Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • A cautious Obama urges Americans to ‘turn the page’ on Iraq

    obama speechPresident Obama faced a major dilemma heading into Tuesday's prime-time address on Iraq: How do you mark the milestone of a campaign promise fulfilled when what has happened in Iraq isn't exactly "mission accomplished"?  It was an obstacle that Obama never quite overcame in his 18-minute speech, which was remarkably disjointed for a president well known for his eloquence.

    In only his second Oval Office address, Obama was careful not to use words like "victory" or "win" when announcing the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq. That's because Iraq, seven and a half years and thousands of lost American lives later, remains a largely dysfunctional democracy, heavily dependent on U.S. aid. While Obama met his political goal of withdrawing combat troops, 50,000 American personnel will remain on the ground there until at least next year, as the threat of violence in the region continues.

    "Violence will not end with our combat mission," Obama warned. "Extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack Iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife." But ultimately, the president insisted, "these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals."

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  • Watch President Obama’s Iraq speech live

    President Obama will speak to the nation from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. ET to mark the delivery of a key campaign promise he made in 2008: the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. The speech, expected to last about 15 or 20 minutes, won't be a "victory lap," Obama said today, but it will mark the changing U.S. role in the Iraq.

    Watch the speech here, courtesy ABC News:

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  • Palin’s endorsement didn’t help Miller in Alaska

    joemillerDid Sarah Palin's endorsement help Joe Miller in Alaska's GOP Senate primary? Not really, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey of GOP primary voters in the state.

    According to the poll, just 15 percent of those who voted for Miller say Palin's endorsement influenced their vote. Twenty-six percent said it was "somewhat important," and 59 percent say it didn't matter at all. Asked if a Palin endorsement makes a difference on who they vote for, 39 percent of Alaska GOP voters said it doesn't matter at all, while 35 percent said it made them "less likely" to support a candidate.

    Instead, Miller's narrow victory — which appears to be holding as votes continue to be counted — seems to have been driven by Republicans who think incumbent Lisa Murkowski isn't conservative enough.  Among the primary voters polled, 47 percent described Murkowski as "too liberal," while 38 percent said she was "just right." On the flip side, 51 percent — a majority — viewed Miller as "just right."

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  • Poll: Most Republicans think Obama ‘sympathizes’ with Islamist goals


    No matter what President Obama says about his religion, the debate over whether he is secretly Muslim continues to rage within the GOP. And a new poll finds that Republicans are now taking that rumor one step further. A Newsweek survey released Monday found that a majority of Republicans believe that Obama "sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world."

    According to the poll, 14 percent of Republicans said that from what they knew of Obama, they thought such allegations were "definitely true"; 38 percent thought the allegations were "probably true." Meanwhile, 33 percent of Republicans thought they were "probably not true" and 7 percent thought they were "definitely not true." Asked whether Obama favors the interests of Muslim Americans over other groups of Americans, 59 percent Republicans said yes, whereas 34 percent said he has "generally been evenhanded."

    The poll poses some dilemmas for the GOP as the party prepares for the thick of the general-election season. For months, the GOP has maintained a significant edge over Democrats in generic congressional ballot polling — with the most recent Gallup survey finding Republicans with an unprecedented 10-point lead. The GOP also leads Dems when it comes to voter enthusiasm ahead the November election — a number that typically serves as a reliable indicator of who will turn out to the polls and who won't.

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  • Meghan McCain’s new book revisits ’08 tensions over Palin’s campaign role

    Amid questions about her 2012 ambitions, Sarah Palin was plunged into some renewed controversy over her role on the 2008 GOP presidential ticket Tuesday, when John McCain's daughter Meghan launched the promotional tour for her new book, "Dirty Sexy Politics." In the book, Meghan McCain recalls that Palin's presence made for "drama, stress ... panic" in McCain campaign circles. The younger McCain entertains, but ultimately dismisses, the thought that the defeat of the 2008 GOP ticket "was Sarah Palin's fault."

    [Photos: More images of Meghan McCain]

    Meghan McCain has been reluctant until now to say anything publicly about Palin. But in an interview Tuesday with "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos, she explained that "I'm speaking out now because I have conflicting feelings" about Palin, noting that despite the anxiety associated with her nomination, Palin "brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign." You can watch McCain's full "Good Morning America" interview below, courtesy of ABC News; the Palin discussion begins around the two-minute mark.

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  • Will 2010 be the costliest, meanest midterm campaign yet?

    ReidAdThe 2010 campaign is already ugly, and it's likely to get much worse ahead of the November midterms. A report from the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad buys, finds that candidates for state and federal offices have already spent nearly $400 million on TV ads this election cycle. Political parties and outside groups have spent $150 million more. Combined, that's nearly twice the spending on ads recorded at this point in the last midterm election cycle, in 2006.

    Most of these spots are attack ads, the study found -- meaning that the 2010 race could go down as one of the nastiest battles in history.  According to the analysis, which was first reported by CNN's Paul Steinhauser, the top five states for negative ads include four with hard-fought Senate races: California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada. Rounding out the list is Alabama, which, as The Upshot has previously reported, has led the nation in off-the-charts-crazy ads this election year. In Senate races, the study found,  roughly 70 percent of the ads have been negative.

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  • As the RNC struggles, Rove-backed group plans $10 million GOTV effort

    boozmanlincolnAmerican Crossroads, the conservative group linked to former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, plans to spend more than $10 million on a massive get-out-the-vote program ahead of the midterm elections this fall. It's another sign that outside groups are quickly moving in to assume roles generally filled by the Republican National Committee, which has struggled to raise funds under embattled chairman Michael Steele.

    The program, called MOVERS ("mobilizing our voters to end reckless spending"), will target Republicans and independent voters in eight states with key Senate races: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Washington. The group is planning ads and has already run some in several of those states. In Nevada, for instance, the group has spent more than $1 million to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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  • Barbara Bush poses for Terry Richardson fashion spread

    barbarabushFormer First Daughter Barbara Bush has kept a low profile since her father left the White House nearly two years ago. But the 28-year-old recently posed for celebrity photographer Terry Richardson in a '70s-inspired photo shoot of New York socialites for an upcoming issue of V Magazine.

    Bush, who runs a public health charity in New York, channels Ali McGraw in a pair of navy blue bell bottoms and a white button-down shirt — though she confesses in an interview to holding "a soft spot" for the looks that Stevie Nicks and Anjelica Huston adopted in the '70s. Among the other socialites posing for the magazine: designer Rachel Roy, Tinsley Mortimer's sister Minnie, and Shoshanna Gruss, a designer perhaps most famous for once dating Jerry Seinfeld.

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  • Most Americans think Palin wouldn’t be ‘effective’ president


    Nearly 3 in 5 Americans don't think Sarah Palin would be an "effective president," according to a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.

    Fifty-nine percent of respondents in the survey think Palin wouldn't be effective in the White House. But a deeper look at the numbers, on the basis of party affiliation, shows just how politically polarizing the former Alaska governor can be. Seventy-five percent of Democrats say she wouldn't be a good fit in the office. Ditto for 63 percent of self-described independents and 70 percent of moderates — swing voters whom she would need for a White House run.

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  • McMahon spends big in Connecticut, but fallout over wrestler’s death could be costly

    lindaandvinceFormer World Wrestling Entertainment chief Linda McMahon spent nearly $2.5 million last month on her Senate bid in Connecticut — roughly equal to what her Democratic opponent Dick Blumenthal has spent on his entire campaign.

    As the Connecticut Mirror's Deirdre Shesgreen reports, McMahon spent an average $117,000 a day — spending that has now pulled her within 10 points of Blumenthal in a race where he was once strongly favored. All told, McMahon has spent nearly $24 million on her candidacy so far, all of it money that she has loaned to her campaign. Previously, McMahon has said she's willing to spend at least $50 million of her own cash on the race, a number that privately worries Democrats, as many once safe-looking Senate races have become unexpectedly competitive.

    Blumenthal has held onto most of his cash, launching his first general-election ad in the race a little more than a week ago. But McMahon has been forced to spend big, in part to build up her name recognition in the state but also to beat back potential negatives in her campaign, including her affiliation with the WWE. Last month, she ran ads describing the WWE as a "soap opera" amid criticism from families of wrestlers who have died after working for the WWE. But she still can't escape the bad press.

    Two weeks ago, Lance McNaught, a 29-year-old former WWE wrestler who struggled with a painkiller addiction, died of heart failure. Previously, McNaught, whose stage name was Lance Cade, had criticized the WWE, saying the company "says one thing and does another" when caring for wrestlers who struggle with addiction and health problems. McMahon denies the charge.

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