Barack Obama is under pressure to make a move in tonight’s Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia. Seen in this NWN behind-the-scenes video earlier this year in San Diego, Obama trails Hillary Clinton nationally but is in a dead heat in Iowa.
** DEMOCRATIC DEBATE. Long form and short form. Here’s the short form. A generally good night for Hillary Clinton. Until the very end, when she stumbled on the question of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Which was a problem for the primaries, in the sense that she seemed to give two different answers. And for the general, should she get there, in the sense that she sounded like she was for the licenses.
For most of the debate, John Edwards was the more effective opponent, though not landing many blows. Barack Obama was an apologetic attacker. Too apologetic, right from the outset, when he described any conflict between he and Clinton as “over-hyped.” He did have a moment midway when Clinton again demurred, under questioning, from agreeing to releae her White House papers, and Obama then pointed out that secrecy is one of the things most disliked about the current presidency.
Throughout, the most troublesome actors on the stage for Clinton were not her opponents, but moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams.
Best line of the debate, from Joe Biden: “Rudy Giuliani? There’s only three things in a sentence from Rudy Giuliani. A noun, a verb, and 9/11.”
Incidentally, and for the record. I have never seen a UFO. But I would bet there is extraterrestrial life. It would be very strange if we were the only intelligent beings in the universe. Especially given how unintelligent we can be.
** MCCLINTOCK ENDORSES FRED THOMPSON, NOW HIS CALIFORNIA CHAIRMAN. California’s most prominent right-wing politician, state Senator Tom McClintock, this afternoon endorsed Fred Thompson for the Republican presidential nomination. McClintock, never to be confused with a Republican modernizer, has become a very sharp critic of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger since losing his bid for lieutenant governor last November, and is the head of the traditionalist wing of the Republicans in California. He is now the California chairman of the Thompson for President campaign.
After Schwarzenegger delivered his big speech to last month’s state Republican convention in Indian Wells on the need for the party to appeal more to the center and to California’s burgeoning ranks of independent voters, McClintock delivered a pointed rejoinder on Sunday as a convention keynoter.
McClintock has won Republican nominations but lost general elections for lieutenant governor, state controller (twice), and Congress. He ran for governor in the 2003 recall and finished a distant third behind then action movie superstar Schwarzenegger and then Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.
McClintock was one of the ringleaders of last summer’s state budget stall. After more than a month, he and his compatriots got the same deal as had been on offer all along, and failed in their goal to curb former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown’s power. He campaigned against Schwarzenegger’s Big Bang Bonds infrastructure package last year and has repeatedly claimed that global warming is a hoax.
** ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF INDICTED ON FEDERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES. As predicted by the LA Times, Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona was indicted today on federal corruption charges.
Indicted along with the sheriff, once one of the Republicans’ top rising stars, were his wife, Deborah Carona, and a Newport Beach lawyer described in the indictment as his “longtime mistress,” Debra Hoffman. You’ll note that it would be difficult for the sheriff to commit a verbal slip with either Debbie …
The three, along with two longtime associates and former Orange County assistant sheriffs who pled guilty to other charges and assisted the Carona investigation, are said to have engaged in a conspiracy dating back to 1998 to use public office to enrich themselves.
Obviously there will be a lot more on this. Some of it was discussed in the morning item.
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** RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON UNANNOUNCED VISIT TO TEHRAN. With war talk around Iran sure to be a big topic in tonight’s Democratic presidential debate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is at mid-day our time in the midst of an unannounced visit to Tehran. He’s meeting there now with top Iranian officials on the nuclear controversy and other matters, probably including the Iraq security situation. According to this Russian report, from a prominent state-owned outlet, his purpose is to make sure the Iranians stay cool.
Russia is playing a very interesting game, taking advantage of the US preoccupation with Iraq to re-emerge as a great power, siding with Iran against a possible US military strike but holding the country’s nuclear program back.
** TURKEY DEMANDS THAT THE U.S. DEAL WITH KURDISH GUERILLAS IN IRAQ. In a speech to his country’s parliament, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today that when he meets with President Bush in Washington on November 5th he will demand that the US take down the Kurdish separatist guerillas using northern Iraq as a safe haven. He will also ask how it is that the PKK guerillas carry US weapons given to the Iraqi military.
Hundreds of thousands of US assault rifles and pistols are unaccounted for in Iraq.
This indicates that the big Turkish push across the border won’t happen before November 5th. The longer the Turks wait, the worse the weather in the mountainous region. So maybe we don’t have to worry quite so much about this particular source of global chaos.
** BIG DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE TONIGHT IN PHILADELPHIA. Tonight we will see if her rivals can begin bringing high-flying Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton back to earth. The second place candidate, Barack Obama, is expected to make a move in tonight’s debate, which runs from 6 PM to 8 PM Pacific time on MSNBC.
** ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF TO BE INDICTED FOR CORRUPTION. Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, according to the LA Times, is about to be indicted on federal corruption charges for systematically using his office to enrich himself. His one-time close friend, former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo, is helping federal prosecutors with the case against Carona as part of his own plea bargain.
Carona, somewhat narrowly re-elected to a third term last year, was once one of the Republicans’ top rising stars in California. Five years ago he achieved a measure of national fame for leading the hunt for the man who raped and killed a 5-year old girl.
Then action movie superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger was taken with Carona and talked up his leadership potential. But it all went sour after that.
Carona, whose own politics are not that far to the right, has been a key pivot point for a far right faction in Orange County politics.
His lawyer and political advisor, Mike Schroeder, is a former state Republican Party chairman. He ostentatiously walked out of last month’s California Republican convention banquet last month as Schwarzenegger was about to deliver his address urging party reforms to move back toward the center.
The owner of the hyperpartisan right-wing web site Flash Report, Jon Fleischman, was Carona’s longtime PR man. Fleischman built up the Flash Report web site while a public employee working for Carona.
** FIELD POLL, TAKEN BEFORE SOCAL FIRES, SHOWS HIGH APPROVAL FOR SCHWARZENEGGER. DEAD HEAT RACE WITH BOXER FOR SENATE. The Field Poll of California voters, taken from October 11-21, continues to be released in bitelets. In today’s installment, we learn that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is still very popular. How popular he is today, in the aftermath of his boffo performance managing the Southern California firestorm crisis, we don’t know from this poll, since it was actually taken before last week’s dramatic events.
We do know, at least, that earlier in October, Schwarzenegger had a high job approval rating. With 56% approving of his performance as governor, only 32% disapproving. His job approval is notably higher than that of Senators Dianne Feinstein (51%) and Barbara Boxer (44%) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (35%). But in a match-up with Boxer for her Senate seat, which is up in 2010, it’s Schwarzenegger 44%, Boxer 43%. Again, this poll was taken before the SoCal crisis and is about a campaign that may never take place.
Numbers for the state Legislature weren’t too bad, considering how bad they usually are for the institution: 38% approval, 42% disapproval.
Argentina’s first lady, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, seen here with defeated French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal, is the country’s new president-elect.
** CRISTINA SAYS SHE’LL CONTINUE HER HUSBAND’S POLICIES. Fresh from a big win in Sunday’s election, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said yesterday she will largely continue the policies of her husband, outgoing Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner. He’s joined with Brazil’s Lula and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in a loose-knit alliance against the free market policies pushed by the International Monetary Fund.
Kirchner is credited by Argentinians with bringing the country out of its economic slowdown. But inflation is somewhere between 9% and 20%.
His wife, who is known in the country as Cristina — think Evita — is a somewhat glamorous figure who is nonetheless a lawyer and experienced politician in her own right. She was first elected to state parliament in the 1980s, then made her way into the national parliament and finally the Argentinian Senate as her husband also rose.
Sounds a little like Hillary Clinton, doesn’t it? But her politics seem well to Clinton’s left. Indeed, Cristina swept the votes of the poor and working class, but lost among the much smaller upper middle class.
She’s the second woman to recently become the head of a major government. Germany’s Angela Merkel, a conservative who nonetheless pushes hard for policies against the greenhouse effect, became chancellor last year. But in France earlier this year, Socialist Segolene Royal lost her bid to Nicolas Sarkozy, another conservative who is much less conservative than his American fans on the right imagined.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia is fast re-emerging as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel.
You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Crude oil prices have dipped from yesterday’s record levels but remain high, in the $92 to $93 per barrel range, boosted by the ongoing situations in Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran.
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