Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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click on each candidate to see today's news stories (caricatures by Linda Eddy)


Wednesday, April 2, 2008


OBAMA TAKES LEAD in Pennsylvania...

Obama 45, Clinton 43


Hillary to Bill Richardson: He cannot win

Sources with direct knowledge of the conversation between Sen. Clinton and Governor Bill Richardson, prior to the Governor's endorsement of Obama say she told him flatly, "He cannot win, Bill. He cannot win."

Richardson, who served in President Clinton's cabinet, disagreed.


Dem turmoil testing leader Howard Dean

... three years after he won election as the party chairman by running largely as an outsider, it is not clear that Mr. Dean has the political skills or the stature with the two campaigns to bring the nominating battle to a relatively quick and unifying conclusion.

... Some Democratic Party leaders, while offering sympathy for Mr. Dean’s plight, said it was urgent that he take a more assertive role to restore peace. Several suggested that Mr. Dean — who has sought to build a legacy by expanding party operations to all 50 states — risked having his tenure as party leader remembered for a traumatizing loss in a year where most Democrats think victory should be easy.

Dean says superdelegates are free agents

Citing Democratic rules, national committee Chairman Howard Dean on Tuesday said that the superdelegates who are poised to select the party's presidential nominee are free to back whomever they wish at the end of the primaries, regardless of who leads in the popular vote or pledged delegates...

Dowd to handwringers: buck up

Whether or not she wins, Hillary has already given noble service as a sophisticated political tutor for Obama, providing her younger colleague with much-needed seasoning. Who else was going to toughen him up? Howard Dean? John Edwards? Dennis Kucinich?

... Hillary’s work is done only when she is done, because the best way for Obama to prove he’s ready to stare down Ahmadinejad is by putting away someone even tougher.


North Carolina primary registration 'unprecedented'

Hot off the presses: New numbers from the North Carolina Board of Elections show that, since the first of the year, more than 165,000 new voters have registered to participate in advance of the state's May 6 primary.

That puts the total of new registered voters in the state since January 2007 at almost 522,000. For comparison's sake, that's more than TWICE the amount of new voters registered during the same time period before the 2004 election...


Oregon's May Primary spawns party-switchers

... nearly 10,000 Oregonians — and thousands more voters in other late-primary states — Buckingham has temporarily switched his party affiliation in order to be able to vote in the red-hot Democratic primary.

"The bottom line is, this is the first Oregon presidential primary I have ever voted in my life that actually could matter, and I am not going to pass up that chance just because I am registered with the wrong party," said the 45-year-old Buckingham. "I want to make sure whoever gets in there, it is someone I can live with."





John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain working on veep list

Sen. John McCain is in the "embryonic stages" of selecting a vice presidential running mate and he hopes to unveil his choice before the Republican National Convention to avoid the type of problems that plagued Dan Quayle's debut two decades ago.

"It's every name imaginable" he said Wednesday of his list-in-the-making, about 20 in all.

McCain won't fight GOP platform on abortion, gays

Advisers to Sen. John McCain's presidential bid say he will not try to "soften" the Republican party's platform on abortion and same-sex marriage to appeal to more voters.

McCain associates told The Washington Times that his operatives are not going to work behind the scenes to eliminate the party's calls for constitutional bans on abortion and homosexual marriage before the GOP convention in September.



Elizabeth Edwards issues a challenge to McCain on health care

Under the presumptive Republican nominee's health-care plan, Edwards told reporters, she would not be covered, an accusation that McCain's aides deny.

Today, Edwards expanded on that claim at The Wonk Room, a new policy blog published by the liberal Center for American Progress.

... Edwards ends the blog item with a challenge to McCain to answer a string of questions about his health-care plan.

Is this round one of Elizabeth Edwards versus John McCain?

McCain, Letterman trade insults on 'Late Show'


It began with Mr. Letterman, in his monologue, making some of his trademark McCain-looks-like-a-cranky-old-man jokes.

“He looks like the guy at the hardware store who makes the keys,’’ he said, according to a transcript provided by CBS. “He looks like the guy who can’t stop talking about how well his tomatoes are doing. He looks like the guy who goes into town for turpentine. He looks like the guy who always has wiry hair growing out of new places. He looks like the guy who points out the spots they missed at the car wash.’’

Then Mr. McCain walked out on stage.

“Hi, Letterman,’’ he said. “You think that stuff’s pretty funny, don’t you?”

Then Mr. McCain unleashed a slew of his own you-look-like-a-guy jokes at Mr. Letterman.
“Well, you look like a guy whose laptop would be seized by the authorities,’’ Mr. McCain said. “You look like a guy caught smuggling reptiles in his pants.’’

Mr. Letterman interjected: “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.’’

Mr. McCain continued: “You look like the guy who the neighbors later say, ‘He mostly kept to himself.’ You look like the night manager of a creepy motel.’’

“Well, that’s what I need,’’ Mr. Letterman said.

Then Mr. McCain delivers the coup de grace: “And you look like the guy who enjoys getting into a hot tub and watching his swim trunks inflate.’’

DNC's top 10 reasons to elect John McCain:

10. Who needs health insurance when we have Head On!
9. How else are we going to increase Rick Davis and Charlie Black’s billing rates?
8. Who DOESN’T want to stay in Iraq for 100 years?
7. Early bird specials at the White House cafeteria.
6. He won’t need Dick Cheney to tell members of Congress to "go f--- yourself.”
5. With the economy as good as it is, we really don’t need a president who understands economics anyway.
4. His BBQ ribs actually looked pretty good.
3. Finally, the President of the National Press Club will be made a member of the cabinet.
2. Best Karaoke Song Ever: “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran.”
1. The last seven years have been so great, let’s have four more!

'McNasty' goes back to school

Day Two of Senator John McCain’s This-is-Your-Life-Tour is to begin here this morning at Episcopal High School, where he was a somewhat rebellious member of the Class of 1954.

... One of his biographers, Robert Timberg, wrote in “John McCain: An American Odyssey” about Mr. McCain’s youth at Episcopal, and the way he always wore blue jeans with his coat and tie and was given some colorful nicknames: “he was known as Punk, alternatively as Nasty, in another version, McNasty.’’

“He cultivated the image,’’ Mr. Timberg wrote. “The Episcopal yearbook pictures him in a trench coat, collar up, cigarette dangling Bogey-style from his lips.’’

McCain's 'Biography Tour' may highlight views on war

John McCain's weeklong ``biography tour'' to showcase his half-century of public service will underscore how war dominates his world view.

``McCain's record of noble service is almost a singular asset in his campaign,'' said David Gergen, a professor of public service at Harvard University who advised four presidents. ``The question is whether he can convince people that he will not only keep us safe but also be cautious in using military power.''

... Building his campaign around his military background may be risky for McCain, particularly if the economy -- which he has acknowledged isn't his long suit -- takes center stage among voters' concerns.

McCain distances himself from Bush

"The point is, I'm not running on the Bush presidency, I'm running on my own service to the country, my own record in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate and my vision for the future," McCain told ABC television.

"Now we'll have lots of time to portray that, and I'm doing that now."




Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary's new '3 am' ad - on economy

Hillary says she's ready for the 3 am phone call announcing an economic crisis -- and John McCain is not.



Bill Clinton's tirade stunned some CA delegates

The Bill Clinton who met privately with California's superdelegates at last weekend's state convention was a far cry from the congenial former president who afterward publicly urged fellow Democrats to "chill out" over the race between his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barack Obama.

In fact, before his speech Clinton had one of his famous meltdowns Sunday, blasting away at former presidential contender Bill Richardson for having endorsed Obama, the media and the entire nomination process.

"It was one of the worst political meetings I have ever attended," one superdelegate said...


Hillary's new 'Rocky' campaign theme song...

“Rocky,” anthem of the underdog, and a Philly favorite to boot, rose up on the sound system Monday night at a Clinton rally in nearby Fairless Hills, Pa. Mrs. Clinton has grabbed on to Rocky’s story as her own, telling labor leaders here that like him, she’s not a quitter.

“Let me tell you something,” she said in remarks prepared for delivery to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “When it comes to finishing the fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up. And neither do the American people.”


Hillary Clinton challenges Obama to bowling match

Hillary Clinton may have been joking Tuesday when she challenged Senator Barack Obama to a bowling match, but she’s no stranger to keggling.

In fact, she has her own bowling ball. And her own bowling shoes. She even has her own case for the ball.

Mrs. Clinton revealed all in a brief chat with reporters Tuesday night as her campaign plane flew here from Erie.

Earlier in the day, she had begun a news conference by stating, with gravity, that she and her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had to do something to clarify their competition for the presidential nomination. This created enormous suspense, since some people have been calling for Mrs. Clinton to concede the race. She then proposed a bowl-off, in what turned out to be an April Fool’s joke.

Clinton aide Ickes pushing Wright issue with superdelegates

top Clinton aide Harold Ickes admitted pushing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright issue with superdelegates: "Look what the Republicans did to a genuine war hero," Ickes said, in a reference to John Kerry. "Super delegates have to take into account the strengths and weakness of both candidates and decide who would make the strongest candidate against what will undoubtedly be ferocious Republican attacks," Ickes continued. "I've had super delegates tell me that the Wright issue is a real issue for them."  ...

Clinton to announce $7 billion jobs plan

Hillary Clinton is proposing $7 billion a year in tax incentives to encourage U.S. companies not to ship jobs overseas.

At an economic summit in Pittsburgh on Wednesday organized by her presidential campaign, the former first lady was expected to propose the elimination of tax breaks for companies that move jobs to other countries and use the savings to persuade companies to "insource" jobs in the U.S.

Clinton suggests building for infrastructure, jobs

Hillary Clinton told a gathering of Pennsylvania labor unions yesterday that a building binge to repair American infrastructure could create 3 million jobs over 10 years, linking her political travails to the nation's economic malaise with a declaration that "we're on the comeback trail as a country."





Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

New polls show Obama surge in Pennsylvania

Barack Obama is surging in Pennsylvania, according to several new polls. In one survey, released by Public Policy Polling this morning, Obama is now leading New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the first time, 45 percent to 43 percent. That represents a closing of a 26-percentage-point Clinton advantage from only two and a half weeks ago.

Obama scoffs at deportations - not 'realistic'

A man asked the presidential hopeful what he would do about border security. In his response, Mr. Obama posed the question about what to do with the people here illegally, prompting someone in the audience of his town hall forum to shout "Send them home!"

"We are not going to send them home," the Illinois Democrat argued. "I want us to have an honest conversation about this."

Hagel for... Obama?

It is no secret that Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, an outspoken Republican critic of the war in Iraq, does not see eye to eye with Senator John McCain on the war.

But on Tuesday morning Mr. Hagel did not rule out the possibility that he might endorse the candidacy of one of Mr. McCain’s Democratic opponents, Senator Barack Obama. It began when, speaking on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, Mr. Hagel noted that he had yet to endorse anyone in the presidential race.


Murdoch's daughter hosts Obama fundraiser

Insert a new twist to the political parlor game that involves following the moves of Rupert Murdoch and his clan: his daughter, Elisabeth, is hosting at her London home a fundraiser for Senator Barack Obama...


Obama race speech fails to assuage white Indiana voters

Interviews with dozens of Democrats in this overwhelmingly white region -- where voters will go to the polls in the May 6 primary -- suggest residual concerns over the controversy involving Obama's former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

... Pew [Research poll] also found that 39 percent of all white voters who had heard of the controversy, including Republicans and independents, said it made them less favorable toward Obama.

John Friend, an uncommitted Democrat and Evansville city councilman, said Republicans may use Obama's ties to the pastor much in the same way they attacked Democratic candidate John Kerry's patriotism in 2004.

``It's going to be like the Swift Boat thing,'' Friend said.

Obama wins backing of 9/11 commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton

Barack Obama has won the endorsement of one of his party's top foreign policy figures, Lee Hamilton, who hails from Indiana, home to one of the next crucial primary votes.

Hamilton, a former U.S. House member who co-chaired the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and headed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said he was impressed by Obama's approach to national security and foreign policy.

``I read his national security and foreign policy speeches, and he comes across to me as pragmatic, visionary and tough,'' Hamilton said in an interview. ``He impresses me as a person who wants to use all the tools of presidential power.''

Obama readies plan to reshape the electorate

Every four years, Democrats claim, and reporters write, that a massive voter registration and field operation will reshape the electorate in their favor. In recent years, they've been matched or bested by the Republican National Committee's targeted outreach to likely Republican voters.

... But there are signs that this year could be different. In the Obama campaign, youth turnout and Internet-based organizing - so often promised, and rarely delivered in the past - have been made real. And the first black nominee could reach deep into the large non-voting tracts within the African-American community.

Pro-life groups slam Obama

Pro-life activists say Sen. Barack Obama's abysmal record on abortion issues is reflected by his remark that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" if they were to make a "mistake" as teenagers.

"He would want his own grandchild aborted. It shows a real callous disregard for human life," said David Osteen, executive director of National Right to Life. "This is a window into his soul."

Obama's negative coattails?

The fact that no one is any longer talking about a sweeping Obama win is a stunning and rapid change.

Rather, Republican strategists are looking at swing districts in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Arizona and others. Those 4 states alone are home to 9 Democratic freshmen who will be vulnerable in their first run for re-election. The list also ignores a number of races where Republicans will be competitive regardless of how the Democratic presidential candidate fares.



Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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