Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain: Why Las Cruces? Insiders Explain, Plus: NM VP Frenzy Keeps Them Talking, And: Just Who is A "Progressive?" 

McCain in Cruces (ABQ Journal)
Top New Mexico Republicans say problems attracting independents and Democrats in Dona Ana County appeared to be a driving reason why GOP prez contender chose to stop in Las Cruces Wednesday, foregoing Albuquerque and the north where Obama made his mark Monday. They explained that McCain's camp has reason to worry about Dona Ana where McCain will need to tie or narrowly lose to Obama if he is to reach his goal of a landslide win in the southern congressional district. Dona Ana will make up about 30% of the southern CD's vote in November. It is a heavily Dem county. McCain must make inroads with soft Dems, Hispanics and independents. If McCain doesn't get a big vote total in the south, he could be helpless in fending off Obama who is expected to carry the Northern district. The ABQ congressional district is a battleground, with insiders saying Obama appears to be leading here, but not overwhelmingly. A slew of national polls this week show McCain improving. Will that be the case here?

Insiders say McCain's problems in nailing down independents reflects the situation he is facing nationally. Obama also has been active on the ground in Las Cruces; McCain not so much. McCain has been doing a good job bombarding the NM TV airwaves, but the personal visit by the candidate is a proven way to bump the numbers, thus McCain's town hall meeting at the NM State University Campus. (McCain Cruces video

We noticed southern NM GOP congressional candidate prominently on stage with McCain. (Actually, we saw his head from the back on TV. That was you, wasn't it, Ed?) Anyway, Tinsley needs to do the same thing in Dona Ana--tie or lose narrowly.

Meanwhile, in Camp Obama in NM and elsewhere, hear them roar for their candidate to get a groove going--or else!


How fever pitched is the speculation over who Obama will pick as his running mate? This week we received a tip from one of our downtown informers that an area hotel was being screened by the Obama Secret Service" detail for a Friday event. Well, that set off a wildfire of speculation that our very own Big Bill was back in the running for Veep. Obama was here Monday and did an event in downtown ABQ. Maybe our informer was confused with the sweep that took place for that event, but he said he was sure it was for something this week. We'll see.

Even the ABQ Journal, which has to know Bill's chances of being tagged by Obama are 1 out of 100, decided to banner headline the possibility Wednesday. Obama is milking the Veep speculation for every ounce of media he can get. What the heck. It's not going to hurt anyone, and it's a frenzy that everyone can have fun with. In the highly unlikely event that Bill does get the nod, the media mavens, who have mentioned every name under the sun, can say they were on the trail. Kinda like the guy who bets every number on the roulette wheel just to say he won.


That $200 million for road repair approved by the special session of the Legislature is going to come mainly from floating bonds, not surplus revenue, and those pared down rebate checks are not promised to hit the mailboxes until Thanksgiving. What? Are the politicos slipping? They can't get those checks to you before you cast your vote? All 112 legislative seats are on the ballot this year.


Let's make this official. The Alligators nailed it weeks ago, but State House minority whip Dan Foley denied it--he claimed was not moving to Rio Rancho anytime soon. But he and his family have moved to Rio Rancho--confirmed by the AP--and, as we informed yesterday, and resigning his Roswell legislative seat from which he was ousted in the June primary by Dennis Kintigh. The Gators further inform Foley will work in the insurance business in Rio Rancho. The voluble Foley has tangled with the Alligators here repeatedly over the years. With Foley out of the game for now, both sides get a rest. The Roswell Record has more on the political end game of Dan Foley.

The Foley Rio Rancho confirmation was actually in the AP report we posted very late last night, but we were too bleary-eyed to notice. Will Foley try to make a political comeback? If he does try to bring back his noisy politics,it won't be done quietly.


Those Udall boys--Tom In New Mexico and Mark in Colorado--are taking a beating but keep on ticking. The cousins and Dem US Senate contenders are being subjected to the mighty wrath of the right. Here's one of the funnier ads running against Mark Udall who is in a tight race with Republican Bob Schaffer.


Here's the first TV ad from Dem congressional candidate Harry Teague that we told you yesterday we had spotted on the air. All the fretting about Teague of Hobbs sounding too much like a hick is being rapidly put to rest. The producers have the Hobbs oilman talking intermittently in the 60 second bio ad. He does just fine. Republican Ed Tinsley has already proven his TV abilities by going on the air in the primary. Both of these candidates--in their 50's and successful in their business pursuits--bring some gravitas and life experience to the state's congressional campaigns.


When we were helping ABQ Mayor Chavez out with his transition office back in 2001, we weighed in with the advice that he might want to step back a bit from his all-out embrace of Eclipse Aviation. Not that it was not a somewhat promising venture, it just seemed that it was over promising. Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and the ongoing problems of Eclipse have come home to roost--and there could be trouble for the politicos if the airline maker moves out of ABQ or trims its workforce even more than it already has. The state and city governments gave Eclipse every break in the world, plus a bunch of money. Not that Chavez, the Chamber of Commerce and others did not have the area's interest at heart, but Eclipse should be a lesson learned for the pooh-bahs who occupy the chief economic development slots--and the politicos who take advice from them.


With the Center for Civic Policy, which bills itself as "progressive" organization getting busted by the attorney general and secretary of state and being ordered to report their money, a reader from rural NM wonders just what a "progressive" is.

I am intrigued by the growth of a self-labeled “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party. I consider myself progressive, but I don’t know really what the label means to most people and whether others would characterize me as progressive...I don’t hear people talking much about what it takes to be a “progressive.” You might ask your readership to weigh in on the topic..What are the criteria? Who are the leaders? Is a progressive, just a dressed up version of a liberal? What does it take to get your card punched and who punches it? Please enlighten us hicks out here in the boondocks!

To us, a progressive is just a new moniker for "liberal," a word discredited by decades of media attacks. What's your definition? E-mail that and other news and comments.

And don't forget to take part in our photo caption contest on Wednesday's blog. We'll announce the winner of a free lunch for the winning entry Friday.

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