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Old 07-06-2008, 01:42 PM   #421
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Originally Posted by mobvok View Post
Which de facto means troops will stay. The practical effects of their policies demands an enormous troop presence for the foreseeable future. What they'd like to have happen is irrelevant.

Oh I see what the problem is here. I clearly cited his web page showing that Obama's stated Iraq policy was the same before the primary cycle as it is now, even considering the "refine" kerfluffle. But you keep retreating to January '07. Here's the part where you get to prove that Obama's position changed between January '07 and now. You're fond of making authoritative unfounded statements, so now I want you to cite what you keep blindly asserting.



If wishes were fishes.

No, if conditions on the ground improve enough and there are capable Iraqi units to take the place of US combat brigades currently providing important security needs, then those troops can be withdrawn. They don't want to withdraw a US combat brigade from any Iraqi province if the US military does not feel that the conditions and Iraqi security forces in that particular area are ready.

Its the same strategy in Afghanistan. No one wants to withdraw from Afghanistan prior to resolving the difficult security issues and developing Afghanistan's security, economic, and political structures to the point that they can handle things on their own without the presence of US ground troops. Whenever US troops do withdraw from Afghanistan, it will be based on conditions on the ground just like Iraq.


I've repeatedly stated Obama's postion in January 2007, not to make a distinction between his policy now and is policy then, but to show that Obama has for some time, been for starting to immediately withdraw troops without it being based on conditions on the ground and has had a timetable for getting all US combat brigades out of Iraq by a specific date, again not specifically linked to any conditions on the ground. Barack Obama wanted to do this at time when sectarian violence in Iraq was peaking. One only can wonder the disaster that would have ensued, if Obama and the Democrats had been successful in removing all US combat brigades by March 31, 2008.

I've always stated that IF Obama's policies on Iraq changing now to one in which any form a withdrawal is based on conditions on the ground and the readiness of Iraqi security forces and government then he will be moving toward Bush administration policy in this particular issue for the last 5 years.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:41 PM   #422
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it's also grotesque to say that someone should hold the same position today as they held in early 2007. if we've learned anything from Bush and Co., it's that the steadfast maintenance of a position irregardless of reality is the worst possible option. early 2007 is different than mid-2008.
No one is saying that they should hold the same position today as they held in 2007, were just pointing out what might be a change in the position. If Obama is changing his position on Iraq from where it was in 2007, I think thats great. In addition, if your going to be honest and objective about Bush administration policy on Iraq, your going to have to acknowledge that the Bush administration has changed its position on various issues involved with Iraq policy over the past 5 years.


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what i find ironic is that for everyone who touts the "success" of "the surge," really, you're making the case for Obama's withdrawal. i find it impossible for some to talk about McCain having a position of withdrawal (though he knows that current troop levels are unsustainable) when there is no clear goal of what "success" actually looks like. though i will say it is beginning to look like the establishment of 60 military bases.
One who touts the success of the surge is only making the case for Obama's previous withdrawal plans if they think things in Iraq have been successful to such a degree, that the Iraqi government, military, and conditions on the ground would not suffer or reverse itself by withdrawing 1 to 2 brigades a month with all US combat brigades out of Iraq in 16 months. But most realize that its way to early to be making such a declaration, and that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in Iraq and although Iraqi forces as of today have vastly been improved, they are not yet ready to handle the security situation on their own without the presence of US combat brigades. What Bush, McCain the US military fundamentally agree on is that conditions on the ground in Iraq, NOT campaign promises and a simple desire to withdraw US troops from Iraq will determine when various US brigades can come home.

What is really ironic about Obama's position if he is in fact shifting to a policy of withdrawal based on conditions on the ground, is that he thinks that things have been more successful than anyone who supports the surge or the Bush administration itself. If you think the United States should start withdrawing all US combat brigades NOW with all US combat brigades to be out of Iraq in 16 months, based on conditions on the ground in Iraq, then you obviously think that the US has been more successful in Iraq than even the biggest supporters of the war and occupation.

Non-surge troop levels are sustainable and have been sustained for over 5 years now. The active US army only had 33 combat brigades in 2003, but now has 45 combat brigades and will grow to 48 combat brigades by the end of 2009. Thats a 50% increase in the number of combat brigades available just for the active Army. The Army National Guard has 34 combat brigades roughly what it had in 2003, and provided equipment levels for the Army National Guard are replaced, all of their Brigades will be ready for deployment. General Patraeus told congress directly that if he felt the Surge needed to continue beyond the normal 18 months, he could sustain it with the addition of National Guard brigades and extending deployment times of various units. In any event, the last Surge brigade is leaving Iraq in two weeks and new US units getting ready to deploy to Iraq have had their deployment times cut from 15 months to 12 months, which would not be happening if force levels were in some way not sustainable. The active US army has consistently stated that it can sustain indefinitely, a global deployment of 1 combat brigade for every 2 that are at home. By 2009, that will be 16 brigades with 32 at home, just for the Active Army. That could mean 1 brigade in Korea, the three brigades that are currently in Afghanistan, and 12 of the non-surge 15 brigades that are in Iraq. Thats without even considering Marine Combat units and the 34 Army National Guard brigades.


There has always been a clear goal of what success looks like for both Iraq and Afghanistan. Its the successful development of Iraqi political, economic and security structures and environment to a degree that US ground forces are no longer needed in the country for their development and maintenance.


As for these 60 permanent bases you keep refering to, could you please explain the difference between a permanent base and one that is not permanent? The US currently has bases all over Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places around the world that are basic logistical requirement for the deployment of brigade and division level ground forces in that particular area for months or more time. I've never heard of a US base that could not be removed at some point in time or handed over to another country's forces.


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this, to me, is the more interesting question and really what the distinction is between McCain and Obama. do you want American troops stationed in Iraq for the indefinite future, or not? and if some troops are going to be there (and they are), what is that presence going to look like?
If you want the US troops presence on the ground in Iraq to be based on conditions on the ground there with the goal of successfully developing Iraq's political, economic, and security structures so that one day US ground forces are no longer required to be there to help develop and maintain those things, then how many US combat brigades and how long you want them to be there will be dependent upon how close you think you are to achieving those development goals. Someone suggesting that the United States can begin immediately withdrawing non-surge combat brigades from Iraq with all non-surge combat brigades to be out of Iraq in 16 months obviously thinks the United States has been massively successful in Iraq and is very close to achieving all their goals in the country, IF they are basing their withdrawal plans on conditions on the ground. Those that feel that while success has been dramatic, but still feel that Iraqi military is a few years away from being able to handle things on their own and acknowledge that there could be some temporary setbacks and reversals down the road may leave plans for any such withdrawal open and only remove US brigades in increments directly tied to conditions in the specific province they are being withdrawn from and would clearly still leave open the option to send back or even surge troops again if conditions on the ground warrented it in terms of achieving the key development goals.

The same question can be asked of Afghanistan. Do you want American troops stationed in Afghanistan for the indefinite future, or not? and if some troops are going to be there (and they are), what is that presence going to look like? The general answer to this question is the same as the answer to the question for Iraq.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:15 PM   #423
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I've repeatedly stated Obama's postion in January 2007, not to make a distinction between his policy now and is policy then, but to show that Obama has for some time, been for starting to immediately withdraw troops without it being based on conditions on the ground
You've asserted Obama's position in January 2007, but you've never shown it. There's a difference. I didn't just blindly summarize what his web site said, I linked to and quoted the exact statements so everyone could know my interpretation was justified. I want to know your source (quote a speech, or link to a bill he co-sponsored) saying that he was for immediately withdrawing troops in a hard 16 months.

Quote:
I've always stated that IF Obama's policies on Iraq changing now to one in which any form a withdrawal is based on conditions on the ground and the readiness of Iraqi security forces and government then he will be moving toward Bush administration policy in this particular issue for the last 5 years.
Once more: Obama's tactics and McCain's strategy might share brief similarities in retaining certain US troops, but in the big picture all of Obama's actions will be in the service of removing all combat troops within the next 2 years. And this:

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If Obama is or eventually drops the timetables and moves away from removing 1 to 2 brigades a month to a withdrawal that is based strictly and only on conditions on the ground, then he will have done a complete 180 on the issue and arrived at the fundamental position of the Bush administration and Senator McCain on the issue.
You didn't just propose that he was "moving toward" the Bush administration policy, you said he "will have done a complete 180" and "arrived at the fundamental position of the Bush Administration". Looking at Obama's tactics and concluding he's drawn closer to the Bush Administration is a meaningless statement because his strategy of withdrawal hasn't changed. His Iraq plan:

Quote:
Barack Obama would immediately begin redeploying American troops from Iraq. The withdrawal would be strategic and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground, and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Troops would be removed from secure areas first, with troops remaining longer in more volatile areas. The drawdown would begin immediately with one to two combat brigades redeploying each month and all troops engaged in combat operations out by the end of next year.
This is definitely not McCain or Bush's strategy.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:35 PM   #424
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We are not having an election for President on November 4, 2008.



We are having 51 elections.

and most of them have a foregone conclusion.

If you live in one of these 9 states;

Florida
Ohio
Michigan
Virginia
Missouri
Colorado
Iowa
Nevada
New Hampshire

Your vote may actually have some value.

These nine states have 113 electoral votes, about 20 % of the 538 available.


Yes, there are 3-5 other states that could be in contention, but as more time goes by, the list will probably shrink. I imagine by election day no more than 5-6 will be in question.

Why am I posting this?

Because I have not said how much I hate the Electoral College, lately.

It is an absolute abomination.
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Old 07-06-2008, 05:43 PM   #425
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Originally Posted by mobvok View Post
You've asserted Obama's position in January 2007, but you've never shown it. There's a difference. I didn't just blindly summarize what his web site said, I linked to and quoted the exact statements so everyone could know my interpretation was justified. I want to know your source (quote a speech, or link to a bill he co-sponsored) saying that he was for immediately withdrawing troops in a hard 16 months.
Well, what did your own source say

Quote:
Barack Obama would IMMEDIATELY begin redeploying American troops from Iraq.
Are you claiming that was not his position in January 2007?

This is from a paper Obama wrote for the July/August 2007 Foreign Affairs Journal which was mailed to subscribers in June 2007 which means Obama wrote it either May 2007 or earlier:

Quote:
Our servicemen and servicewomen have performed admirably while sacrificing immeasurably. But it is time for our civilian leaders to acknowledge a painful truth: we cannot impose a military solution on a civil war between Sunni and Shiite factions. The best chance we have to leave Iraq a better place is to pressure these warring parties to find a lasting political solution. And the only effective way to apply this pressure is to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008 -- a date consistent with the goal set by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/200707...eadership.html

He does say the withdrawal could be suspended IF the Iraqi's meet all the security, political and economic benchmarks it has committed to. Iraq has made substantial progress on most of the benchmarks, but many of them have yet to be completely met, so by his own standard here, the United States should be in the process of immediately removing all troops from Iraq within a 12 month to 16 month time frame. You obviously can't claim that your seriously committed to helping the economic, political and security development of a country if your going to start pulling out troops immediately and only suspend the withdrawal if miracle progress is made in 12 to 16 months. By Obama's on standards here, all US combat brigades should have been out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.


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Once more: Obama's tactics and McCain's strategy might share brief similarities in retaining certain US troops, but in the big picture all of Obama's actions will be in the service of removing all combat troops within the next 2 years. And this
I agree with you, Obama and McCain have had different positions on the issue of withdrawal, but some are now saying that Obama is going to change the position on this he has held for most of the past 18 months. I'm not the one saying this, others are. I've always said IF Obama moves from a plan to start immediately withdrawing US combat brigades with all of them to be out of Iraq in 12 to 16 months, to the more flexible strategy of Bush and McCain where the size and number of combat brigades in Iraq will be determined based strictly on the Iraqi's need for such combat brigades, then he will be moving toward Bush, McCain and the US military's strategy on Iraq.


Quote:
You didn't just propose that he was "moving toward" the Bush administration policy, you said he "will have done a complete 180" and "arrived at the fundamental position of the Bush Administration". Looking at Obama's tactics and concluding he's drawn closer to the Bush Administration is a meaningless statement because his strategy of withdrawal hasn't changed. His Iraq plan:
Once again, I don't know if Obama is actually shifting his position on Iraq, but that is what the media has been talking about. But if Obama moves from his current position of starting immediately to withdraw troops from Iraq and having them all out within 12 months, to a strategy in which US combat brigades are only withdrawn from the provinces when those provinces achieve a level of sustainable development and stability and the service the US military provides can be replaced and provided by the Iraqi military and government, then he will have moved to the Bush/McCain position on Iraq which would indeed be a 180.


Quote:
This is definitely not McCain or Bush's strategy.
I know, I never said that it was. I said that if Obama moved from that position to one in which any withdrawal of US combat brigades would NOT simply start immediately and would only happen when Iraqi provinces achieved a sustainable level of development and stability and the services that the US combat brigade was providing in that province could be replaced by the Iraqi military and government, then he will have moved to the Bush/McCain position on Iraq.
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:52 PM   #426
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Quote:
Foreign Affairs - Renewing American Leadership - Barack Obama

He does say the withdrawal could be suspended IF the Iraqi's meet all the security, political and economic benchmarks it has committed to. Iraq has made substantial progress on most of the benchmarks, but many of them have yet to be completely met, so by his own standard here, the United States should be in the process of immediately removing all troops from Iraq within a 12 month to 16 month time frame. You obviously can't claim that your seriously committed to helping the economic, political and security development of a country if your going to start pulling out troops immediately and only suspend the withdrawal if miracle progress is made in 12 to 16 months. By Obama's on standards here, all US combat brigades should have been out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.
Good, now I'm educated a bit more and people reading this thread know more.

Comparing Foreign Affairs, his 12/07 PDF and now, Obama's transition looks clearer- he started simply talking about withdrawing but before the campaign season was prudent enough to change and tack on caveats about ground conditions. As the general election gets closer, he's started emphasizing the caveats more. Adding wiggle room/nuance and trying to pull in swing voters for the general election with broader rhetoric might be typical politician fluff, but I don't see it being any fundamental shift in his overall position.

I don't think speculation about now holding McCain's position is founded in anything Obama has said. But that's about all I can argue, there's clearly nothing wrong with posing hypotheticals about what if Obama did. (And I noticed you've consistently used if/might in describing this)
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:06 PM   #427
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Good, now I'm educated a bit more and people reading this thread know more.

Comparing Foreign Affairs, his 12/07 PDF and now, Obama's transition looks clearer- he started simply talking about withdrawing but before the campaign season was prudent enough to change and tack on caveats about ground conditions. As the general election gets closer, he's started emphasizing the caveats more. Adding wiggle room/nuance and trying to pull in swing voters for the general election with broader rhetoric might be typical politician fluff, but I don't see it being any fundamental shift in his overall position.

I don't think speculation about now holding McCain's position is founded in anything Obama has said. But that's about all I can argue, there's clearly nothing wrong with posing hypotheticals about what if Obama did. (And I noticed you've consistently used if/might in describing this)
The only caveat that he offered in the Foreign Affairs article was that he might suspend the withdrawal if the Iraqi's achieved all of the 18 benchmarks. The Iraqi's have not done that yet, and so by Obama's own standards all US combat brigades should have been out of Iraq by March 31, 2008 , over 3 months ago. If Obama moves away from this and decides that he will keep US forces in Iraq as long as necessary to insure Iraqi development and stability, then he will have adopted the strategy that Bush and McCain have been following in regards to when the US would remove various US combat brigades in Iraq.

Bush and McCain consider successful development and stability in the various provinces of Iraq as being a prerequisite for withdrawing US combat brigades, Obama has previously not.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:35 PM   #428
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep View Post
We are not having an election for President on November 4, 2008.



We are having 51 elections.

and most of them have a foregone conclusion.

If you live in one of these 9 states;

Florida
Ohio
Michigan
Virginia
Missouri
Colorado
Iowa
Nevada
New Hampshire

Your vote may actually have some value.

These nine states have 113 electoral votes, about 20 % of the 538 available.


Yes, there are 3-5 other states that could be in contention, but as more time goes by, the list will probably shrink. I imagine by election day no more than 5-6 will be in question.

Why am I posting this?

Because I have not said how much I hate the Electoral College, lately.

It is an absolute abomination.
I completely agree.
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:28 PM   #429
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You left out Virginia EDIT-nevermind...I see it now

One of my favorite professors had this column in the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The Purpling of Virginia - Search - inRich.com
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:10 PM   #430
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This is definitely not McCain or Bush's strategy.

and this is all that really matters, at least when deciding between the two candidates. Obama wants to get out of Iraq, McCain wants to stay. neither of them can give a solid, definitive answer as to when these two things will come to pass, but this is the difference. there are any number of tactical decisions to make, but the end goals are different.

McCain is fine with an indefinite occupation as he consistently invokes South Korea, Japan, and Germany as cases-in-point. he believes that American troops need to be in Iraq and buttressed by 60 permanent bases so that we have a launching pad to strike inside Iran if need be and to protect these "threats to global security" (i.e., oil). this is the new American security perimeter. McCain believes that what is legal and what is not legal in foreign relations is a measure of power, not law. this is the overarching principle that will guide his Iraq policy.

Obama doesn't believe Americans should sit in the middle of Mesopotamia. he sees the indefinite occupation of Iraq as antithetical to the security interests of the United States. he does not view unilateral invasion and indefinite occupation as legitimate tools of future foreign policy. this is the overarching principle that will guide his Iraq policy.

both men, however, support the presence of large contingents of non-combat troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

my guess is that we're in for more bloodshed either way, and the Right will do all it can to foist the blame onto the Left (no matter who wins the election) just as it did with Vietnam.
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:52 PM   #431
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I believe most thinking people have always understood that there would be no quick or easy exit from Iraq and that a timetable would be at most theoretical. I believe Obama is a thinking person and knew that.

However, he's also a politician--yes, folks he is a politician--and politicians don't play to thinking people.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:02 AM   #432
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and this is all that really matters, at least when deciding between the two candidates. Obama wants to get out of Iraq, McCain wants to stay.
No, the difference is that McCain has as a prerequisite for withdrawal, the successful development of and stability of Iraq, Barack Obama does not have that prerequisite for his withdrawal.

Any US troops being in Iraq beyond the need for them to be there in regards to the issues of internal development and stability of the country is a seperate issue. The United States has had troops stationed in over a hundred countries around the world for decades under different conditions.

While McCain can't give a solid definitive answer on when all US combat brigades can or will be out of Iraq, the prerequisite for them to be able to leave is the successful development and stability of Iraq. In contrast, Obama has given a timeline of 12 months to 16 months during which he plans to withdraw all US combat brigades without having as a prerequisite, the successful development and stability of Iraq.


Quote:
McCain is fine with an indefinite occupation as he consistently invokes South Korea, Japan, and Germany as cases-in-point.
So you consider the current US troop deployment to Germany to be a US military occupation of that country equilavent to the current situation in Iraq? The same with South Korea and Japan? McCain specifically pointed out that he was talking about a post-conflict situation.


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he believes that American troops need to be in Iraq and buttressed by 60 permanent bases so that we have a launching pad to strike inside Iran if need be and to protect these "threats to global security" (i.e., oil).
So when did McCain say this, that the reason the United States needs to stay in Iraq is so the United States has "a launching pad to strike inside Iran"? Nevermind the fact that the United States does not need bases in Iraq in order to strike Iran.

As for these 60 permanent bases you keep refering to, could you please explain the difference between a permanent base and one that is not permanent? The US currently has bases all over Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places around the world that are a basic logistical requirement for the deployment of brigade and division level ground forces in that particular area for months or more time. I've never heard of a US base that could not be removed at some point in time or handed over to another country's forces.


Quote:
Obama doesn't believe Americans should sit in the middle of Mesopotamia.
Nor does he seem to believe that Iraq's development and stability is important to US security in the region and should be a prerequisite when withdrawing US combat brigades from any province in Iraq.

Quote:
he sees the indefinite occupation of Iraq as antithetical to the security interests of the United States.
Actually, he does not seem to think that what happens inside Iraq really matters to the security interest of the United States. Why else would one advocate the start of an immediate withdrawal of all US combat brigades as soon as possible to be completed within 12 to 16 months without having as a prerequisite the successful development and stability of the country?

Quote:
he does not view unilateral invasion and indefinite occupation as legitimate tools of future foreign policy.
So whats Obama's withdrawal plan for Afghanistan?
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:00 AM   #433
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I know we have a few Educators in here


how do you feel about merit pay?

nobody responded

I guess everyone is on board with merit pay for teachers?
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:19 AM   #434
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That would only affect elementary and secondary schoolteachers, and I'm not sure whether any forum members of that description saw your post.

Without knowing exactly how "merit" would be measured (or NCLB "changed"), it doesn't really mean much of anything. Ditto for Obama's suggestions on "rewarding" teachers who choose to teach in underserved inner-city or rural schools, serve as mentors for new teachers, or "consistently excel in the classroom" (whether or not those measures would involve federal dollars is unclear). In general Obama's education platform is far more detailed than McCain's, so far anyhow.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:17 AM   #435
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Reading the Sunday papers yesterday, Obama is looking good and well infront.
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