NEWSWEEK: Secrets Of The 2008 Campaign [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED]

POLITICO: Critics said they were too nice, too vague on the issues, too obsessed with the youth vote and too dependent on all those penny-ante Internet donors. But Obama’s core group of Chicago advisers, led by former reporter David Axelrod, has created a new paradigm for post-Rove campaigning. Instead of exploiting wedge issues (as Rove did) or micro-targeting demographic niche groups (as the Clintons and their pollster, Mark Penn, did), they focused on exciting a new base of young people, educated whites and minority voters. Get-out-the-vote wizard Steve Hildebrand built a hyperdisciplined field army. Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe gracefully parried questions about Obama’s race and experience. Communications chief Robert Gibbs oversaw a press operation that combined a Clinton-style rapid response team with a Bush-style aversion to off-message chatter and leaks.

Howard Dean may have screamed his presidential hopes away in 2004 and then underperformed as a party fundraiser, but Obama won, more or less, using a new and improved edition of the DNC chairman’s playbook. Hillary Clinton’s aides derided Dean’s “50-state strategy,” but they were caught flat-footed when Obama’s neglect-no-state organization led to a February winning streak in sparsely populated caucus states, giving him an insurmountable delegate lead. Dean collected tens of millions of dollars over the Internet; Obama scooped up hundreds of millions and owned the airwaves in the campaign’s final days. MORE

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Obama was driven back to his home where a lid was declared at 5:36 p.m. One other point – Hyde Park Blvd. next to the Obama family home is now closed for a block on either side of the house in addition to Obama’s own street being closed off.

MSNBC: CHICAGO – After eight years of Republican rule, Barack Obama turned Wednesday to the task of building obamabutterfly.gifa Democratic administration to lead the country out of war and into the financial recovery that he promised. Pressing business came at him fast, with just 76 days until his inauguration as the 44th president. The nation’s top intelligence officials planned to give him top-secret daily briefings starting Thursday, sharing with him the most critical overnight intelligence as well as other information he has not been allowed to see as a senator or candidate. And Obama planned to give the first of his media briefings on Thursday as he moves to begin assembling a White House staff and selecting Cabinet nominees. A top priority would be picking a White House chief of staff to help manage the appointments to come. Democratic officials told NBC News that Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel was offered the job, which he accepted. A former aide in Bill Clinton’s White House, Emanuel was re-elected to Congress on Tuesday. MORE

EXCERPT: Naftali Bendavid, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, shadowed the Illinois congressman/former Clinton administration firebrand and his staffers for months, en route to their titular triumph. His sourced-to-the-hilt reporting spawned a series of Tribune articles and The Thumpin’, which paint a commanding-if-unflattering portrait of Emanuel. The book is a whirlwind of cross-country flights, cell-phone calls, thumpin.jpgstoked resentments, and stubbed toes. Emanuel threw himself into his role as his predecessors hadn’t, micromanaging dozens of politically attractive-but-green candidates and overseeing vicious, GOP-style attack ads. Complacent Dem incumbents were chewed out, donors squeezed, and candidates cut off from the financial teat if deemed weak campaigners. Interacting with friends and foes alike, Emanuel appears almost sociopathic–simultaneously convivial, witty, and threatening:

“Joe Sestak–this is your rabbi, Rahm,” he said. “Two things. Clinton–I’m close to having him do an event for you in Philly. And . . . he will do an event for you in New York City.” Former president Clinton was admired by many Democrats as the party’s last big winner, and his ability to have a candidate was invaluable. “Clinton will put his arm around you and say, `He’s my man,'” Emanuel promised. In a later call, Sestak asked if there was any way Emanuel could direct more money his way. Emanuel agreed to ask Senator John Kerry, who was sending an e-mail to his supporters, to ask them to contribute to Sestak. “I’ll try,” Emanuel said. “I can’t promise. You’re doing well, and others don’t have the same network. I’ll try to get you on the Kerry e-mail.” He concluded, “Don’t f*ck it up or I’ll f*ck you. I’ll kill you. All right, I love you. Bye.” MORE

POLITICO: President-elect Barack Obama is strongly considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a Cabinet post, Democratic officials told Politico. Obama’s transition planners are weighing several other celebrity-level political stars for Cabinet posts, including retired Gen. Colin L. Powell for secretary of rfktime_1.jpgdefense or education, the officials said. Kennedy’s cousin, Caroline Kennedy, who helped Obama lead his vice presidential search, is being considered for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, although some Obama officials doubt she would take the post. Obama is indebted to the Kennedy family for a hearty endorsement at a crucial point in the Democratic primaries. It also would raise the profile of the EPA, which would help endear Obama to liberals who may be disappointed on other issues important to the Democratic left because of budget restrictions. The EPA enforces clean air and clear water laws. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and son of the late senator and attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, has long championed a cleaner water supply for New York City. MORE

NEWSWEEK: At Coretta Scott King’s funeral in early 2006, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, leaned over to him and whispered, “The torch is being passed to you.” “A chill went up my spine,” Obama told an aide. MORE

POLITICO: Despite campaign trail promises that special interests wouldn’t be a part of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama’s has sent signals to the lobbyists that they can get jobs with him. The Obama policy, which appears to be evolving, would prevent lobbyists from taking administration jobs in the same areas they had advocated for in their private practices. And, once leaving the administration, they would face a longer “cooling off” periods during which they could not lobby their former administrative colleagues. But the overall message to the lobbying community appears to run counter to the Democratic senator’s campaign promise to keep special interest advocates at arms length. MORE

NIELSEN WIRE: Election night TV coverage of the 2008 U.S. election results drew more than 71 million average viewers Tuesday night, according to Nielsen. MORE


NEWSWEEK: 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. MORE

FOX NEWS: Sarah Palin Didn’t Know Africa Was A Continent

sarah_palin_wink.jpgNEWSWEEK: 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 family—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. MORE

NSFW: Nailin’ Palin

[Hat tip to ALAN SANTIAGO]

CALIFORNICATION: State-sanctioned gay marriage turned out to be a May-November affair in California. In a jarring defeat for the gay-rights movement nationwide, California voters put a stop to a brief era that had enabled an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples in the state to tie the knot. Passage of the gay-marriage amendment — in a state so often at the forefront of social change — elated religious conservatives who had little else to cheer for in the election. It left gay activists somberly reassessing tactics and looking for battlegrounds elsewhere on which to pursue the stop-and-start fight for marriage rights. MORE

PHAWKER: All men are created equal, except for the men that like other men? Sounds un-American.

potleaftoking.gifALTERNET:  On Tuesday, largely under the radar of the pundits and political chattering classes, voters dealt what may be a fatal blow to America’s longest-running and least-discussed war — the war on marijuana. Michigan voters made their state the 13th to allow the medical use of marijuana by a whopping 63 percent to 37 percent, the largest margin ever for a medical marijuana initiative. And by 65 percent to 35 percent, Massachusetts voters decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing arrests, legal fees, court appearances, the possibility of jail and a lifelong criminal record with a $100 fine, much like a traffic ticket, that can be paid through the mail. What makes these results so amazing is that they followed the most intensive anti-marijuana campaign by federal officials since the days of “Reefer Madness.” Marijuana arrests have been setting all-time records year after year, reaching the point where one American is arrested on marijuana charges every 36 seconds. More Americans are arrested each year for marijuana possession — not sales or trafficking, just possession — than for all violent crimes combined. MORE

ANTI-DRUG MESSAGE: This Is Your Elvis Presley On Drugs


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