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The 10 Worst-Run Incumbent Campaigns

It says something about human nature that when The Fix asked a bevy of consultants, operatives and other political hangers-on to nominate the best and worst campaigns run by incumbents this cycle, the responses for worst campaign far outweighed those for best.

After wading through the various nominations, we have narrowed the list down to ten. Remember that making this list does not mean a candidate will lose -- although most of the people on the list seem likely to come up short on Tuesday.

This list tilts heavily toward Republicans, the result of the fact that very few Democratic incumbents faced serious challenges this cycle as the national playing field has tipped strongly in their favor. Without real races, few Democrats' campaign skills have been truly tested.

If you haven't already, make sure to check out The Fix's list of the 10 best campaigns run by incumbents in 2006.

Ten Worst Campaigns Run by Incumbents (Listed Alphabetically):

Sen. George Allen (R): No candidate was nominated for worst-run campaign by more members of our informal panel than Allen. At the start of this election, the Virginia senator was widely seen as one of the rising stars in the Republican Party -- an unflappable, optimistic voice evoking images of former President Ronald Reagan. But starting in early August with Allen's "macaca" moment, his campaign has been caught flatfooted time and time again. The initial reaction by the Allen campaign -- that he had nothing to apologize for -- was tone deaf, and his multiple subsequent apologies kept the story in the news for weeks. Allen has struggled to regain momentum in the race ever since. He may survive on Tuesday, but his mistakes in this race have likely cost him a run for president in 2008.

Sen. Conrad Burns (R): Burns's comeback over the last few weeks has made some Republicans forget what a terrible campaign he ran for most of this cycle. Burns sat back while national Democrats bashed him for months on his alleged ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- allowing the opposition to define the terms of the debate. Burns also repeatedly made impolitic comments about any number of constituent groups; the most high-profile being his excoriation of a group of firefighters over their efforts at a fire near Billings. Burns's high-profile gaffes ensured that the race was a referendum on his service not on state Sen. Jon Tester's (D) record in the legislature.

Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.): Chocola's poor campaign actually began at the end of last cycle when he refused to go negative against Democrat Joe Donnelly -- choosing instead to run positive ads touting his own accomplishments. As a result, Donnelly ended the 2004 contest with high name identification and strong favorable ratings -- a nice starting point for the 2006 rematch. Even so, Chocola would not likely be in the dire straits he currently finds himself had he been willing to exploit his financial advantage over Donnelly earlier this year. At the end of June, Chocola had $1.5 million in the bank compared with $445,000 for Donnelly. Chocola never took advantage of that money gap and allowed Donnelly to rapidly catch him on the financial front. The result? Chocola is one of the most endangered incumbents in the country.

Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.): If Harris's ill-fated bid for the Senate was made into a work of fiction, most readers would find it too fanciful to be believed. Multiple hirings and firings of top-level campaign staff, a pledge to put $10 million of her own money into the campaign that never materialized, heavy reliance on a spiritual adviser for campaign guidance.... The list goes on and on. As soon as Harris announced for this race, Republicans lost any chance of beating Sen. Bill Nelson (D). And her lack of competitiveness has allowed national Democrats to avoid spending a dime in the costly state of Florida -- allowing them to spend resources on opportunities elsewhere.

Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.): The funny thing about Hostettler is that he has run no worse a campaign this year than in elections past. He has always disavowed fundraising and paid political professionals; his sister runs his campaign office and the congressman himself serves as the lead (and only) political consultant for the race. Unfortunately for Hostettler, that 1970s approach to political campaigns has run into a buzz saw named Brad Ellsworth (D) this time around. Despite Ellsworth's obvious strengths as a candidate (a sheriff he boasts strong law enforcement credentials as well as being conservative on social issues), Hostettler never adjusted to the seriousness of this race and seems headed for a bad loss on Tuesday.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.): Lieberman belongs on this list for how he handled the primary race only. The Democrats' 2000 vice presidential nominee seemed shocked that voters would even consider throwing him out of office in favor of Ned Lamont. He fundamentally misjudged the depth of disaffection with him among primary voters and never was able to articulate a clear and compelling message as to why voters should support him despite their differences on the war in Iraq. In short, Lieberman took Democratic primary voters for granted -- a huge mistake for any politician. Voters punished him for his transgressions on Aug. 8 and Lieberman has clearly learned his lesson. His general election campaign has been much more smoothly run and he looks likely to win a fourth term on Nov. 7.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.): Since the day he was appointed to the Senate, Menendez knew that Republicans would come after him on ethics issues. And yet he has been unable to neutralize GOP attacks on alleged ethical misconduct -- an inability that had led him into a surprisingly competitive contest against state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). In an election cycle where blue states are acting even bluer, Menendez has been unable to put real distance between himself and Kean. To Menendez's credit he has fulfilled his reputation as a prolific fundraiser and enjoyed a major spending edge over Kean throughout the race. That may be enough to put him over the top but given the national dynamics it's shocking this contest remains so close.

Gov. Frank Murkowski (R-Ak.): When an incumbent governor finishes third in his own party's primary -- winning just 18 percent of the vote -- something has gone horribly wrong. Murkowski waited far too long to announce he was running for a second term, a delay that allowed two serious primary challengers to gain traction. When he finally did get into the race, Murkowski's campaign took on the form of an apology for his sometimes-abrasive personality. His argument -- "You may not like but you need me" -- went over like a lead balloon with Alaska Republicans.

Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.): Pombo, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has raised nearly $3.8 million for his race against Democrat Jerry McNerney (D). But according to Republican officials, Pombo has committed just $400,000 of that total for a television commercials. Spending roughly 10 percent of your budget on television is the exact reverse of how modern campaigns are typically run; most savvy strategists try to spend between 80 and 90 percent of the total campaign budget on television. Pombo has also taken an extended beating from environmental groups over the past year and it has taken its toll. Even though President Bush carried this district by nine points in 2004, Pombo is in a toss up race with five days left.

Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.): Like Hostettler, Taylor largely ignore advice from the national party and its consultants in his reelection races. Instead, he has used his vast personal wealth to overwhelm his Democratic opposition. Taylor has followed a similar blueprint this year, dumping almost $3 million of his own money into the contest. The problem for Taylor, according to Republican insiders, is that his money is being spent on low-quality television ads that do him as much harm as good. Taylor also has not adapted well to the challenge presented by Heath Shuler, a conservative Democrat well known in the area as a football star. As a result, he faces his toughest reelection race ever.

Check The Fix over the final few days of the campaign season for top ten lists on the best and worst challengers of the cycle and the best campaign commercials.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 2, 2006; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , House , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Congressional Countdown: Senate Playing Field Continues to Shift
Next: Tennessee Senate: Which Poll Is Right?


LEARN ABOUT THE START OF THE NAFTA SUPER HIGHWAY...It's called the Trans Texas Corridor:

Posted by: Sal Costello | November 5, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Pombo spent $906k on television, not $400k.

You should also note that the only cost effective media market is Sacramento, which reaches 55% of the district.

The rest of the CD is a sliver of the San Francisco DMA. The western portion of the district is served by cable, but those cable systems placed caps on what could be purchased. (The campaign bought all that was available). San Francisco is a $1,000 a point. not very good use of funds to reach less than 45% of the district.

The best medium for this heavily bay-area commuter part of the district is drive-time radio, where $350k was spent for a six-week buy.

As per the rule of thumb, 80 - 90 % of campaign money is normally spent on media, I don't think so. Show me a a Congressional race that spent 90% of their funds IN A COMPETITIVE district.

Sounds to me like Friday Before election day CYA . Back seat consultants laying down blame in case something goes wrong.

Posted by: Doug | November 3, 2006 11:12 PM | Report abuse

FYI, On Congressman Pombo, the Stockton Record shows that he spent $906,000 on television. That's mainly Sacramento media market. In the district, it's wall-to-wall Pombo ads if you turn on your television.

Posted by: andrew | November 3, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Pombo straddles Sacramento and San Francisco media markets and that is a rather expensive place to do business. The $900+ number sounds much more accurate than the $400K.

I suggest you check your facts again.

Posted by: Tracy | November 3, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't know where u got your numbers on CD11, but Pombo television was 3,000 points and $900k.

Posted by: California Republican | November 3, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

FYI, On Congressman Pombo, the Stockton Record shows that he spent $906,000 on television. That's mainly Sacramento media market. In the district, it's wall-to-wall Pombo ads if you turn on your television.

Posted by: andrew | November 3, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to be so late to this discussion.
Just wanted to point out -- Murkowski did a lot better job running his campaign than he did running the state. It's not for nothing that he is the nation's least popular governor.
And now, he seems intent on going out of office with a -- I would say bang, but I guess the right word is gong. The latest is that the entire legislature sued him to prevent him from signing an unpopular gas pipeline contract at the last minute, something he is threatening to do. He's right now on a junket, er, trade mission, in Taiwan, with costs that his office refuses to disclose. And he's called a totally unnecessary special session, to start the week after the election.

Posted by: alaskan | November 3, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Pombo is Chair of Resources, not Agriculture.

Posted by: az | November 3, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse


It's now 6 hours and 13 minutes before the last possible moment on the Friday before the last weekend news cycle before the election for the RNCC to drop it's October surprise bombshell.

Iran lobbed some missles this morning and Condi talked of dire consequences. Israeli Jets by sundown bombing the Iranian reactor?

Or will the RNCC wait for Monday with something really dramatic and leaving minimum time for democrat spin control?

This week is very UnRovian. That is scary.

Posted by: bob | November 3, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Not sure how you couldn't lump DeWine in with one of the worst run incumbent campaigns. He was in a good place to position himself above the scandals that plagued the state GOP and present himself as a sensible moderate. Yet he willingly dragged himself down to the gutter first with his 9/11 ad and then later with with ads charging that Brown hadn't paid a tax bill for 13 years when state records showed that he had and then refusing (at first) to pull the ad. Now he's likely to go down by anywhere from 6-10 points on Tuesday.

Has any other incumbent this cycle had TWO ads that were rejected by local TV stations for their blatant dishonesty?

Posted by: 54cermak | November 3, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It is very disappointing that the evidence cited that Rep. Chocola ran a bad campaign is that he refused to go negative against his opponent. How can we ever hope to escape the avalanche of negative ads when political pundits tell people that staying positive means running a bad campaign?

Posted by: Ebb | November 3, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, I love your blog, but you listed Katherine Harris Senate campaign as one of the 10 worst incumbent campaigns. One of the 10 worst campaigns, no doubt, but she is certainly not an incumbent Senator. Never has been, never will be.

Posted by: Rick Edelson | November 3, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

OK, first order of business folks: Stop posting anonymously! I don't really want to be a dick, but it is not that hard to type in your name (or pseudonym) and stand by whatever it is you want to say. I understand you may occasionally forget, and I've suggested before that the editors make Name: a required field (which I've seen no response on), but the proliferation of anonymous posts in this thread makes me think it's more than accidental. Don't be a coward; if you want to say something, stand behind it. And to the Post website editors: why can't you enforce this rule when I get so many posts "held in moderation" forever with no explanation for no good reason? Does anyone even read those posts that get "held"? Has a "held" post ever been released and posted here? It doesn't seem like it.

RMill is always nice to see and read around here. If you were still around here more, I'd be around here more too. (forgive the repetitive phrasing, I'm up way too late)

I don't have a whole alternative list of my own, but as I wrote the other day, with my rationale, I definitely think Sherrod Brown deserves some credit for running a strong campaign. (Though if he's not an incumbent, Katherine Harris isn't either--and yes, thank god Katherine Harris is getting back out of elective office where she belongs. Maybe she'll get a show on Vanity Fair TV as a walking Fashion Don't, or Out TV as a drag queen pinata)

Agree with both Adam and RMill on Kerry. Let's hope he made his WH08 bid that much harder. I hope Barney Frank takes his Senate seat in 08. I'm pissed at Marty Meehan for sitting pretty on $5M this year instead of sharing some of it with the DCCC and/or other Democratic House challengers. What is a campaign finance reform champion doing sitting on the hugest Democratic House warchest anyway?

I agree that Menendez was an awful choice for Corzine to appoint (in truth I'd rather Corzine have stayed in the Senate and let Codey be Governor), but I would not go with Andrews either. He's just cast too many bad votes. And the South Jersey argument gets no sympathy from me. There are basically 4 districts in South Jersey and 9 in North right? Maybe 5 and 8. NJ's population is in the North; of course that's where the money, attention, power, etc. goes. I mean it's like complaining that California has more than 10% of the seats in the House.

I can't remember her name, but I still think--maybe more than ever--that the black female state senator Corzine was rumored to be considering would've been best. Fresh, progressive, accomplished/competent, and being a double minority is icing on the cake to me--proving there are black women in politics who are not pathetic embarrassments like Carol Moseley-Braun. I hope she gets in there with Andrews, Pallone, and the other ambitious NJ pols and runs for higher office. Everything I read about her seemed really good.

Have you all seen Stu Rothenberg's latest ratings? Looks like he finally came down off that fence he was sitting on. He's predicting a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House gain of 34-40 seats and maybe more, and Dems picking up 7-9 Governorships, which would put us at 29-31 out of 50. Wow. Charlie Cook lists *86* House races as competitive, 19 seats held by Dems and 67 by Republicans. I've never seen half that many competitive House races in one year. How is BushCo going to spin THIS?? Do I see Chertoff warming up that threat level chart?

Doritos Marketing Dept: LOL! But I thought you were just a division of Lays, Inc.

It's 32 degrees here. Oy!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | November 3, 2006 5:05 AM | Report abuse

Chris, why limit yourself to ten?

Posted by: Why? | November 3, 2006 4:56 AM | Report abuse

Charles Taylor has run cheap and nasty campaigns, based upon sub-local-carlot TV ads, for years. In the past, his multi-million fortune carried him through. This time, it looks like not so much. It helps that Shuler presents a thin target, being at least as socially conservative, but Taylor's value to the district was bringing home the pork, leading people to turn a blind eye to his dodgy dealings. In a Dem-controlled House, that's not going to happen.

I'm sure plenty of WNC residents will be glad to see the back of those awful ads in 2008.

Posted by: Nick S | November 3, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Come on - what's all the 'atta boys' for Sherrod Brown? Can you name even one clever, well designed, hard won, inspiring, etc. anything at all that he's done to be listed in the 'Best' of any category?

OK so he did win a primary - by a back-stabbing, scub-bag, hit job on Paul Hacket, a vet of good character and great potential. But, is that the kind of act one hails as greatness?

The idea that Brown's done anything of merit in this campaign shows a thorough misunderstanding of what's happening in Ohio right now.

The political environs here are so deadly toxic to Republicans that it will usher into office some pols that have absolutely no right to be there. One moment they're sitting in the right place, at the right time, picking their nose and eating buggers. The next moment they're voting on national policy towards atomic neighbors.

Nine months ago you would have said Sherrod who? even though he's been a pol for 30 years.

Nine months ago the name Paul Hacket meant a brilliant rising star in the Dem party and he'd only been stateside for a couple of months.

Today Sherrod Who is about to be US Senator Sherrod Who and brilliant rising star Paul Hacket is so bitter he wouldn't take an appointment to a Democratic seat if it was gilded in gold - would you, if you were him?

Posted by: OhioRepublican | November 2, 2006 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Adam, you are so right it hurts. Journalistic integrity in the MSM is GONE.

We need a new generation of investigative journalists and we need it now. Just look at the type of crap that is going on:

Scientists say White House muzzled them
Posted 11/2/2006 9:28 AM ET

Two federal agencies are investigating whether the Bush administration tried to block government scientists from speaking freely about global warming and censor their research, a senator said Wednesday.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said he was informed that the inspectors general for the Commerce Department and NASA had begun "coordinated, sweeping investigations of the Bush administration's censorship and suppression" of federal research into global warming.

"These investigations are critical because the Republicans in Congress have ignored this serious problem," Lautenberg said.

He said the investigations "will uncover internal documents and agency correspondence that may expose widespread misconduct." He added, "Taxpayers do not fund scientific research so the Bush White House can alter it."

We allow this CRAP at our OWN PERIL. Literally. We need REAL journalists on the beat to get stories like this out into mainstream America.

Posted by: F&B | November 2, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to shift the political spotlight this morning away from Senator John Kerry's remarks about troops in Iraq, which have distracted from Democratic campaign strategy"

See it happened again. This is in the NYT. Kerry did not make any statement about troops in Iraq! To make a fallacious statement in the first sentance of your article is, at best, lazy writing.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Adam: Don't knock it, call it "staying on message!" That's worked exceedingly well for the Republicans. And, whatever it is the Democrats are doing right now is working very well for them.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 2, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

F&B, Its amazing that the "no agenda" story keeps playing. We have nothing to hide about our plans - its just that the press (and probably the public too) tunes out when it comes time to specifics. If your ideas don't fit in 15seconds or don't lead to a fight nobody hears them.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris must be overworked. As others said, Katherine Harris is not the incumbent and, thus, does not belong on this list. However, she and Murkowski easily ran the worst campaigns. It will be so very satisfying to see Harris lose badly next week. As far as I'm concerned, she should be in prison for doing so much to disenfranchise voters in 2000 and to steal the election for Dubya. Katherine Harris is truly a fascist lunatic.

I also agree that Rob Andrews (or other congressmen such as Rush Holt or Frank Pallone) would have been a much stronger choice for Democrats than Bob Menendez in New Jersey. Menendez is a backroom Hudson County political hack. Everyone in New Jersey knows that Hudson County politicians are far from clean, if not downright corrupt. Corzine is a boob for appointing him. The DSCC was forced to spend money and energy defending the Senate seat in New Jersey, which might cost us elsewhere. Kean Jr. could still win because New Jersey voters are notoriously independent and indecisive until Election Day.

Posted by: Progressive | November 2, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Mike we have to solve the problem - you can see I do propose some immediate solutions - I am 100% for better border security but the wall is not the answer - the border patrol here on the border oppose the wall - it will leave them trapped like sitting ducks when teh drug gangs are shooting at them.

we have to look at this a step at a time -

your numbers do not tell us anything about the economic impact on Americans who lose their job because these people are no longer buying new cars, and they do, impact on property taxes when homes and apartments go empty-

we do this a step at a time - start with my proposals - they are here - they have kids, cars, homes. mortgages, credit card debt - you name it - all major financial losses for Americans if we deport them.

get serious about the border - mandate English as a condition of staying - a GED for all highschool drop outs - make them productive - a GED for all immigrants who can prove having graduate highschool in their country of origin

Mike who is going to pay the child support or welfare for the children born here to American citizen women but whose father/husband has now been deported? YOu are I am we all are?

BObby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

>>>all they have is we hate Bush, and sugarcane promises without one proposal

>>>I take shame that the only party I can vote for continues without a game plan as to anything.

Bobby, what in the h-e-doublehockeysticks are you talking about?

You are a smart guy. Look around. If you want to know the Dems plan its all over the internet in one form or another.

Here, I'll do your homework FOR you:

"""Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds _ "I hope with a veto-proof majority," she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

All the days after that: "Pay as you go," meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority.

To do that, she said, Bush-era tax cuts would have to be rolled back for those above "a certain level." She mentioned annual incomes of $250,000 or $300,000 a year and higher, and said tax rates for those individuals might revert to those of the Clinton era. Details will have to be worked out, she emphasized."""

Bobby, you're a smart, independent guy, but sometimes I wonder if you criticize the Dems just to give the appearance of being independent. It's a little bit much.

I think when the Dems take the House and have a good run at the Senate, they will have a solid platform to launch all these plans that have been held up in committee or squashed by the GOP for 6 years. When these plans see the light of day, the public is going to get behind them and force the Senate and President to make a decision: are you going to go WITH or AGAINST the Will of the People?

I can't wait.

Posted by: F&B | November 2, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree with a previous post about Chocola. It is a bad sign when we scoff at someone as foolish for not going negative - or at Hostettler for not using paid consultants.

When there is a large amount of power to be had, there will always be a fight to have it. With the fractious Dems in charge of the House (pre Gingrich lets say), there wasn't any message unity. Dem presidents certainly couldn't count on them to get in line. It didn't seem like representatives were all that powerful. They aren't, individually.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes - You show me how we can afford to keep all of these illegals (ANd, I am NOT using that term to denigrate these people - I know most are pesparately poor and simply trying to feed their families), but everything I have read and the numbers I crunch leads me to believe that we soimply cannoit do it wohtout wrecking harm on our own working class men and women and families. I truly believe the best we can do is reform our immigration policy to allow for a limited number of legal Mexican immigrants (I understand there are NO provisions for legal Mexican immigrants - the quota is zero) without regard to their educational or economic status and bring them in, giving them education, every available social service, a good job, and an immediate and clear path to citizenship. Everyone and anyone other than those legally here ought be be deported.

Posted by: MikeB | November 2, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The unfortunate part about Kerry is that he is a terrible speaker, but I clearly remember some of his ideas for the 2004 debate that I wish had been applied. I remember him saying that we could not fight the home grown and imported terrorists in Iraq using the military alone. He said we would need to integrate law enforcement and diplomacy. It is not like America is the first country in the world to have to deal with terrorists. The countries that solved the problem used both. GWB scoffed at him. Kerry also said that we need to talk to North Korea. He said it was the only way to stop them from advancing in the nuclear race. Again, GWB laughed at him. I wish Kerry had made to the presidency. I think the world would be a safer place.

Posted by: Merry | November 2, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

It might be time to add Linc Chaffee's name to the list. All of the following are from yesterday's and today's Providence Journal political blog, .

Chafee staffer behind anti-Whitehouse e-mails

1) PROVIDENCE -- A staffer for Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee distributed a series of negative e-mails criticizing his Democratic challenger, Sheldon Whitehouse, from her Senate computer, a violation of Senate rules, the staffer acknowledged Wednesday....The e-mails were sent to a large number of reporters in Rhode Island and elsewhere.

The e-mails violate rules prohibiting Senate equipment from being used for political purposes, said Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that encourages compliance with federal election laws and ethics rules.

2) Chafee's statement on staffer e-mails:

The Lincoln Chafee campaign issued a formal statement last night...that a staffer had been suspended without pay for improperly sending campaign-related e-mails from a Senate computer.

Chafee's statement:

"The campaign of U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee had no knowledge of the improper actions...This staffer improperly forwarded personal email messages using Senate equipment. She has been suspended without pay, and the Chafee Campaign disavows the action and its content.

"My campaign had no knowledge of this action," said U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee.

3) New Zogby poll puts Whitehouse up 14 points

Just five days before Election Day, Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse leads the incumbent U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee by 14 points, according to a poll released today by the national independent pollster Zogby International.

4) Is the Chafee campaign broke, or not?

PROVIDENCE -- How much money does the Lincoln Chafee campaign have left?

The answer may be very little, the Republican incumbent senator acknowledged at today's press conference where he announced the endorsement of Democrat Myrth York, a former gubernatorial candidate.

"I am going to confess that we are so broke we are not polling," Chafee said this afternoon...But a few seconds after Chafee made the "broke" comment, he retracted it: "We're not broke. Let me correct that."

The kicker in the last item is that York is the Rhode Island Democrats' "biggest loser." She managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory twice running for Governor. Whitehouse must be quietly chuckling as Chaffee's campaign implodes.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 2, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Just saw Clarke's new votevet commercial - wow - very to the point and professional - blames Iraq on more terrorism - uses Iraq war veterans to tell story


Your side loses the immigration argument because you want to throw out the baby with the bath water-

there are issues which unite us and which will immediately reduce the financial burden on our communities.

[1] use falsified residency documents to enroll your child in an American school - you lose your Visa (this is a border issues which costs us millions)

[2] use your visa to cross into the US at the last minute to have your kid and do not pay for the bill - you lose your visa for good

[3] The universities are the biggest source of financial loss to our communities - their bilingual education programs are run by idiots - the drop out rate of these immigrant children is way too high - the blame is 100% with the incompetence at the universities in terms of teacher training - they want to protect and expand their programs

all of my cousins who came from Nicaragua to study in our universities did the same thing - they spent 1 year in all English language classes - they all then went on to graduate as engineers -

I say we immediately stop all bilingual education courses and mandate 1 year of English only classes for all non English speakers - this will decrease the drop out rate and safe us money

My point is Mike - you can keep the baby just get rid of the dirty water

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | November 2, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

MikeB, I am sorry to have bothered you. I didn't get your angry post until after I sent my latest request for more info. I have no agenda here, and I did not mean to upset you. I am sorry.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

joey -- oh hey you're right. I forgot about sherwood. That was classic. Go on TV and say, 'i had an affair but i didn't choke her'...

oh and here's another republican who likes to shove women aruond --jim gibbons... in a little more trouble:

'The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Gibbons, a Republican, opened doors in Washington for Trepp's eTreppid Technologies, a company with millions of dollars in classified federal software contracts from the Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Journal reported that Gibbons, who has served on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, helped eTreppid secure federal contracts, some of which were not disclosed publicly for security reasons.

Trepp and companies connected to him have contributed nearly $100,000 to Gibbons' campaign for governor, and Trepp hosted Gibbons, his wife and others on a weeklong Caribbean cruise in March 2005. Also, a former eTreppid executive who is suing Trepp alleges that Gibbons got unreported gifts of cash and casino chips from his former boss.'

the secrecy behind these 'defense' contracts means there is no oversight whatsoever-- so naturally, billions of dollars have simiply evaporated...this is what the republicans are all about.

Posted by: drndl | November 2, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

MikeB, I agree with your statements about the way things should be. We need the some of the labor, and it should all be legal. I can not verify any of the figures you have mentioned. There is a very high background of rabid websites with all kinds of claims, but even on the Commerce Department Site I can't verify.

I have long bought the argument that deportation was impractical. If your numbers are correct, then maybe I can look again. I don't mean to be questioning you personally, but your the one who made the statements. Just get me started. You say you went through state budgets. The raw budgets? How could that even help? You would need to make massive assumptions about the percentages of spending. I am familiar enough with such research to understand the size of the undertaking. Did you prepare a summary for publication? Help us out, this is important. I am sorry to ask you to go through it again, but I missed it the first time.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The real worse campaigns have been the Democratic party - 200o was theirs to lose - Gore went out and said "I too am a victim of Bill CLinton" "I'm not Bill CLinton" and you know what I did not vote for Cry Baby Gore ( I sure as heck did not vote for Bush)

2004 was handed to Dems on a silver platter - Kerry "I am privileged and there have an entitlement to the White House" - did vote again - I voted for Edwards in the primary - now I will probably vote f or Clark

now 2008 the election is all but the Dems - all they have is we hate Bush, and sugarcane promises without one proposal as to how they will accomplish their promises.

Short of stopping funding for the war (political suicide) the Dems are powerless even with a super majority in the House.

I take shame that the only party I can vote for continues without a game plan as to anything.

The Dems are clearly the worse campaign.

as to MikeB - all of the number crunches agree their numbers are estimates and do not reflect the truth about tax contributions to the community - you see - an undocumented worker who buys a car is employing and American Union worker - who in turns pays taxes

all of the numbers are bogus - I do agree though a lot - and I a mean a lot - of American citizens who have worked hard and given to this country have suffered in the market place because of the low wages these undocumented workers accept.

You notice Mike how I am willing to concede the truth when it is supported by unchallenged evidence.

Your numbers game reflects your frustration - I get it - I heard your story and you and your family are in fact victims - but let's be honest about the accuracy of these numbers.

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | November 2, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Adam Hammond - Can't you read? I looked up several of those companies while I was posting replying to Bobby C. and found that virtually all of them "went public" as a direct result of Bush's laws since 2000. Further, I couldn't ONE executive that wasn't a named big Repubican Party activist. I strongly suspect you ar esimply one of those "sort" that asks for "proof" and then "more proof" of any claim running counter to your narrow and distorted world view and, then (of course!) ignores it all. Well, I'm not going to waste my time. "Don't cast your pearls before swine." as the good book says.

Posted by: MikeB | November 2, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I will be curious to see how the immigration issue is handled by those seeking the WH in '08. Because, as we can see by the postings, there are many angles to this very important issue.

Posted by: Political Junkie | November 2, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Aside from the "personal" aspect that everybody seems to be hung up on, Kerry and whoever "got to" Kerry, deserve some credit for political acumen.

Kerry managed to get his shot in at the White House sounding tough, and then managed to get the story off the front page. No nagging story here. Kerry was the Anti-Allen.

How many times have we ever seen a politician get out from under a major controversy so quickly? None that I can remember.

Hopefully it took Kerry out of the 2008 picture; but I hardly believe that it will hurt him in Massachusetts. Politics even outdoes the Red Sox there, because you can play it year round. I'm sure most Bay Staters knew exactly what was going on.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 2, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes - The one trillion dollar figure is the total actual cost to governemnts at all levels and businesses, like hospitals, for non-recoverable expenses. These actuial amounts are broken out into a series of independent reports. For examle, the CBO estimate is just $300 billion, but that is only for federal outlays. The various states, hospitals, all have exepnses that are not included in the CBO figures. When you go through the state budgets as I have done, and start adding up the figures for education, non-recoverable medical expenses, law enforcement, education, social services, etc. the actual annual cost is something like 1.3 trillion dollars. The problem we face is that no one wants this known. The conservatives all are looking for their usual free lunch, taxpayer supported slave labor; while the liberals all look at the tragedy and hardship these poor and desparate people suffer and want to help hem all. Of course they do, anyone human would want that. But, the simple and awful fact is, we cannot afford it! The best we can do is to reform our immigration laws to permit a certain number of legal immigrants in from Mexico each year. I have no idea as to how many we can afford. But I want them in legally - poor, hard working, honest, legal workers. But no more than we can afford to absorb.

Posted by: MikeB | November 2, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The Kerry thing is not news I will grant you. But I think the joke was pretty tasteless anyway. Don't we have something better to say than George Bush is dumb. In any case, I think that there is also a history with Kerry that the swift boat thing plugged into. Even if I concede that the swifties allegations were a crock for the sake of argument, there are a lot of vets that think that Kerry's post-war conduct was shameful and will never forgive him. There is some deep seated resentment there that was fueled when he was suddenly a war hero in '04 after he had spent his post vietnam years decrying american involvement in the war and saying some pretty ugly things about our soldiers.

In any case, this is where the resentment comes from and why Kerry will always be jumped on at a moments notice. Criticism of the war is valid, but my guess is the guys over there don't like reading every day about how things are such a disaster and that the american people think their mission is a horrible mistake. What irks me about Kerry and others is that he voted for the war. It is not "cut and run" I don't like that rhetoric either, but there has to be a distinction made between valid criticism and bulletin board material for your opponent.

Posted by: TG | November 2, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

How about Don Sherwood? Who the hell convinced him to go on TV with the "I may have cheated on my wife, but I never beat my mistress" ad? Not exactly the optimism Ronald Reagan's Morning in America.

Posted by: Joey | November 2, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I actually support Pres Bush's immigration proposal and I am a Dem. I think it is a worthwhile effort.

Posted by: Political Junkie | November 2, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the internet for crying out loud.

Are you telling me that all of the home building companies that come up on a Yahoo search are recently founded cash cows set up to take advantage of changes in the laws regarding cheap illegal labor? MikeB was making specific and harsh allegations that I was interested in following up. I was hoping Mike could save me some time by naming a good (bad) company to start with. Your first mentioned company is KB, which is not a recently started company.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Richard Pombo is chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resouces, not the Committee on Agriculture.

Posted by: CCF | November 2, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Nope. Sorry. That is a *conservartive" estimate and is from the Commerce Department and the Home Builders Association. It's **at least** 80% AND they are spread out all across the country - Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Monatan, Illinois, you name the place and at least 80% of the construction workers are illegals.

The $30,000 a year figure is also conservative. It is what thr State of Oregon estimates the taxpayer cost of Intel employing an Indian worker on an L1 visa. For H1-B visa, where they bring their spuse and children here for up to 8 years, it is up to four times that.

And, I am not going to go through the exercise again, but Chris Cillizza and other regular readers here can tell you that I have meticulously documented figures and referecnes to back that claim up. Illegals cost the U.S. taxpayer *over* one trillion dollars annually. The savings for getting rid of them wuld be enough to fund a national health insurance program AND get a running start at a genuine national retirement system.

Posted by: MikeB | November 2, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

KOZ - first of all - it should be glom onto, not gloam. . .

And anon at 4:28 - don't be so certain that Osama won't show up in some form before next Tues - at least in a video but at some point, the Repubs are going to parade him out the day before an election. . .

Posted by: star11 | November 2, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

okay ladies, here is my advice - you need to go to the gym in the afternoon to let off steam - wow you guys have gone over the edge this afternoon

now that I am back from the gym

Mike B is correct that a lot of hardworking American citizens have lost out over the undocumented immigrants - this is a fact no one can deny.

All my point was - federalism allows for use to see how these policies work at the local level before we take them national - I cannot help what the facts are showing.

I found Mike's 1 trillion dollar figure interesting - never even heard the most anti-undocumented immigrant person use that number before.

the fact of the matter is - even the number crunchers on both sides agree - no one knows for sure what the number is - this is why these local innitiatives are good - we can now see if it is good or bad when se sent these people packing from our communities.

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | November 2, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'd nominate R-Steve Chabot in OH-1 for one of the worst incumbent campaigns. The district hasn't voted for a D-pres since '76. He himself won with over 60% of the vote in '04.

- Demographics are shifting a bit, but heavy, heavy German Catholic heritage (with over 60% of grade schoolers in parochial schools; read anti-abortion).
- Less than 4% Hispanic.

So what does Chabot run on? Illegal immigration. Idiot.

Last week's ad focused on his opponent's supposed endorsement of 50,000 volt tasers being used on 7 year old grade schoolers. No wonder he's down.

Posted by: DCA2CMH | November 2, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, Bush released his military record because there was nothing in it. The guy was missing the whole time, doing lines of coke in Alabama while Kerry was actually in 'Nam fighting.

Drindl, I think you're exactly right. As sad of a reflection on our electorate as it is, a lot of people do think Kean Sr. is the one on the ballot. Junior is only reinforcing that by running ads with his dad's image.

Posted by: Greg-G | November 2, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Adam Hammond - Use the internet. A Yahoo search willing bring up a bunch of them. For starters look at KB Home (president Bruce Karatz, Republican Party Activist), Ryland Homes, Nationwide Homes, Toll Brothers, D.R. Horton, M.D.C. Holdings, Centex Homes, Meritage Homes, Lennar, Pulte Homes, Beazer Homes,... There are dozens of these. Use Yahoo's Finance page and look up the corporate officers names and, then, do a Yahoo search on them. Virtually every one of them is either a Bush "Pioneer" or a big Republican Party donner.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Hastert intended to insult the troops, so there is no story there.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Gloaming, or twilight, the time before sunrise and after sunset

how poetic

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

It probably doesn't hurt Busby that she has tremendous name recongnition because of the millions of dollars spent on that special election. If Bilbray loses next week the GOP will have spent about half a million dollars for each week he was in office. Now that is Fiscal Conservatism at its finest.

Posted by: Andy R | November 2, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

isn't that scottish -- the gloaming?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Who is to blame for the mess that is Iraq? According to the Republican Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, American soldiers are to blame. That's right -- a man who had a hand in covering up the Mark Foley mess, but passed the buck to Denny Hastert would now like you to blame the soldiers on the ground in Iraq, risking life and limb, rather than holding George Bush, their Commander in Chief and Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary, accountable for their piss poor planning and failures of leadership.

Does anyone in the Republican party leadership ever stand up and take responsibility for any of their failures? Ever? Where is Osama? Escalating chaos in Iraq? Katrina? Undermining our Constitutional rights in order to seize more executive power and privilege? War profiteering? Criminal corruption investigations, guilty pleas and indictments throughout the Republican-controlled Congress and members of the Bush Administration? Anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"the bigger question is, which other fool will you all gloam onto now."

I'll gloam where I want to.

Posted by: Castor | November 2, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please put us in touch with George Allen and Katharine Harris? We have a proposal they may find interesting for later this month. Thank you for your assistance. Crunch all you want, we'll make more.

Posted by: Doritos Marketing Dept. | November 2, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I know lots of folks in NJ -- the big joke is most people don't know it's keen junior -- they think it's his father running. And he was very populaar, and the kid still is sweating it.

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

--my, my, these religious 'conservatives'. now, these are allegations. I don't know how Haggard has responded...but I just cna't figure out why the man who is accusing him would do it, if it isn't true, it's slander, isn't it? Illegal? You could also get your butt kicked by a mob of outraged followers. Also, the informant has been talking to the station for two months now, I presume they have checked out his story... wow.

UPDATE: This guy is reportedly as important as James Dobson:
The press tends to regard Dobson as the most powerful evangelical Christian in America, but Pastor Ted is at least his equal.
UPDATE: Here is how big this story is.
Christian evangelical leader Ted Haggard... one of the nation's most influential evangelical Christians, whose overstuffed agenda includes a weekly conference call to the White House.
He also claims to have direct access to George Bush:
"We have direct access," says Mr. Haggard, senior pastor of the giant New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. "I can call [Mr. Goeglein], he'll take my concern to the president and get back to me in 24 hours."
And he's virulently anti-gay. This guy was on TIME's list of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. It doesn't get any bigger than this. And he's from Colorado. Wonder what Marilyn Musgrave has to say about this?

Mike Jones told '9 Wants to Know' Investigative Reporter Paula Woodward he has had a "sexual business" relationship with Pastor Ted Haggard for the past three years.

Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The church has 14,000 members.

He is also president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents millions of people.

Jones started talking to 9 Wants to Know two months ago. He claims Haggard has been paying him for sex over the past three years, even though Haggard preaches that homosexuality is a sin.

Jones also claims Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence on several occasions....

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

should have read:
Kean Jr. is not stylish and may be trading on daddy's name...

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Greg G, thanks.

I'll take up the challenge.

Busby should have never been a factor at all in that district. The fact that she won the initial vote was impressive but may have been attributed to Cunningham's negatives.

The fact that the November race is now competitive once Bilbray won the run-off shows she has created a significant following. We'll see if she can finish it off.

Kean Jr. is stylish and may be trading on daddy's name but this is a true blue state and for him to hang tough this long is admirable. Because he himself is lackluster, it points to an outstanding organization on the ground in my estimation.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Kerry still to this day has not signed the form that would release his military record. why? Bush did it? Maybe that discharge during the carter years is not as advertised. Teraysa's money will get him back into the spotlight again soon. you are not rid of this fool. the bigger question is, which other fool will you all gloam onto now. Seems funny that everyone was so excited about him less than two years ago. My how times have changed. It is no longer chic to despise the military openly and Kerry is still living in 1969. amazing how Karl Rove made him say that. what awesome powers!

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 2, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

George Will wrote a column about how Allen's disasterous campaign is a benefit to Romney for conservative primary voters.

I would argue that Kerry's demise benefits John Edwards the most.

He can clearly distance himself from the 2004 campaign and he can be looked at as the one bright spot to come out of that campaign.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

RMill, you're my favorite poster on this site in terms of insight and analysis, so I feel nervous challenging you, haha. However, I completely disagree about the Busby-Bilbray allocation.

I thought Busby ran an awful campaign. She should have won the district, yet she couldn't even beat Kerry's vote share in '04. It was mostly because of her comments on immigration, which was inexcusably foolish of her, given the conservative bent of this border district.

I have to also disagree a bit about Kean Jr. I think he ran a lackluster campaign (although I don't really think he's that impressive or sharp to begin with). Had Corzine made a better Senate choice to begin with (like Andrews from South Jersey), Kean probably wouldn't have broken 40%.

I think Tester, Brown and McCaskill all ran terrific campaigns in red states, and other Dems would do well to mimic them. I think all three will win on election night--or in McCaskill's case the early hours of post-Election Day.

Posted by: Greg-G | November 2, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Castor, Andy R, R Mill.... Hear, hear!

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 2, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Caston, Andy R, R Mill.... Hear, hear!

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 2, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

well, i have to agree with castor. kerry just doesn't connect well with people, he's too stiff, he overthinks things. i still think he would have been a far better president than bush, who never thinks at all, but still. he didn't run a good race, he gave up too easily, and we all had to suffer for it. he shouldn't even be considered for '08... toast.

as i have posted, i saw clinton speak this week. now there's somebody who knows how it's done. you feel his intelligence, his humor, you feel like he's talking to you -- as an EQUAL. he just knows how to connect. and that's why they couldn't beat him--he's a real human being. flawed, but very real.

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Hear, hear!

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 2, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

That is exactly what kept Clinton in hot water for so long.

Instead of the finger wagging denial and then weeks later, the deposition definiation of what "is" is, to the defense its no ones business but Hillary and me.

When the apology did come, and Judge is right, he came across very sincere. He is a master at it. But it did not hold much weight with me.

Clinton was, in my estimation, a very good president. What disappointed me most was the squandered opportunities. I agreed that personal sex life is no ones business. But he did it "on the job", the perception was that it was a lack of judgement and he should have just apologized straight out.

Kerry should have known what he was stirring up and knocked it down. He used up all those chits fighting swift boaters, which he also botched.

And it may be reasonable for Kerry to privately be bitter, but it is not Senatorial or Presidential by any means. It comes off as petty.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree that no matter what he meant to say it didn't come out that way. That is a mistake. When you make a mistake and people get offended you apologize. I don't care who first suggested it, Kerry should have apologized as soon as he realized his mistake. It urks me to no end that my senator is the one making these mistakes.
I think you should watch for a serious challenge for Kerry's seat next election, either in the primaries or the general.

Posted by: Andy R | November 2, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The point is not whether people didn't get what Kerry was trying to say and whether or not he needed to be apoplectic about it. It's common civility if you misspeak and in that moment say something that offends those you never meant to target, to simply say, "hey I'm sorry, That's not what I meant. this is." He was OK with the, "that's not what I meant", part. If he had just said "my bad", along with it as any normal person would hopefully do, before the White House made it a cause, it would have been little to nothing to talk about. Instead he drew the exact same stupid wrong line in the sand at the exact wrong time....AGAIN!

I wasted a ton of time and money in 2004 for Kerry. The incident this week and the way he couldn't just deal with it in a normal, rational manner was all too reminiscent of his run for the Presidency.
A simple, "F@#$ You, I served, here's the records, kiss my ass" in regards to the SwiftBoat campaign, as about 99% of veterans who served would have responded, would have defused that situation to what it was, pathetic politicking. Instead he not only gave it legs but wings by his namby-pamby one thing today another tomorrow reaction.

Kerry's inability to just respond to situations like a semi-normal honest with themselves human being who doesn't sit around second guessing every goddamn thing and how it will fare politically cost him the Presidency and us, the citizens, four years of craziness from the loons in the White House.

Posted by: Castor | November 2, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Looks like both Kerry and Allen can "forgetaboutit" for 2008 top gun.
Kerry has proven once again that he was born with a silver foot in his mouth, and Allen that he hatched from under a rock.

Did anyone watch the pathetic performance by Harris last night in her debate with Nelson moderated by Tim Russert on MSNBC? Nelson was impressive, a statesman. Harris, well I expected at any minute to see her flick her forked tongue....

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 2, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

My initial reaction to Kerry's response was that he was taking Clinton's advice and fighting the smear tactics with some justifiable outrage. Wouldn't that have been a fine response, politically speaking? I mean, if it was someone else, and had gotten some backup from his party? Why does the fact that he is bitter about last election (reasonable, considering) change the story from "Kerry stands up for himself" to "Kerry refuses to apologize"?

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Jack Landers is right. Although it is fun to bash Harris, and we all want to read about how horribleher campaign is, she's not an incumbent in that race.

Posted by: JR Flanders | November 2, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Chocola's poor campaign actually began at the end of last cycle when he refused to go negative against Democrat Joe Donnelly..." Are you kidding me? I have to say, it's really a disgusting state of affairs when a candidates proported mistake was to stay positive. I am not a Republican, but I really respect any candidate for doing that.

Posted by: scm | November 2, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Because he is a big boy and should, by now, understand that politics is perception.

He has never been able to connect with people in a way that makes them think he understands them.

But becuase of his aching ego and an attempt to show leadership, he overstepped once again and got blasted for it.

Even if he had pulled off the joke, it shows his bitterness towards the end result of 2004 and allowed the GOP to showcase his elitist image and make the story about something other than Dem talking points.

I don't really care what joke he was making or why, but his double talk explanation instead of a plain "I am sorry" would have ended this two days ago.

He made one of the cardinal sins of politics of "stepping on the message" and then did no one any favors except the GOP by not fixing it right away. If he has not learned that by now, he doesn't deserve to be in politics.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Kerry is dead for '08. I didn't think he had much chance anyway. He just keeps getting bested by the opposing political machine. I usually just read what he says. It always comes as a shock when I actually watch the delivery on a website somewhere. Regardless of his ideas, he is just not the right guy for the times.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

RMill, I meant to aim my Kerry diatribe at you. You so easily lump Kerry's apology with the others, just tacitly propagating the partisan talking point that he had something to apologize for. He said the right thing in his next press statement. He meant to insult the president. He supports the troops. Why did the press go along with the whitehouse insistence that that wasn't enough? How was he supposed to sincerely apologize for a republican press manipulation?

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Tony Snow made an issue of an apology 16 times at his news briefs yesterday (courtesy of Joe Scarborough).

It was an implicit attempt to keep the story going and goad Kerry into 'not apologizing' so it did not appear Kerry was kow-towing to Bush, which his ego could not handle and the WH knew it.

I know the joke was not meant to demean the troops but all the wasted effort it would take to explain that would just be useless at this stage and keep the Dems off message.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Kerry is an idiot.

He acted in a manner befitting neither a US Senator or Presidential material. Still smarting from 2004, he was trying to take on Bush and handled it like he handled his failed 2004 campaign.

He should apologize for getting our hopes up to begin with in 2004 and for his ego in thinking he is the leader of this party.

And from what I am hearing, Kerry only apologized when the President told him to (Clinton not Bush).

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, BlueDog, [a gallant man, I must say] -- haven't used that word for a while, not much reason to these days... I saw that little roundup of 'bad' people too -- hilarious timing. I'm sure they arranged the whole thing simply as an election stunt. Gonzales even broke down how many 'sex offenders' ,etc they got. cheap trick. Wonder if it will be liike all those 'terror' suspects they arrest, who you find out later were released b ecasue they had no actual evidence against them...

also George Bush today said 'heckuva job, Rummy' -- yes, really. Said rummy was doing a 'fantastic' job. Fantastic.Just boggles the mind.

Posted by: drindl | November 2, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Kerry had nothing to apologize for. The issue was made up by the Whitehouse. The audience laughed after the third Bush bashing joke in a row. His comment had nothing to do with U.S. soldiers. I am so disgusted with the Democrats who capitulated once again. Tony Snow says, "we are only trying to help" in calling for an apology, and no one comments that this sounds unlikely.

Look. The whitehouse says "He insulted the troops - he should apologize"

If he doesn't apologize, they bang away with he should apologize.

Once he does apologize, it seals the deal that he had something to apologize for.

This neatly circumvents the whole question of whether an apology was actually required.

Since the media went with the "didn't apologize" story there was no winning.

Unless ... unless ... the Dems had stood together - "He has nothing to apologize about. This is a made up issue!" Then the press has the opportunity to revisit the truth of the matter. Kerry did not insult the troops.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Despite Harris's self immolation, nothing can compare to Mukowski's getting in the upper teens in the PRIMARY. Anything short of conviction can explain how a sitting gov. can do sooo poorly. His own campaign manager left a few weeks before the vote complaining that the reelection was being mismanaged. His first ad was an admission that he needed a "personality transplant". Who thought that one up?

I don't sense that CC meant this a a rank order, but Murkowski's campaign must rank as a text book example of how not to.....

Can anyone come up with a non-convicted (heck forget that...ever) gov doing so poorly in a primary? It must be some record low, no?

Posted by: WOW | November 2, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse


I'm watching you on hardball, Matthews interrupted again, happens every time...

Is that a 3 o'clock shadow?

Posted by: JEP | November 2, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

RMill: you might add, to find out what a sincere apology looks like study Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | November 2, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Schliesinger CT Senate-
Sorry for the slip of the brain.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

2006 Mid-term Election Lesson
Knowing When To Say Sorry- Allen and Kerry sink aspirations for Oval Office

Two east coast U.S. Senators began 2006 with hopes of facing off in the 2008 Presidential election. Now one is hiding in disgrace and the other may be booted out of his seat by his electorate.

John Kerry boasted a warchest that could give him immediate entry into the "game", despite losing in 2004 and that the warchest may have come at the expense of that race (many Democratic insiders state he should have used it, either during the campaign or fighting the outcome).

George Allen was heralded by some conservatives (namely himself) as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. All he had to do was sidestep a party switching opponent and begin the real work towards his 2008 run.

Now, both men have let their mouths all but destroy such aspirations.

John Kerry says he bungled a joke but then compounded the gaffe when he massacred the apology.

George Allen started with slurring a young Webb campaign worker, the infamous "macaca" incident. He butchered his apology too.

Other incumbents have been quick to apologize, but have seemed to accelerate their demise.

Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Wheldon and Don Sherwood, along with New York Congressman Tom Reynolds and outgoing Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski jumped at the chance to apologize and seemingly have effectively ended their political careers.

So when is an apology the best strategy?

When it is sincere and earnest.

Waiting days or weeks to apologize only demeans it. Waiting for the story to break on your mistress accusing you of assault is not a good time. This deep in an election season, everything is tainted. President Bush waiting until last week to acknowledge that "stay the course" is not the best choice of words may have been better expressed about six months ago.

Insinuating that military personnel are "not the smartest kids on the block", even in jest or when trying to make another point is just stupid. Then Kerry reminded everyone why he lost in 2004 during his botched explanation.

Allen never seemed sincere. Murkowski seemed arrogant. Reynolds, Wheldon and Sherwood seemed desperate to save their own skins.

So it's not so much the apology itself, but the manner and timeliness of its delivery. Get it right. Voter's are forgiving but only to a certain extent.

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I can never spell his name right - Schlesinger

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

R Mill - Schelessinger is running for Senate and not for Governor. The nominees for Governor in CT are Rell and DeStefano.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see this?:

"U.S. sweep nets nearly 11,000 fugitives"
"Record set for arrests in a week, attorney general announces."

Why announce THIS week when it occurred LAST week? Hmm, one of several upcoming October Surprises? What's next Saddam Hussein is found Guilty? Oh, yeah, I forgot, that comes out on the 5th.

Posted by: BlueDog | November 2, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse


Not germaine to the thread, but it seems we may make that irrelevent.

Yes, the raw numbers indicate it's cheaper to deport than provide subsistance, but I think there's some apples and oranges problems here. We'd have to dramatically increase hires of Law Enforcement types to round'em up, build holding environs, feed, care for, and transport. Your $200 million figure works out to about $1800 per person, not a figure I'm about to believe. The cost of subsistence goes through state agencies, the cost to deport through the feds, there'd have to be some sort of account balancing. Finally, I still think the easiest (cheapest) way is to enforce the laws on the books about hiring illegals. If it was mandatory to check the SSAN with the Fed records, as opposed to the current voluntary effort, more illegals could not get hired, jobs for them would dry up. If the ICE was allowed to fully man and deploy (instead of suffering budget cuts) AND they were allowed to "raid" work sites again jobs for illegals would dry up more. Even that added costs would be cheaper than wholesale deportation. Let'em leave on there own due to no incentive to be here. The ones that stay are the toughest ones, survivors that w'ed want to add to our society anyway.

Also, Adam's comments regarding unions is on target, even though the unions haven't taken advantage of the situation. Wages are down artificially, in part because no one is forcing management to the bargaining table.

I like the idea of enacting some form of "outsourcing" penalty, but I doubt the marketplace would stand for it.

Posted by: BlueDog | November 2, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse


Since when is Katherine Harris an incumbent?

Democrat Bill Nelson is the incumbent in that race. You might want to edit that list real quick.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | November 2, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Also MikeB, I saw your earlier posts about a trillion dollars spent on illegals. I didn't comment then, but that just can't be right. How could we be spending $90,000 a year on each and every illegal immigrant. I know health care is expensive now, but do they all have kidney failure? I'm sure the figure comes from adding up reasonable estimates, but something has to be wrong there.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

CC: you might add George W. Bush to your list. He's not running for office but he might as well be given all the campaigning he's been doing. The net result: no movement in the polls. He succeeds in motivating his base and the opposition's base at the same time.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | November 2, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Best run non-incumbent campaigns
(no particular order)
Busby CA-50
Ritter CO Gov
McSweeney IL-8
Ellsworth IN-8
Nussle IA Gov
McCaskill MO Senate
Tester MT Senate
Brown OH Senate
Kean Jr. NJ Senate
Ford TN Senate

Honorable mention:
Strayhorn TX Gov
Steele MD Senate

Worst run non-incumbent campaigns
(no particular order)
Otter ID Gov
Gibbons NV Gov
Blackwell OH Gov
Harris FL Senate
Graf AZ-8
Bilbray CA-50
Schliesinger CT Gov
Davis FL Gov
Madrid NM-1
Blasdel OH-6

Honorable mention:
Bouchard MI Senate
Bell TX Gov
Carter NV Senate

Posted by: RMill | November 2, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm just shocked the Florida Republicans let Harris become their nominee. If they can rig the state for Bush, couldnt they have rigged it against Harris? (THAT IS JUST A JOKE!)

Posted by: Mikepcfl | November 2, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

MikeB, there is no way that the annual cost of a legal immigrant worker is $30,000. That just sounds rediculous. If you can point me to a place to verify that number, then I will come back and apologize.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"Today, 80% of construction workers are illegals and virtually all of them are paid under the table." ???

80 percent? perhaps some hyperbole in use? where would you be working in construction, Nogales, Arizona? here in the intermountain west it's already winter (12 degrees this morn) and they aint no illegals here - muchas fria! que no?

Posted by: chicadenada | November 2, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Can we now admit that Katherine Harris only got to be in the House as a thank you for her role in the 2000 presidential election? She was always a disaster. I am so pleased to see her embarrass herself deeply before she heads off to oblivion.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

BlueDog - I keep hearing that deportion is impractical. Well, it isn't. I ran some posts here a while back about the cost of the illegals to taxpayers and the direct costs are around one trillion dollars a year. The federal costs alone are in excess of 300 billion dollars annually (CBO). Now, the estimates I have hear for rounding up every illegal and deporting them are around $200 billion. ANd, remember, this is a one time cost if we close the borders and make it punatively expensive to hire these people in the future. So, economically, it makes a lot of sesne to enforce our immigration laws and simply round them up and ship 'em out. In Europe they are doing exactly this with the milllions of illegal workers from Eatern Europe and Africa. In fact, in England, Germany, and France, they are putting a cap on the number of alien EU member workers they will take in the future. Industrialized countries have a limited supply of jobs and they owe it to their own citizens to provide those jobs to them first. Beyonfd this, we need to make use of tax laws to punish companies that outsource jobs. We can, as the rest of the world does, enact tarif's on good and services produced by outsourced work. Targeting hem would make it less attractive. As things stand right now, hoewever, we provide incentives to companies to outsource and those incentives are born by the taxpayers. The same applies to guest workers here on H1-B and other H, J, and L series visa's. The average cost of a worker, the tax payer burden, is around $30,000 annually. That is an insult to Amercia and Amercian's and, if widely known or advertised, would be a political hot potato that would make or break a lot of politcian's. That it is not, is testiment to the fact that both political parties feed at the corporate trough.

Posted by: MikeB | November 2, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey MikeB,

Name some names for me. I was unaware of these mega-construction companies and would like to check out their board members' connections. Who is the worst, in your opinion?

To me this sounds like exactly the crap that happens when we forget what labor unions are for. There was so much blame heaped on unions in the late 90s and pre-9/11. I would love to see union organizers out at construction sites talking to the immigrants. Isn't this issue squarely in their arena? They shouldn't sit back and look to the government to protect their members. Find out which companies are using illegals and make sure all their members know it. Act against the companies that are raking in money by breaking the law.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 2, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse


Gee, we were having so much fun, I just couldn't stop.

Okay, okay. New subject, see above, I'm tryin'.

Posted by: BlueDog | November 2, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure Chris is wrong about Santorum not making the list. His problems stem more from his two terms of loudmouth behavior than his campaign. Yes, he could have run a better campaign by calming down a bit, but that just wouldn't be the Rickster we've all grown to know and love. His organization is fairly good, he gets his message out, the "structure" of his campaign is okay, it's just his message that sucks. There seems to be plenty of other candidates out there who've simply mismanaged the campaign itself.

I do think I'd take off Hostettler. I'm not going to fault a candidate who refuses PAC money. Yeah, it's not going to work in the current climate, but hey, who knew?

Posted by: BlueDog | November 2, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, call the plumber, there's a leak between threads here.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 2, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Very good post. I haven't checked the details but they "feel" correct. My son is in construction while in college, most of the site laborers on his non-government site are paid $9-11 hr. He suspects about half are illegals with phoney docs. I can attest that when I ran a construction company (small one) for few years in the 90's that's what I was paying then, so yes wages are artifically low for unskilled labor. But there's still a huge shortage of that for most construction sites, at least in this area (DC Metro). I think I'd rather enforce the on-the-book laws about hiring illegals, but that's not popular with either the Dem's (labor constiuency) or Reps (Business constituency). Deportation is fiscally impractical (11 million times the cost of finding, tracking, transporting, feeding, housing, etc). Leaving things the way they are is also impractical. Suggestions anyone?

Posted by: BlueDog | November 2, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Harris belongs in a category of her own. Nobody in recent memory has burned more bridges than she has. Now, she couldn't win a election for dog catcher in Catsville even if she were the only candidate.

It also sounds like she needs to burn some more bridges. Anybody looking forward to her new tell-all book?

Posted by: Zathras | November 2, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like "Baby Heath" is running this campaign far better than he ever ran the Redskins offense.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | November 2, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

BlueDog - asks, if we don't have illegals "...where will construction workers come from, restaurant workers, ag workers..." Actually, they would come from American's. Just one example. In 2000, just as Bush was taking office, virtually all construction workers where American's. Those jobs paid $15 to $20 an hour and a man could support a family on that salary, and millions did. Today, 80% of construction workers are illegals and virtually all of them are paid under the table. They receive an average of $8 an hour but pay no taxes and receive no benefits of any sort. It might be educational to see how this has all been done. Prior to 2000, construction workers - painters, roofers, concrete workers, insulation and drywall installers, framing carpenters and cabinet makers - were employed by a Home Builder. That builder was literally a small company and paid those workers' Social Security. Medicare, salary, and usually included a modest benefit package. In 2000, shortly after taking office, President Bush, enacted a series of laws that permitted the Home Builders to act as contractors, with the various plumbers, painters, concrete workers, etc. acting as subcontractors. This removed from the builder the expense of paying benefits, deducting taxes for wages, etc. The result of this was the emergence of some of the huge national home construction *corporations* we now see. Now, these corporations are investor funded and driven. Which explains why we do not see any lessening of housing construction prices, even though the labor costs using illegals is so much less. All of the excess profits simply go into the pockets of the investors and the corporate officers. And, the influx of illegal workers, the criminal activity of employing them and paying them under the table is all driven by this. There has been a trickle down effect from this to the local builder. They cannot compete against the national corporations unless the likewise engage in hiring illegals and paying them under the table wages. What is really sickening about this is that the way the "Bush laws" were written, the corporations and, now, even local builders *must* pay illegals under the table because if they were paid legal wages the taxes would render the pittance paid insufficient to attract workers AND the illegal workers would stand out and be subject to immediate deportation. The effect of all of this has been to force millions of semi-skilled American workers out of the construction trades and has cost the U.S. treasury an estimated 90 billion dollars in uncollected taxes for wages and more than 80 billion dollars in uncollected Social Security taxes. (U.S. Department of Commerce statistics - "field estimates are that these numbers only reflect about half of the uncollected funds).

Now, most of those construction workers have been forced into new rural manufacturing jobs. These are jobs like the new ones in rural towns in Oregon and Indiana where mobile homes are built by companies like Monaco, Safari, Country Coach, Beaver, etc. The average salary for these workers has dropped, however, by nearly 30% as these jobs pay an average of $10 to $12 per hour. If you look around any rural community you will see thousands of these sorts of jobs that have been created since the influx of illegals drove American workers from their jobs.

Now, the reason we are hearing the chattering about legalizing the millions of illegals is two fold. First, the U.S. treasury is essentially broke and even the neo-cons recognize that they need an influx of cash to offset the cost of these illegal workers. This will, of course, cause some local wage increases to offset the costs to the workers for being forced to pay taxes and is being fought hard by the construction, nursery, forestry and other contract work industries. On the other side, however, the small manufacturing industries are lobbying hard for this legislation because it will lead to even lower labor and benefit costs when millions of suddenly legal workers compete for those manufacturing jobs. The social costs, the costs for medical care, lost jobs, and the rest that will fal directly on American workers is something no one seems to have considered.

Posted by: MikeB | November 2, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? How did Santorum not make the list? Though, I suppose, it was more like a poorly run life than a poorly run campaign in his case...

Posted by: Mike | November 2, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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