Barack Obama’s victory speech after his 29-point win over
Hillary Clinton in South Carolina.
** OBAMA TRUTH SQUAD FORMED, CAMPAIGNS DUEL OVER PHONE BANKS. Barack Obama’s campaign in California has just formed a “truth squad,” announced via conference call, to counter the sorts of attacks that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has leveled in recent weeks. On the call were squad members Bay Area Congressman George Miller, LA Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and LA County Labor Federation chief Maria Elena Durazo, now a national co-chair of the Obama campaign. Also on the squad are Silicon Valley Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, LA Congressman Adam Schiff, state Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, Assembly Majority Leader Karen Bass, and, of course, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.
Miller, one of the top congresional Democrats as head of the House Democratic Policy Committee and chairman of the Education & Labor Committee, noted that the truth squad was formed to deal with a threat that may or may not exist any longer. “We don’t know yet,” he said. “The Clinton campaign may have learned its lesson from South Carolina,” where voters mostly rejected the Clinton tactics, as exit polls make clear. Will former President Clinton, historically popular in California, be a problem for Obama in the nation’s largest primary? “I think there is a rethink underway about what he is doing.”
For her part, Durazo, one of the leading Latina labor leaders in America, acknowledged that Clinton has had the edge to date with Latino voters, but noted that the more they get to know about Obama’s background as a community organizer in Chicago, and his views on stimulating the economy, the better he does. And that “the support of Senator Kennedy, and we hope it comes, would be very important.” Kennedy is definitely for Obama, but she was deferential to his formal announcement at a rally tomorrow at the American University in Washington, D.C., with Caroline Kennedy and Barack and Michelle Obama.
Meanwhile, the Obama and Clinton campaigns had dueling statewide phoning “parties” over the weekend, and claimed hundreds of thousands of completed calls to voters between them. As Obama California co-chairman Steve Westly, one of the Illinois senator’s earliest backers and biggest financial supporters, pointed out going into the weekend, the Obama effort has focused heavily on independent voters. The public polls in California, in which Obama trailed prior to his 2 to 1 South Carolina victory over Clinton, by significant margins, have had relatively low independent turnout scenarios.
Incidentally, on one of the Sunday chat shows today — and I forget which one offhand, as this begins to blur and I should be taking a brief break — Hillary Clinton tacitly acknowledged her husband’s untoward behavior in the campaign. She chalked it up to love for her and sleep deficit. However, I can tell you that, according to well-informed sources, the Kennedys, now coming out heavily for Obama today and tomorrow, are distinctly unamused by the Clintons’ mode of campaigning. Not just in South Carolina — because that Caroline Kennedy essay in today’s New York Times was not really written and placed yesterday — but for the past several weeks.
UPDATE: Ted Kennedy will appear with Caroline Kennedy tomorrow at an already scheduled Barack Obama noontime rally at the American University in Washington to make public his support for the freshman Illinois senator’s presidential candidacy. This is a thunderclap for the Clintons. You’ve already read the endorsement below of Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s daughter, from this morning’s New York Times, entitled “A President Like My Father.” Ted Kennedy, of course, is JFK’s brother, and the Senate’s liberal lion.
** TED KENNEDY TO ENDORSE OBAMA. The rumor, circulating for weeks, appears to be true. ABC News has just reported that Senator Ted Kennedy will endorse Barack Obama for president.
** CAROLINE KENNEDY. From Caroline Kennedy’s essay in the Sunday New York Times, “A President Like My Father:” Over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.
My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.
Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.
We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.
I’ve met and talked with Caroline Kennedy. She’s a private, dignified, and lovely person who does not run around making endorsements, or go out of her way to trade on her father’s name. Her endorsement is already resonating with opinion leaders, many of whom have notably soured on Bill and Hillary Clinton. The disdain for their tactics, for example, from everyone on this morning’s Meet The Press panel was palpable.
** CTA MEMBERS REBUFF LEADERSHIP ON CLINTON ENDORSEMENT, OBAMA WINS BECERRA ENDORSEMENT. The most powerful union in California politics is, by far, the principal teachers union in the Golden State, the California Teachers Association. Its endorsement committee, dominated by its leadership, unanimously recommended the endorsement of Hillary Clinton. CTA delegates normally rubber stamp leadership recommendations on endorsements.
But the 800 delegates representing the membership rebelled yesterday in LA, voting overwhelmingly against the Clinton endorsement. It was a remarkable inside baseball coup for the Barack Obama campaign in California. This occurred before Obama’s landslide win over Hillary in South Carolina. CTA is neutral in the race.
In another boost for Obama’s California campaign, the freshman Illinois senator has just picked up the endorsement of LA Congressman Xavier Becerra, another good get for a campaign struggling with the Latino vote. (Which has been much discussed on NWN.) Becerra is assistant to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
** FLORIDA TRACKING POLL: MCCAIN-ROMNEY DEAD HEAT. The battle in Tuesday’s Florida Republcian primary remains tight, with the latest Zogby tracking poll for Reuters showing a dead heat. Here are the numbers: John McCain 30%, Mitt Romney 30%, Mike Huckabee 14%, Rudy Giuliani 13%. Saturday polling is notoriously tricky, for obvious reasons.
McCain yesterday blasted Romney for equivocating on the US military surge in Iraq, saying at a critical moment last April, Romney favored a secret “timetable” for US withdrawal. Romney said McCain was lying.
This morning on Meet The Press, McCain was asked at the top of the show about the controversy. He responded by pulling Romney’s quote from April 2007 out of his pocket and reading it aloud. Romney already has a reputation as a flip-flopper which has Democrats chomping at the bit.
Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger had this to say about Romney: “The next President of the United States must be a leader of courage, not a weather vane who shifts in the wind. John McCain will not waver in the face of the enemy. He’s been tested under fire in war and did not wilt on Iraq when the polls went south and the drumbeat for withdrawal grew louder. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Governor Romney. When it came to unequivocally advocating and supporting the successful surge in Iraq, John McCain was rock solid while Governor Romney sought political cover by indicating his support for ‘secret’ withdrawal timetables. At a critical moment, John McCain proved that he was ready to be Commander in Chief. Unfortunately, Governor Romney didn’t. Governor Romney failed the test of leadership on the most crucial national security issue facing the United States with American combat forces in the field; he wilted. John McCain stood tall.”
John McCain sings Streisand, by popular demand of the ever
charming NWN posters. From Saturday Night Live, 2002.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged 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 closed at $90.71 per barrel, as fears of a global economic meltdown recede, at least for the moment. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
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