Chicago Sun-Times
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August 2008 Archives

ST. PAUL, MINN.--What was to have been the Monday GOP convention line-up...
President George W. Bush
Vice President Richard B. Cheney
First Lady Laura Bush
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)*
Gov. Rick Perry (Texas)*
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.)

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ST. PAUL, MINN--With Hurricane Gustav to hit on Monday, the first day of the Republican convention, John McCain just suspended all non-necessary activity on Monday. McCain spoke from St. Louis about the impending natural disaster in the gulf region of the U.S.

Republican National Committee chair Mike Duncan said at a press conference at the Xcel Center here, said the essential party business will be conducted: approval of platform, etc. in an abbreviated session.

Campaign manager Rick Davis said the "program will be business only and refrain from political rhetoric." The session will open at 3 p.m. central and last about two or two-and-a half hours.

What happens Tuesday and will depend on conditions in the wake of the storm.

"We do expect all of the speakers to speak at some point," though it is not clear when of if this will happen, Davis said.

All that is needed to conduct official business is a quorom of delegates, so if some leave, official business can be conducted.

McCain fund-raisers will be asked to turn their efforts to raising money for victims of the storm, Davis said.

ST. PAUL, MINN--Stumping in Ohio on Sunday, Barack Obama said he is ready to use his vast e-mail list of backers to help victims of Hurricane Gustav, including raising cash.

"What we want to do is we want to find out first from folks on the ground what is going to be most helpful," Obama said.

"We don't want to solicit a bunch of canned goods that cant get there, or bottles of water and then learn that they already have water. So we are going to wait over the next 48 hours to find out what would be the most useful. I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary.

"So it becomes a question of what people on the ground need and once we determine that then we can activate our e-mail list of a couple of million people who want to give back."

MINNEAPOLIS--Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar on Palin and the Illinois delegation being seated far away from the convention stage.

From Sun-Times' Mark Bieganski....

Edgar on Palin:
Watching her when she was introduced by Senator McCain, I thought she had a lot
of spunk and I think that will help this ticket. She has a varied background --
she's a little bit more conservative on some issues -- but she's had some life
experiences that a lot of Americans can would like to see in the White House,
whether it's the first or second person. The unknown is that she is so unknown.

ST. PAUL--John McCain, in Mississippi with running mate Sara Palin, said the script for the GOP convention here will be rewritten from a celebration to a call for action because of Hurricane Gustav. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have already announced they will not attend Monday's opening convention session. McCain and Palin toured the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency emergency operations center in Jackson on Sunday.

"We must redirect our efforts from the really celebratory event of the nomination of president and vice president of our party to acting as all Americans," McCain said.

"We'll change our program and I'll be announcing details of it in the next few hours. But there's very little doubt that we have to go from a party event to a call to the nation for action, action to help our fellow citizens in this time of tragedy and disaster, action in the form of volunteering, donations, reaching out our hands and our hearts and our wallets to the people who are under such great threat from this great natural disaster.

(photos by Lynn Sweet)
If you squint, you can see how far back the Illinois delegation is seated at the GOP convention.

ST. PAUL--When Republicans gather here at the Xcel Center to nominate John McCain, the Illinois delegation will have just about the worst seats in the house. The delegates will sit just in front of American Samoa. Such is the fate of Republicans from Barack Obama's homestate. At the Democratic convention in Denver, the Illinois delegates were front and center.

I just finished a stint on CNN's "Reliable Sources" talking with host Howard Kurtz about the media treatment of Sarah Palin--the Alaska governor who surprised the political press when McCain tapped her to be his running mate.

The segment--with Politico's Roger Simon and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post--was shot on the convention floor. The contrast between the GOP and Democratic theatrics is stark.
CNN "Reliable Source" host Howard Kurtz at the CNN workspace.

Minnesota ready for Republicans

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photos by Lynn Sweet
Outside the Illinois delegation hotel

Greetings on the floor of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport

At an airport gift store


MINNEAPOLIS---Hurricane Gustav strikes as the GOP convention is to begin on Monday; Republicans are poised to revamp the convention schedule because they do not want to party while there is a national emergency. President Bush is expected to speak to the convention on Monday.

John McCain, in an interview taped for Fox News Sunday said it would be insensitive for the convention to go on in the wake of the storm."

"I'm afraid ... that we may have to look at that situation and we'll try to monitor it," McCain said. "But you know it just wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near-tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster."

MINNEAPOLIS--Using a female narrator, this new Obama spot--the first to address John McCain tapping Sarah Palin as his running mate--shows a picture of Palin with the voiceover saying "this" represents "no change."

MINNEAPOLIS--From the McCain campaign, the "tic toc" of how John McCain decided to tap Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, including checking into a hotel with her family under another name.

DENVER--Hat tip to the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman, who is reporting Friday, "A Republican source confirms that John McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Campaign officials, however, remain mum this morning." McCain is poised to make his official announcement soon. Palin......who?

DENVER--Oprah Winfrey, at Barack Obama's acceptance speech,said, "I've never experienced anything like that," she said. "I think it was anything anyone could ever expect."

On the dash through the inner bowels of Invesco field, the pool passed by Oprah Winfrey and her entourage, and the queen of daytime talk stopped to answer questions. She looked stunned and emotional, as if the day had overwhelmed her.

DENVER--The Obama campaign used someone very special, actor David Strathairn to narrate the biographical video about Barack Obama debuted Thursday night just before his acceptance speech.

DENVER -- A flag-waving, star-studded, made-for-television spectacular, punctuated with a parade of down-and-out "real people" and comparisons to Abraham Lincoln, set the stage for Barack Obama's historic speech accepting the Democratic party nomination.

The scene at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver as Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

Fireworks as the Obama and Biden families are on stage as the Democratic National Convention was gaveled to a close. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

DENVER--Barack Obama acceptance speech, as delivered. Courtesy of Federal News Service.

"America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future."


"Barack Obama's speech tonight laid out his specific, bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children's future.

"His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain. Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face: revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world. I am proud to support Senator Obama, our next President of the United States and Joe Biden, our next Vice President of the United States."

DENVER--Transcript of Al Gore's speech at Invesco Field. Courtesy of Federal News Service.

Gore excerpt....

His experience has taught him something that career politicians often overlook -- that inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.

DENVER--Text of Barack Obama's Aug. 28, 209 acceptance speech.

DENVER--Michelle Obama tells CBS hours before Barack's acceptance speech,"I know that this speech will be from Barack's heart."

DENVER--Excerpts of Barack Obama acceptance speech.

See, I'm not always serious. Sheryl Crow. Very cool.

DENVER--The Chicago Sun-Times has obtained the talking points from the Obama campaign for Thursday, when Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech at Invesco Field.

Thursday, August 28 - Change you can believe in 

Barack Obama's acceptance speech

On Thursday night, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the convention and move to Invesco Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the convention as BarackObama accepts the Democratic nomination. Obama will communicate the urgency of the moent, highlight the struggles Americans are facing and call on Americans to come together to change the course of our nation.

DENVER--It's an outdoor extravaganza. Under a sunny, hot sky, Barack Obama's big show in the hours before his acceptance speech is in its opening acts. In the halls of Invesco Field at Mile High here, volunteers are making calls, lured with the promise that if they complete a dozen, their name would be entered in a lottery to win a seat on the field to hear Obama's speech. The program is underway; Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) delivered a speech in what at other times is the Bronco's home field. (Photos by Lynn Sweet)

The view from the Sun-Times seats at Invesco Field at Mile High

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a co-chair of the Obama campaign

Volunteers making phone calls. They were provided with scripts and phone call lists.

DENVER--Barack Obama paid a surprise visit on Thursday afternoon at the Illinois delegation hotel, electrifying, I am told the Illinois Democratic Women lunch. Obama promised the crowd, "I won't forget where I came from."

Obama came as Attorney General Lisa Madigan was at the podium, seemingly taking a long time to conclude her remarks. Turns out she was buying time to get Obama to the podium.

DENVER--Hours before Barack Obama makes his historic acceptance speech at an outdoor stadium, campaign manager David Plouffe and chief strategist David Axelrod deemed the Democratic convention so far a success.

Tonight, Obama not only gives a speech with important message goals, but the thousands in the crowd--including some 20,000 from the battleground state of Colorado--will get trained in the Obama grass roots operation.

"The first three days of convention, we could not be more thrilled with how they've gone," said Plouffe.

"Each night had a purpose in terms of the strategy of the convention and quite candidly had exceeded all our goals.

"We think that all three of these nights so far have fit together and our fourth night tonight is going to be the capstone to what we think is a very very important week. Our hope and sense is that voters around the country have learned more about who Barack Obama is," he said.

DENVER--The roll call where Hillary Rodham Clinton moved to end on Wednesday and nominate Barack Obama by acclimation--with her standing with the New York delegation--was highly orchestrated. The choreography was all done in advance, but it still provided an electric moment, when Obama actually became the first African American nominee of either major party. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe Thursday told the Sun-Times, "the roll call ended up being a much more meaningful thing than people thought."

DENVER -- Former President Bill Clinton took it all back on Wednesday, all the primary shots about Barack Obama's inexperience, telling a wildly cheering Democratic convention of a time when voters sent a young, inexperienced man to the White House.

Like Clinton in 1992, "Barack Obama is on the right side of history," said Clinton. And Obama is "ready to lead," even from Day One, Clinton conceded.

Courtesy of Federal News Service.

DENVER--John Kerry Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

DENVER--Hillary Rodham Clinton remarks in calling for unanimous nomination of Barack Obama as Democratic presidential nominee. She spoke from the convention floor, where she stood with the New York delegation.

"Madam secretary, on behalf of the great state of New York, with appreciation for the spirit and dedication of all who are gathered here. With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together in one voice right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president.

"Madame secretary, I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote. All votes cast by the delegates will be counted and that I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention, by acclimation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States."

DENVER--In a classy move, Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the convention floor with the New York delegation, just moved to suspend the rules of the convention and nominate Barack Obama the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. Illinois yielded its turn--and the traditional role of putting the homestate nominee over the top--in order to let the New York delegates--and Clinton--have the honor.

DENVER--After Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) made a tearful call for feuding Illinois Democrats to unify, longtime antagonists Gov. Blagojevich and Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan hugged. Then Jackson and Mayor Daley--who have had their differences hugged. Then Jackson cried and Daley comforted him.

(photos by Lynn Sweet)

DENVER--In long and rare press conference, Gov. Blagojevich was asked by Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney if he was going to run for re-election.

"I love my job. I think I am a great governor....There is more to do. I like my job and there is no reason to think I don't want to keep doing this job."

DENVER--At the Illinois delegation breakfast Wednesday morning. (photos by Lynn Sweet)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)




(photo by Lynn Sweet)

DENVER--Fantastic. Could not have been better. Hillary Rodham Clinton laid out the case to vote for Barack Obama better than he does himself. Anyone who faults Clinton for not giving it her all to unify the party behind Obama didn't watch her Democratic convention speech on Tuesday night.

She did a lot of what Obama needs to do: specify what this change will exactly be about.

DENVER--Clinton Democratic Convention speech. Transcript. As delivered. Courtesy Federal News Service.

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service

REP. EMANUEL: Good evening. I'm from Chicago, the hometown of the next president of the United States, Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

In the 2006 election, Democrats, independents and even some Republicans scored a victory that President Bush himself called a "thumping." Well, Mr. President, as Ronald Reagan used to say, you ain't seen nothing yet. (Cheers, applause.)

DENVER--Unity on the Pritzker front.

DENVER--New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin huddled with Barack Obama in Washington after Hurricane Katrina. Obama went on to make the Bush administration response to Katrina one of his counts against the Bush White House. At the Democratic convention, Nagin--interviewed outside the Sun-Times convention office--off talks about Obama and what difference a Democrat in the Oval Office may have in helping his city.

DENVER--Bill Daley has already started to lay the ground work to run for Illinois governor and so far has not found any reason not to run. Here's an update as Daley hits Denver. He's a former Commerce Secretary, top Obama advisor and vice chairman of JP Morgan Chase. He's co-hosting a reception Tuesday for female governors while his brother the mayor fetes the Illinois delegation.

As for Bill Daley's run:

*He talked to potential donors, asking one I chatted with to stay neutral and not take sides in what could be a crowded primary field.

*He's already polled statewide and found that he could sell the Daley brand Downstate.
The big question is will voters--especially south of I-80 in Downstate Illinois--not want to vote for Daley because his brother Richard is Mayor of Chicago, his brother John is Finance Chair of the Cook County Board and his father was the longtime legendary Chicago mayor. Daley found that the name Daley is respected in government.

DENVER--Here's how the symbolic dance is going to work. According to Obama spokesman Bill Burton, a deal was reached for Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Rodham Clinton to all be nominated on Wednesday on the convention floor. The deal was cut Monday night between Obama chief delegate counter Jeff Berman and Clinton advisor Craig Smith. Joint petitions will be circulated; each needs just 300 signatures.

Most likely there won't be a whole roll call: Illinois and New York may get to vote--to give
Clinton her due from her adopted state, and, as a bridge to Obama, her native state of Illinois.

DENVER--The Obama campaign on Tuesday already sent out a fund-raising appeal asking for money with the pitch....Michelle gave a great speech last night.

DENVER--Transcript of Michelle Obama Democratic convention speech. She was introduced by her brother, Craig Robinson. Transcript courtesy Federal News Service.

MR. ROBINSON: Good evening. I'm Craig Robinson, and Michelle Obama is my little sister.

Tonight, I want to introduce you to my sister: the girl I grew up with; the poised young woman I saw her grow into; the compassionate mother, aunt and sister-in-law she is; the passionate voice for women and children she has become; and the type of first lady she will be.

DENVER--Ab Mikva's done it all--congressman who represented districts based in Hyde Park and then the North Shore; federal appeals court judge; counsel in the Clinton White House; long time association with the University of Chicago law school--and Obama booster. He was on a panel on Monday, Day One of the Democratic convention talking about how Obama would govern if president. (photos by Lynn Sweet)





DENVER--Today is the 88th anniversary of women getting the vote and former Commerce Sec. Bill Daley, a top Obama advisor is at Day Two of the Democratic convention co- hosting a reception for the nation's female Democratic governors, wearing his bankers' hat. The event is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase; Jamie Dimon, its CEO and chairman and Daley, the vice chairman. Governors attending are Janet Napolitano of Arizonia, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Christine Gregoire of Washington and Ruth Ann Miner of Delaware. Daley is contemplating running for governor in 2010.

here's the invite for the event....




(photos by Lynn Sweet)

DENVER--Michelle Obama on Monday night answered critics who doubted her patriotism because she said last February that with Barack Obama's change campaign, for the first time she is "really proud" of her country. In her speech tonight, she declared, "And this is why I love my country."



(Photos by Lynn Sweet)

"Barack Obama has proposed raising taxes on small businesses and America's working families during an economic downturn. You don't have to 'know much' to understand that Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes will hurt an already struggling economy. And it's particularly revealing that the Obama campaign feels forced to cast flimsy attack ads during his own convention - Barack Obama's politics of hope is waning." ---Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008

(Photo by Lynn Sweet)

DENVER---Democratic Party of Illinois Chairman Michael J. Madigan is hosting a Coors Field reception Wednesday honoring Barack Obama bankrolled by corporations with interests often before the Illinois General Assembly. Madigan is also the powerful Illinois House Speaker.

While Obama's campaign does not accept contributions from federal lobbyists and political action committees--and Obama bemoans on the campaign trail the influence corporations have over Congress-- the Democratic convention here which will hand Obama the Democratic presidential nomination is being underwritten by a variety of corporate sponsors.

DENVER -- John McCain's campaign released a wicked ad Sunday designed to divide and conquer sulking Hillary Clinton supporters by sticking it to Barack Obama for not tapping her to be his running mate, just as Obama's team is trying to patch everything up at the convention.

The spot continues a storyline that the Obama campaign hopes is exhausted once Democrats leave here after nominating the Obama-Biden ticket.

The Obama camp wants to smother Clinton backers with respect. Their plan may be thrown some by the news in today's Sun-Times that Illinois state Sen. President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) called an African-American Illinois Clinton delegate an "Uncle Tom."

from the print Sunday Sun-Times....

DENVER -- Barack Obama's Democratic convention stage was unveiled Friday at the Pepsi Center here, and like the presidential candidate, it is hip --dressed with giant plasma HDTVs -- and larger than life -- about 8,000 square feet of projection space.

The bold design could be a metaphor for the Obama campaign -- the stunning rise of the 47-year-old charismatic, iPoded junior senator from Illinois who defeated Hillary Clinton and others, assisted by cool applications of social networking tools, wealthy donors and a relentless message of change and hope. Need I remind everyone that just four years ago, Obama was the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention in Boston, not yet even elected to his Senate seat. Now he will be the nominee.

By Tim Carney

The RNC has set up a warroom just outside of downtown Denver, and plastered with clever posters declaring Obama "A Mile High, an Inch Deep."

This space (which can only be entered through a back alley) appears to have two functions: a media and oppo-research hub for RNC and McCain 2008 staff; and a staging area for the GOP "party crashers" coming to town.

DENVER--Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) on Sunday "Face the Nation" on CBS hits John McCain on his multiple homes.


REP. JACKSON: And this convention is about ensuring that John McCain does not get an eighth home. He has seven homes, that's enough. But public housing --

GOV. SEBELIUS: We think it's seven, Jesse. We're not quite sure.

REP. JACKSON: It could be 10, but we don't want an 11th home. We don't want him in the White House. He says he has seven kitchen tables, we don't want him to have an eighth kitchen table.

DENVER--What's a speaker tracker? Chicago political consultant Kitty Kurth explains.

DENVER--"Lighten up!"
That's the advice from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for people who might have blanched when Joe Biden joked about his wife near the end of his speech Saturday in Springfield and seemed to mock her brains while highlighting her beauty.

"Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you'll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you'll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem," quipped Biden.

Pelosi was talking about the new Obama-Biden ticket at a reporters lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor here and was asked if the joke was damaging.

"You know what? I'm going to tell you something: Lighten up, folks! We've got a planet to save. Nothing less is at stake than civilization as we know it today. The economy of our country, the health of our children, the state of our... the deficit and the rest, and these things are anecdotally humorous, funny, lighten up a bit.

(Video by Lynn Sweet)


This e-mail pitch came Saturday, hours after the announcement of the Obama-Biden ticket.

....."Show your support for the Obama-Biden ticket today. Make a donation of $15 or more and you will receive a first edition Obama-Biden Car Magnet."

Remarks of Senator Joe Biden (Verbatim)

Announcement of Vice Presidential Nominee Selection

Springfield, Illinois

August 23, 2008

Illinois delegates will have the best seats in the Pepsi Center, in front of the podium.
(Photos by Lynn Sweet)



"Barack Obama sounded as though he turned over the top spot on the ticket today to his new mentor, when he introduced Joe Biden as the next president. The reality is that nothing has changed since Joe Biden first made his assessment that Barack Obama is not ready to lead. He wasn't ready then and he isn't ready now." -- Ben Porritt, McCain Spokesman

Barack Obama: "So let me introduce to you the next President--the next Vice President of United States of America, Joe Biden!" (Barack Obama, Remarks, Springfield, IL, 8/23/08)

DENVER--A role Joe Biden will have is to serve as Obama's attack dog. He's speaking now in Springfield and just hurled his first shot--mocking John McCain for not being able to remember how many homes he has. Biden, talking about kitchen table issues said McCain would first "have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables" he'll use.

DENVER-Just an update to let everyone know my whereabouts and what I'm up to. I'm in the bar at the Brown Palace hotel here, waiting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who will be interviewed at a lunch I am going to with a group of reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. I ducked into the bar here to listen to Obama speak at the Old State Capitol in Illinois. I'm at a table typing with Todd Purdum, the nation editor of Vanity Fair and Teddy Davis, ABC News deputy political director.

DENVER--Barack Obama is speaking right now in Springfield, Ill., introducing his new running mate, Joe Biden. Here's the text, and Obama is pretty much following it. Obama is stressing that Biden "never moved to Washington" --letting Biden's daily Amtrak commute answer critics who may wonder how Obama can run against Washington and have Biden--a senator since 1973--on the ticket.

By Lynn Sweet, Abdon M. Pallasch, and Dave McKinney
Sun-Times Staff Reporters
DENVER - At 2 a.m. Chicago time, from a laptop in the "new media" office of Barack Obama's Michigan Avennue national campaign headquarters, the text message went out: Obama is tapping Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate. "Spread the Word," the dispatch concluded.

And with that click, Sprint reported a 255 percent increase in traffic on their Obama site.


Hillary Clinton made the following statement today after receiving news that Senator Obama had chosen Senator Biden as his Vice Presidential nominee:

"In naming my colleague and friend Senator Joe Biden to be the Vice Presidential nominee, Senator Obama has continued in the best traditions for the Vice Presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant. Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic Vice President who will help Senator Obama both win the Presidency and govern this great country."

"There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden. Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing -- that Barack Obama is not ready to be President." --McCain spokesman Ben Porritt

Obama picks Biden for running mate


CNN and AP are reporting that Barack Obama has tapped Delaware Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate. I had the scoop on Aug. 13 that Obama was said to be leaning towards Biden for the ticket.

Obama will appear with Biden in Springfield, Ill. on Saturday.


At Denver International Airport...


(photos by Lynn Sweet)

Obama as "The One" surf sequel


The McCain campaign, zinged by Obama as rich, out-of-touch to the point he does not know how many homes he owns, roars back that Obama bought his mansion only with the help of Tony Rezko--now awaiting sentencing for his conviction on corruption charges.

As part of the strong, aggresive rebuttal, the RNC launched a Obama Rezko "Shady Deal" web site.

From the McCain campaign...

"Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people "cling" to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who's in touch with regular Americans?

"The reality is that Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he's completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans." --McCain spokesman Brian Rogers

The Obama campaign, using the opening John McCain gave them, is planning a campaign-within-a campaign--fully coordinated with local Democrats-- to portray McCain as the candidate who is out of touch with the middle class because he could not recall how many homes he had.

McCain's many homes--are actually owned by his wife, Cindy, heiress to a beer fortune. For details, PolitiFact has a complete report on McCain's homes.

PolitiFact is a great resource for fact-checking and fact tracking McCain and Obama.

The JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) has a complete site for convention news from the Jewish perspective.

Barack Obama travels to battleground states--with Springfield, Ill. the exception-- and then heads to Denver next week.

Eau Claire, Wisc.
Quad Cities, Iowa
Kansasi City, Mo.
Billings, Mont.

John McCain may regret the day he said he could not remember how many homes he owns. The number is seven. Obama's team--tarred with the rich celebrity tag by McCain, and thrown off stride by this--was given a gift by McCain and is intent on making the most of it.

Bloomberg News just published a tour de Force on Penny Pritzker--the Chicago billionaire and member of one of richest families in the world--and the Obama's campaign finance chair. She's also the sister of Chicago business man and Democratic activist J.B Pritzker--a leading Clinton supporter.

Pritzker is also helping to preside over an uneasy truce that will sell off some of the family companies and dismantle its empire. The breakup will give her and 10 siblings and cousins at least $1.35 billion apiece, according to court documents.

Obama Vice President buzz


Nothing in the e-mail yet. Latest chatter--maybe Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-Ill.) is really in the mix.

Obama ad hits McCain on taxes


The Telegraph has a story about a down and out Obama half brother in Kenya.


Jewish support is vital to the Obama campaign. Jewish donors play a major role in his fund-raising efforts and Jewish voters live in key battleground states--Florida and Pennsylvania in particular--that can make a difference.

The Obama team gets hit on two Jewish voter fronts on Wednesday

*The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) called on Obama and the Democratic Party leadership to remove former President Jimmy Carter as a Democratic National Convention speaker because of what they called his "anti-Israel" bias.

"In April 2008, despite strong protests by Israeli leaders, the U.S. State Department and several Democratic leaders, Carter met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Syria," the RJC said.

*Obama foreign policy advisor Daniel Kurtzer --on a trip to Syria unrelated to the Obama campaign--met with Syrian officials, the New York Sun reported. In reaction to this, the McCain
is holding a press conference call Wednesday afternoon with former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani and Randy Scheunemann, McCain 2008 Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to discuss Kurtzer.

*Before the call started, Obama's Tommy Vietor shot off a memo about McCain and Syria.

Over at the Obama national headquarters this morning, Illinois Clinton delegates were given a briefing on the state of the campaign at a session presided over by Illinois State Director Ken Bennet.

Here's the latest: The plan now calls for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to release her delegates next Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. That's the day after her keynote address before the Democratic National Convention. That means delegates can do what they want during the Thursday roll call. Clinton herself will cast her superdelegate vote for Obama.

Clinton's whip organization--still in place--phone conferenced Monday and Clinton hosted a delegate call Tuesday night.

PBS convention coverage

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from the Obama campaign....

Please see our response, below, to the latest McCain attack ad "Millions" and a fact check of the claims made in it:

"Yet again, John McCain makes another false, low-road attack while he's offering just more of the same Bush economics that have failed us for eight years. The choice is simple: Barack Obama will give a real tax cut up to $1,000 to 95% of working Americans, while John McCain will follow in Bush's footsteps, adding to the deficit with huge tax breaks for oil companies and other special interests. No matter how many false negative ads John McCain runs, Americans can't afford more of the same Bush policies that John McCain promises," said Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan.

Other speakers include: Schwarzenegger, Palin, Lingle, Giuliani, Fiorina, Jindal, Pawlenty, Martinez

Increasingly confident that framing presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as an empty celebrity is working for them--the McCain campaign on Wednesday unveiled a new radio spot making the point that Obama is wealthy. But he's small change compared to the fortune that Cindy McCain inherited from her father. Obama's team made an ad playing up McCain's wealth; this in part is a reaction to that.

Obama has a "minor head cold."


What a time to get sick.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) sounds hoarse and said Tuesday he has a "minor head cold," just six days before the start of the Democratic convention and as he is poised to announce his running mate.

Obama told a pool reporter, "It's what happens when you hang around children."

He added that he usually gets "like one cold a year."

From the Democratic convention committee....


Democrats Add New Speakers, Announce Gavel Times
For Opening Three Nights in Denver

DENVER - The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the Obama for America Campaign today announced new speakers and gavel times for the opening three nights of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, to take place August 25th - 28th in Denver.

Joining the program on Monday, August 25th will be Former President Jimmy Carter; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar; Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; Illinois state leaders Alexi Giannoulis, Dan Hynes, Lisa Madigan, and Tom Balanoff from Illinois SEIU; long-time Barack Obama mentor Jerry Kellman; NEA President Reg Weaver; AFT President Randi Weingarten; and NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan. The theme of Monday's program is One Nation.

updated 2:40 p.m. central time

The Chicago Sun-Times has learned that the Obama team, in the run-up to the Democratic convention, will showcase the new Obama ticket Saturday in Springfield at the Old State Capitol, where presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) officially kicked off his campaign in February, 2007.

State of Illinois authorities have been asked permission by Obama folks to reserve the historic spot at noon. This does not mean that this is the time and place where Obama announces his running mate; that could happen any time from Wednesday morning on. Obama's time frame is shrinking, so the announcement is coming soon. The new vice presidential contender will jump on the road with Obama to showcase the new partnership. Springfield is a leg on the Obama roots tour.

The Obama campaign made it official on Tuesday afternoon--Obama stops at the Old State Capitol in Springfield to kick off a tour of battleground states in the run up to the Democratic convention in Denver.

One of the most complete lists of hundreds of Democratic convention activities in Denver is being compiled by Quinn Gillespie & Associates and here is the most updated version of private parties, open events, panel discussions and more items that you won't find on the "official" calendars.

Quinn Gillespie is also compiling a master matrix for the Republican convention in Minnesota.

One of the raps on presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is that he is ultra cautious and has never put his brand at risk over any issue. At the Saddleback Forum on Sunday--where Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) both appeared-- Obama, answering Pastor Rich Warren's question about going against his party, cited his work on campaign ethics reform with McCain.

That's actually one of Obama's bi-partisan fiasco's. The blow-up between Obama and McCain over an ethics measure they were working on was the subject of my very first blog posting on February, 2006. has an analysis about Obama's rewrite of history at Saddleback and how McCain overstated claims about taxes at the forum.

I've know Ruth Milgrom for years; a family friend, a diehard Evanston Democrat, she closely followed politics and always pressed me for the latest. She passed away yesterday and in her final hours, she had one question for her care giver: Who was Obama's pick for vice president. No better example of how people are passionate about this election than Ruth.

If Ruth had been able to ask me the question I'd pass on what I wrote a few days ago: that Biden, Bayh and Kaine are in the top mix and Biden's arrow is going up. And the pick will come anytime starting tomorrow morning, with a rollout to showcase the new partnership.

A surprise entry in the chatter--at this late stage--is Clinton.

WASHINGTON--A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that about one-third of likely voters are somewhat uncomfortable about putting Sen. John McCain (R-Az)--who turns 72 later this month--in the White House because of his age. This contrasts with only 8 percent who say they are uncomfortable in putting a black man in the Oval Office.

"The poll underlines Sen. Barack Obama's strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: He leads overall and he's strong with women, even stronger among young folks and astronomically strong with blacks. Weaknesses: Sen. John McCain beats him among white voters, men, older folks and white Catholics," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Next week's Democratic Convention, a week-long political campaign commercial, should help Obama - at least until the Republican Convention, a week-long celebration of McCain the following week," Carroll added. "In dealing with Russia, even a large minority of Democrats think McCain would do better than Obama," Carroll added.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) slams rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) over support for the Iraqi surge in a speech before the VFW in Florida on Tuesday morning. McCain talked to the same group yesterday.


Senator McCain now argues that despite these costly strategic errors, his judgment has been vindicated due to the results of the surge. .........

.....But understand what the essential argument was about. Before the surge, I argued that the long-term solution in Iraq is political - the Iraqi government must reconcile its differences and take responsibility for its future. That holds true today.

WASHINGTON -- When Alexi Giannoulias was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in the mid-1990s, one of the guys he would play pick-up basketball games with in Hyde Park was Barack Obama, who taught at the U. of C. law school.

Now Giannoulias is the Illinois state treasurer and Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama has been "like a mentor to me," Giannoulias told me. He will be one of the parade of Chicagoans who will speak at the Democratic convention Monday night, when Obama's family and friends tell the story of Obama's life.

WASHINGTON--I'm at Google's D.C. office right now getting a briefing on new tools and sites they are rolling out for the upcoming conventions. Plus they are organizing election and voting information that can be used by everyone--whether political junkie or political professional. Here is the new Google elections page.

One new tool is being able to search political videos. Here's a very fun example of a video put together using voice recognition technology----setting Obama's words and dance moves to music.

Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service


8:00 P.M. EDT, SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama scooped up a stunning $7.8 million in just three hours of very high end fund-raising Sunday in San Francisco. A VIP dinner was $28,500-a-couple.

One $2,300-a-person event was targeting deep pockets of Asian-American voters; Obama talked about the ethnic dishes he liked to cook.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was also among those present. This is the first fund-raiser in San Francisco for Obama since April--when he got in a jam at a house party for saying people in Pennsylvania were "bitter" about their lives and that's why they turned to God and guns.

On Sunday, as San Francisco Chronicle ace political writer Carla Marinucci reports, Obama told a group, "Change is always tough, and electing me is change."

More Marinucci: "Obama campaign workers said the $7.8 million tally was a record for a political fundraiser."

And more: Obama--who attended Occidental College in southern California--said at the Asian American event that when he went to Occidental, "his first roommate was Pakistani. And in his dorm, he said with a laugh, "Indians and Pakistanis came together under one roof ... to cause havoc in the university."

"To applause, he said he became an expert at cooking dal and other ethnic dishes, though "somebody else made the naan," the trademark Indian bread."

Click below for pool reports.

In their first back-to-back appearance as presidential nominees -- at a forum aimed at evangelicals -- Barack Obama said Saturday his greatest moral failure was his selfishness, while John McCain said it was his first marriage.

The rivals were led through mostly identical questions by Pastor Rick Warren, who presides over the mammoth Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Obama went first, while McCain was sequestered so he would not know the specific question. While not a debate -- there will be three -- the Saturday session showed that Obama's penchant for nuance will face McCain's tendency for directness.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), one of the top running mate prospects for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is visiting the Republic of Georgia over the weekend to assess the situation in the wake of the growing conflict with Russia. But he'll be back in plenty of time to make the Democratic convention in Denver.

Biden's departure comes after rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) sent Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (DI-Conn.) to Tbilisi, Georgia on a mission.

(AP Photo. McCain, Warren, Obama)

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(AP photo. Obama and Warren)

Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)--the first African American with a chance of becoming president--said Saturday he would not have appointed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas--the second black on the nation's highest court.

"I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas," Obama said in response to a question from Saddleback Church Pastor Rich Warren about which existing justice he would not have nominated. "I don't think he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation."

Obama and rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) are making back-to-back appearances at Saddleback, in Lake Forest, Calif. for questioning by one of the country's most famous evangelists.

Obama--who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago--also said he would not have appointed Justice Antonin Scalia "because he and I just disagree." Obama noted that Scalia also was at the U of C. Scalia was a professor of law there from 1977 to 1982.

Both 2008 contenders travel to Lake Forest, Calif. on Saturday to sit down for a talk about faith at Saddleback Church. This is the first time McCain and Obama will appear on the same stage--but this is not a debate. Questions will be posed to each--in separate one hour sessions--by Saddleback's evangelical Pastor Rich Warren. Watch it live on CNN, Fox. Obama goes first--determined by a coin toss.

McCain rebuts Obama's Ohio ad.


You've seen the stills, now here is the video of presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) body surfing on Thursday in Hawaii.


Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has a unique place in the Barack Obama story. He's a personal friend--one of his sisters sang at Barack and Michelle's wedding--a political ally--they come out of the complex political mix of Chicago's South Side-and he's a national co-chair of the presidential campaign. He'll be speaking at the convention on Monday night--Michelle's night--as Obama's biography gets laid out for the country by some of the people who know him the best.

This won't be the first time Jackson has addressed conventions. He has before--to introduce his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The Obama convention will be the first in a generation that the senior Jackson does not have a slot on the podium.

This is the third dispatch from Denver where Dyana Z. Fumansky is sharing her experience in trying to get a seat to hear Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field. In this post, she relates the volunteer requirements for the seats...and getting the news....

Getting the News

By Dyana Z. Furmansky

Special to the Lynn Sweet blog

DENVER--"So are you trying to get a seat at Invesco?" asked the man who came to the door of his deluxe duplex in Precinct 616, Turf One, a toney neighborhood better known as Cherry Creek North.

A volunteer for Obama's Campaign for Change stood before him, ready to canvass.

Hundreds of volunteers hit Denver's streets this week in a last-ditch effort to qualify for one of the 30,000 tickets being held for Coloradans who want to attend the presumptive presidential nominee's acceptance speech at the Bronco's stadium August 28. They have until Friday August 15 to complete their six hour minimum commitment.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin story about Obama's day at the beach.


artobama8.jpg (AP photos)


By now, a lot of people know that presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) met Michelle at Chicago's Sidley Austin law firm office when he spent a summer there between his second and third year at Harvard Law and she was already at the Loop firm. The previous summer, Obama worked at Hopkins & Sutter, another Chicago law firm.

He's had other odd jobs, it turns out, including one he did not particularly like, selling subscriptions to the New York Times over the phone. Michelle as a high school student worked at a bindery in Chicago.

The Obama campaign released 40 pages of details rebutting Jerome Corsi's "Obama Nation," a book intended to present an alternative--and heavily negative-- view of presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The author, co-wrote "Unfit for Command," a hit job on 2004 nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that helped inject the term "Swift boated" into the political lexicon.

Corsi's book--and others out there, plus a documentary about to be released by Obama critics--comes as Obama is depending on large part on his unique story--his personal narrative--to propel him to the White House.

The campaign on Thursday released a massive research document that covers personal and political topics. While it was created to rebut the books, it is also a useful document for anyone interested in Obama. I am providing the pdf link here.

PDF: Unfit for Publication

WASHINGTON--Negotiations between the Clinton and Obama camps resulted in the announcement on Thursday that for the sake of party unity, the names of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will be placed in nomination at the Democratic convention in Denver.

The move is entirely symbolic; Clinton herself will cast her superdelegate vote for Obama, a source close to Clinton said. The deal was reached as a result of talks between Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and Clinton senior advisor Cheryl Mills.

Initially, said the source, who was close to the discussions, Clinton was not keen on having her name offered at the convention. But the Obama team independently thought that was a way to respect her more than 1,800 delegates.

In a joint statement, Obama said "I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion."

Obama's "campaign encouraged Senator Clinton's name to be placed in
nomination as a show of unity and in recognition of the historic race she ran and the fact that she was the first woman to compete in all of our nation's primary contests," the statement said.

Clinton said, "With every voice heard and the Party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama President of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again."

Some mechanics are still being worked out, such as who and whether someone will deliver a speech placing Clinton's name in nomination and whether there will be a second.

To play on national and cable starting Monday....

There are going to be hundreds of parties during the Democratic convention in Denver; one hot ticket is for "Chicago night" sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). They are pictured below as Jake and Elwood in a take-off of the "Blues Brothers." Durbin and Emanuel are each a power house in his own right in their respective chambers; they are also close pals of the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)


I'm just passing on the latest I'm hearing--that Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) is moving up on the list of potential running mates for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). While Obama's heart may go towards Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine--his head takes him to a more experienced pick, a Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) or Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I can see the appeal of Kaine--the parallel narrative is compelling. Their mothers came from the same Kansas town, both Harvard Law grads with interests in civil rights; both wives Harvard Law grads. Kaine and Obama also have great chemistry--Obama stumped for Kaine when he was running for governor in 2005 and Kaine was the second governor to endorse Obama.

The latest on the Edwards affair--why Elizabeth stayed with John in People Magazine.,,20218879,00.html

The tradition is for the home state of the nominee to get the best seats at the party convention. Nothing I have heard changes that for this year; look for the Illinois delegation to have front and center seats at the Pepsi Center when Democrats gather in Denver to nominate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Expect Arizona delegates to get the great position at the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul where Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) is nominated.

University of Maryland professors just did a study concluding that Oprah Winfrey's campaigning for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was worth about one million votes. To do the calculation yourself, the Sweet blog is pleased to help.

(Credit: University of Maryland)

The Obama campaign on Tuesday afternoon released more speakers for the second night of the Democratic convention in Denver, a batch of Democratic governors. Missing from the list: the first governor to back Obama, his homestate Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich, who threw a heck of a party in Boston in 2004, has had no profile in the Obama campaign because of the scandals surrounding his administration, notably the Tony Rezko probe.

Because of Rezko, I never, ever expected Blagojevich to be tapped to speak. Governors on the convention card include three early Obama backers, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick who grew up on the South Side of Chicago.

Plus, two governors who supported the failed primary bid of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) who will also be speaking Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will share how Obama's policies have been directly shaped by the people he has met as he traveled the country.

Get the details at the Chicago Sun-Times Oprah blog run by Mark Bieganski.

The way these things work is that there are convention speakers and then there are people officially designated as keynoters. Such will be the case at the Democratic convention in Denver. With some fanfare on Sunday, some big name speakers were announced, including on Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). If you by chance thought she was the keynoter, you jumped to a conclusion. The keynoter, unveiled on Wednesday, is former Virginia Gov. and senate candidate Mark Warner.

Mark Bennett, a Democratic National Committee canvasser, was knocking on doors in northwest Washington D.C. Tuesday looking for donations for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. He stopped by chance at the home of Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet. Here's his pitch.

The Democrats disgorged a few more conventions details on Tuesday as they drip out the names of speakers to gin up interest in convention week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks on Monday, where Michelle Obama has already been announced as a headliner. There will also be a special video tribute to the ailing Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) Obama's brother, basketball coach Craig Robinson will also be on the Monday program. Not known: if any of Obama's far flung family will be part of Monday night, where Obama's biography will be a central theme. The Kennedy family fits into that theme, with Obama picking up the generational torch the Kennedy Clan is passing to him.

WASHINGTON -- The swelling conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia is the first major real-time foreign-policy crisis faced by Barack Obama. He could not afford to be perceived as AWOL on this just because he is vacationing in his native Hawaii.

Obama has issued three statements since Friday -- one read before cameras en route to Hawaii on Friday -- another session with cameras Monday, where he interrupted his Hawaiian vacation to call for a cease-fire and international intervention. At first he urged restraint for both nations, but that changed as Obama, President Bush and rival John McCain recognized Russia as responsible for bringing the countries to the brink of war.

The Obama rapid response operation was prepped up and ready to go when the Republicans on Tuesday tried to dilute Obama's claims of working across the aisle.This research paper comes as Obama's camp rolled out Republicans for Obama.

From the Republican National Committee.....


Obama Announces "Republicans For Obama" But Let's Not Forget Obama's Weak Record On Bipartisanship

Waiting to Hear

By Dyana Z. Furmansky
Special to the Lynn Sweet blog

The blackberry twinkled and Bruce Fleming, a hair dresser at El Salon in
Denver, instantly stopped folding a strip of foil around the hank of his
client's hair to check who was calling him. "Oh I bet it's the Obama campaign," he said breathlessly as he darted toward the phone. Fleming is one of the 60,000 Coloradans who made it into the online pool of credential seekers, a fancy word for those trying to get one of the 30,000 free seats out of the 80,000 or so at Invesco Field.

Invesco Field is where the Broncos play football when they're in
town, but on Aug. 28 it's the venue where Barack Obama will give his
presidential acceptance speech. The two of us, along with 29,998 others, are
waiting for that historic text message or email from the Obama people to find out if we got in.

In a just completed Tuesday morning conference call, the Obama campaign focused on an important constituency--Republicans. Obama during the primary called Republicans who support him "Obamacans" and the word has entered the political lexicon.

Former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Ia.) former Sen. Lincoln Chaffee (R-R.I.) and former Bush White House intelligence advisor Rita E. Hauser were on the call, touting Obama's foreign and fiscal expertise. More important to the group, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is not rival Sen. John McCain (R-Az.).

CBS' Katie Couric flew to Chicago to interview top Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett for a Monday "Katie Couric Reports" segment.

Jarrett--who met presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) through his then fiance Michelle--- tells Couric the Rev. Wright episode was "a very personal and painful experience for both he and Michelle."

Elected officials and speakers plan to answer pre-submitted questions Monday-Wednesday at the Democratic convention.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the co-chair of the Democratic convention, said in a statement Sunday Dems will use "innovative techniques" to highlight Barack Obama and the people "fueling this national movement for change." The Dems started rolling out headline speakers, though some names have been out for days...

The emerging lineup of speakers at the Democratic National Convention in Denver....look for the Obama covention to follow tradition and have most of his former rivals take their turn at the podium.....the John Edwards problem took care of itself. After he admitted his affair on Friday, he told CBS New he would not attend the convention. Many more speakers to come...

Monday...Michelle Obama CONFIRMED

Tuesday...Hillary Rodham Clinton CONFIRMED

PLUS probably Bill Clinton

Thursday...Barack Obama CONFIRMED

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"Apparently Barack Obama is also taking a vacation from the facts, ignoring his own votes in support of the Yucca Mountain project. Either Barack Obama is too inexperienced to understand that his votes on the floor of the United States Senate are recorded for Americans to review, or he's simply showing incredible hypocrisy." ---Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008

In 2005, Barack Obama Voted Twice To Fund The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. "Passage of the bill that would provide $31.2 billion in fiscal 2006 for energy and water development projects, including $5.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers and $25 billion for the Energy Department. It also would provide $577 million for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository." (H.R. 2419, CQ Vote #172: Passed 92-3: R 50-3; D 41-0; I 1-0, 7/1/05, Obama Voted Yea; H.R. 2419, CQ Vote #321: Adopted 84-4: R 48-2; D 35-2; I 1-0, 11/14/05, Obama Voted Yea)--from the McCain campaign.

The Denver Post reported that in just 24 hours 60,000 people applied for tickets set aside for Colorado residents for Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field. But only about 30,000 seats have been reserved for Colorado. Guest blogger Dyana Z. Furmansky, a Denver resident, reports on the run-up to the Democratic convention and the quest for seats. She's one of the 60,000. Will Dyana get her seat?

Its Ohm-bama Time on Santa Fe Drive

By Dyana Z. Furmansky
Special to the Lynn Sweet blog

Denver hasn't hosted a Democratic National Convention for 100 years, and it's a safe bet that the last time the Dems stampeded into town there were no yoga studios selling tee-shirts with the Boy Orator and presumptive presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan on them.

Did somebody say Boy Orator? The silver-tongued Barack Obama's words are on tee shirts selling at Om Time, an oasis of tranquility sandwiched between the Colorado Democratic headquarters on one corner, and the center for the Obama campaign on the other, along with a slice of tattoo shop and art gallery garnish. "The Union may never be perfect but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected," proclaims the tee-shirt in the Om Time window.

It hangs just south of the shri shrine, and the peace and love tee shirts you'd expect. Walk by quickly and you'd think the silk-screened image of Obama's close-shaved head was Ghandi's.

It was to hear more of those sentiments from the man himself--Obama, not Ghandi--that people started lining up at the Obama campaign office at least an hour before it was scheduled to open.

About 30 of us had not been able to get through by phone or online to register for the 30,000 tickets that were available to Colorado residents to attend Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field August 28. We waited quietly and respectfully; Obama and Ghandi would have been proud.

David Wade will be the spokesman for whoever presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) taps as his running mate. In this video, Wade explains the operation being readied for Obama's vice presidential candidate. The man who walks by and waves in the background is Obama campaign manger David Plouffe. Taped in Obama headquarters on Aug. 8, 2008.


In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public.

From CBS.....

BOB SCHIEFFER: Russ, just before we went on the air tonight, John Edwards called me and said he wanted to talk. He said that all this happened back in 2006 before he announced that he was running for president and that he told his wife Elizabeth about it then and that she forgave him. He said because of that he thought it was just between them. I've known John Edwards a long time and I asked him if I could talk to Elizabeth and she came to the phone. She was obviously in tears and didn't say much but she told me that he had told her about then and they had decided to move on.

RUSS MITCHELL: Why did he decide to tell it now?

Speaking about 2006 affair......Says he is willing to take tests to prove he is not the father of the baby of his lover.

Transcript from CNN.....

O'BRIEN: What is the biggest sin you've ever committed? Are you willing -- are you willing to say? You can take a pass, sir, as you know.

EDWARDS: Just between you and me?


O'BRIEN: Just between you and me and the 1,300 people in the crowd.

EDWARDS: I'd have a very hard time telling you one thing, one specific sin.


If I've had a day -- I turn 54 years old this Sunday -- and if I've had a day in my 54 years where I haven't sinned multiple times, I would be amazed. I believe I have. I sin every single day. We are all sinners. We all fall short, which is why we have to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. I can't -- to try to identify one particular sin that was worse or more extreme than the others, the list is too long.

ABC's "Nightline" will have the story; for print version of the ABC story, check out this report from Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross.

Their lede:

John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extramarital affair with a novice filmmaker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News today.
In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

Joint statement from Elizabeth and John Edwards expected Friday.

National Enquirer broke story about Edwards affair in October, confronting Edwards at a hotel in Beverly Hills in the wee hours in July; mainstream media reluctant to pick up story until today.

Obama unveils Olympic ad

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Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) lands in his native Hawaii on Friday and starts a vacation with a "welcome" rally at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park near the airport in Honolulu featuring Obama and wife Michelle.

Obama's vacation starts on the opening day of the Summer Olympics and he'll let his paid advertising--the campaign bought time on the Olympics-- work for him while he takes some time off the campaign trail with his wife and two daughters.

The last time he was in Hawaii was December, 2006; that's when that famous bathing suit photo of him in the Pacific Ocean surf was shot. Before his presidential run, he would return to Hawaii each year. His grandmother, Madelyn Dunham and half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng are in Hawaii.

A Pew survey said 48 percent of the public is suffering from "Obama fatigue."

Asked if he was overexposed, Obama said, "We are going to correct that this week," speaking to reporters on his campaign plane en route to Chicago.

"I'm going to see my grandma, who I haven't seen in almost 18, 19 months," Obama said. "And who is getting to the age where I want to make sure where I am spending time with her on a consistent basis so she can see her great grandchildren and I want to spend some time with those children as well."

Obama denies rift with Clinton


Fox embed Bonney Kapp and the traveling press corps asked Obama on Thursday about relations with Clinton--who is declining to close the door on having her name placed in nomination at the Democratic convention.

In a Thursday web chat, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) sidesteps a direct answer...something along the lines of yes or no..about having her name placed in nomination at the Democratic convention. Negotiations going on behind the scenes.

Question #11

Good Morning Senator Clinton:
Thank you for taking time to chat with your supporters. Is there any possibility of your name being placed in nomination for President at the convention? This would at least give your supporters a voice in the choice for the party's nominee.

by alrd1950 at 8/7/2008 12:07:51 PM

This spot from the McCain campaign came out Thursday morning

The Democratic National Committee "rapid response" came a few hours later.

The public has a big appetite for news about the lives of the Obama family. They recently allowed their two young daughters to be interviewed with them on TV; later presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said it was a mistake. Michelle Obama talks to ABC's Robin Roberts about putting the kids in the public eye.

MS. ROBERTS: But one thing's for certain: the public's and media's appetite for the Obamas.

The couple's still feeling their way on how much is too much when it comes to their two young daughters.

MS. OBAMA: I think we're all figuring this out, and I've had an opportunity to talk to people who've done this before. I had a great conversation with Hillary Clinton. I also talked to Tipper Gore -- lots of folks who have had great advice on how do you make sure that your kids are whole and grounded. And part of it is keeping them -- keeping their worlds very much their own.

So we're learning and growing and figuring it out, and making some decisions and changing our minds and moving forward.--

The Obama family travels to Hawaii on Friday, the first visit for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to his native state since the end of 2006. The family will stay for a week, with Obama taking time to headline an Aug. 12 fund-raiser in Honolulu.

Ladies Home Journal in a joint interview with Barack and Michelle Obama just out in the September issue talks to the presumptive Democratic nominee about what keeps him up at night. During the primary, Clinton talked about who do you want in the White House when the call comes in at 3 a.m.

Barack Obama: "If you were not occasionally jolted awake at three in the morning thinking about the magnitude of the work that has to be done, then you probably shouldn't be president. It's a big job. The thing that keeps me awake at night is not the prospect of losing. It's the prospect of winning and governing."

A decision has still not been made whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's name will be placed in nomination at the Democratic convention.

The primary ended close, and a lot of Clinton supporters want her acknowledged in a very special way in Denver. Clinton campaign chief of staff Maggie Williams and Clinton are among those involved in hammering out with Obama's team Clinton's role--and the right "healing moment.'' It could be a keynote speech, placing Clinton's name in nomination and a roll call. At issue, I'm told, is "how we respect the voices of Hillary Clinton supporters and her role at the convention."

As chatter increases--and as Clinton plans an internet chat Thursday, this Joint Statement from the Clinton and Obama press offices was issued late Wednesday.

"We are working together to make sure the fall campaign and the convention are a success. At the Democratic Convention, we will ensure that the voices of everyone who participated in this historic process are respected and our party will be fully unified heading into the November election."

"There's plenty of evidence in this case of all types. We have a flask that's effectively the murder weapon, from which those spores were taken, that was controlled by Dr. Ivins. The anthrax in that flask was created by Dr. Ivins. We have the suspicious behavior that he had undertaken over the years." --Jeff Taylor, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

To: Interested Parties

From: Doug Holtz-Eakin, Senior Policy Adviser

Date: August 6, 2008

Re: Obama's False Claims On McCain's "All Of The Above" Energy Plan

In the Wednesday Wall Street Journal, reporters Glenn R. Simpson and Amy Chozick have this scoop:
The Obama campaign's Muslim American national coordinator Mazen Asbahi, a Chicago lawyer, stepped down "amid questions about his involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups.''

Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), heavily reliant on major donors and celebrities despite his public emphasis on small contributors, upped the ante this week to enter his VIP donor world. A new high was set Monday for hosting or chairing an Obama event; chairs of his birthday fund-raiser in Boston had to raise $285,000; co-chairs needed to collect $142,500.

Meanwhile, a string of celebrities from the entertainment world are helping Obama raise campaign money in August and September: Bruce Hornsby; Luciana & Matt Damon and Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck, Star Jones; Kal Penn; Mira Nair; Ellen Pompeo; Justin Chambers and Scarlett Johansson. Leon Fleisher, Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman will perform at an Obama fund-raiser in Phoenix next month.

Hat tip Ben Smith at Politico for the video.

In Berea, Ohio, Obama turned McCain's attacking him for suggesting--very prudently, I think--that we keep our tires inflated to conserve oil--on end.

"They're lying about what my energy plan is," Obama said. And "they're making fun of a step that every expert says would reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant. You know, I mean they think it's funny that they are making fun of something that is actually true.

"They need to do their homework. Because this is serious business. Instead of running ads about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, they should go talk to some energy experts and actually make a difference."

Democratic National Committee's rapid response team at work Tuesday in slams at McCain vice presidential prospects at their "nextCheney" site and his ties to Big Oil.


Lifetime Network unveils a new "Every Woman Counts" poll on Tuesday.....showing at least 10 percent of the female vote is up for grabs.....

According to the survey, neither presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama nor Republican presidential nominee John McCain has secured a clear majority of women, who have decided every presidential election since 1968. Obama garnered 49% to McCain's 38%, and 6% of these women said they were only leaning toward a candidate. With 90 days to go until Election Day, 10% of women are firmly undecided, indicating either candidate has a shot at becoming the next president.

The Obama campaign announced that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will stump for Obama in Nevada this Friday and south Florida on Aug. 21. I'm told she will doing more on the road for Obama.

Meanwhile, some serious relationship building seems in order between presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former President Bill Clinton.

"You can argue that nobody is ready to be President," the former President told ABC's Kate Snow, a pretty tepid answer to her question about whether Obama is ready to lead.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council is hosting its summer meeting in Chicago with the emphasis on the November election. On Tuesday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and top strategist David Axelrod address the group while presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) joins via a teleconference connection.

Obama battleground states director Jen O'Malley--with between 18 and 22 states in her portfolio--already briefed some 325 union political honchos in Chicago, where she said the union political programs will be critical to the success of the Obama campaign.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she was ready to lead from Day One in her failed primary bid....Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) tries his version of the line out for himself in this new video.

UPDATE....Obama campaign response
"Senator McCain wants Americans to forget that during the Republican primary, he said that Americans were better off than we were eight years ago, and that he thinks we've made 'great progress economically.' He wants us to forget that he's fully embraced the Bush policies he once opposed, and bragged about supporting those policies 'more than 90 percent of time.' The truth is, being a maverick isn't practicing the same kind of politics we have seen from Washington for decades, it isn't having a campaign run by Washington lobbyists, and it's certainly not promoting the same policies that have led America down the wrong path these past eight years," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

from the McCain campaign...

ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today released its latest television ad, entitled "Broken." The ad highlights John McCain's record of taking on the special interests in Washington. The ad will air in key states.

Script For "Broken" (TV :60)

ANNCR: Washington's broken. John McCain knows it. We're worse off than we were four years ago.

Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He'll reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make America prosper again.

He's the original maverick.

One is ready to lead -- McCain.

JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approved this message.

Obama handing out birthday cake on his campaign plane. In background, staffer Mark Lippert.

The Politico's Jonathan Martin writes on the retirement of the Chicago Sun-Times Robert Novak as the "end of an era.''


Novak and Karl Rove at June, 2003 party at the Army Navy Club I organized for the Sun-Times celebrating Novak's 40 years as a columnist.

Photo/ Lauren Shay for the Sun-Times

ABC's Jake Tapperand Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown report that Obama national trip director Marvin Nicholson left Obama's birthday present--and his suitcase--in a Chicago taxi cab on Sunday night.

Taper said Nicholson got out of the cab at the Palmer House Hilton. Clues: the cab was yellow, the driver was playing 70s songs.

Michelle Obama on Ebony cover


0908_M_Obama CoverUPC4C.jpg

Robert Novak to retire.


Robert Novak has announced his immediate retirement following the diagnosis of a brain tumor, a prognosis the Sun-Times' political columnist describes as "dire."

"The details are being worked out with the doctors this week, but the tentative plan is for radiation and chemotherapy," Novak said.

The Evans-Novak column was first distributed by Publishers Newspaper Syndicate on May 15, 1963, with the New York Herald-Tribune, the flagship newspaper. When the Herald-Tribune folded in 1966, the Chicago Sun-Times became their home newspaper.

A rule of small dollar fund-raising is to translate news into donations. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sent out a fund-raising appeal on Monday pegged to Obama's suggestion that people keep their tires inflated to save gas.

"Senator Obama's solution to high gas prices is telling Americans to make sure their tires are inflated. Today, I'm asking for your help in putting Senator Obama's "tire gauge" energy policy to the test. With an immediate donation of $25 or more, we will send you an "Obama Energy Plan" tire pressure gauge"

Obama has many solutions; it's not right to say tire inflation is it. That's just one very small element of a very broad Obama energy plan.

text as prepared for delivery....

Key passage: Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production. And we should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process.

ABC's Kate Snow, who followed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) during the primary has an expansive interview with President Clinton in Monrovia, Liberia. Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea traveled to four African nations last week.

*Clinton said he is not angry as he challenged some of the underlying presumptions of Snow's questions.

*Clinton was concerned about his legacy. I am not a racist," he said.

*Obama "had a great operation"

*Said he will discuss in detail his views in January.

*Said the Obama team started negative attacks first.

*Said Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)--who had pledged to be neutral-- helped damage Sen. Clinton's standing with African Americans.

*On moving forward: 'You can't make yesterday again"

The Obama campaign jumped in first to try to set the storyline of the day, producing a new spot called "Pocket," hitting McCain by picturing him with oil man President Bush and for taking contributions from "Big Oil."

(Corporations are banned from donating to federal candidates. Donations come from individuals who work for oil companies--Obama also accepts donations from employees of oil companies; McCain has more.)

The Republicans--playing defense, because talking about oil prices is the Obama team agenda--are offering tire gauges to reporters, mocking Obama for suggesting that people keep their tires inflated properly in order to save gas.

Happy Birthday, Barack Obama.

Born Aug. 4, 1961, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) starts Monday in Chicago and heads on his birthday to Michigan to talk about energy.

This comes as Obama has moved to be open to very limited off shore oil drilling--if that brings in congressional votes for a bigger energy plan he wants with an emphasis away from fossil fuels.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, McCain buddy Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Ct.) hints he will be at the GOP convention to help woo Democrats and Independents for McCain. He also defends the Paris-Britney McCain ads. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) speaks for the Obama campaign.

Getting things in order before the Denver convention later this month, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) sent a letter Sunday to the Democratic National Committee Credentials Committee urging them to give a full vote to the Michigan and Florida delegations.

This move is symbolic and having to do with party unity--Obama will be the nominee whether Michigan and Florida Obama delegates have a full vote--or the half vote they now hold. Delegates from those two states were stripped of their full vote because their states held primaries in January, violating party rules.

Democrats decided to seat the Michigan and Florida delegates after a long and sometimes stormy session on May 31, with supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) charging at the time the settlement shortchanged Clinton. Obama and Clinton appeared on the Florida ballot though neither campaigned; Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Saturday tapped close Obama friend Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) to negotiate debate details with the McCain team and the
Commission on Presidential Debates. The bi-partisan commission has had debates on the drawing board for quite some time. While there is nothing to preclude the campaigns from having more, sponsored by others, Plouffe in his letter said that was unlikely.

Emanuel, said Plouffe, will "review the specifics of the Commission's proposal, discuss any requested changes to that proposal, and resolve any issues left open by the Commission's framework. .....Due to the late date of the two parties' nominating conventions, and the relatively short period between the end of the conventions and the first proposed debate, it is likely that the four Commission debates will be the sole series of debates in the fall campaign."

The debates are Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi at Oxford; Oct. 7 at Belmont University at Nashville and Oct. 15 at Hofstra University at Hempstead, N.Y. There is a vice presidential debate Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis.

The discussion about race in the 2008 presidential contest continued on Saturday though it looks like both sides may be moving on.

The story so far: some Obama supporters said McCain's use of Paris Hilton and Britney Speaks--young white blonds--in a spot hitting Obama had racial overtones. McCain's campaign manager said Obama's talk about how Republicans will attack him because he does not look like other presidents was playing the race card. At first the Obama team said those comments were not about race; now the Obama says indeed they were......

At a press conference in Florida on Saturday, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said his problem with the McCain campaign's Paris/Britney spots were that they were cynical--not racist.

"Let me be clear. In no way do I think that John McCain's campaign was being racist. I think they are cynical. I think they want to distract people from talking about the real issues," Obama said.

Tucker Bounds, McCain campaign spokesman, pouncing on being called cynical "for highlighting Barack Obama's worldwide celebrity status" said "We're glad the Obama campaign retracted Barack Obama's accusation because it was absolutely false, and we're moving on.

The only 'cynical' candidate in this election is Barack Obama, who has opposed every element of John McCain's comprehensive energy plan that includes additional oil drilling, affordable nuclear energy and gas tax relief for hardworking families."

As prepared..... Remarks By John McCain To The National Urban League Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida...

Courtesy Federal News Service


Closing out "economics" week in Florida....

The top female Democrats--House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and potential First Lady Michelle Obama will appear together when EMILY's List (a major Clinton backer in the primary) throws a gala during the Democratic Convention in Denver.

The Tuesday, Aug. 26 reception is on the 88th anniversary of women's suffrage; EMILY's List is a major funder for viable female Democratic candidates.

Not obvious yet how the Republicans figure that tarring Obama as a "celebrity" will get their man McCain into the White House. The latest thrust on this front comes Friday morning wtih the RNC's new Web site "Who Said It: Celebrity Edition."

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Lynn Sweet

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

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