Barack Obama: April 2008 Archives

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, a combative Rev. Jeremiah Wright noted -- with some smugness -- at a press conference here that Sen. Barack Obama "did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks." Following what Obama called Wright's "rants" at that session, Obama -- with some anger -- denounced his pastor "very clearly and unequivocally" on Tuesday.

(This Lynn Sweet column is from the April 30 print Sun-Times)

BY CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporter

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama is giving $2,300 in presidential campaign contributions to charity -- money he got from Aiham Alsammarae, a dual U.S.-Iraqi citizen who posted more than $2.7 million in property to help spring Tony Rezko from jail.

Barack Obama Press Conference
Winston-Salem, NC


Before I start taking questions I want to open it up with a couple of comments about what we saw and heard yesterday. I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe. That’s what this campaign has been about.
Yesterday we saw a very different vision of America. I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday. You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama finally cut the cord on Tuesday with his minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after Wright conducted a press conference Monday at the National Press Club here Obama called a "spectacle" and "appalling” that was a show of “disrespect” to him.

In an exercise of extreme damage control, Obama appeared at a hastily scheduled press conference in North Carolina to denounce the man who married him and baptized his daughters to say Wright’s comments were “divisive and destructive.”

WASHINGTON--The Rev. Jeremiah Wright was not, contrary to a report in some outlets, guarded at a speaking event on Tuesday at the National Press Club, by personnel who belong to the Nation of Islam. Security was provided by a local Baptist church, according to a spokesman for Wright's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

WASHINGTON--No matter the results in the May 6 contests in North Carolina and Indiana, the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will push on--at least for primary cash. Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fund-raiser for his wife on May 22 in Chicago at the Palmer House--the same hotel where he was based for a time during his 1992 first run for the White House. The event (collecting only primary money) costs $100 for a ticket to the reception; $1,000 for a photo with Bill Clinton.

This pool report from Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

It was shortly after 7 a.m. when Senator Barack Obama arrived at the hallowed ground of college basketball, home of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. Before heading to the court for a quick morning game, he took a tour of the team’s facility. His guide? Coach Roy Williams.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Williams walked through the basement hallway of the UNC basketball center, passing black and white photographs from seasons gone by. The coach, dressed in a suit, and the senator, dressed in workout clothes, made small talk and smiled throughout the brief tour, which concluded in the locker room.

Big endorsement for Clinton in advance of the North Carolina primary a week from today

WASHINGTON -- In March, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) went to great lengths not to "disown" his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after fiery videotaped comments from sermons surfaced. In return, an unapologetic Wright launched a speaking tour, ending Monday, drawing outsized coverage on the hot-button issues of God and race days before crucial votes in Indiana and North Carolina, threatening Obama's presidential bid.

As coverage swelled, the situation was so serious that Obama, late Monday at a hastily arranged availability on the tarmac at an airport in Wilmington, N.C., said of Wright, "I have said before and I will repeat again that what some of the comments that Rev. Wright had made offend me, and I understand why they have offended the American people."He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign."

(this column appreared in the April 29 print Sun-Times)

WASHINGTON--With nonstop coverage Monday on his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright--day three of widely covered comments--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) addressed the situation that threatens his presidential bid at a media availability hastily scheduled on the tarmac in Wilmington, North Carolina. Said Obama of Wright, "He does not speak for me."

"I have said before and I will repeat again that some of the comments Rev Wright offend me and I understand why they have offended the American people.

"He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign. And, so, he may make statements in the future that don't reflect my values or my concerns."

WASHINGTON--Clinton communications chief Howard Wolfson says in a memo (click below) that the emphasis in the near future will be on the economy.

Another in an occasional series of blogs about the sky-high cost of campaign travel...

WASHINGTON--The cost of a day--March 15--on the Obama campaign bus...about $500. The experience? Priceless.

click below to see invoice.

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter/
White House hopeful Barack Obama talks a lot on the campaign trail about how failing banks have used subprime loans to victimize customers.

"Part of the reason we got a current mortgage crisis has to do with the fact that people got suckered in to loans that they could not pay," he told a crowd in Reading, Pa., last week. "There were a lot of predatory loans that were given out, a lot of teaser rates. Banks and financial institutions making these loans were making money hand over fist."

At the helm of Superior Bank was Obama's national finance chairwoman, Penny Pritzker, an heiress to the Pritzker fortune.

WASHINGTON--A brash Rev. Jeremiah Wright--longtime pastor to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) --on Monday said the controversy over his inflammatory comments--threatening Obama's presidential bid--were really "an attack on the black church."

"As I said, this was an attack on the black church. It was not about Obama, McCain, Hillary, Bill, Chelsea; this was about the black church. This was about Barbara Jordan. This was about Fannie Lou Hamer. This was about my grandmama," Wright said at the National Press Club.

WASHINGTON--The Rev. Jeremiah Wright will speak soon at the National Press Club. The ballroom is packed with people here for a black church conference, guests and reporters.

Here from Chicago: Wright's wife and two of his daughters; Dr. Conrad Worrill, the National Chairman of the National Black United Front and Father Michael Pfleger, from St. Sabrina Church on Chicago's South Side.

WASHINGTON--Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, is hosting a fund-raiser for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at her London home on Monday, expected to haul in more than $250,000. That's without any surrogate to headline the event. Obama finance director Julianna Smoot was flying to London to oversee the high-end donor funder.

WASHINGTON—Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright should have no complaints about being taken out of context Sunday night. CNN was on the third replay of the entire sizzling speech he delivered at the Detroit chapter of the NAACP by the time I turned off the TV. Fox ran Wright’s keynote live. And Wright had some news for Obama’s team—he’s writing a book, to be out later this year.

“Barack Hussein Obama,” Wright said three times at one point. “Arabic is a language, not a religion…stop trying to scare folks.”

April 25, 2008
BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.

Barack Obama's pastor was in the news again this week. North Carolina Republicans are preparing to run an ad tying Obama to some controversial sound bites lifted from Reverend Jeremiah Wright's sermons. And CBS and MSNBC led their broadcasts with reports about the ad.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) continues to distance himself from William Ayers on Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace. Transcript at the click.

WASHINGTON—Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in an interview with Bill Moyers broadcast Friday on PBS, called Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) a “politician,” a word that’s a sting in the Obama world, where Obama has been campaigning for more than a year as a transformational, anti-Washington agent of change.

Moyers asked Wright to react to Obama’s speech in Philadelphia where he distanced him self from his pastor—but did not disown him.

WASHINGTON--Oregon Rep. David Wu announces for Obama on Thursday, adding another superdelegate; now Obama needs 292 delegates to win.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was on a conference call Wednesday mapping post Pennsylvania loss superdelegate strategy--many superD's are members of Congress--with his get-out-the-superdelegate team working the precincts on Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON--The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Sen. Barack Obama's pastor -- is speaking Monday at the National Press Club as part of a divinity conference of black church leaders. Wright's decision to headline an event at the Press Club -- open to all media -- risks giving Obama's critics more fodder, as if they don't have enough already.

Meanwhile, PBS is touting an interview with Wright to be broadcast Friday on "Bill Moyers' Journal." Fresh material from Wright -- no matter how well-intended -- is not what Obama needs.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.—The Obama campaign on Wednesday is not pressing their often used argument that uncommitted superdelegates should take the lead from the vote in their states. Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma said on a conference call he will cast his superdelegate vote for Obama, despite Clinton winning the Feb. 5 Oklahoma vote by 55 percent.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Dueling conference calls on Wednesday. Clinton is bringing out her a-team of superdelegate boosters this afternoon.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the controversial pastor at Sen. Barack Obama's church, Trinity United on Chicago's South Side, is going on a press offensive as he is pilloried daily on Fox News and continues to be fodder for Obama's rivals. On Monday, Wright speaks at the National Press Club in Washington.The breakfast event is sold out.

Here is how the event is described by the club: Wright's talk will touch on, among other subjects, "his pastorate, his development as a theologian and teacher, and the how the issues of social justice and global inequities have shaped his faith and his fight for those who are most marginalized in society. He will address the legacy and tradition of education in his family. And Dr. Wright will put into perspective theologically, historically and politically, his ministry and public service that has been so widely discussed in the media."

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was just asked in a conference calll about a report in the Wednesday Washington Post about the Obama team now willing to go negative and bring up Clinton scandals from the past--cattle futures, etc.

“We are not going to do that," said Plouffe.

Washington Post excerpt: “In the two weeks leading up to the Indiana primary, a Democratic strategist familiar with the Obama campaign said aides are likely to turn to the controversies of Bill Clinton’s White House years — Hillary Clinton’s trading cattle futures, Whitewater and possibly impeachment.”

Conference call ongoing.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.—Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said Wednesday on a conference call that even factoring in the Pennsylvania primary loss, Obama is ahead by 159 delegates—and is less than 300 delegates away from securing the nomination.

"The structure of the race remains the same," Plouffe said.

To get to the 2,024 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination, Clinton would need “to win 70 percent of all the remaining delegates.”

“We are stronger right now in a match up against McCain," said Plouffe, citing especially Obama's strength with younger voters.

Plouffe said the campaign--and how many covering presidential campaigns have ever delt with this--is "organizing heavily in Guam" with a May 3 contest.

Conference call ongoing

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has a running start in the May 6 Indiana primary. Most of the Democratic-rich northeast part of the state is in the Chicago media market and voters there already know Obama.

The minus is the paid media is going to be expensive in ads run on Chicago tv. Still, the contest will give Chicagoans a taste of what they missed because there were no paid media wars in the Feb. 5 Illinois primary which Obama won--his only mega-state win.

Another proximity plus is Obama has an army of Illinois volunteers to send to Indiana--now seasoned by election work in nearby Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.


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Hillary's people ecstatic, predict 'shift of psychology' among superdelegates

PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) survived Pennsylvania, winning Tuesday by 10 points, and the mood is wildly upbeat at her election night headquarters here at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Tom Petty's anthem, ''No I won't back down, you can stand me up at the gates of Hell, but I won't back down,'' is playing when Clinton takes the stage.

Transcript: Hillary Clinton Delivers Remarks at Pennsylvania Celebration Event
Hillary Clinton delivered the following remarks at a victory celebration in Philadelphia, PA tonight:

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Primary Night
Evansville, Indiana
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

From the Clinton campaign...."As of 11:30PM tonight, we are at nearly $2.5 million since PA was called for HRC – 80% of that money is coming from new donors to the campaign. It’s our best night ever."

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said on-line donations spiked and the campaign raised $500,000 in less than an hour after the Pennsylvania polls closed.

Up until now, our best average was in February," he said, when raising the campaign got $1 million a day on-line. Clinton just raised half of that on-line in an hour.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--The Clinton headquarters on Tuesday night is in the Park Hyatt and spokesman Mo Elleithee just said Clinton bundlers said they could raise money if she showed a win--no matter the margin--in Pennsylvania.

"There is beginning to be a subtle shift of psychology of a lot of the uncommitted supers," Elleithee said, referring to superdelegates--public officials and party leaders.

Those supers are starting to wonder "why Obama has been unable to win these thing despite all the advantages he has," Elleithee said.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--The networks are holding off putting out their projections in the Pennsylvania primary. I'm told the exits--often unreliable--show Clinton at 52 percent and Obama at 48 percent. Those close results are not being put out because the exit pollers are worried that pro-Obama respondents were more willing to be candid with exit pollers than Clinton backers.

Anyway, the sense in Obama land now is that Clinton will not have that blowout win she needs.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--There have been so many election days since the first voting in Iowa back in January that there has been time for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to have firmly established a tradition: to play some basketball on an election day. Obama played in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning, at a YMCA with some people described as "Chicago friends" among the shooters. Some reporters were also watching on an off-the-record basis.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.-- Listen to Lynn Sweet's rundown on the Pennsylvania primary.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--The Obama team--courtesy of memo just sent out by Bill Burton--is reminding everyone that Clinton needs to win Pennsylvania by a "huge margin"--the point spread left blank--in order to make real gains in delgates.

"Tonight’s outcome is unlikely to change the dynamic of this lengthy primary," the memo said.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--The major news media coverage last week were stories about Obama's comments about "bitter" Pennsylvanians--a quarter of all reports-- and the Democratic debate and the debate over the debate.
An interesting study at www.journalism.Org

PHILADELPHIA, PA.—No matter the outcome of the Pennsylvania Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at a press availability in Pittsburgh said he does not expect Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to fold.

“You know, I have come to the conclusion that this race will continue until the last primary or caucus vote is cast,” Obama said.

Obama seemed surprised to hear that that former President Bill Clinton said during a radio interview that the Obama camp--when it came to his comments about comparing Obama's win in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's win there--somehow used the race card against him.

"Hold on a second. So former President Clinton dismissed my victory in South Carolina as being similar to Jesse Jackson, and he's suggesting that somehow I had something to do with it?" Obama said Tuesday morning.

On President Carter meeting with Hamas leaders (Carter has spent several days in Damascus, Syria talking to Hamas about ending the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflicts), Obama said he did not agree with Carter that some deal is in the works.

*This will air on the Daily Show this evening.*

JS: How are you, sir?

BO: I’m doing great. How’re you?

JS: Very well, thank you. Very well. How is the sojourn through Pennsylvania going? Are you just on a mad dash through the state in these final hours leading up to the Tuesday primary?

PHILADELPHIA, PA.-- Pool report from Sen. Barack Obama's taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

Pool Report #2
Pittsburgh Video Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
6:45 p.m. Obama tapes an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” by video hookup. Obama campaign moving partial transcript shortly.

Highlights at the top:

*Obama told Stewart during their interview that after starting out 20 points behind Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, “The polls are now showing us about 6 to 8” points behind.

*Stewart told Obama what the real concern voters have is: “The Rev. Wright controversy, the flag pin controversy. . . Will you pull a bait-and-switch, sir, and enslave the white race. Is that your plan? And if it is your plan, be honest, tell us now!” Obama’s response (laughing, not mad): “That is not our plan, Jon, but I think your paranoia might make you suitable as a debate moderator.”

For the rest, your pooler will divide this report into two sections – my mostly unsuccessful attempt to get a quote from Sen.Obama re. the Clinton campaign’s ad invoking Osama Bin Laden, and then the Jon Stewart appearance.

BLUE BELL, PA.--The Obama campaign picked a bucolic corner of a community college campus for an outdoor session on Monday not with students but with adults to discuss the economy. At the end. Michelle Obama appeared and hung out for awhile with some of the participants. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he wanted to keep the focus on "bread and butter issues." The day before the Pennsylvania primary, Obama at this stop did not slam his rivals, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)

Obama said during the first 100 days of an Obama administration, he would review the tax code for fairness--on the tax and revenue side.

BLUE BELL, PA.--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) ordered breakfast at a diner on Monday and tried to deflect a question from a reporter about Hamas, saying "Why can't I just eat my waffle."

Click below for pool report and details.

BLUE BELL, PA.--Pennsylvania votes on Tuesday and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) wll spend election night in Philadelphia. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will move on to Evansville, Ind. Indiana has a May 6 primary.

Asked why Evansville, Obama communications chief Robert Gibss noted Evansville was a major Indiana media market by Tuesday night, "It's on to the next race."

BLUE BELL, PA.--Just saw food maven Rachel Ray walk into a building at Montgomery College Community College, where Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is supposed to speak soon. Michelle and the senator are doing the interview together following the event here. Michelle is coming from Chicago, leaving Monday morning in a chartered plane. She will spend the next day and a half with the senator.The interview will air in May.

Ray waved hello to a reporter, did not stop to chat. Wonder if the subject of Cindy McCain cut and pasting her receipes will come up.

PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Barack Obama on Friday drew 35,000 people to a rally on the historic grounds surrounding Independence Hall, where he told the adoring crowd, “We’re still the underdog here in Pennsylvania.”

Pennsylvania votes Tuesday, and Obama’s team will call it a victory if he keeps Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to a single-digit lead.

(column from the Sunday print Sun-Times)

WASHINGTON—GOP presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on Sunday foreshadowed how certain it is that William Ayers will be a "Swift Boat" factor if Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wins the Democratic nomination.

WASHINGTON—Campaign finance records released Sunday show Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opened April with $51.1 million on hand; Sen. John McCain (R-Az) with $11.5 million and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) started the month with $31.7 million on hand. She has been outspent by Obama by at least two-to-one in Pennsylvania.

Obama raised $42.8 million in the month of March, with $662,784 in debts. One debt is $15,600 to in Palo Alto, Calif., for on-line advertising. McCain raised $15.4 million in March and carried $7 million in debt. Clinton raised $20 million in March and has $10 million in debt. Clinton owes the firm run by demoted strategist Mark Penn-- Penn, Schoen & Berland Assoc.--$4,577,820.61 for consulting and pollling.

WASHINGTON--A Clinton campaign Sunday conference call about the Obama and Clinton health care coverage plans was terminated after two pranksters asked whacky questions, the second one with a sexual allusion.

About 35 people were on the call, organized to discuss the competing health care coverage claims of the Obama and Clinton campaigns, the subject of negative ads in the closing days of the Pennsylvania campaign. Dr. Irwin Redlener, National Chair of Doctors for Hillary; Professor of Public Health and Pediatrics, Columbia University President of Children’s Health Fund, said Obama's plan was a "politically driven proposal" because it does not try from the start to cover everyone.

The plan was to give preference to reporters calling in from Pennsylvania, facing a Tuesday primary.

Howard Wolfson shut down the call after the second question. Not going as planned, he said.

In Philadelphia, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stumped for blue collar votes on Saturday morning before heading to the 30th Street Station to board an Amtrak special for a whistlestop day trip in northeast Pennsylvania. His first train stop was on the Main Line, a stretch of monied suburbs. Voter registration in these suburban areas--as in all of the state-- has skyrocketed in advance of the Tuesday primary.

The pool report....
TIME: 9:30am

EVENT: Barack Obama and Patrick Murphy Canvassing in Northeast Philadelphia

Senator Obama worked both sides of Revere and 28th Street in the Mayfair district of North East Philadelphia. It last about 40 minutes. He also clipped the corner of Knorrs St. Residents described their neighbourhood, which had a close-knit community atmosphere, as “working class”. A lot of the residents were sitting on their doorsteps or on their lawns enjoying the Saturday morning sunshine.


PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama wrestled Friday over who was tougher, with Clinton mocking Obama after he earlier complained about his treatment at Wednesday's Democratic debate. Obama ended Friday with a massive rally near Independence Hall.

(this story appeared Saturday in the print version of the Sun-Times.)

RADNOR, PA.—A girl named Hope just asked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) how she is going to help children. And that started Clinton riffing about her favorite poster in Pennsylvania—one that spells out the signature Obama phrase, Hope. Hope however, is also the name of the town where Bill Clinton was born, as in "the man from Hope."

Here's what "hope" spells out for Clinton: Hillary Offers Proven Experience.

Pool Report: Friday morning factory tour
By Shailagh Murray, Washington Post

Sen. Barack Obama and his new best friend, Sen. Bob Casey, visited the Erie
Bolt Co. this morning, and a good time of forging was had by all. But no
news was committed.

RADNOR, PA.--On Monday, the night before the Pennsylvania vote, Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.) makes his third appearence on the 'Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

RADNOR, PA.—Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is continuing to needle—maybe even mock-- since this is the second time Friday she has chided Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for complaining about his grilling in the Wednesday debate. She just used the Truman line, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

She is jabbing Obama here in a packed gym at Radnor High School in a Philadelphia suburb. In the few hours that has elapsed since Clinton started on Obama complaining about the debate, the Obama rapid response team jumped all over it. Obama spokesmen Bill Burton and Tommy Vietor are reminding all that it was Clinton awhile back who was grumbling about getting the first question at debates and harder ones at that. Vietor quickly assembled a “flashback” video clip packet of Clinton groaning about her treatment at debates.

With all this coming early Friday, there is plenty of time for Saturday Night Live writers to absorb, reflect and turn into a cutting political skit.

RADNOR, PA.--Turnout for Tuesday's Democratic primary in Pennsylvania is expected to be record-breaking.

There is some worry about whether the voting systems will be up to the job.

PHILADELPHIA --GOP mastermind Karl Rove, commenting on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show on Thursday, chastised Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for "hanging around" William Ayers. The Daily News, one of the papers in Philadelphia, referred to Ayers as a "1960s radical" in a story about the Wednesday Democratic debate.

(Lynn Sweet print Chicago Sun-Times column)

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--On a local news show, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said Friday morning she knows Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) spent the day after their debate "complaining about the hard questions he was asked."

"Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House," Clinton said. "In fact, when the going gets tough, you just can’t walk away because we’re going to have some very tough decisions that we have to make."

Clinton was asked by FOX 29 about the Wednesday ABC News debate--criticized for piling on Obama. In a few minutes, Clinton will be speaking at the Esperanza High School, a public charter school run by a Hispanic faith-based organization. After tha, she heads to suburbs and then flies to North Carolina. Obama ends his day here with a big rally in the city.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Mayor Daley vouched for William Ayers on Thursday, praising the educator--and former radical-- for his work on Chicago public school reform programs and sending a strong message of reassurance to voters who may be worried about Ayers association with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), which is a non-stop topic lately on Fox News.

Daley press secretary Jackie Heard said Daley decided on his own Thursday morning to issue a statement, after seeing Ayers' name surface in the Wednesday Democratric debate, portrayed as an unrepentant former member of the Weather Underground. Daley's brother, Bill, the former Commerce Secretary under Bill Clinton is an Obama backer; Daley's media consultant is David Axelrod, Obama's top strategist.

'I don’t condone what he did 40 years ago but I remember that period well. It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep re-fighting 40 year old battles," Daley said.



AP photos

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), stumping in North Carolina, makes a surprise visit with Stephen Colbert on Thursday night. Colbert is taping his shows this week from here, in advance of the April 22 Pennsylvania primary. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)--who dropped his '08 White House bid-- also taped a segment on the show today. Michelle Obama chatted with Colbert Monday night.

Stephen: I enjoyed the debate last night, though I have to take issue with you calling some of the questions manufactured political distractions.

Obama: Well Stephen, I think the American people are tired of these political games and petty distractions

Stephen: Sir, speaking for the news media, speaking for the news media, we are not tired of it. It allows us to ask the same questions over and over again. It’s a lot less work.
Click below for the pool report on the taping.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Complete April 16, 2008 Democratic debate transcript, courtesy ABC NEWS.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — ABC News has produced some of the toughest reporting on Barack Obama and at the Thursday debate ABC moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos gave Obama the full front-runner treatment: a rare going over with questions about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, wearing flag pins, those “bitter” comments and gun control views Obama held as a 1996 Illinois state Senate candidate.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.—Fueled almost entirely by book profits, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and wife Michelle earned almost $7 million since he was elected to the Senate in 2004, with the couple reporting more than $4 million in income for 2007, according to returns released Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.-- Though the Obamas' released their 2007 on Wednesday afternoon--everything from 2000 on is public--showing that Sen. Barack Obama's books have made his a fortune--almost $4 million last year. LINK to return. This comes as Obama is trying to deflect charges of elitism as he appeals to blue collar Pennsylvania voters.

The question is--will Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) press Obama (D-Ill.) at the debate that starts at 7 Chicago time--if he will make public his returns from his state senate years? Her staff was calling for those returns earlier this week. The Obama campaign declined to comment on returns from the 1990s.

obamacolbertwatchingjleaders 008
PHILADELPHIA, PA.--Speaking to a group of area Jewish community leaders and clergy--in a meeting organized to address concerns about him and his support for Israel-- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said Wednesday he would not sit down with Hamas--unlike former President Jimmy Carter, who will be meeting with Hamas leaders.

Obama speech, as prepared; Lynn Sweet pool report at the click

HAVERFORD, PA.—“Don’t let fear guide you in this election,” Michelle Obama is saying, speaking at the beautiful Haverford College campus near Philadelphia.

HAVERFORD, PA.--After wrapping for a forum at Haverford College here, Michelle Obama heads to Philadelphia to appear on a special Pennsylvania edition of the Colbert Report with host Stephen Colbert. Obama spokesman Katie McCormick Lelyveld said Michelle Obama is doing no special preparation beyond "going over the details of the show."

Michelle Obama knows the drill. "She's seen the show."

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is on the program on Thursday.

HAVERFORD, PA.--A week before the Pennsylvania primary, the Obama campaign is taking no chances and is not about to let Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) paint him as elite in the wake of his San Francisco "bitter" remarks--that blue collar down and out people cling to religion, guns etc. Clinton put out her spot on Monday and on Tuesday afternoon, the Obama campaign is saying they will go on the air with with response to her "attack" ad.

LEVITTOWN, PA.-- This new Obama web-only ad slams Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) again for taking contributions from lobbyists. The Clinton team response on a conference call this morning: we don't comment on web spts.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.--On the day income taxes are due, the Clinton campaign is calling out Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for only releasing tax returns from 2000 on. There has been a lot of back and forth on this during the campaign--at one point the Obama team was pressuring the Clintons to release the returns for the years after they left the White House. They did, and they revealed the couple hauled in $109 million. But Obama has never released the returns from his entire public life--from his years as a state senator from Illinois.

PHILADELPHIA--The primary is one week from today and the latest poll finds Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with a six-point Keystone state lead--and no big difference so far from Sen. Barack Obama's "bitter" remark. But that could be because the poll, taken April 12-13 was before media coverage and paid advertising touching on Obama's "bitter" cooments about down-and-out Pennsylvanians may have penetrated. The Obama campaign is gauging how many voters actually are aware of the most serious gaffe Obama has made yet.

For survey, click below...

PHILADELPHIA--The primary is one week from today and the latest poll finds Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with a six-point Keystone state lead--and no big difference so far from Sen. Barack Obama's "bitter" remark. But that could be because the poll, taken April 12-13 was before media coverage and paid advertising touching on Obama's "bitter" cooments about down-and-out Pennsylvanians may have penetrated. The Obama campaign is gauging how many voters actually are aware of the most serious gaffe Obama has made yet.

For survey, click below...

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) drew a sell-out crowd Monday at a luncheon full of U.S. newspaper editors and executives, here for a news industry convention. Obama told the influential group he is neither out of touch or too liberal, but does regret his remarks about middle class folks being "bitter" and said he made a "mistake." He talked about "fake controversies" as he incorporated the themes of bitterness into his speech. Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) spoke to the editors in the morning and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) goes on Tuesday.

Obama tried to move beyond the controversy he ignited with his own words. People, he said, " are tired of being distracted by fake controversies. They are fed up with politicians trying to divide us for their own political gain. And I believe they’ll see through the tactics that are used every year, in every election, to appeal to our fears, or our biases, or our differences.."

for speech, click below

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The comments that landed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a jam -- that working-class Pennsylvanians clung to guns, religion, anti-immigrant and anti-trade sentiments because they were "bitter"-- came at a high-dollar fund-raiser, the third of four San Francisco Bay area events last Sunday squeezed into an afternoon. Obama continues to woo large contributors even as the 2008 campaign marks the remarkable rise of "micro-donors."

In the space of a few hours, Obama mingled with $2,300 donors at the homes of Sara and Sohaib Abbasi; Nancy and Bob Farese plus Gordan and Ann Getty, with the political gaffe occuring at a $1,000 per-person reception at the home of Alex Mehran and Carolyn Davis in a posh area of San Francisco.

Unknown to Obama, Huffington Post Off the Bus writer Mayhill Fowler was at the closed-to-the-press reception, taped Obama's remarks and posted her scoop. Obama was handed a headache just as he is courting blue collar Pennsylvania voters.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The comments that landed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a jam -- that working-class Pennsylvanians clung to guns, religion, anti-immigrant and anti-trade sentiments because they were "bitter"-- came at a high-dollar fund-raiser, the third of four San Francisco Bay area events last Sunday squeezed into an afternoon. Obama continues to woo large contributors even as the 2008 campaign marks the remarkable rise of "micro-donors."

In the space of a few hours, Obama mingled with $2,300 donors at the homes of Sara and Sohaib Abbasi; Nancy and Bob Farese plus Gordan and Ann Getty, with the political gaffe occuring at a $1,000 per-person reception at the home of Alex Mehran and Carolyn Davis in a posh area of San Francisco.

Unknown to Obama, Huffington Post Off the Bus writer Mayhill Fowler was at the closed-to-the-press reception, taped Obama's remarks and posted her scoop. Obama was handed a headache just as he is courting blue collar Pennsylvania voters.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The comments that landed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a jam -- that working-class Pennsylvanians clung to guns, religion, anti-immigrant and anti-trade sentiments because they were "bitter"-- came at a high-dollar fund-raiser, the third of four San Francisco Bay area events last Sunday squeezed into an afternoon. Obama continues to woo large contributors even as the 2008 campaign marks the remarkable rise of "micro-donors."

In the space of a few hours, Obama mingled with $2,300 donors at the homes of Sara and Sohaib Abbasi; Nancy and Bob Farese plus Gordan and Ann Getty, with the political gaffe occuring at a $1,000 per-person reception at the home of Alex Mehran and Carolyn Davis in a posh area of San Francisco.

Unknown to Obama, Huffington Post Off the Bus writer Mayhill Fowler was at the closed-to-the-press reception, taped Obama's remarks and posted her scoop. Obama was handed a headache just as he is courting blue collar Pennsylvania voters.

BERKELEY, CALIF.-- NEW SATURDAY "No trip planned or in the works." from Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is considering traveling to Israel. His representatives have already reached out to Israeli officials. DEVELOPING.

Barack Obama Press Avail Q and A

April 11, 2008

Indianapolis, Indiana

BO: With that, let me take some questions. Go ahead.

OAKLAND, CALIF.—In a new radio spot, the Obama campaign on Thursday pushed back on the Clinton team foul call over an Obama oil company television ad where Obama said, “I don’t take money from oil companies." Since no federal candidate can take money from corporations, the Obama ad was seen as “misleading” by the independent

While this rebuttal spot hits Clinton for “misleading negative ads” there is one telling revision in the new Obama ad; the assertion that Obama does not take money from oil companies is gone. The line now reads that Obama does not take money from oil company political action committees. Federal candidates can take donations from PACs.

The Obama ad now says “And he's the only candidate who doesn't take a dime from oil company PACs or lobbyists. The only one."

OAKLAND, CALIF.--Here's a rare peak inside the speech-making process at the Obama campaign, where Thursday Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), the presumptive GOP nominee would only continue President Bush's economic policies.

At the end of a copy of a speech sent to reporters on Thursday was an e-mail from deputy speechwriter Adam Frankel asking the team for input on revisions. The e-mail also shows that Austan Goolsbee--who got in a jam when he talked NAFTA with Canadian officials--is stlll doing high level advising.

Frankel intersects several people in the Obama world. He assisted former President Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorenson in his memoir. Sorenson is a big backer of Obama. Frankel is the co-writer of a book with Rep. Pat Murphy (D-Pa.) about Murphy's road to Congress. Murphy is endorsing Obama.

Now, the header in the e-mail...

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 8:50 AM
To: Austan Goolsbee; Robert Gibbs; David Axelord (AKPD Media); Dan Pfeiffer; David Plouffe; Jon Favreau; Heather Higginbottom; Ben Rhodes; Devorah Adler; Shauna Daly; Anita Dunn (Squier Knapp Dunn Media); Valerie Jarrett; Liz Oxhorn; Jen Psaki; Reggie Love; Bill Burton
Subject: RE: draft econ stim rmks

added stuff on executive compensation and the mccain plan – how does this look to folks?

click below to decode e-mail list.

OAKLAND, CALIF.--Pooler Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times reports on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) visit Thursday to a cafe in South Bend, Ind. The Hoosier state has a May 6 primary.

WASHINGTON—The three 2008 presidential contenders are scheduled to speak at the American Society of Newspaper Editors annual conference meeting here next week.

Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) is set to headline a session on Monday morning, followed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) who is the luncheon keynoter. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) delivers a speech at the Tuesday luncheon.

The conference runs April 12-16 at the Washington Convention Center.

WASHINGTON--Another new spot by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) running in Pennsylvania, dealing with a lawmaker who turned pharmacutical industry lobbyist, emphasizes that Obama is the only candidate who "refuses" to take lobbyist money. He accepted contributions from lobbyists and political action committees as a state senator, U.S. House candidate, U.S. Senate candidate and for his own political action committee, HOPEFUND. Obama stopped taking donations from these sources when he started running for president in February, 2007.

WASHINGTON--Pool report from Amy Chozick, The Wall Street Journal

Hillary Clinton delivered remarks at the Irish-American Presidential
Forum, a meeting during which prominent Irish-Americans in New York
invite presidential candidates to talk about their positions on Irish

WASHINGTON-- Apples, cheese curls, and locally produced pretzels and chocolate cupcakes; that's what Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) bought during a stop at a store in East Norriton, Pa.

Read the pool reports at the click

LAUREL, MD.—Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Wednesday called for President Bush to consider a boycott of the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympic games if the Chinese don’t take steps on Tibet and Darfur.

Obama had been considering how to respond to the question of whether Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies for several days. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said Bush should not go. The White House seems to be keeping its options open. Chicago is making a bid for the 2016 games and any kind of a boycott has the potential of eroding the city’s bid with the International Olympic committee.

WILMINGTON, DEL.--Michelle Obama on Wednesday, campaigning in North Carolina called Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) an "accessory." Just jkidding, she said.

In a story in the Raleigh newspaper, Obama makes the accessory remark. LINK


And in Winston-Salem she poked a little fun.

"I'm a big fan of accessories," she said after mentioning the outfit
of Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Burke. "I'm married to one.

"Just kidding."

MALVERN, PA.—Why? Because that’s where the voters are. The three presidential contenders all appear on taped segments of American Idol on Wednesday night as part of the “give back” programming for the hit show.

Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) taped his segment last Monday from Kansas City, Mo. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) taped her stuff last week while in Los Angeles, on the same day she did Leno. On the show business beat….Elton John performs tonight at a Clinton fund-raiser in New York.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) taped his bit last week from Harrisburg, Pa., noting his two daughters are big fans.

Here’s what Obama will say tonight:

MALVERN, PA.--Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson is making the case in a conference call that the Sen. Barack Obama oil ad where he says he does not take money from oil companies is misleading and noted that Obama is making an "unprecedented " ad buy in Pennsylvania outspending the Clinton team by four million dollars. No federal candidate can take contributions from corporations.

"It's time for president who takes on the oil companies in real life, not just on TV," says a new Clinton radio spot, which takes on Obama, by name, over his ad. Hear the ad LINK<

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said Obama was trying to "buy the election in Pennsylvania."

MALVERN, PA.—The Clinton campaign is complaining about an Obama ad where Obama touts that he does not take money from oil companies. But I talked to Obama top strategist David Axelrod a short time ago here and he said he has no plans to change it.

The ad has been criticized from as misleading because no federal candidate—for President, House or Senate can take money from corporations and corporate political action committees get their money mostly from employees.LINK

“I have a different view of that,” Axelrod said. He said he was right because Obama does not take money from political action committees. “I think it was accurate the way it was,” Axelrod said when I asked if he would be revising the oil ad.

MALVERN, PA.--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is using a new line to reflect the unanticipated length of the primary campiagn and is making other adjustments in his stump speech to reflect the quiet confidence of his campaign that he will be the Democratic nominee, not Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and face Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) in the fall.

On the long election: Here at Great Valley High School, Obama said, "There are babies who have born who are now walking and talking.

On McCain: Old/Obama used to talk about "Bush-Cheney" policies. New/Obama shorthand. On Wednesday, Obama here talked about "Bush-Cheney-McCain policies."

WASHINGTON--McCain, Clinton and Obama all questioned Petraeous and Crocker at Senate hearings on Iraq surge today. Obama--contrary to a prior hearing where he made a speech and had no time left for questions--dropped the lecture for the most part and asked focused questions for most of his 14 minutes. He seemed to suggest the U.S. set a very modest goal for success that would get troop levels down to about 30,000.

Obama wanted to know: in a "parade of horribles" --does the U.S. anticipate a time when Al Queda in Iraq could not reconstitute itself?

Our not to hunt down every single Al Queda?

"Exactly right," Petraeous said.

"I'm trying to get to an end point," said Obama. If the bar for success is so high, will it ever be met?

Teamster president and Obama backer James Hoffa says he takes it all back...His statement just in....

"To clear up any misunderstanding about my statements, the Obama campaign and Austan Goolsbee have already clarified Professor Goolsbee's meeting with representatives from the Canadian government, and as confirmed by the Canadian government, Sen. Obama's position on NAFTA has not changed. As I said on a conference call with reporters earlier today, Sen. Clinton has a credibility problem with the working men and women across this country on the issue of trade. This problem is only underscored by Mark Penn's continued role in her campaign."

WASHINGTON—The Clinton campaign handled two storylines in its just concluded conference call: Dealing with Mark Penn’s role on the Clinton team (turns out to still be pretty substantial, but still a demotion) and trying to push Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee back in the spotlight with the unwitting help of Obama backer Teamster chief James Hoffa.

Penn was like an “editor-in-chief,” Clinton communications ace Howard Wolfson said. Now he is important, but not in charge.

hat tip to Greg Sargent at who got the ad first

WASHINGTON--Teamsters chief James Hoffa is making an issue of Mark Penn staying on with the Clinton campaign even though he was demoted from chief strategist. In a conference call focusing on Indiana, Hoffa said Clinton should "end his services with the campaign completely." While the call is taking place, the Clinton team is announcing they will have an Indiana call.

Hoffa is also saying that there is no comparison between Penn and Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee, the University of Chicago economics prof who is an Obama top advisor. Goolsbee met with a Canadian official at the consultate in Chicago and may--or may not have said that Obama's call to revisit NAFTA was merely campaign rhetoric. Since, then, the Obama campaign has muzzled Goolsbee but did not throw him out.

"No comparison," said Hoffa. Penn was paid to lobby.

But he did get off message. Hoffa called for Goolsbee to "make a statement" and "end this mystery about what happened."

By Lynn Sweet and Andrew Herrmann
WASHINGTON -- Days before the Olympic torch arrives in San Francisco -- and after protests in Paris and London and at the Golden Gate Bridge -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Monday called on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony in Beijing to pressure China on Tibet and Darfur.

"The violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for presidential leadership," Clinton said in a statement.

"These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China. At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing."

The Chinese Olympics present a quandary for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

(This is the print version of earlier blog post)

WASHINGTON--Tuesday's first conference call comes from the Obama Campaign. The noon eastern event is with Teamsters President James Hoffa and an Indiana state senator to " to discuss former chief strategist Mark Penn's role in her campaign" and a new Clinton ad running in Indiana.

WASHINGTON—The Obama campaign—looking at a protracted primary fight and a probable Democratic nomination-- is adding Democratic consultant Anita Dunn to its communications team.

Dunn will have a senior advisory role helping with strategic communications and has already started commuting to the Obama national headquarters in Chicago from Washington. Dunn brings presidential campaign experience and close relationships with key Obama staffers and advisors.

The campaign is also adding Hari Sevugan, who served as communications director for the presidential campaign of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.). Sevugan will carry the title of senior spokesman. LINK

WASHINGTON--First bowling, now hunting and fishing. Campaigning in Pennsylvania is different for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). On Monday, his Pennsylvania launched the "Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Obama Steering Committee."

The Obama release states, "avid hunters and anglers from around the state, the committee members lauded Obama for his understanding of and respect for Pennsylvania’s hunting and fishing traditions and his strong record on conservation."

Obama needs to convince voters that his support for gun control laws does not threaten second amendment rights.

My Chicago Sun-Times colleague Robert Novak writes about Obama and Washington D.C. gun laws. LINK

WASHINGTON--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening Olympic ceremonies in Bejing if the Chinese government does not do more to deal with Tibet and use its influence on Sudan to stop the geoncide in Darfur.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was not sure what he would do when asked about the Olympics last week; LINK Clinton's statement, issued Monday, may mean that Obama clarifies his views.

Chicago is in the running for the 2016 Olympics and an Obama advisor, Valerie Jarrett, is vice-chairman of the city's bid committee.

Clinton said, "the violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for Presidential leadership. These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China. At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government."

On April 2, during an interview on CBS' "The Early Show," host Harry Smith asked Obama if the U.S. should be "a full participant" in the Olympic Games?"

Obama said, " I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think thatwhat's happened in Tibet, China's support of the Sudanese government in Darfur, is a real problem. I'm hesitant to make the Olympics a site of political protest because I think it's partly about bringing the world together."

WASHINGTON--With no fanfare, Chelsea Clinton hit Chicago on Sunday for a low-dollar fund-raiser for her mom at Bijan's Bistro, 663 N. State.

The event was aimed at a younger crowd--dubbed "Hillblazers"--and tickets ranged from $50 to $100. Chelsea traveled to Illinois from Indiana, where she was stumping ahead of the May primary there.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) makes a big push for women voters on Monday--in general and females in Pennsylvania specifically--with a breast cancer cure plan she will debut officially on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

There is a phone briefing going on now with Clinton advisers involved in breast cancer research.

Sen. HIllary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) released tax returns for the years 2000-2006 on Friday afternoon. LINK

Disclosure of these returns has been an issue of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The Clintons had previously released returns for the years President Clinton was in public life, in the White House and Washington. But the big interest is in the years since he left and reaped miillions of dollars once back in private life. Their gross earnings is $109 million and after taxes income for this period is $57 million.

Where did the Clintons'--who left the White House in 2000 with relatively little money--get this fortune over the years? Highlights from the campaign:


Including, among other items:

Senator Clinton's Senate Salary: $1,051,606
President Clinton's Presidential Pension: $1,217,250
Senator Clinton's Book Income: $10,457,083
President Clinton's Book Income: $29,580,525
President Clinton's Speech Income: $51,855,599

click below for more details...

Lynn Sweet column
Sen. Barack Obama raised more than $40 million in March, his campaign said Thursday, estimated to be double the haul of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as the money race continues to escalate.

Obama's team has outraised and outspent Clinton's campaign for months, as both Democrats show a stunning ability to raise money.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on the Jay Leno show Thursday evening

"That Chelsea Clinton sure is smart...!:

At a press conference in Burbank, Calif., Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called herself "Paulette Revere," sounding the alarm on the economy.

"Senator Obama has been very timid and unenthusiastic with doing anything with the economy, and I have consistently said what needed" Clinton said. ".....I feel like Paulette Revere, the recession is coming, the recession is coming and at some point, maybe somebody will actually do something about it.”

(Lynn Sweet in Chicago)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's new North Carolina spot has this understatement: "This isn't a typical election, and these are not typical times."

(Lynn Sweet in Chicago)

WASHINGTON -- Not that the Obama campaign is taking its eye off the main goal -- clinching the Democratic presidential nomination with fierce contests ahead -- but some planning for the November election is already under way, campaign manager David Plouffe told the Chicago Sun-Times.

(this Lynn Sweet column ran April 1 in the print Chicago Sun-Times. )

SKOKIE, ILL.--The Clinton campaign Thursday morning conference call is featuring communications chief Howard Wolfson and top strategist Mark Penn. The call is in progress, but off the top Penn laid out what he called the "powerful arguments" about Clinton's electability. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign said it raised more than $40 million in March, another big haul and more than Clinton's monthly figure.

Both candidates are heading to California for fund-raisers this week--and while Clinton has also raised a lot of money--her team did not offer a figure this morning--there are two points that are significant: Obama is outspending and outraising Clinton and Clinton and Obama are both outraising Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)

"At the end of the day, she is the one who is the most electable" McCain Penn just said.

CHICAGO--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) just told MSNBC's Chris Matthews on a special "Hardball" college tour edition on Wednesday that "I fell off the wagon a couple of times" when it comes to smoking.

Obama told the students at West Chester University in Pennsylvania--with an April 22 primary against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)--that after lapsing he "was able to get back on" the wagon right away.

Obama quit smoking when he starting running for president last year, a condition laid down by wife Michelle.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) tread carefully on the subject of boycotting the upcoming China Olympics particularly because of China's complicity with Sudan's leaders when it comes to the genocide in Darfur, charting a course of concern but noting the point of the games is to bring the nations of the world together.

Chicago is in the running for the 2016 Olympics and one of his top advisors, Valerie Jarrett, is vice-chairman of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee.The U.S.stand on a boycott could have an impact on Chicago getting the games, one would guess.

During an interview Wednesday on CBS' "The Early Show," host Harry Smith asked Obama if the U.S. should be "a full participant" in the Olympic Games?

Obama said, " I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think thatwhat's happened in Tibet, China's support of the Sudanese government in Darfur, is a real problem. I'm hesitant to make the Olympics a site ofpolitical protest because I think it's partly about bringing the world together."

Smith also asked about the challenge of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) tosettle to race with a bowling game; she offered to spot him a few frames. "You know, I am always game for a little competition. Now, Ihave to say that I think she has to be heavily favored given my track record in bowling."

WASHINGTON--Democratic National Convention planners in Denver are making sure the presidential nominee host hotel has enough rooms for both a Clinton and Obama contingent if the nomination battle goes to the convention.

The headquarters hotel--the Hyatt Regency at the Convention Center--will also house the Democratic nominee--and if both Clinton and Obama and their staffs and travel press all show up "arrangements" will be made to take care of both, I'm told.

"We are building in flexibility for any number of scenarios," a source said.

WASHINGTON--After the story came out Tuesday that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) owed her high school--Maine South--$3,161 in a rental fee, the campaign paid the invoice the same day.

The Clinton campaign hosted an event at the Park Ridge high school in suburban Chicago on the evening of Feb. 4, the night before 22 primary and caucus votes.

Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said the bill did not arrive until late February; still, the fee was listed as a debt on Clinton's disclosure report. "Not a tremendous lag time there," Carson said.

WASHINGTON---Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told NBC’s “Today Show” Ann Curry that when he stays awake nights it is not worrying about IF he is going to win the upcoming primaries, it’s concern about what he will be doing as President.

In an interview broadcast Tuesday morning, Obama said, “When I lose sleep at night, it is not because I'm worrying about what's going to happen in Pennsylvania or Indiana or how we're going to resolve this contest. When I lose sleep at night it's because I think about being president and all the challenges that we have to face out there."

On smaller matters, Curry ran Obama through some quick questions and came up with the following preferences:

Tea over coffee; Rolling Stones over Beatles; Lincoln favorite president; yes to God exists; prays once or twice a day; empathy best thing mother taught him; White Sox over Cubs and basketball over bowling.

During the bus tour in Pennsylvania, Obama staged a photo op at a bowling alley to record him bowling. Usually Obama’s basketball games are not open to photo sessions.

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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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