Sun-Times Jennifer Hunter The Democratic presidential debate Wednesday was dubbed "The Duel at Dartmouth," but it was less of a joust and more of an effort to take gentle lunges against front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to see if she would buckle under the criticism.
Beth Fouhy, Associated Press--The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.
The Boston Globe's Scott Helman: Obama Sharpens Critique Of Clinton
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--A sampling of ledes and headlines from Thursday's Democratic debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
Steve Holland and Ellen Wulfhorst, Reuters-- Democratic presidential candidates pounced on rival Hillary Clinton for her positions on Iraq and Iran in a debate on Wednesday as they sought to undercut her status as the campaign front-runner. http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USN2746126520070927
The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, whose reported blog on politics is a must read of the must reads--Tonight, Edwards and Clinton stood out against the mosaic. Edwards was Edwards on Centrum Silver: straightforward, confident, clear, knowledgeable, thoroughly encased in his own frame. Ying to the yang of both Obama and Clinton; If you’re new to nomination politics, then you’d think Edwards – and not Obama – was Hillary Clinton’s main foil. The war. Social Security. Health care. Campaign ethics. Clinton didn't take the punch, but she did move to dodge them, which is a victory for JRE. www.theatlantic.com
The Politico's Ben Smithwhose reports are another must read--Clinton once said torture might be acceptable in narrow circumstances, but closed the loophole Wednesday. Senator Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) ended her support for legalized torture at a debate in New Hampshire Wednesday night, splitting with her husband – and with her own recent stance on the charged issue. http://www.politico.com
CBS News political guru Vaughn Ververs| Most of the coverage of last night’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire predictably hones in on two story lines. One, the fact that none of the three big candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – would pledge to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq within the first four years of their presidency. Two, the “jabs” taken at front-runner Clinton. http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2007/09/27/politics/horserace/entry3303601.shtml
Sun-Times Lynn Sweet White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), using a question about health care, injected a new element in going after chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)--that she does not have the personality to pass universal health care. Obama then offers himself as a contrast; someone who can "inspire" people to get things done. He did not use the word consensus but this is what he is talking about.
.....After the debate, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sent out a statement where he talked about Obama as the candidate of consensus. An Obama campaign spokesman, Bill Burton, sent out a research memo recapping the abundance of criticism Clinton received for her failed health care effort in 1993 and 1994. Health care covereage is the dominant domestic issue in the primary. www.blogs.suntimes.com
CHICAGO--Once again, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) asserted--this time during Wednesday's Democratic debate--that he was risking his political career back in 2002 when spoke out against the Iraq War as he was getting into a primary race for a Senate seat from Illinois. Coming out against the war then was a boost for his election--because the anti-war Democratic activists in Illinois --with a number of influential people in their ranks--rallied around Obama. During the debate moderator Tim Russert, noting that Obama has no landmark legislation asked why he was running after about 33 months in the Senate. "Why does it make sense now?"
Obama said basically it is because the country needs him. Obama's answer is yet another example of how Obama is casting himself as the consensus candidate. Obama also made an interesting language adjustment. The issue is not his experience, he said, it is his "experiences" that make him ready to lead.
CHICAGO--Moderator Tim Russert is asking about a national smoking ban. Clinton tees off, says tobacco should be regulated by the FDA--this is a reference to a long running proposal thwarted by Big Tobacco and then left to local governments to decide. Obama says similiar answer, without FDA angle.
But all the others--Dodd, Biden, Edwards, Gravel and Kucinich--said they would be for it.
CHICAGO--NBC's Tim Russert is the moderator of Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate at Dartmouth U. in New Hampshire. It's on MSNBC and will be on until 10 p.m. Chicago time. Russert threw the first question to White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Since it is likely U.S. soldiers will be in Iraq when the next president takes office in 2009, how would he end the war? Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) get pressed on the same point. Only Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said they could get the troops out by the end of the new presidents first term
CARBONDALE, ILL.--Becky Carroll, deputy chief-of-staff for Gov. Blagojevich--and a campaign veteran--will lead the bulked up Obama presidential campaign drive for women voters, conceeding no turf--or gender--to chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
The "Women for Obama" department has been perculating---Michelle Obama is the chair--and has an active organization in California, where a kick off lunch/fund-raiser was held a few weeks ago.
Hat tip to Bernie Schoenberg of from the Springfield Journal-Register who scooped this.
Ruth Marcus, a shoeleather Washington Post editorial writer looks at “The Two Obamas."
"Clinton May Erase Obama's Fund-Raising Edge in Third Quarter" is the story by Bloomberg News campaign finance expert Jonathan Salant sharing a byline with Kristin Jensen.. Hillary Clinton may blunt one of rival Barack Obama's few advantages in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination:money.
CARBONDALE, Ill.--Democrats debate tonight (8 p.m. Chicago time) at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with two hour session moderated by NBC's Tim Russert. Watch it on MSNBC.
This just in from Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman: "At the debate, look for Obama to show the country why he’s the one candidate who won’t just change the party in the White House, but will change the broken politics of Washington that has stood the way of our progress on health care, education, energy, and other critical issues for far too long."
CARBONDALE--A centerpiece of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) presidential bid is his opposition to the Iraq war. Five years ago he delivered his first anti-Iraq war speech at a rally in Chicago. Clips and photos from the speech are used in his presidential campaign to make the point he had the judgement--as a Senate candidate--to be against the Iraq invasion.
Now Obama is using the fifth anniversary of that speech as an organizing device. The campaign is planning rallies in 16 cities on Oct. to --you've heard this one before--"turn the page" in Iraq.
for the Obama release, click below..
The Washington Post editorial board looks at policy proposals in what the paper calls their "Ideas Primary" series. In Tuesday's paper, the income tax plan Obama unveiled last week gets a thumbs down (Roger, Richard, I hope you don't mind that I borrowed a thumb) review from the Post. The Posties were not swayed by Obama's proposal to drop income taxes for seniors making below $50,000. And to add an ouchie, the editorial praises a more modest plan offered by rival former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) : “Mr. Obama's Cookie Jar." washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/24/AR2007092401444_pf.html
Over at the Los Angeles Times, Scott Martelle writes about the extensive Obama field operation. The main focus of the article is Nevada. My footnote to Martelle's story.... Illinois political figures, Dem activists and members of the donor community have been/soon will be traveling on a regular basis to Iowa and New Hampshire to act as Obama "validators," reaching out to voters months before the first vote. This article underscores the David Plouffe memo released Saturday (see previous posting) that Obama is stronger than polls show because he has "hidden voters." Martelle is at “Obama Gives Shoe-Leather Lessons To Nevada's Neighbors. www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama25sep25,0,6975957,print.story?coll=la-home-nation
An excerpt about Obama's "Drive to Change" Nevada operation...
His is the only Democratic presidential campaign using this tactic, according to local observers. The idea is to augment Nevadans' volunteer work ahead of the state's Jan. 19 caucuses while learning such campaign basics as how to run phone banks, knock on doors and collect data. Obama's campaign is running similar efforts in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina - which also are holding early caucuses or primaries. ..
for more of Tuesday's Obama roundup, click below..
CARBONDALE, ILL.--The top Democratic presidential candidates return to Chicago Tuesday to pitch the partner unions who are part of the Change-to-Win labor federation. No endorsement is expected at this time.
Obama then heads to Maine for a fund-raiser. That positions him in New England, where he will travel south Wednesday for the Democratic debate in New Hampshire.
DRIVING PAST A SOY FIELD SOMEWHERE IN ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILL. (enroute to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale)--With the Sept. 30 third quarter fund-raising deadline looming, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) sent an e-mail fund-raising appeal on Monday designed to sharply increase the number of small dollar donors.
"We can prove that it's people, not dollars, that should be the measure for campaigns. So while the pundits track the mad chase for money, we will set our own course and our own goals," Obama wrote.
The strategy is to try to make the emphasis in political stories not how much a candidate raised but from how many people. When it comes to the number of donors, in the 2008 Democratic primary, Obama has locked up the bragging rights. He's got more than chief rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).
Obama has been the most effective in leveraging the social network power of the web for fund-raising, marrying it to some traditional fund-raising tools to gives donor incentives to give. At present, his newest approach is a "matching" program. He wants to maximize the 333,235 people who have donated--but still are below the federal cap of $2,300 for the primary. New donors who agree to be in the "match" program will be "matched" with "old" contributors.
The donor metric, the Obama team believes, gets too little attention is assessing a candidates strength. At present, there are a few metrics used to figure out how a campaign is doing: cash raised; cash on hand; polls; endorsements. Obama wants to add one more to the list: the donor army. Interesting, he set a goal by which he can be measured; 500,000 donations from 350,000 people. He's well on his way to reaching that goal.
"We're facing a hard deadline in less than a week. The financial reports filed after September 30th will set the tone for the last 100 days before people start voting and caucusing. The numbers will be a signal to voters in the crucial early states that our movement has the support it takes to win," Obama wrote.
WASHINGTON---A SEIU Illinois honcho I just talked to is predicting that after the executive board finishes hearing pitches from the three top Democratic campaigns, the politically powerful Service Employees International Union, meeting in Chicago, will not endorse today.
The Obama camp via Robert Gibbs in a sarcastic e-mail (he said I made him laugh. That's good, right?) thinks I did not give them credit in an earlier posting for working the SEIU meeting in Washington last week.
Rival John Edwards camp thought they had the SEIU endorsement locked up. I gave some credit to the Clinton forces for stopping Edwards-who has been working the SEIU for years because they were whipping (organizing, conting noses) at the meeting. The Illinois SEIU did not whip. But my SEIU Illinois honcho says that it was lobbying inside the executive board from the Illinois contingent that swayed leaders to be neutral for the time being.
WASHINGTON--I'm at the airport about to board a plane so I will happily quote ABC News Obama embed Jonathan Greenberger report (hat tip for getting it up so fast) on the first info coming out of the Obama campaign regarding third quarter fund-raising, which closes Sept. 30. The campaign, following how they handled 1Q and 2Q puts out number of donors first, money as late as they can. That's to build the argument that Obama's popularity is measured with thousands of real people giving him money...and not just with a polling sample.
WASHINGTON--Christopher Wills, an Associated Press reporter, got to know Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) while he was an Illinois state senator. Based in Springfield, Wills talked to Obama's poker buddies for his story, “Clues To How Obama Would Play His Hand As President Can Be Found In Poker Style”
Glenn Thrush from Newsday follows Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as closely as I do Obama. But to understand one campaign you have to know the other. Thrush files: “Obama Misses More Senate Votes Than Clinton."
Obama stumps for cash in New York today (see my previous Obamaville post) and Grace Rauh from the New York Sun files an advance.: “Obama Due Here For Fund-Raiser, Then A Rally"
And Dan Gearino from The Quad-City Times in Iowa writes about Obama's campus crusade. “Obama Banks On Campus Strategy In Iowa"
The top of Wills' story...
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Barack Obama's triumph in the 2004 U.S. Senate race earned him a memorable send-off from his friends in the Illinois legislature — they emptied his wallet in a take-no-prisoners night of poker.
"We brought him down to earth real quick," said state Sen. Terry Link, chuckling at the memory.
Obama was a regular at the low-stakes games — sometimes stud poker, sometimes draw — designed to break up the tedium of long legislative sessions. Poker, beer and cigars were staples; Democrats and Republicans, lawmakers and even the lobbyists who Obama sometimes rails against dealt the cards and placed their bets.
The traits Obama displayed around the card table those many nights are ones he brings to his presidential bid and are certain to be evident — and analyzed — if he wins the White House.
WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) does not believe in letting the public know in real time the full extent of his fund-raising activities. So today's Obamaville takes you where the candidate does not. The official schedule says that Obama is in New York. It does not reveal the series of high-end fund-raisers Obama is headlining. There's a fund-raising big push in all the campaigns as the end of the third quarter is Sept. 30.
Obama's camp is publicizing his lower dollar Sept. 27 rally in New York.
Tonight, it's "Barack on Broadway" on 42nd street.
WASHINGTON--I'll try to post the transcripts as they come out on this unusual Sunday morning where White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) does all five of the political shows. She's rarely a guest and booked the shows to make an overwhelming use of free media to talk about her health care plan.
She just finished on FOX News Sunday where she sparred with host Chris Wallace a small bit when he asked about the right wing coming after Bill and Hill.
Click below for the ABC News, CNN, Fox and Meet the Press transcripts...
WASHINGTON — With the High Holidays over, the Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns are stepping up their competition for cash from the nation’s elite and well-connected Jewish Democratic donor community.
In the 2008 White House race, all the major Democratic candidates are steadfast supporters of Israel. But donors for whom Israel is their threshold issue want to assess who has the strongest commitment. Both campaigns have Mideast advisers and circulate policy papers recapping their views and voting records in support of Israel.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the top campaign advisers to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) appear at a conference in Washington for contributors and bundlers who have raised enough to get invited to the “Clinton Jewish Leadership Finance Council Inaugural Event.”
Bundlers — who tap into their networks to raise money — must raise $100,000 to be named an event co-chair; steering committee members have a $40,000 bar, and a donor needs to raise $10,000 to attend. Clinton dines with her donors on Tuesday night on a day busy with meetings. The conference opens with Jonathan Mantz, Clinton’s national finance director and Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s top fund-raiser, briefing donors at the Frederick Douglass Museum.
WASHINGTON — Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is stalled in early primary and caucus state polls partly because his “hidden vote” does not show up in surveys, argues campaign manager David Plouffe in a memo released Saturday.
Plouffe also introduces a new notion in the 2008 Democratic primary: That chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is a “quasi-incumbent” who presides over a “political machine.”
And even though Iowa is now in a three-way tie — and the one state where former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has a decent chance of winning — Plouffe also cleverly starts to raise expectations about the need for Clinton to come in first. “Clinton will pay a severe price for not winning Iowa — national front runners always do,” Plouffe writes.
WASHINGTON---White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) cancelled his campaign schedule on Thursday in order to be in the Senate for votes. But he was one of only three senators—of either party—to take a walk and not vote yes or no on a GOP measure to condemn an ad Moveon.org ran in the New York Times against Gen. David Petraeus.
WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) unveiled a tax cut plan tailored to millions of seniors and middle-class adults with mortgages Tuesday, a few hours later firing up an after-work young professional crowd at a downtown outdoor rally here.
WASHINGTON--Monday was a long day for White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). She pitched LIUNA members in Chicago, then to Des Moines to unveil her health care plan then to Washington to appeal to the SEIU. Turns out after that, she was scheduled to be at a funder headlined by singer/pianist Michael Feinstein.
But it is a funder today co-hosted by some lobbyists and a bunch of members of Congress that is more of a problem for her because it is at the intersection of money and access. Joe Trippi, a senior advisor for rival Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) slams Clinton because among the hosts of the event are, "a select group of lobbyists with an interest in homeland security."
He adds, "Today's Clinton fundraising event is a "poster child" for what is wrong with Washington and what should never happen again with a candidate running for the highest office in the land.
That no one in the Clinton campaign—including the candidate—found anything wrong with holding this fundraiser is an indication of just how bad things have gotten in Washington—because there isn't an American outside of Washington who would not be sickened by it."
WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) earned thunderous applause Monday speaking to Service Employees International Union political activists meeting here. He's facing an uphill fight to snag one of the nation's most prized labor endorsements.
As the U.S. mortgage markets continue to stumble because of a massive failure of loans to poorly qualified individuals, Obama earlier Monday in New York called for:
WASHINGTON---In 1994, then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s complicated plan to revamp how health care is delivered in the U.S.—disparaged with the Hillarycare label-- withered under attacks from the insurance industry aimed at worrying voters who had health insurance and were anxious about change. She was also blasted then for having a secretive process for crafting her legislation.
In 2007 universal health insurance is a top domestic priority among all the 2008 Democratic candidates.
WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), launching a series of speeches to detail economic and tax proposals in New York today called for more government oversight to policy the private ratings agencies and for more transparency when it comes to making it clear a credit card will carry an outrageous interest rate.
The speech, as prepared for deliver, below...
WASHINGTON -- Organized labor is enormously influential in the Democratic primary -- an endorsement means volunteers, money and votes -- and the 2008 presidential candidates are wooing the major labor federations and member unions.
In the past months, the major Democratic campaigns have sent emissaries to Washington to meet and brief union leaders and their political teams. In the next week, three labor presidential forums -- two in Chicago -- will feature White House candidates.
• • Today and Tuesday, LIUNA (Laborers' International Union of North America) hosts a leadership conference at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.); former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) speak today in separate appearances. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pitches Tuesday. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) decided to skip the forum.
UPDATES WITH MORE REACT TO OBAMA SPEECH
WASHINGTON--White House hopefuls Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson hits top rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) following Obama's Wednesday Iraq speech where he unveiled plans billed as--using a campaign refrain--turning the page on Iraq. Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, proposed rewriting the Iraq constitution.
Richardson said. "Senator Obama has offered to turn the page in Iraq, but I think we need a new book."
Dodd, who has supported an enforceable deadline to pull troops out of Iraq. While critical of both Obama and Clinton in a statement, his most pointed criticism was aimed at Obama.
Said Dodd, "Senator Obama has a gift for soaring rhetoric, but, on this critical issue, we need to know the substance of his position with specificity. Without tying a date certain to funding how does he plan to enforce his call for an immediate redeployment?
for Dodd statement, click below....
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.--Outlaw Democratic donor John Hsu, according to the Washington Post, turns out to have played a bigger role than previously acknowledged by the Obama campaign in raising money for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). When Hsu's name surfaced as a major bundler for Obama chief White House rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y)--Hsu had an outstanding criminal warrant--and may have illegally funneled contributions--Obama gave the Hsu money to charity, as did other political figures. Hsu surrendered, went on the lam, and was caught.
This is the Washington Post lede..
Before becoming a major bundler for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, disgraced Democratic donor Norman Hsu helped host a 2005 California event for Barack Obama's political action committee and introduced the senator from Illinois to one of the biggest fundraisers for his presidential bid.
WASHINGTON--The campaign of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will hold a conference call today to highlight Federico Pena's endorsement and his being tapped as a national campaign co-chair. That keeps the niche-vote work the base theme today--pitching for female votes in San Franciso (conceed nothing to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and the upcoming appeal for Hispanic votes in Florida (conceed nothing to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson).
WASHINGTON--Here's what former President Bill Clinton--he's not against anybody, he's just for Hillary--- thinks about Barack Obama and his appeal, especially to young people. As told to CNN's Larry King on Wednesday's show.
"No, I think he is a very compelling, very able political figure. I mean, he is really smart, really articulate, really attractive, very savvy. And he is exciting to young people, you know, because he is closer to them in age.
I was there once. I get that. And he has brought a lot of excitement to the race. I think John Edwards has a certain particular appeal to part of our electorate that he has really worked hard to relate to, lower-income working people particularly, people that have been given the shaft in this modern economy and by the policies of the government, from our lights, as Democrats.
I think that -- I personally believe that the other Democrats still may make a move here. I think that if you look at Governor Richardson, he has got a -- he had two positions in my cabinet. He was in the Congress.
He has been a very good governor.
Joe Biden and Chris Dodd were two of my closest friends in the Senate, and two of Hillary's good friends. And they have rendered enormous service to this country. So this whole thing has some play in it. But as a Democrat and a citizen, I like that.
I like having a field of people running for president where I don't have to be against anybody, you know, where I can admire these people and appreciate what they bring to the race and trust the voters to make the right decision.
I feel very strongly that Hillary would be the best president. And I would go around the country trying to say why. But so I don't fear them, but do I think that they will -- they present formidable campaigns, absolutely."
WASHINGTON—Hillary Clinton is not conceding the change message to chief White House rival Barack Obama, as ads start in Iowa and New Hampshire touting her as the candidate who could “change things in this country.” Wednesday marked a new phase for the 2008 frontrunners’ campaigns, the rollout of both contenders running paid advertising at the same time. In this case, the dueling video ads on the subject of change. Minutes after Clinton’s team announced her spots via e-mail on Wednesday, the Obama campaign said an Obama change themed ad will run in Iowa.