Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Video: Barack Obama at Tavis Smiley’s All Presidential Democratic Debate"

"Coming to a whitehouse in 2008" (video)

"Obama may spend 4th with Iowa Cubs"

Des Moines Register:
Barack Obama, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, is expected to celebrate the Fourth of July with the Iowa Cubs.

Jim Nahas, vice president and assistant general manager for the Cubs, said the Obama campaign purchased 500 tickets for the 7 p.m. game against New Orleans.

The tickets were purchased for the reserved grandstand sections behind the first-base dugout. The tickets cost $9 each.

“His people say he wants to sit in the stands,” Nahas said, “so I’m assuming that’s what he’ll be doing.”

Obama was second in the latest Des Moines Register Iowa poll with 23 percent support among likely Democratic caucus attendees. John Edwards was first was 29 percent.

Bill Richardson, another Democratic candidate, attended an Iowa Cubs game on April 17.

Obama will throw out a first pitch if he arrives in time. He also likely will do some radio.

“We’ll keep it simple,” said Deene Ehlis, the Cubs’ broadcaster. “We’ll probably stay away from politics.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

"Obama Adds Campaign Cash in Minnesota"

AP:
MINNEAPOLIS -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama padded his campaign fundraising numbers Friday with small- and big-buck events, telling one overflow crowd that as president he'd champion an energy revolution on the homefront and improve America's foreign reputation.
Organizers estimated 3,000 people paid between $15 and $25 to attend rally at a warehouse-turned-office building and they were counting on a couple hundred at a private reception for larger donors.

It marked Obama's first visit to Minnesota as a presidential candidate. Two of his rivals, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, swung through weeks earlier.

At the larger event, supporters stood elbow-to-elbow all around the stage and hundreds more leaned over four balconies that ringed the building's atrium to hear the first-term Illinois senator.

"Sometimes when I look around and see these wonderful faces from every walk of life, I say to myself `It's tempting to think it's all about me and I'm just so fabulous," Obama said. "But when I'm honest with myself I have to admit that's not the reason people are coming out. The reason people are coming out is because all around the country people are ready for change."

"There are people with a sense of urgency, with a sense of passion that want to see a different America," he added.

His roughly 30-minute speech echoed themes he's hitting as he flies around the country. He promised to phase out U.S. troops in Iraq being "as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." On energy, he advocated a 45 mile per gallon fuel economy standard for cars.

"It is well within existing technological capabilities," he said. "We can replace the equivalent of all the oil we import from the Persian Gulf."

It was a disproportionately youthful crowd, many of whom have never voted in a presidential election.

Community college student John Oen, 19, and two friends held down a spot a few feet from the stage _ their prize for being near the front of a line that snaked four blocks long.

"He looks the part. He looks like a president," Oen said. "He definitely acts the part."

Like many in the audience, Carl Noren learned of the event over the Internet and bought a $15 student ticket. General admission was $25, and those who came were added to Obama's rapidly expanding donor list that now exceeds 250,000 for the year.

"He's the most charismatic, he makes the most sense," said Noren, a 19-year-old University of South Dakota student. "He's all around the best candidate the Democrats could get for the next election."

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak marveled at the turnout.

"This is the most genuine grass roots campaign I've ever seen," Rybak said.

Minnesota Republicans took a less charitable view.

"All the media hype in the world can't obscure the fact that Barack Obama lacks the experience, leadership and accomplishments necessary to be commander in chief," said state GOP chairman Ron Carey.

From the rally, Obama headed to a private, higher-dollar fundraiser at the riverfront house of a couple known for raising loads of money for Democrats.

"Join 'Conversation' With Barack Obama" (with video)

WMUR-TV (NH), with video:
- Presidential candidate Barack Obama shared his views on the war in Iraq, health care and global warming with an audience of New Hampshire voters.

Obama answered questions in "Conversation with the Candidate," an ongoing series produced by WMUR-TV in New Hampshire in which the candidates for president discuss issues on the minds of voters.

The senator from Illinois said that he wants to bring people together to solve the country's problems.

"People have a sense that how we've been doing our business isn't working," Obama said. "We've got a health care system that's broken. We have a lack of an energy policy that leads us to send millions of dollars every day overseas to some of the most hostile nations on Earth. ... We've got a war that I believe should have never been authorized and should have never been waged."You can watch the entire program as it aired on WMUR-TV along with a special, online-only bonus half-hour by clicking on the links above. You can hear Obama in front of a studio audience give his thoughts on illegal immigration, Iraq and global warming.You can also take part in future conversations by sending in your questions. Find out how by clicking here.



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Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Barack Obama's wife says she doesn't want daughters to be partiers"

AP:
The wife of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama (ber-AHK' oh-BAH'-muh) says she's scaled back her professional work to campaign, to tend to her family and to ensure that the couple's two daughters don't grow up to be partiers.

In a speech to female campaign donors today, Michelle Obama didn't mention the current presidential daughters -- Jenna and Barbara Bush --- and their reputation for enjoying good times.

The campaign said she wasn't referring to the Bush twins, but the crowd made the connection.

Michelle Obama drew laughs by saying her two daughters wouldn't be "dancing on tabletops."

She says the campaign wants to show the country that family is important. She asked the crowd, "How do you lead if your own home isn't in order?"

The Obama's daughters are 8-year-old Malia and 6-year-old Sasha.

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"Obama says despite shortcomings of Bush administration, impeachment is not acceptable"

AP:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama laid out list of political shortcomings he sees in the Bush administration but said he opposes impeachment for either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.
Obama said he would not back such a move, although he has been distressed by the "loose ethical standards, the secrecy and incompetence" of a "variety of characters" in the administration.

"There's a way to bring an end to those practices, you know: vote the bums out," the presidential candidate said, without naming Bush or Cheney. "That's how our system is designed."

The term for Bush and Cheney ends on Jan. 20, 2009. Bush cannot constitutionally run for a third term, and Cheney has said he will not run to succeed Bush.

Obama, a Harvard law school graduate and former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said impeachment should not be used as a standard political tool.

"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president's authority," he said.

"I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction," he added. "We would once again, rather than attending to the people's business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus."

Obama, son of a Kenyan father and American mother, spoke at a weekly constituent breakfast he sponsors with Illinois' other senator, Dick Durbin. He was asked about impeachment.

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"Obama expected to beat Clinton in latest fundraising"

Newsday:
Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign has gathered an additional $27 million in campaign contributions over the past three months, but will finish behind rival Senator Barack Obama in the money-collecting sweepstakes, a key Clinton aide said.
"To put that figure in some perspective, it is more than any Democrat has ever raised in the second quarter of the "off" year," campaign aide Howard Wolfson said in an e-mailed message. "While that figure is record setting, we do expect Senator Obama to significantly outraise us this quarter."

Although Clinton has consistently led Obama in early polling, the freshman senator from Illinois - a virtual unknown before his "Audacity of Hope" keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston - has more than held his own in his ability to raise campaign contributions, as he seeks to be come America's first black president.

Obama improved on his race for campaign cash over last quarter, his campaign announced Tuesday, and has now received money from nearly 250,000 people in the first six months of the year. The Obama campaign has not said how much it expects to tally by midnight Saturday, the next reporting deadline. But last quarter the campaign raked in $25.7 million, narrowly trailing Clinton's $26 million first-quarter haul.

Wolfson downplayed the fact that Clinton is expected to trail Obama in this year's second-quarter campaign donations.

"Bottom line is that both campaigns will raise a great deal of money and that we will have all the resources we need to compete and win," Wolfson said.

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"Nearly 250,000 Open Wallets for Obama"

AP:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has improved on his stunning support in the race for campaign cash, raising his total number of donors to nearly 250,000 people in the first six months of the year.

The freshman Illinois senator impressed rivals in the first quarter when he reported 104,000 donors, but he surpassed the mark in the second quarter with 138,000 more opening their wallets, the campaign announced Thursday.
The campaign won't say yet how much the donors have given, but the large number suggests their fundraising will be competitive with the $25.7 million he raised in the first quarter. A campaign official speaking on the condition of anonymity tried to tamp down expectations by disclosing that the average donation in the second quarter is likely to be less than the roughly $247 in the first quarter.

The campaign said it's goal is to attract 250,000 donors by midnight on Saturday, the next money reporting deadline, and was running a live tally on his Web site to help bring in more. It was about 6,000 short as of Thursday morning and said that 10,000 people had already donated this week.

The campaign said it collected more than 337,000 contributions _ meaning that many individuals made repeat donations _ and its goal will be to reach 350,000 by the deadline.

"This campaign has become a vehicle for hundreds of thousands of Americans who believe that the people can take control of the political process again," campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in an e-mail to supporters that includes video links from donors.

"There are some who don't think it's possible," Plouffe said. "But the reality is clear: Individual people with purpose, with passion and willing to make a small sacrifice can build a movement unlike anything presidential politics has ever seen. And we're only just getting started."

Obama's campaign announced the final push for cash on the same day as a Democratic presidential debate, an announcement that could rattle his rivals.

Aides to his top competitor, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, say she will match her $26 million from the first quarter. That another candidate could even approach her fundraising prowess was unthinkable six months ago. But the freshman senator from Illinois has drawn supporters who have been inspired by his long-standing opposition to Iraq, his message of hope and his chance to be the first black president.

Like Clinton, Obama has attracted the Wall Street executives, Hollywood moguls and other rich donors who traditionally have fueled political campaigns. But Obama has also concentrated on smaller donors who can give just $25 or $50 each, a practice that other campaigns said they also have adopted in the second quarter.

Obama still trails Clinton in national and most state polls, but the money will give him the ability to fund an aggressive challenge to her front-runner status. He began his television ad campaign this week, with a spot in Iowa highlighting his biography.

The Obama campaign said it believes the number of donors is a record for six months of fundraising. Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean built a reputation for unprecedented grass-roots support when 70,000 people contributed about $10.5 million in the first two quarters of 2003.

Like Dean, much of Obama's money comes in small-dollar donations made over the Internet.

Campaign experts say a large base of small donors can help build a candidate's support in ways beyond funding. Michael Malbin of the Campaign Finance Institute said Obama sees small contributions as a leverage to get people to come out and volunteer.

"I don't think most of the other candidates are at that point. That's not what they're doing," he said.

He did point out that Clinton has the potential to tap a sizable donor base, noting that she had more small donors in her 2006 Senate effort than any other Senate campaign.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Full Context of Obama's Remarks on HRC"

MSNBC:
After the Chicago Sun-Times earlier wrote about Obama's and Clinton's duel fundraisers in Chicago -- fewer than ten blocks away from each other -- the Clinton camp and the AP were all over Obama's comments first reported in the newspaper.
The comments that have remained in the news cycle still today are about Clinton's experience and fundraising, when Obama said "the only person who would probably be prepared to be president on Day One would be Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton," and that "the Clintons could raise much more money than us" because of their connections from when Bill was president.

But this was not all Obama had to say about the campaign, fundraising, and turf wars. Here, we'll provide you with the full context of Obama's statements. On the issue of Clinton's experience, the Sun-Times also reported Obama said "we're all very qualified for the job," and then made a jab at Clinton by saying it was true in the '90's, like today, that the nation needs someone "to get beyond the politics that have bogged us down in the past." Obama went on to explain why he is the one qualified to do so. "I think that the message that we're delivering is that we can bridge some of the divides that have blocked progress on healthcare, have blocked progress on energy. That's what we're interested in. It's not repeating the same old fights but trying to bring about a new consensus that can move the country forward."

When asked if it is fair to say he questions Hillary Clinton's qualifications, Obama said no. "She's a very bright capable person. I'm sure she will be a fierce competitor throughout this primary process." Yet, he implied that even with these qualifications, she may not be the right person for the times. "We just think that we got a message of change that suits the times."

Obama did make it clear he did not mind Clinton's visits to his home turf in Chicago. "I was in New York last week, you know, so it's fair play," Obama said. "If you tally what we've done in New York and what they've done in Chicago, I think we come out pretty well."

On the fundraising quote, Obama also said politicos and the media are making too much of both money and polls at this point. "It's very early and what really matters is the energy that's taking place on the ground," Obama said, referencing a walk for change where 10-thousand people volunteered to campaign door to door. "That's the kind of energy and enthusiasm that is measurable to us because that's going to translate into votes."


That evening, reporters also caught up with Clinton a few blocks away at Miller's Pub, greeting supporters, including a pregnant woman who had waited a few hours to shake the senator's hand. She worked the rope line, thanking the police officers, greeting them cheerfully. She did not give the media nearly as much time for questions as Obama did, but she said she really enjoyed being in Chicago. "It was wonderful being here, absolutely wonderful," Clinton said. "We had a great evening of events. It's just so upbeat and positive. I'm glad to be back."

Clinton was asked about Obama's response to home turf wars. Unlike Obama, she did not invoke her competitor's name but implied Chicago is not only Obama's home turf. "I think I'm running as a vigorous as campaign as I can, reaching out to as many people and of course, I have so many friends that I grew up here," Clinton replied. "They're still with me in every way, so it was great to see them."

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"Videos from donors this week"


BarackObama.com has a bunch of videos up from donors telling us why they are involved in the Obama campaign.

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"Video: Obama’s Crossover Appeal; Hillary’s Weakness"


Think On These Things, with video (00.58):
Anne Kornblut from the WaPo appears on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson show and talks about how Republican support may bolster Obama's "general election electability" argument.

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"You're right, they're wrong"

David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America (email):


Dear Friend,

Let's show the media pundits and Washington insiders the kind of numbers that really matter -- the number of Americans making an investment in change and hope.



Be inspired and be counted:
BarackObama.com/inspire

Media pundits and Washington insiders are already speculating about our end of quarter fundraising totals. They claim the amount of money we raise by this Saturday, June 30th, will determine the success or failure of our campaign.

But they've got it wrong.

Raising money is essential, especially right now, but what will make our campaign a success is the way we do it. Our funding comes from a grassroots movement of individuals giving what they can afford. And the numbers we care about reflect two things: people and passion.

Here's what really matters:

  • The number of people donating to the movement
  • The total number of donations people make to show their commitment

It's as simple as that. It’s the people that count.

So, let's give the pundits something real to talk about. Together we can change the story of money and politics by focusing on you and your stories.

Now is your chance to stand and be counted -- for yourself, for your community, for your country. You can make this moment historic by making a donation before the June 30th deadline.

The next few days will set the tone for the rest of the campaign -- be counted now:

http://www.barackobama.com/inspire

When we kicked off this fundraising drive on Monday, Barack put his faith in people like you. He made it clear that your stories would drive the results, and thousands of you rose to the challenge to inspire someone else.

Supporters submitted personal stories about why they give to the campaign, and we've been posting them to our website and blog since Monday. Here are just a few that inspired us:


I am retired, 71, trying to make it on Social Security. I work cleaning houses in my neighborhood. I am donating my hard earned $10.00 because I believe in Barack Obama. We need lots of help to get our great USA back. Go with God Barack, we all need you.
Joann (Sun City West, AZ), who gave Monday

If Joann’s story inspires you, show your support and be counted:

http://www.barackobama.com/inspire

As a young American beginning a career, closing on a home in a week, and marrying a wonderful woman in just a few months, I'm concerned about investing and being smart with my money, and making this donation is one of the smartest decisions I've made. It's an investment in the future of this country, an investment in the hope that we will positively change the tide of foreign policy and civic rights abuses, and an investment in a man who I think will get the job done in an honest, transparent and pro-active way.
Chris (Chicago, IL), who gave Monday

If Chris’s story inspires you, show your support and be counted:

http://www.barackobama.com/inspire

There was a time when "the people" could effect change. From ending the Vietnam War, to the Civil Rights movement -- we were vocal and passionate and made our country take action. Barack Obama is intelligent and passionate enough to motivate "the people" to find their collective (silent majority) voice once again. He's skilled at mobilizing from the grass-roots level up, rather than issuing edicts from the top down. Rather than telling us that he knows better what to do, he assures us that he will help us get what WE want to do. "Government for the people and by the people" -- what a concept!
Dan (Austin, TX), who gave Monday

If Dan’s story inspires you, show your support and be counted:

http://www.barackobama.com/inspire

This campaign is in your hands. We are building a grassroots movement to change our government, and your stories are the foundation.

Share your support and inspiration today:

http://www.barackobama.com/inspire

Let's show the pundits the kind of numbers that really matter -- the number of Americans making an investment in change and hope.

Thank you,
David

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

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"Barack or Hillary: Who's got the juice?"

Chicago Sun Times:
DUELING FUND-RAISERS | Dem candidates hold Chicago events on same night -- so who threw the better bash? Barack Obama says he has no problem with Hillary Rodham Clinton coming to Chicago to raise campaign cash -- even if her formal dinner Monday night was expected to raise seven times as much as his cocktail party earlier in the evening.
But the South Side Democrat wasn't going to let anyone suggest the senator and former first lady was more qualified to hit the ground running as president than he is.

"The only person who would probably be prepared to be our president on Day 1 would be Bill Clinton -- not Hillary Clinton," Obama said when asked about unnamed Clinton backers questioning Obama's experience.

"I think that we're all very qualified for the job," the freshman senator said. "The question is who can inspire the nation to get us past the politics that have bogged us down in the past. That was true, by the way, in the '90s as well as more recently."

It was an obvious dig at the political divisions of the Clinton years.

Clinton's campaign officials declined to respond.

The two Democratic presidential front-runners held competing fund-raisers about six blocks apart.

The Chicagoan-turned-New York senator's event was at the historic Palmer House Hilton, with a son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Yusef, and more than 300 others helping her raise an expected $750,000. Even Mr. Cub Ernie Banks helped out, although he didn't attend the dinner.

For between $1,000 and $2,300 a pop, her donors dined on chicken with mushrooms, a garlic roasted risotto, tomato basil soup with blue cheese, triple chocolate mousse cake with pistachio sauce and fresh berries.

But if Clinton was trying to out-class or out-Chicago her rival on his own turf, Obama wasn't biting -- even though his event at Fulton's on the River was expected to raise only $100,000.

For a suggested $2,300 donation, Obama's 50 to 75 guests got hors d'oeuvres, red and white wine, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Heineken. The hosts were Ariel Capital Management chief John W. Rogers Jr. and James S. Crown, head of Henry Crown & Co.
Obama slip: 'She was president'
Obama downplayed the disparity between the events, saying he held a funder in New York just last week.

"If you tally what we've done in New York and what they've done in Chicago, I think we come out pretty well," he said.

All presidential hopefuls are scrambling to raise cash before Saturday, the deadline for money to be reported on reports due in July. A strong showing intimidates rivals and helps bring in more cash.

Ironically, Obama's tongue slipped when he tried to lower expectations.

"I'm sure the Clintons can raise much more money than us," Obama told reporters. "She was president -- or he was president -- for eight years. She was the first lady. They've got a lot of chits out there. We're just trying to make sure that we can raise the paltry sums that allow us to compete."

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"Video: ABC News Interviews Obama on Progress of the Nation"

Think On These Things, with videos:
Unfortunately, the interviewer’s first question was about Paris Hilton. Our media are part of the major problem with why our nation is on such a wrong course right now.

Part 1:


Part 2:

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"The Democrats' Best Weapon: The Obama Factor"

lovingj's diary on MyDD:
Is Barack Obama or any democrat for that matter allowed to lay claim to being more electable than the others? No one truly knows and I have argued in a recent diary why this ambiguous measure of general election potential has historically proven to be an inaccurate predictor of future success. More importantly, the issue regarding the democratic nomination is not so much about electability, since most polls reveal that all of the top tier would fare pretty well in any republican match up, but about who seems to best represent change and unity for the democratic party and ultimately the country.

I have no doubts that all of the top contenders would serve their country positively and push a progressive agenda that has been sorely lacking since 2000.

As an Obama supporter, I cannot deny John Edwards bold focus on poverty and initial lead on domestic plans. As an Obama supporter, I cannot deny that Hillary, at least to date, has the best presence in the debates and has been running a very effective campaign hence her frontrunner status, to date, has consistently remained unchanged. As an Obama supporter, I cannot deny that John Edwards has held steadfast to frontrunner polling in Iowa. As an Obama supporter, I cannot deny that Hillary has been very effective in downplaying her original Iraq war vote. With that said, as an Obama supporter, there is a case to be made why Barack Obama would be unquestionably the best candidate to lead the democratic ticket and ultimately the country.

Could he win?

No doubt and as I indicated previously, he along with the rest of the top tier democrats beat every republican candidate in the national polls. However, there are some things I am sure potential voters take into consideration when the question of Obama as the nominee comes to mind.

First is his bi-racial heritage or more succinctly to the point is the fact that he is a black candidate running for an office that has never elected anyone other than a white male. No one honestly knows for sure but polls strongly indicate that the country is very receptive to the idea. Obama has shown the potential to ease voters fears of racial tensions and has a crossover appeal that has not been seen since the likes of RFK.

I would argue that those who are most concerned about his race tend to be extremely conservative and would have never been a potential voter of any of the democratic candidates in the first place.

2. Experience

The experience question I find ironic considering all the frontrunners on both sides of the aisle, other than McCain, cannot lay claim to being much more experience than any of the other candidates in the race. Furthermore, those with the most experience have a hard time gaining or holding traction (i.e. McCain, Richardson, Dodd, and Biden). With that said, Obama has more elected political experience than either Hillary or Edwards.

Obama has eight years in the state legislature of Illinois and a little over 2 years in the US Senate. His combined ten year political resume equates to more experience than Hillary's eight years in the US Senate as well as John Edwards one term as a US Senator (six years). Furthermore, history has shown time and again that the American electorate tends to select the candidate with least experience of the two in the general election (i.e. W. Bush [one term governor] vs. Gore [vice president, senator, and congressman]; Clinton [two term governor] vs. H. W. Bush [vice president, congressman, ambassador, director of the CIA]; and on and on). We are in a great time of change and the electorate seems to be growing around judgment and inspiration and no other candidate fits that bill better than Obama.

3. Substance: Is Obama an "empty suit"?

Well if you call the following:

Universal Healthcare Plan
Foreign Policy Agenda
Energy and Fuel Efficiency Agenda
Documented consistent opposition to the Iraq war
Obama's Iraq Bill
Ethics Reform Agenda
Faith and Religion Agenda

If you consider all of this a lack of substance then you are kidding yourself. An admission of simply not liking the guy is a better reason than claiming he is an empty suit. A good summary of what Obama is about can be viewed in the following video.

4. We Need Someone Bold, Willing To Stand Up For Progressives, And Have The Ability To Fight Back The Attacks From The Right

A great deal of MyDD and DailyKos progressives have been promoting John Edwards as the candidate that fits the bill. There is no doubt that John Edwards has made some bold moves in his campaign, however, Barack Obama, overall, has proven that he is clearly better in this department than any other candidate. Obviously, this is a highly opinionated topic and I hope everyone will treat it as such.

1. Obama's whole career has been built on a solid progressive foundation. However, his approach to politics is in itself bold. His approach consists of consensus building and unity around progressive values. There have been many that have argued that the only way to build unity is by being a centrist. Obama explains in the following video that the best approach to building a progressive majority and not just a centrist majority is through concensus politics. The idea that concensus politics is mutually exclusive to having a fighting mentality is erroneous as Obama pointed out at the recent AFSCME presidential forum:

I like a good fight but the question is how can we create a majority concensus in this country to win some of these fights? What I've argued is that we are going to have to win some independents. We've got a lot of disaffected republicans after six years. George Bush has actually been a good advertisment for the democratic party [applause].

. . . How do we unify instead of divide?

. . . That means we are going to have to reach out to some folks that may not seem like natural allies to us but are actually hungry for something new.

. . . But what we can't comprimise on: We can't compromise on a progressive vision that says if you are able and willing to work then you should be able to find a job that pays a living wage. We should not compromise on retirement security for our senior citizens. We should not compromise on issues of racial equality and gender equality. We should not compromise on workers to unionize and collectively bargain to improve their standing in life. We shouldn't compromise that every child should get a decent education and it shouldn't just be a slogan. There are some things worth fighting for and if people disagree and we can't persuade them then we just got to beat them.

2. Barack Obama is one of the most effective counter punchers of all the candidates. John Edwards learned this the hard way at the last democratic debate. Hillary Clinton witnessed his sharp counter skills during the Geffen debacle. John McCain and John Howard has been silenced by Obama's counter attacks. Obama believes in unity and rising above the fray, however, he has the capacity to deliver a serious blow to your campaign if you attack him or his party. The following video is a compilation highlighting his effective counter punching skills.

Conclusion

As the primaries wind down their are going to continue to be differing opinions and analyzations.

However, there can be no doubt that Barack Obama has been the secret weapon the democratic party has been waiting for and I hope you'll agree by showing your support here.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

"Obama Running Ads in Iowa" (with video)

Political Wire:
Sen. Barack Obama is running his first television ads in Iowa, according to The Politico.
"One stresses his ability to work across party lines, even featuring a Republican Illinois legislator. The other is more biographical, and builds his liberal credentials in a non-confrontational way, with discussion of his decision to leave Harvard Law to work in civil rights and a voiceover from Larry Tribe."

Though it will be a relatively small ad buy, Marc Ambinder notes "the ads will be repeated ad nauseum on national cable television as well as in Iowa spot markets, so their actual reach will be magnified considerably."

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Obama pledges to drive out the old cronies"


Concord Monitor (NH):
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama pledged yesterday to put an end to the rampant cronyism and special interests that he said have taken the country away from the average American. Hurricane Katrina victims should not still be in trailers, he said, and war veterans shouldn't come home to squalor and neglect.
Under an Obama administration, government jobs would be put out to bid - not awarded to friends - and lobbyists would be barred from giving gifts to lawmakers, Obama said. Staff would be hired based on their qualifications, not their party affiliation, and prohibited from working on contracts or regulations related to their former employers.

Finally, all pending legislation, tax breaks and special projects would be posted online before they are endorsed so voters could weigh in.

"It's time to renew a people's politics in this county, to ensure that the hopes and concerns of average Americans speak louder in Washington than the hallway whispers of high-priced lobbyists," Obama said to an invitation-only crowd of about 150 at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Manchester.

Obama shook hands with some audience members after speaking but did not take questions from the audience or reporters.

It's the first time Obama has delivered his "Taking Back Our Government" policy speech, but the themes will sound familiar to anyone watching the New Hampshire primary closely. In Goffstown in April, Sen. Hillary Clinton pledged nearly identical reforms and raised nearly identical complaints, sometimes using the same words.

John Edwards proposed similar reforms in 2004.

Obama's plan differed from Clinton's on some specific points.

In her speech, Clinton did not say she would keep new employees from working on regulations and contracts related to their former employer. Obama would prohibit a new employee from doing so for two years. Clinton said she would prevent cabinet officials, a small group, from lobbying her administration. Obama would prevent all political employees - a much larger group - from lobbying the administration.

Clinton did not mention banning gifts from lobbyists; Obama would bar gifts from lobbyists and lobbying firms in any amount to any employee of the executive branch.

Obama's campaign staff did not respond directly to observations that Obama hit the same themes in his speech yesterday that Clinton and Edwards have talked about before. Reid Cherlin, spokesman for the New Hampshire campaign office, offered his own comparison between the Obama and Clinton proposals.

"The restriction on people coming into the administration and regulating their former industry and the restriction on former appointees lobbying the administration constitute the strongest government reform proposal of anybody in this campaign," Cherlin wrote in an e-mail.

Obama stressed that point yesterday. "When I am president," he said, "I will make it absolutely clear that working in an Obama administration is not about serving your former employer, your future employer or your bank account. It's about serving your country and that's what comes first."

The crowd invited to the speech liked what they heard yesterday and welcomed Obama off his speaking platform with an ovation and, in some cases, items to sign.

Kevin Gray of Manchester said he was excited to hear a candidate promise a transparent and accessible government. He especially liked that Obama intends to put legislation and lawmakers' pet projects online for voters to see.

"And closing down the lobbyists is huge," Gray said. "Lobbyists are infiltrating the government."

Peter Sullivan, a former state representative from Manchester, said he is supporting Obama in large part because he has been so active on ethics reform. (Obama said yesterday he was made his party's point person on ethics in Congress because he had championed ethics reform in the Illinois State House.)

"For those of us who have worked on reform," Sullivan said, "(Obama) is pointing out specific proposals. I think it's fantastic."

Patricia Bedford of Bow has been a Clinton supporter but came to Manchester yesterday to hear what Obama had to offer. Like the others, she was impressed and excited. "I'm reconsidering (supporting Clinton)," Bedford said. "This is new and refreshing and he seems very committed to change."

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"Video: Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren on Working with Obama on AIDS"


Think On These Things, with video (5:45):
Rick Warren, an evangelical pastor who is pro-life and not supportive of gay rights, but whose faith has not been hijacked. He explains why he worked with Obama on combating the AIDS crisis.

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"Obama says Gitmo facility should close"


AP:

SAN ANTONIO -- Barack Obama told a Texas crowd on Sunday that he wants the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee facility closed - a step the Bush administration is considering.
The Democratic presidential hopeful pledged to work side-by-side with the rest of the world on issues like nuclear proliferation, poverty, economic development in Latin America and the violence in Darfur.

"While we're at it," he said, "we're going to close Guantanamo. And we're going to restore habeas corpus. ... We're going to lead by example - by not just word but by deed. That's our vision for the future."

Habeas corpus is a tenet of the Constitution that protects people from unlawful imprisonment.

The White House said Friday that President Bush has made closing the prison in Cuba a priority and that Bush's top aides are in active discussions about the subject.

Obama, his white shirt sleeves rolled up, spoke for roughly 30 minutes in the muggy heat to a crowd his campaign estimated at about 1,000 people. It was the first-term Illinois senator's first visit to San Antonio since declaring that he would run for president. Many in the crowd wore blue "AlamObama" T-shirts playing off the city's famous landmark, the Alamo.

Obama said, "There's one thing that we can still get right in (the Iraq) war," which is to commit to treating troops returning to the U.S.

"When our young men and women have served this country, I don't care if you were for the war or against the war, but they have served our country. They have done every single thing that we have asked of them, with bravery and valor, they should not have to beg when they come home to get the services they need," Obama said.

The San Antonio area is home to several military installations, including Fort Sam Houston and its Brooke Army Medical Center, where many soldiers are sent for treatment.

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"Obama seeks effective grassroots support"

United Press International:
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign team is pleased with its solid grassroots support but is wary of a repeat of Howard Dean's spectacular fade in 2004.

The New York Post said Saturday that while the Internet has been successful in turning out crowds, the question remains as to whether that core enthusiasm will lead to the Democratic presidential nomination and an eventual victory on Election Day 2008.

Campaign official Ray Rivera told a sizable crowd in Manhattan this week that Dean also stirred up early support, but it didn't last into the primaries.

"A lot of national momentum, lot of national online support," Rivera said. "Did he win the presidency? No, it sort of faltered. We want to take all this offline and online grassroots energy and turn it into a Democratic nomination and get a real victory."

The Post said Obama and his team have been particularly wary of independent volunteer groups known as 527s that could siphon off financial support from the official campaign, which does the heavy lifting in terms of television and travel.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Obama: Christian Right Has ‘Hijacked’ Faith" (video)


Channel 8 (Hartford,CT) video, 00:56:
Speaking to an audience at a largely liberal Church, Barack Obama accused right-wing leaders of hijacking faith.

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"Mrs. Obama: Campaign is full speed ahead"

Iowa News:
The presidential race of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is moving along at full speed, according to his wife, Michelle Obama, who visited Council Bluffs Friday.

"The campaign is tremendous, the momentum has not died down," she said to a packed house at Bayliss Park Hall.

This presidential race is all about which candidate the people can best connect with, the one who they trust the most, she said.

"Quality and character of leadership matters," Obama said.

She praised her husband's commitment in helping his fellow citizens, such as being a community organizer in Chicago early in his career.

"He knew he had an obligation to do that," Obama said.

It's hoped everyone will participate in the Iowa caucuses because this is an important election in this country's history, Obama said.

"This is about engaging or re-engaging the American people in democracy," she said.

Her husband received some controversy early in the campaign for being a smoker, but he doesn't do that anymore, Obama told reporters afterwards.

"He hasn't smoked since Christmas," she said. "It sends a message to the rest of the country: 'Don't smoke.'"

Her husband knows there are lots of opinion polls out there.

"The challenge is to stay true to who you are and what this campaign is all about," she said.

Voters should also select who they think is the best candidate and not because "they may be a woman or an African-American," Obama said.

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"Obama's Volunteer Push" (video)

NY Times video (5:24):
Brooklyn supporters of Senator Barack Obama took their enthusiasm to the streets as part of a nationwide effort by the campaign.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Video: Obama’s Ethics Reform Speech “Cleaning Up Washington” (video)


Video, from Think on These Things, in three parts.

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"Lessons Learned as Obama Shepherds Volunteers"

NY Times:
It was just an organizational meeting for Senator Barack Obama’s New York volunteers, but the gathering this month jammed every pew of a church in the East Village, and the crowd spilled over into not one but two overflow rooms.
All told, 710 people showed up, even though the closest they would get to Mr. Obama, the Illinois Democrat and presidential candidate, that night would be to view a campaign screening of a biographical DVD. They cheered wildly anyway. Many had already formed their own volunteer groups in New York: Brooklyn for Barack, NYC4Obama, the Audacity of Park Slope. Quite a few already had Web sites, neatly designed logos, newsletters and regular meetings.

The grass-roots following for Mr. Obama in the backyard of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has been built around a sophisticated group of young professionals skilled in marketing, organizing, Web design and other useful areas. But as Howard Dean’s campaign for the Democratic nomination proved four years ago, it takes more than a core group of dedicated, Web-savvy supporters to win votes.

“One of the lessons, obviously for us, is making sure that the grass-roots enthusiasm translates into votes,” Mr. Obama said in a recent interview. “And that’s something obviously that we’re going to be paying a lot of attention to.”

Organizers of Mr. Obama’s grass-roots campaign are doing what they can to focus the enthusiasm of volunteers on useful work, and to train them so their efforts do no harm to Mr. Obama’s bid. Yet the activities of some supporters, operating outside of the official campaign, have raised questions for Mr. Obama to answer.

Steve Phillips, a San Francisco lawyer and the son-in-law of the billionaire Democratic donors Herb and Marion Sandler, has formed an independent organization, Vote Hope 2008, that has been soliciting money to help Mr. Obama win the California primary. Mr. Obama has criticized such groups, which are known as 527s, because they allow unlimited contributions outside the caps set by campaign finance rules.

“It is our hope that anyone who supports Obama does so directly through his campaign,” Bill Burton, a campaign spokesman, said.

Despite situations like this one, the Obama campaign is carefully aligning itself with volunteers in New York and elsewhere. Ray Rivera, the northeast field director for the Obama campaign, told the crowd gathered in the East Village that the Dean example in 2004 should serve as a cautionary tale.

“A lot of national momentum, lot of national online support,” Mr. Rivera said. “Did he win the presidency? No, it sort of faltered. We want to take all this energy, all of this offline and online grassroots energy, and turn it into a Democratic nomination and get a real victory.”

Because the New York primary awards delegates proportionally by Congressional district, a strong showing in crucial areas could win delegates for Mr. Obama even if he loses the primary. And perhaps more than any other campaign this cycle, his campaign is relying on grass-roots involvement in New York and elsewhere to turn out voters.

The volunteers took part in a national canvassing day June 9 when thousands of supporters across the country tried to enlist others for Mr. Obama — people like Amanda Green, 28, a librarian from Brooklyn who wore the campaign’s logo painted on her toenails. She signed up supporters recently in Fort Greene. Those volunteers have helped Mr. Obama attract huge crowds at many of his early rallies.

The grass-roots organizing is proceeding parallel to efforts by the Obama campaign. In one effort to attract supporters, the campaign invited people to write a few words explaining why they wanted to meet Mr. Obama, for $5. Thousands of responses came in, aides said.

All the campaigns are trying to marshal volunteer supporters this year. The Clinton campaign, for example, arranges discussion meetings in the homes of supporters; holds large, inexpensive fund-raisers; and is organizing groups to go to New Hampshire.

But the Obama campaign is making its ability to mobilize large numbers of volunteers central to its campaign ethos. On its recent nationwide canvassing day, volunteers received campaign T-shirts that read, “In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.”

Mr. Obama, who was a grass-roots organizer in his youth, places value on door-to-door, neighborhood-by-neighborhood campaigning. In a recent conference call with 400 volunteer leaders, he gave tips for canvassing (“stay hydrated,” and “don’t just talk but listen”).

“As tempting as it might be to think otherwise, this doesn’t just have to do with me,” Mr. Obama said during the call. “Change always comes from the bottom up, not the top down.”

There is debate among the other campaigns and bloggers about how much of a movement the Obama campaign has created. Jerome Armstrong, a liberal blogger, wrote recently on MyDD.com that Mr. Obama had not aligned himself with the “netroots” movement that began with the Dean campaign and that helped propel Ned Lamont’s Senate campaign in Connecticut last year.

Mr. Armstrong questioned whether the Obama grass-roots campaign was a movement at all. It “looks like a better-than-ordinary campaign for a candidate that’s personally compelling, and not much more,” he said.

But many of the volunteers who fanned out across New York City during the campaign’s “Walk for Change” said they felt that they were creating a movement.

Jordan Thomas, a 36-year-old from Brooklyn who works for a film production company, said that he enlisted in the campaign at 3 a.m. on Feb. 10, the day that Mr. Obama announced that he would run for president. On the campaign’s Web site, Mr. Thomas found a feature that allowed volunteers to start groups.

“And I thought, my god, this guy is turning his campaign over to the people,” Mr. Thomas said. “And I thought, wow, this guy really trusts the people. And so I put in ‘Brooklyn for Barack.’ ”

Despite the volunteer effort for Mr. Obama, the Clinton campaign said it had no fear of losing New York. “We’re gratified that poll after poll shows Hillary leading the primary in New York overwhelmingly, and that she is by far the most popular candidate in the state, from either party and among all walks of life,” said Blake Zeff, a campaign spokesman.

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"Obama Calls For "Sweeping" Ethics Reform" (with audio)

New Hampshire Public Radio, with audio (00:54):
Barack Obama says Americans can't settle for living in what he termed as a "second Gilded Age."

The Illinois Senator promised to bar political appointees from lobbying the executive branch during his presidency, and restrict new hires from working on regulations or contracts directly related to their prior employers for two years.

He says he'd also forbid lobbyists from giving anything of value to government workers.

"When I am president, I will make it absolutely clear that working in an Obama Administration is not about serving your former employer, your future employer or your bank account. It's about serving your country. And that's what comes first."

Obama's restrictions are similar to some unveiled two months ago by fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton. After his speech, Obama claimed he wasn't familiar with Clinton's proposals, and invited the press to evaluate whose are more stringent.

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"Obama's wife touts husband's presidential experience"


Sioux City Journal (IA):
On the same day that Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a major policy speech on ethics reform in New Hampshire, Michelle Obama drew quite a crowd herself, the size of which some presidential candidates themselves don't draw 16 months out from the election.
Speaking to 130 people, while sharing glimpses into the personal side of her husband, Michelle Obama also contended Barack Obama should be the Democrat's 2008 party nominee because his experiences have shaped him for the presidency.

Michelle Obama said she doesn't get those who question Barack Obama's experience, since he's worked as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, constitutional law scholar, graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Law School and served eight years in the Illinois legislature before becoming a U.S. senator from Illinois in 2003.

"He may not have years in Washington, but we see what years in Washington get us," she said to the largest applause of the event.

Further, Michelle Obama said, her husband shares the hard work and sense of purpose that her blue-collar father did in raising the family while working for the city of Chicago.

That resonated with Shelisa Fields of Dakota Dunes, S.D., who has lived in Siouxland since 1987 after leaving her hometown of Chicago. "We need to really implement family values again in the community," Fields said.

Fields added that Obama "knows the struggles, he knows the trials, the tribulations. He knows hard work pays off. He is used to working with communities, so he knows that approach."

Michelle Obama said the Obamas are trying to "make this campaign feel different," to engage people personally, talking about "hope" and trying to make connections with Americans, which some people find "naive." That sort of a connection with the populace, she said, is as important as a position on health care policy.

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"Backing Obama, Without a Blessing"


NY Times (The Caucus):
Supporters of Senator Barack Obama’s Democratic presidential primary campaign have formed one of the first independent organizations dedicated to supporting a 2008 presidential hopeful, overlooking their candidate’s past criticisms of the legal status of such groups.
Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, is one of many senators who have criticized the groups — known as 527s, after a section of the tax code—because they allow donors to make unlimited contributions, sometimes without disclosure until after an election, thereby sidestepping campaign finance laws.

The new organization, Vote Hope 2008, was founded by Steve Phillips, a San Francisco lawyer who is the son-in-law of two of the biggest Democratic donors, the California bankers Herb and Marion Sandler. The Sandlers were among the biggest contributors to Democratic 527 groups during the 2004 election.

A spokesman for Mr. Obama said the senator did not approve. “Obama thinks that candidates should be accountable for the campaigns they run, the donations they receive and the money they spend,” the spokesman, Bill Burton, said. “It is our hope that anyone who supports Obama does so directly through his campaign.”

While short of repudiating Vote Hope, Mr. Obama’s public discouragement of such efforts could nonetheless come under some strain if he wins the Democratic nomination. Wealthy partisans on both sides of the general election are expected to pour millions of unlimited contributions into 527 groups just as they did in 2004, and Democrats could be at a big disadvantage if their supporters’ abstained.

Jenifer Ancona, a spokeswoman for Vote Hope, said the organization aimed to make up for the apparent absence of an Obama primary campaign in California, where the rival campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has already begun organizing.

“We are responding his call to people to self-organize,” Ms. Ancona said.
The group’s web site, www.votehope2008.org, features a photograph of Mr. Obama and a link to his campaign’s official site. “Bank it for Barack,” the Vote Hope site declares, urging voters to cast mail ballots for Mr. Obama even before the state’s February primary.

California has moved up its primary election to give it a larger role in the nominating process, and Ms. Ancona said the organization would focus on raising awareness of the race among voters unaccustomed to the new schedule or the state’s new importance, with focus on young voters and minority groups.

The organization’s web site includes a photograph of its founder, Mr. Phillips, with his wife, Susan Sandler. But her parents, the billionaire donors Herb and Marion Sandler, have not yet contributed, Ms. Ancona said.

Although Vote Hope 2008 is among the first 527 groups dedicated to supporting a primary candidate, conservatives have formed at least one other 527 group expressly to stop the nomination of Senator Clinton.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Feingold, Obama Push For Strongest Ethics and Lobbying Reform Bill Possible"

Common Dreams:
WASHINGTON - JUNE 21 - U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Barack Obama (D-IL) are pushing for Congress to produce the strongest ethics and lobby reform bill possible. Feingold and Obama are urging several Senate leaders, who will play important roles in the bill’s fate as the Senate prepares to negotiate the final bill with the House of Representatives, to include several key provisions that passed the Senate but were left out of the House version of the bill.
Feingold and Obama were two of the main architects of the Senate bill which passed in January with broad bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader Reid hailed the bill as one of the most significant pieces of legislation dealing with ethics and lobbying reform in our nation’s history. Also signing the letter were all of the freshmen Democratic Senators including Senators Brown (D-OH), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Sanders (I-VT), Tester (D-MT), Webb (D-VA), and Whitehouse (D-RI), who made cleaning up Washington crucial parts of their successful campaigns.

“The public voted for change last November in part because people were sick and tired of the way Washington works,” Feingold said. “Without provisions like a strong lobbyist gift ban, and tough restrictions on privately funded travel and corporate jet flights, the bill won’t do enough to change the status quo in Washington.”

“Last November, the American people sent a message to Washington to clean up its act, so it’s important that Congress take tough action on lobbying and ethics reform,” said Senator Obama. “Since donors are now limited in the amount of money they can contribute to candidates, the greatest measure of influence is how much an individual raises. The final ethics bill must require that candidates disclose those who have bundled contributions for their campaigns, so that we can expose the link between lobbyists who are raising campaign cash in exchange for votes on legislation and start changing the way Washington works.”

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"Dinner and an Obama: The winners"

Chicago Tribune:
After "thousands" of entries, Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign has selected the winners of a competition (and fundraising gimmick) for a chance to have dinner with the Illinois Democrat.
Of the four winners, two are from states that will hold primaries or caucuses in January. They include a miner from Nevada, the wife of a soldier serving in Iraq from Louisiana, a mentor for young people in the Bronx and a former Republican who is working as a firefighter and paramedic in Florida.

The dinner will take place in July at a restaurant in Washington, DC. Transportation and accommodations will be paid for by the campaign.

The campaign refused to say how many participated, or how much was raised through the effort. The June 30 deadline for second-quarter fundraising is rapidly approaching, and this was one of the ways Obama's campaign sought to run up its total for online contributions.

“I am looking forward to sitting down with this group of four people who are representative of the millions of voices that have been drowned out by the special interests in Washington,” Obama said in a statement. “This dinner is about hearing from the everyday experts on how we can work together to change the problems facing this country today.”

A week ago, the campaign kicked off an online program that asked people to tell the campaign about themselves. Participants were selected from a group who submitted their personal stories along with a donation as small as $5 on the campaign's website.

The winners and their bios, as reported by the campaign:

Haile Rivera (Bronx, N.Y.): He works as a community program specialist with the Food Bank for New York City during the day which includes work with food pantries, youth programs and soup kitchens. In his spare time, he founded “Hands on New York,” a non-profit organization in New York City dedicated to getting school age kids involved in civics.

Michael Griffith (Fernley, Nevada): He is a miner in western Nevada whose health care costs have tripled over recent years. This is his first time donating or participating in politics and he felt that as his family grew, so did his concern with the direction of the country.

Margaret Thomas-Jordan (Gonzales, La.): She is a working mother of two boys, age nineteen months and eleven years and she is attending school to become a nurse. Her husband was shipped to Iraq last month and he is currently serving a 15-month tour. Health care costs have grown especially difficult for her and she is struggling with access to health care because she does not qualify as a traditional student.

Jennifer Lasko (Lake Worth, Fla.): She used to be an active member of the Republican Party and was a member of the College Republicans at Cornell University. She served as an officer in the army after graduating and is now a full time firefighter and paramedic in Lake Worth. The last campaign she participated in was Reagan-Bush in 1984.

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"Obama Will Reveal His Earmarks, Challenges Other Prez Hopefuls To Follow Suit"

Greg Sargent:
This is interesting: Barack Obama is vowing to detail all his earmark requests today and is challenging his Presidential rivals to do the same.

Obama, who's tried to be out front on good government and ethics issues, is apparently the first Presidential hopeful to do this.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton says that Obama will detail his earmarks today by posting a 113-item list on his Senate office website.

Burton emailed us the following quote challenging the other candidates to follow suit:

As a matter of transparency and good government, Obama thinks it’s important that voters know who their candidates are, what their sources of income are and whether they have any potential conflicts. We would hope that other candidates follow suit in disclosing their earmarks as well.

Not a huge deal, but clearly, a challenge to Hillary.

Update: Here's the list of Obama's earmarks.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Thoughtful Obama says he's ready to lead"


DesMoinesRegister.com (CAROL HUNTER-EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR):
At 45, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is the youngest major-party candidate running for president. But his decade of elective service and the broad experiences he's gained living and working outside Washington and even outside the country have prepared him well for the job, he said.
"I don't think the measure of leadership right now in the eyes of the American public is how long you've been in Washington," he said Monday in a meeting with the Register's editorial board.

Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, he worked in the Illinois Senate for eight years on such difficult issues as fixing a "broken" death-penalty system and providing more health insurance to children.

"I've been able to bring together Democrats and Republicans and make progress and get things done," he said. "I think what people are looking for is actually who's got the judgment for the job, who's got the capacity to bring people together to actually move forward on the promises that are made during the campaign."

National polls show Obama close on the heels of Hillary Clinton for front-runner status among Democrats. His rallying call to change the pettiness of politics and change America, his charismatic speaking style and his boyish good looks have filled venues around the country.

Yet in his meeting with the Register, he displayed no celebrity-candidate swagger. He shook the hand of every person in the room, before and after the meeting, and made a point to introduce himself (as if he needed to do so) and shake the hands of other staffers in the hallway. He casually made small talk, mentioning that his young daughters had made him what they called a "fabulous buffet" for Father's Day. "I couldn't identify everything," he said, laughing. "But I ate every bit of it. I cleaned my plate."

And when he settled in to talk about issues, he shunned rhetorical firepower for thoughtful responses, often pausing to choose his words carefully. He appeared absorbed in the give and take, leaning back in his chair or resting his chin on his hand.

Son of a Kenyan-born father and a mother from Kansas, Obama lived in Hawaii and a few years in Indonesia while growing up. After college, he worked as a community organizer in poor Chicago neighborhoods. By "growing up in different places with people who had differing ideas," as his campaign bio puts it, he gained a different outlook toward people and issues.

A prominent example: his opposition to the Iraq war, dating to before the invasion. "A lot of it has to do with the fact that I lived overseas for a number of years... I was never persuaded that we could create a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq. That was based on specific experiences of living in Indonesia or knowing my family in Kenya, and understanding how powerful tribal and ethnic sentiments are when it comes to many of these countries."

Experiences abroad also inform his views on immigration. He's troubled about setting up a guest-worker system with no avenue toward citizenship, after seeing instances in the Middle East where guest workers outnumber citizens and are "terribly abused."

And he's convinced that spending "a few pennies" of our diplomatic and military budgets to fight poverty, disease and the breakdown of law in the world's hot spots could avert spending billions on military action later.

On the domestic front, he discussed remaking education to produce "the best-educated work force in the world," providing affordable health-care coverage for all and enacting workable immigration laws — all issues where strident partisanship and warring ideologies have stalled progress, he said.

Although the Iowa caucuses are seven months away, Obama has aimed his campaign beyond even the general election toward government by consensus to tackle the major challenges facing the nation and world.

When deciding to run, "I wasn't simply a young man in a hurry," he emphasized.

"I think there's this particular window right now where the country is hungry for change, and is also hungry to be brought together, as opposed to being driven apart. And I thought that the particular skills that I have, of bringing people from diverse backgrounds across lines of race or party or region or faith to focus on solving problems, was a particularly useful and needed skill right now."

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"Could Obama campaign's Punjab crack be savvy move?"

David Postman (Seattle Times):
That's what Mike Seely suggests at The Weekly. He says what looks like an insensitive remark about Indians could be a ploy to win the hearts of "dues-paying Caucasian schmoes who are tired of seeing union jobs exported to workers in other countries, or workers who hail from other countries."
Howie P.S.: I think that was the intent of the "hit" but the tone was wrong, as Barack has acknowledged,

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"Obama Wins Straw Poll at Take Back America Conference"

Think On These Things:
Barack Obama won the straw poll at the Take Back America Conference. Obama got 29% of the vote, Edwards got 26% of the vote, and Hillary Clinton got 17%. Read more.

In addition, Clinton got some booed again this year by the crowd when she placed the blame on the Iraqis for the situation in Iraq. Read more.

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"Obama set to launch text-messaging initiative - offers free ringtones and wallpapers" (with audio)

intomobile, with audio:
RCRNews is reporting that Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, is planning to launch a text-messaging initiative to increase his campaign's coverage.
Joe Rospars, media director for the Obama Campaign, says that, "This campaign is about the people across the country who are taking organizing into their own hands and text messaging is a key tool that will help us reach out to people who rely on their mobile phone service for information,” adding that, "this is a service we hope to use to continue to communicate with our growing base of supporters who are excited about playing an active role in our efforts to change this country."
Democratic fans can sign up for the text-messages by sending "GO" to OBAMA (62262). The service will be free. The campaign team is also planning to release free ringtones and wallpapers to help get the word out on Obama's key positions and statements on Iraq, healthcare, and more.

A campaign press release states, "With millions of Americans relying on cellphones, this new service will enable the campaign to not only communicate news about events and campaign developments, but it will also allow users to request information from the campaign. The campaign will use text to inform supporters about important public appearance and ask for opinions and advice.”

We already knew that the mobile scene is the future. Now it seems that even presidential candidates are embracing the mobile industry. Obama gets a plus in our book! Although, we aren't big enough fans to actually use those free ringtones or wallpapers - to each his own.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Obama's appearance at the AFSCME Union Forum" (video)


Video from lovingj1 (8:58).

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"Blogging the AFSCME Presidential Forum"

Jonathan Singer on MyDD (excerpt):
The next candidate is Barack Obama, who appears to get the loudest response from the crowd. Obama talks about organizing 150,000 new voters in 1992 with AFSCME. Also talks about need for universal healthcare, right to unionize through cardcheck, a new energy plan and an end to the Iraq War (notes his opposition to war from the start).
Matthews first question is on how this was a bad decision, not just a badly-implemented plan. Obama lays out his case for opposing the war at the beginning. Says "we need to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in," that a phased redeployment needs to begin. "It is time for us to bring our troops home." On the next question, Obama says that the problem with this President is that he is too wedded to ideology, that the facts do not conform with his beliefs. This is as true about Iraq as it is tax cuts and the economy; increases in the stock market aren't going to lift all Americans. Matthews says that Obama sounds like Bobby Kennedy, but wonders about Obama's call to end some of those old fights. Obama says that he will fight, but we also need to win some fights, get the Independents on our side. "George W. Bush has been a good advertisement for the Democratic Party," he says. Talks about, for instance, coming together to raise fuel economy standards to 40-45 mpg, which would end need for foreign oil. But there should not be compromise on workers' rights to organize, right to education, on civil rights, on retirement rights. Matthews asks if Obama will be a Hubert Humphrey (restriction of trade) or Bill Clinton (free-trade) Democrat, and Obama says he won't want to lose like Humphrey. "I believe in trade," he says, but there need to be labor standards, environmental standards -- and standards that are enforced -- and that there needs to be a Department of Labor, not a Department of Employers. Flubs name of Employee Free Choice Act for a moment, but notes support for card check and then gets name of legislation correct.
In closing statement, Obama says he needs support of the grassroots, that he needs a movement around the country; notes large crowds, numbers of supporters. Also hits on key themes like Iraq, healthcare, etc.
Ari Berman's "Obama's Day at Labor" in The Nation paints a similar picture. Here's the text of the speech.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

"Obama: life is more than "a long road toward nothingness" (with audio)

Radio Iowa:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was this morning's keynote speaker at the United Church of Christ State Convention in Fort Dodge. As the 271 delegates from churches throughout the state waited for some adjustment to the arrangement of the stage -- and waited for Obama to arrive, a few in the crowd started to sing "Rise and Shine, and Give God the Glory" then most of the crowd joined in. Their second selection was "This Little Light of Mine."
Here's the Radio Iowa story of the event, with an audio link at the bottom if you care to listen to Obama's 23 minute speech.

Here are some highlights if you don't want to listen:

According to Obama, America's main challenges are "moral problems" that won't be fixed by "a 10-point" plan." He listed Iraq, poverty, lack of health care insurance, the genocide in Darfur and AIDS in Africa as "moral" problems.

"Doing the Lord's work is a thread that runs through our politics since the very beginning and it puts the lie to the notion that the separation of church and state in America means, somehow, that faith should have no role in public life," he said..

"...My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won't be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work," Obama said, to applause from the crowd.

Obama talked about his adult conversion to Christianity, describing it as a choice rather than an epiphany. "I learned that my sins could be redeemed and I learned that there were those things that I was too weak to accomplish myself but that he would accomplish them for me or with me if I placed my trust in him," Obama said. "In time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death but rather as an active, palpable agent for good in the world and in my own life."

Obama closed by mentioning "one of my favorite theologians" Reinhold Niebuhr, the author of the Serenity Prayer. Obama pronounced it "NY-ber" while several people sitting in front of me spoke out loud, saying "NEE-ber" instead.

"In May of 1943 at the height of World War II when Allied victory was far from certain...he scrawled onto a pad a simple prayer. 'God,' he prayed, 'give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other,'" Obama said to the delegates. "A few months later a friend got his permission to reprint that prayer in pamphlets that were about to be sent to American GIs serving overseas, so before it became the popular 'Hallmark' prayer that many of us know today, it brought hope to the greatest generation when they needed it most and it's call to serenity, courage, and sound judgement is one that we need to pray on ourselves as we face our own challenges in the years and months to come."

The delegates stood to applaud at the end of Obama's speech, then patiently waited in a long line to go into a nearby cafeteria to shake Obama's hand. The event was closed to the press. Through the glass windows, as I stood talking with some of the delegates outside the cafeteria, I saw a television. It was tuned to CNN -- and Obama's face was on the screen with the words "Faith and Politics" on the bottom of the screen.

Obama's next public appearance was in a park in Webster City. His entourage arrived, Obama jumped out and bought lemonade from a group of four kids ranging in age from 8 to four-and-a-half. The kids were standing in the back of a pick-up.

"How much is a glass of lemonade?" Obama said as he approached.

"Twenty-five cents," replied one of the three girls.

Obama ordered four -- giving three of his staffers glasses first. A few moments later, Obama had his own plastic cup in hand.

"This is the moment of truth," he told the kids.

He took a swallow, then grasped his neck and gasped out loud. The kids giggled. Obama thanked the kids and moved on toward a crowd of about 300, most of whom were sitting on folding chairs.

"I was just talking to Kyle over there. He's going to be playing soccer and so were trading stories about our summer plans," Obama said as he began his 10-minute speech to the assembled picnic-goers. "It sounds like his are more fun than mine."

"...I stayed in Webster City last night, doin' somethin' for the local economy. I was staying at the Super 8," Obama said and the crowd laughed. "It was outstanding. I had a great time."

Obama briefly returned to the religious theme of his Fort Dodge appearance: "There are some things that we all agree to, some common values that we share and we've got to express those not just in our churches or our families, but we've also got to express them through our government," Obama said in Webster City.

Obama's campaign had cameras at the event. His staff said images from Webster City would be used in a campaign mailing. Just so you recognize 'em if you see 'em, Obama's wearing a white shirt, open collar with the sleeves rolled up. He's holding a microphone and standing on a patch of grass in front of a picnic shelter. People are gathered around him, sitting on an array of folding chairs they brought themselves. An American flag, flying on a flagpole in front of a home across the street from the park, flops occasionally as a breeze stirs through. The flag is directly over Obama's right shoulder from the perspective of the area roped off for the cameras.

A final observation from the Webster City event: Obama took a shot at Edwards by mentionining "hedge funds" during his discussion of worrisome things in the economy.

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