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Monday, May 19, 2008

15 Whitest States in America

by population, and by who won the primary...


Vermont BARACK

West Virginia HILLARY

New Hampshire HILLARY (BARACK lost by 2.6%)


North Dakota BARACK



Wyoming BARACK


South Dakota

Minnesota BARACK

Wisconsin BARACK

Nebraska BARACK

Indiana HILLARY (BARACK lost by 1.1% to 2%)

Original here

Record Obama Crowd, the Size of a City

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) speaks to people at Waterfront Park in Portland, Ore., May 18, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Matthew Mosk
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sen. Barack Obama has seen his share of large crowds over the last 15 months, but his campaign said they have not approached the numbers gathered along the waterfront here right now.

The campaign, citing figures from Duane Bray, battalion chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, estimated that 75,000 people are watching him speak.

The scene suggests this is not an exaggeration. The sea of heads stretches for half a mile along the grassy embankment, while others watch from kayaks and power boats bobbing on the Willamette River. More hug the rails of the steel bridge that stretches across the water and crowds are even watching from jetties on the opposite shore.

Original here

Obama: 'Be Nice to Clinton Supporters.'

By Matthew Mosk
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sen. Barack Obama showed every sign of confidence that he has secured the Democratic nomination during a high-dollar fundraiser at a posh club here last night.

Obama predicted a victory in Oregon and said he believed the resulting delegate haul would "put us over the top."

"We will be able to say we have won a majority," he said. "But we have a lot of work to do ahead of us."

For the past several days, Obama has been moving closer to declaring himself the party's nominee, even as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been campaigning aggressively to soak up delegates in the few remaining primaries. At an event in the timber-country town of Roseburg, Ore., he twice slipped into past tense when referring to Clinton's bid and the primaries.

Already, top fundraisers for Clinton and Obama have begun private talks aimed at merging the two candidates' teams.

At the fundraiser, he told a boisterous crowd of about 300 supporters that a win in November would require a unified Democratic Party, adding: "That means all of you have to be nice to Clinton supporters."

Not everyone in attendance was firmly sold on Obama. Christine Cha, 41, a radiation oncologist at the Oregon Clinic, said her husband was completely on board, but she continued to relate to Clinton. She said appreciates "how hard it is for a woman to try and break the ultimate glass ceiling." She didn't mind the tough primary, saying, "I think the process is very important. It's good she's giving him a real run for it so he is tested now."

On the other hand, there were many who said they had fallen for the senator, including Jeff and Annie Strain, both in their late 30s, who drove more than three hours from Seattle to attend the event.

And there was Julia Brim-Edwards, 46, who became a Republican in 1979 and worked on Capitol Hill for Republicans including then-Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon. She ran her husband's campaign for state treasurer (he's Randall Edwards, a Democrat), and said he won the primary by only a few hundred votes. She had not changed parties to help him. But in April, she says she switched parties for Obama. "He will fundamentally change the country," she said. "He's very unique."

Michelle Obama introduced her husband at the event, in the wood-paneled University Club of Portland, and she expressed some surprise at where the two have found themselves after 15 months of campaigning. "So here we are," she said. "Probably not where we were supposed to be, ever. No one put their money on Barack Obama."

At which point, a woman in the crowd shouted, "I did!"

"And look what you've done," Michelle Obama smiled.

Original here

Did Hillary Clinton Fax This To Me?

[UPDATE] Wow. I didn't write this thinking that DIGG would send tens of thousands of people to my "insignificant" blog. I don't know who faxed it. It could have been the GOP for all I know. I'm sure someone faxed all the veterinarians and said that one candidate REALLY likes animals and the other one just pretends.
I was going to take a photo or scan it in but then everyone would say I faked it and this whole thing would keep it going. I'm glad our primary is over tomorrow.

I don't talk politics. However when I came into my office today I found this FAX in the tray. I know politics are fierce but if her organization did this: I am shocked!! What do they want us to do? Tell our church people to vote for Hillary? And lose our 501(c)3 tax status?

Dear Pastor:

Kentucky and Oregon now hold the keys to our Christian nation's future.
Next Tuesday a decision will be made as to which of two candidates is most suited to become the next president of the United States.

One of these candidates, in spite of
alleged faults, is a believer in Jesus. The other, in spite of assertions to the contrary is not.

Faith in Christ, and in His atoning blood, is the only hope for salvation.

Sure, hope may be preached, and change may be promised, but without Christ it is a false hope, and a deadly change.

Yes, Christianity may be worn as a politically-correct uniform. Yes, the media may defend, and glorify their chosen one, and attempt to bully his opponent into capitulating. But, as they did in West Virginia, let Christians in the Appalachians, and the Cascades, stand up and say: Enough!

Let Kentucky be the levee that holds the floodwaters of the anticrist.

Let Oregon be the firewall that breaks the brushfire of apostasy, ere it devours our nation.

Onward Christian soldiers!

With Sincerity,

From Concerned Christians

Original here

McCain Finance Chair Quits After Making Under The Table Payments To Finance Director

Stung by the news that two aides once lobbied for the Burmese junta, John McCain last week rolled out a sweeping new conflict-of-interest policy for his campaign, requiring all staffers to fill out questionnaires identifying past or current clients that "could be embarrassing for the senator." Aides say that McCain was furious over the Burma connection (which he learned from a NEWSWEEK story) and was "adamant" about banning campaign workers from serving as foreign agents or getting paid for lobbying work.

But the fallout may not be over. One top campaign official affected by the new policy is national finance co-chair Tom Loeffler, a former Texas congressman whose lobbying firm has collected nearly $15 million from Saudi Arabia since 2002 and millions more from other foreign and corporate interests, including a French aerospace firm seeking Pentagon contracts. Loeffler last month told a reporter "at no time have I discussed my clients with John McCain." But lobbying disclosure records reviewed by NEWSWEEK show that on May 17, 2006, Loeffler listed meeting McCain along with the Saudi ambassador to "discuss US-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia relations."

Another potential problem: Loeffler's firm started paying $15,000 a month last summer to one of its lobbyists, Susan Nelson, after she left to become McCain's full-time finance director, said a source familiar with the arrangement (who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters). Campaign officials were told the payments were "severance" for Nelson and that they ended by November. But in "February or March," Loeffler rehired Nelson as a consultant to "help him with his clients" while she continued on the McCain payroll, according to a campaign official who asked not to be identified talking about personnel matters. Federal election law prohibits any outside entity from subsidizing the income of campaign workers. McCain's officials say they have been assured that Nelson did actual work for Loeffler's lobbying clients--and that the payments were proper. But after NEWSWEEK posed questions about the matter, they confirmed Loeffler's resignation and the termination of Nelson's consulting contract. (Loeffler and Nelson did not respond to requests for comment.) Also last week, energy adviser Eric Burgeson was ousted.

Original here

Bush's Attack Helps Obama

In the wake of George W. Bush's thinly veiled attack on Barack Obama from Israel's Knesset, in which the president aimed parallels between the appeasement of Nazi Germany and weakness on terror at the Illinois Senator, Democrats were enraged.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it, "beneath the dignity of office." Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, never one to mince words, called it "bullsh*t."

And while the Obama campaign expressed it's own outrage, it may want to hold its fire: George Bush may have just given the Democrats enough ammunition to take the White House in November.

True, Bush's comments were inflammatory. He raised the issue of Nazi Germany, mentioned the name of Adolph Hitler in- of all places- Israel. And while the setting and delivery might have come as somewhat of a shock to the political world, it's substantively nothing new. In fact, a central focus of John McCain's summer and fall campaign will be to paint Obama as being soft on terror. But the significance of Bush's statements has less to do with what he said than it does with the fact that he said it at all.

In firing a salvo of his own, George W. Bush planted himself firmly in John McCain's camp. Consider what kind of dead weight that is for the Arizona Senator: Bush's approval rating stands at a paltry 27%. Essentially, the president put a target on McCain's chest at which Obama can take aim.

Bush presented Obama with the opportunity to score points against McCain by attacking him. And let's face it: when you've had the trouble Bush has had, and after the media has spent the last several years skewering everything from his handling of the Iraq War to his handling of the economy, it might not be too difficult.

Just a little more than a month ago, McCain was trying to put some distance in between himself and the current White House occupant. Back on April 1st, he defended his candidacy as his own. "I'm not running on the Bush presidency," he told a group of reporters, "I'm running on my own service to the country, my own record in the House of Representatives, my own record in the Unites States Senate, and my vision for the future." That doesn't sound like someone who wants his fate tied to his predecessor.

What's likely is that outside of the hero's greeting he received at the White House when Bush gave him his official endorsement a few months back, McCain had probably intended to give the president a fairly minimal role in his campaign. It's not unlike the way that Al Gore chose to eschew the incumbent during his 2000 run for fear of inheriting Clinton's baggage in the post-Monica Lewinsky era. But even Clinton wasn't that unpopular. When Clinton stepped out of the White House for the last time as president in January of 2001, his approval rating was at 56%, more than double where Bush stands today.

McCain's prospects depend on the support of independents. Since day one of his campaign, that fact has never been in contention. It was his success with that group in New Hampshire that revived his faltering campaign, and the inclusion of independents in subsequent Republican primaries that allowed him to build that initial success into a runaway freight train to the GOP nomination. Bush is popular with avid Republicans and dyed-in-the-wool conservatives- not independents.

In fact, a recent study showed that more Americans are concerned with John McCain's relationship with George W. Bush than they are with Barack Obama's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The president will be toxic to the McCain campaign, and it's probable that the Senator and his staff will do everything they can to remain separate. That is, unless Bush inserts himself into the fight, as he did this week.

Original here

Obama cleans up in Reno

RENO-The credentials committee of the Nevada Democratic Convention has concluded their business and announced totals for the state's delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The totals are a huge success for Ill. Sen. Barack Obama, who improved upon his showing in the Jan. 19 precinct caucuses and will now head to Denver in August with 14 delegates from Nevada to N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton's 11.

2,510 delegates attended the convention, out of 3,563 total credentialed delegates. Their votes, in total, went 55 percent for Obama to 45 percent for Clinton. This was a reversal from January, when Clinton received nearly 51 percent of the statewide caucus vote to Obama's 45 percent.

The delegates were broken down according to congressional district, at-large delegates, and party leaders and elected officials (PLEOs).

In Congressional District 1 in Clark County, Clinton and Obama both received three delegates, 56 percent for Obama to 44 percent for Clinton.

Congressional District 2 went for Obama, with him picking up one delegate from the rural part of the state to none for Clinton, and two from Washoe County to only one for Clinton. Both received one delegates from the Clark County portion of CD2.

Clinton's one victory of the day came in Congressional District 3, where she received 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Obama. Both candidates, however, received two delegates from the district.

Both candidates received three at-large delegates and Obama won two PLEO delegates to Clinton's one, because of Obama's larger share of the total convention vote.

Obama had always been predicted the larger share of Nevada's delegates, but it was expected that he would receive 13 to Clinton's 12. Surprisingly low turn-out from Clinton supporters, especially in Clark County, where she had won decisively in January, pushed Obama further ahead.

Original here

The Stealth Campaign to Delegitimize Obama [UPDATED]

I have a confession to make. I've gotten complacent. For the past week and a half, I have not made many phone calls, and I laughed off Obama's 41-point loss in West Virginia. I have been telling Obama supporters in the blogosphere to lay off of Clinton, figuring she was just staying in until Tuesday or until the end of the primaries and then would bow out gracefully. I did not think we needed to worry much about what she says or does anymore.

Last night, I got a wake-up call. I listened to the audio of her conference call with bloggers, which a DUer was kind enough to partially transcribe, and I realized that while she may bow out on June 4 and endorse Obama and encourage her supporters to vote for him, there's more to her strategy than meets the eye. I don't think she is planning to take this to the Convention, and she could be angling for the VP slot. But there's a far more troubling possibility here. From the sound of what she encouraged her bloggers to push last night, it sounds like she is trying to delegitimize him or cloud his legitimacy when he eventually clinches the nomination, as part of a stealth campaign for 2012.

On the call last night, she reiterated her claim that she is ahead in the popular vote, which is only true if you give her her votes from Michigan but give Obama 0 AND don't count the four caucus states that don't release vote totals. This would mean ignoring 4 states when she claims it would be a travesty to ignore 2. In addition, she encouraged bloggers to push the idea that caucuses are undemocratic, and she continues to talk about Michigan and Florida, both on the conference call and in her public appearances.

She said that if Michigan and Florida are not seated, "it will undermine the legitimacy of our nominee". She knows that Michigan and Florida will not put her ahead in the delegate count, and that the only chance of them helping her with the popular vote is if the will of Michigan voters is misconstrued by giving Obama no votes despite thousands of people there who wanted to vote for him. But by continuing to harp on Michigan and Florida, she can continue to, as she said, undermine the legitimacy of our nominee.

Her continued focus on Michigan and Florida, as well as her complaints about caucuses being undemocratic and her very dubious claim that she leads in the popular vote are troubling because they seem designed to create doubt that Obama has earned the nomination fair and square. She knows that if she tried to go to the convention, the superdelegates would come out for Obama to give him the majority, and she would look like a saboteur dragging it out in hopes that they change their mind. But by confusing the facts and casting doubt on his legitimacy, she can encourage resentment among her supporters that will persist even if she drops out after June 4 and endorses Obama. If they feel that she was pushed out illegitimately, at least some of her supporters may decide to sit it out or vote for McCain in hopes of giving her another chance in 2012.

In addition to creating questions about Obama's legitimacy as the nominee, she played the gender card yet again last night. She said that she "deeply regrets the vitriol and the mean-spiritedness and the terrible insults and rhetoric that has been thrown around at you for supporting me, at women in general, at many of those who support my campaign because of who they are and their stand based on principle." This is not the first time she has claimed that she is being treated differently because of her gender, and it appears to encourage women who feel she has been mistreated because she is a woman to keep feeling that way.

This, like the talking points designed to cloud Obama's legitimacy in terms of the math, could be part of a strategy to fan the flames of resentment among her supporters, particularly women. Yes, she may bow out gracefully after the primaries are over, but she wants to make sure her supporters are as disappointed and even angry when she does. She appears to want them to feel that she was wronged, making it harder for them to turn around and support Obama. She'll bow out eventually and give a speech that will probably tug at people's heartstrings and make them wistful, with some people perhaps hoping that she gets another chance in 4 years.

This may sound paranoid, but there are several factors that could exacerbate the temptation among her supporters to wait it out. McCain is 71 and may only serve 1 term, and unfortunately, many people still perceive him as moderate enough to tolerate for four years. The fact that the Democrats are likely to retain the majorities in Congress could make this worse, as people may feel more complacent about McCain being president because they think he'll be limited in what he can do by a Democratic Congress.

So if there really is a stealth campaign for 2012 going on already, what can we do about it? The answer is not to continue to spew hatred towards her here or anywhere else in the blogosphere, as we have unfortunately done too much of this season, helping to create this situation where many Clinton activists have hardened toward Obama. Please refrain from saying anything that could possibly be construed as sexist, as this will only exacerbate the problem. Instead, focus your energy on helping Obama run up the popular vote total, and stay vigilant. I have described a few steps for action below:

First, keep making calls to Kentucky and Oregon, especially Oregon. Clinton seems to be gaining in the polls there, and it's possible that Obama's supporters may be more complacent about returning their ballots because they think it's over. It's too late to mail the ballots and ensure that they will arrive in time, but the campaign is offering to pick up people's ballots and deliver them. We need to make phone calls to let people know that. It's important for Obama to run up as big of a popular vote margin there as possible to take away any claim she might have to it.

Second, we need to hold Clinton's feet to the fire. She will most likely do more town halls between now and June 4. She claims she is not afraid of tough questions, so people who live in Montana and South Dakota should go and ask her some. Don't go as Obama supporters...go as voters. Ask her why she claims it would be a travesty if Michigan and Florida were excluded but thinks it's okay to exclude the caucus results from Iowa, Maine, Nebraska and Washington in her popular vote count. Ask her why she praised caucuses and called them a "wonderful tradition" before Iowa, and now claims they are undemocratic. Most importantly, ask her if she plans to run in 2012 if she does not get the nomination this year. She will probably waffle and evade the question, but by at least asking the question, we can put it out there and hopefully get the media to question whether she is running for 2012 right now. If you see any news organizations planning to interview her and soliciting ideas for questions, post the question about 2012 on their blogs as well.

Third, we need to write to news organizations and blogs and refute this baloney about her being ahead in the popular vote. If she creates the impression that she is ahead in the popular vote, no matter how selective and misleading her metrics are, it will really damage Obama's legitimacy, especially among Democrats who remain bitter about Florida 2000. And we can help to debunk her caucus argument by pointing out that she called them a "wonderful tradition" on her website, and now claims they are undemocratic. Point out that many of the caucus states have laws that require employers to give time off to vote if voting is not available outside of their work hours, and that her campaign failed to inform people that they had the right to this time off. Encourage news organizations to stop reporting her ridiculous spin about caucuses, the popular vote, and Michigan and Florida that are clearly designed to delegitimize Obama as the nominee.

ON EDIT: I realize some of this might sound a bit too paranoid. I am not sure if Hillary is deliberately trying to delegitimize Obama with her continued talk about Michigan and Florida and her misleading claims about the popular vote. She may still think she can win the nomination this year. But whether or not she is trying to delegitimize Obama and stoke resentment among her supporters, her words and actions could have that effect, and we need to work hard to refute her claims and keep making phone calls to help ensure that Obama can run up the score in Oregon and minimize the damage in Kentucky.

I want to say for the record that I don't hate her, and I will even be a little sad when she finally drops out. I just want to make sure that her supporters are not left feeling resentful and hardened towards Obama because they feel she was somehow wronged.

UPDATE 2: Another Kossack did a diary about why Obama's caucus wins are in fact legitimate that I thought you should check out:

Original here

Top 10 Political Brawls of All Time

For those of you who think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can sling some mud, check out these brawls. The top political melees, spanning history and the globe, make John Kerry’s Swift Boat seem like the Love Boat, and the smear campaign about John McCain’s black love child (um, he doesn’t really have one) seem like a silly game of telephone.

Here are my favorite political brawls of all time:

1. Shoe Fight in Taiwan
According to the Taipei Times, just last year, the Taiwanese Parliament—infamous for bawdy brawls—descended into chaos after lawmaker Wang Shu-hui threw a shoe at Speaker Wang Jin-pyng. The shoe missed its target, instead striking the face of another lawmaker and soon the Parliament was involved in a WWF-style smack down (video).

2. Taiwan Redux
One year before throwing her shoe at the Speaker, Wang Shu-hui snatched a written proposal to create direct transport links with Mainland China and shoved it into her mouth. The Taipei Times reported that opposition party leaders pulled her hair to try to get her to cough it up, but their antics failed. After the attention waned, she spat out the proposal and ripped it into pieces.

3. Caning in the U.S. Senate
In May of 1856, the U.S. Senate chamber transformed into a combat zone when Representative Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat from South Carolina, entered the chamber and slammed his metal-topped cane into Senator Charles Sumner’s head. Brooks struck again and again, bloodying Sumner as he lurched about the chamber. According to the U.S. States Senate Web site, Sumner, an antislavery Republican from Massachusetts, had maligned Brooks and his pro-slavery friends, like Stephen Douglas of Illinois, whom Sumner had called a “noise-some, squat, and nameless animal … not a proper model for an American senator.” Ah, sweet revenge.

4. A Hit on the Competition
Just last year in Atlanta, concluding a storyline worthy of a gangster epic, former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey confessed to ordering the murder of his political rival (and DeKalb County Sheriff-elect) Derwin Brown. According to media accounts Brown was shot eleven times as he walked up his driveway after returning from a party celebrating his graduation from the Sheriff’s Academy, his wife’s birthday, and his impending inauguration as Sheriff.

5. Brandishing Microphones in India
In 1997, the state legislative assembly in Uttar Pradesh, India, broke out into riots just as they were about to discuss a sensitive civil rights issue. Members of the minority party rushed the bench of the leader, ripping microphones out of their stands and tossing them like spears through the air. Politicians grabbed chairs and threw them at each other, becoming more and more enraged. The chaotic scene ended with bloodied politicians climbing into ambulances. You can see the drama unfold on YouTube.

6. Czech Slap Down
During a meeting in Prague, right-winger Miroslav Macek stepped to the podium and announced that he needed to address a personal issue. According to the BBC, he walked over to his rival, Czech Health Minister David Rath, and slapped him in the back of the head. “Minister Rath was warned in advance. He deserves it,” Macek told the audience. Meanwhile, Rath stood up and countered, “Why didn’t you attack me from the front like a real man? You are a coward.” He hit Macek back, and the two descended into an inglorious brawl. YouTube has hilarious—and shocking—footage of the boy slap.

7. Hickory Walking Stick and Metal Tongs
In 1798, inside the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Roger Griswold of Connecticut attacked Vermont Representative Matthew Lyon with a hickory walking stick, according to an essay published by the University of Virginia. Lyon tried to defend himself from the repeated blows, and finally ran to the fireplace, grabbed a pair of metal tongs and lashed back at Griswold.

8. Mexican Melee
On the heels of Mexico’s heated 2006 presidential election, leftist lawmakers descended into fistfights and chair throwing just one hour before Felipe Calderon took the oath of office as Mexico’s new president. The leftist lawmakers attempted to block the chamber’s doors, but Calderon—sigh—was able to make his way through the barricades.

9. Fightin’ Words
As Washington Monthly reported, California Assembly Speaker Doris Allen, sparring with her fellow Republicans more than a decade ago, called them “power-mongering men with short penises.” Ouch. That may be worse than a fist in the face.

10. Et Tu, Brute

On the Ides of March in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was murdered by a group of fellow senators, including his good friend, Marcus Junius Brutus. When he saw that even his good friend Brutus was involved with the stabbing, he resigned himself to his fate, and gave Shakespeare fodder for one of his most famous lines.

Original here

Obama Draws Estimated Crowd Of 75,000 In Portland (SLIDESHOW)

The Washington Post reports from Obama's rally in Portland, Oregon:

Sen. Barack Obama has seen his share of large crowds over the last 15 months, but his campaign said they have not approached the numbers gathered along the waterfront here right now.

The campaign, citing figures from Duane Bray, battalion chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, estimated that 75,000 people are watching him speak.

The scene suggests this is not an exaggeration. The sea of heads stretches for half a mile along the grassy embankment, while others watch from kayaks and power boats bobbing on the Willamette River. More hug the rails of the steel bridge that stretches across the water and crowds are even watching from jetties on the opposite shore.

Another account from the Swamp:

The crowd covers the lawn here at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, from the streetside entry gates down to the Willamette River. Portland fire officials estimate 60,000 people are packed inside the park proper and another 10-15,000 are watching outside the gates. Spectators are lining the bridge behind Obama and watching, bikini-clad, from boats on the river.

The stump speech is Obama's standard riff - 30 minutes long and counting now, despite the sun beating down on the candidate. He's added a few Oregonian flourishes, drawing big cheers when he said the country can learn from Portland's commitment to mass transit and bicycle lanes. The biggest applause came when he denounced the Iraq war; Oregon is a hotbed of anti-war activism.

At one point, someone in the crowd shouted an expression of love at Obama. He broke his speech for a moment: "I love you too," he said.

"If you vote for me on Tuesday," he said, "We won't just win Oregon. We'll win this nomination, we'll win this general election. And you and I together, we'll change this country, we'll change the world."

Seventy-five thousand people seemed to like the sound of that.

Here's a slideshow of scenes from the rally:

Original here