Barack Obama speaks last night in Houston after winning a
landslide victory in the Wisconsin primary.
** FLASH: NY TIMES BREAKS WEB STORY ON MCCAIN RELATIONSHIP WITH MUCH YOUNGER LOBBYIST. The New York Times has just posted a story on what from some angles can appear to be an inappropriate relationship during his 2000 presidential campaign with an attractive blonde lobbyist 31 years his junior. I have briefly scanned this story just now, and, in my current exhausted state, have no further value-added to impart. This is a story that has been in the works since December, but was not published prior to the New Hampshire primary.
** FEBRUARY 20TH: IN PERSPECTIVE. Let’s see. In the 1984 race, the first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses were on … February 20th. Today.
But this February 20th, we have already decided the Republican presidential nomination. And the Democratic race, after dozens of state contests, has replaced an “inevitable” frontrunner fronting the most fearsome national political machine in decades with a skinny black guy with big ears and a funny name.
** INTERESTING PROJECT: SUPERDELEGATE INVESTIGATION. Here’s an interesting project. The Huffington Post, via editor Marc Cooper, an old NWN friend, is launching a citizen journalism project to look into the question of just who are these Democratic superdelegates.
** BUSH VIEWED NEGATIVELY ACROSS THE BOARD. A new national Gallup Poll on President George W. Bush shows his performance to be viewed as negative on every issue area polled. Those numbers are all down compared to a year ago.; Overall, 65% disapprove of his job performance; only 31% approve.
Only 22% approve of his handling of immigration, 25% on health care, 26% on energy, 27% on the economy, 31% on Iraq, 32% on overall foreign affairs, and 47% on terrorism. That last is clearly his best area. Yet 49% disapprove of Bush’s handling of terrorism.
So presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain and the rest of the Republican Party have a tremendous problem. How to use the asset of Bush’s still strong fundraising capability — which they obviously need, given the relative paucity of Republican fundraising compared to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — without becoming further entangled in his sinking policy legacy.
** BLOOMBERG CHARGES FRAUD IN NEW YORK VOTE COUNT. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it’s a matter of “fraud” that Barack Obama came away with zero votes in more than 80 districts in New York City during the New York presidential primary on February 5th. The districts include many dominated by African American voters. The billionaire media mogul has been weighing an independent presidential candidacy.
“If you want to call it significant undercounting, I guess that’s a euphemism for fraud,” he said yesterday.
** TEAMSTERS TO BACK OBAMA. A labor source tell NWN that the massive International Brotherhood of Teamsters will back Barack Obama for president. The union comprises some 1.4 million members, in a myriad of occupations.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama rallies in Dallas, Texas.
Michelle Obama has rallies in Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island.
Hillary Clinton has events in New York, Hidalgo, Texas and Brownsville, Texas.
Bill Clinton rallies across Texas in Galveston, Beaumont, Victoria, and Houston.
John McCain has events in Sugar Grove, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio, and Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Mike Huckabee has an event in Plano, Texas.
** CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS AT CORE OF NEW ANTI-OBAMA CAMPAIGN.
NWN has learned that several California Democrats are at the center of the brand new independent expenditure 527 campaign committee to take down Barack Obama.
This is the pro-Hillary Clinton committee, organized under the controversial 527 code, much rumored and discussed here several times. It was expected to appear after Clinton’s expected defeat in New Hampshire. But in the event, she narrowly won, and the need for extreme measures was averted. Then.
The American Leadership Project is soliciting funds in chunks of $100,000 from Clinton donors in hopes of amassing a $10 million warchest to help Hillary Clinton defeat Obama in upcoming contests. While Pennsylvania lawyer William Titelman, a top fundraiser for New Mexico Governor and former Clinton Cabinet member Bill Richardson, is the group’s chief solicitor, the group is mostly run out of California.
Two top hands in the late Gray Davis Administration, Jason Kinney and Roger Salazar (co-publishers of the California Majority Report web site, launched with a lot of promotion on NWN), are in the core group, with Kinney reportedly in more of a leadership role. Kinney, an early Clinton supporter, is a partner in the Sacramento-based California Strategies firm, a senior advisor to state Senate leader Don Perata, and was chief speechwriter for former California Governor Davis. Salazar, of the Sacramento-based Acosta/Salazar, was campaign press secretary for ex-Governor Davis and is chief spokesman for the California Democratic Party. Other consultants include Mattis Goldman, media consultant for LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (a national chair of the Clinton campaign), Paul Rivera, a former senior advisor to John Kerry’s campaign, and Erick Mullen, who has worked with a number of politicians.
The legal work is handled by the firm of Remcho, Johansen, and Purcell, historically the California Democratic insiders’ political law firm. The accountant is Nancy Warren of San Francisco’s Warren & Associates.
UPDATE: Here is the group’s 527 filing, listing Roger Salazar as the president. He is in Sacramento. The headquarters address is listed in San Francisco.
Hillary Clinton, speaking this morning in New York following crushing defeats
in Wisconsin and Hawaii, says she is “the only choice” for president.
Kinney has already confirmed his role to me early this morning.
I know some of these guys quite well. And will have some thoughts on what they are likely to do, and how well it is likely to go.
There are no limits on what this group can raise. Legally, of course, it can’t coordinate with the Clinton campaign. We’ve seen this sort of thing here in California in 2006, when mega-developer Angelo Tsakopoulos and his family funded a $10 million “independent expenditure” campaign to boost the failing fortunes of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.
** NEW NATIONAL POLL: BIG LEAD FOR OBAMA OVER CLINTON. A new Reuters/Zogby poll has Barack Obama surging past Hillary Clinton, 52% to 38%. In general matchups, Obama leads John McCain, 49% to 42%. Conversely, McCain leads Clinton, 50% to 38%.
** OBAMA RAISED $36 MILLION IN JANUARY. The campaigns are reporting their January fundraising hauls to federal election authorities. It turns out that Obama, who had earlier said he’d raised $32 million in January, actually four million more. Hillary Clinton raised $13.5 million.
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain raised $12.8 million in January.
Obama had 300,000 contributors in January. About 200,000 of them were first-time contributors to Obama.
John McCain decries Obama’s “eloquent but empty call for change.”
** A PERSONAL NOTE. After yesterday’s “Longest Day” Game Day coverage — stretching well into the early morning with the exclusive coverage of Hawaii — things are going to be a bit more sedate here on NWN today. I’ve slept two hours out of the past 27 hours.
** 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 trading in the $98 to $99 per barrel range after a record close yesterday over $100 per barrel.
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