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Hill-mentum?


Clinton barnstorms through Iowa. (Reuters).

By Anne E. Kornblut
DES MOINES -- Claiming she has caught a wave of momentum over the last five days, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed hard on the notion of her experience -- and the argument that her main rival, Sen. Barack Obama, is lacking therein -- on Thursday as she rounded out her second-to-last swing through Iowa before Christmas.

Clinton has shifted gears several times in recent weeks. She questioned Obama's character at the beginning of December, then pitched a "bring a buddy to caucus" organizing message, then switched over to an effort to humanize her on the campaign trail. Now, with just a week and a half left, she is latched onto her original theme: That she has the experience to bring about change, and a record of doing so.

To that end, her campaign is not letting up on Obama. Clinton advisers held a conference call with members of Congress who are supporting Clinton to address the number of times Obama voted "present," rather than yes or no, during his time in the Illinois legislature. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York described it as evidence of a "lack of leadership" from Obama; Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio accused Obama of "avoiding taking stands on tough issues."

And Clinton herself, campaigning in Iowa, suggested that on foreign policy a vote for Obama would be no better than a vote for George W. Bush, cautioning that a foreign policy crisis in the future would require someone like her at the helm.

"It's tempting anytime things seem quieter for a minute on the international front to think that we don't need a president who is up to speed on foreign affairs and military matters," Clinton said. "Well, that's the kind of logic that got us George Bush in the first place," she said. The Obama campaign responded with a statement: "While Sen. Clinton takes a break from her 'likeability tour' to go back on the attack, Sen. Obama, the only major candidate who opposed both the Iraq war and the rush to war in Iran, will continue to demonstrate why he has the judgment to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney foreign policy."

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 20, 2007; 4:43 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Fresh doubts over Barack Obama's foreign policy credentials were expressed on both sides of the Atlantic, after it emerged that he had made only one brief official visit to London - and none elsewhere in Western Europe or Latin America." It also reported: "Mr. Obama had failed to convene a single policy meeting of the Senate European subcommittee, of which he is chairman."These basic facts, coming from a major foreign newspaper, are a sobering counterpoint to a gushing Boston Globe editorial that endorsed Obama for having "an intuitive sense of the wider world with all its perils and opportunities." Intuition may be a laudable quality among psychics and palm readers, but for a professional American diplomat like myself, who have spent a career toiling in the vineyards of national security, it has no relevance to serious discussion of foreign policy. In fact, Obama's supposed "intuitive sense" is no different from George W. Bush's "instincts" and "gut feeling" describing his own foreign policy decision-making. We have been down this road before.Barack Obama attended elementary school in Indonesia before the age of 10, his chief period of time abroad. I, too, spent years overseas in my formative school years. While the experience certainly whetted my appetite for international relations, it did not provide me either with "intuition" or expertise in the conduct of my nation's foreign policy. My understanding of international affairs came from twenty-three years of professional diplomacy, much of it spent overseas dealing at senior levels on crises such as serving as the acting U.S. ambassador to Iraq stationed in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. Senator Obama echoes and reflects the same attitude of contempt for "on the ground experience." Acting on his superior "intuition" he has proposed unilateral bombing of Pakistan and unstructured summits without preconditions with adversaries such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il. As we have learned, the march of folly is paved with good but naïve intentions. After he came to Washington, Obama's views were thoroughly conventional and even timid. In 2004, he said about the 2002 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force: "I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don't know." On Iraq-related votes in the Senate, Obama's record identically matches Senator Clinton's-with the exception that Senator Clinton voted against the confirmation of General George Casey as Army chief of staff. Obama's vote was typically passive.Senator Clinton for President, because we know that she has the experience and the judgment that comes from having been in the arena for her entire adult life-and from close personal participation with her in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. And we have trust in her to end the war in Iraq in the most responsible way, consistent with our national security interests.

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 23, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Obama's Changing Views
By The Associated Press -
A comparison of some of Barack Obama's views over the years, based on candidate questionnaires in 1996 and 2004, interviews, presidential debates and other comments:
GUN CONTROL:
_1996 (from a questionnaire for his state Senate run): Supported banning the sale and possession of handguns in Illinois.
_2004 (questionnaire for his U.S. Senate run): A ban is "not politically practicable."
DEATH PENALTY:
_1996: Did not support capital punishment.
_2007: Supports capital punishment for particularly heinous crimes.
PATRIOT ACT:
_2003: Would replace the "shoddy and dangerous" USA Patriot Act.
_2006: Votes for updated Patriot Act he says contains only modest improvements.
HEALTH CARE:
_1996: In principle, supports single-payer health plan at federal level.
_2007: Says single-payer is not practical.
GAY MARRIAGE:
_January 2004: Opposes repealing Defense of Marriage Act.
_February 2004: Supports repealing Defense of Marriage Act.
CUBA:
_2004: Normalizing relations would help the Cuban people.
_2007: "I would not normalize relations."
ABORTION:
_1996: Opposes parental-notification laws.
_2004: Opposes if they lack a bypass provision.

December 23, 2007 -- Barack Obama has been flip-flopping like a carp on a boat deck, changing his position over the years on everything from the death penalty to the Patriot Act to Cuba, a review of his record shows.
The Illinois senator's views became markedly more conservative as he drew close to running for president.
On the death penalty, for instance, the Oprah heartthrob was a strong foe back in 1996 when he ran for the Illinois state Senate, according to a questionnaire from a political activist group that he filled out at the time. The answers were reviewed by The Associated Press.
But this year, he's been throwing some red meat to pro-execution voters around the country by saying he supports pulling the switch on those who commit particularly heinous crimes.
On gun control, Obama changed direction since 1996, when he called for a ban on all handgun possession and sales in Illinois.
In 2004, on another questionnaire, he backed off, saying a ban is "not politically practicable."
Taken together, the shifts could suggest a liberal, inexperienced lawmaker gradually adjusting to the realities of what could be accomplished, first in the Illinois Legislature and then in the US Senate.
On the other hand, political rivals could accuse him of abandoning potentially unpopular views or of trying to disguise his real positions. Many of the old views came from answers he gave to a list of questions submitted to him in 1996 by an Illinois good-government group known as the IVI-IPO.
Aides claim Obama did not fill out the questionnaire, and instead it was handled by a staffer who misrepresented his views on gun control, the death penalty and more.
"Barack Obama has a consistent record on the key issues facing our country," spokesman Ben LaBolt told the AP. "Even conservative columnists have said they'd scoured Obama's record for inconsistencies and found there were virtually none."
A spokesman for the Illinois group said the excuse is ridiculous because they interviewed him in person.
Some of the candidate's other changing views include a marked shift on health care, from supporting a single-payer, government-run health system, to opposing such a "socialized medicine" plan.
He also has changed many views in just the past few years.
He went from calling the anti-terrorism Patriot Act a "shoddy and dangerous" law to voting to continue an updated version of the law in 2006. He also said he would normalize relations with Cuba, but on the campaign trail has opposed such rapprochement with the Communist regime there.

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 23, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Pete.llly, what I want to add to that is "I do not understand how people can say that when O'bama said he was looking forward to getting Foreign Policy Advice from Hillary was a good response?" What that shows me is he is not ready to be President! Here is a Good Figure Of Speech: "Why go for the milk when you can get the cow?" And if people really think about it we have a President right now that has other people making most of his Foreign Policy and look where it got us!!!!!
Edwards is no safer as a Presidential hopeful either. I tried to get help in 2004 during the Kerry/Edwards ticket about the mess Bush left behind in Coral Springs, Fl. I tried telling different branches of Law Enforcement, Faxes to Graham for which Bush was bringing Senator Bob Graham on Air Force One to take command of the Faxes. I also tried going to the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, it was not until I wrote to Senator Clinton in February 2006 that she sent the FBI and now the house that al Qaeda bought a few years before September 11th, 2001 is now being taken care of. I was told it would take a few years, Waleed al Shehri stayed at this house when in town. It is also where the Anthrax came from. I asked for anonymity for security reasons. Maybe when I have more time I will share with all of you al Qaeda's MO that I learned first hand. Here is another piece of info---10001 West Atlantic Blvd. (Mohammed Atta's Apartment that was on the news is 2-1/2 blocks from my backyard! Kerry/ Edwards ignored me in 2004, Hillary answered my SOS and O'bama would not have known what to do! Apparently they do not know the Law very well, or they would have known that when it came to a matter of the United States Security they should have had my Story checked out, if I would have been lying---I would be in prison!!!

Posted by: Longlegs36 | December 22, 2007 3:50 AM | Report abuse

On Hillary as change agent or agent of positive change:

In the part of her campaign currently devoted to identity du jour ("Likeability" at the moment), Hillary might give priority to curbing her cackle. Her laugh is especially grating when it is derisively targeted at someone.

This may not be as easy as changing her hair do, but it's a lot less formidable as a challenge than making over her whole personaliy.

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 21, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

It is Obama who criticizes Hillary Clinton for not being transparent and being too political. Asked for an explanation as to why Obama voted "present" on several of his votes in Illinois, the answer was to achieve "political cover". Just imagine what Obama and his supporters would say if that was Hillary's response.

Obama's rationale for voting "present" should be criticized, because it lacks conviction, and is based purely on political calculations. Obama is sounding more and more like Christian conservatives in the Republican Party. They preach a higher standard but complain when they're measured by it.

As for Clinton "attacking" and slingin "mud" at Obama. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Obama has been attacking Hillary for the past two months. If you can't take the heat, Obama and Obama supporters, stay out of the kitchen.

By the way, coming from Chicago, Illinois, I can tell you Obama is not always above the political fray. In our city, our local and county governments, tainted by graft and corruption are pledging their full support for Obama. Why, because Obama personally endorsed slimy politicians like Todd Stroger. Obama is not seperate from the corrupt political Chicago machine, he's a main cog in the wheel.

Posted by: PeteIlly | December 21, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of race, Obama is the best candidate.

Not only does Obama offer americans hope and inspiration, he has the best background and experience for today's international woes.

Obama has held elected office for 11 years (four more than Hillary). Obama sponsored over 820 bills while serving in the Illinois senate (serving 8 years, from 1996-2004). He introduced 233 bills regarding Healthcare reform, 125 bills regarding Poverty and Public Assistance, 112 Crime fighting bills, 97 Economic bills, 62 Education bills, 60 Human Rights and Anti-discrimination bills, 21 Ethics bills, 20 Environmental bills, 15 Gun Control bills, 6 Veteran Affairs bills, and many, many others. He authored the most sweeping ethics reform bill passed into Illinois law in over 20 years. He sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform and promoted increased subsidies for child care. Obama also led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped.

In 2002 Obama spoke out publicly against the war in Iraq, saying he does not oppose all war, just dumb wars, and proceeded to accurately predict the quagmire of Iraq.

Obama was elected to the United States senate in 2004. In his first year (before he decided to run for president) he authored 152 bills, and co-sponsored another 427. These included the Coburn-Obama government Transparency Act of 2006 (signed into law by Bush), The Lugar-Obama initiatives (working with republican, Richard Lugar) aimed at nuclear non-proliferation and conventional weapons threat reduction. He is one of only 2 lawmakers sponsoring a campaign finance reform bill that currently sits in the senate. There are 890 bills in Obama's name since he entered the Senate. He has Cosponsored 1096. This is a long list, and it might lead you to conclude that people who say he has been doing nothing in the Senate are a little less than truthful.

Obama currently serves on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans' Affairs.

Obama has a degree in International Relations, a Law degree, and taught constitutional law for 10 years.

Obama 08!

Posted by: sheridan1 | December 21, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Clinton was the only Senator not to vote on the major bankruptcy reform bill in 2005. This measure made it harder for ordinary people in this country to file for bankruptcy protection. I have not seen any news reports on this issue during the campaign (maybe other readers have and can post a link), but I'd like to know why Sen. Clinton did not vote on such an important piece of legislation.

Posted by: wesfromGA | December 21, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The White House years co-habited by Hillary included fateful decisions to yank forces out of Somalia as soon as one of our Black Hawk helicopters went down, and to turn our backs on the genocide in Rwanda during 1994. What experience did Mrs. Clinton apply and derive from these decisions?

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 21, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton mudslinging surrogates do not know what the customs are in the Illinois legislature and should apologize for mischaracterizing Senator Obama. This whole issue about his "Present" votes should not even be in the news anymore...they are counting 130 "Present" votes out of about 4,000 the Senator had to cast...that is approximately 3.25% of his votes...I am sure the accusers missed more votes than that in all their years in congress and with all their "experience"...at least Obama was "present"...

Posted by: marabout_noir | December 21, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I am so happy people are seeing through Hillary's bull-crap more and more and that her campaign is starting to go down in flames. YIPEE !!! She deserves to die a quick political death. COME ON FOLKS - let's get rid of the BUSH / CLINTON DYNASTIES once and for all !!!

Posted by: MarthaP1 | December 21, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

zukermand: after getting to the end of these posts, I have no idea.

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 21, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

This article leaves me wondering, just what is the "news" it was written to report?

Posted by: zukermand | December 21, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with antitribe--except that I do think that Hillary could have been a successful politician in local politics somewhere even without Bill. And if she had come up that way, I think she would be better off now. It creeps me out how willing people are to view her role as wife to the president not just as a qualification to be president, but as a qualification better than the qualifications of say, Obama, who was actually out there running for office. If that is experience, let's forego elections and just have a dynasty.

I have always voted for the democratic candidate for president. If Hillary makes it, however, (which I don't think she will) I don't think I could do it.

At minimum she would have to put Bill back in a box and at least pretend she's standing on her own two feet and that she can control him (which I doubt).

And it makes me sad, because I think by promoting Hillary, Bill is damaging his own legacy and not shoring it up as he seems to believe.

Posted by: AgathaX | December 21, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton just steams me up. She acts like somehow she's earned the right to be president that it's her due. And frankly she's unqualified for the job. BILL was a talented, charismatic president. An extraordinarily gifted politician. Hillary is none of these things. She's just trading on the magic Clinton name. Hillary Rodham couldn't be elected dogcatcher much less Senator or President. I'm a life long democrat who's never voted republican. But if Hillary is the nominee I will vote republican in the next election.

Posted by: antitribe | December 21, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

For Heavens sake what experience does Hillary Clinto Have? She claims 35 years of experience doing what? Being Bill's "perfect" wife for 10 years as 1st lady of Arkansas, his "perfect" wife in the white house for another 8.

If this is experiences, America brace your self for LAURA BUSH 2012, Chelsea Clinton 2020

LAURA BUSH's Qualification:

1. Bush 41's Daugther in law......10yrs experience

2. First Lady of Texas...... 8yrs of experience

3. 1st lady to Bush 43.......8yrs

Boy, years and years of experience and she's even nicer.

HILLARY AMERICANS ARE ALLERGIC TO BULL

Posted by: jsu4193k | December 21, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

MEMO TO HILLARY: Come on Hilley!!! Tell the voters EXACTLY what your experience is. Wife of president? Defender of impeached, disbarred sociopath? Bimbo eruption supression manager? Supression manager of numerous other scandels? 20 years as low level patent lawyer in Arkansas (intellectual capital of the world... NOT !!) Illegal commodity trader? Recipient of illegal campaign contributions from numerous sources? Rip- off artist of White House property when leaving White House? Or is your experience in making wrong judgements about the war and other urgent international matters? Or perhaps you are lauding your experience of failing miserably in healthcare reform? Come on Hilley... tell us. We're waiting...

Posted by: MarthaP1 | December 21, 2007 1:49 AM | Report abuse

How do you describe Obama's position on avoiding a stand on tough issues by voting "present" rather than yes or no?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1345

.

Posted by: PollM | December 21, 2007 1:26 AM | Report abuse

If Hillary gets the nomination, I think you can expect Bloomberg to run as an Independent and many lifelong Dems like me to vote for him. He has more experience than she does, he has better leadership skills, he is not divisive, he is pro-environment, pro-choice, and he was against the Iraq war.

Obama is the right guy for the time; Hillary is not. Her campaign alone serves as enough evidence for how she will lead and the types of people she will surround herself with.

Posted by: MilesLong | December 21, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

After 27 years, Bush-Clinton fatigue is really starting to set in. This latest Rove-style gutter play clinches the deal for me. I just don't like her anymore.

Posted by: diabloquick.wa | December 21, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

What is Hillary's experience? She argued perhaps rightly that the Attorney General under her husband should be a woman. A woman she became. Hillary's two first choices were disaster; neither was vetted adequately. It was a matter of judgment. She eventually foisted Reno on us. She was an umitigated failure. Only Bush's Gonzales was worse than Reno.

When Hillary had the chance to fashion a health policy, she worked behind close doors. The marjority Democrats in Congress considered her proposal to be so grotesque that they did not bother to debate it. To Hillary, that is the experience she flaunting. My 9 year old grand son is yawning now.

Posted by: bikome0545 | December 21, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

My best take on why she and Bill are SO FULL OF IT:

Bill Clinton thinks his wife is 'the single most qualified person for president in America,' isn't he by virtue of this saying:

1. there are no black men or women in the entire country more qualified than his white, very wealthy wife.

2. there are no Hispanic men or women in the entire country who are smarter than a woman who flunked her first attempt to pass the bar exam.

3. there are no Asian men or women who are more qualified than a woman who last year made a joke about Ghandi having worked at a gas station.

4. there are no lesbian or gay people in the entire country more qualified than a woman who says she wants equal rights for all, but cuts them off with a 'civil union' cop-out.

5. there are no disabled persons in the entire country more qualified than Hillary.

Get the idea--the very demographic these two use to propel their 'careers' are never a part of their lilly white upper class political machines or cabinets.

EXACTLY why this conservative (who would vote for Condi in a heartbeat) made America's only politically confrontative music CD-one that takes on Hillary, Congress, and the whole Ward Churchill crowd. One-of-a-kind stuff @

www.conservativemusiconline.com

Posted by: Truscott1 | December 21, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

She's got alot of nerve to try to attack Obama on foreign policy after her massive mistakes regarding Iraq AND Iran.

Obama is right. Good judgement matters.
Alot.

Posted by: julieds | December 21, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

She cannot be serious.

HILLARY VOTED WITH BUSH FOR THE IRAQ WAR, AND VOTED WITH BUSH EVER SINCE!

OBAMA GOT IRAQ RIGHT (OPPOSING IT) AND HILLARY AND BUSH, TOGETHER, GOT IT WRONG!

HILLARY AND BUSH GOT IT WRONG!!!

She is so full of crap.

Posted by: julieds | December 21, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton sided with George W. Bush on votes regarding Iraq and Iran. Do you want the next president to be one who agrees with Bush? Do you want more of THAT kind of experience?

This Chicago Democrat will never vote for Mrs. Clinton.

Any other Democrat, Michael Bloomberg, Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc.
Anyone but Clinton.

Posted by: jim283 | December 21, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

go hillary go! i was a john edwards supporter before i switched to hillary after hearing her speak in seattle. obama is a change nothing candidate. and yes we live here in the United States where we are free to change our minds. but for those of you who have venom dripping from your mouths, need to get educated. its amazing the number of stupid people who cant make very good comments. please stay home dont vote.

Posted by: melodymg | December 21, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

When saying that her Iraq war vote was a mistake, HRC did not attribute it to her error in judgement. She said that she was not informed well, and was mislead by George W Bush. With the "experience" and all the connections, being not informed is a very lame excuse for a decision. And it shows dishonesty, again. -My 2 cents

Posted by: bo7fun | December 20, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Even Richardson has caught on, HRC is Flip-Flopper


http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/richardsonclinton

Posted by: dewanitum | December 20, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama has the RIGHT experience. He has a better JUDGMENT on foreign policy. H.Clinton has the WRONG experience (health care fiasco; voted for iraq war; supported Bush on use of force against Iran. H.Clinton does not act presidential. She is mean to make negative attacks against Obama on insignificant issues. This shows she has no experience or she has not learnt from her so called experience. She has refused to release her record persisted by NBC Meet the Press Tim Russett. Why? She played the gender card -- shows lack of confidence. "do not throw mud at me" very childish statement by clinton. H.Clinton has refused to answer questions even during campaign. So, how can you expect her to answer if she is elected. Polls show Clinton is not electable against any GOP candidate. Obama inspite of prodding from the media has refrained from negative attacks. Clinton does not represent CHANGE. she is carrying lot of old baggage and garbage. Can she stand Monica Lewinsky during the general election campaign. Bill Clinton has destroyed a young girl's career and marriage.

Posted by: vpwaren | December 20, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dan8 | December 20, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

hope4 - Hillary Clinton IS a racist and you can be quite certain that she and her campaign are behind this. Even the Drudge Report was forced to retract a Clinton release of a story claiming Edwards had an affair. These Clinton's and their supporters are the worst swine in this country's history and we need to make it very clear to them that we will desert the Democratic Party if she is the nominee. Take "The Pledge". If CLinton is the nominee, you wont for a single Democratic candidate at any level.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 20, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of clinton's slash and burn politics.
I'm tired of the Bush/Clinton dynasties.
It's time for a change.
Obama!

Posted by: mimi424 | December 20, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Ferdi and Frame...

You KNOW that Obama is a Christian. So, one can easily deduce that you are liars and that you are trying to SCARE people.

This does not help your candidate.

And to make racist remarks? I am sure Hillary would NOT appreciate that.

Posted by: hope4 | December 20, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

river845 - John Edwards, indeed, is the candidate most competent to deal with the economic mess free trade has wrought. However, corporate money, big money from foreign government and business, have been assembled to smear him because they know he will end the nonsense of guest workers and outsourcing. If he makes it out of the primaries, he WILL win the general election, but don't count on it. Th candidates of the "free traitors" are Clinton, Guliana, Romney, Kennedy, and like gasbags. Our best hope is Edwards, followed by Obama, Biden, Paul, McCain, Huckabee, then Thompson. No one else should even be considered for anyone's vote period.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 20, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

OMG! Billary!

Watch out for those Roadside Obamas!!!

LOL!

Geez Wash Post, could you have found a Photo showing Hillary Blythe's Experience(Age) more?

Billary, or the re-incarnation of Ann Richards?

Like the Wart BTW!

Seriously Now, What is the Centrist Billary Blythe going to do when Obasama and Pretty Boy Hook-Up?

Poor Billary, the Stress of Campaigning is affecting her almost as badly as the "Emperor" in the Revenge of the Sith!

Posted by: rat-the | December 20, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Stephanie Tubbs Jones criticizing ANY Congressional colleague for apparently not doing their job is pretty rich. Wouldn't that be the SAME Stephanie Tubbs Jones who has yet to find a privately-paid junket trip that she WON'T say "Yes" to - trips to far-flung locales far away from either Cleveland (her home district) or Washington, D.C. (which is supposed to be her workplace at last check). The fact that Obama is being attacked by hack, trip-grubbing, status-quo politicians like Tubbs Jones hardly reflects badly on him.

Posted by: roje | December 20, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

This conversation leaves out one vital variable.

Edwards is actually the man to watch. He looks likely to win Iowa, and could then win NH and Nevada, and then maybe South Carolina and Florida.

The media have focused on Hillary and Obama all year, and Americans have not been informed about Edwards( e.g that he is the most electable).

Once Edwards wins Iowa, people will see that neither Obama or Hillary are necessarily the best, and that Edwards is the safest, and best choice.

Posted by: river845 | December 20, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

The shrill cries of the Hillary crowd are interesting because they are starting to realize that millions of us will desert the Democratic Party if Clinton is the nominee. "What about choice", the cry. In reply, let me state very clearly that jobs, ending outsourcing, doing away with guest worker programs, all trump choice and gay rights. The Clinton's have been the chief proponents of those, of that gigantic Ponzi Scheme called "free trade" since the beginning. If it means voting Republican to once and for all be rid of them, we will do so, even if it means that abortion becomes illegal and gays are driven back into the closet. It's a two way street ladies. Either you stand with us or you stand alone.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 20, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Interesting reading these comments. Unfortunately, they seem to bring out mainly the passionate people Either passionately pro-Hillary or passionately pro-Obama. Or passionately against Hillary or passionately against Obama.

Kind of reminds me of many programs on Fox which tend to be pro-conservatives and against liberals, or pro-Republican and against Democrats. In the beginning, it was kind of exciting watching these commentators who were so forceful and exciting and tended to slash and burn anyone who did not agree with them.

But then after a while it got to be boring, talking heads screaming and interrupting one another, saying the most outlandish things. So now, I never watch these shows because they are a waste of my time.

Same thing with many of these comments that are so irrational and outlandish. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to also find many of these comments a waste of my time.

Posted by: David2007 | December 20, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama abstained from voting on important issues and criticized senator Clinton on relying on a summary of the NIE.

Obama was absent from the Iran vote and had the audacity to criticize Hillary on her vote.

Someone should tell presidency is for big boys.

Posted by: Friend1 | December 20, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that a lot of people posting understand very little about the American Political System. To vote "yes" or "no" on legislation or policy means leaving a footprint. These footprints may be either beneficial or detrimental for one's future political career. However, to only vote "present" indicates an individuals unwillingness to have any kind of record. One cannot support a president that is unwilling to make difficult decisions and perhaps mistakes. In no way am I supporting the Hillary campaign's tactics, but this can't be considered "dirty" politics. "DIRTY" politicis would be attacking on personal issues, not one's record or lack-there-of. Its POLITICS folks! Political records count. And if anyone here thinks that Hillary doesn't have the experience than they are seriously misled. She not only has experience as Senator, but as the first lady. I know many out there think that being first lady means nothing, but the experience of promoting deplomatic relations is unparralled. Besides the fact that anyone out there who thinks that Hillary did not influence Bill's political agenda is uninformed in more than one way.

Posted by: jewelxu | December 20, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

HRC is saying she got the momentum, so that means she is admitting she had momentum for long while. There is another lie, she said all along I am fine, I haven't lost momentum. she will absolutely say anything and do anything to get elected. What a disgrace that media doesn't question her character.

Posted by: dewanitum | December 20, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Hillary voice a new theme -- Overpopulation.

From immigration, to resource depletion, water depletion, urban sprawl, and global-warming, overpopulation has a big impact. . . . . Why then isn't overpopulation being discussed? How can I believe someone has done their homework on any of these positions if they will not breath the word "overpopulation" let alone discuss it?

Overpopulation, the unspeakable issue.

Posted by: coldcomfort | December 20, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Will America vote for a black muslim president? Don't believe it.

Posted by: framistat | December 20, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

1. Look at all these comments. I do believe Sen Clinton scares the crap out of the GOP.

2.Anne writes:"Clinton has shifted gears several times in recent weeks."
This is an absurd characterization. I believe Anne is feeling a bit desperate.

3. ""While Sen. Clinton takes a break from her 'likeability tour' to go back on the attack..."
I'm very uncomfortable with a Dem candidate utilizing standard GOP smear memes.


While I will happily vote for any of the Dem candidates once nominated, I am unhappy with the sort of smear campaigns being waged by Mr Edwards and Sen Obama.

Posted by: zukermand | December 20, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

More bad news, Hillheads. According to votesmart.org (just google "hillary clinton" "voting record") this is Clinton's Senate voting scorecard:

Yes votes - 318
No votes - 106
Not voting, absent, present, excused - 72

Total - 496

Percentage of non-"yes" or non-"no" votes - a whopping 14.52 percent.

Compare that with Obama's 3% "present" votes, and suddenly his record is leagues beyond Clinton's. Some of the votes Clinton didn't register "yes" or "no" for included the children's SCHIP healthcare bill, the recent Energy Act that just passed, the 2008 Defense Authorization Act - you know, banal stuff that has no impact. Of course, all the nonvoting took place this year, so I'm sure Hillary has a good excuse - such as, she's trying too hard to become president to tend to the country's business.

Posted by: treetopflyer | December 20, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is the most qualified of all the candidates, hands down.
She's smart, tough, and independent.
She clearly won the debates.
As far as I can tell, people who don't like her are turned off by the fact that she's a smart capable woman.
To clean up the mess that Bush/Cheney have made we need a president that's smart and capable and can work with congress, and the fact that she's a woman should be a non-issue.
Among people I know in washington who have spent time and/or worked with the candidates, she's the hands-down favorite.
I was on the fence, but she's now my top choice. If you don't like her, as yourself this question: if she didn't scare the tar out of the Republicans, why would they be devoting so much time and effort to slime her and to try to get people to dislike her? Turning elections into a question of "who would you like to have a beer with" and claiming that the Democrat is "too stiff" and "not a fun guy to hang with" is a standard Reublican trick when faced with a smarter and more competent opponent. America can't afford to fall for it again.
If you put the focus on intellegence, competence, knowledge of the issues, and toughness, Hillary's clearly the best choice for President.


Posted by: svreader | December 20, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

The Carpetbagger Report has an excellent rundown on the Present votes.
Anyone who knows about Illinois politics knows that present is used as a tool to either signal you find something wrong with a bill or as a tactical thing.
It is used alot in Illinois. Besides, the head of Planned Parenthood has said before and now that his votes were to help them. It was planned by them.
I am so sick of swiftboat Hillary and her flying monkeys. It is far past time for democrats to break the chains that bound them to the Clintons. When are we going to stop being owned by these people and their cronies and take back our party?
They had their time and they messed up. It is time for us to look for newer and better leaders than the corrupt duo.

Posted by: vwcat | December 20, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Please - this whole thing about Obama's voting record is such a joke. If you read the NYT article, it mentions that the 136 times he voted "present" were out of over 4000 votes he cast. That's less the 3% of the time he voted like that, and usually with very good, principled reasons, such as protesting the bill itself or the way it was handled, without giving the Republicans the fodder a "no" vote would have. The remaining 97+% he either voted "yes" or "no". Context is everything, folks, don't leave home without it.

Posted by: treetopflyer | December 20, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

What experience?

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | December 20, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama did NOT vote for the bill authorizing war in Iraq.

CZWHALEN, you are misinformed. Hillary did vote for the bill authorizing military force in Iraq that became Bush's cited mandate for legal permission. About half the Democrats in the Senate voted 'yes', about half 'no' (I'm sure you can find a tally somewhere).

Obama was serving in the Illinois senate at the time--a body which is not constitutionally involved in making war against foreign nations, and thus, did not vote.

Obama, however, was one of the very few politicians of any party and who publicly opposed the invasion. He spoke against the war forcefully and passionately. Most democrats who opposed the war did so very quietly.

Hillary, unfortunately was loud and wrong. She voted YES to authorize war on Iraq and publicly (if tepidly) supported Bush's warpolicy until the polls changed.

Obama's speech against the war is one of the most lucid, prescient and moving statements from any politician before about 2005. Reading it a year ago made me an Obama supporter--I'd vote for most of the other democratic candidates if they were the nominee--but I would never vote for Hillary.

I think she would be about the worst possible president at this moment in our history. She would deliberately antagonize the right just like Bush does to the left, and make the other half of our country just as angry. I'd like to feel like we're on the same team again--everyone knows that the left has the best ideas on healthcare, foreign policy, the environment...but, if Hillary is elected, half the country will be more interested in stopping her than fixing problems--look at congress this year. Obama treats people with respect and gets things done.

Posted by: jasonmaxfield | December 20, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

akeD _ you've got mine. I'm a registered Democrat and I will vote for any Democrat except for Clinton. Not only that, I will vote a straight Republican ticket if she is the nominee. (And, I've *never* voted for a Republican in my life and have worked for the Democratic nominee in every election since McGovern.) Hillary Clinton is worse than a third term of Bush and I will vote accordingly. Anyone with brains and anything like morality will agree. She is wrong on the issues, wrong on integrity, a self centered thief, and no friend of working men and women. The "Senator from India", as she was called there on one of her recent trips promoting outsourcing and H1-B guest workers, is not deserving of our support.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 20, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The Obamanuts and Hillary haters are out in force tonight.

Obamanuts: he cannot win the general even if you extreme lefties of the party get him the nomination. Reality bites, but it is still reality. The people who will actually vote will not elect an African/American to be president at this time. Obama in 2016 or 2020.

Hillary Haters: you're spending way too much time listening to Rush's drivel and lies. It is time to stop being a dittohead and start thinking for yourself. Being a braindead follower of the great liar is not good for you or the country.

Get Rush's real message: Hillary might just make the highest 1% of earners to pay their fair share. Rush will have to pay. The whiner in chief cannot handle that>

Posted by: wj_phillips | December 20, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Great posts Gail1 and ichief. I noticed that months ago. Obama supporters can dish dirt in the most negative way but as soon as you don't drink their kool-aid and worship the ground this man walks out they attack your mercilessly. Anne really is not something I take seriously. Her attitude is stinks. As for David Brooks and the other odd conservatives who are drinking the kool-aid, pay them no mind. Their intellectual consistency is lacking. Bush and Obama agree on little and if you voted for Bush and support Bush, I can't see how you could possibly back Obama. But then again, who knows how people like Brooks think. We need to rest assured that while the NYT pays him well, we can ignore him safely. It reminds me of Bush's former media guru, Matthew Dowd, who, after supporting Bush and being part of that administration, now in his journey of repentance, has found Obama as his new hero. My understanding of repentance, is that you must first acknowledge where you went wrong, why you went wrong and apologise to those you hurt. Until Dowd does that, his utterances about Obama are as shallow as his initial thinking about Bush.

Go Hillary, all the way.

Posted by: Carlyle_R | December 20, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

To ichief -- I believe none other than George W. Bush more or less endorsed Hillary as his favored Democratic opponent.

Posted by: ff3003 | December 20, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Hillary supporters: what are you thinking!!??? for crying out loud--she's a lousy democratic , on the one hand, & a lousy person on the other!! Are you paying attention, or just filtering out anything realistic?
Bill owes her big-time, & forever. But we voters don't owe her anything...so, she is not the anointed candidate. Please, please tell Hillary to go away.

Posted by: Mruns | December 20, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if it's these specific attacks that are working or what, but Obama is sinking again nationally. The latest polls all have him down by more than 20 points (latest Fox poll has him losing 49-20, which puts Hillary near or exactly at her October heights). He's also heading south in New Hampshire...fast. He's down over 7 points in the RCP average (this from being only 3 points down in the average a few days ago); CNN and ARG have him losing by 12 and 14 points there, respectively. The three latest RCP polls for Iowa all show Hillary leading, although Obama is up by 1, which is totally insignifcant, in the average. What's going on here? Obama collapsing before catching fire?

Posted by: Resenbrink78 | December 20, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Kornblut seems to be criticizing Hillary Clinton for being a complex, well-rounded person who is both an intelligent, informed, experienced, and hard working person with outstanding leadership skills and also a compassionate, caring human being who has consistently reached out to those in need. Perhaps, Kornblut would prefer a one-dimensional person like Dubya, someone a fella could enjoy having a beer with, who has proven himself to be the most incompetent, untrustworthy president in the history of the nation.

Obama is acclaimed by neocon columnist David Brooks in the NY Times as presidential material because he has qualities similar to those of Dubya - charisma, charm, etc., and Brooks admits that his record in the senate is far surpassed by Clinton's - but this conservative Republican pundit still wants Obama to be the nominee of the Democrats. Maybe her highness Kornblut, in all her wisdom, can explain this to us in her next attempt at professional journalism.

Posted by: ichief | December 20, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mark Penn why did you choose Ferdi as a user name?

Posted by: seanholland85 | December 20, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

What is the matter with Obama supporters who post such vitriolic attacks against anyone pointing out Obama's actual record, or lack of one, or disagreeing with his policy positions? By the way, the Obama campaign has official website pages attacking Mrs. Clinton, Paul Krugman, and others who don't idolize their candidate audaciously. Not sure I want to be in the same party as these irrational Obama supporters.

And the media have a history of mocking the most experienced, qualified Democrat running for President as "unlikeable", desparate, unfunny, lacking character. I suppose the reason might be the media owners are Republicans who don't want a strong opponent. So they are pushing the eminently beatable Obama and Huckabee.

Posted by: Gail1 | December 20, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton camp itself knows that there isn't any substance to their attacks against Obama. Remember that when the nomination is done and Democrats support each other again how little merit the attacks actually had.

Example: HRC hasn't more years in elected office than Obama..she started in the US Senate. Obama was a State Senator first before US Senator.

People, vote for the one you truly want. Courage is the key to changing America to comport with the foundational theme of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Posted by: hrayovac | December 20, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"A record of change"? What is she talking about? She does have a record of fouling about 80% of everything she touches, both policy and personnel. Ethically questionable and up to the edge of criminality. The stench of corruption follows them everywhere, now swirling from her pansuits.

Posted by: rahaha | December 20, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Shrillary takes a shot at Bush's performance in the last paragraph of this article; yet, she is silent on the fact that her vote gave him a green light to go after Iraq, and her recent vote on the Iran Resolution opens the door for him to attack Iran.

Get real, Shrillary, on your alleged policy experience. You were the First Lady for eight years under Slick Willie's Administration. Your so-called policy visits to numerous nations were no more than window-dressing.

Shrillary in esence is asking we Demos to vote for the reinstatement policies of 1990's under her husband, including failed health policy effort and others. You're no more a change artist than many of your long-term Senate colleagues.

Obama is the agent of change, and many of we rational thinking Demos shall support him over your warmed over proposals.

Finally, your shift in gears to the low road campaign will backfire and turn more people in Obama's direction.

Posted by: fgerard | December 20, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I think it's nonsense that Obama and his staff keep harping on the notion that he "opposed" the Iraq war from the start. He voted the same way as Hillary on the same resolution, which gave Bush the capacity to use military force in Iraq (if necessary). At the time, neither he nor Hillary thought things would turn out as they did. If he had voted "no" or voted "no" to funding the war 100% of the time (like Dennis Kucinich), then he'd have a case. But, as it stands, he's just as culbable as the rest. Just because he spoke out about the misuse of military force doesn't change his "yes" vote to a "no."

Posted by: czwahlen | December 20, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Confused about who to choose

This is a country where it is quite evident that there is a great deal of freedom in the choice of religious practice. However, I think it is dishonest to deny ones religious connection for political expediency.

I would like the rest of the voting public to assess these findings below:

"Sookhdeo--himself a Muslim convert to Christianity--writes (type in "Obama" under "Keyword"):

In the last months, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Barak Obama has shunned public attention on his Muslim background, and repeatedly deflected questions about his family and childhood association with Islam....Meanwhile, reports about Obama's Muslim parentage and education have circulated in the news. ...Obama's spokespeople address the public's interest in more information about Obama's connection with Islam as if there was nothing to discuss, and no need of further exploration.


After his press office first claimed that "Senator Obama has never been a Muslim [and] was not raised a Muslim," and calling contentions that he had been "malicious and irresponsible," Obama's spokespeople changed their tune in response to Sookdheo's reporting. They now claim that "Obama has never been a practicing Muslim," although as a child he had spent time in the neighborhood's Islamic center.

The question of whether Obama converted from Islam to Christianity is a serious one because, as Sookhdeo writes,

As Senator Obama perhaps knows, because of Islam's Apostasy Law leaving the Islamic faith is not a light matter. Aside from the obvious political calculations about how having a Muslim background might negatively impact a candidate's likelihood for success in the United States, could a concern about apostasy be one reason for Obama's persistent downplaying of his Muslim background? If Obama confirmed publicly that he was born and raised a Muslim--even as a very nominal one--but left the Islamic religion of both of his fathers and chose Christianity, it would surely be unpopular with Muslims.

Even worse,

Sharia forbids an adult male Muslim from leaving the religion upon penalty of death. The four major Sunni schools of Islamic law expressly prohibit Muslim women and children from doing so as well....Both the Maliki and Hanbali schools prescribe death for a child who leaves Islam and does not return at the age of maturity.

"While Obama now lives in the freedom of the United States," Sookhdeo says, "he is at the same time under the judgement of the apostasy law, a disturbing mandate of an unreformed system of sharia now being agitated for and/or implemented around the globe." If Obama "believes this judgement upon him and others is repugnant, will he speak out for religious freedom, and say that the Apostasy Law has no place within Islam or the modern world and must be changed?"

Good question.

Interestingly, Obama shares his apostasy status with master terrorist and Grecian-formula enthusiast Osama bin Laden. Osama was declared an apostate by Spanish Islamic scholars."

If any part of this story is true, I believe the candidate has a responsibility to explain to us what his views are regarding this matter, before we give him a chance to be the "Leader of the free world". And, the part about penalty of death for leaving Islam, really scares me that "My President" is in danger of being killed by some fanatical religious individual while he is on one of his foreign trips, representing the USA.

Ferdi

Posted by: ferdinandhutchinson | December 20, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Go Hillary go; Obama is not qualified to be President of the United States at a time of war. Bush has taught us that; it seems the Obama supporters can't take criticism which they so easily dish out. The truth shall set you free. Hillary 2008 all the way.

Posted by: Carlyle_R | December 20, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I dont think I could vote for an "experienced" politician.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | December 20, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

With the nature of the twisted, spinning GOP I couldn't blame Obama for voting "present."

Besides, all of this B.S. is simply making Obama appear more resilient, and thus more capable of taking on the GOP in a general election, which he will do with ease.

Posted by: thecrisis | December 20, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I, as a Democrat, will never EVER vote for Hillary Clinton. She is killing the party with slash and burn politics

The Democratic Party (1792-2008) RIP

Posted by: gobanana910 | December 20, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton's "experience": (1) Goldwater Republican, (2) Class president at Vassar, (3) attorney, (4) wife, (5) mother, (6) First Lady of Arkansas, (7) First Lady of USA, (8) US Senator. Apart from being a senator, what experience has she had in running the government?

Posted by: marmac5 | December 20, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's experience in the Senate: 2.3 billion dollars in earmarks for New York, with a good amount going for private companies who then donate to her (LA Times). Combined with her Iraq and Iran vote, that makes it impossible for me to see her experience as valuable.

Posted by: goldie2 | December 20, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

GO Clinton, she's the one with the experience in the hard work of running the government.

Barak is experience at running from the hard votes. 130 "present" votes, 50 of those democratic moves.

80 were barak DUCKING , making certain he had no paper trail

Posted by: newagent99 | December 20, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is combing the whole country digging up dirt on Obama. The current question is was Obama 'present' for voting in the Illinois senate. Well was Hillary 'present' for voting in the Arkansas senate? Oh, I forgot Hillary was not an elected official in Arkansas. Now how many bills did Hillary pass during Bill Clinton's presidency? None, because Hillary was not an elected official during the Clinton presidency. But who cares, she claims all that time as experience. This is a job interview Hillary. You shouldn't lie about your experience on your resume when you apply for a job.

Posted by: Helen.McGrady | December 20, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Can I get a commitment from the three of you to NOT vote for Hillary Clinton if she's the Democratic candidate in the General Election?

Posted by: JakeD | December 20, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Ok... just how in the hell are two congresspersons who have NEVER SERVED WITH OBAMA in the ILLINOIS Legislature qualified to know what Obama's votes signified? Oh I forgot... in the Clinton administration being "qualified and experienced" are just adjectives they toss about. Proximity is not experience. Nor is the daily talking point from Hillary FACT.

The stink -- stench, reeking odor, green fume -- from the Clinton campaign proves just how desperate they are. And to pull this stuff right before Christmas -- "oh be of good cheer" -- indicates her internal polling is showing she is going to LOSE IOWA and NEW HAMPSHIRE, South Carolina, Nevada and the rest of states will follow.

Posted by: jade_7243 | December 20, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

She set up two websites today to attack Obama. Where has all that aura of invincibility gone ?

Go, Obama, go !

Posted by: vbalfour | December 20, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Desparation in Hillaryland? Stay tuned as "bombs away" starts. GOP's loving this one! At least Bonnie & Clyde robbed banks and not the taxpayer. Earmarks, Hillary? Saudi and other Arab contributors to the library and your campaign. You'd take money from the devil if he had a Master Card! Yuck!

Posted by: Smokescreen | December 20, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

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