Slate's Political Gabfest for July 25.

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
July 25 2008 1:25 PM

The Edwards Slugfest Gabfest

Listen to Slate's review of the week in politics.

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Listen to the Gabfest for July 25 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz talk politics. This week, it's Barack to Iraq, the state of the presidential race, and John Edwards vs. the National Enquirer.

Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned in the show:

Sen. Barack Obama completes a trip to the Middle East, including Iraq. It was considered a major success. However, he has not done so well in talking about his Senate vote against supporting President Bush's surge strategy. When asked if he would still vote the same way today, he said that he would.

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John reminds critics of Obama's trip to Iraq that they should also remember John McCain's visit there in 2007. McCain said Iraq was safe enough that "there are neighborhoods where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today." It was later revealed that during his stroll, McCain wore body armor and was accompanied by U.S. soldiers and that several attack helicopters were flying overhead.

McCain, meanwhile, continues to criticize Obama's trip as well as his position that the troop surge was not the only reason for recent success in Iraq, saying it is "pretty obvious he [Obama] took this position in order to secure the nomination of his party by taking the far-left position and being dictated to by MoveOn.org and others.''

There are conflicting public-opinion polls. According to a poll from Quinnipiac University, McCain is gaining ground in three key states—Colorado, Michigan, and Minnesota—despite the positive coverage of Obama's Middle East swing. Yet polling by the Gallup organization finds Obama's lead growing in a number of key swing states.

The Gabfest goes nuclear over a story in the National Enquirer alleging that John Edwards recently met with a mistress in a Los Angeles hotel.

John chatters about political columnist Robert Novak, who struck a pedestrian while driving on a Washington, D.C., street earlier this week. Novak drove on after hitting the 66-year-old man, only to be stopped a short time later by a witness to the accident. Novak said he was listening to National Public Radio at the time.

Emily talks about a release on Thursday of three more documents pertaining to the Bush administration and torture. The documents were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act.

David is frustrated with a series of books he is reading with his daughter. Called Percy Jackson and the Olympians, they are suspiciously similar to the Harry Potter series.

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Posted by Dale Willman on July 25 at 1:25 p.m.

July 18, 2008

Listen to the Gabfest for July 18 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz talk politics. This week, the economy takes another hit or two, Barack Obama tries to improve his foreign-policy credentials, and the flip-flop stages a comeback.

Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned in the show:

The economic outlook for the United States is rough. The fallout surrounding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continues as Congress attempts to ride to the rescue. Also, a California bank failed this week, and inflation was up for the month of June.

David discusses John McCain's former economic adviser Phil Gramm and what he had to say about whiny Americans.

Despite all that is happening with the economy, the two presumptive nominees seem to have relatively little to say about the country's problems.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has some interesting findings.

Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq continues to evolve.

Is good news from Iraq better for McCain or Obama?

The trio discusses whether it would help the economy to lift tariffs on ethanol from Brazil.

David asks whatever happened to the plan for a series of town-hall debates between Obama and McCain.

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Posted by Dale Willman on July 18 at 11:21 a.m.

July 11, 2008

Listen to the Gabfest for July 11 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below: You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

Emily Bazelon, David Plotz, and Lynette Clemetson, the managing editor of The Root who is substituting for the vacationing John Dickerson, talk politics. This week: Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson clash, Iran launches some missiles, and the Gabfest crew discusses the way the cookie crumbles.

Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned in the show:

Jesse Jackson threatens Barack Obama's manhood in a comment picked up by a live microphone. There are a number of possible explanations for Jackson's gaffe, for which he has since apologized.

The accusations of Obama as flip-flopper continue to gain traction this week, leading to an interesting analysis on Slate.

Obama appeared on Access Hollywood this week with his wife and two daughters. It's the first time the entire Obama family has taken part in an interview.

Iran launched missiles, drawing two very different responses from the presumptive nominees. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a strong statement.

Emily complains about the hedonism of a recent New York Times article about the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Emily chatters about a study by researchers at Brigham Young University that finds sitting down to a family dinner not only helps keep kids healthier, it's better for working parents as well.

Lynette says the Asian tiger mosquito has become a major menace for barbecues in the Washington, D.C., area.

David says McCain is missing a lot of votes. He has missed more than any other member of the Senate, 374 so far in the 110th Congress. Obama has missed 263 votes.

The e-mail address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Posted by Dale Willman on July 11 at 12:20 p.m.

July 4, 2008

Listen to the Gabfest for July 4 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

You can also download the program here, or you can subscribe to the weekly Gabfest podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and Terence Samuel of The Root, substituting for the vacationing John Dickerson, talk politics. This week, did Wes Clark cross the line with his remarks about John McCain's Vietnam years? Will McCain's campaign staff shakeup make any difference? And why is the United States borrowing its interrogation playbook from the Chinese?

Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned in the show:

David, Emily, and Terence discuss Gen. Wesley Clark's comments about John McCain's military-service record. There are many people who feel Clark's comments were taken out of context.

One possible explanation for Clark's comments about John McCain could be simply that those in the infantry hate the fly-boys. In fact, Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) like pointing out that they are ground combat veterans of Vietnam while McCain was a pilot.

Emily wonders whether a speech given by Barack Obama earlier this week about patriotism was successful in increasing his stature among voters.

Terence says John McCain, in his response to Gen. Clark's comments, missed an opportunity to better explain how his military experiences relate to his hope of becoming the next president.

John McCain once again shakes up his campaign staff, and David says it's an effort on the part of McCain to change the view that he's a lousy campaigner.

Barack Obama took time off from campaigning this week to watch his daughter's soccer game.

Emily, David and Terence discuss this week's revelations about how American trainers at Guantanamo Bay came to be teaching Chinese Communist interrogation techniques used during the Korean War to obtain false confessions from American soldiers. The three also debate the meaning of SERE.

David's cocktail chatter involves an experiment by a maker of virus protection software. The experiment tried to find out what happens if you respond to all your spam e-mail.

Terence chatters about a recent meeting between Barack Obama and leaders of the Latino community. He says the leaders were not impressed with Obama and wonders if they could become the "Reagan Democrats" of 2008.

Emily talks about a federal appeals court ruling that allows a controversial South Dakota law to be enforced. The law requires doctors to tell women seeking an abortion that the procedure ends a human life and can be related to suicide (which Emily disputes).

Posted by Dale Willman on July 4 at 1:35 p.m.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

David Plotz is the CEO of Atlas Obscura and host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

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