Tag: Barack Obama

She’s Come Undone

With Bill Clinton’s tantrums in the not too distant past, Hillary’s woes magnified this week with reports that her campaign finished February in the red:

Despite a strong month of fund-raising in February in which she brought in $35 million, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton finished the month essentially in the red, once her campaign’s outstanding debts are factored in, as well as her personal loan, according to filings submitted late last night to the Federal Election Commission.

After spending about $31 million in her efforts to keep up with Senator Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton finished February with more than $33 million in cash on hand, but $21.5 million of that is earmarked exclusively for the general election, leaving her with $11.7 million for the primary.

Sen. Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million. During the same month, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign brought in $55 million, leaving him with $31.6 million in cash on hand for the primary and $7.3 million for the general election.

Hillary has not weathered second place well. While currently sitting comfortably ahead in polls in the Keystone State, look for Obama to close the gap and perhaps surpass her by the April 22 primary.

Pennsylvania Democrats are a unique lot, and they will closely scrutinize both candidates. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia both have strong background in labor, and both have been hit hard by the erstwhile decline in the steel industry. My grandfather worked for years in the J&L Steel Mill on the South Side of Pittsburgh. I remember the smokestacks blowing black smoke into the sweltering summer afternoon sky, and my grandfather waving to us from a window far above as we drove past on E. Carson St.

You always knew to avoid Carson St. during the shift changes at the mill. Men would cross the street in an almost endless stream as they went to or from work.

Those mills are gone, and the South Side has been reborn. The Hot Metal Bridge has been rebuilt for automobiles, cyclists and pedestrians. The mills have been replaced by a riverfront quasi-yuppie haven, but the old homes staring down from hillsides remain. The South Side is booming again. The spirit of the mill worker remains strong in Pittsburgh.

While the mills were crumbling in Pittsburgh, Hillary Clinton was on the board of Wall Mart. We cannot ignore this. That’s the history.

Earlier this week, in a speech at George Washington University on St. Patrick’s Day, Mrs. Clinton claimed she was actually sent to some trouble spots in the world because they were “too dangerous” for her husband. Of course, that sounds like perfectly credible United States police: when the danger is real, protect the POTUS and send the First Lady. We remember the numerous times the Secret Service has sent Laura Bush to the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Or not.

Here’s what she said:

I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. But it was a moment of great pride for me to visit our troops, not only in our main base as Tuzla, but also at two outposts where they were serving in so many capacities to deactivate and remove landmines, to hunt and seek out those who had not complied with the Dayton Accords and put down their arms, and to build relationships with the people that might lead to a peace for them and their children.

–Hillary Clinton, speech at George Washington University, March 17, 2008.

Sounds like this was a harrowing experience. The First Lady landing in a war zone, visiting with troops, supporting those in the midst of danger while accepting the risk for herself and her daughter.

Her daughter? Yes, Chelsae was there too. Apparently it was the foreign policy of the United States under the Clinton Administration to protect the President of the United States — and put the rest of the First Family at risk in a war zone.

Here they are at the dangerous greeting ceremony at the Tuzla military airport, Bosnia, March 25, 2996:

Hillary and Chelsae Clinton in Bosnia

Perhaps Mrs. Clinton is “mis-remembering” the trip.

She’s come undone, and it’s sad. Mrs. Clinton is an incredible person. Don’t get me wrong. In no way is it my intention to treat Mrs. Clinton and the former President Clinton in the horribly ugly way the Weird Right does. As I’ve said before, the biggest problem Democrats face right now is that we have two incredible Americans running for President of the United States. The Republicans had to settle — many Republican friends have told me just that.

They have also told me they want Hillary Clinton to win. I have one friend who took a Democratic ballot in the February 5 Illinois Primary for the first time in his life so he could vote for Hillary Clinton — because he and many Republicans believe Clinton is not as electable. I find it difficult for me to believe my friend is the only Republican who did that.

The Republicans fear Obama for a reason. Barack Obama is electable. He can win.

Yes, he can.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is struggling. A victory in Pennsylvania will not secure the nomination, and with Senator McCain stands by waiting. Sir Elton John’ April concert and the thrill of the campaign notwithstanding, there are bigger issues to consider. She has a decision to make. The present moment is too serious.

Let’s take the White House and put America first. Let’s make history together.

Passportgate: Big Brother Watching The Dems

Yet another sleazy scandal from the Republican Regime. From WTEA TV’s The Pittsburgh Channel:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that the passport files of both Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama were accessed without authorization by employees of the State Department.

News organizations this morning were reporting that Sen. Barack Obama’s passport files had been accessed by the State Department. Now it’s Hillary as well. Now it’s Condi Rice making the Apology Circuit:

“We are very concerned about this,” Ms. Rice said. “I told him that I was sorry and I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned that somebody had looked into my passport file.”

The breaches occurred in 2007. Two State Department employees have been fired over the incident.

So, what did they know, and when did they know it?

And who else did they take a peek at?

UPDATE: 11:37 a.m.

According to The Swamp at the Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain’s “passport files got an unauthorized viewing at the State Department.”

Will someone in the Bush Administration please speak up for the Bill of Rights?

Obama and the Complexity of Race

Barack Obama in PhiladelphiaNo doubt we will be studying this one for years.

In a 38 minute speech to supporters in Philadelphia, PA, this afternoon, Barack Obama delivered the quintessential statement on race relations in America.

He did not strike me as a giant. The cameras zoomed out slightly, Barack stood dwarfed by the two tall American flags behind him. He looked small — not the towering Obama who filled the screen at the 2004 Democratic Convention. Here, I saw man standing alone, lifting up a critical discussion on race that recently had become bogged down in careless rhetoric. I saw a man struggling with race issues so complex they have confounded this country at every turn.

It was perhaps the most intelligent and compelling discussion on race this generation has ever heard.

With one stroke, Obama embraced his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his white grandmother, two people separated by the chasm of race, yet very similar:

As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

They are a part of all of our families. We all have a Rev. Wright or a grandma, aunt, uncle, cousin or parent whose racist rhetoric makes us cringe. Sometimes they go too far. Sometimes they speak a truth in a way that wouldn’t sit well with many if we captured them on video and put them on You Tube.

Perhaps we’ve even been the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or that white grandma, caving in to our own fears and slamming those different from us in our exasperation.

Today, something happened that was different. Barack Obama presented to us in 38 minutes the complex problem of race in America. He took the silly discourse of the past few weeks and elevated it to a sublime oratory. In doing so, he elevated us all in the process.

No doubt some Republicans and extreme conservatives will pounce, mince the Senator’s words and serve them to their far-right audiences with cries of, “See! I told you he was black!” Obama summarized it well:

Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

No doubt they’ve continued the attacks on Democrats, just as they laughed at us as Geraldine weighed in, Hillary countered, Barack reacted, and Rev. Wright sang from You Tube. But their laughter sounds from a lonely island. We argue at times as Democrats because we are at the table. We are having that discussion on race that Obama so eloquently expressed today. With Democrats, race is not about “them”, it’s about “us”. We may not get it right all the time, and, yes, sometimes we sound foolish when we fall, but the Republicans as a party are absent from the table. They’re not even in the same room. Instead, they are observing our dialog from afar. Senator McCain, respected as he is by Republicans and many Democrats, is watching from the outside. McCain’s party is not having this discussion — although they would be wise to start.

We need them on board with us so we can all feel the complexities of these issues together. We will never advance alone.

I’ll close with Jon Stewart, who summarized Obama’s presentation as only he can:

“And so, at 11 o’clock on Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race — as if they were adults.”

And we must continue the discussion — as adults.

Obama Comes Clean on Rezko

Senator Barack Obama gave an extensive interview with the Chicago Tribune Friday answering questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko. The Tribune provided an initial report of the interview where Obama revealed Rezko was much more involved with Obama’s fundraising efforts, but repeatedly chastised himself not showing better judgment:

Indicted Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko was a more significant fundraiser for presidential candidate Barack Obama’s earlier political campaigns than previously known. Rezko raised as much as $250,000 for the first three offices Obama sought, the senator told the Tribune on Friday.

Obama also said for the first time that his private real estate transactions with Rezko involved repeated lapses of judgment. The mistake, Obama said, was not simply that Rezko was under grand jury investigation at the time of their 2005 and 2006 dealings. “The mistake was he had been a contributor and somebody involved in politics,” he said.

To my mind, the key issue would be potential for payback. Was there any indication Rezko would come calling and expect something in return? This, after all, is the seedy side of politics, and if Barack Obama was playing this game, his words would be empty as a noisy gong or clanging cymbol. The report continues:

Asked if he ever thought Rezko would expect something from their relationship, Obama was definitive. “No, precisely because I’d known him for [many] years and he hadn’t asked me for favors.”

The rest of the article simply recaps some of the history regarding Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko.

Obama did the right thing. We called for more on this issue, and we’re pleased to see that the Senator took time to set the record straight. The article gives every indication that Obama answered questions patiently and thoroughly. Reporters had no lingering questions. Instead, we find someone taking himself to task for trusting a person who had earned his trust, only then to discover that trust was misplaced.  That would appear to be the case here.

We’ve all been there before.

There may be may be more to the story, but we don’t see it at this point.  For now, we give Senator Obama credit. It’s not easy to admit you’ve been had, especially in the middle of a political campaign when the only thing that passes many voters’ muster is perfection. But it takes character and an ounce or two of humility to admit a mistake.

This is the man we’ve come to know in Illinois.

Give It A Break, Barack

Senator, you need to lighten up. As one of your supporters, I’m telling you, this all looks silly.

I understand that no one really understands what it means to “act presidential” any more, especially after seven-plus years of George Bush. The tap-dancing War President is completely out-of-touch. But, Senator, you must start acting presidential. Stay above all of the nonsense. The majority of voters could care less whether Hillary Clinton or one of her supporters hurt your feelings. The majority of voters could care whether one of your staffers had to resign because of the “monster” comment, or Geraldine has to resign because of her stupidity.

The Geraldine Ferraro story was nonsense. You should have let it go. From now on, you have to let these petty things go.

You say you’re ready. Sir, we’re ready. We’re ready for leadership. We’re ready for someone who is capable of seeing to the heart of the big issues, someone who is not distracted by the small stuff. We’re ready for a leader who can rise above. You’ve already inspired us. Now start leading, and stop falling for the bait.

This is the point in an election when the voters start getting fed up. When candidates are at each others’ throats, we write them off. Blagojevich never recovered in Illinois. He’s held in extremely low esteem.

What was he thinking? That we’d love him because he could run a brutal campaign?

Geraldine quit. She allowed herself to get bogged down in the nonsense. Samantha Power resigned from your campaign after calling Clinton “a monster.”

Big deal.

Senator, give it a break. We’re not at all interested in whether you can go tit-for-tat with Hillary Clinton. We desperately need a President who can see to the heart of the issues, who can see with clarity what is really at stake, and make clear decisions, define sound policy.

Leadership is not demonstrated in the playground brawl.

Barack Wins Wyoming

The Senator from Illinois has taken Wyoming Democratic caucuses.  As he should have.

The Sun-Times reports:

Barack Obama captured the Wyoming Democratic caucuses Saturday, seizing a bit of momentum in the close, hard-fought race with rival Hillary Rodham Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination.

Obama generally has outperformed Clinton in caucuses, which reward organization and voter passion more than do primaries. With Saturday’s victory, the Illinois senator has now won 13 caucuses to Clinton’s three.

Barack has a distinct edge when it comes to caucusing.  Give him and his supporters a few minutes of your time, and they will convince you of his passion for serving this country.  Obama demonstrates the vision Clinton lacks.  But Clinton is smart and would serve this country well.

Here’s the problem Democrats have that Republicans do not: we have two excellent candidates running for President of the United States.  Before that, we had many more excellent candidates who were running for  President of the United States.

The Republicans had to settle.  Ask them.  They’ll tell you.