Thursday, June 12, 2008
GENERAL NEWS HEADLINES with excerpts
Obama leads McCain, but race is tight
Barack Obama begins his presidential race against John McCain with a lead in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, but not so great an edge as might be expected, given the gale-force political headwinds against Sen. McCain's Republican Party.
Sen. Obama leads Sen. McCain by 47% to 41%, a spread that is twice the edge he had in the previous poll, in late April. Still, that lead is significantly smaller than the Democratic Party's 16-point advantage, 51% to 35%, when voters are asked, without candidates' names, which party they want to win the White House.
see also: Polls: women favor Obama
Carville: Obama should tap Gore for veep
Former Clinton aide James Carville suggested on CNN just now that Obama offer Al Gore the vice presidential nomination.
"I think if I was Senator Obama I would say the biggest economic problem we face is the biggest national security problem and the biggest environmental problem. And if I were him, I would ask Al Gore to serve as his vice president, his energy czar, in his administration to reduce our consumption and reliance on foreign energy sources," he told Wolf Blitzer.
Blitzer responded with some skepticism that Gore would accept a second tour, but Carville persisted.
"I'm not suggesting he's just any vice president. I'm suggesting that Senator Obama as president would give him a lot of authority to deal with our consumption of oil," he said. "I think it would send a signal to the world and send a signal to Congress and American people that he's going to be really serious and we're going to cut it and coordinate all of that as the vice president."
U of Iowa Clinton backers endorse McCain, McKinney
The Co-Chairs of University of Iowa Students for Hillary have just sent out a Facebook message imploring the group's members to vote for John McCain -- or, if that's too hard to stomach, presumptive Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney.
"John McCain is an honorable man," the letter states. "He is good personal friends with Hillary Clinton. He is qualified to be president. We do not agree with him on everything, and this is why we urge you to strongly support Democrats up for re-election to congress."
"Barring a DREAM TICKET scenario or a scenario in which HILLARY WINS THE NOMINATION, which we see as unlikely at this time, we endorse John McCain for President," it continues. "We will not campaign for John McCain, but we will vote for him, and urge others to do the same."
Intense bid to court Clinton fundraisers
David Plouffe, the Obama campaign manager, is planning to meet on Thursday in New York and Friday in New Jersey with a large group of Clinton fund-raisers.
Seeking to unite the Democratic Party and the candidates’ donor bases, campaign officials are also in the midst of arranging a joint meeting with the candidates to introduce Mr. Obama to Mrs. Clinton’s biggest money collectors sometime over the next two weeks.
The Clinton campaign’s senior fund-raising officials have been holding conference calls with fund-raisers by region over the last few days — some two dozen in all are planned — to urge them to plunge in on behalf of Mr. Obama
Limbaugh shows Obama stumbles without prompter
"I've constantly noted, ladies and gentlemen, you take the prompter and the written speeches away from Barack Obama, and you have nothing. You have nothing like the guy with the soaring rhetoric and the inspiring and sermon-like quality," Limbaugh said.
McCain: "I can't be a referee"
GOP presidential contender John McCain says he can’t control every attack ad aimed at Democrat Barack Obama and fully expects he’ll face a similar barrage, sounding the bell for a raucous general election brawl.
“I can’t be a referee of every spot run on television,” McCain told the Herald in an exclusive interview. “I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, but we all know there are groups who want to attack me.”
Dems pound McCain on new Iraq quote
The Obama campaign and Democratic leaders accused Sen. John McCain of being confused and heartless after he told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday that it’s “not too important” when U.S. troops return from Iraq.
... The “Today” show statement, which McCain went on to explain, is damaging because Sen. Barack Obama has pledged to immediately begin withdrawing combat troops.
McCain, trying to mitigate the fallout from his January remarks that U.S. troops might be in Iraq for 100 years, predicted last month that “most” troops would be home by the end of his first term.
Trying to take the offense, McCain’s campaign posted a YouTube clip of the exchange...
see also: McCain fires back on troop quote
Kerry: McCain confused, 'unbelievably out of touch'
John Kerry, who's served in the past as Obama's heavy-hitter on national security, expressed incredulity at McCain's remark this morning that the timing of troops return is "not too important."
"It is unbelievably out of touch and inconsistent with the needs of Americans and particularly the families of troops who are over there. To them it’s the most important thing in the world when they come home," he said. "It’s a policy for staying in Iraq."
Kerry and Obama aide Susan Rice also both said McCain is "confused"* -- a line some in McCain's camp will surely take as a shot at the candidate's age.
McCain: Bloomberg VP a possibility
John McCain praised New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a visit to the Big Apple and hinted that Bloomberg could be considered as a possible running mate...
Analysis says McCain's tax plan favors wealthiest
Both John McCain and Barack Obama promise to cut taxes for the majority of Americans. But an Obama administration would redistribute income toward lower- and middle-class households, while a McCain White House would steer the bulk of the benefits to the wealthiest families, according to a nonpartisan analysis of the still-evolving tax plans of the presidential candidates.
Both plans risk causing more economic damage than improvement, according to the detailed study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center.
McCain wants low corporate taxes, regulated CEO pay
John McCain promises lower corporate tax rates if he wins the U.S. presidency and will ease the tax burden on middle-class workers to help revive the faltering economy. The Arizona senator, who has wrapped up his party's presidential nomination, also would propose a simpler, alternative tax system and insist that chief executives' pay and severance packages have shareholder approval.
McCain's daughter writes illustrated bio of dad
The book, densely illustrated by Dan Andreasen, follows Mr. McCain’s life from his childhood as a Navy brat up until the Republican National Convention in September. Ms. McCain deals delicately with some of the less kid-friendly topics, such as his 5.5 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. “He didn’t get the right kind of medical care for his broken bones, and the food was really bad,” she writes, accompanied by a somber drawing of Mr. McCain, looking apprehensive if not scared, sitting on the floor in a bare corner.
New Gang of 14 won't back McCain
At least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support Sen. John McCain for president, and more than a dozen others declined to answer whether they back the Arizona senator.
Many of the recalcitrant GOP members declined to detail their reasons for withholding support, but Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.) expressed major concerns about McCains energy policies and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) cited the Iraq war.
A handful of other Republicans on Capitol Hill made the distinction between endorsing and supporting, adding that while they have not endorsed, they do support McCain.
Southern Baptists warily support McCain
In interviews, Southern Baptist leaders and the rank-and-file said they were warily waiting for McCain to inspire them while acknowledging that they will vote for him anyway now that Sen. Barack Obama, far too liberal for most Southern Baptists, has all but secured the Democratic nomination.
"There's a lack of fire and passion for (McCain) right now, and for him to win, that fire has to be kindled," said the Rev. Jack Graham, a former president of the 16.2 million-member denomination and among its most politically connected leaders.
Big name, small buy for latest MoveOn anti-McCain ad
MoveOn has recruited a big Hollywood name for its latest TV ad, but is not spending big bucks on getting the word out. Actor John Cusack fronts "Betcha Can't Tell Them Apart," a 30-second spot critical of John McCain's stance on Iraq, veteran's health care, Social Security and the past lobbying work of some of his senior aides.
The group is spending only $45,000 to air the message nationally during prime time on the Bravo network, as well as in the Washington, D.C., market during local cable ad breaks on CNN and MSNBC, and during "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, according to a MoveOn source.
... This ad is a continuation of MoveOn's efforts to tie McCain to President Bush.
Obama's veep vetter quits
Former Fannie Mae Chairman James Johnson said he has quit Senator Barack Obama's vice presidential search committee after the Wall Street Journal reported he may have received preferential mortgage terms from Countrywide Financial Corp.
Johnson said that while he has done nothing wrong, he left to avoid being a hindrance to Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The outrage game bites Obama
...the outrage game will continue because it works as a political matter, especially for influencing those voters who do not devote inordinate amounts of time following the play-by-play of the election. Talk to either of the campaigns, and they will tell you that the goal of this press-release gotcha game is to create vague impressions in the minds of voters, not fully developed thoughts.
How can McCain be a reformer if he works with lobbyists? Isn't Obama a hypocrite for hiring such well-connected influence brokers? Partisans, meanwhile, filter the information based on their preconceptions. They will forgive Obama's less-flattering connections but hyperventilate over McCain's, or vice versa...
Hispanic Dems warn Obama he risks losing Latinos
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) must commit to helping illegal immigrants achieve citizenship or else risk losing the vital Latino vote in the general election, Hispanic Democratic lawmakers are warning.
If he does not promise so-called comprehensive immigration reform, the lawmakers say, the only other way to win over Hispanic supporters of his erstwhile rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), may be to pick her as his running mate...
Union critical of Obama's top economic aide
Senator Obama, Democrat of Illinois, hired Jason Furman, a Harvard-trained economist closely associated with Mr. Rubin, a Wall Street insider who served as President Clinton’s Treasury secretary. Labor union leaders criticized the move, and said that “Rubinomics” focused too much on corporate America and not enough on workers.
“For years we’ve expressed strong concerns about corporate influence on the Democratic Party,” John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said Wednesday in a statement implicitly critical of the symbolism of the appointment, no matter Mr. Furman’s economic skills...
Obama dials back pace of events
Mr. Obama, who drew eye-popping crowds during the primaries, has clearly shifted into a lower gear in the past few days. On Monday, he gave a sober and substantive speech on the economy in Raleigh, N.C. before 900 invited guests. On Tuesday he spent an hour doing rounds with a cardiac nurse at a hospital in St. Louis, then held a half-hour press conference. On Wednesday he convened a roundtable discussion on credit card abuses at the Illinois Institute of Technology before a handful of television cameras and an audience of fewer than 20 people. That was the sum of his public appearances.
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