Archive for February 14th, 2008

MICHELLE OBAMA IS A BADD SISTER! FROM NEWYORKTIMES.COM

February 14, 2008

from nytimes.com

Michelle Obama Takes to the Trail
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
PICTURE:Michelle Obama at a rally last week at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Stevie Wonder in the background.

By SUSAN SAULNY
Published: February 14, 2008
CHICAGO — There is no confusing Michelle Obama for her husband on the campaign trail.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Michelle Obama said of her role, “I am trying to be as authentically me as I can be.”
Asked at the Democratic debate in Los Angeles whether he would pick Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as a vice-presidential running mate, Senator Barack Obama said she “would be on anybody’s short list.”

But when a television interviewer asked Mrs. Obama last week whether she would support Mrs. Clinton, if she won the nomination, Mrs. Obama was less generous.

“I’d have to think about that,” Mrs. Obama said on “Good Morning America” on ABC. “I’d have to think about — policies, her approach, her tone.”

Outspoken, strong-willed, funny, gutsy and sometimes sarcastic, Michelle Obama is playing a pivotal role in her husband’s campaign as it builds on a series of successes, including a sweep on Tuesday of contests in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Her personal style — forthright, comfortable in the trenches, and often more blunt than Mr. Obama — plays well with a broad swath of the electorate and has given the campaign a steelier edge while allowing Mr. Obama to stay largely above it all.

“I am trying to be as authentically me as I can be,” Mrs. Obama said in an interview. “My statements are coming from my experiences and my observations and my frustrations.”

Mrs. Obama says she dislikes politics — she insists there will be no second run for the presidency if her husband falls short this time — but relishes a good fight, the competition of it all.

In the beginning, she had significant questions about an Obama candidacy. She pressed advisers for a blueprint of how the campaign would raise money and compete with Mrs. Clinton and other candidates. She gave her approval after seeing a concrete plan presented in strategy meetings in late 2006, all of which she attended.

Now she is involved in most major facets of campaign strategy, always a fierce protector of her husband’s image. While the Obamas seldom travel together — fanning out much as the Clintons do — Mrs. Obama is often in touch with key advisers and her message is shaped by the same strategists who advise her husband.

“The strategy is not to pigeonhole her to any one kind of audience,” said Valerie Jarrett, a close family friend who is a senior adviser to the Obama campaign.

Growing up in Chicago, her brother, Craig Robinson, recalls, Mrs. Obama did not like watching close basketball games, but would always watch blowouts to the end.

“She didn’t like the stress of watching,” said Mr. Robinson, the men’s basketball coach at Brown University. Thinking about the campaign for a moment, he added: “It’s much harder watching Barack in this race than watching my own team. It’s much harder to watch someone you love go through a close game.”

At almost six feet tall in heels, Mrs. Obama, 44, cuts an athletic and authoritative figure in her tailored pantsuits and skirts. A Harvard-educated lawyer who had been earning $212,000 a year as a hospital executive before she took leave on Jan. 1, she delivers rousing 40-minute speeches — surveying topics as far-ranging as the specific failings of the federal No Child Left Behind education act and problems with the military strategy in Iraq — without the aid of even a notecard.

A doting mother of two, Mrs. Obama has kept crowds waiting with telephone calls to her “little people” — daughters Sasha, 6, and Malia, 9.

But Mrs. Obama’s confident, commanding presence has its drawbacks. At an address last month for an African-American awards gala in Atlanta, some in attendance were left feeling that she had been condescending, preaching to a group of achievers about the need to achieve.

“Her speech was very long and inappropriate for that occasion,” said Vivian Creighton Bishop, a public official in Columbus, Ga., who supports Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Obama has also had to learn to tamp down her sometimes biting humor because it too often leaves Mr. Obama as the punch line. (It has been a long time since she has talked publicly about her husband of 15 years being smelly in the morning, as she told Glamour magazine, or forgetting to put away the butter.)

“What I’ve learned is that my humor doesn’t translate to print all the time,” she said in the interview. “But usually when I’m speaking to a group, people understand what I’m trying to say, they get the humor, they understand the sarcasm, they get the joke.”

Her audiences do laugh. Talking about how long it took her and Mr. Obama, 46, to pay off their student loans (they did so only in the last couple of years), she told a church audience in Cheraw, S.C., “I’m still waiting for Barack’s trust fund.” They cackled. She continued: “Then I heard Dick Cheney was supposed to be a relative! Thought we might be in for something here.”

Published: February 14, 2008
(Page 2 of 3)

On some occasions, Mrs. Obama’s straight talk has also made it necessary for the campaign to explain her remarks. In the case of “Good Morning America,” campaign officials pointed out that in an unbroadcast portion of the interview, Mrs. Obama later acknowledged that as a good Democrat, she would need to support Mrs. Clinton if she were the nominee.

The Obamas on Oct. 18, 1992. They met in 1989, when they were working at the same law firm in Chicago.
Mrs. Obama’s nickname inside the campaign is “the closer” because she is skilled at persuading undecided voters to sign pledge cards. But as a smooth orator, she is also known as a connector, volunteering her own life lessons from working-class roots and discussing her confrontation with a culture of low expectations.

She has been transparent about more mundane things, too, like leaning on her mother for child care while she is on the road.

Mrs. Obama does not have a nanny, only her mother. “Thank God for Grandma!” Mrs. Obama says more than once on the campaign trail, adding that she “couldn’t breathe” if she thought her girls, who attend private school here in Chicago, were being neglected for the campaign.

“I spend more time worrying about how do I keep their lives on track in the midst of this?” she said in the interview. “Barack and I both do. How do we keep our traditions whole? Those are the day-to-day concerns.”

In a presidential campaign that has included discussions of race and gender, Mrs. Obama has a singular vantage point at the intersection of the two. As the advantage in some states has seesawed between Mr. Obama, of Illinois, and Mrs. Clinton, of New York, based in part on the votes of blacks and women, Mrs. Obama typically makes a plea for unity, even when race- or gender-based appeals might be expedient and easy.

That was the case when they packed the pews to hear her one Friday night last month in a modest Methodist church in Orangeburg, S.C.

“Oh, amen!” the participants cried out over the rise and fall of her voice, springing to their feet, howling their approval with hands lifted as if in praise.

It was the eve of the Democratic primary in South Carolina, and Mrs. Obama was urging the audience to the polls. But they were urging her on, too: “Come on now, tell it, sister!”

And so she did, focusing on the economic hardships facing many Americans: “What we have to understand in this race is that this is true regardless of the color of your skin, regardless of your gender,” she said to the mostly black audience. “This is the truth of living in America.”

Interviews with people who know Mrs. Obama say she chose, even as a young adult, to strive for the opportunities that were closed to previous generations.

Mrs. Obama grew up knowing, for instance, that her maternal grandfather, a carpenter, was squeezed out of the best jobs in Chicago because as a black man he was not allowed to join a union. But she said she had also been taught not to see race as a barrier, to look at the world in terms of what is possible, not the other way around.

“My parents told us time and time again, ‘Don’t tell us what you can’t do,’ ” she said. “ ‘And don’t worry about what can go wrong.’ ”

She talks on the campaign trail about high school advisers who tried to dissuade her from applying to Princeton because they thought her scores were not good enough. (She graduated with honors in sociology in 1985.)

She talks about college counselors who said similar things about her desire to go to Harvard Law, from which she graduated and went on to one of the top corporate firms in Chicago.

“I realized that gnawing sense of self doubt that lies within all of us is within our own heads,” she said in Atlanta. “The truth is we are more ready and more prepared than we even know. My own life is proof of that.”

Mrs. Obama’s father, Fraser Robinson, provided for the family of four on a city worker’s salary. Her mother, Marian Robinson, now 70, stayed home and allowed their two children only one hour of television a night.

Mrs. Obama and her brother were expected to fill their time with books, chess, sports — and, critically important they both said, dinnertime conversations with their parents.

The defending of ideas, the back-and-forth, the debates, they were an early in-home version of what Mrs. Obama has come to do, almost full-time now, for her husband.

At Harvard Law School, one professor recalled that Mrs. Obama was not one to mince words.

“Michelle was a student in my legal profession class in which I ask students how they would react to difficult ethical and professional challenges,” said the professor, David B. Wilkins. “Not surprisingly, many students shy away from putting themselves on the line in this way, preferring to hedge their bets or deploy technical arguments that seem to absolve them from the responsibilities of decision-making. Michelle had no need for such fig leaves. She always stated her position clearly and decisively.”

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Michelle Obama Adds New Role to Balancing Act (May 18, 2007)

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Candidate Topic PagesMore Politics NewsMrs. Obama said her mother has been her No. 1 advocate and role model, even though their lives could not be more dissimilar.

“I remember Michelle telling me about a teacher complaining about her temper in elementary school,” said Verna L. Williams, a law professor in Cincinnati who has been a friend of Mrs. Obama since their days at Harvard. “She said her mom told the teacher: ‘Yeah, she’s got a temper. But we decided to keep her anyway!’ ”

Mrs. Obama is an organized and self-described “task master,” who has always been focused — so much so, that when she met Mr. Obama in 1989, when they were working at the same law firm in Chicago, she refused to go out on what Mr. Obama called “a proper date.”

“Eventually I wore her down,” he wrote in his memoir. During the summer when she met Mr. Obama, Mrs. Obama said she was influenced by his sense of purpose, and began to change her own career to add more service to others.

Martha L. Minow, a professor at Harvard Law School, did work with Mrs. Obama for a nonprofit educational group in Chicago. Dr. Minow’s father, Newton N. Minow, is senior counsel at Sidley Austin, the law firm where the Obamas met. Dr. Minow said she remembered hearing about the day Mr. Obama announced to her father that he would be leaving the firm to pursue public service.

“My dad was very supportive,” she said. “Then he said, ‘One more thing, I’m going to take Michelle with me.’ ”

And Mr. Obama did. Mrs. Obama left the firm, where she specialized in marketing and intellectual property, after two years and eventually founded the Chicago office of Public Allies, a national nonprofit leadership-training network for young adults.

After that, she gravitated toward the University of Chicago, whose campus is in her own South Side neighborhood. As a whole, the university has an often-tense relationship with the poorer surrounding area, and Mrs. Obama’s job, as vice president for community and external affairs at the university’s medical center, is to form partnerships between the two.

A recent project has focused on opening more neighborhood clinics to provide preventive care and take stress off the emergency room. Mrs. Obama earned a reputation as being equally tough on the hospital and the community in regard to their obligations to each other.

Now, she often describes her life to audiences in terms of beating the culture of low expectations that confronted “a little black girl” from the South Side.

“I wasn’t supposed to have my own successful career,” Mrs. Obama said in Atlanta. “They said my achievement must have been the result of racial preferences. And I am certainly not supposed to be standing here, maybe to become the next first lady of the United States.”

Asked about the role of first lady, Mrs. Obama said she saw it as a full-time job. But, she hastened to add, she reserved the right to change her mind if she gets there

“OBAMA VOTERS IMPACT MCCAIN,TOO” FROM TIME.COM

February 14, 2008

FROM TIME.COM

——————————————————————————–

Obama Voters Impact McCain, Too By MICHAEL DUFFY
Wed Feb 13, 2:35 PM ET

Backed by a more diverse coalition of voters than he has previously attracted, Barack Obama swept to impressive victories in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia Tuesday night, jumping to a lead in the overall delegate tally for the first time since Iowa and making the odds of a comeback by Hillary Clinton, while hardly impossible, decidedly longer.

While Obama rung up 30-point margins over Clinton, Republican John McCain swept the Potomac primaries with narrower wins over Mike Huckabee, a reminder that the Republican base remains unsettled over the prospect of the party’s presumptive nominee.

What made the night historic was not so much the margins of Obama’s wins – though those were impressive – but the scope and depth of his winning coalition. According to exit poll data, Obama prevailed in Virginia among while males, independents and young voters. In Maryland, he bested Clinton among rural voters, union households and catholic voters. Everywhere, as expected, he won huge margins of African American voters who turned out to vote in numbers far in excess of their proportion of the population. In Maryland, African Americans are 29 of the population but formed 37 of the electorate, while in Virginia the numbers are 20 and 29.

The results also show the ways in which Obama is exerting a huge gravitational pull on both races. 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. Exit polls noted that one half of Virginia’s voters were evangelicals; one third were self-described as “very conservative” while only a quarter were independents. As a result, Mike Huckabee was able to take 41% of the state’s Republican vote.

Turnout, meanwhile, was up everywhere, just as it has been all along in the 2008 sweepstakes. More than 850,000 Virginians voted in that state’s Democratic primary – more than twice the number that voted in the state’s 2004 contest.

Before the evening was out, Obama was leading Clinton in pledged delegates for the first time since Iowa and with a few weeks to go before she is likely to place ahead of him in a single primary. While Obama is not impossible to catch, Clinton must rack up outsized victories in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania to do it – states where the margins of victory are more likely to be in single digits, though for whom is anyone’s guess at this stage.

But it helps explain why Clinton had decamped to El Paso, Texas before all the results were in. She has to shore up what she hopes will be a lone star-sized firewall before the state’s March 4 primary. Obama, meanwhile, could be found in Wisconsin, where the next big contest, and his next big opportunity, comes Feb. 19.

OBAMA BREAKS THE DYNASTIES AT VOTE.COM

February 14, 2008

from vote.com

Barack Obama / Barack breaks the Dynasties

Barack breaks the Dynasties
Author Message
AAF
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Post: #1Barack breaks the Dynasties

Until recently I have been very challenged by the choice between Clinton and Obama. But the sunshine is burning through the mist and it is clear to me, for
many reasons, that Barack Obama is the BEST choice for ’08.

One reason I strongly support Obama is: He breaks the Dynasty Chain!

We have drifted so far from PRINCIPLES in this country and become fixated on PERSONALITIES. It is a principle issue that Americans should not be “ruled” by dynastic families. However, the contrary is becoming a solid fact.

We can smugly look at other so called democratic countries (Pakistan, India, Greece, etc.) ruled by “feuding families” and shake our heads but we are sorely in need of change ourselves. Look at the facts:

The Bush Dynasty entered the WH as Reagan VP 1981-89
The Bush Dynasty sat as Prez. 1989-1993
The Clinton Dynasty took the WH 1993-2001
The Bush Dynasty “manages” it again 2001-2009

28 years of Bush/Clinton Dynasties in the WH.

Add 4 – 8 more years, should Hillary win = 36 years of Bush/Clinton Dynasty.

ENOUGH!

Obama is in fact CHANGE …in so many ways. I hope the Obama Campaign will push this issue to the front and really frame some of the future debate within it. It is an important issue.

Lets get back to principles over personalities.

If you missed Kristoff article The Dynastic Question, read it here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/opinio…ref=slogin

02-10-2008 09:17 AM

mmcmullem
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Post: #2RE: Barack breaks the Dynasties

It is not just about changing the names of Presidents, nor is it about gender or race changes in a candidtate – IT IS ALL ABOUT CHANGING POLITICS AS USUAL! And, Mr. Obama IS the only candidate who can do this. The American people have had it with the broken system in Washington. Let`s go Barack!!

02-10-2008 09:32 AM

ValpoMike
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Post: #3RE: Barack breaks the Dynasties

I will second that comment, it’s refreshing to have a new choice, with HOPE for our country’s future and our Country’s position as an admired World leader.

02-10-2008 10:00 AM

freedom4u_n_me
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Post: #4RE: Barack breaks the Dynasties

I totally agree and I welcome you to ‘our’ movement that Barack started over a year ago. (possibly over 4 when so many people noticed him when he spoke at the DNC convention or earlier when he was running for the Illinois Senate)

I call the last 28+ years a Di-archy (instead of monarchy) But I definitly
don’t call it a democracy!
Thanks for you post.
Gail

AAF Wrote:
Until recently I have been very challenged by the choice between Clinton and Obama. But the sunshine is burning through the mist and it is clear to me, for
many reasons, that Barack Obama is the BEST choice for ’08.

One reason I strongly support Obama is: He breaks the Dynasty Chain!

We have drifted so far from PRINCIPLES in this country and become fixated on PERSONALITIES. It is a principle issue that Americans should not be “ruled” by dynastic families. However, the contrary is becoming a solid fact.

We can smugly look at other so called democratic countries (Pakistan, India, Greece, etc.) ruled by “feuding families” and shake our heads but we are sorely in need of change ourselves. Look at the facts:

The Bush Dynasty entered the WH as Reagan VP 1981-89
The Bush Dynasty sat as Prez. 1989-1993
The Clinton Dynasty took the WH 1993-2001
The Bush Dynasty “manages” it again 2001-2009

28 years of Bush/Clinton Dynasties in the WH.

Add 4 – 8 more years, should Hillary win = 36 years of Bush/Clinton Dynasty.

ENOUGH!

Obama is in fact CHANGE …in so many ways. I hope the Obama Campaign will push this issue to the front and really frame some of the future debate within it. It is an important issue.

Lets get back to principles over personalities.

If you missed Kristoff article The Dynastic Question, read it here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/opinio…ref=slogin

This post was last modified: 02-11-2008 05:17 AM by Jed K.

02-11-2008 05:10 AM

Logan
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Post: #5RE: Barack breaks the Dynasties

AAF Wrote:
Until recently I have been very challenged by the choice between Clinton and Obama. But the sunshine is burning through the mist and it is clear to me, for
many reasons, that Barack Obama is the BEST choice for ’08.

One reason I strongly support Obama is: He breaks the Dynasty Chain!

I agree with the need to break dynasties when deciding who is a good candidate for the presidency. For my part, the choice between Hillary and Obama is clear for me for several reasons:

(1) Hillary has voted to give the president the authorization to go to War with Irak without looking at all the evidences that were available. There seems to be a lack of judgement here.

(2) As President Bush, Hillary has the tendency to not admit her mistakes (e.g. not admitting that the war was a mistake). There seems to be a lack of humility here.

(3) As President Bush and John McCain, Hillary is not enclined to talk to the nations like Iran, Syria, … There seems to be arrogance here.

(4) As President Bush before her, Hillary would probably not be (or no longer be) in this race without the name recognition. There seems to be favoritism here.

(5) In 1993-94, Hillary tried to implement a health-care policy behind
closed door with interest groups. And before this event, she did her best to kill a bipartisan plan that could have improved the system; see David Brooks’ article in the NY Times on February 5, “The Cooper Concerns” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/opinion/05brooks.html)

(6) On the campaign trail, Hillary refers to the economic prosperity during the Clintons’ year. She seems to take credit for something she did not contributed to (even a president has generally little control over the economy, except for decison like going to war). In addition, Hillary seems to forget that a good part of the prosperity of the 90s was due to the information technology sector which served as a locomotive for the economy and which was highly over-valued.

(7) On the campaign trail, Hillary forgets to mention that during the
Clinton’s years, the democrat lost the senat, the house, and many other institutions. Hillary forgets also to mention the numerous scandals and high level partisanery.

(8) Hillary still refuses to declare publicly her revenues for 2006-2007. Her husband was recently denying having received $38 millions for his foundation under suspicious circumstances after a trip in an area of the former soviet union. The secrecy surrounding the Clintons hide many scandals that will come to light under a presidency by Hillary.

Today 12:10 AM


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