Down the Stretch

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Robert Shrum, columnist for The Week magazine, a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry- Edwards campaign and the author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), gives analysis of the final week of the presidential campaign.


Robert Shrum

Comments [47]

jennifer from manhattan

What happens to politicians when they lose the presidential election for their party? Will McCain be ostracized if he goes back to the Senate? Will everyone ignore Obama if he loses? What happened to John Kerry?

Oct. 29 2008 11:46 AM
Alex from brooklyn

Brian and Ms. Shrum had a little disagreement about whether people vote in the interests of the class they aspire to. Brian pointed to Joe the Plumber as an example.

Yes, Joe presented himself as someone who would be soon in that class, and was worried about what would happen to him/his own taxes. But there he has/had three critical delusions that are relevant to this point.

1) He is nowhere near this point. It is a vague plan, at best. OK, this supports Brian's point.

2) There is no reason to believe that the business he wants to buy generates anywhere near $250k in taxable income. He simply doesn't understand that a single plumber with an unlicensed assistant in that area could not make that much money. It could bill that much money, but after expenses -- including materials that are billed to the customers -- the net is FAR lower.

This actually supports Schrum's point. He does not aspire to over $250k. He aspired to maybe half that, but certainly far less than 250. He just doesn't realize this.

3) He has recently said that he does not believe that Obama will not raise his taxes, where he is today. What he is really worried about it his own taxes, and refuses to accept the reality that every fact checker has reported.

He believes that Obama will raise his taxes, regardless of what anyone tells him. And so, he is against Obama. (Or, it might even be the other way around.)

Oct. 29 2008 11:12 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Inquiring Minds: It would be interesting to see what you could come up with on mccain/bush/palin. Your comments are way too long and your issues cannot be solved in this forum. I wonder what you are planning to do in 8 days??? Move out of the country??? Do you really believe the past 43 presidents were honest with you? You can't be that naive!

Oct. 29 2008 11:08 AM
AWM from UWS

Inquiring minds,

One more time...

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), John McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Rashid Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

Do you have a response to this or have moved on to another flimsy, exaggerated and paranoid smear?

Oct. 29 2008 10:58 AM

If you are willing to vote for McCain/Palin just because who hate black people at least you have more principal than McCain has shown this year.

Oct. 29 2008 10:52 AM
Inquiring Minds

Clinton’s presidential campaign required U.S. citizens living abroad to actually fax a copy of their passport before a donation would be accepted.

the FEC goes on...

"Soliciting, Accepting, or Receiving Contributions and Donations from Foreign Nationals

As noted earlier, the Act prohibits knowingly soliciting, accepting or receiving contributions or donations from foreign nationals. In this context, "knowingly" means that a person:
* Has actual knowledge that the funds solicited, accepted, or received are from a foreign national;
* Is aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the funds solicited, accepted, or received are likely to be from a foreign national;
* Is aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether the source of the funds solicited, accepted or received is a foreign national.
11 CFR 110.20(a)(4)(i), (ii) and (iii).

Pertinent facts that may lead to inquiry by the recipient include, but are not limited to the following: A donor or contributor uses a foreign passport, provides a foreign address,
makes a contribution from a foreign bank, or resides abroad. Obtaining a copy of a current and valid U.S. passport would satisfy the duty to inquire whether the funds solicited, accepted, or received are from a foreign national. 11 CFR 110.20(a)(7)."

Oct. 29 2008 10:48 AM
Inquiring Minds

@36 Gumby

"The ban on political contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals was first enacted in 1966 as part of the amendments to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an "internal security" statute."

This is ridiculous! Believing something does not make it true!

Oct. 29 2008 10:42 AM
Gumby from Candyland

right on!

Oct. 29 2008 10:39 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Woah #32… So chiming in on an election they can’t affect in the least bit undermines our democracy and sovereignty when some German off the street says they care about who becomes president of the most powerful nation on the planet, but it’s cool for the United States government to actively advocate for and in some rare cases virtually appoint the leaders of countries like Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan… Call for the downfall of leaders in Iran, Russia, assorted South American Countries… And declare who would be best for America in countries like the UK, Spain, and France? Does this undermined democracy worldwide, or threaten the sovereignty of these countries?

Oct. 29 2008 10:38 AM
Janet from Harlem

When discussing the Obama tax plan, please keep in mind if a small business only has revenues of $250,000, the business owner is absolutely not taking that much home in pay! It's probably more like $60,000. A plumbing company would have to pay for trucks, probably several employees, office space, phones, insurance, training, equipment and no doubt make a monthly loan payment for whatever kind of loan they got (family or bank--which would have been incredibly hard to get even when banks were giving out credit for homes as the plumbing company has little assets).

I had a $4 million biz (magazine and conferences) and never paid myself over $90,000.

Obviously and sadly, the people who need to understand this concept are probably not listening to this fantastic show.


Oct. 29 2008 10:36 AM
Nico from Crown Heights

Shrum is just spinning, rather than having a productive conversation about "interests." I would love to have a real conversation about what seems like the most interesting aspect of the Joe the Plumber phenomenon -- how he articulates his interests on the basis of this vision of what he would like his situation to be rather than what it is (i.e., his vision of owning a plumbing business and *taking home* over $250k a year).

Also, now wonder Shrum failed with the Kerry campaign. "The people not the powerful"? That doesn't sound "populist" or "progressive" to me, as he claimed it was. Obama's completely changed that up -- The people *are* the powerful, when they get organized... Yes *we* can. That's what he says at his rallies, vs. Kerry's *I'm* here, reporting for duty, blah, blah.

Oct. 29 2008 10:34 AM
Gumby from Candyland

@33 Inq. Minds
its not illegal and it is no threat. If anything its a sign of how important this election is for all of the western world.

Oct. 29 2008 10:31 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I agree with #29, Why isn’t anyone calling Palin or McCain on their claim that Obama wants to redistribute their supporter’s wealth when virtually all of these so called “real Americans” live in states that benefit disproportionally from funds coming from progressive leaning states.

Oct. 29 2008 10:30 AM
BL Show from Varick St. Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes: We've had to delete some comments. Please, remember to stay civil and productive.]]

Oct. 29 2008 10:29 AM

my question is not whether or not voters will actually believe maccains regan era rhetoric per se, but whether that rhetoric may provide a convenient rationale for voting against obama for some other reason like race.

Oct. 29 2008 10:29 AM
Inquiring Minds

@29 Gumby

It is illegal and undermines our democracy and sovereignty.

Oct. 29 2008 10:25 AM

Joe the Plumber heard a McCain talking point and wanted to catch Obama in gotcha moment. He deserves credit for not asking Obama if he was a muslim like other McCain idiots.

Oct. 29 2008 10:24 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Taxes pay for public services, education, garbage pick up, etc., etc. What is wrong is that?

Oct. 29 2008 10:24 AM
Gumby from Candyland

Obama receives the overseas support because the whole world is watching this election and all of them want to see a new direction in american policy making.
McCain-Palin are you kidding? One of the two is extremely under qualified and over confident.

Oct. 29 2008 10:23 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Fact check this:."Our" money is already being redistributed by the Gov't. and increases all the time. Oh so naive! or do they just want to boo and chant USA?

Oct. 29 2008 10:22 AM
Eric from B'klyn

Remember 1980 when Reagan won, the press called the election based on results in the east and it deflated the vote in the West. So, I thought the press/media agreed not to project until after the polls close on the West Coast. Is this not the case?

Oct. 29 2008 10:21 AM

@ Steve Mark is this what you are left with. If this is the repub case this is sad.

Oct. 29 2008 10:21 AM
Inquiring Minds

BL Moderator:

Respectfully, that IS the issue of this thread. We are in the LAST week of the election.

On center-right blogs, THE stories are:
- Why is Obama STILL illegally accepting Internet $$ donations from overseas and over the limit -- in spite of it being known all over the for a week?
- Why is the LA Times sitting on this tape?

In fact, the two aforementioned points are the current McCain angles -- NOT the one you are discussing right now!

Brian just asked, "Anything you anticipate?"

May we fish here too?

[[BL Moderator Responds: Yes, you may. Hence our leaving your message up. Thus far today the discussion has been very civil, and for that I thank everyone. Nevertheless, a gentle reminder always helps. Please keep it up.]]

Oct. 29 2008 10:18 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Inquiring Minds - I think that you are barking up the wrong tree. I also think that you making something out of nothing. It is sad that your whole issue of trust is tied to what you perceived as some kind of close relationship that appears not to exist. The issues in this election are a lot larger.

Oct. 29 2008 10:16 AM
Steve Mark from NYC

Please ask Schrum why Obama should continue to withhold his birth records? Isn't this the simplest issue to put behind us?

Oct. 29 2008 10:16 AM
Gumby from Candyland

@16 Inquiring minds-
Your lumping a whole bunch of people together which cannot fit into an equation. Obama has explained his relations with each of them individually. What more do you want to know?

Oct. 29 2008 10:15 AM

@ The Republicans lost all credibility when there economic god came out and said his theories on the free markets was flawed.

Oct. 29 2008 10:15 AM
Marco from Manhattan

I always suspected Shrum was a Republican mole...given his track record of NOT getting Democrats into the White House.

Oct. 29 2008 10:12 AM

@Inquiring Minds you have made up your mind already what do you want a video for?

Oct. 29 2008 10:12 AM
BL Show from Varick St. Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes: A gentle reminder to please remember the WNYC posting policy. Keep your comments relevant to the discussion taking place on the air (something, by the way, that is hard to do when posting an hour before the show even starts) and, above all, civil.
-BL Show-]]

Oct. 29 2008 10:11 AM
Yes We Can! from Atlanta/New York

The repubs have ruined their credibility with the public...they have made all of these accusations that have backfired in their faces!

Oct. 29 2008 10:11 AM
Inquiring Minds

@11 Susan

You need not imagine: Obama says: "I don't know Mr. X very well, he is just some guy that Y."

Later we find out that is not true -- a lie that is designed to obfuscate.

(fill in X: Wright, Pfleger, Rezko, Ayers)
(fill in Y: married me to my wife, was my spiritual advisor, funded by upstart political career, gave me a plumb job)

It goes to the issue of TRUST.

Oct. 29 2008 10:10 AM
Gumby from Candyland

Inquiring minds-
This tape you speak of has little to no significance.
So what if Obama attends a dinner with a professor who has a different opinion than others on the Israeli and Palestine conflict.
That doesn't mean he shares his opinions.

Oct. 29 2008 10:10 AM
Yes We Can! from Atlanta/New York

I don't think voters/supporters will be annoyed. Why do you think the funds were donated. We call this a SLAM DUNK!

Oct. 29 2008 10:09 AM
AWM from UWS

Inquiring minds,

Are you referring to Rashid Khalidi?

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), John McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

Oct. 29 2008 10:08 AM
Yes We Can! from Atlanta/New York

9 years in captivity does not a president make!

I mean I wouldn't vote for Rambo!

Oct. 29 2008 10:07 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Inquiring Minds - what is your point? Truth like beauty is subjective, just like history.

And what is the point are you trying make about Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn? I can only imagine.

Oct. 29 2008 10:06 AM
Yes We Can! from Atlanta/New York

@ Inquiring will not make any difference, those who support Senator Obama will see this as one more hoax of a drowning man and his crew, in this day of photoshop anything can be done sooooo, go ahead release the hounds oh excuse me, release the tape.

Oct. 29 2008 10:06 AM
Scott F.Butler from Manhattan

As per Jonathan Alter's comments yesterday, it is going to be a long four years if any opposition to Obama policy is attributed to the country's inherent racism.

Oct. 29 2008 10:00 AM
jennifer from manhattan

Question for guest as to whether they think it is wise to run the infomercial tonight. I'm an Obama supporter (now) and I am sort of worried about it and how it might be received. I can see voters being slightly annoyed with the content, the length and the cost. Why run it if he is up in the polls?

Oct. 29 2008 10:00 AM
Inquiring Minds

@5 Susan

It is not about that.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society."

Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were at this dinner. It is outside the limits of my imagination to believe that they were not sitting at Obama's table. Were that tape to be made public and show that table, I believe it would impact this election dramatically.

Oct. 29 2008 09:57 AM
Gumby from Candyland

I would say that the media is bias in favor of big business. They have to be. That's how they get payed. That's what we are used to in America. So the perception of what journalism is and reports on is very skewed to begin with.

Oct. 29 2008 09:53 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Inquiring Minds - why is American politics always reduced by some people to the Arab/Israeli conflict? I think that this is very unfortunate.

Oct. 29 2008 09:52 AM
Inquiring Minds

...furthermore, I think it is perfectly acceptable that a majority of journalists might, personally, want Obama to win.

It is though, CENTRAL TO THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF OUR DEMOCRACY, that the press objectively and fairly reports information.

That the public holds these perceptions of UNFAIRNESS is troubling.

That is why the LA Times ought to make the tape public.

This is the story reporting on the incident and the tape:
"Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama",0,1780231,full.story

Oct. 29 2008 09:39 AM
Inquiring Minds

@2 Gumby
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
"By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4."

There are lots of others.

Oct. 29 2008 09:33 AM
Gumby from Candyland

Inquiring minds-
Could you give me some links where i can look at these numerous polls which show that the public sees the media favoring Obama?
Tha'd be great thanks.

Oct. 29 2008 09:24 AM
Inquiring Minds


1) The importance of this election;
2) Numerous polls which show, overwhelmingly, that the public has a PERCEPTION -- based in fact or not -- of bias in the media in favor of Barack Obama.

Will you please join in with other journalists in requesting that the LA Times make public their video tape of Obama openly celebrating with a group of Palestinians who bash Jews and Isreal?

Lets then pray, given access to information in a free society, that voters can then make an informed choice.

Oct. 29 2008 09:03 AM

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