Published October 21, 2008
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
It is conventional wisdom in much of the mainstream media that Sarah Palin is the least accessible White House candidate. One commentator wrote Monday the media should stop covering Palin until she holds a press conference.
"The Grand Old Party intends to go all the way to Election Day without exposing the number two person on its ticket," Christopher Hitchens said.
There is even an online petition at PalinPressConference.com demanding that she make herself available to the media.
But the truth is, Palin has lately become the most accessible candidate of all. She has taken questions from reporters three times in recent days: Saturday on the campaign jet, Sunday after landing in Colorado Springs and moments later at an ice cream shop.
In contrast, Joe Biden has not held a press conference in more than a month. Barack Obama takes questions from the traveling press about once every two weeks and John McCain has held just one press conference since September.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman has held hearings on the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers and embattled insurance company AIG. But Republicans have been demanding a hearing on mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which were protected from stricter regulation by Democrats.
Waxman finally agreed Monday, but there is a catch: the hearing will not take place until November 20 — well after the general election.
The Non-Partisan Center for Responsive Politics found Senator Obama has received more Fannie Mae money since 1989 than any lawmaker other than Senator Chris Dodd.
The huge financial advantage Barack Obama enjoyed at the beginning of the month is not nearly as large when you factor in the funds both political parties have at their disposal.
Obama raised a record-shattering $150 million in September, which means his campaign began October with nearly $134 million in the bank.
John McCain — who agreed to accept public financing for his campaign — had just $47 million dollars on hand. That is a difference of $87 million.
But the Republican National Committee enjoys a $77 million to $27.5 million advantage over the Democratic National Committee. That closes the gap considerably and gives Democrats just a $37 million advantage, big but not as overwhelming.
One suspicious Illinois voter will not be casting a ballot anytime soon. Election officials are trying to figure out why voter registration material was sent to "Princess Nudelman" because it turns out "Princess" is not a person at all, but a dead goldfish, prompting election official Willard Helander to say, "I am just stunned at the level of people compromising the integrity of the voting process."
But the owner of the cold dead fish suspects "Princess" may have landed on a mailing list because the family once filled in the pet's name when purchasing a second phone line for a computer.
"There was no fraud involved. This person is a dead fish," Beth Nudelman said.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.