Monday, December 17, 2007

Hillary's Plans To Spin Her Loss In Iowa, Is It Hillary's?

Hillary's New Hampshire Firewall: She Plans On Losing Iowa
Helicopter + Walmart + Iowa

Who does the thinking in the Clinton marriage? That is not of concern to me. But who does the thinking in the Clinton campaign is of public concern. Bill Clinton is now mad at the media and up on all four cylinders like he were running for a third term. Do I begrudge him for that? No. He is entitled to love his wife. But this has started to color things up in a way that makes it less possible for voters to keep looking at Hillary Clinton instead of getting bombarded with Bill Clinton images.

First, I think it is a bad strategy. His lack of discipline shows. He hogs the spotlight. He almost always slips into thinking he is the candidate, and not his wife.

Second, he is the one who has started making the shots. All year Hillary let the Clinton '92 boy Mark Penn talk her into running on an aura of "inevitability," something very unsound as I said months and months back. Now she is letting Bill Clinton torpedo that into trying to now make Hillary act like she is the underdog. She probably is the underdog. Her leads are gone. The aura is burst, kind of like the dot com bubble.

But the Clintons don't get to spin their way out of it. There is general consensus now in the national and the global media that if Hillary loses both Iowa and New Hampshire, Hillary 2008 is effectively over. I disagree. I think if she so much as loses Iowa, it is over for her. A New Hampshire victory for Obama which now seems totally likely will be the icing on the cake for Obama 2008.

Why? It is because, how can you have been the top political brand name in the Democratic circles, a member of the most famous family on the planet, have raised so much money, had a brilliant strategist like Bill Clinton all along, your brains, and all that all year long, in every state for most of the year, and still fall so short?

A loss in Iowa, and what has happened to her leads in Iowa, then New Hampshire, then South Carolina, will happen to her already shrinking national lead. Mark my word. January 4 and Barack will be leading in the national polls. And Bill Clinton's spin efforts can not change that. The loss will be too fundamental, it will be immune to spin.

It is not Hillary's plan to spin her loss in Iowa. It is Bill Clinton's plan. But ask Mark Penn. He has thrown his hands in the air. Bill Clinton is fully in charge now. Someone should have made it possible for Bill Clinton to run in the primary himself.

I seriously think the beginning of the end for Hillary 2008 was when he went to Iowa and said he had been against the Iraq war from the very beginning. He talked like he was the candidate. Voters did not like that. It was too patronizing. Iowans are sensitive like that. That was kind of like this Dean moment in 2004 when he asked one person in the audience to "shut up and sit down. You had your say, and now I will have my say." That turned people off. Stories like that spread fast in Iowa, especially during a caucus winter and saturation news on everything else about the candidates.

I like Bill Clinton. Heck, I am practically a fan. He is very skillful. He was a good president. But he might be hurting his wife more than helping her. I guess there are several ways of dealing with an electoral defeat. Bill Clinton is dealing with it his own way.

One thing is for sure. Hillary 2008 will not get to spin its Iowa loss away. That is the end of the road right there you are staring at.

And Hillary is not that innocent about all the negative that has come out of Hillary 2008 these past few weeks. She can be said to have started it all by declaring "and now the fun part begins." I am not suggesting she gave direct orders for all the big blunders for which for example her top guy in New Hampshire was asked to leave, but she sure set the tone with remark on "the fun part."

I understand the desperation, but I disapprove of it. That's all.

For example, Bill Clinton called Charlie Rose a "TV commentator" on his show. He meant that as an insult.

From running as practically the incumbent to suddenly wanting to run as the change agent is too transparently, swiftly unreal. People can see through it. This is too late to repackage and market.

I think the fundamental thing is the Clintons just don't get "the new kind of politics, the politics of hope" as evidenced in Hillary's derisive comment about "hoping for change." I don't get all of it myself, I am a student of it. So I have some empathy for the Clintons.

Bill Clinton was for the inevitable incumbent strategy before he was against it.

In The News

Climate Plan Looks Beyond Bush’s Tenure New York Times
South Koreans head to the polls
Reuters UK
For the Obama campaign, the closer is in the family
Chicago Tribune the fickle world of Iowa presidential politics, where many party activists prefer to remain neutral so they can continue to be courted ......... Michelle Obama is painstakingly campaigning at a much more retail level. ....... Of those who attend her events, aides say, routinely a third or more sign cards pledging to support her husband. ........ "I do best when I'm the most me that I can be" ....... so many voters tell her she should be the one running for office. ..... Her arguments are sharper—and shorter ....... When she talks about how fortunate she is to have her mother in Chicago to help with her children, the grandmothers in the audience, a group also highly likely to vote, often nod or smile. She mixes talks about the stresses of fixing a Thanksgiving dinner for 60, or the trials of Christmas shopping, with empathy for the challenges of average Americans. ......... Michelle Obama says that if she can shake enough hands—and give enough hugs—her husband will win the nomination. ....... "If I could talk to everyone in Iowa and this country, there'd be no competition" ......... "I'm still going to Target and filling up the gas tank," she said. ...... like calling her husband's best-selling autobiography and policy book "novels" .... four or five towns in a day, after rising as early as 4 a.m. to catch a chartered flight from Chicago. ....... "We need you praying for us, and calling and nagging," she said. "You've got to shake them up. We need you to be there." ........ There is bluntness. ..... "Stop deciding already." ....... "She's talking about the stuff I complain about all the time," Beisch said. "It made a big impact on me."
Iowa snow chills Clinton's challenge to Obama a “Hill-A-Copter” being used to fly her across Iowa in a five-day dash she hopes will snuff out the challenge of Barack Obama. ....... Her plan was initially shelved by freezing weather ....... The former First Lady appeared tired at the weekend ....... leaning on the elbow of a state senator to avoid slipping. ....... leapt to front-runner status in Iowa and is fast closing on the former First Lady everywhere else....... Her husband Bill, former Senator Bob Kerrey, retired general Claudia Kennedy and the HIV-positive basketball star Magic Johnson were among her backers fanning out across the state. ......... If Mr Obama was worried, he was not letting it show. ..... a blatant attempt to explain away in advance a possible defeat.
Obama learns a trick from Blair Financial Times He is gaining ground again nationally. ...... What matters now is the ability to move a crowd and the energy of campaign staff on the ground. On the first, Mr Obama has no equal in this contest. On the second, he has no grounds for complaint. ........ a clever, reflective and engaging man ...... in a country still riven by race, he just happens to be black ...... Reform plans put forward by Mrs Clinton and John Edwards make health insurance compulsory: there would be penalties for those who lacked private insurance and who failed to enrol in a generously subsidised public alternative. ........ a mixture of subsidies and official outreach will draw people in and achieve near-universal coverage - and that mandates fail, in any case, to make coverage fully universal, because they are difficult to enforce. ......... No future president will be able to impose a blueprint: everything will have to be negotiated with Congress. ....... Obama is organising his campaign around what he calls a new - more consensual, more pragmatic - style of politics. This is his big idea
Obama Describes Faith Amid False Rumors The Associated Press he joined Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago two decades ago while working as a community organizer. ...... ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they come together and find common ground ......... values of honesty, hard work, empathy, compassion were values that were spoken about in church ........ Obama staffers and volunteers say they periodically encounter voters who say they cannot support Obama because they've heard he is Muslim .......... former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, who had just endorsed Clinton, referred to Obama's Muslim side of the family in an interview with The Washington Post ........ "It's probably not something that appeals to him, but I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim. There's a billion people on the planet that are Muslims and I think that experience is a big deal." Kerrey added, "He's got a whale of a lot more intellectual talent than I've got as well." ....... "It is important for me to have people that I trust, that I can talk to" ....... a six-day tour with 23 events in 22 counties.
Obama Wrap-up CBS News “I was not raised in the church. I came to the church by way of work as a community organizer.” ...... if given the opportunity to design the health care system from scratch, he would look at France’s single payer plan ..... a similar plan is impossible in the U.S. because the insurance industry cannot be eliminated. ....... “We have the legacy of employer based health care, and private insurance, and HMOs, you’ve got this whole infrastructure and they’re not just going to vanish.” ...... he does not blame immigrants for coming to the U.S. He said if he was living in Mexico and had trouble feeding his children, he might consider leaving as well. ....... “Here’s another way of looking at it, if you were out of work and Canada paid $100 dollars an hour, it would be interesting to see how many Americans were trying to get into Canada.”
How a President Obama would fix Africa East African his life experience makes him “uniquely suited to show the world a new face of America.” ...... engaging with “all nations — foe and friend.” ..... US relations with African nations are given emphasis in Mr Obama’s set of international policy proposals. .... to launch an Add Value to Agriculture Initiative aimed at triggering a Green Revolution in Africa. This programme would forge US government partnerships with charities, universities and businesses to spur research on “improved seeds, irrigation methods and affordable and safe fertilisers.” ...... use new US aid to “build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth.” ...... Economist magazine recently described Mrs Clinton’s global vision as “mostly dull but sensible.” ...... “Barack Obama has probably thought the hardest about foreign policy,” the Economist observed. “When replying to questions, he tries to answer them, rather than simply shooting out scripted sound-bites.” ..... Obama’s global policy proposals stand out ..... “Obama has so far been the most complete in covering a range of global development issues beyond just aid, including agricultural development, trade, climate change, investment and security” ..... an advance market commitment for vaccines .... ‘’Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have spent time in the White House and travelled to many countries as well. But along with Hillary Clinton, they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in a generation.’’ ...... The Kenyan-American candidate also calls for intensified US efforts to combat corruption in the developing world. The aim should be not only to prevent waste of American taxpayers’ money but to alleviate the injustices experienced by bribe-payers, Mr Obama says. His policy paper cites the graft routinely demanded in “police encounters, school admissions processes and housing accessibility.” ........ The senator promises to add a section on corruption to the State Department’s annual country reports on human rights. ..... Obama makes clear that he will take a hard line on international terrorism. Calling for a $5 billion global offensive, he pledges to “take down terrorist networks from the remote islands of Indonesia to the sprawling cities of Africa.” ..... full funding for the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries programme ....... The US Agency for International Development, which underwent significant downsizing during the Bush years, would be “restructured and empowered” by an Obama administration ..... An expanded global Aids relief programme and the Millennium Challenge aid initiative would be consolidated within USAid along with other international assistance efforts now housed in more than 20 US government agencies.
Iraq Vote Dogs Clinton (Again) New York Times She added that she and her friends did not want Mrs. Clinton to be “a war president.” ...... “we’ve each said in our own way that we regret the way President Bush used that authority” – an answer that fuzzed over Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to call her 2002 vote a mistake ....... I do think the [2002 Iraq] vote was for something other for diplomatic purposes. I think it was for military preparation .... she wasn’t sure she could sell her friends on Mrs. Clinton’s answer about her own war record
In ’08 Race, the Other Clinton Steps Up Publicly New York Times Mr. Clinton is not running the campaign, but has become the second-most powerful force in her political operation. ...... their new political strategy ..... The message being delivered was his. ..... “a change agent,” “a proven agent of positive change” and “a lifetime advocate of a change agenda.” ...... coined by Mr. Clinton after he told campaign officials that the old strategy of running like an incumbent front-runner was not enough ........ He is shaping strategy, challenging advisers on their assumptions and acting like a vice-presidential candidate in a general election — attacking rivals so Mrs. Clinton can stay positive much of the time. ........ Mr. Clinton was strategically brilliant, but undisciplined and prone to dominate the spotlight. ....... a spontaneous person — he says what moves him at the moment ..... he reinforces this sense of back to the future. People don’t want to go back to the future, they want to go forward to the future. ....... More than anything, Mr. Clinton is increasingly angry with the news media ....... Mr. Clinton’s role in his wife’s campaign has grown in intensity ...... his belief that victory or defeat in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary could have a slingshot effect on her performance in other states; and a competitive zeal that has not been this electrified since his bid for the presidency in 1992 ........ “He’s going on full cylinders right now” ...... From now until the nomination is settled, Mr. Clinton is going to be campaigning, raising money or calling supporters and high-profile holdouts every day ........ Some advisers and supporters of Mrs. Clinton are torn about her husband’s role. They say that Mr. Clinton, for all his political gifts, has been living in a rarefied, postpresidential bubble for the last seven years, and has not had to deal as much with an aggressive news media and with other Democrats ripping into his wife — and himself. ...... These advisers expressed concern, for instance, about Mr. Clinton’s performance on “Charlie Rose” ..... his re-entry to high-stakes personal campaigning had not been entirely smooth. ..... “He is brilliant in sizing up the political challenge and giving advice; he is a little rusty at execution, and his impatience and anxiety seems even worse when it comes to Hillary than when he was running himself” ...... Mr. Clinton’s charisma on the stump is uneven. ...... concerns also abide about Mr. Clinton’s drawing attention away from his wife when they appear together. They are expected to team up in the final days in Iowa and New Hampshire ...... Inside the campaign, meanwhile, Mr. Clinton’s frustrations are being absorbed by a team of people ...... Mrs. Clinton thinks of her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, almost as an adopted daughter. ....... he is concerned that advice to Mrs. Clinton be fully debated. ..... one thing I think is ridiculous is the notion that he’s all unhappy with the campaign and its strategic direction, because I believe that he helped set it.
Google Gets Ready to Rumble With Microsoft Sun Microsystems, where he was chief technology officer ....... “Ballmer and Butthead.” ..... During a four-year stint as chief executive of Novell, Mr. Schmidt routinely opined that it was folly for any Microsoft rival to “moon the giant,” as he put it; all that would do, he argued, was incite Microsoft’s wrath. ....... at the helm of one of computing’s most inventive and formidable players, the runaway leader in Internet search and online advertising ....... The growing confrontation between Google and Microsoft promises to be an epic business battle. ...... Google sees all of this happening on remote servers in faraway data centers, accessible over the Web by an array of wired and wireless devices — a setup known as cloud computing. Microsoft sees a Web future as well, but one whose center of gravity remains firmly tethered to its desktop PC software. Therein lies the conflict. ......... Google Apps aren’t anything other than a natural step in Google’s march to deliver more computing capability to users over the Internet, Mr. Schmidt says. ......... as Internet connection speeds become faster and Internet software improves ........ what can’t be done in the cloud, like high-end graphics processing. So, in Google’s thinking, will 90 percent of computing eventually reside in the cloud? ...... “It’s a 90-10 thing.” Inside the cloud resides “almost everything you do in a company, almost everything a knowledge worker does.” ....... the arcs of technology and history are in Google’s corner ...... the companies are also fighting it out in promising new fields as varied as Web maps, online video and cellphone software. ........ If Google succeeds, Mr. Yoffie says, “a lot of the value that Microsoft provides today is potentially obsolete.” .......... a long-term shift toward Web software, which operates with different principles and economics. ...... Google is a different competitor from others Microsoft has dispatched in recent years: it is bigger, faster-growing, loaded with cash and a magnet for talent. And the technology of the Google cloud opens doors. Its vast data centers are designed by Google engineers for efficiency, speed and low cost, giving the company an edge in computing firepower and allowing it to add offerings inexpensively. ........ They can be offered free or at minimal cost to users, he says, because they bring more traffic to Google, generating more search and ad revenue. ......... Will two of its formulas — its distinctive, hurry-up model of building products and services, and its rapid-fire approach to recruiting and innovation — succeed in new arenas? ............ Google’s quicksilver corporate culture can be jarring for some employees, even for Mr. Schmidt. ... he was frustrated that people were answering e-mail on their laptops at meetings while he was speaking. ..... “I’ve given up” trying to change such behavior, he says. “They have to answer their e-mail. Velocity matters.” ............. Google maintains that pace courtesy of the cloud. With a vast majority of its products Web-based, it doesn’t wait to ship discs or load programs onto personal computers. ........ In the last two months alone, eight new features or improvements have been added to Google’s e-mail system, Gmail ......... About 2,000 companies join Google Apps each working day ........ an engineering culture in which a favorite mantra is “nothing speaks louder than code.” ....... “For guys like me, who have a love affair with software, being able to ship a product in weeks — that’s an irresistible draw.” ....... Google’s embrace of experimentation and open-ended job assignments. Recent college graduates are routinely offered jobs at Google without being told what they will be doing. .......... We look for smart generalists ..... “We hire someone, and who knows what need we’ll have when that person shows up six months later? We move so fast.” ....... Big companies change habits slowly, as do older consumers. ........ small and midsize companies, as well as universities and individuals — in other words, a majority of computer users — could shift toward Web-based cloud computing fairly quickly ...... “It makes no sense to run your own computers if you are a small business starting up,” he says. “You’d be crazy to buy packaged software.” ........ Paul Buchheit, a Google engineer, started on what became Gmail as far back as 2001. At the time, there was resistance inside the company to the project. ......... “Definitely one of the reasons people thought it was a bad idea is that it could incite Microsoft to destroy Google” ........ In the corporate market, Google sees itself as a powerful agent of change, breaking down old barriers. “For the last 30 or 40 years, there has been this huge Chinese wall between business and consumer technology,” Mr. Girouard says. “That was historical and no longer valid.” ......... About 2,000 companies are signing up for Google Apps every working day ........ bringing cloud computing into corporations ....... “a lot of big companies” will be adopting Google Apps for tens of thousands of workers each. ....... At the corporate level, inexpensive, low-stress e-mail is the initial lure of Google Apps. About 160 employees of BankFirst Financial Services, a small bank in Macon, Miss., have been using Gmail for about two months ........ Students, he added, also get more than e-mail. They have access to Google Apps, and thousands of them, he says, now use Google’s Web software for calendars, word processing and spreadsheets. ........ “For someone of my generation, the whole idea of waiting years to see if you made the right product makes no sense.”....... just as low-cost personal computers eventually undercut the mainframe business, and traditional publishing and media companies have grappled with Internet distribution. The traditional products remain popular, but they become much less profitable.
Clinton campaign falters Sydney Morning Herald Hillary Clinton's once formidable lead in early state polls like New Hampshire and South Carolina has appeared to vanish. ...... the New York senator and a team of supporters were fanning out across Iowa to host events in the state's 99 counties during the last full week before the campaigns pause to observe Christmas. ...... Clinton herself was flying from stop to stop on a "Hilli-copter" to reach as many geographic regions of the ice-crusted state as possible. ...... Candidates who do well in the caucuses, and in the New Hampshire primary five days later, can gain momentum and media attention, establishing themselves as front-runners. Those who do poorly often decide to drop out of the race.
Clinton launches Iowa blitz MSNBC that she will work hard for change, rather than hoping for it or demanding it. ...... “I need everyone who is ready for change to go the caucuses on Jan. 3,” a relaxed Clinton told ...... Clinton used some form of the word “change” or the phrase “new beginning” -- which is another way of saying “change” -- no less than 23 times in her 33-minute speech (an average of more than once every minute and a half.)
ANC conference jeers Mbeki as Zuma gains upper hand Guardian Unlimited
Mandela weighs in to bitter ANC leadership fight Independent
Greenspan Says He Favors Government Bailout for US Homeowners Bloomberg
''I Am Legend'' sets record Entertainment Weekly I will never underestimate the box office power of Will Smith again. The indefatigable actor proved once more that he is the No. 1 movie star in the world ........ Legend eclipsed Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to become the highest-grossing December opener ever.
Celine Dion, She Went On and On New York Times

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