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The e-mail fund-raising appeal on behalf of the John Edwards presidential campaign sent out Wednesday could not be more blunt:

"As you probably know," writes former Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), an Edwards senior adviser, "this Saturday at midnight marks the first major fund-raising deadline of this campaign -- which means we have less than 96 hours to show that our campaign has the support and momentum we need to put our agenda in front of voters nationwide. This first test couldn't be more important."

WASHINGTON--The video hitting the political segments on tv on Thursday is all about that improv rap act with White House advisor Karl Rove at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Annual dinner last night.

But President Bush's speech was full of self-mocking humor. The lame duck president is already thinking of his memoir, he said,..."something really fun and creative for mine--you know, maybe a pop-up book."

Bush also aims a quip at White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) riffing off the bare chested picture of him on a Hawaii beach, comparing his physique--unfavorably--to former House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.).

Ouch.

"By the way," said Bush, " I'm not sure whether or not Senator Obama is here -- the last I heard he was not coming to the Radio and TV Correspondents dinner -- not enough press. People Magazine recently had a photo of the Senator there on the beach in Hawaii, his sleek, hairless pecs glistening in the surf. It shows how biased the press is. Have you ever seen a shot like that of Denny Hastert?

for full transcript, click below....

WASHINGTON--The video hitting the political segments on tv on Thursday is all about that improv rap act with White House advisor Karl Rove at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Annual dinner last night.

But President Bush's speech was full of self-mocking humor. The lame duck president is already thinking of his memoir, he said,..."something really fun and creative for mine--you know, maybe a pop-up book."

Bush also aims a quip at White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) riffing off the bare chested picture of him on a Hawaii beach, comparing his physique--unfavorably--to former House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.).

Ouch.

By the way, I'm not sure whether or not Senator Obama is here -- the last I heard he was not coming to the Radio and TV Correspondents dinner -- not enough press. People Magazine recently had a photo of the Senator there on the beach in Hawaii, his sleek, hairless pecs glistening in the surf. It shows how biased the press is. Have you ever seen a shot like that of Denny Hastert?

for full transcript, click below....

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, 46 days old on Tuesday, has run into some speed bumps, created because of a series of missteps magnified because he is under microscopic scrutiny.

WASHINGTON -- The rights to George Orwell's novel 1984 -- the inspiration for an Apple computer ad pirated by a Barack Obama supporter who remodeled it into an attack on Hillary Rodham Clinton -- are owned by Gina Rosenblum, a West Rogers Park resident who is president of Rosenblum Productions Inc.

WASINGTON--Wounded Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth, now chief of vets affairs for Gov. Blagojevich, told a Senate panel on Monday that the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs is "is absolutely not ready to treat amputee patients" at the same high level of care she received--and should be allowed to get help from the private sector.

Duckworth, a Democrat who lost her bid for Congress from a suburban House district last year, lost both her legs and wounded an arm after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq.


This is an excerpt from Duckworth testimony, as prepared....

WASHINGTON--White House deputy spokesman Dana Perino devoted much of the Tuesday briefing discussing Tony Snow's cancer diagnosis.

Snow underwent surgery for a growth in his abdomen. His doctors " learned that the growth was cancerous and there has been some metastases, including to the liver," Perino said.


click below for transcript......

WASHINGTON--GOP White House candidate Mitt Romney and Democratic House caucus chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) are the speakers at the annual Gridiron Club dinner this Saturday night.

WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Barack Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times his campaign had "no way of knowing" that the creator of the anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton YouTube ad worked for a campaign vendor and asserted that the ties were only "attenuated."

Clinton, asked by the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday about the impact of the Internet spot and YouTube on the 2008 presidential race, said the campaign is in "new territory for everybody.''

WASHINGTON--White House press secretary Tony Snow will have surgery Monday to remove a growth in his abdomen.

Snow describes the situation at the Friday briefing:

"There have been a lot of rumors about my health, so let me tell you what's going on. In a recent series of CAT scans and PET scans and MRIs, we have found a small growth in my lower abdomen. Blood tests are negative, PET scans are negative. But out of an aggressive sense of caution, I'm going to go in for surgery on Monday and have it removed. I'll be out for a few weeks, because it's still -- you know, they're going to cut me. And it will take me a little while to heal up. So I'll come back here a little lighter -- (laughter) -- in, oh, I don't know, a few weeks, maybe three or four weeks. Dana Perino will be handling the responsibilities from behind the podium."

for the White House briefing, click below....

WASHINGTON—White House hopeful Barack Obama said his campaign had “no way of knowing” that the creator of the anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton YouTube ad worked for a campaign vendor and asserted that the ties were only “attenuated.”

Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday that his campaign was not damaged by the revelation that the ad maker, Phillip de Vellis, worked for Blue State Digital, the Washington D.C. firm whose co-founder, Joe Rospars is on leave—to work for the Obama campaign handling new media and the Obama web operation. Blue State holds a contract with the Obama campaign to provide technical internet support and oversee its server.

Asked for his reaction to the links between his campaign and de Vellis, Obama downplayed the relations. “Yeah, very attenuated ties,” he said.

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama was running a little behind schedule. He had just delivered a speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters at the Hyatt Hotel on Capitol Hill.

Obama's news hit, if there was to be one, was supposed to be his speech at the union's presidential forum. But it was his dodging a question tossed at him on his way out of the hotel last week about whether homosexuality was immoral that left his team scrambling to repair relations with an important Democratic constituency, the gay and lesbian community.

Now comes word that the Obama campaign is forming a gay advisory panel, though a spokesman said a plan had been in the works before the dust-up.

WASHINGTON — Tracked down by Arianna Huffington’s websters Wednesday, the creator of the “Big Sister” YouTube ad attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Democratic staffer who worked for an Internet firm on contract with rival Barack Obama’s campaign.

Philip de Vellis, writing on HuffPost, said he made the “Vote Different” spot “because I wanted to express my feelings about the Democratic primary and because I wanted to show that an individual citizen can affect the process. There are thousands of other people who could have made this ad, and I guarantee that more ads like it — by people of all political persuasions — will follow.”

WASHINGTON--Just before 10 a.m. eastern time, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) took to the Senate floor to talk about the failure of the war in Iraq.


click below for remarks.....

WASHINGTON—White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton is tapping Chicago ShoreBank vice chairman Bob Nash—who served under President Clinton—to be a deputy campaign manager.

WASHINGTON--President Bush on Tuesday reaffirmed support for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Bush said he will let Congress interview key staffers--but that's not the sworn testimony of Karl Rove many in Congress are calling for.

"Today I'm also announcing the following steps my administration is taking to correct the record and demonstrate our willingness to work with the Congress. First, the Attorney General and his key staff will testify before the relevant congressional committees to explain how the decision was made and for what reasons. Second, we're giving Congress access to an unprecedented variety of information about the process used to make the decision about replacing eight of the 93 U.S. attorneys."

Click below for transcript.......


WASHINGTON--The hunt is on for ParkRidge47," the e-mail of the anonymous creator of that pro-Obama/anti-Clinton hit ad on YouTube. Who is ParkRidge47---a "hactivist," a political prankster or a political pro?

Park Ridge. Where Hillary Rodham Clinton was raised. 1947. The year she was born.

Want to hear from "ParkRidge47?." Micah Sifry over at techpresident tracked down the e-mail of the ad poster and exchanged e-mails.

Read Sifry's article at http://www.techpresident.com/node/130
Sifty writes:
The first piece of voter-generated video to make a splash in Campaign 2008 has hit, and with it comes a mystery. Is "Vote Different" really the work of an amateur, a civilian if you will? Or is it a shrewd move by someone who wants to stir up trouble between the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns? After all, comparing Hillary to Big Brother, droning on about her "conversation" with America and portraying her supporters as silent automatons is hardly what Obama supporters want to say about the former First Lady. Or is it?

Read all of Sifry at his site. For a sampling from "ParkRidge47" e-mail to Sifry, click below

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.-- White House hopeful Barack Obama on Tuesday evening headlines a high-dollar event --$2,300 per person--organized in part by his Harvard Law School pals.
One of the hosts is Boston's Alan Solomont--a mega Democratic fundraiser whose support is a coup for Obama. One of the others on the host committee includes Obama's constitutional law professor at Harvard, Larry Tribe and noted Democrat Henry Morgenthau.
This evening in Washington, former President Bill Clinton is the star at a funder for Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid.
UPDATE: And I ran into another Dem 2008 contender, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) Monday night at the Charles Hotel here off Harvard Square. Dodd, upbeat about his long shot chances when he chatted with a group of reporters I was with--had just wrapped up a big funder at the hotel that pumped a few hundred thousand in his war chest.

To read a copy of the Obama invite, click below

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—Hillary Clinton’s senior strategist raised questions Monday over Barack Obama’s commitment to end the Iraq war, breaking out into the open a simmering dispute between the Obama and Clinton camps.
A heated exchange between Clinton senior strategist Mark Penn and Obama chief consultant David Axelrod came at an otherwise very civil campaign managers forum sponsored by Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The riveting "Big Sister" YouTube ad attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton -- produced by an anonymous creator to benefit Barack Obama -- launches a new chapter in presidential campaigning.

"This will be the political phenomena of 2008," said Democratic consultant Steve Jarding.

WASHINGTON-- Top Democrats are divided over whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be forced to resign because of the botched firings of eight US attorneys.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin wants to reserve judgement until he gets Gonzales to testify before Congress under oath. “I want to hear his response.” Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) a presidential hopeful is not calling for his head.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) and Sen.Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and White House contenders Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) say he should quit.


That Congress is questioning the apparent political motivation behind the firing of eight U.S. attorneys by the Bush White House is a direct result of Democrats winning control of both chambers last November.


Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean hits Chicago Wednesday for a series of fundraising events--from low dollar grassroots/young professionals to private dinner with bigger party boosters. He'll also bring together--at least for a few minutes--Mayor Daley and Sandi Jackson, who just beat the mayor's candidate for alderman.

At a rally at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Dean will be introduced by Daley--and soon to be alderman Sandi Jackson, wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and daughter-in-law of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Rep. Jackson has been a major Daley critic. Ald.-elect Jackson has her own electoral base and can be an independent voice in the City Council.

Sandi Jackson worked at the DNC in Washington training people how to run for office. She used her own lessons to help create the Jackson organization on the South Side and get herself elected to represent the 7th ward last month.

This from a DNC spokesman: "Chairman Dean is committed to encouraging people across the country to get out and run for office and make a difference in their communities. Not only did Sandi take Chairman Dean's message to heart, but she put the tools in her training program to work to serve her community."

Plus--they are thrilled the mayor will participate.

WASHINGTON--Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani flew to Chicago from here today to pick up campaign cash. His operation added a retail stop--at Harry Caray's restaurant, named after the beloved, sadly departed Cubs announcer.

Giuliani headlined a prospecting lunch at the Chicago Club with some of the state's GOP elite who want to get to know him better. Though Illinois is a solid blue state--and is Obama country--the Land of Lincoln is green with money potential for Republicans. Mitt Romney stopped in Chicago last week for a funder breakfast.


WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama, an extraordinary stump speaker and potentially one of Sen. Barack Obama's most effective surrogates, is poised to step up her role in her husband's presidential campaign.

WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama's image managers don't want you to know about most of the donor events he is headlining -- including one tonight in Manhattan for Democratic elites where the top hosts have raised $100,000 each for Obama's White House bid.


WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Barack Obama was on the defensive Wednesday over stock purchases from companies whose investors included his political donors.

And Obama revealed that he terminated a "quasi-blind" trust he created for the stock purchases -- called the "Freedom Trust" -- after realizing that it wasn't blind after all.


The path of all the 2008 presidential Democratic contenders leads to House Majority Whip James Clyburn, whose political influence is exponentially magnified because he is from South Carolina, one of the four states holding the initial presidential votes in January 2008. The strongest January finisher probably has the best chance of winning the Democratic nomination, with what amounts to a Feb. 5 national primary taking shape.

WASHINGTON--In about 30 minutes, White House hopeful Barack Obama has a press conference in the Capitol. The freshman Illinois Democrat and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) skedded the newser to tout a bill to freeze immigration fees bringing in the leaders of Latino empowerment groups concerned about the plight of immigrants.

However, this event, designed to introduce legislation Gutierrez and Obama have been working on for months, will be overshadowed by a page one story in the New York Times questioning the credibility of Obama's blind trust. Turns out Obama bought stock in little known companies whose investors included some of his major donors.

Obama's rapid response team shot out a rebuttal memo this morning. And ABC's "The Note" has a very good roundup on the political implications for Obama.

Click below for more..

WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton needs a strong turnout from female voters in order to win the Democratic nomination. Towards that end, she is using a mid-day appearence before Emily's List to launch her drive for massive support from women. The campaign within a campaign is dubbed "I can be president." ICBP is being born at a giant Emily's List lunch here featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Clinton. Emily's List is one of the nation's largest political action committees and has already endorsed Clinton--who would be the first female to be nominated for president from a major party and if elected the first woman president.

From the pulpit of the historic First Baptist Church in Selma, White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton talks about the march for civil rights "we all know we have to finish" towards "one America," that still has some distance to go.


"But we've got to stay awake. we've got to stay awake, because we have a march to finish. a march toward one America, that should be all America was meant to be," Clinton said.

.

Click below for the text, as delivered....

SELMA, ALA.--From the pulpit of the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E. church, White House hopeful Barack Obama talks about the job of the "Joshua generation" and his own claim to a place in the civil rights movement.

" So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I’m not coming home to Selma, Alabama," Obama said.

Click below for the text, as delivered....

SELMA, Ala. -- They worked off the same script Sunday. The Clintons -- former President Bill and White House hopeful Hillary -- claimed the legacy of the voting rights battles fought here 42 years ago in a bid for crucial African- American support.

SELMA, AL.---Just a short time from now, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are poised to take to the pulpits in two churchs down the street from each other in this town marking the 42nd anniversary of a bloody struggle for voting rights.

A contingent of House members are also here, flying from Washington to bear witness. They got caught in the cross fire of the two presidential campaigns. They could choose the service to attend. Rep. Rahm Emanual (D-Ill.), is sitting in the front row at First Baptist Church--the church where Clinton will soon speak.

Prepared text of Barack Obama's speech for the AIPAC foreign policy forum.

WASHINGTON--The Republican National Committee took aim for the first time at Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, issuing a research memo aimed at highlighting the Illinois freshman senator's lack of experience and engagement on foreign affairs hours before he delivered his first policy speech on Israel.


That the gloves-are-off memo was even generated at this time is a compliment to Obama's growing strength in the Democratic primary field. The RNC would not bother going after someone who is not a potential nominee.

WASHINGTON--Hillary Rodham Clinton's long buried Wellesley College senior undergraduate thesis about Chicago legendary community organizer Saul Alinsky--sealed during the years when she was first lady--was dug up for MSNBC by investigative journalist Bill Dedman--a Chicago Sun-Times alum.

The contents of the thesis were long thought by Clinton biographers and commentators to be important to understanding the roots of her political philosophy. Dedman found the thesis, writes about how and why the Clintons wanted it buried and how he found it hiding in plain sight.

Dedman also notes that Barack Obama, who moved to Chicago to become a community organizer himself, was influenced by the Alinsky legacy. (click below for all the links)

I well remember Alinsky as a wiley agitator--a street fighter who made community organizing into a profession.

WASHINGTON -- White House rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in Selma, Ala., on Sunday to mark the anniversary of a bloody civil rights struggle -- with a surprise addition, former President Bill Clinton, nicknamed the first black president.

WASHINGTON--Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fl.) is going to co-chair Barack Obama's White House drive in Florida. Hat tip on this to the Palm Beach Post Larry Lipman and St. Pete Times William Adair.

Note that in the statement Wexler released Thursday to the Florida reporters--and not the rest of the devoted Obama press corps-- Wexler says a reason he is backing Obama is his strong support of Israel. (click below for Wexler statement). So this endorsement from a major Jewish figure in Florida Democratic politics comes the day before Obama delivers his first speech on Israel to an AIPAC audience in Chicago. (I just heard some 700 people are expected to attend--and this for an event that was announced last Friday.)

It also appears as Obama plans a big day on March 25 of fundraising in Florida, where he will be looking for help from the Jewish Democratic donor community.

WASHINGTON--Former President Bill Clinton makes his public debut Sunday to bolster Hillary Clinton's own White House bid when he travels to Selma, Alabama to mark the anniversary of a historic struggle for civil rights. Clinton chief Democratic rival Barack Obama also is in Selma for the anniversary celebrations.


developing...

WASHINGTON--GOP White House hopeful John McCain, under fire for saying the lives of soldiers killed in Iraq were "wasted," is getting sympathy on Thursday from Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama. Earlier this month, Obama, at the first press conference of his presidential campaign, retreated after using the same word to describe the deaths of troops in Iraq.

click below for more...

For the first time since becoming a senator -- much less a White House hopeful -- Barack Obama on Friday will talk in depth about U.S. policy toward Israel and the Mideast.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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