Thursday, February 28, 2008

Campaign spending proposal hems in Obama

He's the one with the money — and a vow to accept a general election limit

Just 12 months ago, Senator Barack Obama presented himself as an idealistic upstart taking on the Democratic fund-raising juggernaut behind Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That was when Mr. Obama proposed a novel challenge aimed at limiting the corrupting influence of money on the race: If he won the nomination, he would limit himself to spending only the $85 million available in public financing between the convention and Election Day as long as his Republican opponent did the same.

Now his challenge to his rivals has boomeranged into a test of Mr. Obama’s own ability to balance principle and politics in a very different context. After taking in $100 million in donations, Mr. Obama is the one setting fund-raising records, presenting a powerful temptation to find a way out of his own proposal so that he might outspend his Republican opponent. And the all-but-certain Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, is short on cash and eager to take up the fund-raising truce.

Mr. Obama was notably noncommittal about his previous proposal in Tuesday’s Democratic debate, indicating that he would add new conditions, especially on spending by independent groups, to his previous pledges to accept the deal. If nominated, “I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that is fair to both sides,” Mr. Obama said, alluding to the need to close “loopholes.”

Campaign finance experts said the issue was a major test of Mr. Obama’s commitment. It is also a first glimpse of what might come in a general election fight between two candidates who have championed public integrity, opening themselves to accusations of hypocrisy.

On Wednesday, the McCain campaign stepped up its criticism of Mr. Obama after his statement at the debate.

“The fact is, Senator Obama signed a piece of paper and pledged to take public financing for his campaign if I did the same," Mr. McCain said. “I believe that Senator Obama should keep his commitment also, which means taking public financing. The rest of it is ground noise. The rest of it is irrelevant."

Some Democrats and Obama supporters, meanwhile, have sought to strike back at Mr. McCain by accusing him of exploiting the public financing system. They argue that Mr. McCain may have violated technicalities of the election laws by using his eligibility for public matching funds to help obtain a loan but then opting out of the matching funds at the last minute to avoid the spending restrictions they impose. “People aren’t exactly clear whether all the t’s were crossed and i’s were dotted,” Mr. Obama said in Tuesday’s debate. (The McCain campaign said it followed the law.)

The issue may be more sensitive for Mr. Obama, though, because has run in part on his record as an advocate of stricter government integrity rules, including the public financing system. Last February, he sought the election commission’s blessing on a public financing proposal in part to underscore his support for tighter election rules. (The filing was short of a commitment, but he later went further in a questionnaire from a coalition of government-integrity groups.)

Mr. Obama has argued that his campaign was already meeting the spirit of public financing laws because it had relied overwhelmingly on small donors instead of corporate patrons.

Still, with public financing for the general election phase of the campaign amounting to nearly $10 million a week, Mr. Obama’s hedging puzzles some.

“You ought to be able to run a campaign for two months on $85 million,” said Joan Claybrook , president of Public Citizen , which lobbies for stricter campaign finance laws. She called Mr. Obama’s recent remarks “a very bad signal.”

“This whole idea started with Senator Obama, and we think he and whoever the Republican nominee is ought to follow through,” said Fred Wertheimer, founder of the advocacy group Democracy 21.

David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, said the campaign would not make a decision until the Democratic primary is settled. But in a recent column in USA Today, Mr. Obama appeared to set some new conditions. He argued that any bipartisan agreement to accept the limits of public financing would be “meaningless” if there were no provisions to close the “loopholes” that allow unlimited spending during the long primary season or by independent outside groups.

The article cited a possible model for an agreement: one reached by Senator John Kerry , a Democrat, and former Gov. William Weld, a Republican, in the 1996 Senate race in Massachusetts. That deal limited each campaign to spending about $7 million over the last four months of the race and counted any expenditure by an outside group seeking to help a candidate against that candidate’s limit. “We can have such an agreement this year, and it could hold up,” Mr. Obama wrote. “I am committed to seeking such an agreement if that commitment is matched by Senator McCain.”

Although Mr. Kerry and Mr. Weld later praised the deal as a positive step, it ended in accusations that each side had broken its word. With no real enforcement and no clear standard for judging outside spending, there was also no way to address issues until after the election.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Barack Obama Will Preserve Social Security

By GROMER JEFFERS JR. / The Dallas Morning News

CINCINNATI – Campaigning in Ohio on Monday, Barack Obama pledged to preserve Social Security and help get families enough money for retirement.

"For millions of Americans, Social Security is the difference between a comfortable retirement and a risk of poverty," Mr. Obama said at a roundtable discussion. "We have to make sure social security is there for future generations."

The Democratic candidate said he would not raise the national retirement age, cut benefits or privatize Social Security.

Instead, he would lift the cap on the payroll tax. Under the current system, the tax is capped at $97,000, which means the richest people in the nation are paying a similar tax rate than their poorer counterparts.

Mr. Obama said he would also help retirees by developing automatic workplace retirement plans. Such plans would allow employers to directly deposit money into a retirement account. The company could match additional contributions made by employees. The government would match contributions on the first $1,000 for families making less than $75,000 a year.

"We have to encourage savings so it's easy to retire," Mr. Obama said. "This would put a secure retirement within greater reach for millions of working families."

Mr. Obama said he also would develop ways to protect pensions and work to prevent "golden parachutes" for executives fleeing a sinking company.

"Even if you work hard and play by the rules, you risk losing everything if your company goes bankrupt," he said.

Mr. Obama is campaigning heavily in Ohio, where Hillary Rodham Clinton is leading and making a ferocious stand.

Both candidates are expected in Texas in the coming days. Both states have Democratic primaries on March 4.

At the roundtable discussion, he heard from Ohioans who had lost their jobs, insurance and ability to save for retirement.

Lenora Anderson wept openly when telling Mr. Obama how she struggled to care for her ailing mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

And Karen Roettele said she lost her construction job after her husband's death and now has to dip into her retirement savings.

Mr. Obama said he understood the tears. And he described how his mother died of cancer at age 53 and was worried about paying her bills.

"This stuff breaks me up," he said.

Colleen Munninghaff, a roundtable participant, said she was an undecided voter.

"I understand the younger kids are getting on the Obama bandwagon and that's great," she said. "But what are you going to do for us?"

Mr. Obama said that he was the better choice because he could bring people together to solve problems.

"We're going to need someone who can reach across the aisle," he said.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Superdelegates in favor of Barack Obama

by Zach Blaney

Barack Obama Hillary Clinton Utah According to the recent survey by The Associated Press, more than two dozen superdelegates have come to support of Barack Obama. This could be a big shock for Senator Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama is in a very strong position right now. Many superdelegates have changed their opinion after 11 straight victories to credit of Barack Obama.

The fight between Senator Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is very close and the support from superdelegates will be very crucial in the final decision. Both campaigns are trying their best to get the support from nearly 800 democratic superdelegates.

Senator Hillary Clinton has support of 241 superdelegates as per The Associated Press survey. However, Barack Obama has gained in the past two weeks. Hillary Clinton is losing the support from some influential superdelegates.

Barack Obama has gained more strength after recent endorsements from various labour unions across the country.

Super delegate Christine Samuels said that Barack Obama can help unite the country and supported him. In New Jersey, two superdelegates shifted to Obama. Similarly, two democratic superdelegates from Utah have withdrawn their support to Hillary Clinton.

The statistics from delegates are also in favor of Barack Obama. As per the latest estimates by MSNBC, Barack Obama has support of 1183 delegates while Hillary Clinton has 1031.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Obama draws thousands in Austin

Barack Obama issued an appeal to Austin voters to join his crusade for change as he ended a four-day swing through Texas.

By GROMER JEFFERS Jr. / The Dallas Morning News

Sen. Barack Obama delivers a speech on Congress Avenue in front of the state Capitol in downtown Austin. 'There's something about me and Austin,' he said. 'We just get along.' Earlier, he visited Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley. "The dream that so many generations fought for is slowly slipping away," Mr. Obama said. "We cannot afford to wait. ... Change in America doesn't happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up."

He spoke at a rally in front of the state Capitol. Estimates of the crowd's numbers ranged from 8,000 to 15,000.

Mr. Obama is no stranger to large Austin gatherings. Last year, he drew 20,000 for an event along the shores of Town Lake.

"There's something about me and Austin," he said. "We just get along."

Mr. Obama is locked in a tight race with Hillary Rodham Clinton for Texas. With 228 delegates, it's the biggest prize left in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The crowd chanted "Obama, Obama" as he called for affordable health care, which he promised to accomplish by the end of his term.

"I cannot do it by myself; no president can," Mr. Obama said. "The question you have to ask yourself tonight is: Are you ready for change?"

Rumors flew regarding access and crowd size in the hours before the event. Some thought they had to R.S.V.P. to get in; they didn't.

Others, like the Jaroliks of Temple, were told by the campaign that people were camping out overnight to get a spot close to the stage.

They weren't, of course. But the pair of longtime Republicans showed up at 3 p.m. just in case to support Mr. Obama. The couple said they are excited by a campaign they said is breathing life into politics.

"We're not delusional," said Joe Jarolik, who attended the rally with his wife, Sara. "He does have a message of hope and change."

Before wrapping up his Lone Star State swing in Austin on Friday, Mr. Obama made appearances in Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley, the base of Mrs. Clinton's support in Texas.

Hispanics could make up 35 percent to 50 percent of the electorate in the Texas Democratic primary, analysts say.

At a rally in front of about 3,000 people at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Mr. Obama discussed immigration and education.

Mr. Obama told the crowd that the nation needed a sensible immigration policy.

"We do have to deal with the border in an intelligent way," he said. "But we can't do it by just building a wall all across the border."

Mr. Obama said he favored a plan that secured the border, perhaps with barriers in some places. He also would penalize employers who hired illegal immigrants.

The Illinois senator also supports a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

"We can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants," he said.

Mr. Obama also discussed proposals to help students deal with the cost of college.

Before the rally, he met with about 25 college-age residents on campus.

Among other things, Mr. Obama has proposed a $4,000 tax credit that could be used for college, providing the student returns the favor with community service.

"All across America, I meet young people with the grades and the drive to go to college, but they don't have the money," Mr. Obama said.

Staff writer Karen Brooks contributed to this report.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Is Obama Open to Criticism?

I am convinced of Barack's patriotism. Read this article and post a response.

Is Obama Open to Criticism?

Sen. Barack Obama's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

Now Obama's wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she's really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.

"The reason it hasn't been an issue so far is that we're still in the microcosm of the Democratic primary," said Republican consultant Roger Stone. "Many Americans will find the three things offensive. Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd."

Opponents of Sen. John Kerry proved in the 2004 election that voters are sensitive to suggestions that a candidate is not sufficiently patriotic. The Democratic presidential nominee's campaign was torpedoed by critics of his Vietnam War record called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, even though he won multiple military honors and was lauded by his superiors.

The Swift Boat campaign started as a relatively small television ad buy that exploded into an issue that dogged Kerry for months. The Massachusetts senator has conceded since losing to President Bush that the campaign and his lackluster response to unsubstantiated allegations he considered unworthy of a reaction likely cost him the election. And the term even became part of the campaign lexicon — swift boating.

Obama already is the subject of a shadowy smear campaign based on the Internet that falsely suggests he's a Muslim intent on destroying the United States. Obama is a Christian and has been fighting the e-mail hoax, which also claims he doesn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, and he's been trying to correct the misinformation.

"Whenever I'm in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America," Obama frequently tells voters.

"I've been going to the same church for 20 years, praising Jesus
," he adds.

Retired Major General Scott Gration, an Obama military adviser, said he expects the attacks will only increase if Obama wins the Democratic nomination.

"People are projecting things and taking things out of context," Gration said. "There's absolutely no question in my mind that Michelle and Barack are extremely patriotic, appreciate our freedoms and our values and everything else that the flag represents."

Officials with the McCain campaign and the Republican Party say they won't be suggesting Obama is less than patriotic, and instead plan to focus their criticisms on his record and inexperience if he wins the nomination. Well-funded outside groups, however, consider anything fair game.

Conservative Republican consultant Keith Appell, who worked with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, said Obama's opposition to the war will create a "striking contrast between McCain the war hero and Obama the poster child for the anti-war movement."

"If you are McCain, you want to play up the decorated war hero, loves his country, served his country," Appell said. "You want to play those themes up as much as possible, especially in comparison to Obama and his role in the anti-war movement."

On Monday, Michelle Obama told an audience in Milwaukee, "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."

Cindy McCain, days later responded by saying, "I have, and always will be, proud of my country." Barack Obama has expressed frustration that his wife's remarks had been taken out of context and turned into political fodder — both the Obamas say she was talking about politics in the United States, not the country itself.

Last summer, Obama was photographed by Time magazine at an event in Iowa standing with his hands folded during the national anthem. His primary rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson appear beside him, with their hands on their hearts.

It has been repeatedly reported that the moment came during the Pledge of Allegiance, but that's not the case.

In October, Obama told Iowa television station KCRG that he decided to stop wearing a U.S. flag lapel pin during the run-up to the Iraq war because it had become "a substitute for, I think, true patriotism."

"I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great and, hopefully, that will be a testimony to my patriotism," Obama said.

Obama's comments led conservatives and media commentators to question his patriotism.

"First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb. Now Barack Obama has a new round of patriotism problems. Wait until you hear what the White House hopeful didn't do during the singing of the national anthem," said Steve Doocy, co-host of "Fox and Friends" on the Fox News Channel.

"He felt it OK to come out of the closet as the domestic insurgent he is," former radio host Mark Williams said on Fox.

Gration said he had a copy of the national anthem photo e-mailed to him by a friend who didn't know the facts and questioned how a military man could support someone who doesn't honor the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I go to baseball games and football games and there's just a minority of us who put our hands over our heart. It's not an indication of patriotism," Gration said. Gration said he personally wears a flag pin, but "if I meet someone who doesn't have a lapel pin, it doesn't mean they are more or less patriotic than I am."

And, he added, "I don't think you can find Barack again not putting his hand over his heart at the national anthem."

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Barack Obama keeps winning form

Barack Obama has been pushing a message of change.

Barack Obama has gained an 11th straight victory in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination by winning the Democrats Abroad primary.

He now faces his rival, New York senator Hillary Clinton, in a TV debate in Texas ahead of crucial primaries there and in Ohio next month.

She is seeking to revive her campaign with wins in the two key states in order to stop Mr Obama's momentum.

Mrs Clinton now needs a majority of the remaining delegates to beat Mr Obama.

He has at least 1,353 - according to an Associated Press projection - of the 2,025 delegates he needs to secure the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in August.

Mrs Clinton has 1,264 delegates.

Mr Obama won 65.6% of the votes cast by more than 20,000 US citizens in 164 countries.

Mrs Clinton polled 32.7%, according to the Democrats Abroad, an organisation sanctioned by the national party.

The Democrats Abroad system of dividing the delegates is unique, and could leave candidates with fractions of delegates.

Hillary Clinton needs big wins in Texas and Ohio
The primary was used to determine nine pledged delegates, each with half a vote.

Due to the system used for rounding up the figures, Mr Obama won 2.5 delegates, while Mrs Clinton won two.

The margin of victory was small but it continues Mr Obama's long-winning streak.

Meanwhile Wisconsin's primary on Tuesday was significant for Mr Obama, says the BBC's Jonathan Beale, because he ate into Mrs Clinton's support base of white women and lower-income workers.

Correspondents say the blue-collar vote will be crucial in the Ohio and Texas contests, and the Clinton campaign has already begun targeting lower-income workers in its ads.

But in his drive to become the first black US president, Mr Obama has gained important support from some powerful unions, including the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama scores 10th straight victory


WASHINGTON - Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary and Hawaii caucuses Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages.

The twin triumphs made 10 straight for Obama, and left the former first lady in desperate need of a comeback in a race she long commanded as front-runner.

"The change we seek is still months and miles away," Obama told a boisterous crowd in Houston in a speech in which he also pledged to end the war in Iraq in his first year in office.

"I opposed this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home," he declared.

Sen. John McCain, the Republican front-runner, won a pair of primaries, in Wisconsin and Washington, to continue his march toward certain nomination.

In a race growing increasingly negative, Obama cut deeply into Clinton's political bedrock in Wisconsin, splitting the support of white women almost evenly with her. According to polling place interviews, he also ran well among working class voters in the blue collar battleground that was prelude to primaries in the larger industrial states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Clinton made no mention of her defeat, and showed no sign of surrender in an appearance in Youngstown, Ohio.

"Both Senator Obama and I would make history," the New York senator said. "But only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter and a champion for those who need a voice."

In a clear sign of their relative standing in the race, most cable television networks abruptly cut away from coverage of Clinton's rally when Obama began to speak in Texas.

McCain easily won the Republican primary in Wisconsin with 55 percent of the vote, dispatching former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and edging closer to the 1,191 delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination at the party convention in St. Paul, Minn. next summer. The Arizona senator also won the primary in Washington, where 19 delegates were at stake, with 49 percent of the vote in incomplete results.

In scarcely veiled criticism of Obama, the Republican nominee-in-waiting said, "I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure that Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."

McCain stepped up his criticism of Obama on Wednesday, suggesting the Democrat doesn't have the experience or judgment on foreign policy and defense matters needed in a president.

"There are a lot of national security challenges and I know how to handle them. Senator Obama wants to bomb Pakistan without talking to the Pakistanis. I think that's dangerous," McCain said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think that's an important factor — experience and judgment. Ready to serve and no on the job training."

McCain's nomination has been assured since Super Tuesday three weeks ago, as first one, then another of his former rivals has dropped out and the party establishment has closed ranks behind him.

Not so in the Democratic race, where Obama and Clinton campaign seven days a week, he the strongest black presidential candidate in history, she bidding to become the first woman to sit in the White House.

Ohio and Texas vote next on March 4 — 370 convention delegates in all — and even some of Clinton's supporters concede she must win one, and possibly both, to remain competitive. Two smaller states, Vermont and Rhode Island, also have primaries that day.

With the votes counted in all but one of Wisconsin's 3,570 precincts, Obama won 58 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Clinton.

With 100 percent of the vote counted in Hawaii, Obama had 76 percent to Clinton's 24 percent.

Wisconsin offered 74 national convention delegates. There were 20 delegates at stake in Hawaii, where Obama spent much of his youth.

Washington Democrats voted in a primary, too, but their delegates were picked earlier in the month in caucuses won by Obama.

The Illinois senator's Wisconsin victory left him with 1,303 delegates in The Associated Press' count, compared with 1,233 for Clinton, a margin that masks his 145-delegate lead among those picked in primaries or caucuses. It takes 2,025 to win the nomination at the party's national convention in Denver. Allocation of the 20 Hawaii delegates was not being calculated until later Wednesday.

Obama's victory came after a week in which Clinton and her aides tried to knock him off stride. They criticized him in television commercials and accused him of plagiarism for using words first uttered by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a friend. He shrugged off the advertising volley, and said that while he should have given Patrick credit, the controversy didn't amount to much.

The voters seemed not to care.

Wisconsin independents cast about one-quarter of the ballots in the race between Obama and Clinton, and roughly 15 percent of the electorate were first-time voters, the survey at polling places said. Obama has run strongly among independents in earlier primaries, and among younger voters, and cited their support as evidence that he would make a stronger general election candidate in the fall.

Obama began the evening with eight straight primary and caucus victories, a remarkable run that has propelled him past Clinton in the overall delegate race and enabled him to chip away at her advantage among elected officials within the party who will have convention votes as superdelegates.

The economy and trade were key issues in the race, and seven in 10 voters said international trade has resulted in lost jobs in Wisconsin. Fewer than one in five said trade has created more jobs than it has lost.

The Democrats' focus on trade was certain to intensify, with primaries in Ohio in two weeks and in Pennsylvania on April 22.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama passes Clinton in Gallup tracking poll

by Frank James

Gallup's latest tracking poll shows what Sen. Barack Obama's campaign had hoped for and what Sen. Hillary Clinton's had feared, that the senator from Illinois's momentum would continue to eat into Clinton's core supporters--women, Hispanics and hard-core Democrats.

This is how Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones put it:

PRINCETON, NJ -- The momentum in the Democratic nomination race has clearly swung toward Barack Obama. Not only has he won all of the post-Super Tuesday contests, but he has steadily gained in Gallup Poll Daily tracking to the point where he has overtaken Clinton as the national leader for the first time, holding a statistically significant lead in each of the last three tracking poll results.

Obama's standing has improved among most Democratic subgroups over the past several days. But one of the more substantial shifts has been the changing preferences of middle-aged Democratic voters, who have moved away from Clinton and toward Obama in the past week. Obama has also made gains among three other groups that have favored Clinton throughout much of the campaign -- women, Hispanics, and self-identified Democrats. Obama and Clinton are now running even among these three key groups in the most recent Gallup tracking data...

Throughout the campaign, exit polls have shown that Obama has appealed to younger voters, and Clinton to older voters. Even as the momentum has swung in Obama's favor, those basic relationships at opposite ends of the age spectrum still hold. The change in recent days has been in middle-aged Democratic voters' preferences. In the Feb. 5-9 period, Clinton led among Democratic voters aged 35 to 54 by a 49% to 42% margin. Now, Obama is the leader among this group by 51% to 42%.

If this shift of voters Clinton has relied on until now proves real and lasting, it would arguably make it next to impossible for her to perform as well as she needs to in the remaining states holding primaries, especially Texas and Ohio on March 4 and Pennsylvania on April 22 to capture the nomination.

But as we all should know by now, the only thing that matters is actual votes at polling places. So while the graph showing Obama's momentum is interesting, it's really got to taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Still, if you had to choose one, you'd obviously rather have Obama's curve than Clinton's.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Superdelegates' loyalties tested

Some with black constituencies shift eye to Obama

The outpouring of support for Barack Obama's presidential candidacy in African-American communities is shifting the political calculus for superdelegates with large black constituencies and causing some of them to reconsider promises of support for Hillary Clinton.

Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), who represents a predominantly black suburban Atlanta constituency, announced late in the week that he was shifting his support from Clinton to Obama, citing an overwhelming vote for Obama in his congressional district. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who also endorsed Clinton, was quoted Friday in The New York Times saying he would vote for Obama at the nominating convention, though neither Lewis nor his spokeswoman responded to inquiries about his comments and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted an aide describing the report as "inaccurate."

They and many other black elected officials are experiencing firsthand a powerful movement toward Obama, reflected not only in lopsided votes for him but also a surge in African-American turnout.

In South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, Obama attracted more than 80 percent of the African-American vote, exit polls showed. Turnout among black voters was up 89 percent in Georgia and more than doubled in South Carolina and Virginia.

Confronted with that political reality at the same moment that Obama has seized the momentum in the campaign for the nomination, more black members of Congress are having second thoughts about endorsements of Clinton, said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), an African-American who is lobbying fellow House members on behalf of the Illinois senator.

"I do know several who are struggling with the issue and are re-evaluating the landscape, re-evaluating the circumstances under which they were supporting Sen. Clinton," said Butterfield, who switched his support from home-state candidate John Edwards to Obama in early January, well before Edwards quit the race.

So far, the movement among black party and elected officials has been small. In addition to Scott and Lewis, Christine Samuels, an African-American politician from New Jersey, also announced Thursday that she would switch her support from Clinton to Obama.

But it is a visible fracture of support for Clinton among a segment of superdelegates that is especially sensitive to arguments from the Obama campaign that party officials should follow the will of their constituents when they cast their votes as superdelegates.

Despite the huge margins of support that Obama has consistently won among African-American voters, black party and elected officials have been much more divided on the presidential nomination. On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus was about evenly divided among those who made public endorsements between Obama and Clinton, and even now 15 African-American members of Congress are announced as Clinton supporters.

Politicians are traditionally reluctant to reverse public endorsements; it devalues their word in future dealings. But a break with a politician's base also can be perilous, and allies of Obama are reminding colleagues of that.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee argued that such tactics amounted to a political threat.

"We believe that superdelegates ought to vote for the person they think would make the best president. It's disappointing that the Obama campaign would engage in threats and tactics like these. It doesn't sound very much like the politics of hope," Elleithee said.

By Mike Dorning, Washington Bureau Tribune correspondent John McCormick contributed from Milwaukee and Tribune correspondent Rick Pearson contributed from Akron, Ohio.

Save up to 75% at's Clearance Center.

Search Music At

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama sweep of Potomac states pierces Clinton base

Democratic presidential hopeful rolls through Virginia, Maryland and D.C., attracting a greater share of female voters

by: John Ibbitson

Barack Obama steamrolled through the Potomac primaries Tuesday night, adding Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia to his recent sweep of states by eating into the very heart of Senator Hillary Clinton's base of support.

With eight wins over four days, and with two more – Wisconsin and Hawaii – expected to follow next Tuesday, the Illinois senator's momentum would be considered unstoppable, were his opponent anyone other than Ms. Clinton.

The New York senator's campaign organization and deep ties to the Democratic Party establishment once made her victory seem inevitable. Now it is anything but.

Ms. Clinton flew to Texas Tuesday, where she must halt the Obama surge by winning there and in Ohio on Mini Super Tuesday, March 4.

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain swept the Potomac Primaries, winning in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

What remains unknown is whether the size and scope of Mr. Obama's recent victories will erode her support among middle- and working-class voters and Latinos.

Exit polls Tuesday night suggest Ms. Clinton is facing exactly that problem. In previous states, the vote was split between African Americans and affluent liberals, who backed Mr. Obama, and Latino and middle- and working-class white voters, especially white women, who backed Ms. Clinton.

But in Virginia and Maryland Tuesday night, exit polls showed that Ms. Clinton's base is melting away, at least in the Chesapeake. The two candidates split the white vote evenly, with Ms. Clinton outpolling Mr. Obama among white women by only nine points, less than half her previously typical lead, according to The Associated Press. Mr. Obama led among white men.

And a Fox News exit poll put seniors, another core Clinton constituency, into Mr. Obama's column, by 53 per cent to 47 per cent. The Fox News poll also had Mr. Obama winning the Latino vote, 55 to 45 per cent. And among African Americans, Mr. Obama took nine votes out of 10.

The polls were reflected in the result. In Virginia, with 101 delegates at stake, Mr. Obama led Ms. Clinton by an emphatic 64 to 36 per cent, with most polls reporting. Early returns in Maryland, where polls were kept open late because of bad weather, showed a similar margin: 60 per cent to 37 per cent.

The District of Columbia, though it has only 37 delegates, was positively embarrassing: 75 per cent to 24 per cent for Mr. Obama over Ms. Clinton.

Because Virginia, Maryland and the capital district apportion their delegates based on proportional representation, Ms. Clinton will not be shut out of this region, but the wide margin of his victory ensures that Mr. Obama will enjoy a considerable advantage in the delegate count. He now leads Ms. Clinton both in popular vote and in delegates, despite Ms. Clinton's large lead among superdelegates – senior party officials who are entitled to vote at the Democratic national convention.

If current trends continue, they too might start reconsidering their pledge of allegiance to the Clinton clan.

As if she needed any more bad news, it was confirmed Tuesday night that Mike Henry, Ms. Clinton's deputy campaign manager, had quit, reinforcing the impression of disarray within Clinton campaign headquarters.

It didn't seem to faze Ms. Clinton, who at a rally in El Paso, Tex., Tuesday night declared that she would spend the next three weeks talking about how she would be “the president that will be required on Day 1, to be commander-in-chief, to turn the economy around.”

“I'm tested, I'm ready. Let's make it happen!” she urged, to lusty cheers.

Two new, competing narratives have emerged in recent days from the Clinton and Obama spin doctors. Ms. Clinton's supporters point out that only she has been able to win the big Democratic states: California; New York; New Jersey; Massachusetts (though Mr. Obama won his home state of Illinois). Mr. Obama, on the other hand, wins big in states that will certainly be taken by the Republicans in the general election: Kansas, Oklahoma, Alaska and the like.

But that is exactly why Democrats should support Mr. Obama, his side responds. California and New York will go Democratic regardless of who is the nominee, they say.

Mr. Obama, they argue, with his message of hope and reconciliation, can take the so-called purple states, such as Florida, Arizona, Ohio and Virginia, that the Democrats need to win (or win back) from the Republicans in order to take the White House.

Expect these narratives to rise in volume during the coming weeks as Mr. Obama seeks to wrest Ohio or Texas from Ms. Clinton's grasp, and she seeks to prevail in them as proof that she is the closer in the states that count.

On the Republican side, Arizona Senator John McCain continues to be plagued by the populist guerrilla campaign of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who threw a scare into the McCain campaign by polling strongly in rural Virginia. In the end, Mr. McCain took Virginia, Maryland and D.C. and remains the presumptive Republican nominee. If Mr. Huckabee won every single remaining state, he would still not be able to erase Mr. McCain's lead.

But the former Baptist minister's popularity is a painful reminder that the conservative base of the Republican Party is far from reconciled to having Mr. McCain – with his liberal stands on immigration, the environment and campaign-finance reform – as their leader.

To add to the Republicans' woes, turnout in their primaries last night was half that of the Democrats' in Virginia and less than a third in Maryland.

Link to source article.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama Looking to Extend Streak

Obama, Clinton face off in D.C., Md. and Va.

WASHINGTON - Democratic rivals Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton squared off Tuesday in primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, home to the White House, their long-sought prize.

With 168 delegates at stake, Obama hoped to erode if not erase the lead Clinton has held since the campaign began.

The Illinois senator won a string of contests in all regions of the country over the weekend, routing Clinton in a Louisiana primary as well as caucuses in Nebraska, Washington state and Maine.

Strong turnout anticipated
Early turnout in Virginia was reported high, and city officials in the District of Columbia were hoping that many newly registered voters would show up at the polls. Maryland election officials were also projecting a strong turnout, particularly in the Democratic race.

The final Maine returns had not been tallied when Clinton's campaign manager announced she was stepping down. Coming several days after the former first lady lent her own campaign $5 million, it was a fresh indication of the trouble the one-time front-runner is having fighting off Obama's strong challenge for the nomination.

Aides to the former first lady concede she is in the midst of a difficult period in which she could lose 10 straight contests. She is hoping to rebound on March 4, in primaries in Ohio and Texas, states where both candidates have already begun television advertising.

In fact, while still in Virginia on Tuesday, Clinton did satellite interviews with 10 TV stations in Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin, calling for more debates and addressing regional concerns such as the economy in Ohio and immigration in Texas.

A united ticket?

Asked about the possibility of sharing the November ticket with Obama, she said it was too soon to talk about such things, but in an interview with WTMJ in Milwaukee she echoed the comment her rival has been making about her: "I have the highest regard for him. He was my friend before this started, and he will be my friend going into the future."

Clinton began the night with 1,147 delegates, to 1,124 for Obama. Both are far from the 2,025 needed to win the nomination at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

Original Post link

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why Republicans like Obama and what it means

Washington Post

Barack Obama is not only popular among Democrats, he's also an appealing figure to many Republicans. Former GOP House member Joe Scarborough, now a host on MSNBC, reports that after every important Obama speech, he is inundated with e-mails praising the speech — with most of them coming from Republicans. William Bennett, an influential conservative intellectual, has said favorable things about Obama. So have Rich Lowry of National Review and Peggy Noonan. And so have I.

A number of prominent Republicans I know, who would wage a pitched battle against Hillary Clinton, like Obama and would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing him.

What is at the core of Obama's appeal?

Part of it is the eloquence and uplift of his speeches, combined with his personal grace and dignity. He seems to be a well-grounded, decent, thoughtful man. He comes across, in his person and manner, as nonpartisan. He has an unsurpassed ability to (seemingly) transcend politics. Even when he disagrees with people, he doesn't seem disagreeable.

"You know what charm is," Albert Camus wrote in The Fall, "a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question." Obama has such charm, and its appeal is not restricted to Democrats.

A second reason Republicans appreciate Obama is that he is pitted against a couple, the Clintons, whom many Republicans hold in contempt. Among the effects of the Obama-Clinton race is that it is forcing Democrats to come to grips with the mendacity and ruthlessness of the Clinton machine. Conservatives have long believed that the Clintons are an unprincipled pair who will destroy those who stand between them and power — whether they are political opponents, women from Bill Clinton's past or independent counsels.

When the Clintons were doing this in the 1990s, it was viewed by many Democrats as perfectly acceptable. Some even applauded them for their brass-knuckle tactics. But now that the Clintons are roughing up an inspiring young man who appears to represent the hope and future of the Democratic Party, the liberal establishment is reacting with outrage. "I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons," writes Jonathan Chait of the New Republic. Many conservatives respond: It's about time.

A third reason for Obama's GOP appeal is that unlike Clinton and especially John Edwards, Obama has a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment. He stresses that "out of many we are one." And to his credit, Barack Obama is running a color-blind campaign. "I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina," Obama said in his victory speech last weekend. "I saw South Carolina." That evening, his crowd of supporters chanted as one, "Race doesn't matter." This was an electric moment. Obama's words are in the great tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. Obama, more than any figure in America, can help bind up the racial wounds of America. In addition, for the past eight years, one of the most prominent qualities of the American left has been anger, which has served it and the country very poorly. An Obama primary win would be a move away from the politics of rage.

The one thing that will keep Obama's appeal from translating into widespread support among Republicans is that he is, on almost every issue, a conventional liberal. And while rhetoric and character matter a lot, politics is finally and fundamentally about ideas and philosophy. Whether we're talking about the Iraq war, monitoring terrorist communications, health care, taxes, education, abortion and the courts, the size of government, or almost anything else, Obama embodies the views of the special-interest groups on the left. In this respect, he should borrow from the Clinton strategy in 1992, when Bill Clinton ran as a "New Democrat," championed free trade, promised to "end welfare as we know it" and criticized, on hawkish grounds, the "butchers of Beijing."

Bill Clinton ran an intellectually creative race whose ideas appealed to non-Democrats. Barack Obama has shown no such inclination so far (his speeches, while inspiring, mostly avoid a serious discussion of policies). If he wanted to demonstrate his independence from liberal orthodoxy, for example, he could come out in favor of school choice for low-income families, which would both help poor families and demonstrate support for some of the best faith-based institutions in America: urban parochial schools.

If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee and fails to take steps such as this, his liberal views will be his greatest vulnerability. Obama will try to reject the liberal label — but based on his stands on the issues, at least so far, the label will fit, and it will stick.

Barack Obama is among the most impressive political talents of our lifetime. If he defeats Hillary Clinton, the question for the general election is not whether he can transcend his race but whether he can reach beyond his ideology.

Wehner, formerly deputy assistant to President Bush, is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Super Tuesday Message from Barack

The votes will be counted into the night and into tomorrow, but today we won states and we won delegates in every part of the country.

As of right now, we have won more states and delegates than Senator Clinton. It's a remarkable achievement we can all be proud of.

Tonight, we know one thing for sure -- our time has come, our movement is real, and change is coming to America.

At this moment in history, the stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result.

This time must be different.

There will be those who say it cannot be done. But we know what we have seen and what we believe -- that when ordinary people come together we can still do extraordinary things.

Yes, we can.

Thank you so much,


Http:// Credit repair with a personal touch.

Visit the NEW Obama Leadership Store!

Visit the NEW Obama Leadership Store!