Barack Obama tries to deal with his white working class problem.
** ONE WEEK AFER “BITTERGATE” BREAKS, HUFFINGTON POST HAS AUDIO OF A PRIVATE CLINTON FUNDRAISER IN WHICH SHE SLAMS PARTY ACTIVISTS. The Huffington Post and its Off The Bus project, which inadvertently sparked a media firestorm around its preferred candidate, Barack Obama, late this afternoon released audio of Hillary Clinton slamming Democratic activists at one of her private fundraisers.
Clinton, in remarks at an undisclosed private fundraiser sometime after February 5th’s Super Tuesday, blames the party’s “activist base” for many of her defeats.
“We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn’t even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.”
Incidentally, it is not my impression that Obama has been winning most of the caucuses because of MoveOn.org, much less folks who didn’t want to go into Afghanistan to take down the Taliban after 9/11. Texas, for example, where Obama won big, had a record 1.1 million people participating in the Democratic caucuses.
MoveOn, incidentally, denies Clinton’s closed-door charge that it opposed the war in Afghanistan.
** NEWSWEEK NATIONAL POLL: OBAMA PULLING AWAY. Newsweek’s national poll, taken April 16-17, shows Barack Obama pulling away from Hillary Clinton. It’s Obama 54%, Clinton 35%.
This poll was taken the night of the controversial ABC debate in Philly, and the following day.
Key takeaways: Who is most electable among Democrats? Obama 55%, Clinton 33%. Does the candidate share your values? Obama 53%, Clinton 47%, John McCain 45%. Is the candidate honest and trustworthy? Obama and McCain both score 61% yes on trustworthiness. Clinton scores 51% no on trustworthiness.
Hillary’s Bosnian Adventure was much more damaging than Obama’s Bittergate and the Wright Stuff.
In case you were wondering why the McCain campaign, the Republican Party, and much of the conservative infosphere did not jump on Clinton for her sniper fire fantasies, but jumped all over Obama for Bittergate and the Wright Stuff …
** JOHN MCCAIN’S WEALTH. John McCain put out records today indicating that he made about $400,000 last year. Not included are his wife Cindy’s records. She is estimated to be worth about $100 million. The couple hold their assets separately and file taxes separately. This makes the McCains the wealthiest couple in the presidential race, topping the post-presidential fortune raked in by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Barack and Michelle Obama, who have made mere millions — Obama finished paying off his student loans a few years back — are the pikers in this scenario.
Cindy McCain, or, actually, Cindy Hensley McCain, is chairwoman of Hensley & Co., headquartered in Phoenix. Hensley & Co., founded by Cindy’s late father, Jim Hensley, is one of the largest Anheuser & Busch beer wholesalers and distributors in America, and one of the largest privately held companies in Arizona. Cindy McCain is not releasing her tax returns.
Bottom line. The bulk of the McCain wealth stems from Cindy’s role with Hensley & Co. The bulk of the Clinton wealth stems from Bill’s post-presidential lectures, consulting, and books. The bulk of the Obama wealth stems from Barack’s books.
** OIL PRICE HITS NEW RECORDS — UP $7 PER BARREL THIS WEEK. Crude hit a new trading record of $117 per barrel today and a new closing record of $116.69 per barrel. The upward spike came after Nigerian rebels bombed a major oil pipeline owned by Royal Dutch Shell. The price had already been propped up by the dollar trading at record lows against the euro and a huge risk premium built into the price by ongoing Middle Eastern crises.
I was already paying $4 a gallon for gas before this.
In this one week, dominated amongst the political chatterers by talk of flag pins, make-up, bowling, candidate age, etc., the price of crude oil has gone up by a whopping seven dollars a barrel.
How much did this issue figure in Wednesday night’s presidential debate? Not at all. I’m sure you’ll get better mileage fueling your vehicles with flag pins.
In other uplifting news, California’s unemployment rate hit 6.2%. This is in part due to the housing crisis and the impact of higher energy costs.
** MY NEW PODCAST. The road beyond Bittergate. Does Obama have Reagan-like teflon? And more.
** SOUTHERN DEMOCRATIC POWER BROKERS BACK OBAMA. Former U.S. Senators Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren of Oklahoma have just endorsed Barack Obama.
Nunn was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the ’80s and ’90s. Boren was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the ’80s and ’90s. The two will serve on Obama’s national security policy team.
Nunn is an iconic figure in the national security and foreign policy firmament. In his endorsement statement, he said: “America remains the strongest nation in the world, but we can only be successful in tackling our toughest problems if we gain cooperation at home and abroad. Our next president – working across party and economic lines – must restore and strengthen our national purpose, our credibility, our competence and our spirit. We need a president who has the temperament of a leader – a sharp, incisive, strategic mind, a rare capacity for self criticism, and a willingness to hear contrary points of view. Based on my conversations with Senator Obama, reading his book and his speeches and seeing the kind of campaign he has run, I believe that he is our best choice to lead our nation.”
** RASMUSSEN PENNSYLVANIA POLL, POST-DEBATE. Those busy Rasmussen robots did a tracking poll last night in Pennsylvania, following the controversial ABC debate Wednesday night. They detected, along their track, a somewhat narrowing race.
It’s Hillary Clinton 47%, Barack Obama 44%.
The debate was a mixed bag. On the one hand, Obama did not do well. On the other hand, the debate was something of a dumbed-down farce. In fact, when you consider the huge issues getting short shrift, or no shrift at all, the people running these debates have little to be proud of.
** SCHWARZENEGGER ADDRESSES YALE CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE. Fresh from a speech in Manhattan and two big-money fundraisers for his California Dream Team hosted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and financier Ronald Perelman, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is today at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut where he will keynote the Yale Conference of Governors on Climate Change.
Following his address, Schwarzenegger, still on the Yale campus, will meet with Quebec Premier Jean Charest to discuss further moves on climate change.
** SCHWARZENEGGER IN NEW YORK. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got good coverage in New York from his appearance at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s issues luncheon yesterday. But for once, the former action superstar didn’t have the most controversial comment.
That honor went to Schwarzenegger’s friend Bloomberg, the media billionaire and political independent who seriously explored an independent run for president and is now weighing which candidate he will support.
“I’m looking for a candidate,” said Bloomberg, “who is willing to face reality and say we can’t have everything, and there are costs, and we’ve got to make choices. At least we’ll have an adult in office who can lead and can accomplish something.” The mayor wouldn’t say if the latter was a negative reference to President George W. Bush.
Bloomberg is a key ally of Schwarzenegger on climate change, renewable energy, infrastructure, and redistricting reform, emerging as a big backer of the governor’s initiative drive for the November ballot.
Schwarzenegger said the two parties’ hold on districts in his state reminds him of election results under former Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting him to try to break the partisan gridlock.
“I sleep with a Democrat every night,” the Republican governor said, referring to his wife, journalist Maria Shriver. “How difficult can it be? I didn’t go to Sacramento and tell Democrats and Republicans they should sleep together. That’s my trip. But the bottom line is, I wanted them to work together.”
Hillary Clinton dismisses criticism of the ABC debate.
** THE NEW “JUDAS”: CLINTON CABINET MEMBER AND OLD FRIEND ROBERT REICH. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, classmate of Bill Clinton’s at Oxford — where they were both Rhodes Scholars — and friend of the Clintons for decades, will today endorse Barack Obama.
The reason? Dislike of Clinton’s campaign.
Says Reich: I saw the ads…and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It’s the worst of all worlds. We have three terrible traditions that we’ve developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn’t possibly believe and doesn’t possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I’ve seen growing in Hillary’s campaign. And I’ve come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can’t in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They’re lending legitimacy to a Republican message that’s wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past 20 years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It’s old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It’s just so deeply cynical.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Erie, Williamsport, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Hillary Clinton is in Radnor, Pennsylvania and Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Bill Clinton is in Moon Township, Connellsville, Somerset, Fort Washington, Lansdale, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
John McCain is in Washington, D.C.
Vladimir Putin yesterday became chairman of the ruling United
Russia Party. The outgoing president will become prime minister next month.
** HARD POLITICAL REALITIES IN THE REST OF THE WORLD. While two debate moderators who don’t wear flag pins and never served in the military hector a candidate who doesn’t wear a flag pin and never served in the military about why he doesn’t wear a flag pin — meanwhile conveniently ignoring that the other candidates in both parties don’t wear flag pins, either — real stuff is happening elsewhere.
For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday became chairman of the ruling United Russia Party. Next month, when he leaves the presidency to his longtime top aide Dmitry Medvedev — who neither Democratic candidate seemed to know much about, and whose name supposed geopolitical expert Hillary Clinton couldn’t pronounce — Putin will become Russia’s prime minister.
It’s all part of his plan to be Russia’s “national leader,” though he will share some power with the new president.
Meanwhile, the president of the Palestinian Authority went to Moscow this week. Why? Because Moscow is planning to host a Middle East peace conference. Perhaps it will be more meaningful than the failed conference that the US hosted last year at Annapolis.
Is there any coverage of these matters in the US? Of course not.
The 55-year old Putin, incidentally, denies persistent reports that he is divorcing his wife of 25 years to marry a 25-year old rhythm gymnastics star and Playboy model who he had slated as a member of the national parliament.
** 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 $113 to $114 per barrel range.
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