Dick Durbin: March 2008 Archives

PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Barack Obama delivered the speech Tuesday that may be the most enduring of his long presidential campaign.

He deplored the nation's "racial stalemate." He declined to "disown" the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose inflammatory rhetoric triggered a crisis that may derail Obama's White House bid, as he again denounced his pastor's words. He dared people to reject divisive rhetoric, get over blame games, declare race wars over and say "not this time."

excerpt from Sen. Barack Obama speech on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War and national security...in North Carolina, with a May primary.

Senator Clinton says that she and Senator McCain have passed a “Commander in Chief test” – not because of the judgments they’ve made, but because of the years they’ve spent in Washington. She made a similar argument when she said her vote for war was based on her experience at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But here is the stark reality: there is a security gap in this country – a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions. A gap between Washington experience, and the wisdom of Washington’s judgments. A gap between the rhetoric of those who tout their support for our troops, and the overburdened state of our military.

The Obama campaign, clearing its decks in advance of turning up the ethics and transparency heat on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) released a list of federal donors who were solicited to give by Tony Rezko, on trial in a Chicago courtroom on federal corruption charges. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday was asked if he kept a bundler list for his 2004 Senate campaign. Bundlers are people who use their personal networks to raise money for a candidate. Most major campaigns do keep track of bundlers, in order to stroke and cultivate their most active fund-raisers.

Q: And for the Obama '04 campaign, did you keep a bundler list?

A: No

Q: Is that unusual?

A: Keep in mind that Tony raised money for me primarily in the primary. That was really when he was most active. And we started with eight people. It was a real stretch just to raise the first $250,000.

Tony Rezko wasn't involved primarily in bundling. We've kept track of who our bundlers are, and we disclose them. That's been a routine practice since I've been in the U.S. Senate.

This from Obama presidential campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt..

Below is a list of contributions to Barack Obama's federal campaigns that we determined could by reasonably credited to Mr. Rezko's political support.

This list is provided to respond to requests for a detailed accounting and it is not in any way meant to suggest questions or concerns about the specific individuals identified. Their contributions are included because they could be credited to Mr. Rezko's efforts on behalf of the campaign. The campaign has concluded in these circumstances that it should not retain these funds, and it has donated them to charity.

WASHINGTON--ABC News threw a spotlight on Sen. Barack Obama's controversial minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright--reviewing a selection of Wright's sermons, highlighted his anti-U.S. rhetoric. In an increasingly tense race--Wright's words may create problems for Obama. This follows uproars over statements from Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power and Clinton fund-raiser Geraldine Ferraro; in this heated atmosphere, both were cut recently from their respective campaigns. Obama's "Audacity of Hope" title of his second book comes from a Wright sermon.

In the excerpt of a sermon below, Wright rallies against "rich white people" and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

WASHINGTON--After refusing since June to make public earmark requests from 2005 and 2006, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is releasing Thursday all the earmark requests he has made since he entered the Senate in 2005.

This disclosure was made just before the campaign starts a conference call with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to discuss congressional earmarks. This interest in earmarks comes as Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) --knowing one of them will face anti-earmark Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the fall--have signed on to a bill calling for a one-year earmark moratorium. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is against an earmark moratorium.

Here's one highlight: Obama sought money for the University of Chicago Hospitals. Wife Michelle works for the University of Chicago Hospitals, appointed in spring 2005 as vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. She is now on leave from the job to campaign for her husband. Top campaign adviser and friend Valerie Jarrett is the Chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board and also Chair of the Executive Committee of that board. She has also been named Vice-Chair of the University's Board of Trustees. Obama taught at the U. of Chicago law school and the Obama's two daughters attend school there.

from the Obama campaign

Obama Requested $1 Million For Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago. In 2006, Obama requested that the University of Chicago receive $1 million to support its Construction of New Hospital Pavilion. For more than 75 years, the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH) has provided state of the art medical care on the South Side of Chicago. UCH is one of the largest Medicaid providers in Illinois, and it provided more than $90 million in uncompensated care for Medicare and Medicaid patients this past year. To continue providing the best care for patients from all walks of life, UCH is proceeding with the construction of a new 600,000 square foot facility that will ensure their ability to provide the best care for patients well into the future. Funding will go towards assisting the construction and equipping a new hospital pavilion that will increase the Hospitals' clinical capacity by over one-third. [Obama Request Letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, 4/7/06]

obamafairlesspamarch112008 001 Barack Obama taking a tour Tuesday of the Gamesa Wind Corporation factory in Fariless Hills, Pa. The factory makes component parts to make wind energy turbines. The large object in the background is a nacelle, which goes on top of a wind tubine. (Photos by Lynn Sweet)
obamafairlesspamarch112008 002
FAIRLESS HILLS, PA.—The Obama team on Monday called for the Clinton campaign to disavow remarks made by former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro for saying Obama would not be a contender for president if he were female of white.

UPDATE
Obama made his first comments about Ferraro in an interview with Josh Drobnyk of The Morning Call, based in Allentown.

"I don't think Geraldine Ferraro's comments have any place in our politics or in the Democratic Party. They are divisive. I think anybody who understands the history of this country knows they are patently absurd. And I would expect that the same way those comments don't have a place in my campaign they shouldn't have a place in Senator Clinton's either," Obama said. END UPDATE


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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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This page is a archive of entries in the Dick Durbin category from March 2008.

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