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For gay Democrats, a primary where rights are not an issue, this time

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

The impromptu debate, over light beers and dirty martinis, was at once mundane and remarkable. Provoked by a reporter, four middle-aged men at a Greenwich Village gay bar made fiery pitches for the Democratic presidential front-runners. Two backed Senator Barack Obama, one argued for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the fourth made an emotional plea for the cause of John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina.

"Edwards is the only one who really cares about the underdog," one of the men, Farid Martinez, 41, a clothing designer from New York, shouted above the din at the bar, the Monster, across from Sheridan Square. His friend Edmund Taylor, 37, disagreed, and nearly sputtered with rage: "The guy is a millionaire lawyer obsessed with his hair. Obama is the only one who can really transform this country."

What was notable about the exchange last week was what was not mentioned: the word "gay."

For the first time in two decades, gay voters find themselves in an unusual, if happy, predicament. The three leading Democrats have staked out similar positions on issues that resonate with gay men and lesbians. Although none of the three candidates back gay marriage, they all support same-sex civil unions and say they would fight to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. And each of them says he or she would champion a U.S. anti-discrimination law that would protect lesbians and gay men.

"You would need a magnifying glass to see any real or substantive differences between the three candidates," said Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group in New York....(Click here for remainder of article).


Obama makes inroads among superdelegates

Published: February 29, 2008

Senator Barack Obama has made significant inroads over the last month among the Democratic elected officials and party leaders known as superdelegates who will cast a fifth of the votes at the party's convention, cutting into Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's long-held advantage with the group.

What began for Obama as a trickle of support from the superdelegates has grown into more of a stream as he has won the last 11 nominating contests in a row against Clinton, of New York. Those victories have led to a few prominent defections - Representative John Lewis of Georgia formally switched sides this week - and prompted other undecided superdelegates to get off the fence and to support Obama. At least nine superdelegates have declared their support for Obama in the last few days.

The effect has been to whittle away at Clinton's lead with a group that her campaign had been counting on as a bulwark against the nomination's going to Obama, of Illinois.

The Clinton campaign said Thursday that it had the support of 258 of the 795 superdelegates (not counting those from Florida or Michigan, whose delegations are the focus of a dispute), while the Obama campaign said it had the support of more than 200. It said it had won the support of 39 since Feb. 5, including 4 that formerly supported Clinton....(Click here for remainder of article).


An Open Letter to Powerline (And Others): For the Love of Karl Rove?

Posted March 1, 2008 | 12:00 PM (EST)

Dear Powerline (and others by association):

In your open letter to CBS News about their 60 Minutes broadcast on the Don Siegelman case, you begin by readily admitting that you are a late-comer to the story. Yet despite not having the facts or apparently seen the investigative reports done well before the CBS broadcast aired, you feel capable enough to issue an opinion and demand your questions be answered. Why not actually read the wealth of information already provided to see, if by chance, your questions have already been answered? Or better still, simply read the wealth of information already in the public sphere to see if you even know what you are opining about? (some links at bottom of this post)

Why go on an attack against 60 Minutes (see my latest post on smear jobs regarding this story) when you yourself have implied that you have no clue what you are talking about?

Your open letter, sadly, can be seen only in one of two ways: 1). you are either unable or uninterested in obtaining facts before you go into political Rambo mode; 2). or you are simply firmly lodged inside Karl Rove's colon. Which is it?...(Click here for remainder of post)


Obama picks up one more Ala. delegate

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is now one convention delegate ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton in Alabama, but the method of selecting Obama's delegates has caused a rift between his campaign leadership and some of his supporters.

And enough delegates are still left undecided to give Clinton a chance to pull ahead by convention time.

The State Democratic Executive Committee on Saturday elected Alabama AFL-CIO President Stewart Burkhalter as an unpledged add-on delegate for the convention.

Burkhalter, who was backed by the Obama campaign, won by six voters over Jerome Green of Birmingham, who was supported by Clinton's team.

Burkhalter said he will vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August....(Click here for remainder of article).


Clinton campaign sending mixed messages

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Hillary Rodham Clinton is staking her political future on a win in Texas -- but her top aides are desperately seeking a rationale to keep fighting even if she loses the Lone Star State.

As recently as mid-February, Clinton enjoyed double-digit leads in Texas and Ohio, with the campaign's brain trust predicting big wins in both states to break an 11-contest losing streak and eliminate Barack Obama's 112-delegate advantage.

That confidence has all but vanished, along with Clinton's big leads. In Ohio, she's still up by a few points; Obama now enjoys an edge of as many as 4 points in Texas, although there are signs Clinton's hard-edged TV ad portraying Obama as soft on defense may have given her a small bump.

For weeks, Clinton staffers have privately conceded that losing Texas could prove fatal. One aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, recently told Newsday that such a loss would send the campaign into a "death spiral" -- prompting a donor revolt and defections by exhausted staffers, culminating with superdelegates asking her to quit for the good of the party.

"They are going to have a very hard choice to make after Tuesday if she loses Texas or Ohio," top Obama adviser David Axelrod said Saturday. "There are people in the party who are very concerned about this turning into some kind of a Bataan Death March."...(Click here for remainder of post).


Foreign Policy Hits Home in Tex., Ohio

Two Days Away, Races Are Too Close to Call

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 2, 2008; A01

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 1 -- With Texas and Ohio considered too close to call, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton escalated her argument with Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday over who is more ready to become commander in chief, as the candidates appealed to voters ahead of contests that will determine whether the Democratic race continues.

Clinton, whose husband said last week that she has to win both primaries, displayed a sense of urgency at a Saturday morning fundraiser in San Antonio. "We have to win on Tuesday," she told the audience. "That's not a surprise to any of you. And we are going to win on Tuesday."

At a rally in Fort Worth and aboard her campaign plane, the senator from New York continued to hammer home the message of the "ringing phone" television ad that she began airing in Texas on Friday, arguing that she, not Obama, has the experience to handle a foreign policy crisis.

Speaking with reporters on the plane, Clinton sidestepped a question about what moment in her career demonstrated her capacity to handle a foreign policy crisis. "That's not the right question," she said. "The question is: What have you done over the course of a lifetime to equip you for that moment?" Clinton said that while she and Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) would each point to a lifetime of experience in a potential general-election matchup, Obama would point to "a speech he made in 2002" -- a reference to his opposition to the Iraq war....(Click here for remainder of article).


Obama Spends Heavily to Seek Knockout Blow


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Taking advantage of his financial edge, Senator Barack Obama is buying large amounts of advertising and building extensive get-out-the-vote operations in an effort to end Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s candidacy with twin defeats Tuesday in Ohio and Texas.

The intensity of Mr. Obama’s drive is especially apparent on television, where he has outspent Mrs. Clinton by nearly two to one in the two states. That is helping him eat deeply into double-digit leads she held in polls just weeks ago.

But after a month in which she raised $32 million — a remarkable amount, but still less than the $50 million or more brought in by Mr. Obama — Mrs. Clinton is fighting back.

The expenditures of the two Democratic presidential candidates, combined with a travel schedule that sent them and their surrogates from border to border in Texas and Ohio, reflect the expectation that the voting this week may be climactic. Mrs. Clinton’s advisers have suggested that she will bow out of the race if she falters in either state, after 11 straight losses.

Their face-offs are not just on television. Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has a town-hall-style meeting Sunday afternoon in Westerville, Ohio. Mrs. Clinton, of New York, just announced one there, too. Mr. Obama will be at Westerville Central High School, Mrs. Clinton at Westerville North High School....(Click here for remainder of article).



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