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Former Ala. governor freed from prison

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman Leaves Federal Prison in Louisiana on Bond

Staff, AP News
Mar 28, 2008 11:51 EST


Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was released on bond from a federal prison Friday, saying he remains upbeat despite serving nine months for corruption.

Leaving the prison in a black sport utility vehicle, he stopped on a road outside the lockup to comment. He wore a ragged shirt that appeared to be prison clothing.

"I may have lost my freedom for awhile, but I never lost faith," Siegelman, 62, told reporters.

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Siegelman should be released while he appeals his conviction.

He declined further comment, saying, "I want to be with my family for a few days." But he said he would make a statement when he reaches his home in Birmingham, Ala.

Siegelman was placed in federal custody after being sentenced last June to more than seven years in prison for bribery-related counts and one obstruction of justice count.

The House Judiciary Committee also has announced that it wants to hear Siegelman's views when it probes claims of selective prosecution by the Justice Department....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Is Wright Right About Racism?

By David Sirota

Since the 1960s, bigotry has undergone an aesthetic makeover. Today, the most pernicious racists do not wear pointy hoods, scream epithets and anonymously burn crosses from behind masks. They don starched suits, recite sententious bromides and stage political lynchings before television cameras. For proof, behold the mob stalking Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

Wright has long delivered fiery (and occasionally outrageous) sermons, to little fanfare. Now, though, a gang of thugs is inflicting a guilt-by-association blow to Obama by excoriating his spiritual adviser for three specific declarations.

Sean Hannity, Fox News’ own George Wallace, turned a fire hose on Wright for his church’s focus. “[The church] is all about the black community,” Hannity thundered, claiming that means Wright supports “a black-separatist agenda.”

Pat Buchanan billy-clubbed Wright for saying, “God damn America.” The MSNBC commentator, who avoided the draft, implied that Wright, a former Marine, lacks sufficient loyalty to country. Out of context, Wright’s exclamation was admittedly offensive. But remember: It punctuated a speech about segregation. Buchanan, nonetheless, unleashed, deriding “black hustlers” and insisting descendants of those “brought from Africa in slave ships” owe whites a thank you. “Where is the gratitude?” he asked....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Endorsement of Obama Points Up Clinton’s Obstacles

By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: March 29, 2008

This article was reported by Adam Nagourney, Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny and written by Mr. Nagourney.

The surprise endorsement of Senator Barack Obama by a popular senator in a battleground state on Friday underlined the ferment in the Democratic nominating race and the serious obstacles facing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as she tries to rescue her candidacy.

Compounding the challenge, one of Mr. Obama’s most prominent supporters, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, said Mrs. Clinton should quit the race because she hurt Mr. Obama “more than anything John McCain has said.”

The Clinton campaign showed resolve in the face of the developments, rallying supporters and donors and enlisting prominent surrogates to fight back. Mrs. Clinton told aides that she would not be “bullied out” of the race.

In a conversation with two Democratic allies, she compared the situation to the “big boys” trying to bully a woman, according to interviews with them....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Clinton Rules Out Leaving Race Early

By BETH FOUHY

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — If Hillary Rodham Clinton is feeling heat from pundits and party elders to quit the race and back Barack Obama, you'd never know it from her crowds, energy level and upbeat demeanor on the campaign trail.

"There are millions of reasons to continue this race: people in Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina, and all of the contests yet to come," Clinton told reporters Friday. "This is a very close race and clearly I believe strongly that everyone should have their voices heard and their votes counted."

The former first lady weathered a two-pronged blow Friday, with influential Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. endorsing Obama and another Senate colleague, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, urging her to step aside. But to hear Clinton tell it, it was just another day in an epic primary battle whose result is still not known.

"I believe a spirited contest is good for the Democratic Party and will strengthen the eventual nominee," she said. "We will have a united party behind whomever that nominee is. ... I look forward to campaigning over the next several months."

Traveling across Indiana, the former first lady was greeted by large, enthusiastic audiences who roared their approval at her proposals to help fix the state's economic challenges.

At events here and in North Carolina on Thursday, Clinton raised the issue of whether she should quit the race, only to have it firmly batted down by her supporters.

"There are some people who are saying, you know, we really ought to end this primary, we just ought to shut it down," she said in Mishawaka, Ind., drawing cries of "No, no!" inside a packed gymnasium....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Obama Moves Past Clinton in Calling for Wall Street Oversight

By Lorraine Woellert and Matthew Benjamin

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama, who has been a step behind rival Hillary Clinton in proposing remedies to the housing and financial crises, jumped ahead of her this week by advocating broader regulation of Wall Street.

Obama called for the Federal Reserve to be given greater supervisory power when it acts as lender of last resort. He also urged stronger capital requirements for financial companies and a consolidation of regulatory agencies.

``The regulatory framework hasn't caught up with the global financial system,'' he said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt.'' ``It's something I intend to do as president.''

Clinton, 60, has yet to propose a sweeping set of new laws, focusing instead on the slumping economy and on alleviating the effects of the crisis among homeowners. ``We do need to try to make up for the lax regulation and absence of oversight,'' she said in a separate interview yesterday.

Obama, 46, offered his proposals in the wake of convulsions in the subprime-lending market and the Fed-engineered buyout of Bear Stearns Cos. by JPMorgan Chase & Co....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Sen. Leahy Calls for Clinton to Quit Race

March 29, 2008; Page A4

Sen. Patrick Leahy told Vermont Public Radio he believes it is time for Sen. Hillary Clinton to drop out and let Sen. Barack Obama win the Democratic presidential nomination.

"There is no way that Sen. Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination," said Sen. Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "She ought to withdraw, and she ought to be backing Sen. Obama. Now, obviously that's a decision that only she can make. Frankly, I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate."

The Vermont senator, who endorsed Sen. Obama in January, also voiced concerns that the protracted Democratic nomination fight was benefiting Republicans. Sen. Leahy said Sen. John McCain, expected to be the Republican nominee, "has been making one gaffe after another" but that he is getting a "free ride" because of the attention focused on the Clinton-Obama fight....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Obama Pans Bill Clinton's Economic Legacy

The economy was the main topic on the presidential campaign trail Thursday, with both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama addressing the issue at separate events. ABC World News reported on "what is clearly the number one issue with voters: the economy. All three candidates are talking about it these days, with major speeches about what they would do as president." ABC added, "Today for the first time a major presidential candidate said flat-out what no other candidate has said." Obama said, "As most experts agree, our economy is in a recession." ABC added that Obama "blamed much of the current economic crisis, on a lack of regulations of financial institutions, which he said were simply eliminated under Presidents Bush and Clinton."

The Financial Times reports under the headline "Obama Blames Clinton Era for Crisis," Obama said "much of the blame for America's unfolding credit crisis on the financial deregulation of the 1990s in his hardest hitting attack so far on the economic legacy of Bill Clinton's administration." The FT says Obama's speech was "the fourth so far this week by a presidential candidate focusing on America's probable recession." In calling for "an overhaul of US financial regulation" and another $30 billion in stimulus funding, the "clear target of Mr Obama's speech was the economic record of the 1990s." However, he did not mention "the Clintons by name."...(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Robotic phone calls lead Democratic delegates astray

Some receive false claims that conventions have been cancelled

By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau


AUSTIN — The Texas Democratic Party on Friday urged delegates to today's senatorial district and county conventions to ignore e-mails and robotic phone calls telling them that the conventions have either been canceled or had their times changed.

The conventions are a crucial turning point in Texas as the presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama fight for 67 nominating convention delegates who will be chosen through the Texas caucus process.

While Obama appeared to come out of the caucuses with a 37-30 lead, the number can change based on how many supporters for each candidate show up for today's local conventions.

That prompted Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie to put out an alert after receiving reports that delegates were being given misinformation about the conventions. Richie said all the conventions are going to occur as scheduled.

"We have received reports from delegates who have received e-mails saying that conventions have been canceled," Richie said. "We have also received unconfirmed reports that someone is placing robo-calls claiming to be from the Texas Democratic Party suggesting that county or district conventions have been cancelled."...(Click here for remainder of article.)

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An Obama-Bloomberg Ticket? No Cheers From the Mayor

By DIANE CARDWELL and MICHAEL POWELL
Published: March 28, 2008


It was only hours after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg finally made it clear that he was not running for president that his chief political guru, Kevin Sheekey, suggested that he would be the perfect running mate for Senator Barack Obama.

So Mr. Bloomberg’s highly orchestrated introduction of Mr. Obama at a speech at the Cooper Union on Thursday quickly resuscitated speculation that the billionaire mayor might end up in the White House after all. But despite a few jokes and a stiff embrace, the men seemed nothing like two peas in the same political pod, destined to share a ticket.

In presenting Mr. Obama, Mr. Bloomberg pointedly noted that he had not endorsed a candidate, saying that now was the time for people to listen to the candidates’ ideas. Referring to the “private breakfast” the two men shared at a Midtown coffee shop in November with a throng of news media pressed against the window, Mr. Bloomberg joked that it was his pleasure to introduce him, “and not just because he picked up the check.”

Mr. Obama had kind words for Mr. Bloomberg as well, saying that he had “demonstrated extraordinary leadership.” He joked: “The reason I bought breakfast is because I expected payback. I’m no dummy. The mayor was a cheap date that morning. There are some good steakhouses in this city.”...(Click here for remainder of article.)

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