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Maine GOP Touts Todd Palin

Deirdre Fulton at the Portland Phoenix's About Town blog flags a mailer from the Maine GOP which attempts to use Todd Palin to connect with Maine snowmobile enthusiasts.

As you can see, the mailer also attacks Obama for accepting the endorsement of the Sierra Club.

At least this Maine GOP piece is positive. Other mailers from the party have mostly been anti-Obama smears.

Diamon Is Tired of Condescending Southerners

Al Diamon ridicules the idea that Palin will connect with 2nd District voters on a cultural level in his syndicated column this week. He also tosses me a mention:

Liberal political blogger Mike Tipping expressed much the same sentiment in a posting on Downeast.com: "Several Republican strategists have said that despite her tarnished national brand, Sarah Palin will still have some cachet here in Maine where her moose hunting and snowmobile riding could connect with voters on a cultural level."

I think this is obvious from the quote, but just for the record, I was repeating the sentiments of others (Republican strategists) and not agreeing with them. I'm a proud citizen of the second district, and as I wrote on this blog at the time:

I don't think a McCain push in Maine will work. There are a lot of other states that we'd see turn around for him first before the second district was really at play for McCain, and a bad economy hits a lot of folks here harder than it does in the rest of the country.

I don't think the fact that Palin has hunted moose will magically sway Maine voters, and the idea that it will is rather insulting.

Also a must-read is Diamon's column from last week where he implies that the pro-casino folks are "power-hungry greedheads intent on despoiling all in their path for no reason other than that they have the resources to do so".

Sarah Palin in Maine - Video

Click here for the full footage of Governor Palin's remarks at Bangor International Airport. The crowd has been estimated at between 2,000 and 5,000. Here's a clip with some highlights:

When John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan used the "city on a hill" line, they credited it to John Winthrop. When Palin says it she attributes it to Reagan. I wonder if she knows the historical and philosophical background of that quote, or anything about the genesis of the idea of American exceptionalism. I'm going to guess no.

Update: In other McCain campaign news, Meghan McCain, the presidential candidate's daughter, will be having lunch at my favorite restaurant in Orono tomorrow.

Palin Flies In, RNC Pulls Out

Governor Palin's rally in Bangor tomorrow has been taken as a sign that McCain thinks they can win the second district.

The RNC doesn't seem to agree, and has announced they'll be pulling their advertising from both Maine and Wisconsin in order to play defense in traditionally red states like Missouri and Indiana.

Maine was the only state in the country where the McCain campaign and the RNC outspent Obama last week. The vast majority of that spending came from the RNC.

One possible explanation for the strategic disconnect: Palin doesn't know where she is.

Second District News

Governor Palin will be touching down at Bangor International Airport on Thursday and it looks like they're planning for a big crowd - tickets will only be available today from Republican party offices. I remember attending similar hanger events at BIA in 2000 for Joe Lieberman and 1996 for Bill Clinton with no ticket necessary.

Fivethirtyeight.com, a site I recommend constantly, has added a new metric to their statistical simulation. They're now offering a daily prediction of the percentage chance of McCain winning or tying the electoral vote by winning Maine's second district. Today it's a .13% chance.

Ben Smith at Politico also weighs in on the second district, and pokes some fun at John Frary.

Palin Rally Brings Some Anger

In the Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel article on Palin's rally, Darla Pickett reports that the hostility and false accusations of terrorism from McCain supporters against Barack Obama (which have been seen nationwide) weren't absent at the Palmyra event.

Buddy Gough pointed his finger at the sign carriers and railed against their signs.

"Obama will bring terrorism to this county. You'll also lose gun rights and you'll lose every other freedom you have," he said.

Gough, pastor at the Newport Church of God, also said Obama as president would take the Bible and God out of everything and "we would be a country without God."

Todd Palin Dodges Maine Reporters

Todd Palin's campaign visit to Maine's second congressional district was marred to a degree by the release of a report by the Alaska legislature which found he was complicit in his wife's abuse of power as governor. The local fallout was mitigated, however, by Palin's refusal to answer any questions or speak to Maine's media.

While coverage in southern Maine focused heavily on the report, with the Press Herald mentioning it in the sub-headline of their AP piece, and WGME making it a highlight of their coverage, some 2nd district outlets (the ones the campaign cares about) focused more on the rally. Bangor station WLBZ's coverage mentions the controversy only as something Palin's supporters reject, and Judy Harrison, on the Bangor Daily News website, puts a mention at the bottom of her story (the BDN doesn't publish on Sunday).

Based on their website, it seems The Lewiston Sun Journal ran an AP piece on troopergate and seems to have reprinted some of the BDN's coverage of his Palmyra rally.

The best front page for the McCain campaign so far seems to have come from the Morning Sentinel, which covers some of the second district. The headline was "'FIRST DUDE' VISITS" but troopergate did get a mention above the fold. The Kennebec Journal, based in the first district, went with the somewhat creepier headline "MCCAIN HUNTS MAINERS". I imagine he has a private island somewhere where he conducts these hunts.

Several outlets noted that the press were denied access to Palin, with Jessica Alaimo of PolitickerME reporting that "Officials from the Republican Party told the press that they couldn’t ask Palin any questions."

One reporter did get to talk with Palin, but instead of asking questions it appears Cindy Michaels from Bangor station WVII asked for an autograph. WVII doesn't put their broadcast online.

Report Finds Abuse of Power

The bipartisan report has been released by the Alaska legislature, and it finds that Governor Palin and her husband Todd violated state law in a campaign to have their former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.

From the New York Times:

In the report, the independent investigator, Stephen E. Branchflower, a former prosecutor in Anchorage, said that Ms. Palin wrongfully allowed her husband, Todd, to use state resources as part of the effort to have Trooper Wooten dismissed.

The report says she knowingly "permitted Todd Palin to use the governor’s office and the resources of the governor’s office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired."

The Maine media will have first crack at Todd Palin as he campaigns in northern Maine today. Let's see if they take advantage of that.