NEW YORK--After refusing to answer questions about who makes decisions regarding handing out political money from Barack Obama's HOPEFUND political action committee--stonewalling--it turns out a central player is Obama presidential deputy manager Steve Hildebrand. Hat-tip on this to the Washington Post. LINK
Obama, who talks a good one about governmental transparency, presides over an operation that refused to identify the responsible individuals once questions surfaced following the Nov. 15 filing of the latest HOPEFUND report.
NEW YORK--Mayor Bloomberg has a 7:45 a.m. Friday date with Barack Obama, Marc Ambinder at TheAtlantic.com is reporting. LINK The Obama campaign wanted to keep details hushed but the meeting is on the mayoral schedule New York's City Hall issues.
BROOKLYN, N.Y.--Chicago public radio station WBEZ 848 host Alison Cuddy chatted with me about the Democratic presidential primary and what Oprah Winfrey can do for Barack Obama. LINK to listen.
You may ask, why am I posting this morning from Brooklyn? Because later in the day I will head to Harlem to cover an Obama fund-raiser at the famed Apollo Theater. This is a heavy day of fund-raising for Obama; he has about five events booked in high dollar and low-end events.
Health care is the top domestic issue for Democrats running for the White House and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton unleashed Wednesday another, stronger, round of criticism aimed at Sen. Barack Obama over whether a law is needed to require people to buy health insurance.
CHICAGO--Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday she’s a fan of Oprah Winfrey, downplaying her impact when she campaigns for Barack Obama. Still, Clinton’s campaign rolled out the endorsement of megastar Barbra Streisand Tuesday in order to claim some celebrity parity with Winfrey.
CHICAGO--Hillary Clinton is drawing sharper contrasts with chief rival Barack Obama as the crucial Jan. 3 Iowa vote looms closer, telling the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday he is “trying to have it both ways” when it comes to covering the nation’s uninsured.
CHICAGO--As the announcement of Oprah Winfrey stumping for White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) continues to dominate political chatter, the campaign of chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) rolled out Tuesday the endorsement of megastar Barbra Streisand.
Streisand is being used to reclaim the political news cycle---there's been a lot of pondering going on in print and cable over the value of celebrity endorsements in general and Winfrey in particular.
The announcement did not say if Streisand, a longtime Democratic activist who has been close to Bill and Hill for years--would go on the stump for Clinton. Unlike Winfrey, a beloved figure who until now has stayed away from politics in order to not devalue her brand, Streisand is the star Repubublicans love to brand as a left-winger.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.---Oprah Winfrey, one of the most popular women in the country, tests her political coat-tails next month when she stumps with her friend, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in three early states.
People who volunteer for the campaign will get VIP seating to see Obama, Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
This blog exclusively reported last week that Winfrey was poised to campaign for Obama. LINK for my scoop video of Obama talking about Winfrey going out on the campaign trail with him.
Details are coming out from the campaign Monday morning: Winfrey and Obama hit Iowa on Dec. 8 for events in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids with stops in Columbia, South Carolina and Manchester, New Hampshire on Dec. 9.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.—In the last six months, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) used his HOPEFUND political action committee—which has accepted contributions from federal lobbyists—to make donations to Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, states with the first presidential votes in January.
The latest Federal Election Commission report, filed on Nov. 15 and covering the period between July and Nov. 5, reveals that after a long stretch of little activity, Obama picked up the pace of donations from his HOPEFUND warchest in recent months with heavy giving in September and October.
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) headlines the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem Thursday for a fund-raiser four blocks west of President Clinton’s foundation offices in a community with one of the nation’s largest African American populations.
Conceding no ground to chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Obama has a series of New York fund-raising events on Thursday, with the most political drama playing out potentially at the 1,500-seat Apollo, “Where the stars are born and legends are made.” This will be Obama’s first Harlem visit in his presidential run.
UPDATE 7 p.m. Chicago time Copy of Apollo invite at the end of this post.
Labor plays a big role in the Democratic primary and the Dem rival campaigns won’t cross striking writers picket lines. Michelle Obama, scheduled to co-host ABC’s “The View” on Dec. 5 will not cross, the campaign announced Wednesday.
CONWAY, N.H. –During a stop at the Conway Daily Sun on Tuesday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was asked by one of the papers’ staffers—after he signed the top of a refrigerator—to name three people he would want to dine with.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave high school students on Tuesday a lesson in what not to do: he told them he experimented with drugs and booze when he was their age.
Obama made the disclosures long ago, in his best selling memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” which has made youthful drug use a non-issue in his political life. Still, Obama rarely brings up this aspect of his past while on the campaign trail.
MANCHESTER, N.H.—Oprah Winfrey is poised to campaign for White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Obama made the disclosure while working a crowd at Central High School here, after delivering an education policy speech. A man, Ralph Hoagland, asked Obama—who was mingling and shaking hands-- if Oprah was going to stump for Obama in New Hampshire.
“First she’s coming to Iowa,” Obama told Hoagland, who in 1963 was a co-founder of what is now the giant CVS pharmacy chain. “But we’ll talk about it. We’ll get her up here.”
MANCHESTER, N.H.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), on a New Hampshire swing Tuesday, is unveiling an $18 billion education program to be partly funded by delaying one of NASA's space exploration programs.
Obama makes the trade-off as he calls for a range of federal initiatives to improve elementary education, with a centerpiece of his plan teacher training. He has one mandate, calling for the "professional accreditation of all programs preparing teachers." He also wants to de-emphasize teaching to the test--something he calls "preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests."
An Obama campaign policy official who the campaign did not want identified said the plan calls for a five year delay in NASA's Constellation program, seen as a "steppingstone" to Mars exploration. That program should not be a priority the official said. To read plan details LINK
LAS VEGAS -- Triggered by an item in Bob Novak's Sunday column suggesting that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has dirt on Sen. Barack Obama but won't use it, Obama's campaign Saturday accused Clinton's team of using "Swift boat" tactics against him.
Clinton's camp swung back, denying they were spreading rumors about Obama or that they planted information with Novak, wondering why Obama would want to fall into a "Republican trap" to "pit Democrats against Democrats."
SAN JOSE, CALIF.—When it comes to the Democrats in Iowa, a central element of winning the Jan. 3 caucus has to do with organization and a field operation that can identify, target, persuade and turn-out a vote for a candidate.
On those points, an article in the Nov. 16 New Yorker by Ryan Lizza LINK reveals that White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has a running start because he hired one of the masters of political micro-targeting, Ken Strasma.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) confronted his experience gap while meeting with employees at Google headquarters, a shrine to creativity down to heated toilet seats.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.--- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at a town hall meeting at the Google headquarters here plans to unveil a technology plan Wednesday describing how an Obama administration would bring a “new level of transparency” to public life. As a candidate, he still has some ways to go on that front himself.
Not on Obama’s public schedule today and Tuesday are three high end fund-raisers in northern California. While Obama released a list of his biggest bundlers on Tuesday—that’s more disclosure than you get from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)—Obama is still not ready to bring out in the sunlight when they throw events for him.
SUNNYVALE, CALIF.--Greetings from Silicon Valley. White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hosts a townhall meeting Wednesday afternoon at Google's headquarters in Mountain View. He'll unveil his "innovation agenda" LINK and then head north for fund-raising in San Francisco.
( One stop for a low-dollar funder is at the Bill Graham auditorium, named after the legandary rock concert promoter from the Joplin, Jefferson Airplane era).
On the Google front--Google has hosted six other Democratic and Republican candidates, including Obama chief rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). Obama will stress his backing for "network neutrality," a big internet issue in Congress, pledge to appoint a Technology czar and express his hope the next Google is made in the U.S.A.
WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign just put out a memo by manager David Plouffe designed to try to spur stories about how Clinton's lead is eroding and how Edwards just doesn't have a chance. Plouffe notes Edwards is not even organized in the Feb. 5 states. The sales pitch to Edwards backers: Join a winner.
Click for details.
This is the print version of web special column. Transcript from MSNBC includes excerpts at bottom
WASHINGTON -- With polls showing African Americans yet to give overwhelming support to White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), his wife, Michelle, said "black America will wake up and get it" in an interview with MSNBC.
WASHINGTON—With polls showing African-Americans have yet to give overwhelming support to White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), his wife Michelle said “black America will wake up and get it" in an interview running on MSNBC on Monday.
WASHINGTON -- After White House hopeful Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, he turned over "pertinent" files from his state Senate office to his successor and did not keep other office records.
Senior strategist David Axelrod said Sunday night, "Files pertinent to ongoing casework were passed to Kwame Raoul, his successor."
Regarding papers from his eight years as a state senator, Obama said in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," "We did not keep those records."
DES MOINES, IA.—After six Democratic presidential candidates gave speeches over four-hours Saturday night at the big Iowa state party dinner, I talked with the emcee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
“I thought everybody had a good show,” she told me. “I do think that most everybody in the room was spoken for.”
DES MOINES, IA.—Hunched down with the photographers at the Iowa Democratic Party dinner, I’m about three feet from White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and wife Michelle. I’m watching them at their ringside table watch chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) who is about three feet from me up on the stage.
The Obamas sit with their hands folded. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is introducing Clinton, they stand with everybody else and clap politely when Clinton gets on the stage and hugs Pelosi. The Obamas neither smile nor react to the sea of photographers wedged in the area I am in. The photographers are swinging between shooting Clinton and them and the Obamas oblige by keeping up a pose.
DES MOINES, IA.—If the winner of the Iowa Democratic presidential caucus was based on whose supporters can yell the loudest inside this arena—hosting a giant gathering of Iowa Democrats Saturday night—then Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has the edge. At least so far. The night is young. Blog scoop: Chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will introduce a new theme tonight--“Turn up the Heat.”
I’m reporting from inside the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Iowa State Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson dinner. The sports arena has been transformed into a mini-Democratic convention with signs and hoopla. But unlike the national nominating conventions, which are coronations, no one knows who is going to win the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus.
DES MOINES, IA.—The Clinton campaign got caught planting a question in a Newton, Ia. town hall meeting. The story has been ping-ponging on the web since Friday night, to the delight of the Obama forces.
White House hopeful former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) slammed Clinton during a press availability here Saturday afternoon, linking her to President Bush. Edwards took a few questions after addressing the Iowa Farmers Union meeting here earlier today.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is speaking now. She is very subdued. Seems the day off she took to rest her voice worked. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) were on the stage earlier. This is all in a warm-up to the Iowa State Party's big Jefferson Jackson dinner tonight where they will be expected to deliver stemwinders.
Asked to react to the Clinton question plant story, Edwards let it rip.
DES MOINES, IA.—Good afternoon. Greetings from the epicenter of the Democratic presidential political world. All six major Democratic candidates are here for tonight’s giant Jefferson Jackson Day dinner sponsored by the Iowa Democratic Party. Sweet live blogging starts now.
The JJ dinner is a potential narrative-changing showdown of sorts for the three front-runners: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.); Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)
The Obama campaign is using the JJ dinner to flex its organizational muscles and to show—not tell—that it is running a superior ground game in this first caucus state.
JOHNSTON, IA.—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)—whose staff has been deflecting questions about the whereabouts of his state senate papers--said Friday he was not certain whether they still exist.
Obama made the comment after I asked him, “Where is the stuff?” VIDEO LINK
DES MOINES, IA.—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Thursday night mounted his most forceful argument to date that he is more electable than chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), demonized by Republicans and used as their punching bag for more than a decade.
Obama, not mentioning Clinton by name, said he could appeal to Republican and Independent voters in a general election because he has no history of “generating anger among Republicans.”
KNOXVILLE, IA.-- Top of the afternoon. Reporting live from the Skate Pit in this town about 40 miles south of Des Moines. White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's Iowa bus tour is set to arrive here in about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, the Obama operation is organizing young voters here. There is a table for college students to check-in and a spot for high school students to fill out contact cards. And instructions--Cliff Notes version--to students on how exactly to caucus. There is a pamphlet written for students, with sections "Notes to College Students" and "Notes to HIgh School Students" about the caucus.
CHICAGO (O'Hare Airport, gate G20 waiting for Des Moines flight)--A glorious air tour of Chicago's North Side this morning--where I grew up--aboard an American Airlines flight from Washington. I'm at the start of an Iowa political roadtrip through Sunday. I hope you will keep me company on this blog.
I've lived in Washington since the end of 1993, but I am from Chicago. If you could hear me read this sentence out loud you would hear my accent. (Hard a on accent.) Today's approach to O'Hare--cruising over Byrn Mawr from the lake to the airport-- reminded me how you can live someplace for years but the place you were raised is home.
WASHINGTON—Barack Obama’s presidential campaign “scored a significant hit” against chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton “by helping to place” a story about tainted Democratic donor Norman Hsu, according to an article about Obama in the December issue of The Atlantic.
The story, titled “Teacher and Apprentice” by associate editor Marc Ambinder, describes how Obama campaign staffers were “frustrated” because the press was not covering Clinton “in the way they expected it would.”
“…And at a campaign event in Iowa, one of Obama’s aides plopped down next to me and spoke even more bluntly. He wanted to know when reporters would begin to look into Bill Clinton’s postpresidential sex life,” Ambinder writes.
WASHINGTON — White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) sits for a grilling on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, after Democratic presidential contenders on Saturday night pitch to 9,000 Iowa activists who could influence the outcome of the Jan. 3 caucus.
Obama takes his turn on the show’s “Meet the Candidates” series, a strategic timing decision given the importance of the program, hosted by Tim Russert. The Obama camp hopes to have one of the last words in a weekend bursting with presidential politics in Iowa while setting the stage for the upcoming Democratic debate Jan. 15 in Las Vegas.
WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who is making government transparency a centerpiece of the latest phase of his campaign, does not always practice what he preaches when it comes to his own business.
WASHINGTON—Live! From New York! It’s Barack Obama making a surprise visit to open NBC’s Saturday Night Live. LINK
Democratic presidential hopeful Obama played himself in a sketch where he one-upped a cast member playing chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, working in a campaign theme along the way—that he has nothing to hide and the calculating Clinton does.
WASHINGTON--John Edwards campaign advisor Kate Michelman--former NARAL president-- is attacking frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton--the first female with a real chance of being elected president-- for complaining that her male rivals are "piling on."
"It's trying to have it both ways; walk the fence, something Senator Clinton's good at. At one minute the strong woman ready to lead, the next, she's the woman under attack, disingenuously playing the victim card as a means of trying to avoid giving honest, direct answers to legitimate questions," Michelman said in a statement the campaign issued Saturday.
click below for entire statement...
WASHINGTON--In South Carolina on Saturday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) delivers a one-year-from-the-general election speech. Here's the excerpt about chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). He hands her a backdoor compliment--running a skilled campaign--and slamming her for being "calculated" and playing "to suit the politics of the moment" in that "textbook" campaign. Obama is also a skilled politician--he's just running behind Clinton and continues to search for an effective way to gain the lead.
Excerpt....Much has been said about the exchanges between Senator Clinton and myself this week. Now, understand that Hillary Clinton is a colleague and a friend. She’s also a skilled politician, and she’s run what Washington would call a “textbook” campaign. But the problem is the textbook itself."
WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is mounting a you-go-girl girlfriend offensive in accusing her all-male lineup of rivals of "piling on," moving to recover her footing from a poor performance in Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia.
Chief rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Friday was not buying the gender defense and said he did not wave a race card when he was roughed up in a debate. The campaign of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) rejected the notion the men were piling on, saying the problem was Clinton's "politics of parsing."
WASHINGTON---Former President Bill Clinton hits Chicago again on Tuesday for two fund-raisers to benefit the White House bid of wife Sen. HIllary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Clinton herself will return to Chicago in the days before Christmas to headline another series of fund-raising events as the fourth quarter draws to a close and weeks before the first votes are cast in Iowa on Jan. 3.
And on Dec. 7 in Chicago, chief rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) dips again into the deep Chicago networks that have provided millions in campaign cash at a fund-raiser he keynotes.
for details, click below..
WASHINGTON--Presuming, perhaps, that he will be the Democratic nominee, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) plans a "One Year from 2008 Election" speech Saturday in South Carolina, where he will, according to his campaign "Lay Out the Choice Facing Voters"
WASHINGTON--He's billed himself as the candidate of the Joshua generation. Now Friday in South Carolina, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) calls for a revitalized civil rights movement--and more personal responsibility.
"I understand that we need more than a new campaign or candidate – we need a movement," Obama said in his prepared text.
WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is mounting a "girlfriend" offensive in accusing her all-male lineup of rivals of piling on as she tries to recover her footing from a poor performance in Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia. Chief rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Friday was not buying the gender defense and said he did not wave a race card when he was roughed up in a debate.
Obama said in an interview on NBC's "Today Show" "Well, look, I am assuming and I hope that Senator Clinton wants to be treated like everybody else. And I think that that's why she's running for president." MSNBC LINK http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21586430/
Clinton is working it both ways--acting tough and then complaining about being picked on. Obama alluded to race--Obama is the only African-American running when he said he just toughed out darts thrown at him.
"You know, when we had a debate back in Iowa a while back, we spent, I think, the first 15 minutes of the debate hitting me on various foreign policy issues. And I didn't come out and say, "Look, I'm being hit on because I look different from the rest of the folks on the stage.
Text of Obama resolution below...
VIENNA, VA.--As Iran heats up as a presidential campaign issue between Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) , Obama introduced a resolution late Thursday to put the Senate on record that the president does not have authority to make a military strike against Iran.
The stand-alone measure has no co-sponsors. It comes asObama offers, via an interview running in the Friday New York Times, economic and other inducements to Iran--including a pledge not to seek regime change --in order to get cooperation on "terrorism and nuclear issues."
VIENNA, VA.--8 p.m. eastern UPDATE
The New York Times double byline of Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny (Zeleny's second sit-down with Sen. Barack Obama in a week) in Friday's paper has Obama detailing carrots he would offer Iran to get cooperation on "terrorism and nuclear issues."
This comes as Iran has developed as major issue between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
WASHINGTON--Led by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), 30 senators signed a letter released Thursday "warning" President Bush not to attack Iran without explicit congressional consent. The Illinois Democratic senators are split on this: Sen. Dick Durbin signed the letter and White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama did not. Rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton signed as did Sen. Chris Dodd.
At issue: This is another development flowing from the September vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment--a resolution naming the Iran Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Clinton and Durbin support the measure; Obama opposed it, though he was absent from the Senat for the vote. This Webb letter is being used by the Clinton campaign to underscore her argument--and dilute Obama's-- that support for Kyl-Lieberman is tantamount to giving Bush authorization for military action. Will update with expected Obama reaction.
UPDATE OBAMA STATEMENT
"Senator Obama admires Senator Webb and his sincere and tireless efforts on this issue. But it will take more than a letter to prevent this administration from using the language contained within the Kyl-Lieberman resolution to justify military action in Iran. This requires a legislative answer and Senator Obama intends to propose one."
WASHINGTON—The nation’s largest political action committee will launch an independent expenditure drive in Iowa on behalf of White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Emily’s List has already endorsed Clinton. Emily’s List Women Vote project will start its Iowa operation for Clinton on Nov. 19 with a web-vote education project designed to “demystify” the caucus process said Maren Hesla, the project director.
WASHINGTON—White House hopeful John Edwards jumped back into the paid television air wars in Iowa on Thursday.
I just finished a conference call with the Edwards team and their reasoning goes like this: the Iowa Democratic race is in a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton leading followed by Barack Obama and Edwards. The contest is deadlocked as Clinton and Obama have been spending millions of dollars on television spots while Edwards has been spending nothing. UPDATE All the campaigns monitor ad spending. The Edwards camp pegs Obama at over $4.2 million on ads in Iowa, almost twice as much as Clinton, at over $2.3 million. Until today, Edwards only spent around $20,000 on paid Iowa media. END UPDATE
With 63 days until the Iowa caucus, Edwards is finally back on Iowa air. The 60 second spot is called “Heros.” LINK
WASHINGTON -- The presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was launched with the help of more positive press coverage than any other candidate -- Republican or Democrat -- running for the White House.
"While Hillary Clinton may have gotten the most press, she did not get the most favorable. That distinction, among major candidates, went to Barack Obama." That's a conclusion of a study conducted by Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy with the Project for Excellence in Journalism.