Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Weekend Report, March 15-16, 2008



Obama, Clinton agree to play nicer

Rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agree: They sometimes disagree with their trash-talking supporters and will try to cool it. Advisers to the Democratic candidates shed some light Friday on the private chat the two candidates had Thursday on the Senate floor.

The talk lasted three or four minutes in full view of reporters watching on the balcony above who could see them talking, but not hear what they said.

"They approached one another and spoke about how supporters for both campaigns have said things they reject," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. "They agreed that the contrasts between their respective records, qualifications and issues should be what drives this campaign, and nothing else."

An Obama adviser, speaking on a condition of anonymity about the private conversation, gave a similar account, while stressing that it was Obama who approached Clinton on the subject. They committed to making sure that their supporters don't get overheated in the future, the adviser said.


Wes Pruden: The plain things nobody can say

The Obama campaign, if not necessarily the man himself, seems determined to make tough questioning of the man and his qualifications off-limits. Mild, general criticism is OK, barely, but pressing too hard with the wrong questions is taken for racism, bigotry, fanaticism, zealotry and other forms of treachery. Once upon a time, presidential candidates labored mightily to find a log-cabin birthplace in their past, but some Democrats think they've come up with a candidate born in a manger.

... We'll know we've eliminated racism, the real thing, when we can all talk like grown-ups, in front of one another.


Cuomo says close Dem race could be 'ruinous'

Former NY Gov. Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, said the party may be able to avoid a damaging convention fight if Clinton and Obama teamed up on a party ticket, or if the media forced the candidates before then to substantively address big policy issues facing the nation, such as the economy and the war in Iraq.

``It would be ruinous to the Democrats to get to the convention without an arrangement of some kind,'' Cuomo said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt,'' scheduled to air today.






John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain heads to Iraq, Mideast, Europe

Sen. John McCain will step off a plane in Iraq this weekend to see firsthand the effects of the troop increase that he has championed and that his presidential ambitions are tied to, at the outset of a week-long series of private meetings with Middle Eastern and European leaders that will be as much an overseas audition as it is political theater aimed at voters in the United States.

McCain plans $1000-a-plate fundraiser in London

John McCain has been averaging a fund-raiser a day in America’s pockets of affluence – hotel ballrooms in New York, Atlanta, Chicago – but now he will expand his pursuit of campaign donations at a $1,000-a-plate lunch at the 18th century Spencer House in London.

The transatlantic fund-raiser is to be held March 20 at the home built by the first Earl Spencer, an ancestor of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.



McCain says he worries about pre-election Iraq attacks

John McCain said on Friday that he feared that terrorists might step up their attacks in Iraq this fall in an attempt to tip the November election against him.

“I worry about it because I know they pay attention, because of the intercepts we have of their communications,’’ Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, told a friendly crowd at a town hall-style meeting at the Springfield Country Club in suburban Philadelphia. “I worry about it, because the hardest thing in warfare to counter is someone, or a group of individuals, who are willing to take their own lives in order to take others.’’

He added, “I also believe that they may be able to carry out some spectacular suicide attacks, but we do have them on the run.’’ Nonetheless, he concluded, “Yes, I’m very worried.’’




Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary's big donors threaten to withhold $$$ over delegate battle

Reflecting how tense the situation has become, influential fund-raisers for Senator Hillary Clinton have stepped up their behind-the-scenes pressure on national party leaders to resolve the matter, with some even threatening to withhold their donations to the Democratic National Committee unless it seats the delegates from Florida and Michigan or holds new primaries there.



Hillary in Pennsylvania, takes on big oil profits

Continuing her extensive campaigning in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton promised to increase the taxes on profits from oil companies and criticized her rival Barack Obama in an appearance at an event held at a gas station in Pittsburgh.

"Both Senator Obama and Senator McCain have sided with Dick Cheney and Big Oil," Clinton said, noting both had voted for a 2005 bill that offered some tax subsidies for oil companies.




Clinton aide Mark Penn: Obama can't win general election

Hillary Clinton’s chief Strategist Mark Penn says Democratic front-runner Barack Obama can’t win the general election in November — and Hillary can.

In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Penn asserted that Obama can’t win because he has been unable to beat Hillary in several big states that are key to success for Democrats in the November.




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Rev. Wright leaves Obama campaign; Obama condemns words but not ministry of former pastor

Barack Obama condemned racially charged sermons by his former pastor Friday and urged Americans not to reject his presidential campaign because of “guilt by association.”

Obama’s campaign announced that the minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., had left its spiritual advisory committee after videotapes of his sermons ignited fierce debate in news accounts and political blogs.

Obama did not clarify whether Wright volunteered to leave his African American Religious Leadership Committee, a loose group of supporters associated with the campaign, or whether the campaign asked him to leave.

see also: Obama denounces Wright's statements as 'inflammatory'


Obama makes rare FOX News appearance: video

"If I had thought that was the tenor or tone on an ongoing basis of his sermons, then yes, I don't think it would've been reflective of my values or my faith experience...If I had heard them repeated, I would've quit." - Barack Obama, during FOX News interview.

O'Reilly on Obama/pastor: a simple question

On “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News,
Bill O’Reilly said Friday night:
“I wouldn’t sit in a church
where a pastor said that.
Would you?
Why does Sen. Obama?
That’s a simple question.”

Gingrich on Obama/pastor: 'he has a credibility question'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren: “In terms of Sen. Obama, I think he has a credibility question.”

Gingrich continued: “Does he honestly expect the nation to believe that for 20 years, longer than 20 years, according to his own testimony, … he didn't notice the anti-American rhetoric? I mean, does somebody seriously believe that in over 800 potential Sunday visits, it never once came up, no one ever mentioned it to him? I think that strains credibility.”

The story behind the story: Obama's pastor

To reporters who had followed the campaign, it was an old, oft-written story. But this time it had video of Wright saying things like “U.S. of K.K.K.A.,” available on YouTube and played endlessly by cable news channels.

A key part of Obama’s case is electability — the notion that he can heal the nation’s red-blue divide by appealing to Republicans, or “Obamacans,” as he gleefully calls these crossover supporters.

The coverage of Wright's comments bolstered the effort by Sen. Hillary Clinton to raise vague doubts about the judgment of her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And it revived conservative chatter about Obama’s patriotism that has been fueled by rumors he does not put his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance (false) and stopped wearing a flag lapel pin (true).

Pelosi's stance boosts Obama

"If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections," said Pelosi, "it would be harmful to the Democratic Party."

Although Pelosi offered her assessment without directly referencing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., her comments lend considerable support to the Illinois Democrat.

Political prognosticators give Clinton more of a chance of catching, or even surpassing, Obama in the national popular vote but Pelosi argued that superdelegates should follow the pledged-delegate, not the popular-vote, leader.


Rezko's role bigger than admitted

Obama's acknowledgment that Rezko raised as much as $250,000 for earlier campaigns, initially made in an interview with The Chicago Tribune and confirmed later to Politico, came after a year-and-a-half-long trickle of admissions about Rezko’s fundraising role and more than a month after Obama’s aides contended that they had identified and jettisoned all Rezko-linked cash. It also came as Rezko’s trial on corruption charges, underway in Chicago, brought increased scrutiny of Obama’s ties to the real estate developer, fast-food magnate and political insider.

Days ago, Politico asked the campaign for a detailed list of the $157,835 in Rezko-linked contributions it said it had donated to charity. 

The campaign attributed only $85,185 of that to a list of specific donations from Rezko and 16 associates, declining to attribute the rest because it told Politico it didn’t want to subject other contributors “to any suspicion of wrongdoing or embarrassment.”

see also: Obama describes developer deal as a mistake



Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




view more past news & headlines




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