Well, that Finishes Romney

By Al Giordano

 

(Google satellite tour of McCain's estates, courtesy of Jed.)

 

If Mike Huckabee's vocal opposition didn't already put the stake through the heart of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's aspirations of becoming John McCain's vice presidential running mate, the McMansion controvery that erupted today - with McCain unable to recall how many homes he has (seven, eight, ten, thirteen, and still counting) - should chop Mitt once and for all off the short list.

Romney, billionaire, already counts with a mansion in Massachusetts and additional homes in New Hampshire and Utah. And since the whole point of his possible vice presidential nomination would be to try to win over voters in the Michigan of his childhood, who knows? Romney might have already acquired another one to bolster his "favorite son" status there!

McCain now has to vet everybody else on his checklist all over again and find the one (Pawlenty?) that has only one home, or the controversy gets a whole new set of legs. (But if Pawlenty turns out to have his own housing chain, this thing may come back to Huckabee by process of elimination!)

Ciao, Mitt!

Update: The national evening newscasts each emphasized McCain's "housing crisis" tonight. From Halperin's round-up:

ABC: ...report on housing fracas said McCain has nine homes on seven properties, listing them and showing photos. Said this is "not what McCain wants to be talking about," and the Obama campaign hope it's "highly exploitable" like Kerry's 2004 comment about troop funding. Stephanopoulos said the Obama team sees it as a seminal moment, while the McCain camp denies anyone considers McCain an elitist....
CBS: Led with news that Obama has made his veep decision, combined with coverage of McCain houses and subsequent battle. In a preview of an Obama interview with Harry Smith, Obama said his veep choice would be someone he would "feel comfortable with." Reported that McCain has "at least seven" homes "from coast to coast" and played clips from Obama and McCain Thursday ads, concluding that "the gloves are off" in the race...

NBC: ...Said McCain's "houses" remark was "the biggest political story of the day" and there's "indications" voters will hear more about it. Called McCain's answer to Politico "surprising," said for Obama it was "too good to resist" and campaign predicts working class families will have a tough time understanding it. Covered McCain response. Said "who is the more out of touch game" was a favorite of Clinton's, noted her campaigning for Obama in Florida...

 

 

Friday Morning Update: (From the airport.) The talking heads are abuzz with Halperin saying that McCain has decided to tap Romney as VP. Here's why that's not credible: McCain will have the luxury of knowing who the rival vice presidential nominee is before he has to pick his. It would be political malpractice to finalize his choice before knowing who they'll be up against, because his running mate will debate Obama's and there may be an opportunity for "counterprogramming" against any perceived weakness of the other guy's sidekick. More likely, GOP spinners are head-faking the Great Mentioners in an attempt to trick Obama into counterprogramming his choice against a possible McCain-Romney ticket. But nobody's going to fall for that. In the end, maybe McCain will be crazy enough to give Obama an opening to reach for Southern Evangelical Christians by picking Romney who many of their leaders distrust (putting various Southern states more into play), but there's no way he's finalized any veep decision already. He, like the world, is waiting on Obama's decision first.

Comments

Yep

Pawlenty is the one. I'm almost totally certain of that. I give about a 5 percent chance of it being someone else.

And I'm getting more and more sure by the minute that it will be Sebelius for Obama.

Portman?

I'd been thinking Pawlenty was the most likely, but this made me wonder if Rob Portman might be an even better choice (from our point of view):

Choosing Portman will mean that John McCain has accepted that he is running for President Bush’s third term. Robert Novak reported in February that Portman’s name was floated as running mate material by the Bush political team, effectively making him Bush’s choice of running mate. Portman is irrevocably tied to President Bush’s massive deficit and to the fiasco that has been “free trade” under the Bush administration.

I heart Pawlenty

I mean, the guy oozes the current Republican brand.  The guy who vetoed a bill funding infrastructure work, like repairing bridges that later collapse.

 

Sure, he may say it wouldn't have made any difference or been in time to fix that bridge, but that won't matter to people.

Looks like the McCain campaign took the bait

Obama launches an (let's be honest) quite trivial and tame attack on McCain and now camp McCain is freaking out and throwing out their heavy artillery? Two months before the elections?

Well played.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/21/161258/619/512/572053

GOP Love the Rich

Don't count out the mittster. They  love rich people in the GOP. And they love the Romney name in Michigan, or so they think.

@Enzo: Arugala! Rezko! Noun

@Enzo:

Arugala! Rezko! Noun verb POW!

Obama VP might be postponed to nurture this story a few days

From the WaPo's The Fix:

If Obama's campaign had planned to roll out their vice presidential pick at any point today, that announcement is likely to be put on hold. Why? The campaign believes the story about McCain's many houses is political gold and they won't want to step on it with a veep announcement that would immediately change the day's storyline.

Hey, if things work out they can wait until the convention to announce the VP pick -- which, as Al has noted, would serve to smother any efforts to grab headlines or airtime by any agents provocateur.

Oh, and by the way, it's EIGHT homes now.  So far.

Mitt just bought a house in

Mitt just bought a house in La Jolla too. So he might have just as many homes as McCain.

You might be right about Romney

He's the choice of the GOP moneymen. But, has this knocked him out? I dunno. What about Ridge?

I just have to throw my hands in the air here

The tons and tons of legitimate stuff the media could go after John McCain for and this is what sticks? How many houses he has?

I'm happy to see ol' McSame sweat but still...WTF?

This is a gift

McCain's comments are a gift, and surely he will escape his leash periodically to provide more fodder for similar political golden moments.  So glad the Obama team grabbed it and ran. The more exposure McCain gets the more it helps Obama!

It's not merely the number of houses

Chuchundra - What gave the story legs is that he didn't know how many he had. And this gets warmer toward issues like his competency to hold the office, as well as the very "elitism" that he's accused his rival of embodying. Throwing stones from a glass house is one thing, but from seven or eight or thirteen, and displaying that complete unawareness of how many homes (each with its own help staff) you have indicates a person terribly out of touch with common people's struggles who shouldn't go batting about the "elitist" charge against the son of a single mom.

That's why it's a big deal. It's not the houses, per se, but that someone of that wealth and disconnect wants to make elitism an issue in the campaign.

Mitt and Mich(igan)

1) Only "Boomers" like me even remember George Romney as Governor of Michigan, even though he was popular at the time.  Geez, that was back in the 60s...ancient history!

2) George's own presidential aspirations exploded after he came back from a visit to Vietnam and said he had been "brainwashed"...and he did NOT march with MLK in Detroit...

3) In a state as economically challenged as Michigan (with one of the highest foreclosure rates, speaking of houses), do McCash and Richie Rich Romney REALLY think people in Michigan can relate to all of their money and all of their houses?

4) Michigan and the surrounding states are fighting HARD with anyone (like McMansion) from a dry state (like Arizona) who tries to take our water...that's how Richardson got in trouble with me...although I really like him and he's so cute...sorry...OT...

waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!

 

What about Ridge?

No way - he's pro choice

An Election about Economic Class

The great thing about McCain's gaffe today is that it focuses the election on economic class. Democrats win every time. Rs try to confuse the issue by designating Dems as cultural elitists, but when it's bread and butter, food, shelter, and clothing, the Dems win. Anyone who has so many houses he can't remember how many- is filthy rich and out of touch with the plight of the struggling middle class, and possibly also demented. Both are likely the case with McCain. ( In this case I have to think that the issue of McCain's mentation and growing evidence of cognitive impairment are also in play.)

"The San Francisco Sentinel’s Ned Brown

  makes the case that the the ticket will be Obama-Gore ‘08. We can only hope."

 

 

This is so ironic

 The latest Halperin headline says "Two GOP sources say, It's Romney"

 http://thepage.time.com/2008/08/21/2-gop-sources-its-romney/

 

So sorry but, LMOAROF!

yeah, it's the not knowing - it's having to ask a staff member

either he doesn't remember (senile!)

or

he doesn't remember how many he reported (sleazy & crooked)

The media seems afraid to report on opition 1 and option 2 reminds us of the corporate jets, Cindy, and all that contradicts whatever positive remains in the collective conscious about McCain-Feingold.

I have this weaird feeling...

that all this hoopla about Obama's VP choices is one great head fake, and that Hillary will be his VP...
the thing is..one month ago I would have said..no freakin' way!
but today, I feel differently, if Obama can make sure to keep Bill so far away, I am think I will be OK with Hillary.

McCain's Predicament

While charges of elitism and being out-of-touch seem entirely appropriate to direct at McCain, I don't think it's fair to call him "potentially demented" because he couldn't immediately remember the number of houses owned by him and his wife.

Isn't there a conspicuous segregation of the McCains' assets whereby much of Cindy McCain's income and wealth is shielded in trusts?  Wouldn't it also be conceivable for a prideful man who is sensitive to having married above his financial station to struggle to answer exactly how many houses were shielded by the aforementioned inpenetrable trusts if he were trying to protect his wife's privacy?

Could the McCain effectively answer the recent charges from the Obama camp by suggesting that he was defending his wife's privacy/honor rather than not remembering?

 

 

@Vik-

 Who's side are you on?

Vik, I am going with Helen Pope's 2nd option.

There are some more hidden skeletons there. Would msm investigate like they did rezko ?

amk

@Christi

Uh oh, here I go again ... let's assume for the record that I'm a big Obama fan and a big Hillary detractor.  Anything else you want to know about me?

I made the points above because:

1.  I don't think the whole "demented" angle is a winner for the Obama campaign because it may turn off older undecided voters and

2.  because I really don't think it is true or fair. I really do think he was trying to calculate in his head how many of the 8-13 properties were co-owned by him and his wife and how many were individually owned by her and/or her trusts and/or her children.

Seems to me that it would be better to hit McCain as a privileged and inauthentic hypocrite who has some gall to try to paint Obama as an elitist, which is what the O-team is doing.  It also seems worthwhile to be prepared to move to a new angle (how much Social Security has McCain collected while he goes around badmouthing it and how much did the Bush tax cuts personally benefit him?) if McCain opts for the chivalrous defense.

amk

I don't really get the "wife's honor" argument and I reject the "prideful man" defense. He can't admit who he is and if the voters see that, his aura of authenticity is damaged.

I add an option three to the two I listed above -

offering an excuse (gotta ask the staffer) to hide who he is and where he comes from.

He didn't want to say, well we have the place in Arlington, the ranch (echoes of Bush), the multiple condos in arizona, and oh yeah, that place in La Jolla, I guess that counts, and that other place in La Jolla, but that's for the kids... and on and on.

It takes some nerve for a person in his situation to accuse Obama of being an elitist / celebrity and to look down on real people, by saying that people should just resist taking a vacation this year to get out of that nasty, irresponsible foreclosure situation.  Seriously, I doubt he even knows anyone who knows anyone who's at risk of losing their (only) home.

The only problem I see with this "crisis" is that Americans are really aspirational. We want vacation homes, etc. I just hope WE and Obama can reach people with stories of what's really possible, without marrying an heiress. How Obama worked towards (and so far beyond, not resting on his laurels at) his "million dollar mansion" in Chicago is so much more inspiring than how his oponent got all those homes.

Doesn't matter if the

Doesn't matter if the "houses" are owned by Cindy vs John.  The question is "When you slept in these houses did you think you were renting?"

@ amk

Skeletons about what?  McCain's wealth?  His wife's?

Vik, How many he reported ? How they were financed ?

Did he get a pricing preference ? Was keating 5 involved in any manner a la Rezko ? 

If Cindy gets dragged into that, well, that's just too bad.

amk

I Bet Dollars to Donuts That ...

There is definitely more dirt on McCain

The question is how and when to spread it without coming across as sleazy or opportunistic (like Hillary did whenever she brought up Rezko or Bittergate).

I read somewhere that David Axelrod made mention of McCain's Sedona ranch and 7 other houses in an earlier conversation with the press.  So he gets an assist for seeding this to Politico, which was the organization that actually asked McCain the specific question.

I wonder if we'll ever see a reformulation or reexamination of the McCain/lobbyist story from the New York Times a few months back.

@ amk

Keating bankrolled the launch of McCain's political career.  But the press appears to have decided that we passed the statute of limitations on that story.

McCain's unique VP problem

McCain has a unique problem being so old that his VP pick must be qualified to be President. Obama has made the point already. he said his pick could be President. the reason he says this is that if McCain's pick is not then he can indirectly go after McCain's age by attacking the VP as not ready. In this context McCain has a big problem. I am not sure he realizes it thoguh. I think Obama will pick Biden to show case this point.

PalGirl

Bubba complimented McCain AGAIN this week.

 

AGAIN.

 

AND, Hillary's BROTHER meeting with McCain?

 

HELL NO to choosing her.

Vik, you're missing the point

and worse, fretting over success.  This is how it works - stupid themes get picked up and run with by the media, and you pray they work in your favor.  Which they did today.  So can the introspection and enjoy the ride.  This is a GOOD day - enjoy it.

@ James

With all due respect, I think you might be the one who is missing my point.  If you reread my posts, I hope you will see that they have nothing to do with "fretting" about winning the news cycle with MultipleHouseGate.  You perhaps are not understanding that I am making a different point entirely: McCain's gaffe does not justify calling him "demented" -- it's not consistent with Obama's brand and it's unnecessary.

As long as I have co-publisher privileges (which may be short-lived at this point), I am going to keep posting my honest perspectives, which by definition would be introspective. You're generally welcome to do and say as you please, but I'm afraid that I'm not likely to honor your wishes.

And if you think that I am not enjoying today, then you would be very mistaken.

Demented

McCain's gaffe does not justify calling him "demented" -- it's not consistent with Obama's brand and it's unnecessary.

The theme is " John McCain doesn't remember how many houses he has."

At a visceral level, this resonates as "he's so rich....".

I don't know that the dimentia dog whistle resonates with many undecides at all. Mainly people like us, who have already decided. I don't think anyone will touch his age as an issue outright.

In other words, not much to worry about. The class aspect of it is what resonates and reverberates.

McMansion Chivalrous?

Any man who calls his 2nd wife a c*nt in public and says it's her "pet name" and offers her up for an essentially "wet t-shirt" contest" in public AFTER he dumped his 1st wife is NOT chivalrous!

That said, I think the main reason he "didn't know" (besides the fact he just didn't know!) is that he didn't want to remind everyone that just about everything belongs to Cindy...remember, she didn't want to release her tax returns...

Now, the way Barack treats and worships Michelle in public...that's chivalrous!  As a worshipped wife myself (smile), I say: Hubba, hubba!  That's a relationship I can believe in!

waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!

 

Oh I think it will be

Oh I think it will be Mittens.  It was always going to be Mittens.  The big money boys always wanted Mittens in the WH; but they thought that the best way to do that was to hide him behind McMaverick.  Dumb egotistical, fifth from the bottom of his class McMaverick.  Kind of like they hid Cheney behind a superficially charming egotistical idiot governor of Texas.

The big money boys just toy with pleasing the evangelicals - they know the evangelicals have no where else to go. 

 

John McMansion

I agree that McCain's forgetting how many houses he owns is political gold.  But I think actually he didn't forget at all, he successfully chose the least politically damaging answer out of a menu of politically damaging answers.  When the Politico reporter asked that question, McCain's choices for responses were the following:

1) give true answer (7? 8?). The audio of that answer in McCain's own voice would have been very damaging.

2) give the low-ball answer that his staff gave "at least 4" which would have been proven to be a lie of sorts as the media tracked down the true number.  

3) give the answer he did, which denies the Obama campaign the got-you-dead-to-rights audio in your own voice confirming how out of touch you are.

I think that McCain gave the best political answer and now it is up to the Obama campaign to do exactly what it is doing and tie that albatross around McCain's neck. The veep announcement can wait til this story plays itself out in all its glory.

Is it possible?

If the housing gaff continues to snowball out of control, is it possible that McCain would pick his running mate sooner - just to change the present conversation?

Romney and Huckabee, together?

Apparently, the McCain campaign has planned a rally on Aug. 31st in Michigan with Romney and Huckabee. It's widely thought that Huckabee hates Romney, and his supporters (still organized as 'Huck's Army') have been declaring that they'll stay home and shut their wallets if Romney is on the ticket. I don't know what this signals about McCain's veep choice, but what I want to know is, what kind of deal did he cut with Huckabee to get him on that stage? We already know that McCain caved about modifying the hard-line anti-abortion plank in the party platform, but there has to be something more.

@ Chris E-That's too bad

 I thought the Huck had more class than that.

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About Al Giordano

Biography

Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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