(HELP THE IOWA CAMPAIGN - Please Forward This To At Least 1 Of Your Groups Or Re-Post As A Bulletin On Your Myspace - Thank You) -
Despite The Media Continuing To Strongly Support Its Establishment Candidate, We Are Now Seeing The Definitive Trending Of Likely Caucus Voters And The Evidence On The Ground Clearly Suggesting That Senator Obama Is On His Way To Winning In Iowa, And Has Now Moved Into 1st Place In The Iowa Polls - This Is Exciting! The Effectiveness Of Our Ground Organization Is Absolutely Phenomenal!
NOW IS THE TIME TO RE-DOUBLE OUR EFFORTS!
Senator Obama's Historic Jefferson-Jackson Address In Iowa:
New Field Tactics To Get Volunteers Out To The Iowa Caucus:
The Obama 5-Step Process is now just an incredible success in IOWA, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, California, and Michigan. As a direct result of employing this process, Jill, a mother of 4, was responsible for 23 brand new people joining the Obama campaign in one week alone. Continue spreading the word. . .
Our objective is to organize the citizens of America around the goal of making Senator Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States.
"Some men see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were, and say why not?" -Senator Robert F. Kennedy
In working to succeed on this historic mission, we should all have an actual, literal picture in our minds of Senator Obama taking the presidential oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capital on January 20th, 2009. We should all hold this picture in our minds and re-visit it often during this visionary campaign. If we see it and believe in it, we will achieve this for our country.
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." -President John F. Kennedy
So what can we all do in this campaign for our country?
We continue to receive emails that say something along these lines: "I believe in Senator Obama, he's the 1st candidate to come along and really inspire me to become involved with a campaign, I've signed up on the website, now what do I do?" This campaign will succeed in making Barack Obama the next President of the United States, and this is being accomplished by doing what every successful organization in the world does . . . . . by duplicating a system of success.
We are all so very fortunate to have this medium available to us so that we can all share different ideas and methods with each other. The following represents just one idea, one approach, one answer to the question, that has proven thus far to be profoundly effective. It's a 5-step, cookie-cutter, duplicable process that everyone of us in this campaign can take ourselves through and then duplicate in order to help propel our heroic leader onto victory. The Obama 5-Step Process:
Step 1. Join this campaign at barackobama.com
Step 2. Make a monetary contribution and then get yourself a t-shirt and a bumper sticker.
Step 3. Join 5 (or more) national and local online Obama groups through the website to get plugged into people and events. It costs nothing and takes no more than 10 minutes to do.
Step 4. Make sure you're registered to vote, and take at least 1 unregistered citizen that you know out to the homepage (icon bottom center) to get them registered to vote as well.
Step 5. Talk to 10 (or more) friends and family members, and encourage them to go to the website to see for themselves the incredible energy and optimism of this historic Obama for President movement. (Once they join, you can encourage them to repeat this 5-step process, and so on).
Look at each step, play with the numbers, do the math, and it becomes very easy to see why this is having such a dramatic impact on the campaign.
We have the most organized, the most highly networked, and the most energetic presidential campaign in America today. We are seeing first-hand that exposing people to this process is exponentially increasing our numbers of supporters. We're taking this and we're now running with it all over the country. We should certainly continue sharing best practices and 'ways that work' with each other from across the nation, so by all means, please forward this on to your friends and to your groups and discuss in your local meetings further implementation in your area of this remarkably powerful ground strategy.
Make sure everyone has a copy of The Obama 5-Step Process with them when actually out in the field, when writing letters, and when campaigning on-line and over the phone. It's pure power in your hands.
We're gonna win the White House.
"Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now; We're On The Move!"
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Kinsley then arrives at the same conclusion that many of us who care deeply about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party have come to. Who is the best candidate? Who is the candidate who can speak with moral authority? Who is the candidate who has pledged to restore habeas corpus and our Constitutional rights that have been shredded under the Bush Administration?
Hillary Clinton declared the other day -- apropos of whom, she didn't say, or need to -- "We can't afford on-the-job training for our next president." Barack Obama immediately retorted, "My understanding is that she wasn't Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. I don't know exactly what experience she's claiming." As wit, that round goes to Obama. Clinton was elected to the Senate in 2000, her first experience of public office. Obama was an Illinois state senator for seven years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. In terms of experience in elective office, this seems to be a wash...
...She has to be careful about making a lot of this. Many people resent her using her position as first lady to take what they see as a shortcut to elective office. More profoundly, some people see her as having used her marriage as a shortcut to feminism. And the specter of dynasty hangs unattractively over her presidential ambitions. In an odd way, the deep unpopularity of George W. Bush has hurt Hillary Clinton, as people think: "Enough with relatives already."...
...My candidate, at least at the moment, is Obama. When I hear him discussing issues, I hear intelligence and reflection and almost a joy in thinking it through. (Okay, not all issues. He obviously gets no joy over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.) That willingness, even eagerness, to figure things out seems to me more valuable than any amount of experience in allowing issues to wash over you as they do our incumbent president.But of course the unspoken appeal that Hillary Clinton has for some voters is that they believe that they are really voting for Bill Clinton. In their minds, a vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill. I wish those voters would understand that will not play for a general election strategy. It's not a strong position to work from. We can't elect a Presidential candidate based on assumptions as to what her spouse will be doing in office.
Read more here
I don't know much about the Clintons' personal life. And I don't presume to know the state of their marriage. But don't assume that they're living together or that Bill is going to be a daily influence in a Hillary-run White House. After all, she's already said that she would appoint him "Ambassador to the World." (i.e., he'll be on the road all the time, and not in the White House with her.
Friday, November 23, 2007
I am the same age as Barack and have struggled with what it means to be post-racial and not fitting into one group or the other. At times I have felt outcast from my own race, when I wanted desperately to fit in. Unlike Barack, both of my parents are black, so being an outsider has been something that is maybe more painful. I don't have a "white" side that I can retreat to.
I learned at a young age that I was not going to find common ground based on whether someone looks like me, but rather whether their thoughts were like mine. In that way the Internet is the perfect medium for a post-racial person. You don't know what I look like, how I speak, what my social class is. You don't even know what my gender is unless I tell you. So it is a liberating place to share ideas.
In that way the Internet and blogging are radical acts. Nowhere else do you see the raw, unprocessed thoughts, the parts that people usually filter out. It's also the only place where you can truly get down-and-dirty and confront people's deepest held beliefs and not expect to get punched in the face.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Here's Barack Obama's Thanksgiving message:
"On this Thanksgiving, as we spend time with our family and friends, let's all reflect on what we're thankful for in our own lives. And let's remember those who cannot be with their loved ones because they're serving overseas. But let's also do our part to help those who have no place to go for a meal. Amid reports that more and more Americans are visiting food pantries at a time when those same pantries are less and less able to help them, I will be volunteering this week at the New Horizons food pantry in Manchester, New Hampshire. And I encourage all Americans to do what they can to help those in need -- because the best way to show our gratitude for what we have is by doing our part for those who have less."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The 2008 Democratic presidential race has tightened,
with Barack Obama gaining on front-runner Hillary Clinton six weeks before the
first contest, according to a national Reuters/Zogby poll released on
"This race is just beginning, let alone all over," pollster John Zogby
Clinton led Obama 38 percent to 27 percent in the new poll, a 10-point
fall from her 46 percent to 25 percent lead last month. The drop followed a
month of attacks on the New York senator from her rivals and a heavily
criticized performance in a late-October debate.
Obama ahead in new Iowa poll
No wonder Hillary Clinton is redoubling her efforts in Iowa.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers has Barack Obama leading the primary field with 30 percent, compared with Clinton at 26 percent and John Edwards at 22 percent. Obama's lead doesn't amount to much given that it's still within the poll's margin of error. But the horse race numbers, along with the results of other questions asked in the poll, has his campaigin smiling.
It's the first time in weeks that Obama has held such a lead. (See the full
results and Post story here.)
Clinton is still seen as the more experienced Democrat, but caucus-goers
surveyed in the poll say they are more interested in change: Fifty-five percent
said a "new direction and new ideas" was their top priority, compared with 33
percent who said "strength and experience." Obama is also increasingly the
second choice of Iowa voters, the Post reports. That's significant because any
candidate who doesn't win 15 percent at a caucus is deemed inviable, and his or
her supporters must choose another candidate or go home.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Obama Fights Foes, Seen or Otherwise By JEFF ZELENY
JOHNSTON, Iowa, Nov. 9 — Senator Barack Obama’s political appeal has always stemmed in part from his biography. For nine months, he has been telling his story in dozens of visits across Iowa, amplified by a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign and a robust network of admirers.
But as voters start narrowing their options in the Democratic presidential race, Mr. Obama is trying to re-establish his story line in the face of misinformation, the long shadow of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and perhaps prejudice as well.
“You have e-mails saying that I’m a Muslim plant that’s trying to take over America,” Mr. Obama told voters the other day at a rally in eastern Iowa. “If you get this e-mail from someone you know, set the record straight.”
Now his campaign’s effort to reach Iowans who have received anonymous e-mail messages questioning his patriotism or faith has grown more organized. In each of his 33 state field offices, workers are armed with two letters of rebuttal.
The first is signed by three Iowa ministers, a nun and a church elder, who write, “Senator Obama is a committed Christian who found Christ long before entering politics and has been outspoken about his faith ever since.”
The second, signed by three retired generals, is intended to refute widely circulated e-mail message questioning Mr. Obama’s patriotism by showing a picture of him not placing his hand over his heart while the national anthem played before a political speech.
“Senator Obama’s personal history represents the best of the American Dream,” the letter says. “His grandfather fought in Patton’s army and went to school on the G.I. Bill. His grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line during World War II.”
In the closing weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Obama is placing a renewed emphasis on his biography as he tries to increase his appeal to working-class voters. Through his life story, he wants to offer himself as more than simply a political alternative to Mrs. Clinton and former Senator John Edwards.
Though previously hesitant to talk extensively about his mother, who died of cancer more than a decade ago, he mentioned her again and again this week in telling voters he understood what it was like to grow up, for a time, with a single mother who relied on food stamps. And her struggle with cancer, he said, taught him about the health care system.
Mr. Obama has now made 32 trips to Iowa, spending 59 days visiting 62 counties. As he passed through more than a dozen cities there this week, many of his crowds were smaller and the settings more intimate, with curiosity seekers giving way to prospective caucusgoers.
“There are still people in every room who don’t know enough about Barack,” said David Axelrod, the campaign’s chief strategist, who traveled with him here this week. “The biography authenticates his message.”
Having spent more than $5 million in television advertising in Iowa, Mr. Obama is embarking on a fresh media offensive. He conducted nearly as many interviews in two days this week as during a two-month stretch earlier this year. He invited Iowa reporters to an off-the-record cocktail session Thursday evening, held a news conference in this Des Moines suburb on Friday and appeared on the public television program “Iowa Press.”
The appearances served as a prelude to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner on Saturday, featuring six Democratic candidates appearing before 9,000 party activists. The campaign is placing enough importance on the event that Mr. Obama, famous for last-minute cramming, has been working for nearly two weeks to memorize his speech. “If you don’t do well in Iowa,” he told reporters Friday, “you’re going to have problems catching up.”
In all these efforts, Mr. Obama is returning to his personal story to demonstrate his outside-the-Beltway experience, illustrate an ability to bring change and elevate his candidacy. At the same time, his campaign is prepared to answer questions that have long shadowed his biography, vigilantly tracking rumors and instructing supporters to catalog e-mail and other materials.
Asked Friday whether his race would affect his candidacy, he said, “I am getting a fair hearing, and I will get a fair hearing.”
Still, the rumors worry some supporters.
“One of the stupidest things I’ve heard and keep hearing is that he’s a Muslim,” said Linda Boston, a member of his state steering committee. “That is not true. He’s a Christian. I would like to see that rumor put to rest.”
At a stop this week in Muscatine, a woman in the crowd noted that she had received many negative e-mail messages.
“We’ve been hearing this for a while now,” Mr. Obama replied, his voice steady. “You don’t have to curse them out. Just tell them that they are misinformed.”
Barack Obama gave what could be the most important speech of the campaign to more than 9,000 Iowa Democrats in Des Moines this weekend.
Here's how Iowa's top political analyst, David Yepsen, responded yesterday:Should he win the Iowa caucuses, Saturday's dinner will be remembered as one of the turning points in his campaign, a point where he laid down the marker and began closing on Clinton, the national frontrunner.
Barack sparked new momentum on the ground in Iowa, where the January 3rd caucuses will be the first true test of our campaign and Senator Clinton's.
We need to react quickly to build on this moment.
Here's how we can do it. Barack is scheduled to travel the country for major fundraising events over the next several weeks.
I want to eliminate at least one of those trips so Barack can spend as much time in Iowa as possible.
If we can raise $850,000 over the Internet this week, Barack can return to Iowa and build on the momentum he created this weekend.
We put together a video so you can see for yourself what happened in Iowa on Saturday.
Please watch and make a donation of $50 to reclaim a day that Barack can spend on the ground in Iowa:
We try to balance Barack's schedule between raising money and talking with voters in the early states.
But after his speech on Saturday, we need to shift that balance and send him back to Iowa as soon as possible.
That means finding another way to meet our fundraising goals. We must stay competitive in the four early states and more than 20 other states that will hold their contests on February 5th. But we have to do it in a way that gives Barack more time with voters.
Something very special happened in Iowa this weekend.
I haven't seen a crowd this energized by a political leader since Barack electrified the country at the 2004 convention.
Let's rise together to meet this occasion:
Obama for America
P.S. -- Here's the full text of Barack's speech:
Barack Obama's Address to the Jefferson Jackson Dinner 2007
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Des Moines, Iowa
November 10, 2007
Thank you so much. To the great Governor of Iowa and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa. To my dear friend Tom Harkin for the outstanding work that he does. To the congressional delegation of Iowa that is doing outstanding work, and to Nancy Pelosi, Madam Speaker -- thank you all for the wonderful welcome and the wonderful hospitality.
A little less than one year from today, you will go into the voting booth, and you will select the President of the United States of America.
Now, here's the good news -- the name George W. Bush will not be on the ballot. The name of my cousin Dick Cheney will not be on the ballot. (We've been trying to hide that for a long time. Everybody has a black sheep in the family.) The era of Scooter Libby justice, and Brownie incompetence, and Karl Rove politics will finally be over.
But the question you're going to have to ask yourself when you caucus in January and you vote in November is, "What's next for America?"
We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it's slowly slipping away. We are working harder for less. We've never paid more for health care or for college. It's harder to save, and it's harder to retire. And most of all, we've lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about it.
We were promised compassionate conservatism, and all we got was Katrina and wiretaps. We were promised a uniter, and we got a President who could not even lead the half of the country that voted for him. We were promised a more ethical and more efficient government, and instead we have a town called Washington that is more corrupt and more wasteful than it was before. And the only mission that was ever accomplished is to use fear and falsehood to take this country to a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged.
It is because of these failures that America is listening, intently, to what we say here today -- not just Democrats, but Republicans and Independents who've lost trust in their government but want to believe again.
And it is because of these failures that we not only have a moment of great challenge, but also a moment of great opportunity. We have a chance to bring the country together in a new majority -- to finally tackle problems that George Bush made far worse but that had festered long before George Bush ever took office -- problems that we've talked about year after year after year after year.
And that is why the same old Washington textbook campaigns just won't do in this election. That's why not answering questions because we are afraid our answers won't be popular just won't do. That's why telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won't do. Triangulating and poll-driven positions because we're worried about what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won't do. If we are really serious about winning this election, Democrats, we can't live in fear of losing it.
This party -- the party of Jefferson and Jackson, of Roosevelt and Kennedy -- has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we led, not by polls, but by principle; not by calculation, but by conviction; when we summoned the entire nation to a common purpose -- a higher purpose. And I run for the Presidency of the United States of America because that's the party America needs us to be right now.
A party that offers not just a difference in policies, but a difference in leadership.
A party that doesn't just focus on how to win but why we should.
A party that doesn't just offer change as a slogan, but real, meaningful change -- change that America can believe in.
That's why I'm in this race. That's why I am running for the Presidency of the United States of America -- to offer change that we can believe in.
I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists -- and won. They have not funded my campaign; they will not get a job in my White House; and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am President.
I'm in this race to take those tax breaks away from companies that are moving jobs overseas and put them in the pockets of hard working Americans who deserve it. And I won't raise the minimum wage every ten years -- I will raise it to keep pace so that workers don't fall behind.
That is why I am in it. To protect the American worker. To fight for the American worker.
I'm in this race because I want to stop talking about the outrage of 47 million Americans without health care and start actually doing something about it. I expanded health care in Illinois by bringing Democrats and Republicans together. By taking on the insurance industry. And that is how I will make certain that every single American in this country has health care they can count on. And I won't do it twenty years from now. I won't do it ten years from now. I will do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States of America.
I run for President to make sure that every American child has the best education that we have to offer -- from the day they are born to the day they graduate from college. And I won't just talk about how great teachers are -- as President, I will reward them for their greatness -- by raising salaries and giving them more support. That's why I'm in this race.
I am running for President because I am sick and tired of Democrats thinking that the only way to look tough on national security is by talking, and acting, and voting like George Bush Republicans.
When I am this party's nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq; or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; or that I supported Bush-Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that we don't like. And he will not be able to say that I wavered on something as fundamental as whether or not it is OK for America to torture -- because it is never ok. That's why I am in it.
As President, I will end the war in Iraq. We will have our troops home in sixteen months. I will close Guantanamo. I will restore habeas corpus. I will finish the fight against Al Qaeda. And I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century -- nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. And I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, "You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now."
America, our moment is now.
Our moment is now.
I don't want to spend the next year or the next four years re-fighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s.
I don't want to pit Red America against Blue America; I want to be the President of the United States of America.
And if those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them head on. Because I believe the American people are tired of fear and tired of distractions and tired of diversions. We can make this election not about fear, but about the future. And that won't just be a Democratic victory; that will be an American victory.
And that is a victory America needs right now.
I am not in this race to fulfill some long-held ambitions or because I believe it's somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here. I always knew this journey was improbable. I've never been on a journey that wasn't.
I am running in this race because of what Dr. King called "the fierce urgency of now." Because I believe that there's such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost upon us.
I don't want to wake up four years from now and find out that millions of Americans still lack health care because we couldn't take on the insurance industry.
I don't want to see that the oceans have risen a few more inches. The planet has reached a point of no return because we couldn't find a way to stop buying oil from dictators.
I don't want to see more American lives put at risk because no one had the judgment or the courage to stand up against a misguided war before we sent our troops into fight.
I don't want to see homeless veterans on the streets. I don't want to send another generation of American children to failing schools. I don't want that future for my daughters. I don't want that future for your sons. I do not want that future for America.
I'm in this race for the same reason that I fought for jobs for the jobless and hope for the hopeless on the streets of Chicago; for the same reason I fought for justice and equality as a civil rights lawyer; for the same reason that I fought for Illinois families for over a decade.
Because I will never forget that the only reason that I'm standing here today is because somebody, somewhere stood up for me when it was risky. Stood up when it was hard. Stood up when it wasn't popular. And because that somebody stood up, a few more stood up. And then a few thousand stood up. And then a few million stood up. And standing up, with courage and clear purpose, they somehow managed to change the world.
That's why I'm running, Iowa -- to give our children and grandchildren the same chances somebody gave me.
That's why I'm running, Democrats -- to keep the American Dream alive for those who still hunger for opportunity, who still thirst for equality.
That's why I'm asking you to stand with me; that's why I'm asking you to caucus for me; that's why I am asking you to stop settling for what the cynics say we have to accept. In this election -- in this moment -- let us reach for what we know is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again. Thank you very much everybody.
Clinton Aides Prompted Queries at Events
At two campaign events in Iowa this year, aides to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged audience members to ask her specific questions, a tactic that drew criticism from an opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination and led her yesterday to promise that it would not happen again.
Mrs. Clinton, speaking to reporters in Iowa, said she was unaware that her aides had ever planted questions.
“It was news to me,” said Mrs. Clinton, of New York, “and neither I nor my campaign approve of that, and it will certainly not be tolerated.”
Staff members have been told to avoid doing so in the future, advisers said.
Planting questions with audience members, while not unheard of in political campaigns, is generally avoided because of the embarrassing image it suggests when the tactic becomes public: that a candidate is uncomfortable facing tough questions or campaigning in unpredictable settings.
Political analysts said that while planting questions is not the worst sin of a campaign operation, the practice could reinforce negative opinions about Mrs. Clinton.
“The problem for Hillary Clinton is the whole spin that’s going to happen — that she and her campaign are manipulative and scheming and that she is essentially trying to bend the rules to maintain her lead in the polls,” said Steffen W. Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University.
The practice came to light late last week when a student at Grinnell College in Iowa, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, told her campus newspaper that a Clinton aide had asked her to pose a question to Mrs. Clinton about global warming.
The request came during an event Tuesday in Newton, Iowa, where Mrs. Clinton outlined her plan to create five million jobs in renewable energy sectors.
In a question-and-answer session with the audience, Mrs. Clinton called on several people with raised hands; some of them asked friendly questions about policy, and one man pressed her on trade issues.
At one point Mrs. Clinton called on Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff, who asked for the senator’s ideas for combating global warming.
Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff did not return phone messages over the weekend seeking comment. But the Grinnell College newspaper reported her as saying that the Clinton aide told her the campaign wanted a question from a college student, and that campaign staff members had prompted Mrs. Clinton to call on her.
A Clinton spokesman, Mo Elleithee, denied that Mrs. Clinton was aware of the planted question or that she was directed to call on Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff. But he confirmed that the campaign aide planted the question.
“It’s not something we do; it’s not an official campaign policy,” Mr. Elleithee said yesterday. “But it is now an official campaign policy that we will not do this moving forward.”
One of Mrs. Clinton’s opponents in the Democratic presidential race, Mr. Edwards, used the incident to chide her, telling reporters yesterday that voters at campaign events “expect you to stand in front of them and answer their hard questions, and they expect it to be an honest process.”
“What George Bush does is plant questions and exclude people from events, and I don’t think that’s what Democrats want to see,” Mr. Edwards said in Iowa.
In response, Mr. Elleithee said: “Senator Clinton has taken hundreds of questions here in Iowa and across the country from voters and reporters, and she will continue to. What George Bush does is attack the Democrats and divide the country, and John Edwards’s campaign is resembling that more and more every day.”
Last spring, an Iowa Democrat, Geoffrey Mitchell, said that a different Clinton aide encouraged him to ask Mrs. Clinton about Iraq policy during a campaign event, according to a news account at the time and a report Saturday on Fox News.
Mr. Mitchell could not be reached for comment yesterday. He is supporting Mr. Obama, according to Fox.
Mr. Elleithee said yesterday that this second instance was not an example of a planted question. Rather, he said, the aide and Mr. Mitchell were loosely familiar with each other and they were talking about Iraq, and the aide suggested that Mr. Mitchell ask a question.
“We often encourage people who have questions about the senator’s policies to ask her questions about them,” Mr. Elleithee said.
(CNN)–Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has seen her lead over fellow White House hopeful, Senator Barack Obama, D-Illinois, grow tighter.
In the latest poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters from the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, the New York senator had 36 percent support, to Obama's 25 percent. Last month, Clinton led Obama by 21 percentage points according to Marist.
Starting Gate: Obama Wows 'Em In Iowa
Posted by Vaughn Ververs
(AP)The Barack Obama boomlet has apparently begun. The Illinois senator is getting rave reviews
for his speech at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night. Want the evidence?
Here’s what Iowa's premier political handicapper, David Yepsen, had to say on
his Des Moines Register blog about the speech: "It was one of the best of his campaign. The passion he showed should help him close the gap on Hillary Clinton by tipping some undecided
caucus-goers his way. His oratory was moving and he successfully contrasted
himself with the others - especially Clinton - without being snide or nasty
about it. … Should he win the Iowa caucuses, Saturday’s dinner will be
remembered as one of the turning points in his campaign in here." Since Clinton
stumbled in the last debate, there has been an air of anticipation surrounding
Obama and John Edwards. Would one of them capitalize on the slip and begin to
emerge as the alternative to Clinton's seeming march to the nomination? Sure,
it's one event, one speech and plenty of road left before the January caucuses.
And Obama faces big questions about his strategy. Although all accounts point to
a strong organization in the state, it's not at all a slam-dunk that the
campaign can harness its support among young and non-traditional caucus-goers,
especially just two days after New Years. Still, it's hard to miss the hype over
Obama's candidacy lately. He's managed to be aggressive without being negative
for now. Most importantly, his stepped up criticisms of Clinton looks to have
answered questions about whether Obama has the mettle to go the distance. After
being out-raised by Clinton in the third quarter of this year, and poll after
poll outside of Iowa showing the New York Senator with a commanding lead,
Obama's campaign appeared to stall. Now, he's reviving his pitch for change –
not just in the party controlling the White House but a more fundamental brand.
"If we are really serious about winning this election, Democrats, then we can't
live in fear of losing," Obama told Iowa Democrats. "This party, the party of
Jefferson and Jackson and Roosevelt and Kennedy, has always made the biggest
difference in the lives of the American people when we led not by polls but by
principle, not by calculation but by conviction, when we summoned the entire
nation to . . . a higher purpose." Obama rose to national prominence based
partly on his rhetorically soaring speech at the 2004 Democratic National
Convention. For much of this year, he's not repeated that performance. If he can
build on his speech this weekend, the Obama boomlet may yet turn into something
resembling the movement his candidacy has promised. Clinton Support Slips In New
Hampshire: Iowa may have dominated the political landscape over the weekend but
don’t forget about that other important early state – New Hampshire. While the
January 3rd caucuses will go a long way toward setting the table for New
Hampshire's primary, the two states haven’t always agreed on their candidates.
And the Granite State has a recent history of sending a message to the
front-runners, especially in the GOP contests. John McCain thrashed George Bush
in 2000 and Pat Buchanan defeated Bob Dole there in 1996. In 1992, New Hampshire
made Bill Clinton the "comeback kid" but in 2004, the state validated John
Kerry's Iowa victory. While the primary date is still not set, the betting is
that New Hampshire will vote on January 8th, giving the candidates just five
days to either capitalize on their Iowa victories or to correct course. A new
poll shows a fluid contest in both parties. Hillary Clinton, who has held a much
larger lead in New Hampshire than Iowa, has seen her support slip nearly 10
points since September in the Boston Globe poll. The
poll shows the front-runner with a still-healthy lead over Obama, 35 percent to
21 percent. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney leads Rudy Giuliani 32 percent
to 20 percent with McCain at 17 percent. A Marist College poll showed similar results.
Campaign Intrigue: Sometimes a there's more than curiosity behind the questions
on the campaign trail. The Clinton campaign has acknowledged that a student at
Grinnell College in Iowa was approached by a staffer who suggested she ask the
candidate a question about climate change. "One of the senior staffers told me
what [to ask]," Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff said after the question and answer
session. "On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question
about Sen. Clinton's energy plan at a forum," spokesman Mo Elleithee said.
"However, Sen. Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during
the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again." Don’t
look for this to die down anytime soon as it's especially good fodder for her
opponents. Edwards seized on the revelation with this criticism: "George Bush
goes to events that are staged where people are screened where they’re only
allowed to ask questions if the questions are favorable to george bush and set
up in his favor. That’s not the way democracy works in Iowa. And that’s not the
way it works in New Hampshire. ... And we don’t stage questions. We go in and
answer the questions that are asked. And that’s the way it’s supposed to work in
the caucus process. And I think this is the kind of thing George Bush himself
Obama's Superb Speech Could Catapult His Bid
OPINION By DAVID YEPSEN REGISTER POLITICAL COLUMNIST
Nov. 12, 2007 —
The six leading Democratic presidential candidates showed up for the Iowa Democratic Party's big
Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Saturday night, and five of them gave very good speeches.
Barack Obama's was excellent. It was one of the best of his campaign.
The passion he showed should help him close the gap on Hillary Clinton by tipping some undecided caucusgoers his way. His oratory was moving, and he successfully contrasted himself with the others especially Clinton without being snide or nasty about it.
That was an important thing for him to do. Historically, the Iowa party's "JJ" dinner is a landmark event in Democratic presidential caucus campaigns. All the key party activists, donors and players are present. This year, about 9,000 of them showed up.
(Most were from Iowa, though there was some grumbling that Obama packed the place with
ringers from Illinois. Joe Biden even greeted them in his speech. The charge that they brought in outsiders was denied by the Obama people, who were nevertheless pleased they beat the other candidates in the noise war inside Veterans Memorial Auditorium.)
What's important isn't the hoopla. It's what the candidate does on the stage and while all did quite well, Obama wasparticularly impressive. Should he come from behind to win the Iowa caucuses, Saturday's dinner will be remembered as one of the turning points in his campaign here. For example: " He said the Iraq war "should have never been authorized and should have never been waged," a shot at the votes Clinton and most of the others cast in favor of it. " Obama took another dig at the
Clinton era when he said "we have a chance to bring the country together to
tackle problems that George Bush made far worse and that festered long before
George Bush took office."
He tweaked Clinton for not taking questions at some of her events by saying: "Not answering questions because we're afraid our answers just won't be popular just won't do it." (Clinton is also currently vexed by controversy over her staff trying to plant questions with Iowans.) He said that "telling Americans what they think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won't do it."
Translation: Obama is often inclined to say things party interest groups don't
want to hear, like the need for school reform, merit pay negotiated with
teachers' unions, more efficient cars or money to rebuild the military.
There were other contrasts, but his coup de grace came with this: "When I am
the nominee of this party, the Republican nominee will not be able to say I
voted for the war in Iraq, or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt
on Iran, or that I support Bush-Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that
we don't like.
Obama also asked Democrats to move to a new era in their party. He said: "I don't want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s," a reference to the
polarization of the Clinton years. "I don't want to pit red America against blue America," he added.
Obama also did something else he rarely does: He invoked Martin Luther King Jr. and adopted the cadence and uplifting touches of a traditional black preacher's sermon.
His speech was also noteworthy becauseof the hour it was given and the poor timing. He didn't start until after 11 p.m. and was the last one to speak after most of the crowd had been sitting
for four hours.
That's because the Iowa party did a disservice to the candidates by also loading up the program with Iowa politicians. They just aren't in the same league with their presidential candidates.
For a lover of political oratory, it was a little like listening to a long Beethoven symphony
while having some kid play a Tonette between movements.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Obama responds to flag photo
MUSCATINE, Iowa - The photo continues to circulate on the Internet and a voter here this afternoon asked Sen. Barack Obama to explain why he did not have his hand over his heart in front of a giant American flag when the other candidates standing next to him did.
Calling the viral e-mail a "classic dirty trick," the Illinois Democrat told his supporters to correct the record and that the image is not what it appears to be.
"This is just so irritating," Obama responded. "This was not the Pledge of Allegiance.
This woman was singing the Star Spangled Banner. Now, I was taught by my
grandfather that you put your hands over your heart during the Pledge of
Allegiance. The Star Spangled Banner, you sing. So that's what I did."
The photo was taken this summer at Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry in Indianola, Iowa.
"These aren't the only e-mails that are going out," Obama said. "You've got e-mails saying that I'm a Muslim plant that's trying to take over America and this and that and the other."
Obama, speaking to about 350 people in the gymnasium of a community center, advised a polite response to those sending around the message.
"If you get this e-mail from someone you know, set the record straight," he said. "You don't have to curse them out, just tell them that they are misinformed."
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Here's an excerpt:
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—I've seen Barack Obama's show. I've seen the crowds. I've seen the audacity. I've seen the hope. I knew what to expect Tuesday night at his event at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, and yet after it was over I was still impressed. He was funny and passionate, and he connected with his big audience. When he left the stage, the room was on its feet and chanting with him. Nothing like that happened during the two days I followed Hillary Clinton. Her performances were solid and her audiences were enthusiastic, but they didn't interrupt her with applause the way they did with Obama.
A talented candidate works with the rhythm of an audience, taking it through a range of emotions—humor, passion, and anger. If the candidate does it right, the room feels more committed at the end of the event than during the opening jokes. That's what it was like when Obama spoke.
Read more here
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Suggestion to Bill Clinton: you were able to escape sex and legal scandals when you were president because the economy was good and people were employed. You ended up ahead, historically. Don't drag yourself down with your wife, trying to defend the indefensible.
Obama Rejects Bill Clinton's Criticism
By NEDRA PICKLER – 21 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama said Tuesday that former President Clinton is making a leap to compare treatment of his wife in the presidential race to the "swift boat" criticism of John Kerry in 2004.
The former president had encouraged an audience in Nevada Monday not to let "trivial matters" take away the election from the Democrats as they have in the past. He cited the television ads during the 2004 presidential campaign that questioned Kerry's patriotism and campaign commercials in 2002 suggesting that Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga. was soft on terrorism.
Both Kerry and Cleland won medals for their service in Vietnam, during which Kerry commanded a Navy "swift boat" and Cleland lost three limbs. Both were defeated after the ads aired.
"I was pretty stunned by that statement," Obama said with a chuckle when asked about the former president's comment in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
He said that when debating last week whether illegal immigrants should be given driver's licenses, Hillary Rodham Clinton "seemed to contradict what she said previously."
Both Obama and John Edwards have criticized her repeatedly on that score, but Obama said in the interview: "How you would then draw an analogy to distorting somebody's military record is a reach."
Sen. Chris Dodd, another candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, called the Clintons' response to the debate "outrageous."
"To have the former president come out and suggest this is a form of swiftboating ... is way over the top in my view," Dodd said in a telephone interview.
"If elected to the presidency, there will be a lot of tough questions and if you can't handle it in a debate without accusing everybody who has an issue with you of piling on or a sexist attack, somehow, first of all that's unwise and, secondly, it's false," Dodd said.
Obama, during his phone interview, also had criticism for his top two campaign rivals — Clinton and former Sen. Edwards.
The Illinois senator said Clinton does not have the track record to back up two of her proposals — increasing fuel economy and the production of renewable fuels like ethanol — both of which he said she's voted against in the Senate.
"I think it is important to look at who has been a consistent champion on these issues," Obama said. "I think I can make a legitimate claim that I have been consistent even when the politics is hard."
Edwards has said he would be the stronger fighter to get rid of the influence of special interests in Washington. But Obama said Edwards did not take on those interests when he was a senator from North Carolina.
"I'm happy to put my track record next to John's," Obama said. "He's been talking about it on the campaign trail, but when he was on position to do something, we fare well in that track record."
Sen. Clinton's comments on driver's licenses came at the end of a televised Democratic presidential debate last week. She hedged on whether she supported a plan by her home state governor, New York's Eliot Spitzer, to issue licenses to illegal immigrants. Both Democratic and Republican rivals have criticized her answer, accusing her of trying to have it both ways, and since then the Clinton campaign has accused them of ganging up on her.
Obama said he didn't protest when a debate in Iowa over the summer began with questions about his lack of experience and public foreign policy views.
"You didn't hear us complain that somehow we were being picked on," Obama said. "I mean, I think it's assumed that we are running for the presidency of the United States of America and that we've got to answer tough questions."
Bill Clinton made his comments at a convention of the American Postal Workers Union.
"We listened to people make snide comments about whether Vice President Gore was too stiff," Clinton said. "And when they made dishonest claims about the things that he said that he'd done in his life. When that scandalous swift boat ad was run against Senator Kerry. When there was an ad that defeated Max Cleland in Georgia, a man that left half his body in Vietnam."
"Why am I saying this? Because, I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again," Clinton said. "Ya'll raise your hand if you're for illegal immigrants getting a driver's license. So, we then let the Republicans go ahead saying all the Democrats are against the rule of law."
The Obama campaign website now has a new section called "Cleaning up Washington"
He has been in the forefront of calling for ethics and earmarks reform (aka "pork barrel spending"_, and is the ONLY Democratic candidate who has released his earmarks. Here is a list of his earmarks. Unfortunately, I can't give you a list of Hillary's to compare them, because she won't release hers. But what I can tell you is that she's been called "The Queen of Federal Pork" by Bloomberg News and has secured more earmarks for the defense industry than any other Democrat (except for panel Chairman Sen. Carl Levin)
From the campaign website:
Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in the fight for open and honest government. As a U.S. Senator, he spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. In a politically charged election year, Obama acknowledged that corruption was a problem that plagued both political parties. He subsequently enlisted the help of Republican allies to limit lobbyist influence, shine sunlight into the earmarks process and promote open government.
Promoting Open Government
The American people are tired of a Washington that's only open to those with the most cash and the right connections. Senator Obama has been a strong and consistent advocate of ethics and lobbying reform. Last year, he was one of only 8 Senators to vote against reform legislation taken up in the Senate because he thought the bill was too weak. That legislation did not address some of the largest ethics loopholes, such as the ability of lawmakers to accept subsidized flights on corporate jets, or the ability of lobbyists to curry influence by "bundling" large groups of contributions for lawmakers.
In the 110th Congress, Obama worked with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to introduce legislation described as the "gold standard for reform." He then worked with the Senate Leadership to craft strong ethics reform legislation to help restore the public trust in the institution. The final package that passed the Senate includes a number of Obama/Feingold provisions: a full ban on gifts and meals from lobbyists; an end to subsidized travel on corporate jets; full disclosure of who is sponsoring earmarks; additional restrictions to close the revolving door between public service and lobbying shops; and much tighter disclosure requirements for political contributions that lobbyists "bundle."
Empowering Citizens to Crack Down on Government Waste
Every American has the right to know how the government spends their tax dollars, but for too long that information has been largely hidden from public view. That's why Senator Obama and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) teamed up to pass a law that will lift the veil of secrecy in Washington by creating a Google-like search engine that will allow regular people to track approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans online. More than 100 organizations across the political spectrum praised this legislation.
Shining Light on Earmarks and Pet Projects
Over the past 12 years, the number of earmarks (pet projects promoted by individual legislators) in the federal budget has tripled to 16,000, totaling $64 billion a year. Many of these projects are important, but many are wasteful and only benefit special interests. Senator Obama introduced the Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act to shed light on all earmarks, by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for the earmark and a written justification for each, 72 hours before the earmarks can be approved by the full Senate. Senators would be prohibited from advocating for an earmark if they have a financial interest in the project. Finally, earmark recipients would have to disclose to an Office of Public Integrity the amount that they have spent on registered lobbyists and the names of those lobbyists. Parts of this legislation were passed by the Senate in January 2007.
Senator Obama also introduced the Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates, and Posting Act (The CLEAN UP Act). The bill aims to improve public access to information about all legislation, including conference reports and appropriations legislation, in particular after hurried, end-of-session negotiations. Conference committee meetings and deliberations would have to be open to the public or televised, and conference reports would have to identify changes made to the bill from the House and Senate versions. Finally, no bill could be considered by the full Senate unless the measure has been made available to all Senators and the general public on the Internet for at least 72 hours.
We've had eight years of shadow government, secrecy and lies. Let's put an end to government that benefits only the wealthy. If you think this is a crucial issue for the upcoming election season, sign up online and let your voice be heard!
Turns out Obama was right. This comes back to what Obama said in the last debate. That he will speak the truth to the American people, even if it's difficult to hear. Don't we want our politicians to tell us what's really going on, so that we can make the best, most wisest decisions possible?
From CNN's Ruben Navarrette Jr.:
Commentary: Who needs friends like Musharraf?
By Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- This week, like a lot of Americans, I have Pakistan on my mind -- again.
The last time was in August when that country made a cameo appearance in the 2008 presidential campaign. When Sen. Barack Obama suggested getting out of Iraq and moving "onto the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan," and then pledged, if elected president, to go into Pakistan if our military was in hot pursuit of "high-value terrorist targets" (read: Osama bin Laden), his opponents pounced.
Rudy Giuliani suggested that Obama should be more accommodating of Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Mitt Romney said that Obama was "confused as to who are our friends and who are our enemies." Sen. John McCain called Obama's remarks "kind of typical of his naivete." And Sen. Hillary Clinton said that Obama's foreign policy views were "irresponsible and frankly naive."
And while U.S. intelligence agencies put bin Laden in the remote tribal areas of western Pakistan, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States insisted that, if the U.S. military went into his country after bin Laden, it would destabilize the region.
You don't say. What do you call what is happening now?
In a power grab intended to head off a likely decision by the country's Supreme Court declaring him ineligible to serve another term, Musharraf has declared a state of emergency, suspended the constitution, limited freedom of the press, detained more than 1,000 lawyers and opposition leaders, and put the next round of elections on hold indefinitely. With that, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror -- and a nuclear power to boot -- seems to be spinning out of control.
Now for the really depressing part: The United States seems powerless to stop it. Speaking for his administration, President Bush said Monday that it is "our hope" that Musharraf will "restore democracy as quickly as possible."
Hope? Easy, Mr. President. You don't want to be too aggressive. You might scare him off. Is hope all we have left when dealing with Pakistan? What about the leverage that should come from providing the country with military and economic aid to the tune of -- according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies -- at least $10 billion since September 11, 2001?
By comparison, the amount of aid that Great Britain plans to give Pakistan -- $493 million over the next three years -- seems like a pittance. And yet the Brits say that they're reviewing their aid package in light of the crackdown and demanding that Pakistan's government release all detainees.
That's a splash of moral leadership -- and a good example for the United States to follow. After all, what good is having a friend in that part of the world if it is no friend of freedom and democracy? And, if expedience has us cozying up to a petty dictator who puts his interests before those of his country, what makes us think that -- when push comes to shove -- he won't put his interests before ours? And, if that's true, tell me again why this relationship is worth preserving.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Hillary Clinton's Lead Drops in Latest Polls
WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton's commanding lead in the polls appears to have suffered a few bruises during the pounding she's taken lately from her Democratic rivals.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll out over the weekend found Clinton slipping from 53% to 49% while her closest competitor, Barack Obama, climbed from 20% to 26%.
And a CNN Poll released Monday found a similar dip, with Clinton dropping from 51% in October to 44% now, while Obama hit 25%, up from 21%.
Both polls were done while Clinton was getting hammered over her less-than-clear answers in last week's Democratic debate, including on whether she supports Gov. Spitzer's driver's license plan and what she'd do to shore up Social Security.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama’s, D-Illinois, presidential campaign announced today that more than 300 former Republican voters from New Hampshire and Iowa are switching their party affiliation to actively support Obama, D-Illinois, in those crucial first two contests.
“I’ve been a Republican all my life, but the challenges we face are too great to choose a candidate based on his party—we need to the choose the candidate who can bring fundamental change to Washington and start getting things done again,” Jerry Spivak said. “Barack Obama is the only candidate who will be able to break the partisan logjam and inspire Americans to come together around real solutions.”
Obama's campaign sent out a list of 268 Iowa Republicans and 68 New Hampshire Republicans who changed their party registration and promised to vote for the Democratic presidential hopeful.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Barack Obama on the Writers Guild strike:
I stand with the writers. The Guild's demand is a test of whether media corporations are going to give writers a fair share of the wealth their work creates or continue concentrating profits in the hands of their executives. I urge the producers to work with the writers so that everyone can get back to work.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
You feel, with Obama, that life experience, temperament and opinion are all of a piece. He is, on the one hand, an idealist and optimist who recoils from the zero-sum formula. If a single sentiment stands at the heart of his worldview, it’s that, as he said in a speech earlier this year, “the security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people.” What’s good for others is good for us; there’s no contradiction between idealism and realism. This may strike some as naïve; and yet Obama shies away from the exclamatory rhetoric and grandiose formulations that have become George Bush’s stock in trade. Bush’s post-9/11 recognition that our own security depends on the well-being of people on the other side of the globe led him to propound the so-called Freedom Agenda and to promote democracy in the Middle East. Obama, though a more eager democracy promoter than his realist heroes were, is also far more tempered than Bush. He accuses the Bush administration of an ethnocentric fixation on elections and classic political rights. Instead, he argues: “We have to be focused on what are the aspirations of the people in those countries. Once those aspirations are met, it opens up space for the kind of democratic regimes that we want.Click here to read more.
Hillary Reveals Her Inner Self
By PEGGY NOONAN
November 3, 2007; Page W16
The story isn't that the Democrats finally took on Hillary Clinton. Nor is it that they were gentlemanly to the point of gingerly and tentative. There was an air of "Please, somebody kill her for me so I can jump in and show high-minded compassion at her plight!"
Barack Obama, with his elegance and verbal fluency really did seem like that great and famous political figure from his home state of Illinois -- Adlai Stevenson, who was not at all hungry, not at all mean, and operated at a step removed from the grubby game. Mr. Obama is like someone who would write in his diaries, "I shall point out Estes Kefauver's manifold inconsistencies, then to luncheon with Arthur and Marietta."
The odd thing is it's easier to be a killer when you know exactly what you stand for, when you have a real philosophy. The philosophy becomes a platform from which you can strike without ambivalence. Mr. Obama seems born to be mild. But still, that's not the story.
Nor is it that John Edwards seems like a furry animal on a wheel, trying so hard, to the point he's getting a facial tic, and getting nowhere, failing to get his little furry paws on his prey, not knowing you have to get off the wheel to get to the prey. You have to stop the rounded, rote, bromidic phrases, and use a normal language that cannot be ignored.
The story is not that Mrs. Clinton signaled, in attitude and demeanor, who she believes is her most dangerous foe, the great impediment between her and an easy glide to the nomination. Yes, that would be Tim Russert.
The story is that she talked about policy. Not talking points, but policy. In talking about it she seemed, for the first time, to be revealing what's inside.
It was startling. It's 1993 in there. The year before her fall, and rise.
I spent a day going over the transcripts so I could quote at length, but her exchanges are all over, it's a real Google-fest. Here, boiled down, is what she said.
Giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses makes sense because it makes sense, but she may not be for it, but undocumented workers should come out of the shadows, and it makes sense. Maybe she will increase the payroll tax on Social Security beyond its current $97,500 limit, to $200,000. Maybe not. Everybody knows what the possibilities are. She may or may not back a 4% federal surcharge on singles making $150,000 a year and couples making $200,000. She suggested she backed it, said she didn't back it, she then called it a good start, or rather "I support and admire" the person proposing such a tax for his "willingness to take this on."
She has been accused of doubletalk and she has denied it. And she is right. It was triple talk, quadruple talk, Olympic-level nonresponsiveness. And it was, even for her, rather heavy and smug. Her husband would have had the sense to look embarrassed as he bobbed and weaved. It was part of his charm. But he was light on his feet. She turns every dance into the polka. And it is that amazing thing, a grim polka.
But the larger point is that her policy approach revealed all the impulses not of the New Centrism but the Old Leftism. Her statements were redolent of the 1990s phrase "command and control." They reflect a bias toward the old tax-raising on people who aren't rich, who aren't protected, the old "my friends and I know best, and we'll fill you dullards in on the details later."
For a few years now I've thought the problem for the Democrats in general but for Mrs. Clinton in particular is not that America is against tax increases. They've seen eight years of big spending, of wars, of spiraling entitlements. They've driven by the mansions of the megarich and have no sympathy for hedge fund/movie producer/cosmetics empire heirs. They sense the system is rigged toward the heavily protected. They sense this because they're not stupid.
The problem for Mrs. Clinton is not that people sense she will raise taxes. It's that they don't think she'll raise them on the real and truly rich. The rich are her friends. They contribute to her, dine with her, have access to her. They have an army of accountants. They're protected even from her.
But she can stick it to others, and in the way of modern liberalism for roughly half a century now, one suspects she'll define affluence down. That she would hike taxes on people who make $150,000 a year.
But those "rich" -- people who make $200,000 and have two kids and a mortgage and pay local and state taxes in, say, New Jersey -- they don't see themselves as rich. Because they're not. They're already carrying too much of the freight.
What Mrs. Clinton revealed the other night was more than an unfortunate persona. What I think she revealed was that her baseline thinking has perhaps not changed that much since the 1990s, when she was a headband wearing, power suited, leftist-who-hadn't-been-wounded-yet. It seemed to me she made it quite possible to assume you know who she'll be making war on. And this -- much more than the latest scandal, the Chinatown funny money and the bundling -- could, and I think would, engender real opposition down the road. The big chink in her armor is not stylistic, it is about policy. It is about the great baseline question in all political life: Whose ox is being gored?
A quick word here on why the scandals I refer to above do not deter Mrs. Clinton's rise. There are people who've made quite a study of her life and times, and buy every book, from the awful ones such as Ed Klein's to the excellent ones, such as Sally Bedell Smith's recent "For Love of Politics," a carefully researched, data-rich compendium on the Clintons' time in the White House.
People who've studied Mrs. Clinton often ask why her ethical corner cutting and scandals have not caught up with her, why the whole history of financial and fund-raising scandals doesn't slow her rise.
In a funny way she's protected by her reputation. It's so well known it's not news. It doesn't make an impression anymore. People have pointed out her ethical lapses for so long that they seem boring, or impossible to believe. "That couldn't be true or she wouldn't be running for president." This thought collides with "And we already know all this anyway." Her campaign uses the latter to squash the latest: "old news," "cash for rehash."
I've never seen anything quite like this dynamic work in modern politics. But the other night, for the first time, I had the feeling maybe it isn't going to work anymore, or with such deadening consistency.
CHICAGO, Oct. 31 — Senator Barack Obama says he would “engage in aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran if elected president and would offer economic inducements and a possible promise not to seek “regime change” if Iran stopped meddling in Iraq and cooperated on terrorism and nuclear issues.
In an hourlong interview on Wednesday, Mr. Obama made clear that forging a new relationship with Iran would be a major element of a broad effort to stabilize Iraq as he executed a speedy timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops.
Mr. Obama said that Iran had been “acting irresponsibly” by supporting Shiite militant groups in Iraq. He also emphasized that Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program and its support for “terrorist activities” were serious concerns.
But he asserted that Iran’s support for militant groups in Iraq reflected its anxiety over the Bush administration’s policies in the region, including talk of a possible American military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.
Making clear that he planned to talk to Iran without preconditions, Mr. Obama emphasized further that “changes in behavior” by Iran could possibly be rewarded with membership in the World Trade Organization, other economic benefits and security guarantees.
“We are willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith,” he said in the interview at his campaign headquarters here. “I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior. And there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior.”
In his Democratic presidential bid, Mr. Obama has vigorously sought to distinguish himself on foreign policy from his rivals, particularly Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, by asserting that he would sit down for diplomatic meetings with countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria with no preconditions.
Read more here
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- Massive Momentum from Iowa
- Hillary's "Experience"? ... Meh!
- State of the Black Union Blogging Contest
- Quote for the Day
- A Thanksgiving Message from Barack
- Women for Obama
- Get the Story Straight!
- Digg Obama!
- Obama Ahead in Iowa
- Clinton Drops 10 Points in National Polls
- Obama Ahead in Iowa
- Dreams of Obama
- Obama Dispels Myths and Lies about Him
- When Flag Poles Attack
- The Moment is Now!!!
- Clinton Plants Question in Audience
- Clinton Poll Lead Shrinking
- Obama Wows 'Em in Iowa
- Obama: Superb Speech in Iowa
- Obama Rocks the House at the JJ Dinner
- Obama Responds to "Flag" Photo
- Great Article in Slate
- Barack on Reclaiming the American Dream
- Rapper Common Supports Obama
- Obama Rejects Bill Clinton's "Swiftboating" Claims...
- Obama Calls for End of Corruption in Washington, D...
- Obama Right About Pakistan
- Clinton Drops in Polls
- Republicans in Early States Change Parties to Vote...
- Obama Named Winner of the Week
- Barack Obama on the Writers Guild Strike
- Obama on Saturday Night Live
- Must-Read NYT Profile
- The Inner World of Hillary Clinton
- Obama Calls for New Approach to Iran
- Andrew Sullivan Writes Definitive Obama Piece
- Obama Squashes Rudy Giuliani
- Obama Hand Over Heart Fiasco -- Debunked!
- Just to show I'm open minded...
- No Free Pass for Hillary
- Write Your Letters to the Editor
- Gail Collins NYT Piece Critical of Hillary Clinton...
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