Tales from the Trail

Antonio was there in spirit

villaraigosaDemocrat Jerry Brown, finding himself in an unexpected tug-of-war over Latino voters with Republican Meg Whitman in the California governor’s race, this week gathered more than a dozen top Latino lawmakers and officials to his side to demonstrate their solidarity with his campaign.

Among them were state senators and assembly members, local officials and even U.S. Congressoman Xavier Becerra, who traveled all the way from Washington, D.C. to show his support for Brown during the campaign stop at California State University, Los Angeles, organizers said.

But missing was one of  the nation’s best-known Latino politician, whose office is just a few miles down the freeway: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — who campaigned so hard for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary that some wags wondered if he had enough time left over to run America’s second-largest city.

The high-profile mayor’s absence begs the question: Was Villaraigosa not invited by Brown? Did Villaraigosa snub him?

The mayor’s office assures us that neither is the case, saying it was simply a “scheduling conflict” and pointing out that Villaraigosa had endorsed Brown, the state’s attorney general who served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, and had made remarks supporting him at the California Democratic Conventi0n in April.Jerry

from Environment Forum:

Campaign ad equating global warming with weather gets “pants-on-fire” rating

MILKEN/By now, almost everybody -- with the possible exception of Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina -- realizes there's a difference between climate and weather. Fiorina, running in the California primary and ultimately aiming to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer, paid for and appeared in a campaign ad slamming the sitting senator for being "worried about the weather" when there are serious concerns like terrorism to deal with.

Take a look here:

A few problems with this ad earned it the not-so-coveted beyond-false "Pants on Fire" rating from Politifact, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalism website that checks on the truthfulness of political advertising. First off, Boxer didn't say she was worried about the weather. She said that climate change was "one of the very important national security issues" -- a position in line with the Pentagon and the CIA. The site also found that it's not an either/or thing, that focusing on climate change doesn't necessarily mean neglecting national security. They took a look at Boxer's record and found she has supported at least six bills against terrorism.

"Fiorina casts climate change as something you need to pack an umbrella for, or that prompts you to curse at the TV weatherman -- which strikes us as not only a trivialization of climate change but also a failure to distinguish between two well-established scientific specialties," Politifact said. "She also ignores Boxer's lengthy record supporting bills against terrorism. So we have to light up the meter (the site's Truth-o-Meter): Pants on Fire!"

Sarah Palin endorses Carly Fiorina for Senate

PalinFormer vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorsed former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in California on Thursday, a potentially key endorsement in an election that could hinge in part on the candidates’ conservative and outside-the-beltway credentials.

Fiorina is battling formerU.S. Representative Tom Campbell  and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore in a tight race to challenge Senator Barbara Boxer,  a liberal Democrat who is considered vulnerable in a year when incumbents are proving unpopular with voters. 

Palin  has become an icon of the Republican party’s right wing and Tea Party activists and her endorsement of  Fiorina must be especially painful for DeVore, who had courted members of that movement and paints himself as having the support of true grass-roots conservatives.

Dueling Carly Fiorina websites do battle

The California Democratic Party launched a website parodying former Hewlett-Packard Co chief Carly Fiorina’s credentials to run as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from California.

POLITICS-FIORINA-SENATE/Fiorina was the driving force behind HP’s controversial 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer, turning the Silicon Valley pioneer into a behemoth with billions in annual revenue in line with that of IBM, although she was ousted three years later owing to the firm’s poor performance.  She wants to run to unseat liberal Democrat Barbara Boxer later this year.

If she secures her party’s nomination, Fiorina, 55, would likely be the underdog against Boxer, who has served four terms in the Senate and has an edge in Democratic leaning California.

California, Here She Comes

Don’t look for Condoleezza Rice to get all sentimental about waving goodbye to Washington after the Bush administration leaves office on Jan. 20.

It’s no secret that the Secretary of State plans to go back to California. But will she miss life in the U.S. capital?

“No,” Rice said, laughing, in a CNN interview.

She has been a top adviser to President George W. Bush for eight years — first as national security adviser before moving to the State Department in 2005.

Whiskey, not champagne, at GOP party

PHOENIX — It was a night for drinking whiskey rather than champagne at the Arizona Biltmore.
 
As Republican John McCain prepared his concession speech in a private room at the landmark Phoenix hotel, bottles of bubbly were most certainly not being popped in a nearby ballroom where long-faced Republicans were marking time. 
 
The race hadn’t yet been called for Barack Obama, but McCain had already lost Ohio, Pennsylvania and other key battleground states. But the giant TV screens weren’t showing election returns, and many still held out hope.
 
“Tonight as of right now, it’s still too close to call,” Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl told the crowd. “Win or lose, we’re going to have a tough four years ahead of us. We’re going to have to be a firewall against this radical leftist agenda.” 

Software engineer Ken Wharton likewise wasn’t ready to concede defeat.
 
“I’m going to wait until the end. It’s not over until it’s over,” said Wharton, who said he was worried that Obama would cut the military budget and back reparations for slavery.
 
Wedding planner Cynthia Ghelf likewise said she wouldn’t assume the worst until the California polls closed in half an hour. But she already had an escape plan: “I feel like we should move to Canada,” she said.
 
Ghelf’s friend Katie Kiesel, a stay-at-home mom, said she hoped the Republican party would learn to reach out to younger and more moderate voters and cater less to the conservative wing.
 
Others said the party should steer a course to the right. 
 
“He could have been a little more conservative,” Baptist preacher Jim Selma said of McCain. “His best move was appointing Sarah Palin. I think that energized the  base, and when he moved back toward the middle it got boring, I think, for the Republican side.”
 
By that point, officials were urging the partygoers to clear out of the ballroom and head to the hotel’s lawn. Polls on the West Coast were closing soon, and the results would be known quickly. It was time for McCain to speak.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Scuteri (A McCain supporter looks on at McCain concession speech)

from Environment Forum:

Palin asks Schwarzenegger to terminate shipping fees

palin3.jpgCalifornia environmentalists are in tizzy this week, accusing Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of telling their governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, how to do his job.

At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.

The letter, which Palin sent to Schwarzenegger a day before she was announced as John McCain's running mate, began circling on the Web on Thursday.