Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet column: Bill Clinton's Hillary campaign public debut in Selma. Obama, HRC , to speak at historic churches.


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.

This will mark Bill Clinton's first public appearance to bolster his wife's 2008 bid and comes as she and Obama are competing for African-American votes. The former president will be inducted into the Voting Rights Hall of Fame -- the game plan floated earlier had the New York senator picking up the honor for him.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said the last-minute addition came as the ex-president was "rearranging his schedule to be there" because it was "an event he did not want to miss."

Obama and Hillary Clinton will speak from pulpits of two Selma churches blocks apart Sunday morning. They are participating in ceremonies marking the 42nd anniversary of marches and violent clashes that led to African Americans winning voting rights.

Obama, if elected, would be the first African-American president and has been doing interviews to draw attention to his Sunday appearance. Today, he is on morning shows on ABC, NBC and CBS.

A high point of the annual gathering -- a who's who of the U.S. civil rights community -- is a re-enactment in the afternoon of a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Obama and Hillary Clinton are both scheduled to be part of the march -- and now so is the former president, who has been working in the background for his wife's election.

While president, Bill Clinton attended the march's 35th anniversary on March 5, 2000. The 42nd president has remained extraordinarily popular among blacks, who were his strongest supporters even during his impeachment. He'll be inducted right after the march -- at the foot of the Pettus bridge.


I think Hillary Clinton is eligible woman and can be a great leader for the United State of America.But we can't say that Obama will become the first African-American President.The world is changing.So much can happen all the same time.Lin Con did the best things for the America and you can imagine that he,Obama, can also be done the good things.But for me, the situation for Hillary Clinton is the best for the next president of United State of America.We can analyst that she must be win the coming election and she will become the first women president in American.Exactly.

I work with voting rights advocates in AL who will be participating in the Bloody Sunday events and they are very concerned that all the excitement about presidential politics will overshadow the commemoration of the historic voting rights victories and the need for continued vigilance, particularly around issues of felon disenfranchisement. Pasted below is a press release that calls on national leaders to join the voting rights movement’s next frontier, voting restoration for people with felony convictions.

February 28, 2007 202.628.0871 334.791.2433

At "Bloody Sunday" Commemoration Leaders Urged to Join
New Movement for Voting Rights

Felony Disenfranchisement Bars 5.3 Million from the Polls

Selma, AL -On Sunday, March 4, national policymakers, including Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will join religious and civil rights leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, in Selma to commemorate "Bloody Sunday," the historic voting rights protest marred by violence in 1965.

Events around the city will highlight the important advances for African Americans since passage of the Voting Rights Act which followed just months after police beat protesters seeking to enfranchise black citizens across the South. Present at the commemoration will be state voting rights advocates, including Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of Dothan, a leader in the statewide movement in Alabama to expand voting rights for people with felony convictions.

Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, State Coordinator of Alabama Restore the Vote, issued the following statement to mark the anniversary:

"On this day commemorating advances in voting rights, I hope our country's leaders do not forget that the struggle for democracy continues for over five million Americans who cannot vote because of past mistakes. The effort to expand voting rights to people with felony convictions is the new frontier of the civil rights movement. I hope those who mark this anniversary will join it."

"At the time the Voting Rights Act was implemented, 1.5 million Americans could not vote because of a felony record. Due to the dramatic growth in the prison system in recent decades, over 5.3 million people are disenfranchised today. This rise in the number of disenfranchised adults is an unfortunate reminder that the fight for voting rights goes on."

"In Alabama, the Constitution imposes a lifetime ban on voting for people with certain felony convictions, and as a result nearly a quarter million of our citizens cannot vote. The state has the third highest disenfranchisement rate in the nation, and is one of only 12 states to permanently bar some citizens from voting even after the completion of their sentence. Of those disenfranchised in Alabama, nearly 90% have been released from prison, and live and work in the community."

"The men and women who have redeemed themselves by serving their time in prison should be embraced and welcomed home. Restoring their right to vote is a crucial part of giving them a second chance. As a person who has been previously incarcerated, I know that voting connects you to your community by building responsibility for your neighbors and advancing common goals of democracy."

Alabama Restore the Vote is a member of the Right to Vote Campaign which is a broad coalition of organizations engaged in promoting voting rights for people with felony convictions, and includes the American Civil Liberties Union, Brennan Center for Justice and The Sentencing Project.

Dear Ms, Sweet.
First let me wish you and yours all the best.
You're doing a super job and I thank you.
That said, let me share a few things with you.
Perhaps it's because I am extremely pro Zionist, a native New Yorker
or maybe it's simply because i'm not as opened minded as I had
believed myself to be. Whatever,
I do not belive too many Jews or New Yorkers,( am I redundant
there,) or even hard-line MOR ( Middle-Of -The- Road) Dems will
vote for anyone whose father was a Muslim. whose step-father was a
Muslim, and whose middle
name is...Hussein! I just don't think so; albeit, his mother was
Irish and my mother was Irish, I would not vote for him.
That said, the people who supported Clinton most, even during his
impeachment, were the Jews, the same people that perhaps would have
saved Nixon had he not been so anti-Semitic!!
Hillary has a plethora of experienced and powerful people in her
corner. She is extremely bright, forthright and possesses a tenacity
that would have given Leonidas ten more days at Thermopylae.
O'Bama, ( he spells it two different ways depending on who he is
trying to appeal to,) has little or no real political ring savvy.
Like I said, just wanted to share that with you,
Take care,
Continued success,
-Gabe Renzo

Gabe, Obama's father and step father were not religious. His father believed religion to be the same as believing in hocus pocus. Though both came from muslim countries neither men were believers.
sen. Obama was never a muslim and is a christian.
Now, as for Selma. I believe hillary is bringing Bill because she is afraid. All events to the ones Obama is doing are sold out and have people constantly calling to try to get in.
Interest in him is huge.
Obama seems to rattle Hillary and instead of going about her own campaign spends it instead reacting to Obama. And comes out looking like a poor following act. She spent her week off following after Obama's speaking tour.
She should just do her own campaign instead of obsessing about Obama. She looks so pathetic. but, then, she is.

I hope and pray that Obama wins and becomes our next President! He is intelligent, authentic and he doesn't have political baggage. Hillary in my opinion is too divisive. She has extremely high negatives and that's not good. Why replace one polarizing figure (Bush) for another? My fear is that if Hillary becomes president, and if any scandals come up during the Clintons stay at the White House, then either the senate or both houses would go back into republican control.

Thing is Gabe..Hillary's locked up New York anyway. And i am petty sure the Zionists here in Chicago do not share the same views on Obama as you do( me being one of them). Atleast Obama and Hillary did go down to Selma/AL when Guiliani,romney and Co were busy hobnobbing with a cabal of "intelligently desgined" individuals who fervantly believe the earth was created 6000 years ago.

Suggestion for both Hillary and Obama- While you are in Selma, take the time to speak with Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson, the woman who was gassed and left for dead on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965. Amelia is a PROUD SUPPORTER OF LYNDON LAROUCHE, and at 95 years young, has the wisdom of one who has seen the Establishment, the FBI, the media tar and feather, any leaders who don't play the game by the rules of the financial oligarchy. For example, Amelia can tell you Dr. Martin Luther King was called a Communist, an Anarchist, a this and a that....... and so, it is up to leaders to have courage to stand up NOT for their own personal glory and ego gratification, but on behalf of the next generations, yet to be born. So, make it a point to talk with Amelia Boynton Robinson, while you are in Selma..... You will be justly rewarded!!!

to Kara Gotsch: Kara, I'm just nosy. Where mainly politicians of only one party the ones who seemed to have gotten invitations to be and speak at this Selma Commemoration? Because, if so, thats totally unfair. LBJ needed Everett Dirksen and Charles Halleck's great help (GOP minority leaders in House and Senate back then) inorder to pass Voting Rights Act. Also, where some so-called conservatives invited? Why would I say that. Because conservatives such as Charleton Heston and Ken Hamlin actually MARCHED WITH DR. KING at Selma. Hamlin, now a radio talkshow host, actually was hit with a brick during the march. So if people like them were NOT invited, then its totally unfair.

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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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