Bill Clinton spins his wife’s Bosnia sniper fire fantasy yesterday in Indiana.
** SCHWARZENEGGER OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE BAN. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, speaking this afternoon to the national convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the principal organization for gays and lesbians in the Republican Party, said in answer to a question that he will campaign to defeat a proposed ban on gay and lesbian marriage that may appear on the November California ballot.
Schwarzenegger appeared representing both himself and the John McCain campaign. Which presents an intriguing question going forward.
** MCCAIN WILL TAKE PUBLIC FUNDING, OBAMA LIKELY TO OPT OUT. John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis reportedly told a group of Republican congressional chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill today that the campaign will take the $85 million in public financing available for a major party nominee for the general election. That makes sense, because even though McCain’s fundraising has picked it up, it trails far behind that of Barack Obama, even Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, the McCain campaign is keeping up the pressure on Obama, who they expect to face in the fall, on his backing away from a seeming earlier promise to take public financing himself. Of course, Obama said this — in a statement leaving him some wiggle room, but the intent of which was clear — last year before he proved to have an enormous fundraising appeal, especially on the Internet.
Obama is starting to make the argument that Internet fundraising is a form of public financing. Which is probably a pretty good counter to the McCain criticism.
** TOP SADR AIDE ASSASSINATED AS FACTIONAL FIGHTING CONTINUES. While the latest Clinton melodrama continues to distract, a top deputy to Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr was assassinated today. Riyadh al Nouri was killed after his daily prayers. Nouri was one of the key political players with the Sadr movement, important to its plans for upcoming Iraqi national elections.
Prime Minister Maliki’s move against the Sadr forces in Basra, which did not go well and ended with a deal brokered in Iran, looks at least in part like a move to shape the playing field for the elections. Today’s assassination is definitely that. But by whom?
UPDATE: Former President Bill Clinton said today that his wife called him and reminded him that he didn’t know what happened in Bosnia and he should leave any explanations to her. Good advice.
** BILL CLINTON: THERE HE GOES AGAIN. You may recall I wrote this in the Monday Morning Quarterback column about the week to come. “It’s also a week in which Hillary Clinton’s trailing campaign must sort itself out after the sacking of chief strategist Mark Penn, try to keep former President Bill Clinton from having another outburst, answer more questions about the Clintons’ sudden post-White House wealth, and push hard to try to make up an increasingly large fundraising gap with frontrunner Barack Obama.”
Well, the Clinton campaign decidedly did not succeed in keeping President Clinton from having another outburst. It happened late yesterday in Indiana, when he tried to spin Hillary’s Bosnia sniper fire debacle. You can watch the video above.
Bizarrely, Clinton did it twice yesterday. Also bizarrely, he was not accompanied by a campaign press aide.
BILL CLINTON: A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me. But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995. Did y’all see all that. Oh, they blew it up. Let me just tell you.
The president of Bosnia and Gen. Wesley Clark — who was there making peace where we’d lost three peacekeepers who had to ride on a dangerous mountain road because it was too dangerous to go the regular, safe way — both defended her because they pointed out that when her plane landed in Bosnia, she had to go up to the bulletproof part of the plane, in the front. Everybody else had to put their flack jackets underneath the seat in case they got shot at. And everywhere they went they were covered by Apache helicopters.
So they just abbreviated the arrival ceremony.
Now I say that because, what really has mattered is that even then she was interested in our troops. And I think she was the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone. And you woulda thought, you know, that she’d robbed a bank the way they carried on about this.
And some of them when they’re 60 they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11:00 at night, too.
There are so many false statements in there. Hillary didn’t spin her tall tale late at night, one time. It happened several times, never late at night when she was tired, including in a prepared speech text delivered in Washington, D.C. But you know this. The flak jacket story is false. The president of Bosnia didn’t defend her story. The arrival ceremony — the one in the real world where the little girl read her a poem on the tarmac, rather than the Hillary version of dodging sniper fire as she ran to her vehicle — was not abbreviated. Hillary didn’t “forget” anything, she made it up. And for someone who wants to answer the red phone at “3 AM,” it’s best not to complain about being tired at 11 PM.
Oh, and the attempt to turn Hillary’s debacle in an historic first — first first lady in a war zone since Eleanor Roosevelt — that’s wrong, too. Patricia Nixon went to Vietnam. During the height of the Vietnam War.
It makes one wonder how Bill Clinton would have done in 1992 with the Internet and easily accessible video and without a compliant press corps that allowed him to skate on such “misstatements.”
** NEW PODCAST. My thoughts on the road ahead.
** SCHWARZENEGGER LIVE WEBCAST THIS MORNING. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cuts the ribbon on the west approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in an event starting at 10:40 AM. The event will be webcast live via this link.
The west approach is on the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge, a one-mile stretch of Interstate 80 linking San Francisco to the Bay Bridge. For seismic safety reasons, the entire section had to be removed and replaced, all while nearly 300,000 cars continued to use it every day.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama campaigns across Indiana in Indianapolis, Columbus, and Terre Haute.
Hillary Clinton is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bill Clinton is in Clinton and Greencastle, Indiana and Roanoke Rapids and Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
John McCain is in Lubbock, Texas.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses the national convention of the Log Cabin Republicans this afternoon in San Diego. The Log Cabin Republicans is the principal organization for gay and lesbian Republicans.
Schwarzenegger is appearing both on his own hook and as a surrogate for John McCain.
** 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. After surging to a record high of $112 per barrel yesterday, crude oil is trading in the $109 to $110 per barrel range.
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