Thursday, May 08, 2008

Campaign Panel - Live blog (part 13)

Bloomberg running as an independent?

Kantor - What a noxious concept!! Only in New York would anybody consider Bloomberg a viable candidate. He agrees with Obama on 90% He has no running room.

Margolis - people are fed up with party labels. It drives a lot of what Obama is doing. We've brought a million new people into the process and we couldn't have won without them. These are people who want to change the game.

Campaign Panel - Live blog (part 12)

question from audience:

Where do I get a refund for a contribution for the Guiliani campaign?

Sandlin - That's called a "stupidity tax."

Well, there's a lot of stupid people in this room.

Campaign Panel - Live blog (part 11)

Question from the audience:

Who will be McCain's VP?

Kondracke - won't be Lieberman. He's pro-choice, the right wing would go bananas. I think he should offer it to Colin Powell. If he takes it, he wins. But he even gets credit for asking. Could be former Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH).

Campaign Panel - Live blog (part 10)

Mahoney - I believe that Obama governs from the center he will establish a Democratic governing majority for a generation. But nothing in his past suggests he'll do it. I've talked to Republicans who say you can deal with Obama, but he's been constrained by his party. But he has a great opportunity.

Campaign Panel - Live blog (part 9)

What about our business? PR used to be the "canary in the mineshaft?" We feel the recession before it comes because PR budgets get cut early. Doesn't seem to be happening this time. Are we in a recession?

Talent - I think so. But the public dissatisfaction is based, not on personal situations, but rather a fear of the future, the direction we're going in and the unresponsiveness in Washington.

Back to the new media, I think it's great, a new vibrant marketplace of ideas.

Country's problems transcend politics, energy, entitlement programs, baby boom retirement, post cold war foreign policy. Lot's of big things. They have to be solved on a bipartisan basis. Would a President Obama enlist Republicans, even if he didn't have to?

Sandlin - This new bi-partisan from Republicans comes now after they've lost the House, lost the Senate and are about to lose the Presidency. That's not how they governed when they were in charge. They didn't want Democratic votes.

This is going to be a personal election. People want someone like Obama who says "I'm going listen to you and try to solve your problems."

Campaign Panel - Live blog (part 8)

What is the impact of new media?

Kondracke - I grew up in the fifties and I don't recognize campaigns today. As a journalist, I would file twice a day. Now, reporters have to file all the time, for the paper, for the web site. It is constant. When do they have time to do reporting? As a consumer, you can't keep up with it.

My favorite site is Real Clear Politics. Can't even keep up with that!

Readership of newpapers is collapsing. Kids don't even watch TV, they get everything on the Internet.

Media creates a new consciousness and I don't know what effect this is having. People are only going to places to find info they agree with. What impact is that going to have?

Obama claims he's going to bring people together. He's never done that in the U.S. Congress...ever. My guess is that he won't have to. The Democratic wave is so great, he will work with the new enlarged Democratic majority to pass a liberal agenda and will lose his mandate.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

McCain VP?

Mahoney - Don't be surprised if it's a Democrat. Lieberman.

Kondracke - Rush Limbaugh will commit hari kari.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

Who would be McCain's VP? To Kieran Mahoney:

I'd love Mel Martinez, could offset Obama demographically. But probably ineligible.

But Mahoney wants to talk broader. Amazing energy in the Democratic Party. Will pick up seats that would otherwise not be able to win.

It will come down to "who represents the center in the electorate?" The fact that Democrats have all these advantages and its a one point race at the presidential level says a lot.

If you nominate a liberal, it's hard to run to the center and win. The last one who did was Harry Truman.

Sixty percent of the public wants small government and for everyone to get along. Change in government generally reflect the will of the American public.

The middle of the electorate is the dominant factor.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

Paul asks Jim what Obama is really like?

Jim says he is singularly the most impressive candidate I've ever worked with. I'm more passionate about him today that I was a year ago when I joined his campaign. He is brilliant. Prof. Larry Tribe said, "In my thirty years teaching at Harvard Law, this is the smartest guy I've ever taught."

What do you want in a president? Someone who listens, someone who is brilliant and a steadiness. Obama has that and you get all this bonus stuff, he inspires.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

The split in the Democratic party is wildly exaggerated. It's the Reagan Democrats that Obama has to concentrate on winning. Still the Democrats have huge advantates. But the presidential vote is the most personal any ever casts. Obama has to work to make voters comfortable with him. I believe he can do that.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

Kondracke gives the two schools of thought within the Clinton campaign. 1) fight to the end; 2) go out gracefully.

Points to polls showing she's stronger against McCain. Cites Karl Rove's analysis of all polls that suggest she's ahead in states representing 251 electoral votes. With Obama, McCain gets 240.

Paul asks Mickey what he thinks. "It's up to Hillary Clinton." He says it takes 96 hours to really absorb a situation like Clinton is in. Watch the weekend.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

Paul asks for a show of hands voting for the most effective of the three ads. No votes for McCain, four or five for Clinton, overwhelming majority for Obama.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

Talent agrees generally with Sandlin. "Let's talk about what we know."

American people are dissatisfied. Identify Republicans with the problems, but don't necessarily like Democrats. Double digit gap of people who say they would rather have Democrats win. Republicans are not doing the "blocking and tackling" necessary to diminish their disadvantages.

Republicans will be on defense, protecting incumbents.

Campaign Panel - Live blog

The panel begins. Introductions all around. Sandlin and Talent set the stage on the campaign, focusing on congressional races.

Kantor corrects Paul's introduction of him as "vice chair" of the Clinton campaign. "At my age, they don't give you a title. They're worried that, if you die, they'll have to come to the funeral."

Sandlin starts off. Predicts higher margins in both the House and Senate for Democrats. Points to the Democrats winning special elections for Republican Speaker Hastert's seat in Illinois and Rep. Baker's seat in Louisiana. Forcasts a pickup for Democrats of about 18 seats in the House. Also, predicts more Dems in the Senate, but not enough to get to the magic number of 60 seats that would allow Dems to block fillibusters.

Also says there will be great uncertainty and "more government."

Campaign Panel

I'm sitting right now next to Mickey Kantor. He's a bundle of energy. Talk about a multi-tasker. He's got someone on hold on his cell phone, while he's emailing off his blackberry, while he's carrying on a conversation with Jim Talent. A whirling dervish.

The panel begins with campaign commercials from each of the campaigns. All positive stuff. Hillary starts off "I will stand for you every day in the White House."

McCain, emotional ad with background video of the POW scenes. "John McCain, the American president Americans are waiting for."

Obama, clips from his speech to the Democratic convention. "America, our moment is now!"

Campaign Panel - In the Green Room

Fascinating discussion in the green room. Mickey Kantor and Jim Margolis deep in mumbled conversation, presumably negotiating the terms of the end of the Democratic primary.

Lots of war stories about past campaigns. It's interesting to listen to the conversation with hardcore politicos get together. It's very convivial, despite profound philosophical difference, there is enormous mutual respect and even affection. It's real community.

Live Blogging a Panel on Campaign 2008

Today, I will be live blogging a panel on Campaign 2008 being held at the Council on Foriegn Relations in New York. Paul Johnson, Vice Chairman of Fleishman Hillard will be moderating the event whose participants will include, Mickey Kantor, Vice Chair of the Clinton Campaign, Jim Margolis of GMMB, a chief strategist for the Obama campaign and Kieran Mahoney, principle of Mercury Public Affairs which consults for the McCain Campaign. Also on the panel will be former Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) and former Representative Max Sandlin (D-TX).

The panel will commence sometime afternoon, so be sure to check back then to get real-time posts.

It promises to be a lively event.