The Last Laugh

Hillary Clinton’s wonderful September ends today. A wonderful Hillary Clinton birthday month of October is ahead.

Bill Clinton will be on NBC’s Meet The Press and on ABC’s This Week today.

Club 44 will convene in San Francisco, California today.

Today is also the last day of the third fundraising quarter for campaigns. Don’t forget the midnight deadline to contribute. Author John Grisham will join Bill Clinton and a contributor for a watch party of a Democratic debate.

Click HERE to contribute before Sunday’s FEC deadline:

Iowa and New Hampshire appear to be finalizing the voting schedule and filing deadlines.

Party leaders in Iowa are edging toward holding the state’s leadoff caucuses as early as Jan. 3, although they’ll hold off on a decision until New Hampshire selects a date for the nation’s first primary.

“There are only a couple of days that work, and we don’t want to go into December,” said Iowa GOP head Chuck Laudner, who mentioned Jan. 3, 4 and 5 as dates being considered.

Iowa and New Hampshire have made clear they won’t stand pat as states such as Michigan and Florida move up their election dates, but don’t expect a decision soon. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has the sole power to schedule his state’s primary, and he’s not talking.

“I’m not any closer,” Gardner said Thursday. “I can’t (pick a date) at the moment because I don’t know.” [snip]

Party officials in the two states have frequently discussed election scenarios, and most think Gardner will opt for Jan. 8 as long as Iowa doesn’t move to mid-December. That would give New Hampshire a week of breathing room before Michigan, one of several states that have ignored demands by both national parties that they not schedule contests before Feb. 5.

But some in New Hampshire speculate that Gardner could move the primary into December – perhaps Dec. 18 – to ensure plenty of time before the contests to follow. Iowa is committed to being first, but officials clearly shudder at the thought of a December caucus. As Iowa Gov. Chet Culver put it, “In this state, we’re still going to have Christmas.”

In a sign that the New Hampshire primary date is certain to move up, Gardner said Friday he was moving up the filing period for candidates three weeks, to Oct. 15. Candidates will be able to file to be on the ballot through Nov. 2. [snip]

In his 31 years as New Hampshire’s secretary of state, Gardner has waited as late as December before selecting a primary date. But New Hampshire state Rep. Jim Splaine, who has worked with Gardner on primary issues since 1980, said he expects an announcement in November.

The New Hampshire filing period is Oct. 15 to Nov. 2nd. This means that November 2, 2007 is the last date new candidates can file.

Meanwhile the Obama campaign has 31 field offices in Iowa (double the number for any other campaign) and spent millions there. The Obama campaign has made it clear via Michelle Obama and now David Plouffe that Iowa is do or die.

Recently, I visited Obama’s sprawling headquarters, located on the eleventh floor of a downtown Chicago high-rise that offers grand views of the city’s skyline. I ran into Obama’s wiry campaign manager, David Plouffe, chatting in a doorway. I mentioned to Plouffe that I had just returned from Iowa. “Iowa–that’s the whole shebang!” he said. Then he paused. “I guess I’m not supposed to say that,” he added with a grin. “But Iowa is very important.” In a recent memo e-mailed to campaign supporters, he all but predicted that an Iowa win would translate to victory in New Hampshire. “Clinton will pay a severe price for not winning Iowa,” Plouffe asserts

The New York Times is still waging its idiots war against Hillary and attempting an attack on Hillary very much like the attacks on Gore in 2000. Witches and hens cackle and apparently for the New York Times so do women presidential candidates. It’s a laugh riot from the ever bored Patrick Healy.

This was my first close encounter with Senator Clinton, and with The Cackle. At that moment, the laugh seemed like the equivalent of an eye-roll — she felt she was being nit-picked, so she shamed her inquisitors by chuckling at them (or their queries).

Friends of hers told a different story: She has this fantastic sense of humor, you see, but it’s too sarcastic to share with the general public because not everyone likes sarcasm. (An example from personal experience: Mrs. Clinton sometimes likes to tweak people for missing an obvious point by saying to them, “hello!”) So, instead of alienating Iowans who might not vote for edginess, Mrs. Clinton goes for the lowest-common-denominator display of her funny bone: She shows that she can laugh, and that her laugh has a fullness and depth.

Perhaps. The reality is, Mrs. Clinton is the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination right now, and the commensurate political attacks and criticism are coming at her from all sides. She needs ways to respond without appearing defensive or brittle, her advisers say. [snip]

And then, less often but more notably, she copes with the pressure by using The Cackle. At Wednesday’s Democratic debate, for instance, former Senator Mike Gravel complained about her vote on an Iran resolution and said he was “ashamed” of her. Asked to respond, Mrs. Clinton laughed before responding, as if to minimize the matter.

Maybe, Patrick, Hillary was laughing at the clownish and attention deprived and attention seeking Mike Gravel?

Last Sunday, meanwhile, she appeared on all five of the major morning talk shows. I don’t know what she had for breakfast, but her laughter was heavily caffeinated at times. Chris Wallace, of Fox News, first pressed Mrs. Clinton about why she was so “hyper-partisan,” and that drew a huge cackle. (Coming from Fox, that question is pretty funny, her aides said.) But at another point Mr. Wallace switched gears and said, “let me ask you about health care,” and she responded, “Yeah, I’d love you to ask me about health care” — and then let it rip, again, a bit quizzically.

The weirdest moment was with Bob Schieffer on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” when he said to Mrs. Clinton, “you rolled out your new health care plan, something Republicans immediately said is going to lead to socialized medicine.” She giggled, giggled some more, and then couldn’t seem to stop giggling — “Sorry, Bob,” she said — and finally unleashed the full Cackle.

Maybe, Patrick, the “socialized medicine” and “hyperpartisan” questions are so silly after the millionth time they deserve nothing more than a good hearty laugh?

For any New York Times readers missing the anti-woman angle, Dowd in yet another anti-Hillary screed from the New York Times, quotes Leon Wieseltier on Hillary as “some hellish housewife“.

As we wrote in our debut post, it is PINOs and Naderites and so-called liberal Big Media writers who will pose the biggest threat to Democrats in 2008. The New York Times is at war with Hillary in the same way the New York Times was at war with Bill Clinton. The New York Times stood silent while Bush trashed the country. When Bill Clinton was in office it was a daily barrage he faced from the New York Times editorial page. The common sense lacking “intellectuals” who know very little are still in charge and waging their war against Hillary at the New York Times and let’s not forget, the know-nothing Russert defenders at The Washington Post.

The smart Frank Rich also embarrasses himself by trashing Hillary today with every dull and false Naderite cliche about Gore in 2000. Paging Bob Somersby.

As we continously write, the danger to Democrats in 2008 comes not from the right wing and their many media outlets – the American public knows of their bias, the danger comes from our supposed own.

Newt Gingrinch who will not be entertaining us this election cycle had this to say about Hillary, whose policies he detests (Warning link is to right wing website):

The most effective candidate in the race is Hillary Clinton. She has done exactly what you asked. It’s just that her answers are wrong. Senator Clinton is a serious, competent, formidable person who works hard every day. She’s for too much government, she’s for too liberal a policy, she would appoint judges who are way too liberal. But she is a formidable person. No one on our side is going to beat her by the kind of cheap and nasty campaign that beat John Kerry.”

No candidate on the Democratic side will beat her either Newt.

Hillary and her supporters will enjoy the last laugh.


Gail Collins Is Over 49

If you want to understand the, sad but deep, strain of American distrust and loathing of intellectuals read the Gail Collins column in today’s New York Times. Erudite but essentially stupid these Big Media intellectuals be.

In her stupidly titled column, Never Trust Anybody Over 49, Collins proves that as someone who long ago saw the age of 49 – by her own standards she is worthy of zero trust.

Collins calls Hillary risk adverse because of the recent debate answer on Social Security.

When she was asked if she favored lifting the cap on Social Security taxes (currently only the first $97,500 in income is taxed), all she would say was that she wanted to “put fiscal responsibility first.”

Collins also did not like that Hillary stood her ground when pressed by Russert:

When the moderator, Tim Russert, asked whether she was completely ruling out the idea of lifting the cap, this is what Clinton had to say:

“Well, I take everything off the table until we move toward fiscal responsibility and before we have a bipartisan process. I don’t think I should be negotiating about what I would do as president. You know, I want to see what other people come to the table with.”

This is an excellent example of how to string together the maximum number of weasel words in one sentence. It was also pretty typical of Hillary’s entire evening. It’s one thing to refuse to answer a hypothetical question about whether there is any circumstance under which you might ever use nuclear weapons against Iran. It’s another to refuse to commit on who you’d root for if the Yankees played the Cubs in the World Series. No young person is going to fall in love with politics because of a candidate who says: “I would probably have to alternate sides.”

Collins, one of our Big Media elite intellectuals, has so bought the Ripublican bias on Social Security that she does not see the wisdom in Hillary’s response. Collins and other Big Media buffoons also laughed at Bill Clinton when he fought the deranged 105th Newt Gingrinch Ripublican Congress.

Those 105th Congress Ripublicans, and their schemes to destroy the hard won Clinton economic victories, which put the nation on the right fiscal track in the 1990s, were successfuly fought by Bill Clinton when he employed the slogan “Save Social Security First”. Collins, trapped in her self-imposed dotage, appears to have forgotten that Social Security battle.

We wrote in Hillary Clinton And American Voters Lied To By Tim Russert a mild refutation of Russert’s views on Social Security, which Gail Collins needs to read:

The more substantive battle between Hillary and supposed non-candidate Russert was on the question of Social Security. Russert repeatedly demanded that Hillary and the other Democrats accept his formulations on Social Security which lead to “accepted” Social Security “solutions” by the wealthy elite of elites of Big Media.

Hillary, wise woman that she is, firmly focused on her wiser policy of ‘first things first’. First, you adopt fiscal responsibility – then you see the results of fiscal responsibility. Only after that post-fiscal responsibility accessment do you begin to devise solutions to the situation. Russert was a glum plum.

Collins was befuddled with the Iran question (it was about Israel attacking Iran). It is also charming that Gail Collins is so hip she knows how young people process thoughts on baseball and Hillary.

Collins is also distressed by Hillary’s answer on second graders reading books about two princes in love.

In that last debate, the candidates were asked if they thought it was appropriate for a teacher to read young children a story about a handsome prince who marries a — handsome prince. Clinton started off by taking an all-purpose stand against divisiveness and ended with a plug for hate crimes legislation. In between, she said this: “With respect to your individual children, that is such a matter of parental discretion. I think that, obviously, it is better to try to work with your children, to help your children understand the many differences that are in the world and to really respect other people and the choices that other people make, and that goes far beyond sexual orientation.”

Now people, don’t you think the most gifted person of her generation could do better than this?

That’s a pretty good answer we think. Collins of course does not provide her brilliant answer on this question so we don’t have the benefit of a comparison answer. Collins could grace us, days after the debate, with a better response to the question Hillary answered at the spur of the moment.

Collins also does not say if she is satisfied that any other candidate on that stage gave a better answer. We recall what the other candidates replied. The other candidates’ answers were only “an all-purpose stand against divisiveness”. Hillary added to that Collins ridiculed answer with the need for hate crimes legislation as well as understanding that there is a parental role on this issue. We would love to hear Gail Collin’s answer on this question that is better, but we doubt the great New York Times intellectual can come up with one no matter how much time she is allowed to respond.

Gail Collins today warned us not to trust anyone over 49. Gail Collins is correct in at least one instance – herself.


Big September

In our treacly introduction to September we wrote “The excuses from other candidates and their supporters as to why their campaigns have failed are laid bare. No longer can the claim be made that election season is too far away and that polls are irrelevant.”

September has lived up to what we expected.

The Gallup Poll organization has a good summary of the current state of the Hillary Clinton for President campaign:

Since August, Sen. Hillary Clinton has consistently led the 2008 Democratic presidential field by a better than 20-point margin over Sen. Barack Obama. With a lead of that size — and unless the race were highly polarized, which it is not — it’s logical that she would also dominate the race among most major Democratic subgroups. And she does.

In the four Gallup presidential election surveys conducted in August and September, Clinton has led Obama by an average of 22 points — 47% to 25%, respectively. Former Sen. John Edwards holds third place with about half of Obama’s level of support, while no other candidate is favored by more than 3% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic.

According to the aggregated data from the four most recent surveys, Clinton holds a commanding lead among nearly every major subgroup of potential Democratic primary voters. (This includes all adults who consider themselves Democrats as well as independents who lean to the Democratic party.)

Clinton is most widely favored for the nomination by women, whites, seniors, core Democrats, the non-college educated, those living in low- and middle-income households, self-described conservatives, and residents of the East and West. However, she also leads Obama by smaller but still double-digit margins among most of the natural counterparts to these groups, including men, blacks, young adults, independents, college graduates, self-described moderates and liberals, and residents of the South and Midwest. The table at the end of this report provides the figures for these findings.

As was the case earlier this year, upper-income Democrats represent one of Clinton’s few weak links. Among those living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more, she leads Obama by only seven points at 37% vs. 30%. This may help explain Obama’s competitiveness with Clinton in fundraising — even though he has not been competitive with her in national Democratic nomination preference polls.

Nearly 4 in 10 blacks favor Obama for the nomination, compared with fewer than one-quarter of whites (38% vs. 22%). However, blacks’ support for Obama does not come at the expense of their support for Clinton. In fact, blacks are more likely than whites to support Clinton. Rather, blacks steer their support to the top two candidates, giving less support to the lower-ranked candidates –particularly Edwards.

Big Media again missed the boat as to the latest John Edwards mess. Big Blogs did not do a good job either.

Let’s help Big Media/Blogs. The big disaster for Edwards in this announcement is that it cements his remarkable ability to highlight the hypocrisy charge that is constantly leveled at his head-spinning changes in positions. On Iraq, hedgefunds, big houses, lobbyists/trial lawyers and now campaign finance John Edwards opens himself to the hypocrisy charge. If Edwards had accepted matching public funds and explained it as a financial necessity for his campaign the story would be a minor story read only by us campaign geeks.

However, typical for Edwards, he moralizes about about his flip-flop in now accepting public funds and in the process opens himself to the hypocrisy charge. John Edwards is not fooling anyone. His fundraising will soon be a matter of public disclosure. When his limp fundraising figures are exposed, the moral highground will turn into a hangman’s scaffold.

But the Big Story in this Edwards slapstick farce is the Labor connection. Recall, Edwards was supposed to be the candidate with Big Labor support. Towards that end, instead of raising campaign funds and building an organization, Edwards spent endless hours on picket lines and charming union workers and Big Labor Big Wigs. Edwards had a campaign strategy based not on having an effective organization and competent campaign staff (hiring Trippi was a clue that the Edwards campaign was more about publicity than competence) but rather the Edwards campaign strategy was ‘Let the Unions do it for us.’

Why did Edwards decide to take the money and run? Because Edwards realized that his Big Labor endorsement strategy had failed. Recall, the latest Big Labor endorsement event. SEIU decided they would maybe decide on an endorsement in October – AFTER the third quarter fundraising reports come out. When SEIU sees the actual Edwards numbers they will not endorse him.

Hillary Clinton knows that Labor and unions want a partner who brings strength to the partnership, not dependence. Labor and unions do not want to someone to leech on their efforts.

Here is the New York Times article from September 25, 2007:

John Edwards was obviously hoping to get some good news out of Chicago this week. First, he was hoping that the executive board of the Service Employees International Union, which met in Chicago on Monday, would endorse him.

Mr. Edwards has lobbied the S.E.I.U. hard, but the S.E.I.U.’s executive board — whose endorsement is especially coveted because it is such a large and politically active union — punted on Monday just as it did when it met in Washington last Wednesday.
And with the S.E.I.U. deciding not to endorse anyone this week, that pretty much rules out that Change to Win, the rival labor federation to the A.F.L.-C.I.O., will vote to endorse anyone when it holds its biannual convention in Chicago today.

If several things fell into place, there was a good chance that Mr. Edwards could have won Change to Win’s endorsement, but since the S.E.I.U., with 1.9 million members, did not endorse, that makes it all but impossible for Mr. Edwards or any other candidate to secure the super-majority needed to win Change to Win’s backing.

Change to Win represents more than 5 million union members and in addition to the service employees, it includes the Teamsters, the carpenters, the laborers, the food and commercial workers, the farm workers and Unite Here.

The carpenters have endorsed Mr. Edwards, and he was hoping to already have the endorsement of Unite Here, which represents apparel, hotel, restaurant and laundry workers. But United Here’s endorsement has been delayed because its giant Las Vegas union local was not yet ready to endorse anyone.

Last Wednesday, S.E.I.U. officials said they were not ready to endorse anyone because, having heard lots about the candidates’ policies, they wanted to hear their strategies on how they would win in November 2008.

So in Chicago on Monday, the campaign managers of the three leading Democratic candidates spoke to the S.E.I.U.’s board to explain how their candidate would win, but the campaign managers evidently could not seal the deal.

After Monday’s meetings, S.E.I.U. officials said they decided not to endorse at this time because the 60-plus members of its board wanted to go back to their local unions to get a better gauge of rank-and-file sentiment. S.E.I.U. officials are no doubt mindful that and that Mr. Edwards is a distant third in polls of Democrats and that many S.E.I.U. members — many are women and blacks — favor Hillary Clinton, just like other Democrats.

One S.E.I.U. board member said that a majority of board members favored Mr. Edwards, (who has been very outspoken on behalf of universal health coverage, one of the S.E.I.U.’s main goals) but those members, taken together, do not come from locals representing 60 percent of the union’s membership—the threshold required for the board to make an endorsement.

It often appears that the thing that will most help Mr. Edwards secure more union endorsements is not for him to march on a union picket line for the umpteenth time, but for him to get a 5 or 10 percentage point bump in nationwide polls. Many union leaders are wary of endorsing candidate who will flame out the way Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt did in the 2004 primaries, notwithstanding the union endorsements they had.

The Washington Post with typical reaction of this latest Edwards calamity:

In a sign of potentially serious trouble for his campaign, former Sen. John Edwards has decided to sign onto the public financing system for the presidential primaries, accepting government funds in exchange for sharp limits on his spending.

Edwards presented the decision, announced Thursday, as a challenge to his Democratic rivals to value substantive ideas over fundraising prowess. “This campaign should not be a fundraising contest,” he said on CNN.

But with the end of the third quarter approaching this Sunday, the sharp reversal by Edwards suggested his candidacy is facing steep challenges in keeping apace with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, the two Democratic leaders in fundraising in the 2008 race.

By accepting public financing, Edwards will be able to receive up to $250 in matching funds for each person who donates to his campaign. In return, he will face severe limits on his spending, both during the early primaries, and if he wins those, in the months leading up to the general election.

Under the public financing system, Edwards will be allowed to spend just $817,800 in New Hampshire during the primary race. In Iowa, the limit is just under $1.5 million. In both states, even after the primaries are over, Edwards cannot exceed those limits until the Democratic convention – months after a head-to-head contest with the Republican nominee is expected to begin.

Joe Trippi, who managed the presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2004 and is a senior adviser to Edwards this time, conceded as much in a 2003 interview with the Washington Post.

“This campaign believes that any Democratic campaign that opted into the matching-funds system has given up on the general election,” Trippi said in December of 2003. “There is absolutely no way you can sustain the hits that are going to come from now until August with a $45 million limit.”

His campaign moved aggressively to cast his decision as a moral imperative. “You shouldn’t be able to buy your way into the White House – you should have to earn the votes of the American people with bold vision and ideas,” said Edwards’ campaign manager Congressman David Bonior. “This is the most expensive presidential campaign in history, by far. And the simple fact is that the influence of money in politics – and the focus on raising money in this election – has gotten out of control. It’s time to get back to focusing on the issues that matter to the American people. That’s why John Edwards has decided to play by the rules that were designed to ensure fairness in the election process by capping his campaign spending and seeking public financing.”

In September Edwards was not alone in his delusions and hypocrisies:

Former Dick Gephardt presidential campaign adviser Moses Mercado hasn’t even joined the Barack Obama presidential campaign team and already he’s making waves.

Mercado, a veteran field man who organized Gephardt’s primary operations in Arizona and New Mexico, and later John Kerry’s general election operations there, confirmed he is finalizing plans to serve as a senior adviser to the Obama campaign.

The waves are being generated by Mercado’s other line of work — as a lobbyist with Ogilvy Government Relations who is registered to represent several dozen big-name clients, including the National Rifle Association, the Carlyle Group, the Blackstone Group, Monsanto, Pfizer Inc., United Health Group, Sempra Energy and Constellation Energy.

His resume seems to contradict one of Obama’s central themes on the campaign trail — that as an outsider he can fend of the powerful business interests that he has argued have contributed to the income gap between rich and poor and has frustrated attempts to address issues such as high prescription drug costs and global warming.

In a speech he gave in New Hampshire back in June, Obama singled out the role of lobbyists in the process. As the Chicago Tribune reported at the time, Obama “sought to make the case that the culture of influence in Washington affects the pocketbooks of Americans in myriad ways, from drug prices to student-loan interest rates — both of which, he argued, are inflated through industry manipulation of public policy.”

The story went on to quote Obama, saying: “What’s most outrageous is not the morally offensive conduct on behalf of these lobbyists and legislators, but the morally offensive laws and decisions that get made as a result.”

The above is hypocrisy, below is delusion:

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign manager said this week that a “hidden vote” by young caucusgoers that doesn’t show up in public opinion polls will push him ahead in Iowa’s Democratic caucus race.

“… Polls consistently underrepresent in Iowa, and elsewhere, the strength” of Obama’s support, David Plouffe wrote in a memo to supporters on Saturday – the same day an article in The Des Moines Register outlined how Obama’s support has not significantly grown since he announced his candidacy in February.

But that is a strategy that has not worked in the past.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign heavily courted young, first-time caucusgoers, but the candidate finished in third place.

The reality is, (Obama’s) support is what I would consider light,” said Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., the Des Moines opinion research company that conducts the Iowa Poll for the Register.

“It is heavy with younger people, and it is heavy with people who are registered independent. In the past, we have found them less likely to show up and be a part of this.”

Plouffe said pollsters often skip young voters because they are more mobile, which means they are less likely to be at home in the early evening, when most polls are conducted.

“So all of these state and national surveys have and will continue to underrepresent Barack’s core support – in effect, his hidden vote in each of these pivotal early states,” Plouffe wrote in the memo.

Although it’s possible that young voters could be underrepresented, a study from the Pew Research Center suggests it’s unlikely. The independent research group’s report shows little evidence that cell phone-only users produce inaccurate opinion polls.

Michelle Obama told a crowd in Davenport this week that winning in Iowa is essential to her husband’s campaign, the Quad City Times reported.

“Iowa will make the difference,” Michelle Obama said. “If Barack doesn’t win Iowa, it’s just a dream, but if we win Iowa, then we can move the world as it should be. And we need your help in making that happen so join me.”

Meanwhile in no bull New York a reporter for the New York Observer catches the lack of life for the Obama campaign:

At the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday, I ran into Hillary Clinton fund-raiser and aspiring Bloomberg successor John Catsimatidis. When I told him I was on my way to an event for Barack Obama, Catsimatidis said, “Is he still running?”


Hillary Clinton And American Voters Lied To By Tim Russert

Tim Russert appears to have lied or at the very least engaged in deception at last night’s Democratic debate. Russert’s target, along with the seven other men on the stage, was Hillary Clinton.

Russert tried to mug Hillary Clinton with his lie.

Russert posed a question premised on a discussion with Bill Clinton on Meet The Press last September 25, 2006. Russert kept hidden that the discussion was with Bill Clinton. Hillary objected to the Russert hypothetical as “dangerous” because it opens “a great big hole in what should be an attitude that our country and our president takes toward the appropriate treatment of everyone”. Russert then, trap baited, went in for the “gotcha” kill.

Russert finally disclosed that “The guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was William Jefferson Clinton last year. So he disagrees with you.”

Here is the transcript of Russert’s “gotcha” question:

RUSSERT: I want to move to another subject, and this involves a comment that a guest on “Meet the Press” made, and I want to read it, as follows: “Imagine the following scenario. We get lucky. We get the number three guy in Al Qaida. We know there’s a big bomb going off in America in three days and we know this guy knows where it is. Don’t we have the right and responsibility to beat it out of him? You could set up a law where the president could make a finding or could guarantee a pardon.”

[snip – other candidate answers]

CLINTON: As a matter of policy it cannot be American policy period.

I met with those same three- and four-star retired generals, and their principal point — in addition to the values that are so important for our country to exhibit — is that there is very little evidence that it works.

Now, there are a lot of other things that we need to be doing that I wish we were: better intelligence; making, you know, our country better respected around the world; working to have more allies.

But these hypotheticals are very dangerous because they open a great big hole in what should be an attitude that our country and our president takes toward the appropriate treatment of everyone. And I think it’s dangerous to go down this path.

RUSSERT: The guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was William Jefferson Clinton last year. So he disagrees with you.

CLINTON: Well, he’s not standing here right now. (applause)

RUSSERT: So there is a disagreement?

CLINTON: Well, I’ll talk to him later. (laughter)

Did Russert lie to Hillary on national television? Does Bill Clinton in fact disagree with Hillary? Is torture William Jefferson Clinton’s “proposed solution to the hypothetical” scenario?

The Bill Clinton appearance on Meet The Press – September 25, 2006 – full relevant excerpts:

MR. RUSSERT: As you travel around the world, what do people say about the image of the United States?

MR. CLINTON: Well, different people say different things. But I think that the real problem—it’s generally assumed, I think, in Washington, that, that the problem the American image has is that a lot of people disagree with President Bush, and it’s basically about Iraq. I, I think it’s a little more complicated than that. That is, I think it—it’s true that in the Middle East and many places out the un—in the independent, unaligned countries, they don’t necessarily agree with our Iraq policy, but I think it’s more the feeling that that’s just the most severe example of a country that is more committed to doing what it wants when it wants, and not listening to other people and working with them whenever possible. And the bigger you are and the wealthier you are and the more traditional power than you have, the more you have to be sensitive to how you’re perceived by other people, the more you at least have to want to have people think that even if you don’t agree with them, you’re kind of on their side. And I don’t think America has any significant image problems that couldn’t be turned around rather quickly with a different way of dealing with people.

I also believe that, in the Muslim world, at least, if there were a resumption of serious Israeli/Palestinian peace talks, that would help a lot, because everybody knows that in the end, that situation can’t be resolved, in all probability, unless we’re involved in a supportive way in what happens after they sign the deal.

MR. RUSSERT: What did you think when Colin Powell said, “The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism”?

MR. CLINTON: I think he was referring to the, the questions that have been raised about the original evidence, which plagues him and in which he was, I think, unwittingly complicit. I don’t think—I think it’s pretty clear, based on what all the people that worked for him have said. I think he was most worried about the question of torture and the conduct of the prisons at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. And of course, he weighed in in this debate about the extent to which the CIA or others could engage in conduct which clearly violates the Geneva Convention.

Now, we—as you and I talk, and we hear that they’ve reached an agreement, the senators and the White House, and I hope they have. But Colin pointed out that, you know, we’ve got soldiers all over the world. If we get a reputation for torturing people, the following bad things are going to happen: We’re as likely going to get bad information is good, just for people to just quit getting beat on; two, we’re likely to create two or three or five enemies for every one we break; and three, we make our own soldiers much more vulnerable to conduct which violates the Geneva Convention. That is, we can’t expect our friends, much less our enemies, to accept the fact that because we’re the good guys, we get to have a different standard of conduct. And most people think the definition of a good guy is someone who voluntarily observes a different standard of conduct, not someone who claims the right to do things others can’t do.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you outlaw waterboarding and sleep deprivation, loud music, all those kinds of tactics?

MR. CLINTON: Well, I—here’s what I would do. I would figure out what the, what the generally accepted definitions of the Geneva Convention are, and I would honor them. I would also talk to people who do this kind of work about what is generally most effective, and they will—they’re almost always not advocate of torture, and I wouldn’t do anything that would put our own people at risk.

Now, the thing that drives—that, that gives the president’s position a little edge is that every one of us can imagine the following scenario: We get lucky, we get the number three guy in al-Qaeda, and we know there’s a big bomb going off in America in three days and we know this guy knows where it is. Don’t we have the right and the responsibility to beat it out of him? But keep in mind, in 99 percent of the interrogations, you don’t know those things.

Now, it happens like even in the military regulations, in a case like that, they do have the power to use extreme force because there is an imminent threat to the United States, and then to live with the consequences. The president—they could set up a law where the president could make a finding or could guarantee a pardon or could guarantee the submission of that sort of thing ex post facto to the intelligence court, just like we do now with wire taps.

So I, I don’t think that hard case justifies the sweeping authority for waterboarding and all the other stuff that, that was sought in this legislation. And I think, you know, if that circumstance comes up—we all know what we’d do to keep our country from going through another 9/11 if we could. But to—but to claim in advance the right to do this whenever someone takes a notion to engage in conduct that plainly violates the Geneva Convention, that, I think, is a mistake.

Bill Clinton on Meet The Press told Tim Russert that it “is a mistake” to have an advance policy of torture. Hillary said about torture “As a matter of policy it cannot be American policy period.” There is no difference between Bill and Hillary Clinton on torture policy, contrary to Russert’s assertions. In fact, Hillary seemed to track closely Bill Clinton on the mistake that is torture. Hillary noted her conversations with various military generals (as did Obama), all of whom stated to her that regarding torture “there is very little evidence that it works”.

Having failed to “gotcha” Hillary with his smarmy schoolboy stunt of not revealing the source of the quote as Bill Clinton, Russert went for his second “gotcha” – an outright misrepresentation of Bill Clinton’s position on torture. Hillary was no fool ready to fall for Russert’s trap. Hillary answered honestly. Having been told on national television, that Bill Clinton disagreed with her, a weaker person would have melted. Hillary struck back and now the “gotcha moment” is Russert’s Hall of Shame.

Russert also repeatedly tried to force his narrow view of the world and policy issues on Hillary and the other Democrats on the stage. On Social Security, “dynasty”, torture, and a hypothetical attack by Israel on Iran, Russert tried to break Hillary. The most noted battle between Hillary and Russert was the battle over torture as captured in the above video. In that exchange Russert appears to have misrepresented Bill Clinton’s words.

On the foolish “Dynasty” question Hillary answered “I thought Bill was a pretty good president” – a not unexpected answer after the same dumb question was asked at an earlier debate. But then Hillary delivered the coup de grace “I know how to find common ground and how to stand my ground.” Wow! Hillary stood her ground and more last night.

The more substantive battle between Hillary and supposed non-candidate Russert was on the question of Social Security. Russert repeatedly demanded that Hillary and the other Democrats accept his formulations on Social Security which lead to “accepted” Social Security “solutions” by the wealthy elite of elites of Big Media.

Hillary, wise woman that she is, firmly focused on her wiser policy of ‘first things first’. First, you adopt fiscal responsibility – then you see the results of fiscal responsibility. Only after that post-fiscal responsibility accessment do you begin to devise solutions to the situation. Russert was a glum plum.

Russert and the elites of Big Media do not understand the need for the universality of Social Security. Presumably, Russert would rather raise the retirement age than raise taxes on all income – most of Russert’s income is not taxed for Social Security.

Russert, because he has a cushy job performed on padded chairs and in front of computer monitors, has no fear of retirement at the age of 80. For elite Big Media types the fear is forced retirement. Early retirement to Big Media elites is inconceivable. For a mine worker or a laborer, retirement is welcome relief from a life of punishing the body with hard work. When Russert discusses raising the retirement age he sees it as an actuarial shuffling. Hillary sees raising the retirement age in all its vast complexity in this diverse nation.

Last night Hillary was challenged by 8 men. Only 7 are running for President.

Great Hillary Reviews:


NBC NEWS’ CHUCK TODD — HILLARY ‘CONTINUES TO SHOW COMMAND… IN CHARGE OF THIS CAMPAIGN’: “She continues to show command on the stage; it’s subtle things but there’s no doubting who’s in charge of this campaign right now, it’s Hillary Clinton.” [NBC News First Read, 9/26/07]

ABC NEWS’ RICK KLEIN — HILLARY WAS AT A ‘HIGHER LEVEL THAN HER RIVALS’: “And, of course, Clinton is again playing at a higher level than her rivals.” [ABC News Political Radar, 9/26/07]

ATLANTIC’S MARC AMBINDER — ‘THOROUGH AND CAREFUL, CAME OFF AS INTELLIGENT AND PRUDENT’: “Clinton was solid…She was thorough and careful, came off as intelligent and prudent, and really didn’t take a nick tonight. She did unleash the night’s best jab, and she displayed a genuine sense of humor, one that the audience seemed to appreciate and acknowledge.” [Atlantic, 9/26/07]

NBC NEWS’ DOMENICO MONTARO — HILLARY SOUNDED ‘PRESIDENTIAL’: “Clinton sounded her best tonight… her talking about a president’s role sounded presidential.” [NBC News First Read, 9/26/07]


AMERICAN PROSPECT’S DANA GOLDSTEIN — ‘HILLARY CLEAREST, MOST CONCISE ON IMMIGRATION’: “Hillary clearest, most concise on Immigration. No, she says local police shouldn’t be made to enforce federal immigration policy: ‘It’s not their job.'” [American Prospect blog, 9/26/07]

NEW YORK TIMES’ KATHARINE SEELYE — HILLARY ‘CONTROLLED THE QUESTIONING’: “Wow. Quick arms race between Mr. Russert and Mrs. Clinton over what she said was a hypothetical question — whether Israel would be justified in launching an attack against Iran if it felt its security was threatened. She controlled the questioning…” [New York Times Caucus blog, 9/26/07]


Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Kuch, Gravel New Hampshire Debate

UPDATE:  (from the comments) “When that lowlife Russert mugged her, and it was a mugging and unfair by not mentioning the hypothetical was supposedly from Bill Clinton, Hillary still stood strong. 

Russert did a slimy “gotcha” moment.  The slimiest moment of any debate.  Disgusting.

Hillary still beat Russert – Russert was her real opponent in this debate.”


MSNBC Webstream HERE

Debate tonight. Politico has this about the role of the media (and echo of Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews earlier today):

I know this is incredibly simplistic, and assumes that voters are sort of sexist, but:

Has a male candidate ever benefited from attacking a woman on stage? Ever?

It’s a consideration that has to put a damper on the gunning-for-the-frontrunner scenario that the dynamics of the race suggest, and for which the media is rooting so wholeheartedly.


Russert:  As President what would you do on Iraq?

Obama:  I opposed the war.  No more funding.  No military solution.

Russert: Will there be troops after 4 years of your presidency?

Obama: Can’t tell.  Don’t know the situation 4 years from now.

Russert: Senator Clinton you won’t pledge to have all troops out after 4 years of your presidency.

Hillary: I agree with Barack.  We don’t know what will happen in 4 years.  Democrats have tried after 2006 elections to end the war.  I want the troops out but cannot promise.  The Republicans won’t vote with Democrats to end the war.  President is irresponsible to have over 100,000 troops in Iraq.

Russert: Will you agree to have no troops after first 4 years of your presidency?

Read more


California Club 44 – Help Hillary, Debate Tonight, Bill, Nader (ugh)

Update:   We’ve heard that the latest laugh from the Obama campaign is his claim that he is sick but will still attend the debate tonight.  If he does badly again, the Obama campaign has a schoolkid excuse ready. 

On his show Tucker Carlson said that all the media likes Obama better and they are rooting for him and want him to win and go after Hillary. 

The debate will be carried live and will also be streamed on (no link yet).  Telemundo will rebroadcast the debate at 11:35 p.m ET and PT.



Will Elizabeth Edwards jump on stage tonight – push her handsome husband into the spectator seats – like a World Wrestling Federation wrestler and attempt to debate Hillary herself? What novel deprecations will Michelle Obama devise to further belittle her husband? For answers to these questions watch the debate – TONIGHT, 9:00 p.m. on MSNBC. Tim Russert will moderate.

We’ll be on the job covering the debate, fingers crossed for our plucky heroine – Hillary Clinton.

Yesterday’s CNN/WMUR New Hampshire poll has Hillary 23 points ahead of second place Obama. The latest Stanford Group research gives Hillary the nomination and the presidency (short headline “Wall Street says Hillary Is 44“). The Hill wonders whether tonight is the night when earlier predictions of attacks on Hillary will come true.

Both Elmendorf and Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said the early strategies of Clinton’s rivals — wait for her to implode, stumble or become too polarizing a figure to advance — have not come to be. Now, the only way to weaken Clinton’s standings is to start attacking her on what they perceive as her weaknesses. The question is, who will strike out first.

“Their options are becoming more and more limited,” Scala said. “We’re going to see sharper attacks, [and] conventional wisdom among the candidates is that Clinton is the one to shoot for.”

If Clinton were to win not just the nomination but also the presidency, some of the candidates might want a job from her, Elmendorf said, making the decision to attack her all the more daunting.

“It’s a game of chicken between those guys to see who’s going to attack her,” Elmendorf said. He added that with time running out, “Either they do it, or it’s going to pass them by.”

In good news, a major meeting of Club 44: September 30, 2007 at 4:45 p.m. Oakland, California – Clay Street (between 12th Street and 14th Street) Hillary will attend. Speakers. Live bands. All for $20.00. Visit Http:// for more details. Club 44 meeting on the last day of the third quarter for fundraising. Help Hillary. Remember in her Senate campaign in 2006 Hillary did best in the third quarter – let’s repeat that performance.

Another way to help Hillary and spend time with 42.

“Hillary’s campaign will pick three people – each invited with a guest to watch one of the upcoming presidential debates with me,” Bill Clinton writes. “We’ll sit down in front of a big TV with a big bowl of chips, watch the debate, and talk about the race. If you enter before the Sunday midnight deadline, you and a guest could be the ones to sit down with me to watch a presidential debate.”

“When I tell you I like watching Hillary debate, I mean it,” the former president wrote. “You’re talking to the man who stayed up until four in the morning on a trip through Africa just to catch on of her debates live. So if you want to watch a debate with me – or if you just want to help Hillary win – enter today, and you and your guest might join me for a debate soon.”

PINOs and Naderites are happy.

“To an awful lot of people, Ralph Nader appears to be threatening, once again, to play the role of a spoiled brat whose purpose in life appears to be … electing Republicans by draining off votes from Democrats,” said Trounstine, who heads the San Jose State Center for Policy and Research.

Nader’s presidential aspirations are viewed by many as evidence that he is on “an enormous ego trip with potentially destructive impact,” Trounstine said.

Nader relies on Ripublicans to fund his campaigns and get him on the ballot. Nader claims there is no difference between Democrats and Ripublicans. Why doesn’t Nader run for the Ripublican nomination? Nader would fit right in between Newt and Alan Keyes.


J. B. Pritzker

This is another of our “do-gooder” articles. We write these articles because we want all Democrats to win. We want Democrats to learn to run smart campaigns. That’s why we help – because we love.

This article is not so much about Hillary Clinton. We are using the current nomination fight as a teaching tool. And we are pretty darn sure that the valuable lessons in this article are published too late for candidates running against Hillary to profit from its wisdom. This article is about the need to confront reality (yes, another reality based article from Big Pink), question delusion, the value of time, and campaigns.

Chicago Magazine has this lump of wisdom buried in its article about the battle of loyalties between the rival Hillary and Obama campaigns in Chicago and the peril of believing what your lying eyes want you to see:

J. B. Pritzker knows how that goes. “You get the feeling that you’re in a bubble here,” he says. “It’s strange, ’cause I talk to my friends at the Obama campaign and they’re like, ‘Oh, isn’t he doing great?’ And I’m like, ‘Actually, why don’t you head over the border to Wisconsin, where she’s up 15, 20 points, whatever the latest are, and then you’ll get a sense for how he’s doing nationally.'”

J. B. Pritzker, a smart businessman who supports Hillary and whose sister is Barack Obama’s national finance chairwoman is giving his sister and all the other Obama donors and advisers good advice: get out of your bubble!

Now, J. B. Pritzker’s advice is targeted to volunteers and lower level staff, maybe even mid-level staff, and possibly some of Obama’s top staff (the entire Edwards campaign staff, wife included, can learn much by listening to J. B. Pritzker’s advice too). We doubt that J. B.’s advice is really needed for the very top staff. They must know how many holes are in their hull and how much water their Edmund Fitzgerald of a campaign is taking on.

In our article Barack O bomb a, written on May 16, 2007, we quoted prominent former Obama supporter Alex Beam:

“Let me repeat: I wouldn’t mind living in a country where Barack Obama is president. Brains; candor; charisma; ambition hitched to a work ethic; I admire those qualities. But frankly, the people who’ve ponied up $4,600 for Obama in this election cycle might as well have piled the money on the kitchen table and set fire to it. Or donated it to the Audubon Society, which has a lot better chance of being in business a year from now than Obama’s presidential campaign.

What Alex Beam knew back on May 8, 2007 is what the Obama top campaign staff know and want to keep from their donors. The top level staff know, as the oddly articulate for once George Bush said, that for all intents and purposes, because of the calendar, this is a national primary race.

Yes, the Obama campaign via souffle memoranda pretend that they are doing well (See our article The Great Pretender) but they know better. If they are not shading the truth in order to keep necessary information away from their donors about their actual prospects and indeed believe they have a chance then they are in deep delusion. But we believe they know the truth and are in fact lying to their donors and supporters. Maybe the donors and supporters will read this article and learn how to spot a phony in the future – so we are not wasting our time by writing this article.

Why do we believe the Obama campaign knows their ship has sunk? We documented in The Great Pretender one of the souffle memos which made a silly case for why Obama is actually doing well. The reasoning in the memo which then was 7 months away from the first primaries/caucuses, not the 3 months today remains ludicrous:

The ludicrous memo from the Obama campaign, while decrying the validity of early polls, are you ready, cites “general election polling” to claim that Obama will be the strongest candidate in November 2008. So, polls 7 months from the primaries are to be ignored (because they show Obama as a loser), but, polls 15 months out are valid (because of the audacity of hope). Does someone review these memos before they are released? Is consistent logic too much to be expected?

The general election is now about 13 months away and the primaries/caucuses about 3 months away. If primary polls are so useless why is the Obama campaign spending more money on polls (See our article Numbers, Obama outspent Hillary more than three to one on polling and research) than any other Democratic candidate? Are they wasting donor money on ‘useless’ poll expenditures? Donors and supporters might have an interest in the answer to this question.

Time. Time is the most valuable commodity in a campaign. Everything in a campaign can be replaced except for time. Candidates can be replaced (think Mel Carnahan who died and was effectively replaced by his wife – and won the election even though he was dead). Volunteers and staff can be replaced. Office furniture can be replaced. Money can be replenished. Time, as any dying person knows, cannot be replaced. Time cannot be bought. Campaigns which waste time, lose.

We wrote in our last reality based article about how Obama has wasted time by failing to connect with working class Democrats who help determine primary outcomes and is relying on a student population that will probably not be available when the voting begins. Previously we noted the mind boggling mistake in the Obama absence from the AARP debate. For Obama, these have been 9 months of wasted time.

We have all heard candidates who lost say: ‘If we had one more week we would have won.” Beware, donors and supporters. Usually this is a tip off that the candidate ran a miserable campaign and will do so in the future unless they learn the valuable lessons herein. When a campaign begins, campaign strategists and staff know exactly how much time they have allotted to them. They know exactly when the election will be held. If they are one week late in “peaking” then they probably did not know what they were doing from the get-go.

Delusion. Delusion in a campaign can best be fought by running as if you are 20 points behind. The Hillary campaign is 20 points ahead but it is run as if Hillary is 20 points behind – smart lady that Hillary.

We have all heard candidates who are behind say a variation of ‘We are going to win, I can tell by the crowds we are getting and the enthusiasm in our crowds – we’re going to win! we’re going to come from behind.’ Beward donors and supporters. Usually this is a tip off that the candidate is either lying or delusional. In his book “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama wrote:

“Less than halfway into the campaign, I knew in my bones that I was going to lose. Each morning from that point forward I awoke with a vague sense of dread, realizing that I would have to spend the day smiling and shaking hands and pretending that everything was going according to plan.”

Jack Franks can relate:

State representative Jack Franks is one Obamamaniac who’s had a recent political change of heart. Franks once served on Obama’s presidential exploratory committee and encouraged his friend to run, telling his district’s local paper: “He’s the right guy at the right time.” But now Franks says his timing wasn’t right, choosing Obama even before evaluating the rest of the presidential field. Franks started having second thoughts about Obama after watching his performances in the first couple of debates. “I thought that Hillary was by far the better candidate and the only one ready to lead from day one,” he recalls. “But when my kids say, ‘Then why are you with Barack?’ I couldn’t give them a good answer—except friendship.”

Stupidity. Candidates should not do stupid things. Don’t windsurf in front of television cameras if you are trying to appeal to working class voters. Don’t put on helmets too big for your head to demonstrate military/foreign policy experience if you actually have no military/foreign policy experience. Also, whatever campaign strategists say, keep yourself grounded in common sense. For instance, if seniors comprise 64 percent of Iowa caucus goers don’t let some clever strategy keep you from speaking with seniors. In the real world this is what happens when you miss AARP debates:

Jimmy Kimmel: “Last night in Iowa, five of the six top Democratic presidential candidates took part in a debate sponsored by the AARP. That’s a senior citizens organization. Barack Obama skipped it. He said he doesn’t like the way old people smell, so he stayed home” (“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ABC, 9/21).


Reality Based Community

It’s five minutes before ‘I told you so’.

Political reality is nudging political fantasy.

Hillary Clinton opponents and Big Media increasingly acknowledge Hillary is THE frontrunner.

“An important threshold has finally been crossed for Clinton: Even her opponents have joined the media in acknowledging that there is just one front-runner in the Democratic race. Considering where she started six months ago, it’s a remarkable feat. She’s done it without winning a single caucus or primary. Only Gore in ’99 and Mondale in ’83 were in this strong of a position in the last five contested Democratic contests.”

We here at Big Pink know what the political reality is and has been regarding Hillary. What political fantasies are giving way to political reality which have led to Hillary’s “remarkable feat” and strong position? Why is Hillary receiving so much support from the Democrat base of working class voters and the poor?

Denise Bren’s voice trembled as she stood in a city park near her home to ask Sen. Barack Obama what he would do to help people like her struggling to pay their bills. “From the cost of gas to the cost of a dozen eggs, the price keeps going up and the wages don’t,” she said. “I’m in a family of two and can’t imagine what it does to a family of four or more.”

Skipping any expression of sympathy for Bren’s personal plight on a day when he was focused on the Iraq war, Obama (D-Ill.) launched into a detailed, six-point plan outlining the economic policies he would change as president. As thoughtful as his response was that recent morning, touching on everything from annual minimum-wage increases to pension protection, it left the 52-year-old cold.

“He tried to answer my question but also was leery in a way to get into it and feel somebody’s pain,” said Bren, who is unemployed, never finished college and is leaning toward supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Wine versus beer.

A former Harvard Law Review president and constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago, Obama can sometimes seem professorial. It is one of the reasons he sometimes fails to connect with working-class voters.

Pollsters call Bren and those like her “beer-track” voters, while those with higher incomes and more education are dubbed “wine-track” voters. The first group tends to care more about pocketbook issues. The second places greater value on more global matters.

Wine-track voters can provide money, votes and other important resources for a campaign, but it is the beer-track voters who have proved critical for winning the Democratic nomination.

Intellectual liberals with outsider messages who fail to connect with this demographic group have often failed. Think Bill Bradley in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004.

So far, Obama has done well attracting the Chardonnay crowd, but he has had less success winning over Joe Sixpack. Clinton, meanwhile, is winning them over, aided by name recognition as a former first lady and a perception that she is tough.

Hillary doesn’t whine. She fights.

Still, a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll illustrates his problem. It found Clinton dominates the Democratic field among working-class voters in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In all three states, she leads Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards among voters in households earning less than $40,000, although among all voters the race remains close in Iowa.

A Gallup Poll, meanwhile, recently reported that Obama is highly competitive with Clinton among the most-educated segment of the party. But he lags among those who have had some college or less.

“At least one candidate has exhibited a pattern similar to Obama’s educational skew in each election cycle since 1988, but that candidate usually does not end up winning the Democratic presidential nomination,” Gallup said.

Working-class voters traditionally have been the bedrock of Democratic primaries. They are a key reason Clinton leads in many state and national polls, mirroring the support her husband enjoyed with the group.

“Hillary’s strength is in traditional Democratic strongholds, and that is the beer track,” said J. Ann Selzer, who conducts the Iowa Poll for The Des Moines Register. “She is sort of the solid, institutional Democratic candidate.”

Obama and Axelrod in Fantasy Island.

Obama’s campaign argues it is bringing in a whole new set of voters, including younger ones and even some independents and Republicans.

But there are risks with that strategy, especially in Iowa, where the average Iowa caucus participant is in his or her 50s.

“They are less likely to actually show up,” Selzer said of the younger and potential first-time caucus participants. “The real question is can [Obama] harden up that support.”

A man of the wine people only.

Still, during his first major Iowa farm visit earlier this summer, he made it clear that he sometimes forgets he is not in his intellectually and financially affluent section of Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

On the farm that day, while trying to make a sympathetic point that farmers have not seen an increase in prices from their crops, Obama posed the following question:

“Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” he asked. “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”

That comment came despite the fact that Iowa does not have any Whole Foods stores, nor do its farmers typically grow the leafy green.

Hard-working anecdote

The need for Obama to appear more working-class is perhaps reflected in the periodic inclusion in his stump speech of a recent experience helping a union health-care worker as part of the Service Employees International Union’s “Walk a Day in My Shoes” program for candidates.

“I went with her to work that day, and we made his bed and helped him get dressed, and we scrubbed the floors and made him breakfast and cleaned the house and did the laundry,” Obama recently told an audience. “I have to say, it was one of the best days I have had on the campaign so far.”

Still, after a hard day’s work, Obama seems to prefer wine to beer. In another section of his stump speech, he recalls a recent decision to visit a remote South Carolina town with relatively few voters to woo a state legislator’s endorsement.

“I must have had a glass of wine or something because I said ‘fine, no problem,'” he says in one of the anecdote’s laugh-lines.

It should not be suggested that Obama is without blue-collar support. A speech he gave last week to the Service Employees International Union, for example, won strong reviews.

Still, it was white zinfandel with an Obama logo on the bottle that was for sale at a rally one recent evening in Dubuque, Iowa, where a local winery had offered them as a campaign fundraiser.

The adjoining building was a former brewery, but there was no Obama beer for sale that night.

In August we wrote the aptly named article The Coming Obama Whine . In that article we took note of the fluid situation regarding the primary schedule. We further noted that the likely outcome regarding the primary schedule will be much earlier primary electioins and caucuses. Most importantly we addressed
the effects of earlier elections on the primary election voting population. We wrote this:

And here comes the whine. Obama, and to a lesser extent Edwards, has built his failing campaign under the delusion that students will support Obama at the polls. To that end Obama held his super-rallies geared to a youth audience and in some cases solely with the college networking site Facebook subscribers as the rally organizers. The Obama strategy is in conflict with the current primary calendar. If the primary schedule keeps moving earlier and earlier the universities and colleges of Iowa and New Hampshire will be on vacation when the voting takes place.

None of this can come as a surprise to the Obama campaign. But they have been silent on the issues relating to the calendar. We suspect that as their campaign collapses they will find in the calendar the ready excuse they will need. They will whine that the calendar robbed them of their organizers and voters. In Iowa, they will yelp that there is no way to caucus absentee.

Depending on how the calendar finally settles students will have to decide whether to return early to or stay late in the icy Jack Frost states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Obama of course thinks he is the sun to the youth vote. The likelihood is that Cancun and Daytona will be a more seductive destination for winter break than canvassing for a lusterless former fad candidate.

One month later, a Big Media outlet follows up on our article:

In interviews students said Obama’s campaign has been the most visible and aggressive on campus. But it is unclear whether this strategy will do much good, especially next year when the caucuses fall on Jan. 14, the first day of classes after winter break.

The University of Northern Iowa also begins on Jan. 14. The University of Iowa is the only state university still on break on caucus night; the spring term begins Jan. 22.


The doomsday scenario for organizers at Iowa State and UNI is if the caucuses are rescheduled for before Jan. 14. Iowa Democratic Party leaders have said they would move the caucus date up if other states challenge Iowa’s leadoff status. If that happens, most students would be in their hometowns, some of them in other states. [snip]

At the University of Iowa, where students don’t get back until Jan.22, organizers hope students will end their break a week early. Students who live off campus can come back whenever they want. On-campus, some residence halls are open during the break and some aren’t.

Dreams die hard, mistakes get repeated.

Scott County Auditor Karen Fitzsimmons looks at the youth voting from two perspectives, as an election official and as county coordinator for Obama. Four years ago, she was county coordinator for another candidate who had strong appeal with college students: Howard Dean. She was disappointed when many of Dean’s college-age supporters didn’t show upon caucus night, contributing to his disappointing third-place finish.

But Fitzsimmons said she thinks Obama’s supporters are more likely to follow through than Dean’s.”I get a sense, and so does (Obama), that these young people are going to show up. That’s what we hope for, or course. Time will tell,” she said.

Another ugly reality: Obama and LOBBYISTS

When Barack Obama and fellow state lawmakers in Illinois tried to expand healthcare coverage in 2003 with the “Health Care Justice Act,” they drew fierce opposition from the insurance industry, which saw it as a back-handed attempt to impose a government-run system.

Over the next 15 months, insurers and their lobbyists found a sympathetic ear in Obama, who amended the bill more to their liking partly because of concerns they raised with him and his aides, according to lobbyists, Senate staff, and Obama’s remarks on the Senate floor.

The wrangling over the healthcare measure, which narrowly passed and became law in 2004, illustrates how Obama, during his eight years in the Illinois Senate, was able to shepherd major legislation by negotiating competing interests in Springfield, the state capital. But it also shows how Obama’s own experience in lawmaking involved dealings with the kinds of lobbyists and special interests he now demonizes on the campaign trail.


The bill originally called for a “Bipartisan Health Care Reform Commission” to implement a program reaching all 12.4 million Illinois residents. The legislation would have made it official state policy to ensure that all residents could access “quality healthcare at costs that are reasonable.” Insurers feared that language would result in a government takeover of healthcare, even though the bill did not explicitly say that.

By the time the legislation passed the Senate, in May 2004, Obama had written three successful amendments, at least one of which made key changes favorable to insurers.

Most significant, universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy – the proposed commission, renamed the Adequate Health Care Task Force, was charged only with studying how to expand healthcare access. In the same amendment, Obama also sought to give insurers a voice in how the task force developed its plan.

Lobbyists praised Obama for taking the insurance industry’s concerns into consideration.


In one attempt at a deal, Obama approached the Campaign for Better Health Care with insurers’ concerns, asking if the group would consider a less stringent mandate than requiring the state to come up with a universal healthcare plan. The coalition decided not to bend, said Jim Duffett, the group’s executive director.

“The concept of the Health Care Justice Act was to bring the sides – the different perspectives and stakeholders – to the table,” Duffett said. “In this situation, Obama was being a conduit from the insurance industry to us.”

Obama later watered down the bill after hearing from insurers and after a legal precedent surfaced during the debate indicating that it would be unconstitutional for one legislative assembly to pass a law requiring a future legislative assembly to craft a healthcare plan.

During debate on the bill on May 19, 2004, Obama portrayed himself as a conciliatory figure. He acknowledged that he had “worked diligently with the insurance industry,” as well as Republicans, to limit the legislation’s reach and noted that the bill had undergone a “complete restructuring” after industry representatives “legitimately” raised fears that it would result in a single-payer system.

“The original presentation of the bill was the House version that we radically changed – we radically changed – and we changed in response to concerns that were raised by the insurance industry,” Obama said, according to the session transcript.

And, how do you spell hypocrite?

Still, Obama’s willingness to hear out insurers and their lobbyists is revealing given the posture he strikes today on the presidential campaign trail – that lobbyists, insurance companies, and other big-industry special interests have an outsized and polluting influence on policy-making in Washington.

In a new television ad his campaign unveiled last week, Obama says that cynics “don’t believe we can limit the power of lobbyists who block our progress, or that we can trust the American people with the truth. . . . In 20 years of public service, I’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve problems that touch the lives of everyday people. I’ve taken on the drug and insurance companies and won.”

And yet while serving in Illinois, Obama was willing to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. Obama’s state Senate campaign committee accepted contributions from insurance companies and their lobbyists – including $1,000 from the Professional Independent Insurance Agents PAC in June 2003, and $1,000 from the Illinois Insurance PAC in December 2003 – while the Health Care Justice Act was wending its way through the Illinois General Assembly. Obama also collected money from the insurance industry and its lobbyists for his successful US Senate campaign in 2004.

Reality bites.


Hillary Energy

Update: The Executive Council of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) voted unanimously to endorse Senator Hillary Clinton for President in 2008.

Hillary was also endorsed today by a former candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President, Senator Evan Bayh.

[Obama was endorsed by the New York City corrections officers, a political maverick union that was among few labor groups backing Rick Lazio against Clinton in 2000 and (to its great benefit) was the only union supporting [Republican] Mike Bloomberg in 2001.

Update II:





POLITICO’S BEN SMITH: HILLARY ‘BEAMED HER WAY THROUGH’ SUNDAY TALK SHOWS AND WAS LEFT ‘UNSCATHED POLITICALLY AFTER THE TOUGHEST GRILLING WASHINGTON HAS TO OFFER.’ “Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton beamed her way through a barrage of questions from five political talk show hosts Sunday morning, appearances that offered some details of her plans on health care and the war in Iraq, but left her basically unscathed politically after the toughest grilling Washington has to offer.” [Politico, 9/24/07 ]

LA TIMES’ JIM PUZZANGHERA – HILLARY ‘REINFORCED HER POSITION AS THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL FRONT-RUNNER SUNDAY.’ “Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reinforced her position as the Democratic presidential front-runner Sunday as she executed the rare feat of appearing on all five major TV talk shows in one morning, defending her new healthcare proposal and vowing to oppose any Iraq war funding unless it is tied to starting a U.S. troop withdrawal.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/24/07 ]





What a Sunday! And more good news coming on Monday.

Hillary Clinton Speaks about Iraq funding on Meet The Press:

Hillary on Late Edition punching back and reminding Wolf Blitzer about Max Cleland and the Swiftboating of John Kerry. Hillary won’t be swiftboated:

Hillary Polarizes Tim Russert:

Hillary Mocks Chris Wallace and Hyper Partisanship Charge with a Big Hearty Laugh


Clinton Fatigue

Update, Updated: Some video’s of Hillary Sunday are in.

CBS video is HERE:

ABC video is HERE:

hwc provides additional links:

Fixed News Sunday video is HERE

Meet the Press video is HERE.


Today Hillary Clinton will be on 5 of the Sunday morning talk shows. While waiting for the shows to begin we thumbed through the Hillary Is 44 dictionary. We read the entry for Clinton Fatigue.

Our Hillary is 44 dictionary defines Clinton Fatigue as a syndrome.

A syndrome, and here we will rely on Wikipedia is defined as the following:

In medicine and psychology, the term syndrome refers to the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (discovered by a physician), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics which often occur together, so that the presence of one feature alerts the physician to the presence of the others. In recent decades the term has been used outside of medicine to refer to a combination of phenomena seen in association.

What is Clinton Fatigue, according to the Hillary Is 44 dictionary?

Clinton Fatigue afflicts Ripublicans. The symptoms are extreme fear associated with past Clinton defeats of their candidates. Aggravated conditions are extreme fear of future Clinton defeats of their candidates. See, Texas Tough for a closer examination of these symptoms.

Another associated symptom is aggravated nervousness and confusion tied to the near certainty that while any,

Democrat nominated by the Democratic Party will be attacked and attacked viciously, relentlessly, dishonorably, and unfairly… But Hillary will fight and fight effectively. Hillary will not be swiftboated and then wait weeks to respond. Hillary will not be swiftboated.

We have previously studied aggravated symptoms of Clinton Fatigue, some which are associated with PINOs, Naderites, and even some well balanced Democrats. These previous studies can be found at The Frontrunner, The Hillary Clinton Dynasty, the Big Media Wal-Mart Attack On Hillary, Hillary Can’t Win, and Hillary Can’t Win, Again .

Another symptom of Clinton Fatigue is yet another syndrome. Exploding Head Syndrome or EHS.

The symptoms of EHS begins with squinting of eyes when reading polls showing Hillary still in the lead. Most knowledgeable observers advise a dose of reality to cure EHS. Unfortunately, EHS sufferers often take refuge in their self-built news bubbles.

Ripublican exhaustion with constant defeats by the Clintons, i.e. Clinton Fatigue can lead to sleeplessness and irrational thinking. This syndrome is oddly communicable. It can travel to other population groups.

Clinton Fatigue also manifests itself in another population group. In this case, Clinton fans. This variation of Clinton Fatigue is associated with exhaustion caused by waiting for Hillary to appear on television broadcasts. It can be severely aggravated by pending debate appearances by Hillary.

See also, inevitability.

For some population groups symptoms assocated with Clinton Fatigue may be allieviated by watching the Sunday talk shows today.

Meet the Press hosts Hillary
Face the Nation hosts Hillary
This Week hosts Hillary
Fox N_ws Sunday hosts Hillary
Late Edition hosts Hillary