Casualties: Barack Obama And The Battle Of Charleston

Barack Obama does not seem to know what condition his precondition is in. Late Friday, we thought the matter was settled when Obama made a declarative statement regarding his intent to hold meetings with Holocaust deniers and other rogue leaders: “My theory is you do and you do it without preconditions.”

Of course, that statement contradicted previous denials of such intent by his staff. Obama himself had pre-contradicted himself when, on the Sunday before the debate – regarding any meeting with President Chavez, Obama stated that such meeting would be “under certain conditions”

Confused yet? As we wrote, we and everyone else, thought the matter was settled when Obama made his “you do it without preconditions” statement late on Friday the 27th. However, the Obama campaign fooled us all. By Saturday, it looks like Obama flipped and flopped — yet again.

Here’s what happened according to the Des Moines Register. On Saturday, July 28 former Iowa Governor and current Hillary supporter Tom Vilsack “held a phone conference with national reporters, saying he is disappointed with Barack Obama and noted several instances of what Vilsack said were discrepancies in Obama’s recent statements.”

“Vilsack specifically noted a column in the Miami Herald this week. That column quoted Obama as saying he would meet with Venezuala President Hugo Chavez “under certain conditions.”

That’s significant because it goes to the heart of the spat between Obama and Clinton, making it appear as if Obama agrees with Clinton despite his recent comments.

“I would hope the senator would clarify his comments as to whether or not he is for preconditions or not and would cease and desist from distorting the record and comments of senator Clinton.”

Soon thereafter, surprise, surprise:

Obama’s Iowa Press Secretary Tommy Vietor responded, saying Obama never set preconditions off the table: “He never said he would invite dictators over for a cup of coffee and he said he wouldn’t let these dictators use him as a propaganda tool,” Vietor said. “What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them.”

What????

Is it time for Obama to Blame The Staff again?

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34 thoughts on “Casualties: Barack Obama And The Battle Of Charleston

  1. DesMoinesRegister has an article out this morning. It’s mainly he said, she said stuff. However, from the tone, I can feel this paper is not too ho ho on Obama.

    Hillary Clinton supporter and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack on Saturday pointed out what he said were discrepancies in Barack Obama’s recent statements about meeting with foreign dictators and said, “I would hope the senator would clarify his comments as to whether or not he is for preconditions or not and would cease and desist from distorting the record and comments of Senator Clinton.”

    Vilsack specifically noted a column in the Miami Herald last week quoting the Illinois senator as saying he would meet with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez “under certain conditions.” Obama and Clinton have argued in debates about preconditions for meeting with foreign dictators.

    Obama’s Iowa Press Secretary Tommy Vietor responded, saying Obama has been “entirely consistent. He never said he would invite dictators over for a cup of coffee, and he said he wouldn’t let these dictators use him as a propaganda tool. What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them.”

    Obama, in an exclusive interview with The Des Moines Register on Tuesday, said that diplomatic groundwork would need to be laid and that envoys would need to be sent to hostile countries before key leaders met. On Friday, however, he told a crowd in Adel that his theory is “you do and you do without precondition.”

    Vietor said the difference is between the definition of “preparation and precondition. Precondition comes with stipulations, such as demands to sign treaties, he said.

    Obama campaigned Saturday in Des Moines. He also released a letter that will be mailed to thousands of undecided Iowa Democrats who placed foreign policy or the war in Iraq as the most important issue in the presidential race.

    That letter, written by former Iowa House minority leader Richard Myers, calls Obama “the clearest distinction and rejection of the Bush-era foreign policy,” and also says that the “critical policy distinction offers Iowans an opportunity to choose a candidate that will truly turn the page on the foreign policy mistakes of the Bush administration.”

    Obama has noted his “hope monger” nickname in previous speeches, but on Saturday he added emphasis to his can-do attitude toward ending the war in Iraq and resolving tensions between the United States and other nations. He pleaded “guilty as charged” to being a “hope monger,” referencing a nationally publicized dissension between himself and Clinton on foreign policy.

    “They call me a hope peddler, a hope monger. But you know … I stand guilty as charged. I’m a hopeful person,” Obama told a crowd of about 600 people who gathered to hear him at the Heritage Carousel in Union Park.

  2. I believe Obama will have a very difficult time in IA. He does not seem to gain any traction. Unlike Howard Dean, Obama has no natural consitituent. Iowa consists of mainly white, old voting population. Hillary is expected to lock up the women voters there; the traditional anti-war, peacenik will probably split between Edwards and Obama, white male voters are also Edwards’ natural constituent; Other voters who voted for Kerry but are not sold on Hillary, especially male voters will probably take a look at Richardson/Biden/Dodd.

    Obama’s only natural consistuent will be some empty college campuses coming into Jan. I hope Richardson will overtake him, this is even more important than Hillary to edge out Edwards in the end. If Obama finishes in fourth place, he’s toast from get-go.

    After some thinking, the best scenario I can imagine is as follows:

    1. Edwards with a decent but not overwhelming margin
    2. Hillary
    3. Richardson
    4. Obama

  3. DesMoinesRegister has a decent profile on Richardson:

    “Can I call you Reggie?” asks the New Mexico governor.

    It’s a bit random, since that’s not my name, or even close to it, but whatever.

    “Sure,” I reply, “but I can’t promise to answer to it.”

    My interview with Bill Richardson is off to an interesting start. You can tell right away he’s a different kind of presidential candidate. It’s not just his laid-back, average-guy demeanor in a field dominated by glamour-pusses. He’s comfortable enough not to carefully weigh every word.

    Then again, he not only can afford to be different; he has to be. Most Democrats say they want the same things: universal health coverage, renewable energy, out of Iraq. If Richardson is to topple front-runners Clinton and Obama, he’ll have to distinguish himself. He hopes to do that in part by being a regular guy:

    “I’m not perfect. I struggle with my weight. I don’t buy fancy clothes. I don’t listen to my pollsters. I’m trying to earn [Iowans’] support, not trying to wow them with my credentials.”

    People say they like that. But polls say he’s got a long way to go. On that day, a national poll had him at 2 percent, below even Dennis Kucinich. A June Iowa Poll, however, showed him with 13 percent here, and a July CNN poll in New Hampshire had him third there, with 11 percent.

    As we were talking, Iowa Poll director Ann Seltzer came over and introduced herself.

    “When’s the next poll?” asked the man who doesn’t listen to pollsters. “I can’t tell you,” she replied. “How about 50 bucks?” he suggested.

    He says his crowds are getting bigger: “Not Obama crowds, but decent.” A series of humorous, self-deprecating TV ads have helped raise his profile. People like a guy who isn’t too much of a star or a stud to poke fun at himself.

    Some other things about Richardson: He doesn’t knock his opponents. He praises Barack Obama’s substance and Joe Biden’s and Chris Dodd’s service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    But he’s a lot more than his personal style. He’s got a unique mix of experiences, having directly negotiated with other countries as U.N. ambassador and run a state (New Mexico) and a key federal agency (energy).

    He approaches the rest of the world with a refreshing respect and takes the long view on building good foreign relations. Partly he credits growing up in two worlds, Anglo and Latino. He won’t, he notes, tell Sudan’s leader, “You’re the world’s worst dictator.” He’ll engage. He’d talk to the heads of “enemy” countries such as Iran and Syria, lift the trade embargo with Cuba, rejoin the Kyoto treaty and help the Third World with debt relief.

    He’d show that America cares about more than Middle Eastern oil, he says, by extending loans to small businesses abroad, communicating with young Muslims, appointing an envoy to the Muslim world.

    Back home, Richardson would use tax incentives to help start-up businesses and eliminate tax cuts for companies sending jobs abroad. He’d plow money into research and development, from stem cells to a new Green Revolution.

    Some of his priorities sound a bit simplistic and pandering, such as a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, and tying elected officials’ salaries to lowering the debt. But Richardson has enough good ideas to make up for the weaker ones.

    He just doesn’t have the money or big-name endorsements, though he did pick up one from Robert Fulton, who was Iowa’s governor for 16 days in 1969.

    Well, it’s a start. Keep your eye on Richardson. Slow and steady just could be his ticket.

  4. Adm…Love what condition my condition is in !!!

    Richardson would be a great VP choice for HRC. He has all the necessary qualifications. Gets along well with others… The more exposure for him in the debates, the better the people get to know him. He is definately one for consideration for the VP slot.

    Mrs.S

  5. I JUST DROPPED IN

    He pushed his soul in a deep dark hole and then he followed it in

    I watched him crawlin’ out as he was a-crawlin’ in

    He got up so tight and couldn’t unwind

    Then he said so much that he broke his mind

    I just dropped in to see what condition his precondition was in

  6. Mrs. Smith

    Do you post on myDD? I strongly urge everybody here to join myDD. myDD is becoming more and more Hillary friendly. They have far fewer posters there and the traffic is decent. We can make that place a Hillary stronghold, which will be extraordinary considering the hostility towards Hillary on liberal blogs.

  7. Good idea, kostner. I used to be a regular on democraticunderground.com but left because it was so anti-Hillary.

  8. What are we to make of the polls showing Richardson moving close to 3rd in Iowa? There is a posting at DD that shows all the current polls in different states–Obama is clearly going into a dive in most. But the Richardson surge in Iowa–is it because he advocates quick withdrawl from Iraq, because he clearly has a lot of experience (and does this bode well for Hillary), because of a disenchantment with Obama or is it those independent minded Iowans just showing interest in a candidate other than the frontrunners to shake things up? Is is a combination of all of the above?

    Just curious–I’m not astute like many of you out there so I thought this might be interesting to look at in regard to Obama’s current troubles. I know Richardson is looked on as a likely vice-presidential pick for Hillary if she gets the nomination.

  9. Paula,

    You are absolute right. There’s no need to pick up a fight in a place you can’t win. But if we’re smart, we can join force and occupy the small online liberal outlet. MyDD seems to be a good start. The traffic is decent. There’re lot of Obamaniacs we should do battle with. Right now, we can ally with Edwards supporters there.

  10. First of all, let’s refresh our memory of the latest Research 2000 Iowa poll taken between July 23th and July 25th.

    Candidate KCCI Poll (May)
    Edwards 27 (26)
    Clinton 22 (28)
    Obama 16 (22)
    Richardson 11 (7)
    Biden 3 (2)
    Dodd 2 (2)
    Kucinich 2 (2)
    Gravel 1 (1)
    Undecided 16 (10)

    Richardson is the only candidate in this poll that has gained momentum since May. The press always works the same predictable way, polls always drive storylines. It looks like Richardson, for the first time, got a very decent coverage in the influential DesMoines Register this morning.

    Let’s just do a brief analysis on the dynamics of Iowa race. Make no mistake, this is going to be a very tight race, and it is very fluid at the moment.

    Iowa consists of mainly white old voting population. Hillary’s natural constituency is obviously women; Edwards’ natural constituency is white male and tradional liberal, anti-war voting bloc, of which Obama also has a share. This leaves some Kerry voters who are not sold on either Hillary or Edwards up for grab. Who are these people? What do they value the most in a candidate’s credentials. Based this poll and Richardson’s ‘discredited’ internal poll, it does seem to me these people are more interested in candidates with the right experience, they have largely taken a pass on Obama even with his early ads buys in that state focused mainly on his resume. This is why Richardson is gaining some visible traction in polls despite his underwhelming performances in debates.

    All these developments put Obama in a very precarious position in Iowa. From a couple of reports I’ve seen he does not seem to get as large crowd in Iowa as in other parts of the country. He got about 600 people yesterday at a rally, the July 4th weekend rallies were also underwhelming. Going into Jan, his most adamant consitituency will likely be the empty college campuses left in dust.

    I wouldn’t be surprised and frankly I’m hoping for the following results in Iowa for obvious reason.

    Edwards (with a decent but not overwhelming margin)
    Hillary
    Richardson
    Obama

    If the next couple of polls follow this pattern, it is going to be very good for Hillary.

  11. Kostner, thank you for the overview of the Iowa race. I am still an ignorant newbie in understanding politics although I’m learning more everyday. The posts here have been very good in giving an objective overview of what is happening and I appreciate that people take the time to post on these forums to clarify things.

  12. RE: KCCI poll

    The may poll had a 5 point margin of error. I suspect
    this polll has the same. With the numbers bunched
    as tightly as they are, I don’t think anyone has a clear
    lead. Only internal tracking can really determine
    what is going on.

    If I am not mistaken, Iowa’s delegates will be proportional
    to the caucus. If that is the case and there is no clear
    winner, Iowa’s importance to the process will be
    deminished. A winner by a point or two will be a hollow
    exept for the pundits going nuts over it.

  13. From Staff to JoeFriday:

    Had never heard of the song before 2 days ago. Just googled for the lyrics to the song. You’ve written better lyrics. We are going to have to monitor news reports continuously until we figure out what condition Obama’s precondition is in; or even what precondition Obama’s precondition is in.

    We’ve noticed that Obama supporters have been trying to differentiate between “conditions” as in the Miami Herald article and the “no preconditions” at the debate. Their first attempt, like Axelrod’s, was to deny Obama was against actually having preconditions and that there was NO DIFFERENCE between his position and the Hillary/Edwards/Biden etc. position.

    Then on Friday, JoeFriday, Obama eroded that defense when he said there was A BIG DIFFERENCE between his position and Hillary/Edwards/Biden’s etc. position. With the latest Saturday statement by Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor the Obama campaign is now back to saying there is NO DIFFERENCE between Obama and Hillary/Edwards/Biden.

    The question to be answered is whether the confusion is a sign of the utter shambles the Obama campaign is in? For Obama supporters Vietor and Obama have both used the word “precondition” and not a variant so Obama supporters don’t have that distinction to hang on to anymore.

    Another question which has been ignored is whether Edwards and Biden and all the others who agree with Hillary are also “Bush/Cheney lite” according to Obama.

    At some point the numbskulls at those campaigns will realize that if they want attention they need to get in the game. The only attention Edwards got this week was when he talked about the Hillary and Obama situation. Considering Edwards released a major tax plan this week you would think his campaign and media people would realize they should discuss the Battle of Charleston if they want any media coverage at all. The Edwards/Biden campaigns seem to be brain dead. If they think they will profit from the fight the top 2 are having and therefore they should not get involved, then Edwards/Biden are really fools.

  14. To all Hill fans,

    When you browse myDD, please recommend any pro-Hillary diaries there. It does not take a lot of recommendations to get on the ‘rec. list’. For example,
    GeorgeP wrote a ‘Not doing well in polls probable reason for Obama’s overreach’ diary, it only took 7 Hillary fans to get it on the list. Usually, we hill fans are too lazy to recommend any pro Hill. diary, that list is occupied by lots of garbage.

    To Admin,
    I think Edwards is treading the water here. He can’t jump in to reiterate his agreement with Hillary, in doing so, he’s afraid of losing those nutnets flank to Obama. They are basically vying for the same pie.

    I’m perperlexed by the other second-tier candidates’ inaction. These guys are extremely incompetent. They need every media attention. Just as you said, they are probalby brain dead.

  15. Hi Admin,

    Some people posted a tip on mydd. I believe the interview is worth listening.

    Guys you should listen to Mike Towery’s webcast on this website , he had an interview with Lee Bandy who is like the dean of South Carolina politics and they are suggesting dems in South Carolina are rallying behind Hillary Clinton and Obama has lost his initial spark. Lee Bandy and indeed Eugene Robinson who is from South Carolina are saying they are seeing momentum swing to Hillary Clinton on the ground , eugene earlier in the year said he saw it for obama . This could be temporary anyway.

    http://insideradvantagegeorgia.com/webca st.php

  16. Hi Admin,

    Somebody posted a weblink to an interview tih SC’s Lee Bandy who has good reputation in feeling the pulse of SC politics. It’s defiinitely worth listening. He also published an artile, which is now on Hillaryhub.

    He observed the dramatic swing to Hillary in that state, used words like ‘flash in the pan’ to describe Obama…. I posted the link, but it did not show up.

    Guys you should listen to Mike Towery’s webcast on this website , he had an interview with Lee Bandy who is like the dean of South Carolina politics and they are suggesting dems in South Carolina are rallying behind Hillary Clinton and Obama has lost his initial spark. Lee Bandy and indeed Eugene Robinson who is from South Carolina are saying they are seeing momentum swing to Hillary Clinton on the ground , eugene earlier in the year said he saw it for obama . This could be temporary anyway.

  17. Staff,

    “You’ve written better lyrics”

    Now if we could just get somebody to set those lyrics to the original music à la Mush Limbaugh, and upload it to YouTube.

    :]

    BTW, were you folks throwing stuff at your TeeVee as I was this morning ?

    I watched in amazement as Russert, Dan Balz, Eugene Robinson, Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd and Ron Brownstein on ‘Meet the Republicans’, Matthews, Michael Duffy, Kelly O’Donnell, David Ignatius, and Gloria Borger on ‘The Chris Matthews Show’, Stephanopoluos, Cokie Roberts, David Gergan, and Fareed Zakaria on ‘This Week’, and Jim Vandehei on ‘Face the Nation’, ALL misrepresented Senator Clinton’s position in regards to the foreign policy question asked during the debate (Not that I’m sticking up for him, but Harwood on MTP was the only one that stuck to his recollection of events and still stated that Clinton clearly came out ahead).

    They either claimed that Clinton would not meet with the specified leaders and Obama would – not true, she merely balked at the “no preconditions” and the timing, OR they claimed Obama was for changing our current diplomatic stance and opening up diplomatic relations with the specified nations and Clinton was not – again not true, as it was part of her original answer in the debate that Senator Clinton advocated rejecting the current diplomatic failures and opening up lower level diplomatic relations with these countries, OR they claimed BOTH.

    Now, these Media Whores are well-educated, articulate people. Are we to believe that they cannot read or their hearing is faulty ?

    PLEASE.

  18. I don’t think we should give up on DU so quickly. It appears that it is starting to self-segregate which is atrocious given that we are all Democrats (allegedly) but, as far as the primary season goes, it is fine by me because Paula is right–the Hillary hatred there is grotesque. The mockery, condescension, and outright lies are tough to stomach. But Hillary hatred exists most places. Because it is possible to pick and choose what posters to read and which ones to skip over (and I do it all the time now), I only respond to neutral or pro-Hillary posts. There are many Hillary supporters at DU, and they (and we) need positive comments for encouragement and support.

    There are also many silent readers there that can be influenced by a large pro-Hillary contingent. A week or so ago there was a post about BO’s inexperience. It wasn’t a hit piece; it may have been a repost of an article, I can’t recall exactly now. What I remember was my amazement at the dozens (and dozens!) of responses from people whose post names I had never seen before but who were adamantly never going to vote for BO because of his lack of experience. I just think that there are more Hillary people there than we think.

    All of that being said, I think we should also frequent MyDD because, while we can’t be everywhere, we can be in more than two places.

  19. Joe Friday,

    I only saw This Week with George Stephanopolous. I was disappointed that the roundtable only discussed Hillary’s alleged attack, “inexperienced and frankly naive,” which is not an attack because it is an opinion. They also ignored BO’s attack on Hillary, which was an attack because it was name-calling. But when the segment was over I realized that my general impression of the roundtable was positive for Hillary. To “semi-quote” Oscar Wilde, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” (I say “semi-quote” because I don’t have the actual quote in front of me so I am going from memory.) They didn’t do BO any favors by talking mostly about Hillary. In fact…and I could be wrong, we are in the realm of total intuition here…but I got the sense that some or all of that roundtable have come to the conclusion that BO is just not going to make it.

  20. Admin,

    That was great. Love it, Love it. Very funny, yet very true.

    In addition, I lost my password for my account under userID lonnette33 and I believe I input the incorrect email address. When I try to obtain my password, it is sent to the wrong email address. Therefore, I had to create another account another userID adriennewright. Is there a way for me obtain my password for my lonnette33 userID?

  21. Thank you, SactoDem. Perhaps I’ll start frequenting DU again, lol.

    BTW, does anyone know how much it costs to advertise on blogs like DailyKos or Talkingpointsmemo? I noticed an Obama ad on TPM and was curious.

  22. Howdy folks, Been reading about South Carolina and also this discussion ’bout blogs.

    Admin: loved the video this morning. It was real show to wake up to and a great chuckle.

    It sounds like things went well for Hillary in Beaufort yesterday, despite one looney with a sign. I read the comments to the online version of the article and there’s some real nasty stuff. Not anything outrageous, Just typical name calling (“commie” etc., real sophistocated stuff). I probably am too thin skinned too. LOL…although we’ve been through much worse in previous campaigns.

    All this makes me wonder, what’s the best way to help the campaign at this point? As strong advocates for Hillary, is it best to start our own blogs, keep an eye on the news and report any really off the wall type articles/reports, or post on blogs that are already out there. I see your discussion above about different blogs. I have to admit the blogosphere is just a tad new to me, so I am a bit uncertain about how those things work. I am just looking fo the best, most effective thing to do right now. –MollyJ.

  23. hi mollyjrichards,

    If you are new to blogsphere, don’t take things too seriously. Blogs are the far left of the democratic party, it has had no tangible impact on the real votes so far whatsoever. Dean got the overwhelming support but still lost, Lamont was another example. Bloggers hated Lieberman, but you know the results…

    There’s no reason for you to respond to nasty stuff on various boards. It’s useless. Most people who post are strong partisans, there’s little you can do to change their minds. Its a completely waste of time if you respond aimlessly on different blogs.

    So I believe we need to focus. This site is great, we need to spread its influence, let more Hill supporters to gather here and exchange ideas.

    We are still in the minority, that’s why it’s important to focus on 1 or 2 blogs we can make a difference if we are united there. right now, my suggestion is myDD and this site. If you have more time, post pro Hill diary on dialykos. thats it.

  24. I followed a link from hillaryhub to dailykos and I must say, that place has turned into a sewer. I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t mean it, because it used to be a great blog, but it feels nastier than a filthy porn site in that place.

    One poster was trying to argue that ‘under certain conditions’ doesn’t mean ‘preconditions’. Try this on for size: ‘Will you marry me?’ ‘Under certain conditions, I will.’ You’re not going to run out and buy a tux. Obama has turned the race into a spin toilet on the mildest provocation from Hillary. Biden said worse about her proposal to cut funds to the Iraq government. She didn’t go nitro over it.

  25. Canaan:
    As Staff wrote earlier in a response to JoeFriday, the “condition” vs. “precondition” argument can be refuted this way:

    We’ve noticed that Obama supporters have been trying to differentiate between “conditions” as in the Miami Herald article and the “no preconditions” at the debate. Their first attempt, like Axelrod’s, was to deny Obama was against actually having preconditions and that there was NO DIFFERENCE between his position and the Hillary/Edwards/Biden etc. position.

    Then on Friday, JoeFriday, Obama eroded that defense when he said there was A BIG DIFFERENCE between his position and Hillary/Edwards/Biden’s etc. position. With the latest Saturday statement by Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor the Obama campaign is now back to saying there is NO DIFFERENCE between Obama and Hillary/Edwards/Biden.

    The question to be answered is whether the confusion is a sign of the utter shambles the Obama campaign is in? For Obama supporters Vietor and Obama have both used the word “precondition” and not a variant so Obama supporters don’t have that distinction to hang on to anymore.

  26. Hey folks, It sure looks like things are mighty confused in the Obama camp to me–for sure on this point. Clearly it means that this little spat, which they brought on themselves, due to his ill-considered answer in the debate, is not worthy of any more time on our part, much less Hillary’s. Anyone want to wager how long before a shake up in that campaign staff?

    Once again, Hillary and company are doing a great job of staying on message and above the fray. –MollyJ

  27. kostner you as allways on the ball on the hillary haters of the fringe loopy kooks. you can’s change their minds. until hillary is elected nov 2008 they will always say she is unelectable and even then they will come up with excuses on why she won. pathetic.

  28. The confusion on preconditions vs. conditions on the nutroots was ridiculous. I had to read one post like 3 times to even try and make sense of his argument. I mean if you have to do that to support your candidate…something is seriously wrong. I think the average person should be able to understand a candidate’s answer without resorting to an attorney. The semantics debate was truly amazing. Talk about grasping at straws.

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