Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obama In NM: On The Ground As Well As The Air, Plus: Gas Price Fight Comes To ABQ Congress Battle, And: Some Fun Summer Video 

You know Obama is on the New Mexico air. You see his first wave of TV spots all the time. But he is also on the ground in a big way. We get the latest from our spotters in Taos and ABQ. First to Taos. Does Obama have to worry about bringing home the Hispanic vote in heavy Democratic northern NM?

There was a party meeting Tuesday night led by County Chair Tomas Tafoya. About 60 activists met...The majority of those present were Hispanic. I have no doubt now that there will be a heavy Hispanic turn out for Obama in Taos County. Both Tuesday night in Taos and Monday night in a Santa Fe Obama meeting, (northern Dem congressional candidate) Ben Ray Lujan gave spirited speeches in support of his own campaign and Obama's...Obama staffers are appearing to work well in the community...

The Obama campaign's penchant for grassroots organizing could make the difference for him in the small towns of the north, but worries about ethnic voting will likely stay with us right up until Election Day.

We also have news of the Obama camp organizing in Bernalillo County where he needs a big showing and a big turnout. One of those attending a recent meeting says Obama's experience as a community organizer in Chicago is in evidence.

The training was mainly about one-on-one organizing. the goal being to create a group of folks throughout the city/state to train other folks. Essentially it's a cascade model that Obama used in Chicago. Training was done by Obama staffers.

That reader reports a large ABQ turnout for the event held at the University of New Mexico Law School. The McCain camp is getting plenty of notice that the fight for this key swing state will not be won on the air alone.


The wall-leaners were pointing to the second week of September as the most likely date for the special session of the Legislature that Big Bill is calling. But that was before Thursday morning's news conference where Bill was talking about holding the session in early August. It includes cash rebates of $150 plus $40 for each dependent for taxpayers with adjusted income up to $60,000 as well as his health-care plan to cover the uninsured.


ABQ GOP congressional hopeful Darren White, on the defensive last week over that fund-raiser featuring University of New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford, worked to get back on the offensive Wednesday. He was using what has become a pretty good issue for Republicans--increase oil drilling to lower gas prices. White scored KOB-TV coverage as he unveiled his sign, "It's the Gas Prices, Stupid," a take-off on Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign slogan, "It's the Economy, Stupid." Okay, no points for originality.

While White said he wanted fewer barriers to drilling oil and supports drilling off-shore and in ANWR, his energy plan on his Web site never mentions the word "drilling." We notice that word is used selectively by politicians who are apparently trying to avoid inflaming environment sensitive voters. Their preferred euphemism is "increase domestic production."

Heinrich was also interviewed for what was one of the first "free media" stories we have had in this race since the June 3 primary. He emphasized developing alternative sources of energy. Ironically, it was enviro Heinrich who actually used the word "drilling," saying: "We can and should drill for oil in many places around the country, but we need clean alternatives. I think we need an Apollo Project for energy independence..." Heinrich remains adamantly against ANWR drilling.

These two candidates are an interesting contrast. White, a former TV reporter, is highly animated. Heinrich is laid back, but articulate. The TV debates between these two--and we're hoping there will be several--will be interesting. Can White pass the substance test in the longer format? Can Heinrich be aggressive enough in making his case? Stay tuned.


We weren't at the fund-raiser White held last night featuring an appearance by UNM Lobo basketball Coach Steve Alford, but we're told by high-ranking UNM officials it could be one of the last times he appears at a political function in his official capacity. The party was held at the home of UNM lobbyist Joe Thompson whose role in the saga is also under scrutiny. Alford says Thompson's invite on behalf of Darren White did not mention that the coach would be having his photo taken with partygoers for $1,000 a pop. Alford vetoed the photo ops, but said he would attend the fund-raiser because he is a "man of his word."

It's the words in the policy being drafted by UNM athletic director Paul Krebs governing the political activity of the school's celebrity coaches and other employees that is of most concern. We're told UNM Prez Schmidly is of a mind to have a policy that puts the fund-raising activity off limits. Alford, caught in the middle, will probably be glad to follow any restrictions, leaving the trap doors of La Politica behind him. When you're making a million bucks a year,
long-term employment is a most desirable goal.


Ready for some summer fun? Here it comes, sung to the tune, "The Times They Are A-Changin." Yeah, now we're really bloggin'.

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