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Thursday, February 21, 2008

FEC Invetigates McCain, Maybe Forced to do Public Financing

I know the big McCain story for today is the one covering McCain's inappropriate and intimate friendship with influential lobbiest Vicki Iseman. It would certainly be sensational if Iseman, 30 years younger than McCain, did in fact have more than a professional relationship with McCain. However, the real story in that story IMHO opinion is not any innuendo of an affair but that once again it exposes John "Do as I say not as I do" McCain ethical problems.

You would think that after being implicated the Savings & Loans scandal which cost US taxpayer dollars billions, ala the Keating 5, that McCain would really smarten up about conflict of interests and obvious influence peddling relationships.

As a married man, McCain had no real reason to be so close to Iseman and as the chairman of the Senate commerce committee with whom Iseman's clients had business, McCain must have known better. You cannot cavort with lobbiests in private while publicly admonishing them. It's called duplicity and hypocrisy.

McCain is either unable to see such an obvious conflict of interest -- or worse, he's unwilling to acknowledge it. And that is very troubling.

BUT that's not the subject of this story though coupled with the Iseman story, "straight talking" McCain's ethical take on himself seems to be self-righteous and another well-fabricated political spin machine in operation.

Ok, already, what are we talking about? The FEC is investigating John McCain for possibly misleading (diplomatic speak for "lying") them so that he could get a loan from them back when his candidacy was struggling at the beginning of the campaign.

And get this: They are threatening to FORCE John McCain to take public financing if he doesn't testify before them about the conditions he accepted for his loan. In other words, John McCain may get stuck with the $85 million limitation that public financing places on him!

And what librul at the FEC is challenging McCain to prove his integrity? Why none other than the REPUBLICAN chairman of theFEC, David Mason, in a letter directed to McCain.

Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason, in a letter to McCain this week, said the all-but-certain Republican nominee needs to assure the commission that he did not use the promise of public money to help secure a $4 million line of credit he obtained in November.

Citing the loan agreement, Mason wrote: "We note that in your letter, you state that neither you nor your (presidential campaign) committee has pledged the certification of matching payment funds as security for private financing. In preparation for commission consideration of your request upon establishment of a quorum, we invite you to expand on the rationale for that conclusion."

This couldn't come at a worse time for McCain. We've already heard about the Iseman-lobbiest story. Now this story, where the FEC is investigating John McCain for possibly misleading the FEC to get a loan to keep his campaign afloat. At least, McCain looks like he's backing out of a legal contract -- not exactly an ethical or fiscally responsible thing to do.

But here's a more pragmatic problem: if McCain is forced to his pledge, he can't spend more than $54 million for the Republican primaries -- and he's almost approached that number! If McCain suddenly goes dark, it will help Huckabee. It probably won't be enough to give Huckabee the win given McCain big lead - but it will make it that much more difficult for McCain to connect with voters who may not see as much of him.

I personally can't believe that it's going to happen. The Chair is Republican and he'll get all kinds of pressure to back off. But this does embarrass McCain again - on top of the Iseman-lobbiest-affair story.

Now here's a final teaser: FEC Chair Mason said he needs the votes of 4 commissioners to accept McCain's withdrawal from public financing. Unfortunately, the commission only has 2 members because Republicans are fighting Democrats on who should fill the final four spots.

And if the commission isunable to meet to resolve the matter, then the Democratically controlled Senate has to give McCain permission to back out of public financing.


I know, I know! This is too good to be true - BUUUUUT (1) it's further embarrasses McCain, (2) it proves how hypocritical McCain's ethics are, and (3) it just might MIIIGHT happen!

Original here

January yields debt for HRC, cash for Obama

Hillary Rodham Clinton ended January with $7.6 million in debt — not including the $5 million personal loan she gave to her campaign in the run-up to the critical Super Tuesday elections, according to financial reports released Wednesday.

In contrast, Democratic rival Barack Obama’s campaign’s finances continued to be robust.

He reported raising nearly $37 million and spending nearly $31 million. His cash balance was $25 million, of which roughly $20 million can be spent on the primary. He reported a comparatively small $1 million in debts, owed largely to just three vendors.

The January monthly financial disclosure reports glimpse a behind-the-scenes imbalance that has had a significant impact on the primary contest — one that continues in the days leading up to the critical March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio.

As the Clinton campaign scrambles for cash, Obama appears on track to raise more than $30 million again in February.

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, downplayed the disparity. “Thanks to an enormous outpouring of support, we will raise more money this month than in any other so far. We have all the resources we need to compete and win,” he said.

But the Clinton report paints a picture of a one-time front-runner under enormous pressure after miscalculating that she would wrap up the nomination before or on Feb. 5.

According to the reports, Clinton raised about $20 million in January, including her loan. She spent nearly $29 million during the month.

She reported a cash balance of $29 million. But more than $20 million of that is money dedicated to the general election. Her personal loan accounts for more than half of the remaining approximately $9 million, leaving just about $4 million in cash raised from donors.

But even that money is illusionary when measured against the reported $7.6 million in debts.

More than $2 million of the red ink is owed to chief consultant and adviser, Mark Penn. But the lengthy laundry list of IOUs also includes unpaid bills ranging from insurance coverage, phone banking, printing and catering at events in Iowa, New Hampshire and California.

Clinton’s strapped financial situation in late January meant she couldn’t invest in all of the Super Tuesday states, particularly the expensive ground operations required in caucus states.

Obama won every one of those caucus contests on Feb. 5, opening up a critical lead among pledged delegates.

He was also able to launch television advertising earlier than Clinton in subsequent primaries in Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin and other key states, which ultimately stretched his lead and fueled his momentum today.

The fundraising woes of the Clinton camp have marked a stark turnabout in the historic primary.

The New York senator launched her campaign a year ago with much of the party’s establishment and financial muscle behind her. The Illinois senator, meanwhile, built a grass-roots fundraising operation reliant on small givers that continue to fuel him today.

The chink is Clinton’s financial armor actually predates the latest reports.

Clinton’s 2007 year-end report showed her owing more than $5 million to vendors ranging from phone bank firms and pollsters to charter airline operators and telephone companies.

Her campaign last month dismissed those debts as a matter of bookkeeping. "These are not true debts accruing by the campaign, but simply unpaid invoices," said spokesman Blake Zeff.

Zeff pointed out the campaign at the end of 2007 had enough money in the bank to pay off its debts (it finished the year with $13 million on hand after subtracting the debt and contributions earmarked for the general election).

"Sometimes invoices are not paid immediately because we need additional information for our records, or to verify expenses," said Zeff.

But campaign finance experts said the unpaid bills filled a dual strategic purpose: freeing up cash for important up-front expenditures including advertising time, and superficially boosting the campaign's cash on hand to impress donors and pundits.

This year’s compressed primary calendar contributed to Clinton’s financial crunch. But December’s debt was evidence of "a cash flow crunch," said Michael Toner, a former Federal Election Commission chairman who served as general counsel for Republican Fred Thompson's aborted presidential campaign.

"Nobody fails to pay bills just because they don't have time. These are strategic decisions," Toner said, adding "you put off paying bills when you've got obligations that require liquidity."

Not surprisingly, some of Clinton’s biggest debts are to her top consultants, said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“I'm sure that they're willing to extend some credit for a time," said Ritsch. "Even if she isn't the nominee, she'll still be a senator and has shown that she can raise plenty of money for her Senate campaigns and can pay off the debt. But in the short term, you need as much cash as possible."

Original here

Clinton's Texas Ground Game Plunges Into Chaos

Although the Clinton Campaign has been telling the press that they have the ground operations to pull off a win in Texas, those ground operations have not been in evidence when I've traveled to small towns to see how Bill Clinton is doing on the Texas stump. Wednesday evening in Victoria, down in the southeastern part of the state, incipient chaos threatened to overwhelm the "Early Vote" Rally precisely because there was no ground operation. The well-oiled, beautifully constructed state-level HRC campaign machine, focused and determined in Iowa, Nevada and California, is beginning to break down.

"It's a clusterfuck! Just a clusterfuck!" the Corpus Christi producer for a local news affiliate shouts into his cell phone. He's telling his boss that there will be no coverage of Bill Clinton's visit to Victoria for the 6 o'clock news. "Who's running this campaign anyway?" the producer asks, of no one in particular. "And now five hundred people have stomped away mad." He shakes his head. At that moment, twenty well-dressed elderly and middle-aged dignitaries and politicians exit the back of the local arts center and walk slowly for the intersection of Goodwin and Main. Presumably, they are Hillary Clinton supporters; however, given their dazed faces, they look more like commissars who have been turned out by the NKVD and cannot believe how suddenly their fortunes have changed.

With his Secret Service agents at his side, Bill Clinton walks the short block without acknowledging the little group of eminent supporters. (They are never introduced or explained.) A rumpled Dolores Huerta (she's been wearing the same clothes for several days) trails behind. An aide helps Clinton and Huerta up onto the tailgate of a pick-up truck. Although Huerta has been feisty on the campaign trail for Hillary, she's perfunctory tonight. Few, if any, of the crowd ringing the intersection know who she is. Bill Clinton takes the microphone, which barks in the damp air. It's twilight and more rain is on the way. Bill Clinton has already spoken today at Galveston and Beaumont. He's going to be very late for his last appearance of the night at the University of Houston. Here in Victoria the former president, standing on the tailgate, at first seems to love the unplanned venue. But he never hits his stride and in disjointed fashion rushes through his speech, a shorter version (without any of the swipes at Obama) of the one I heard last week in Nacogdoches. Huerta and Clinton are on autopilot, and the crowd knows it. Only from one curb where the local organizer churns enthusiasm is there much response to Clinton's words. Most of the folks, and there must be a thousand people in all, including those hanging over the balconies of a parking garage, are merely curious.

The debacle in Victoria illustrates why a ground operation is important. The details of planning have been left to a local volunteer, and she has been overwhelmed. How was she to know the needs of the live press? Or that live press often arrive before the print media? (This confusion led to some journalists being locked out.) Or the possibility of having to entertain a restive audience, because this former president typically runs very late? Actually, the citizens of Victoria were patient, sitting quietly in the Welder Center auditorium for three hours waiting for Bill Clinton. Many people had brought their children, and they were patient, too. But when a young Clinton aide appeared on the podium and announced that the rally was being moved to the street, so that Bill Clinton could address a larger crowd from the back of a truck, displeasure was expressed all 'round. Many families left in disgust. They had arrived early to get seats--and now they were being told they had to stand on the street? But the anger of the locals was nothing compared to that of the Texas press. The press had been waiting for hours, too; it had taken time to lay cables and run through all the fussing and tweaking cameramen typically do. And when the press trudged out the auditorium doors, they discovered that their umbrellas, which had been confiscated as some kind of security measure (the only one), had been appropriated, undoubtedly by the disgruntled locals.

In the end, there was only a slightly larger throng on the street than there would have been if the rally had been kept in the auditorium, with the audio/video feed for the overflow in the foyer. The rally had been set originally for the town square; somehow no one had thought to check the weather forecast in southeast Texas this week. More importantly, there was no Clinton organizer on the ground ahead-of-time in Victoria to make the right decision about the venue and to have the clout to tell Bill Clinton and his entourage, when they arrived, that moving the rally to the street was a bad idea. Poor decision-making likely cost Hillary Clinton more than a few votes in Victoria.

"Hillary feels it altogether fitting that her fate in this presidential race should be in the hands of Texas," Bill Clinton says, near the close of his brief remarks. There is a strong note of acceptance in his voice, a grace note in marked contrast to the tone of remarks that will most be remembered as his contribution to Election 2008. He's looking down at a motley crowd; some hold Ron Paul placards and handmade signs saying ABORTION KILLS. Back in Iowa and California, good ground operations had the planning and the numbers of trained volunteers to prevent such a show. This is why event participants were never allowed to bring in their own signs. In Victoria, as in Nacogdoches, there's an undercurrent--not quite disrespect, but close.

Now near the end of primary season Bill Clinton makes the case for Hillary's experience. He can be impassioned and eloquent about her "thirty-five years of service," but in Victoria, he's rushed and disorganized. He's like the student who, despite shuffling through his notes, is unable to marshal his disparate thoughts into a coherent argument. This evening, gathered together on the corner of Goodwin and Main, we should be following along as Bill Clinton recites a story we all know well--the press mumbling and grumbling, because we've heard the story so many times, the crowd enchanted to be treated to a familiar tale told, and told well, again. But the Clinton Campaign never wrote the Hillary Story, that engaging narrative of her journey as a young woman from Illinois to Arkansas through Texas. Only now are Americans hearing bits and pieces, and Bill Clinton struggles to arrange them into narrative from the back of a white pick-up truck in Victoria.

Original here

Pro-Hillary 527's first spot

"If speeches could create jobs, we wouldn't be facing a recession," the narrator says in the spot, titled "Blueprint," that takes no more direct shots at Obama, but instead hews closely to Clinton's economic message.

The 527 hews to the legal rule against direct advocacy for the candidate: "Tell Hillary to keep working on these solutions," the ad says. It's aimed for Ohio, but there's no buy yet.

It'll air in Ohio to supplement Clinton's push.

A spokesman for the American Leadership Project, Roger Salazar, e-mailed to stress that his group's message is "positive" and focused on middle-class issues. He wrote:

The American Leadership Project is a committee of Americans who have come together to shine a backlight on issues that matter most to our nation's middle class and do it in a positive way. These are positive ads that serve to raise awareness about these issues at a critical time in our nation's history in places where they are paying the most attention. Right now that's Ohio and Texas. Sen. Clinton is a champion of these issues and ALP supports her positions and we say so in the ads.

Original here

I Refuse to Buy into the Obama Hype (now a supporter)

The next President is going to have some MAJOR challenges.
I refuse to buy into the hype, on either side, but especially on that of Obama. However the "empty rhetoric" v. "history of accomplishments" arguments have prompted me to check it out on my own, not relying on any candidate's website, book, or worst of all supporters' diaries, like this one.

I went to the Library of Congress Website. The FACTS of what each did in the Senate last year sure surprised me. I'm sure they will surprise you, too. Whether you love or hate Hillary, you will be surprised. Whether you think Obama is the second coming of JFK or an inexperienced lightweight, you will surprised. Go check out the Library of Congress Website. After spending some time there, it will be clear that there is really only one candidate would is ready to be the next president, even better than Gore. If you don't want to spend an hour or two doing research, then I'll tell you what I discovered on the jump.

I looked up Obama and looked up Clinton. I looked at the bills that they both authored and introduced. Anyone who has been around politics, and is honest, realizes that there are a lot of reasons why a Senator votes one way or another on bills or misses votes. However an examination of the bills that each of these Senators cared enough about to author and introduce revealed much to me: what they care about, what their priorities are, how they tackle problems. And the list of co-sponsors showed something about how they lead, inspire and work with others. Finally, looking at which bills actually passed is pretty indicative of how effective each would be at getting things done.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, let's all be honest here. It is damn hard to get anything through Congress these days. And Obama and Clinton care about the same issues and have obviously worked together on a lot of legislation, whatever Sen. Clinton's campaign may imply. She is a frequent co-sponsor on his bills, and he on hers. They are both completely competent senators.

I started with Sen. Clinton.

I'm not a Hillary Hater, but I certainly didn't like her much either. I didn't like her DLC history; her votes on Iraq, Iran or the bankruptcy bill; her characterization of the years she spent as First Lady as "executive experience." Hillary Clinton is no Eleanor Roosevelt. Perhaps more like Lady Bird Johnson. Hillary claims to have brought us SCHIP (with a little help from Ted Kennedy). Lady Bird brought us Head Start as well as cleaner, nicer highways. Anyone 40 or older probably remembers when the nation's highways were basically disgusting garbage dumps lined with billboards. But no one thinks Lady Bird should have been president. Might as well argue for Barbara Bush because of her efforts on family literacy, or Nancy Reagan and the War on Drugs.

Hillary Clinton does have a solid record in the Senate, however.

I came away from my research really knowing a lot more about what is important to Hillary in her heart: kids and their well being. My research changed my feeling about her significantly. About 40% of her bills dealt with health care and/or kids. As a mom with small kids, I like her passion for children's issues. But curiously, her big bill to deliver health care to every child, the one she lauds on her website, S.895 : "A bill to amend titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act to ensure that every child in the United States has access to affordable, quality health insurance coverage, and for other purposes" had not a single co-sponsor. Not one, according to the Library of Congress. Why is that? Is it a bad bill? Or is she not able to recruit support for her signature issue? Or did she just submit it simply to put in the hopper, so to speak, so she could claim she was working on it. I honestly don't know the answer, but I find it curious and suspicious that not even Ted Kennedy co-sponsored it. Its sister bill in the house, H.R. 1535, introduced by John Dingell has 42 co-sponsors. It's just weird. I honestly don't know what to make of it.

S.895 was major. But most of her other bills are much smaller in scale and scope — more targeted and more careful.

For example, she introduced one bill that offered tax credits for building owners who clean up lead paint. Which is a very good thing. And Obama is a co-sponsor. "S.1793 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit for property owners who remove lead-based paint hazards."

Obama's anti-lead bill (S. 1306) directed the Consumer Product Safety Commission to classify certain children's products containing lead as banned hazardous substances. He had another bill prohibitting the interstate transport of children's products containing lead. (S.2132) And Hillary co-sponsored each of these.

In other words, they both care about protecting children from lead.

The difference is in the scope and the approach.

Obama's bill shows how he thinks big: do everything we can to make sure that lead-painted Thomas the Tank Engine toys don't get into the hands and mouths of millions of toddlers in this country.

Or Hillary: encourage people by offering tax credits to clean up lead paint in old buildings. People have been talking about lead paint in old buildings hurting kids in living in inner cities, since, well when I was a kid — for decades. If it is still a big problem, is offering tax credits for clean up, i.e. scrape down the walls and repaint, the best way to protect kids from lead?

How many of you parents have lead paint problems? How many have (or had) toxic Thomas the Tank Engine Toys? They are everywhere. The local bookstore and kid's shoe store and the doctor's office and the preschool and the toystore all have train tables. There is nowhere you can go anymore with toddlers that doesn't have a Thomas the Tank Engine train table covered with toxic toys. But that's just my feeling.

Obama's bills risk pissing off the toy industry and the Chinese. Hillary's risks nothing.

A lot of Clinton's health bills focus on children. Or women. She introduced a billl for research in the causes of gestational diabetes, for more pediatric research (S.895) and a rural agriculture bill to get farm-fresh veggies into schools (S.1031).

Her bill dealing with the crisis in foreclosure is actually S.2114 : "A bill to amend the Truth in Lending Act, to provide for enhanced disclosures to consumers and enhanced regulation of mortgage brokers, and for other purposes." Again, no co-sponsors. Obama also introduced a bill in the face of the mortgage foreclosure crisis: S.1222 : "A bill to stop mortgage transactions which operate to promote fraud, risk, abuse, and under-development, and for other purposes." Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 4/25/2007), co-sponsored by Dick Durbin.

In her ads and speeches, Clinton claims that she's fighting to stop foreclosure while implying that Obama is empty rhetoric. Actually, Clinton is calling for "enhanced disclosures to consumers and enhanced regulation", while Obama's bill will "stop mortgage transactions which operate to promote fraud, risk, abuse, and under-development." After looking at the two bills, Obama's appears to be tougher, more directly addressing the problem.

Speaking of Obama, here's a list of some of his proposed legislation.

Four bills on energy including
• S.1151 : A bill to provide incentives to the auto industry to accelerate efforts to develop more energy-efficient vehicles to lessen dependence on oil;
•S.115 : A bill to suspend royalty relief, to repeal certain provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal certain tax incentives for the oil and gas industry; and •S.133 : A bill to promote the national security and stability of the economy of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on oil through the use of alternative fuels and new technology, and for other purposes.

Clinton had only one bill that I could find that addressed the same issue, S.701 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a temporary oil profit fee and to use the proceeds of the fee collected to provide a Strategic Energy Fund and expand certain energy tax incentives, and for other purposes.

Obama wants to "repeal certain tax incentives for the oil and gas industry". Clinton sees the answer in a "temporary oil profit fee" and to "expand certain energy tax incentives" for alternative energy. Obama's alternative energy bill (S.133) was co-sponsored by Harkin, Lugar and Salazar. Clinton's bill again had no co-sponsors.

On health care he introduced ten bills/amendments, including one amendment that passed: S.AMDT.1041 to S.1082 To improve the safety and efficacy of genetic tests. Other issues addressed in his proposed health care legislation were AIDS research (S.823 ), hospital report cards (S.692 — the V.A., and S.1824 — Medicare), better emergency care (S.1873), and drug price controls (S.2347).

Clinton's health care bills, for the most part, didn't impress me much, although she introduced many more bills in this area than Obama did:

S.CON.RES.63 : A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress regarding the need for additional research into the chronic neurological condition hydrocephalus, and for other purposes.
S.RES.176 : A resolution recognizing April 30, 2007, as "National Healthy Schools Day".
S.RES.222 : A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
S.201 : A bill to establish a grant program for individuals still suffering health effects as a result of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York City and at the Pentagon.
S.907 : A bill to establish an Advisory Committee on Gestational Diabetes, to provide grants to better understand and reduce gestational diabetes, and for other purposes.
S.993 : A bill to improve pediatric research.
S.982 : A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for integration of mental health services and mental health treatment outreach teams, and for other purposes.
S.1065 : A bill to improve the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury in members and former members of the Armed Forces, to review and expand telehealth and telemental health programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
S.1075 : A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to expand access to contraceptive services for women and men under the Medicaid program, help low income women and couples prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce abortion, and for other purposes.
S.1343 : A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to prevention and treatment of diabetes, and for other purposes.
S.1712 : A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve newborn screening activities, and for other purposes.

and on and on. Plenty of these have plenty of co-sponsors. Obviously, Hillary Clinton really knows her stuff on the issues of health care. None of them passed, however. On Obama's side, one of his health care initiatives passed in the Senate, the aforementioned amendment to Kennedy's S.1082, the FDA Revitalization Act.

Truth be told, it was very depressing doing this research to see all these great ideas and how little actually gets done. Looking at the legislative history of Kennedy's bill is a good example. It finally passed but its sister bill in the House, H.R.2900, was the one that was finally enacted, and with it, Obama's amendment for safe and effective genetic testing. Clinton submitted two amendments to this bill, one of would have eliminated the sunsetting of pediatric data collection; the other would have begin the process to approve generic versions of complex and expensive drugs called biologics or biotech drugs. Neither were adopted.

Now let's look more closely at Obama.

I was blown away as I started going through his record. I've already mentioned his bills on health care and energy. In addition he had introduced bills on Iran, voting, veterans, global warming, campaign finance and lobbyists, Blackwater, global poverty, nuclear proliferation, and education.
On Iran: S.J.RES.23 : A joint resolution clarifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law.

On votingPassed out of Committee and now on the Senate Calendar for Feb. 22, 2008
S.453 : A bill to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections Please check this out! This is a great bill. We need this. I can't believe that this time voter intimidation is not already illegal.

On veterans and military personnel: S.1084 : A bill to provide housing assistance for very low-income veterans;

On global warmingS.1324 : A bill to amend the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuel sold in the United States;S.1389 : A bill to authorize the National Science Foundation to establish a Climate Change Education Program; S.AMDT.599 to S.CON.RES.21 To add $200 million for Function 270 (Energy) for the demonstration and monitoring of carbon capture and sequestration technology by the Department of Energy. (This last one passed both the House and the Senate as part of the budget bill.)

On campaign finance and lobbyists S.2030 : A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require reporting relating to bundled contributions made by persons other than registered lobbyists; and S.AMDT.41 to S.1 To require lobbyists to disclose the candidates, leadership PACs, or political parties for whom they collect or arrange contributions, and the aggregate amount of the contributions collected or arranged.

On Blackwater S.2044 : A bill to provide procedures for the proper classification of employees and independent contractors, and for other purposes, and S.2147 : A bill to require accountability for contractors and contract personnel under Federal contracts, and for other purposes.

On global poverty S.2433 : A bill to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.

On global nuclear proliferation S.1977 : A bill to provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

I counted nine education bills, but it's getting late and I've got to get my kids ready for bed.

As I mentioned earlier, Clinton is a frequent co-sponsor on many of Obama's bills. So is Ted Kennedy. So are a number of Republicans.

Finally, Obama appears to have a better record last year in the Senate on getting his bills and amendments passed than does Clinton. I've listed everything that passed the Senate for each them at the end in boxes. But check out for yourself. I may have missed something.

In my eyes Obama is the superior choice in every way. He cares about more of the issues that matter to me. Kids and health care are important but so is the issue of global warming, on which Clinton introduced not a single bill last year.

Obama is a leader. With bigger majorities in Congress, much of his agenda should sail through. He can inspire this country to change course on so many things, from health care to global warming, where attitudes have to be changed first. I remember Bill Clinton's endless laundry lists of small, focus group approved initiatives. For those who say Hillary will not govern like Bill did, I respond that the people who were doing the market testing of his proposed policies were Dick Morris, of course, and Mark Penn, who is now running Hillary's campaign.

It's Obama for me! I just sent him $100. My first donation this election.

Yes, We Can!

Clinton's Successes:
S.694 : A bill to direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations to reduce the incidence of child injury and death occurring inside or outside of light motor vehicles, and for other purposes. (This is currently in conference committee to reconcile difference with the House bill)
Passed in the Senate:
S.CON.RES.27 : A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of "National Purple Heart Recognition Day".
S.RES.21 : A resolution recognizing the uncommon valor of Wesley Autrey of New York, New York
S.RES.92 : A resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of soldiers of Israel held captive by Hamas and Hezbollah.
S.RES.141 : A resolution urging all member countries of the International Commission of the International Tracing Service who have yet to ratify the May 2006 amendments to the 1955 Bonn Accords to expedite the ratification process to allow for open access to the Holocaust archives located at Bad Arolsen, Germany.
S.RES.222 : A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
S.AMDT.666 to H.R.1591 To link award fees under Department of Homeland Security contracts to successful acquisition outcomes under such contracts.
S.AMDT.2047 to H.R.1585 To specify additional individuals eligible to transportation for survivors of deceased members of the Armed Forces to attend their burial ceremonies.
S.AMDT.2108 to H.R.1585 To require a report on the planning and implementation of the policy of the United States toward Darfur.
S.AMDT.2390 to H.R.2638 To require that all contracts of the Department of Homeland Security that provide award fees link such fees to successful acquisition outcomes.
S.AMDT.2474 to H.R.2638 To ensure that the Federal Protective Service has adequate personnel.
S.AMDT.2823 to H.R.3074 To require a report on plans to alleviate congestion and flight delays in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Airspace.
S.AMDT.2917 to H.R.1585 To extend and enhance the authority for temporary lodging expenses for members of the Armed Forces in areas subject to a major disaster declaration or for installations experiencing a sudden increase in personnel levels.

Obama's Success:
S.AMDT.1041 to S.1082 To improve the safety and efficacy of genetic tests.
S.AMDT.3073 to H.R.1585 To provide for transparency and accountability in military and security contracting.
S.AMDT.3078 to H.R.1585 Relating to administrative separations of members of the Armed Forces for personality disorder.
S.AMDT.41 to S.1 To require lobbyists to disclose the candidates, leadership PACs, or political parties for whom they collect or arrange contributions, and the aggregate amount of the contributions collected or arranged.
S.AMDT.524 to S.CON.RES.21 To provide $100 million for the Summer Term Education Program supporting summer learning opportunities for low-income students in the early grades to lessen summer learning losses that contribute to the achievement gaps separating low-income students from their middle-class peers.
S.AMDT.599 to S.CON.RES.21 To add $200 million for Function 270 (Energy) for the demonstration and monitoring of carbon capture and sequestration technology by the Department of Energy.
S.AMDT.905 to S.761 To require the Director of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education to establish a program to recruit and provide mentors for women and underrepresented minorities who are interested in careers in mathematics, science, and engineering.
S.AMDT.923 to S.761 To expand the pipeline of individuals entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields to support United States innovation and competitiveness.
S.AMDT.924 to S.761 To establish summer term education programs.
S.AMDT.2519 to H.R.2638 To provide that one of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5 million or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee owes no past due Federal tax liability.
S.AMDT.2588 to H.R.976 To provide certain employment protections for family members who are caring for members of the Armed Forces recovering from illnesses and injuries incurred on active duty.
S.AMDT.2658 to H.R.2642 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.
S.AMDT.2692 to H.R.2764 To require a comprehensive nuclear threat reduction and security plan.
S.AMDT.2799 to H.R.3074 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.
S.AMDT.3137 to H.R.3222 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.
S.AMDT.3234 to H.R.3093 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.
S.AMDT.3331 to H.R.3043 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.
Senate Resolutions Passed:
S.RES.133 : A resolution celebrating the life of Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson.
S.RES.268 : A resolution designating July 12, 2007, as "National Summer Learning Day".

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