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Ralph Nader running again -- impact on the race?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

by Mark Silva

Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate, said today that he will run for president again.

Nader, who played a spoiler's role in the presidential election of 2000, said today on NBC News' Meet the Press that he is ready to run again in 2008.

"I have decided to run for president,'' said Nader, who, at 73, is a couple of years older than the likely Republican nominee, John McCain.

Nader is voicing a familiar refrain: Maintaining that most Americans are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican Parties, and that none of the presidential candidates address ways to combat corporate crime and waste within the Pentagon waste and to promote labor rights.

Nader ran as a third-party candidate in 2000 and 2004.

And many Democrats will never forgive him for the role he played in 2000, when his marginal share of the vote in Florida likely cost Democrat Al Gore victory in a razor-thin, disputed vote.

The days of a third-party candidate claiming a large share of the American vote -- such as the nearly 20 percent that H. Ross Perot won in 1992, playing a role that many Republicans will never forget -- may be gone....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Consumer advocate Nader starts presidential bid

Would someone please slap the daylights out of this man? Pretty please with sugar on top! He is NOT what the country needs right now. You don't worry about the paint job on the ship, when there are giant holes in the hull and it's sinking fast.

Reuters
Sunday, February 24, 2008; 10:02 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said on Sunday that he is launching another long shot independent campaign for president of the United States.

Nader, who will turn 74 this week, announced his presidential bid on NBC's "Meet the Press" saying that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are addressing the problems facing Americans.

Nader also ran for president in 2000 when he got about 2.7 percent of the national vote as the Green Party candidate and played a role in deciding the final presidential outcome. He also ran as an independent in 2004 and got only a tiny fraction of the vote....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Files and McCain Letter Show Effort to Keep Loophole

WASHINGTON — In late 1998, Senator John McCain sent an unusually blunt letter to the head of the Federal Communications Commission, warning that he would try to overhaul the agency if it closed a broadcast ownership loophole.

The letter, and two later ones signed by Mr. McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, urged the commission to abandon plans to close a loophole vitally important to Glencairn Ltd., a client of Vicki Iseman, a lobbyist. The provision enabled one of the nation’s largest broadcasting companies, Sinclair, to use a marketing agreement with Glencairn, a far smaller broadcaster, to get around a restriction barring single ownership of two television stations in the same city.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. McCain denounced an article in The New York Times that described concerns by top advisers a decade ago about his ties to Ms. Iseman, a partner at the firm Alcalde & Fay. He said he never had any discussions with his advisers about Ms. Iseman and never did any favors for any lobbyist.

One of the McCain campaign’s statements about his dealings with Ms. Iseman was challenged by news accounts on Friday. In discussing letters he wrote regulators about a deal involving another of Ms. Iseman’s clients, Lowell W. Paxson, the campaign had said the senator had never spoken to her or anyone from the company. But Mr. McCain acknowledged in a 2002 deposition that he had sent the letters after meeting with Mr. Paxson.

On Glencairn, the campaign said Mr. McCain’s efforts to retain the loophole were not done at Ms. Iseman’s request. It said Mr. McCain was merely directing the commission to “not act in a manner contradictory to Congressional intent.” Mr. McCain wrote in the letters that a 1996 law, the telecommunications act, required the loophole; a legal opinion by the staff of the commission took the opposite view....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Is Obama's momentum unstoppable?

By John Zogby
Pollster and independent political analyst

Has Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination?

Barack Obama
Mr Obama is popular with moderate and independent voters
It is certainly tempting to make this conclusion based on his amazing string of victories on Saturday and Tuesday evening.

But the short answer to the question has to be no.

Senator Obama has now more states than his rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, including the last six (plus the Virgin Islands and the national capital, Washington DC) and he now leads among delegates pledged to vote for him at the Democratic National Convention.

In addition to his momentum of victories, he has made significant inroads into constituencies that were the core of his opponent's support....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Obama Not Concerned By Possible Nader Bid

Nick Timiraos reports on the presidential race from Columbus, Ohio

Ralph Nader goes on NBC’s Meet the Press tomorrow morning, stoking speculation that the consumer advocate is gearing up for another presidential bid.

Barack Obama said today during a visit at the Ohio State University Medical Center that he wasn’t terribly concerned about the prospect of a Nader campaign. “I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage [points] of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference.”

An email to supporters from Nader’s presidential exploratory committee ticked off a list of issues that have been “pulled off the table by the corporatized political machines in this momentous election year,” including defense budget cuts, opposition to nuclear power, and a single-payer national health insurance system....(Click here for remainder of post).

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What Was Ralph Nader Thinking?

By JÜRGEN VYSCH

It's April 27, 2004. The ballot access laws in Texas are CRAZY (or, as Ralph more fancily put it, Machiavellian). If you're an independent party, you need 45,540 valid signatures by May 24th. Ralph really wants to be on the ballot in Texas, and the Green Party isn't even choosing a nominee until their June convention (the disorganization of the Greens is beyond belief), so Ralph is running as an independent candidate, and Texas makes independent candidates collect 64,076 valid signatures by May 10th...? Huh? Yeah. Welcome to Texas! Or should I say, Welcome to America!--because each state has its own laws. Some states are easy, like Louisiana--round up yer electors, pay $500, and you're on the ballot. But in Oklahoma, where it's very rural, the population is spread out, there's no culture of petitioning, and it has only 500,000 registered voters, you need 37,027 signatures. Ralph wants to eliminate the Electoral College and create a federal standard of getting on the ballot for federal elections.

I don't get why someone of Ralph's stature has to jump through all these hoops. Christ, if you ran for president in the last election and you got three million votes, shouldn't that be enough? Apparently not. Oh--and if you voted in Texas's primary election, you can't sign our petition--which eliminates the most politically aware people who would be most the interested in signing petitions. So we're targeting 18-year-olds--new voters who probably didn't vote in the primary....(Click here for remainder of post).

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The Myth of the Surge

Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it's already starting to backfire. A report from the front lines of the new Iraq

NIR ROSEN
Posted Mar 06, 2008 8:53 AM

Click here to see more photos taken by Danfung Dennis for this feature

It's a cold, gray day in December, and I'm walking down Sixtieth Street in the Dora district of Baghdad, one of the most violent and fearsome of the city's no-go zones. Devastated by five years of clashes between American forces, Shiite militias, Sunni resistance groups and Al Qaeda, much of Dora is now a ghost town. This is what "victory" looks like in a once upscale neighborhood of Iraq: Lakes of mud and sewage fill the streets. Mountains of trash stagnate in the pungent liquid. Most of the windows in the sand-colored homes are broken, and the wind blows through them, whistling eerily. House after house is deserted, bullet holes pockmarking their walls, their doors open and unguarded, many emptied of furniture. What few furnishings remain are covered by a thick layer of the fine dust that invades every space in Iraq. Looming over the homes are twelve-foot-high security walls built by the Americans to separate warring factions and confine people to their own neighborhood. Emptied and destroyed by civil war, walled off by President Bush's much-heralded "surge," Dora feels more like a desolate, post-apocalyptic maze of concrete tunnels than a living, inhabited neighborhood. Apart from our footsteps, there is complete silence.

My guide, a thirty-one-year-old named Osama who grew up in Dora, points to shops he used to go to, now abandoned or destroyed: a barbershop, a hardware store. Since the U.S. occupation began, Osama has watched civil war turn the streets where he grew up into an ethnic killing field. After the fall of Saddam, the Americans allowed looters and gangs to take over the streets, and Iraqi security forces were stripped of their jobs. The Mahdi Army, the powerful Shiite paramilitary force led by the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, took advantage of the power shift to retaliate in areas such as Dora, where Shiites had been driven from their homes. Shiite forces tried to cleanse the district of Sunni families like Osama's, burning or confiscating their homes and torturing or killing those who refused to leave....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Obama suggests Clinton's anger is theater

by Mike Dorning

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Barack Obama today suggested that a passionate denunciation Hillary Clinton delivered this morning assailing his campaign for “Karl Rove” tactics may have been just so much performance art for the cameras.

Clinton blasted the Obama campaign for flyers sent to Ohio voters arguing mandates to purchase insurance contained in her health care plan would “punish” people who cannot afford health insurance, as well as another Obama flyer that highlighted past praise for NAFTA, a trade deal that is anathema to many in the state.

Noting that the literature “started going out several days ago, if not weeks ago,” Obama said he was “puzzled by the sudden change of tone.”

“Unless these were just brought to her attention, it makes me think there’s something tactical about her getting so exercised this morning,” added Obama, who defended the flyers as accurate portrayals of Clinton’s positions at a hastily arranged press availability while he was campaigning in Columbus.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the literature on NAFTA was sent out to Ohio voters more than a week ago and the literature criticizing Clinton’s health care plan was sent out several days earlier.

One mailing from the Obama campaign has been used before and the Clinton campaign contends it plays off the “Harry and Louise” ads that were run by the insurance industry to fight her early 1990s efforts to create a national health insurance program.

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Obama defends his mailings

From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan

Obama vigorously defended two negative mailers dropped in Ohio that Hillary Clinton says came “straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.”

The mailing, one on NAFTA and the other on health care, raised the ire of the New York senator, who forcefully pushed back against them at a press conference earlier today.

Saying that the mailers had been out for weeks, Obama suggested that Clinton’s fiery reply this morning may be a political stunt rather than a genuine reaction. “I am puzzled by the sudden change in tone. Unless these were just brought to her attention, it makes me think that there’s something tactical about her getting so exercised this morning."

He added: “And unlike some of the attacks that have been leveled about me that have been debunked by news organizations, these are accurate. Sen. Clinton, as part of the Clinton Administration, supported NAFTA. In her book, she called it one of the Administration’s successes. And we point that out in a state that has been devastated by trade and has been deeply concerned about the position of candidates on trade.”...(Click here for remainder of post).

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'Shame on you, Barack Obama!' Hillary Clinton fumes over negative mailings

I have to say that this is really making Hillary Clinton look desperate. What the hell is she complaining about? She bitches that Obama's mailings are deceptive, but then she has used very similar tactics leading up to the primary in Wisconsin. I'm sorry, this woman is a hypocrite, and she should be ashamed of HER tactics. Sad...just plain sad.

BY CELESTE KATZ
DAILY NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

Updated Saturday, February 23rd 2008, 10:52 PM

CINCINNATI - Hillary Clinton launched a blistering attack on Barack Obama in pivotal Ohio Saturday, accusing him of hypocrisy for publicly peddling a message of hope while sending out deceptive, Republican-style mailings to undermine her standing with voters.

"Shame on you, Barack Obama! It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That's what I expect from you," Clinton flared after addressing supporters on a college campus.

Clinton has lost 11 straight Democratic primary contests to the Illinois senator but leads him slightly in Ohio, where voters go to the polls March 4. The two Democrats are set to debate Tuesday in Cleveland.

"Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign," she challenged Obama. "Let's have a real campaign. Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook."...(Click here for remainder of article).

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The week the Obama backlash started

As the Democratic frontrunner racks up one primary victory after another, American newspapers and TV shows have started to pick over his past and ridicule his rhetoric. But will this come too late to restore the fortunes of Hillary Clinton, who needs to win both Ohio and Texas to stay in the race?

Paul Harris in New York
The Observer,
Sunday February 24 2008


This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday February 24 2008 on p42 of the World news section. It was last updated at 00:07 on February 24 2008.

Back in 1995 it would have seemed like meeting just another group of left-wing academics in liberal Chicago. Barack Obama, then about to be an Illinois state senator, was taken to an activists' gathering at the house of William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

So far, so innocuous. Except now Obama is running for president and Ayers and Dohrn - both Illinois professors - were once members of the Weather Underground, a radical Sixties group that planted bombs across America.

Thus the long-forgotten meeting resurfaced late last week in a detailed news story on the respected politics website Politico under the blaring headline: 'Obama once visited 60s terrorists.'

For a candidate long used to an overwhelmingly positive press, it was a jarring headline. But with Obama's new status as the Democrats' clear frontrunner, a media backlash is now showing clear signs of gathering pace.

The Politico story was not alone last week. In the New York Times, two influential columnists weighed in with brutal attacks against Obama. David Brooks called him a 'trophy messiah' and Paul Krugman claimed Obama's campaign was '...dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality'. Meanwhile, in the Boston Globe, Obama supporter Margery Eagan expressed her own doubts about her pick. 'I'm nervous because John McCain says Obama is an "eloquent but empty call for change" and in the wee, wee hours a nagging voice whispers: "Suppose McCain's right,' Eagan wrote....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Clinton Offers Regrets for Spouse’s Remarks

By Julie Bosman
February 23, 2008, 7:53 pm


NEW ORLEANS – Appearing before a predominantly black audience here Saturday afternoon, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her husband’s legacy on race relations and offered an apology of sorts for comments he made in South Carolina several weeks ago that many people viewed as racially insensitive.

In a question-and-answer session after her speech at the State of the Black Union event, Mrs. Clinton was asked by Tavis Smiley, the host of the event, how she felt about “what some termed racial comments” by Mr. Clinton.
“I think there are enough of you here today who know him personally and know his heart,” she said, then stopped for a long pause. “If anyone was offended about anything that was said, whether it was meant or not, whether it was misinterpreted or not, then obviously I regret that.”...(Click here for remainder of article).

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Superdelegates Are Flocking to Obama

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER – 18 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters — straight to Barack Obama.

In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton's are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.

The result: He's narrowing her once-commanding lead among these "superdelegates," the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.

As Obama has reeled off 11 straight primary victories, some of the superdelegates are having second — or third — thoughts about their public commitments.

Take John Perez, a Californian who first endorsed John Edwards and then backed Clinton. Now, he says, he is undecided.

"Given where the race is at right now, I think it's very important for us to play a role around bringing the party together around the candidate that people have chosen, as opposed to advocating for our own choice," he said in an interview.

Clinton still leads among superdelegates — 241 to 181, according to the AP survey. But her total is down two in the past two weeks, while Obama's is up 25. Since the primaries started, at least three Clinton superdelegates have switched to Obama, including Rep. David Scott of Georgia, who changed his endorsement after Obama won 80 percent of the primary vote in Scott's district. At least two other Clinton backers have switched to undecided....(Click here for remainder of article).

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McCain dodges bullet, faces fiscal bombshell

San Francisco Chronicle


(02-23) 04:00 PST Washington - --

For Arizona Sen. John McCain, it was a week he won't soon forget.

He spent much of it defending himself against charges that he did special favors for a female telecommunications lobbyist, whom his top aide had urged to stay away from the senator.

Then came a warning from the Republican chairman of the Federal Elections Commission that he may not be able to drop out of the presidential public financing system. If he can't, he could be outspent by the Democratic nominee by 10-to-1 - or more - before the GOP convention in September. Because of a dispute in the Senate over one of President Bush's nominees to the agency, the FEC lacks a quorum to hear McCain's case.

"It just puts McCain in a pickle," said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Clinton Takes Strong Exception To Tactics of Obama Campaign

By Perry Bacon Jr. and Alec MacGillis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 24, 2008; Page A11


HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio, Feb. 23 -- In perhaps her sharpest attack of the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accused her Democratic rival Saturday of "using tactics that are straight out of Karl Rove's playbook," declaring at one point, "Shame on you, Barack Obama."

Clinton's comments in Cincinnati represented a marked shift from just two days ago, when she and Obama engaged in a generally good-natured debate in Austin. The Illinois senator responded by noting "the sudden change in tone" and questioning Clinton's timing, ahead of Sunday newspaper deadlines and with another debate three days away.

"It makes me think there's something tactical about her getting so exercised this morning," he said in Columbus.

Clinton took strong exception to Obama mailings that criticized her views on health care and trade. Both mailings have been sent before by the Obama campaign, and her aides had expressed frustration about them, but the New York senator had not previously addressed them in such a pointed way....(Click here for remainder of article).

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