Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has moved into a significant lead over Barack Obama among Democratic voters, according to a new Gallup poll.
The March 14-18 national survey of 1,209 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters gave Clinton, a New York senator, a 49 percent to 42 percent edge over Obama, an Illinois senator. The poll has an error margin of 3 percentage points.
* A lot of the contests Obama won had a large number of Republicans and Independents interfering in the Democratic contests for various reasons. Obama is currently trying to get Republicans and Independents to become “Democrats for a Day” to interfer with the Democratic race in Pennsylvania. He doesn’t win amongst Democrats, she he resorts to dirty tricks.
Obama learned these dirty tricks in Chicago — what happened to the end of politics as usual?
HillBuzz saw this on Ben Smith’s blog and thought the same thing: If someone like Don Imus had said “typical -fill in the blank- person” in a radio interview, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama would be all over that person, denouncing them, calling for their firing and screaming to high Heaven.
That “typical white person” line
I just noticed that Dan Gross has the audio of that rapturous interview on Philadelphia sports radio, in which Obama says his grandmother’s reaction to black people reflects her being a “typical white person,” a line that’s starting to get some attention today.
He was asked about his grandmother’s reaction to his potentially being president.
“She’s extremely proud,” he said. “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she’s a typical white person who — if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know — there’s a reaction that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away, and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. And what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little less like that.”
Gross wonders what the reaction would be to Clinton talking about a “typical black person.” Obama’s certainly in uncharted waters here, but the fact that she’s his grandmother, and raised him, softens the effect.
The Clinton campaign ad featuring a 3 a.m. telephone call as a metaphor for experienced leadership in foreign policy has generated considerable comment, but much of the reaction is from people who have never been involved in foreign policy and certainly never had to field such a call in a crisis situation. Some of the responses are from advisers to the Obama campaign who know better but are actively diminishing the importance and realities of presidential engagement for immediate political advantage.
To begin with, there are such 3 a.m. calls. During my long career as a diplomat, including crises and military actions in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, I have been on the receiving end, the sending end, and the development of options that led to some of those late night calls. The president’s role in crisis management is direct, critical and reflects the exercise of leadership in its most fundamental and powerful form. That capability is not intuitive; rather, it comes from years of experience, training and exposure to the complexities that are in inherent in international relations.
On August 3, 1990, while serving as acting Ambassador to Iraq, I received a middle of the night call from then President George H.W. Bush’s Middle East adviser, who informed me that Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait. While the president had not personally called me, it was clear to me from that moment on that he was directly responsible for every significant decision made and engaged in marshaling the forces of the U.S. government and the support of the international community in what ultimately became Desert Storm.
In 1995 and 1996, while serving as Political Adviser to the Commander in Chief of U.S. Armed Forces, I was directly involved in the diplomacy associated with the movement of troops from Western Europe to Bosnia in support of the efforts of President Clinton and his special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, to implement the Dayton Accords and bring an end to the Balkan genocide.
In 1998, as Senior Director for Africa in President Clinton’s National Security Council, I helped orchestrate six phone calls, some late at night, directly from President Clinton, three each to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles, and Eritrean President Afwerki, to stop the air war between the two countries. Two of Barack Obama’s senior advisers, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also involved in that effort, and could attest to the importance of presidential involvement if they would choose not to remain silent as a ploy to protect their candidate’s slender credentials.
In each of the three cases, there was a critical common denominator: direct presidential engagement. During the Desert Shield part of the first Gulf War, then President Bush personally chaired many of the National Security Council meetings and made nonstop calls to foreign leaders to assemble the international coalition and secure the U.N. resolutions that provided the legal underpinning for the military action.
In former Yugoslavia, President Clinton played a similar role, reaching out to friends and allies, to adversaries and belligerents, in order to reach agreements that permitted the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.
And in the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, the aerial bombings of Addis Ababa and Asmara ceased thanks to the personal efforts of a President.
Contrast the above examples with the last seven plus years of George W. Bush and the conclusion is inescapable: presidential leadership is critical and should be tempered with experience and capability.
Senator Clinton has a long and well documented history of involvement in many of critical foreign policy issues we have confronted and will continue to confront as a nation. Critics can quibble about the details of the health plan she fought for in the 1990s, or whether hers was the decisive or merely an important voice in the Northern Ireland peace efforts, but there can be no denying that she has been in the arena for a generation fighting for what she believes in, gaining experience and developing leadership skills. She has traveled the world and met with international leaders both as the First Lady and as a respected senator on the Senate Armed Services Committee. As NSC director on Africa I experienced her direct positive involvement in U.S.-African relations; it was she, as First Lady who advanced through her own travel, then urged and made possible President Clinton’s historic trip. In the Senate, she has aggressively exercised her oversight responsibility and held the Pentagon’s feet to the fire on plans related to withdrawal from Iraq, shaped legislation requiring reports to Congress, and cosponsored legislation with Senator Byrd to deauthorize the war with Iraq. She has exercised the levers of power because she knows how to do so. That is not a small thing; it is not a campaign theme. It is simply true and goes to the heart of whether she, or anyone, is prepared to be the president to manage at once two wars and a global economic crisis.
Senator Obama is clearly a gifted politician and orator. I disagree profoundly with his transparently political efforts to turn George Bush’s war into Hillary Clinton’s responsibility. I was present in that debate, in Washington, from beginning to end, and Obama was nowhere to be seen. His current campaign aides in foreign policy, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also in Washington, but they chose to remain silent during that debate, when it mattered.
Claims of superior intuitive judgment by his campaign and by him are self-evidently disingenuous, especially in light of disclosures about his long associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko. But his assertions of advanced judgment are also ludicrous when the question of what Obama has accomplished in his four years in the Senate is considered.
As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on Europe, he has not chaired a single substantive oversight hearing, even though the breakdown in our relations with Europe and NATO is harming our operations in Afghanistan. Nor did he take a single official trip to Europe as chairman. This is the sum total of his actions in the most important responsibility he has had in the Senate. What are his actual experiences that reassure us that when the phone rings at 3 a.m. he will know what to do, which levers of power to pull, or which world leaders he can count on?
Obama has stated that he will rely upon his advisers. But how will he know which ones to depend upon and how will he be able to evaluate what they say? Already, one of his chief foreign policy advisers, Samantha Power, has been compelled to resign for, among other indiscretions, honestly revealing on a British television program that Obama’s public position on withdrawal from Iraq is not really his true position, nor does it reflect what he would do. Her gaffe exposed a vein of cynicism on national security. How confident can we be in his judgment? In fact, the hard truth is that he has no such experience.
Obama has tried to have it both ways on the issue of national security. On the one hand, he claims his intuition somehow would make him best equipped to handle the difficult challenges that face the next president. On the other hand, he tries to ridicule and dismiss as relatively insignificant the idea that actual experience with and intimate knowledge of foreign affairs and leaders, the U.S. military, the intelligence community, and the intricacies of diplomacy matter. He has even suggested that talking about the problems of national security amounts to exploitation of “fear.” One of Obama’s fervent supporters, a
Harvard professor named Orlando Patterson, who has no expertise in foreign policy, wrote absurdly in a New York Times op-ed that the 3 a.m. ad wasn’t about national security at all, but really a subliminal racist attack. Delusions aside, sometimes a discussion about national security is about national security.
There will, in fact, be 3 a.m. phone calls for the next president. They are not make believe. I have been there for such calls. The next president cannot be afraid or hesitant of handling the enormous national security crises that President Bush will leave behind. One thing is certain — the calls will come. Obama has only an abdication of his chief senatorial responsibility as a basis for assessing what his judgment might be if and when the phone rings. Which of his shifting coterie of volatile advisers would he turn to? Will it be the one who repudiated his withdrawal plan, exposing his real intention, prior to being forced to resign? Or will it be those advisers who remained silent until politically convenient — several years and several thousand lives after the shock and awe invasion, conquest and disastrous occupation of Iraq?
The calls are real and experience is real, too. The campaign might be treated as a game by the media, but those calls are serious, deadly serious.
Last night, on CNN, Dick Cheney was interviewed about the war in Iraq, and a recent poll that showed 2/3 of Americans are opposed to the war and believe it was not worth fighting for. Here is what Cheney had to say, in his best Burgess Meredith as The Penguin impression:
Interviewer: Two-third of Americans say (the war in Iraq) is not worth fighting.
Interviewer: (Astonished Pause) So? (Stunned Pause) You don’t care what the American people think?
If this all wasn’t so serious, it would be absurdly funny.
Obama has STILL not answered the following questions about Jeremiah Wright:
(1) Why did Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama vociferously attack Don Imus and call for his dismissal from NBC radio after his comment about the Rutgers basketball team on one of his radio broadcasts, while this trio did nothing about Jeremiah Wright’s hatemongering for 20= years? Why is that acceptable?
(2) Why did Oprah Winfrey support Jeremiah Wright for 24 years, when the people he railed against in his church are the same “rich white people” sitting at home in front of their television sets watching Oprah and reading her magazine. The awful things he said about Hillary Clinton were said not just about her, but about 90% of Oprah’s viewership. Where was Oprah’s outrage? We know Barack and Michelle Obama gave more than $20,000 to Jeremiah Wright. How much did Oprah give?
(3) Barack Obama demanded Hillary Clinton’s schedules as First Lady. She produced over 11,000 documents. When is Barack Obama going to produce a calendar of what days he attended Jeremiah Wright’s services at Trinity United Church of Christ. Which sermons did he sit in a pew and listen to? Why did he not speak out against Wright when better judgment would tell him Wright’s comments were racist, un-American, and unpatriotic?
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Mike Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan, on Obama:
Try as he might, Barack Obama cannot claim the innocence of a lamb in his long years of worshipful association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. He was either fully aware of the seething racial hatred that motivated Wright, or something of a blithering idiot who can’t spot a racist hater when he spends years genuflecting at his feet.
Remember: Obama has argued that his candidacy is partly based on bringing Republicans and Independents into his camp; after America saw Jeremiah Wright for the man he is, and has appreciated what his role as Obama’s spiritual advisor really means, Republicans and Independents will not be crossing over to Obama as he claims.
A lot of the stuff people say about her, I hear it and my stomach falls because it’s so sexist. You ask people why they don’t like her and it’s because her husband cheated on her! That was obviously not her choice. She’s so much more polished and experienced than anyone else. Last night, a friend, a social worker in L.A. who works with underprivileged kids, was saying how these girls who have never been interested in politics before are so excited that a woman might be president. I mean, of how many women are in government…Hillary’s one of what, [a handful of] female senators?
And to not leave Barack Obama out, Portman continued:
“I also like Obama. I even like McCain. I disagree with his war stance—which is a really big deal—but I think he’s a very moral person. I met him and Hillary on the same day, actually, when I went to Washington with Finca [a nonprofit that gives loans to businesswomen in developing countries]. Hillary was by far the smartest person I met that day. Just totally focused, and knew more about the issues than anyone else, and was so able to go from one thing to the other.”
Oprah Winfrey was a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ and, like Barack Obama, listened to Jeremiah Wright’s hatemongering for 24 years. She became a member in 1984 and, since Wright’s ravings went public, has quietly slinked away from the hate-filled church. Oprah Winfrey has staged numerous rallies and fundraisers for Barack Obama, and has contributed generously to Jeremiah Wright’s church.
How does Oprah’s viewership feel about this?
Aren’t the people who watch Oprah and buy her magazines and listen to her when she tells them to support Obama exactly the same people Jeremiah Wright condemned so memorably in his many sermons?
Why isn’t the media asking Oprah how she could have attended Wright’s sermons and not spoken out against him?