Was watching some of the MSNBC videos, and Sally Quinn was being interviewed. She stated that there are whispers about town that VP Biden and SoS Clinton will switch positions for the 2012 elections. That would free Clinton to begin campaigning earlier, setting her up to run for POTUS in 2016. Biden's love is Foreign Affairs and he would be a very good Sos. Can you imagine an Obama/Clinton 2012? I think it would be a good deal. Then we'd have a Clinton/? 2016. They asked Quinn what she thought the odds of this happening were? And she answered, “Oh I am sure its going to happen.” Then she smiled. She would not release her sources, of course. but she sounded pretty confident. Any thoughts?
President Obama announced today that the Department of Energy will issue $2.3 billion in clean energy manufacturing tax credits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – the vast majority of which will be used to spur more energy efficient buildings, and wind and solar power. 183 projects in 43 states will receive tax credits to help create tens of thousands of high quality jobs and increase domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies. Among the leading recipients in Iowa is TPI Composites in Newton, which will get 3.9 million dollars to expand its production of wind turbine blades. (A list of all Iowa's recipients is available here.)
TPI's Newton plant, formerly a Maytag washing machine factory, is symbolic of clean energy’s potential to transform and revitalize Iowa’s manufacturing base and was the site of the President's 2009 Earth Day address. American Railcar Industries in Fort Dodge hopes to follow TPI’s lead and will receive 5.35 million dollars to transform a local rail car plant to produce 500 steel towers a year for large-scale commercial wind turbines.
Eric Nost, Environment Iowa state associate, released the following statement in response:
“Energy efficiency, wind, and solar power have the potential to revive the nation's economy, create millions of good jobs, and stop global warming. The President’s announcement today will help Iowa continue to lead the way toward a new, clean energy future.
“While the Administration’s actions and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are substantial first steps, Congress must follow the President’s lead and take immediate action. In order to create jobs and heal our ailing economy, right now the Senate needs to pass comprehensive clean energy and global warming legislation.
“We thank Senator Harkin for investing in Iowa through the ARRA and urge him to work now to pass strong legislation that further encourages these kinds of clean energy projects and the jobs they create, makes us more energy independent, and cuts pollution fast enough to stave off the worst effects of global warming.”
Environment Iowa is a state-wide, citizen-funded advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.
Today is “Young and Future Generations Day” here at the International Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen, and I'm here with my wife Wahleah and our two-year-old daughter Tohaana. Along with thousands of other young people, we're doing everything in our power to convince world leaders to commit to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding international agreement based on a target of 350 parts per million (ppm), which is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Less than 400 miles away in Oslo, Norway, President Obama is accepting the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” If ever there was a time and place to live up to that honor, now, in Copenhagen is it.Continue Reading...
There has been a lot of talk this week about the surprising move by Walmart to publically support President Obama’s health care reform plan, supposedly positioning themselves as a
leader in the fight to bring health care to all Americans. As we mentioned in a post on our blog
yesterday, this might be easier to swallow if Walmart had any history of leading by example. Instead, they usually do just the opposite.
Walmart’s long record of trying to build a positive
reputation on ineffective work-arounds to health care coverage
care coverage, it’s not hard to understand our skepticism. [get the details in the extended entry]Continue Reading...
Recovery Act Invests $9.3 Billion to Expand High-Speed Rail
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2009
Recovery Act Invests $9.3 Billion to Expand High-Speed Rail in America
The final version of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act now before Congress includes an unprecedented $8 billion investment in high-speed rail. In addition, Amtrak will receive $1.3 billion to
rebuild trains and improve its capacity.
“We commend President Obama and Congress for helping to get America moving again with modern trains,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Investing
in high-speed rail projects will put people to work quickly, create new economic opportunities, increase mobility and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.”
The $8 billion made available through the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be awarded competitively to states to improve passenger rail service, primarily on those corridors where 110 mph
service is proposed. Funds can also be used on conventional rail projects that relieve congestion. The Midwest is very well positioned, with federally designated high-speed rail corridors radiating out in a
hub-and-spoke network from Chicago to St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Madison and the Twin Cities.
“The Environmental Law & Policy Center has long called for the development of a Midwest high-speed rail network. Governors and state Departments of Transportation have embraced high-speed rail as
modern, fast, comfortable and convenient. We have done the homework and prep work. These projects are now ready to build,” said Learner. “We look forward to working with the states to meet Congress’s challenge to rebuild America with cleaner transportation.”
“Congress has moved on the right track toward economic recovery,” said Learner. “Investing in modern, high-speed rail is an important down payment on America’s transportation future.”
NOTE: Due to very high web traffic, the bill itself is difficult to download from Congress’s website. ELPC has made the documents available on its website at:
The Environmental Law and Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.
The whole house of cards seems to be crashing. The funny thing is, the capitalists, through their greed, did it to themselves. If they had left in place the safeguards and regulations established in New Deal welfare state capitalism, this depression – brought on by the housing bubble collapse – would not be happening. Instead we would have seen the continued slow grinding erosion of working class living standards we have had since the late 70’s. Which was working out pretty well for the capitalists – inequality had reached record levels in the 90’s and 2000’s. But no, they had to completely tear down all the stabilizers built into their own system. They thought, hey there’s no Soviet Union any more, communism and socialism are dead, so we can just go hogwild and take everything we want, let the average American citizen pay the price.
Well, now we are all screwed.
The following letter was sent to Barack Obama, and has been sent to my local newspaper. If we all wrote letters to the President-Elect, and sent them to our local papers, maybe visibility of this issue would pass some threshold inside the transition and help get Rick Warren booted off of the Inauguration platform.Continue Reading...
Tonight is Obama's acceptance speech and the Obama campaign in Iowa is organizing tons of convention watch parties around the state. This is a good way to get plugged into the local campaign. You can find a party near you by going to
An excerpt from an email I recieved from Matthew La Rocque, my regional field organizer:
“Following these August 28th convention parties, we’ll be holding a three-day weekend of action, canvassing our communities and local events this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Here in the Northwest, we’ll be knocking on doors to talk not just about Obama, but also about local Democrats like Tom Harkin, Rob Hubler and Becky Greenwald, and a host of other local candidates….We view this weekend as the ultimate showing of Democratic unity for Democrats, and we hope that you’ll join us on this historic occasion. In order for down-ticket events like this to continue, it’s crucial that folks turn out to prove the robustness of a coordinated campaign.”
I would encourage everyone to come to one of these events.
Six months ago I would never have believed I would write this, but tonight I went door to door campaigning for Obama. When Hillary dropped out of the race I decided that I would vote for Obama, but there was no way I was campaigning for him. I figured that I'd let all the Obama people do that…after all he was their candidate. I decided that I was going to focus my energy on campaigning for Becky. What changed my mind were two things: first, Obama seems to be slipping a little bit in the polls. I don't think his getting elected is a done deal and I could see some of his supporters acting as if it were. I would hate to have this long, drawn out election ending with another Republican in office. Secondly, Brian from the Obama campaign came to our county central committee meeting and asked for our help. Also and even more personally important to me is that he talked about how important it was for Obama to get Becky Greenwald elected and said that the two campaigns were working together to elect both of them.
The strategy meeting ended up being very small–six of us plus Brian. Three former Hillary supporters and three always Obama supporters. Then the always Obama supporters went home and two of us Hillary supporters went door to door with Brian. Tomorrow I am calling up the local people that I know who supported Obama in the caucus and goading them into coming next time.
I've never gone door-to-door before, though I have done a lot of calling. Canvassing isn't the most fun thing I have ever done, but it isn't the worst either. Most people said that they were undecided. Some weren't even sure if they were going to vote. I had one person say that she believed that Obama was the anti-christ…we marked her as a “no” though I guess she didn't say that she absolutely wouldn't vote for him. One man slammed the door in my face. There were a couple of nice ones though. I have to admit that I am still not particularly passionate about Obama, but sometimes politics isn't about passion as much as it is about hard work. My focus isn't going to be on how much I like Obama or how excited I am about him–because quite honestly I'm not that excited. It is going to be much more about how he shares my values about getting health care for every American, protecting social security and safeguarding the environment.
Anyone else canvassing? I'd love to hear other stories.
I'm not sure if Obama is going to be able take the South, but he does seem to be performing unusually well in some traditionally Republican states: Indiana and Montana for example. Bush won both of them by 20 points in 2004, but Obama is leading them in the latest polls (not by much, but still). It will be interesting to see if he continues to lead those states in the fall.
Now that the primary race has settled down a bit, polls are starting to show that Obama's current early lead is primarily due to women. A recent Gallup polls show that Obama trails McCain by 5 points among men, but leads him by 10 points among women. Other polls show similar trends. Rasmussen says that the two are “essentially tied among men,” but Obama leads by 12 points among women. USA today shows that Obama's lead with women is 14 points, but he is behind 3 points with men. Even Newsweek, which found that Obama leads with both genders shows that his lead is three times as great among women (21 points).
All of the polls can be found here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls/
It is no wonder both candidates are courting women voters, but how can we get Obama's numbers up with men? Are there just more male republicans than male democrats? If so why?
The first time I saw this commercial it almost brought me to tears. My son's name is also Alex. That is why I fought in this war, so my son didnt have to and that is why I am fighting for a democratic President
Here is the link
Keep up the good fight, our children are depending on us.
And thought that I would share it. Something both me and my son can enjoy on Fathers day:)
A Geographic Analysis of PA, OH and VA General Election Polling
(Cross-posted on MyDD and Daily Kos)
A number of state polls have come out in recent days for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. The numbers overall look good for Barack Obama, with him leading John McCain in Pennsylvania in all four polls released in May; Obama leading outside the margin of error in one poll in Ohio while being within the margin in two others; and a very competitive race in Virginia as well, with one poll there showing Obama up by seven points (links to polls used are provided at bottom of this diary). What I wanted to do in this diary is to look at the regional breakdown in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia to examine Obama’s geographic areas of strength and weakness.Continue Reading...
Why is it wrong for Ed Fallon to have voted for supposed spoiler Ralph Nader, but nobody notices that Boswell is on record supporting the McCain's new foreign policy buddy?
Old Joe Lieberman checked the “bearings” of Johnny Mac:
“I just want to report that this morning I personally checked John McCain’s bearings. He has not lost any of them. They are all in really great shape.”
(-from a CNN interview)
I have just one word for Joe's personal bearings check- “Yuck.”
Unfortunately I have to admit that I too voted for the Sore/Loserman ticket in 2000. Double Yuck!
Measuring Size of Obama’s (Relative) Coattails on Congressional Races
This is a long diary to read so I will tell you upfront what my conclusion is after examining the recent SurveyUSA 50-state polling: Yes, Barack Obama may indeed have huge coattails for Senate and Congressional races in the fall. Now, to the long explanation —
The recent SurveyUSA polling indicated a relatively even match between Obama and Clinton re. who would have the most electoral votes when facing McCain. Obama’s total came to 280 EV, while Hillary’s was 276 EV – a seemingly even match:Continue Reading...
This is kind of a partisan national political post for my first post back from a long hiatus. But this one has been stuck in me for a while. So bear with me.
The Clinton campaign today finally throws what it considers “the kitchen sink” out there trying to derail the Obama Machine. Among their “five points” they continue to harp on this idea that because Obama is an eloquent speaker that therefore there is nothing substantial with which to back it up from a policy perspective. This is just silly. There is no Law of Conservation of Virtues that says just because a person is eloquent, they are a policy dunce.
For starters Clinton (and the GOP) is just plain wrong in the experience issue. In an institution where it can take years for a Senator to make any kind of impact at all, Senator Obama has had a very distinguished first term. Don’t take my word for it, Hilzoy of the Obsidian Wings blog put together a very complete profile of Obama’s legislative record, way back in October of 2006.
I think the main problem that many have in suspending their disbelief that there can be any substance behind the calls for hope is that we have come to see utter mediocrity as the standard of our political discourse. Somehow, in the years since 1968 it became unfashionable (too elitist?) to wax eloquent about our collective dreams and aspirations. The standard has become the highly briefed pol who studiously says nothing while occasionally throwing out a short sound bite as red meat to the mob. See, no new taxes, compassionate conservative, and ready to lead on day one. The winner is the one who can come closest to embodying the mental image their sound bite evokes in 51 percent of the superset of party regulars and normal people who can hold their noses long enough to vote.Continue Reading...
The further and further along we proceed in this election, the more and more likely it seems that the Republican nominee will be John McCain. As Democrats, we are going that have to make careful our decision as to who we want going head-to-head with Sen. McCain. We need someone with the ability to bring people together. We need someone with the ability to bring people to their feet. We need someone with the ability to court Republicans and Independents. We need Barack Obama!
But we also need someone else– the right Vice-Presidential nominee…Continue Reading...
By breaking the color barrier for the Presidency, like Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis, Jackie Robinson, Sidney Poitier and Martin Luther King, Obama becomes a Folk Hero.
This makes him the darling of the Press and gives him a strong Teflon coating. In addition, by breaking the biggest color barrier on Earth, the Presidency of the United States, Obama goes beyond mere Folk Hero status and attains Super Folk Hero.
27% say they will never vote for a black, 24% for a woman, I think it was 35% for a Mormon and 53% for an atheist.
Fortunately, Obama is NOT a black woman Mormon atheist. Because he is just a black man, he has an excellent chance to romp over the Republicans, who will be cast as the Folk Villians in 2008 against Super Folk Hero. The Dems have not had a Super-Powered Folk Hero run for President since maybe Andrew Jackson. JFK and FDR were great candidates but they became Folk Heroes AFTER they were elected. Obama is a Super-Powered Folk Hero before the first vote has been cast.
This Folk Hero Status would also be granted to the female or Hispanic in the race if they had the charisma and skills to pull it off. But clearly they do not.
So besides the incredible skills and charisma of Obama, he has another terrific advantage:
Speaking just four days after Christmas in Pocahontas, Iowa, Michelle Obama told her audience of fifty that a changer has come to us. He knows we are all alike and that we do not want to fight. He is full of hope. He has come in a form that we may not have anticipated, but he he is!
He is ready now. We should not expect him to come again. It is a lot of work to run for the White House even once, never mind twice. In eight years the hope will be drained out of him, anyway.
He will give bring change because he will follow the Biblical admonition: To whom much is given, much will be expected. He has been given much in the way of the family values that we all share and in the outstanding education and legal talent he has shown. He did not use his talent to enrich himself. He went into community service where he fought (what? He fights?) for change in Chicago politics. Now he will bring change to America.
sermon stump speech, Michelle did not take any questions about politics or issues. She immediately began shaking hands with the people in the front pew row of chairs. Ninety six percent of the audience remained seated, apparently waiting their turn to shake her hand. Two others got up and left having realized this was not the political event they had expected.
NAFTA caused much of the New Poor in Mexico
For those who don't know, the Clintons' NAFTA not only impoverished American farmers and textile workers and their families, but also wiped out the Mexican corn-growing economy and the lives of 15 million people. About 5 million of those have illegally crossed into the US — just because of NAFTA allowing cheap subsidized corn from the US into Mexico, dropping the corn price there 70%.
Next year NAFTA fully kicks in, meaning an additional 500,000 economic refugees that we ourselves caused. The former corn farmers and unemployed workers don't come because we are great, they come because the policies of both governments is starving their children.
And the Clintons pushed NAFTA through without the safeguards wanted by the Democrats. Remember Hillary chuckled and said it didn't work out the way we wanted!
NAFTA Will Boost Mexican Emigration to US
Mexico, Dec 16 (Prensa Latina) Mexican emigration to the United States will increase as of January 2008, when the tariffs on corn and beans will be lifted within the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), expert Steve Suppan said on Saturday.
In statements to Prensa Latina, the experts from the Institute of Agricultural and Commercial Policies, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the United States, described rural migrations caused by NAFTA as the migration crisis that broke out in 1994, when the first NAFTA adjustments were made.
“There are many Mexican workers with little options and they resort to the hard march to the North seeking higher wages to help their families in their communities of origin,” he noted.
Suppan noted that the situation will worsen as 300,000 farmers and 200,000 people from Mexican cities are expected to emigrate, due to the lack of development opportunities.
Experts are concerned at a forced economic exodus to the United States, a situation that will increase food insecurity in Mexico, he said.
The big economy will flood the small economy with its products and tragedy will mostly affect indigenous groups who had guarded their basic resources for humankind but are starving at present.
The governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico could renegotiate the NAFTA if they took into account the harm they are causing to the disposed, because only the big private consortiums will benefit instead of farmers and small businesspeople.
Suppan referred to the world campaign in favor of preserving food resources, especially corn, as a human right of economic use, and pointed out that the campaign could even be taken to the United Nations if there were political will.
Clinton Is New to Nafta Criticism, Obama Says
By Jeff Zeleny
MARION, Iowa — Senator Barack Obama is accusing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of waiting until she was a presidential candidate to suggest that the North American Free Trade Agreement -– enacted during her husband’s administration -– was a mistake.
“I think it’s important to note that Senator Clinton was a cheerleader for Nafta for more than a decade. As of a year ago, she was calling it a boon to the economy,” Mr. Obama told reporters here today. “It seems to me that the only thing that has changed in the last year is that it’s now election time.”
Mr. Obama opened a two-day Iowa campaign swing in this city outside of Cedar Rapids. As he delivered his criticism, he glanced down to his printed notes, which rested on a podium.
“As some of you probably heard at the debate the other night, Senator Clinton called Nafta a mistake,” Mr. Obama said. “I was pleased to hear her say that because, as more than 10,000 jobless Iowans know, that’s exactly what Nafta has been.”
This is very funny and well-done:
OK — whose campaign does the next Christmas song parody?
WOW! I just read Obama's rural development plan and I am totally blown away! I have NEVER in my life seen such a detailed plan at any stage of any campaign.
It's very long but I URGE you to read it all:
|ENSURE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR FAMILY FARMERS
|SUPPORT RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
|PROMOTE RURAL AMERICA’S LEADERSHIP IN DEVELOPING RENEWABLE ENERGY
|IMPROVE RURAL QUALITY OF LIFE
Here is Edwards Rural Plan, it does not compare in scope or specificity:
Rural areas have languished long enough, Obama really steps up the plate and delivers, more than any other candidate in history.
Hillary's Electability and Inevitability is way down. This is a telephone survey by Zogby. Clinton barely beats Romney for example but Obama cleans his clock by 18 points. According to this poll Obama is far more electable than Hillary, who this poll shows would lose badly to McCain, by 7 points, while Obama beats McCain by 4 points.
Released: December 20, 2007
Zogby Poll: Obama Leads Top Republicans
Telephone survey shows fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Edwards would defeat some GOPers, lose to others
UTICA, New York – Illinois Sen. Barack Obama would defeat all five of the top Republicans in prospective general election contests, performing better than either of his two top rivals, a new Zogby telephone poll shows.
His margins of advantage range from a 4 percent edge over Arizona Sen. John McCain and a 5 percent edge over Arkansas' Mike Huckabee to an 18 percentage point lead over Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the survey shows. Against New York's Rudy Giuliani he leads by 9%, and against Fred Thompson of Tennessee he holds a 16 point edge.
Obama Obama leads Romney 53%-35%
Obama leads Huckabee 47%-42%
Obama leads Giuliani 48%-39%
Obama leads McCain 47%-43%
Obama leads Thompson 52%-36%
The telephone survey included 1,000 likely voters nationwide and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The poll was conducted Dec. 12-14, 2007.
Democrat Hillary Clinton of New York would defeat Romney by a narrow 46% to 44% margin and Thompson by a 48% to 42% margin. She would lose to Huckabee 48% to 43%, to Giuliani 46% to 42%, and to McCain by a 49% to 42% margin. The data suggest that Clinton has improved her position slightly. A November Zogby Interactive poll showed her losing by small margins to all five of the top GOP candidates.
Democrat John Edwards of North Carolina would beat Romney, Huckabee, and Thompson, but would lose to Giuliani and McCain, the Zogby survey shows.
The performance of the Democratic candidates among independent voters is notable. For instance, Clinton trails Giuliani by one point (43% for Giuliani, 42% for Clinton among independents), but Obama leads Giuliani among independents by a huge 56% to 31% edge. Edwards leads Giuliani, 52% to 38% among independents. Clinton has similar trouble among independents against McCain, in that she trails with 37% support to his 46% support. In a prospective Obama versus McCain match-up among independent voters, Obama leads, 51% to 35%. Edwards and McCain are tied at 42% apiece among independents.
As among independents, Obama is the Democrat moderates like best, but his edge among moderates over Edwards is not nearly as pronounced as with independents. For instance, against McCain, both Edwards and Obama lead, but Clinton loses badly. Obama leads McCain by a 51% to 37% edge, while Edwards leads McCain by a 47% to 41% margin.
Clinton loses to McCain among moderates, with McCain winning 51% and Clinton winning 38%.
THIS PRIMARY IS ABOUT OCTOBER 2002 AND THE WAR VOTE BY EDWARDS AND CLINTON
Why Obama? This is the main reason I am voting for Barack: because he had the good sense to be against the War in Iraq in 2002, calling it a “Dumb War”. Edwards meanwhile co-sponsored the Authorization of Force Resolution and said on the floor: “We know Saddam has WMD”.
Here is the devastating video of Edwards' floor speech to send us to war on a lie:
What was Obama's speech on Iraq a month later? He called it a dumb war. Here's a video interview. Who had better judgement? Who was more for peace and diplomacy? Who is the true diplomacy-first leader? Barack Obama:
Here is Hillary, trusting BUSH all the way:
Think it's pretty clear who is a true leader instead of a calculating politician.
And Clinton? She is even worse than Edwards, not reading the NIE again, not even the summary! And then she even did something Joe LIEberman did not do, definitively link al Quada and Saddam:
HILLARY'S WAR According to Senate aides, because Clinton was not yet on the Armed Services Committee, she did not have anyone working for her with the security clearances needed to read the entire N.I.E. and the other highly classified reports that pertained to Iraq. She could have done the reading herself. Senators were able to access the N.I.E. at two secure locations in the Capitol complex. Nonetheless, only six senators personally read the report, according to a 2005 television interview with Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia and then the vice chairman of the intelligence panel. Earlier this year, on the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire, Clinton was confronted by a woman who had traveled from New York to ask her if she had read the intelligence report. According to Eloise Harper of ABC News, Clinton responded that she had been briefed on it.
''Did you read it?'' the woman screamed. Clinton replied that she had been briefed, though she did not say by whom. The question of whether Clinton took the time to read the N.I.E. report is critically important. Indeed, one of Clinton's Democratic colleagues, Bob Graham, the Florida senator who was then the chairman of the intelligence committee, said he voted against the resolution on the war, in part, because he had read the complete N.I.E. report. Graham said he found that it did not persuade him that Iraq possessed W.M.D. As a result, he listened to Bush's claims more skeptically. ''I was able to apply caveat emptor,'' Graham, who has since left the Senate, observed in 2005. He added regretfully, ''Most of my colleagues could not.''
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2002, Senate Democrats, including Clinton, held a caucus over lunch on the second floor of the Capitol. There, Graham says he ''forcefully'' urged his colleagues to read the complete 90-page N.I.E. before casting such a monumental vote. In her own remarks on the Senate floor on Oct. 10, 2002, Clinton noted the existence of ''differing opinions within this body.'' Then she went on to offer a lengthy catalog of Saddam Hussein's crimes. She cited unnamed ''intelligence reports'' showing that between 1998 and 2002 ''Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability and his nuclear program.'' Both the public and secret intelligence estimates on Iraq contained such analysis, but the complete N.I.E. report also included other views. A dissent by the State Department's intelligence arm concluded — correctly, as it turned out — that Iraq was not rebuilding its nuclear program.
Clinton continued, accusing Iraq's leader of giving ''aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.'' This statement fit squarely within the ominous warning she issued the day after Sept. 11.
Clinton's linking of Iraq's leader and Al Qaeda, however, was unsupported by the conclusions of the N.I.E. and other secret intelligence reports that were available to senators before the vote. Indeed, the one document that supported Clinton's statement, a public letter from the C.I.A. to Senator Graham, mentioned ''growing indications of a relationship'' between Al Qaeda and Iraq but acknowledged that those indications were based on ''sources of varying reliability.'' In fact, the classified reports available to all senators at the time found that Iraq was not allied with Al Qaeda, and that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden harbored feelings of deep mistrust and enmity for each other.
Nevertheless, on the sensitive issue of collaboration between Al Qaeda and Iraq, Senator Clinton found herself adopting the same argument that was being aggressively pushed by the administration. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials had repeated their claim frequently, and by early October 2002, two out of three Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was connected to the Sept. 11 attacks. By contrast, most of the other Senate Democrats, even those who voted for the war authorization, did not make the Qaeda connection in their remarks on the Senate floor. One Democratic senator who voted for the war resolution and praised President Bush for his course of ''moderation and deliberation,'' Joe Biden of Delaware, actively assailed the reports of Al Qaeda in Iraq, calling them ''much exaggerated.'' Senator Dianne Feinstein of California described any link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda as ''tenuous.'' The Democratic senator who came closest to echoing Clinton's remarks about Hussein's supposed assistance to Al Qaeda was Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. Yet even Lieberman noted that ''the relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam's regime is a subject of intense debate within the intelligence community.''
For most of those who had served in the Clinton administration, the supposed link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda had come to seem baseless. ''We all knew it was ,'' said Kenneth Pollack, who was a national-security official under President Clinton and a leading proponent of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Pollack says he discussed Iraq with Clinton before her vote in 2002, but he won't disclose his advice.
The Saddam-Al Qaeda link, so aggressively pushed by the Bush administration, was later debunked as false. So how could Clinton, named in 2006 by The Washingtonian magazine as the ''brainiest'' senator, have gotten such a critical point wrong? Referring to the larger question of her support for the authorization, Clinton said in February of this year, ''My vote was a sincere vote based on the facts and assurances that I had at the time.''
This is the most important difference in this primary: the Iraq War Vote.Continue Reading...
Amazing endorsement of Obama by Basu!
BY REKHA BASU • THE REGISTER
December 19, 2007
I remember wishing Hillary Clinton would run. Not last January, when she announced, but before the 2004 election, when someone with her intellectual heft and stature was needed to stand up to the Bush/Rove/ Rumsfeld cabal and dismantle its agenda.
But Clinton didn't run then, and when she jumped into this year's race, days after Barack Obama, it was a different field and a different moment.
This moment belongs to Obama.
This newspaper has endorsed Clinton on the Democratic side. I respect its decision. But after sitting through most of the same candidate meetings, watching, reading, listening and searching my conscience, I've concluded Obama is the one who can best pull off what needs to happen.
Clinton is smart, hard-working, gutsy and tough enough to absorb all the muck that's come her way. But Obama is simply a better candidate. He's that rarest of leaders, combining roots in white Midwestern America with black Africa, and experience both organizing in barrios and editing the Harvard Law Review. He's got idealism, compassion and intellect. And he lacks the baggage Clinton comes with, including all the controversies that swirled around her husband's White House. Nor is he compromised, as she has been, by the Senate vote that got us into this quagmire in Iraq.
Clinton is likable – and polarizing. But Obama is a uniter whose very life experience promises a new chapter for America.
Who can unite a divided public and excite people's sense of possibilities? That's where Obama leaves the rest of the pack behind.
Momentum is a hard thing to quantify. It almost has to be understood viscerally. I witnessed it in Hy-Vee Hall a couple of weeks ago, sandwiched between an unprecedented 18,000 people, all sharing a palpable sense of enthusiasm and hope. They were black, white, Latino, Asian, old, young, middle-aged and disabled.
Many had probably come to see Oprah. But when it was Obama's turn, he had them mesmerized. Some cheered and waved signs in the air. Some hugged one another, and some even got teary. It was as if no one could quite believe this youthful but commanding man, who spoke their language and echoed their dreams, might actually run America.
Now is also the time to signal the world that America is not a monolithic dinosaur but dynamic and evolving, harnessing its diversity to enhance its strength. Obama could do that.
At 4:00PM on Saturday, I got a call from a “polling firm”. It began innocously emough by asking which Dem I planned to caucus for, and I said Dodd, but then the real purpose became clear. They asked me if any of the following information would change my opinion about these three “Democrat” candidates:
Clinton – she's a flip-flopper, who used to opposed ethanol, but now she supports it.
Obama – voted present seven times on reproductive rights bills in the Illinois State Senate.
Edwards – he's a liberal trial lawyer who wants to bring troops home from Iraq.
I replied that no, their opinions didn't bother me at all. So, has anyone else gotten these calls? I live in Johnson county, and I wonder if they're going statewide.
Have you seen the headlines?
The squabble to be first in deciding the nation’s fate is intensifying. Early states are cleverly inching their primaries in a race to secure voting influence for their citizens. By the end of February, we’ll know who the presidential finalists are before more than half the nation gets a chance to vote, let alone meet the candidates. Sound Fair?
The heavily frontloaded primary schedule does all of America a disservice. Leaving the power to decide who the next president of the America can be to a handful of people is just not right. The demographic make up of all the early primary state, even combined, does not accurately represent the American population. For instance, isn’t New Hampshire the third wealthiest state in the nation?
With less than a month left, there seems like there’s no hope. The Washington Post reports that the American people are being tempted by pessimism, and are losing faith in our political system. But, not to fear.
Register to host a caucus at www.nationalcaucus.com and get involved.
It seems like there’s no hope but to accept the circumstances. However, I came across this website, the National Presidential Caucus, that looks to give voters a fair chance to voice their opinions before the primaries kick off. It’s not a national primary or anything like that, don’t let the name mislead you.
Here’s how it works:
1) Post your caucus online
2) Meet offline with some friends, neighbors, whomever to discuss candidates and issues
3) Post your results from your discussions online
It’s as simple as that. It’s really just an effort to encourage and empower civic engagement and voter opinions. So why not…
How can we claim to go across seas to build a democracy, when our own political system at home is suffering? Get involved. sign up to host a caucus in your neighborhood today.Continue Reading...
If the media and early states get their way, the presidential nomination finalists will be decided by the end of February before more than half the nation gets a chance to voice their opinions. Sound fair?
The stakes are high in the next election and we can’t sit idly. Join the National Presidential Caucus (NPC) effort to confront the heavily compressed primary schedule we’re facing today. NPC is hosting a National Caucus Day on Dec. 7th and we’d love if you’d join us in organizing caucuses in your area!
To encourage voters to form opinions before the early primary states and the media determine who the leading candidates will be, NPC is asking people like you to host caucuses in their communities. It’s a great way to get your candidate and issue out there.
Here’s how it works:
-Post a caucus on the website
-Meet offline on December 7th to talk about issues and candidates that matter TO YOU
-Post your results on our website with all the other caucuses from across the nation
Hosting a caucus is as simple as getting some friends, family, or whomever you want together. It's really easy to do!
What if every state's caucus and primary were weighted equally? I don't know about you, but I'd call that democracy.
Howard Dean was at the top of the polls in Iowa leading up to the 2004 Iowa Caucuses. Richard Gephardt was polling well, but trending down. Gephardt had placed all his bets on Iowa and had to find a way to win. So Gephardt started running ads going after Dean. Dean countered back with ads attacking Gephardt.
While Gephardt's and Dean's ads turned Iowans off from their campaigns, John Kerry and John Edwards kept focusing on the issues and organizing. The night of the caucuses saw Kerry and Edwards come out on top with Dean and Gephardt coming in 3rd and 4th. Iowa was witness of a murder-suicide of the Dean and Gephardt campaigns.
After this week's spat between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I can see this scenario happening again. It is important for Clinton and Obama to finish ahead of the other one in Iowa. As the Iowa caucuses approach, whoever is behind is likely to air ads attacking the other. There is a good chance Clinton and Obama will do exactly what Dean and Gephardt did and we will see yet another murder-suicide scenario.
So with Obama and Clinton mainly focusing on beating each other and seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to do so, there is an opening for other candidates to have big victories in Iowa.
Originally posted at Century of the Common Iowan.
It was brought to my attention that David Yepsen had a post yesterday that had basically the same connection to the Dean-Gephardt attack ads back in 2004. I had not read his post nor had heard about before posting mine. I got the idea from reading Joe Trippi's book, The Revolution Will Not be Televised about the Dean campaign last week.
Andrew Sullivan is a conservative whose ideals I admire even if I don't always agree with. Clearly against the extreme lunatic wing of the Republican party, his libertarian streak keeps him from thoroughly embracing the Democrats, who if one looks only at his biography, one could be excused for thinking are his natural affinity group. But no, Sullivan is pretty clear-headed, cold-eyed traditional conservative in the best, pre-1968 sense of that word.
So, when he attends an Obama event in DC and comes away saying the man is the Reagan of the Left, it is time to take notice.
Excerpts after the jump.Continue Reading...
This was originally a repsonse to BH post, “Fundraising Numbers.” by Simon Stevenson:
Good for Obama for not playing into the media-frenzied money numbers game by not releasing his exact numbers. “Given that everyone else has” is yet another reason that will help distinguish Obama from “everyone else.” Knowing that he’s competing against the money-churning DLC McCauliffe-money machine,Obama’s taken the right approach to undrrmining the $ horse race by not providing the media with something quantifiable to salivate over — and salivate they did.
Obama’s aids have noted that he’s raised over $20 million, which puts him on the heels of Hillary and has helped up the anxiety levels of the Clinton campaign. Obama announced his candidacy after Hillary and has quickly closed the money gap, especially since Hillary has been running for president since, say, middle school.
The more important number that Obama’s committed to focusing on and did release is the number of people who donated money. In this area he dwarfed Hillary by roughly 30,000 donors, and it’s this number that more realisitically translates to votes. When evaluating these numbers, voters may see that Obama has more supporters and the smaller monetary number indicates that Obama’s drawing less from big donors. Whether this is true or not is besides the point; it’s all about public perception and this works as a good medium spin. Not to mention, contributors who donated once are more likely to contribute again, which works in Obama’s favor.
I’m not convinced reporting these numbers merits positive press, but rather, helps feed the public’s disgust with how much money is being raised and spent on the presidential campaign. And regarding your notion about positive press for Obama, I think you should revisit the news today.
“The New York Times” has a positive aricle about Obama adorned on its front page: “Obama Built Donor Network From Roots Up.”
Ariana Huffington took the media to task, casting Obama in a favorable light: “Follow the Real Money”
In the political fallout of yesterday’s annoncement, it appears Obama may be the big winner.
Unfortunately, all of this undermines the problems regarding campaign finance and how it desparately needs to be reformed. In this light, the losers are the media (who continually perpetuate and exacerbate this problem), while the big losers remain the American people — in particular those of us who cannot afford to buy influence in D.C.
The only Democratic candidates I’ve heard that have vowed to address this problem if elected president are Obama and Edwards. Please comment if others ahve taken an active stance on this. Had Hillary not scheduled a town hall meeting in Iowa City today during the work day, when most working people cannot take off work and particpate in a “conversation,” I would’ve gone and asked Hillary point blank where she stands on this issue and what would she do about it if elected?
It sounds like Camp Hillary has slipped into attack mode, projecting her own inabilities to offer up an apology for her vote to authorize war in Iraq.
Wherever she goes, she’s perpetually dogged by voters, calling for her to admit she made a mistake, take responsibility for her actions, and offer up an apology to the American people. In Nevada today, all her other rivals called upon her to do so, but Hillary has drawn a political line in the sand saying she won’t apologize.
So Hillary wants Obama to apologize for comments made by one of his supporters, yet she’s not willing to apologize for relinquishing her senatorial powers to declare war. Her vote surrendered her constitutional responsibility to maintain Congress’s role for declaring war, sacrificing the checks-and-balances protections in the process. As a voter in Iowa, I’m more concerned about seeing Hillary disavow her role in helping lay the groundwork for the Iraq War and all of her subsequent comments regarding this action than I am about Obama disavowing a supporter’s remarks. If Obama had to apologize for every personal attack on Hillary coming from somebody who happens to support his candidacy, he’d have no time left to campaign on what’s actually important.
P.S. I’m not sorry for any of the aforementioned comments.
First Diary anywhere. Forgive the disjointedness.
I went to the speech. There were around 4-5k people there by my rough estimate (bottom tier of seats at Hilton full 2/3 of the way around, 400 or so on the floor, and top tier sparsely seated 2/3 of the way around.) In respose to the question below as to whether it would be mostly students, I would say that it appeared to be about 1/2-2/3 students.
Seemed to be his standard speech (see the reviews of his Springfield speech.) His speech didn’t have obvious pauses for applause, so the audience never got roaring, just moderate rounds of applause. He included calls for increased teacher pay, which seems out of place in a presidential race given that teacher pay is a state and local issue. Smacked too much of telling people what they want to hear.
Was dissapointed by one introduction (I think it was Tom Miller) who stated Barack was the “only major candidate” to actively oppose the Iraq war from the beginning. That whole “major candidate” political weaselling to shut out Kucinich and Vilsack seemed unnecessary. Sure he’s trying to win, but a shout out to those who support his views would seem to be a magnanimous gesture. And if those other candidates are really so minor, why not get on their good sides for when their campaigns go under?
He must have read Snipehunter’s diary, as he did actively solicit caucus pledge cards from the audience.
I was dissapointed by his use of the term “homeland”. The term still gives me the willies and there is no reason to continue to use it. “Our nation” worked just fine for 200 years. Let’s take back the framing of the debate and drop this Republican coined phrase.
I was also dissapointed by another phrase he used. He stated that America must be feared AND respected, or words to that effect. Implying that we need more active diplomacy, which is of course a good thing. But really, I see no reason for us to be feared at all. That’s a meme that can die with “homeland.”
But all in all, he was clean and articulate and I’d have a beer with him.
Here’s a story (not really, it’s total trash) hopefully everyone will forget before too long. Apparently, someone in “somebody’s” campaign is spreading a lie that Barack Obama was at one point a Muslim.
Here are a few points to think about.
1) Barack Obama has always been a Christian.
2) Who cares?Continue Reading...