NY Times Caucus: Level of White Support for Obama a Surprise

NY Times Caucus

Level of White Support for Obama a Surprise

If Tuesday’s election were confined to white America, polls show, Senator Barack Obama would lose.

And yet Mr. Obama’s strength across racial lines lies at the heart of his lead in the polls over Senator John McCain heading into Election Day. Remarkably, Mr. Obama, the first black major party presidential nominee, trails among whites by less than Democratic nominees normally do.

America’s political parties grew decisively polarized by race after 1964, the year President Lyndon Johnson signed civil rights legislation that his Republican presidential opponent, Barry Goldwater, opposed. Since then, election pollsters estimate, Democratic nominees have averaged 39 percent of the white vote. In last week’s New York Times/CBS News poll, Mr. Obama drew 44 percent support among whites — a higher proportion than Bill Clinton captured in his general election victories.

Analysts ascribe that success to changing racial attitudes, Mr. Obama’s deftness, Republican missteps and the economic crisis. Whatever the cause, when combined with his two-to-one edge among Hispanics and his 10-to-1 edge among blacks, it has given him a national election-eve lead.

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Wall Street Journal: New Ads Focus on Obama’s Ties to Jeremiah Wright

Wall Street Journal

New Ads Focus on Obama’s Ties to Jeremiah Wright

Rev. Jeremiah Wright re-entered the campaign conversation this weekend as two new ads — one by a Republican 527 group and the other by the Pennsylvania Republican Party — focused on Barack Obama’s former pastor.

Obama made several efforts to distance himself from his former pastor during the Democratic primary, renouncing his pastor and, later, leaving Trinity United Church of Christ. John McCain insisted that he would not use Wright’s more incendiary comments about race and American foreign policy in negative attacks, and until now, he has succeeded in keeping the Chicago cleric out of the campaign.

“If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this: Obama chose as his spiritual leader this man,” a narrator says before a picture of Wright flashes on the screen. The 30-second spot plays a series of controversial remarks by the pastor and describes Obama’s relationship with him.

The ad asks: “Does that sound like someone who should be president?”

In a statement to PolitickerPA.com, which reported the story, state party chair Robert Gleason Jr.defended the ad: “The media has allowed Barack Obama to escape public scrutiny on countless issues and has been silent on Obama’s connection with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright since the Primary Election. When Pennsylvanians vote for a president, they should have a full picture of that candidate’s character, including the people they chose to intimately align themselves with for many years.”

Separately, an independently funded 527 group, the National Republican Trust PAC, said it had put $2.5 million into a Wright-themed ad running in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, all key battleground states that McCain will likely need to win on Tuesday. Like the other spot, the ad serves as a Wright highlight reel, and a voiceover in the ad says, “For 20 years, Obama never complained, until he ran for president.”

Newsweek: TalkLeft: A Last Desperate Flurry of Attacks

Newsweek: TalkLeft

A Last Desperate Flurry of Attacks

Fred Eshelman, “a wealthy North Carolina based pharmaceutical executive,” finances a conservative group that claims to communicate “with a zingy edge and a sense of humor.” An example of that humor is an attack ad airing today . The ad exploits Joe Biden’s prediction that the next president will be “tested” by an international crisis. The script of the latest attack ad is less provocative than than the images used. Along with footage of the Twin Towers, the commercial is shot stylistically like the Fox show with shaky camera images of dark-skinned men building a bomb, and ends with the bomb’s detonation in a city. The ad also uses an image of Obama next to one of the terrorists driving a van.

NY Times Caucus: In Pennsylvania, Wright and Clinton Remarks Are Revived

NY Times Caucus

In Pennsylvania, Wright and Clinton Remarks Are Revived

 Here come the final Republican attacks on Senator Barack Obama, authorized and unauthorized, in the last 48 hours of the race.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party has cut a television ad – which the McCain campaign said was unauthorized — reminding people here that Senator Barack Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had said “God damn America” in a sermon.

The ad, titled “Judgment,” juxtaposes images of Mr. Obama and Mr. Wright, noting that the Democratic presidential candidate chose the Chicago preacher to baptize his two daughters. A narrator says: “Barack Obama, he chose as his pastor a man who blamed the US for the 9-11 attacks. Does that sound like someone who should be president?”

Senator Obama distanced himself from the pastor during the primaries after some of the his more controversial remarks were made public. He also quit his membership at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ where Rev. Wright preaches.

“Well, we wish they wouldn’t do Wright ads, but as McCain said back in the spring, he can’t be the referee of every ad,’’ Charlie Black, a senior adviser to the McCain campaign, said on a flight here from Philadelphia. “People know how he feels. If they cared what he felt about the issue, they wouldn’t run the ad.’’

It was unclear how often the Pennsylvania Republicans were able to broadcast the ads, and the party was raising money on its web site to try to keep them on the air. Robert A. Gleason Jr., the state party chairman, said in a statement on the party’s website: “Why did Barack Obama associate with a man who has clear disdain for our country?’’

NY Times Caucus Blog: The Ad Campaign: Unauthorized Ad Reminds Voters About a Certain Pastor

NY Times Caucus Blog

The Ad Campaign: Unauthorized Ad Reminds Voters About a Certain Pastor

PRODUCER Not provided.

THE SCRIPT A narrator says: “If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this — Obama chose as his spiritual leader, this man.” The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.: “Not God bless America, God damn America.” Narrator: “He also picked Wright to baptize his children.” Mr. Wright: “The U.S. of K.K.K.A.” Narrator: “Barack Obama, he chose as his pastor a man who blamed the U.S. for the 9/11 attacks. Does that sound like someone who should be president?” Mr. Wright: “God damn America.”

ON THE SCREEN The advertisement opens with a profile photograph of Senator Obama followed by one of Mr. Wright. Then the advertisement cuts to the sermon Mr. Wright gave in which he declared, “God damn America.” More images juxtaposing Mr. Obama and Mr. Wright lead into a clip of a second fiery sermon by the preacher. The advertisement ends with a shot of Mr. Obama next to the words, “Judgment to Lead? No.”

ACCURACY The advertisement includes short excerpts of Mr. Wright’s most incendiary remarks and accurately notes that he was Mr. Obama’s pastor and the man who baptized his children. After Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Wright delivered a sermon suggesting that the terrorist attacks were a consequence of American foreign policy. But there is no evidence that Mr. Obama was present for this or the other sermons cited. And it omits the fact that Mr. Obama began distancing himself from Mr. Wright months ago after some of the preacher’s controversial remarks surfaced. Mr. Obama delivered a speech in late April denouncing some of Mr. Wright’s statements as “divisive and destructive.” He withdrew his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Mr. Wright served as pastor for more than three decades.

SCORECARD This last-minute effort by the Republican Party to bring up the Wright issue is aimed at the crucial white voters Mr. Obama must court to win an important state like Pennsylvania. Though some voters may be aware that Mr. Obama severed ties with Mr. Wright during the primaries, the spot’s aim is to keep the controversy front and center and to plant doubts in the minds of voters considering backing Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain once indicated he would avoid using his opponent’s ties to Mr. Wright as a line of attack but since has been less rigid on the point. On Sunday, Charlie Black, an adviser to Mr. McCain, confirmed that the campaign did not authorize the advertisement and wished that the party had not made it.

Nashville Post Politics: TNGOP Chair Doesn’t See Race As A Factor In The Election

Nashville Post Politics

TNGOP Chair Doesn’t See Race As A Factor In The Election

From Brad Schrade:

Robin Smith, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, said if race were a factor, Harold Ford Jr. wouldn’t have been so successful two years ago in his statewide U.S. Senate bid.

Ford lost to Republican Bob Corker by less than3 points, but, unlike Obama, he spent a lot of time traveling the state and getting to know voters, she said. She also attributes Obama’s lack of success here to issues such as guns, religion and taxes.

“I think it’s more a cultural divide,” Smith said. “They want to cling to their guns. They want to cling to their religion. And they especially want to cling to their money.”

Talking Points Memo: Pennsylvania GOP Ad Hits Obama Over Wright

Talking Points Memo

Pennsylvania GOP Ad Hits Obama Over Wright

The Pennsylvania GOP goes up with its own ad hitting Obama’s association with Jeremiah Wright:

We were unable to immediately confirm details of the buy.

It’s worth noting that the McCain campaign’s claim that Pennsylvania is within reach — and could be key to a McCain victory — has prompted outside groups allied with McCain to really get serious about hosing down the state with slime. Most recently we had the Republican Jewish Coalition’s flyer yesterday saying a vote for Obama could be a vote for a second Holocaust, and now today’s Wright ad. More soon, we trust.