Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • 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

    palinrally

    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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  • Pennsylvania Senate race to be Obama referendum

    sestakapAll politics is local — except when it's not. In dismaying news for Democratic Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Joe Sestak, a new poll finds that most Pennsylvania voters in this fall's election plan to cast their ballots based on their feelings about President Obama.

    A Franklin and Marshall College survey of likely Pennsylvania voters found that Republican Pat Toomey leads Sestak by 9 points, 40 percent to 31 percent. But the poll also found that the race to replace Arlen Specter (whom Sestak defeated in this summer's Democratic primary) is increasingly less about either candidate than about  Obama. Three out of five Toomey voters say they consider their vote to be against Obama. Among Sestak supporters, roughly the same margin — 57 percent — say they will cast their ballots in support of Obama.

    Why is that bad news for Sestak and other Democrats in the state? Because Obama is far less popular in Pennsylvania than he was a year ago. According to Franklin and Marshall, Obama's approval rating in the state is at 37 percent — more than 20 points below where  it was 20 months ago, when he took office. Just 3 out of 10 Pennsylvanians say their state is on the right track — the lowest number in 15 years.

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  • Bristol Palin reportedly cast on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

    bristolLooks like Sarah Palin isn't going to be the only reality TV star in her family.

    The former Alaska governor's 19-year-old daughter, Bristol, has reportedly been cast on the upcoming season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." According to E! TV's Kristen Dos Santos, she joins a cast that reportedly includes David Hasselhoff,  Audrina Patridge, formerly of "The Hills," and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from MTV's "Jersey Shore."

    For the record, ABC isn't commenting. The show's cast is set to be revealed Monday, with the premiere scheduled for Sept. 20. That's a little less than two months before the scheduled premiere of that other Palin reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which debuts on Nov. 14 on TLC.

    If the Bristol news is true, there's one person sure to be jealous: Levi Johnston, the father of her nearly 2-year-old son, Tripp, who has been shopping around his own reality TV show. Last week, Johnston, who briefly reunited with his onetime fiancée this summer before breaking up again, filed paperwork in advance of an apparent run for office in Wasilla, Bristol Palin's hometown.

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  • Evangelicals condemn attacks on Obama’s faith, but Warren remains silent

    obamawarrenA group of leading evangelical preachers — including television pastor T.D. Jakes and Kirbyjon Caldwell, a spiritual adviser to George W. Bush — has released a letter condemning "misrepresentations" of President Obama's faith.

    "We are deeply troubled by the recent questioning of President Obama's faith. We understand that these are contentious times, but the personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate," the letter reads. "Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith.  Many of the signees on this letter have prayed and worshipped with this President.  We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far."

    The letter, signed by more than 70 pastors and other Christian leaders, calls on the media and other public officials to offer "no further airtime" or attention to those who suggest Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian. The reaction comes after a recent Pew poll found that nearly 1 American in 5 believes Obama is Muslim — an increase over a year ago.

    Still, CBN's David Brody noticed one prominent evangelical who hasn't spoken up in Obama's defense: Rick Warren, the founder of Saddleback Church, and author of the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life."

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  • Democrats’ hold on the Senate is increasingly at risk

    lincoln

    Could Democrats be in danger of losing majority control of the Senate in November? A new analysis from FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver suggests that the GOP is gaining momentum heading into the midterm elections, putting at least six or seven Democratic Senate seats at serious risk.

    "The Democrats now have an approximately 20 percent chance of losing 10 or more seats in the Senate, according to the model, which would cost them control of the chamber unless Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, who is running for the Senate as an independent, both wins his race and decides to caucus with them," Silver writes in the New York Times.

    That analysis directly contradicts what some Republican leaders have said about the November races. All summer, Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has been downplaying the GOP's chance at taking the majority this fall. Just last week, Cornyn told "Fox News Sunday" that the GOP probably won't make the gains it needs until 2012. "If everything goes our way, I can see a pathway there," Cornyn allowed. "Realistically, I think it'll be a two-cycle effort."

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