Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Headlines: "Last Supper Session" Ends, Udall Hits Back, Teague Starts TV, Foley To Resign, And: Don't Miss Our Caption Contest 

Sen. Smith
The Legislature had the chance to act like a bunch of first graders back in the classroom for the first day after a long summer vacation, but in the end they took the high road. They had Big Bill over a barrel, but they decided not to push. When they headed for the Interstate last night after adjourning a special session, they had given the Guv a plate full of appetizers, but no main course and certainly no dessert.

Largely symbolic cash rebates will be handed out, flood relief will get to stricken areas, health care will be pumped up for uninsured children and $200 million was approved for ongoing road repair (Mostly from bonds not the surplus). Bill, a governor with the largest of appetites, decided to pronounce himself satisfied with just the hors d’oeuvre. It was, maintained the Fourth Floor leader, "a good, solid, yet modest effort that helps New Mexico families."

And we might want to get used to it. We called this special the "Last Supper Session" because it may be one of the last where reasonably large oil and gas surpluses are divvied up. Future sessions may be haunted by the spending of the past. While it was Bill who conceived the session, it was Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith whose name history may most closely associate with it. He has been an early chicken little, constantly warning that the sky is falling, but the rest of the chickens finally started to see things his way, and they trimmed and pared and trimmed and pared some more. Dr. Atkins would have been proud.


That Club for Growth TV ad hitting Dem Senate nominee Tom Udall is stinging. The ad is a bit disjointed covering the "Death Tax," Eminent Domain" and offshore drilling, but it is on a lot--$150,000 for two weeks. The Udall campaign, flush with cash, has decided to respond with this ad. On energy, the ad says Udall wants to "do it all" including more offshore drilling and nuclear power. That may be so, but the reason Pearce's attacks and those of the Club for Growth have some impact is because for the over 10 years Udall has been in the US House he has rarely voiced such support. Will the polls close because of the stepped-up attacks? Very likely. No one is going to hold on to a 20 point lead in an open NM Senate seat race.


It's not about ideology, this controversy over political nonprofits disclosing their contributions and expenditures. The Center for Civic Policy, ordered by the state to disclose their money, comes at politics from the left. But another nonprofit we briefly mentioned recently--the American Energy Alliance--comes at things from the right and also is not reporting their money. They have run anti-Tom Udall radio ads in the state and reader Mike Parks comments:

"...The Center for Civic Policy merits...attention..but I wish there would be more attention to organizations "on the other side," like the "American Energy Alliance"...As your blog briefly noted, funding sources of the Alliance are nigh-impossible to come by...Annoyed by some of the AEA's ad content (like the ludicrous claim that there are two trillion barrels of oil available under America), I called the American Petroleum Institute, noted by some bloggers as a major funder of AEA. One of API's media representatives, agreeing in effect that the claim is ridiculous, said they are not involved with AEA...."

Full and complete disclosure by all sides involved in the political process is essential. It is the only way of ensuring a level playing field--for both left and right. The attorney general and secretary of state have ordered such disclosure by the Center for Civic Policy. They have more to look at.


Here are two pieces of literature sent out by the political nonprofit associated with the Center for Civic Policy. They claim they are not political because they do not urge a vote for or against the targeted state senators. They say they should not have to disclose their funding for the flyers because they are "educational." Click on them to enlarge and see for yourself. As Attorney General King said: "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck." We are hearing some very loud quacking.


Obama left no stone unturned during his Monday ABQ visit. Well aware that McCain was slated for Las Cruces today, the soon-to-be Dem prez nominee squeezed in a phone interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News which won him prominent coverage and kept him in the media sweepstakes there as McCain makes his big townhall splash at the NMSU campus today.


When McCain sets down in Cruces today, he apparently won't have GOP consultant Whitney Cheshire touting his appearance. Two reliable Alligators confirm that Cheshire, named earlier this year as state communications director for NM McCain, is said to be one of the first causalities of Campaign '08, having left the campaign for reasons not released. Cheshire was brought on by Marta Kramer, former executive director of the NM GOP, who is heading up the NM McCain office.


Closing in on the Midnight hour now and we're still on the beat with non-stop breaking political news. And it is going to stay that way for the next 75 days. From the AP comes word that NM House minority whip Dan Foley of Roswell will follow through with plans to resign his seat right after the November election. Foley was defeated by Dennis Kintigh in the GOP primary. Now county commissioners in his district could recommend a replacement to the Governor. That person would only serve until the new rep is seated in January. That is expected to be Kintigh in the heavy R district. Alligators on the Foley watch say he is either now living in Rio Rancho, or expected to move there soon.


I have the TV on here headed into the late night and can bring you this exclusive--southern NM congressional Dem contender Harry Teague has just hit with his first spot. He beats Republican Ed Tinsley on the air. It appeared to be a sixty second ad. The big thing about it? Teague talks, and at length. He said nothing on his primary ads , and observers felt it hurt him. In this spot, he sounds confident, but down-home. I'll post it when I get it in here. Teague is an oilman from Hobbs. His money is dangerous to Tinsley who will not be able to let Harry have the tube to himself for long. Meantime, for Team Tinsley it's welcome to Campaign '08 from Harry Teague. They've come to play, boys...More breaking. It looks like GOP Senate nominee Pearce is up with a 10 second ad touting nuclear power. That's one way to stretch your campaign dollar. If you think we're going to map all the ads to come like this each night, I have a special session to sell you in Santa Fe...


There's a free lunch for you and your guest if you come up with the best caption for this cool photo shot by photog Mark Bralley at the Monday Obama ABQ rally. It features Senator Jeff Bingaman, Big Bill and a somewhat bewildered looking Tom Udall. Our caption: "Jeff, why didn't you tell Tom that Pearce would be coming?"

We know you can do better. Send them in via e-mail.


Conservation Voters of NM want to make it clear they are not tied up in the political nonprofit mess. They report that a story we linked to in the ABQ Journal Tuesday wonders if CVNM's political fund would have to register with the state as a result of a ruling by Secretary of State Herrera. CVNM points out they already register and report all their contributions and expenditures, unlike the nonprofits coming under the scrutiny of the attorney general...1996 GOP VP nominee Jack Kemp will be in ABQ Thursday for a shooting contest. It's not to hunt Dems, but to kick off McCain's state sportsmen coalition. Call (505) 715-4311 to shoot 'em up with the former Buffalo Bills quarterback.

KKOB-AM radio's Peter St. Cyr has posted complete audio of Obama at the ABQ library Monday morning...The name of the little girl pictured with Obama in the Tuesday blog is six year old Viviana Edwards. We didn't have the info for our first draft. Vivian's mother, Michelle Kavanaugh, introduced Obama at the library, is also in the pic, spotted it on the blog and emailed the info.

E-mail it in--news, comments or whatever strikes you as interesting.

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