19 July 2008

Hillary Clinton's revealing purchase: A website called HRC2012

Sometimes a website name is just a website name.

Maybe the move by a company that's worked closely with the former first lady is just what it seems: yet another step by Hillary Rodham Clinton to prepare for another run for the Senate from New York in four years. Or another run for the White House. We won't know, of course, for some time.

But that comes with the news, as reported in The Ticket early the other morning, that Clinton has urgently requested her 2008 general election supporters to approve transfer of their unusable donations for this year's presidential race over to her 2012 Senate campaign. (And then, potentially, into a new presidential campaign fund, as she did with $10 million of her surplus 2006 Senate campaign funds). If this year's donors don't approve that transfer soon, Clinton must return the '08 money by Aug. 28.

The respected blogger Marc Ambinder of TheAtlantic.com is reporting tonight that a company associated with Clinton's top advance team leaders, the Markham Group, purchased that domain name on June 8.

June 8th? Why does that ring a bell? Why, that's the very next day after her "I-give-up-and-heartily-support Obama" speech where her family was dressed for a funeral.

Clinton sources told Ambinder the New York senator was committed to helping elect Obama on Nov. 4, but she wanted to keep her options open for later. Imagine that in a seasoned politician.
Come 2012 Clinton would have to choose which race she'd enter. Two years ago in her first Senate reelection bid, her main website was HillaryClinton.com, which she still has. Plus HillPac.com for her political action committee and another one for her '08 campaign debt donations.

So why would she need another website with 2012 in it, unless.... Her disappointed presidential campaign supporters may take heart. But will they still help elect another Democrat this November? Or sit it out and let '12 fall to her?

We are just six weeks out from Clinton's '08 surrender to Barack Obama. And, surely, everyone knows exactly what that means: only 223 weeks left until the 2012 election.

18 July 2008

Heath Ledger attacks US senator!

Courtesy of the Guardian US blog, below is a clip of Ledger squaring off with Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the judiciary committee and possibly the biggest Batman fan in Washington. Will his courage strike fear in the heart of Karl Rove?

17 July 2008

16 July 2008

Why the Race is Tied

After almost six weeks of a constant Obama lead, generally in the five- to seven-point range, Scott Rasmussen's daily tracking poll records two consecutive days of a tie race (July 12-13) and a one-point Obama lead on July 14. What happened to the Democrat's lead?

Part of the slippage is Obama's fault and part is McCain's gain.

Obama has carried flip-flopping to new heights. In the space of a month and a half, this candidate -- who we don't really yet know very well -- reversed or sharply modified his positions on at least eight key issues:

• After vowing to eschew private fundraising and take public financing, he has now refused public money.

• Once he threatened to filibuster a bill to protect telephone companies from liability for their cooperation with national security wiretaps; now he has voted for the legislation.

• Turning his back on a lifetime of support for gun control, he now recognizes a Second Amendment right to bear arms in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

• Formerly, he told the Israeli lobby that he favored an undivided Jerusalem. Now he says he didn't mean it.

• From a 100 percent pro-choice position, he now has migrated to expressing doubts about allowing partial-birth abortions.

• For the first time, he now speaks highly of using church-based institutions to deliver public services to the poor.

• Having based his entire campaign on withdrawal from Iraq, he now pledges to consult with the military first.

• During the primary, he backed merit pay for teachers -- but before the union a few weeks ago, he opposed it.

• After specifically saying in the primaries that he disagreed with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) proposal to impose Social Security taxes on income over $200,000 and wanted to tax all income, he has now adopted the Clinton position.

Obama's breathtaking flips and flops are materially different from McCain's. While McCain had opposed offshore oil drilling and now supports it, the facts have obviously changed. Obama's shifts have nothing to do with altered circumstances, just a change in the political calendar.

As a candidate who was nominated to be a different kind of politician, Obama has set the bar pretty high. And, with his flipping and flopping, he is falling short, to the disillusionment of his more naïve supporters. One wag even called him the "black Bill Clinton," a turnaround of the "first black president" moniker that had been pinned on Bill.

Meanwhile, McCain and the Republicans have finally found an issue -- oil drilling -- exposing how the Democrats oppose drilling virtually anywhere that there might be recoverable oil. Not in Alaska. Not offshore. Not in shale deposits in the West. The Democratic claim that we "cannot drill our way out of the crisis in gas prices" begs the question of whether, had we drilled five years ago, we would be a lot less dependent on foreign market fluctuations.

The truth is that the Democrats put the need to mitigate climate change ahead of the imperative of holding down gasoline prices at the pump. If there was ever a fault line between elitist and populist approaches to a problem, this is it. In fact, liberals basically don't see much wrong with $5 gas. Many have been urging a tax to achieve precisely this level, just like Europe has done for decades.

Obama said that he was unhappy that there was not a period of "gradual adjustment" to the high prices, but seems to shed few tears over the current levels. After all, if your imperative is climate change, a high gas price is worth 10 times a ratified Kyoto treaty in bringing about change.

Republicans can drive a truck through the gap between this elite opinion and the need for ordinary people to afford the journey to work in the morning. And, with a 16-state media buy, the Republican Party and the McCain campaign are doing precisely that.

If Obama softens his aversion to drilling, it may be the final straw for some of his liberal supporters. Where would they go? Nader is still a possibility. But McCain can attract liberal votes. He doesn't need to bleed Obama only from the right. His own stands against drilling in Alaska and torture of terror suspects and for immigration reform make him suspect on the right, but quite acceptable to the left. If moderate liberals are disgusted by Obama's obvious attempts at chicanery and repositioning, they might just cross the aisle.

Reposted from RealClear Politics. By Dick Morris

Difficult Times for Barack Obama

I can't escape from the feeling that Barack Obama has had a difficult few weeks transitioning from primary to General Election mode.

His dive toward the centre ground has alienated some of his most passionate grass root supporters, many of whom see his vote to offer immunity to telecoms companies involved in warrant less wire tapping as a grave betrayal.

His shifting stance on NAFTA has alerted many in the main stream media and his wavering opposition to the 'surge' strategy in Iraq has raised the biggest question over his head - is he capable of being Commander in Chief.

A recent study has shown that, by a considerable margin, Americans feel John McCain is most ready to be Commander in Chief of the US military forces.

There have also been reports that the 'merging' of the Clinton campaign with Senator Obamas own operation has not been going as smoothly as had been hoped. Many of Clinton’s supporters, and more importantly, her donors have been resistant to opening their wallets and cheque books to Senator Obama.

What’s more, Obamas campaign and supporters have been cool to the prospect of helping to pay of some of Hillary Clintons campaign debts - some $20m. Reports have suggested that Obama and his supporters have raised little more than $100k towards the cause. Obama has not been helping the efforts by appearing indifferent to Senator Clintons pleas for help - at a joint event last week, Obama had to sheepishly return to the stage after forgetting to ask for fundraising help for Hillary Clinton.

Politico.com has this week reported that senior Capitol Hill Democrats are becoming frustrated with the Obama campaign and its inability to communicate effectively with them or find ground to work together in a constructive manner. Many congressmen and women have complained that Senator Obama has turned up in their districts with little or no warning - ruining the opportunity for vote winning photo shots.

Then there was that infamous New Yorker front cover portraying Barack Obama dressed in Muslim clothing and his wife, Michelle, in full terrorist gear. Yes, it's satire... but it still won't play well.

To add to all these difficulties, the money does not seem to be rolling in to Obamas now public finance-less coffers as had been anticipated. John McCain seems to be easily keeping pace with Obamas fundraising efforts meaning he will surprisingly be able to compete in key marginal seats.

After what amounted to a glorious coronation of Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee, with Hillary Clinton taking every opportunity to gush about his candidacy, the campaign setting up the prospect that Obama may be able to spend money in the region of $500m and McCain making a number of gaffes, the contest remains mystifyingly close.

In a year where nearly every historical marker points towards oblivion for the Republicans, the two candidates are separated by approximately 3 points. This is despite the historical nature of Obamas candidacy, his ability to control the media cycle at will and McCain leaping to occupy right wing Bush ground as fast as he can.

So only a matter of weeks in to the General election cycle, and it seems it won't be all plain sailing for Senator Obama. But bets to get the mistakes and the flip flops out the way early. Right?

Did you know...

... that John McCain is older than Spam.

He is also older than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the copy machine, the United Nations, The Wizard of Oz and satellite photography.

Things Younger Than McCain

15 July 2008

Hillary Asks To Keep Donor Money For 2012

Hillary Clinton's campaign is sending out letters to donors asking permission to roll a $2,300 contribution to Clinton's 2008 general election coffers to her 2012 senate election fund instead of offering a refund.

The letter, read to me by one recipient, includes a photocopy of a handwritten note from Clinton that says, "Dear friend, your commitment has meant so much to me over the course of my presidential campaign. You were there for me when I needed you the most and I'll never forget it. I hope you'll help me continue to fight for the issues and causes we believe in by filling out the enclosed form in support of Friends of Hillary."

The form says, "I hereby verify that my 2008 general election contribution may be designated to the 2012 Senate election. I designate the entire amount to the 2012 primary election. However if I have already contributed to the 2012 primary, I designate any amount in excess of $2,300 to the 2012 general election."

Reproduced from Huffington Post

14 July 2008

RNC Hits Obama on Iraq

Barack Obama has been making big efforts to move his campaign to the centre ground of American politics. This is obviously a prudent General Election strategy - but one that may leave him open to charges of flip-flopping.

The Republican National Committee is trying to hammer him hard on his move from primary positions to General Election positioning...

John McCain Goes Online

John McCain says in an interview published this weekend that he has begun learning the wonders of the World Wide Web, but does not yet e-mail or have a BlackBerry.

The revelation, while putting McCain far behind the majority of Americans in tech savvy, is a big change from his admission this winter that he was “illiterate” when it came to computers.

“I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself,” McCain told Adam Nagourney and Michael Cooper of The New York Times.

“I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need.”

McCain said websites his staff often show him include The Drudge Report, Politico.com and RealClear Politics.

President Bush was an avid e-mailer before he took office, but he stopped for privacy reasons.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was photographed last week with BlackBerry in hand.

In an interview in January with Politico and Yahoo News, McCain punted on whether he prefers a Mac or a PC. “Neither,” he replied. “I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get.”

But as he heads into a general election showdown with the hip and youthful Obama, McCain now says he’s trying to learn.

Reproduced from Politico.com