.
August 26th, 2008
11:15 AM ET

Beverly "Hillary-billies" come to Denver

Check out Jack's commentary on cnn.com.

Check out Jack's commentary on cnn.com.

NEW YORK (CNN) - The Beverly Hillary-billies come to Denver.

"It's not like [the Clintons] have been bending over backwards to help Obama get elected," says Jack Cafferty.

If you look closely this week, you might catch a glimpse of Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in between appearances by the Clintons. Hillary Clinton is doing her dead-level best to take title to Obama's moment in the sun.

She lost. He won. She and her family will be everywhere.

She speaks tonight. Chelsea Clinton will introduce her. She will be preceded by a video produced by her own people, the same ones who produced the "Man from Hope" for Bill Clinton. He will speak tomorrow.

The Clintons will also use the convention to raise money to retire her campaign debts. They even came up with a cute little contest. Hillary Clinton awarded one lucky donor a trip to the convention with her.

And as an enticement to cough up some bucks, Bill Clinton sent an e-mail to potential contributors promising a memorable week with his wife. (Insert your own joke here)

He said, "You'll get to see Hillary speak on Tuesday and Barack Obama - the next president of the United States - on Thursday. And I hear Hillary and you will have a chat - I'll make sure I stop by."

Makes you want to borrow money against your house, doesn't it?

Read the full story


Filed under: Commentary
August 25th, 2008
05:54 PM ET

What’s a successful convention for Democrats?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If ever there was a chance for a resounding victory, the Democrats certainly have it. Look anywhere… Americans are fed up. Fed up with war, illegal immigration, a lack of affordable health care, rising inflation, unemployment, etc. They can't stand President Bush. The Republican nominee is a Bush clone – 26 years in the Senate, John McCain has voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time.

But the polls all suggest this is going to be close. Why? Is it that Obama's a comparative unknown? You wouldn't think so after the long Democratic primary battle. Is it because he's black? Maybe. Whatever the reasons, the Democrats are a long way from winning the White House in an election that should be a slam dunk for them.

All eyes will be on the Democratic Convention for the next few days to see if the party can right itself and head into the campaign stretch that matters with some momentum. There is the "Clinton" factor, of course… but you would think even her most ardent supporters would opt for one of their own. In the end, maybe they will. But we don't know that yet.

It's worth noting that no Democrat has ever come out of a fractured convention to win the presidency. So the pressure is definitely on. After the conventions, opinions begin to solidify and choices made are hard to undo the closer we get to November.

Here’s my question to you: What will constitute a successful convention for the Democrats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: DNC Convention
August 25th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Are you better off now than 8 years ago?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Ronald Reagan had some success with this question a few years ago and things weren't nearly as crummy then as they are now: Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago? But this time it's been 8 years.

Think about it: unemployment is rising. The rate stands at 5.7% and we have lost 463,000 jobs since the first of the year. And so is inflation. It's accelerating at a faster rate than it has in 17 years. Gas prices are up 34% in the last year. Oil was around $26 a barrel when President Bush was inaugurated... it touched $147 a few weeks ago. More than 1 million homes are now in foreclosure.

Here are some national comparisons between today and where things were 8 years ago: Americans' wages have actually gone down since the last recession ended. And we are spending 14.1% of our disposable income on debt; that's higher than it was in 2001.

Americans are pretty glum about the future, too. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index stood at almost 85% in 2001; now it's just below 52%.

Also, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll finds 75% of those surveyed think the economy is in bad shape; that's compared to just 43% who felt that way a year ago.

So as the conventions get under way and the campaign for the White House heats up - voters have a lot to think about.

Here’s my question to you: With the election 71 days away, are you better off now than you were eight years ago?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • US Economy
August 25th, 2008
02:05 PM ET

Could not picking Hillary cost Obama the election?

ALT TEXT

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

I have started writing a weekly column for CNN.com. This week the headline is "The Beverly Hillary-billies come to Denver." (You will be able to read it tomorrow on cnn.com.)

Despite all the rosy assurances from both sides, there are signs of lingering deep bitterness between the Obama and Clinton camps. And it's a division and bitterness you could see coming in South Carolina. And John McCain is using Hillary Clinton like a baseball bat to hit Barack Obama over the head, using her own words from the primaries against him.

The Clintons will have ample opportunity to try to heal the wounds this week at the convention, but I'm beginning to wonder if they're capable. Hillary speaks tomorrow night, former president Bill Clinton on Wednesday night.

Watch: Cafferty: Clinton overlooked?

According to CNN's own poll, 66% of Clinton supporters – these are registered Democrats who wanted Hillary to be the nominee – 66% say they're backing Obama. That's down from 75% in June. At the same time, the number of Clinton Democrats who say they will vote for John McCain has gone up 11% since June.

And this may be the telling number. Only 59% of Hillary's supporters say the selection of Senator Joe Biden as Obama's running mate was an "excellent" or "good" decision. Among all registered Democrats that number jumps to 73%.

Here’s my question to you: Is it possible that not picking Hillary Clinton as a running mate could cost Barack Obama the election?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton
August 20th, 2008
05:48 PM ET

Should U.S. taxpayers spend $1 billion to reconstruct Georgia?

ALT TEXT
A refugee shelter in Tbilisi, Georgia. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama wants to give one billion American dollars to the Republic of Georgia for reconstruction efforts. The United States is already providing humanitarian assistance… as it should. This would be extra. The proposal actually came from Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who is also rumored to be on Obama's shortlist for V-P.

Biden went to Georgia last week and came back saying the Russian invasion of its neighbor is quote "one of the most significant events to occur in Europe since the end of communism." end quote. Biden's vowing to work with the White House to get legislation passed so that the U.S. can start spending that money as soon as Congress reconvenes.

Hey it's not like we aren't already spending a few bucks overseas. $700 billion a year on imported oil… 200 billion a year on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tens of billions to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure.

Now it's time to start boxing up hundred dollar bills and sending them to Mr. Saakashvili who started this whole dust up with the Russian bear? Give me a break.

We're almost ten trillion dollars in debt… with 63 trillion in unfunded liabilities for our own entitlement programs like medicare and social security… an estimated 500 billion dollar deficit for next year. Our own infrastructure is falling down around our ears… I mean come on… I'm sure the Georgians are very nice people… but we're busted over here.

Here’s my question to you: Should American taxpayers spend $1 billion for reconstruction in the republic of Georgia?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Conflict in Georgia
August 20th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

Do you care who V.P. candidates are?

Does it matter who comes out on top in the veepstakes?

Does it matter who comes out on top in the veepstakes?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Michael Phelps got his eight gold medals. So what's left to talk about? Here we are in V-P speculation overdrive.

There are the candidates. Who will help the presidential candidate the most in garnering votes - by augmenting experience and not by outshining him? On the Democratic side we've got Senator Joe Biden, the Capitol Hill insider with foreign policy credentials; and then there are the picks who could help Senator Obama in key state races: Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

There are the longshots: another foreign policy and defense expert.. former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. Obama named him one of the top three people he would go to for advice. Of course, the PUMAS still hold out a chance that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. And how about Caroline Kennedy? She's helping to manage the campaign's VP selection. Now there is a groundswell calling for her to pull a Cheney and name herself Vice President.

On the Republican side, the latest veepstakes speculation is on Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security official who is pro-choice – to the outrage of Republican conservatives. Democrat-turned Independent Senator Joe Lieberman is another wildcard nominee being bandied about. The safer Republicans include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Then we have the announcement. When, where… timing and place are key. We need to get a life. The Obama campaign promises that its supporters will know first via text message. Could come any day now as a campaign event is planned for Illinois on Saturday.

All this to do for a job that consists of breaking tie votes in the U.S. Senate, attending ceremonial events, and trying to stay awake. Unless, of course, you're Dick Cheney in which case you run the country for eight years.

Here’s my question to you: How much do you really care who the V.P. candidates

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain
August 20th, 2008
02:10 PM ET

Is McCain another George W. Bush?

Check out Jack's commentary on cnn.com.

Check out Jack's commentary on cnn.com.

NEW YORK (CNN) - Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.

His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.

Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why.

It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we've all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Read the full story


Filed under: Commentary • Jack Cafferty
August 20th, 2008
02:09 PM ET

Polls tighten, should Obama go negative?

ALT TEXT

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The polls indicate the presidential race is tightening.

CNN's latest poll of polls shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by just one point - 45 to 44 percent. That's down from a 3-point lead in yesterday's average of polls and down considerably from a few weeks ago.

While Obama was vacationing in Hawaii last week - McCain had the stage almost all to himself. Suddenly the Russians rolled into Georgia and McCain was in the catbird seat. Also some of McCain's negative ads - a la Paris Hilton and Britney Spears "celebrity" spot - seem to have resonated with voters. And it looks like McCain made inroads with some members of the Republican base with his interview at Rick Warren's church.

Watch: Cafferty: Obama go negative?

All of this creates a problem for Barack Obama who has gone out of his way to run a positive campaign based on the issues, and for the most part has chosen not to engage in the schoolyard stuff that characterizes U.S. politics. He may no longer have that luxury.

Obama is now out with some hard-hitting tv ads running in local markets in key battleground states. He spent 400-thousand dollars on Sunday alone to run two negative spots - more than 600 times - focusing on the economy and McCain… in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida.

These new ads have been complemented with a tougher tone on the stump where Obama is going after McCain for saying Iraqis would greet Americans as liberators and for challenging Obama's patriotism.

Some Democratic strategists say Obama's aggressive tone reflects the reality of the race and say he should have gotten tougher sooner.

Here’s my question to you: In light of tightening polls, does Barack Obama have to go negative against John McCain?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • John McCain
August 19th, 2008
06:00 PM ET

GOP senators boycott convention

ALT TEXT
(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota says he wouldn't attend his party's own convention... if it weren't in his backyard.

Coleman was talking about his fellow senators who won't be going to the GOP convention. He says they're staying home "only because they have tough races". Coleman also faces a tough re-election bid this fall and probably should be concerned about tying himself to a damaged Republican brand as well. As one GOP congressman put it earlier this year: "the Republican brand is in the trash can... if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."

So far - several senators say they're skipping the festivities in St. Paul. They include Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Ted Stevens of Alaska and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. That's 5 sitting Senators out of 49 who will be no-shows.

And, the number of Republicans who want no part of the convention is actually even higher because three retiring GOP senators aren't going to attend and there are two others who haven't made up their minds yet.

One political analyst says during the conventions, those senators running for re-election won't be able to campaign anyway. He says the reason they're not going is they're afraid of being associated with party figures who are unpopular in their states - you know, like President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more than 10% of Republican senators are refusing to attend their own convention?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

August 19th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Oil industry’s $80+ million lobbying tab

ALT TEXT
(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With high gas prices have come a chorus of election year ideas about what to do. And when those voices start singing, the oil company lobbyists spring into action. See, a lot of Americans blame the big oil companies for our energy problems. The oil industry is fighting back with tens of millions of dollars being spent by their lobbyists to keep Congress from punishing them.

In fact, the big oil companies are on track to surpass last year's record spending for lobbyists of $83 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

And it seems to be working. See, suddenly the oil industry is the subject of a bunch of proposed legislation in Congress - none of it good for the oil companies. Democrats and environmentalists generally favor higher taxes on the oil companies and more funding for renewables. Republicans want the oil companies to drill more oil wells.

When it comes to lobbying the presidential candidates, big oil has spent $11 million so far - with Republican candidate John McCain benefiting the most. He's received $1.4 million in cash contributions from oil employees – that's the most of any candidate – and three times as much as Barack Obama.

Remember I said its working? So far, no legislation has cleared Congress on any of this. Gas prices are coming down a little on their own. And Congress is on vacation. A financial analyst would suggest the millions of dollars spent on lobbying by the oil companies is money well spent.

Here’s my question to you: Can your voice be heard when the oil industry will spend more than $80 million lobbying Congress this year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: US Economy
« older posts
newer posts »