Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet column: Obama tackling Edwards. Asks "What did you do?" The Full Hillary.


SPENCER, IA.— Question for Monday: how will Barack Obama handle John Edwards showing strength—a stream of media attention finally and the cover of Newsweek with the headline “Sleeper.” An endorsement from the wife of the Iowa governor today.

Answer, as of 10:27 a.m. central time is that Obama is getting tougher against Edwards. Talking about the problem with “special interests,” Obama, speaking in the auditorium at Spencer High School, said, “everybody now in the campaign talks about how I am going to fight for you."

“Like Senator Edwards who is a good guy, he's been talking a lot about I am going to fight the lobbyists and the special interests in Washington. Well the question you have to ask is were you fighting for 'em when you were in the Senate? What did you do? Because I did something, immediately upon arriving in the Senate..."

A debate between the accomplishments of two one-term senators up against Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her second term, may head them both into choppy waters, especially if it gets done to more routine nitty gritty—but very important—business.

During this past year when Obama has been running for president, Illinois issues have not been on his front burner. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the number two man in the Senate has been doing the heavy Illinois lifting. Durbin and Obama are personally close and Durbin urged him to make the run. While Obama has scored earmarks, everybody in Illinois knows to go to Durbin if they need help with a federal matter because Obama is in the midst of this presidential primary.

Clinton, not having the same I’ll watch your back relationship with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has had to make sure her New York bases were covered this past year. She features some constituents plugging her in a new package of video on a new website www. The Hillary I Know .

Clinton was on six morning shows, a feat that from now on will be called “The Full Hillary” for any newsmaker who can muster the muscle to match.

She was playing a lot of defense, pressed with questions following up on Bill Clinton’s interview with Charlie Rose where he said a vote for Obama was rolling the dice. I’m told there is a split in the Clinton campaign over whether or not Bill Clinton helps or hurts in his going after Obama.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” Chris Cuomo asked if she agreed with the rolling the dice comment her husband made.

“Well, I'm very proud to have Bill's help in this campaign. He is working really hard, he's providing a lot of energy as he goes around the country on my behalf. But this campaign is about me and my ideas,” she said.

“It's about what I bring to the table, what I will do as president. That's the point that the Des Moines Register made in their editorial. And they really put us through their paces. We had grueling interviews, we answered lots of questions, they saw all of the candidates. And at the end of it, they concluded that America needs a leader who can start on day one to do what we have to do here at home and around the world, and they said I was that leader.

“So, I think that's the tone and the tenor of the campaign. It's certainly what I see and feel as I travel around Iowa on our 99-county blitz.”

Over at NBC’s “The Today Show” David Gregory asked if Bill Clinton is a distraction at this point.

Clinton said “No, it really hasn't, because there is, you know, no basis to it. I know that in a campaign people have lots of advice and opinions, and I welcome that. But it's my campaign, just like it will be my presidency, as it was when he ran and when he was president. And what I do every day is make the best decisions that I can make, taking a lot of good ideas that people give me.

“I'm very happy with my campaign. I think we have a great team, and they're doing tremendous work. And I think that we're going to do quite well. And what I don't do is get distracted by, frankly, you know, all the horse race, who's up, who's down. You know, I really have never paid much attention to that. I'm not going to start now. I don't think that's the way a leader tries to lead.

I think you set a course. You make adjustments if they're necessary. But you don't get knocked off course just because people are talking about it. My view is I have a big job to do. This country deserves a leader who will make the changes that we need, and I intend to be that leader.”

Will turnout be higher when Iowa Democrats caucus on Jan. 3?

The campaigns are expecting more than the 124,000 who showed up in 2004. At the high school here, dozens of people just stood up when asked if they were going to caucus for the first time.


The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES home web page is posting video of 2000 Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman ENDORSING Republican Pres. candidate John Mc Cain!!! Fancy that kids and talk about the kiss of death to a campaign, Mc Cain's endorsement by the Des Moines and Boston papers notwithstanding. MSNBC will interview Independent Sen. Lieberman at 2:00 p.m. TODAY about the endorsement. 2006 Connecticut senatorial candidiate Ned Lamont has already posted his response at If Ned Lamont should choose to challenge Lieberman again he should start soliciting our financial support now. He would win next time certainly with all our help in Chicago and elsewhere.

In the last Democratic debate the moderator asked each candidate what their New Year resolution is going to be.

In a very honest moment Obama said he had a problem of being to "timid".

The GOP in a general election will go after Obama using Obama's own words against him. A timid candidate to the Republicans is a weak candidate they would just love to go after him. Is Obama to timid to stand up against special interest groups, lobbyist ,bad trade deals, and other nations who would love to do us harm? Wait a second maybe that's what the multi- national corporation want a timid president? The way I see it, it would be a win win situation for the multi- national corporation. If a Republican wins they would have one of their own like Bush in the White House or if Obama would win he would be to timid to stand up to them.

One thing the Democrats do not need is a timid candidate, going up against the Republicans' attack machine.
John Edwards has proven he is not timid and would be a strong candidate for the Democratic Party. The last thing our nations needs with all the Problems we have here at home and abroad, is a timid president.

Sen. Lieberman just appeared on MSNBC at 2:50 p.m. explaining his rationale for endorsing Republican Sen. Mc Cain (Mc Cain ASKED him to) even while invoking the names of great Democrats Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Scoop Jackson and passively hinting at being available to be a vice-presidential candidate should New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg decide to run!! What on earth! Homeowners are being foreclosed on right and left in Connecticut and being put out in the terrible cold just for starters as to the problems that state is facing and Sen. Lieberman thinks that leadership of John Mc Cain would be good for his state and country. A Mc Cain presidency would be a continuation of the Bush presidency in many ways. Ned Lamont should start 2012 campaign activity at once.

As I have already stated before, that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has all the experience to make a great difference in the new leadership of the United States of America. She is more capable to change the old order of the GOP and launch the new democratic era of popular leadership in America.

Americans need peace and Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a peacemaker since she met with the great civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King. Jr, in 1962, and protesting against the war in Vietnam and now calling for the end to the war in Iraq and the total withdrawal of the U.S. Troops in 2008.

America deserves a new leadership and Hillary Rodham Clinton is the standard bearer of a New America.


"well,look", it was the junior senator from illinois who rushed out to conn. to endorse and support mr. lieberman...early on, yes?
bet he just hates those flashbacks.

"I think we have a great team, and they're doing tremendous work. And I think that we're going to do quite well. And what I don't do is get distracted by, frankly, you know, all the horse race, who's up, who's down. You know, I really have never paid much attention to that. I'm not going to start now. I don't think that's the way a leader tries to lead."

The planted questions, the libelous e-mails, the initiative of insult, the choking gas of corruption and manipulation that swims around her, despite all of that, she insists that everything is perky and fine. She's never paid attention to the polls, she says. But she has to say it. She is in serious nation-threatening denial. If and when Iran tosses a nuclear bomb at Manhatten, she'll be the one to tell us everything is alright. That's comforting.

My comment on that knowing Edwards as long as I have I can agree with you that he is very inspirational person in my life and all ways will be.

Again, I have to ask, what exactly has Hillary accomplished? Experience should equal results, and frankly she has no major accomplishments that I have heard of. Maybe I'm more familiar with Obama's, but I just feel that his method of working quietly, but openly with all parties is more impressive than behind the scenes negotiations that Hillary had when she failed at health care reform. We seriously need a different kind of politics in this country. Enough of the secretive, inside the beltway, we know better than you, politics. They work for us. They should be open and honest about what they are doing.

I don't like the dirty politics from Clinton's campaign. I'm definitely not voting for her after the dirty tricks of the last few days.

To Lynn Sweet: You don't have to expend much time pointing out how John Edwards or Hillary Clinton are going to self-destruct. We already know this, or at least the ones who have been engaged in the process intensely for the last five months, or longer.

John Edwards has apologized ad infinitum, ad nauseum for his Senate votes. Yes, he's a wonderful fellow and yes, he will make a great Attorney General, yet unfortunately, you don't get do-overs as President. We need someone in the Oval Office with good judgment -- someone who will make the right decisions the first time around, like Senator Obama.

Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, she has waffled so much and is so slippery when asked what her position is any major issue, she reminds me of her husband -- "Well, it depends on what the definition of the word "is" is". Well, if you want to be that cerebral, then I suppose you are correct. While it is true, that whenever I watch Bill, I'm am in awe. He is extremely brilliant and an awesome politician.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have all that much common sense. He got impeached by the House and was only 5 votes shy of being run out of Washington on a rail. What America needs right now is a President with some good, common sense. And by not divorcing Bill, Hillary has shown that she doesn't have all that much common sense, either. We Democrats actually love them both, but when we have a better choice, why risk the roll of the proverbial dice to see just how badly the Republicans will turn out the Swiftboat attack ads, then cost us the White House another time. I'm sick of losing every four years! I want to see us win!

We need someone like Barack Obama, who has actually gotten some things done in Washington but is not beholding to a whole host of political operatives. The American people want a fresh face, someone with vision -- a uniter who can get things done for a change. "For every 1000 people hacking at the branches and leaves of the tree of evil, there is only one chopping at the roots" - Thoreau

I agree with Oprah. Barack Obama is that one.

Her Senate approval ratings are proof enough of a job well done. Keep on underestimating her, she does best in those circumstances. Tough, sharp and experienced, she's the only way to go. She gets knocked down and stands right back up. People call her names and tell lies, she still gets her legislations passed. She wins a second term by 13% more of the votes.

Like it or not, she has done a great job for NY and will do even better for America.

Obama is clearly the best critical thinker and gets my vote. Remember...experience is the best teacher but all of its students are dead.

I have done some research recently to try to find an objective way to compare the major candidates for the democratic nomination. I came across the Library of Congress website that shows the number of bills sponsored by each member of congress since 1973. I compiled the numbers and here’s what I found:

Bills Sponsored Per Year
Candidate # Rank*
Clinton 87 8
Obama 87 17
Edwards 26 69

In examining the table above, it is obvious that Senators Clinton and Obama have each done a lot of work on behalf of their constituents and of the American people and deserve credit for attempting to take a leadership role and make the most of their time in office.

The numbers for Edwards, however, tell a very different story. Based on this data, John Edwards was among the least active Senators during his time in office. In looking closer at the data, one finds that during the 107th Congress, a 2 year period from 2001-2002, John Edwards ranked 90th among the 100 Senators in number of bills sponsored. Although this information has not yet been discussed much during this campaign, I believe it is VERY important and speaks volumes about the character and substance of each candidate. It is very easy to stand at a podium and talk about leadership and working hard on behalf of the American people. It is much more difficult, however, and a much greater indication of the merit of a candidate, to back up that talk with action once in office. In this area, it appears John Edwards lags far behind the other candidates. How can he expect to lead this country as president, when he was FAR from a leader in the Senate during his time in office? I think this should be raised as an issue and I would like John Edwards to explain why we should vote for him when his rivals have clearly worked much harder for the American people while in office.

Now I do realize that the number of bills sponsored does not necesarily correlate to the quality of a Senator, but I think a 6 year trend of ranking near the bottom is very telling.

Here is a link to the official Library of Congress website where you can examine this information yourself:

If you have some free time, check out the numbers for Fred Thompson. Pretty amusing that some people think this guy deserves to be President.....

"In a very honest moment Obama said he had a problem of being to `timid`"
@ d.freemean


Your premise that you base your points on are totally incorrect. Those aren't the words he used nor the idea he was conveying.

You're like a caricature of a wannabe Hillary supporter. All your comments are pretty much pure fiction.

I suspect that Obama's criticism of Edwards in recent days reflects a view that the best thing to do with the Clintons is to ignore them. Let them stew in their own sour juice.

Barack Obama for President.

It's time for America to Rise and Shine again.

NO more Clinton dynasty and corrupted Health Industry.


Joe F - Chicago

Here is a quote From Senator Obama from the debate transcript: "And so I have to constantly remind myself not to be TIMID, not to be distorted by the fears of losing in order to make a real difference in the lives of the American people."




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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 17, 2007 11:39 AM.

Sweet column: Edwards, Obama tangle. Fighter vs pragmatist. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Iowa Obama trip 4. The scoop on Obama Secret Santa pact. is the next entry in this blog.

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