Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Monday, March 24, 2008



Key Iowa adviser invokes 'Monica's blue dress' when assailing Bill Clinton's 'patriotism' comments

Gordon Fischer, the former director of the Iowa Democratic Party and a senior adviser for Sen. Barack Obama's efforts in Iowa writes in his blog:

"B. Clinton questions Obama's patriotism.  In repsonse (sic), an Obama aide compared B. Clinton to Joe McCarthy. This is patently unfair.  To McCarthy.

"When Joe McCarthy questioned others' patriotism, McCarthy (1) actually believed, at least aparently (sic), the questions were genuine, and (2) he did so in order to build up, not tear down, his own party, the GOP.  Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping -- instead he is hurting -- his own party.  B. Clinton should never be forgiven.  Period.  This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."

... UPDATE: Fischer writes to say, "On my individual blog, I made a stupid comment.  I sincerely apologize for a tasteless and gratuitous comment I made here about President Clinton. It was unnecessary and wrong...


McCarthyism remarks anger Dems' allies

Prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama yesterday both faulted Obama's campaign for allowing a retired general and backer of the Illinois senator to equate comments by Clinton's husband - which appeared to question Obama's patriotism - to McCarthyism.

"I don't believe President Clinton was implying that," said Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a former presidential candidate who endorsed Obama last week. "But the point here . . . is that the campaign has gotten too negative - too many personal attacks, too much negativity that is not resounding with the public."

When asked whether Obama's campaign was being too negative in accusing Bill Clinton of McCarthyism, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, a Clinton supporter, said, "Of course. . . . The Obama campaign tries to have it both ways."


New Republic: The Democratic death march

Given the delegate math, Hillary's only path to the nomination, barring a meltdown by Obama, is to destroy his electability. But harsh attacks on Obama will inevitably discourage African Americans from voting in the fall, and Hillary can't beat McCain without strong black turnout in places like Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Conversely, any attack on Hillary that alienated moderate Republican women could cripple Obama's chances.


Both Obama and Clinton embellish their roles

Both senators Obama and Clinton are viewed
as taking credit where credit wasn't necessarily due...





Maureen Dowd issues chicken roost warning

"If Hillary’s fate falls into the hands of Jimmy [Carter], Al [Gore]
and Nancy [Pelosi], the Clinton chickens may come home to roost."



The man at the helm in Dem delegate dispute

James Roosevelt, Jr., is the longtime cochairman of the Democrats' national party's rules and bylaws committee. A superdelegate to the nominating convention in late August, has maintained a strict policy of neutrality until all the convention issues are resolved. If the rules and bylaws committee doesn't settle matters, the dispute will fall to the convention credentials committee. Roosevelt will also be cochairman on that panel when it is constituted in late June.

... Roosevelt's love of politics and the Democratic Party is a product of his upbringing and illustrious lineage:

He is one of 24 surviving grandchildren of Franklin Delano Roosevelt....


Pelosi's nomination
tightrope walk

"The fact that she is supposedly neutral and head
of the convention and speaker and she's saying
[superdelegates should not overturn election outcomes],
that is a very powerful statement on her part," said a
former Democratic member of Congress who served with her.
"That gives credibility to the Obama camp.
If she were neutral, she wouldn't say anything.
The mere fact that she's taking that position
is very important help to Obama."







Money troubles for DNC convention in Denver

While the dragged-out Democratic primary battle is taking its toll on the candidates, their staffs and their anxious supporters, it is also making it much harder to plan the coronation.

The host committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver is finding it difficult to raise the $55 million it has promised in exchange for the privilege of holding the event at the Pepsi Center, above, from Aug. 25 to 28.


GOP state parties are in dire straits

... many state Republican organizations are still reeling in the aftermath of the devastating 2006 election cycle, raising questions about how much grassroots help the state parties will be able to deliver to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

The state party woes are especially ill-timed since McCain will face a Democratic nominee who may be considerably better funded and organized, and since Republicans will be facing an energized Democratic party that is shattering primary






John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain breaks spending limits

John McCain has officially broken the limits imposed by the presidential public financing system, according to spending reports filed last week by the campaign.

The senator from Arizona has spent $58.4 million on his Republican primary effort. Those who have committed to public financing can spend no more than $54 million on their primary bid.

McCain's lawyers contend that the spending cap no longer applies. The senator was certified to enter the matching-funds program last year when he was starved for cash. But once he started to win, he decided to hold off. On Feb. 6, after his Super Tuesday victories, he wrote to the Federal Election Commission to announce he would withdraw. His lawyers said that gave him freedom to spend as much as he wanted...

Bill O'Reilly: Campaign finance boomerang

...Mr. Soros and his merry band have put together a number of "527s" that will pony up an astounding $350 million for "issue" ads in the upcoming presidential campaign. That means much of the money will be used to pound Mr. McCain into pudding.

So karma has visited Mr. McCain. His vision of the folks controlling election funding is in tatters. Now, radical guys like Mr. Soros hold a tremendous amount of power, while regular Americans are limited in what they can contribute. Back in 2001, some astute political people warned Mr. McCain that zealots would reap the rewards of his legislation, but he didn't listen...

McCain offers soothing tones in trip abroad

Senator John McCain’s trip abroad this week — which took him from the Middle East to No. 10 Downing Street to the Élysée Palace here — was more than just a Congressional fact-finding trip, or even a candidate’s attempt to appear statesmanlike.

It was also an audition on the world stage for Mr. McCain in his new role as the Republican presidential nominee. And it offered him the chance to test his hope that he could repair America’s tattered reputation by shifting course on some of the policies that have alienated its allies, in areas like global warming and torture. But he is making his foray even as he embraces what much of the world sees as the most hated remnant of the Bush presidency: the war in Iraq.

see also: McCain, traveling along a tightrope

A present for McCain as the other side fights

Feuding Democrats have handed Senator John McCain the gift of time. How well he uses it may determine his chance to beat them in November.

.. “Everything about the playing field still tilts against us,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster. “But the slope is not as steep. As a Republican, things have started to look a little brighter.”

2 McCain moments, rarely mentioned

What Mr. McCain almost never mentions are two extraordinary moments in his political past that are at odds with the candidate of the present: His discussions in 2001 with Democrats about leaving the Republican Party, and his conversations in 2004 with Senator John Kerry about becoming Mr. Kerry’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.

There are wildly divergent versions of both episodes, depending on whether Democrats or Mr. McCain and his advisers are telling the story. The Democrats, including Mr. Kerry, say that not only did Mr. McCain express interest but that it was his camp that initially reached out to them. Mr. McCain and his aides counter that in both cases the Democrats were the suitors and Mr. McCain the unwilling bride.

Telecom lobbyists tied to McCain

John McCain has condemned the influence of "special interest lobbyists," yet dozens of lobbyists have political and financial ties to his presidential campaign — particularly from telecommunications companies, an industry he helps oversee in the Senate.

Of the 66 current or former lobbyists working for the Arizona senator or raising money for his presidential campaign, 23 have lobbied for telecommunications companies in the past decade, Senate lobbying disclosures show.

Hagel cool on backing McCain

Citing foreign policy differences, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), one of his party’s biggest critics of the Iraq war and a co-chair of Sen. John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign, indicated Sunday that he is in no rush to endorse the Arizona Republican this time around.

As most GOP lawmakers are falling in line behind McCain, the party’s presumptive nominee, Hagel’s absence from the list of supporters has been highly visible.






Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Clinton proposes Greenspan, Rubin lead emergency foreclosure group

Hillary Clinton called on President Bush on Monday to appoint "an emergency working group on foreclosures" to recommend new ways to confront the nation's housing finance troubles.

Clinton said the panel should be led by financial experts such as Robert Rubin, who was treasury secretary in her husband's administration, and former Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker.

Such a panel would recommend legislation and other steps to "help re-establish confidence in our economy," Clinton said in prepared remarks for a speech on the economy in Philadelphia...


Richardson: Clinton aides in the gutter

The former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination was compared by one Clinton adviser to Judas this week following his voiced support of Clinton's rival, Barack Obama, The Washington Post reported.

"I'm not going to get in the gutter like that," Richardson said of the comments from informal Clinton adviser James Carville. "And you know, that's typical of many of the people around Senator Clinton. They think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency."

Richardson has been critical of the ongoing fight for the Democratic nomination, but his scorn of such tactics has primarily been aimed at Clinton's camp.

"The campaign has gotten too negative," he said of the electoral battle.

"I just feel the time has come to come together behind a candidate."

see also: Richardson's harsh advice for Hillary

Dynasty: not a dirty word in Pennsylvania

In the presidential primary campaign, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — the political equivalent of Maxwell House after years of appearing with her husband in the state — is benefiting not just from the demographics of Pennsylvania, but from its unique amber-preserved culture.

Familiarity does not breed contempt is this state, where political offices pass through generations of the same family and the old manufacturing ethos creates an insularity that forces politicians to run several times before winning.


Clinton papers reveal donor, embargo ties

The close proximity of Mrs. Clinton's contact and Indonesian businessman Mochtar Riady's Little Rock donation to his efforts to lobby for an end to the embargo were never disclosed at the time and only became public with the release last week of 11,046 pages of Mrs. Clinton's White House activity calendars....


Clinton backer points to electoral college votes as new measure

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, who backs Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, proposed another gauge Sunday by which superdelegates might judge whether to support Mrs. Clinton or Senator Barack Obama.

He suggested that they consider the electoral votes of the states that each of them has won.

“So who carried the states with the most Electoral College votes is an important factor to consider because ultimately, that’s how we choose the president of the United States,” Mr. Bayh said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Hillary still not responded to call for N.C. debate

When two more Democratic debates were announced this month, both Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama quickly accepted the invitation to meet in Pennsylvania on April 16.

But Mrs. Clinton, unlike Mr. Obama, has not yet agreed to participate in a North Carolina debate on April 19.




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Novak: The Obama dilemma

...In rejecting the racist views of his longtime spiritual mentor but not disowning him, Obama has unwittingly enhanced his image as the African American candidate -- as opposed to being just a remarkable candidate who happens to be black. That poses a dilemma for unelected superdelegates, who as professional politicians will settle the contest because neither Obama nor Clinton can win enough elected delegates to be nominated. ...

... The problem for Obama is that furor over Wright has reached beyond voters normally interested in political controversies. Over the past week, I have been asked repeatedly by non-political people about Obama's connection with Wright's tirades. In the process, Obama's political persona has been altered -- transformed from Harvard Law Review to South Side activist, as described by one friendly Chicago politician...

Gallup poll: Obama edges ahead of Clinton

Barack Obama has quickly made up the deficit
he faced with Hillary Clinton earlier this week,
with the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update
on Democratic presidential nomination preferences
showing 48% of Democratic voters
favoring Obama and 45% Clinton.



Obama: don't label me liberal 

Senator Barack Obama calls himself a progressive and a pragmatist and says that a lot of the "old labels don't apply any more."

... "When you're rated by National Journal as to the left of Ted Kennedy and Bernie Sanders, that's going to be difficult to explain," said Danny Diaz , a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

Obama: 'This is not a crackpot church'

OBAMA: ... Understand this, something else that has not been reported on enough is despite these very offensive views, this guy has built one of the finest churches in Chicago. This is not a crackpot church. Witness the fact that Bill Clinton invited him to the White House when he was having his personal crises....

Conservative lawyer endorses Obama

Douglas Kmiec, a leading conservative Republican lawyer Sunday endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for U.S. president.

Writing in Slate magazine, Kmiec, who served as constitutional legal counsel to former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, called Obama "a person of integrity, intelligence and genuine good will."

"I take him at his word that he wants to move the nation beyond its religious and racial divides and to return United States to that company of nations committed to human rights," said Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at California's Pepperdine University.

Obama's talk fuels Easter sermons

Some pastors began to rethink their sermons on Tuesday, when Senator Barack Obama gave a speech about race, seeking to calm a furor that had erupted over explosive excerpts of sermons by his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr....




Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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