Tales from the Trail

Pelosi takes on Chamber of Commerce over campaign spending

The phrase “Buy American”  may be taking on a new connotation in the rough-and-tumble battle over corporate financing and the midterm congressional elections.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been pumping lots of cash into the campaign, received multimillion dollar donations from some major companies as it fought against government policies, the New York Times reported Thursday.

pelosi“They give new meaning to the term “Buy American”…  they want to buy these elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when asked about the article in an MSNBC interview.

“If they win — which I fully intend to stop them from doing — but if they were to win, it would mean that we are now…  a plutocracy and oligarchy,” Pelosi said. “Whatever these few wealthy, secret, unlimited sources of money are can control our entire agenda,” she added.

The Chamber is tax-exempt and not obligated to disclose it donors.

The New York Times says what it found offers a glimpse of how the business network raised money as “it ramped up an orchestrated campaign to become one of the most well-financed critics of the Obama administration and an influential player in this fall’s Congressional elections.”

Boxer votes early, like a good Californian

POLITICS-USA/Election day may be nearly a month off, but U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer wasn’t confused, or cheating, when she went to the polls on Tuesday to vote (presumably for herself).  The three-term Democrat was just following what has become something of a time-honored practice for many Californians: early voting.

In fact, more than 41 percent of California voters voted by mail, or absentee, during the 2008 general election, a number that has risen nearly every year since the 1978, and Boxer’s camp says the Senator — who is facing the toughest reelection fight of her career against former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – was using it as a tool to increase voter participation.

Boxer, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, lives with her husband in Rancho Mirage, California, near Palm Springs, and cast her ballot at the Riverside County Registrar’s Office.

Reuters-Ipsos poll: Democrats hold slim leads in California races

Democrats are leading in top California races a month before the election, but by margins too tight to offer great comfort.

USA-POLITICS/Senator Barbara Boxer leads Republican challenger Carly Fiorina in the Senate race 49-45 percent among POLITICS-USA/likely voters, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll conducted Oct. 2-4.

That 4-point difference is smaller than the 4.7 percentage point margin of error which shows how close the race is between the three-term senator and the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Ipsos pollsters say it is unlikely, with the higher margin of error and all, that the findings were reverse. Boxer has consistently had a lead over Fiorina in public opinion polls.

California gay marriage ruling has candidates quickly taking sides

With a pair of too-close-to-call political campaigns heating up in California — for governor and for Democrat Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat – the candidates wasted no time in staking out their positions after a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s ban on gay marriages.

jerrybrownIn a case that most believe the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday ruled that California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 was unconstitutional because it unfairly singled out gay and lesbian couples as being forbidden to legally wed, violating their rights to due process and equal protection under the Constitution.

For Democrat Jerry Brown, who is running against Republican Meg Whitman for governor, the case offered a natural opening: As the state’s attorney general, he has refused to defend Proposition 8 in court, instead filing a brief with the state Supreme Court to overturn it in a move that raised eyebrows among legal scholars but won him support among gay  and civil rights rights activists.

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.

Fiorina: Media belittle and demean Palin

UPDATED 

ST. PAUL – Carly Fiorina and other women supporters of Sen. John McCain blasted “the media” for what they called sexist coverage of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and denied that the Republican party had inflicted its own sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton.

fiorina.jpg“The Republican Party  will not stand by while Sarah Palin is subjected to sexist attacks,” Fiorina said.

She singled out a column by The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd that referred to Republicans’ “tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West” as a glaring example of gender stereotyping.

McCain’s houses: hard work, or his wife’s wealth?

fiorina.jpegJohn McCain adviser Carly Fiorina is offering a new defense of the Republican candidate’s ownership of multiple homes , suggesting that it is due to his hard work rather than his wife’s money.

McCain’s wife Cindy is a wealthy heiress and the couple own between eight and 11 properties depending on how they are counted, according to the Talking Points Memo political blog. McCain responded to a question on the subject last week by saying he wasn’t sure how many properties he owned.

Cue criticism from his Democratic rival Barack Obama, who said it showed McCain was out of touch with millions of Americans struggling to pay mortgage costs.
Fiorina told CNN on Monday: “He is a man who has these blessings and these assets because he’s worked hard all his life. That’s part of the American dream.”