California Super Debate With Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

DEBATE TONIGHT.

The Democratic Debate will be on CNN at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The debate may also be seen on the internet HERE.

Last debate before Super Tuesday primaries.

The debate — sponsored by CNN, the Los Angeles Times and Politico — starts at 8 p.m. ET Thursday on CNN and CNN.com. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is the moderator.

CNN “speculates” on what they will push to discuss:

The economy is likely to dominate Thursday’s debate, as both candidates look to appeal to supporters of Edwards and his brand of economic populism.

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Wolf introduces Hillary and BO.

Here we go.

Read more

Friendly Faces

[ Don’t forget – Debate tonight- 8:00 p.m. (ET) CNN.]

Lots of friendly faces sending photos to us. The photograph to the left is from Connecticut and includes a certain comment writer we enjoy hearing from every morning (“Good Morning Hillfans”).

Recently the American Nurses Association, representing 2.9 million registered nurses endorsed Hillary. Today, New York Firefighters endorsed Hillary.

El Mundo and The Post News Group endorsed Hillary today too:

Hillary Clinton, however, receives our support for her long standing commitment to implement the Dellums Commission agenda which addresses employment and anti-crime measures. Her experience, knowledge and commitment will serve us well. Her success as New York’s senator where she demonstrated an ability to work both sides of the aisle bodes well as to how she could bring us together as a nation. The Post News Group and El Mundo agrees with assembly member Sandre Swanson, council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Jean Quan, Mayors Ron Dellums, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters along with half of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus that Hillary Clinton has the mettle to fight for a green economy, increased educational support, withdrawal from Iraq, jobs for ex-offenders, foreclosure protection and the prosecution of predatory lenders, and increased support for urban areas.

Friendly faces are being deployed around the country to help make Hillary 44.

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will meet with voters across southwest Minnesota to discuss Hillary’s plan to boost research and development of clean and alternative energy.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee will attend a “Women for Hillary” event in Los Angeles, California.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will speak on Hillary’s behalf after the democratic debate in Los Angeles, California.

NOW President Kim Gandy will speak to Hillary supporters and undecided students at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Former Ambassador Joe Wilson will speak on Hillary’s behalf at the University of New Mexico and attend a debate watch party in Santa Fe.

United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta will stump for Hillary in Albuquerque and join President Bill Clinton at a rally at the University of New Mexico.

We’ll have pictures from tonight’s watch party above the Kodak theater.

Here is another picture from Hillary in Connecticut:

And OkieAtty sends us this picture of Bill Clinton in Oklahoma:

Snubbing The Unknown

Update: Recall the Obama “mistaken” votes in the Illinois State Senate? Well, apparently Obama not only does not know how to press the right button, Obama can’t get voting with raised arm right either. And, Obama does not bother to tell Americans when he has voted “incorrectly”. Here is the amazing story which demonstrates how little we know about Obama (VIDEOs at the article link) and we wonder what other boneheaded “mistakes” Obama has not told us about.:

Last fall during a nationally televised presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama hesitantly raised his hand and joined with most of his Democratic rivals to declare that he opposed decriminalizing marijuana.

But as a candidate for the U.S. Senate four years ago, Mr. Obama told Illinois college students that he supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use or possession, according to a videotape of a little noticed debate that was obtained by The Washington Times.

“I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws,” Mr. Obama told an audience during a debate at Northwestern University in 2004. “But I’m not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana.”

Asked about the two different answers, Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign said he in fact has “always” supported decriminalizing marijuana as he answered in 2004, meaning the candidate mistakenly raised his hand during the presidential debate last fall.

Apparently Obama did not bother to correct his “mistake” vote in a nationally televised debate. Hillary was right when she stated at the last debate that Obama does not take responsibility for his record.

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[Democratic Party debate tonight. CNN, 8:00 p.m. (ET). Join us tonight.]

* * *

For a long time we have been writing that Obama is a total unknown. Big Media has avoided vetting Obama. Big Media has protected Obama.

With less than a week to go before the Super Tuesday primaries one major network, ABC, has at least acknowledged (on-line only, not in their broadcasts) that little is known about Obama. Just last week it was uncovered that Obama cannot discern between a green “Yes” button, a red “No” button, and a yellow “Present” button when voting.

The Obama entanglements with indicted Chicago slumlord Rezko only became national news when Hillary, after she was attacked by Obama, called out that poisonous name in a debate. Obama’s many “present” votes became an issue well after 9 months of campaigning by Obama.

The most rudimentary facts about Obama’s history, including his vote history, are still largely unknown, waiting to explode.

ABC News reports on the just beginning look at the Obama record and certain comments Obama made about Bush appointees in a film clip (below):

The underlying question that this clip raises with me is — what else is there about Obama that we don’t know about? What other clips? What other comments?

Obama is on the cusp of doing well on Super Duper Tuesday and has still never had a negative TV ad run against him, and it seems clear that Hillary Clinton is correct in her implication — he has not been fully “vetted.”

There’s a lot voters — and the media — do not know about him.

The Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn places the blame on Obama for the unanswered questions, at least on the Rezko aspect, of Obama’s unexamined record.

A big question I have about the Rezko rumpus is this:

Why in the world are there still questions? [snip]

And that’s Obama’s fault. At some point early in his campaign for the White House, he apparently decided he’d said all he wanted to say and all there was to say about his dealings with Rezko. He would not grant follow-up interviews on the subject to investigative reporters, and his staff provided written and often inadequate responses to written questions.

Maybe he thought the questions were irritating—picky, repetitive, dripping with insinuations. Maybe he thought there was so little to this would-be scandal that reporters would forget about it and move on to another politician’s curious entanglements. Or maybe . . .

Well, it sure looked like he was hiding something.

This was bonehead deluxe. Megabonehead. Boneheadissimo.

Rezko’s looming trial date (it’s next month) was bound to exhume any part of the story that had died. The national media was inevitably going to want to take a crack at the story that places Obama squarely in the skeezy milieu of Illinois politics.

The trial of Rezko starts next month – after the Super Tuesday vote.

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune paints a vivid and ugly picture of possibilities:

Can Rezko really sing, loudly in a clear voice, in that orange federal jumpsuit he’s forced to wear, after a federal judge on Tuesday [January 29, 2008,] revoked his bond, figuring he’d run to Syria and skip out on his federal political corruption trial? [snip]

He’ll make a fortune if Obama becomes president.

For the good of the Democratic Party Obama must answer questions – throughly – about his financial entanglements with Rezko.

Even if Obama were totally innocent, once the Rezko trial starts Rezko will gain a great deal of power over Obama. At any moment Rezko could plunge Obama into the very middle of his kickback and extortion trial. Rezko could honestly or maliciously cut a deal with prosecutors to “give up” Obama in exchange for a sweet plea deal. Democrats will suffer if Obama is still in contention for the nomination.

* * *

“Skeezy” not only describes Chicago politics. It is also a good word to describe Obama’s latest nastiness towards Hillary and his broken down attempts to explain “The Snub” with flowery words.

ABC News as well as Inside Edition document the nasty Obama snub of Hillary Clinton.


Florida: Make Hillary 44

We’ll make this short and sweet (updates throughout the day as events warrant).

Big Media lost big last night.

Obama lost big last night.

Obama’s campaign is not very bright, smart, or swift.

What’s the proof for the above statements? The proof is John Edwards has quit.

* * *

Recall, Big Media and Obama were laughing at Hillary and Florida. They said Florida was a “beauty contest”. Florida they said does not count. They mocked Hillary. Chris Matthews sneered. Keith Olbermann snickered.

But what happened? Hillary went to Florida to defend the rights of Florida voters. Hillary went to Florida to claim the laurel wreaths of victory. And Big Media had to acknowledge her victory. Hillary was interviewed all night long on Big Media television outlets. Hillary was shown at her victory rally. Hillary was shown over and over to be the winner of the Florida primary. Hillary beat Big Media, again.

Obama? Obama laughed at the results. Obama disrespected and snubbed Florida Democrats. In turn Florida Democrats snubbed Obama. Obama and his Big Media buddies laughed at Hillary and Florida. Florida and Hillary laughed right back. Lesson: don’t whine – Fight.

If Florida did not count, if Florida does not matter – WHY THEN DID EDWARDS QUIT THE RACE TODAY?

Florida was important and that is why Edwards left the race today.

Edwards faced a wall of Big Media silence regarding his campaign. He never found a way to fight effectively against the Big Media ignoring his campaign. As we wrote in our very first post, the opposition is Big Media. The Big Media Party is running their tool in this campaign. Obama is a tool.

* * *

Obama has once again proved himself a buffoon. Instead of countering Hillary’s event in Florida last night – Obama sulked. Obama hid. Obama ran from the field of battle.

Obama campaign operatives held conference calls, issued memos, and laughed heartily at Florida and Hillary. Obama scorned the voters of the extremely important state of Florida. Florida scorned right back.

Let’s all salute the Great State of Florida and the Great Democrats of Florida. Florida Democrats did not get a purple thumb, like Iraqis did, as proof that they voted. But Florida Democrats gained the respect of the nation. Florida Democrats voted in huge numbers and made themselves relevant.

Faced with a stupid DNC enforced non-campaign in Florida – the voters fought back. Grassroots activists campaigned for their favorite candidates. Florida voters responded. Over a million Florida Democrats voted. Florida Democrats would not be left out. Hillary received close to a million votes.

* * *

The battle for Florida is not over. Obama will fight to disenfranchise Florida voters. Hillary will fight for the rights of Florida voters.

Let The Sunshine In

[Send some Sunshiny love to the Great Congresswoman Maxine Waters from the Great State of California for her Great Endorsement of Hillary today. (323) 757-8900 and (310) 642-4610 Thank the Congresswoman’s great and friendly staff too.]

* * *

Barack Obama wants to disenfranchise Florida voters. Obama calls the votes of millions in the Sunshine state a “beauty contest”. That’s an ugly remark. Florida Democrats were disenfranchised in 2000 and the entire nation and world suffered. Florida Democrats Will Demand To Be Heard. The lessons of 2000 will not be forgotten.

* * *

Having followed all the foolish directives from the Democratic National Committee, Hillary tonight will be the first in Florida after the DNC blockade is lifted.

Hillary Clinton plans to end a five-month Democratic campaign boycott of Florida tonight by hosting a public rally in Davie to thank her supporters and prepare for the general election.

The doors will open to the Signature Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m., just when voting ends for the state’s presidential primaries. The event is set to begin at 8 p.m. at 6900 State Road 84.

The rally will draw elected officials and party leaders as well as grass-roots activists.

“Sen. Clinton will come to Florida the first minute she can,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, a Clinton supporter. “She will come as soon as she has an opportunity to show Floridians how important we are and our issues are.”

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson plans to endorse Clinton’s campaign while introducing her at the event.

“For too many years, too many Americans have been invisible to their own government. In this primary, some even tried to silence our state,” Nelson said in prepared remarks released to The Associated Press. “Hillary Clinton will never let that happen.” [snip]

Democratic candidate Barack Obama has accused Clinton of violating that pledge by planning large fund-raisers. Clinton’s camp accused him of breaking the pledge by running television ads in Florida on cable news network MSNBC.

The rally tonight does not violate the pledge because it comes after the polls close, said Mo Elleithee, a Clinton campaign spokesman.

Exit polls will start to be released at 5:00 p.m. (ET)

Florida election results HERE (other links too).

* * *

Today’s earlier post noted Obama’s nasty snubs of Hillary and Florida, and 15 Million Americans on healthcare. We posted one of several photographs showing Obama’s latest nasty snub.

Readers of Big Pink knew long ago of Obama’s nasty anti-Hillary demeanor.

Jut Jaw

Obama Snubs Hillary Clinton, Florida, and 15 Million Americans

Boor Obama Snubs Senator Hillary ClintonBarack Obama betrayed his true unvarnished personality and politics when he responded at a New Hampshire debate to Hillary’s warm compliments, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary“.

Last night at the State of the Union speech Obama once again revealed himself. The Chicago Tribune caught Obama in the act of being himself:

“Sen. Barack Obama refused to make himself available to greet Sen. Hillary Clinton before the speech.

When members of the Senate entered the chamber, Obama came in before Clinton. He went out of his way to greet as many House members as possible and walked halfway across the chamber to greet members of the Supreme Court, the president’s cabinet, the military joint chiefs.

That made what happened next even more striking. Obama returned to stand by his seat next to Sen. Edward Kennedy who endorsed Obama today in a widely watched event that reverberated across the political world.

As Clinton approached, Kennedy made sure to make eye contact and indicated he wanted to shake her hand. Clinton leaned towards Kennedy over a row of seats and Kennedy leaned in towards her. They shook hands.

Obama stood icily staring at Clinton during this, then turned his back and stepped a few feet away. Kennedy may’ve wanted to make peace with Clinton but Obama clearly wanted no part of that.

As president, Obama has said he would meet with the U.S.’s enemies without precondition. But making nice with Clinton apparently is another mattter after the increasingly angry fight the two have waged, with charges and countercharges, for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The sense in the press gallery was that Obama didn’t cover himself in glory. Someone even used the word “childish.” (Not this writer.) Judging by how much conversation there was about this brush off in the press gallery, Americans will be hearing a lot more about this tomorrow and in coming days.”

Don’t bet on Big Media highlighting Obama’s boorish behavior.

Senator Hillary Clinton is not the only one Obama is snubbing these days. Obama has snubbed 15 million Americans by leaving them out of his health care plan. Obama is also snubbing the millions of Democrats who vote in the state of Florida.

Barack Obama doesn’t care what Florida Democrats say on Jan. 29.

In a memo released Tuesday, he reiterated his long-standing view that their primary votes will be worthless.

Obama has not been on the national scene for long. Obama needs to learn that Florida has millions of voters. Obama needs to learn that in 2000 a Democrat did not become president because Florida votes were not fully counted. Snubbing Florida is not a winning strategy for Democrats. We suspect that today, Florida voters will snub Obama.

Hillary Clinton Defends Voter Rights in Florida

Before discussing the Florida situation we must post the latest news regarding the arrest of Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

After today’s arrest of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, Barack Obama’s indicted slumlord friend, there was a court hearing. The top ABC News investigative reporter, Brian Ross, is on the job. Ross reports that A federal judge sent accused Illinois political fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko to jail today after federal prosecutors accused him of violating his bail terms by a convoluted series of financial transactions with Mideast banks.

Ross hints at more ominous news for Obama:

The filing says when Auchi was unable to obtain a visa to visit the United States in 2005, Rezko intervened and “asked certain Illinois government officials” to appeal the State Department’s ruling.

The officials who Rezko approached are not specified. Sen. Obama had just taken office as a U.S. senator in 2005, the same year he sought Rezko’s help in the purchase of his home.

The Guardian has more on Nadhmi Auchi in The Politics of Sleaze.

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Obama’s hypocrisy, as well as the hypocrisy of Obama supporters such as those at Obama’s Talking Points Memo, is exposed. Months ago, when Obama thought he would win Florida, Obama supported voter rights in Florida:

Barack Obama hinted during a Tampa fundraiser Sunday that if he’s the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, he’ll seat a Florida delegation at the party’s national convention, despite national party sanctions prohibiting it.

Obama also appeared to violate a pledge he and the other leading candidates took by holding a brief news conference outside the fundraiser. That was less than a day after the pledge took effect Saturday, and Obama is the first Democratic presidential candidate to visit Florida since then.

Obama and others have pledged not to campaign in Florida until the Jan. 29 primary except for fundraising, which is what he was doing in Tampa.

But after the fundraiser at the Hyde Park home of Tom and Linda Scarritt, Obama crossed the street to take half a dozen questions from reporters waiting there.

The pledge covers anything referred to in Democratic National Committee rules as “campaigning,” and those include “holding news conferences.”

Obama continues to violate the pledge he took by airing television ads in Florida. But while Hillary is fighting for the rights of Florida voters, Obama now turns his back on his own then flowery words:

According to Sanchez and Tom Scarritt, Obama was asked during the event about making sure Floridians have a role in the nomination, despite the DNC sanctions and the pledge. Scarritt said Obama responded that he’ll “do what’s right by Florida voters.”

The DNC has threatened to refuse to seat a Florida convention delegation because of the too-early primary, which the Florida Legislature decided on last spring. But if a candidate amasses enough delegates before the primary to ensure the nomination, that candidate would take control of the convention, including the power to seat a delegation.

We discussed the Sunshine State fight for voter rights on Sunday. Florida newspapers will communicate to Florida voters that Hillary Clinton is defending voter rights in Florida. Florida Democrats in 2000 were abused. Obama will abuse Florida voters in 2008.

Hillary is fighting for the rights of voters in Florida:

I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

“I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

“I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.

“I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well.”

A Face In The Crowd

Update II: REZKO Arrested
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Update: For the poll conscious – Wall Street Journal reports:

The Illinois senator trails Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by large margins in polls in most of the big states voting Feb. 5. And he lacks the time or resources to campaign intensively in many of those far-flung races to close the gaps. [snip]

Among the major Super Tuesday contests, Mrs. Clinton has wide — in some cases double-digit — polling leads in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona, Missouri and Alabama. Mr. Obama leads in his home state of Illinois and in Georgia.

The demographics in many of those states also seem to play more to Mrs. Clinton’s strengths, with big populations of Latinos and white women, groups that helped carry her to victory over Mr. Obama in New Hampshire and Nevada. [snip]

The sheer diversity of the states in play — racially, regionally, geographically — means that no candidate will have the cash or the leisure to engage in anything approaching the old-fashioned whistle-stop campaigning that has defined the races in most states so far. Mr. Obama had more than three weeks to build on his Iowa victory to chip away at Mrs. Clinton’s lead in South Carolina and ultimately to overwhelm her. That will be much harder over the coming week.

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Hillary remains focused on the job that needs to be done. Hillary Clinton will be in the Senate today to vote “No” on cloture on the FISA bill (approximately 4:30 p.m.).

* * *

Hillary is also scheduled to be in Springfield, Massachusetts today.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend:

“I respect Caroline and Teddy’s decision but I have made a different choice. While I admire Senator Obama greatly, I have known Hillary Clinton for over 25 years and have seen first hand how she gets results. As a woman, leader, and person of deep convictions, I believe Hillary Clinton would make the best possible choice for president. She shares so many of the concerns of my father. Hillary has spent a lifetime speaking out on behalf of the powerless and working to alleviate poverty, in our country and around the world. I have seen her work up close and know she will be a great President. At this moment when so much is at stake at home and overseas, I urge our fellow Americans to support Hillary Clinton. That is why my brother Bobby, my sister Kerry, and I are supporting Hillary Clinton.”

* * *

We’ve been wondering for a while now why Obama has said so little about his “community organizer” days. Where are the testimonials from people Obama supposedly helped? We know practically nothing about Obama, other than what he has written himself – and that is in many respects crafted, bogus, fiction.

We have specifically wondered about Obama’s Chicago constituents – Obama obviously could not get testimonials from his constituents in Chicago – Not the ones who froze in winter.

We’ve suggested repeatedly that Big Media interview Obama constituents, especially the tenants Obama represented as a state senator – the ones who lived in the Rezko owned buildings Obama knew so much about.

Finally a Big Media outlet, from across the sea, has taken up our suggestion. It’s not a pretty story:

Barack Obama and Joann Larkins live less than a mile apart in Chicago’s predominantly black South Side, but they inhabit very different worlds.

What connects her squalid flat and his colonnaded mansion is Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the former Obama donor and friend, who goes on trial for corruption next month – and was denounced as a “slum landlord” by Hillary Clinton in a dramatic and bitter exchange during last week’s Democratic presidential debate.

Mr Obama’s past ties to the Syrian-born property developer, a well-known figure in Chicago politics for his financial largesse, have prompted new questions about the sound political judgement and clean ethics that he touts in his run for the White House.

The charges against Mr Rezko include one that he donated $10,000 (£5,050) to an unnamed political candidate from kickbacks allegedly taken from state contracts. The recipient is reported by Chicago media to have been an unknowing Mr Obama.

“Community Organizer” Obama is nice and warm in his mansion. Mrs. Larkins recalls the Chicago cold:

Separately, in 2005, Mr Obama, 46, struck a property deal with Mr Rezko’s wife, Rita, despite the fact that her husband was already under criminal investigation. Mrs Rezko bought an empty plot next to the Obamas’ $1.65 million home in the affluent enclave of Hyde Park, and later sold the Obamas some of the land so that they could enlarge their plot – a deal that the Illinois senator has since admitted was “bone-headed”.

Mrs Larkins, 51, lives just seven city blocks away, in a district where posters advertise “dirt cheap properties” and “foreclosure advice”. She moved there almost a decade ago, taking a subsidised apartment with her 20-year-old daughter and one-year-old grandson in a building that had fallen into neglect when run by Mr Rezko.

The family boiled water on the stove and draped plastic sheeting across the windows in an effort to keep warm during the city’s bitter winters, as the heating was not working. Rubbish piled up uncollected and repeated requests for basic repairs were ignored.

It was a terrible place to live: there were a lot of drug dealers and people fighting and getting shot,” Mrs Larkins, a widow who receives invalidity benefit, told The Sunday Telegraph.

“The owners never took any interest in the place; they just wanted the rent money. We had to call the city just to get the garbage collected.”

Obama’s long time friend and patron tormented Obama’s constituents. No one cared.

The 44-apartment complex was one of 30 low-income housing projects run by Mr Rezko and his partners with funds from the city during the 1990s. By early this decade, many were boarded up as bills and mortgage payments went unpaid, but Mr Rezko moved into the fast-food business, while tenants like the Larkins struggled with the legacy of his management.

Mr Rezko was also one of the first to spot the skills of Mr Obama, offering the then Harvard law graduate a job in 1991 and becoming an early financial supporter of the new state legislator, whose inner-city constituency incl­uded 11 of his housing projects.

Although Mr Obama makes much of his roots as a community activist in Chicago’s poorest districts, he has said he had “no inkling” that there were problems with Mr Rezko’s operations. But the signs should have been easy to spot, according to John Bartlett, of the Chicago-based Metropolitan Tenants’ Association.

“The problems with Rezko were far from hidden. They were so bad that the city has had to take him to court. Anyone who wanted to look into Rezko’s activities could have learned about them,” he said.

The failure of state senator Obama, to care, to protect his constituents, is masked once again with flowery words – Mrs. Larkins be damned:

Mr Obama has recently said that he “wasn’t particularly knowledgeable” about Mr Rezko’s activities. Asked if he should have investigated his donor’s businesses, Bill Burton, Mr Obama’s spokesman, said: “The senator has a long record of successfully fighting to reform ethics and diminish the role of money in politics.”

Maybe Mrs. Larkins will provide the names of other tenants so they can tell their neglected stories to Obama, via Big Media.

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times meanwhile, critiqued Obama’s appearance on ABC Sunday morning. Excerpts with Lynn Sweet analysis in parentheses:

Obama was told by the host, “One more time, Senator, you need to divulge all there is to know about that (Rezko) relationship. Take that opportunity here.”

Obama replied, “ Well, George, this is a story that has been out there for a year, and has been thoroughly gnawed on by the press, both in Chicago and nationally. “

(actually, it is not one story but an ongoing series of stories by the Sun-Times and Tribune, exploring the depths of the ties between the two men.)

“Tony Rezko was a friend of mine, a supporter, who I’ve known for 20 years. He was a contributor not just myself but Democrats, as well as some Republicans, throughout Illinois. Everybody perceived him as a businessman and developer.”

(earlier in the week in network interviews, Obama made it seem like he hardly knew Rezko.)

“ He got into trouble that was completely unrelated to me. And nobody has suggested that I have been involved in any of those problems. I did make a mistake by purchasing a small strip of property from him, at a time where, at that point, he was under thecloud of a potential investigation.

(Obama obscures the larger point that the strip was adjacent to his house and bought at the same time in a deal that seemed connected and gave Obama a financial advantage.)

“And I’ve acknowledged that that was a mistake. But again, nobody has suggested any wrongdoing. And you know, I think, at this point, it’s important for people to recognize that I have actually provided all the information that’s out there about it.

(Actually, last week I asked an Obama spokesman information about Rezko’s fund-raising activities for Obama and could not get a straight answer.)

Maybe Lynn Sweet and other reporters willl get some straight answers from Obama endorsers. Maybe, but for Obama the Chicago poor are out of political fashion.

Sunshine Sunday With Hillary Clinton

[Hillary Clinton will be interviewed on CBS’ Face The Nation this morning. We expect the economy and seating Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention to be topics of interest along with the South Carolina results and the role of race in the campaign. We do not expect a discussion of the role of women in the campaign.]

* * *

After last night’s shameless Big Media cable hatefest (exceptions granted to Pat Buchanan and the mild peeps from Jeffrey Toobin) we get back to the issues which will determine the outcome of the Democratic Party nomination race.

Here is Hillary discussing the economy:

* * *

As we discussed yesterday, Hillary is fighting for the rights of Florida voters. The results, or rather the lack of recognizing the results, in Florida determined the 2000 election. The New York Times is tiptoeing its way into recognizing the importance of Florida in 2008:

By Friday night, nearly 350,000 Democrats had cast early votes, either in person or by mail, and party officials predicted that about 400,000 will have voted by Election Day. By contrast, just 97,000 Democrats voted early in the 2004 presidential primary, which was not as intensely contested. There are 4.14 million Democrats registered to vote in Florida.

The level of interest, if it is matched by turnout at the polls on Tuesday, could make the results in Florida more important for Democrats than they had assumed, given both the absence of candidates here and the fact that no delegates are at stake. The Democratic National Committee penalized Florida for holding its primary too early, saying it would not seat its delegates.

Along with the Democratic contest in South Carolina on Saturday, the Florida results could help set the stage for the almost nationwide primary battle on Feb. 5. Three days before Floridians line up at the polls here, the number of Democrats who have voted here has already exceeded the turnout in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

“There is a race going on,” said Karen Thurman, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, who has been urging Floridians to defy the national party and vote. “And there will still be a headline: ‘So-and-so has won Florida.’ ”

Florida voters want to be heard. Florida voters are showing the determination to be heard by voting in huge numbers – a phenomenon usually seen in foreign lands after the collapse of a dictatorship and the birth of a democracy. Despite an embargo on discussion of issues and candidate visits, Florida demands to be heard.

The rush of Democrats to vote before Tuesday’s primary has come despite Democratic candidates having stayed out of the state in deference to the Democratic National Committee and a pledge they signed to the four states with authorized early contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Still, unlike in Michigan, the other state that defied the Democratic National Committee and went ahead with an early primary, the names of Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and a third candidate, John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, are on the ballots that Floridians saw when early voting started 15 days before the primary and on absentee ballots that were distributed as early as Dec. 15.

The United States is not a dictatorship – the people rule here. Freedom and discussion of issues and democratic competition cannot be embargoed by decree. Barack Obama is conducting a subterranean campaign in Florida while opposing the seating of Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton has many friends in Florida and supports Florida representation at the Democratic National Convention.

The Democratic surge here is hardly taking place in a vacuum. Mrs. Clinton has a network of supporters, including elected officials, who have organized get-out-the-vote efforts and are planning statewide victory parties. One prominent Clinton supporter, Gerald W. McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was headed here this weekend to urge union members to turn out for Mrs. Clinton.

“We have 26,000 members and we probably have a like amount of retirees there,” Mr. McEntee said by telephone. “We are going to have three or four meetings and give our pitch in terms of Hillary Clinton and ask them to be active in the remaining days of the campaign with the specific focus of trying to bring out three our four neighbors next Tuesday.”

Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to fly here on Sunday for two fund-raisers. Although the events are not open to the press or public — her aides said she would attend no public event that would result in her breaking her word — her arrival here the day after the South Carolina vote seems likely to produce coverage on Florida television stations and newspapers on the day before the vote. On Friday, her campaign issued a statement saying that she would urge her delegates at the Democratic convention this summer to seat the Florida delegation.

Even as Mr. Obama’s advisers have sought to play down the results, his campaign has bought television time on national networks that has been hard to miss on Florida television stations. Grass-roots groups who say they are operating independently of Mr. Obama’s headquarters in Chicago have also been organizing across the state, trying to encourage support for him.

Terry Watson, who heads one of the grass-roots groups, said his organization handed out thousands of leaflets promoting Mr. Obama and asked Floridians to vote for him at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in St. Petersburg last Monday. Mr. Watson said his group was “the largest grass-roots organization” in the state and was preparing to help Mr. Obama should he win the presidential nomination.

Big Media will choose again to ignore reality, but the Hillary campaign is providing a reality break. The Obama campaign continues to dismiss and denigrate the importance of Florida voters:

“Here’s the bottom line: Hundreds of thousands of Floridians are going to vote,” said Howard Wolfson, the communications director for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. “They have been watching this campaign, and their votes and their preferences matter.”

That has stirred concern in Mr. Obama’s campaign; a front-page poll in The Miami Herald on Thursday showed Mrs. Clinton with a sizable lead.

Mr. Obama’s campaign argued that the Florida vote is a meaningless beauty contest, given the absence of candidates in the state and the fact that no candidate will win delegates in a contest that both sides have increasingly viewed as a race for delegates, rather than states.

“Although Senator Obama did not remove his name from the Florida primary ballot because Florida law did not allow him to do so, Senator Obama is firm in his commitment to neither participate nor campaign in the Florida primary and its outcome has no bearing on the nomination contest,” Mr. Obama’s campaign said in a memorandum sent to “interested parties.”

Hillary Clinton has not been afraid to contest every election in every state no matter how difficult the odds. Florida voters are fully informed and will vote. Obama can run, but he can’t hide from Florida voters.

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Hillary discusses the economy in the video posted above. Don’t miss the below video in the “Ask Hillary” series. In this video Hillary discusses, among other issues, the high incidence of suicide among gay teens. For those wondering why Hillary has such high levels of support in the gay community, this video provides and answer.

Hillary Clinton From Amsterdam News To South Carolina

Some links for tonight’s South Carolina vote results (Unofficial results statewide HERE)

Unofficial results by County HERE

Unofficial results by Congressional District HERE.

South Carolina State Election Commission statewide results HERE interactive results map.

South Carolina Unofficial results Estimated Voter turnout HERE.

South Carolina Democratic Party Statewide Results HERE

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[From the previous comments section:]

Don’t forget to thank Craig Crawford for inflicting some rationality on MSNBC ( CCrawford@cq.com ). (via newsbusters)

Craig Crawford said this:

CRAIG CRAWFORD: I never understood exactly what Bill Clinton said that was supposed to interject race, actually. I know he was arguing at arm’s length with Obama about the war and some other issues. It wasn’t clear to me — I mean the most direct reference to race I saw in this campaign was interjected by the media after New Hampshire trying to say that for some reason Obama lost New Hampshire because of racism. I never followed that one either.

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The Amsterdam News yesterday joined the New York Times and endorsed Hillary Clinton. The Amsterdam News is 95 years old. The newspaper was one of only 50 Black papers in the United States at that time This is why they endorsed Hillary Clinton:

People get nervous, upset, angry and frightened when they are not certain about the position they have taken and realize it may be the best or the worst decision they have ever made. This is especially true when it comes to having the ability to guide others to make decisions for themselves. That is not to suggest that we tell them what to do, but to say to them, “This is the decision that we have made. Would you follow us?”

That is the case when it comes to political office in this city, state and country. We listen to the candidates and we come back and make a decision that reflects, to the best of our ability, the position of the ownership and readership of this newspaper. We have never been so carefully guarded as now for making the decision around this year’s presidential primary.

It has been difficult to make a decision as to who would be our Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 2008. We wish that we could say that it has been an easy task. It was not easy, but it was fair and it was the right thing to do.

Our endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States could perhaps be viewed as the best and most difficult decision that many of us will make in our lives. Hillary Rodham Clinton is wise, competent and strong enough to lead America with dignity, forthrightness, anger when it has to be, love as it must always be, temperance as required and justice with everything.

Hillary has been close enough to some of us during the years when she was running for the United States Senate and as Senator to make us know one or two things about her. Number one, she is smart as hell and number two, she will not take a back seat to any man, including her husband and does not believe that tomorrow will never come.

Hers is a razor wit with a meat, vegetable, corn and potatoes mentality. She is a farm girl without the hayseed. She is blunt, determined and funny in the same way that the good farmers that we have always known have wielded their craft.

Her mind is a razor blade that is always open for sharpening as she opens herself to the American people for the Presidency of the Untied States. One must believe that she means everybody.

It is also true that she wants the job as President of the Untied States. Is there anyone else who wants or deserves it? Yes, many. You could name them all: who wanted the job and who qualified from the short list of Democrats who made themselves available; other Democrats and Republicans and men and women from other parties who stood in the doorway of opportunity, but who did not believe or could not afford to rise to the task.

Mrs. Clinton chose to connect and to continue until the time came when the eleventh hour was at her door and she, at the twelfth hour with those who she needed and who needed her in order for us to make a new and better America by the simple process of governing correctly, had to make a choice. Now Hillary is running with our need, God’s anger and our power to vote.For those who believe that Mrs. Clinton will be waiting around to make up her mind about whether or not she chooses us, there is a major problem. She has stood in the well of the United States Senate and said that she wanted us and on the floor of the Speakers Assembly of the State of New York and said that she could not do it without us. There is a lot more. It will come. There is time now, since guidelines have finally been established and commitments made.

We choose Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America.