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The Green Zone

A Flush Obama Campaign Pulls Out All the Stops

By Shailagh Murray
What does $40 million a month buy a presidential candidate? A whole lot of airtime and office space.

Sen. Barack Obama's copious cash flow means he can compete as aggressively in the final Democratic contests as he did in the early days of the primary campaign. The Illinois senator already is vastly outspending Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania, to the tune of $3 million TV and radio ads, including a Spanish-language TV spot that just went on air in Philadelphia. Clinton's Keystone ad buy, by contrast, had barely topped $500,000 as of midweek (although that's likely to change soon).

In North Carolina, one of the two vital May 6 states, the Obama campaign's office count has risen to 16, including such smaller locales as Hickory, Boone and Elizabeth City. Two Obama television ads are airing around the state, at a total cost of $800,000, according to a source familiar with the campaign's media budget. Today alone, an army of organizers and volunteers conducted 22 training and and voter registration sessions, focusing in particular on African Americans, students, independents and Republicans.

In Indiana, the other May 6 contest, the Obama campaign has so far spent over $1 million on TV and radio ads. The office tally climbed today to 17. The Obama campaign's latest gimmick: a high school-outreach program that targets students who will turn 18 by the Nov. 4 general election, making them eligible as primary voters. Indiana students who register at least 20 of their peers by April 6 will be eligible to play three-on-three basketball with Obama, a big-time hoops fan and reputed aggressor on the court.

Posted at 7:26 PM ET on Apr 3, 2008  | Category:  The Green Zone
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Hillary was a Repubican and a Goldwater Girl who did not support the Civil Rights Bill. She became a Democratic (in name only) after marrying a man who is known for placing his banana in any fruit bowl available. Poor sick Bill. Both have courted that Black community with lies and psuedo efforts to improve their quality of life. It was about votes...only about votes. They are liars. If it wasn't for Monica's dress, Bill would have convinced America that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman". And Hillary, America would have believed she had experienced sniper fire in Bosnia if it had not been for the actual video show on TV. PLEASE no more CLINTONS!!!!! OBAMA '08

Posted by: ginni | April 9, 2008 3:59 PM

Iknow how much in awe the media are with the money being raised by the candidates. What they should be talking about is the toxic effect that all this money to win elections has on the electoral process in total. I happen to be an Obama supporter and will work my tail off to get him elected. But, and this is a big BUT, I refuse to give cent one to any campaign; if I did then I would be a bigger hypocrite than any hypocritical pol. Lastly, Obama spent 10 million in Texas,. but still lost the popular vote, but that was due more the byzantine primary/caucus system that Texas has. How much better that money could have been spent!

Posted by: natalkstlmo | April 5, 2008 6:40 PM

Sheridan1,

Let's hope that there is HOPE that the children that were in fact left behind can still be educated. SandraLong1974 is an example of the many youngsters that was left behind.

C'mon people, EDUCATE THYSELF before making rash and ignorant claims. Read, read and read some more, and pay attention to what's being said, before coming to an intelligent decision. Snippets and thirty-second sound bites is not the means to educate oneself, neither is taking stalk in very, very ignorant statements.

I'm another one of the educated millions, on a meager salary, contributing to the Barack Obama campaign...and, a registered republican at that.

John McCain is a great American, but like me, we old duffers tend to have lapses of memory.

Barack Obama 2008...


Posted by: RN_daSilva | April 4, 2008 4:41 PM

that lying cocaine addict Chicago political
hack phony Barack Hussein Obama,then they
would discover Obama's money is coming from
Oprah, and from Chicago Slumlord Tony Rezko
and other Chicago crime and drug dealers and from Arab Countries that are totally
unfriendly to the USA and which back a
number of terrorist groups. So follow the
money and you will not vote for Obama.

Posted by: SandraLong1974 | April 4, 2008 10:11 AM
*******************************************Sandra Sandra Sandra -
You are a shining example of the reason we NEED Barack Obama to lead this country. Education has taken a beating with No Child Left Behind - as a teacher, I can tell you that teaching to the test is not a good path to spark curiousty, and to learn about the planet and the world around you.

I, on a meager salary, have gone "all out" for Obama over the period of the last year and a few months (2300 dollars.) I am not a political operative, I am not by any means Oprah, I am white, and pretty darn middle class. But yes, I was well educated and I understand what has happened to people like you.

The internet is full of the knowledge of the ages, but you are spending your time spewing misinformation here. Over a million individuals such as myself have donated money to Barack's campaign. All of us want a candidate of OUR choice, don't we? I am investing in your future, and so are the other million - perhaps you should read a little more and find some truth.

And by the way, every time you write the name Rezco regarding Obama, also write the name Norman Hsu regarding Clinton. And you might want to go back and read a bit about this little real estate Clinton fiasco - WHITEWATER! EDUCATE YOURSELF!

Posted by: sheridan1 | April 4, 2008 3:11 PM

TO: ladya2004


I didn't hear Obama say ANYTHING bad about his grandmother.

If you are talking about the fact that she cross' the street sometimes when she see's a young black male. . . Well, then point your finger at all of America.

If and when I am in a simular situation and my sense of fear kicks-in, I have and will cross the street. That is not an isolated case and it is NOT news. Neither is it meant as a blanten insult, but it is about drugs and drug users which incites robberies to inocent victims...It's about protecting ones-self.

Using the word TYPICAL.
THE MEANING OF TYPICAL:
representative: having all or most of the characteristics shared by others of the same kind and therefore suitable as an example of it.

This is not offensive. Gee Whiz. . . .

The websites you posted.There are websites like that for every famous or popular person.

Check this out.

http://www.therant.us/staff/swirsky/03132006.htm


Posted by: Iwantmyvoicetobeheard | April 4, 2008 2:00 PM

I wish, that the Hillary Clinton supporters would spend as much time researching their own candidate, as they spend using innuendos and nasty slurs in denouncing Obama.

Posted by: wolfi101 | April 4, 2008 12:24 PM

MaryLouR - Nothing wrong with selecting a "nice guy" who is "psychologically driven by the need to please" if he also posesses the "aptitude & capabilities" to think through situations and make decisions with the goal(s) of positive outcomes... something the current administration has "no clue".

This country would be in a better state than today if Mini & Mickey had been in the white house over the past 7 years!

This has been the most "SORRY & PATHETIC" administration that I have ever seen in my entire life!

If you, or anyone else, happens to think that Obama cannot perform well as President, just take a look at the SUPERB way he has handled his campaign thus far. That should be a good indication!

Besides, just compare his campaign to the so-called "EXPERIENCED" presidential candidates. Their campaigns are either run by lobbyist (McCain) or financially depressed (McCain & Hillary)!

And if that's not enough, then take a look at the years of "EXPERIENCE" the current administration has (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bremer, Rice, Rove, etc) AND LOOK WHERE THEY'VE GOTTEN US!

Give me the "INEXPERIENCED" anyday!

GOooooo OBAMA 08 !!!

Posted by: curt.1 | April 4, 2008 11:54 AM

Obama has some great personal qualities, eloquence being among them - but this country needs a tough pragmatic leader, not a a nice guy, to get us out of the heap of trouble we're in... We've chosen nice guys before - Carter is one - and though he is a deeply ethical man who has become an amazing diplomat, he did not have the mettle and resilience to be a good president. I think Obama is psychologically driven by the need to please and to be liked and this could make
the tough decisions difficult for him.

Posted by: MaryLouR | April 4, 2008 11:21 AM

08' Presidential Candidate


B - BUOYANT
A - ADROIT
R - REALISTIC
A - AMIABLE
C - COURAGEOUS
K - KNOWLEDGEABLE

>

O - OPTIMISTIC
B - BRAINY
A - ALLURING
M - MAGNETIC
A - ABLE


A New Class of Presidency Coming Your Way In 08' !

Posted by: curt.1 | April 4, 2008 10:46 AM

As a black woman I've always wondered why it's okay for black superdelegates to switch to Obama because he is one of them (and be threatened with loss in future elections if they do not)but "racist" for anyone including Clinton surrogates to even mention race.So much for Obama's change and bridge-building.
I've equally wondered why Obama surrogates can abandon the "will" of their constituents, like Patrick, Kennedy, Kerry and Richardson but the superdelegates may not choose Hillary because that would be "overturning the will of the voters".
Can this double standard be because a clearly better accomplished woman is involved and some sexists can't bear to see a woman in charge?
Come to think of it the surrogates doing this the most are losers who at various times unsuccessfully ran for President. It's not Hillary's fault that Kennedy, Kerry, Richardson and their ilk all failed in their bids. She's just tougher and better than they are and is not a quitter. Time will vindicate these words yet by the end of the primary season.
Young,Black female lawyer.

Posted by: gisomonuwa | April 4, 2008 10:39 AM

So it's really too bad that the once really
outstanding Invetigative Reporting that was
a tradition at the Washington Post has went
down the tubes,since if WAPO was to ever
honestly investigate all the sources of
that lying cocaine addict Chicago political
hack phony Barack Hussein Obama,then they
would discover Obama's money is coming from
Oprah, and from Chicago Slumlord Tony Rezko
and other Chicago crime and drug dealers and from Arab Countries that are totally
unfriendly to the USA and which back a
number of terrorist groups. So follow the
money and you will not vote for Obama.

Posted by: SandraLong1974 | April 4, 2008 10:11 AM

Obama is lying again, but because of his race they make excuses for him, to late, we now know the truth about him.

http://biz.yahoo.com/ibd/080115/issues.html?.v=1

Good info on how often Obama lies and how the media helps him get away with it.

http://nocache.homestead.com/obamalies/index.html


Defending Obama's grandmother

From a glowing profile of her in the Honolulu Advertiser:

But several current and former Bank of Hawaii executives -- some of whom were mentored by Dunham and knew her after she retired -- said they were stunned by Obama's comments about his grandmother.

"I was real surprised that he indicated that," said Dennis Ching, who was a 23-year-old management trainee under Dunham beginning in 1966. "I never heard her say anything like that. I never heard her say anything negative about anything. And she never swore."

Obama may have been referring, the profile notes, to a specific incident he mentioned in his book. Also, she's been watching the whole thing on CNN.



Posted by: ladya2004 | April 4, 2008 9:50 AM

eljefejesus.
Clinton only backed off the kitchen sink strategy when it became apparent that it was backfiring on her. Voters and super-delegates sent a strong message of disapproval to Clinton.

Recent polls indicated the voters blamed Clinton's kitchen sink strategy for the negative tone of the campaign. Consequently, Obama's favorability numbers rose dramatically and Clinton's favorability numbers plummeted.

In addition, super delegates and party leaders started to complain publicly about the divisive impact on the party due to the negative tone of the campaign--again, Clinton's kitchen sink strategy was viewed as the catalyst.

Finally, polls shown a larger percentage of Clinton supporters expressing the intention to hold a grudge in November and vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee. This news did not set well with the super delegates.

Make no mistake, Clinton did not change strategy for the good of the party. Clinton changed strategy to save herself.

Posted by: txgall | April 4, 2008 9:44 AM

"Rules are like the rituals of a religion, look meaningless, but mould men" - Antoine de Saint Exupery.

If you read "Night Flight" and see the characterization of Riviere, you will get it.

When I see BO, I am reminded of Riviere. Hope he keeps up the high standards.Makes him tall, even if he loses an election. An election is nothing. Life is a celestial journey to the stars.

Posted by: mdsubramonia | April 4, 2008 9:42 AM

"But keep pouring the money in Barack Hussein...we like spending here in PA. Then back to the Chicago political sewer with you!!!"

Posted by: j9zig1

Gee, that makes you sound like a prostitute. Not that I have anything against prostitutes. But it seems to me he's doing you a favor, and you're just being ungrateful and ungracious.

Posted by: edwcorey | April 4, 2008 9:00 AM

Hillary Clinton holds conferences, talks serious policy in PA. Obama goes bowling. Eats hot dogs. Oh, and ate chocolate candy.

He can't win this campaign by remote control w/lying in TV ads. But keep pouring the money in Barack Hussein...we like spending here in PA. Then back to the Chicago political sewer with you!!!

Posted by: j9zig1 | April 4, 2008 2:30 AM

eljefejesus,

I agree. I too applaud Hillary for backing away from the kitchen sink campaign. It has been a noticeable difference this week. I'm glad she remembered that it's not just that you win, it's how you win.

Obama too is backing down and saying that Hillary should not drop out early.

Now if each candidate's supporters could start showing the same maturity, we might get to a reasonable conclusion here while keeping our party intact.

Posted by: nodebris | April 4, 2008 1:34 AM

Eventually, Hillary will drop out with no dignity at all. She will not be Senate Majority Leader, nor will she be the NY Gov.

A large amount of the blame should go to Nita Lowey, who abandoned her senate run so Hillary could have a free run. This act, as much as anything, fed Hillary's voracious sense of entitlement.--Which could easily cost the party the White House.

Posted by: gmundenat | April 4, 2008 1:31 AM

Here's what i don't get; Hillary raised MORE money than Obama all of last year, up until Jan of this year. Suddenly (in January) her campaign was broke! WHY in God's name, would we put Hillary in charge of our country and economy, when she can't even run the finances of her campaign???

Posted by: julieds | April 4, 2008 1:14 AM

ednyo2000 :
Who's "we?" Speak for yourself, butt-wipe.

Posted by: waldengreenwood | April 4, 2008 12:50 AM

Raising $40 millions is peanuts for the Clintons... For example, the Clinton foundation received recently a $31.3 million donation after Bill expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader's, undercuting both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan's poor human rights: Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31donor.html

However, raising $40 millions without violating the laws or ethic rules is a big challenge for the Clintons. That's why they don't want to release their tax returns and the information about the big donations to the Clinton's library.

Posted by: Logan6 | April 3, 2008 11:16 PM

jkallen001,

thank you for a rational and cogent presentation of some important facts re: rev. wright. the charicatures that have been floating out there about this good man have to be confronted. the news coverage of this man and this situation has been so one dimensional. it scares me.

i wonder if your post will move others as it has me. i'm new to blogs and so far i've seen more positioning than i have listening. is it always like that? i wonder. eak.

Posted by: kewea | April 3, 2008 10:38 PM

ednyo2000:
A man who has put on the military uniform for our country can both love and criticize it. It astounds me that people like Cheney, Bush, and others who never risked their lives can pretend to be patriots and have the gall to critize those who have. What you called "war crap" is important, relevant, and the central issue to true patriots like Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Posted by: faird | April 3, 2008 10:21 PM

Jkallen,
We're tired of that war crap.It won't work this time.

Posted by: ednyo2000 | April 3, 2008 10:03 PM

I congratulate Hillary's campaign for backing away more from the kitchen sink strategy.

I was offended by their earlier tactics of calling Bill Richardson a judas to the Clintons (leading people to ask who would be judas's "jesus") when he had every right to run against Hillary and they did not attack him until he endorsed Obama.

He is a strong Hispanic endorsement.

As a Hispanic, I support Obama as well.

Let there be a toning down of the campaign rhetoric like Obama called for.

I like the candidates' back and forth on Rocky better.

Obama has virtually won, and Hillary should not sink the Democratic ship if he continues on that same trend of narrowing her leads in states that favor her and continuing to defeat her soundly in states that favor him.

Posted by: eljefejesus | April 3, 2008 9:37 PM

Final pledged delegate count for contests held in March:

Obama - 208
Clinton - 207

Despite her wins in Rhode Island, Ohio and the primary part of the Texas contest, Clinton lost ground overall to Obama in pledged delegates in March.

Super delegate endorsements in March:

Obama - 19
Clinton - 6

Overall then, Obama's lead grew by 14 delegates in March. Not bad for the shakiest time in the campaign.

Posted by: optimyst | April 3, 2008 9:26 PM

What's significant, isn't the sum of the money that Obama's raised...

It's the number of "small" donations that he raised. More than one million people have contributed to his campaign

It's not just the "fat cats"..it's over a million people who love America, and realize that this country needs a change.

Hillary and McCain are the same.... the same old, same old....

and people realize that America needs a change.

That's why Obama is getting these donations. That's why more than 22,000 people attended his rally at Penn. State.

What's significant isn't just the dollars... what's significant is the number (and enthusiasm) of his supporters.

Posted by: kevinlarmee | April 3, 2008 9:22 PM

Can we manage a come-from-behind win in Pennsylvania? YES WE CAN! We have the people, we have the money the resources, and we have the time! OBAMA 2008, keep up the good work!

Posted by: scharb | April 3, 2008 9:02 PM

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.

Since these comments became public we have heard criticisms, condemnations, denouncements and rejections of his comments and him.

We've seen on television, in a seemingly endless loop, sound bites of a select few of Rev. Wright's many sermons.

Some of the Wright's comments are inexcusable and inappropriate and should be condemned, but in calling him "unpatriotic," let us not forget that this is a man who gave up six of the most productive years of his life to serve his country. 

How many of Wright's detractors, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to name but a few, volunteered for service, and did so under the often tumultuous circumstances of a newly integrated armed forces and a society in the midst of a civil rights struggle? Not many.

While words do count, so do actions.

Let us not forget that, for whatever Rev. Wright may have said over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated his patriotism.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-oped0404wrightapr03,0,92000.story

Posted by: jkallen001 | April 3, 2008 8:57 PM

Buying Obama - The Auchi Connection


Tracing the trail of Iraqi born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi indicates Rezko's deals may include a money trail leading back to Saddam Hussein oil for food program.

A 2004 Pentagon report described Auchi, "who, behind the facade of legitimate business, served as Saddam Hussein's principal international financial manipulator and bag man."

Auchi prospered in Saddam's regime collecting "commissions" on sale of weapons and other goods to Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s.

A recent Pentagon report accuses Auchi of "unlawful activities working closely with Iraqi intelligence operatives to ... arrange for significant theft from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program to smuggle weapons and dual-use technology into Iraq," and to "organize an elaborate scheme to take over and control the post-war cellular phone system in Iraq."
At Saddam's insistence a scheme orchestrated by Auchi appropriated billions of dollars from America through America's Oil for Food program into Auchi's bank account. These transactions passed through Banque Nationale de (BNP) from its 1995 inception until 2001 through Auchi's General Mediterranean Holdings Company (GMHC) which was the largest private shareholder in Paris.
Auchi's General Mediterranean Holdings has connections in Iraq which lead right back to Tony Rezko.
Auchi's company helped finance a 250 megawatt power plant in the Kurdish town of Chamchamal, Iraq, teaming up with Rezko and Iraq's former Minister of Electricity, Aiham Alsamarrae. In December, 2006 Alsamarrae was accused of graft and is being charged in a $2 billion Iraqi reconstruction corruption case. Alsamarrae is a Chicago resident with dual US-Iraqi citizenship -an embarrassing connection for the war critic Obama. Alsamarrae is now living in his Chicago mansion.
Writing in Human Events, March 3, 2008, John Batchelor reports on an Alsammarae-Obama-Rezko connection:

"...in April 2005, one month before Mr. Alsammarae left his post, his Ministry of Electricity signed a contract for $50 million with Companion Security to provide training to Iraqis to guard electrical plants by flying them to Illinois for classes.

"Companion Security was headed by a former Chicago policeman with a troubled history, Daniel T. Frawley, in partnership with Mr. Rezko and in association with Daniel Mahru, the lawyer for the original contract and Mr. Rezko's former business partner. In April 2006, Mr. Frawley entered negotiations with Governor Rod Blagojevich's staff to lease a military facility in Illinois to be a training camp. In August 2006, Mr. Frawley started negotiations with Mr. Obama's U.S. Senate staff to complete the contract....

"The timeline of Companion discussions in 2006 is important to note: April 2006 Frawley speaks to governor's office; August 2006 Frawley speaks to senator's office; October 2006 indictment of Rezko revealed; October 2006 Rezko arrested upon return from Syria; October 2006 Alsammarae convicted in Baghdad and makes his first escape attempt; December 2006 Alsammarae escapes from Baghdad. ...

"(In 2004) Mr. Auchi traveled by private aircraft to Midway Airport in Chicago and then to a fete at the Four Season Hotel, where he met with his business partner in Chicago real estate, Mr. Rezko, as well as with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Also present that night, according to a fresh report by James Bone and Dominic Kennedy of the London Times, was State Senator Barack Obama, who had recently won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat...."


The Obama Connection
Recently the London Times reported that Auchi had been a business partner of Rezko since 2003 and between April 2005 and 2007 loaned Rezko at least $18 million.
On February 1 the London Times reports uncovering, "state documents in Illinois recording that Fintrade Services, a Panamanian company, lent money to (an) Obama fundraiser in May 2005. Fintrade's directors include Ibtisam Auchi, the name of Mr. Auchi's wife."

"A company related to Mr. Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr. Obama's bagman Antoin 'Tony' Rezko on May, 23 2005. Mr. Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

These Funds from Auchi's loan helped finance a complex series of transactions between Rezko and Democratic Presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama involving the 2005 purchase of Obama's Chicago mansion and Rezko's purchase of an adjoining landlocked parcel.
Rezko claims he paid "full market price" and Obama apparently received a "discount" of several hundred thousand dollars for his parcel. Rezko then improved his parcel to benefit Obama.

Instead of handing cash to Obama, Rezko handed Obama a preferential price for property. This is the same form of "honest graft" and preferential treatment that sent former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner to jail over 30 years ago, see United States v. Isaacs, 493 F.2d 1124 (7th Cir. 1974).

The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that Mr. Rezko, around the same general period he was wheeling with Obama, also provided a preferential price for a property purchase by U. S. Representative Luis Gutierrez.

Instead of transferring cash to buy influence, Rezko was engaging in structured property transactions and preferential treatment of public officials to confer significant financial benefits on them, far above the legal limits of any legitimate political contribution permitted by federal law.
Rezko was a key early-money fund raiser in Obama's state Senate campaigns. and Rezko's relationship with Barack Obama goes back to at least 1990, when Obama's law firm did work relating to a Rezko housing development.
Rezko as a major mob figure is not known for civic-mindedness or desire for good government.

At a March 3 news conference in San Antonio, Texas, Chicago-based reporters peppered Obama with some of the questions the national news corps has avoided for over a year. Obama claims he had already answered the questions in the Chicago media. He said: "These requests, I think, could just go on forever. At some point, what we need to try to do is respond to what's pertinent."

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote:

"Reporters, however, had a different idea of what was pertinent, and the questions about Rezko, NAFTA and other unpleasant subjects continued to come. An aide called out 'last question,' and Obama made his move for the exit -- only for reporters to shout after him in protest. 'C'mon, guys,' he pleaded. 'I just answered, like, eight questions.'"

Posted by: olandug | April 3, 2008 8:54 PM

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.

Since these comments became public we have heard criticisms, condemnations, denouncements and rejections of his comments and him.

We've seen on television, in a seemingly endless loop, sound bites of a select few of Rev. Wright's many sermons.





Some of the Wright's comments are inexcusable and inappropriate and should be condemned, but in calling him "unpatriotic," let us not forget that this is a man who gave up six of the most productive years of his life to serve his country. 

How many of Wright's detractors, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to name but a few, volunteered for service, and did so under the often tumultuous circumstances of a newly integrated armed forces and a society in the midst of a civil rights struggle? Not many.

While words do count, so do actions.

Let us not forget that, for whatever Rev. Wright may have said over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated his patriotism.

Posted by: jkallen001 | April 3, 2008 8:46 PM

BHO should respond to the April Fools bowl-challenge by proposing a game of 21, winner take all (delegates). He can offer to spot her 20 points.

Posted by: flarrfan | April 3, 2008 7:36 PM

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