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Old 05-01-2008, 05:11 PM   #796
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Originally posted by Irvine511




i think you've got it backwards.

all the poll results show that Independents much prefer Obama to Hillary.
I do accept that is the case in the primary contests

however, in the general
it is a completely different set of choices

and that is what the poll I posted was reflecting.
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:36 AM   #797
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NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a summer-long suspension of the gas tax favored by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican John McCain a dumb idea.

The New York mayor, who flirted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, praised Democrat Barack Obama for opposing the plan to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.2 cent diesel tax during the peak driving months of the summer.

All three candidates covet Bloomberg's endorsement. The mayor has spoken highly of Obama and McCain in introducing the two at recent events in New York.

Speaking to reporters at City Hall, Bloomberg said of the gas tax holiday, "It's about the dumbest thing I've heard in an awful long time, from an economic point of view. We're trying to discourage people from driving and we're trying to end our energy dependence ... and we're trying to have more money to build infrastructure."

He cited those three reasons for opposing the gas tax holiday favored by McCain and Clinton. Obama has said the savings would not be significant for the average individual, and Bloomberg agreed.

"The 30 bucks is not going to change anybody's lifestyle," he said. "The billions of dollars that we would otherwise have in tax revenues can make a big difference as to what kind of a world we leave our children."
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:58 AM   #798
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WASHINGTON (AP) - A leader of the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton has switched his allegiance to Barack Obama and is encouraging fellow Democrats to "heal the rift in our party" and unite behind the Illinois senator.

Joe Andrew, who was Democratic National Committee chairman from 1999-2001, planned a news conference Thursday in his hometown of Indianapolis to urge other Hoosiers to support Obama in Tuesday's primary, perhaps the most important contest left in the White House race. He also has written a lengthy letter explaining his decision that he plans to send to other superdelegates.
Here is his incredible letter of endorsement! It's long, but you guys should read this!!

Andrew's letter:
Dear Friends:

I have been inspired.

Today I am announcing my support for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. I am changing my support from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama, and calling for my fellow Democrats across my home State of Indiana, and my fellow super delegates across the nation, to heal the rift in our Party and unite behind Barack Obama.

The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods or two rights. That is the decision Democrats face today. We have an embarrassment of riches, but as much as we may love our candidates and revel in the political process that has brought Presidential politics to places that have not seen it in a generation, we cannot let our family affair hurt America by helping John McCain.

Here is my message, explained in this lengthy letter that I hope is perceived as a thoughtful analysis of how to save America from four more years of the misguided polices of the past: you can be for someone without being against someone else. You can unite behind a candidate and a vision for America without rejecting another candidate and their vision, because in real life, opposed to party politics, we Democrats are on the same side. The battle should not be amongst ourselves. Rather, we should focus our efforts on those who are truly on the opposite side: those who want to continue the failed policies of the last eight years, rather than bring real change to Washington. Let us come together right now behind an inspiring leader who not only has the audacity to challenge the old divisive politics, but the audacity to make us all hope for a better America.

Unite the Party Now

I believe that Bill Clinton will be remembered as one of our nation's great Presidents, and Senator Clinton as one of our nation's great public servants. But as much as I respect and admire them both, it is clear that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process, and a vote to continue this process is a vote that assists John McCain. '

I ask Hoosiers to come together and vote for Barack Obama to be our next President. In an accident of timing, Indiana has been given the opportunity to truly make a difference. Hoosiers should grab that power and do what in their heart they know is right. They should reject the old negative politics and vote for true change. Don't settle for the tried and true and the simplistic slogans, but listen to your heart and dare to be inspired. Only a cynic would be critical of Barack Obama inspiring millions. Only the uninformed could forget that the candidate that wins in November is always the candidate that inspires millions.
I ask the leaders of our Party to come together after this Tuesday's primary to heal wounds and unite us around a single nominee. While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our Party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us. John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives.

We need to be talking about fixing the economy, not whose acquaintances once said what to whom. We need to be talking about stopping the attacks in Iraq, not stopping the attacks in Indiana. We need to be talking about policy, not politics.

Barack Obama is the Right Candidate for Right Now
While I am a longtime critic of our Party's rules that created so-called super delegates, we have the rules we have and we must live with them. I am humbled and honored to be a super delegate, and I understand the seriousness of the duty it entails. I recognize that this is a difficult decision for super delegates like me, who owe so much to President Bill Clinton. It is right to be loyal, to be grateful and to be consistent. But it is also right to acknowledge the inevitability of change, right to dare to dream for a better world, and right to know what in your heart is the right thing for the future even if your friends and family disagree. Good things, just like good people, can disagree. But as Democrats, we must disagree with dignity, debate with admiration of each other, and in the end, go forward with mutual respect.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore gave me the opportunity to serve as the Chair of the Democratic Party. I pledged my loyalty to them, and I will never forget Al Gore putting ego aside, gently demurring, and simply asking me to put our country ahead of politics. It is a lesson I will remember forever, and it is what guides me now in this decision. What is best for our Party and our country is not blind loyalty, but passionate support for the candidate who can best correct the misguided policies of the last eight years.

We need a candidate who will re-invigorate the economy and keep good jobs here in America. We need a candidate who will end the war in Iraq. We need a candidate who will provide health coverage for our 45 million uninsured neighbors. We need a candidate who will end our addiction to high-priced foreign oil by investing in renewable energy here at home.

That candidate is Barack Obama.

What was best for America sixteen years ago was electing Bill Clinton. What would have been best for America eight years ago was not only electing Al Gore, which we did, but allowing him to serve as President of the United States. Imagine how the world would be different if Al Gore and not George Bush, would have been President of the United States. Let's seize the opportunity and vote for someone who like Al Gore, was against the war from the beginning, and who brings a new energy, a new excitement, and a new politics to our country.

Let's put things right.

Time to Act

Many will ask, why now? Why, with several primaries still remaining, with Senator Clinton just winning Pennsylvania, with my friend Evan Bayh working hard to make sure Senator Clinton wins Indiana, why switch now? Why call for super delegates to come together now to constructively pick a president?

The simple answer is that while the timing is hard for me personally, it is best for America. We simply cannot wait any longer, nor can we let this race fall any lower and still hope to win in November. June or July may be too late. The time to act is now.
I write this letter from my mom's dining room table in Indianapolis, Indiana. Four generations of my family have argued and laughed around this table. But what I humbly believe today is that we, as Democrats and as Americans, face what Dr. King characterized and what Senator Obama reminds us is the fierce urgency of now. As a nation, we are at a critical moment and we need leaders with the character and vision to see us through the challenges at hand and those to come. I can't guess what will happen tomorrow, so I can't tell you what kind of experience our next President will need to have to deal with those challenges. But I can tell you what kind of character and vision they will need to have -- and that is what inspires me about Barack Obama.
As Democrats, however, we risk letting this moment slip through our fingers. We risk ceding the field to the Republicans and allowing the morally bankrupt Bush Agenda to continue unabated if we do not unite behind a single candidate. Should this race continue after Indiana and North Carolina, it will inevitably become more negative. The polls already show the supporters for both candidates becoming more strident in their positions and more locked into their support. Continuing on this path would be a catastrophe, as we would inadvertently end up doing Republicans work for them. Already, instead of the audacity of hope, we suffer the audacity of one Democrat comparing John McCain favorably to another Democrat. When that happens, you know it is time for all of us to stop, take a deep breath and unite to change America.

We must act and we must act now.

The Problems of the Process: 2000 and 2008

When Al Gore got a half million more votes than George Bush in 2000, yet the Electoral College elected George Bush President, we saw the absurdity of any system that does not elect the person who gets the most votes. That is why the Democratic Party's nomination process is flawed. I will continue to fight for a 2012 process where there are only primaries, and which ever Democrat gets the most votes becomes our nominee. Delegates should decide the party platform -- voters should decide who our nominee is.

But we are struck with this absurd system for 2008, and, flawed though it may be, we must work within it without betraying the voice of the people. No amount of spin or sleight of hand can deny the fact that where there has been competition, Senator Obama has won more votes, more States and more delegates than any other candidate. Only the super delegates can award the nomination to Senator Clinton, but to do so risks doing to our Party in 2008 what Republicans did to our country in 2000. Let us be intellectually consistent and unite behind Barack Obama.

A New Era of Politics

My endorsement of Senator Obama will not be welcome news to my friends and family at the Clinton campaign. If the campaign's surrogates called Governor Bill Richardson, a respected former member of President Clinton's cabinet, a "Judas" for endorsing Senator Obama, we can all imagine how they will treat somebody like me. They are the best practitioners of the old politics, so they will no doubt call me a traitor, an opportunist and a hypocrite. I will be branded as disloyal, power-hungry, but most importantly, they will use the exact words that Republicans used to attack me when I was defending President Clinton.

When they use the same attacks made on me when I was defending them, they prove the callow hypocrisy of the old politics first perfected by Republicans. I am an expert on this because these were the exact tools that I mastered as a campaign volunteer, a campaign manager, a State Party Chair and the National Chair of our Party. I learned the lessons of the tough, right-wing Republicans all too well. I can speak with authority on how to spar with everyone from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove. I understand that, while wrong and pernicious, shallow victory can be achieved through division by semantics and obfuscation. Like many, I succumbed to the addiction of old politics because they are so easy.

Innuendo is easy. The truth is hard.

Sound bites are easy. Solutions are hard.

Spin is simple and easy. Struggling with facts is complicated and hard.

I have learned the hard way that you can love the candidate and hate the campaign. My stomach churns when I think how my old friends in the Clinton campaign will just pick up the old silly Republican play book and call in the same old artificial attacks and bombardments we have all heard before.

Yet, despite the simple and overwhelming pressure to do anything and everything to win, Barack Obama has risen above it all and demanded a new brand of politics. People flock to Senator Obama because they are rejecting the hyperbole of the old politics. The past eight years of George Bush have witnessed a retreat from substance, science, and reason in favor spin, cronyism and ideology. Barack Obama has dared not only to criticize it, as all Democrats do, but to actually reject playing the same old game. And in doing so, he has shown us a new path to victory.

Uniting for Victory

The simple fact is that Democrats need to be united in November to win, and Clinton supporters, in particular, will be vital to victory. We will not convince Clinton supporters to join the Obama campaign, however, by personally criticizing them. We must welcome everyone and avoid doing Republican work for them. It is therefore incumbent on all of us who once supported Senator Clinton to welcome the thousands who should now switch their support to Senator Obama. Similarly, a necessary part of the healing process for our Party is for those who supported Senator Obama early to have the grace and good sense to broaden the tent and welcome newcomers into the fold.

The old players of the old political game will claim that I am betraying my old friend Senator Evan Bayh by switching my support to Senator Obama. I believe that Evan Bayh would be a great President, and therefore a great Vice President. I will continue to argue that he would be a great choice to be on the ticket with Barack Obama. Evan Bayh is uniquely positioned as a successful governor with executive experience who is now a U.S. Senator with foreign policy experience and who is young enough to not undercut the message of vitality and hard work that Barack Obama represents. Part of healing the Party may be to have a Clinton supporter on the ticket, let alone someone who would help with Indiana, Ohio and the moderate Midwest in the general election.

Being for Evan Bayh, however, does not mean that you have to be for Hillary Clinton. The important message to Hoosiers, and to super delegates, is that being for someone does not mean that you agree 100 percent of the time. Regardless of whether Evan Bayh and I support different candidates, I will support Evan Bayh.
We must reject the notion that we have to beat the Republicans at their own game -- or even that the game has to be played at all. It is so easy for all of us involved -- candidates, campaigns and the media -- to focus on the process and the horse race that we forget why we got into it in the first place. Barack Obama has had the courage to talk about real issues, real problems and real people. Let's pause for a second in the midst of the cacophony of the campaign circus and listen.

In 1992, I was inspired by Bill Clinton because he promised, and delivered, a framework for addressing America's problems. President Clinton ended a long-running left-right debate in our Party, and inspired millions. He drew giant crowds and spoke passionately for a generation of Americans who often disenfranchised and rarely participated in governing. Today, Barack Obama does the same thing. Winners redefine the game. Winners connect with the American people and not only feel their pain, but inspire them to take action to heal the underlying cause. Barack Obama is that kind of candidate and that kind of leader, which is why he will win in November.

Welcoming Everyone into the Party
We face significant challenges as a nation and as a Party, but time and again, Americans have shown the resilience and determination necessary to overcome even the highest obstacle. We have a difficult road ahead, but I have complete confidence that Barack Obama is the candidate who can lead our Party to victory and the President who can guide us to even greater heights.

Many Democrats know me for one short speech I gave over and over again in the 2000 Presidential campaign. That speech was about welcoming people into our Party and welcoming undecided voters to our campaign to elect Al Gore. Today, we need to welcome Clinton supporters, undecided voters, and all Americans to join Barack Obama's cause to fight for a better America. My speech ended with these words, which are even more relevant today:
The difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is that you are always welcome in the Democratic Party. Because Democrats don't care if you are black or white or brown or a nice shade of green, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care if you pray in a church or a synagogue or a temple or a mosque, or just before math tests, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care if you are young or old, or just don't want to tell your age, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care what gender you are, or what gender you want to hold hands with; as long as you want to hold hands, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care about the size of your bank account, just the size of your heart; and we don't care where you are today, just where you dream you want to be tomorrow.

That is your Democratic Party.

That is Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

That is the Party that will win in November.

Sincerely,
Joe Andrew
― Alex Koppelman
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:01 AM   #799
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From the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-...o_b_99695.html

Former journalist Sidney Blumenthal has been widely credited with coining the term "vast right-wing conspiracy" used by Hillary Clinton in 1998 to describe the alliance of conservative media, think tanks, and political operatives that sought to destroy the Clinton White House where he worked as a high-level aide. A decade later, and now acting as a senior campaign advisor to Senator Clinton, Blumenthal is exploiting that same right-wing network to attack and discredit Barack Obama. And he's not hesitating to use the same sort of guilt-by-association tactics that have been the hallmark of the political right dating back to the McCarthy era.

Almost every day over the past six months, I have been the recipient of an email that attacks Obama's character, political views, electability, and real or manufactured associations. The original source of many of these hit pieces are virulent and sometimes extreme right-wing websites, bloggers, and publications. But they aren't being emailed out from some fringe right-wing group that somehow managed to get my email address. Instead, it is Sidney Blumenthal who, on a regular basis, methodically dispatches these email mudballs to an influential list of opinion shapers -- including journalists, former Clinton administration officials, academics, policy entrepreneurs, and think tankers -- in what is an obvious attempt to create an echo chamber that reverberates among talk shows, columnists, and Democratic Party funders and activists. One of the recipients of the Blumenthal email blast, himself a Clinton supporter, forwards the material to me and perhaps to others.

These attacks sent out by Blumenthal, long known for his fierce and combative loyalty to the Clintons, draw on a wide variety of sources to spread his Obama-bashing. Some of the pieces are culled from the mainstream media and include some reasoned swipes at Obama's policy and political positions.

But, rather remarkably for such a self-professed liberal operative like Blumenthal, a staggering number of the anti-Obama attacks he circulates derive from highly-ideological and militant right-wing sources such as the misnamed Accuracy in Media (AIM), The Weekly Standard, City Journal, The American Conservative, and The National Review.

To cite just one recent example, Blumenthal circulated an article taken from the fervently hard-right AIM website on February 18 entitled, "Obama's Communist Mentor" by Cliff Kincaid. Kincaid is a right-wing writer and activist, a longtime critic of the United Nations, whose group, America's Survival, has been funded by foundations controlled by conservative financier Richard Mellon Scaife, the same millionaire who helped fund attacks on the Clintons during their White House years. Scaife also funds AIM, the right-wing media "watchdog" group.

The Kincaid article that Blumenthal circulated sought to discredit Obama by linking him to an African-American poet and writer whom Obama knew while he was in high school in Hawaii. That writer, Frank Marshall Davis, was, Kincaid wrote, a member of the Communist Party. Supported by no tangible evidence, Kincaid claimed that Obama considered his relationship to Davis to be "almost like a son." In his memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama wrote about meeting, during his teenage years, a writer named "Frank" who "had some modest notoriety once" and with whom he occasionally discussed poetry and politics. From this snippet, Kincaid weaves an incredulous tale that turns Davis into Obama's "mentor."

Kincaid's piece had been previously circulating within the right-wing blogosphere, but Blumenthal sought to inject the story into more respectable opinion circles by amplifying it in his email blast.

In the same piece, Kincaid, expanding his guilt-by-association tactics, also wrote that Obama "came into contact with more far-left political forces," including former Weather Underground member William Ayers. Until a few weeks ago, Obama's tangential connection with Ayers -- whose 1960s anti-war terrorism occurred when Obama was in grade school -- was echoing among right-wing bloggers.

Some Clinton supporters who also knew about Ayers have been discreetly trying to catapult the story out of the right-wing sandbox into the wider mainstream media. On April 9, Fox News' Sean Hannity interviewed fellow right-winger Karl Rove, who raised the Ayers-Obama connection. The next day, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper wrote about Ayers in his Political Punch blog. The following week, on his radio show, Hannity suggested to his guest, George Stephanopoulos, that he ask Obama about his relationship with Ayers at the upcoming Philadelphia presidential debate. Stephanopoulos, who was Bill Clinton's press secretary, replied, "Well, I'm taking notes." The following night during the April 16 nationally televised Presidential debate, Stephanopoulos dutifully asked Obama about Ayers, who is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

One can only speculate how much influence Blumenthal did or did not have in elevating the Ayers story into the mainstream media and into the national political debate. What is certain is that Blumenthal sought to keep this classic red-baiting controversy alive.

Blumenthal's April 24 email dispatch featured a two-year old article by Sol Stern, published in City Journal, sponsored by the right-wing Manhattan Institute. The article, from the journal's Summer 2006 issue, doesn't mention Obama. Why would Blumenthal resurrect it now? The article, entitled "The Ed Schools' Latest--and Worst--Humbug," was, instead, a frontal attack on Ayers' views on educational theory and policy. Blumenthal obviously wasn't trying to offer enlightenment on educational policy or Obama's positions on school reform as much as he was presumably trying to keep Ayers' name, and his controversial past, in the public eye.

As a follow-up punch, Blumenthal again dipped directly into the "vast right wing conspiracy" by retrieving and circulating an article from the current issue of National Review -- the staunchly conservative opinion journal founded by William F. Buckley. The piece, titled "The Obama Way," was penned by Fred Siegel who, like Sol Stern, is a former 60s leftist who has moved to the opposite end of the political spectrum, serving at one point as a political advisor to Rudy Giuliani. Siegel's piece links Obama to corrupt Chicago machine politics, observing that "Blacks adapted to both the tribalism and the corrupt patronage politics" of Chicago's Democratic Party. In the process, he manages to throw in as many spurious ad hominem attacks on Obama as he can, calling him a "friend of race-baiters" and a "man who would lead our efforts against terrorism yet was friendly with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant 1960s terrorist."

When Blumenthal worked in the White House, a big thorn in Bill Clinton's side was the Weekly Standard, the right-wing magazine edited by William Kristol and owned by Rupert Murdoch. But in mid-February, Blumenthal's email attack featured an article, "Republicans Root for Obama," written by Weekly Standard executive editor and Fox News talking head Fred Barnes. That same month, Blumenthal also offered up a piece by Scott McConnell, titled "Untested Savior," that appeared in The American Conservative (a magazine founded by Pat Buchanan) claiming that Obama "would probably lead them [Democrats] to disaster in November."

When Blumenthal isn't relying directly on anti-Obama smears from the extreme right, he's pumping up more traditionally sourced material, from the Washington Post, New Republic, and other publications, to question and damage Obama's character and electability. On several occasions, Blumenthal has circulated articles from the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune about Obama's ties to developer Tony Rezko, a relationship Obama has said he regrets. In one email, Blumenthal wrote: "The record on Obama's fabled 'judgement'? So how would he conduct himself in those promised summits without preconditions with Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, Chavez, Castro, and Assad? Let's look at how he did with Tony Rezko."

Earlier this year, one theme pushed by Clinton supporters and buoyed by Blumenthal's efforts, was that Obama's appeal was similar to that of a messianic cult leader. Obama's capacity to inspire people was reframed as a kind of malevolent force, as though his followers would somehow willingly drink poisoned Kool-Aid if Obama so demanded. In his February 7 Time magazine column, "Inspiration vs. Substance," writer Joe Klein, who, like Blumenthal, worked on the Boston alternative paper, The Real Paper, in the 1970s, wrote: "There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism -- 'We are the ones we've been waiting for' -- of the Super Tuesday speech and the recent turn of the Obama campaign." That same morning, Blumenthal sent the Klein column to his email list. Later that day, in his Political Punch blog, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper wrote, "The Holy Season of Lent is upon us. Can Obama worshippers try to give up their Helter-Skelter cultish qualities for a few weeks?" (Update: In response to OffTheBus, Tapper is categorical in denying that he in any way relied upon Blumenthal or was influenced by Blumenthal in the production or in the writing of this story or his reports on William Ayers or the Obama "cult")

The following day, in the Los Angeles Times, columnist Joel Stein wrote: "Obamaphilia has gotten creepy. What the Cult of Obama doesn't realize is that he is a politician."

After this idea had bounced around the media echo chamber for a few days, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, run by David Brock, posted a summary on February 8 of the sudden outbreak of "cult" references about Obama. It was headlined: "Media figures call Obama supporters' behavior 'creepy,' compare them to Hare Krishna and Manson followers." The next day, Blumenthal sent the Media Matters piece to his email list. A few days later, the New York Times' Paul Krugman, a Clinton supporter, weighed in with a column, "Hate Springs Eternal," in which he wrote, "I'm not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to a cult of personality." Nor would he be the last. Four days later, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, an arch conservative, penned a column entitled, "The Audacity of Selling Hope" in which he simply quoted Klein, Tapper, Stein, and Krugman.

One of Blumenthal's associates scoffs at the notion that there's anything vaguely conspiratorial about these emails and that a number of the people on the list-serve are also the authors of the pieces he sends out. "They're just Sid's friends," he told me. This is, in fact, the very definition of an echo chamber. People in the opinion-shaping business also seek to influence other opinion-makers, who then bounce their ideas through their overlapping outlets -- newspapers, magazines, talk shows, websites, blogs, and social and political fundraising circles. The connections are so incestuous that it's hard to untangle where the "feedback loop" begins and ends.

Among those whose names show up as recipients of Blumenthal's emails are writers and journalists Craig Unger, Edward Jay Epstein, Thomas Edsall (Politics Editor of the Huffington Post), Joe Conason, Gene Lyons (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist and author of The Hunting of the President: The Ten Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton), John Judis, Eric Alterman, Christine Ockrent, David Brock, Reza Aslan, Harold Evans, and Josh Marshall; academics and think tankers Todd Gitlin (Columbia U sociologist), Karen Greenberg (NYU law school), Sean Wilentz (Princeton historian), Michael Lind, William M. Drozdiak, and Richard Parker; and former Clinton administration officials John Ritch, James Rubin, Derek Shearer, and Joe Wilson.

Not all of Blumenthal's recipients, or those who, like me, receive the emails second-hand, are Clinton supporters.

Before and after his service in the Clinton White House, Blumenthal wrote for the New Yorker, New Republic, Washington Post, the Guardian, and Salon, where he was often accused of engaging in partisan journalism.

In the Clinton administration, Blumenthal was primarily a behind-the-scenes strategist, but often found himself speaking in front of the cameras and on the record. In both roles, he was known as a committed Clintonista who played hardball. He's demonstrated those same traits since joining Hillary's campaign as a senior advisor last November.

Presidential politics can get down and dirty, and Blumenthal is a master at the game. Some Obama supporters might even wish that his campaign would resort to similar tactics. If it did, there would be no shortage of anti-Hillary screeds by the "vast right-wing conspiracy" activists and writers, such as surfacing the photo of Rev. Jeremiah Wright with Bill Clinton at a prayer breakfast at the White House in 1998, invited by the president in the midst of his Lewinsky scandal. Indeed, the right-wingers probably hate Hillary more than they dislike Obama. But so far the Obama camp has avoided slinging the right-wing mud, at least with any of the enthusiasm and diligence demonstrated by Sid Blumenthal.


(edited to add the last part of article)
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:59 PM   #800
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The latest national Gallup and Rasmussen Tracking polls have the following results:


In the Democratic race of Obama VS. Clinton:

Gallup:

Clinton 48%
Obama 46%

Rasmussen:

Clinton 46%
Obama 44%



In a McCain VS. Obama match up:

Gallup:

McCain 48%
Obama 42%


Rasmussen:

McCain 48%
Obama 42%


In a McCain VS. Clinton match up:

Gallup:

McCain 46%
Clinton 45%


Rasmussen:

McCain 45%
Clinton 44%



McCain's margin over Obama in the national Gallup poll is the highest it has ever been, same with the Rasmussen poll.
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Old 05-03-2008, 03:49 PM   #801
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In ’88, a Lesson on Using Symbols as Bludgeons

By ROBIN TONER

WASHINGTON — Sometimes, as Senator Barack Obama seemed to argue earlier this year, a flag pin is just a flag pin.

But it can never be that simple for anyone with direct experience of the 1988 presidential campaign. That year, the Republicans used the symbols of nationhood (notably, whether schoolchildren should be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance) to bludgeon the Democrats, challenge their patriotism and utterly redefine their nominee, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts.

The memory of that campaign — reinforced, for many, by the attacks on Senator John Kerry’s Vietnam war record in the 2004 election — haunts Democrats of a certain generation.

The 1988 campaign was, in many ways, the crucible that helped create Bill Clinton’s centrist philosophy and his fierce commitment to attack and counterattack, which drove the politics of the 1990s.

Senator Barack Obama has promised a different politics, one that rises above the fray and the distractions of wedge issues. As Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for Salon, recently put it, “The entire Obama campaign is predicated on the belief that it is no longer 1988.”

But is that true?

The assertion looks more debatable in recent weeks, after the furor over Mr. Obama’s former pastor and his inflammatory views on America, the biggest of a series of “distractions” that have knocked the Obama campaign off stride. And if he wins the nomination, such issues will almost certainly rise again, given that he will run against a war hero, in Senator John McCain, who is advised by several veterans of the campaign against Mr. Kerry.

Mr. Obama himself seemed chastened by the re-emergence of the old politics last week. “Let’s be honest,” he said in an interview on NBC. “You know, here I am, an African-American named Barack Obama who’s running for president. I mean, that’s a leap for folks. And I think it’s understandable that my political opponents would say, ‘You know, he’s different. He’s odd. He’s sort of unfamiliar. And what do we know about him?’ ”

There is a subtext for this history lesson: Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is running hard on the notion that she is the more electable candidate, that what she calls her “baggage” has been thoroughly vetted, and that she has survived 16 years of the harshest Republican attacks.

But David Axelrod, chief strategist to Mr. Obama, argues that any Democratic nominee will be subject to the same withering attacks on values and character.

“The question,” Mr. Axelrod said, “is whether given the abysmal state of our economy, given the war, given all the challenges that people sense we face that have led George Bush to have the lowest rating ever, do you believe that voters are going to be distracted from the fundamental need for change? I think the answer to that is no.”

In fact, as Mr. Axelrod suggests, these are very different times.

Twenty years ago, the nation was in an era of comparative peace and prosperity; a sense of crisis did not hang over the election. Today, with the war in Iraq in its sixth year and the economy stumbling, more than eight in ten Americans say the country is on the wrong track. A new generation of voters have entered the electorate, who may not be as susceptible to values issues.

In such a climate, it would presumably be far more difficult than in 1988 to keep the campaign focused on symbolic, values-related issues, or matters of personality.

There are differences, as well, in the political skills of the candidates then and today: Mr. Obama rose to national prominence largely on the basis of his oratorical skills, and has never been accused of lacking vision; Mr. Dukakis based his campaign on a prosaic promise of managerial competence and “good jobs at good wages.”

And yet, some veterans of past Democratic campaigns say, there are similarities, as well.

Even with so many big issues at stake this time around, the race between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton has often been focused on questions of values, background and character — witness the recent fixation on Mr. Obama’s ties to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., or the continued unfounded rumors that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.

Like Mr. Dukakis in 1988, Mr. Obama is relatively new to the national scene, and thus vulnerable to being defined by Republican attacks. And like Mr. Dukakis, Mr. Obama lacks experience with the politics of wedge issues on a national stage.

Attacks on a presidential candidate’s patriotism, are hard for many politicians to take seriously. “Unless you’re talking about the Manchurian candidate, the idea that someone who put their heart and soul into running for president didn’t care deeply for their country is kind of ridiculous,” said Drew Westen, a psychologist and political consultant.

Still, one of the clearest strategic errors of 1988 was the Democrats’ failure to realize that such attacks could stick and open the door to broader efforts to portray Mr. Dukakis as fundamentally out of sync with the nation’s values.

“The attacks against Dukakis, which were systematic and attacked his patriotism, did a lot of damage to him,” said Tad Devine, a top advisor to the Dukakis campaign and the campaign of Senator John Kerry in 2004. “They developed words and phrases that essentially said this guy is not part of the mainstream.”

If Mr. Obama is the nominee, Mr. Devine said, “I think it will happen again, and it will be aimed at both the candidate and his wife.”

Michelle Obama has already drawn conservative fire for declaring that, because of her husband’s success and the voters’ hunger for change, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” And Mr. Obama has been questioned about why he does not wear a flag pin every day.

In 1988, one of the central attacks revolved around the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Dukakis, as governor, had vetoed state legislation in 1977 that required teachers to lead their students in the pledge. He did so on the basis of an advisory opinion from the state court, which said the legislation was unconstitutional.

Mr. Dukakis, a Harvard lawyer surrounded by other Harvard lawyers, believed himself on very firm ground. But by August 1988, his Republican opponent, Vice President George H.W. Bush was rousing huge crowds with a contemptuous question: “What is it about the Pledge of Allegiance that upsets him so much?”

Mr. Dukakis, Mr. Bush said, was “out in deep left field on these issues.” He was also “a card-carrying member of the A.C.L.U.,” more concerned with giving furloughs to criminals — like Willie Horton — than upholding national values, the vice president asserted.

“I simply can’t understand the kind of thinking that that lets first-degree murderers out of jail on a furlough and won’t deal with the Pledge of Allegiance,” Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Dukakis defended his patriotism and scoffed at Mr. Bush for wrapping himself in the flag, but, in essence, lost control of the campaign and his own image.

“After his loss, in 40 states, many Democratic leaders swore they would never be caught off guard that way again.

Mr. Obama faces different issues, beginning with Mr. Wright, who suggested last week that the United States was attacked by terrorists because it had itself engaged in terrorism; Mr. Obama has now denounced his former pastor. He has been challenged, as well, about his relationship with a former radical from the 1960s; Mr. Obama says he simply served on the board of a foundation with the man.

The questions may be taking a toll: The New York Times/CBS News Poll last week found 29 percent found him “very patriotic,” compared with 40 percent who felt that way about Mrs. Clinton, and 70 percent who felt that way about Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war.

The lessons of history are fairly clear for Democrats, said Bruce Reed, president of the Democratic Leadership Council and a longtime Clinton ally. “Republicans have been trying to put us in the same box for 40 years now,” Mr. Reed said. “We win elections when we don’t let them.”
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:18 PM   #802
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After the primaries Tuesday

Obama will be much closer to securing the nomination.

I expect on Wednesday more super? delegates will break for him.

It is the politically safe thing to do.

Like voting to give W the right to use force in Iraq.
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:07 PM   #803
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One good reason to vote for McCain

Quote:
John McCain and other Senators call for EPA to reconsider ethanol output mandate

By MATTHEW PERRONE – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans have asked environmental regulators to use their power to halt the country's plans to expand ethanol production amid rising food prices.

Twenty-four Republican senators, including presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona, sent a letter Friday to the Environmental Protection Agency suggesting it waive, or restructure, rules that require a fivefold increase in ethanol production over the next 15 years.

Congress passed a law last year mandating a ramp-up to 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2015 and 36 billion by 2022. But McCain and other Republicans said those rules should be suspended to put more corn back into the food supply for animal feed, and to encourage farmers to plant other crops.

"This subsidized (ethanol) program — paid for by taxpayer dollars — has contributed to pain at the cash register, at the dining room table, and a devastating food crisis throughout the world," said McCain, in a statement.
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i...S0ZpwD90FKT800
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:06 PM   #804
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Hillary wants Oil companies, that have made windfall profits, to pay the oil tax.

Obama says "No, No, No."


Quote:
Barack Obama still takes in oil money

The Illinois Democrat received $46,000 in donations from executives and workers last month. In a campaign ad, he said he took no money from oil companies.

By Dan Morain
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

10:45 PM PDT, April 23, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama continued accepting donations from oil company executives and employees last month even as he aired ads in which he stated he took no oil company money, his campaign finance reports show.

Obama has taken at least $263,000 from oil company executives, family members and employees since entering the presidential race last year, including $46,000 last month. At least $140,000 has come in chunks of between $1,000 and $2,300, the maximum permitted under federal law.

Texas oil executive Robert L. Cavnar of Milagro Exploration and his wife, Gracie, have helped the Illinois Democrat raise at least another $50,000 by helping host a fundraiser earlier in the campaign.

Other oil industry donors have included Sinclair Oil President Ross Matthews of Texas and John B. Hess, chairman of Hess Corp., a New York-based oil producer and retailer with operations worldwide. Hess, who has given to other presidential candidates, including Sen. John McCain, gave $2,300 to Obama last year, as did his wife, Susan. Hess gave $14,000 to Obama's Senate run in 2003. The oil executives did not return phone calls.

In the weeks leading up to the Pennsylvania primary, Obama aired a campaign spot in Indiana and Pennsylvania that sought to reinforce his theme that he would change the Washington culture, while also tapping into voter distress about the high price of gasoline. In the ad, he called for a windfall profits "penalty."

"Since the gas lines of the '70s, Democrats and Republicans have talked about energy independence but nothing's changed -- except now Exxon's making $40 billion a year and we're paying $3.50 for gas. I'm Barack Obama. I don't take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won't let them block change anymore," says the spot, which aired as recently as April 8.

Obama's ad is factually correct. He does not take money from oil companies. A 1907 federal law bars all corporations from giving money to political candidates. However, oil company employees can make donations.

As the ad aired, Obama took $12,400 from oil company executives and employees in increments of $1,000 or more. Altogether, people who identify themselves as working for oil and gas companies donated $46,000 in March.

Obama spokesman Ben Labolt said unlike Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and McCain, Obama refused to take money from federal lobbyists and political action committees.

"He accepted no contributions from oil and gas company political action committees, or from those who are paid to lobby Congress on behalf of oil and gas companies -- the money that is intended to purchase influence and access on behalf of corporate interests," Labolt said.

Clinton countered Obama's ad with one detailing his oil company-related donations from employees and executives of Exxon and other major petroleum companies. Factcheck.org, part of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, also chastised Obama for airing the spot.

"They all represent the same interest -- oil." said Sheila Krumholz, director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:31 PM   #805
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Quote:
Clinton: OPEC 'can no longer be a cartel'

Clinton's attacks on oil prices as artificially inflated, Enron-style, keep escalating, and today she appeared to threaten to break up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"We’re going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at," she told a crod at a firehouse in Merrillville, IN.

"That’s not a market. That’s a monopoly," she said, saying she'd use anti-trust law and the World Trade Organization to take on OPEC.

Clinton has cast herself as a warrior for working people against the oil industry and malicious "speculators," and made that -- along with her push for a gas tax holiday -- central to her closing message in Indiana.

It's a potent message, like the attack on "Wall Street money brokers," with deep roots in American politics. It' It's also very hard to figure out what exactly she means by the threat to break OPEC.

Good stuff here!

I don't know what is possible

but, at least we have a politician that is able to put their finger to the wind
and knows which way the wind is blowing
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:44 PM   #806
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Everything is possible. Just close your eyes. And if you keep pretending hard enough, maybe you will truly believe it yourself.

But please wake up to reality in time.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:50 PM   #807
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Me?

I have no illusions

Quote:
Originally posted by deep
After the primaries Tuesday

Obama will be much closer to securing the nomination.

I expect on Wednesday more super? delegates will break for him.

It is the politically safe thing to do.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:52 PM   #808
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Hillary's gas tax holiday idea is STUPID beyond belief.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:06 PM   #809
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McCain's plan is don't collect it

Hillary's plan is let the oil companies pay it out of their windfall profits

Obama's plan is what? suck it up bitter people keep paying more for gas and send in those donations
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:08 PM   #810
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They are both idiotic plans and every economist has said as much.

The fact Hillary is making this about "elitism" is embarrassing for her. It's a horribly stupid and ineffective economic initiative, something on the level of Bush, and I'm glad that essentially everyone has called her on it.
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