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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hillary Seems to Like the Superdelegate Conundrum

On Hillary Clinton's campaign web site you can find a press release entitled, "Must Read: Rep. Clyburn Speaks Out on Superdelegates." Can you believe these statements (in red):
Clyburn said superdelegates are not in place simply to mirror the popular vote.
So, let me get this straight. In this democracy, in the party named for democracy, there is no democracy? Why is there even a popular vote?
"We're supposed to be playing the role of being there as a safety valve, if something were to go wrong," Clyburn said. "They are there to make whatever midcourse correction needs to be made, and that's the role that we're supposed to play."
So, let me get this straight. Regardless of the popular vote, a group of "special" people can decide that a correction needs to be made?

I think this is an unbelievable situation that the Democrats are in. And Hillary is highlighting this as a good thing? I guess if you are behind in the popular vote you can see the possible need for a correction.

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Wild-eyed Hillary Photo

CNN is running an AP photo of Hillary with kind of a weird look on her face. I couldn't help but think of the photo of the wild-eyed, screaming Howard Dean from a few years back (2004).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Earmarks

There is an interesting story today from the Washington Post that can be found on the CBS News web site. It concerns earmarks -- the way some of our elected officials sneak money to their home states. I say "sneak" because earmarks have not been very transparent in the past. Thankfully there is some movement to do something about this. The article though mentions the three front-running candidates and the earmarks they were able to get. Here are the highlights:

Hillary Clinton: "... $340 million worth of home-state projects in last year's spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients of what are commonly known as earmarks, according to a new study by a nonpartisan budget watchdog group." [The group is Taxpayers for Common Sense.]

Barack Obama: "... $91 million total placed him in the bottom quarter of senators who seek earmarks, the study showed."

John McCain: "one of five senators to reject earmarks entirely, part of his long-standing view that such measures prompt needless spending."

Way to go McCain!!

The article also noted:
"As a campaign issue, earmarks highlight significant differences in the spending philosophies of the top three candidates. Clinton has repeatedly supported earmarks as a way to bring home money for projects, while Obama adheres to a policy of using them only to support public entities. McCain is using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack against Clinton, even running an Internet ad mocking her $1 million request for a museum devoted to the Woodstock music festival. Obama has been criticized for using a 2006 earmark to secure money for the University of Chicago hospital where his wife worked until last year."
See also this post on federal spending.
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Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain vs. Huckabee: Energy/Environment

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about energy and the environment 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 tried to condense each to about the same length. 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:
Hillary has a bold and comprehensive plan to address America's energy and environmental challenges that will establish a green, efficient economy and create as many as five million new jobs. Centered on a cap and trade system for carbon emissions [reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050], stronger energy and auto efficiency standards [increase in fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030] and a significant increase in green research funding, Hillary's plan will reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and address the looming climate crisis.

Obama:
Barack Obama's Plan: Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent [same goal as Hillary] by 2050 [Cap & Trade, Confront deforestation]; Invest in a Clean Energy Future; Support Next Generation Biofuels; Set America on Path to Oil Independence [double fuel economy standards within 18 years]; Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030; Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change. [both democrats have more specific actions and goals than the republicans]

McCain:
John McCain believes that we are vested with a sacred duty to be proper stewards of the resources upon which the quality of American life depends [this idea of stewardship is similar to the spirit of the democrats positions but with a conservative bent -- more market forces as opposed to government control]. Ensuring clean air, safe and healthy water, sustainable land use, ample greenspace - and the faithful care and management of our natural treasures, including our proud National Park System - is a patriotic responsibility. … He has offered common sense approaches to limit carbon emissions by harnessing market forces that will bring advanced technologies, such as nuclear energy, to the market faster, reduce our dependence on foreign supplies of energy, and see to it that America leads in a way that ensures all nations do their rightful share.

Huckabee:
The first thing I will do as President is send Congress my comprehensive plan for energy independence. [Huckabee's environmental issues are narrower and seem to be strictly related to the economy.] I'll use the bully pulpit to inform you about the plan and ask for your support. I'll use the bully conference table to meet with members of Congress until I have the votes. The plan will get underway during my first term, and we will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term. … We have to explore, we have to conserve, and we have to pursue all avenues of alternative energy: nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, biodiesel, and biomass. … Our free market will sort out what makes the most sense economically and will reward consumer preferences.

Other recent comparison posts of mine: abortion, stem cell research, marriage, federal spending
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain vs. Huckabee: Marriage

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about marriage 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:
This topic did not rise to the level of being included in his official issue statements.

McCain:
The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.

Huckabee:
[As usual, Huckabee is direct, succinct, and specific about where he stands on this issue.] I support and have consistently supported passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

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

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is Hillary paranoid?

Hearkening back to the days of the “right-wing conspiracy” Hillary Clinton and her staff seem a little paranoid as they emphasize attacks against her.

Here are some examples from her campaign web site [my comments are added in red; my emphasis in bold added]. Let me explain that a candidate should point out and clear up any misleading and/or false information said about the candidate. So, Hillary should definitely do this. My point is the emphasis she places on being “attacked.”

If you go to Hillary’s “Fact Hub” page you will see a link to the “Attack Timeline” web site which is subtitled, “Obama on the Attack.”

A press release from her chief strategist, Mark Penn, uses these words:

As soon as the Democratic nominee is selected, the entire force of the GOP attack machine will bear down on that nominee. This attack machine has been built and honed over decades; it is formidable, and employs all forms of media, from talk radio to major newspaper columns to television, email, blogs, websites, direct mail, and extensive ground networks. [Side note: This is used as a curious argument: Hillary has already withstood these attacks and when Obama is subjected to them he may be disliked more than Hillary; so, therefore Hillary is the better candidate. “Sen. Obama's Negatives Will Rise; Hillary's Are Already Factored In.”]

On her “Fact Hub” she has these recent posts in February, this far:

Sen. Obama Speech in Seattle, WA, Contains Misleading Attacks on Hillary
Sen. Obama’s Speech In Omaha, NE Contains Three Misleading Attacks On Hillary
Sen. Obama’s Speech In Wilmington, DE Contains Four Misleading Attacks On Hillary
False Smear Against Clinton Campaign
The Obama Campaign’s Negative Mail: Harry and Louise Redux

From a press release on February 2, 2008 entitled “Yesterday in the States:”

Colorado: “U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette held a conference call to address Sen. Obama’s new mailer, which falsely attacks Hillary’s health care plan.” [There are similar references for Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and North Dakota.]

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Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain vs. Huckabee: Immigration

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about immigration 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 tried to condense each to about the same length. 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:
Hillary has consistently called for comprehensive immigration reform that respects our immigrant heritage and honors the rule of law. She believes comprehensive reform must have as essential ingredients a strengthening of our borders, greater cross-cooperation with our neighbors, strict but fair enforcement of our laws, federal assistance to our state and local governments, strict penalties for those who exploit undocumented workers, and a path to earned legal status for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar.

Obama:
Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. … Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill. Obama will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens. Obama believes we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.

McCain:
I have always believed that our border must be secure and that the federal government has utterly failed in its responsibility to ensure that it is secure. …But a secure border will contribute to addressing our immigration problem most effectively if we also: Recognize the importance of building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America … Recognize the importance of pro-growth policies … so American businesses can hire and pay the best. Recognize the importance of a flexible labor market to keep employers in business and our economy on top. … Recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population, which includes learning English, … and respecting the values of a democratic society. Recognize that America will always be that "shining city upon a hill," …

Huckabee:
[Whether you agree or not you have to appreciate that at least Huckabee is direct, succinct, and specific about where he stands on issues.] Securing our borders must be our top priority and has reached the level of a national emergency. … I oppose and will never allow amnesty. … I oppose and will not tolerate employers who hire illegals. … I oppose the economic integration of North America … No open borders, no amnesty, no sanctuary, no false Social Security numbers, no driver's licenses for illegals.

Other recent comparison posts of mine: abortion, stem cell research, marriage
, energy/environment, federal spending

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Monday, February 11, 2008

**Update** Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain vs. Huckabee: Stem cell research

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about stem cell research 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.

Clinton: Hillary supports stem cell research but the topic does not rise to the level of including it in her official issue statements. **UPDATE** Sorry I did not notice this before. The following is included under "Comprehensive Government Reform":
Rescind the ban on ethical embryonic stem cell research.

Obama: Ditto for Obama although he does talk about funding biomedical research.

McCain:
Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases - hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles. For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. … As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.

Huckabee:
I am opposed to research on embryonic stem cells.

Other recent comparison posts of mine: abortion, immigration, marriage, energy/environment, federal spending
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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Superdelegate Problem

Seven out of 82 blogs for Sunday on the Democratic National Committee web site expressed some concerns about the superdelegate issue. This may continue to develop into a damaging controversy if Hillary and Obama remain close in delegate count. With Mitt Romney dropping out, the Republicans may be able to get a head start on the Democrats (assuming that McCain can rally conservatives to his side soon). Here are some excerpts from DNC Community Blogs:


I dont want some super delegate to not vote following the popular vote - it makes us democrats look like we have behind door hand shakes and that process of what has been going on is making america weak. http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/sstahl/Cv8f

This is becoming an accident waiting to happen. What I hope Howard Dean is doing is coming up with a solution and fast. Personally, I feel that the super delegates should side with the majority vote from their jurisdiction.
http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/deborahwilliams/Cv8t

I think the DNC would be wise to put out the Party's viewpoint on the controversy before it heats up further.
http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/judyhotchkiss/Cv85

Today on ABC with George Stephanopoulos, Donna Brazille stated that if the super delegates elect Hillary she will quit the democratic party!
http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/RetiredArmyFamily/Cvkc

According to ABC news: Hillary Clinton leads in popular vote; Barack Obama leads in voter delegates; Hillary Clinton leads in pledged super delegates; Either way unfortunately this is gonna be messy. How do you decide in the argument of popular vote verses voter delegates?
http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/Canadian%20for%20Hillary%20Clinton/Cvkh

This blog raises a simple set of questions:
1. What would happen should one Democratic candidate win the most super delegates even as the other candidate accrued a majority of the overall delegates, states, and voters?
2. Would the popular vote be respected?
http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/davidmora/CvkN

As a party we cannot allow what I'm afraid is going to happen actually happen. I am afraid we are going to have a split decision going to the convention, at which time the superdelegates will have to cast their votes. If these people cast their votes for anybody other than the person the American people chose to their candidate we will have a divided party.
http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/tommycaudill/CvkM


Hillary and Barack on the Feb 9th Primaries

Here is what Hillary has to say on her official campaign web site about Obama's sweep of Washington, Louisiana, Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands: nothing. As of 10:00 am (EST) on Sunday the 10th, there is nothing. Usually her web site is very active and updated frequently. Maybe her staff is taking the weekend off.

Barack, of course is crowing about his win. He is using numbers to his advantage. On his home page, he has a "state of the race" tally saying 19 of 30 wins. Never mind it is the delegates that count, not the number of states.

In a blog, his campaign manager, David Plouffe, touts Obama's lead in "pledged" delegates, never mind that "super" delegates are important too. CNN estimates that Hillary still has a lead when you consider super delegates (Clinton has 1,100 delegates and Obama has 1,039, according to CNN calculations). Here is what Plouffe says:

"Based on estimates of returns, Obama more than doubled his current pledged delegate lead. Entering tonight, the lead was 27 pledged delegates, it is now estimated to be a lead of 72. In the four contests today, we estimate we won 103 delegates to Clinton’s 58 delegates for a net gain of 45 delegates. This net gain of 45 delegates represent more than the 42 delegate net gain Senator Clinton earned in the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennessee and Arizona – combined. The pledged delegate total through February 9 now stands at 1,012 for Obama and 940 for Clinton." - Plouffe


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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain vs. Huckabee: Abortion

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about abortion 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. [side note: I find in interesting that Hillary, Barack, and John all speak of their issues in the third person. Only Mike Huckabee uses first person.]

Clinton: Hillary has stood firm as an advocate for a woman's right to choose. … She spoke out forcefully against the Supreme Court's April 2007 decision that -- for the first time in decades -- failed to recognize the importance of women's health. [side note: is she afraid to say "Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act" for the way in which that describes the nature of this type of abortion?]... Hillary has fought the relentless and insidious efforts by far-right Republicans to limit the protections of Roe v Wade, while also working hard to expand access to family planning services. …

Obama: I can find nothing in the "issues" section of his web site regarding the issue.

McCain:
John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat. … Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby.

Huckabee:
I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned. … I applaud the Supreme Court's recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart forbidding the gruesome practice of partial birth abortion.[note the opposite sentiment expressed by Hillary]

Other recent comparison posts of mine: stem cell research, immigration, marriage, energy/environment, federal spending

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Friday, February 08, 2008

**UPDATE** Clinton vs. Obama: Donations from Lobbyists?

On Feb. 6th, Hillary's web site "Fact Check" says Barack was attacking her and was being perhaps a little hypocritical (my word not her's) regarding taking money from lobbyists. She quotes Obama as saying:
"It's a choice between a candidate who's taken more money from Washington lobbyists than either Republican in this race and a campaign that has not taken a dime of their money." -Obama
I find it interesting that she does not refute his claim about the money she has taken from lobbyists. However, she makes the following case that while Obama may be technically correct in his assertion, some of his money can be tied to lobbyists:
"Sen. Obama's comments come on the same week Public Citizen released a report detailing ten bundlers for Sen. Obama who have registered as federal lobbyists. Sen. Obama has also taken money from former lobbyists, partners of lobbyists, people who hire lobbyists, lobbyists' spouses, and state lobbyists. Until he started running for president, Sen. Obama took money from federal lobbyists and, as a state senator, directly from corporations." -Clinton
**UPDATE**
On Feb 8th, Obama has a rebuttal on his web site. Was Hillary intentionally misrepresenting the truth or did she not do her homework? Or, is association with former lobbyists just as bad?

Public Citizen recently claimed that Barack Obama has 10 bundlers who are federal lobbyists. But none of the individuals they cite are currently registered to lobby. As an Obama spokesperson has said, the ban on accepting money from federal lobbyists is not "a perfect solution to the problem [of money in politics], and it isn't even a perfect symbol, but it does reflect that Obama shares the urgent desire of the American people to change the way Washington operates."

Read Public Citizen's List Here

Check Lobbyist Registrations Here

Frank Clark, NOT REGISTERED SINCE 2000; Scott Harris, NOT REGISTERED IN 2007; Allan J. Katz, NOT REGISTERED IN 2007; Robert S. Litt, NOT REGISTERED SINCE 2002; Thomas J. Perrelli, NOT REGISTERED SINCE 2005; Thomas A. Reed, TERMINATION ONLINE; Paul N. Roth, NOT REGISTERED IN 2007; Alan Solomont, NOT REGISTERED IN 2007;Tom E. Wheeler, NOT REGISTERED SINCE 2003





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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Donations


In my previous post I noted CNN and Fox News coverage of Hillary having to donate $5 million to her campaign. On Obama's web site there is an interesting reaction to this. David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, has put up a challenge to Obama supporters to match that donation. Barack is using Hillary's donation as incentive to raise more money. The graphic in my post is from Plouffe's post as of 12:30 am EST. Here is the opening statement from Plouffe's post on Wednesday February 6th, in the "Community Blog" section of the campaign web site:
"I was writing a note to you about the state of the race after Super Tuesday when we got some startling news. The Clinton campaign just announced that Hillary and Bill Clinton injected $5 million of their personal fortune into her campaign a few days ago. This is a dramatic move, and a clear acknowledgment that our campaign has the momentum. …" -Plouffe




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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

CNN vs. Fox: Hillary lends money to her campaign

Hillary Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million. CNN.com covered this as a brief article in their “political ticker” feature. FoxNews.com had a longer article. It is interesting to note the different tone in each of the articles with CNN being much more favorable to Hillary, in my opinion. Both mention that Hillary's loan was necessary to keep up with Obama’s phenomenal fundraising in recent weeks. Fox offers the following information that is not found in CNN’s article:

“The Clinton camp had deflected questions about any self-funding from the senator until after Super Tuesday.” [Apparently she did not want to admit this before the vote.]

“Obama has not donated any personal money to his campaign and, unlike Clinton, has not accepted donations from corporate special interest political funds.”

“The need to lend the campaign money exposes Clinton’s inability to raise money from new donors as fast or in increments as large as Obama’s.”

“Obama has raised more money from small donations than Clinton. An analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks trends in political money, found that Obama raised about a third of his money in 2007 from donors who gave $200 or less. Only one-third of his money came from donors who have given the legal maximum of $2,300, compared to Clinton who raised about half of her money from “maxed out” donors and only 14 percent from donors of $200 or less.”



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Super Tuesday: The Day After

Well, at about 10:30 am (EST), I checked each web site to see what the candidates are saying about the results yesterday.

Barack Obama: He declares himself the winner, getting more states and more delegates.

Hillary Clinton: Not much mention of Super Tuesday as a whole (maybe because Obama won) but she does have a scrolling list of states she won on her home page.

John McCain: Like Obama, he "won" Super Tuesday" for his party. He was not shy about his victories.

Mitt Romney: The results had to be a little disappointing for Mitt. He makes mention of going on with the campaign. He has a press release with his thoughts about the results. His campaign manager has a press release complaining about John McCain's "backroom deal" which gave West Virginia to Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee: He was probably proud to win what he did and shows a map of the winning states.



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Monday, February 04, 2008

McCain vs. Romney: TV ads


Well, it is the eve of Super Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how things shake out in both parties. For this post I have looked through both Mitt Romney's and John McCain's press releases for February 4th, as listed on their web sites. Both announce new TV ads so I thought I would compare them.

Mitt’s TV ad has the title “Very Close.” McCain’s is “Trust.” Romney’s ad has nothing about his positions. The same is true of McCain’s. Both are using attack ads on the other. Frankly, I am sick of that. I wish they would talk about their issues and stop the infighting. If one of them were to change their strategy and make a point of being civil I think that fact alone would earn some respect and maybe a few undecided votes.

Mitt’s ad talks about how McCain’s positions on issues are close to Hillary Clinton’s. Mitt is trying to continue his push that he is the only “full spectrum” conservative and that McCain is actually quite liberal. Conservative talk show hosts seem to be pushing this angle as well because McCain is seen as practically a democrat. Rush Limbaugh makes this statement on his web site: “I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that's Romney. … There's actually no choice in the matter. It certainly isn't Senator McCain.”

Best line in the ad: Bill Clinton saying “She and John McCain are very close.” Click here to read the text of Mitt’s ad. A link to the video is below.



McCain’s new TV ad is all about how Mitt Romney was anti-Reagan, using quotes from Romney himself.


Best line in the ad: “Mitt Romney was against Ronald Reagan before he was for him.” Click here to read the text of McCain’s ad. A link to the video is below.




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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: Mandated Health Care Insurance

Today, on Barack Obama's "Know the Facts" web page, he claims that Hillary Clinton refuses to answer how she will enforce a mandated health insurance system. One reference is to her appearance today on ABC's This Week. ABC has posted a transcript of the interview by George Stephanopoulos so I decided to check for myself. My conclusion is that she does in fact answer the question by saying she would force everyone, even through wage garnishing if necessary. However, she squirms and wriggles around the question and tries not to say that too directly. She apparently does not want to admit that she is planning mandatory enforcement. Forcing people will not be well received by many so she clearly tries to emphasize her more positive message about affordable health care.

Here are some excerpts that relate exactly to the question of how the
mandates will happen. [I have added some comments in red.]

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... You didn't get the chance to answer that question in the debate.What is the answer to those two questions? Will you have fines for people who don't buy health care, don't apply -- don't go by the mandate? Will you garnish their wages? [Note: Very specific questions.]

CLINTON: George, let's put this in context, because this is a big difference between us. I think universal health care is a core Democratic value and a moral principle, and I'm absolutely going to do everything I can to achieve that. You know, if you look at my plan, it's a misstatement to say that people won't be able to afford it, because I have a very detailed approach about giving people health care tax credits, limiting -- I'm the only person who does -- limiting the percentage of what you would have to pay for a premium to a low percent of your income. ... [She goes on for another 247 words but the only answer I am seeing so far is just that people should be able to afford it, but nothing about enforcement.]

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me interrupt you there, because the other night at the debate, you said that you and Senator Edwards bit the bullet on this question...

CLINTON: That's right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... of mandates, and Senator Edwards was quite clear in his plan. He said if people still didn't buy the insurance, their wages would be garnished. And I still haven't heard, if people can afford it and they don't buy the insurance, will their wages be garnished under your plan? Will they have to pay fines? [Now she is being asked the same specific questions again.]

CLINTON: Well, they don't have to pay fines, George. We want them to have insurance. We want it to be affordable. [Same answer about affordability but not answering the enforcement question.] And what I have said is that there are a number of ways of doing that. Now, there's not just one way of getting to that. [She goes on for another 223 words but no answer to the question. She talks of the importance of universal health care and accuses Obama of being misleading.]

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, yet, Senator Clinton, we actually have that mailing and let me show our viewers quickly what you were talking about, because you referred to it. It says that Hillary's plan will -- excuse me, let me read this again -- "forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it. You pay a penalty if you don't." And I want to bear down on this question one more time, because they're claiming this issue of the penalty. And a lot of independent health care experts, many who worked with you in 1994, say that without these enforcement mechanisms, you simply can't get to universal coverage, you can't claim to have universal coverage, so there's no difference between your plan and Senator Obama's. And, I mean, you talked about automatic enrollment. Will you garnish wages of people who don't comply, don't buy the insurance? [Here is the question a third time!]

CLINTON: George, we will have an enforcement mechanism. [Here is the first inkling of an answer.] Whether it's that or it's some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments. [But, she does not want to commit to answering specifically.] But you're missing, I believe, the key point. If you don't start with universal health care, ... And the reason why I think there are a number of mechanisms, going after people's wages, [she answers here to some extent] automatic enrollment, when you are at the place of employment, you will be automatically enrolled, whatever the mechanism is [but not willing to commit fully to what that mechanism will be] is not as important as, number one, the fundamental commitment to universal health care, the appreciation that, with health care tax credits and with a premium cap, it will be affordable for everyone. [back to the affordability point] ... There will be mechanisms to enable everyone to afford it. ... [again she is using the positive affordability angle while deemphasizing the negative enforcement issues like garnishing wages.]




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Saturday, February 02, 2008

McCain vs. Romney: Looking for the Conservative Vote

There is a battle going on concerning the degree to which either candidate is conservative. John McCain has a new TV ad entitled "True Conservative."


Many on the political right do not consider John McCain to be conservative on a number of issues. He has the "maverick" label. Mitt Romney in his new ad conveys himself as a true conservative. He refers to himself as a "full-spectrum conservative."

Friday, February 01, 2008

Which candidate is more likely to do anything to win?

I was looking at the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll published February 1st. The results are interesting but I found two questions to be particularly strange and I could not help but think that maybe they were designed with Hillary Clinton in mind, perhaps as a way to make some points about perceptions of her character.

The first strange question, #15, is “Which presidential candidate do you think is more likely to do anything -- including something unethical -- to win the election?” The choices were the two leading candidates from each party; Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, and Mitt Romney; plus “don’t know.”

Clinton topped the list with 44%, then Romney 11%, McCain 9%, Obama 8%, Don’t know 28%. Hillary was the top choice by democrats, republicans, and independents.

The 2nd question that seemed a little weird to me, #18, is “Regardless of how you plan to vote, which presidential candidate do you think is the most likely to do something that would embarrass the country?" The choices were the same.

Clinton topped the list again with 37%, then Romney 14%, McCain 12%, Obama 11%, Don’t know 26%. Hillary was the top choice by republicans and independents. Democrats chose Romney by a slim margin over Hillary, 22% to 19% respectively.

Regardless of what is actually true there does seem to be a perception that Hillary is the most untrustworthy. But, I still find it odd that these questions were even asked this way in the first place. Whoever designed the questions may have expected these results.



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