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Presidential race sinks in chaos: Will there be a debate? A deal? Voter backlash? at Campaign Diaries
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Presidential race sinks in chaos: Will there be a debate? A deal? Voter backlash?

It is still too early to say how McCain’s latest gamble will play out. If anything, the situation looks even more volatile than it did yesterday.

The presidential race is now fully interlocked with the round-the-clock negotiations on Capitol Hill; not only does no one know what will come of the congressional debate or whether McCain will end up supporting the bailout package, but it now appears that any deal could have explosive repercussions with the electorate. And as if that was not enough, Barack Obama and John McCain are engaged in a theatrical stand-off on the eve of the first debate over whether there will be a debate at all.

What the next 24 hours will bring looks wildly unpredictable, and besides getting University of Mississippi officials on the brink of depression, this chaos has the potential of shuffling the last few weeks of this election. Obama and McCain will have to be very careful to not overplay their hand, as McCain’s decision to immerse himself in the middle of congressional negotiations means that both candidates now have to walk on eggshells.

McCain is trailing in the polls, and he knows it. And yesterday’s move was the type of gamble a candidate who is behind in the polls needs to attempt if he does not want to end up quietly fading in the sunset. Politically speaking, McCain has negotiated the past 24 hours well and has immersed himself in the political discussion on a topic that has been fueling Obama’s rise for more than a week now. It might not allow McCain to gain an advantage, but at the very least his campaign hopes that it allows him to stop the bleeding.

(If nothing else the fact that the media has fully turned its attention to Capitol Hill served as a distraction from the disastrous interview Sarah Palin gave to CBS’s Katie Couric. If Palin performs anything like this in the VP debate - if there is one? - the GOP better hope Biden commits some major faux pas as stroking a gender backlash would be its main hope.)

Meanwhile, Democrats now sound increasingly frustrated at McCain’s intrusion and they are making it known, as they are accusing the Arizona Senator of derailing a deal with increasing vehemence - charging that House Republicans and McCain ambushed them with last minute objections and alternative plans in the White House. Harry Reid has been particularly forceful in making the case against McCain, and they are also playing up the argument that McCain’s behavior is “erratic.” The Obama campaign’s latest statement also adopts a more aggressive tone: “He just turned a national crisis into an occasion to promote his campaign. It’s become just another political stunt.”

Will McCain come to be viewed as having unduly politicized the negotiations and as exhibiting erratic behavior unbecoming of a steady leader, or will voters come to think more highly of McCain as a leader? That is still up in the air, and both camps are waging a furious PR camp. But if articles like this AP story that even finds some Republicans to be critical of McCain come to pop up in the coming days or if McCain looks like he is responsible for the latest breakdown in talks, the situation could get more dicey for the Republican.

Yet, the dominant question has changed already. If today everyone was asking whether there would be a deal, tomorrow everybody will be asking whether there will be a debate! If a deal is not reached, will McCain follow through on yesterday’s pledge that he will not go to Oxford? That seems like a dramatic step, but his campaign appears to be laying the groundwork for a pull out and rehearsing its arguments.

What would happen then? The non-partisan debate comission, the Obama campaign and the Mississippi organizers are pressing ahead, and third party candidates are offering to take McCain’s spot. Would Obama go as far as travel to Oxford and go to the debate hall even if McCain is not showing up? Would Jim Lehrer agree to transform the debate into a one-on-one interview and, most importantly, would the networks cover that?

This is where McCain could overplay his hand. He would have trouble explaining why he had time to conduct interviews on three networks channels tonight but cannot debate tomorrow. And the electorate seems to share Obama’s position that there is no reason to cancel the debate - only 23% (most of them Republican) think so in a SUSA national poll taken this afternoon. And it would be foolish of McCain not to attend the debate for another reason: he has managed to drum up attention around the debate even higher than it already was, and that is exactly what he wanted - not because he is assured of a good showing tomorrow, but because he is trailing, and a trailing candidate needs opportunities to make a comeback.

All of this speaks to a more general risk for the McCain campaign, which seems to believe that McCain’s calling for a suspension will be enough to generate voter trust. But the fact McCain still went on networks tonight, that his campaign is still airing ads will contribute to the narrative that is spreading in some media write-ups of the day’s events that McCain did very little to contribute to a deal. Writes Politico, “McCain swept into Washington, walked to his office with pal Joe Lieberman, said little at a contentious White House meeting, did a few TV interviews, sped off to his home and proclaimed, through a spokesperson, that he was ‘optimistic’ about bringing House Republicans on board.” The New York Timesrendition of the day’s events specifies that once Boehner announced he opposed the plan at the White House meeting, McCain “declined to take a stand.”

But the most fascinating questions continue to concern the bailout, for what is happening in Washington could have huge repercussions on the presidential race, but also on down-the-ballot contests. There is no question that the electorate is not happy with the bailout plan as it currently stands, and the anger many voters seem to be feeling could dramatically alter the state of play in the final 6 weeks if a deal is struck and those voters can turn their fury to those they view as responsible.

Both McCain and Obama are aware of this, as are congressional leaders of both parties. Nancy Pelosi does not want House Democrats to vote for a bailout unless she is assured that at least 100 House Republicans are voting for it as well; and Democrats are suspecting that McCain will end up opposing whatever bailout plan Congress proposes in what would be a stunning effort to lay any deal on the Democrats’ back and then go around the country railing against the Bush-Obama plan to give away millions to Wall Street. Wouldn’t that make for an interesting few weeks?

On the other end, what happens if McCain supports a final deal and comes to be viewed as one of its main negotiators. Does that help him by making him look like a leader? Or would there be a backlash against him - especially among conservative voters who McCain cannot afford to alienate at this point of the campaign? Obama would almost certainly not be in a position to campaign against McCain’s support for the bailout, but voter resentment appears to be largely out of the candidates’ hands.

And this could trickle down to the congressional level, where some challengers look to be seizing on this issue to hit incumbents. A new ad by Jeff Merkley is the first I am aware of that seeks to make an issue out of the bailout, as the Democrat hits Smith for “a trillion dollar blank check for Wall Street” and calls for “no bailout” until middle class taxpayers are protected:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpbPNNjje3A"]

How all of this plays out depends on what deal is struck, who votes for it and who - in anyone - ends up standing in opposition. That’s why the next few days are crucial, with or without a debate.


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10 Responses to “Presidential race sinks in chaos: Will there be a debate? A deal? Voter backlash?”


  1. 1 Jarret

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    September 26, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Neither party is immune from this disaster (Frank and Dodd went along with Republican deregulation on the housing market) but its hard not to place the most blame on conservative economic ideology: give the rich everything and hope they’ll behave. After all, Republicans have had far more control over this country since Reagan than Democrats. That said, McCain’s stunt is going to backfire. No one can emerge totally unscathed from this mess, including Obama, but the McCain camp’s bets were dependent on Obama acting like a typical wishy-washy Democrat and caving to McCain’s request to suspend the debate and thereby reshape the campaign on McCain’s terms. The problem is, Obama actually called McCain’s bluff, and now, regardless of what happens in Washington, if McCain doesn’t show up in Mississippi on Friday, he will look like a complete tool, and Obama will get his own town-hall meeting in front of a national audience. I’m betting that he shows up regardless.

  2. 2 gerard

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    September 26, 2008 at 1:11 am

    There are 15%-20% of the electorate either undecided or could change their minds, in the presidential race. More than looking at the positions of the candidates, the voters are sizing them up, who has the temperment to be president, who do I want to see on the 7:00 news every night for the next 4 years, who do I respect? McCain is looking completely foolish and unbalanced. His vice presidential pick, made on an impulse, is showing how bad it truly was. His campaign isn’t even suspended, he could have gone to Washington without the fanfare, but he didn’t. He sat in a meeting today and didn’t say anything. As of Tuesday, he hadn’t even read the Paulsen proposal, and its only 2 and a half pages long. That being said, most of the American public is against this plan because it is being forced down our throats. In the end, the Republicans in the House will look the best. They are trying to be thoughtful and look at alternatives. Obama seems to be trying to lead his party, but there needs to be alot more debate on the problem and the alternatives. If this deal is so good and could make a profit for the taxpayers, why isn’t the private sector jumping all over it? There are plenty of people out there looking for the next good investment. Ultimately, this bailout discussion is gonna drag out a bit longer, and that is a good thing.

  3. 3 Jarret

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    September 26, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Agreed. There;s no reason to rush this. Do the debates, then go back to work.

  4. 4 zoot

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    September 26, 2008 at 3:12 am

    In almost 50 years of political interest/involvement, I’ve never seen anything quite like this dog and pony show.

    What will it mean politically? Impossible to tell. The public mood is angry, ready to lash out in any direction; whichever version of Paulson emerges will be reviled by the voters. McCain clearly wants to be associated with that anger.

    So, what does he do - throw in his lot in with the House bunch and oppose the current version of Paulson, hoping the Dems grow impatient and force it through along party lines? The Dems are too smart to do that without GOP support, so are we in a total stand-off or does he fold his hand?

    His best realistic case is to somehow bring the House GOP around, get some cosmetic changes to Paulson that highlight supply side/free market principles, then have his supporters proclaim that he was the great unifying force who both rescued the plan and protected the taxpayers by forcing the amendments. But because this process is now so infused with politics, the Dems will be on the qv to block that.

    McCain’s presence hasn’t done anything but shine the spotlight on the difficult negotiations, bringing precisely the kind of public attention that has encouraged political posturing by all involved - in process terms, it was disastrous, as Obama predicted in his own off-hand way.

  5. 5 Anonymous

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    September 26, 2008 at 4:52 am

    The McCain attempt to get the debate postoned and possibly have the VP debate gotten rid, the airing of ads even after announcing the suspension of his campaign, the frequent release of statements from his campaign regarding the status of the bailout debate (instead of his Senate office doing this) — all of this is clever political ploy. And then we had the rambling, inarticulate Palin interview (lucky for McCain, the focus was mostly on the events in DC). So what does say about the likely outcome of the next few weeks? I am predicting angry voter backlash against McCain.

  6. 6 Joe from NC

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    September 26, 2008 at 7:53 am

    McCain’s suspending his campaign was obviously a political stunt, but I think it could have worked if he had been smarter about it. As cynical as the American people are about Washington’s ability to do anything, they would likely be relieved by the appearence of something being done. McCain therefore had a golden opportunity.
    However, I think he mostly blew it. His request to delay the debate didn’t make sense and his inexplicable request to delay/cancel the VP debate looked even more opportunistic.
    You can never tell for sure how the public will react of course, but I think McCain could have handled this better.

  7. 7 Jaxx Raxor

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    September 26, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I agree with the suspcions that McCain is going to come out against any deal and try to use it against Obama and the Democrats. However, the Democrats are very aware of this and they prefer that there is no bail out (and risk the ecnominc situation getting even worse) then having the GOP use the plan against them. If no deal would to come out of this, McCain would likely come out weaker, althrough opposition is so high to a bail out among the public that it probably would just balance out.

    McCain’s decision to possibly not attend tonight’s debate is probably his biggest mistake, not “suspending” his campaign and going back to Washington. If McCain had instead proposed that the Friday Debate be about economic and that the last debate be about foreign policy, then Obama would have had no choice but to accept. However, if McCain doesn’t show up, it is very unlikely that a new debate would take place in later because of all of the logicial and months of plannning that the debates take. Instead this debate would probably be canceled, with a debate being replaced with Obama answering questions from the audience for 90 minutes (I think that is what some news reports are saying). Then McCain would have lost his best opportunity to talk about his strength, foreign policy. Perhaps he wsa thinking that if the debate was delayed and the ecnomics wasn’t such a distraction, that it would help his campaign but he should have thought about changing the debates subject rather than not showing up.

  8. 8 Anonymous

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    September 26, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I agree mostly with all of you. Mcain should have left out the debate issue out completely and gone on with his ‘going to Washington’ fanfare.

  9. 9 zoot

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    September 26, 2008 at 9:38 am

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    The common thread running through all of our comments is that this sensitive process has been dragged into the arena of political gamesmanship. That was Obama’s principal objection to the McCain suggestion, and it was spot on. Even had they stayed away and kept a low profile, there’s no assurance that the House GOP could have been brought on board, but the odds would have been much better, and there would have been little or no objection to incorporating some things to keep the House happy.

    Now, its become a zero sum game. Everything is measured against advantage/disadvantage for Obama or McCain. What would have been palatable to Barney Frank or Bob Bennett if done discreetly, under deep cover, now becomes unpalatable. When he went public with this nonsense, he destroyed the bipartisan work product that Bob Bennett said characterized the early talks - and to all appearances, he’s done little or nothing since arriving in DC but listen, hanging out with Lieberman, going to his office, staying silent at the White House meeting, no leadership, no statement of principle. I wonder how Bennett feels about McCain’s intervention? By all reports, he’s steaming.-

    McCain’s cowboy instinct has become intolerable. We face a universe of problems, and waving your arms and charging around like a deranged bull won’t solve anything.

    Obama has the opposite problem - he sounds too detached and analytical. There’s an interesting article in today’s NYT analyzing how Obama’s style can work against him. http://tinyurl.com/4rhblp. It’s time for him to look like he’s as angered by this mess as he seems to be. Voters expect him to share their outrage.

  10. 10 dsimon

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    September 26, 2008 at 10:30 am

    most of the American public is against this plan because it is being forced down our throats. In the end, the Republicans in the House will look the best. They are trying to be thoughtful and look at alternatives.

    With all due respect, most of the American public is against this plan because they don’t have any idea of how dire the situation is and what the consequences are of inaction.

    I understand the ire of those who see companies who helped create the problem getting help from Washington while average people struggle with everyday debt. But most people don’t understand what’s at stake. The line “Can I get a bailout for my college loans?” is cute, but the alternative is “How would you like to live in a world with no college loans, or car loans, or home mortgages, or business start-up loans, or where you get fired and can’t get a job because no business can get the money to expand?”

    Yes, Paulson’s plan was entirely inadequate. It was ridiculous for the administration to put forward a three page plan that it must have known would get substantial pushback from Congress for its lack of details and oversight. The administration failed to put together anything serious in a time of crisis and dumped the responsibility in Congress’s lap.

    But since the bailout will be unpopular, even if necessary, it looks to me that Republicans are playing politics. They want Democrats to make the hard vote to save the financial system (and, therefore, the economy) while they can oppose it and look good in the eyes of the voters, most of whom don’t understand the severity of the situation. That certainly doesn’t sound like “country first” to me.

    Republican cries of “Socialism!” are unfounded. The bailout plan is the standard method of dealing with such crises, and has been used repeatedly in the past: government acquires the bad assets, sometimes getting an equity stake, and eventually sells the assets and equity stakes down the road. To call it socialism is to display the extent to which labels and ideology have replaced realism and facts, to our nation’s detriment.

    Ultimately, this bailout discussion is gonna drag out a bit longer, and that is a good thing.

    It’s a good thing only if it’s “a bit” longer. Once the credit markets seize up and business slow down, stop, or fail because they can’t afford loans, that cycle can become hard to reverse. The time to address this problem is very limited.

    And what McCain is doing in DC that he wasn’t perfectly capable of doing elsewhere remains a mystery. To my knowledge, he still hasn’t take a position on either Paulson’s plan or the Republican alternative. His role in negotiations is unknown. I think Obama was right: “when you inject presidential politics into delicate negotiations, it’s not necessarily as helpful as it needs to be.”

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
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  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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