Monday, December 03, 2007

Staff, Volunteers, Elected Officials

Memo to Obama: win Iowa or lose the race Karl Rove Iowa is your chance to best her. If you do not do it there, odds are you never will anywhere. ....... You did a smart thing organising effectively in the early primary states. But you can take advantage of that only if you win Iowa ...... you have again got “the buzz”. Polls are looking better for you in Iowa and the other early states. Your press is improving, with your performance at the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner ........ Clinton has made unforced errors ....... stop acting like a vitamin-deficient Adlai Stevenson. Striking a pose of being high-minded and too pure will not work. Americans want to see you scrapping and fighting for the job, not in a mean or ugly way but in a forceful and straightforward way. ....... In some debates, you do not even look at her when disagreeing with her, making it look as if you are afraid of her. She offers you openings time and again but you do not take advantage of them. Sharpen your attacks and make them more precise. ...... You spoke next. You would have won a big victory if you had turned to her and said: "Senator, with all due respect, you and your husband could release those documents right now if you wanted to. Your failure to do so raises questions among a lot of Americans about what you're hiding and those questions would hurt our party if you were our nominee." ....... focus on the fact that many Democrats have real doubts about Hillary. They worry she cannot win, will be a drag on the ticket and that if she got to the White House it would be a disaster. ......... when you create controversies do not pick issues where you are playing the weaker hand. ...... when you disagree with her be clear about what you believe ...... you need to do a better job explaining what kind of change you represent. .... they do not know who you really are, what you want to do and where you want to take the country. Taking her down a few notches is step one; telling people who you are is the next. Both are necessary. ........ find a way to gently belittle her whenever she tries to use disagreements among Democrats as an excuse to complain about being picked on ...... This is not a coronation. Democrats do not like her sense of entitlement. She is not owed the nomination. ..... blow the whistle on her when she tries to become a victim. Do it with humour and a smile and it will sting even more. ....... Hillary comes across as cold, distant and conspiracy-minded, more like Richard Nixon than her sunny, charming husband. ...... She is a hard-nosed competitor with a tough and seasoned staff. ...... her record is weak, her personality off-putting and her support thin ...... Iowa is your great chance for a breakthrough. Win it convincingly and you can build on it in the contests that follow.
Soundbytes For December 10

Rudy Shenk and Joyce Johnson run the downtown Manhattan office for Obama 2008. I like them both. They are great people. I trust Obama to have put the right people to run the Chicago headquarters. By extension, I trust those Chicago people to have put in place the right people to staff the New York operation. And if the top New York staff had to hire some local staff, that has been their prerogative. I trust them. They call the shots.

The staffers came later. The volunteers started right away. (On November 7: In Harlem: For Obama) All the top and not so top volunteers I know are people who have their day jobs. They never intended to get a job with the campaign. And if they did, they could always have applied.

One of the best parts about being an Obama volunteer is all these amazing other Obama volunteers you meet and get to know and become friends with. You put in the hours for free, but you do get rewarded with all these great people you end up knowing.

The volunteers can do what staffers can't. For one, there are so many of them. They know their neighborhoods. They came in early, many of them. Obama 2008 is a grassroots movement. It is the volunteers that give the campaign that character. Hillary's operation feels more corporate.

But staffers can do what volunteers can't. There are so many technical details involved. For example, the staffers make sure you have the supplies, the campaign material. They are the ones who had to take the lead on the petition effort, and in a state like New York with its rather complex rules on how to get on the ballot, that was a huge undertaking, ably being conducted by our one and only Joyce.

Personally I have never felt any "town gown" tension between the staff and the volunteers here. The top staffers and the top volunteers very quickly became party buddies. They could claim it is because they are these great, wise people with magnificent people skills. The larger reason is because of the great candidate we have and the clarity of purpose we have. That makes it so much easier to get along, more than get along. This is a unity forged with grand purpose.

And there are elected officials. One person so stands out. And that is Bill Perkins. Noone else in this city and this state has taken a bigger risk in coming out for Obama early and strong. If Obama were to not make it - fat chance - the staff will go work for other campaigns, the volunteers will go back to their day jobs, but Bill Perkins will still have to wade through a political establishment in the city and state that got behind Hillary from day one. He is going to stand out. And in this city's vicious politics, that is really something.

So, yes, Bill Perkins deserves an acknowledgment, a recognition. No staffer in the city can talk to Barack Obama like Bill Perkins can. No volunteer. Bill stands in a league of his own.

And he just so also happens to be sitting atop a prize territory: Harlem. We are going to need Harlem bad on February 5.

Besides, as Hillary 2008 implodes, collapses, withers away after our Iowa victory (The Meaning Of An Iowa Victory), it is Bill who will be doing all that hand holding of all those New York politicians who made the mistake of endorsing Hillary early and are now looking to switch to making a wiser decision. Politicians in New York City are like warlords in Afghanistan. Each has his or her own private army, so to speak, staffers and volunteers who can show up and make a difference. I can make use of them.

So let's keep our eyes on the big prize and build on our already great grand unity of purpose among staff, volunteers and elected officials. Staffers are not boss to the volunteers, and elected officials are movie stars.

In The News

Poll: Clinton Strong, Iowa Raises Doubt FOX News Clinton has clear leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina, building on her ownership of the health-care issue and her broad but more fragile trust among Democrats on Iraq ...... In South Carolina Clinton 45 percent, Obama 31 percent ........ She offsets that by leading him by three-to-one among the state's whites. ..... In each state surveyed, eight in 10 Democrats favored government-guaranteed health insurance, even if it means higher taxes. ...... Iowa's often unpredictable caucuses threaten to trip her ..... Clinton draws the support of nearly half of women in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Yet in Iowa, women split 34 percent for Clinton, 27 percent for Obama and 17 percent for Edwards. ...... Eighteen percent of Iowa Democrats rule out voting for her .... Obama pollster Cornell Belcher says Iowa is where the candidate has been most active.
The Early Word: Iowa Heat New York Times The campaign of Barack Obama today announced a direct counterpoint to criticisms by Senator Hillary Clinton and her campaign that seemed almost nonstop yesterday. ....... Obama’s campaign has set up an entirely new Web site, “hillary attacks,” for its own rapid response ..... so that we can respond with the truth swiftly and forcefully ...... Asked directly whether she intended to raise questions about Obama’s character, she replied: “It’s beginning to look a lot like that.” ...... the candidate himself called the new effort a sign of desperation ........ his message that he is the true social conservative in the race despite criticism that as governor he raised taxes and was not tough enough on illegal immigrants. ......... the nearly 25 contests that follow in the month ahead. ....... the crush of states that follow Iowa. ........ Experience usually counts for nothing in presidential politics (remember graybeards like Scoop Jackson, Richard Lugar and Dick Gephardt going nowhere?) ........ raising funds or raising friends ...... reaching out to Generation Y with beer-drinking fund-raisers and T.V. parties, like watching “Grey’s Anatomy” as a precede to a lesson on health care policy. ..... “YP4McCain” — that’s Young Professionals for McCain, in the abbreviated style favored by text messagers. ....... college graduates in the early years of their careers, often unmarried ....... In 2008, there will be 44 million potential voters younger than 30. ....... Obama is aggressively going after female voters along the same lines that Mrs. Clinton is appealing to black voters ....... Biden ...... the solution starts with big changes in the Mexican economy. ....... the second-wealthiest nation in the hemisphere ...... lobbyists, expecting battles over taxes and health care in 2009, are pouring money into the campaigns of Democratic candidates for Congress and the White House. ........ the explosion of early absentee voting as a convenience ....... Election-happy high school teachers in Iowa .... in some cases, are requiring eligible students to participate in the Jan. 3 event
Clinton Goes On Offense Against Obama CBS News raising direct questions about his character, challenging his integrity and forecasting a sharp debate over those subjects in the days ahead. ...... in a dramatic shift, she made it clear that her goal is to challenge Obama not just on policy but also on one of his strongest selling points: his reputation for honesty. ........ if Clinton loses the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, her status as the front-runner nationally will evaporate. ...... The new Clinton strategy, acknowledged by her senior advisers as an intentional pivot, carries significant risks and could produce a potential backlash if voters perceive her as growing too negative. The Register's poll also found that Clinton was seen by Iowa voters as the most negative of the Democratic contenders. ....... appeared to be spoiling for a fight with her chief Democratic rival in national polls -- even at one point describing the battle as "fun." ......... "This presidential campaign isn't about attacking people for fun, it's about solving people's problems, like ending this war and creating a universal health care system," he said in a statement. "Washington insiders might think throwing mud is fun, but the American people are looking for leadership that can unite this country around a common purpose." ........... Obama advisers described the strategy as foolhardy, and reminiscent of the approach perfected by former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove: going after a front-runner on his strengths and challenging his sincerity.......... The Clinton campaign has been steadily building what it describes as a character case against Obama for several weeks, particularly over his health-care plan. ...... Sunday, however, marked the first time that Clinton raised the character question so bluntly on the campaign trail. In a question-and-answer session with reporters after her first stop, she said that "you can't get a straight answer" from Obama on health care. ....... a harrowing day in which Clinton lambasted the Illinois senator for everything from a kindergarten essay to his health care plan and use of his political action committee to funds candidates in early primary states. .... Obama wrote in both kindergarten and third grade essays that when he grows up he wants to be "a president." ...... "I'm sure tomorrow they'll attack him for being a flip-flopper because he told his second grade teacher he wanted to be an astronaut," Burton said. ..... Obama's aggressive responses to Clinton, compounded with suggestions that she is saying whatever she needs to get elected, has helped propel him to the top spot in Iowa ....... Rove offered his unsolicited advice to Obama in a Financial Times "memo" to the candidate on how to beat Clinton.
Rove hits out at Obama Financial Times, UK
Clinton, Obama Take Gloves Off in What Could Be 'Fun' Fight to ... FOX News
Why Black Women Prefer Clinton To Obama CBS News the New York senator has a 15-point lead over Obama among black women. ....... Overwhelmingly, the most frequently stated reasons women give for favoring Hillary Clinton are that they have positive feelings about her husband and his administration ......... As much as African Americans may instinctively roll their eyes in exasperation when they hear Bill Clinton referred to as the "first black president", it is undeniable he made an emotional connection with black America in a way that no other president has. ....... Hillary also enjoys a halo effect from the fact that black Americans felt more confident economically during the 1990's. ........ there's substantial evidence that they perceive themselves to be doing a lot better than they actually were ...... the first time a first lady really dealt with policy ....... You want to go with the winner, and if that's a woman as opposed to someone black, then you want to go with them ....... Race weighs heavily on the minds of black women, though not always in ways that have generated support for Obama. ...... black women often brought up a sense of fear for Barack Obama's safety if he was elected, describing it as "an almost maternal concern". ........ that fear a kind of "proxy" for how significant voters feel racism is in the American public sphere. ....... "They do fear that for him. This is a topic that's on everybody's plate and around everybody's dinner table that I know." ....... "African Americans feel extraordinarily positive towards Barack Obama, so choosing to put Hillary forth as the preferred candidate is a strategic voting choice and not necessarily an emotional choice." ....... “I prefer Obama, but Clinton is stronger,” said one black woman almost apologetically ....... “I wouldn't want him to go into it as the first black person, because I think he would have a hard time, and he's such a nice young man. Believe me, he would get the brunt of everything. Everything is messed up and he would basically have to clean it up - and that's a lot for him to handle.” ......... it's a lot to clean up. Bush really left it in a mess ....... Obama is ready to take on the establishment, not someday, but now. ....... it's nice to have a new face, a new energy, someone who can bring in some change ...... “It’s just like we got behind Clinton,” Livi added, referencing not Hillary, but Bill. “He was like the new Camelot the first year he was in office. ....... Obama just sort of floats there, like I said, what's not to like about him? ..... now that Clinton’s lead has dwindled in what is essentially a white state ....... "If he were to do a big surge and come out as a real, real serious contender with Hillary Clinton, sure, I'd probably switch to him," she said
Democrats 2008: Hillary at 42%, Obama 25% Angus Reid Global Monitor
Obama again takes heat over Pakistan comment Los Angeles Times his willingness to publicly discuss specific actions he might take to fight terrorism. ...... Obama's assertion last week that if intelligence information merited it, he would have the U.S. "act" against terrorists in Pakistan if that country's leader failed to do so ........ the appropriateness of Obama even broaching the topic. ........ "I do not believe that people running for president should engage in hypotheticals," she said. "You should not always say everything you think if you're running for president, because it can have consequences across the world." ........ "We're debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have the right to know." ...... He provided a sound bite that in one fell swoop reminded astute listeners that ....... “I find it amusing," Obama said, "that those who voted to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me.” ........ the deft non-response ....... His response came just a couple of hours before Bonds broke the record with his 756th home run
Stalemate is the new 'victory' Atlanta Journal Constitution
In tax-free New Hampshire, Giuliani lambastes Democratic tax policies WCAX
Democrats differ on Cuba policy at Iowa debate Reuters on whether the United States should immediately end a 4-decade-old embargo on Cuba. ...... "black and brown" debate ....... Chris Dodd backed an immediate end to the U.S. embargo ...... Obama, an Illinois senator, said he would favor immediately loosening some aspects of the embargo, including restrictions on visits to Cuba and remittances to families. "Those two shifts in policy would send a signal that we can build on," Obama said. ......... Hispanic, said, "The embargo has not worked" ....... All the candidates spent much of the day battling an ice storm that disrupted several events and closed the Des Moines airport until late afternoon. Biden, a senator from Delaware, made it to only half of the debate after driving from Chicago. ....... Clinton, delayed in arriving in Des Moines until late in the day, spoke to an afternoon candidate forum by telephone and heard scattered boos from the crowd of 5,000 during an exchange on immigration policy. ......... noted all her rivals had called to offer support and encouragement.
In unsettled GOP field, Huckabee finds footing USA Today He's the anti-Rudy. ....... an often-caustic, opera-loving New Yorker ..... a joke-cracking Southerner who raises income inequality as an issue and favors classic rock and contemporary Christian music on his two iPods ............ ("Modern country, too," he says.) ....... raised his hand at one debate to say he didn't believe in evolution ........ the GOP in modern times has never nominated a contender who started the race so far back in the pack. ..... Iowa .. Huckabee was at 1% support among likely Republican caucusgoers this summer ........ In Florida, one statewide poll last week put Huckabee in second place, trailing only Giuliani, for its Jan. 29 primary. In South Carolina, which votes Jan. 19, the latest of several recent statewide polls shows him running third ....... Huckabee says his campaign is like the flight of a bumblebee. ........ "It's said that, according to the law of aeronautics and the wingspan and circumference of the bumblebee, it is aeronautically impossible for the bumblebee to fly," he says. "However, the bumblebee, being unaware of these scientific facts, goes ahead and flies anyway." ........ Huckabee's motorcade has doubled in size — to two vehicles. State campaign manager Debra Vanderbeek, who had been operating out of the trunk of her car, finally rented office space in Concord in October. ....... Southerners who make up key parts of the Republican base. ....... just $651,000 in the bank as of Oct. 1 ....... "Now he's going to get the bright lights shined on him. As in all these presidential races, the question is: How do you handle the bright lights?" ....... "We are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did," Huckabee replied. ...... a guy who is charming, he's funny, he's entertaining ..... a serial tax-hiker and a big fan of big government and he has a problem with capitalism and free markets ...... the Club for Growth, which he has called the "Club for Greed." ...... "I'm not necessarily in total sync with the small universe of Republicans who are the CEOs of Wall Street companies, although many of them know what I'm saying is the truth. But I'm very much in sync with the guys who work up and down the factory line." ......... He strikes a more populist tone, warning of the downsides of free trade and the dangers of relying on imported food, fuel and military equipment. He backs what proponents call the "Fair Tax," a consumption-based plan that would replace the income tax system with a federal sales tax. ....... He calls for the health care system to do more to emphasize prevention, offering his own turnaround as Exhibit A: He lost 110 pounds and took up running after being diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes in 2003. On education, he talks at length about the importance of providing music and art education, both to reach some students and to enrich society. ....... "Anybody here from Alabama?" Huckabee asked when the song was over. Not a hand was raised. "Anybody willing to admit it?" he tried again. ......... Huckabee's positive tone and sense of humor in the televised debates.
Giuliani focuses on economy, criticizing Democrats Boston Globe

Disruptive Storm Hits the Northeast New York Times
Vote Count 'Close' in Venezuelan Constitutional Referendum
Voice of America
India can sustain rapid growth for 20 years: finance minister AFP
For the 2008 Race, Google Is a Crucial Constituency New York Times
Sleuths humiliated my family: Jaya
Times of India Jaya Bachchan said that the service tax authorities had "humiliated" her family by seeking details of expenses on matters concerning the wedding of her star son Abhishek with Aishwarya Rai...... a letter sent to Amitabh Bachchan in June by the service tax department's anti-evasion unit in Mumbai asking him to share date-wise details of payments made for security, mandaps, outdoor catering, rent-a-cabs, couriers and event management, along with copies of agreements and contracts that were executed between March and May this year for the Abhiash wedding. ..... While it is quite normal for the department to seek information from service providers, tax experts said individuals using the services are usually spared.
Russian Firm Buys LiveJournal New York Times

Obama's Gains Show Volatility Of Iowa Contest Wall Street Journal Obama's gain in popularity began with a fiery speech three weeks ago ..... more than half of the state's voters who prefer a candidate say they may end up caucusing for someone else. ...... Romney, reflecting worry about his slippage and its connection to his Mormon faith, has decided to speak Thursday about religion ....... her margin has tightened in New Hampshire and elsewhere. ...... Obama -- who could consolidate the anti-Clinton Democratic vote. ...... In the weeks before the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, Sen. Obama shut himself off with only his legal pad to write much of a new speech himself. He honed it during a grinding campaign bus tour of southern Iowa. ..... some attendees put down their signs and thunder sticks for other candidates, jumped to their feet to cheer him on and grabbed Obama campaign materials as they streamed out of the arena. ......... "We nailed it," he whispered to an adviser as he left the stage. His wife, Michelle, known as one of his toughest critics, ran to embrace him in the holding room. ....... Back on the campaign trail in Iowa, the "conversion rate" -- undecided voters who signed up to support him after an event -- doubled almost overnight ..... more cars parked at Sen. Obama's Des Moines headquarters ....... the Clinton campaign is equally determined to turn out more older women ...... "Typically we have seen big movements in the last week or two of the caucuses" ...... Edwards says he will spend almost all of the next month time in Iowa. If he falters in Iowa and his campaign collapses, he may soon disappear entirely from the race -- along with several of the darker horses.
Clinton suggests Obama has character issues Mason City Globe Gazette The two campaigns spent a good part of the day tangling with each other ..... “I want a long term relationship,” she said. “I don’t want to just have a one night stand with all of you.” ..... “I think that folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed and issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations,” he said. “Everything that we’ve done is in exact accordance with the law, and unless they can show that it hasn’t been, I’d suggest they focus on trying to get their supporters to caucus in Iowa.” ..... a Clinton family foundation donated $100,000 this year to a South Carolina library ..... “This presidential campaign isn’t about attacking people for fun, it’s about solving people’s problems, like ending this war and creating a universal health care system,” Obama said in a statement Sunday.
Putin scores big poll win, opposition cries foul Reuters UK
Bring Tibet rail to Nepal, Kathmandu tells Beijing Indian Express
Leno To Pay Laid-Off Staff Entertainment Weekly
Clinton Calls Hostage Crisis Traumatic
The Associated Press
Obama Endorsed by Des Moines Mayor The Associated Press
Iowa Poll Puts Huckabee and Obama Out Front Washington Post Clinton, who had long sought to rise above the fray, is attacking Obama more frequently .... Obama dominates among younger caucus-goers, with support from 48 percent of those younger than 35 ..... Obama is supported by 31 percent of women polled who are likely to attend the caucuses, compared to 26 percent for Clinton. ....... 52 percent of Democrats said Clinton is the most "ego-driven" of their candidates and 36 percent of Republicans said the same of Giuliani.
Obama: Hopefund is not a 'slush fund' Baltimore Sun
Obama's campaign is gaining ground San Diego Union Tribune “No way! No,” Snook all but shouted when asked if he would support Clinton. “We've been governed by Clintons and Bushes for 20 years, and it's time for them to go. We don't need another one. That wouldn't be change.” ........ At Council Bluffs, Obama attracted about 400 Iowans. Later in the day, he drew similarly large and enthusiastic audiences in Dunlap, Harlan and Audubon .... Gone is the somewhat tentative candidate who almost seemed aloof and wary of voters earlier in the campaign. Instead, here was a folksy, relaxed Obama who used humor to great effect and fed off the energy of the crowds. ...... Almost everything has gone right for Obama in the past three weeks in Iowa ....... Obama is both easy and energized ..... they want me to stew and season in Washington longer. They want to boil all the hope out of me
Who’s Afraid of Barack Obama? New York Times What if Mrs. Clinton had led an insurrection against the war authorization in the Senate? Might she have helped impede America’s rush into one of the greatest fiascos in our history? .... The biggest Beltway myth so far — that the Clinton campaign is “textbook perfect” and “tightly disciplined” — was surely buried for good by the undisciplined former president’s seemingly panic-driven blunder last week. ....... We kept being told he was making rookie mistakes and offering voters wispy idealistic sentiments rather than the real beef of policy. But what the Beltway mistook for gaffes often was the policy. .......... Like Mr. Obama’s prescient Iraq speech of 2002, his open acknowledgment of the Pakistan president’s slipperiness turned out to be ahead of the curve. ....... Were Mr. Obama to best Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he may prove harder for the Republicans to rally against and defeat than the all-powerful, battle-tested Clinton machine. ........ Clinton-bashing is the last shared article of faith (and last area of indisputable G.O.P. competence) that could yet unite the fractured and dispirited conservative electorate. ........ In the G.O.P. debates through last Thursday, the candidates mentioned the Clintons some 65 times. Barack Obama’s name has not been said once. ....... much like the Clinton campaign itself, the Republicans have fallen into a trap by continuing to cling to the Hillary-is-inevitable trope ...... For the most part, race has been the dog that hasn’t barked in this campaign despite the (largely) white press’s endless fretting about whether the Illinois senator is too white for black voters and too black for white voters. ....... It’s not because those no-shows are racists; it’s because they are defensive and out of touch. With the notable exception of Mike Huckabee, most of the party’s candidates have barricaded themselves from African-Americans for so long that they don’t know how to speak to or about them. ...... strangers to the mainstream multiracial and multicultural America exemplified by an Obama or an Oprah. ........ A matchup between Mr. Obama and Mr. Giuliani, who was forged in the racial crucible of New York’s police brutality nightmares of the 1990s, or between Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney, who was shaped by a religion that didn’t give blacks equal membership until 1978, would be less a clash of races than of centuries. ....... Obama “a walking, talking hope machine” who “may reshape American politics.” ..... the only presidential candidate from either party about whom there is a palpable excitement.” ...... the kind of quiet cheering he is beginning to garner from some Republicans .... “they see him as a Democrat who could cure the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton sickness.” ..... Should Mr. Obama upend the Beltway story line by taking Iowa, the Republicans will have every reason to be as fearful as the Clinton camp is now.
Jeers for Hillary, cheers for Obama Chicago Sun-Times rancor directed toward her by left wing community activists. ..... Obama, on the other hand, was greeted with a standing ovation. ...... Clinton was jeered after she answered a question about immigration reform. ....... all Americans should be entitled to a living wage, a good, affordable college education and health insurance.
Hillary Clinton is booed at campaign event a new poll shows she had slipped behind Barack Obama ...... the meeting in Des Moines, Iowa ..... But illegal immigrants would not be granted amnesty and would have to "earn" citizenship, she said, sparking sporadic booing from some Left-wing activists in the audience. The jeering then spread throughout the crowd, grew louder and continued even after Mrs Clinton hung up the telephone at the end of the interview. ..... the reception is symptomatic of an apparent growing antipathy toward the former First Lady. ...... her among women, the demographic underpinning her campaign, had dropped 10 points in a month.
Clinton, Giuliani wobble with one month to go AFP Frontrunners are faltering .... Huckabee has come from nowhere .... the longest and most open US campaign in decades ..... Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's long-time political guru, said the latest numbers suggested trouble for both Clinton and Giuliani. ....... "And it's going to be very troublesome for both parties' frontrunners, because we're in uncharted territory. There's very little time between these primaries," Rove said on Fox News Sunday. ...... As her poll numbers have softened, Clinton has launched a full-bore assault on Obama, questioning his honesty and experience. ....... an unraveling of support for the New York senator may deepen as more voters tune in ....... her support may be a mile wide, and an inch deep ...... governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007 ..... "I'm an authentic, consistent, hardworking conservative that's got more executive experience (than Giuliani)."
Obama Hit Stride and Leads Clinton In New Iowa Poll Washington Post Barack Obama is hitting his stride. .... Obama displayed a deft political touch that was largely absent from his campaign in its early days. ..... Obama was doing better than Clinton among women likely to attend the Iowa caucuses ...... Before the candidate answered, the girl -- age 10 or so -- crossed the stage to "meet" Obama. He bent down and chatted for ten seconds or so with the girl before sending her back to her mom and answering the question. It was a compelling moment in what was generally a lackluster gathering. ......... issues of import to African American and Latino voters. ....... "I believe I can bring the country together [and] overcome the special interests"

Clinton Seizes Opportunity After Crisis CBS News A hostage crisis at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire. ....... the campaign workers safe, the man in police custody ...... The scene was one of a woman in charge. ...... “She got on TV and provided a sense of closure and executive cool. It is like how Giuliani used television during his crisis. ...... she was stern, but she also spoke of the concerns she felt as a mother, admitting to a “horrible sense of bewilderment” and “outrage.” ...... Her decision to express her personal anxieties offered a window into how she may veer into territory men avoid - personal feelings during a possible public tragedy. ........ The personal has at times been hard to find in Clinton. She heads the largest and most manicured of all operations. .... Her campaign has an especially organized staff that surrounds her. She stays on script and she stays on schedule.
Yeti footprints found in eastern Nepal Xinhua
Russia Votes Sunday Following Controversial Campaign Voice of America
Will wireless carriers really open their networks?
MarketWatch growing consumer interest in having "unlocked" phones that can be used on any carrier.
Feminist Pitch for a Democrat Named Obama New York Times trying to turn years of feminist thinking on its head and argue that the best candidate for women may, in fact, be a man. ....... 54 percent of Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa four years ago were women, as were 54 percent of Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire. ..... many of these women are engaged in a complicated conversation ...... “Women, I think, should take pride that Senator Clinton is running, the historic nature of her race,” Mr. Obama, of Illinois, said in an interview Thursday. “That’s a genuine sign of progress.” He said he tried to convey to his two daughters every day “that you’ve got the same opportunities and shots as everybody else.” ..... The sex factor is rarely addressed head-on by Mrs. Clinton’s rivals. ....... Clinton was “just not as vocal a woman’s advocate as I want to see” and relied too much on her sex as a rationale for her candidacy ........ rival campaigns are advancing the argument that it is acceptable for a woman, even a feminist, to back someone other than the woman. ....... a strategic counterpoint to Mrs. Clinton’s wooing of black voters ........ Mrs. Obama bluntly told 700 women activists linked by conference call Wednesday night, “We need you guys.” ...... Ms. Lloyd-Jones said she finally decided that Mr. Obama was the more progressive candidate ....... “I finally went with my heart. I like his leadership style.” ...... a postfeminist man, a generation beyond the gender conflicts of the boomers ...... his leadership style — his promise of consensus-building and moving beyond the politics of polarization and fear — as especially appealing to women. ........ listening, bringing people together, the skills women appreciate ...... Obama’s “sensitive guy” persona allowed him “to show both a ‘strong’ and a ‘soft’ side ...... she took Mrs. Clinton to her church last week and was struck by how many women came up to her saying: “I’m so proud of you. You couldn’t possibly know what it means to see someone like you running.” ......... raised the recent episode in which a woman asked Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, “How do we beat the bitch?” and said it was important for all the candidates to “police that kind of behavior and speak out against it.” ........ “I don’t think she wants to be treated differently,” he said, “and I don’t think she has been treated differently than if she were a male candidate in this race.”
Obama's Complex History With Lobbyists The Associated Press "It's time we had a president who tells the drug companies and the oil companies and the insurance industry that while they get a seat at the table in Washington, they don't get to buy every chair. Not any more" ...... About 40 percent of the money he raised as a state senator came from PACs, corporations and unions, including organizations with a financial stake in legislation he was sponsoring. ....... he rarely accepted gifts or meals from lobbyists, even though there was no limit on such freebies until Obama helped pass a law establishing one ....... Some lobbyists were even a bit hazy on who he was, spelling his name "O'Bama" in their reports. ...... Several Illinois lobbyists said Obama was always willing to hear them out, even if he was on the opposite side of an issue. ........ Representatives from both sides say Obama took their concerns seriously and made concessions when they presented a good argument. ....... Obama played basketball almost daily when the legislature was in session in Springfield ...... Even friendly lobbyists could expect sharp questioning about their legislation. ...... Obama helped pass two of the toughest ethics laws in Illinois history, and both of them attempted to reduce the influence of lobbyists. ........ "Prior to that bill, if you wanted to give a legislator a car, you could," said Cynthia Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. "That probably is the most significant curb we've put on in this state, and he was a key part of that." ....... After his election to the U.S. Senate, Obama was a leader in the successful effort to strengthen federal ethics laws. Lawmakers now have to disclose the names of lobbyists who raise money for them by "bundling" donations from many people. They also have to disclose special projects they try to add to the budget. ......... Obama's ban is an imperfect solution to the problem of money in politics.
Giuliani: Kids of Illegal Immigrants OK The Associated Press
Paswan's LJP to pose as third alternative in Bihar
Economic Times he said he had quit the NDA and the Vajpayee government on the issue of Gujarat ..... The split in the secular votes was one of the primary factors responsible for the RJD’s downfall. ...... He’s aware that his decision may only end up helping the NDA, but is clearly not bothered. “It’s not a question of gains or losses. It’s the question of my party-workers’ morale,” Mr Paswan pointed out. ..... “The issue is not whom will the LJP go with, but rather which parties will now join hands with it,” the Dalit leader said.
LJP leaders pledge to make Paswan PM The Statesman
Paswan to Cong: Dump Lalu Times of India addressing an impressive 'Sankalp Rally', exactly a month after Lalu's 'Chetavani Rally'. ... The Congress has preferred RJD with nearly two dozen MPs in UPA regime's support against LJP's mere four. The two parties have an assembly strength of 54 and 10 respectively in the 243-member House. .... Hurried analyses, however, put the RJD show above the one on Wednesday. ....... Paswan was unclear about the objectives the rally would fulfil as he said the Nitish Kumar government might last its term.
Bush Says Funding Iraq, Afghan Wars Is Congress's Top Priority Bloomberg
Palestinian Leader Says Annapolis Conference Served its Purpose
Voice of America
Sex Now the Main Cause of HIV in China National Geographic
Spy chief warns of China web threat
MI5 warns firms over China's internet 'spying' accused China of carrying out an internet spying campaign against vital parts of the economy ..... British firms doing business in China are being targeted by the Chinese army, which is using the internet to steal confidential information to benefit Chinese companies.
Bhutto campaigns in Pakistan's militant heartland Reuters Canada took her election campaign to the power base of Islamist groups .... urging Pashtuns living on the Afghan border to vote for her. ...... said she was confident her Pakistan People's Party would sweep the January 8 general election. ...... "I have come here to seek your help and cooperation to turn this land of Pashtuns into a cradle of peace," she said while addressing around 2,000 party activists in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province ........ Musharraf's political allies are likely to fare badly in the election ..... in recent years, militants have spread their activities towards urban centers of NWFP, including Peshawar, launching suicide bomb attacks and fighting police and army forces. ........ Since government forces stormed the Red Mosque in the capital Islamabad in July to crush a Taliban-style movement, attacks have spread across the country and grown in intensity. Official sources say around 800 people have died in violence since July. ....... Musharraf retired from the army this week and promised to lift emergency rule on December 16, fulfilling two of Bhutto's demands. ....... A united opposition boycott would rob the vote of credibility and prolong instability. .... A boycott involving only Sharif and his allies, including the second biggest religious party and the small party of former cricket hero Imran Khan, would merely tarnish the election.
Google to battle telecom giants for wireless Web San Jose Mercury News setting the stage for a multibillion-dollar game of corporate poker that could determine who controls the wireless Web in the United States. ...... The auction run by the Federal Communications Commission is destined to be the last of its kind as similarly desirable spectrum is already spoken for. ..... "It doesn't get any better than this for carrying signals through walls and carrying high volumes of traffic" ...... Google in particular wants the spectrum to be used to create a wireless Internet that works much like the traditional Web. ...... the country's closed wireless networks, in which the carriers maintain a lock on what devices and software customers can use, thwart innovation. ....... spur a whole new wave of innovative applications. ....... Google lobbied hard over the summer with a coalition of public interest groups and technology companies to make sure the 700 megahertz spectrum up for auction would be used to create an open commercial network. ....... In August, the FCC approved rules that require the winner of the auction to allow any device and any software application to run on the new network. ....... But the FCC added its own requirement. If the government did not receive a minimum bid of $4.6 billion, the FCC said it would redo the auction without the openness requirements. ....... open access "is exactly where this industry is headed."
Google Rolls Out Mobile Phone Locator DailyTech the vast majority of user's cell phones -- 85 percent -- do not contain GPS support. ..... The new locater service, will automatically enter the user's location information when Google Maps is loaded....... It will support the US, much of Europe, the Russian Federation, Australia, and New Zealand...... Google hopes to use the device to increase its profitability by targeting users with local ads when they surf the web. Advertisers are willing to pay Google more to provide local ad content, as it is more effective in generating a user response. ...... the tech industry will constantly be wondering what the geniuses at Google will be cooking up next.
Google's "strange" quest for cheap renewable power Salon the company risks spreading itself too thin -- chasing everything from personalized biotechnology to space flight. Its shareholders probably don't want Mr. Page and other executives spending their time, or Google's cash, on a spate of questionable pet projects that may accomplish little more than satisfying its founders' hubris. ........ "We will not give public shareholders any kind of useful voting rights, they said, nor will we give quarterly earnings guidance. We will spend our money on pet projects that shareholders might not like or want. If you don't like that, don't buy the stock." ......... one of the more remarkable documents ever included in an SEC filing ...... We will not shy away from high-risk, high-reward projects because of short term earnings pressure. Some of our past bets have gone extraordinarily well, and others have not. Because we recognize the pursuit of such projects as the key to our long term success, we will continue to seek them out. For example, we would fund projects that have a 10 percent chance of earning a billion dollars over the long term. Do not be surprised if we place smaller bets in areas that seem very speculative or even strange. As the ratio of reward to risk increases, we will accept projects further outside our normal areas, especially when the initial investment is small.
Fujitsu mulls foray into WiMAX market Taipei Times
Soccer: Beckham works his magic in Wellington
New Zealand Herald
Joke's on Jay Leno staff - no pay
New York Daily News
Shocked Leno staffers fired as strike drags on Reuters
Reese Witherspoon tops list of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses
New York Daily News

Down in Des Moines Obama revives the ghost of JFK Guardian Unlimited Wilkie, now 67, tramped miles through the thick snow in January 1961 to hear Kennedy. ..... Since that day, he had no involvement in politics - until now. ....... He is the first candidate since John Kennedy to inspire people like that ....... January 3 next year. If he can win there, the momentum - and, almost as vital, the media attention - could help him going into the first primary days later in New Hampshire. ..... The latest poll, by Strategic Vision, taken between November 23 and 25, puts Obama and Clinton on 29% and John Edwards on 22%. ...... The ABC poll hinted for the first time this year that Clinton may be vulnerable. Wilkie, a former businessman and Des Moines city manager, uncovered some evidence of this when canvassing. ........ In no previous presidential election has a candidate spent as much in a single state as Obama. With $75m (£36.5m) at his disposal, he has outspent Clinton by 20%. ........ Obama has also spent more time campaigning in the state ....... about 80% of them below the age of 25. Some are Ivy League graduates from outside the state ....... his field workers earn about $2,000 a month, compared with $2,500 for Clinton's and $2,700 for Edwards's. ....... Obama's office is busy from nine in the morning to 10 at night. ...... the team is accumulating the most detailed data ever on any electorate ...... As well as building up the electoral profile, the teams throughout the state have nightly training sessions to prepare volunteers for the complexities of caucus night. ....... Until October 31, the big US papers and television networks were treating Clinton's nomination as inevitable. A debate among the Democratic candidates in Philadelphia that night changed that perception, with Clinton coming across as uncertain and evasive. Just over a week later, Obama's team demonstrated its organisational abilities, getting 4,000 people into the streets in Des Moines for the big pre-caucus event, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. That night Obama produced a passionate speech that some Democrats have since cited as being a factor in winning them over. ....... a nasty poster campaign in Ames, north of Des Moines. The posters read: "Hillary is a Bitch, Obama is a Nigger. Vote John Edwards." White supremacists are blamed. ....... a state that is 96% white ........ In the final week, starting on December 27, the team in Iowa will be boosted by hundreds more staff and volunteers piling in from around the country.
Obama's veiled swipes picked right up MSNBC But Obama’s speech stood out. When he spoke, the room was akin to a high school pep rally on the eve of a rival game.

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