Today, Obama is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa - for another town hall meeting on the economy and a visit with those devastated by the recent floods. It was his victory in Iowa that started Obama on his way to the Democratic Party nomination. Read more here.
Exxon Mobile reports 11.68 Billion profit for 2nd quarter - Geez, if this doesn't make the case for government regulation, what will? This is the largest profit in a quarter ever reported by a U.S. corporation. This is an outrageous profit, while the rest of Americans are struggling to make monthly rent or mortgage payments, buy groceries, and put gas in their car for their daily work commute. We do need a change. TheHuffingtonPost.com has more here.
Polls in battleground states show tightening of the race - Quinnipiac University in a poll conducted from July 23-29 with a margin of error of 2.7-2.8 points show the following; Florida -Obama 46 and McCain 44, Ohio - Obama 46 and McCain 44, and Pennsylvania - Obama 49 and McCain 42. Time.com has more here. Still 13 1/2 weeks to go and these states along with Michigan, Virginia, and others are expected to be close. Stay tuned.
In the latest McCain ad, they poke fun at his celebrity status - included in the ad, none other than Britney Spears and Paris Hilton while they also show the shots of the huge crowd in Germany to watch his speech. They conclude with "But is he ready to lead?". The Chicago Tribune Swamppolitics.com has more and the video here.
Unfortunately for Obama, Rapper Ludacris offends many with his latest song - intended to show his support for Obama the song entitled "Politics" has lyrics which are offensive to many including the Obama campaign. The New York Times Blog Caucus.com has the song and more here. Let's see what the Republicans do with this. Stay tuned.
Yesterday, in Missouri Obama, responds to recent McCain ads - TalkingPointsMemo.com has a good read entitled "Obama Says Republicans trying to scare voters". This is actually a message the Obama campaign has consistently used when attacked. Whether it is a reference to the color of his skin, or his lack of experience, they come back with what Americans want is a change in Washington. So the argument remains the same from the primary battle with Senator Clinton, change versus same old politics of the past. Keep an eye on this argument by both campaigns - it is a critical one for the voter. Stay tuned
As we reported earlier, Senator Clinton will speak Tuesday night at Convention - She will be joined on stage by the women Senators. It so happens that Tuesday August 26 is the anniversary date of the 19th amendment to the constitution - which gave women the right to vote. CNN.com has more here. Earlier, Clinton supporters were pushing for her name to be put in nomination and for a floor vote - this idea was not received favorably.
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Thursday, July 31, 2008
Today, Obama is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa - for another town hall meeting on the economy and a visit with those devastated by the recent floods. It was his victory in Iowa that started Obama on his way to the Democratic Party nomination. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:42 AM
J. Burke Miller
I have worked quite a few campaigns in my short time as an active constituent and each one, with its own flavor, has taught me something valuable and new. Some of those lessons have proven to be more valuable than others but no lesson has proven to be more painful than this: do not spend too much time on young voters because they seldom vote.
Looking at my peers and truly realizing the truth behind this campaign lesson has always been tough for me to swallow.
Fortunately, times change.
Enter Senators Clinton and Obama. These two should take the credit for registering unprecedented numbers of young voters during the primary and for the undeniable buzz about the impact that those voters can and likely will have in bringing a Democrat back to the White House in November.
Finally, young voters are being considered as a demographic that must be considered and this tells me one thing: the political iron is hot. It is hot like I have never seen in my lifetime and it is so primed that, if we strike it right, there is the potential to make Frederick Young Democrats the true tipping point that this county needs to become fully blue. At the very least, no campaign should ever again come through this county thinking that ignoring young voters will not have an impact.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved, the revamped Frederick County Young Democrats will hold their first meeting on August 11 at 8:00 PM at the Frederick County Democratic Headquarters (343 Market Street) in Downtown Frederick. Also, we have a Facebook group (Frederick Young Dems) and a group listserv for anyone who wants to join.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you on August 11!
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:35 AM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Today, Obama is in Missouri - He has town hall meetings in Springfield at a High School and Rolla at a Student Recreation Center - He will discuss - what else? the economy. Later, he will attend a Barbecue in Union at the City Park. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) will also be there. ThePage.Time.com has more here.
The Obama campaign and the DNC plan to spend 20 million in voter outreach to the Latino/Hispanic community - even though a recent New York Times/CBS poll showed Obama leading McCain among Latinos by a large margin 62% to 23%. Read more here. Here's a thought - chose New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as the VP - you would also receive solid international relations along with executive administration experience.
Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens charged with concealing gifts totalling $250,000 - this has been a long rumored development and can not help the Republicans in the fall elections. Steven has served in the senate for forty years. Read more from Reuters.com here. Will this seat be another pick-up for the Democrats?
AFL-CIO dispels Obama rumors - They will be sending out mailers to their members in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin that show the silliness of the rumors like - Obama won't wear a flag lapel pin, or he did not put his hand on the Bible when he was sworn in, and he is not a Christian. CNN.com has more here.
The New York Times has a article on the Obama VP vetting process - seems research is done on candidates actions from as long as twenty years ago. Read the article here. While Governor Kaine (Va.), and Senators Biden (Del.) and Bayh (In.) has received the most attention of late, I look to see the choice be another. The Obama campaign has been very good at controlling leaks to the media - sometimes names are leaked to give potential running mates who are not chosen some positive press and attention.
Obama campaign begins response ads to McCain blaming Obama for high gas prices - The ad will run in the same states that the McCain campaign ran their attack ads. TalkingPointsMemo.com has the video here and points out the Obama campaign is using the same tactics used against Senator Clinton in the primary - "same old politics". One thing I consistently see with the Obama campaign is rapid response when they are attacked - of course it helps when you have the money to do so.
Today, RealClearPolitics.com has the Obama - McCain poll averages at Obama 46.3% and McCain 43.7%. Read their numbers here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:19 AM
Being a Democratic activist in a red county within a red district in an overwhelmingly registered Democratic state has its challenges. Yet, this year with the enthusiasm being generated by Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President, new hope is being generated in the region.
The Presidential election always has the highest turnout of registered voters which is one of the reasons some local City of Frederick activists have called for the city election to move to coincide with the Presidential election. Presently, the City of Frederick turnout for their general election is in the 30% range - their city election is next year in 2009. In the 2004 election the statewide number of registered voter turnout was 78%. In Frederick County, it was 82% and the 6th District was 80%.
The state of Maryland and their 10 electoral votes have long gone to Democratic candidates for President. In reviewing statistics on the Maryland State Board of elections website, in 2004, the statewide vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry was 56% and incumbent President Republican George W. Bush had 43%.
In Frederick County, Maryland in the 2004 general election, the vote was completely the opposite with President George W. Bush receiving 60% and Senator John Kerry receiving 40%.
The 2000 general election also produced similar results when former Vice-President Al Gore ran against Texas Governor George W. Bush. The statewide totals were Gore 57% and Bush 40%. In Frederick County, the results were Bush 60% and Gore 40%.
The other race on the ballot in November is the 6th district House seat held by Republican Roscoe Bartlett for the last sixteen years. In the 2004 election, Democratic candidate Kenneth Bosley received 29% of the vote in the 6th District to Bartlett 67%. In Frederick County, Bartlett received 65% and Bosley 35%. Two years later in 2006, Democratic candidate Andrew Duck improved those numbers in the 6th district to Bartlett 59% and Duck 38.4%. In Frederick County, Duck received 44.8% and Bartlett 52.7%.
Further compounding the problems for Democrats in Frederick County is the overall county voter registration is only 4% of the statewide total. So when campaign materials for the candidate for President are made available closer to Election Day, less are sent this way than to the more heavily populated areas in the state.
In spite of all of this, local Democrats have reason for optimism. Bob Kresslein, chair of the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee recently shared with me their plans for the upcoming election.
Mr. Kresslein has long been involved in local Democratic politics. He first joined the United Democrats of Frederick County (UDFC) in 1981 at the age of 26 after moving here from Howard County. He would later serve as President of UDFC from 1988-1992. He was appointed to the local state central committee in 1994 and 1998. He was first elected to the central committee in 2002 and became chair in 2005 when his friend and mentor, Tom Slater stepped down from the position to run for City of Frederick Alderman. Kresslein was reelected chair in 2006 and is also serving a term from 2006 to 2010 as the Deputy Treasurer of the Maryland State Democratic Party.
Undaunted by past statistics, Kresslein is optimistic about the prospects for Democrats this fall. He told me "I am truly gratified and excited about the level of commitment that we have experienced" as he talked about how the local central committee has over 300 volunteers who will be helping in the overall effort.
They plan to staff the campaign office located at the corner of Fourth and N. Market Street in Frederick, Maryland so stop by and say hello.
Also planned is community canvassing, phone banking, participation at "In the Streets" and the "Great Frederick Fair" as well as other community events.
They have also set up a coordinated effort with the Dougherty for Congress and Obama for President campaigns.
Another reason for local Democrats to be happy, are the recent voter registration numbers released by the Frederick County Board of Elections. This showed 7.007 new registrants from January 1 through June 30. Out of this number, 44.5% were Democrats, 29.9% were Republicans and 24.6% were Unaffiliated. Also important to note is 42.7% of the new registrants fell in the 17-25 age range. This gain by Democrats now has the overall registration in Frederick County at Republicans 43.6%, Democrats 38.1% and Unaffiliated 17.9%.
The excitement of the Obama/Clinton primary race for the Democratic nomination for President has also led J. Burke Miller to begin the process of re-establishing the Frederick County Young Democrats organization. At 23, he already has a Facebook page with 40 friends and looks forward to holding his first official meeting. Kresslein provided him with contact information with the Young Democrats of Maryland to help him with the organization process.
I spoke with Mr. Miller recently and he shared with me the following as to why he chooses to get involved:
"In the past few months, the national political atmosphere has shifted and for the first time in my life, that shift includes young voters. I saw a lot of my peers vote for the first time during the Presidential primaries and most of their drive can be traced to the positive emotions generated from both Senators Clinton and Obama.
Still, as the spotlight finally included young voters, I believe that they finally felt obligated to be dutiful and get involved. This wave of activism is what the Frederick Young Democrats is hoping to ride and I think that if we can strike while the iron is hot and turn the newly interested into the newly active, our chapter can demonstrate just how democratic our county has begun to and will continue to lean."
The turnout of young voters can easily have an impact on this election. Historically, across the country the turnout of younger voters in the general election has not been good. However, this year, the Obama campaign may well reverse that trend and increase their turnout.
If the Unaffiliated registrants also vote for change and frustrated Republicans stay home, we may well see a different local outcome in the fall.
Frederick County, Maryland and the Maryland 6th district demographics have long been troublesome for Democrats. However, optimism abounds and hope for change is strong.
Let's see what November has in store for Democrats in Frederick County and the 6th district. One thing you can count on is local Democrats will be working hard at getting out the vote.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:52 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Today, Obama is meeting with the House Democratic Caucus - we reported this meeting earlier. He will also have a closed door meeting with newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani. Obama has for some time questioned the Bush administration's policy toward Pakistan and the failure to pursue Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Read more here.
Washington Post reports "Kaine in 'Serious Talks' With Obama" - The Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine would be a solid choice for VP as Virginia is considered a battleground state. However, he is a first time governor with no foreign policy experience so don't expect him to get the nod. Other names still being bandied about in the media are Senators Evan Bayh (In.) and Joe Biden(Del.) and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. I don't look for the VP choice to come from this group. Meanwhile the New York Times reports it is doubtful Senator Clinton will be picked as she has not even been asked to provide any information to the vetters. Read more here. Stay Tuned.
USA Today / Gallup Poll shows McCain ahead - among most likely voters 49% to 45% and Obama leads among registered voters 47% to 44%. The poll was conducted from July 25-27. Still way early for polls. Read more here.
Politico.com has a good read today on upcoming Republican strategy - As the democrats have been successful linking McCain with Bush, the republicans plan to start doing the same with Obama. They plan to link him to house Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calf.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). Today, Republicans will complain Pelosi is holding up the vote on off-shore oil drilling and tie this action to Obama. This may be a good strategy for voters rank Congress and President Bush very low. Surprisingly, a majority of voters also approve off-shore oil drilling - even though it is not an immediate or long term answer to our country's energy needs. Seems the Democrats may need to educate the voters some more. Read more here.
Speaking of off-shore oil drilling - Senate majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) proposes opening up a billion acres off Alaska - this legislation is splitting Democrats who oppose this action. Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee co-authored the legislation. Reid is most likely looking at poll results from voters, while many Democrats realize this off-shore oil drilling discussion by Republicans is much to do about nothing. TheHill.com has more here. This will be a major general election issue so how this argument is framed to the voters will be very important. Stay Tuned.
MoveOn.org will begin airing ad supporting Obama - will run on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report". It will also run on MTV. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:57 AM
Monday, July 28, 2008
I recently received the following press release and have published for your information. Frederick County Commissioners are presently reviewing options on how to handle future waste disposal for the community and the building of an Incinerator is one of the options. However, the review and decision making process is still taking place and no decision has been made. NEWS ADVISORY For more information contact: National Environmental Group Supports Local Opponents to Incinerator Proposal County Commissioner Kai Hagen to brief group's canvass WHAT: An informational briefing by County Commissioner Kai Hagen to the Clean Water Action Canvass regarding the Friends of Frederick's opposition to an incinerator in Frederick County. Following the briefing Clean Water Action will canvass door-to-door neighborhoods in Frederick County. SPEAKERS: WHEN: WHERE: 1220 W. Patrick St. Frederick, MD 21703 WHY: Clean Water Action, a national environmental grassroots organization with over a million members, is knocking on doors in Frederick County and urging residents to oppose a proposal to build an incinerator to burn both Frederick and Carroll County's solid waste. Clean Water Action is asking its Frederick County members to contact Commissioners to request that they institute a 5-year moratorium on the construction of an incinerator in order to study alternative solutions like a "Resource Recovery Park" for waste diversion and recycling. The group's efforts support those of the Friends of Frederick County and their local allies who have been fighting the incinerator idea, and who have already put forward alternative plans based on diversion, reuse and recycling. (Press release to follow) ###
The two Democratic Commissioners have agreed to submit a series of columns on this issue for publication on our site. We have published Board President Jan Gardner's first column entitled "Talking Trash".
We will be publishing on August 6, 2008, columns from both Commissioners Kai Hagen and Jan Gardner. For our Frederick County, Maryland viewers, we invite you to read their columns, stay informed and let your county commissioner know how you feel waste should be disposed of in the future in Frederick County.
For more information contact:Andrew Galli (410) 235-8808, (443) 631-0355
National Environmental Group Supports Local Opponents
to Incinerator Proposal
County Commissioner Kai Hagen to brief group's canvass
An informational briefing by County Commissioner Kai Hagen to the Clean Water Action Canvass regarding the Friends of Frederick's opposition to an incinerator in Frederick County.
Following the briefing Clean Water Action will canvass door-to-door neighborhoods in Frederick County.
WHEN:Tuesday, July 29, 3:30 PM
1220 W. Patrick St.
Frederick, MD 21703
Clean Water Action, a national environmental grassroots organization with over a million members, is knocking on doors in Frederick County and urging residents to oppose a proposal to build an incinerator to burn both Frederick and Carroll County's solid waste.
Clean Water Action is asking its Frederick County members to contact Commissioners to request that they institute a 5-year moratorium on the construction of an incinerator in order to study alternative solutions like a "Resource Recovery Park" for waste diversion and recycling.
The group's efforts support those of the Friends of Frederick County and their local allies who have been fighting the incinerator idea, and who have already put forward alternative plans based on diversion, reuse and recycling. (Press release to follow)
Posted by George Wenschhof at 6:30 PM
Ken Kerr Bio
I was in the Elk’s Club last Tuesday. This is a place that one would think is pretty secure Bush Country. There are several flat screen TVs above the bar and several are usually tuned-in to Fox News. However, this evening all were tuned to the local DC news broadcast.
President Bush appeared on the TV and was reassuring the American Public that we are just fine, the economy is growing, gas pricing are falling and things are looking up. The kind of thing the Elk’s Club crowd would usually buy in to.
A few barstools away, a man said—intending for all of us to hear—“Sure, he’s gonna be fine. He’s a multi-millionaire. He got what he wanted—he’s rich. The hell with the rest of us.”
I looked around—sure enough, I was still in the Elk’s Club. And I thought, “What has happened to the base?” My, my, how times have changed.
I remember when Al Gore won/lost the 2000 election. I tried to rationalize it over Thanksgiving dinner and told my conservative Republican brothers and sister that maybe this was a good thing. I predicted, in November of 2000, that four years of a Bush presidency, combined with a Republican Congress, was all American would need to see that the Republicans-left unchecked, could not be trusted to look out for the average American.
All the blustering about family values, fiscal responsibility, and lower taxes, would reveal themselves to be a cruel hoax. Just lies they told people to gain and abuse power. After four years, America would be so disgusted with the Republican excess and lies and abuses and secrecy and arrogance and contempt that we’d have the Democratic Party in power for the next 20 years.
Soon after inauguration, my prediction was coming true. For the first 8 months of Bush Inc., all went according to plan: 6 hour work days, long weekends, even longer vacations. Bush showed himself to be kind of lazy, completely incurious, and a divider—not the uniter he promised to be.
Let’s take a look; shall we?
In January 2001, Bush suspended implementation of most of former President Clinton's late-term executive orders regarding the environment, including the continued use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park. Bush’s EPA lifted air-pollution standards and former Sen. Spencer Abraham—who tried to abolish the Energy Department while in Congress—was approved as Energy secretary.
In February 2001, Interior Secretary Gale Norton sought to "adjust the boundaries" of Clinton-designated national monuments while Bush planed to cut funding for environmental policy enforcement by 7 percent. The Republican-controlled Senate introduced the now-infamous bill that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge-- the cornerstone of Bush's energy policy.
In March 2001, Bush reversed a campaign pledge and announced he will not order mandatory reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's electrical plants. He also withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol. Mining industry lobbyist, J. Steven Griles was nominated for Interior deputy secretary.
In April 2001, Bush broke another campaign promise and abandoned plans to invest $100 million a year for rainforest conservation. Bush’s Assistant secretary is Bennett Raley, who once testified that the Endangered Species Act should be repealed. And Vice President Dick Cheney met with Enron executives to write the administration’s energy policy.
By May of 2001, Bush and company placed a freeze on new proposals for the national park system. James Connaughton, who defended General Electric in Superfund fights with the EPA, was nominated as the chair of his Council on Environmental Quality. Bush released his super-secret energy plan, devised in super-secret fashion by a super-secret task force headed by super-secret Vice President Cheney.
Then the first cracks in Carl Rove’s Permanent Republican Majority began to appear.
In June 2001, Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, disgusted by Bush’s environmental policies, abandoned the Republican Party to become an Independent. This gave nominal control of the Senate to the Democrats. Unperturbed, Bush nominated former timber lobbyist, Mark Rey, as Undersecretary of Agriculture for natural resources and environment.
In July of 2001, the administration announced it will open 1.5 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling -- but not near Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's shorelines. The U.S. is conspicuously absent at Kyoto Protocol climate talks in Bonn, Germany.
The Justice Department indicated, in August 2001, that it wanted to overturn a federal court order blocking oil and gas exploration off the California coast. Another crack appeared when the General Accounting Office sent a letter to Bush demanding the release of documents relating to the deliberations of the super-secret Cheney-led Energy Task Force. Citing executive privilege, Bush refused to reveal with whom Cheney met.
By this time, I was patting myself on the back. My prediction was way ahead of schedule. Bush’s approval ratings were in a freefall.
And then September . . .
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe there was something to this man. The world was with us. Here was an opportunity for greatness. Maybe, just maybe, he was a man for our time. . . Nah.
There were two spikes in Bush’s approval ratings: when the war began and when Sadam was captured. Aside from that, Bush was right back to where he was in August of 2001. It took two years for the confusion of 9/11 to begin to clear. Too late, however, for a frightened America to deny him a second term of excess—I mean office.
My prediction was back on track—it just took a two-year break.
This Thanksgiving, I’ll remind my brothers and sister of my 2000 prediction. Let’s hope they have the opportunity to try and make a similar prediction on a Democratic Whitehouse and Congress. I welcome the challenge. My 2000 prediction has 20 years to go.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:52 AM
Today, Obama is in Washington, D.C. to meet with economic advisers - Some of the attendees will be former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and his billionaire friend Warren Buffett. It's a good move to immediately focus on the economy after his return home from his overseas trip. The economy remains the number one concern for voters. Let's hope the advisers talk him out of the second round of stimulus checks Obama has proposed - the first round by President Bush had little effect. Read more here.
Gallup poll released yesterday has Obama 49%, McCain 40% - this is the largest lead Gallup has shown since they began McCain - Obama polls in March. The world stage seems to have had a positive effect for Obama. The poll was conducted from July 24-26. Read more here.
Obama, in interview, talks about how they are expanding the electoral map - he spoke of Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia being competitive in the South, along with New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Montana and North Dakota. A 50 state strategy is good for rhetoric, but very costly - expect this to be further refined as the general election nears. Read more here.
Budget deficit to hit 490 Billion next year - as we reported previously this will be the highest ever budget deficit for the U.S. USAToday.com has a good read with some great charts showing the budget deficit since the Reagan years - want to guess who the President was during the only period since 1981 the country was in the black? Yes, Bill Clinton - so much for the Republican mantra of they know how to handle money better - read more and view the charts here.
Timing of VP announcement - Chris Cillizza's Washington Post Blog, "The Fix" has some interesting speculation. He notes the Olympics in China start in 11 days and the Democratic convention begins at the end of the Olympics. If Obama chooses to pick his VP prior to the convention and receive some media attention, the pick will need to be announced this week. It is most likely McCain will wait until the conclusion of the Democratic convention to announce his VP pick in an attempt to drown out the hype Obama is sure to receive. Read more here.
Hillary Clinton most likely to address Democratic Convention on Tuesday night - Terry McAuliffe, former national chair of the Clinton campaign indicated this is when she will most likely speak. This is a little tricky as some Clinton supporters have also called for a floor vote which is doubtful this will occur. He also said when the current Senate session ends this week, she will begin campaigning for Obama. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:50 AM
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Today, Obama is on "Meet the Press" for the full hour - Tune in to see the discussion with Tom Brokaw. In Chicago, Obama will attend and speak at a event sponsored by the minority journalist alliance called UNITY - CNN will televise. CNN.com has more here. McCain was invited but declined.
In new Ad, McCain attacks Obama for cancelling troop visit - McCain is trying everything to get attention - this is about the planned try to visit troops in Germany military hospital after the Obama campaign received some advise from the Pentagon. thepage.time.com has the video and more here.
Politico.com has a good read today on Obama's just concluded overseas trip pointing out the positives and where the McCain campaign will try to find fault. It is entitled "5 lasting impacts of Obama's grand voyage".
Senator Hillary Clinton says she will campaign for Obama in several states during August. The Obama campaign will announce where and when later. The New York Observer has more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:22 AM
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Today, Obama is in London - He arrived yesterday and has already had meetings with former Prime Minister Blair and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Obama addresses the media following his meeting with Brown. Watch the video here. Later today, Obama returns home to Chicago.
Scratch Senator Jack Reed from the Obama short list for VP - He says he has not been vetted and that he is interested in continuing to serve as a Senator from Rhode Island. He just returned from traveling with Obama to Afghanistan and Iraq. Read more here.
The Senate is expected to pass the Housing bill today - President Bush has said he would sign it after he initially threatened to veto the bill. It will provide 300 billion in aid - CNN.com has more details of the bill here. The economy continues, and rightfully so, to be the number one concern of voters.
McCain says 16 month timetable is pretty good - He was speaking of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. First time he has said this, tries to tie it to his standard statement based on the conditions on the ground. Watch video here. A little late for him to be getting on the bandwagon after Iraq Prime Minister Maliki made a public statement supporting Obama's withdraw timetable.
VIPs stress importance of America's infrastructure - Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calf.), Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are co-chairs of "Building America's Future". They just held a two day tour promoting the importance of improving America's infrastructure in New Orleans and Minneapolis-St. Paul. They have also spoken to the National Governor's Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Counties. They believe this should be included in both the Republican and Democratic party Platforms. thepage.time.com has more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:02 AM
Expect a lot of talk surrounding Obama's trip abroad, the fairness of press coverage, and much speculation as to who will be the VP picks of the candidates. Also expect discussion on Obama's planned trip to a military hospital in Germany that was cancelled after the campaign received concerns from the Pentagon - CNN.com has more here. Obama and McCain appear twice this morning.
NBC "Meet the Press" - Tom Brokaw has Senator Barack Obama for the entire hour. Lots to talk about as Obama has just returned home from a very successful overseas trip. Seems Obama is not afraid to challenge President George W. Bush or Senator McCain on their foreign policy positions. Malicki calling for a timetable for withdraw of U.S. troops from Iraq was also a huge boost for Obama.
ABC "This Week" - George Stephanopolous counters with Senator John McCain. McCain was pummeled this past week but managed to get the attention of the Press by saying he was not receiving fair coverage. Otherwise, he was flailing away and not making much sense as he tried to say "look at me" during the past week while Obama was overseas.
CBS "Face the Nation" - Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and Democratic Senator Jack Reed who accompanied Obama to Afghanistan and Iraq will be the guests. both are also rumored as on the short list for Obama VP. Hagel was making sense recently when he said "quit talking about the surge" - he was referring to McCain's repeatedly saying - "hey, it was me who was right about the surge" Hagel correctly points out the time is appropriate to be discussing the next step - political solutions in Iraq and their ability to defend themselves.
Fox News Sunday - Carl Rove will appear, who on Friday, when speaking at a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party had peace protesters try to "citizen arrest" him for war crimes - thepage.time.com has more here - and that is just the tip of the iceberg - he still is ignoring a congressional subpoena. Also appearing will be Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, a supporter of Obama and South Dakota Senator John Thune, a supporter of McCain.
CNN "Late Edition" - Wolf Blitzer interviews separately both McCain and Obama. CNN broadcasts from the Unity journalist's forum in Chicago where Obama will speak. McCain declined.
For a complete rundown read Politico.com "Sunday talk show tip sheet" .
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:20 AM
Friday, July 25, 2008
Today, Obama is in France - His overseas trip has been a huge success so far with his speech yesterday to over 200,000 in Germany exceeding expectations. Think Obama can fill the 75,000 seat Denver "Mile High" stadium for his Democratic party acceptance speech? You bet ya!
After he meets with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama is off to London this afternoon. ThePage.Time.com has more here.
Stock Market continues roller coaster ride - yesterday the Dow Jones dropped 283 points after gains following the announcement of a government bail out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Unemployment went up when traditionally summer months result in reduced unemployment. Ford Motor company also reported a 8.7 Billion loss and plant closings as they retool. In addition, Housing sales dropped. The New York Times has more here.
The painful deregulation craze of the last several decades is hopefully coming to an end. Whether it was the airline industry, electric industry, banking industry and others, the unfortunate consequences have been higher prices and less service. All of which has aided in the precarious economic situation encompassing America today. It is time for responsible government intervention. The Wall Street Journal has a column entitled "Amid Turmoil, U.S. Turns away from decades of deregulation".
Obama scheduled to meet with the Democratic House caucus - next Tuesday, he will meet with the full membership. This is great timing for he will have just returned from his overseas trip and will give them a firsthand account.
CQPolitics.com has changed it's ratings on 14 house races - 12 in favor of the Democrats and 2 in favor of Republicans. Read more here.
Will New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson make the Democratic convention? - Seems, his state legislature will be in session and if it runs long, he intends to stay and take care of his state business. Does this mean he is out of consideration for the VP pick? NBC FirstRead.com has more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:17 AM
Ann-Marie Luciano Bio
Not so long ago, those who expressed concern about global warming, species loss or really anything related to environmental health and conservation were labeled as tree-hugging, self-righteous liberals. Sometimes the word "ecoterrorist" was thrown around by the right. Many joked that these eco-liberals cared more about a spotted owl than prosperity. And these attacks worked, for the most part. Being green simply wasn't cool.
Over the past few years, and increasingly during this new energy crisis, green is in. "Green is the New Black," is the new mantra. "Green-washing" -- misleading the public about the environmental impact of a given product or service -- is so pervasive that there is even a website (http://www.greenwashingindex.com/) that provides an online forum for consumers to evaluate the claims of various advertisements and representations.
In my view, this is all good news. If consumers want to buy Green, corporations will comply. The beauty of capitalism is that those who fail to compete - or those who compete dishonestly - are often sniffed out and punished by the consumer.
The other positive effect of this trend is that companies are thinking of creative and innovative ways to encourage their employees to be green or to offset their energy use in total -- i.e., to become "carbon neutral." Every day there seems to be a story about a company becoming carbon neutral or at least moving in that direction, such as Yahoo, Google, Dell and HSBC. Some communities are even becoming carbon neural. In July 2007, Vatican City announced its plan to become the first carbon neutral state in the world.
If this is a race to see who can become the "greenest" the fastest, I say, Let the races begin.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:53 AM
Thursday, July 24, 2008
1:20 PM ET - Located in Berlin at the "Victory Column" in Tiergarten Park, Senator Obama will deliver his speech. Former U.S. Presidents to have given memorable speeches in Germany have been John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. You can watch Obama's speech live on CNN and MSNBC. You can also catch the live stream on CNN.com here. MSNBC.com has the video here.
1:50 PM ET - An outstanding speech before a estimated crowd of 200,000 waving American flags. You can watch it on the MSNBC.com link provided here. You can read full text of speech here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 1:22 PM
Today, Obama is in Berlin, Germany - After a fully scheduled day in Israel and Palestine, meeting with officials, Obama is now in Germany. He will give a speech open to the public at the "Victory Column" in Tiergarden Park this morning after meeting with Prime Minister Angela Merkel. Germany Prime Minister Angela Merkel speaks highly of Senator Obama - read more at Reuters.com here.
A desperate McCain campaign attacks Obama's Holocaust Museum Statement - The HuffingtonPost.com has more here.
NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll has it Obama - 47, McCain - 41 - No mercy for McCain - he is getting pounded by the positive press Obama is receiving overseas and fumbling with mediocre responses - like a ridiculous paid radio spot today in three U.S. towns with the name Berlin - pretty lame - CNN.com has more here. Now, a new poll conducted from July 10 -21 shows him behind. MSNBC FirstRead.com has more here.
Keeping the pressure on McCain, the Obama campaign purchases 5 million in Olympics ads - pretty impressive and definitely a good move. Politico.com has more here.
In yet another example of how bad this week has been for McCain - Louisiana Governor Jindal says no thanks to VP. McCain also has to cancel a photo-op he had planned on an off-shore oil rig off the coast of Louisiana due to bad weather- this to promote off-shore oil drilling - Too bad for it would have clearly shown how McCain would be more of the same. Read more here.
Obama campaign is also coordinating publicity on Republicans for Obama - They are called "Obamacans" - They include former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, Douglas Kmiec, Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Eisenhower. Even Colin Powell is rumored to be a part of this group. TheHill.com has more here.
House passes the Housing bill - Senate passage expected soon - as we reported yesterday, President Bush indicated he would sign the bill after the compromise included increasing the national debt limit by 800 billion to 10.6 trillion - how much is a trillion, anyway? The New York Times has more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:15 AM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Wow! Virginia has not voted Democrat since 1964. A poll released yesterday by Public Policy Polling shows Obama ahead 46 - 44. This is more good news for Obama even though it is still early for meaningful polls. However, it appears Virginia will be one of the battleground states in the general election. TalkingPointsmemo.com has more here.
Electoral-vote.com has Virginia tied at 44 for Obama and McCain. The website currently shows the electoral vote count to be Obama - 292, McCain - 219 and Ties - 27. Virginia has 13 electoral votes. 270 electoral votes are needed to win.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 12:50 PM
Today, Obama is in Israel - He arrived yesterday 11:00 PM their time and 4:00 PM ET. Time.com has some video of his remarks upon his arrival here. Obama will be meeting with both Israel and Palestine officials. Yesterday, in his meeting with Jordon King Abdullah, the King stressed the need for evenhanded policies by the U.S. in the region as well as the need for statehood for Palestine. Time.com has more here.
McCain tries to capture media attention - Instead embarrasses himself - again... - In an interview with CBS Katie Couric he talks about the success of the "surge' in Iraq that led to the Sunni Anbar awakening - only problem is he got it wrong - the Sunni awakening happened before the "surge". The HuffingtonPost.com has more with a video here. Ilan Goldenberg also has a good read here.
That was not enough for McCain - he also says yesterday that Obama would rather lose a war to win a election and that he, well, he would rather win a war. A low blow that will come back to haunt him.
Seems Obama is quite comfortable taking on the failed foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration.
Obama campaign manager to meet with Democratic caucus today - This is a good sign the campaign is trying to work directly with Democrats up for reelection. David Plouffe has done an outstanding job with the Obama campaign and this is another good move. Senator Obama is expected to meet with them as well in the future. The Wall Street Journal has more here.
Congress is considering 2nd economic stimulus bill - one part of the bill that makes sense is 15 billion proposed for infrastructure improvements in the U.S. - it would also put many to work. One concern is a national energy program with goals and objectives should be in place so this spending would compliment the program. Reuters.com has more here.
Two more large Banks report huge losses in 2nd quarter - Wachovia Corporation reported a 8.9 billion loss and announced plan to cut more than 10,000 jobs. Washington Mutual reported 3.3 billion in losses. The New York times has a good read entitled "Two Troubled Banks Each Post Billions in losses".
Housing bill may get House vote today - lots in this bill which President Bush had threatened to veto at one point. Now as part of a compromise, the debt ceiling will be increased by 800 billion - wow! This would give Treasury Secretary Paulson the ability to invest in troubled Banks as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Budget deficits for next year are already projected at 490 billion. So much for the Republican mantra of trusting them with your tax dollars. Politico.com has more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:19 AM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Obama is in Amman, Jordon today - he will meet privately with King Abdullah. USA Today has more here. The press being received by Senator Obama so far has been favorable and he has certainly captured the headlines away from McCain.
McCain's best counter so far has been attending a Yankee game with former mayor Rudy Guiliani and a photo-op with him visiting with former President George H. W. Bush. Even columnist Robert Novak said maybe McCain would announce his VP pick this week. CNN.com has more here.
Don't count on that happening for all the press is with Obama. The more likely announcement date would be immediately following the Democratic convention in an attempt to blunt the media attention Obama is sure to receive following his acceptance speech at the Mile High stadium in Denver.
Obama on to talks with Israel and Palestine tomorrow - the middle east is not a simple region to understand and will be a test for Senator Obama. The New York Times, TheCaucus.com has a good read entitled "For Obama, Israel-Palestinian Conflict Looms".
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also talks about reducing troops in Iraq - Time.com has more here.
T. Boone Pickens meets today with the House Democratic caucus - He takes his plan on wind power to the Hill. Politico.com has a column today entitled "Pickens' words more than just wind".
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Bush administration press Congress to pass Housing bill - the bill would help stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who are estimated as securing or owning half of the mortgages in the country. The New York Times has more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:40 AM
Monday, July 21, 2008
Obama is in Iraq and scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Nuri al-Milicki - Two days ago, the Prime Minister said he agreed with Obama's 16 month timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Seems he got a call from the Bush administration and yesterday al-Milicki said he was misquoted in the Der Spiegel article. TalkingPointsMemo.com has a good read here - seems the interpreter for the article was al-Milicki's. Obama is scheduled to have dinner with General Petraeus.
To drill for oil off shore or not? - Republicans continue to push for this while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.) does not put it up for vote. House Minority Whip Roy Blount (R-Mo.) cries foul. TheHill.com has more here. Interestingly, polls show majority of Americans favor drilling off-shore and the votes in the House are probably there for this. However, even if this vote was approved, it is estimated it would be six or seven years before any oil production would come from this action. In seven years, if we took the lead of Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens, we would be well on our way of weaning ourselves from the oil dependency.
"McCain and Obama Agree to Attend Megachurch Forum" - is the headline in a article today in the New York Times. Seems their first debate will be at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California on August 16. They will be interviewed separately by the Reverend Rick Warren.
Wow! Obama campaign raised 25 million last day in June - The total was 54 million in June compared to McCain, who raised 22 million. Politico.com has a good read here. Clinton loaned her campaign another million for a total of 13.2 million.
USA Today has a good read on the Denver Democratic convention and the right of Protesters - Ever since the protests that turned violent in 1968 in Chicago, concerns as to public appearance and security have been many. That was the year Republican Richard Nixon was elected President. Read the article here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:41 AM
Way back in those halcyon days in the fall of 2002, President Bush was speaking about the need for the United Nations to confront Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. We now know he was building a case for unilateral war. Anyway, in an effort to justify his actions, Bush told an audience at a school in Nashville, Tennessee: "We're trying to figure out how best to make the world a peaceful place." He then gave the world a classic Bushism:
“There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
For those of you who just arrived on Planet Earth, the actual Chinese Proverb reads: Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.
Early one Friday morning, October 11, 2002, the Senate voted 77-23 to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refused to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions. A scant few hours earlier, the House approved an identical resolution, 296-133.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, who initially opposed the war powers resolution as too broad, decided to back it, "because we should support compelling Iraq to make good on its obligations to the United Nations."
Biden also said, "A strong vote in Congress increases the prospect for a tough new U.N. resolution on weapons inspections, which in turn decreases the prospects of war."
But a number of Democrats said the resolution set a dangerous precedent for unilateral pre-emptive strikes, that Bush had not made a case that Iraq posed an imminent threat, and that conflict in Iraq would detract from efforts to root out terrorist groups they said posed a greater threat.
Bush repeatedly and emphatically said that he had not yet decided whether to launch a military strike against Iraq. But he has sought congressional backing for possible action to strengthen his hand as he seeks U.N. Security Council approval of a tough, new resolution ordering Iraq to permit unconditional weapons inspections and disarm, or face the use of force if it does not.
See that, he didn’t actually want to go to war. All he wanted was for the UN to make Iraq let the weapons inspectors back in. That’s all.
Senator Byrd of West Virginia had argued during a failed filibuster attempt, that the resolution amounted to a "blank check" for the White House.
It seems beyond ironic now. Now that we know there were no WMD, no active nuclear program no yellow cake from Nigeria. In fact, WE were the ones being “fooled once.”
But wait. Blank check, blank check . . . . That sounds some how familiar.
Thursday, July 17, Treasury's acting under secretary for financial markets, Anthony Ryan, requested the ability for the Treasury to buy unlimited amounts of stock and provide unlimited loans to Fannie May and Freddie Mack. Ryan said repeatedly and emphatically he didn't think the troubled government-sponsored enterprises of Fannie May and Freddie Mack would need to tap unlimited credit lines but said it would help stabilize financial markets if they had it.
But lawmakers, Republicans this time, expressed strong opposition claiming it amounts to granting a "blank check."
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson defended the plan as a "bazooka" that federal officials could hold in reserve but would probably not have to use because it was so potentially potent. Its mere existence, he testified, should give confidence to the financial markets that the government was standing behind the firms.
"The stability of these institutions is very important and having this ultimate backstop -- again, we don't see that they'll have to access this -- sends a very strong message in terms of the stability of the marketplace," Ryan said.
Asked whether specifying a dollar amount would ruin the effectiveness of the plan, Ryan said "I think it limits it, and it creates additional challenges for the marketplace. It looks different than it does when it's unconditioned and unlimited."
And here is the fool me twice part:
"Let me stress that there are no immediate plans to access either the proposed liquidity or the proposed capital backstop," Paulson stated. "If either authority is used, it would be done so only at Treasury's discretion, under terms and conditions that protect the U.S. taxpayer and are agreed to by both Treasury" and the mortgage-finance companies.
When will we learn that we cannot trust this administration? Shame on us.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:00 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Obama's visit in Afghanistan - included meeting President Hamid Karzai - CNN.com has more here. He also visited and had breakfast with the troops at Camp Eggers - CNN.com has video here. Obama has been critical of the Bush administration for not keeping the eye on al Qaeda in Afghanistan as they rushed to invade Iraq.
Al Gore surprises Netroots Nation convention -- He appeared and gave a short speech to the liberal bloggers in attendance. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf) was on stage when he came out to speak. The New York Times TheCaucus.com has more here.
T. Boone Pickens to address House members this week - His energy independence plan for America is receiving attention on the Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited him to speak Tuesday evening to the 236 Democratic members. He will address the republicans later in the week. His plan, includes more use of natural gas to power automobiles and more use of wind power to generate electricity. Read more from TheHill.com here.
Oops!, Iraq Prime Minister issues statement he has not endorsed any specific plan for U.S. withdrawal of troops from his country. This comes after the media widely reported he supported the 16 month withdraw timetable proposed by Obama. Read more from Bloomberg.com here.
The economy continues to be the number one issue with voters - The Washington Post has a column today entitled "Risk Aversion" which asks the candidates to spell out more as to what they will do to turn around the economy. The New York Times has a column today entitled "The Way Through" which also calls upon the candidates to spell out their plans to improve the economy.
Obama moving to the center? - Politico.com has a good read entitled "Obama's steady centrism". This, much to the chagrin of liberal bloggers Arianna Huffington and Markos Moulitsas - DailyKos.com.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:51 AM