Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Des Moines Register Debate: Barack Looked Presidential

The highlight of the debate was when Barack took Hillary to task by saying, "Hillary, I will take advice from you as well." As in, you can be VP.

Hillary Is Not Losing, Barack In Winning

The meltdown in the Hillary 2008 camp has turned into quite a circus. Oh, the infighting, the tension, the finger pointing. Quite a sight. These people are not professionals if they don't realize Hillary's lead this year was never real. Ted Kennedy was also above 50% in 1980 to a point. It is called name recognition.

Beware Hillary's New York, California Strategy

That is her new gameplan. Screw January. Bet on NY and CA. Well, we are competing both those places.

• Watch the Democrat Debate and chat live.
• Watch Wednesday's GOP debate.

In The News

Hillary Clinton Gets The Jitters CBS a key member of her inner circle, Harold Ickes, warned that a crowd of Arlington-based operatives descending on the Plains en masse might set off alarm bells, triggering "campaign in panic mode" stories ....... In a symbolic twist, they met halfway -- in Chicago ........ the challenges in turning around a lumbering national organization as events unfolded to the benefit of their less experienced, and nimbler, rival. ....... her earlier aura of inevitability gone ....... If advisers were worried about appearing panicked in early October, some are less able to hide it now. Bill Shaheen, the Clinton co-chairman in New Hampshire, raised questions on Wednesday about Obama's admission that he had tried drugs, a risky tactic that telegraphed the nervousness within the Clinton campaign. ........ Some prominent Clinton supporters said that, while they expected the race to tighten, they are now being forced to scramble. "The level of worry is, they feel like they're in a damned close race," said James Carville, who was a strategist for Bill Clinton and maintains close ties to Hillary Clinton's campaign. ....... "I don't really think there's going to be any kind of, quote, shake-up or anything like that," Carville said. "But will there be some moving around? Sure." ....... Clinton simply did not visit Iowa enough over the summer and early fall ....... No one on her senior staff has ever been through the grueling caucus process, which emphasizes direct contact with voters and is difficult to measure through traditional polls. In one infamous incident, a campaign memo from deputy director Mike Henry floated the idea of skipping the caucuses altogether ......... sheer logistics. About 60 percent of her supporters say they have never been to a caucus ..... not until October that senior officials at Clinton headquarters realized there was something of a disconnect between the candidate and the sentiments of participants in Iowa's quirky system ....... "She got it before anybody else, and she dragged them kicking and screaming to take it seriously and to focus," said one person who has worked for both Clintons. "She recognized you couldn't manage a state from a thousand miles away. You had to get in there, you had to be on the ground, and see and feel what she was seeing and feeling." ......... the caucuses are "first and foremost about relationships ..... what the ramifications would be if she lost or finished third. ........ Former governor Tom Vilsack, a key Clinton surrogate in the state, was quoted the next month as saying the candidate had not initially understood the importance of relationship-building in Iowa - ....... "We were being out-organized," one person directly involved with the effort said flatly. ..... Mark Penn, Clinton's chief strategist, said she never expected to glide to victory in Iowa; if anything, she was simply pleased that "at some point this became a competitive race."

Live-blogging the Democratic debate in Des Moines USA Today
Live Blogging the Democratic Debate New York Times
Stakes High Going into Final Democratic Debate Washington Post
Five questions for Democratic debate Boston Globe
High stakes for Clinton in Democratic debate
Clinton enters debate with race wide open CNN
Democrats battle in Iowa debate BBC News
Live Blogging The Iowa Democratic Debate
CBS News, NY
Presidential hopefuls vote for US farm subsidy cap Reuters
Democratic Debate in Iowa Begins
Wired News
Last debates could have 'seismic impact' most meaningful of the dozens already held this year ...... more than 200 news organizations plan to cover the Register's debates, which will be nationally televised as well as carried live on the Internet, giving them wide reach. ....... The GOP debate will be the 10th this year, while the Democrats' Thursday is the 16th. ...... Romney has put together the Republican field's most extensive campaign organization in Iowa and spent millions of dollars on advertising since February, making the stakes high for him in the state. Romney, on Tuesday, launched the first ad of the 2008 campaign in which a candidate criticizes another by name. ........ moderated by Carolyn Washburn, vice president and editor of The Des Moines Register. ...... Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter said she expects the Democrats to lay out contrasts Thursday but remain wary of coming across as negative. ...... "The caucus winner is always the candidate with the strongest closing argument, the person who best sets up the choice. That choice includes a contrast, but more importantly it includes a vision for the future," said Cutter, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's communication director. "The candidate who can articulate that will likely emerge from the debate best positioned to win."
Live Blogging the Iowa Democratic Debate Newsweek
Democratic Debate: First Take
Atlantic Online But who did best? The audience is undecided Democratic caucus goers. Who stood out? Who was different? Who seemed most presidential? Who parlayed their strengths? Who gave people reasons to believe in the negative stereotypes about them? ..... He wasn’t angry Johnny. He was nice Johnny boy, although he did snip at the moderator at one point and couldn’t resist a jab at Bill Richardson. ...... Iowans don’t like lines. They like nice. Saccharine even. Pure rhetorical glucose, though, and not a sugar substitute. ...... Biden turned a tricky question about his penchant for gaffes into a very good moment wherein Obama personally attested to his hard work on behalf of racial justice. Iowa nice.
Live Blog Of Des Moines Register Democratic Debate (December 13, 2007) Donklephant

How Obama Won a NH Legislator's Support Washington Post, United States he got an extra bounce just before he took the stage. It was in the bowels of the Verizon Center in Manchester, N.H., just moments before Obama joined Oprah and his wife before a crowd of 8,000 ...... first-year congresswoman ..... "He had no idea when he came to the arena. I kept it quiet from everyone," Shea-Porter said in an interview Tuesday. "I told him I believed that he'd bring people out and bring the change we want." ......... Shea-Porter, a social worker by profession, won a following among liberal New Hampshire Democrats with her out-of-nowhere victory last year on an antiwar, grassroots platform over the far-better funded incumbent ..... perhaps the most unexpected of the party's many pickups across the country. ....... a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, single-payer health care in the form of "Medicare for all," and the elimination of the income cap for Social Security taxes. ....... Obama now has in his camp the two newest -- and highest-level -- Democrats on the state scene. ...... President Clinton, who has been known to call to try to head off key endorsements ....... some of Shea-Porter's strongest supporters. "They would walk through water for her" ..... "You aren't helping Hillary when you attack [Shea-Porter] ...I am co-chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign here in New Hampshire, and no, attacking [Shea-Porter] like this is not acceptable to the campaign or to me... If you want to do tough issues comparison on Obama or other candidates, have at it, but this is baloney." .......... self-interest: a belief that she would fare better in her reelection bid next fall with Obama at the top of the ticket. ...... "There's a kinship there," she said. "It's the idea that all the people matter and that the answer comes from getting people involved in the process. ....... Obama was equally effusive in his introduction of Shea-Porter in the arena crowd on Sunday night, which is not surprising in hindsight knowing that he got the word from her just minutes before. "This woman is doing the right thing each and every day, every step of the way," he said.
Shea-Porter: Compelled to endorse Obama Boston Globe Not only was Obama surprised to have her endorsement, Shea-Porter said in an interview she surprised her staff, her supporters and even her own husband. "I kept my own counsel the whole time," she said. ...... Obama's approach for "grassroots" campaigning is what impressed her the most. ....... Asked if Obama's recent momentum in Iowa and New Hampshire was that "compelling reason" and that she could help put in over the top she replied, "What do you think?"
Putting words in Obama's mouth Los Angeles Times, CA
Community role at heart of Obama's run
Chicago Sun-Times, United States While many have scoffed at this, thinking community work is not in the making of a U.S. president, it has helped Obama feel comfortable reaching out to individual voters in Iowa. .......... Here's what he told the Chicago Reader in 1995, before he ran for the Illinois Senate: "The political debate is now so skewed, so limited, so distorted. People are hungry for community; they miss it. They are hungry for change." ........ "What is unique about America is that we want those dreams for more than just ourselves -- we want them for other people, as well" ...... Twelve years ago, he told the Reader: "What if a politician were to see his job as that of an organizer, as part teacher and part advocate, one who does not sell voters short but who educates them about the real choices before them? ....... "As an elected public official, for instance, I could bring church and community leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or lawyer. ...... "We must form grass-root structures that would hold me and other elected officials accountable for their actions." ......... a local organization based on local relationships ..... Clinton didn't really "get" these vagaries of campaigning in Iowa ...... This became clear to me as I have toured the state, noting how many Obama people and John Edwards' helpers were on the ground compared with Clinton's. ...... Clinton thought name recognition would be enough. ....... and he continues to reach out to individual voters, offering precinct parties tonight after the debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register. ........ The Obama team has logged all 30,000 names they collected after Oprah Winfrey's weekend appearances into a database and contacted Iowans on the list with invitations to one of the 1,000 precinct parties. ...... If Obama wins Iowa, it will not be because of arguments about experience or electability. It will be because of his grass-roots efforts. John Norris, an Obama supporter and John Kerry's Iowa state director in 2004, told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that "anytime momentum occurs in the last three weeks [of an election], it's hard to stop." And that's what Obama has now. Momentum.
Clinton Camp Points to Questionnaires From Barack Obama's Past to ... FOX News
Obama vs. Obama Huffington Post I've got to submit that this could get ugly. ...... David Axelrod, who has known Obama since 1992 and worked with him since 2002 ....... Obama's history is that he's been progressive and pragmatic and been able to work with both sides of the aisle and people across the ideological spectrum to get things done ........ "He comes to the table with a point of view, but he's not dogmatic or rigid. He's willing to compromise on details without sacrificing his principles."
Oprah: "I Was Hoping To Run Into Hillary At The Gym" Huffington Post Oprah: "I was hoping to run into her at the gym this morning, and I'd say, 'Hi, how's things going?' ........ Perhaps Oprah will readjust her thinkin' back to what it was in November 2005, when she told Hillary, "I hope you do us a privilege and run for office. ... [For] President of the United States."
Straddling black and white Los Angeles Times, CA I am a year younger than Obama and a shade or two darker, but I have been dogged by the same skepticism, the same "Stalinism of Soul," all my life. ...... In an essay I wrote 20 years ago, fresh out of college, I coined the term "cultural mulatto" to describe black kids like Obama and myself who, regardless of our DNA, were perfectly fluent in both black culture and the dominant American white culture. It's a lot like being bilingual. A typical day in junior high found me reading "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" while listening to Simon & Garfunkel. ......... back in the fifth grade when I was called "oreo" by another black kid before first period and the "n-word" by a white kid at recess. ...... For some black people, it seems that Obama's rock star popularity among whites might make them leery of supporting him themselves. ........ I'm blacker when I'm the black guy in yoga. I'm boojy when I ride the A train to Harlem. And I was never more American than when I was hitchhiking across Uganda. ....... When my blue-eyed grandmother, more white than black by blood, was a child, white society imposed blackness on her because back then, black was like Brylcreem: "A little dab will do ya." ...... I sincerely hope that the race police go the way of the East German Stasi and the KGB. Just a few years ago, however, they were still in full force. I remember when Mariah Carey first topped the charts, friends of mine groused, "Aw, that white girl thinks she can sing." Then it came out that Carey is biracial, and those same friends rushed to claim her as a soul-singing sister......... assistant professor of film at Columbia University
Let's shake fear of the possible Chicago Tribune Andrew Young, a civil rights veteran and former United Nations ambassador, should stay away from microphones. ...... He even hosted a fundraiser for her. But, with supporters like Young bringing up Hillary's least favorite part of her husband's presidency, she doesn't need critics. ...... the grumpiness of an aging crusader whose mind is stuck in the '60s. ....... His ominous tone appeals to a gloomy view of Obama's prospects that I find remarkably common in black conversations. ..... "they" won't let him. ...... "The Man." There's always that old standby devil, institutional racism. In this view, popular with barbershop philosophers and the academic intellectual set, America is too saturated with white supremacy to ever give a black presidential candidate an even break. ....... Michelle Obama, the senator's wife. She attributed the hesitancy she hears in some African-Americans to "the natural fear of possibility." ....... Such fear is a natural byproduct of our historical memory as an oppressed people whose hopes too often have been dashed. ......... I'm old enough to have heard the same pessimism expressed by my Roman Catholic friends about John F. Kennedy's chances in 1960. I heard similar pessimism expressed by some of my Jewish friends about Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2000. I hear it from countless women about Sen. Clinton's chances now. If you expect the worst, many now figure, you won't be disappointed. .......... "I freed thousands of slaves," Harriet Tubman, the great conductor on the Underground Railroad, is quoted as saying. "I could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves." Many of us today are slaves to the past and don't know it. ........ Like other racial pioneers, he finds that he must run more than an ordinary campaign. He has to build a movement across racial lines that can tap into the same spirit of the civil rights movement. ...... he can build that new movement, especially if old movement leaders get out of his way.
Oprah leads praise, and prayers, for Obama Financial Times, UK
Poll: Bill Clinton More Influential Than Oprah
BLACK ENTERPRISE: Why Barack Obama will be President
PR Newswire (press release), NY his platform and strategy. ...... six key reasons he has risen in the polls -- and how he will win the Oval Office this November. ...... Barack Obama first appeared on the cover of BE in October 2004 next to the headline The Next Big Thing in Politics. ...... With his galvanizing message of hope and change, Obama's campaign has created an excitement unmatched by any other, and it brings together diverse sectors of the electorate -- black, white, Latino, young, old, blue-collar, and white-collar. ......... A Message for All People. ..... Hollywood, the Bible Belt, and corporate America..... A Winning Team. Obama has assembled a multi-ethnic lineup of political strategists and an all-star team of more than 200 policy advisers, including heavy-hitters from the Clinton administration............ The Funds to Compete. ..... "We have more small donors than all of the Democratic candidates combined," says Obama. "These are people who will definitely show up to vote." ...... The Black Vote. ..... Support from White America. ... At events, Obama packs them in like a rock star: he drew 10,000 in Iowa City, 7,000 in Ames, and 4,500 in Davenport. ....... America is Ready for a Change. .... America is Ready for a Change. Obama offers the change in leadership that many are seeking: youth and vitality, an unyielding hope for the future, and a rejection of the Washington-inside mind-set. His independence also sets him apart as he is the only candidate who has taken less than 1% of his donations from political action committees and none from lobbyists. He is also pushing for a transparent presidency, one in which voters are more involved with and informed about government activities via the Internet and town hall meetings. "It will no longer be business as usual in the White House," says Obama. "There will be a new openness in Washington."
O'Reilly: "I think that Obama needs to answer some questions about ...
Media Matters for America, DC Obama's comments led conservative media figures to question whether he "believe[s] in America"; to describe him as a "domestic insurgent"; and to suggest that he has "patriotism problems." ...... O'Reilly replied: "I always put my hand over my heart during the national anthem myself, but I know that that's not compulsory. But anyway, look, it's a little thing, I think. The bigger thing is that Barack Obama doesn't really want to answer a lot of questions. That's huge." ......... One of the things that I don't like about Senator Obama is that they've kept him away from everybody -- they, his handlers -- and they have. It's a strategy. It's a conscious strategy. Don't let Obama get into anywhere where he has to answer any questions that are tough. I don't like that. You know, if Giuliani can go in and sit with Tim Russert -- he knows Russert's gonna give him a hard time -- then why can't Obama come in and talk to me? ............ I mean, we asked him. He said he would, and he hasn't. Now, maybe, he will down the road, but, you know, look, this is -- it's unlike Hillary Clinton, who you know who she is. You know, I hope she'll come in for an interview someday; I'm not counting on it. But you know who she is. We don't know Obama. ........ look, just be careful of the Internet.
Clinton Basks in Buffett Glow Wall Street Journal Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are vying for the affections of legendary investor Warren Buffett, as the economy eclipses Iraq as a key election issue. ....... he is willing to throw his substantial fund-raising capabilities behind both Sens. Clinton and Obama. ...... "I told both of them that if they ran for president I'd support them, and here we are," Mr. Buffett said ........ an event for Mrs. Clinton in New York in June that raised at least $1 million. ....... "Warren Buffett is a dear friend and somebody I call frequently. He's proving to be an invaluable sounding board," Mr. Obama said recently. ........ "The super-rich have been getting a huge break," Mr. Buffett said, "and it hasn't trickled down." ...... In another effort to show she has the confidence of respected figures from the world of finance, Mrs. Clinton will hold a fund-raiser Friday for 750 attendees in New York during which she will make her first public campaign appearance with Robert Rubin, who served as treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. ..... will join Mrs. Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a discussion about the economy and foreign policy. Tickets for the event range from $1,000 to more than $25,000.

How Iran's president is being undercut Christian Science Monitor

Live-blogging the Democratic debate in Des Moines USA Today
Stakes High Going into Final Democratic Debate Washington Post
Clinton enters debate with race wide open
In Iowa, A Scrambling Lesson For Clinton CBS News
Clinton, Giuliani Out Front in NJ The Associated Press
Lonely holidays for Britney Spears? New York Daily News
Mars Rover Finding Suggests Once Habitable Environment
New York Times
Clinton apologizes to Obama
Obama NH chair to Clinton camp: 'Stop' the dirt Baltimore Sun
High stakes for Clinton in Democratic debate AFP
Democrats Tackle Budget Problems at Final Debate Before Iowa Caucuses FOX News
The audacity of a candidate who isn't ready for the job Seattle Times
Oprah confidant vs. Clinton's mom
Los Angeles Times
Why bother voting? Coronate her now. Los Angeles Times Hillary Clinton's state poll numbers are heading south for the winter. Barack Obama reaped a publicity, fundraising, volunteer and poll bonanza over the weekend with his Oprah offensive. There are reports of internal Clinton staff dissension. The Republicans didn't even mention her in their debate yesterday. ....... She continues stonewalling over release of her first lady papers which would -- or perhaps would not -- support her claim of sufficient experience to become chief executive. Two Iowa staffers got canned for forwarding e-mails alleging Obama is Muslim. She got caught planting questions at a public forum. ..... Her popular husband keeps talking about himself on the campaign trail and stepping all over her campaign's messages and making corrections that dominate another day's news and then claiming, typically, that the press misconstrued what he said. After an emergency planning meeting in Chicago, she's pumping more staff into Iowa ....... the soapy, sloppy diversions from the past Clinton years that she proposes to bring back. ....... the good news for Hillary Clinton these days is her negative rankings are steady -- very high but steady. ........ the candidate told a private crowd in a closed fundraiser at a Sacramento restaurant the other night that it's only a matter of time until she wins the nomination. ....... "is all going to be over by Feb. 5." ..... Clinton already has her eyes on California. She told the crowd, which reportedly dumped another $300,000 into her coffers, that she was really going to need the state's support after she won the nomination. ........ "The state is critical," she said, "not only to my victory for the nomination, but for the general election." So she still thinks she's the inevitable victor. ..... Clinton pointed out that absentee ballots start going out tomorrow and she told her Sacramento donors that "more people will have voted absentee by the middle of January than will have voted in New Hampshire, Iowa and a lot of other places combined." ........ According to people who've attended both her forums and Obama's rallies, hers are just that, soporific forums. His, as anyone could see last weekend on C-SPAN, are energized rallies with screams and hundreds of cellphone flashes going off to capture the moment. She's so controlled, she does not talk to the press. Obama does regularly. And the coverage reflects that accessibility. ........ Polls show upwards of half the Democrats remain undecided.
Clinton insiders question top aide's approach Newsday Clinton campaign insiders are increasingly questioning the cautious, poll-driven approach taken by Mark Penn, Hillary Rodham Clinton's top political aide ......... dissatisfaction is growing with Penn, who some say has mistakenly run Clinton as a de facto incumbent. ....... "There are two people who have come up with this strategy - one Hillary Clinton and one Mark Penn" ...... "Mark wanted to run her, basically, for re-election, and we are seeing what happened." ..... "The heat's on Mark. ... He's got a lot of enemies." ..... Clinton's aides insist that no shake-up is imminent and that Penn still has her ear. But they concede Bill Clinton has taken a more active behind-the-scenes role as her campaign flags. ........ For months, tension has been building between the "Hillary" and "Bill" parts of the team ....... Bill Clinton - along with former White House hands, - have counseled her to adopt a far more aggressive approach with Obama. ...... the acrimony has grown as all those races have become toss-ups. ...... Clinton and Obama in a dead heat among New Hampshire Democrats, just weeks after polls in the first primary state showed her with leads approaching 20 percent. ........ Clinton had lost a surprising amount of support from women ....... "Forty-three percent of Democratic primary voters ... say they are still trying to make up their minds." ..... Clinton's Iowa swoon has also revived the internal campaign debate over whether she should have staked so much on Iowa - a mercurial state her husband bypassed in 1992. In addition, some insiders have complained about a lack of communication between campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and the campaign's Iowa guru Teresa Valmain - one reason Solis Doyle relocated to Des Moines last week. ..... "The top officials on the campaign have never had a real understanding of Iowa"
Bill can't win it for Hillary Boston Globe VOTERS WILL never elect Bill Clinton's wife as president of the United States. They may yet elect Hillary Clinton - if she makes the case. ...... people don't always tell pollsters the truth. And they answer only the questions asked of them. ....... whether the former president once associated with the lyrics "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow" now reminds them of the past? ...... subconscious sabotage? ....... "I always tell people when I speak that you're entitled to discount what I have to say." ....... Hillary Clinton said she turned down his marriage proposals because she was uncertain about her future and scared of commitment and "of Bill's intensity." ........ for-better-or-worse campaign strategy? ....... she must be her own person. She can do that with daughter Chelsea at her side. Her husband comes with political baggage. ...... it's not about asking voters to judge Bill Clinton's two White House terms. It's about getting them to invest in Hillary Clinton's first term. She's the only one who can tell voters what she will fight for. ..... the second-place finish in New Hampshire that relaunched Bill as the comeback kid probably won't be enough to sustain Hillary's campaign. ...... Bill Clinton is alarmed by his wife's slide in the polls and anxious to do what he can to reverse the trend. ..... he should start thinking more like a political strategist, and less like a celebrity spouse. It's more than time for Hillary Clinton to show voters who she is, not remind them who her husband is.

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