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 Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why Hillary Won't be the Vice President Nominee

  Read here

Obama sent a strong signal that he was not considering Clinton as his running mate: He announced that Patti Solis Doyle, who was ousted as Clinton's campaign manager in February, would be chief of staff to the future vice presidential candidate.

The announcement outraged Clinton supporters, who said it proved that Obama was not taking Clinton seriously.

Solis Doyle, who worked for Clinton most of her career, is barely on speaking terms with her former boss.

"It's a slap in the face," Susie Tompkins Buell, a prominent Clinton donor, said Monday. "Why would they put somebody that was so clearly ineffective in such a position?"

She said it was a "calculated decision" by the Obama team to "send a message that [Clinton] is not being considered for the ticket."

Solis Doyle is the most prominent person allied with the Clinton campaign to join the Obama team; so far, no one who stayed with Clinton until the end has made a similar leap.

Since clinching the Democratic nomination two weeks ago, Obama has sought to win over Clinton donors and is now facing a challenge by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for her female supporters.

Clinton insiders said picking a fired Clinton staff member would not help ease the transition.

Solis Doyle is blamed by some close Clinton loyalists -- and reportedly the candidate herself -- for not keeping the campaign in order heading into Iowa.

Officially, Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee praised Solis Doyle. "Patti will be an asset and good addition to the Obama campaign," Elleithee said. "After nearly two decades in political life, she brings with her the ability to tap an extensive network that will be a huge asset to Sen. Obama. As Sen. Clinton has said, we're all going to do our part to help elect Sen. Obama as the next president of the United States."

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Why Obama Will Win Comfortably in November 2008

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IN early December 2007, when Hillary Clinton was 20-plus points ahead of the Democratic field in national polls, she was a basic weak candidate, a beatable candidate, and polls indicated that Barack Obama would be a stronger match against Republicans.

She had the highest "unfavourable" rating of anyone who had ever run for the presidency, and she was the only Democratic candidate who could unite and energise the Republican base, as she was running 10 to 15 points behind in generic Democrat vs. Republican presidential polls.

But Barack Obama is a different story.

The November presidential election is not going to be close. Barack Obama is going to beat John McCain by 8 to 10 points in the national popular vote and win 300 to 350 electoral votes. Obama is going to wipe out McCain. There are many reasons why.

Political environment

The Republican Party is led -- and branded -- by an extraordinarily unpopular president, whose policies McCain has staunchly defended and supported (95 per cent voting congruence in 2007). In the recent CBS News and NYTimes poll, President Bush is at 28 per cent approval, 65 per cent disapproval; in the Hart/Newhouse poll, he is at 27 per cent approval, 66 per cent disapproval.

While some presidents have fallen to low levels in the past, what is remarkable about President Bush is how long-term and persistent voter disapproval of him has been, and the depth of voter sentiment.

A May 12 Washington Post/ABC poll showed only 15 per cent of voters "strongly approve" -- while 52 per cent "strongly disapprove.

Voters think, correctly, that the country is on the wrong track. In the Hart/Newhouse poll, 15 per cent of voters said the country was headed in the "right direction," while an astounding 73 per cent said "wrong direction." Remember, these polls include all voters, not just Democrats.

On issues, Republicans are on the short end of everything except the military and national security. Among voters, in the NYTimesCBS poll, when asked which party is better, on health care 63 per cent say Democrats while only 19 per cent say Republicans; the economy, 56 per cent say Democrats, 28 per cent say Republicans; sharing your moral values, 50 per cent say Democrats, 34 per cent say Republicans; and, dealing with Iraq, 50 per cent say Democrats, 34 per cent say Republicans.

The Democratic party has a 52 per cent favourable and 41 per cent unfavourable rating; the Republican party has a 33 per cent favourable and 58 per cent unfavourable rating. A whopping 63 per cent say the United States needs to withdraw from Iraq within 12 months; McCain wants to stay, roughly, forever -- and attack Iran.

The Washington Post/ABC poll asked: "Which party do you trust to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years?" Democrats were chosen over Republicans, 53 per cent to 32 per cent.

The US economy is sinking, gas prices are skyrocketing; the real estate market has collapsed and people are losing their homes; and the Iraq Recession shows no signs of subsiding.

John McCain has been able to stay close to parity in polls matching him with Obama, but that is the product of the thumping Obama has taken from the Clinton campaign. Once that internal scrap is behind him and he can go head-to-head against McCain, his polling is going to soar.

Even in fund-raising, a traditional Republican strength, the Republicans are at a disadvantage. At last reported count, Obama had $51 million in cash; McCain had $11 million.

In the combined cash of the national party committees, Republicans had $55.5 million; Democrats $87.1 million. The net-roots have raised unprecedented amounts of money for Democrats, especially Obama; labour unions have gone deeper into their pockets and are raising more money for Democrats than in prior elections; and, even business PACs have given more money to Democrats! Business blows with the wind, and it knows which way the wind is blowing.

Simply out, it is the worst possible time for any Republican to be running for president. And this is not simply an opinion: it is thought that has many partisans in the Republican party and among traditional Republican supporters.

Representative Tom Davis, from Virginia, in an internal memo to Republicans, recently wrote: "The political atmosphere facing Republicans this November is the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than the fall of 2006. The Republican brand is in the trash can. [I]f we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf.

The candidates

John McCain is, by all accounts, an honourable and decent man. He has earned enormous respect for the fact that he declined the opportunity to be released from a North Vietnamese prison because his father had been a Navy admiral and chose instead to stay with his comrades for 5½ years.

For a substantial period of time John McCain's political career, he was a Republican maverick on various issues, including the environment, immigration, campaign reform, taxes and the budget. These are not inconsequential disagreements with the Republican party, and he has been almost singular in being willing to disagree with the Republican establishment.

But that is the previous incarnation of McCain, not the version seen for the last four years or the version who has to run between now and November.

In addition, it has been suggested that much of McCain's problems can be correlated with post-traumatic stress disorder, which is consistent with his 5½ years of great stress in prison. This would account for his violent temper, his memory lapses, and his frequent mental disconnects.

What US is going to see in the general election from John McCain is likely a ton of mistakes. The thing the press likes about him, his candour and shoot-from-the-hip style, is going to take a heavy toll on him when the full weight of media attention is trained on him.

He never has been a good speaker with a prepared text. The media has always loved the quick, gritty, candid McCain, but that version is gone; he now is a damaged, slower-thinking McCain, but his habits will remain the same.

He will still try to be the quick wit, the maverick; it just isn't going to work.

And while McCain is still capable of firing off some zingers that hit, he will be unable to sustain a narrative -- or fool the American voters -- for the next five months. This is not just about being 71; it is about being an old 71. It might be sad to watch. There is too much at stake.

Obama is the perfect candidate for Democrats and a nightmare for McCain. Obama, who by every metric is a brilliant strategist, thinker and speaker, is going to run circles around McCain. McCain, who is not a very good speaker even on his best day, will appear slow, perflexed and confused; he will make mistakes.

Obama will be charismatic, smart, thoughtful, high-minded, alert and substantive. It will be no contest. And adding to Obama's natural advantages, McCain has just enough integrity to try to match up with Obama on issues. In the debate on substance, Obama's overwhelming intellectual superiority and mental alertness will become obvious.

There will be the believers who have jumped aboard the Obama campaign and will continue to multiply, but there also is going to be another type of vote that is going to swing heavily to Obama: the default vote. Voters are going to default to Obama because it will become obvious that McCain simply is not up to the task of being president.

This is going to be the first not-close presidential election since 1988.

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Debunking Right-Wing Smears: What Michelle Obama Really Said

  Read here article by Stanley Crouch

Republican commentators summoned up pretenses of shock, disgust and outrage at Michelle Obama's having said in Milwaukee that she had never in her adult life felt proud of her country until the day that her husband won a major victory. The snippet was repeated endlessly, but that is NOT exactly what she said.

Quoting the context in full is quite important. I say that because part of what makes this country's right-wing commentators so pernicious is their willingness to bend journalism into what is tantamount to bogus credit cards boasting no fees. The distance from the truth is of no concern to the right-wingers. What they engage in is strange because their tactics are now so easily and so quickly disproved. The Internet has seen to that.

This is what Michelle Obama actually said:

"What we've learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback and, let me tell you something. For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.

I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic, common issues and it's made me proud.

And I feel privileged to be a part of even witnessing this, traveling around states all over this country and being reminded that there is more that unites us than divides us, that the struggles of a farmer in
Iowa are no different than what's happening on the South Side of Chicago; that people are feeling the same pain and wanting the same things for their families."

Yet these commentators feel at liberty to compose myths transformed into mud by cutting words from statements, offering not even good samples of a whole speech.

This propaganda version of reality is supposed to dupe the public. It exists for no other reason.

Related article:

Read here article by Andrew Malcolm

The rumors about Barack Obama's birthplace, that he was really born in his father's native Kenya, so he can't become a U.S. president.

And, anyway, the Obama campaign has provided a copy of the Illinois senator's birth certificate, reproduced here, showing he was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, at 7:24 p.m., which means he was late for dinner, just like a politician. Click on the photo to enlarge for reading.


Now, about the citizenship of all those people planting these rumors.

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 Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gaddafi warns Obama against 'inferiority complex'

  From Reuters

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Wednesday U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would have an "inferiority complex" because he is black and if elected he might "behave worse than whites."

"We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites," Gaddafi told a rally at a former U.S. military base on the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

"This will be a tragedy," Gaddafi said. "We tell him to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him because if he sticks to this inferiority complex he will have a worse foreign policy than the whites had in the past."

He was speaking before thousands of cheering supporters at a ceremony to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the departure of U.S. troops from Libya.

Gaddafi said Obama should adopt a policy of supporting poor and weak peoples such as the Palestinians and be a friend of what he called free Arab peoples rather than U.S. "agents" in the Arab world who, he said, were hated by their own people.

"We still hope he will be proud of Africa and change America and free America of its past policy, namely with the Arabs," said Gaddafi.

Gaddafi saw a dark motive behind a recent speech by Obama in support of Israel. "Obama offered $300 billion in aid to Israel and more military support. He avoided talking about Israel's nuclear weapons," he said.

"We suspect he may fear being killed by Israeli agents and meet the same fate as (assassinated former U.S. President John Fitzgerald) Kennedy when he promised to look into Israel's nuclear program," Gaddafi said.

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 Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton Bows Out: A Bit Late, But Still a Very Gracious Speech

  Clinton's Last Hurrah


Anne E. Kornblut

Read here


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history, officially left the race on Saturday with a forceful promise to help elect Sen. Barack Obama -- and a powerful declaration that, even in defeat, a gender barrier had been crossed.

Four days after Obama secured the delegates to win the Democratic nomination, Clinton gave him her unqualified endorsement, finally putting to rest questions about whether she would help unite the party for the general election. In generous and at times soaring terms, Clinton described her cause as united with Obama's, saying that only electing him would achieve the goals of universal health care, a strong economy and the end of the war in Iraq.

"We may have started on separate journeys, but today our paths have merged," Clinton said. She discouraged rehashing the long and divisive Democratic primary campaign, instead asking her supporters -- some of whom, still resentful, booed when she mentioned her former rival during the speech -- to "take our energy, our passion, our strength and to do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States."

"When you hear people saying, or think to yourself, 'if only' or 'what if,' I say -- please don't go there," Clinton said. "Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward."

She continued: "Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Sen. Obama is our next president, and I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort."

It was a final, emotional end for Clinton's campaign after a year-and-a-half long effort that once seemed unstoppable. A former first lady and one of the most famous women in the world, Clinton, 60, won more than 17 million votes and dozens of primary contests. But it was not enough.

But Clinton expressed no ambivalence about ending her bid and turning her attention to the fall campaign, although she did not mention Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, by name.

Clinton described both Obama's success and her own as the result of earlier battles that continue today. She noted that, even as she spoke, the 50th female astronaut was headed into outer space on a mission.

"If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House," said Clinton, who throughout the campaign often mentioned her own thwarted desire to be an astronaut at a time when women were not allowed to apply.

"And although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it," she said.

Clinton said that her own journey would make it easier for other women in the future. "You can be so proud that from now on it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories, unremarkable to have woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States," she said. "And that is truly remarkable, my friends."

She continued: "To those who are disappointed that we couldn't go all the way ... it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours. Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in."

On Friday, in one of the first visible steps toward party unity, Chelsea Clinton flew to Texas to appear at the Democratic state convention to thank her mother's supporters -- the first family member to publicly encourage backing Obama. "My mother wants it to be very clear that we are going to unite our party," she told the convention. There has been some speculation that Obama might reach out to the younger daughter as a potential bridge between the two camps.

After Saturday's speech, which was broadcast live around the world, Obama issued a statement welcoming her support and thanking her.

"Obviously, I am thrilled and honored to have Senator Clinton's support. But more than that, I honor her today for the valiant and historic campaign she has run," Obama said.

"She shattered barriers on behalf of my daughters and women everywhere, who now know that there are no limits to their dreams," he said. "And she inspired millions with her strength, courage and unyielding commitment to the cause of working Americans. Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I'm a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her in this campaign. No one knows better than Senator Clinton how desperately America and the American people need change, and I know she will continue to be in the forefront of that battle this fall and for years to come,"

Other Democratic leaders issued statements of praise -- and relief. "My heart is with her and her remarkable family today," Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton administration official and friend to both the Clintons and Obamas, said in a statement. "Although she fell short in the delegate race, her campaign was successful in the larger sense. She took issues that dominate the dinner table and put them on. center stage. Because of Hillary we are closer to the day when every family has a family doctor; every working person has a good job, and every girl and boy can dare to dream."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Clinton for running a "courageous and groundbreaking campaign."

If Clinton had sought a sense of closure, the event seemed to offer it. Young staff members, now jobless, hugged each other and passed out business cards. More recognizable Clinton stalwarts -- from Terry McAuliffe to Rep. Anthony Weiner and Sidney Blumenthal -- wandered the floor. So many reporters and news crews were on hand that aides said it was the largest event of the election season, dwarfing even her announcement speech and first trip to Iowa in January of 2007.

Ellen Malcolm of EMILY's List, which ardently backed Clinton, said she has been surprised in her conversations how many Clinton loyalists had not yet focused on the choice in the general election. She said women are the key to victory in the fall and Obama will have to work to get them, but added, "Once the spotlight is on the choice between Senator Obama and Senator McCain, the picture will become clearer."

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 Saturday, June 07, 2008

Obama Should NOT Go to Baghdad


Barack Obama should kindly DECLINE McCain's offer to visit Baghdad.

Its McCain's political entrapment.

Here are the reasons:

(Peter Beinart is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations)

Read here on Time

In 1978, with America's ally the Shah of Iran under siege, President Jimmy Carter asked a former diplomat named George Ball to study the situation and recommend a course of action.

Ball's chief qualification was that he, more than any other high-level U.S. official, had been right about Vietnam--from early on, he had warned it would be a quagmire.

Ball accepted Carter's offer but REFUSED to visit Iran.

In the 1960s he had watched one colleague after another set off on fact-finding missions to Vietnam, and each returned convinced that America could win the war.

"I had learned from our Vietnam experience," he explained, "how dangerous it can be when travel is substituted for thought."

Barack Obama should keep Ball in mind as he mulls John McCain's suggestion of a joint visit to Iraq. Ball understood something important: that when you take a guided tour, your tour guide decides what you see. In Iraq today, as in Vietnam back then, the tour guides are America's officers and diplomats on the ground.

And in Iraq, as in Vietnam, they have an incentive to show good news--which isn't always the same as the truth.

To begin with, there's security.

Since the first priority of McCain and Obama's hosts would be to ensure that the candidates leave Iraq alive, they would by necessity take them to places the U.S. and Iraq have made safe and avoid places they have not.

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are unlikely to introduce Obama and McCain to Iraqis who want to kill them, and thus their meetings would tilt heavily toward those Iraqis who want the U.S. to stay and away from those who are trying to force America to leave.

As the New York Times has noted, congressional visitors to Iraq almost never have unscripted meetings with average Iraqis whose political views aren't already known.

Also, Petraeus and Crocker report to the President, a guy with strong feelings about Iraq. They and their staffs don't want to sound like partisan flacks, but it's far easier for them to reinforce the Administration's view than to contradict it, especially when the cameras roll.

By making them the spokesmen for its Iraq policy, the Bush Administration has encouraged Americans to believe Petraeus and Crocker are independent analysts who just happen to agree with their Commander in Chief.

But Petraeus and Crocker would never purposely craft an itinerary that might cast doubt on the Administration's policies and embarrass their boss--or the man who shares his views, McCain.

It's for exactly these reasons that some of the members of Congress who know the military best have been most wary of visiting Iraq.

When Patrick Murphy, who served with the 82nd Airborne in Baghdad, returned to the country as a Congressman in 2007, he said he found the trip "somewhat scripted" and insisted on breaking off and seeing his former comrades so they "would give the straight story."

Senator Jim Webb, a former Marine and Secretary of the Navy, called congressional Iraq visits a "dog and pony" show.

This is not to say the security improvements in Iraq are illusory.

It's just that the war's realities are too elusive to grasp on a brief trip led by people with a vested interest in what you see.

In Vietnam, the wisest U.S. officials sought out journalists like David Halberstam and Bernard Fall who had spent years traveling the country, and former diplomats and military officers who had the freedom to say what they really believed.

And even that kind of granular, uninhibited knowledge isn't much help without a larger view of the world. McCain thinks winning in Iraq is the single most important foreign policy challenge facing the next President.

As a result, he's willing to spend billions more dollars, impose a far greater strain on the military and divert U.S. attention from other problems to incrementally improve our chances of success.

Obama thinks Afghanistan and Pakistan are more central to the war on terrorism and that our resources in those countries would bring a higher rate of return. Given that fundamental difference, a joint trip to Iraq--and only Iraq--concedes McCain's key assumption.

Perhaps Obama should counter by proposing that they visit southern Afghanistan, where America's war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda has been crippled for years by the diversion of troops and attention to Iraq.

If anyone knows that clarity often comes with distance, it's Obama, who spent 2002 and 2003 in Chicago, far from the secret briefings that persuaded many Democrats to back the war.

Today he should kindly decline McCain's offer and keep his distance once again.

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 Friday, June 06, 2008

George Will: By choosing Clinton, Obama would diminish himself


George Will

Photobucket George Will
(George Will's column is distributed by the Washington Post Writers Group.)

An axiom. When voters watch a presumptive presidential nominee considering this or that running mate, they think: What if the president dies?

When the presumptive nominee considers this or that running mate, he thinks: What if I live?
Which brings us to the dotty idea that Barack Obama should choose to have Hillary Clinton down the hall in the West Wing, nursing her disappointments, her grievances and her future presidential ambitions while her excitable husband wanders in the wings of America's political theater with his increasingly Vesuvian temper, his proclivity for verbal fender benders and his interesting business associates.

That this idea survived her off-putting speech Tuesday night, after Obama won the right to choose a running mate, is evidence that many Democrats do not fathom the gratitude that less-blinkered Americans feel for Obama because he has closed the Clinton parenthesis in our presidential history.

After some of the boilerplate geographic pitter-patter that today's candidates consider Periclean eloquence (" ... from the hills of New Hampshire to the hollows of West Virginia ... "), she obliquely but clearly identified herself as the person who would be "the strongest candidate and the strongest president" and, pointedly, the person most ready to "take charge as commander in chief."

There is a fine line between admirable tenacity and delusional denial, and Clinton tiptoed across it.

Obama's choice of a running mate will be the first important decision he makes with the whole country watching, so it will be a momentous act of self-definition.

If he chooses her, it will be an act of self-diminishment, especially now that some of her acolytes are aggressively suggesting that some unwritten rule of American politics stipulates that anyone who finishes a strong second in the nomination contest is entitled to second place on the ticket.

Behind the idea that Obama should run in harness with Clinton is this wobbly theory:

Because the Republican Party is in such bad odor, if you unify the Democratic Party, that will suffice to win the election, and she is a necessary and sufficient catalyst of unity.
But she is neither.

She would be a potent unifier of John McCain's party, thereby setting the stage for exactly what the nation does not need, another angry campaign of mere mobilization rather than persuasion.

Surely she, the most polarizing Democrat, is NOT the only Democrat who can help Obama appeal to the voters who rejected him in Kentucky and West Virginia.

And as his running mate, she would nullify his narrative.

The candidate embracing the "future" should not glue himself to Washington circa 1999.

  1. Someone promising to "turn the page" should not revert to an earlier chapter.

  2. Someone whose mantra is "change" should not embrace her theme of restoration -- that the 1990s were paradise and Democrats promise paradise regained.
She, whose experiences as First Spouse have not impressed Obama as acquisitions of national security expertise, would not help him deflect McCain's predictable attack on his thin curriculum vitae.

And the more she seems to be pushing Obama to choose her, the more resolutely he must resist.
Otherwise, at the beginning of a contest in which McCain will portray him as a flimsy figure, Obama will define himself as someone who can be pushed around.

On the eve of the battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Nelson, addressing his captains on the HMS Victory, picked up a fire poker and said:

It does not matter where I put this -- unless Bonaparte tells me to put it a particular place. Then I must put it someplace else.
Is Obama Nelsonian?

Selecting vice presidential candidates has recently become more serious than it was when Richard Johnson became Martin Van Buren's running mate in 1836 partly on the strength of the slogan "rumpsey dumpsey, rumpsey dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh," a distillation of the unsubstantiated story that he personally killed the Shawnee chief at the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater did not reassure queasy voters when he said that one reason he chose to run with Bill Miller, an obscure upstate New York congressman, was that Miller annoyed Lyndon Johnson.

And remember the frivolousness that produced Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew as Richard Nixon's running mate in 1968 and Missouri Sen. Tom Eagleton as George McGovern's in 1972.

Clinton, having risen politically in her husband's orbit, is a moon shining with reflected light.

Were Obama to hitch himself to her, he would reduce himself to a reflection of a reflection.



Article by Georgie Anne Geyer: Read here


When by accident I ran into Zbigniew Brzezinski at a dinner Tuesday night, just before Barack Obama's victory speech, the first thing he did was to issue a personal warning about Hillary Clinton's continuing ambition.

"The worst thing Obama could do," he told me, "would be to allow her to have control of the vice presidency."

Then he issued an ironic aside about "family matters," adding, "And we'd have HIM hanging around all the time, too!"

Because Dr. Brzezinski is the closest thing we have these days to a wise man in the nation's capital -- and because he has been in the inner political circles of every possible sort ever since he served as Jimmy Carter's national security adviser in the late '70s -- his words are often uncomfortably prophetic.

Americans who thought they were witnessing a historic moment through the dignified and moving victory speech by Obama could be forgiven for wondering if they were actually watching and hearing two victory speeches.

If instead of the moment of the first black American about to be enthroned, they were about to see the first woman presidential candidate to win as well?

In the end, Dr. Brzezinski had it about right.

Obama's ideas for changing America would indeed be endangered if he were to accept Hillary as his running mate, simply because, given her character and aggressiveness, she would do everything possible to wrest power from him, serving more as an eternal challenger than as a supporter. (And her husband would be hanging around the White House again.)

Hillary is, and has been from the beginning, the candidate of the angry in America.

Barack is the candidate of the hopeful.

Indeed, part of the change he wants in America is not only from the Bush presidency but from what was well under way under the Clintons.

The kind of people he has wanted in his campaign and in a potential administration surely preclude both Clintons. Obama wants team players -- has anyone, anywhere, anytime, ever described either Clinton as such?

Obama has also said he does not want drama queens or kings -- case closed.

Even their appearances and styles are different.

Hillary is pugnacious, defiant, ready to roll and ready to fight. She will embellish her programs, even the admirable ones, in whatever kind of populist polish is available.

Look at her campaign: It has been marked by mismanagement, by demagoguery and by overspending, while her campaign staff members are described by insiders as themselves constantly wounded by infighting and typically '60s contentiousness.

Obama, on the other hand, is ever the paragon of gentility and gentlemanliness, and his potential sins are those of passivity.

Despite all of these differences, I still think that this campaign has been a promising one.

So let's try to get Hillary and Bill to agree about who has really won the Democratic nomination.

Then maybe we can move on and begin putting America together again

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Why Obama WILL win in November

  There are three attributes of Obama which the media failed to take full notice throughout the campaign. Attributes which Obama shared with golfer Tiger Woods.

It is these three attributes that Obama has which will bring Obama to the finishing line in November, the same that Tiger Woods brings along on the golf course, tournaments after tournaments.

Firstly, Obama showed an incredible ability to stay FOCUS on hi goal and his message. Obama and Tiger Woods are so goal-focus and goal-oriented that it is hard to get them side-tracked. This is a good attribute for the country.

When Obama engages the public, he is "in the moment" on his message. He does not get distracted by the jibes from his Democratic opponents during the campaign nor from John McCain or from the Republicans. The same attribute of Tiger Woods at each major tournament.

Secondly, the extraordinatry outward CALMNESS Obama showed during the campaign whether he lost a state or whether he won a state. He keeps plugging on with his message and strategy unperturbed, despite the media's attention on him throughout the campaign and the "rock star" status accorded to him by his audience. He faced his critiques head-on, calmly and directly. You don't see Obama flying off the handle. He displayed a public persona that fits with his goal and strategy. The same when Tiger Woods was criticised by others.

Thirdly,his deeply felt SELF-BELIEF what he can do and what he can't do. He listens well to his advisers. And he brought along an effective team of advisers and he shared his self-belief with them. He moved out of the conventional funding technique of the past. He knew he could inspire epeople and the cynical young voters to come out to listen to him. He knew he had the message that America wants to hear. It is the same as Tiger Woods's self belief as being the best golfer on the planet. Tiger Woods had with him a compatible caddy in Steve Williams who shared Tiger Woods self-belief. Obama and Tiger took their cues from their upbringing, and the challenges of who they are.

Hillary failed miserably in her calmness and in her focus of her message (she had none in the beginning, except to sell her experience.)

John McCain falls far short in the three attributes to take himself to the finishing line.

The money is on Barack Obama to win the November election, irrespective of what the polls say today or tommorrow.
-News Compass

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Post-Mortem: The FALL of the HOUSE of CLINTON


Hillary Clinton has seen a nomination that was once hers for the taking slip from her grasp.

How could it have happened?
THIS time last year it looked as if Hillary Clinton's path to the Democratic nomination would be a cakewalk. She had the best brand-name in American politics. She controlled the Democratic establishment.

She had money to burn and a double-digit lead in the opinion polls. And as the first American woman to have a chance of breaking the presidential glass ceiling, she had a great story to tell.

And Barack Obama?

He was a first-term senator with few legislative achievements and a worrying penchant for honesty (in his autobiography he admitted to using marijuana and even cocaine, “when you could afford it”).

He knew how to give a good speech. But how could that compare with Mrs Clinton's assets—a well-oiled political machine and a winning political formula that combined a carefully-calibrated appeal to the centre with hard-edged political tactics?

Today, Mrs Clinton has not only lost the Democratic nomination. She has humiliated herself in the process.

  • She has been forced to lend her campaign more than $11m of her own money.

  • She has cosied up to some of her former persecutors in the “vast right wing conspiracy”, notably Richard Mellon Scaife, a newspaper magnate.

  • She has engaged in phoney populism, calling for:
    - a temporary break on petrol taxes,

    - praising “hardworking Americans, white Americans”,

    -vowing to “totally obliterate” Iran

    -waving the bloody shirt of September 11th.
  • The conservative Weekly Standard praised her as “a feminist form of George Bush”.
So how did one of America's most accomplished politicians turn a cakewalk into a quagmire?

From the first most of her biggest advantages proved to be booby-trapped. Mrs Clinton stood head and shoulders above Mr Obama when it came to experience—she had been one of the two most influential first ladies in American history and had proved to be a diligent senator, a “work-horse, not a show horse”.

But Mrs Clinton's “experience” included her decision to vote in favour of invading Iraq, a decision that was radioactive to many Democrats.

And Mr Obama was the first to grasp that this is an election about change, not experience. Americans have had enough of experience in the form of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Seventy per cent of them say America is headed in the wrong direction.

The Clinton machine only exaggerated this problem.

Mrs Clinton surrounded herself with familiar faces from her White House years—people like Mark Penn, her chief strategist, Terry McAuliffe, her chief fund-raiser, Howard Wolfson (one of the least helpful spokesmen this newspaper has ever encountered) and, of course, her husband. But these people were all deeply enmeshed in a Washington establishment that most voters despised.

Mr Penn, one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists, continued to lobby for a free-trade deal even as Mrs Clinton was trying to appeal to blue-collar voters by denouncing free trade. These people also summoned up uncomfortable memories from the 1990s.

Did America really want to spend another four, or eight, years watching Mr McAuliffe et al catching flack on behalf of the Clintons?

“Everybody in politics lies”, David Geffen, a Hollywood mogul, said last year. But the Clintons “do it with such ease, it's troubling”.

Bill Clinton was the very embodiment of the Clinton paradox: a huge asset who was also a huge liability. Mr Clinton is a political superstar—a man who left office with a 60% approval rating and a claim to have delivered eight years of peace and prosperity. Most Democrats love him. But he is also a cad and a narcissist.

His presence on the campaign trail reminded voters that Mrs Clinton is hardly a self-made woman—she rose to power on his coat-tails and endured repeated humiliations in the process. It also undercut her claim to executive experience.

Mrs Clinton had made a mess of the health-care portfolio that her husband had handed her in 1993. And it raised the question of what Mr Clinton would do in the White House. Would he be an unelected vice-president? And would he re-establish the dysfunctional politics that had characterised the presidency in the 1990s?

You're out of time

The Clinton machine was too stuck in the 1990s to grasp how the internet was revolutionising political fund-raising. Mrs Clinton built the best fund-raising machine of the 20th century—persuading Democratic fat cats to make the maximum contributions allowable and accumulating a vast treasure trove of money. But Mr Obama trumped her by building the best fund-raising machine of the 21st century.

Mr Obama simultaneously lowered the barrier to entry to Obamaworld and raised expectations of what it meant to be a supporter. Mr Obama's supporters not only showered him with small donations. They also volunteered their time and enthusiasm.

His website was thus a vast social networking site (one of his chief organisers was a founder of Facebook)—a mechanism not just for translating enthusiasm into cash but also for building a community of fired-up supporters.

Mr Obama's small donations proved to be a renewable resource, as supporters could give several times, up to a maximum of $2,300. Mrs Clinton ran out of cash.

The Clinton machine was also too stuck in the 1990s to see how radically the political landscape was changing around them.

Here Mr Penn—the campaign strategist who helped to mastermind Bill Clinton's re-election triumph in 1996—was particularly culpable. Mr Penn underestimated Mr Obama's appeal. He relied on the techniques that had served him well in 1996—microtargeting small groups of voters (he even published a book during the campaign on “microtrends”) and emphasising Mrs Clinton's middle-of-the-road credentials.

But this was a big-trend election—and the biggest trend of all was changing the status quo in Washington.

These strategic errors probably doomed the campaign from the first.

The Clintonites were so confident of an early victory that they spent money like drunken sailors (one of the biggest beneficiaries of all this spending was Mr Penn's own political consultancy).

The campaign was all but bankrupt by late January—though Patti Solis Doyle, the campaign manager, failed to tell her boss the bad news—and the Obama campaign outspent them two or three to one on Super Tuesday, February 5th.

The machine was so confident of victory in the big states such as California, Ohio and Pennsylvania that it failed to plan for the smaller caucus states, or for the primaries and caucuses that were to follow immediately afterwards. Mr Obama was thus given free rein to rack up huge victories in places like Virginia.

After Super Tuesday, Mr Obama scored a series of 11 wins in a row. Without those, he would never have secured the nomination.

These grand strategic errors were compounded by poor day-to day management. The people who introduced the “war room” to American politics proved to be slow-witted and gaffe-prone.

Remember Bill Clinton's decision to belittle Mr Obama's victory in South Carolina by pointing out that Jesse Jackson had also won the state?

The only logical implication of that was the slur that a black candidate somehow could not win. Or Mrs Clinton's claim that she dodged sniper fire in Bosnia?

The Clinton machine all but fell apart under the pressure of defeat.

Rival factions, grouped around Mr Penn and Harold Ickes, were constantly at each other's throats. Mrs Clinton was forced to sack Mrs Doyle and marginalise Mr Penn.

This chaos left Mrs Clinton without a compelling story to sell to the Democratic electorate.

She tried fitfully to co-opt Mr Obama's “change” message. She alternated between being an iron lady, ready on day one, and a put-upon woman, bullied by mean boys.

She reinvented herself as a working-class hero, Rocky in a pantsuit. But this created an impression of slipperiness and opportunism. In some states half of the voters said that Mrs Clinton was not honest.

The chaos also gave the Democratic establishment a chance to ditch the party's first family. Many Democratic politicians had always disliked the Clintons for handing Congress to the Republicans in 1994 and triangulating their way out of trouble. They were only willing to stick with them as long as they looked like winners.

Ted Kennedy's decision to anoint Mr Obama as the heir to the legacy of Camelot was an important symbolic moment (“this election is about the future, not the past”, he said pointedly.) But even before that a striking number of superdelegates had been unwilling to endorse a woman who was supposed to be the inevitable candidate.

The silence of Al Gore, Mr Clinton's vice-president, spoke volumes.

The Clinton campaign might well reply that this catalogue of failures ignores the fact that it was a very close run result. Mrs Clinton won almost exactly the same number of votes as Mr Obama (and claims to have won slightly more, though on a fair count she won fractionally less).

She won most of the big states. She improved hugely as a campaigner after the reverses of February, and pulled off big victories in the final weeks of the campaign.

But given the scale of her advantages a year ago there is no doubt that the Clinton campaign comprehensively blew it. Mr Obama will now go on to fight the general election with his primary strategy vindicated and his campaign staff intact. Mrs Clinton has big debts and a brand that is badly tarnished.

She faces an uncertain political future.

There are still plenty of Democrats who argue for a “dream ticket”.

But Mr Obama probably has other ideas—particularly since she publicly speculated about his assassination.

Mrs Clinton still has a power-base in the Senate. But she remains a junior figure in an institution with a famously low turnover, surrounded by colleagues who spurned her in favour of the new kid from Illinois; and Harry Reid is dug in as majority leader.

She may find it more attractive to run for the governorship of New York.

And, during the campaign, Mrs Clinton has damaged not only her future but also her past.

The Clintons were modernisers who argued that the Democratic Party needed to reinvent itself—embracing free-trade, investing in human capital and reaching out to upwardly mobile voters.

During her inept bid Mrs Clinton fell back on all the worst instincts of Democratic politics—denouncing free trade, stirring up the resentments of blue-collar America, and adding a flirtation with racism to the brew.

After such an unedifying performance, it is hard to believe that Mrs Clinton's failed campaign represents a missed opportunity for America.

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Hillary's VP Slot Question: Bill Clinton is the Big Problem

  From the Weekly Standard

It's Not Going to be Obama-Clinton


Bill Kristol

The Obama camp has moved quickly--and deftly--to shut down the Hillary Clinton bid for the vice presidential pick.

The well-sourced Jackie Calmes reports in the Wall Street Journal that "close advisers to Sen. Obama are signaling that an Obama-Clinton ticket is highly unlikely."

The way they’re signaling it is by suggesting that, even for Hillary to be considered, Bill Clinton would have to “release records of his business dealings and big donors to his presidential library.”

No one thinks Bill Clinton is inclined to do this.

And even if he did, there would still be no guarantee for Hillary: “Even if Mr. Clinton did open his records as part of the traditional vice-presidential vetting process, the unprecedented complications he would pose for an Obama White House as the vice president's spouse go deeper and broader than his personal records, Democrats on both sides say.”

Indeed, Calmes continues, “Referring to a potential vice-presidential slot for Sen. Clinton, a senior Obama adviser says: ‘The more this gets vetted the LESS likely it becomes.’”

So the unvettability of Bill Clinton is the way Obama avoids having to offend Hillary and her almost 18 million voters.

Obama won’t have to publicly rule out Hillary, or make a potentially insulting case that others are better qualified for the job.

He’ll merely emphasize publicly, as he did on NBC last night, that there will be a lengthy process and wide-ranging search--thereby conditioning people to understand that there is no presumptive front-runner for the vice-presidential pick: “We're gonna go through a process in the vice-presidential search where I look at a whole range of options."

And putting Caroline Kennedy on the three-person search committee is clever--a woman who is anti-Hillary but whose presence really can’t be criticized by Hillary supporters.

It’s also, of course, a certification of the Kennedys as Democratic royalty over the Clintons.

At some point--I’d guess pretty soon--Hillary will see the writing on the wall and will take herself out of the running, so she can save face, and to ensure she can’t be accused of creating trouble if Obama loses in November.

So Obama will be able to make his choice without being accused of having spurned Hillary.

The apparent decisiveness and deftness with which Obama and his team seem to be resolving with the Hillary Clinton problem is an impressive opening move in his general election campaign.

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Waiting for Hillary to exhale


Americans have nothing but love for the underdog.

The problem in Hillary Clinton’s case is she has never been an underdog. She is, however, the underdog-come-lately and, frankly, such a distinction does not count.

You do not turn into America’s sweetheart in the bottom of the ninth with two outs particularly when the nation’s latest political idol is perched on the mound ready to save the nation from its woes.

It just doesn’t happen.

Hillary’s only chance of turning into Cinderella fell by the wayside right after she told Bill, “I do.”

She is the Wellesley and Yale Law school graduate who parlayed Arkansas’ first lady’s role into an eight-year run at the White House. Her first taste of the executive branch saw her spearheading an effort to nationalize health care, and to say she failed miserably is an understatement. Such setbacks did not deter her as she is a Clinton, and Clintons know how to win elections — hence Bill’s second term. But that was then.

I always got the sense that there is this tedious, but steadfast sense of entitlement with Hillary.

When she announced that she would run for the senate from New York, it didn’t take a political guru to know where her ultimate quest would lead her.

It seems everyone who breathes has an opinion about her, and at least 40 percent of those exhaling claim they would never vote for her, regardless of her political standing.

One South Carolina Democrat told The New York Times that she couldn’t win even if she “promised to eliminate the income tax and give free ice cream to everyone.”

Whoever said that “overnight is a lifetime in politics” knew what they were talking about.

Less than six months ago, the big question was how Hillary and Rudy Giuliani would battle against each other in this year’s presidential elections. Giuliani has been long gone from the presidential sweepstakes, but Hillary marches on.

While first lady she did a ton of campaigning for not only her husband, but the entire Democratic machine. She also did plenty of looking the other way. Now it is her turn. How much more does this woman have to endure?

New York Times columnist David Brooks dubs her quest for the nomination “The Audacity of Hopelessness,” a play on Barack Obama’s book, “Audacity of Hope.”

Others say she continues to hurt her party’s chances by remaining a candidate. Naturally, she fails to accept this as true. Hillary believes she is saving the party, not hurting it, and that she alone is the most electable Democrat in the party.

In retrospect, how much has “Clinton fatigue” contributed to her fall from frontrunner to backburner?

The Democrats talk about presumed Republican candidate John McCain being a de facto third Bush term, when in fact, it is Hillary who would be a Clinton third term, guaranteed. After all, Bill has been and will always be part of the package. How could someone who served two terms as president of the United States not be?

Still the question persists. Why is Hillary still campaigning?

Simply put, the woman wants to win. You can’t win if you drop out. In a letter to the New York Daily News published last Sunday, Hillary said she remains committed to the cause, “because my parents did not raise me to be a quitter.”

She has equated herself with the movie character Rocky Balboa, and in many respects such a characterization is accurate. She has taken some good shots not only from her opponent Barack Obama, but by the mainstream media. Then again, if you lead with your head and feel the urge to prove your tenaciousness, what choices do you have? And why is it every published picture of Hillary has her looking like a bloated bug-eyed deer caught in the headlights?

To her own discredit, she hasn’t helped herself by lying. Who could forget her memorable quip about coming under fire on the tarmac in Bosnia; being named after Sir Edmund Hillary; and Chelsea jogging around the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11 — to name three recent fibs.

More than once she was on the brink of being KO’d from the race, but the Clinton political corner always has been able to prop her up for another round.

Out of all the critiquing and in-depth analysis that proliferates every form of media available, the best reason why Hillary continues on in this unprecedented march to the presidential nomination is because she hopes to undercut Obama’s chances.

Plainly put, she hopes the freshman senator from Illinois loses the November general election and proves she was right in saying he is unelectable. Such an outcome would once again place her as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2012.

However much Hillary likes to be compared to Rocky, she has to admit sooner or later that Rocky never won the heavyweight title in his fist fight. Sentiments aside, he lost the decision, but did garner a rematch. In four years, Hillary will be 65 — five years younger than John McCain is now.

Coming to a theater near you — Hillary II in 2012.

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 Thursday, June 05, 2008

How Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton


Toby Harnden

Read here in The Telegraph (UK)


During the agonising denouement of the past three months, she has been the inevitable runner-up.

She's still in it, she protests, even now.

But she has lost.

The seeds of that defeat lay in the very strategy she and her chief strategist Mark Penn had mapped out more than a year before.

As the new face of Team Clinton - then the most powerful brand in Democratic politics - she could build up the momentum and money needed to lock up the nomination BEFORE the voters were consulted.

Even before her first event in Iowa, her focus seemed to be on the general election.

She believed her greatest threat was John Edwards, running as a populist friend of the downtrodden.

Having carefully positioned herself - and badly miscalculated - with her vote for the Iraq invasion in October, she recalibrated repeatedly until she became an opponent of the war.

But rather than apologise for her vote, as Mr Edwards had done, she refused to admit she'd been wrong for fear of seeming weak in a general election against Rudy Giuliani or John McCain.

She reckoned WITHOUT a young freshman senator called Barack Obama.

Under-estimating Obama

In December 2006, it was already clear he had become a political rock star, attracting adoring crowds at book signings and already drawing comparisons with John and Robert Kennedy.

"The single most important thing that happened was the Clinton campaign always underestimated Senator Obama," said Simon Rosenberg, a veteran of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and president of the NDN think tank.

"Even when Obama started to rise, he didn't become in their minds their central opponent. They also overestimated their own strength. Her staff kept saying she was leading in all national polls but she was never leading in Iowa and that was the most important poll of all."

Mention of Mr Obama would often prompt an eye roll from an inhabitant of Hillaryland - a hermetically-sealed bubble protected by the Secret Service and from which all naysayers were kept out. Like President George W Bush, Mrs Clinton put a premium on loyalty, which meant hard truths were seldom aired.

"He lives in a happy, cool place where everyone sips their lattes, listens to National Public Radio and reads 'The New York Times'," one young Clinton staffer said last August. "But it's not the real world. He'd have been a great guy to hang out with at college but he's not tough enough for any of this. It's just a fad."

The 2006 mid-term elections showed a hunger for change and a contempt for Washington while in many ways Mrs Clinton was the ultimate Washington creature.

She had a 350-strong staff and recruited bloggers and new media whizzes but Mrs Clinton's web strategy came across as slightly forced, as if she was a parent gamely learning all the right moves but often hitting a jarring note.

Obama -Master of the Internet

Mr Obama, on the other hand, was fast becoming an internet phenomenon. Rather than having to create an online operation, his challenge was to harness the enthusiasm. His background as a community organiser helped immensely. So too did recruits appointment like that of Chris Hughes, a founder of Facebook.

Much was learnt from the experience of Howard Dean's campaign in 2004, the first to attempt to harness the internet. "We didn't have YouTube, MySpace or Facebook to any large degree in 2004," said Joe Trippi, who was Mr Dean's campaign manager.

"There were 1.4 million blogs then. Today there are 77 million blogs. The Obama team could go to school on Dean and look at what worked and what didn't for us. We were the Wright Brothers. They went straight to landing a man on the moon - or in the White House anyway."

The portrayal of Mr Obama as "Obambi", a frail creature unsuited to the rough and tumble of a campaign was misplaced.

He had grown up in the Chicago school of politics, forcing a rival off the ballot over technicalities over signatures when he first ran for State Senate in 1996. Never afraid to use sharp elbows on the basketball court, once in the state legislature, he learned to play poker - and well.

Bill Clinton's Negative Performance

Against the Obama message of change, Mrs Clinton's most potent weapon was her husband Bill - who for all his political attributes embodied the past. On the stump in Iowa, Mr Clinton briefly used the slogan "back to the future" for his wife's candidacy.

Mr Obama, neatly modifying an earlier Clinton slogan, urged voters not to "build a bridge back to the 20th Century".

The more Mr Clinton talked, the more he said about himself, waxing nostalgic about the perks of being commander-in-chief, the Marine Corps bands, the motorcades, the "best public housing in America".

Democrats became uncomfortable about the notion of a co-presidency and Mr Clinton's trumpeting of his own achievements undercut his wife's claims of deep foreign policy experience gained in the White House.

Mr Rosenberg believes Mr Clinton was a net plus for his wife because "he enabled her to be two places at once and he also bolstered her strategically, emotionally, politically". But, he added: "One some days it was positive and on some days not so much."

The "not so much" days became more frequent as Mr Clinton's frustrations about the "fairy tale" of Mr Obama becoming the Democratic nominee boiled over.

A master of old-style retail politics, he had not mastered the new YouTube world. Video clips of a scarlet-faced former president wagging his finger at reporters or making a preposterous remark provide some of the defining images of the 2008 campaign.

Hillary Losing the Black Voters

Mr Clinton - once memorably declared as the "first black president" - blundered into the racial sensitivities of African Americans. When he appeared to dismiss Mr Obama's huge South Carolina win by comparing it, unprompted to those of Jesse Jackson, also black and the primary victor in 1984 and 1988, the tide turned.

Thereafter, Mr Obama drew the almost unanimous support of black voters - a key demographic in the Democratic party. Mrs Clinton was able to expose Mr Obama's weaknesses among white working class males and older women but losing the entire black vote was disastrous for her.

Mr Clinton's comments, moreover, were instrumental in pushing the Kennedy clan into the Obama camp. In January, when Senator Ted Kennedy announced it was "time for a new generation of leadership", the Clintons were holed below the waterline.

Hillary's Mistakes Piled Up

Almost unnoticed in the Clinton campaign, Mr Obama was building a formidable grassroots organisation across the country. His fundraising success meant he did not need to be an insurgent candidate - guided by his campaign manager David Plouffe, he became Organisation Man.

In December 2007, Mrs Clinton let slip: "I'm in it for the long run. It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th."

It was a huge miscalculation. After Mr Obama fought her to a draw on February 5th - Super Tuesday - she had no plan for what to do next. Mr Plouffe and his team had sent staff to every corner of the country.

While Mrs Clinton concentrated on the big states, Mr Obama built a presence in caucus states like Idaho, North Dakota and Kansas, raking in more delegates than even Mrs Clinton's victories in places like New Jersey and Texas would yield.

Mrs Clinton made many mistakes but she lost to a candidate who also had his difficulties, with a fiery anti-American preacher and some unfortunate comments about working class voters being "bitter" and clinging to God and guns.

Hillary Up Against a BETTER Candidate

Ultimately, she was defeated because she was up against the better candidate. "Obama's message of the past versus the future was always going to be extremely compelling in this race," said Mr Rosenberg. "They [the Clintons] were slow to recognise the power of him and the power of his argument.

"But when you deconstruct what happened, you have start with the fact that he has a remarkable ability to connect and communicate. He's arguably one of the most powerful public speakers America has seen in generation. He's an exceptional man and an extraordinary candidate."

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Jay McDonough's Review of the Democratic Presidential Nomination Campain

  From Progressive Politics Examiner

Hillary Clinton's Speech

Things Hillary Clinton DIDN'T do last night:

  • Failed to acknowledge the historical significance of Barack Obama's accomplishment

  • Congratulate Barack Obama on having secured the Party nomination

  • Acknowledge her own campaign was ending

  • Make any attempt to reconcile with the winning campaign
Things Hillary Clinton DID do last night:

  • Continued to claim Barack Obama is the illegitimate nominee of the Democratic Party

  • Provided no timetable for her ultimate concession (in fact, one of her supporters said today it may be a couple weeks before she's "adjusted")

  • After Obama took the initiative to reach Clinton last night and asked for a meeting, she reportedly replied "I'm sure that will happen"

  • Chose to play Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" before her speech
If Senator Clinton is angling, as some have suggested, to secure the Vice Presidential slot on the Democratic ticket she has a funny way of showing it.

In addition, Jake Tapper at ABC News offers up some potential roadblocks to Mrs. Clinton's pursuit of the VP nod:
* Bill's finances
* Donors to the Clinton Library (as yet undisclosed)
* Bill's gazillionaire rat pack pals Bing and Burkle et al
* Bill's trip to Kazakhstan
* Bill's ties to the Saudis
* Anything about his personal life that might not stand the light of day...
It seems to me the hardcore Clinton supporters, in their zeal to announce all the ways Barack Obama was a flawed candidate who would be submarined by Republicans, failed to fully consider the liabilities the Clinton team brings to the game.

I would argue Tapper's list is far from complete, and Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats could easily add a couple more big bullets to the list.
    Clinton To Concede Friday

    Proving there is, indeed, sanity in the ranks of Hillary Clinton supporters, Congressional Democrats leaned hard on Senator Clinton following her defiant speech last night. It looks like they had an effect.

    The New York Times is reporting this evening Clinton will suspend her campaign, and endorse Barack Obama on Friday.

    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is moving to suspend her campaign and endorse Senator Barack Obama on Friday after Democratic members of Congress urged her on Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to unite around Mr. Obama, according to a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton.

    Her decision came after a day of telephone conversations with supporters on Capital Hill about what she should do now that Mr. Obama has claimed enough delegates to secure the nomination.

    Mrs. Clinton had initially said she wanted to wait before making any decision, but her aides said that in conversations, some of her closest supporters said it was urgent that she step aside.

    We pledged to support her to the end,” said Representative Charles W. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate. “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”

    One wonders why she was unable to make the gracious concession last night when it would have meant so much and, instead, have to be brow beaten into conceding by her most loyal and trusted supporters today.

    The Deal Breaker

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting tonight it's unlikely Hillary Clinton, despite signaling interest, will be the vice presidential choice of Barack Obama. Both the Obama and Clinton campaigns are referring to a "deal breaker":

    But close advisers to Sen. Obama signaled an Obama-Clinton ticket was highly unlikely. People in both camps cited what several called "a deal-breaker" -- Bill Clinton may balk at releasing records of his business dealings and big donors to his presidential library.

    Clinton library donations have been a ticking time bomb throughout this campaign.

    The Clinton's continued refusal to divulge details about these donations is a red flag, and would have been a significant liability had Mrs. Clinton been the Party nominee.

    Clinton's Other Loss

    Senator Clinton has a responsibility not to hold those 18 million Democratic supporters hostage, hoping to negotiate some special deal for herself, but to do the right thing and convince them to vote for the Democratic Party nominee in November.

    I wrote the other day about those Clinton supporters threatening to vote for John McCain should Barack Obama be the nominee of the Democratic Party.

    One can only hope those folks were expressing frustration at the turn of events and, come November, will reconsider and decide it makes more sense to vote for what might not be their first choice, but the candidate that best reflects their views.

    Some may not. And nothing Barack Obama can do will dissuade them.It's probably important to keep in mind those folks are few and far between.

    The media loved to interview them because the were LOUD and controversial.

    And we sure saw alot of them in the final days of the primary campaign.

    But their wide exposure painted an unbalanced and, frankly, unfair portrait of the average Clinton supporter.

    Hillary Rosen is a well known Democratic Party operative and a loyal Clinton supporter. She reflected today on her disappointment over Senator Clinton's address last night:

    She had a chance to surprise her party and the nation after the day-long denials about expecting any concession and send Obama off on the campaign trail of the general election with the best possible platform. I wrote before how she had a chance for her "Al Gore moment." And if she had done so, the whole country ALL would be talking today about how great she is and give her her due.

    Instead she left her supporters empty, Obama's angry, and party leaders trashing her. She said she was stepping back to think about her options. She is waiting to figure out how she would "use" her 18 million voters.

    But not my vote. I will enthusiastically support Barack Obama's campaign. Because I am not a bargaining chip. I am a Democrat.
    Loyal Clinton supporter, Rep. Charles Rangel said this today:

    "I would agree that after the math was in before her speech, that she could have been far more generous in terms of being more specific and saying that she wants a Democratic victory," Rangel said in an interview on MSNBC.

    "I don't see what they're talking about in prolonging this," Rangel added. "There's nothing to prolong if you're not going to take the fight to the convention floor…I don't know why she could not have been more open in terms of doing up front what she intends to do later."

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    New York Times Editorial: It’s Over. Now It Begins

      Read here

    Excerpts: Read here

    The Democratic Party has chosen Senator Barack Obama.

    Now Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton must make her choice.

    She can exit this race in a way that unifies her party and begins to repair her political legacy, or she can continue to deny reality and further delay the vital debate over who offers the vision, ideas and leadership to be the next president of the United States.

    We endorsed Mrs. Clinton and supported her right to fight for the Democratic nomination while there were still votes to be cast.

    The long and grueling primary campaigns left no doubt about the depth of her intelligence, the strength of her will and the power of her ideas.

    But they have left many Americans with nagging doubts about her character because the greater blame for the campaigns’ negativity falls on Mrs. Clinton.

    She has a chance now to allay those doubts.

    Yet Mrs. Clinton said Tuesday night that she would consult with her team and party leaders to determine “how to move forward.”

    Reports on Wednesday that she would end her campaign by the end of the week encouraged us to believe that her speech was a matter of saving face and recognizing the passions of her supporters and that she was not lulled by the chants of “Denver! Denver! Denver!” into thinking that there is still a fight to be waged at the party’s convention in August.

    It is up to Mr. Obama to decide whether to make her his running mate, but if that is Mrs. Clinton’s aim, it should not be a precondition for ending this fight.

    Mrs. Clinton spent some time at a rally in New York on Tuesday night answering the question, “What does Hillary want?”

    She listed powerful ideas and important goals: ending the war in Iraq, strengthening the economy, giving voice to the millions left out of George W. Bush’s America, providing universal health care, restoring the nation’s role as a leader in the world.

    Those are not just what Mrs. Clinton wants, they are what America needs.

    And at this point in the campaign, with Senator John McCain trying to seem independent while toeing the Republican line on the most important issues, it is far more likely that a Democratic president would give the country a clean break from the most disastrous presidency of modern times.

    From the start, however, the Democratic contest has been marred by rancor. We heard talk from Obama supporters in the snows of New Hampshire about staying home in November if they could not have their nominee. Now polls show that many of Mrs. Clinton’s nearly 18 million voters who are understandably disappointed say that they will sit out the election or vote for Mr. McCain. Mrs. Clinton can serve those voters best by making a quick exit and rallying them behind Mr. Obama.

    For Mr. Obama, the leadership test begins with giving Mrs. Clinton’s backers a place in his campaign. They have passion and talent and can help make Mr. Obama an even stronger candidate in what could well be a very tough race.

    There are many other issues to be debated between now and November. How is this country going to set the economy back on its feet and deal with the mortgage crisis? Will it impose accountability on the money managers and bankers who caused it? How will the United States, after seven years of damaging inaction, confront global warming and rising fuel prices?

    Voters need to hear about the presidential candidates’ very different philosophies about judicial appointments and about how each would approach the profound damage that President Bush’s mismanagement has done to civil liberties, the balance of powers in the federal government and the United States’ standing in the world.

    The primaries are over. That debate needs to begin now.

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    Note to Hillary: ITS OVER... OVER!


    John Zogby in

    Read here


    Obama has — technically — won enough delegates to claim the nomination, but Clinton has staggered up off the mat, again, claiming she has enough of what it takes to carry on the fight.

    Is she punch drunk?

    By every practical measurement, the race is (and has been) over, but technically, Obama is not the nominee until the delegates gather in Denver in August and actually cast their votes.

    Clinton staggers on, hanging onto this nano-thread of justification.

    So, as newly-minted presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama turns his gun sights on the general election and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, it is appropriate for the rest of us to stop and take a brief look back at this epic Democratic battle.

    In hindsight, I think the Clinton campaign was really over the day once-vaunted Clinton adviser Mark Penn wrote his “inevitability” memo.

    Running with that theme, Hillary herself told several news outlets last fall, months before the first ballots were cast, that she was so sure she was going to win the nomination that she had never never even considered a world where she would not.

    But that world soon delivered her a shocking double-fisted wake-up call that she and her advisers should both have been able to anticipate.

    1. First, Iowans let her know they do not like to be told who they are going to vote for.

    2. Second, 68 percent of Iowa Democrats told us they were angry with the political system, in part as demonstrated by such arrogance as was exhibited by Clinton’s self-claim of “inevitability.”

    While there were victories and votes along the way, Clinton could NOT represent the change that, ultimately, voters wanted.

    She didn’t realize, or refused to believe, what the nation had long been telling me and other pollsters: that Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton just was NOT going to work.

    The Clintons are proto-typical baby boomers: committed to ideals of peace and justice but overwhelmed with themselves. They (we, because I was born in 1948) are consumed with being the center of attention, the bride and groom at every wedding; so much so, that the ends don't simply justify the means, they are one and the same.

    Getting elected is the game, the final goal, the definition of self-worth. In his recent book, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan decried the mentality of “the permanent campaign” that he said permeated the White House of George W. Bush (the other boomer president), which in some respects mirrors the Clinton behavior.

    Sad to say, Bill Clinton became best known for the hallmarks of "boomerism" — self-centeredness and permanent adolescence — as exhibited by the Lewinsky affair and all the other, lesser controversies and scandals.

    The obsessions and legacy of the Clintons led to what the American voters thought was their antidote, the election of Bush, the boy who woke up and discovered he was president.

    Of course, they were wrong.

    Bush’s exemplification of permanent adolescence could be seen almost immediately. The big new story out of the White House in early 2001 was his penchant to award everyone with childish nicknames, but there were other indications.

    Then, discussing the threat of Iraq in 2002, Bush said “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”

    We soon discovered that loyalty and clubbishness trumped experience and judgment, and an inability to admit mistakes destroyed credibility around the globe and three decades of Republican prestige in handling foreign policy.

    All the credit that the GOP earned through Richard Nixon’s efforts with China and Ronald Reagan’s tactics to successfully unravel the Soviet Union from within has been lost by the inflexible, inward-looking approach in dealing with Iraq and, now, Iran.

    After 16 years, Americans have finally declared, state by state, caucus by caucus, primary by primary, that they have had enough of the boomer generation in the White House.

    In the final analysis, Hillary Clinton is smart, charming — and the wrong person for the times.

    Voters have moved beyond boomerism. Now, Americans will choose between an older version of duty, honor, glory, and a return to the American Century versus a new vision of global pluralism, diversity, change, and youthful vigor.

    Is boomer power gone forever?

    It is impossible right now to say one way or the other, but one thing we do know is that it has, at least, suffered a serious setback.

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    Two Reasons Why Obama Should Make Hillary Vice President


    1. "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer" (Sun Tzu)

    2. "It's probably better to have [her] inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in." (LBJ on J. Edgar Hoover)


    If Obama Wants Revenge for Hillary's Bad Behavior and Attitude?

    "Revenge is a dish best eaten cold"? (Bismarck)

    By offering the Vice President post to ANOTHER WOMAN: Perhaps to rapidly rising star, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

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    Hillary Does NOT Want the Vice Presidency

      Clinton Kabuki


    Howard Fineman

    Read here

    Here is what I hear, on very good authority, from two sources close to the Clintons who also have strong ties to the Obama campaign:

    Clinton absolutely does NOT want the job of vice president, no matter what others are saying about it. Been there, done that in a very real sense, as First Lady.

    Obama, for his part, does NOT want her to be his vice-presidential nominee.

    No way.

    Neither do any of his major donors, supporters and advisers, say the sources, who asked for anonymity discussing sensitive matters.

    But there is talk that Obama will tentatively offer, or make some kind of gesture in that direction, the VP slot to Hillary, but only, only on the understanding that she promise in advance (through intermediaries if not directly) not to accept!

    "She doesn't want it and would not take it," said one source very close to her. "But she would like to be asked, and that is the Kabuki theater we are about to engage in."

    (Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson called the notion "silly," adding, "She has already said she would do whatever she could to help the Democrats take the White House back.")

    The Clinton forces also have another wish: whomever Obama ends up choosing, he not pick another woman, even after the kabuki ends. "Hillary's supporters, and Hillary herself, can't stand the idea that he would pick another woman," said another source who is personally close to the Clintons.

    Now, that is what they call chutzpah!

    And why does Hillary care so much that Obama NOT pick another woman?

    Perhaps because Hillary has spent the last several months turning herself into the tribune of millions of working women.

    She deserves a lot of credit and respect for doing so.

    She is still their candidate, and she doesn't want to cede that to another Democrat of the same gender.

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    Jimmy Carter tells Barack Obama NOT to pick Hillary Clinton as running mate

      Read here article by Jonathan Freedland in Guardian UK

    Barack Obama should not pick Hillary Clinton as his vice-presidential nominee, former president Jimmy Carter has told the Guardian.

    "I think it would be the WORST mistake that could be made," said Carter. "That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates."

    Carter, who formally endorsed the Illinois senator last night, cited opinion polls showing 50% of US voters with a negative view of Clinton.

    In terms that might discomfort the Obama camp, he said: "If you take that 50% who just don't want to vote for Clinton and add it to whatever element there might be who don't think Obama is white enough or old enough or experienced enough or because he's got a middle name that sounds Arab, you could have the worst of both worlds."

    Carter, who insisted that he would have been equally against an Obama-Clinton pairing if the former first lady had won the nomination, made the remarks in an interview with the Guardian's Weekend magazine, to be published on Saturday.

    The interview was conducted before the final round of voting last night confirmed Obama as the party's presumptive nominee.

    The intervention of the former president - regarded as the senior elder of the Democratic party by some, and as a walking reminder of electoral failure by others - comes just as speculation of a joint Obama-Clinton ticket is building in the US. Lanny Davis, a close Clinton adviser and friend, has launched a petition drive and website - and written directly to Obama - urging him to appoint his defeated rival.

    Meanwhile, Bob Johnson, the Clinton backer and founder of Black Entertainment Television, has announced that he hopes to persuade the Congressional Black Caucus - the umbrella group for African-American members of Congress - to lobby for an Obama-Clinton partnership.

    Carter's remarks could slow that momentum, as they come from the only living Democrat to have won more than 50% of the popular vote in a presidential election, even though the former president, who left office in 1980, insisted he was "on the outside" and no longer had any role in internal Democratic affairs.

    His comments are likely to be seized on by those Democrats who privately argue that the combination of a black man and a woman on a ticket will represent more change than the US electorate can swallow in one go. This camp believes Obama needs to pick an experienced, white and probably southern man to "balance" the ticket.

    The former president said: "What he needs more than a southerner is a person who can compensate for his obvious potential defects, his youthfulness and his lack of long experience in military and international affairs."

    For that reason, Carter says he favours Sam Nunn, the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who hails from his own state of Georgia. "That would be my preference, but there are other senior Democrats who would have similar credentials to Sam Nunn," he said

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    Letter to a CLINTON Supporter


    R.J. Eskow

    Read here in Huffington Post

    Sure, we've had our differences. We've seen the Clintons in very different ways, you and I - especially their campaign tactics.

    Where you've seen honest if tough campaigning, I've seen the CYNICAL manipulation of DIVISIVE emotions and a desire to put SELF before others.

    The race is over, so the question is: Now what?

    Are you going to cling to the belief that this outcome proves a woman can't be President?

    I think that perception sells this country, and its daughters, very short.

    After all, most of the polls take a few months ago showed Sen. Clinton winning the nomination overwhelmingly, and handily beating McCain in November.

    What happened?

    I say voters were turned off by the slash-and-burn tactics used by both Bill and Hillary. While the primary results were close, polls now show that Democrats decisively prefer Obama as their candidate.

    You see things differently: You think that media sexism (of which there was a great deal) did her in. And that there was some sneaky double-dealing from the Obama campaign - as if somehow it was in collusion with the same media that pummeled it with Rev. Wright stories.

    For you, it's as if Sen. Clinton has no independent agency, no autonomy, and no responsibility for the outcome of her campaign.

    But the fact remains: She was the leading candidate. It can be done.

    Had she not voted for that Iraq war resolution, waited too long to recant that vote, and taken bad advice from the likes of Mark Penn, she would be the Democratic nominee today.

    So don't tell me a woman can't be President.

    She was just the WRONG candidate at the WRONG time.

    And if you're disappointed that your second-grade daughter won't see a woman sworn in next January - well, so am I. I have a daughter too.

    I still remember how proud her mother and I were when that daughter was a toddler and Geraldine Ferraro became the Democratic nominee for Vice President. We dreamed of a world of possibility for that little girl - and she enters law school in September.

    Now let me tell you about our Godkids. They're twins, a boy and a girl. They're biracial - white and African American, like Sen. Obama. They just graduated from the sixth grade last Sunday.

    How do you think it would have affected their dreams of the future if they had heard Hillary Clinton say that only she can win, because unlike Sen. Obama only she can appeal to "hard working Americans, WHITE Americans"?

    Or if they had heard Bill Clinton dismiss Obama's achievement by comparing it to Jesse Jackson's?

    Or Geraldine Ferraro saying that Obama's "only winning because he's black"?

    I'd love to see a woman President, too - but not at the cost of having her, her campaign, and her supporters shut out the dreams of one group of young Americans in order to serve the dreams of another.

    No group that suffers from discrimination has ever conquered prejudice by turning its back on others in the same boat. Why try now?

    Instead, let's break one great barrier this year and lay the groundwork to break the next one when the right candidate appears.

    And she will.

    No, I don't think the Clintons are racists. I think they ran a rough campaign because they wanted to win. I think they crossed a line in doing it.

    No, I don't think you're racist, either.

    I don't think race influenced your decision - that is, unless you one of the 20% of primary voters in Kentucky or West Virginia who said it did. (I took a lot of heat over that one, but I was just taking these voters at their word.)

    Another thing:

    Doesn't the argument that this was "the last chance to have a woman President in my lifetime" - an argument I've heard many times this year - discount 51% of the American population?

    Out of all the brilliant and gifted women in this nation, was there only one with the ability to win the Presidency - the one with the well-connected husband?

    I don't believe that.

    And, if you're middle-aged like me, I'm asking you to consider this:

    It's not about our "lifetimes" anyway. It's about the next generation and THEIR lifetimes.

    At our age, it's time to ask ourselves: Which course of action is best for those that will follow us, those whose destiny has been placed in our care?

    Sen. Clinton's speech last night was very effective - in parts.

    And it was clever of her to pose and pretend to answer the "What does Hillary want?" question.

    Her litany of policy goals was admirable.

    But she didn't address the real question:
    If she's not staying in out of purely personal ambition, how does her refusal to
    concede do anything but harm that list of goals?

    I understand why you supported her. But why would you allow yourself to be played as a PAWN for a Washington power couple's PERSONAL ambitions?

    The Vice Presidency is a matter to be worked out between Senators Obama and Clinton, without perpetuating ugly divisions - divisions that threaten the future of our country, the safety of our world's civilians, the lives of our troops, our reproductive rights, and the ability of many of us to survive economically in the years to come.

    We who opposed Hillary Clinton paid her the ultimate respect as a woman, and as a human being: We judged her on her policies and her actions.

    The verdict is in. It would be wise and fair to accept it.

    Don't misunderstand:
    I'm asking you to rejoin the rest of us - but I'm not begging. The decision, and its consequences, are yours and yours alone.

    But I hope you make the right choice. I hope you choose with the needs of others foremost in your mind.

    Oh, and one last thing: Congratulations on a historic campaign. The next one will be even better.

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