WASHINGTON--After the Democratic debate Tuesday night, I headed to the Spin Room. The video LINK
captures my questions to lock-in the position of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on a New York plan to give illegal immigrants a drivers license.
Mark Ambinder of TheAtlantic.com taped the video of my back and forth with Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn.
PHILADELPHIA--White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday faces probable attacks on her from Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and other rivals and Republicans over the release of her First Lady papers in the Clinton Library.
Clinton's refusal to say whether or not she supported New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrant will also have legs not as much on the substance--Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) back the licenses--as on the waffle.
The Clinton campaign is featuring this video clip from Tuesday's debate. LINK "Well, I don't think the Republicans got the message that I'm voting and sounding like them...."
The Obama team is touting the video clip where Obama is hitting Clinton on lack of transparency on her papers--and her stealing his "turn the page" line. LINK " I'm glad Hillary took the phrase "turn the page." it's a good one -- but this is an example of not turning the page."
PHILADELPHIA -- Near the end of a Democratic debate Tuesday where she deflected most darts aimed at her by her rivals, White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) just would not say whether she backed a proposal by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Clinton protested to NBC's Tim Russert, "This is where everybody plays gotcha.'' Her refusal to be pinned down allowed former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) to accuse her of double-talk and let Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) question her candor.
PHILADELPHIA — In the opening round of a Democratic debate Tuesday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) downplayed the expectations he helped raise over whether he will be more aggressive taking on front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA—NBC’s Brian Williams asked Barack Obama about Mitt Romney’s confusing his name with Osama bin Laden. He raised the possibility that Obama may be “swiftboated” when it comes to his religion (not said, Christian, not Muslim.)
PHILADELPHIA--The debate started with MSNBC moderator Brian Williams asking Barack Obama about his pledge to be more aggresive and tougher in his campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama downplayed the hype--stirred up by Obama himself and his campaign.
"Well, first of all, I think some of this stuff gets overhyped. In fact, I think this has been the most hyped fight since
Rocky fought Apollo Creed, although the amazing thing is I'm Rocky in this situation," said Obama.
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BALTIMORE AND WILMINGTON, DEL.(Amtrak en route to Philadelphia)--The Clinton team is trying to box Obama in at the Democratic debate tonight.
Chief Strategist Mark Penn sent out a memo titled "What are the Politics of Hope?" aimed at forcing White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) to either pull any contemplated punches--or wear the jacket as political attackers
In the meantime, Penn annointed frontrunner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as the candidate of hope.
But wait! that's Obama's thing! And Edwards!
"Losing ground in the polls, Senator Obama announced over the weekend that he will abandon the politics of hope and attack Hillary in tonight’s debate. Senator Edwards, who rose to prominence in 2004 by eschewing attacks on other Democrats, formally announced last night that he is going to attack Senator Clinton’s character," Penn penned.
WASHINGTON--Just about 12 hours before the Democratic debate begins--where White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) willfully or not has set very high expectations for himself--Obama's Senate office sent out a letter to Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers about the immunity deal for Blackwater.
WASHINGTON--After watching White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) show off his dancing on the Ellen Degeneres show, I wanted to reprise video I took of Obama dancing a year ago on his trip to Kenya. LINK
WASHINGTON--A study on press treatment on president candidates the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy finds White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "enjoyed by far the most positive treatment of the major candidates during the first five months of the year." For entire study of the Invisible Primary LINK
WASHINGTON--Filing in Springfield starts today for the Feb. 5 primary--all local, state and federal races. This Obama-centic blog brings you the complete Obama Illinois slate. The Clinton Illinois slate--and a story explaining the Democratic delegate selection system is on an Oct. 28 post. LINK
Republicans in Illinois file their delegate slates later next month.
WASHINGTON--The University of Iowa Hawkeye poll just out top line findings. Obama and Clinton running neck and neck though Clinton is ahead. The race is a tie since the margin of error is plus or minus 5.5 percent.
The challenge for Obama....will his supporters actually caucus for him?
"In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, meanwhile, a slip in John Edwards' numbers has allowed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to tighten their grips on the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. Among all likely Democratic caucus-goers, Clinton leads with 28.9 percent, followed by Obama with 26.6 percent, Edwards with 20.0 percent, Bill Richardson with 7.2 percent and Joe Biden with 5.3 percent."--from University of Iowa release.
Some questions raised about the methodology at Blumenthal's Pollster.com LINK
But Obama supporters may be less likely to show up at the Jan. 3 caucus..... LINK
In a major speech on Social Security delivered in 2005, Obama said, "in 1983 they gradually increased the retirement age, they increased the payroll tax modestly. I think those are all things that have to be considered."
Obama apparently has taken raising the retirement age off the table.
WASHINGTON -- Iowa caucus voters tend to be older; that's a reason White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is injecting Social Security as an issue into the campaign as he turns up the heat on rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
Obama's latest Iowa spot, unveiled Sunday, is titled "Wind," as in Clinton has her finger to the wind to determine a position.
WASHINGTON--Iowa caucus voters tend to be older; that's a reason White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is injecting Social Security as an issue in the campaign. Obama's latest spot, unveiled Sunday, is titled "Wind" as in finger to the wind to determine a position. The paid media hit follows a campaign swing on Saturday designed to yield free media.
To see spot LINK
Obama neglects to mention in the ad the higher wage ceiling he wants. At present, wages are taxed for Social Security on the first $97,500 in earnings.
The Obama ad sticks it to chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) because she dodged a direct answer after Tod Bowman, a teacher at Maquoketa Community High School, asked her about Social Security during a forum. Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press later reported that Clinton did give a answer to Bowman when he posed for a picture with her on a rope line--that she was open to higher payroll taxes.
Illinois Delegate fight: favorite son vs. native daughter.
This is a longer version of the Sweet column printed in Sunday's Sun-Times. Attached at the bottom is a complete list of Clinton delegates, a sampling of Obama delegates and a copy of the Democratic Party of Illinois delegate selection rules.
WASHINGTON -- In 1996, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama launched his first campaign for office doing things the Chicago way. He challenged the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, forcing her off the ballot, clearing the way for him to easily win her seat.
On Monday, when Illinois Democrats running to be presidential delegates start filing nominating petitions, Palmer's name will be on the slate pledged to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. So will a few of Clinton's Maine South High School buddies, former officials who served in the Clinton administration and her campaign manager's brother and niece.
MANCHESTER, N.H.--Washington Post media guru Howard Kurtz dives into the world of mainstream political blogs (this is one of them) in a Friday piece and how the 2008 campaigns try to influence coverage. Includes a comment from Blogger Sweet. LINK
ABC News Obama embedded reporter Sunlen Miller files a report about Obama reacting to Romney calling him "Osama." LINK
This was at a house party in New Hampshire and that's my voice you hear asking the question if you listen carefully. The tape you see features my tape recorder and manicured thumb in the lower left of the frame.
CNN Senior Political Analyst William Schneider advises Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to get tougher if he wants to beat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) LINK
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign hit Sen. Hillary Clinton again Thursday for supporting a measure declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. Clinton’s team walked through the door Obama opened and slammed him for skipping the Senate vote on that Kyl-Lieberman resolution.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H.—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) never served in the military. But at a town hall meeting, Obama said he would “take up arms myself” to prevent another 9-11 from happening.
The comment came during a wide-ranging question and answer session in Dover, N.H. where Obama also said he would have no trouble “going down low and throwing elbows” if opponents went after him.
DOVER, N.H. -- Hoping to defuse a crisis among gay supporters -- but not alienate black evangelical voters in South Carolina -- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told gay activists Wednesday a gay minister will open weekend gospel concerts, while a singer with an anti-gay reputation will remain on the bill.
"I want to make sure that we are communicating the inclusive nature of this campaign, that I am continuing to reach out in the faith community," Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H.--UPDATE--The Obama campaign just told gay activists a gay minister will open each gospel session this weekend. This to defuse brewing uproar among gay supports for having gospel tour with gay basher.
EARLIER White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is in Washington, on the Senate floor, voting for S2205, known as the "DREAM ACT," designed to let some children of illegal immigrants become citizens, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The measure just failed 52-44 to win cloture and will not advance.
Wednesday is not shaping up as a dream day for Obama.
The Washington Post revealed that Obama's finance department vetters failed to catch a scheme where some teen children of donors sent checks to the Obama campaign, a technique used to get around federal contribution limits. LINK
And Obama's team has to douse a fire with gay supporters. That's because a gospel tour starting this weekend in South Carolina is featuring Grammy Award artist Donnie McClurkin, whose homophobic comments are upseting Obama's gay backers.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) cancelled a morning house party in Rochester, N.H. in order to return to Washington for Senate votes on the children-of- immigrant-related DREAM act sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
I'm up here anyway--after winding up reporting duties in Boston last night, at a rally on Boston Common with Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick--because every hotel in Boston and nearby suburbs is sold out, perhaps related to the World Series.
MERRIMACK, N.H.--While Obama is speaking in a living room here, these other developments are brewing Tuesday:
*Obama campaign responds to GOP contender Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, calling him "Osama." In a few hours Obama stumps in Boston with Massachusett Gov. Deval Patrick. We'll see if he has comments for the former governor.
Asked about this by reporters Obama said, "I don't pay too much attention to Mitt Romney."
*Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who has been traveling as an Obama surrogate, cut his first ad for Obama. The spot is playing in South Carolina, where the African-American vote can make the difference. LINK
MERRIMACK, N.H.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is speaking now in a packed living room in a house dating from the 1860s nestled next to the lovely Bowers Pond. The leaves are just starting to change and the early fall foliage is brilliant.
Obama just made a reference to "my cousin Dick Cheney."
"Been trying to hide this for a long time....everybody has..black sheep in the family."
That's a relationship discovered by my colleague Scott Fornek who researched Obama's roots for a package of stories that now can be found at www.suntimes.com. Lynne Cheney recently talked about their newfound kin.
Obama a few minutes ago said "the truth is" there is not much difference between the health coverage proposals put out by himself of rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards. What matters is “who has the capacity to bring people together" and get something passed. That's a subtle dig at Clinton, who failed to win any health care reform when she handled the legislation as First Lady.
Mark Kornblau, a senior advisor in the Edwards campaign, saw the post and said there was a difference between Edwards and Obama plans to offer health care to the nations' uninsured.
CHICAGO (MIDWAY AIRPORT)--Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are tangling over an Iran vote in Iowa mailboxes, with the frontrunners opening a direct mail front for the first time in the campaign.
Obama's campaign announced Tuesday morning that Obama was mailing a rebuttal piece to Iowa voters several days after Clinton sent a glossy mailer to explain her potentially controversial vote to have the State Department declare the Iranian Guard a terrorist organization.
"Barack Obama is the ONLY major candidate for president to oppose both the Iraq War from the very start and the Senate amendment that raises the risk of war with Iran," the front of the Obama mailer stated.
The back is printed with the line, "While other Democrats voted for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, Barack Obama opposed another Bush foreign policy fiasco."
Obama's drawing attention to his opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman measure, passing in September as an amendment to a Defense Authorization bill on a 76-22 roll call, may lead to some other problems for him because he was absent from the Senate the day of the vote, campaigning in New Hampshire.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Craig Robinson was on surrogate duty for brother-in-law Barack Obama at the Polk County Democrats fall dinner Friday, auctioning off a lunch with his sister Michelle to benefit the local party.
A man asked who would pick up the meal tab. "If I know my sister, she is not," quipped Robinson. The lunch sold for $400.
White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), starting a swing through New Hampshire,on Monday, starts a new spot today running in that state that underscores the aspirational nature of his campaign. It is titled "Conventional" and is an example of how paid media is used to emphasize a message put out in speeches, through surrogates, spokesmen and free media.
Obama increasingly has been using the specific word conventional in speeches and interviews. The word has also been planted with people speaking on his behalf.
Now comes the ad that is evocative of President Reagan's "shiny city on the hill."
The first line in the Obama spot is a less memorable version: "We are a beacon of light around the world. At least that’s what we can be again. That’s what we should be again."
DES MOINES, IA.— In a mailing tailored to Iowa voters, presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is using a rare split between the Illinois Democratic senators to provide cover for her vote to declare the Iranian Guard a terrorist organization.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Saturday downplayed her front-runner status and said, "I am not letting the forces that oppose me define me," when pressed about her electability.
DES MOINES, IA.--I'm at the gym at the Oak Park elementary school right now listening to White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). I have not been on the road with her for some time and the stump speech has changed a bit. She's very direct in her appeal to women voters.
"We cannot let the health insurance industry determine what happens wth the entire American economy," she said. The backdrop banner says "Rebuilding the Road to the Middle Class."
NEAR BATAVIA, ILL.(ON RTE. 88)--There are many ways to try to jazz up voters--and the campaign of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is launching a gospel music tour next week to whip up the crucial African-American in South Carolina, an early primary state.
Top gospel artists will perform in what is billed as the "Embrace the Change" concert tour. The tour is aimed of "people of faith" and continues a theme the Obama campaign is developing in South Carolina, talking about Obama's Christian faith.
click below for names of the gospel stars....
Former Vice President Al Gore, in Chicago on Wednesday, gave no indication he wants to run for the White House again as he delivered the best stump speech I have heard in the 2008 presidential season.
Gore talked about change in its most useful context, attached to a subject -- the climate. He also, in his dismal predictions, gave reason for hope. There is a lesson here for candidates who campaign on change and hope.
CHICAGO--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has another fund-raiser in the Los Angeles area this week; California continues to be his most fertile ground to dig up campaign dollars. Goldman Sachs remains one of the top employers of Obama givers.
But his friends and supporters Chicago lead in metro area giving. Most specifially, Obama's best zip code is 60614. That near downtown zipcode also scoops in people who list their office address on official records instead of their residence.
The top zip codes for Obama are 60614 in Chicago; 10021 in Manhattan; 60611, 60610 in Chicago and 20008 in northwest Washington D.C.
for details, click below...
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--Who are the people doing the loudest talking about the supposed "inevitablity" that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will be the Democratic presidential nominee? That's chief rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who is stalled in national and the more important early state polls his wife Michelle.
On Thursday morning, following an appearence Wednesday night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Obama sent out a fund-raising appeal titled "Inevitable." It used the line Obama has been using about Clinton. "I'll tell you what I told him: (Leno) Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare "Mission Accomplished" a little too soon."
Invoking Clinton's name rings the cash register for Obama. A small dollar e-mail appeal invoking Clinton collected $1,254,785 in two days for Obama.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--Roll Call reporters Lauren W. Whittington and Matthew Murray scooped Thursday that former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) "is expected to announce that he will resign his seat in Congress effective later this year, eventually setting up a special election to succeed him, knowledgeable GOP sources said late Wednesday." Also in Roll Call “Obama Bashes, Courts K Street”
No link because Roll Call is a subscription site. Hastert previously announced that he will not seek another term, triggering a wide open primary for the seat.
Obamanarian Jeff Zeleny at the New York Times nailed the Obama campaign for failing to file complete expenditure information LINK
CHICAGO--NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno and White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) just discussed whether Obama draped his underwear over a doorknob. Obama said he did not, would try it, and asked Leno if that was his habit. But the best repartee had to do with whether Obama would leave his wife alone with Bill Clinton.
The underwear bit was just part of Obama's schtick with Leno on a Wednesday, a day Obama spent taping guest shots in Los Angeles.
Wearing his trademark tieless white shirt and dark suit, Obama, prompted by Leno, jabbed chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) who is surging in national and state polls. "Hillary appears to be a shoo-in is what they say. How discouraging is that? said Leno, handing the set-up to Obama.
Not discouraging at all, said Obama. "Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare mission accomplished a little too soon."
CHICAGO--In a presidential campaign, every word is parsed. Catch this video where White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is asking a voter to take a chance and support him. “It involves a little more risk with me,” he said.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--Third quarter fund-raising numbers just in show that front-runners Obama and Clinton depend on big donors to raise them the megabucks. Small dollar givers just don't add up to equal the money power from the wealthy who can afford to write $1,000 checks.
Obama and Clinton lead in donations from Illinois. For a year-to-date on presidential donations for GOP and Dem candidates LINK
This analysis from the Campaign Finance Institute...
Large and Small Contributions: As the 2008 presidential candidates are setting records for primary fundraising, they are drawing two-thirds of their total individual contributions from large $1,000 and up donations – mostly maximum $2,300 contributions. Just 21% of the money is coming from $200 and under contributions, slightly more than the 18% of 2003 and 20% of 1999. So, despite the rise of small giving on the Internet, and the emphasis by some campaigns on their small donor fundraising, little has changed overall in the balance between large and small contributions in presidential primaries.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--Lynne Cheney discussed in an interview how Vice President Dick Cheney and White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are distant cousins. Last September, my colleague Scott Fornek traced Obama's Kenyan and U.S. roots in a massive package of articles and interactive graphics.
To read the Fornek story on the Obama and Cheney family tree LINK
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--As I wrote in a Monday column, it's a hard call to give Ann Coulter more media attention. Here I go again.
The top GOP presidential candiates are addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum on Tuesday in Washington. It's an influetntial group.
Using that event as a news peg, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is calling on them to denounce Coulter's "hateful rhetoric" --she said Jews needed to be "perfected"--and to boycott events where Coulter is also on the bill.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.-- The Obama clip file on Tuesday is heavy on campaign finance stories, with Clinton leading with primary cash on hand, even after givng back a bunch of cash to donors bundled by disgraced Democrat Norman Hsu. Republicans lag behind Dems, with Giuliani ahead in the GOP cash race.
Campaign '08 watcher Perry Bacon Jr. at the Washington Post on the money. LINK
Where the money is being spent is important. WashPo report. LINK
WASHINGTON--The Edwards campaign earned some bragging rights on Monday, an upbeat storyline that he won the endorsement of the Iowa, California SEIU locals and eight other states.
Team Obama is announcing they snared the Illinois and Indiana SEIU nod. The Illinois endorsement was a foregone conclusion. Illinois SEIU chief Tom Balanoff and Obama are close. Balanoff also appeared in an ad for Obama.
WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama used an interview with a British paper to try to put the brakes on a potentially damaging narrative developing in the U.S. national political press over the last few days -- the "inevitability" that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will be the Democratic presidential nominee.
WASHINGTON---White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) faced something rare--a tough interviewer. He taped an interview with Andrea Seabrook of NPR's "All Things Considered" taped Friday in Iowa and played on Saturday. At one point Seabrook, pressing Obama about his Iran policy, said, "It sounds a little bit, sir, like you are all carrot and no stick, if I might just use a cliché."
The news headline is this. In the session, Obama make a sharp, clear, simple distinction between himself and chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), distilling the rationale of his candidacy down to one sentence.
Obama: " Well, I think it is important to understand that I opposed this war from the start and Senator Clinton did not."
Seabrook: "Wat difference does that make now, sir, though?"
WASHINGTON -- The Obama campaign readily admits that White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) recently recorded a portion of the Oct. 2, 2002, anti-Iraq war speech he originally delivered at an outdoor rally in Chicago for a new ad that went online Thursday.
There is no good audio tape of the speech, which is playing a pivotal role in the Obama campaign. But the campaign used a sound effect to create the impression one was listening to the original speech.
click below for print version of earlier blog item...
WASHINGTON--On this day of dueling memos, the Obama campaign reply to Clinton team memo on the state of play of the presidential primary.
And, in response to some of the rather breathless political assertions in their memo today, we would make the following points
In the one state where the race is engaged, Iowa, the last four public polls show a race within the margin of error between Obama and Clinton, with Edwards in third. This is not because it’s the one state in the union immune to Senator Clinton’s appeal. It is because the voters are paying close attention, they know the most about Barack Obama and are responding to his message. As other early states get more engaged, we will see a much closer race.
WASHINGTON--Obama 2.0 version launched on Friday, in a Des Moines speech. It's the start of a new phase in his campaign where Team Obama will more sharply draw contrasts directly--not by inference or through back channels--with Camp Clinton.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in his clearest bid yet in his presidential campaign, clearly, by name and aggressively criticized chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for backing a hard line Senate measure that branded Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.
“She says that she wasn’t really voting for war back in 2002, she was voting for more inspections, or she was voting for more diplomacy. But all of us know what was being debated in the Congress in the fall of 2002. We didn’t need to authorize a war in order to have United Nations weapons inspections. No one thought Congress was debating whether or not to conduct diplomacy. The headlines on October 12, 2002 did not read: ‘Congress authorizes diplomacy with Iraq’ – the headlines on October 12, 2002 read ‘Congress backs war.’”
WASHINGTON--Former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Peace prize on Friday, touching off chatter about whether he will jump in the 2008 race.
The Dem presidential hopefus have been sending out statements of congratulations.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Senate Democratic political operation, has already set out a fund-raising appeal pegged to Gore's win (click below for pitch.) Sign a card to congratulate Al!
WASHINGTON--There are a lot of stories about White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) going after chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) over Iran. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder has the best explanation and analysis on this LINK
Off the daily news peg.... Scott Helman, the Boston Globe's Obama specialist, has a long, good read about the early Obama years in Chicago and how they defined him. LINK
Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla and Julianna Goldman have an interesting story on how "one of the few contests so far where Democrat Barack Obama has bested Hillary Clinton is the Sister Souljah primary. LINK
WASHINGTON---CNN's Wolf Blitzer interview with White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) yielded this headline: Obama is going to be more aggressive when it comes to his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). This interview comes on the 5th anniversary of the2002 Senate Iraq war vote.
"And I think that now is the time where we’re going to be laying a very clear contrast between myself and Senator Clinton. Not just on the past, not just on Iraq but on moving forward. How would we approach Iran, for example? "
WASHINGTON (REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT)---Picking up where I left off in earlier post waiting for my flight at United's B9 gate at O'Hare--where I wondered if I would run in to any Congressmen on the shuttle--the answer was no in Chicago. But I just ran into Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) here when I walked off the plane. (The O'Hare flights come and go from the same gate.)
Plopped down--before heading to the office--to check out what I missed in the world during the hour plus when I was in air and I saw this dispatch from Sugar Rautbord over at the Huffington Post. LINK
Rautbord put on her hat as a Chicago political anthropologist to report on phenomena she is observing in the social/political circles she inhabits.
Some early Obama supporters are now flirting with Clinton. Rautbord puts herself out at exhibit one....she was a co-host of a Women for Obama fund-raiser....yet last week she took a seat at a Clinton funder in Chicago.
Illinois Politics is as incestuous as the Ozarks of yore. Penny Pritzker, sister of National Hillary-for-President Operative JB, and this evening's host, is Barack's National Finance Chair.
CHICAGO (O'HARE AIRPORT)---A new Obama online ad posted Thursday--buttressed by a nationwide series of related grassroots campaign events--is designed to underscore one of--perhaps the most potent--calling card of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)--his early opposition to the Iraq war. At the same time, the spot address his experience deficit by stressing his leadership potential.
The ad mixes two messages. Obama's lack of experience is one of his major hurdles to clear if he is to win the nomination. If he can't lock in voters on the experience front, he has to convince people he is a leader nonetheless.
How to do that? One path is suggesting in ads that Obama's 2002 opposition to the war is a signature, telling and predictive measure of strong leadership. The announcer in the ad calls Obama the "one leader" who warned that the Iraq war would be a disaster.
The ad refers to Obama's anti-Iraq war Oct. 2, 2002 speech in Chicago. When Obama made that speech he was a state senator. He did not become active on a national level as a leader in the Iraq anti-war movement.
CHICAGO (O'HARE AIRPORT)--United's 7 a.m. flight to Washington was cancelled. Not good it was cancelled. Very good United sent me an e-mail and a robo-call to tell me. Got to the airport early anyway; my inner clock was already set. Rebooked for the 8:13 a.m. and am settling in at B-9. If this was a Monday or Tuesday there would be some members of Congress around. Doubt if I will see any today. But will note.
Meanwhile, leading the Obama clips on Thursday is an op-ed authored by the Illinois senator.
It was helpfully e-mailed to me by campaign spokesman Bill Burton, last seen at the Chicago Obama headquarters displaying attire from the University of California at Berkeley. It's in the New Hampshire Union Leader and warns against military action in Iran. LINK
White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is reorganizing his campaign, deploying key staff from the Chicago headquarters to Feb. 5 primary states while bolstering the ranks of his top leadership.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--A varied menu cooked up Wednesday in the Obama clip kitchen:
The Wall Street Journal dives into the Obama team's micro targeting drive for new teen voters who will be eligible to vote in the Iowa caucus.
My deep digging Sun-Times investigative colleague, Tim Novak, writes about how the value of a vacant lot next to the Obama homestead (once owned by the tainted Tony Rezko's wife) is for sale and has jumped in value. LINK
The New York Sun reports the Obama campaign--on a drive to rid Washington of lobbyists influence-- hired a tax lobbyist as an adviser. This as the Senate is dealing with a proposed tax hike on private equity firms
WASHINGTON — Senator Obama of Illinois is blaming Washington lobbyists for stalling a proposed tax hike on private equity firms, but he can look no further than his own campaign team for one of the culprits.
The Democratic presidential candidate recently hired a top executive at the lobbying firm retained by the Blackstone Group to urge lawmakers against raising its taxes. The executive, Moses Mercado, is not yet on the campaign payroll as an adviser, but he took a leave from his job as a senior vice president at Ogilvy Government Relations late last month LINK
CHICAGO--The Service Employees International Union, one of the most politically engaged labor organizations, announced Monday there will be no Democratic primary presidential endorsement. Staying out of the primary is a victory of sorts for Barack Obama who faced an uphill battle to clinch the SEIU backing; a roadbump for Hillary Clinton and a more significant set-back for John Edwards because he has been working the SEIU stronger than his rivals.
The SEIU went to neutral because there was not enough difference between the pro-union candidates. Each state will be encouraged to make an endorsement. That means it is just a matter of time before the Illinois SEIU announces for Obama and the New York SEIU goes for Clinton. Edwards, I have been told, has an edge in California.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--The Washington Post gives a detailed, inside look at the Obama fund-raising operation and chief professional fund-raiser Julianna Smoot and how she pursued now tainted Democratic donor Norman Hsu. Smoot specializes in high-end donor solicitation, donor maintainence and cultivating a network of wealthy bundlers.
The WashPo story reveals that Smoot--as well as the Clinton fund-raising operation--wooed Hsu, who turned out--no one knew--to be on the lam from criminal charges.
Hsu ended up with the Clinton team and her campaign had to refund about $850,000 in contributions he coordinated. But the WashPo story shows that Obama could have faced the same problem if Hsu had picked him.
Smoot knew Obama was not alone in pursuing potential fundraisers. Some were getting daily calls from presidential candidates. One potential bundler contacted by Smoot was Norman Hsu, one of the most reliable donors from her tenure as finance chair for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Hsu would later become mired in scandal as a top bundler for the Clinton campaign, but he was regarded at the time as a prime target because of his reputation for producing a steady flow of campaign cash.
WASHINGTON---Just finished short conference call with retired Gen. Tony McPeak, who is endorsing White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
McPeak, who cut a 30-second ad for Obama being launched in Iowa today, was asked about the Obama pin flap. Obama in an interview with an Iowa tv reporter talked about why he is no longer wearing a flag pin. The story is dominating national news. Obama's team notes that Iowa papers are not playing the story.
Obama is on his judgement and experience tour--that's their label-- and McPeak used the key message words in the conference call..judgement..experience...conventional (as in "inside the beltway conventional thinking.")
McPeak, a combat veteran who is outspoken in his opposition to the Iraq war said what makes Obama different is his "life experience" which "I think prepares him to deal with questions (of) international security." He downplayed "this business about the lapel pin." McPeak said he met Obama after one of his Senate staffers called him to arrange a meeting about six or eight months ago.
WASHINGTON--Enough with the flag lapel pins! To try to change the conversation--and to pour paid media on top of the free stuff White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is getting on his anti-Iraq war Iowa tour--the campaign starts a new ad Friday. It features former Air Force Chief of Staff Tony McPeak, a Republican. Lots of messages in this one. VIDEO LINK
DEVELOPING McPeak and Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on conference call at 10:30 Chicago time.
WASHINGTON--Most of the Friday White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stories are on the American flag lapel pin--the one he stopped wearing. One of the best political reporters in the business, Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press, plowed new ground during her interview with Steve Hildebrand, who is running Obama's early state strategy.
Pickler lede: (AP) — Barack Obama's hopes for the Democratic nomination hinge on getting hundreds of thousands of new voters fired up enough to actually turn out — and on spending a good chunk of his $80 million at the very end of a front-loaded campaign. (click below for entire story.)
The New York Times Obamamarian, Jeff Zeleny, is on the road with Obama in Iowa and filed two meaty reads: on the lapel pin flap LINK and on Obama talking about growing up without his father. LINK
special to the Sweet blog
By Abdon Pallasch
Sun-Times Political Writer
GLEN ELLYN, Ill. -At a suburban Chicago community college, Republican Rudy Giuliani campaigned Thursday as if the primary elections were over and his only opponent for president was Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Giuliani, speaking at the College of DuPage, repeatedly slammed "HillaryCare" as "socialized medicine" and accused the Democratic frontrunner of supporting "socialism" for her proposal to give every American $5,000 when they are born as a college account.
"If the shoe fits ... You want to give 5 grand to everyone born in the United States. Tell me that isn't socialism," Giuliani said.
WASHINGTON--Hat tip to ABC news Obama beat reporters David Wright and Sunlen Miller for getting up the story and video of what will be a developing storyline---the decision--it was deliberate-- of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) not to wear a flag lapel pin.
WASHINGTON--This is a first. The two frontrunners in the 2008 presidential race-- Republican Rudy Giuliani, the former New York Mayor and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Senator, are both in Chicago on Thursday, squeezing what seems to be unlimited campaign cash out of the city. The two events are unequal. Clinton is trolling for high dollar donations--$2,300-a-person. Giuliani ask is $50 per and $10 for students.
A band of rival 2008er Republican Ron Paul followers plan to greet Giuliani when he hits Maggiano's starting at 5:30 p.m.
Giuliani is holding a town hall meeting in the suburbs this afternoon. Guess the whomp is out of an endorsement a few weeks ago by Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) since he decided not to run again after the Tribune broke a detailed investigation of his international real estate deals.
Meanwhile, Clinton decided to meet the press in Chicago before her funder at the Hyatt on Wacker. (see details of her two Thursday funders in the city in an earlier post.)
Since he started running for president, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has cast himself not so much as a dealmaker or leader, but as a unique consensus builder. On Tuesday, in a speech at DePaul University in Chicago, he unveiled a proposal that touched on how congressional leadership would work with him should he become president.
to read entire column, click below
This Associated Press story from Iowa is about a small detail that could become a larger matter for Obama's Iowa team..."Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has stopped wearing the American flag lapel pin that has become a common symbol of patriotism since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks." (click below for full AP story_
MORNING LEDE When Howard Dean ran for president in 2004, he built a movement--but could not translate it into votes. His loss in Iowa was the beginning of the end of his campaign.
White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stalled in the polls--especially in the primary states--wants to avoid Dean's mistakes. Obama tells MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Thursday morning he talked to Dean last week. Dean is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
"I think Howard built an extraordinary movement. But I think what you need to do is be able to translate a movement into an organization," Obama said.
And exactly on this point....Politico's Roger Simon touts Obama's Iowa organizing efforts. LINK
for transcript and other Thursday clip links, click below..
WASHINGTON--Coming off a third fund-raising quarter where she beat her chief rival, White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) hits her native Chicago again Thursday night for two events.
The first a sort of "Republicans for Hillary" run by Terrance Duffy of the Merc. Expected haul is at least $250,000.
The second will bring in about $400,000 and the event chairs at the top of the invite are J.B. and M.K. Pritzker. (J.B.'s sister Penny is the National Finance Chair for the Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) presidential campaign.) It's at the family's Hotel--The Hyatt Regency. It's a $2,300 check to get in the door.
J.B. & M.K. Pritzker
Richard Cooper, Raj Fernando, Scott Gendell, Adam & Denise Hoeflich, Lee Miller,
Kevin O’Keefe, Matt Pritzker, Andrew & Kim Stephens, Michael & Diane Tang
Ghassan Abboud, Ernie & Liz Banks, Bill & Patrice Brandt, Jon Bunge, Mehmet Celebi,
Robert Clifford, Kevin Conlon, Mike Conway, Lynn Cutler, John Dangora, Emilia DiMenco,
Shaw Dogan, George Drost, Betsy Ebeling, Fred Eychaner, Hon. Jack Franks, Robert Fogel,
David Gupta, Matt Moog, Raghu Nayak, Emily Nicklin, Joel Platt, Joe Power, Jr.,
Camaro Elliot Powers, Zehra Quadri, Sugar Rautbord, John Ryan, Ron Saslow, Michele Smith,
Hon. Daniel Solis, Maya Solis, Jan Starr, Phyllis Tabachnick, Ted Tetzlaff, Elaine Weiss, Tim Wright
By the way...Clinton's bundler list is hard to find LINK
CHICAGO--A big storyline in Wednesday print papers (the articles started on-line Tuesday) is the third quarter primary fund-raising beat White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) scored over chief rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
The New York Daily News played this headline "Hil gets Bam bop for flip-flop" over their coverage of Obama's Tuesday foreign policy speech at DePaul U. in Chicago
New York Times Clinton scribe Patrick Healyfront page center story is headlined "Clinton Steals Obama's Fund-Raising Thunder."
The New York tabs also work the Clinton over Obama angle. Michael McAuliff at the New York Daily News has the story.
CHICAGO---White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for a nuclear-free world. Obama has been working on non-proliferation issues since becoming a senator in 2005.
For the record, rival former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has already made nukes and nuclear proliferation an element of his campaign. Last September, in a speech at Pace University in New York, Edwards said "we will all be better off when the world is free of nuclear weapons."
“If you need any more proof that John Edwards is shaping the race for the Democratic nomination, you don’t need to look any further than Senator Obama, who has followed Edwards’ lead on heath care, poverty, and today, eliminating nuclear weapons. Next thing you know, he’ll be rooting for the Tar Heels.” --Edwards Spokeswoman Colleen Murray
I greatly appreciate your blogging about the Obama campaign. I am a stalwart supporter and appreciate being able to count on someone following so closely with news and details about the campaign that don't necessarily make the "news."
CHICAGO--At the home office, catching up posting photos with the help of Sun-Times web guru Kirsten Miller who is holding my hand on this....These are some snaps from White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's July 4 Iowa swing. See more photos (photos by Lynn Sweet)
CHICAGO--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama is speaking at DePaul University right now. His speech is titled a "New Beginning" and is the policy foundation for a series of events Obama is building around the five-year anniversary of his speech against the Iraq war. He's calling for a nuclear free world, more consulates, and declassification of secret intel documents in a "new era of openess."
He was introduced by Ted Sorenson, a speechwriter for President Kennedy who invoked Kennedy's name several times. The Obama campaign is using Sorenson as a "voucher" who can connect Obama to the hopeful era of Kennedy's Camelot.
Here are the proposals in Obama's speech...
1. A goal of a world with no nuclear weapons.
2. Seek first a reduction of stockpiles of fissile material for weapons
click below for more..
CHICAGO--Third quarter fund-raising totals released by the Obama campaign generated, of course, a lot of stories...as well as his latest play (see previous post) to use the fifth anniversary of his speech aganst the Iraq war.
USA Today chief political writer Susan Page in a cover story: Obama is still seeking traction: He has time and money on his side. But after a fast start, he isn't gaining much ground in the polls.
CHICAGO--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is organizing a series of rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of a speech he gave against the Iraq war. He kicks off his latest organizing drive Tuesday morning with a speech at DePaul University in Chicago.
Obama's foreign policy team will brief reporters an hour before the speech. I'll blog.
The New York Times Obama reporter Jeff Zeleny has the scoop on the speech. Obama will propose a goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Obama has specialized in nuclear non-proliferation issues since joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2005 when he became a senator.
Zeleny traveled to former Soviet states with Obama and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to inspect nuclear facilities.