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US-Election 2008

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US-Election 2008

HOW TO KEEP REAGAN OUT OF OFFICE
Thu Feb 21, 2:06 PM ET
Ann Coulter

Inasmuch as the current presidential election has come down to a choice among hemlock, self-immolation or the traditional gun in the mouth, now is the time for patriotic Americans to review what went wrong and to start planning for 2012.

How did we end up with the mainstream media picking the Republican candidate for president?

It isn't the early primaries, it isn't that we allow Democrats to vote in many of our primaries, and it isn't that the voters are stupid. All of that was true or partially true in 1980 -- and we still got Ronald Reagan.

We didn't get Ronald Reagan this year not just because there's never going to be another Reagan. We will never again get another Reagan because Reagan wouldn't run for office under the current campaign-finance regime.

Three months ago, I was sitting with a half-dozen smart, successful conservatives whose names you know, all griping about this year's cast of presidential candidates. I asked them, one by one: Why don't you run for office?

Of course, none of them would. They are happy, well-adjusted individuals.

Reagan, too, had a happy life and, having had no trouble getting girls in high school, had no burning desire for power. So when the great California businessman Holmes Tuttle and two other principled conservatives approached Reagan about running for office, Reagan said no.

But Tuttle kept after Reagan, asking him not to reject the idea out of hand. He formed "Friends of Reagan" to raise money in case Reagan changed his mind.

He asked Reagan to give his famous "Rendezvous With History" speech at a $1,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser in Los Angeles and then bought airtime for the speech to be broadcast on TV days before the 1964 presidential election.

The epochal broadcast didn't change the election results, but it changed history. That single broadcast brought in nearly $1 million to the Republican Party -- not to mention millions of votes for Goldwater.

After the astonishing response to Reagan's speech and Tuttle's continued entreaties, Reagan finally relented and ran for governor. In 1966, with the help, financial and otherwise, of a handful of self-made conservative businessmen, Reagan walloped incumbent Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, winning 57 percent of the vote in a state with two Democrats for every Republican.

The rest is history -- among the brightest spots in all of world history.

None of that could happen today. (The following analysis uses federal campaign-finance laws rather than California campaign-finance laws because the laws are basically the same, and I am not going to hire a campaign-finance lawyer in order to write this column.)

If Tuttle found Ronald Reagan today, he couldn't form "Friends of Reagan" to raise money for a possible run -- at least not without hiring a battery of campaign-finance lawyers and guaranteeing himself a lawsuit by government bureaucrats. He'd also have to abandon his friendship with Reagan to avoid the perception of "coordination."

Tuttle couldn't hold a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for Reagan -- at least in today's dollars. That would be a $6,496.94-a-plate dinner (using the consumer price index) or a $19,883.51-a-plate dinner (using the relative share of GDP). The limit on individual contributions to a candidate is $2,300.

Reagan's "Rendezvous With History" speech would never have been broadcast on TV -- unless Tuttle owned the TV station. Independent groups are prohibited from broadcasting electioneering ads 60 days before an election.

A handful of conservative businessmen would not be allowed to make large contributions to Reagan's campaign -- they would be restricted to donating only $2,300 per person.

Under today's laws, Tuttle would have had to go to Reagan and say: "We would like you to run for governor. You are limited to raising money $300 at a time (roughly the current limits in 1965 dollars), so you will have to do nothing but hold fundraisers every day of your life for the next five years in order to run in the 1970 gubernatorial election, since clearly there isn't enough time to raise money for the 1966 election."

Also, Tuttle would have to tell Reagan: "We are not allowed to coordinate with you, so you're on your own. But wait -- it gets worse! After five years of attending rubber chicken dinners every single day in order to raise money in tiny increments, you will probably lose the election anyway because campaign-finance laws make it virtually impossible to unseat an incumbent.

"Oh, and one more thing: Did you ever kiss a girl in high school? Not even once? If not, then this plan might appeal to you!"

Obviously, Reagan would have returned to his original answer: No thanks.

Reagan loved giving speeches and taking questions from voters. The one part of campaigning Reagan loathed was raising money. Thanks to our campaign-finance laws, fundraising is the single most important job of a political candidate today.

This is why you will cast your eyes about the nation in vain for another Reagan sitting in any governor's mansion or U.S. Senate seat. Pro-lifers like to ask, "How many Einsteins have we lost to abortion?" I ask: How many Reagans have we lost to campaign-finance reform?

The campaign-finance laws basically restrict choice political jobs, like senator and governor -- and thus president -- to:

(1) Men who were fatties in high school and consequently are willing to submit to the hell of running for office to compensate for their unhappy adolescences -- like Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. (Somewhere in this great land of ours, even as we speak, the next Bill Clinton is waddling back to the cafeteria service line asking for seconds.)

(2) Billionaires and near-billionaires -- like Jon Corzine, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg and Mitt Romney -- who can fund their own campaigns (these aren't necessarily sociopaths, but it certainly limits the pool of candidates).

(3) Celebrities and name-brand candidates -- like Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Bush, Giuliani and Hillary Clinton (which explains the nation's apparent adoration for Bushes and Clintons -- they've got name recognition, a valuable commodity amidst totalitarian restrictions on free speech).

(4) Mainstream media-anointed candidates, like John McCain and B. Hussein Obama.

What a bizarre coincidence that a few years after the most draconian campaign-finance laws were imposed via McCain-Feingold, our two front-runners happen to be the media's picks! It's uncanny -- almost as if by design! (Can I stop now, or do you people get sarcasm?)

By prohibiting speech by anyone else, the campaign-finance laws have vastly magnified the power of the media -- which, by the way, are wholly exempt from speech restrictions under campaign-finance laws. The New York Times doesn't have to buy ad time to promote a politician; it just has to call McCain a "maverick" 1 billion times a year.

It is because of campaign-finance laws like McCain-Feingold that big men don't run for office anymore. Little men do. And John McCain is the head homunculus.

You want Reagan back? Restore the right to free speech, and you will have created the conditions that allowed Reagan to run.

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THERE'S A DEMOCRAT BEHIND DOOR NO. 1, 2 AND 3
Thu Feb 14, 6:47 PM ET

A few more primary wins and B. Hussein Obama will be able to light up a cigarette during a televised speech and still get the nomination. It looks like the only thing that can stop him now is an endorsement from Al Gore.
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Gore is always lunging into a movement just as it has passed its prime -- the Internet, Howard Dean, global warming, trying to talk black when he campaigns at a black church. He probably bought a big house a few months ago. Gore is such a supremely unlikable human being, he even subverted the mainstream media's affection for liberalism during the 2000 election.

And my brave little Hillary needs a bold move after the Potomac primaries this week. If she can't trick Gore into endorsing Obama, she may have to divorce Bill.

Hillary is, shockingly enough, the most conservative candidate among the top three presidential candidates.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell once remarked that his people would rather vote for Beelzebub than Hillary Clinton.

He didn't mention John McCain.

Pat Buchanan says if McCain is the nominee, the Republican Party will lose its soul. I'm more worried about the Republican Party losing its mind.

Republicans are doing what the Democrats tried in 2004 with John Kerry. In a state of despair, Democrats dumped the legitimate leader of their party, Howard Dean, for a candidate they deemed "electable." Kerry served in Vietnam! Republicans: Conniving has never been our strong suit. Honor is our strong suit.

Sen. John McCain's claim to being a Republican comes down to two factors:

(1) He was a POW -- I know that because he mentions it more often than John Kerry told us that he served in Vietnam.

And (2) he has a relatively conservative voting record compared to, say, Maxine Waters.

I note that there were hundreds of POWS in Vietnam. We can't make them all president. If we're just going to pick one, how about one who doesn't want to shut down Guantanamo and give amnesty to 20 million illegal immigrants? Hey, didn't Duncan Hunter serve in Vietnam? Why, yes, I believe he did!

Moreover, it's crazy to imagine that military service makes one qualified to be president. Everyone knows the true test of presidential leadership is an ability to cry on cue. Another point for my Hillary.

To be sure, McCain has a relatively conservative voting record -- but only relative to Republicans who have to get elected in places like Vermont. Relative to Republicans from conservative Arizona, McCain's voting record is abominable.

We keep hearing about McCain's "lifetime" rating from the American Conservative Union being 82.3 percent. But McCain has been a member of Congress for approximately 400 years, so that includes his votes on the Spanish-American War. His more current ratings are not so hot.

In 2006 -- the most recent year for which ratings are available -- McCain's ACU rating was 65. That year, the ACU rating for the other senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl, was 97. Even Chuck Hagel's ACU rating was 75, and Lindsey Graham's was 83.

Since 1998, only four Republican senators have had worse ACU scores than John McCain -- and none were from Goldwater country: Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter. The last time McCain ranked this far down in his class, he was at the Naval Academy.

In fact, McCain and Romney are mirror opposites: As Romney had to tailor his conservative views to the liberal voters of Massachusetts, McCain has had to tailor his liberal views to the conservative voters of Arizona. While Romney's record in a liberal bastion is as bad as it will ever be, McCain's record from a conservative bastion is as good as it will ever be. Which isn't very good.

In the immortal words of -- well, me, actually: Always choose a strong conservative from a blue state over a lukewarm conservative from a red state.

Bob Dole from Kansas had a pretty good voting record, too. But no one fully believed he believed it. Another feather in his cap was that he didn't burden voters with a "Straight Talk Express," a means of conveyance even more useless and idiotic than an electric car.

Even McCain's supporters on the Spaghetti-Spined Express know he can't be trusted on social issues like abortion. I notice how everyone seems to agree that of course Rudy Giuliani's voters would go to McCain.

Why would that be? On the two seminal issues of our time other than abortion -- taxes and the war on terrorism -- the two could not be more different.

Rudy cut taxes in New York City and, as a presidential candidate, proposed the biggest tax cut in U.S. history.

McCain voted against Bush's tax cuts twice.

Rudy supports torturing terrorists -- or using "enhanced interrogation techniques," as they say, announcing in one of the debates: "I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of."

McCain is hysterical about pouring water down terrorists' noses and campaigns to shut down Guantanamo.

He demands that no terrorist interrogation be "degrading" -- perhaps recalling how not degrading it was for people in the upper floors of the Twin Towers to have to leap to their deaths rather than be burned alive on Sept. 11.

So why is it obvious to everyone that Rudy would endorse McCain?

Because everyone knows he'll take the liberal position on social issues like abortion -- and everything else -- as soon as he doesn't need the voters of Arizona anymore.

COPYRIGHT 2008 ANN COULTER

DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE---->

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Is Obama's media affair ending?

by Jitendra Joshi Thu Feb 21, 2:29 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Barack Obama, the wunderkind of US politics, has long basked in adulatory press coverage for his historic White House bid -- but a media backlash appears to be building.
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Hillary Clinton, Obama's bitter rival for the Democrats' presidential nomination, has long complained that the young Illinois senator is getting a free ride from journalists in thrall to his promise of change.

"Obama is the new story this year and reporters love novel plotlines," said Darrell West, a political scientist and media expert at Brown University in Rhode Island.

"But as it gets closer to the nomination, there is going to be more scrutiny of him. Reporters are going to examine his statements, his votes and his background," he told AFP.

Some Obama supporters fret already that his campaign has the trappings of a messianic cult, as thousands upon thousands pack auditoriums to bask in his uplifting oratory.

"Obamaphilia has gotten creepy," Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein wrote. "The best we Obamaphiles can do is to refrain from embarrassing ourselves."

But even seasoned Republican commentators have found something refreshing in the 46-year-old Obama's drive to become the first African-American president and turn a page on two decades of political rancor.

MSNBC presenter Joe Scarborough, a former Republican representative, has commented admiringly on Obama's ability to rally independents and even Republicans to his cause. "I've never seen anything like this before," he said.

For a fickle media pack always desperate for the next big thing, the Obama phenomenon has shone beside the tarnished luster of Clinton and her former president husband Bill.

That frustrates Clinton aides such as communications chief Howard Wolfson, who said his boss had been "vetted" thoroughly.

"There is a role that the press plays in vetting candidates and that role is presumably ongoing," he said, arguing that recent disclosures about Obama were better late than never.

The candidate himself denies that he has received an easy ride, noting that for much of last year the coverage was not so excitable when he was focused on nuts-and-bolts stump issues.

"We got good press (at first) because we raised more money than people had expected," Obama said late last month. "And then there was a big stretch of about six months when we couldn't do anything right.

"We were not complaining when other candidates were touted as inevitable and their campaigns were flawless and we were the gang that couldn't shoot straight. So I just think we have to keep it in perspective."

Obama has kept the press at arm's length, giving fewer on-the-record briefings than Clinton, the once "inevitable" nominee who has become more accessible as her campaign has faltered.

Still, Obama brings to mind the original "Teflon president," Ronald Reagan, to whom scandal failed to stick and whose talent for communication lives on in the Illinois senator.

The Clinton campaign has struggled to whip up media interest in Obama's financial links to a Chicago businessman, Antoin Rezko, who is due to go on trial for fraud next month.

The New York senator has gained traction more recently for her accusation that Obama has plagiarized other politicians' speeches, although that piece of spin did nothing to halt Obama's momentum in Wisconsin Tuesday.

Television networks cut away from Clinton mid-speech on the night of the Wisconsin primary as Obama stole her thunder at a victory rally in Texas, a small but telling sign of the shift in media attention from last year.

But Obama hasn't been immune to attack.

Fox News presenters last year relayed false claims by Insight, an online journal published by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, that he attended a radical Islamic school as a child in Indonesia.

Insight had said the Clinton campaign was preparing to assert that Obama had covered up this period of his life, but the New York Times said the report was "quickly discredited" and Fox backtracked.

However, Obama is now under broader fire as his chances of winning the Democratic nomination have surged with victories in 11 contests running.

In an article headlined "The Obama Delusion," Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson said the senator "seems to have hypnotized much of the media and the public with his eloquence and the symbolism of his life story."

"The result is a mass delusion that Obama is forthrightly engaging the nation's major problems when, so far, he isn't."

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acharya,
Provide link, we don't want people chasing India-forum.
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Below are excerpts from the Economist Magazine. The Economist is the unofficial voice of the London based Bankers that control a majority of the world's media, natural resources and food supplies. The article reveals that the rise of the EU depends on the collapse of America and the use of Obama as their surrogate, to 'threaten massive nuclear retaliation' against Russia. The article clearly states that the EU intends to re-instate the Czar among other things. Some may say its just a speculative article. I say it is not. It appears to be the official EU blueprint for the next 50 years. In my view, it is obvious that any nation or person who stands in the way of this agenda will be dealt with accordingly. Vibrant nations of America, China, Russia and India, all economically and militarily powerful and Nationalist in nature, seem to be the greatest threats to the EU agenda.

The European Union at 100

Is the best yet to come?


LIKE anybody nearing a 50th birthday, the European Union needs a makeover. But as this special report has suggested, the past two years' talk of a deep crisis is overblown. The union is functioning as well (or as badly) as it did before French and Dutch voters rejected the constitution.

The efforts by the Germans to use their stint in the EU president's chair to resuscitate the constitution may thus be as mistaken as the fatuous logo they have chosen (above). It is possible that an agreement may be reached on a minimalist treaty, but it depends on a string of heroic assumptions: that Mr Sarkozy wins the French presidency; that the Poles can be bullied into accepting institutional change; that some way can be found to buy off Britain; and that almost everybody can avoid referendums. Since at least one of these assumptions is likely to prove wrong, the odds of a successful deal on the constitution seem low.

Rather than harping on institutional reform that may never happen, the EU should concentrate on things it can achieve. That means putting forward sound policies in fields such as the environment; continuing the union's enlargement to take in the western Balkans and, ultimately, Turkey; and doing more work, both in Brussels and in national capitals, to engage citizens in the project. Above all, it means taking advantage of the present recovery to push through economic reforms.

The future of the EU is hard to predict. Over the next decade or so it could undergo a burst of further integration; it could fall apart into opposing camps of those who would go forward and those who would go back; or, perhaps most likely, it could just muddle through. So how might it look in 50 years' time?

A centenary celebration, 2057

The EU is celebrating its 100th birthday with quiet satisfaction. Predictions when it turned 50 that it was doomed to irrelevance in a world dominated by America, China and India proved wide of the mark. A turning-point was the bursting of America's housing bubble and the collapse of the dollar early in the presidency of Barack Obama in 2010. But even more crucial were Germany's and France's efforts later in that decade, under Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy respectively, to push through economic reforms.

These reforms produced a sharp fall in unemployment just as Europe began to enjoy a productivity spurt from the spread of information technology. The eventual result was a growing labour shortage, which was not resolved until the arrival of Turkey and Ukraine as full members in 2025. The accession soon afterwards of the first north African country, Morocco, helped to prolong Europe's boom.

Of course it was not all plain sailing. The great Italian crisis of 2015, when the government of Gianfranco Fini quit the single currency just as David Miliband's Britain was about to join, cast a long shadow. Yet although Italian bondholders took a hit from the subsequent default and Italy's economy was soon overtaken by Spain's, financial markets proved forgiving, and the government of Walter Veltroni managed to rejoin the euro fairly quickly. Since then no country has been tempted to repeat Italy's painful experiment.

The other cause for quiet satisfaction has been the EU's foreign policy. In the dangerous second decade of the century, when Vladimir Putin returned for a third term as Russian president and stood poised to invade Ukraine, it was the EU that pushed the Obama administration to threaten massive nuclear retaliation. The Ukraine crisis became a triumph for the EU foreign minister, Carl Bildt, prompting the decision to go for a further big round of enlargement. It was ironic that, less than a decade later, Russia itself lodged its first formal application for membership.

At the same time politicians in Brussels and Washington, grappling with the blocked Middle East peace process, had a eureka moment. EU membership had worked, eventually, in Cyprus, which was reunified in 2024; why not try it again? So it was that Israel and Palestine became the EU's 49th and 50th members.

The big challenge now is what to do about Russia. Its application has been pending for 15 years. Some say that it is too big, too poor and not European enough to join. But now that the tsar has been symbolically restored, Russia has an impeccably democratic government. A previous tsar saved Europe from Napoleon nearly 250 years ago. It would be apt to mark the anniversary by welcoming Russia back into the European fold.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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How Hillary Clinton blew a sure thing
By Steven Thomma | McClatchy Newspapers

* Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008


WASHINGTON — She had everything going for her. The most famous name in politics. A solid lead in the polls. A war chest of at least $133 million.

Yet Hillary Clinton now finds herself struggling for political survival, her once-firm grasp of the Democratic presidential nomination seemingly slipping away.

What happened?

Barack Obama, for one thing, a uniquely gifted speaker with a face that appeals deeply to the Democratic Party. He also had a better-organized campaign.

But Democrats say that Clinton, whose central theme is her readiness to be president, also made blunder after blunder. She chose an inexperienced campaign manager, crafted a message that didn't match the moment, fielded poor organizations in key states and built a budget that ran dry just when she needed money most.

"She got outmaneuvered," said Mark Mellman, a Democratic strategist who isn't aligned with any of this year's candidates. "Her campaign allowed her to be outmaneuvered on several fronts."

"To think that someone named Clinton with $130 million could end up here is amazing," another neutral Democratic strategist said. He spoke only on the condition of anonymity to permit more candor, as did many party insiders quoted here who dare not offend the still-powerful Clintons.

Clinton isn't out of it yet. Aides this week dismissed talk of mismanagement and mistakes and said that she can fight back in Ohio and Texas on March 4 and in Pennsylvania on April 22, and win the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in August.

"People have made the mistake of writing off Senator Clinton before," campaign spokesman Phil Singer said.

Yet it's undeniable that the New York senator has fallen awfully far awfully fast.

One factor is Obama, an Illinois senator.

"You've got to give credit to Barack Obama. He is a once-in-a-generation politician," Mellman said.

His soaring rhetoric and uplifting message of a more civil, less divisive politics as the key to such goals as better health care has inspired Democrats since he seized the spotlight at the party's national convention in Boston in 2004.

Also, his race strikes a chord in Democrats who hunger for the chance to nominate and elect the first African-American president, arguably a stronger ideal for some than electing the first woman.

Yet Democratic strategists and insiders think that Clinton could have bested Obama so far had she run a better campaign.

Some key points:

MESSAGE

Clinton ran most of last year on her experience, at one point surrounding herself with party icons from the past, such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

It was a strategy designed for wartime, presenting her as a tough, experienced leader in the mold of Margaret Thatcher, someone who could be trusted to keep the country safe.

But that made her look rooted in the past, even part of the status quo, as Obama cast himself as the voice of a new generation. Young people surged to his rallies, and helped give him his first big win, in Iowa.

"Everybody has known for a year at least that if you trade experience for change, people want change over experience 2-1. Why they put themselves on the short end of that, I don't know," said one Democrat who worked on John Kerry's 2004 campaign. "It was a bad choice."

Though she later answered Obama's rise in the polls by changing her message to say she had the experience to deliver change, this Democrat called it "too little too late."

Said a Democrat who worked on Al Gore's 2000 campaign: "A message based on experience was not going to work in that environment. It was doomed to fail."

IOWA AND THE CAUCUS STATES

Starting with Iowa, Clinton was out-hustled and out-organized in almost every state that had caucuses rather than primaries.

Her aides and surrogates criticized caucuses as unrepresentative because it's harder for voters to attend the town hall-like meetings than it is to vote in primaries. As Obama rolled up win after win, they tried to dismiss caucus results as less important than primaries.

"They seemed to give up on organization," one Democratic strategist said. "To lose every caucus but Nevada is to say we do not care about organization.

"Should he have won Idaho? Is that his demographic? No. Should he have won Maine? No. Places like Idaho and Maine were much more Clinton's demographic. But she had neither the organizational strength nor the strategy to lock down these places."

Clinton strategist Harold Ickes denied that the campaign ceded the caucus states to Obama. Instead, it chose to allocate limited resources to different places.

"Every campaign has the allocation-of-resources issue," he said. "And in the context of the resources that we had, the delegates at stake . . . we allocated our resources as we did. You know, we certainly did not cede anything, but . . . those were the factors that were at play in those decisions."

SOUTH CAROLINA

Clinton's one burst of momentum — after wins in New Hampshire and Nevada — ended in South Carolina.

"It was a terrible campaign," said a senior South Carolina Democrat who supported Clinton.

"There was never any concept of how South Carolina should be addressed in terms of identifying voters and getting them out. The skill set of people in the Clinton campaign was pretty low, and there was no central guidance or direction. They had plenty of resources; money wasn't a problem. They just didn't execute."

Worse, Bill and Hillary Clinton hit Obama heading into the South Carolina primary in terms that struck many African-Americans as racially charged.

On the day of the primary, for example, Bill Clinton appeared to dismiss Obama's victory in a state with a large black population by noting that Jesse Jackson had won there, too. That was true. But Clinton had to skip over the 20 years of white winners in South Carolina to settle on Jackson. It was as if he were saying, "a black winner here doesn't matter, because only blacks voted for him."

Well into the campaign in Virginia weeks later, elder statesmen such as Doug Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor, were still smarting over the Clinton tactics. Clinton went on to lose Virginia in a 64-35 percent landslide.

"They blew up in South Carolina," said a white Democrat who worked in the Clinton White House. "It changed everybody's perceptions of them."

POST-SUPER TUESDAY

Short of cash as the race turned toward the Super Tuesday voting Feb. 5, Clinton lent her campaign $5 million. Even as some wins Feb. 5 helped her raise $15 million, she lost ground to Obama and appeared to lack a clear strategy for how to compete after that.

She seemed to write off Virginia, for example, and didn't even comment on her loss that night, Feb. 12, by almost 30 points.

In Wisconsin, which voted Tuesday, she was outspent 4-1 and pulled out a day early to head to the next contests, in Ohio and Texas. She lost Wisconsin by 17 points.

Even looking ahead to Pennsylvania, which she considers a must-win for her comeback, Clinton aides failed to file a full slate of delegates for that April 22 primary. While they can file them later, the oversight was hardly the sign of a well-oiled machine.

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Many of Clinton's TV ads featured her talking about the issues, standard fare.

But the ads struck one Democratic consultant as a mistake, since Obama's ads also feature excerpts from his speeches. Airing the similar ads invites a comparison of the two candidates' speaking styles at the very time she's been trying to downplay her disadvantage.

"They suck," the consultant said. "The truth is he's a better speaker. He has a better speech. They don't want a side-by-side comparison, but they're making it."

MANAGEMENT

Clinton recently replaced her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, with Maggie Williams, who served as her chief of staff when she was first lady.

Doyle got mixed reviews.

"It does seem odd to have someone at the top of the organization who has no campaign experience," one strategist said. "Bill Clinton had people who had run campaigns. Patti and Maggie were there by virtue of their personal loyalty, not their campaign experience."

But another Democrat said Doyle was singled out unfairly for blame, as often happens in Washington when a politician stumbles.

"Every decision that was made — whether it was spending or the message or what states to invest in — was a collaborative process," the other strategist said. "It's unfair to Patti to blame her. It was a ministerial position."

(William Douglas contributed to this article.)
McClatchy Newspapers 2008

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/28357.html
  Reply
Now watch how GOP will bring him back to ground,
start counting <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> GOP gave him long rope for long time
<b>Obama once visited '60s radicals </b>
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Looks like thinking folks are doing what we on the forum have been looking at. Hope now people understand why there should be interest in foreign elections.

from Deccan Chronicle, 23 Feb., 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>India must know its Mccain and Obama </b>
By V. Balachandran

In May 1981, <b>our embassy in Paris was not mentally prepared for Francois Mitterrand’s victory over Giscard d’Estaing as President</b>. Our ambassador frankly admitted that he knew no one in the Socialist Party. A similar situation arose in 1992, when a Congress Party delegation from Delhi wanted to visit Little Rock to felicitate Bill Clinton. <b>Our embassy in Washington DC, which never thought of developing contacts with the President-Elect’s group,</b> had to search deep inside Arkansas to locate an Indian American doctor to facilitate a meeting with Clinton.

Bureaucracy is notorious for its inability to anticipate new situations as Laurence J. Peter (The Peter Principle) said: <b>"Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." </b>A similar situation should not arise in November 2008 if John McCain is to clash for the high office with Barack Obama, now buoyed with the triple "Potomac" victory on February 12, unless derailed by Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates.

The contrast between the two could not have been sharper. John Sidney McCain III will be the oldest President if elected (72), while Barack Hussein Obama "Junior" (Barry) will be the fifth youngest (47). McCain, a highly decorated soldier, comes from an illustrious family of naval officers. <b>Nicknamed "McNasty" in the Navy, he was fearless but rebellious, a tendency he has displayed even during his Congressional term since 1982, where he was considered a maverick because of his speeches and actions.</b> But he was a national hero, showing the highest leadership quality in refusing to be released on priority ahead of his comrades when he was a prisoner of war for six years in Vietnam where he was often tortured.

Iraq will be the central issue for McCain and Obama for different reasons. <b>McCain believes in a militarist Jacksonian model of foreign policy on unilateral overseas intervention if American interests are threatened. His ideas conveyed through Foreign Affairs (November-December 2007) go beyond the Bush and Cheney doctrine of a military and civilian "surge" in Iraq, strengthening Pervez Musharraf in defeating Taliban, organising unilateral or multilateral sanctions on Iran, supporting Israel against its enemies, increasing US military muscle by raising US Army and Marine troop level to 900,000 and setting up a new Second World War type OSS to fight unconventional warfare and covert operations to "take risks that … bureaucracies today rarely consider taking." McCain wants a new US information agency to defeat Islamic extremism, the creation of a "worldwide League of Democracies" as envisioned by Theodore Roosevelt, to take over when the United Nations fails, close cooperation with European Union and cementing a growing partnership with India.</b>

Obama "Junior" comes from a lower middle class family where the burden of raising children fell on his mother and grandmother. Barack Hussein Obama "Senior" hailed from a remote Kenyan village. In 1959 he was selected for a US scholarship to Hawaii University where he met a White student, Ann Dunham from Kansas. Their marriage lasted only till 1963 when he moved to Harvard to study economics. He returned to Kenya with another American wife, became an alcoholic and died in a car accident in 1982. Later Obama would pen a sensitive sketch of how he missed his father in his best-selling book Dreams from My Father (1995) remembering that "more than half of USA’s 5.6 million black boys lived in fatherless households, 40 per cent of them impoverished."

Ann Dunham then married an Indonesian student, moved to Jakarta in 1967 where Obama studied in Indonesian schools spending four years of "joyous time, full of adventure and mystery" as he wrote in his second book The Audacity of Hope (2006), another best-seller. Always at the top of his class at Harvard Law School, he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review in 1991. His anti-Iraq War speech in Chicago in October 2002 at a time when he was considering running for the US Senate and when 28 Democratic senators had voted for the proposed war, was a great risk, but it paid off. His impressive keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, despite being a state legislator, won him instant fame.

The Audacity of Hope contains his political philosophy of "empathy and inclusiveness." <b>Chapter 8, "The World Beyond Our Borders" contains his foreign policy scheme. He credits the post-Second World War American leadership of crafting "a new architecture combining Wilson’s idealism with hard headed realism" which saw its results after 60 years. However "American foreign policy has always been a jumble of warring impulses." Nationalist movements, ethnic struggles, reform efforts or left leaning policies were viewed through Cold War lenses and considered potential threats, since, "US policymakers unnecessarily viewed problems elsewhere in the world through a military lens rather than a diplomatic one." The post 9/11 policies were old and outdated strategies, "dusted off, slapped together and with new labels affixed."

On the other hand, he decries "isolationism," since globalisation has made the US economy, health and security captive to events outside. Also, such transnational threats are from "the margins of the global economy," through weak or failing states, corruption and poverty which the US had earlier ignored. Unilateral military action should only be when US faces imminent threat. In all other cases, a multilateral action on the lines of George H.W. Bush’s First Gulf War should be undertaken, with cooperation from other countries. "Freedom means more than elections" in many parts of the world reeling under poverty. He faults US trade barriers, patent regimes and World Bank-IMF policies for depriving the poor access to drugs, food and development.</b>

Obama’s July 2007 declaration in Charleston that he would meet the leaders of Cuba, Syria, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea in the first year of office to resolve differences, was attacked by Hillary Clinton as "naïve." <b>However, for a world tired of the present American policy which creates more problems, this would come as a breath of fresh air. Also, it would prove that Obama is the "future" while Clinton is the "past."</b> Would US electors choose a further dose of militarism or "empathy and inclusiveness"?

V. Balachandran is a former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat

<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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OPINION
The Democrats' Embarrassment of Riches

By Peter Ross Range

With two of the strongest personalities in Democratic politics vying for the party's presidential nomination, the party is facing a tough choice. But either way the primaries in Ohio and Texas go next week, America stands to gain.

How can the Democrats go wrong?
Zoom
REUTERS

How can the Democrats go wrong?
This election is a head-spinner. First, it's Hillary Clinton. She's ahead in all the polls for months and months, even among African-Americans. Then, suddenly, after the Iowa primary, it's Barack Obama, a winner with momentum -- nearly a sure thing to take New Hampshire. But, wait! Now comes Hillary again, scooping up the women and the independents to remind Obama that she's had an electoral machine in New Hampshire for 16 years, ever since Bill Clinton made his comeback there in 1992.

Then comes South Carolina. It's Obama again, riding the tide of African-American support. Still, some of Hillary's traditional supporters among African-American leaders stay with her. To them, the million-dollar-smile of Barack Obama is still a shooting star, a man destined for great things, just not this year. "I want Barack Obama for president -- in 2016," intones former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young, a hero of the American civil rights movement.

And sure enough, Hillary's base sticks with her through Super Tuesday, giving her the big states of California, New York and New Jersey while Obama takes eight smaller ones. Wait! They're in a virtual tie.

Now things start to heat up, but good. People like me, a veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement as well as of the glorious Clinton years in the 1990s, are beginning to feel whipsawed. Obama proves his chops in a string of states, winning higher and higher percentages among African-Americans, cutting into Hillary's base of white women and lower-income voters. He even begins to edge her out among white men, a huge psychological shift.

Then come Obama's victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii, making it a string of 10 straight wins! As the campaign roars into Texas and Ohio for the March 4 primaries, he seems to have seized the mantle of inevitability that Hillary wore for so long before the primary season. Analysts calculate that Clinton would have to win both states by a landslide just to pull even with Obama. And hypothetical match-ups between John McCain and either of the Democratic candidates show Obama beating the Republican by nearly five points, while Clinton loses to McCain by more than five points.

PETER ROSS RANGE
Peter Ross Range is a veteran Washington D.C. journalist and a former Germany correspondent for Time Magazine. From 1999- 2007, he was editor of Blueprint, the politics and policy journal of the Democratic Leadership Council.
Even Clinton stalwarts like Congressman John Lewis, another civil rights hero who now sees the real possibility of an African-American president in his lifetime, are beginning to waver. Lewis, a great moral voice of the 1960s, always echoed Martin Luther King's call for achievement of "the beloved community"-- a state of grace and racial comity when the color of one's skin really didn't matter. Is Obama about to make it happen? How can Lewis resist?

How can I resist? Well, I do, about once a day, especially when I read a detailed dissection of Obama's policy programs. His offerings include cures for all that ails us, every program we all want, but no explanation of how to pay for them. In other words, once he's in the White House, he'll have difficulty making it work. Clinton has something for everything, too. But she and her team, who have been there before, understand the budget battles and compromises ahead. Hillary is the vessel of Clintonism--programs and policies that work. Obama is the inspiration that people want to hear. Can he sustain it through Election Day?

Every other day I start feeling the Obamania again, compounded by the seeming inevitability. I'm moved by his rhetoric of unity and hope, even though I still have strong doubts about how he will do on such issues as foreign policy. Since he staked his campaign heavily on the Iraq war ("I was against it before it started!") Obama would face a huge challenge from John McCain if things continue to improve in Iraq through November. It could happen: Violence by insurgents and sectarian militias is down 80 percent from one year ago, the Iraqi military says. Ironically, Obama (or Clinton) would have just as big a challenge from McCain if, God forbid, there's a turn for the worse in Iraq or some new terror attack on US soil.


While Hillary strains to sound inspiring with a voice and style better suited to running policy meetings, Obama, the natural, croons like a political Sinatra. I'm seduced by the idea that we as Americans can rise above some of our differences, and, yes, that just having Barack and Michelle in the White House, throwing the obligatory state dinners--"Hello, President Sarkozy! Hello, King Fahd! Hello, President Hu Jintao!--would set the world back on its heels a bit. Michelle Obama, with her forthright style and raw intelligence, is becoming a super-star in her own right. The very thought of an African-American First Lady takes my breath away. America is different; America is about the future; let's try to get it right.

I constantly feel the ground shifting under me. It shows, if nothing else, that we Democrats are, for once, blessed with an embarrassment of riches, almost a no-lose situation. Is it a landslide? An avalanche? Or just a passing tremor? Never have Democratic Party politics felt so seismic, so unpredictable. Or so good.

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Two campaigns, two campaigners
Sun Online
February 21, 2008 08:20 am | Barack Obama has not only just taken the lead in the contest to become the Democrats� presidential candidate by winning the Potomac primaries, but he also swept up the Grammy Award for the audio version of his book, The Audacity of Hope last week. If nothing else, that shows his real popularity.

It was, therefore, an apt and timely idea for the Hungarian opposition leader, Viktor Orbán, to base his regular, state-of-the-nation speech on one of the cornerstone thoughts of Obama’s book.
“That which binds us together is greater than that which drives us apart,” Obama writes in the prologue in his book, and Orbán did not simply use this as a nice phrase to open up with, but returned to the thought, emphasizing it two more times during his speech, calling for unity and alliance.
Obama is, of course, a liberal nominee, while Orbán is head of a conservative party, but those titles don’t matter too much these days. The line between left and right had already been blurred by the beginning of the 21st century, and, at the level of slogans, at least, there probably aren’t far fewer values Fidesz shares with today’s Democratic Party than with the “classical” conservative movements of the 20th century.
There is even a (coincidental) ) similarity between Fidesz’s Social Referendum logo and Obama’s 2008 campaign, which has long been a source of internet humor.
Alas, it seems Orbán has never read Obama’s book any further than the prologue. If he had, it would have surely occurred to him that when Obama calls for unity, he doesn’t just mean unity with more and more of his own supporters, but rather unity with his political opponents too.
In Obama’s thinking, an alliance can be described as “let’s put our debates aside and work together for the good of all,” while in Orbán’s understanding, it seems to mean “let’s come together and follow me against them.”

Respect

It is only a few pages further where Obama discusses at length how he respects George W Bush as a man, and how he admires most of his personal values, despite their serious disputes on most political questions, and Obama’s belief that Bush should be held personally accountable for the damage his administration has caused.
“I recalled my previous two encounters with the President... and both times I’d found the President to be a likable man... with the same straightforward manner that had helped him win two elections,” writes Obama.
For the President, read Ferenc Gyurcsány, and imagine the improbability of Viktor Orbán saying this at any time of his political career.
Following the logic that a politician’s past mistakes can come to stand as a symbol for the person – based on which Orbán usually dubs Gyurcsány a symbol of lying, the head of the opposition is undoubtedly a symbol of division in Hungary.
He started digging a ditch between the two sides while leading his 1998-2002 government and proclaiming “the House could always work without an opposition; it would just be a bit more boring.”
But he became especially vigorous and successful in establishing clear water between them after losing the general elections in 2002.
First, he told his supporters that they “can never be in opposition,” suggesting that the newly elected Socialist government was illegitimate and unpatriotic, and ended up at a degree where he makes his whole parliamentary group leave the debating room whenever the prime minister has something to say (a position that is still upheld today).
So if Gyurcsány, following his “lying” speech, is the one man who shouldn’t keep talking about honesty and transparency (a claim frequently reiterated by Fidesz politicians), then Orbán, surely, is one person who’d better keep quiet about unity and alliance.
But then again, his speech had nothing really to do with forming an alliance or unity: it was a harsh campaign speech, aimed solely at the approaching referendum.
It was telling how Orbán addressed the issue of the mandatory, although illegal, hálapénz (or gratitude money) for doctors and nurses, in order to gather support for the abolishment of the visiting fee (one of the three questions Hungarian citizens will be asked on Mar 9).

Failed struggle

“Look where we got in our failed struggle against gratitude money: now we have both gratitude money and the visiting fee.... This means we are paying twice for the same thing. It is like we had to pay for a theater both beforehand, and on our way out,” he exclaimed.
In other words it means that, by supporting a ban on the visiting fee, Orbán implicitly approves the illegal practice of the gratitude money (so that we pay only once).
“We either exaggerate the degree to which policies we don’t like impinge on our most sacred values, or play dumb when our own preferred policies conflict with important countervailing values.”
This quote is not from Orbán, it’s from Obama. But it could well be about Orbán, too. The policy of division has driven Fidesz to a point where collation of competing values is not possible any longer.
The benefits and disadvantages of any proposal are judged exclusively by its origin. If it doesn’t add up, they have no other choice but to play dumb. And so they do.
Oh, and by the way, the expected overwhelming victory of the referendum, as opposed to what we had heard earlier, will not now overthrow the government.
Were it likely to do so, Orbán surely would have mentioned it on Wednesday.
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Elsevier, The Netherlands

Black Hero Threatens Not to Vote for Hillary
By Rik Kuethe

Translated By Dorian de Wind
February 19, 2008
The Netherlands - Elsevier – Original text (Dutch)
John Lewis is one of the most well-known figures from the Civil Rights Movement. As a young seminarian he was the first one who let himself be beaten to a pulp on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

He led a procession of blacks who were demonstrating for the right to be registered as voters. Lewis was not afraid of the blows by the police, since he was used to that. But, he was afraid that the state troopers would throw him off the bridge, because he could not swim.

Wounds
Lewis was not much of a talker, but rather somewhat shy. Other activists became famous for their pronouncements, Lewis for his wounds. On every group photograph from around that time, with Martin Luther King inexorably in the middle, Lewis stands to the side.

It is all discussed in his autobiography “Walking with the Wind.” The title refers to an incident when Lewis was just four years old. On a certain day, a tremendous thunderstorm burst over Pike County in Alabama, where his parents worked in the cotton fields. His aunt Seneva called all the children, 16 in number, to help her keep her ramshackle wooden house from blowing away.

Religion
As Lewis describes it, the children held on to the house, four at each corner, the same way as one would try to keep a flapping tarpaulin from flying skywards. Anyway, the house was saved.

Young John, who hated everything that had anything to do with cotton, was crazy about chickens. During his early youth, already steeped in religion, he preached to the gathered flock of chickens and held a religious funeral service whenever a member of the brood passed away.

In 1986, somewhat surprisingly, Lewis was elected to the House of Representatives, representing a district in Georgia. He holds a seat there, and is still a very valued member who has risen to become the Chairman of the Black Caucus. Politically speaking, this Democrat was still very close to the Clinton couple.

Super-delegates
Because of the mere fact that he is a member of Congress, Lewis belongs to the 796 so-called super-delegates, party barons who at the Democratic convention in August have voting rights without themselves having been elected through a primary (see my weblog: “Will Democrats later on be so democratic.”)

Lewis had already said last year that he would vote for Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. But that was when Barack Obama was still miles behind. In the meantime, Lewis’s voting district voted for Obama 3-to-1 during the Super Tuesday primaries.

A few days later, the senator from Illinois said that the inherent undemocratic character of a nomination where the party barons become the decisive factor (should it come this far) can be neutralized. This can be done if the super-delegates promise to follow the will of the voters in their state or district.

Strange
Lewis has told the New York Times that his supporters are strongly insisting that he vote for Obama at the Convention. Lewis said that , because of democratic considerations, he was very sensitive to that call.

Then there is something else. When Lewis on that summer day more than 40 years ago in Selma let himself be beaten up , it was, among other reasons, because the day would come (then, unbelievably far away) when a “negro” would have a good chance to become president of the United States. That day has now arrived. Thus, it would be strange if, of all people, John Lewis would withhold his vote from Barack Obama.
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<b>Must watch</b>
SNL Women's Weekend Update - Vote for Hillary
http://youtube.com/watch?v=q0u-W8upxoU

<!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
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http://www.hillaryspeaksforme.com/

Rajesh,
Check today Video and listen to two black blogger. Here they are openly discussing race issue.
  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tough road ahead (Pioneer)
Rajeev Srinivasan

Barack Obama might be ahead of Hillary Clinton, but his path to White House will not be an easy one

There certainly is a buzz around Mr Barack Obama. His string of 11 straight victories over Ms Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries has startled both pundits and average voters. The extravagant comparisons to John Kennedy's fabled Camelot, the enthusiastic youngsters who mob him everywhere, the immense fund-raising he has managed -- all this suggests that Mr Obama's momentum is unstoppable.

There is a generation gap among voters: Those who remember Camelot and those who read about it later. The older generation is much more willing to accept Ms Clinton's record of experience and maturity. The young are swept away by the promise of change and the idealism that are the cornerstones of the Obama campaign.

So Mr Obama has the "Big Mo", momentum. It is indeed remarkable that a Black man is now offering a credible challenge for the US presidency. After all, the brutal racism of Jim Crow, the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown vs Board of Education, and Rosa Parks's refusal to yield a seat on a bus are all within living memory.

There certainly has been considerable progress in the ability of individual Blacks to rise to the top in the US. But it is questionable whether America is ready to accept a non-White as the Commander-in-Chief. <b>The President is almost deified in the US, his (yes, his, as there has never been a woman in the position) every move and every word is analysed with great interest, he becomes the role model for youngsters. And America still thinks of itself as largely WASP, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. As a result, it is unclear whether the enthusiasm shown by the crowds today will translate into a winning coalition.</b>

In opinion polls conducted today pitting Mr Obama against Mr John McCain, Mr Obama ends up winning. But do these opinion polls mean much? The prejudices of the pollsters enter into the picture, as has been seen often in the disastrous predictions of so-called psephologists in India. Besides, it is likely that many people will appear more liberal in a poll than they really are. Some of Mr Obama's perceived support may well vanish at the polling booth.

Besides, Mr Obama is all rhetoric and no substance. He has no track record. Yes, we all want world peace and want to stop global warming, but oratory won't do it. Mr Obama's watchword is change. All very nice, but exactly what is he going to change?

Is Mr Obama going to immediately pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Is he going to bring in universal health care? Is he going to single-handedly rescue the recession-bound American economy? Is he going to change American foreign policy so that the US stops supporting dictators like Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf? Is he going to immediately reverse the decline in American education and competitiveness?

Is Mr Obama going to move away from depending on Saudi petro-dollars? Is he going to make the plight of oppressed racial minorities in America much better? How is he going to rein in rampaging China and resurgent Russia? Is he going to reduce global warming by America dramatically?

None of these are amenable to quick fixes. It is, therefore, not entirely clear exactly what Mr Obama is going to change. He may be able to beat Ms Clinton based on all this rhetoric, but Mr McCain may not be quite so easy.

<b>Ms Clinton suffers from some disadvantages: One, the public is tired of her, and of her spouse. Two, Americans are more sexist than racist. </b>But there is no question about her competence or her experience and she may yet be the "Comeback Kid", as Mr Bill Clinton was.

There are also troubling issues about Mr Obama's faith that Mr McCain will exploit. Apparently Mr Obama's personal pastor is an Afro-centrist to the extent that staffers had to prevent him from being prominent in the campaign, fearing he would alienate Whites.

And indeed, there is some murky stuff about Mr Obama's religion. He wears his Christian faith on his sleeve, loudly proclaiming all the right Jesus-saves stuff. But is it that a case of "milady doth protest too much"? It is a fact that Mr Obama was born a Mohammedan, to a Mohammedan father (a Kenyan) and a converted-Mohammedan (White) mother. He spent some years of his childhood with his Mohammedan step-father in Indonesia. All this makes him, forever, a Mohammedan in the eyes of, say, Saudi Arabia.

This has also led to persistent rumours that Mr Obama is a Manchurian Candidate, someone whose loyalties lie elsewhere, and someone who is being bank-rolled by them, specifically by oil-rich Arabs. Whether or not this is true, there will be a determined smear-campaign to this effect. In an America that feels embattled both by terrorism and by the influx of foreign money, this may well resonate.

In the end, Mr Obama will not be a winning candidate against Mr McCain. There is an intriguing possibility, though: The Democratic Convention may draft Mr Al Gore. After all, he actually did win the presidency some years ago, only to be cheated out of it on technicalities. And since then, he has burnished his credentials, winning not only a Nobel Prize but also an Oscar. It is unlikely that Mr Gore would want to have Ms Clinton as his running mate. This leads to the possibility of a Gore-Obama ticket; which could well be a winner. Mr Gore's southern roots may win them votes there. In the West, North-East and Mid-West, both of them have enough charisma. Mr Gore's stolid earnestness combined with Mr Obama's oratorical flourishes may be just the ticket.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Two, Americans are more sexist than racist</b>. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
That is my view also, the way media is hammering Hillary, it seems everyone had very bad experience with their own mother, wife and daughter. Sexist show feeling overtly, racist shows covertly.
WASP men are voting against her.

I still feel Republican will come back.
If Hillary gets ticket she can win TN, AK, OK, that is key to be President. Obama had no chance in these three states. Media always say Ohio or Florida because if nominee is unable to carry these three states, they are forced to win Ohio or Florida or this year California may be in list. Al Gore was unable to carry his state TN and blamed his loss to Nader or Florida. Same happened with Kerry.
Bill Clinton and Carter were able to carry these three state.

If Obama gets ticket, California will be toss up state.
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<b>Bush predicts GOP will hold White House </b>
Told you, same is my prediction. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
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McCain retracts comment he could lose on Iraq

By Andy Sullivan Mon Feb 25, 9:15 PM ET

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on Monday retracted his earlier statement he would lose the November election if he did not convince Americans they were winning the war in Iraq.
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"I don't mean that I'll, quote, lose," McCain told reporters on his campaign bus. "I mean that it's an important issue in the judgment of the American voters."

"It's not often I retract a comment," said the likely Republican nominee.

McCain, a staunch supporter of the Iraq war, said earlier in the day he would lose the election if he did not convince the American public the U.S. military was succeeding in Iraq.

Most Americans now say the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a bad idea and disapprove of the way President George W. Bush has waged it.

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both advocate withdrawing U.S. troops if they are elected president.

McCain, a former Navy aviator who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, often says on the campaign trail that withdrawing from Iraq prematurely would amount to surrender and give Islamic extremists a propaganda victory.

The Arizona senator has criticized how the war was waged under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was replaced in late 2006. McCain says the country has made important strides in security and political stability since the United States increased its troop presence last year.

McCain has said U.S. troops may have to maintain a presence in Iraq for up to 100 years, a statement that has drawn criticism from Democrats. McCain has added he expects casualties to decline as Iraqi troops take on more security duties.

On his campaign bus on Monday, McCain pointed out U.S. troops were still stationed in Japan, Germany, South Korea and Bosnia although those wars have ended.

"We will succeed in Iraq and the Iraqis will take over their responsibilities. Americans will withdraw. But Americans may have, as they have in so many other countries, a security arrangement far into the future," he said.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http://blogs.reuters.com/trail08/)
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<b>Obama Photo Worth 1000 Keywords? Or Less</b>?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->One Nation Under Many Gods

Although Obama is not Muslim, TV and the Internet (including newspaper Web sites) broadcast stories that <b>Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan endorsed Barack Obama on Sunday </b>on the same day the Pew Internet project released its report on the state of religion in the U.S. We are a nation under many gods, but primarily One.

Farrakhan's speech was entitled, "The Gods At War -- The Future is All About Y.O.U.th." He said Obama's the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better.

He never endorsed Obama. He came to the McCormick Center in Chicago to praise Obama, not to bury him.

<b>Farrakhan also took some jabs at Hillary Clinton, saying she represents the politics of the past and has been engaging in dirty tricks</b>.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton distanced the campaign from Farrakhan: "Sen. Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan's past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister's support."

<b>Farrakhan's speech wasn't inflammatory. He compared Obama to the religion's founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father.</b>

<b>"A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he said. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall." </b>

That positive message though will not be found when someone searches for Farrakhan. Many people are searching for Farrakhan. They'll likely find his anti-Semitic remarks and Elijah Mohammed's relationship with Malcolm X. At best they'll find a religion that promotes black empowerment and nationalism, neither of which promise to help Obama's presidential aspiration.

In the late 1970s Farrakhan rebuilt the Nation of Islam, after W.D. Mohammed, the son of longtime leader Elijah Mohammed, moved his followers toward mainstream Islam.

What's unique about the Obama challenge: people are searching for information and finding disinformation. Search has a viral aspect as the Obama keywords
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Feb 26 2008, 01:59 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Feb 26 2008, 01:59 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Bush predicts GOP will hold White House </b>
Told you, same is my prediction. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
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Bush hopes to spring an October Surprise out of TSP that is why they want Msuhy in power there and not get kicked out by the newly elected parties.
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Decision of Ralph Nader to contest is also an indication that they want to make sure that Democrats do not come to power by fluke.
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