Slate's Political Gabfest for Oct. 31.

Slate's Political Gabfest for Oct. 31.

Slate's Political Gabfest for Oct. 31.

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Oct. 31 2008 10:41 AM

The Almost-Over Gabfest

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

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Listen to the Gabfest for Oct. 31 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 all about the last week of the presidential campaign—with a shout-out to the Philadelphia Phillies.

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

John writes this week about a sense of hopefulness that has come over many of the people working for the McCain campaign.

Emily attempts to correct John's pronunciation of the word dour.

Emily suggests that John McCain is getting some traction with his campaign's latest effort, which is to cast Barak Obama as a socialist who wants to redistribute wealth in the country.

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John talks about the size of the crowds at campaign rallies for Obama compared with those for McCain.

The gang also discusses whether attacks on Obama's character will appeal to undecided voters. John points out that undecided voters typically vote for the challenger in a presidential race, which should mean Obama, since the Republicans currently hold the White House. One factor in McCain's favor is that during the primaries, the undecided voters favored Hillary Clinton over Obama.

John says 10,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong.

John says the optimism in the McCain camp is likely misguided, because there are too many data points favoring Obama—so many red states seem to be leaning toward the Democrat or are considered likely wins for Obama. He says Obama's early strategy of challenging McCain across the country, rather than focusing on primarily Democratic states, is now paying off.

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David praises Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party, who designed the so-called 50-state strategy after the Democratic defeat in the 2004 presidential election.

Emily breaks the discussion of politics with her cocktail chatter, in which she brags about her hometown Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series.

John chatters about the early vote in this election. As many as one-third of all voters will have voted by Election Day, so it is possible that the election will effectively be over by then, though no one will know for sure.

David talks about Slate's effort to have staffers publicly state who they will vote for next Tuesday. Of those who took part, the count was 55 for Obama and just one for McCain. David claims that almost all major news organizations would find similar results.

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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 on Oct. 31 by Dale Willman at 10:41 a.m.

Oct. 24, 2008

Listen to the Gabfest for Oct. 24 by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

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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 special guest Michael Newman talk politics. This week, the latest from the presidential campaign trail, a vice-presidential candidate's wardrobe, and a supersecret topic.

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

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David discusses how the wheels seem to be coming off the McCain campaign. The Republican candidate can't seem to keep one theme going for more than a few days, and his running mate, Sarah Palin, has publicly disagreed with McCain several times over the past few weeks.

This phenomenon is the subject of a story by Robert Draper in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Joe Biden apparently stuck his foot in his mouth this week.

Liza Mundy has an interesting piece in Slate about how difficult it was to write a biography of Michelle Obama because the Obama campaign controls information about the candidate and his family so tightly.

The Republican Party has spent $150,000 on clothes for Sarah Palin, according to published reports, sparking controversy. Cindy McCain reportedly wore an outfit worth approximately $300,000 at the Republican convention and faced very little criticism for it.

Emily chatters about a new law in Oklahoma that requires doctors to provide ultrasounds for any woman inquiring about an abortion.

Michael discusses the recently concluded Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. The race has sparked controversy because of an unusual occurrence—one woman crossed the finish line first, while another had the fastest time.

David wonders why so many Republican men wear Van Dykes.

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 on Oct. 17 by Dale Willman at 11:20 p.m.

Oct. 17, 2008

Listen to the Gabfest for Oct. 17 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.

John Dickerson, David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and Hanna Rosin talk politics. On the agenda this week: the last presidential debate, where it leaves the presidential race in general, and why Andrew Sullivan blogs.

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

Joe the Plumber takes over the political scene after Wednesday's debate on Long Island, N.Y. But it turns out that Joe isn't all that he seems.

John disagrees with the others when he says that Obama did the best in the debate, especially when he walked through both his tax and health care plans.

David says it was sheer genius when Obama talked about whom he associates with during the debate.

John asks the group whether the race is over, with Obama the winner. David says McCain could do something spectacular to salvage a win, but otherwise the election will go to Obama. Hanna, meanwhile, says the race will be much closer than the polls currently indicate.

The four discuss Obama's strength in the race, shown by the fact that he is pushing deep into what was once considered Republican territory.

They discuss Andrew Sullivan's recent piece in the Atlantic, where he talks about his experiences as a blogger.

Emily chatters about a group of Uighur Chinese dissidents being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by American troops.

Hanna talks about the TV show Project Runway.

John brings up Malcolm Gladwell's piece in The New Yorker; David finds Gladwell's thesis to be bogus.

David does not chatter because he's working on the launch of Slate's redesigned Web site, scheduled for Monday.

Posted on Oct. 17 by Dale Willman at 4 p.m.

Oct. 10, 2008

Listen to the Gabfest for Oct. 10 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 Bill Smee talk politics. This week, the world economy is in meltdown, the presidential campaign trail is getting very nasty, and Oliver Stone prepares to tell us all about a certain lame-duck president in W.

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

The initial discussion focuses on the continuing world economic meltdown. Bill talks about a column by the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, in which he compares the United States' actions today to those of Japan during its last economic crisis in the early 1990s.

David praises a piece on National Public Radio by Adam Davidson that explains why banks are reluctant to loan to one another right now.

Emily, meanwhile, mentions the recent move by the British government to partially nationalize banks there in response to the economic crisis, and compares that with the U.S. response.

One question during all the economic turmoil is: Where is President Bush? While the markets collapse, the president seems unusually silent.

David talks about Barack Obama's temperament as outlined in a profile of the candidate in The New Yorker in 2007. He characterizes Obama's temperament as oceanic, and he compares that with John McCain's wild behavior.

Despite Obama pulling away slightly in both national and state polling, as George Packer writes in an article about Ohio in The New Yorker, it is possible to become overconfident.

John Dickerson may have missed today's show, but he writes this week about the angry tone on display at a recent McCain rally in Wisconsin.

The trio critiques the newly released Oliver Stone movie, W.

Bill backs out of offering any cocktail chatter, saying he is boycotting the cocktail scene this weekend in sympathy with the plummeting stock market. He says he will instead stay home drinking canned beer while watching baseball playoffs rather than sipping a cocktail.

Emily chatters about an ABC News story earlier this week about how workers at the National Security Agency may have been spying on Americans.

David explains how he's been swamped with e-mails from a conservative Christian group complaining about a Slate column by Tom Perrotta, in which he talks about vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's sex appeal to some Americans.

Posted on Oct. 10 by Dale Willman at 5:04 p.m.

Slate Senior Editor Emily Bazelon, Chief Political Correspondent John Dickerson, and Editor David Plotz host the Gabfest weekly.