Friday, August 15, 2008

Pearce Gets The Pete Picture He Needs, Plus: Obama Back To NM On Monday, And: The Cutthroat Politics Of Tinsley-Teague 

Pete & Pearce
Steve Pearce got the picture he needed--side by side with retiring GOP US Senator Pete Domenici who gave the southern NM congressman his blessing and announced he would take to the campaign trail with him for the final push in October. Also along for Pete's endorsement ride was US Rep. Heather Wilson who benefited from Pete's nod in the June primary, but not enough. Back then, Pete awkwardly disclosed just four days before the primary that he was backing Heather and did no major media; this time he will come with the Full Monty.

It was essential for Pearce to not have only a tepid news release of the Senator's support, but to get Pete before the TV cameras to establish an emotional connection between himself, the Senator and the New Mexican electorate. (Extended video here.) NM's longest-serving Senator still retains a moderate image in the state, despite straying to the right during the Bush administration. Pearce, perceived as too far right to beat Dem Tom Udall, badly needs voters to see him as a more Domenici-like Republican. Domenici can open the door, but ideological Pearce is going to have to walk through it.

By doing the news conference, agreeing to campaign with Pearce, cutting a TV ad for him and hosting a $500 a person lunch following the endorsement, Domenici has signaled that he will do more than go through the motions.

Even if Domenici's work means only that Pearce loses to Udall by a smaller margin, it could make a difference in the all-important NM presidential contest where McCain needs every R excited and ready to go to the polls. At 76 and ailing from an incurable brain disease, the lion is in his winter years, but still with work to do this fall.


Obama will be back campaigning in NM Monday, just a day after Hillary Clinton comes here for two fund-raisers put together on her behalf by Big Bill. She'll also have a rally in Espanola for Obama. That happens at 2 p.m at the Northern NM College campus. Hill will be in ABQ and Santa Fe Sunday. No news yet on where Obama will be, but expect details to break over the weekend.

Governor Bill is sure to be on hand to greet Obama Monday. We wonder if he'll discuss with him his Dem convention speech set for the third night of the Denver confab. For sure, the Guv hopes the special session of the Legislature, set to convene at noon today, will be done by Monday or at least going smoothly when Barack sets down here. To that end, the Guv is still trying to salvage his tax rebates, now slimmed down in the face of crashing estimates for the state's oil and gas surplus.


What do you do when your opponent says your Iraq policy means you "would cut the throats" of our troops. Why, like everything else in a modern campaign, you raise money from it. That was southern Dem congressional hopeful Harry Teague's response to the over-the-top comments made by Republican Ed Tinsley at a Clovis forum and which made national headlines. "Will you contribute to our campaign to help us build the resources we need to respond to these outrageous attacks? If you contribute now, your contribution will be doubled by a group of outraged Teague supporters." Said a Teague fund-raiser appeal.

Tinsley's remarks, fine fodder for the liberal blogosphere, had Ed being named MSNBC's Keith Olbermann "Worst Person in the World" Wednesday. Tinsley admitted his words were "harsh" but worth it if they convinced Teague to not call for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.On his Web site, Teague says of his Iraq policy: " In Congress, one my first commitments will be to fight on behalf of our troops by bringing them home as soon as possible, and as safely as possible."

Political observers in the southern district said the remarks could hurt Tinsley if Teague is able to use them to raise questions over whether the former head of the National Restaurant Association has the temperament to be a congressman. Oldtimers recall that the last Democrat to hold the southern seat, Harold Runnels, used the temperament issue in his 1970 campaign against incumbent Ed Foreman, painting him as a hot head. Of course, Foreman actually got into a fistfight on the floor of the US House with a Texas congressman. Tinsley has a long way to go before he matches that behavior.


We're on the media beat with this e-mail making the rounds from Pamela Chavez of the Don Chalmers auto dealerships. It details a recent shake-up at ABQ's classical music station KHFM-FM.

The departure of first Bob Bishop, then Lindy Gold, and now Kip Allen cannot go unnoticed as a great travesty. Their commitment to KHFM of 15 years, 12 years and 21 years have illuminated our communities with...broadcasting excellence...They have worked tirelessly to make sure that the claim on the KHFM website is true: that KHFM has "grown to become the highest-rated classical station in the country."...I count myself among a great number of grieving KHFM listeners, deeply disappointed at the recent actions of the administrative managers of KHFM. I will miss listening to the station.


Reader Micheal Turk E-mails in from D.C. with a correction of the first draft of Wednesday's blog: Joe wrote: “A top D.C. Republican was in ABQ this week, giving a pep talk to local R's who worry about a Democratic tidal wave costing them the US Senate seat and two of the three US House seats they hold.” Republicans don’t hold three House seats. They only hold two. That should have read. “…costing them the US Senate seat and the two US House seats they hold.”

We know that, of course, but didn't get it to come out right. This reminds us of when we only had two congressmen, before 1983, and even further back to before 1968 when the two NM congressmen ran at-large. Will we get more congressmen? Not anytime soon. The pros who monitor such things tell us it will be 2030 at the earliest that NM would be eligible for another US House seat...Also from the D.C. area, Bruce Willis of Responsible Trails America thought
this Washington Post piece on "Off-Road Rage" with a Farmington dateline would be of interest. It's all-terrain vehicles, bicycles and broken ribs.

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