Rudy Giuliani endorses John McCain for president.
** DEMOCRATS: CLOSING UP. A very key moment tonight in the Democratic presidential race with the final pre-Super Tuesday debate at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Barack Obama did a big town hall meeting at multi-racial, and heavily Latino, LA Trade Tech College earlier today, and sounded more than a little like John Edwards, discussing class and racial divides. Like Hillary Clinton, Obama will have a private LA fundraiser after the debate. She’s in a private residence, with Barbra Streisand in attendance; he’s in a trendy club.
In addition to the latest Rasmussen poll, other private polling shows the California primary closing up. It’s not clear when Obama will again be in California. Hillary campaigns in the Golden State Friday and Saturday. And I believe Bill Clinton is coming back. For Obama, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry are coming into California, with Kennedy campaigning in both halves of the state tomorrow.
** REPUBLICANS: WRAPPING UP. Mitt Romney campaigned today in Southern California, Long Beach to be specific. He has not been advertising in California, though he was fairly close in the polls prior to McCain’s Florida win and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of McCain. His campaign is playing it close to the vest about his next moves. All they’ll say is he will spend something in the millions of dollars on TV ads for Super Tuesday.
As for McCain, he followed up his Schwarzenegger endorsement this morning by gaining the endorsement of a popular hard right politician, Texas Governor Rick Perry. He wowed the hard right of the California party at last fall’s convention in Palm Springs when he followed Schwarzenegger’s tough talk about relevance with a big dose of the old time religion. But now, like Schwarzenegger, he’s with that raging moderate McCain.
** NIGHT-TIME VIEWING. The Democratic candidates debate tonight in Los Angeles, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Live at 5 PM Pacific time, it’s the first one-on-one showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. A two-hour debate.
Lost also returns tonight.
Later tonight, John McCain appears on The Tonight Show with Schwarzenegger friend Jay Leno.
** NATIONAL GALLUP POLL: BIG MCCAIN LEAD, OBAMA CLOSING ON CLINTON. The new Gallup Poll shows a big lead on the Republican side for John McCain and a tight race on the Democratic side between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
On the Republican side, it’s McCain 37%, Mitt Romney 22%, and Mike Huckabee 17%.
On the Democratic side, it’s Clinton 43% and Obama 39%.
McCain’s edge over Romney is increasing in the wake of the Vietnam War hero’s victory in Florida. And Obama is closing in on Hillary in the wake of his win in South Carolina and endorsement by the Kennedys.
** SCHWARZENEGGER ENDORSES MCCAIN, PUSHES SOLAR AND CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION. As first predicted and then reported here, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning endorsed John McCain. He did so at the LA firm Solar Integrated Technologies, at an event which drew 24 TV cameras and extensive live coverage on all cable news networks. Also on hand was Schwarzenegger’s other friend, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who withdrew yesterday and endorsed McCain before last night’s debate at the Reagan Library.
All three, and in particular Schwarzenegger and McCain, pushed “green tech,” including solar power, as a way to fight climate change and wean America off its fateful fixation on oil and gas from dangerous areas of the world.
Incidentally, in last night’s debate, all four Republican presidential candidates — including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul — endorsed Schwarzenegger’s call for the federal government to allow California to pursue its extensive climate change program. This is currently being blocked by President Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency, which has prompted legal action against the administration by former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown.
** OBAMA RAISED $32 MILLION IN JANUARY, MAKES POST-SUPER TUESDAY AD BUY. Barack Obama’s campaign announced that it has raised a single-month record total of $32 million in January. It is now buying time in post-Super Tuesday contests. These include Washington State, Nebraska, and Louisiana, all of which hold contests on February 9th, Maine, which holds its caucuses on February 10th, and the February 12th primaries in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland.
** REPUBLICAN DEBATE LAST NIGHT CHANGED NOTHING, ARNOLD ENDORSES MCCAIN THIS MORNING. The Republican presidential debate last night at the Reagan Library was essentially uneventful. Frontrunner John McCain lured Mitt Romney into a lengthy attempt to defend his position on Iraq, sitting back with a sly grin as the former moderate Massachusetts governor who now wants to be the champion of the hard right explained that he really wasn’t against the surge in Iraq.
Meanwhile, as you know, McCain had just received the endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. And, as exclusively revealed below, will get Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s backing this morning. As the California ABC stations reported, I predicted it in my column of January 20th, contrary to the other California media reports.
McCain already led in California. Schwarzenegger’s backing will, absent some unforeseen event, such as sudden onset of Tourette’s Syndrome, ensure a McCain victory in the Golden State. McCain is in good shape around the country on Super-Duper Tuesday. Indeed, an interesting question is why so many hard right talk show hosts, columnists, pundits, and bloggers are dead set against him. He can win the presidency, and is by any measure on the scale of politics, on balance, a conservative. But he’s not hewing, as it were, to their particular doctrines.
I mean, they love Nicolas Sarkozy. Who is a raging socialist compared to McCain. I understand hyperpartisan thinking. Yet I still marvel at it.
Caroline Kennedy and Barack Obama talk about “a new generation of leadership.”
** RASMUSSEN: HILLARY BY 3 POINTS IN CALIFORNIA. Last week, my old acquaintance Dan Walters, the conservative who has for decades had a near daily column in the Sacramento Bee, wrote that California was such an unimportant presidential primary that the candidates, such as Hillary Clinton in particular, wouldn’t bother to campaign here. As fate would have it, Hillary came to California that very day, flying across the country after the South Carolina debate for a big town hall meeting, and for the endorsement of the United Farm Workers.
The Republicans, of course, debated last night at the Reagan Library, in far suburban LA. The Democrats, of course, debate tonight in Hollywood. John McCain, as I’ve been exclusively reporting since January 20th, will pick up the endorsement of California’s governor in a high profile event.
And now, Hillary Clinton is coming back to California again. Not just around tonight’s California debate, but on Friday and Saturday. And her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will also return to the Golden State he stumped for a day just last week.
Why is this?
Well, because — notwithstanding the latest LA Times poll, which you’ve noticed I don’t really pay attention to, after its preposterous results in the 2003 recall campaign — the Clinton/Obama race in California is tightening. Private polling has had it well into the single digits.
And the new sounding from the Rasmussen robopoll has it close to a dead heat. Clinton 43%, Obama 40%. This is why the Clintons are rushing back to the state they have taken as their turf since Bill was first elected president in 1992.
Hillary Clinton says she tries “to help somebody” every day.
** DEMOCRATIC DEBATE TONIGHT AT THE KODAK. The two remaining Democratic candidates, the frontrunners in the early contests, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, debate tonight at the site of the Oscars, the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. (Hollywood, for those of you who have not been there, isn’t really “Hollywood.” That is further to the west. Hollywood is where I lived as a VISTA Volunteer, which should tell you a lot about it, although it has been cleaned up in recent years.
As the candidates prepare, they do so in the shadow of a report from ABC which casts a bad light on Senator Clinton. She does speak often, as NWN readers know, of her 35 years of experience as a change-maker. But when the ABC investigative unit went over tapes of dozens of her meetings as a member of the board of Wal-Mart, they noticed that she did not speak up for labor rights or protest about sharply anti-union sentiments expressed by directors of the notoriously union-busting company.
This is probably why Obama brought up her years as a Wal-Mart director in the contentious debate in South Carolina. And this is why Hillary struck back immediately saying Obama had busied himself working for his “slum landlord” benefactor in Chicago.
** 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 is back up, trading between $91 and $92 per barrel.
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