MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that if she is elected president, she would make her husband a roaming ambassador to the world, using his skills to repair the nation's tattered image abroad.
"I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton, can you?" the Democratic senator from New York asked a crowd jammed into a junior high school gymnasium. "He has said he would do anything I asked him to do. I would put him to work."
Clinton spoke at a town hall-style meeting Saturday where she took questions from about 200 people. When asked what role the former president would play in her administration, she left no doubt it would be an important one.
"I'm very lucky that my husband has been so experienced in all of these areas," said Clinton, who pointed to the diplomatic assignments her husband has carried out since leaving office, such as raising money for tsunami victims.
Although former president Clinton was impeached after an affair with a White House intern, he remains a very popular figure in much of the world and is considered an effective diplomat. He remained in office after the Senate failed to convict him.
That's precisely what America needs in the wake of a war in Iraq that's left America isolated and hated throughout much of the world, Hillary Clinton said.
"I believe in using former presidents, particularly what my husband has done, to really get people around the world feeling better about our country," she said. "We're going to need that. Right now they're rooting against us and they need to root for us."
The former president can also be a political asset to his wife's campaign. While his image with the electorate is mixed, he remains immensely popular among Democrats.
When it was announced last year that he would be the main speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party's largest annual fundraiser, the event sold out overnight.
On Saturday, Hillary Clinton chatted with activists in Marshalltown and mingled at a coffee shop in Newton before raising money for Rep. Leonard Boswell.
Throughout the day, Clinton toughened her rhetoric by offering sharply populist themes.
"Rich people didn't make American great," Clinton said. "It was the middle class who made this country great."
She denounced the Bush administration, which she said has left the government incompetent. "They have shown contempt for our government," Clinton said. "We've got to get back to having qualified people, not cronies, serving in the government of the United States."
She said Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have done lasting damage. "I don't think we know all the damage that this president and vice president have done," Clinton said.
She was scheduled to visit Dubuque on Sunday.
In Marshalltown, she was pressed on immigration issues in a city where a raid at a local meatpacking plant led to the detention of nearly 100 workers. Clinton called for more assistance for cities with significant numbers of undocumented workers.
"You've got to have more help for communities when you have a lot of undocumented workers because they have costs associated with that and they don't set immigration policy," Clinton said.
She also said any immigration reform must be tougher on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.
She said nothing will affect the issue until leaders of countries, such as Mexico, improve the economic lives for millions living in poverty.
Clinton also said she would raise taxes for the wealthy, who she said "aren't paying their fair share." She also praised the economic policies of her husband that brought budget surpluses.
"We need to get back to fiscal responsibility," she said.
Is he channeling Cheney?
Giuliani warns of 'new 9/11' if Dems win
By: Roger Simon
April 24, 2007
MANCHESTER, N.H. —- Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.
But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped.
“If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.
The former New York City mayor, currently leading in all national polls for the Republican nomination for president, said Tuesday night that America would ultimately defeat terrorism no matter which party gains the White House.
“But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?” Giuliani said. “If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer.”
“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”
He added: “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”
Politico.com is co-host of the Republican presidential debate on May 3rd, and candidates will be answering our readers’ favorite questions.
Click here to submit yours.
Question The Candidates
After his speech to the Rockingham County Lincoln Day Dinner, I asked him about his statements and Giuliani said flatly: “America will safer with a Republican president.”
Giuliani, whose past positions on abortion, gun control and gay rights have made him anathema to some in his party, believes his tough stance on national defense and his post-Sept. 11 reputation as a fighter of terrorism will be his trump card with doubting Republicans.
“This war ends when they stop coming here to kill us!” Giuliani said in his speech. “Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense!”
Giuliani said terrorists “hate us and not because of anything bad we have done; it has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. They hate us for the freedoms we have and the freedoms we want to share with the world.”
Giuliani continued: “The freedoms we have are in conflict with the perverted, maniacal interpretation of their religion.” He said Americans would fight for “freedom for women, the freedom of elections, freedom of religion and the freedom of our economy.”
Addressing the terrorists directly, Giuliani said: “We are not giving that up, and you are not going to take it from us!”
The crowd thundered its approval.
Giuliani also said that America had been naive about terrorism in the past and had missed obvious signals.
“They were at war with us before we realized it, going back to ’90s with all the Americans killed by the PLO and Hezbollah and Hamas,” he said. “They came here and killed us in 1993 [with the first attack on New York’s World Trade Center, in which six people died], and we didn’t get it. We didn’t get it that this was a war. Then Sept. 11, 2001, happened, and we got it."
There's a Democratic debate tomorrow night on MSNBC
NBC Nightly News Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams will moderate the debate.
The South Carolina Democratic Party has announced that Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson are all confirmed to participate. The debate will take place at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
John McCain to Murtha: 'Lighten Up,' 'Get a Life'
Presidential Hopeful Blasts Senator Over IED Remark on 'Daily Show'
April 26, 2007 — - Sen. John McCain, who officially announced his bid for the 2008 White House Wednesday, stopped by "Good Morning America" to talk about his campaign and ended up defending himself about a joke.
The Arizona Republican said that people upset by his comments about IEDs to Jon Stewart on Tuesday night's "Daily Show" should "lighten up." After being grilled by Stewart , McCain jokingly told him that he had a present for him -- an IED that he could place under his desk.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., was furious and publicly assailed McCain on the House floor.
"Imagine a presidential candidate making a joke about IEDs when our kids are getting blown up," he said.
Responding to Murtha's reaction, McCain said that he was going to use comedy during his campaign, just as he did during his military duty.
"I don't know how to react to that kind of hysteria to a comedy show," he told Diane Sawyer on "GMA." "All I'm going to say to Murtha and others. … Lighten up and get a life."
On Wednesday, the same day that McCain announced his presidential run, 218 members of the House voted for a bill that contained a troop withdrawal timetable. McCain said that he would rather lose the election than abandon the conviction that a troop withdrawal from Iraq was a bad idea.
"Everything that I know. … That I've learned about my life … dictates that would be a disaster," he said today. "That opinion is shared by most national security experts."
When asked what he would do differently than the Bush administration, McCain said, "I would certainly go to the American people and explain to them what's at stake. … I do know that I don't need on-the-job training."
Did anyone watch the debate? I watched it off and on because I was trying to watch baseball too. That Gravel guy was too funny and "quirky", he's the new Ross Perot.
I watched some of it. It was a bit distracting having so many people on stage at once, especially when we know most of them will be out of it by the fall.
Was Gravel the one who said he felt like a "potted plant in the corner"? :lol:
Giuliani's Startling Departure
In a startling departure from his previously stated position on civil unions, Mayor Giuliani came out to The New York Sun yesterday evening in opposition to the civil union law just passed by the New Hampshire state Senate.
"Mayor Giuliani believes marriage is between one man and one woman. Domestic partnerships are the appropriate way to ensure that people are treated fairly," the Giuliani campaign said in a written response to a question from the Sun. "In this specific case the law states same sex civil unions are the equivalent of marriage and recognizes same sex unions from outside states. This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it."
The Democratic governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch, has said publicly that he will sign the civil union law.
On a February 2004 edition of Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," Mr. Giuliani told Bill O'Reilly, when asked if he supported gay marriage, "I'm in favor of … civil unions."
He also said, "Marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman."
Asked by Mr. O'Reilly in the interview how he would respond to gay Americans who said being denied access to the institution of marriage violated their rights, Mr. Giuliani said: "That's why you have civil partnerships. So now you have a civil partnership, domestic partnership, civil union, whatever you want to call it, and that takes care of the imbalance, the discrimination, which we shouldn't have."
In 1998, as mayor of New York City, Mr. Giuliani signed into law a domestic partnership bill that a gay rights group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, hailed as setting "a new national benchmark for domestic partner recognition."
Despite Mr. Giuliani's long history of supporting gay rights — or rather, because of it — yesterday's statement is likely to lead many observers to question whether the former mayor is concerned that his socially liberal record and positions aren't flying in the Republican primary. While he still holds a commanding lead in the national polls, he has taken a hit over the last month or so after reiterating his support for the public funding of abortion.
"Why would you want to take a position where you are splitting hairs, when you have been so consistently on the record as for civil unions?" a Republican pollster reached for comment yesterday evening by the Sun, Tony Fabrizio, asked. "You can't turn around at the eleventh hour and say this comes a little too close to marriage and then not support it."
New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation primary, is the second state — after Connecticut — to adopt civil unions strictly through its Legislature, without any order from its courts.
The New Hampshire law is titled, "An act permitting same gender couples to enter civil unions and have the same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as married couples." It specifies that New Hampshire will recognize civil unions from other states.
The Connecticut law is structured similarly, equating civil unions to marriages and recognizing civil unions from other states. The Vermont and New Jersey civil union laws are also similar.
Mr. Giuliani's position on the New Hampshire law puts him in the company of the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, the only other major presidential candidate from either party who opposes the New Hampshire law.
"Governor Romney opposes the New Hampshire bill," Mr. Romney's campaign said yesterday. "He is a champion of traditional marriage. As governor of Massachusetts, he has a clear record opposing same sex marriage and civil unions."
Senator McCain of Arizona said the issue was one of states' rights and took no position on the New Hampshire law specifically. "While, as a federalist, John McCain recognizes the right of the state of New Hampshire to regulate the institution of marriage and to pass civil union laws, he strongly believes in the current law that declares that no other state should be legally bound to recognize same sex marriages or unions that might be legal in other places," Mr. McCain's campaign said in a statement.
Senator Clinton, Senator Obama of Illinois, and a former senator from North Carolina, John Edwards, all support the New Hampshire law but oppose gay marriage.
Giuliani = FLIP FLOPPER.
He's truly shameful.
I'd vote for Mike Gravel over anyone else right now.
In that debate, Mike Gravel was the ONLY one that sounded like a PERSON, as opposed to a POLITICIAN whose every word was calculated.
If you say that the war in Iraq is wrong and then you refuse to cut off funding, which you have the power to do so, you're a hypocrite. And Gravel called everyone out on it.
And Gravel is absolutely right that this whole bill that was passed is for show. Bush is going to veto it, everyone knows it, and the Dems don't have the votes in the Senate to override the veto, so WHAT exactly are the Dems patting themselves on the back for?
Gravel also echoed the a thought shared by many about the seemingly endless ineptitude of congress, saying
"It's like going into the Senate, you know the first time you get there, you're all excited, my god how did I ever get here, and then about six months later you say, how the hell did the rest of them get here?"
But the rest of the people on stage, ESPECIALLY the big three(Hilary, Obama, Edwards) just recite pre-rehearsed soundbites. Every word is calculated. A great example: There was a question asked along the lines of, if god forbid two high profile targets were attacked(by terrorists) right now, and you knew for sure who was responsible, what you do in terms of military presence? Now, anyone with a brain can figure that this question boils down to, would you attack them in retaliation?
The big three skirted the issue, talking about how there had to be an emergency plan in effect for dealing with attacks and so forth, but that wasn't the damn question. They couldn't answer it properly because they hadn't had hours worth of meetings with their advisers to determine which answer to that question would bode the best for them votes-wise.
And that, of course, is what this comes down to.
Mike Gravel is the only one willing to sound like a PERSON rather than a POLITICIAN(except for maybe Kucinich) because he doesn't have a chance in hell of winning. Hilary, Obama, and Edwards, on the other hand? All they care about is your vote. That's why they won't cut off funding. It's no big moral dilemma. They just care more about not compromising votes for 2008 than they do about bringing the troops home safe and sound, that's all.
So yeah, the way I'm feeling, Mike Gravel would get my vote today.
Just reading back through a few pages of news stories and comments, it sounds like - both Republican & Democrat - there's no shortage of complete arse clowns gunning for this one.
Uh, Mike, about all those 'I'm not running' remarks?
By ELIZABETH BENJAMIN
DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST
Monday, May 14th 2007, 4:00 AM
The announcement of a Bloomberg for President campaign in 2008 increasingly appears to be less a matter of "if" and more a question of "when."
The hints dropped by Mayor Mike and his aides are coming so thick and fast you have to duck to avoid being hit upside the head.
On Friday, Bloomberg traveled to Texas and Oklahoma - two states that just so happen to have the most difficult ballot access and where any independent presidential candidate would be wise to get an early start.
While in Houston, Bloomberg delivered a speech to business leaders about national energy policy - hardly a top concern for a contented mayor - and slammed Washington lawmakers for "passing the buck" on energy reform.
The multibillionaire mayor then flew to Oklahoma City on his private jet (no campaign plane funded by special interest donors for him), where he visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum - a not-so-subtle reminder that New York has its own memorial to build.
He insists he has no designs on the White House but just relaunched his Web site from his successful mayoral campaigns.
Today, Bloomberg will lobby state lawmakers in Albany on his controversial congestion pricing proposal - part of a bold bid to make New York City greener that has drawn accolades from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who could prove to be a key ally in a state rich in electoral votes.
Need more proof of Bloomberg's '08 aspirations?
How about his national coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns?
What about those meetings between Bloomberg's top political adviser, Kevin Sheekey, and state Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay, at which the topic of a nationwide ballot access strategy was discussed? These get-togethers, first reported here three weeks ago, were picked up by the Daily Telegraph of London on Saturday.
Pundits say Bloomberg is unlikely to run if the Republican presidential nominee is Rudy Giuliani, despite the fact that the results of today's Daily News poll show more New Yorkers think the current mayor would be a better commander in chief.
"This is not going to translate to the rest of the country," warned Blum & Weprin Associates President Mickey Blum, who conducted the Daily News poll. "Nationally, people think of Giuliani as the person who cleaned up New York City. They don't necessarily credit Bloomberg with much of anything. They just don't know him."
But with the $500 million to $1 billion the mayor is speculated to be willing to spend if he runs, he could get known. And fast.
"Politics is a function of time and resources, and he has both" said Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkopf. "He's the luckiest guy of all, because he can sit by, watch and make decisions on his own timetable. While the others are engaged in combat, all he does is get stronger every day."
My sisters who live in New York hate Bloomberg. They think he's a disaster. He hasn't done anything that hasn't pissed them off big time. It does indeed seem like he's running, using his own money. I know two New Yorkers who aren't going to be voting for him.
:scratch: they're certainly in a very large minority.
Washington Post: N.Y. Mayor Is Eyeing '08, Observers Say
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a self-made billionaire, has told friends more than once that his definition of good financial planning is making sure the check to the undertaker bounces when it's finally time to go.
So how does a billionaire spend all his money before he dies? In Bloomberg's case, he just might drop a cool half-billion on a long-shot bid to become the nation's first modern president from outside the two major political parties.
As fellow New Yorkers Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) campaign vigorously across the country to become their parties' nominees and prepare for what would be an electric general-election clash, Bloomberg is governing the "ungovernable city" -- and patiently waiting in the wings.
Publicly, the Democrat-turned-Republican professes no interest in the top job at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But the founder of the Bloomberg financial news empire has dropped enough hints and has had enough tantalizing discussions with potential supporters that people who observe the city's politics for a living are convinced he is at least thinking about it.
"He would be a very compelling candidate," said civil rights activist Al Sharpton, himself a once and potentially future presidential hopeful from the Big Apple, and a friend of the mayor's. Sharpton called Bloomberg "Ross Perot with a resume" and predicted that "if he operates as he's done in other parts of his life, he will put both feet in."
Bloomberg, 65, has told confidants that he will not decide until early next year, when it has become clear whom Democrats and Republicans will nominate.
If he runs for president as a self-financed independent, New York could find itself home to a trio of presidential candidates, an oddity for a state and city often portrayed as far outside the mainstream of American political and social life.
"You are dealing with people who have in one way or another been perceived as having conquered New York," Sharpton said. "After that, what else is there to do but conquer the country?"
"It's the water," joked former New York mayor Edward I. Koch, who is supporting Clinton but said he would welcome Bloomberg to the race. "There's no lead in it, which can cloud your thinking."
Clear thinking might lead a politician to decide that running for president as a third-party candidate would be a fool's errand. Consumer activist Ralph Nader won about 2.7 percent of the vote in 2000. H. Ross Perot, another billionaire businessman, drew about 19 percent in 1992 after spending about $60 million of his personal fortune.
Stu Loeser, Bloomberg's press secretary, said flatly last week that his boss is not considering a presidential campaign.
"He has dinner with people. People ask him questions. He engages in conversation," Loeser said, explaining the genesis of stories about the mayor's presidential ambitions. "He has been very clear and explicit that he is not running for president."
Not running now? Or not running ever?
"The question has been asked every which way," Loeser said. "The answer is no. He has been very clear that he's not running."
But despite those denials the rumblings persist, perhaps because, unlike most politicians, Bloomberg has vast wealth that allows him the luxury to wait until next year to decide. As then-New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D) proved 15 years ago, there's nothing quite so appealing in politics as someone who is merely mulling a White House bid.
A close friend who has spoken to Bloomberg about the pros and cons of a presidential campaign said that "it is still on his mind." But the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of respect for Bloomberg's privacy, said the mayor would have to be convinced that there is a compelling rationale for him to run.
"If he felt that the candidates were likely to be such that it gave him the opportunity, he would do it," the friend said. "It's a long shot, but not 100 to 1."
At No. 142 on the Forbes list of the word's richest people, Bloomberg is worth at least $5.5 billion. He controls a private company that provides real-time financial data to money managers and others around the globe. And he has built a news-gathering organization that employs more than 1,000 reporters.
A generous philanthropist, Bloomberg has pledged to eventually give away his fortune and has constructed a building around the corner from his East 79th Street townhouse to provide the headquarters for his charitable foundation. Political observers say he has enough money to blanket the country with television ads for months if he becomes a candidate.
"He'd be a candidate almost in the progressive tradition," said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York political consultant. "He could make the argument: 'A pox on both their houses.' He's a celebrity by definition because he's a billionaire."
His money -- and a post-Sept. 11 desire for a steady hand -- helped elect Bloomberg mayor in 2001. His first year was rocky; he confronted a budget deficit as high as $6 billion and pushed through an 18.5 percent property tax increase. His approval rating plunged to 41 percent.
The notion of a Bloomberg presidency grows out of his subsequent successes in New York, where he is now widely regarded as a popular, effective and smart leader who carries none of Giuliani's often polarizing personal attributes. By law, Bloomberg cannot run for a third term as mayor in 2009.
In its endorsement of his reelection in 2005, the New York Times editorial board praised his handling of the city's issues, from garbage to the homeless to crime. Bloomberg "focused on getting things done, not on getting headlines," the Times wrote, predicting that "he may be remembered as one of the greatest mayors in New York history."
The paper's only complaint: what it called the "obscene" and "out-of-control" campaign spending that Bloomberg employed to win his two campaigns. He spent about $85 million in his 2005 campaign against Democrat Fernando Ferrer.
Running as a Republican for president is not an option, friends say. As his predecessor did, Bloomberg has taken positions that would be considered too liberal by many GOP primary voters. He supports gun control, has raised taxes, backs same-sex marriage and signed a law banning the use of trans fats in fast-food restaurants. The mayor once filed suit on behalf of the city against two dozen gun dealers.
"They are things that don't necessarily sell in Nebraska," said New York lobbyist Norman Adler.
Nor is Bloomberg likely to return to the Democratic Party for a tussle with Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). He has expressed to friends a deep frustration with partisan politics in the United States. And if he ran as a Democrat, he might sacrifice his reputation as an independent-minded businessman who is above politics.
But running for president as a third-party candidate has its own risks and challenges. The two-party system makes it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballot, and waiting until next year could make that hurdle insurmountable.
Bloomberg could have help in that area from a group that is planning to hold a "unity" primary to nominate a bipartisan ticket for the White House. The group, Unity08, was founded by, among others, Hamilton Jordan, President Jimmy Carter's chief of staff.
"Unity08 believes that neither of today's major parties reflects the aspirations, fears or will of the majority of Americans," its Web site states. "Both have polarized and alienated the people. . . . Unity08 will act to assure that an alternative ticket is presented to the American voters in 2008."
Bloomberg could help fulfill that goal. But in conversations with friends, he has been realistic about his chances for success: "How can a 5-foot-7, divorced billionaire Jew running as an independent from New York possibly have a chance?" he has asked.
Said one confidant: "Is there going to be a Perot moment where a third-party candidate can come in, much the way Perot did, and have it make sense so you're almost halfway sold before you're out the gate? He's not interested in making a fool of himself."
Copyright 2007, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive and The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.
i actually ment a very small minority... bloomberg's approval ratings are through the roof.
but new york being the huge melting pot that it is, with a population of 8 million within the city limits and 16 million if you combine the surrounding suburbs, if 25% of the people don't like you, that's still a few million peeps.
Cool.. you can vote for "City of Blinding Lights" or "Beautiful Day" and help pick Hillary's 2008 campaign theme song:
I voted for COBL...
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