Watching last night's State of the Union, I couldn't help but be pleased. It wasn't because of anything the president said, but rather because it offered the first glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a long eight years under this president, but hope is on the way.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
A President Like My Father
By CAROLINE KENNEDY
OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
- Watch live results coverage on C-SPAN
- Watch reactions from South Carolina voters
- View county by county results at Washington Post
- News and analysis at CNNPolitics.com
- News and analysis at MSNBC.com
Congratulations to those supporters whose grassroots efforts made the South Carolina campaign a success!
The campaign trail, or "marathon" as I would like to call it, is starting to make headway into unruly territory. Recently, I received an e-mail indicating the cry out for American sense in terms of voting for Barack Obama. It came from a source that will remain nameless.
My point is this: I dot not appreciate unfair accusations, especially those irrevelant to the ability and integrity of Barack Obama or any other presidential candidate. For one, it distracts those easily influenced and uneducated from the truth. It manipulates people with hidden messages and racial filth. The e-mail I read infers that since Barack's father was a Muslim and his mother was an atheist that he would, obviously, allow his parents' spirituality to afflict his moral understanding and, in turn, misuse it if given the vote to act as president of this country.
Wow. That word is the only word I can think of when I read this.
Let's see past the facts: that Barack attended a Muslim school, or that he attended a Catholic school, or that he is now Christian but may still hold ties to certain values that are Muslim, or that the religion he was introduced to has or continues to be practiced by terrorists. What appauls and abhors me when I read these allegations is this: how does one believe, out of what disregard they may have a Democratic candidate, that it is ever okay to assume that all those who practice or were once introduced to a form of Muslim religion are in fact terrorists?
This e-mail directly states that since Barack was exposed to a form of Muslim religion that is practiced by terrorists, that he must be corrupt and evil as well, associating himself with terrorists and their beliefs. I am outraged by such accusations and perturbed to know that fellow locals and friends who may not know his standards, or maybe easily influenced, will be subjected to reading this. I cry out for common sense, reason, and ethics. Morals.
Speaking of morale, here is the most horrific message of it all. Are all Muslims terrorists? Are all those who are exposed to such practices at one time or another doomed to be terrorists? To be unethical and unreasonable people?
Barack is ethical. He is reasonable. He is sensitive to the world around him and takes the utmost consideration to the terror facing our nation and the relationships we have with other nations as well.
To whomever wrote this e-mail, to whomever read this account and may think twice, to whomever may believe these accusations, I ask you to challenge this. I ask you to believe in change--believe in what we want America to be and not what it already has become, once faced, or continues to fight for: equality and freedom.
Posted by Nik at 6:56 PM
The following endorsement from The State, South Carolina's largest newspaper, was published January 22nd, 2008.
Hillary Clinton has been a policy wonk most of her life, a trait she has carried into the U.S. Senate. As her debate performances have shown, she has intelligence and a deep understanding of many issues. Her efforts in New York focused first on learning her adopted state’s issues in detail, and pursuing legislation that would not necessarily grab headlines.
Despite America’s bitter partisan divide, all sides should agree on this: In such an environment, little gets done. Congress has been largely useless under both Republican and Democratic leadership. Setting aside the ideological conflict for conflict’s sake to get anything worthwhile done has fallen severely out of fashion.
Friday, January 25, 2008
In one of the most heated exchanges in Monday night's debate, Hillary Clinton railed against Barack Obama, exclaiming that while "I was fighting against those [Ronald Reagan's] ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago."
Obama clarified that it was only five hours of legal work done, not on behalf of Rezko, but for a community organization he was representing.
Now, a photograph has surfaced showing the smiling Clintons with developer Tony Rezko. Clinton told the NBC Today show this morning: "I don't know the man. I wouldn't know him if he walked in the door."
Sounds like the Clinton mudslinging has backfired. As they say, if you play with dirt, you're going to get dirty.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
"Think what being president's like. They play a song every time you walk into the room. Without the music, I didn't know where I was."
--Bill Clinton, January 22nd, 2008
I don't have any particular beef with Bill Clinton. In fact, I've seen him speak and read his memoir with great interest. I became somewhat disappointed with his close affiliation with George W. Bush, wondering why he would choose to align himself so closely with a man who might very well go down in history as the worst U.S. president.
I figured it was all part of the good ol' boy ex-president fraternity. Except, of course, for the fact that George W. Bush is no ex-president. In recent weeks, though, it's become clearer and clearer to me, as I watch Bill Clinton relentlessly attack Barack Obama, that former president Clinton is, at his core, a man who lusts for power. He has never quite gotten over all the attention he received in the White House, and he is determined to get back, if only as first spouse.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Bill Clinton took the opportunity today to catch up on some sleep during a celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (This video may take a while to load. If it doesn't load on this page, click here. It's worth watching.)
Wow. This was a debate not to be missed. Although I do miss the days of having Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich on stage, it was refreshing to see a debate focused on three candidates. (Although, let's be honest, at times it felt like two.)
I appreciated the format, one hour of traditional debate followed by a second hour of sit-down conversation. There were certainly more fireworks in the first hours, however. Obama delivered his promise to take the Clintons to task for their mudslinging campaign of late, and Clinton wasted no time counterattacking. For about twenty minutes, I felt like I was just listening to Obama defend himself from both sides. I think there's no doubt that both Clinton and Edwards used this debate as an opportunity to put Obama on his heels. Given his success among black voters in Nevada, there's no doubt that both Clinton and Edwards benefit from taking shots at him here.
Ultimately, Edwards walked away the winner in the first hour, refusing to engage in the harsh and often child-like squabble between Clinton and Obama.
My vote for the line of the night goes to Obama, who responded to a question about whether Bill Clinton really was the first black president by complimenting Clinton's support of the African-American community, but added that he would have to see Bill Clinton dance before he could determine if "he was a brother."
The second hour was much calmer. I'd be curious to know what, if anything, the candidates said to each other during the intermission. In the second half, though, the tone mellowed out a bit. I did appreciate that the three candidates did manage to come together to have a conversation about larger Democratic strategy versus the Republicans in 2008.
Overall, if you missed this one, I recommend watching the impending replay. If I had to choose a winner here it would be Edwards, only in the sense that he managed to avoid walking away with battle scars.
If you want some sparse, surface level analysis of the debate, check out my meager "Live Blogging" of the debate below. I thought I would give that whole Live Blogging thing a try. Not so thrilling. Maybe I'm not so good at multi-tasking. I would rather just blog, or watch the debate. Rest assured, BlogObama08 readers, for you benefit and mine, that I will never try that again.
Watch the debate live here.
Wolf Blitzer will moderate this evening. The rules will be somewhat loose, with no lights or signals to time the candidates. The first hour will be a series of questions with roughly one minute responses. The second hour, following a brief intermission, will be "more conversational." Whatever that means, it sounds interesting.
The candidates take turns showing how precious little they have to say about the economy. Note that none of them have anything to say about the falling dollar. Only Barack Obama makes the connection between wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our fiscal health.
No time for typing these last few minutes. I was too busy staring, mouth agape, at the screen, watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama take the gloves off. I won't bother recounting all of the details here, for you'll certainly see it on the news a thousand times this week. Certainly not to be missed, though. The most heated moments of the campaign so far. I'll post the video when I get the chance.
Slam junk, John Edwards! After the 15-minute skirmish between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, John Edwards chimes in, saying, "Are there three people in this debate, or two? This squabbling, this back and forth, how many children is this going to get health care for?" In the first 30 minutes of this debate, with so much negative energy being thrown around between the two front runners, it's clear that Edwards is the big winner so far.
"It is very difficult having a straight up debate with you because you never take responsibility for anything you do." --Hillary Clinton, followed by a loud chorus of boos from the crowd in South Carolina.
"When you comb my 4,000 votes, choose one, and portray it in the worst possible light, that has to be answered." -- Barack Obama
John Edwards and Barack Obama tangle on Obama's voting record in the Illinois house and his 100 times voting "present" instead of an up or down vote.
At this point in the debate, we've seen twenty minutes of Barack Obama having to defend himself from accusations from both Clinton and Edwards. Interesting that both Clinton and Edwards know that Obama is the heavy favorite in South Carolina. Both of Obama's opponents benefit from putting him on the ropes in this debate.
Edwards and Clinton attack Obama on his universal health care plan, stating that his plan leaves 15 million American uninsured. Obama responds by saying that he wants everyone covered, but that he doesn't want to mandate that families purchase coverage that they cannnot afford, and then fine them if they cannot afford coverage.
John Edwards outlays his plan to withdraw all combat troops and combat missions from Iraq in the first year of his presidency, leaving no permanent bases behind. Barack Obama reaffirms his belief that he wants to withdraw trips as quickly as they can be withdrawn safely. He underscores the financial costs of staying in Iraq any longer than absolutely necessary. Clinton says that she will move as quickly as possible. She also outlines her concerns about George W. Bush's plan to push forward a long term agreement with Iraq. She is opposed to Bush's plan for permanent bases and troop levels.
At this point, the debate is taking a quick break. When the debate returns, we are promised a new set, where all candidates will be seated together for a conversation and where there will be no rules (as if there were ever any rules.)
Now that we are in the sit-down, "conversational," portion of the debate, the tone has mellowed out somewhat. The first topic of conversation is poverty. This is one of those moments in the race where I think to myself, "Hey, all three of these people really want to do good."
Right now the candidates are basically telling stories about how in touch they are with the poverty in this country.
Barack Obama, on whether Bill Clinton was really the first black president: "I would have to investigate his (Bill Clinton's) dancing abilities before I could determine if he is, in fact, a brother."
Hillary Clinton is reflecting on how the diversity of the democratic candidates reflects the legacy of Dr. King.
Barack Obama takes the opportunity to take a look at the "substinative issue" of racial injustice in the country. I think that it's outstanding that he doesn't just use this holiday as a chance to be sappy, but also a chance to point out that Dr. King's dream is has yet to be realized.
Barack Obama: "We as Democrats have not had a working majority in a very long time...one of the reasons that I am running for president is that I can inspire new people to join in the process...the one good thing that Bush and Cheney have done for us is that they have given their party a very bad name. That gives us a unique opportunity in this election."
Edwards: "Who will be strong enough and tough enough to compete against John McCain in every place in America"
Interesting to hear the candidates now take a strategic look at the Democratic party as a whole and how they can achieve a mandate in 2008.
Edwards goes on to say that he is the one candidate who can compete head to head against John McCain anywhere in America.
Obama asserts that he, too, has polls showing that he can take on John McCain. Barack Obama asserts that Democrats have made a mistake in not going more aggressively after the evangelical vote.
Clinton says that her polls show that she can beat John McCain. She asserts that McCain will make it a national security debate, and that she is the one candidate who can take on McCain on national security.
Barack Obama says that the way to win on national security is to move away from "fear-mongering" and toward a diplomacy based foreign policy.
Closing Question: If Dr. King were alive today, why should he endorse you?
Edwards: What we need is a president who is willing to end poverty in America.
Obama: I don't think he would endorse any of us. Dr. King would call on the American people to hold us accountable. Dr. King understood that change does not happen from the top down, but from the bottom up.
Clinton: She sort of dodged the question.
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 8:19 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 7:35 PM
It was the Las Vegas strip that put the Clintons ahead.
With 85 percent of precincts reporting as of 2:17 p.m. EST Saturday afternoon, it appears that the Clintons will win Nevada by less than 600 votes.
Statewide, Barack Obama finished first in 11 counties and second in 6. The Clintons finished first in 6 counties and second in 11. Yet they managed to capture more of the Sin City vote, pulling ahead in Clark County. (Click here for Clark County demographic data.)
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Clinton captured about half of the white vote and two-thirds of the Hispanic vote. Obama walked with 80 percent of the black vote, a number that bodes well for next week's South Carolina primary.
The Review-Journal also reported that large numbers of the Culinary Workers Union went against the endorsement of their organization to cast votes for the Clintons who won that demographic 45 to 44 percent.
One must wonder how the Clinton campaign managed such a coup. Why would large numbers of union workers go against the recommendation of their union in a setting where their votes are made in plain view of their peers?
Ben Smith of Politico.com offers a potential answer: A robo-call made to Barack Obama supporters that trashes the candidate, harping on his middle name. "You just can't take a chance on Barack Hussein Obama," the call said. While the call is not directly linked to the Clinton campaign, it does echo President Clinton's comments last week when he questioned whether American should "roll the dice" on Barack Obama. (Click here for the full audio of the robo-call.)
Looking forward, Nevada's delegates will be split roughly evenly between Clinton and Obama in this increasingly tight race. Moreover, Obama's landslide victory among black voters should resonate among South Carolina voters next week.
While the big picture will likely remain unclear until Super Tuesday on February 5th, one thing is clear: The Clintons have dedicated themselves to dragging Barack Obama through the mud on every turn, even if that means using his middle name to prey on the xenophobic fears of the average American voter. Reminds me of the fear-mongering politics of the Bush administration if you ask me.
By tonight, we'll know who the winner is in Nevada's historic early primary. I hate to keep throwing around the word historic on this blog, but this is the first time that a western state has the privilidge of an early and vital primary decision.
- Click here for a live stream from KNPR 88.9 Nevada Public Radio.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Jan. 18, 2008
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Obama will renew faith in federal programs:
Older Americans know we need collective safety net
By NANCY ALTMAN and ERIC KINGSON
SPECIAL TO THE REVIEW-JOURNAL
Older Americans are destined to be one of Barack Obama's strongest constituencies.
Obama has not yet done as well with voters 65 and over as he has with younger ones. And there's not a lot of difference between Sens. Obama, Clinton and Edwards when it comes to "senior" issues, such as Social Security and Medicare. Nevertheless, we believe older Americans should and will gravitate to Obama. Here's why:
Of all voters, Obama's themes resonate best among the old. Identical to younger Americans, senior citizens do not wish to be set aside; neither can the nation afford to lose their energy and skills. Obama's call to civic engagement is consistent with the creation of a new, more vibrant old age for those who seek new adventures and new opportunities to strengthen America.
Moreover, Obama's message of unity, inclusiveness and hope speak loudest to senior citizens. Older Americans have experienced first hand what collective action can do for our nation and the world, and how hope is the only antidote to despair.
In the 1950s and the 1960s, today's seniors witnessed the Civil Rights movement that captured the conscience of the nation and took us closer to the founders' belief that all of us are created equal, an ideal that says that anyone of our citizens, man, woman, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, can be elected president of the United States.
Today's oldest Americans, those who lived through the Great Depression, know an additional truth, as well. They know that events beyond one's control can shake the foundations of life. The economy can disintegrate; a parent can die leaving dependent children; a worker can become disabled, ill, or can retire and outlive one's savings.
Older Americans recognize that the best solution to these problems of life is collective action, in the form of insurance. This recognition of the power of unity and collective action is what led to the enactment of Social Security and Medicare. They are the values that underlie those programs today.
These programs thrive today because politicians and citizens of other times wisely understood that we are at our best, as individuals, families, communities and as a nation:
-- When we understand that we are "all in it together."
-- When we accept that the moral quality of a society is determined not by the wars we start, but by how, in the words of Hubert Humphrey, the society treats "those who are in the dawn of life (the children); the twilight of life (the elderly); and the shadows of life (the sick, the needy and the handicapped)."
-- When we take up common cause to care for ourselves, our families, our neighbors and our community,
-- And when government responds with practical, dignified, secure and efficient means for hard-working Americans to protect their children, families and their communities.
The politics of the past few decades has been unusually divisive. Consistent with these politics, Social Security has been cynically used as a wedge issue, seeking to pit generations against each other by arguing that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable and undermining the well-being of future generations.
But the "What's-in-it-for-me" attitude of Washington does not reflect everyday Americans; grandparents care about the well-being of their grandchildren and vice versa.
In rejecting Red States/Blue States, White/Black dichotomies, Obama moves the nation away from those who would drive a wedge between young and old.
Obama intuitively embraces the promise of American democracy and the hope for a better future for all Americans, in a way that no other candidate today does.
Support for Obama will grow among older persons because they understand, better than any of us, the need for unity and hope. Like all Americans, they have a stake in creating a legacy of peace, prosperity and opportunity for their children, grandchildren and those who follow.
Nancy Altman, author of "The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision to Bush's Gamble" (Wiley, 2005) was Alan Greenspan's top assistant when he chaired the 1982 commission that developed the Social Security Amendments of 1983. Eric Kingson, professor of social work and public administration at Syracuse University, served as adviser to the Greenspan commission, and, in 1994, to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. Contact them at Njalt@aol.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
While the primaries in each South Carolina and Nevada are no doubt important in the race for the Democratic nod, history both recent and bygone, along with a more pressing primary, should tell us that Florida will play a key roll in this year’s elections.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
In the wake of Hillary Clinton's narrow victory in New Hampshire Tuesday night, a small but vocal faction of Obama bloggers has been espousing theories that the New Hampshire election was fixed. This post is to kindly suggest to those people, in the spirit of the Obama campaign, to please drop the issue and focus on the challenges that await us in the coming weeks.
Most of these theories center around the supposed "hackability" of the Diebold voting machines used in approximately 81 percent of New Hampshire precincts. Others criticize the lack of an adequate supply of ballots. Regardless of the supposed source of the "conspiracy," the arguments are based on the idea that Obama could not possibly have held such a wide lead in the polls, only to come in second.
While I disagree with the widespread use of electronic voting and am frustrated by the lack of preparation and adequate ballots, ultimately these conspiracy theories work against the principles that the Obama campaign is based on--most specifically, positive politics that celebrate our shared love of country instead of quarreling over our superficial differences.
For those Obama supporters who cling to the idea that New Hampshire was rigged, here is a swift reality check:
- Polls are not always right, and in fact are frequently wrong.
- The Clinton campaign absolutely needed the New Hampshire win, or else their run would have been all but over. Her campaign staff is experienced in the old ways of Washington--hence the five day mudslinging campaign by Senator Clinton and former President Clinton. Despite such desperate tactics, including some unprecedented political theater, she barely squeezed out a win.
- Despite the fact that Clinton won by 3 points, both she and Obama walked away with an equal number of delegates, with 9 each.
It's important to remember that Obama remains the front runner, with a first place and a second place finish, and more delegates than any other Democratic candidate.
Obama supporters looking for a conspiracy in New Hampshire may have the best of intentions. Certainly the entire country is on the alert for fraud after the disastrous 2000 election. Yet we must remember that this campaign requires a different kind of politics, and requires a different type of supporter. We can count on Clinton and her supporters to go negative, digging in the past for anything that might give them a fighting chance.
We're all eager to see Obama score the nomination, but in the meantime, let's stay positive, and focused on the historic month ahead of us.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
In celebration of how exciting and intense the last few days have been, I thought it might be time to pause for a bit of humor at BlogObama08. Please excuse the brief ad at the beginning of this video. The clips that follow are worth the wait.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
A BlogObama08 reader recently commented:
"I as a Republican cannot help but be for Obama - character and integrity and knowing that we are All Americans - regardless of party affiliation - and together we can find solutions to our problems."
At yesterday's Salem Rally, Obama spoke about how people of all stripes are showing unprecedented support for this campaign. Today in New Hampshire, I'm certain that we'll see more evidence of what Americans can accomplish when we stand together.
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 8:38 AM
Monday, January 7, 2008
Barack Obama's first sit-down interview since his win in Iowa is certainly worth watching.
During part one, Diane Sawyer asks some pointed questions, addressing some of the most common critiques of Obama.
After part one, use the sliding menu at the bottom of the window to watch part two. Sawyer asks a more personal set of questions aboard the Obama campaign bus.
Those of you in New Hampshire, get the word out! Tomorrow is your big day!
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 2:13 PM
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I really don't know how to respond to this moment in last night's debate. I can understand Hillary's anger--she's been in the Senate for years--and I can understand her frustration at feeling like her hard work is being overlooked. What she doesn't get is that voters are not satisfied with the sort of politics that she boasts about. She may have a significant accomplishment or two under her belt, but on balance, she has not leveraged her leadership when it counts.
Consider Iraq: She could have stood up against the invasion, but instead she stepped aside to let Bush march to war.
As far as her characterizing Obama's campaign as raising voters "false hopes," well, that just shows that she is out of touch with the pulse of the nation.
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 12:25 PM
More than any poll, I think that this video speaks to Obama's momentum going into New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday.
Although, if you're invested in polls, here's the latest:
"The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Hampshire shows Barack Obama earning 39% of the vote while Hillary Clinton attracts 27%. The survey was conducted on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. All interviews were conducted after the Iowa caucuses and before last night’s debate."
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 12:11 PM
Friday, January 4, 2008
A sincere thanks to all of you who have supported this campaign from the beginning. Tonight, Iowa voters have spoken in record numbers in favor of a new direction for America. This is only the beginning of what is sure to be an exciting year.
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 1:55 AM