Saturday, August 25, 2007

CBS' Jeff Greenfield: "Campaigning for Votes... and Laughs"

Jeff Greenfield of CBS News has an entertaining piece on how candidates - including Senator McCain - have begun appearing on Comedy Central with increasing frequency:

Campaigning for Votes... and Laughs: Comedy Central's Late-Night Talk Shows Have Become a Stop for Presidential Hopefuls of Both Parties

(CBS) If you're running for president, you have to show up at the Iowa State Fair and you have to debate just about every day. Now there's a new tradition that's fast becoming as familiar as kissing a baby or chowing down on local grub: an appearance on "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" — the twin towers of the Comedy Central network's political coverage, labeled "Indecision 2008," reports CBS News chief political analyst Jeff Greenfield.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was with Jon Stewart on Wednesday night. "With the experience thing, have you thought about running a smaller country first?" asks "The Daily Show" host. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was with "Colbert Report" host Stephen Colbert last week. "I was on the Stephen Colbert show not once, but twice, and you gave me the bump the last time," Huckabee said on the show. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a "Daily Show" favorite, has been on 10 times; most recently, to talk abut his campaign woes. "In the words of Chairman Mao, 'It's always darkest just before it's totally black,'" he quipped.

So what's the appeal? "You actually end up being more truthful and talking more substance on a show like this than you do sometimes on some of these other shows," says Obama. You can see why candidates would flock to shows that can reach more than a million mostly young, mostly male viewers — one of the most elusive and desirable of audiences.

For Comedy Central, there's a clear bottom-line payoff. "It's big business for us now," says Michelle Ganeless, a Comedy Central vice president. "The franchise of 'Indecision' has become one of our biggest success stories with advertisers." Advertisers like Volkswagen, which has made a multimillion-dollar buy. The network, which has launched a freestanding
"Indecision 2008" Web site, also plans a politically-themed comedy tour. "They're reaching an audience that's interested in politics — but that's younger, and that's a rarity," says Ganeless. It's the kind of coverage that has a very different feel from the old days: When John Kennedy went on Jack Paar's "Tonight" Show back in 1960; the treatment was deferential — almost fawning. "May … may I call you Jack?" Parr asked. That's not so much the case today.

"I only mean this in the most respectable way: Who the hell are you?" Colbert recently asked Huckabee. And Stewart to Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.: "Is there anything in Delaware the Bidens don't control?" "It's tough humor, but there's always an intellectual bite to it," Biden said. Not every candidate finds the network comfortable turf. Neither Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani nor Mitt Romney has shown up so far. Even so, Comedy Central is showing that political funny business can mean serious profits.

You can read the full text of the original article
here. You can contact Campaignia at

ABC News: " '08 Campaigning on a Jet Plane" sheds light on cost of charter jets

On Friday, August 24, Jennifer Parker of ABC News wrote an extremely insightful report on how candidates travel, via either charter (corporate or otherwise) or commercial flights. Here are excerpts, some of which are directly relevant to Senator McCain's campaign, with others shedding light on the relative benefits and costs of campaigning via private jet, as opposed to commercial flights.
Aug. 24, 2007

As the end of the summer travel season nears, many
Americans have an air travel horror story. Delayed or even canceled flights. Lost baggage. Ever-changing security rules. Cramped seats. Some of the '08 presidential candidates have bypassed travel nightmares by flying high in style -- either on expensive privately chartered jets or by hitching a ride on the corporate jets of some of the world's wealthiest businesses.

Other White House wannabes fly with the masses on commercial flights -- either because of ethical reasons or simply because they can't afford to travel any other way. However, with a packed campaign event schedule, large entourages, more hands to shake than ever because of the early primary voting states, criss-crossing the nation on regular commercial flights has become a challenge.

Travel Delays Thwart '08 Presidential Candidates

A delayed flight caused Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. to miss a scheduled campaign event last month in Pittsburgh. The White House wannabe was forced to address supporters by speaker phone. Early in the campaign McCain pledged he wouldn't take flights on private corporate planes...

Many politicians, including Biden, freely admit they would rather fly on a private or corporate jet. "If I had a plane, I would make 30 percent more appearances in the state of Iowa, in New Hampshire, in Nevada," Biden told Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson last month. "That's where money does make a difference," said Biden, whose
fundraising effort lags far below '08 rivals Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. ...

Candidates Flying High on Chartered Jets

Cash-rich presidential candidates, like Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., are flying to rallies, debates and fundraisers, using their vast campaign war chests to charter private jets. Both Obama and Clinton have promised to forgo corporate jets in favor of chartering their own private planes. But chartering your own private jet can be costly. A return flight from Washington, D.C., to Manchester, N.H., on a chartered Citation III jet, which seats eight passengers, would cost almost $22,000 return, according to Air Charter, a private jet company based out of Missouri and frequently used by Obama's campaign.

The Obama campaign spent $340,000 on private planes in just February and March of 2007, using Air Charter, according to FEC documents. Obama has spent the most on travel so far, according to the
Center for Responsive Politics, spending about $696,000 on hotels, private planes, commercial flights and rental cars. Other White House wannabes have found a way to get those costs down by using corporate jets and reimbursing the owners the cost of a first-class ticket, which is far below the cost of operating a private plane.
Candidates Fly on Corporate Jets at Reduced Rate

Almost half of the Republican and Democratic '08 candidates running for president are traveling at reduced rates on corporate private jets, according to federal election campaign disclosures. Federal Election Commission rules allow candidates to pay what amounts to a first-class ticket to fly on corporate-owned private jets....

Romney, Edwards, Giuliani, Richardson Fly on Private Jets

Early on Romney's campaign actively solicited corporate jets as a way to save money.
The Romney campaign has spent almosy $620,000 in travel expenditures on corporate jets, commercial flights, hotels and vehicles, according to a campaign document filed with the Federal Election Commission. The Edwards campaign has paid more than $430,000 to Fred Baron for the use of his private plane, according FEC documents.
Baron, a successful asbestos trial lawyer, is a former president of the Association of American Trial Lawyers and is currently the national finance chair of Edwards' '08 presidential bid. Giuliani has paid more than $175,000 this year for flights on private jets leased by Elliott Asset Management, a company owned by Paul E. Singer, a hedge fund executive.

"Corporate jets are a much easier way to get around the country than commercial jets," said Ritsch. "Anyone who's been to an airport recently knows how difficult it is to get in and out. If presidential candidates had to do that they'd waste a lot of time that they could be spending with voters or with campaign contributors, so that's why they do it," he said.

Running Into Candidates in the Airport

Many presidential candidates fly on commercial planes to save money, and even to be seen by voters as down-to-earth.

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at

NY Daily News: "McCain - never too old to raise cash."

Here is the New York Daily News's Celeste Katz, on the fundraising e-mail under Cindy McCain's signature, encouraging donations based on Senator McCain's birthday on August 29:

McCain - never too old to raise cash

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

John McCain, the oldest of the major candidates in the presidential race, is seeking to turn his age to his advantage as his 71st birthday approaches.

"We've put together an electronic birthday card for John's birthday on August 29th. I hope you'll be able to sign it and, if you wish, write my husband a short personal note," his wife Cindy McCain wrote in a blast e-mail to McCain backers.

"As a special way of letting him know you're still on the McCain Team I'm asking you to make a special contribution of $142, or even $71 - one dollar per year - to commemorate this event."

While McCain has faced questions about his age and his health during the 2008 campaign, spokeswoman Crystal Benton says it's not an issue for the Arizona senator.
"This election is about experience, and Sen. McCain is the most experienced candidate on either side to lead the country from Day One," she said.

The oldest candidate in the race - Democratic former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, 77 - doesn't think McCain's age is an issue. "What should be a factor is the candidate's judgment," said Gravel spokesman Alex Colvin, who said the real problem is "the fact that [McCain] ... continues to believe a military presence in Iraq is justified."

Celeste Katz

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at