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US-Election 2008
The Speech Obama Never Gave
By Mladen Andrijasevic February 12, 2008

My fellow Americans,

The time has come for me to set the record straight. Failing to do this would just make things worse, and I think I owe it to the American people.

I am a Christian. In my early years I had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of my Indonesian step-father. Denying that would just be denying the truth. At the age of six I regularly attended services in his mosque.

Does this matter? It does because I am seeking to be the president of the greatest country on Earth. It matters where I come from, because where I come from affects where I stand today.

It would be years later that I read about Islam and understood what I had been reciting as a boy. As an American I realized that my values enshrined in the US Constitution are incompatible with certain tenets of Islam: the concept of jihad, the relationship of Muslims towards non-believers; and Islam's attitude towards apostates.

Of course, many religions have violent passages against the other. But what matters is how these passages are interpreted today, not only what they meant hundreds of years ago. How for instance is verse 9:5 of the Koran interpreted? It reads: "Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]; but if they repent, and establish regular Prayers and practice regular Charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

I became acquainted with the verses received in Mecca, with those received in Medina, the concept of abrogation. I read the Hadiths, Ibn Ishaq. Today I have a fair understanding of the faith I once as a child belonged to, if only superficially, by virtue of what I learned from my step-father and his surroundings.

But today we live in a world in which hundreds of terror attacks are committed in the name of the Koran. We do not hear Muslim scholars quoting their religious texts, condemning these attacks. What we hear is the jihadists finding justification on one side. There is only silence on the other.

As an American I cannot remain indifferent to this silence.

For all of you who have brought up this point about my past I say: rest assured. I understand your concern. We share the same values.

My values are those of the founding fathers of America, and its constitutionals freedoms of speech and religion, its tolerance of diversity of opinion, its acceptance the golden rule of most religions to not do unto your brother what is hateful to you.

My values are not those of Sharia. To not address this directly and state this clearly would betray my faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and the citizens whom I seek to lead.

And that is why I felt compelled to address you on this issue today.

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.

Le Monde, France
Obama – The Savior Superstar
By Corine Lesnes

Translated by Noga Emanuel
February 13, 2008
France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

What started as a trickle, with an application for candidature, in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln’s hometown, then turned into a flowing river in the Large Plains, fed by the thawed snows of Iowa. And the overflowing stream swelled into a tidal wave in the Carolinas, Georgia, Missouri, Idaho, and lifted up into a great collective foundry of all races and ages, white mammies, black mamies, trade unionists, rap singers, latte drinking Leftists... Nonetheless, some people found themselves cast off this great centrifugal movement and landed on the wayside… Well, then…

The United States is a country that prides itself on its insistence on the merits of individualism. Nothing is more embarrassing to this country than these great moments of collective obsession (shared, of course, with Superbowl frenzy), where every critical faculty appears to have been abandoned in the service of a universal pursuit. Some blogger compared the Obama phenomenon with the political media rollercoaster, which preceded the war in Iraq. If blindness has struck us, it is only for color, which was transcended in this presidential race. But the media give the same impression of inexorable momentum, as if they knew the end of film before its screening ended.
This "Letter from America" is privileged to have escaped from the constrictions of objectivity. A divergent note, therefore, in the concert of Obama super-star. To clarify, finding criticisms of Obama requires certain doggedness. Even the Republicans have only praises. Never mind the neoconservatives, who seem to see in Obama’s international declarations a revalidation of their theories about democratizing the world.

Sceptics can be found among the blogosphere analysts or in the Leftist economist Paul Krugman, who estimate that the senator is deluded in thinking that he will be able to negotiate amicably the price of healthcare with insurance companies... Or in the writings of black intellectuals who rebuke Barack Obama for allowing the idea that racism is no more than one problem in a society that had transcended it on the collective level.

The writer Kai Wright, for example, is unaffected by Obamania. For him, Obama has contracted the White man’s malaise, which sincerely desires equality. But "the true fairy tale", is the belief that whites would be "ready to give up their privileges” in order to attain that equality. Glen Ford, co-founder of the “Black Commentator”, does not understand how Barack Obama could say that Blacks already covered "90% of the way to full equality" when the average income of a black family is a tenth that of a white family. "There are two places where one finds a 90% equality: in Basketball and in the prison system."

The left, the “true Left”, is not duped. One of the anti-war main activists, Markos Moulitas, supports Barack Obama, but without the effusions. "His speeches are beautiful, but, an hour later, one wonders whether he said anything substantial. And generally the answer is, not."

The anti war activists welcome his anti war positions in 2002, but, once he was elected, they cannot say that he stirred up much debate in the Senate by his speeches on Iraq. He voted for the ratification of the Patriot Act, for the law to build a "wall" at the Mexican border, and chose as mentor the hawkish Joe Lieberman. To the pacifists’ consternation, he wishes to increase the American army by 100 000 soldiers.

And finally there are the disbelievers, the political atheists. They are disturbed by Obama’s linguistic references to scriptures, which adorn his speeches. Joe Klein, of Time Magazine, called it the "mass messianism", that typifies the oratorical style of the televangelist: "WE are the CHANGE that we SEEK"... "Our time has come"... In the meetings, the politically "born again" activists await the invitation “to believe”, and they describe how they “came to” Obama. "When two activists rang my doorbell, I wondered whether they had taken “Ecstasy”, recently joked Joel Stein in the Los Angeles Times, “I was afraid that they might hug me."

Two days before super-Tuesday, in Los Angeles, Maria Shriver, the wife of the Republican governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, explained how she had woken up one morning and heard a "call" which had impelled her to go to the general meeting with Barack Obama. "Excuse me, wrote Kathleen Geier, a supporter of the young senator. “But this language is more suited to a cult than to an election campaign."

In volunteer preparation courses for Obama, the acolytes are repeatedly directed not to speak about political issues ("Go the Website"), but to share their experience. The idea is to recruit adherents by appealing to their emotions. Not for nothing was Barack Obama was a " community organizer".

Barack Obama can bring together stadiums packed with 20,000-strong crowds. He fascinates. According to author Shelby Steele, Obama offers White masses the possibility of redemption. "With Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the Whites felt white. Obama cures them of the anxiety of being white."

Saviour, redeemer. America asks a lot from him. Even the feminist Gloria Steinem needed to fictionalize him as a woman in order to demonstrate what she sees as gender bias (Achola would be her name)*.
This is much too much. Barack Obama is but a human being, after all.
* [Translator’s Note: Steinem observed that unlike Obama, a fictional Achola Obama has been unable to achieve more than state legislator and would not be deemed electable. Senator Barack Obama could make that progress because of his gender, says Steinem.]
Le Figaro, France
America is Getting Ready to Turn the Bush Page

Translated by Sandra Stark
February 14, 2008
France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)
According to Andre Kaspi, Professor Emiritus at the Sorbonne, “the Americans are looking for the candidate who can bring them together, who will erase the current divisions.”

The French would vote overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. Is this a prediction? In 2000, they chose Al Gore; in 2004, John Kerry. It would probably be smarter to guard against premature enthusiasm. Nonetheless, we can draw up the first scorecard of this electoral campaign which began more than a year ago.

From primaries to caucuses, Americans expressed their choice in thirty states. They voted in numbers far greater than other elections. They are hoping to turn the page after eight years of George W. Bush's presidency. They are passionate, as we all are, and the media is keeping that passion alive. What is even more striking is the candidates' use of the most sophisticated technology, from TV ads to internet messages, blogs, and surveys. And at the same time they must make themselves available, shake hands with the people, and hold meeting after meeting, passing from one state to another at supersonic speed, repeating incessantly the same speeches in front of new and attentive audiences. So, it is also a ground campaign. The voters must see the candidates, must touch them.

Modernity has not taken the place of the old ways. Democracy always wins. It works. But it is based on electoral arrangements which, from so many miles away, we don't understand very well, and we have every reason to think that the majority of Americans do not understand them much better themselves. There is a strong sense of anxiety. Money plays too big a part. Ridiculous sums are spent and will continue to be spent. Candidates must constantly seek contributions, as if a full coffer is the sign of incontestable popularity. The results are constantly compared. Hillary Clinton had to loan 5 million dollars of her own money to her campaign, which confirms that she has less money than Barack Obama.

The Democratic party is divided. Not about ideology or programs. It is constantly innovating. In 2000, it presented a Jew for Vice President. In 2008, a woman or a black man could enter the White House. The two candidates, who have been carefully scrutinized, differ less in substance than they do in style. Barack Obama is an excellent orator who ignites the enthousiasm of crowds. He benefits from the support of young people as well as blacks (who too often stay away from elections until the last minute). It doesn't seem to matter that his program is a bit uncertain. He has become the idol of the elite, the best educated, and independent voters alike. Hillary Clinton has her policy at her fingertips. She is counting on the votes of women, Hispanics, Jews, voters older than 40, and bedrock Democrats. Bill Clinton, the former president, brings his support, which is sometimes beneficial and sometimes embarrassing. The candidates are neck and neck. Their battle is without concessions, and almost violent.

Whoever wins, this battle will leave its scars. That is the danger of the primary election system. Before reuniting them to fight the opposing party, the primaries force the opponents into positions which make it difficult to reconcile with each other when it is time for the general election.

The Republican party is also divided. John McCain has not yet convinced the hard-core conservatives, those who are opposed to abortion rights, who want to impose creationism, who defend tooth and nail their religious values. They support Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist minister. But, in a contest against Obama or Clinton, the Republicans won't hesitate to back McCain. He will have to make some concessions. Maybe he will let it be known that Huckabee could be his running mate and, in case of victory, the Vice President. It is also possible that McCain will attract a good number of independents. His candidacy will be situated firmly in the center right, and not at the far right. Can he make people forget his age? Certainly, Ronald Reagan was elected for the first time at the age of 69, and re-elected at the age of 73. For McCain, it's a handicap, unless circumstances would require a President who was well-tested, which would reassure his compatriots.

The key to this campaign? Programs count less than personalities. Americans are looking for a candidate who will bring them together, who will erase the present divisions. As the only nationally elected leader, the President must express the will of the greatest number of voters. He cements the unity of the nation. That is why whenever a candidate is rejected by a part of the electorate, he is no longer considered “eligible.” Once elected, the unifier must manage the country the best he or she can. The work of dealing with international crises, economic questions, social difficulties, and all manner of political traps falls to the President. Every presidential election is a bet on the future. Nothing proves that a good candidate will become a good President, or that a mediocre candidate won't make an excellent President. Are we forgetting that there are still nine months of intensive scrutiny before a new President will be chosen? We don't know what the immediate future will bring. Will there be an international crisis of major importance? Will we escape another terrorist attack? Will the economic recession worsen? Will shattering revelations ruin the chances of any candidate? So many unknowns that can reverse predictions.

In a word, nothing is served by the intoxicating game of forecasting. Nothing is bet. Let's wait, with patience, for November 4th.
Not so fast - Here goes

Sweet: Barack Obama lifts some lines from Deval Patrick speech. Video comparison.


An Obama Refrain Bears Echoes of a Governor’s Speeches

Obama Echoes Deval Patrick...Again
ABC Journal, Spain

McCain’s Last Battle
Translated By Carolyn French
February 10, 2007
Spain - ABC Journal - Original Article (Spanish)
“I hate to lose.” With these words, perhaps sounding more like a kid during a soccer match than like the governor of Massachusetts who is running for the presidency of the Unites States of America, Mitt Romney said goodbye to his 2008 campaign. Is he retiring for good or just until 2012? Is McCain the winner of the Republican nomination or just the only one left to lose the elections of November 4th?
Even the Republicans believe that this time a Democrat will win. That is the argument Romney used to justify his departure: he assured that by staying, the odds for Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama would increase. Thus, to avoid this, he responsibly quit.

Sure there are many ways to quit. Romney almost forgot to mention McCain, anticipating what president Bush would do the day after: Request the vote for the Republican runner, but without specifying who.

Although Bush has been blamed for many lapses, this is not one of them. His aversion towards McCain is something very personal. John McCain attempted, and almost managed to become the 2000 candidate, and not George W. Bush.

Even now he continues to accuse Bush’s assistants of orchestrating a dark campaign of defamation and gossip against his name, which included the disclosure of his second wife’s dependency on painkillers and put in jeopardy his honor as a Vietnam war veteran and as a former prisoner-of-war.

A man of integrity

That is where it hurt and still does, because if there is something that John McCain has demonstrated throughout his history, it is that he is a man of integrity. Sometimes a concept of integrity a bit irrational: we must take in account the most rancid codes of honor to understand that an American soldier captive in Vietnam resigns to his freedom until all the prisoners-of-war that were caught before him are first set free. “First in, first out” is how it is called in the military in these cases. Five years and half not only of captivity, but also of torture, John McCain III, pilot of the U.S. Navy, served in the Vietnam prisons. He could have saved himself three years by taking advantage of the fact that John S. McCain I and John S. McCain II were U.S. Navy admirals. His father was in charge of all of the American forces in the Pacific, which is a reason why Vietnam originally wanted to release his son. This was an idea that he simply did not accept.

For many years his world was very simple. He never reached the ranks of his father and grandfather. He did not even get involved in politics as an ideologist. However, he did arrive with an eager and moderate spirit for the lacks and contradictions, including some shots of immaturity such as the one that led him to his first divorce after returning from Vietnam.


His second wife, seventeen years his junior and a teacher from Arizona, has been the starting point of his stability.

McCain, nowadays, is a man who learns from his mistakes as well as from others. He created “squadrons of truth” who would fight against ongoing misinformation, which is not an easy thing to thwart because it does not always make it to the newspapers or mass media. Born in Panama, he does not believe in turning his back to immigrants. A soldier at heart, he hates frivolous wars. And of course he is against simulated drowning during the interrogation of a prisoner.

The best and worst that this Republican politician has is that he does not hate to lose. Maybe because, at his 71 years, he has no other choice. Even if he were younger, possibly he would not mind at all either. Just like Vietnam: “First in, first out.”

A political party is not the same in the U.S. as it is in Spain. It is something with much more discipline and grandeur, specially the Republican “Grand Old Party” (GOP), where three big families, though not always in good terms, live together: the deep conservatives, the falcons of national security, and the ultraliberals.

John McCain, in some instances, has managed to put these three sectors out of their comfort zone. The ultraliberals, because he supports dealing with CO2 emissions to reduce global warming, voted in favor of eliminating “soft money” (non-transparent donations to electorates), and were against President Bush’s proposals of fiscal cu
ts for corporations in 2001 and 2003. The falcons, because, considering his dramatic military history, he was very critical towards the war in Iraq and condemned torture in Guantanamo, which is a topic where he accepts no excuses.

The most irritated at McCain are the deep conservatives, who do not even consider him as a superficial conservative. They do not condone his less than Spartan past, the fact that he has gone through a divorce, and that he has supported more lenient immigration policies, which leaves a more a expedited road to American citizenship for illegal aliens.
Europe favours Obama but Britons like Clinton
By John Thornhill in Paris
Published: February 17 2008 18:42 | Last updated: February 17 2008 18:42
The French, Italians, Spanish and Germans would “vote” for Barack Obama in the US presidential elections – although the British would prefer Hillary Clinton.

An FT/Harris poll of more than 5,000 Europeans found that the two Democratic candidates were by far the most popular, with Mr Obama winning between 35 per cent of the “vote” in Spain and 45 per cent in Italy.

But in the UK Mrs Clinton edged out Mr Obama by a margin of 28 per cent to 23 per cent.

On the Republican side, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani were the two most popular candidates (Mr Giuliani, who was particularly strong in Italy, has ­subsequently pulled out of the race).

The online poll was conducted between January 30 and February 8.

In a separate FT/Harris poll of 1,020 adults in the US, Mr Obama narrowly beat Mrs Clinton by a margin of 22 per cent to 21 per cent. Mr McCain was in third place with 14 per cent.

US election surveys are normally restricted to likely or, at least, registered voters, whereas the Harris survey sampled all adults and reflects a snapshot of how the US feels on this issue.

This year’s US presidential election has aroused huge interest in Europe, which seems keen to end eight years of often testy relations with the administration of President George W. Bush.

Louis Giscard d’Estaing, a French parliamentary deputy and president of the Franco-American friendship group, said the election of any of the three leading ­contenders would strengthen transatlantic ties.
I get the feeling that the backers of Obam picked him as a stealth candidate to make massa land Dar ul Islam and reduce the rage in the ummah. I didnt know that his Islamic upbringing is from his Indonesian step-father! What was his mother's thoughts about all this? Is this multiculturaism time bomb? Man what a mess.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I didnt know that his Islamic upbringing is from his Indonesian step-father! What was his mother's thoughts about all this? Is this multiculturaism time bomb? Man what a mess.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Today Islamic forum endrose Obama. So now you know.
Mother was anthropologist, twice married to Muslim. So you know her choice.
His father's muslim maternal uncle is causing major problem in Kenya.
Read my post on his family.
Even if he is a stealth Islamist, his focus will be directed at sabotaging the American system, under which India is currently suffering. Also India is out of his radar as far as i can tell. Wouldn't the Americans (of either strain) salivate at the chance of establishing an Islamist power structure in India, so why be hesistant with the same possibility happening in America?

On the other hand, he could start stealth (secular) christian conflicts in Asia ie JFK, but as only an Islamist he poses less danger to India.

The real danger would be if he is held up as a Savior figure to the so-called third world, a veritable Black Pope.

<img src='http://www.obamafacts.org/index_files/nohand.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
This is now a issue (whether he is still Muslim)-
Did Mr. Obama fail to hold his hand over his heart at a recent democratic event where the National Anthem was played?

<b>. Who is Raila Odinga and how is Mr. Obama connected to him?</b>
Raila Odinga is the Muslim extremist who recently lost the Kenyan Presidential election to a Christian. Raila is a “paternal cousin” to Mr. Obama and has visited with him in both Illinois and Kenya.

<b>· Who is Abongo “Roy” Obama? </b>
Abongo is Barack’s brother who recently preaches that the “Black man must liberate himself from the poisons of European cultures and western values”<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Obama’s older brother still lives in Kenya. Abongo “Roy” Obama is a Luo activist and a militant Muslim who argues that the black man must “liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture.” He urges his younger brother, Barack Hussein Obama to embrace his ‘African’ heritage.

The way Barack Obama describes his oldest half-brother in his book, Abongo (Roy) Obama inherited their father’s hard-drinking ways but straightened his life out by embracing Islam and his African heritage.

Abongo Obama began using his Luo tribal first name and had sworn off pork, smoking and drinking by the time of his younger brother’s 1992 wedding.

“Abongo’s new lifestyle has left him lean and clear-eyed, and at the wedding, he looked so dignified in his black African gown with white trim and matching cap that some of our guests mistook him for my father,” Obama wrote in Dreams From My Father.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<b>· What exactly is Mr. Obama’s religion?</b>
Mr. Obama belong’s to the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. The Church is primarily an African American congregation dedicated to Christian principles with a twist of ALSO pursuing Black ideals and African principles. The following text was sourced directly from Trinity’s website and can be verified by clicking on this link. A video aired on Hannity and Colmes can also be viewed here.

<i>“We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.</i>
Die Welt, Germany
Why Obama Is Not A Lightweight
By Torsten Krauel
Translated by Christiane Thieme
February 15, 2008
Germany - Die Welt - Original Article (German)
The time of the election campaigns is always a time for well directed rumors. One of them describes Barack Obama as an orator without much substance. But that is nonsense and unfair. Obama’s first several speeches may have sound like sermons, but by now, he is discussing serious matters as well.

Obama’s rivals, as well as the majority of the media, suggest that his followers support a lightweight candidate, an idealist without experience or program. This accusation alleges that a rapidly growing number of Americans are jeopardizing the future of the country. But this simply is not correct.

The 46-yar-old senator purposefully began his campaign with speeches that emphasize and embrace both the political and philosophical components of the United States. First of all, Obama competes in this election campaign as a liberal Anti-68er. His objective is to break the narrow-minded truth claim that characterizes the 68ers and their conservative opponents with a new “coalition of the willing”. Second, Obama stresses a concept that is even more important for the tone of his public appearances. To this day, Obama says, black candidates for the White House have appeared as the wrathful denouncers of white people, thus harming themselves and their success. According to Obama, a black person, much more so than a white person, has to appeal to the intertwining political and historical background of the U.S. This is why his speeches have long showed characteristics of national sermons.

Hillary Clinton contrasted these compelling speeches with a rather neutral program. It was a subliminal exploitation of her advantage of being a white woman. Obama recognized this, but did not let it confuse him – until he lost important primaries. Although he had outlined his foreign policy views in April 2007 and had introduced his plan to reform the health care system in the summer of 2007, it was clearly not enough for a series of victories. Small states like Iowa, that love rebels, carried him shoulder high while Clinton won the vote in big states like Michigan and Florida. However, both states have lost any role in picking a Democratic nominee for the White House at the party’s national convention because they had arbitrarily scheduled early presidential primaries. This is to Obama’s advantage, since Clinton otherwise would have had a clear lead in the number of delegates.

Since that time, Obama has started emphasizing major economic issues. His success became obvious during the following primaries. The day before yesterday, he delivered a major economic policy address at a General Motors Assembly Plant in Wisconsin. Like many other businesses in the United States, the company suffers from national idiosyncrasies. The burden of providing appropriate health care and retirement provisions rests on the shoulders of these companies. At the end of 2006, Hillary Clinton had justified her reform plan of the health care system with the relief of U.S. businesses on the global market. However, it was Barack Obama who used the large annual loss of 2007 of the car manufacturer for his campaign – 24 hours prior to Hillary’s visit at General Motors.

Obama presented a comprehensive agenda. He wants to fight the national housing crisis with tax credits that cover ten percent of the mortgage interest payment every year. Furthermore, he plans to create a database for property credits and institute heavy penalties for mortgage fraud. Obama suggests having every worker enrolled in a direct deposit retirement account that places a small percentage of each paycheck into savings. Workers would be able to retain this account even if they changed jobs. In addition, he wants to introduce middle-class tax cuts. Companies that shift jobs overseas will lose tax breaks. Bridges, streets, and harbors would be reconstructed with the help of a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that would invest $60 billion over the next ten years. Every child and the majority of adults would have health insurance. Nevertheless, Obama rejects compulsory universal health care coverage. Opposing Clinton who demands such a liability, Obama believes that such a reform would not be affordable. With this issue, Obama accommodates republican voters who consider universal health care coverage as an invitation for many to take advantage of taxpayers.
Barack Obama does not befriend everyone with his proposals. As early as April, he irritated the left wing of the Democratic Party by strongly hinting toward possible military operations against al-Qaeda in Pakistan.</b> But to befriend everyone is not his objective. Obama wants to create the new “coalition of the willing” – a coalition of the left center, as comprehensive as Ronald Reagan’s right-wing majority or Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The new coalition needs specific objectives, but especially a lot of dedication. It is not numbers alone that keep the “change we can believe in” alive.

Hillary Clinton’s election campaign is characterized by a “policy based on facts”. Obama opposes this approach with a strategy that even includes specific projects. The strategy’s strength, however, comes from the heart and the soul.
La Cronica De Hoy, Mexico
McCain is Solid; Uncertainty for the Democrats
By Amy Glover
February 06, 2008

Mexico - Cronica - Original Article (Spanish)
Yesterday was one of the most important days of the presidential primary in the United States, but the process is far from over. On the one hand, the Republicans have a candidate who has shown overwhelming strength. The Democrats face a more complex scenario, because at the end of [the day], the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama was very even, despite the fact that each candidate tried to interpret the results in their own way.

The process of the primaries in the EU is highly complex and the rules of the process vary among votes. In the case of the Democratic Party, yesterday saw voting in 24 states, while the Republicans had 20 primaries.. Both parties allocate state delegates differently and even within each party, the allocations varies by state. The Democratic Party assigns a number of delegates to each candidate according to the percentage of votes it receives. Republicans, in most cases, give all the delegates from one state to the candidate with the most votes (winner-takes-all), so it is easier to see a clear choice more quickly in the case of Republicans . There are also what are called "superdelegates" - important political personalities who are assigned by each party and who can vote as they like on the convention. They therefore become increasingly important in the event that the contest is close, as is now the case for the Democrats.

The process of the state primaries culminates in the party conventions (23-25 August for the Democrats and 1-4 September for the Republicans), but important primaries remain in the coming months, particularly in Wisconsin on 19 February in Texas on 4 March. In the case of the Democrats, there is a possibility that there will not be a clear candidate at the party to the convention, which means nearly seven months of uncertainty, unless in the coming one of the two candidates decides to withdraw.

The uncertainty among the Democrats is a disadvantage because attacks will continue between Clinton and Obama, causing greater “wear”. Rather than be fighting among themselves, Democrats need to quickly develop a strategy to beat the Republicans in November. The longer the selection of the presidential candidate takes, the more fissures will open up in the party and the more time Republicans will have to build their attack.

This problem has plagued the Democratic Party for decades. It is a party with diverse currents of the center-left and often it has significant internal differences of opinion, as we see today. The Republican Party, on the other hand, was largely Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and upper middle class. The homogeneity of the Republicans is a strength to that allows the party to build unity and consensus more easily.

The perception of the strength of the candidates will be extremely important in the coming weeks and months, as it ensures that they can continue to seek funds - the essential fuel of the entire campaign.

It will also be interesting to follow up on speculation regarding who might be invited as vice-presidential candidates. McCain will probably look for someone who can generate support among the most conservative of his party. It is difficult to predict who might be a potential candidate for the vice-presidency on the Democrat side, but it will be important to consider a politician from a southern state to balance the strengths of both Clinton and Obama in the north.

As usual, and we know that the Republicans will offer a white man to fight for the White House in November. What remains to be seen is whether McCain will face in the ring a woman or an African American.
An Obama presidency means embracing new ideas, both at home and abroad
By The Daily Star

Monday, February 18, 2008


Recent developments in the marathon process by which the United States chooses its presidential candidates have buttressed that country's claim to greatness but also reaffirmed that it has yet to approach its full potential. Specifically, the rise of Senator Barack Obama as a viable contender for his Democratic Party's nomination has broken new ground for even America's unchallenged capacity for self-reinvention by taking it into a new domain: that of race in general and of Obama's African heritage in particular. The notion of the first black man in the Oval Office has also spurred hope that a new generation of Americans is ready to back away from some long-held assumptions about matters outside their country's borders as well, especially in the turbulent Middle East, and so to increase their own security even as they improve the lives of people in this region.

Obama's emotional expressions of profound concern for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples have been unprecedented for a major American presidential hopeful, encouraging some observers to presume that he could be the man to fix the problem at the core of the Middle East's many woes. Predictably, Obama has come under fire from some on the American right who have sought to paint him as a dangerous radical. He has also been criticized by elements of the left and of the Arab-American community, too, who claim that he has not gone far enough in addressing their concerns. This is surprising - and disappointing, too, because it fails utterly to appreciate the courage it has taken Obama to go as far as he has. It also demonstrates a myopic willingness to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Obama has moved many long-overdue conversations forward in America, and for that he deserves credit. If he wins the presidency and ends up being the man who brokers Middle East peace, he will earn even more appreciation. Repairing all that is wrong with this part of the world has always been about breaking down barriers to new ideas, and an Obama presidency would demonstrate that Americans are still capable of doing so at home, a feat that would bode well for his ability to do something similar abroad.
Today's primary will shed light on how voters think.
Do they just go for words or plagiarism issue change perception?
It will be interesting.
What I find interesting is that Europe especially Germany and France are watching the US election closely while I dont see any insightful article from Indian news media even though there is a lot riding for indo-US ties on this election. The ususal fawning articles from usual suspects are there in Indian media.
The time they counted the Dems out
20:28pm 17th February 2008 Comments Comments

Keith Waterhouse
Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton: Still a toss-up between the two
American democracy's covered wagon rolls on, across the peaks and the prairies. Republicans seem to be settling for John McCain as their presidential candidate. A good choice.

For the Democrats, it could still be a toss-up between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

It could in fact be such a damn close-run thing that the question of whether Democratic voters get a woman presidential candidate or a black presidential candidate might still have to be decided on the floor of their convention centre.

It beats your average municipal by-election, anyway. And it does give me the opportunity to issue my four-yearly warning, as regards the United States, of counting your turkeys before they are out of the egg.

This applies even to icons of the political scene, such as the great H.L. Mencken of the Baltimore Sun, the most influential newspaper journalist of his day.

Or, as some of his followers would say, of any day.

The year is 1924, the month a sweltering July, the temperature in the 90s and rising.

We join Mr Mencken in the dining car from Baltimore to New York's Grand Central. Checking his bags in at The Algonquin Hotel, he instructs his Yellow Cab driver to convey us to Madison Square Garden.

We are about to witness the most historic Democratic Party convention since American party politics began. Certainly the longest.

It will continue for 15 stifling nights, the only form of airconditioning being if you waved your hat around like a fan.

Before the Dems shook themselves up and got properly prepared for this kind of jamboree ("I'm not a member of any organised political party - I'm a Democrat," quipped the comedian Will Rogers) there was no real separation of the sheep from the goats as in the present highly-tuned system of primaries and caucuses.

Thus when the party assembled in New York to decide who it wanted to fight the good fight, it had 24 hopefuls in tow.

With the then 48 states voting ponderously in turn, it took some days to thin the contenders down to two - William G. McAdoo of California, ex-Secretary of the Treasury, son-in-law of former President Woodrow Wilson, a supporter of Prohibition and with delegates who supported the Ku Klux Klan.

This nowadays would be like our own LibDems rooting for the BNP, but that was then. They were known as Dixiecrats.

On the other half of the ticket was Al Smith, the popular governor and former mayor of New York and a dedicated opponent of Prohibition.

Mr Mencken was on his side. But the rules of the Democratic Party at that time were not.

They seemed geared to arrange that nobody could win. McAdoo and Smith fought almost hand to hand, through ballot after ballot, without either of them gaining an inch.

Finally, to break the deadlock, the party dragged in their Mister Cellophane - a totally obscure ex-congressman from West Virginia and sometime ambassador to the Court of St James's, called John W. Davis.

It all seemed even more hopeless than ever, and yet another ballot - the 103rd - was looming. Mr Mencken drew up his Remington Portable and composed his dispatch for the Baltimore Sun:

"Nothing is certain in the world of politics but of one thing we can be absolutely sure.

"John W. Davis from West Virginia will not be the victor in the 103rd ballot for the presidential nominee in the 1924 Democratic National Convention."

Mr Mencken then wired his story to Baltimore and went across the road to a neighbourhood bar, where he fell among friends, as you do.

Returning a few hours later, and long after the Baltimore Sun had gone to press, he heard that John W. Davis had, despite all expectations, won the 103rd ballot.

Whereupon Mr Mencken was heard to utter: "I just hope those know-nothings down in Baltimore have at least had the savvy to remove the word 'not'."

Many years ago, that prolific writer Arnold Bennett of Five Towns fame wrote a little book called How To Live On 24 Hours A Day.

Its theme was the art of getting a pint into a half-pint pot. Our Arnold crammed more into each day than most of us can manage in a week.

He insisted that we all start out each morning with exactly the same ratio of time - which some of us use to the hilt, while the rest of us fritter much of it away.

If Arnold's little book had not been long out of print, I should have asked Culture Secretary Andy Burnham to send copies of it to all the headteachers in this country, following his plan for schoolchildren to spend five hours a week on cultural activities such as visiting theatres and galleries.

Given that they're already expected to find more time for cookery classes, lessons in citizenship, tests and exams, extra reading, a restoration of compulsory sports, not to mention Gordon's new holiday for a day of patriotism, where are these five hours a week to be found?

Arnold would know. Does Andy?
The experts are not seeng things for what they are. It wont be decided on the convention floor. If super delegates have to vote then it will lead to a disaster as it will oepn up many tears and wounds. So it will be settled before.
Yesterday was a very down day for Obama team. His speech issue and his wife speech "she is first time proud of being American".

I think today Wisconsin may show trend. I want to know how average American feel, are they feel cheated or they don't care. Is this is Biden for Obama?

Gallup poll is reflecting public mood, Hillary gained 6% within one day.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Clinton was seven percentage points behind Obama in the Feb. 15-17 average. In Monday night's interviewing, <b>Clinton's percentage of the vote of national voters</b> was higher than Obama's, but there has been fluidity in the nightly tracking numbers over the past several days as Democrats nationally process the intense, often heated, nature of the campaign.<b> Monday's news coverage of the Democratic campaign was replete with a focus on the Clinton campaign's charges that Obama had plagiarized material from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and other negative attacks on Obama by the Clinton campaign. It is unclear which, if any, of these factors could be responsible for changes in the candidates' standing</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I think, before convention we will know.
Looks like GOP voters voted for Obama.
Obama may get ticket and McCain will be next President.
Wisconsin Hands Obama a Victory, the Ninth in a Row
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

With the two rivals now battling state by state over margins of victory and allotment of delegates, surveys of voters leaving the Wisconsin polls showed Mr. Obama, of Illinois, making new inroads with those two groups as well as middle-age voters and continuing to win support from white men and younger voters — a performance that yielded grim tidings for Mrs. Clinton, of New York.
On the Republican side, Senator John McCain of Arizona won a commanding victory over Mike Huckabee in the Wisconsin contest and led by a wide margin in Washington State. All but assured of his party’s nomination, Mr. McCain immediately went after Mr. Obama during a rally in Ohio, deriding “eloquent but empty” calls for change.

For Mr. Obama, Wisconsin was his ninth consecutive victory, a streak in which he has not only run up big margins in many states but also pulled votes from once-stalwart supporters of Mrs. Clinton, like low- and middle-income people and women. Voters in Hawaii were also holding caucuses, but results were not expected until Wednesday morning.

Mrs. Clinton wasted no time in signaling that she would now take a tougher line against Mr. Obama — a recognition, her advisers said, that she must act to alter the course of the campaign and define Mr. Obama on her terms.

In a speech in Ohio shortly after the polls closed in Wisconsin, she alluded to what her campaign considers Mr. Obama’s lack of experience, and his support for a health insurance plan that would not initially seek to cover all Americans.

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