Hedge Funders, Wealthy Sent Secret Campaign Cash to Derail Wall Street Regs

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

We’re starting to find out where some of the tens of million of dollars in secret corporate campaign cash came from and what the donors were after . No surprise—Wall Street hedge fund managers, who teamed up with extremist groups run by Karl Rove and others, according a new report from NBC News.

A tightly coordinated effort by outside Republican groups, spearheaded by Karl Rove and fueled by tens of millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street hedge fund moguls and other wealthy donors, helped secure big GOP midterm victories Tuesday, according to campaign spending figures and Republican fundraising insiders.

The two biggest spending groups behind the barrage of attack ads and mailings against Democrats were both founded by Rove and former George W. Bush White House insider Ed Gillespie—American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. Combined reports NBC, they spent $ 38 million.

A substantial portion of Crossroads GPS’ money came from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls, according to GOP fundraising sources who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity. These donors have been bitterly opposed to a proposal by congressional Democrats — and endorsed by the Obama administration — to increase the tax rates on compensation that hedge funds pay their partners, the sources said.

Read more here.

The day after the election, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and American Crossroads chairman Mike Duncan, squared off in a post-election debate. Click here


Obama Operatives Working Against Rahm Emanuel’s Mayoral Campaign?

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

If there is any remaining doubt that the departure of Rahm Emanuel from the Obama White House was anything less than testy, look no further than the increasingly aggressive “anyone but Rahm” political coalition that has sprung up in Chicago – a coalition that intends to stomp out Emanuel’s hopes of being Chicago’s next mayor.

The primary components of this coalition are minority city leaders and union leaders – the very coalition that proved integral in launching Barack Obama’s Illinois political career that eventually led Obama all the way to the White House.  A report by CBS Chicago outlined some of the primary anti-Rahm players as being various city council members such as highly influential Ricardo Munez and Ed Smith, as well as Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez – all three of whom were at the same Chicago teachers union rally this past week – a rally Rahm Emanuel was not invited to attend.

When President Obama made a recent midterm election campaign stop in Chicago, Rahm Emanuel did not attend that event either, and the only mention the president made regarding his former Chief of Staff was a passing joke at Emanuel’s expense.  At that Obama rally were the same city council members and union leaders now opposing Emanuel’s mayoral campaign.   President Obama has yet to give a formal endorsement of his former White House Chief of Staff – and it appears no such endorsement may ever come.


Bitter campaign ends in beer summit

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) – As President Obama prepares for a post-election “Slurpee summit,” the candidates for his old Senate seat in Illinois followed his previous example with a beer summit of their own.

Senator-elect, Republican Mark Kirk, and vanquished rival, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, met in downtown Chicago at the famous political staple Billy Goat Tavern.

Kirk told reporters the two discussed the idea during the campaign, before the race turned bitter, and decided to hold the gathering the day after Kirk’s victory.

CNN affiliate WLS reports Kirk said after Election Day, “We exchanged e-mail and cell phone numbers and I said don’t be shy. You know almost half of Illinois voted for him to be their Senator and I think you have to respect that voice. On camera and through the TV ads it was tough but off camera he’s a very likeable guy.”

They each downed one beer during the short meeting, in front of plenty of cameras.

WLS said Giannoulias gave Kirk the book “The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.” Giannoulias, the station reported, told Kirk, “Look, listen, I know you’re going to make some tough votes. Always stay true to yourself.”

“Who is he to take advice from me but I hope and I believe him when he says he’s going to be a good senator and not worry about the next election,” Giannoulias told WLS.

CNN Political Ticker

The First Ad Of The 2012 Campaign

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Palin rides the Tea Party wave:

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Boxer: Roughest campaign of my life

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

CNN Political Ticker

Exit Polls: Enough about the campaign – let’s talk about the campaign

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) – It’s after midnight, which means the 2010 vote is over…and the 2012 race is officially underway.

In exit polls Tuesday, Republicans in three key early-voting states were asked about four of their leading presidential contenders.

In Iowa, it appears Mike Huckabee’s still got a base: the former Arkansas governor is tied with Mitt Romney at 21 percent, with Sarah Palin close behind at 18 percent, and Gingrich nabbing single-digit support.

In New Hampshire, former Massachusetts governor Romney displays his home court advantage: he draws more support, at 39 percent, than the rest of his top rivals combined. Palin once again nabs 18 percent, Huckabee drops to 11 percent, and Gingrich stays in the single digits.

And in the key early-voting state of South Carolina – where Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney both endorsed Gov.-elect Nikki Haley in the GOP primary this year – Palin, Huckabee and Romney are again neck-and-neck. The former Alaska governor has support from 25 percent in Tuesday’s exit poll, followed by Huckabee at 24 and Romney at 20. Newt Gingrich polls at 10 percent.

CNN Political Ticker

The Rally To Restore Sanity and The Campaign To Restore The Radical Right

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

On my way to the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear, I got a text from John Legend, who has been my friend since our college days. He told me he had decided at the last second to fly into to DC to perform with The Roots on the National Mall. So within a few minutes I was backstage with John and the rest of the performers.

John Legend, Tony Bennett and some random guy

John Legend, Tony Bennett and some random guy

As I stood beside the stage watching John and The Roots play Donny Hathaway’s “Little Ghetto Boy” before a huge and relatively diverse crowd, it occurred to me that this was the first time in a long time I had witnessed a rally on the Mall that wasn’t filled with troglodytic racists and anti-abortion fanatics. The Sanity/Fear rally was calculated as the mirror opposite of the rallies I have grown accustomed to reporting on for the past six years: Blind rage and cultural despair was replaced with irony and high-minded humor, while the Tea Party was mocked not as a dangerous movement comprised of pathological bigots but as a stupid and uncool endeavor. One sign read: “Tea Parties Are For Little Girls and Imaginary Friends.”

Most of the performers had to watch the rally on a big screen TV in a tent that was set up behind the stage. I watched with them, except for the moments when Father Guido Sarducci stood in my way (his tattered cape was hard to see around). Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam, who now lives in Dubai, told me that he wanted his appearance at the rally to represent his return to the US since being denied entry to the country by the Bush administration for specious reasons. I talked to Tony Bennett about the influence of Yiddish Theater on Irving Berlin. “That guy knew what he was doing,” Bennett remarked. The crooner spent most of his time writing down song lyrics on a small pad of paper and quietly rehearsing them to himself. At one point, a security guard asked Kareem Abdul Jabbar to take a picture of him standing beside John Legend — a weird spectacle. When Jabbar excused himself as he nudged past me, I asked him if I was blocking his view (I wasn’t). Later, Ozzy Osbourne rushed in and out of the tent with glasses of water for himself and Sharon, while I talked to Jacob “Dude, you have no Quran” Isom about his theory on why God created gays.

As much as I enjoyed the uplifting rally, the backstage fun and clever street theater on the Mall, I was disturbed by John Stewart’s constant drawing of false equivalencies between the extremist Tea Party and mainstream liberals, which he employed again and again to supposedly reveal how the political debate has careened out of control. In Stewart’s presentation, open racist conspiracists like Glenn Beck, Pam Geller and the Fox News grotesque gallery of pundits were likened to center-left figures like Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz simply because they all broadcast their opinions at maximum volume and rely on emotional manipulation. It was like comparing the Klan to the Shriners because members of both groups wear funny costumes.

I'm nothing you've heard...I'm ewe!

I'm nothing you've heard…I'm ewe!

Similarly, during his earnest speech pleading for sanity, Stewart urged his audience to distinguish between “Tea Partiers” and “real racists,” while equating “radical Marxists actively subverting our Constitution” with “racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own.” Isn’t the Tea Party substantially consumed by racism and represented by candidates who oppose the Civil Rights Act? And how are “radical Marxists” (Stewart appeared to have borrowed the McCarthy-era trope from Glenn Beck) comparable to racists and homophobes?

Since Kevin Philips drew up the Southern Strategy to help re-elect Richard Nixon, the right has pushed a tightly organized campaign of cultural division that relied on coded appeals blaming radical Marxists and minorities for ruining the fortunes of “real Americans” while forcefully denying the conservative movement’s endemic bigotry. In his clumsy attempt to attack political polarization by blaming “both sides,” Stewart wound up falling into the far-right’s trap. Also, his metaphor about drivers of different socioeconomic backgrounds allowing each other into a single lane didn’t exactly match up with my experience trying to get home on a DC Metrobus. (I found decent reactions to Stewart’s “radical Marxist” canard here and here.

votemasturbateWhile I don’t agree with Chris Hedges that the Sanity rally was an empty diversion — there was enormous cultural significance just below the surface, like the visible presence of large groups of second generation Muslim immigrants — I think he’s right that any movement that looks to prime-time comedians for leadership is unlikely to foster any scintilla of progressive change and doesn’t understand the nature of the threat to democracy. I also thought that the “Can’t we all just get along” tone of the rally, a relic of the 2008 Obama campaign, sounded dissonant just days before the likely far-right takeover of the House. The right is determined to not only reverse whatever halting changes Obama has made but to delegitimize government itself.  If anyone sincerely believes that ironic hipster-esque mockery and reasoned, NPR-style discussions are effective antidotes to the right-wing resurgence, the joke is on them.

By the way, I will be on Al Jazeera English tonight at 9:30 and 10:30 ET discussing midterm election returns with Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Michael Moynihan, and maybe a few others. You can watch it here.

Max Blumenthal

Coons campaign: Those damned, cheering O’Donnell thugs are scaring voters away!; Update: CT Dems ring turnout alarm, too

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I’m sure corruptocrat AG Eric Holder has already dispatched his Democrat voter protection force down to Delaware. Smiling, cheering Republicans are scaaaaary!

Via The Hill:

Delaware’s state Democratic Party is claiming that supporters of Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell are creating problems at some polling locations in the state.

This, as the campaign of Democrat Chris Coons e-mails supporters expressing concerns over turnout levels in the Democratic bastion of New Castle County.

In an e-mail to supporters early Tuesday afternoon, Coons campaign manager Christy Gleason wrote that the campaign was observing “lower turnout in New Castle and Kent counties than we’re comfortable with.”

New Castle County is the northernmost county in the state, as well as the region where Coons was banking on running up his vote total to offset highly energized Republicans in Kent and Sussex counties, less populous areas of the state.

Meanwhile, the state’s commissioner of elections, Elaine Manlove, confirmed to The Ballot Box that after receiving several complaints from voters at polling stations Tuesday, she contacted the O’Donnell campaign and asked that it direct its supporters to tone down their efforts…

…Manlove said since she contacted the O’Donnell campaign, complaints to the state’s board of elections have dried up.

How much you wanna bet none of the purported intimidationists looked like this goon spotted in Philly today.


Via Stratasphere, Connecticut Dems are worried, too:

Low supporter turnout for Richard Blumenthal has forced the campaign to send out an alert Tuesday afternoon urging supporters to get out to the polls.

“Voter turnout appears to be heavy in areas that benefit our opponent,” The campaign email read”.” It is critical that we maximize our efforts to get our supporters to the polls. We need your help”

Michelle Malkin

Break-in, Tampering Reported At Rep. Tom Perriello’s Campaign Office

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Last night, someone broke into a campaign office of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) in Charlottesville, VA. According to a report the campaign filed with the Charlottesville police, someone entered the unoccupied office between 2 and 5:30 a.m. by busting in a window screen. A campaign spokeswoman said the perpetrator mixed up boxes of flyers instructing voters where they could vote, and Perriello volunteers subsequently handed out the flyers in the wrong area, so that the targeted voters — mainly University of Virginia students — received erroneous polling place information. A poster for Perriello’s Republican opponent, Robert Hurt, was left outside the office.

Perriello’s campaign says the crime was a deliberate attempt to confuse voters:

Perriello’s spokeswoman, Jessica Barba, says the trickster mixed up door hangers meant for residents of Charlottesville’s Venable precinct, the polling place for numerous University of Virginia students. As a result, Perriello volunteers unwittingly distributed door hangers that told the Venable voters to vote at the Brownsville precinct in Crozet.

“It appears to have been targeted at suppressing the student vote,” Barba said. “Luckily, UVa students are pretty smart and probably didn’t fall for it.”

Hurt’s campaign, meanwhile, has explicitly accused Perriello supporters of staging the break-in. “Apparently, Perriello supporters are so desperate for sympathy that they staged a mock break in by drama students from UVA looking for extra credit,” Chris LaCivita, a Hurt campaign strategist, told Politico in an e-mailed statement.

Perriello is in his first term in Congress, but is locked in a tight and very high-profile race; President Obama held a campaign event for Perriello on Friday, saying he was “one of the best congressmen Virginia has ever had.” This weekend, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor held an event for Hurt.

This isn’t the first time Perriello has been targeted — earlier this year, a gas line at the home of Perriello’s brother was severed after Tea Party activists posted the address online.


GOP Campaign Source: Deleware Turnout is Low -a Good Sign for O’Donnell- Coons Worried

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

This is a VERY Long Shot but there are sources within the Christine O’ Donnell campaign predicting that there may be good GOP news at the end of the night. Apparently a low turnout is good news for the Republican and turnout is breaking O’Donnell’s way. I was told to keep an eye on the turnout number:

The key in Delaware is the number 300,000. If the vote total is significantly below that, Christine could very well win a close victory. She got 140,509 votes against Biden in 2008. In the Primary, the undecideds broke for Christine. Will that happen again?

Apparently as happy as the O’Donnell campaign is about the turnout so far, the Coons staff is worried. He sent out an email today, telling his people to double up on GOTV efforts:

Delaware Democratic Senate nominee Chris Coons sent out an e-mail to supporters midday Tuesday expressing concern about low turnout in some areas.

Coons came into Election Day leading Republican Christine O’Donnell by double digits in several public polls, but campaign manager Christy Gleason seemed worried about turnout in the two counties that make up the state’s most populous cities.

Turnout showed “lower turnout in New Castle and Kent counties than we’re comfortable with” Gleason wrote.  

Castle is the former county executive of New Castle, and is counting on big numbers in his hometown of Wilmington to offset Republican O’Donnell’s support in the state’s other two less populated, more rural counties.

Coons is complaining that O’Donnell is suppressing the vote

Meanwhile, the state’s commissioner of elections, Elaine Manlove, confirmed to The Ballot Box that after receiving several complaints from voters at polling stations Tuesday, she contacted the O’Donnell campaign and asked that it direct its supporters to tone down their efforts.

She said O’Donnell backers were crowding the exterior of several polling places in anticipation of the candidate’s arrival, which briefly restricted access for some voters.

“The campaign was basically sending out advance teams to polling places to form crowds before [O’Donnell] got there to greet voters,” said Manlove. “My issue with that is that at some places they were blocking the sidewalk and voters need to have access to polling places at all times.”

Manlove also said she has received several complaints that cheering O’Donnell supporters can be heard inside some voting locations.

“Even if they’re standing outside that 50-foot line, if the noise can be heard within the polling place, it’s still a violation,” she said. “It’s the same as taking a bullhorn and yelling ‘vote for my candidate.’ ”

Manlove said since she contacted the O’Donnell campaign, complaints to the state’s board of elections have dried up.

 If you are supporting Christine O’Donnell and haven’t voted yet…get out and vote, your vote may very well be the difference.


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