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Tags: McCain | Short | List

Bloomberg on McCain's 'Short List' for Running Mate

By    |   Sunday, 01 June 2008 08:50 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Bloomberg on McCain's 'Short List' for Running Mate
2. Oprah's Audience Dwindling — the Obama Connection
3. Intel Official: Don't Use 'War on Terror'
4. DNC Trails Republicans in Fundraising
5. Chertoff Calls Hezbollah 'A-team' of Terrorists
6. Wayne Allyn Root Is Libertarians' V.P. Choice

1. Bloomberg on McCain's 'Short List' for Running Mate

With speculation swirling about presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain's choice for running mate, a surprising name has popped into the discussion — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

When McCain had breakfast with Bloomberg recently in Manhattan, a McCain spokesman told the New York Post that "discussing a vice-presidential slot for Bloomberg was not on the agenda."

But a source close to the mayor told John Heilemann of New York magazine that the topic was definitely part of the conversation.

"One of the participants, in fact, came away from the conversation under the distinct impression that Bloomberg is on McCain's short list," Heilemann wrote.

The Democrat turned Republican turned Independent could aid the McCain campaign in a number of ways come November, according to Heilemann:

•  For one thing, billionaire Bloomberg's entrepreneurial background could serve to counter McCain's admitted shortcomings regarding economics.

Republicans are "losing on the economy by 10 to 15 points," said Doug Schoen, Bloomberg's pollster during his mayoral campaigns. "With Mike on the ticket, that gap would quickly, dramatically close."

• As a Jew, Bloomberg could strengthen McCain in several critical swing states with sizeable Jewish populations, including Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

• Bloomberg would enhance McCain's image as a moderate, and help distance him from the policies of an unpopular president as Democrats seek to portray the Senator as a George Bush clone, Schoen maintains.

"The Republican brand is dead, at least for this election," Schoen said. "McCain needs to go outside the box, and that's where Mike lives."

• Perhaps most importantly, Bloomberg could provide McCain with a huge financial boost if he were willing to spend part of his fortune on the campaign.

"Mike Bloomberg spent $83 million in a re-election simply in New York City," New York Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey told an interviewer. If he were the V.P. candidate, the figure would be "between zero and a billion [dollars]."

But there is one eventuality that could torpedo any McCain effort to land Bloomberg as his running mate — an overture to the mayor to run as the vice presidential candidate along with the likely Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.

According to Heilemann, Obama also had breakfast recently with Bloomberg, and even showed him an important economic speech before he delivered it.

A member of Bloomberg's inner circle said that Bloomberg and Obama reps held a meeting in April, Heilemann reported, "to discuss the former's suitability to being the latter's No. 2."

Editor's Note:

2. Oprah's Audience Declining — the Obama Connection

Ratings for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" have dropped nearly 7 percent this year, the third straight year of decline — and some observers point to Oprah's endorsement of Barack Obama for president as a reason behind the recent plunge.

Oprah's average audience has fallen to about 7.3 million this year, down from 7.8 million a year ago and nearly 9 million in the 2004-05 season.

And the show has now lost almost a quarter of its audience in the women ages 25 to 54 demographic compared to three years ago.

Oprah's endorsement of Obama in October "appears to have alienated some of the middle-aged white women who make up the bulk of her television audience, many of whom support Senator Hillary Clinton," the New York Times observed.

A large number of visitors to Oprah's Web site have left messages sharply critical of Oprah's political stance, according to Janice Peck, a University of Colorado associate professor of mass communication and author of a new book on Oprah's influence, "The Age of Oprah."

"There are a lot of her fans who are not Democrats or who support Hillary Clinton who feel betrayed," Peck told the Times.

A Gallup poll conducted shortly after Winfrey announced her backing of Obama found that her "favorable" rating fell by 8 percentage points, to 66 percent from 74 percent in January of last year, while her "unfavorable" rating surged by more than half, from 17 percent to 26 percent.

The circulation of O, The Oprah Magazine, has reportedly dropped by more than 10 percent in the last three years.

And "Oprah's Big Give," an ABC philanthropic reality show that attracted 15.7 million viewers when it first aired this past winter, averaged only 11.1 million viewers over eight weeks and finished the season 32nd in total audience among all prime-time programs, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Tim Bennett, president of Oprah's Harpo Productions, disputed the assertion that her backing of Obama had caused problems, noting that "Oprah" remains the No. 1 talk show, and he instead attributes the decline to general weakness in the overall television audience, the Times reported.

But Steven Ross, chairman of the history department at the University of Southern California — who is writing a book about Hollywood and politics — disagrees: "I think the endorsement probably backfired with a number of her fans."

Editor's Note:

3. Intel Official: Don't Use 'War on Terror'

The U.S. should stop using the term "war on terror" because it suggests to Muslims that the West is engaged in a "war on Islam," a top intelligence official declared.

Charles Allen, the senior intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security, said the term creates "animus" in Islamic countries.

"It has nothing to do with political correctness," Allen said in remarks reported by the Financial Times.

"It is interpreted in the Muslim world as a war on Islam and we don't need this."

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said "war on terror" is the "dumbest term you could use" and has urged Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, not to employ the phrase.

Hadley's spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the White House understands that "the use of the word 'Islamic' before the word 'terrorist' can be heard by Muslims … as lacking nuance, which may incorrectly suggest that all Muslims are terrorists or that we are at war with Islam."

But he added that the term "accurately describes the fight we are in."

President Bush made "war on terror" a stock phrase following the 9/11 attacks. And Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff does not agree that the term is equated with a war on Islam, according to his spokesman Russ Knocke.

"We are at war with terrorism, and its underlying ideology — not Islam — and we've gone out of our way to make that point," Knocke told the Times.

"In truth, war has been declared on us."

Last week's Insider Report disclosed that new U.S. government directives instruct individuals in the counter-terrorism and diplomatic communities not to use "jihadist," "mujahideen," "Islamo-fascism," "al-Qaida movement" and several other terms because they convey an undesired message to the Muslim world.

Editor's Note:

4. DNC Trails Republicans in Fundraising

Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are raising record amounts of cash for their presidential campaigns, but the Democratic National Committee is struggling to collect donations for its election efforts.

As of the end of April, the DNC had brought in $22.8 million this year but had only $4.4 million left to spend. The Republican National Committee, on the other hand, has collected $57.6 million this year and finished April with $40.6 million in its coffers.

DNC supporters say the drawn-out race between Obama and Clinton has diverted funds that would otherwise go to the party committee, according to the Washington Post.

Obama raised $31 million in April alone, while Clinton amassed $22 million.

Democrats in the House and Senate have also been siphoning off funds as they strive to increase their majorities in Congress.

"Whatever the cause, there is broad agreement that the DNC's cash position will put significant pressure on the party's nominee — probably Obama — to raise vast sums quickly for the national committee to compete with Republicans during the late spring and summer," the Post reported.

Financial records disclose that the DNC has spent $638,000 against presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain this year, almost all of it — $600,000 — on two TV ads that ran on national cable networks.

Neither ad is currently airing, due to budgetary restraints.

DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton expressed confidence that donations to the DNC will pick up once the Democrats have settled on their nominee.

"Donors to both campaigns have understandably been focused on helping their candidate win the nomination, not giving to the DNC," she said.

"We're confident our fundraising will take off."

But a longtime Democratic Party strategist told the Post that for the DNC, "there is serious concern about their complete lack of fundraising success."

Editor's Note:

5. Chertoff Calls Hezbollah 'A-team' of Terrorists

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff declared that the Iranian-backed Islamic group Hezbollah makes al-Qaida look like "a minor league team" of terrorists.

"Someone described Hezbollah like the A-team of terrorists in terms of capabilities, in terms of range of weapons they have, in terms of internal discipline," Chertoff said in an interview with Fox News before the opening of a terrorism forum in Jerusalem.

"To be honest, they make al-Qaida look like a minor league team."

Hezbollah represents most of the Shiites in Lebanon and along with related factions holds more than a quarter of the seats in the nation's parliament.

Military experts estimate that Hezbollah has about 1,000 full-time, highly trained soldiers, plus up to 10,000 volunteers, Fox reports. Most of its weapons are supplied through Iran.

The group is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told the Washington Post in 2000 that he is "against any reconciliation with Israel."

The U.S. lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and the group has been accused of orchestrating a number of attacks since its founding in the early 1980s, including the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 American servicemen.

Chertoff also warned in his interview that the threat remains of a terrorist smuggling a bomb aboard a passenger airplane. But he added:

"I don't think we're really worried about hijacking because we've put a lot of measures in place like a locked cockpit door, flight deck officers who have weapons, and the air marshals."

Editor's Note:

6. Wayne Allyn Root Is Libertarians' V.P. Choice

Businessman and author Wayne Allyn Root has been selected as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate, joining former Congressman Bob Barr on the ticket for November.

In the fifth ballot at the party's convention in Denver on May 25, Root threw his support to Barr, giving him the presidential nomination, and Barr immediately endorsed Root as his running mate.

Root is one of the most recognized professional sports prognosticators in the world, and has been called "The Face of Las Vegas Gambling" and "America's Handicapper."

His books include "The Zen of Gambling" and "Millionaire Republican: How Rich Republicans Get Rich - and How You Can Too!"

"Root brings a rarely seen excitement to the political process," said Libertarian Party National Media Coordinator Andrew Davis.

"His fire and passion are sure to ignite voters who are bored with the stale politics of the two-party system."

Editor's Note:

Editor's Note:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Bloomberg on McCain's 'Short List' for Running Mate2. Oprah's Audience Dwindling the Obama Connection3. Intel Official: Don't Use 'War on Terror'4. DNC Trails Republicans in Fundraising5. Chertoff Calls Hezbollah 'A-team' of...
Sunday, 01 June 2008 08:50 PM
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