Archive for the ‘John McCain’ Category

Strains Between McCain and Palin Aides Go Public
Report: Palin’s Wardrobe Is to Be Audited by GOP
Nov. 6, 2008

Now that the defeated team of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have gone their separate ways, the knives are out and Palin is the one who is getting filleted.

Revelations from anonymous critics from within the McCain-Palin campaign suggest a number of complaints about the Alaskan governor:

Fox News reports that Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent and did not know the member nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement — the United States, Mexico and Canada — when she was picked for vice president.

The New York Times reports that McCain aides were outraged when Palin staffers scheduled her to speak with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, a conversation that turned out to be a radio station prank.

Newsweek reports that Palin spent far more than the previously reported $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family.

Several publications say she irked the McCain campaign by asking to make her own concession speech on election night.

The tension is likely to continue or get worse. Lawyers for the Republican National Committee are heading to Alaska to try to account for all the money that was spent on clothing, jewelry and luggage, according to The New York Times.

Reports of agitation between the two camps bubbled up in the final weeks of the campaign as Barack Obama began pulling away and the GOP duo was unable to regain the momentum.

But those reports are no longer in the rumor stage as McCain loyalists are now blasting away at the Alaska governor, who was a favorite of the Republican right during the campaign, but was cited in numerous polls as a reason why many Americans wouldn’t vote for the Arizona Republican.

Perhaps the most dangerous allegation for Palin are reports in The New York Times and Newsweek that when she was urged by McCain adviser Nicole Wallace to buy three suits for the Republican convention and three suits for the campaign trail, she went on the now-infamous shopping spree at swank stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

A Republican donor who agreed to foot a majority of the expenses was stunned when he received the bill, Newsweek reported. Both the Times and Newsweek report that the budget for the clothing was expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000. Instead, the amount reported by the Republican National Committee was $150,000.

That wasn’t the whole tab, however, according to Newsweek. The magazine claims that Palin leaned on some low-level staffers to put thousands of dollars of additional purchases on their credit cards. The national committee and McCain became aware of the extra expenditures, including clothes for husband Todd Palin, when the staffers sought reimbursement, Newsweek reported.

“He likes her,” this senior McCain adviser said last week. “He’s had no problem with her. He’s very appreciative of what she’s done.”

The adviser said McCain and Palin talked at least once a day. He also said McCain frequently joked about how large Palin’s crowds were compared to his.

However, press accounts today suggest that Palin rubbed many of the McCain aides the wrong way. On election night when it was clear that McCain would be giving a concession speech instead of an acceptance speech, Palin approached McCain with a speech in hand hoping to make her own concession speech, according to published reports.

Vice presidential candidates traditionally leave the spotlight to the top of the ticket on election night and McCain aides made it clear to Palin that she would be a spectator that night, not a speaker, The New York Times reported.

And when McCain and Palin split up in Arizona Wednesday, the personal differences were stark.

McCain drove himself home in a Toyota sport utility vehicle. Palin’s departure was a grander event. She left with an entourage of 18 family members and friends and a Secret Service detail, heading to the airport in a motorcade stretching more than a dozen vehicles, flanked by a dozen more cops on motorcycles.

Interview Prep Lacking, McCain Staffers Say
McCain aides had numerous complaints about Palin. She was unwilling or unable to find the time and energy to prep for her disastrous interview with Couric. And when she did study, she astonished her handlers by her unsophisticated views.

She didn’t know Africa was a continent, according to Newsweek. Fox News revealed that during her cramming, she couldn’t name the three countries that belong to the North American Free Trade Agreement: the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Questions followed Palin home to Alaska. She was asked about some of the accusations from anonymous sources when she landed there late Wednesday.

Asked about the Fox report that she did not know the NAFTA members or that Africa was a continent, Palin said:

“If they’re an unnamed source, that says it all. I won’t comment on anyone’s gossip based on anonymous sources. That’s kind of a small of a bitter type of person who anonymously would charge that I didn’t know an answer to a question. So until I know who’s talking about it, I won’t have a comment on a false allegation.”

“I don’t think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit, that I would trump an economic, woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain’s loss to me,” Palin told reporters in Arizona Wednesday.

“Now, having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I’m sorry about that because John McCain I believe is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time. … He being so full of courage and wisdom and experience, that valor he just embodies, I believe he would’ve been the best pick, but that is not the Americans’ choice at this time.”

She also rejected the characterization that she was a “diva” on the campaign trail, as one anonymous McCain adviser told CNN.

“If only people, y’know, come on up and travel with us to Alaska and see this ‘diva’ lifestyle that I supposedly live or would demand, because it’s just false,” she said.

Asked about her national political ambitions, she said, “I have not given it any thought in the context of making any kind of decisions at all, so no, just happy to be back here.”

In one of her favorite coffee shops in Wasilla Tuesday morning, Palin summed it up this way: “Forever, I’m going to be Sarah from Alaska.”


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McCain volunteer admits to hoax
Saturday, October 25, 2008
By Michael A. Fuoco, Jerome L. Sherman and Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Almost from the start, Pittsburgh police were skeptical about a young woman’s claim that she had been mugged and a “B” carved into her cheek by an attacker who was provoked by the sight of a John McCain bumper sticker on her car.

Yesterday, their doubts were confirmed when 20-year-old Ashley Todd, a McCain volunteer from College Station, Texas, admitted that she made the whole thing up.

There was no black man with a knife, no robbery, no physical assault.

And the backwards “B” on her cheek? She’s not sure, she told police, but assumes she did that herself. As for the black eyes, police assume they likewise were self-inflicted.

Her story quickly became political fodder on the Internet and spread around the world, fueled by the presidential campaign and Ms. Todd’s political connections as a field representative for the College Republican National Committee and McCain volunteer.

But in less than a day, the international story of a McCain volunteer being attacked, traumatized and disfigured for her political beliefs deflated into a sad tale of a troubled woman with a history of mental problems.

Police were sensitive to that fact yesterday, saying that while Ms. Todd would face at least a charge of filing a false report with police, she would not be released until she had a mental health evaluation.

“We don’t feel she should be able to walk out onto the street,” said Pittsburgh Assistant Police Chief Maurita Bryant. “We wouldn’t want any further harm to come to her.”

Ms. Todd was in the Allegheny County Jail last night on $50,000 bond after her video arraignment before District Judge John N. Bova. Judge Bova requested that she undergo an evaluation by the jail’s behavior clinic. She’ll return to court on Thursday.

The day after the purported attack, both Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin called Ms. Todd, offering words of comfort. Yesterday, McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Peter Feldman issued a statement: “This is a sad situation. We hope she gets the help she needs.”

Ms. Todd told police a black man with a knife approached her at a banking machine at Citizens Bank at Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street in Bloomfield shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday. She said after she gave him $60, the robber spotted the McCain stickers on her car, became enraged, knocked her to the ground and punched and kicked her.

She quoted him as saying “You are going to be a Barack supporter,” as he sat on her chest, pinning both of her hands down, and scratched the letter “B” on her right cheek.

First among the problems with her story was the fact that the “B” scratched on her face was backwards — as it might be if she had done it herself using a mirror.

“The backwards ‘B’ was the obvious thing to us when we first saw her. Something just didn’t seem right,” Assistant Chief Bryant said. “And, first of all, with our local robbers, they take the money [and flee]. They’re in and out. They’re not stopping to do artwork.”

Additionally, said Lt. Kevin Kraus, investigators were struck “that it was a superficial, pristine ‘B,’ which seemed highly inconsistent with the story she reported that it was a violent attack, basically in which she was fighting for her life.”

Nevertheless, Assistant Chief Bryant said, Ms. Todd reported herself as a victim, so police began an investigation. Then they found more and more inconsistencies.

Ms. Todd underwent five hours of questioning at police headquarters on the North Side Thursday night and submitted to a polygraph. Her story kept changing — the attack happened before she got to the bank machine; she was hit from behind and rendered unconscious; she didn’t know she had been cut or robbed until she went to the apartment of a friend, Dan Garcia; the attacker had sexually fondled her.

Yesterday, she told detectives she was driving alone in her car when she looked in the rearview mirror and saw the letter on her cheek. She didn’t remember how it got there but assumed she had done it because she had incidents of memory loss in the past. The letter made her think of “Barack,” Assistant Chief Bryant said, so she concocted the story before going to Mr. Garcia’s house.

Once she had told the story to police, “she told lie after lie and the situation compounded to where we are right now,” said Lt. Kraus. He added that Ms. Todd showed no remorse for her actions but was angry with the media, saying they blew the story out of proportion.

Assistant Chief Bryant said the false report created “a huge waste of time, with many man-hours and people coming in on overtime just to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.”

“It created intensive national and international attention,” Lt. Kraus said. “We’ve had detectives working around the clock since she made the bogus allegation. The cost to the city of Pittsburgh has been many, many dollars and resources.”

Ms. Todd’s job as a field representative for the College Republican National Committee brought her to Pittsburgh about two weeks ago to recruit college students. She had worked for the committee since August. Yesterday, the organization fired her.

Ashley Barbera, the organization’s communications director, said workers initially were concerned for Ms. Todd’s safety.

“We are as upset as anyone to learn of her deceit. Ashley must take full responsibility for her actions,” she said.

In March, Ms. Todd was asked to leave a grass-roots group of Ron Paul supporters in Brazos County, Texas, group leader Dustan Costine said. He said Ms. Todd posed as a supporter of former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and called the local Republican committee seeking information about its campaign strategies.

“She would call the opposing campaign and pretend she was on their campaign to get information,” Mr. Costine said last night. “We had to remove her because of the tactics she displayed. After that we had nothing to do with her.”

About a month earlier, he said, Ms. Todd sent an e-mail to the Ron Paul group saying her tires were slashed and that campaign paraphernalia had been stolen from her car because she supported Mr. Paul.

“She’s the type of person who wants to be recognized,” Mr. Costine said.

Mr. Garcia, 32, a first-year student at the University of Pittsburgh law school who also is from Texas, met Ms. Todd in May at a gathering of young Republicans in their hometown of College Station. On Wednesday night, she came back to his house, bruised and battered, and told him of the attack. He contacted police.

Mr. Garcia said his immediate response was to tend to the wound on her cheek. A police officer arrived, and Ms. Todd became belligerent when the officer asked where the mugging happened.

“I don’t know!” she told him, using an expletive, Mr. Garcia said. “I’m not from here.”

Mr. Garcia, Ms. Todd and the officer then drove through Bloomfield until they arrived at the Citizens Bank on Liberty Avenue. She told the officer it was the right spot. Assistant Chief Bryant said yesterday police aren’t even sure Ms. Todd was in that area Wednesday night.

The officer asked Ms. Todd if she needed medical attention. She declined. Instead, Mr. Garcia said, they went to eat at Ritter’s Diner on Baum Boulevard. He then persuaded her to go to nearby UPMC Shadyside, where he waited for her until 2 a.m.

“I don’t know why she would do this,” Mr. Garcia said yesterday, after learning that she had fabricated the story. “I would think that she needs help.

“I had red flags going up, but I didn’t think it was prudent of me to ask the truth. I wanted to make sure she was OK.”

Now Mr. Garcia says he is furious that Ms. Todd deceived him. He has cut off all contact with her, he said.

Mr. Garcia took the widely published picture of Ms. Todd with her injuries. He said he took several photographs with a digital camera to document what had happened. He said he only gave copies of the photos to police and Ms. Todd’s employer, the College Republicans. One photo appeared on The Drudge Report on Thursday, setting off a storm of media attention.

Ms. Todd was a student at Blinn College in Texas. She decided to take a year off to work in politics. Mr. Garcia said she told him she was estranged from her mother.

On her MySpace profile, where her screen name is “Italian Pajamas,” Ms. Todd gives her occupation as “Being a badass.” Next to her picture, she references the title of a song by the group Panic at the Disco: “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths (sic) off,” but adds to it “but its (sic) better if you do.”

Among the books she lists as favorites: “The Scarlet Letter.”

Ashley Todd - McCain Volunteer

Ashley Todd - McCain Volunteer

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Palin Mucks Up McCain’s Stance On Stem Cells
By Sarah Lai Stirland
October 22, 2008

Sarah Palin raised eyebrows Wednesday when she told the evangelical leader and broadcaster James Dobson that John McCain agrees with the Republican party platform, which states the party’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research, among other things.

As Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic noted, Dobson had asked Palin whether it was her impression that McCain supported the views expressed in the platform, and whether she thought he would implement them. 

“I do, from the the bottom of my heart,” Palin said. “I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details too, about the different planks and what they represent.”

Palin opposes federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The Republican party platform, adopted during its September convention, does too. The party prefers scientists to work with stem cells derived from other sources.

“We call for a major expansion of support for the stem cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases — with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life,” reads the Republican party’s policy statement. “We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.”

But McCain has stated his support for embryonic stem cell research, and has made it a campaign issue by running radio ads in battleground states with lots of independent voters. Barack Obama’s campaign has also run ads telling voters erroneously, as FactCheck.org notes, that McCain opposes stem cell research.

Palin’s statement to Dobson on Wednesday is important because it raises the question of whether McCain, as the scientific community fears, might reverse his stance once in office.

A trio of Nobel Laureates who endorsed Obama September said at the time that they felt that they couldn’t trust McCain’s positions because of political pressure from religious conservatives.

But McCain’s going to be the decider once in office, said campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb.

“John McCain’s been very clear on his position on stem cells, and Sarah Palin’s been very clear on her position on stem cells. Sarah Palin has made it clear that as vice president, she would not implement her own personal views, but John McCain’s,” he said. 

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McCain Palin - The New Faces Of Hate, Lies And Fear Mongering

McCain and Barracuda Palin

At McCain rallies, people in the crowds have shouted “kill him”, “terrorist”, “traitor”, “treason”, “arab”, “Muslim” and other hateful and malicious slurs against Barack Obama. McCain – Palin continue, to this day, to falsely accuse Obama of being allied with terrorists.

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Three Stooges - McCain - Palin - W. Bush

Three Stooges - McCain - Palin - W. Bush

Three Stooges – McCain – Palin – W. Bush
(click on image for full sized picture)

Funny Photoshop Images, Photographs And Pictures Of Sarah Palin

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Joe the Plumber’s attack on Obama goes down plughole
By Leonard Doyle in New York
Sunday, 19 October 2008

John McCain is still hoping that “Joe the Plumber” can rescue the ailing Republican campaign for the White House, even though the man who confronted his opponent, Barack Obama, in the key state of Ohio has turned out to be neither a qualified plumber nor even to have Joe as his first name.

Campaigning to hold on to once solidly Republican North Carolina yesterday, Mr McCain declared: “The real winner this week was Joe the Plumber. Joe won, because he’s the only person to get a real answer out of Senator Obama about his plans for our country. Congratulations, Joe. That is an impressive achievement.”

Samuel J Wurzelbacher, a burly and balding everyman from Toledo, was seized upon by the Republican campaign after cameras captured him questioning Mr Obama about his tax policies. Introducing himself as a plumber named Joe, he complained that he would be paying more tax if the Democrat won the White House, damaging his ability to live the American dream and buy his own business.

With just over two weeks to go, and the Republican campaign losing altitude rapidly, Mr McCain apparently believes that Mr Obama’s reply to “Joe the Plumber” – that he wanted to “spread the wealth around” by raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 (£144,000) – is his best chance of convincing voters that the Democrat is a tax-raiser, practically a socialist, and definitely out of touch with regular Americans.

Even though it emerged that “Joe” does not have a licence to operate as a plumber, is behind on his taxes, and would actually enjoy a tax cut of about $500 under the Democrat’s plans, because his real income is much lower than he claimed, Mr Wurzelbacher is still being courted by the Republicans.

According to Newsweek magazine, he was invited to a McCain rally today, but declined – because he is being flown to New York for an interview on the Fox TV network.

Whether that will be more or less damaging than an appearance by Mr McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, on the Saturday Night Live comedy show remains to be seen. But as one commentator cruelly wrote of the Republican campaign after the final presidential debate last week: “Sometimes the leak is so bad that even a plumber can’t fix it.”

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Joe The Plumber

Joe The Plumber

Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant
Published: October 16, 2008
One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest house outside Toledo, Ohio, and thinking about how to buy the plumbing business where he works. But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block last weekend to complain about taxes, he set himself on a path to becoming America’s newest media celebrity — and as such suddenly found himself facing celebrity-level scrutiny.

As it turns out, Joe the Plumber, as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday’s final presidential debate, may work in the plumbing business, but he is not a licensed plumber.

Thomas Joseph, the business manager of Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, based in Toledo, said Thursday that Mr. Wurzelbacher had never held a plumber’s license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities. He also never completed an apprenticeship and does not belong to the plumber’s union, which has endorsed Mr. Obama. On Thursday, he acknowledged that he does plumbing work even though he does not have a license.

His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes back taxes, too, public records show. The premise of his complaint to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts. Contrary to what Mr. Wurzelbacher asserted and Mr. McCain echoed, neither his personal taxes nor those of the business where he works are likely to rise if Mr. Obama’s tax plan were to go into effect, they said.

None of that is likely to matter to those who see Mr. Wurzelbacher as a symbol of the entrepreneurial spirit they hope to foster with tax cuts, but even Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was shocked by all the attention.

“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday. “Everybody wants to know about it.”

Just five days ago, Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, lived in anonymity in Holland, Ohio, a single father who, as he said on national television, worked all day and came home to fix dinner and help his son, 13, with his homework.

But he became the hero of conservatives and Republicans when he stopped Mr. Obama, who was campaigning on his street, and asked whether he believed in the American dream. Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was concerned about having to pay higher taxes as an owner of a small business.

“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year,” he told Mr. Obama. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

That encounter wound up on YouTube and led to appearances on the Fox News Channel, interviews with conservative bloggers and a New York Post editorial, all of whom seized on a small part of Mr. Obama’s long reply. “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Mr. Obama had said.

Mr. McCain invoked Mr. Wurzelbacher in Wednesday’s debate as a way to criticize Mr. Obama’s tax plan and wealth-sharing argument, and picked up the theme again on Thursday.

“You know what Senator Obama had to say to Joe? That he wanted to spread his wealth around,” Mr. McCain said at an event in Downingtown, Pa. “America didn’t become the greatest nation on earth by spreading the wealth,” he said. “We became the greatest nation by creating new wealth.”

After some version of “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned two dozen times during the debate, Mr. Wurzelbacher found news crews outside his home and Katie Couric on the phone.

Mr. Wurzelbacher told reporters that the company he works for, Newell Plumbing & Heating, has two full-time employees: himself and the owner, Al Newell.

Neither Mr. Newell nor Mr. Wurzelbacher responded to telephone calls. And Mr. Wurzelbacher has provided only vague information on his and the company’s finances since talking to Mr. Obama. But if the plumbing business remained a two-person company and the net proceeds — after deductions for business expenses — were shared by the two men, both incomes would most likely fall well below the top tax brackets on which Mr. Obama wants to raise rates, as would the company itself.

Both, in fact, would probably be eligible for a tax cut, said Bob Williams, senior research associate at the independent, nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, though the cut would probably be greater under Mr. McCain’s tax plan than Mr. Obama’s.

According to public records, Mr. Wurzelbacher has been subject to two liens, each over $1,100. One, with a hospital, has been settled, but a tax lien with the State of Ohio is still outstanding.

In his interview with Ms. Couric, Mr. Wurzelbacher, who voted Republican in Ohio’s March primary, said that his encounter with Mr. Obama had been prompted by his desire “to ask one of these guys a question, and really corner them and get them to answer a question for once instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question, but I still got a tap dance.”

He added, “He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.”

Liz Robbins contributed reporting.

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