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Monday, September 22, 2008

How many cars does it take to drive John McCain?

Thirteen ... yes, I said 13 ... And it's exactly how many he should have, because when John McCain was a POW for five years, he didn't have a car... Hey, look, there's a lady in a car, let's ask her what she thinks...

Oh, never mind... awkwaaaard....

Meanwhile, as for that scrawny, snotty whippersnapper Barack Obama, he's only managed to get himself one car. Barack Obama: not enough cars... not ready to lead. (I'm John McCain and I approved this mess ... age.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Huh???

John McCain says "damn the torpedoes!" He torpedoes the Mittster and picks this lady:

Well, who the hell is that, you say? Why, it's just hinted at for the first time this week, one-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin! Oh just call Ted Stevens. He'll explain...

Is it just me, or does it seem like the McCain team simply wandered through the halls of the Pepsi Center looking for the first PUMA who looked halfway put together to offer the veep spot to?

Meanwhile,

The right wing radio hacks are right on board. Glenn Beck got his talking points bright and early this morning and began shilling for the ticket in exhuberant fashion. He even went so far as to call Palin "hot." Now that'll close the gender gap... Rush is holding forth now, extolling Palin and daring Democrats to attack her. Ditto O'Reilly, who just had a Hillary delegate on, who first told the Factor she "leaned Obama" and then announced that she's "McCain all the way..." uh-huh...

You've got to figure that this happened because the McCain team pannicked, and decided they needed drama more than they needed Romney's 3-Ms (Money, Mormons (in swing state Colorado) and Michigan, where his father was a popular governor.) Romney would have been the expected pick, but not at all sexy. And then there's his fourth "M" -- Mansions. After McCain's 8-10 houses gaffe, that boat had a significant leak in it. Either way, the Mittster got bumped, as did the seminally dull Tim Pawlenty (sorry RedState.)

And there you go. McCain will shift his campaign theme on a dime, "Obama hates America," to "hey ladies, look over here!" The McCain camp is banking on their being literally millions of female Hillary supporters who were in it only to see a woman in the White House, not specifically Hillary. That's a risky gamble. And Palin doesn't exactly cut the profile most women voters tend to gravitate to. She's hardcore anti-choice, and she's into ... um ... the aerial hunting of wolves and bears. How to sell that to Jane America? Actually, with that voice and bun in her hair, she kind of reminds me of that supervisor in my past jobs that I just freaking hated, you know what I mean?

Bottom line: the McCain pick was made from a weak position. They were clearly spooked by the McMansions thing, and by the convention, Democratic unity, and the Obama speech. The decision to throw Mitt overboard for a woman nobody knows, who has a scandal bag to uncover, and who undercuts McCain's "experience" argument seems like a hell of a chance to take just to score some PUMAs.

Cross-posted at the ReidBlog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

John McCain to celebrate ... and avoid ... milestone

John McCain will apparently announce his vice presidential choice on his birthday Friday, which just happens to be the three year anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana.

I wonder where our hero, John McCain was on that day in 2005 ...


Meanwhile Politico reports that ... surprise! Karl Rove is no ordinary Fox News analyst. He's also a veep killer...

Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) late last week and urged him to contact Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.

Lieberman dismissed the request, these sources agreed.

Lieberman “laughed at the suggestion and certainly did not call [McCain] on it,” said one source familiar with the details.

“Rove called Lieberman,” recounted a second source. “Lieberman told him he would not make that call.”

Rove did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rove, President Bush’s former top campaign adviser and arguably the most prominent political operative of the past generation, has no formal role in McCain’s campaign. But he knows much of the Arizona senator’s high command and has been offering informal advice, both over the phone and in his position as a Fox News analyst, since McCain wrapped up the GOP nomination.

His decision to wade into the vice presidential selection process could provide Democrats fresh ammunition to tie McCain to the polarizing Bush.

It is also chafing some Lieberman allies and others wary of the selection of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Rove is pushing Romney so aggressively some folks are beginning to wonder what's going on,” grumbled one veteran Republican strategist.

Meanwhile, ailing columnist Robert Novak says it ain't gonna happen, Joe... and he offers an intriguing look into John McCain's "friends..."
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Reports of strong support within John McCain's presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.

But they can't get away with it -- and this has been made clear to McCain by none other than Joe Lieberman himself.

Lieberman surely doesn't know that much about Republican politics, but he has close Republican friends. One of them prevailed on Lieberman to tell McCain that a McCain-Lieberman ticket would be a disaster for all concerned, and especially for the GOP.
The stories are so similar, that you've got to wonder whether the "friend" is indeed Karl Rove...

Monday, August 25, 2008

A noun, a verb, and POW


John McMansions did "Leno' tonight ... always good to be in the presence of a Tinseltown Republican... and he waxed light and airy about his age...
"My social security number is eight."
... he shared a guffaw with Jay about ... his age...
And to McCain, Leno apologized for not having a birthday cake because, "the fire marshall said that many candles..."
And yucked it up about the contretemps over his and his second wife's many homes ... countdown to the POW reference in three... two... one...

After their opening segment together on the stage, Leno came back from a commercial break to ask McCain, “For $1 million, how many houses do you have?”

McCain answered by first citing his time as a POW in Vietnam.

“Could I just mention to you, Jay, that, at a moment of seriousness,” McCain began, “I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell. I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table. I didn't have a chair. And I didn't spend those five-and-a-half years because, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.

“We spend our time in a condominium in Washington, in a condominium in Phoenix, sometime over here in the state of California, and we have a place up in northern Arizona,” McCain continued, explaining how his campaign got to the number four in the count. (McCain is being conservative: ABC News’s count is ten homes on eight properties.)

Take THAT, Maureen Dowd!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Take my wife, please!

John McCain may not know how many houses he's got, but he knows who signs the papers (hint: it's Miss Buffalo Chip...

The Great Mormon Hope?

Mitt Romney: He's rich, bitch!

John McCain's snappy response to the skinny, elitist kid's pick of a fellow elitist as his running mate (son of a working class car salesman, ha! Commuting to Washington by train every day so he can be home with his kids! Ha! Having a "second job" as a "law professor..." double HA! Got any lattes in those professor bags, pointy headed geeks? ... Son soon to be deployed to Ira... (sigh)... more couscous, please...) is nothing compared to the fantastic roll-out our boy has planned for HIS v.p. pick ... millionaire Mormon business maverick Mitt Romney!

Together, the McCain Romney ticket has 2 wives (three if you count the one McCain ditched for heiress Cindy, and we're still working to confirm that Romney hasn't fallen too close to the 12 wife family tree...) 11 homes (8 for McCain ... so far ... and 3 for the Mittster,) a combined net worth of a third of a billion dollars, and one of them has an awful lot of hair... black, shiny hair...!

Both have "massaged" their positions on issues (but they would neeever mention it in public... would they...?)



Both are belatedly semi-reliably pro-life, and both know squat lots about the economy (whew! Thank goodness for Phil Gramm ... Okay, scratch that... did I mention Romney managed the U.S. Olympic Committee?
The day Mitt Romney took over the scandal-tainted Salt Lake City Olympics in 1999, he pledged not to exploit the role for political gain and announced that he would not accept any severance pay when he finished the job. Public records indicate he did otherwise.

Romney not only accepted a $476,000 severance package from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, according to federal tax records, but he helped to lobby the committee for similarly large pacts for his 25 senior managers, 17 of whom contributed to his 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign or the state Republican Party soon after the Winter Games.

Romney donated the severance package money as well as his Olympic salary to charity, his spokesman says, and Romney himself says that soliciting campaign contributions from friends and colleagues is a common and legitimate practice.

In addition to tapping senior managers, Romney also solicited donations from the organizing committee's 53-member board of trustees, 14 of whom contributed to his campaign or political action committees during his governorship. Romney also received political funds from individuals associated with companies such as Nu Skin, Questar, and NBC that sponsored or did business with the organizing committee.

More recently, branches of Romney's Commonwealth Political Action Committee accepted $10,000 from a businessman and family friend who pleaded guilty to a tax fraud charge and was one of the two individuals held culpable for wrongdoing in the Olympic scandal.

All told, Romney reaped more than $1.5 million in campaign funds during his governorship from individuals and families with ties to the Olympics.

Okay, maybe we shouldn't mention that... Massachusetts! (... are they still doing that gay marriage stuff...?) Oh, and while John McCain served his country admirably as the ONLY POW EVER TO BE HELD IN VIETNAM ... EVER... Mitt Romney's fine sons also served their country with honor and glory ... on his campaign bus.

And best of all, Mitt and Mac are the best of friends ... sort of. Well, isn't hate just love, only inside-out? ... It'll be fine ... really it will ...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who's the boss?

Cindy.

Who's bad?

Politico introduces you to the billionaire McCain bundler behind the attack ad that tries to link Barack Obama to terrorism. (Oh, and Chet Edwards fans? You may not want to read this ... I'm talking to you, Nancy Pelosi...)

The simple life

John and Cindy McCain are just like you and me! Right down to that darned indecision we girls sometimes experience while shopping...
Cindy McCain, through another family corporation, spent about $4.7 million in 2004 and 2008 on two condos in an exclusive building in Coronado, Calif., an affluent San Diego suburb noted for its high percentage of military retirees.

In an interview with Cindy McCain in the June issue of Vogue magazine, conducted from the newer Coronado condo, she explained that her husband, a Navy veteran, initially wasn't keen on the idea of a pied-à-terre in Coronado.

"When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach person, said, 'Oh this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go,'" she said in Vogue. "Then it got to the point where they used it so much I couldn't get in the place. So I bought another one."
I know, girl, don't you hate when that happens? Oh, and another thing I hate? Having to spend all my bag and shoe money icky back taxes, and servants!
The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain's tax returns.

The additional cash supports an "increase in the number of employees," the McCain aide told Politico. The aide did not answer a question about whether the growing staff stemmed from addition of new properties to the family's real estate portfolio.
And now for a campaign ad from the McCain campaign ... about household budgets... no, seriously, the ad is about household budgets...

John McCain: more houses than Oprah!

Would you believe that John and Cindy McCain own more homes than Oprah Winfrey, who's richer than GOD? What about Madonna, or for that matter, Paris Hilton? Let's play, "who's the out of touch celebrity," with today's contestants...

John and Cindy McCain

Number of homes: At least 7 ... no, make that 8! (you know what? We'll have our staff get back to you...)

1. 15-acre ranch compound in Hidden Valley, (Sedona) Arizona owned by the Hensley Family Trust. The spread includes at least 3 individual buildings spread out over 6 acres. Valued at more than $1 million.

2 & 3 - Two combined condo units in an exclusive 12-story glass building at 2211 Camelback in downtown Phoenix that bills itself as "the Valley of the Sun's finest example of urban residential living." The units are valued at $1.7 million, but according to the Washington Post: "The McCains dropped $4.6 million to turn two pads into what can be described only as a crib deluxe (7,000 square feet).Walk through the lobby and listen to the cascading waterfall. Or slip into the wet bar and stare at the 50-inch plasma TV in the communal party room."

3, 4, and 5: Beachfront digs in California, about which the post says: "There's the condo in La Jolla and two more in, yes, the same building in Coronado. The McCains had survived with just one apartment in Coronado, but Cindy felt compelled to add another this year, apparently after tiring of sharing the digs with their four kids. (Of course, they did forget to pay the property taxes...)

"When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach person, said, 'Oh, this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go,' " Cindy McCain told Vogue. "Then it got to the point where they used it so much I couldn't get in the place. So I bought another one." The La Jolla condo alone is valued at more than $1 million. According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

Dream Catcher Family LLC, a domestic corporation formed by the McCain family, owns two condos in a beachfront complex in Coronado, Calif. Tax records show one is valued at $2.7-million. The other was purchased this year, according to sales records. A sales price was not available.

6. The CSTimes also reports on yet another condo:

An Arizona company called Wild River Rental LLC, which records show is owned by Cindy McCain, is listed as the owner of Phoenix condo worth more than half a million dollars. The McCains bought the condo for their daughter Meghan, according to a story in GQ magazine and confirmed through a public records search. The reporter compared the inside to "a spaceship furnished by West Elm. There's a giant silver chimney that extends out of her fireplace into the ceiling about twenty feet above."

7. Three-bedroom condo in Arlingon, VA, about which the Post says, "the McCains got themselves a three-bedroom apartment in a building that features balconies, patios and 'climate controlled access to Metro.'" Value: $847,000.

UPDATE! 8. Politico smokes out house number 8, an $830,000 condo in the same building as the couple's Phoenix spread.

-----

Oprah Winfrey

Number of homes: 6

According to a Wikipedia entry: Winfrey currently lives on “The Promised Land”, her 42 acre (170,000 m²) ocean and mountain view estate in Montecito, California, outside of Santa Barbara.

Other homes: A house in Lavallette, New Jersey;

An apartment in Chicago;

An estate on Fisher Island off the coast of Miami;

A ski house in Telluride, Colorado;

Property on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

----

Madonna

Number of homes: 6

According to Forbes, Madonna and hubby Guy Ritchie own a half dozen homes in England, including a "$12 million, 10-bedroom Georgian townhouse in London's Marylebone neighborhood."


----

Tom Cruise (totally not gay celebrity)

Number of homes: 3

According to Forbes, Cruise, wife Katie, and daughter Suri, along with Tom's older children from a previous "marriage" to Nicole Kidman (who with new hubby Keith Urban own just one home, after selling a property,) enjoy these digs in Telluride, Colorado, plus homes in Beverly Hills and in Essex, England.



----

Paris Hilton

Number of homes: 1

Sure, her parents own hotels all over the world, and she and he sister Nikki can live in any one of them, but Paris is actually a homeowner in her own right. According to People Magazine, Paris sold her 3,000 square foot home for $4.2 million recently and invested in new digs: a 7,000-sq.-ft. Beverly Hills mansion in the gated Mulholland Estates.

The new place, built in 1991, is said to offer more privacy, as well as five bedrooms, 5½ bathrooms and a fitness room that Hilton intends to convert into a shoe closet, her uncle and real-estate agent, Mauricio Umansky of Hilton & Hyland (which is affiliated with Christie's Great Estates), tells the paper.

The Mediterranean-style house on more than three-quarters of an acre was also a bit of a bargain for Hilton: $5.9 million, which was below the original $6.25 million asking price.
Wow ... Paris is almost living as large as Cindy McCain!

----

Oh, and Barack and Michelle Obama? One house, and no, wingers, he didn't buy it from Tony Rezko, at a discount, in a smoky pool room. (Actual factuals here.)

Get more information on celebrity home holdings here!

New Obama ad shows McCain in a golf cart with Bush I

A guy who can't even remember how many houses he's got riding around in a golf cart, wearing a sports coat, sitting next to a guy who doesn't know the price of bread at the supermarket ... Hey, that's not change we can believe in...

And how YOU dern?

The DNC sends a video crew out to find out how many people share John McCain's dilemma, of having so damned many houses, you can't keep track...

Cribs

So, how many homes does John McCain have this morning? The WaPo reports on the kerfuffle, then invites you to take the McCain "living large" tour.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mr. Rezko? Meet Donald Diamond

This is a letter from Senator John McCain. He wrote it back in 1998 to help his friend, wealthy ... oh, sorry, "unhappy" ... developer Donald Diamond. And John McCain's letter may have helped Donald get himself a fat deal to develop land at a former Army base. Oh, and Donald? He's raised more than $250,000 for John McCain's presidential campaign. From the New York Times back in April:
Donald R. Diamond, a wealthy Arizona real estate developer, was racing to snap up a stretch of virgin California coast freed by the closing of an Army base a decade ago when he turned to an old friend, Senator John McCain.

When Mr. Diamond wanted to buy land at the base, Fort Ord, Mr. McCain assigned an aide who set up a meeting at the Pentagon and later stepped in again to help speed up the sale, according to people involved and a deposition Mr. Diamond gave for a related lawsuit. When he appealed to a nearby city for the right to develop other property at the former base, Mr. Diamond submitted Mr. McCain’s endorsement as “a close personal friend.”

Writing to officials in the city, Seaside, Calif., the senator said, “You will find him as honorable and committed as I have.”

Courting local officials and potential partners, Mr. Diamond’s team promised that he could “help get through some of the red tape in dealing with the Department of the Army” because Mr. Diamond “has been very active with Senator McCain,” a partner said in a deposition.

For Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who has staked two presidential campaigns on pledges to avoid even the appearance of dispensing an official favor for a donor, Mr. Diamond is the kind of friend who can pose a test.

A longtime political patron, Mr. Diamond is one of the elite fund-raisers Mr. McCain’s current presidential campaign calls Innovators, having raised more than $250,000 so far. At home, Mr. Diamond is sometimes referred to as “The Donald,” Arizona’s answer to Donald Trump — an outsized personality who invites public officials aboard his flotilla of yachts (the Ace, King, Jack and Queen of Diamonds), specializes in deals with the government, and unabashedly solicits support for his business interests from the recipients of his campaign contributions.

Mr. McCain has occasionally rebuffed Mr. Diamond’s entreaties as inappropriate, but he has also taken steps that benefited his friend’s real estate empire. Their 26-year relationship illuminates how Mr. McCain weighs requests from a benefactor against his vows, adopted after a brush with scandal two decades ago, not to intercede with government authorities on behalf of a donor or take other official action that serves no clear public interest.

In California, the McCain aide’s assistance with the Army helped Mr. Diamond complete a purchase in 1999 that he soon turned over for a $20 million profit. And Mr. McCain’s letter of recommendation reinforced Mr. Diamond’s selling point about his McCain connections as he pursued — and won in 2005 — a potentially much more lucrative deal to develop a resort hotel and luxury housing.

In Arizona, Mr. McCain has helped Mr. Diamond with matters as small as forwarding a complaint in a regulatory skirmish over the endangered pygmy owl, and as large as introducing legislation remapping public lands. In 1991 and 1994, Mr. McCain sponsored two laws sought by Mr. Diamond that resulted in providing him millions of dollars and thousands of acres in exchange for adding some of his properties to national parks. The Arizona senator co-sponsored a third similar bill now before the Senate.

A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, Jill Hazelbaker, said the senator, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, “had done nothing for Mr. Diamond that he would not do for any other Arizona citizen.”
Really? Any, any, any old citizen?

The McCain campaign is going nuclear on Barack Obama to cover up their candidates "can't remember how many homes he has" gaffe. Well, perhaps its time for Team Obama to crack open the history books on Mr. McCain, starting with Mr. Diamond. The Times article also offered a peek into the "Joe Six Pack" simple life the McCains and their friends enjoy:
Over the years, Mr. Diamond and his wife, Joan, visited the McCains at their ranch in Sedona, Ariz., and entertained them in their Tucson home and in the Bahamas, where Mr. Diamond sometimes keeps his 134-foot yacht, the Queen of Diamonds. In 2001, the two men attended a Yankees-Diamondback World Series game together. “He is just very, very good company,” Mr. Diamond said of Mr. McCain. “I knew all his people and the staff.”

Mr. Diamond and his family have given more than $55,000 to Mr. McCain’s campaigns (and more than $600,000 to other federal candidates). More significantly, the developer has collected (or “bundled”) hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from others, and is now serving as a national co-chairman of the finance committee for Mr. McCain’s current presidential run. In the spring of 2000, when Mr. Diamond was in the thick of the negotiations for his California deals, he traveled with Mr. McCain through the early Republican primaries. Mr. Diamond was on the campaign trail again this year.

...To raise money for Mr. McCain, Mr. Diamond invites local Republicans to make fund-raising calls from his Tucson office. Ray Carroll, a member of the council that controls zoning in Pima County, Ariz., said Mr. Diamond followed up on one fund-raising session with a thank-you note “on behalf of Mr. McCain,” sending a copy to the senator.

“To reciprocate, if you need any zoning in the county, let me know,” Mr. Diamond wrote. (Mr. Diamond said it was the kind of joke he often made.)

Ah, the simple life!

A telling reaction

Why is the McCain camp going bat-crap crazy over the McMansions gaffe? Because they understand that it's one of those gaffes that will resonate. It's simple: McCain is so rich he can't remember how many homes he has ... and it cracks their narrative, that Barack Obama is the one who's an elitist. As Brent Budowsky puts it:
What a guy, this McCain. He puts on his $500 shoes, with over $100 million of assets (speaking of first wives, and second wives, I might add — for those interested in double standards after the John Edwards case — that this $100 million was not earned income by McCain, you understand).

The guy with so many houses he can’t count them, the $500 dollar shoes and the $100 million of assets that are not earned income — this guy calls Obama an elitist?! Obama, who grew up in a single-parent home, worked his way through law school, earned his success the old-fashioned way, and worked with churches to help jobless workers find jobs?

What a class act, this guy who launches cheap-shot personal attacks against Obama; who is so out of touch he can’t remember how many homes he owns.

And by threatening to go the Rezko-Wright route, the McCain camp also risks further exposing themselves to their most helpful constituency of late, namely the media:

Thursday evening, in an attempt to drum up an alternative story for reporters, a new McCain ad was churned out alleging that Obama's own million-dollar home in Chicago was purchased with the aide of a shady influence peddler.

But the question must be asked, what did Obama's campaign do that would require a doffing off of the gloves? Did he not simply recycle McCain's own words. And, of course, that is the dilemma for McCain's camp. Just as their man was feeling the wind at his back and basking in some good polls comes word of his seven homes.

At least seven. The McCain campaign cried foul, pointing out that Obama earned $4 million last year, which doesn't exactly make him a man of the people. But by McCain's own definition, it doesn't make Obama rich either.

Nope, that would take $5 million, chief. FIVE. Unless of course, Mac lied to Pastor Rick...

Meanwhile, just for fun, head on over here and see which candidate you think is living la vida loca. (Hint: Obama's "million dollar house" sure looks tame compared with McCain's cribs...)