Presidential Debate #1: No Knockout Punches

Saturday, September 27th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

The first Presidential debate of the election season between Barack Obama and John McCain at Ole Miss was a mostly sobering, understated affair. No one tossed any pounding blows. No one came away with any killer lines. There was, I think, a fairly decisive victor but it wasn’t necessarily because of debating skill or technique. This was to be a battle between the 72-year-old McCain and the much younger upstart Obama, the former clearly one with experience in the Senate dealing with the evening’s theme, foreign policy and national security. Obama, by contrast, had to be seen as the distinct challenger and there is evidence that his poll leads have not been as high because voters have taken his relative lack of experience to heart. McCain clearly tried to expose this vulnerability as much as possible. But Obama was able to hold his own against the senior senator.

Some highlights (and lowlights): Read the rest of this entry »

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Memos to Obama and McCain: How to Win in the Next 56 Days:

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Obama McCain

With about 60 days to go before the general election, the US Presidential race is officially on.

We have the prospect of history before us. We will elect either the first Black President or else the first female Vice President. Attention to the race is heightened after two straight weeks of political conventions, high profile appearances and speeches.

According to the TV bean counters, ratings for John McCain and Sarah Palin’s speeches matched or even exceeded those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden the week before. 40 million viewers in prime time. That’s more than the audience for the David Cook/Little David Archuleta showdown on American Idol in May, and more than those who witnessed Daniel Day-Lewis cop an Oscar in February. America, not only are you really into this election, but you have made these people very famous.

And that’s a major thing here: recognition. For a lot of people who may know Read the rest of this entry »

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McCain’s VP Pick: Calling All Hillary Supporters

Friday, August 29th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Morning news anchors are tripping over themselves trying to figure out who is going to be John McCain’s VP pick. This on the day after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. What should be a day after to go through highlights from that speech and provide some post-election afterglow instead becomes a masterfully calculated announcement from the McCain folks to drive the news cycle today.

Breaking news at 7:39 am PDT: Matt Lauer of NBC News and Today announced that McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. The 44-year old staunch conservative and mother of five, has been in office for two years. Chuck Todd of NBC News said just an hour ago that three years ago, she was just a mayor of a small town in Alaska. This morning she will appear in Dayton, OH with McCain at a rally designed, as only the GOP can muster, to present what is a rather bold and shrewd choice for the Arizona Senator and his campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

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Locate Campaign Donors In Your Neighborhood: Fundrace 2008

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Fundrace 2008

Care to know if your well-off stepmother is playing a blue or red card? Has your office mate led you astray by donating to the “other” side? Want to know at which party your favorite celeb has thrown millions?

Find out by using this fully interactive Fundrace 2008 map detailing campaign contributions and their sources.

Drag the map to find the hotspot of your choice, and then click to find the juicy details.  You can search Fundrace by name, address, zip code, occupation or employer.

Interesting sidenote: Barack Obama donated $4,600 to Hillary Clinton, then Hillary donated half this amount ($2,300) to Barack.

Wow, this can become addictive.

[Via The Huffington Post]

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Hey! Where Was My Text Message About Biden?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Obama SMS

I did not get my text message –until 1:04 am PST. After a long day in which CNN and every other news organization was chomping at the bit big time wondering who Barack Obama would select as his vice-presidential running mate, we finally have word that it is Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. That bit of news came courtesy of CNN, and chief Washington correspondent John King at 12:42 am EST –a full three hours earlier–from a well-placed source. It was a bit disappointing that the news had leaked and that it didn’t go to the supporters first via SMS.  Millions of Obama supporters who signed up for this bit of news was significant because it symbolized the Obama campaign’s taking this to the people first and notifying them before anyone else.

My cellphone buzzed at this ungodly hour while I was already sleeping. I knew what it was, and I didn’t bother getting up to read the SMS. I knew who Obama had chosen, and in fact, I had just switched off the TV with a bleary-eyed Larry King with the same talking heads that he had on six hours earlier. Honestly, CNN had been apoplectic and snappy all day long, promising that “at any minute now” they would tell us who the VP pick would be. That meant that all of the newscasts featured mostly speculation, but also updates from the also-rans like Tim Keane and Evan Bayh, who sent word that Obama had called them to say they would not be the choice. How do I know all this? I had CNN on virtually all day too, thinking too that they would have the answer first, even though I tried to convince myself that my cellphone would go off first. I was wrong. I was misled. But OK, let’s get on with this. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Edwards and the Media: The Harder You Fall

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

John Edwards

John Edwards’ announcement of a sexual affair with a campaign staffer on Friday is a whopper on a few levels. The former Senator from North Carolina, running mate of John Kerry in 2004, and more recently, populist Democratic candidate for President, deemed Friday to be a good day to bury this story amid all the Beijing Olympics hoopla. The hope, perhaps: get the story out quickly, make a brief “official” statement and hope few will notice. Yet this story is all the more significant for what it says about the betrayal of Edwards’ family and supporters while at the same time raising questions about how the mainstream media dropped the ball entirely.

The story is sordid, but not unfamiliar. A dapper, handsome politician finds carnal comfort with a younger woman and Read the rest of this entry »

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Get Out the Vote with Luda!

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Obama and Ludacris

Eager to post missteps or flub-ups designed to embarrass the Obama campaign each day on his gossipy website, Matt Drudge of the Drudgereport managed to find a doozy yesterday. Apparently, rapper Ludacris, aka Chris Bridges, has released a new song called “Politics: Obama is Here”. It’s, not something the Obama people will be happy about, and this despite the fact that their man revealed once in an interview that Ludacris, one of his favorite rappers, was also on heavy rotation on his iPod. Take a quick listen to this uplifting, inspiring and certain future Grammy Award-winning track and don’t forget to follow along with the deep, socially responsible lyrics:

I’m back on it like I just signed my record deal

Yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coup paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal

Never should have hated

Never should’ve doubted him Read the rest of this entry »

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What About Obama’s Own Surge?

Monday, July 28th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Obama Berlin

You would think that after a much-ballyhooed, mostly very successful swing through Afghanistan and Iraq, and a trip through some European capitals last week, Barack Obama would be rising even higher in the polls.

His speech in Berlin, in front of an estimated 200,000 people, was on the front page of every newspaper and on every newscast. The German press, for the most part, applauded the speech and saw in Obama a fresh new departure from what have been troubling years with the current Bush White House.

From the looks of it, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy found a new American friend in Paris, wildly shaking his hand and agreeing to a rare dual news conference after their meeting in the Elysee Palace. (When McCain visited Sarko recently, McCain was left to find his out and search for the cameras.)

In any case, the tour enjoyed extraordinary coverage and Obama himself seemed very pleased with the results of what had been, let’s face it, a very carefully scripted expedition from start to finish. Every single Kodak moment was deliberate and determined; this was a Read the rest of this entry »

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McCain: You’re Much Too Good To Be True

Thursday, July 24th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

You’re much too good to be true, John McCain. Can’t take my eyes off you. I want to hold you so much. No, really I do. Your campaign staff is so clever. They think that by releasing a video of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons intoning this old 60s chestnut (like the chestnut that you are yourself), with clips of big name reporters like Chris Matthews and Lee Cowan of NBC News saying loving things about Obama is a nifty dig at the media. You’re making the point that the media has fallen all over themselves, that they are “in the tank” for him, according to this somehow current expression.

Let’s use this video, cobbled together by your staff that actually does use the “Internets”, and send it out this very week that your opponent is on his World Tour 2008, visiting both Afghanistan and Iraq, plus conferring with our European allies. You actually want to divert this attention away from Obama. You want to steal a little thunder. He’s over there shaking hands with Malaki, and Malaki is actually saying the same things Obama is saying about a withdrawal of troops within 16 months of January 2009. Then Obama is at an elaborately-staged news conference in Read the rest of this entry »

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McCain’s New Pose

Sunday, July 6th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Mark Leibovich’s cover piece in today’s New York Times proves one thing we all knew about John McCain even before he became the presumptive Republican nominee for President: he sucks at public speaking. So worried are his handlers –who are, by the way, new handlers as of this past week due to a shake-up–that they’re trying desperately to make him more camera-friendly. (Or just people-friendly!) They won’t officially confirm that, but they have to be troubled by his less-than-sparkling speaking performances of late. Leibovich describes at length an ambitious new economic proposal of McCain’s, the “Lexington” plan.

Maybe there was something of substance there. Except that in a few separate instances, McCain couldn’t actually pronounce the word Read the rest of this entry »

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