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McCain Looking for a Lucky Streak

By Juliet Eilperin
ABOARD THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN PLANE--Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) may be the winner of the New Hampshire primary, but he is also a man of superstition.

It's not just that he stayed in the same hotel suite in Nashua that he stayed in during his 2000 primary victory, or that he held his victory party in the identical ballroom. He believes in doing the same things repeatedly to bolster his luck, such as giving a speech at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. tonight, just as he ended his "No Surrender" tour there last year.

"All of it's ritual, all of it's superstition," he explained, rifling through his pockets to find the lucky penny he received on Tuesday from Joseph W. McQuaid, the publisher of New Hampshire's Union Leader. McQuaid had championed the senator's cause, urging voters to pick McCain, so when he found a penny heads up on the day of the primary, he handed it over to the senator as a charm.

"If I ever lose that penny, I'm doomed," McCain told reporters, laughing.

Still, the GOP presidential hopeful assured the press corps he would not be hewing exactly to tradition as he campaigned in South Carolina, in light of the fact that he lost to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential primary there.

"I hope not," he said when asked if he would stay in the same hotels he frequented eight years ago as he stumped in the Palmetto State. Instead, he suggested, he would do "everything different."

McCain also confessed that he hates seeing the number 13 on anything, but loves the number 11, and has chosen it on occasion when he has "made a contribution to the economy of Las Vegas." (Translation: that's where he puts his money when he plays craps.) When told that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had outlines 13 items on his "to do list" while wooing New Hampshire voters this week, McCain simply replied, "That explains it."

By Washington Post editors  |  January 9, 2008; 11:24 PM ET
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Next: Ralph Reed's New Role


McCain is just an old man who late in life dicovered opportunism and the abuse of privilege.

As a Vietnam vet, I ONCE respected-him for his suffrage at the Hanoi Hilton, but have since learned THAT John McCain is deceased.

A thousand years of Democratic federal leadership! Maybe THEN the bastard-legacy of RonReagan will be expunged, and the bastard-reign of his cross-eyed spawn be atoned-for.

Posted by: Hub2 | January 10, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

McCain is on the move. Looking good.

Posted by: steve_valeriote23 | January 10, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain would be a better President than either Hillary or Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | January 10, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

McCain is obviously unfit for the presidency.

Posted by: zukermand | January 10, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If the economy is one of the major issues for the upcoming election, it seems that we have to decide whether a person with an education in military and war, a person with a degree in theology, or a person with a degree in economics, a juris doctorate in law, and a masters degree in business administration would have more insight into what it will take to fix the economy.

McCain graduated from the Naval Academy, at the bottom of his class (790 out of 795). McCain is formally educated in military and war. McCain does not have any economic or business experience outside of the existing Washington political establishment.

Huckabee graduated with a degree in theology from Ouachita Baptist University. Huckabee's only experience with large scale economics was as Governor of Arkansas. As Governor of Arkansas the Cato Institute gave Huckabee's economic policies and abilities a grade of "F". Under Huckabee Arkansas state taxes increased by 65% over a 10 year period, government employees increased 20%, and Huckabee left the state with a 500 million dollar deficit at the end of his last term.

Romney graduated with honors from Harvard Law School with a juris doctorate in law. Romney also earned a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, again, with honors.

Romney has been responsible for founding and running one of the most successful businesses in recent years, Baine Capital. Through Baine Capital, Romney has been able to create 1,000's of jobs in the US economy.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney turned a multi-billion dollar state deficit he inherited into a multi-million dollar surplus in the state budget. Romney was able to create this surplus by downsizing the state government, consolidating redundant programs and services, and reducing the number of state government employees.

In short, if you want a person with a demonstrated record of economic success in both the private and public sector, if you want a candidate that has a proven history of reducing the size and cost of government, then there is only one candidate to fit the bill... Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America!!!!

Posted by: rdew | January 10, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

This in not owned by Rupert so don't expect Fair and Balance. LMAO

This is what a Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Serial Killer in Chief will do once in power. All the Regressive Religious Deluded Ignorant Psychos love all the Killings, too, but those same Religious Frauds will say Abortion and Stem Cell research is murder. They need never benefit from any Scientific or Medical Advances they can rely on their God to cure their ills. Stem Cell research has been nicely outsourced to many other countries who are benefitting handsomely from the Axis of Evil's Religious Fraudulent policies.

New Estimate of Violent Deaths Among Iraqis Is Lower

By David Brown and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 10, 2008; A18

A new survey estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of the country. Roughly 9 out of 10 of those deaths were a consequence of U.S. military operations, insurgent attacks and sectarian warfare.

The survey, conducted by the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization, also found a 60 percent increase in nonviolent deaths -- from such causes as childhood infections and kidney failure -- during the period. The results, which will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine at the end of the month, are the latest of several widely divergent and controversial estimates of mortality attributed to the Iraq war.

The three-year toll of violent deaths calculated in the survey is one-quarter the size of that found in a smaller survey by Iraqi and Johns Hopkins University researchers published in the journal Lancet in 2006.

Both teams used the same method -- a random sample of houses throughout the country. For the new study, however, surveyors visited 23 times as many places and interviewed five times as many households. Surveyors also got more outside supervision in the recent study; that wasn't possible in the spring of 2006 when the Johns Hopkins survey was conducted.

Despite reaching a lower estimate of total deaths, the epidemiologists found what they termed "a massive death toll in the wake of the 2003 invasion."

Iraq's population-wide mortality rate nearly doubled, and the death rate from violence increased tenfold after the coalition attack. Men between 15 and 60 were at the greatest risk. Their death rate from all causes tripled, and their risk of dying a violent death went up elevenfold.

Iraq's health minister, Salih al-Hasnawi, in a conference call held by WHO yesterday morning, said: "Certainly I believe this number. I think that this is a very sound survey with accurate methodology."

Other experts not involved in the research also expressed confidence in the findings, even though, as with the earlier survey, the 151,000-death estimate has a wide range of statistical uncertainty, from a low of 104,000 to a high of 223,000.

"Overall, this is a very good study," said Paul Spiegel, a medical epidemiologist at the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Geneva. "What they have done that other studies have not is try to compensate for the inaccuracies and difficulties of these surveys, triangulating to get information from other sources."

Spiegel added that "this does seem more believable to me" than the earlier survey, which estimated 601,000 deaths from violence over the same period.

U.S. military officials yesterday pointed to the great disparity between the two estimates, noting privately that it underscores the potential for inaccuracies in such surveys. The Defense Department has not released any estimates of civilian deaths and has said often that the military takes precautions to prevent civilian casualties, while the United States' enemies in Iraq deliberately target civilians.

"It would be difficult for the U.S. to precisely determine the number of civilian deaths in Iraq as a result of insurgent activity," said Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros, a Pentagon spokesman. "The Iraqi Ministry of Health would be in a better position, with all of its records, to provide more accurate information on deaths in Iraq."

Les Roberts, an epidemiologist now at Columbia University who helped direct the Johns Hopkins survey, also praised the new one. While both found a large increase in mortality, his found that much more of it was caused by violence.

"My gut feeling is that most of the difference between the two studies is a reluctance to report to the government a death due to violence," he said. "If your son is fighting the government and died, that may not be something you'd want to admit to the government."

The new study was conducted between August 2006 and March 2007 in all regions of the country, including the Kurdish northern area. Surveyors visited about 1,000 randomly selected geographic areas (called "clusters") and interviewed people in 9,345 households. They were asked whether anyone in the household -- defined as people living under the same roof "and eating from one pot" -- had died from June 2001 through June 2006.

Each death was assigned to one of 23 causes. "Violent death" covered shootings, stabbings, bombings and other intentional injuries, and included civilian, military and police deaths but not suicides and traffic fatalities unrelated to roadside bombs.

Danger prevented surveyors from visiting 11 percent of the chosen clusters. Deaths in those areas were estimated using the ratio of deaths in the region to deaths in other regions as found in the Iraq Body Count, a continuous count of reported and verifiable violent deaths of civilians kept by an independent, London-based group. (That count, which even its organizers agree misses many deaths, registered 47,668 deaths from the U.S.-led invasion through June 2006).

Previous research has shown that household surveys typically miss 30 to 50 percent of deaths. One reason is that some families that have suffered violent deaths leave the survey area. Demographers think that as many as 2 million Iraqis have fled the country since the war began, and the 151,000-death estimate includes an adjustment for this.

Calculating death tolls in Iraq has been notoriously difficult.

Some people are kidnapped and disappear, and others turn up months or years later in mass graves. Some are buried or otherwise disposed of without being recorded. In particularly violent areas, local governments have effectively ceased to function, and there are ineffective channels for collecting and passing information between hospitals, morgues and the central government.

One senior Health Ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there are detailed casualty numbers, but "we have strict instructions not to give them out." The U.N. human rights mission in Iraq has criticized the Iraqi government for withholding information on civilian casualties.

Last month, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, provided a U.S. military chart on civilian deaths in Iraq between January 2006 and December 2007, but specific monthly tolls were not included. A rough estimate based on this chart, which synthesized Iraqi and U.S. figures, indicated that some 40,000 civilians had died in the past two years in Iraq.

Jalil Hadi al-Shimmari, who oversees the western Baghdad health department, said the 151,000 total seems roughly accurate but is probably a "modest" one. "The real number might be bigger than this," he said.

The study employed about 400 interviewers. Some were employees of the Iraq Health Ministry, and others were local health workers, such as pharmacists, midwives and nurses. Women surveyors were used to interview women in the households. Different religions and sects were represented.

"They built up the trust of the community, especially in the difficult areas," said Naeema al-Gasseer, WHO's representative in Iraq.

One Iraqi official working on the survey was killed in random violence on the way to work. A few interviewers were detained by local militia under suspicion they were spies. One surveyor was kidnapped and ransomed.

"They did risk their lives. There was a determination to make it a success," Gasseer said.

Partlow reported from Baghdad. Staff writer Josh White contributed to this report.

Posted by: mawt | January 10, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm blown away that with so many posts here and posts on fundraising, I see nothing on Romney. From what I read, Romney has raised more money since NH than Clinton or McCain. I believe I heard $5 million for Romney just today. Where's the balance in reporting?

Posted by: toran | January 10, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

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