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McCain Goes After Obama in Victory Speech

It seems John McCain knows who his general election opponent will be. In his victory speech last night, McCain took a veild swipe at Barack Obama on his message of hope.

Hope, my friends, is a powerful thing. I can attest to that better than many, for I have seen men’s hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience. And I stood astonished at the resilience of their hope in the darkest of hours because it did not reside in an exaggerated belief in their individual strength, but in the support of their comrades, and their faith in their country. My hope for our country resides in my faith in the American character, the character which proudly defends the right to think and do for ourselves, but perceives self-interest in accord with a kinship of ideals, which, when called upon, Americans will defend with their very lives.

To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.

When I was a young man, I thought glory was the highest ambition, and that all glory was self-glory. My parents tried to teach me otherwise, as did the Naval Academy. But I didn’t understand the lesson until later in life, when I confronted challenges I never expected to face.

I did not see his speech, but on paper, it is very powerful. The problem is, can McCain actually portray himself as the real candidate of hope. He has a very unique history that could play well if used effectively. Will an Obama vs. McCain campaign result in hope vs. real hope?

Daschle to Head Health and Human Services Department

Former Majority Leader Tom Daschle will be named the next Secretary of Health and Human Services according to Democratic sources.

After losing his reelection bid in 2004, Daschle sent most of his aids to work for Obama and eventually encouraging him to run for Senate.

With Healthcare reform a top priority in the Obama Administration, the transition team looked for someone who knows and can work with Congress to draft legislation. DNC Chairman Howard Dean was another posibility for the post, but given his toxicity with Republicans and his lack of experience in Congress, was not seriously considered.

Begich Leading by 1,022

With about 24,000 votes yet to be counted, Democratic challenger Mark Begich leads Stevens Republican incumbent by 1,022 votes.

A vote to outs the convicted Senator Ted Stevens has been postponed as Alaska awaits the results of the election.

“After talking with many of my colleagues, it’s clear there are sufficient votes to pass the resolution regarding Senator Stevens,” DeMint said.

“The question now is timing. Some who support the resolution believe we should address this after the results of his election are confirmed in Alaska. For this reason, I will ask the conference to postpone the vote on Senator Stevens until Thursday,” DeMint said.

Stevens faces up to 35 years in prison.

Lieberman Keeps Chairmanship

The Democratic Caucus voted 42 to 13 to allow Independent Joe Lieberman to keep his Chairmanship on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The vote included six newly elected Democrats and excluded Barack Obama, who resigned his Senate and Joe Biden.

Part of the deal also strips Lieberman of his seat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, but allows him to retain his Chairmanship on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland.

Lieberman received criticism from Democrats after he endorsed John McCain for President and criticized Obama on the campaign trail for being unprepared to protect America.

“There are some that I made that I wish I had never made at all,” Lieberman said later.

Obama had supported a compromise to keep Lieberman in the Caucus.

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.

Byrd to Give Up Appropriations Chairmanship

Robert, Byrd, the oldest and longest serving U.S. Senator in the Chamber’s history will voluntarily give up his Chairmanship on the powerful Appropriations Committee. This ends speculation on Byrd’s fate on the Committee as many began to doubt his ability to manage the Committee given his failing health and age. Byrd is approaching 91. Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, 84, will take the gavel of the Appropriations Committee.

Inouye’s ascension to the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee will set off a chain-reaction among other Senate panels. Inouye currently chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee but will have to give up that post. Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is next in line on Commerce and could take over as chairman.

If Rockefeller takes the Commerce gavel, that means he has to give up his chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is next in line on that committee, and Democratic sources said she is interested in becoming chairwoman. Rockefeller’s office would not comment on his future plans.

Byrd, as the most senior Senator, will remain pro tempore of the Senate and thus third in line to the Presidency.

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.