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Florida’s Do-Over Plan

Thursday, March 13, 2008

By Kate Phillips

Florida’s Democratic party chairwoman Karen Thurman is shopping around a draft plan that provides for a mail-in Democratic primary (with 50 drop-in sites) on June 3, in her effort to try to find a way to get Sunshine State delegates seated at the national convention.

In Michigan, meanwhile, Democrats are moving away from the possibility of a mail-in election and more toward a conventional primary, but it would require legislative approval and funds of $10 million or so to finance it.

In Ms. Thurman’s memo, she cites a poll commissioned by the state’s Democratic leader of voters who took part in the state’s primary on Jan. 29, saying that 59 percent want a revote. And more troubling to her, Ms. Thurman says, is that just 63 percent said they were committed to whomever the eventual nominee if Florida’s votes weren’t counted.

Now one thing that all sides have worried about is the cost. In this case, she offers an estimate of $10 million and up, urging everyone to start thinking about fund-raising very soon. (The state party can accept large unregulated donations to finance this sort of thing.)...(Click here for remainder of article).


Fla. Presidential Primary Re-Do Unlikely

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The head of Florida's Democratic Party said Thursday the proposed vote-by-mail presidential primary is unlikely to go forward because of strong opposition and concerns about conducting the vote.

Karen Thurman said she is asking Democratic leaders, the national party and presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to consider the option as the best way to resolve the delegate dispute. Florida had all 210 of its delegates to the national convention stripped after it violated national party rules by moving up its primary to January.

When asked if the alternative will be implemented, knowing what she knows about potential problems executing the plan and widespread concerns, Thurman said, "I have a feeling that this is probably closer to not, than yes."

Thurman will review comments from Democratic leaders and make a decision by Monday on whether to proceed with the re-vote. But she acknowledged that Obama has had concerns and the Democratic National Committee won't support a proposal unless both candidates also back it. She said there's a serious question over whether the state could legally verify the signatures of a privately run election.

"If this becomes something that we can't do, then we can't do it," Thurman said....(Click here for remainder of article).


Messiah calling Obama, Clinton and McCain

By Mark Silva
March 13, 2008

Messiah College is calling all candidates.

Wouldn't this be an event: "An unprecedented bipartisan presidential candidate forum'' with Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain.

Messiah College, a small Christian college outside of Harrisburg, Pa., is proposing just that on April 13, a little over one week before the Pennsylvania presidential primary elections.

The college is conducting a "Compassion Forum,'' which is "intrinsic to the mission and values of Messiah College,” according to. Kim Phipps, president of Messiah.

"Now more than ever, Americans motivated by faith are bridging ideological divides to address domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, abortion, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture,'' says the college in Grantham, Pa., with a campus for 3,000 students, which was founded in 1909. "The Compassion Forum will provide the opportunity for candidates to discuss how their faith and moral convictions bear on their positions on these important issues."...(Click here for post).


Multiple mea culpas for Clinton

Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor
March 13, 2008 10:21 AM

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

An unusually contrite Hillary Clinton apologized Wednesday night to leaders of 200 black community newspapers for any offense caused by her husband's comments comparing Barack Obama's victory in the South Carolina primary to Jesse Jackson's in 1984 and 1988 -- remarks widely criticized as belittling Obama's accomplishments.

Clinton told the National Newspaper Publishers Association that "I certainly do repudiate it and I regret deeply" remarks by Geraldine Ferraro, who caused an uproar by suggesting that Obama would not be where he is in the Democratic presidential race if he were a white man or a woman of any color. Ferraro, the first woman on a major party presidential ticket when she was the 1984 vice presidential nominee, stepped down from Clinton's national finance committee on Wednesday, but not before angrily accusing the Obama campaign of calling her racist.

And Clinton said she was sorry, on behalf of the entire federal government, for the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. "I've said it publicly, and I say it privately: I apologize, and I am embarrassed that our government so mistreated our fellow citizens ... It was a national disgrace," she said, according to the Associated Press account of the meeting in Washington....(Click here for remainder of post).


Mr. Smith Takes a Rest? Democrats Eye Senate Supermajority

Retirements and Recruitment Woes Plague GOP in 2008 Senate ContestsBy Z. BYRON WOLF
March 12, 2008

Mr. Smith, prepare to take a rest. If Senate Democrats have their way, come January, they'll have a firm grip on the reins of congressional power in Washington.

Democrats need to pick up nine seats in the Senate to obtain a filibuster-proof majority and while that will be difficult, they have a numerical advantage simply because Republicans are more exposed.

There are 23 Republican seats up for grabs versus 12 currently held by Democrats.

Six Republicans have either resigned or won't seek re-election. Three of those open seats, in Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado, are considered hotly contested.

Democrats have no resignations or retirements and are mounting full-scale assaults on the Republican-held seats in states like Oregon, Maine and New Hampshire -- reliably Democratic states in presidential elections....(Click here for remainder of article).


McCain Under Fire for Lobbyist Ties

After European Company Gets Pentagon Bid, Critics Take Closer Look at Senator

March 12, 2008

Critics have pounced on presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, saying his campaign's ties to a European company have cost Americans jobs.

The inquiries and implications began when the Pentagon announced last month that it would award a $35 billion contract for new Air Force tankers to European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp., instead of to Seattle-based Boeing Co.

McCain had pushed the Pentagon to open the bidding process to EADS, and some question whether the three former EADS lobbyists who are on his campaign staff had anything to do with that. "Mr. Clean has a bunch of lobbyists that work for a company that won that contract," House Democratic Caucus chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said. "Some people claim the way the specs were written, it was all but certain that the company that his campaign lobbyists worked for couldn't but get that contract."

Boeing has filed a formal challenge with the Government Accountability Office, which will have 100 days to review the contract and make sure it's fair....(Click here for remainder of article).


Judiciary Committee Members: Administration Has Not Made the Case for Telecom Immunity

Statement of Undersigned Members of the House Judiciary Concerning the Administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program and the Issue of Retroactive Immunity

As a result of our review of classified as well as unclassified materials concerning the Administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, we have concluded that blanket retroactive immunity for phone companies is not justified. However, we do recommend a course of action that would both permit the carriers the opportunity to defend themselves in court and also protect classified information – by eliminating current legal barriers and authorizing relevant carriers to present fully in court their claims that they are immune from civil liability under current law, with appropriate protections to carefully safeguard classified information. In addition, we recommend legislation to fill a current gap in liability protection for carriers, and to create a bipartisan commission to thoroughly investigate the legality of the warrantless surveillance program.

I. Review of Materials by the House Judiciary Committee

In recent weeks, Judiciary Committee members have received classified briefings from intelligence and Justice Department officials on the Administration’s warrantless surveillance program; we have been provided access to the same classified documents on the program that were provided months ago to the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees (and, more recently, to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence); and the Committee has conducted lengthy and extensive classified hearings on February 28 and March 5 to hear testimony from telecom and Administration officials. A key focus of that effort was the issue of retroactive immunity for phone companies that participated in the warrantless surveillance program.

II. Findings and Determinations

We have concluded that the Administration has not established a valid and credible case justifying the extraordinary action of Congress enacting blanket retroactive immunity as set forth in the Senate bill. We have reached this conclusion as a result of a number of findings and determinations we made pursuant to our classified briefings, our review of relevant documents, and our classified hearings, as well as our review of publicly available information.

1. Variable Actions by Carriers...(Click here for remainder of statement).

Click here for full statement (PDF).


Bush Tied to Child Prostitution - Resignation or Impeachment Expected!

By Bob Fertik

George Bush has been tied to a prostitution ring involving as many as 50,000 women and girls and is expected to resign or be impeached, according to Congressional sources.

The prostitutes, some as young as 13, are among the 1.2 million desperate Iraqis who fled to Syria after Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the U.K. Independent.

Bush's invasion destroyed the Iraqi government and unleashed a wave of political and sectarian violence that has killed over 1 million Iraqis and forced 4 million to become refugees, according to the UN.

Facing starvation, as many as 50,000 women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Syria alone, according to Hana Ibrahim of the Women's Will Association.

"70 percent to 80 percent of the girls working this business in Damascus today are Iraqis," 23-year-old Abeer told the New York Times. "The rents here in Syria are too expensive for their families. If they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available."

According to the Times, "inexpensive Iraqi prostitutes have helped to make Syria a popular destination for sex tourists from wealthier countries in the Middle East. In the club's parking lot, nearly half of the cars had Saudi license plates."

Driving women and girls into prostitution violates numerous human rights agreements, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. George Bush himself denounced sex trafficking at the United Nations in 2003....(Click here for remainder of Bob's post).


Florida Dems to proceed with mail-in vote

By Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The Florida Democratic Party plans to move forward with a June 3 vote-by-mail primary to restore the state's role in the presidential race, a top state Democrat said Wednesday.

State Sen. Steven Geller said a formal announcement would come Thursday or Friday.

Unless national party leaders "are willing to write off the state of Florida in the general election, we have to do something that seats our delegates," he said.

National party officials stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates to this summer's national convention in Denver to punish the states for moving their primaries before Feb. 5. Florida lost 211 delegates, Michigan, 156.

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the January primaries in both states, but no delegates were awarded. Neither Clinton nor rival Barack Obama campaigned in either state in deference to party rules.

Florida is moving ahead despite objections from its members in the U.S. House. David Goldenberg, chief of staff to Rep. Alcee Hastings, said the state hasn't had enough time to prepare for a mail-in vote. House members also were concerned that ballots would not reach low-income voters who may change addresses frequently or residents who spend only winter in the state, he said. Hastings supports Clinton....(Click here for remainder of article).


Clinton-Obama? Maybe. But an Obama-Clinton ticket won't work

By Steve Kraske

A Clinton-Obama ticket?

Might work.


Might not.

Insiders and some political experts think a Democratic “dream ticket” could prove successful — but only in one configuration.

If Barack Obama became the vice-presidential candidate, as the former first lady has proposed, Democrats could retain the large bloc of young Obama voters who have flocked to the polls as well as their unbridled enthusiasm.

“He brings a bundle,” said Kansas Democratic Party chairman Larry Gates.

But an Obama-Clinton ticket might not carry the same punch even though Clinton could help Obama with women and in states he lost, such as Ohio.

“For him, there’s the argument that he’s been running a different kind of campaign, and she’s the old politics,” said Kareem Crayton, professor of law and politics at the University of Southern California....(Click here for remainder of post).


Pro-Clinton? ‘SNL’ Says You’re Joking

Published: March 13, 2008

Lorne Michaels has an answer to the political columns, cartoons and comments that have accused his show, “Saturday Night Live,” of favoring Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton during her primary showdown with Senator Barack Obama: Nope.

“I’m in show business and I never, ever forget that,” Mr. Michaels said in a telephone interview on Tuesday night. “We put on a comedy show.”

Or as Jim Downey, the “SNL” writer who has created all of the recent political sketches on the show — and most of its famous ones going back two decades — put it on Wednesday, “I’m just trying to make the sketches funny.”

Over the past three weeks “SNL” has put itself back into the national discussion — not a bad place for any television show to be, as Mr. Michaels acknowledged — first with a series of sketches that have centered on the premise that Mrs. Clinton has been the target of a vengeful press that sees Mr. Obama with stars in its eyes and also with the overt (albeit comic) endorsement of Mrs. Clinton by Tina Fey, the former “SNL” star who returned on Feb. 23 to be the host of the first show after the recent writers’ strike. “Bitches get stuff done,” Ms. Fey said, using herself as an example....(Click here for remainder of article).


Obama enlists ex-commanders

'No shock Barack' fires back at rivals

By John McCormick | Tribune reporter
March 13, 2008

Like an honor guard escorting him to his lectern, nine retired generals and admirals entered a room Wednesday with military precision to help Sen. Barack Obama counter suggestions that he is not ready to be commander in chief.

Nine American flags, as well as one for each branch of the military, stood behind the Illinois Democrat as he strode along a red carpet into a ballroom at the Chicago History Museum.

Calling him "no shock Barack" and "no drama Obama," retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak said the first-term senator has the temperament to lead the military.

Obama, meanwhile, repeated his criticism of rival Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona for their support of the Iraq invasion.

"After years of being told that Democrats have to talk, act and vote like John McCain to pass some commander in chief test, how many times do we have to learn that tough talk is not a substitute for sound judgment?" Obama asked.

The event followed suggestions in recent days by Clinton's campaign that Obama is unready and untested to lead America's military, even as it has suggested that he might make a good vice presidential candidate.

Obama said he believes both Democrats and McCain are qualified to be commander in chief, but he also said Clinton has been disingenuous on the topic....(Click here for remainder of article).


Carson vows not to miss House votes

By Brendan O'Shaughnessy

Congressman-elect Andre Carson said today he expects to be sworn in Thursday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and vowed not to miss votes in Congress despite his campaign to win the primary in May.

A bit later, State Rep. David Orentlicher kicked off his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 7th Congressional district with a press conference that featured the endorsement of Martin Luther King's nephew.

Derek King said he has watched Orentlicher, a lawyer and doctor who teaches both practices at Indiana University, during his six years in the Statehouse and that he thinks Orentlicher would serve as the best representative of the city in Washington.

Former state health commissioner Woodrow Myers also kicked off his campaign for the seat today by introducing a television commercial he will air.

Now a superdelegate in the Democratic presidential nomination, Carson said he hasn't made a decision on whether to support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for the office. He's not sure if he'll wait until after the primary in May or endorse one of the candidates before then....(Click here for remainder of article).


Clinton's tepid response to Ferraro is shameful

Ferraro Is Unapologetic for Remarks and Ends Her Role in Clinton Campaign

Published: March 13, 2008

Geraldine A. Ferraro resigned Wednesday from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign finance committee but remained unapologetic for citing Senator Barack Obama’s race as the decisive factor in his success.

“I feel terrible for the fact that Hillary is stuck in this thing,” Ms. Ferraro said in an interview Wednesday night. “Why put her in that position?”

Ms. Ferraro said that she was not asked by anyone in the Clinton campaign to leave the committee but that she did it on her own, sending an e-mail message to the senator’s campaign Wednesday afternoon, as the political dust-up over remarks she made last week went into its second day.

Words continued to fly back and forth as the Obama campaign called on Mrs. Clinton to repudiate the remarks, Ms. Ferraro said they had been distorted, and Mr. Obama said they were “absurd.”

Ms. Ferraro, who said she and Mrs. Clinton had not discussed the matter directly, will continue to support the senator....(Click here for remainder of article).


Character as Destiny: The Clintonian Narcissism of 2008

By Jon Robin Baitz

There is something stomach-turning about the Clintonian strategy for winning the nomination. Underneath that which is so disgusting, however, there are little passion plays playing out -- about the state of the nation, and the state of its soul-sick psyche. While there is no overt reason to conclude that they are racists, (if that sentence seems luke-warm, take a look at Hillary's own concession that Obama is not a Muslim), there is every possible reason to label the Clintons opportunists of the very first order. Bill Clinton was not a racist when he mouthed off in South Carolina; he was a desperate power-monger, flailing. Bob Johnson from BET doesn't really think Obama is a drug fiend -- it was just "an opportunity". Albeit a rather disgusting one. Howard Wolfson doesn't really think that Obama is like Ken Starr; it was just the sort of blind ad hominem news-cycle nonsense likely to distract from the actual, the real, the true; in other words -- it was opportunism. That is their true, true heartfelt religion. "Campaign" in Florida and then deny it? Fine: It's all fair game. Or the cynical suggestion by Senator Clinton that Obama would be a fine VP while at the same time declaring how unready he is seems to me precisely the sort of cynical paranoid post-modern solipsism of people who will say anything whatsoever to get what they want and then act stung when called on it. It borders on sociopathy. And like all opportunists, those in Camp Clinton have reached the conclusion that even a scorched earth campaign which devastates the party, vulgarizes the discourse even more than it already is vulgarized, and alienates millions of people who actually have come to hope for real change in this country, is worth the cost of a possible win. Personally, I find it far more likely that the only beneficiary of the Clintonian ugliness will of course be none other than that half-mad proponent of hundred-year wars, John McCain of Arizona, swooping in to the circular firing squad after the smoke and blood have cleared, so as to snatch a victory because the Dems cleverly snatched defeat....(Click here for remainder of post).


Race injected into campaign


Email: Spun Out

Dear Bret,

When we won Iowa, the Clinton campaign said it's not the number of states you win, it's "a contest for delegates."

When we won a significant lead in delegates, they said it's really about which states you win.

When we won South Carolina, they discounted the votes of African-Americans.

When we won predominantly white, rural states like Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska, they said those didn't count because they won't be competitive in the general election.

When we won in Washington State, Wisconsin, and Missouri -- general election battlegrounds where polls show Barack is a stronger candidate against John McCain -- the Clinton campaign attacked those voters as "latte-sipping" elitists.

And now that we've won more than twice as many states, the Clinton spin is that only certain states really count.

But the facts are clear.

For all their attempts to discount, distract, and distort, we have won more delegates, more states, and more votes.

Meanwhile, more than half of the votes that Senator Clinton has won so far have come from just five states. And in four of these five states, polls show that Barack would be a stronger general election candidate against McCain than Clinton.

We're ready to take on John McCain. But we also need to build operations in places like Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, and Oregon that will hold their primaries in April and May.

Barack Obama needs your support to fight this two-front battle. Please make a donation of $25 right now:

With our overwhelming victory in the Mississippi primary yesterday, our lead in earned delegates is now wider than it was on March 3rd, before the contests in Ohio and Texas.

And thanks to your help, we have dramatically increased our support among so-called "superdelegates" -- Governors, Members of Congress, and party officials who have a vote at the Democratic National Convention in August.

As the number of remaining delegates dwindles, Hillary Clinton's path to the nomination seems less and less plausible.

Now that Mississippi is behind us, we move on to the next ten contests. The Clinton campaign would like to focus your attention only on Pennsylvania -- a state in which they have already declared that they are "unbeatable."

But Pennsylvania is only one of those 10 remaining contests, each important in terms of allocating delegates and ultimately deciding who our nominee will be.

We have activated our volunteer networks in each of these upcoming battlegrounds. We're putting staff on the ground and building our organization everywhere.

The key to victory is not who wins the states that the Clinton campaign thinks are important. The key to victory is realizing that every vote and every voter matters.

Throughout this entire process, the Clinton campaign has cherry-picked states, diminished caucuses, and moved the goal posts to create a shifting, twisted rationale for why they should win the nomination despite winning fewer primaries, fewer states, fewer delegates, and fewer votes.

We must stand up to the same-old Washington politics. Barack has won twice as many states, large and small, in every region of the country -- many by landslide margins. And this movement is expanding the base of the Democratic Party by attracting new voters in record numbers and bringing those who had lost hope back into the political process.

Push back against the spin and help build the operation to win more delegates in these upcoming contests:

Thank you for your support and for everything you've done to build a movement that is engaging voters and winning contests in every part of this country.


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America



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