UPDATE: About the ARG poll

May 2, 2007

Regarding the American Research Group poll released Tuesday, we found an acute trend worth its own post. Upon further examination, it is very interesting to note that this poll is the first crystal-clear indicator of where Fred Thompson is pulling his base.

While John McCain gained a percentage point between February and April, Giuliani lost six and Gingrich lost four. Thompson rose 10 points – the exact total of the Giuliani/Gingrich loss.

If Thompson enters the race, according to this data, he will pull his support DIRECTLY from Giuliani and Gingrich. We have all known for months that if Thompson jumps in, his base will consist largely of Giuliani and Gingrich expatriates, but this is the first concrete, concise, statistical data that shows it.

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Official Announcement Tour rolls through S.C.

April 27, 2007

What a day! Yesterday, we drove from Greenville to Columbia to Charleston to enjoy the official announcement tour, and enjoy we did. We planned to live blog from the tour stops, but got swept up in the frenzy and decided to just enjoy the moment and reflect later. But following the Charleston stop we had a long drive ahead and “later” became this morning.

McCain Columbia

Looking back on the day – a day which will have us fired up for months to come – it seems impossible to capture in words just what it was like to be there yesterday, in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, and to feel the excitement and electricity palpitating through the crowds. Each was unique in composition, yet similar in vivacity.

The only downside was that, at both of the first two stops, we arrived a mere 30 minutes before McCain spoke. We thought that would afford us enough time to find a good spot, but by the time we made our way inside we were stuck in the back of the pack (it wasn’t until Charleston that we were able to get close enough to shake his hand – and that was only because we made sure to get there more than an hour early).

When McCain took the stage, he looked relaxed and refreshed. He greeted the crowds like a young child greeting the Christmas tree for the first time on Christmas morning. As he delivered each of the three speeches, he hit home on numerous points and reminded everyone in the room of the importance of the 2008 presidential election.

More than anything, McCain’s hope for Iraq and the ever-present reminders that “he’s been there,” resonated at each stop. As people exited each of the events, we overheard fleeting snippets of conversations. Words like “common sense,” “hero,” “experience,” and “conservative” were commonplace.

McCain Greenville

And the underlying theme to each event, the one thing that bound the message together more than anything else, however unintentional, was that for John McCain, this is not about winning an election. For John McCain, what truly sets him apart from of the rest of the field, Republican or Democrat, is that 2008 is about saving America.

Inevitably, while America’s future was foremost on everyone’s mind, in the back of their minds almost everyone was hoping for the same thing: a chance to meet Sen. John McCain, even if just for a brief moment.

But while all three speeches were great, these events were so much more. These three events WERE McCain people in the heart of what has become McCain country. These three events were the re-invention of an entire movement.

We have been involved in South Carolina politics for a while now, and we have seen a number of presidential primaries. It is safe to say that we haven’t seen anything like this in a long time; at least not since the 2000 Straight Talk Express stops. The 2008 version is picking up a whole lot of speed and we can’t wait to see what’s at the next stop!

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McCain fights back against liberal interest group

April 20, 2007

Following a particularly vicious attack ad by the liberal special interest group MoveOn.org, Sen. John McCain Friday released a statement noting the group’s “long record of liberal extremism.” The McCain camp refer to past fanatical left-wing action by MoveOn in refuting the 30-second advertisement.

“It comes as no surprise that America’s most liberal interest group would attack John McCain’s belief that we cannot allow Iran to destroy Israel,” said spokesman Matt David. “After all, MoveOn.org posted ads comparing President Bush to Hitler during the last presidential election.”

The ads David referred to were a pair of 2004 MoveOn campaign propaganda pieces comparing President Bush to Adolph Hitler. At the time, the Washington Post wrote:

“One ad begins with Adolf Hitler making speeches, until a picture of President Bush appears. Another also uses Nazi and Bush images, with the tag line: ‘What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003.’ The videos appeared on the Web site of MoveOn.Org’s Voter Fund as part of a nationwide contest for an anti-Bush television ad on which the liberal group plans to spend a considerable sum.”

Fallout from the 2004 ads was well documented. Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called the ads, “Shameful and beyond the pale [with] no place in the legitimate discourse of American politics.”

The Anti-Defamation League said the ads were “vile and outrageous,” noting that MoveOn’s explanation was “hardly comforting.”

In the accompanying release, the campaign also cited previous MoveOn ads in which the Statue of Liberty was shown with a hood over its head. From the USA Today:

“[MoveOn] used imagery they knew would be controversial: a digitally doctored photo of the Statue of Liberty, hooded to remind viewers of what happened to some Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison as a narrator says ‘something has gone terribly wrong’ in Iraq. … the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org begins airing the ad, titled ‘Fire Rumsfeld,’ in 14 major cities today.”

The McCain campaign said the group also used ads showing a surrendering American soldier in Iraq. From a Sept. 2004 Dallas Morning News article:

“[T]he liberal group MoveOn.org produced a TV ad titled ‘Quagmire’ asserting that Mr. Bush lacks plans to end the war. ‘George Bush got us into this quagmire,’ the narrator says as an American soldier sinks deeper into quicksand, rifle overhead in a posture that suggests surrender.”

MoveOn.org has even gone so far as to oppose holding accountable governments harboring terrorists. The group’s own website proudly boasted:

“Furthermore, we assert that the government of a nation must be presumed separate and distinct from any terrorist group that may operate within its borders, and therefore cannot be held unduly accountable for the latter’s crimes.”

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McCain cancels Lexington event out of respect for Va. Tech tragedy

April 16, 2007

We just received this statement via e-mail from the McCain S.C. campaign regarding Sen. John McCain’s schedule for tomorrow:

Unfortunately, due to the tragic events at Virginia Tech this morning, Senator McCain has decided to cancel his public schedule for Tuesday, April 17th, that includes the Town Hall Meeting previously scheduled for Lexington. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. Senator McCain has asked that we keep the families of those involved in our thoughts and prayers.


2008 field long on war rhetoric, short on warriors

April 9, 2007


A well-written Associated Press article Monday weighed the influence of presidential candidate’s military background in the eyes of voters.

McCain Service

Despite the high-profile roles of the battle against terrorism and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the presidential campaign, few of the candidates can claim military experience on their resumes.

Of the top tier of 2008 candidates, only Republican John McCain has been to war and served in uniform.

Among the leading Republican candidates, only McCain, 70, has a military record. The Arizona senator spent more than 20 years in the Navy, almost a quarter of it in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.

This article re-examines – and perhaps reinforces – a number of the questions looming over the 2008 presidential election.

With America fighting a global war against terrorism, and while the War in Iraq is seen by the majority of voters as the most important issue in 2008, what role will military experience play in the upcoming South Carolina presidential primary? Do voters feel comfortable electing someone without military experience to lead the U.S. military during wartime?

It is interesting to note that only one person has ever won a presidential election during a time of war without having a military background.

Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to his fourth term in 1944 when the U.S. was nearing victory in World War II. Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 and was unable to offer military service.

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Ravenel endorsement smells like burnt waffles, lacks maple syrup

April 4, 2007


Both The State’s official blog – “S.C. Politics Today” – and Dan Hoover of The Greenville News have reported that first-term South Carolina State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel will endorse former-mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination at a Thursday morning press conference. This struck us as very odd given that Ravenel was elected on a conservative, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage platform – which stands in complete opposition to Giuliani’s record.


Giuliani’s past favoritism for abortion is notorious. Just yesterday we posted yet another YouTube video revealing the “real,” very much pro-abortion, Rudy Giuliani.

So why is Ravenel – who has marched in anti-abortion rallies and attacked Democrats over the issue countless times – aiding a pro-abortion candidate? From the April 25, 2004 edition of The State:

Another Republican candidate, Charleston developer Thomas Ravenel, has attacked Democratic candidate state Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum on the issue.
Tenenbaum opposes partial-birth abortion but has lobbied for pro-choice groups in the past.

Ravenel also supported a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage.

Former state Attorney General Charlie Condon, U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, Charleston developer Thomas Ravenel, and former Gov. David Beasley said they support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Ravenel said he supports amendment legislation sponsored by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and allows state legislatures to have the final say on related issues.

Giuliani on the other hand has said that he’s perfectly comfortable with the “pro-gay marriage tag.” The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza noted:

In the back and forth of a competitive primary campaign, Giuliani’s liberal (by GOP standards) positions on abortion and gay marriage are sure to become common knowledge to Republican voters. For many of these voters, outlawing abortion and gay marriage are at the foundation of why they are Republicans, and they simply will not support a candidate who does not agree with them on those hot-button issues — no matter how revered that person may be in other spheres.

And we won’t even get into Giuliani’s anti-gun rights record.

What the heck is Ravenel thinking?

There are a few scenarios here. Ravenel could be trying to slip one by the conservative base that elected him; with the hope that if the Giuliani bandwagon miraculously begins to writhe – inch by tiny inch – out of the stall, he can ride it far enough to temporarily fulfill his ambitions for higher office.

Ravenel could also be trying to re-position himself for a likely – unsuccessful – 2008 U.S. Senate campaign.

Or perhaps Ravenel flat-out lied to voters to get elected. Maybe the “real” Ravenel, like the “real” Rudy, is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and anti-gun rights.

But it is also possible that Ravenel just admires Giuliani and, as such, wants to imitate the man… by continuously changing his position on key issues.

Regardless, we doubt the conservative base will forgive Ravenel’s treachery assuming he does endorse Giuliani. No matter how he tries to spin it, by supporting Giuliani, Ravenel is arrogantly opposing the alter-ego he presented voters last fall; the one the people of South Carolina elected treasurer.

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Giuliani changes position on partial birth abortion, again, part deux

April 3, 2007


In yet another YouTube-afforded “gotcha” moment, we unearthed a few clips spliced together showing a complete reversal of former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s position on partial birth abortion. The three clips from interviews on CNN, Meet the Press, and ABC reveal a little more of the “real” Rudy.

CNN clip: “No I have not supported [partial birth abortion] and I do not see my position on that changing.”

Meet the Press clip: “I would vote to preserve that option [of partial birth abortion] for women.”

ABC clip: “All of my positions are firm… I do not think it makes sense to be changing your position…”

And to think we believed Romney had the market cornered on Northeasterner flip-flopping for 2008.

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