Election 2008

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  Obama And Clinton Hold First Post-Primary EventJune 27, 2008 20:47 Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton came to this tiny town of Unity on Friday for their first public appearance after a bitter primary fight. Less certain was whether Unity would come to them.

“We had a spirited dialogue,” acknowledged Mrs. Clinton, speaking first before a crowd of roughly 3,000, many laughing.

She was referring to the presidential nomination campaign, not the extended time the former rivals spent together Friday en route to the premiere of what the Obama campaign hopes will be a long-running buddy movie, at least through November. “That was the nicest way I could think of phrasing it,” Mrs. Clinton added, to more laughter.

Unity was both the venue and the watchword of the heavily choreographed event, held on the grounds of an old elementary school, adjoined by fields of wildflowers. Event organizers were hoping to evoke the feel of a latter-day Woodstock — only with better weather, more portable toilets and no skinny-dipping. It was left to the main acts, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, to supply the peace and love.

“Unity is not only a beautiful place, as we can see, it’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?” Mrs. Clinton said while Mr. Obama sat on a stool, nodding in agreement.

A few minutes later, Mr. Obama said of his vanquished rival, “I know firsthand how good she is, how tough she is, how passionate she is, how committed she is.”

Woodstock or no, Unity at least provided the ultimate festival for students of political body language. Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and Mrs. Clinton appeared arm in arm, waving to a cheering crowd. U2’s “Beautiful Day” blared over loudspeakers, sputtering out for a few nervous seconds before recovering. Mr. Obama’s too-long blue tie went nicely with Mrs. Clinton’s blue pantsuit.

 
  Obama And Clinton Scheduled To Campaign Together Next WeekJune 21, 2008 00:17 Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will take the next big step in unifying the Democratic Party Friday, campaigning together for the first time, Obama's campaign announced yesterday.

In a conference call with reporters, communications director Robert Gibbs declined to provide details of the joint event - such as what city it will be in - saying that the logistics are still being worked out. Thursday, the two are scheduled to appear in Washington with some of Clinton's major financial supporters. One of the key unresolved issues is how much help Obama will give Clinton to repay the $19.5 million she owed at the end of April, including $10 million she loaned her own campaign.

The two senators went at it for nearly a year and a half before Obama clinched the nomination after the final primaries June 3, they met privately two days later, and Clinton formally conceded and endorsed him on June 7.

John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is aggressively courting Clinton supporters, particularly women who have suggested to pollsters that they might defect from the Democratic Party to register their anger over how she was treated.
  Candidates Clash On TerrorismJune 17, 2008 21:56 The campaigns of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama on Tuesday engaged in a heated exchange over the rights of terrorism suspects, with each side accusing the other of embracing a policy that would put the country at risk of more attacks in the future.

In a Tuesday morning conference call with reporters, McCain advisers criticized Obama as "naive" and "delusional" in his approach to the handling of terrorism suspects after he expressed support for last week's Supreme Court decision granting detainees the right to seek habeas corpus hearings. Obama fired back, saying the Republicans who had led failed efforts to capture Osama bin Laden lacked the standing to criticize him on the issue.

The exchange marked the general election's first real engagement over the campaign against terrorism and demonstrated that both sides are confident that they have a winning message on the issue.

McCain's aides seized, in particular, on remarks Obama made during a Monday interview with ABC News. In it, he praised the handling of the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center attackers, who, with one exception, were put on trial and sent to prison.

"He's advocating a policy of delusion," Randy Scheunemann, a McCain adviser, said of Obama (D-Ill.). Former CIA director R. James Woolsey Jr. said Obama's attitude "ignores that we are in a war against terrorism."

Scheunemann described Obama as having the "perfect manifestation of a Sept. 10 mind-set," saying he "does not understand the nature of the enemy as we face it."

Separately, the McCain campaign circulated a statement by former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani that said: "Barack Obama appears to believe that terrorists should be treated like criminals -- a belief that underscores his fundamental lack of judgment regarding our national security."

Obama did not back away from the fight.

"Let's think about this: These are the same guys who helped engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11," Obama told reporters on his campaign plane. He said his statements about Guantanamo Bay were intended to suggest that suspects have a right to be heard, not freed, and accused McCain (R-Ariz.) of playing political games on national security.

"What they're trying to do is what they've done every election cycle, which is to use terrorism as a club to make the American people afraid," Obama said.
  Gore To Appear With ObamaJune 16, 2008 14:04 Former Vice President Al Gore will appear in Detroit tonight for his debut campaign appearance with Senator Barack Obama, extending an endorsement and urging all Democrats to rally behind the party’s fall ticket.

“A few hours from now I will step on stage in Detroit, Michigan to announce my support for Senator Barack Obama,” Mr. Gore said in an e-mail sent to his supporters. “From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States.”

Throughout the long Democratic primary, Mr. Gore talked frequently to Mr. Obama. But tonight’s rally at the Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit marks the first time they will appear together on the same stage. The endorsement was announced – on Mr. Gore’s terms – to supporters on his vast e-mail list.

“I’ve never asked members of AlGore.com to contribute to a political campaign before, but this moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action,” Mr. Gore said. He added, “Over the past 18 months, Barack Obama has united a movement. He knows change does not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It begins when people stand up and take action.”
  How Mccain And Obama Will Change Your Tax BillJune 11, 2008 10:08

Interesting breakdown:

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Here's how the average tax bill could change in 2009 if either John McCain's or Barack Obama's tax proposals were fully in place.
  MCCAIN OBAMA
Income Avg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567

  With Fall Vote In View, Obama Assails Mccain On EconomyJune 09, 2008 16:27 Senator Barack Obama, with the Democratic stage to himself for the first time, began a two-week assault on Senator John McCain’s economic policies in a series of battleground states on Monday, moving to define the general election campaign by focusing on the economy as the central theme.

In a speech at the North Carolina state fairgrounds here, Mr. Obama assailed Mr. McCain, the likely Republican nominee for president, for what he characterized as a dangerous ignorance of economic matters. His remarks signaled how he plans to pound away at his core argument: that electing Mr. McCain would mean four more years of what he termed the failed economic programs of the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama used the address to reach out to lower-income and lesser-educated Americans who rejected him in the Democratic primaries in favor of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who formally conceded the race on Saturday and pledged her support for Mr. Obama.

The speech came at the start of a tour that suggested where the Obama campaign saw the key battlegrounds in November: Monday’s speech was in North Carolina, which has long voted for Republican presidential candidates but which has a large black population, and he will be traveling to Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida to press the economic theme.

In his remarks on Monday. Mr. Obama spoke of hard-pressed workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana struggling to pay their bills and afford gasoline for their cars. He laid the blame squarely at the feet of President Bush and his Republican enablers, including Senator McCain.

“We did not arrive at the doorstep of our current economic crisis by some accident of history,” Mr. Obama said to an invitation-only audience here. “This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle that was beyond our power to avoid. It was the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long.”

He added a moment later: “We were promised a fiscal conservative. Instead, we got the most fiscally irresponsible administration in history. And now John McCain wants to give us another. Well, we’ve been there once. Were not going back.”
  Obama Attacks Mccain On EconomyJune 09, 2008 14:05 Just as Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama break from the starting gate in their race for the White House, zooming oil prices and unemployment rates are highlighting the economy as the nation's No. 1 campaign issue.

Obama, who has eliminated Sen. Hillary Clinton as his last challenger for the Democratic nomination, today launched an 11-day campaign tour, starting in Raleigh, N.C., with a bareknuckle attack on his Republican rival.

Obama ticked off a litany of economic woes: last week's gas price spike, a jump in unemployment figures, 320,000 U.S. jobs lost since January, along with the rising cost of food, health care and tuition.

He complimented McCain as a war hero who has shown some independence from President Bush on certain issues, but the economy is not one of those issues, Obama said.

"The centerpiece of his economic plan amounts to a full-throated endorsement of George Bush's policies," Obama declared, citing his support of Bush's tax cuts -- cuts that he notes McCain once opposed.

Obama ridiculed as "outrageous" McCain's support for corporate tax relief which he said would give $1.2 billion in tax cuts to Exxon/Mobile, "a company that just recorded the highest profits in history."

And the Democratic presidential candidate highlighted McCain's reluctance to help homeowners threatened by foreclosure, saying, "McCain wants to turn Bush's policy of 'too little, too late' into a policy of 'even less, even later.'"

Obama's own proposals include a second round of rebate checks that would amount to $50 billion "to help those who've been hit hardest by this economic downturn."
  Obama Or Mccain? How Will America Fare Under The 44Th Commander-In-Chief?June 07, 2008 20:49 Up to a point he has been a success. As he formally kicks off his 2012 re-election campaign, Barack Obama is easily the most famous man in the world, still an icon of cool, still conveying the promise of better yet to come, even if the feeling persists that he has not fully delivered.

He has pulled most US troops out of Iraq, and not only resisted Israeli pressure to attack Iran but – in the first far-reaching talks between the two countries in more than 30 years – struck an accommodation with the moderate President Ali Larijani in Tehran that has increased stability in Iraq and across the Middle East.

More important, led by the first black President in its history, America has recovered some (though not all) of the reputation and goodwill squandered by George Bush. The country is a serious participant in global talks on climate change. It has placed a new priority on diplomacy. Yet neither, as his Republican critics charged during his first campaign in 2008, has Obama been a pushover for America's foes.

The cynical fear-mongering of the Bush era has gone. Obama has waged a smarter "war on terror", focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has carried out his 2007 threat to strike al-Qa'ida and Taliban bases inside Pakistan without waiting for permission from an ambivalent government in Islamabad. But even Obama has not been able to reverse the iron truth of history – that, sooner or later, relative economic decline translates into lesser military diplomatic clout as well.

 
  The Associated Press: Franken Wins Endorsement For Senate In MinnesotaJune 07, 2008 20:46 Al Franken won a resounding endorsement for the U.S. Senate on Saturday from Minnesota Democrats, quickly dispatching with concerns about jokes that offended some and promising a tough challenge to Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

"To the people of Minnesota, let me say this: I'm not a perfect person," said Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" writer and performer. "I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers. But I'll tell the truth, I will keep my spine, and I will work for you."

Franken's only competitor, college professor and peace activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, withdrew after Franken passed the necessary 60 percent threshold on the first ballot. Nelson-Pallmeyer proposed that delegates unanimously back Franken, putting him over the top.

Franken's show of strength came as something of a surprise after a rocky few weeks in which some Democrats, led by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, criticized a racy column he wrote for Playboy magazine in 2000 and, earlier this week, joking comments he was reported to have made about rape that were included in a 1995 New York magazine article about "Saturday Night Live."

Rumors flew that Franken's support was collapsing, and that other candidates were considering a late entry into the endorsement stakes. Franken finally tackled the controversy head-on in his nomination speech to delegates, where he said some of the things he said and wrote over 35 years as a writer were "downright offensive."

"I understand that," Franken said. "And I understand that the people of Minnesota deserve a senator who won't say things that make them feel uncomfortable."

Nelson-Pallmeyer said he would work for Franken's election and won't run in the Democratic primary in September, and for now Franken is facing no opposition. But trial attorney Mike Ciresi, who dropped out of the endorsement race several months ago, has said in recent days that he is considering running in the primary.
  For Clintons Women Fans, Mourning And AngerJune 04, 2008 15:37 If there is any city where Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has a fan club, it is New York -– home of the well-paid and highly educated women who have been her backers and donors every political step of the way and who made up the base that helped get her elected junior senator from the state.
So if Tuesday night was a bittersweet evening for Mrs. Clinton, it was even more so for these hard-core supporters, who came to cheer her on and pledge their fidelity, as Mrs. Clinton gave her final primary night speech at Baruch College in Manhattan and hedged on whether she would stay in the race.
But with reality bumping up against hope, many of these women left the event both proud of their candidate, yet deflated by the near-certain knowledge that she will not be her party’s nominee in the fall.
While they enthusiastically applauded her fighting spirit and her determination to stay the course, they also knew that her campaign may be quixotic -– and some expressed painful disappointment.

For many of these women, it was not just a matter of politics, but of identity. Older, more affluent, and often business-minded, Mrs. Clinton’s live audience last night resembled a more mature version of the cast of “Sex and the City.” Still, while they may be wearing Donna Karan and look as if life has treated them well, many said her struggle to gain the nomination -– and the insults they believe Mrs. Clinton has endured along the way -– mirrors their own struggles in life and in the corporate world.

 
  Obama Urges Unity, Thanks All Who Made Victory PossibleJune 04, 2008 10:57 Sen. Barack Obama said Wednesday he can unify his party after a hard-fought primary that divided Democrats but helped teach America's children that the Oval Office was within anyone's reach.

"I have heard from a number of people already, both black and white, that their kids -- 7, 8, 9 years old -- take for granted now that, of course, a black can run for president, that a woman can run for president," he said. "There is a matter-of-factness to it that I think bodes well for the future."

The Illinois senator said it was "an enormous honor" and "very humbling" to be the first African-American to lead a major party ticket for president.

"You think about all the people who had to knock down barriers for me to walk through this door," he said in a Senate hallway. "And the challenges they went through were so much more difficult, so much more severe, and the risks they took were so much greater that I will say, last night standing in that auditorium, it struck me that it was testimony to them."

Asked if he was disappointed Clinton did not concede outright after Obama topped the requisite 2,118-delegate baseline, the presumptive Democratic nominee said his priority was unifying the party.

"I just spoke to [Clinton] today, and we are going to be having a conversation in the coming weeks," Obama said. "I am very confident how unified the Democratic Party is going to be to win in November."