Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008


Obama: double-digit lead over Hillary nationally

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Barack Obama opening a double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Today’s results show Obama earning support from 49% of Likely Democratic Primary Voters while Clinton attracts 37%. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the Obama surge is that he now leads 46% to 41% among women.


McCain and Obama take their Senate rivalry into the presidential race

Their tempest began well before their bids for a presidential nomination.

... “I don’t seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness,” Mr. McCain said. “That history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need.”

A contentious relationship between Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, has been percolating on Capitol Hill for more than two years.

Now it is being thrust to the forefront as Mr. Obama spends as much time taking on Mr. McCain as he does Senator Hillary Clinton, telling voters here on Wednesday that “somewhere along the line he traded principles for his party’s nomination.”

“If you want the same as we’ve had in the last seven years,” Mr. Obama said, “then I think John McCain’s going to be a great choice.”

The exchanges, hardly uncommon in the throes of a biting race, carry residue of a dust-up they had two years ago and provide a window into how they view, and may approach, each other should they battle in a general election.

see also: McCain and Obama turn fire on each other

RNC runs spoof valentines on Hillary, Barack

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like long-stemmed roses, dark chocolate and a sweet love note from Hillary Rodham Clinton:

If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put T and AX together.

All right, so it’s not really a Valentine from Senator Clinton. It’s one of six spoof e-cards put out by the Republican National Committee for the holiday.

We’ve also seen this G.O.P. one featuring Barack Obama: “Will you be my Valentine? Yes … no… present?”

Gary Hart: How superdelegates did me in in '84

In 1984 I was roughly the equivalent of the Obama candidate, I was the new figure, the new face and it ended up, after elimination of a number of candidates and  contests from the beginning in Iowa and New Hampshire, all the way to the convention, between myself and former Vice President Mondale, and the superdelegates in that contest did make the difference. I wanted their support and I didn't get it.



LA Times editorial: Don't supercede voters

"the Democrats have two worthy choices and do not need party bigwigs to decide for them. For the bulk of the superdelegates to commit now would be not only unnecessary, it would be undemocratic."

Al Sharpton calls on DNC to NOT seat Florida/Michigan delegates

Writes letter to DNC chairman Howard Dean... "I firmly believe that changing the rules now, and seating delegates from Florida and Michigan at this point would not only violate the Democratic party's rules of fairness, but also would be a grave injustice...."




Mike Huckabee... today's headlines with excerpts

Huckabee's Caribbean excursion

Huckabee will be taking a detour from the campaign trail in Wisconsin (site of a primary next Tuesday) to deliver a paid speech (amount unknown) to young professionals confabbing in the Cayman Islands...

The reason for his trip, he said, is "real simple -- because I am the only person who doesn’t get paid by the taxpayers to campaign. Sen. [Barack] Obama, Sen. [Hillary] Clinton, Sen. [John] McCain campaign every day and I am paying for their campaigns. I’m paying because I am a taxpayer and I have to pay for their Senate salary, even if they are not on duty. The taxpayers aren’t paying a dime for me to campaign."


Huckabee: mathematically impossible?

a Huckabee win is not ‘mathematically impossible.’ Mathematics is, in fact, the only field in which a Huckabee win would be possible. Rather, a Huckabee win is extremely unlikely.

IRS investigates pastor's Huckabee endorsement

An attorney for clergyman Wiley S. Drake confirmed Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service was investigating the pastor's endorsement of Mike Huckabee's presidential bid, written on church letterhead and announced during a church-affiliated Internet radio show.



John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

Romney endorses McCain

Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain for the party's presidential nomination and asked his national convention delegates to swing behind the likely nominee.

"Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated, the caliber of the man was apparent," the former Massachusetts governor said, standing alongside his one-time rival at his now- defunct campaign's headquarters. "This is a man capable of leading our country at a dangerous hour."

"Primaries are tough," said McCain, referring to their earlier rancor. "We know it was a hard campaign and now we move forward, we move forward together for the good of our party and the nation."

McCain could resign senate seat

U.S. Sen. John McCain's office Wednesday countered speculation that the Arizona Republican would resign this summer to focus on his presidential bid.

McCain spokeswoman Melissa Shuffield told the Phoenix Business Journal that McCain has "no current plans" to step down from his Senate seat.

A summer resignation could create a mad dash to succeed McCain in the November election. Gov. Janet Napolitano would appoint an interim senator to serve until the November election if McCain resigns. State law requires that appointment to be of the same party as the officeholder.

House GOP leadership endorses McCain

A day after winning the Potomac Primary, Sen. John McCain was handed another victory yesterday when he was unexpectedly endorsed by the entire House Republican leadership. Republican leaders had said Tuesday they intended to remain neutral, but after an hour-long, closed-door session with the senator, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) andHouse Republican Conference Chairman Adam H. Putnam (Fla.) all fell in line.



McCain U-turn: votes AGAINST banning waterboarding

...when the Senate voted on the intelligence bill, which includes a provision that effectively bans waterboarding from being used as an interrogation technique by all 16 intelligence agencies, McCain voted against the bill.

The bill passed 51-45, but President Bush has promised to veto it.

In a statement, McCain said the measure goes too far in applying military standards to intelligence agencies and maintained that existing law already forbids waterboarding. "Staging a mock execution by including the misperception of drowning is a clear violation,'' he said.

But the U-turn in Wednesday's vote by the captain of the Straight Talk Express comes in the wake of the Bush administration suggesting that waterboarding remains a "legal" tactic that they reserve the right to use if circumstances warrant it.

McCain rolls on, takes aim at Obama

“Hope, my friends, is a powerful thing,” McCain said, alluding to Barack Obama’s chief selling point.  “I can attest to that better than many, for I have seen men's hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience. And I stood astonished at the resilience of their hope in the darkest of hours because it did not reside in an exaggerated belief in their individual strength, but in the support of their comrades, and their faith in their country.”

But, McCain said, continuing to implicitly contrast his compelling POW story with Obama’s lofty language, “to encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.”

McCain hearts Bush in new Democratic ad  video

from the DNC: "the Democratic National Committee released a new video -- "Sweetheart Deal," which shows the sweetheart deal John McCain has made with the right wing of his party in order to win the election. The so-called maverick who once ran away from Bush now parrots his rhetoric and embraces his failed policies...."



Raising $$$ high priority for McCain than picking running mate

The goal is to raise millions -- tens of millions -- by tapping these fundraising networks and finding donors who may have given the maximum amount to their first choice in the GOP field but have yet to give to McCain.

It's an effort proceeding on two tracks: raising millions for the "primary" campaign that continues up to the nominating convention this summer, while also beginning to amass millions more for the general election campaign.

see also: McCain signs up a Bush fundraising organizer

McCain aide say nomination out of Huckabee's reach

McCain has now amassed more than 800 delegates toward the 1,191 needed to clinch the GOP crown, while rival Mike Huckabee has 241 delegates. The remaining primary contests have only 774 delegates up for grabs, according to a memo by McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis.

"With only 774 delegates left on the table after tonight, Gov. Huckabee cannot win the Republican nomination for president," Davis wrote in a memo leaked to the press.




Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts



Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary's new message:

"My opponent gives speeches; I offer solutions..."

Bill's new message:

"It's about whether you should choose the power of speeches over the power of solutions..."



Hillary leads in Ohio, Pennsylvania

Quinnipiac University poll: Clinton leads Obama 55 percent to 34 percent among likely Democratic voters in Ohio, according to the poll. In Pennsylvania, she has 52 percent to Obama's 36 percent.

Clinton camp chaos - no post Feb. 5 plan?

She and her team showered so much money, attention and other resources on Iowa, New Hampshire and some of the 22-state nominating contests on Feb. 5 that they have been caught flat-footed — or worse — in the critical contests that followed, her political advisers said.

She also made a strategic decision to skip several small states holding caucuses, states where Mr. Obama scored big victories, accumulating delegates and, possibly, momentum.

Her heavy spending and relatively modest fund-raising in January compounded the problems, leaving the campaign ill-equipped to plan after Feb. 5, advisers and donors say.

see also: Clinton reshuffles online team

               Knocked off balance, Clinton camp tries to regain its stride

Hillary drops MSNBC debate boycott threat

When you run an attack ad against your opponent for refusing to compete in a debate, you can’t very well bow out of one yourself. So yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said that she would participate in a debate sponsored by MSNBC in Cleveland, Ohio.

Bill says campaign 'on a shoestring"; Hillary is the underdog

"I think she has been the underdog ever since Iowa," Clinton said. "She’s had, you know, a lot of the politicians, like Senator Kennedy, opposed to her. She’s had, the political press has avowedly played a role in this election. I've never seen this before."

He said they'd done well considering their slim budget. "We've gotten plenty of delegates on a shoestring," he said.



Tempers flare in Hillaryland

... scene of senior campaign advisers gathering at headquarters to preview a television commercial:

"'Your ad doesn't work,’ strategist Mark Penn yelled at ad-maker Mandy Grunwald. . . .

"‘Oh, it's always the ad, never the message,’ Ms. Grunwald fired back.

"The clash got so heated that political director Guy Cecil left the room, saying, ‘I'm out of here.’ "

Roger Simon: Hillary's past is not through haunting her

If John McCain gets the nomination, we are going to hear that he was turned into a “Manchurian candidate” when he was a prisoner of war. If Obama wins the nomination, we are going to hear a lot more about Tony Rezko and the Exelon Corp. And if Clinton is the nominee, get ready for a reprise of Whitewater and her cattle future trading, to name just two.

In presidential politics, the past is not just prologue. It’s ammunition.

Carville: Clinton must win Ohio, Texas or "this thing is done"

At a trade show in Orlando, Fla., today, where he and his wife Mary Matalin made a speaking appearance, James Carville, an adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., made a candid assessment of Clinton's chances.

"She’s behind," Carville said, according to the Orlando Sentinel (LINK). "Make no mistake. If she loses either Texas or Ohio, this thing is done."

The candor in the claim, even from Carville, is what might be startling, not the math. 

It's unclear if Carville knew a reporter was in the audience of thousands at the International Builders Show convention.



Fournier: "she may pay a high price for selfishness..."

For years, Bill and Hillary Clinton treated the Democratic National Committee and party activists as extensions of their White House ambitions, pawns in a game of success and survival. She may pay a high price for their selfishness soon.

Top Democrats, including some inside Hillary Clinton's campaign, say many party leaders — the so-called superdelegates — won't hesitate to ditch the former New York senator for Barack Obama if her political problems persist. Their loyalty to the first couple is built on shaky ground.

"If (Barack) Obama continues to win .... the whole raison d'etre for her campaign falls apart and we'll see people running from her campaign like rats on a ship," said Democratic strategist Jim Duffy, who is not aligned with either campaign




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Major union SEIU set to endorse Obama

Two labor sources tell Politico that the giant Service Employees International Union, which has been neutral through the primary, is on the verge of throwing its support to Sen. Barack Obama.

"It's done," said one person close to the union.

SEIU spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller confirmed that union leaders are set to discuss a potential endorsement today.

"Our board is going to be talking this evening," she said. "This will be a topic of their conversation."

Obama camp says Hillary nomination 'highly unlikely'

McClatchy reports Sen. Barack Obama "began campaigning as the front-runner" yesterday following his big wins on Tuesday, and his campaign manager, David Plouffe said it is "highly unlikely" that Hillary Clinton can win enough votes in the remaining states to win the nomination. Plouffe said Clinton would "have to win Ohio, Texas and virtually all other remaining primaries by roughly 2-to-1 margins over Obama. 'We see no evidence that that's going to happen..."



Michelle Obama takes to the trail

... when a television interviewer asked Mrs. Obama last week whether she would support Mrs. Clinton, if she won the nomination, Mrs. Obama was less generous.

“I’d have to think about that,” Mrs. Obama said on “Good Morning America” on ABC. “I’d have to think about — policies, her approach, her tone.”

Outspoken, strong-willed, funny, gutsy and sometimes sarcastic, Michelle Obama is playing a pivotal role in her husband’s campaign as it builds on a series of successes, including a sweep on Tuesday of contests in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

... Michelle Obama said of her role, “I am trying to be as authentically me as I can be.”

Surging Obama shifts offensive to McCain

"It's Washington where politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should've never been authorized and never been waged, a war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week."

Obama takes populist tone in Wisconsin

“It was a failure of leadership and imagination in Washington — the culmination of decades of decisions that were made or put off without regard to the realities of a global economy and the growing inequality it’s produced,” Obama said in a speech at a General Motors assembly plant.






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