Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


weekend report, Feb. 23-24, 2008



Sunday morning talk shows:

NBC Meet the Press: Ralph Nader

ABC This Week: Joe Biden

CNN Late Edition: McCain attorney Robert Bennett discusses the NY Times story


Des Moines Register: Obama, not Clinton, favored over McCain

Whether Iowa turns red or blue in the fall presidential election may have a lot to do with which Democrat is on the ballot against Republican John McCain, according to a new Iowa Poll by The Des Moines Register.

Barack Obama would carry Iowa if he were the Democratic nominee running against McCain, if voters feel in November the way they do now.

But McCain would carry Iowa in an election matchup with Democrat Hillary Clinton if the election were held now, according to the new poll.

Superdelegates flocking to Obama

The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters - straight to Barack Obama.

In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton's are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.

The result: He's narrowing her once-commanding lead among these "superdelegates," the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.

End a superproblem with a superconvention

...holding the superconvention in early July — giving all parties four weeks to catch their breath after the final primaries — we save two incredibly valuable months to get on with the division healing and focus on the general elections. We also, as a by-product, would spare ourselves the fallout from a prolonged, secretive superdelegate lobbying campaign (which has already commenced). 

Condoleezza Rice has no plan to run for VP

There has been speculation that Republican presidential front-runner Sen. John McCain of Arizona might tap Rice as his running mate.

"I have always said that the one thing that I have not seen myself doing is running for elected office," Rice said at a news conference. "I didn't even run for high school president. It's sort of not in my genes."




Mike Huckabee... today's headlines with excerpts

Huckabee spoofs campaign on Saturday Night Live show

Mike Huckabee, the runner-up for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination, appeared on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," spoofing his diehard campaign.

In the "Weekend Update" section, the former Arkansas governor asked why he was said not to have a chance to win the Republican nomination. When the interviewer explained his delegate shortfall, Huckabee said it was lucky he is a "miracle guy." Then he said that when the American people want him to give up, he will go.

As a kicker, Huckabee refused to pick up signs from the "Weekend Update" team that they were finished with him, remaining firmly seated with them until he was told directly that the interview was over.



Is Huck still running of '08 bid, or '12?

Huckabee’s supporters are also now embracing what they see as his enhanced future prospects.

As they see it, the relative success of his longshot bid — as well as his finish as the unquestioned second-to-last man standing — will grant the former Arkansas governor a visible platform and put him at the top of the candidate list should he choose to run again in 2012 or 2016.



Huckabee equates abortion with slavery

Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, said liberty requires "moral clarity" and that equality demands a human-life amendment to the Constitution. He said that even if the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973, it wouldn't go far enough.

"What that means is that every one of the 50 states can come up with its own definition of life," said Huckabee, equating abortion with slavery. "That's the logic of the Civil War. That's the idea that morality is geographical. It's the notion that something can be right in one state and wrong in another. Well, when it came to slavery, we finally got it right that you can't own another human being."

Another Huckabee paid speech; meets privately with Dobson

Huckabee addressed the Leadership Program of the Rockies Friday night, you might not know he was running for president. He didn't mention it. Those introducing him as the keynote speaker didn't mention it. And even his biography in the program didn't note that he's seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Huckabee has tried hard to separate his paid speeches -- this was one -- from campaign activity. He flies commercial to the speeches and brings hardly any staff (two aides did join him earlier in the day for a media availability at Focus on the Family).

... Huckabee also went to the Focus on the Family campus Friday for what he described as an “off-the-record and confidential” meeting with Christian leader James Dobson. Huckabee, speaking to reporters afterward, would not detail the talk, other than to say it was “excellent” and more personal than political.

“We have a relationship that dates back on a personal level for 14 years,” he said.




John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain co-chair Renzi indicted

A federal grand jury has indicted U.S. Rep. Richard Renzi (R-Ariz.) on 35 criminal counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and official extortion, the Reuters news wire service reported this morning.

Renzi is an Arizona co-chair of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.

Renzi to step down from McCain camp

On his weekly blogger conference call, John McCain said that Rep. Rick Renzi (R) would probably step down as co-chair of his Arizona campaign. McCain was unaware of the Arizona congressman's indictment until asked about it this morning...

McCain 2002 deposition reveals Paxton meeting did occur

In an effort to refute the Times story implying the senator had an inappropriate relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, McCain's campaign stated unequivocally on Thursday that he had never held a meeting with Iseman and her client, broadcaster Lowell Paxson, about letters he sent to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf in 1999.

But it turns out, McCain did sit down with the two of them, and he himself admitted to the meeting in a 2002 deposition.

McCain disputed on 1999 Paxson/FCC meeting

Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson yesterday contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf.

... Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, likely attended the meeting in McCain's office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. "Was Vicki there? Probably," Paxson said ...

Age may figure in McCain's choice of a running mate

The quest to win the presidency at an age when he would be too old to be a commercial airline pilot or even a judge in some states has already led Mr. McCain to adopt a more grueling campaign schedule, and a more vigorous style, than several of his younger rivals. Now that Mr. McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee, political analysts say, his age will most likely factor into his selection of a running mate.

... Scholars of the vice presidency said that the age of Mr. McCain’s running mate would probably be just one factor in the selection process. The others would be ideology — some selections could be seen as rallying the conservative base, while others would be seen as reaching out to independent voters — and geography, either to appeal to a region or to try to nail down a state. But several said in interviews that competence would most likely trump the others.






Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts

Ron Paul says he won't try to run as independent

Acknowledging his imminent failure, maverick Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said Saturday that he won't get back into the race for the White House as an independent candidate once a GOP nominee is solidified.

"I have no plans to do that," Paul told a small group of reporters before a rally. "I would suspect that if we don't win, if the trends continue we're not likely to win, that I will run for Congress."








Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary offers regrets for Bill's remarks

Appearing before a predominantly black audience here Saturday afternoon, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her husband’s legacy on race relations and offered an apology of sorts for comments he made in South Carolina several weeks ago that many people viewed as racially insensitive.

In a question-and-answer session after her speech at the State of the Black Union event, Mrs. Clinton was asked by Tavis Smiley, the host of the event, how she felt about “what some termed racial comments” by Mr. Clinton.

“I think there are enough of you here today who know him personally and know his heart,” she said, then stopped for a long pause. “If anyone was offended about anything that was said, whether it was meant or not, whether it was misinterpreted or not, then obviously I regret that.”

Soldiering on, but somber as horizon darkens

Mrs. Clinton has not given up, in her head or her heart, her quest to return to the White House, advisers say. But as resolute as she is, she no longer exudes the supreme confidence that was her trademark before the first defeat, in Iowa in January.

... Engaging in hindsight, several advisers have now concluded that they were not smart to use former President Bill Clinton as much as they did, that “his presence, aura and legacy caused national fatigue with the Clintons,” in the words of one senior adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity to assess the campaign candidly...

... Morale is low. After 13 months of dawn-to-dark seven-day weeks, the staff is exhausted. Some have taken to going home early — 9 p.m. — turning off their BlackBerrys, and polishing off bottles of wine, several senior staff members said.

Hillary: "Shame on you, Barack Obama"

Hillary Rodham Clinton ripped Barack Obama Saturday for mailings his campaign is sending to Ohio voters that Clinton said distorted her record on NAFTA and universal health care.

“Shame on you, Barack Obama,” Clinton said angrily when talking to reporters after a rally in a technical college gym here. “It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That’s what I expect from you,” she said, calling on Obama to repudiate and stop the mailings, which she waved demonstratively.

“Meet me in Ohio. Let’s have a debate about your tactics,” she said, calling the mailings “tactics that are right out of Karl Rove’s playbook.”

see also: Clinton slams Obama tactics

Clinton plans mix of sharp and soft

Aides say that in the final week, she’ll emphasize both a ready-to-be-president message and her softer side, which they call their “showing Hillary” approach....

Hillary won't commit to campaigning past March 4

On NBC’s “Today,” Clinton declined to say if she’ll continue past March 4, saying “I don’t make predictions.”

Clinton devastated after police death

A police motorcycle officer died after a crash escorting Clinton's motorcade in Dallas. In a statement afterwards, Clinton called the accident is "devastating" news -- she feels "heart-sick" and expressed her condolences to the family and to the Dallas police department. Clinton placed a call to the chief, and she added that this reminds us of what people in law enforcement do everyday. "We respect their service."

Clinton looked profoundly upset by what had happened -- a routine police operation she's probably been part of countless times as first lady, senator and now presidential candidate.





Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama defends his mailings

Obama vigorously defended two negative mailers dropped in Ohio that Hillary Clinton says came “straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.” The mailing, one on NAFTA and the other on health care, raised the ire of the New York senator, who forcefully pushed back against them at a press conference earlier today. Saying that the mailers had been out for weeks, Obama suggested that Clinton’s fiery reply this morning may be a political stunt rather than a genuine reaction.


Obama defends 'liberal' label

Obama last night railed against the charge that being "liberal" was a bad thing.

"Oh, he's liberal,” he said. “He's liberal. Let me tell you something. There's nothing liberal about wanting to reduce money in politics that is common sense. There's nothing liberal about wanting to make sure [our soldiers] are treated properly when they come home.”

Continuing on his riff: "There's nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has healthcare, but we are spending more on healthcare in this country than any other advanced country. We got more uninsured. There's nothing liberal about saying that doesn't make sense, and we should so something smarter with our health care system. Don't let them run that okie doke on you!"

Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide

Michelle Obama's senior year thesis at Princeton University, obtained from the campaign by Politico, shows a document written by a young woman grappling with a society in which a black Princeton alumnus might only be allowed to remain "on the periphery." Read the full thesis here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

... The thesis, titled "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community" and written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, in 1985, has been the subject of much conjecture on the blogosphere and elsewhere in recent weeks, as it has been "temporarily withdrawn" from Princeton's library until after this year's presidential election in November.

Many blacks worry for Obama's safety

For many black Americans, it's a conversation they find hard to avoid, revisiting old fears in the light of bright new hopes.

They watch with wonder as Barack Obama moves ever closer to becoming America's first black president. And they ask themselves, their family, their friends: Is he at risk? Will he be safe?

There is, of course, no sure answer. But interviews with blacks across the country, prominent and otherwise, suggest that lingering worries are outweighed by enthusiasm and determination.

"You can't have lived through the civil rights movement and know something about the history of African-Americans in this country and not be a little concerned," said Edna Medford, a history professor at Washington's Howard University.

Obama out-spent Hillary 5 to 1 on TV in Wisconsin

One of the keys to Obama's 17-point Wisconsin win? Per a University of Wisconsin Advertising Project study, he outspent Clinton nearly 5-to-1 on TV ads in the state. Overall, the four Dem and GOP candidates aired more than 8,000 spots in the state, spending a combined $2.1 million.

Of that amount, Obama spent more than $1.5 million; Clinton spent $300,000. That, folks, is quite a gap.

Obama takes heat for skipping State of the Black union

The annual State of the Black Union forum boasted a number of famous attendees in New Orleans on Saturday, but this year's event received much more attention for who wasn't there.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, was the only major presidential candidate to accept an invitation to attend.

Her rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, declined, as did Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

... Obama's absence at the forum has prompted both controversy and a backlash against Tavis Smiley, the organizer of the event who has openly criticized Obama's decision.

...  Smiley's criticism has also prompted many people to come to Obama's defense. The talk show host told The Washington Post he has been inundated with angry e-mails and even death threats.

"I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It's getting to be crazy," Smiley told the newspaper.





Bill O'Reilly tap dances around alleged Obama scandal?

Feb. 22 Show:

O'REILLY: There has been a longstanding rumor, and you know it, about a Democratic, powerful Democratic person in this country, longstanding, been around, people have looked at it, never reported by anyone, never mentioned by anyone. Easily done in the same way The New York Times did it. I could do it. I could do it. I could do it tomorrow, anonymous sources told me this individual in America, again, a prominent Democrat...


tracking the Larry Sinclair/Obama limo-cocaine-sex story -- as the mainstream media steadfastly refuses to report it:

click for timeline





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