PoliticsUS

Behind the Scenes Tidbits from US Presidential Campaign

Some behind the scenes stuff that had not come out during the long Presidential campaign between Obama and McCain.

— Sarah Palin didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA, and she “didn’t understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself.”

— Sarah Palin refused preparation help for her interview with Katie Couric and then blamed her staff, specifically Nicole Wallace, when the interview was panned as a disaster. After the Couric interview, Fox News reported, Palin turned nasty with her staff and began to accuse them of mishandling her. Palin would view press clippings of herself in the morning and throw “tantrums” over the negative coverage. There were times when she would be so nasty and angry that her staff was reduced to tears.

— McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request.

— The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and very disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that the crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. “Why would they try to make people hate us?” Michelle Obama said to a top campaign aide.

— On the Sunday night before the last debate, McCain’s core group of advisers–Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, adman Fred Davis, strategist Greg Strimple, pollster Bill McInturff and strategy director Sarah Simmons — met to decide whether or not to tell McCain that the race was effectively over, that he no longer had a chance to win. The consensus in the room was no, not yet, not while he still had “a pulse.”

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— The Obama campaign’s “New Media” experts created a computer program that would allow a “flusher”–the term for a volunteer who rounds up nonvoters on Election Day–to know exactly who had, and had not, voted in real time. They dubbed it Project Houdini, because of the way names disappear off the list instantly once people are identified as they wait in line at their local polling station.

— Palin launched her attack on Obama’s association with William Ayers, the former Weather Underground bomber, before the campaign had finalized a plan to raise the issue. McCain’s advisers were working on a strategy that they hoped to unveil the following week, but McCain had not signed off on it, and top adviser Mark Salter was resisting.

— McCain also was reluctant to use Obama’s incendiary pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue. He had set firm boundaries: no Jeremiah Wright; no attacking Michelle Obama; no attacking Obama for not serving in the military. McCain balked at an ad using images of children that suggested that Obama might not protect them from terrorism; Schmidt vetoed ads suggesting that Obama was soft on crime (no Willie Hortons); and before word even got to McCain, Schmidt and Salter scuttled a “celebrity” ad of Obama dancing with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres (the sight of a black man dancing with a lesbian was deemed too provocative).

— Obama was never inclined to choose Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate, not so much because she had been his sometime bitter rival on the campaign trail, but because of her husband. Still, as Hillary’s name came up in veep discussions, and Obama’s advisers gave all the reasons why she should be kept off the ticket, Obama would stop and ask, “Are we sure?” He needed to be convinced one more time that the Clintons would do more harm than good. McCain, on the other hand, was relieved to face Biden as the veep choice, and not Hillary Clinton, whom the McCain camp had truly feared.

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— McCain was dumbfounded when Congressman John Lewis, a civil-rights hero, issued a press release comparing McCain with former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist infamous for stirring racial fears. McCain had devoted a chapter to Lewis in one of his books, “Why Courage Matters” and had so admired Lewis that he had once taken his children to meet him.

— The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for the Democratic primary debates, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

SOurce: Huffington Report

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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