Category Archives: Election 2008

Presidential Campaigns Were Hacked by Foreigners

Newsweek is reporting that both presidential campaigns’ computer systems were hacked by an unknown foreign entity.

Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps’ policy positions—information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration. The Feds assured the Obama team that it had not been hacked by its political opponents.

This story is fascinating to me and it’s one that I hope gets more attention in the following weeks. Then again, we shouldn’t be clamoring for facts until we have someone to blame.
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A Democrat on ‘the Real McCain’

Walt Washington, the apparent victor in the Kitsap County Auditor’s race, was among the many who called tonight’s win for Barack Obama “historic.” He didn’t think Obama would win by as much as he did. This election, he said, will be a life-changer for many Americans.

Washington was able to see McCain’s concession scpeech, of which he said, “He was the real McCain. That was the McCain I liked and admired. He was the McCain I thought he always was.”

Election Night Surprises

Believe it or not, I’ve been out of the national loop for the last three hours. I missed both speeches, because I did have the whole covering a few local races thing to attend to. Now that I’ve been able to look bigger, I was surprised by a few things.

That Obama won follows what the polls had been telling us. I can’t find a single state that was projected to go blue that didn’t. As I write this, Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri and Montana are yet to be called. Montana going red would surprise me. It did surprise me that Obama won Ohio, Virginia and Florida. I guessed he might get one. I guessed that he’d win, but I expected the polls to be wrong somewhere.

At first glance it looks like Democrats did better tonight than they did in the August primaries. That is surprising for now, but if you recall Republicans did better with the later ballots. If that holds true this time, too, expected some gaps to close.

That Gregoire is ahead in the state, with so many King County votes yet to count, is amazing. I don’t know the context yet. Apparently some of the networks have already called the race for her. Perhaps the later numbers in other counties will close the gap, but I can’t see Rossi overcoming the numbers. Note that I say “I can’t see” it. I’m acknowledging that there may be something I’m missing. Consider this: Rossi won Kitsap County in 2004. As of tonight, Gregoire’s up by 5 percentage points here.

About 500 votes, all Kitsap County votes, separate Jan Angel and Kim Abel. Pierce County is yet to come in. You wonder, is the Pierce contingent of this district more conservative, or will the Obama coattails get Abel the win?

Not Dead Yet, Where Else to Look

A few days ago I wrote how we could know by 5:15 p.m. who won. We don’t know yet. That’s because no one’s calling Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, and as one that I would add, Florida. I’m adding Florida late, because those numbers might be in before Indiana and Virginia. Before I wrote that if Obama wins Ohio and one of the other two, it’s over. I had Florida, hypothetically going to McCain. If Florida goes to Obama and any of the other states do, it’s over. In that scenario, though, I had McCain taking all leaning states. Obama just picked up Minnesota and Wisconsin. It may not be over, but there are absolutely no surprises yet. It looks like it’s Obama’s night.

I’m checking a ton of sites tonight before I go hang with the Democrats in Silverdale.

Real Clear Politics
Ahem! Kitsap Sun, at least for the local stuff.

A Sobering Ballot

Kitsap Sun columnist Lawrence Little is monitoring a polling place in Puyallup today on behalf of the John McCain campaign. On Sunday night he wrote the following:

Sunday Night, November 2, 2008

A Sobering Ballot

Two days to go and the going is getting rough. The polls are tightening in many races, but the reality is that the only poll that counts are valid marks on those ballots in the ballot box. So–that is where much of the action is now focused, on the ballots, those you have or will return, and for counties where one still goes to a polling place to cast a vote, a whole lot of poll watching.
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Having Fun with Negative Political Ads

We had our story about negative advertising.

That Republican legislative candidates Randy Neatherlin and Jan Angel would allow insurance companies to not cover mammograms was news to both of them.

It was also news to Democrat Kim Abel that, given the chance, she’ll always vote for the highest property taxes possible.

Peter Callaghan at the (Tacoma) News Tribune had fun with the subject matter.

A perennial favorite is to link candidates to felons, especially sex offenders. State Democrats sent mail into the 47th District featuring a picture of a grade school-aged girl walking warily past a car with a man who appears to be calling to her.

“Because we need a state representative who cracks down on sex offenders, not a politician supported by one,” it asserts. What? Republican Mark Hargrove received a contribution from an activist and former candidate who later was caught up in an Internet sting soliciting sex with a 15-year-old.

A Republican committee pulled the same trick on Rasmussen, complete with a picture of a scared-looking girl. Her misdeed? She is in the Legislature, and the state releases sex offenders who complete their prison terms.

Your Chance to Engage in Local Election Prognosticating

Here are some questions for you to ponder the day before the election or during election day before the results come out. I’ll stop allowing comments at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

1. Will any of the five incumbent legislators representing Kitsap lose? Who and why?

2. Who will win, Abel or Angel? Why?

3. Who will win, Finn or Neatherlin? Why?

4. Who will win, Garrido or Matthes? Why?

5. Two incumbents were appointed. Will Steve Bauer hang on to his county commissioner seat against Sandra Lacelle?

6. Will Walt Washington hang on to his county auditor seat against John Clark?

7. On election night Dino Rossi will have the lead over Chris Gregoire. That’s because King County only expects to be able to count about a quarter of its absentee votes on election night. In the end, who wins?

A Funny Concession Speech, or Not

Watch this, if you’ve got five minutes, before reading the stuff below it.

When I saw this I thought it was funny, but some of it struck me as concessionary, if that’s the right way to use that term. To some degree it seemed like he was admitting the race was over. I couldn’t figure out why until I watched it again. It happens towards the end, when Palin goes rogue.

If someone impersonating McCain had been in the skit, then it would have been nothing but funny. With McCain being in a skit in which Palin is going off on her own is lending credence to a theory that isn’t helpful to his campaign. The rest of his appearance seemed fine. He was on Weekend Update and talked about going reverse and double Maverick. That was funny.

I could be wrong. I read the comments on the New York Times The Caucus blog and almost everyone gave it credit for being funny, which I do to. There was also a lot of this:

clever and funny. God bless john mcain. but I siill ain’t votin’ for him.

— Edward A Mabin

There was at least one who saw it the way I did:

He should have done this frivolous activity two months back when the lead of Obama was managable.Now it’s only accepting the reality od impending defeat and pretending to laugh it off.

— Arun Mehta

One SK Commish Candidate Speaks for All of Us

Tim Matthes, Republican candidate for county commissioner against Democrat Charlotte Garrido, sent this question out on the back of one of his ads. The answer on the reverse is “Soon!”

We drew attention to Garrido’s spanish ad earlier. Had she taken that tack on this kind of ad it would have read, “Me preguntaba ¿Cuándo estas tonterías políticas habrán terminado?”

How the Presidential Election Could Be Over by 5:15 p.m. Tuesday

The main objective in the excercise below was to see what it would take to know with a large degree of certainty that Barack Obama or John McCain had won the election by 6 p.m. Polls will close on the East Coast by 5 p.m. To come to a clear conclusion I used the L.A. Times interactive maps below to make the case. For Obama, I took every leaning or toss-up state west of the Eastern Time Zone and gave it to McCain. That includes Florida and Indiana, because portions of those states are in the Central Time Zone. Here’s what you get for Obama under that scenario:

The three states listed as up-for grabs or only leaning for Obama on the East are Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina. If Obama wins Ohio and one of the other states, he wins. If Ohio is not in the mix, it’s not certain.

Now for McCain:

If you do the same thing, go west of first time zone, give Obama all the states considered toss-ups or only leaning, McCain loses by a lot no matter what happens on the East Coast. Remember, we’re dealing with how to be certain before the next round of polls close. So to get to a number he could win at given that scenario, we have to take everything away from Obama on the East, then give back states in the order of the largest projected margin of victory for Obama so far, until we arrive at the number at which Obama would get just under the 269 electoral votes he needs. Under that scenario, Obama gets the district, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut back. Throw in Delaware because of Joe Biden and Obama gets 268. So if McCain wins Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, you’ll know with little reason for uncertainty before the next round of polls closing that he won the nation.

Remember folks, we’re dealing with sure knowledge here, not best chances or probabilities. We’re talking about 5:15, not 6:15. So if Obama wins Ohio and either North Carolina or Virginia, it’s over. If McCain wins all the 11 states listed above, it’s over. Anything less than those two things or a surprise in what was thought to be certainty in one or East Coast two states and we’ll be fixed to the television and the computer for much longer that night. Not like in 2000. Probably not even like 2004.

Still Stuck? Maybe These Folks Can Help You Draw Those Lines

Late last week I invited (You can read the invitation at the bottom of this post.) members of the Kitsap Sun Sounding Board to address any of you who might be undecided about who to vote for or whether to vote at all.

Here are their responses in the order they arrived in my “In” box.


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UPDATED: Obama’s Citizenship Challenged

I just received this from David Ammons from the Secretary of State’s office.

A King County judge has dismissed a case challenging Senator Obama’s “native-born” status and thus his right to be on the ballot in Washington state. A federal judge in Philadelphia dismissed a similar lawsuit Friday night. Jeff Even of the state attorney general’s office represented our office. The state election, already underway, continues, with the Obama-Biden ticket listed as the first ticket among the choices, since Senator Kerry won the state four years ago. Ballot order is spelled out in state law. There are eight tickets on the Washington ballot.

Originally posted 1:40 p.m. on Oct. 22: First I heard of this story was on Jerry Cornfield’s blog over at the (Everett) Herald. A Snohomish County resident wanted Barack Obama disqualified from the Washington ballot for president because Obama hasn’t proven to the plaintiff’s satisfaction that he was born in the United States. Continue reading

Only a Comedian Has the Guts to Ask the Important Questions

Cathy Sorbo at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is a comedian by trade and a columnist on Saturdays. She asked governor candidates Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi the kind of questions the rest of us are afraid to ask. For example:

Favorite item to take home from hotels:

CG: Minitoiletries. Our family donates them to domestic violence shelters.

DR: Shoe polish mitt.

I have to admit, when I first read Gregoire’s answer I thought it said her family “detonates” the toiletries. That’s what my family does.

Sorbo also fed the questions to congressional candidate Darcy Burner. Dave Reichert declined to participate. What are you hiding Reichert? My guess is he didn’t want to answer anything about his toenails. I bet he let his kids paint O-B-A-M-A on them.

Updated — Rossi Today, Gregoire Monday

Information about Gregoire’s visit has been updated.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi will be in Silverdale today at the community center at 11:45 a.m. The local party is saying a reporter from the Washington Post might be there. That’s a reflection of how close this race appears to be.

Democrat Gov. Chris Gregoire will be at a Veterans event at the VFW Post 239 in Bremerton at 2:15 p.m.  Then, she’ll be in downtown Poulsbo at 3:30 at Poulsbo City Hall. Afterward she’s driving to the Bainbridge Ferry to go over to Seattle.

Washington In a Large of Group States with Budget Problems

The Los Angeles Times reports that 22 states are experiencing budget problems in a story that doesn’t mention Washington by name. Actually, the story cites a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study that comes up with the list.

“States have been confronted with bad economic circumstances in the past, but never so many states, all at once,” said William T. Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

There’s a reason Washington isn’t mentioned. It’s not on the list. That’s because this is a list that appears to include states that have made specific mid-year adjustments or called for special sessions to address shortfalls. Why Washington is not on that list, when the governor did a hiring freeze and other things, I’m not sure. I’ve called for clarification.

So that says something that you have 22 states mentioned as having mid-year budget issues and Washington is not in the list. I think what it’s saying is Washington doesn’t fall into a narrow set of criteria. It’s also saying there are not many states not being affected by the poor economy. By no means does it mean Washington isn’t having budget problems.

In fact, if you go to the organization’s press release, Washington is among 14 states that have looked ahead and guessed there will be future financial issues.

I’ve called the center to get clarification on the specific list of 22.

Local Politics Goes Bilingual

We don’t draw too much attention to candidate advertising. We try not to. We figure folks can get those ads out there where they are willing to pay for it. If an ad is inflammatory or uses our name incorrectly, we might draw attention to that.

This is different

Kitsap County commissioner candidate Charlotte Garrido is reaching out to an audience that I don’t remember any other candidate specifically targeting in the past. Correct me if I’m wrong about that.

Garrido has a television advertisement in Spanish.

You can see it here.

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Objectively, We Haven’t Been Nice to McCain

That’s what the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is saying. It isn’t so much that the media loves Obama as much as the affair with McCain is clearly over.

Those who believe the media is leading the cheers for Obama won’t like this one:

One question likely to be posed is whether these findings provide evidence that the news media are pro-Obama. Is there some element in these numbers that reflects a rooting by journalists for Obama and against McCain, unconscious or otherwise? The data do not provide conclusive answers. They do offer a strong suggestion that winning in politics begat winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls and internal tactical maneuvering to alter those positions. Obama’s coverage was negative in tone when he was dropping in the polls, and became positive when he began to rise, and it was just so for McCain as well. Nor are these numbers different than what we have seen before. Obama’s numbers are similar to what we saw for John Kerry four years ago as he began rising in the polls, and McCain’s numbers are almost identical to what we saw eight years ago for Democrat Al Gore.

Let me go on the record here, for those of you complaining there hasn’t been enough made out of Biden’s “mettle” comment, I probably agree. I’d like to see more digging into that.

Whose Numbers to Trust: Neither

The New York Times offers the most helpful way to determine whose numbers are closer to the truth when it comes to health plans offered by Barack Obama and John McCain. First here’s the problem:

Even the economists behind the forecasts say it makes them uncomfortable to hear candidates assert their numbers as indisputable fact, as if stating Derek Jeter’s batting average. What they are modeling, they emphasize, is ultimately unknowable. And the transformational nature of both candidates’ health care plans means that they can only guess at the future behavior of consumers, employers and insurers.

So here’s your solution:

A number of economists said voters would be wise to simply tune out all of the competing numbers and focus instead on the philosophical underpinnings of the candidates’ plans. Indeed, Dr. Reinhardt offered voters the same instruction he delivers to his students, that economics as practiced in the political arena is often “just ideology marketed in the guise of science.”