Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Presidential Update

McCain was stumping in Obama’s backyard of Chicago and raised $5 million in five hours according to CBS2 Chicago. Gallup Polling is reporting that McCain is now capturing the majority of Independent votes by a margin of 52% to 37%. Overall, Gallup is reporting a 5% edge over Obama nationwide. Nationwide polls are great for bloggers looking for something to write about but really it comes down to the states.

A new ABC poll shows McCain surging ahead of Obama with a 20% lead in North Carolina with 58% for McCain and 38% for Obama.

A new Rasmussen Poll has Obama edging out McCain with a 1% lead in Nevada.

A recent Strategic Vision poll has Obama ahead by 1% in Michigan.

Rasmussen also has McCain up by 7% in Ohio.

In Pennsylvania, Rasmussen has Obama up by 2%.

Finally, a new poll of Florida voters by Public Policy Polling has McCain up by 5%.

Michigan and Pennsylvania were Kerry/Edwards states in 2004. North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, and Ohio were all Bush/Cheney states.

Karl Rove’s map seems to be coming back to life for 2008.

Obama is losing some of his steam. The states that have McCain ahead are typically outside of the margin of error. Those which give Obama an edge are certainly within the margin of error which places them in the toss-up category.

Fannie, Freddie, and Pauley

According to the Mercury News, the Federal Government’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sent mortgage rates tumbling in California (one of the states that have been hardest hit by the housing credit-crisis.) This has caused a ray of hope for many folks seeking to finance or re-finance a home.

Reuters is reporting that Obama has stated that he is dismayed by the size of the bailout package for the failed quasi-governmental agencies. The Christian Science Monitor reports that McCain also wanted to see the government step in to save Fannie and Freddie but sees this as a signal that some type of privatization should occur in these government/private hybrid agencies responsible for owning or guaranteeing $5 trillion in loans.

Questions still linger as to whether executives from Freddie and Fannie will garner windfall exit packages.

These governmental type companies do (surprise, surprise) have political wings. OpenSecrets.org has a story that details Congressman Paul Kanjorski’s dealings with the political wing of Fannie and Freddie. According to the story, Congressman Kanjorski has received $65,500 from these embattled mortgage company PACs, making him the single largest recipient in the House of their PAC dollars. There is a detailed list of top recipients of their PAC dollars in the story as well.

Kanjorski Vulnerable

According to the Politico, Paul Kanjorski is one of the few Democrats that will likely lose to a Republican. The Politico states that the issue in this race isn’t about the two major political parties but is more about the two men that are in the race.

Kanjorski has had repeated missteps during his more recent years in office and during this campaign season. Kanjorski had a very recent dustup on CBS over earmarks dealing with the Kanjorski Center, was exposed for being on both sides of the surge in Iraq, admitted that he and other democrats were less than honest when they said they would get us out of the Iraq war in 2006, and is still faced with questions over the earmarking of nearly $10,000,000 for the now infamous Cornerstone Technologies company owned by his family.

Barletta’s been keeping Kanjorski on the ropes. Time and again Barletta has seen favorable rankings from various news sources. This race has moved from the solid democrat category to that of a toss up in most people’s minds. Barletta has been picking off regular Kanjorski supporters, including picking up an endorsement from the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition today in Scranton. If Barletta can keep this energy moving forward, odds are good that he could win.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Race Rankings

In RealClearPolitics.com:, Reid Wilson and Kyle Trygstad have a story about the top 25 competitive congressional races in the country. NEPA’s two local races made the list.

The first number is the number 1-25 with 1 being most competitive.

Coming in as the 11th most competitive race in the Country, PA-11. They state “Pennsylvania 11 -- Kanjorski (D) -- Ethics issues, questionable earmarks and an unremarkable record, coupled with a near-celebrity opponent, put Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) atop national Republicans' target list. Kanjorski hasn't faced a real race in decades, and John McCain is likely to win the Scranton-based district, aiding Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R). It's one race in which the "change" mantra may benefit Republicans.”

And in the 16th position, PA-10 with “Pennsylvania 10 -- Carney (D): Rep. Christopher Carney represents a Northeast Pennsylvania district that gave President Bush 60% of the vote in 2004, and where Barack Obama did notably poorly in the state's April primary. That's not a recipe for success for a Democrat, especially one who won by challenging an incumbent with serious personal problems. Republicans are enthusiastic about businessman Chris Hackett (R), who won a competitive primary.”

Seems that NEPA will truly be a battleground this year.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Future of America?

NEPALibwatch has a post about the protests outside of the Democratic Convention. There are a bunch of photos and a short youtube video of Griff Jenkins of Fox News trying to interview some of the protesters. He asked them what their message was and if they believed in freedom of speech. Well, they certainly used those freedoms on the interview. Most of the folks were young people. Other highlights of the protest included Cindy Sheehan (amazingly minus a bullhorn) and disgraced former educator Ward Churchill.

The Republican Convention didn’t escape the wrath of the protesters. I found a good picture at the AP of the protests. The full story is here.

Dueling Polls

Carney Released a poll showing the following:

Clarks Summit, PA—A recent Momentum Analysis poll shows Congressman Carney to be safe from a challenge from businessman Chris Hackett. Carney is more popular than Hackett, and enjoys a 2-to-1 lead over Hackett in the horserace (54-27%).

A majority of voters (53%) view Congressman Carney favorably (either “very” or “somewhat” favorable), with only 18% viewing him unfavorably (either “very” or “somewhat”). Three times as many (21%) view him “very favorably” as “very unfavorably” (7%). And Carney is popular not just with Democrats (63% favorable, 8% unfavorable) but with Republicans as well (46% favorable, 27% unfavorable).

Roll Call released a poll showing the following:

In a head-to-head matchup with his Republican challenger, wealthy businessman Chris Hackett, Carney was supported by 49 percent compared with 45 percent for Hackett. The difference was within the poll’s 4-point margin of error.

The poll of 623 likely voters was taken exclusively for Roll Call Aug. 23-25 by SurveyUSA, an automated polling firm.

The rural district has long been a Republican stronghold, and Carney is the first Democrat to represent it since the Eisenhower administration. President Bush carried the district by 20 points in 2004, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) led Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) 50 percent to 41 percent in the Roll Call poll.

With Republicans outnumbering Democrats in the district, Carney’s slight edge in the poll was attributed to his support from independents and moderates. He had a 2-1 advantage among self-identified moderates and was preferred by independents by a 5-4 ratio.

Energy Update

API commissioned a poll about support for domestic drilling amongst our fellow Pennsylvanians. The survey found 63 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania support increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources. If you’re interested, the full results of the state study and methodology can be found here. There is also a podcast about the survey at www.energytomorrow.org.

GOP Convention Update

Convention Effort Includes Comfort Care Package Distribution, Text Message Alert System, and Coordinated Fundraising for Charitable Organizations

SAINT PAUL, MN -- Today, the 2008 Republican National Convention launched the first day of its Hurricane Gustav Relief Effort. The effort includes the formation of a center where volunteers will assemble and send 80,000 "comfort packages," a text message alert system, and a comprehensive effort to encourage Americans to donate to charities identified by the five Gulf Coast governors. These efforts augment the steps that the convention announced yesterday, which included the formation of the Affected States Working Group and the establishment of an Affected States Information Center.
"We are deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of the residents of the Gulf States region. Senator McCain has asked us to put country first and shift our focus to assisting the Gulf State citizens, and we have coordinated a relief effort that answers his call to service. We are doing what Americans do best: helping our fellow citizens in need," said Rick Davis, campaign manager for McCain 2008.
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Robert M. "Mike" Duncan added, "The safety and well-being of the people of the Gulf States remains our top concern. Over the past 24 hours, we have moved quickly to mobilize people and resources to assist the Gulf States' residents -- both those who are in the region and our delegates in Saint Paul -- in any way we can."
Comfort Care Packages
The 2008 Republican National Convention has joined with Target, FedEx, and the Red Cross to send 80,000 "comfort packages" to the Gulf Coast region. The packages will be assembled at the Minneapolis Convention Center in a staging area being assembled today. The packages will have basic necessities donated by Target, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, granola bars, and other prepackaged foods. The donated materials will arrive in Saint Paul on Wednesday at 8 a.m., and FedEx will ship the packages to the appropriate locations.
The 2008 Republican National Convention is helping coordinate the volunteer effort. We expect 200 volunteers, which will be working in 75 minute shifts beginning on Wednesday.
Text Message Alert System
We have launched a text message alert system to inform delegates and alternates of program changes and other information as soon as it becomes available. The convention is in continuous communication with all delegates, speakers, and program participants. All parties understand that the schedule for the convention will be dictated by the conditions on the ground in the Gulf States and are, therefore, subject to change. The campaign and the convention's first priority is the safety and security of those living in the areas where the hurricane will make landfall.
Charitable Donations
The governors of the states affected by the hurricane recommended five charitable organizations that Americans can donate to if they wish to contribute to the relief efforts. The 2008 Republican National Convention is working to coordinate and encourage donations to these groups. In addition, the McCain 2008 campaign has set up a phone bank at the Hilton in Minneapolis, which will help coordinate donations to these groups. The five groups are as follows:
Louisiana: AidMatrix (http://www.aidmatrix.org/) AidMatrix is a leading aid organization that mobilizes more than $1.5 billion in aid annually, worldwide. The donated goods, money and services benefit the lives of more than 65 million people.
Mississippi: Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund (http://www.mississippirelief.com/) The Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund has been set up by Governor Haley Barbour to serve as the state's central clearinghouse for corporations, organizations and individuals to donate money, equipment, goods, services, volunteers and time to the hundreds of thousands of Mississippians who may be affected by Hurricane Gustav.
Alabama: Governor's Emergency Relief Fund (http://www.servealabama.gov/) In preparation for the possibility of Hurricane Gustav impacting Alabama, Governor Bob Riley and the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives are accepting offers of goods, volunteers and financial donations.
Texas: Texas Responds (http://www.texasresponds.org/) When activated by the State of Texas, Texas Responds serves as the state portal for non-cash donations such as goods and services.
Florida: Florida Disaster Fund (http://www.floridadisasterfund.org/) The mission of the Florida Disaster Recovery Fund is to raise funds to help Floridians recover from natural disasters by strengthening families and rebuilding communities.
The McCain 2008 campaign has also set up a web site, http://www.gop.com/news/www.causegreater.com, where Americans can go to learn more about these organizations. In addition, the 2008 Republican National Convention's official web site is now being updated to focus on the charitable efforts the convention is now engaged in.
Prayer ServiceA prayer service, hosted by Texas Governor Rick Perry and the Texas delegation, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Central Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul. The service will be led by Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. The Texas delegation has invited all other Gulf State delegations to participate.
Today's announcement is an update to the efforts announced yesterday, which included the formation of the Affected States Working Group and the establishment of an Affected States Information Center. The working group is comprised of representatives from each of the states in Hurricane Gustav's path. It is led by all five state party chairs from the affected area along with other delegation officials. The group communicates twice a day and is actively working to ensure that all affected delegates have the information and assistance they need. The group regularly briefs their delegates and convention planners, provides access to timely information and assistance, and gives input on appropriate steps that can be taken from Minnesota.
In addition, the Affected States Information Center, housed in the Xcel Energy Center, is now up and running. The center will remain open during the Xcel Energy Center's operating hours and serves as a central location where delegates can get news about the hurricane, weather reports, and information about rescue relief organizations; access to computers and phones; and the resources they need to address their situations back home. There are also representatives in the center that can contact Gulf State governors, if needed.

Kanjorski Helping Doherty in Scranton

Congressman Kanjorski, Mayor Doherty to Help Open New Business:

The renovated ‘Colonnade’ to host $15 million celebration next Tuesday
Scranton, PA, August 29, 2008 – Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) and Scranton Mayor Christopher Doherty will help reopen the nearly 140-year-old White House mansion on Jefferson Avenue as Downtown Scranton’s newest business next Tuesday.
The new special events venue and catering facility, now known as The Colonnade and located at 401 Jefferson Avenue near the University of Scranton campus, is the product of an approximately two-year renovation overseen by owners Paul Blackledge and Joshua Mast. The two partners are also putting the finishing touches on six upstairs suites to provide overnight accommodations for guests.

Tuesday’s opening will also mark a major milestone in a small business financing program created by Congressman Kanjorski, known as the Banking On Business program. Banking On Business, which helped finance the renovation of the White House mansion, has now committed $15 million in funding for new and expanding small businesses across northeastern Pennsylvania.

The twin celebration will take place Tuesday, September 2, at 2 p.m. on the front lawn of The Colonnade, 401 Jefferson Avenue (at the intersection of Jefferson and Mulberry) in Downtown Scranton. Congressman Kanjorski and Mayor Doherty will be joined by officials of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, US Small Business Administration, the Scranton Office of Economic Development and other advocates of community and economic development on this festive occasion.