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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Conference Call with Ken Mehlman

In a weblogger conference call with RNC chairman Ken Mehlman he felt confident the Republicans would hold both houses of Congress. He admitted his party has endured a "very challenging year," but the distinctions between the Republicans and Democrats are "stark." Mehlman mentioned taxes, Democrats don't want the Bush tax cuts to continue if Rep. Charles Rangle is any indication; and anti-terrorism. He also mentioned federal judicial nominations as a reason to back GOP Senate candidates.

On the question of partisan intensity Mehlman noted the RNC had a $46 million advantage over the DNC. On the grassroots level he mentioned they've had more neighbor-to-neighbor contacts than at this time in 2004. In both Arizona and in the Florida district formerly represented by Mark Foley the GOP is 34% ahead in absentee ballots.

In the Q&A time Mehlman thought Leftwing 527s would probably out spend Rightwing groups.

On a question about a controversial RNC ad running in Tennessee against Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. Mehlman said it was part of an RNC independent expenditure. The party only writes the check to someone else. Mehlman's prohibited from controlling the content or placement of the ad. Only that doesn't square with the narrator at the end of the commercial who says, "The Republican National committee is responsible for the content of this advertising."

On Pennsylvania efforts the chairman said there would be a "great get-out-the-vote" effort because of the Sen. Rick Santorum and Lynn Swann campaigns.

Mehlman addressed the Michael J. Fox embryonic stem cell commercials. He called the issue a "matter of principle." He pointed out that Sen. Jim Talent and Michael Steele only oppose public funding of embryonic stem cell research. They don't oppose private-sector efforts or public funding of stem cell research that doesn't destroy embryos.

In his closing comments Mehlman praised webloggers as being the "vanguard of the movement" and the "grassroots of the communications world." They're "the people [that] will decide the election."

[Dreamhost is acting up again. So the BBA gets this first.]