Obama put on the ropes?

Have to keep it short, gathering petitions in a few minutes at the Lincoln Square tree lighting event in NYC!

Obama has stuck himself between a rock and a hard place.

He has to respond to any questions the Clinton campaign throws at him now.

Its a chain reaction, and he's in the exploding end.

1. Drivers license -- Makes a big deal about it in Philly, but then in Vegas, stumbles.

2. Overreaction to scum like Novak. He should have let it drop once the HRC campaign said they had nothing to do with it, but he kept it going, and aimed fire at Clinton...

3. His foreign policy flub - 6-10 years old is his best experience in foreign policy? I am sure Biden, Clinton, and Richardson will hammer him on that on Dec. 10th, if the debate occurs.

4. Health care squabble - the back and forth put him in deeper.  Now mandates are bad? But he has mandates in his own plan.

but somehow, the conversation shifted from Hillary having to answer, to Obama having to answer. And he does, which is where the double edged sword comes in.  He has to be able to look tough in responding (to boost his GE credentials) but now he is on the defensive.

Now theres the FEC leadership PAC situation. Will he answer the questions? If he doesn't, Clinton's campaign scores big. If he does, the back and forth will still shake his integrity.

Whats going to happen next?  What an exciting month December will be!

Just what I think

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Enough already - Novak just played you.

My goodness, sometimes I am amazed that the people on this website are adults. Timmy Russert has nothing when it comes to "gotcha" politics than some people on this website. Its absolutely childish and beyond ridiculous.

Lets take the Novak situation. Novak rights something to stir some trouble, and people go APESHIT. Its "mudslinging," or "Hillary got caught in a lie" or "Obama fires back." Can you just stand back and take a breath?

Clinton's campaign TOTALLY REJECTED NOVAK's Claim... and somehow that is Hillary backing down? Maybe if you take your blinders off you will see that it's JUST more RIGHT WING NOISE.

Hillary's campaign responded quickly to Novak's claim stating:
"We have no idea what Mr. Novak's item is about and reject it totally."

Great Job at firing back Obama, but YOU MISSED THE TARGET.  The targets been missed ALL year, you just got played by Robert Novak. Obama, wake up and smell the beans, the repugs are toying with you, and it isnt even the GE yet.

Hillary's camp on the other hand called it out for what it was,

"Once again Senator Obama is echoing Republican talking points, this time from Bob Novak. This is how Republicans work, A Republican leaning journalist runs a blind item designed to set Democrats against one another. Experienced Democrats see this for what it is. Others get distracted and thrown off their games. Voters should be concerned about the readiness of any Democrat inexperienced enough to fall for this. There is a campaign in this race that has engaged in the very practice that Senator Obama is decrying, and it's his."

Obama, open your eyes, Repugs are playing you for a sucker, and if you want to show that you can take the heat, aim the fire the right way.

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Hillary and the Debate- Drivers Licenses

OK so lets clear some things up about what REALLY happened at the debate, and expose some Dodd/Edwards/Obama memes that are taken for truth, but are actually quite wrong when you look at what actually happened.

First Russert Asked: "Senator Clinton, Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer has proposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants... Why does it make a lot of sense to give an illegal immigrant a driver's license? "

At no point in the response does Hillary say that 1. Illegal Immigrants should get drivers' licenses. 2. That she agrees with Spitzer's plan.

What she does do is explain the position Gov. Spitzer is in right now in New York.

Here is her answer:
"Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. [Failures of immigration reform on REPUBLICANS] We know in New York we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability. [This is a lot of nothing]

So what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum. [Vacuum caused by the federal government] I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform.[Again, we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform is referring to the federal government]"

AT NO POINT DID HILLARY SAY SHE WAS FOR THE PLAN.  If you can spot it in there, then please show me where she says "I support giving Illegal Immigrants driver's licenses."

OK - Now lets move on

"Does anyone here believe an illegal immigrant should not have a driver's license?"

Dodd doesn't think so, and gives his answer.

Dodd: "This is a privilege. And, look, I'm as forthright and progressive on immigration policy as anyone here. But we're dealing with a serious problem here, we need to have people come forward. The idea that we're going to extend this privilege here of a driver's license I think is troublesome, and I think the American people are reacting to it.
We need to deal with security on our borders. We need to deal with the attraction that draws people here. We need to deal fairly with those who are here.

OK - this is a DIFFERENT QUESTION AGAIN. In here, Dodd disagrees with giving Illegals a drivers license. He, at no point discusses the same points Hillary discussed. He doesnt discuss comprehensive immigration reform, or the strain the lack of action on behalf of the Federal Government has on State and Local governments.

OK at this point Hillary states:
HRC - "Well, I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do... And we have failed. We have failed.

She clarifies that she didnt say she agrees with the plan. IF YOU READ WHAT SHE DID SAY, you will see that she is right, at no point did she endorse the plan.

Dodd flips out - maybe because he wasnt paying attention to what she actually answered.

Dodd: "No, no, no. You said -- you said yes..."

She did?????????????????????????????? Again, where did she say yes????????????????? Did i miss it???????????????

Dodd again:
"you thought it made sense to do it." Umm thats different than what was said as well, what she said is that she understands the hard position Spitzer is in, and understands that Governors are trying to pick up the slack of the Federal Government.

Russert, smelling a fight, has to chime in again, and now asks a DIFFERENT QUESTION. Its not the same question he asked the first time, and its not the same question he asked Dodd.

Russert: "Senator Clinton, I just want to make sure of what I heard. Do you, the New York senator, Hillary Clinton, support the New York governor's plan to give illegal immigrants a driver's license?

Now this is Clinton answering AGAIN:
"You know, Tim, this is where everybody plays "gotcha." It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problems. We have failed. And George Bush has failed. Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York, we want to know who's in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows.
He's making an honest effort to do it. We should have passed immigration reform.

Again, she makes the SAME arguments as in her first answer. The administration failed in fixing the problem, congress failed in passing immigration reform, and we (meaning the congresspeople on stage) should have passed immigration reform. She also states AGAIN that Spitzer is in a horrible situation because of federal inaction.

OK, so it seems like people will move on, but Edwards, of course, who probably also wasnt paying attention until Dodd flipped out, has to chime in as well.

"I want to add something that Chris Dodd just said a minute ago, because I don't want it to go unnoticed. Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes just a few minutes ago."

Actually Edwards, you have it wrong. She didnt say anything different. You just are playing fast and loose with the facts.

So, now that people can actually read what was said, Dodd should apologize for losing his temper because he made a mistake. And Edwards should apologize as well.

I wont get into what Obama said, because I think he came in so late in this situation, it fell on deaf ears.

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Hillary Live: A Conversation with Hillary Clinton

Last night, Hillary Clinton was in NYC for the event "Hillary Live" at The Town Hall in NYC.  The event was moderated by Tom Vilsack and had a special guest, Gen. Wes Clark who was in NYC for his new book.  The crowd was mixed - there were many Asian Americans, Latin Americans, African Americans - a pretty even (60f/40m ???) gender difference, lots of college students, gay men, and the age range was pretty healthy as well.  In attendance was former Mayor Dinkins, as well as a few other state officials (roughly 10?). Well.. moving on...

Tom Vilsack opened up the night, speaking for about 15 minutes, and told two stories about people from Iowa, he was a good speaker, but didnt really do much for me. He was all right, but people just wanted him to finish so that HRC can come on. He then introduced Sen. Clinton to loud applause that took a while to settle down, Hillary actually had to wave people down to begin speaking.

Hillary spoke for about 25 minutes and then introduced Gen. Clark (With some people yelling Clinton/Clark and/or VP Clark). Gen. Clark then addressed the audience stating tht Hillary is by far the most qualified person to lead in the race. He called her smart and brilliant, pointed out that she has been to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He said she will be the best President America has ever had, lastly he said "she has paid her dues" (a military slogan suggesting someone has worked hard for their position).

She outlined her four main goals as President, and some of these points were also spoken about in the question and answer session:

1. Leadership in the World:  In this section, she spoke about a lot of the problems in the world right now, every thing from the increase in antagonistic governments in South America; problems in the middle east (Iraq, Iran/Israel/Syria tension); problems in Africa (Sudan/Chad); and Russia moving away from Democracy.  At the end of talking about all of these problems, she bashed the Bush administration. She then went on to say the day after the election, before she is inaugurated, she will send both highly respected republicans and democrats around the world to declare the end of "Cowboy Diplomacy" to great applause.  

She spoke in depth about Darfur, and the fact that the US is no longer leading in the world on humanitarian issues, unlike during Bill's Presidency during the Kosovo campaign. She said the US and NATO should have enforced a no fly zone in Darfur two years ago, as well as going into detail why. She also said the UN backed AU troops do not have enough air support, logistical support, and its basically a losing mission unless something gets done. She complained that the UN is moving too slowly. The failure to do so, will only cause more problems. Lastly, she said this is a position in which the US can get tough on China, and that China has to stop enabling the disaster.

On Iraq, she stated that the US military has done everything asked of them: Getting rid of Saddam Hussein, get elections to occur, and allow a government to be formed, and they must now stop policing a civil war and move out of combat rolls. She went into the ins and outs of how Congress works (which i wont do here). She spoke about the Webb Amendment that didnt pass because of the dire need for 60 votes, and the Republicans want to stay the course. She pointed out the hypocrisy of Bush's statements saying that they are withdrawing 30K troops, because they were going to be withdrawn anyway.  She also said (which you might have caught on CNN) that every time there is Republican angst, Cheney comes down in his motorcade, and out comes "Darth Vader" to which the entire place shook with laughter and clapping. (Her humor was spot on and worked well). She again expressed the need for either Republicans to vote with Democrats on the issue, or to vote them out (at which point she mentioned Udall, Shaheen, and Warner as people who would be great additions to the Senate).

2:  The second major topic was Healthcare. She spoke about her recent health care plan which came out on Monday.  She said she didnt specifically pick a Single Payer plan because it probably will not be possible to pass. People like Choices, and her plan gives plenty of choices. People can keep their plan (which she also said was not stressed in 93/94... people thought the Government was taking over medicine, and people dont like that idea. Americans especially always want multiple choices for everything, and also want choices for insurance).  She spoke about opening up Congressional plans. She said when she brought that up in 1993, a lot of people in Congress spoke out against it, and now that she is actually in Congress, she doesnt understand why Americans, who pay for Congressional healthcare cannot get the same options.  She spoke about not being denied due to pre-existing conditions, and spoke about a public plan like medicare that will also be an option.  She was very clear that if you like your insurance, you can keep it, and it will not change if you do not want it to. She also said that was a lesson learned in 93. If people feel like the Government is interfering in their insurance, then they will turn against it, but if they know that it wont affect them, then they will not be antagonistic against it, and it will help in the long run to cover the 47 million uninsured Americans. Lastly, she said Congressmembers pay on average 3K less than the average American, and many Americans will most likely want to save that 3K. Then there is the public plan option which might be attractive to many Americans as well. (I think I touched on most of her points on UHC).

3. Energy - She spoke about Global warming and how important an issue it is. (Here she also knocked Bush and had a little joke saying "wouldnt it be great to have a president who isnt afraid to say global warming" too loud applause). She also included it on the list of one of the biggest threats to America along with Global terrorism and WMD proliferation. She said we have to learn from other countries (the Dutch on Wind, Brazil on biofuels etc.) as well as Americans making an effort at becoming more energy efficient (Talks about California using 50% less per capita than the rest of Americans).
There wasnt a follow up question on Energy so she only had a chance to talk about it during her opening speech.

4. Children -
Here she spoke about her time in the Childrens Defense Fund, SCHIP, and the Healthy Schools Act. She spoke about the need for Universal Pre-K and the failures of NCLB (and how she doesnt want our children to turn into walking standardized tests) to great applause.  She spoke about how she doesnt want to be a part of the first generation that sets children in America back instead of moving forward.  There should be no reason why America is the most productive country in the world, and yet, every 29 seconds someone drops out of high school.  She said that even though education is mostly State/Locally funded, the Federal Government should make it easier and areas that are poorer should get more federal funding.  She covered many aspects about different issues facing children, including getting access to vaccinations and other accomplishments.

Both Wes Clark and Hillary Clinton spoke about the current administration blurring the lines between civilian leadership and military roles. They both said Gen. Petraeus was an extraordinary leader but who has an unachievable goals. Political progress has not taken hold in Iraq because there is no military solution.  They said that President Bush has confined Petraeus' mission into set parameters, and he can only move within those parameters. General Clark said that Bill never hid behind a general, and neither will Hillary. Hillary also said she is not intereseted in Yes men/women.

Overall, the night was pretty amazing.  At one point Hillary stated that "Bill is a force of Nature" and she conceded that she isnt like him, they campaign differently, but the crowd didnt have any of it, as exemplified by a gentleman yelling "SO ARE YOU!" to yet more applause and laughter.  Hillary was interrupted with applause many times and General Clark was a pleasant surprise to the mix.  All that for $25 - I say sign me up next time as well.

P.S. My roll of film didnt work out (I forgot my digital camera) but i have some videos from my phone, will try to get those up ASAP.

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My thoughts on why i support Hillary Clinton

First, I'd like to give a little background on who I am.  I am a 22 year old, Hispanic, gay male who grew up in a lower middle class family in Manhattan.  My family was frighteningly uber-catholic until the last few years. I went to public school, then private school, graduated college, and am now in law school.

Back in 2000, I wasn't very involved in politics. I would say that 2003 is the year politics became very important to me.  Hell, I switched my major from pre-med to political science, and battled constantly with one of my favorite professors who is an pseudo-republican leaning voter.

I would say that I agree with Dennis Kucinich about 85% of the time on the issues, but I am far more realistic and pragmatic than Dennis.  Overall, I find Hillary inspiring, especially growing up in a family where I was surrounded by very strong women. I've seen some of my friends who were never interested in politics get involved with her campaign for re-election and her current attempt to get the democratic nod. She has inspired new voters, I've seen them, and I for one on top of all the issues, will be excited to have a woman in the white house.

But moving on, I think the progressive stance on universal health care, Iraq, the MSM and fighting back against the right wing noise machine are all on my top priorities.

But lets get real now. The right will not go for UHC. So while Edwards and Obama have plans, they wont go anywhere until the Senate has more than 60 Democrats in the senate. As much as it is great for Edwards to have a detailed healthcare plan, if he is the nominee, the RWNM will hammer him about it.  One thing Repugs hate more than democrats are perceived socialists. (No I am not calling Edwards a Socialist).  Obama's plan is not as detailed, but he will run into the same problems.  Hillary has not released a plan yet, but there is no doubt in my mind that she will push for healthcare coverage for all Americans.  There's something Richardson keeps mentioning every now and then in the debates. I forget the topic but it goes sort of like this. "I tried ramming it through the state legislature and it slapped me in the face." Universal health care coverage is one of those issues. Small incremental steps will pave the way, and Hillary has been fighting the fight for a long time.  I know her sound-bite is "I have the scars to prove it" but that's just it. She was smeared for Universal health care before, but she hasn't stopped fighting for it, she's just been pushing in a different way.  The SCHIP program has been heavily pushed, expanded (and expanded again - See HRC + Dodd on August 2nd), and continues to cover more and more children.  Recently, Alegre posted extensively on Hillary's fight for children.  These are pragmatic, realistic steps towards an idealistic situation.

On Iraq, I think Hillary is the best positioned for the General Election out of the candidates.  While she hasn't apologized for the war (and I don't think she could, regardless of what Elizabeth Edwards says) and the left fringe is angry about that situation, she has consistently, for over two years, called for redeployment of troops. That doesn't mean taking them all out of Iraq, in fact most of the candidates have come around and realized that is nearly impossible on an immediate basis. Instead, she has put pressure on the Bushies, the Pentagon, and the repugs in Congress for a safe, effective pull-out while still protecting interests in Iraq.  She's also come out with legislation to force the pentagon to come up with withdrawal plans, and lets not forget the upcoming legislation to sunset authorization.  For the General election, with her years on the Senate Armed Forces committee, and the legislation she's put forth, the right will be hard pressed to say she is "weak on defense." 

Couple that with the fact that she's been to 82 different countries as a representative of the United States and the fact that Bill is highly respected around the world, you have the makings for a very effective State department for diplomacy and bringing respect back to the country.  Hillary is a work horse, and she's very in tune to detail. There is no doubt that she is a policy wonk, and very smart.  I think she understands foreign policy better than any of the other candidates, and while Obama is right on substance a lot of the time, it's the details and the nuances of the world of international politics that trip him up. Hillary understands those details very much.

Then there is the issue of being swift boated. I think Hillary is the most capable to take on the right wing.  She is battle tested and I forget who mentioned it before, but someone said the candidate has to be able to eat GOP children for breakfast, I think if anyone is going to take a bite out and cripple the GOP candidate, it will be Hillary.

Overall, I don't support Hillary just because she is a woman, or just because she is my Senator, but those are factors. There are a lot of other things that are important to me that I agree with her on, and there are some things I don't agree with her on, but I don't agree with any candidate 100% of the time.  This isn't a diary that's riddled with links or facts, its just what I feel right now at the end of my day at work. Hope you have a nice day.

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