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February 26th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

McCain’s success tied to Iraq war?

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3rd battalion 2nd Stryker cavalry regiment on the outskirts of the restive city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, January 2008.  Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.
(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

John McCain is tying his future to what happens in Iraq. He says he will lose the race for the White House if he can't convince Americans that our policy in Iraq is succeeding. He may be onto something.

Not long after the words came out of his mouth, McCain tried to put them back in, which hardly ever works. McCain said he wanted to retract the "I'll lose" comment, but added that how the American people judge Iraq will have a direct relation on how they judge him.

It's not an unreasonable proposition that McCain sees his future so closely entwined with the war in Iraq. Last summer, when a lot of U.S. troops were dying there and McCain was supporting the surge, his campaign was losing staff, short on money and close to collapse.

McCain claims both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were both wrong about the "surge" and points to recent political progress in Iraq. What he doesn't mention is that Obama was opposed to the invasion of Iraq from the outset, while Clinton voted for it. Both Democratic candidates insist that if elected, McCain would only continue President Bush's "failed" policies. And they highlight his remark that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for 100 years at every opportunity.

McCain has his work cut out for him. Despite the decrease in violence in Iraq and some political progress, five years after the invasion, about 60% of Americans still think the war was a mistake.

Here’s my question to you: John McCain says he could lose the election over the Iraq war issue. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: John McCain
February 26th, 2008
02:16 PM ET

Clinton campaign in “alternate universe”?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/26/art.ohio.clinton.ap.jpg caption=" Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, makes a campaign stop at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It looks like some of Hillary Clinton's advisers may be avoiding the political writing on the wall.

In a terrific piece in today's Washington Post called "Team Clinton: Down, and Out of Touch", Dana Milbank writes about a breakfast held Monday with two Clinton advisers and members of the media, hich he describes as a "fascinating tour of an alternate universe."

First, one of Clinton's top advisers, Harold Ickes, talked about her campaign in a way that seemed far removed from the real-world. He said they're "on the way to locking this nomination down", that they're "on the verge of their next up cycle" and that the race is quote "tight as a tick." This is called denial.

Next came anger in the person of Clinton spokesman Phil Singer, who ripped into the media when he was asked about that photo of Barack Obama wearing Somali tribal dress. The photo first showed up on the Drudge Report, which claimed they got it from someone inside the Clinton campaign. All day yesterday there was no response to that claim from Clinton's campaign. Finally at five o'clock yesterday afternoon after the damage had been done, the Clinton campaign said they had nothing to do with releasing the picture. Singer derided the media by pointing to a sketch on Saturday Night Live.

Milbank sums it up with this, "That Clinton's spokesman is taking his cues from late-night comedy is as good an indication as any of where things stand in the onetime front-runner's campaign. To keep the press from declaring the race over before the voters of Ohio and Texas have their say next week, Clinton aides have resorted to a mixture of surreal happy talk and angry accusation."

Here’s my question to you: Is the Clinton campaign being realistic about Hillary's chances?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Uncategorized
February 25th, 2008
05:00 PM ET

How will Ralph Nader affect the race?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Ralph Nader on Meet the Press. Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some people just won't take "no" for an answer.

Consumer activist Ralph Nader is planning his 4th consecutive bid for the White House – fifth if you count his 1992 write-in campaign.

Nader says he's running as a third-party candidate because he wants the chance to improve our country by fighting back against big money and special interest groups.

He thinks most people are disenchanted with both the Democratic and Republican parties because of the Iraq war and the state of our economy. And he's right, but they are also disenchanted with Ralph Nader – as evidenced by his 0-5 record in presidential runs.

In addition, many Democrats still blame Nader for Al Gore's loss in 2000. Being tone deaf, Nader rejects the idea that he's a "spoiler" candidate. He says voters won't choose a "pro-war John McCain." Note to Ralph: voters won't choose you either. Last time out Nader corralled a whopping 0.3% of the vote.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were quick to make it seem like Nader's announcement wasn't such a big deal. Clinton says that it's not helpful to whoever the Democratic nominee is, but it's a free country. Obama called Nader a "singular figure in American politics", but also dismissed him, saying 8 years ago Nader thought there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush.

Here’s my question to you: Ralph Nader says he’s running for president again as a third-party candidate. What effect will he have on the race?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
February 25th, 2008
04:59 PM ET

How much does experience really matter?

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(PHOTO CREDIT : GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Ready on Day One?" That's the question posed by a front-page story in USA Today.

The story looks behind the political slogan and makes a startling discovery. None of the three main candidates for the White House is very long on the kind of experience being touted as necessary to run the country. You see, these three have never run anything that amounted to that much. Not a business, not a large corporation, not a state. No governors here, nothing. They are professional politicians whose managerial experience amounts to overseeing their campaigns and managing their offices in the Senate. Although truth be told, they probably all have someone else who actually does both of those things.

In fact, these three candidates have less executive experience than any president in nearly 50 years.

The irony is the candidates who had the most executive experience – Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Bill Richardson – are out of the game already. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is still in it, but probably not for that much longer.

Experts say voters haven't focused on the readiness issue yet, but eventually they will. Maybe that's because so far, the campaign has been all about "change." And, as hungry as voters are for change, there's probably still something to be said for experience. Some former presidents have dealt with some pretty serious stuff just months after taking office – like JFK and the Cuban missile crisis and Harry Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to being president, how much does experience really matter?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election
February 25th, 2008
02:46 PM ET

Time for Hillary to drop out?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/25/art.clinton.ri.gi.jpg caption=" Sen. Hillary Clinton in Rhode Island."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a growing chorus of voices starting to call for Hillary Clinton to give it up.

In a Newsweek column called "Hillary should get out now", Jonathan Alter says if she wanted a graceful exit, now would be the time – before the Texas and Ohio primaries – to drop out and endorse Barack Obama. He says it would be the "best thing imaginable" for Clinton's political career, meaning it would set her up perfectly for 2012 if Obama loses. Alter says Clinton doesn't have a reasonable chance of winning the nomination, but he doesn't think she'll call it quits.

He writes: "The conventional view is that the Clintons approach power the way hard-core gun owners approach a weapon – they'll give it up only when it's wrenched from their cold, dead fingers."

Meanwhile, in another tough piece, Robert Novak asks who will tell Hillary Clinton that it's over, that she can't win the nomination and the sooner she gets out of the way, the better the chances her party will beat John McCain in November.

Novak writes, quote: "Clinton's burden is not only Obama's charisma but also McCain's resurrection. Some of the same Democrats who short months ago were heralding her as the "perfect" candidate now call her a sure loser against McCain, saying she would do the party a favor by just leaving."

Here’s my question to you: Is it time for Hillary Clinton to admit defeat and quit the race?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • Hillary Clinton
February 21st, 2008
06:30 PM ET

Mess for McCain?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Someone is lying. The New York Times dropped a bombshell on John McCain this morning with a front page story that could cost him the White House.

It's great reading… an improper relationship with a lobbyist, a woman named Vicki Iseman. His inner circle convinced they were having an affair. All happening while he was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and she was representing clients who had business before McCain's committee. The two of them together at fundraisers, in his office, aboard private corporate jets. It got so bad his closest friends and advisers finally stepped in to save McCain from himself. This is all according to the New York Times.

Problem with the story is it's a little "skinny." Most of it is based on unnamed sources, which detracts from its credibility. On the other hand, the Times byline contains the names of four reporters who were not likely to go to their editors and say, "Look what we've got," if they didn't have it.

And reportedly as far back as last December, McCain was pleading with the editors of the Times not to run the story.

McCain's explanation for all of this comes up short. "It's not true," ain't going to cut it. For one thing, McCain has been here before. Remember the Keating 5 and the savings and loan scandal?

And it's highly unlikely the Times information from McCain's inner circle is all false. You don't publish a story of this magnitude unless you're on pretty solid ground. Stay tuned… cause there's a lot more to come.

Here’s my question to you: How much will newspaper stories raising questions about John McCain’s ethics and his alleged relationship with a woman lobbyist hurt his presidential chances?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • Ethics • John McCain
February 21st, 2008
04:25 PM ET

Lone Star state Clinton’s last stand?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Clinton says if his wife doesn't win Texas in a week and a half, it's over. And in case you've forgotten, Bill Clinton knows something about campaigns and elections.

At the moment, polls show Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama practically tied in Texas.

And while she hopes to get a big share of the Latino vote, there are factors in Texas that actually might tend to favor Obama. For example, Texas has its own unique system where two-thirds of the delegates are decided on the primary results. The remaining one-third are based on the results of caucuses that take place that night. Obama has killed Clinton in every caucus state but one.

Texas is also an open primary, which means independents and Republicans can vote. We've seen this type of contest work to Obama's advantage time and time again. Think Wisconsin.

And Texas Democrats have set up a system that rewards parts of the states that have voted heavily Democratic in the past with more delegates – places like Dallas and Houston, which have lots of African-Americans, and Austin, which has lots of white liberals. Advantage Obama. On the other hand, low Latino turnout for Democrats in the past two elections means some of those districts are awarded as few as 2 delegates each.

Here’s my question to you: Bill Clinton says if his wife doesn't win Texas, her candidacy is doomed. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democratic Race • Hillary Clinton • Primaries
February 21st, 2008
03:26 PM ET

Clinton in the crosshairs in Austin, Texas?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hillary Clinton has debated Barack Obama 18 times so far but arguably none is as important as tonight.

Obama's on a roll, beating Clinton the last 11 contests in a row. She has to win the upcoming races in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania – and she has to win them big – if she wants to stay in this thing. Tonight's debate could help her do that.

As one expert tells the Wall Street Journal, "Clinton doesn't have any extra opportunities. If Obama skates by and everyone says they both did well, it's over. That means he's won."

Some early indication of what we may hear from Clinton tonight comes from her spokesman who predicts a "civil" debate, while also calling Obama "a candidate who 36 short months ago was in the state legislature." Clinton also points to Obama as a risky choice, untested by international crises and the GOP attack machine. On the other hand, Obama could say to Clinton, "Yeah, but I'm ahead."

Analysts say the challenge will be to create a sound bite that will spread like wildfire across the Internet and negatively define the other candidate's campaign... kind of like 1984 when Walter Mondale took out his opponent Gary Hart by asking "Where's the beef?" Or when Lloyd Bensten slammed Dan Quayle's image with this zinger: " I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine, and Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Meanwhile, tonight's debate is one hot ticket: 43,000 Texans entered a lottery to try and get one of the 100 available tickets.

Here’s my question to you: What does Hillary Clinton have to do at tonight's debate to try to turn the tide?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

February 20th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Importance of white male voters overlooked?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

These days politics is all about voting blocs – you know African-Americans, Latinos, women. But there's one group that might not be getting as much attention as it deserves: white men.

These guys often go unnoticed, even though they could play a big role in deciding both the Democratic nominee and the next president.

Working-class white men make up almost one-quarter of all voters. That's more than blacks and Hispanics combined. The group is usually defined as those without a college degree, including union members and those with service and technical jobs. They typically make less than $50,000 a year. And, they make up huge chunks of the electorate in key states like Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

The Wall Street Journal reports that when it comes to the Democratic race, some of these white men are finding it hard to identify with either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. In interviews, some said because Obama is black, they will cross over and vote Republican. Others say the country isn't ready for a woman president yet.

One Ohio political strategist points out that for a lot of blue-collar men over 40, "Hillary Clinton is a poster child for everything about the women's movement they don't like – their wife going back to work, their daughters rebelling, the rise of women in the workplace."

So stay tuned for the general election, where blue-collar white men could be the key group of swing voters – either backing the Democrat's nominee or putting their support behind John McCain, whose war record and straight-talk could appeal to many of them.

Here’s my question to you: Is the importance of white male voters being overlooked in this election cycle?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election
February 20th, 2008
04:03 PM ET

Will we be spared a negative campaign?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama has apparently already struck fear into the hearts of the Republican power structure. He doesn't quite have the nomination yet, although it's a pretty good bet he's going to get it.

But John McCain couldn't wait for that formality. Apparently if you're John McCain, it's never too early to start calling people names. Last night while celebrating his victory in Wisconsin, McCain could have chosen to use the free air time he was given on all three cable news networks for advancing some of his ideas of how he thinks he can make the country better.

But instead, he chose to call Barack Obama names, referring to the Democrat's call for change as "eloquent but empty." This is school yard stuff and you'd think a 71-year-old member of the United States Senate would know better. The reason Obama has captured the imagination of the people in this country is because he has a long list of ideas on how to improve things. And in case you haven't noticed, we could use a little improvement around here.

Barack Obama was expected to draw a crowd of 20,000 people to a campaign event in Dallas, Texas, today. I wonder how many people showed up at McCain's last appearance.

Partisanship, name calling and gridlock are turning people's stomachs. Barack Obama has arrived on the scene like a breath of fresh air and if John McCain doesn't understand the significance of that, he has no more chance of becoming president than I do.

Here’s my question to you: What are the chances we’re spared a negative campaign when it comes to the general election?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election
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