Tag: McCain

Does McCain Still Have A Chance? FI2W's Aswini Anburajan Analyzes the Campaign on New York Public Radio

Fi2Ws Aswini Anburajan on The Brian Lehrer Show at Hofstra University

Aswini Anburajan on The Brian Lehrer Show at Hofstra University. (Photo: WNYC)

Feet in 2 Worlds journalist Aswini Anburajan joined WNYC‘s Brian Lehrer this morning to talk about John McCain’s waning prospects in the presidential election, the role of race in the campaign and other election-related issues. Here’s an excerpt of her analysis of tonight’s debate.

It’s on John McCain: what does he have to offer to the American public in terms of real, tangible solutions. It doesn’t matter anymore if someone knew a radical in the ’60s, when they were in Chicago, because this is about the fact that Citibank is pulling out of every university in this country; you cannot get students loans, it’s much harder. It’s about the fact that there are foreclosures. It’s about the fact that my parents, too, lost twenty to thirty percent on their 401k.

There are real economic hardships happening and I think that John McCain has a great opportunity tonight, because no one really thinks that Barack Obama has explained the situation that well.

The Brian Lehrer Show was broadcast live from Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y., site of tonight’s third and final presidential debate.

To hear the first hour of the program, featuring Aswini Anburajan, Lawrence Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra, and Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone political correspondent, click here.

To see more photos from Hofstra on the WNYC Flickr photostream, click here.


“Arab” vs. “Decent”: Arab-Americans Reacting to McCain’s Words in Minnesota

There are at least 3.5 million Americans of Arab descent. Those who are following the presidential race cannot be happy with the latest news from the McCain campaign.

In a scene that will be replayed on YouTube and cable news through the weekend, Gayle Quinnell, an elderly female Republican supporter at a rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, tells John McCain that Barack Obama is “an Arab” when questioning the Democrat’s fitness to lead the country.

McCain, as you can see in the video, snatches the microphone from her hand and counters: “No ma’am, no ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not. Thank you.”

The video also includes a post-rally interview with Quinnell. According to The Uptake.org, the reporters present were Noah Kunin, The UpTake’s senior political correspondent, Adam Aigner of NBC News and Dana Bash of CNN. [The interview was taped with a cellphone camera in a noisy place, but a full transcript is available at The Uptake link above.]

Quinnell, who’s 75 years old, said she obtained information on Obama from the Shakopee, Minn., local library and from another Republican volunteer at a McCain campaign office. She added she’s sent out 400 copies of a letter containing that information to local people so they can decide “if they would want Obama.”

When asked why she thinks Obama is Arab, Quinnell answers “because his dad is.” When CNN’s Dana Bash interjects that Barack Obama’s father was in fact a Muslim, Quinnell seems a bit confused about the terms. She finally says, “Yeah, but he’s still got Muslim in him. So that’s still part of him. I got all the stuff from the library and I could send you all kinds of stuff on him.”


War of Accusations on Immigration Reform Continues in the Parallel Dimension of Spanish TV

While immigration is barely discussed in the mainstream presidential campaign, a Spanish-language war of accusations continues to play on TV screens in “Hispanic battleground” states.

A few days ago, John McCain’s campaign launched an ad which again accused Barack Obama of sinking immigration reform in the Senate and also charged the Democrats with running “fraudulent” ads.

On Wednesday the Obama campaign will respond with this new ad in Spanish which will air in (you guessed it) Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, washingtonpost.com reports.

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As Politico’s Ben Smith notes, the new ad doesn’t go so far as to suggest that McCain and Rush Limbaugh are on the same side of the immigration fight, as the Obama campaign did in previous commercials. This time it says McCain “keeps manipulating and lying about immigration. He wants to hide the fact that he was the one who turned his back on us.”

Then a CNN clip is played (and replayed) of McCain saying at a debate between the Republican primary candidates that he would not vote for his own immigration reform bill. As we noted when the Republican campaign launched their latest ad, it was a bit surprising that the central claim in Spanish-language ads continues to be related to the failed immigration bill of 2006 — since the Obama campaign could easily do what it’s doing now: call McCain on his reversal regarding that bill.

The ad finishes by saying,

He surrendered to the anti-immigration movement and, with the Republicans, he betrayed our community. If John McCain is not willing to challenge the Republican Party, how is he going to defend us at the White House?

To underline this last point, McCain, with a big smile on his face, is shown standing next to President George W. Bush.

Immigration & Politics Roundup: Mexican Children Going Back; The European Ethnic Vote in Pa.; Families Divided By Bad Advice; New Yorker Slams McCain

– Back From The Other Side. Upon his return to Mexico after seven years in the U.S., sixteen-year-old Edgar Gutiérrez “found relatives he couldn’t remember. Kids thought he was stuck up because he had lived in the U.S. Teachers scolded him when he pronounced his name with an American accent.” He is among “a rapidly growing number of undocumented immigrants moving back to Mexico to start over,” some drawn “by a desire to return home after meeting their financial goals,” others “pushed by the faltering U.S. economy.” See: Austin American-Statesman – After life in U.S., migrant children struggle with return to Mexico.

– The New Yorker: McCain Abandoned Immigration Reform. So says the magazine in its endorsement of Barack Obama: “Since the 2004 election, however, McCain has moved remorselessly rightward in his quest for the Republican nomination. He paid obeisance to Jerry Falwell and preachers of his ilk. He abandoned immigration reform, eventually coming out against his own bill.” See: The New Yorker – The Choice.

– Undecided “Europeans” in Pennsylvania. “On Oktoberfest weekend in Wilkes-Barre, the polka dancing, pierogies and kielbasa all capture the culture of an area where European immigrants once came for jobs. But the festival wasn’t the only thing on people’s minds,” reports NPR’s David Greene. People in the area are thinking hard about whom to vote for. See: NPR – Unpredictable Political Opinions In Northeast Pa.

– A Family Divided. One day, Ricardo Guerrero kissed his family goodbye in Durham, North Carolina and flew to his native Mexico with papers a Wake County notary public had helped him prepare and a two-page letter from his American-born wife. “His optimistic plan was to return with a green card (…) But those hopes were dashed by what immigration lawyers say is a sweeping problem — notaries who are unauthorized and unlicensed to practice law overstepping their bounds and giving bad advice about immigration laws and procedures.” See: The News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) – Family divided between two countries.

McCain's New Spanish-language Ad: Seeing Fraud in Your Neighbor's Eye

It seems in this campaign there’s no end to the lanzamiento de barro (mud slinging in Spanish.)

The McCain campaign has launched a new Spanish-language ad which, according to the Washington Post, is running in the “Hispanic battleground” states of Colorado and New Mexico. In it the Republican campaign levels the same charge against Barack Obama that was the theme of a previous commercial: that he and “his allies in Congress” sunk the comprehensive immigration reform bill of two years ago – a charge that, as we’ve said, is not based on what actually happened in the Senate in 2006.

But this time, the voice-over also claims that Obama’s Spanish-language ads on immigration have been called “unfair, absolutely mistaken and fraudulent” by the press.

What it doesn’t say is that the press heavily criticized both campaigns for their misleading ads on Spanish-language television, as we’ve written before. A New York Times editorial two weeks ago harshly chided Democrats and Republicans for first “ignoring immigration” and then “lying about it to voters.”

Here’s the ad:


The commercial also says Joe Biden called Mexico “a dysfunctional society” and ends, “They’ve said no to us too many times. This election, let’s tell them no.”

According to the Washington Post,

Joe Biden called Mexico a “dysfunctional society” back in Dec. 2007 while speaking with Iowa voters. The vice presidential candidate — then running his own presidential campaign — said that solutions to the American immigration issue should start with changes to the Mexican economy.

“They’re being irresponsible. This is the second-wealthiest nation in the hemisphere — we’re not talking about Sierra Leone.”

“This is a dysfunctional society,” Biden added.

Including this quote in ads is likely to rile quite a few Mexican-Americans. But the Republicans’ central claim on Spanish-language ads continues to be related to the failed immigration bill of 2006. This seems a bit surprising, since McCain himself has backed away from that bill, which he co-authored with Sen. Ted Kennedy. During the Republican primaries McCain reversed his position, and said he would not support the bill were it to come up for a vote again.

Here’s a clip from the Republican presidential debate on Jan. 30, where McCain said he wouldn’t vote for the bill:


Not Exactly A Debate: Obama, Biden Discuss Latin America on Univision

Obama and Biden on Univision

The Democratic ticket on Univision

The first debate between Barack Obama and John McCain left a “big frustration” among Latinos in the U.S. and Latin Americans watching across the hemisphere. Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor, wrote “Latin America was completely ignored.”

“Neither Obama nor (John) McCain nor moderator Jim Lehrer dedicated even a few seconds to it. Nothing. Like President George Bush for almost eight years, the presidential candidates and the PBS journalist treated the region as it did not exist.”

The morning after the debate, Ramos had an opportunity to question Obama and his running mate Joe Biden about what U.S. relations with Latin America will be like if they win the November election. [You can find videos of the interview in Greensboro, N.C. on this page.]

Ramos first asked Obama whether he was still open to meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, after the latter expelled the American ambassador to the South American country and insulted the U.S. during a mass rally. Obama said that, as the president, he would have the obligation to meet anyone if he thought that it “would make America safer.”

Obama went on to say that Chávez has exploited his standing as a U.S. enemy to improve his popularity at home. [Univision has not yet published an English transcript of the interview.]

When Ramos followed up with a question to Biden about Russia’s joint military exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean and about Chávez’s stated intention to build nuclear power plants, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations “answered with strong criticism, not for Chávez or the Russians, but for President Bush and candidate John McCain,” Ramos wrote.

Biden complained that the U.S. government has no set foreign policy towards Russia nor Latin America. “There’s no policy,” he said. “They don’t know what to do.”

The next topic was Mexico and drug violence. According to Ramos, Obama agreed with Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s assessment that for violence in Mexico to diminish, drug consumption has to decrease in the U.S. Obama called for a partnership with Mexico whereby the U.S. would do a better job of preventing money and guns from crossing the border into Mexico while the southern neighbor would continue fighting northwards drug trafficking.

Sunny News For Democrats: Obama May Be Leading Among Florida Hispanics

Latinos are considered especially important as a voting population this year because it’s expected they’ll help decide whether four key battleground states go red or blue – Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, for a total of 46 electoral college votes.

Of those four, Florida is by far the most important, the mother of all battleground states, with 27 electoral votes. The Sunshine State gave the Democratic campaign some encouraging news over the weekend, when a new poll showed Sen. Barack Obama holding a slight lead over Republican Sen. John McCain among Hispanics in Florida. Polls already showed Obama ahead in the other three “Hispanic battleground states.” Overall, the new poll says, he leads McCain 2-to-1 among Latinos in swing states.

The Orlando Sentinel gave these details on the new poll by Newlink Research:

Of those surveyed in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, 63 percent said they would vote for Obama, while 27 percent preferred McCain.

In Florida, 49 percent of Hispanics surveyed favored Obama to McCain’s 43 percent, and the margin of error is 3.75 percentage points. Newlink Research polled 684 likely voters in those key states.

Previous polls had given McCain a slight lead or called Florida a virtual tie, which seems to show it’s too early to make any definitive judgment on which direction Florida’s Latinos are going to lean. (more…)

McCain Tells Irish-Americans He'll Work To Legalize Undocumented Immigrants

With the presidential candidates focused mainly on the threat of an economic collapse and Friday’s foreign policy debate, other campaign issues are not getting a lot of attention. Still, last Monday Sen. John McCain made a campaign appearance in front of a largely Irish-American audience in Scranton, Pa., “often described as the country’s most heavily Irish city,” according to the Boston Globe.

McCain promised to address the issue of immigration if elected. And he said he would put undocumented immigrants “on a path to citizenship,” according to the Irish Voice.

There are 50,000 Irish men and women in this country illegally at this time who are hard working people and who want to become citizens.

It seems many in the audience did not agree with him on the issue, which has been contentious in local campaigns. Irish-American attendees interviewed by the Irish Voice opposed the idea of legalization for undocumented immigrants.

As a first generation in this country, my mother came over here through all the channels. I don’t see why anybody else should be allowed come into this country and live off of what we have worked for all of our lives,” said one of them.

It may sound surprising, considering the number of undocumented Irish living in the U.S. But as another interviewee said, “I just never thought of Irish as being illegal.” (more…)


La Ruta del Voto Latino: Hispanics Find a Voice in New Orleans

Journalist Diego Graglia has been documenting the lives of Latinos during this presidential election year. He recently traveled from New York City to Mexico City, stopping along the way to talk to Latinos in small towns and big cities about the issues that matter to them. For more on La Ruta del Voto Latino/The Road to the Latino Vote visit www.newyorktomexico.com.

In a previous post, Diego Graglia wrote about his visit to New Orleans, where Hispanic Americans had long assimilated into the local mainstream culture, which in effect, made them “invisible.”

While in New Orleans, he interviewed Diane Schnell, news and marketing director of the local Telemundo station, KGLA-TV 42, which has recently launched the city’s first-ever Spanish-language newscast.

In this podcast, Diane talks about how the Latino community is no longer an invisible market in New Orleans, and which presidential candidate is doing more to reach out to New Orleans’ Latinos.


Latin America to U.S.: Tsk-Tsk

Brazilian President Lula da Silva at the U.N. Tuesday.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva at the U.N. Tuesday.

Miami is sometimes half-jokingly called “the capital of Latin America,” for its concentration of Latin American expats, Latin American corporation headquarters and even vacation homes for the region’s richest. No wonder then that both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama opted to outline their potential foreign policy towards the region while campaigning in Florida last week. Both candidates gave interviews to Radio Caracol that made headlines, each in its own way.

The highlight of McCain’s appearance was his apparent confusion as to Spain’s location and who its prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is [you can listen to it here.] A story on the incident in The Sydney Morning Herald was headlined “The brain in McCain under strain about Spain.” However, a campaign advisor denied there was any confusion, which can only hurt Spanish pride.

In respect to Latin America, McCain expressed coldness for the more anti-American leftist leaders in the region and support for Mexico’s Felipe Calderón in his war against drug cartels.

Obama, in turn, projected a more empathetic stance towards the region, admitting that the U.S. “has been so obsessed with Iraq that we haven’t spent time focused on the situation in Latin America.” He also seemed to defend his position on a potential meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who the McCain camp featured in an attack ad on Spanish-language TV this week:

I think it’s important for us to not overreact to Chavez. I think what we have to do is just let Chavez know that we don’t want him exporting anti-American sentiment and causing trouble in the region, but that we are interested in having a respectful dialogue with everybody in Latin America in terms of figuring out how we can improve the day to day lives of people.

Most people in Latin America would agree that the U.S. has not paid attention to the region so far this century. A lot of them, however, would probably view that as a good thing. Most Latin Americans consider the much-disliked free-market economic policies of the ’90s known as the Washington Consensus to have been forced on the region by the U.S. and the multilateral organizations on which it generally exerts commanding control, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. (more…)