Tuesday, September 09, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Caroline Kennedy To NM For Obama; Three Stop Swing; But Are Regular Voters Priced Out? Plus: Insiders Say Pearce Fumes Over Slight At Rally 

Caroline Kennedy Now & Then
Move over Sarah P. Caroline K. is on her way. The daughter of President JFK will do a three stop NM swing for the Obama campaign September 26 and 27, hitting ABQ, Santa Fe and Taos. But some of Caroline Kennedy's fans with thin wallets are concerned that they will not get to see her. Several generations of Northern New Mexicans have responded to the Kennedy mystique. It is built on the family's unflinching support of civil and human rights and the Catholic faith they share with many Hispanics. But many of them now appear to have reason to believe they are priced out of her NM stop. So far, all of the events making the rounds for Caroline's visit are high dollar. And we mean high dollar. Take a look:

Friday, Sept 26--Debate Watch and Reception with Caroline Kennedy, Santa Fe @ the Home of Debbie Fleischaker; 5:30 – 8:00 PM $2300/person (host $23,000)

Dinner with Caroline Kennedy Santa Fe @ the Home of the Paul Bardacke and Lisa Enfield 8:00 PM $10,000/person (or raise $28,500)

Saturday, Sept 27--Brunch with Caroline Kennedy Taos, NM @ Café Loka Exact Time TBD – (About 10 AM) $250/person (host $2500/person)

Women for Obama Biden Brunch with Caroline Kennedy, Albuquerque, @ the Home of Randi McGinn, Exact Time TBD – (About 1 PM) $500/person, Young Professional $250/person (Host $5000/$2500 –YP)

One Obama northern backer thinks all this is over the top for the largely low-income north.

Norteños love the Kennedy's. If they had free public events for her, people would cross rivers and mountains to see her and believe in her support for Obama. Rio Arriba County especially needs the encouragement. But as it is, it is prohibitively expensive for most people and has every appearance of being elitist, just as the GOP claims Obama is. La Gente won't see her. People are talking about the cultural and economic divide that this represents. The organizers do not have the political savvy to even invite the precinct chairs as guests. Que Lástima! (What a shame!)

In fairness to Caroline, 50, she is not a public figure like her Uncle Teddy, and can't be expected to solo huge public rallies, but Obama's campaign could build a rally or two around her that would satisfy the "working families" the D's are targeting. The presidential daughter commands tremendous goodwill, but if she is to transfer some of it to Obama, the schedulers, if they haven't already, may want to take a second look at her NM datebook.


The fight for the North is getting more dramatic. Obama heads there the 18th; Caroline follows. For now, national polls are moving toward McCain as he bounces from the GOP convention. An enthusiastic Dem turnout is needed north of I-40. Kerry did not get it in '04 and lost the state. If Obama's campaign crew isn't losing sleep thinking about that, they ought to be.


We've seen Robert Duvall here for McCain and Robert Redford comes for Tom Udall in Corrales tonight. We talked about what celebrity visits mean to our politics with KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson who has been tracking the action since '74.


GOP Alligators are gnawing on the news that US Senate nominee Steve Pearce is fuming over his treatment at Saturday's ABQ rally for McCain and Palin. Some of his top supporters--including big money givers--are letting the McCain campaign and top GOP operatives know it. Here's what went down, according to one of the Gators:

"Steve did not get a chance to speak to the rally, while (GOP US Rep.) Heather Wilson and (ABQ GOP congressional candidate) Darren White both spoke at length. Steve was only on stage briefly to deliver an opening prayer. His people see it as a major slight by the McCain campaign, Marta Kramer, director of the NM McCain office and Republican National Committee operative Jay McCleskey. As the US senate nominee, Steve is the head of the Republican Party, yet they acted like he barely existed," informed our insider.

Pearce is running up against a GOP still controlled by forces aligned with Wilson, who lost the Senate nomination to Pearce. Now that she and Senator Domenici will soon fade from power, money and contracts are at stake and those with them will try to hold on. Pearce could have started to move against the incumbent party forces when they chose Wilson ally Pat Rogers as the new national committeeman in June, but he decided to hold his fire. Now, he is getting a taste of the intra-party warfare that has haunted the party. Also, Pearce has never been a big fan of the independent McCain and has made no secret of it. If there was some payback in consigning Pearce a minimum role at the big McCain-Palin rally, he can't be too surprised. Meantime, If Pearce thinks he is owed something for the slight, why not ask McCain's campaign to give him Sarah Palin for a day in southern New Mexico?


Top Dems are saying that absentee ballot request forms sent out by the McCain campaign last week have problems. They say the law states that such forms must not differ from the official forms sent out by county clerks. In the case of the McCain form, they say that is not the case. If the Dems have it right, there's going to be some red-faces in the McCain camp, but the law states that the Secretary of State "must prescribe and approve the form of such mailings prior to production." That would be Democrat Mary Herrera who we presume gave approval to the GOP mailing.


The rift in the GOP can be traced back to when then-Governor Gary Johnson called for drug legalization. . The party divided itself into two camps, with the effects from that '90's falling out still being felt today. As for Johnson, he made a rare public appearance for Republican Prez candidate Ron Paul at a recent rally held during the GOP national convention in Saint Paul. You can see some video of it here, and see that Johnson, now 55, has not backed off his drug stance.


Insiders say to expect ABQ GOP US House candidate Darren White to hit with his first TV ad this week. They say it will be a bio spot of the Bernalillo County sheriff. His Dem foe, Martin Heinrich, has had unanswered TV up since last Tuesday...

Have you noticed all those 15 second ads from Pearce as he tries to stretch his campaign budget?...Udall has unveiled a negative ad on Pearce, accusing him of being an ally of "Big Oil." Even though Udall has a polling lead, he isn't taking chances with Pearce who has the backing of powerful third party groups who are firing hard-hitting TV at Udall. Also, Pearce's relentless hammering of Udall on energy policy is seen as responsible for helping Pearce close the huge polling gap he had with Udall. He appears to be about 10 points back and slowly closing.


If McCain is closing on Obama or passing him, it could be significant for two of NM's US House races where R's have stiff challenges. If Obama's performance is below expectations in the ABQ area, it could help Darren White. The same for Republican Ed Tinsley down south if Obama fades some. The national generic congressional ballot in a CNN poll favors the Dems now by only 48% to 45%. If those numbers hold here, a three seat Dem sweep of the state's congressional delegation gets increasingly unlikely. Many Republicans would rather see Obama win the White House than see New Mexico's entire D.C. delegation go Dem.

Remember, you can keep up-to-date on all the latest polls by clicking on our "Real Clear Politics" link at the top right of the page.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. E-mail your news and comments.

Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign