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Monday, April 7, 2008

Clinton drops hospital story from stump speech

(CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton will stop telling an emotional story about a uninsured pregnant woman who died after being denied medical care, Clinton's campaign said.

Sen. Hillary Clinton was repeating a story she heard from someone on the campaign trail.

A hospital has raised questions over the accuracy of the story, and Clinton's campaign has said although they had no reason to doubt the story, they were unable to confirm the details.

In the story, Clinton describes a woman from rural Ohio who was making minimum wage at a local pizza shop. The woman, who was uninsured, became pregnant.

Clinton said the woman ran into trouble and went to a hospital in a nearby county but was denied treatment because she couldn't afford a $100 payment.

In her speeches, Clinton said the woman later was taken to the hospital by ambulance and lost the baby. The young woman was then taken by helicopter to a Columbus hospital where she died of complications. Video Watch why the story is raising questions »

The New York senator heard the story during a campaign visit to a family's living room in Pomeroy, Ohio, in late February. Bryan Holman was hosting the candidate and told Clinton the story. She has repeated it frequently since then.

As recently as Friday night in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Clinton said she was "just aching inside" as she was listening to the story.

"It is so wrong, in this good, great and rich country, that a young woman and her baby would die because she didn't have health insurance or a hundred dollars to get examined," she said.

While Clinton never named the hospital in her speech, the woman she was referring to was treated at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio. The hospital said the woman did indeed have insurance, and, at least at their hospital, she was never turned away.

Hospital Chief Executive Officer Rick Castrop in a statement said, "we reviewed the medical and patient accounts of the patient" after she was named in a newspaper story about Clinton's stump speech.

"There is no indication that she was ever denied medical care at any time, for any reason. We clearly reject any perception that we ever denied any care to this woman."

A hospital spokesperson confirmed to CNN the woman had insurance. She said the hospital decided to come forward after people in the community began to question if they had denied her care.

Clinton's speech accurately reflects what she was told that day, but the campaign admits they were not able to confirm the account.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said, "She had no reason to doubt his word."

"Candidates are told stories by people all the time, and it's common for candidates to retell those stories. It's not always possible to fully vet them, but we try. For example, medical records are confidential. In this case, we tried but weren't able to fully vet the story," he said.

Elleithee added, "If the hospital claims it didn't happen that way, we certainly respect that, and she won't repeat the story."

"She never mentions the hospital by name and isn't trying to cast blame. She tells this story because it illustrates the point that we have a very serious health care problem in America. That's a point very few people will dispute."

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Measuring his words

Preachers can say the darndest things, as perhaps you've heard. "God damn America," to take one recent controversial example, is pretty mild compared with other recorded pulpit snippets. Consider this denunciation of U.S. military behavior abroad: "[W]e are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world." Or, similarly, calling the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and condemning it for creating "concentration camps."

It sounds like the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. decrying the Iraqi civilian death toll and the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, right? Sorry, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made those remarks in February 1968 and April 1967, attacking U.S. conduct in Vietnam.

Indeed, here's a historian's question for YouTube warriors on all sides of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. "Is Obama Wright?," as one video has been titled? A powerful return volley could be "Is Obama King?" -- which thousands of voters may be asking themselves. In fact, if all the relevant film footage of King's sermons were readily available for viewing, the most accurate and instructive title would be "Is King Wright?" Or, better yet, "Is Wright King?"

These questions and comparisons came to mind as I read Jonathan Rieder's rich, thoughtful new book, "The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me." Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of King's assassination in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, the book "is not biography, history, or theology," Rieder emphasizes. Instead, the Barnard College sociologist focuses on "King's language and the way he deployed it," as distinct from King's public activism or the substance of his beliefs. The result is an extended meditation on the deeper meanings of the civil rights leader's words and how he used them, featuring a mosaic of carefully chosen and closely analyzed quotations.

"The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me" is an extremely learned book, one that Rieder has been working on for almost two decades (and he thanks this writer for answering a number of queries over the years). But he is surprisingly reluctant to draw explicit or broad conclusions. Successive sections consider the language King used in private discussion (some of which was recorded thanks to the FBI's extensive bugging and wiretapping of King) with African American friends as well as his preaching to black congregations, his overtly political addresses at civil rights rallies and what Rieder calls King's "crossover" orations and writings aimed at predominantly white audiences.

Uppermost in Rieder's treatment is his heartfelt desire to see King as a fundamentally universalist public voice rather than an essentially black voice. (King's 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, particularly its oft-quoted line elevating "the content of their character" above "the color of their skin," is the most famous example of King's universalism.) Rieder tempers this argument at times, as when he acknowledges that "the image of the universalistic King" is partial and incomplete, but he admits his discomfort with the highly influential interpretations of King by the Rev. James H. Cone -- a theological mentor to Wright -- and Keith D. Miller, scholars who (like this writer) have viewed King first and foremost as a product of the black Baptist Church world in which he grew up.

Miller pioneered our understanding of the extent to which King, like many preachers, drew heavily from previous sermons composed by other ministers, many of whom were white, in his 1992 book on King, "Voice of Deliverance." Rieder acknowledges such work, and he notes the extent of King's word-for-word plagiarism throughout his graduate school course work, particularly in his unpublished doctoral dissertation.

But Rieder is too scrupulous a scholar to minimize King's blackness, so again and again his analysis acknowledges truths about King that stand in considerable tension with Rieder's universalist thesis. "Blackness for King was in certain respects incidental and interim," the author claims. But he also writes that King "was much more emphatic and enthusiastic with black audiences," that "King tended to reserve self-disclosure for black audiences" and that he exhibited a "reluctance to reveal himself before whites." Further on, Rieder notes -- accurately -- that "the King who spoke in black spaces beyond white scrutiny was often a more ethnic figure than the orator familiar to the public imagination."

Thus in his desire to reject what he calls "a romance of racial authenticity," one that says "the real King was the black King, and the black King was the one who talked black," Rieder falls victim to the thoroughness of his own scholarship. "[T]he things King tended to expunge from his talk in white venues were often significant," he admits, and that "sometimes diminished the power of the written and spoken words that King addressed to whites."

King "switched in and out of idioms as he moved between black and white audiences," performing "an elaborate dance of empathy" that struck different grace notes with different groups. Yet "the substance of King's message varied less than the code, style, or voice in which it was articulated," Rieder rightly observes.

Even the most self-consciously universalist public figures vary their speech. "There's no doubt that when I'm with a black audience, I slip into a slightly different dialect," Obama told New York magazine in 2006. That's especially true in a black church context, and Rieder notes how differently King spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church -- the Atlanta church in which he grew up and to which he returned as co-pastor in 1960 -- than he did at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., where he pastored from 1954 to 1960. Dexter was a relatively staid, middle-class church, Ebenezer a "more responsive . . . congregation." Rieder believes that King's "prophetic voice" was "submerged during the Dexter years," and he suggests that "we should not underestimate the power of the Dexter environment to shape King's style."

That insight aside, Rieder devotes little attention to tracing how "King's mood and tone evolved over the years." He acknowledges that while King's "undeniable changes over time . . . certainly deserve mention, my emphasis is on the continuities." He notes King's "deepening despondency," a physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion in the final year of his life, but he doesn't explore how King's loss of hopefulness may have led to the angry, prophetic denunciations of the United States that some white audiences -- then and now -- might find as offensive as Wright's most notorious snippets.

Yet anyone who takes the time to peruse "The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me" will have no doubt: The real Martin Luther King Jr. more often sounded like Jeremiah Wright than like Barack Obama. *

David J. Garrow, a senior fellow at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, is the author of "Bearing the Cross," a Pulitzer prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me: The Righteous Performance of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jonathan Rieder

Belknap/Harvard University Press: 394 pp., $29.95

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YouTube A Blessing And A Curse

Barack Obama's speech on race last month, though lengthy and nuanced by YouTube standards, was viewed online by millions. Also prominently seen on YouTube: John McCain singing "Bomb, Bomb Iran" to the Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann" at a campaign stop last year.

It's clear that some candidates are making better use of this new technology than others.

Pundits have long been talking up the Internet as a growing factor in elections. This year, though, the video website YouTube has emerged as a particular force to reckon with.

"It has revolutionized political campaigns to the point that candidates are told to watch out for everything you say and everything you do," says Ken Warren, who teaches political science at St. Louis University.

Some of the most discussed issues emerging in the race might not have even registered were it not for YouTube. In past years, controversy about Obama's association with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., might have lasted a day or two before people lost interest. But it's one thing to hear or read about the pastor's comments, however incendiary, and another to see him saying them — repeatedly.

But YouTube is a double-edged sword for candidates, and Obama managed to quell much of the criticism with his March 18 speech on race. Nearly 4 million have viewed the 38-minute clip ( pWe7wTVbLUU) online.

One thing candidates are learning is that truth isn't so malleable in the digital age. If the characters of "Rashômon" — the 1950 Akira Kurosawa movie that has come to denote multiple interpretations of a single event — all had cellphones with video capability, there probably wouldn't have been much disagreement.

Without YouTube, Hillary Clinton might have been able to explain away the discrepancy between her account of her trip to Bosnia and what actually happened. Even those skeptical of the explanation would likely brush it off as typical election-year exaggeration. But when 1.8 million (as of last week) view a clip ( juxtaposing her recollections with footage of the much less eventful reality, it becomes a more serious kind of campaign gaffe.

Alex Halavais, professor of communications at Quinnipiac University, says YouTube videos can make more of an impression than TV because they're usually presented as a single clip instead of being sandwiched between other images.

He thinks candidates are becoming savvier about YouTube. "It's not so much that candidates are producing the material themselves but being aware that [what they say] is going to go viral, and making sure that it doesn't come back to bite them," he says.

Halavais says YouTube hasn't had the kind of defining moment that television had with the Nixon-Kennedy debates of 1960. It hasn't eclipsed TV as a factor in elections, and Halavais isn't sure that it ever will. More likely, he says, the two will continue to converge as a force.

Unsolicited Advertising

Videos produced on behalf of the candidates without their participation also are common. It's unclear whether these videos have any real effect or are just a diversion.

Of the three candidates left standing, Obama seems to have inspired the majority of these. Musician/producer's slickly produced video "Yes, We Can" features celebrities singing along to one of Obama's speeches. There's also the scantily clad Obama Girl (model Amber Lee Ettinger) and her "I Got a Crush on Obama" ( ), viewed more than 7 million times and nominated for "best political video" in the YouTube Video Awards.

That video spawned a response on behalf of Hillary Clinton, "Hott 4 Hill" by former " American Idol" contestant Taryn Southern ( Clinton's own video, spoofing the final scene of "The Sopranos" (also featuring Bill and Chelsea), got decent play.

Running a distant third in the YouTube war is McCain. Besides the "Bomb, Bomb Iran" misstep (, he's also the subject of "" ( It's a parody of the Obama video, which prominently uses McCain's declaration that we could be in Iraq for 100 years. The "Bomb Iran" song gets mixed in there, too.

Based on how McCain's people have failed to make use of the new technology, "it just seems the campaign has thrown up its hands in regard to young people," says Lynn Schofield Clark, who teaches communications at the University of Denver.

Clark says one of YouTube's main uses in politics has been as a tool to make candidates look foolish, and she's glum about its overall effect on the electoral process. Politics has always been geared toward spectacles and sideshows, Clark says. But because these videos are being passed along via e-mail by the general public, "it's allowed us to be mudslingers ourselves."

"When I look at those things, I think, 'Yes, isn't that funny,' but also 'Isn't this demoralizing for the whole system, and is this the kind of life we want to have?'"

Contact William Weir at

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McCain blunders on Iraq, again: Confuses Iraqi cleric with Prime Minister on ceasefire deal

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During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, John McCain again repeated the false claim that Muqtada al-Sadr declared the ceasefire in Basra last week and said he thought the Iraqi army was performing well.

"It was al-Sadr that declared the ceasefire, not Maliki," said McCain. "With respect, I don’t think Sadr would have declared the ceasefire if he thought he was winning. Most times in history, military engagements, the winning side doesn’t declare the ceasefire. The second point is, overall, the Iraqi military performed pretty well. … The military is functioning very effectively."

As the blog, Think Progress notes, "it was members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government who brokered the ceasefire, to which Sadr agreed. Experts agree that Sadr’s influence was strengthened — rather than diminished — by the Basra battle."

It's not the first time McCain has erred when talking about Iraq. Last month, McCain wrongly said Iran trains Al-Qaeda members.

McCain made the gaffe right in the middle of an official visit in the Middle East that was supposed to highlight his knowledge in foreign affairs.

"It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq. That's well known," the 71-year-old Vietnam war veteran said.

Pressed by reporters about his allegations, McCain said: "We continue to be concerned about the Iranians taking Al-Qaeda into Iran and training them and sending them back."

It was only after fellow Senator Joe Lieberman, who was traveling with him, whispered into his ear that McCain corrected himself, US media reported.

"I am sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not Al-Qaeda, not Al-Qaeda, I am sorry," McCain said.

Asked by Chris Wallace Sunday about the recent news from The New York Times that up to a thousand Iraqi soldiers had refused to serve, McCain implied the news was good because it showed improvement from past performance.

"Compare that to two years ago when the army was unable to function in any way effectively," McCain said. "Look, I didn't particularly like the outcome of this thing, but i am convinced that we now have a government that is governing with some effect and a military that is functioning very effectively. Up in mosul where some of the best units are, they're functioning well. I've always said, Chris, it's long and hard and tough. We're paying a huge penalty for a failed strategy I voted hard against and I believe the strategy can and will succeed."

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McCain: Obama 'Absolutely' Qualified to Be President

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, said Sunday that the leader for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, would be "absolutely" qualified to be president, should the voters elect him. But, he said, "I believe that my talent and my background and my experience, which has led to my judgment, ... qualifies me more."

In his first Sunday talk show appearance since locking up the GOP nomination last month, McCain criticized Obama and others for making too much of his comment that the United States could remain in Iraq for 100 years, or a period similar to the length of the U.S. presence in Germany and South Korea.

"Senator Obama and anyone who reads that [comment] knows that I didn't think we were in a 100-year war," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

Days after going to Memphis to mark the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, McCain repeated that he "was wrong" to vote in 1983 against establishing a federal holiday to honor King. He added, as he did Friday, that he thought better of his mistake in time to back such a holiday in his home state of Arizona.

McCain also confirmed that he would meet next week with Secret Service officials next week and expects to have agents protecting him "shortly thereafter." McCain previously had refused such protection.

Appearing after McCain on Fox, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), an Obama supporter, was pressed about his consideration in 2004, when he ran for president, of McCain as a running mate or secretary of defense.

"Let me be very clear about John McCain in 2004," Kerry said. "John McCain in 2004 ... had opposed the Bush tax cuts, ... had indicated at that point in time a very different attitude on any number of subjects, from global climate change to how you treat the powerful in Washington. Nomination John McCain is a different person. He is now supporting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."

Kerry and Fox host Chris Wallace got into a bit of a spat after Wallace asked Kerry if he believes McCain is a "blatant opportunist," as Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean described him late last month.

Kerry said he would not use those words but added, "John McCain has taken positions in the course of trying to win the Republican nomination - whether it's the reversal and flip-flop on the intolerant, with respect to Jerry Falwell and others, or whether it is the Bush tax cuts' flip-flop, or whether it is this flip-flop now on the issue of Iraq, or whether it is, you know, global climate change, where he has not yet signed on to Joe Lieberman and John Warner's bill. There is a clear indication of a Nomination John McCain versus the Senator John McCain."

Wallace asked, "Do you think John McCain was an opportunist when he refused to take early release from a North Vietnamese prison camp because he was the son of an admiral, because he said he was going to stay there for years, as long as all the other Americans did?"

"Chris, please. I think you almost insult my intelligence and my values and those of every American. Nobody ever would insinuate that John McCain is anything but a hero for his activities in the prison camp," Kerry said.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of McCain's closest supporters on the war, was not warm to the idea of Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus as McCain's running mate.

"I have talked to General Petraeus about a lot of things, but not about politics. The best thing for General Petraeus is to stay exactly where he is," he said on ABC's "This Week."

Pa. Governor: Expect a Close Vote on April 22

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell (D), a strong supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), downplayed the chance of her scoring an overwhelming victory in his state's Democratic primary on April 22.

"Anytime you're outspent three-to-one, you can't be overconfident," Rendell said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "She has some great advantages. ... I'm saying we will win this state, but we will win it somewhere between five and 10 percentage points."

Rendell's Pennsylvania colleague, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who recently endorsed Obama, acknowledged on the same show that "it's going to be tough in the primary" for his candidate. But he said Obama's areas of strength in Pennsylvania - in small towns - "will lay a foundation for the fall" general election campaign.

Rendell argued that Clinton's likely victory in Pennsylvania and other big states augurs well for her winning those states in the fall. "She's running way ahead of [Sen. John] McCain" in those states, she said.

Casey retorted, however, that "you cannot predict a general election based on a primary," adding, "I think Senator Obama has the ability to get votes Democrats have not gotten before," including from Republicans and independents.

Dean wants compromise

Democratic Party chairman Dean, who was on ABC and CBS's "Face the Nation," shot down the hopes of both the Clinton and Obama campaigns when it comes to making the votes in Florida and Michigan count.

Barring a reprieve from the DNC, those states' delegates will not be seated at the Democratic convention in Denver because the states held their primaries in violation of the committee's timeline.

"Yes, we want them to be seated in some way. They obviously can't be seated as-is, which is what one campaign is saying. And they're certainly not going to be excluded, which is what the other campaign is saying," Dean said.

He added, without elaboration, "But there is a reasonable, thoughtful way to do this."

Dean said the Florida and Michigan "elections were flawed. There's no question about that, particularly in Michigan, where there was only one candidate on the ballot." But he said, "That wasn't the voters' fault. And the voters ought to have some say."

Dean said it is important for the party to quickly come together after voting is concluded to back a nominee.

"The only thing that can beat us is disunity in the Democratic Party," he said. "The one thing that can make Senator McCain president is if Democrats can't agree, and it's my job to try to keep them together."

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A Silver Lining In the Blue Battle

Win McNamee / Getty Images
Help or Hurt? By staying in the race, Clinton could be making Obama a better candidate

Hillary's destructive coup attempt: it's a good thing for the Democratic Party.

Hillary Clinton has proved during the past few months that she is a fighter, that she is tenacious, and that she is in the race to win. There's just one problem. She's already lost.

No matter how you define victory, Barack Obama holds an insurmountable lead in the race to earn the Democratic nomination. He leads in the one metric that matters most: the pledged delegates chosen directly by Democratic voters. But he also leads in the popular vote, the number of states won and money raised. Still, Obama's advantages aren't large enough to allow him an outright victory. He needs the 20 percent of party delegates who aren't bound to a candidate. It's with these superdelegates that Clinton has staked her ephemeral chances.

Clinton's near-lone chance of victory rests with a coup by superdelegate, persuading enough of them to overcome the primary voters' preference. Yet a coup by elite Democrats would be ill-received, to put it mildly. Obama's base spans the party's most loyal and engaged constituencies: African-Americans, professionals who generate hundreds of millions in small-dollar donations and a conventional-wisdom-defying outpouring of youth support.

If Obama lost at the polling booth, these supporters would accept the voters' verdict and carry on. Many, including those who backed Howard Dean's heartbreaking 2004 campaign, have been through such disappointment before. But if Beltway bigwigs steal a hard-won victory, it would amount to a declaration of civil war. Not only would the resolve of thousands of loyal foot soldiers and the party's new fund-raising base be irrevocably shaken, but it would torpedo the opportunity to build and strengthen a new generation of Democrats.

Clinton's best-case scenario for victory requires sundering her own party. It is an inherently divisive strategy, but she doesn't appear to care. For Clinton, all's fair in pursuit of victory—even destroying her party from within. Her campaign has adopted a bizarre "insult-40-states strategy," which has belittled states small, liberal and Red. Apparently, the only states that matter are the ones she coincidentally happens to win.

The Clinton campaign once justified efforts to foster a superdelegate insurrection by suggesting that she could regain the popular-vote lead in the remaining contests. But as her chances of pulling off that feat dwindle, even that argument is falling by the wayside. In an interview with TPM Election Central, top campaign adviser Harold Ickes said: "I think being ahead in the popular vote is an important factor. I don't think it's dispositive." But when the popular vote, delegates earned and states won aren't dispositive, no rationale remains for her destructive coup attempt. Clinton, unfortunately, is pretending not to notice. So at the moment, it's useless to demand she exit the race. If logic, math, appeals to party unity and the evaporation of undecided superdelegates won't sway her, nothing will.

Yet while the Beltway establishment frets about the alleged damage this drawn-out contest is doing to the Democratic Party, in reality, it's been an almost unalloyed good.

For one, the frenzied organizing around the country has proved a catalyst for dramatic party building in states that had been Democratically dormant. State after state has reported record turnout, and thousands of new Democrats are registering in advance of each contest. In upcoming Pennsylvania, Democrats have gained a net 200,000 registered voters over Republicans this year; that number is 105,000 in North Carolina.

The party can now take advantage of the infrastructure both campaigns leave behind. The unprecedented level of participation and organization not only reinforces Blue states, it improves Democratic odds in traditional swing states. In fact, the tide threatens to make GOP stalwarts like Texas up for grabs this fall.

The reverberations are being felt far beyond the race for the White House. Democrats are poised to make massive gains at the congressional and local levels for a second consecutive election cycle. They've already started: in a March 8 House special election, Obama volunteers helped Democrats capture the solidly conservative Illinois congressional seat formerly held by Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Finally, there's no denying that the extra pressure has made Obama a better candidate. After living a charmed political life, with nary a serious general-election battle against a Republican on his résumé, he needed to prove his mettle in hand-to-hand political combat. His able handling of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright revelations didn't just prove his deft political skills to worried supporters like me and superdelegates. It allowed him to address a potentially explosive issue well before November (though it's a relationship the GOP is sure to exploit).

No one can persuade Clinton to get out of the primary race. But by any metric imaginable, Obama has already won. The superdelegates aren't self-destructive enough to change that, and the sooner they line up behind Obama, the sooner Democrats can focus their fire on the real target: John McCain. Clinton can stick around, but the rest of the party will move on without her.

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Book: McCain temper boiled over in '92 tirade, called wife a 'cunt'

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John McCain's temper is well documented. He's called opponents and colleagues "shitheads," "assholes" and in at least one case "a fucking jerk."

But a new book on the presumptive Republican nominee will air perhaps the most shocking angry exchange to date.

The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter, which will arrive in bookstores next month, reports an angry exchange between McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop. An advance copy of the book was obtained by RAW STORY.

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

The man who was known as "McNasty" in high school has erupted in foul-languaged tirades at political foes and congressional colleagues more-or-less throughout his career, and his quickness to anger has been an issue on the presidential campaign trail as evidence of his fury has surfaced.

As Schecter notes, McCain's rage is not limited to the political spectrum, and even his family cannot be spared the brute force of his anger.

Schecter, who also blogs at The Agonist, said in an interview the anecdote is "an early example of his uncontrollable temper." In the book he outlines several other examples of McCain losing his cool and raises the question of how that would affect a McCain presidency.

What should voters make of this pattern? In February 2008 Tim Russert succinctly described McCain on MSNBC's Morning Joe. A devilish grin spread from ear to ear as Russert, no McCain hater, leaned forward and spoke in a whisper, "He likes to fight." Russert got it right. But the big question isn't whether McCain likes to fight: it's who, when, and how.

The exchange between McCain and his wife was not reported anywhere when it happened, Schecter said (a LexisNexis database search confirms this). In 1992, McCain's mention in the national media revolved mostly around his involvement in the Keating Five scandal, and only local reporters closely followed his re-election bid.

McCain is well known for his rapport with the national media covering his presidential bid (he's jokingly referred to the press as "my base"), but Schecter said this incident was buried not out of fealty to the Arizona senator. Rather, it was uneasiness about how to get such a coarse exchange into a family newspaper, and he didn't fault the local press for not covering the incident.

"Members of the media are squeamish covering stuff like this so they let it go," Schecter told RAW STORY in an interview Monday. "Back in '92, when people use naughty words, [reporters] don't know as much what to do with it."

Much has changed since then. President Bush's reference to a New York Times reporter as a "major league asshole" was reported in at least 47 newspapers during the 2000 campaign, when the off-color remark was overheard, according to a database search. And more than a dozen newspapers have reported Dick Cheney's recommendation that Sen. Patrick Leahy "fuck yourself."

McCain and his aides have brushed off suggestions that his temper could impede his ability to perform the sometimes-delicate tasks asked of a president. The candidate was asked about his legendary temper last week on "Fox News Sunday," where he cited his ability to work "across the aisle" while in the Senate.

"You can't scare people or intimidate them if you're going to reach agreement with your colleagues and your contemporaries And I've worked hard at that, and that's what the American people want," McCain said. " The second thing is if I lose my capacity for anger, then I shouldn't be president of the United States. ... When I see the waste and corruption in Washington, I get angry."

McCain's campaign did not return a call from RAW STORY seeking comment Monday morning.

Schecter says McCain's anger is much more than a passion for the issues. One can only imagine what would happen if McCain were to try to squeeze that temper into the tight confines of diplomacy.

"The public certainly has to know what this guy might do as president," Schecter says. Examples like the ones in his book "should worry people, quite frankly."

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President of the United States of America is a dirty stinking music pirate!

Ok, so George ‘Dubya’ Bush is a supposed “war criminal” - gotcha

A purported ex coke addict? - Right.

But please, Oh please George, why did you have to become one of those filthy stinking filesharing pirates? The RIAA would have everyone believe that these pirates are the most evil of the evil people on the planet. Hitler was nothing in comparison to someone sharing the latest Britney Spears album.

The following video is an interview done by Fox news.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Wow George, I didn’t realise you could get the Beatles on iTunes.

Oh wait, thats right - you cant, nor can you get them on any legal music downloading platform for that matter.

Also, according to this article by the Washington Post, ripping your own legally purchased CD’s is also against the law.

Guess you can just add that to your list of bad things you’ve done huh?

If you enjoyed this article, please share it!

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Olympic Torch 3rd Protest London BBC Coverage

Thousands Are Drawn To Memphis to Honor King

Members of Beloved Community, a group working to carry out the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s goals, march to the Lorraine Hotel, the site where King was killed.
Members of Beloved Community, a group working to carry out the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s goals, march to the Lorraine Hotel, the site where King was killed. (By Win Mcnamee -- Getty Images)

Standing in the plaza below the Lorraine Motel, looking up at the balcony where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain 40 years ago, Paul Woodard was full of conflicting emotions.

"You want to see it, but you don't want to see it. It's chilling," said the 50-year-old sanitation supervisor. "But I had to be here."

Woodard and his wife, Katie, made the trek Friday to the National Civil Rights Museum, located in the Lorraine, along with hundreds of others to remember King's death and honor his legacy four decades after he was assassinated.

Woodard said that, for him, the trip was akin to a journey to Mecca, recalling that King's support of sanitation workers in Memphis made it possible for him to succeed in his own career, hundreds of miles away and decades later.

"He gave me the hope when I started on the back of a garbage truck that I could be in charge of the whole operation," said Woodard, who manages a $2.5 million sanitation system in Brunswick, Ga.

Throughout the day visitors lined up in the rain outside the museum, standing with a clear view of the balcony in front of Room 306, where King was shot. The place is frozen in time -- a 1960s-era motel with blue-green doors and metal railings identical to those seen in black-and-white photos of King's aides standing over his limp body.

Presidential candidates Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) also paid their respects, while Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) praised King while campaigning in Indiana (Story, A4). Many of King's contemporaries, including Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, were on hand, as were family members of the sanitation workers who invited King to Memphis in 1968 to support their strike.

Wearing a T-shirt imprinted with a photo of striking black sanitation workers, Lula Williams, a 60-year-old grill cook in Memphis, pointed out the figure of her father, Jessie Perry, in the picture. He participated in the strike, which was prompted because blacks were not allowed to change clothes at work after their shifts, were not paid when supervisors sent them home because of bad weather and were forced to work in dangerous conditions.

"When we heard he got shot, we got up, and we prayed that Dr. King would make it," said Williams, noting that her father often talked about King. "[My father] told us to always remember what King did and always remember that he stood up for us. The dream will go on."

Yesterday was the culmination of a week of King-related events and included a memorial march by sanitation workers, a candlelight vigil and a speech by the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a close friend of King's.

The Civil Rights Museum, which has been the center of remembrances of King's life and legacy this week, almost did not come to be. For 14 years after King's death, the motel remained open for business -- a living, decaying reminder of his assassination -- until owner Walter Bailey was forced into foreclosure in 1982. To save the Lorraine, prominent people from Memphis formed a group called the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation that eventually purchased it.

Amid exhibits that show civil rights marchers, a bust of Mohandas K. Gandhi, and the striking sanitation workers, the museum now seeks to answer the question: Did the movement die in Memphis? Visitors to the museum and dignitaries in town argued that King's legacy lives on but that much work remains.

"Here we are today building on the same issues that Martin struggled for more than 40 years ago: the question of color in America, the question of poverty in America and the question of military might in America," said Conyers, before visiting the museum.

He spoke on the dais with Clinton, whose campaign stopped by the Church of God in Christ's Mason Temple -- where King gave his final speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," on April 3, 1968, before he retired to the Lorraine.

Speaking at the Mason Temple, Bishop Charles E. Blake of the Church of God in Christ said, "Much of the oppression that was imposed upon us has been significantly alleviated, but in many cases we as a people have been so wounded and so handicapped that we could not readily walk into those rooms that had been opened to us."

Williams's daughter, LaSandra Cleaves, 39, who brought her 17-year-old son and his friend to the King exhibit, said she worries that young people have forgotten the importance of the civil rights movement and its leaders.

"I think the dream has somewhat died. Looking at where we as a people are with black-on-black crime. And King always preached about education, and the dropout rate in Memphis is extremely high," Cleaves said. "I don't think the youth truly understand what Dr. King was trying to instill in us."

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Permissible Assaults Cited in Graphic Detail

Former Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo now teaches law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Former Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo now teaches law at the University of California at Berkeley. (By Karen Ballard For Los Angeles Times)

Thirty pages into a memorandum discussing the legal boundaries of military interrogations in 2003, senior Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo tackled a question not often asked by American policymakers: Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner's eyes poked out?

Or, for that matter, could he have "scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance" thrown on a prisoner? How about slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb? What about biting?

These assaults are all mentioned in a U.S. law prohibiting maiming, which Yoo parsed as he clarified the legal outer limits of what could be done to terrorism suspects as detained by U.S. authorities. The specific prohibitions, he said, depended on the circumstances or which "body part the statute specifies."

But none of that matters in a time of war, Yoo also said, because federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief.

The dry discussion of U.S. maiming statutes is just one in a series of graphic, extraordinary passages in Yoo's 81-page memo, which was declassified this past week. No maiming is known to have occurred in U.S. interrogations, and the Justice Department disavowed the document without public notice nine months after it was written.

In the sober language of footnotes, case citations and judicial rulings, the memo explores a wide range of unsavory topics, from the use of mind-altering drugs on captives to the legality of forcing prisoners to squat on their toes in a "frog crouch." It repeats an assertion in another controversial Yoo memo that an interrogation tactic cannot be considered torture unless it would result in "death, organ failure or serious impairment of bodily functions."

Yoo, who is now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, also uses footnotes to effectively dismiss the Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution, arguing that protections against unreasonable search and seizure and guarantees of due process either do not apply or are irrelevant in a time of war. He frequently cites his previous legal opinions to bolster his case.

Written opinions by the Office of Legal Counsel have the force of law within the government because its staff is assigned to interpret the meaning of statutory or constitutional language. Yoo's 2003 memo has evoked strong criticism from legal academics, human rights advocates and military-law experts, who say that he was wrong on basic matters of constitutional law and went too far in authorizing harsh and coercive interrogation tactics by the Defense Department.

"Having 81 pages of legal analysis with its footnotes and respectable-sounding language makes the reader lose sight of what this is all about," said Dawn Johnsen, an OLC chief during the Clinton administration who is now a law professor at Indiana University. "He is saying that poking people's eyes out and pouring acid on them is beyond Congress's ability to limit a president. It is an unconscionable document."

Yoo defends the memo as a "near boilerplate" argument in favor of presidential prerogatives, and says its fundamental assertions differ little from those made by previous presidents of both parties. In comments to The Washington Post and other news organizations, Yoo has also criticized the Justice Department for issuing new legal opinions that do not include detailed discussions of specific interrogation tactics, which he views as crucial to defining the boundaries of what is lawful.

"You have to draw the line," Yoo said in an Esquire magazine interview posted online this past week. "What the government is doing is unpleasant. It's the use of violence. I don't disagree with that. But I also think part of the job unfortunately of being a lawyer sometimes is you have to draw those lines. I think I could have written it in a much more -- we could have written it in a much more palatable way, but it would have been vague."

The 2003 memo includes long discussions of the relative illegality of a wide variety of coercive interrogation tactics, including a British technique in which prisoners are forced to stand in a spread-eagle position against a wall and an Israeli technique, called the Shabach, in which a suspect is hooded, strapped to a chair and subjected to powerfully loud music.

Various courts had declared both tactics to be inhumane, but not torture, Yoo noted. This meant that they were illegal under a provision of the Geneva Conventions that the administration said had no relevance to unlawful combatants in its custody.

In another passage, discussing the bounds of Eighth Amendment protections involving confinement conditions, Yoo concluded that "the clothing of a detainee could also be taken away for a period of time without necessarily depriving him of a basic human need." Yoo cited the need to prove "malice or sadism" on the part of an interrogator before he or she could be prosecuted.

The interrogation memo was considered a binding opinion for nine months until December 2003, when OLC chief Jack Goldsmith told the Defense Department to ignore the document's analysis.

In his 2007 book "The Terror Presidency," Goldsmith, who now teaches law at Harvard University, said that some of the memos written by Yoo and his colleagues from 2001 to 2003 were "deeply flawed: sloppily reasoned, overbroad, and incautious in asserting extraordinary constitutional authorities on behalf of the President."

Douglas W. Kmiec, a Pepperdine University law professor who served as constitutional legal counsel for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said Yoo can be faulted "for not writing more narrowly." It is often better to "brush in hazy gray" rather than "spray paint in black and white," Kmiec said.

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Andrew Sullivan: Bush Administration Officials Will Be 'Indicted For War Crimes'

About Jason Linkins

Jason Linkins is a Political Reporter at the Huffington Post, covering media and politics. He's based in Washington, DC. Previously, he wrote for HuffPo's Eat The Press, and has also contributed to DCist and Wonkette.

Media coverage of the disclosure of the "torture memo" authored by Bush Justice Department official John C. Yoo has been mostly a deafening silence. But on this morning's Chris Matthews' show, someone finally fired a shot. As we mentioned in this morning's liveblog, credit goes to The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, for taking the opportunity to ensure that this matter got out into the televised discourse somehow.

SULLIVAN: The latest revelations on the torture front show the memo from John Yoo...means that Don Rumsfeld, David Addington and John Yoo should not leave the United States any time soon. They will be, at some point, indicted for war crimes.

The moment came during a segment on Matthews' show where the panel is invited to "tell him something he doesn't know," though this might be more accurately termed, "something he doesn't know he should talk about." Matthews is hardly alone. Via Sullivan, we are directed to the blog of Glenn Greenwald:

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

"Yoo and torture" - 102

"Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73

"Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

"Obama and bowling" -- 1,043

"Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

"Obama and patriotism" - 1,607

"Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079

I'd also like to quote Greenwald at length here:

Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?
He couldn't be more right, I'm afraid.

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