FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, September 20, 2012

PERSONAL COMMENT: Don't Bother Calling, NRCC/DCCC!

(personal comment)

We received a telephone call one evening earlier this week that got me going.  After being surveyed up, down and sideways in the weeks leading up to the primary last month, we had had somewhat of a reprieve.  The blessed dinnertime silence is ending.

The DCCC/NRCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee/National Republican Congressional Committee)* solicitor was very nice, and I am NEVER rude (initially, at least) to the person who is just doing their job (or, especially, volunteering).  She gave the usual shpiel about the importance of the election, the dangers facing this country if the other party takes/retains control of Congress, how well their --CC has been doing so far, and how it needs more money to do more good.

At that point, I stopped her.  I told her that the only negative campaign commercials running on Arizona stations right now are from the NRCC and the DCCC.  And, they are running A LOT...already!  I told her that I was wearied by the constant negativity. (Though I am somewhat reinvigorated by the fact checking opportunities!)  I told her that I would rather give to the local, on-the-ground campaigns that are (more) likely to use my money for other functions of campaigning.

Bless her (and the committee's script), but she had the comeback ready: we actually do a LOT of other things with your money, such as bringing people to the polls on election day.  For anyone who has been involved in a political campaign, they know that that is incorrect;  usually, it is local parties and volunteers that take that task seriously.

The mega-operations that are the DCCC and the NRCC are NOT currently set up for anything but firing 30-second spots at each other.  And, usually, they are lobbing the same tired and misleading shells.  (OK, they also put up longer, internet-only videos and ads.)

The most recent numbers posted on Open Secrets for the organizations bear that out.  The NRCC has raised more than $109 million ($7.8 million from John Boehner's leadership PAC alone!), spent more than $62 million and has $48 million in the bank to spend on media.  Those numbers for the DCCC are $115 million, $80 million and $36 million.  Looking at the top expenditures will buttress the conclusion and looking at their monthly reports on the FEC's ("Federal Election Commission's) website clinches it: these are not grassroots campaigns.

The solicitor gave it one last shot.  She promised that some of the money will go to other organizations and campaigns that will do the positive work of campaigning.  I thanked her and told her I would give our money directly to those groups and people.

I am open to fundraising pitches.  Heck, I have been known to pitch some myself.  But, I'll be damned if I'm going to respond to pitches to support the machines that have given up on everything but the negative crap that turns many people off on our democracy, and has turned others into rabid, party-firsters.

It is enough to make me start making calls for No Labels.


* I am not identifying which of the party-affiliated Congressional campaign machines called - in our household, it could have been either.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WATCH: John McCain's Remarks About "Personal Hero", Aung San Suu Kyi; Chokes Back A Tear, As Does John Boehner

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi was honored in Washington today.  At the ceremony today where she received the Congressional Gold Medal, Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was among the distinguished speakers.  He called the Burmese woman, who was elected Prime Minister in 1990 but was not permitted to serve (placed under house arrest instead), his "personal hero."  And, he could not get out his concluding sentence without his voice catching and having to start over:
"I want to thank you, my friend, the lady, for teaching me at my age a thing or two about courage.  And, for reminding me to always expect justice to triumph over injustice, goodness over evil, and love over hate."


At the conclusion of McCain's remarks, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was shown wiping a tear or two away.

McCain also spoke tonight at a dinner honoring Suu Kyi.  His extended remarks are available on his website - they include a version of the quote above.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

INSTANT FACT CHECK: Did President Obama "Call Libyan President To Thank Him After U.S. Ambassador Murdered", As Fox News' Website Claims?

Fox News' free-for-all website "Fox Nation" is amplifying a new scream pinging around the internet today, as shown by their headline:

Obama Calls Libyan President to Thank Him After US Ambassador Murdered


Nothing like making it appear that our President called Libya's President to thank him for permitting the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other Americans who were killed.

Here is the complete statement from the White House on Barack Obama's call to Mohamed Magariaf
last night:

President Obama called President Mohamed Magariaf of Libya this evening, their first conversation since President Magariaf’s election last month. President Obama thanked President Magariaf for extending his condolences for the tragic deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, and two other State Department officers in Benghazi yesterday. He also expressed appreciation for the cooperation we have received from the Libyan government and people in responding to this outrageous attack, and said that the Libyan government must continue to work with us to assure the security of our personnel going forward. The President made it clear that we must work together to do whatever is necessary to identify the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice. The two Presidents agreed to work closely over the course of this investigation. The President reaffirmed our support for Libya’s democratic transition, a cause Ambassador Stevens believed in deeply and did so much to advance. He welcomed the election of a new prime minister yesterday to help lead the Libyan government’s efforts to improve security, counter extremism, and advance its democracy.
I have added emphasis to make clearer what the thanks were for.  Contrast this with the statement issued simultaneously, summarizing Barack Obama's call with the Egyptian President: even though it notes at the end that Morsi expressed condolences, it does not indicate that Obama thanked him for it.

Fox News did not word that headline itself, although the website is clearly made to look like it is part of the Fox news operation.  Also, the Fox News video embedded clearly states that the President was offering thanks for the condolences and not for the killings.

Nevertheless, Arizona's Politics felt that the Fox Nation item is highly misleading and is likely to be widely circulated.  Thus, a Fact Check circulating the actual statements should be out there, too.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

AS SEEN ON TV: New Ads From Arpaio, Carmona

("As Seen On TV" is a running series on Arizona's Politics focusing on which campaign ads are airing on Arizona at the moment.  Please add YOUR eyes and ears to this feature!)

We got a chance to watch some baseball (Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers again, 4 games out of a wildcard spot) and some news - caught ads during both.  Richard Carmona (Dem running for Senate) and Joe Arpaio (Republican Sheriff running for re-election) each had new ads up.

The Carmona ad focuses on healthcare (he was U.S. Surgeon General under George W. Bush) and has already drawn fire from Republicans, who are claiming he is trying to appeal to Independents in the ad by saying that both Republicans and Democrats have had it wrong on healthcare reform while supporting the "ObamaCare" law when speaking just to Democrats.  I saw it twice tonight.

Arpaio's ad is likely going to draw a lot of fire.  And, for those who follow local news, it might cause your jaw to drop.  He focuses on children and says that they deserve to be protected.
(Arpaio speaking)  "These kids are the future.  They need strong families, good schools, and safe neighborhoods to thrive.  But, too often, they are neglected by the people they should trust the most: their parents."

He paused just before fingering the parents, and at that point, my jaw dropped and the first thought that flashed through my brain was that he was going to tackle the issue of his office dropping the ball on several hundred sex crimes investigations.  (Arpaio later semi-apologized, saying "If there were any victims....")

He went on to boast about the deadbeat parents that he has rounded up to collect child support payments.

That ad was also spotted twice.

The DCCC ad against Jonathan Paton (R-running-for-CD1) and the Ann Kirkpatrick positive ad were also seen tonight.



Let us know what ads you see out there.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Arizona Republican Activist (& Chair of Payson Planning & Zoning Commission) Jeff Loyd Accused Of Deceiving Thousands of Would-Be Republican Contributors Nationwide

Former Gila County GOP Chairman, member of the state GOP Executive Committee and current Chair of the Payson Planning & Zoning Commission Jeff Loyd is accused of running a PAC that has duped thousands of Republican contributors across the nation out of more than $570,000.

National Journal broke the story yesterday about CAPE PAC ("Coalition of Americans for Political Equality") and its Chairman, Jeff Loyd.  The PAC set up many websites that look like they belong to actual Republican candidates around the country - including Mitt Romney - then advertised the sites heavily online.  In the 2nd quarter of 2012, the PAC took in nearly $500,000 from unsuspecting individuals.  It owes more than $100,000 to Google for advertising expenses, and paid out thousands to Loyd and others for various tasks.

Loyd is currently the Chairman of the Payson Planning & Zoning Commission.  He was the Chairman of the Gila County Republican Party in 2010 (not sure on the range of dates) and claims to BE (present tense) on the Arizona GOP's Executive Committee.

Loyd obviously appears to live in Payson although the FEC filing lists him as living in Washington, D.C.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: NRCC Starts CD1 Barrage Against Fmr. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (and For Jonathan Paton); The Pelosi Bogeyman

Yesterday, we embedded several ads that are currently running on Arizona airwaves (see, "As Seen On TV").  We were unable to locate the National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") ad supporting GOP nominee Jonathan Paton and linking former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Well, additional searching today paid off.  For some reason, the NRCC did not upload the spot to its usual YouTube channels, instead creating a new one just for this ad (or, race).  Here is the ad:


As we will note separately, the NRCC is currently putting a lot of money into this ad (and, possibly others that we have yet to spot).  Both the Republicans and Democrats have already indicated that this Congressional seat is a top priority for them.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Monday, September 10, 2012

AS SEEN ON TV: And, We're Off and (Ads Are) Running

("As Seen On TV" is a running series on Arizona's Politics focusing on which campaign ads are airing on Arizona at the moment.  Please add YOUR eyes and ears to this feature!

There was a slight break in the TV ad barrage after the primary elections.  Judging by my late night news viewing last night, and the few minutes I caught this morning, the break is OVER.  Here are the ads we spotted (Channels 10 and 12 in Phoenix):

1) The DCCC's ad hammering "Payday Paton".  Jonathan Paton (R) is running against former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in CD1.  Spotted 3 different times.
2)  Joe Arpaio's biographical ad.  Spotted twice.
3)  Richard Carmona biographical ad.  Also spotted twice.
4)  NRCC ("National Republican Congressional Committee") ad pairing up Kirkpatrick with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Spotted once.
5)  Kirkpatrick biographical ad.  Spotted once.

1)  
2) 
3) 
5)  

ments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

AS SEEN ON TV: A Plea For Your Help

Two years ago, one of the popular features on this blog was "As Seen On TV".  In it, I note which ads I - or, friends or readers - had actually seen on television, and we tried to make sure that we embedded the video (where available, and when the blog code gurus would allow it).

I believe that this was an appreciated series because it allowed us to focus on ads that are actually making impressions on potential voters.  Too many ads are released as web-only or with only a token ad buy - hoping to get some "free press" or to impress the diehards.

I need your participation!  This feature works much better with more eyes and ears.  (I do not get to watch too much TV, and am only trying to monitor Phoenix stations.)

So, PLEASE, send me an e-mail (info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com), a Tweet (@AZs_Politics), or a Facebook message (facebook-dot-com.mitch.martinson.7) with the ads that you see.  Please note the candidate/group responsible for the ad, a couple of words about the content, and the approximate time (or, program) and the channel.  (Example: NRCC, Kirkpatrick Loves Pelosi, Ch.12, 10pm news)

As I have also reported for other media, I would like to do the same for radio ads ("Heard It On the X"?), newspaper ads ("Its Black and White and Still(?) Read All Over"?), and mailers ("Please, Mr. Postman..."?).



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

GoDaddy Outage Brings Down Campaign Websites For 5 of 7 Arizona Congressional Incumbents

(UPDATE (2:51p.m.): Added information about SOPA and incumbents' positions on it.)

Phoenix-based website giant GoDaddy has been out for most of the day*, and with it have gone the websites of five of Arizona's seven Congressional incumbents seeking re-election in November**.  In fact, ALL of the Congressmen north of Tucson appear to be GoDaddy customers.

Southern Arizona's two Representatives - Raul Grijalva and Ron Barber - have no issues this afternoon with their websites.  Trent Franks was down for several hours, but is up now as GoDaddy reports success in restoring some service.  (The group known as "Anonymous" is claiming responsibility.)

However, as of 2:30p.m. (Arizona time), Reps. Ed Pastor, David Schweikert, Paul Gosar and Jeff Flake all have inaccessible campaign websites.

Perhaps Arizona candidates are more likely than those elsewhere in the country to use GoDaddy because of its strong hometown presence.  But, as Anonymous proclaims that it attacked GoDaddy because of its support for the SOPA law that failed in Congress, some of them might have some questions about using the registrar/host; none of the incumbents whose websites are effected were known to support SOPA.  The controversial internet piracy-related law was not voted upon after public opposition was whipped up by the one-day blackout protest by major (and, minor) websites.

* Arizona's Politics also has its domain name registered with GoDaddy and points it to its blog address.  So, if you type in "ArizonasPolitics.com" you will be stymied, but will succeed if you type in "ArizonasPolitics.blogspot.com".

** Arizona's eighth Congressman, Ben Quayle, lost in the primary to Schweikert.  There are no incumbents running in two of the nine districts - Arizona having gained one in reapportionment and the Quayle/Schweikert battle.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

WATCH : Gabrielle Giffords Leads Pledge of Allegiance At Democratic National Convention

Here's retired-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention earlier this evening.



The Pledge of Allegiance was initially scheduled to take place at 3:00pm, Arizona time.  It was moved back without explanation, although it was likely to be to push it back to prime time.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

CHECKING THE "FACT CHECKERS": AP Puts Out Worst "Fact Check" Ever, On Bill Clinton's Speech (WATCH) (Commentary)

(COMMENTARY - send an e-mail to the AP at info@ap.org)

The Associated Press bruised and bloodied fact checkers everywhere with its effort last night on former President Bill Clinton's speech.  While legitimate fact checkers (FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and the Washington Post)  produced good reports on the lengthy speech, the venerable AP tried to do its own, and ended up editorializing instead.


This disappointing AP piece could win that title solely on the basis of the last section - addressing the inapposite* Clinton-Lewinsky comment instead of (not in addition to) the Romney official's fact-checkers-be-damned statement.
Here is that section, in its entirety:
CLINTON: "Their campaign pollster said, 'We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.' Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself — I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad."
THE FACTS: Clinton, who famously finger-wagged a denial on national television about his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and was subsequently impeached in the House on a perjury charge, has had his own uncomfortable moments over telling the truth. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton told television viewers. Later, after he was forced to testify to a grand jury, Clinton said his statements were "legally accurate" but also allowed that he "misled people, including even my wife."

However, the rest of this "fact check" also comes off as an opinion piece that did not use "facts" - let alone citations to back up its opinions - to refute Clinton's comments. This is most glaring in the first section, where a comment about compromise is "checked" by a speculative, overly-broad commentary that both parties must have been equally responsible when "the grand deal" fell apart. ("The deal died before it ever even came up for a vote." Come on, did it not come up for a vote because House Speaker John Boehner was concerned that some Democrats criticized the President, or because the Boehner could not deliver his caucus?)
The AP piece and the accompanying video that it put out with one of the reporters repeating some of his piece have already received play here in Arizona (For example, the video is featured on the Star's website.)
This Fact Check not only gives the Associated Press a black eye, but it bruises all fact checkers' sharper eyes. With opinion efforts like this being widely-circulated as a "Fact Check" by the AP, it is no wonder that the Romney-Ryan campaign (expressly and especially) feels that it get away with disregarding Fact Checks.



* The famous Clinton "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" remark -made before fact checks and not repeated after widespread ridicule - may well have been an untruthful statement; howeve,r it is far from a campaign official saying that a presidential candidate and his campaign are going to willfully repeat erroneous remarks and ignore a consensus view of fact checkers.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Rep. Schweikert Feeling Confident, Focuses On Raising Money Elsewhere

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5-running-for-CD6) is apparently feeling very confident after knocking off fellow Republican Rep Ben Quayle in last week's primary; he announced today that he is helping Vernon Parker (R-running-for-CD9) raise money.

Schweikert will be the "special guest" at a "Vernon Parker for Congress General Election Campaign Kickoff" this coming Saturday (invitation e-mail below the jump).  The fundraiser will be hosted by Republican-attorney-power-couple Jennifer and Mark Dioguardi.  They have been major supporters for Schweikert and are making their first effort in the swing district that is CD9.

Schweikert has an enormous money and name recognition lead on Democratic nominee Matt Jette (who has not even updated his website or social media in more than three weeks), and feels comfortable in the GOP-leaning CD6 that he can give a boost to fellow conservatives.

And, Parker can use the help.  Kyrsten Sinema (D-running-for-CD9) had nearly three times the amount of cash on hand as Parker, as of August 8, 2012.

UPDATE: Gabby PAC Launches With GOP (Trey Grayson) & Dem. (Robert Reich) Co-Chairs; But, Will Only Support Democrats

(Last week, Arizona's Politics reported on the filing of retired-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' new "Gabby PAC", and noted that it had not yet "gone live" on the internet.)

True to form, retired-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has launched her new "Gabby PAC" by announcing that it will have one Republican co-chair and one Democratic co-chair.  Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich (Dem.) and former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (Repub.)

However, interestingly, the news release specifically says that the new PAC will look to support "Democratic candidates" - not Republican or independent candidates - "who favor working in a
bi-partisan way to find solutions to our challenges instead of partisanship and discord."

The news release begins with a quote from "Gabby and Mark" (Kelly, Giffords' husband and Space Shuttle Captain):


“We are thrilled to officially launch Gabby PAC.  Gabby PAC will
only support candidates who are dedicated to working hard for commonsense, bipartisan
solutions that strengthen our communities and our entire country. This
commitment to public service over partisanship is what guided Gabby while she was
serving the people of Arizona and will be the guiding principle of Gabby PAC.”
The new PAC has also gone live with its website (www.GabbyPAC.com) and its Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/gabbypac).

The news release does not make any mention of whether the PAC will be partially funded with funds remaining in Giffords' campaign account ($354,000 as of June 30, 2012).  Our previous article noted that the campaign account has been a very active contributor to the Arizona Democratic Party ($213,500) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (over $100,000).

Reich is well-known as the Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, and he has continued to speak out as a frequent commentator and author.  In fact, his latest book (Beyond Outrage) coincidentally comes out in paperback today.

Grayson has less of a national profile.  According to his biography and Wikipedia articles, he was the Secretary of State for Kentucky between 2004-11.  In 2010, he lost a primary battle to eventual winner Rand Paul for U.S. Senate, and has since been the Director for the Harvard University Institute for Politics.  In his primary campaign, he received endorsements from conservative Republicans such as Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum and Dick Cheney.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.