Speak now, or lose your job forever: Biden Rally Hosts Chaylee the (Fired) Telemarketer

(TIME-Election 08)

There certainly have to be easier ways to score a VIP ticket to a political rally. Standing in the modest crowd of a few hundred who showed up downtown to hear Joe Biden on Friday morning was a shy, freckle-faced young woman wearing a white coat against the chill. She had received an invitation from the campaign the night before to be here. That’s because Chaylee Cole, an 18-year-old student at Fairmont State University, has become a celebrity of sorts. Last week, she was fired from her part-time job as a telemarketer when she refused to make telephone calls attacking Barack Obama for his association with former Weather Underground leader William Ayers.

Cole told me she had been working at the Weston, W.V., office of the Philadelphia-based firm, 1.2.1 Direct Response, for a few months to make money for school, mostly selling cable packages. (As it happens, Obama himself had done the same thing during one school year at Columbia University, selling New York Timessubscriptions over the phone.) When she saw the anti-Obama script, which linked Obama to bombings at the Pentagon and the Capitol, it bothered her.

According to the Charleston, W.Va., Gazette, which first reported on her firing, the script told callers to say:

“Hello, I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the US Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.

“And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democrat allies lack the judgment to lead our country.

“This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee.”

Cole insists that her decision about the call wasn’t about politics. “I was uncomfortable reading it,” she says. “I didn’t know if it was true. I wouldn’t have done it if it was anti-McCain either. Everything about it was wrong.” She told the Charleston newspaper that she was also worried about the fact that she didn’t know who might be answering the phone when she called, and was especially concerned that she might be delivering her message to a child or an elderly person. Her bosses gave her a choice, she said: Read it, or go home-without pay.

Cole isn’t the only telemarketer who refused to deliver the attack call, which has been made in several battleground states. Ted Zoromski of Middleton, Wisconsin, quit his job at a Madison firm rather than make the call. And some leading members of McCain’s own party up for reelection, including Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon, have called on McCain and the RNC to stop the robocalls.

Such negative telephone campaigns — often in the guise of automated “robocalls” — are a time-honored campaign tactic, especially in the closing days of a campaign, because they can often go under the radar. However, the Obama campaign has increasingly been crying foul on the McCain calls, and this week, launched a new website, radar.barackobama.com that actually aims to draw attention to, and thereby discredit, them.

For Cole, a young woman who is preparing to cast her very first vote-and who still won’t disclose who it will be for — it was a rough introduction to modern campaign tactics. At the rally, Biden lauded her from the podium, and declared: “Our country cannot take four more years of this divisive politics.” But for her part, Cole seemed like she would have been just as happy not to play her bit part in this election season. “It seems pretty nasty,” she told me, and added: “I’m too young for all this.”

Damage control: Biden airs ad for re-election to Senate seat

Politico: The Democratic veep candidate airs minute-long ad for re-election to his Delaware seat — just in case.

Spot paints him as a working-class family man, focuses on his taking the train home from D.C. to Delaware every night.

Bush casts his vote for Mccain, Palin-Fey back on SNL

 

The White House says the President and his wife participated in Texas’ early voting Friday, casting their ballots for McCain.

Their votes will be sent back to the Lone Star State and the President will remain in D.C. on election night.

The last Thursday episode of Saturday Night Live wrapped up with Will Ferrell as President Bush endorsing the McCain-Palin ticket.

Obama Steps in to Help Boost Oregon Senate Candidate

Plouffe Shows Keystone State Defiance/Confidence: McCain in for a rough ride

 

The Obama camp manager says McCain would have to win 15% of the Democratic vote, 95% of the Republican and 60% of the independent vote to take the battleground.

“It’s a daunting task when you kind of wipe away the spin here and look at the facts.”

Adds that even though the stats don’t look good for their rival, they’ll continue to match their campaigning effort in the state.

National field director Jon Carson and battleground state director Jen O’Malley also weigh in on the state of the race.

OPEC slashes production; crude continues to tumble

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — OPEC said at an emergency meeting Friday that it will slash oil production by 1.5 million barrels to stem the “dramatic collapse” of oil prices, but crude prices plunged 5 percent anyway as financial markets spiraled downward across the globe.

Demand for crude has evaporated and the supply levers held by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries appear to have little influence in the current economic climate.

Iran and Venezuela pushed for a cut of 2 million barrels a day, but there were concerns among other OPEC members that a more severe production cut would exacerbate a deteriorating economic crisis and further destroy demand.

OPEC officials, however, signaled they were prepared to slice deeper quickly if crude continues its freefall.

The world’s biggest crude consumer immediately blasted OPEC.

“It has always been our view that the value of commodities, including oil, should be determined in open, competitive markets, and not by these kinds of anti-market production decisions,” White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said Friday. “The high oil prices from the past year contributed to the slowdown in demand and the subsequent downturn in the economy, and we would ask that everyone keep that in mind going forward.”

OPEC is already producing 300,000 barrels a day above its own quota of about 29 million barrels.

If that overproduction is stopped, and all members comply with the 1.5-million cut, OPEC would produce about 1.8 million fewer barrels of oil a day.

OPEC officials, however, left no doubt that they were ready to slice production again quickly if Friday’s decision does not end the price freefall.

The emergency meeting was initially scheduled for Nov. 18, but that was abruptly rescheduled for Friday in response to prices that have entered a tailspin since their historic high of nearly $150 in July.

Crude has tumbled 56 percent since then. A barrel of oil costs $41 less than it did just 30 days ago.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil said OPEC was ready to convene another emergency session before its next planned gathering in December in Algeria “if there are further decisions that have to be made.

Analyst John Hall of London-based John Hall Associates said the OPEC decision will not have a dramatic effect, adding he assumed any upward trend would stop at between $80 and $90.

But there was no such trend Friday as markets plunged global and fear of an extended recession spread.

Wall Street joined world stock markets in a sharp sell-off Friday, with the Dow Jones industrials dropping more than 200 points in early trading and all the major indexes falling more than 4 percent.

Oil futures slid $3.33 to $64.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices at one point tumbled to below $63, prices not seen since June 2007.

“It’s clear that the ministers are attempting to underpin at $60 a barrel,” said James R. Crawford an analyst with Inter Emirates. “But where the market will settle remains open.”

OPEC statement Friday reflected alarm over the erosion of revenues for oil producing nations, as did the unusually short deliberations leading to its decision.

“Oil prices have witnessed a dramatic collapse — unprecedented in speed and magnitude,” said the 13-nation organization. “This slowdown in demand is serving to exacerbate the situation in a market which has been oversupplied with crude for some time.

It also warned of hard times ahead for suppliers, saying “the fall in demand will deepen” in the coming months.

OPEC indirectly asked Russia and other major oil exporters outside the organization not to undercut efforts to prop up prices.

“OPEC cannot be expected to bear alone the burden of restoring equilibrium,” said the statement.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah El-Badri said before a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday that he would not ask Russia for oil production cuts as global prices fall. Some analysts have said Russia was unlikely to agree to production cuts, given that it already is battling with falling output as West Siberian oil fields mature.

But others spoke of behind the scenes negotiations between Moscow and OPEC on the issue.

The fall in crude prices despite OPEC’s move suggested the organization’s power to raise prices by cutting supply may be fading amid a global economic crisis that has crimped demand for oil. In the past, sizable cuts in OPEC production have led to significant jumps in prices.

The latest weekly report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that demand has fallen in 38 of the past 42 weeks. U.S. demand is down nearly 10 percent during the past four weeks year on year. The U.S. still consumes one out of every four barrels of oil produced.

El-Badri on Friday took pains to emphasize that OPEC’s move was predicated by a need not to raise prices but to put a floor underneath them. Iran, Venezuela and other OPEC members have suggested that for them, selling oil under $80 was a loss-maker, and Iraq on Thursday said it would have to rethink next year’s national budget if prices remain under that level.

That line of thinking did not rest well with U.S. lawmakers.

“OPEC has a talent for cutting its nose to spite its face,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “At a time when oil prices are declining because the world economy has stalled, OPEC’s actions will only make things worse.”

Associated Press writers Veronika Oleksyn and Angela Woebking contributed to this report.

Ex-Pennsylvania governor declares Palin VP pick as mistake

Race would be different if Ridge were VP pick, ex-gov says (Pittsburgh Tribune-view)

By Brad Bumsted
STATE CAPITOL REPORTER
Friday, October 24, 2008

HARRISBURG — Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said today that John McCain can’t become president without carrying Pennsylvania and that the race would be different if McCain had chosen him as his running mate.

“I think the dynamics would be different in Pennsylvania,” Ridge said when asked if he should have been chosen to run as vice president over Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “I think we’d be foolish not to admit it publicly.”

Ridge, the campaign’s national co-chairman, said McCain “had several good choices and I was one of them.”

Sen. Biden’s early Christmas gift to Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Sen. McCain’s Denver attack on Sen.Obama’s tax plan

McCain’s Remarks Friday in Denver

It’s great to be back in Colorado. We need to win Colorado on November 4th, and with your help — we’re going to win Colorado, and bring real change to Washington.

It’s been a long campaign and we’ve heard a lot of words, and after months of campaign trail eloquence, we’ve finally learned what Senator Obama’s economic goal is. As he told Joe the plumber back in Ohio, he wants to quote “spread the wealth around.” Just this morning, he said it again. He believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs. Senator Obama is more interested in controlling wealth than in creating it, in redistributing money instead of spreading opportunity. I am going to create wealth for all Americans, by creating opportunity for all Americans.

Senator Obama may say he’s trying to soak the rich, but it’s the middle class who are going to get put through the wringer, because a lot of his promised tax increase misses the target. To pay for nearly a trillion dollars in new government spending, his tax increase would impact 50 percent of small business income in this country, and the jobs of 16 million middle class Americans who work for those small businesses.

My opponent’s massive new tax increase is exactly the wrong approach in an economic slowdown. Just yesterday, we received news that jobless claims have increased by 15,000. And yet, just this week, Senator Obama announced that his plan would have a work requirement, meaning that those who are unemployed will receive no help under the Obama plan, while Senator Obama’s tax increases would put even more people out of work. The answer to a slowing economy is not higher taxes, but that is exactly what is going to happen when the Democrats have total control of Washington. We can’t let that happen.

We’ve already seen a preview of their plans. It’s pretty simple and pretty familiar: tax and spend. When the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee says that they are going to, quote, “focus on an immediate increase in spending,” We should take him at his word And when he says that there are, quote, “a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax,” It’s safe to assume that means you.

We know it means you because the Democratic budget plan they passed just this year — with Senator Obama’s help — called for raising taxes on people making just 42,000 dollars per year. No wonder they think there are a lot of “very rich” people out there — Rich for Senator Obama and the Democratic Congress means change in your pocket.

Senator Obama assures us that he has a very clear target of just the top five percent of income earners. And anytime you hear talk of a targeted tax increase, you might want to double-check the skill of the marksman — the U.S. Congress has been known to fire wildly. Remember the Alternative Minimum Tax? You probably do if you’re one of the more than 30 million Americans currently threatened by it. That “targeted tax” was originally aimed at just 155 specific people. Once enacted, taxes have a way of spreading and rising. And that is why, as president, I am going to put a stop to the out of control spending, so we can keep taxes low.

The McCain-Palin tax cut is the real thing. We’re going to double the child deduction for every family. We will cut the capital gains tax. And we will cut business taxes to help create jobs, and keep American businesses in America.

As Joe the Plumber and small business owners across the country have now reminded us all, America didn’t become the greatest nation on earth by giving our money to the government to “spread the wealth around.” In this country, we believe in spreading opportunity, for those who need jobs and those who create them. And that is exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.

The next President won’t have time to get used to the office. We face many challenges here at home, and many enemies abroad in this dangerous world. This weekend, Senator Biden guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new President. We don’t want a President who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars.

Yesterday Senator Obama tried to explain away this warning by saying that his running-mate sometimes engages in “rhetorical flourishes.” That’s another way of saying that he accidentally delivered some straight talk.

My friends, Senator Biden referred to how Jack Kennedy was tested in the Cuban Missile Crisis and I had a little personal experience in that. I was a Navy pilot on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, and I was ready to go into combat at any minute. I know how close we came to a nuclear war and I will not be a president that needs to be tested. I have been tested. Senator Obama hasn’t, and it shows in his responses to our challenges abroad.

What is more troubling is that Senator Biden told their campaign donors that when that crisis hits, they would have to stand with them because it wouldn’t be apparent Senator Obama would have the right response. Forget apparent. We know Senator Obama won’t have the right response.

Senator Obama said yesterday that if you want to know how he would respond in a crisis, look what he’s done during his campaign. But we’ve seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign. He opposed the surge strategy that is bringing us victory in Iraq and will bring us victory in Afghanistan. He said he would sit down unconditionally with the world’s worst dictators. When Russia invaded Georgia, Sen. Obama said the invaded country should show restraint. He’s been wrong on all of these.

We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: hoping for our luck to change at home and abroad. We have to act. We need a new direction, and we have to fight for it.

I’ve been fighting for this country since I was seventeen years old, and I have the scars to prove it. If I’m elected President, I will fight to shake up Washington and take America in a new direction from my first day in office until my last. I’m not afraid of the fight, I’m ready for it.

I’m not going to spend $750 billion dollars of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess. I’m going to make sure we take care of the working people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington.

Two weeks ago, I announced a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up bad mortgages and refinancing them so if your neighbor defaults he doesn’t bring down the value of your house with him. This will help stem the tide of foreclosures that are hurting families, and it will put a floor under the broken housing market that was at the root of the financial crisis.

While Washington has been bailing out banks, I have been arguing that we need to focus on fixing the underlying problem: foreclosures on bad mortgages and the collapse of our housing market. Without fixing this fundamental problem, our economy will not get back on track. Yesterday, we learned that the number of foreclosures spike by 71 percent last quarter, and finally Congress and the Administration are putting together a plan to address this problem. Let me say: It’s about time.

I have been focusing my priorities on helping those people who have been impacted by this crisis. I have a plan to let retirees and people nearing retirement keep their money in their retirement accounts longer so they can rebuild their savings. Today we have seen more chaos in the markets. Where is Washington for those who are seeing their retirements shrink? We need to add flexibility to tax rules so that people have a chance to rebuild their wealth.

I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home. Raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse. Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy.

The explosion of government spending over the last eight years has put us deeper in debt to foreign countries that don’t have our best interests at heart. It weakened the dollar and made everything you buy more expensive.

If I’m elected President, I won’t spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. Senator Obama will. And he can’t do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I’m going to make government live on a budget just like you do.

I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren’t working for the American people. And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes.

If I’m elected President, I won’t make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs. Senator Obama will. I will open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair. And I’ll make sure we help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away.

If I’m elected President, we’re going to stop sending $700 billion to countries that don’t like us very much. Senator Obama will argue to delay drilling for more oil and gas and against building new nuclear power plants in America. If I am president, we will start new drilling now. We will invest in all energy alternatives — nuclear, wind, solar, and tide. We will encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We will invest in clean coal technology. We will lower the cost of energy within months, and we will create millions of new jobs.

We have less than two weeks until the election and what America needs now is a fighter; someone who puts all his cards on the table and trusts the judgment of the American people. I have fought for you most of my life. There are other ways to love this country, but I’ve never been the kind to do it from the sidelines.

I know you’re worried. America is a great country, but we are at a moment of national crisis that will determine our future. Will we continue to lead the world’s economies or will we be overtaken? Will the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest in the world? Will our children and grandchildren’s future be brighter than ours?

My answer to you is yes. Yes, we will lead. Yes, we will prosper. Yes, we will be safer. Yes, we will pass on to our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage and wisdom.

I’m an American. And I choose to fight. Don’t give up hope. Be strong. Have courage. And fight.

Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what’s right for America.

Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting and selfishness in Washington.

Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Now, let’s go win this election and get this country moving again.

Gov. Palin appears on FOX NEWS ‘Hannity & Colmes’!

Transcript of Palin on “Hannity & Colmes”

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST:  And welcome to this special edition of
“Hannity & Colmes.”  I’m Sean Hannity.  We’re just outside Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, in Beaver, Pennsylvania.  And Governor Palin joins us.
She just finished a big rally outside in the cold.

PALIN:  That was so much fun.

HANNITY:  Well, Alaska is cold, so you’re used to the cold.

PALIN:  You get used to the cold.  It’s crisp, refreshing.

HANNITY:  It is crisp and refreshing.  All right.  We’ve got 12 days
to go.  Nervous, excited?  You want this — you want to get to election
day?

PALIN:  Very excited.  Wishing there were more hours in the day,
though, still.  Wanting to get out there and speak with more Americans
and hear from more of them also.  Letting them know, too.  You know,
there’s such a clear choice on November 4.  So wishing that there were
more hours in the day but very, very excited and anxious for the 4th.

HANNITY:  All right.  Let’s — first of all, did you enjoy “Saturday
Night Live”?  By the way, they had the highest ratings in 14 years on
that program.  Did you know that?

PALIN:  Whatever I can do to help, yes.  It was fun.  It was a lot
of fun.

HANNITY:  Yes.  And by the way, you gave “Hannity & Colmes” one of
our highest ratings, too, for the year, so — in our first interview
together.  So we appreciate that.

Look, the polls are all over the place.  For example, we’ve got the
battleground poll has it a 2-point race today.  The A.P. poll has it
even.  “Investors Business Daily” has it now a 1.1 race.

Then you’ve got these other polls, double-digit lead for Obama.
Where do you think the race is right now?  And how do you interpret the
polls?  And are you following all of this?

PALIN:  I think it’s extremely close.  And I think it’s going to
come right down to the wire on election day, also.  I don’t know what to
make of the polls that are showing the double-digit lead for our
opponent.  You know, I don’t know what to attribute that to, but no, I
have that sense out there that it is very close and the choice, though,
is getting clearer and clearer.  I think that message is getting out
there in that regard, so it’s going to come down to the wire.

HANNITY:  So you expect a long night on election night?

PALIN:  Perhaps so.  Perhaps so.  But I do expect that, at the end
of the day, all will be well.  I don’t underestimate the wisdom of the
people, but Americans understand we must reform government.  We’ve got
to get our economy back on the right track.  We have to have the right
commander in chief understanding how important it is that we win the war
against terrorists.  The choice there very, very clear.  And in these
next 12 days, I think that more and more Americans are going to come on
board with us.

HANNITY:  Well, let me ask.  We keep hearing about this group ACORN
is in every single swing state now.  There are allegations of voter
fraud.  You had even said — you used the term stealing the election.

PALIN:  Um-huh.

HANNITY:  Are you concerned that that might be happening in this
election?

PALIN:  I join many Americans in sharing that concern that that
voter registration fraud could be resulting in some questionable ballots
being cast.  And that is not fair.  That is not right.  That is
un-American.

You know, we have our young men and women fighting in war zones for
us today, trying to protect our rights to free and fair elections.  And
how dare anyone take that away from our electorate?  And how dare anyone
not disavow a group that has engaged in that voter registration?

HANNITY:  Meaning you want Barack Obama and Joe Biden to do that?

PALIN:  Heck yes.  I wish that they would.  I think that that —
that would bode well for them, if they…

HANNITY:  But wait a minute.  They funded them.  Look, Barack Obama
has represented them as a lawyer.  Barack Obama has organized with them
and helped train some of their so-called get-out-the-vote efforts.  And
the campaign has given over $800,000.  So why would he disavow a group
that obviously is working on his behalf?

PALIN:  Well, obviously, we would like to see him disavow this group
so that at least that message would be sent to Americans that he, too,
cares about free and fair elections.

And, you know, we won’t tolerate that abuse or that exploitation of
an opportunity to have an unfair election.  And, again, it would bode
well for Barack Obama if he would stand strong on this one, have a
backbone and disavow that group.

HANNITY:  All right.  Let’s talk about the state of Pennsylvania
where you’ve been spending a lot of time.  I know Senator McCain is
going to be coming back here.

We had Governor Rendell on “Hannity & Colmes” last night.  And we
got into the issue of the comments that were made by both John Murtha
and by Barack Obama.  Barack Obama speaking in San Francisco.  You’ve
talked about this on the campaign trail.  Barack Obama said about people
in Pennsylvania, this state, as a matter of fact this part of the state,
that they’re bitter Americans clinging to their guns and religion, with
antipathy towards those that aren’t like them.

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  What does that comment tell you about Barack Obama?

PALIN:  I think he is so misjudging and prejudging.  Of course, a
part of America that is, especially here, so patriotic, so hard-working,
middle-class American families here.  Just desiring of their government
to be government of the people, by the people, for the people, doing
their best in securing jobs in their own hometowns, raising their
families.  There is nothing redneck or backwoods about any of this.
This is true America.

And you know, we love Pennsylvania.  We love this area of the
country.  And just honored and privileged to get to be here tonight.

HANNITY:  It’s sort of surprising, because now we’ve had two weeks
in a row of comments by Congressman John Murtha.  He’s called his own
constituents racist.  And then when asked to expand on it, he referred
to them as rednecks.  You said in a recent — I guess, you know, I’m one
of those bitter American rednecks.

PALIN:  I guess.  I guess so.  You know, if what I represent is what
these people here in Pennsylvania stand for, too, again, love of country
and a desire for that strong work ethic that is instilled in them to be
rewarded, and not expecting government to be the be-all, end-all to
answer all the questions for them.  Then I represent what they
represent.  And proud to do this.

HANNITY:  All right.  We had Joe the plumber on “Hannity & Colmes”
the other night.  We spent a lot of time on him.  He was on my radio
show.  We talked about that.  There’s something that seems to have
shifted in terms of the narrative in the debate on economics, because
Barack Obama’s answer was, “Well, I don’t want to punish your success
but, you know, I want to spread the wealth around.”

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  Joe Biden said it’s patriotic for people to pay more
taxes.  Time to jump in; time to be patriotic.  Do you think that the
narrative on the economy has changed?  And do you view those comments by
Biden and Obama as socialist?

PALIN:  I believe that the narrative has finally changed.  There’s
been more revelation there about what Barack Obama’s true intentions
will be.  He spoke plainly, finally, to Joe the plumber.  He said yes,
he wants to spread the wealth.  And to Joe the plumber that sounded like
socialism.

And Joe speaks for a lot of Americans, who hear some suggestion in
there that taking more from our small businesses and from our individual
families and then spreading their hard-working money around, according
to a politician’s priorities, that certainly would kill the
entrepreneurial spirit that helped build this country, made it the
greatest country on earth.

I’ve got a problem with it, and a lot of Americans are gravely
concerned about that plan that Barack Obama has with his tax cut, he
calls it.  Really, it’s a tax credit.  Really, it is, just spreading the
wealth.  There’s a problem with that.

HANNITY:  We’ve got to take a break here.  But I want to get into
whether or not this is welfare.  Because this has now come up in terms
of the way people are interpreting it and analyzing the Obama economic
plan.

Also I want to ask you about Joe Biden’s comments, about if Barack
Obama is elected we’re going to have an international crisis within six
years, and by the way, Americans may not be happy with how they resolve
it.

So, we’re going to take a break, come back.  More from Governor
Palin and more analysis right here on “Hannity & Colmes.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY:  And welcome back to “Hannity & Colmes.”  I’m Sean
Hannity.  We continue our interview with Governor Sarah Palin.

All right.  I want to get back to, more specifically, because Barack
Obama in every one of the debates, and Joe Biden in your debate with
him, they keep repeating a mantra: 95 percent of Americans won’t pay
taxes.  There has now been one analysis after another that 40 percent of
Americans that don’t pay will actually get a check under their plan.  Do
you think that’s welfare?

PALIN:  Well, what I think, it is the absolute wrong thing to do,
especially in this economically woeful time in America.  Now is not the
time to be taking more from our families and more from our small
businesses.

We need to see jobs created.  We need small businesses to be able to
keep more of what they’re earning and producing so they can hire more
people.  That’s how jobs are created.  That’s how the economy gets back
on line.  So no, his idea to take more at this time, especially is the
complete opposite of where we should be going.  It’s a complete opposite
of John McCain, his plan for economic recovery.

HANNITY:  We’ve had tough economic times.  Barack Obama has been
saying this is the worst economy since the Great Depression.  I would
argue it’s probably the worst economy since Jimmy Carter, because Ronald
Reagan inherited a loss of, what, 10 million jobs.  Inflation was 12.4
percent.  Interest rates in America, if you can believe it, 21.5 percent.

He dropped the top marginal rates from 70 to 28 percent; created 20
million new jobs; doubled revenues to the government; and gave us, at
the time, the longest period of peacetime economic growth in history.
Compare the two models.

PALIN:  Well, and thankfully, you know, hindsight being 20-20, we
can look back and see what Reagan did, and we can repeat some of those
solutions.  We have that luxury now of seeing what works.

What doesn’t work is any hint of socialism, again, at a time like
this where we would think that it helps our small businesses and helps
our families for government to take more of what they earn and produce
and then to dole out those dollars to others according to a politician’s
priorities or desires.  That is not what will help.

HANNITY:  If we raise, as he’s proposed, capital gains taxes, tax
rates.  If we raise windfall profits tax on companies and some of the
other tax, and spend a trillion new dollars in spending…

PALIN:  Right.

HANNITY:  … compare your plan to his plan.

PALIN:  Well, take everything and turn that upside-down on its
head.  Now, we need to reign in the rate of government growth.  We need
a spending freeze so that we can get this 10 trillion-dollar debt under
control.  We’ve got to quit digging ourselves in a hole there.

Now is certainly not the time to propose a nearly trillion-dollar
new expenditure, as Barack Obama has decided that he wants to do, and he
hasn’t explained yet where those dollars will come from.  The only place
that they can come from is increased taxes.

So, no, cutting capital gains tax, allowing doubling of the child
deduction in each family, again, lowering income taxes also.  Letting
entrepreneurs, letting the small businesses and the families keep more
of what they earn and recycle those dollars according to our own
priorities.  That’s the solution.  Government isn’t the solution in this.

HANNITY:  What would it mean to you: Barack Obama won the
presidency, Nancy Pelosi had 250 Democrats in the House…

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  … Harry Reid hit the magic number of 60 in the U.S.
Senate.  What do you think that would mean for America?

PALIN:  See, now this is part of the debate that I think you will
see elevated, and more voters are going to start talking about this in
the next few days.  That idea of a Democrat stronghold in House, Senate
and, heaven forbid, the White House.

HANNITY:  Super majority.

PALIN:  Super majority.  Veto-proof majority potentially here, yes.
That should certainly be a concern because of the checks and balances
issues, of course, that really have not been discussed to the degree, I
think, that they should be.

But more and more Americans are starting to ask these questions
also.  Is that consideration of how it would effect war strategy and how
it would effect, of course, the huge growth of government that we would
see under a Democrat-controlled House/Senate and White House.  Because
they’ve already promised to do so, Sean.

HANNITY:  Let me ask you this.  And you’ve talked at length.  You’ve
been very poignant on the campaign trail.  They’ve waived the white flag
of surrender.

PALIN:  Right.

HANNITY:  This is redistribution of the wealth.

PALIN:  Right.

HANNITY:  And some other comments.  You angered a lot of Democrats
when you said pal around with terrorists, for example.  But that’s what
you believe?

PALIN:  That’s what I believe.  And I am not one to have the, you
know, the flowery speech talking around issues.  I’m going to tell you,
like, what I believe in, and I take a stand on issues that I so believe
in.  And that ruffled a lot of feathers obviously along the way.

HANNITY:  Well, let’s talk about some the attacks.  For example,
people have attacked — all right.  The RNC spent $150,000 on clothes.
That’s been an issue that’s come up lately, and another issue, as well,
the travel account for your family has been, I guess, billed to the
state of Alaska.

PALIN:  I’m glad that you brought up both of those.  First, the RNC
spending money on clothes.  Those clothes are not my property.  We had
three days of using clothes that the RNC purchased.

If people knew how Todd and I and our kids shop so frugally.  My
favorite shop is a consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska, called Out of
the Closet.  And my shoe store is called Shoe Fly in Juneau, Alaska.

HANNITY:  Yes.

PALIN:  It’s not — you know, it’s not Fifth Avenue type of
shopping.  But RNC purchasing some clothes that are all going — they
are either returned or they’re going to charity.  It’s not my property.

HANNITY:  I heard they might be put up for auction, too.

PALIN:  I think that they should be.  And I think charitable
organizations should be the recipients.

HANNITY:  The way I look at it you’re the only person in this race
that’s not a millionaire.

PALIN:  That’s true, too.  You know, that’s true, too.  Just
average, middle class American family.  But now, you asked the other
issue, too, though about the….

HANNITY:  Travel with your family.

PALIN:  About the travel with the family.  Every Governor has
traveled with family when it’s — when it’s a first family function.
And it’s always been charged to the state.  That’s part of the job.

What I did was sell the Governor’s jet so that we could fly
commercial and save the state a heck of a lot of money, which we have.
We’ve cut the state’s travel budget by about $400,000 by flying
commercial.  And it’s nothing that’s — it’s not unprecedented.

HANNITY:  There was a new poll that came out about the media
coverage.  And the negative — negative coverage of Senator McCain is 57
percent.  And there’s more favorable coverage of Senator Obama.

PALIN:  Well, imagine that.  Gee, yes.

HANNITY:  What does that tell you, though, about journalism in
America?  I mean, you’ve lived through some of this now — in the short
time we have in this segment.

PALIN:  I don’t know what to say about it.  I don’t know.  But I
know that it sure seems to me out there in our rallies and discussing
issues with everyday working-class, good American families, that they
are very enthused about our ticket and wanting the change in government
that we are promising and that we’ve committed to and that we can follow
through on.

HANNITY:  Governor, when we come back we’re going to talk about Joe
Biden’s comments that if Barack Obama were elected president…

PALIN:  Good.

HANNITY:  … we’d have, mark my words, an international crisis in
the first six months.

We’ll continue from just outside of Pittsburgh with Governor Sarah
Palin exclusively here on “Hannity & Colmes.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY:  And welcome back to “Hannity & Colmes.”  I’m Sean Hannity,
and we’re just outside of Pittsburgh in Beaver, Pennsylvania, with
Governor Sarah Palin.

Governor, thanks again for being with us.  Huge crowd out there.
You like that?

PALIN:  That was so much fun.

HANNITY:  Joe Biden said, in fact, mark my words…

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  … there will be an international crisis that Senator
Obama would be tested.  And that was one of the more interesting
things.  “You remember, one thing that I’m going to say.  We’re going to
have an international crisis to test the mettle of this man.  And, by
the way, we are going to need your help because it’s not going to be
apparent initially that he made the right decision.”  What do you think
of that?

PALIN:  And it wasn’t just Biden making that comment.  That was
confirmed by former secretary Madeleine Albright, where she said yes,
she believes that Biden was just stating fact.

Now I don’t want a president who invites that kind of testing.  We
cannot afford that on the homeland.  So, that’s a very discouraging to
hear, Barack Obama’s only running mate proclaiming that, that Barack
Obama would be inviting an international crisis that would adversely
effect this country, is what he was saying there.

What that statement did was confirm what Barack Obama had been
referred to by Joe Biden throughout the primaries and in their debates.
Remember, that he was untested and wasn’t ready for the presidency.  Joe
Biden has said he would be honored to run with John McCain as his
running mate on his ticket and that way the country would be better off.

HANNITY:  Also said that the presidency doesn’t lend itself to
on-the-job training.  Biden said about Obama.

PALIN:  Right.

HANNITY:  He said talking points doesn’t get you there on foreign
policy.  And then he said when he voted against funding the troops, and
you wrote this up in your debate, that the lives of soldiers would be
lost.

PALIN:  Right.

HANNITY:  And Obama once accused our troops of air-raiding villages
and killing civilians.

PALIN:  Right.  Now — now Biden, you remember, he had called Obama
on that, on his vote to cut off funding for our troops, our young men
and women over there in the war zone.  And Biden said, “Obama, you know,
this is political and you’re going to cost lives if you do this.”

And Obama had said that he wouldn’t do it.  And, yet, under
political pressure — and this goes back to somebody’s judgment and
trustworthiness — instead Barack Obama did exactly what he said he
wouldn’t do, and he voted to cut off funding for our troops.

HANNITY:  Let me ask you about honesty and judgment.

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  On the issue of Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers.

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  On ACORN, on Pfleger, on Rezko, you know, we always hear
these relationships are minimized.  Then we find out they’re a lot
deeper.  Do you have we have issues involving the honesty of Barack
Obama?  And then, secondarily, the judgment of Senator Barack Obama?

PALIN:  Absolutely on that judgment.  And the candidness.  It’s so
tough for you guys to get a straight answer out of him about…

HANNITY:  He won’t talk to me.  I’ve invited him, by the way, and
Joe Biden.  He won’t accept my invitation.

PALIN:  You’re fun.  You’re a fun guy.

HANNITY:  Tell him.

PALIN:  I enjoy talking to you.

You know, the other part of that, Sean, is to ask the question what
did those characters see in Barack Obama?  Why would they have wanted to
be associated with him?  Why would Ayers have wanted to kick off Barack
Obama’s political campaign in his condominium?

HANNITY:  These are 20 — these are 20-year relationships.

PALIN:  Yes.  So that’s the other part of this issue, is what did
those characters see in this presidential candidate?

HANNITY:  And any time you bring it up it, it’s “I was 8 years
old.”  But you were 30 and 40…

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  … when you were meeting with him, blurbing his book,
going to — sitting on boards and giving speeches with him.

PALIN:  Right.

HANNITY:  Now this is an issue I’ve brought up many times, including
the black value system in Jeremiah Wright.  And nobody else in the media
seems to care about it as much as I do.  Where are you on this?  How
strongly do you feel about it.

PALIN:  I don’t know.  I feel strongly about these associations,
that it’s fair game to discuss them.  In fact, even Barack Obama had to
admit that it was fair game.  He challenged John McCain to speak on the
issue of Ayers in the debate.  And McCain took him up on it, thankfully.

But the issue, too, about the judgment and the trustworthiness also
and the candidness, it’s fair game.  And you see what I go through and
what John McCain goes through when we do bring up the associations.

HANNITY:  I can’t imagine that if you said about John McCain that he
was going to be tested in the first six months, because people want to
test him.  He doesn’t have enough experience, that I think that would be
a big deal.

PALIN:  Can you imagine?

HANNITY:  It would be funny.

PALIN:  You know, we would be held accountable for comments like
that.  And here again, Biden gets to take a pass after saying something
like that.  I haven’t heard the follow-up yet.

HANNITY:  He’s not doing many interviews now.  And you’d been
accused of not doing any, and I see you everywhere now.

PALIN:  Yes.

HANNITY:  You’re doing a lot of interviews.

All right.  Let me ask you this.  Construction begins for Obama’s
big election celebration: 2-million-dollar price tag for an election
night Obamafest.  Obama is talking about his transition plans, his
post-election win.  “I feel like we’ve got a righteous wind at our
backs,” he went on to say.

Seems to me that there’s a little overconfidence that they’re
coasting.  They’re in a defense mode.  Do you think they’re just making
an assumption that they won this election?  And do you think there’s a
danger to that?

PALIN:  You know, I think he’s out there already measuring the
drapes and working with Nancy Pelosi and Reid, also, to start talking
about calling everybody back in right after the election and doing
whatever they want to do to this country: to raise taxes, to waive that
white flag of surrender in our wars.  I think that’s some overconfidence.

And for John McCain, for me, for those who support this reform
ticket, this team of mavericks, that’s OK with us that they are over
confident, because I have been, and I know John McCain have been in the
underdog position before, not taking anybody or anything for granted.
That’s a healthy place to be.

It makes us work that much harder.  It makes us get out there with
our message very, very clear about where we intend to take this country
to get the economy back on track.  A pro-growth pro-private sector
agenda that is needed in this country.  Our promise of protecting our
constitutional rights and the victory in the wars that we want to see.
That’s our message and that’s our mission.

HANNITY:  Governor Palin, thank you for being so generous with your
time.

PALIN:  Thank you.

HANNITY:  We appreciate it.  We’ll come back.

Part 2 of Gov.Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain on Nightly News Exclusive!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Transcript for Part 2:

Brian Williams on John McCain and Sarah Palin
“NBC Nightly News” 7:05pm
Interview

TOPIC: Part 2 of the NBC McCain/Palin Interview

TRANSCRIPT:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Part of Sarah Palins day today was spent prepping for tomorrow when Sarah and Todd Palin will be deposed under oath in that so-called Trooper Gate case, currently under investigation in Alaska . . . Palins lawyer is travelling with her, the deposition along with yesterdays revelation of that new $150,000 wardrobe and her struggle earlier this week to define the job of vice president have all brought a lot of unwelcome attention to the Palin side of the . . .

[cut to interview]

WILLIAMS: Back to the issue of terrorists and terrorism, this word has come up in relation to Mr. Ayers—

PALIN: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Uh, hanging out with terrorists, domestic terrorists.

PALIN: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Are we changing—its been said that it gives it a vaguely post-9/11 hint; that we dont normally associate with domestic crimes. Are we changing the definition? Are the people that set fire to American cities during the 60s terrorists? Under this definition. Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist? Under this definition. Governor?

PALIN: [sighs] Theres no question that Bill Ayers, via his own admittance, one who sought to destroy our US Capitol and our Pentagon, that is a domestic terrorist. Theres no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that, uh, it would be unacceptable, I dont know if youre going to use the word terrorist there but its unacceptable . . .

WILLIAMS: Im just asking what other categories you would put in there, abortion clinic bombers, uh, protestors in cities where fires were started, Molotov cocktails were thrown, people died.

PALIN: I would put in that category of Bill Ayers anyone else who would seek to campaign to destroy our United States Capitol and our Pentagon and seek to destroy innocent Americans.

WILLIAMS: Sen. McCain, ahead of your campaign—

MCCAIN: Let me just mention one thing ahead of that. Its not the unrepentant terrorist who stayed on the run from and said as short a time ago as 9/11 that they wished theydve bombed more.

PALIN: More.

[ . . . ]

PALIN: And also, it is not mean-spirited, it is not negative campaigning to ask someone about their record and Barack Obama does have a record of association with Bill Ayers. I dont think that that is off base. In fact, Barack Obama challenged you to bring up Bill Ayers in the debate.

MCCAIN: Yeah, he asked me to

WILLIAMS: Gov. Palin, what is an elite? Who is a member of the elite?

PALIN: Oh, I guess just people who think that theyre better than anyone else and John McCain and I are so committed to serving every American. Hard working, middle class Americans . . . so anyone who thinks that they are, I guess, better than anyone else. Thats, thats my definition of elitism.

[ . . . ]

WILLIAMS: A state of mind, its not geography?

PALIN: Of course not.

WILLIAMS: Senator?

MCCAIN: I know where a lot of them live.

WILLIAMS: Wheres that?

MCCAIN: Well, in our nations capital and New York City . . . And I just for one second want to go back to this whos a terrorist. It is true that William Ayers and his wife, they were not acts of spontaneity when they planned to bomb the capitol and planned to kill other Americans. It was a terror network . . . but there was a terrorist network called the Weathermen.

PALIN: Uh-huh

MCCAIN: Thats what they were called, thats what they called themselves.

PALIN: Uh-huh.

[ . . . ]

WILLIAMS: You recently talked about the liberal feminist agenda in America vis a vis the attacks on Gov. Palin. Gov. are you a feminist?

PALIN: Im not going to label myself anything Brian and I think thats what annoys a lot of Americans, especially in a political campaign is to start trying to label different parts of America . . . I believe in womens rights, I do believe in equal rights . . . its time for women to be provided that opportunity to finally shatter that highest and hardest glass ceiling that is still in place in Americas political system, but were going to shatter that because I think that more and more American women are recognizing, Right on! Weve go someone in whom we can believe in also! Someone who is committed to putting our country first, someone who recognizes the life/family balance thats so necessary as we try to progress our families and the businesses that we own . . . so Im not going to label myself feminist or not, but I do believe that American women can recognize in me an advocate and a friend wholl be in their White House for them.

The five mystery people of team Obama

1. Obama transition macher John Podesta.

John David Podesta (born January 15, 1949) was the fourth and final White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton from 1998 until 2001. He is currently President of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. Podesta is also a Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Before the White House

Podesta spent most of his early years in Chicago. In 1971 he became a graduate of Knox College. Afterwards he attended and graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. Podesta worked as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice‘s Honors Program in the Land and Natural Resources Division (1976-1977), and as a Special Assistant to the Director of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency, (1978-1979).

He then held a number of positions on Capitol Hill including: Counselor to Democratic Leader Senator Thomas Daschle (1995-1996); Chief Counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee (1987-1988); Chief Minority Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks; Security and Terrorism; and Regulatory Reform; and Counsel on the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee (1979-1981). In addition, in 1988, Podesta founded with his brother Tony, Podesta Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C. government relations and public affairs firm. He also served as a member of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and the United States Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy.

The Clinton years

Podesta served as both an Assistant to the President and as Deputy Chief of Staff. Earlier, from January 1993 to 1995, he was Assistant to the President, Staff Secretary and a senior policy adviser on government information, privacy, telecommunications security and regulatory policy. In 1998 he became President Bill Clinton‘s Chief of Staff in the second Clinton Administration and executed the position until the end of the President’s time in office in January 2001.

Recent years

John Podesta became an Honorary Patron of the prestigious University Philosophical Society in March 2006. Podesta founded and is currently President of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work at American Progress, Podesta is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, where he has taught classes on Congressional investigations and technology law and policy. He is also a member of the Constitution Project‘s bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee.[1].

In 2008, Podesta authored his book The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country. In it, he articulates a clear vision of progressive values based on four core lessons: 1) Progressives stand with people, not privilege; 2) Progressives believe in the Common Good and a government that offers a hand up; 3) Progressives hold that all people are equal in the eyes of God and under the law; and 4) Progressives stand for universal human rights and cooperative global security.

He is also heading up the Barack Obama transition team [2].

2. Obama pollster Joel Benenson.

3. Obama pollster Paul Harstad.

4. Obama pollster Cornell Belcher.

5. Obama pollster Anna Bennett.

Emerging market flight as recession fears build ( Reuters)

By Jeremy Gaunt, European Investment Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) – Fear of global recession battered stock markets again on Thursday while a flight from emerging market debt and stocks helped push the dollar to a two-year high against major currencies.

 European shares lost around 2.5 percent, Asian shares hit four-year lows and Wall Street looked set for a poor start.

Investors were also focusing on major company earnings reports, fearful that the worst financial crisis in 80 years and a deteriorating global economy would combine to decimate corporate profits.

Emerging markets were particularly under the gun.

MSCI’s main emerging market stock index was down 4.3 percent on the day, hitting a nearly four-year low after major losses on Wednesday. It has lost nearly 35 percent of its value so far this month.

Emerging market sovereign debt spreads blew out to more than 830 basis points over U.S. Treasury yields, a gap not seen since late 2002.

The cost of insurance against sovereign debt default in countries such as South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia and Kazakhstan has soared over the past two days.

“There is now little argument that the world economy will experience a period of sub-par growth, and a recession in several advanced economies looks increasingly likely,” Goldman Sachs said in a research note.

Investor flight from emerging markets over the past few weeks has accelerated this week, helping push the U.S. dollar to new heights as money is both repatriated from overseas and seeks relative safety in U.S. fixed income.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of major currencies, hit a two-year high of 86.07, although it later fell back to 85.75.

The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.2809.

“We are going to see the current pressures continue as tensions in emerging markets continue. The dollar will remain supported and the high yielders will stay under pressure,” said Ian Stannard, FX analyst at BNP Paribas.

EARNINGS IN SIGHT

European shares were choppy, rising by more than 1 percent at one point before tumbling. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares was down 2.6 percent after falling 5.4 percent on Wednesday.

Results were mixed. Nestle, the world’s biggest food group, reported a forecast-beating rise in nine-month sales. Agrochemicals and seeds group Syngenta also reported a strong rise in third-quarter sales.

But Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group AG fell after it confirmed a 1.3 billion Swiss franc third-quarter loss. Engineering group ABB plunged after posting a forecast-missing rise in third-quarter net profit, helped by demand from emerging markets.

In the United States, Dow Chemical’s chief executive officer said the U.S. economy already felt like a recession and that the company would have to revisit its long-term earnings goals in light of that.

Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei average hit its lowest point since May 2003 before paring losses to end down 2.5 percent. It shed 213.71 points to 8,460.98 after earlier falling as low as 8,016.61, its lowest in nearly five and a half years.

The broader Topix ended the day down 2 percent at 871.70 after earlier falling more than 6 percent.

Euro zone government bond yields fell. The two-year Schatz yield was 10 basis points lower at 2.723 percent and 10-year Bund yields were down 3 basis point at 3.781 percent.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Mortimer; Editing by Victoria Main)

A redneck duet by Sarah Palin and Gretchen Wilson

McCain, Palin rip Obama over taxes in NH, Ohio

GREEN, Ohio (AP) — John McCain struck an anti-tax chord Wednesday in the state that launched him toward the Republican presidential nomination and in the home state of the plumber he hopes will help him reach the White House.

During rallies in New Hampshire and Ohio, the Arizona senator said Democrat Barack Obama favors taxes that will hurt the middle class and small businesses — despite Obama pledging to cut them for 95 percent of taxpayers.

“Sarah Palin and I will not raise your taxes, my friends. We want you to get wealthy,” McCain told 10,000 people gathered in a football stadium near Akron, Ohio. The scene had a festive air, with those sitting in the grandstands behind the candidate dressed in T-shirts that composed the red, white and blue Ohio state flag.

Palin, holding her first joint event with McCain since Oct. 13, derided Obama as “Barack the Wealth Spreader” and said: “You have to really listen to our opponent’s words, because he’s hiding his real agenda of redistributing your hard-earned money.”

McCain and Palin have accused Obama of fostering socialistic tax policies since Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher questioned the Democrat two weeks ago. Both now routinely invoke “Joe the Plumber” as part of their closing argument.

 

Palin was exuberant before the crowd, demanding an autograph from warm-up singer Gretchen Wilson, famed for her song, “Redneck Woman.”

Palin joked: “Someone called me a `redneck woman’ once. You know what I said back? `Thank-you very much.'”

Ohio voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, but Obama held a narrow lead in recent polls. The state offers 20 electoral votes.

Earlier in New Hampshire, McCain implored voters “to come out one more time” for him, as the two-time primary winner tried to stave off a general election loss with sharp criticism of Obama’s tax and spending plans.

“I love you. I love New Hampshire,” McCain told a rally crowd in a college hockey rink. “I know I can count on you again to come from behind and take a victory and bring it all the way to Washington, D.C., next January.”

McCain added: “I’m asking you to come out one more time. Get out the vote.”

Although McCain won the 2000 and 2008 New Hampshire primaries, recent polls have shown Obama with a lead no smaller than 7 percentage points with less than two weeks until Election Day. That has prompted speculation McCain may have to surrender the state’s four electoral votes and focus elsewhere if he hopes to cobble together the 270 needed to become president.

Senior adviser Mark Salter dismissed such thinking. He said McCain was visiting New Hampshire because “we get a charge out of it. We think we’re competitive there. They get it.”

In a state with no income tax and a Yankee aversion to government spending, McCain tried to rally his supporters with a touched-up stump speech that focused on both issues. He, too, hit the wealth-distribution theme.

“Apparently, as my opponent sees it, there’s a strict limit to your earnings as well, and it’s for the politicians to decide. The proper amount of wealth is not what you can earn, but what government will let you keep,” McCain said.

In one final jab at Obama, McCain accused him of planning “another stadium spectacle” by planning an outdoor rally in Chicago on Election Night. “Acting like the election is over won’t let him take away your chance to have the final say in this election,” he said.

New Hampshire political trends are working against McCain. It was the only state to vote for Democrat John Kerry in 2004 after going for Republican Bush in 2000. Democrats also swept both congressional seats, the governor’s office and both houses of the state Legislature in 2006.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera noted the trends in saying: “With all the differences between the John McCain running today and the John McCain who ran in the past, it is easy to see why McCain is losing ground in the Granite State.”

Sarkozy’s new world order moves focus from US economy to Asia-Europe partnership

ALJAZEERA ENGLISH-Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, who currently holds the rotating post of EU president, is spearheading efforts to formulate a new financial world order to prevent a reoccurence of the current global financial crisis.

Sarkozy has outlined the EU’s response to the stock market vacillations and bank collapses, calling for the implementation of a global system of regulation and a ban on banks with state money working through tax havens.

Next week, Sarkozy is due to visit Beijing and is expected to call on both China and India to join in efforts to work towards resolving and preventing more financial market turmoil.

Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said they would use an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to urge the two fast-growing export countries to join in taking responsibility for stabilising the world economy in the wake of the credit crisis.

At this point, China and India are reluctant as they cannot see many incentives to induce them to do so.

In this edition of Inside Story Erik Berglof, the chief economist and special adviser to the president at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Iain Begg, a professor at the European Institute, London School of Economics; and Mohan Guruswamy, the chairman and founder of the Centre for Policy Alternatives will join the presenter Sohail Rahman.

Dow Jones 500 point plunge underlines urgency of 43-nation Asia-Europe meeting in Beijing

CNN- EU urges global action to end meltdown

 European leaders are calling for unprecedented levels of global coordination to tackle the financial crisis that continues to hit share prices around the world.

 European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso wants global action to tackle the crisis.

The economic turmoil will be the focus of the two-day, 43-nation Asia-Europe Meeting, which opens Friday in Beijing, according to European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Barroso was speaking at the EU’s Beijing office in Thursday as stocks in Europe followed Asian markets downwards in the wake of a dramatic day on Wall Street that saw the Dow Jones index falling more than 500 points.

Leaders hope this week’s summit in China will help bring agreement on a response to the crisis ahead of a November 15 meeting hosted by U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington.

“We need a coordinated global response to reform the global financial system. We are living in unprecedented times and we need unprecedented levels of global coordination,” The Associated Press reported Barroso as saying. “It’s very simple. We swim together or we sink together.”

Barroso outlined no specific proposals but said a solution needed to be based on transparency, responsibility, cross-border supervision and global governance. He also said the world’s financial system needed “major reform.”

The current financial turmoil was sparked by the U.S. housing market collapse and a credit freeze in the United States and around the globe that is showing signs of affecting economic growth.

The fears of recession are continuing to cause turbulent swings in stock markets. London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares was down more than 4 percent by 1010 GMT and Germany’s DAX 30 was down by 3 percent. France’s CAC 40 however was down by more than 2 percent.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei declined 2.5 percent by late afternoon while South Korea’s KOSPI closed down 5 percent. The All Ordinaries index in Australia declined 4.4 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 3.5 percent.

The Asian indexes declined after the Dow Jones industrial average lost 514 points, or 5.7 percent, on Wednesday.

Amid the wild swings in both stocks and commodities over the last few weeks, “fundamentals matter very little right now” in the U.S. market, said Ned Riley, chief investment strategist at Riley Asset Management.

He said that most of what is happening is being driven by traders with a very short-term perspective. Watch how the markets progress

On the upside, lending rates continue to improve, as the efforts of world governments to stabilize financial markets started to kick in. But any relief about the improvement in the credit market has been overshadowed by recession fears.

“Some of these programs are starting to work, but it’s going to take a while for borrowing to reach the consumer,” he said.

The declines on these markets comes after the Dow Jones industrial average lost 514 points, or 5.7 percent, on Wednesday — the Dow’s seventh worst ever point loss.

“The credit crunch seems to be behind us, and we are shifting focus to corporate earnings and economic conditions, and clearly both are deteriorating,” Alex Tang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi in Hong Kong, told The Associated Press.

Main Street bank Wachovia — which is due to merge with Wells Fargo — reported a heavier-than-expected third quarter loss of $23.9 billion. Will volatility continue, asks Todd Benjamin

Internet company Yahoo said it would cut its workforce by 10 percent following net income decline of 51 percent, while pharmaceuticals company Merck said it will lose 12 percent of its staff.

And aircraft maker Boeing said its earnings had dropped 33 percent through a prolonged industrial dispute.

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the world financial crisis summit, intended to “agree on a common set of principles” for reforming regulation of the markets, will take place in Washington on November 15.

Bush will invite the leaders of the G20 group of countries “to discuss the financial markets and the global economy,” added Perino.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy last weekend emphasized the need to bring Asian states into the discussions. “We must make haste, because we must stabilize the marketplace,” he said at a meeting at Camp David with Bush. “This is a worldwide crisis, so therefore we must find a worldwide solution.”

Gov. Palin to release medical records, says health is great

Excerpts from NBC’s McCain-Palin Interview

PALIN TO DISCUSS RELEASING HER MEDICAL RECORDS ON TONIGHT’S “NIGHTLY NEWS”

AIRS ON “NIGHTLY NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS” TONIGHT, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

Green, OH– October 22, 2008 – In an evening news broadcast exclusive, less than two weeks away from Election Day, NBC News’ Brian Williams sat down with Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, spending some time with them on the campaign trail.  The interview will air tonight, Thursday and Friday, October 23 and 24 on NBC News’ “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” as well as at http://www.nightly.msnbc.com.

To follow is an excerpt from interview, mandatory credit and tune-in information required for “Nightly News with Brian Williams:”

WILLIAMS:    Did I hear you just agree to release your medical records?

PALIN:    The medical records, so be it. If that will allow some curiosity seekers perhaps to have one more thing that they either check the box off that they can find something to criticize or to rest them assured over. I’m healthy, happy, I’ve had five kids, that’s going to be in the medical records, never seriously ill or hurt, you’ll see that in the medical records if they’re released.

**********************

WILLIAMS:    Governor Palin, yesterday you tied this notion of an early test to the new president. Would this notion of precondition–
PALIN:    Right.
WILLIAMS:    –that you both have been hammering the Obama campaign on. What– first of all, what in your mind is a precondition?
PALIN: You have to have some diplomatic strategy going into a meeting with someone like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-il, one of these dictators that would seek to destroy America or her allies. It is so naive and so dangerous for a presidential candidate to just proclaim that they would be willing to sit down with a– a leader like Ahmadinejad and  just talk about the problems, the issues that are facing them. So that– that’s– that’s some ill-preparedness right there.

Sen.Obama vows to never make same mistake twice with terminally ill grandmother ‘Toot’

CBS Release on Obama Interview

BARACK OBAMA SAYS HE DOESN’T WANT TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE WITH HIS GRANDMOTHER THAT HE MADE WITH HIS DYING MOTHER –

IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON “THE EARLY SHOW” ON OCT. 23 ON CBS

EARLY SHOW co-anchor Harry Smith conducted an exclusive interview with Sen. Barack Obama earlier today (22) in Richmond, Va. Among other topics, the senator told Smith why it’s so important for him to take a break from his campaign to see his grandmother. “My grandmother’s the last one left,” Obama told Smith. The senator added, “She has really been the rock of the family, the foundation of the family.” Obama didn’t get to his mother before she died. “Yeah, got there too late,” he says. “You know, I mean, it was sort of like this, in the sense that she had a terminal illness. We knew she wasn’t doing well, but you know, the diagnosis was such that we thought we had a little more time and we didn’t. And so I want to make sure that I don’t make the same mistake twice.”

Billionaires Feel the Heat of Wall Street!

Billionaires Forced to Bail Out ( Businessweek)

Kerkorian’s huge sell-down of Ford is just the latest example of moguls and executives unloading shares under pressure

The same kind of “deleveraging” that crippled credit markets also is slamming billionaires, chief executives, and other well-heeled investors where it hurts. After borrowing to buy stock, an unprecedented number of executives are being forced to sell off their holdings at steep discounts.

So far in October, almost $1.24 billion in stock has been sold by CEOs and other executives to cover debts, according to Ben Silverman, director of research at InsiderScore.com, which monitors SEC filings. Another $250 million in stock sales may also be related to so-called margin calls—when lenders force the sale of stock to cover debts.

Adding insult to injury, these stocks are being unloaded at what may be the worst possible time—when a typical equity has lost more than a third of its value this year.

The point was driven home on Tuesday, Oct. 21, when billionaire Kirk Kerkorian‘s Tracinda Corp. disclosed it sold off 7.3 million shares in Ford Motor (F) and may sell the rest of its stake in the automaker. Originally valued at almost $1 billion, Kerkorian’s stake has lost more than two-thirds of its value as Ford’s stock price has plummeted. It closed Tuesday at 2.17 a share, down 7% for the day. Though the exact reasons for Kerkorian’s sale aren’t clear, he had borrowed $600 million to buy the Ford stake and recently needed to use casino holdings to back that debt.

Kerkorian Has Plenty of Company

All in all, it’s been a bad month for billionaires.

First Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom (VIAB) and CBS (CBS), sold $233 million in stock to help cover a loan. Then John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media (LCAPA), sold $49.5 million in stock to pay back a loan to Bank of America (BAC).

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon may be the worst hit by this sort of stock squeeze. As Chesapeake’s stock surged higher, the firm’s enthusiastic founder borrowed to buy more and more shares. That worked until the middle of 2008: Since the beginning of July, Chesapeake shares have slid almost 65%. From Oct. 8-10, McClendon was forced to unload $569 million in his company’s stock, or 94% of his stake in the firm, to cover those debts.

“The CEOs have been dreadfully surprised—just like the rest of the world,” says Rawley Thomas of the Financial Management Association, an organization of financial professionals and academics.

Selling During a Free Fall

Indeed, several top corporate executives have dumped big portions of their company holdings, as identified by InsiderScore.com’s Silverman, based on SEC filings that indicate these shares were sold to meet margin calls. Many of these sales occurred the week of Oct. 10, the worst week ever for the Dow Jones industrial average, which dropped 18.15%. Those include:

Marvin Herb, a director at large bottling firm Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), who sold $17.7 million worth of shares Oct. 8-9.

• The co-founders of Boston Scientific (BSX), Peter Nicholas and John Abele, who sold off a combined $292 million in shares Oct. 8-17.

Mark Grier, chairman of Prudential Financial (PRU), who sold off $1.75 million in shares on Oct. 10.

• Scholastic (SCHL) Chairman and CEO Richard Robinson, who sold shares valued at $3.1 million on Oct. 10.

• Tesoro (TSO) Chairman and Chief Executive Bruce Smith, who sold $2.2 million in shares on Oct. 10.

• Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Lester, who dropped $12.98 million in shares of his firm Oct. 13-14.

• XTO Energy (XTO) co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Simpson, who sold off $101.3 million in his company’s stock from Oct. 6-7.

Sales Were Almost All Involuntary

When executives sell off such big stakes, they often try to reassure investors that they haven’t lost faith in the company. On Oct. 16, after Micki Hidayatallah, chairman and chief executive of Allis-Chalmers Energy (ALY), had to sell off 400,000 shares to cover a margin loan, he issued a statement: “My sale of shares in no way reflects my views of Allis-Chalmers’ current financial position or future performance.” Allis-Chalmers shares had lost half of their value in a month, forcing his sale.

These sales were almost entirely involuntary, says Silverman, caused by the steep drop in stock prices over the past month as well as the tightening of credit. The credit crunch has made lenders less willing to take risks on loans to even well-heeled executives. However, investors may wonder whether executives could have found other ways to come up with cash other than by selling stock.

“You would think one of the last things they would want to do is sell shares into [this] market,” says Kurt Schacht, managing director of the CFA Institute Centre, which studies markets ethics and policy. “It shows you that CEOs are not immune from the pressures everyone else is feeling.”

But Thomas, of the Financial Management Association, isn’t surprised that CEOs ended up so heavily leveraged on the stock of their own company. It’s a classic investor mistake of not diversifying enough. Also, as an executive, often “you’re overconfident about the prospects of your own firm.”

A Very Risky Spot

The use of debt to buy stock only adds to the risk that any investor takes on by not diversifying enough. When something goes wrong and a stock plummets, your losses can be magnified. “There is an extraordinary amount of risk in putting yourself in this situation,” Thomas says.

There are basically two reasons why executives might get themselves in this situation. First, execs may borrow first, and then buy stock to boost their holdings in the company. In other cases, longtime executives—often the firm’s founders—find much of their wealth tied up in the company’s stock, so they raise cash by using the shares as collateral.

Investors often take it as a positive sign when SEC filings show executives buying their own company’s shares, and penalize firms when insiders disclose they are selling. That’s another reason—despite the dirt-cheap valuations—that few executives should want to sell at a time like this, when the stock market is extremely sensitive and investors are fearful.

Revisiting CEO Stock Holdings

Company boards also encourage executives to buy stock in the companies they run. Often boards require CEOs to have holdings totaling five times their annual salary, says Don Delves, an executive compensation expert and president of the Delves Group.

But the forced stock sales of the past month may cause some firms to reconsider these policies. “This is going to cause a rethinking of how much stock risk we want our CEOs to have,” Delves says. In some cases, too much stock exposure may lead executives to make too many risky bets while leading the company. “What really is too much risk?” Delves asks.

Maybe more important for investors, there may be more forced stock sales to come—sales that can drive down share prices and further shake confidence in those companies.

Robo-wars begin with Sen.Obama’s ‘robocall’ in Wisconsin

 

Script for Obama Wisconsin Robocall

Hi, this is Jeri Watermolen, calling for the Campaign for Change. I live in Green Bay and, like you, I’ve been getting sleazy phone calls and mail from John McCain and his supporters viciously — and falsely — attacking Barack Obama. I used to support John McCain because he honorably served our country — but this year he’s running a dishonorable campaign. We know McCain will continue many of Bush’s policies, and now he’s using George Bush’s divisive tactics. In fact, he hired the Bush strategists whose attacks even McCain once called hateful.

Barack Obama will turn the page on these negative politics and stand up for the middle class. That’s the change we need, and it’s why I have changed my mind about John McCain. Join me in voting for Barack Obama. Paid for the Campaign for Change, a project of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, 608-255-5172, and authorized by Obama for America

NOTE: If you’re curious as to why this ‘robo-controversy’ is in the spotlight, play the following sound clip from MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’. It’s creepy.

Fed Chairman Bernanke defends the second stimulus package before congress

Another tough day in the life of a Wall Street CEO…

BREAKING NEWS: Chairman Bernanke refuses to specify dollar amount of second stimulus, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s query unanswered

Chairman Bernanke: ‘ I cannot tell you, as Congress, what number you should pass!’

Congresswoman DeLauro: ‘ What would you suggest??……150 ( $ 150 billion)??’

Chairman Bernanke: ‘If you undertake a fiscal package… given the slowing of the economy, I think it should be significant…’

RatEconomics: Some sources believe that $300 billion will be the projected size of the next injection into the economy. Hurrah!!

Angry protesters storm Gov. Palin’s motorcade in Colorado

Protesters in Grand Junction, Colorado, try to block Gov. Sarah Palin’s motorcade.

Economics of Alaska: Gov. Sarah Palin takes kids on ‘joy ride’ at taxpayers’ expense!

AP INVESTIGATION: Alaska funded Palin kids’ travel

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters’ 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor’s children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.

As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters — Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 — by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor’s schedule.

But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.

Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. The trips enabled Palin, whose main state office is in the capital of Juneau, to spend more time with her children.

“She said any event she can take her kids to is an event she tries to attend,” said Jennifer McCarthy, who helped organize the June 2007 Family Day Celebration picnic in Ketchikan that Piper attended with her parents.

State Finance Director Kim Garnero told The Associated Press she has not reviewed the Palins’ travel expense forms, so she could not say whether the daughters’ travel with their mother would meet the definition of official business.

On Aug. 6, three weeks before Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his running mate, and after Alaska reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters’ travel.

In the amended reports, Palin added phrases such as “First Family attending” and “First Family invited” to explain the girls’ attendance.

“The governor said, ‘I want the purpose and the reason for this travel to be clear,'” said Linda Perez, state director of administrative services.

When Palin released her family’s tax records as part of her vice presidential campaign, some tax experts questioned why she did not report the children’s state travel reimbursements as income.

The Palins released a review by a Washington attorney who said state law allows the children’s travel expenses to be reimbursed and not taxed when they conduct official state business.

Taylor Griffin, a McCain-Palin campaign spokesman, said Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children’s travel. He said the governor’s office has invitations requesting the family to attend some events, but he said he did not have them to provide.

In October 2007, Palin brought daughter Bristol along on a trip to New York for a women’s leadership conference. Plane tickets from Anchorage to La Guardia Airport for $1,385.11 were billed to the state, records show, and mother and daughter shared a room for four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House hotel, which overlooks Central Park.

The event’s organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter.

Alexis Gelber, who organized Newsweek’s Third Annual Women & Leadership Conference, said she does not know how Bristol ended up attending. Gelber said invitees usually attend alone, but some ask if they can bring a relative or friend.

Griffin, the campaign spokesman, said he believes someone with the event personally sent an e-mail to Bristol inviting her, but he did not have it to provide. Records show Palin also met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs representatives and visited the New York Stock Exchange.

In January, the governor, Willow and Piper showed up at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Buffet, an Anchorage gala to announce winners of an earlier seafood competition.

“She was just there,” said James Browning, executive director of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which runs the event. Griffin said the governor’s office received an invitation that was not specifically addressed to anyone.

When Palin amended her children’s expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — “to draw two separate raffle tickets.”

In the original travel form, Palin listed a number of events that her children attended and said they were there “in official capacity helping.” She did not identify any specific roles for the girls.

In July, the governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governors Association. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.

Expense forms describe the girls’ official purpose as “NGA Governor’s Youth Programs and family activities.” But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said.

In addition to the commercial flights, the children have traveled dozens of times with Palin on a state plane. For these flights, the total cost of operating the plane, at $971 an hour, was about $55,000, according to state flight logs. The cost of operating the state plane does not increase when the children join their mother.

The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughters Willow and Bristol as well.

The three Palin daughters shared a room separate from their mother at the Princess Lodge in Fairbanks for two nights, at a cost to the state of $129 per night.

The luncheon took place before Palin’s husband, Todd, finished fourth in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, also in Fairbanks. The family greeted him at the finish line.

When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.

“When it’s the governor, you just make it happen,” she said.

The state is already reviewing nearly $17,000 in per diem payments to Palin for more than 300 nights she slept at her own home, 40 miles from her satellite office in Anchorage.

Tony Knowles, a Democratic former governor of Alaska who lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children’s commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.

Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.

“There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business,” said Knowles, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. “I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business.”

Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn’t charge the state for their trip.

In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to “open the start of the Iron Dog race.”

The children and their mother then watched as Todd Palin and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls’ business as “First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race.”

The Palins began charging the state for commercial flights after the governor kept a 2006 campaign promise to sell a jet bought by her predecessor.

Palin put the jet up for sale on eBay, a move she later trumpeted in her star-making speech at the Republican National Convention, and it was ultimately sold by the state at a loss.

That left only one high-performance aircraft deemed safe enough for her to use — a 1980 twin-engine King Air assigned to the public safety agency but, according to flight logs, out of service for maintenance and repairs about a third of the time Palin has been governor

Gov. Palin questions Sen Biden’s sanity and mocks liberal media in latest CNN interview! Olbermann launches counter-attack!

And now Keith Olbermaan goes to the jugular…

Citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove during mortgage banker’s meeting

here was major political theater involving President Bush’s former chief of staff Karl Rove. A protestor tried to arrest Rove for treason Tuesday morning while he was speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association Convention, continuing in San Francisco.

 

There were three protests during a very lively back and forth between former senate majority leader George Mitchell and Karl Rove. Rove blamed the Democrats for everything wrong with the economy.

A protestor tried to smack handcuffs on Karl Rove, but Rove slapped back, and the woman was taken off stage.

RNC splashed $150,000 for Palin’s makeover

 

The RNC “appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August,” reports Politico.

The McCain campaign “declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.”

Said a spokeswoman: “The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent.”

Gov. Palin apologizes for splitting the country

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Palin tells CNN her remarks on the values of “the real America” and the “pro-America areas of this great nation” weren’t meant to imply some parts of the country are more patriotic than others.

“I don’t want that misunderstood. If that’s the way it came across, I apologize.”

Gov. Sarah Palin seduces Sen. Joe Biden away from Sen.Obama!

Excerpts of Gov. Palin in Reno

All: Please see excerpt from Governor Palin’s remarks as prepared for delivery today in Reno, Nevada:

Two weeks from today, Americans will be asked to cast their vote for the next president of the United States. There’s no time to wait. Let’s get right to it.

Did you hear what Senator Biden said at a fundraiser on Sunday? He guaranteed that if Barack Obama is elected, we’ll face an international crisis within the first six months of their administration. He told Democrat donors to mark his words – that there were “at least four or five scenarios” that would place our country at risk in an Obama administration. Thanks for the warning, Joe!

He didn’t specify what all those four or five scenarios will be, but for clues, let’s review the Obama foreign policy agenda.

Our opponent wants to sit down with the world’s worst dictators. With no preconditions, he proposes to meet with a regime in Teheran that vows to “wipe Israel off the map.” Let’s call that crisis scenario number one.

Senator Obama has also advocated sending our U.S. military into Pakistan without the approval of the Pakistani government. Invading the sovereign territory of a troubled partner in the war against terrorism. We’ll call that scenario number two.

He opposed the surge strategy that has finally brought victory in Iraq within sight. He’s voted to cut off funding for our troops, leaving our young men and women at grave risk. He wants to pull out, leaving some 25 million Iraqis at the mercy of Iranian-supported Shiite extremists and al Qaeda in Iraq. By his own admission, this could mean our troops would have to go back to Iraq. Crisis scenario number three.

After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine next. That would be crisis scenario number four.
But I guess the looming crisis that most worries the Obama campaign right now is Joe Biden’s next speaking engagement. Let’s call that crisis scenario number five.

The real problem is that these warnings from Joe Biden are similar to his earlier assessment of Barack Obama. It wasn’t so long ago that he said Barack Obama wasn’t up to the job, and that, quote, “the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”

The same Joe Biden said he would be honored to run on the ticket with John McCain because, quote, “the country would be better off.” And here we have some common ground. I want a president who spent 22 years in uniform defending our country. I want a president who isn’t afraid to use the word “victory” when he talks about the wars we are fighting. I want a president who’s ready on Day One. I want a president with the experience and the judgment and the wisdom to meet the next international crisis – or better yet to avoid it. I want John McCain as our commander-in-chief.

Economic Messiah: Sen.Obama delivers sermon at ‘Growing American Jobs Summit’ in Lake Worth, Florida

 

LATEST UPDATE: Prepared Remarks for Sen. Obama in Lake Worth, Florida

I want to thank you all for joining us here in Florida today for this economic summit.

We meet at a moment of great uncertainty for America.  The economic crisis we face is the worst since the Great Depression.  Businesses large and small are finding it impossible to get loans, which means they can’t buy new equipment, or hire new workers, or even make payroll for the workers they have.  We’ve lost more than 750,000 jobs this year – and we just learned that here in Florida, we lost nearly 11,000 jobs in September alone. Wages are lower than they’ve been in a decade, at a time when the cost of health care and college have never been higher.

Earlier this month, with major financial institutions on the verge of collapse and global markets on the brink, we took unprecedented action and passed a $700 billion rescue plan.  I have no doubt this was the right thing to do to address the immediate crisis and put our economy on firmer footing.  But it was also just the beginning – not the end – of our work to rebuild our struggling economy.

Some of the folks on this stage know this better than just about anyone.  They are on the front lines, dealing with the fallout from eight years of greed on Wall Street and irresponsibility in Washington.  When we spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, that means less money to fix crumbling roads and bridges here at home.  When our President passes tax breaks for big corporations and multimillionaires, that leaves our states without the resources to provide health care and good schools and police and firefighters.  Today, twenty-one states are facing budget shortfalls – including Florida.  And governors across America are facing an impossible choice: cut vital services or raise property taxes on families already struggling to stay afloat.

Now, let’s be clear: the financial crisis that states, businesses and families are facing didn’t just spring up full-blown overnight.  This has been a long time coming, and the warning signs have been very clear.  But while President Bush and Senator McCain were ready to move heaven and earth to address the crisis on Wall Street, President Bush has failed to address the crisis on Main Street – and Senator McCain has failed to fully acknowledge it. Instead of commonsense solutions, month after month, they’ve offered little more than willful ignorance, wishful thinking, and outdated ideology.

 

Nine months ago – back in January – I called for a stimulus plan to provide immediate relief for states, along with tax rebates to get money directly to middle class families and a foreclosure prevention fund to help them keep their homes.  Senator McCain, on the other hand, insisted that the fundamentals of the economy were strong.  And his advisors openly mocked the stimulus plan before Congress – one referred to it, and I quote, as “borrowing money from the Chinese and dropping it from helicopters.”  Another dismissed it as “junk.”

Last August, I called for a Jobs and Growth Fund to help states put people to work rebuilding and repairing our roads, bridges and schools.  And I called for $25 billion to help states and local governments pay for services and avoid raising property taxes, because tax increases are the last thing our families need in an economy like this.  But President Bush and Senator McCain thought that a second stimulus package was unnecessary.

Finally, after nine straight months of job losses and the worst market turmoil in generations, at a time when even the Bush White House has acknowledged the need for a second stimulus, Senator McCain put forth a plan – and it’s fair to say, it leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s a proposal that does nothing to create jobs.  It’s an emergency plan that does nothing to help families with the emergencies of lost jobs and falling wages and mounting bills.  It contains a housing proposal that offers a $300 billion bailout for Wall Street banks – but does little to help middle class families stay in their homes.

In short, it’s an economic proposal that does nothing to rebuild our economy, but everything to continue the same failed policies of the past eight years – when speculators gamed the system, regulators looked the other way, and lobbyists bought their way into our government.  It’s the same failed politics of decrying greed on Wall Street one minute, and then rewarding that greed the next minute with tax cuts for Wall Street corporations and CEOs.  It’s the same failed philosophy: give more and more to those with the most and hope prosperity trickles down to everyone else.

 

You know, it’s funny – yesterday, I heard Senator McCain say that I’m more concerned with who gets your piece of the pie than with growing the pie.  But make no mistake about it, after eight years of Bush-McCain economics, the pie is now shrinking. That means lower wages and declining incomes and plummeting home values and rising unemployment.

So we’ve seen what they offer.  We’ve seen where it leads.  This economic crisis is the final verdict on their failed leadership – and it’s time for something new.

I know these are difficult times.  But I believe that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis, because I believe in this country.  I believe in the American people.  And I believe in the leaders here at this table and across America who understand what families are going through, and have been on the frontlines, meeting our challenges head on – helping small businesses take off, harnessing renewable energy and information technology to create 21st century jobs, reforming schools and training workers to succeed in the global economy.

That’s why we’re here today – because a crisis like this calls for the best ideas, the brightest minds, the most innovative solutions from every corner of this country.  These leaders need and deserve a partner in the White House – a President who understands that our prosperity doesn’t come from Wall Street or Washington, but from the hard work and ingenuity of our people.  So we should be investing in their productivity and working to create the high-wage, high skill jobs that support our families and strengthen our economy.  And that is exactly what I’ll do if I’m elected President.

I’ll start by creating a new American Jobs tax credit for each new employee that companies hire here in the United States over the next two years.  I’ll stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and invest in companies that create good jobs right here in Florida.  And I’ll help small businesses get back on their feet by eliminating capital gains taxes and giving them emergency loans to keep their doors open and hire workers.

 

These are a few of the steps we must take right now to start getting our economy back on track.  But we also need a new set of priorities to create jobs and grow our economy over the long term.

That means investing in renewable energy.  I’ve proposed $15 billion a year to create five million new green jobs over the next decade – jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars; jobs that will help us end our dependence on oil from Middle East dictators.

I also plan to put two million more Americans to work fixing our crumbling roads, schools and bridges, because it’s time to build an American infrastructure for the twenty-first century.  If we can spend $10 billion a month rebuilding Iraq, we can certainly spend some money to rebuild America.

Now, I know that none of this will come easy or without cost.  But I’m confident that we’re ready to meet this challenge.  Over the past twenty months, I’ve met folks all across this country who work that extra shift, and take that last bus home because they want more for their kids.  They work long hours and face long odds without complaint or regret.  They’re not asking government to solve all their problems – they’re just asking for a chance to work hard and provide for their families and contribute to this country.  That’s why I’m running for President – to give them that chance and rebuild our economy and ensure that our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities that we had.

I’d now like to open up a discussion with the folks here on stage with me and have a chance to hear their thoughts and ideas.

BREAKING NEWS: After Gen.Colin Powell’s decision, another former U.S Secretary of State Madeline Albright joins Obama camp

LATEST NEWS: Former U.S Secretary of State Madeline Albright formally endorsed Sen. Obama today during her appearance on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ for the promotion of her new book titled ” Memo to the President: How we can restore America’s reputation and leadership”.  

She stated that there is a huge agenda out for the future leader of the nation to deal with and that Obama was the ‘right person for the job’. While there were some previous concerns for his experience, she felt that after meeting with him and observing him she thinks that he is ‘more than ready and is so open to different ideas’ and is  ‘able to integrate alot of ideas’, which is a very crucial skill for a president to possess. On the situation in Pakistan and how the future government should approach the sensitive issue, she stated that the country’s problems can ‘give you an international migraine, and it is important to work with the new government in order to deal with the developments in the north western province. The most interesting comment by Ms Albright was on Sen.Obama’s new found support in Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, calling it  a ‘terrific idea’ and that Powell was a ‘great public servant, and I am glad that another Secretary of State is endorsing Obama’.Moving onto the selection of Joe Biden as the running mate, she believed that he had immense foreign policy experience and that being vice-president was an unenviable job given the immense challenges it encompasses. She also added that in the current climate of the financial crisis Sen.Obama was surrounded by a very capable team of economic advisors such as Paul Volker, and infact he was currently in Florida addressing a meeting of governors on the issue. Lastly on the issue of which strategy to pursue in Afghanistan, she stated that ‘there have to political solutions, as Obama said, and you have to talk to people you don’t like’.

Gov.Palin registered in Manhattan hotel under fake id of Tina Fey!

LATEST NEWS : Gov. Sarah Palin’s Saturday Night Live appearance is finally up and running ( and the rap song part will be up soon too)

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The ‘governor,known affectionately as the ‘caribou barbie’, was residing in Manhattan’s Omni Berkshire Hotel while in NYC for the filming of her appearance.

A couple of quick fun facts: she loves diet soda, actually ordered copies of the New York Post, Daily News, Times and USA, and for security reasons she registered under the fake name-Tina Fey!

Sen.Obama slams Sen.McCain at Tampa rally, says he will restore Main Street not Wall Street

At his address in Tampa, Florida Sen. Obama left no stone unturned in tar getting Sen.McCain’s economic proposal of purchasing bad mortgages at face value which would promise a $ 300 billion dollar bailout for Wall Street banks. Promising to focus on innocent homeowners and helping them avoid foreclosures, he stated that if institutions require rescuing then close monitoring and regulation must follow. He reminded people that a ‘foreclosure freeze’ would help prevent further catastrophe , at least until credit markets operate correctly once more.

Chairman Ben Bernanke meets with Santa for consultation on mysterious second stimulus package

Interestingly, in July many Democrats had pressed for a second stimulus package, but Chairman Bernanke considered it too ‘premature’ ; the current projected package, according to some sources, is estimated around $ 300 billion. The tools proposed for the execution of the stimulus: loans, guarantees, improved access to credit, tax breaks and finally even support for state and local governments. 

Now that’s a bag full of goodies even Santa would be jealous of.

BONUS: Watch this earlier video of  Congressman Ron Paul schooling Chairman Bernanke on what the real question should be when discussing bailouts?

Update: Sen.McCain plans major ‘Robocall offensive’ incase of Florida loss

Sen.Obama heads to Hawaii, suspends Iowa, Wisconsin campaign: 86 year-old grandmother ‘Toot’ in critical condition

Owing to his grandmother’s critical condition, Sen. Obama has cancelled his Iowa and Wisconsin campaigns for Thursday and Friday. No precise report on the health of his grandmother has been currently released. If successful in Florida, Sen. Obama’s campaign will score a sure victory for the democrats in the presidential race.

LATEST UPDATE: Sen. Obama will head to Hawaii on Thursday evening and resume his campaign on Friday inorder to meet his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, whose health is rapidly deteriorating. Mrs. Dunham is the only surviving family member of Sen.Obama and was responsible for caring for him while his mother was in Indonesia. Given Sen.Obama’s slight edge in the polls, the short departure to Hawaii should not have any detrimental impact on the current success of his campaign trail.

Giuliani labels Obama a ‘drug user’

Giuliani accused the Times of “not reading their own newspaper” when they claim to have balanced coverage. But God forbid that Giuliani actually read the Times, considering that the paper has already investigated Obama’s past drug use. In February 2008, the paper published an article that relied on “three dozen interviews” and found that to his friends and associates, Obama “did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.”

Transcript: 

KELLY: You know, the Times has come out saying, look, we’ve reported vigorously on the backgrounds of both candidates. 

GIULIANI: Yeah, like heck they have.

KELLY: And those who influence them, including both prospective first ladies. They claim that they’ve about just as tough on Michelle Obama.

GIULIANI: Well, they’re living — they’re living in their own bubble if they think that. I mean, in fact, they — it’s even worse than that. If you raise legitimate issues about Barack Obama, his connection with Ayers, his connection with Reverend Wright, his connection with Rezko who bought the house for him and went off to jail — you’re accused of being some kind of a mean, vicious, narrow- minded person.

You can’t even — you can’t even raise these issues. And, you know, God forbid somebody would do some reporting on Barack Obama’s use of drugs. I guess that was the point that Mrs. McCain’s lawyer made.

KELLY: Right. Mrs. McCain’s lawyer wrote to the Times saying — just so our viewers know — it’s worth noting that you’ve not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama’s drug dealer that he wrote about having in his book, Dreams of My Father, nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya, et cetera.

GIULIANI: Now, I don’t think the Time should do that. I think, you know, the presidential campaigns have gotten bad enough. They shouldn’t do that.

But if they’re not going to do it do Obama, they shouldn’t do it to McCain. And they shouldn’t do it, certainly, to Cindy McCain. And there shouldn’t be two different rules for Republicans and Democrats. And if they don’t think they have two different rules for Republicans and Democrats, then they’re not reading their own newspaper.

LATEST NEWS: Troubled by the aformentioned allegations, RatEconomics dug out a link to a NYT article by Serge F.Kovaleski titled Old Friends Say Drugs Played Bit Part in Obama’s Young Life . The article clarifies that he was only a moderate user in his teen years, not an ‘abuser’ as stated by Rudy Giuliani.

The video posted above is a Fox News program ‘Special Report with Brit Hume’ that discussed the exact same issue earlier in the year, when Sen. Obama spoke to high schoolers in New Hampshire regarding his brief experimentation with drugs.

LATEST NEWS: In the older video, Chris Matthews of ‘HardBall’ talks about Sen.Obama’s drug use by putting it in context with the established cases of drug use among many presidential hopefuls

As always, RatEconomics will keep you posted on any further news development.

South Korea announces largest Asian bailout package, markets rally

 

The announcement of Asia’s biggest financial rescue package by the South Korean government, coupled with a surge in oil prices has led to a boost in Asian stocks, specifically energy and financial shares. On Sunday South Korea announced that it would guarantee $100 billion in foreign debt held by banks and also inject approximately $30 billion more into the banking sector. With  $240 billion in reserves, the Korean government assured its citizens that no repeat of the Asian debacle would take place, although the collapse of the Icelandic banking system is proof of that fact that these are unusual times by any standard. Hoarding of dollars has been a common feature of South Korea’s economy, and has put considerable strain on the export sector.

Sen.Obama, Sen.Hillary and Gov. Richardson ready to go all-out in Florida with early push

 

Stay posted for video footage from Sen.Obama’s appearance at a rally today at Tampa’s George M. Steinbrenner Field, which will mark the beginning of a 10-event marathon that coincides with the three days of early voting. Should the senator succeed in taking back Florida , it will be the first time ever since the G.O.P first planted itself in the state back in 1996. Given Sen.Obama’s narrow lead in the polls, he is in much better waters than either Sen. Kerry or Al Gore were in previous years. A democrat victory will also seal the fate for the Republicans, as they desperately need the 27 electoral votes from Florida for a chance to stay in the race.

LATEST UPDATE: Read Sen.Obama’s prepared remarks for the Tampa rally 

Hello, Tampa!  And congratulations to your Rays! It’s great to be back in the Sunshine state.  And in just 15 days, you and I can begin to bring some badly-needed sunshine to Washington DC. That’s the good news.  But we’re going to have to work, and struggle, and fight for every single one of those 15 days to bring our country the change we need.

I am hopeful about the outcome. We were thrilled yesterday when a great American statesman, General Colin Powell, joined our cause. But we cannot let up. And we won’t.

Because one thing we know is that change never comes without a fight.  In the final days of campaigns, the say-anything, do-anything politics too often takes over. We’ve seen it before. And we’re seeing it again today.  The ugly phone calls. The misleading mail and TV ads. The careless, outrageous comments.  All aimed at keeping us from working together, all aimed at stopping change.

It’s getting so bad that even Senator McCain’s running mate denounced his tactics last night. As you know, you really have to work hard to violate Governor Palin’s standards on negative campaigning.

But we’re not going to be distracted. We’re not going to be diverted. Not this time.  Not this year. Our challenges are too great for a politics that’s so small.

Now, more than ever, this campaign has to be about the problems facing the American people – because this is a moment of great uncertainty for America.  The economic crisis we face is the worst since the Great Depression.  Businesses large and small are finding it impossible to get loans, which means they can’t buy new equipment, or hire new workers, or even make payroll for the workers they have.

115,000 workers lost their jobs in Florida this year, more than any other state in this country. Wages are lower than they’ve been in a decade, at a time when the cost of health care and college have never been higher.  It’s getting harder and harder to make the mortgage, or fill up your gas tank, or even keep the electricity on at the end of the month.  At this rate, the question isn’t just “are you better off than you were four years ago?”, it’s “are you better off than you were four weeks ago?”

So I know these are difficult times.  I know folks are worried.  But I believe that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis because I believe in this country.  Because I believe in you. I believe in the American people.

We are the United States of America.  We are a nation that’s faced down war and depression; great challenges and great threats.  And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet these challenges – not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans.  With resolve.  With confidence.  With that fundamental belief that here in America, our destiny is not written for us, but by us.  That’s who we are, and that’s the country we need to be right now.

But Florida, I know this.  It will take a new direction.  It will take new leadership in Washington.  It will take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years. And that’s what this election is all about.

Now, my opponent has made his choice.  Senator McCain’s campaign actually said a couple of weeks ago that they were going to launch a series of attacks on my character because, they said, “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”  And that’s a promise John McCain has kept. He’s been on the attack. That’s what you do when you are out of ideas, out of touch, and running out of time.  Well, I can take a few more weeks of John McCain’s attacks, but the American people can’t take four more years of the same failed policies and the same failed politics. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.

We have tried it John McCain’s way.  We have tried it George Bush’s way. It hasn’t worked. It’s time for something new. It is time to turn the page on eight years of economic policies that put Wall Street before Main Street but ended up hurting both. We need policies that grow our economy from the bottom-up, so that every American, everywhere, has the chance to get ahead.  Not just the person who owns the factory, but the men and women who work on its floor.  Because if we’ve learned anything from this economic crisis, it’s that we’re all connected; we’re all in this together; and we will rise or fall as one nation – as one people.

The rescue plan that passed Congress was a necessary first step to easing this credit crisis, but if we’re going to rebuild this economy from the bottom up, we need an immediate rescue plan for the middle-class – and that’s what I’ll offer as President of the United States.

Last week, I laid out a plan that will jumpstart job creation, provide relief to families, and rebuild our financial system. It’s a plan that will also help struggling homeowners stay in their homes – something that’s particularly important here in Florida, where foreclosures are up 30% over the last year. All across this state, there are families who’ve done everything right, but who are now facing foreclosure or seeing their home values decline because of bad decisions on Wall Street and in Washington.

The other week, Senator McCain came out with a proposal that he said would help ease the burden on homeowners by buying up bad mortgages at face value, even though they’re not worth that much anymore. But here’s the thing, Florida. His plan would amount to a $300 billion bailout for Wall Street banks. And guess what? It would all be paid for by you, the American taxpayer. That might sound like a good idea to the former bank lobbyists running my opponent’s campaign. But that’s not the change America needs.

Look, we must act quickly to end this housing crisis. That’s why last March, I was calling for us to help innocent home buyers. And that’s why I fought to make sure the recent rescue package gives Treasury the responsibility and authority to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. But we should not put your tax dollars at unnecessary risk. We should not let banks and lenders off the hook when it was their greed and irresponsibility that got us into this mess. We should not be bailing out Wall Street – we should be restoring opportunity on Main Street. And that’s what I’ll do when I’m President of the United States.

If the American people are going to put up $700 billion to rescue our financial institutions, we should make sure those institutions are doing their part for the American people. That’s why I’ve called for a three-month moratorium on foreclosures. If you are a bank or lender that is getting money from the rescue plan, and your customers are making a good-faith effort to make their mortgage payments and re-negotiate their mortgages, you will not be able to foreclose on their home for three months. Now, we’ve also put in place long-term measures to restore our credit markets and help families refinance their mortgages, but until those measures start working, we need to help homeowners stay in their homes, and that’s what this foreclosure freeze will do.

And while we’re at it, there’s another step we can take to help innocent homeowners that won’t cost taxpayers a dime. Right now, if you own only one home, you’re not allowed to write down your mortgage in bankruptcy court. But if you own more than one home – if you own, say, six or seven homes like my opponent – you are allowed to write down your mortgage. That might help Senator McCain sleep easier at night. But it isn’t right, and it will change when I’m President of the United States.

But understand, if we’re serious about restoring opportunity for our middle class, it’s not enough to help people refinance their mortgages. It’s not enough to protect your homes from foreclosure. We have to help the hardworking families who are living in those homes with shrinking paychecks and rising costs.

That starts with tax relief. There’s been a lot of talk about taxes in this campaign. And the truth is, my opponent and I are both proposing tax cuts. The difference is, he wants to give a $700,000 tax cut to Fortune 500 CEOs. I want to put a $1,000 tax cut in the pockets of 95% of American workers. That’s right – 95%. My opponent doesn’t want you to know this, but under my plan, tax rates will actually be less than they were under Ronald Reagan.

It’s true that I want to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans and go back to the rate they paid under Bill Clinton. John McCain calls that socialism. What he forgets is that just a few years ago, he himself said those Bush tax cuts were irresponsible. He said he couldn’t “in good conscience” support a tax cut where the benefits went to the wealthy at the expense of “middle class Americans who most need tax relief.” Well, he was right then, and I am right now.

And let me be crystal clear: If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year – which includes 98% of small business owners – you won’t see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes – nothing.  That is my commitment to you.

To create more American jobs, I’ve proposed a tax credit for each new employee that companies hire here in the United States over the next two years.  And I’ll stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and invest in companies that create good jobs right here in Florida.

I’ll help small businesses get back on their feet by eliminating capital gains taxes and giving them emergency loans to keep their doors open and hire workers.  And I will create a Jobs and Growth fund to help states and local governments save one million jobs and pay for health care and education without having to raise your taxes.

These are the steps that we must take – right now – to start getting our economy back on track. But we also need a new set of priorities to grow our economy and create jobs over the long-term.

If I am President, I will invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new, green jobs over the next decade – jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars; jobs that will help us end our dependence on oil from Middle East dictators.

I’ll also put two million more Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and bridges – because it is time to build an American infrastructure for the 21st century.  And if people ask how we’re going to pay for this, you tell them that if we can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, we can spend some money to rebuild America.

If I am President, I will finally fix the problems in our health care system that we’ve been talking about for too long.  This issue is personal for me.  My mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53, and I’ll never forget how she spent the final months of her life lying in a hospital bed, fighting with her insurance company because they claimed that her cancer was a pre-existing condition and didn’t want to pay for treatment.  If I am President, I will make sure those insurance companies can never do that again.

My health care plan will make sure insurance companies can’t discriminate against those who are sick and need care most. If you have health insurance, the only thing that will change under my plan is that we will lower premiums.  If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that Members of Congress get for themselves.  And we’ll invest in preventative care and new technology to finally lower the cost of health care for families, businesses, and the entire economy.  That’s the change we need.

And if I’m President, we’ll give every child, everywhere the skills and the knowledge they need to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.  I will not allow countries to out-teach us today so they can out-compete us tomorrow.  It is time to provide every American with a world-class education.  That means investing in early childhood education.  That means recruiting an army of new teachers, and paying them better, and giving them more support in exchange for higher standards and more accountability.

And it means making a deal with every American who has the drive and the will but not the money to go to college. My opponent’s top economic advisor actually said that they have no plan to invest in college affordability because we can’t have a giveaway to every special interest. Well I don’t think the young people of America are a special interest – they are the future of this country. That’s why I’ll make this deal with you: if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford your tuition.  No ifs, ands or buts.  You invest in America, America will invest in you, and together, we will move this country forward.

Florida, it’s time for a change. I know it, you know it, and the American people know it. The other week, I was in Ohio, and I went to this small town called Georgetown. Now, I was hungry and I needed a snack. So I asked where I could find the best pie in town. And folks pointed to this diner. So I went there, and as I’m waiting for a pie, some of the employees said, “Senator, can you please take a picture with us because the owner is a die-hard Republican and we want to poke him a little.”

And just then, the owner comes out. And I said, “Sir, I understand you’re a die-hard Republican.” He said yes. And I said, “Well, how’s business?” He said, “Not so good because my customers can’t afford to eat out right now.” So I said, “Well, who do you think has been running the economy for the last eight years?” And he said, “The Republicans.” Well, I said, “If you keep hitting your head against a wall and it starts to hurt, at some point don’t you stop hitting it against the wall?”

Maybe you should try the Democrats for a change.

Now, make no mistake: the change we need won’t come easy or without cost.  We will all need to tighten our belts, we will all need to sacrifice and we will all need to pull our weight because now more than ever, we are all in this together.

At a defining moment like this, we don’t have the luxury of relying on the same political games and the same political tactics that are used every election to divide us from one another and make us afraid of one another.  With the challenges and crises we face right now, we cannot afford to divide this country by class or region; by who we are or what policies we support.

There are no real or fake parts of this country.  We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation – we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from.  There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies.  The men and women from Florida and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag.  They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

We have always been at our best when we’ve had leadership that called us to look past our differences and come together as one nation, as one people; leadership that rallied this entire country to a common purpose – to a higher purpose.  And I am running for President of the United States of America because that is the country we need to be right now.

This country and the dream it represents are being tested in a way that we haven’t seen in nearly a century.  And future generations will judge ours by how we respond to this test.  Will they say that this was a time when America lost its way and its purpose?  When we allowed the same divisions and fear tactics and our own petty differences to plunge this country into a dark and painful recession?

Or will they say that this was another one of those moments when America overcame?  When we battled back from adversity by recognizing that common stake that we have in each other’s success?

This is one of those moments.  I realize you’re cynical and fed up with politics.  I understand that you’re disappointed and even angry with your leaders.  You have every right to be. But despite all of this, I ask of you what’s been asked of the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history. I ask you to believe – to believe in yourselves, in each other, and in the future we can build together.

Together, we cannot fail.  Not now.  Not when we have a crisis to solve and an economy to save.  Not when there are so many Americans without jobs and without homes.  Not when there are families who can’t afford to see a doctor, or send their child to college, or pay their bills at the end of the month.  Not when there is a generation that is counting on us to give them the same opportunities and the same chances that we had for ourselves.
We can do this. Americans have done this before. Some of us had grandparents or parents who said maybe I can’t go to college but my child can; maybe I can’t have my own business but my child can. I may have to rent, but maybe my children will have a home they can call their own. I may not have a lot of money but maybe my child will run for Senate. I might live in a small village but maybe someday my son can be president of the United States of America.

Now it falls to us. Together, we cannot fail. And I need you to make it happen. If you want the next four years looking like the last eight, then I am not your candidate. But if you want real change – if you want an economy that rewards work, and that works for Main Street and Wall Street; if you want tax relief for the middle class and millions of new jobs; if you want health care you can afford and education that helps your kids compete; then I ask you to knock on some doors, make some calls, talk to your neighbors, and give me your vote. In Florida, starting today, you can vote early right here, and right now. To find out how, just go to voteforchange.com. And if you stand with me, I promise you – we will win Florida, we will win this election, and then you and I – together – will change this country and change this world. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

Financial meltdown in a cinch

If your getting late for office, your breakfast’s burning and the boss expects a report on the financial meltdown, you’re in good hands. Sit back and relax while the wisdom of Prof. Paul Krugman’s NYT article Cash for Trash is extended to a smooth, graphical analysis. RatEconomics apologizes to Prof. Krugman in advance if the interpretation is not spot on, but then again if a picture is truly worth a thousand words we can always expect a few of them to be misplaced, can’t we?

Hope you enjoyed the ride, and let us know through your comments and suggestions whether the analysis achieved its intended purpose or simply added to the current mess our lives and minds are fast becoming. Keep smiling!

Sen. Obama passes ‘ final exam’ of economic crisis and earns my vote : Gen. Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell knows the dances and moves of the political arena. And at a festival honoring African culture at the Royal Albert Hall in London he did not hesitate to prove it. 

 

Earlier today, on MSNBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ , Gen. Colin Powell demonstrated the same ease and clarity of thought when he finally ended speculation regarding his party of choice in the coming election and endorsed Sen. Obama as the best candidate.

While he praised both candidates as ‘patriotic’ , he was clear in stating that Sen. Obama had a certain ‘intellectual vigor,  steadiness, depth of knowledge, approach to looking at problems and definitive way of doing business’. He also remarked that Sen. Obama is ‘crossing lines, generational and ethnic’. While having known Sen. McCain for ‘over 25 years’, he noted his dissapointment in his campaign strategy, especially the relentless focus of his party on useless issues.

He stated that the ‘last six or seven weeks was a final exam for both candidates’ , and Sen.McCain failed to convince him that ‘he had a complete grasp of the exact problem’. He also made sure that his views on the vice presidential candidates were clear,  notably the lack of experience on Gov. Palin’s part and his observation that she is ‘not ready to be president of the U.S.A, which is the vice president’s job’. 

————————————————————————————

Complete transcript of interview

MR. TOM BROKAW:  Our issues this Sunday:  He served as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state and was once called the man most likely to become the nation’s first African-American president.  He has been courted by both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns and said this last month:

(Videotape)

GEN. COLIN POWELL (RET.):  I have been watching both of these individuals.  I know them both extremely well, and I have not decided who I’m going to vote for yet.

MR. BROKAW:  Is he now ready to make an endorsement in this presidential race?  What are his thoughts on the major issues facing the country and the world?  Our exclusive guest this Sunday, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

Then, with 16 days to go, Decision 2008 heads into the home stretch.  What states still are in play?  We will hear the latest on some new state polls with NBC’s political director, Chuck Todd.  Also, insights and analysis on the race to the White House with David Brooks of The New York Times, Jon Meacham of Newsweek magazine, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

But first, General Colin Powell, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

GEN. POWELL:  Thank, thank you, Tom.

MR. BROKAW:  We indicated in that opening, there is a lot of anticipation and speculation about your take on this presidential campaign.  We’ll get to that in a moment.  But in your old business we might call this a tour of the horizon.  Whoever’s elected president of the United States, that first day in the Oval Office on January 21st will face this:  an American economy that’s in a near paralytic state at this time; we’re at war in two different countries, Afghanistan and Iraq; we have an energy crisis; we have big decisions to make about health care and about global climate change.  The president of the United States and the Congress of the United States now have the highest disapproval ratings that we have seen in many years.  In all your years of public service, have you ever seen an incoming president face such daunting challenges?

GEN. POWELL:  No.  I have seen more difficult times in our history.  I think about the early ’70s when we were going through Watergate, Spiro Agnew, Nixon period, that was not a good time.  But right now we’re also facing a very daunting period.  And I think the number one issue the president’s going to have to deal with is the economy.  That’s what the American people are worried about.  And, frankly, it’s not just an American problem, it’s an international problem.  We can see how all of these economies are now linked in this globalized system.  And I think that’ll be number one.  The president will also have to make decisions quickly as to how to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan.  And also I think the president has to reach out to the world and show that there is a new president, a new administration that is looking forward to working with our friends and allies.  And in my judgment, also willing to talk to people who we have not been willing to talk to before. Because this is a time for outreach.

MR. BROKAW:  Given the state of the American economy, can we continue our military commitments around the world at the level that they now exist?

GEN. POWELL:  We can.  I think we have to look as to whether they have to be at that level.  But we have the wealth, we have the wherewithal to do that. (Clears throat) Excuse me, Tom.  We have the ability to do that.  And so, first and foremost, we have to review those commitments, see what they are, see what else is needed, and make sure we give our troops what they need to get the job done as we have defined the job.  We have that ability.

MR. BROKAW:  If you were called into the Oval Office on January 21st by the new president, whoever it happens to be, and he said to you, “General Powell, I need from you your recommendation on where I begin.  What should be my priorities?” Where would you start?

GEN. POWELL:  I would start with talking to the American people and talking to the world, and conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world.

The problems will always be there, and there’s going to be a crisis come along in the 21st or 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now.  And so I think what the president has to do is to start using the power of the Oval Office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and to convince the world that America is solid, America is going to move forward, and we’re going to fix our economic problems, we’re going to meet our overseas obligations.  But restoring a sense of purpose, a sense of confidence in the American people and, in the international community, in America.

MR. BROKAW:  What’s not on the screen right now that concerns you that should be more prominent in the minds of the American people and the people running for president?

GEN. POWELL:  I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far.  America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school.  A third of our kids don’t finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don’t finish high school. We’ve got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.

Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it’s energy, global warming and the environment.  And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world.  We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world.  Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.

MR. BROKAW:  Well, let’s move to the American presidential campaign now, if we can.  We saw at the beginning of this broadcast a short tease of what you had to say just a month ago.  Let’s share with our viewers now a little more of Colin Powell on these two candidates and your position.

(Videotape, September 20, 2008)

GEN. POWELL:  I’m an American, first and foremost, and I’m very proud–I said, I’ve said, I’ve said to my beloved friend and colleague John McCain, a friend of 25 years, “John, I love you, but I’m not just going to vote for you on the basis of our affection or friendship.” And I’ve said to Barack Obama, “I admire you.  I’ll give you all the advice I can.  But I’m not going to vote for you just because you’re black.” We, we have to move beyond this.

MR. BROKAW:  General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain.  You have met twice at least with Barack Obama.  Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you’re prepared to support?

GEN. POWELL:  Yes, but let me lead into it this way.  I know both of these individuals very well now.  I’ve known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years.  Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country.  Either one of them, I think, would be a good president.  I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done.  I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the party makes.  And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, “You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.”

And I’ve watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with him.  I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions.  And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both.  In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem.  And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.  And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin.  She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.  And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

Gov. Sarah Palin rapping away with eskimos and caribou on SNL tonight, and Tina Fey addressing a press conference as you-know-who!!


Armed with their T.V dinners and remotes, viewers were prepared for an action-packed SNL episode tonight, with host Josh Brolin of ‘W’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’ fame, and a special guest appearance by Gov. Sarah Palin , affectionately known as the ‘ Caribou Barbie’. Her long awaited SNL appearance was definitely worth it, even if things seemed to go a bit slow in the midst of the show.

Tina Fey was at her foxy best with all the deep ‘r’s she so perfectly digs through, but who could doubt that there’s nothing like the real deal when Gov. Palin appeared in her first sketch in the intro. Alec Baldwin wasted no time in reminding the governor of her appeal, and her rather blushed response about Steven Baldwin added to the comic nature of their dialogues.

But the best part of the show was the news hour in which Amy Poehler presented a rather unbelievable ‘Alaska-inspired’ rap performance, with Gov. Palin moving to the grove and basking in the glory of the ‘caribou’ banner that tends to follow her. And yes, there were eskimo men in fur, caribou dong what seemed to be a ‘caribou-jiggy’ and a Todd Palin look-alike in hockey gear! All in all, Gov. Palin’s performance was sound and commendable; and after all, who else possesses such a magnified ability to identify with the ‘average joe’s’ and ‘hockey mom’s’, even if only in speech.

The introduction video for Tonight’s show is here! Check back soon for the rest of the show!

As a bonus for all our fans, here’s the transcript for the ‘Palin Rap Song’ , a beat of caribou meat !!

My name is Sarah Palin
You all know me,
Vice-Prezzy nominee,
of the GOP.

Gonna need ya vote,
In the next election.
Can I get a “woot woot!”
From the senior section.

McCain got experience.
McCain got style.
But don’t let him creep you out,
When he drops that smile.
‘Cause that smile be creepy!
But when I’m VP,
All the leaders of the world gonna FINALLY meet me.

Jeremiah Wright,
‘Cause tonight I’m the preacher,
I got a bookish look,
And you’re all hot for teacher.

Todd lookin’ fine on his snowmachine,
So hot for each other,
He the “go-between.”

In Wasilla,
We just chill, baby, chilla,
But when I see oil it’s
“Drill baby! Drilla!”

My country tis of the Thee,
From my porch I can see,
Russia and such…..

All the mavericks in the house put your hands up,
All the mavericks in the house put your hands up,
All the plumbers in the house pull your pants up,
All the plumbers in the house pull your pants up!

When I say “Obama” you say “Ayers!”
Obama!
Ayers!
Obama!
Ayers!
I built me a bridge, it ain’t goin’ nowhere!

McCain/Palin, gonna put the nail in
The coffin of the media elite!
(she likes red meat!)
Shoot a mother humpin’ moose 8 days of the week!

(shoots someone dressed in a moose costume)

Now ya dead!
Now ya dead ’cause I’m an animal!
And I’m bigger than you!
Hold that shotgun,
Rockin the pump.
Everybody party,
We’re goin’ to hunt!

la la la la la la laaaaaaa

(shoots at the audience)

Yo I’m Palin and I’m out!

Tina Fey provides us a sneak-peek of what we can expect from ‘Palin’ on SNL tonight!

Tina Fey spends Friday night informing David Letterman how she gets into her ‘Palin’ mode. Let’s hope she practices well ’cause the upcoming SNL episode has many a viewer anxious in anticipation!

Follow fearless Warren Buffet, but make sure you beat the crowd!

Warren Buffet is a savvy investor, and his heart is in the right place too.  In a NYT article titled Buy American. I am Buffet explains the rationale behind his winning play: prey on the fear of the fearful investor; reminds me of a similar line from Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne’s master educates him on the need to turn fear to his advantage.  Thus, Buffet advocates purchasing when others sell frantically, and his reasons for doing so include:

1.    Prices for stock in companies, especially otherwise established names, are rarely marked down so low

2.    Within 20 years one can expect all, surviving I might add, companies to me making a handsome profit as they shrug off their past

3.    Cash equivalents are almost always in for a bad rap as they lose to mounting inflation fueled by the current unscrupulous money machine

4.    The U.S economy has survived and prospered after similar crisis. I quote:

Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497

Buffet’s reasoning is sound long-term advice, but he is also quick to mention that the short-term is as big a mystery to him as it is to all of us. And herein lays the catch.

Buffet’s play of buying when stocks are dirt cheap holds good only while stocks are actually cheap and haven’t been buoyed up by heavy purchasing from big movers like him. He mentions that his personal investment account is already in equities, and the remaining Berkshire Hathaway holdings are ready for action should the market picture look even bleaker. Hence, if you plan to follow Buffet’s advice, make sure that you don’t wait till the cup of Joe in your hands empties out. Because chances are that should you miss the herd as it stampedes towards cheap stock you will be pretty disappointed on arriving at your destination.

So the picture, in essence, appears as is: The short term is as volatile as an overcharged pacemaker, so avoid short term speculation. For the long run, Buffet’s advice holds its own given his track record but make sure that you don’t hesitate if you do decide to join in because a slow mover in this market is almost surely worse off than one who stays the course, however choppy it might seem for now.

In case you’re curious about the prospect of diversifying your portfolio by investing in those developing economies in Asia that have shielded themselves from the current U.S meltdown, remember to picture your stock in those markets a decade later. And in our humble opinion, that picture looks better in the short term at least.

In the long run, Keynes remarked, we are all dead; Buffet’s plan may at least add a smile.

CBOE Volatility Index , or VIX, sparks mass panic and hysteria!

‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance proves a costly mistake for Sarah Palin