Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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

Friday, May 2, 2008



Republicans crossing over to vote in Democratic contests

Since the start of the primary and caucus season in January, Republican voters have been crossing over in increasing numbers to vote in Democratic contests — supplying up to 10 percent of the vote in states that allow such crossover voting — and they are expected to play a pivotal role in the fiercely contested primary in Indiana. What is less clear, however, is the motivation for their behavior: are they genuinely attracted by the two Democratic candidates? Or are they mischief-making spoilers, looking to prolong a divisive Democratic fight or support a candidate Mr. McCain can beat in November?



DNC coffers dry amid flood of Dem cash

Despite record hauls by Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the DNC has raised less than half the amount taken in by the Republican National Committee.

According to the latest Federal Election Commission reports filed through the end of March, the RNC had $31 million in cash on hand while the DNC had only $5.3 million. The RNC has raised $36.5 million this year while the DNC has raised $17.7 million.




Democrats and Fox News make friends

All of a sudden, the once-frosty relationship between Fox News and the Democratic candidates seems to have grown warmer. Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama, who steadfastly refused to attend Fox-sponsored debates last year, are now giving plenty of interviews as they court Fox’s viewers, who are largely white, conservative and undecided.

... Conversely, Fox seems to have softened its stance toward the Democrats, mindful of the intense viewer interest in the prolonged primary season.

Left wing fury  The detente with Fox has provoked a backlash from progressive bloggers, who contend the party’s leaders are turning their backs on the base — and lending credibility and legitimacy to the network liberals love to hate — in a quest for a few swing votes.



Obama's pastor is praised, condemned in Chicago's south side

Nowhere is the debate over Wright's comments and their effect on Obama more heated than on Chicago's South Side.

Wright, 66, ``has been getting the utmost respect his entire life, and now he's getting death threats,'' Chalmers says. ``He's not used to being treated like that.''

Citing the dispute, Evanston, Illinois-based Northwestern University yesterday announced it had withdrawn an invitation for Wright to receive an honorary degree.

NW University won't offer Rev. Wright honorary degree

Regarding its decision to nix Rev. Wright's degree, university spokesman Alan Cubbage said in a statement: "Earlier this academic year, acting on the recommendation of faculty committees, Northwestern University extended an invitation to the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, former senior minister of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, to receive an honorary degree at Northwestern’s commencement in June.

“Commencement at Northwestern is a time of celebration of the accomplishments of Northwestern’s graduating students and their families. In light of the controversy around Dr. Wright and to ensure that the celebratory character of commencement not be affected, the university has withdrawn its invitation to Dr. Wright.”









John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain blames bridge collapse on earmarks - then backs off

This week, McCain blamed earmarks for the deadly 2007 collapse of a Minnesota bridge. According to the Associated Press, he told reporters that the bridge "collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects."

... According to AP, McCain backtracked somewhat Thursday, stating that he couldn't be sure if redirected spending would have prevented the tragedy. "Do I know specifically whether it would have replaced that bridge in Minneapolis? No, but I know that funding would have been available for higher-priority projects," he said.

McCain swings outreach to right

After courting traditionally Democratic voters, Republican John McCain will tend to his conservative roots for a new round of voter outreach.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has scheduled speeches on judges and gun rights — two issues that have fueled the success of conservative candidates going back to Ronald Reagan...

McCain tells Iowans he would veto farm bill over subsidies

"I have to give you a little straight talk about the farm bill that is wending its way through Congress," McCain said Thursday at the Polk County Convention Center.

"I do not support it. I would veto it," he said. "I would do that because I believe that the subsidies are unnecessary."

McCain was in the heart of farm country, a place where subsidies for corn and ethanol fuel are wildly popular.

McCain won't fault Bush on 'Mission Accomplished'

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said President Bush should not be held responsible for the much-criticized "Mission Accomplished" banner five years ago, but said he should be blamed for bungling the early months of the war.

On Thursday, the fifth anniversary of Bush's dramatic landing on an aircraft carrier where the banner hung, McCain said, "I thought it was wrong at the time."

McCain's 'Mission accomplished' misstep

"To state the obvious, I thought it was wrong at the time," said McCain. "I thought phrases like 'a few dead-enders,' 'last throes,' all of those comments contributed over time to the frustration and sorrow of Americans because those statements and comments did not comport with the facts on the ground."

The veracity of McCain's claim about how he felt regarding the banner, which appeared behind President Bush on the deck of the USS Lincoln on May 1, 2003, was challenged Thursday when the Democratic National Committee unearthed video of McCain talking approvingly of the banner in a June 11, 2003 Fox News interview.

Ron Paul supporters not lining up behind McCain

As far as John McCain is concerned, the Republican presidential nomination is a done deal and the party is united behind him. But thousands of Republicans -- particularly supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul -- aren't buying that.



Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Clinton may be hopeful, but Obama rolls on

... despite a series of trials that have put Mr. Obama on the defensive and illustrated the burdens he might carry in a fall campaign, the Obama campaign is rolling along, leaving Mrs. Clinton with dwindling options.

Mr. Obama continues to pick up the support of superdelegates — elected Democrats and party leaders — at a quicker pace than Mrs. Clinton.

... Although Mrs. Clinton has cut into Mr. Obama’s popular vote lead, it would be difficult for her to overtake him without counting the disputed results in Florida and perhaps Michigan.

Clinton pulls even with Obama nationally

THE NUMBERS - Pew Research Center:

Barack Obama, 47 percent   Hillary Rodham Clinton, 45 percent

Iran protests Clinton's words

Iran has lodged a formal protest at the United Nations about comments by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that the United States would “totally obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, the state-run news agency, IRNA, reported Thursday.

... Mrs. Clinton made the comments in an interview on ABC last week. “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” she said when she was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she added.

O'Reilly Hillary interview heats up

There were no fireworks in Hillary Clinton's sit-down interview on The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Wednesday night, but sparks began to fly from the outset of part two, broadcast Thursday Night....

Hillary town hall to be hosted by Stephanopoulos

Just hours before the Indiana and North Carolina presidential primaries, ABC NEWS has offered to air a 'town hall' meeting with Hillary Clinton -- to be hosted by former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos!

...Stephanopoulos helped run Mr. Clinton's first presidential election campaign and acted as his press secretary and advisor on policy and strategy before joining ABC NEWS...






Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Another Dem ex-chairman
to declare 'Obama'

the Obama campaign rolls out another former DNC chairman's endorsement on Friday: Paul Kirk, a superdelegate who led the party from 1985-1989, is coming out for Obama -- a day after Joe Andrew's switch...

Pruden: Has anybody got a flag pin?

Barack Obama, hotly pursued by his preacher and the crazy preacher's aggressive racism, has revised his stump speech. His once formidable polling lead over Hillary Clinton has dwindled to the single digits. The man who wouldn't wear a tiny American flag on his lapel is looking for a flag pin the size of a bass fiddle.

... the senator's own dream, which only a fortnight ago looked so dreamy, has begun to feel more like a nightmare. He was leading in North Carolina by 25 points — unrealistic then, to be sure — and yesterday that lead had shrunk to 14 points (Rasmussen), 12 (Public Policy Polling) or even to 5 (Survey USA), depending on which pollster you believe.

Worse, a poll taken for New York Times-CBS News shows a spectacular decline in the number of voters who think Sen. Obama is the inevitable Democratic nominee. (Hillary was once inevitable, too, so inevitability is not always reliable.) A month ago, nearly 70 percent of the Democrats expected Sen. Obama to be their nominee; now barely half (51 percent) do.

Will voters accept Obama's gas plea?

The presidential candidate has staked out a politically treacherous position by opposing the three-month suspension of the federal gas tax proposed last month by Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, and embraced by Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton...

North Carolina: a pulpit-and-pews gulf on Obama's ex-pastor

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., under fire for statements that have embarrassed Senator Barack Obama’s campaign, has found staunch support in the pulpits of black churches around North Carolina. The people in the pews, however, are far less accepting.

Obama holds big lead over Clinton in North Carolina

Five days before the important Democratic presidential primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, Barack Obama of Illinois enjoys a substantial lead in one state and remains tied with Hillary Clinton of New York in the other, a new Zogby daily tracking poll shows.

Obama leads by a 50% to 34% margin over Clinton in North Carolina, while the two are tied at 42% support each in Indiana.

Minister's comments hold little sway in Indianapolis enclave

In the cafes, gift stores and the gourmet dog biscuit shop in this city’s neighborhood of Broad Ripple Village, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s name draws all sorts of responses — sighs, rolling eyes, laughter, grim silence.

... Supporters of both Democratic candidates said that they did not think the Wright episode should change the race but said, again and again, that they feared it might in other, less cosmopolitan areas of Indiana where they thought people might be searching for some acceptable explanation for not voting for a black candidate.

Has Obama put the Wright controversy behind him?

The candidate's supporters say yes, but conservative commentators beg to differ...

Obama leaves the stage to mix with seniors

“What I want to do is spend more time listening than talking,” Mr. Obama told a small clutch of Indiana voters at the Oak Pointe retirement center. “It’s been wonderful to see these big crowds, but the problem is you don’t really learn much when you’re listening to yourself talk.”

... At the Oak Pointe center, he was intent on shaking hands with each of the 52 residents seated in easy chairs and wheelchairs and on sofas. A few hours later, he rolled up his sleeves and drank a can of Budweiser as he talked with a group of men at a V.F.W. club.





Ralph Nader... today's headlines with excerpts




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