Patterico's Pontifications


What The Fixation on Houses Says About Obama’s Campaign

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:55 pm

[Posted by WLS]

What does it say about the Obama campaign that at the height of its press attention this week they are chosing to focus their energy on McCain’s clumsy throw-off line about the number of “houses” owned by him and his wife.  I put “houses” in quotes, because I think the question from the Politico reporter was how many “properties” they own, and actual reporting makes clear that a least a couple of the “houses”/”properties” are investment properties and not residences used with any regularity by the McCains.

What does it say? 

First, it suggests they were completely devoid of a substantive issue with which to take McCain on with, and this comment has been a godsend in what must have been a panicked war room last week.

Second, it says that they knew attacks based on Rezko were coming in the fall, they knew the attacks were going to hurt, and by going on the attack first on an issue that opens the door they will hope that the public ignores the BOTH as basic campaign tit-for-tat kind of stuff.  I think that’s really at the heart of their aggressive use of this issue.


27 Responses to “What The Fixation on Houses Says About Obama’s Campaign”

  1. I certainly hadn’t thought of it this way, as an attempt to bring Rezko out early.

    It certainly is true that Obama doesn’t seem to have anything better to attack Mccain on besides his wife having a bunch of investment homes.

    I think he’s clearly playing this too hard. It’s clear both sides are slinging mud, and it’s clear no one is persuaded by the 7 homes, and many are persuaded by Rezko and Ayers (if they hear of it).

    And it’s not like Mccain doesn’t have more ammo. This story at this moment is going to put a damper on the DNC convention. If Obama only gets 3 or 4 points, it will be clear he’s screwed up what everyone called a sure bet.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  2. 3. It’s funny when old people forget stuff they should remember. Like how many *houses* you own.

    4. It’s a decent counter to the arugula eating elite attack. Maybe he does like whatever that is. But the other guy owns more houses than he can count.

    5. Democrats have said for years (wrongly IMO) that if low income white people voted in their economic best interest rather than on culture issues. They’d vote Democrat.

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  3. Joe — here’s McCain’s direct answer:

    My wife’s parents started a company that has, over time, grown into an enormously successful and profitable enterprise. They’ve lived the American success story, and now she has a great deal of money as a result. She has worked in the business her entire adult life, and now alon with her siblings she controls it.

    As an elected official, I have always stayed out of my wife’s business and financial matters. To comply with various legal and ethical requirements, all her assets are in her name, we have relatively few marital interests. We file seperate tax returns, and all my tax returns are public and there has never been a suggestion of impropriety. So, yes, I was somewhat at a loss for a direct answer when the question posed to me was “how many houses we own.”

    As for my opponent, the record seems pretty clear that he himself was intimately involved in the decision to buy a house with the assistance of someone who was then under federal investigation for fraud — and that decision was potentially in violation of law and Senate ethics rules.

    Seems to me the difference between us is that off the top of my head I couldn’t answer the question accurately and said I’d have my staff provide an accurate response.

    But my opponent hasn’t yet answered the questions that the American people have about his financial involvement with a notorious Chicago slumlord and convicted felon.

    Anything else?

    WLS (26b1e5)

  4. I hope Baracky thinks this is a good line of attack and continues on with it.

    JD (5f0e11)

  5. WLS – McCain’s team really knocks these things out of the park. That one will leave a mark, should the media actually cover it.

    JD (5f0e11)

  6. JD — actually, what I wrote was what I would say if I was working in McCain’s camp.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  7. This could have been Obama’s ploy to out the Rezko issue but I’m not convinced it wasn’t McCain that left the door open for this to happen. Unlike Ayers and Wright, the Rezko story is complicated and will take time to gain traction. In my opinion, the sooner it came out, the better for McCain.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  8. WLS – Then McCain’s camp should hire you, ‘cuz that was pitch perfect.

    JD (5f0e11)

  9. That response addresses pt. 3 pretty well and gets at 5. It also makes a lot of sense and is likely the truth of the matter.

    Still severs to counter the elite change of the McCain camp.

    Just out of curiosity, did you find it equally compelling when Kerry said a pretty similar thing about his wife’s SUVs?

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  10. I agree, WLS, it makes so much sense and it would put McCain on the offensive in a very clear and reasonable way. He has nothing to defend and I hope he doesn’t fall for the bait. Perhaps you should email it to McCain’s people.

    Dana (084de8)

  11. Joe — refresh my recollection about Kerry’s comment?

    WLS (26b1e5)

  12. WLS – The context was completely different. Joe is playing “Look! Over there! Something shiny!”

    Good Allah, Pelosi is horrible.

    JD (5f0e11)

  13. As best I can remember, he bashed SUV, and it turned out after the fact that one of his houses had several. He claimed it was his wife’s place (true, he got his money from her) and that he hadn’t really known they were there. Seemed reasonable excuse at the time. Although he should have checked that before he went to Detroit to bash SUV’s for ‘courage’ points.

    This was four years ago so my recall might be a bit off.

    I saw when he flubbed the question, I think the damage was done when he looked uncertain. If he’d just said “My wife’s rich. Since you should probably include rental properties I’m not really sure how many houses we have.” We live in X, Y Z and I’m really grateful.

    Joe (c0e4f8)

  14. WLS,

    Re: John Kerry:

    Here’s a Rush Limbaugh website on John Kerry’s flip-flops regarding whether he owned an SUV.

    Re: Cindy McCain:

    From what I’ve read, Cindy McCain rarely worked in the Hensley family business, although John McCain’s adopted son from his first marriage, Andy McCain, is the Hensley CEO and President of the local Chamber of Commerce. Cindy McCain is an absentee owner who has spent most of her life working with charitable and special education programs.

    As mentioned at the first link, Cindy McCain received bachelors and masters degrees in special education at USC. After her graduation, she taught special education students in Arizona and since then she has concentrated on extensive foundation and charity work. However, I suspect the McCain campaign is loathe to get into the charity work, not only because they rarely speak about their charitable and personal matters but also because of her drug abuse problems that arose during that period.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  15. Joe, I recall the “SUV” incident the same way you do, but I also recall that Kerry was videotaped RIDING in one of the SUVs just before he ripped them– and then claimed that he didn’t know about them. Strange he didn’t know about something he was seen in a few days earlier.

    mamapajamas (452368)

  16. Joe

    Like the rest of the Dems, yours is a sexist statement.

    For the life of you, you can’t conceive of wife being in charge of the family investments.

    Dems talk a fine talk about “equality” and all, but are the first to reach for the race/sex/orientation slam-card in any disagreement.

    Darleen (187edc)

  17. Yeah, well it might be interesting to ask why Senator Biden thinks it’s so terrible that John McCain has seven kitchen tables, but hasn’t a harsh word to say about the millionaire Obamas leaving half-brother George to subsist on a dollar a month?

    Dana R Pico (556f76)

  18. First, it suggests they were completely devoid of a substantive issue with which to take McCain on with…

    What are the “substantive issues” McCain has found with which to take on Obama, the Britney-Paris ad or the Charlton Heston parody?

    steve (0ff197)

  19. Drill. I could go on.

    WLS (de1532)

  20. Set your Tivos for Leno–McCain has a fabulous answer to the house canard. (See Hotair)

    Patricia (f56a97)

  21. “What are the “substantive issues” McCain has found with which to take on Obama, the Britney-Paris ad or the Charlton Heston parody?”

    I’ll take empty suit for 10 steve. Aren’t lack of experience and judgement legitimate issues?

    Whu Phlong Dung (d9ec17)

  22. Gotta reset that name from the joke thread.

    Whu Phlong Dung (d9ec17)

  23. One more time.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  24. #3. This morning you said you got a couple words wrong. Today, you got all the words right:

    But my opponent hasn’t yet answered the questions that the American people have about his financial involvement with a notorious Chicago slumlord and convicted felon.

    Anything else?

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  25. Other issues to attack Obama with:

    His support of a total handgun ban, including voting against a bill allowing homeowners to assert self-defense if they used a handgun to defend against an intruder.

    His opposition to the Induced Infants Liability Act, which would have required medical care for infants who survived an abortion.

    His claim that ICE immigration raids terrorizes communities.

    His claim that people cling to guns and religion because they are bitter.

    Michael Ejercito (a757fd)

  26. Obama’s bit with the houses is typical Yuppie one-up-manship. He’s a spoiled Yuppie who wants to compete on “credibility” issues so looks to houses.

    Given his brother’s poverty-stricken life, on $12 a year in Kenya, which the RNC has pointed out in TX, that was not a smart move.

    Obama and Michelle exude spoiled, covetous yuppiedom. Believe me.

    whiskey (e09923)

  27. McCain flubbed the house question and I don’t know why. They should be expecting questions about Cindy’s wealth. However, on This Week, Mark Halperin said it was a serious mistake for the Obama people to bring the subject up as it opened the door to Rezko. Now, it turns out, Biden has serious links to Rezko.

    Mike K (2cf494)

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