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Veterans groups offer different views of conflict

Sunday, March 16, 2008

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, March 15, 2008

WASHINGTON — A pair of veterans groups on opposite sides of the country this week are offering drastically different views of the war in Iraq and the future of U.S. troops there.

In Washington on Thursday, Iraq Veterans Against the War launched its four-day Winter Soldier event, which organizers promise will show evidence of systemic war crimes, war profiteering and mismanaged strategy that has cost troops’ lives.

In San Diego on Friday, Vets for Freedom launched a month- long, 22-city tour to highlight stories of heroism from Iraq, and to encourage communities to continue their support of the mission overseas.

Both groups say they hope their efforts will help educate the public about the truth surrounding U.S. operations there.

IVAW, which claims about 800 veterans of operations in Iraq, named its event after the 1971 summit held by Vietnam veterans pushing for an end to that war....(Click here for remainder of Stars and Stripes article).


George Speaks, Badly

Published: March 15, 2008

Watching George W. Bush address the New York financial community Friday brought back many memories. Unfortunately, they were about his speech right after Hurricane Katrina, the one when he said: “America will be a stronger place for it.”

“You’ve helped make our country really in many ways the economic envy of the world,” he told the Economic Club of New York.

You could almost see the thought-bubble forming over the audience: Not this week, kiddo.

The president squinched his face and bit his lip and seemed too antsy to stand still. As he searched for the name of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (“the king, uh, the king of Saudi”) and made guy-fun of one of the questioners (“Who picked Gigot?”), you had to wonder what the international financial community makes of a country whose president could show up to talk economics in the middle of a liquidity crisis and kind of flop around the stage as if he was emcee at the Iowa Republican Pig Roast.

We’re really past expecting anything much, but in times of crisis you would like to at least believe your leader has the capacity to pretend he’s in control. Suddenly, I recalled a day long ago when my husband worked for a struggling paper full of worried employees and the publisher walked into the newsroom wearing a gorilla suit....(Click here for remainder of Op-Ed).


Obama Wins More Delegates in Iowa, Calif.

Updated 11:33 p.m.
By Peter Slevin

CHICAGO - Sen. Barack Obama picked up nine more pledged delegates in Iowa, state Democratic officials said late Saturday night, as thousands took part in county conventions.

All but one of the delegates had been among the 14 won Jan. 3 by former senator John Edwards, who has since dropped out of the Democratic presidential race. Election-night projections showed Obama getting 16 delegates and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton 15.

With the other six standing firm for Edwards at the county conventions, Obama's camp claimed 25 delegates from Iowa to 14 for Clinton.

"This is a very significant improvement for us," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters of the Iowa result. "We both fought as hard as we could here."

Plouffe said Obama's gains included blue-collar counties where he had finished third in the January caucuses.

If the Iowa numbers hold at the June 14 state convention, which sends delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August, Obama will have gained more than half of the state's delegates. On Jan. 3, he was backed by 39 percent of caucusgoers, compared with 30 percent for Edwards and 29 percent for Clinton....(Click here for remainder of post).


With Race Likely to Continue After Pennsylvania, Democrats Court Other States

Frank Polich/Reuters
Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, addressing a crowd Saturday in Plainfield, Ind. The state’s primary is on May 6.

Published: March 16, 2008

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — The Pennsylvania primary may be the next stop along the turbulent road to the Democratic presidential nomination, but the epic battle between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama will almost certainly not be settled there.

Voters of Indiana do not weigh in until May 6, but Mr. Obama arrived here Saturday for his first visit to the state this year, making it clear the campaign hinges on more than the outcome of the Pennsylvania contest on April 22. As he sees it, each of the eight remaining states on the calendar holds significance in the protracted fight for delegates.

“We are going to be campaigning actively in Indiana,” Mr. Obama said to about 3,000 people in a high school gymnasium in this Indianapolis suburb. “This is your campaign. This is your chance to make your mark on history.”

So even as Mrs. Clinton spent Saturday in Pennsylvania, attending St. Patrick’s Day parades in Pittsburgh and Scranton, her campaign was looking ahead to its first trip to Indiana on Thursday. While hoping to rely upon a strong showing in Pennsylvania, her coming visit here underscored the notion that winning a share of the 72 delegates in Indiana could be just as fruitful as claiming a slice of the 148 delegates in Pennsylvania....(Click here for remainder of article).


In the Clinton-Obama Race, It’s the Pollster vs. the Ad Man

Published: March 16, 2008

DEMOCRATS tend to make celebrities of their campaign consultants, which is why anyone who has closely followed this presidential campaign could probably pick out Mark Penn or David Axelrod, the chief strategists for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, in a bar. To refer generically to these strategists as “consultants,” however, as if they were necessarily experts in the same craft, is to obscure important differences in how they got to where they are.

This long and remarkable struggle between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama has been a study not just in the brilliance and the blind spots of the candidates themselves, but also those of their most trusted — and highly paid — advisers.

Mr. Axelrod is an advertising guy. A man who perfected the craft of encapsulating an entire life in 30 seconds, he has a gift for telling personal stories in ways that people can understand. Axelrod’s essential insight — the idea that has made him successful where others might have failed — is that the modern campaign really isn’t about the policy arcana or the candidate’s record; it’s about a more visceral, more personal narrative....(Click here for remainder of article).


Obama Lists His Earmarks, Asking Clinton for Hers

Published: March 14, 2008

Senator Barack Obama on Thursday released a list of $740 million in earmarked spending requests that he had made over the last three years, and his campaign challenged Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to do the same.

The list included $1 million for a hospital where Mr. Obama’s wife works, money for several projects linked to campaign donors and support for more than 200 towns, civic institutions and universities in Illinois.

But as the Senate debated a bill to restrict the controversial method of paying for home-state projects — a measure defeated Thursday evening — Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign also said that only about $220 million worth of his requests had been approved by Congress. And among those that had been killed were his request in 2006 for $1 million for an expansion of the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, is a vice president....(Click here for remainder of article).


Obama decries 'forces of division' in Democratic campaign

In Indiana, he addresses the recent war of words without naming names. In Pennsylvania, Clinton takes on Bush's economic stance.
By Johanna Neuman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 16, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Illinois Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday lamented the rhetorical skirmishes that have recently turned the Democratic presidential campaign into a contest over race and gender.

"The forces of division have started to raise their ugly heads again," he said at a town hall meeting at a high school in Plainfield, Ind.

Obama did not name his rival, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, or mention the recent string of barbs traded between the two campaigns. "I'm not here to cast blame or point fingers," he said.

In the last week, Obama distanced himself from his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, over statements of Wright's including that Clinton, as a woman of privilege in a country run by whites, could never understand blacks.

During the same week, Clinton accepted the resignation of former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro as a fundraiser, after Ferraro said she believed Obama would never had advanced so far in the presidential race if he had not been African American.

"We've got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country," Obama said, citing "pent-up anger and mistrust and bitterness." But, he added, "I continue to believe that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of things."...(Click here for remainder of article).


Barack Obama Sets the Record Straight

By Josephy A. Palmero
Posted March 14, 2008 | 09:11 PM (EST)

At the gym today I saw Fox News on one of the monitors as the Republican mouthpiece constantly ran footage of Reverend Jeremiah Wright preaching followed by footage of Senator Barack Obama with the aim of creating a strong visual bond between the two men.

With Fox News apparently converted to the "all-Reverend Wright-all-the-time" channel, and the Hillary Clinton campaign throwing a "kitchen sink" worth of racially-tinged innuendo his way, Barack Obama gave a brief interview tonight with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's "Countdown" where he set the record straight on his decision to distance himself and his campaign from the views of Reverend Wright.

Senator Obama spoke of the passion that many African Americans feel, including Reverend Wright, who were among the pioneers of the generation that fought for their fundamental civil rights in America. He implied, (in my impression of the interview), that the injustices of the Jim Crow South are fresh in the memories of many black civil rights activists, which sometimes leads to heated rhetoric. Obama acknowledged the debt he has to those activists who broke open the doors of opportunity for him, and he is clearly deeply grateful for their struggles and their contributions to American life. He reiterated his love for his country and his strong sense of patriotic duty, (which has led him to run for president)....(Click here for remainder of post).



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