Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama today in Portland, Oregon.
** SCUFFLING ENDS FOR THE DAY. This stuff gets very old. Let’s see, Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn, he of the endless Hillary-is-inevitable memos, said today on one of those increasingly goofy conference calls that Bill Richardson’s endorsement isn’t important, that his time has passed. Which would be why Bill and Hillary Clinton kept pushing to get it, and why the candidate herself did not take the news from Richardson in last night’s phone call terribly well.
Bill Clinton said in, ah, somewhere in North Carolina, that a race between John McCain and his wife would be a race between two patriotic people, absent all the “distractions” that often intrude in politics. Which some bloggers and press interpreted as a knock on Obama. I don’t think so. I think it’s his opinion, perhaps fanciful in imagining that the far right would not knock themselves out with their longstanding Hillary hatred, but I didn’t hear an imputation that Obama is not patriotic.
And there is another new poll, a CBS poll, that much like this morning’s Rasmussen poll indicates that Obama did quite well with his speech on race and Wright on Tuesday. I’ll get into that poll, and the overall issue, in the Monday Morning Quarterback column. Which I will front, incidentally, with the opening scene from a famous movie. Any guesses?
** BROWN PUSHES ON GREENHOUSE EFFECT. With all the continued focus here on presidential politics — much of it occasioned by the Clintons’ continuing rearguard actions against Democratic presidential frontrunner Barack Obama — former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown has been up to some interesting things in his work against climate change. He has, of course, joined forces with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in suing the Bush Administration for it foot-dragging and ultimate refusal to issue the customary clearance for the state to pursue its landmark law cutting greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles. Many other states have followed California’s lead in the absence of federal action.
Meanwhile, Brown is working with local elected officials around the state to make the greenhouse effect a part of the planning process. This week, he convened the first in a series of workshops to develop this program, meeting with some 200 local officials in Oakland. “In the absence of national leadership,” Brown said, “local government must take the lead in bringing about a low-carbon future.”
This was the first of five Brown workshops with local officials around California. Four more such workshops will take place, in Sacramento, Visalia, Monterey, and Los Angeles.
Brown stressed the need to combat climate by setting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Governor Schwarzenegger’s appointee Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, joined Brown — her one-time boss — and discussed local government’s role in California’s plan to fight global climate change.
** THE DEMOCRATIC FUNDRAISING GAP. According to the AP, the fundraising gap between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton only increased last month.
Hillary Rodham Clinton upped the tempo of her fundraising and her spending last month, only to be eclipsed by rival Barack Obama. At month’s end, with debts of nearly $9 million, her money was nearly spent and he was sitting atop $30 million in available cash. …
Both Democrats ended up with more than $30 million in the bank, but Clinton can’t use two-thirds of her cash on hand because it’s only for the general election. That and her debt left her with less than $3 million in the black. The debt doesn’t include the $5 million she lent her campaign in January.
** HILLARY’S ANTI-NAFTA ROLE AGAIN DISPUTED. According to the ABC News blog, Hillary Clinton’s claims of having opposed NAFTA during her time as first lady — which coincides with President Bill Clinton pushing through the controversial North American trade pact — have again been disputed. This time by multiple, on-the-record sources with contemporaneous knowledge of her activities. In this case, three former Clinton Administration officials.
“The Clinton campaign,” writes ABC correspondent Jake Tapper, “continues to propagate this myth” that the former first lady opposed NAFTA.
UPDATE: The item I linked to below, on the well-regarded (and frequently pro-Hillary) Political Wire site, with regard to Clinton fundraising claims, has been removed. Apparently the author misread the numbers. I say apparently because the item was simply removed, rather than explained.
** CLINTON DIDN’T RAISE $35 MILLION IN FEBRUARY. Remember those claims from the Hillary Clinton campaign that they raised $35 million in February? Supposedly on the strength of “one million dollars a day on the Internet,” a much ballyhooed claim during the month.
I said at the time that that did not sound right to me. And got some flak from some flacks for it. Not that that sort of thing is effective.
Turns out that my view, based on a sense of political reality, as well as some sources around the Clinton campaign, was correct.
** VOTER GRADES FOR THE OBAMA SPEECH. The Rasmussen robopoll nightly track of US voters has grades for Barack Obama’s big speech on race. They are generally good. Especially with regard to his short-term prospects for the Democratic presidential nomination.
84% of likely US voters say they have seen or heard at least part of the Obama speech. 51% say the senator’s speech is excellent or good, 26% say it’s fair, and 21% say it’s poor. There is, naturally, a big partisan gap here. 67% of Democrats call it excellent or good, along with 53% of independents, but only 31% of Republicans.
45% of white voters call the speech excellent or good, while 86% of black voters feel that way.
So as I said immediatly after Obama delivered the speech, it’s a strong effort that helps tremendously with the Democratic nomination, perhaps guaranteeing it to him. However, there is much more to be done for a general election. Unanswered questions that must be answered. And I’ll be writing about that in the Monday Morning Quarterback column.
Republican presidential runner-up Mike Huckabee discusses
his campaign just past and defends Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama campaigns today in Oregon, with events in Portland, where he will be endorsed by New Mexico Governor and former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson, Salem, and Eugene.
Hillary Clinton is down for the day at home in Chappaqua, New York.
Bill Clinton campaigns in Charlotte and Cary, North Carolina.
After meeting with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, John McCain continues his foreign tour in France, where he meets with President Nicolas Sarkozy.
** BILL RICHARDSON FOR OBAMA. Saying he feels a kinship with the freshman Illinois senator as someone who grew up “between worlds,” declaring it’s time for “a new generation of leadership,” New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson informed his presidential campaign supporters last night that he will endorse Barack Obama this morning in Portland.
Richardson, a native Californian, is the nation’s only Latino governor and the first major Latino presidential candidate. He finished fourth in the Democratic nomination race.
Famed for his international trouble-shooting, first as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, then as a member of the Bill Clinton Cabinet, and as New Mexico’s governor, Richardson held two Cabinet posts under President Bill Clinton. He served as US ambassador to the United Nations and as US secretary of energy. He also watched the Super Bowl together with Clinton this year.
At times, Richardson appeared to be Hillary Clinton’s wing man in the presidential campaign debates, with many thinking he was positioning to become her vice president. But as time went on, say his associates, his admiration for Obama grew substantially.
Richardson has been a very successful and popular governor of New Mexico, a key swing state in the November election, and is well known for his ability to reach across the aisle. For example, he and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger forged a Western states pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama will continue to roll out major endorsements for the rest of his campaign for the nomination. Aside from Congressman Jack Murtha, I don’t recall the last big name endorsement for Hillary Clinton. Of their U.S. Senate colleagues, Obama has been endorsed by 15 senators, Clinton by 12.
Here are excerpts from Richardson’s message late last night to his supporters:
We are blessed to have two great American leaders and great Democrats running for President. My affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver. It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall. The 1990′s were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward. Barack Obama will be a historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad.
Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama gave an historic speech, that addressed the issue of race with the eloquence, sincerity, and optimism we have come to expect of him. He inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility. He asked us to rise above our racially divided past, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.
As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words. I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants–specifically Hispanics– by too many in this country. Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences–and place blame on others not like them. …
Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race. He understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.
His words are those of a courageous, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who understands that a house divided against itself cannot stand. And, after nearly eight years of George W. Bush, we desperately need such a leader.
To reverse the disastrous policies of the last seven years, rebuild our economy, address the housing and mortgage crisis, bring our troops home from Iraq and restore America’s international standing, we need a President who can bring us together as a nation so we can confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad.
During the past year, I got to know Senator Obama as we campaigned against each other for the Presidency, and I felt a kinship with him because we both grew up between worlds, in a sense, living both abroad and here in America. In part because of these experiences, Barack and I share a deep sense of our nation’s special responsibilities in the world.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. After spending most of the week launching his drive for California budget reform, and musing about shifting tax policies, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles today for private meetings and conversations.
Incidentally, the new TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which Schwarzenegger has no formal connection with, has not yet been renewed for a second season. But Fox TV sources indicate that it will be.
In part because of cross-promotional opportunities with the renewed Terminator film series. Schwarzenegger is not formally involved with that, either, but I predict that he will be down the line.
** 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 $101 to $103 per barrel range. The oil price has dropped dramatically in the past few days on expectations of a global economic slowdown and possible recession.
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