VOWS FIGHT TO THE CONVENTION; S.C. FILING CLOSES; GOP GIVES UP
ON DEL GUV RACE; NRCC CHAIR SPEAKS OUT.
P2008- DEMS. Hillary Clinton vowed on Sunday that she will
continue her campaign to the convention in August, regardless
of what happens in the upcoming contests. "I know there are
some people who want to shut this down and I think they are wrong.
I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started
and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until
we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll
resolve it at the convention -- that's what credentials committees
are for," she said in an interview with the Washington
Post. Obama, meanwhile, Sunday that it was "terrific"
that the campaign has gone as long as it has -- while the primary
contests are continuing -- and that it is "premature"
for anyone to call on Clinton to quit before the final contests
in early June.
CAROLINA. Filing closed
on Sunday for the June primaries. US SENATE: Conservatives
blustered for the past year that US Senator Lindsey Graham (R)
would face a tough renomination battle as a backlash to his support
for legislation described as "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.
But, with filing closed, Graham now looks to be a safe bet to
win re-election. Republican National Committeeman and orthodontist
Buddy Witherspoon is Graham's lone primary opponent. Witherspoon
complains Graham is "too liberal for South Carolina,"
but he hasn't gained any traction over the past few months since
he launched his challenge. The only Dems to file against Graham
are attorney Michael Cone and pilot Bob Conley. CD-1: Congressman
Henry Brown (R) faces a primary contest against two challenger,
including Gulf War veteran Katherine Jenerette, a former congressional
aide on Brown's staff. Two Dems are also running, including wealthy
philanthropist Linda Ketner. CD-4: Congressman Bob Inglis
(R) is facing a primary challenge from former Reagan Administration
Regional EPA Administrator Charles Jeter. Three Democrats also
filed for the seat.
have already conceded they will not field a viable candidate in
the open gubernatorial contest. Governor Ruth Minner (D) is term-limited.
Lieutenant Governor John Carney and State Treasurer Jack Markell
will compete in a very hotly contested Democratic primary in September.
On the GOP side, the only two candidates are airline pilot/frequent
candidate Mike Protack and state employee/'04 candidate Dave Graham.
All of the other big GOP names have announced they will not run,
with State Representative Donna Stone (R) saying last week she
was passing on the race because it would be impossible to financially
compete against either Democrat. Stone is President of the National
Council of State Legislators. Markell has raised over $2.5 million
and Carney has collected $1 million. Stone told the Wilmington
News-Journal that it would be "very difficult, very,
very difficult" for any Delaware Republican to raise a similar
amount of money. Retired Superior Court Judge/'04 nominee Bill
Lee, corporate CEO Alan Levin, and State House Speaker Terry Spence
also said they would pass on the race. State GOP Vice Chair Vance
Phillips told the News-Journal that "neither Protack
nor Graham is likely to win the party's support ... I don't see
either of them effectively bringing together coalitions that are
required to win elections ... I probably agree with 95% of the
other leaders in the Republican Party that [Protack and Graham]
are not there yet."
The New York Times profiled Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK)
-- the NRCC Chair -- in the Sunday magazine. While the report
was a fairly sympathetic profile of Cole as holding an unenviable
role this year, there were several interesting quotes worth noting.
Cole on the Presidential race: "I don’t need the [GOP]
nominee to win; I just need him to be competitive enough that
we can win behind him in the places that should be ours. I need
him to be Gerald Ford [in 1976]." Cole on President Bush's
limited appeal in 2008: "I think this cycle he and the Vice
President are going to be doing a lot of fund-raisers in the South
and the Plains ... I love the President, but his appeal isn’t
universal." Cole on ideology: "This isn’t an ideologically
conservative country, and maybe some of us overreached in thinking
that it was, and have been corrected for that. But I believe that
it is still a center-right country, and I think this election
will show that." Cole on the conservative Club for Growth
PAC: "The problem I have with the Club [for Growth] is I
think they’re stupid. I think they’re politically
inept. They spend more money beating Republicans than Democrats."
Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman on the 2006 elections: "If there
are Republicans out there who think that 2006 was a year that
could be changed by a few votes in a few districts, they need
to wake up. It was a rejection." Former NRCC Deputy Chair
Dan Mattoon on GOP prospects for 2008: "Most of us can’t
wait to get to 2010." Although it is traditional for NRCC
Chairs to serve two terms, Cole already says he doesn't think
he wants a second term as Chair.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.31.08 | Permalink
OBAMA LANDS MAJOR PENNSYLVANIA ENDORSEMENT; P.R. GUV INDICTED; REP. WYNN TO QUIT EARLY FOR LOBBYING JOB.
OBAMA. Hillary Clinton has long enjoyed the support of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who served as DNC Chair during final years of her husband's Presidency. On Friday Barack Obama matched Clinton by scoring the endorsement of the Keystone State's other major Dem heavyweight: US Senator Bob Casey Jr. He will make the announcement on Friday, then join Obama on a bus tour of the state. Casey had originally planned to remain neutral during the primary, so the move came as a surprise to both camps. However, Philadelphia Inquirer reported "Casey was partially influenced by the enthusiasm of his four daughters for Obama. He is expected to help Obama make inroads with white working-class voters."
PUERTO RICO. Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (PPD) on Friday surrendered himself to the FBI for booking on Thursday's political corruption indictment. Hundreds of supportes mobbed the Governor's vehicle when he arrived at the FBI offices. The crowd waved Puerto Rican flags and blasted salse music, turning the event into a campaign rally for Acevedo's re-election campaign. Acevedo and a dozen political allies are charged in a 27-count indictment with allegedly hiding thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to his 2000 campaign for US Resident Commissioner to Congress. Acevedo proclaimed his innocence in a televised speech Thursday night, calling the charges a "multimillion-dollar political witch hunt" in which the Republican-controlled US Department of Justice is targeting island Democrats. Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño (PNP) -- who is also the RNC Committeeman for the island -- is Acevedo's leading opponent in the November gubernatorial election. FYI: For those unfamiliar with PR politics, the island has its own political parties not related to the two main US national parties. The PPD supports maintaining the island's current commonwealth status, while the PNP supports statehood. Traditionally the PPD is generally allied with the national Democrats, while the PNP is split between those aligned with Democrats and those aligned with the GOP.
MARYLAND. When Congressman Al Wynn (D) lost his primary a few weeks ago, he issued a statement saying he looked forward to accomplishing more for his district during the remainder of his term. On Thursday, Wynn announced he was resigning his seat in June to accept a lobbying job with a DC law firm. "It is time to move into another phase of my life and I am very excited to be joining such an outstanding firm. My leaving early will also allow our Democratic nominee Donna Edwards the opportunity to successfully navigate a special election and be sworn in this summer," said Wynn, in his written statement. Despite any claimed altruistic motives, the move is clearly intended to give Wynn a jump-start on a higher private-sector salary. Further, it is unclear if Governor Martin O'Malley (D) will call a special election -- with the additional costs involved -- or merely let the seat sit empty for the last half of this year. "It just happened so quickly we haven't had time to run the constitutional traps on that one," said O'Malley on Thursday to the Baltimore Sun. State law does not require O'Malley to call a special election under this timing -- although O'Malley must announce within ten days of the resignation date whether or not there will be a special election.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.28.08 | Permalink
SOUTH DAKOTA PRIMARY FILING CLOSES ... AND STORM GOT MARRIED.
MISSOURI. Filing closed this week for the Missouri primary,
leaving -- as usual -- lots of crowded contests throughout the
state. GOVERNOR: In the open gubernatorial race, Congressman
Kenny Hulshof and State Treasurer Sarah Steelman -- plus three
minor hopefuls -- will compete for the GOP nomination. Attorney
General Jay Nixon (D) is a lock to win his primary. Race Rating:
Toss-Up. CD-6: Congressman Sam Graves (R) will face former
Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes (D) in November. Race Rating: Leans
GOP. CD-9: Both parties will see hotly contested primary
races for Hulhof's open House seat. The GOP primary will feature
State Representatives Bob Onder and Danie Moore, former State
Representative Blaine Leutkemeyer, former pro football player
Brock Olivo and a political unknown. The Dems are also making
a competitive run for the seat. Leadings Dems in the contest include
former State House Speaker Steve Gaw, State Representative Judy
Baker, former State Senator Ken Jacob and Marion County Commissioner
Lyndon Bode. Race Rating: Leans GOP. The Libertarians also filed
candidates for most congressional and statewide races.
DAKOTA. Primary filing also closed in South Dakota this week,
leaving both federal incumbents safe. US Senator Tim Johnson (D)
-- who is continuing his recovery from a serious brain aneurisym
two years ago -- drew only second-tier challengers. State Representative
Joel Dykstra is the leading GOP candidate in the primary. Congresswoman
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) drew a challenge
from attorney Chris Lien (R).
LA FIESTA: THE REDUX. Based upon reader emails, my humorous
account of the November 2003 Florida Democratic Convention
-- a beauty pageant of '04 Presidential candidates -- was one
of your favorites. The lead character in the story was a Kucinich
volunteer named Storm Nobel (pictured, right). Storm -- a cross
between sincere activist, merry prankster, and horny guy on the
hunt -- served as the Greek chorus of the story. Well, for those
of you who enjoyed the account, I wanted to let you know that
Storm is back in Connecticut and just got married. Our congrats,
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.28.08 | Permalink
CALLS FOR CLOSING GITMO, ADOPTING GLOBAL WARMING TREATY, STAYING
IN IRAQ; BREDESEN PROPOSES DEM SUPER-DELEGATE CONVO; KEYES RUNS
FOR CONSTITUTION NOMINATION; GRAVEL SEEKS LIBERTARIAN NOD.
McCAIN. Speaking Wednesday in California, John
McCain (R) gave a major policy address to the World Affairs Council
in which he set himself apart from President Bush on two key issues.
First, he sent a message to US allies that he shares their concerns
about waterboarding and the legitimacy of keeping the controversial
US prison camp in Cuba. "We can’t torture or treat
inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured. I believe we
should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new
international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees
under our control," he said. Second, McCain voiced support
for adoption of a new treaty to combat global warming -- but not
the Kyoto Treaty. "There is such a thing as international
good citizenship. We need a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, a cap-and-trade
system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an
economically responsible manner," said McCain. However, he
vowed to stay the course with the Iraq War. McCain said he would
not support any quick withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
- DEMS. Tennessee Governor
Phil Bredesen proposed Wednesday that the DNC convene a formal
super-delegate convention or "super-delegate primary"
in June to bring the Presidential race to a close. Bredesen has
yet to endorse a candidate. Under Bredesen's plan, Barack Obama
and Hillary Clinton would both be allowed to speak to the convention,
super-delegates would be required to attend the convo, the delegates
could then debate the merits of the two candidates ... and then
a roll call vote would be taken and all would be required to declare
their choice. At that point, mathematically, the race would be
over. Bredesen said DNC Chair Howard Dean opposes the concept
-- seeing it as epitomizing the smoke-filled room of politicos.
However, Bredesen said the DNC is a committee, not just a Chair,
it is time for the DNC to act decisively to help promote an early
end to the race and party unity. US Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid also voiced support for bringing the nomination race to closure
in June. Obama quickly said he generally liked Bredesen's proposal:
"I think giving whoever the nominee is two or three months
to pivot into the general election would be extremely helpful
as opposed to having this drag on for two more months all the
way up to the convention. I think that would be disruptive and
hard on the party as well as the nominee." Bill Clinton,
however, signaled Wednesday that the Clinton campaign did not
favor any compromise or early unity proposals: "My family's not
big on quitting ... Let's just saddle up and have an argument.
What's the matter with that?"
PARTY. As predicted here months ago -- when the faux "draft"
movement was launched urging bombastic former Ambassador Alan
Keyes to seek the GOP Presidential nomination -- Keyes has quit
the Republican Party and is now officially seeking the Constitution
Party's Presidential nomination. A visit to Keyes'
campaign website now displays the Constitution Party logo
in the "breaking news" section at the top of the page.
The footer of the page displays a parody of the trademarked GOP
logo -- shown on the Keyes site in the form of a dead elephant.
Keyes may find he is sharply out of step with the CP on the Iraq
War, as the party strongly opposed US involvement in Iraq while
Keyes voiced strong support for the war during the GOP primaries
this year. The other announced candidates for the CP nomination
are two frequent candidates: anti-tax activist Don Grundman and
anti-gay activist Diane Beall Templin. Other potential candidates
for the CP nomination at the upcoming April 23-26 convention include
ousted Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy "Ten Commandments
Judge" Moore, '04 VP nominee Pastor Chuck Baldwin, former
US Senator Bob Smith, and political writer Jerome Corsi. Insiders
tell Politics1 that Moore would be a lock for the Constitution
Party nomination -- if he wants it.
PARTY. Likewise, as we predicted yesterday, former US Senator
Mike Gravel confirmed he has quit the Democratic Party and is
now a candidate for the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination.
In a message emailed to supporters on Wednesday, Gravel wrote:
"By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both
national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership,
which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control
what we read and hear in the media. I look forward to advancing
my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which
is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and
my domestic views." While
the LP may find common ground with Gravel on some issues like
the war and privacy, his support for big government programs like
universal health care would place him sharply at odds with libertarian
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.27.08 | Permalink
McCAIN. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan endorsed John McCain
on Tuesday. The McCain camp believed for months that Mrs. Reagan
preferred McCain for the nomination, but they had been unable
to convince her to make an endorsement while the primaries were
still being contested.
- CLINTON. Just more of the same. Nothing significant to report.
Former US Senator Mike Gravel spent the past year campaigning
for the Democratic Presidential nomination -- but this week he
joined the Libertarian Party. A few weeks ago, Gravel
endorsed Jesse Johnson for the Green Party's Presidential nomination.
However, it quickly became apparent the endorsement was simply
meant as a snub of Ralph Nader. Gravel was allegedly upset over
a perceived slight by Nader against Gravel at an earlier event
during this campaign season. Now, sounding like a potential candidate
for the Libertarian nomination, Gravel issued a written statemnent
on Tuesday explaining his latest actions. "I’m joining
the Libertarian Party because it is a party that combines a commitment
to freedom and peace that can’t be found in the two major
parties that control the government and politics of America. My
libertarian views, as well as my strong stance against war, the
military industrial complex and American imperialism, seem not
to be tolerated by Democratic Party elites who are out of touch
with the average American; elites that reject the empowerment
of American citizens I offered to the Democratic Party at the
beginning of this presidential campaign with the National Initiative
for Democracy," he wrote. Now, here is where it gets really
interesting. Former GOP Congressman Bob Barr quickly issued a
statement welcoming Gravel to the LP: "It is a distinct honor
to have another former member of Congress within the Libertarian
Party. Just as Senator Gravel believes Democrats have lost touch
with the American public, I too concluded Republicans had lost
their core principles, and could no longer associate myself with
the GOP. While coming from opposite sides of the aisle, Senator
Gravel and I definitely agree on the fundamental need for systemic
change in our political system, and that the only way we have
of effecting that change is by supporting and working in the Libertarian
Party, which is the only political party in America that consistently
works in word and deed to maximize individual liberty and minimize
government power." Is this the launch of a Barr/Gravel or
Gravel/Barr national ticket for the Libertarian Party?
HOUSE. Two surprises this week for House Republicans. NY
CD-26: Republicans got some bad news when State Senator George
Maziarz (R) decided not to seek the seat being vacated by retiring
Congressman Tom Reynolds (R). Maziarz already was sitting on an
existing campaign treasury of over $750,000 and seen as a lock
for the nomination, if he wanted it. With Maziarz out, the alternatives
are largely viewed as second-tier candidates. TN CD-7:
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R) was caught by surprise this
week when Shelby County Register and former State Senator Tom
Leatherwood announced he will challenge the incumbent in the GOP
primary. Leatherwood said that Republicans held majority control
of Congress and squandered it through a loss of conservative values.
"Incumbent Blackburn was part of the problem. I think Republicans
lost control of the House and Senate because they became self-serving
rather than being public servants. And I think the record shows
that." Leatherwood went on to blast Blackburn for the "funneling
of over $120,000 in campaign and PAC funds to her family. This
is out of line. Over $46,000 of that was in 2004 when she did
not have any primary or general election opposition." And
then Leatherwood went on to hit Blackburn for taking at least
20 vacation trips paid for by special interest groups. This is
going to be a nasty primary fight.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.26.08 | Permalink
VIEW FROM ABROAD: NIRJ DEVA, MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
MEP, of the Conservative
Party. Born into a political family in Sri Lanka, Deva
was raised in Great Britain. He speaks Sinhalese and English,
is a Catholic, and holds dual Sri Lankan and British citizenship.
Originally trained as an aeronautical engineer, he became active
in British politics and think tanks beginning in the 1970s. In
1985, Deva became the first Asian-born person to be appointed
by Queen Elizabeth II to the office of Deputy Lord Lieutenant
for London -- a title which he holds for life. In 1992, Deva was
elected as a Conservative to the British Parliament -- only the
second Asian-born person elected to the House of Commons. He represented
the riding of Brentford & Isleworth until 1997, when Labour
ousted him and captured the seat. In 1999, Deva became the first
Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the
European Parliament. He was re-elected in 2004. He formerly chaired
the European Parliament’s delegation to the UN Commission
on Sustainable Development. Deva launched a
campaign urging Britain to hold a referendum on the European
Parliament -- and espouses the Tory view of Britain's role in
the new Europe as "In Europe, not run by Europe."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO DATE?
I have been following American politics for the past part of
40 years and have never before witnessed such an interesting
race. Just eight months ago, it appeared as if Hillary Clinton
was a lock for the Democratic nomination and political commentators
were writing John McCain’s political obituaries. How things
change. The rise of Barack Obama as a credible candidate for
the Presidency only goes to show what an amazing country America
is, coming only 45 years since Dr King’s inspirational
“I Have a Dream” speech. Last week, the artful way
in which Senator Obama managed to transform criticism of his
relationship with Jeremiah Wright into to high praise and critical
acclaim further goes prove his substance and worth as a Presidential
candidate. That said, America is facing profoundly difficult
challenges in the years ahead – challenges that four years
in the Senate cannot prepare you for. From his membership of
the "Gang of 14" in the Senate to his early support
for the troop "surge" that is working in Iraq, John
McCain has proved himself to be exactly the kind of bold, consensus-building
leader America needs. I was delighted to be in Washington, DC,
for "Super Tuesday" when John McCain as good as secured
the Republican Presidential nomination and am hopeful that he
will be elected in November as the next President of the United
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT?
America’s reputation on the international stage
has undoubtedly taken a hit over the past few years. America
is the United Kingdom’s strongest ally and as such it
is very much in our interests to see a United States that is
respected on the international stage. The next President must
immediately close Guantanamo Bay; a facility whose very existence
has become a stain on America’s reputation on the international
stage and has become a powerful recruiting tool for terrorists.
All forms of torture of terrorist subjects must be ceased immediately.
As Senator McCain has said, America must send a message to the
world that, in contrast to our shared terrorist enemies, the
United States “upholds values and standards of behaviour
and treatment of all people, no matter how evil or bad they
are.” I would also like to see the next President get
serious about tackling climate change and continue to carry
about the excellent work started by President Bush and my friend
Senator Sam Brownback in tackling poverty in the third-world.
On an institutional level, I would hope to see the next President
support my friend Senator Norm Coleman’s work in fundamentally
reforming and democratizing the United Nations. Whilst I would
freely admit that the Iraq War has not been as successful as
I would have liked, it would be foolish in the extreme for the
United States to abandon the country. British and American forces
must “stay the course” and finish the noble job
you know a foreign political leader, elected official or prominent
candidate you'd like to have answer these two questions? Please
email Ron if you
know someone you'd like featured here.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.25.08 | Permalink
DEATH TOLL IN IRAQ CROSSES 4,000 MARK; CLINTON ADMITS SHE "MISSPOKE"
ABOUT BOSNIA TRIP; DETROIT MAYOR INDICTED.
The death toll of Americans fighting in the Iraq War sadly
crossed the 4,000 mark on Monday. Keep these facts in mind: over
half of the US casualties were under 25 years of age ... and 97%
came since President Bush declared "mission accomplished"
in Iraq. Also -- at the hands of insurgents, terrorists, and allied
forces -- very conservative estimates say that at least 80,000
innocent Iraqi civilians have also died since the war began five
years ago (note: other estimates place the Iraqi civilian death
toll in the 250,000-400,000 range).
- DEM. Hillary Clinton was forced to admit Monday -- in the
face of video evidence (widely available on the internet) -- that
she "misspoke" about "landing under sniper fire"
and "running with our heads down" during his 1997 visit
to Bosnia. Video of the event shows a peaceful ceremony with an
8-year-old girl welcoming Clinton with poem. Futher, it was clear
there was no sniper threat. All of this was in response to a Washington
Post report that directly accused Clinton of lying by inventing
a dangerous scenario that did not exist. On Monday, Clinton told
reporters her earlier account was "a blip" of a "misstatement"
when viewed in light of the "millions of statements"
she made during the campaign. This follows debunking of her previous
claims of playing a substantive role in negotiating the Northern
Ireland Peace Accord, in opposing the NAFTA treaty, and other
recent claims of "experience."
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) and an aide were indicted Monday for
perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to an investigation
involving a sexual relationship the Mayor reportedly had with
the female senior staffer. The charges are not a surprise, as
Kilpatrick faced lots of other ethics allegations from opponents
in 2005 last re-election campaign. He finished a distant second
in the primary -- embattled by lots of bad press related to the
city's financial deficit and embarrassing personal revelations
-- before winning the general election run-off by a 6-point margin.
Kilpatrick vows he will not resign and will fight the charges.
"This has been a very flawed process from the beginning.
I look forward to complete exoneration," he said.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.25.08 | Permalink
McCAIN VEEPSTAKES; MONTANA FILING CLOSES.
Politics1 had an interesting chat over the weekend with a
well-placed source who has been serving as a senior McCain advisor
during the primary campaign. For reasons that will be clear, you'll
see why he didn't want to be named. The topic: possible GOP Vice
Presidential runningmates. "My advice is to pick a safe choice,
someone who won't do any political damage," he said, "but
I don't think that is entirely where it's heading. Everytime I
look at the names, I think the choice is going to be [Florida
Governor] Charlie Crist. I mean,
just look at the other guys [being mentioned] and they're just
so underwhelming that it leads back to Charlie by elimination.
Mitt Romney isn't going to happen. Huckabee may end up in the
Cabinet, but won't be the runningmate. [Minnesota Governor Tim]
Pawlenty has a great story, coming from blue collar roots, but
he couldn't deliver Minnesota Republicans, so how is Pawlenty
going to do anything for McCain in the general? [South Carolina
Governor] Mark Sanford would probably be my first choice, as he's
a very safe pick. But Sanford doesn't add anything that McCain
doesn't already have." What about former Ohio Congressman
Rob Portman, who served as President Bush's Budget Director? "Give
me a fucking break: Portman has a zero percent chance of being
on the ticket. He'd be a terrible choice." What about the
rumors that McCain wants Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as his runningmate?
"Absolutely true. Joe Lieberman would be McCain's top choice
if he could pick the person he really wants as a runningmate.
It would be a bold pick, the kind of choice that would have the
potential to remake modern American politics into something new.
It would guarantee McCain a landslide win in November -- and,
mark my words, McCain won't have the guts to do it. He'd really
like to pick Lieberman, but in the end he'll cave to those who
want a more traditional choice. That's why I say it falls back
to Charlie Crist as the runningmate." Why Crist more than
one of the other names? "Crist's endorsement, when Romney
was flying up McCain's ass in the polls, and possibly had passed
him in Florida in that last weekend, was the single turning point
that made McCain the nominee. But for Charlie Crist, McCain would
not be our nominee." What about the rumors that Crist is
gay or too much of a centrist? "Who cares what he stands
for because he delivered for McCain in the primary. Charlie would
put Florida safely in the Republican column in November. As to
the gay rumors, that's just a lot of insider stuff. Most Americans
-- and most Floridians -- have never heard the rumors and really
don't want to hear the rumors. Charlie says he isn't gay, nobody
has proven otherwise, and the public will accept him at his word
... I have no idea if he is or isn't, but the public just doesn't
want to hear this stuff."
Candidate filings closed last week, leaving Governor Brian
Schweitzer (D), US Senator Max Baucus (D) and Congressman Denny
Rehberg (R) all well placed to win re-election. GOVERNOR:
Schweitzer will have no problem with his nominal primary opponents.
Likewise for State Senator Roy Brown, who is heavily favored to
win the GOP primary over frequent candidate Larry Steele. Businessman
Stan Jones (Libertarian) is also running. Race Rating: DEM Favored.
US SENATE: Baucus should cruise to a sixth-term in November,
as the Republicans were only able to recruit a second-tier candidate.
State Representative Mike Lange is the leading GOP candidate,
but faces five primary opponents. Race Rating: Safe DEM. CONGRESS:
Rehberg will also handily win re-election. Three Democrats and
a Libertarian filed to seek the seat. Race Rating: Safe GOP. Click
here for the list of Montana candidates.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.24.08 | Permalink
Barack Obama ended a week a relatively bad press with some
good news. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) -- a former
'08 White House candidate -- endorsed Obama on Friday. Richardson
called Obama an "extraordinary American" who "will
make a great and historic President ... [It] is a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity for our nation and [Obama is] a once-in-a-lifetime
leader," said Richardson. "The time that he could have
been effective has long since passed," responded Clinton
chief strategist Mark Penn. As much as the Clinton campaign on
Friday downplayed the endorsement as relatively insignificant,
Richardson's office noted that Clinton contacted him as recently
as March 13 to again ask for his endorsement.
closed on Friday, with eleven candidates filing for the open seat
of retiring US Senator Larry Craig (R). Lieutenant Governor Jim
Risch will cruise to an easy landslide win in the GOP primary
over his five minor opponents. The most unusual GOP primary hopeful
is California realtor and frequent candidate Hal Styles Jr. --
who has never set foot in the state -- but said he plans to move
to Idaho within the next six weeks. Former Congressman Larry LaRocco
is also a safe bet win defeat his lone opponent in the Democratic
primary. Former Caldwell City Councilman Kent Marmon quit the
GOP race near the close of filing and entered instead on Friday
as the Libertarian candidate. Republican rancher and veterinarian
Rex Rammell also quit the GOP race on Friday -- blasting Risch
as "too old" to begin a career in DC -- and instead
filed as an Independent. Adding to the bizarre moves was the entry
of Marvin Richardson, an Independent and frequent conservative
candidate, who legally changed his name this year simply to "Pro-Life."
Race Rating: GOP Favored. In CD-1, controversial Congressman Bill
Sali (R) faces a primary challenge from Iraq War veteran and GOP
activist Matt Salisbury. Sali has a poor personal relationship
with Idaho's GOP establishment leaders. On the Dem side, attorney/'06
nominee Larry Grant and businessman/'96 US Senate nominee Walt
Minnick are competing. Race Rating: Leans GOP. In CD-2, Congressman
Mike Simpson (R) looks safe -- but is facing challenges from two
Republicans and two Democrats. Click here for
the list of Idaho candidates.
Former GOP Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia is considering a run
for the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination. Barr -- who
served as US Attorney during the Reagan Administration -- switched
his registration to Libertarian two years ago, and had voiced
support this year for Ron Paul's White House campaign. "There
is great deal [of] dissatisfaction with the candidates for the
two major parties, particularly among conservatives, but also
a great deal of internet and other support for a candidate like
Ron Paul who advocates libertarian and true conservative principles,"
said Barr to the Washington Times, explaining why he is
thinking about jumping into the race. Barr -- who previously said
he would not run for President -- pointedly declined to answer
if it was Paul who was encouraging him to run. Interestingly,
Barr's website remains
online, frequently updated, and addresses various federal issues
that could form the basis a campaign platform. Twelve hopefuls
have already announced their candidacies for the LP's Presidential
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.22.08 | Permalink
PAPERS CHASING PATERSON LOVE CHILD STORY; PASTOR WRIGHT WAS CLINTON
WHITE HOUSE GUEST; REP. REYNOLDS RETIRES; NRCC-DCCC MONEY WARS;
SUPREMES APPROVE WASHINGTON ELECTION CHANGES.
YORK #1. The
New York Post and the New York Sun are both spending
serious resources chasing a story that newly sworn-in Governor
David Paterson (D) possibly fathered an illegitimate son years
ago with a woman who is today a Republican District Leader in
New York City. According to the rather wild allegations, Governor
Paterson convinced his brother Daniel to claim fatherhood of the
boy to protect his political career. Reporters this week dogged
the young man, 24, to Boston where he is a college student --
but he refused to comment. The mother has likewise refused interview
requests so far. The young man was present for Governor Paterson's
swearing-in ceremony this week. Paterson acknowledged to reporters
this week that both he and his wife have each had several affairs
during their marriage. Our guess is that the story goes nowhere
-- and that nothing will surface proving these claims -- but it
is sending reporters on a wild goose chase.
- DEMS. Photos surfaced Thursday showing Barack Obama's controversial
former pastor Jeremiah Wright ... as an invited guest in the Clinton
White House at a 1998 gathering of national religious leaders.
What it apparently shows is that Wright has been viewed for years
as a significant religious leader, recognized well outside of
his Chicago base. The Obama campaign reportedly supplied the photo
to the New York Times. In response, Hillary Clinton's campaign
downplayed the photo. "In the course of his two terms in
office, Bill Clinton met with, corresponded with and took pictures
with literally tens of thousands of people," a Clinton spokesman
told The Politico. The progressive magazine The Nation
also has a
report that Clinton's own religious affiliation may cause
problems for her campaign. Meanwhile, several new Pennsylvania
polls show Clinton moving into a nearly 20-point lead over Obama
in the state. Also, the latest Michigan and Florida re-vote proposals
look dead. DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Chairman James Roosevelt
Jr. told the Boston Globe he will adamantly oppose any
plan to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations based upon the
unsanctioned January contests.
YORK #2. Congressman Tom Reynolds (R), former Chair of the
NRCC, announced Thursday he will not seek re-election. Reynolds
faced tough contests in 2004 and 2006 against wealth businessman
Jack Davis (D) -- and appears to be facing a possibly tougher
contest against Iraq War veteran Jon Powers (D) this year. Sources
tell Politics1 that a terrible upstate economy, an unpopular war
and a hard-charging opponent caused Reynolds to make his retirement
decision in this swing district. "It’s time, for many
reasons, to make the move now. There's no one piece, I just knew
it was time," explained Reynolds, in his announcement. Reynolds
is the 29th House Republican to announce his retirement or resignation
during this Congress. NY GOP insiders praise Reynolds -- a former
county and state legislator -- as a capable legislative tactician
and a canny pol with a real talent for organizing and fundraising.
Friends of Reynolds say they believe he plans to run for statewide
office -- possibly Governor -- in 2010. State Senator George Maziarz
appears to be the likely GOP candidate for the CD-26 seat, as
his campaign account already has over $750,000 banked. Maziarz
is a close ally of State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R)
-- the new Acting Lieutenant Governor -- but is a critic of Bruno's
Communications Director John McArdle (who Maziarz recently called
"a rodent" because of the aide's imperious and autocratic
The latest FEC filings at the end of February for the NRCC and
the DCCC show the Dems holding a widening cash advantage heading
into this election year. The NRCC ended last month with $5.1 million
cash-on-hand (note: that;s $1.3 million less than a month ago)
versus $38 million for the DCCC.
The US Supreme Court in a 7-2 vote upheld Washington State's new
election plans, approving changes to the format of the state's
elections. Starting this year, all candidates for an office will
compete in open "jungle" primaries in which all candidates
of all parties appear on the same primary ballot. The top two
finishers, regardless of party, will then advance to the general
election. Third party activists complained that this method will
eliminate third party candidates from the November contests. In
an interesting irony, the Louisiana jungle primary upon which
these were modeled were eliminated in the Bayou State this year
in favor of traditional format elections.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.21.08 | Permalink
NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.
SPEECH ZONE. This is one of those days when I'm asserting
my prerogative to skip posting any news -- as Wednesday was a
relatively slow day for significant political news (unless you
count Chris Matthews dancing on Ellen DeGeneres' show). Of course,
Wednesday was also the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq
War. This November, we can decide whether we want a President
who supports a relatively quick withdrawal of US troops ... or
supports a hundred more years of war (or staying for whatever
it takes to "win" in Iraq, and maybe Iran too). Your
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.20.08 | Permalink
FROM ABROAD: NICK CLEGG, MP - LEADER, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS (UNITED
NEW. Let me introduce a new, regular feature
on Politics1. Recently I received an email from a school teacher
in the Ukraine. In an attempt to have her students better follow
and understand our Presidential race, she asked me for information
on how the leading Presidential candidates viewed Ukraine. Unfortunately,
I had to tell her that sadly no candidates ever mentioned the
Ukraine. Frankly, the only foreign issues discussed here are the
"war on terrorism" and so-called "Axis of Evil"
nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea), trade (Canada,
Mexico and China), immigration (mainly Mexico), Israel, and --
fleetingly -- genocide (Darfur). During the months I spent in
France over the past year, I saw Europeans closely following our
White House race, even though they have no vote in it. Why? Because
the US President plays such an influential role -- for good or
bad -- in policies impacting every corner of the globe. That inspired
me to find a way to place these non-US perspectives on our elections
before our American readers. I
plan to simply ask two questions -- the same two questions --
to as many political leaders and elected officials around the
globe as possible. Some will be established leaders or rising
stars. Others featured here may offend you by who they are or
what they say. But, hopefully, this feature will help broaden
our international perspective as informed US voters.
MP, is Leader of the Liberal
Democrats. Born in 1967, Nick
is former print journalist who began his career a trainee writer
at the US magazine The Nation. He later worked as a development
aid and trade expert for the European Commission. In 1999, he
was elected as a Member of the European Parliament. Nick stood
down as an MEP in 2004, spent a year as a university lecturer,
and was then elected to the British Parliament from Sheffield
Hallam in 2005. Elected as Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party
in December 2006, Nick has focused on marrying the party’s
twin traditions of economic and social liberalism to deliver social
justice -- and promises to double the party's seats in Parliament
in the next elections. A new The Guardian/ICM poll this
week shows the LibDems rapidly gaining on Prime Minister Gordon
Brown's Labour Party. The numbers: David Cameron / Conservative
- 45%, Gordon Brown / Labour - 29%, Nick Clegg / Liberal Democrat
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO DATE?
Just six months ago it looked like Hillary Clinton was set to
lock down the Democratic nomination by Super Tuesday, while
the Republican race seemed wide open. I have watched with fascination
as John McCain has ground down his opponents, and the Democrats
have become ever-more torn between Senators Clinton and Obama.
There is no doubt that the 2008 race for the White House should
favour the Democrats: the background of economic slowdown, foreclosures
and a catastrophic war in Iraq makes it difficult to argue for
four more years of a Republican Commander-in-Chief. But the
longer that John McCain is out campaigning -- while the Democrats
attack one another -- the stronger his hand will become. More
broadly, this race has shown that whatever criticisms people
make of the US political system, running for president is an
extraordinary test of character which exposes both the strengths
and weaknesses of those who choose to do it.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT?
is that the next President will break with the past eight years
and take the steps necessary to restore America’s moral authority
in the eyes of the international community. That means bringing
American troops home from Iraq, but it also requires a President
who is prepared to stay within the letter of international law
rather than following the path of least resistance. The next
President should be resolute in the face of terror, but he or
she must not undermine their pro-democracy message by breaking
the law. Closing Guantanamo Bay and denouncing all forms of
torture – including so-called waterboarding – are key to rebuilding
trust in America and American values. That day cannot come soon
you know a foreign political leader, elected official or prominent
candidate you'd like to have answer these two questions? Please
email Ron if you
know someone you'd like featured here.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.19.08 | Permalink
BIG SPEECH; RE-VOTE UNLIKELY IN MICHIGAN; FILING CLOSES IN UTAH,
Barack Obama directly
addressed the racial issues and undertones that divide America
-- whether openly discussed or hidden in whispers -- in what pundits
from left to right praised as an amazingly courageous speech.
The address may not help him in Pennsylvania, and may possibly
hurt him there politically in terms of primary votes, but the
words spoken needed to be said. I know I'm really blurring the
line today between my editorializing and neutral reporting, but
his observations were true. I remember going to a public school
in Florida that was only "pretend integrated" when I
started first grade in 1969, but became truly integrated within
a few years through court-ordered school busing. I remember our
elementary school history books being yanked out of our school
around fourth grade because of a hurtful, racially-insensitive
tone towards blacks (and slavery, segregation, etc.). I heard
racist comments made over the years by my white and black friends
(just as I've heard anti-Semitic and anti-gay comments over the
years at cocktail parties from friends who forgot I'm Jewish or
gay because I "don't fit stereotype"). The praise for
Obama's remarkable address crossed the political spectrum from
Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, conservative Pat
Buchanan, and the National Review on the right to progressive
media outlets and the fawningly pro-Obama talking heads at MSNBC.
If you didn't see the whole speech -- and viewing clips doesn't
do it justice -- be
sure to click here to watch (and read) the speech from start to
finish. Like or hate Obama on any other day of the week, his
speech on Tuesday is worth discussing.
State legislative leaders on Tuesday said scheduling a re-vote
primary for June was all but dead. DNC rules require the re-vote
plans be set by Thursday -- which is why Florida leaders announced
Monday they were giving up on trying to satisfy the DNC's bureaucratic
hurdles. The Clinton campaign blamed the Obama campaign for the
failure, while the Obama campaign blamed GOP Senators and pro-Clinton
legislators. Thus, both Florida and Michigan Democrats will bring
their delegate seating fight to the DNC Rules Committee and --
failing that -- a convention floor fight, if the nomination is
still unresolved in August.
Candidate filing has closed in Utah. Governor Jon Huntsman
(R) is a safe bet to win re-election over a minor primary foe,
three Democrats and a Libertarian. To give you an idea of the
lightweight nature of the opposition, one is listed on the ballot
as Monty "Millionaire" Nafoosi (D) and another as Dell
"Super Dell" Schanze (Libertarian). Nafoosi is currently
facing marijuana possession charges, and the colorful Schanze
was previously charges with a weapons offense. Congressmen Rob
Bishop (R) and Jim Matheson (D) both face second-tier opponents.
Both men appear safe. Congressman Chris Cannon (R) appears to
be facing a very serious primary threat in CD-3 for two major
challengers: former Huntsman Chief of Staff Jason Chaffetz and
former Juab County Prosecutor David Leavitt. Leavitt is the brother
of former Governor Mike Leavitt (R). While the CD-3 seat is safely
Republican in November, this appears to be the most serious challenge
of Cannon's congressional career. Click here
for the list of Utah candidates. Party conventions will narrow
the fields before the June 24 parties.
Primary filing also closed this week in Maine. US Senator Susan
Collins (R) will face off in November against Congressman Tom
Allen (D), after Allen wins his June 10 primary over peace candidate
Tom Ledue (D). Polls show Collins -- a GOP centrist -- continuing
to hold a sizable lead. Race Rating: Leans GOP. Six Democrats
and two Republicans are competing to replace Allen in CD-1. Frontrunners
include former State Senate Majority Leaders Chellie Pingree (D)
and Mike Brennan (D), State Senator Ethan Strimling (D), former
State Senator Charlie Summers (R) and businessman Dean Scontras
(R). Race Rating: DEM Favored. In CD-2, Congressman Mike Michaud
(D) will safely win another term over Farmington Selectman John
Frary (R).Click here for the list of
filed Maine candidate.
DAKOTA: Former Lieutenant Governor Steve Kirby (R) announced
he will not challenge US Senator Tim Johnson (D) this year. With
Kirby passing on the contest, move Johnson to the "Safe"
category over the second- and third-tier opponents already announced.
Filing closes next month.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.19.08 | Permalink
DEMS SAY NO TO RE-VOTE; OBAMA TO SPEAK ON RACE, RELIGION; IOWA
FILING CLOSES; McCAIN VEEPSTAKES.
Florida Democratic Chair Karen Thurman announced Monday that Florida
Dems will not hold a Presidential re-vote. No mail-in primary.
No live June primary. No
caucuses. "We must stick together, no matter where this ongoing
delegate debate takes us. Last week, the Florida Democratic Party
laid out the only existing way that we can comply with DNC Rules
-- a statewide revote run by the Party -- and asked for input.
Thousands of people responded. We spent the weekend reviewing
your messages, and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus
is clear: Florida doesn't want to vote again. So we won't ...
This doesn't mean that Democrats are giving up on Florida voters.
It means that a solution will have to come from the DNC Rules
& Bylaws Committee, which is scheduled to meet again in April.
When this committee stripped us of 100% of our delegates last
year, some members summed up their reasoning by saying, 'The rules
are the rules.' Unfortunately, the rules did not apply to Iowa,
New Hampshire and South Carolina when they, too, violated the
DNC calendar by moving from their assigned dates. As the late
great Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, 'We
must adjust our ideas to the facts of today... Rules are not necessarily
sacred, principles are,'" wrote Thurman, in a written statement.
What is most likely: a compromise deal in which the Florida Democratic
Party, the Clinton and Obama campaigns, and the DNC can all reach
a grudging agreement. Stay tuned.
Senator Barack Obama will take on the serious questions about
the role race and religion are playing in the 2008 Presidential
campaign -- and particularly Obama's views on his controversial
pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama will give the major address in
Philadelphia on Tuesday. This speech may possibly be aimed more
at the superdelegates than any other audience, as Obama must convince
them the Wright concerns will not kill his campaign in the general
Congressional candidate filing closed in Iowa, leaving the incumbents
of both parties all looking very strong. US Senator Tom Harkin
(D) appears safe in his race. Three Republicans filed against
Harkin: former State Representative George Eichhorn, businessman
Steve Rathje, and Navy veteran Chris Reed. In CD-1, freshman
Congressman Bruce Braley (D) drew a last minute challenge from
State Senator David Hartsuch (R). Race rating: Dem Favored.
CD-2: Three minor GOP candidates -- physician Mariannette
Miller-Meeks, chaplain Lee Harder and businessman Peter Teahen
-- filed to run against freshman Congressman Dave Loebsack (D).
Race rating: Dem Favored. The real contest in CD-3 is the
Democratic primary. Congressman Leonard Boswell (D) is facing
an aggressive challenge from progressive former State Representative
Ed Fallon. An Iraq War opponent, Fallon criticizes Boswell's support
for the war -- but Boswell is favored in the primary. Congressmen
Tom Latham (R) in CD-4 and Steve King (R) in CD-5
both look safe. Click here for the list of Iowa
VEEPSTAKES: Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R), in a New
York Times interview, helped stoke the rumors about his interest
in being Senator John McCain's Vice Presidential runningmate.
he interested in being the VP candidate? "I think it’s
very flattering, obviously, but my focus is Florida," said
Crist. Does he want to finish his four-year term? "Well,
I love being Governor of Florida, and I feel blessed to have the
opportunity to hold this job." Okay, but will you pledge
to finish your four-year term (until 2010)? "I’m going
to promise to do everything I can to help my fellow Floridians,"
said a broadly smiling Crist. Most pundits credit Crist's endorsement
of McCain as being pivotal in swinging Florida to McCain, which
then propelled McCain to his victory a week later on Super Tuesday.
McCain and Crist enjoy a warm relationship, and Florida is a key
swing state in the general election. Former Presidential rival
Mitt Romney (R-MA) has also recently expressed an interest in
serving as the VP runningmate -- although McCain and Romney have
a very strained personal relationship.
SPEECH ZONE: The latest bombshell in the soap opera of former
New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (D) and his wife Dina's divorce
case relates to Teddy Pedersen, the person who was apparently
third man in their relationship. Just my two cents but ...
IF they were going to fool around and add a third person to
the mix ... Pedersen was a pretty hot looking guy (note: I'm talking
about the short-haired
look of when he was a campaign aide, not Ted's younger
and longer-hair look in some of the other online pix).
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.18.08 | Permalink
Senator Barack Obama (D) endured a weekend of damaging news stories.
First, he acknowledged that his campaign had previously understated
the amount of contributions his 2004 US Senate campaign received
from donors linked to indicted businessman Tony Rezko. The correct
amount was $250,000 -- not $158,000. Significantly more problematic,
however, was the release of videos showing a series of controversial
sermons py Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Wright, who led the Chicago-area
United Church of Christ congregation where Obama and his family
attended for the past two decades, retired last month. In one
of the more incendiary sermons, Wright said blacks should say
"God damn America" -- not "God bless America"
-- because of the American legacy of slavery, institutionalized
discrimination and neglect towards blacks. Obama spoke at length
about Wright during a meeting last month in Ohio with Cleveland
Jewish community leaders. Here is what he said:
is true that my Pastor, Jeremiah Wright ... is somebody who on
occasion can say controversial things. Most of them, by the way,
are controversial [and] directed at the African-American community,
calling on them to start reading books and turn off the TV set
and engage in self-help. And he is very active
in prison ministries and so forth. It is also true that he comes
out of the '60s [and] is an older man. That is where he cut his
teeth. That he has historically been interested in the African
roots of the African-American experience. He was very active in
the South Africa divestment movement and you will recall that
there was a tension that arose between the African-American and
the Jewish communities during that period when we were dealing
with apartheid in South Africa, because Israel and South Africa
had a [good] relationship at that time, and ... that was a source
of tension. So there have been a couple of occasions where he
made comments with relation, rooted in that. Not necessarily ones
that I share. But that is the context within which he has made
those comments. He does not have a close relationship with Louis
Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan is a resident of Chicago and as a consequence
he has been active in a range of community activities, particularly
around ex-offenders and dealing with them. ... But I have never
heard an anti-Semitic comment made inside of our church. I have
never heard anything that would suggest anti-Semitism on part
of the Pastor. He is like an old uncle who sometimes will say
things that I don't agree with. And I suspect there are some of
the people in this room who have heard relatives say some things
that they don't agree with, including -- on occasion -- directed
at African-Americans ... So the point I make is this: that I understand
the concerns and the sensitivities [of the Jewish community] and
one of my goals constantly in my public career has been to try
to bridge what was a historically powerful bond between the African
American and Jewish communities that has been frayed in recent
years, for a whole variety of reasons. I think that I have served
as an effective bridge and that's the reason I have overwhelming
support among the Jewish community that knows me best, which is
the Jewish community in Chicago. And I think that anybody who
has friends among the Jewish community in Chicago should check
out those credentials. But I do appreciate the opportunity to
clarify those concerns ... [The] last point I would make is that
you know my Pastor is going to be retiring over the next month.
So my general view, and the reason that I raise this, is always
a sensitive point. What you don't want to do is distance yourself
or kick somebody away, because you are now running for President
and you are worried about perceptions, particularly when someone
is basically winding down their life and their career."
As more of
the videos came to light, Obama went beyond his earlier statements.
Explaining he was not at the services when the most controversial
sermons were given, he said: "I didn't know about all these
statements. I knew about one or two of these statements that had
been made. One or two statements would not lead me to distance
myself from either my church or my pastor ... If I had thought
that was the tenor or tone on an ongoing basis, then yes [I may
have switched to another congregation as] I don't think it would
have been reflective of my values."Because of Wright's retirement,
Obama added he has "no intention of leaving the church itself."
Obama's campaign removed Wright over the weekend from Obama's
Spiritual Advisory Committee.
The county conventions held this weekend -- a follow-up to the
January precinct caucuses -- produced some good new for Barack
Obama. With the help of former Edwards supporters, Obama gained
nine additional national convention delegates and Hillary Clinton
lost one national convention delegate.
Senator John McCain visited Iraq on Sunday. He met with Iraqi
governmental officials and US Army General David Petraeus. Before
returning to the US, McCain will make stops in Israel, France
and Great Britain. He is set to meet in coming days with Israeli
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.17.08 | Permalink
STATES: GOV PALIN TRIES TO CLEAN-UP ALASKA GOP; INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN
CONGRESSMEN DRAW MAJOR PRIMARY FOES IN ALASKA, WISCONSIN, GEORGIA.
In a surprise move, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell announced
Friday at the State GOP Convention that he will challenge embattled
Congressman Don Young in the
Republican primary. Young -- an 18-term incumbent -- is reportedly
the target of a federal corruption investigation. Young's campaign
committee has already spent over $800,000 on legal fees related
to the investigation. Independent polling has shown Young trailing
former State House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz (D) in general
election matchups. "For too long, we have expected too little
from our elected officials. It is time for change," said
Parnell. Parnell is a close ally of reform Governor Sarah Palin
(R), and she immediately endorsed Parnell's candidacy. Conservative
State Senator Gabrielle LeDoux is also an announced GOP primary
challenger to Young. State House Speaker John Harris (R) was not
pleased with Parnell's announcement. Harris immediately demanded
that Parnell resign as Lieutenant Governor if he goes forward
with his challenge of Young. Palin brushed off the attack, saying
Parnell should remain in office while running for Congress. Palin
has also been openly critical of US Senator Ted Stevens (R), who
is the target of a separate federal corruption probe and is likewise
locked in a tough re-election contest. No word yet as to whether
Palin is also lining up a primary challenger for Stevens. Palin
failed, however, in her attempt at the convention to oust State
Chairman Randy Ruedrich, an ally of defeated former Governor Frank
Murkowski and others that Palin believes are obstacles to ridding
the party of a perception of corruption. Palin asked delegates
to stand up if they wanted fresh party leadership, and about half
the delegates stood. A resolution calling for Ruedrich to resign
was tabled by a 167-133 vote. Ruedrich was a vocal opponent of
Palin during the 2006 gubernatorial primary. Ruedrich, who was
elected to a four-year term as chair in mid-2006, paid a $12,000
fine for state ethics violations two years ago. Ruedrich says
there is nothing that can force him to quit as chair before the
end of his term in 2010. A new Hays Research Poll released this
week shows Palin holding an 85% approval rating. By contrast,
the poll shows Young has a 55% unfavorable rating. Alaskans are
split on Stevens, with 49% vieweing him favorably versus 45% unfavorably.
House Race Rating: Leans GOP.
Freshman Congressman Paul Broun Jr. (R) was elected in an upset
during the 2007 special election to replace the late Congressman
Charlie Norwood (R). Describing himself as a libertarian conservative
much like Ron Paul, Broun defeated the traditional conservative
legislator who was overwhelmingly backed by the district's GOP
establishment. State Senator Nancy Schaefer and State Representative
Barry Fleming have both announced primary challenges to Broun
in CD-10. Fleming is a mainstream conservative, while Schaefer
has been a prominent leader of the Religious Right movement in
the state. Iraq War veteran Bobby Saxon and jewelry store owner
Terry Holley are announced Democratic candidates. Race rating:
Congressman Tom Petri (R) -- a GOP centrist and 15-term incumbent
-- unexpectedly finds himself facing a serious primary challenge
this year. Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz (R) filed
paperwork to launch an exploratory campaign against Petri, saying
he was approached by local GOP leaders who think new leadership
is needed. "I think Congressman Petri and my differences
are far less ideological and far more about personality or about
energy or about the way to represent the 6th District," said
Kratz to the Appleton Post-Crescent. Petri, 67, said he
will seek re-election this year to a 16th term. Recent FEC reports
show Petri's campaign has raised over $877,000. Dairy marketing
specialist Roger Kittelson (D) is also an announced candidate.
Race rating: Safe GOP.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.17.08 | Permalink