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Obama Amps It Up

By Alec MacGillis
LOS ANGELES -- Somewhat overlooked Wednesday amid the hubbub over John Edwards's exit from the Democratic race was this: Barack Obama is slowly but surely ratcheting up his rhetoric against Hillary Clinton, building what amounts to a hard-edged closing case against his rival as the pair head into a high-stakes debate here tonight.

It has been a gradual buildup for Obama. After his defeat in Nevada, he started hitting Clinton in his stump speech for what he said were her misstatements on his record and platform, such as her charge that he was for a "trillion dollar tax increase on hard-working families" because he has said he is open to raising the $97,500 cap on salary taxed for Social Security. At his victory speech in South Carolina Saturday night, he broadened this out to a sweeping condemnation of Clinton's tactics as old politics. "Right now, that status quo is fighting back with everything it's got; with the same old tactics that divide and distract us from solving the problems people face," he said.

He has been carrying that theme forward all week, casting the opposition's criticisms as nothing but the defensive lashes of an establishment under siege. In his grandfather's home town of El Dorado, Kan., on Tuesday, he echoed the South Carolina speech in declaring that the nomination battle was "about the past versus the future." "It's about whether we settle for the divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today, or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation," he said.

But he took this a step further Wednesday in Denver, where he told a crowd of 9,000 in the University of Denver basketball arena (with thousands more listening in spillover areas elsewhere on campus) that Clinton -- without naming her name -- was not only the representative of old politics, but someone poorly positioned for the general election. It was the most explicit case against Clinton's electability he has made to date.

"We can be a party that tries to beat the other side by practicing the same do-anything, say-anything, divisive politics that has stood in the way of progress; or we can be a party that puts an end to it," he said. He continued: "We've reached Americans of all political stripes who are more interested in turning the page than turning up the heat on our opponents. That's how Democrats will win in November and build a majority in Congress. Not by nominating a candidate who will unite the other party against us, but by choosing one who can unite this country around a movement for change."

He made his attack on electability and effectiveness in office specific to trade, health care, and foreign policy. Voters, he said, "can't afford to wait another four years or another 15 years to get health care because we've put forward a nominee who can't bring Democrats and Republicans together to get things done." On the war in Iraq: "It's time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain...is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him by voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don't like; and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed."

He concluded: "It's not enough to say you'll be ready from Day One - you have to be right from Day One."
And he kept it up in Phoenix Wednesday night, telling a crowd of more than 10,000 inside Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum that his campaign was attracting "all the usual reactions from Washington," as he mixed together the criticisms from Clinton with the anonymous e-mails calling him a radical Muslim and accusing him of not saluting the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

It all added up, he said, to a "smear campaign just like we've seen in the past, the rubbing raw of racial divisions, making us suspicious of one another, all the strategies designed to make us afraid. You know, we don't need fear. We're tired of the politics of fear...We're tired of the smear campaigns. We're tired of the racial divisions. That's all in the past. We want to go forward."

It's strong stuff, and the Clinton campaign did its best to knock it down, calling the Denver speech -- which for all its tough lines was delivered in Obama's customary lofty tones -- an "angry screed" that was "certainly audacious, but not very hopeful."

It should be a good debate tonight.

By Washington Post Editor  |  January 31, 2008; 5:29 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Comments

Viva Cesar Chavez and Hilary,

I, for one, live in the trenches of life and not in the clouds. Meaningful change is concrete. Hilary Clinton understands this to her very core. I once knew a priest who spent nearly his entire life trying to inspire people broken by life to make change. It saddened me to hear him say that the only thing that really changed were the faces of those that he toiled to inspire. In the trenches of life I have met many a community organizer. Like Obama, who sought change by inspiring others to change but time and again, created only short-lived headlines and conflict and resolved nothing; though the hidden agenda may have been achieved. Barack Obama offers old medicine (Teddy) to new faces. Been there done that, no thanks. Obama is in it for himself and cannot be trusted, as in the case of the Maytag plant closures where he failed to speak up for the union workers while taking thousands of dollars in contribution from the owner of Maytag.

Hilary Clinton is her own person shining her own light in a world she has worked to make better in concrete terms. She embodies the pragmatic and the genius of action. I do not know her but I know this; she creates where others destroy, she nurtures and fights because she cares, she delivers the tools to build our own lives and in the process a just and stronger America.

In the memory of my mother and my grandmother whose burdens were heavy and for the future of my sons and daughters whose world is in peril, I support and join Hilary in her struggle for real and meaningful change. To my brothers and sisters in the Latino community, thank you for standing with Hilary to build the new coalition for change.

Posted by: truthteller52 | February 2, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama gave the money from ANY Rezco employees to charity. Ummm - I think Hillary has ad some trouble there too:

Clinton Donor Under a Cloud in Fraud Case
By MIKE McINTIRE and LESLIE WAYNE

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said yesterday that it would give to charity $23,000 it had received from a prominent Democratic donor, and review thousands of dollars more that he had raised, after learning that the authorities in California had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 fraud case.

The donor, Norman Hsu, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates since 2003, and was slated to be co-host next month for a Clinton gala featuring the entertainer Quincy Jones.

The event would not have been unusual for Mr. Hsu, a businessman from Hong Kong who moves in circles of power and influence, serving on the board of a university in New York and helping to bankroll Democratic campaigns.

But what was not widely known was that Mr. Hsu, who is in the apparel business in New York, has been considered a fugitive since he failed to show up in a San Mateo County courtroom about 15 years ago to be sentenced for his role in a scheme to defraud investors, according to the California attorney general's office.

Mr. Hsu had pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft and was facing up to three years in prison.

The travails of Mr. Hsu have proved an embarrassment for the Clinton campaign, which has strived to project an image of rectitude in its fund-raising and to dispel any lingering shadows of past episodes of tainted contributions.

Posted by: sheridan1 | January 31, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm wrong but... it seems the media, which are owned by those who contributed to Bush's campaign (Google this), are selectively reporting in order to encourage Obama's nomination, after which they will turn on his for his association with Tony Rezko, who, Chicago newspapers state, has a history of extorting large sums of money for campaign contributions to various government official in exchange for lucrative government contracts. He goes on trial on Feb. 25th, not until after Super Tuesday. The Illinois Governor has stated that Rezko is "an occupational hazard"of being in politics in Illinois. I voted twice for Obama for Senator, and agree with most of his positions. However, this Rezko thing is a time bomb. Check out the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun times on-line to get details of this thing. At least, they are reporting it.

Posted by: Boudica2 | January 31, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Okay folks. I can't read all these, but I have read enough.
Don't you think that the Clintons have scoured Obama's background looking for ANYTHING they can use? Did they not have to resort to a kindergarden essay about wanting to be President? Rezco is all they've got, which he had already disclsoeed and sent money back to. Do you REALLY think "The Republicans" can find something that the Clintons have not?
GET REAL!!!
As I have said before, I loved Bill Clinton. Since Nevada, I do not like him at all and I have lost all respect for them both. Bill Clinton is a MASTER at distorting the truth but it wasn't until after Iowa that he started doing it. After Iowa, I can just see him picking up the phone and calling Karl Rove - "Okay, Karl - give me the playbook." He promised his wife that if she stayed with him, she would be President some day and by gosh, he's going to MAKE SURE OF IT!.
Senators Obama and Clinton are very close on policy. Obama actually has two more years experience as an ELECTED official. He has been able to connect with people who have never voted before as well as young people voting for the first time. As many on this thread have said, they will not vote for Hillary. It's just the Democratic mafia unstead of the Republican mafia.

McCain is not loved by Republicans but as they say, they will "fall in line." The ONE THING that can unte Republicans is Hillary Clinton being our nominee. Think about all the stuff they can bring up, from Whitewater to Impeachemnt, that some young people are only vaugely aware of.

Obama is The Real Thing. If you can't see it, you are up to your eye lids in cynicism.
Obama/Richardson '08! Edwards for AG! What a wonderul world this could be.

Posted by: sheridan1 | January 31, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama has never been an angel in this race, the Press has just given him a pass.
I've been watching his sleazy campaign all along.

He claims to be a unifier, but he was the first to play the race card. Does anyone else remember when he accused Joe Biden of being racist for saying he was "clean and articulate"? That was a long time ago.

After he won Iowa, Jesse Jackson, Jr. made his OJ remark about how a black guy beats a white woman. This was buried by the Press.
Then, the day after he lost New Hampshire, Donna Brazille claimed on CNN that Bill Clinton's "fairy-tale" comment offended her "as an African American". The next day, Obama's supporters were all over the air like a batch of parrots calling both Clintons racist (Hillary for the LBJ/MLK comment).

The day after he lost Nevada, I watched Obama give a speech in a black church in Los Angeles. It was a short speech about the Civil Rights movement reminding everyone of dogs, beatings and firehoses. I heard not one mention of a presidential campaign issue.

During the following week, leading up to the SC primary, I watched him do the same in black churches in Atlanta and SC. Not once did the press ever mention this obvious race-baiting.

No, instead, they continued to propagate the lie being spun by the Obama campaign that the Clintons were racists. And even claimed that the Clintons were making Obama "the black candidate". Huh? Wasn't he doing that himself in those churches? Well, judging from the results of the primary, black people were obviously convinced.

So now that Florida has voted in what proved to be a disastrous turn-out for the Obama campaign ("the beauty contest"), his new tactic is to attack Clinton as being "a bridge to the 20th Century". This from a candidate who's now comparing himself to JFK? Hummm.....

He's also attacking her on her electability? Really, Mr. two year US senator who's admitted to using drugs and has a record of not voting or "hitting the wrong button" when it's politically expedient? Oh yeah, the Republicans want you. Let's also add that you've flip-flopped on running a positive campaign.

I'm glad he was caught on camera snubbing Clinton at the SOTU. His and McCaskill's lies about what is so obvious you'd have to be an idiot to believe them, just puts another crack in his well-polished facade.

This man is nothing but a hypocrite and it is he who "will do anything to get elected". Frankly, his tactics disgust me.

Posted by: brigittepj | January 31, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Progressives like me are comfortable with McCain because we know that he will make reasonable judicial appointments. We thought the war in Iraq was a mistake but aren't completely comfortable about fleeing the country after wreaking havoc there. We don't like McCain's temperament but respect his candor and integrity. He has a much better record than Clinton in limiting Pentagon waste and on working for campaign reform. At least he's real and doesn't take cheap shots.
Posted by: smoon | January 31, 2008 09:19 AM
-----------------------------
smoon is a fool.

McCain has sold his soul to the devil (hard core wing nuts) for the ultimate prize, being called Mr. President.

He will extend the Bush tax cuts.

He will render Social Security insolvent, cut benefits in half, drown it in a bath tub, etc.

He will make the Supreme Court an impregnable bastion of American fascism for the next thirty years.

Some politicians "would rather be right than President."

McCain is not one of them.

Posted by: mnjam | January 31, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

t's difficult to evaluate Obama when every word, phrase or comment of criticism or observation can potentially be turned on its head and portrayed as a racial slur. This approach discourages rather than encourages evaluation of a candidates qualification.

This leads me to believe that this is a strategy aimed at discouraging attacks from the Republicans should Obama be nominated by the Democrats. It is working as far as the Democrats are concerned as their voices seem to have been severely muted and constructive criticism abandoned.

Of course the Republicans, too, might be equally fearful and tongue-tied.

Posted by: PhilTR | January 31, 2008 10:14 AM
-----------------------------------

On please.

Republicans are naturally fearful and tongue tied. Check out W when he tries to talk. Recall his flight from the East Coast and burrowing into the ground on 9/11. Consider their neckless electorate -- the vast horde of unreconstructed CSA racists who put "the party of Lincoln" over the top every four years.

Obama has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: mnjam | January 31, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The media hasn;t reported it right it is the Obama campaign that brings the debates into the mud. The comment about the Wall Mart Board came from Obama. The comment from Jesse Jackson Jr. that Hillary didn;t shed a tear for the Black victims of Katrina. The total distortion of the lbj comment. They all came form the Obama camp. Finally a story points out who is the devisive one. Now maybe the Media will investigate further Obam buying land from Rezdo FOR A $100,000 Dollar discount. Not only does the jr. Senator have little expereince and in his own word a littel disorganized to run the executive branch. He is corrupt and a lier. His response to the Rezdo connection was that he did some legal work as an associate in a nationally telivised debate. No mention of the land purchase? Please he is a scammer not to be trusted and far too inexperienced. We are talking about running the country hear not a lemonade stand!
Posted by: politicalobserver1 | January 31, 2008 02:22 PM
-----------------------------------
Stop whining.

Stop sniveling.

Politics is hardball.

Crying won't beat the Republicans.

We need a fighter -- not a crybaby.

Posted by: mnjam | January 31, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The media loves Obama and Democrats are so stupid they won't fall in line w/ whomever their nominee is- bottom line:
A Republican in the white house! We Win!
Conservative judges for the Supreme Court!
McCain 08!
Posted by: deniswolfe | January 31, 2008 02:01 PM

OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!

I'M FIRED UP.

I CAN'T WAIT.

Eight more years of massive deficits. Drown it in a bathtub, baby!!!!!

Hard working, FICA paying Americans armed to the teeth, thanks to the Republican support for Second Amendment Rights.
I am going to buy another gun to celebrate McCain's 1/20/09 inauguration!!!!!!!!!

President McCain drooling and mumbling his way through State of the Union Addresses and falling asleep at G8 meetings at the like (if the US is still invited).
It's time to honor our Vietnam Vets!!!!

Watching DROP DEAD GORGEOUS CINDY McCAIN prop up our fearless straight talking leader as he attempts to walk more than a few feet or wave to crowds. SEXY!!!!!

SOCIAL SECURITY INSOLVENT IN 2017, BENEFITS CUT IN HALF.
Finally, some one ended the Nanny State instead of just talking about it!!!!!!

MILLIONS OF HARDWORKING, FICA-PAYING, WELL-ARMED AMERICANS SLAUGHTERING WING NUTS AS THEY REALIZE THEY HAVE BEEN ROBBED THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.

That will be a little ugly, but the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants from time to time.

Posted by: mnjam | January 31, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The media hasn;t reported it right it is the Obama campaign that brings the debates into the mud. The comment about the Wall Mart Board came from Obama. The comment from Jesse Jackson Jr. that Hillary didn;t shed a tear for the Black victims of Katrina. The total distortion of the lbj comment. They all came form the Obama camp. Finally a story points out who is the devisive one. Now maybe the Media will investigate further Obam buying land from Rezdo FOR A $100,000 Dollar discount. Not only does the jr. Senator have little expereince and in his own word a littel disorganized to run the executive branch. He is corrupt and a lier. His response to the Rezdo connection was that he did some legal work as an associate in a nationally telivised debate. No mention of the land purchase? Please he is a scammer not to be trusted and far too inexperienced. We are talking about running the country hear not a lemonade stand!

Posted by: politicalobserver1 | January 31, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama is speaking the truth and will bring change. He is already brought change to the campaign so far! We are still talking about the rise of Obama and will be for a long time.

Posted by: crews2me | January 31, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Everytime one of you Obama fans say you will vote Republican if Hillary wins the nomination reveal your limited knowledge and experience of the world, and your lack of maturity. Only a "fan" would say that. A serious person would understand that, whatever you may think of Hillary Clinton personally, her administration will be much better for America (and Democrats) than McCain.

Obama needs a few more years of experience and so do you. It is great to have an uplifiting speach, but not much gets done. For example, if Obama was so great he would have been voting against funding the Iraq war all along.

Posted by: cmann1 | January 31, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The media loves Obama and Democrats are so stupid they won't fall in line w/ whomever their nominee is- bottom line:
A Republican in the white house! We Win!
Conservative judges for the Supreme Court!
McCain 08!

Posted by: deniswolfe | January 31, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

An earlier poster said "[m]uch of the media is complicit in 'demonizing' Hillary Clinton. Her resume of accomplishments is worth a mention now and then, you know." I am something of a political junkie and have been for years, and I frankly cannot even begin listing any meaningful accomplishments for Hillary. Her election and re-election to the Senate notwithstanding, it is very difficult to identify specific, quantifiable accomplishments. Her efforts to improve primary education in Arkansas sometimes are cited as part of her "lifelong advocacy," but the educational record from that period of time is mixed at best. Worse still, it's almost impossible to know which bits of policy and implementation are fairly attributable to Hillary. This murkiness is compounded by her tendency to claim credit for everything in her past judged "good," while distancing herself from everything judged "bad." Does anyone really know what an honest, objective resume would look like for Hillary?

Posted by: mail.mdm | January 31, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Hillary needs to tell the country what exactly will Bill's role be in the next administration.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31donor.html?_r=1&ref=politics&oref=slogin

It its a "two-for-one" co-presidency as they proclaimed 11 years ago, then there appears to be plenty of opportunities for a conflict of interest.

Posted by: m_tommy | January 31, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I agree that there's a sharp distinction between Obama's observations about Billary's tactics on the one hand, and Billary's misrepresentations and slimeball maneuvers on the other.

It is correct to say that Hillary is divisive, combative, and will have difficulty creating a working majority. Her own supporters, the Kennedy kids said in their endorsement that she would "fistfight" the republicans (I swear to god, they used the word "fistfight." You can look it up). This does not bode well for getting things done. Indeed, the major accomplishment of the glorious Clinton administration was for Bill not to get kicked out of office. They're not really going to brag about NAFTA, Don't ask, don't tell, or any of their other republican ideas, are they?

It is also true that Billary have lied on numerous occasions. The abortion letter in New Hampshire, the Resko thing, and more recently, the about face on the pledge to NH, Iowa, Nevada and SC, to whom she pledged not to seek delegagtes from Florida or Michigan. That was no mere campaign white lie, but a material breach of her contract with those 4 states. They should revoke her delegates from those contests, and would be well within their rights to do so.
As long as Obama stays truthful in discussing the downside of Billary and negating their smears, he doesn't have to get dragged down into the mud, where Billary (and Rove) are most comfortable.

Posted by: ched | January 31, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hillary and Barack = STATUS QUO
HILLARY: Lobbists and Big Coporations (100M)
BARACK: Have the support of the "OLD GUARD" AKA kennedy, kerry and PAC'S (100M)
Where's THE change?..PURE WISHFUL THINKING
TSK TSK TSK ON THE YOUTH VOTE...YOU'LL LEARN SOMEDAY.
IT'S POLITICS, KIDDOS, IT'S ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS.

PD: You NEED 270 electoral votes in order to get the WH, it's NOT gonna happen.

Posted by: YANKS_25 | January 31, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama has to continue to educate voters to beware as to the divisive tactics Hillary Clinton has attempted against him because only those who are paying close attention even know about all the attacks Obama has suffered. Even though the Clintons are playing "nice" for the moment, the false allegations are still out there against Obama in the form of sneak attacks: e-mails and snail mailings

Posted by: Katy7540 | January 31, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee the Republicans will spend months reminding the nation of the scandals and other shortcomings of the '90s. Need a couple more reasons why Clinton should not be the nominee? 1)The U.S. doesn't need a co-presidency involving two "President Clintons" in the White House, and 2) Having two families -- Clinton and Bush -- control the executive branch year after year is not good for the country. I know these points have been expressed a million times, but they are important and bear repeating.

Posted by: cpaustin408 | January 31, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Unite the Republican Party, Independents and many Democrats to have a Republican President by voting for Hillary! Her lack of integrity and opportunism will gurantee this response.
Elinor

Posted by: eriley | January 31, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Obama's camp and liberal media wants us to believe that experience is not important. Look at the state of our nation today because inexperienced Bush was elected to the office. Do we want to have another "BUSH"? Sen. Obama promises to bring about a Broad Coalition. Look at his snub to Sen. Clinton at the Union Address. He should have had the decency to acknowledge her. This is the proof of false "PROMISES". People are too smart to vote candidates based on their promises. Surely, they are going to judge each candidate based on their experience, past performance, future plans and whether they have the credibility to execute those plans. LET US VOTE NOT WITH OUT HEARTS BUT OUR MINDS FOR THE SAKE OF THIS NATION.

Posted by: utworcurious | January 31, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Edwards knows what hard work means to the poor and disenfranchised of this country. Poor single women need an inspirational figure who has worked hard all her life and earned our respect. I hope he endorses HIllary for this reason to let the poor know that thier hard work matters and this country does not always promote youth and ambition over hard work and earnign people's respect. Please, JOhn Edwards, if you endorse, endorse HIllary

Posted by: aeparsons | January 31, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

It certainly will be an interesting debate.

It's pretty clear that Hill and Bill will go to any lengths to win, but as more news comes out about Bill's shady dealings, I think he will only continue to hurt Hillary -- see the recent headline story in the NY Times on his dealings with mining kingpin Frank Giustra and his very questionable statements about human rights in Kazakhistan.

With things like this constantly percolating into the news, Clinton fatigue seems to to be turning into something much worse for the Clinton campaing: CCFS -- Chronic Clinton Fatigue Syndrome

Posted by: hermanSF | January 31, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Funny how many of the anti-Hillary crowd keep harping on how they have had enough of the Clinton/Bush years as if the Clintons are tied into anything that GWB has not acomplished...it just goes to show how sick and tired the public are of George W Bush and his cronies and it also goes to show feeble we are as a country to not only elect Bush to a second term but to also tie-in the Clintons to the Bushes..
America needs to stop being so mentally lazy and judge who would be the best candidate for our country. Being mentally lazy got us into this mess in the first place!
I do not for an instance believe th BS that the media and select individuals throw at me..
I am for Hillary in 08

Posted by: richmonet | January 31, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I am so thrilled to see so many other reasonable people, who, like me, will not vote for an aristocratic lineage for the white house.

Thank you Drama_King, for finally saying what I've been furiously unable to understand - How can feminists POSSIBLY endorse Hillary Clinton? She is the starkest example of a woman who lets a man walk all over her, and does so smilingly so she might gain advantage from it another day.

And I am overwhelmingly encouraged by the people who, like me, will vote McCain over Clinton any day of the week. If Clinton is the nominee, you are going to throw away a Democratic White House. Clinton is UN-Electable. She is the most polarizing and hated figure in the entire Republican Machine, Independents can't stand the Clinton Family, and only the democrats who live in the past and thrive on eye-for-an-eye politics are for her. Grow up. Move on. She's a terrible candidate, she's the Romney of the Democratic party.

"I'm sorry, which way did the polls say the wind was blowing this morning?"

And To the reporter who thinks that hillary isn't getting a fair shake, give it a rest. She is getting a fair shake, but everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie, so that's where the news is. Further, as someone else said...

It is SHAMEFUL the way she pretends to win non-elections in Michigan and Florida to try to stem the momentum of Obama's REAL landslide victory. Shameful because it was such a lousy ploy, and shameful because she, edwards and obama promised not to campaign or compete in either of those states.
Which one of those three broke their promise twice in as many weeks?

Clinton will be "Ready on day one" to keep running this country into the ground.
McCain is at least honorable and has a real former occupation. He's against torture and he's reasonable on immigration. Nuts to Hillary, I'm jumping ship if she's the nominee.

Obama for the future.

Posted by: Nemotoad | January 31, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy did not do justice to his own brother when he likened Obama to President John F. Kennedy.

JFK was a World War Two hero with 14 years in the Congress before his election to President.

Barack Obama has only two years experience on the national level. To compare his record with JFK's, is a joke. Barack Obama is no John F. Kennedy.

Thanks to Bobby Kennedy's side of the family for citing experience, not rhetoric, when they endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: rjldec1 | January 31, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Look forward, or look back, democrats. The choice is yours on February 5. Watch the debate tonight and vote for the candidate who will lead us into the future. Leave behind your cynicism. Forget your fear. Navigate by your hopes and dreams for your children.

Posted by: optimyst | January 31, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: trookey | January 31, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Anyone from state politics in Arkansas or New York all the way to Presidential politics know that to allow either Clinton (the 2 for 1 team) to do their "last" minute SMEARS will be the death of an opposing candidate. I support and respect that Obama has not only watched them in action before, but will not allow it to occur on Feb. 5th.

He is showing he is not only very capable of taking of the Clinton Machine, but the Republicans come November.

Posted by: mknitkowski | January 31, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

t's difficult to evaluate Obama when every word, phrase or comment of criticism or observation can potentially be turned on its head and portrayed as a racial slur. This approach discourages rather than encourages evaluation of a candidates qualification.

This leads me to believe that this is a strategy aimed at discouraging attacks from the Republicans should Obama be nominated by the Democrats. It is working as far as the Democrats are concerned as their voices seem to have been severely muted and constructive criticism abandoned.

Of course the Republicans, too, might be equally fearful and tongue-tied.

Posted by: PhilTR | January 31, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama does give people hope. He gave many of us a voice when we needed a leader to stand up and speak the truth. People can belittle hope all they want.
I have felt helpless for 7 years. Do you rememer after 911? For years it was like slamming my head on the wall. It was a nightmare. GW and Cheney bulldozed over every democrat and demonized us if we did not support the war.
Obama was one of the only people who gave me a voice in that awful time.
I have not forgotten.

Some people like to reduce him to happy happy joy joy sound bites.
I don't know... I figure at some level.. some people feel threatened by him.
They are afraid... to allow themselves to hope.

The devil they know...

It's the security vote.

Fear.

It rules us small animals. So prone we are to playing it safe...

It's so watership down.


Change is scary... because of the unknown.
Sometimes though... you have to be brave.

You have to dear to believe we can have a better tomorrow.

Posted by: catwoman2 | January 31, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes, I think the Washington Post's political reporters are all frustrated novelists. This is one of those times.

Posted by: zukermand | January 31, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Smoon & Sarah J Chandler : 100% agreed.

To Sheryl Roehl: As a reporter, you should not be surprised that there was minimal press coverage of Hillary's "victory" speech out of Florida. The show that Hillary put on there is just another of her attempts to fabricate a revisionist reality:

Florida was not contested by the Democrats. If you do not have a contest, you do not have a winner. Period.

Therefore, no one should be giving victory speeches, for crying out loud! The fact that Hillary did so cemented further (as if I needed any more cement after the truckload the Clintons have dumped on me this primary season) the case that Hillary will lie and misrepresent ANYTHING if she thinks it will get her some votes. I feel disgusted and betrayed by her.

I say this as someone who voted for Bill Clinton twice, and who has voted Democratic party all of my life. I am a self- and other-described feminist, and yet Hillary has managed to send even me over the edge. I am another who will cross party lines in the general election if Hillary is our nominee, not only to vote, but to work for the Republican (or independent) nominee. I never believed in good vs. evil dichotomies before, but Hillary has begun to make me wonder if I should. Sheesh.

THANKFULLY, when I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of Hillary, I just cruise over to www.barackobama.com and get happy again. :) In Obama, America has the most solid hope for a return to the ideals that made this country great at the time of its founding. We have slipped from those heights, but Obama - like no other - can lead us back to who we really are and who we really want to be as Americans.

I am not religious, but of late I have found myself praying to the cosmos for an Obama leadership for our country. Let's make ourselves, and our world, great again.

*Obama*

Posted by: drama_king | January 31, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

How is it that both the mass-media and the public would dignify
a Clinton for the Presidency of the U.S.A. when the man disgraces his country by engaging in oral sex under the desk in the Oval Office; and the woman who ingores
his misdeeds only to hang on to
her husbands political influence?
What kind of people would support such scoundrels for the presidency of this great nation?
I am reminded of Eric Hoffer's famous words: "Nothing good comes from good times."

Posted by: scitino | January 31, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Won't it be an irony and a reflection of the our collective confusion if we have to choose between Mccain and Hillary as a way to protest the war and denounce those who authorized it?

Americans deserve a better choice.

Posted by: kwakuazar | January 31, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Go Obama! Tonight's debate and a couple more endorsements tomorrow and Saturday (Richardson? Edwards?) will seal the deal. If not, I guess I'm voting Repub for the first time in my life.

Posted by: schencks84 | January 31, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I really do not see how any of what Obama is saying is a distortion or even an attack. They are valid points that warrant being raised in a competition, not mudslinging.

Posted by: sarahjchandler | January 31, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Smarmy smear:
he (Obama) kept it up in Phoenix Wednesday night, telling a crowd of more than 10,000 inside Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum that his campaign was attracting "all the usual reactions from Washington," as he mixed together the criticisms from Clinton with the anonymous emails calling him a radical Muslim and accusing him of not saluting the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Here we're led to believe that the Clinton campaign is behind the mailings. Obama puts forth no evidence to support the implication. He needs to be called on it.

Racist interpretation of an observation:
It all added up, he said, to a "smear campaign just like we've seen in the past, the rubbing raw of racial divisions, making us suspicious of one another, all the strategies designed to make us afraid. You know, we don't need fear. We're tired of the politics of fear...We're tired of the smear campaigns. We're tired of the racial divisions. That's all in the past. We want to go forward."

Here we're expected to believe that an observation is really a racial slur and make us feel defensive and afraid to try to have a discussion of the merits of the observation. Obama is playing on America's Macbethian desire to wash its hands of guilt for slavery.

There is much, much more but, there is no need to pile on.

Posted by: PhilTR | January 31, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The Clintons have integrity issues. It's not that they attack Obama. He has done that to them as well, after all. But he limits his attacks to undisputed facts like the Wal-Mart board position. Maybe some people see that as a positive factor - she held some powerful positions. Instead, she returns fire by leveling unfounded charges about Rezko.

Remember Whitewater? Clinton should. Someone else said it much better than I could:

"No one who has ever practiced law, let alone Mrs. Clinton, could argue, with a clear conscience, that these five hours on behalf of a church group that partnered with a man who at a later point in time would be alleged to be a scoundrel equated to knowingly representing a Chicago slumlord. Yet she could not resist leveling the accusation. ...

Clinton's willingness to ignore the truth for short-term political advantage is exactly what breeds the partisanship that's paralyzed Washington for too many years, and the cynicism felt by so many Americans, especially the young. Getting ahead by any means possible is the strategy. Once elected, the candidate falsely believes that he or she will be able to set things right and govern differently. All that was said in the campaign is rationalized -- it will be forgiven and forgotten as part of the hyperbole of the election process."

Earlier the former investigative counsel said in the op-ed piece that he defended Clinton against Starr's charges that her 60 hours of work on behalf of Jim McDougal amounted to "substantial" involvement in the case.

This is not an isolated case. She consistently tries to do whatever she can to win at any cost. She tried to cash in on the whole "snub" story by saying that she extended a hand to him and is still holding out her hand. She acts desperate when she's not. She's ahead, after all.

If the choice in November is between Clinton and McCain, I think voters will make their decision based on character.

Progressives like me are comfortable with McCain because we know that he will make reasonable judicial appointments. We thought the war in Iraq was a mistake but aren't completely comfortable about fleeing the country after wreaking havoc there. We don't like McCain's temperament but respect his candor and integrity. He has a much better record than Clinton in limiting Pentagon waste and on working for campaign reform. At least he's real and doesn't take cheap shots.


Posted by: smoon | January 31, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you, NoMugwump. If, Hillary is elected the Democratic nominee, me a my husband will cross party lines and vote for whichever Republican wins their nominee. I too don't like McCain stating that we could be fighting in Iraq for 1000 years but, I will vote for him over another Clinton. At least McCain was honest in speaking on the war!!!

Posted by: debrabrose | January 31, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama getting a free ride with the media. . .because of his race. The Clinton yrs were good ones despite the overzealous and politically based Whitewater persecution which wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.

Bill and Hilary could fade into private life and make zillions. We should appreciate how they put it on the line for the public good. Although I'm fearful of the flaming liberal she'll put on the S.CT and I denounce her anti John Roberts vote, she's clearly the most qualified. Easy to criticise someone who has done something. Bst way to not get criticized? - do nothing - thats Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: stp20 | January 31, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If you vote for McCain, you could have "100 years of war" in Iraq and his advisers are prepared to go to war with Iran, too. So if war is what you want, you go right ahead and vote for McCain. As for truth, you should watch the debates and see how he was taking Romney's comments out of context and twisting them. They're all politicians, dude. Plus, McCain has admitted he knows nothing about economics and here we are about to head into recession.

Posted by: sherylroehl | January 31, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Where is the coverage of Hillary Clinton on "The Trail"? I'd like to know that. Why is the media following Bill around like he's the candidate, waiting for him to say something that the media can sensationalize, take out of context and twist into tabloid journalism?

Hillary Clinton is the candidate here and you owe it to your readers to have a reporter cover her equally with Obama! Whatever happened to equal time?

Posted by: sherylroehl | January 31, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Forget it former reporter, NY NOW and all the rest of the shills. The vast majority of all Americans are tired of the old slash and burn politics as usual. If Clinton is the nominee, I'll join millions of others going for McCain. May not like the platform or message as much, but at least I won't have to wonder if he's telling the truth every time he opens his mouth.

This is 2008, not 1992. One Clinton, two terms and out!

Posted by: NoMugwump | January 31, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more that the media are "complicit in demonizing Hillary clinton."

I couldn't agree more than the media is giving Obama a free ride. I say that as a former reporter.

I got to see this up close last night when I attended a Democratic dinner/rally at which Senator Clinton spoke last night and NPR reported on the small group of Obama supporters who cheered but never mentioned that at least 1,000 Hillary supporters were let in before her speech and they waved signs and greeted her with chants of "HIllary Hillary" when she entered the room at the convention center hall in Atlanta.

It seems the media bend over backwards to give Obama air time (they played more of his speech in Denver than Hillary's speech when she won the Florida primary, which they downplayed even though more people voted in Fla. than in all the other states combined), but they distort what is said and what happens along the campaign trail.

I'm sick and tired of the media pushing Obama and ignoring or distorting the Clinton message. This has got to stop! Let the people make up their minds -- quick serving as flacks for Obama!

- former reporter in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Atlanta

Posted by: sherylroehl | January 31, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Aw, poor baby Barack. He just doesn't get it. I cannot wait for the debate tonight! No matter what he throws at her, Hillary inevitably holds her ground while Barack looks down at the podium.

Posted by: trisha2 | January 31, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

After a while, people get tired of the mudslinging and just want to hear the issues. Barack Obama has repeated expressed his ideas and outlined how he plans to change the future. There is no question that our country is in need of change. I feel strongly that Barack is the candidate who unites us...we are a racist and sexist country--that is a given. However, it is time to move beyond that and "heal this land". He is the voice who resonates to those who are black, white, rich, poor, educated, un-educated... Nominating Hillary is like the old saying-- "If you always do what you've always done, then you will always get what you always got"...

Posted by: akatude108 | January 31, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Where has Obama distorted Clinton? Any specifics?

The Clinton's have. You have to be stupid or calculating to believe Obama thinks that the Republican ideas are the good ones. He has been a solid Democrat.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | January 31, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Truely do we need another Clinton or Bush in the Oval Office? Would any one of you vote for Laura Bush for the next president after four years hence. Lets give America a new choice be it Demorat or Republican but neither a Bush or a Clinton.
Why cant people see that it will be a disservice to this nation to send one these families back there. Spread the wealth and the network.

Posted by: woodfree1 | January 31, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that on the washington posts political page there are two articles next to each other: Bill Clinton plays low key in Denver and beneath Obama amps it up. They both talk about the Denver rallies. And the conclusion is that tactically Obama has held the upper hand. Following his win in Iowa the Clintons had to burn all they had. Obama on the other hand was able to hold everything in and wait for the really important moment which is now, a few days before super duper tuesday. That's why it was somewhat reassuring to see Hillary cry on the eve of New Hampshire, imagine what the prospects for Obama would have been if she had kept that stunt for next Saturday. And here we have another good reason to vote for Obama, he's been better tactically.

Posted by: cgavignet | January 31, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

With ever greater audacity Obama is doing what he accused the Clinton campaign of doing. Smearing Hillary and distorting her words. He must feel, no he's been encouraged to feel he is immune from criticism for his smarmy tactics by his supporters and the press.

Obama seems to be using a three prong strategy of smear, distort and cries of racism by his supporters. He and his supporters put the race chip on their shoulders and dare anyone to call them on it.

The overall effect of his strategy is to effectively smear Hillary's character and distort her words with impunity all the while immunize himself from most criticism and even the most innocuous observations. Is anyone willing to call him on his hypocrisy?

Posted by: PhilTR | January 31, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Remarkably charitable reporting.
"He made his attack on electability and effectiveness in office specific to trade, health care, and foreign policy."
The only appearance of attack is to excuse it. It's obvious there are different standards and tones of characterization for the actions of the candidates, I'd be interested in an explanation why that is the case.

Posted by: zukermand | January 31, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

How ironic.

It seems to me that the "divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today" is actually from the Obama campaign.

Much of the media is complicit in "demonizing" Hillary Clinton. Her resume of accomplishments is worth a mention now and then, you know.

Why is the media unwilling to report fairly on the two Democratic candidates? Why is everyone afraid to question or even cover Barack Obama's candidacy fairly?

This. Is. Scary.

Four years of a President that is "hands off"???

No thank you.

I'll be happily voting for change that I can believe in from the proven change agent - Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: lchrism | January 31, 2008 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, it's an interesting line he is walking at the moment. On the one hand, everything he is saying is true and DESERVED and on the other hand Bill and Hillary are CURRENTLY playing angelic (of course that wasn't the story a week ago, but currently, yes, next week or behind the scenes - who knows? It's their preferred strategy at the moment anyway).

Now this could have the effect of people thinking 'oh Hillary and Bill are being so nice and positive, this meanie Obama is giving her a hard time'. However, if they looked into it on the internet they would probably go 'ohhhhhhh, now I see why'.

Still think he needs to get strongly back on positive message at some point between now and Tuesday. At least while the Clinton's are behaving it gives him some space to.

Posted by: JayKay2 | January 31, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Go Obama, you have my vote, check out this STORM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vxCb65u_a4

Posted by: FebM | January 31, 2008 6:39 AM | Report abuse

electing clinton is giving the republican another 8 years in power

Posted by: gercubaks | January 31, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

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