2008 Race for the White House: 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.

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.

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--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 -- 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--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.

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)

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.""

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

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--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.

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


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.”

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....

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.

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.

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Lynn Sweet

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

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the 2008 Race for the White House category from April 2007.

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