Political notebook |

Political notebook

Mong Kong’s cash

Barack Obama’s campaign has shattered just about every fundraising record out there, leading to a potential new problem: The law can’t keep up. It can be tough to figure out whether someone’s giving a phony name — like Mong Kong or Derty Poiiuy, listed as Obama donors — when they’re among 2.5 million other donors. Plus, federal law says donors who give less than $200 don’t have to give their identities. But many of those millions of donors repeatedly give small donations, making it tough to track who’s gone over that limit and remained anonymous, the Los Angeles Times reports. Several donors, some giving as little as $10 at a time, donated more than 100 times, the Times found.

Republicans filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging Obama has knowingly violated the law, and accuses them of taking money from foreign nationals. The Obama campaign says it has returned money from sources it can’t verify.

Biden on Ayers attacks

John McCain’s campaign released a new 100-second Web advertisement again linking Obama to former Weather Underground leader William Ayers and his wife. It reprises Ayers’ comments about not regretting the group’s decision to set off bombs at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, and criticizes Obama’s judgment for associating with Ayers. Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, noted during a rally in Missouri Thursday that McCain and Obama shared a stage during the debate Tuesday night. According to NBC, Biden said, “In my neighborhood, when you’ve got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him.”

Saturday night liberal?

Wall Street Journal columnist and political reporter John Fund says NBC defended some off-color humor in a “Saturday Night Live” skit directed at Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, but didn’t wait for similar criticism of a skit attacking supporters of Democrats before pulling the clip from its Web site. In the first skit, an actor playing a New York Times reporter joked that Todd was “doing” his daughters. The other skit showed mortgage financiers Herb and Marion Sandler, who made billions off the subprime mortgage boom that sank the rest of the economy, with the caption “People who should be shot.” The clip has since returned to the Web site, Fund says, sans caption.


The Hollywood Reporter says Obama bought a half-hour of air time on two national networks for a prime-time infomercial just days before the election. CBS and NBC have reached an agreement on the air time purchase, which is about 60 times longer than the average campaign commercial. The election ad (show• special?) will air at 8 p.m. on Oct. 29, the Wednesday before the election, the Reporter reports.

Poll positions

A CNN poll found 47 percent of people are concerned McCain wouldn’t finish his first term as president in good health. At 72, he’d be the oldest inaugurated to a first term, in contrast to the 47-year-old Obama. McCain has sought to blunt criticism of this by opening 1,100 pages of medical records to reporters and getting his doctor to attest to McCain’s fitness for office.


Veteran Washington Post columnist David Broder accuses both McCain and Obama of ignoring the reality they’ll face when one of them wins the presidency. With two wars and an economy that shrinks seemingly by the minute, neither will be able deliver on many of the promises they’ve made. That hasn’t stopped the candidates from continuing to make those promises, Broder notes. “If either of them has a clue about what to do to help stabilize the tottering economy, they are keeping it to themselves,” he lamented.

The other ‘L’ word

Emboldened by polls showing Obama with a wide lead in the Electoral College vote, and heartened that the economy has taken center stage in the race, Democrats are wondering aloud whether Obama is headed for a landslide victory. The Politico’s David Paul Kuhn reports that the party’s strategists are looking at an electoral map that could deliver 350 electoral votes to Obama (270 are needed to win). Despite all the talk in the primaries about Obama’s potential to “change the map,” the real game-changer might be the country’s economic skid, Democratic strategist Paul Maslin told Kuhn. Voters give Obama a lead over McCain on economic questions.

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