Archive for September, 2008

On the trail

September 30th, 2008
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Gov. Linda Lingle’s six-state tour on behalf of the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket kicks off tomorrow with at least two events scheduled in New Hampshire.

On the Trail
^^ Gov. Linda Lingle speaks at the Republican National Convention on Sept. 3 (AP Photo)

Lingle’s schedule tomorrow includes two women’s roundtable discussions on the economy, first in Hanover, N.H., and later in Claremont, N.H.

She also is scheduled to make campaign stops in Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan and Ohio before heading to St. Louis on Oct. 2 for the vice presidential debate between GOP nominee Palin and her Democratic rival, Joe Biden. Lingle is scheduled to attend the debate at Washington University and appear as one of the campaign’s primary surrogates afterward.

Mayor’s first attack ad

September 29th, 2008
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In today’s Star-Bulletin, I wrote about Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s newest advertisement (and first since his upset in Sept. 20′s primary election) that blasts his mayoral opponent City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi for taking credit in preserving Waimea Valley.

Waimea Valley was a hot topic in 2005 and 2006 for Hannemann and the City Council, but has since fizzled and has been replaced by Hannemann’s proposed $4 billion rail transit system. There really is no reason to bring it up in this year’s mayoral election, except Hannemann is making it a point in going after every one of Kobayashi’s remarks.

Here’s a MP3, courtesy of the Hannemann campaign, of his latest ad.
mufi-waimea-valley-radio.mp3

(And here are some links to previous stories for those of you who forgot the details on Waimea Valley — The City Council rejecting an initial deal; Hannemann’s announcement on an agreement reached; and the vote that Kobayashi wasn’t present for to approve the deal.)

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UPDATED, 12:06 p.m.: Bill McCorriston, the attorney for the then-landowner of Waimea Valley speaking in the ad, had more to say about his involvement in the advertisement.

McCorriston said he told the Hannemann campaign he was upset when he saw Kobayashi’s advertisement taking credit for preserving the valley. After the primary election, campaign officials approached McCorriston to ask for his help in recording the ad.

“I think campaigns should take credit when credit is due,” McCorriston said. “Obviously both campaigns are using Waimea Valley as an example on how they can get things done. It’s not to say the Council didn’t support the deal. Supporting it and doing it are two separate things.”

Courting Panos

September 26th, 2008
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A post from Star-Bulletin city hall reporter Laurie Au:

Former mayoral candidate Panos Prevedouros sent an e-mail yesterday thanking his supporters, but the message makes no mention of an endorsement of City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi for mayor.

“While we did not prevail, I feel strongly that our message was heard, and that the people of Honolulu are far more informed about our infrastructure problems than theywere prior to starting our campaign,” Prevedouros’ e-mail states.

Mayoral debate
^^The mayoral candidates at a debate earlier this month (Star-Bulletin photo/FL Morris)

Prevedouros returned to his job this week as a University of Hawaii at Manoa engineering professor after receiving only 17 percent of the votes cast in Saturday’s primary election.

Kobayashi’s campaign aides have said they believe Prevedouros will support the councilwoman as she faces Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the Nov. 4 general election.

This week, Kobayashi has been meeting with Prevedouros, seeking a possible endorsement. Prevedouros previously said he had no plans to endorse Kobayashi because the two differ on their opinions on the race’s biggest issue — Hannemann’s proposed $4 billion rail transit system.

She wants a rubber-tire bus system, while he prefers to scrap the plans completely and have more dedicated highway bus lanes to alleviate Oahu’s worsening traffic congestion.

The two have always remained friendly on the campaign trail — even sign waving at the same location the day before the primary — while remaining critical of Hannemann.

Prevedouros’ relationship with Hannemann, on the other hand, has been contentious even prior to Prevedouros’ entrance into the mayor’s race. Hannemann’s campaign said it hopes to capture some of Prevedouros’ votes by focusing on issues other than rail.

Coming Soon!

September 25th, 2008
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Keep an eye on “In Politics” in the coming weeks, as it becomes the Star-Bulletin’s “Political Radar” blog.

The blog will remain largely the same in scope, but with some changes. Those include more posts from veteran political reporter Richard Borreca and city hall reporter Laurie Au, as the Best Political Team in Hawaii looks to bring you a full spectrum of political coverage leading up to the Nov. 4 general election and the upcoming session of the Legislature.

Taking their cue

September 25th, 2008
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Much like the start of the Republican National Convention, a day that was supposed to festive and celebratory was more hushed and muted, as Hawaii supporters of GOP presidential nominee John McCain postponed the grand opening of the campaign’s Hawaii headquarters.

McCain suspended his campaign yesterday and called for tomorrow’s scheduled debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama to be postponed in order to focus attention on the nation’s financial crisis.

Local McCain backers canceled today’s planned opening of the new headquarters and said there were no solid plans on when the event would take place.

“This was consistent with our leader, John McCain, and his philosophy of country first,” said Jerry Coffee, McCain’s campaign chairman in Hawaii. “Just like we did the first day of the Republican National Convention — when the hurricane was threatening the Gulf Coast and he didn’t think, nor did the rest of us, that it would be appropriate to be celebrating in a political convention when our countrymen down in the Gulf Coast were facing that kind of danger — the same rationale applies to the current situation, until we get this economic mess squared away in Washington.”

The office at 1038 Queen St., in Kakaako, is next door to the space that former Honolulu mayoral candidate Panos Prevedouros had rented for his campaign.

Meanwhile, Hawaii Democrats held a news conference of their own today to criticize Gov. Linda Lingle for heading to the mainland on a 12-day trip that includes a six-state tour stumping for McCain and running mate Sarah Palin. Lingle has been tapped by the McCain campaign as a top surrogate to speak on behalf of the Alaska governor.

“We are finding it difficult to understand why Gov. Lingle would choose to go to the mainalnd and campaign for Sarah Palin at a time when the state of Hawaii faces the most serious budget shortfall in its history,” said Chuck Freedman, executive director of the Hawaii Democratic Party.

In announcing the trip, Lingle said no state resources would be used and argued that it would benefit Hawaii by bringing national attention to the state. She also noted that before the campaign swing, she will be in New York for a summit of national and international business leaders being convened by millionaire publisher Steve Forbes.

Hawaii for Obama, poll says

September 24th, 2008
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Republican Gov. Linda Lingle is preparing for a six-state campaign tour on behalf of John McCain and Sarah Palin that will take her through Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Missouri.

Trying to rally support for the GOP ticket in those states might prove easier than here at home, where an early poll shows Hawaii-born Democratic nominee Barack Obama holds a sizable lead.

The poll released today by Rasmussen Reports shows Obama, a 1979 Punahou graduate, leading McCain 68 percent to 27 percent.

Obama  is viewed favorably by 74 percent of voters, while just 25 percent view him unfavorably, according to Rasmussen. McCain is viewed favorably by 36 percent, while 59 percent view him unfavorably.

On the running mates, 62 percent of voters in Hawaii have a favorable view of Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, while 37 percent say they have a favorable view of Palin, according to the report.

Chuck Freedman, executive director of the Democratic Party of Hawaii and one of the key organizers behind Obama’s Hawaii campaign, said the lead wasn’t too surprising given that the grassroots organizing for the Illinois senator has been in place for almost two years.

“He’s got a lot of strength out here and an increasing amount of strength in the country,” Freedman said. “We just work real hard to make sure we get a vote that’s this convincing and this compelling on Election Day.”

Rep. Kymberly Pine, co-chairwoman of McCain’s campaign in Hawaii, said she was actually encouraged by the poll numbers.

“I thought (Obama) had 90 percent support in Hawaii because of all the free media he has gotten, and all the money he’s collected from Hawaii,” said Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point). “We’re very inspired, actually, by that number because it’s a lot higher for McCain than we had imagined.

“We know this is a blue state, but the people that are on the John McCain team believe in and love this man. So in the spirit of never surrender, never quit and always fight for what you believe in, our team is always excited every day.”

The telephone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on Sept. 20. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus 4.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

Click here for a sampling of various national polls.

More Maya (and Mazie)

September 24th, 2008
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Before heading to the mainland to campaign for the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Maya Soetoro-Ng will be going on an island-hopping tour to rally support here in the islands.

More Maya
Maya Soetoro-Ng speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last month (AP photo).

These are to be her final public appearances in Hawaii before heading off. Soetoro-Ng is Obama’s half-sister and lives in Hawaii with her family.

Campaign officials previously announced Soetoro-Ng’s participation at a 7 p.m. rally tomorrow at Kailua High School cafeteria.

Her other scheduled appearances are:

Saturday, 1 p.m.: Kihei Charter High School, 300 Ohukai Rd., Kihei, Maui. State Sen. Roz Baker to be named Honorary Chair of the Maui for Obama campaign.

Saturday, 5 p.m.:  Maui Waena Intermediate School , 795 Onehee St., Kahului, Maui.

Sunday, 2:30 p.m.: Kauai Memorial Convention Hall, Lihue, Kauai. Features a musical performance by Willie K.

>>> <<<

Hirono and Obama
Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Mazie Hirono (Photo: mazieforcongress.com)

Also this week, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono was named honorary chairwoman of the group Hawaii Women for Obama.

Hirono said she believes an Obama-Biden administration would do more to advance women’s issues than the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

In a statement, Hirono said: “We need to elect leaders who will be responsible and responsive to the everyday issues people face. Because long after the 2008 election is over, these very real issues will still be here. If you believe that it is time for fundamental change in Washington and a president who puts your concerns first the choice is clear this November. The Democrats and Barack Obama are those offering the new direction and the new deal.”

Spin City

September 23rd, 2008
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Gov. Linda Lingle is heading to the mainland this week and next for a trip that includes a six-state campaign swing for the Republican presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The tour is scheduled to include Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Missouri.

Lingle’s last stop will be St. Louis on Oct. 2, for the vice presidential debate at Washington University, where she will serve as one of the campaign’s top surrogates to discuss Palin’s performance against her Democratic rival, Sen. Joe Biden.

Here, Lingle discusses how her campaign tour could change depending on how quickly the polls do.

Earth, wind and Maya

September 22nd, 2008
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Maya Soetoro-Ng, the half sister of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, heads to the mainland at the end of this week to campaign on his behalf.

Soetoro-Ng is likely to hit swing states such as Nevada, where the campaign is hoping to sway the many Hawaii transplants to vote for the Democratic ticket on Nov. 4.

Before she leaves, Soetoro-Ng is scheduled to be the headline speaker at an Obama rally at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Kailua High School cafeteria. Officials say it will be her final island appearance of the campaign.

Yesterday, at the Democrats’ Unity Breakfast, Soetoro-Ng spoke of the importance of Hawaii to her and her brother. Speaking about the Halona Blowhole, the East Oahu location where their mother’s ashes were scattered in 1995, Soetoro-Ng describes her connection with the islands.

A day of unity

September 21st, 2008
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The morning and afternoon following the primary election was a day of coming together for winners and losers of both parties, as each held its traditional Unity gathering.

Democrats kicked off the day at 7:30 a.m. in the Ala Moana Hotel, for a breakfast and program with speakers including Maya Soetoro-Ng (Barack Obama’s half-sister), U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono, and local party leaders.

Republicans held an outdoor luncheon at party headquarters on Kapiolani Avenue, and heard from Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, among others.

Lingle_Unity
Gov. Linda Lingle addresses the GOP Unity Luncheon

Lingle and Aiona stressed the need for candidates to do what they can to get out the vote come Nov. 4, something that the lieutenant governor said could be affected by the party and the candidates themselves.

“What you as candidates need to understand is you have to focus,” Aiona said. “You really have to focus on your race. It should only be you and the people in front of you and nothing else.

“What you need to do … is touch as many hands as you can. Engage in as many conversations as you can and the conversations should be directed to what we’re doing here in Hawaii — not what’s happening up in Washington, D.C., but what’s happening right here in Hawaii.

“Last but not least, learning our lesson from last night, bring your voters out. Identify your voters and make sure that they come out on Nov. 4 and vote for you on Nov. 4.”

Democrats also stressed the need to come together, after a few hard-fought primary battles.

Soetoro-Ng spoke of her new friendships built over the past year within the party while campaigning for her brother, and urged the party faithful to also make sure and bring voters to the polls on Nov. 4, not just for the local races but for the presidential race, too.