With the latest poll numbers showing Obama's lead widening, Sen. McCain appeared this week on Meet the Press to engage in a Bush-esque denial of reality, claiming that the race was actually getting more competitive in battleground states (perhaps because McCain is bailing out of key states like Michigan and conceding them to Obama). The reality of the situation is that the GOP campaign is coming apart at the seams, the election is still a week off and the finger pointing has already started. There were widespread reports that Palin and her inner circle are revolting on their GOP handlers waging a sort of "rogue" campaign that reflects her ticket's desperate position - give her credit, at least she recognizes that the ship is sinking. Publicly the campaign has retreated into scare tactics and aggressive attacks that do little but incite the party's base of wing nut conservatives. (Check YouTube "McCain" and "Rally" if you have any doubt as to with whom the ACORN and William Ayers accusations resonate).
So much for a home field advantage.
A Bee's Nest
A report of a bizarre attack on a McCain volunteer this past week turned out to be too bad to be true for the GOP. The report, which circulated fast and wide on the web, recounted how a young female student from Texas had been brutally attacked while at an ATM in Pittsburgh. The woman, Ashley Todd, said that she had been robbed and mutilated by her attacker who, after learning that she was a McCain supporter carved the letter "B" in her face, presumably for Barack Obama.
Now Upfront knows that Obama has put together a broad coalition of supporters that range from students and activists to small business owners and labor leaders, and, as of last week, a retired four star general and former secretary of state, but we had no idea that the "big tent" also included "face carvers."
Well turns out, it doesn't.
Despite the "Right's" initial righteous indignation, the Pittsburgh police are calling the report a hoax. Among the revelations that lead them to call B.S. on Todd was the fact that she apparently never visited the ATM where she was allegedly attacked, she never sought medical attention for her injury, and the fact that the letter "B" in her face was extremely superficial and written in reverse, as if done using a mirror.
Even Fox News pointed out that this is the kind of race baiting that has helped to torpedo the McCain campaign.
While it's a stretch to think that anything like this would be organized by the McCain staff, Upfront can't help but wonder: When you stick your hand in the hornet's nest with a campaign based in fear and innuendo, can you really be surprised when you get stung?
Obligatory Sex Item
Months after it was revealed that Madonna was having a late night rendezvous with Yankee's slugger Alex Rodriguez (aka A-hole), the Queen of Pop has confirmed her impending divorce from British filmmaker Guy Ritchie (Snatch). The two have reportedly been on the ropes for some time, but Ritchie says it wasn't the A-Rod affair that closed the deal. Rather, Ritchie said it was Madonna's demanding workout schedule that took a toll on their relationship. According to the Daily Mail, Ritchie says he lost that lovin' feelin' when Madonna started scheduling their sex several weeks out around her three-to-four-hour-a-day workouts. Judging by Madge's arms, Upfront has no reason not to believe Ritchie.
The Dynamic Duo
Answer: A good pair of boots and bushel of hops.
At least that's what Upfront took away from the recent stump stop by Montana Sen. Jon Tester and state Rep. Jeff Merkley who are campaigning hard to help Merkley unseat Senator Gordon Smith.
Tester and Merkley stopped by Bend Tuesday morning to speak with a friendly crowd at the Central Oregon Environmental Center. Tester, who campaigned for Merkley in the primary, said he was drawn to Oregon because, "I like the beer." And judging by his belly, he was only half kidding.
The Montana Democrat in his crew cut, brown leather cowboy boots and blue collared shirt, which was noticeably absent a tie, cut a relatively sharp contrast to Merkley who took the floor in a conservative charcoal gray suit and black leather dress shoes.
Despite the obvious differences in style, the two shared with the crowd of Democratic supporters a shared vision of an America that is freed of its slavery to special interests.
That starts by getting Obama in the Oval Office, but also requires a larger Democratic majority in Congress, they said. Merkley compared the gridlock at the federal level with the frustrating situation he encountered in the statehouse just a few years ago before Dems gained a majority. The result he said is that important business got done, predatory lenders got the boot, renewable energy initiatives got a boost and schools got needed dollars. The same kind of progress can be made at the federal level, if voters hand control of Congress to Dems this November.
"We don't just want a historic election, we want a historic presidency," Tester said. "We need to put this country back on track...and that path comes right through Oregon."