Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Wednesday, April 16, 2008



Clinton, Obama debate tonight in PA - 8 pm ET

The closing week of the Democratic primary race in Pennsylvania is awash in fresh accusations of elitism and condescension. After sparring over those topics from afar, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama will come together Wednesday evening at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for their first debate in nearly two months, which will be televised nationally on ABC at 8 pm.

Fight leaves Dems questioning prospects

The battle between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama over whether Mr. Obama belittled voters in small towns appears to have hardened the views of both candidates’ supporters and stirred anxiety among many Democrats about the party’s prospects in the fall...


Rep. Murtha, 75, calls McCain, 71, 'too old'

"I've served with seven presidents," Murtha told a union audience. "When they come in, they all make mistakes. They all get older."

"This one guy running is about as old as me," he said, drawing laughter and applause. "Let me tell you something, it's no old man's job."



Reid: Dem nomination going to be over very soon

Does Harry Reid think the protracted nomination fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will harm the party?

Reid didn't miss a beat - "It makes me bitter," he deadpanned.

... In all seriousness, Reid said he believed the Democratic nomination "is all going to be over very soon"...


The Dem June solution

The idea, discussed here several weeks ago, is for all superdelegates to make their presidential preferences known shortly after the final primaries, on June 3.

Two former Democratic presidential nominees are now joining that call. Both George McGovern, the party's 1972 standard-bearer, and Mike Dukakis, its 1988 ticket-topper, tell me they think superdelegates should declare their allegiances soon after the primary season ends.


Lieberman willing to star at Republican convention

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain at the Republican National Convention in September.

Republicans close to the McCain campaign say Lieberman’s appearance at the convention, possibly before a national primetime audience, could help make the case that the presumptive GOP nominee has a record of crossing the aisle. That could appeal to much-needed independent voters.


Carter embraces Hamas official at West Bank meeting

Former President Carter angered Israel's government Tuesday by embracing a Hamas politician during a visit to the West Bank, ignoring Israeli and U.S. designation of the Islamic militants as a terror group. Israel accused Carter, the broker of the first Arab-Israeli peace accord, of "dignifying" extremists. But Carter vowed to meet Hamas' supreme leader this week in Syria.

Carter, a Nobel Peace laureate, also laid a wreath at Yasser Arafat's grave, another break with U.S. policy during a private peace mission to the Middle East that includes stops in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria - where the virulently anti-Israel Hamas movement has its headquarters. Carter returns to Israel on Monday.

Carter request to enter Gaza turned down

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met an ex-minister in Hamas's government on Tuesday, defying Israeli leaders who shunned the Nobel Peace Prize laureate over his contacts with the Islamist movement.

Carter said he had sought to visit the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized in June after routing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah faction. He said the request was turned down, but he did not point the finger at Israel.



Alan Keyes leaves GOP, looks at Constitution Party

Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes announced Tuesday night that he has left the GOP and is considering joining the Constitution Party.

Keyes, who also ran as a Republican to challenge Barack Obama's U.S. Senate bid in Illinois in 2004, says he is talking with leaders and rank-and-file members of the Constitution Party.







John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain outlines broad proposals of U.S. economy

There was a dash of populism, as Mr. McCain criticized executive pay and corporate wrongdoing. There was a strong supply-side bent, with Mr. McCain focusing on cutting corporate taxes and making permanent the Bush tax cuts that he once opposed. And there was a decidedly less hawkish note on deficits, as Mr. McCain called for spending cuts but did not mention balancing the federal budget.

McCain's economic speech transcript

National poll: McCain even with Obama, leads Clinton

McCain 45, Obama 45

McCain 46, Clinton 41

McCain narrowing his veep choices?

McCain's comments during "Hardball" regarding whether his running mate would have to pro-life.

MCCAIN: I don't know if it would stop him but it would be difficult.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: But why that one issue? Why is there that one litmus test?

MCCAIN: I'm not saying that would be necessarily, but I am saying it's basically the respect and cherishing of the right of the unborn is one of the fundamental principles of my party and it's a deeply held belief of mine.

McCain proposals compared to Dole's

If it seems like there is something familiar about the gasoline tax “holiday” being proposed by Sen. John McCain, there is.

You may have heard the Republican presidential nominee propose something similar before — 12 years ago when the GOP nominee’s name was Dole, not McCain.


Biden attacks McCain on foreign policy

"When it comes to Iraq, there is no daylight between John McCain and George Bush. They are joined at the hip," Biden said today in a speech at Georgetown University. He told the students "when it comes to Iraq, there will be no change with a McCain Administration and so there is a real and profound choice for Americans in November." 

McCain proposes break in gas taxes

John McCain wants the federal government to free people from paying gasoline taxes this summer and ensure that college students can secure loans this fall, a pair of proposals aimed at stemming pain from the country's troubled economy.

At the same time, the certain Republican presidential nominee says Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton would impose the single largest tax increase since World War II by allowing tax cuts pushed to passage by President Bush to expire.


Cindy McCain eats humble pie...

Cindy McCain is eating humble pie after being caught lifting recipes from the Food Network and posting them as her own on her husband's campaign Web site.

The ingredients of at least three McCain "family" recipes - "ahi tuna salad," "passion fruit mousse" and "farfalle pasta with turkey, sausage, peas and mushrooms" - were plagiarized, word for word, from Food Network chefs listed on the culinary company's Web site.








Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Clinton's offended PA. voter - NOT

Barack Obama can take some solace out of Hillary Clinton’s new television ad in Pennsylvania. At least one of her supporters featured in the spot hammering Obama for his small town comments isn’t registered to vote in Pennsylvania.
Clyde Thomas, who sports a goatee in the ad and says, “the good people of Pennsylvania deserve a lot better than what Barack Obama said,” is actually registered in New Jersey. He voted there for Clinton Feb. 5. He only recently moved to Bethlehem, Pa.

Hillary Clinton: Bush defies the Constitution

Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America's annual conference, Mrs. Clinton derided Mr. Bush, saying that "rather than defending the Constitution, he has defied its principles and traditions."

... "We have seen the power of the presidency placed in hands unready or unwilling to address the tasks that lie ahead," she said, adding an accusation that Mr. Bush squandered an opportunity to unite the world after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mrs. Clinton said the Bush administration has "dramatically widened the definition of classified information" to shield its work from the public.

transcript of Clinton's remarks to the AP meeting

Clinton holds Pennsylvania

A new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of likely Democratic voters gives Clinton a 46 percent to 41 percent edge in Pennsylvania, and a similar 40 percent to 35 percent lead for Obama in Indiana. In North Carolina, Obama has a larger, 13- point advantage.

``To have a solid chance of winning the nomination she'd probably have to win all three'' and get ``a double-digit victory in Pennsylvania,'' says Tad Devine, a former strategist for Democrat John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. ``If she wins just one of the three, it may be difficult if not impossible for her to continue'' and ``if she loses Pennsylvania, it's over.''

Poll shows erosion of trust in Hillary Clinton

Clinton is viewed as "honest and trustworthy" by just 39 percent of Americans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, compared with 52 percent in May 2006. Nearly six in 10 said in the new poll that she is not honest and trustworthy. And now, compared with Obama, Clinton has a deep trust deficit among Democrats, trailing him by 23 points as the more honest, an area on which she once led both Obama and John Edwards.



Top Clinton hand shields Chelsea

Philippe Reines could be mistaken for a Secret Service agent for Chelsea Clinton, the former first daughter who is anxious to regain that title. Now, as a crowd surrounds the youngest Clinton at a Marshall University campaign stop, Reines is on the lookout for hangers-on, swooning frat boys and, mostly, looming trouble in the form of microphones, cameras and notepads.

When sharp-elbowed television reporters manage to slip through the crowd and face Clinton, he reaches out his arm to shield the 28-year-old surrogate, points to the side of the room like a stone-faced traffic cop and tells the reporters, “I’ll talk to you over there.” Far from Chelsea. 





Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

USA flag pin returns
to Obama's lapel

Amazing what a protracted primary struggle amid bitter small towns will do to previously stated political positions.

The flag pin is back on the lapel of Barack Obama. No, really. Look closely at his left lapel in this photo from MSNBC on Tuesday:




Pittsburgh paper endorses Obama

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President, noting that Obama was more the candidate for the future.

"Like two opposing armies marching to a new Gettysburg, the forces of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton come to this latest battlefield symbolizing two views of America -- one of the past, one of the future. Pennsylvania Democrats need to rise to the historic moment," the endorsement said.

Gallup poll shows Obama with largest national lead of year

Obama 51, Clinton 40

Obama leads by 15 points in North Carolina

Obama 51, Clinton 36

Obama fight leaves electability questions

... advisers to Mr. Obama concede, his job has been made that much more complicated by his remarks about bitterness among small-town voters. Though it remains unclear what effect the episode will have in the long run, it has suddenly prompted a series of questions — and worry — from Democrats about whether Mr. Obama could weather a Republican onslaught in the fall, should he win the presidential nomination. ..

Yet another PA poll shows no ill effects for Obama's yet another Pennsylvania survey (.pdf), taken yesterday and the day before, finding "no ill effects" for Obama from his San Francisco comments.

The poll, of 1095 voters, has Obama up 3; as the pollsters note, it's the same statistical tie they've had in their last two rounds...

Obama tied to lobbyists, but boasts of not taking money

Barack Obama often boasts he is "the only candidate who isn't taking a dime from Washington lobbyists," yet his fundraising team includes 38 members of law firms that were paid $138 million last year to lobby the federal government, records show.

Those lawyers, including 10 former federal lobbyists, have pledged to raise at least $3.5 million for the Illinois senator's presidential race. Employees of their firms have given Obama's campaign $2.26 million, a USA TODAY analysis of campaign finance data shows.

Bruce Springsteen endorses Obama

Rock star Bruce Springsteen endorsed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president Wednesday, saying "he speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years."

In a letter addressed to friends and fans posted his Web site, Springsteen said he believes Obama is the best candidate to undo "the terrible damage done over the past eight years."






Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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