For months I watched Vanity Fair's Gail Sheehy taking notes and talking into her tape or digital recorder as she followed the Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign. The result in the August Vanity Fair is "Hillaryland at War"
Hillary Clinton’s campaign had it all: near-death moments, hard-won triumphs, dysfunctional relationships—and a staff consumed with infighting over how to sell their candidate. It was a battle that revealed why she came so close to victory, as well as why she didn’t make it.
Washington Post Jonathan Weisman \ Monday, June 30, 2008 2:35 PM
Subject: Obama's Independence Day pool report
Norton Canfield, a gray-haired, bearded park ranger with a braided pony tail, took Sen. Obama on the tour of Harry Truman’s stately, turn-of-the-century white Victorian home, first telling him that Bess Truman had died there at the age of 97. Obama inquired what Bess’s family had done to acquire such a house, which though no McMansion, must have been impressive for the time. Canfield answered that her father had been a wheat miller. Who knew?
“Senator Obama had a terrific conversation with President Clinton and is honored to have his support in this campaign. He has always believed that Bill Clinton is one of this nation’s great leaders and most brilliant minds, and looks forward to seeing him on the campaign trail and receiving his counsel in the months to come,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama may be the most liberal senator by one group’s scorecard, and the Democratic Leadership Council may be a centrist organization trying to pull the Democratic party away from the left.
But with the smell of victory in the air, no one at the DLC convention in Chicago is quibbling with the presumptive nominee’s positions.
I just heard from Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt....regarding presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) not appearing before the Democratic Leadership Council, holding a big meeting in Chicago...Obama's absence has "absolutely" nothing to do with a DLC honcho being Clinton backer .B. Pritzker, said LaBolt. (see earlier blog)
WASHINGTON--A few minutes after the McCain conference call concluded--where Barack Obama was called on to reject comments made by retired Gen. Wesley Clark (see blog item below) questioning John McCain's war record and his qualifications to serve as president, this statement from the Obama campaign: "As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
In a press conference in Harrisburg, Pa. McCain said those comments were unfortunate.
"For a young man of mixed race, without firm anchor in any particular community, without even a father’s steadying hand, it is this essential American idea – that we are not constrained by the accident of birth but can make of our lives what we will – that has defined my life, just as it has defined the life of so many other Americans."
...For those who have fought under the flag of this nation – for the young veterans I meet when I visit Walter Reed; for those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country – no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary. And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.
We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period. Full stop."
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
WASHINGTON—The McCain campaign on Monday is seizing on criticism retired Gen. Wesley Clark made about the qualifications of presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) to launch a “McCain truth squad” and to raise questions about the resume of rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and whether he stands for a new kind of politics.
On Sunday, during an appearence on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Clark, appearing as an Obama surrogate, said of McCain’s military record. "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.” He said that while McCain has been a force on the Senate Armed Services Committee “and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded -- that wasn't a wartime squadron."
WASHINGTON--Ben Smith of Politico and my colleague, Abdon Pallasch of the Sun-Times both noted that presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) skipped even a drop by this weekend at the Democratic Leadership Council, meeting in Chicago. Smith opined that Obama did not put the centrist group with deep ties to Bill Clinton on his calendar because a DLC honcho is J.B. Pritzker. J.B. was a major national fund-raiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) campaign and the brother of Penny Pritzker, the Obama national finance chairman.
Let me add another conference in Chicago to keep watch on to see if Obama attends. Just a few miles from the Obama home, the annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizen Education Fund conference is running June 28-July 2. The conference will honor not the historic Obama bid but the 20th anniversary of the historic 1984 White House run of the Rainbow PUSHfounder, the Rev. Jesse L Jackson. The 1984 and 1998 Jackson presidential campaigns marked the first major African American run for president.
As for Obama--he keeps himself above the fray of Democratic faction politics by not appearing before the centrist DLC or the more left Rainbow PUSH crowd.
My colleague Abdon Pallasch, the Sun-Times political reporter, kept an eye on presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Sunday and filed a Chicago-style pool report....
Pool Report by Abdon Pallasch
Sunday, June 29,
Day 2 of the Barack Obama protection pool
They said there was no public schedule today and that proved accurate -- No
news. We never got closer to Obama than about 30 feet as he got into or out of
his Chevy Suburban.
At about 9:30 a.m., Obama left his home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and
went for a workout at his friend’s Mike Signator’s building. He wore his black
White Sox cap; a gray T-shirt and black workout pants. He only stayed about 15
minutes. Press staff was unsure whether he worked out or just hung with his
From there, we drove to the Hyde Park Hair Salon, where he went in for his
usual trim just after 10 a.m.
Amy Chozick of the Wall Street Journal pulled "protective pool" duty in Chicago on Saturday afternoon and evening, picking up on the Obama beat after he flew home to Chicago from Washington, where he appeared before the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. Chozick takes us through Obama's afternoon and evening, and we learn that Obama, a member of the East Bank Club, also has a place to work out closer to home.
The Obamas dined at Spiaggia on North Michigan Avenue and Chozick, with an eye towards fashion, said that Michelle Obama "looks slammin’ in a black cocktail dress with a severe slit down the back. Her hair was up."
WASHINGTON--After requests from major news outlets and wire services, the Obama campaign has agreed to allow coverage for all movements of presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Hat tip to my colleagues who have led this fight for access. This small pool at all events, called a "protective pool," is similar to one that that follows the president no matter where he goes. Here is the first protective pool report from the New York Times Jeff Zeleny about Obama's visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.
June 28, 2008
No news, no color.
The campaign's protective pool made its debut today. Your pool departed the
Capital Hilton at 6:50 am, arriving by 7 am at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, where
Senator Obama spent the night.
After holding outside for two hours, your pool drove to far Northwest
Washington. Mr. Obama arrived at the main building of Walter Reed Army Medical
Hospital at 9:20 am. He made no comments when he departed at 11 am.
Your pool followed the motorcade to the Renaissance hotel for NALEO, arriving at
WASHINGTON--Presumptive presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will meet with British, French and German leaders as part of overseas travel this summer to also include stops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. On Saturday morning, the Obama campaign,confirming the visits to Europe, said Israel and Jordan will also be part of the swing.
As first reported Friday evening in the Lynn Sweet blog, Obama decided to add the European meetings to a summer travel schedule already planned to include brief stops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face,” said Obama in a statement.
Ths will be the first time that Obama has met with heads of state as a potential United States president. Embassies in Washington have been alerted that the Obama team is orchestrating meetings with German chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The trips and meetings will take place before the August Democratic presidential nominating convention in Denver.
The trips to Europe will be part of the Obama presidential campaign. The visits to the war zones will conducted as official congressional business.
Still, the trips will be merged in the minds of the public as Obama makes his first visit overseas since his 2006 stops in Africa, including a pilgramage to his father's homestead in Kenya. Republicans have been making an issue that Obama has only made one short visit to Iraq.
The Sarkozy visit is a bit of turnabout. Obama met with Sarkozy in his Senate office on Sept. 12, 2006, when Sarkozy was visiting the U.S. as a run-up to his presidential campaign.
WASHINGTON--In a spirit of Democratic unity, a cadre of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's most steadfast supporters--and fund-raisers-flew to Washington to hear from presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama make an appeal to them Thursday night.
Among those from the Chicago area present:
Bill Brandt, Lynn Cutler, J.B. Pritzker, Betsy Ebeling, Val Alexander, Tim Wright and Rashid Chaudary.
Excerpts....Unity, NH Obama and Clinton unity rally on June 27,2008
Now, I don't think it's at all unknown among this audience that this was a hard-fought primary campaign. We have traversed America, making our case to the American people. We have gone toe to toe in this hard-fought primary. But today and every day going forward, we stand shoulder to shoulder for the ideals we share, the values we cherish and the country we love.
We may have started on separate paths, but today our paths have merged. Today, our hearts are set on the same destination for America. Today, we are coming together for the same goal: to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
I was honored to be in this race with Barack, and I am proud that we had a spirited dialogue. That was the nicest way I could think of phrasing it. But it was spirited because we both care so much. And so do our supporters -- each and every one of you. And I am so proud and privileged today, here in Unity, to help bring together the 36 million Americans who supported us to create an unstoppable force for change we can all believe in.
"...............But if you think we need a new course, a new agenda, then vote for Barack Obama and you will get the change that you and me need and deserve.
And to anyone who voted for me and is now considering -- - not voting or voting for Senator McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider.
WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign just reached into the Clinton and Ted Kennedy camps for two top staffing positions...Neera Tanden was Policy Director for the Hillary Clinton campaign.....Melody Barnes was chief counsel to Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary committee...Tanden becomes Obama domestic policy advisor, putting her in a perch to advance a Clinton style universal health care plan over the Obama proposal...Barnes becomes a senior policy advisor....Heather Higginbottom, with the Obama campaign from the start remains the policy director.....
WASHINGTON -- Penny Pritzker, national finance chairwoman for the Obama campaign, knew that if she was going to ask other people to help retire Sen. Hillary Clinton's primary debt, she would have to fork over some cash herself. So as I stood next to her Thursday night, Pritzker pulled out check 15179 from the joint JP Morgan Chase account she has with her husband and wrote a $4,600 check -- the maximum allowed from a couple -- to Clinton's campaign.
"You know, unity is important," Pritzker said before disappearing into a ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel here, where Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama made their first joint appearance since he clinched the Democratic nomination. The crowd of about 300 were Clinton's elite fund-raisers, and they came together in what for some was a bittersweet reception to hear from Obama.
Clinton needs Obama fund-raisers to help pay off her $10 million debt left from her primary campaign (she is not asking for the $12 million she lent to it). Despite an army of small donors, Obama needs these wealthy and well-connected people to help him raise the millions of dollars he needs to finance his run against Sen. John McCain. Federal law limits an individual contribution to $2,300 per person per primary or general election. And just as Pritzker and husband Bryan Traubert "maxed out," so did the Obamas: The senator and wife Michelle contributed $4,600 to Clinton's campaign.
Today, Clinton and Obama travel to the small town of Unity, N.H. -- where each got 107 votes in the January primary -- in a display of unity. But it will take more than a joint appearance. As Betsy Myers, the Obama campaign chief operating officer and head of women's outreach, told me, while many Clinton's supporters have moved on, "20 percent are still angry."
"We've tried to be really respectful of people's feelings," said Pritzker, from Chicago. She told me she is putting together a special task force to help raise money to pay off Clinton's debt, headed by her deputy finance chairman, David Jacobson.
Inside the ballroom, Clinton said to long applause, "We have to make it a priority in our lives to elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States." Obama told the Clinton backers that "I'm going to need Hillary by my side campaigning during his election.
When it comes to fund-raising, unity is something that can be counted, not just counted on. Some Clinton supporters want to see what Obama backers will deliver. J.B. Pritzker, a national fund-raiser for Clinton -- and Penny Pritzker's brother -- said, "We'll see. I hope the Obama folks will step up."
Clinton fund-raiser Bill Brandt said afterward that "the takeaway for senior players is, money talks and you know what walks. We want to see a near-term effort. It they don't get to the debt shortly, we are not going to be happy campers."
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WASHINGTON--n the wake of the Supreme Court striking down the gun ban here, the hot button issue of gun control moved into the spotlight Thursday as an issue in the Obama-McCain campaign, as the Republicans sought to portray Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as either shifting his views over the years or trying to have it both ways.
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in a conference call, downplayed the role guns will play in the November election and said people are more anxious about the economy than guns.
“We think that it is very important for people, for sportsmen who are hunters to understand that Barack Obama believes strongly in the Second Amendment,” said Plouffe. “He doesn’t think that it is in conflict with common sense efforts to stem gun violence.”
RNC Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan said in statement, "“The Republican Party commends the Supreme Court decision this morning upholding the Second Amendment. The Court’s ruling reaffirms that the rights enshrined in our nation’s Constitution are just as relevant now as when it was signed. Today’s ruling also serves as a stark reminder of what is at stake in this election. Senator McCain strongly supports the Second Amendment and our constitutional right to bear arms, while Senator Obama is arguably the most anti-gun presidential candidate in our nation’s history. Obama failed to step forward and join Senator McCain in signing a bipartisan amicus brief expressing support for the ruling issued today. Obama has even supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. Today’s ruling is a victory for all Americans and we must remain vigilant to protect our freedoms from those who seek to change them and believe they are above the Constitution.”
After the high court said the gun ban was unconstitutional. the research department of the Republican National Committee sent out a memo with Obama quotes supporting gun bans.
Click for the RNC memo.....
WASHINGTON—UPDATE. After I raised the issue of opening the closed Obama-Clinton Thursday evening meeting with donors and fund-raisers to the press, the Obama campaign on Thursday afternoon agreed to allow a pool reporter to cover the event.
Meanwhile, I've learned that about 170 Clinton VIP donors are expected.There was going to be a small reception of the most elite donors with Obama and Clinton before the main reception for more exclusive meet and greet, but that was canceled.END OF UPDATE.
ORIGINAL Reporters are banned from covering the meeting presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) are having Thursday night at the Mayflower Hotel here with Clinton’s best fund-raisers. It is their first joint appearance since Obama clinched the nomination.
This event has everything to do with big money in politics yet the Obama campaign does not see any reason to at least include a pool reporter.
I pushed to have this event opened up on Wednesday, when I asked Obama campaign manager David Plouffe if he would allow in at least a pooler.
WASHINGTON--The progressive Americans United for Change launched its "Bush Legacy Bus" to visit some 150 cities and the conventions......it's a rolling museum...with exhibits highly critical of President Bush's record on the environment, education, health, Katrina and the Iraq war.....the scheduled first stop after Washington is the home district of GOP House leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) then to Kentucky to visit the state of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
And...in a very funny take off of the Apple Mac vs PC ad, with the nerd and the cool guy, there is a video featuring the "Pro"gressive" and the "Con"servative."
WASHINGTON--The general board of the AFL-CIO on Thursday is expected to endorse presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The board will convene Thursday in a conference call to make it official. The endorsement brings what will be the AFL-CIO's largest voter mobilization ever--outreach to more than 13 million voters in 24 priority states in support of Obama. The labor federation has budgeted a record $53.4 million for their entire 2008 voting program, which includes down ticket races. Though it was not on his schedule, Obama met with AFL-CIO leaders and union presidents at the AFL-CIO building--down the street from the White House on June 18. Obama met the labor leaders--including AFL-CIO president John Sweeney--in a conference room for about 90 minutes for an informal discussion where he took a number of questions.
Nader told the Rocky Mountain News ""There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."
“Like so much about Barack Obama’s campaign, his campaign manager’s words don’t match reality. Obama wheezed across the finish line of his party’s nomination, losing the majority of primaries since March 4, including key general election battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Obama continues to struggle with conservative Democrats and independents, and a new poll today shows the race a dead heat.” – Alex Conant, RNC Spokesman
RE: Plouffe’s statements on public financing
“It’s no wonder the Obama campaign is gaining a reputation of arrogance when its campaign manager has the gall to attack McCain on public financing days after Obama unapologetically broke his promise to the American people. Plouffe should spend more time explaining why Obama broke his word to the American people and less time echoing Howard Dean’s discredited talking points.” – Alex Conant, RNC Spokesman
Asked about this spotting, Plouffe said, "that's too bad."
Ploeuffe said the Obama vetting team remains at two people--Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder. Jim Johnson, jettisoned after questions were raised about sweetheart mortgage deals, has not been replaced."
WASHINGTON--Obama campaign manager David Plouffe--the general of Obama's "persuasion army" is explaining that the McCain team has made a mistake for which there may be no recovery.
"We don’t think he used that period from March 4 to June 3 very effectively," said Plouffe, pleased to take the in-kind donation from the rival camp.
Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) locked up him nomination by March, while rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) fought it out with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) through June. Meanwhile, McCain did not use his time well in defining who he is.
WASHINGTON--Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is doing a powerpoint now at the Democratic National Committee headquarters here, with a packed audience of political reporters. Plouffe's message: Obama has a lot of states in play, a lot of options to find 270 electoral votes. This is not a campaign that is going to be dependent on Florida or Ohio to win.
Said Plouffe, with a map of the Obama battleground states behind him, Obama has “A huge range of possibilities to get to 270."
WASHINGTON—I’ve learned some more details about the Obama team approach to help Clinton pay off some of her primary debt.
Hat tip to ABC, AP and CNN for their scoops on the Tuesday conference call presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) held with members of his National Finance Committee, where he asked his best fund-raisers to help Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) retire primary debt. (Not the $12 million loan she gave her campaign to keep her bid alive)
I know a lot of national reporters are visiting Chicago to do "history of Obama" stories. For some help, here's the link to the Chicago Sun-Times field guide to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Michelle and Barack Obama. (Their house is actually on a historic block in a neighboring community called Kenwood.) The reprised scoop is by my colleague Mark Konkol.LINK
WASHINGTON--Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) faces his traveling national and Chicago local press corps Wednesday at a afternoon news conference in a Michigan Ave. hotel. Before that, Obama will be meeting with a group described as "business leaders" from across the country. No names offered at this time. Meanwhile, in Washington, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe briefs reporters at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. No cameras allowed at the Plouffe session. Plouffe does not want to step on the images from the Obama presser. Once Obama snagged the nomination, he seized control of the DNC operation.
Barack Obama spoke shortly before 7 p.m. to a crowd of about
700 donors from a stage set up in the mezzanine lobby of the Dorothy
Chandler Pavilion. Most stood just in front of the stage; a couple
hundred watched from behind glass railings on two upper balconies. Three
giant crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling.
National pool is providing Obama remarks.
On stage with Obama was a black Steinway & Sons grand piano.
Behind him were a U.S. flag and a California flag, along with a dark
blue curtain backdrop.
Among the celebrities in the crowd were actors Dennis Quaid,
Samuel Jackson, Don Cheadle, retired boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and
Jennifer Beals. Also there was former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry
Dennis Quaid introduced Seal. "He's here tonight to sing for
the superman for everyone - Barack Obama," Quaid told the crowd.
Seal, dressed in a black suit, sang two songs. The first,
with a piano accompanist, was a ballad, "Kiss from a Rose." The second,
with recorded accompaniment of a full band, was a 1964 r&b tune, "A
Change is Gonna Come."
In remarks introducing "A Change is Gonna Come," Seal
recalled growing up in England, watching Elvis films and "Happy Days."
After 18 years in America, Seal said, the U.S. is still "the greatest
country in the world." But in some ways, the country is holding on by a
thread, he said.
"At last, someone has come along that is restoring my
faith," Seal told the crowd.
Cheadle, who was watching from the balcony, said of Obama:
"He's my candidate, and I think you have to put your money where your
Also watching from the balcony was will.i.am, producer of
the "Yes We Can" video tribute to Obama. He was dressed in a white suit.
Obama, he said, made it "over the hill" by winning the
Democratic nomination. "Now we're in a valley, and we got a bigger hill
"I'm just blessed to call to action, led by inspiration."
Obama was introduced by Karen Bass, the California Assembly
Donors sipped wine and bottled water. Waiters wearing black
vests, white shirts and black ties served hors d'oeuvres: endive spears
of brie, toasted almonds and truffle oil; tuna tartare with passion
fruit ponzu and macadamia nut on wonton crisp; beef short rib skewers
with Asian flavors.
Mingling in the crowd were Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev
Yaroslavsky and L.A. City Councilmen Herb Wesson and Richard Alarcon.
California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown told reporters outside
that Obama had spoken earlier (before the pool was brought inside) to
about 300 people, including some prominent Clinton supporters.
Among them, Brown said, were L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
and John Emerson, a former Clinton White House aide and one of her
biggest California fund-raisers.
The fundraiser was a two-tiered event. Tickets were $2,300
per person. VIP tickets were $28,500 per couple. VIP guests were able to
attend a dinner with Obama before the general reception.
The money was split between Obama for America, which could
accept individual donations of up to $2,300 for the primary and $2,300
for the general, and the Democratic National Committee. The DNC could
accept individual contributions of up to $28,500.
Springsteen's "The Horizon" played after Obama spoke.
Feel free to call if any questions; will be boarding flight
for Chicago shortly, so sooner the better.
WASHINGTON—“I’m a victim of sexism myself all the time,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) discussing Tuesday morning whether sexism played a significant role in the defeat of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) But Pelosi does not spend a lot of time worrying about sexist remarks people make.
WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign didn't see it coming-catching flak for creating a mock presidential, seal with the Obama "Yes we can" slogan in Latin last Friday. The campaign unveiled it at a meeting Obama had with Democratic governors in Chicago. On Monday, the Obama campaign announced that the seal was for one-time viewing only and was retired from duty. I know the use of the seal touched a political nerve and sparked a lively debate on my blog and over at other sites over whether it was proper, legal, arrogant, an example of Obama hubris, or presidential, whimsical and appropriate.
The seal episode showed that the command and control center at the Department of Obama Image (DOI) had an off day, and let the seal designed by the in-house Obama graphics group--seemingly harmless--go on to become a distraction and build a storyline not approved by the Department of Obama Message Management (DOMM).
I hope someone saves the seal for the Smithsonian or the Obama presidential library, to be located on Chicago's Southeast Side, near where Obama got his start as a community organizer. Groundbreaking is scheduled for sometime in 2016 in connection with the 2016 Olympics in Chicago.
WASHINGTON--Superinvestor Warren Buffett plays a double header in Chicago for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.),headlining not one but two $28,500 per-person raise or give fund-raisers on July 2. Buffett is the draw at a 7 p.m. dinner at the home of Obama national finance chair Penny Pritzker and her husband, Bryan Traubert, also chaired by Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.
Before that, Buffett shares his financial wisdom with donors at a 90-minute "economic roundtable" hosted by Pritzker, Jarrett, Austan Goolsbee, the campaign senior economic chair and John Rogers Jr., the Obama campaign Illinois co-chair. The event will be at the offices of Rogers' Ariel Investments.
WASHINGTON -- Hours after Sen. Barack Obama rejected public financing for his campaign on Thursday after failing to negotiate with rival Sen. John McCain as he said he would, Obama made a stop not publicly disclosed by his campaign: He visited with some of his elite corps of fund-raisers on his National Finance Committee who were meeting in Chicago for briefings and to map fund-raising strategy for the general election.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) slammed by McCain backer Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday for flip flopping on pledge to seek public campaign financing; defending the undefendable for Obama, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.)
Highlights below. Full transcript at click:
SEN. BIDEN: I'm--I think what you're seeing is two things. One, Barack is a politician, an honorable politician. What Barack Obama said, and he's kept his commitment, he would keep major influences out of his campaign and out of his presidency. It didn't fit within the matrix of public financing as we talked about it, but that was the purpose of public financing. That's the rationale. Put it another way. If everyone in America agreed that 80 percent of their contributions for House, Senate, and president could only come from people making contributions of $100 or less, we'd have a pretty darn good system. The influence of money would be gone. He was able to do it because people recognize something incredible about this guy. He is a tough politician. He is also Dr. Barack, as you said. He's a high-minded guy. But he's a guy who knows--he knows how--he'll know how to govern. The very things that people are looking at him now, they call him naive on the one side about being able to govern, and yet they talk about him being a hard-nosed politician on the other. The truth of the matter is this guy's a realist who's keeping his promise of keeping influence out, big money, big influence, out of the decision making process.
MR. WILLIAMS: Senator Graham, you heard that it turns out he's keeping his promise.
SEN. GRAHAM: It'd be news to everyone who listens to what he said, and this is just really sad for the country, for somebody with this much ability, this much talent, to, to fall this far this soon. The idea that we're going to change this country and do things that are hard and tough and keep one's word is music to the American people's ears. Well, let me tell you, what he did by breaking his promise is reinforce every bad thing wrong with politics. And you can talk about it, Joe, till the cows come home. This guy wants to win. He'll do anything to win, and the reason John McCain's going to beat him is because John's put the country ahead of the desire to win for himself, and that's going to be the defining issue in this election.
The Obama campaign on Sunday talking about policy on cracking down on wild oil markets that drive up gas prices, on a conference call with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, Elgie Holstein, Bill Clinton administration Energy Department chief of staff and Obama campaign new economic advisor Jason Furman.
*Get loopholes closed so the energy traders who are speculating and driving up prices come under regulations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
*Ban on trading U.S. oil through foreign markets
*Work with other nations to coordinate oil futures markets.
*Calling again for probes: renewing call for the Federal Trade Commission do do something and called for the Bush Justice Department to investigate gas price jumps.
WASHINGTON--Watch for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to hit the elite big money fund-raising circuit in the coming days and weeks as he hustles to bank millions in the wake of his decison to reject his public financing pledge. Hat tip to Wilshire & Washington LINK for an advance on the Obama Tuesday fund-raiser with the stars in Los Angeles.
From Wilshire & Washington:
"Barack Obama's fund-raiser at the Los Angeles Music Center on Tuesday is expected to draw a sizable contingent of stars and Hollywood executives, including Samuel L. Jackson, Seal, Heidi Klum, Sidney Poitier, Will.i.am, Cedric the Entertainer, Dennis Quaid and Kal Penn."
WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama climbed into her charter jet Friday and flew here from Chicago for lunch and a speech -- I clocked it at seven minutes -- before an influential women's group whose board includes key supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Obama's brief appearance before the National Partnership for Women & Families -- she turned around and flew right back home when she was done -- shows how Obama is shaping her role as a potential first lady and how the Obama campaign is working hard to build bridges to the women who supported Clinton over presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
The new Obama seal--inspired by the real presidential seal--debutted in Chicago on Friday at a meeting presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) had with Democratic governors. The seal--with the Obama "Yes we can" slogan in Latin--was created by the Obama campaign graphics team. In a bit of graphics whimsy, the seal incorporates the Obama "O" rising sun icon.
At a fund-raiser in Jacksonville, Fl., presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he expects Republicans to inject race into the campaign. Pool report from John Broder, New York Times:
Obama “The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy. We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?"
WASHINGTON--Presumptive Democratic nominee--who Thursday rejected public money for his general election campaign, relying instead on private donations--wildly inflates his claims that rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Az.) campaign is bankrolled by lobbyists and PACs. Brooks Jackson over at FactCheck.Org concludes that Obama is wrong. LINK One of Obama's excuses for opting out of public financing was that McCain and allied Republicans are "fueled" by special interest money.
FactCheck.Org excerpt: "We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse. In fact, donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain's total receipts, and they account for only about 1.1 percent of the RNC's receipts."
Ira Teinowitz, the ace Advertising Age reporter--who knows the political ad spending business--he got his start covering Illinois politics back in the day--reports from inside the Obama ad shop about Obama's plans to buy national TV time during the Olympics. LINK
Advertising Age excerpt...
Though the Obama campaign is keeping mum about whether it will definitely run spots, it has asked NBC Universal about Olympics advertising including $500,000, $2 million and $4 million packages of ads. (NBC presented those along with a $10 million package.) It's not only a sign that the Obama camp has faith it can continue its stellar fundraising achievements but a signal that a widening field of battleground states has the candidate contemplating national broadcast buys. An Olympics buy could also allow Mr. Obama to reach out to a large swath of women.
"Obviously our buyers, when contemplating the election, look at a variety of options," said Jim Margolis, the GMMB partner who co-chairs the Obama advertising team. "You will probably see us looking at lots of things. There is a big difference between looking and buying."
There's also a big difference between Team Obama and Team McCain. Sen. John McCain's campaign has inquired about Olympics rates but hasn't asked for specific packages. Besides, with the Republican candidate lagging far behind in fundraising, such buys would take a huge chunk out of his budget before the conventions.
"Barack Obama will host an economic discussion with Democratic governors (Friday) at the Chicago History museum. At the meeting, Barack Obama and the governors will discuss working together to reverse the effect of eight years of the Bush economy on state budgets and looking beyond conventional Washington thinking to develop innovative solutions to the economic challenges the American people are facing every day.
From Gov. Blagojevich spokesman Abby Ottenhoff---cutting loose from the governor soon--to Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief David McKinney Thursday afternoon about whether the Rezko tainted Blagojevich will surface at an Obama event ..."he has been invited, but I'm not sure yet if he'll go or if he'll be touring more flooded communities. We should have a better sense in the morning." UPDATE Ottenhoff just phoned to say Blagojevich will not attend.
We do not agree with Senator Obama's rationale for opting out of the system. Senator Obama knew the circumstances surrounding the presidential general election when he made his public pledge to use the system.
WASHINGTON--Clinton campaign general counsel Cheryl Mills and Emily List chief Ellen Malcolm--who rustled up a lot of support for the presidential bid of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)--help Michelle Obama pitch female voters at a luncheon here on Friday.
I’m Barack Obama. America is a country of strong families and strong values. My life’s been blessed by both.
I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn’t have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. Accountability and self-reliance. Love of country. Working hard without making excuses. Treating your neighbor as you’d like to be treated. It’s what guided me as I worked my way up – taking jobs and loans to make it through college.
It’s what led me to pass up Wall Street jobs and go to Chicago instead, helping neighborhoods devastated when steel plants closed. That’s why I passed laws moving people from welfare to work, cut taxes for working families and extended health care for wounded troops who’d been neglected.
I approved this message because I’ll never forget those values, and if I have the honor of taking the oath of office as president, it will be with a deep and abiding faith in the country I love.
Hat tip to Ben Smith at The Politico LINK for obtaining a letter to the Obama campaign from six Washington Bureau Chiefs, including the NBC's late Tim Russert, complaining about being misled by the Obama campaign. The bottom line: reporters paying a lot of money to travel with Obama were misled about him being on the plane with them. "Each of our organizations is reviewing whether we will reimburse the campaign for last night's flight," the letter said.
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today released the following statement by Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker concerning Barack Obama's announcement that he will not participate in the public financing system:
"Today, Barack Obama has revealed himself to be just another typical politician who will do and say whatever is most expedient for Barack Obama.
"The true test of a candidate for President is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people. Barack Obama has failed that test today, and his reversal of his promise to participate in the public finance system undermines his call for a new type of politics.
"Barack Obama is now the first presidential candidate since Watergate to run a campaign entirely on private funds. This decision will have far-reaching and extraordinary consequences that will weaken and undermine the public financing system."
WASHINGTON-The legacy of the sharp questioning of Tim Russert, who died Friday, is clear in this exchange he had in a Feb. 27 Democratic primary debate where as moderator, Russert challenged now presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) about the pledge he made to opt for public financing. On Thursday, Obama announced he will not take public financing. "You may break your word," Russert asked. Obama replied, , "What I've said is, at the point where I'm the nominee, at the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that works for everybody."
The entire exchange:
RUSSERT: Senator Obama, let me ask you about motivating, inspiring, keeping your word. Nothing more important.
Last year you said if you were the nominee you would opt for public financing in the general election of the campaign, try to get some of the money out. You checked "yes" on a questionnaire.
And now Senator McCain has said, calling your bluff, let's do it. You seem to be waffling, saying, well, if we can work on an arrangement here.
Why won't you keep your word in writing that you made to abide by public financing of the fall election?
Among the potential questions for Obama communications chief Robert Gibbs when he faces a room full of Washington reporters at breakfast Thursday morning: The story in the Thursday New York Times LINK about how how access to presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is controlled and how the campaign had to apologize for removing two Muslim women from a backdrop of people behind Obama who would have shown up in a TV shot. LINK
Tim Russert’s private funeral service at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington's Georgetown on Wednesday morning literally brought together the Democratic and Republican presumptive presidential nominees, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Az.). They sat together at the request of the Russert family and at the conclusion of the funeral I was told by someone who was there, the two men hugged.
I was honored to be invited to the memorial service for Russert in the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on Wednesday afternoon. The details of the wonderful speeches by Tom Brokaw, Betsy Fischer, Sister Lucille Socciarelli, Al Hunt, Mario Cuomo, Mike Barnicle, Maria Shriver, Brian Williams, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Luke Russert are the subject of many stories elsewhere. Here’s more.
No news. McCain spoke at fundraiser at Drake Hotel. Before he walked into the main ballroom, he spoke privately to a members of his Chicago finance committee and the campaign said he then took about 200 pictures with donors.
The hours were all pushed back, but campaign said McCain met with finance committee and appeared for photos.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who wants to be this generation's Kennedy, talks about the sense of history he had Wednesday night being in the Hickory Hill home of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy for a high dollar fund-raiser--$28,500 per person. The home--I was in it years ago--was then full of pictures of Kennedy family members--many familiar faces to many Americans. RFK children Max, Robert Jr. and Kathleen were at the Obama fund-raiser...Here's a detailed pool report from Washington Post reporter Anne Kornblut.
The Pool Report
A mostly newsless but breathtakingly poignant event (especially, I am sure,for those who paid $28,500 per person to attend). Obama spoke, and took three questions. The visual of the night: watching him hop in Ethel's golf cart and drive it down the hill, from the main house to the event. Audio/full transcript to follow, possibly not until the morning.
Here, then, is the tick-tock. From Hickory Hill, the fabled Ethel Kennedy homestead in McLean:
630 pm, when your pooler arrived: A golden retriever frolicked in the front yard while guests arrived by Lincoln towncar, Lexus and Subaru (one Hillary'08 bumper sticker spotted on a Subaru with Maryland tags parked in a long
line of donor cars on Chain Bridge road). Your pooler, not to be mistaken for one who had given $28,500 to the cause, was swept by Secret Service and quickly whisked off to the isolation of a remote poolhouse (unfussily
decorated with, among other things, a giant cardboard cutout of Obama, a mini air hockey table, many fading unframed photos of the Kennedys and a frozen-in-time poster of the Rory Kennedy movie "American Hollow").
Though Michelle Obama was billed as the guest co-host on ABC's "The View," almost half the show was about her. Finally, guest Matthew Broderick, the actor and husband of "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker gets on the couch. He said he was a "little nervous."
The conversation strayed to who James Wilkie, the five-year-old son of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick thinks should be the next president.
The answer will not be "as sophisticated" as you would like, said Broderick.
"He likes the man to beat the lady."
Yikes! Visons of being unfairly accused a Clinton basher seemed to have danced inside Michelle Obama's head. To be silent, to not rebut a cut aimed at Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) after all, could be used against her.
Obama made clear--that reference to James Wilkie--"That's him, not me."
UPDATE after this was posted, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor called to say Michelle Obama said "empathetic," not pathetic. I listened to a tape several times and heard the word pathetic. The reaction from the ladies on The View suggests that's what they heard too. "It is aword that can be misheard," Vietor said. Vietor said Obama said "sweet, empathetic" not "sweet and pathetic." One thing for sure. When someone says "Sweet," I listen.END OF UPDATE
ORIGINAL Barbara Walters asks Michelle Obama about how she reacted when husband Barack told her he was running for president. "Did you want him to be president," Walters asked.
No, said Obama. ""Please, don't do this. You know, I did not want Barack to go into politics because I thought politics was a mean business. And you know, I knew this man that I loved, he was sweet and pathetic, I thought. there was no way.......""
At that Walters the other hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd seemed to instantly realize what Obama did not--that you do not call a potential president of the United State pathetic, even if you love him--and they started kind of shouting at her, to sort of stop her before she does more damage and gives another quote that will be used against her...
Someone suggested that Obama really intended to say "empathetic."
"The View" host Barbara Walters asked Michelle Obama if she could call her Michelle...and then noting that not all on "The View" is serious, goes to a discussion about panty hose, telling her that is a topic that her co-hosts--Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behr, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd--have pondered...
For male readers of this blog, stay with me here...men..do you know that panty hose wearing is a blg deal to women, especially in the summer when it is hot and wearing panty hose is torture...but I digress...Michelle Obama decided to play ball with this one, and she engaged.
"I stopped wearing panty hose a long time ago," Obama said, "because it was painful and they'd always rip. And I'm 5'11'' so I'm tall, nothing fits...Put 'em on, rip 'em..it's inconvenient."
Whoopi Goldberg told Michelle Obama on "The View," "I'm really glad to see you because ...any time you see black folks on the news, particularly women, they have no teeth, and the teeth that they have have gold around them and they can't put a sentence together and perhaps now, we can, this is, you are helping to change a perception. I know it sounds funny and silly but If you are a black women and you are tuning in and everytime you see someone who is supposed to represent black women and women not very very fair skin women, I am talking about dark black women, I just want to say thanks."
Michelle Obama, guest hosting on ABC's "The View" revealed that she wrote a thank-you note to First Lady Laura Bush after Bush defended her--sort of--when she got in a jam with her quote about being "really proud" of being proud of her country for the "first time." Obama said she was not sure if Bush got the note yet. Of how Bush handles the First Lady job, Obama said, "I'm taking some cues."
On June 9, during an ABC interview, Bush reminded the potential first lady that "everything you say is looked at." LINK
Michelle Obama is billed as a guest host on ABC's "The View," but at the beginning of the show, she is cast in the role of a news maker guest.
Obama, the subject of a front page New York Times Tuesday story (see link in earlier post) brushed aside the suggestion on "The View" that she went on the show to "soften" her image. Earlier Tuesday, chief Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" said the suggestion in the story--that Michelle was undergoing a subtle makeover--was wrong.
WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign is moving ahead with adding to its team key advisors from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's corral, on Tuesday announcing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is becoming part of Obama's "Senior working group on national security." Also note on the list below of advisors--not all new (Susan Rice has been with Obama from the beginning)--two names mentioned as vice presidential prospects--former Sen. Sam Nunn and former Rep. Tim Roemer. Interesting...Eric Holder---also on the Obama running mate vetting squad--is also a national security advisor.
WASHINGTON---Michelle Obama, on leave from her job as a vice president of community affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, is profiled in the Wednesday New York Times with some stunning details about a hospital proposal to use Chicago area girls as research subjects. That plus the flash that Obama is trying to soften up her image, with a start an appearence Wednesday as a guest host on "The View." (see my previous blog post for details on this.)
The New York Times report, by Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor LINK says Michelle Obama "altered the hospital's research agenda. When the human papillomavirus vaccine, which can prevent cervical cancer, became available, researchers proposed approaching local school principals about enlisting black teenage girls as research subjects.
"Obama stopped that. The prospect of white doctors performing a trial with black teenage girls summoned the specter of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment of the mid-20th century, when white doctors let hundreds of black men go untreated to study the disease."She'll talk about the elephant in the room," said Susan Sher, her boss at the hospital, where Obama is on leave from her more-than-$300,000-a-year job."
Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama and his top staffers David Axelrod and David Plouffe are in Washington this week working--among other items--to shore up congressional support and fund-raise for Obama. CQ's Jonathan Allen has a story about how LINK Obama "got the cold shoulder from Latina lawmakers Tuesday as he began a three-day campaign to shore up Capitol Hill support after an arduous primary season."
Allen said Obama "huddled with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) at the offices of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). But only one of the six Hispanic congresswomen who are Democrats, longtime Obama backer Rep. Linda T. Sánchez of California, attended the meeting, in which members gathered in a semicircle around Obama......The Latinas’ reluctance to get behind Obama reflects the challenges he faces in uniting Democrats. They were important surrogates for Clinton both in and beyond their congressional districts, and they could provide vital help to Obama, too.....Obama also is scheduled to meet later this week with fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), many of whom endorsed Clinton."
The Chicago Sun-Times obtained a copy of the letter the Clinton campaign is sending to its best donors and fund-raisers, asking them to write checks for Obama's White House bid. The carrot: An event with presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) June 26 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
Hat tip to Michael Saul of the New York Daily News for the scoop that Clinton and Obama will be together for the first time since she quit the race--at a fund-raising prospecting event in Washington. LINK
WASHINGTON--Former presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is back on the Senate beat. She is calling Tuesday--via a press release, she has not surfaced for a week--for a probe of government contracts with a Halliburton subsidiary with over $1 billion in questionable charges for work in Iraq.
WASHINGTON—Michelle Obama is studying up on actor Matthew Broderick to be ready for her stint as a co-host of ABC’s “The View” Wednesday.
That’s when Broderick joins the ladies on the show as a guest. And yes, Michelle Obama did see “Sex and the City,” which stars Broderick’s wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, who was at an Obama fund-raiser in Manhattan on June 4. Obama saw Parker’s chick flick with a girlfriend—not her husband, said spokesman Katie McCormick Lelyveld.
WASHINGTON—Fashion giants designer Calvin Klein and Vogue editor Anna Wintour are among the hosts at high dollar fund-raisers Tuesday night headlined by Michelle Obama in Manhattan. Vogue contributor Andre Leon Talley is also a host.
The would be First Lady—a fan of Chicago designer Maria Pinto—first hits a $1,000-a-person reception at the Sikkema Jenkins Gallery on 530 West 22nd Street, off 10th Avenue. After that Michelle Obama headS to the Klein home for a dinner for bigger hitters raising $10,000
WASHINGTON--In a Tuesday morning conference call, the McCain campaign ripped presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for being soft on terror.
Former CIA head James Woosley said Obama's stand to give terrorists access to U.S. courts: “This is an extremely dangerous and an extremely naive approach to terrorism.”
McCain senior foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann said if Obama "got that 3 a.m. phone call"--a reference to an ad Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) ran before the Texas and Ohio primaries questioning Obama's experience--his response would be to "call the lawyers in the Justice Department." He also called Obama "delusional"
Scheunemann also stereotyped and disrespected the South Side of Chicago: These terrorists, he said, were not "your run -of- the mill drug dealers on the South Side of Chicago."
What got this round started: A wide ranging Obama interview by ABC's Jake Tapper Obama LINK
Obama said the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, were properly arrested, convicted and imprisoned. But the U..S. treatment of terrorists at Gitmo, for example present a different case to the world and gives other terrorists a recruiting tool.
Obama told Tapper, "And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, 'Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.' So that, I think, is an example of something that was unnecessary. We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws."
WASHINGTON --Chicago native Patti Solis Doyle, former Clinton campaign manager jettisoned in the final months of the primary, joins the Obama team as the chief of staff to Sen. Barack Obama's eventual running mate, as Michelle Obama beefs up her operation with a new chief of staff.
For tea leaf readers: The Solis Doyle appointment could be seen as a sign that Sen. Hillary Clinton is drifting down and out from Obama's vice presidential short list. The minus is that perhaps Obama should not have sent this signal so soon, as he is busy wooing disgruntled Clinton supporters.
Former Vice President Gore--denied the presidency in 2000 because of the botched vote counting in Florida --could help presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in many states, especially Florida if he spends time there to energize Democrats who want, well, revenge. In the words of the late, great Tim Russert, it's "Florida, Florida, Florida." VIDEO LINK
WASHINGTON--Ethel Kennedy, RFK's widow, will open her home this week for a fund-raiser featuring presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean.
Other co-hosts for the funder are big Obama fund-raisers-- Megan and Don Beyer, Rachel Goslins and Julius Genachowski, Betsy Katz and Reed Hundt, Deborah Kennedy and Bill Kennard
New York Times Jeff Zeleny, the Monday pooler reports from Flint, Michigan:
In between handshakes, your pool asked Mr. Obama about Al Gore’s pending endorsement tonight at a rally in Detroit.
“Is Al Gore endorsing me?” Mr. Obama said with a grin. “That’s great. It means a lot obviously.”
Asked whether the former vice president had been helpful in the primaries, Mr. Obama said: “Yes.”
“We’ve had ongoing conversations about a whole host of issues, a lot of them have revolved around issues of climate change and energy and the environment. He’s provided good political advice,” Mr. Obama said. “Obviously, he hasn’t been speaking exclusively to me. He obviously spoke to senators Clinton and Edwards and others. He’s somebody who has been a visionary, not just for the party, but for the country. There are very few people who are more knowledgeable than he is about a whole host of issues and the challenges that are to come.”
WASHINGTON--Patti Solis Doyle, former Clinton campaign manager, jettisoned in the final months of the primary, joins the Obama team as the chief of staff to Obama's eventual runningmate. Former top Edwards campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon--who ran Iowa for Edwards-- is the Obama battleground states director. Shakeup in Michelle Obama staff--Stephanie Cutter--top Democratic advisor who comes out of the Ted Kennedy operation---is now senior advisor to the campaign and chief of staff to Michelle Obama. Cutter was also the Kerry campaign communications director. Veteran Obama Senate office top staffer Michael Strautmanis moves over to the campaign full time as a senior advisor.
The female picks help add some gender balance to a male-dominated top Obama staff.
FOOTNOTES: Don't read into the Solis Doyle appointment as a sign that former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) is moving up on the vice presidential short list. Rather, the opposite is probably more realistic. Solis Doyle now is the highest ranking Hispanic on the Obama campaign. She helps build a bridge to Clinton women to join the Obama camp.
Solis Doyle, the sister of Chicago alderman Danny Solis--has long known chief Obama strategist David Axelrod.
For names of first wave of Obama general election staff. click below...
WASHINGTON--Superinvestor Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway--who with his daughter Susan early on spotted presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as a comer-- will headline a $28,500-per-person fund-raiser (to raise or give) July 2 at the Chicago home of Obama finance chair Penny Pritzker. Sharing host duties will be Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.
FOOTNOTE: In a Dec. 4, 2004, column, I wrote about how Obama took a secretive flight to visit Buffett, urging Obama to be more open and transparent when he travels on government or political business. Since then, Obama has embraced transparency as a central plank of his candidacy. Obama a few weeks ago opened all his fund-raisers to at least a pool reporter and rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), under pressure, caved and last week opened what had been closed fund-raisers to the press.
Obama has evolved on transparency. Excerpt from my 2004 column, written just after he was elected to the Senate but not yet sworn in....
Obama continues, as I've noted in past columns, to not see much point in transparency about his activities; this was true during the campaign and remains so in the transition period before he is sworn into the Senate next month. I think Obama should be open and not secretive when he travels on government or political business.
click below for entire 2004 column, where Obama also talks about all the hype surrounding him....
Since he's been running for president, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee, has not spent much time in Illinois. On Saturday, Obama visits Quincy, Ill. to inspect Illinois flood damage and help load sandbags-- realizing that dealing with the flood stricken Midwest is a national issue. How a president deals with these massive emergencies--and avoid another Katrina mess-- will be part of the 2008 presidential conversation.
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain today issued the following statement on the flooding in the Midwest:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by the flooding throughout the Midwest. Cindy and I would like to extend our sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones, and stand ready to help those in the Midwest to recover and rebuild."
WASHINGTON--The Obama family has a tradiiton of going to church on Fathers Day; that's what Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee told Jimmy Kimmel when he taped an interview with the talk show host on Friday. But the Obama family quit Trinity United Church of Christ a week ago, in the wake of divisive comments by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger. Where to go? This Sunday, the Obamas leave their Kenwood home on a landmark block on Chicago's South Side to attend church at the nearby Apostolic Church of God, 6320 Dorchester Ave.
But Obama will have to work on Fathers Day. Obama will "speak about the responsibilities we have as fathers and parents to help our children achieve their dreams," his campaign said. Parental responsibility is a theme Obama has sounded before.
Last February, in Beaumont,Texas, Obama drew wild cheers as he told a mostly African-American crowd that parents need to shape up, turn off the TV, help their kids with their homework and stop letting them grow fat eating Popeyes chicken for breakfast.
"It's not good enough for you to say to your child, 'Do good in school,' and then when that child comes home, you got the TV set on, you got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there is not a book in the house, you've got the video game playing," said Obama.
FOOTNOTE: Dr. Byron Brazier, a minister at the Apostolic Church of God, ran as an Obama delegate from the seventh congressional district in Illinois.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hit Philadelphia for a fund-raiser on Friday featuring former leading Clinton backers, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Pool Report by Amy Chozick of the Wall Street Journal.
"No hard news. Rendell made some characteristically colorful comments and Obama took a few jabs at John McCain.
On Friday, Jimmy Kimmel interviewed presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Here's the pool report from Amy Chozick of the The Wall Street Journal.
The interview was " via satellite from a conference room at the Sheraton in Philadelphia. The program will air on Sunday after the NBA finals. The interview was basketball themed and most of the questions were about, yes, basketball.
Questions are paraphrased unless they are in quotes.
Kimmel: Happy Fathers Day. What’s a typical Father’s Day at the Obama house?
Obama: We usually have some experiment with waffles or pancakes and there’s a lot of cleanup afterwards...They come with stuff we wouldn’t normally put on pancakes like whipped cream…. Then we go to church.
(insert from Lynn Sweet: The Obamas quit Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side last week. end insert)
WASHINGTON--Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) asked rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for 10 open format town hall debates between now and the conventions. On Friday, the Obama campaign rejected the McCain proposal, offering an altnernative for five joint sessions turned down by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
WASHINGTON--The senior senator from Illinois--Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two man in the Senate--was the first senator to endorse presumptive White House nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and was pushing him to run in the months Obama was considering his bid.
"As you know, Senator Durbin was the first United States Senator to throw his full support behind Barack Obama -- before he even officially announced his presidential bid. In fact, our online community played a pivotal role in getting Senator Obama to run, not to mention catapulting him to victory last Tuesday," said Durbin campaign manager Mike Daly in a new fund-raising appeal.
Durbin is a confidant and top advisor to Obama and his place in Obama's historic run was just the subject of a story in Roll Call titled "Durbin's Long Shot Pays Off." Durbin and his staff has also taken on the brunt of the Illinois responsibilities in the Senate since Obama started running for president in February, 2007, freeing him up to stump across the country. Durbin is running for a third term this November against a little known Republican.
Daly talks about Durbin's role in the Obama White House bid in a new low dollar fund-raising appeal. Durbin's high end donors and fund-raisers gathered in Washington for a few days earlier this week
WASHINGTON -- When I phoned the Obama press shop a few times in recent weeks to check out rumors about whether there was a videotape with Michelle Obama using the word "whitey," the campaign declined to issue a denial or to pass along the question to Michelle's staff to find out what might be fueling the rumors.
That's been a standard tactic in dealing with the mainstream press. Unless there is some evidence, ignore the matter and reporters for mainstream outlets probably won't publish anything about racially charged language without proof.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hauled in $1.7 million at a Lincoln Park fund-raiser on Thursday night, the first of two events at private homes in Chicago. Referring to his rumor-fighting drive, Obama said of his rivals: "They’re going to try to make me into a scary guy. They’re even trying to make Michelle into a scary person."
One guest wrote "Hussein" as his middle name on his nametag as a joke, sort of a try to desensitive people to Obama's middle name. “They have these wonderful stickers that said, ‘Rick Hussein Fizdale,’” Mr. Obama said. “The theory was, we’re all Hussein.”
Under the new Obama campaign policy of allowing press to cover all fund-raisers--which I had been pushing for--here is the pool report of the funders by Julie Bosman of the New York Times with additional material provided by Abdon Pallasch of the Chicago Sun-Times.
WASHINGTON--Here's the unity picture developing for Friday. Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stumps in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania with arden supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who were key to her primary victories.
The Obamas hold a town hall session in Columbus with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who helped engineer Clinton's victory there. The senator headlines a fund-raiser in Philadelphia with Philadephia andMayor Michael Nutter, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell--big Clinton boosters.
Two big high dollar Chicago Obama funders Thursday
The Chicago area Obama fund-raising elite gather Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at the home of Sara and James Hall (a few blocks from Halsted and Armitage) for a high dollar fund-raising “special reception” with presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
The $28,500 per-person event benefits the Democratic White House Victory Fund.
The hosts are the Illinois Finance Co-Chairs Jim Crown and John W. Rogers Jr.
After that, Obama heads to the near West Side home of of Leah Missbach Day and F.K. Day for a 7:15 p.m. reception for his “Obama for America” warchest where donors are asked to give or raise $2,300.
WASHINGTON -- Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama -- after first downplaying questions about the ethics of his chief vice presidential vetter Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chief -- on Wednesday accepted his resignation.
After Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) held an event about credit cards at the Illinois Institute of Technology on Wednesday, he made a surprise visit to the 8th grade graduation ceremonies at the Young Women's
Leadership Charter School of Chicago. Click for the pool report from the Chicago Tribune's John McCormick.
WASHINGTON--Once news surfaced that former Fannie Mae chief Jim Johnson got a sweetheart mortgage deal from Countrywide Financial--Johnson's days were numbers as the Obama campaign's top vice presidential vetter.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen.Barack Obama (D-Ill.)--who at first downplayed any inquiries about the appointment of Johnson--accepted Johnson's resignation on Wednesday afternoon. Appointing Johnson in the first place--the ultimate Washington insider--was a rare Obama campaign mistake.
In a statement, Obama said, “Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept. We have a very good selection process underway, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process."
WASHINGTON—Team Obama pounced on comments about Iraq made by presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on NBC’s“Today Show” on Wednesday morning, portraying him as “confused.” McCain said when it comes to keeping troops in Iraq what is important is causalities—not whether or not troops stay on an open-ended basis.
Obama’s Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and top foreign policy advisor Susan Rice on a conference call with reporters hit back. Rice, talking about McCain foreign policy used the phrase “real confusion” and said McCain is “confusing” and “confused.”
Is that a code for suggesting McCain is too old to understand what is going on?
WASHINGTON—Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean—now cast in the role as top level surrogate for Democratic presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)—said Wednesday the DNC will now disclose previously secret fund-raising events and allow press coverage.
Obama has been signaling that he will not take public financing for the general election, despite saying he would if details with his GOP rival could be worked out. Dean said it would be “wrong and unfair” to criticize Obama if he chooses to opt out.
WASHINGTON -- Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama huddled privately Tuesday with a group of influential Christians in downtown Chicago -- not all supporters -- to help shape conversations Obama wants to have with voters as he heads toward the general election.
Obama invited the mainline Protestant, evangelical and Catholic leaders and authors from across the country for the meeting -- in offices at 55 E. Monroe -- in part because he wanted to hear their critiques as he intensifies his campaign against GOP rival John McCain. I'm told Obama -- hunting for independent, middle class and GOP support -- wanted to let the group know that his door was open -- in the campaign and in the White House, if he is elected.
Hat tip to Wilshire and Washington LINK for keeping tabs on presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Hollywood fund-raising...
"Barack Obama will return to Los Angeles on June 24 for his first fund-raiser in the area since claiming the Democratic nomination.
"The event --- certain to a big draw in the Hollywood and L.A. fund-raising community --- will be held at the Los Angeles Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, although the exact venue is being worked out, according to a source with knowledge of the plans. It will start at 5 p.m., and is being organized for a crowd of about 1,000. Obama will be raising money for a victory fund via Democratic National Committee, meaning that donors can max out to $28,500 apiece."
WASHINGTON—Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is unrolling the general election campaign he has been shaping for months. For example, in May, the campaign unveiled a 50-state voter registration drive, the skeleton operation Plouffe is adding meat to now that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is officially the presumptive nominee. On Tuesday, Plouffe—on the Democratic National Committee e-mail—sent out a low-dollar appeal for money for Obama’s 50 state campaign.
The letter demonstrates how strongly the Obama team is now running the DNC—and how DNC chairman Howard Dean now answers to Obama. What is interesting in the letter: Dean caught plenty of flak in the 2006 campaign cycle—especially from Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) then the chairman of the House political operation for what Dean called his “50-state strategy.” What did not work for Emanuel—who wanted Dean’s resources targeted to specific races—is looking interesting to Obama, who has built his own “Obama Party” during the long primary season where there were contests in all 50 states.
Said Plouffe in the appeal, “I am proud to announce that our presidential campaign will be the first in a generation to deploy and maintain staff in every single state."
WASHINGTON--Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) steps up his call for one-on-one town hall debates--with no moderator--with rival Sen.Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during a speech Tuesday here to a small business conference.
After being heckled and booed, McCain brought up the town halls. The Obama team--not crazy about how the primary debates turned out--more about the moderators than the candidates--is considering the offer.
Said McCain, "And as you may have heard, Senator Obama and I might -- and I hope -- will be meeting soon in a series of town hall discussions -- just the two of us, in direct conversation with the voters. No need to turn it into a big media-run production with process questions from reporters, a spin room and all the rest of it.
"Just to keep things friendly, I also suggested that my opponent and I travel to these town hall meetings together in the same plane. I promise not to try to fly it. So -- so we need the town hall meeting. You just saw the example. Let's stop -- let's stop yelling at each other. Let's stop having sound bites and process questions and those things.
The word is Sen. Hillary Rodham (D-N.Y.) is hosting a conference call at 7 p.m. eastern on Monday night perhaps just to say thank-you to supporters from across the country....will someone ask her about the vice presidency?
Speaking in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday, presumptive Demcratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) starts paying tribute to former rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) Obama says rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) has legitimate "moments" of independence from his party, citing earmarks as an example.
WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign website has new feature: a "thank you" for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) that is also an organizational tool for Obama.
A clip of Obama praising Clinton is on the site,with a call for unity from presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) But the nice words and video serve as bait to gather data about Clinton backers who are at least curious enough about Obama to be on his website. The feature urges viewers to send Clinton a note of thanks:
"Senator Clinton made history over the past 16 months -- not just because she has broken barriers, but because she has inspired millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to causes like universal health care that make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans.Take a minute to thank her for her hard work and for supporting this campaign."
But this is also a clever technique the Obama campaign is using to data mine and target voters.
Remember how Michelle Obama got into jam when she talked about finally loving America for the first time? First Lady Laura Bush sort of defends Michelle Obama LINK and reminds the potential first lady that "everything you say is looked at."
Republicans are not planning to have a day--maybe even a few hours--go by without hitting Obama. While Obama starts a "Change that Works for You" two-week tour, the Republican National Committee slams back on a website LINK that it is "Change We Can't Afford."
WASHINGTON--The top economic advisers to presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) brief reporters on Monday as Obama delivers an economic address in Raleigh, N.C. The Obama team had been looking to beef up its top economic team. The new Director of Economic Policy is Jason Furman who ran economic policy for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign. He is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and will debut on a conference call Monday.
Also in the briefing spotlight on Monday is University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee--who has not been heard from much since the dust-up right before the March Texas and Ohio primary over what he said--or did not say--about Obama wanting to revisit NAFTA if president.
Meanwhile....over in the McCain campaign....senior McCain economic advisor Doug Holtz Eakin briefs Monday onObamaconomics.
WASHINGTON--Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hits Raleigh, N.C. Monday afternoon for the start of two weeks of travel to key swing states (and states Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) won with the economy the main message. Besides North Carolina, Obama visits Missouri-he has a fund-raiser in St. Louis on Monday night--Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. During Monday, Obama talks economics on CNBC and with Fortune.
Meanwhile, presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) travels this week to some of the same swing states--Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and New Jersey. McCain on Tuesday, talks about the economy Nationa Federation of Independent Business economic summit.
Presumptive GOP Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) makes an implicit swipe at Democratic rival Sen.Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in this video with the non-subtle message to question any Obama tough rhetoric about war, underscored with McCain's own storied military history.
Now that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the presumptive Democratic nominee....and the Obama team has seized control of the Democratic National Committee...the DNC is aggressively attacking GOP rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on his ties to lobbyists--picking up on Obama's anti-lobbyist theme.
LAS VEGAS--In a friendly take-over that was expected, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean just welcomed to the DNC Paul Tewes, the chief of the Obama DNC team.
Dean talks about his 50-state organizing strategy in his statement; ironically--since Obama comes from Illinois--Dean really has been running a 49-state strategy. Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago), the chief of the Democratic Party of Illinois, wants nothing to do with the DNC state program.
The Clinton campaign has been e-mailing this regarding Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) decision to offer White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) congrats on Saturday in Washington. No word yet if Obama will attend.
I wanted you to be one of the first to know: on Saturday, I will hold an event in Washington D.C. to thank everyone who has supported my campaign. Over the course of the last 16 months, I have been privileged and touched to witness the incredible dedication and sacrifice of so many people working for our campaign. Every minute you put into helping us win, every dollar you gave to keep up the fight meant more to me than I can ever possibly tell you.
On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.
Ending his neutrality, maverick freshman Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is now with White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and stumps with him in Virgnia on Tuesday. Obama, in a speech at a Health Care Town Hall in Bristol, slams rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on the need for universal health care and highlights his new policy about not having the DNC take money as of today from lobbyists and political action committees.
While the Democrats during the primary argued over who had the best plan to get to universal coverage--the general election Obama-McCain contest will be about the much deeper and broader policy issue of opposiing visions on how to provide health insurance for the uninsured.
LAS VEGAS--With the Democratic nomination locked up, the Obama team moved to take control of the Democratic National Committee in Washington on Thursday and order number one was to ban donations from lobbyists and political action committees. This comes the week White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) has finally allowed a press pool to cover his fund-raisers.
"Our presumptive nominee has pledged not to take donations from Washington lobbyists and from today going forward the DNC makes that pledge as well," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean in a statement.
UPDATE INSERT "John McCain has not adopted any such standards," the Obama campaign said in a statement.
It is routine for the presidential nominee to seize control of the DNC and Obama installed top field strategist Paul Tewes--he ran Iowa and other key states for Obama--to work with Dean.
Tewes had been toiling in the background for the past several weeks; now that Obama is the presumptive nominee, Tewes officially surfaced at the DNC Thursday.
As for the policy change--if Obama had not made the switch he would have left himself open to being called a hypocrite, since the DNC at this point exists largely to help Obama win the November election with opposition research, organizing, etc. The Republican National Committee is assisting the McCain campaign much in the same way; it's been building its Obama dossier for more than a year. The tainted money ban now lets Obama take aim at the RNC--as well as McCain, who has been forced to root out the lobbyists in his campaign after conflicts-of-interest surfaced.
Obama bans lobbyist and PAC money from his presidential campaign and has gotten great mileage out his ban, making it a centerpiece of his primary campaign. Obama took money from lobbyists and PACs for his state senate, House and Senate races and his HOPEFUND, taking on the higher standard when he launched his presidential bid in February, 2007.
WASHINGTON--First time out with Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's new policy--to allow a print pool reporter in his fund-raisers in private homes-on Wednesday snared some pretty big names. New York Post's Charles Hurt writes about in his pool report Obama's night with "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, Caroline Kennedy--one of three co-chairs of Obama's vice presidential vetting panel. Until Obama changed his policy on Tuesday events like these were closed.
WASHINGTON--The Chicago Sun-Times federal courts reporter Natasha Korecki is reporting that a Chicago federal jury found political fixer Tony Rezko guilty on 16 charges against him -- including mail and wire fraud -- and not guilty of eight charges. Rezko -- the high-flying developer and fast-food magnate -- was once a major campaign fund-raiser for Gov. Blagojevich and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. LINK
Lynn Sweet quick analysis on political impact on Obama: Republicans were going to use Rezko against Obama whether or not Rezko was guilty or innocent. See RNC statement below slamming Obama on Rezko. No way is Rezko positive for Obama; but the conviction itself does not change the politics much. Remember, Obama had nothing to do with any charge brought against Rezko.
"I'm saddened by today's verdict. This isn't the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform. I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future.” – Senator Barack Obama
WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Republican National Committee
(RNC) Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan released the following statement tonight:
WASHINGTON--“We had an eventful night last night,” Obama said, starting his foreign policy speech before AIPAC—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee--explaining that he was still a little “bleary eyed.” His campaign plane from Minnesota landed at Dulles at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
Obama departed from his prepared remarks in the beginning to pay a tribute to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who would speak after him.
Obama told the crowd they would have the “great pleasure of hearing from an extraordinary candidate, an extraordinary public servant and I want to publically acknowledge Hillary Clinton for the outstanding race she has won,” he said to applause. “She is a true friend of Israel, she is a great senator from New York, she is an extraordinary leader of the Democratic Party and she has made history along side me over the last 16 months.”
One interesting point where Obama goes further than current U.S. policy: Obama called for Jerusalem “to remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
Click below for Obama June 4, 2008 AIPAC speech as delivered.
Click LINK for prepared text of Obama March, 2007 AIPAC speech.
WASHINGTON--For more than a year, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) has been hidiing under a table--his vivid imagery--to avoid picking between Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-IN.Y.) Though Emanuel, who is a superdelegate, is friends with Obama, he owes his political career to serving in the Clinton White House. Emanuel did repay the Clintons in part a year ago when Obama and Clinton were both in Selma, Alabama on the same day, speaking at different churches a block apart. Emanuel and his son showed up at the Clinton church. But Emanuel never did anything much in public view for Obama or Clinton.
Now that Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination, Emanuel on Wednesday is declaring his support for Obama, with whom they share David Axelrod as friend and political advisor. Emanuel called Clinton on Tuesday, the day Obama clinched. Emanuel was with Obama as he appeared at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference here. Now that Emanuel is unleashed, he can help shore up support for Obama in the Jewish community.
WASHINGTON--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) got a standing ovation at the AIPAC conference here Thursday before she started her speech. She has a longer, stronger relationshop with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee than presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and she used it just now to vouch for Obama as a strong supporter of Israel.
"It is wonderful being here with all of you" among friends. I feel like this is a giant family union. …I feel like I am among family...and thank you for the warm welcome," she said at the beginning, her first public appearence since Obama clinched the nomination.
She did not mention that she has yet to suspend or conceed to Obama, but she made a point to vouch for him.
"And let me be very clear. I know that Sen. Obama will be a good friend to Israel," Clinton said.
WASHINGTON--Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is speaking now to AIPAC--the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. His speech is puncuated with applause and standing ovations. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y) speaks next. GOP rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) spoke earlier.
"We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything," Obama said, departing from his prepared text to add the two everythings for emphasis.
WASHINGTON---A special group of FOBO's--Friends of Barack Obama who are at the top of the Obama fund-raising pyramid--were on presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama's plane to Minnesota on Tuesday, where Obama flew to clinch his nomination.
The FOBO manifest....
1. Valerie Jarrett....top Obama advisor without portfolio, which means she has a hand in all portfolios. In Obama history, her chapter starts when she hires Michelle, then Obama's fiance, to be her deputy in Mayor Daley's City Hall.
2. Eric Whitaker, a doctor who is frequently on the Obama campaign plane is the executive vice president for strategic affiliations and associate dean for community-based research at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Michelle Obama worked before she took a leave for the campaign. Before that, Whitake was the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health
3. Marty Nesbitt, one of Obama’s best friends who is the treasurer of the Obama presidential campaign. Nesbitt is the CEO of the Parking Spot.
4. Billionaire real estate magnate Penny Pritzker --of Chicago's Pritzker family--is the Obama National Finance Director. Pritzker has long been an Obama financial backer.
5. Ariel Investment founder John Rodgers is an Illinois Finance co-chair and longtime friend.
6. Industrial magnate Jim Crown-- of Chicago's Crown family is an Illinois Finance co-chair.
After refusing for years to open all fund-raisers to the press, Barack Obama has a policy change.
WASHINGTON -- When Barack Obama travels to New York for two big-dollar events in private homes tonight, the campaign will allow coverage by a print pool reporter. Obama for the first time is opening all his fund-raising events -- in private homes and public places -- to a press pool as he seeks to draw a contrast between himself and John McCain when it comes to ethics and transparency.
The policy switch comes as Obama starts his historic general election campaign and is getting his own house in order.
WASHINGTON-- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) speaking in New York at the end of the primary season, said she will take some time to decide what she is going to do next, neither conceeding nor suspending her campaign.
Read my column on Clinton's strategy for the post-primary short term. LINK
Excerpt from Clinton " I understand that a lot of people are asking, what does Hillary want? What does she want? Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential, and I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible."
WASHINGTON--On a historic Tuesday, the Obama campaign in Chicago is shooting out e-mails as they bring out one superdelegate vote after another in a dramatic countdown even before the polls closed in Montana and South Dakota. Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer is the e-mail to watch for in Operation Countdown.
WASHINGTON--In a change of policy, likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will now open all his fund-raisers to the press, I've been told by the campaign. The new policy will be effective on Wednesday, when Obama travels to New York for two evening high-end fund-raisers at private homes. This new policy comes as Obama hit presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) for his closed fund-raiser policy. Obama wants to make government transparency a major contrast between himself and McCain as he moves into general election mode.
Before Wednesday, Obama allowed pool reporters to cover most fund-raisers held in public places but declined to provide any information about fund-raisers in homes, not even the names of the hosts. Fund-raisers headlined by Michelle Obama now will all be disclosed to the public and covered by a print pool reporter.
WASHINGTON--Chicago's Cardinal Francis George on Tuesday removed Father Micheal Pfleger as pastor at St. Sabina's following his taking the pulpit at Trinity United Church of Christ on May 31 to ridicule Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) at what had been the Obama family church. In the wake of the incident, the Obamas' quit the church last Friday. In a statement released on Tuesday, George said Pfleger, an activist priest who championed the underdog, was also asked to take a couple of weeks off of his pastoral duties for a period of reflection.
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE, O.M.I.,
ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO
June 3, 2008
To put recent events in some perspective, I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today.
Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.
WASHINGTON---Likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was seen leaving Chicago's East Bank Club on Tuesday after playing a pick-up game of basketball, which has become a primary day tradition. Today of course, was more important because it is the last primary game day--and the day when Obama clinches the nomination with 2,118 delegates. The next election game day Obama will be in November--when Obama faces off against presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)
The Obama East Bank Club report: He was seen leaving the club--where he worked out all the time before he started running for president--at about 11:55 a.m. Chicago time. He was sipping what looked like a health drink; he was dressed in a dark blue track suit. Obama exchanged greetings with a club member who ran into him as he was departing'. "He looked very very relaxed and tired....he seemed in no great rush," to leave, with his gait "just a gentle stroll."
WASHINGTON--I talked with John Roberts who anchors CNN's "American Morning" early Tuesday about Sen. Barack Obama clinching the Demcratic presidential nomination and what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will do LINK
WASHINGTON—Though Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) tonight is expected to claim the Democratic presidential nomination, I’ve learned that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) now plans to continue to travel throughout the country to talk about “issues” that are important to her, even if she is not the nominee.
“Don’t think for one second that she is shutting down her operation,” I was told by a person close to Clinton.
The Clinton campaign released a statement Tuesday morning that said Clinton "will not concede the nomination this evening."
WASHINGTON--In Michigan on Monday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) the likely Democratic nominee, said he expects to hit the magic number of delegates--2,118--by Wednesday. But he may let himself get emotional on Tuesday night, the last night of this long primary season.
"You know I think there are a lot of super delegates who are waiting for the last couple of contests, but I think that they’re going to be making decisions fairly quickly after that. We feel good about the number of super delegates that we’ve accumulated. My sense is is between Tuesday and Wednesday we have a good chance of getting the number that we need to achieve the nomination but obviously there are two more contests remaining tomorrow and we want to stay focused on winning Montana and South Dakota," Obama said.
WASHINGTON--Likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told reporters on Monday he told Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) that "once the dust settled" he wants to meet with her "at a time and place of her choosing." He also personally apologized to her for the "offensive remarks" of his long-time friend, Father Michael Pfleger.
Below is the pool report from Washington Times reporter Christina Bellantoni.
UPDATE -WASHINGTON---Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) headlines a fund-raiser in Manhattan Wednesday night to benefit the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic 2008 nominee--who on Wednesday should just about be Obama. The smallish event--about 100 people--will be hosted by Jane Hartley and Ralph Schlosstein at a home near Park Ave. and 75th. Even though nothing is official yet, the Obama folks are running this joint event. On Saturday, Vice President Gore and DNC chair Howard Dean raised DNC money at a private dinner in New York.
OLD WASHINGTON--Andrea Mitchell, interviewing Obama senior foreign policy adviser Greg Craig on her MSNBC show, just connected the dots that may give a clue to how likely presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and his tenacious rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) give a show of unity after Obama is expected to claim victory Tuesday night in Minnesota--at the site of the GOP convention.
The Democratic National Committee has an event in New York on Wednesday and Craig just confirmed that Obama will be there. And Clinton is also expected to be in New York on Wednesday.
Both Obama and Clinton will address AIPAC in Washington on Wednesday morning.
WASHINGTON--Ken Goldstein at the University of Wisconsin, Madison is the source for looking at political ad spending. In a new study released on Monday LINK Goldstein totals all spending for all contenders at $200 million for the primary season, which closes Tuesday. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) alone accounts for $75 million of that compared to $46 million for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
The study concludes, "The advantage in advertising alone, of course, does not explain Obama’s victories in these contests. The demographics of a state and other fundamental election and campaign factors surely have a great impact on election outcomes, and Senator Obama also had significant advantages in advertising spending in other states that he lost (Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania for example).
WASHINGTON---ABC News Jake Tapper has an audio recording of Father Michael Pfleger delivering another sermon on May 31 were he mocked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and praised Rev. Jeremiah Wright. To listen to the audio LINK
WASHINGTON--House Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) has been, as he has said many times, hiding under a table not saying if he will cast his superdelegate vote for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) Emanuel is still keeping us in suspense, though Obama is on a path to clinch without Emanuel, who is a good Obama friend but knows that he would not be where he is today if he did not serve in the Bill Clinton administration.
The final primaries are Tuesday--in Montana and South Dakota--and Emanuel notes in a Monday statement that the excitement whipped up by the long-running primary season has boosted Democratic chances in the fall. Most important from the House perspective--the Democrats have won three special elections in three GOP districts--including the seat held by former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)
"Most importantly, the last five months have ensured that the American people know Democrats continue to be the agents of change," said Emanuel in a statement. "It has never been so clear that Republicans are out of ideas, out of energy, and this November, will be out of power."
WASHINGTON--I spent Saturday at the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws meeting here. I blogged but never wrote a full story because I turned instead to the breaking news that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was quitting his Trinity United Church of Christ. For a full account of the day, read the report from Time Magazine's Jay Newton-Small.
WASHINGTON -- In a painful episode of his quest for the White House, likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama said Saturday his family withdrew their membership at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.
The damage control came as his church -- and controversial sermons from the Trinity pulpit -- were increasingly becoming a target that threatened Obama's presidential bid.
"This is not a decision I came to lightly, and frankly it's one that I make with some sadness," Obama said.