Archive for February 13th, 2008

MICHELLE OBAMA SPEAKS TO BLACK STUDENTS AT A BLACK COLLEGE IN MARYLAND FROM BALTIMORESUN.COM

February 13, 2008

FROM baltimoresun.com

michelle12feb12,0,7143776.story

baltimoresun.com
Hundreds turn out for Michelle Obama
Speeches at UMES, in Montgomery County
By Chris Guy and Matthew Hay Brown

Sun reporters

February 12, 2008

Morning classes were all but canceled yesterday at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as Michelle Obama arrived at the rural campus to stump for her husband’s presidential campaign.

Students and faculty members, who had scrambled for seats at the university’s performance hall for the noontime speech, greeted Obama with a standing ovation.

Obama, speaking for nearly an hour without notes, charmed the crowd of about 1,200 students and professors who say Barack Obama’s bid for the Democratic nomination has stirred the historically black campus like nothing in memory.

“Having his wife here was very exciting, the way things have been growing on campus about Barack,” said Jelila Jones, a senior. “When you have a lady as inspirational as that, it left an impression on all of us.”

Michelle Obama’s Eastern Shore appearance was the first of two in Maryland in advance of today’s primary. Later yesterday, a year to the day after her husband declared his candidacy, she spoke to more than 900 people at Bethesda- Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda.

At UMES, Carolyn Shackleford, a math and computer teacher there for 15 years, said she has never seen students so focused, especially since most could not have imagined Barack Obama’s race against Sen. Hillary Clinton even a few months ago.

“The truth is, we let the students go,” Shackleford said. “This is moment they are going to remember forever.”

Michelle Obama, standing beneath a huge “Change” banner, called the grueling presidential primary campaign a journey of faith, sacrifice and dedication.

“We need leadership to bring us together, not pull us apart.”

Speaking fondly of her childhood, Obama praised her father, who was a Chicago city employee while her mother worked in the home, a choice she said most blue-collar families cannot afford now.

Careful not to name Clinton or Republican adversaries, Obama criticized the Iraq war and President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, an initiative she said is “sucking the life out of public schools.”

“In 2008, all children should be able to imagine any future for themselves,” Obama said. “My parents were able to send two children to Princeton. … I wouldn’t be here without those neighborhood schools we had right around the corner.”

Many students called Obama’s appearance the high point in months of political activity on campus. Most said Barack Obama leads Clinton by a wide margin at UMES, where black enrollment is about 77 percent.

“Lots of us have seen the debates on big screens in the auditorium, but having her here in person is so much better,” said Devin Robertson, a 19-year-old sophomore from Aberdeen. “The students have just taken to Barack. Everywhere, all you hear is ‘Barack, Barack, Barack.'”

Fran Weaver and four of her friends, all retired and members of a Unitarian congregation in Salisbury, drove to UMES, about 15 miles, to hear Obama. On Sunday, the group had joined 500 or more Democrats for a rally in Cambridge.

“I wanted to hear the next first lady of the United States,” Weaver said. “We didn’t want to miss that chance so close to home.”

In Montgomery County later yesterday, 900 people packed the auditorium at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to hear Michelle Obama, with hundreds more listening in on loudspeakers outside.

She said her husband’s campaign has surged because “people are hopeful again.”

“It’s not based on race or gender or political party,” the Harvard-educated attorney told the cheering crowd.

“What we’ve been seeing all over this country,” she said, “is something that folks haven’t seen in a long time. Millions of people turning out and coming together behind a single, common idea: That we can be united around something positive. That we’re ready for change, and we’re ready to move this country in a different direction.”

Obama was introduced by the teenage daughter of Rep. Chris Van Hollen. As chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign operation, Van Hollen has remained neutral in the presidential contest, but his daughter Anna, said she “could not be more excited” to cast her first presidential vote for Obama.

Chris Guy reported from Princess Anne. Sun Washington reporter Matthew Hay Brown reported from Bethesda.

“THE YEAR OF THE ‘OBAMACAN’ “BY MIKE ALLEN ON POLITICO.COM

February 13, 2008

FROM politico.com

The year of the ‘Obamacan’
By Mike Allen on February 13, 2008 @ 7:20 AM

Good Wednesday morning. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.

Senator Barack Obama, savoring his crossover appeal after running away with the Potomac Trifecta, told last night’s crowd in Madison, Wis.: “We are bringing together Democrats and independents and, yes, some Republicans. I know this. I meet them when I’m shaking hands afterwards. There’s one right there! An ‘Obamacan’ — that’s what we call them.”

TOMORROW’S STORY LINE ON THE DEMOCRATS: Mounting evidence suggests that if he successfully navigates the DELEGATE DOGFIGHT ahead, Senator Obama would be a formidable, and potentially unstoppable, general-election candidate, with a visceral attraction for his base, a polar pull for independents, and a mystical fascination for a surprising swath of Republicans.

DRIVING THE DAY: President Bush signs the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 at 1:55 p.m. in the East Room. … White House Press Secretary Dana PERINO tells POLITICO that the House “is risking national security by delaying action” on renewal of the enhanced eavesdropping authority that expires Friday. She warns: “The president will not sign another extension.” Details at (1) below. … Roger Clemens testifies on Capitol Hill at 10. Preview at “Sports Blink” below.

BREAKING THIS MORNING: Metro areas in Michigan, California, Nevada, Ohio had highest foreclosure rates in 2007, according to a study being released by mortgage research company RealtyTrac Inc. (AP)
OUTSIDER YEAR — While you dozed on the couch, TWO HOUSE MEMBERS FROM MARYLAND (1 R and 1 D) LOST THEIR PRIMARIES in races called after midnight — Baltimore Sun: “Democratic activist Donna Edwards defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D), and state Sen. Andy Harris also upset Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R), in a pair of fiercely contested races that drew national attention. … No Maryland congressman had lost a party primary since 1992.”

In what NYPost.com called the BELTWAY BEATDOWN, Sen. Obama bested Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton Clinton 64-35 in Virginia, 59-37 in Maryland and 75-24 in D.C.

Senator Obama rewrote his narrative last night, easily winning WHITE MEN in Virginia and carrying every Old Dominion age, education, region and income category, including over 60 and less than $50,000, the Clinton strongholds. Clinton carried white women.
***In Virginia, Obama carried Hispanics, 54-46.

In Maryland, Obama also won white men (barely) and every age, education and income group.

As pointed out by the Obama campaign, he got many more votes in Virginia (619,036) than all the Republican candidates combined (484,546).

WashPost’s Chris Cillizza: “Mike Henry, deputy campaign manager for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has resigned … . Henry tendered his resignation [Monday] morning but worked the last two days on a volunteer basis. His departure is not entirely unexpected, as he was brought into the campaign by Patti Solis Doyle, who stepped down on Sunday.”

Time’s Michael Duffy: “Obama is drawing so many moderates and independents to the Democratic race from what would normally be the ranks of the Republican electorate that 1) he’s rolling up large margins and stitching together a broader coalition, and 2) he’s making the Republican electorate comparatively smaller, and more conservative.”

Team Clinton knows that she’s could well lose Wisconsin and Hawaii next Tuesday. She’s depending on TEXAS AND OHIO on March 4 – an involuntary Giuliani.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, on MSNBC: “The campaign feels that they really don’t have that much of a shot [in the Badger State] there. But Chelsea Clinton has been there for two days. Bill Clinton will be in Wisconsin tomorrow. She’s put advertising up in Wisconsin. But they’re really focusing now on their firewall, and their must-win states – Texas; Ohio; and Pennsylvania on April 22. They’ve been reassuring the donors … that they can keep this going, that they can stop his momentum in the March primaries. They have very little hope in February.”

Keith Olbermann: “It’s already March for Hillary Clinton.”

Birthday boy Jim VandeHei, Politico’s executive editor, to Chris Wallace on FOX NEWS: “Let’s be blunt: I mean, this is a terrible night and a terrible month for Hillary Clinton. It defies political logic that you’re going to lose what looks like now could be 10 states in a row, … go 27 days without a victory and hope that somehow there’s this firewall in Texas and Ohio. It defies logic because there’s momentum. And with momentum comes money. He’s going to have a tremendous amount of money. He’s going to be able to spend time, spend resources in both Texas and Ohio.”

THE CLINTON CASE — We close our eyes tight and imagine what Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign communications director, and his tireless deputy Phil Singer will purr into our ear this morning:

—The race for delegates is essentially deadlocked.
—Big states still have to vote. Let the voters speak.
—It’s a false assumption that she needs to finish ahead in elected delegates to win.
—She’s great in debates, and Ohio and Texas each has one.
—It’s a long time till the convention.
—Neither candidate is close to a mathematical clinch.

And Playbook’s own rant: Nothing this cycle has gone the way we expected. WHY SHOULD IT START NOW?

MORE ON THE Ds:

The N.Y. Post’s front page, with an Obama photo, is “WHAM BAM.”

Politico’s Ben Smith: “Who’s inevitable now?”

For history, or for trivia, depending on coming weeks, we preserve the APNewsAlert from 9:53 p.m. Eastern: “WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama has taken the lead in the race for Democratic delegates for the first time, inching ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

AP’s Ron Fournier: “For years, Bill and Hillary Clinton treated the Democratic National Committee and party activists as extensions of their White House ambitions, pawns in a game of success and survival. She may pay a high price for their selfishness soon. Top Democrats, including some inside Hillary Clinton’s campaign, say many party leaders — the so-called superdelegates — won’t hesitate to ditch the former New York senator for Barack Obama if her political problems persist. …

***”Two senior Clinton advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the race candidly, said the campaign feels the New York senator needs to quickly change the dynamic by forcing Obama into a poor debate performance, going negative or encouraging the media to attack Obama. They’re grasping at straws, but the advisers said they can’t see any other way that her campaign will be sustainable after losing 10 in a row.”

Clinton = combative; Obama = confident
By Mike Allen on February 12, 2008 @ 7:11 AM

“OBAMA TAKES ON NEW AURA OF MOMENTUM”,ON POLITICO.COM

February 13, 2008

from politico.com

Obama takes on new aura of momentum

By: Ben Smith and Avi Zenilman and Kenneth P. Vogel
Feb 12, 2008 11:56 PM EST

Landslide victories lead Barack Obama supporters to crown him with sense of inevitability.
Photo: AP

Who’s inevitable now?

With three landslide victories in Tuesday’s “Chesapeake Primary” in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., and a widening lead by any measure of delegates, Senator Barack Obama’s supporters have begun to suggest a case that, just a few months ago, was coming from Hillary Rodham Clinton: He’s a lock.

In a conference call with reporters before polls closed Tuesday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe cited “the cold, hard reality of the math.”

“I don’t think it’s so much about momentum as the reality of the math,” he said, citing the campaign’s success in building a small but unmistakable lead among pledged delegates. “If we continue to do that, mathematical reality sets in and it becomes harder and harder to overcome.”

Plouffe’s aim was to begin the process of massing uncommitted Democratic leaders behind a front-running Obama, the same end to which Clinton and her aides wielded her high poll numbers last year.

The stress on Obama’s delegate lead was also the opening of an effort to muscle Clinton – now trailing by almost any count of delegates – from the race.

But on the numbers, Plouffe has a point. An analysis of the delegate count by Politico indicates that Obama’s wide margins in contests over the last week mean that Clinton will be forced to answer with not just victories, but landslides of her own, in the big states on which she is staking her hopes – Ohio and Texas, which vote March 4.

“We’re going to sweep across Texas in the next three weeks, bringing our message about what we need in America: The kind of president that will be required on day one to be commander in chief, to turn the economy around,” Clinton told a crowd of thousands in El Paso Thursday night. “I’m tested. I’m ready. Let’s make this happen.”

This exhortation came hours after her campaign announced the departure of her deputy campaign manager, Mike Henry, in the latest reflection of staff turmoil.

Clinton’s challenge is to keep the count of pledged delegates close, while protecting her lead among the party officials known as “superdelegates,” who can vote independently at the Democratic National convention – but who may be reluctant to defy the popular vote.

The Obama campaign now argues that the superdelegates should follow the majority of the pledged delegates.

Clinton, meanwhile, has sought to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the process by which pledged delegates are chosen, arguing that caucuses aren’t true reflections of the will of the people, and that the exclusion of Florida and Michigan voters because of a dispute over the primary calendar taints the official tallies.

But Obama’s lead in pledged delegates widened Tuesday night to more than 100, even by conservative estimates, and there’s no indication that it will narrow before March.

There are 573 delegates up for grabs between March 4 and April 22. For Clinton to even things up, she needs to get 345 of those 573 delegates, or 60 percent – the sort of margin she won in her home state of New York.

Obama’s dramatic victories Tuesday also put him ahead in the count of pledged delegates even if Florida, whose delegates have not been recognized by the Democratic National Committee, was permitted to seat a delegation.

And his victories put him ahead even in counts that include superdelegates.

“This is the new American majority. This is what change looks like,” Obama said in a speech to an audience of thousands in Madison, Wisconsin Tuesday night.

Obama’s wins were his sixth, seventh, and eighth in a row, and even as Clinton looks forward to March 4, his campaign is looking with relish on Wisconsin and his home state of Hawaii, which vote a week from today.

His widening coalition is becoming part of his message: He won a majority of Latino votes – which had been Clinton’s bulwark elsewhere – in Virginia and Maryland.

He won a majority of white men in both states, and won the support of groups across the economic spectrum, while drawing stunning majorities of support from African-American voters – as high as 90% of their support in Virginia, according to exit polls.

The wide margins – he won with 64% of the vote in Virginia, and appeared headed for victory on a similar scale in Maryland– seemed to answer the Clinton campaign’s arguments that he has not won primaries in large states.

And Obama moved clearly into one traditional frontrunner’s role Tuesday night, trading blows with the likely Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, in their respective victory speeches.

“John McCain is an American hero. We honor his service to our nation. But his priorities don’t address the real problems of the American people, because they are bound to the failed policies of the past,” Obama said in Wisconsin.

“Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for a hundred years in Iraq, which is reason enough to not give him four years in the White House.”

McCain, for his part, jabbed at Obama’s lofty rhetoric of hope in his own remarks in Virginia.

“Hope, my friends, is a powerful thing. I can attest to that better than many, for I have seen men’s hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience,” he said, continuing, however, that “to encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.”

And McCain concluded by stealing Obama’s signature line.

“My friends, I promise you, I am fired up and ready to go,” he said.

Join The Conversation (read all 128 comments)

POSTReplies: 128 Viewed: 355
GOP Latina
Location: Sunny Arizona!, AZ

Party: Republican Reply #: 1

Date: Feb. 12, 2008 – 11:58 PM EST updated

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Team Politico wrote:

“Hope, my friends, is a powerful thing. I can attest to that better than many, for I have seen men’s hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience,” he said, continuing, however, that “to encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I liked that part of McCain’s speech.

Congrats to Obama. Pssst! When can we sing “Ding Dong…. The witch is Dead”?

Congrats to McCain as well.

“Go, Johnny, GO! GO!” – Chuck Berry

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“…and stand by our defense of free markets, low taxes, and small government that have made America the greatest land of opportunity in the world.” – McCain

Reply Quote Report Abuse
AverageJoseph
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 2

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:07 AM EST

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Hillary’s new campain manager Maggie Williams was implicated in the “Filegate” contovery some years ago, linked to White House personnel security chief Craig Livingstone who has since disappeared. Is there a story there? Where did that scandal leave off?
Reply Quote Report Abuse
RadChilies
Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 3

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:07 AM EST updated

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Three important things for Obama and his supporters to remember:

1. The Clintons are not losers–they will fight, and they will go negative. Barack better be ready for something nasty to come out that they’ve been holding onto.

2. Clinton’s main chance now (as noted by Pat Buchanen on MSNBC) seems to be in getting Michigan and Florida to count and getting superdelegates. If you want to avoid this write your congresspersons, senators, governors and state democratic parties.

3. Don’t believe the hype: Barack is far from inevitable, and we best all keep our noses to the grindstone if we want to see our ultimate goal of a President Obama.

The strength of the American people lies not in the power exercised by our chief executive, but in the hearts and minds of every citizen willing to make a sacrifice for progress. That’s the true message of this campaign.

Reply Quote Report Abuse
ReaganLives
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 4

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:10 AM EST

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Good for Obama; I probably won’t vote for him but I won’t think about shooting myself over the next 10 months because I’m forced to listen to Shrillary’s voice. I love seeing smug, self-absorbed people losing something they felt they were entitled to. Kind of like when Peyton Manning came back to Tennessee to win the Heisman, only to see someone better win what he felt he was entitled to (Charles Woodson). Hopefully people will continue to realize that Hillary’s experience argument is ridiculous. I’ve said this 100 times on here; Would you let the wife of a surgeon operate on you? According to Hillary, that wife would have gained experience through osmosis. GOP Latina, I think it should be Ding Dong the !itch is dead.
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Party: Democrat Reply #: 5

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:10 AM EST

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TeamPolitico: Feb. 12, 2008 – 11:52 PM EST
In a conference call with reporters before polls closed Tuesday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe cited “the cold, hard reality of the math.”

Well, the “math” shows he’s still gonna need over half of those remaining super delegates to win the nomination out right, but if he wins the most states, wins the pledge delegate count, AND wins the popular vote total, I don’t see ANY way the super delegates could deny him the nomination. The way he is running now, he could beat Ronald Reagan head-to-head.

Donna Brazzile jus called him “a metaphysical force” tonight. That’s a pretty good trope.

Of course, I won’t vote for him if the name “Clinton” is on the ticket.

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Debra Todd, Democrat Fascist, PA Supreme Court(link)
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COProgressive
Location: Denver, CO

Party: Independent Reply #: 6

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:14 AM EST

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Looks like it will be Obama

against some RINO

It will be Change You Can Believe In vs. Another 100 Years in Iraq.

and You get to decide.

It’s gonna suck to be a Repuglican in ’08!

“The highest patriotism is not the blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher standard” – George McGovern

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For the dense,the war in Iraq,it’s all about the oil. Follow the money. GOP = “I got mine, screw you!” Impeach Bush. Give him his day in court!
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nsaqam
Location: Hermantown, MN

Party: Democrat Reply #: 7

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:15 AM EST

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It seems that Hispanics are beginning to gravitate to Obama just like GOP Latina and others have been saying. We still have a lot of work to do in TX, OH, and PA but Barack has a lot of time to make his case directly to the people in those States. When people get to know and see Obama they come onboard. Go Barack!!
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Veterans for Obama
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KrisW
Location: Greensburg, PA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 8

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:17 AM EST

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Again, if the name “Clinton” appears on the ticket, Obama won’t have a chance. He’d lose all his credibility as a an agent of change.

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Debra Todd, Democrat Fascist, PA Supreme Court(link)
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lifeisgoodok
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 9

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:23 AM EST

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Hillary’s been Tested? I don’t think even Bill Clinton will agree with that! He had his eyes on many others! The time has come for a new begining, a new awakening and a new United States of America. I am tired of how USA has been brought down to it’s knees by Mr. Bush and we have No credibility anywhere in the world, even within the United States of America. It is time for fresh thinking, overtures and dialogue with Americans and other nations. Let’s be part of the fabric of the world, not be isolated by fear. Vote for Obamba. I just cannot wait.
Reply Quote Report Abuse
Gilda Stahl
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 10

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:28 AM EST

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I think a really important point, which someone made in another piece, is that Hillary’s boast of being such a great executive is bogus. She chooses her top people–such as Solis-Doyle–solely on the basis of loyalty, much like our current president’s selection of Brownie to head FEMA. Considering the many advantages she had going in to the race, she’s run a terrible campaign–even if she wins in spite of it–while Obama’s run a brilliant one.
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Gilda Stahl
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sean conners aka sco…
Location: NA

Party: Libertarian Reply #: 11

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:30 AM EST

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GOP Latina: Feb. 12, 2008 – 11:58 PM EST
Congrats to Obama. Pssst! When can we sing “Ding Dong…. The witch is Dead”?

can’t resist the “i told ya so” and remind ya of your “mark my words, she will be the nominee” to me several months back.

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RadChilies: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:07 AM EST
Clinton’s main chance now (as noted by Pat Buchanen on MSNBC) seems to be in getting Michigan and Florida to count and getting superdelegates.

And, if see does THAT she has no chance of winning the general election. The GOP would be all over that issue anytime she mentioned the name “Bush”.

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Debra Todd, Democrat Fascist, PA Supreme Court(link)
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Da_Corruptor
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 15

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:37 AM EST updated

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KrisW: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:17 AM EST
Again, if the name “Clinton” appears on the ticket, Obama won’t have a chance. He’d lose all his credibility as a an agent of change.

The name Clinton will never ever appear on a Obama ticket. Haven’t you been listening? Haven’t you been observing? Clinton represents the antethesis of Senator Obama’s main message: ‘the past vs. the future’.

Why would the astute Senator commit suicide by placing on the ticket a divisive relic and her salivating husband? So he can put them in the white house in 2016? So they can attempt mutiny and hijack his presidency? The latter would defy logic.

You’ve to have faith in the good Senator, he’s much more intelligent and politically savvy than you give him credit for.

Reply Quote Report Abuse
KrisW
Location: Greensburg, PA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 16

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:38 AM EST

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GOP Latina: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:35 AM EST
Karl Rove said it last night……if Obama wins he will take our approximate 10% Repubicans (hopefully all the Dixiecrats), while we take 18% of the Democrat Republicans.

If Rove believes that, he is a bigger idiot than I thought.

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Debra Todd, Democrat Fascist, PA Supreme Court(link)
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GOP Latina
Location: Sunny Arizona!, AZ

Party: Republican Reply #: 17

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When can we sing, “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead”?

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GOP Latina
Location: Sunny Arizona!, AZ

Party: Republican Reply #: 18

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:40 AM EST

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COProgressive: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:14 AM EST

So does that mean Obama can be likened to Jackson and Sharpton? Pray tell.

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“…and stand by our defense of free markets, low taxes, and small government that have made America the greatest land of opportunity in the world.” – McCain
Reply Quote Report Abuse
DigitalTruth
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 19

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:42 AM EST

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McCain and Hillary are outdated politicians. They don’t understand you can have HOPE AND STRENGTH. Barack was smart to change the game to something his opponents can’t play.

.

THIS BLACK SISTER IN U.K.,MP IN U.K.’S PARLIMENT MAKES A CASE FOR OBAMA! FROM INDEPENDENT.CO.UK

February 13, 2008

from independent.co.uk

Diane Abbott: Obama can transform the world’s image of America

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Barak Obama’s campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination has taken off like a rocket. Some people may be disappointed that he only drew level with Hillary Clinton on “Super Tuesday”, but that is an extraordinary achievement when only two weeks ago Clinton had double-digit leads in most of the states concerned. And, like a rocket, his campaign has illuminated many things in a sudden blaze of light.

What it has revealed about the attitudes to race of many white British pundits and commentators is not to their credit. Obama had barely won his first caucus when one commentator devoted his column to complaining that it was harder in politics for white women than for black men. As there are 14 white women in the US Senate compared to one black man (Senator Obama) this was a particularly silly claim.

A few days later another pundit poured scorn on Obama for bringing race into his campaign. She accused him of “whining” and of “detestable dirty tricks”. Yet every single US commentator has acknowledged that it was the Clintons who had actually played the race card.

Blaming the black victim rather than the white perpetrator (and accusing them of whining into the bargain) is obviously a reflex action for some British pundits. And more than one has weighed in to claim that Obama is not really black, because he is too articulate and cultured. As a result they confidently predicted that black people would not vote for him. The racism of this position is so breathtaking that I will not dwell on it (for fear of being accused of “whining”). And black people have turned out to vote for Obama in record numbers.

The campaign has also shed an unflattering light on the Clintons. Any black person who has ever run for office will be familiar with their outrage that a black person should actually run against them. And it is clear, like all too many people, that their care and concern for black people does not extend beyond the point when one actually has the temerity to challenge them for something that they want.

I admire Bill Clinton. But his willingness to play the attack dog on race for his wife shows that you can take the man out of the American Deep South, but you cannot take the Deep South out of the man. I also admire Hillary Clinton. But her touting of the bogus “35 years of experience” argument is shameless. On that basis Laura Bush should be the Republican presidential nominee. In reality Hillary has served just one more term in the Senate than Obama and (unlike him) has never served at a local level.

There are many clever and far more experienced women in American politics that have done it under their own steam. There is only one reason Hillary is a presidential candidate rather than them; she is married to Bill Clinton. You can call a woman who has based her whole political career on being married to a powerful man many things, but a feminist icon is not one of them.

However the campaign has also shed light on something rather wonderful. Millions of Americans are determined to turn the page on the Bush era. Obama has a long way to go. If he successfully fights off the Clinton attack machine, he will have to take on an even more ruthless Republican onslaught. We can expect them to dig up some drug-dealing cousin, an African relative with a grievance, and even a trembling Southern rose with whispered allegations of sexual harassment.

But, if he survives, the prize for the Democratic Party is not just winning a presidential election. Obama can take the South away from the Republicans on the basis of the huge black turn-out that only he can guarantee. And he can combine that with urban America and the intelligentsia to recreate the old FDR Roosevelt coalition that enabled him to win four presidential elections. Term limits would restrict Obama to two but Washington would be transformed, not just for a presidential term, but for a generation.

For the rest of us the Obama campaign is more than about mere American domestic politics. That moment on a freezing January day in Washington when a black man and his family stand on the steps of the Capitol to take the presidential oath will be flashed up all over the world. The wordless message to young black people from New York to Nairobi, Johannesburg to Brixton will be of a whole new world of personal possibilities. America’s sense of itself will be redeemed. The way that the world sees it will be transformed.

Maybe Obama will go on to be a disappointment. But Clinton, Edwards or McCain could disappoint too. And none of them offer the transforming possibilities of a successful Obama presidential run. He could truly be America’s bridge to the 21st century.

The writer is Labour MP for Hackney North

“OBAMA MAKES DEEP INROADS INTO DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS NORMALLY LOYAL TO CLINTON! AT POLITICO.COM

February 13, 2008

FROM politico.com

Obama made deep inroads into demographic groups normally loyal to Clinton.
Photo: AP

Barack Obama reached out of his coalition and into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s on Tuesday, dominating most exit poll measures in the most hotly-contested race and largest of the Chesapeake primaries.

For the Commonwealth of Virginia, Obama beat Clinton aming women (both married and single). He won every income, education, and religious group. He won large majorities of liberal to conservative Democrats, and dominated independents. Six in ten Democrats trusted Obama more than Clinton on the Iraq war, the economy, and health care.

Perhaps more noteworthy: Obama won a majority of whites. He did this in New Mexico last week, but the southern state of Virginia has a far larger white population.

In the end Obama overcame even Clinton’s bulwark of support among the largest bloc of Democratic voters, white women, through his dominance of essentially everyone else.

After six weeks of primaries and caucuses Obama has a relatively stable coalition: the youth and black vote, nearly half of white men, and slightly more than a third of white women and Hispanics. But on Tuesday, Obama’s appeal far exceeded his base.

Obama won a remarkably high 58 percent of white men in the Democratic primary, nearly negating Clinton’s continued dominance of white women. Clinton won 53 percent of white women and Obama 47 percent (a relatively strong showing for Obama in this bloc).

The makeup of the Virginia Democratic electorate was roughly 35 percent white women and 26 percent white men. Both are relatively consistent turnouts for each Democratic bloc this year.

In comparison, black voters made up a larger percentage of the Democratic electorate in Virginia than they do nationally — black women comprised 17 percent of voters and black men comprised 13 percent. These numbers provided a significant boost to Obama.

Latinos were only five percent of Virginia Democratic voters. Yet even if that percentage had been higher, the exit polls conducted by the television networks and the Associated Press showed that it would not have undercut Obama’s black support, as has generally been the pattern.

Obama won 54 percent of Hispanic voters’ support. It was a rare feat for the Illinois senator, though one he also pulled off in Connecticut last week. Obama has been feverishly campaigning to lessen Clinton’s advantage among Hispanics.

On the Republican side, John McCain pulled out a victory in Virginia, wining Republicans except for the most conservative voters. And for this reason, Virginia also showed that McCain still has deep problems with the conservative base.

Fully one in four Republicans said they would be “dissatisfied” if McCain won the nomination. A look at the philosophical breakdown in Virginia, as with the primaries throughout the year, shows who those voters are.

Page 2

Mike Huckabee won Republicans who were “very conservative” in Virginia by a 3 to 1 ratio over McCain. This “very conservative” bloc rallied significantly more strongly behind Huckabee than they did Saturday in Louisiana, when Huckabee won them by a 2 to 1 ratio over McCain.

In Louisiana, the conservative base made up a remarkably high 44 percent of GOP voters. The electorate in Virginia was considerably more along the Republican primary norms, where this “very conservative bloc” comprised about a third of GOP voters.

Huckabee narrowly won those who were “somewhat conservative” in Louisiana, a demographic group McCain almost always wins and one that has provided the key swing in many of his victories. The “somewhat conservative” bloc in Virginia comprised roughly a third of the GOP electorate and McCain won them 50 to 37 percent over Huckabee. That support, combined with McCain’s win of about three in four of the more moderate GOP voters — who are nearly a third of the Republican Virginia electorate –cobbled together enough support to win the state.

Huckabee has relied heavily on social conservatives to vault his candidacy; Virginia was no different. Almost half of Republicans said the candidate quality that mattered “most in deciding how you vote” was that he “shares my values.” Huckabee won more than six in ten of those Republicans.

Huckabee also won nearly six in ten of those who identify as born again or evangelical. McCain won nearly six in ten of all others.

McCain also overwhelmingly won Republican men, 50 to 38 percent. Huckabee slightly carried women, 50 to 44 percent.

But McCain’s problems with the base do not stop at social conservatives. A fifth of Republicans said illegal immigration was the most important issue. And as he has throughout the primary season, McCain lost these voters.

Huckabee also won nearly as many Republicans who voted on the economy, while those who voted on the war in Iraq or terrorism were strongly with McCain.

As with Super Tuesday, the economy was the most important issue to both Republicans and Democrats in Virginia.

In the Democratic contest, youth voters continued to rally to the Illinois senator. Obama won three in four of every voter under 29. But Generation X has also, more often than not, shown an affinity now for Obama. Obama, who is only 46 himself, won nearly seven in ten of those voters between the ages 30 and 44 (including a striking 58 percent of whites in this cohort).

That Clinton won only 39 percent of women was surely disappointing to her campaign, but the problems did not stop there.

Clinton, who usually wins those who are middle aged and seniors, found that even these demographic groups got away from her. However, Clinton did win nearly six in ten whites 60 and older.

The New York senator also won nearly all voters who said experience was the most important quality in a candidate. But that group consisted of only a fifth of voters.

A majority of Democrats said the most important quality was that a candidate “can bring change” and eight in ten supported Obama. He also won more than six in ten of those who said electability and caring about voters mattered most.

Obama’s strength with downscale voters was also a surprise Tuesday. He won roughly six in ten of those voters with an annual household income under $75,000.

He also exhibited a vast regional appeal. Obama won more than six in ten voters from the more affluent and progressive northern Virginia, to the Southeastern quadrant of the state, as well as the eastern region that includes Richmond.

Clinton, as expected, won rural western Virginia. But that region, like her support of white women and those who vote on experience, proved too small a portion of the electorate to defeat Obama. Western Virginia only comprised 11 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Join The Conversation (read all 13 comments)

POSTReplies: 13 Viewed: 40
KrisW

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Debra Todd, Democrat Fascist, PA Supreme Court(link)
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KrisW
Location: Greensburg, PA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 2

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:30 AM EST

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TeamPolitico: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:21 AM EST
However, Clinton did win nearly six in ten whites 60 and older.

THAT is going to be the toughest nut for Obama to crack. The cold hard fact is there are alot of people over 60 who simply won’t vote for a black man for President.

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Debra Todd, Democrat Fascist, PA Supreme Court(link)
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diksagev
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 3

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It really concerns me that so many of Hillary’s supporters continue to stick with her despite the increasing evidence of her lack of ethics and determination to win at all costs. One realy has to have some level of respect for Mitt Romney withdrawing from the Republican race in an effort to spare the continued in-fighting that could damage the eventual nominee and hurt his party during the upcoming general election. Hillary (and Bill) Clinton could care less about doing far less damage to the Democratic party and it’s eventual nominee (if that does in fact turn out to be Senator Barack Obama). The clearest evidence of this attitude lies in the Clinton campaigns obvious attempt to woo the Super Delegates in an attempt to “steal” the nomination if Senator Obama continues his strong momentum and captures the majority of the popular vote and rank and file elcted delegates based on Democratic Primaries and Caucuses; a move that could very easily fracture the party and hand over the White House to the Republicans for at least 4 more years, and in all likelihood threaten to return control of the congress over to the GOP as well. Anyone who claims to support Hillary Clinton based on the issues, feeling that she has the better proposals on Universal Health Care, National Security, Taxes, Immigration, the Econonmy, the Environment, etc.; really needs to step back and consider the big picture. What would Hillary and Bill Clinton’s “scorched earth policy” in regards to winning the nomination at all costs, including their willingness to take the Democratic Party and the nominee down with them if they fail to secure the nomination, mean concerning those issues that are so important to Clinton supporters? There really is not all that much difference between Clinton and Obama on the issues – not enough, certainly, to risk sabotaging every last one of these issues by throwing the general election right into the lap of the Republican nominee. Do Clinton supporters favor John McCains position on Universal Health Care, Immigration, or the War in Iraq etc, to Senator Obama’s stand?

As if the Super Delegate issue doesn’t have enough potential onit’s own to spark an explosion that would tear the Democratic Party asunder and ruin their chances for success in 2008 and most likely far beyond, the Clintons also have a plan to contest the questionof whether or not to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations at the convention. Anyone who can not see the blatant exercise of political opportunism and refusal to play (fair) by the rules on the part of the Clinton’s simply will not look at the facts with an open mind and accept the obvious truths. Hillary and Bill Clinton showed their lack of support for the Democratic Party and their unwillingness to be “team players” in each of the past two general elections. I will not presume to tell you what the Clintons’ motivation was behind not fully supporting either Al Gore in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004, but it is a well established fact that they basically sat out those campaigns and offered token support at best. Everything that has been said regarding both Hillary and Bill Clinton being all about their own ambition for more wealth and more power and feeling a “sense of entitlement” is absolutely true and the Clinton’s themselves are showing this to the world for anyone who cares to open their eyes and view the situation with an open mind.

This race is not over – but Senator Obama now has a clear lead in the delegate count, even when considering the large lead that Clinton currently has among Super Delegates. If Hillary end up with a higher count among “pledged delegates” based on the Primaries and Caucuses that were decided by the votes of rank and file Democrats, she is entitled to the nomination. But if Senator Obama continues to roll and if he goes to the convention with a lead among those “pledged delegates” Hillary Clinton needs to do the right thing and step aside in the name of party unity and out of a sense of duty to support the candidate who has the best chance of achieving the goals that Democratic voters have been voting in favor of this year regardless of whether they chose to support Obama, Clinton, Edwards, or any of the other candidates who exited the race much earlier. Unfortunately, I have very little confidence (almost NONE) that the Clintons would be inclined to “do the right thing”.

The best chance Democrats have of going forward with a united party and a strong candidate who can deliver the White House and Congress in the 2008 General Elections would be to see Senator Obama continue to roll and let that momentum carry him to a final rush that would prevent the Clinton’s from being encouraged to try to “steal” the nomination. All Democrats, and especially any who complained about George W Bush “stealing” the 2000 election from Al Gore should be very wary of the Clintons’ willingness to place their personal interests ahead of the good of the party and the country. Unite to defeat the GOP in 2008.

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GOP Latina
Location: Sunny Arizona!, AZ

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KrisW: Feb. 13, 2008 – 12:30 AM EST
THAT is going to be the toughest nut for Obama to crack. The cold hard fact is there are alot of people over 60 who simply won’t vote for a black man for President.

How many african Americans votes do you think McCain will get?

maxmcgloin
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 8

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 1:50 AM EST

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As far as the race for the Democratic nomination this is a battle between the Clintons representing the status quo , the past and entrenched Washington power and the Obama campaign representing change, the future and the power of a grass root movement. The Past So far the Clintons much touted experience and management skills have underperformed Obama’s judgement and leadership. A clear example this week was the weak fund raising efforts and fund management of the Clintons, which depended on the deep pockets of the usual suspects for fundraising while the Obama campaign instead rallied a movement of over 700,000 supporters willing to invest small amounts again and again. It was during the South Carolina primary that the secret weapon of the Clintons, divisive campaigning, backfired and finally gave Democratic voters a chance to see what independents and Republicans have long found so troubling in the Clintons, their willingness to do anything to win. The Future Obama has to spell out the details and also look at what the Clintons accomplished the first time. Failed on National Health Care and Campaign Finance Reform, both with a majority Democratic congress, but passed NAFTA, GAAT, Defence of Marriage Act, The Telecom reform Act and Welfare Reform. So things are far from over, now the Clintons look toward Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Hoping that their politics of the past can withstand Obama’s momentum. In Texas they will again seek to divide the electorate along ethnic lines. Here the test for Obama is to convince Hispanics that he will bring positive change not just to black or even white America, but all of America. But Obama has already overcome these fears in many parts of this country, in fact he had to overcome the fears of rejection among many African Americans before winning their support from the Clintons. In Ohio, the difference might very well come to NAFTA and GAAT. Many hard working Americans have yet to understand that it was Bill Clinton , who pushed so hard for NAFTA and GAAT that destroyed so many good blue color jobs. Those working folks watching their standard of living eroded will soon abandon the Clintons as surely as the Clintons betrayed them. In Pennsylvania that the final test will be faced for Obama. This is where the entrenched power of the Ed Rendell will attempt to end the dream for Obama and his movement. It is between now and then that Obama must rally his grass root forces to over come the party machine. The Super Delegates will be tempted to stick with the Clinton machine, but once they have seen them weakened , much of the elite, many of whom are filled with resentment over real and perceived slights, turn on the Clintons as Caesar’s enemies turned on him. Etu Brutus Etu … So in the end there is long way to go but the real difference is … The Clintons are managing a campaign, Obama is leading a movement.

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Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 9

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 1:52 AM EST

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maxmcgloin: Feb. 13, 2008 – 1:50 AM EST
The Clintons are managing a campaign, Obama is leading a movement.

How does one beat a movement..

diksagev
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 10

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 2:06 AM EST

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I take a great deal of encouragement from the results in Virginia Tuesday night. The fact that Senator Obama swept the Potomac Primaries was no great surprise, and even the margin of his victories in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia were something less than a complete shock. What was surprising, and what I found encouraging was Senator Obama’s strong showing among several demographic groups in the state of Virginia.

For me personaly, his winning 54% of the Hispanic vote was the biggest and most pleasant suprise of the night. The Hispanic population in Virginia was not overwhelming (5% of the electorate) but it is clearly a sign that Obama has possibly turned a corner with a very important demographic. I’m not exactly holding my breath yet that Senator Obama will cut too far into Hillary’s lead with Hispanic voters in the state of Texas where they will represent a much greater portion of the electorate, but his strong showing in Virginia coupled with similar numbers inhis Super Tuesday victory in Connecticut are encouraging. I’ve long believed that the biggest reason for Clinton’s strong support among Hispanics was due to a lack of name recognition for Senator Obama compared to that of a former First Lady. Even a 50/50 split of the Hispanic vote in Texas could prove disastrous for Hillary.

Another positive sign out of Virginia (although I hesitate to call this a surprise because I have never been able to understand the reason behind Clinton’s strong showing among this group) was Senator Obama also taking the “blue collar vote” that has been favoring Hillary Clinton in previous elections. I have been, frankly, stunned that blue collar and union workers did not move to support Senator Obama in droves after John Edwards departed the scene of the Democratic primaries. On the issues, Obama seems to be the clear heir apparent to this constituency, and I was pleased to see that they have perhaps found their sense of direction of voted strongly in support of Senator Obama in Virginia, which I can only hope is a sign of better things to come.

What worries me most about the upcoming contest, particularly in the big states of Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania; is the effort that the Clinton campaign is making to target specific demographic groups of voters and their reasoning behind the strategy to single out these groups. One explanation that makes a great deal of sense for Clinton’s success with both Hispanic voters and blue collar voters, along with voters who tend to come from backgrounds that are less educated and lower economic classes of voters is that Hillary and Bill Clinton have specifically targeted those groups very heavily and pandered to them for their votes. I’ve heard a great deal being said in recent days concerning the Clinton camp’s belief that they can more easily distort their position on the issues, as well as the position of their opponent (Senator Obama) and make “campaign promises” in exchange for votes from voters in these particular demographic groups. In essense what the Clinton strategy boils down do represents a gross lack of respect for the very voters they are targeting. Hillary and Bill Clinton look upon lower income, less educated, blue collar workers and Hispanics as an easier audience to seduce with their lies and false promises . In fact, it appears very obvious at this point that the entire future of Hillary’s run for the White House has been built around avoiding any direct confrontaton with Senator Obama in states or at least in portions of states where they feel they are less likely to be able to fool the voters with their tricks and lies, or perhaps buy votes with false promises. I have more respect for these good people than the Clinton Campaign seems to have, and I have great hope for their ability to demonstrate that the Clintons have made a huge miscalculation in labeling them as easy marks (suckers) in their drive to win the nomination at all costs. I am hopeful that this Clinton startegy will backfire with all of the same kind of repudiation that the Clinton’s negative campaigning and lack of respect for the integrity and intelligence of the African American voters produced in earlier contests.

Hillary has hunkered down in Texas (and will make very strong pushes for votes in Ohio and Pennsylvania) in her last ditch attempt to fool America and position herself in a position to steal the nomination at the Democratic National Convention when neither she or Senator Obama have the votes necessary to achieve a first ballot nomination. I hope the voters of Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania will send her reeling and soundly reject her flawed candidacy based on her extremely flawed strategy to target voters she fails to show the respect that they deserve. All I ask is that voters in the states that have yet to cast their votes do your own homework. Please listen to what the candidates have to say about themselves. Don NOT listen to what Hillary or Bill Clinton tells you about Senator Obama’s qualifications to lead this country or his position on any of the issues. Let Senator Obama inform you about his own positions and if for soe reason you don’t feel that you have heard enough concerning the details of his position on these issues, go to any of his web sites which clearly outline what the Senator believes in and stands for. America has an opportunity we have not been blessed with for at least the last 40 years. We have a real leader who has been able to inspire the citizens of this country to get excited about politics and changing the direction that our country has been going down for decades under the Bushes and Clintons. Barack Obama is very real, no matter how hard the Clintons and their supporters try to pooh pooh his message of hope and change. There is real substance behind all of the excitement about hope and change, if you care to check into the issues. What is unique about the opportunity to elect Senator Obama is the chance that regular American citizens have to join a movement, rather than just casting a vote for a candidate and then hoping for the best for the next 4 years. Senator Obama is attracting a ground swell of support that he wants to have behind him as the driving force of his administration so that we can lead this country TOGETHER and make changes that will take our government back from the special interests and the career politicians. We have an opportunity to end the politics of fear and division and replace it with the politics of hope and unity. There hasn’t been an opportunity even closely resembling Senator Obama’s campaign since 1968 when we tragically lost Bobby Kennedy. There is already a very strong coalition in place that can get behind a leader like Barack Obama and make the other politicians in Washington take the people seriously again (and not just every 4 or 6 years when they need our vote. I invite voters from thoe blocks that the Clintons think they can trick or buy to get onboard and join the coalition behind Senator Obama to make our voice even stronger and lend greater weight to our movement to make our elected leaders work for us instead of representing their own selfish interest or selling their support to the special interest groups and lobbyist who have been buying our governments representation for decades. OBAMA ’08

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diksagev
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 11

Date: Feb. 13, 2008 – 2:20 AM EST

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WHY JOHN EDWARDS BELIEVERS SHOULD SUPPORT BARACK OBAMA: Can We Still Build One America? Yes We Can ? (Note: I was the former Director of Online Engagement for John Edwards for President. The following reflects only the personal views of the author, and in no way represents the views of John Edwards, his campaign, nor anyone else currently or formerly affiliated with his campaign.) The first time I spoke to John Edwards about joining his campaign, I mentioned the Wellstone quote that’s in my email signature, ‘Politics isn’t about big money or power games; it’s about the improvement of people’s lives.’ His voice brightened considerably. “That, right there,” he said, “is the point of this campaign.” I believed him. I gave up everything and moved to Chapel Hill. And that remained the point of our campaign for One America through the very end. Now I, like many Edwards people, face a choice we never wanted, but we cannot ignore. We must decide after John, which remaining candidate is the best bet to finish what we started — making real improvements in the lives of the people who really need it? After many conversations, comparisons, and soul searching, my personal answer, and my advice to other Edwards believers wrestling with the same question, is Barack Obama. Here’s why: The Issue Throughout the campaign, John Edwards talked about ending poverty in America as the moral challenge of our generation. For me, this was always at the heart of our effort to build One America. And no issue better represents our fierce commitment to look out for one another, not because it’s politically popular, but because it’s just the right thing to do. So which candidate would be most likely to fulfill the dream of ending poverty in our time? It can’t be about simple agreement. Surely, both candidates would flip a switch to end poverty right now, if they could. No, it’s about priority. Changes this big require leaders to put it all on the line and inspire a nation to stand up and join them. So the real question is: Who is more willing to put this cause front and center, and who is more able to get the job done? I’m a web guy. So I went to the campaign websites to see what they had to say. Here’s what I found: The Commitment Obama lists “poverty” on his main issues list, which is accessible from any page on his site. It links to a dedicated page that names the problem of 37 million Americans still trapped in poverty, and offers a 15 point anti-poverty agenda to solve it. Obama’s proposals run the gamut from familiar progressive pillars like indexing the minimum wage to inflation, all the way to innovative new projects like replicating the highly successful “Harlem Children’s Zone” in 20 high risk neighborhoods across the country. His agenda includes plans for creating entry level jobs, reducing recidivism, anti-poverty tax reforms, pre-natal care for at risk populations, urban community development funds and significant rural investment. Hillary, unfortunately, does not list poverty (or any equivalent) amongst her major issues. Nor, as far as I can tell, does the word “poverty” appear on any of her policy pages. I don’t doubt for a moment that Hillary genuinely cares about poor people. But how can you lead a nation to combat a problem you don’t even mention? Because there is no “poverty” issue page, an apples-to-apples comparison of their agenda is tough. Hillary’s “Strengthening the Middle Class” page, presumably the closest thing, has nine proposals. But if you take out items that either affect poverty only incidentally (like “Returning to fiscal responsibility”) or explicitly aren’t about the poor, (like “Lowering taxes for middle class families”) you’re left with only five points. And that’s counting three proposals, (“Hillary’s Innovation Agenda,” a “Strategic Energy Fund” and “Confronting growing problems in the housing market”) which might very well help reduce poverty, but they don’t mention how, or seem explicitly designed to even try. I’m not a policy expert, and I’m not qualified to parse the details. But I do think there’s a clear difference in priority here. And while the details of plans will invariably change, core commitments will not. Obama comes out ahead. The Record Another way to tell what a candidate will prioritize in the future is what they’ve chosen to prioritize in the past. As a voter I can’t know either candidate personally or fact-check the mountains of he-said-she said on every side. So once again, I went to the websites to let the candidates speak for themselves. Obama’s poverty page references his work in the Illinois legislature expanding tax credits for the poor and fighting for affordable housing. Hillary’s site makes no coherent case for her record on poverty, but does frequently reference her accomplishments on some important relevant issues, such as children’s health care. It’s perhaps even more instructive to look back at the choices they made before they knew anyone was looking, and how they talk about those choices now. Obama’s “Meet Barack” page describes his first job as a Chicago community organizer as a choice to “improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment.” It goes so far as to say Obama chose a career in politics specifically as a long term strategy to “truly improve the lives of people in that [poor] community and other communities.” In the list of overall issues he works on now, the very first is: “the poverty exposed by Katrina”. Not bad. “Hillary’s Story” also shows admirable commitment. It describes how she ran a legal aid clinic for the poor when she first arrived in Arkansas, and that Carter appointed her to the board of “the United States Legal Services Corporation, a federal nonprofit program that funds legal assistance for the poor.” The distinction here is somewhat subjective. To my mind, Obama’s career choice was likely more deeply formative, more comprehensive as an anti-poverty strategy and more noteworthy in its lack of connection to routes towards traditional success. But honestly, they both deserve real credit, and the fact that both major contenders for the nomination began their careers in these ways makes me proud to be a Democrat. Onward. The Movement If the candidate’s commitment and record tell us who is most willing, how can we evaluate who is most able? From where I sit, both Hillary and Obama appear to be both highly intelligent, competent people. But as John Edwards so often reminded us, no president can end poverty on their own. Transformational change of that magnitude requires an equally large movement of people fighting to make it happen. So who is building that movement? Again, I’m a web guy. If you look at the numbers, they both have passionate grassroots support, but the difference is clear. Obama supporters have created 9x more local groups, 10x more national groups, and 15x more personal blogs. Obama’s web traffic, donors, and online to offline volunteers smash all records. And I can tell you, there’s no technology or trick to generate that kind of energy — it just has to be real. But this goes beyond the numbers, and yes, far beyond the web. After all, Barack Obama isn’t John Edwards, and I can’t know if he’ll actually put ending poverty at the top of his agenda. But by inspiring millions of people to believe in their own power to create change, I do know his campaign is laying the groundwork for those of us who will. The Future We always thought of winning the presidency as merely the first step in a generational effort to build One America — and so it remains. We must keep speaking out, organizing, and fighting at every opportunity — in every town hall, statehouse, Congressional house and the Whitehouse until poverty is history and the dream of One America dream becomes reality. And right now, I believe we have to pick our best hope for a president who will be a partner in that effort. If Hillary is nominated she will deserve our vigorous support. But because of his commitment, his record, and his unique ability to swell our ranks with people fired up and ready to begin the struggle of a lifetime, I believe Barack Obama is that best hope. So, can we still build One America? Yes. Yes we can.

jpwrunyan
Location: Boise, ID

Party: Democrat Reply #: 12

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“OBAMA WINS VIRGINIA WHITES” AT POLITICO.COM

February 13, 2008

from politico.com

February 12, 2008
Read More: Barack Obama

Obama wins Virginia whites

The networks readjusted their exit polls based on actual results, and while I’ve seen a couple of different counts, they’ve both got Obama winning white voters in Virginia — a pretty good talking point.

With 92 percent reporting in Virginia, Obama is now 102,000 votes ahead of all Republicans combined.

Obama wins almost every demographic group, again, losing only white women and older white voters — and not by particularly wide margins.

He also wins white Catholics, losing white Protestants.

And again, he wins Latinos.

My colleague Jonathan Martin, who knows Virginia politics quite well, notes that Hillary picked up just one of the state’s eleven congressional districts.

It is, he says, the whitest in the state; it’s also one Bill Clinton visited this week. And demographically similar to eastern Tennessee, where she was very strong.

A reader from Rhode Island writes:

Just as my clock was striking 8 EST, I got a call from Obama For America. The caller informed me of the senator’s victory in Virginia, his projected victories in today’s other contests, and that he had garnered “the most votes, the most delegates, the most states, and the most diverse political coalition this country had ever seen.” He then implored me, as a past donor, to give at the “top level” o .
February 12, 2008

Obama’s margin

The precinct-by-precinct results aren’t out yet, but reader Matt Seyfang, who has worked on delegate selection in four prior campaigns and has been helping me out for a while in this one, did some quick, rough math off the exit polls’ regional projections.

He estimated that Obama will emerge with something approaching a 52-31 edge.

Again, that’s rough. But it gives you the sense of how a margin like this translates into a healthy margin of delegates.

UPDATE: With district-level results mostly in, Seyfang now puts it at 53-30.

D.C. too

The nets call D.C. for Obama, surprising nobody.

But remember, it wasn’t all that long ago (a time called “2007,” as Matthew Yglesias put it), when reasonable people thought Clinton would win a meaningful chunk of the black vote.

Clinton’s base?

Obama’s most solid base is African-Amercans, of whom he won 90 percent.

That’s what you call a political base.

Clinton’s is white women, of whom she won a solid, but not stunning, 55 percent.

That’s more of a preference, a modest gender gap.

And Latinos? Obama won that group, with 55 percent of their votes.
Red State Virginia?

Not so much, at least not in Democratic politics.

Hillary wins 56 percent to 44 percent in Western Virginia — which accounted for just 13 percent of the vote, according to the exits.

Obama won everywhere else, and the story for the night is how strong he is among a range of groups.

A few quick stats that jumped out: He won white men, with 55 percent. He won religious Catholics, with 54 percent. He got 46 percent of the vote of white Catholics, a group with which some have theorized he’s weak. He won every income category, though his support skews toward the higher brackets. He won women and men.

Clinton’s base of support was white Democrats, who gave her 59 percent of their vote. She also won among whites older than 45, losing younger white voters. But Obama’s strong performance with independent voters made the white vote very close — he got 48 percent to her 51 percent.

Meanwhile, he won 90 percent, the most yet, of the support of black voters.

Anyway, have fun chewing over the exits while we wait for the Maryland and D.C. results.

Virginia for Obama

CNN calls it as the polls close.

Expect two more at 8:00.

One thing it seems not to be about: African-American turnout, which CNN says was down as a percentage of the overall vote since 2004. One quick, possible explanation: Black voters are considered pretty reliable, high-turnout participants in Democratic primaries. But Obama (and to some degree Clinton) are bringing other, less reliable Democrats to the polls as well.

By Ben Smith 07:04 PM |

February 12, 2008
Read More: Hillary Clinton

Jitters at anti-Hillary, Inc.

Few are more vested in Hillary’s success than the members of the small cottage industry devoted to producing books, movies and t-shirts attacking her.

The reigning eminence of this industry is Dick Morris, the former Clinton aide and author of “Condi vs. Hillary” and “Re-Writing History,” among others.

So this isn’t to be taken lightly — if he’s right, it means lean times in anti-Hillary land.

Since 2004, I have predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee. But, given the consistently amazing performance of Obama, his superior organizational and fundraising skills, his inspiration of young people, and the flat and completely uninspiring performance by Hillary, it looks to me like it will be Obama as the Democratic nominee.

By Ben Smith 04:35 PM | comments (18) | post comment | permalink
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February 12, 2008
Read More: Primary Calendar

NAACP gets involved

Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, has written a letter to Howard Dean to express “great concern at the prospect that million of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted.”

The letter, more clearly than the letter from Berry and Wilkins, demands that the votes already cast be counted, rejecting the notion of a new vote or caucus.

It seems unlikely that, given Obama’s symbolic power, the black civil rights establishment is going to unite around this view. But it certainly gives Hillary some powerful institutional backup in making a case widely derided as opportunistic.

UPDATE: A reader objects to “widely derided,” since the “count the votes” argument has popular appeal, even if insiders paying a lot of attention deride it. The whole argument is very tangled — if superdelegates should follow pledged delegates because they represent voters…don’t the Florida “delegates” do that too?

In any case, if it comes down to this, the losing candidate will have a strong case that the election has been stolen, which is why many Democrats are hoping that it won’t.

By Ben Smith 03:59 PM | comments (87) | post comment | permalink
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February 12, 2008
Read More: Delegates

Politico delegate count

My colleagues Avi Zenilman and Josie Hearn have put together an exhaustive, easy-to-use chart of superdelegates and their alleagiances.

Their current count is Hillary 230, Obama 138.5.

One interesting point, which is visible in the chart: Clinton has a lead of three among senators, a lead of 13 among House members, and they’re tied among governors. So her real margin comes from the relatively anonymous DNC members, among whom she leads 125 to 57.5.

By Ben Smith 03:11 PM | comments (51) | post comment | permalink
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February 12, 2008
Read More: Hillary Clinton

The Washington Primary?

This seems a bit of a long shot: A Clinton supporter in Washington tries to get out the vote for the state’s (meaningless) primary, as a demonstration of how unfair the caucus was.

“I think that the caucuses are not very representative of the voting public and I’m hoping that the primary does show greater support for Hillary Clinton,” Linda Mitchell tells The Stranger.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the attempted demonstration project is “not a campaign effort.”

By Ben Smith 02:52 PM | comments (31) | post comment | permalink
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February 12, 2008
Read More: Hillary Clinton

March 4 endorsements

Hillary rolls out prominent former legislators in Ohio and Texas today, John Glenn and Charlie Stenholm respectively, an effort to keep a focus on the states and to maintain a sense of forward motion.

By Ben Smith 02:49 PM | comments (45) | post comment | permalink
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e-mail: bsmith@politico. com
aim: benobserver

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