Following his hair’s breadth election the night before,
President-elect John F. Kennedy arrives at the Hyannis Armory
and delivers his victory remarks on November 9, 1960.
** STATE OF THE UNION TONIGHT. President George W. Bush gives his final State of the Union address tonight at 6 PM, Pacific time, on all major nets.
** GALLUP POLL: MCCAIN AND CLINTON LEAD IN CALIFORNIA. In a new Gallup Poll of next week’s California presidential primary — taken before Barack Obama’s landslide win in South Carolina and endorsement by the Kennedys — John McCain leads on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton leads on the Democratic side. Here are the numbers.
Republicans: John McCain 35%, Mitt Romney 27%, Mike Huckabee 12%, Rudy Giuliani 11%.
Democrats: Hillary Clinton 47%, Barack Obama 35%, John Edwards 10%.
** HILLARY TALKS HOUSING, SETS UP “RAPID RESPONDERS.” Rather than talk about the intervention of the Kennedys on behalf of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton today talked about President Bush’s final State of the Union address,saying: “Tonight President Bush will claim that the state of our union is strong. But as the latest housing data shows, the true state of the union is one of economic anxiety. The latest housing data shows that 2007 marked the first time in recent history where America has experienced a sustained annual drop in median existing home prices. In fact, according to some economists, America hasn’t experienced a sustained annual decline in housing prices of this magnitude since the Great Depression.”
Her campaign also responded to the Obama campaign’s establishment yesterday of a truth squad to counter inaccurate attacks with a group of rapid responders in February 5th states. In California, the Clintons’ rapid responders are state Controller John Chiang, NAACP chief Alice Huffman, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, and former Congresswoman Lynn Schenk, who was former Governor Gray Davis’s chief of staff.
** TOMORROW — GAME DAY: FLORIDA. Tomorrow, it’s “Game Day: Florida.” I’ll be anchoring PJ Media network’s Florida Republican primary coverage throughout the day on Tuesday, weaving together reports and information from correspondents and contacts inside and outside Nevada and South Carolina. The anchor coverage will be linked to and mirrored here on NWN. This will be a continuation of the “Game Day: Iowa,” “Game Day: New Hampshire,” “Game Day: Michigan And Vegas,” “Game Day: Nevada And South Carolina,” and “Game Day: South Carolina” packages
** PERATA KILLS ARNOLDCARE. California Senate leader Don Perata has just delivered the coup de grace to the ailing universal health care plan pushed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. It’s not a surprise. Here are excerpts from his letter to the governor.
I introduced SB 48 in December 2006, later yielding to the Speaker’s bill in recognition of our mutual commitment to “get something done.” A lot of progress ensued. Many interests became engaged. Regrettably, however, I cannot support ABX1-1 or its companion initiative.
This bill – which is before the Senate, and the initiative, which is not – would create the third-largest program in state government, surpassed only by K-12 education and Medi-Cal. Under any circumstances, but especially in light of the state’s $14.5 billion budget shortfall, we have the fiduciary responsibility to approve a health care coverage plan that is both self financing and fiscally sound and a moral responsibility to protect from harm those who already have health care coverage.
That’s why I asked the Legislative Analyst’s Office for its independent analysis. Its report, released last Tuesday, has identified significant General Fund risks. The Health Care Reform (HCR) plan proposed would grow faster than the revenues chosen to pay for it. If the underlying assumptions are wrong, even by small margins, the potential shortfall could devastate a state budget already teetering on insolvency.
Many other fundamental fiscal concerns were highlighted during the Senate Health Committee’s in-depth hearing on the proposal. …
- The HCR Plan Is Structurally Under Funded. …
- The State’s Fiscal Crisis Could Exacerbate the Structural Shortfall. …
The LAO report notes that the structure of the HCR proposal may allow employers to “game” the minimum spending requirement by making their employees eligible for purchasing pool coverage. …
- The “Trigger On” Mechanism Offers Inadequate General Fund Protection. …
- The “Trigger Off” Mechanism Provides Limited Options to the Legislature. …
- Employers Could Shift Workers into Financially Unstable Plan. …
Some have suggested that the Senate should pass ABX1-1 and let the voters decide. But in view of these aforementioned unanswered fiscal questions, such action would not be appropriate. First, such action would belie serious fiscal and program reservations. Second, the unusual legislation-initiative you have proposed effectively means that health care reform will be decided by whichever clever television advertising is most convincing. Finally, once pursued, there is little chance of repairing the financing mechanism. Either way, it is a poor way to make complex, far-reaching public policy such as health care for all our residents. …
Not exactly a surprise.
** THE KENNEDYS ENDORSE OBAMA. Full text of Senator Ted Kennedy’s speech this afternoon at the American University, Washington, D.C. Thank you, Caroline. Thank you for that wonderful introduction and for your courage and bold vision, for your insight and understanding, and for the power and reach of your words. Like you, we too “want a president who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again.” Thank you, Caroline. Your mother and father would be so proud today.
Thank you, Patrick, for your leadership in Congress and for being here to celebrate and support a leader who truly has the power to inspire and make America good again, “from sea to shining sea.” Thank you, American University.
I feel change in the air.
Every time I’ve been asked over the past year who I would support in the Democratic Primary, my answer has always been the same: I’ll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires all of us, who can lift our vision and summon our hopes and renew our belief that our country’s best days are still to come.
I’ve found that candidate. And it looks to me like you have too.
But first, let me say how much I respect the strength, the work and dedication of two other Democrats still in the race, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. They are my friends; they have been my colleagues in the Senate. John Edwards has been a powerful advocate for economic and social justice. And Hillary Clinton has been in the forefront on issues ranging from health care to the rights of women around the world. Whoever is our nominee will have my enthusiastic support.
Let there be no doubt: We are all committed to seeing a Democratic President in 2008. But I believe there is one candidate who has extraordinary gifts of leadership and character, matched to the extraordinary demands of this moment in history. He understands what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now.”
He will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past. He is a leader who sees the world clearly without being cynical. He is a fighter who cares passionately about the causes he believes in, without demonizing those who hold a different view. He is tough-minded, but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to “the better angels of our nature.”
I am proud to stand here today and offer my help, my voice, my energy and my commitment to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.
Like most of the nation, I was moved four years ago as he told us a profound truth—that we are not, we must not be, just red states and blue states, but one United States. And since that time I have marveled at his grit and his grace as he traveled this country and inspired record turnouts of people of all ages, of all races, of all genders, of all parties and faiths to get “fired up” and “ready to go.”
I’ve seen him connect with people from every walk of life and with Senators on both sides of the aisle. With every person he meets, every crowd he inspires, and everyone he touches, he generates new hope that our greatest days as a nation are still ahead, and this generation of Americans, like others before us, can unite to meet our own rendezvous with destiny.
We know the true record of Barack Obama. There is the courage he showed when so many others were silent or simply went along. From the beginning, he opposed the war in Iraq.
And let no one deny that truth.
There is the great intelligence of someone who could have had a glittering career in corporate law, but chose instead to serve his community and then enter public life.
There is the tireless skill of a Senator who was there in the early mornings to help us hammer out a needed compromise on immigration reform— who always saw a way to protect both national security and the dignity of people who do not have a vote. For them, he was a voice for justice.
And there is the clear effectiveness of Barack Obama in fashioning legislation to put high quality teachers in our classrooms—and in pushing and prodding the Senate to pass the most far-reaching ethics reform in its history.
Now, with Barack Obama, there is a new national leader who has given America a different kind of campaign—a campaign not just about himself, but about all of us. A campaign about the country we will become, if we can rise above the old politics that parses us into separate groups and puts us at odds with one another.
I remember another such time, in the 1960s, when I came to the Senate at the age of 30. We had a new president who inspired the nation, especially the young, to seek a new frontier. Those inspired young people marched, sat in at lunch counters, protested the war in Vietnam and served honorably in that war even when they opposed it. They realized that when they asked what they could do for their country, they could change the world.
It was the young who led the first Earth Day and issued a clarion call to protect the environment; the young who enlisted in the cause of civil rights and equality for women; the young who joined the Peace Corps and showed the world the hopeful face of America.
At the fifth anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps, I asked one of those young Americans why they had volunteered. And I will never forget the answer: “It was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country.”
This is another such time.
I sense the same kind of yearning today, the same kind of hunger to move on and move America forward. I see it not just in young people, but in all our people. And in Barack Obama, I see not just the audacity, but the possibility of hope for the America that is yet to be.
What counts in our leadership is not the length of years in Washington, but the reach of our vision, the strength of our beliefs, and that rare quality of mind and spirit that can call forth the best in our country and our people.
With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion. With Barack Obama, we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay. With Barack Obama, we will close the door on the old economics that has written off the poor and left the middle class poorer and less secure. He offers a strategy for prosperity—so that America will once again lead the world in better standards of life.
With Barack Obama, we will break the old gridlock and finally make health care what it should be in America—a fundamental right for all, not just an expensive privilege for the few. We will make the United States the great leader and not the great roadblock in the fateful fight against global warming.
And with Barack Obama, we will end a war in Iraq that he has always stood against, that has cost us the lives of thousands of our sons and daughters, and that America never should have fought.
I have seen him in the Senate. He will keep us strong and defend the nation against real threats of terrorism and proliferation. So let us reject the counsels of doubt and calculation.
Let us remember that when Franklin Roosevelt envisioned Social Security, he didn’t decide—no, it was too ambitious, too big a dream, too hard. When John Kennedy thought of going to the moon, he didn’t say no, it was too far, maybe we couldn’t get there and shouldn’t even try.
I am convinced we can reach our goals only if we are “not petty when our cause is so great”– only if we find a way past the stale ideas and stalemate of our times – only if we replace the politics of fear with the politics of hope – and only if we have the courage to choose change.
Barack Obama is the one person running for President who can bring us that change. Barack Obama is the one person running for President who can be that change.
I love this country. I believe in the bright light of hope and possibility. I always have, even in the darkest hours. I know what America can achieve. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it—and with Barack Obama, we can do it again.
I know that he’s ready to be President on day one. And when he raises his hand on Inauguration Day, at that very moment, we will lift the spirits of our nation and begin to restore America’s standing in the world.
There was another time, when another young candidate was running for President and challenging America to cross a New Frontier. He faced public criticism from the preceding Democratic President, who was widely respected in the party. Harry Truman said we needed “someone with greater experience”—and added: “May I urge you to be patient.” And John Kennedy replied: “The world is changing. The old ways will not do…It is time for a new generation of leadership.”
So it is with Barack Obama. He has lit a spark of hope amid the fierce urgency of now. I believe that a wave of change is moving across America. If we do not turn aside, if we dare to set our course for the shores of hope, we together will go beyond the divisions of the past and find our place to build the America of the future.
My friends, I ask you to join in this historic journey — to have the courage to choose change. It is time again for a new generation of leadership. It is time now for Barack Obama.
** A BRIEF COMMENT. With regard to the Kennedy message in endorsing Barack Obama today. You can see in Ted Kennedy’s remarks an implicit, well, actually, explicit rebuke to the attacks leveled on Obama by Bill and Hillary Clinton. It is clear that now the former president will have someone else to tangle with when he decides again to attack the first black candidate for president with a real chance at gaining the office. (With all due respect to the formidable Jesse Jackson.)
Sources close to the Kennedy family, in this case, very close, tell me that the principals in the family were and are quite perturbed by the Clintons’ tactics in recent weeks. They intend to put a stop to it. If the tactics do not stop, they intend to make the Clintons pay.
Also of interest is Ted Kennedy’s references to his assassinated brothers, President John Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. Kennedy watchers know that this is not done lightly, if at all. Usually, in fact, not at all. Yet with regard to this young, arriviste, half-black, half-white freshman senator from Illinois, it is done quite freely. This is remarkable.
** BLESSING IN DISGUISE FOR SCHWARZENEGGER? The inside word, for what that is worth, is that Governor Arnold Schwarznegger’s quest for a universal health care program for California is likely to die today in the state Senate. Which, if I may be so bold, would likely be a blessing in disguise for the former action superstar. Having a humongous tax, er, fee program hanging out there until November — when voters would have to approve it — would make for a difficult year in what is already a difficult year, given the state’s chronic budget woes with the latest downturn in the business cycle. Not having to defend a Rube Goldberg-style social engineering program all year is not exactly a negative in this context. But what do I know?
** 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 has again dropped below $90 per barrel, on renewed fears of a US and global economic slowdown.
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