2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 2008

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 2008

Election Day Date: November 4, 2008

Winning Ticket: Barack H. Obama, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 69,499,303 52.87% 365 67.8%

Losing Ticket(s): John S. McCain, III, Sarah H. Palin Republican 59,950,037 45.60% 173 32.2%

Other:

  • Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez Independent 739,057 0.56% 0 0.0%
  • Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root Libertarian 523,720 0.40% 0 0.0%
  • Other (+) – – 746,688 0.57% 0 0.0%

Voter Turnout: Total VAP   Total REG   Total Vote  %VAP  %REG

Total REG 162,895,630 Total Vote 131,458,805 %REG 80.7%

Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:

Speeches, rallies, internet, websites, blogs, social media,

The campaign took place on television and on the stump, in sweaty, overcrowded auditoriums rocking with the cheers of thousands and in quiet, lonely workstations, as millions experienced the campaign through the Internet.

Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:

  • Late 2007 both parties prevented any state from changing their primary to an earlier date.  Republicans who failed to comply would lose half their delegate vote, while Democrats would exclude the entire delegation. Democratic Party also ruled that only 4 states could hold primaries prior to February 5.

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day: George Walker Bush Richard Cheney Republican 2001-2009

Population: 2008: 304,530,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $14,441.4 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $13,312.2 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%): 108.48 Population (in thousands): 304,530 Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $47,422 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $43,714

Number of Daily Newspapers:

Average Daily Circulation: March 31, 2007: USA Today, 2,524,965; The Wall Street Journal, 2,068,439 and The New York Times, 1,627,062.

Newspapers on the Web: 80 of the nation’s top 100 newspapers offered reporter blogs. On 63 of these blogs, readers could comment on posts written by reporters.

76 of the nation’s top 100 newspapers offer RSS feeds on their websites. All of these feeds are partial feeds, and none included ads.

Households with: Radio, Television and Computer/Internet: “46% of Americans used the internet to get political news and share their thoughts about the campaign on video and social networking sites”

Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote (mostly General Ticket/Winner Take All)

Method of Choosing Nominees: Presidential preference primaries and caucuses

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Bush’s unpopularity: Most unpopular President since political polling began. May 2008, 71 percent disapproved of Bush’s performance, first time more than 70 percent of Americans polled disliked their President. After Katrina “everything changed”; the public disapproved of the federal response and handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Unpopular war in Iraq: CNN’s May 2008 poll, 68 percent of respondents disapproved of the Iraq war, for the more unpopular the war became, the less popular Bush was. (Unprepared for the scale of resistance there, destructively loyal to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, numb to soldiers’ suffering, resistant to the bad news, and too rigid in responding to the crisis. Bush failed to convince Americans why bother remaining in Iraq. The never-found WMDs – weapons of mass destruction — undermined his credibility, while his assertion that a free Iraq would democratize the Middle East seemed far-fetched.)
  • The Democrats gained majorities in both Houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections. Many interpreted the election as a referendum on Bush. The new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Congress’s first female Speaker, was a San Francisco liberal who epitomized the ascendant, assertive, angry, Bushophobic Democratic Party.
  • Economy: Oil prices skyrocketed.
  • Divided country:

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party candidates

  • Barack Obama, U.S. Senator (Illinois)
  • Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator (New York)
  • John Edwards, former U.S. Senator (North Carolina)
  • Bill Richardson, Governor of (New Mexico)
  • Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Representative (Ohio)
  • Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from (Delaware)
  • Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator (Alaska)
  • Christopher Dodd, U.S. Senator from (Connecticut)
  • Tom Vilsack, former Governor of (Iowa)
  • Evan Bayh, U.S. Senator from (Indiana)

Republican Party candidates

  • John McCain, U.S. Senator (Arizona)
  • Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas
  • Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts
  • Ron Paul, U.S. Representative (Texas)
  • Fred Thompson, former U.S. Senator (Tennessee)
  • Duncan Hunter, U.S. Representative (California)
  • Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of (New York City)
  • Alan Keyes, former U.S. Ambassador (Maryland)
  • Sam Brownback, U.S. Senator (Kansas)
  • Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia
  • Tom Tancredo, former U.S. Representative (Colorado)
  • Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party:

  • Democrats’ worried about early front runner, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, her ability to attract voters, independents
  • Positions on Iraq war;
  • Targeting Hillary Clinton without mentioning her, Obama rejected “Triangulating and poll-driven positions.”
  • Experience vs. Inexperience
  • Racial issues
  • Democratic commitment to identity politics also kept race and gender in play.

Republican Party:

  • Distance from the administration: None of the Republican candidates had worked for Bush and were associated with his administration
  • Religion; Huckabee contrasted himself as a true Christian, and thus a true American as opposed to Mitt Romney, a Mormon, whose candidacy stirred some bigoted anti-Mormonism
  • Huckabee represented the evangelicals and conservatives. McCain represented the national security types and the neoconservatives. Romney represented the corporate and technocratic elites.

Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Courting and mobilizing activists, donations, and voters through the Internet, campaign web sites, social media sites

Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):

Bill Clinton; Edward M. Kennedy; Caroline Kennedy; Jesse Jackson; Tony Rezko;

Joseph Lieberman; Jeremiah Wright

Primary Debates:

Democratic Party:

  • April 16th, 2008          Democratic Candidates Debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • February 26th, 2008    Democratic Candidates Debate in Cleveland, Ohio
  • February 21st, 2008    Democratic Candidates Debate in Austin, Texas
  • January 31st, 2008      Democratic Candidates Debate in Los Angeles, California
  • January 21st, 2008      Democratic Candidates Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • January 15th, 2008      Democratic Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • January 5th, 2008        Democratic Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • December 13th, 2007 Democratic Candidates Debate in Johnston, Iowa
  • December 4th, 2007    Democratic Candidates Radio Debate in Des Monies, Iowa
  • November 15th, 2007             Democratic Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • October 30th, 2007     Democratic Candidates Debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • September 26th, 2007 Democratic Candidates Debate in Hanover, New Hampshire
  • September 9th, 2007   Democratic Candidates Debate in Miami, Florida
  • August 19th, 2007      Democratic Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa
  • August 7th, 2007        Democratic Candidates Forum in Chicago, Illinois
  • July 23rd, 2007           Democratic Candidates Debate in Charleston, South Carolina
  • June 28th, 2007           Democratic Candidates Forum in Washington, DC
  • June 3rd, 2007            Democratic Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • April 26th, 2007          Democratic Candidates Debate in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Republican Party

  • January 30th, 2008      Republican Candidates Debate in Simi Valley, California
  • January 24th, 2008      Republican Candidates Debate in Boca Raton, Florida
  • January 10th, 2008      Republican Candidates Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • January 6th, 2008        Republican Candidates Forum in Milford, New Hampshire
  • January 5th, 2008        Republican Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • December 12th, 2007 Republican Candidates Debate in Johnston, Iowa
  • December 9th, 2007    Republican Candidates Debate in Miami, Florida
  • November 28th, 2007             Republican Candidates Debate in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • October 21st, 2007     Republican Candidates Debate in Orlando, Florida
  • October 9th, 2007       Republican Candidates Debate in Dearborn, Michigan
  • September 27th, 2007 Republican Candidates Forum in Baltimore, Maryland
  • September 5th, 2007   Republican Candidates Debate in Durham, New Hampshire
  • August 5th, 2007        Republican Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa
  • June 5th, 2007             Republican Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • May 15th, 2007           Republican Candidates Debate in Columbia, South Carolina
  • May 3rd, 2007            Republican Candidates Debate in Simi Valley, California

 

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party:

  • Invisible Primary: 2006 early polls: Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama most popular potential Democratic candidates
  • Speculated: Former VP Al Gore; Senator John Kerry; Former VP nominee John Edwards; Delaware Senator Joseph Biden; New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack; and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh
  • Throughout 2006 potential nominees express the interest to run,  
  • December 28, 2006: John Edwards formally announces and launches his campaign in New Orleans, Louisiana; chipper personality and boyish good lucks and a formidable anti-war and pro-little guy populism
  • January 20, 2007: Hillary Clinton announces she will set up an exploratory committee and run in the 2008 primaries; Hillary Clinton built her campaign assuming her nomination was inevitable. Clinton dominated the “Invisible Primary” of 2006-2007, the build up to the caucuses and primaries. Clinton’s 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq haunted her campaign, as did her campaign’s indecision as to emphasize her experience or her personality.
  • February 10, 2007: Barack Obama formally announces and launches his campaign on the steps of the old capitol building, Springfield, Illinois; Obama perceived a national yearning for healing, appealing as a constructive centrist promising to end the Clinton-Bush baby-boom generational squabbling.
  • The Washington Post and other leading media outlets proclaim Clinton, Obama and Edwards the front-runners for the nomination, “leading in polls and fundraising and well ahead of the other major candidates” while Clinton led in the polls until early 2008. By the end of 2007, Clinton had amassed the most superdelegates and led nationally with 42 percent of likely voters. Obama enjoyed the support of 23 percent of likely voters, Edwards had 16 percent.
  • Obama rose in the polls, winning the Iowa caucus, Edwards in second and Clinton in third. Obama’s win in Iowa was the turning point that put him as the frontrunner, with higher polls numbers and candidate to beat for the nomination
  • Senator Joe Biden called Obama “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Biden’s gaffe – for which he immediately apologized — was a rare early stumble into the race issues.
  • Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd withdrew after Iowa
  • Clinton campaign floundered after Iowa, The Vancouver Sun, “Campaign strategists had mapped a victory scenario that envisioned the former first lady wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination by Super Tuesday on Feb. 5.”
  • January 5: Four-person debate between Richardson, Edwards, Clinton and Obama on, Obama overstepped when Clinton was asked why some voters did not consider her likable. Obama interjected: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” He claimed he wanted to be reassuring. Instead, he sounded condescending. As Obama and Edwards attacked Clinton the status quo candidate, Clinton dismissed Obama as a showboat: “Making change is not about what you believe,” she said. “It’s not about a speech you make. It is about working hard.”
  • The Real Hillary: Televised event in a Portsmouth coffee shop with 16 undecided voters covered by about 100 journalists prior to the New Hampshire primary, Clinton’s voice wavered with emotion, she won 39 percent of the vote, to Obama’s 36 percent. John Edwards, third with just 17 percent.
  • January 26: The turning point in Obama’s relationship with the African-American community came in South Carolina, when Bill Clinton overplayed his hand, alienating black voters by playing crass racial politics. After Obama won the hard-fought contest Clinton ever-so-innocently said: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ‘84 and ‘88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” Clinton’s remarks dismissed Obama, like Jackson, as a racial fringe candidate, even though Obama more than doubled Hillary Clinton’s votes, 55 percent to 27 percent, with John Edwards third at 18 percent.
  • January 27: Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama On January 27, Caroline Kennedy published an op-ed in The New York Times entitled “A President Like My Father.”
  • January 30: Edwards placed third in both New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and announced he was suspending his campaign, but he did not endorse either of the candidates
  • Florida and Michigan did not comply with the Democratic Party’s new primary rules, and were stripped of their delegates for moving up the date of their primaries into January. The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee punished Michigan Democrats for holding their primary on January 29 by stripping Michigan of all its 128 delegates and 28 superdelegates. Both parties also penalized Florida for a January 14 primary. The major nominees agreed not to campaign in those states as a penalty, additionally Edwards and Obama removed their names from the ballots. Hilary Clinton won both primaries, although 40% voted uncommitted in Michigan. She fought to for the delegations to be seated.
  • February 3: Rally supporting Obama led by Michelle Obama at the UCLA campus (Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and Stevie Wonder) Maria Shriver  endorsed Obama. Michelle Obama misspoke and said: “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
  • February 5, 2008, Super Tuesday (largest-ever number of simultaneous state primary elections held) after 23 primaries, Hillary Clinton won 834 delegates and 10 states to Obama’s 847 delegates and 13 states.  Cumulatively, Clinton garnered 8,081,748 votes, 46 percent of those cast that day, while Obama’s 7,987,274 votes represented 45 percent cast. Clinton won the crucial big states of California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, while Obama picked up Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado and Missouri, among others. Obama lost the California primary by 8.3%
  • Obama had ten consecutive primary victories in February (Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, Hawaii, Wisconsin, U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia). Obama’s victories on February 19 in Hawaii and Wisconsin gave him a narrow lead in delegates over Clinton.
  • The Clinton campaign’s most memorable commercial. Clinton broadcast a 30-second spot in Texas that began with the phone ringing as children slept peacefully. “It’s 3 A.M. and your children are safely asleep,” the narrator asked in a too-calm voice, with patriotic music purring in the background. “Who do you want answering the phone?” Six rings later, Hillary Clinton, the supposedly experienced leader, answered. Color streamed into the picture, as America slept safely and soundly, with the right person in charge. It preyed on concerns that Obama was too inexperienced – in an age of terrorism.
  • March 4, Hillary Clinton won Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas primary, Obama won the Texas caucuses winning more delegates from Texas
  • Obama’s friendship with a shady Chicago operator, Tony Rezko; NAFTA two-step, wherein one Obama adviser assured the Canadian embassy not to worry about his attacks on Free Trade
  • March 13, ABC’s Brian Ross uncovered incendiary videotapes of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s preacher and spiritual mentor, denouncing America. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye,” Wright said in a sermon after September 11, suggesting “America’s chickens” came “home to roost” that day. In a 2003 sermon, Wright mocked the phrase “God Bless America,” proclaiming: “No, no, no, God damn America….” The Wright controversy undermined Obama’s message of patriotic centrism, fed fears that Obama was a radical masquerading as a moderate.
  • Tuesday, March 18, Obama delivered a speech at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Obama denounced Wright’s words, while placing them in the context of America’s tortured racial past.
  • March 25, Hillary Clinton admits she “misspoke” about remembering a warm, First-Lady-like welcome in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a difficult landing under a hail of sniper gunfire.
  • April 6, Obama in a private fundraiser speculated that bitterness over economic troubles made rural voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” Obama simultaneously insulted gun owners, church-goers, opponents of illegal immigration, while suggesting that money trouble clouded the little people’s good judgment. Obama was now accused of being elitist.
  • April 22, Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary with approximately 55% of the vote, almost 10% more than Obama; Obama led in the delegate count, however, Clinton had more pledged superdelegates
  • May 6, Obama won the North Carolina primary by a significant margin, but lost Indiana to Clinton 50.56% to 49.44%
  • Although Clinton won Indiana, by a small margin, pundits declared he campaign was all but over, since Obama led significantly in the delegate count
  • Clinton won the majority of the remaining primaries, but still trailed Obama in the delegate count, Clinton claimed to won a majority of the popular vote, but the Associated Press noted she only a had a small lead in only scenario
  • May 31, 2008 Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party decided to seat the delegations from Michigan and Florida, but they would only half the vote value
  • June 3, with the help of superdelegate support and endorsements, Obama clinched the nomination
  • Clinton however, refused to concede although on June 3, she hinted that her campaign was coming to a close in a speech in New York, she finally conceded to Obama on June 7, and pledged her full support

Republican Party:

  • Early front runners, in 2006 were New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani  Arizona Senator John McCain
  • Throughout 2007 Giuliani, remained at the top of the polls followed by McCain and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson who virtually tied for second place
  • January 28, 2007, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announced his candidacy
  • February 5, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced his candidacy
  • February 13, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson announced his candidacy
  • March 12, Texas Congressman Ron Paul
  • April 25, 2007, John McCain officially launched his campaign on in New Hampshire saying, “I’m not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced.” McCain’s 2008 campaign started off top-heavy, mismanaged, over-hyped and under-funded.
  • After the second Republican presidential debate in early 2007, Giuliani and McCain were considered the front runners
  • Mike Huckabee won the Iowa primary, and hoped for a third-place finish in New Hampshire since his campaign was short on funds
  • After an endorsement by Senator Joseph Lieberman, McCain’s campaign rebounded, he won the New Hampshire primary over favorites Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney
  • McCain won by a small margin over Huckabee in South Carolina
  • January 30: After Giuliani placed third in the Florida primary, he withdrew and gave his support McCain
  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed McCain prior to the California primary on Super Tuesday, February 5
  • February 5, Super Tuesday, McCain won Arizona (53 delegates), and nearly all of California’s 173 delegates, and won seven other states, 602 delegates in total.  Huckabee was the “surprise performer”, he won five Southern states and 218? delegates; Romney won seven states and 201 delegates.
  • February 7, Romney suspended his presidential campaign “forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win”.Romney endorsed McCain on February 14.
  • Only Huckabee and Paul remained in the primaries challenging McCain
  • Huckabee won Louisiana and Kansas
  • Huckabee and Paul had a good showing in Washington, McCain won by a small margin
  • After Super Tuesday McCain was the front runner, but only clinched the 1,191 delegates needed on March 4, after he won Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island primaries. Mike Huckabee withdrew from the race
  • Only Ron Paul remained in the race, although he only had 16 delegates

Primaries Quotations:

  • “You…came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that shut you out, that’s told you to settle, that’s divided us for too long, you believe that we can be one people, reaching for what’s possible, building that more perfect union.” Barack Obama, February 10, 2007, Springfield, Illinois, Canpaign Launch
  • “When we started this race, Barack told us that he wanted the campaign to be a vehicle for involving people and giving them a stake in the kind of organizing he believed in. He is still the same guy who came to Chicago as a community organizer twenty-three years ago. The idea that we can organize together and improve our country — I mean, he really believes that.” Obama’s political consultant, David Axelrod told Rolling Stone
  • “I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.” Mitt Romney, December 6, 2007, Texas A&M University
  • “I just don’t want to see us fall backward as a nation. I mean, this is very personal for me. Not just political. I see what’s happening. We have to reverse it…. Some people think elections are a game: who’s up or who’s down. It’s about our country. It’s about our kids’ future. It’s about all of us together. Some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some difficult odds.” Hillary Clinton, Portmouth New Hampshire
  • “My friends, you know I’m past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it. But tonight, we sure showed them what a comeback looks like.” John McCain, after his victory in the New Hampshire Primary
  • Yes, we can. It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can…. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can…. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can…. Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.” Barack Obama, New Hampshire Concession Speech
  • “Our party and our country are better off because of her,  and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.” Barack Obama claimed the Democratic nomination in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 3, 2008
  • “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about eighteen million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time” Hillary Clinton Concession Speech, Washington, June 3, 2008

Primaries Results:

Democratic Party: Jun 03, 2008

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton: 18,155,676, 47.95%
  • Barack Obama: 17,952,233, 47.41%
  • John Edwards: 1,007,069, 2.66%
  • Uncommitted: 326,775, 0.86%
  • Bill Richardson: 105,017, 0.28%
  • Dennis J. Kucinich: 103,267, 0.27%
  • Joe Biden: 81,623, 0.22%
  • Scattering: 46,058, 0.12%
  • Mike Gravel: 40,260, 0.11%
  • Chris Dodd: 35,203, 0.09%
  • Jim Rogers: 3,905, 0.01%

Republican Party: Jun 03, 2008

  • John McCain: 9,838,910, 46.49%
  • Mitt Romney: 4,681,436, 22.12%
  • Mike Huckabee: 4,281,900, 20.23%
  • Ron Paul: 1,214,563, 5.74%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 597,499, 2.82%
  • Fred Thompson: 303,845, 1.44%
  • Uncommitted: 70,873, 0.33%
  • Alan L. Keyes: 59,636, 0.28%
  • Scattering: 48,004, 0.23%

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • Constitution Party National Convention, April 23–26, 2008, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Libertarian National Convention, May 23–26, 2008, Denver, Colorado
  • Green Party National Convention, July 10–13, 2008, Chicago, Illinois
  • Reform Party National Convention, July 18–20, 2008, Dallas, Texas
  • Democratic National Convention: August 25-28, 2008, Pepsi Center and Invesco Field; Denver Nancy Pelosi of (California) 1/Acclamation Barack H. Obama (Illinois) Joseph R. Biden (Delaware)
  • Republican National Convention: September 1-4, 2008 Xcel Energy Center; St Paul 1st ballot John S. McCain (Arizona) Sarah L. Palin (Alaska)

Convention Turning Points:

  • Barack Obama’s speech attracted 38.4 million and Joe Biden’s attracted 24 million.
  • Sarah Palin’s acceptance address on September 3, approximately 37 million viewers. John McCain gave his speech to a record national viewing audience of 38.9 million

Democratic National Convention:

  • Obama selected Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Obama selected a tough campaigner, a smart Washington insider, a bridge to working class whites and, most important, an experienced foreign policy hand
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name was placed in nomination to recognize her history making campaign, winning 1,896 state delegate votes and over 18,000,000 popular votes in the primaries and caucuses.
  • Senator Obama secured the nomination with 2,201 of the necessary 2,118 delegate votes needed to win.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton suspended the state-by-state roll call vote she had demanded, and moved for the 2008 Democratic Convention to nominate Senator Barack Obama by acclamation. Network cameras zeroed in on African-Americans, young and old, beaming, as tears poured down their cheeks. For the first time in American history, a major political party had nominated a black man to be president.
  • Speeches: Michelle Obama, Senator Barak Obama’s wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton
  • Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy gave a short speech supporting Obama although was undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor. Senator Kennedy used a combined message paraphrased from his brother, John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address and his own 1980 convention speech.
  • Obama chose to accept his nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
  • Obama also shifting the venue to an 80,000-seat stadium, the Denver Broncos’ Invesco Field for his acceptance speech on the convention’s forth night

Republican National Convention:

  • The first day of the convention was curtailed when Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana, and threatened to hit New Orleans; First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain gave short speeches
  • The convention resumed normal proceedings on the second day, after Hurricane Gustav subsided with little damage
  • Wednesday, September 3: Conducted the roll call for the Presidential nomination, Arizona was allowed to vote out of order putting McCain over the top of the majority needed. Arizona was able to declare McCain the winner on the first ballot
  • Running mate Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech on Wednesday, September 3, and was nominated by acclamation on Thursday, September 4, when John McCain gave his acceptance speech
  • 10,000 protesters marched against the war in Iraq, while 2,000 marched to end homelessness and poverty.

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

Democratic Party:

Presidential 1st ballot

Candidate                               Votes   Percentage

  • Barack Obama                        3,188.5            72.15%
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton 1,010.5        22.87%
  • Abstentions                 1.0                   0.00%
  • Delegates who did not vote[A]          219.0   4.96%
  • Totals                          4,419.0            100.00%

Vice Presidential,

  • Joseph Biden, acclamation

Republican Party:

Presidential 1st ballot

Candidate                   Votes   Percentage

  • John McCain   2,343   98.45%
  • Ron Paul         15        0.63%
  • Mitt Romney   2          0.08%
  • Delegates that did not vote    20        0.84%
  • Totals 2,380   100.00%

Vice Presidential ballot

  • Sarah Palin, unanimous

Third Party Candidates: 

  • Constitution Party: Presidential, Chuck Baldwin; Vice Presidential, Darrell Castle of Tennessee; Opposition: Iraq war, the Sixteenth Amendment, Roe v. Wade, IRS, Federal Reserve
  • Green Party: Presidential, Cynthia McKinney (Georgia); Vice Presidential, Rosa Clemente (New York) single-payer universal health care, withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, reparations for African Americans, a Department of Peace
  • Libertarian Party: Presidential, Bob Barr (Georgia); Vice Presidential, Wayne Allyn Root rework/abolish income tax, opposition to Iraqwar, Patriot Act

Convention Keynote Speaker:

  • Democratic National Convention: Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner
  • Republican National Convention: Rudy Giuliani

Nominating Speech Speakers (President):

Party Platform/Issues:

  • Democratic Party: Redeployment of American troops serving in Iraq, a woman’s right to choose, “tough and practical” immigration reform, health care reform and access; alternative energy technologies. Fight global warming, amending NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement); expansion AmeriCorps and Peace Corps programs
  • Republican Party: Increase intelligence gathering capabilities to combat terrorism and for national security; Armed Forces support (economic opportunities and health and disability care for veterans); opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants; English as the official language; United Nations reform; tax relief (economic growth, promote small business); government reform (balanced budget act, ending earmarks in legislation)  nuclear energy (off-shore; on-shore drilling; alternative energy resources; international cooperation to solve global warming)

General Election Controversies/Issues:

  • Iraq war;
  • Bush’s unpopularity;
  • Change vs. experience;
  • Economy (government bailout, banks, housing crisis, Fanny Mae & Freddie Mac);
  • Health care reform;
  • Energy; alternative fuels
  • Voter registration lists, caging lists (voter suppression)
  • Culture Wars
  • Candidates of 2008 seemed to agree about one thing — America needed a change

Campaign Innovations (General Election):

  • Usage of websites and social media sites YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook
  • Mobilized activists, donations, and voters through campaign web sites, social media sites
  • “More than a million people asked for campaign text messages on their cellphones. Two million joined MyBO, a website fusing social networking with volunteer work, while more than 5 million supported Obama’s profile on social sites like Facebook. Most famously, 13 million voters signed up for regular e-mails, fundraising pitches and other communications.” By November, a quarter of Obama voters interacted with the Obama network, a vital virtual community.

Major Personalities (General Election): George W, Bush; Sarah Palin; Tina Fey, Joe Wurzelbacher “Joe the Plumber”; Bill Ayres; Collin Powell

Campaign Tactics:

Democratic Party:

  • Shrewd tactics and soaring rhetoric fueled Obama’s campaign.
  • Obama organized from the bottom up.
  • “No drama Obama” recruited aides who harmonized with one another.
  • His early opposition in 2002 to the war in Iraq certified his independence from Washington group think
  • Obama rejected $84 million in public financing for the general campaign. Obama raised a record-breaking $150 million in September alone, as part of an overall total of $600 million for the general election
  • Extensive mid-campaign foreign tour to shore up his foreign credentials, in late July Obama visited Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
  • Throughout the fall campaign, Obama maintained a calmness, professionalism, and steadiness.
  • Let McCain and the Republicans stumble with out the attacks.
  • Final Obama Surge, media blitz: Obama addressed crowds of as many as 100,000 voters.  His campaign spent four million dollars purchasing 30 minutes on CBS, NBC and Fox days before the campaign ended, for a prime-time candidate’s extended biographical infomercial. Obama returned to unity rhetoric “In one week’s time, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.”

Republican Party:

  • McCain appealed to Republican voters as experienced but not tainted by an identification with Bush, vindicated by the Iraq surge, a genuine war hero, and national leader.
  • John McCain spent much of the summer deriding Obama’s inexperience, especially overseas.
  • Negative rhetoric and ads, attacks on inexperience
  • After the third presidential debate, McCain would campaign with “Joe the Plumber”

Debates:

  • September 26, 2008, University of Mississippi (foreign policy/national security)  moderated Jim Lehrer PBS. Polls showed that by 52 percent to 35 percent most Americans deemed Obama the winner. McCain appeared too prickly, condescendingly dismissing Obama as inexperienced or uncomprehending at least seven times.
  • October 2: The vice-presidential debate, Washington University, St. Louis, moderated Gwen Ifill PBS. Palin was probably stronger the first half, Biden was stronger in the second half with smooth, hard-hitting attacks that tagged McCain as George W. Bush redux and wrong on the war, the economy, the environment and energy.
  • October 7: Belmont University (town meeting, economy) moderated Tom Brokaw NBC News
  • October 15: Hofstra University (domestic/economic policy) moderator Bob Schieffer, CBS News
  • October 19: Columbia University political union and took place there on. Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin. Moderator Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!. Broadcast on C-SPAN and on the Internet by Break-the-Matrix

Turning Points (General Election):

  • Updated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): Civil liberties groups and the netroots denounced FISA, which McCain pronounced a “vital national security matter.” In late June, Obama announced he would vote for the latest version, having opposed an earlier version, because the compromise bill reaffirmed the primacy of the FISA courts.
  • June 16, Obama told Jake Tapper of ABC News that just as the original attackers of the World Trade Center from 1993 were brought to justice within the Constitution’s boundaries, future terrorists could be fought legally but effectively. This comment allowed Republicans to mock his “September 10” mentality, for treating terrorism as a domestic law enforcement issue not an external military threat.
  • The highpoint of the most extensive mid-campaign foreign tour a presidential nominee ever undertook occurred on July 24, when Obama addressed a crowd of 200,000 to 240,000 people at Berlin’s Victory Column. Obama’s mid-campaign foreign tour overstepped. Many Americans considered the tour presumptuous, disrespectful to the incumbent, and premature.
  • August 20, in an interview with Politico, when John McCain was asked how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, owned; McCain could not respond, “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you.” Both on the stump and in Obama’s ad, “Seven”, the gaffe was used to show that McCain was out of touch
  • Soon after McCain chose, Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, she was forced to admit her 17-year-old daughter Bristol was five months pregnant, and would marry the father soon. The announcement was an attempt to repudiate blogosphere claims that Sarah Palin’s fifth child, Trig, was Bristol’s and the mother was covering up her daughter’s earlier pregnancy.
  • 2008 financial crisis
  • The financial meltdown doomed the McCain campaign. Especially with McCain seemingly out of touch assessment of the economic mess – offering the Hooveresque declaration “The fundamentals of our economy are strong”
  • September 24, McCain announced he was suspending his campaign and would probably skip the first debate on September 26 to fly back to Washington to help solve the crisis and would not continue his campaign until the crisis was resolved
  • September 25, President George W. Bush invited both candidates to a White House meeting with key administration officials and Congressional leaders. Senator Obama asked some probing, intelligent questions during the meeting, while Senator McCain sat silently, impotently.
  • McCain ultimately appeared with the crisis still unresolved.
  • September 2008: Sarah Palin stumbled badly in interviews with ABC’s Charles Gibson and CBS’s Katie Couric
  • Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live” imitating Sarah Palin’s gaffes and missteps on the campaign trail
  • Sarah Palin became more of a liability to Republican campaign. Word that the Republican National Committee had spent $150,000 outfitting Palin and her family, undercut her “just folks” image. Leaks from the McCain camp accused her of being uncooperative and uncoachable, undermining the campaign. Palin infuriated Hillary Clinton supporters with her affect and her policy stands. Ultimately, Palin polarized.
  • September 29, House Republicans rejected the $700 billion bailout causing the Dow Jones to drop by 777.68 points, wiping out an estimated $1.2 trillion.
  • Rumors that Obama was Muslim, that he attended a radical madrasa in Indonesia, that he was an unpatriotic radical palling around with violent unreconstructed sixties radicals like the former Weather Underground Organization fugitive Bill Ayres, floated around the blogosphere making headlines.
  • Third Presidential Debate: McCain repeatedly invoked Joe Wurzelbacher, a plumbing contractor in Holland, Ohio, whose confrontation with Barack Obama days earlier while Obama was campaigning door-to-door was broadcast over You Tube. McCain made “Joe the Plumber” into an American Everyman, the voice of the people, “Joe the plumber” joined McCain on the campaign trail
  • Bush’s former Secretary of State Colin Powell blamed McCain and Palin for stirring up nastiness in the campaign, saying his friend McCain was out of his depth economically, and that Palin was unqualified, and he was endorsing Obama.
  • Final Obama Surge, media blitz: Obama addressed crowds of as many as 100,000 voters.
  • His campaign spent four million dollars purchasing 30 minutes on CBS, NBC and Fox days before the campaign ended, for a prime-time candidate’s extended infomercial.
  • Obama returned to unity rhetoric “In one week’s time, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.”
  • Obama prime-time infomercial: Clips of Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention, photos of Obama’s parents, and canned footage of World War II workers. Excerpts of testimonies from Michelle Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Dick Durbin, and retired Brigadier General John Adams were interspersed. Viewers saw the candidate at rallies and heard him giving the voters a more direct – and uncharacteristically subdued — pitch. Obama was placed in a mock Oval Office, speaking substantively into the television cameras, and emphasized the nation was in crisis.
  • The polling lead switched at least three times; the two were tied when the Democratic convention began. Obama surged after his convention, McCain surged after his. Obama started running away with it after the financial meltdown.

Popular Campaign Slogans:

  • Democratic Party: Barack Obama “Change We Can Believe In,” “Change We Need,” “Hope,” “Yes We Can!”
  • Republican Party: John McCain “Country First”

Campaign Song:

  • Republican: John McCain: “Take A Chance On Me” (ABBA), “Our Country” (John Mellencamp), “Raisin’ McCain” (John Rich)
  • Democratic: Barack Obama: “Yes We Can” (will.i.am featuring various artists), “Better Way” (Ben Harper), “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” (Stevie Wonder), “City of Blinding Lights” (U2), “Higher and Higher” (Jackie Wilson), “Think” (Aretha Franklin), “The Rising” (Bruce Springsteen), “Only in America” (Brooks & Dunn)

Primary candidates:

Democratic:

  • Hillary Clinton: “You and I” (Celine Dion), “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and “American Girl” by Tom Petty,
  • Chris Dodd: “Get Ready” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by The Temptations,
  • John Edwards: “Our Country” by John Mellencamp,

Republican:

  • Rudy Giuliani: Take Us Out by Jerry Goldsmith (theme from “Rudy”) and “Rudie Can’t Fail” by The Clash,
  • Mike Huckabee: “More Than A Feeling” by Boston (Tom Scholz of Boston asked Huckabee to stop using the song)

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

Democratic Party:

  • “Seven”: Showing McCain was out of touch when he could not respond to the question about how many houses he owned.

Republican Party:

  • Popular advertisement that juxtaposed images of the trashy celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton as Germans shouted, “Obama, Obama,” then asked tartly: “He’s the biggest celebrity in the world – but is he ready to lead?”

Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):

  • Obama raised $639,174, 281 to John McCain’s $360,167,823 for the general campaign.
  • The total of $999,342,104 did not include the millions spent on the campaign by the Republican and Democratic National Committees, advocacy groups like Moveon.org, interest groups like AARP, America’s largest membership organization for people fifty and over.
  • Obama’s campaign could spend $310 million on airing 570,963 commercials. McCain spent $135 million for 274,737 airings.

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

  • “America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this,” Obama cried to thunderous applause. This moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive…. We love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight…. In Washington, they call this the ‘Ownership Society,’ but what it really means is that you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you’re on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You’re on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots. You are on your own. Change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments.” Barack Obama, Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver: “The American Promise”, August 28, 2008
  • “With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.” Barack Obama, Berlin, July 24, 2008

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “Raising taxes on small businesses will kill jobs. Joe the plumber said ‘look, I’ve been working all my life, I want to buy the business I’m in, but you’re going to raise my taxes,” McCain recalled. “You know what Senator Obama said? He wants to spread the wealth around.” John McCain, third Presidential debate
  • “Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people….We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.” John McCain,  Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, September 4, 2008
  • “I know how to win wars. And if I’m elected President, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory, I know how to do that…. In wartime, judgment and experience matter. In a time of war, the commander in chief doesn’t get a learning curve…. My friends, flip-floppers all over the world are enraged,” McCain chuckled. John McCain, Albuquerque, New Mexico, mid-July, 2008
  • I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening. No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco….
  • And now, I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate. This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot… … when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.
  • I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA. I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick….

Sarah Palin Address Accepting the Vice Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, September 3, 2008

Campaign Quotations:

  • “It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain. I found that (John McCain) was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we were having. Almost every day there was a different approach to the problem and that concerned me, sensing that he doesn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.” Colin Powell endorsing Barack Obama on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, October 19, 2008
  • “This November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.” Edward M. Kennedy, Speech at the Democratic National Convention

Significant Books:

  • Balz, Dan and Haynes Bonner Johnson. The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election. Viking, 2009.
  • Thomas, Evan and Staff of Newsweek. A Long Time Coming: The Inspiring, Combative 2008 Campaign and the Historic Election of Barack Obama. PublicAffairs, 2009

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • First African-American nominee and winner
  • First Roman Catholic elected Vice President
  • First female nominated on the Republican Party ticket
  • First female major party runner up for the Presidential nomination
  • Largest economic cataclysm ever to occur during a general election
  • Largest grassroots and netroots campaign ever
  • An unprecedented $4.3 billion spent by all candidates combined

 

CHRONOLOGY

  • February 2, 2005: “In his State of the Union, President Bush calls for an historic restructuring of Social Security, allowing workers to use their payroll taxes to invest in the stock market. However, he is unable to move the policy through Congress.”
  • August 28, 2005: “Hurricane Katrina strikes the southern coast of the United States with devastating effects. The storm breaches the levee system in New Orleans, causing massive flooding and destruction of property. The Bush administration is harshly criticized for an inadequate response by the federal government to the storm’s destruction.”
  • September 29, 2005: “John G. Roberts is confirmed as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts replaces William Rehnquist, who died in office, and is President Bush’s first nominee to the Court.”
  • March 21, 2006: “In a White House news conference, President Bush admits for the first time that the complete removal of U.S. troops from Iraq during the remainder of his term is improbable. He continues to assert the fact that progress is being made in the establishment of Iraqi democracy.”
  • May 4, 2006: “The U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, sentences Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison without parole for his role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Moussaoui was the first person to stand trial for the attacks.”
  • 2006: Early Republican front runners are New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; Arizona Senator John McCain
  • October 26, 2006: “President Bush signs a bill providing for the construction of a 700-mile fence along the United States-Mexico border, in an effort to increase border security and stem illegal immigration.”
  • November 2006: Mid Term Elections, Democrats gain majorities in both Houses of Congress. The election is considered a referendum on Bush and his administration. The new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is Congress’s first female Speaker, and is a San Francisco liberal who epitomizes “the ascendant, assertive, angry, Bushophobic Democratic Party.”
  • December 28, 2006: John Edwards formally announces and launches his campaign in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • December 30, 2006: “Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is hanged in Baghdad, Iraq, after being convicted of crimes against humanity dating back to 1982.”
  • January 4, 2007: “Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, takes office as the first female Speaker of the House. Democrats assume control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.”
  • January 11, 2007: “Bush announces what would be termed a “troop surge” in Iraq in an attempt to increase security in the capital of Baghdad and smother insurgency centers throughout the country.”
  • January 20, 2007: Hillary Clinton announces she is setting up an exploratory committee and will run in the 2008 primaries. Hillary Clinton runs her campaign assuming her nomination was inevitable. Clinton dominates the “Invisible Primary” of 2006-2007, the build up to the caucuses and primaries. Clinton’s 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq haunts her campaign, as did her campaign’s indecision as to emphasize her experience or her personality.
  • January 28, 2007: Republican Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announces his candidacy.
  • January 31, 2007: Senator Joe Biden calls Obama “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Biden immediately apologizes.
  • February 5, 2007: Former Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announces his candidacy.
  • February 10, 2007: Barack Obama formally announces and launches his campaign on the steps of the old capitol building, Springfield, Illinois.
  • February 10, 2007: “General David Petraeus takes over command of the multinational forces in Iraq to oversee the surge.”
  • 2007: The Washington Post and other leading media outlets proclaim Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards the front-runners for the Democratic nomination, “leading in polls and fundraising and well ahead of the other major candidates.” Clinton leads in the polls until early 2008.
  • February 13, 2007: Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson announces his candidacy
  • Throughout 2007: Giuliani, remained at the top of the polls followed by McCain and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson who virtually tied for second place
  • March 6, 2007: “Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, is convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case of CIA operative, Valerie Plame Wilson, whose covert identity was exposed. President Bush later commutes Libby’s sentence.”
  • March 12, 2007: Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul announces his candidacy.
  • April 25, 2007: Republican Arizona Senator John McCain officially launches his campaign in Portsmouth, New Hampshire saying, “I’m not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced.”
  • April 26, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Orangeburg, South Carolina
  • May 1, 2007: “Bush vetoes a war spending bill passed by Congress, which set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Within days Bush reaches a record low approval rating.”
  • May 3, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Simi Valley, California
  • May 15, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Columbia, South Carolina; after the debate Giuliani and McCain are considered the front runners.
  • June 3, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire June 5, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • June 12, 2007: Prohibition Convention (Dodge Faction) nominates Gene C. Amondson for President.
  • June 28, 2007: Democratic Candidates Forum in Washington, DC
  • June 29, 2007: The Supreme Court reverses an April decision and agrees to hear appeals from Guantanamo Bay detainees who have not had access to the federal courts.
  • July 23, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Charleston, South Carolina
  • July 26, 2007: “Congress passes the Antiterrorism Bill, which will allow for the screening of air and sea cargo and will give more money in government antiterrorism grants to states with the greatest risk for terrorist attacks.”
  • August 5, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa
  • August 7, 2007: Democratic Candidates Forum in Chicago, Illinois
  • August 19, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa
  • September 5, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Durham, New Hampshire
  • September 9, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Miami, Florida
  • September 13, 2007: Prohibition Convention nominates Gene C. Amondson for President.
  • September 26, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Hanover, New Hampshire
  • September 27, 2007: Republican Candidates Forum in Baltimore, Maryland
  • October 9, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Dearborn, Michigan
  • October 9, 2007: “The Dow Jones industrial average closes at 14,164, its all-time high. Soon after, it begins a steep decline.”
  • October 20, 2007: Socialist Party Convention Brian P. Moore for President.
  • October 30, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • October 21, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Orlando, Florida
  • November 15, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • November 28, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • December 4, 2007: Democratic Candidates Radio Debate in Des Monies, Iowa
  • December 13, 2007: Democratic Candidates Debate in Johnston, Iowa
  • December 9, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Miami, Florida
  • December 12, 2007: Republican Candidates Debate in Johnston, Iowa
  • December 2007: Hillary Clinton amasses the most super delegates and leads nationally with 42 percent of likely voters. Obama has the support of 23 percent of likely voters, Edwards has 16 percent.
  • December 17, 2008: Former Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman endorses John McCain. After an endorsement by Senator Joseph Lieberman, McCain’s campaign rebounds, he wins the New Hampshire primary over favorites Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.
  • January 1, 2008: Socialist Workers Party Convention nominates Róger Calero for President.
  • January 2, 2008: Myspace Democratic Primary: Barack Obama wins.
  • January 2, 2008: Myspace Republican Primary: Ron Paul wins.
  • January 3, 2008: Iowa Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 16 Hillary Clinton 15 John Edwards 14. Obama’s win in Iowa was the turning point that put him as the frontrunner, with higher polls numbers and candidate to beat for the nomination. Iowa Republican caucus: Mike Huckabee wins the Iowa primary, and hopes for a third-place finish in New Hampshire since his campaign is short on funds.
  • January 3, 2008: Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd withdraw after Iowa from the Democratic race.
  • Clinton campaign floundered after Iowa, The Vancouver Sun, “Campaign strategists had mapped a victory scenario that envisioned the former first lady wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination by Super Tuesday on Feb. 5.”
  • January 5, 2008: Wyoming Republican caucus: Mitt Romney wins.
  • January 5, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire. Four-person debate between Richardson, Edwards, Clinton and Obama on, Obama oversteps when Clinton is asked why some voters did not consider her likable. Obama interjects: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” He claims he wants to be reassuring. Instead, he sounds condescending. As Obama and Edwards attack Clinton, the status quo candidate, Clinton dismisses Obama: “Making change is not about what you believe,” she said. “It’s not about a speech you make. It is about working hard.”
  • January 5, 2008: Republican Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • January 6, 2008: Facebook Democratic Primary: Barack Obama wins.
  • January 6, 2008: Facebook Republican Primary: Ron Paul wins.
  • January 6, 2008: Republican Candidates Forum in Milford, New Hampshire
  • The Real Hillary: Prior to the New Hampshire primary Hillary Clinton holds a televised event in a Portsmouth coffee shop with 16 undecided voters, which is covered by about 100 journalists. Clinton’s voice wavered with emotion; she wins 39 percent of the vote, to Obama’s 36 percent. John Edwards, third with just 17 percent.
  • January 8, 2008: New Hampshire Democratic primary Barack Obama 9 Hillary Clinton 9 John Edwards 4
  • January 8, 2008 New Hampshire Republican primary: John McCain wins.
  • January 10, 2008: Republican Candidates Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • January 10, 2008: Bill Richardson withdraws from the Democratic race.
  • January 15, 2008 Michigan Republican primary
  • January 15, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • January 15, 2008: Michigan Democratic primary. Michigan does not comply with the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee’s new primary rules, and is stripped of their delegates for moving up the date of their primaries into January. Michigan looses all of its 128 delegates and 28 super delegates. The major nominees agree not to campaign as a penalty, additionally Edwards and Obama remove their names from the ballots. Hilary Clinton wins the primary, although 40% vote uncommitted in Michigan. She later fights for the delegations to be seated at the Democratic Convention.
  • January 17, 2008: US Party for Socialism & Liberation National Ticket selects as their nominees Gloria E. La Riva (California) for President and Eugene Puryear (DC) for Vice President.
  • January 18, 2008: “President Bush proposes a $145 billion stimulus package in response to a housing crisis and rapidly increasing oil prices. The package gives individuals several hundred dollars to facilitate spending, as well as rebates for children and tax deductions for businesses in order to jump-start the slowing economy.”
  • January 19, 2008: Nevada Democratic caucuses Barack Obama 13 Hillary Clinton 12 John Edwards 0
  • January 19, 2008: Nevada Republican caucus: Mitt Romney wins. South Carolina Republican primary: John McCain wins.
  • January 21, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • January 22, 2008: Louisiana Republican caucus, closed non-binding, just selection of district delegates. Slate of pro-life delegates win.
  • January 22, 2008: Fred Thompson withdraws from the Republican race.
  • January 24, 2008: Republican Candidates Debate in Boca Raton, Florida.
  • January 24, 2008: Dennis Kucinich withdraws from the Democratic race.
  • January 25-February 5, 2008: Hawaii Republican caucus, closed: John McCain wins.
  • January 26, 2008: South Carolina Democratic primary: Barack Obama 25, Hillary Clinton 12, John Edwards 8. The turning point in Obama’s relationship with the African-American community came in South Carolina, when Bill Clinton alienates them by saying “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ‘84 and ‘88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” Clinton’s remarks dismisses Obama, even though he has more than double Hillary Clinton’s votes, 55 percent to 27 percent, with John Edwards third at 18 percent. McCain wins by a small margin over Huckabee in South Carolina.
  • January 27, 2008: Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy endorse Barack Obama. Caroline Kennedy publishes an op-ed in The New York Times entitled “A President Like My Father.”
  • January 29, 2008: Florida Democratic primary: Barack Obama 67 Hillary Clinton 105 John Edwards 13. Florida does not comply with the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee’s new primary rules, and is stripped of its delegates for moving up the date of their primaries into January. The major nominees agree not to campaign as a penalty, additionally Edwards and Obama remove their names from the ballots. Hilary Clinton wins the primary. She later fights for the delegations to be seated at the Democratic Convention.
  • January 29, 2008: Florida Republican primary, closed: John McCain wins.
  • January 30, 2008: Republican Candidates Debate in Simi Valley, California
  • January 30, 2008: After Edwards places third in both New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries he announces he was suspending his campaign, but he does not endorse either of the candidates.
  • January 30, 2008: After Giuliani places third in the Florida primary; he withdraws and gives his support to McCain.
  • January 31, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Los Angeles, California
  • February 1-February 3, 2008: Maine Republican caucus, closed. Mitt Romney wins.
  • February 1, 2008: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy lost more than 15,000 jobs during the previous month.”  It is the largest loss of jobs in four years.
  • February 1, 2008: MoveOn.org Presidential Vote Barack Obama wins.
  • February 2, 2008: Maine Republican caucus: Mitt Romney wins.
  • February 3, 2008: At a rally supporting Obama led by Michelle Obama at the UCLA campus, Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and Stevie Wonder attend and Maria Shriver endorses Obama. Michelle Obama says, “For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” Her comment causes controversy.
  • February 2008?: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger endorses McCain prior to the California primary on Super Tuesday.
  • February 5, 2008: Democratic Super Tuesday (largest-ever number of simultaneous state primary elections held) After 23 primaries, Hillary Clinton wins 834 delegates and 10 states to Obama’s 847 delegates and 13 states.  Cumulatively, Clinton garners 8,081,748 votes, 46 percent of the votes cast that day, while Obama’s 7,987,274 votes represent 45 percent cast. Clinton wins the crucial big states of California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, while Obama picks up Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado and Missouri, among others. Obama loses the California primary by 8.3%
    • Alabama Democratic primary: Barack Obama 27 Hillary Clinton 25
    • Alaska Democratic caucuses”  Barack Obama 9 Hillary Clinton 4
    • American Samoa Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 1 Hillary Clinton 2
    • Arizona Democratic primary: Barack Obama 25 Hillary Clinton 31
    • Arkansas Democratic primary: Barack Obama 8 Hillary Clinton 27
    • California Democratic primary: Barack Obama 166 Hillary Clinton 204
    • Colorado Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 35 Hillary Clinton 20
    • Connecticut Democratic primary: Barack Obama 26 Hillary Clinton 22
    • Delaware Democratic primary: Barack Obama 9 Hillary Clinton 6
    • Georgia Democratic primary: Barack Obama 60 Hillary Clinton 27
    • Idaho Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 15 Hillary Clinton 3
    • Illinois Democratic primary: Barack Obama 104 Hillary Clinton 49
    • Kansas Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 23 Hillary Clinton 9
    • Massachusetts Democratic primary: Barack Obama 38 Hillary Clinton 55
    • Minnesota Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 48 Hillary Clinton 24
    • Missouri Democratic primary: Barack Obama 36 Hillary Clinton 36
    • New Jersey Democratic primary: Barack Obama 48 Hillary Clinton 59
    • New Mexico Democratic primary: Barack Obama 12 Hillary Clinton 14
    • New York Democratic primary: Barack Obama 93 Hillary Clinton 139
    • North Dakota Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 8 Hillary Clinton 5
    • Oklahoma Democratic primary: Barack Obama 14 Hillary Clinton 24
    • Tennessee Democratic primary: Barack Obama 28 Hillary Clinton 40
    • Utah Democratic primary: Barack Obama 14 Hillary Clinton 9
  • February 5, 2008: Super Tuesday, Republican primaries: McCain wins Arizona (53 delegates), and nearly all of California’s 173 delegates, and wins seven other states, 602 delegates in total.  Huckabee is the “surprise performer”, he win five Southern states and 218 delegates; Romney wins seven states and 201 delegates. After Super Tuesday McCain is the front-runner. Mike Huckabee withdraws from the race.
    • Alabama Republican primary, open: Mike Huckabee wins.
    • Alaska Republican caucus, closed: Mike Huckabee wins.
    • Arizona Republican presidential preference election: John McCain wins.
    • Arkansas Republican primary, open: Mike Huckabee wins.
    • California Republican primary, closed: John McCain wins.
    • Colorado Republican caucus, closed: Mitt Romney wins.
    • Connecticut Republican primary, closed: John McCain wins.
    • Delaware Republican primary, closed: John McCain wins.
    • Georgia Republican primary, open: Mike Huckabee wins.
    • Illinois Republican presidential preference primary and delegate election, open: John McCain wins.
    • Massachusetts Republican primary, modified open: Mitt Romney wins.
    • Minnesota Republican caucus, open: Mitt Romney wins.
    • Missouri Republican primary, open: John McCain wins.
    • Montana Republican invited caucus: Mitt Romney wins.
    • New Jersey Republican primary, modified open: John McCain wins.
    • New York Republican primary, closed: John McCain wins.
    • North Dakota Republican caucus, closed: Mitt Romney wins.
    • Oklahoma Republican primary, closed: John McCain wins.
    • Tennessee Republican primary, open: Mike Huckabee wins.
    • Utah Republican primary, modified open: Mitt Romney wins.
    • West Virginia Republican convention, modified open: Mike Huckabee wins.
  • February 7, 2008: “The Senate passes a $170-billion stimulus package to give many Americans tax rebates as large as $600 or more, and to implement tax breaks for certain businesses in an effort to head-off impending economic slowdown.”
  • February 7, 2008: Republican candidate Mitt Romney suspends his campaign, claiming that if Republicans “forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win”.
  • February 9, 2008: Louisiana Democratic primary: Barack Obama 33, Hillary Clinton 23; Nebraska Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 16 Hillary Clinton 8; U.S. Virgin Islands Democratic primary: Barack Obama 3 Hillary Clinton 0; Washington Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 52 Hillary Clinton 26
  • February 9, 2008: Kansas Republican caucus closed: Mike Huckabee wins.  Washington Republican caucus county/state convention: McCain wins by a small margin, Huckabee and Paul have a good showing; Louisiana Republican primary: Mike Huckabee wins, but does not win the 50% majority needed to receive delegate support.
  • February 10, 2008: Maine Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 15 Hillary Clinton 9
  • February 11, 2008: “Six detainees at Guantanamo Bay who were thought to have had roles in orchestrating the September 11 terrorist attacks are charged with conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, terrorism, and other charges. All six face the death penalty in military tribunals.”
  • February 12, 2008 District of Columbia Republican primary, Maryland Republican primary, Virginia primary: John McCain wins all three contests.
  • February 12, 2008: D.C. primary: Barack Obama 12 Hillary Clinton 3 Barack Obama 13 Hillary Clinton 2; Maryland primary: Barack Obama 42 Hillary Clinton 28 Barack Obama 43 Hillary Clinton 27; Virginia primary: Barack Obama 54 Hillary Clinton 29
  • February 5-12, 2008: Democrats Abroad primary Barack Obama 4½ Hillary Clinton 2½
  • February 14, 2008: Mitt Romney endorses John McCain.
  • February 19, 2008: Obama’s victories in Hawaii and Wisconsin give him a narrow lead in delegates over Clinton. Hawaii Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 14 6 Wisconsin Democratic primary: Barack Obama 42 Hillary Clinton 32
  • February 19, 2008: Wisconsin Republican primary, Washington primary: John McCain wins both contests.
  • February 21, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Austin, Texas
  • February 23, 2008 American Samoa Republican caucus, Northern Mariana Islands Republican caucus: John McCain wins both contests.
  • February 24, 2008 Puerto Rico Republican caucus: John McCain wins.
  • February 26, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Cleveland, Ohio
  • February 29, 2008: The Clinton campaign’s most memorable commercial; a National security ad. Clinton broadcasts a 30-second spot in Texas that begins with the phone ringing as children slept peacefully. “It’s 3 A.M. and your children are safely asleep,” the narrator asked in a too-calm voice, with patriotic music purring in the background. “Who do you want answering the phone?” Six rings later, Hillary Clinton, the supposedly experienced leader, answered. Color streamed into the picture, as America slept safely and soundly, with the right person in charge. It preys on concerns that Obama is too inexperienced, in an age of terrorism.
  • March 2, 2008: Obama’s friendship with a shady Chicago operator, Tony Rezko; NAFTA two-step, wherein one Obama adviser assures the Canadian embassy not to worry about his attacks on Free Trade.
  • March 4, 2008: Ohio Republican primary, Rhode Island Republican primary, Texas Republican open primary, Vermont Republican primary. John McCain clinches the 1,191 delegates needed to capture the Republican Presidential nomination, after he win Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island primaries.
  • March 4, 2008: Hillary Clinton wins Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas primaries, Obama wins the Texas caucuses, and therefore wins more delegates from Texas.
    • Ohio Democratic primary Barack Obama 67 Hillary Clinton 74
    • Rhode Island Democratic primary: Barack Obama 8 Hillary Clinton 13
    • Texas Democratic primary: Barack Obama 61 Hillary Clinton 65
    • Texas Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 38 Hillary Clinton 29
    • Vermont Democratic primary: Barack Obama 9 Hillary Clinton 6
  • March 4, 2008: Green Party Primary: Ralph Nader wins.
  • March 4, 2008: Constitutional Party Primary: Don J. Grundmann wins.
  • March 5, 2008: President George W. Bush endorses John McCain.
  • February 5, 2008: Libertarian Party Primary: Christine Smith wins.
  • March 7-8, 2008: 9th American Party Convention convenes in the Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park, Florida, and nominates Diane Beall Templin for President and Linda Patterson for Vice President.
  • May 23–26, 2008: Libertarian National Convention convenes in Denver, Colorado. May 25, 2008: Libertarian National Convention nominates Bob Barr for President.
  • March 8, 2008: Guam Republican caucus: Mike Huckabee wins.
  • March 8, 2008: Wyoming caucuses: Barack Obama 7 Hillary Clinton 5
  • March 11, 2008: Mississippi Republican primary: John McCain wins.
  • March 11, 2008: Mississippi Democratic primary: Barack Obama 20 Hillary Clinton 13
  • March 13, 2008: ABC’s Brian Ross uncovered incendiary videotapes of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s preacher and spiritual mentor, denouncing America. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye,” Wright said in a sermon after September 11, suggesting “America’s chickens” came “home to roost” that day. In a 2003 sermon, Wright mocks the phrase “God Bless America,” proclaiming “No, no, no, God damn America….” The Wright controversy undermines Obama’s message of patriotic centrism, fed fears that Obama was a radical masquerading as a moderate.
  • March 11, 2008: New American Independent Party Primary: Frank McEnulty wins.
  • March 18, 2000: Obama delivers “A More Perfect Union” speech at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, his speech on race. (Obama denounces Wright’s words, while placing them in the context of America’s tortured racial past.)
  • March 18, 2008: John McCain goes on a campaign trip to Europe and the Middle East, with Senators Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman.
  • March 23, 2008: Unity ’08 Convention results in no nominee.
  • March 25, 2008: Hillary Clinton confesses to have misspoken about remembering a warm, First-Lady-like welcome in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a difficult landing under a hail of sniper gunfire.
  • March 25, 2008: Former First Lady Nancy Reagan endorses John McCain.
  • April 5, 2008: U.S. Virgin Islands Republican caucus, uncommitted slate of delegates.
  • April 6, 2008: Obama speculates in a private fundraiser that bitterness over economic troubles made rural voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”
  • April 16, 2008: Democratic Candidates Debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • April 22, 2008: Pennsylvania Republican primary: John McCain wins.
  • April 22, 2008: Hillary Clinton wins the Pennsylvania primary with approximately 55% of the vote, almost 10% more than Obama; Obama leads in the delegate count, however, Clinton has more pledged superdelegates Pennsylvania Democratic primary: Barack Obama 73 Hillary Clinton 85.
  • April 23–26, 2008: Constitution Party National Convention convenes in Kansas City, Missouri and nominates Chuck Baldwin for President.
  • May 2008: 71 percent of Americans polled disapprove of Bush’s performance. This is first time more than 70 percent of Americans dislike their President. Bush’s unpopularity: Bush is the most unpopular President since political polling began. After Hurricane Katrina “everything changed,” the public disapproves of the federal response and handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • May 2008: Unpopular war in Iraq: CNN poll shows 68 percent of respondents disapprove of the Iraq war. The more unpopular the war became, the less popular Bush was. Bush could not tangibly convince Americans of the benefits of remaining to fight in Iraq, especially after WMDs – weapons of mass destruction were not found.
  • May 3, 2008: Guam Democratic caucuses: Barack Obama 2 Hillary Clinton 2
  • May 6, 2008: Indiana Republican primary: John McCain wins.
  • May 6, 2008: Indiana and North Carolina Democratic primaries: Clinton wins Indiana, by a small margin; pundits declare her campaign was all but over, since Obama led significantly in the delegate count. Obama wins the North Carolina primary by a significant margin, but lost Indiana to Clinton 50.56% to 49.44%. Indiana Democratic primary: Barack Obama 34 Hillary Clinton 38; North Carolina Democratic primary: Barack Obama 67 Hillary Clinton 48
  • May 13, 2008 Nebraska Republican primary, West Virginia Republican primary: John McCain wins both contests.
  • May 13, 2008: West Virginia Democratic primary: Barack Obama 8 Hillary Clinton 20
  • May 20, 2008: Kentucky Republican primary, Oregon Republican primary: John McCain wins both contests.
  • May 20, 2008: Kentucky Democratic primary: Barack Obama 14 Hillary Clinton 37 Oregon Democratic primary: Barack Obama 31 Hillary Clinton 21
  • May 27, 2008: Idaho Republican primary: John McCain wins.
  • May 31, 2008: Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party decides to seat the delegations from Michigan and Florida, but they would only have half the vote value.
  • June 1, 2008: Puerto Rico Democratic primary: Barack Obama 17 Hillary Clinton 38
  • Clinton wins the majority of the remaining primaries, but still trails Obama in the delegate count. Hillary Clinton claimed to win a majority of the popular vote, but the Associated Press notes she only a has a small lead in only scenario.
  • June 3, 2008: South Dakota Republican primary, New Mexico Republican primary: John McCain wins both contests.
  • June 3, 2008: Montana primary: Barack Obama 9 Hillary Clinton 7; South Dakota primary: Barack Obama 6 Hillary Clinton 9. Obama clinches the Democratic Presidential nomination with the help of super delegate support and endorsements.
  • June 3, 2008: Clinton refuses to concede, she hinted that her campaign was coming to a close in a speech in New York.
  • June 3, 2008: Republican Primaries end with John McCain winning the most delegates.
  • June 3, 2008: Democratic Primaries end, Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the most delegates, but not the nomination.
  • June 4, 2008: John McCain challenges his opponent Barack Obama to a series of town hall debates, commencing on June 12. Obama declines.
  • June 5, 2008: “The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finds, after a five-year study, that President Bush and other officials greatly exaggerated the evidence showing that Saddam Hussein held weapons of mass destruction.”
  • June 7, 2008: Hillary Clinton finally concedes to Obama, and pledges her full support.
  • June 12, 2008: Republican Ron Paul suspends his campaign, after remaining in the campaign after John McCain clinched the necessary number of delegate to receive the Republican Presidential nomination.
  • June 15, 2008 Boston Tea Party National Convention via the internet nominates Charles “CJ” Jay for President and Thomas L. Knapp MO for Vice President
  • June 16, 2008: Obama tells Jake Tapper of ABC News that just as the original attackers of the World Trade Center from 1993 were brought to justice within the Constitution’s boundaries, future terrorists could be fought legally but effectively. This comment allows Republicans to mock his “September 10” mentality, for treating terrorism as a domestic law enforcement issue not an external military threat.
  • June 16, 2008: Former Vice President Al Gore endorses Barack Obama.
  • Updated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): Civil liberties groups and the netroots denounced FISA, which McCain pronounces as a “vital national security matter.”
  • June 2008: Obama announces he would vote for the latest version, having opposed an earlier version, because the compromise bill reaffirmed the primacy of the FISA courts.
  • June 30, 2008: “In a new report issued on the situation in Iraq, the U.S. Army admits that while it was able to adequately topple Hussein’s regime, it did not have the capability to rebuild Iraq into a fully-functioning new country.”
  • July 10–13, 2008: Green Party National Convention convenes in Chicago, Illinois and nominates on July 12 Cynthia McKinney for President.
  • July 18–20, 2008, Reform Party National Convention convenes in Dallas, Texas and nominates on July 19 Ted C. Weill for President.
  • July 23–28, 2008: Barack Obama takes a campaign trip to Europe and the Middle East to increase his foreign policy credentials and prove he is experienced enough.
  • July 24, 2008: The highpoint of the most extensive mid-campaign foreign tour a presidential nominee ever undertook is when Obama addresses a crowd of 200,000 to 240,000 people at Berlin’s Victory Column. Obama’s mid-campaign foreign tour oversteps. Many Americans consider the tour presumptuous, disrespectful to the incumbent, and premature.
  • August 2-3, 2008: Peace and Freedom Party of California Convention convenes and nominates Ralph Nader for President.
  • August 16, 2008: The Civil Forum on the Presidency: Pastor Rick Warren moderates John McCain and Barack Obama at Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
  • August 20, 2008: In an interview with Politico, when John McCain is asked how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, owned; McCain could not respond, “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you.” Both on the stump and in Obama’s ad, “Seven”, the gaffe was used to show that McCain was out of touch
  • August 23, 2008: Obama announces in Springfield, Illinois that he chose  Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Obama selects a tough campaigner, a smart Washington insider, a bridge to working class whites and, most important, an experienced foreign policy hand.
  • August 25-28, 2008: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado. Nancy Pelosi (California) serves as chairperson. The convention nominates on the first ballot/acclamation Barack H. Obama (Illinois) for President and Joseph R. Biden (Delaware) for Vice President. Speeches given by Michelle Obama, Senator Barak Obama’s wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton
  • August 26, 2008: Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy gives a short speech supporting Obama although he is undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor. Senator Kennedy uses a combined message paraphrased from his brother, John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address and his own 1980 convention speech.
  • August 27, 2008: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name is placed in the nomination to recognize her history making campaign, winning 1,896 state delegate votes and over 18,000,000 popular votes in the primaries and caucuses. Hillary Rodham Clinton suspends the state-by-state roll call vote she had demanded, and moves for the 2008 Democratic Convention to nominate Senator Barack Obama by acclamation. Network cameras zero in on African-Americans, young and old, beaming, as tears pour down their cheeks. For the first time in American history, a major political party nominates a black man to be president. Senator Obama secures the nomination with 2,201 of the necessary 2,118 delegate votes needed to win.
  • August 28, 2008: Barack Obama gives an address “The American Promise”  accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Obama choses to accept his nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Obama also shifting the venue to an 80,000-seat stadium, the Denver Broncos’ Invesco Field for his acceptance speech on the convention’s forth night.
  • August 29, 2008: John McCain announces that he chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate.
  • Soon after McCain chosoes Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, she is forced to admit her 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant, and would marry the father soon. The announcement is an attempt to repudiate blogosphere claims that Sarah Palin’s fifth child, Trig, was Bristol’s and the mother is covering up her daughter’s earlier pregnancy.
  • September 1-4, 2008: Republican National Convention convenes at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota, and nominates on the 1st ballot John S. McCain (Arizona) for President and Sarah L. Palin (Alaska) for Vice President.
  • September 1, 2008: The first day of the convention’s schedule is curtailed when Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana, and threatens to hit New Orleans; First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain give short speeches.
  • September 2, 2008: The convention resumes normal proceedings on the second day, after Hurricane Gustav subsides with little damage
  • September 3, 2008: Conducted the roll call for the Presidential nomination, Arizona was allowed to vote out of order putting McCain over the top of the majority needed. Arizona was able to declare McCain the winner on the first ballot. Running mate Sarah Palin gives her acceptance speech.
  • September 4, 2008: Sarah Palin is nominated by acclamation. John McCain gives his address accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul.
  • September 1-4, 2008: 10,000 protesters marched against the war in Iraq, while 2,000 marched to end homelessness and poverty.
  • September 7, 2008: “The U.S. government places Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under its control to prevent the institutions from going under and endangering more than half of the country’s mortgages.”
  • September 24, 2008: McCain announces he is suspending his campaign and would probably skip the first debate on September 26 to fly back to Washington to help solve the crisis and would not continue his campaign until the crisis was resolved. The financial meltdown dooms the McCain campaign. Especially with McCain seemingly out of touch in his assessment of the economic mess declaring “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
  • September 11, 12, 2008: Sarah Palin stumbles badly in an interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson.
  • September 13, 2008: Tina Fey begins run on “Saturday Night Live” imitating Sarah Palin’s gaffes and missteps on the campaign trail.
  • September 24, 2008: Sarah Palin stumbles badly in an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric.
  • September 25, 2008: President George W. Bush invited both candidates to a White House meeting with key administration officials and Congressional leaders. Senator Obama asked some probing, intelligent questions during the meeting, while Senator McCain sat silently, impotently. McCain ultimately appears at the debate with the crisis still unresolved.
  • September 26, 2008: First Presidential Debate at the University of Mississippi (foreign policy/national security) and is moderated Jim Lehrer of PBS. Polls show  52 percent to 35 percent most Americans deem Obama the winner. McCain appears too prickly, condescendingly dismissing Obama as inexperienced or uncomprehending at least seven times.
  • October 22, 2008: Sarah Palin becomes more of a liability to Republican campaign. Word that the Republican National Committee has spent $150,000 outfitting Palin and her family, undercut her “just folks” image. Leaks from the McCain camp accuse her of being uncooperative and uncoachable, undermining the campaign. Palin infuriates Hillary Clinton supporters with her affect and her policy stands.
  • September 29, 2008: House Republicans reject the $700 billion bailout causing the Dow Jones to drop by 777.68 points, wiping out an estimated $1.2 trillion.
  • Rumors that Obama was Muslim, that he attended a radical madrasa in Indonesia, that he was an unpatriotic radical palling around with violent unreconstructed sixties radicals like the former Weather Underground Organization fugitive Bill Ayres, floated around the blogosphere making headlines.
  • October 2, 2008: Vice-Presidential Debate at Washington University, St. Louis, is moderated Gwen Ifill of PBS. Palin was probably stronger the first half, Biden was stronger in the second half with smooth, hard-hitting attacks that tagged McCain as George W. Bush redux and wrong on the war, the economy, the environment and energy.
  • October 7, 2008: Second Presidential Debate at Belmont University (town meeting, economy) is moderated Tom Brokaw formerly of NBC News.
  • October 15, 2008: Third Presidential Debate at Hofstra University (domestic/economic policy) is moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. McCain repeatedly invokes Joe Wurzelbacher, a plumbing contractor in Holland, Ohio, whose confrontation with Barack Obama days earlier while Obama is campaigning door-to-door is broadcast over You Tube. McCain made “Joe the Plumber” into an American Everyman, the voice of the people, “Joe the plumber” joins McCain on the campaign trail
  • October 19, 2008: Bush’s former Secretary of State Colin Powell blamed McCain and Palin for stirring up nastiness in the campaign, saying his friend McCain was out of his depth economically, and that Palin is unqualified, and announces he is endorsing Obama.
  • October 26, 2008: Columbia University political union with Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin is moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! The debate is broadcast on C-SPAN and on the Internet by Break-the-Matrix
  • October 29, 2008: Final Obama campaign surge, media blitz: Obama addresses crowds of as many as 100,000 voters. Obama returns to unity rhetoric “In one week’s time, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.”Obama’s campaign spends four million dollars purchasing 30 minutes on CBS, NBC and Fox days before the campaign ended, for a prime-time candidate’s extended infomercial. Obama prime-time infomercial: Clips of Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention, photos of Obama’s parents, and canned footage of World War II workers. Excerpts of testimonies from Michelle Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Dick Durbin, and retired Brigadier General John Adams were interspersed. Viewers saw the candidate at rallies and heard him giving the voters a more direct – and uncharacteristically subdued — pitch. Obama was placed in a mock Oval Office, speaking substantively into the television cameras, and emphasized the nation was in crisis.
  • The polling leads switches at least three times; the two candidates are tied when the Democratic convention began. Obama surges after his convention, McCain surged after his. Obama starts running away with it after the financial meltdown.
  • November 4, 2008: Election Day; Democrats Barack Obama is elected President, and Joe Biden is elected Vice President.
  • November 16, 2008: Barack Obama resigns from his US Senate seat.
  • December 15, 2008: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote.
  • January 8, 2009: Joint Session of Congress counts the Electoral votes with Vice President Dick Cheney presiding; the Electoral count remains the same as the final Election Day results.
  • January 15, 2009: Vice President-elect Joe Biden resigns from his US Senate seat.
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