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An Outbreak of Goodwill in Nevada

By Peter Slevin
RENO, Nevada -- It was a case of tit-for-tat niceness.

At a time when the Democratic candidates have not been showing each other much neighborly goodwill, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) started it. He called a press conference Monday afternoon in Reno, Nevada, to say kind things about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and her husband Bill.

The Clintons, he said, "have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues."

Eighty-two minutes later, the Clinton campaign followed suit.

A statement issued in Hillary Clinton's name said, "When it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes -- President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King -- Senator Obama and I are on the same page."

With his press conference and sessions with network reporters from ABC, NBC and CBS, Obama hoped to hit the mute button on a messy bit of sniping over race. The two campaigns had been dueling with increasing intensity over remarks made by the Clintons and their supporters, which prompted a debate over who was using race and how.

Obama called the recent tone "unfortunate." One day after accusing Clinton of "running down the other candidates," he said he does not want the combatants to engage in "so much tit-for-tat, back and forth, that we lose sight of why we're doing this."

He said Clinton and former North Carolina senator John Edwards are "good people" and "patriots" who are running for president "because they think they can lead the country to a better place."

"I may disagree with Sen. Clinton or Sen. Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals," Obama said. "We're all Democrats. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. We all believe that regardless of race or gender, that people should have equal opportunity."

Asked whether he would fire staff members who spread negative information, Obama said he would "speak out forcefully" if he learned of supporters "engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or in some way is unfair."

Not to miss the moment, Clinton issued a statement saying "we must seek common ground." She cited "a lot of discussion and back and forth, much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts."

"Our party and our nation is bigger than this," Clinton's statement said. "Let's come together, because I want more than anything to ensure that our family stays together on the front lines of the struggle to expand rights for all Americans."

The ceasefire came on the eve of the final Democratic debate before Nevada's Saturday caucuses, and the first one since New Hampshire. The candidates will meet on a Las Vegas stage at 6 p.m. PST. A dozen days later, they will compete in the South Carolina primary, where the black vote could prove decisive.

At his 10-minute Reno press conference, Obama would not say whether he thought the Clintons had been racially insensitive.

"I don't want to rehash that," Obama said. "I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think that they care about the African American community, they care about all Americans and they want to see equal rights and equal justice in this country."

He said he does not believe race was a significant factor in his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

"Keep in mind there was a gender gap that cut both ways," Obama said. "I won among men. She won among women. If it had been a racial issue, there's no reason why that would have been something that was unique to women as opposed to men. You saw what happened in Iowa."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 14, 2008; 11:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Obama, in Nevada, Talks Electability

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Bill Clinton's Legacy of Racism
Few know, for instance, that Clinton's uncle, Raymond "Buddy" Clinton, who employed Bill's stepdad, Roger, in his Hot Springs Buick dealership, was the dominant influence in young Clinton's life, a role that continued right through Uncle Ray's successful efforts in helping the future president beat the Vietnam War draft.

But according to historian Roger Morris, Uncle Ray had a dark side. While researching his Clinton biography, "Partners in Power," Morris says he found "convincing evidence of the prominent car dealer's links to organized crime and to the then-still formidable Ku Klux Klan."

In 1964 Clinton mailed his grandmother a postcard with a picture of a smiling black youth standing next to a giant watermelon. Such a postcard was considered completely innocuous in the Arkansas of his youth.
In 1989, then-Gov. Bill Clinton was sued as one of three top Arkansas officials responsible for the intimidation of black voters in his state as part of a legal action brought under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, NewsMax.com has learned.

And a year earlier the U.S. Supreme court ruled that Clinton had wrongfully tried to overturn the election of a black state representative in favor of a white Democrat.

In the 1989 case, "the evidence at the trial was indeed overwhelming that the Voting Rights Act had been violated," reported the Arkansas Gazette on Dec. 6, 1989. (The paper later became the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.)

"Plaintiffs offered plenty of proof of monolithic voting along racial lines, intimidation of black voters and candidates, other official acts that made voting harder for blacks," the Gazette said.

A federal three-judge panel ordered Clinton, then Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark and then Secretary of State William J. McCuen to draw new boundaries to give maximum strength to black voters.

"Until last year," the Gazette complained at the time, "in more than a thousand legislative elections, the [Arkansas] delta region sent not one black to the legislature. Last year, the federal district court split a multimember district in Crittenden County that had submerged the large number of black voters in the county."

In a related 1988 case, Clinton had tried to replace a duly elected African-American state representative with a white candidate, only to be stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The court, by an 8-0 vote, ruled against an appeal by Gov. Bill Clinton and other Arkansas officials that had challenged the election of Ben McGee as a state legislator," the Associated Press reported on Dec. 12, 1988. McGee is an African-American.

"The case began when blacks in Crittenden County filed a voting rights lawsuit attacking the county's at-large system for electing two House members. The suit contended that the system deprived black voters of a chance to elect a black to the House.

A special three-judge federal court had agreed earlier in the year that the system violated the federal Voting Rights Act.

The three-judge court threw out the results of a March 8 primary election in which the black candidate McGee was defeated by James Stockley, the white candidate handpicked by Gov. Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

"That was tantamount to election on Nov. 8, since no Republican ran for the seat," the AP said.

Clinton and the other state officials had argued that the federal court improperly threw out the results of the first primary and ordered a new election.

The Supreme Court ruling came as the then-governor was fighting another court battle to preserve racial profiling in his state, a tool that Clinton later criticized while president as a "morally indefensible, deeply corrosive practice."

But a decade earlier he approved the profiling of Hispanics by Arkansas State Police as part of a drug interdiction program in 1988, the Washington Times revealed in 1999.

"The Arkansas plan gave state troopers the authority to stop and search vehicles based on a drug-courier profile of Hispanics, particularly those driving cars with Texas license plates," the Times said.

"A federal judge later ruled the program unconstitutional," the paper reported. "A lawsuit and a federal consent decree ended the practice - known as the 'criminal apprehension program' the next year."

Then-Gov. Clinton, however, not only criticized the profiling ban; "at one point, [he] threatened to reinstate the program despite the court's ruling," the Times said.

"The state's position was to give away a ... program that we're now trying to get back," Clinton announced at the time, saying the race-based stop-and-search program was more important than even airport security measures.

Three years later, in 1991, Clinton actually did implement a modified version of the profiling program that prohibited the use of ethnic screening but allowed troopers to continue to stop cars on the highway at their discretion.

Hearing Clinton's condemnation of racial profiling in 1999, Roberto Garcia de Posada, executive director of the Hispanic Business Roundtable, complained that the then-president "had been a strong supporter of racial profiling against Hispanics in the past."

"He does not have the moral authority to lead a national campaign on this issue. If President Clinton truly meant what he said ... he should apologize to all those Hispanics who suffered this 'morally indefensible' practice, which he publicly supported," de Posada said.
After he was sued in the late 1980s by the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund for failing to enforce the Voting Rights Act in Arkansas, then-Gov. Bill Clinton suggested to a group of pro-segregation whites that they were being unfairly targeted by civil rights laws as a result of the South's loss in the Civil War, according to one-time Clinton administration Civil Rights Division nominee Lani Guinier.

"In the late 1980s, in a particularly tense meeting in southeastern Arkansas - a section of the Mississippi Delta region where antebellum social relations are still in many respects the order of the day - [Guinier's friend] Dayna [Cunningham] and a local LDF cooperating lawyer were part of a handful of black people there to discuss remedies for a highly contentious LDF voting rights suit," wrote Guinier in her 1998 memoir, "Lift Every Voice."

"The meeting turned sour when one of the local whites demanded to know why, in his view, the whites were always made to pay for others' problems. Other whites in the group began to echo his charge. ..."

Guinier continued:

"Bill Clinton, the lead defendant in the case, took to the podium to respond. In a tone of resignation, Clinton said, 'We have to pay because we lost.'" Guinier said Cunningham inferred that Clinton was referring to the South's Civil War loss as well as his loss in the court case.

"Clinton had so irresponsibly pandered to the backwards feeling of the white constituency" in his speech about the voting rights lawsuit, Cunningham told Guinier.

News of Clinton's attempt to pander to Arkansas whites who were angry that he'd lost a lawsuit for not enforcing the Voting Rights Act comes just hours after the ex-president accused Republicans of doing the same thing.

"They try to suppress black voting, they ran on the Confederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina, and from top to bottom the Republicans supported it," Clinton said of the GOP on Wednesday, when asked to comment on the continuing Trent Lott flap.

In fact, the Arkansas state flag added a single star above the state's name in 1923 to commemorate its membership in the Confederacy, a design that remained unaltered throughout Clinton's five terms as governor.

After tapping Guinier for the top Justice Department civil rights post in 1993, Clinton abruptly yanked her nomination after critics labeled her a "Quota Queen." Guinier said she felt betrayed by Clinton, whom she considered a friend since their days together at Yale Law School, and was angered when he called her "anti-democratic" in a nationally televised address announcing he was scuttling her nomination.
EX-President Bill Clinton spent Wednesday afternoon playing golf at a country club accused of discriminating against blacks and Jews.

Jake Siewert, Clinton's rep, confirmed it was the second time Clinton has played at the Indian Creek Country Club about 20 miles north of Miami. He first played there a year and a half ago. Siewert said, "All venues are fully vetted," and dismissed allegations of racism and anti-Semitism as "not true."

But in next month's Talk magazine, Leah Nathans Spiro reports that the club - in one of Florida's most exclusive and wealthy enclaves - is rife with discrimination. And contrary to Siewert's claim, the restrictive membership policies have been reported on PAGE SIX and elsewhere.

Indian Creek Village mayor Len Miller, a Jew, said, "It's an embarrassment. I have this kind of home, in this kind of setting, but I have to tell people, 'I am not welcome at that club.'"

"There's no question about it, the club has anti-Semitic policies in place to keep out Jews," said Earl Barber, who was on the club's board for 14 years, and a member for 22. Barber, along with Alvah Chapman, a former chairman of Knight Ridder, and M. Anthony Burns, a trucking magnate, resigned their club memberships because of its "membership policies."

To add insult to injury, 14 of the island's 34 homes are owned by Jews, and although they are denied access to the club, a portion of the residents' property tax is used for the club's upkeep. Carl Icahn is the island's only Jewish resident who is also a member.

In the early '90s, the club had no African-American or Jewish members, sparking a complaint by 17 members. Even after that, only five Jewish members were allowed in over a period of five years, and there are still no blacks.

Miller notes that he refused to meet Clinton during his 1999 visit to Indian Creek because the president was playing at the anti-Semitic club. The snub even made the local news.

When Jeb Bush was slated to pay a visit to the club, Miller informed the Florida governor of the restrictive policies, and Bush cancelled.

Timothy J. May, the head of Indian Creek Country Club's legal committee, refused to speak on an official basis, but noted as an individual member, "Every club I belong to has bigots in it; hopefully they don't run the club . . . We won't let people into the club merely because they buy a home on the island." May added that if they did let every island resident join, "the next thing you know we'll have a drug dealer in the club."
Browning had a long term extramarital affair with Clinton that lasted until just before he became president. Her account was corroborated by Arkansas state trooper Larry Patterson, who served as Clinton's bodyguard from 1986 through 1992.

"There's a gentleman who lives here in Little Rock, Arkansas by the name of 'Say' McIntosh," Patterson told "Hannity & Colmes." "He's a black activist."

"And anytime Bill Clinton was in and around Little Rock Mr. McIntosh would show up and put out leaflets on every car within a five block area. He would have face-to-face confrontations with Gov. Clinton. And many times after those confrontations we would be in the car leaving and he would refer to Mr. McIntosh using the 'n' word."

Adding substance to the charges, an audio recording that surfaced in the mid-1990s suggests that racial slurs were a regular part of Clinton family conversations.

On the tape, Clinton's brother Roger discusses an altercation between one of his friends and a local Little Rock African-American teen.

"Some junior high n----r kicked Steve's ass while he was trying to help his brothers out; junior high or sophomore in high school. Whatever it was, Steve had the n----r down. However it was, it was Steve's fault. He had the n----r down, he let him up. The n----r blindsided him."

Apparently unaware of the Clinton racial slur charges, former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater praised his former boss's record on race during the Hall of Fame induction, and even referred to him once as "this soul brother."

The Clinton 'n'-word allegations have been covered by the Fox News Channel, talk radio and the Internet, but have otherwise been ignored by the establishment press.

Posted by: kreame1 | January 16, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading in the press that Obama is a uniter, and all that Hillary is doing is issuing petty attacks.

In truth, it seems like the vast majority of the attacks are coming from rabid Obamaites. They're digging their heels in, taking comments out of context, and dominating the media. They're insulting Hillary in ways that are so nasty (gender, marital problems) that it disgusts me. The same people that are desiring change, hope, and revolution are conducting themselves in typical inside-the-Beltway fashion. So much for "change".

Folks, please remember that Obama is a man. He's not a god. Just because the fact that he is a viable candidate is revolutionary doesn't mean *he* is a revolutionary.

I don't want an orator as president. Orators don't do anything except blow air. I want a workhorse. A policy wonk. Someone who knows what they're talking about, and are willing to fight for it. So far, the only candidate that's showing me some real possibilities for concrete policy changes, not "change" in the abstract, is Hillary.

The media could do us all a favor and serve the civil discourse by stopping the constant pandering to the LCD. The presidency isn't a contest for who admires MLK the most, or whether women or blacks are more oppressed. It's a contest on whose got the best policies and the best chance of passing them. Show me Obama's changes, and let's see if I might change my mind.

Posted by: notablanda2000 | January 16, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Clinton seems to regret her clumsy remarks about MLK, but last night's debate was not all prettiness. Clinton raised the terrorism issue and suggested, at least implicitly, that the U.S. could face terrorist attacks of the sort that the UK faced after the new prime minister took over there. When pressed, she didn't say outright that Obama was a risky choice, but what else could she mean?

I hope such scare tactics do not work. I am far more comfortable with Obama's judgment in such a situation than Clinton's. Clinton didn't even read the intelligence reports before the Iraq vote. Not too long ago (Feb 2005) she was saying Iraq was going quite well. I don't think this is the kind of experience we need in the White House.

Posted by: wesfromGA | January 16, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

jamila wrote:
"Clintons do nothing except playing spins. In New Hampshire, when they knew they were at the verge of defeat, Clintons & her minks started spinning rumour in the air. Well, everything is hush-hush, winning is the strategy. No matter how evil is the policy."

Thanks jamila -- you just described the Bush Administration to a T. And until Americans start demanding more from their elected leaders, we can expect more of the same. Deal with it.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | January 16, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

THE NATIONAL REVIEW GOT IT RIGHT:

"We believe that Romney is a natural ally of social conservatives. He speaks often about the toll of fatherlessness in this country.

Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy.

More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush's virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination, by our lights. In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, WE VOTE MITT ROMNEY!

FORTUNE MAGAZINE GOT IT RIGHT:

Given Romney's business acumen, it's no surprise he's assembled one of the most successful political money machines ever. "Romney is an incredibly aggressive and efficient fundraiser," says Vogel, who attributes it to his private-sector skills. In April, when he was still relatively unknown nationally, Romney made headlines when his campaign reported it had blown past the rest of the Republican field and raised $23 million in the first quarter!

People who know Mitt won't shut up about how smart and pragmatic and decisive he is. "Mitt never takes anything at face value," says Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia's business school and a Romney (and former Bush administration) economic advisor. "He's constantly questioning." Says Fraser Bullock, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on the Olympics: "He's not an ideologue. He makes decisions based on researching data more deeply than anyone I know. As people get to know him better, they'll see an extremely competent, strong leader." !!

South Carolina and Nevada are next, Texas will be ready!! ROMNEY 2008!!

Posted by: voiceoreason | January 16, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Look! This is the dirtiest trick from the OBAMA camp, want to put a spin on this to create a win win situation. what they want is crying foul first and brought race up to mix the whole thing, creating a confusion only naive people are drawn in and the media too, then playing nice guy part to make it look like they are cool. Obama is so good at this. He want a double standard for himself and want the press to treat him that way. Hearing rep Spangel, the highest black ranking officer from Newyork to say that he is stupid to bring the race card up to see that this guy is illeterate about black history and to see that people are not naive after all. Obama no no way, this country will go into a sinkhole with his governship. It like Bush who has no experience and a whole lot of smart people around him that draws us into this Iraq mess: advisor Condolesa Rice, other like what that guy name the general who conduct the Irap war, he is black and genuine. Look you need a president who is sharp and who is not so reliant on others. Obama does not give me the confidence that he has the experience to lead. I would not vote for him period. Election is not a game that we play, erase and start over. This is about our country. Hillary is right! She gets my vote. I am not putting up with fire and see how it extinguishe itself. I am not playing with fire. Playing with Obama now is playing with fire. I am not ready for an inexperienced legislator who has just four year in the Senate. Come on, this is your president. Please for the sake of our children and grand children, vote Hillary. Go Bill, go Hillary

Posted by: anthonyhillary08 | January 16, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Interesting series of posts.

There are two issues I feel compelled to comment on. First, I am truly amazed that someone with Hilary's elite education and vast political experience would choose such a racially-charged analogy to make her point about the value of rhetoric vs. action. I can only believe this must have been calculated, as I certainly wouldn't consider Hilary or Bill to be naive or stupid.

Secondly, I have had it up to my eyeballs with lies and cover-ups. Haven't we had enough of that under George W. Bush? When you say or do something wrong, admit it ! If Hilary truly wanted us to believe she is humble and human like the rest of us, she would have immediately followed her insensitive remarks with an unequivocal apology -- without any prompting by the Obama supporters.

I think this country is desperately in need of positive role model leaders who display honesty, integrity and humility. I see these qualities continuously demonstrated by Obama, and I continue to be impressed by his ability to overcome the odds he faces as a minority candidate. He truly does "lead by example" and -- even in this latest round of sucker-punching -- he is teaching us all about the meaning of courage and character. Whether it's JFK, MLK, or BHO, we are all seeing history being made before our eyes. I have been excited about Obama's message and presidential chances since he appeared with John Kerry in 2004. So far, he remains the shining star of the presidential candidate field. We are lucky to have him in this race -- Americans should be proud of this new-generation leader.

Posted by: marykay.cousseillant | January 15, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

BARACK OBAMA. Class, dignity, intelligence, integrity, honesty and compassion.
THIS IS WHAT AMERICA HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR!
PLEASE FELLOW AMERICANS, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO STEP INTO THE LIGHT!

Senator Obama, I applaud you sir.

Posted by: tjfrmla | January 15, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Linda Franke,

Draft dodgers and Ivy Leaguers, huh? You mean like the Clintons? LOL

Posted by: DonRitchie | January 15, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I believe Hillary is receiving entirely too much help from the paranoids of the previous Clinton administration. Knowing how to fight isn't necessarily a reason to do so. Lets use I less and we and you more.

Posted by: tomjand | January 15, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"And of course an hour after yesterday's press conference, Hillary follows. Can you imagine anything more phoney."

Come ON people. I for one wil be happy to see any of the three Democratic Frontrunners nominated: any of them would bring a new beginning wiht new ideas and a new vision to the US.

But give a candidate a break! Hillary responds as she should by agreeing to tone down the rhetoric, and you pan her. If she had not responded you probably would ahve panned her too. This is exactly the sort of Hillary-bashing that will feed the Republicans if she is nominated. All kudos to Obama for the opening gambit, but surely some too for Hillary - after all, she has responded, which Edwards is yet to do.

Keep you eyes on theprize people! A new beginning with a Democratic President (whoever s/he may be), or (if Guiliani does somehow score the nomination) a continuation with the same divisive and world-wrecking approach that the GWB Repubs have given us.

Posted by: anthonyrimell | January 15, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I am not interested in who gets the most props for name games. I am interested in who can make a difference positively -- economically and politically for this country. The candidate that focuses on the main thing -- problems, and how to resolve them, not name calling and one upmanship should get the job!

Posted by: saamar | January 15, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

First of all, perceptions are not truth. Just because you perceive this or that doesn't make it true. Opinions don't mean anything. When you change your opinion for whatever reason - especially in light of new information, then what is the worth of your previous opinion? Nothing at all. The one who doesn't change their opinion based on that new info, you label a fool. Hell, Europeans thought that the world was flat at a time when other cultures knew it was a sphere. However, their opinions changed with the introduction of new information.

The issue with Robert Johnson and his comments is just a strike against the Clintons because the damage that a dog does is the responsibility of the owner. He should just stay out of the political spotlight.

To lindafranke1952: Just because Obama was born at a specific time doesn't make him less serious than anyone else. In fact, Obama is one year older than Bill Clinton when he ran for President. Your vote doesn't count more than anyone else's. It's not 1.25 votes, nor 1.5 votes nor 2 votes - it's 1 vote, same as everyone else.

I think that the Clinton camp is actually scared. Nothing can erase the bad choice of words that was indeed twisted and exacerbated by the press. However the addition of Robert Johnson's comments do not help them any. Instead of playing the victim role as Hillary did at UNLV, Obama was actually victimized by Johnson and Bill Clinton with the aid of the press. As closely as the Democratic race is being watched by NV and SC, the voters may make her pay for it in votes. Their polarizing tactic may backfire on them. I think that Hillary is going to be penalized for the actions and words of those in her camp.

I recall that Hillary didn't want to deal with attacks on her record by Edwards and Obama during the UNLV debate. Something that should be in bounds. However, to allow a very visible person to introduce race on their behalf is low, cowardly and worse hypocritical. Cowardly on the point that you didn't want to make the comments yourself and claim plausible deniability. I think she has just about cut her throat with regard to NV and SC.

Just because he used two ideas by prominent men of recent times, does that mean that he compares himself to them? I don't think so. He gives due credit to the originator of the idea and explains his overall philosophical approach based on their wisdom. Why wasn't President Johnson similarly attacked for saying "We shall overcome?"

Bill and Hillary are nasty and under-handed and disingenuous for their tactics. I would like the voters to make up their minds about what she has done. They will be the ultimate judge and inheritors of their judgment and actions on this matter.

I applaud Obama for taking the high road on this and displaying grace, restraint and focus on the purpose. Further, to have the press conference about Kenya and it's problems is the kind of universal concern for the world and global issues that we need. It shows initiative and genuine sensitivity, not the "me too" positioning of Hillary an Bill.

Posted by: solomon568 | January 15, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Last week he made a radio address to the people of Kenya asking for calm.

WHERE'S THE BEEF???? this is a reason for voting for someone? talk is cheap,2 insignificant years in the senate and you can compare yourself to MLK????? can a inspiring WHITE CANDIDATE make the same claim???what is his stance on stem cell,the economy,Roe v Wade,the middle east and all the other questions.130 present votes in the Illonois senate.means he stand for nothing.put it this way, If Clinton has the same minuscule resume as Obama, WILL ANYONE TREAT HER SERIOUSLY???? seems like being a strong female is a bigger barrier that race.it's not news to put up a sign that says iron my shirt,but try that with a racially insensitive comment and I bet it will be in front page of any newspaper.

Posted by: tony1161 | January 15, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

There is NO truth to the statement that Obama compared himself to MLK or JFK. Those who have listened to his prepared speeches (including journalists and everyday people like me and you)have compared his oratory style (his speech making style)to that of MLK and JFK.


Posted by: info | January 15, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama knows the Clintons want to keep the spotlight on race so he will be thought of as the "black candidate".

But with this move, he defeats those attacks without having to stoop to their level.

Now we can all stop talking about the 1960s and get back to the 21st century.

Thanks for that, Obama.

Posted by: bourassa1 | January 15, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Beyond the questions of race and gender, there is only one candidate in this primary season who has systematically attempted to game the primary rules -- in New Hampshire Clinton surrogates harassed Obama poll monitors to limit the effectiveness of GOTV efforts; and now proxies with close ties to the Clinton campaign are pushing a lawsuit against the Culinary Workers Union as punishment for the union's backing of Obama, and as a way to limit the impact of the union's vote.

The candidates can say whatever they want to say, but for those of us who have given time and money to the Democratic party in recent years -- New Democrats who helped win the 2006 election for the party -- the split is already beginning. I think there are many of us who crave a new kind of politics, which deals with the issues, and with each candidates' ability to win make progress on those issues. A candidate must win on his or her merit.

However, in order to get there you have to hold candidates to a standard. The Clintons so far have failed to live up to that standard. They have run a truly nasty, Nixonian style campaign.

Posted by: JPRS | January 15, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

What can you say about this man, Sen. Obama. He's just good as gold. Doesn't he just touch you with every move. Last week he made a radio address to the people of Kenya asking for calm. He knows they know who he is, so he made an attempt, in the middle of the campaign to think about Kenyans! They don't have a vote, but he has the whole world in perspective.
And of course an hour after yesterday's press conference, Hillary follows. Can you imagine anything more phoney.

Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air for all Americans.

Posted by: ajs1pres | January 15, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Tonight at the debate Clinton, Obama and Edwards (Kucinich too if they let him in to the event) should as a group make a statement that they reject the politics of personal destruction. That any of their supporters who persist in racial or gender based attacks, innuendos or commentary will be denounced for these efforts. They should also advise the media that attempts to bait the campaigns into continuing intra party fights along these lines will not be tolerated.

And finally, the candidates should apologize to the voters for the ugly, damaging and dangerous turn the election has taken. It will harm the Democratic party, the individual candidates and the country if this is allowed to continue.

A majority of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. We need to step back
and redirect these campaigns before they lead us to fall off the rails completely.

Posted by: rdklingus | January 15, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

To Linda Francke,

Barack Obama comes out and quells a racial tone, that Hilary started and blamed him for and yet you attack him for preventing the democratic party from getting divided. What happened was, Karl Rove 101, when you do something wrong, you attack your opponent, thats what Hilary did. They want Race to be brought up in the debate, to ignite the racist in most of us.
Obama did a noble thing, even if you want Hilary as a president, you need to give respect when it is due. Obama showed Class, Leadership and Unity, with what he did.
Dont be a bigot, support your candidate but dont get ugly while doing it

Posted by: ebinum | January 15, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party, over the length of this man's life, has been the party of inclusiveness, diversity, and equality of opportunity in this great Country of ours. There is no reason to argue over one's role, when both candidates have done their very best to further these ideals. They are both good Democrats and both will do much for further progress on these issues in the future, no matter what office they hold. Democrats are at the forefront of change in an everchanging Country and world. Democrats enjoy the knowledge and love of the same traditional values that Republicans love, but recognise the need to adjust to a new world. Republicans argue for tradition, while Democrats argue for honoring tradition but facing today's and tomorrow's problems and issues with forethought and imagination. Imagination is something lacking in the Grand Old Party. If I ever am presented with a Republican hopeful who has a vision of the future and not a vision of the past, I might be persuaded to vote for him or her. I felt that way when Colin Powell was thinking about running as a Presidential Candidate. I'm still looking for such a Republican, but I sure don't see him or her at present. I will vote for the Democratic candidate and look to the future while being tempered by a knowledge and appreciation for this Republic's history.

Posted by: HaroldFCrockettJr | January 15, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Clintons do nothing except playing spins. In New Hampshire, when they knew they were at the verge of defeat, Clintons & her minks started spinning rumour in the air. Well, everything is hush-hush, winning is the strategy. No matter how evil is the policy.

Clintons are power hungry - all they want ascending to White House to get another cozy deal with an intern - probabaly Monica!

Posted by: jamila_morsheda | January 15, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse


Keeping my eye out for the nasty people.
A bit tired of Rovian tactics.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 15, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

To mw_lovelace: I'm sick of reading that Obama's "campaign" started this. Are you black? If you were, you'd probably be offended by what Hillary said, too. Bill, I gave the benefit of the doubt, because what he said could easily have been taken out of context. Once I read his explanation for what he said, it made sense. Hillary has explained herself abotu what she said, too, but she doesn't get a pass. Her sentiments were that it took a president to get it done - nevermind the fact that many blacks were beaten, had dogs and fire hoses used on them, jailed - including MLK himself, and had to march and sit-out and protest, violently and nonviolently before white politicians in DC would even listen. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't always blacks alone doing it, but she minimized their struggles and MLK's significance in saying that it was all LBJ's leadership.

That's like saying a black guy can try to be successful all he wants, but he's going to need help from the white guy, eventually, which in America is true to some extent, usually, but who comes out and says that (besides me)?

A politican, of all people, you would think, would stay away from things that could skew who people vote for one way or the other. Obama may be wordy, but at least he knows which words to say. After 7+ years of W, this country desparately needs some kind of inspiration - if it starts with words, then so be it.

Besides, if you knew about LBJ the person, you probably wouldn't tout him as the end-all be-all of racial injustice in America, especially hailing from TX, just like you wouldn't say that about Abraham Lincoln, even though these presidents did help pass legislation which directly impacted African-Americans in this country. Not to undercut Lincoln - though he was adamantly against slavery - he was not for other races being equal to whites.

Why would Hillary even cite that instance in time, to begin with? Because Barack compares himself to MLK and JFK - two charismatic people who brought people from all walks of life together through active politics and strong rhetoric (though RFK wire-tapped the former)? She was attempting to make insignificant his strong "talk", by comparing it to that of which he himself (and millions of others) were probably inspired, but instead made herself out to be a bigot.

This, again proves to me, that she like other middle- and upper-class whites may understand and be sympathetic to the plight of minority suffering and aware of that history in this country, but do not understand the psychology involved.

It's like when someone describes Obama as "clean" or "articulate". He's an intelligent, educated, middle-class (moving on to upper-class) American, what do you expect him to sound like? My point is, there's too much of a "surprise" factor, involved, and that in itself can be seen as offensive.

It's like Chris Rock said in a comedy special back in '96 on what whites said about Colin Powell: " 'He speaks so well.' That's not a compliment. That's [something] you say about [mentally impaired] people that can talk. What did he have a stroke the other day? He's a [--] educated man, how did you expect him to sound? [--] What voice were you lookin' to come out of his mouth? 'Ima drop me a bomb tuh-day'."

Note Bill O'Reilly's rant on going to Harlem. The whole time he spoke, he was being underhandedly racist. It is a Bill O, and a guy from Fox News, for that matter, so I wouldn't expect much from that bunch anyway.

I hope that this post has been insight for some of you.

Posted by: fbutler1 | January 15, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Linda Francke --

"Obama has more in common with the draft dodgers, people who were students in Ivy League schools in the 1960's,..."

Like Bill Clinton, for instance?

Posted by: kparrparr | January 15, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

With all the clinton bashing that is going on, I can feel that every woman,mother sisters,wives that were marginalized and given less than the respect they deserve at home or at work will see to it that their voices will be heard. and all the people that the non racial statements made by the the clintons themselves that the Obama camp and the media had tried to twist into a racial issue will backfire on the Obama camp.I for one will stand with the people who stood with me for the last 20 years than with Obama,he compares himself to MLK after 2 unenventful years in the senate. Mr Obama, you were not attacks ,jailed or shot for your ideas,YOUR NO MLK.

Posted by: tony1161 | January 15, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hillary had a unique opportunity to take the high ground when she appeared on Meet the Press Sunday. But, she didn't. Now that Barack Obama who by the way, is too shallow, according to Hillary, takeS the lead in showing who has the insight and fortitude to move this country forward. But, lets give her some credit...she did released a statement...82 minute later. hehehe!Always playing catch up.

Posted by: bob_roy_1 | January 15, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

lindafranke says

"JFK had a political background that not many people could compare with."

-Let's see. War hero with a Senate background. Sounds like McCain, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, Jim Webb, and many many others. Of course of our recent presidents, George W, Bush didn't go to war. Neither did Bill Clinton. Neither did Reagan. George H.W. Bush did, and Nixon did. So did LBJ... which brings us back to Kennedy. Wow, look at all these politicians who went to war! And a lot of them had more experience in government than did JFK when he ran for president. What point are you trying to make here?

"Get real people. Obama has NOTHING in common with the messages these two heroes delivered other than physical similarities. Anyone can become a 'student' of history but the affect is NOT the same."

-True, Obama does not have a military record. He does have the experience of living overseas - JFK never did that, nor did Hillary. He was also president of the Harvard Law Review - again, true of neither Kennedy nor Clinton. You may have heard of it? Not an easy gig to get... means he's pretty smart, and knows the law - yes, and history - better than most. Hint: in a president, this is a good thing.

"He is attempting to garner votes from the young by comparing himself to people that lived and died while Obama at 6 yrs. old was living in Jakarta and less than three years old when JFK was assassinated."

-So the you disapprove of anyone living learning from/modeling our behavior on anyone who has died? In that case, history classes are worthless. Tell me, do you believe in having heroes? And - as an agnostic, I may not be the person to say this, but isn't that the whole point of organized religion and/or philosophy? Once again, what's your point?

"Most serious voters remember these historic happenings because we lived it."

-So by your estimation, no one under the age of 43 is a serious voter. Good way to disenfranchise most of the country.

"Obama has more in common with the draft dodgers, people who were students in Ivy League schools in the 1960's, than he has with these historic figures. Honestly, he wasn't even in high school when the Vietnam war ended. "

-Now you're not even attempting to make sense. 1, neither of these "historic figures" served in Vietnam. Kennedy was dead, and MLK was a preacher who believed in non-violence. 2, why the gratuitous reference to 'Ivy League' schools? Students from a great many schools were opposed to and protested the Vietnam War. Kent State, for example. 3, Obama by your own admission was too young for both military service and protest during the Vietnam years, so you're grasping for reasons to project your own poorly-informed suspicion and dislike onto an undeserving target.

Did your illogical rant have a point?

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 15, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is Obama showed leadership. And he showed personal character. All the Clintons can do is run down their opponents, when they are not lying about "experience". Hillary takes credit for everything good that happened during the Clinton years, but was conveniently out of the room for Monica, the pardons, etc., etc.

Here's what I do not get: everyone who is for Clinton thinks Bush lied. Yet they prefer someone who has lied all her career, and is lying now. They want someone who unabashedly supported the Iraq war (until it turned bad), concedes Obama was DEAD ON about it before it started, and their best line is to quibble about an utterance he made to protect his party's nominees (he's a politician!).

Obama was right on Iraq. He is brutally honest, even about himself (else this whole drug business would not have come to light). He is smart and inspires Americans instead of pandering to partisan rivalries and racial prejudice. He's emotionally balanced. Best of all, his election would shatter the politics of the race pimps like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. You COULD NOT ask for more in a candidate. To turn to a female clone of Richard Nixon would just be insane.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 15, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

My word. Obama, in the face of the Clintons and the HRC campaign urinating on him while telling everyone "It's raining" pulls a masterful stroke of diplomacy that leaves the Clintonistas looking very foolish. People like svreader and lovelace can't appreciate the Solomonic wisdom displayed by Obama because they are closed-minded and narrow.

What Obama may lack in experience he certainly surpasses in grace and wisdom. How very presidential. May Obama be the nation's next President.

Posted by: meldupree | January 15, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Although I like Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, both and their already history making campaigns (I can like them both because I don't vote) Mrs. Clinton started it first in New York in a celebration of Dr Martin Luther King's day...at least I saw it earlier in the news...then Mr. Obama followed suit. But what does it matter who did it first. It was finally done...now let's get to the issues, I am ready to watch that!

Posted by: poh123 | January 15, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse


glad to see obama took the highroad

a primary shouldnt become a bloodletting
because when its over we will all have to come together and not do the republicans work for them

and it doesnt work in obamas favor for this
to become a racial brawl

in the final analysis i could live with obama, hillary or edwards but i do believe obama is most viable choice of the moment

i believe that folk are tired of battlemode and would like to try to move beyond the politics of destruction that have so harmed america both domestically and in the world

i believe obama most sincerely believes in bringing us all together, that the others are still in battlemode and we have to move past that

i dont believe it will work for us longterm any more than it worked for the republicans

and i believe that obama is capable of changing the perception of america in the world

i believe that is critical in this mortal conflict with global fundamentalism - a conflict we cannot afford to lose

i believe hillary is capable of responding to polls and election dynamics but in her heart she is kinda oldschool (much like myself) as reflected in the unfortunate clinton political m o

and i believe obamas call for healing reflects the needs of our time and place,

granted he is relatively young but sometime thats whats called for - i can only hope that he will grow into the role

hillary has responded to polls with change slogans, likeability and stagecraft, whereas i believe obamas call for healing has a sincerity congruent with this historical moment and time

i respect hillary, and edwards, i just think status quo wont get it,

if we elect hillary we have basically chosen more of the same - clinton redux

i think obama is the real thing and that
he reflects a yearning for what america stands for at its best, the vision of what america could be -

something we, after 7 years of bush and 20 years of the rightwing ascendancy, so desperately need

----------------

rickydoc flowers: rootsblog


Posted by: arthurflowers | January 15, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Susan9, you complain about headlines that refer to Obama. I've been noticing the pictures that feature Hillary.

It looks like she's really happy to have Bob Johnson casting aspersions at her political opponent.

Posted by: FirstMouse | January 15, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

i LOVE THIS GUY BY THE MINUTE, HE'S JUST OBAMA, WHAT MORE CAN I SAY.

THE REALITY REMAINS THAT HE IS A SHEEP RUNNING AGAINST WOLVES.

I PRAY MAY BE, JUST MAY BE THIS SHEEP MAKES IT OUT ALIVE FROM THESE WOLVES


WE STILL LOVE HILLARY

BUT GO OBAMA WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU

OBAMA 08

Posted by: jsu4193k | January 15, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Nearly every headline in this paper starts with Obama! Please balance your coverage. Hillary Clinton is leading the race but you would never know it reading this paper.

Posted by: Susan9 | January 15, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

What does obama have in common with
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. other than color?
What does obama have in common with
John F. Kennedy other than a youth seeking the Presidency? JFK had a political background that not many people could compare with.
Get real people. Obama has NOTHING in common with the messages these two heroes delivered other than physical similarities. Anyone can become a "student" of history but the affect is NOT the same. He is attempting to garner votes from the young by comparing himself to people that lived and died while obama at 6 yrs. old was living in Jakarta and less than three years old when JFK was assassinated. Most serious voters remember these historic happenings because we lived it. Obama has more in common with the draft dodgers, people who were students in Ivy League schools in the 1960's, than he has with these historic figures. Honestly, he wasn't even in high school when the Vietnam war ended.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | January 15, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse

As much as this was a 'lets get this back to about the issues' move (and a good one, by Obama), it is still quite a tactic. Look at the smoke and fire that Bill is spitting out, in addition to people on the fringe of Hillary's campaign, such as Bob Johnson. Lets face it. Obama and his supporters have been issuing reactionary heat, for the most part. Obama's move to take the high road (and Hillary's obligatory ante) sets a big trip wire for Bill and some of these fringe types. It keeps race out of it, for now. But anything that remotely or faintly smells of an attack from the Clinton side about anything, will now hurt her negs a lot more than his. He just became a little (maybe a lot) more teflon.

Posted by: craig | January 15, 2008 5:47 AM | Report abuse

No wonder Mr. Obama is getting searched for on the internet via Google more than any other candidate (and this was not the case just a couple weeks ago). See:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=30

It is like one big spike upwards on the charts.

Posted by: davidmwe | January 15, 2008 5:32 AM | Report abuse

mw-lovelace: I did extensive research on this, and The Media is to blame. Obama had seemingly compared himself to MLK and JFK on the stump and The Media went to a lot of folks trying to get a response, they got several, including the Clintons, who had no choice. What happened then was a very good job of editing by The Media, to keep the story going and in many ways actually fed more into it.

Posted by: lylepink | January 15, 2008 4:48 AM | Report abuse

This to me is really strange. I mean, the Clinton people were caught red-handed in their race-baiting, and it really was pretty dirty.

Obama could have added it all up for people, and in the Nevada debate described the systematic pattern of low blows, ractism and distortion that's been coming from Hillary's campaign. And when Hillary did more of the same, he could have asked her "Have you left no sense of decency?" and everybody would understand that she hasn't.

Last week she has proven to America that she hasn't. I get why she got a break from the media, who are reporting this in their usual "he said, she said" manner, without acknowledging that all the biggest turds have been flying in the same direction. But I'm not sure why she got this reprieve from Obama. Does he think it helps his campaign to just let her get away with it?

Posted by: kripkenstein | January 15, 2008 2:32 AM | Report abuse

"Assume good faith", as Wikipedians say. Thank you, Barack Obama.

Posted by: TomJx | January 15, 2008 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Lovelace is right on! It was only minuets after the win in NH they were calling foul and the Tom Bradley effect. Eric Micheal Dyson on CNN and Hardball was screaming how the fine people were racist. They even got Donna Brazel into the action.Finaly the huff huff about race got to Clyburn. Check out my blog and see how I wrote about this happening 3 days ago. Ricksramblings-thoughts.blogspot.com

Posted by: ricksramblings | January 15, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

wow lovelace... you sound just like a Clinton soundbite.

Since when did "style" become such a bad thing?

Obama didn't make Hillary put her foot in her mouth of MLK, and he didn't even comment on the time.

Hillary dug a hole, then dug it deeper... and Obama has the grace to call and end to this debacle.

He will win both Nevada and SC... and then the joyous day of Super Tuesday awaits.

Posted by: Boutan | January 15, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Barack's campaign started this debate on race by questioning the remarks made by Hillary and Bill Clinton. He was losing support after he lost New Hampshire (after leading by as many as 15 points). He needed some way to slow down the Clinton campaign. That is why he started this and the press just believed what they were being told. They never even looked at the entire statements that were given. If they had they would have called him on it. Barack knows that he can not win on substance so he depends on style!!!

Posted by: mw_lovelace | January 15, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Senator Obama is someone we can all look up to. Unfortunately I doubt that the Hillary campaign will remain positive for more than a few days.

Anyway, no matter what happens, we Obama supporters should try to emulate his message and focus on the many positive things happening in this campaign...record turnout, renewed interest in politics and a real belief that the tone in Washington can finally change.

Posted by: ngatabaki | January 14, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Barack Obama for again showing the maturity, judgment, and magnanimity of a statesman-- so different from Hillary's tactics. This is a special man, one worthy of the respect of all, who may restore our greatness in the world.

Posted by: steveforester | January 14, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama, once again, demonstrated how he can see beyond the daily distractions and keep his eye on the prize...for the betterment of America and the change in the way politics is played out.

He will be able to bring NATIONS together the same way!

Bravo, Senator Obama.

Posted by: curtiswalker1 | January 14, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

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