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

 Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Obama Speech
'A More Perfect Union'


full video


Pat Buchanan: Obama's pastor helps fill in the blanks

It is easy now to understand why Michelle Obama, before Barack began to win, had never once been proud of her country.

Obama has now moved to separate himself from Wright’s rants and removed him from the campaign roster. And he will likely be forced, with anguish, to turn his back on, repudiate, and reject his beloved friend and teacher.

But it is too late for that. For Wright has, for millions of Americans, filled in the blanks about Obama. Wright tells us the kind of company Obama keeps, the kind of men he holds close, the kind of attitudes and beliefs he finds acceptable, if not congenial...

Politico: Race uproar offers test for Obama

He is now facing a full-blown and fast-moving political crisis in which his reputation as a leader with a singular ability to transcend racial divisions and unite Americans is in jeopardy.

A convergence of factors — a media firestorm, a Democratic rival eager to exploit his stumbles and, most of all, a Republican opposition eager to rough up the man they expect to face in the general election — have raised the stakes to new heights for Obama with the speech he will deliver in Philadelphia this morning.

A successful address would go a long way toward answering Hillary Clinton’s complaint that Obama has never shown he can handle the rough-and-tumble nature of modern political combat.

A failure could leave many of the white independent voters — a key group behind Obama’s swift rise in national politics — doubting whether he is really the bridge-builder and healer he has portrayed himself to be.


USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: Clinton up 5 points on McCain; Obama up 2

If the election were held today (and yes, we know it won't be), Democratic contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would get 51% of the vote to Republican candidate Sen. John McCain's 46%, the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll estimates. In a match-up between Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and McCain, Obama comes out ahead 49%-47%.

Both Democrats have overtaken McCain since the last USA TODAY/Gallup survey. In that Feb. 21-24 poll, McCain led Clinton 50%-46% and he led Obama 48%-47%.


CNN poll: majority of Dems prefer Obama over Hillary

52 percent of registered Democrats questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say the senator from Illinois is their choice for president, with 45 percent supporting Clinton.


Florida Democrats scrap revote

Setting the stage for a contentious fight well into the summer, Florida Democrats gave up Monday on redoing their Jan. 29 presidential primary, leaving it to the national party or rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to hammer out a solution to make the state's delegates count.


Economic turmoil shakes up campaign strategies

On Monday, the three applauded the Fed's weekend move that paved the way for the buyout of Wall Street brokerage Bear Stearns. But none of the candidates offered specific economic policy proposals beyond their past statements addressing the months-old housing mortgage crunch.






John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

Iraq violence greets McCain, Cheney

On separate visits to Iraq overshadowed by an eruption of violence, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain warned Monday against withdrawing U.S. troops until the country is stabilized.

The war also took center stage in the presidential campaign back in the U.S., with Sen. Hillary Clinton criticizing McCain for refusing to bring the conflict to an end and challenging Sen. Barack Obama, her Democratic primary rival, on his commitment to withdrawing troops. Each of them, in turn, rebuked her stance on the war.


Troop levels re-emerge as political flash point

In a speech in Washington, Sen. Clinton repeated her pledge to begin withdrawing combat forces from Iraq within 60 days of taking office and accused Sen. McCain of wanting to continue indefinitely the Bush administration's "failed" policies in Iraq.

Sen. McCain fired back during an ostensibly nonpolitical visit to Baghdad, telling CNN Sen. Clinton's policies would mean "al Qaeda wins."

The debate is taking place as the U.S. military presence in Iraq shrinks -- and fears grow that the country's violence, once clearly on the decline, may be beginning to tick back up.

McCain woos Jews with visit to Israel

John McCain is vowing a fight to win over Jewish voters, and even hopes to break Ronald Reagan's record Jewish support for a GOP candidate.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee will visit Israel today and is expected to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other leaders.

While Jews make up only a small percentage of voters nationwide, there are big Jewish populations in the electoral-vote-rich states of New York, New Jersey, California and the bellwether states of Florida, Ohio and Michigan.

A Quinnipiac poll of New Jersey voters shows Hillary Rodham Clinton leading McCain, 54 percent to 38 percent, among Jews.




Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama camp says Hillary is taking the low road

Is it possible to win the Democratic nomination in such a way as to make winning not worth it?

The Barack Obama campaign thinks so. It thinks Hillary Clinton’s campaign is willing to take any road to the White House, including the low road.

“They would do anything to win, and that means anything,” David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, told me Monday. “There is a frenetic energy around them to commandeer this election in any way they can.”

Hillary's hopes for Florida fade - no re-vote

Monday's decision by Florida Democrats to abandon their efforts to hold a new primary, in order to get their delegation seated at the national party's August convention, is another blow to Hillary Clinton's attempt to close the small but near-impregnable delegate gap on her rival, Barack Obama. And she's having little more luck in Michigan.

Hillary hits rivals on Iraq war

Hillary Clinton, marking the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, assailed both her presidential rivals this morning -- Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain for gladly taking the baton from President Bush and Democrat Barack Obama for not doing more to stop the conflict.

Hillary would ban armed private military contractors in Iraq

Hillary Clinton, in a speech marking the five-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, said that if elected, she would pull armed private contractors from that country as well as U.S. troops.

Bill Clinton rejects criticism over race

Former President Clinton on Monday called the notion that he unfairly criticized his wife's rival, Barack Obama, ''a total myth and a mugging.'' Clinton had compared Obama's landslide victory in South Carolina's Jan. 26 primary to Jesse Jackson's wins in the state in 1984 and 1988.

Clinton was widely criticized for appearing to cast Obama as little more than a black candidate popular in a state with a heavily black electorate. He was widely accused of fanning racial tensions.

''They made up a race story out of that,'' Clinton said of the news media, calling the story ''a bizarre spin.''

In an interview with ABC's ''Good Morning America'' broadcast Monday, Clinton said he had gotten a ''bum rap'' from the news media.

Elton John gig for Clinton campaign

Elton John will help raise funds for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a solo concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall next month, the Clinton campaign has said.

The event, Elton and Hillary: One Night Only, will be his first public solo concert in New York City without his band since his solo concert at Madison Square Garden in October 2000.

Tickets for the performance on April 9 go on sale on Wednesday and will start from 125 dollars (£62) for mezzanine seats and 250 dollars (£124) for seats near the orchestra.

"I'm not a politician, but I believe in the work that Hillary Clinton does," the British singer said.






Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Affirmative action foes point to Obama

Leading opponents of affirmative action are increasingly seizing on Illinois Senator Barack Obama's historic run for the presidency as proof that race-based remedies for past discrimination are no longer necessary...

Obama's bid doesn't have support of most black corporate elite

Less than one-third of the 191 black members of the boards of the largest 250 U.S. companies have contributed to the Illinois senator's campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. The list of board members was compiled by Black Enterprise magazine...





Former Israel ambassador/Obama adviser defends Obama on Wright

Speaking before a group of young Jewish leaders, a foreign policy advisor to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Monday pushed back against attacks that the Illinois senator is too close to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s longtime pastor.

Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, reiterated Obama’s rejection of Wright’s inflammatory comments, including Wright’s statement of “God damn America” for treating citizens as “less than human.” Conservative pundits have said that Obama’s relationship with Wright shows that Obama won't be able to bring the kind of change he talks about.

“We would not want to be judged by rabbis who sometimes say ridiculous things,” Kurtzer said at a conference of the United Jewish Communities in Washington D.C. “We would hope that we would be strong enough to denounce them, as the senator has done with his pastor.”

Kurtzer also addressed persisting rumors that Obama is a Muslim.

Obama's church assails media coverage of pastor

Church member and University of Chicago theology professor Dwight Hopkins says Wright's message has been taken out of context.

"The whole point to Dr. Wright's sermons is to how do you make America a better America. If anything he's a true patriot," Hopkins said.

He also argues that the furor surrounding Wright smacks of a general attack against the idea of a black church born during slavery.

"It tries to be a healing balm in the midst of some very challenging situations in the inner city and ghettos," Hopkins said. "If we took a field trip to a thousand black churches across the country on Sunday, you would have a very serious wake-up call on the nature of those messages."

see also: Congregation defends Obama's ex-pastor

Obama tells vets no lower drinking age

Barack Obama on Monday promised Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans help with their grievances — save one. "I know it drives you nuts. But I'm not going to lower the drinking age," the presidential candidate said.

Army veteran Ernest Johnson, 23, of Connecticut, said one of the things that peeved him before he turned 21 was that he couldn't come home and drink a beer — even though he was old enough to serve in the armed services and die for his country.

Obama told Johnson he sympathized, but that setting the legal drinking age at 21 had helped reduce drunken driving incidents and should remain.

Delegate shift: Obama gains Iowa delegates

During a week without a national primary or caucus, Barack Obama managed to add to his delegate lead in the race for the Democratic nomination. Over the past weekend, nine of the fourteen Iowa delegates pledged to John Edwards threw their support to Barack Obama, pushing his total advantage in the race for delegates to 135, according to the latest data from Real Clear Politics.





Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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