Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Gas Tax Gotcha" (with video)


Washington Post (editorial), with video from ABC News (00:47):
IF THE United States had a sensible energy policy, a higher federal excise tax on motor fuels would definitely be a part of it.
Few measures would more efficiently accomplish more worthy goals -- strategic, social and environmental. The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that a 50-cents-per-gallon increase in gasoline taxes would contribute more than $300 billion to deficit reduction over five years, while reducing traffic congestion, dependence on Middle Eastern oil and greenhouse gases. Actually, the federal gas tax has been stuck at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993, which means that, considering inflation, it has been shrinking for the past 15 years.

Of course, enacting any gasoline tax increase, let alone an increase of half a buck, would be politically difficult in normal times. Today, when the price of regular is creeping toward $4 per gallon, it is obviously a non-starter. The best we can hope for is that politicians, especially presidential candidates, will avoid exploiting the issue for short-term political advantage. Alas, that hope was not warranted in the case of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has followed Republican John McCain in recommending a suspension of the federal gas tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This would let Americans go on vacation without that one modest additional incentive to conserve. A nonpartisan budget watchdog organization, Taxpayers for Common Sense, estimates that a typical family would save just $18 per car. And, as we explained in an editorial last week, at a time of cramped supply, prices would probably bounce back to where they were with the tax, and refiners would pocket the difference.

We do not underestimate the impact of high fuel prices on families that need their cars to get to work and school. But the gas tax is one component of the per-gallon price that comes back to benefit the motoring public, in the form of funding for road construction and maintenance. Much of the rest leaves America, going to such places as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Ms. Clinton proposes a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies to recapture the revenue forfeited by her proposal. Similar ideas have failed in the Senate because of oil-state objections; this one undoubtedly would, too. We have to agree with Sen. Barack Obama, the only candidate who has refused to play this game. "It's not an idea to get you through the summer," he said. "It's an idea to get them through an election."
His opponents no doubt hope that Mr. Obama's stand will prove to be political suicide. We think it qualifies as political courage.

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Ron Paul, Jeremiah Wright and The Corporate Media (with video)


You can view my latest post on the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog here.

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"Tom Hayden Strikes Back"



Tom Hayden:

Editor’s note: Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges wrote in a recent essay that leftists such as Tom Hayden had lost their nerve. Hayden sent us this reply.

John MacArthur, the publisher of Harper’s, should know better than to claim that some like myself have spent our lives wanting to be “players” in the Democratic Party instead of being “outside the system.” In most countries, most activists move between social movements and political parties as the need arises. I have spent 50 years in social movements, 20 of them as an elected legislator who was opposed by the party establishment, which is far from being a “player.” I believe that change always begins with independent social movements, but movements can be expanded by political representation at certain stages.

Who, for example, can forget the willingness of Sen. Mike Gravel to read the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record at great legal and political risk to himself?

I am saddened by the strange argument of Chris Hedges, who cites MacArthur in his essay “The Left Has Lost Its Way.” Chris says we should “walk away from the Democratic Party even if Barack Obama is the nominee,” and vote for Ralph Nader. If not, “we become slaves,” a truly unfortunate analogy. What Chris misses is that millions of African-Americans and young people generally are throwing themselves into the Barack Obama campaign, and will not take seriously a white writer who preaches that they are marching in the wrong direction. The analogy to slavery is absolutely inappropriate.

My view is to be humbled and appreciative of this unpredicted upsurge of idealistic and fervent activism created in the Obama movement, and to be supportive of the candidacy while remaining independent and critical of the candidate’s moderate views on Iraq and NAFTA. It’s my sense as an organizer for 50 years that we should stand with spontaneous new waves of activism, not demand that they call off their campaigns at the most critical moment. It is possible to do so without having to surrender our independence on the issues we care most about.

For that reason, some of us have created a Web site called Progressives for Obama, including myself, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, Danny Glover, Cornel West, Jane Fonda, Jim Hightower, Jean Stein, Andy Stern, Anna Burger, and 300 more.

The social movements have not disappeared in 2008 but follow a logic of their own, like a river cutting its path. If the Clintons steal the nomination, the social movements will return in force.

If Obama wins the presidency, the social movements will rise with higher expectations to demand that President Obama end the Iraq war and focus on race, poverty and environmental issues at home and around the world. The left should not be a small elite outside this process.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Jeremiah Wright, Thomas Jefferson and the Wrath of God"

John Nichols (The Nation):
"Just maybe now as that dialogue begins the religious tradition that has kept hope alive for a people struggling to survive in countless hopeless situations will be understood."

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, April 28, 2008
The right response to the controversy that has been generated with regard to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. is not to run away from the United Church of Christ pastor, to condemn him, or to try to apologize for him.

Rather, it is to listen to him and to recognize that Wright's not the disease that afflicts our body politic.

Indeed, this former Marine who became an remarkably-successful and widely-respected religious leader is in possession of the balm that has frequently proven to be the cure for what ails America -- an eyes-wide-open faith in the prospect that this country can and will put aside the sins of the past and forge a future that is as just as it is righteous.

As Wright has illustrated over the past several days, in a remarkable appearance Friday on PBS' Bill Moyers Journal and in speeches to the Detroit NAACP and the National Press Club in Washington, he is the opposite of the caricature of an angry, America-hating false prophet that has been so crudely attached to him. Deeply grounded in biblical tradition, nuanced in his understanding of race relations and historically experienced in his assessments of America's strengths and weaknesses, he has much to say to this country at this time.

Not all of what Wright says is comforting.

Nor are his views universally appealing or entirely unassailable.

But they are very much within the mainstream of American religious and political discourse.

The problem is not Jeremiah Wright.

The problem is a contemporary political culture that has come to rely on character assassination as an easy tool for reversing electoral misfortune -- and a media that willingly invites manipulation.

Let's not forget how Wright became an issue in the 2008 presidential race. Republican operatives, fretful about their party's political fortunes, decided that the only way to weaken the candidacy of Wright's longtime parishioner, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, was by suggesting the Democratic presidential front-runner was in the sway of an anti-American radical.

That end was achieved by separating out from long and thoughtful sermons regarding matters biblical and political seemingly offensive phrases and then inviting the Grand Old Party's media echo chamber to repeat the sound bites until they became conventional "wisdom."

This is a classic guilt-by-association maneuver, played out so aggressively in the current circumstance that it would make Joe McCarthy blush. But it has worked, at least in part because people of good faith have not taken the time to assess and appropriately answer the charge that Obama's connection to Wright confirms the candidate to be either a closet radical or, worse yet, a dupe of some free-floating, ill-defined but still frightful fringe.

The response of Obama -- most recently in an extended and at times painful press conference on Tuesday -- and of many of his supporters has been to try to put distance between the candidate and the preacher. "They offend me," the senator said of controversial comments by the minister who presided at his wedding and baptized his children. "They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally today."

That's strong stuff, to be sure. But it is not likely to end the wrangling over Wright.

While it is always good to maintain America's historic wall of separation between church and state, the Obama camp has not had a lot of success so far in separating this particular statesman from his church.

That's because the candidate and his backers have consistently come across as being embarrassed and ashamed by Wright.

That's the wrong response. It's perfectly fine to disagree with Wright. And Barack Obama should do so.

But there's little if anything about this pastor that should provoke embarrassment or invite apology.

Wright can be unsettling, thought-provoking, often right and sometimes wrong. But he is neither anti-American nor unpatriotic.

In more ways than Republican and now Democratic critics seem prepared to admit, Wright is the embodiment of an American religious and political tradition of challenging the country's sins while calling it to the higher ground that extends from the founding of the republic. No less a figure than Thomas Jefferson -- who constructed that wall of separation between church and state but who worried a good deal about questions of the divine -- worried openly about the retribution that would befall a nation that permitted slavery.

"The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other," wrote Jefferson in 1781's Notes on the State of Virginia, where he asked, "(Can) the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever."

The wrath of God brought down on a country that permits slavery? A nation damned by its original sin? God damn America?

America has been blessed from its beginnings by champions of liberty, by abolitionists and civil rights marchers, by suffragists and union organizers, by anti-imperialists like Mark Twain and challengers of the military-industrial complex like Dwight Eisenhower. Necessarily, these patriots have said some tough things about American leaders and policies. They have acknowledged flaws that are self-evident. Yet, they have not done so out of hatred. Rather, they have loved America sufficiently to believe it can be as good and as just as figures so diverse and yet in some very important ways so similar as Thomas Jefferson and Jeremiah Wright have taught us.

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"Obama to 82 year old, 'Will you be my running mate?'" (video)


Horseface18, video (02:15):
"Don't hit on Hillary, bring us all back, let her do that stuff. Leave her alone, you don't need to do that, you are higher than that. Bring us up higher than that," Weiss said with 82 years of experience. Wilmington , NC. April 28, 2008

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"The Wright Speech" (video)


Video (06:58):
Barack Obama, April 29, 2008.

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Gutter Politics

You can view my latest post on the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog here.

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"Obama Heads for Superdelegate Edge"

Wall Street Journal:
Despite his loss in Pennsylvania and other campaign bumps, Barack Obama is heavily favored to win what will be the final and decisive contest for the Democratic presidential nomination -- the "invisible primary" for the convention votes of party leaders.

[Barack Obama]

The reasons say a lot about these superdelegates' calculations for the November elections -- the presidential one, or their own.

The 795 superdelegates, who can vote for any nominee, fall into one of two groups -- the elected and the unelected.

Sen. Obama has taken the lead among elected officials, and Monday got the endorsement of New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, though Sen. Hillary Clinton will counter Tuesday with a commitment from Gov. Mike Easley, whose North Carolina holds the next primary. Sen. Clinton still leads by double digits among nonelected national and state party officials, but her edge has been narrowing.

The elected are the party's 28 governors, 234 House members, 49 senators and assorted big-city mayors and state officeholders. Democrats in both camps say that for many, these superdelegates' decisions to endorse someone -- or stay uncommitted -- reflect their answer to the question: What is best for my political future?

The nonelected superdelegates are the more than 400 national and state party officers of the Democratic National Committee. While many lean to the candidate who would draw more votes in their states, Democrats say that for most the bigger question is this: Who has the best chance of winning the White House?

Among elected officials, Sen. Obama leads in endorsements from governors and senators. He is behind among House members by one, but both camps expect him to pull ahead unless he does badly in next Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries. If he doesn't stumble, enough elected Democrats are expected to back Sen. Obama after the last primaries June 3 to give him the delegate majority needed for nomination.

Many of them see Sen. Obama as more electable than Sen. Clinton. But even those who don't have been impressed by his grass-roots organizing and fund raising and the legions of new voters he has attracted, particularly younger and African-American voters.

The politicians -- especially Democrats with significant African-American populations or college campuses in their districts -- see benefit for themselves in these new voters. By contrast, many see Sen. Clinton's alienating some general-election voters.

A Democratic strategist to congressional candidates cites Sen. Clinton's high negative ratings in opinion polls. Politicians "all think Obama will stimulate African-American turnout, and they all know there's no way she gets independents or Republicans," says the strategist, who is unaligned in the presidential race.

Sen. Clinton still leads in endorsements from nonelected officials. Many have known her and former President Clinton since the couple's White House years, or worked for them then.

The Clinton campaign is counting on this group to be fertile ground to sow doubts about Sen. Obama's electability, citing his weaker showings in big states and among working-class whites, seniors and Roman Catholics.

The Obama camp late last week countered by emailing superdelegates a memo citing state polls to argue that either Democrat could beat Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, in the big states where Sen. Clinton beat Sen. Obama in the primaries, such as California and New York. But Sen. Obama, the memo contended, would "put new states in play."

His campaign also just announced a 50-state voter mobilization. That reflects another pitch to nonelected party officials: That Sen. Obama would work to build the party even in Republican "red" states, and has the money to do it, while Sen. Clinton focuses only on Democratic "blue" states and battlegrounds such as Ohio.

Interviews with party officials suggest this appeal has effectively exploited lingering resentments that the DNC, under President Clinton, abandoned the red states. "Obama has made it absolutely clear he's committed to the 50-state strategy, and the Clintons obviously aren't," says Nebraska party chairman Steve Achepohl, who endorsed Sen. Obama last week. "That's a major factor for all the party people in smaller states."

About 300 of the 795 superdelegates remain uncommitted; they don't have to endorse anyone until Aug. 27 at the Democrats' Denver convention. Party Chairman Howard Dean, among others, is urging them to go public after the primaries end.

Many have remained uncommitted either because they aren't sold on either candidate or, given the close race and each side's passions, they don't want to anger large blocs of voters. Also, House Democratic leaders have begun advising vulnerable Democrats against endorsing anyone.

In recent special elections in Mississippi and Louisiana, Republicans sought to tie Democrats to statements by Sen. Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whose sermons have been criticized as unpatriotic and racially charged.

"The ones that are squirming the most are a lot of these freshmen congressmen," says longtime California consultant Bill Carrick. A number were elected from Republican-leaning districts in 2006, when Democrats regained control of Congress. "All of them assume they're going to have pretty competitive campaigns in the fall, and they don't want to have to tell one group of their constituents that they're going with the other candidate."

[The Other Primary]

When the year began, about 200 of the superdelegates had taken sides, most for Sen. Clinton. Her campaign, including Mr. Clinton, had quickly signed up Clinton-administration veterans, others on the DNC and elected officials in Arkansas and New York, so that she initially led Sen. Obama by more than 100.

But the Obama campaign correctly figured that she had gotten the easy pickings and that the rest were up for grabs. Once he began winning more states than she did, her endorsements slowed to a trickle, and her lead eroded to less than two dozen now.

Bob Mulholland, a longtime California party official, says he "absolutely" will remain uncommitted until after June 3, so voters speak first. Then the candidate with the most delegates "is going to be in very good shape to get the superdelegates."

Many superdelegates increasingly seem to share the view that ultimately they should support the candidate with the most pledged delegates. Almost certainly that will be Sen. Obama. "They argue that if the party insiders took this away from the winner of the voters' process, that could be disastrous for the party. And I agree with that," says Mr. Achepohl, the Nebraska Democratic chairman.

Clinton supporters privately contend the argument that party leaders should rubber-stamp the pledged-delegate winner reflects racial pressures. They complain that Obama backers are fanning talk of mutiny among Democrats' most loyal constituency -- black voters -- if Sen. Obama loses his bid to be the first African-American nominee of a major party after he had won the most pledged delegates. That could imperil Democrats' majority in Congress.

The Clinton side argues superdelegates should decide independently, as party rules intended, to guard against nominating an unelectable standard-bearer.

"Superdelegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party's strongest nominee in the general election," wrote 20 pro-Clinton fund-raisers last month to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They were protesting her pronouncements that superdelegates should ratify the pledged-delegates winner, and pointedly reminded her of their past contributions to congressional Democrats.

The letter angered Rep. Pelosi, but Clinton advisers say the shot across the bow was worth it.

They believe Rep. Pelosi is for Sen. Obama, rather than impartial as she insists. Their aim was the audience of uncommitted superdelegates.


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"Politics: The Wright stuff"

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board:
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's defense of himself ought to be welcomed as an exercise of his rights. We have no idea how it will actually play into the campaign. But as pundits suggest, any mention of Sen. Barack Obama's pastor leads to the media's Pavlovian response: Run sensational video loops, check ratings, charge advertisers. Repeat.

As predictable as that may be, it's up to voters to decide how to respond, especially in deciding what, if any, significance the whole overhyped subject has to the Democrats' primary battle. Most will never like the excerpts but many already view them in a wider context of African-American history, religious and civic. A wider acquaintance with Wright and his work may neutralize the discussion.

We're certainly no experts on Wright, his congregation or Chicago. But the narrative of a wild, angry anti-American extremist doesn't ring true. As some have noted, Wright volunteered to join the Marines in the early 1960s, went on to become a Navy cardiopulmonary technician and earned letters of commendation for his White House service. A white congregant recently wrote about how Wright took hours to talk his African-American fiancée out of breaking their engagement over concerns about marrying outside her race. They've been married 25 some years.

Over the course of a long public career, Wright has misspoken a time or two. Americans can listen to him directly address the criticisms and go on to have a presidential election that revolves around greater matters.

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"Washington Obama supporters in Oregon"

dinazina's diary on Washblog:
Oregon for Obama asked for support from neighboring states in preparation for their May 20 primary election. Many have been showing up, eager to make that state's primary the blowout victory for Obama that the Washington caucuses were in February.

Continued below:


These three cheerful volunteers had come from California. I love the friendliness, optimism and diversity of the Obama campaign volunteers. Some are longtime activists, others first-timers.

The bus from Seattle was full up, so my husband and I drove by ourselves more than 3 and a half hours, starting the night before. I'm sorry we missed out on the cameraderie of the bus trip. Brian blogged about that group's day: Washington for Obama bus trip to Oregon

We arrived at the buzzing Portland Obama office on an appropriately brilliant sunny day. From there, we were directed 15 miles southeast to the suburb of Oregon City in Klakamas County.


The Oregon City office featured this jigsawed decoration.


This area has been registering voters like crazy. This sign says that for the first time Klikitat county has more voters registered Dem instead of Republican. Only a few days remain for voters to register or update their registration.


This is the Oregon City organizer, Zach, who is a staffer from Chicago. Zach said he originally supported Obama's opponent in one of his early races. But after getting to know Obama, he "drank the Kool-aid and never looked back."

We heard that Bill Clinton was to speak to voters in Oregon City that day, and one volunteer was eager to infiltrate this "enemy territory".

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
Zach had a mission for us; we were to canvass in a Republican area about 10 miles away, using the list of R and I voters they'd identified as "switchable." It's a closed Primary; only registered Dems can vote for Obama or Clinton, so Obama leaners were to be encouraged to re-register. Maybe because we are white and middle-aged, not wearing shirts emblazoned with big Obama logos, we were in the demographic suitable to enter this less than hospitable territory.

I would've preferred to simply register voters, not attempt to flip Republicans and Indies. But we agreed to try. Zach said if that was no good, we could head to the nearby public library or park.

CAMELOT REPUBLICANS
We had little success in the doorbelling. The most interesting exchange with a Republican took place later, in front of a public library. I'll get to that shortly.

The targeted neighborhood was a brand-new suburban subdivisions in Wilsonville, upscale residences and fancy landscaping, cul-de-sacs and curving streets named "Camelot Street," "Lancelot Circle," "Guinevere Lane," etc.

As usual on a Saturday, half the residents weren't home. Of the rest, they were very polite yet aloof. All said they were registered, thank you very much. When I asked if anyone in the household might want to switch their affiliation, no one did; nor did they want to tell us their presidential preferences.

One guy said "You've got my vote - you better talk to my neighbors". Yet he did not want to switch his registration to Democrat - said he really was busy. So maybe he meant Obama had his vote in November, but not just yet.

I'm guessing that switching affilliation is a big step for a Republican, not something to be done on the spot at the suggestion of a couple of Democratic strangers with Obama buttons. Maybe neutral public territory is a better place to discuss politics than on someone's doorstep.

Inside the library, an Obama volunteer (sans buttons to appear neutral) had almost run out of registration forms, so we gave her a bunch of ours, for which she was grateful.

Outside the library, we encountered more potential voters to engage, most of whom were not Republicans.

Then we went to the park, where all the people we approached said they were registered and we got a bunch of "Go Obama!" remarks.

SURPRISING CONVERSATION WITH REPUBLICAN
The first individual we encountered in front of the library turned out to be a pleasant challenge for my persuasive skills.

A man appearing to be in his late 20s said he was a registered Republican; I offered a registration form and said he could re-register as a Democrat if he wanted to participate in the Democratic primary,

He said, "Actually, I've been tempted to do that. But I'm undecided who to vote for. What would you say is the main diffference between Obama and Clinton?"

I was surprised that an R would even consider voting for a Clinton, but this was an interesting question. I remembered that David Domke's "Talking American " seminar for Democratic activists emphasized persuading through personal language, inspiring American myths and positive framing.

I said, "If I had to boil it down to one thing, the biggest difference for me is the trustworthiness of the candidates -- I find Obama more trustworthy, consistent, and honest in his positions."

Actually, another fundamental difference is that Obama is building a grassroots movement; the Clintons are authoritarian. But since many Republicans approve of authoritarianism, I instinctively changed my first point. Everyone, including authoritarians, wants to believe their leader is trustworthy.

The man, let's call him "Fred," said "Yes, I've considered the two most honest candidates to be Obama and Romney. I was really disappointed when Romney dropped out."

I nodded as if agreeing with him, but inside my jaw dropped to my ankles. From what I understand, former MA Governor Mitt Romney is a notoriously opportunistic flip-flopper and panderer who reversed many of his positions when he started running for President to promote himself as a super-conservative. But maybe you wouldn't realize that by depending on the mainstream press coverage.

Fred continued: "What about Iraq, is Obama going to end it or not end it, I can't tell?"

I told him: "Obama has said he'll withdraw the troops in 2009, the same year he's inaugurated. To me it means a lot that he was endorsed by Bill Richardson, the antiwar candidate who wants immediate withdrawl, and also by Sam Nunn, a conservative military and foreign affairs expert from way back since the 60s. My sense is that many foreign policy experts will be advising him, and I trust him to do what he promised. The details will depend on the situation at the time he takes office."

Fred said, "What about their healthcare plans -- I don't know the difference?"

I wondered if Fred was planted as a test for me to promote Obama's campaign, although I couldn't spot the hidden camera or microphone. I decided not to mention my preference for a future single-payer government-subsidized plan because Republicans are very suspicious of socialized medicine.

I said: " As you know if you saw Sicko, a lot of people, even WITH insurance, aren't being covered. Their claims are denied and people are being bankrupted because of healthcare costs."

"As I understand it, Obama's plan automatically enrolls children in a government-sponsored insurance program, while reducing insurance and drug costs so that people can afford to enroll themselves. Clinton's plan has a mandate to enroll everyone in the program no matter what. I'm not sure what happens if they cant afford to pay."

"It's complicated, because the insurance and drug companies have their hooks into many levels of government policy. The way I look at it, the President is not the one who writes the legislation. That will be hashed out in the Congress over a period of years."

"But I trust Obama to approve of the legislation that makes the most sense for the most people, because he isn't indebted to the drug and insurance industries."

Fred: "I'm hearing about something Obama said about small-town people and their guns and religion, what's that all about?"

I said: "Obama was asked at a private fundraiser: how come rural and small-town Pennsylvania voters aren't supporting you? He answered that people like that have learned to distrust politicians and government - with good reason - so they tend to rely on or "cling to" cultural traditions like religion, guns, social divisions, that sort of thing."

I said Obama certainly did not disparage a group of people when he said that, but the media presented the taped words in a negative way. Obama said he regretted the wording, and explained what he did mean.

Fred said: "Yeah, I figured that must've been taken out of context."

I expected the next question to be about Reverend Wright, but that was never brought up.

Instead he said: "Another thing is, well, Obama just seems too good to be true, the way some people talk about him."

I said, "Yes -- I've had that thought too. You've got to figure every politician is compromised somehow, none are perfect.

"I look at the way Obama has run his campaign. Seems like he has run it the way he promised: staying positive, not taking money from the big lobbyists, funding the campaign through small donations, making everyone feel included. So I feel he's earned my trust."

In the end, Fred took the voter registration form but he declined to fill it out on the spot for us. We reminded him it needed to be in the county office by Tuesday.

That was a not a lot of helpfulness to Obama, for a 400 mile round trip though...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DINA FOR OBAMA DELEGATE
I've been challenged to consider my place in the Obama Campaign, as someone who intially supported John Edwards and who is competing as a national Delegate for Obama with many exceptional candidates. Obama speaks repeatedly of a coalition, and I am part of that.

Edwards and Obama have much in common that appealed to me. I feel it's their approach that differs, a matter of personality; whereas Hillary Clinton is the antithesis of both, in my mind.

Because of my loud opposition to the Iraq invasion and all that followed, war hawk Hillary was always last on my list of Democratic candidates. Due to her recent actions, she has managed to drop even lower in my estimation. Remember my astonishing conversation with my Hillary-supporting Aunt in Pennsylvania?

Edwards' combative Defender-of-the People approach was gratifying to my sense of outrage at the trashing of our government institutions, pre-emptive war and cruelty, rapacious corporations, lying cheating politicians, the glorification of bigotry and dogmatism and hypocrisy and stupidity. I wanted these government-sponsored criminals CLOBBERED with the Hammer of Justice. I felt because JRE was no longer a sitting Senator, he'd be free to do and say what was needed, without the political constrictions of the Senators.

It's clear now, that approach would never build the mass movement that's necessary to propel a candidate into national leadership. Most people turn away from the prospect of more years of fighting and struggling and division and retribution, even if in the cause of justice. My husband always preferred Obama, probably for this reason.

Obama's inclusive, coalition-building, diplomatic and persuasive approach: is it "too good to be true?" Obama seems to transcend ordinary categories and common wisdom. The fact that millions have enthusiastically gotten behind him is the first step to realizing that vision. I felt this myself at the Key arena rally before the WA caucus.

To me, the vision is realized in the triumph of the people's and the planet's common interests, not the interests of profit-greedy corporations.

In other words...yes, we can. The Kool-aid is refreshing...even if some prefer lime, others lemon or grape. Really...guava is good.

I'm firmly committed to helping Barack Obama achieve that position of leadership he's earned; as a National Delegate if possible, or any other way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ART AND OBAMA
At the Obama office, the volunteers were talking about this Obama oil painting auction on Ebay. The artist is pledging to give 10% of the auction results to the Obama campaign. Snootily perhaps, I'm not impressed by either the painting or the offer. The author expects to get a $2500 (minimum) offer? I think not.


As always, when I feel passion I make art. This is the first side of my banner, stitched in a variety of textiles. The reverse (in progress) is a portrait of Obama in Ultrasude, with graphic text in many textiles. I would sell my artwork to the highest bidder (keeping it in Washington state, of course) and donate ALL the proceeds to Obama.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As a designer, I like to interpret campaign graphics. Notice the surprising contrast between the fat, condensed, in-your-face font from Obama's Senate campaign, which seem to overpower his friendly countenance, and the refined, elegant Roman letterforms of today, more in tune with Obama's personality and message. They create a classic European look for his foreign name, making it more acceptable to Americans, perhaps.

I would've made the weight of the letters just a little bolder, to balance the strength of the circular logo. Because of that, I like the small caps of the February sign at the top.

The logo was a stroke of genius. The circle is a shape that calls attention to itself no matter where it appears. The shapes within the circle are symbols that even a child can recognize and draw. The pale sunrise within the circle, renewal and rebirth on a field of sky blue (rather than flag blue); the red & white stripes like those of the flag are curved in such a way to be interpreted as a plowed field of growing crops on the bosom of Mother Earth.

So, rather than agressively patriotic or miltaristic as are some campaign logos, the logo represents our shared humanity.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

"Obama's Outreach To Republicans"

You can view my latest guest post on the Northwest Progressive Institute Official blog here.

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"Reverend Jeremiah Wright National Press Club pt.1" (video) (Updated)


UPDATE:
Part 5 is here and Part 6 is here.
UPDATE: Part 2 of the video is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here.
UPDATE: Here's the transcript.

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG, video (10:42):
April 28, 2008 C-SPAN 2
Howie P.S.: I'm still looking for parts 2, etc. and I will post them here if I locate them.

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"Reverend Wright at NAACP pt.1" (video)


VOTERSTHINKdotORG, video (10:05):
From April 27, 2008 FOX News.
Howie P.S.: You can watch Pts. 2-4 here.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Why Is It So Quiet After the Moyers-Wright Interview?"

Dave Winer:
I expected a roaring debate in the political blogosphere this morning, and on cable news after the Friday night Bill Moyers interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Instead, there's eerie quiet.
The most I could find was this post on Protein Wisdom saying that Moyers didn't play hardball with Wright. It's true, he didn't. Instead he did what I wish more journalists would, he interviewed him in a way that helped us get to know the person. He let him speak his piece, so we could listen.

There's so much to admire about Rev. Wright, but first, the shame of the professional media, who hounded not only Wright, but members of his congregation, including a woman in a hospice, to try to uncover more dirt about Wright and thereby embarrass Barack Obama.

Wright isn't running for office, he points out, it isn't his job to get our vote, it's his job to help his congregation, to help them understand the world they live in, to help them do better in that world, and to prepare them for what they believe comes in the afterlife.

A picture named wringer-bdy.jpgWatching Wright, I wondered if Sean Hannity's preacher could stand up to the kind of objectification this man has withstood. What about Tim Russert's? How about the people who are close to Charlie Gibson and Andrea Mitchell? And how about the CEOs of Time-Warner, GE, the Sulzbergers and the Murdochs? These people have never run for office, they've never been vetted or elected. Could they come out so well after being put through the wringer that Wright has been through.

I think the silence comes from the fact that there still is some humanity in the press and in the blogosphere, and those who watched Moyers and really listened to Wright, realized that he's not a liability to Obama, he's an asset. At least some of the polish, the quiet confidence, self-respect, intelligence and grace we see in Obama must have rubbed off this man.

Watching Wright gave me pride in being an American, and shame at the same time, for coming from a country so willing to objectify and villify this person before checking out whether the characterization was accurate. Even the supposedly courageous and thorough NY Times calls his oratory "racist" in an editorial in today's paper. Based on what? I've watched the sermons that have been excerpted; if these are racist, then every other preacher in the US is racist too.

Wright says the religion of the people on the deck of a slave ship must be different from the religion from the people under the deck. On the deck, god is justifying the practice of slavery, and below -- god gives them hope that someday they will be free. My people, the Jews, understand this very well, it's part of our tradition. We've just celebrated the holiday of Passover, a feast that's all about the pride of an enslaved people. If we're still telling the story, passing it down from generation to generation, after 3000 years, why should we be critical of the African-Americans who are telling the story of their enslavement, which ended only 145 years ago, and whose manifestations are still with us today.

We, the United States, have made mistakes, and those mistakes are as much who we are as our triumphs. The failures leave behind people and their culture, their music, their legends, their religion and their hopes. Sure it seems strange when you hear it for the first time, but that's good! Because the second time it's not so strange, and eventually it becomes part of our melting pot, and enriches all our lives.

If you haven't watched the Wright interview, make the time to do so. You won't be sorry.

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"Michelle at Westside School in Indiana" (video)

Gannett, video (04:11).

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"Barack Obama interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace" (with video)

Raw Replay, with video (35:33),(scroll down for video).
Howie P.S.: In his haste to get dressed for the interview, Chris must have forgotten to put on his flag pin.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

"3-on-3 with Barack Obama" (video)


BarackObamadotcom, video (01:31):
Barack hit the courts at the Maple Crest Middle School for a pick up game of basketball with the winners of the 3-on-3 Challenge for Change voter registration drive.
Howie P.S.: Herbie Ziskend, Obama motorcade coordinator, provides the gushing commentary.

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"Results Center"--4/26/08

"Obama loss may not be about race, but gender"

Jonathan Tilove (Newhouse News Service via Seattle Times):
There has been much reporting and commentary in the aftermath of the Pennsylvania primary about Sen. Barack Obama's failure to "close the deal" with white voters.

But an analysis of Pennsylvania results indicates that Obama's trouble may not be so much with whites — working class or otherwise — but with white women. And their overwhelming preference for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may have less to do with any resistance to the prospect of a first black president, and more to do with their powerful desire to see the equally history-making election of a first female president.
"If you really look at the numbers, it's clear that this is a gender impact," said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the nonpartisan Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington. Obama's perceived weakness with the white working class, Bositis said, is largely an artifact of Clinton's powerful appeal to women, who comprise the greater number of working-class voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

"The media seems to want to read race into a lot of things that are going on when it may actually have little to do with it," Bositis said.

White women, according to exit polls, made up 46 percent of those voting Tuesday, and Clinton carried them 68 percent to 32 percent.

By contrast, she carried white men by 57 percent to 43 percent, and they made up 33 percent of those voting.

Moreover, exit polls found, 14 percent of the Pennsylvania electorate were women who said the candidates' gender was important in deciding how to vote. Clinton won that group by 77 percent to 23 percent. Bositis said that means those voters accounted for 7.6 percentage points of her overall advantage over Obama, or 82 percent of her total victory margin of 9.3 points.

Yet, rather than being read as evidence of a Clinton strength, these results mostly have been interpreted as a worrying sign for Obama's ultimate general-election chances.

For Obama, Bositis' analysis is both bad and good.

The bad news is that white female voters, who exercise power in the primaries because of their relatively high turnout, continue to rally behind Clinton. They could continue to frustrate Obama's efforts to end the contest before the close of the primary season in June.

The good news for Obama is that his defeat in Pennsylvania, and his decisive loss among white voters Tuesday, may not indicate, as some observers and Clinton partisans have contended, a fatal weakness with white voters that could doom his chances against Sen. John McCain in November.

Instead, his poor fortunes with white women may be of a piece with Clinton's dismal showing with black voters, male and female. If Clinton hasn't been able to compete for black votes with a man poised to become the first black president, so too Obama, to a lesser extent, may have trouble with white female voters as he attempts to end the candidacy of the person who would become the first female president.

Despite current hard feelings, Bositis said, Obama would better McCain among female voters — who have been trending Democratic for many years — in the general election, just as most black voters ultimately would vote for Clinton if she were the nominee.

Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, who has been working hard for Clinton as head of the NOW political-action committee, agreed.

"There will be some healing to be done — there's more than a little bad blood on both sides." But, she said, she can't imagine many Democratic women deserting to McCain.

The tendency to view the Pennsylvania vote through the lens of race might be understandable.

As Obama has been closing in on becoming the first black major-party nominee in U.S. history, his campaign has been tossed by racial controversy surrounding the inflammatory sermons of his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and a speech Obama delivered in Philadelphia attempting to place the Wright controversy in a broader context of race in America.

A subsequent controversy arose over remarks he made in California that were criticized as being condescending toward whites in small-town Pennsylvania.

But polls in Pennsylvania and nationally did not seem to record a profound negative shift in Obama's fortunes. And one would presume if there were the makings of a racial backlash against Obama, it would not be less pronounced among white men than white women.

In a pre-election Temple Poll, which completed its surveying April 9, political scientist Michael Hagen found that white men liked Obama better than they liked Clinton, although it was close. But white women had a far more favorable view of Clinton than of Obama. The only category of white women who preferred Obama were those younger than 30.

"I think a lot of people who've been thinking about this race in Pennsylvania have been so attentive to the obvious excitement of the Obama candidacy, we may have underestimated to some degree the excitement of Sen. Clinton's supporters," Hagen said. "It is an historic candidacy, after all."

For Obama, Pennsylvania was a particularly tough state because its population is whiter, far older and more working class than the national average — perfect for Clinton, who throughout the primaries has done better with older voters, working-class white voters and women.

And Clinton's support among women also may have been stoked by dismissive treatment in the news media of her candidacy, and calls for her to quit.

"Certainly the media coverage has gotten some hackles up," Gandy of the NOW said.

Or, as Ann Lewis, a senior campaign adviser to Clinton, put it: "There is a real anger among women at what people see as a pattern of trivialization of Hillary, of making jokes at her expense and minimizing her seriousness. And every time they see something like that, boy it reminds them of the times in their own lives when they've faced the same thing."

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Bill Moyers & Jeremiah Wright (video)


PBS, transcript and video Pt. 1 (30:13) and Pt. 2 (22:39):

Bill Moyers interviews the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in his first broadcast interview with a journalist since he became embroiled in a controversy for his remarks and his relationship with Barack Obama. Wright, who retired in early 2008 as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Senator Obama is a member, has been at the center of controversy for comments he made during sermons, which surfaced in the press in March.

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"Obama Takes Questions on Sean Bell, Clyburn and Wright"

WaPo:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Sen. Barack Obama weighed in today on the acquittals of New York City police detectives charged in fatally shooting an unarmed black Queens man, Sean Bell, saying he believed that the verdict needed to be respected and urging those who disagreed with it not to resort to violence. That would be "completely unacceptable and counterproductive," Obama said.
"Well, look, obviously there was a tragedy in New York. I said at the time, without benefit of all the facts before me, that it looked like a possible case of excessive force. The judge has made his ruling, and we're a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down," he said in response to a question at a gas station in Indianapolis, where he was holding a news conference.

"The most important thing for people who are concerned about that shooting is to figure out how do we come together and assure those kinds of tragedies don't happen again," he continued. ... "Resorting to violence to express displeasure over a verdict is something that is completely unacceptable and counterproductive."

The verdict, which has touched off a storm of protest in New York, arrives at a delicate time in the campaign for Obama. After his loss to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary, some Democrats are quietly worrying whether Obama's difficulty in winning over working-class white voters could pose a problem for the party if he is the nominee.

Obama addressed that challenge, along with several other racially oriented questions, at his wide-ranging news conference, standing before a gas pump. He dismissed the comments made by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in an interview this week, in which Wright labeled as political posturing Obama's speech criticizing incendiary snippets of Wright's sermons.

"I've commented extensively on my profound disagreements with some of Reverend Wright's comments. I understand that he may not agree with me on my assessment of his comments, and that's to be expected," Obama said. "He's obviously free to express his opinion on these issues. I've expressed mine very clearly -- I think that what he said in several instances was objectionable, and I understand why the American people took offense. As I indicated before, I took offense."

Obama also declined to engage with comments made this week by Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking black member of the House of Representatives, who said that Bill Clinton's actions during the campaign may have left an irreparable breach between Clinton and the black community.

"I never believe in irreparable breaches. I'm a big believer in reconciliation and redemption," he said. "So, look, this has been a fierce contest. I've said repeatedly, come August there will be a whole lot of people standing on a stage with a lot of balloons and confetti raining down on the Democratic nominee, and people are going to be excited about taking on John McCain in November."

And he generally downplayed the challenge of winning white, working-class voters, saying he was confident that many of them would support him after he had a chance to draw a contrast with John McCain.

"There have been concerns in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but in both of those states, if you look at the polling, those Democrats are more than likely to vote for me in a general election. They preferred Senator Clinton, although we did better in Pennsylvania than in Ohio," he said. "Bottom line is, I think people across the board are figuring out how are we lowering gas prices, how are we putting people back to work, are we going to make sure we're dealing with the war in Iraq and starting to bring our troops home now. I don't think there's a huge difference between the black working, the white working class, suburban, urban rural. I think people want to see the country make progress. So what I'm going to continue to do is address issues that affect people's bottom lines, the issues they're talking about around the kitchen table."

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"Obama For America Campaign Headquarters" (video)


BarackObamadotcom, video (05:36):
CBS Nightly News with Katie Couric visits Obama Campaign Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
Katie follows up with this post. While I was on BarackObama.com's YouTube channel they were posting this video from MSNBC, "Chuck Todd: 'Impossible for Obama to Lose His Lead."

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"Obama-DNC Fundraising Deal"

Mark Halperin (The Page-TIME):
After a series of discussions, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee have decided to file papers with the Federal Election Commission establishing a “joint fundraising agreement.” Under the law, such a committee can accept up to $28,500 from individuals, most of which would go to the DNC.
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has already formed such an alliance with the Republican National Committee. Their group — called Victory — was created in March after McCain clinched the GOP nomination and is headed by McCain adviser Carly Fiorina.

Sources say the DNC has also held talks with Hillary Clinton’s campaign about forming a separate vehicle with her, but that no deal has been struck.

The fact that the Obama campaign is moving forward and Clinton is not at this time reflects certain important realities: Obama’s team is more confident that he will win the nomination than is Clinton’s — and Obama’s campaign has the necessity and luxury of thinking about and planning for the general election to come.

As part of that preparation, the campaign is thinking about how to divide up roles and responsibilities between the campaign’s Chicago headquarters and the DNC in Washington.

The DNC has stood out during this election cycle as the one major party entity that has not been raising money like gangbusters, and officials in both camps hope the joint agreement can allow the DNC to tap into Obama’s extraordinary leverage and popularity with donors, particularly after he secures the nomination — assuming he does.

The committee formed under the agreement is still in search of a final name.

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"Q&A: David Plouffe"

National Journal:
National Journal's Linda Douglass sat down with David Plouffe, Barack Obama's campaign manager, for the April 25 edition of "National Journal On Air." This is a transcript of their conversation.

Q: I'd like to welcome David Plouffe. He is the campaign manager for Barack Obama. Welcome.

Plouffe: Thanks, Linda. Thank you for having me.

Q: Thank you for joining us. Let's talk a little bit about what seems to be "Topic A" among Democrats, and that is Barack Obama's electability. It is the thing that many Democrats are talking about -- journalists as well. Obviously, concerns have been raised, strong concerns, because for the second time in a row in a big state, he's lost with whites, blue-collar voters, Catholics and, of course, those older voters as well. But with respect to the base of the party -- the white blue-collar Catholic in a certain sense -- why shouldn't the Democrats be worried about this?

Plouffe: Well, we're happy to have a conversation about electability. I'd start with this, which is, if you look, we've had 46 contests now and Barack Obama has shown real appeal in all segments of the electorate. And I do think if you look at some of the voters that are voting for Senator [Hillary Rodham] Clinton, you know our favorable/unfavorable, our internal traits are very strong, and it would be like suggesting somehow all the Democrats voting for us wouldn't vote for her if she were the nominee. The lion's share of Democrats are going to be supporting the Democratic nominee.

The real question is, who can appeal to independents against a candidate like John McCain whose got unique appeal for a Republican candidate against independents. Who can bring out younger voters? Who can create a favorable turnout dynamic? This doesn't have to be a radical exercise. Let's look at where the general election matchups stand now. In Oregon, in Washington, in New Mexico, in Nevada, in Wisconsin, in Iowa, in Minnesota, in New Hampshire, in Maine, in any number of states that we either have to win or we have to put in play -- Virginia, North Carolina -- we are performing more strongly than Senator Clinton. So I think that there is a lot of navel-gazing about this going on. I think if you look at what the election is likely to be with only a Democratic nominee, a Republican nominee -- McCain adopting all of the Bush policies -- the Democratic Party voters are going to vote in huge numbers for the Democratic nominee. The question is, who can turn out more of them, and who can do best amongst independents and moderate Republicans, and we think undeniably that's Senator Obama.

Q: Well, you've talked here about why he is electable. Obviously, the Clinton campaign and Clinton herself are making strong arguments about why he is not electable, pointing to this base question that I just asked you, pointing to the fact that she's done better in the big states. What kinds of arguments are you going to be making to superdelegates about her electability?

Plouffe: Well, let me just on the big state question -- you know, they point to California, New York, Massachusetts. We are going to carry those states comfortably. Yes, she did win Ohio and Pennsylvania in the primary. If you look at polling matchups of McCain versus Obama and Clinton in Pennsylvania, we perform roughly equal. We've won a lot of big battleground states -- Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington state, Iowa, Virginia. North Carolina, by the way, is going to be a big battleground state in 12 days, so I guess by their definition they need to win there. So this is kind of a ridiculous argument that, you know, they are trying to latch on to.

I mean, I think her electability issues are the following: she's got a high unfavorable rating. It would be the highest unfavorable rating for any presidential nominee in recent history. Fairly or not, the majority of voters don't trust Senator Clinton. Those two points are related, obviously: her unfavorable rating, and the sense that voters do not find her honest or trustworthy. And I do think she has limited appeal with independent voters. A Democratic nominee has to be competitive with independent voters. Ideally you'd win them. John McCain has unique appeal with independent voters. Senator Clinton has difficulty matching up with him with independent voters. She's got less appeal to Republicans, and I also think she's not going to create the kind of turnout that we will in the African-American community and with all voters under 40.

So I think she's got real limited range here, and we think that we will be just as strong as she will be in the core battleground states like Pennsylvania, like Ohio. But the question is, in Iowa, in Wisconsin, in New Mexico, in Nevada -- these are states that have always been very close, that a Democratic nominee has to carry. And we're doing much better than she is against John McCain.

Q: Well, one of the things to which some Democrats point -- the Clinton campaign has not said this publicly at least, but one certainly hears it in talking to supporters in more of a background way. Look at the racial polarization in the last several contests -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Mississippi -- is that going to be a problem? Is race going to be a problem for Barack Obama in the general election?

Plouffe: We really don't think so. I mean the vast, vast majority of voters who would not vote for Barack Obama in November based on race are probably firmly in John McCain's camp already. And I think if you look at the Democratic voters who are voting for Senator Clinton in some of these states, when you sort of look beneath it and you project how this is going to happen, Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee. He is going to be articulating policies and ideas that they believe in. They won't agree with John McCain on issues like the economy and health care. And so I think that we are going to get the vast, vast majority of Democratic voters.

And, you know, I think if you look at -- we have won white voters, particularly white voters under 60, in a lot of states. We've won white men voters in most of the states we've competed in, and, you know, again, if you look at our favorable/unfavorable ratings and the characteristics and the traits with some of these voters that have voted for Senator Clinton in recent primaries, you know they are strong and they are going to be supportive of us in the fall.

Now, listen, this is a heated contest. So our supporters, the Clinton supporters -- this question of will you vote for the other person in the election in the fall -- you know, there's hard feelings. So a lot of people are saying no, but we seem to forget history. There's always hard feelings, and then the party comes together. And I think everyone ought to take a deep breath here and understand that the Democratic nominee is going to get the majority of Democratic voters. The question is, who can do best with independents and moderate Republicans, and who can create the best dynamic for turnout. If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, I think turnout amongst African-Americans, turnout amongst all voters under 40, and our ability to register new voters is going to be a very important piece of the puzzle.

Q: You've heard Hillary Clinton's advisers say that if she loses Indiana, it may well be over for her. If Barack Obama should somehow lose North Carolina, would he then have a problem?

Plouffe: Well, first of all, we assume this contest will go through June 3. We're already campaigning actively in all the contests through Montana and South Dakota. So, you know, we have no control over what Senator Clinton does or does not do. We're just going to campaign as hard as we can and get as many votes and delegates as we can. And we look at these as a body of contests. You know, I said this after March 4. There's 10 remaining contests. Some of them she'll do well in, some of them we'll do well in, but we look at it at the end of the day on June 3, where does the race stand?

Our record right now is 30 to 16 -- it's a pretty good record. Won a lot more delegates, which is the measure. That is the strategy. We built our strategy around the acquisition of delegates because that's our rules. So did Senator Clinton. This popular vote is kind of a red herring. I mean, if this was about popular vote, we would've campaigned harder in Illinois to drive up our numbers. We would have campaigned the entire 10 days before February 5 in California and New York to drive up our numbers. But what we did was campaign in a lot of states and a lot of congressional districts to try and get delegates, because that is what this is about. So, you know, they are very creative about establishing new metrics.

So we're just going to fight as hard as we can, and see where we are the morning of May 7. We'll see where we are the morning of June 4, but we don't think the fundamental structure of the campaign is changed, and we think, on electability, we have a terrific story to tell and a case to make, and we're going to make it as aggressively as we can. Because we think that Senator Obama gives the party the best chance to win the presidency and also the best chance to have good downballot atmospherics for the rest of the candidates.

Q: OK, well, thank you so much, David Plouffe, campaign manager for Barack Obama.

I really appreciate your joining us, and I hope you'll come back on the program again one of these days.

Plouffe: Thanks, Linda. Have a good afternoon.


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Friday Morning Obama Round-Up (excerpts)

"Obama Campaign's Memo to Superdelegates" (Wall Street Journal):
After 45 contests, Senator Obama has won more delegates, twice as many states and territories, and more of the popular vote. He's won in every part of the country, and has scored victories among every segment of electorate. He's inspired Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, building an unprecedented coalition of more than 1.4 million contributors. And when it comes to head-to-head match-ups versus John McCain, Obama performs better than Clinton in key states and shows the potential to put new states in play for Democrats up and down the ballot.
"Obama plans major drive to register voters" (Chicago Tribune):
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is planning to unveil a "massive" voter registration drive, one that will reach all 50 states and seeks to boost confidence in him as a potential general election candidate.

A senior campaign official is expected to provide details about the effort in a conference call Friday.
"Plouffe's Not Worried About Racial Polarization" (Marc Ambinder):
Now, listen, this is a heated contest. So our supporters, the Clinton supporters -- this question of will you vote for the other person in the election in the fall -- you know, there's hard feelings. So a lot of people are saying no, but we seem to forget history. There's always hard feelings, and then the party comes together.

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"A Next Generation Vent"

Andrew Sullivan (my new Best Friend):
A reader writes:

Isn’t it crazy how all the hope you’ve had for your country your whole life can be drained out of you in one primary election cycle? I’m 26 and if this thing takes the turn it looks like it’s going to take, this will be the very last time I submit myself to this. I’m not built for this sort of disappointment. After the last 8 years, I can’t believe we are still trapped in the same gutter of fear and deception.

Maybe everyone was right about Obama. Maybe I have been naïve. The Clintons knew all along it would come to this. Maybe they didn’t expect it now, but they knew they’d have to get the White House this way. They’re just breaking out their General Election game early. And it’s genius. They ARE monsters.

But they are also wrong and it really is time to chill about the Clintons (memo to self: take your own advice).

Obama is not way to the "left" of the Clintons. (His only substantive policy difference with Clinton is on healthcare where is marginally to their right.) He obviously does care about working class voters, white and black. Why else would an Ivy League educated lawyer return to Chicago to work as a community organizer for the urban poor? He has a message and an approach that can unify - and no Democrat is going to win the White House by pivoting off white discomfort with a black man.

The next generation, meanwhile, needs to get real. This was never going to be easy or simple. Real change never is. Abandoning the process in the face of raw cynicism is what the Clintons want. They have to freeze out the millions of new voters if they are to retain their grip over their party. But the truth remains: with these millions of new voters and new donors, they can be defeated - and have been defeated. Despite massive advantages, the Clintons have been singularly unable to close the deal that was theirs' for the asking only six months ago.

What they're doing now is trying to out-psyche us. It's all they have left. Don't let them get into your head!

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Dwight Pelz: "It's time for us to end this"

NY Daily News:
"It's time for us to end this," added Dwight Pelz, Washington State party chairman and undecided superdelegate. "The candidates are tearing each other apart, and it's not good for the party. I think we need to have a candidate."

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Should Obama Play Rougher?"

Joe Klein brings the campaign talk down to sea level:
But part of the problem with editorial writers — and, truth to tell, columnists like me — is a narrow definition of the qualifications necessary to be President. It helps to be a warrior, for one thing. It helps to be able to take a punch and deliver one — even, sometimes, a sucker punch. A certain familiarity with life as it is lived by normal Americans is useful; a distance from the élite precincts of academia, where unrepentant terrorists can sip wine in good company, is essential. Hillary Clinton has learned these lessons the hard way; Barack Obama thinks they are "the wrong lessons." The nomination is, obviously, his to lose. But the presidency will not be won if he doesn't learn that the only way to reach the high-minded conversation he wants, and the country badly needs, is to figure out how to maneuver his way through the gutter.
Howie P.S.: The argument for restraint against Clinton and staying out of the "gutter" until the race against McCain is underway is about keeping the Clinton supporters on board, assuming Obama is the nominee.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Obama's across-the-board gains"

You can view my latest post on the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog here.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Barack Obama Post-Pennsylvania Primary Speech" (video)


Veracifier, video (06:17):
Barack Obama speech following Pennsylvania primary, April 22, 2008

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"The Near-Triumph Of Rovism"

You can view my latest guest post on The Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog here.

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"Norm Dicks to flip endorsement if Clinton doesn’t win 'big'"


David Goldstein (HA):
Speaking before a crowd of about a hundred Democrats at a fundraiser yesterday, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (WA-06) reportedly said that if Hillary Clinton wins “big” in today’s Pennsylvania primary, he believes the nominating contest will go all the way to the convention, but… if she does not win big — and given the current polling he has no expectation that she will — there would be no way the math could work for her, and he’d flip his endorsement to Barack Obama in order to help end the contest sooner rather than later.

Dicks did not provide details, but he left the impression with attendees that he has discussed this scenario with several of his fellow Congressional superdelegates, and that he is alone in neither his analysis nor his intentions.

So think of Dicks as the canary in the coal mine of the Clinton campaign; if he flips, other superdelegates will likely flip with him. And that would signal the end of Clinton’s presidential ambitions.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

"Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Praises Farrakhan and N.O.I." (video)


You can view my guest post on the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog here.

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"Obama for America - Pennsylvania Primary Watch Party!"


Karen Russell:
Calling all Obama supporters in the Greater Seattle Area! You have made the calls, sent postcards, raised money and worked hard to get the vote out in Pennsylvania.

Now, you are invited to a Pennsylvania Primary Results Watch Party. Come and celebrate all of our hard work. Come and chat about the race with fellow Obama supporters. Stand with the people of Pennsylvania as they stand for change. As always, kids are welcome! As my friend's toddler likes to say, "GOBAMA!"

As you know, Senator Obama had the largest rally of the primary campaign season in Philadelphia last Friday when more than 35,000 people came to listen to his message of unifying America. If the polls trends hold it looks like the results will be a lot closer than anyone could have imagined only 3 weeks ago!!
What:
Seattle Obama For America Pennsylvania Primary Watch Party
When:
Tuesday, April 22 at 5:00 PM until ...
Where:
F.X. McRory's Steak Chop & Oyster House
419 Occidental Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104

Please RSVP here:
Pretty please.
http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/4z9q

Howie P.S.: From MoveOn.org:
You've done it again. We asked for positive, persuasive Obama ads, and MoveOn members across the nation responded—sending in more than 1,000 creative and amazing videos.

Now, help pick a winner: watch some of these ads today, and tell us which ones you think are most powerful. The finalists will be seen by a panel of top film professionals, artists, and netroots heroes—and the winning ad will be aired on national TV.

One warning: this may be addictive. Some ads may make you laugh, some may make you cry, and we can pretty much guarantee that you won't be able to watch just one. So, that being said...

Can you start voting in MoveOn's Obama in 30 Seconds contest today? Just click here to begin:

http://www.obamain30seconds.org/vote/?t=3&id=12485-5598739-28k41D

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