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Just say, “Bah Humbug,” to Christmas Campaign Pitches

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(Danville, California)

If you are looking for that last-minute Christmas gift or stocking stuffer, there is no shortage of leftover campaign memorabilia for sale. The sad part is that it comes with a solicitation to erase campaign debts; and the pitches aren’t even from the candidates themselves.

I have received dozens of emails in the last few weeks, selling all kinds of stuff. First of all, (and I have complained about this multiple times), I am a journalist who covers the candidates so they have no business asking me for donations; and it would be just as unethical for me to donate. Yet, the pitches just keep on coming.

Take the latest, ostensibly from Dorothy Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s mom. Her sales pitch says: “As you know, Hillary is still working hard to pay down the debt from her campaign, and I hope you'll take this opportunity to help her out. With your contribution of $50, you will receive a copy of ‘Dreams Taking Flight’ with a specially designed Hillary Clinton bookplate. And, for that special person in your life, with a contribution of $250 or more, you will receive a book that's personally signed by Hillary to him or her by name.”

Now folks, we’re in a recession. President-elect Barack Obama calls it the “worst economy since the Great Depression.” That’s debatable, but it is pretty bad. So why is his campaign soliciting donations from everyday folks to retire the debt of the Democratic national Committee (DNC)?

The “Obama for America” campaign is offering a four-year calendar for $35 and a winter cap for $25. They even guarantee delivery by December 25, just in time for Christmas. There are coffee mugs and other trinkets for sale, too. I’ll let you Google the site, because I don’t want to give them any more free publicity than I already have.

Look, I’m not naïve. I am going to the Inaugural, too; and I know there will be all kinds of vendors on the National Mall, selling buttons, T-shirt, hats, etc. I am a free-market-economy devotee. I love entrepreneurship. Hey, if someone can make and sell a thousand Obama buttons at the Inaugural and put bread on their table, then more power to them.

What I object to, is the blatant hucksterism under the guise of retiring campaign debts. Do you honestly believe Dorothy Rodham sat down and wrote the pitch mentioned above? Of course she didn't. Some marketing writer for the campaign did that - but with Mrs. Rodham’s blessing, I am certain. The Clintons are multimillionaires, well connected to other multimillionaires. Let them huddle together and pay off the debts. The Obamas are millionaires, too, thanks to his two best-selling books. Let them all get together and pay the debts of their party.

If you can't balance the campaign budget, then how can you expect to balance the federal budget? And please don't try to do either on the backs of average taxpayers.

The average American is hurting. Unemployment is at a 25-year high. Foreclosures are at an all-time high. We’ve been in a recession for a year. Many economists are predicting at least another 12 to 18 months of the same. It’s high time our political leaders quit soliciting money from the rank and file public. The election is over, and trying to lure supporters with coffee mugs and other trinkets to help pay debts they did not incur is tasteless at best, and offensive at worst. In fairness, if someone is receiving similar pitches from McCain, send me the link. At least he has had the good sense not to solicit a reporter.

Merry Christmas from www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Seesaw Battle Continues in Minnesota

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(Danville, California)

Well, I admit that I've been so busy watching the Blagojevich scandal in Illinois and the Kennedy drama in New York that I've taken my eyes off the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. Oops!

Sure enough, as soon as I looked the other way, the lead has changed! The recount is over; and, after the recount, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman was ahead by about 200 votes. Now, however, the State Canvassing Board is reviewing the challenged ballots. Today began with Coleman ahead; but by day’s end, Democratic challenger Al Franken had pulled ahead by 250 votes.

Coleman is challenging some of the challenges and has gone to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Franken spokesman Andy Barr told the “Minneapolis Star-Tribune": "This is just the latest desperate act by a campaign panicked because it has suddenly realized that it is going to lose the election."

The Coleman camp is not giving up. Coleman spokesman Mark Drake said in a statement: "While varying headlines and a flurry of different numbers will continue, we encourage everyone to just hang on until the process is finished. When it is finished, Norm Coleman will still lead and - we believe - will have been reelected to the United States Senate."

The Canvassing Board resumes its work on Monday.

This is the last and perhaps most crucial Senate race yet to be decided. Democrats hold a 58 to 41 margin in the Senate; and seating the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian Franken would bring its margin to 59, one short of filibuster-proof, but a pretty strong majority nonetheless.

On election night, there were three contested seats that hung in the balance, and Republicans narrowly led in all three. But absentee ballots pushed the Democrat ahead in Alaska, capturing that seat. The narrow margin in Georgia required a runoff election, ultimately won by Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. Now the third race, Minnesota, hangs in the balance.

We’ll have the final results next week, but I suspect court challenges may keep this race in the undecided column, perhaps past Inauguration Day. Needless to say, comedian Franken may have the last laugh.

Check in daily at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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