are both kind of traditional. His store offers buttons with “state name hearts Mitt!” You can also order buttons with “your name supports Mitt Romney.” Overall, his are very traditional with the typical red, white, and blue. They seem to lack a little imagination. He also has a values button with a picture of his family. He also has some buttons with his image on them.

Mitt's Button Store

Campaign Buttons - Hillary

I'm going to begin a series of posts highlighting the official campaign buttons as shown on the candidates' web sites. This post is on Hillary's buttons. There are several in her online store. I've chosen to show two below. One is a classic campaign button and the other is probably the furthest from traditional.
There are several others as of January 16, 2008. One version is in Spanish. There are several "fill in the blank for Hillary buttons." So far, these include "veterans," "nurses," "out" (gays), "Asian American & Pacific Islanders," "African Americans," "educators," and "Jews."

Here is the link to her official store:

Which Candidates have Spanish Language Sites

All three democratic candidates have a link on their campaign home pages for a Spanish language version. Mitt Romney is the only republican out of five with such a link.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Comparison of Campaign Issues

I looked at the official campaign web sites of the eight candidates listed at the end of this post. Each site has a tab entitled "issues." In the following google document you can see each candidates' list of issues in a way that allows for easy comparison. I have grouped the issues, by candidate, by a number of broad categories.

I think that the words they each chose to describe their issue topics shows their emphases in this campaign. Here are a few things I noticed:

1. They all have issues related to the economy. Only Barack and Edwards use the term "poverty." [Note: although other sites may mention "poverty" the point I am making is that only 2 candidates thought the term was important enough to use in an issue title.]
2. Six of eight mention terms related to lowering taxes or reforming taxes (Barack and Hillary did not).
3. All had something about the environment (primarily reducing oil dependence). Two use extra terms related to environmental issues: Hillary (global warming) and McCain (stewards).
4. McCain is the only one not using the term "education" in an issue title.
5. In the area of foreign policy, only three list countries/regions other than Iraq: Edwards (Iran, Darfur, Uganda); Romney (Latin American allies); Huckabee (Cuba).
6. All list "health care" showing that this is probably the most consistent priority of all candidates.
7. Edwards is the only one who does not use the term "immigration."
8. In my "Family and values" category, McCain is the only one who does not have an entry.
9. All but Romney and Thompson have terms related to veterans' issues.
10. Three of the five republicans list "judges" as an issue term. No democrats do. Four of the republicans list the "2nd amendment."

**update** Here are some more specific comparisons: abortion, stem cell research, immigration, marriage

Web sites checked:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Candidates' Web Site Banners

I thought I would start this round of posts on a light note. Below is a comparison of the banners at the tops of the respective web sites for the leading candidates. Four of the six go with a primary color of blue. I suspect some focus groups were tested to determine that these were the most favorable color schemes. Surprisingly John McCain goes with a gold and black/gray scheme. I wonder what he knows that the others do not. Also, John Edwards goes with a lighter scheme which seems pleasant.
Interesting that two use first names only, two use both names, and two use only last names. Only Obama's has a picture of the candidate.