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More from the field

More from the <$NoAd$>field ...

Local and national GOP officials are distancing themselves from a Washington, D.C.-based college Republican group that has used aggressive and misleading tactics to raise millions of dollars from elderly people.


The Herald-Sun reported Thursday that the College Republican National Committee has received at least 87 percent of its North Carolina donations from people who list their occupation as retired. Most of those contacted by The Herald-Sun were in their 80s.

This campaign season, the CRNC has raised more than $6.3 million nationally, putting it in the top 15 political groups tracked by the IRS. The group raised $93,280 in North Carolina.

Because the CRNC solicits under different names, such as the National Republican Task Force and the National Republican Victory Campaign, many seniors have donated to the group repeatedly, often several times in a single day or week. Many had made more than 50 donations since January, sometimes totaling thousands of dollars.

When asked about their giving, many of them had little understanding of how much they had donated or where their money was going. The group's high-pressure mailings, which often play on senior citizens' emotions, suggest that the money would help re-elect President Bush and other Republicans. But according to the Center for Public Integrity, which monitors campaign spending, the CRNC has spent at least 83 percent of its proceeds since 2000 on direct mailings and other fund-raising expenses.

See the rest here.

Then there's this wonderful nugget from the Seattle Times ...

Some of the elderly donors, meanwhile, wound up bouncing checks and emptying their bank accounts.

"I don't have any more money," said Cecilia Barbier, a 90-year-old retired church council worker in New York City. "I'm stopping giving to everybody. That was all my savings that they got."

Barbier said she "wised up." But not before she made more than 300 donations totaling nearly $100,000 this year, the group's fund-raising records show.

The guy at the center of all this seems to be Scott Stewart, chairman of the CRNC from 1999 until last year.

He left to run the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign in Nevada.

A simple point This

A simple point: This election is going to be won or lost on the ground, with organization and turnout. If you're part of the GOTV effort, on either side, this is in your hands.

The president said one

“The president said one time in caucus, ‘I don’t know how much you want to use this on the campaign trail, but our intelligence confirms they want me out.’ So however that bears on your view of the administration is secondary to the fact that if they think they can dislodge the president by hitting us before the election, they will."

Cong. Mike Pence, (R-IN)
October 30th, 2004
The Republic
(Columbus, IN)

[ed. note: Regrettably, The Republic is subscription only. And, no, I wasn't a subscriber before this evening. But, for the benefit of TPM readers everywhere, I plunked down the $8.95 weekly subscription rate and charged it to the TPM Educational, Research and Time-Wasting fund. A not of thanks to TPM reader SC.]

A short note on

A short note on the race, the polls, and what the Bush camp is calling bin Laden's "little gift."

The next few days phone polling probably amounts to one of the biggest industries in the United States.

So it's interesting to look at the results of last night's post-gift polling.

First, the four tracking polls released today and thus including roughly one-third of calls after the release of the OBL tape ...

In Zogby's, Kerry moved up one point.

In Rasmussen's, Kerry moved up one point.

In WaPo/ABC, Kerry moved up two points.

In Tipp, Bush moved up two points.

Two other national polls were released (at least that I've seen), Newsweek and Fox.

One third of the Newsweek poll was done last night. And in their poll Bush was up over Kerry by 50% to 44%. That's four points better than the Newsweek poll the previous week that had Bush over Kerry 48% to 46%.

Look, though, at the Fox poll.

Fox did one poll Wednesday and Thursday night. And then they did another poll with calls Thursday and Friday night. So the common denominator is that both polls had calls Thursday night. And half the calls in the second poll were done post-gift.

The first Fox poll had Bush up 5% (50% to 45%) and the second had him up 2% (47% to 45%).

Now, does this mean the bin Laden tape is giving a boost to Kerry? Of course, not. These are tiny changes. And it's altogether possible that this small shift is simply the result of statistical 'noise' -- numbers wobbling around within the polls' margins of error.

But it should put at least some damper on the notion that the release of the OBL tape would lead to some sudden Bush surge.

At least if the pundits are listening.

One of the oddities

One of the oddities of the al Qaqaa <$NoAd$>is story is why it should seem even remotely surprising to anyone who's actually been paying attention to what's been happening in Iraq over the last eighteen months. After all, almost all of Iraq's nuclear facilities -- containing both equipment of use to nuclear programs, partially enriched uranium, and other goodies for baddies -- were similarly looted at around the same time.

As Brett Wagner, a professor at the Naval War College, put it a year ago in USA Today ...

In the weeks before the invasion, the U.S. military repeatedly warned the White House that its war plans did not include sufficient ground forces, air and naval operations and logistical support to guarantee a successful mission. Those warnings were discounted — even mocked — by administration officials who professed to know more about war fighting than the war fighters themselves.

But the war fighters were right. Military commanders weren't given enough manpower and logistical support to secure all of the known nuclear sites, let alone all of the suspected ones.

It wasn't until seven of Iraq's main nuclear facilities were extensively looted that the true magnitude of the administration's strategic blunder came into focus.

Why is Qaqaa surprising?

Bush team calls bin

Bush team calls bin Laden's tape a "little gift."

Does the president really see bin Laden's message as a "gift"?

I mean, okay, okay, of course he does. But to actually say it?

Not to flog a dead horse, but what would be the response if a Kerry campaign advisor made a similar or analogous comment?

Can someone ask the president about this?

His own private mystery

His own private mystery<$NoAd$> land ...

If you actually try to pin down the timeline of who destroyed what, when it was moved, what was moved, we are still in a mystery land about all that.

David Brooks Former Senior Editor Weekly Standard October 29th, 2004

Well, at least with regard to this one bunker and the film shows one seal, one bunker, one group of soldiers going through and there were others there that were sealed, with this one, I think it is game, set and match.

David Kay Former Chief Inspector Iraq Survey Group October 28th, 2004

The truth is out there ...

Which of these two

Which of these two statements sounds like it comes <$NoAd$>from the stronger leader?

John Kerry: In response to this tape from Osama bin Laden, let me make it clear, crystal clear. As Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. They are barbarians. And I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes. Period.

George W. Bush: Earlier today I was informed of the tape that is now being analyzed by America's intelligence community. Let me make this very clear: Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this. I also want to say to the American people that we're at war with these terrorists and I am confident that we will prevail.

You decide ...