Saturday, September 20, 2008

Eclipse Aviation's Biggest Customer Ceases Air Tax Service.

Florida-based DayJet, a private jet service for business travelers, has ceased operation, and the company is placing at least part of the blame directly on Albuquerque's Eclipse Aviation and the global financial crisis.

On Friday, DayJet announced that it has ceased jet services, pending further notice. The company today eliminated most employee positions. Additionally, DayJet said it was unable to honor any customer reservations.

A Dayjet spokesperson said, "the shutdown is a direct consequence of the company’s inability to arrange critical financing in the midst of the current global financial crisis.

The company’s operations have also suffered as a result of Eclipse Aviation’s failure to install missing equipment or functionality or repair agreed technical discrepancies in accordance with the terms of DayJet’s aircraft purchase contract. From a DayJet news release:

We deeply regret the disruption and hardship to customers, suppliers and employees caused by this unexpected shutdown of commercial operations,” said DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci, who has stepped down as DayJet President and CEO, but continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Twelve months ago our team launched a new regional transportation model. During the past year, we have demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, that customers will sign-up, purchase, and become frequent users of this new service – the DayJet ‘Per-Seat, On-Demand’ model works. It is unfortunate that these developments have come at the same time our nation has fallen into the most serious capital crisis of our lifetime. Regrettably, without access to growth capital, we have no choice but to iscontinue operations.
Eclipse Aviation said it is aware that DayJet (tm) Corporation eliminated most of its workforce Friday and ceased commercial air taxi operations. DayJet has taken delivery of 28 Eclipse 500(r)'s from Eclipse Aviation. While DayJet was Eclipse's largest customer, Eclipse's business model and success has never relied solely on DayJet.Eclipse sent The Word this statement:

Eclipse still has hundreds of orders to fill independent of DayJet, and existing customers will be happy and eager to move up in line. Eclipse also anticipates ongoing interest in the United States as well as fulfilling the strong demand for the Eclipse 500 in the global markets. DayJet is accredited with starting the air taxi revolution with its affordable "Per-Seat, On-Demand" jet service. While DayJet was able to fulfill the demonstrated growing demand for this new market, the company was unfortunately unable to raise the capital it required to continue its operations in the current environment.
In August, Eclipse Aviation was forced to layoff more than one-third of its work force, less than a month after the ouster of the company's chief executive (more).

The 650 layoffs, or roughly 38 percent of the work force, come as the Federal Aviation Administration conducts an unusual 30-day review of the company's Eclipse 500 very light jet airplane.

In July, a management shake-up saw the ouster of founder and former chief executive officer Vern Raburn, who has since left the company.

Last week, the Associated Press reported on congressional hearings reviewing Federal Aviation officials who may have approved a the small jet despite problems with the plane's design and production, overruling safety concerns voiced by government engineers, inspectors and test pilots.

On September 3rd, Governor Bill Richardson traveled to Washington for a meeting with Congressman Jim Oberstar, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, regarding Eclipse Aviation. Before the meeting the governor said:
We will emphasize the State of New Mexico's commitment to Eclipse Aviation and highlight the pivotal role that Eclipse has played in our efforts to create high-wage jobs. As a former Congressman, I know how important it is to hear directly from communities that benefit from the presence of companies like Eclipse.
KOAT reported on the Governor's trip here. Eclipse Aviation Critic NG A blog has long billed itself as a "place for people who were concerned about Eclipse Aviation to share their views." And, Aviation Week and AV Web are two aviation industry news sites also covering developments and news about Eclipse.


Sen. Jeff Bingaman
Photo by MG Bralley

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation today aimed at helping localities build essential infrastructure at a lower cost to New Mexicans.

State, county, and local governments have long relied on bonds to pay up-front for essential infrastructure enhancements – schools, hospitals, public utilities, roads, and public housing – that they pay back through future revenues. But the credit crunch has severely curtailed demand for municipal bonds, forcing municipalities to raise the interest rates they pay in order to attract investors. Some municipalities, unable to pay today's high rates, have put off projects altogether. Considering the shocking financial sector developments in recent weeks, the situation is likely only to get more difficult for municipalities.

Bingaman's Municipal Bond Market Support Act of 2008 will enhance demand for municipal bonds by allowing banks a greater role in purchasing them, which in turn will down the interest rates that municipalities must pay.

"Municipalities have been innocent bystanders to Wall Street's troubled financial state, which is making it difficult for them to affordably borrow for such important projects as building roads, schools, and hospitals. By allowing banks to play a greater role in the bond market, more capital will be available to municipalities, particularly small and rural ones, at lower interest rates," Bingaman said. "This bill is aimed at helping ensure that New Mexico localities can continue to make necessary investments."

Tax laws regulating municipal bonds were last amended in 1986, and provide that banks can purchase municipal bonds only from municipalities that issue $10 million or less in debt each year. But that figure has not increased in over two decades, and today, many small municipalities need to issue more than $10 million in debt each year in order to meet their capital needs. Bingaman's bill will raise that limit to $30 million, enabling banks to purchase bonds from a greater number of municipalities. Additionally, the legislation will create a "safe harbor" that enables banks to invest up to two percent of their assets in municipal debt. Taken together, the moves will make it possible for states and municipalities to borrow at a lower-interest rate at a time when capital is tight.

Failing to raise the bank-qualified level from the amount set in 1986 has had real consequences for New Mexico communities. For instance, many small hospitals and healthcare facilities cannot take advantage of today's small-issuer exception because they borrow through statewide authorities that issue bonds on behalf of multiple institutions, thereby exceeding the $10 million limit. If the $10 million limit had instead been $30 million, then many health care facilities in New Mexico's rural communities would have been able to secure funding to acquire additional hospital equipment, among them, Sierra Vista Hospital in Truth or Consequences; the Prairie Meadows assisted living facility in Clovis; and the Las Cruces Mental Health Center in Las Cruces. For each of these entities, the prospective borrower was instead forced to seek alternative, higher-cost capital options – or could not secure funding to complete the transaction.

Deborah Gorenz, program administrator for the New Mexico Hospital Equipment Loan Council, applauded Senator Bingaman's legislation. "This legislation will assist rural hospitals and healthcare facilities in obtaining cost-effective financing for smaller projects," Gorenz said, adding that capital budgets for smaller healthcare entities are not usually large enough to make issuing revenue bonds feasible. "Senator Bingaman's legislation will provide an opportunity for prospective healthcare borrowers to work with their local banks to obtain more affordable financing through private placement transactions. This type of legislation is especially important to a state such as New Mexico where so many of our hospitals and healthcare facilities are small and rural."

Among other New Mexico cities that would benefit from the increased limit is Las Cruces, which has had five debt issues in the last five years that exceeded $10 million. The city estimates that the difference in rates (with a higher limit on bank qualified debt) would be about 20 basis points (0.20%) -- a savings that would be passed on to the taxpayers in the community.

Community bankers in New Mexico expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of being able to make greater investments in New Mexico's cities and towns. "New Mexico's community banks are committed to our local communities to achieve affordable financing for critical infrastructure projects," said Jerry Walker, Executive Director of the Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico, based in Aztec. "We applaud Senator Bingaman for working to enhance community banks' ability to reinvest in our communities by purchasing their municipal bonds."

The bill, which largely mirrors a bill already introduced in the House, has been endorsed by at least ten national organization, including the National Association of Counties; National League of Cities; U.S. Conference of Mayors; and Education Finance Council.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Obama Rallies Hispanic Voters in Northern New Mexico

Governor Richardson and Barack Obama in Espanola
Photo by Mark Bralley

The 2008 presidential race took a scenic swing through Central and Northern New Mexico on Thursday.

After spending the night in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Democrat Barack Obama met with Native American Tribal Leaders in the morning, ate lunch at a locally owned and operated restaurant in the Town of Bernalillo, and then meandered north, past Santa Fe, to greet anxious supporters in Espanola at a "Change We Need" rally. Most supporters waited for more than three hours under a late, but still hot, summer sun to see their candidate for the first time in person.
AFP reporter shields his computer
an umbrella and waits for Obama.

Just before 2 pm, Obama casually strolled onto the main stage, at the Plaza de Espanola, more than 90 minutes late.

Once comfortably settled in front of his teleprompter, Obama didn’t waste any time talking about today's hot button issue, the growing financial crisis and turmoil in the economy.

"We are in the midst of the most serious financial crisis in a generation. Perhaps the worst since the Great Depression," Obama said. "Everywhere you look, the economic news is troubling. Just this morning, we learned that the Fed had to act with central banks around the world to maintain the functioning of our financial system. But for so many Americans, it isn’t really news at all."

Obama claimed, "600,000 workers have lost their jobs since January. Home values are falling. Your paycheck doesn’t go as far as it used to. It’s never been harder to save or retire; to buy gas or groceries; and if you put it on a credit card, they’ve probably raised your rates,"

"In so many cities and towns across America, it feels as if the dream that so many generations have fought for is slowly slipping away," Obama said.

He also pledged to end the war in Iraq, and vowed he will make sure veterans are honored when they return from their service in the Middle East.

To hear Obama's address click the pink audio play arrow.

Obama was introduced by Governor Bill Richardson.

But it was Espanola Mayor Joe Maestas, who may have gotten the biggest laugh from the crowd, when he thanked them for visiting.

Onlookers without tickets!

“You just doubled the size of Espanola,” Maestas told the large crowd, estimated by the campaign to be around 10,500 people.

Not all of those who came to see Obama were inside the plaza. The campaign said they only printed 7500 tickets, but democrats who wanted to see their candidate found plenty of space, with a view, along side streets.

Obama praised Governor Bill Richardson and Congressional Candidate Ben Ray Lujan, Jr.

"Governor Richardson is one of the finest public servants of his generation," said Obama, who may believe will pick Richardson for a cabinet post if elected in November.

The New Mexico Independent reported:
Gov. Bill Richardson was clearly at ease in front of the friendly audience, joked with the large crowd about the perceived voting irregularities in Rio Arriba County, saying Rio Arriba can guarantee 102 percent of the vote for Obama after November’s election.
Obama put a smile on the face of northern Dem congressional contender Ben Ray Lujan at the start of his 35 minute speech.

Obama Calls Lujan “a hot shot."

Lujan, one of five local speakers at the Rally, said, "We need a leader who will get our country back on track, put our families first, your family first, that leader is Barack Obama. Later Obama recognized Lujan, who faces Republican Dan East, as an "up-and-coming" leader.

Si Se Puedo

Most the battleground states (Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico) have large Hispanic populations, and Obama's trip to Espanola was aimed at shoring up their vote.

"I’m not taking a single Hispanic vote for granted in this campaign. We’re meeting with Hispanic leaders, and reaching out to Hispanic organizations, and holding Hispanic voter registration drives across America. And if you help me organize and get people to the polls to cast their votes on November 4th, then I promise you – we will win New Mexico, we will win this election, and we will change America together, " said Obama.

Salon Magazine writer Mike Madden, who attended the rally, wrote:
In the most closely contested state in the nation, it will all come down to who is better organized -- and whether Obama can get Hispanic voters to the polls.
Obama asked the Hispanic community here "to start actually voting your numbers. Start flexing your muscles. Right here in New Mexico, you'll be the difference maker. Don't stay home -- just remind yourself, si se puede. Yes we can."

During the speech, the Illinois Senator ignored one issue close to Hispanic voters, Abortion. But, earlier in the week, Obama responded to a question on abortion and Hispanic voters with the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Obama, who’s been talking with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, and his economic advisers says he’ll convene a meeting with his top economic advisors to discuss the passage of a Homeowner and Financial Support Act. Obama says that would establish a more stable and permanent solution than the daily improvisations that have characterized policy-making over the last year.

Obama believes his policies will provide additional capital and liquidity to the financial markets. He pledge to help families to re-structure their mortgages on more affordable terms so they can stay in their homes.

“We’ve made a good start but we need to do much, much more. We cannot forget that there are many homeowners who are in crisis through no fault of their own, and a solution that does not have them at its core is no solution at all.” that does not have them at its core is no solution at all.

NM Republican Party Chairman Allen Weh didn't waste anytime critizing Obama following the event.
His [Obama's] solution for the economy is to raise taxes on everyone, subsidize non productive parts, and torpedo a fragile economy making it worse. Obama’s never had to cover a pay roll, never had to make any executive decisions, and wants New Mexican’s to believe he’s the guy to solve our economic problems. He doesn’t have near the experience to handle the job he’s asking Americans to give him, and more and more people now understand that.
But Obama assured the crowd that if their annual income is below $250,000 their taxes would not increase "a dime."

After leaving the rally, Obama attended a private fundraiser in the North Valley. According to FBIHOP New Mexico the candidate raised another $1.7 million for his war-chest. Last month Obama raised reported over $66 million dollars, and supporters donated another $9 million at a fundraiser with Barbara Streisand earlier this week in California.

It was Obama’s 5th trip New Mexico which has been considered a battle ground state, but two new polls now show Obama-Biden with a healthy (outside the margin of error) lead in the state.

UPDATE: For more photos and videos check out Democracy for New Mexico and two flickr sets here and here.

Creating Jobs So Everyone Can Bring Home the Bacon!

The State Republican party is accusing 2nd Congressional Democrat Harry Teague, who has worked in the oil and gas industry since he was a teen, of receiving $1.2 million in “Corporate Welfare” in 2004.

But, Teague’s staff tells The Word the "government funding" Teague received was actually a loan guarantee as part of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Business Cooperative Service [RBCS].

The Federal loan-guarantee program was designed to invest financial resources and provide technical assistance to businesses and cooperatives in rural communities. Each business is responsible for repayment, which includes interest.

Retiring Senator Pete Domenici originally championed the RBCS program that his colleagues now claim “is the kind of pork barrel, corporate welfare spending that is running up the federal budget deficit and threatening the economy.”

The Word has learned the loan guarantee was privately funded by the Western Commerce Bank of Hobbs and at no cost to tax payers. According to democratic staffers the RBCS the loan was paid back on time, in full, and with interest in 2006.

Teague’s company, ABC Rental Tool, only employed 13 people before the loan, but The Word has learned the Rural Business Cooperative Service program help create another 37 jobs in Hobbs and other rural areas of New Mexico where 17% of the population lives below the poverty level. Teague owns several companies and employees around 250 people.

"I'm proud to have taken part in one of Sen. Domenici's most successful programs," Teague said. "Because of the Rural Business Cooperative Service, I was able to create over 70 good paying jobs in places like Eunice and Jal. In Congress, I look forward to supporting bi-partisan legislation which, like the Rural Business Cooperative Service, helps rural Americans achieve the American Dream."

The Agriculture Department program has also helped numerous other projects in New Mexico, including the renovation of the Eklund Hotel in Clayton, NM, which Sen. Domenici praised as "wonderful news."

"Any good businessman would know the difference between a loan guarantee and a loan - and that this program, championed by Sen. Domenici, helped create good paying jobs for rural New Mexicans," said Teague Campaign Manager Frank Costanzo.

Republican party leaders say, “Harry Teague knows the system, worked the system and used the system to reap windfall profits in his private companies, the revenues of which are a secret.”

“He will have you believe his business is an American success story, but the reality is that he’s a well-connected insider who can – and does - pick up the phone to reach well- established Democrat political operators,” said State GOP Communications Director Shira Rawlinson.

Earlier this year, the Diana M. Alba at the Silver City News reported that Teague told a small group, “You can check my past record. … I don’t think I’ve ever been incompatible with being anything other than just fair with the oil and gas industry. They don’t need any handouts.”

Meanwhile, Teague’s team told The Word voters should be focused on Republican Ed Tinsley’s $52,000 federal subsidy (between 1995 and 2006) to help operate a privately owned ranch.

The Word met up with Teague who talked to us about the Southern District, the 8th Largest in land area in the U.S. being selected by the DNCCC as a "Red to Blue" contest this fall.

To hear the interview click the pink play button (sometimes twice).

Obama Buys 2-minute Commercial on Economy

Barack Obama says in a new two-minute campaign ad that it won't be easy to fix what's ailing the nation's economy. Obama recites his now-familiar proposals for tax cuts for middle-class Americans, tougher regulation of the financial industry and an initiative to end America's dependence on Mideast oil within 10 years. He says Americans don't have to read newspapers or watch television reports to know that the economy is struggling.

In his words: This isn't just a string of bad luck. The truth is that while you've been living up to your responsibilities, Washington has not.''
The ad was filmed in Denver, one day after the stock market plunged more than 500 points.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Déjà vu: It's another Boondoggle!

Democrat Martin Heinrich is a busy man.

So busy, in fact, that on Tuesday afternoon, his schedulers could not find time to give reporters an opportunity to ask the democratic congressional candidate any real questions following a side-walk news conference stunt, which was staged in front of his opponent's headquarters.

Unfortunately, Martin Heinrich is such a busy man that journalists were limited to a total of two questions, as a group, following the "news" conference.

Martin Heinrich is such a busy man he used the opportunity to meet with reporters to pose the very same question he'd sent out in an email blast last week: Should Republican Darren White reimburse taxpayers for President Bush's fundraising trip for White in May?

Usually, unless you're very busy, candidates bring new material to a news conference. Our newsroom aired the taxpayer reimbursement story on Tuesday last week. I'm thinking: take the "s" off the word NEWS and it's simply: NEW.

Following the "new" (but really old) news conference both campaigns blasted out emails. Read the GOP's here, and the Heinrich campaign's open letter to Darren White here.

(I'm sorry taxpayers, but presidents and presidential candidates from both parties have come, and will continue to come here to campaign for their party's candidates, and we the taxpayers will pay their security escorts, including the police overtime.)

But, back to the blog post, because we're busy and running out of time.

The two-question limit Heinrich imposed on reporters, following his brief statement, meant that quite a few journalists (many with their own busy schedules) weren't allowed to ask individual questions.

To hear the "news" conference click the pink play button.

This question-limiting tactic isn't new for the Heinrich campaign. Actually it was sort of like deja vu. Several weeks ago, reporters were limited to questions outside the gates of Sandia National Labs where they had waited for 45 minutes for the candidate to appear with U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. To read what happened in the hot sun that afternoon read my previous post here.

It also appears Martin Heinrich is such a busy man that he didn't have time to prepare copies of his tax records for journalists to review before the election.

Without a review of the records the question remains whether or not Heinrich was required to register as a lobbyist for the "advocacy" work he did for various non-profit groups. The record is already clear about one thing. The very busy Heinrich forgot to register his consultancy for a city business license.

We've also learned that Martin Heinrich is such a busy man that he won't have time to prepare for an AARP sponsored TV debate with Republican White on KRQE before the election, which is still 48 days away. Here's the letter AARP sent to Darren White's office notifying him of the cancellation. (Click on the image of the letter to read it full screen).

So for now only one TV debate with the 1st congressional district candidates is scheduled. It's set for Sunday, October 26th on KOAT. That's only a week before the general election and well after early and absentee voting gets underway.

Perhaps Heinrich understands time management better than any of us.

Perhaps he's waiting for the clock to run out on voters, who'd like to make an informed decision on the real issues not being worked on in Washington in this 110th Congress.

UPDATE: For even more insight into media access problems with national and local campaigns consider reading local photojournalist Mark Bralley's blog post at What's Wrong With This Picture.

Obama Campaign Manager Tells Local Reporters "New Mexico Critical to Our Path To Victory!"

Ahead of Barack Obama's visit to Espanola on Thursday, National Campaign Manager David Plouffe talked with local reporters this morning to discuss the state of the presidential race in New Mexico.

Until recently the state has been considered a toss up, but at least one analyst at MSNBC has put New Mexico in the Obama column.

Both campaigns recognize the race comes down to securing 270 electoral votes. Currently, projects McCain winning the Electoral College with 288.7 to 249.3 (don't ask me about the fractional numbers).

outlined the Obama-Biden strategy to turn New Mexico into a blue state this fall. He believes Obama will hold onto all of Kerry's 2004 "Blue" states, and says Obama simply needs to pick up 18 more electoral votes from Red states. Plouffee believes New Mexico will be a "critical path to winning" those 18 and said he believes voter turnout will be good here because of the open senate and all three congressional seats.

Plouffee says both the Obama and McCain campaigns are focused on "Change" as their main theme in the final 49 days of the election.
He says for the first six months of the year Arizona Senator John McCain talked about "experience," but has shifted the GOP focus to Change [Reform]. But, Ploueffe stated he thinks voters will understand McCain is "out of touch with the American Middle Class" when he says the "fundamentals of the economy are sound."

Additionally, Plouffee says it will be hard for McCain, who's campaign is being managed by Washington insiders and lobbyists, to sell his vision of change to voters because "McCain [who's been in Washington for 26 years] has been part of the problem on the economy and on energy.

Plouffee contends if McCain is elected it will be "four more years of the same failed Bush policies that we simply can’t afford."

Ploueffee talked about how the Democrats are setting up a solid grass roots organization in New Mexico to reach out and persuade independent, Hispanic, Native Americans, and women voters to turn out for Obama at the polls.

Listen to Plouffee outline Obama's ground game in New Mexico, including how he thinks his side stacks up to an All-Western Republican ticket, and how Obama's staff is building a solid organization (with 35 offices in the state). Plouffee also disputes an ABC-Washington Post Poll revealing a 20 pt shift from Obama-Biden to McCain-Palin by white women voters, and says Obama-Biden plan on spending lots of time on the ground in New Mexico throughout the Fall.

Click on the PINK play button (some times twice) to hear Plouffee's discussion with ABQ Journal Political Reporter Jeff Jones, AP's Barry Massey, 770KKOB's Peter St. Cyr, and N.M. Indpendent Blogger Heath Haussaman.

Updated: Read additional reports on this morning's strategy call by the AP's Barry Massey here, LP at FBIHOP here and Heath Haussaman with the New Mexico here.

2nd Update: We just found a campaign video featuring Plouffee's strategy message online.

Plouffe presents a slideshow on the state of the race and the resources needed to win battleground states.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama Heading to Espanola on Thursday.

We've just learned Barack Obama will visit Espanola on Thursday morning. Many pundits suggested a likely visit would be to Las Vegas.

Instead, Obama will hold a public event at 10:30am on the Plaza Espanola.

Local staffers say tickets will be available in the state headquarters in Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico Obama campaign offices.

We are trying to determine if tickets can be ordered online and what day tickets will begin to be reserved.

Stay with The Word for additional details.
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Udall / Heinrich Thank Firefighters for Endorsements!

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Tom Udall told firefighters on Monday morning at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, "Your line of work is truly courageous."

Udall was on stage accepting the endorsement of the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters in his bid to replace retiring Senator Pete Domenici.

Udall has already received the endorsment of the New Mexico Fraternal Order of Police.

"Receiving this endorsement form our firefighters today is a particularly special moment in this campaign for me," said Udall. "I have a great feeling of pride in celebrating this endorsement because it's a tough one to earn."

Udall reminded the union he had fought to protect firefighters and pledged to continue his support in the Senate.

"This election is about the forgotten middle class. Those who are struggling to make ends meet because of rising gas prices, rising health care costs, rising food prices and rising college tuition," Udall said. "It is the forgotten middle class that for eight years has been ignored and marginalized."

During the almost year-long campaign Udall has told crowds that he wants to do "what is right for New Mexico." At today's he continued to make the pledge when he said, "There is no better example of doing what is right that supporting our fire fighters .

Click the pink play button to listen to Udall's complete un-edited remarks.

Udall was introduced by I.A.F.F. General President Harold Schaitberger, who was just re-elected to the post last month. Under Schaitberger's leadership the IAFF’s Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, has grown to more than $3.75 million and ranks among the top one percent of PACs in the nation. His commitment to ensuring that the IAFF supports candidates and lawmakers who are friendly to fire fighters and their issues, regardless of political party, has significantly enhanced the union’s power and influence at all levels of politics.

To hear the Schaitberger's introductory remarks click the pink play button.

Democrat Martin Heinrich, who's in a tough race with Republican Sheriff Darren White, was also on stage for the event. UPDATE: He also received the IAFF endorsement on Monday morning. During his term on the city council Heinrich helped to pass a 1/4 cent sales tax to generate revenue for a new fleet of fire trucks. Heinrich had already received the local endorsement. In 2006 the IAFF International endorsed Patricia Madrid, while local fire fighters decided to support the eventual winner, Heather Wilson.

The Word also saw City Councilors Debbie O'Malley, Ray Garduno, Ken Sanchez, PRC Chairman Jason Marks and State Senate Candidate Victor Raigoza in the crowd of about 125 supporters. Rep. Udall left the event quickly to return to the Airport. He's due back in Washington for the wrap up of the 110th Congress, which is expected to adjourn on Sept. 26th.

Obama Reacts to Wall Street Shakeup

Senator Barack Obama issued this statement on the Situation in Financial Markets

"This morning we woke up to some very serious and troubling news from Wall Street.

"The situation with Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions is the latest in a wave of crises that are generating enormous uncertainty about the future of our financial markets. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy and its ability to create good-paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills, save for their future, and make their mortgage payments.

"The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

"I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It's a philosophy we've had for the last eight years – one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It's a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise, and one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

"Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up – from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street.

"This country can't afford another four years of this failed philosophy. For years, I have consistently called for modernizing the rules of the road to suit a 21st century market – rules that would protect American investors and consumers. And I've called for policies that grow our economy and our middle-class together. That is the change I am calling for in this campaign, and that is the change I will bring as President," said Senator Barack Obama.

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McCain Also Recognizing National Hispanic Month.

While Governor Bill Richardson starts up his new "Hispanics For Obama" today in Santa Fe, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain is also reaching out to this large voter block.

Today, Sen. McCain issued the following statement on Hispanic Heritage Month:

"This month, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the many contributions that Hispanic Americans make each and every day to the United States. Our country would be poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of Hispanic Americans who have made this country better and stronger. We honor those who have come here to live the American dream, we recognize those who have been here for generations, and we thank those who are serving our nation in uniform here and overseas."

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Duvall Will Help White Raise Green!

Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, Robert Duvall has a new role: Political Campaigning.

Last week he appeared at a McCain-Palin rally in Albuquerque. Now he's helping Rep. Darren White raise money for his first congressional race.

We just learned Duvall is scheduled to appear at a closed-door fundraiser this coming Saturday in Santa Fe. We were not able to determine if his wife, Luciana Pedraza, will attend the fund raiser.

No details were available regarding minimum donations. We also did not learn who was hosting the event. We'll keep you posted at The Word.

Photo Credit: MG Bralley

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

McCain Offered Early Clues On Palin Pick!

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a self-professed political reformer, has become an instant celebrity. The media has been infatuated with her ever since John McCain announced her selection as his vice presidential running mate on August 29th.

Political analysts have suggested Palin’s selection appeared to be a "huge gamble" by McCain who had been trailing in public opinion polls for most of the summer, but with Palin on the team the GOP ticket has roared back into contention.

McCain’s choice may not have been that surprising when listening to clues he’d been offering along the campaign trail.

At a town hall meeting in Albuquerque on July 15th, John McCain revealed what he was looking for in a running mate. Now that he has picked Palin we thought we’d post an audio file featuring a brief exchange between McCain and Jacob Schroeder, an 8-year-old reporter for Scholastic Kids News, during the Q & A segment at the New Mexico event.

Click the pink play button to hear the exchange between McCain and Schroeder.

Schroeder first asked, “When do you plan to announce the selection of your vice presidential running mate?”

McCain told the young reporter, “It’s a process that is somewhat difficult because we have so many highly qualified individuals who we have to consider."

Schroeder asked this follow up question, “What qualities are you looking for in a vice presidential running mate?”

McCain told Schroeder, “Someone exactly like you: young, vigorous, talented.”

The eventual nominee continued, “That person has to share not only in my principals and my values, but also my priorities. One of the hardest things for the president to do my friends is to establish priorities. You can imagine how difficult some of these priorities are going to be given the enormous challenges that we face. So, that person has to share not only the principals and values that I think are important to leading this nation, but also that person must share the priorities [of the president].”

McCain also added a little civics lesson when he said, “Could I also remind you, and I’m sure you know this because you study hard, that the Vice President of the United States really only has two duties. One duty is in case of a tie vote in the Senate of the United States then the Vice President comes on to the floor of the Senate and casts tie-breaking vote. The other duty that the vice president has is to inquire daily into the health of the president. I’m sure that will be a big job for whoever the vice president will be."

Schroeder, who is home schooled, also covered Democrat Barack Obama’s Economic Summit in Albuquerque on February 1st. Photojournalist Mark Bralley has details on Schroeder’s coverage here.

More than pigs, pitbulls and lipstick. White Women Voters Rush to Support the McCain-Palin Ticket.

Saturday Night Live veterans Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opened the new season with a hilarious sketch spoofing sexism in the race.

It's not yet clear whether or not McCain has even explained her role in his administration.

McCain clearly acknowledged, at the town hall meeting, that he understands the Vice President is “one heartbeat away from the presidency” as has been said many times since the surprise selection of Palin. But, in this video it's unclear if Palin is prepared for the post.

Since Palin's pick there has been a 20 percent shift in polls. Heading into Denver, White Women voters favored Democrat Barack Obama. Following McCain's pick now has a 12 point advantage with that voter group.

Could Sarah Palin's selection have a favorable effect for the Republicans on some of these red-state Senate races? Analysts at believe so:
I think that's possible; in North Carolina, for instance, it's a nice boon to Republicans to motivate conservative women to turn out. But, if the general effect of the Palin selection is to tend to polarize the electorate, the reverse could be true in a blue state like Minnesota.
New Mexico Independent writer Joel Gay has an interesting article on his experiences with Governor Palin while he was a reporter in Alaska here.

Audio: McCain Town Hall Meeting (Albuquerque - July 15, 2008)

Photo Credits: MG Bralley

Contributing to this post: LP from NMFBIHOP