Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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Weekend Report, April 26-27, 2008



Obama to Chris Wallace: no debates before May 6

Here is a brief excerpt of the interview with Chris Wallace:

Mr. Wallace: “Why are you ducking another debate with Senator Clinton?”

Mr. Obama: “I’m not ducking one. We’ve had 21. And so what we’ve said, we’re two weeks, two big states, we want to make sure we’re talking to as many folks possible on the ground taking questions from voters, you know we will -

Mr. Wallace: “No debates between now and Indiana?”

Mr. Obama “We’re not going to have debates between now and Indiana.”

Clinton's response: one-on-one debate, no moderators

“I’m offering Senator Obama a chance to debate me, one-on-one, no moderators,” she said. At the same time, her campaign released a letter from Maggie Williams, its manager, sent to David Plouffe, her counterpart at the Obama campaign, outlining its proposed terms.

“Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will participate in a 90-minute debate in an open public forum,” Mrs. Williams wrote. “Just the two of them — no questioners, no panelists, no video clips. One candidate would speak for two minutes, then the other, alternating back and forth all the way through the debate. Their discussion – not any pre-set rules – would determine how long they spend on one subject before moving on to another.”




Wright response at the wrong time?

Some Democrats say they doubt the current media blitz by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, took his campaign by surprise.

... Many pundits say the timing couldn't be worse for Mr. Obama, who has had to distance himself from his 20-year relationship with Mr. Wright.

... But some Democrats say the rekindled attention is an effort to attract attention to Mr. Wright's controversial sermons now so that voters will have tired by it later, when the opposition raises the Wright issue in the general election.

The PBS Wright interview - why Bill Moyers?

Why did Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. grant his first interview to journalist Bill Moyers?

...  In the interest of full disclosure, Moyers also revealed that he too is a member of Wright’s denomination, the United Church of Christ.




More Wright yet to come this weekend...

Wright is scheduled to speak Sunday at a dinner organized by the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, then again on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington.








John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain, GOP split on Wright ad

"The Republican Party of the state of North Carolina is dead wrong," he said on CBS' "The Early Show." "I'll do everything in my power to make sure not only they stop it, but that kind of leadership is rejected."

He railed about the decision again on NBC's "Today" program. "They're not listening to me because they're out of touch with reality and the Republican Party," he said. "This kind of campaigning is unacceptable. I have said that. It will harm the Republicans' cause."

McCain to raise big cash next week in Florida

McCain will spend much of early next week raising cash in Florida at big-ticket events.  He's got some of his top fund-raisers in the country there, including Al Hoffman, Ana Navarro and Brian Ballard. 

... The cash is being spread across a few accounts: McCain's campaign, his FEC compliance fund, the RNC Victory fund and the federal accounts that state parties in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Colorado have set up.

McCain frequently used wife's jet for little cost

...over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Mr. McCain’s cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show.





Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Clinton eyes Oregon upset for momentum

Hillary Rodham Clinton is making a stealth play for Oregon, where a primary win next month — combined with her two strongest remaining states, West Virginia and Kentucky — may open up a pathway to the Democratic ticket by convincing superdelegates that she deserves the nomination.

Clinton camp works the ground game in Indiana

As it continues to refine its tactics, the Clinton campaign is devoting far more energy to on-the-ground efforts in Indiana than it did in many of the early states she lost to Sen. Barack Obama, who deployed scores of young staffers to unlikely places and profited from the power of grass-roots organizing.

The 'Billification' of Hillary's campaign

Dubbed the "Billification" of Sen. Clinton's campaign by some insiders, Mr. Clinton has become something of a strategist-in-chief in recent weeks. He has been pushing for harder and sharper attacks on Sen. Obama. While she has jabbed her opponent over his "elitist" tone and controversial statements by his former pastor, Mr. Clinton delivers his own slams on the stump, calling Obama ads misleading.

The former president says he's in uncharted territory. "Being the spouse is more difficult than when I was the candidate," he says in a brief interview. "When you're running, you're out there driving every day. But when you're the spouse, you feel more protective. It's much harder."



Is Bill's short fuse sabotaging Hillary's candidacy?

Mr. Clinton's anger has been on frequent display during his wife's presidential campaign this year, and some are wondering if what was supposed to be Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's biggest campaign asset may actually sabotage her candidacy.

Across the Internet, his temper fits and campaign missteps have been chronicled by pundits who describe Mr. Clinton as "saboteur."





Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama relents, will appear on 'Fox News Sunday'

Five weeks after Mr. Wallace introduced “Obama Watch,” a weekly countdown clock marking the number of days since he said Mr. Obama had committed to an interview, the Fox News Channel announced Thursday that the Democratic presidential candidate would appear on its Sunday morning public affairs show this weekend.

In an interview, Mr. Wallace said Mr. Obama had agreed to an interview in March 2006, but had not followed through.


Obama donor received a state grant

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin...

Obama calls McCain gas tax holiday a 'scheme'

Barack Obama  on Saturday called a proposal by John McCain for a federal gas tax holiday the "latest scheme" from the Republican presidential nominee-to-be.

Obama suggested that such a holiday from federal gas taxes would weaken the nation's highway and bridge infrastructure, potentially putting lives at risk. The charge against McCain came minutes after Obama said he was striving to stay above the fray.

... The McCain campaign did not see it that way.

"I'm sure he didn't call gas tax relief a 'scheme' when he voted for it in the Illinois Senate," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement. "Barack Obama is now more interested in ambitions than solutions."

In 2000, Obama supported a temporary sales tax holiday in Illinois while a state lawmaker

Fred Barnes: To tell the truth

So is Obama who he says he is? Of course not. He's a liberal, a bit to the left, and, like most graduates of Harvard Law, a member of America's meritocratic (but nonetheless elite) upper class. He's seized on a big idea--bringing Americans together in a rebirth of national unity--to frame his campaign. Does this make him a phony? I don't think so. But it does make him something else he insists he's not, a conventional politician with a clever spiel.






Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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