ThinkFast: November 4, 2008

“The whole planet is obsessed with the U.S. presidential election.” As of Monday, “more than 4,000 foreign journalists have been granted credentials to cover the campaign finale, according to State Department spokesman Keith Peterson.”

Sen. Barack Obama emerged victorious in the first contest of the 2008 presidential election, winning 15 of 21 votes in Dixville Notch, NH. The town “has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960, drawing national media attention for being the first place in the country to make its presidential preferences known.” Obama is the first Democrat to win the village since 1968.

K Street trade associations and corporate firms — largely run by Republicans — are preparing for their influence to be “significantly diminished if Democrats take over the White House and extend their majorities in the House and Senate.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers are led by Republicans, while Disney, AT&T;, Verizon, and Visa “all are paying big bucks to top lobbyists with ties to the GOP.”

Contradicting the findings of the state Legislature’s investigation, Alaska’s three-member Personnel Board concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) was within her rights to fire the state Public Safety Commissioner.

Today is Election Day! All four presidential and vice presidential candidates are voting in their home towns today: “Obama in Chicago around 8 am ET; Biden in Wilmington, DE at about 8:30 am ET; McCain in Phoenix and Palin in Wasilla expected at 11 am ET.”

Meeting with top Pakistani officials for the first time, the new head of the U.S. Central Command — Gen. David Petraeus — “heard one message wherever he turned: American airstrikes against militants in the tribal areas are unhelpful.” President Asif Ali Zardari said the U.S. drone attack inside Pakistani territory are “creating a credibility gap.”

Tareq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s Sunni Arab vice president, said yesterday that the agreement allowing U.S. forces to stay in Iraq for three years after the UN mandate expires on Dec. 31, 2009 “should be put to the public in a referendum.” “This agreement is an important and sensitive subject … Iraqis should have their say,” al-Hashemi said.

Congress may be taking up a stimulus bill worth as much as $500 billion in a lame-duck session following today’s election. Goldman Sachs economists said that the measure should be that large in order to offset a big slowdown in consumer and business spending.

And finally: Speaking to a crowd of Cuban-Americans Monday night, John McCain took a stab at translating the name of his campaign celebrity into Spanish. “Joe the Plumber — or, as they say in Little Havana, Pepe el Plumero,” he said haltingly. Dana Milbank observes, “Even if ‘Joe’ somehow translates into ‘Pepe,’ McCain’s pronunciation of ‘plomero,’ Spanish for plumber, came out more like plumero, Spanish for feather duster.”

Sign up here to receive our daily e-newsletter, The Progress Report.