Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Tuesday, March 11, 2008



Obama wins Mississippi Primary

Barack Obama coasted to victory in Mississippi's Democratic primary Tuesday, latest in a string of racially polarized presidential contests across the Deep South and a final tune-up before next month's high-stakes race with Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania.

Obama was winning roughly 90 percent of the black vote but only about one-quarter of the white vote, extending a pattern that carried him to victory in earlier primaries in South Carolina. Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana.


Ferraro: Obama where he is because he's black

Clinton campaign finance committee member, former vice presidential candidate, and former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-NY,  told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Ca., that, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."


Obama fury over Ferraro's race remark

Obama aide Susan Rice called for Clinton to fire Geraldine Ferraro, the only woman yet to run on a major party's presidential ticket, after her comments Friday to a Los Angeles newspaper.

"That's a really outrageous and offensive comment," Rice said on MSNBC television after Ferraro, who sits on Clinton's finance committee, had said: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

"It is the sort of comment that we have heard repeatedly, I'm afraid, from some of the Clinton surrogates," said Rice, Obama's leading adviser on foreign policy.

She said Ferraro's remarks were "far worse" than those of another foreign policy aide, Samantha Power, who was forced to resign from the Obama campaign last week for calling Clinton a "monster."


Clinton and Obama each reach for retired brass

For many of the officers, as well as the Pentagon, which likes to stay out of political campaigns, the hunt for military endorsements has become a bit awkward.

Endorsements from retired generals and admirals have been a mainstay of presidential campaigns for years, but with the nation at war and a decorated hero as the presumptive Republican nominee, rarely have Democrats been more desperate for military credibility. Retired military officers have become as prized as governors or senators for their endorsement value.



Florida Dems may get a recount

Florida Democrats were moving forward Monday with a plan to redo their presidential primary using privately-funded mail-in ballots, a key state party official said, even though some congressional and party leaders had yet to sign on to the idea.

“We’re huddling with state brass now,” the official said. “The spotlight will be on us. We will have a detailed plan.”


GOP moves to force immigration vote

Republican leaders hope that by pushing the bill — endorsed by 48 centrist Democrats and 94 Republicans — they can drive Democrats into a politically painful choice: Backing a tough immigration measure that could alienate their base, including Hispanic voters, or being painted as soft on border security in conservative-leaning districts.


New York Gov. Spitzer is linked to prostitution ring

NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

The wiretap captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan. The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat, today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.” He did not address his political future.

see also: Republicans set deadline for impeachment proceedings






John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain heads to Israel, Europe

Senator John McCain will burnish his foreign policy credentials with a trip next week to Israel and Europe, his office said Monday.

Joined by two close Senate colleagues, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, McCain will visit Jerusalem on March 18, London the next two days, and Paris on March 21, according to a statement.

An Israeli official said Sunday that the senior US lawmakers would meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem.

McCain scolds Obama, Clinton over NAFTA

Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that proposals by Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to use pressure tactics to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement could undermine U.S. trade relationships with other nations.

"We've got to stop this protectionist, NAFTA-bashing," said McCain...

McCain reports 'everything's fine' in health check

Speaking Monday to assembled national and local media inside a Swift Aviation Group hangar at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, an upbeat McCain said he had undergone "a regular checkup" that morning.

He repeated that "everything's fine" several times.

"I got the full cancer check a couple of weeks ago, with my dermatologist," McCain said. "(On Monday) I just went through a regular routine. . . . Like most Americans, I go to see my doctor fairly frequently."

McCain said he intends to publicly release his complete medical records in mid-April...



Scanning for GOP running mate

The vetting and guessing process already is under way, so it's a good time to look at three groups of contenders:

Fellow senators... Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison

Fellow presidential hopefuls... Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney

Governors... Mark Sanford (S. Carolina), Haley Barbour (Miss.), Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), Bobby Jindal (Louisianna)

In Havana, a page from McCain's past

The Granma clipping in Barral's restaurant, dated Jan. 24, 1970, recalls one of the defining periods of McCain's life, his 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war after his Navy jet was shot down over North Vietnam. The tale of that photo and how an obscure Cuban psychologist came to interview McCain -- now a 71-year-old U.S. senator from Arizona and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee -- rouses the echoes, curiosities and suspicions of another era.

There is no doubt that the two men met in Hanoi in January 1970. Their accounts of the basic outlines of the meeting are almost identical.

McCain briefly mentions his encounter with Barral in his 1999 autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers," calling him "a Cuban propagandist, masquerading as a Spanish psychologist and moonlighting as a journalist." McCain wrote that Barral concluded he was "a psychopath," but Barral said in an interview that he never reached that conclusion...





Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Clinton tax returns - what's the holdup?

"What is the holdup?" said Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that tracks the role of money in politics. "She hasn't exactly made it clear as to what process is making it so cumbersome to just release them."

Past Democratic presidential candidates have set a precedent for releasing their tax returns before or during the primary season.

Clinton aide: Obama unqualified for VP

After several days of Bill and Hillary Clinton floating the idea of a joint ticket with rival Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton chief spokesman Howard Wolfson declared Monday that Clinton does not consider Obama qualified to be vice president.

Still, Wolfson said Clinton would not “rule out” Obama as a potential vice president, in the event the Illinois senator is somehow able to prove he meets the test to be commander-in-chief in the five months between now and the August Democratic National Convention.


Can Clinton make Mississippi a race?

Even Wayne Dowdy, the head of the Mississippi Democratic Party, thinks Barack Obama will win his state's primary on Tuesday, and it's Dowdy's job not to take sides. Yet there are good reasons for Obama to be anxiously watching the returns today...

 "Senator Obama will carry Mississippi," Dowdy said in an interview. "But Senator Clinton will be competitive. Senator Clinton will get a number of the delegates because she had a good base in Mississippi."

The iron lady

Clinton may be criticized for staying too long in the race and for attacking Obama in ways that his supporters will consider nefarious and desperate. But no one is entitled to a Presidential nomination. As ugly as it looks now—and as ugly as it is likely to become—if Barack Obama becomes the Democrats’ nominee, he may thank Hillary Clinton for making him a better candidate






Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Team Obama hits Hillary on experience claims

The Obama campaign unloads on Hillary Clinton's "experience" with this memo by
Greg Craig offering a point-by-point rebuttal of her claims: click

Obama rejects idea of back seat on ticket

“I don’t know how somebody who’s in second place can offer the vice presidency to someone who’s in first place,” Mr. Obama told a town meeting at the Mississippi University for Women here, alluding to his lead in delegates. As the crowd cheered, he said: “If I’m not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president? Do you understand that?”


Obama plan allows for 2009 Iraq elections

A senior military adviser to Senator Obama says Iraqi national elections, scheduled for late 2009, would be possible under the Democratic presidential candidate's plan to withdraw American combat brigades from Iraq.

"Iraqi elections are a very useful thing," Richard Danzig said yesterday at a press conference at which three national security experts gave testimonials on behalf of the junior senator from Illinois. Mr. Danzig, a former secretary of the Navy under President Clinton, added that Mr. Obama's plan to withdraw one or two combat brigades a month over 16 months "would fully be able to protect those elections and make sure there were enough troops on the ground to make sure it goes forward." The adviser said later that he believed progress in training an Iraqi national army and other local Iraqi forces meant that fewer American troops would be needed than in 2005, when coalition forces fanned out across Iraqi cities and towns to protect voters from Al Qaeda and other terrorists.

Obama struggles to stay above fray

... how hard can he hit back without undercutting his message of uplift?

The question has come into high relief over the past week as Senator Obama – who is expected to win the Mississippi primary Tuesday but faces a stiff challenge next month in Pennsylvania – pushes back against a fusillade of criticism from the Clinton campaign.

Clinton, RNC tee up attacks on Obama

Clinton has launched assaults on Obama made by the RNC over the past year, while the Republican Party has used lines of attack developed by Clinton to soften Obama for a possible general election contest match-up against Sen. John McCain.

Clinton’s intensifying attacks have spurred Obama to promise tougher campaign tactics. He has also taken advantage of GOP arguments to criticize Clinton by raising implicit questions about her ethics.




Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts



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