Photos/Recap of Gov. Palin in Greenville, NC

My friends and fellow North Carolinians Lorie Byrd and Bob Owens went to see the Gov. make her first speech in this great state yesterday, and Lorie has pix and a recap posted here. Looks like the rally was a big success :)

Wish I coulda been there!

Hat tip: ST reader benning

Previous rally blogging:

First week of early voting in Ohio not living up to expectations

Take a look at this graphic of the number of early voters who have taken advantage of EV in Ohio so far (7 days into it) in its five largest counties: 28,466. Not very impressive. What’s even less than impressive is the number of people who took advantage of Ohio’s controversial same day/vote at the same time rule (the last day to be able to do that before the election was yesterday). Total number? 5,223.

There was an expectation that with all the excitement over the election that we’d see record turnout in early voting in key states like Ohio. It’s still early on in the game, to be sure, but I’d say from those numbers they’re not off to a good start. Time will tell.

This is all food for thought, but should at the same time be taken with a grain of salt. Jim Geraghty sums up:

Now, we shouldn’t read too much into this. It’s still possible that the Obama campaign is assembling the biggest, most advanced, and most awe-inspiring get-out-the-vote operation in American political history. But it would seem that if the Obama camp wanted to get a lot of voters out during this early voting period — and why wouldn’t they? Even if you wanted long lines throughout Election Day to justify keeping the polls open longer than scheduled, every voter who votes now is a vote you don’t have to worry about on November 4 — then in the first major test, their get-out-the-vote system… fell well short of expectations? Underperformed? Was AWOL? Wasn’t really utilized?

Keep in mind, at less than one half of one percent turnout across the state, the McCain camp appears to have dramatically underperformed, too. But that’s what makes this so weird. It’s the most covered, most hyped, most passionate election anybody can remember, in the most key of swing states… and neither side can move significant numbers of voters to early voting?

Something else to keep in mind: What about absentee ballots? Who do they generally favor in OH? Also, Ohio’s seen a 9% increase in voter registration this year and the Sec. of State anticipates an 80% turnout on election day. So it could be that what’s happening is that most voters there want to be a part of the action on election day. Sounds weird, but I know that’s the way I personally prefer to vote. Deroy Murdock argues that that’s the way it should be.

Stay tuned …

General thoughts on last night’s debate and the state of the race

The consensus I have gotten from many other bloggers and emailers is that last night’s debate stunk, and I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, over 62 million watched last night, the most since 1992.

After sleeping on it quite frankly I think it was one of the worst debates I’ve ever watched. Both candidates sounded like they were pulling straight from talking points, we didn’t learn anything new, and the interaction sucked (probably because per the debate rules there wasn’t supposed to be much of that). The whole thing sounded scripted, it didn’t come off like normal townhall meetings (unless Tom Brokaw typically asks most of the questions at townhall meetings).

I really hate the whole debate system – period – because it all boils down to how well someone “looks” on stage and if they “sound” intelligent. Seriously, there are people out there who base who the president of the US should be based on “issues” like whether or not they see a candidate sweat (Nixon), sigh (Gore), overtanned (Kerry) or make a big blooper that changes the dynamic of the race. It’s the nature of the beast and I have no recommendations for a solution for it, but I really despise how much of a “show and performance” everything has gotten over the years. It turns into not being about a man’s life, who he is, where he came from, what he’s done, how he’s voted, who he associates with, whether he can learn from his mistakes, etc. but instead about how he “looks on camera” for 90 minutes. For the life of me I cannot understand why those undecideds would base their whole vote on whether or not a candidate “looks and acts” presidential onstage, without looking at any other aspect of who that nominee is. It’s a sad reflection on a certain segment of the population here in the US that style matters over substance, especially in times like these.

A lot of liberals are donning their party hats today because, as was the case last time around, more “undecideds” thought Obama won the debate, but if you look at the fine print, only around 20% of those undecideds said Obama had convinced them to vote for him. That leaves, obviously, 75% – so there is room for McCain to pull this thing out. It’ll be a long shot because Obama looks poised to flip a couple of red states while McCain doesn’t look poised to pick up any blue ones and is fighting to hang on to the other red states that went for Bush in 2004, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. He and his campaign are just going to have to work their a**es off between now and election day.

It clearly will be an uphill battle, tho. Obama is not only made of teflon, but he’s also got hundreds of thousands of human shields to watch his back, too – otherwise known as the mainstream media. Not only that, but as we continue to see today, Obama surrogates and supporters are still race-baiting and throwing out the race card, which Jonathan Martin goes off on here. No matter what type of attack McCain-Palin launches, someone will inevitably call it, at the very least, “racially tinged.” It never ends. Obama also obviously has a huge money advantage over McCain, as we’ve seen here in NC.

But McCain’s biggest obstacles aren’t just outside forces – he’s got to campaign smarter and wiser and he’s got to hit home hard on the economy issue. Unfortunately, when average Joes start worrying about whether or not they’re going to have enough in their wallets to feed their family, foreign policy concerns sometimes take a backburner. That’s the sad reality of it. In a time when both should be of front and center in the minds of voters, sadly it is not.

The economy issue should be a winning issue for McCain, especially considering the Democrats’ role in the FM/FM meltdown. McCain needs to hammer that point home repeatedly. He also needs to link Obama to Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Schumer, and Dodd and remind voters that that tax-raising, big-spending gang will essentially give Obama a free pass to do whatever he wants to do, and then he should ask: After the last two years of Democrat control of Congress, with the approval ratings of Congress at the lowest levels ever, do we really want a Democrat president along with a Democrat majority when it’s Democrats who played a significant role getting us into this mess in the first place?

Like a lot of conservatives (Andy McCarthy sums it up well), I’m frustrated as hell, but I keep in mind that this was always going to be an uphill battle for whoever the Republican nominee was, because the tide’s been turning against Republicans since 2006. It irritates me to no end, though, that Americans are poised to put in the WH – and possibly more in the Senate and House -not only a man they do not know, but also the party that turned the other cheek when Republicans (including McCain) tried several times for a regulatory overhaul that might have prevented the economic mess that has us all worried, upset, and concerned today! Too bad there’s not a 527 out there with unlimited amounts of money that could run an ad on this from now until election day, saturating the battleground states. To me, this is one of the big stories of the election: the message that somehow just isn’t getting out enough.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday open thread

Gonna be another busy day for me today, which is probably for the best as I’m still formulating my thoughts from last night’s debate, am still angry as hell at the Obama campaign’s (and some of his far left supporters) playing of the race card after the debate, and am irked at the whole debate “process” in terms of how certain folks use them as their major determining factor in order to help them make their final decision. More on that later.

I’ll check in when I can, either later this afternoon or tonight.