The Frontrunner

Update: Wall Street Journal has a story out today called Republicans’ Outlook Dims for ’08. “Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, who has strengthened her lead in the race for the Democratic nomination, leads Mr. Giuliani by 48% to 43% in a potential general-election matchup after trailing by a similar margin three months ago.” and Among Democrats, Mrs. Clinton draws 39% of the vote, up from 36% in April, while Mr. Obama receives 25%, down from 31%. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, receives 15%, with Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware lagging behind at 4%.”

“Mrs. Clinton’s standing in the Democratic race follows her performances in televised debates and an attempt to downplay differences with Mr. Obama over Iraq. Though her leading rival courts Democratic voters by noting that he opposed from the start a war she voted to authorize, she enjoys a wider lead among Democrats backing an immediate troop withdrawal than among those who oppose one.”

“Moreover, on both of the rank and file’s top two characteristics for their party’s nominee — capacity to bring about change and experience for the presidency — Mrs. Clinton holds an edge. Fully 71% of Democrats rate the former first lady highly for being “knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency,” while 30% rate the first-term Sen. Obama highly on that dimension.” “Her competence campaign is working,” Mr. Newhouse said.”

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Unlike the kooks who live in a world of their own, this is truly a reality based website.

We are proud to say that we know, and are friends with, many supporters of Barack Obama and John Edwards as well as of all the other candidates (unfortunately, we don’t personally yet know any supporters of the honorable Mike Gravel). We know many many more supporters of Hillary. We know people who support all the candidates because we live in the real world. We do not live in bubbles or in echo chambers, or in political gated communities.

Many in the world of delusion boast that they do not know any Hillary supporters. These dolts take that as a matter of pride instead of a sign that they are very very very disconnected from reality. They repeat this embarrassing confession of their political isolation with pride and in defiance of the science of polling and common sense. It is quite something to observe these proud and boastful creatures, chests all puffed out, loudly proclaiming their ignorance. A few even follow their ignorant observations with the Naderite and limp threat that they will not necessarily support the eventual Democratic nominee if they do not get their way.

For the record, we will support the Democratic nominee, with vigor, whoever she is.

In recent days, because of high Hillary numbers in the polls and Hillary’s commanding presence in the first two debates, many are beginning to see this race as we do. The Quinnipiac poll even suggested it might be time to start thinking about who Hillary’s vice presidential running mate will be. We remain on full alert and active. As we wrote in The Long Road, “…the road to victory is still long and the road to national recovery even longer.”

Compare the January frontrunners from both parties. Ripublican Robert Novak writes about January Ripublican frontrunner John McCain,

The former frontrunner is now in deep trouble. With respect to the positive signs a presidential campaign can point to at this early stage — fundraising, national polls, state polls, endorsements — McCain finds himself almost empty-handed.”

Notice, on all the indicia Novak cites – fundraising, national polls, state polls, endorsements — Hillary, the Democratic January frontrunner, remains the frontrunner.

And, even though the Hillary campaign has yet to focus on general election voters, even with these non-Democratic primary voters, these political independents — Hillary is already winning. The latest numbers from Quinnipiac bear this out. Hillary beats all Ripublicans. The same cannot be said for her Democratic primary opponents (or even former Vice President Al Gore).

First, the Hillary campaign and her many supporters must work hard and every day to gain support from Democratic voters. Then we need to focus that organizational wisdom and strength to win the Democratic caucuses and primaries. Then the Democratic family unites.

We are not arrogant when we say we know we have the strongest standard bearer. We know Hillary is a hard working winner. We will continue to quietly work away, daily, until Hillary actually gets the Democratic nomination and then – the united Democratic Party turns its redemptive firepower on the Ripublicans who have looted and debased this country.

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The Chicago Collector

“Antoin Rezko, an entrepreneur of considerable charm who found riches in fast food and real estate, is known around Chicago as a collector of politicians.”

Thus begins the New York Times first timid toe dipping into the Obama-Rezko scandal waters. We wrote yesterday that

David Axelrod, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama must reconsider their stonewalling of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. Guys, the story is not going away. The Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, two very big newspapers, know they have a big Pulitzer story here and they will keep on digging and digging and digging until the shovels hit the coffin.”

Yesterday, Wolf Blitzer on CNN reported on the story and today the New York Times has joined in. The smell is spreading.

“Back in the 1990s, Mr. Rezko’s office was adorned with framed photos of candidates he viewed as up-and-comers. Among them was Barack Obama, a state legislator whose first campaign donations included $2,000 from Mr. Rezko’s companies. As Mr. Obama built a career that carried him to the Senate in 2004, Mr. Rezko was there with him, holding fund-raisers and rallying support.”

“Now, as Mr. Obama runs for president, the once-beneficial relationship with his old friend and patron has become problematic.”

Instead of answering questions Barack and Michelle Obama are hiding from the press. Guys, this will not work. Big Media is setting you up for a big fall in the fall. Answer the questions fully now.

“Mr. Obama says he never did any favors for Mr. Rezko, who raised about $150,000 for his campaigns over the years and was once one of the most powerful men in Illinois. There is no sign that Mr. Obama, who declined to be interviewed for this article, did anything improper.

Mr. Obama has portrayed Mr. Rezko as a one-time fund-raiser whom he had occasionally seen socially. But interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated.”

The New York Times recaps some of the Obama-Rezko financial entanglements too:

“Mr. Obama turned to Mr. Rezko for help at several important junctures. Records show that when Mr. Obama needed cash in the waning days of his losing 2000 Congressional campaign, Mr. Rezko rounded up thousands of dollars from business contacts. In 2003, Mr. Rezko helped Mr. Obama expand his fund-raising for the Senate primary by being host of a dinner at his Mediterranean-style home for 150 people, including some whose names have since come up in the influence scandal.”

“And when Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, bought a house in 2005, Mr. Rezko stepped in again. Even though his finances were deteriorating, Mr. Rezko arranged for his wife to buy an adjacent lot, and she later sold the Obamas a 10-foot-wide strip of land that expanded their yard.”

The land sale occurred after it had been reported that Mr. Rezko was under federal investigation. That awkward fact prompted Mr. Obama, who has cast himself as largely free from the normal influences of politics, to express regret over what he called his own bad judgment.”

Political finance watchdogs will soon start digging too,

“Senator Obama is a very intelligent man, and everyone by then was very familiar with who Tony Rezko was,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonpartisan research group. “So it was a little stunning that so late in the game Senator Obama would still have such close involvement with Rezko.”

The New York Times also explores the Obama-Rezko house deal which we have written about. The New York Times does not understand that in fact the house and yard were originally one parcel of land until Obama asked the owners to split the yard from the house. It appears Obama gained $925,000 from this transaction and was able to get the house he could not afford.

“By 2004, Mr. Rezko’s pizza restaurants were in trouble, and creditors were suing him. Yet after the Obamas bid $1.65 million for their house in January 2005, Mr. Rezko got involved. Mr. Obama has said that he mentioned the deal to Mr. Rezko.”

“People familiar with the transaction said that the sellers did not want to close until that June 15, and that the sale would go through only if someone bought the adjacent lot from them on the same date. Rita Rezko paid $625,000 to outbid others for the lot and later sold the Obamas one-sixth of that land, for $104,500.”

We have written about this story many times before. As long as Obama does not answer the questions he must answer, that all presidential candidates must answer, we fear we will be writing about this again. We wrote in Turning Pages Part II that this story is growing. Obama must stop turning pages and answer questions.

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