Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Thursday, March 20, 2008


McCain takes double-digit lead as Obama, Clinton feud

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows John McCain’s lead growing against both potential Democratic opponents. McCain currently leads Barack Obama 49% to 42% and Hillary Clinton 51% to 41% margin.

African-American support for Clinton has collapsed, falling to 55% in the general election match-up. Obama, on the other hand, earns solid support from African-American voters but attracts only 36% of white voters in a match-up with McCain.



Hillary presses Obama on revotes in Florida, Michigan

Hillary Clinton  challenged Barack Obama to live up to his claim that he cares about making sure people's votes count.

"This is a crucial test: Does he mean what he says or not?" Clinton said.

see also: Clinton offers to fund Michigan do-over


DNC won't give in on Fla., Mich., official warns

Unless Florida and Michigan Democrats devise workable plans to redo their outlaw primaries, there is no chance the national party will yield to pressure and approve their delegates if it could tip the outcome of the Democratic presidential race, a potential key arbiter of the dispute said yesterday.


Arab financial offensive on US companies concerns analysts

As US shares continue to fall and the American economy reverberates with fears that a subprime-mortgage-driven recession has begun, affluent Gulf states are seizing the opportunity to increase their control of financial companies and other branches of the US economy.

That development is leaving some analysts concerned over the prospect of Arab financial prowess manifesting itself in the political agenda, with negative consequences for Israel.

"There is concern that the purchase of strategic assets provides the owners with the ability to intervene politically," Prof. Gerald Steinberg, chairman of the Political Science Dept. at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post...

... Should those fears materialize, he added, there would certainly be "a strategic impact on Israel. There has been increased Arab investment and control - but these are two different things. The problem is not investment, but control. You could start to see subtle aspects of a boycott [of Israel], even though that is illegal under American law. You might find that some of these firms [that have been heavily invested in by Arab states] place obstacles to deals with Israel," Steinberg said...  full article


What to do about Gaza (from Jerusalem Post)

... What is needed... is an option based on reality, not wishful thinking: to push Hamas back. Israel's interest is to minimize attacks on its soil and citizens while limiting the cost of the response needed to achieve that goal. This can best be done by combining a more active version of current policy and the creation of a security zone in the northern Gaza Strip to push Hamas and its allies out of range...  full article








John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain shrugs off Obama attack over Iraq gaffe

John McCain shrugged off criticism from rival Barack Obama over a gaffe about Iraq, saying on Thursday that all politicians slip up and it was time to "move on".

We all misspeak from time to time and I immediately corrected it. Just as Sen. Obama said he was looking forward to meeting the president of Canada, we all misspeak from time to time," McCain told reporters in London.

"So we'll just move on," the presumptive Republican nominee said after talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at his Downing St. residence.






Voters, McCain differ on quick economic fix

As the economy sours, voters are increasingly demanding immediate government relief — a boost for Democrats who propose just that sort of quick fix, but a problem for Republican Sen. John McCain, whose focus has been on longer-term solutions such as tax and spending cuts and free trade.


McCain praises Britain's 'sacrifice' in Iraq after meeting with Brown, Cameron

"We appreciate enormously the long service and sacrifice of the British servicemen and women in the military, both in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

"I fully appreciate that British public opinion has been frustrated by sometimes our lack of progress in both areas."


McCain mobbed by crowds at Western Wall

What was supposed to be a somber visit by Sen. John McCain to the Western Wall this morning was marred by an unruly mob of Israeli photographers, police and tourists who threw punches at each other as they engulfed the Republican presidential candidate.

McCain was not hurt, but appeared rattled by the spasm of violence as he began a second day of meetings with high-level Israeli officials as part of a congressional trip to the Middle East and Europe.

see also: Frenzy during McCain photo-op



Israeli family details relentless attacks

... Here, Pinhas Amar explained, such attacks are part of the routine, with rockets coming sometimes three or four times a day.

"Every day, all day, we don't have any time," Amar said. "It can be the morning, the afternoon, the night. You are running like a mouse . . . almost every day. You can get two to three days of quiet. Then after that . . . it making you crazy."

That was just the message senior Israeli officials hoped to impart to the man who might be America's next president. McCain arrived at the small house after a helicopter tour with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak...

... Earlier in the day, McCain met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni; Binyamin Netanyahu, the head of the conservative Likud Party; and Ehud Olmert, the country's prime minister.

see also: McCain's Holy Land pilgrimage




Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

New Penn memo: 'the shift to Hillary'

...The more that the voters learn about Barack Obama, the more his ability to beat John McCain is declining compared to Hillary. For a long time we have explained that poll numbers for a candidate who has not yet been vetted or tested are not firm numbers, and we are beginning to see that clearly. Just a month ago, the Obama campaign claimed that the polls showed Barack Obama doing better than Hillary against Sen. McCain. Now such numbers are a lot harder to find...

Clinton facing narrower path to nomination

... Without new votes in Florida and Michigan, it will be that much more difficult for Mrs. Clinton to achieve a majority in the total popular vote in the primary season, narrow Mr. Obama’s lead among pledged delegates or build a new wave of momentum.

... Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant who is not supporting a candidate, said Mrs. Clinton faced a challenge that although hardly insurmountable was growing tougher almost by the day. Mr. Devine said it was critical for her to come out ahead in popular votes, cut into Mr. Obama’s lead and raise questions about Mr. Obama’s electability to win over superdelegates.



Early word: Clinton papers reveal little

More than 11,000 pages documenting Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as first lady were released yesterday, and they contain “all the emotional punch of a factory-worker’s timecard,” concludes John M. Broder of The New York Times.

After poring over the data, he notes that the documents’ many redactions make it difficult to judge the scope of Mrs. Clinton’s influence on policy, since many of the pages include vague listings such as “private meeting.”

Group seeks Clinton phone log

The schedules showing Clinton's engagement on a wide range of matters are an outline and don't reflect phone calls or impromptu strategy sessions, says her presidential campaign.

Those phone calls were at issue Thursday in federal court in Washington. A conservative group that won release of the calendars was pushing for release of 20,000 pages of the former first lady's phone logs.

The National Archives estimates it will take at least one to two years before it can begin processing the phone logs and offers no estimate on a release date.

In Hillary Clinton's datebook, a shift

Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the White House with a schedule befitting a president, packed with policy sessions, meetings with senators and trips to promote an ambitious political agenda. But after the collapse of her health-care plan in 1994, she largely retreated to a more traditional first lady's calendar of school visits, hospital tours, photo ops and speeches on a narrower set of issues...

Lewinsky and the first lady

According to newly released records, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton was in the White House on at least seven days when her husband had sexual encounters with Monica Lewinksy, according to the first lady's calendars released Wednesday. A look at her schedule on days when Lewinsky said she had sexual encounters with Bill Clinton...










Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama says war's cost too high

As the country teeters on the brink of a recession, the price the country is paying for the war in Iraq is far too high, Barack Obama told an invitation-only crowd today. “When you’re spending over $50 to fill up your car because the price of oil is four times what it was before Iraq,” Obama said. “You’re paying a price for this war.”

After giving a speech aimed at the strategic consequences of the war in Iraq yesterday, Obama focused on the effect it has had on the economy today...




Worsening polls reveal Obama's pastor problem

Barack Obama suffered in the polls Thursday after a much-acclaimed speech on race that, pundits said, had failed to defuse voters' anger over rage-filled sermons by his former pastor.

Waging an acrimonious battle against Hillary Clinton for the Democrats' White House nomination, Obama confessed to being bruised by the controversy surrounding his longtime Chicago preacher, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

"In some ways this controversy has actually shaken me up a little bit and gotten me back into remembering that, you know, the odds of me getting elected have always been lower than some of the other conventional candidates," the Illinois senator told CNN in an interview that aired late Wednesday.

"As a practical matter, in terms of how this plays out demographically, I can't tell you. And the speech I gave yesterday (Tuesday) obviously was not crafted to hit a particular demographic," he said.

Groups respond to Obama's call for national race discussion

Religious groups and academic bodies, already receptive to Mr. Obama’s plea for such a dialogue, seemed especially enthusiastic. Universities were moving to incorporate the issues Mr. Obama raised into classroom discussions and course work, and churches were trying to find ways to do the same in sermons and Bible studies...

Obama's odyssey on race

Today, Obama is under attack from the other end of the spectrum, accused of tacitly endorsing the Afro-centrism and deeply critical views of America expressed by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. To those who know Obama and have followed the arc of his career, the charge makes little sense against a man they have long considered a beacon of a colorblind future.

But to critics, Obama's decision to associate himself for 20 years with a church that preaches black nationalism - an association that once helped establish his credibility in the black community - prompts serious questions about his patriotism, judgment, and allegiances...

Anti-Obama pastor unleashed: 'he was born trash'...
'he's a long-legged mack daddy'... video by Pastor James David Manning (ATLAH World Missionary Church, Atlah, NY) has over 550,000 views so far...







Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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