Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain vs. Obama: Your wallet

Click here for a Wall Street Journal article that compares McCain's and Obama's policies that effect your personal finances.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain vs. Obama: Why I don't want to vote for either

Not sure what to do with my vote. I'm inclined to not vote for either major candidate and here's why:

McCain:
  • What was he thinking in choosing Palin? McCain's best argument over Obama was experience. Palin has less experience on a national level than Obama. That takes McCain's argument away. I wonder about his judgment and her ability to step in as president if needed.
  • I want an articulate president.
  • Negative ads - purposely distorting the truth.
Obama:
  • I was hoping he was the real deal but I think he is looking like a standard politician. Go to the left to get the party's nomination and then switch to the middle for the general election. Lots of earmarks. Shady real estate deal with a convicted felon. Not being truthful about his relationships with others [Once a little controversy comes up about an associate, he distances himself. For example, I believe he knew Rev. Wright for 20 years. I would have respected Obama if he had just said that he didn't agree with the Reverend's extreme positions but that the Reverend and his church do a lot of good. Instead he throws Wright under the bus and claims he didn't know of Wright's views.]
  • Government is not always the solution. I do not want a stronger federal government but Obama leans that way.
  • Too simplistic perhaps in suggesting taxes won't go up for most because he will tax the rich and the corporations. A tax on corporations just gets passed on to us.
  • Negative ads -purposely distorting the truth.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama vs. McCain on the issues

I am pretty tired of all the political fighting. So, let's just get back to the issues. Here is a list of positions each candidate has taken on their official campaign web sites. I have provided the links on each issue:

Issue

Obama

McCain

Roe v. Wade

yes

no

Nuclear power

yes

yes

Drilling for oil

no

yes

Greenhouse

cap-and-trade

yes

yes

Stem cell research

yes

yes/no

Same sex marriage

??

no

Iraq

responsible withdrawal

succeed and leave

Affordable health care

yes

yes

Voluntary public service

yes

yes

Gun control

no

no

Patriot Act

yes

yes









Saturday, October 04, 2008

McCain vs. Obama: Freddie/Fannie

Open Secrets is a web site of the Center for Responsive Politics. Their mission statement says it "is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive government." Using data they say is released by the FEC, they listed last month the recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the last 20 years. Top of the list belongs to Senator Dodd at $165,400 (a little conflict of interest here?). Next is Senator Obama at $126,349. McCain is far down the list at $21,550.

As a side note, Fox News has been running a story on their web site about Barney Frank being guilty of confliuct of interest. His lover/partner, Herb moses, was an assistant director of Fannie Mae from 1991 to 1998 while Frank was on the House Banking committee. CNN.com has yet to pick up this story. From the FoxNews.com article:

Although Frank now blames Republicans for the failure of Fannie and Freddie, he spent years blocking GOP lawmakers from imposing tougher regulations on the mortgage giants. In 1991, the year Moses was hired by Fannie, the Boston Globe reported that Frank pushed the agency to loosen regulations on mortgages for two- and three-family homes, even though they were defaulting at twice and five times the rate of single homes, respectively.

Three years later, President Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to impose a new regulation on Fannie, but was thwarted by Frank. Clinton [former president] now blames such Democrats for planting the seeds of today’s economic crisis.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

who caused the economic crisis?

Again FactCheck.org does a nice, balanced approach. It is an easy read and makes a lot of sense. Here's the link: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/who_caused_the_economic_crisis.html

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iraq vs. Bailout: Bush Credibility

What a weird situation with the bailout issue. The Democrats are supporting Bush's bailout (after putting in funds for their causes) while most legislators from the President's party are against the bailout. Here is what is really weird. Remember Bush saying we have to attack Iraq or the sky would fall? Why would we believe him now when he says we must go into debt further by about another trillion dollars or the sky will fall?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Burning down the house: the economic crisis set to music

Check this out. It is from a Republican point of view but very clever. Anyone doing a democratic version?

democrats vs. republicans: whose fault on the bailout?

Both CNN.com and FoxNews.com had articles on the blame game. The House vote for a compromise bailout plan failed 228 -205. CNN reports that about 60% of democrats voted for the bill while only about a third of republicans voted for it, even though both party leaders in the House urged their respective parties to approve it. So, what do the articles say about who is blaming whom? Both articles note Nancy Pelosi's partisan remarks. Here is a quote from CNN:
Pelosi also said the cost of the bailout "is a number that is staggering but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies -- policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision and no discipline in the system."
The top republican, John Boehner, said Pelosi's partisan comments alienated some republicans [not very good leadership on Pelosi's part nor did the republicans handle it well]. Barney Frank then blames the republicans for looking for an excuse for not being able to bring in the vote. When in reality I think this was the issue as mentioned briefly in both articles:
Before the vote, many House Republicans expressed opposition to the bill, saying it departed from free-market principles. Republican congressional aides also said calls from constituents were running 10 to 1 against the legislation.
People are angry and they have let their representatives know it.

Money guru Dave Ramsey as an interesting alternative to the bailout; go here.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

DNC vs. RNC: vice presidential candidates

Surprisingly, the Democratic National Committee gives very little mention of Sarah Palin on their website even though it would seem there is plenty of ammunition they could use. Using the search function on the web site there is only one reference to Palin.

On the other side, the Republican National Committee site hammers Joe Biden. On the home page there is a link to a Joe Biden Gaffe Timeline. Also, on the homepage is a “Biden His Time Clock” which counts the days/hours/minutes/seconds since Sen. Joe Biden was asked to release his earmarks. The site's search function shows 2760 references to Biden.

I wonder why the DNC has not jumped all over Palin?

McCain vs. Obama: debate falsehoods

As usual, FactCheck.org does a nice job of comparing claims made by both candidates that were false. Here is a link to the article:http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/factchecking_debate_no_1.html.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

conservative vs. liberal: bumper stickers

I've created a slide show in the side bar that alternates conservative and liberal bumper stickers. The liberal ones come from Carry a Big Sticker. The conservative ones are from RightWingStuff at Cafepress.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A reason to vote for McCain?

Not being super thrilled with either major party candidate, I was thinking about the economy and our out of control spending. When the Republicans recently had both the White House and the Congress, spending took off. Supposedly against big government, the power went to their heads and they spent like crazy. Deservedly, many were ousted. What would our spending look like if the Democrats, believing in a stronger central government role, had both the White House and the Congress?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Biden vs. Palin: Prominence on Campaign Pictures

For what it is worth, if you check out the joint Obama/Biden campaign pictures on the official campaign web site, you see that Biden is usually in the background a bit (except for one style of campaign button). Always, when their names are in print in any item in their store, Biden's is in a smaller font. [By the way, is Obama getting more grey hair? Or is this photo below - header of the campaign web site - meant to look that way to give him the appearnace of more experience?]


Palin enjoys a little more prominence in campaign buttons and photos. She is usually pictured alongside McCain or at least a similar size photo. For store items, her name is usually in the same font size (with the excpetion of one lapel pin).

McCain vs. Obama: Who's Lying?

Instead of "lying" I could use words like misrepresenting, stretching the truth, exaggerating, etc. But those are all words used to soften what is, in fact, lying. So, who is lying? According to factcheck.org, both are. Here are just a few recent examples given on factcheck.org:

McCain's lies:

Obama's lies:

I suppose some just dismiss the above as gamesmanship or similarly have the attitude that that is just politics. But, as I see it, this is lying and cheating to try and get an advantage. It's sickening.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

CNN vs. Fox: Palin probe

Is CNN.com trying to make the Palin probe look like more of a scandal? Is Fox downplaying it? Here is a screen shot of CNN's home page where Palin has been prominent since yesterday:


Here is Fox's home page with the Palin probe circled in yellow:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

CNN vs. Fox: Rove's comments

Fox News.com: Here is Fox's headline that has Rove faulting both McCain and Obama.



CNN.com: Here is the headline from CNN just picking on McCain (while acknowledging that Rove faulted Obama as well).



[been awhile since I posted because I have been sick and tired of politics. I think Rove is right, both campaigns are distorting the facts]

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

fair is fair

It's been a while since I posted. Quite frankly I am a little bored with the presidential campaign right now. The constant bickering is annoying. Obama and Clinton are each claiming the other is attacking them unfairly; they do this while they proceed to attack each other unfairly. I think we have some issues out there that would be great to talk about.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama at religious forum

On CNN's home page, this picture is being used to go with the developing story of the religious forum. I wonder what they both are thinking while they are "smiling" at each other? Given the recent harsh words between the two, I cannot imagine that those are genuine smiles.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Clinton speech income

On Hillary Clinton's Fact Hub, the campaign has a post complaining that "A number of people have suggested that the sources of President Clinton’s speech income has not been disclosed:" Then three documented cases are listed. Later the posting says:
This is entirely false. President Clinton's income from paid speaking engagements, including the source, date, and amount of income for every single speech, is fully disclosed on Senator Clinton's public financial disclosure forms and has been for every year that she has been a Senator. These forms are released annually, are available on the internet, and have been widely written about by news organizations such as the Washington Post and New York Times.
First of all, I find it interesting that, while normally her sources are well documented (often with links), she offers no specific link or web site -- just that the information is "available on the internet." I could not find them but I did try and look for articles by the Washington Post.

Here is one from February of 2007. The article has some very positive points about Bill Clinton's charity work. I was a little bothered by this statement though as it gets into the whole money and influence issue:
Many of Bill Clinton's six-figure speeches have been made to companies whose employees and political action committees have been among Hillary Clinton's top backers in her Senate campaigns. The New York investment giant Goldman Sachs paid him $650,000 for four speeches in recent years. Its employees and PAC have given her $270,000 since 2000 -- putting it second on the list of her most generous political patrons.
I was also a little bothered by this (emphasis added):
Beyond the millions he has earned personally, the former president has given dozens more speeches that result in payments to the William J. Clinton Foundation, his nonprofit charity in New York. His associates say those have yielded millions to help cover the $60 million annual budget the foundation spends to fund his charitable work on AIDS and world hunger.

The Clintons declined to disclose the size and sources of the payments for speeches he delivered on behalf of the charity. Campaign law and Senate ethics rules require Hillary Clinton to disclose only the fees her husband has taken as personal income, not those he routed to charity.

So, the Clintons are doing just what they have to; not necessarily what they could do for greater transparency. I'm guessing they do not want greater transparency.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Which candidate is the most dishonorable?

My undergraduate experience was at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The cadet honor code was "A cadet neither lies, cheats, steals, nor attempts to deceive." You can say something that is technically not a lie but choose your wording in a way that is tries to deceive. That is just as bad as a lie in my book.
Using factcheck.org's postings I compared all three candidates for the last six months. There are obviously more postings directed at Clinton and Obama because they are in a heated contest. The winner of most dishonorable is a virtual tie between Hillary and Barack. Click here to see a table that lists all of the lies, deceits, and exaggerations.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Lobbyists $

Hillary has a post on her Fact Hub page that blasts Obama for saying he does not accept money from lobbyists. She cites several situations in which he does, including the quote below. That is not to say that she is clean but I guess the point is that she doesn't claim to be. I've added some comments in red:

Obama has taken $405,747 from the Pharmaceutical industry. [opensecrets.org] Obama was #1 but Hillary is #3 at $404,646. McCain is #11 at $121, 750.

Obama has received $1,185,937 from the Commercial Banking industry. [opensecrets.org] That put Obama at #2. But guess who is #1: Hillary at $1,223,724. McCain is #5 at $748,405.

Obama has received over six million dollars from the Securities & Investment industry. [opensecrets.org] Obama is #2 again and Hillary is #1 again with about $250,000 more than Obama. McCain is #6 at $2, 605,486.

Obama has taken $608,822 from the Insurance industry. [opensecrets.org] Barack was #5 but Hillary beat her out at #4 with $809, 261. McCain is #6 at $395,682.

Obama has taken $168,584 from the Mortgage Banking industry. [opensecrets.org] Hillary is #1 ($199, 315) with Barack #2. McCain is #6 at $58,825. By the way, Fox News is running a story about Hillary's campaign manager, Maggie Williams, who was on the board of one of the once one-time top sub-prime lenders.

Obama's presidential campaign has received $2,812,336 from firms that employ registered federal lobbyists. [fec.gov] I cannot find a reference to this amount at the link provided.



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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Buying Superdelegates?

It seems that both Hillary and Barack have been using money to influence superdelegates to vote for them, at least according to CapitalEye.org. This seems very despicable to me. Here are a few quotes:
And while it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials who are superdelegates have received at least $904,200 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. ...

Obama, who narrowly leads in the count of pledged, "non-super" delegates, has doled out more than $698,200 to superdelegates from his political action committee, Hope Fund, or campaign committee since 2005. Of the 82 elected officials who had announced as of Feb. 12 that their superdelegate votes would go to the Illinois senator, 35, or 43 percent of this group, have received campaign contributions from him in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles, totaling $232,200. In addition, Obama has been endorsed by 52 superdelegates who haven't held elected office recently and, therefore, didn't receive campaign contributions from him.

Clinton does not appear to have been as openhanded. Her PAC, HILLPAC, and campaign committee appear to have distributed $205,500 to superdelegates. Only 12 percent of her elected superdelegates, or 13 of 109 who have said they will back her, have received campaign contributions, totaling about $95,000 since 2005. An additional 128 unelected superdelegates support Clinton, according to a blog tracking superdelegates and their endorsements, 2008 Democratic Convention Watch. ...

The money that Clinton and Obama have contributed to the superdelegates who may now determine their fate has come from three sources: the candidates' campaign accounts for president and, before that, Senate, and from their leadership PACs. These PACs exist precisely to support other politicians in their elections—and, thus, to make friends and collect chits. Leadership PACs are supposed to go dormant after a presidential candidate officially enters the race.

An update two weeks later said:
Two weeks ago, Capital Eye reported a connection that superdelegates have to the candidates that voters and pledged delegates don't—nearly $1 million in campaign contributions. As the uncommitted superdelegates have been deciding which candidate to support at this summer's nominating convention, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has identified an additional $42,800 that flowed in the last three years from Clinton or Obama's coffers into the hands of superdelegates with campaign accounts, bringing the total to $947,000.

Clinton's updated total to superdelegates, who include Democratic members of Congress, Democratic National Committee members, former party leaders and state governors, is $236,100 for 2005-2008, compared to Obama's $710,900. Looking back before the 2006 election cycle, though, the two are on more even ground. ...

For those elected officials who had endorsed a candidate as of Feb. 25, the presidential candidate who gave more money to the superdelegate received the endorsement 82 percent of the time.
A correlation does not necessarily indicate causation. Candidates may help other friends out when their campaigns need money so it would be likely that the friends would support each other when it comes to pledging. However, my gut tells me that this situation is just not right.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Michigan and Florida

Here's a look back at the press releases that each candidate made regarding the pledge to not campaign in Michigan or Florida. Hillary's statement was short and said the following in its entirety:

The following is a statement by Clinton Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle. "We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process. And we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar."

Barack's statement was a little longer but also included this urging to Michigan and Florida:

... Obama campaign officials also urged states in danger of violating DNC rules to adjust their plans to comply with the DNC's calendar, so that every state contributes delegates to the nominating process. "To become the Democratic nominee for president, a candidate must secure a majority of delegates to the national convention," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. "Because states that violate DNC rules will not be allowed to contribute to the delegate tally, we urge all states to ensure their compliance with DNC rules so they can participate in our Democratic nominating process. ...
In a recent press release, Hillary's campaign said this: "Sen. Obama’s has previously emphasized the importance of counting all votes. So why won’t he make sure the voters of Michigan and Florida have their votes count?" At least she cannot say that he didn't warn them.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Exaggerations

Caught in her own exaggeration on Bosnia, Hillary has just put out a press release listing 10 exaggerations by Barack. Her press release says:
They are personally attacking Hillary even though Sen. Obama has been found mispeaking and embellishing facts about himself more than ten times in recent months.
["Misspeaking" is misspelled by the way] She is saying "see Barack is embellishing too." So, she is admitting that she was embellishing, not simply making a misstatement.

It always comes down to Hillary feeling that she is being personally attacked. She still links to attacktimeline.com from her Fact Hub page. Doesn't she realize that she is attacking as much or more than Obama? She seems to have a persecution complex. Maybe because she leaves herself wide open to attack.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary misspeaks about Bosnia

Hillary Clinton's Fact Check makes this statement:
Hillary recently misspoke about her trip to Bosnia.
She said she was "landing under sniper fire." "Misspoke" is the kindest word that can be used by her campaign. Words the campaign would not use: lied, embellished, exaggerated, overstated, inflated, aggrandized. She was either deliberately misspeaking or her memory is really bad.
Here is a CBS YouTube video that does a good job of showing the exaggeration:

The Fact Check post also makes this point:
Contemporaneous news accounts confirm that Hillary’s trip to Bosnia was a dangerous situation:
I believe that wording is also an exaggeration. The real point would be that she was in a potentially dangerous situation that was well under control at the time. So, it seems that even the campaign is misspeaking in their explanation of Hillary's misspeaking.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Obama: Typical white person

So, what did Barack Obama mean with this statement on a morning radio show [emphasis added]:
"The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know - there's a reaction in her that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way and that's just the nature of race in our society. ..."
What a poor choice of words. Here are just a few of the sites that have cited the quote:

Philly.com this also has a response from the Obama campaign:
UPDATE: We gave the Obama campaign a chance to respond to this post. "Barack Obama said specifically that he didn't believe his grandmother harbored any racial animosity, but that her fears were understandable and typical of those often shared by her generation," said Obama's PA spokesman Sean Smith, who added that Grandma is 86-years-old. He might have meant that specifically, but that isn't what he said, especially as he spoke of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, in the present tense. The Clinton campaign has not yet returned our request for comment on Obama's remarks. We aren't holding our breath for a Clinton comment.
BusinessWeek.com
YouTube
FoxNews.com not CNN though (although apparently Larry King talked about it on his show)
United Press International

I'm sure Obama can explain this away but he should be a little more careful when choosing his words.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Easter


So, what do each of the candidates have to say about Easter? Just looking at official press releases from Hillary Clinton, since January, showed the following releases recognizing various holidays or anniversaries:

Hillary Clinton Recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Senator Clinton Recognizes Black History Month
Senator Clinton Recognizes Frederick Douglass Day
Clinton Campaign Staff and Volunteers Observe the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Statement by Senator Hillary Clinton Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday

For the same time period, these are from Barack Obama:

Obama Statement Commemorating the Persian New Year
Obama Statement Commemorating Purim
Obama Statement on Women's History Month

[Note: Barack has an official statement for Women's History month but not Black History month while Hillary has one for Black History month but not Women's History month.]

For the same time period John McCain had these releases:

Statement By John McCain On Fifth Anniversary Of Iraq Invasion
Statement By John McCain On Third Anniversary Of The Cedar Revolution

However, McCain did clearly recognize Easter on his home page which is where the picture above comes from.


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bill Clinton's comments in Charlotte

Hillary's campaign is trying to soften what Bill Clinton said in a speech in Charlotte. The campaign statement, on Hillary's Fact Hub, says the following. I've added a few comments in red.

Fact Check: What Bill Clinton Said In Charlotte

3/21/2008 7:58:36 PM

Some are suggesting that the following remark by President Clinton was intended as a personal attack:

I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country [What does "if" mean here? People are reading between the lines and thinking that the "if" means Clinton vs. McCain but not Obama vs. McCain. Since Bill likes to define words carefully (remember his comment about "is" during his scandal?), his use of "if" would imply that he means "if" and that people are right in assuming he is questioning Obama's patriotism, while speaking to a group of veterans.] and were devoted to the interest of this country and people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics

Actually, as is indicated by the quote itself, President Clinton was talking about the need to talk about issues, rather than falsely questioning any candidate's patriotism [If his point is to have people focus on the issues, then he could have addressed that a lot more directly than he did.].

He was lamenting that these kind of distractions "always seems to intrude" [I doubt he was lamenting. I believe he was purposely bringing up the issue to slam Obama and then carefully choosing his words to try and make it look like he was just addressing distractions.] on political campaigns. This is consistent with his criticism of the "politics of personal destruction," which dates back 16 years.


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hillary vs. the polls

Hillary Clinton has made this statement in a press release on March 18th:
A new USA Today/Gallup poll has Hillary leading McCain nationally by 5 points (51-46). The same poll shows Sen. Obama would be in a much tighter race, leading McCain by only 2 points.
I always like to go to the source but I cannot find the results that she mentions. At the Gallup web site this statement can be found, dated March 18th:
There has been no change in the relative positioning of the two Democratic candidates when pitted against John McCain in hypothetical trial heats for the fall election. McCain has a very slight 2-point advantage over Obama. McCain is tied with Clinton, as he has been the last four days.
So, what poll is she referring to? I cannot find it on the USA Today web site either.
If I were Hillary I would not draw too much attention to the polls. Gallup shows that people see her as the most dishonest candidate, by far.
Hillary Clinton is rated as "honest and trustworthy" by 44% of Americans, far fewer than say this about John McCain (67%) and Barack Obama (63%).
Other bad news for Hillary from this poll:
Also, Obama (62%) and McCain (61%) finish well ahead of Clinton in terms of being able to "work well with both parties in Washington to get things done."
One final dimension underscores another potential vulnerability for Clinton -- 47% of Americans say she is someone they would be proud to have as president (51% say they would not be proud to have Clinton). Obama (57%) and McCain (55%) both score above the majority level on this measure, which highlights that both tend to fare better on basic likability measures than Clinton.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Earmarks

Hillary is trying to fight back against Obama's request that she reveal her latest tax returns and her earmarks. I have a couple of problems with regard to some information on her "Fact Hub" on the campaign website.

In referring to an AP article, she states this which appears to be true from the article:
Sen. Bradley also claimed that Sen. Obama has "revealed all of his earmarks - all the earmarks that he sponsored." That's also false. Sen. Obama refuses to release the vast majority of earmarks he requested as a state senator.
However, in that same article she skips over this:
Since entering the U.S. Senate and launching his presidential campaign, Obama has made a political issue of openness.
He voluntarily discloses the "earmarks" he adds to the federal budget; Clinton does not. He initially released only one year's worth of earmark information, but on Thursday he released his requests for the 2005 and 2006 federal budget years, too.
At the end of her Fact Hub post she makes this assertion with links to the same AP article. However, while the statement below may be true, this information cannot be found in the linked article.
The list of U.S. Senate earmarks requests Sen. Obama recently released also does not appear to include a number of requests he made jointly with Sen. Durbin.

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Do the Iraqis want us to leave?

In a comment to my previous post on the candidates' statements on Iraq, it says [I have added comments in red]:
What is often left out of this debate is what the Iraqis themselves want. We know very little about what it's like to live in Iraq under occupation by a foreign military, yet we assume that if we pull out, things will only get worse. If the US government is serious about "promoting democracy" shouldn't we be listening to what Iraqis want? According to a Washington Post article [click here for the article] from Dec. 19, 2007, "The Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of 'occupying forces' as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military [The good news is that at least the military is trying to get this information.] last month." [While I do not doubt that this is the case, I always prefer to see the original report rather than rely on a reporter's interpretation of the report. However, I cannot find it anywhere. If anyone knows where I can find the source document, I would appreciate it.] According to a poll conducted for the BBC and ABC News in 2007 [click here for the poll results], 78% of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq. [see Q21 below]

Here are some questions from the poll with some results:

Q7 Not personally, but in terms of Iraq, what in your opinion is the single biggest problem facing Iraq as a whole? The highest was lack of security/safety (general) 23%. Next was terrorist attacks at 13%. U.S. occupation/presence was only at 8%.

Q19 Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq? A total of 79% oppose the presence of Coalition forces. Of the 79%, 26% are only somewhat opposed while 53% are strongly opposed. I would expect that any people would not want a foreign military presence so these results are not too surprising. The question is when should they leave. See the next question.

Q21 How long do you think US and other Coalition forces should remain in Iraq? Should they leave now, remain until security is restored, remain until the Iraqi government is stronger, remain until Iraqi security forces can operate independently, remain longer but leave eventually, or never leave? 47% say leave now. For the majority who say that they should not leave now 34% say they should remain until security is restored, 10% said remain until the government is stronger, 7% said to remain until security forces can operate independently, and 2% said remain longer but leave eventually. Incidentally, the way this question is asked makes it look like the largest percentage want the forces to leave now. But when you add up the others, 53% want them to stick around awhile longer.

Q22 Overall, do you think the presence of US forces in Iraq is making security in our country better, worse, or having no effect on the security situation? 72% say worse.

Q27 Who do you blame the most for the violence that is occurring in the country? They rate the U.S at 19% (down from 31% the previous Feb) and Pres. Bush at 8%. Al Qaeda/foreign jihads were rated higher at 21% and Iran at 11%.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Troops in Iraq

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about education on their "issues" pages of their campaign web sites. These are just excerpts but I have provided the links if you want to read all of what they say. I assume that these issue statements were carefully decided upon and carefully crafted to appeal and communicate to a national audience (as opposed to a speech directed to a particular special interest audience). I have added some comments in red.

Clinton:
As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration.

Obama:
Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda. [Seems naïve to give specific numbers of troops with a specific time frame. Hillary's approach of directing the military to make a plan seems more realistic.]

McCain:
A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country. America's ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country. [As unpopular as the war is, and given seemingly widespread agreement that going into Iraq was a mistake, does McCain have a point here? Given the current situation, regardless of whether or not we should be in this situation in the first place, is he right? Do we let opposition to the war hold us back from being totally committed and thereby drag the war on further?]

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hillary Clinton's claims of foreign policy experience

I noticed that in Hillary Clinton's Fact Hub she has a post entitled: "The Facts: Hillary and Kosovo." She was being defensive on this I thought I would check out why. The Associated Press put out a report questioning some of Hillary Clinton's claims to foreign policy experience. Here is a quote from the article you can find at MSNBC.com, ABCNews.com and Fox News.com (emphasis added):

There is little doubt that Clinton was an exceptionally activist first lady. She was the first to set up shop in a West Wing office alongside other White House policymakers, and immediately was in the thick of domestic policy deliberations, most notably her long and unsuccessful fight for health care reform.

Clinton also took a keen interest in foreign policy, traveling to more than 80 countries, with her husband and alone, to promote U.S. policy and the cause of women and children.

But Clinton is taking credit for accomplishing more than some of those who were active in foreign policy during the Clinton years recall.

CNN.com ran their own article. They were a little kinder. Here is a quote:
In some cases, CNN found a lack of clarity on her real involvement in foreign policy affairs. But in other cases, her claims do seem to check out fairly well.
Basically, if former foreign policy experts are now Clinton supporters, they say she had a big impact. However, if they are now Obama supporters, they question her role and her claims.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

My thoughts on Democratic delegates from Michigan and Florida

Both states look like they may be moving to a reasonable conclusion regarding getting the DNC to seat delegates from their respective states. The bottom line for me is this:

(1) Michigan and Florida understood that they were breaking party rules by holding their primaries early. They also understood the consequences. So, if they do not get to seat their delegates at the Democratic National Convention, then they get what they deserve.

(2) That said, it would be a shame not to have their input in this very important and close Democratic candidate race.

(3) There has to be a do-over because the "primaries" they held already were clearly not fair.

(4) The sticking point is who pays for a do-over. I say that the Democratic parties in Florida and Michigan should pay. The DNC should not bail them out. Ideally there should be no general impact on taxpayers.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

out of town for a couple days

Going to Idaho for a few days. Next post on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hillary Clinton and her tax returns

There is a CNN article entitled "Obama camp; What's Clinton hiding?" It reports on a call from the Obama campaign for Hillary to be transparent about her financial situation. Here is the official response from Hillary's campaign web site (with my comments in red):

Statement from Howard Wolfson, Communications Director

3/5/2008 1:16:32 PM

Faced with many legitimate questions about Senator Obama's long-time relationship with indicted political fixer Tony Rezko, the Obama campaign has chosen to lash out [wah! wah! Barack is just picking on me] at Senator Clinton.

Here are the facts:

Over 20 years of the Clintons' tax returns are in the public domain [that is not the issue; what about the most recent returns?].

Their tax returns since they left the White House will be made available on or around April 15. [she has returns that must already be done so why the 15th of April? Why not now? Makes you wonder if there is something to hide.]

This information will be in addition to 15 years of uninterrupted public financial disclosure reports. [again, the issue is not what has previously been disclosed, the issue is what about now? the reason for the delay would be what?]

Instead of making false attacks [what is false about a question that Obama is asking?], we urge Senator Obama to release all relevant financial and other information related to indicted political fixer Tony Rezko [this is an issue for Obama to be sure but this is just Hillary's attempt at deflecting criticism of her].

Monday, March 03, 2008

Rush Limbaugh for Hillary Clinton

Interesting development. I noticed that CNN has an article on Rush Limbaugh urging his listeners to vote for Hillary in the primaries so that the Democrats can self-destruct. Here is a screen shot of Rush's home page as of 9:00 pm EST tonight.



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Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Russia

Hillary, Barack, and John issued statements on the election of Dmitriy Medvedev to be Putin's successor as Russian president. All three see the election as a farce, which of course it was. Here is a comparison of what they say about the issues the U.S. will have to deal with concerning Russia, as opposed to concerns about what is happening inside Russia. I have provided links to each of the statements. Huckabee made no statement. [my comments are added in red]

Hillary Clinton: ... "we are witnessing renewed disputes between Russia and many of its neighbors." [specifically she notes: Estonia, Georgia, the Balkans] ... [she then makes some comments about how she would do much better than Pres. Bush has done] ... "I will be ready to work with Russia where our interests intersect – fighting terrorism and nuclear proliferation are just two examples ..."

Barack Obama: ... "The United States, however, will need to work with President Medvedev on a range of issues of common concern, such as preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists, addressing Iran's nuclear ambitions, reducing our nuclear arsenals, and securing stable supplies of oil and gas from Russia. ..." [His statement is far shorter than Hillary's but is a little more specific in some sample issues.]

John McCain: [McCain's was the shortest and only dealt with the tragedy of the election.]



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Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Voting Records (PART II)

Here are a few more rankings from interest groups. I have not found many significant differences between Hillary and Barack. By the way, I found a web site that seems to have fairly comprehensive lists of rankings and ratings of Senators and their voting records: Congressional Report Cards.org.

Education for the 110th first session (National Education Association)

Hillary Clinton (A)
Barack Obama (A)
John McCain (F)

International Issues (energy, climate, Darfur, U.N., torture, health, etc.) for 2007 (Citizens for Global Solutions)

Hillary Clinton (A+)
Barack Obama (A+)
John McCain (B-)

Right to Life for 109th session (National Right to Life Committee)

Hillary Clinton (0%)
Barack Obama (0%)
John McCain (75%)

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Monday, February 25, 2008

out of town for a couple days

going to Boston for a conference ... next post expected on Sunday

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Voting Records

Here's a random list of rankings and ratings comparing the senators on their voting records, with regard to specific special interest organizations. I've provided a link to each report. I may add more scorecard information in future posts.

Liberal Ranking for 2007 (National Journal)

Hillary Clinton (82.8, 16th place)

Barack Obama (95.5, 1st place)

Civil Rights Report Card for 2006 (NAACP):

Hillary Clinton (96%, A)

Barack Obama (100%, A)

John McCain (7%, F)

[Note: all three received an Incomplete for 2007, probably due to campaigning.]

Civil Liberties for 110th Congress (ACLU):

Hillary Clinton (67%, 35th)

Barack Obama (88%, 20th)

John McCain (17%, 82nd)

Environment for 109th Congress (League of Conservation Voters)

Hillary Clinton (89%, tied for 17th)

Barack Obama (96%, tied for 3rd)

John McCain (41%, tied for 44th)

Family for 109th Congress (2nd session) (Family Research Council and Focus on the Family)

Hillary Clinton (0%, tied for last)

Barack Obama (0%, tied for last)

John McCain (62%, tied for 36th)

Darfur for 2006/2007 (Genocide Intervention Network)

Hillary Clinton (A+/A)

Barack Obama (A+/A)

John McCain (B/C)

High Tech for 110th session (Computer and Communications Industry Association)

Hillary Clinton (79%)

Barack Obama (86%)

John McCain (64%)

[scores reflect the votes they missed while on the campaign trail]

Abortion for 109th session (National Right to Life Committee)

Hillary Clinton (0%)

Barack Obama (0%)

John McCain (75%)

GLBT Equality for 109th session (Human Rights Campaign)

Hillary Clinton (89%)

Barack Obama (89%)

John McCain (33%)

Latino Civil Rights for 108th session (National Council of La Raza)

Hillary Clinton (100%)

Barack Obama (prior to his election to the Senate)

John McCain (67%)

Secularism for 109th session (Secular Coalition for America)

Hillary Clinton (100%)

Barack Obama (90%)

John McCain (20%)

Animal Protection for the 109th session (Humane Society Legislative Fund)

Hillary Clinton (100+%)

Barack Obama (60%)

John McCain (40%)


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Clinton vs. Obama: Flyers Accuracy

Hillary was very upset about two flyers that the Obama campaign has mailed out. Is she justified? The answer would seem to be yes and no, according to FactCheck.org. They have a seemingly well-balanced analysis.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton vs. Herself: "Whatever Happens"

Much is being made of Hillary’s statement at the debate when she said: “whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.” The phrase sounds like she is admitting she will lose the candidacy. On her “Fact Hub” she has what I consider a very strange argument to try and show that that was not her intent. She uses quite a mix of quotes from various people who have used the same phrase in an attempt to say that it is just common usage. Her Fact Hub posting is bizarre in my opinion. There are twelve quotes; 9 are from sports figures (relevancy?), one is Laura Bush in 2000 (I’m not kidding), one is Lindsay Lohan (I’m still not kidding), and one is from an interim police chief. Why would you quote a Notre Dame football player from last year? Notre Dame went on to a 3-9 record, had the most losses in a single year, 2 of the 10 worst losses ever, and the first 6-game losing streak for home games. Seems to me Hillary is saying she is going to lose and be just fine, just like Notre Dame football.



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Friday, February 22, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Cuba (Hillary is fudging a bit)

Hillary's staff wasted no time in getting a couple of digs in on Barack immediately after the debate in Texas. One of her fact checks is not totally legitimate. In her "Fact Hub," Hillary accuses Barack of flip-flopping on Cuba during the debate. She quotes from the debate and includes this comment from the moderator, Campbell Brown:
OBAMA: …but I would not normalize relations until we started seeing some of the progress that Senator Clinton is talking about.
BROWN: But that's different from your position, back in 2003, you called us policy towards Cuba a miserable failure and you supported normalizing relations. So you backtracked now. [As I read this my first thought was: what did Obama say in response? Somehow Hillary failed to give that information.]
At this point, Hillary pulls a fast one by not showing Barack's response to Brown's question. Instead she quotes from an Obama statement in 2004. Here is what Obama said, according to the CNN transcript:

OBAMA: I support the eventual normalization. And it's absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure. I mean, the fact is, is that during my entire lifetime, and Senator Clinton's entire lifetime, you essentially have seen a Cuba that has been isolated, but has not made progress when it comes to the issues of political rights and personal freedoms that are so important to the people of Cuba.

So I think that we have to shift policy. I think our goal has to be ultimately normalization. But that's going to happen in steps. And the first step, as I said, is changing our rules with respect to remittances and with respect to travel.

And then I think it is important for us to have the direct contact, not just in Cuba, but I think this principle applies generally. I recall what John F. Kennedy once said, that we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. And this moment, this opportunity when Fidel Castro has finally stepped down, I think, is one that we should try to take advantage of.

Now, whether or not you think this is double-speak on Obama's part or not, it is a bit of an underhanded move to not include Obama's response.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

CNN vs. Fox: McCain and the Lobbyist

CNN.com and FoxnNews.com are both running stories about the New York Times article on John McCain and his relationship with a lobbyist. The tone of McCain’s reaction is portrayed very differently between CNN and Fox. Look at the difference in the headlines where Fox uses the phrase “lashes out” and CNN just has a short statement form McCain.

CNN: McCain on claim of coziness with lobbyist: 'It's not true'

FOX: McCain Lashes

Out Against New York Times Over Story on Relationship With

Lobbyist

In opening sentences, CNN’s article has McCain simply denying the assertions. Fox uses much stronger wording:

CNN: Sen. John McCain on Thursday denied assertions published in The New York Times that he once had a close relationship with a female lobbyist whose clients had business before his Senate committee.
Fox: Joined by wife Cindy, John McCain lashed out Thursday at a new report in The New York Times that revisits the Republican presidential candidate’s relationship with a female lobbyist, and rebuked the paper for spreading false rumors. … McCain called a press conference in Toledo, Ohio, to slam the paper for embellishing his committee activities on Iseman’s behalf.

The pictures also show different tones of McCain’s reaction with Fox showing him to be more forceful in his denial.

CNN (CNN photo)

FOX (AP photo)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is Hillary getting squeezed out?

In looking at the official campaign web sites tonight I notice that

(1) John McCain has two releases related to Obama:
ICYMI: The USA Today On Obama's Waffling On Public Financing
ICYMI: John McCain On Barack Obama
(2) Barack Obama has a fact check related to McCain:

John McCain Derides Obama As Offering ''Confused Leadership'' Because He Would Take Out High-Level Terrorists Like Bin Laden

Both front-runners are attacking each other but neither addresses any Hillary Clinton issues, at least not today. If the trend continues, Hillary will know what Kucinich, Edwards, et al. felt like trying to get some attention once the front-runners are established.

(3) Hillary Clinton's recent fact checks are anti-Obama which is natural because she has to take him on and win in Ohio and Texas. Maybe Obama can afford to start worrying more about McCain rather than Hillary.



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Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Education

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about education on their "issues" pages of their campaign web sites. These are just excerpts but I have provided the links if you want to read all of what they say. I assume that these issue statements were carefully decided upon and carefully crafted to appeal and communicate to a national audience (as opposed to a speech directed to a particular special interest audience). I have added some comments in red.

Clinton: Early Childhood Education. Hillary knows that parents are our children's first teachers, and the early years have a tremendous impact on their lives. That is why she will invest heavily in proven strategies to get all children ready for school, including: Nurse home visitation programs to help new parents develop parenting skills … Pre-kindergarten for all four-year olds.
K-12. Hillary also knows that we have to improve our K-12 system in order to ensure that every child is prepared to compete in an increasingly global economy. As president, she will: End the unfunded mandate known as No Child Left Behind; Meet the funding promises of IDEA to ensure that children with special needs get the attention and support they deserve; Recruit and retain thousands more outstanding teachers and principals, especially in urban and rural areas; Cut the minority dropout rate in half. …
College Access. … In the 21st century, a college education is more important than ever. Hillary believes it's time for a new bargain with the American people -- a bargain that gives all Americans willing to work hard the tools they need to get ahead. Her plan will make college more affordable and accessible so that every American who has earned it and wants to go has the chance to get a college degree. …

Obama: Early Childhood Education. Zero to Five Plan: Obama's comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. … Affordable, High-Quality Child Care: Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.
K-12. Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. … Obama will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them. Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: … Address the Dropout Crisis: … Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: … Support English Language Learners: … Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America's Teachers … Higher Education. Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: … Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid: …

McCain: This topic did not rise to the level of being included in his official issue statements.

Other recent comparison posts of mine: abortion, stem cell research, immigration, energy/environment

Also, see side bar for links to comparisons of other issues

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What is so bad about flip-flopping?





It seems that after John Kerry was beat up and labeled as a flip-flopper and eventually shot down, that to be called a flip-flopper became one of the dirtiest names you can call a candidate. I do not believe that that is the way it should be. If a candidate changes a position on an issue for the sake of getting votes, then call that person what they really are: a liar or a hypocrite or a phony.


But, if a candidate changes a position after learning more information or after careful consideration, isn't that a good thing? Would we rather elect someone who is stubborn and unwilling to change?





Monday, February 18, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: NAFTA tiff

There’s a little tiff going on between Hillary and Barack on whether or not Obama said he supported NAFTA in the past. Hillary’s “Fact Hub” claims that a transcript excerpt on Obama’s site does not match what was said in a 2004 speech given by Obama to the Illinois Farm Bureau. She offers audio links of Obama’s speech (Part I and Part II). However, it is impossible to check Hillary’s side of the argument. In Part I, Obama makes no mention of NAFTA and when I click on Part II, I get: “File has expired. The file you are trying to download has expired and is no longer available.”

Obama’s side of the argument cannot be checked either. On his “Know the Facts” site, he has a link to “the full transcript of the question Obama was asked in 2004.” That statement is a little misleading in that “full transcript” sounds like the entire speech but it apparently means just the answer to the question. So, it is not possible to check the entire speech. By the way, when you click on full transcript it takes you to another posting where it says “Click below for the full transcript of Obama's response referenced in the 2004 story.” There is no place to click below. There is however a paragraph that appears to be the transcript portion in question.

I could not find a transcript from other sources so this one will have to be a draw.


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clinton: Superdelegates and Blatant Disregard for the Popular Vote

This statement was made in a Clinton press release, Saturday February 16th:
If You Listen to One Thing Today: At 11:30 a.m. EST, Hillary advisor Harold Ickes holds a conference call with press to discuss the delegate process.
I could not find a transcript but I read some incredible quotes by Ickes. It just seems like such blatant disregard for the people that vote in the Democratic (and I use that word loosely) primaries. Here are some reported comments made by Ickes (highlights in red added):
FoxNews.com: A top Hillary Clinton adviser on Saturday boldly predicted his candidate would lock down the nomination before the August convention by definitively winning over party insiders and officials known as superdelegates, claiming the number of state elections won by rival Barack Obama would be “irrelevant” to their decision. ...

Ickes predicted Clinton and Obama would run “neck and neck” in the remaining states and that there would be a “minuscule amount of difference” between the two in pledged delegates.
But he said superdelegates — who “have a sense of what it takes to get elected” — would determine the outcome and side in larger numbers for Clinton.

Ickes said superdelegates must “exercise their best judgment” about who can win the White House.

In essence, he argued the party’s 795 superdelegates ... were in a better position to assess electability and suitability for the presidency than party regulars who will attend the national convention in late August as pledged delegates.

ABC News: After the last Democratic primary contest in Puerto Rico in June, Ickes said Clinton and Obama will be "neck and neck."
"Shortly after that she will wrap it up," he predicted.
That presumes that Clinton will be able to convince Democratic superdelegates -- party leaders and elected officials -- to support Clinton even if the people they represent have voted for Obama.
Ickes said those superdelegates, which the Clinton campaign prefers to call "automatic delegates," will be key.

CNN: One of Hillary Clinton’s senior advisers said Saturday on a conference call with reporters that the New York senator would have the nomination “nail(ed) down” after primary season voting ends in June, when Puerto Rico weighs in.
“At or about, certainly shortly after, the seventh of June, Hillary’s going to nail down this nomination. She’s going to have a majority of the delegates,” Harold Ickes said, thanks to a combination of pledged delegates awarded through primary and caucus votes, and superdelegates – Democratic elected officials and party leaders who are free to choose any candidate they wish. Ickes is himself a superdelegate.
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe immediately responded to Ickes, saying in a statement the Clinton campaign was “attempting to have superdelegates overturn the will of the Democratic voters, or change the rules they agreed to at the 11th hour in order to seat non-existent delegates from Florida and Michigan.


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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Federal Spending

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about federal spending and the budget deficit on their "issues" pages of their campaign web sites. These are just excerpts but I have provided the links if you want to read all of what they say. I assume that these issue statements were carefully decided upon and carefully crafted to appeal and communicate to a national audience (as opposed to a speech directed to a particular special interest audience). I have added some comments in red.

Clinton:
This topic did not rise to the level of being included in her official issue statements.

Obama:

  • Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington Obama believes that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue. Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.
  • Obama introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks. ... [both Obama and McCain emphasize this.]
  • Obama will stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense. Obama has called for an end to subsidies for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, as well as the elimination of subsidies to the private student loan industry which has repeatedly used unethical business practices. Obama will also tackle wasteful spending in the Medicare program.
  • Make the Tax System More Fair and Efficient Building on his bipartisan work in the Senate, Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.
  • Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry.

McCain:

  • Enforcing Fiscal Discipline ... ensure that money spent by Congress, ... , is used wisely and prudently on legitimate national priorities, not squandered on wasteful pet projects and special interest earmarks. ... The practice of excessive borrowing and deficit spending in Washington must stop.
  • Ending Pork Barrel Spending
  • Increasing Transparency ... Americans deserve to know how their elected representatives are spending their money. Members of Congress who request earmarks in legislation should be identified and their request should be fully described. ...
  • Making Tough Choices ... Without comprehensive bipartisan reform to America's entitlement programs, the nation will be unable to meet the challenges of providing vital medical and social security assistance to future generations.
  • Path to Lower Taxes ... But, tax cuts work best when accompanied by lower spending. Higher taxes and greater spending discourage entrepreneurship, foster wasteful tax-planning and slow long-term growth. Intelligently-formulated tax cuts and sensible tax reform will deliver much higher growth when they are accompanied by lower spending.
  • Opening Markets & Opportunity

Other recent comparison posts of mine: abortion, stem cell research, immigration, energy/environment