Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Humorist John Hodgman rambles through a new story about aliens, physics, time, space and the way all of these somehow contribute to a sweet, perfect memory of falling in love.
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin’s shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her familyâ€”clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent “tens of thousands” more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
And some other tidbits:
- The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. “Why would they try to make people hate us?” Michelle asked a top campaign aide.
- On the Sunday night before the last debate, McCain’s core group of advisersâ€”Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, adman Fred Davis, strategist Greg Strimple, pollster Bill McInturff and strategy director Sarah Simmonsâ€”met to decide whether to tell McCain that the race was effectively over, that he no longer had a chance to win. The consensus in the room was no, not yet, not while he still had “a pulse.”
- Obama was never inclined to choose Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate, not so much because she had been his sometime bitter rival on the campaign trail, but because of her husband. Still, as Hillary’s name came up in veep discussions, and Obama’s advisers gave all the reasons why she should be kept off the ticket, Obama would stop and ask, “Are we sure?” He needed to be convinced one more time that the Clintons would do more harm than good. McCain, on the other hand, was relieved to face Sen. Joe Biden as the veep choice, and not Hillary Clinton, whom the McCain camp had truly feared.
- At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys’ club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. “I’ll be just a minute,” she said.
- The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me â€¦ answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that's green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”
More than 130 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election.
With ballots still being counted in some precincts into Wednesday morning, an estimated 64 percent of the electorate turned out, making 2008 the highest percentage turnout in generations.
In 2004, 122.3 million voted in what was then the highest recorded turnout in the contest between President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).
Previously red states targeted by the Barack Obama campaign demonstrated remarkable turnout, setting records in North Carolina and elsewhere. Increased turnout was also reported in states including Virginia and Indiana.
Exit polls indicate that whites made up a slightly smaller percentage of the electorate than in 2004, as a surge among minority and youth voters aided Obama, who exit polls show won two-thirds of voters ages 18 to 29, 66 percent of Hispanics and 95 percent of blacks.
From Cynic Scary Bug Thing:
I love your blog, and I thought I’d pass along a picture I just took of the front door of Borders at 18th & L St. in Washington, D.C. For some reason it didn’t really hit me until I saw this sign just how historical this was.
Feel free to use it on your blog, or not—Just wanted to share.
It wasn’t all good news last night:
LOS ANGELES â€“ In an election otherwise full of liberal triumphs, the gay rights movement suffered a stunning defeat as California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriages that overrides a recent court decision legalizing them.
The constitutional amendment â€” widely seen as the most momentous of the nation’s 153 ballot measures â€” will limit marriage to heterosexual couples, the first time such a vote has taken place in a state where gay unions are legal.
Gay-rights activists had a rough election elsewhere as well. Ban-gay-marriage amendments were approved in Arizona and Florida, and Arkansas voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Supporters made clear that gays and lesbians were their main target.
In California, with 95 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday, the ban had 5,125,752 votes, or 52 percent, while there were 4,725,313 votes, or 48 percent, opposed.
It was a rough night for members of the Rapture Ready BB:
I feel so bad for the country and forJohn McCain, just thought yesterday, wouldn’t it be wonderful if America would say “thank you” to an old soldier who suffered so much for her by making him President McCain. I’m afraid Obama’s presence in the White House is going to cause a lot of racial division in this country. Obama is so UNQUALIFIED, people are just voting to be voting, with no sense to it. This is not a popularity contest, this is a COUNTRY. Sorry, just had to vent.
In Bible numbers, 44 represents ‘judgement of the world.’
In the neighborhood where I live (which is near downtown in a semi-major city), everyone is in a frenzy, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Everyone, literally everyone driving down the street is honking their horns shouting their Obama worship out their windows… people are partying on the streets, hundreds of people gathered in a busy intersection and shut it down so they could party, there were so many people it attracted the attention of the local news to send their chopper and put it live on the air from the sky, people are launching fireworks, it’s 2 am here and all this is still going on. People are literally in a state of mass hypnosis. That is much more scary than the number 44.
These are going to be interesting days. America has decided that capitalism and perhaps even freedom should both take a holiday. What hasn’t been considered is that when these two fundamentals of American life are sent on “holiday”–they may never return.
I believe that this day marks the beginning of the end for the USA.
As I have said before I think he is one of the ten kings. No one can come from nowhere and defeat the Clinton machine, have the middle name of Hussein and become the president, without the help of you know who?
There is a definite purpose for this. I run my own business, so I literally have more executive experience than Barrack Obama to be President . . . yet there he is, elected by 62+ million people . . .
God’s Perfect Will be done is what I pray. I am worried (as a business owner) but very excited (as a Christian) with what lies ahead.
And I agree with others here . . . our nation as we knew it is over. America is sliding quickly now . . . but it had to happen as prophecy is being fulfilled.
God bless you all and God’s Will be done.
We who are saved have front row seats , watching the bible unfold before are very eyes. I feel sorry for the unsaved and youth who wanted change and it will be coming in ways they never expected
Praying for my unsaved loved ones, who were blindsided. And country
George W Bush may be our last president.
He is but a harbinger of how quickly the REAL antiChrist will gain worldwide power so quickly. Four years ago he was unheard of. Keep an eye on him!
The election this year for Christians was actually a win-win situation. If McCain would have won we would be thrilled. With the Obama win, it brings us that much closer to the Rapture.
It’s comforting to know that God is in control at all times, He has His plans and now will be carrying them out at breakneck speed.
In spite of the outcome I am very excited to see what Gods next move is. I feel its all biblical now.
Cynical correspondent Erin was on the scene last night for the big event:
I am so tired right now that I actually feel hungover.
I wanted to Twitter more often last night, but I just got too swept up in everything. It was one of the greatest, most inspiring nights of my life.
All day I had butterflies in my stomach. I couldnâ€™t differentiate it between pessimistic anxiety and optimistic anticipation. I snuck out of work a couple of minute early so that I would have enough time to scarf down some cold chicken before heading off to the train station with my husband. The reality of how big the turnout was going to be started to show itself on the train. People of all ages and races walked through the train cars or sat in their seats proudly wearing their Obama gear and â€œI voted!â€ stickers. I knew it was going to be a special night, regardless of outcome. Every conversation going on around us had something to do with the election, either on a national or local level. As the train pulled into LaSalle station, I could feel the butterflies acting up again.
We walked down Congress towards Michigan Avenue. As we walked, people were selling all sorts of Obama merchandise. The closer we got, the more people we could see, all funneling in the same direction. Once we got to Michigan, it was a sea of people. We were directed to the right, the non-ticket holders were directed to the left. From what I could tell, even those without tickets were still very much a part of everything. After a decent sized wait, NUMEROUS I.D. checks, and a run through the metal detector, we were in! We walked up to the wall of people in front of us and planted ourselves in the spot we would remain in for the next several hours. There was a HUGE television screen playing CNN coverage to our left. There was even a CNN correspondent with her camera crew about twenty feet in front of us. (Whenever CNN would throw the broadcast to her, our entire section went crazy.) The stage was in front of us. The city skyline, behind us and to our right.
Chicago has a love for showing its pride through coordinated lighting in the windows. Through the years, the lights have said things promoting various sports teams or charitable causes. Last night, it was all about the election. One buildingâ€™s light spelled out USA. A couple of them were American flags. Still a few more went the simplistic route and just lit up with red, white, and blue.
More and more people packed in. News choppers flew overhead. Every direction I looked, there were reports interviewing various rally-goers. The excitement grew and grew. And THEN they started announcing projections. With every Obama/Democrat announcement there was an eruption of applause. With every McCain/Republican one there were boos mixed with things like â€œYeah, but we expected that one to go that way.â€ Any nerves that I may have had were quickly melting away. Thenâ€¦Pennsylvania! Everywhere around us, it was written on the faces. Was this really happening? Delight grew as CNNâ€™s analysts said the Pennsylvania projection was â€œdevastatingâ€ for McCain. I couldnâ€™t tell if time was flying by or creeping at a snail-like pace. It was all a blur.
OHIO!! It was ours. We knew it. We were about to witness one of the most profound moments in American history. I started to feel the emotion well up inside me, pitting in my throat.
At about 9:30 it just became a waiting game. I must have checked the time on my phone every thirty seconds. 35 more minutes until California closes. 25 minutes. 15. 14. 5. As the final minutes ticked away, someone came on stage for a final soundcheck. â€œCheck 1, 2. Check 1, 2. Final soundcheck for the next president of the United States.â€ The crowd went crazy. When the clock read 9:59:50, the crowd began a countdown of the last ten minutes. With almost no hesitation, CNN had breaking newsâ€¦BARACK OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT! The noise was deafening. People screamed. Some cried. My husband hugged me and high-fived the man next to us. At that moment, I was once again proud to be an American. Through the celebration I even realized that I was a little disappointed in myself. I had truly underestimated my fellow Americans. They came through for me last night. And I will never forget that.
Music played and people danced. I suddenly forgot about the shooting pains in my knees as I bopped around and sang. After a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem, it was time for our new president to take the stage. The new first family was announced. When Barack, Michelle, and their daughters took the stage, I was overcome with emotion. Throughout this campaign process, I kept telling myself that people who thought race was important were ignorant. The reality is, race was important â€“ just in a different way. I was standing there in the middle of Grant Park watching America crown its very first African American president. I canâ€™t wait to tell future generations that I was there. When kids read about it in history books, I will have been a part of that. We have evolved. Itâ€™s amazing, overwhelming, and inspiring. Between the occasional â€œYes We Canâ€ or â€œObamaâ€ chant, you could hear a pin drop while our new leader was speaking. Cameras flashed. Tears flowed. Smiles beamed. We have a long, hard road ahead of us. I am not going to assume that Barack Obama is going to fix all of our problems, but I do know that I am very optimistic that our country can now move forward in a lot ways.
I had goosebumps throughout Obamaâ€™s speech. And I believe I was standing on my toes for all 15+ minutes of it. As long as there wasnâ€™t a camera obstructing my view, I was able to see him from where I was standing. I will never, ever forget that moment in time.
When we finally decided to leave, there was an endless sea of people with the same idea. Slowly but surely, we made our way back to Michigan Avenue. I have never, in my twenty-five years living in the Chicagoland area, witnessed Michigan Avenue shut down to traffic and overflowing with glowing, cheering masses as I witness last night. It did not stop their either. Congress, State, and a few other major streets were shut down in honor of our celebration. Amazing. The train ride home was a bit of a blur. Likely because I dozed off a couple of times. (Hey, it was a LOOONG day!) When we finally got home, before beginning our limited night of sleep, I turned to my husband and said, â€œWeâ€™re going to be having kids soon. And I am so proud to be able to bring them into this world, to be able to tell them that we were there for that historic night.â€ He just smiled and nodded, feeling exactly the same way.