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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:37 PM
Original message
Counting Our Chickens
For Barack Obama, the news of late could hardly be better.

The newest Pew Research poll, released two weeks before the November 4th presidential election, has Obama leading McCain 52% to 38%, "his widest margin yet over McCain among registered voters," according to that polling agency. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released the same day has Obama leading by the slightly smaller yet still formidable margin of 52%-42%, and the latest New York Times/CBS News poll puts Obama ahead of McCain 54% to 43%. Three differing sets of data whose averaged results suggest Obama has opened up a double-digit gap between himself and his GOP rival.

There is not a single available Electoral College projection favoring McCain, and ten other national polls also have Obama out in front. McCain has already abandoned campaigning in Michigan, CNN has reported he will do likewise in Colorado, Iowa and New Mexico, and an ABC News report from George Stephanopoulos suggests the GOP candidate may be preparing to beat similar retreats in New Hampshire and Wisconsin as well. The combined number of Electoral College votes conceded to Obama by deserting these states is 52.

McCain began this final month of campaigning with $47 million in the bank, according to the Associated Press, while Obama began the month with a staggering $134 million. Every available poll displays great and growing doubts about McCain's running mate Sarah Palin's fitness for high office, and negative opinions of her within the voting populace have simply skyrocketed over the last two weeks.

Obama currently leads, by a variety of margins and according to several polls, in the once-dependable "Red" states of Montana, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia. a development which has forced McCain to spend money he can't afford to defend states he probably considered safe six months ago. Obama is statistically tied with McCain in Ohio, holds a slight lead in Florida, and holds dominant leads in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states the Democrats historically cannot win without.

Virtually all campaign coverage earlier this week focused on Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama on Sunday, and specifically on his comments regarding McCain, his choice of running mate, and the character of his campaign. Powell: "I found that he was a little unsure as to (how to) deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem... I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president... I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration... This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

In short, there is virtually no good news for the McCain campaign to be found at this late stage of the race. Dozens of pundits and political commentators have already declared an Obama victory to be a sure thing, and the awesome spectacle of this McCain campaign flameout even compelled Obama to warn his supporters against both demonstrating and falling into any sense of overconfidence.

For Barack Obama, the news of late could hardly be better.

But.

He is completely correct to warn against overconfidence, because nothing whatsoever about this race is settled or assured. Poll numbers may say otherwise, but people are people, and History is one hell of a harsh mistress, especially on matters of race. Make no mistake about it: the cultural prevalence and resilience of racial animosity among White voters toward Black Americans will be one of the great fulcrums upon which this election will pivot, and there is no way to be sure which way it will go in the end.

The hip political term for this racially-motivated skewing of seemingly reliable numbers is "The Bradley Effect." Wikipedia defines the term as, "A proposed explanation for observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some American political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other." It is named for Tom Bradley, a Black candidate for governor of California in 1982 who ultimately lost the race even though several polls had him leading on election day. There are a dozen examples of Black candidates losing in similar fashion even when the numbers had them winning.

It's a nifty turn of phrase, but one that ultimately fails to encompass the reality of the situation.

This "Bradley Effect" theory tries, yet ultimately fails, to explicate and validate an electoral phenomenon deemed worthy of detailed analyses by both the Washington Post and the New York Times. A recent Time Magazine article, however, served to puncture the whole premise in fairly short order.

"The effect," argued Time, "was merely a result of bad data: the poll declaring Bradley a prohibitive favorite ignored Deukmejian's advantages among absentee and early voters. Other recent studies have added further doubt. Marshalling data from the 31 states with significant pre-primary polling this year, Nate Silver of the political website fivethirtyeight.com, argues it was Obama, not Clinton, who actually outperformed expectations in this year's primaries."

And yet, one must ask: has this theory, or any like it, ever been played out on a national scale? No. Are any of the "proven" or "disproven" examples of "Brady-effected" elections premised upon a 50-state national election, in the midst of economic chaos, during two wars, etc.? No.

No models are applicable this time, none are serviceable, none work, none matter. Attempting in any way to quantify the roots and present-day power of racial tension in America, especially in a national election year, involves plumbing a grim, conflicting and confounding compendium of historic influences and events going back hundreds of years. There are a thousand places one could start, and very few sure answers to be found anywhere.

Thus, we are left only with segments of available arguments, angles we can manage, and stories that explain a segment of the facts. One such could be the cultural transformation known as "The Great Migration." In the first quarter of the 20th century, approximately seven million Blacks journeyed from the Jim Crow South and relocated within several Northern cities in search of better jobs, better educations and what they hoped would be better lives.

The arrival of these millions of laborers in the Industrial North, in cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York and Boston caused a jarring explosion of racial hostility among Whites that resonates powerfully to this day.

It came down to jobs. Prior waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy and elsewhere had established themselves within these cities, and within the industrial jobs found there. The arrival of millions of Black workers from the South, who were willing to work longer hours for less money, were bitterly resented by established White workers who suddenly watched their old jobs basically get "outsourced" to Black neighborhoods, and watched their old wages diminish as well.

The seething hatred among Whites in these cities inspired by the labor upheaval after The Great Migration has become part of America's cultural DNA, passed down with mother's milk and now into its fourth generation of existence. It is an ingrained thing within millions of White voters in those places today, and therein lies one vital pivot.

Explicating the reality of Northern racism by using "The Great Migration" as the sole rationale is an insulting, short-sighted and ultimately fruitless process, but some part of the whole truth is found there, and may perhaps come to explain why millions of White votes - in three pivotal states going back eight decades - could, may or will swing this election.

"The Great Migration" and all attendant consequences are just an accent in the symphony of why racial anger remains such a motivational factor in America. However, this year it is one accent that weighs mightily upon which party will win which states, and why, and by how much.

Detroit, Michigan. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio. Five major cities within three states Obama very much needs to win if he hopes to achieve victory in two weeks. The poll numbers may say what they say, but the cultural echo of latent racism will appear on no survey, and there is no telling how this will shake out. Millions and millions of votes swing upon this question.

A case in point, from early this week in Pennsylvania:

"Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has sent two separate memos to the Obama campaign in the past five days requesting that the Democratic Presidential candidate-as well as Hillary and Bill Clinton-return to campaign in Pennsylvania," CNN reported late Tuesday afternoon. "'I don't want to be selfish,' Rendell said. 'But I'm still a little nervous, so I have asked Obama to come back. We understand he's got demands from 20 different states, but we'd like to see him here.' Obama's support appears to be weakest in the western part of the state, a region Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha recently called 'racist,' and one where he badly lost to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary."

Food for thought.

To be sure, things are looking extraordinarily positive for the Obama campaign. But anyone who thinks the Democratic candidate has this one in the bag needs to have their head examined, needs to examine a history textbook, or both.
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lynettebro440 Donating Member (950 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very nice
First Rec.....
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Parche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. Eggselent Post
:woohoo: :hi:
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
15. Well what did you expect from an egghead?
:eyes:
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. To hell with fear and anxiety. For the first time in my adult life,
I have the audacity to Hope.

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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's so inconceivable that things could turn around at this point...
But damn, I'm constantly surprised these days, so who knows.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
5. I certainly haven't seen any complacency
I don't know where this nonsense is coming from, but for anyone working on this campaign who is older than, say, 16 years of age, we all remember the 2000 and 2004 debacles. Stuff like this has passed from legitimate concern to kind of insulting, in my opinion. I'm working with a good will and a light heart, confident that the result will be better than it has been. But there are some even here at DU who feel it necessary to piss all over our efforts once again.

I gotta tell ya how much I appreciate the doom and the gloom.
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Kaleko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
31. Seconded.
It is insulting to suggest we're slacking off when noting how the tide has turned in our favor, at last.

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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
6. The biggest problem with Obama being well ahead...
in the polls is that many Democrats will avoid voting when they see long lines at the polls as they know Obama has the election in the bag. The Republicans will get out and vote despite the long lines if they feel McCain has even a slim chance.

Of course, I'm making the assumption that the voting machines aren't hacked or rigged.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I don't believe that...
there is no way Republicans would stand in line..but they probably won't have to. Certain neighborhoods get the best, and plenty of voting machines. I wish we could vote early here, but I don't care how long it takes me to vote. After work, once I get in line, they can not turn me away. The only way I will not get to vote is if I'm dead.
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plaintiff Donating Member (418 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. Maybe it's an anomaly but where I vote, there are not separate lines for Democrats and Repubs.
We all get into one line (or more depending on how busy it gets) and receive a ballot after signing in. This is the case even in primaries.
I guess what I mean is one party doesn't wait any longer than the other.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. no kidding?
I didn't mean the same polling place..wealthy areas are allotted newer machines and more of them, where as less wealthy, more urban areas get the old stuff, and fewer of them..hence the long lines in largely Democratic "Districts"
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Generally speaking, true
In this election, not a chance.

Not because of what Will just said, but because so many of us know that if they can steal it, they will. In a fair fight, this election was over a couple of months ago, but this is no fair fight.
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #12
25. One really good thing about this election...
is that a lot of people have been voting early. This should reduce the length of the lines and result in more votes being cast (which should benefit Obama).

I remember the first time I chose to vote absentee in Florida. It was a Presidential election and my polling place was at a library in the Tampa Bay area. On the way home from work, I drove by out of curiosity and was amazed at the lines which rapped around at least one half of a city block.

Had I not filed an absentee ballot, I probably would have avoided voting that day.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
7. I think the Ashley Todd fiasco will give a further boost, albeit temporary, to Obama's numbers.
The news is just breaking, so it will take several days before anything shows up in future polls.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
8. voting machines scare me
. . . more than any fear that Obama's race will be a significant inhibitor.

And dirty tricks, like rejecting ballots and arbitrary purges of voter rolls scare me.

Mostly, though, the evidence in the first half of your article points to a significant victory. I'll be looking for more than prejudice as a villain if we fail.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
9. There Ya Go again with Common Sense...
damnit.... where's my pipe?!
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
11. The Bradley effect is based on a decades old model
Edited on Fri Oct-24-08 06:19 PM by mzmolly
thankfully. I think we're about to see a new model. One in which Obama exceeds all expectation. :D *crossing fingers*
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fiorello Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
13. Here is a more positive spin on the request for more Obama in Pennsylvania
Ed Rendell wants Obama back - especially in 'racist' western Pennsylvania? Why? Because when the doubters actually see and hear Obama they like him better.

A personal take on 'racism':

(1) I am willing to forgive poor and/or working class 'racists'. I am not willing to forgive rich racists, or rich people who promote racism (and if this sounds like your favorite Republican, that's not my fault).

(2) Many people have defended the Appalachian dislike of Obama, saying that it is 'cultural' rather than racist - working-class whites prefer politicians who talk in down-to-earth terms rather than lofty ideals. Give 'em the benefit of the doubt - because it might work to pursuade them.

That said, I was forced to listen to Fox News all afternoon today (very 1984-ish) and in particular to two elderly 'values voters' - the country's going to the gays, and they dislike her (Michelle) even more than him. I may excuse them in the abstract, but when I actually hear it I want to strangle them.
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tclambert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
14. But it's so nerve-wracking to wait for the eggs to hatch!
Come on, come one, come on, hatch already! How many days left? Eleven? Arggh!

It's right to worry. It's right to keep working hard. Try to make that lead bigger. Try to win 60 in the Senate. But it's okay to hope, too. FiveThirtyEight.com gives McCain just a 3.7% chance of winning now. It's not zero, so don't relax. But fight with confidence.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
16. And how's Hairy Bastid?
:hi:
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #16
21. Loves the new apartment
The new place I moved into last month is practically made of windows, so he's just in his glory.

:)
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. Cool just so long as he approves!
:hug: :)
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dudewheresmycountry Donating Member (99 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
17. nice pep talk,
I don't know of anyone letting up at this point, it's not just a win, once the dust settles on November 4 there will be very few Republican politicians left standing. That's the goal, that's the purpose, that's the change we need and everyone is working their asses off to make it happen, Am I over confident, yes, maybe even a bit cocky, but as I know the sun will rise tomorrow and the winds will blow, I know change is coming and I am gonna take a deep breath on November 5 and see a brand new tomorrow for America and the world. you betcha it's gonna happen!
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MonteLukast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
20. This part was key for me:
It came down to jobs. Prior waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy and elsewhere had established themselves within these cities, and within the industrial jobs found there. The arrival of millions of Black workers from the South, who were willing to work longer hours for less money, were bitterly resented by established White workers who suddenly watched their old jobs basically get "outsourced" to Black neighborhoods, and watched their old wages diminish as well.

ALWAYS when you scratch the surface of resentment about race, you'll find anxiety about competition for jobs. Always.
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zogtheobvious Donating Member (119 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
22. The Bradley Effect?
You wrote:
"Wikipedia defines the term as, 'A proposed explanation for observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some American political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other.'"

Drop off the end so that it reads "Wikipedia defines the term as, 'A proposed explanation for observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some American political campaigns'" and I think we could call it the "Diebold Effect" :puke:
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livetohike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
24. Obama will be in Pgh on Monday afternoon! So he heard
Governor Rendell....
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
26. Looking forward to those 2 minute ads!
:applause:
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
27. Mine are all here this morning:
One beautiful buff orpington rooster by the name of "Oliver."

3 buff orpington hens: "buffy," "goldie," "and henny penny."

1 black australorp hen: "gwen."

1 easter-egger hen: "Babushka"

and 3 mixed breed hens with no names.

They are all happily free-ranging on the place, up to greet the sun a few hours ago.

What I need to count are the eggs. Free-ranging hens tend to "hide" eggs in unlikely spots. Even when they lay where they are "supposed" to, I have to get the eggs collected before the packrats and magpies find them. That means I don't get many eggs except on weekends, when I can rush out to collect them warm from the hen, as soon as they announce their achievement.

Make what you will of THAT metaphor, lol.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
28. I think racism may actually help Obama win.
Whites think black men are coming to kick their ass, which is exactly the factor Kerry and Gore were missing to get landslides big enough to moot the fraud. White guys looked at either of them and thought, aw, I could take him. Obama, not so much. The flipside of this form of prejudice is the fantasy of having a big black guy on your side, which is quite powerful among whites. That's why all the attacks focus on how "scary" and "other" (Muslim, terrorist) he is; compare the enormous media campaign to make Kerry seem weak and effeminate. As long as the "Muslim" lies don't stick, Americans will view Obama as being sufficiently violent to lead them. It's hardwired into their racist little brains. Ugly stuff, but I think it could lead to good results. Once the country feels like he has them in a headlock they might start listening to him.
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machI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
29. Kick
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
30. We're doomed.
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. You're doomed.
The Seahawks have no chance against my mighty Patriots.

Yeah. I said it.

;)
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Yah - but wait til Boston College plays the Huskies!!!
:rofl:
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Who?
Edited on Sat Oct-25-08 11:19 PM by WilliamPitt
Is Flutie still on the team?

:P

(me = still flush from watching my Penn State alum friend as he cheered his team to victory against Ohio State, the school his brother went to)

(i.e. there is no college football tradition worth mentioning in the greater Boston area, so me = leaping onto the bandwagon of a Big 10 team whose campus I couldn't find with a map and compass, and onto a fraternal rivalry wreathed in foul language, vulgar insults and brotherly love...whee!)

( :P )
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Penn St. really did play well. Good job, kids.
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. My friend gnawed his nails down to the second knuckle.
Man, those last six minutes took FOREVER.

He's thrilled. I'm living vicariously.

He's also a Steelers fan, so I gotta root for *them* tomorrow...against the Giants...cuz...ya know.

:grr:

;)
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Marnieworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
32. Obama will be in Philly on Tuesday
So I guess they are listening to Rendell. I can't wait until this election is over.
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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-27-08 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
38. I live in the south but I have to say that the most racist place I've
ever visited is Boston.
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-27-08 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Yup.
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jus_the_facts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-27-08 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
40. Food for thought.....
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