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July 8th, 2008
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360° Q & A – Dukakis: Polls “meaningless” – VP choice crucial

Former Mass. Governor Dukakis with his wife in March.
Former Mass. Governor Dukakis with his wife in March.

Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis knows a thing or two about running for president. The 1988 Democratic presidential nominee – still as engaged and vocal as ever – discusses this year’s race with AC360° Associate Producer Jack Gray.

Governor, four months out and polls show Sen. Obama in the lead. Any words of caution for him and his supporters?

Yeah these poll numbers are meaningless, as only the guy you are talking to knows. This race has only just begun and one of the things that you discover is that the final is a whole new ball game. I mean the fact that you’ve been out campaigning for a year, a year and a half, two years is not meaningless – it means something – but now it’s you and the other guy, and one of you is going to be the most important political leader in the world. So every day is another battle and that’s where we’ve just begun, frankly.

The VP guessing game, do you have any favorites?

No I don’t have any favorites. You’ve got to go through a very careful process. If you do it right you’re going to pick the right person. It’s one of the things I did right in 1988 – a lot of things I did wrong – and he’s going through that process. And I think people are paying a lot more attention to this than they used to. In the old days it didn’t make much difference. I don’t think that’s true anymore. Because remember this is the first real presidential decision you’re making. If you win this person is going to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. And it better be someone who above all is capable in being a first-rate president.

Would putting Sen. Clinton on the ticket be a good or bad move?

Well that’s a judgment that only he and she can make. One of the things you find out as you go through this process, Jack, is that a lot of the people you consider seriously decide for whatever reason that they don’t want to be considered.

If he asked her she couldn’t say no, could she?

Well, I asked some people who said no. It wasn’t because they didn’t like me, they just decided at that point in their career they didn’t want to make that move. I can tell you if you do this process right you’re going to come up with the right person.

How do you “do the process right?”

First you pick someone in whom you have great confidence to head it up for you. Now Obama has already had a problem with that – Jim Johnson is gone. With me it was Paul Brountas my campaign chairman – with Clinton it was Warren Christopher – people with good judgment, who know what they’re doing. We reached out all over the place – invited suggestions from anywhere and everywhere…finally narrowed it down to four: Glenn, Bentsen, Gephardt and Gore... when it was all over not that the other three weren’t very good people, but the logical choice to me was Bentsen. And he was a great running mate, by the way.

If Sen. Obama picks a woman other than Sen. Clinton does he risk irritating her supporters?

I don’t think so. I don’t sense – despite all that poll stuff right after the contest when he clinched, my sense is that the vast majority of Democrats are going to be with him and engaged. And I know they’re reaching out very aggressively to the Clinton people.

What about an experienced Washington player like Joe Biden or Chris Dodd – would that run counter to his message of change?

Not necessarily. Of course remember he is a federal official. In my case, Jack, it’s not that I was necessarily looking absolutely for someone with Washington experience. But it seemed to me as a guy who had spent much of his time at the state level – it was important, not just for political purposes, but if I won, to have a vice president who was a very skilled federal person. I think Carter felt that way when he picked Mondale. I certainly felt that way when I picked Bentsen. In this case, however, Obama is already a national player, so there might be other considerations. Someone with extensive experience in foreign policy, national security maybe would be well worth considering. Above all else, the single most important consideration is very simple: Would this person be an excellent president if God forbid something happened to me? Everything else pales in comparison.

Do you buy the notion that Obama needs to make this about the economy and McCain needs to make it about national security?

No, I think Obama has to make it about national security and the economy because the two are related. I mean we’re spending close to $3 billion a week on this stupid war. That is money that can’t be invested here, that can’t be invested in the crumbling infrastructure, health care, schools, and all of those things. I think Obama should take the so-called national security issue directly to McCain, who has been a supporter of this war from the beginning, and tie it at the same time to our failure to build the economy that we ought to have here.. So I think the two are related. I wouldn’t separate them at all.

In 2000 the key state was Florida, in 2004 it was Ohio. This year people are talking about Michigan, Ohio again.

Hey you want to organize those states to the teeth, but you also want to organize every other state to the teeth. And there’s no reason why he can’t do it. I mean he’s got close to two million contributors, Jack. Contributors! And there are only 200,000 precincts. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to put that operation together right now in every single state without exception – it’s all volunteer driven; the internet is now a great organizing tool. I’m not talking about phone banks. I’m talking about organization at the precinct level – precinct captains are out there knocking on doors, connecting with people personally and staying with them right through the campaign and that’s easy. That’s something we must do. Fortunately they understand this and they’re doing it, but we’ve got to move on it. We’ve only got four months to go.

In 1988 you didn’t have that organization?

Well we had it in the primary and it helped me win the nomination. And then we listened to folks (laughs) who presumably knew something about running for the presidency – and he said well in the finals it’s all about media, it’s about money. And, mea culpa. We, too, had staff in every one of the fifty states but, with some exceptions, we really didn’t put the emphasis on it. One of the reasons I feel so strongly is because we didn’t do it as intensively as we should have in every one of the states. And Obama has the capacity and the intensity to do this better than anyone that I can remember since Jack Kennedy.

Should Sen. Obama take any lessons from your former Lieutenant Governor, John Kerry?

John, unfortunately, did not do the grass roots stuff. And so it ended up being another one of these Ohio/Florida deals. There is no reason why Democrats ought to be conceding one single state, Jack. And buying into this red/blue stuff is ridiculous. There must be 13 so-called red states with Democratic governors, so why are they red? I mean it makes no sense at all and many of them of their congressional delegations have now gone Democrat. So we’re making a serious mistake in buying into this mythology and that’s all it is.

Can you believe that it was twenty years ago that you were in the thick of this?

No.

How have things changed since then?

(Laughs) In my opinion, not withstanding technology and the rest of it, fundamentally it comes down to what I’m talking about. I think the conditions for a victory are very good, but no one is going to hand this to us. We’ve got to go out there and win it.

And finally how about those Red Sox, going all the way this year?

I’m a little worried. I’m a little worried. Aren’t you? Looking at Manny pinch-hitting Sunday was not pleasant.


Filed under: Jack Gray • Raw Politics • T1
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Barbara

    For female Hillary supporters who say they will not vote for Barack unless he wooes them need to get a life. These are childish statements. This is serious business here, stop complaining and let's help make America better.

    July 9, 2008 at 2:36 am |
  2. Dwaine K. A. Hicks Markham,IL

    It Proves That Sometimes Being Poular & A Good Liar Will Get You Further Than The Truth Will. We Missed Out On So Many Opportunities Over The Years & Maybe The 2nd Or 3rd President Will Be Able To Fix The Last 8 Years. I Know I Missed The Prince Harry's Comment, But The L Stands For LOVE Those BP Profits!

    July 8, 2008 at 11:47 pm |
  3. Michel Parent

    Once again, some thoughtful observations from Michael Dukakis, a man America should have given much more consideration to as their President. This is a man who has always kept true to his ideals (even when they were castigated as «liberal») and had a very cerebral, and less «gut-political», way at facing the issues before him. Given recent history, he looks better and better all the time!

    I have met this man on a number of occasions and had an opportunity to talk with him when he was Governor of Massachusetts, and to me it remains a privilege to this day. He was even kind enough to write my then-10-year-old daughter a letter because I asked him to.

    And think of the «collateral advantage»: if he had won in 1988, no Bush senior, and no Bush junior, ever!!

    Boy, did we miss out!

    July 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  4. Constance

    I'll be voting for McCain. After seeing the DNC and Obama stand by and smirk at the medias misogynist rantings I am no longer a democrat. Yeah the BO camp tried to woo me. By putting Michelle in Vogue which I don't read, on the View, I work when it is on and with that BS Democrat women Senators thing that amounted to nothing. Oh yeah and by using the politics of fear regarding abortion on me. Well I happen to think that a non sexist media is far more important than abortion rights. One can only hope the "feminist groups" wake up to this fact. Is there anything more pathetic in this day of safe, easily available, effective birth control than a bunch of post menopausal feminists many of whom are lesbians thinking abortion is the only women's issue?

    July 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    I was for Clinton; now I'm not sure who I am for. There seems to be a lot of changing right now as the candidates move to the center. In the end I'll see where they end up and then vote for who I consider the best. If that is McCain it will be decided on the issues and the solutions they present – not vindictiveness. There is too much at stake to base a vote on vindictiveness; besides if Alabama stays with the GOP like they have for the last 70+ years my vote won't make much difference in an electoral system where the electoral college is winner takes all. Kind of discouraging when you think about it.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 8, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  6. Joe,Philly

    To all Hillary Clinton's supposed supporters who say they will change their vote or stay home YOU ARE RIDICULOUS. Staying home or voting for John MCcain is pure vindictiveness. The thought alone that you could simply throw your support to a person who is the polar opposite of the woman you so adamantly supported through the primaries is absurd. Please take a good look in the mirror and think about the choice your making. Since the primaries have ended have your positions changed that much? Have you given up on womens rights?Do you now fully support a long occupation of a country we have no right to be occupying? Do you really believe that economic system deployed over the last eight years has made our country stronger? As Hillary Clinton supporters you know more than anyone These answers are all still no, do the right thing.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  7. Beth

    This Clinton supporter won't be voting for Obama! It has now become a matter of principle over party. The DNC did nothing to stand up for me when i listened to all the sexist remarks on television. I watched heroines from my era being treated like yesterday's news. I will now be treating the Democratic Party like yesterday's news.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:22 pm |
  8. Theresa

    VIgla made the comment, "Yes, Clinton supporters will vote Obama. I mean, seriously, what’s the alternative?" Some Clinton supporters will vote for Obama and that is their choice. This Democratic primary was a poor example of Democracy in action. I hope no children were watching hoping to get a civics lession.

    First the DNC Rules & Bylaws committee only counting 1/2 the votes and delegates from FL & MI. As a Democrat that reverted me back to the Gore election of 2000. The Democratic primary was a close race like the Bush-Gore race of 2000. Deja vu huh! I wasn’t surprised when the Republicans pulled that; but our own party. Before the caucus members were repeatedly recruited by Obama staff, challenges were not heard by delegates, delegate members were denied the opportunity to register, and threats and intimidation was used at the caucuses. It shows an appearance of being bought off when super-delegates to monetary donations from primary candidate then just so happens to pledge to that candidate. These issues happened in numerous states, not just one either. So it wasn’t and isolated incidents. I wouldn’t want any female, no matter what political party, to go through the sexism and monogamy that Hillary Clinton dealt with this year.

    Governor Rendall and others within the party agree that there were some problems this year, but assume voters will accept it and vote Democrat anyway. Like they have said about Senator Obama moving to the center, “What are the voters on left going to do, they will vote Democrat anyway no matter how far Obama goes.”

    What was unacceptable was the behavior and conduct of our Democratic leaders and officials within the party. Some accountability and responsibility needs to be place there the same way when a business fails or has problems. Instead of dealing with any of the issues that were going on, they were like ostrich's with their head stuck in the sand and just acted like their wasn't a problem. The problem is they under estimated voters thinking they wanted a Democrat in the White House they would ingnore anything.

    Politicians don't care what voters think, that is apparent by Senators Obama running toward the center. As has been stated, What are they going to do, they will still vote for him." They are so out of touch, not caring that voters are upset with politicians and Washington. The approval rating of Congress is at 12% and it is a Democratic Congress. Maybe they should watch CC. I am one of those in the 88%.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  9. Teresa, Oh

    @Larry: and dont think CNN doesnt know it. So observant of you!!!

    July 8, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Larry

    Interesting that CNN is always asking guests for suggestions on what Obama can do when confronted with various issues. CNN has become the Obama Think Tank.

    July 8, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Isidoro from Germany

    in most of points frm. Gov. Dukakis is right! Obama can lean on his wise advises! But never count on the bitter fanatics of Hillary! We can make it alone. Yes we can

    July 8, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Dukakis made several very good points. Polls don't mean a thing at this point. If it was late October, maybe. They haven't even officially received the nominations of their parties yet! Second, Obama can't ignore states. I was lucky enough to talk to Dukakis during a class once and asked him why he only campaigned in 10 states during the last month of the 88 campaign. He addressed it here. He had people who thought they knew how to run for president telling him that those were all he had to win. Neither candidate can conceed states, but especially not Obama. He has to win some of those "fly over" states. He needs to try and win some of the Southern states that used to be so strongly Democratic and that Clinton managed to take in 1992 and 1996.

    July 8, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  13. Will

    Dukakis is a great guy – a profoundly kind and unpretensious politician, which is rare.

    July 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  14. cindy garrick

    The vp spot is totally insignificant. The DNC wants BHO in the white house and so does cnn. It matters not who runs with him. I always thought that cnn was an unbiased news channel, but I was oh so wrong. What a disappointment

    July 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  15. VIgla

    Obama is not Kerry, Dukakis, or Gore. None of them had the popularity he entertains now. Seriously.

    Yes, Clinton supporters will vote Obama. I mean, seriously, what's the alternative? McCain? Let's be honest with each other shall we? McCain represents everything Hillary was against. Only a simpleton would put pettiness ahead of the good of the nation.

    July 8, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  16. Chuck

    I agree w/ you Dee. Obama HAS definitely been consistent on his with- drawal from Iraq. Over & over throughout the primary he reiterated that he would be as "careful getting out" as we were "careless getting in." This approach necessitates a strong conversation with your commanders & generals, which leads to some degree of "refinement.." The families of our soldiers want a refined return of their children not a reckless return. A responsible president can ONLY set forth the policy. The experts set the timetable for a careful execution of the withdrawal plan.

    With regards to the polls. Obama can not read too much into this preliminary data. However, the race is on! He has got to treat everyday like it's the most important day of the race in order to make it happen. He's got to campaign as if he were behind in the polls.

    Due to the polarizing effect the primaries had; choosing Clinton as a running mate makes alot of sense. Moreover, if they (i.e. Obama, Hillary & Bill) are able to work together- we could give our country approximately 16 years to correct Bush's mess. Sadly, it may take that long too:(

    July 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Ben from Atlanta

    The Clinton supporters who keep moaning about the primary season really just need to grow-up! Clinton lost based on the rules. PERIOD. Get over it! Who cares if you vote for McSame? Who cares if you don't vote? It won't make a difference one way or the other!

    July 8, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  18. GAIL Centre,Al;

    Obama's V.P. was chosen months ago ,when Gov. Richardson alias [JUDAS] stabbed the Clintons in the back. They only have a commitee to make it look good. Obama has to have the Latino vote, and he thinks the Gov. can get them. Who said Obama was inexperienced sounds like old politics to me Yes he for anything that can get him the whitehouse no matter what the cost. He's a smooth talker but people had better wake up, he's a wolf in sheeps clothing. Cannot be trusted, he would be a diaster for America.

    July 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  19. Dave

    I think the VP choice is the key to insure an Obama victory. It needs to be the only person that can insure that Obama gets the votes from the voting blocs he is weak in and in blocs she has proven to be strong in- Hillary! No other possible VP choice brings with them even a fraction as many votes as she does PERIOD! If he wants to insure that he gets 100% of Hillary voters- like me- then put her on the ticket. If she is not on the ticket I'm not in the voting booth in Nov- simple as that- which other possible VPs have that ind of loyalty from their supporters?

    July 8, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  20. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    I just hope all you folks who will choose not to vote in November because your beloved Hillary lost the nomination keep your mouths shut the next 4 years. If you don’t vote then you can’t complain.

    July 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  21. Caroline

    CNN is soooo transparent. Does Obama really have to pay for advertisement with today's pro dem media? I wish for real objectivity in the U.S. news, focusing on facts. Who really is this guy that wants to "lead" our country?

    July 8, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  22. bill

    I disagree that all Clinton people will get on board. I still have not heard enough from Obama to overcome the feelings that I have from the primary. I do not know if I can vote for him or if I will just stay home. That is what I see as my options now, unless Obama is able to make me feel compelled to join him, so far he has not.

    July 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  23. LynnB

    So sorry but Dukakis is wrong on the Hillary Clinton supporters – they will not automatically go with him in the general just because he is a Democrat – ask one – specifically me – and I think I speak for others.......there is NO WAY that i will vote for Obama unless Clinton is on the ticket – it will NEVER happen. NEVER – just watch!

    July 8, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  24. Cindy

    Kris....No one believes anything that polls say....at least not the voters. The only ones that want to believe them are the ones who are counting on them to back what they are trying to put out as the truth. How many times have polls been wrong in the past? A LOT!! There is no clear cut scientifically proven way to say that polls work all of the time.

    And honestly...no one tells the truth when polled. They say what they think that poller wants to hear. So regardless of what anyone including you say polls still don't matter at all and are NOT correct.

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 8, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  25. Susan

    I agree with former Gov. Mike Dukakis on the following:

    Polls-– The results of a poll depend on the sample mix percentages and can be done to obtain any result you want, depending on who is polled and who is doing the polling. That is why some polls have Senator Obama ahead and some have Senator McCain ahead and some have them even.

    VP-– Each candidate should look at where they are weak and pick a VP with that particular experience. Senator Obama would go for foreign policy and Senator McCain would go for economic experiences. VP selections are going to very important this year.

    Middle America- Senator's Obama & McCain are both milling around the 50 yard line as we speak.

    It would look like a good year for Democratic Party, but it is not a given.

    Susan
    Phoenixville,PA

    July 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm |
  26. Kris

    Cindy – The point Dukakis is making in saying that the polls are meaningless at this point is that it is early in the game and a lot can and will change.

    However he was not questioning the fundamentals of statistical analysis... it is a matter of fact in statistics that the entire nation can be well represented by a test population on the scale of a thousand or so participants and with a very low margin of error, usually plus or minus 5% or less.

    July 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  27. Denise Groves

    I agree with him: these polls mean absolutely nothing. It's only August! I was watching Mornin Joe last week and Pat Buchanan was on the show. He had the audacity to ask Sen. Harold Ford (TN) how come Obama always stumbles towards the end of the race! lol. Ford, wisely, told Buchanan this is only July! We still have four more months to go!
    The daily trackings are riiculous, but I will say this, Obama will loose my homestate (KY) and W. Va, the two states HIllary was so jubilant about winning during the primary are as red as can be.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:55 am |
  28. deborah, OH

    I agree on a couple of things...polls are not meaningful anymore, because I don't think people give 'truthful' answers anymore. I didn't, just because.......

    Also, EVERY STATE counts, & deserves each candidate's attention.

    Still 4 months to go.....

    July 8, 2008 at 11:54 am |
  29. Reggaefloww

    Speaking of Democratic Vice Presidents,

    It seems that Obama really only has four choices if you look at the CNN website. Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Sam Nunn, or Hillary. It seems that everyone else could hurt him or doesn't want it. It won't surprise me at all if Obama picks Hillary. Wouldn't it be cool though if Obama tabbed Gore? :)

    July 8, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  30. Jude

    Obama, Learn from the mistakes made by former failed Democrat presidential campaigns like those of Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:46 am |
  31. Dee

    I agree with Dukakis, and always liked him. I was probably one of the few people who voted for him lol. I think Kerry's problem was that he let G. Bush get away with that Swift Boat lie lol. I love the way that some of them Swift Boaters are currently in commercials supporting McCain. Obama seems to jump at each one of these lies that come up about him, a little too much for my taste, but Obama doesn't seem like he wants to be Swift Boated. Whether that will be a good thing or not I'm not sure. I do know that Republicans are really insidious and you have to be tough to battle them. I'm still pretty shocked at the way the Media is saying that Obama has flip flopped on key issues. Obama has always said that he wants to be as careful getting out of Iraq as Stupid Bush was getting us into it. I heard him say that with my own ears last year. Yet the media wants to claim that he's flip flopped on this issue. Amazing too me, they've done that with a few other issues as well that I've heard Obama be consistent about.

    As far as Clinton, it won't shock me if Obama picks her. It also doesn't mean that Obama caved into the pressure. Obama has the right, and has taken due time, to pick anyone he wants. Obama has to pick the best VP possible. It won't surprise me if Obama picks or doesn't pick her. Obama surely has a really up hill battle. With all these screwballs such as Sean Hannity running around, spreading lies, Obama really has an up hill battle. What will surprise me is if he wins it. I will support him to the tee though and I'll vote for him. I reallly like his view points, and that he seems to want to make a really collaborative effort. I liked how some Republicans have used him to drum up support. I think Obama will be a special president. If America supports him.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  32. chris

    Why is CNN not reporting Iraq's Prime Minister's comments yesterday that he wants to set a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq. After McCain's attacks on Barack earlier this week, this should be headline news. Not to mention the fact that it completely supports Barack's position on the war, it re-emphasizes what we all know which is that Bush is trying to lock in a "100 year" military presence before he leaves office.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  33. meredith, SLC

    Very interesting and informative interview...would like to hear some of it on AC360 if it was recorded.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:38 am |
  34. Dustin

    This is very off topic but I just want to say that I am sick and tired of EVERY TIME I come to CNNPOLITICS.COM there is ALWAYS and ad for Obama - a news web site like this I feel shouldn't be advertising for either campaign even if it is and paid advertisment.

    Its bad enough that all NEWS NETWORKS are already favoring Obama but now they are advertising for him too, its disgusting.

    -Dustin

    July 8, 2008 at 11:33 am |
  35. Gary Chandler in Canada

    The absolute number one, forget everything else, strategy for selecting a dem VP is the one with most military and foreign policy credentials. Someone who has dodged real bullets.
    McCain, for some odd reason, is seen as strong, even though he gave up information for better medical treatment on his 4rth day of capture.
    As it is, this rug is being pulled out from under McCain by Bush. Going to the the China Olympics, detente with North Korea, talks projected with Iran, success in Iraq, opening of Cuba. Bush is not helping his buddy with all of this world peace; he needs to manufacture some awe and shock. However, a strong 'ready on day one' VP would make it fail safe.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:13 am |
  36. Ibibia Lucky Worika

    One cannot agree more with Dukakis – polls are meaningless at this point, or even if they are, nothing stops them from changing leading to the elections in November. The VP choice is equally important, but no one is suggesting who that 'best' choice should be. Irrespective of whom Obama chooses, some commentators would agree, while others wouldn't. Clearly, winning is much more than the choice of a VP. It's got to do with likability, winning the debates, financial muscle, door-to-door electioneering, advertorial prowess & strategies, building trust and confidence in the electorates, etc.

    July 8, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  37. Michelle, Spring Valley,CA

    I agree with a lot of things he said... particularly about the economy and national security . I've heard it before, but not so simply stated. Actually make sense.

    July 8, 2008 at 10:56 am |
  38. AHerbert; San Diego, CA

    Obama is in this race to win ... I think it is the Democratic party race to loose. His choice for VP has to be his; I kind of wish John Edwards would be his choice however, whomever he choose I support our party to the end. America can not sustain another four years of the current Administration policies...

    July 8, 2008 at 10:55 am |
  39. alexander

    Here is the deal for sure about all of this :A Good and right VP will give Sen.OBANA THE VICTORY ELECTION ,So the Wrong VP COULD COUSE Him . So its needfull to do this pick discretly Wisely
    this person is very important in order to i¿eighter win or loose

    July 8, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  40. Raphael

    I don't really care about the Democrats anymore. I used to be a Democrat, but now I've started to face the facts. The facts are: the Democrats have nearly been in Congress for two years and have supported most of Bush's Iraq policies, including the surge. Obama says he reserves the right to listen to generals and not to pull out of Iraq. Democrats talk about change, but they never give any specifics.
    At this point, I think McCain would do a far better job at balancing the budget and ending the war in Iraq. If you listen to Obama carefully, you will realize he is talking about withdrawing troops from Iraq and moving them to Afghanistan and potentially attacking Pakistan without the support of the international community. Violence is skyrocketing in Afghanistan now, and innocent civilians are being killed. So if you think voting for Obama and/or a Democrat is going to make this country stop spending trillions of dollars in wars in the Middle East, you need a reality check.

    July 8, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  41. VON BISMARK Vienna

    I can't uderstand why at every turn the media wants to pressurise Obama to take Clinton as running mate.If he caves in doen't this mean he is unable to take his own decisions and will always be pushed around?

    July 8, 2008 at 10:38 am |
  42. Teresa, Oh

    @harry: i disagree with you on Kerrys problem being his choice for VP. John Edwards would have been a great VP and I so wanted him to stay in the race for President. He was my choice.

    Kerry's problem was his mouth, his arrogance, and his uncotrollable wife. Not to mention the fact that his opponent had good timing at spreading lies and innuendos through the media to voters.

    July 8, 2008 at 10:23 am |
  43. David

    The only thing I can't stand is how republicans ignore those "fact" things and instead supplement their own versions of facts. He mentioned so much about how we're spending $3bil a week in Iraq and good ol' johnboy mccain wants to continue that. People need to get that kind of information pounded into their memories. Also about how johnboy wants to lower taxes FOR THE RICHEST 3% of the country. How can anyone making less than $250,000 a year be in favor of higher taxes while they see the rich paying less?! I know we preach love for your fellow American but that's too far. Steve Jobs doesn't need multiple Ferraris while I struggle to fill up my 1995 celica.

    OBAMA '08 / '12

    July 8, 2008 at 10:22 am |
  44. JSterling

    The one thing that we should take from Dukakis, Gore and Kerry, is that they lost because they seemed out of touch with the "center" of Americans. If we look at President Clinton's election and re-election, we will see that he won because he was a centrist, moderate Dem. I supported Mrs. Clinton and amazed that Obama could make her seem very moderate. That was the problem with all of the last many elections Dems have lost and I am frankly more than a bit worried about that.

    July 8, 2008 at 10:17 am |
  45. Mark

    Dukakis, I believe, is essentially correct on a couple of points:

    Polls have little meaning at this point in the race (beyond giving pundits something to talk about). My suspicion is that there is a real possibility that Obama will win in a landslide. This, of course, is not a given: There is also the real possibility that Obama may not win. The political landscape can change drastically and early polls do not predict unforseeable changes.

    I also agree that Kerry's campaign was not well-organized. To this day it remains difficult to believe that G. Bush, given his abysmal record as president, could have beaten Kerry.

    July 8, 2008 at 10:10 am |
  46. Nic

    I also agree with Dukakis. Back when the New Hampshire primaries were taking place Obama was said to win by almost 10 percentage points over clinton according to the polls. He ended up losing by 2. They mean nothing and people shouldn't rely on them to make a decision.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:56 am |
  47. Thierry

    Good advise from Dukakis to Obama, don't take any state for granted. Victory is within reach. OBAMA 08

    July 8, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  48. Harry Bous

    Kerry's problem when running for President was VP choice. A very strong personality and non matching mate was responsible for chasing away many voters from Kerry and the Democratic party. Sen. Obama's choice will contribute significantly to the chances of his successful election to office and a suitable mate is very important.

    July 8, 2008 at 8:41 am |
  49. Cindy

    I agree with Dukakis on one thing...these polls mean absolutely nothing! They are taken in a very small percentage of people and don't accurately show how the whole state or nation may feel.

    Plus like he said this race is just beginning. There is no telling what could be brought up on either candidate or what faux pas they could make in between now and the end of this thing.

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 8, 2008 at 8:24 am |