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April 2007 Archives


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Because Democratic White House front-runners Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to go to Selma and Orangeburg, they have reminded the nation that for many people, the bloody struggle for civil rights happened in their lifetimes.

As they travel around the country in their own quests -- Obama would be the first black president if he is elected and Clinton the first woman if she wins -- the paths their campaigns are taking are already serving as important history lessons.


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), known for his soaring rhetoric, stumbled during the first Democratic debate Thursday at South Carolina State University.

"Last night I was a little nervous," Obama said at a rally in Charleston on Friday, where he filled the gym at Burke High School.

White House hopeful Barack Obama's prepared speech to California state Democrats meeting in San Diego on Saturday.

COLUMBIA, S.C.--It's a long day for Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, who is taking full advantage of the three hour time difference between here and California.

This morning, after a workout in his hotel gym, Obama and his team were heading to their chartered plane to head to San Diego, to appear later today at the California State Democratic convention. After his speech, he heads to Los Angeles for a high-dollar ($2,300-a-person) fundraiser at the home of Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel. He's the brother of Rep. Rahm Emanue (D-Ill.)


ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- If you've been on Mars for a while and did not know the names of the Democratic White House frontrunners, you could have thought after the first presidential debate Thursday they were Sen. Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd.

ORANGEBURG, S.C.--During the Democratic presidential primary debate, NBC anchor Brian Williams asked White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) about Monday's story in the Chicago Sun-Times about his ties to a shady Illinois political figure and if that is contrary to his claim of running a campaign with a new kind of politics.

Williams, not referring to Tony Rezko by name asked this question....

click below for question and Obama's repy.

ORANGEBURG, S.C.---Minutes before the start of the first 2008 Democratic presidential debate, White House hopefuls Barack Obama, (sipping from a bottle of water) mingled with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Then they took their places behind the podiums.

Cheesburgers! That's what the White House is serving!

Click below for details.

ORANGEBURG, S.C.—The spin room is ready. The spinners are arriving. The candidates are on their way. In just about three hours the first presidential debate of the 2008 season will begin when eight Democrats stand behind podiums at the campus of South Carolina State University.

Gleanings from the front:

*New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson spent the morning in debate prep at the Comfort Inn motel.
*Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D.N.Y.) is expected to wear a bright pantsuit. Neither daughter Chelsea nor husband Bill will attend the debate.

ORANGEBURG, S.C.—The very first 2008 presidential primary debate, tonight at South Carolina State University, is bringing a boom to this campus town.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- On Tuesday, White House hopeful Barack Obama joked that he was going to be ''winging it,'' suggesting he was barely preparing for the first presidential debate of the 2008 primary season.

But he has been wedging practice and study sessions into his schedule for days to prepare for tonight's debate at the historically black South Carolina State University, where for the first time, the eight Democratic contenders -- the front-runners, second-tier figures and a virtual unknown -- will find themselves on a level playing field.

WASHINGTON--The presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has moved from its K Street offices here to the Virginia suburb of Ballston.

WASHINGTON -- Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama boasted Tuesday of his experience with affordable housing.
His comments came a day after a story in the Chicago Sun-Times questioned the 17-year relationship between Obama, a former state senator, and a Chicago slumlord, Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

Obama Foreign Policy Speech. Text.

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White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's foreign policy overview speech, delivered this morning in Chicago.

Prepared text....

Excerpt from CNN interview....

LARRY KING: And now you are in the running. So first and foremost, what do you make of the Senator Obama threat?

BILL CLINTON: Well, I think, first of all, there are -- the good news about this primary for me as a Democrat who has been following this for 40 years now, is that nobody has to vote against anybody.

I mean, you have got a big field of people. If you look at the three that aren't doing well in the polls, Governor Richardson, Senator Biden, Senator Dodd, these people have rendered extraordinary service to our country.

And they are devoted public servants. They are highly intelligent. They are gifted people and they deserve to be seriously listened to. And then you have got -- and you have Senator Edwards doing well. You have got Senator Obama doing well. You have got the prospect that Vice President Gore might run.
We have got a good field. No one has to vote against anybody. And that means that people are free to vote for the person who is most likely to be the best president.


While Chicago was, naturally, fertile fund-raising turf for Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, his top state for first quarter cash was California, and his donor list is sprinkled with big names from the entertainment industry.

Besides stars who wrote checks to Obama, the Illinois senator also heav-ily relied on a relatively small group of big donors to help him raise $25.8 million in just three months, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed Sunday.

WASHINGTON--The Palmer House Hilton served as Bill Clinton's temporary headquarters during the 1992 primary when he won the Super Tuesday primaries and clinched the Democratic presidential nomination by winning the St. Patrick's Day primary in Illinois.

Now Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton makes her first presidential fundraising incursion May 7 in her native Chicago--chief rival Barack Obama's hometown--at a fundraiser targeting lawyers at the same hotel.

"Save the date" invitations went out Wednesday afternoon for the event, where co-hosts--not listed, the event is still being organized--are asked for $2,300.

During the first three months of this year, Obama raised $3,756,716 from Illinois, most from the Chicago area, compared to $373,500 from Illinois for Clinton. Still, Clinton has a very loyal group of well-connected friends in the city--dating from her high school days in Park Ridge, to her years in Arkansas and two terms as First Lady--who will shake the money trees for her.


Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up, and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class. And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories -- confused, terrified, and deeply worried. By the end of the morning, it was the worst day of violence on a college campus in American history -- and for many of you here today, it was the worst day of your lives. -- President Bush at Virginia Tech, April 17, 2007.

WASHINGTON--Overall Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Rudy Giuliani are preferred among likely youthful (ages 18-24) voters, according to a new national poll by Harvard University's Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The poll shows a youthful gender fault line emerging: while Obama leads Clinton among Democratic men, 43 percent to 20 percent, chief Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton leads Obama 35 per cent to 29 per cent with young Democratic women.

UPDATE..This statement from the Obama campaign....
Due to the tragic events at Virginia Tech yesterday, Barack Obama’s speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has been postponed. The speech will be rescheduled for next Monday, April 23 at 11am at the Fairmont Hotel.


WASHINGTON—The international relations speech to be delivered this morning by Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in Chicago is being billed as the “30,000 foot view on foreign policy.’’

Obama is addressing the Chicago Council of Global Affairs at the Fairmont Chicago on Columbus Drive at 11 a.m. central today. Last November he used the same group as the venue to deliver a speech on withdrawing troops from Iraq.

WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported $991,296 in income in 2006, boosted by a $506,618 payout in advances and royalties for his books, according to returns released by his campaign Monday.

The Obamas have four main sources of income:

• • Obama's Senate salary of $157,082.

• • Book income of $506,618. Obama's second book, "The Audacity of Hope" was released last fall and soared to the best seller lists.

• • Michelle Obama's income of $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals. She will get paid less in 2007 because she cut back on her job because of the campaign. She made more in 2005 because of a signing bonus from the U. of C. given when she was promoted to vice president of community and external affairs in January 2005, just as Obama was sworn in as senator.

Tax returns from last year showed her total compensation in 2005 went from $122,000 to $317,000, though the higher figure includes a one-time pension payout and the bonus.

• • Michelle Obama's income of $51,200 from TreeHouse Foods, where she has been on the board of directors since June 2005.

For 2005, the couple reported a taxable income of $1.6 million. The higher figure was due to more money Obama received from book royalties and advances on a multiyear book deal as well as the higher amount Michelle Obama collected from the U. of C.

Interest income on the most recent return totaled $4,590 with $1,188 from dividends.

The Obamas donated $60,307 to charity, including $13,107 to the Congressional Black Caucus 501(c)(3) Foundation; $15,000 to CARE; $5,000 to the Muntu Dance Theater, where Michelle Obama sits on its board; $22,500 to their church, Trinity United Church of Christ, and $4,700 in other charitable contributions.

The Obamas' return was prepared by Wineberg Solheim Howell & Shain on La Salle Street.


WASHINGTON--President Bush on Monday continues to pressure Democrats to send him an Iraq war funding bill with no strings attached. Democrats are mounting their own drive to force Bush to accept timelines for bringing the troops home in legislation to provide more funding for the war.

WASHINGTON -- First-quarter fund-raising reports filed Sunday reveal a mixed story for Democratic White House front-runners Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Clinton has more cash on hand, but Obama outraised her in the first three months of the year.

WASHINGTON -- While Democratic Sen. Barack Obama talks about transforming politics and touts the donations of "ordinary" people to his campaign, a network of more than 100 elite Democratic "bundlers" is raising millions of dollars for his White House bid.

The Obama campaign prefers the emphasis be on the army of small donors who are giving -- and raising -- money for Obama. In truth, though, there are two parallel narratives -- and the other is that Obama is also heavily reliant on wealthy and well-connected Democrats.

WASHINGTON--Chicago won approval over Los Angeles Saturday from the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors to be the U.S. entry to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games. Now Chicago must fashion its own foreign policy to woo the international Olympic community to actually land the events a test of diplomacy and precinct-style politics.

Mayor Daley jumped up from his seat when Chicago was named the winner over Los Angeles in a process that started one year ago with five cities. In a sportsman-like move, Daley reached across the aisle to shake the hands of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when Chicago's name was called..

The actual announcement was done with a flourish worth of the Academy Awards. None of the members of he United States Olympics Committee board knew the winner when the news conference started. The winner was known only to the accounting firm countng the ballots, Grant Thornton. LLD. It seemed eight minutes of torture between the time the news conference started and the envelope with a white piece of paper with the name of the winner was torn open by United States Olympic Committee board chairman Peter Ueberroth.

"I was very, very nervous," Daley said.

Villaraigosa lavished praise on Daley. “I said to everyone from the very beginning, Never, ever count Richie Daley out. This is a man who has no peer in American cities. He is without question a great mayor. And we are very fortunate to have us leading the American bid.’’

WASHINGTON—It’s a nailbiter of an Olympic afternoon for Daley and company.

I’m at the Hilton Washington Embassy Row hotel. The U.S Olympic Committee Board of Directors will announce in a few hours whether Chicago gets the nod to be the U.S. entry for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games.

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will have more to say about Iraq and the role of the U.S. in world affairs on Tuesday. He picked the same venue where he delivered a major speech about Iraq last year--the friendly confines of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Obama's team has been working on the roll out strategy for the speech for the past few days. The event is at the Fairmont.

2007 income tax return information released Friday for Bush and Cheney.

Remarks of Vice President Cheney in Chicago on Friday.

My Friday column about Democrat White House hopeful Barack Obama's explanation of what he wants to do about Iraq war funding supplemental legislation has ignited a long thread of comments over at DailyKos.com

WASHINGTON--GOP White House hopeful Rudy Giuliani's team just wrapped up a conference call with reporters briefing on his first quarter fundraising numbers. The former New York City mayor filed his report less than one hour ago with the Federal Election Commission, before the Sunday night deadline.

Most important number: Giuliani has $10.5 million cash on hand. He had 28,356 donors (compare to more than 100,000 for Democrat Barack Obama and 50,000 for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton)

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions is based in Chicago. That's why Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan warned Friday of a sweepstakes con targeting Ophrah fans.


“With the large number of Oprah’s fans worldwide, we are concerned that their excitement at the opportunity of receiving a financial prize from Oprah may result in fans responding to this unauthorized offer,” Madigan said in a statement. “Consumers should be alarmed whenever they receive a request to send money to anyone they do not know.”

WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama told the Sun-Times Thursday he never suggested that Democrats should send President Bush an Iraq war funding bill without a timeline for withdrawing troops if Bush vetoes legislation with deadlines.

WASHINGTON--In the wake of shock jock Don Imus racist and sexist smear of the Rutgers basketball team, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday will speak at the university's well known Center for American Women and Politics and the Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Clinton on Wednesday launched a "Respect for Rutgers" drive on her campaign website, handing the team the best position on her front page. A centerpiece of Clinton's campaign strategy is locking up female votes.

Her Rutgers speech is titled "Because politics matter.""

Congressional Quarterly is reporting that Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) may face a second challenge from Democrat Dan Seals in the north suburban 10th congressional district.

Seals, who lost with 47 percent of the vote, has been raising money for a possible 2008 bid, CQ reported.

for the CQ story, click below....

WASHINGTON--I watched the MoveOn.org "virtual" Town Hall on Tuesday night from Ben's Chili Bowl on U. Street here. About 50 people--who probably could have stayed at home and listened on their laptops or tuned into Air America--wanted to be together to hear what the Democratic 2008 presidential candidates had to say about ending the war in Iraq.

A winner wasn't clear from the sentiment in the room. And that's interesting, when you read on about the results of MoveOn.org's straw vote. Somehow, the group dynamic at these "house parties" such as the one I attended impacted the impression each candidate made with the MoveOn.org members.

The overall "straw vote" balloting that MoveOn.org sponsored for its members 24 hours after the podcast (the interviews with the seven Democrats were taped in the afternoon) created a winner: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), followed by former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.).

But MoveOn.org members who attended one of the "house parties" voted a different winner, Edwards, who called for Congress to fight President Bush over his veto threats of a war funding bill with timelines, came in first followed by Richardson, Obama, Kucinich, Biden, Clinton and Dodd.

In whole numbers, there were overall 42,882 votes cast. Of that total, 4,037 votes were from "house party" voters. Obama prevailed in the overall 42,882 balloting. Edwards won the 4,037 votes subset. Either way, the straw poll suggests that Clinton will have trouble winning over the hard-core anti-war get out of Iraq now vote.

for MoveOn.org survey results, click below

Why wait for 2009?

Health insurance coverage is already a major issue in the 2008 White House contests. The Democratic front-runners -- former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- all embrace forms of universal coverage.

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama made the rounds of the afternoon news shows to talk about Don Imus, Iraq and his differences with Sen. John McCain, a GOP presidential contender.

Obama criticizes Imus but does not flat out say he should be fired. He told NBC's "Hardball" he would not employ Imus. He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer "I believe that NBC should not be having hosts like Don Imus who are making derogatory statements toward women and minorities. I’ve got two young daughters who I hope will be athletes and the notion that somehow they would be degraded and insulted and that that would pass as humor and that NBC would be running that over the public airwaves, I think, is atrocious.''

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for public "support" for the Rutgers basketball team smeared by Don Imus.

Clinton is using her presidential web site to ask the public to send a message of "respect and support" to the Rutgers players.

Clinton said "Don Imus's comments about them were nothing more than small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism. They showed a disregard for basic decency and were disrespectful and degrading to African Americans and women everywhere.'


click below for Clinton message..

WASHINGTON--It's not the general election campaign yet, but Wednesday was a preview of what an Obama vs. McCain 2008 race will look like.

Here's the timeline: McCain returns a few days ago from his fifth trip to Iraq and says there is progress being made in the war. Obama on Tuesday, without mentioning McCain by name, says any notion that things are improving in Iraq is not credible. He cites the need to travel with security details and helicopters. On Wednesday in a major address, McCain, not mentioning Obama by name, said he drove, not helicoptered. The speech was a strong defense of Bush's push to send more troops to Iraq.

The text of McCain's speech was sent out this morning with a hold for release time of 11:30 a.m. eastern. At 11:49 a.m. Obama's media shop sent out a statement in a direct response to McCain's address, countering his assertion of progress.

click below for Obama statement...

WASHINGTON--Vice President Cheney hits Chicago on Friday to deliver a speech at a conference for the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank.

The confererence is at the Ritz-Carlton on Michigan Ave. Cheney speaks in the morning.


WASHINGTON--GOP White House hopeful John McCain continues to defend Bush war policies in Iraq after he made his fifth visit to Iraq since the war started four years ago.

McCain returns a swipe aimed --not by name--at Democratic rival Barack Obama--who on Tuesday night during a MoveOn.org forum on the war took a dig at McCain--not by name.

Obama said Tuesday "The idea that the situation in Iraq is improving because it takes a security detail of 100 soldiers, three Black Hawk helicopters and a couple of Apache gunships to walk through a market in the middle of Baghdad is simply not credible and not reflective of the facts on the ground."

Turns out there was no helicopter.

McCain on Wednesday:

“For the first time in my visits to Iraq, our delegation was able to drive – not fly by helicopter-- from the airport to downtown Baghdad. For the first time we met with a Sunni tribal leader in Anbar province, who is working with American and Iraqi forces to fight al Qaeda. Sixteen of the twenty-four Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar are now working with us. We visited Iraqi and American forces deployed together in Baghdad – an integral part of the new security plan – where they maintain a presence in a neighborhood cleared of militias and terrorists, and hold the ground they have retaken rather than return to base, after which the enemy returns to impose its will again on a defenseless population.


for McCain transcript, click below...

WASHINGTON-- GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney delivered a major address Tuesday. His first act as president would be to reach out to Muslim nations to encourage them to not tolerate terrorism. Romney headlines a fund-raiser in Chicago on Thursday.


for text, click below.

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama is stroking his best donors and fund-raisers today at a session at the Washington Court hotel, followed by a high dollar fund-raiser (not on his schedule) a short walk from the Capitol.

WASHINGTON---Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton is putting together a Chicago-based professional fund-raising team, conceeding no ground to the city where chief rival Barack Obama lives.

Clinton hits Chicago on May 7, to headline a lunch benefiting the Mercy Home for boys and girls. There will be some separate fund-raising activity in Chicago for Clinton at that time.

Clinton's team signed on Rafi Jafri to be her Chicago finance director. He started last week, leaving the firm of Dykem Gossett to extract cash from the city where Clinton was born. Clinton has a core of loyalists in Chicago who have been raising money for her.

Chicago, IL – Statement from Senator Barack Obama on new troop policy the Pentagon is considering:

WASHINGTON--The Republican National Committee issued a "Top Ten" list of Obama "fabrications" in advance of his guesting on David Letterman on Monday night.

MSNBC used the RNC list as a peg for a discussion on Obama with me on Tuesday morning. To see the interview....click below

http://video.msn.com/v/us/fv/msnbc/fv.htm??f=00&g=2d78680a-9766-4ccd-b504-95a2a5615fd5&p=hotvideo_m_edpicks&t=m5

WASHINGTON--Take a tour of the Obama national headquarters in Chicago. Meet some of the staff. Check out the latest political photo galleries just posted on the Sweet blog at http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/

The photo galleries are on the right. Click down to find the Obana HQ tour. And check out the rest.....

This from Democratic White House contender Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)

“The comments of Don Imus were divisive, hurtful and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds. With a public platform, comes a trust. As far as I'm concerned, he violated that trust,” said U.S. Senator Barack Obama.


Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) tells David Letterman that having long-shot Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the primary contest "spices things up" as he tells the late night host he's not in the race to be Hillary Rodham Clinton's running-mate. Letterman tries to play match-maker in lining up an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket.

Letterman: “But you know what I’m getting to, people will say, they say, ‘Oh well, this is Barack Obama’s – he’s only been a senator for two years, so maybe we’re looking at some sort of a compromise on the ticket. Maybe he’ll be the Presidential candidate, Hillary might be the vice president, maybe the reverse of that. Any of that occur at this point or not?”

Obama: “No, you don’t run for second. I don’t believe in that, yeah.”

WASHINGTON--The Senate wants answers about the federal probe into tainted pet food.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate Whip, has long been working on food purity and food safety issues. And he is a member of the Senate Ag Appropriations subcommittee.

Durbin announced on Monday that a hearing on the pet food recall will take placeThursday afternoon, in Chicago. Witnesses will include Food and Drug Administration officials and outside specialists.

President Bush on Monday--the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led capture of Baghdad--returns to the issue of immigration. Since his first term, Bush has been trying to convince fellow Republicans--more than Democrats--to overhaul the nation's immigration laws and find a way to legalize the status of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Bush tours a section of the Arizona-Mexican border this morning in Yuma, and then makes another pitch for Congress to send him an immigration bill. Last year, the GOP-controlled Congress stalled. This time around with a Democratic-led House and Senate the outcome may be different. But presidential politics will complicate the effort.

GOP White House contender Sen.. John McCain (R-Ariz.) last cycle teamed with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to craft a bipartisan immigration bill. McCain, seeking to woo factions of the GOP who are conservative hardliners on immigration--meaning that any break towards legalized status is seen as amnesty--would loose viability within the GOP base if he were to work again with the liberal Kennedy.


Key player on the House side: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the lead on immigration issues.

CHICAGO--Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama guests on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday night. Actress Halle Berry--of "Perfect Stranger" shares the star billing.

After a smashing start--raising $25 million for his presidential bid in three months--Obama heads into the second quarter in a fund-raising sprint. Obama on Wednesday in Chicago headlined an event aimed at lawyers. On Monday, Obama hits New York--Hillary Rodham Clinton country--for a series of closed fund-raisers as well as the Letterman gig.

For more on Berry, turn to the Sun-Times Sunday Showcase section for a Cindi Pearlman interview with Berry, in which Berry talks about growing up black in white suburbs.

Click below for Obama's week ahead....

Need some Easter menu inspiration? Here is what First Lady Laura Bush is cooking up...


Blogger Sweet featured the 2006 White House Easter lunch menu at

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2006/04/_white_house_easter_lunch_menu.html


Click below for the 2007 White House Easter dinner menu.....

Moving from cramped, temporary space a few days ago, Barack Obama's national presidential campaign headquarters on Thursday was settling in to its new home on the 11th floor at 233 N. Michigan.

Mayor Daley's name is missing from the list of big city mayors who Andy Stern knows.

And who is Andy Stern? The national president of the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU is one of the most influential unions in the nation. It is the largest union in Illinois. The union is flexing its political muscle for the first time in Chicago City Council elections in a drive conceived by Tom Balanoff, the president of the SEIU Illinois State Council.


In a first test of political strength, Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama outraised chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton during the first three months of the year for money to use in the primary campaign -- massing a donor base of 100,000 names along the way.

CHICAGO--The Obama campaign released first quarter numbers Wednesday morning. Raised "at least" $25 million for his presidential campaign, of which $23.5 million is for his primary.

Quite a haul.

Very close to chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's $26 million first quarter total--but she was able to transfer in $10 million from her Senate campaign that she could use for the primary. So for the practical matter of spending--Clinton at this point has millions of dollars more. And it may be that Obama actually outraised Clinton for the primary this quarter. Clinton included in her $26 million total money she collected for the primary and general election. She released the number in a lump sum. Of the Obama $25 million, $23.5 million is for the primary and the rest for the general election. So it is possible--now even likely--when more data comes out, Obama will have had a better primary first quarter.

The surge of money towards Obama shows his strength.

Team Obama is bragging of a strong second quarter--looking ahead to the day when there will be a "separation gap" between Obama and the rest of the Democrats.

for Obama release on this, click below....

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama this morning will release first quarter fundraising numbers showing him keeping pace with chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in money raised between January and March 31. However, the real fact that matters is now much cash is on hand to spend on their primary campaigns--and Clinton is at least $10 million ahead of Obama on that front.

Developing.

House Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) was the Democratic speaker at last Saturday's Gridiron Club dinner.

Emanuel is know for his crude language. In the skit the club performed before Emanuel spoke the lyrics went like this--"Who is that frickin dude? And why is he so crude."


And this zinger from Emanuel:
AS A TEENAGER, I WAS WORKING IN A RESTAURANT AND ACCIDENTALLY SLICED OFF THE MIDDLE FINGER ON MY RIGHT HAND. OF ALL THE FINGERS TO LOSE! I COULD NOT EXPRESS MYSELF FOR MONTHS.

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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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