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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Endorses Barack Obama

In an op-ed published Sunday in The New York Times, Caroline Kennedy announced her support for Senator Barack Obama, citing his judgment in opposing the Iraq war from the start, his character in running a dignified campaign, and his ability to unite this entire nation around a common purpose.

Senator Obama said, “I am honored to have the support of Caroline Kennedy. Caroline has been a tireless advocate for providing every child with a quality education, most recently through her work with New York City’s public schools. And through her role in selecting Profile in Courage awardees, she has shined a spotlight on leaders who have the courage to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. It’s also a special privilege to have this endorsement because I’ve always believed that Caroline’s father was one of our greatest presidents. At a time of great challenge at home and abroad, President Kennedy led this nation with judgment and courage, pulling the world back from the brink of war, calling a generation to service, and inspiring this entire nation to reach for new frontiers.”

Caroline Kennedy writes in her op-ed (LINK):

A President Like My Father
January 27, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

"OVER the years, I've been deeply moved by the people who've told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn't that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates' goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents' grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."

Caroline Kennedy is the Vice Chair of the New York City Fund for Public Schools, a non-profit organization which seeks private sector support for public education. Since 2002, The Fund has raised more than $210 million in support of critical reform initiatives and enlisted record numbers of New Yorkers to volunteer in New York City schools. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Kennedy is an attorney and the author/editor of seven best-selling books on civil rights, American history, politics, and poetry including In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action, and A Pariot's Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. She writes a column for TIME on the Power of One about people who are making a difference in their communities. Caroline Kennedy also serves on the Commission on Presidential Debates and the Profile In Courage Award Committee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, have 3 children.

Secretary Handel Announces Information for Presidential Elector Qualifying

Secretary of State Karen Handel announced the following information relating to qualifying for Presidential electors for the November 4, 2008 presidential election.

In accordance with O.C.G.A. §21-2-131, which states that elector qualifying fees will be 3 percent of the office’s minimum annual salary, qualifying fees for electors are set at $1.50. Political parties or political bodies must pay their presidential electors $50 a day.

Georgia receives 15 votes in the Electoral College. Political parties or political bodies choose their electors.

Both the Georgia Republican Party and the Democratic Party of Georgia will submit a list of qualified electors at the conclusion of their qualifying period. Qualifying for political parties will be held Monday, April 28 beginning at 9:00 a.m. through Friday, May 2, 2008 at 12:00 p.m. As outlined by Georgia law, the qualifying fee will be paid to the applicable state political party.

Political body candidates for President will submit their list of qualified electors when they qualify for office. Qualifying for independent, political body and nonpartisan candidates will be held Monday, June 23 beginning at 9:00 a.m. through Friday, June 27, 2008 at 12:00 p.m. As outlined by Georgia law, the qualifying fee will be paid to the Secretary of State.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama Economic Speech

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 Greenville, SC

This morning, we woke up to bad news from Wall Street. For the second day in a row, the global stock market has continued to plunge as the world continues to fear that the United States government won’t do enough to prevent a recession. We hope that the rate cut announced this morning will restore some confidence and stop the damage, but the fear remains.

It’s a fear that hasn’t just confined itself to those who nervously watch the tickers or scan the headlines of the financial section, but one that I have seen on the faces of working Americans in every corner of this country long before anxiety ever hit Wall Street.

I’ve seen it in the faces of families who are being forced to foreclose on their dream because an unscrupulous lender tricked them into buying a home they couldn’t afford just to pocket a profit.

I’ve seen it in the faces of Maytag workers who labored all their lives only to see their jobs shipped overseas; who now compete with their teenagers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart.

And I’ve seen it in the face of a young woman who told me she only gets three hours of sleep because she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can’t afford health care for a sister who’s ill.

In the last several months, their fears have grown worse and are now shared by more and more Americans. What started as a crisis in the housing market has now spilled over to the rest of the economy. Banks are facing a credit crunch, leaving businesses with less money to invest and more Americans unable to get loans. Joblessness rose more last month than at any time since just after 9/11, and oil reached $100 a barrel. People have less money to spend, higher bills to pay, and fewer opportunities for work.

For years, we were warned this might happen. But Washington did what Washington does – it looked the other way. It rewarded lenders and lobbyists with whatever they asked for while ignoring the voices of working people who needed help most. And all the while, we’ve been led by George W. Bush – a President who’s done more to contribute to this country’s widening inequality than anyone since Herbert Hoover; a President whose tax breaks for wealthy Americans who didn’t need them and didn’t ask for them have only encouraged the mindset in Washington and on Wall Street that “what’s good for me is good enough.”

That’s why it’s no surprise that after months and months of watching families struggle to get by in this economy, George Bush finally offered a stimulus plan last week that neglects 50 million workers and seniors who need our help the most; the very people who are most likely to spend and give our economy the boost it needs right now.

Well George Bush’s economic plans haven’t worked before and they’re not going to start working now. More importantly, they don’t reflect who we are as Americans. We haven’t come this far because we practice survival of the fittest. America is America because we strive for survival of the nation – a nation where no one is left behind and everyone has a chance to achieve their dreams. That’s who we are. And that’s who we can be again at this defining moment.

This isn’t an issue I found along the campaign trail. I introduced legislation to stop mortgage fraud and predatory lending almost two years ago. I called for a middle-class tax cut back in September that would put money into the pockets of over 90% of working Americans; that would eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000; that would give a tax credit to struggling homeowners. And that’s why when I announced my economic stimulus package the other week, I called for immediate tax relief for working families and seniors – because they shouldn’t have to wait another day for Washington to act. They need our help right now.

We should send each working family a $500 tax cut and each senior a $250 supplement to their Social Security check. And if the economy continues to decline in the coming weeks, we should do it again. This is the quickest way to help people pay their bills and get them to start spending.

We should also immediately make unemployment insurance available for a longer period of time and for more people who are facing job losses, and we should make sure it benefits part-time and non-traditional workers, something that will particularly help women, African-Americans and Latinos. We should help those facing foreclosure refinance their mortgages and stay in their homes, and we should provide direct relief to victims of mortgage fraud. And we should provide assistance to state and local governments so that they don’t slash critical services like health care or education.

Of course, it’s easy to propose plans and policies when you’re on the campaign trail. You can make all sorts of promises and tell people what they want to hear when they want to hear it.

But in this time of economic anxiety and uncertainty, what this country needs most is a President who says what he means and means what he says; a President who won’t just do what’s right when the politics are easy, but when the politics are hard; a President who’s not just in it to win it; but in it for you.

In the debate last night, we spent some time talking about the economy. And one of the things I brought up that concerned me was that when Senator Clinton first released her economic stimulus plan, she didn’t think that workers or seniors needed immediate tax relief. She thought it could wait until things got worse. Five days later, the economy didn’t really change, but the politics apparently did, because she changed her plan to look just like mine.

It reminds me of what happened when we started debating the credit card industry’s bankruptcy bill – a bill that would make it much harder for working families to climb out of debt. Believe it or not, Senator Clinton said again last night that even though she voted for the bill, she was glad it didn’t pass. I know you can get away with this in Washington, but most of us know that if you don’t want to see a bill pass, there’s a pretty easy option available – you can vote against it.

And we’ve heard her say the same kind of thing about NAFTA and China trade –agreements that sent millions of American jobs – thousands from this very state – overseas. Because only in Washington could Senator Clinton say that NAFTA led to economic improvement up until she started running for President. Now she says we need a time-out on trade. No one knows when this time-out will end. Maybe after the election.

The point is – this is exactly the kind of politics we can’t afford right now. Not when the stakes are this high. Not when the economy is this fragile. Not when so many banks are foreclosing on people’s dreams. We can’t afford a President whose positions change with the politics of the moment, we need a President who knows that being ready on day one means getting it right from day one. And South Carolina, if you give me the chance, that’s the kind of President I’ll be.

In my twenty-five years of public service, my positions haven’t changed when the politics got hard, and neither will the policies I pursue as President.

I started my career as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago, fighting joblessness and poverty when the local steel plant closed. I provided tax relief for working families as a state Senator in Illinois. And when I am President, I’ll take away the breaks that Washington gives to companies who ship our jobs overseas, and give them to companies who create the jobs of the future right here in America.

I won’t wait to raise the minimum wage every ten years – I will raise it to keep pace every year so that workers don't fall behind. I’ll take on the credit card companies who are profiting by driving working families into debt. And I’ll make sure that CEOs can’t dump your pension with one hand while they collect a bonus with the other. That’s an outrage, and it’s time we had a President who knows it’s an outrage.

On health care, I know what it takes to expand coverage to the uninsured. In Illinois, I brought Democrats and Republicans together to expand health care to 150,000 children and parents. And when I’m President, I’ll do more to cut costs for families and businesses than anyone in this race, and I’ll pass universal health care not twenty years from now, not ten years from now, but by the end of my first term in office.

And when it comes to taking away the power of lobbyists and special interests, I’m the only candidate in this race who’s actually done it. In Illinois I passed the first major ethics reform in twenty-five years. In Washington I helped pass the strongest lobbying reform in a generation – we banned gifts from lobbyists, meals with lobbyists, subsidized travel on fancy jets, and for the first time in history, we forced lobbyists to tell the American public who they’re raising money from and who in Congress they’re funneling it to. Last night Senator Clinton defended lobbyists again, who she has said represent real Americans. Well let me tell you – if you really believe that lobbyists represent real Americans, then you don’t. Washington lobbyists haven’t funded my campaign, they won’t run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of working Americans when I am President.

We know the road ahead will be difficult. None of the problems we face will be easy to solve and change will not happen overnight. It will take a new spirit of cooperation and sacrifice. It will require each of us to remind ourselves that we rise and fall as one nation; and that a country in which only a few prosper is antithetical to our ideals and our democracy. And it will take a President who can rally Americans of different views and backgrounds to this common cause.

I’m reminded every day that I am not a perfect man. And I will not be a perfect President. But I can promise you this – I will always say what I mean and mean what I say. I will be honest about the challenges we face. And most importantly, I will wake up every single day ready to listen to you, and work for you, and fight for you not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. That’s what I did for those men and women on the streets of Chicago. That’s what I’ve done over the last decade for the working families of Illinois. And that’s what I will do for the American people if you give me the chance to lead this country. Thank you.

Republican Candidates

We are posting most, if not all, releases and news regarding Republican candidates on our Republican Candidate blog. Also, you may want to check out Republican News Sweep for a roundup of the daily news.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Clinton, Obama crossfire continues

WASHINGTON - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton argued on Tuesday that Barack Obama's frustration with losing prompted him to look for a fight in their latest debate. Obama said his rival and her husband, former President Clinton, were distorting his record.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

CNN sets debate criteria 1% above Kucinich’s latest poll results, campaign files complaint with Federal Communications Commission

The Kucinich for President campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission yesterday against CNN and its parent company, Time Warner, Inc., for arbitrarily establishing criteria for its scheduled Monday Presidential debate that will exclude the Democratic candidate from participation.

On Wednesday, the campaign was notified by CNN that its criteria included a showing of 5% or better in a national poll. In two polls completed earlier last week by CBS News/New York Times and by the Pew Research Center, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich scored 4%.

“The CNN criteria specifically exclude the diverse and anti-war voice of Mr. Kucinich and his grass-roots supporters,” according to the complaint. “The exclusion of Mr. Kucinich undermines the purpose of the (Federal Communications) Act and is a blatant violation of the Act, including its equal time provisions.” Also, “Mr. Kucinich is a successful candidate because of his anti-war message and strong criticism of the American healthcare system, issues that are not championed by his presidential primary opponents. In these and other policy issues, his opponents share very similar policy platforms that differ from Mr. Kucinich.”

The filing also points out that Kucinich was invited to participate in the upcoming South Carolina debate by the Congressional Black Caucus, which is co-sponsoring the event. The invitation, which he accepted on May 20, stated, in part that Kucinich “will be guaranteed a rare opportunity to present your message to millions of voters unfiltered by any political organization or by any news organization.”

The complaint also argues that the Monday event “is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates. Instead, it is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by CNN” and is a breach of the federal requirement “to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance.”

The campaign is asking the FCC to order CNN to allow Kucinich to participate.


The Boston Globe: "Nonetheless, Romney's policies are credited with improving the state's competitiveness. His administration promoted high-density development to increase housing production, got a fast-track permitting law enacted by the Legislature to help businesses expand, and revived an agency to help firms move to the state." (Brian C. Mooney, Stephanie Ebbert And Scott Helman, "Ambitious Goals," The Boston Globe, 6/30/07)

Under Governor Romney, Massachusetts Added Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs After The End Of A Deep Recession:Massachusetts Has Added 57,600 Jobs Since The Recession's End In December 2003 Until The End Of Governor Romney's Term. "Massachusetts has added 57,600 payroll jobs since December 2003." (Massachusetts Department Of Workforce Development, "Jobs In Massachusetts Up By 1,700 In December," Press Release, 1/18/07)

In 2006, Massachusetts Added 18,700 Jobs. "Total jobs are up 18,700 from one year ago to 3,224,700." (Massachusetts Department Of Workforce Development, "Jobs In Massachusetts Up By 1,700 In December," Press Release, 1/18/07)

Under Governor Romney, Massachusetts Posted The First Gain In Manufacturing Jobs In Several Years. "For the first time in several years, Massachusetts has posted a gain in manufacturing jobs, according to the 2007 Massachusetts Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News, Inc. (MNI), Evanston, IL. MNI reports Massachusetts has added 3,681 net jobs since August of 2005, indicating a slight reversal in the downturn the Bay state has felt since 2001." (Manufacturers' News, "Industrial Directory Reports Massachusetts Manufacturing Jobs Up," Press Release, 8/30/06)

Under Governor Romney, Massachusetts Became A Better Place To Do Business:

Under Governor Romney, The State's Credit Rating Was Upgraded For The First Time Since January 2000. "Governor Mitt Romney today announced that Standard & Poor's has raised the state's credit rating one notch, from 'AA-' to 'AA'. This is the state's first ratings upgrade since January 2000, when Moody's Investors Service raised the state's credit rating from 'Aa3' to 'Aa2'." (Office Of Governor Mitt Romney, "Governor Romney Announces Bond Rating Upgrade For Commonwealth's Debate," Press Release, 3/15/05)

In Three Years Under Governor Romney, The Number Of Companies In The State's Development Pipeline Went From 13 To 288. "Under Ranch C. Kimball, who became Romney's secretary of economic development in 2004, the number of companies in the Massachusetts development pipeline jumped from 13 to 288 in three years." (Brian C. Mooney, Stephanie Ebbert And Scott Helman, "Ambitious Goals," The Boston Globe, 6/30/07)

The Boston Globe: "Last year, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. chose an 89-acre site at the former Fort Devens over one in North Carolina for a $660 million complex that will create 550 jobs. The deal required a customized tax credit, a $34 million infrastructure bond, and an unusual show of teamwork by Romney and the Legislature." (Brian C. Mooney, Stephanie Ebbert And Scott Helman, "Ambitious Goals," The Boston Globe, 6/30/07)

The Club For Growth: Governor Romney's Record Includes "Solid Efforts To Promote Pro-Growth Tax Policy." "That said, Governor Romney's single term contained some solid efforts to promote pro-growth tax policy." (The Club For Growth, "Mitt Romney's Record On Economic Issues," Press Release, 8/21/07)

INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT: Governor Romney Signed An Economic Stimulus Package Making The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Permanent. (Office Of Governor Mitt Romney, "Romney Signs Economic Stimulus, Supplemental Budget Bills," Press Release, 11/26/03)

BIOTECH MANUFACTURING JOBS TAX REBATE: Governor Romney Proposed And Enacted A Tax Rebate For Manufacturing Jobs Created In The Biotechnology, Life Sciences And Medical Device Fields. (Office Of Governor Mitt Romney, "Romney Signs Economic Stimulus, Supplemental Budget Bills," Press Release, 11/26/03)

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TAX CREDIT: Governor Romney Proposed And Enacted An Expansion Of The Research And Development Tax Credit. (Jay Fitzgerald, "Gov Nearly Halves Package; Rebellious Legislators Vow To Override Stimulus Vetoes," The Boston Herald, 11/27/03)

COMMUTER TAX RELIEF: Governor Romney Signed Legislation Allowing Commuters To Deduct Transportation Costs From Their Income Taxes. (Office Of Governor Mitt Romney, "Governor Romney Signs $25.2 Billion FY 2007 State Budget," Press Release, 7/8/06)

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Governor Romney Proposed And Enacted A Refundable Tax Credit To Promote Development At The Former Fort Devens U.S. Army Base. (Stephen Heuser, "$660M Drug Plant, 550 Jobs For Mass.," The Boston Globe, 6/2/06)

In August 2006, Governor Romney Signed Permitting Reform To Expedite The Permit Process For New Businesses. "Governor Mitt Romney today signed legislation that reforms and streamlines the commercial permitting process, making it easier for companies to expand and add jobs in Massachusetts." (Office Of Governor Mitt Romney, "Romney Signs Permitting Reform Into Law," Press Release, 8/2/06)

Under Governor Jane Swift, McCain's Chief Economic Surrogate, Massachusetts Lost Jobs Month After Month:

Obama Addresses Ebenezer Baptist Church

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
The Great Need of the Hour
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Sunday, January 20th, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia

The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yolk of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.

And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.

So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country’s ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.

That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.

The stories that give me such hope don’t happen in the spotlight. They don’t happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect. Let me give you an example of one of those stories.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She’s been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Video Voter Guide Sets Record Straight on Amnesty

South Carolina Distribution Expected to Reach 50,000 Voters with TV Ad Campaign Extending to Florida, Other Primary States

CHESAPEAKE, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Grassfire.org Alliance today is launching its “Amnesty Voter Guide” -- a 30-second TV spot produced by Rapid Response Media with supporting resources that clarifies the positions of the Presidential candidates on the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens. The spot will reach an estimated 50,000 South Carolina voters prior to Saturday’s Primary as the first phase in a planned campaign rollout in Florida and other primary states.

“There has been much distortion on the issue of amnesty by the presidential candidates,” says Steve Elliott, President of Grassfire.org Alliance. “Voters need to know where each candidate stands on amnesty. Our voter guide and support resources clearly and succinctly set the record straight.”

The spot first defines amnesty and then places each presidential candidate in either the “opposes” or “supports” amnesty column. “We played this fair,” says Elliott. “We’ve carefully examined each candidate’s voting record, campaign positions and what they’ve said about amnesty. Frankly, we just put everything together in an easy to understand format—free of media spin. That’s what voter’s need heading to the primaries.”

Transcript, and broadcast-quality audio and video versions of the spots available at: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CJjFlqhs/

Note: The above link is for broadcast media only. The public may view the spot as http://www.AmnestyVoterGuide.com
Grassfire media backgrounder: http://www.grassfire.org/media.asp

Huckabee News Roundup

Huckabee takes it easy on Election Day
Baltimore Sun - United States
by Jason George COLUMBIA, SC – Former Gov Mike Huckabee chose to visit only one polling on Saturday, so he decided to go one here, as Mike Campbell cast his ...

Huckabee, McCain in South Carolina dead heat
Reuters - USA
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Reuters) - Republicans John McCain and Mike Huckabee are in a statistical dead heat as ...

God rides shotgun on Huckabee campaign
Canada.com - Hamilton,Ontario,Canada
FLORENCE, SC -- Billie Hardee doesn't know if Mike Huckabee has God on his side. But she believes this much - the former Arkansas governor is on God's side. ...

The real right’s stuff isn’t Republican
Boston Herald - United States
Pushing the beast under was Mike Huckabee, whose down-home folksiness makes Thompson look like David Niven. Huckabee’s surprise surge in Iowa has made him ...

Negativity Reigns Again In South Carolina
CBS News - New York,NY,USA
10 when Fred Thompson - who needs a strong showing on Saturday to keep his campaign afloat - came out swinging at Mike Huckabee during a debate in Myrtle ...

McCain: Spending Is Out of Control
The Associated Press - Rival Mike Huckabee told voters Bush is on the right track with a plan to boost the economy. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson mostly concurred. ...

With unwanted 'robo-call' help, Huckabee reaches for SC finish line.
Arkansas News - Little Rock,AR,USA
By Aaron Sadler COLUMBIA, SC - Volunteers by the dozens filtered into Mike Huckabee's nondescript campaign office on a rundown stretch of Main Street here ...

Lowry: Republican campaign field muddled by the Huckabee hoax
Salt Lake Tribune - United States
Mike Huckabee has pulled a neat trick. His appeal so far has been limited exclusively to evangelicals, yet the press has taken him seriously as a new ...

Huckabee Walks Fine Line Amid Pulpit and Podium
New York Times - United States
Mike Huckabee on Friday at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC He is in a tight race with John McCain in the primary there. By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and ...

Huckabee backers say there’s Mo-mentum
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - MO, United States
Mike Huckabee in Saturday’s GOP primary. “Things seem to be breaking our way,” said Roe, referring to the trend that could benefit Huckabee . ...

McCain News Roundup

Analysis: McCain, Huckabee Seek Momentum
The Associated Press - WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain and Mike Huckabee each looked for a much-needed South Carolina win to provide a show of strength heading into pivotal Florida ...

McCain Mobbed By Press as He Visits SC Polling Place
CBS News - New York,NY,USA
CHARLESTON, SC -- On a grey, cold and wet primary day, John McCain was upbeat today during his visit to a polling station here. “I’m feeling good, ...

McCain spin machine in full force
Boston Herald - United States
John McCain’s camp is seeking to downplay, spin, and otherwise undermine Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada today by saying today’s contest decided nothing and ...

Arizona Senator McCain is Hoping South Carolina Will Make Him the ...
ABC News - USA
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) A win in South Carolina today for John McCain could catapult his campaign to the front of the Republican pack. ...

Campaigns Turn Focus To Florida: Romney Visits Today; McCain Monday
News4Jax.com - Jacksonville,FL,USA
John McCain is scheduled to appear at 5 pm on Monday at Mussallem Galleries at 5801 Philips Highway. Sen. John McCain speaks to residents at the Fleet ...

McCain's Happier State
Washington Post - United States
By David S. Broder COLUMBIA, SC -- There are few if any states as freighted with history for John McCain as South Carolina. It was here in 2000 that the ...

John McCain's secret weapon against smears this time
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
John McCain's campaign has aggressively reacted against negative attacks this year with its “truth squad” of state leaders. But the truth is, their secret ...

McCain thanks Senate ally with affectionate jabs
Boston Globe - United States
John McCain (right) campaigned with fellow Senator Lindsey O. Graham on Wednesday in Spartanburg, SC (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press) AIKEN, ...

SC campaign winds up in a GOP slugfest
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson griped about political mischief as they crossed paths between rain-soaked Charleston on the coast and snowbound ...

Russ Pulliam An early rider on McCain train
Indianapolis Star - United States
After sampling the choices on the Republican menu, GOP primary voters are taking a long second look at John McCain. Indiana's former US Sen. ...

Edwards to Supporters

Dear Friend, During this final week before the South Carolina primary, John Edwards supporters from all across Georgia will be visiting South Carolina and arriving on our campaign office doorsteps to canvass, phonebank and help get out the vote for John. And our Georgia volunteers are not the only people who will be in town. From today through next week, John Edwards will also be in South Carolina to talk and meet with voters, so this is a great time to travel to South Carolina - you can come volunteer and attend an event with John. Sign-up to volunteer: www.johnedwards.com/sc/volunteer/signup
RSVP to one of John's South Carolina events: www.johnedwards.com/sc/events
With 47 states left to vote - and 27 of those states scheduled to vote before February 5th - we need your help now more than ever. I've driven 17 hours from New Hampshire to Columbia, South Carolina because I want to help John Edwards win his home state. I'm helping other out-of-state volunteers canvass door-to-door, make phone calls to South Carolina voters, and show support for John at town halls and rallies. Please join me - for just a few hours, perhaps a few days, or even for this whole week leading up to the primary - and help John Edwards win the South Carolina Primary on January 26th.

Sign-up to volunteer: www.johnedwards.com/sc/volunteer/signup

Thanks for your support!
Pauly Rodney
National Volunteers Director

Friday, January 18, 2008

Less Than One-Fifth of Likely Voters Understand Health Care Proposals; Non-Partisan PresidentialRX.com Launches as Resource

Site highlights impact of presidential candidates’ health care proposals on average American citizens

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Just 19 percent of likely American voters state that they understand the presidential candidates’ proposals for the American health care system, according to poll results commissioned by PresidentialRX.com from Zogby International.

Launched today, PresidentialRX.com is a Web site designed and written for the average American voter to explain how each of the presidential candidates’ proposals will impact them.

“The average American wants to know how each candidate’s proposal for our health care system will help them access care more easily, save money and be certain they are receiving the highest quality care,” says David Osborn, Ph.D. and executive director of Nashville-based Health Care Solutions Group, which developed the site and is an affiliated institute of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“Unfortunately, candidates are not giving the specifics or spending the time needed to effectively explain their plans for an issue which consistently ranks at the top of voters’ minds – second only to Iraq and the economy overall. Because voters still have a lot of questions, we launched PresidentialRX.com and call on the candidates to be more open and transparent as the campaigns continue.”

PresidentialRX.com is built around four key questions on the minds of voters:

What is the status of the health care system?
Why is the health care debate critical for me?
Who are the candidates and what do they propose to do?
How can I get more information about health care and this election?
Answers to each of these questions are written with the average American voter in mind, including definitions of common – yet complex – health care terms linked directly to the content on the Web site. Summaries of each candidate’s plan reflect a comprehensive review of information made available to the public at the candidates’ Web sites, through speeches and in the media. Most unique to PresidentialRX.com, the summaries highlight how each plan would impact three core voting constituencies:

Insured individuals and families;
Non-insured individuals and families; and
“Voters are the ones who will ultimately decide which proposal presents the best option for America. To help them, PresidentialRX.com and the Health Care Solutions Group will continue to call on the candidates to explain more while also making this site a fresh resource offering the information needed to make an informed decision throughout the primary season and on November 4th,” says Osborn.

Updated daily, PresidentialRX.com also offers:

A daily news feed regarding health care news from the campaign trail;
Updated poll results regarding American voters’ priorities, understanding and opinions regarding health care topics throughout the campaign;
Expanded info on the proposals, including video interviews;
An overview of the health care system today; and
Resources, including explanations of top health care terms.
As the candidate field narrows, PresidentialRX.com will engage candidates directly, continuing to call on them for more detail regarding their plans and what they mean for the average American citizen.

“Bringing this important information to the American people in a way that is understandable – not full of jargon or sensational – through an accessible Web site like PresidentialRX.com perfectly fulfills the mission of the Solutions Group to lead and support improvements to the US health care system,” says Harry Jacobson, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Health Care Solutions Group.

The Health Care Solutions Group

The Health Care Solutions Group is a national non-partisan coalition of health care leaders, health policy experts, governmental leaders and stakeholders in the health care system from across the US. The Solutions Group Advisory Board members, Fellows and staff play a wide variety of roles in health care, offering a unique level of real-life experience in designing, delivering, paying for and managing health care organizations. The Group can be found on the Web at www.healthcaresolutionsgroup.net.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Visit Republican Candidates for more news!


"Romney Best Pick For State Republicans"Las Vegas Review-JournalEditorialJanuary 17, 2008

"Republicans haven't had much national electoral success of late, and for that they have only themselves to blame. In the 14 years since the Gingrich revolution, too many Republicans have embraced the beltway culture and abandoned the very principles upon which their success with voters depended – smaller government, low taxes, free markets and personal liberty.

"Nevada Republicans on Saturday should examine their choices through precisely such a filter. Each GOP candidate can make – and has made – a reasonable case that he's best suited to ensure the party again embraces the ideas and concepts that made this nation a beacon of freedom and economic opportunity. But in our opinion, the viable candidate most likely to lead Republicans in such a direction is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

"Mr. Romney's economic agenda includes several pro-growth policies, including a plan to eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends for any household earning less than $200,000 a year. He backs a line-item veto, favors making the Bush tax cuts permanent and understands that imposing higher taxes as a means of fixing Social Security will only make the problem worse.

"He's supportive of free trade, rejects protectionism, backs tort reform, supports school choice and accountability, and while governor was even able to successfully push a handful of spending reforms through Massachusetts' overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Mr. Romney vows to exercise his veto power if Congress doesn't embrace spending restraint and understands the drag that excessive federal regulation imposes on the innovation and the economy."

"Mr. Romney has extensive experience in the private sector, which is unusual for far too many politicians. Before becoming governor of Massachusetts, he was the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee. He is a former vice president and CEO of Bain & Company Inc., a Boston management consulting firm, and also a founder of Bain Capital, a private equity firm."

"We urge Nevada Republicans on Saturday to support Mitt Romney."
To read the full endorsement, please see: http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/13860907.html


Today, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President, citing his unique ability to restore America's standing in the world, end the war in Iraq, provide health care for all Americans, and rally this nation around a common purpose.

Chairman Leahy said, "Barack Obama is the best candidate to reintroduce America to the world – and restore hope in our country. Barack Obama represents the America we once were and want to be again. When Barack Obama is President we will lead with hope, opening the doors of opportunity to all, realizing the potential of our great nation for its citizens and as a leader of the free world. Barack Obama will be a President who once again believes, 'Yes, we can.' That is why I am endorsing Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States."

Senator Obama said, "I am proud to have the support of Senator Leahy. Senator Leahy had the judgment and courage to vote against the Iraq war, and he's been a champion of our rights here at home, and of human rights around the world. He is a leader guided by integrity, respect for our Constitution and a love of this country. I look forward to working with him to stand up to the special interests, rally Democrats and Republicans together to get things done, and bring about change we can believe in."

Leahy was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and is currently serving his sixth term. Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is a senior member of the Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. He also chairs the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Barack Obama Discusses Plan to Revitalize Economy

Today in the home of a Van Nuys, CA resident, Senator Barack Obama hosted a roundtable discussion with local residents about the predatory lending crisis that threatens the economic stability of millions of Americans. Obama spoke about his plan to protect consumers against abusive lending practices and to ensure Americans impacted by the subprime mortgage crisis can keep their homes. On Monday, January 14, Obama unveiled his economic stimulus plan to provide relief to California’s middle class and provide support for working people.

“Months ago, I introduced a plan to help struggling homeowners and prevent this crisis from happening again in the future,” Senator Obama said. “It would crack down on unscrupulous lenders, give consumers the information they need to protect them against abusive lending, and provide a tax credit to 10 million homeowners - including 850,000 right here in California.”

Obama was joined by several local citizens who have been impacted by the crisis, such as Mimi Vitello, who purchased her home with an interest only loan. With her mortgage payments now skyrocketing, she is uncertain if she will be able to stay in her home. Also joining the roundtable was Carlos Garcia, a maintenance worker at Children’s Community School and father of three. He expressed his distress that the credit cards he had been using turned out to have hidden terms and conditions that resulted in explosive credit card debt that is now preventing him from purchasing his own home. Obama shared their frustration.

" California has the highest number of foreclosures in the nation, and the economic impact on this state is expected to over $23 billion,” said Senator Obama said. “This is an outrage. It's an outrage that Washington caved to lobbyists when they knew this could happen and it's an outrage that they're doing nothing about it now.”
Some of the specific proposals outlined in Obama’s plan:
· Reform bankruptcy laws to protect families facing a medical crisis
o Obama will create an exemption in the 2005 bankruptcy bill (which he opposed) that the middle class families extend their debts rather than have them forgiven. If a person can demonstration to the satisfaction of the bankruptcy court that they reason they filed for bankruptcy was a result of debts incurred through medical expenses, they should have an opportunity to get back on their feet.

· Cap outlandish interest rates on payday loans and improve disclosure
o In the wake of reports that the some service members were paying 800 percent interest rates on payday loans, Congress took bipartisian action to limit interest rates charged to members to 36 percent. Obama believes we must extend this protection to all Americans.
o Obama believes all Americans need clear and simplified information about loan fees, payments and penalties
· Encourage responsible lending institutions to make small consumer loans
o Obama would work with his Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to encourage banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to provide affordable short-term and small dollar loans
· Establish a credit card bill of rights to protect consumers. The bill of rights would:
o Ban Unilateral Changes
o Apply interest rate increases only to future debt
o Prohibit interest on fees
o Prohibit “Universal Defaults”
o Require Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments
· Create a Foreclosure Prevention Fund to Help Families Keep Their Home
o Dramatically increase emergency pre-foreclosure counseling resources
o Help responsible families refinance their mortgages
o Assist individuals who purchased homes that are simply too expensive for their income levels to sell their homes
Barack Obama's plan to protect homeownership and crack down on mortgage fraud can be viewed in full HERE.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Barack Obama Discusses Plan to Revitalize Economy

At the Reno Events Center today, Senator Barack Obama hosted a roundtable discussion with local residents about the mortgage foreclosure crisis that threatens millions of American families. Obama spoke about his plan to fight mortgage fraud and protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Yesterday, Obama unveiled his economic stimulus plan, which provides relief to homeowners hit by the housing crisis and provides aid to states hardest-hit by the housing crisis.

“Months ago, I introduced a plan to help struggling homeowners and prevent this crisis from happening again in the future,” Senator Obama said. “It would crack down on unscrupulous lenders, give consumers the information they need to protect them against abusive lending, and provide a tax credit to 10 million homeowners - including 60,000 right here in Nevada.”

Obama was joined by several local citizens who have been impacted by the crisis, including Tamishia Ayala, a dealer at the Silver Legacy and Club Nevada who lost her home to foreclosure; and Patricia Chastain, the real estate agent who was forced to evict Tamisha and believes the system is fundamentally flawed. Obama shared their frustration.

"Here in Nevada, the foreclosure rate is four times the national average, and the economic impact in this state is expected to cost over $1.6 billion,” Senator Obama said. “This is an outrage. It's an outrage that Washington caved to lobbyists when they knew this could happen and it's an outrage that they're doing nothing about it now.”

To download a PDF of Barack Obama's plan to protect homeownership and crack down on mortgage fraud , click HERE.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Missouri Senator Set to Endorse Obama

WASHINGTON — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill will endorse Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president, The Associated Press has learned.McCaskill, the state’s top Democrat, plans to announce her support for the Illinois senator during a conference call Sunday, according to an Obama aide and a McCaskill staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Will NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg Run?

While Obama and Clinton wrestle and the four Republican candidates face one another, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s shadow increasingly falls over their playing field. Armed with as much money as he could possibly need to run, this Democrat-turned-Republican could throw the entire race into chaos.

BET founder Bob Johnson criticizes Obama

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One of Hillary Rodham Clinton's most prominent black supporters said Sunday he was insulted by the characterization by rival Barack Obama's presidential campaign of her remarks about the civil rights movement.

Obama's Abortion Stance Hurts Blacks, Say Pro-Life Experts

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) may be riding what seems to be a perfect wave toward the Democratic presidential nomination, but some African-Americans say his pro-abortion stance make him a danger to the black community.

Clinton, Obama clash over race issue

NEW YORK - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested Sunday that Barack Obama's campaign had injected racial tension into the presidential contest, saying he had distorted for political gain her comments about Martin Luther King's role in the civil rights movement.


Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Former Secretary of Commerce Bill Daley say plan will help jumpstart the economy; call for immediate implementation

Barack Obama today unveiled a plan to revitalize the economy in the short-term with a stimulus package that will immediately inject $75 billion into the economy in the form of tax cuts and direct spending targeted to working families, seniors, homeowners and the unemployed.

The plan also includes $45 billion in reserves that can be injected into the economy quickly in the future if the economy continues to deteriorate. Obama will discuss the plan later today at events in Nevada.

“The time has come to bridge the growing divide between Main Street and Wall Street,” said Barack Obama. “The American Dream is slipping out of reach for many families whose paychecks aren’t meeting the increased costs of their medical bills and tuition payments. Four months ago I said it was time to put a middle-class tax cut worth $1000 per family into the pockets of workers who deserve it. A tax cut that would eliminate income taxes for seniors who make under $50,000. We can’t wait for the next president to act. We need that middle-class tax cut now more than ever – not five months from now or five weeks from now, but now. I’m announcing a plan to jumpstart the economy by putting money in the pockets of those who need it most and will spend it quickly.”

“Strengthening our economy and creating good-paying jobs will be Barack Obama’s priority from the day he takes office,” said Governor Tim Kaine, who held a conference call with reporters to discuss the plan. “But we must act today. Barack Obama has offered a plan that will restore fairness to the economy and ensure that hard-working Americans can provide for their families and save for their future. Barack Obama offers us the best chance to revitalize our economy because he has the strength to unite Democrats, independents, and Republicans to pass reforms that will invest in all of America.”

Barack Obama’s Plan to Stimulate the Economy and Protect American Families Would:
Provide an immediate $250 tax cut for workers and their families.
Provide an immediate, temporary $250 bonus to seniors in their Social Security checks.
Provide an additional $250 tax cut to workers and an additional $250 to seniors if the economy continues to worsen
Provide relief to homeowners hit by the housing crisis.
Provide aid to states hardest-hit by the housing crisis to avoid a slash in services.
Extend and expand Unemployment Insurance.

Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan will inject $75 billion of stimulus into the economy by getting money in the form of tax cuts and direct spending directly to the people who need it most. Obama’s proposal will immediately provide stimulus using means that do not require lengthy governmental or administrative delays. The plan also reserves an additional $45 billion of stimulus that can be injected into the economy quickly in the future if the economy continues to deteriorate.

A fact sheet detailing Obama’s stimulus plan is available here.


Governor Romney: Washington Is Fundamentally Broken; We Cannot Give Up On Jobs In Michigan And Across The Country (CBS' "Face The Nation," 1/13/08):

CBS' Bob Schieffer: "There is no question that Michigan is in recession. Do you think, Governor, that the nation is in a recession at this point?"

Governor Romney: "Well, I think the nation is headed towards a recession. I think that can be diverted. But I think there are going to be some lessons learned from here in Michigan. For 10 years, Washington has watched what's going on in Michigan, has seen a one-state recession, and has frankly been either indifferent or incapable of acting.

"Washington is fundamentally broken. And as they've seen what's happened here to the auto industry and other industries, they've just been paralyzed, not taking action to get Michigan on track again. And if they can't fix Michigan, they won't fix the national economy. And that's why I believe it's so important for us to come together to help the ailing auto industry and other industries in this state get back on their feet, and make sure that what was once the envy of the nation as a manufacturing and technology center is once again."

Schieffer: "Well, John McCain says that some of the jobs, or he says all these jobs that have been lost in Michigan, simply aren't coming back. Isn't that basically the truth? I mean, these manufacturing jobs that are going overseas, you're not going to get them back. You say that you can get them back. How exactly do you plan to do that, Governor?"

Governor Romney: "Well, I'll tell you one thing. The last thing you need in a state like Michigan is more pessimism. And if he's saying those automotive jobs are not coming back, well, how about the jobs that are still here? How about the hundreds of thousands of people who still work in the automotive sector? Are they all going to lose their jobs too? Or are we going to say it's simply unacceptable to us to have a major sector of the economy, transportation, turned over to people around the world?

"I believe we can come back. I believe this industry can become the leader in the world again. It's going to take substantial investment in innovation and technology, new products, new science, developing the cars and the transportation vehicles of the future."…

To watch Governor Romney, please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUiyaaXA-ps

Governor Romney: I'm Not Willing To Write Off Jobs (CNN's "Late Edition," 1/13/08):

Governor Romney: "Perhaps, but the reality is this, I'm not going to give up on any jobs. And I recognize of course industries change. I've been in the business world 25 years. Senator McCain has never been in the business world.

"But what I know is that there are many, many industries such as the automotive industry that politicians in Washington simply write off. And they say, 'Well, there's nothing that can be done about Michigan. It's going through a one-state recession.' That's been going on for 10 years, and it's frankly inexcusable for Washington politicians to stand back, and say, 'Well, Michigan's in trouble, tough for the auto industry,' and not do anything about it.

"And there is action that can make it easier for the auto industry and allow the domestic auto industry to preserve the jobs they have and actually lead in some new areas that can provide new products and new opportunities for citizens here. So, I'm not going to be pessimistic about the future. I'm not willing to write off the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are still in the automobile industry, and say they're all going away. I'm going to fight for them, and do what I did in the private sector – take action. Look at Washington. What have they done to help the domestic auto industry? They gave it CAFE standards, which hurt. John McCain and Senator Lieberman are talking about a new form of tax on energy in this country, which would make it even harder on the domestic companies. Look, you can't keep on throwing anvils at Michigan and the auto industry and then say how come they're not swimming well?"

To watch Governor Romney, please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8OWL1adaHM

Governor Romney On His Economic Strategy (CNN's "Late Edition," 1/13/08):

CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "Let's talk about fears of a recession in the United States. There's now talk the President might want to put forward some sort of economic stimulus package to try to create some jobs and avoid a recession. If you were President right now, Governor, what would be your immediate first step that you would take?"

Governor Romney: "Well, immediately, I'd go to try to and get a reduction on taxes on middle-income Americans. Specifically, I proposed having people who earn under $200,000 a year be allowed to save their money tax-free. It means no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. It keeps more money in their pockets. It also means that we have more capital going into the marketplace, available for business start-ups as well as for homes. I'd also go aggressively after the housing market, to make sure that servicing organizations combine in some cases, perhaps forming cooperatives to work together with homeowners, to keep homes that are absolutely not necessary going into foreclosure to keep them with homeowners in them so that we don't dump housing product into the housing market and cause a further reduction in housing prices."
Blitzer: "So for families earning under $200,000 a year, you'd recommend some sort of immediate tax cut. Is that right?"

Governor Romney: "Exactly right. This is middle-income Americans. These are where 95% of Americans live, get their tax rates down, allow them to save for the future, allow them to make investments in their homes and be able to save for college. The best thing we can do is keep money in the homes of the American people."

Blitzer: "Some economists have suggested a reduction in corporate taxes to try to stimulate the economy, create jobs, encourage foreign companies to come invest in the United States, create jobs here. Is that a good idea?"

Governor Romney: "It is a good idea. It's something I've been proposing for many months. We have a roughly 35% corporate income tax rate. It's almost tied with Japan, which is the highest in the world. Nations like Ireland have learned the game. They've put the rate down at half of ours or less and have attracted a lot of jobs. The challenge with a corporate tax cut is it takes a while to have an impact. It has a significant positive impact over time. It's probably not likely to have an immediate boost, because it takes a while for companies to make investment decisions, but it is a good idea. But I think on this recessionary front, we need something that's immediate that moves quite quickly the needle to increase the savings and investments by American people."

To watch Governor Romney, please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ70gsgi8WY

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Edwards to Supporters

Dear Friend,

Just over a week ago, I was in Iowa, directing operations for John Edwards as we came into the caucuses. Thanks to you -- and thousands of folks like you -- we were able to finish strongly in Iowa, beating out one of the $100 million celebrity candidates.Immediately after Iowa, I came to South Carolina where I'm helping to direct operations for John as we close in on the January 26 primary.Because I know, firsthand, how well you responded to my requests for help with Iowa, I'm asking you to come through again for South Carolina.

Click here to help secure victory in South Carolina

The race here is tight. The celebrity candidates are now starting to recognize the importance of South Carolina -- John always has. That's why, today, he's on a four-day bus tour across the state, with his message of "Bringing It Home" being heard by enthusiastic crowds everywhere. This past Thursday, more than 80 South Carolina elected officials and other community leaders endorsed John for president. The challenge now, with just two weeks to primary day, is to turn that momentum into people voting for John on January 26. Your contribution today will help us with our Get Out The Vote ground operation in South Carolina:
$27 pays for drinks and snacks for volunteers working the phone banks over the next two weeks
$53 pays to blanket a neighborhood with literature to undecided voters
$75 helps us expand the reach of our broadcast spots
$102 pays for a van and fuel to help transport our volunteers as they go canvassing door-to-door

Click here to help secure victory in South Carolina

Every dollar you can give today can counter the efforts of the other celebrity campaigns as they start to focus their attention on South Carolina. Your contribution will make a difference for the South Carolina primary on January 26.Thank you for all you did for our efforts in Iowa -- I hope you will come through for John Edwards in South Carolina as well.

Sincerely,--Jennifer O'Malley Dillon
Deputy Campaign Manager,
John Edwards for President
January 12, 2008

Libertarian Party off to a strong start for 2008 races

Out-files and out-raises all national third parties

Quick Quotes:Shane Cory, Executive Director, Libertarian Party

• "We're coming off a 28 percent membership increase, and we're out-raising all other national third parties combined."

• "The Libertarian Party has done very well at the local level by getting many of our candidates elected and creating more competition in election cycles. The major two-parties can no longer ignore the impact of libertarians on politics."Wes Benedict, Executive Director, Libertarian Party of Texas

• "I think we had to work harder to get 210 candidates for the 2008 elections. Many Texas Libertarians are focused on Ron Paul's campaign for president."

Washington, D.C. - Following a successful off-year election, where approximately one in five Libertarians won the races in which they competed, the Libertarian Party looks to make a strong impact in the 2008 election. "We finished strong in 2007, and we look to do well in 2008," says Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party.

"We're coming off a 28 percent membership increase, and we're out-raising all other national third parties combined," says Cory. "You can expect big things from the Libertarian Party in 2008."

Current Federal Election Commission reports indicate that the Libertarian Party out-fundraised all national third parties combined in 2007. Additionally, the Libertarian Party expects to be on the 2008 ballot in at least 48 states--more than any other third party.

The Libertarian Party of Texas, in the first state in the nation to file candidates, submitted 210 candidates for the 2008 election. For the first time, Libertarian candidates filed for every statewide race. Libertarians filed for 30 of the 32 U.S. House seats, 12 of the 15 Texas Senate seats (a record 80 percent), 102 of the 150 Texas House seats (a record 68 percent), and five of the seven State Board of Education seats (a record 71 percent)."In 2006, 218 candidates filed with the Libertarian Party of Texas," says Libertarian Party of Texas Executive Director Wes Benedict.

"I think we had to work harder to get 210 candidates for the 2008 elections. Many Texas Libertarians are focused on Ron Paul's campaign for president."

"What's remarkable about the slate of candidates in Texas is that they all come during the time that Ron Paul, a libertarian Congressman from Texas, is running for President as a Republican," says Sean Haugh, the Libertarian Party political director.

"All the libertarians who switched their voter registration to Republican in order to vote for Paul in the primary made themselves ineligible to run as a Libertarian in the 2008 election."

Recent surges in Libertarian Party membership and the success of Ron Paul's campaign indicate a rise of libertarian philosophy among American voters. The Libertarian Party expects this so-called "libertarian rising" to translate into higher vote totals, which will elect more candidates and determine the outcome of more races across the nation.The Libertarian Party ran more than 650 candidates in 2006 elections, and garnered more than 13.4 million votes for candidates around the nation.

"We're hoping Texas sets the standard that the rest of our state affiliates will follow," says Cory. "The Libertarian Party has done very well at the local level by getting many of our candidates elected and creating more competition in election cycles. The major two parties can no longer ignore the impact of libertarians on politics.

"The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.lp.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

Youth turnout increases per University of Maryland CIRCLE

Youth turnout increased dramatically in both the 2008 IA caucuses and the NH primary according to preliminary analysis of entrance/exit poll results and initial vote tallies by CIRCLE.

In Iowa, the youth turnout rate more than tripled and rose to 13 percent in 2008 from 4 percent in 2004 and 3 percent in 2000. Youth supported both winners-Senator Barack Obama (D) and Governor Mike Huckabee (R)-by the largest margins of any age group.

The youth turnout rate in NH rose sharply to 43 percent in 2008 compared to 18 percent in 2004 and 28 percent in 2000. Young people increased their turnout more than the older age group. The youth turnout rate increased by 15 percentage points over 2000 while the turnout rate for those ages 30 and above increased by only six percentage points.

For estimates of youth turnout in IA and NH as well as analysis of IA entrance polls visit www.civicyouth.org.

Edwards to Supporters

Dear Friend,
We're going to win the nomination because people like you are getting the word out about John Edwards and our campaign for change. And there's no better way for you to show your support for John then by visiting the online store.
Click here to go to our online store
Here's your opportunity to buy a T-shirt, a bumper sticker or a campaign sign, and show your support for John and our campaign!All the products available for purchase at our online store are union made and union printed in the USA.And all purchases you make on the John Edwards for President Store are 100% contributions to John's campaign -- and count toward your overall contribution limit. Remember: with John's commitment to public financing, every contribution you make -- up to $250 -- could be matched. Your contribution could have twice the impact for our campaign!Your $20 T-shirt could bring $40 of resources as the campaign expands to additional states.
Click here to go to our online store
And when you've had a chance to check out our online store, please let your family and friends know about it -- and encourage them to make a purchase as well. You'll be showing your support for John and helping the campaign at the same time!
Thanks for your support.
Sincerely,--David Bonior
National Campaign Manager,
John Edwards for President
January 11, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

As Clinton and McCain rebound in N.H., races are wide open

WASHINGTON; and CONCORD, N.H. - Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain are hardly kids, but their comebacks in the New Hampshire primary mean the race for the presidential nominations, in both parties, is wide open.

Few New Yorkers Want Bloomberg for President

NEW YORK -- Fifty-two percent of New York City voters say Mayor Michael Bloomberg would make a good president but only 34 percent would vote for him, a poll released on Wednesday said.
By several measures, the Quinnipiac University poll showed less than majority support for a Bloomberg presidential campaign by voters who twice sent him to City Hall and still give him a 73 percent approval rating.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano Endorses Barack Obama

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president on Friday, citing his message of hope in supporting his candidacy over rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards

Clinton offers economic stimulus plan

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. - Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday called for Congress to pass an economic stimulus package that could cost as much as $110 billion to help low-income families keep their homes, to subsidize heating costs this winter and perhaps refund some taxes.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Current Delegate Count

Republican Delegates (1,191 needed to win nomination)

Rudy Giuliani

Mike Huckabee

Duncan Hunter
John McCain

Ron Paul

Mitt Romney

Fred Thompson


Democratic Delegates (2,026 needed to win nomination)

Hillary Clinton

John Edwards

Mike Gravel

Dennis Kucinich

Barack Obama

Bill Richardson


Senator Barack Obama Receives Endorsement of Senator John Kerry

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
John Kerry Endorsement
Thursday, January 10th, 2008
Charleston, South Carolina

I want to thank John Kerry for his support in this campaign and for his service to this nation.

This is a man who knows how much people who love their country can change it.

This is the man who sacrificed the comforts of youth to fight in the jungles of Vietnam; the young Lieutenant who extended his hand to a brother in arms, pulling him from a river as the bullets screamed by.

This is the hero who returned to a Washington where politicians continued a senseless war day after day; life after life because they were too afraid to challenge the conventional thinking; too consumed with their own careers and ambitions.

This is the patriot who saw all of this and said, “No more”; who posed a question to our leaders that challenged the conscience of a nation; who believed in his heart that change does not come from the halls of power, but from the power of a movement thousands of voices strong.

John Kerry is a man of courage; a man of conviction; and a man who’s life story has given him an intimate understanding of the kind of change we need right now.

This is a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. Our planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations have fought for feels as if it’s slowly slipping away.

I’ve heard from seniors who were betrayed by CEOs who dumped their pensions while pocketing bonuses.

I’ve met Maytag workers who labored all their lives only to see their jobs shipped overseas; who should not be competing with their teenagers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart.

And I’ve seen hope in the eyes of a young woman who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can’t afford health care for a sister who’s ill; a young woman who still believes that this country will give her the chance to live out her dreams.

Many of you have experienced these struggles. You’ve seen the cost of Washington’s inaction and indifference in your own lives. And so you’ve come out in record numbers; in lines that stretch block after block because you know that we can’t afford the same old politics anymore. We can’t afford to settle anymore. In this election – at this moment – our time for change has come.

The time has come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voices that they don’t own this government, we do; and we’re here to take it back.

The time has come for a President who’ll be honest about the choices and the challenges we face; who’ll listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree; who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know.

The time has come to build a new majority that can lead this nation out of a long political darkness – Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that’s stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there’s no problem we can’t solve – no destiny we cannot fulfill. That’s why I’m running in this campaign, and that’s the kind of President I’ll be for America.

I’ll be a President who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American the same way I expanded health care in Illinois – by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.

I’ll be a President who ends the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and puts a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.

I’ll be a President who stops sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success. I’ll stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness.

I’ll be a President who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.

And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home; we will finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan; we will care for our veterans; and we will restore our moral standing in the world. And I’ll be a President who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes, but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.

I’m running because I believe that the size of these challenges has outgrown the capacity of our broken and divided politics to solve them; because I believe Americans of every political stripe are hungry for a new kind of politics, a politics that’s focused not just on how to win but why we should, a politics that’s focused on those values and ideals that we hold in common as Americans; a politics that favors common sense over ideology, straight talk over spin.

And I’m running because I believe the real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result. That’s a risk we can’t take. Not this year. Not when the stakes are this high. Our time for change has come.

This has been our message since the beginning of this campaign. It was our message when we were down, and our message when we were up. And it must have caught on, because now everyone is talking about change.

But for me, change isn’t just the rhetoric of a campaign. It’s been the cause of my life.

It’s what led me to leave a job on Wall Street and take one as an organizer on the streets of Chicago so that I could fight joblessness and poverty when the local steel plant closed. It’s what led me to stand up as a civil rights lawyer for those who were denied opportunity on the job or justice at the voting booth because of what they looked like or where they came from. It’s what led me to take on lobbyists in Illinois and Washington – and win; passing historic ethics reform that no one thought was possible. And it’s the kind of change I will bring to this country as your next President – not just change as a slogan, but real change; fundamental change; change we can believe in.

Now, we have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.

And so as this campaign continues; as we understand that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America’s story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.