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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama’s Support Grows Broader, New Poll Finds

WASHINGTON — In the past two months, Senator Barack Obama has built a commanding coalition among Democratic voters, with especially strong support among men, and is now viewed by most Democrats as the candidate best able to beat Senator John McCain in the general election, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

After 40 Democratic primaries and caucuses, capped by a winning streak in 11 contests over the last two weeks, Mr. Obama has made substantial gains across most major demographic groups in the Democratic Party, including men and women, liberals and moderates, higher and lower income voters, and those with and without college degrees.

But there are signs of vulnerability for Mr. Obama, of Illinois, in this national poll: While he has a strong edge among Democratic voters on his ability to unite and inspire the country, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is still viewed by more Democrats as prepared for the job of president. And while he has made progress among women, he still faces a striking gender gap: Mr. Obama is backed by two-thirds of the Democratic men and 45 percent of the women, who are equally divided in their support between the two candidates. White women remain a Clinton stronghold.

When all voters are asked to look ahead to the general election, Mr. McCain is more likely to be seen as prepared for the presidency, able to handle an international crisis and equipped to serve as commander in chief than either of the Democratic candidates.

Even so, the poll provides a snapshot of Mr. Obama’s strength after this first, frenzied round of primaries and caucuses, which knocked seven of the nine Democratic candidates out of the race. For the first time in a Times/CBS poll, he moved ahead of Mrs. Clinton nationally, with 54 percent of Democratic primary voters saying they wanted to see him nominated, while 38 percent preferred Mrs. Clinton. A USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday showed a similar result, 51 percent for Mr. Obama to 39 percent for Mrs. Clinton.

These national polls are not predictive of the Democratic candidates’ standings in individual states, notably Ohio and Texas, which hold the next primaries, on March 4. Most recent polls there show a neck-and-neck race in Texas and Mrs. Clinton with a lead in Ohio; her campaign advisers say that if she prevails next Tuesday the race will begin anew.

Mark Penn, the chief strategist for the Clinton campaign, said the polls “reflect momentum from Senator Obama’s recent wins,” and “will snap back if we are successful in Ohio and Texas.” He added that other national polls showed a far closer race. Bill Burton, spokesman for the Obama campaign, said, “As we’ve made our case for change across the country, people have responded.”

The Times/CBS poll shows that Mr. Obama’s coalition — originally derided by critics as confined to upper-income reformers, young people and blacks — has broadened significantly. In December, for example, he had the support of 26 percent of the male Democratic primary voters; in the latest poll, that had climbed to 67 percent.

“He’s from Illinois, and I’m from Illinois, and he reminds me of Abraham Lincoln,” said Dylan Jones, 53, a laborer from Oxford, N.C., who was interviewed in a follow-up to the poll. “I can see him out there splitting rails. I don’t have anything against Hillary Clinton, so I guess it’s because he’s new blood.”

Similarly, Mr. Obama’s support among those with household incomes under $50,000 rose to 48 percent from 35 percent since December. His support among moderates rose to 59 percent from 28 percent. In contrast, Mrs. Clinton’s strength among Democratic men dropped to 28 percent from 42 percent in December; her support among voters in households making under $50,000 held stable.

Even among women, Mr. Obama made strides. He had the support of 19 percent of white women in December and 40 percent in the most recent poll. White women, however, remain Mrs. Clinton’s most loyal base of support — 51 percent backed the senator from New York, statistically unchanged from the 48 percent who backed her in December.

“I like them both,” said Ann Powers, 64, a coordinator for special education programs in Fort Dodge, Iowa. “I just think he is too inexperienced and she’s dealt with more in the last 20 years.” The national telephone poll of 1,115 registered voters was conducted Feb. 20-24. It included 427 Democratic primary voters and 327 Republican primary voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all voters, plus or minus five percentage points for Democratic voters and plus or minus five percentage points for Republican voters.

The poll showed Republicans settling in with their likely nominee. Eight in 10 said they would be satisfied if Mr. McCain won their party’s nomination, although just 3 in 10 said they would be very satisfied. Nearly 9 in 10 said he was prepared for the presidency, and more than 8 in 10 said they had confidence in his ability to deal with an international crisis, while a remarkable 96 percent said he would likely make an effective commander in chief.

But misgivings remain among those who describe themselves as conservative Republicans, with a majority saying his positions on the issues are not conservative enough.

On the Democratic side, primary voters indicated they saw few substantive differences between their candidates on issues like the war in Iraq and health care. Most have confidence in both candidates to handle the economy, the war in Iraq and an international crisis. And large numbers think it is likely that either candidate would make an effective commander in chief.

Mr. Obama’s advantages are more apparent on other measures. Nearly 6 in 10 said he had the best chance of beating Mr. McCain, double the numbers that believed Mrs. Clinton was more electable. He is also viewed by more Democratic voters as someone who can bring about “real change” and is willing to compromise with Republicans “the right amount” to get things done.

Democratic voters are also more likely to say Mr. Obama cares a lot about them, inspires them and can unite the country. Sixty-three percent of Democratic voters said he cared a lot about them, while fewer than half thought Mrs. Clinton did. Nearly seven in 10 said he inspired them about the future of the country; 54 percent said Mrs. Clinton did. Three-quarters said he would be able to unite the country as president; 53 percent said Mrs. Clinton would.

Mrs. Clinton also has her strengths: Her supporters are, in general, more committed; nearly 8 in 10 of Mrs. Clinton’s backers said they strongly favored her, while 6 in 10 of Mr. Obama’s supporters strongly favored him. Only 18 percent of her supporters backed her with reservations; about a third of Mr. Obama’s supporters said they had reservations about their candidate.

Democratic women are also more likely to say that the news media have been harder on Mrs. Clinton than on other candidates: 56 percent felt that way, compared with 39 percent of Democratic men. Both men and women were more likely to think the news media has been harder on Mrs. Clinton than on Mr. Obama.

Not surprisingly, Democratic primary voters had an opinion on the appropriate role of the 795 superdelegates who could determine the party’s nominee. More than half said that these party leaders should vote for the candidate who received the most votes in the primaries and caucuses.

Original here

New National Polls: Obama gaining ground

Two new national polls show Barack Obama surging against Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In a New York Times-CBS News poll, 54 percent of Democratic primary voters say they would prefer the party to nominate Barack Obama while 38 percent prefer Hillary Clinton. That is a sharp shift in Obama's favor from the previous poll in late January, when voters were split evenly, 41 percent each for Obama and Clinton.

The poll found similar swings in Obama's favor on other questions. For example, asked how they would vote if the race were between Obama and Republican John McCain, 50 percent said they would support Obama to 38 percent for McCain, while respondents were split evenly, at 46 percent each, when the choice was between McCain and Clinton. Obama gained ground within nearly every sector, the poll found.

In a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll, Obama leads Clinton by a narrow margin, 46 percent to 43 percent, whereas Clinton had had a 5-point lead among Democratic primary voters in early February. Obama achieved that swing by advancing on Clinton in several demographic sectors, including white men, liberals and middle-income earners, the AP reported.

The AP poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, and the Times poll 3 percentage points. Those margins increased to about 5 percentage points when questions were asked of Democrats or Republicans only.

Original here

Clinton, Obama And The Belief In The Magic Power Of Words

Along with her "ready to lead on Day One" mantra, Hillary Clinton's favored line of attack against Barack Obama is the reincarnation of Mondale's 1984 "Where's the beef?" attack on Gary Hart. In Clinton's version, Obama is little more than a shallow speechifier -- he believes that words are all you need to lead.

She made it explicit in a speech in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday:

"I could stand up here and say 'Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open! The light will come down! Celestial choirs will be singing! And everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!' Maybe I've just lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear!"

Last week it was: "Speeches don't put food on the table. Speeches don't fill up your tank, or fill your prescription, or do anything about that stack of bills."

And her chief strategist, Mark Penn, summed up the "just words" meme this way: "She is in the solutions business while Obama is in the promises business."

Now, I agree with Clinton that it's important to look at how each of the Democratic candidates uses words and how rhetoric fits into how they've run their respective campaigns. And if you do, you'll see that one candidate does believe that words are like a magic wand: you utter them and reality changes. But it's not Barack Obama -- it's Hillary Clinton.

Clinton's use of words is disturbingly reminiscent of the way the Bush administration has used words: just saying something is true is magically supposed to make it true. Call it Presto-change-o Politics.

The examples are so notorious they hardly bear repeating: "mission accomplished," "heckuva job," "last throes," the endless "turning the corner" in Iraq. They were all said with the arrogant belief that merely saying these words was all that was needed: reality would literally change to fit the rhetoric.

Now let's look at Hillary Clinton's rhetoric and what is says about the campaign she's run. It started with her absurd claim that her vote for the war was really a vote to send inspectors back in. The name of the bill? "The Joint Resolution To Authorize The Use Of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq." Saying it was about sending inspectors back in doesn't mean that it is true that it was about sending inspectors back in.

And then how about the endless spinning trying to diminish Obama victory after Obama victory? Here was Penn: "Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois? That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama." Mark Penn calling Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and Colorado, among others, not "significant" does not make them insignificant.

Or Clinton's "35 years of experience." She has had a distinguished record of public service, but it's not in any way 35 years of government experience, unless you want to include her time at Yale Law school, or going door to door for George McGovern in Texas, or working at the Rose law firm in Arkansas as government experience. But her campaign seemed convinced that by repeating "35 years of experience" at every stop she would magically acquire that 35 years of experience.

But as the Bush administration has shown, believing your own words and not being able to see things as they are is not a good thing -- either for a country or a campaign. The New York Times described some Clinton aides as "baffled that a candidate who had been in the United States Senate for only three years and was a state lawmaker in Illinois before that was now outpacing a seasoned figure like Mrs. Clinton."

As Matt Yglesias says:

"Whether or not you think the more 'seasoned' candidate ought to win presidential elections, it seems to me that any campaign staffer who could be genuinely 'baffled' by experience not proving to be a winning issue is demonstrating a scary ignorance of how things work. Is her staff baffled that Joe Biden didn't win the nomination?"

Or how about the Clinton campaign's abracadabra rhetoric, designed to make the reality of what they agreed to about Florida and Michigan -- poof! -- go away. They even set up a website that attempts to pull a rabbit out of the electoral hat. The site list several "facts": "FACT: Florida and Michigan should count, both in the interest of fundamental fairness and honoring the spirit of the Democrats' 50-state strategy." As Ezra Klein notes: "It's almost as if they thought putting it after... the word 'FACT,' would be like a Jedi mind trick."

Meanwhile, as the Clinton campaign was busy trying to use words to push the idea that losing is actually winning (you know, just like in Iraq), the Obama campaign was actually winning votes. To the extent that anything in a campaign is real, it doesn't get any more real than actual votes.

And, no, he wasn't winning them just because of his "words." He backed up his words with action: old-fashioned grassroots organizing. For instance, as was widely noted in the blogosphere, the Clinton campaign apparently found out only in February that the March 4th primary/caucus in Texas was sort of complicated:

"Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest."

As publius at Obsidian Wings says:

"While they were busy 'discovering' the rules, however, the Obama campaign had people on the ground in Texas explaining the system, organizing precincts, and making PowerPoints. I know because I went to one of these meetings a week ago. I should have invited Mark Penn I suppose."

Repeat that kind of organizing throughout 23 "insignificant" states, and it turns out you get a pretty healthy delegate lead.

So let's look at how Obama uses words. Contrary to Clinton's charges, Obama never claims his words will somehow magically create change. Instead, he uses his words to ask the American people to demand change. Very little change for the better happens in Washington unless it is demanded by the people. It's instructive that, back in New Hampshire, Clinton discounted the work Martin Luther King did in creating the political atmosphere that allowed LBJ to push though the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

Which is why Obama's constant invocation is "Yes we can" -- not "Yes I can." Obama uses words to persuade, to mobilize and to get people to imagine that reality can be changed. And based on how his campaign has been run, on the ground, in state after state, it's clear that he knows changing reality is not done through magic -- it's done through hard work.

It is Clinton who uses words to deny reality, and expects them to magically change it. Haven't we had enough of that over the last seven years?

Update: Dana Milbank offers up yet another example of reality denial -- and the belief that saying something is so will make it so -- on the part of the Clinton campaign. This one comes courtesy of Clinton advisor Harold Ickes who yesterday told a gathering of high-powered Washington journalists: "We're on our way to locking this nomination down." No word on whether the journalists -- including David Broder and Maureen Dowd -- responded with a collective spit take.

Original here

Does This Make George H.W. Bush Unpatriotic?

The Conservative blogosphere says that Barack Obama isn't patriotic enough to be President because he was photographed without his hand over his heart during the National Anthem.

Here's a photograph of George H.W. Bush at a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait. Have you seen other photos like this one? Send them our way.

The AP caption reads:

Former U.S. President George Bush, center, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, left, and retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, right, stand at attention during the playing of the National Anthem Monday, Feb. 26, 2001, at the American Embassy in Kuwait at the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait. (AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari)

Original here

Sen. Dodd to Endorse Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut plans to endorse former presidential rival Barack Obama.

Dodd will endorse his colleague, a senator from Illinois, in Cleveland on Tuesday, according to a Democratic official close to Dodd who requested anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.

Dodd's support, coupled with his liberal credentials, could provide a boost for Obama as major contests near in big states such as Ohio and Texas on March 4. Obama has won some key Democratic endorsements in recent weeks, including Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, a close friend of Dodd.

Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had been vying for Dodd's support since he exited the presidential race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus last month. Dodd, 63, who won his Senate seat in 1980 and chaired the Democratic National Committee from 1995-1996, has long-standing ties to the Clintons.

Dodd is a "superdelegate," one of nearly 800 Democratic officeholders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose. They have become an important force in the close race between Clinton and Obama, and both candidates are lobbying hard for their support.

During the campaign, Dodd cast himself as an experienced leader who unites people. He stressed his long Senate career, foreign policy experience and work on education and children's issues. But his long-shot candidacy, overshadowed by the huge campaign accounts and star power of Clinton and Obama, never caught fire.

Still, Dodd's popularity with liberal voters could benefit Obama on both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Dodd voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq, but has become an outspoken critic of the war and now calls his vote a mistake. He has said he would oppose an escalation of U.S. forces in Iraq and has said Congress should consider withholding funding for such a troop increase.

Dodd also could help Obama with Hispanic voters. A fluent Spanish speaker, Dodd served in the Peace Corps in a rural village in Dominican Republic from 1966-68 and has had a strong interest in Latin American affairs throughout his career.

Since his election to the House in 1974, Dodd has forged strong ties with labor unions, tried impose fiscal accountability on corporations and championed family and children's issues. He chairs the powerful Senate Banking Committee.

Dodd was the chief Senate sponsor of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or to tend to a personal or family illness.

Original here

McCain Flip Flops On “100 Years in Iraq” Remark


Flippity, floppity, flip, flop. Just like a fish on the deck of a boat, John McCain is gasping for the life of his campaign. Knowing full well that tying his campaign to staying in Iraq and the “success” of the “surge” (quick, McCain, explain what that means!) and that the majority of Americans just aren’t willing to buy it, McCain executes a perfect “cut and run” from his earlier statement of staying in Iraq for 100 years.

By the way, that reminds me of that “100 year thing”. My friends, the war will be over soon. The war, for all intents and purposes, although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years. But it will be handled by the Iraqis, not by us.

Huh? The war will be “over soon”??? Mission Accomplished redux? But the insurgency will go on. But that’s not a war. But the Iraqis will handle it. Aren’t the insurgents Iraqis too? Can anyone make heads or tails of this ridiculous excuse of a back pedal?

How in the hell does McCain think he can get away with this?

Original here

ACTION: Tell AP Papers to Stop Smearing Obama’s Patriotism

It was pretty much world-record speed with which the smears against Barack Obama's patriotism alley-ooped from the right wing attack machine into the pages of legitimate media, neatly laundered into the AP by Nedra Pickler. It then quickly leapfrogged onto CNN where a poll

inquired as to whether Obama had sufficient patriotism to be president.

It's incredible that a news source which purports to be legitimate would embrace and perpetuate this kind of stuff; common sense dictates that it should stay where it was birthed, in the right wing sewer. Nevertheless, we're in a rather fluid time, when the boundaries are being established about what is going to be regarded as acceptable for the rest of the race, so it's time to come down hard and set the limits. What Pickler did is out of bounds.

Aravosis:

AP knows damn well that Obama doesn't hate America. This isn't a he-said-she-said. It's a case where AP is genuflecting to the Republicans and regurgitating their crap in a way Pickler and her fellow reporters wouldn't dare do if the victim were Republican.

As Glenn Greenwald notes, Obama's response was superb, but the fact remains that he should not be subject to these kinds of open smears in the first think.

The AP probably doesn't care a whole lot about what you think, but it does care what the papers who subscribe to their wire service think. So we've set up a page where you can plug in your zip code and automatically send an email to the papers in your area who syndicate the AP and let them know this is beneath what you expect their coverage to be -- for this election cycle and beyond.

Especially if you live in some state that's less likely to get a lot of attention like New York or California, please take time to send an email. We want to blanket the country as broadly as possible and let every paper know that this kind of journalism is unacceptable -- and that you're watching.

Send a letter here.

And Hekebolos has a diary up at DailyKos about this action, so if you're a Kossak please go over and hit "recommend.

Original here

Clinton Gets Caught Again on NAFTA

Barack Obama is today criticizing Hillary Clinton on her efforts to pretend she never supported NAFTA. Just as a follow-up to my post on Friday, I want to remind folks who claim Hillary Clinton never praised NAFTA that, in fact, she did praise NAFTA - repeatedly.

According to NBC's Meet the Press, in 2004, Clinton said, "I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York and America."

In her memoir, Clinton trumpeted her husband's "successes on the budget, the Brady bill and NAFTA."

And in 1998, Bloomberg News reports that she praised corporations for mounting "a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of NAFTA." Another direct quote.

I went over two of these three quotes - and some more - in my recent syndicated column, which you can read here. And, as predicted, this issue has now become the central focus in the Ohio primary - the primary that could decide the Democratic nomination.

However you feel about NAFTA - and if you are a typical American, polls show you likely do not like it - Clinton now trying to lie and say she never really supported NAFTA is an absolute insult. It further suggests that on really important economic issues, she's more than happy to lie about provable facts when it suits her political needs.

UPDATE: Here's another direct quote from Hillary Clinton on NAFTA. The Associated Press reported on 3/6/96 that she said, "NAFTA is proving its worth" and later praising NAFTA as "a free and fair trade agreement."

Original here

Another left-handed president? It's looking that way.

The Morning File's research team was watching last week's Democratic primary debate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, prepared to analyze the approaches to immigration, global warming and plagiarism (the same friendly, almost ethical version of it that The Morning File specializes in) when actual news broke out.

"Hey, the dude's left-handed!" the research team's deputy field assistant for handedness called out.

And there was Mr. Obama, scrawling smudged notes with his wrong hand, showing all of America (or at least the 3 percent glued to CNN at that moment) his gauche, sinister love of the left. He was carefully writing down his opponent's words, presumably to appropriate them for a very eloquent inaugural address down the road.

The big deal here is not just Mr. Obama's orientation. Republican front-runner John McCain comes from the same, left-leaning 10 percent to 15 percent of the population. It's becoming clearer by the day -- unless every right-hander in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania votes for Mrs. Clinton -- that the next president will be left-handed.

The country has not been faced with such predetermination of presidential handedness since the three-way race of 1992, when George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and H. Ross Perot all favored the same side used by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci to create great art.

Other than the first Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton, the left-handed presidents everyone seems to agree on were James Garfield, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford. Some lists include Herbert Hoover, but he's omitted from others created by left-handed advocates, perhaps because they want no part of someone on whose watch the Great Depression began.

And then there's the case of Ronald Reagan. He wrote with his right hand, but discussion has abounded that he was switched from his natural tendencies when he was young by strict schoolteachers. It has been pointed out that he slapped Angie Dickinson with his left hand in the film "The Killers," which is what a lefty would do. (No one thinking right would ever slap Angie Dickinson at all, actually.)

So just as in politics, Mr. Reagan apparently went from left to right as his life evolved. He shows up on some lists of left-handed presidents but not others, meaning we've had between five and seven of them, with much more likelihood of a left-handed White House in recent decades than before.

There's no indication yet of organized left-handed support for Mr. McCain, but a Lefties for Obama group has a Web site and slogan: "Make Obama Number 8 in '08"

Please be kind to your local left-hander

A Left-Handers Club exists at www.lefthandersday.com to promote the status of this minority group and sell products (scissors, writing utensils, can openers) especially needed by its members. The England-based club also promotes International Left-Handers Day each Aug. 13.

The club's Web site says the Bible contains more than 100 favorable references to the right hand and 25 unfavorable references to the left hand. "The devil is nearly always portrayed as left-handed and evil spirits lurk over the left shoulder (which is why you throw spilled salt over your left shoulder to ward them off)" according to the club.

They're a creative bunch, those lefties

Daniel Geschwind, a UCLA expert in neurobehavioral genetics, told The Philadelphia Inquirer last year that people with autism and schizophrenia are more likely to be left-handed. Those aren't exactly traits you want in the White House.

But he also noted that creative fields like music and architecture have more than their share. Lefties are dominated by the right side of the brain, the side that is more associated with artistic function. One study of college undergraduates years ago found 20 percent of students enrolled in art programs were left-handed, compared with 7 percent of those in other fields.Researchers have been working to identify specific genes involved in handedness, as it's generally viewed as something determined in the womb -- not from stepping up to home plate for the first time, and realizing you're a step closer to first base if you bat lefty.

As to whether the country is better with a lefty or a righty, you can look at the list above of left-handed presidents and decide. The last time America had a right versus left choice, it voted in 2000 for the present President Bush over southpaw Al Gore.

If Mr. Gore's tendencies had been publicized then (it was before TMF existed to "out" the lefties), it's possible he would have picked up a few more left-handed votes. The world might be quite different today.

Original here

McCain: ‘The War Will Be Over Soon’

mccain3332.jpgIn a townhall meeting today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked about the status of the situation in Iraq. McCain, who notoriously said last month that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for another 10,000 years, said “the war will soon be over“:

That reminds me this 100 year thing. I was asked in a town hall meeting back in Florida, how long would we have a presence in Iraq?

My friends, the war will be over soon, the war for all intents and purposes although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years. But it will be handled by the Iraqis, not by us, and then we decide what kind of security arrangement we want to have with the Iraqis.

Listen to it:

For years, McCain has misjudged the length of conflict in Iraq, repeatedly telling the American public that the war will be over soon. Some lowlights:

I think the victory will be rapid, within about three weeks. [MSNBC, 1/28/03]

It’s clear that the end is very much in sight. … It won’t be long. It, it’ll be a fairly short period of time. [ABC, 4/9/03]

We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months. [Meet The Press, 11/12/06]

Although McCain says “the war will be over soon,” he still wants to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for hundreds of years, even acknowledging that the Iraq insurgency will simultaneously “go on for years and years and years.”

To recap, here’s what McCain said in January about the length of an Iraq occupation: “one hundred years, one thousand years, ten thousand years or until the earth collapses under global climate change.”

Original here

Alabama whistleblower says Rove trying to smear her

Rove's attorney says CBS should apologize for story

After a CBS affiliate blacked out 60 Minutes in Alabama, Dana Jill Simpson, the Republican attorney from Alabama and a whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case, told RAW STORY Monday that the coordinated smear attack on her credibility by the state's GOP and the American Spectator publication are being pushed by Karl Rove – the former senior aide to President Bush – in retaliation for her revelations of his role in the investigation and conviction of Don Siegelman.

Siegelman was convicted of corruption charges and sentenced to seven years in prison in 2006. A 60 Minutes piece Sunday, as well as several by RAW STORY and Harper's Magazine, have raised questions about the circumstances of his conviction.

Over the weekend, a series of articles appeared in the Montgomery Independent and the American Spectator attacking both Simpson and Harper’s reporter Scott Horton.

Karl Rove, through his attorney, declared that Simpson’s allegations are false and the story foolish.

“60 Minutes owes Mr. Rove an apology for circulating this false and foolish story," Rove attorney's Robert Luskin said.

Simpson, however, points to the fact she testified to Congress under oath. Though called to testify, Rove did not show up.

“Mr. Rove was subpoenaed to testify in front a Congressional committee,” said Simpson this morning during a telephone interview. “He would not testify. He did not even appear in front of Congress, which is like not showing up for a court subpoena.”

“I testified under oath in front of Congress," she added. "He won’t even show up. Now you tell me who is lying?”

The American Spectator article, "The False and the Absurd," written by Quin Hillyer, alleges that Ms. Simpson’s story has changed.

“On Thursday, the 60 Minutes website began hawking a feature to run on its show this Sunday wherein an already discredited Alabama attorney will claim that Rove asked her to photograph Democratic former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in "a compromising, sexual position with one of his aides."

Nothing about her story even begins to stand up to scrutiny; indeed all of it spectacularly fails every basic test of common sense. A former Democratic Alabama Supreme Court justice (and sometime Siegelman adversary) who represented a co-defendant and close ally of Siegelman's in the trial that convicted Siegelman of federal bribery and obstruction charges said that the previous incarnations of the woman's oft-changing allegations "must have been created by a drunk fiction writer."

Hillyer goes on to claim that this is the first time Ms. Simpson has alleged that Karl Rove had directly asked her to be involved in finding dirt on Governor Siegelman. This allegation, however, is not true. This reporter was aware months ago of this allegation as was Scott Horton of Harper’s who provided his own account of what Simpson told him, also months ago. In addition, Hillyer cites Toby Roth as a “Republican activist” who claims to have never heard of Simpson before.

“For one thing, Simpson consistently has made claims of being a longtime, and fairly high-level, Republican activist in Alabama. But my Republican sources in Alabama say they either don't even know her or barely remember her having done some rather low-level volunteer work. On Friday, longtime activist Toby Roth said of the 2002 campaign (around which most of her allegations revolve): "I was the campaign director [for now-Gov. Bob Riley, who challenged Siegelman]. I did not know her. Never met the lady." His only contact with her, he said, came four years later when she faxed him letters demanding that one of her clients be awarded a state contract to clean up a tire dump. The contract went to somebody else, and Roth says her bizarre allegations began surfacing only after her client lost the business.”

Earlier this month, this reporter interviewed Republican party members who have known Ms. Simpson for a very long time in Alabama. Documents regarding business contracts also indicate that Ms. Simpson worked closely with Governor Bob Riley’s son, Rob Riley Jr. In addition, the Spectator fails to mention that Mr. Roth is a lobbyist for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and had close business dealings with Michael Scanlon, the lobbyist who has plead guilty to bribery and money laundering charges and Jack Abramoff, also a lobbyist and Mr. Scanlon’s mentor, who is now serving time also for money laundering and bribery charges. Both Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff have admitted to moving Choctaw casino funds into political campaigns.

Alabama GOP launch mass mailings

Yet despite these conflicts of interest, the Alabama GOP –- via state representative Mike Hubbard -- issued a series of emails citing the American Spectator article in order to criticize Simpson.

Simpson came forward last year to testify in front of House Judiciary Committee about what she alleges was Karl Rove’s involvement in the Don Siegelman prosecution.

As reported by Raw Story in the first part of an ongoing investigation into the Don Siegelman case, the Permanent Republican Majority, Simpson testified that she was on a conference call that discussed how Governor Siegelman would be “hanged.”

It would take a Riley campaign attorney -- long-time Alabama Republican Dana Jill Simpson -- to finally blow the whistle on the Republican governor. In a 2007 affidavit and sworn testimony, Simpson stated unequivocally that dirty tricks had sealed her boss’s victory in the 2002 election, and she named Karl Rove and the US Department of Justice as conspirators in the case.

Simpson had worked for the Riley campaign in 2002 as an opposition researcher, digging up dirt on then-Governor Siegelman. According to Simpson's May 2007 affidavit, Siegelman was pressured to concede the 2002 election because the Riley camp threatened to make public a set of photographs of one of Siegelman's supporters planting Riley campaign signs at a Ku Klux Klan rally. Simpson also stated that Canary had indicated that “Karl” -- by which she had no doubt he meant Karl Rove -- had taken a personal interest in the matter.

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In this additional testimony, Simpson described a conference call among Bill Canary, Governor Riley's son Rob and other Riley campaign aides, which she said took place on November 18, 2002 -- the same day Don Siegelman conceded the election. Simpson alleged that Canary had said that “Rove had spoken with the Department of Justice” about “pursuing” Siegelman and had also advised Riley's staff “not to worry about Don Siegelman” because “‘his girls’ would take care of” the governor.

The “girls” allegedly referenced by Bill Canary were his wife, Leura Canary -- who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2001 as the US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama -- and Alice Martin, another 2001 Bush appointee as the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Simpson added that she was told by Rob Riley that Judge Mark Fuller was deliberately chosen when the Siegelman case was prosecuted in 2005, and that Fuller would “hang” Siegelman.”

Just prior to Simpson’s Congressional testimony, her house was burned down and she was once driven off the road in Alabama.

“I don’t feel safe,” Simpson added this morning.

Correction: Due to an editing error, Hillyer was incorrectly identified as a lobbyist in the first edition of this article. He says he is not affiliated with the National Center for Public Policy Research, which wrote about a conference that he moderated in 2006. The Center is not defunct.

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