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Archive for February, 2008

Rockefeller: Obama can.

“‘As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am all too aware that the threats we face are unconventional. They are sophisticated. They are constantly changing and adapting. And they are very serious,’ Rockefeller said in a statement issued by the Obama campaign. ‘What matters most in the Oval Office is sound judgment and decisive action. It’s about getting it right on crucial national security questions the first time — and every time.‘” In response to Clinton’s fearmonger ad today, the Obama campaign announces the endorsement of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “‘The indisputable fact is Barack Obama was right about Iraq when many of us were wrong,’ added Rockefeller. ‘It was a tough call and the single greatest national security question, and mistake, of our time. Today, we remain a country at war, and countless mistakes over the last six-and-a-half years have made us less safe. The stakes have never been higher, and that is why we must take a stand.’” (So that’s 5 supers today, not 4.)

Going down swinging.

Four days out from Zero Hour and as per the kitchen sink strategy, the Clinton campaign attempts a few more sad gambits to stay alive in the race…

  • Fearmongering: It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep, but there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing…” Sen. Clinton has a new terror, terror, terror ad out in Texas, suggesting an Obama presidency will result in all manner of horrible things disrupting the sleep of your dear children. (It echoes this old Mondale spot, by the same ad guru twenty-four years ago.) Sen. Obama responded here: “We’ve seen these ads before. They’re the kind that play on peoples’ fears to scare up votes…We’ve had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer.Update: If this seems like a McCain ad, that might be because it was one, a fan-made ad back in January. (Then again, LBJ did it too.) Update 2: The Obama campaign already has a response ad out.

  • Moving the Goalposts (again): Flying in the face of reality once again, the newest Clinton campaign spin gets silly: “With an eleven state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there’s a problem.” Uh, no. Quite the contrary. The math hasn’t changed since Wisconsin. Sen. Clinton must not only win Texas and Ohio, but win them both by twenty points. Anything less, and her campaign is mathematically kaput. (The reason for this goofiness from the campaign? Rhode Island looks to be an easy Clinton pick-up.)

  • Shady lawyering: “It has been brought to my attention that one or both of your campaigns may already be planning or intending to pursue litigation against the Texas Democratic Party…Such action could prove to be a tragedy for a reinvigorated Democratic process.” Texas Dem sources say the Clinton campaign has — in keeping with their strategy in Nevada last month — threatened a lawsuit to disrupt the caucus process there. Camp Clinton has backed away from these threats since they leaked, but sources maintain Clinton is suggesting legal action to cast doubt on the Texas caucus results on Tuesday night, thereby possibly buying her campaign a media cycle or two before the inevitable happens.

    Granted, I’m a partisan. But I really don’t see any of these working to Sen. Clinton’s advantage. In fact, they just make her and her campaign look that much more petty. (See also the newest playing of the gender card: “‘Every so often I just wish that it were a little more of an even playing field,’ she said, ‘but, you know, I play on whatever field is out there.’” Aw, it’s hard out here for the wife of a popular, two-term ex-president!) Update: In the meantime, Sen. Obama has picked up four more supers.

    Update 2: Let’s see…what else does the Clinton campaign have under the kitchen sink? How ’bout some misleading mailers? (Gasp! Tough mailers? Shame on you, Hillary Clinton!) In any case, one claims “Barack Obama voted against protecting American families from predatory credit card interest rates of more than 30 percent.” As Obama said in a previous debate, he opposed the bill because “thought 30 percent potentially was too high of a ceiling. So we had had no hearings on that bill. It had not gone through the Banking Committee.” (Lest we forget, Sen. Clinton actually voted for the lender-friendly bankruptcy bill in 2001.) The other basically suggests Obama is a corporate stooge on the payroll of the energy companies. Left unsaid: Sen. Clinton has taken more donations from the energy industry.

  • This aggression will not stand, Stark.

    Robert Downey, Jr. suits up to face Obadiah Stane (a.k.a. the Bald Lebowski) in a spiffy all-new trailer for Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. As with the two previous teasers, this looks surprisingly enjoyable, and may hopefully end up being Marvel’s best product since Spiderman 2 and X2.

    End of the Line.

    The fruits of the Compass? After forty years from Reefer Madness to Semi-Pro (with, of course, PJ’s Rings trilogy being the notable highlight), New Line Cinema is no more. “The company will lay off hundreds of employees and be merged into its corporate sibling, Warner Bros…In a sign of retrenchment that is increasingly prevalent in Hollywood, the company will now focus on making fewer movies limited to the kind of smaller, low-cost ‘genre’ horror and comedy pictures upon which it built its name.” (Nevertheless, the Tolkien suit will go forward.)

    Heavy Freight.

    “Exhausted, I slept across the grave…I saw the Black Freighter bearing down on all I loved, but I was powerless to stop it.Zack Snyder alum Gerard Butler reveals his upcoming part in Watchmen: He’ll be narrating the Tales of the Black Freighter digression for the DVD version. “‘I’m going to do the voice of the captain,’ said Butler. ‘They’re going to do it in the style of a Japanese anime and I’m totally stoked.” Anime? Hrm.

    Yoo Tube.

    “The situational forces that were going on in [Abu Ghraib] — the dehumanization, the lack of personal accountability, the lack of surveillance, the permission to get away with anti-social actions — it was like the Stanford prison study, but in spades.” New scenes of vileness and depravity emerge from Abu Ghraib. NSFW, and, in any case, no way to start your day.

    The Man from Panama.

    “‘There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,’ said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. ‘It is not a slam-dunk situation.’” Well, that explains the love for TR’s Big Stick diplomacy. As it turns out, Sen. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone, potentially complicating his constitutional eligibility for president. “The conflict that could conceivably ensnare McCain goes more to the interpretation of the archaic phrase ‘natural born’ when weighed against intent and decades of immigration law…Quickly recognizing confusion over the evolving nature of citizenship, the First Congress in 1790 passed a naturalization law that did define children of citizens ‘born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States to be natural born.’ But that law is still seen as potentially unconstitutional and was overtaken by subsequent legislation, which omitted the natural-born phrase.

    Hmmm. Maybe next time the GOP try to ratchet up the virulent xenophobia, we should perhaps remind them that at least our putative standard-bearer is definitively a “natural-born citizen” of the republic. And I wonder, will “activist judges” on the Supreme Court really forego a strict reading of our constitution and let this foreign-born fellow, John Sidney McCain, run for president? Strict constructionists should blanch at the thought. Update: Sen. Obama co-sponsors a bill to help McCain out.

    Hizzoner is Out.

    “In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance. And while I have always said I am not running for president, the race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area. If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach — and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy — I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House.” In a NYT editorial this morning, Mayor Bloomberg confirms he’s not seeking the Oval Office in 2008, and may even endorse somebody eventually. This isn’t all that surprising, given that the two major party candidates with the most independent cachet now look to be facing each other in the general. I betting a Romney v. Clinton contest might’ve brought a different story.

    More Endorsers. | One Million Strong.

    It’s been a long, hard and difficult struggle to come to where I am now.I’ll say…Rep. John Lewis officially switches to Obama. Also, North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan announced his backing of the Senator from Illinois today, bringing Obama’s superdelegate total to 200. (He still lags behind Sen. Clinton by 56 in the supers category, but has picked up a net total of +34 since Super Tuesday.) Finally, if you’re looking for more endorsements, there are at least 999,998 more of ’em out there: The Obama campaign reaches one million individual donors, and counting. Update: When Rep. Lewis says this was a tough decision for him, he wasn’t kidding.

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