2008 Race for the White House: May 2008 Archives

WASHINGTON--Reaction to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) quitting Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago:

Statement from Trinity:

"Though we are saddened by the news, we understand that this is a personal
decision. We will continue to lift them in prayer, and wish them the best as
former members of our Trinity community.
"As in the prayer of the Ephesians, the entire Trinity family asks that the
nation entrust Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha to God's care and
guidance, so that Christ may continue to dwell in their lives, in their
hearts, and in their work. We ask now for God's peace to be with them."

WASHINGTON-- Likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) explains his decision to quit Trinity United Church of Christ and his reaction to the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee decision on seating disputed Michigan and Florida delegates at a press conference in Aberdeen, S.D.

Click below for transcript.....

WASHINGTON--At a press conference in Aberdeen, S.D., Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the likely Democratic presidential nominee, announced tSaturday night that he and wife Michelle decided to quit Trinity United Church of Christ. This comes after Father Michael Pfleger insulted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from the Trinity pulpit last Sunday and after he denounced Triinity's Rev. Jeremiah Wright for his controversial sermons.

Obama said the family will not be in any hurry to pick a new church--not until January, when he knows if he will be living in the White House--and in the meantime they will visit other churches.

"I have to say this was one I didn't see coming. We knew there were going to be some things we didn't see coming. This was one. I didn't anticipate my fairly conventional Christian faith being subject to such challenge and such scrutiny," said Obama. He said it has been months since he has been at the church, on Chicago's South Side. "I did not anticipate my fairly conventional Christian faith being subjected to such...scrutiny.

WASHINGTON--Under the deal being voted on by the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee on disputed Michgan and Florida delegates, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will be about only 30 votes short of clinching the Democratic presidential nomination. UPDATE Harold Ickes, committee member and Clinton advisor said the deal is flawed and "is not a good way" to yield party unity towards the November election. In a dramatic moment at the meeting, Ickes just said, "Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve the right to take this to the Credential Committee." That means Clinton is threatening to take this to the Denver Democratic convention in August.

Amidst talk of unity, the compromise means the nominee will need 2,118 delegates--up from 2,026. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe estimates that after voting is over Sunday in Puerto Rico--and Tuesday's primaries in South Dakota and Montana Obama will have a wrap. Plouffe projects that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will need to win 90 percent of the delegates in the remaining contests to come close.

The DNC Rules and Bylaws deal--which the Clinton forces are expected to reject--comes after a day long meeting here. The compromise is "not insignificant," said Plouffe.

WASHINGTON--UPDATE--Obama spokesman Bill Burton confirmed that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) quit Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama "will answer questions this evening" about resigning from the church that helped Obama chart his course as a Christian, an Obama top adviser just told me. UPDATE 2 Obama campaign manager David Plouffe just told me Obama's availability--where he will talk about ending his long relationship with Trinity will take place at about 8:15 p.m. eastern time tonight, from South Dakota, where he is campaigning in advance of Tuesday's primary vote.

Obama quits his church following Father Michael Pfleger's sermon ridiculing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from the Trinity pulpit last Sunday, reigniting stories about Obama's associations with the inflammatory Trinity pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who stepped down from his role as senior pastor to hand over the top job to the Rev. Otis Moss III. Obama's move comes as Moss praised for his "message" after Pfleger a scorched Clinton.

Hat tip to Chicago's Monroe Anderson at LINK for the scoop that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has resigned his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ. Hat tip to Marc Ambinder at www.theatlantic.com for passing it on.

WASHINGTON—There’s been enough testimony at Saturday’s Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting—and backstage dealing—to see that a compromise to seat the Florida delegates is in the works but the Michigan situation will be harder to resolve. But if Obama forces want to forge unity with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton—who everyone knows is likely NOT to be the Democratic nominee—then the Obama folks talk of “concessions” they are making is not helpful.

WASHINGTON -- The Rev. Michael Pfleger's "I'm white! I'm entitled ... black man stealing my show" outburst about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton from the pulpit of the Obama family church, Trinity United Church of Christ, created a political problem for likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama that won't disappear.

Pfleger's crusades against guns, prostitution, porn and tobacco have made good copy for years for a fairly admiring local press corps hooked on cheering for the underdog, the poor and the powerless.

WASHINGTON--GOP presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on Friday weighed in on the Father Michael Pfleger controversy, where the Chicago priest mocked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from the pulpit of Obama family church, Trinity United Church of Christ.

McCain said, "And I think that kind of language and that kind of treatment, of Senator Clinton, is unwarranted, uncalled for and disgraceful."

WASHINGTON--After attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from the pulpit of the Obama family church, Trinity United Church of Christ, Father Michael Pfleger on Friday was rebuked by Chicago's Cardinal Francis George. Pfleger promised the Cardinal to muzzle himself when it comes to politics--and not even mention any candidate by name.

This episode--triggered by the media savvy Pfleger--comes as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is on the verge of clinching the Democratic presidential nomination and is working to win Catholic votes. The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee meets Saturday here to wrestle with how to seat the disputed Michigan and Florida delegates.

George wanted to avoid having the Catholic Church caught in a political dispute.

"Racial issues are both political and moral and are also highly charged. Words can be differently interpreted, but Fr. Pfleger¹s remarks about Senator Clinton are both partisan and amount to a personal attack. I regret
that deeply," George said.

WASHINGTON -- The Rev. Michael Pfleger mocked Sen. Hillary Clinton from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ -- earning him a reprimand Thursday from Sen. Barack Obama as his comments threaten to resurrect the politically radioactive Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue.

WASHINGTON--After first decling to comment on the fiery rhetoric of Father Michael Pfleger mocking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, on Thursday night the Clinton campaign said Sen. Barack Obama's saying he was "disappointed" in Pfleger did not go far enough.

From Clinton spokesman Phil Singer:
"Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics. We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn't specifically reject Father's Pflegler's dispicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so."

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said in a statement he was "deeply disappointed" in Father Michael Pfleger, after the priest --in a scene caught on videotape-- mocked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y) from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago--the home church of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. UPDATE Click below for Pfleger apology

“As I have traveled this country, I've been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause," Obama said in a statement.

For video http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/05/father_michael_pflager.html#more

WASHINGTON--Hat tip to Politico's Ben Smith for the video. Last Sunday night, Chicago's Father Michael Pfleger ended his sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ--the Obama family church--home pulpit for years for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright-- saying, "sorry....don't want to get you into any more trouble."

This comes after Pfleger--a crusader for Chicago's down and out--who has known Barack Obama since his days as a community organizer--just wrapped up mocking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and may have sensed he strayed into trouble for his friend Obama.

Of Clinton, Pfleger said, pretending to be speaking in her voice, "I'm white, I'm entitled, there's a black man stealing my show."

WASHINGTON--Likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is in "excellent health," according to a summary of Obama medical records released on Thursday. The 276-word summary was written by Dr. David L. Scheiner, the Chicago doctor who has been Obama's personal physician since March, 1987. Obama has not had a check-up in more than a year. Scheiner described Obama as "lean and muscular with no excess body fat." Obama is still using Nicorette gum to stay off cigarettes--he has quit smoking several times, his doctor notes.

HIghlights:
*Triglycerides of 44(normal under 150), cholesterol 173 (normal under 200), HDL 68 (normal over 40), and LDL 96 (normal under 130). Chem 24, urinalysis and CBC were normal, PSA was 0.6, very good. An EKG was normal.


The Obama campaign decided to release this summary of Obama's health status at this time to contrast with the long medical history of GOP presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.). The McCain campaign last week allowed a select group of reporters to study McCain's more complex medical history, complicated because of his skin cancer and injuries suffered while serving in the military and as a prisoner of war in Viet Nam.

click below for full Scheiner letter....

WASHINGTON---On a Saturday afternoon--it was Jan. 7, 2006-- I got an alert from the office of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) that he would be doing a conference call with reporters from Baghdad. A little later, the call came through. Obama told us about how the plane maneuvered to land in Baghdad without becoming a target. Obama was on a swing through Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Israel and the West Bank, his first trip to the region. The travel was part official, part not. The Iraq stop was congressional business. Obama was visiting Israel with the Jewish Federation of Chicago.

Even though Obama had not been in Iraq long he met with western reporters in Baghdad and discussed Iraq on the conference call with reporters in the U.S. where he said there is no military solution to the war.

Click below for my story.....

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), flying from Denver to Chicago on Wednesday, told reporters he did not think that his visiting Iraq is "relevant" This after being under attack from Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) for only traveling to Iraq once.

Obama also said:
*After Tuesday he will have enough delegates to win the nomination. Obama also figures the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee will come up with a deal to seat Michigan and Florida when they meet Saturday. The panel may well vote on a solution--but that's not the end of it if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is not satisfied with the result. There is another step--an appeal to the credentials committee at the Democratic convention in Denver this August.

Transcript below.....


WASHINGTON—Likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has penciled in a foreign trip before the Democratic convention—with an Iraq visit possible, Obama spokesman Bill Burton told the Chicago Sun-Times.


WASHINGTON -- When it comes to raising money from high-end fund-raisers, it takes Barack Obama or his wife, Michelle -- headliner at an event with Hollywood elites today -- to bring in the top dollar.

Surrogates have a sliding scale of worth in Obama's fund-raising world, where political market forces dictate how much the campaign can charge for face time.

WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama slammed GOP rival Sen. John McCain for holding a fund-raiser with President Bush with "no reporters'' around. Today, Michelle Obama is headlining a fund-raiser in California for Hollywood elites that the campaign did not announce.

WASHINGTON--The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee meets Saturday to wrestle with the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida. The essential questions, according to documents prepared for the meeting by the DNC--and obtained by this blog--is whether the Florida and Michigan delegates are to be seated and how these delegates then should be allocated between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the likely Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama.

The package of materials includes staff analysis of the various issues, arguments and potentials. solutions. Michigan and Florida were stripped of their delegates as punishment for holding January primaries, violating DNC rules. There's also a very useful timeline and background. Delegate selection rules for the 2008 cycle were adopted in August, 2006 after years of discussion,

WASHINGTON--The weekend meeting of the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee here will ponder the fate of the disputed Michigan and Florida delegates, stripped of their seats at the Denver convention because their states votes early, in violation of party rules. Getting these delegations seated--in a formula favorable to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)--is crucial to her rationale for staying in the race even though Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) just about has the nomination wrapped up. There's pressure on DNC chairman Howard Dean to broker a deal.

So who is on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee? One member is former Cook County Assessor Thomas C. Hynes, whose son Dan, is the state comptroller and big Obama supporters. Dan Hynes ran against Obama in the 2004 Democratic Senate primary.

Click below for the full committee list....

WASHINGTON---Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) writes a Sunday column for the New York Daily News on her Robert Kennedy remark and why she stays in the primary race. LINK

WASHINGTON--The Politico's John Harris runs through how the media tore out of context--and inflated--a poorly worded remark by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) about this late running primary season and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. LINK

WASHINGTON--Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane flying from San Juan, PR to Chicago on Saturday, likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he will have to pick a running mate "quickly" once the primary and caucus votes are over.

And.. while the Obama campaign fanned the controversy on Friday over rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by sending out a reaction quote and a link to her comments about Bobby Kennedy and assassination--locking in perceptions--Obama was somewhat more charitable on Saturday.

"I mean, I think it was an unfortunate remark, but as I said today, I think that when you’re on the campaign trail for 15 months, you’re going to make some mistakes. I don’t think Senator Clinton intended anything by it, and I think we should put it behind us."

On other matters:
*Obama has been attacked by presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), a former prisoner of war for not having served in the military. Explained Obama, "I didn’t serve as many people my age didn’t because Vietnam was over at the time I was draft age and moved to an all-volunteer army."

*Declined, when asked, to call on people to stop buying gas guzzling SUV's. He said he owns a hybrid.

EMBARGOED FOR DELIVERY
Renewing U.S. Leadership in the Americas
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Cuban American National Foundation
May 23, 2008
As prepared for delivery

For a summary of the medical records of GOP preseumptive nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ.) LINK http://www.johnmccain.com/mccainrecords/

WASHINGTON---On Friday, the day Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) released his medical records, the Obama campaign announced that his likely November presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), will release a summary of his medical history early next week. The medical data, a campaign aide said, should show "no surprises."


WASHINGTON -- There's no short list. At this very early stage, only a very long list of potential running mates for Sen. Barack Obama, the likely Democratic nominee.

The closely held project for picking a vice president for Obama will be a separate "silo," an organization outside the Obama campaign headquarters on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

As I reported in the May 8 Sun-Times, the Obama team has been exploring for weeks the process to be used for selecting a running mate. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times has learned that Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett is already teed up to be highly involved in transition planning -- to be ready if Obama is sworn in as president next January.

WASHINGTON--The Republican National Committee slams likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as "naive" for statements he has made about meeting foreign leaders without "preconditions." Susan Rice, one of Obama's top foreign policy advisors, makes the point that Obama is not willing to meet foreign leaders "unconditionally."

WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama's political balance sheet is the subject of a new Time Magazine story headlined "The War Over Michelle Obama" by Jay Newton-Small and Nancy Gibbs. LINK

Excerpt....

But it also may signal that as attention turns to the general campaign, Michelle could be a liability as well as an asset. Her speeches can sound stark and stern compared with her husband's roof raisers. He's all about the promise; she's more about the problem.

WASHINGTON---The front page of the Thursday New York Times has a story by Jodi Kantor headlined "As Obama Heads to Florida, Many of its Jews Have Doubts." Kantor recounts the persistent problem Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has had convincing Jewish voters to support him. I wrote about Obama's ongoing issues with Jewish voters in February: More than a year into his run for president, Obama is still explaining his record, relationships and religion to Jewish voters.LINK

On Thursday afternoon, Obama holds a town hall meeting with the B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Fl.
And Obama, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) all appear at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington on June 2-4.

FOOTNOTE: Obama's earliest political boosters were an influential network of Chicago Jewish Democratic donors; Obama lives across the street of KAM Isaiah Israel, the oldest synagogue in Chicago.

WASHINGTON--On a Thursday conference call, Clinton campaign senior strategist Harold Ickes and top spokesman Howard Wolfson are pushing the seating of the disputed Michigan and Florida delegations at the Denver convention--the twine of a lifeline that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has to continue in the presidential contest.

Negotiations are ongoing between the Obama and Clinton camps and DNC rules and by-laws committee chairman Alexis Herman and James Roosevelt. "Our view is," said Ickes, is for "all delegates seated." That is, in a way that can help keep Clinton's tiny pathway alive.

For those not keeping up on this...the Democratic National Committee stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates because the states jumped their primaries ahead to January. Even though these contests were not supposed to "count," a record number of people did show up to vote. In Michigan--where Democrats moved up the primary--Obama took his name off the ballot in order to appease the official early states guarding their franchises-- New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada. The story is different in Florida. There, the Republicans switch to an early date. In Michigan, Clinton won most of the votes; in Florida, where all the names stayed on the ballot, Clinton won. The DNC has a May 31 R & B meeting to sort this out. There is an appeal: to the creditionals committee at the Denver convention, which could trigger a floor fight.

WASHINGTON--Credit Marc Ambinder with this scoop: Linda Douglass, ace television and print journalist is joining the Obama campaign as a "senior strategist" who will be the top spokesperson traveling with the Obama entourage. LINK TO AMBINDER

WASHINGTON — Sen. Barack Obama staked a claim to the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, sweeping Oregon but getting trounced by Sen. Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, exposing problems he might face in winning middle-class white votes in the fall campaign.

Obama traveled to Iowa, the swing state that handed him his first victory — crucial to establishing his viability — to mark at an outdoor rally in Des Moines the milestone of having won the majority of pledged delegates. He said he is “within reach” of the nomination, though he is short of the 2,026 delegates needed to clinch.


Remarks of Senator Barack Obama as prepared for delivery

Forging a New Future for America

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Des Moines, Iowa


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2008

Transcript: Hillary Clinton Delivers Remarks at Louisville, KY Celebration Event


WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign on Tuesday night released April fund-raising numbers--while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was making her victory speech in Louisville, Ky. Clinton's numbers have not been released yet. Obama launches a heavy round of fund-raising in Florida this week. Obama raised $31.3 million in April for the primary, plus an additional $600,000 for the general election. Obama has $37.3 million cash on hand (plus an additional $9.2 million for the general election)

UPDATE ....Clinton Campaign Raises $22 Million in April
Fundraising pace represents campaign’s 2nd best month of the campaign ....

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Tuesday continued his election day tradition of playing pick-up basketball—hitting the gym at the East Bank Club in Chicago. Obama used to regularly work out at the club before his presidential campaign.

Among those in the game: Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Obama was bruised playing in Indianapolis when his chest got in the way of the shoulder of Giannoulias as the former pro player drove to the basket.

No reports of injuries from the East Bank Club game.

Players included Giannoulias, a former pro who played a year in Greece and Reggie Love, Obama’s “body man,” his traveling aide and frequent pick-up game partner. Love is a former member of the Duke basketball and football teams. Love was on the 2001 Duke national championship basketball team and played with the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.

WASHINGTON--Very interesting profile about top Obama foreign policy advisor Anthony Lake in the new issue of Moment Magazine. The story is about Lake's "conversions," to Judiasm and from being National Security Advisor in the Bill Clinton White House to a member of the inner circle of Obama's presidential campaign. The article touches on Israel, Jewish-black relations and Lake's own religious journey.

http://www.momentmag.com/Exclusive/2008/2008-05/200805-Lake.htm


WASHINGTON -- After wife Michelle was attacked last week in a video produced by the Tennessee GOP, Sen. Barack Obama sent a warning to the troublemakers on Monday to "lay off my wife."

No matter the outcome of the presidential election, the contest has served to permanently vault Michelle Obama from relative obscurity to fame, as she has taken on major fund-raising and surrogate speaking roles on behalf of her husband, even phoning superdelegates to try to close the deal for him. Michelle Obama has her own chief of staff and press secretary, and campaign advance staffers handle her larger events, where she has turned out to be a significant draw in her own right.

WASHINGTON--Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Monday night, erev elections in Kentucky and Oregon, presents the latest Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stats: 14.5 delegates to clinch the pledged delegate majority and 110 superD's needed to become the presumptive Democratic nominee. Tuesday Obama plans to make what he called the "very strong claim" that he won. "This is nowhere near over," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)

WASHINGTON-Hat tip to Ben Smith at Politico for his scoop on former Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle--the sister of Chicago Ald. Danny Solis (25th) talking about joining the Obama campaign. Solis Doyle was deposed after a string of Clinton loses; she is close to Obama chief strategist David Axelrod. LINK http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10450.html

WASHINGTON--After taking a congratulatory lap on Tuesday night, when Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is expected to celebrate winning the majority of the pledged delegates in Des Moines, he heads to Florida for heavy fund-raising and making the Sunshine state voters feel like they count. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) just added south Florida to her Wednesday schedule. The Democratic National Committee meets at the end of May here to see if there is a way seating disputed Michigan and Florida delegates at the August convention in Denver. The DNC is punishing the two states for holding early votes; getting these delegates seated in a formula favorable to Clinton is central to her longshot strategy of wrestling the Democratic nomination away from Obama. Clinton won the Florida vote that is not counting. Obama is expected to court Jewish and Hispanic voters in a south Florida swing

WASHINGTON--In Chicago, Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) the GOP presumptive nominee, hit Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) , the likely Democratic nominee, over the magnitude of the Iran threat.

"Senator Obama claimed that the threat Iran poses to our security is “tiny” compared to the threat once posed by the former Soviet Union," McCain said at the top of a speech to the National Restaurant Association intended to focus on domestic issues.

In Montana, Obama responded. Iran "is a grave threat," he said. Iran is the "single biggest beneficiary of a war that should have never been authoritzed and never have been waged.”

WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign plan to claim victory Tuesday night in Des Moines, is "a slap in the face" to millions of people who have not yet voted, says a memo from Clinton campaign communication chief Howard Wolfson. Not quite "Mission Accomplished," Wolfson writes. But in politics perception is often as important as reality, so Obama's staking the claim to the nomination---based on the majority of pledged delegates--makes political, if not mathematical sense.

Click below for Wolfson memo...

WASHINGTON--Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) is revising the speech he is delivering Monday morning in Chicago to slam Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over what he considers the "absurd" nature of playing down the threat of Iran, previewing the tough nature of the upcoming presidential contest of the two likely rivals.

Triggering the last minute addition to the speech to the National Restaurant Association were remarks Obama gave in Oregon late Sunday night, suggesting if Iran ever threatened the U.S., they wouldn't "stand a chance."

from the McCain campaign....

WASHINGTON--Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) in Chicago on Monday, will tell the National Restaurant Association he appreciates their warm welcome--despite his Democratic rivals calling Chicago "their home town."

After that, in excerpts from his speech released by his campaign, McCain goes on to slam Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the likely Democratic nominee and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as tax twins picking the pockets of taxpayers. McCain also hits Obama on NAFTA, referring to an uproar triggered by domestic policy advisor Austan Goolsbee, the University of Chicago professor who told a Canadian official Obama may not be serious about wanting to re-negotiate NAFTA.

"It was bad judgment and a bit inconsistent. Senator Obama is fond of scolding others for engaging in the “old-style politics,” but when he plays on fears of foreign trade he’s resorting to the oldest kind of politics there is. It’s the kind of politics that exploits problems instead of solving them, that breeds resentment instead of opportunity," McCain's speech said.

WASHINGTON--Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) hits Chicago on Monday for high dollar fund-raising on LaSalle Street and a stop in McCormick Place for a speech to the National Restaurant Association with a domestic economic focus. Independent Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut--a McCain backer-- will be with McCain during the visit.

After the speech to the restaurant convention, the campaign confirms McCain heads over to the newly merged Chicago Board of Trade/Merc Exchange where he will walk through the trading floor. He'll then headline a reception hosted by LaSalle Street biggies Charles Carey and Jack Sander, with the price $1,000 a person; it will take raising $10,000 to gain entrance to a private reception.

WASHINGTON--Almost Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) headlines a big rally in Portland on Sunday night. Oregon and Kentucky vote Tuesday. At a Portland fund-raiser on Saturday evening, Obama talked about Democratic unity. “That means all of you have to be nice to Clinton supporters," Obama said.


Pool report by Matthew Mosk, Washington Post

WASHINGTON-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has a fund-raiser in Portland, Oregon on Saturday night...before that, he stumped in Eugene....where he said he was "rooting" for the recovery of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), and revealed he spoke to his wife this morning, Victoria Reggie Kennedy. He was also asked by a man during a visit to a hospital how he could know he could trust Obama. One way, suggested Obama, was to read his memoir.

Click for pool report by Matthew Mosk, Washington Post

from the Associated Press....

NEW YORK — The way Sohale Siddiqi remembers it, he and his old roommate were walking his pug Charlie on Broadway when a large, scary bum approached them, stomping on the ground near the dog's head.

This was in the 1980s, a time when New York was a fearful place beset by drugs and crime, when the street smart knew that the best way to handle the city's derelicts was to avoid them entirely. But Siddiqi was angry and he confronted the bum, who approached him menacingly.

Until his skinny, Ivy League-educated friend _ Barack Obama _ intervened.

WASHINGTON--Hat tip to Politico.com for the report that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) plans--"barring a last minute change" to claim virtually clinching the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday night in Iowa--a red state he wants to turn blue. The Sun-Times Saturday morning confirmed the Politico scoop--and it seems now no last minute change is in the works. Obama will end this phase in the campaign in the Hawkeye State--where he came in first in the January cacucus vote.

Tuesday is election day in Kentucky and Oregon and Obama is expected to win Oregon and give up Kentucky to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) But throwing a big victory party in Oregon--on Pacific time--won't move the storyline along as much as going to a November battleground. Tuesday will mark Obama winning the majority of pledged delegates. The Obama campaign strategy is to continue to act as if the nomination was wrapped up even if Obama is short of delegates. President Bush attacking Obama for his foreign policy in Jerusalem does Obama a favor--he elevates Obama as if he were already the Democratic Party nominee.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN RESPONSE
"This is a shameful attempt to attack a woman who has repeatedly said she wouldn't be here without the opportunities and blessings of this nation. The Republican Party's pathetic attempts to use the same smear tactics to win elections have failed in Mississippi, failed in Louisiana and will fail in November because the American people are looking for a positive vision of real change. And if the Tennessee Republican Party has a problem with Senator Obama, maybe next time they'll have the courage to address him directly instead of attacking his family."


WASHINGTON--After picking up the endorsement of former presidential rival John Edwards on Wednesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) revealed that he has been talking to former Vice President Gore on a regular basis.

"I have spoken to Al Gore periodically over the last few months. I have talked to him mostly about policy and gotten guidance and got good ideas from him. And so I am not really pushing for an endorsement. I would love to have it, Obama said. He talked to reporters on his plane, flying to Chicago from Grand Rapids, Mich. where Edwards endorsed him. Gore's backing would be a major prize.

Obama continued, "But you know when you won the Nobel peace prize making an endorsement politically is maybe a step down, but he has been very supportive in terms of thinking through ideas. I am sure he is sharing ideas with Senator Clinton as well."


Obama also said he will declare victory when he has the majority of pledged delegates. That will probably come next Tuesday.

WASHINGTON--NARAL's PAC Obama endorsement on Wednesday is triggering a strong response from House members who have been NARAL's staunch friends on Capitol Hill--but who back Clinton.

“We are a political organization. We made a political decision," said NARAL PAC political director Elizabeth Shipp. The NARAL PAC figured any backlash from its pro-Clinton base was worth the risk.


WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign confirmed that former presidential candidate John Edwards is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at a Wednesday night rally in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, appears with Obama in a key swing state involved in a dispute over whether their delegates will be seated at the Democratic National Convention. Edwards nod comes after Obama beat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the North Carolina primary. Edwards backing is seen as helping Obama close the deal with wavering superdelegates. Edwards was one of the bigger catches and it comes after a humiliating loss to Clinton in the West Virginia primary--where Edwards got seven percent of the vote.

WASHINGTON--NARAL's decision to choose between two strong abortion rights advocates--Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary--risks their political clout and divides an activist base at a time the party is talking about unifying against anti-choice Sen. John McCain.


EMILY’s List backed Clinton from the beginning and president Ellen R. Malcolm--a charter member of the abortion rights community-strongly objected to NARAL’s Obama endorsement.

“I think it is tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton - who held up the nomination of a FDA commissioner in order to force approval of Plan B and who spoke so eloquently during the Supreme Court nomination about the importance of protecting Roe vs. Wade - to not give her the courtesy to finish the final three weeks of the primary process," Malcolm said.


WASHINGTON -- "You know I never give up."

The voters of West Virginia handed a very determined Sen. Hillary Clinton a big victory on Tuesday, and she said she was "more determined than ever to carry out this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard."

Meanwhile, on the 11th floor of the Chicago high-rise campaign headquarters of Sen. Barack Obama, the shift is on to the general election campaign mode -- no matter the expected thumping Obama got in West Virginia. Obama was campaigning Tuesday in the key swing state of Missouri and heads to Michigan and Florida, central November battlegrounds.

WASHINGTON--The NARAL political action committee--one of the nation's largest abortion rights group--decided to take sides--both Obama and Clinton are pro-choice--and on Thursday handed its endorsement to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). This will help Obama fight the charge--used by Democratic rivals in the primary--already teed up by the GOP for the general-- that he may be wobbly on abortion because he voted present on abortion related measures while an Illinois state senator.

COPY OF OBAMA FUND-RAISING INVITE...

You are cordially invited to join
Senator Barack Obama
for a reception benefiting
Obama for America
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Private Reception: 7:00 PM*
General Reception: 7:30 PM
*Includes Photo
River East Art Center
435 East Illinois Street Chicago, IL
Private Reception: Raise $5,000
Suggested Contribution: $2,300 per person
Minimum Contribution: $1,000 per person

CHICAGO--At the last minute, the Obama campaign announced Tuesday that Michelle Obama will stump for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

CNN makes the call at 7:30 p.m. --when the polls close--for Clinton winning West Virginia.

WASHINGTON—House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) got some strong pushback Tuesday because he selectively picked out quotes from an article in The Atllantic to put out a release Monday asserting that Sen. Barack Obama is wobbly when it comes to Israel and Jews.

The author, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in his blog LINK that Boehner needs to put out a correction.

“I have no doubt that Mr. Boehner will issue a correction to his press release in which he states the obvious, which is that Obama expressed -- in twelve different ways -- his support for Israel to me.”

Sweet blog reprise: Desmond Tutu Touts Obama for President

I wrote this blog item on Aug. 21, 2006 after Sen. Barack Obama, in South Africa, flinched when former Archbishop Desmond Tutu talked him up for president of the United States during a visit to his office near Cape Town.
--Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON--The Clinton campaign realizes that the Obama team wants to brush aside Tuesday's expected thumping in West Virginia and turn the conversation to all the superdelegates they are collecting. Not so fast, said Clintom memo writers in a "Why West Virginia Matters" brief.


"Given the attempts by our opponent and some in the media to declare this race over, any significant increase in voter turnout, coupled with a decisive Clinton victory, would send a strong message that Democrats remain excited and energized by Hillary’s candidacy," the
memo said

click below for memo...

WASHINGTON--Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer--a former chair of the Democratic National Committee--just said on a conference call he is casting his superdelegate vote for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

"This race I believe is over," said Romer. Romer said he wanted his choice out before Colorado Democrats hold their upcoming convention. Romer has been running the Los Angeles public school system.

Dan Pfeifer, the Obama spokesman sending out the stream of superdelegate releases, has three more so far on Tuesday. Romer, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and D.C. superdelegate Anita Bond.


CHICAGO--That Atlantic article (see post below) about Obama and Israel triggered an attack fro GOP House leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

CHICAGO--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) talked about the Jewish influences in his life in an interesting interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. LINK


CHICAGO—The day after an expected loss in West Virginia, likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Wednesday starts his first general election travel—to the key states of Michigan and Florida.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is expected to win the Tuesday West Virginia primary—Obama just about conceded on Monday. After an anticipated bad night tomorrow, Obama will try to rebound—and bring the story line back to his November race against Sen. John McMain (R-Az.) by stops Wednesday in Grand Rapids and Macomb County in Michigan with Florida the next week.

CHICAGO--Stumping in West Virginia on Monday, almost Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) basically conceded the Tuesday election there to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). In the speech, Obama talks about patriotism, veterans and invokes the name of his grandfather--Stanley Dunham--several times.

CHICAGO--As a drumbeat grows for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to concede the Democratic presidential nomination to Sen. Barack Obama, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson has a politically pragmatic reason for urging Democrats to back off and start reconciling: They will need Clinton in the fall.

"We must work very diligently to keep both of them protected by love and care," said Jackson, an Obama supporter whose son Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is a national co-chair of Obama's campaign.

CHICAGO--Former presidential candidate John Edwards said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Barack Obama is the "likely" nominee. Edwards is continuing to decline to endorse. David Axelrod said he expects more superdelegates to be announced in the coming days. Edwards said Hillary Rodham Clinton is "in a very tough place."

Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe sent a warning not to pressure Clinton to shut down her race or risk "alienating" her supporters. "The race is very close," said McAuliffe--counting the disputed states of Michigan, Florida and Puerto Rico, whose residents can vote in the primary but not the general election.


Rob Malley, a Middle East policy adviser to likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, resigned after news surfaced that he had been meeting with Hamas -- something Obama pledged he himself would never do.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Saturday Malley called the Obama campaign on Friday to sever ties with the candidate after learning the Times of London was publishing a story about his contacts with the terrorist group.

The Obama team.

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CHICAGO---On the verge of clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is flanked by advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod on the cover of the new Newsweek. LINK

Lynn Sweet column on Obama's "drama free" campaign team. LINK

CHICAGO--At a press conference in Bend, Oregon on Saturday, likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) says he is open to doing joint town hall meetings with Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), the GOP presidential candidate.

Obama also:
*said he will not attend Mothers Day services at Trinity United Church of Christ, even though he will be in Chicago on Sunday. He said coming to church with the hullabaloo of a presidential candidate would be a distraction. This also lets him avoid--in case he is there--the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

*said he will be campaigning soon in Michigan. I think Obama's first campaign stop there could be as early as the night of May 20--when he is expected to gain the majority of pledged delegates.

click below for transcript

CHICAGO -- Michelle Obama gave a hint of what her portfolio may be if she becomes first lady at a fund-raiser Friday for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). Former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson -- of Plamegate fame -- who has been stumping for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- was also a featured speaker.

CHICAGO--Frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) close to clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, is launching a new round of fund-raiser events. He headlines a big dollar event Thursday in Chicago--still aimed at collecting money for the primary--not the general--election.

CHICAGO--The pool report, from Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, from a high-end fund-raiser Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) headlined Thursday night at Union Station in Washington. He talked about the "self-congratulatory" mood of his supporters.

CHICAGO--The Republican National Committee, in a preview of what's ahead, hits Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the likely Democratic presidential nominee, on his present votes as an Illinois state senator, taxes, Iraq war funding votes and his remarks that some voters "cling" to God and guns.

CHICAGO--My Sun-Times colleague Roger Ebert has a terriffic column on the kind of movie the 2008 Clinton presidential campaign could yield and a look at past White House election films. LINK

No matter that Sen. Hillary Clinton is still looking for lightning to strike, the November presidential contest between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain took shape Thursday, as Obama unveiled his national grass-roots organizing drive and McCain's top adviser called Obama's campaign a ''hypocrisy.''

Meanwhile, in Washington, Obama met with congressional superdelegates -- some uncommitted, some secretly pledged -- in an effort to pry them off the fence or go public. Obama strolled to the Capitol when one his meetings had to break up because of a House vote, and then he lobbied for superdelegates on the House floor.


A key organizer of Obama's morning meeting with conservative Democrats who call themselves ''Blue Dogs'' was Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), who was also named Thursday to be one of 14 co-chairs of the Obama 50-state voter registration effort, which is really the framework for Obama's national grass-roots efforts.

'My hope," said an ardent supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton and one of her donors, "is that she will do this with grace," a reference to the exit strategy Clinton will use to depart from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination when she decides that Sen. Barack Obama indeed has an unbeatable lead.

CHICAGO--Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on a conference call on Wednesday with three senators and two governors discussing the Indiana slim loss and solid North Carolina win, said, "we can see the finish line."

The pledged delegate totals, according to Plouffe for the two states : 87 for Clinton and 100 for Obama. The breakdown....In North Carolina, Obama picked up 66 delegates to 49 for Clinton. In Indiana, Clinton won 38 to 34 for Obama. Plouffe said their count has Obama with 172 more pledged delegates than Clinton, the biggest lead ever.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), on the call, said Obama would have won Indiana if conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh had not urged his listeners--who are usually in the GOP primary--to pull a Democratic ballot to vote for Clinton, on the theory she would be easier for presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) to beat.

CHICAGO---Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is returning to Washington on Wednesday night to get ready for rounds of in-person meetings with uncommitted superdelegates on Thursday.This comes as the Obama campaign --bolstered by the North Carolina win and the slim loss in Indiana--is ready to lay-off Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)--if she does not go after Obama.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sen. Barack Obama and his team really wanted this long race to end on Tuesday night, but the split decision -- a big win in North Carolina and a narrow loss in Indiana -- leaves Sen. Hillary Clinton standing.

"On to West Virginia!" exclaimed the always exuberant Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe at Clinton's election night headquarters here, referring to the upcoming May 13 vote.

The Clinton people were upbeat, though the math remained as stacked against Clinton on Tuesday as it did on Monday.

;


;

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--In Raleigh, N.C., Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) , winning the North Carolina primary,said Tuesday night rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) did not the "game-changer" there she needed. And Obama makes North Carolina a major state.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.---Here's the official Obama team spin on what is shaping up as a likely Indiana loss: "There really has never been any question that Senator Clinton would win Indiana," said a Obama talking points memo out Tuesday. Team Obama also blames Rush Limbaugh for urging Republicans to infiltrate the primary and vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

full memo, click below...


INDIANAPOLIS, IND.—Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Tuesday continued his election day tradition of playing basketball—only to get battered after accidently getting knocked to the ground by Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois State Treasurer.

Obama chief strategist David Axelrod—who also played in the pick-up game—said Obama was hit in the chest when he got in the way of the shoulder of Giannoulias as the former pro player drove to the basket.

Giannoulias “bashed the ribs of the next president of the United States,” Axelrod said. Obama “was knocked down.”

Though Obama was bruised, Axelrod said he did not see a doctor.

Sen. Barack Obama made two campaign stops early Tuesday morning,
stumping for votes at a restaurant in Greenwood, Ind and outside a
polling place in Indianapolis.
Obama, wearing a white shirt and tie, spoke to reporters at both
locations.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--A Monday front page story in the Monday Wall Street Journal says that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) assured the Teamsters he would back lifting the federal consent decree nailed on the union because Teamster corruption. During an ABC News interview Monday morning Obama said he was not making a flat pledge. The Clinton spokesmen seized on this contradiction--or at least one until the Obama campaign clears this up--during a cell-battery draining conference call that lasted more than an hour.


While "reasonable people" can disagree on the merits of lifting the decree, said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer, "one has to wonder what Sen. Obama’s position really is.."


INDIANAPOLIS -- With crucial votes in Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton is stressing she is about "real and immediate solutions," with no better dramatic example than the federal gas tax holiday she is pushing.

Differences with Sen. Barack Obama over the gas tax is the central domestic issue in the closing days of these primaries.

(This appears in the May 5 print Sun-Times.)

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--A long pre-election Monday for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), reaching out to blue collar voters as he shuttles between Indiana and North Carolina. Obama starts near dawn in Evansville, Ind., runs over to Durham, N.C. and returns to this capital city in the evening for an iconic signature election eve outdoor rally at the American Legion Mall. Ater that, he'll visit a shift change at a plant.

On the free media front, Obama goes from the morning shows to Nightline. Obama has 22 interviews, including ABC's Terry Moran trailing him for another Nightline "day in the life," segment; Tom Joyner; ESPN, WBBM-AM Chicago with ears in northwest Indiana and outlets in Indiana, North Carolina


INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--Some 2,800 of the party faithful are at the convention center here for the Jefferson Jackson dinner, headlined by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who are doing their second JJ dinner of the weekend. On Friday, they were in Raleigh for the North Carolina JJ event.

This is the Speedway City. Clinton is just stating to speak. “With the Indy 500 right around the corner, let me ask: Indiana Democrats, are you ready to start your engines?”

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--Rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are using the same Saudi Arabia metaphor in talking about U.S. energy independence.

Obama, May 4, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana on "Meet the Press."
"But if we can figure out how to sequester carbon and burn clean coal, we're the Saudi Arabia of coal, and I don't think that we can dismiss out of hand the use of coal as part of our energy mix."

Clinton, May 3, 2008, in Wake Forest, North Carolina on energy and solar panels in the desert.
"We are sitting on a Saudi Arabia of wind."

POOL REPORT
Barack Obama in Elkhart, Ind.
By Shailagh Murray, Washington Post

This event was billed as "doorknocking," but that doesn't even begin to
describe it.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday took questions from ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Indiana votes on "This Week," where she talked about her call for a gas tax holiday.

Clinton was stumped when pressed for the name of even one economist who thought her plan was a good idea.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But can you name an economist who thinks this makes sense?

CLINTON: Well, I'll tell you what, I'm not going to put my lot in with economists, because I know if we get it right, if we actually did it right, if we had a president who used all the tools of the presidency, we would design it in such a way that it would be implemented effectively.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.--Days before crucial primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, NBC's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert presses Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) about his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"Well, first of all, you know, I have never challenged other people's patriotism. I haven't challenged Hillary Clinton's or John McCain's, and I will not stand by and allow somebody else to challenge mine," Obama said.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.-- A day after winning the Guam primary--by seven votes--, the Obama campaign's Dan Pfeifer--the spokesman handling superdelegate news--announced Sunday superdelegate Jaime Paulino is supporting Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Paulino is the vice chair of the Guam Democratic Party.

Paulino statement: "Having grown up in Hawaii, Barack Obama understands the culture and challenges of growing up in the Pacific Islands. I feel Barack will make sure our voices and concerns are finally taken seriously in Washington. We've been looking for a leader with the character to be honest with us about the issues we face and the courage to make real change, and that's why I am proudly supporting Barack Obama for President."

PHILADELPHIA—Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and wife Michelle made a point during their NBC “Today” show interview last week they wanted to move past the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story. That won’t be easy, since a lot of the weekly media is just catching up and video of Wright is still getting play on cable political shows. The latest Newsweek has a scoop: “Something Wasn’t Wright / Why Oprah Winfrey left Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church." LINK

Here’s an excerpt from the Newsweek story:

For any spiritually minded, up-wardly mobile African-American living in Chicago in the mid-1980s, the Trinity United Church of Christ was—and still is—the place to be. That's what drew Oprah Winfrey, a recent Chicago transplant, to the church in 1984. She was eager to bond with the movers and shakers in her new hometown's black community.

RALEIGH, N.C.-- With the polls moving in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's direction in the Tar Heel State, following a string of problems for Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton's campaign is making a last-minute push here.

A good showing here -- and a win or close call in Indiana on Tuesday -- will make it harder for uncommitted superdelegates to come out for Obama. "If he can't win by more than 10, he'll face serious questions," said Clinton spokesman Doug Hattaway, setting the bar during a stop in Wake Forest where Clinton appeared at an outdoor rally with North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley.

RALEIGH, N.C.--Interesting story in the Sunday Raleigh News & Observer about how race still influences voters in the Tar Heel state. LINK Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is in the lead in North Carolina "proving that even in North Carolina, a blackman can be nominated to the presidency," the story says. Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) get support across racial lines, the paper reports.

RALEIGH, NC.--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) wanted Eight Belles to win the Kentucky Derby. The filly came in second, had leg fractures, was euthanized. Daughter Chelsea, in big hat, was at the derby. The Kentucky primary is May 20. For more on the political angle, click to the Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni LINK


RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek was looking around at all the people. In routine years, the North Carolina Democratic Party draws 450 to 500 people to its annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner.

With Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama as the headliners -- and a crucial election Tuesday -- thousands of party faithful filled the J.S. Dorton Arena on the state fairgrounds Friday to hear the two rivals in the extended and rancorous fight for the Democratic presidential nomination call for unity once the race is settled.

CARY, NC.---"My mother said to me the other day that she worries as much about me now," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as when she was younger. "I tell her to turn off the TV, she wouldn’t worry so much."
Clinton spoke Saturday morning to a womens group in this Raleigh suburb.

CARY, NC. --Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Saturday morning will be in this suburb of Raleigh--she is running late at an event keyed to female voters. Then she heads to Wake Forest--also outside of Raleigh-- for a get-out-the vote rally before heading to the eastern part of the state. Southern food guru Paula Deen, who was supposed to appear with Clinton had to cancel. Scheduling conflict, I was told.

Speaking of food....Meanwhile, in Indiana, Obama blends a serious "closing argument" speech in Indianapolis with more "Budweiser Barack" campaigning. Obama makes the speech this afternoon at a high school in Indianapolis. The Obamas' then attend a picnic, a potluck and an ice cream social.

RALEIGH, N.C.--Transcript of Barack Obama press conference on May 2, 2008 in Indianapolis.

LAUREL, MD.—Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), an uncommitted superdelegate torn between two friends, told me Friday he is waiting “for the voters to issue their verdict” before making any decision.

New Obama gas tax ad.

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WASHINGTON--Last month star rocker and Indiana resident John Mellencamp appreared with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the Hoosier state. Mellencamp will be a "special guest" Saturday with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in Indianapolis.

Indiana votes Tuesday.

May 1, 2008

From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska...

THE "LATE SHOW" TOP TEN

"Surprising Facts About Barack Obama"

[As presented by Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Barack Obama on the Thursday, May 1 broadcast of the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, seen weeknights (11:35 PM‑12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.]

10. My first act as President will be to stop the fighting between Lauren and Heidi on “The Hills.”

WASHINGTON--David Letterman will have Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) offer up his top 10 list on Thursday night, taped earlier in the day.

WASHINGTON-- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) tells the "Today Show" on Thursday he should have said "angry and frustrated instead of bitter" at that San Francisco fund-raiser that got him labeled an elitist.

And he said he should have said "rely" instead of "cling" to Gods and guns.

Michelle Obama says the still have to introduce themselves to people.

Obama has been running for president since February, 2007.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2008

STATEMENT BY ALAN K. CUBBAGE, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
VICE PRESIDENT FOR UNIVERSITY RELATIONS

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Earlier this academic year, acting on the recommendation of faculty committees, Northwestern University extended an invitation to the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, former senior minister of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, to receive an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology at Northwestern's Commencement in June. Commencement at Northwestern is a time of celebration of the accomplishments of Northwestern's graduating students and their families. In light of the controversy around Dr. Wright and to ensure that the celebratory character of Commencement not be affected, the University has withdrawn its invitation to Dr. Wright.

WASHINGTON--The Daily Northwestern has the scoop on the withdrawal of an honorary degree for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, with the offer dropped because he became too controversial.

http://media.www.dailynorthwestern.com/media/storage/paper853/news/2008/05/01/Campus/Nu.Rescinds.Honorary.Degree.Offer.To.Wright-3360449.shtml

or click below

WASHINGTON--Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew--who backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton since she started her bid, flipped to Sen. Barack Obama. He is featured Thursday morning on a conference call with Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

WASHINGTON--Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew--who backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton since she started her bid, flipped to Sen. Barack Obama. He is featured Thursday morning on a conference call with Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Andrew suggests a Clinton backer--such as Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh--be the Obama vice presidential choice. He said he did not call Obama to ask for "permission", or phone Clinton to ask for "forgiveness."

He said the actions of his "former candidate" is making it more difficult for Democrats to win in the fall.

Andrew said he expects some backlash from his switch. "It is the old political theater" that he says he himself has done in his past.


He said he is inspired by Obama and likes his opposition to a gas tax holiday, which Clinton--and Sen. John McCain have embraced.


Indiana votes Tuesday.


WASHINGTON--When the Democratic Party of Illinois meet next week to finish filling out the delegate slate, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will pick up three more superdelegates, according to Steve Brown, a spokesman for state party chair Michael Madigan, who is also the speaker of the Illinois House.

That's because the three appointments are all pledged to Obama: Mayor Daley --he shares strategist David Axelrod with Obama and brother Bill, the former Commerce Secetary is on the Obama team; Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), a Hyde Parker who lives near the Obamas'; and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

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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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