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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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September 1, 2008 8:42 AM

Gustav hits as far north as St. Paul

Posted by David Postman

The Republican National Convention will open as scheduled today. But it appears it'll be a far different sort of convention than originally planned. From Politico:

Convention planners said for the first time that they expect McCain to accept the nomination in person, in St. Paul. They had considered a remote appearance from the Gulf coast. ...

Delegations were not being asked to cancel events, but were urged to make them “appropriate” and to use them to sign up volunteers for the comfort package work on Wednesday and Thursday.

A visit by Vice President Cheney was scratched, as was a primetime appearance by President Bush, who flew to Texas to check storm preparations instead.

There's no doubt that there are public relations aspects to some of these decisions. That's not to discount the sincere, compassionate reasons as well. But now the convention will go ahead without appearances by a very unpopular president and vice president. The very "business-like" convention means that McCain does not have to compete directly with the massive crowd that watched Barack Obama accept his nomination last week.

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August 28, 2008 8:00 PM

The Obama speech

Posted by David Postman

There will be much written tonight, tomorrow and in a long time to come about the speech Barack Obama just delivered in Denver. He delivered the speech flawlessly, and it was as tough as it was specific.

What did you think, though? Did Obama make a believer out of anyone? Republicans, did he answer any criticisms? Clinton backers, did he seal the deal?

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August 28, 2008 3:59 PM

Rossi makes play for Obama supporters

Posted by David Postman

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi will air TV commercials tonight specially produced to appeal to viewers of Democrat Barack Obama’s acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination. In the 30 second spot, which will run only tonight, Rossi says:

Tonight the Democrats have a nominee.

I agree with him on this: Change is needed, but not just in Washington, D.C.

Change may be the only thing the Democratic presidential candidate and the Republican gubernatorial candidate agree on. But Rossi’s been trying hard to ride the change wave in his campaign against Gov. Chris Gregoire. “Change” dwarfs the candidate’s name at

Rossi doesn’t mention John McCain, his party’s presidential candidate in his stump speech. But more and more he talks about Obama. Last week, as votes were being counted in the primary election, Rossi told TVW that he wasn’t worried about a Democratic wave sweeping him aside this year.

We don’t really believe that if they do vote for Barack Obama it is an automatic vote for Christine Gregoire because if they are looking for change, why would they vote for someone who has been in state government 40 years? … You know, one of my bigger finance folks from the campaign who has actually raised a lot of money for me is an Obama supporter. We’re going to probably have tens of thousands of people who will vote for Obama and vote for us.

This doesn't mean that Rossi backs Obama. He just told me he supports Republican candidate John McCain. And while Rossi said McCain would also bring change, that hasn't come up in the campaign so far.

Democrats of course are also trying to do everything they can to ride the Obama wave. Here’s an odd, little video from Peter Goldmark, the Democrat running for lands commissioner.

I’m not exactly sure who these cartoon characters are supposed to be, with their, “So dude, who you votin’ for this election” and reference to “Frisbee Friday.” But they’re there to remind people to not just vote for Obama come November.

I wrote earlier about Gregoire’s worries about the same thing. The governor has also mailed flyers featuring big photos of Obama.

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August 28, 2008 2:23 PM

Rossi gets big Republican money

Posted by David Postman

Two days after last week's primary, Dino Rossi got $1 million help from the Republican Governor's Association. The AP's Curt Woodward reports that the RGA set up a fundraising committee here and seeded it with a $1 million contribution.

The RGA and the Democratic Governor's Association have both now put in about $1.3 million to Rossi and Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Some Democrats hoped that Gregoire's slim lead over Rossi among primary voters would mean Republican money would dry up. That hasn't happened obviously. Now the spin will change to say the money is a sign Rossi is in trouble.

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August 27, 2008 5:19 PM

Another one bites the dust

Posted by David Postman

Another political reporter is leaving the business. The Seattle Times’ Ralph Thomas gave notice today. He’s going to work for the Katz Communications Group, headed by another former Timesman, Dean Katz.

I’ve written before about other political reporters leaving. But this one is personal to me. Ralph is one of my closest friends. We’ve known each other 18 years, back to when we worked in Alaska.

We bonded those many years ago over our shared craft of legislative reporting, but also through a love of music. There was the common thread of being obsessed with Elvis Costello and 70’s funk and soul, and at least familiar enough with the Dickies to be able to sing along to “You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla.)” He understood the appeal of 1960s Ford Falcons, Plymouth Valiants and Volvo 122s.

Friends like that don’t come along very often.

For the past eight years we’ve worked next to each other in the Olympia bureau. We sit close enough that he can swing around in his chair to prop his lousy feet up on my desk. He can swish a coin into my coffee cup and hit me squarely on the temple with a ball of Play-Doh hard enough for me to see stars.

I’m sure he works plenty hard the rest of the time, but he does seem to be able to watch me closely enough that he points out the speed at which I can nervously chew through a pack of gum. He notices what I wear to work and is always the first to ridicule me for it. One day, eyeing a pink belt, he said with such disgust it still echoes in my head, “Pink? God, don’t you get enough attention?”

I can tell you this, and believe it because I’ve heard it from a long list of people including my wife: Ralph is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s also a great dancer and a great cook. He hunts game - and eats it too - and tends a large and bountiful garden. He can converse about Llama poop, Neil Young, the U.S. space program, international soccer, home-brewed beer or the tiny, tiny, details of weather patterns.

Politicians and readers should mourn Ralph’s departure. He worked as hard as anyone I know to always be fair. He got a lot of enjoyment out of finding just the right well-turned phrase or even from the studied choice of a single word in a story.

When he reads this, he’ll probably find a typo because he has a good eye for those things. But I think with his announcement today he loses the right to be so damn picky about my writing,

But he looks pretty happy doesn't he? (Photo by Richard Roesler)

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August 27, 2008 8:37 AM

Rep. Baird says anti-surge Dems "just like Bush"

Posted by David Postman

Congressman Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, says that since he came out in favor of the Iraq surge no one wants to talk to him about the war. He says, according to Danny Westneat’s piece this morning, that’s because he was right and most Democrats were wrong.

"After all that extraordinary outrage directed at me, not one person has called me up and said 'Hey, Brian, it looks like you might have had a point after all,' " said Baird, in Denver for his party's national convention this week.

Here’s the money quote from Danny’s piece.

"We say Bush is so blinded by ideology that he ignores the facts in the real world, and that's true," Baird said. "Aren't we doing the same thing? We're being just like Bush."

Wow. Do you think there are many other delegates on the convention floor in Denver who would say Democrats suffer from Bush-like ideological blindness? That eats at the heart of the Democrats’ attack on Bush, John McCain and Republicans up and down the ballot.

More from Danny:

At the convention here there is very little discussion of the war, other than perfunctory calls to end it. I haven't heard much about how the security picture in Iraq has brightened so dramatically, nor any mention of the role of the controversial troop increase.

There is talk about the war in Denver, though off the floor. Darryl Holman sat in on a meeting of the Veterans and Military Families Caucus at the Democratic National Convention.

The mood in the room was not one of anger (say, the the kind of anger you get from bloggers like me who are outraged over the fraud perpetuated on our country by the Bush administration). There were no “swift boat” attacks on McCain from the panel. Rather, the mood was one of disappointment, hope for the future, and determination.

Also, Annie Wagner Slogs about an LBGT reception in Denver sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. She was able to catch a surprise visit to the luncheon by Michelle Obama.

Of course, no new policy stuff emerged here, but it was gratifying to hear Michelle Obama talk about hard policy and specific accomplishments, subjects she avoided in her headlining speech last night. She sounded very smart, and very sincere about her enthusiasm for the vague notion of “equality.” She was a hit with the gays. As soon as she finished, one member of the not-at-all-objective gay press exclaimed that he wanted Michelle to be president.

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August 26, 2008 4:39 PM

Cantwell at the convention

Posted by David Postman

Here's the prepared text of Sen. Maria Cantwell's brief speech at the Democratic National Convention. She spoke as part of an event on stage with other female Democratic senators.

I'm Maria Cantwell from the state of Washington.

I'm fortunate to represent one of the most pristine and high-tech states in the nation.

We know it's time for a President that will make energy independence the top priority of the nation.

After eight years of skyrocketing gas prices; eight years of families spending more and more of their paychecks at the pump; eight years of two oil men in the White House catering to Big Oil's agenda, it's time for a new energy day in America.

One that makes energy more efficient and renewable, creating millions of high wage jobs.

One that allows hardworking families to spend more of their precious dollars raising children, instead of boosting oil company profits.

Who can we trust to deliver this? President Obama.

This November, we can't afford more of the same.

Let's elect Barack Obama. A new leader with new ideas and a vision to deliver a new energy day in America.

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August 26, 2008 11:46 AM

Pelz to Clinton delegates: Time to back Obama

Posted by David Postman

And, Eli Sanders writes, state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz really means it.

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More from this blog

Recent entries

Sep 18, 08 - 07:21 AM
The new blog

Sep 8, 08 - 11:01 AM
Please stay tuned

Sep 4, 08 - 08:19 PM
The McCain speech

Sep 4, 08 - 02:38 PM
Another one bites the dust

Sep 4, 08 - 07:42 AM
Palin sets high bar for McCain







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