Former Senator and Law & Order star Fred Thompson discusses Iran and his belief that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shouldn’t be in the US. Ahmadinejad addresses the UN at noon today.
** AHMADINEJAD ATTACKS “ARROGANT POWERS” IN U.N. SPEECH. Speaking substantially later than anticipated this afternoon, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacked “arrogant powers” that seek to impose new sanctions against his country for pursuing its nuclear program and said that Iran will work with the International Atomic Energy Agency. IAEA inspectors are back in Iran to monitor the program, which Iran officially says is for nuclear power, not nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, two new more conservative European leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who yesterday again broke with the Bush Administration on the greenhouse effect and climate change, with Sarkozy calling foot-dragging “criminal” — made it clear that they want an end to any nuclear weapons program in Tehran. They are very suspicious about the Iranian nuclear program, and seem likely to pursue further sanctions.
** CHANGE TO WIN LABOR COALITION HEARS FROM TOP DEMOCRATS. The Change To Win federation of seven unions which broke away from the AFL-CIO a couple of years ago heard from the top three Democratic presidential candidates today in Chicago. Barack Obama won a warm reception, as did John Edwards. Hillary Clinton, suffering from travel problems, spoke to the convention by phone.
Coalition chair Anna Burger made it clear that no endorsement is yet in the offing. The massive Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for which Burger is secretary-treasurer, decided at yesterday’s board meeting to hold off on making an endorsement. John Edwards, the most left-leaning of the top Democratic hopefuls, has been counting on SEIU’s support to help jump-start his campaign.
** ANGELIDES NOW A CLINTON CO-CHAIR FOR CALIFORNA. Former California Treasurer Phil Angelides, the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial nominee against Arnold Schwarzenegger, was today appointed a state co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Angelides, a former developer who has returned to the developer business, came out for Clinton months ago, as reported here on NWN.
** $9.11 FOR RUDY NOT SUCH A GOOD IDEA. Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign is backing away from a $9.11 per person fundraising scheme promoted by former Reagan State Department advisor and prominent Giuliani backer Abraham Sofaer, a fellow of Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
What the campaign calls an independent effort was blasted by the International Association of Firefighters union as another Giuliani bid to “exploit” 9/11. The union is emerging as a fierce and energetic critic of the former New York mayor. They are going to watch everything Giuliani does with an eye to attack. The effort was also ripped by several Democratic presidential candidates.
** BIG EDGE FOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY OVER REPUBLICAN PARTY IN NATIONAL GALLUP POLL. The new Gallup Poll shows a big edge for the Democratic Party over the Republican Party among American adults.
According to Gallup’s annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 14th to 16th among just over a thousand adults, the Democratic Party enjoys a 15-point lead over the Republicans in overall favorability, 53% vs. 38%.
The Democrats are viewed unfavorably by 43%; the Republicans are viewed unfavorably by 59%.
Since 2001, the Democrat Party has either tied or led the Republicans on the question of which party is best to keep the country prosperous. However, that lead expanded significantly between September 2005 and September 2006, from 5 points to 17 points, and is currently 20 points. 54% now say the Democrats would do the better job, compared with only 34% choosing the Republicans.
One enduring strength for the Republican Party has been the perception that it is the better party for handling international terrorism and national defense. One year after the 9/11 attacks, the Republicans had a 19-point lead over the Democrats in this area. That lead gradually sank to only two points in 2006.
Now more say the Democratic Party will do a better job than the Republican Party of protecting the country from security threats, 47% vs. 42%.
** HANG WITH BILL. Hillary Clinton’s campaign, or at least, someone in her campaign who probably shares first names with me, came up with a great idea to boost Internet fundraising as the third quarter comes to a close.
Bill Clinton (in a missive entitled “You, Me, A TV, And A Bowl of Chips”): There are two things in this world that I love more than anything else — my family and politics. So you can imagine just how fired up I get when Hillary is on the stage debating the issues that matter to our country.
So here’s an idea: why don’t you and I share that excitement together during an upcoming debate. Hillary’s campaign will pick three people — each invited with a guest to watch one of the upcoming presidential debates with me. We’ll sit down in front of a big TV with a big bowl of chips, watch the debate, and talk about the race. If you enter before the Sunday midnight deadline, you and a guest could be the ones to sit down with me to watch a presidential debate.
Join me for a debate. Make a contribution today:
When I tell you I like watching Hillary debate, I mean it. You’re talking to the man who stayed up until four in the morning on a trip through Africa just to catch one of her debates live. So if you want to watch a debate with me — or if you just want to help Hillary win — enter today, and you and your guest might join me for a debate soon.
** AHMADINEJAD DELIVERS, BUSH FORGETS CLIMATE CHANGE. President George W. Bush addressed the UN General Assembly earlier this morning. His speech wasn’t about Iraq, barely touched upon Iran, and instead focused on problems in the developing world in such countries as the Sudan and Burma, also known as Myanmar. It was a look at the softer side, if you will, of the Bush agenda. But he notably didn’t mention climate change, which dominated the UN yesterday with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other notables addressing a high-level summit of more than 80 heads of state. Bush doesn’t want to participate within the international framework on climate change, and will convene his own meeting of greenhouse gas emitters later this week.
Bush also didn’t engage the issue of Iran, though Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sitting in front of him the audience. Ahmadinejad turned his controversial appearance at Columbia University yesterday into an unintentional joke, making several bizarre pronouncements, including his assertions that there are no gay or lesbian people in Iran, and that women have many rights there. From reports, he seems to have been knocked off stride from the beginning by the scathing introduction of university president Lee Bollinger.
Ahmadinejad addresses the UN today at noon Pacific time. That should be interesting.
Whatever Ahmadinejad and his hardline allies in Iran may believe they are getting out of this trip, it’s certainly been a bonanza for US presidential candidates, especially on the Republican side, who as predicted are making great hay out of the controversy.
** DEMOCRATS TO ADDRESS CHANGE TO WIN CONFERENCE. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards address the Change To Win labor coalition conference today in Chicago. This is the more liberal breakaway group from the AFL-CIO, some of whose key member unions got behind Howard Dean four years ago.
** S.E.I.U. DELAYS ENDORSEMENT. The Service Employees International Union has put off a presidential endorsement. John Edwards has been hoping for it, but if it happens now, it won’t be before next month.
** SCHWARZENEGGER GIVES PUBLIC SAFETY AWARDS IN LIVE WEBCAST. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned from the global stage of the United Nations in New York to the somewhat more prosaic — though not architecturally — Capitol in California. He’ll have private meetings throughout the day on various matters, with an emphasis on health care reform and water policy, and at 2:15 PM in an event that will be webcast live Schwarzenegger will present Medals of Valor to several police officers, a deputy sheriff, and a firefighter.
His UN address can also be viewed by clicking on the link above.
With many legislators gallivanting around the world on various junkets and vacations, the special legislative sessions are not off to a flying start, the financing of which would go on the November ballot next year. But they have plenty of time to work out a health care reform package. Time is much shorter with regard to water policy, though I’m told that they have until early October to get a bond measure onto the February primary ballot.
** AL QAEDA’S AMERICAN PRISONERS STILL NOT LOCATED. American troops are now in the midst of a 132nd day of searching for the remaining two US soldiers captured by Al Qaeda in an ambush south of Baghdad. They have had no luck so far. A video put out by Al Qaeda forces in Iraq claims that all three men were executed after being captured. But, with the exception of the Californian found floating in the Euphrates River, that claim can’t be confirmed. The US high command in Baghdad has revealed that ID cards for the other two American prisoners were found in an Al Qaeda safehouse on June 9th.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Most crude oil prices are in the $79 to $82 per barrel range, with US oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico back in action.
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