JOHN ROBERTS: Well, what about that Anne Lewis, Barack Obama is charging that this is a political gimmick? Where is this the legislation for this gas tax holiday that Senator Clinton has promised. It’s only three weeks now to Memorial Day.
ANN LEWIS, SR. ADVISER, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, I would agree that it’s an example of leadership. Hillary Clinton says let’s take on the oil companies. You impose a windfall profits tax. You use that money to pay to make the difference so that you can suspend the federal gas tax and you make sure with the Federal Trade Commission that those profits are passed on to the consumers.
Sitting on the sunny patio of a coffee shop last weekend, Averell “Ace” Smith hardly seemed the kind of guy to strike fear into a politician’s heart.
The 49-year-old California political operative—who helped Hillary Rodham Clinton to victories in the California and Texas Democratic presidential primaries and is now running her North Carolina operation—was a study in bland: beige polo shirt, beige slacks, bright blue eyes framed by wire-rimmed glasses, a fringe of gray hair around a pink scalp.
Yet people—many of them fellow Democrats—frequently use melodramatic imagery to describe him.
“I believe that every life lesson in politics can be extrapolated from ‘The Godfather,’ ” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist and friend of Smith’s who has worked for the Clintons.
“Some people are Fredos; at game time they disappear. There are Sonnys, who yell and scream. . . . The most effective ones are the Michael Corleones. Very quiet, they know under which rib to insert the knife. . . . Ace is a Michael Corleone.”
And Chris Lehane is something that didn’t make it into The Godfather ... the horse’s ass.
A leader of the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton has switched his allegiance to Barack Obama and is encouraging fellow Democrats to “heal the rift in our party” and unite behind the Illinois senator.
Joe Andrew, who was Democratic National Committee chairman from 1999-2001, planned a news conference Thursday in his hometown of Indianapolis to urge other Hoosiers to support Obama in Tuesday’s primary, perhaps the most important contest left in the White House race. He also has written a lengthy letter explaining his decision that he plans to send to other superdelegates.
Bill Clinton appointed Andrew chairman of the DNC near the end of his presidency, and Andrew endorsed the former first lady last year on the day she declared her candidacy for the White House.
“He has shown such mettle under fire,” Andrew said in the interview. “The Jeremiah Wright controversy just reconfirmed for me, just as the gas tax controversy confirmed for me, that he is the right candidate for our party.”
Indiana 9th District Rep. Baron Hill, a previously uncommitted Democratic superdelegate, is endorsing presidential candidate Barack Obama today.
Hill released a statement this morning on his decision.
“Some have advised me to be cautious, to wait and see which way the electoral winds may blow,” he said. “I confess that I have listened to those voices and been tempted by their reasoning. But, the stakes are just too high.
“We cannot continue to pursue the same politics of personal destruction we have engaged in for a generation, some never-ending ‘groundhog day’ endlessly playing out the cultural wars of forty years ago,” Hill said.
“If we are going to develop real solutions for Hoosier families, for America’s families, we have to move past the partisan gridlock,” he added. “I believe both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama want to do that and I believe both are formidable candidates. But I also believe that only one of them truly can. I am proud of Senator Obama’s call for change in Washington — change I have been advocating since I first sought public office. I am truly hopeful that his campaign and election will help unify our nation and ultimately change our politics.”
Hill said Obama’s repudiation of the controversial remarks of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., was a sign of leadership and strength of character.
Baron Hill is a Blue Dog Dem and the kind of politician the much-coveted “lunch bucket” Dems in Indiana admire. This is a huge score for Obama and a much needed boost for the campaign in a crucial state.
Now look for Baron Hill to be branded as a misogynistic, money-hungry, Kool-Aid drinking, race-baiting, unpatriotic, latte-sipping fucktard by Hillary supporters in 3, 2, 1…
MORE (6:30PM): Obama’s up in the super-del count 3-2 today over Hillary. It looks like the Wright brouhaha wasn’t having the desired effect the Hillshills was hoping it would.
As to Wright himself, well, I have my own thoughts. First and foremost, I guess I am no longer the delicate fainting flower that most other bloggers and media commenters are these days. I spent several years in the early days of this blog being all sorts of outraged about petty bullshit. I spent days calling Ted Rall an asshole (he still is, I think), days opining about what an asshole Michael Moore is, and so on. I got my panties all in a bunch about Ward Churchhill (also a dick), and stupid things Bill Maher may or may not have said, and so on.
And you know what? They may be assholes, or jerks, or whatever term you want to use, but they sure as hell didn’t run this economy into the ground. They aren’t responsible for turning a huge surplus into a several hundred billion dollar deficit. I have yet to read any memos from Barbra Streisand detailing how we should spy on American citizens.
And so it is with Jeremiah Wright. Is he a jerk? I don’t think there is any argument to be made that lately he hasn’t in fact been one big, giant, puckered asshole. His ego tour the past few days was all about him, but so what? I blame the media as much as I blame him. Is it an offensive notion that the government created aids? Absolutely, but I refuse to get all bent out of shape about it, because the government that tortures people and ran the Tuskegee experiment and wiretapped MLK for years opens itself up to crazy accusations like that.
Read it all. And if you happen to be in close proximity to Joe Scarborough or Larry Johnson, please rub their fucking noses in it.
It’s official: Barack Obama has offered the vice presidency to an 82-year-old woman.
At a town hall meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina, Monday supporter Jean Weiss stood up to ask a question and began by telling the Illinois senator that he’s “captured her heart” with his foreign policy stands.
“When you said ‘yes I will sit down with all my enemies, we’re gonna sit around the table, we’re gonna work this thing out,’” Weiss said, “sir, that was not naiveté—that was wisdom.”
She then moved on to a question about water supply. “Before I answer the question,” Obama said, “I just want to know–will you be my running mate?”
The crowd erupted in applause, and Weiss ran up to the stage and gave him a hug.
“That’s my running mate there,” Obama said as she trotted back to her seat, her arms in the air. “She is 82 years old. She’s got some fire!”
Weiss wasn’t done, though, until she offered some advice on how to handle his rival Hillary Clinton.
“Don’t hit on Hillary,” she said. “Bring us all back. Let her do that stuff. Leave her alone, you don’t need to do that. You are higher than that. Bring us up higher than that.”
Today I woke up to Joe Scarborough, Andrea Mitchell, Willie Geist and Mike Barnicle, four of the whitest people you’ll ever encounter sharing a split-screen, blabbing on and on about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and how hard it is for American Caucasians to shoulder the burden of his very existence.
Insecure white people suck. If you need me I’m going to be out in my garden enjoying a beautiful Brooklyn day.
Hillary is now pimping what she’s calling “The Oregon Compact” (dig the fancy header graphic!) and demanding that Obama agrees to two debates in Oregon, including one focused on her “compact.” I honestly can’t decide if this is utterly guileless pandering or if Hillary has gone completely off the rails. Where’s the Iowa Compact? Where’s the New Hampshire Compact? Where’s the Louisiana Compact? Where’s the New Mexico Compact? Where’s the compact for her home state of New York? Hell, where are the Michigan and Florida Compacts? Look for my new petition site at my-state-wants-a-fucking-compact-too.com.
This article by Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi, the best political writer working the circuit these days, hasn’t been getting a lot of attention, but it should:
One Sunday about three months ago — on the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in fact — I got out of bed very late and lazily switched on CNN. On the TV screen, Sen. Hillary Clinton was smiling broadly and wearing a black jacket over some strange Oriental get-up. She was standing next to influential black pastor Calvin Butts, in front of the latter’s famous Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Camera bulbs were flashing. An important announcement was about to be made.
Butts, it turns out, was endorsing Hillary over Barack Obama in the upcoming New York primary. I raised an eyebrow. It’s not that I expected Butts — perhaps the most prominent black minister in New York — to automatically endorse Obama simply because he is black. But I certainly didn’t expect to see Butts go on national television and make swipe after thinly veiled swipe at Obama, sounding like he was reading a script prepared for him by Hillary’s campaign team.
“This is no time for waiting or hoping for solutions,” quipped Butts, making an obvious reference to The Audacity of Hope author Obama and echoing the hope-ain’t-shit theme that had been pounded on the campaign trail by the Clinton camp over and over again.
The predominantly black crowd barely had time to scratch its collective head and ask what the hell was going on before the endorsement party abruptly ended, leaving the stunned audience to break out in scattered boos and dueling chants of “Harlem for Obama!” and “Hillary! Hillary!” The strange scene left some in the audience wondering what exactly they’d just seen. “What’s frustrating about ministers endorsing candidates,” an Obama supporter named Rafael Mason wondered to a reporter, “is it makes you question if their decision is representative of the church or if there’s a backroom discussion going on.”
Months later, while researching pork-barrel spending by the presidential candidates, I came across three federal budgetary awards requested by Hillary Clinton in this fiscal year:
$446,500 Abyssinian Development Corporation, New York, to support and expand youth and young-adult after-school and summer programs (Discretionary Grants — Juvenile Justice Programs) COM 08 D Rangel Schumer Clinton
$893,000 Abyssinian Development Corporation programs for at-risk youth, New York (Discretionary Grants — Juvenile Justice Programs) COM 08 D Rangel Clinton Schumer
$146,000 Abyssinian Development Corporation, to support and expand youth- and family-displacement prevention programs (Social Services — Department of Health and Human Services) LABHHS 08 D Clinton Schumer
If you haven’t already guessed, Calvin Butts is the chairman of the Abyssinian Development Corporation. The above-mentioned $1.5 million in federal funds that Hillary requested on behalf of Butts’ organization had been approved by Congress a month before she received the minister’s timely endorsement. Maybe the minister was following his conscience in endorsing Hillary — but then, it never hurts to have a little financial incentive when it comes to difficult decisions like these, does it?
On MSNBC just now, top Hillary adviser Terry McAuliffe claimed that by the end of today, the Hillary campaign will have raised $10 million since she was declared winner yesterday.
The number of new donors to the campaign, according to McAuliffe: Fifty thousand.
McAuliffe has always given me the creeps and he was a disaster as DNC chariman. He’s an oily political hack and an unrepentant liar. This is a sleaze play to quell the damaging chatter that the Clinton campaign is in bad financial shape. I’m just not buying it, especially coming from a Democrat who praised Faux News last night for being “fair and balanced”:
From The NY Times (which endorsed Hillary for the Dem nomination):
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.
If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.
In case you missed it, the latest knuckleheaded controversy “plaguing” the Obama campaign is “wafflegate.” The story, in a fucknutshell, is that Obama asked a reporter if he could finish his meal instead of answering a question. That’s it, but the rabid anti-Obama Hillshills have worked themselves up into a lather over it. John Brown takes them all down with one simple paragraph:
Anyone who is currently pretending the waffle incident matters should immediately screw his or her fucking head on straight, apologize to every single person they’ve insulted by pretending this story is meaningful and then place their hand in a hot waffle iron for 30 seconds.
John McCain further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. ABC News’ Chris Cuomo asked McCain what he would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.
“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” McCain said. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Scranton is Hillary’s “third” home, outside of Arkansas and New York, it’s where her Grandfather is Buried. The blue collar town of 72,000+ poured out Sunday night to see Caroline Kennedy, Bob Casey and Senator Barack Obama.
Swampland pegs the crowd at 4,800, really quite a showing for a city widely suspected of potentially going 75%+ for Hillary…
A day before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, it appears Hillary Rodham Clinton will fend off a late charge from Barack Obama, the latest SurveyUSA poll found.
The poll, the fifth conducted exclusively for NBC 10 and several other local television stations throughout the state, concluded that women will carry Clinton to victory, despite a surge for Obama in the southeast portion of the state.
According to the survey, Clinton will carry the symbolically important popular vote, but not by enough to gain material advantage in pledged delegates, according to the final SurveyUSA tracking poll for the primary.
The survey concluded that Clinton will finish with 50 percent, 6 percentage points ahead of Obama. The margin of sampling error is 3.8 percent.
Looking only at SurveyUSA numbers and ignoring the polls that have been released by 12 competing pollsters in Pennsylvania, Obama gained ground in a week when he was largely on defense and off-message. Last week, SurveyUSA had Clinton ahead by 14 points. Monday, in a poll conducted using the identical methodology, SurveyUSA found Clinton ahead by 6 points.
(More polling info here—not updated with this new SUSA result yet)