Friday, October 31, 2008

Brian Williams interviews Barack Obama (video)

"Rachel Maddow Interviews Obama "(VIDEO)

Huffington Post, video in two parts.

"Antidotes to Complacency: Four Reasons to Not Take the Election for Granted"

Paul Loeb:
It's tempting to begin taking the likelihood of Obama's victory just a bit for granted. The polls look good. McCain and Palin are flailing, and Ted Stevens is headed for jail. The Republicans have started their blame game.

But it's dangerous to assume that the election is over, or to settle for a narrow margin. Here are four reasons to keep doing all we can to keep working (and get our procrastinating friends to finally donate and volunteer) so we can create broadest possible mandate for Obama and his Democratic allies.

A MANDATE FOR CHANGE: It matters hugely whether Obama wins. It also matters whether he wins by one percent or eight percent, and by 5 electoral votes or 105. Because the crises our country faces are too grave for tinkering around the edges, we're going to need major legislation or action on a host of critical issues, from the economy to health care, Iraq and global climate change. Republicans are going to resist most of these initiatives, so the more votes Obama has, the more leverage he has to argue that his election represents a mandate and convince the wavering couple of swing Senators he'll may need that if they don't respond, they could lose their seats next round. And of course the more House and Senate seats the Democrats can take, the more ability they'll have to overcome Republican filibusters and pass the most progressive possible versions of key legislation. The wider the margin in all of these cases, the more Obama can deal with America's multitude of unaddressed festering crises.

But we can't take even a narrow victory for granted, for three reasons. And since the actions we need to take are the same as to increase the Democratic mandate, it's wisest to assume a neck-and-neck race where a few hundred votes could determine the outcome, as they did in Florida and New Mexico in 2000, and in a 129-vote Washington State governor's race in 2004. Here's why we need to work for the widest possible margin of victory:

VOTER SUPPRESSION: Though they've hit some setbacks, Republican Secretaries of State and officials in state after key state are doing their best to eliminate as many newly registered voters from the rolls as possible. They're purging them for administrative typos (like misspelled names), for not checking redundant boxes, and for failing to respond to registered letters from the local Republican party. They're implementing restrictive ID rules and stirring up alarm about non-existent fraudulent voters. Since we don't know how many voters they'll succeed in deleting or deterring, we need to turn out as many Democratic supporters to the polls as possible, and arm them with the best possible information to ensure their vote will count.

A VOLATILE ELECTORATE: Palin may be dissuading moderates and independents, but she's still turning out a sizable Republican base. Obama's base is larger, but his margin lies primarily in the record numbers of new voters who support him, particularly young, African American, and Latino voters. Because they're unused to turning out at the polls, their participation is more uncertain. The more we remind them and help them navigate the obstacles, the more likely they'll turn out.

OCTOBER SURPRISES: There's still the possibility of Republicans conjuring up a last minute pseudo crisis to stoke the fears of the electorate. They've done that before, manufacturing last minute Soviet threats, Al Qaida threats, even Nicaraguan threats, that melt away the moment the votes are in. Al Qaida has recently come out saying they'd prefer a McCain presidency--there's even some chance they could launch a terrorist attack in support of that end. And of course there's the Bush administration helicopter attack that killed eight people in Syria--had Syria retaliated in kind, we might have had a major Middle East confrontation. That doesn't count the remaining barrage of attack ads, with the chance that some might unexpectedly work. We can avoid all this by working to turn out voters now, particularly with early voting and widespread mail voting, and then continue to do so until the final polls close..

Our grassroots efforts really do matter. I've seen my own help tip Senate and Gubernatorial races of astoundingly small margins. But to help create the maximum possible political shifts, we all have to do our part.

History doesn't stop on November 4th. We'll need to continue working to push the Senate and Congress and push Obama to do all that's needed for our country. The more we do now, the more favorable the likely political landscape from that point forward.

TPMtv: "The Day in 100 Seconds" (video)

TPMtv, video (01:51).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"American Stories, American Solutions" (video)

BarackObamadotcom, video (27:10).

Howie P.S.:
This is Obama's national tv ad that is on the air tonight.

"New Radio Ad by Michelle Obama: Get Out the Vote!" (audio)

People for Chris Gregoire:
Click here to listen and then contribute to keep this ad on the air.

"Election Day is just days away. Sign up to Volunteer now." (video)

BarackObamadotcom :

"Pike Place Market in Seattle," video (01:29).

"Darcy Burner speaks at Take America Back Conference" (video)

darcyburner08, video (09:45):
Congressional Challenger Darcy Burner, backing the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and talking about why this plan is so important at the Take America Back Conference.
Howie P.S.: H/t to Dan Kirkdorffer.

Barack Obama TV Schedule for 10/29/08


Eastern: 8:00:00 thru 8:30:00
Central: 7:00:00 thru 7:30:00
Mountain: 7:00:00 thru 7:30:00
Pacific: 8:00:00 thru 8:30:00

Eastern: 8:00:00 PM thru 8:30:00 PM
Central: 7:00:00 PM thru 7:30:00 PM
Mountain: 7:00:00 PM thru 7:30:00 PM or Immediately following World Series Game 6 (if necessary)
Pacific: 8:00:00 PM thru 8:30:00 PM or Immediately following World Series Game 6 (if necessary)

Eastern: 8:00:00 PM thru 8:30:00 PM
Central: 7:00:00 PM thru 7:30:00 PM
Mountain: 6:00:00 PM thru 6:30:00 PM
Pacific: 5:00:00 PM thru 5:30:00 PM

Senator Obama will also appear on the Daily Show on Comedy Central at 11 pm in your time zone.

Howie P.S.: This New York Times story previews tonight's broadcast:"Obama Infomercial, a Closing Argument to the Everyman".

H/t to Karen Russell.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Oh No, Sarah Palin Is A Socialist Too!"

Jed Lewison:
It's not just John McCain -- Sarah Palin is a socialist too! Hendrik Hertzberg notes (emphasis added):

A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist--Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine--that "we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs."

Howie P.S.: I am sick and tired of everything Palin, but couldn't resist posting this delicious tidbit.

"Winning the Media Campaign"

"How the Press Reported the 2008 General Election"(Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism):
In short, the financial crisis and particularly Obama’s steadier reaction to it in relation to McCain’s were clearly a turning point in the media coverage. That more positive coverage was then reflected in the polls, which in turn were reinforced in the horse race coverage that played off those polls. In that sense, the data show, Obama was the beneficiary of the tactical, strategic bias of the press.
Howie P.S.: Full report here.

"Video Contest Top 10"

Air America, videos:
My fellow Air Americans, you're the best people on Earth, but as for our 10 finalists in the Air America Ad Competition? They are bester. $500 dollars on the line. Game on. Vote in the below right-hand column.
Howie P.S.: You are free to vote your conscience, but #6 is from Seattle.

"Michelle Obama's Dad (10/27)" (video)

The Tonight Show (NBC), video (01:39).

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Obama: Not Enough Time For Crazy Things" (with video)

Ben Smith with video from fghkln12367, (01:02):

In an interview on the Colorado Springs station KOAA yesterday, Obama addressed what's emerged as a central Republican argument: The threat of single-party control.

Obama said he plans to work with Republicans, and he didn't anticipate any "sudden lurches to the left" or any "crazy things."

In the clip above, he's asked about "the possibility of one party control in the executive and legislative."

Here's his full response:
Well, look, I think that my main concern right now is just making a case for why we need to change the economic policies that have gotten us into such a mess over the last eight years. I want to collaborate with Democrats and Republicans in getting that done. And you know, there are a lot of Democrats who may be elected who’ve made a commitment to their constituents to be centrist, I don’t think they’re gonna want to have sudden lurches to the left.

I think what we need to do is to create a responsive enough government that we’re dealing with our heath care crisis, dealing with energy in a serious way, pushing through a more balanced tax program so that middle class families are benefitting and responsibly ending the war in Iraq. Those things are going to take up a huge amount of time, you know when we’re also trying to stabilize the financial market.
I don’t think we’re going to have time to engage in a bunch of crazy things that people, the McCain campaign specifically, has suggested we might.

"Girl Power in WA (with Pics!): Janet & Kathleen, Maria & Patty, for Christine & Darcy"

cyrilb's diary on Kos:
Awesome demonstration of Girl Power today in Bellevue, WA, battleground of a tight WA-08 pick opportunity by Darcy Burner, and a tight gubernatorial race for Christine Gregoire.

In front of a BCC auditorium filled with activists ready to go canvass the area, Darcy and Chris received an all-ladies support from Maria Cantwell & Patty Murray, our 2 WA Senators, and Janet Napolitano & Kathleen Sebelius, the well known Governors of Arizona and Kansas.

Check-out my pics, and see if you recognize them all :)

Hillary would be proud of our glass-shattering team, here. Where was she, btw?... ;)

Then, all the audience was invited to go canvass the area, my neighborhood :). I'm back from my 60 houses (and follow-up data-entry) to post these pics and diary. A good day for Chris and Darcy, I hope. They both need all the help we can muster.


How many Senators/Governors/Representative did you recognize in the pictures?

4%2 votes
4%2 votes
29%13 votes
22%10 votes
38%17 votes

| 44 votes | Vote | Results

H/t to Chad Lupkes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Devastating New Ad Hits McCain on Bush Economics" (video)

Ari Melber, with video (01:34):
The only thing more damaging to John McCain than Keating Economics is Bush Economics.

That's the idea behind a devastating new attack ad that the DNC launched Sunday. To kick off the last full week before the election, Democrats are stressing McCain's firm support for Bush's economic policies with a web ad featuring a fleet of senior McCain surrogates. Some took to the TV studios to tout McCain's Bush-like approach to taxes and growth, while others are shown, cornered and empty-handed, when asked to name a single economic issue on which McCain disagrees with the President. "McCain's own surrogates have repeatedly said that John McCain would continue President Bush's economic policies," explains the DNC, so the video just brought all the documentary footage together in one spot.

The ad's ending is priceless, as Gov. Mark Sanford flails and fails to offer a single contrast between McCain and Bush on the economy. Briefly and meekly, he floats NAFTA, but then concedes that example is more about "consistency." You almost feel for him, unless you recall that he only looks bad because he is awkwardly, consciously dissembling without a scrap of evidence. Just like his candidate.

Having a little fun with Barack and Michelle (video)

SNL,video: "Sen. Obama plays it safe and musical..." (03:54).

Howie P.S.: To preserve my reputation for being completely "fair and balanced," here's "Colbert Report: The McCain Campaign Reaches Out To The Middle Class" (video).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Obama as we knew him... man and boy"

Barack Obama as a student at the school in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1990. Photograph: Joe Wrinn/AP
Guardian UK:
School friends remember his love for comic books, basketball and teasing the girls. A former boss recalls him as a young man running a community project in Chicago. A fellow senator remembers being beaten by him at poker. Gifted student, quiet persuader, charismatic speaker, loyal friend... We speak to the people who knew Barack Obama best, revealing an intimate, often touching, portrait of a man on the brink of greatness. Full article here.

"Michelle Obama Revs Up in the Homestretch"

Barack Obama visiting his old neighborhood in Honolulu.
AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 24 -- Michelle Obama is nearing the finish line of a race that has become her quest as much as her husband's. Once, scant dozens of people filed in to meet her in small Iowa towns. She now routinely draws thousands: in Gainesville, Fla., 11,000; in Pensacola, 7,000.
On Friday, she drew overflow crowds of 2,000 people in Columbus and here while standing in for her husband as he visited his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. Speaking without notes, she traded her favored fireside voice for a more fiery one, calling out to people to vote early, if not often.

"Races are lost on thousands of votes, and there are hundreds of thousands of people who are registered who will not vote," Obama said. "Don't wait until Election Day when it's snowing. Don't wait until Election Day when you might be sick. Don't wait until Election Day when your tire might be flat. You might not have gas then. Vote now."

Obama paused to tell audiences of her husband's decision to leave the campaign trail for 48 hours to visit Madelyn Dunham, the grandmother he calls "Toot." At a telephone bank here, Obama told a potential supporter that Dunham "is sick and may not be with us much longer."

Dunham did much to raise Barack Obama, born to an 18-year-old mother with a certain wanderlust. He credits Dunham with sacrificing for his upbringing and imparting a hardscrabble Midwestern sensibility grounded in her Kansas roots.

"He said the other night, 'You know, I got my toughness from Toot,' " Obama told the crowd in Columbus. "Because she taught him with her quiet confidence and that love and support that he could do anything," she said.

In Akron, she mentioned a conversation with a voter who described her own problems -- she went blind, she lost a son, her grandson went to war, her husband left her -- and then told Michelle that she is praying for Barack's grandmother.

"Now that's America right there," Obama said. "On behalf of my family, thank you. We will be fine."

Obama, who has been juggling roles at home and on the road since the campaign began nearly 21 months ago, recently said she enjoys campaigning more than she expected. Yet as she has traveled the country, the cheers of supporters have been mixed with challenges to her patriotism from critics, including jabs from Cindy McCain and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

It was in Wisconsin in February that Obama said, "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but because I think people are hungry for change." She explained later that, as someone who had felt disconnected from politics, she was pleased to see "people rolling up their sleeves in a way that I haven't seen, and really trying to figure this out."

Supporters said they understood, but the damage was done. McCain took the opportunity to declare, "Yes, I have always been proud of my country." Palin delivered a similar slam, spawning a T-shirt design that proclaims, "Always Proud."

Criticism became farce when a Fox News anchor asked whether the Obamas' congratulatory fist-bumping the night he clinched the Democratic nomination was a "terrorist fist bump."

The anti-American narrative gained enough traction that the campaign felt forced to respond.

In Fort Wayne, Ind., last week, campaign aides placed Michelle Obama in front of no fewer than four American flags. A supporter, just before he led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, said of the aspiring first couple, "We have two great patriots who love this country."

In the campaign's final weeks, Michelle Obama marches forward. She spends two to four days on the road each week, limiting her time away from their two daughters, whom she calls "the reason I breathe every day." Her staff tries to schedule her first speaking event in the middle of the day, to give her time to get the girls dressed, fed and off to school before she catches her small chartered jet.

If she spends a night on the road, Obama tries to get home before dinner the next day. Most weekends, she is home, but one recent weekend, the girls stayed with one of her close friends, Yvonne Davila, who has daughters about the same ages as Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.

"We are co-parenting our children. Her kids have toothbrushes at my house," says Davila, who owns a marketing company and lives 10 minutes from the Obamas' home in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. "I pick up the kids for ballet and soccer and we do shopping sprees. I took all the kids shopping last weekend."

On Thursday, the Obama girls went to Davila's house to make Halloween cookies and cupcakes. On Friday, Davila took the girls to a party in honor of the older girls winning their soccer league championship. Mostly, Obama relies on her mother, who retired last year, to take care of the children when she is away or dialing into radio shows from campaign headquarters.

Obama has developed a focus on working families and military families, but her chief campaign-trail role from the beginning has been as portraitist, etching the profile of an unfamiliar junior politician with an uncommon background and an unusual name. Her husband is one of them, she assures listeners. Or, as she says several times in each speech, "He gets it."

The economic crisis, she said here, has become personal: "If it isn't directly happening to you," she said, "it's one moment away from directly happening to you."

As she spoke of rising food costs, shrinking job opportunities, elusive health care and the fear that the mail will bring a foreclosure notice, she created an opening to speak about her husband and his history.

But the history she chose to share was not his eight years in the Illinois Senate or nearly four in Washington. She did not mention Columbia University or his leadership of the Harvard Law Review, as she has before, or his dozen years as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. What she said was, "We're both regular folks."

"He doesn't get it in some theoretical, disconnected, philosophical way," she said, responding to critics who consider Barack Obama too cool and detached. "He gets it because he's lived it. You see, there's something that happens to folks when they grow up regular."

The "regular" Obama of her narrative is the child born to a white teenage mother and an absent black father, then raised in part by a strong grandmother, who imparted a measure of her own mettle. This Obama rode scholarships and loans to the Ivy League, then scorned Wall Street to work as a community organizer in Chicago as steel plants were shutting their doors.

"Don't we deserve a leader who knows what it's like to carry a little loan debt?" Obama asked. "Barack Obama knows it because he's lived it. Let me tell you something, Akron, Barack Obama gets it."

Before her speech, Obama dropped into the Akron campaign headquarters, where a dozen volunteers were dialing for voters. Taking a telephone from a supporter, Obama said cheerily, "How are you! You're still undecided? That's okay. What can I tell you about my husband?"

Over the next few minutes, Obama did some listening and some answering, offering a careful rationale for an Obama presidency: "We've been doing the same thing for the last eight years and it hasn't worked." She delivered a defense of her husband's credibility: "He's a fighter for regular folks, and that's our background."

"We're living close to the issues," she said in a soft voice, relating her own upbringing as the daughter of working-class parents who did not attend college. She mentioned her mother, retired and living on a pension; Barack Obama's sister, a teacher; and his ailing grandmother, who has long been unable to travel.

As she hung up, she said, "That's my pitch. Thank you for letting me go on and on."

Volunteers asked for her autograph before she climbed into her motorcade for the short ride to Buchtel High School, a diverse crowd and a welcome only slightly less raucous than her send-off. She started with a cheer and finished with a shout, creating a crescendo familiar to watchers of another Obama known for an ability to motivate a crowd.

"Can we do this?" Obama called repeatedly to growing roars of yes. "All right, let's change the world!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Dave Reichert: Another lying Republican hypocrite exposed -- no thanks to the media"

Dave Neiwert on Crooks and Liars:
Darcy Burner_11e08.jpg

It stands to reason that Darcy Burner's opponent, Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington's 8th District, would be getting desperate about now. After all, the most recent polling consistently shows him trailing Burner by about four points.

So of course, he's been trying to smear her with a cheap falsehood about her Harvard degree. And in the process, he appears to have really stepped in it. From Goldy at HA:

Let’s see if this, Rep. Dave Reichert’s official Congressional biography, makes the front page of the Seattle Times:

REICHERT, David G., .a Representative from Washington; born in Detroit Lakes, Becker County, Minn., August 29, 1950; graduated, Kent Meridian High School, Renton, Wash., 1968; B.A., Concordia Lutheran College, Portland, Oreg., 1970; U.S. Air Force Reserve, 1971-1976; U.S. Air Force, 1976; police officer, King County, Wash., 1972-1977; sheriff, King County, Wash., 1997- 2004; elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Ninth Congress and to the succeeding Congress (January 3, 2005-present).

Problem is, Reichert never earned a B.A. from Concordia in 1970, because they didn’t even grant their first bachelors degree until 1980. In fact, the year Reichert started was Concordia’s first year as a Junior College; before then, it was merely a Lutheran high school.
What Reichert has is a two-year Associates degree from a small, Christian, Junior College. (And possibly, not even that; has Heffter bothered to ask Concordia’s registrar for Reichert’s records?) Thus Reichert’s official bio, which he has allowed to go uncorrected for four years, and which has been picked up by numerous news organizations and other web sites, is an undisputed lie.

You see, Reichert has been spreading the story that Burner fluffed up her resume by claiming to have a degree in economics from Harvard. And sure enough, the Seattle Times -- which has a long track record of explicit animus toward Burner -- bit on the story.

It gave the Reichert team the chance to pounce:

Reichert's campaign called Burner's statements about her degree "outrageous."

"It calls into question everything that she has said to this point," said Amanda Halligan, a spokeswoman for the Reichert campaign. "It demonstrates an arrogance that she thinks she can say what she wants and that no one is going to learn the truth."

Darcy's response is here.

The problem is, as Matt Stoller explained in some detail yesterday, it's all bullshit:

The story is literally made up out of whole cloth. Burner has a degree in computer science and economics from Harvard, as her website says. Having gone to Harvard, I know how this works. You get a degree under one department, take classes in another, write a thesis joining the two, and that thesis is reviewed by professors from both departments. It's actually much harder to get a joint degree, but the registrar shows a degree only from one department because Harvard doesn't have minors. In fact, economics is a fairly easy degree to get, while computer science and economics takes a lot more work.

Indeed, here are the words of the same Harvard dean quoted in the Times' story:

I'm the professor and ex-dean who was quoted in the story, and as it happens, also the guy who wrote the CS degree requirements. At the time Darcy was at Harvard, she would have needed, as part of her CS degree requirements, several courses in a technical specialization area related to CS. She fulfilled that CS degree requirement by specializing in Economics (which meant, by the way, that she couldn't have taken just the easy, non-mathematical Ec courses). So it's not exactly a minor (which we didn't have then, though we do now), and it's also not anything that the registrar would be able to certify (because it's an internal requirement of the computer science faculty). But it's something everyone getting a degree in CS had to do (though other students would have other specialties). The way Darcy is describing herself is accurate.

None of this, however, prevented one of the more popular local right-wing radio yammerers, Dori Monson, from going on the air today and pronouncing Burner "a liar."

Better look in that mirror, fellas.

In the meantime, the rest of us can go to Blue America and donate to Darcy. With the media in the tank for Reichert, it's obvious she'll need all the help she can get.
Howie P.S.: I already posted on this yesterday, but Neiwert did such a great job and, as a bonus, he brought in a reference to one of my favorite local assholes, Dori Monson. How could I resist?

techPresident: Today's Roundup of the Netroots and the 2008 Election

The Web on the Candidates

  • Internet Killed the Robocall: The liberal mini-media empire Talking Points Memo is out with an inventive "Map of GOP Sleaze" that plots campaign robocalls and mailers against a map of the United States. The star of the map is probably the efforts by the McCain campaign to tie Barack Obama to former Weatherman Bill Ayers, from robocalls that are turning up in New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, and Missouri and elsewhere to a flier that brands Ayers "Terrorist. Radical. Friend of Obama." (It's truly a wonder the fine people of North Carolina get anything done with all the stuff coming their way.) The TPM map is too clunky, but it raises the question -- can surreptitious robocalls and negative fliers survive in the age of blogs, when "under the radar" doesn't really exist? It was bloggers, remember, including TPM and Facing South, that first connected the dots on the Women's Voices, Women Vote robocall controversy during the primary. Politico's Ben Smith has been tracking robo calls in general and the Huffington Post's Sam Stein has issued a call to action on the Ayers calls in particular -- calling on readers to get their members of Congress on record about the robos that now all the world can hear with a click. #

  • Assessing the Influence of the Netroots, the Power of Drudge: Former Hillary Clinton Internet adviser Peter Daou is arguing that what shouldn't be forgotten on November 5th is how the netroots did its part to close the famed "Daou triangle" formed by the blogosphere, traditional media, and political establishment. As evidence, Peter cites the media narratives that, fueled by the netroots, seem to have coalesced around John McCain and Barack Obama. Peter's right -- it'll certainly be interesting to see how the netroots is judged in the post-George Bush era. And when it comes to online juice, Matters Eric Boehlert is making the cash that Matt Drudge's campaign influence is waning. What's happened, suggests Eric, is that the complex and weighty reality the United States is now obviously facing "knocks Drudge completely out of his element of frivolous, partisan gotcha links." #

  • A Playful MoveOn Makes You a Cable News Goat: MoveOn's new CNNBC video stars *you* in the role as the one single pro-Obama voter who failed to vote, thus keeping him out of the Oval Office. You can then send your video of shame, but one caveat -- given the generic and (uneditable) message in the email, a few recipients have thought it was actually one of those viruses that commandeers your address book. When taken together with MoveOn's playful Partnership for a McCain Free White House site, starring "Gossip Girl" stars Blake Lively and Penn Badgley, it seems like when it comes to tone, MoveOn is taking its cue from the Obama campaign in the home stretch; this is a far kinder, gentler organization than the one that branded General David Petraeus "General Betrayus." #

  • The Games We Play and (Obama Should): A new in-game survey conducted by Rock the Vote and Xbox Live susses out what gamers care most about. At 35%, "jobs and the economy" topped the list of worries. The environment and foreign policy both came in at just under 20%, while sore thumbs garnered 3%. (Thanks Brett Schenker) Also on the gaming front, with the news that the Obama campaign had bought advertising space in "Burnout Paradise" and more than a dozen other games, National Journal's Ad Spotlight has some, uh, creative suggestions for where Obama can spend his considerable monies to break more new high-tech advertising ground -- from being the game (Think "Fight the Smears: Barack Battles Back") to in-podcast advertising. #

The Candidates on the Web

The Masters of Repurposing -- One Hot Tax Calculator Widget: If there's one thing that Obama's new media team has done one thing particularly well this campaign, it's this: repackaging. Repurposing content is one of the tenets of online business; a particular popular blog post of late features 37signals founder and tech opinion-leader Jason Fried expounding upon the virtues of reusing digital stuff. Team Obama, for example, recently took its Obama-Biden Tax Calculator and turned into into a widget, making it trivial for anyone to embed it on their website or Facebook page or MySpace profile. And many have. Since its release 11 days ago, the calculator has been embedded more than 2,400 times and viewed more than 750,000. What's more, the campaign seems to operate under the principle of "hey, if we have to spend time making it anyway, why not throw it online and see if anyone can use it?"'s Download Center has well-designed graphic banners for every state in the union, custom logos for everyone from Environmentalists for Obama to Republicans for Obama, blank house party sign-in sheets, templates for issue flyers, and much more. It's one more way they're besting the McCain camp online. Team McCain must be creating digital assets for its own purposes, but they're keeping them under lock and key. offers social-networking icons and site banners, but not much else.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Will Ferrell Back As Bush With Tina Fey's Palin On Thursday's "Saturday Night Live" (VIDEO)

Huffington Post with video (06:49).

"Darcy Burner moves into the lead, gets hit with misleading (wrong) article in local paper"

Goal ThermometerYesterday, via Matt Stoller at OpenLeft, we learned that the Seattle Times ran a factually-wrong hit piece on Democratic candidate Darcy Burner, who is running in Washington's Eighth Congressional District. Matt single-handedly debunked the premise of the piece, which claimed Darcy didn't have a degree in economics from Harvard -- in fact, she does. (And, after Matt's criticism, the paper has already changed its headline.)

A fake last-minute story to bring down the Democratic candidate is no surprise, The Seattle Times is the conservative paper in that city. Coincidentally (or not), a SurveyUSA poll yesterday showed Darcy had moved into the lead in this very hard fought race by 50% - 46% margin. Over the past month, Darcy reversed a 10-point lead by her opponent.

Darcy Burner is a true progressive. She'll be an even better Democrat. And, the Republicans are unloading on this race. If you can help her fight back -- and win -- we've got an ActBlue page for Darcy, please donate. 100% of your donation goes to Darcy and it's 100% secure

"Steal Back Your Vote! on the Rachel Maddow Show" (video)

GregPalastOffice, video (08:55):
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the Rachel Maddow Show October 21, 2008.

Discussing the Rolling Stone article and the Steal Back Your Vote! Investigative Comic book Rachel Maddow calls "Really Cool."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"October 22, 2008: The Day in 100 Seconds" (video)

tpmtv, video (01:51):

Howie P.S.: For an obsessive like me, this fulfills my appetite without making me nauseous.

"Help spread the truth about ACORN" (video)

bravenewfilms, video (05:49):
In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has been attacking ACORN, a widely respected voter registration organization, claiming ACORN knowingly participated in "voter fraud." In reality, this is just another calculated attempt by the McCain campaign and the RNC to suppress new and marginalized voters.

You can help spread the truth about ACORN by hosting a house party. Have your friends over and make new friends while watching ACORN's video and Brave New Films' REAL McCain series to keep the dialogue going about these issues.
Howie P.S.: I was particularly struck by Andrew Sullivan's comment that the attack on ACORN is a preemptive attack on the results of the election.

H/t to Donn Cook.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Barack Makes Calls in Missouri" (video)

BarackObamadotcom, video (03:55):
Barack Obama joined volunteers at the Obama headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri to call some folks to make sure they get out and vote. October 17, 2008.
Howie P.S.: If you want a long read about Obama from Sunday's New York Times Magazine by Matt Bai, here's "Working for the Working-Class Vote." The last paragraph:
Normally, in political campaigns, you hope people get to know you and then decide to vote for you; Obama now believed that perhaps only the inverse was possible. Once, he might have thought that if he could only win a bunch of red states and pile up 350 electoral votes, he could obliterate the red-blue paralysis of the last decade and wield his mandate like a machete against the culture warriors in Washington. Now, it seemed, he understood that even a Reaganesque triumph wouldn’t suddenly erase the effect of 40 years of exploiting peoples’ darkest fears or ignoring their legitimate anxieties, the twisted and bipartisan legacy of a lost political generation. If he won, Obama would likely start out as a 50-plus-1 president, no matter what the map had in store. And then the campaign would begin again.

Biden at Seattle fundraiser: "we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride."

Political Radar (ABC News):
ABC News' Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions.

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

Not only will the next administration have to deal with foreign affairs issues, Biden warned, but also with the current economic crisis.

"Gird your loins," Biden told the crowd. "We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than – think about it, literally, think about it – this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy."

The Delaware lawmaker managed to rake in an estimated $1 million total from his two money hauls at the downtown Sheraton, the same hotel where four years ago Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., clinched the Democratic nomination. Despite warning about the difficulties the next administration will face, Biden said the Democratic ticket is equipped to meet the challenges head on.

"I've forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I'm not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it," the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said of Obama. "This guy has it. But he's gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us."

"There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'," Biden continued. "Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."

Biden emphasized that the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border is of particular concern, with Osama bin Laden "alive and well" and Pakistan "bristling with nuclear weapons."

"You literally can see what these kids are up against, our kids in that region," Biden said in recalling when his helicopter was forced down due to a snowstorm there. "The place is crawling with al Qaeda. And it's real."

"We do not have the military capacity, nor have we ever, quite frankly, in the last 20 years, to dictate outcomes," he cautioned. "It's so much more important than that. It's so much more complicated than that. And Barack gets it."

After speaking for just over a quarter of an hour, Biden noticed the media presence in the back of the small ballroom.

"I probably shouldn't have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here," he joked.

"All kidding aside, these guys have left us in a God-awful place," he then said of the Bush regime, promptly wrapping up his remarks. "We have the ability to straighten it out. It's gonna take a little bit of time, so I ask you to stay with us. Stay with us."
Howie P.S.: Press is not usually present at fundraisers, so Biden might have been caught off guard.

"Bassets for Obama" (video)

AussiSiren, video (01:41):
Basset hounds campaign for Senator Barack Obama in Seattle.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Colin Powell Decimates McCain's Rationale" (video)

DailyKosTV, video (06:25):
Video montage of Powell's Obama endorsement and clips supporting his critiques of McCain and Palin.

Joe Biden in Tacoma (video)

KOMO 4, video.

KING 5, video.

Caribou Barbie on SNL (video)

SNL, video (05:15):. And she and Mr. Palin also make a short appearance on "Weekend Update." It's like a car crash, you can't help but look.

Howie P.S.: That "other one" pals around with Alec Baldwin, while he reads the cue cards. Ben Smith stayed up late to give us "Obama's SNL spot" (video, 0030).

"McCain Economics: Out of Touch, Out of Time" (MSNBC video)

NetMovement, video (04:19):
Ari Melber and Ron Christie debate Sen. John McCain's latest economic proposals on MSNBC.
Howie P.S.: I wonder if Ari's been listening to the Rolling Stones lately.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"GQ’s Striking New Campaign Pics"

Ari Melber:
GQ has some striking new images from the campaign trail, snapped by photographer Jeff Riedel over the past nine months.

A GQ staffer tells me they were going for the feel of Richard Avedon’s famous 1976 bicentennial portfolio — the iconic shots…

The shots accompany interviews with campaign newsmakers. One is of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who assesses her new role at the cable network. “I do not feel that I’m of the media world, even though I’m taking part in it,” she says. “Maybe four years from now, I’ll be the ultimate insider, but right now I feel like I’m the kid who’s like, ‘Wowwwwwww, this is amazing…and that guy’s a tool!’”

Asked about his famous, withering criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primary, mogul David Geffen, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, recalled the dust up: “I was shocked that it got so much attention. It certainly wasn’t because of me; it had a big impact because it said what most people thought but were afraid to say. They [the Clintons] are vindictive, and people were afraid of being excluded. They’re tough. I think it’s part of the reason they lost. You want to love people, not be afraid of them.”

There are definitely some people aiming for “lovable” in the portfolio

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Joe Biden Stands Up To Sarah Palin: We All Love This Country" (video)

DailyKosTV, video (00:46):
Joe Biden responds to Sarah Palin's boast that she enjoys campaigning in the "pro-American" part of this country.
Howie P.S.: Joe Biden will be at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Sunday October 19 (Doors Open: 12:00 p.m. Program Begins: 2:00 p.m.) RSVP and details here.

Obama: "18 days away from change" (video)

"Obama Roasts McCain at Al Smith Dinner" (video)

NC Dem, video (10:27):
Barack Obama speaks at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Voter-Fraud Fraud"

Hendrik Hertzberg:
The idea that Democrats try to win elections by arranging for hordes of nonexistent people with improbable names to vote for them has long been a favorite theme of Rove-era Republicans. Now it’s become a desperate obsession.
Consider today’s fund-raising e-mail from Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Some snippets:

Every election, it’s the same old song and dance from the Democrats and their liberal allies when it comes to donor and vote fraud.

They will soon be trying to pad their totals at ballot boxes across the country with votes from voters that do not exist. From Ohio and Florida to Wisconsin and Nevada, there are reports of fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal group that is dedicating its resources to electing the Obama-Biden Democrats.

The e-mail climaxes with this pledge, which one hopes is delivered with a Sarah Palin wink: “We will not stand for the stealing of the election—the tainting of our democracy—by those who wish to subvert the rule of law.”

ACORN has become the 24/7 story on Fox News, too, on account of reports that it has submitted several thousand phony registration forms to local boards of elections. These reports appear to be true. Nevertheless, the “scandal,” as Fox calls it, is itself on its face as phony as Mickey Mouse’s social security number.

During this election cycle, the Times reported today, ACORN has deployed thirteen thousand mostly paid workers, who have registered 1.3 million new voters. One or two per cent of these workers turned in sheaves of forms that they filled out themselves with fake names and bogus addresses, and, even though at least a hundred of these workers have already been fired, the forged forms have been submitted to election boards.

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that groups like ACORN are required by law to submit them, even if they’re obvious fakes. This is to prevent funny business, such as trashing forms that look like they might be Republican (or Democratic, as the case may be).

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that ACORN normally sorts through forms, flags those that look fishy, and submits the fishy ones in a separate pile for the convenience of election officials.

Sounds suspicious—until you reflect that the motivation of the misbehaving registration workers is almost always to look like they’ve been doing more work than they really have, and that the victim of the “fraud” is actually the organization they’re working for.

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that even if one of these fake forms results in a nonexistent person actually being registered, now under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, “any voter who has not previously voted in a federal election” must provide identification in order to actually cast a ballot. This will make it tough for Mickey Mouse, even if registered, to vote, no matter how big, round, or black his ears. Likewise, members of the Duck family (Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie) who turn up at the polling place will have a hard time getting into the voting booth. (Uncle Scrooge might be able to bribe his way in, but he’s voting Republican anyway.)

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that despite all the hysteria, from 2002 to 2005, only twenty people in the entire United States of America were found guilty of voting while ineligible and only five of voting more than once. By contrast, consider the lede on this story, published a week ago today:

Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.
And take it from Sarah Palin: the Times is “hardly ever wrong.”
Howie P.S.: I'm already sick and tired of pushing back against the lies of the opposition, but feel it is my obligation to do so.

Joe doesn't like the progressive income tax, either (video)

directlifeprotection, video (04:16):
Joe the Plumber goes up against Diane Sawyer and calls her (Obama's) tax proposal SOCIALISM.

Joe's not into paying taxes or licensing requirements, as well

"Joe the Plumber: No new taxes -- and no old ones, either"--Jonathan Martin.

"'Joe the plumber' isn’t licensed"--Toledo Blade.

H/t to Ben Smith.

Joe doesn't like Social Security, either (video)

tpmtv, video from MSNBC(00:37):
Oct. 16, 2008

"The Community Organizing Renaissance"

Al Giordano, with video (01;03) from TechPresident:
With the passing of the final debate (one which only confirmed the trajectory - toward Obama - of the past month) now in the past, it remains to be seen whether the commercial news media will discover the real story of the 2008 campaign: the ground game.

While the commercial media obsesses over an alleged Ohio plumber (who apparently might neither be registered to vote nor licensed to practice that trade) the real everyman and everywoman - the ones that don't generally make more than a quarter-million dollars a year - can be found in the real towns and cities of America, on the front lines of the community organizing renaissance.

On Monday, Micah Sifry of TechPresident did some counting by hand:

-# of upcoming McCain events happening within a 25 mile radius of Orlando, Florida: 8

-# of upcoming Obama events happening within a 25-mile radius of Orlando: 84

-# of upcoming McCain events within a 25-mile radius of Dayton, Ohio: 8

-# of upcoming Obama events within a 25-mile radius of Dayton: 57

By Wednesday, he was able to quantify the ground game nationwide using Internet technology, which led to that video above, and this observation:

...while playing around with both sites' tools, I discovered that Obama's campaign will also allow you to export the resulting list as a structured data file, which for the geeks in the audience is like manna from heaven. In particular, you can get a KML file, which is short for "Keyhole Markup Language"--which means you can easily put Obama's events on Google Earth.

From that realization, it wasn't far to this: a visualization of all of Obama's upcoming events (there are more than 10,000 I think) between now and Election Day.

There are ten thousand potential newspaper, TV and radio news stories in those numbers, and at least as many "reporters" in need of a good report, but as during the primaries, the commercial media are leaving the real story of the 2008 United States presidential election to a few intrepid online journalists and bloggers. When on Election Night they will raise their eyebrows and go, wow, just wow, how the hell did that happen?, it will be the Field Hands here, and a very few folks like Sifrey, like Sean Quinn at 538 and Zack Exley at The Huffington Post who will have documented the answer: It was the organizing, stupid!

Quinn, in particular, has been doing yeoman's work. Weeks back, he started in Nevada and began the long drive across the fruited plain, posting pretty much daily from the road in the battleground states. There, he's found real people making real news, folks like Debrah Harleston in Northwest Ohio:

Most of her life spent as a Republican, Debrah Harleston volunteered heavily for George Bush in 2004. As she threw herself into helping Barack Obama in Toledo, one of her first questions to her organizer was, "why are we canvassing so soon?"

Debrah's story is uniquely her own, but also very much like the story of tens of thousands of everyday people that took history into their own hands this year:

Now that Debrah has settled into her role as one of Obama's Toledo Community Directors, she's amazed at the sophistication of the Obama structure. As a Community Director, she oversees three Neighborhood Team Leaders, volunteers who comprise the heart of Obama's volunteering infrastructure. Each neighborhood team, in turn, has up to five different coordinators: (1) the canvass coordinator; (2) the phonebank coordinator; (3) the volunteer coordinator; (4) the data coordinator; and (5) where applicable, the faith coordinator.

In Ohio, Campaign for Change State Director Jeremy Bird told us, there are 1,231 defined neighborhoods, as of August 25 there were about 800 in place, and as of Saturday approximately 1,100 NTLs had been tested and were up in operation. By "tested," Bird said, each NTL had undergone and met a series of specific challenges the field organizers had presented.

First, can the potential NTL organize a group of people? Whether by hosting a house party, a faith forum with a church group, or some other type of organizational meeting, the potential NTL needs to show they can lead the organization of their neighbors.

Second, can the potential NTL pass the voter contact test? Can he or she lead a canvass, can he or she build a group phonebanking night? It's a leadership test, built around voter contact.

Third, are they willing to make the final commitment by attending specific training for their role? Debrah Harleston smiled as she told us about the imminent blooming of satellite offices throughout the Toledo area so that neighborhood teams can begin running right in the neighborhoods autonomously.

Zack Exley, in another Ohio region, found another such unsung heroine, Glenna Fisher:

In her job at a Middletown, Ohio, steel factory, Glenna Fisher managed the preparation and shipping of millions of pounds of steel per year until her retirement six years ago. But when she has volunteered for democratic campaigns in the past, no one ever asked her to do anything more complicated than calling voters with a script.

This year, the field organizer (FO) assigned to her town, Ryan Clay, had much bigger plans for her.

"He'd gotten my name from info I'd entered on the Obama website listing ways in which I'd be willing to volunteer," Glenna explained in the Hamilton office before a regular report-in with Ryan. "He called and we set up a time to meet at a local coffee shop."

One of the ways Ryan asked Glenna to help was recruiting other volunteers.

"And that Sunday, my church had a joint service with our sister church, a local African-American congregation. There I talked with a friend who gave me several names of people who also might be interested in volunteering with the campaign. I called Ryan and passed on those names and phone numbers," Glenna said.

Ryan was impressed, and continued to ask Glenna to try increasingly difficult tasks. She didn't know it, but she was being "tested" to see if she had what it took to be a neighborhood team leader (NTL).

See, the story of the 2008 campaign is not some media creation and caricature like "Joe the Plumber," but those Americans that have done more than "win" the media lottery by having a chance encounter with a presidential candidate. (I put "win" in quotation marks because I have the feeling this isn't going to end well for that Joe, as media scrutiny can be a knife with two edges.) No, the story of 2008 is authentically about "Debrah the Neighborhood Team Leader" and "Glenna the Neighborhood Team Leader," and "Joe the Organizer," and "Jane the Change Crew Chief," and "Jose the Phone Banker" and "Jasmine the Canvasser." The story is that of so many Americans that didn't wait for the media to show up at their doorsteps but stepped out onto the battlefield and did the heavy lifting.

And there's a very special group among them: the more than 10,000 people - most, but not all, of them young - who right now aren't reading blogs or watching cable news because they're too busy organizing all those Debrahs and Glennas: the field organizers and deputies that were trained at Camp Obama and Fellows sessions, who have recruited those Neighborhood Team Leaders and others to carry out the action plan. They're engaged in hand-to-hand combat of sorts to identify or persuade every last vote and turn them out to the polls. Today, those of them that are in North Carolina are putting those votes on the scoreboards as the state's early voting began this morning and continues through November 1. Their counterparts in Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico and Ohio have been doing this for days now. The results are on the board already.

What will become of these organizers after Election Day? Having been in their shoes, I'm guessing that few of them have given it much thought. When you immerse yourself in immediate history, the "self," in traditional terms, ceases to exist, or is at least put on pause for a spell. It's the Cambellian hero's journey, and the luckiest of humans get to live it and then spend the rest of their lives contemplating what happened to change them so profoundly.

But their stories and memories and knowledge of how the job was done - not to mention the power of their skills, if they continue to harness them, in the future - hold the keys to understanding what is about to happen in America.

And so, Field Hands, I have an assignment for you in each of your local areas: You may already know some of these good people. They've probably organized you (or tried to). You certainly know where to find them. We don't yet know if their official campaign emails will still exist after November 4. But after the election we're going to need to be able to locate them and listen to their stories in order to properly document this historic moment. Your task: to assemble, for your area, their names, their permanent personal email addresses and their cell phone numbers, so that we can find them after the great leap forward and make sure their stories - a collective story - are told.

In most cases that means marching down to their offices, writing down the names of each person there with the title of "organizer" or "deputy" (usually their names are right on the wall in the office lobby, next to an envelope serving as a mail box), seeking them out, shaking their hands, thanking them for the work they're doing (you'll feel real good doing that), and asking how to find them after the election is over, as many of them are not from the areas where they're hard at work today. If they want to know why (a reasonable question), tell them about The Field, the Field Hands, and that your friend, the author (if they request it, give them my email and write down the URL for The Field for them), wants to interview them for a possible book about what they accomplished after the election is over and after the office they're working out of no longer exists. Respect their privacy. Don't post their personal info here or anywhere online. Send it privately to me at name, email and cell phone number. Remember that these folks are very, very busy right now. Assure them that we promise not to bug them before Election Day, but very much want to be able to find them and listen to their stories from the front lines when all is said and done.

The top story of 2008 doesn't end on November 4. It is - it must be - that this was the year that the Community Organizing Renaissance began.

We're going to move heaven and earth to make sure that it continues. Stay tuned for some important announcements about how, together, we're going to take up that challenge.

Howie P.S.: Great post, great video but I could do without the majestic soundtrack music on the video.

Jed reports on That Plumber Guy from his new home on the front page of Kos (with video)

UPDATE: It just so happens that Joe is a registered Republican. This information courtesy of Ben Smith. I wish there was a stock market where you could bet on the proposition that Joe is a plant.

Jed L with video (00:57):
We don't know much about Joe The Plumber, but we do know this: he made up his mind who he was voting for before last night's debate.
Speaking with Katie Couric, "Joe" said that he "wasn't swayed" by the debate last night, yet pretty much knew who he was going to vote for. So if (a) he wasn't swayed by the debate and (b) knows who he is going to vote for, then (c) he had already made up his mind before the debate.Here's video.

Unfortunately, the national media has had a field day with Joe, almost universally reporting that he is an uncommitted voter, even though he doesn't make the same claim. He certainly is a nice little story for them, but it's a story they might want to ask some questions about, especially now that they've invited a relative unknown to appear on the morning shows.

For starters, according to Ben Smith, he's not registered to vote. It's hard to believe that this could be the case; it seems likely that there is some sort of clerical error. For example, his name could be mispelled as Worzelbacher instead of Wurzelbacher in the Lucas County file.

It also seems odd that he just happens to be buying a business that would earn exactly the amount of money that would qualify it to be a McCain campaign talking point -- $250,000. Even more intriguing, McCain-land said they had never spoken with Joe before, but also made the following statement to Ben Smith:

McCain aides say there was no heads-up for Joe the Plumber, who's headed out to the morning shows tomorrow.

"Joe didn't know" that he'd be at the center of the debate," said Matt McDonald.

"We tried to call him during the debate, but his phone was busy," he said. "We're not going to put him through media training."

So the McCain campaign says they never contacted Joe the Plumber...but they also had his phone number. Now it's very possible someone in the media gave them his phone number, but if you can find any listing for Joe Wurzelbacher in Holland, Ohio, you're more industrious than I am.

The last thing that struck me as odd was that when talking with Katie Couric, Joe was totally on message for McCain (except the part where he said that he had already made up his mind on who he was voting for).

Bottom-line: it's not entirely clear what the real story of Joe The Plumber is. But it is entirely clear that he's not just some undecided voter. He supports McCain, and the McCain campaign sure seems to support him.

This wouldn't be a story worth mentioning if the media wasn't so excited to put him on all the morning shows, but since they are, they have a responsibility to get the story right. So far, there's little indication that they will.