Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Thursday, March 6, 2008


Novak: Why Clinton isn't dead

Clinton's transformation of the political climate with her decisive victory in Ohio and unexpected narrow win in Texas coincided with Obama facing adversity for the first time in his magical candidacy, and he did not handle it well. The result is not only the prospect of seven weeks of fierce campaigning by the two candidates, stretching out to the next primary showdown April 22 in Pennsylvania, but also perhaps what Democratic leaders feared but never really thought possible until now: a contested national convention in Denver the last week of August...


Obama and Clinton lead McCain; change vs. experience is the roadmap

A surge of Democratic allegiance is boosting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton alike in match-ups against John McCain, with change vs. experience as the roadmap for voter preferences in the 2008 general election.

Obama's advantage over McCain is the bigger one in this ABC News/Washington Post poll, a 12-point lead compared to Clinton's 6-point edge. McCain's endorsement by George W. Bush may not help: The president's back at his career low approval rating, matching Harry Truman in long-term unpopularity.


Clinton, Obama go on attack as superdelegates hold key

On a series of morning television shows, Sen. Clinton claimed superior national-security experience, citing her service on the Senate Armed Services Committee and her role in her husband's administration dealing with conflicts in Northern Ireland and Kosovo. Separately, her lieutenants reiterated questions about Sen. Obama's relationship with a Chicago real-estate developer on trial for public corruption. The senator isn't implicated in the case.

For his part, Sen. Obama signaled to reporters aboard his campaign plane a newly aggressive tone. "One of the things I hope people start asking is what exactly is this foreign experience that she's claiming?" he said. "I know she talks about visiting 80 countries. It's not clear -- was she negotiating treaties or agreements, or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is, the answer is no.''


Michigan, Florida consider do-over primaries

Officials in Michigan and Florida are showing renewed interest in holding repeat presidential nominating contests so that their votes will count in the epic Democratic campaign....

Growing split on delegates

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are split over whether superdelegates — many of them lawmakers — should pick the Democratic presidential nominee or merely reflect the popular vote.

The divide between the top two Democrats in the House reflects a growing split in their caucus over how party officials should use their special status.

Ohio Superdelegates play hardball

Flexing their new power to determine the Democratic presidential nomination, a bloc of Ohio superdelegates is withholding endorsements from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton until one or the other offers a concrete proposal to protect American jobs, two Ohio Democrats told Politico Wednesday.

The apparent deal among Ohioans is the first evidence of superdelegates’ banding together and seeking concessions from the presidential candidates in return for votes at the convention. It’s a practice that could become more common after Clinton’s victories in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday put her back on solid footing in her race against Obama and ensured that the battle for superdelegates will continue for many weeks to come.


Roger Simon: Five options for Florida and Michigan

Basically, the DNC has five options.

1. The Heck With Them Option: Michigan and Florida broke the rules and should suffer. If they are not made to pay for moving up their contests, 2012 will be even more chaotic than 2008. Strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates, and let the chips fall where they may.

2. The Kumbaya Option: Can’t we all just get along? Let’s seat Michigan and Florida the way the voters voted, and if this helps Clinton, that’s the way the nomination crumbles. The major problem with this, however, is that neither primary was exactly normal. Clinton was the only person on the Michigan ballot, and all the candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida.

3. The Split the Baby Option: Give 50 percent of the delegates to Obama and 50 percent to Clinton. At least this way, the voters of Michigan and Florida will not be insulted and will not punish the Democratic nominee in November.

4. The Mulligan Option: Do it over. Hold new contests. Maybe a caucus in Michigan and a primary in Florida. (Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican, has said he would support a do over in his state.) This option seems to be gaining in popularity within the party. The new contests could be held on the first Tuesday in June, along with Montana’s and South Dakota’s. Sure, this would cost millions, but nobody ever said democracy was cheap.

5. The Lone Ranger Option: Just wait for somebody to ride into town and save the day. Maybe Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean will be able to negotiate a settlement between Obama and Clinton. Except that a source at the DNC told me Dean is in no hurry to intervene. “He wants to let the voters have their say,” the source said. “We need to take a step back. We still have 10 states [plus Guam and Puerto Rico] left to vote and 600 pledged delegates to be determined.”







John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

Bush's embrace poses both boon and bane to McCain

President Bush embraced one-time rival Sen. John McCain yesterday with a White House lunch and Rose Garden endorsement, but Mr. McCain now must weigh both the benefits and risks of his support.

But the incumbent party often is held responsible when things go wrong, and voters are worried about both the sluggish economy and the ongoing war in Iraq. Sen. McCain has vowed to continue Bush policies in both cases.

see also: Bush says McCain will stay the course in Iraq




Huckabee not ruling out no. 2 spot on ballot

Huckabee plans to help John McCain and Republican congressional candidates win over conservative Christians in the fall, while looking for a national radio show or other forum that he can use to expand his influence within the party.

And though Huckabee has said that he doubts McCain would offer him the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, he has not denied interest in the job.

McCain's prize: a head start

Political observers generally agreed that, by securing his party's nomination relatively early, McCain enters the next phase of the campaign with time to devise a national-election strategy and hone his positions on critical issues, both of which could give him an advantage over his eventual opponent.

... McCain figures to benefit from a political cease-fire by fellow Republicans and can tend to fundraising and developing his base, academics say.

He also can consider future Cabinet appointments and a running mate.

"He has a capacity to take on more and more of an aura of being presidential," Mark Peterson, a political-science professor at UCLA.

At the same time, Democrats could face an increasingly ugly nomination process, he said.




Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Clinton aide compares Obama to Ken Starr

"When Senator Obama was confronted with questions over whether he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief and steward of the economy, he chose not to address those questions, but to attack Senator Clinton," Wolfson said. "I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president."

Pennsylvania is should-win state for Clinton

Pennsylvania, where the Democratic campaign heads on April 22 for a dramatic and possibly decisive showdown, is another must-win state for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But it is also a should-win state.

Like neighboring Ohio, where Clinton won 54 percent to Barack Obama’s 44 percent, Pennsylvania’s population is older and whiter than the rest of the nation. Its residents make less money than the national average, and are less well-educated. The issues that rank high on their list of priorities—like health care and the economy—are the ones on which Clinton tends to draw the most support.

And just as in Ohio, much of the state’s political establishment is aligned with Clinton, led by a popular Democratic governor who’s pulling out all the stops on her behalf.

Clinton sends Chelsea to open next round in Pennsylvania

Fresh off three important victories on Tuesday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton wasted no time planting her flag in the next big battleground state, sending her daughter, Chelsea, here Wednesday to speak to students.

“I hope you don’t get tired of seeing me or seeing my family, because I have a feeling we’ll be here a lot over the next number of weeks,” Ms. Clinton, 28, told a crowd of a few hundred people huddled in the cold at an outdoor question-and-answer session at the University of Pennsylvania.




Clinton's success alters delegate race's dynamic

Mrs. Clinton’s victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island cut into Mr. Obama’s delegate lead by 15 delegates at most, and by as few as 5, depending on the final accounting in Texas, which was expected Thursday afternoon.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are embracing sharply different approaches as they try to capture the nomination and rally superdelegates behind them. For Mr. Obama, it is a matter of delegate math as he argues that superdelegates should support whoever has won the most elected delegates after the primary season ends in June. For Mrs. Clinton, it is trying to build momentum — and making a case that she is more electable — to persuade superdelegates to support her.

... Mrs. Clinton appeared to have frozen the race in place, and slowed the flow of superdelegates into Mr. Obama’s camp.

Even in victory, Clinton team is battling itself

For the bruised and bitter staff around Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tuesday's death-defying victories in the Democratic presidential primaries in Ohio and Texas proved sweet indeed. They savored their wins yesterday, plotted their next steps and indulged in a moment of optimism. "She won't be stopped," one aide crowed.

And then Clinton's advisers turned to their other goal: denying Mark Penn credit.

With a flurry of phone calls and e-mail messages that began before polls closed, campaign officials made clear to friends, colleagues and reporters that they did not view the wins as validation for the candidate's chief strategist. "A lot of people would still like to see him go," a senior adviser said.





Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama's game plan don't rise in Chicago politics or come this far this fast in a national race by being soft, naive or scared of a fight. What has distinguished Obama in this campaign is how hard he has battled without appearing to do so. The message that moves the crowds at his rallies is made possible by many layers of calculation underneath. His mild manner belies fierce self-control. The frequent self-mocking conceals a stubborn self-confidence. He not only plays hard; he plays to win, rubs it in sometimes if he does and takes losses hard. "He is," says a friend who has known his share of strivers, "one of the most competitive people I've ever met."



Obama's grandma slams 'untruths'

A frown replaces the dimpled beam of Sarah Hussein Obama, grandmother of Barack Obama, when asked on Wednesday about recent attacks on her grandson that include the spreading of rumors that he is secretly a Muslim and the repeated use of his middle name -- Hussein -- by a radio host at a rally for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

... Obama's grandfather had converted to Islam from Roman Catholicism and taken the name Hussein, Sarah Obama said, but his children had inherited only the name, not the religion. Each person should be able to choose how they worshipped, she said.

"In the world of today, children have different religions from their parents," she said. She, too, is a Christian.

Barack Obama has visited his Kenyan relatives three times in Kogelo, and his grandmother has gone to the U.S. twice. She says they are close, although they have to speak through an interpreter.

Sarah Obama was the second wife of the candidate's late grandfather, so she is not his biological grandmother. But Auma Obama said: "By our definition, in our culture, she is his grandmother," she said.

Obama's Rezko ties escape national radar

The trial comes as the national media are increasingly grappling with the question — raised by everyone from Clinton to media critics and “Saturday Night Live” comedians — of whether Obama has gotten less press scrutiny.

Though Obama has not been implicated in any wrongdoing in the Rezko case, the trial could yield new details about his ties to the Chicago businessman and political fundraiser who also helped him buy a home. Fresh information about their relationship could trip up Obama in what has been a remarkably rapid ascent in national politics. Or Obama could hurdle it, as he has other controversies.

Canadian leader on Obama leak

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday that the leak of a Canadian diplomatic memorandum about Senator Barack Obama’s position on NAFTA was unfair to his campaign for the Democratic nomination and possibly illegal.





Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts





Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts






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