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Obama to Resign Senate Seat November 16

Barack Obama will resign his Senate seat effective Sunday, November 16, 2008.

Here is a statement released by Obama:

“It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future.

“It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President,'” Obama said in a statement.

“It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future. It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President.”

Possible successors include Jesse Jackson Jr. and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth.

Secretary of State Clinton?

That’s the buzz around town tonight. Speculation is abundant that Hillary Clinton may not only be on the list of possible candidates for the State Department post, but may be near the top.

Undisclosed sources inside the Obama transition team say many advisers are pushing the idea. Speculation was fueled when it was reported Clinton flew to Chicago–Obama’s Transition Headquaters–on “personal business.”

When asked if she would consider a Cabinet appointment, Clinton left the door open.

“I am happy being a senator from New York, I love this state and this city. I am looking at the long list of things I have to catch up on and do. But I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful.”

Of course, the question is does Obama want a Clinton in his administration.

Other contenders for the post are John Kerry, who endorsed Obama early in the campaign and Bill Richardson, a close friend of the Clinton’s who endorsed Obama. Richard Holbrooke, former UN Ambassador is also considered to be a top contended as well as Republican Chuck Hagel.

Confusion on Missile Defense

Foreign policy advisor Denis McDonough says Obama has made no commitment on Polish missile defense, at odds with a statement made by Polish President Lech Kaczynski who said Obama will move ahead with plans to install a missile defense system in Poland.

(The) “president-elect had a good conversation with the Polish President and the Polish Prime Minister about the important US-Poland alliance,” McDonough said in a statement.

“President Kaczynski raised missile defense but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it.

“His position is as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable.”

A statement from President Kaczynski:

“Barack Obama has underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between Poland and the United States, he expressed his hope of continuing the political and military cooperation between our two countries,” the statement read.

“He also said the anti-missile shield project would go ahead,” said a statement said.

The United States plans to install a missile defense shield in Poland by 2013. The U.S. says states like Iran is researching and developing medium to long range missiles, which could be deployed and nuclear tipped by 2017. Russia has been adamant against such a system voicing concerns it will blunt Russia’s nuclear deterrent and plans to counter the shield by deploying short-range missiles near the Polish border.

Battleground Georgia

A December 2 runoff looms for the Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

Earlier the Chambliss campaign announced John McCain will campaign for the Republican Senator.

“We’re bringing in all the superstars,” said Michelle Grasso, the Chambliss campaign’s communications director. “We’re in the process of reaching out to everyone. And it’s not just us reaching out, people are contacting us to ask how they can be helpful.”

Some 2012 hopefuls may also contribute a helping hand. A Romney spokesperson said the former Governor would love to help in anyway possible.

“We are now talking with his campaign about how we can be of further help in the run-off,” Fehrnstrom said.

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin may contribute her star power to the Senate race.

“She wants to come down, but right now we are working with her schedulers to see if that’s possible,” Grasso said.

The Obama campaign is not letting Georgia out of their sights, however, sending their Ohio team to Georgia in hopes to add one more state to the Democratic caucus. With far less African-American turnout expected in the runoff, however, Chambliss may be able to fend off Democratic challenger Martin for another six-year term.

China Hacked White House Computers

Reports now say Chinese hackers, possibly sponsored by the Chinese government, hacked into White House computers. E-mails and information was stolen before government officials were able to fix the problem.

Earlier, reports said foreign entities also hacked into campaign computers of Barack Obama and John McCain. The Obama campaign suspected either the Russians or the Chinese.

This marks a new era in intelligence gathering and cyber attack. In the Georgian war, Russian hackers hacked Georgian government websites, essentially limiting the exchange of government information to the public. In a time where the vast amount of information and communication is transferred through the internet,defense against cyber attacks has become an increasing priority in American national security.

Obama Raises $66 Million in August

The Obama campaign raised $66 million for the month of August. The campaign reports they have added 500,000 new donors and have $77 million on hand. Along with the DNC’s $17.5 million, collectively, the Democratic Party has about $94 million on hand to spend as of August 31.

The McCain campaign has accepted public financing and received $84 million on September 1 to spend for the general election. Any money raised by the McCain campaign after September 1 must be transferred to the Republican National Committee. The RNC had $76 million in the bank, plus $17 million transferred from the McCain campaign, in addition to $20 million in a joint fundraising committee for total of $197 million.

The McCain campaign plans to send Palin to raise money for the RNC in the final days of the campaign.

USA Today/Gallup: McCain +4 (or +10)

McCain got a significant bump from the Republican National Convention, now leading Barack Obam four points among registered voters and ten points among likely voters.

Registered Voters

Barack Obama: 46% (-4)
John McCain: 50% (+7)

Likely Voters

Barack Obama: 44%
John McCain: 54%

• Before the convention, Republicans by 47%-39% were less enthusiastic than usual about voting. Now, they are more enthusiastic by 60%-24%, a sweeping change that narrows a key Democratic advantage. Democrats report being more enthusiastic by 67%-19%.

• Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a national unknown before McCain chose her for the ticket 10 days ago, draws a strong reaction from voters on both sides. Now, 29% say she makes them more likely to vote for McCain, 21% less likely.

Obama’s choice of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as running mate made 14% more likely to vote for the Democrat, 7% less likely.

• McCain’s acceptance speech Thursday received lower ratings than the one Obama gave a week earlier: 15% called McCain’s speech “excellent” compared with 35% for Obama.

McCain still has one giant hurdle to jump, however. 63% of voters say they are concerned McCain will pursue policies same as President Bush. Bush’s approval rating is 33%.

While McCain is benefiting from a Convention bounce, it is worthy to mention in a year where Democrats have everything going for them, the Presidential candidate still significantly underperforms the generic Democrat. The generic Democrat beats the generic Republican by 10 to 15 points. Plus, despite the worries from a majority of voters that McCain will be just like Bush, Obama is still struggling. Then again, this is not Europe. Americans vote for the person, not the Party.

It will be interesting to see how long this bump last. It is called a bump for a reason–it is just that, a parabolic bump. If McCain still leads by next week, I say there will be reason for Obama supporters to worry.

McCain now leads the RCP Average for the first time since April.

Daily Rasmussen – September 7, 2008

McCain is making inroads in the Rasmussen tracking poll, now even with Barack Obama. At the peak of Obama’s convention bounce, he was six points ahead of McCain.

Without Leaners

Barack Obama: 46%
John McCain: 46% (+1)

With Leaners

Barack Obama: 48% (-1)
John McCain: 48% (+2)

Favorable/Unfavorable (NET)

Barack Obama: 56%/43% (+13)
John McCain: 58%/40% (+18)

At the peak of Obama’s convention bounce, he had a net favorable rating of 19 points.

Forty-two percent (42%) of voters say that economic issues are most important this year and Obama holds a 34-point advantage among these voters.

Twenty-four percent (24%) of voters say the national security issues are most important. Among these voters its McCain by 39.

The Republican hopeful also leads by wide margins among those who consider fiscal issues or cultural issues most important. Obama leads among those primarily interested in domestic programs such as Social Security and health care.

The enthusiasm gap is also closing. Before the Republican convention, 54% of Republican were voting for McCain because they were enthusiastic, now that number is 65%. Still, Obama holds the advantage in enthusiasm. 77% of voters are voting for Obama because they are enthusiastic.

The poll includes all three post-Palin speech days and two post-McCain speech days. Monday will be the first poll taken entirely after the Republican convention.

Daily Rasmussen – September 5, 2008

The bounce begins for John McCain as Sarah Palin becomes more popular than either presidential candidates.

Without Leaners

Barack Obama: 46% (-1)
John McCain: 45% (+2)

With Leaners

Barack Obama: 48% (-2)
John McCain: 46% (+1)

Favorable/Unfavorable (NET)

Barack Obama: 57%/42% (+15)
John McCain: 57%/41% (+16)
Sarah Palin: 58%/37% (+21)

40% have a Very Favorable opinion of Palin, compared to 37% who have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama and 27% who says the same of McCain.

Interviews include one day of post-Palin speech and two days of pre-Palin speech.

Daily Rasmussen – September 4, 2008

The race remains steady today, three days into the Republican Convention.

Without Leaners

Barack Obama: 47% (-1)
John McCain: 43%

With Leaners

Barack Obama: 50%
John McCain: 45%

Favorable/Unfavorable (NET)

Barack Obama: 57%/41% (+16)
John McCain: 56%/43% (+13)

Virtually all of the results are based on interviews taken before Palin’s convention speech.

51% believe the media is trying to hurt Palin with their coverage, while only 5% believe they are trying to help. 35% believe the media is providing unbiased coverage. Among Unaffliated voters, 49% think the media is trying to hurt Palin.

On the experience question, 49% say Obama has the experience to be President, while 39% believe Palin has the experience to be President. Among unaffliated voters, 42% give Obama the edge on experiece while 37% give Palin the edge. This poll was taken before Palin’s convention speech.