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Dan Balz's Take

A Leadership Opportunity for Obama


Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) addresses people during a Town Hall meeting at B'nai Torah Congregation May 22, 2008 in Boca Raton, Fla. (Getty Images)

By Dan Balz
The upcoming meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee over what to do about Michigan and Florida offers Barack Obama a unique opportunity. The question is whether he will seize it.

Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist steeped in the history of past nominating battles, described the May 31 meeting this way. "The committee meeting will be the first test of whether the party can come together," he said. "If these two campaigns can talk together, they should be able to reach agreement with one another."

Obama and Hillary Clinton agree that both the Michigan and Florida delegations, currently barred from attending the convention because they moved up their primaries in violation of party rules, should be seated. But they are far apart in their initial negotiating positions about how many votes the states should have and how those delegates are allocated.

Devine believes the onus is on Obama to help produce the solution. "As the putative nominee, it's incumbent on him to take the lead and try to put it together," he said. Later, he added this: "If Obama stood up and brokered this, he would demonstrate the kind of skills he's talked about asserting as president. ... He needs to step up, he needs to solve this, and when it's solved he will be the beneficiary of it. [Obama advisers] need to believe that."

At this point, according to officials in both campaigns, there are no direct talks over Michigan and Florida. Both campaigns are talking to DNC officials and the co-chairs of the Rules and Bylaws Committee -- Alexis Herman and James Roosevelt Jr. -- are surveying committee members to gauge whether there is any consensus emerging.

The Clinton campaign has staked out a tough position, what's described as the "100 percent, 100 percent" solution. Clinton wants the full delegations from both states seated, with full voting rights, and the pledged delegates allocated on the basis of last winter's primary results.

That means in Michigan awarding no delegates to Obama because he took his name off the ballot. The non-Clinton delegates would officially be considered uncommitted. Clinton's campaign has calculated that, if that solution prevails, she will net 111 delegates, although most of the uncommitted delegates likely would end up supporting Obama.

Clinton appears to have miscalculated this week. Since the Oregon and Kentucky primaries, she has ratcheted up her rhetoric, linking Michigan and Florida to the disputed election in Zimbabwe, slavery and the Constitution. Knowledgeable Democrats say such talk has played badly with the very people Clinton needs most right now, superdelegates and members of the rules committee.

The Clinton campaign's proposal has almost no prospect of prevailing. Having sanctioned Florida and Michigan earlier, the committee members appear unwilling to approve a solution that could be seen as now letting the states off without some punishment.

Roosevelt said one of the principles of any likely resolution is that "the rules have to be honored, not only because they have the force of law, but also because if they are not honored we will have primaries in 2011 and total chaos in 2012."

Don Fowler, a former DNC chairman and a current member of the rules committee, offered a similar assessment. "As much as I disagree with what the Rules and Bylaws Committee did -- at least the harshness and timing -- even I would assert that there has to be some kind of retribution, some kind of sanction," he said.

Fowler's views hold weight not just because of his past role as party chairman but also because he has endorsed Clinton for president and is sympathetic to her position. As he put it, "I would be inclined to support what the campaign wanted, but there are limitations."

Obama campaign officials have said they are willing to compromise. Chief strategist David Axelrod told National Public Radio the Obama campaign is "willing to go more than halfway" and give up more delegates than the rules might otherwise dictate. "The question is, is Senator Clinton's campaign willing to do the same?"

But so far the most the campaign has done is embrace a proposal from Michigan Democratic leaders that is more generous to Clinton that the Obama campaign's initial proposal to award each candidate half the delegates, but less generous that would be the case of the primary results dictated the allocation.

Throughout the long dispute over Michigan and Florida, Obama and his advisers have demonstrated their willingness to play hardball politics. When there was growing pressure to conduct a new election in Michigan, the Obama campaign held firm in its resistance. Eventually legislation for a makeover primary collapsed, dealing another blow to Clinton's hopes of winning the nomination.

Now the Obama campaign is just as resistant to a compromise in Michigan that would not directly award him any delegates. And because his team believes Clinton's standing is rapidly being eroded by her rhetoric, they seem to have less incentive to move in her direction.

But this is more than a test of wills in the final hours of the long nomination fight. Obama already is looking to the general election. A smooth convention and relatively harmonious relations with the Clintons and their campaign are clearly in his interest.

Obama's core message is the politics of change and the politics of unity, not a continuation of the hard-line tactics that Republicans and Democrats have embraced in Washington. Practical politics dictate that he help find a solution that also does nothing to diminish the Democrats' chances of carrying either of the two states.

For Obama, all that points in the direction of being in the forefront of finding a solution, not being a bystander who, in the end, simply accepts what the committee decides. Although he is not yet the Democratic nominee, he could enhance his position as the putative leader of the party by starting to act like it in this fight.

Posted at 2:34 PM ET on May 23, 2008  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
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To: IDGem
RE: "Clearly 50% of democrats have voted AGAINST him. Add that to the Republican vote and you have an unelectable candidate again."

This must be the most flawed argument I've heard in my adult life! By the same reasoning, haven't 50% of Dems voted against Hillary and combined with GOP votes, wouldn't that make Hill unelectable too?

There's a clear pattern here... cry foul, change, subvert, oppose the rules if you get an unfavourable outcome. When Hillary was running way ahead in polls, even she & her campaign favoured punishing Mich & Flo. But now they care too much for Mich & Flo to let their votes not count. Sounds to me like "Change We Can Subvert"!

Posted by: TonyK | May 30, 2008 10:40 AM

This is nonsense. You don't ask one of the players to referee the game. Obama should not be put in this position. It's absolutely absurd to put him in this, basically, no win situation. Clinton won't be satisfied with anything other than an unfair seating, and if Obama is the one brokering she will cry foul no matter what he does other than give her the nomination. No way, this is Howard Dean's doing and he is the one that needs to be in this position, not Obama.

Posted by: Jeff | May 28, 2008 5:11 PM

Could Dan Balz have found a better word to describe Obama's status in the race for the nomination, than "putative?" I think so.

The arguments that are being made at this stage in the campaign regarding the seating of Florida and Michigan delegates are essentially self-serving and dishonest. This issue has nothing to do with counting votes, or any of the other arguments Hillary and her supporters have brought forward. It is time she and her supporters understand that Hillary lost because of Hillary. This was a self-inflicted defeat. If these people are going through some sort of grieving process, then perhaps they should seek therapy.

For Billary to suggest that it is appropriate to talk about who has won more Electoral College votes, when the General Election has not been held yet, is patently absurd. The only votes Hillary won are votes cast in the Democratic Party primaries. Just as absurd and moreover irresponsible is the broader suggestion that there is some sort of conspiracy afloat. But, we must remember this all comes from the same guy who was ready to argue about the definition of the word "is."

Posted by: Character Counts | May 28, 2008 4:26 PM

Could Dan Balz have found a better word than "putative" to describe Obama's status at this point in the campaign? I think so.

The arguments that are being made at this stage in the campaign regarding the seating of Florida and Michigan delegates are essentially self-serving and dishonest. This issue has nothing to do with counting votes, or any of the other arguments Hillary and her supporters have brought forward. It is time she and her supporters understand that Hillary lost because of Hillary. This was a self-inflicted defeat. If these people are going through some sort of grieving process, then perhaps they should seek therapy.

For Billary to suggest that it is appropriate to talk about who has won more Electoral College votes, when the General Election has not been held yet, is patently absurd. The only votes Hillary won are votes cast in the Democratic Party primaries. Just as absurd and moreover irresponsible is the broader suggestion that there is some sort of conspiracy afloat. But, we must remember this all comes from the same guy who was ready to argue about the definition of the word "is."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 28, 2008 4:21 PM

Why are the campaigns negotiating? Just let the commitee decide what is best for the voters of Michigan & Florida without more politicking. Isn't that what they are there for? Hillary has not spoken about how she agreed to this plan originally and then changes her mind and suddenly cares for these voters. Some candor or humility would be nice. She will not get one independent vote with this behavior.

Posted by: Jonathan | May 28, 2008 3:42 PM

Clinton supporters are like little kids on a playground crying because somebody stole 'their' ball.

What a truly pathetic bunch.

Posted by: PulSamsara | May 28, 2008 9:12 AM

Well, after her death wish on her opponent has been made public by her regrettful slip of tongue, even this thick-skinned old girl will not be able to ask for the VP slot. Having said that, we are dealing with an individual who just defies common sense and logics so I guess anything is a possibility.

On the other hand, Obama is nobody's fool and he sure should know better than offering her the place from which she can have him assassinated.

Posted by: bb | May 25, 2008 7:12 AM

After all this, I hope somebody or some committee asks the Clintons and their no-moral and no-principle supporters to leave the Party.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 25, 2008 7:09 AM

You think Clinton will let Obama stand up and broker this? She wants a convention brawl. I don't know how she can stand herself but that's what she wants.

Posted by: Gaias Child | May 24, 2008 8:44 PM

If Hillary and Bill Clinton discovered a clear path to the White House that required disrespecting women, Yes or No: Do you believe that the Clintons would pursue this course of action?

Posted by: Lee | May 24, 2008 4:42 PM

Thank you MAYA. This is what he has been doing all along. HE IS A SCAM.

It would be nice if Barack Obama showed his ability to be a leader. On Thursday, May 22, 2008, the Senate voted 70-26, with 4 not voting, to continue funding the illegal Iraq occupation. Hillary Clinton voted against it. Obama, on the other hand, did not vote even though he was present for it. The bill pumps $165.4 billion into the pipeline for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As expected, the Senate rejected a provision that would have established a June 2009 goal for the partial redeployment of troops from Iraq. It appears that Barack Obama doesn't know if he agrees with Republicans or Democrats.

Posted by: cik676 | May 24, 2008 4:24 PM

I guess to the Clintons, who agreed and help form the rules through the Ickey man, they just don't like the way the results have turned out. They want to subvert the rules. Hey, can basketball teams who lost because of the 3-point shots the other team say....hey, they didn't count for 3-points in the 1960s. We should win because that is treating all shots differently. Should we overturn the winners based on different rules? If they act like this now, then hold onto your wallets, your hats and your civil liberties. Hillary wants to change things to meet her ambitions!

Posted by: lxg | May 24, 2008 2:41 PM

I like Jake D.'s idea!!! (3:05 PM) (And I'm an Obama supporter) Haven't seen that proposed elsewhere. It is much better than randomly selecting some % to award to each group. One point of contention - what could be built in to the proposal that would provide a disincentive for any states leapfrogging the primary schedule in the future?

Posted by: Glenna | May 24, 2008 1:27 PM

This is America, where we believe in merit. We do not believe in appeasement, the likes of which, Sen. Obama is being pressured by the irresponsible feminist elements and others that aided and abated Hillary Clinton's campaign to destroy Sen. Obama, politically and personally, have been pushing lately.

I have heard alot of very irresponsible comments and mandates on what Sen. Obama should do to make Hillary Clinton happy - from statements that have been attributed to Diane Feinstein, Bill Clinton and others like them, that Sen. Obama should offer Hillary Clinton the VP spot on the ticket; another that says that Sen. Obama can afford and should allow the DNC to allot Hillary Clinton, Michigan and Florida votes, as if she were the winner; to those (other Hillary Clinton surrogates), who suggest that Sen. Obama should pay off Hillary Clinton's $20 million plus campaign debt -an irresponsible debt she and her campaign accumulated, waging a personal and damaging attack on Sen. Obama. These suggestions (except in the case of Diane Feinstein's, which is a mandate, and therefore, even more irresponsible), are foolish and immoral, and should not be granted by Sen. Obama, in any shape or form!

Why does Diane Feinstein think it is her personal province to dictate to Sen. Obama, who he should, or should not pick as his running mate? How dare her, make such a suggestion, after, supporting Hillary Clinton? Diane Feinstein has no moral leg to stand on, in making such a suggestion, at all!

Since when did nominees start paying off the campaign debts of their primary election opponents, especially, one who has been as dangerous and corrupt as Hillary Clinton? I hope the Obama campaign would not yield to any of this none-sense.

Who the hell cares whether Hillary Clinton is happy or not! Yes, she won majority of women's and predominantly, the white underclass, in few states, so what! In the general election, these groups have no place to go -their choices, stay home, which would make no difference, vote for the Republican Party (a choice that is bound to make this group of turn-coats, miserable for the 4 years of the Republican administration, if that were to be).

Inspite of the rant from the feminist elements, who support Hillary Clinton, just in case you do not know, she had alot of leverage in her husband's 8 years in the Whitehouse, what did Hillary do to advance the cause and issues of importance to women? Before you plough this dangerous path, you are about to embark on with her -the Hillary Clinton, or nobody else path, remember that the cause of women is bigger and greater than Hillary Clinton, and there is no guarantee that she represents your best hope and aspirations -an honest male president of the US could do more great things for the cause of women, than Hillary Clinton, whom, you have not yet known, is driven by blind ambition, rather than feminism and the advancement of women.

A word for you all: based on her recent utterances and behavior, Hillary Clinton is too unstable and unfit for the presidency, the VP and any other important position in govt. except, to represent NY, where they like people like her. So, get over it. The further you antagonize the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party and align yourselves with the current erratic behaviors, conducts and statements by Hillary Clinton, the more you set the cause of women backwards, no matter who is the President. So, wise up and reassess your strategic interests and goals. Your current posture is irresponsible and counter productive.

Posted by: IGNATIUS ANYANWU | May 24, 2008 12:09 PM

If the Florida delegation is seated, half or not, why not also count the Edwards delegates. If most of the Edwards delegates then vote for Obama, as they have in other states, then the split is as much as 50% Clinton, 47% Obama/Edwards.

Posted by: Ken Ziegler | May 24, 2008 9:59 AM

So are the Democrats going to "Al Gore" Hillary Clinton because she is a woman?

She's going to win the popular vote you know...

and the Democrats are going to explain to the public why the popular vote doesn't count again?

Ha!
talk about some very funny
and ironic stuff!

loving every minute of it !

Posted by: Steve Real | May 24, 2008 9:25 AM

I do not yet know the reason why the primaries were moved up against the rules but the last thing we want is a system that makes meaningless rules to be disobeyed rather than perfecting the rules so they will be obeyed.

Posted by: David Samuels | May 24, 2008 9:05 AM

The numbers being what they are, rather than what any partisan might want them to be, the battle has shifted to McBush vs. Obama. Sen. Clinton is rapidly becoming a noisy sideshow.

Her 'math of the day' pronouncements win a little momentary attention. Yawn.

Give FL its elected delegates. Chastise FL by not seating any superdelegates from FL. The MI situation is a little like elections in the Soviet Union, with but a single choice. Give MI a 50% -50% split for pledged delegates. No supers.

Who really gets the shaft in all of this? The voters who had a desire to vote for Clinton or Obama or Edwards or Richardson, etc, and who stayed home because they had been told that their votes would not count.

Posted by: Indy Pendent | May 24, 2008 7:38 AM

Conceding to bullies, and she and her campaign have been that, does not seem to do anyone any good. This is a woman who will stoop below the sewer line, even if she and her husband have to evoke any metaphor however shameful or painful, such as her latest ominous specter of yet another national tragedy, in order to win. Leadership both on Mr. Obama's part and the DNC's would seem to require upholding principles and fare play. Good old-fashioned American notions.

Posted by: nmben | May 24, 2008 6:14 AM

Mrs Clinton's awful return to the killing of Bobby Kennedy will ensure that whatever the rules committee decides - Delegates who have yet to endorse, will move very quickly to support Barack Obama. The machinations of Mrs Clinton will have destroyed her campaign and set a reminder in the future that she shot herself in the mouth and proved herself to be of shallow character.

Posted by: Richard | May 24, 2008 4:49 AM

Senator Obama has all the time to decide, as long as Mrs. Clinton wants to be in the campaign, Pressure is making her show her true colors, Her behavior is erratic, imprudent, explosive, irrational and inmature.

She must not have any expectations to be rewarded for a debt in her campaign. she is accountable and risponsible for her expenses.

She has contradicted herself "My oponenet has been outspending me 4 to 1" it means that if senator Obama has spend 200 million in the campaign 200 devided by 4 is 50 millions, so she has spended only 50 millions in this campaign, where is the rest? We americans know a little bit of aritmetic......

It is obvious that she wants to impose her will and be arbitrary. This country is not a fascist country, this country does not tolerates dictators, By behaving like Stalin will not help her to negociate.

Posted by: Alma Ludivina | May 24, 2008 3:06 AM

Vote for Hillary and send America closer to the grave.
Vote for Obama and show the world that America is the greatest liberated country on the planet. Those that want to destroy America will shake in their boots at the display power of the great American people.

Posted by: wayne strickland | May 24, 2008 2:56 AM

I think the clinton's are so evil.She said what she is been planing or wishing.She truly Evil.She can go to Hell.
May God Keep you safe Sen.Obama

Posted by: Lidia mathew | May 24, 2008 2:38 AM

Gee Dan, what about Obama signing off on a MI Dem party proposal that would have cost Clinton exactly four (out of 71, as I recall) delegates? Clinton's the one who vetoed THAT.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 24, 2008 2:38 AM

I haven't really lived in the US for the past 4 years, because I didn't want the prospect of staying around for another Bush term. And now it seems like the same people who were stupid enough to re-elect him last time are going to re-elect him through McSame...er...McCain this name. I want to come home, but I pretty much refuse to do so until there is a leader in place that makes me proud. An old rich guy who only looks out for corporations and other rich guys. Yeah, we really need another one of those running America. So much potential - wasted. So many people - having the wool pulled over their eyes. The funniest thing. The people who are supporting McCain are the middle class and the upper class. Two groups who do NOT belong together. Why? Well, the middle class has the dream to reach the upper class, that's why they side with them. Meanwhile, they're too stupid to realize they will never truly be upper class. Why? The Upper class does not want them. The more people in the upper class, the less power they have. It is necessary to maintain a tight control on who has the most money and not dilute this core of people. The 400 richest Americans own 1.25 trillion dollars combined. That's roughly 3 billion each. The top 10% of families own over 71% of wealth, whereas the bottom 40% own .2%. McCain is only going to work to strengthen this and continue to do the damage the George Bush has done. Hopefully everyone's going to wake up. You know, I'll quote George Carlin here, it's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

Posted by: dmh | May 24, 2008 2:08 AM

the commentary from one COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall M.D. that begins Dear Fellow Americans has been published in other blogs in recent days.

One insertion is in the Palm Beach Sun Times newspaper wherein this guy, writing under the screenname PoliticalDookie but signed as the Col., is followed by another post by him that reads:

"That Zionist puppet McCain is going to die of old age before the election.

Obama is going to liberate America from Zionism."

http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/palm/blog/2008/05/barack_obama_to_rally_in_south.html

If you click on his screenname you'll find a webpage full of hate and nastiness.

Clearly sanity is not a pre-requisite to be a blogger. Google him and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: David | May 24, 2008 1:38 AM

DNC, OBAMA, OTHER progressives caveat emptor! It would be a mistake of the century if Clinton is allowed on Obama ticket. Out of desperation, Hillary could deliberately poisoned Obama, or organised assasins to to take care of Obama...so that she can take over the presidecy. I can see that Clintons dictates what should be done within Democractic families, if Boama has been in LOSER position like Hillary, they might have forcefully asked th man to drop the gun, why are the DNC treating the Clintons with hands gloves?

Posted by: Pastor Samy, UK | May 24, 2008 1:19 AM

It is now evidently clear the reason aduced by Mrs Clinton for staying put in the race even when she knew she could not win the nomination....Incase Obama is assasinted? God forbid this! If it was Obama that made such a remark??? The Clintons will want heavens to fall,but Clintons should know that whatever they sow...they would reap, whatever evil they plan toward other will surely come back to them. God is a just God. Period

Posted by: Kunle Folorunso | May 24, 2008 1:06 AM

There's a grassroots rules challenge in Michigan that proposes a solution that conspicuously adheres to the Democratic Party rules:

1) Don't seat the Michigan superdelegates. They caused this mess.

2) The primary was illicit, and therefore clearly in the rules is not binding. Delegates should be allocated based on the Michigan Democratic Party county conventions, as specified in the rules. This does not disenfranchise anyone.

3) Each delegate so assigned should be given 1/2 a vote.

Write the DNC and say you support the grassroots democrat rules challenge, rather than the biased proposals from each campaign.

Posted by: Michigan | May 24, 2008 12:52 AM

Clinto Supporters in a nutshell:
1. Selfish
2. Sore Losers
3. Hypocrites

Will yield McCain in 08

Posted by: James | May 24, 2008 12:12 AM

50 50, that's it. Look, he was behind 15-30 pts. in every state. He managed to go in and close the gap by either winning or only losing by 5pts. or so. He didn't have a chance to go in and conduct retail politics. He didn't go in shake hands and kiss babies. DNC rules disenfranchised him and his voters, too. The fact that we're evn talking about seating Michigan and Florida is too much. We shouldn't be talking about them at all. However, here we are. That's compromise enough for Ms. Clinton. Half and half, it's the only way. She can't get her way on everything. Sorry.

Posted by: Vegas | May 23, 2008 11:57 PM

"Clearly 50% of democrats have voted AGAINST him."

Really? I don't think ALL the Democrats in this country have even voted in the primary season.

A pretty blanket statement there. And not true.

Posted by: IDGem | May 23, 2008 11:43 PM

Really, do you think the that all Americans want Obama as president? Well think again, there is a VERY silent majority who, do not answer polls or discuss the problems out loud or write in blogs, that have a very large problem with voting for Obama and these are the millions who will vote against him in the fall. Clearly 50% of democrats have voted AGAINST him. Add that to the Republican vote and you have an unelectable candidate again.
Incredible how stupid the leaders of the DNC are. They had the election handed to them and they blew it yet again..Time to start a third party that includes all Americans that are disgusted with the megalomaniacs of the DNC and the GOP.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 11:18 PM

i don't understand hardworking white people who would rather vote for another republican who is only for the rich and the rich only and they would rather stay poor than to vote for a black man give it a chance because bush didn't have any experience at all that is why he selected cheny as his vp and you see the mess we are in
eunice

Posted by: eunice e bowen | May 23, 2008 10:57 PM

The silly shennanigans of Bill, Bubba, Slick Willie, whatever you want to call him, opened the door for George W. Bush to get his foot in and bring the country to it's knees. The country feels now as if it has been waterboarded for the last eight years. The trauma of 9-11 has been overshadowed by the trauma of George W. And now the Clintons
"deserve" the White House again as their playpen? I think not!

Posted by: Dave Miner | May 23, 2008 8:23 PM

Today is Friday. As of today all bets are off with Mrs. Clinton's comments that she is staying in the race in case Obama gets assassinated. Do you suggest that Obama just peacefully drink the hemlock to show what a good guy he is? The majority of us who have chosen Obama as the one we believe will be the best president are not open to the idea of having Hillary anywhere near him. Neither do we favor giving her "innocent" concessions. She hasn't quit her dirty fighting. It is appalling to think of her in the White House. I wonder what Teddy Kennedy and his family think of her today?

Posted by: karela | May 23, 2008 7:56 PM

It would be nice if Barack Obama showed his ability to be a leader. On Thursday, May 22, 2008, the Senate voted 70-26, with 4 not voting, to continue funding the illegal Iraq occupation. Hillary Clinton voted against it. Obama, on the other hand, did not vote even though he was present for it. The bill pumps $165.4 billion into the pipeline for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As expected, the Senate rejected a provision that would have established a June 2009 goal for the partial redeployment of troops from Iraq. It appears that Barack Obama doesn't know if he agrees with Republicans or Democrats.

Posted by: Maya Ayazi | May 23, 2008 7:36 PM

I used to be a huge fan of Hillary until now, Her behavior is really frightening to me....the desperation is much like an ex girlfriend who refuses to give up on a boyfriend as he is saying I Do to his new girlfriend after dumping her for being bossy, needy, and self absorbed. Why is is so important for her to win that she would stoop to an all time low to win.....Personally I believe that after Bill and Monica defiled the white house...( i know many others have...but he got caught) Bill should not be allowed back in the white house under any circumstances....America give it a rest Obama is a change from the Bush Clinton Follies.......Desperate Leaders make desperate decisions....Bush Jr was desperate enough to win that he cheated...look at where we are....what do you think is going to happen to us when or if Hillary unfairly yanks the nomination away from Obama Wake Up People

Posted by: nettieschild | May 23, 2008 7:35 PM

Some of you folks express very hateful statements. And the words of people saying that somehow it is Obama's fault that voted are not being seated demostrates character flaw. Obama is a player just like and other contenders were. You Hillary supporters need to awaken to reality. game is almost over, and your team is loosing, and you are not going to change the rules. I understands it is votes but nevertheless, its a principal. Be graceful losers and work towards strengthening party and the presumptive nominee who by the way lead in popular vote: delegates and most states. Thats how dems win in Novemeber.

Posted by: MARTIN | May 23, 2008 6:43 PM

1. Spiritual Adviser, April 29, 2008
Non-truth: Obama told reporters at a news conference that his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was never his spiritual counselor.

"He was never my spiritual mentor. He was my pastor. And to some extent how the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, was inaccurate," Obama said.

Truth: During a June 5, 2007, speech at Hampton University, Obama introduced Wright by describing him as "the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me."

Sources: CQ, Newsmaker Transcripts, Special Events April 29, 2008; "Obama Says White House Ignores 'Quiet Riot' Among Blacks," CBS2Chicago.com, June 5 2007.

2. Jeremiah Wright, April 16, 2008
Non-truth: During a March 14 interview with FOX News, Obama said he was never in church when his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made the now infamous sermons during which he proclaimed "God damn America" and asserted that the U.S. brought on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with its own "terrorism."

"None of these statements were ones I had heard myself personally in the pews," Obama said, calling the sermons "unacceptable and inexcusable."

Truth: During a March 18 speech Obama said, "Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes." He added, "The remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial ... they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country."

Nearly one month later, on April 16, Obama told a group of Jewish leaders in Philadelphia that he "did not become aware of [Wright's statements] until I started running for president," implying that he did not hear the remarks while he "sat in church."

Sources: "Obama Rejects Sermons from Pastor Who Was Like an Uncle," FOXNews.com, March 14, 2008; "Remarks of Senator Barack Obama, 'A More Perfect Union'" barackobama.com, March 18, 2008; "Obama Tells Philadelphia Jewish leaders He Would Not Sit Down With Hamas," Obama speech, pool report, April 16, 2008.

3. Selma Voting-Rights March, March 5, 2007
Obama told an audience at a Selma Voting Rights March commemoration that during this historic civil rights event in 1965 "there was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma."

Non-truth: He said his parents "got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama."

Truth: Obama was born in 1961 -- four years before the 1965 Selma march occurred. He later clarified his remarks, saying, "I meant the whole civil rights movement."

Sources: "Sen. Obama Delivers Remarks at Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration, Selma, Ala.," Newsmaker Transcripts, March 4, 2007; "Clinton and Obama Unite, Briefly, in Please to Blacks," The New York Times, March 5, 2007.

4. Lobbyist Money, April 12, 2008
Non-truth: During campaign speeches, Obama frequently makes the contention that "I'm the only candidate who doesn't take money from corporate PACs and lobbyists."

Truth: Obama has raised nearly $14 million from lawyers and lobbyists. In October, Obama raised about $125,000 at a fundraising event in the Washington offices of Greenberg Traurig, the law firm that once employed convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Obama has sought to draw a distinction between "lawyer advocates" and "lawyer lobbyists," but some non-partisan experts see that as "a distinction without a difference," as they both operate as special interests.

Sources: "Full Text of Obama's Speech to the Alliance for American Manufacturing," Time.com, April 14, 2008; "Obama Draws Fine Line Between Lobbyists, Lawyer Donors," Newsday, April 12, 2008.

5. Nuclear Legislation, Dec. 30, 2007
During a campaign event in Newton, Iowa, Obama touted his sponsorship of a bill in the Senate that required nuclear power plant owners to notify authorities immediately of all radioactive leaks, no matter how small.

Non-truth: That was "the only nuclear legislation that I've passed" he told the crowd.

Truth: Obama had rewritten the bill to ease its passage and removed the language requiring the reporting of leaks. The bill died when it reached the full Senate, and did not pass as he claimed.

Source: "Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate," New York Times, Feb. 3, 2008.

6. Law Professor, March 30, 2008
Non-truth: During a campaign fundraiser in Tallahassee, Fla., in March 2007, Obama spoke of his time as a "constitutional law professor" at the University of Chicago, "which means unlike the current president, I actually respect the Constitution."

Truth: Obama never held a professor position at the University of Chicago. The university said he was a lecturer and taught courses to students at the law school, but "did not hold the title of professor of law."

Sources: "Obama: Bush Fails to Respect the Constitution," Associated Press, March 30, 2007; "No 'Professor' Obama at U. of C," Chicago Sun-Times, March 30, 2008.

7. Life Magazine Claims in Obama's Autobiography, March 25, 2007
In his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," Obama cited a copy of Life magazine as having stirred a racial awakening in him.

Non-truth: He wrote that when he was 9 years old, living in Indonesia, he flipped through Life magazine and read an article about a black man who had scarred and ruined his skin applying chemicals that promised to make his skin white. "I imagine other black children, then and now, undergoing similar moments of revelation," he wrote.

Truth: No article or pictures exist of any such story, according to Life historians. When questioned about the mix-up, Obama couldn't name the specific magazine in which he read the article.

Source: "The Not-So-Simple Story of Barack Obama's Youth," Chicago Tribune, March 25, 2007.

8. Obama's Fluency, March 25, 2007
Non-truth: Obama has claimed on numerous occasions that, as a boy growing up in Indonesia, he was fluent in the country's language. "It had taken me less than six months to learn Indonesia's language, its customs, and its legends," he wrote in "Dreams From My Father."

Truth: His first-grade teacher in Jakarta said he struggled with the language, needing help with pronunciation and vowel sounds, and teachers and friends remembered him as a being a quiet boy as a result of his difficulties.

Source: "The Not-So-Simple Story of Barack Obama's Youth," Chicago Tribune, March 25, 2007.

Posted by: Fed up | May 23, 2008 4:55 PM

All the rubbish aside, the real culprits in Florida and Michigan were party leadership in the state.

I see strip them of their Super Duper Delegate votes and let elected delegates stand as is. This will punish those needs punishment without victimizing voters and their delegate selections in the primaries.

Posted by: Independent | May 23, 2008 4:44 PM

You know as I read some of these comments and read what newspapers are writing. God do not like Ugly! Clinton is already pissed at the black community because she felt that the black vote was her's. But what happen only shows how some individual feel about people. It doesn't matter if you are red, black, purple, or green. People have a mind of there own. And if you want to vote for someone else and do so. If you are voting because you don't like the color of the skin or gender. Then you vote for the opposite party (Republican) But someone people like living in proverty just because they have hate and dislike in their heart. People the United States are in trouble with a bad economy, high gas prices, and a unjust war. I don't need someone to tell me lies and read from a speech and not from there heart. And to apply that there is no harm in showing a photo of Mr. Obama in a bulls eye or making a joke about gun snipers(Huckabee) or Clinton talking about Robet Kennedy. That only let you know how greedy people can be and how evil they can be.
I don't know why Mrs. Clinton suggest that she's wins by popalar vote, but did they not sign and stated they will go by pledge delegates. Mr. Obama is turning out to be a very stong person and the other know it, that's why they say the things they say and do. Insulting his wife and family calling a "WasherWoman". But that's ok. God has something in store for the world. The world will be heal by darkness. And that darkness is PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA O8-2016

Posted by: Curtis | May 23, 2008 4:43 PM

Dear Fellow Americans,

Our Greatgrand Nation, the United States of America,
is facing and will face very critical, substantial
"Challenges" in the coming months, years, and decades.

It is imperative that we the people of the America
become interested, involved, and engaged in choosing
and voting for our next President.

The following criteria will guide and help us to a
right candidate. The candidate we choose must have
following characteristics:


1. A clear, candid " Vision and Mission" for our
Nations present and future.

2. A " Strong Character and significant
Integrity".

3. A sound and sustained "Presidential Temperament"
and " Judgment".

4. Less "Washington exposure" and "real
connectivity with the people and future
generation".

5. One who "Inspires us up" rather than
"Tears us Down or divides us".

6. One who is not based on sexism,
racism,regionalism,ageism, or any other ism and as
well as one who attempts to " bring us together ".

7. A foreign policy of mainly "USA Centric".

In my professional, political and personal opinion,
the only candidate that meets all the above
characteristics and has shown consistent
coolness, calmness, and connectedness { PRESIDENTIAL
TEMPERAMENT } is Senator Barack Obama.

As an independent registered voter since 1980, I voted
for Carter, voted for Reagan, voted for First Bush,
and second Bush in 2000 and in the process lost
interest in Washington politics to the point where i
stopped voting. Getting disinterested and disgusted in
our political process and stopping voting was a very
very bad decision in any circumstance, particularly
under present circumstances.

This time we can not afford to stay on the sidelines
and let "Washington" stay the same. We can not afford
to allow our Greatgrand Nation to become less than
what we are, what we were and what we can be.

We need to send a clear, careful and candid message to
the world and sometimes 24-hour partisan divisive
media, that We the American people will set the agenda
for our future. America and Americans will be back.

These partisan media outlets are trying and will try
their best to deprive, decieve,dupe, and derail us.
Let us stay involved, engaged, and express our opinion
freely and vote. Our Nation will get it right this
time
to protect, preserve, and promote our future.

Some of these partisan media and pundits are trying
their best to deny us a better future and continue
focusing on our weaknesses to generate a bitter future
for us and our Greatgrand Nation. Our nation's people
will see thru. Unfortunately our Greatgrand Nation's
people are persistently and constantly subjected to
this "Psychological Terrorism" without common people's
knowledge.

The common and regular people do not have time to see
thru and sort thru this psychological terrorism
perpetuated by some of these partisan media outlets.

I find it tragic, unfortunate, and sad [ They probably
do not care about our Greatgrand Nation ]as they claim
that they do it in the interest OF our Greatgrand
Nation.

We the Americans should not and will not to allow
some of these partisan media outlets to
psychologically
terrorize, traumatize and silence us this time nor
any other time in future.

I am sure that we will get it right this
time and elect Senator Obama as our next President.

Let us remember that our Greatgrand nation consists of
family, friends,fellowships, faith, funds,foundation,
fun, and future with fairness and freedom and without
fear, favor, or failure .

We can not afford to lose any of the above. Let us
stand up, be counted, save and rebuild our Greatgrand
Nation for centuries to come. I am sure our Greatgrand
nation andits diverse people. will reclaim, regain and
restore the global economic, social, moral, and power
status of USA.

God Bless our Great grand Nation and its diverse
people.

Our Greatgrand nation needs present and future
stability, security, safety,sustained progress and
restoration of our due status in this perilous Global
World at all levels.

Yours sincerely,

COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall M.D.
Forensic Psychiatrist.
Disabled American Veteran.
Las Vegas Nevada.
Cell: 951-505-6975

Posted by: COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall | May 23, 2008 4:42 PM

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 4:34 PM

And, I'm certainly not the only one who took the comment that way after viewing the video ...

clk56789 wrote (Recommended NINE times):

"Hillary Clinton, how dare you invoke the Bobby Kennedy assassination as a reason to stay in the race. You are a horrible woman. You need to issue an apology immediately for this stupid and tasteless remark. Shame on you, Senator Clinton."

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 4:30 PM

Then I will be glad to simply quote the article:

HILLARY RAISES ASSASSINATION ISSUE
DEFENDS LONG-RUNNING CAMPAIGN

By GEOFF EARLE

May 23, 2008 --

Hillary Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Watch a video of the editorial board meeting here:

http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080523/FRONTPAGECAROUSEL/80522033&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 4:27 PM

That's a remarkably misleading characterization of the statement you refer to. Of course, that's never deterred you in the past.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 4:22 PM

Is there really any HOPE for reconciliation between the two now that Hillary DIANE Clinton admitted she's staying in the race just in case Barack HUSSEIN Obama is assassinated?

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05232008/news/nationalnews/why_hill_wont_drop_out__bobby_kennedy_wa_112232.htm

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 4:18 PM

I wish someone would remind Senator Clinton:

2000 Voters in Florida believed their votes would be counted.

2008 Voters in Florida and Michigan believed their votes would NOT be counted.

2000 voters voted with trust
2008 MI and FL voters gambled.

Our right to have our votes counted must never be a gamble.

Posted by: GMA from Honolulu | May 23, 2008 4:12 PM

You miss the point. Clinton isn't interested in seating Michigan or Florida. Clinton can't win, even with these states...she's burned too many bridges with her own party even if she had a chance with the voters. What she's hoping for is simpler:

(a) Until Howard Dean makes a decision, she doesn't have to quit. She can claim that she'll remain until the Michigan and Florida issue is resolved completely in her favour.

(b) If the Michigan and Florida issue is not resolved and she loses, she can claim that the only way to win Michigan and Florida is to be VP and for Obama to pay all her debts, and if the DNC doesn't play by her rules, she'll actively campaign in favour of McCain, "Since Iraq and Michigan/Florida are integrity issues". She and Bill have states as much, and the Clintons have a big enough ego and presidential ambition for 2012 to make good on their threat.

There's a reason the superdelegates and the DNC haven't put their foot down yet and resolved the issue once and for all. If they resolve it now, the Clintons will move to phase 2. If they delay, there's a chance the Clintons will make a mistake that discredits them to their supporters, so that they'll think twice before using the nuclear option.

Posted by: A foreign observer | May 23, 2008 4:06 PM

"Putative nominee" is responsible for leadership on an issue that determines whether he's the nominee.. are you people sane?

Given that Clinton wants to be the nominee, is she showing leadership by comparing Democratic party leadership to despots and dictators?

Obama should stay out of it to appear neutral, at the same time ensuring his minions enforce a solution that does not seat a single delegate from the rebel states, thus sticking to the rules established for the game, and discouraging future rogue behavior by states.

Posted by: Neil | May 23, 2008 3:55 PM

The DNC should either:

1. stick to their rules and prevent Michigan and Florida votes from counting. or ...

2. split the votes 50/50

There, wasn't that simple?

Posted by: freddie d | May 23, 2008 3:54 PM

This was a stupid DNC mistake. How can this party ever do anything remotely close to not counting votes??? It is insane. If this is not handled properly...you will see a number of democrats leave....including me!

Posted by: charlieb | May 23, 2008 3:43 PM

Forget it!!! I'm sure Obama will relent and act gracious now that he has effectively suppressed our votes and wants the MI and FL votes in the general. "Come on now, I've always wanted your vote to count, come together for change, hope, unity, blah blah blah." BULL. No vote for you, now or in November. McCain '08 for this moderate!

Posted by: FlaLady | May 23, 2008 3:43 PM

Will it be apparent to those superdelegates and rules/bylaws committee members making crucial decisions that if Hillary accepts nothing less than her 100/100 percent "solution" she has something other than accommodation of Florida and Michigan in mind?

And if Party deciders perceive and understand this Clinton recalcitrance, how will they respond? Once an organization allows its rules to be flouted with impunity, there is little voting participants can do except witness organizational implosion or join the morbid death watch.

Posted by: FirstMouse | May 23, 2008 3:37 PM

Seating no pledged delegates only punishes the little guy. Many, many pledged delegates are very hard campaign workers (not bigwigs) who are rewarded with the oppotunity to go to the convention.

To me, the superdelegates, not the pledged delegates, should take the hit. THAT will cause a change of behavior.

Posted by: Masha | May 23, 2008 3:35 PM

OBAMA ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE OF FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN

http://tominpaine.blogspot.com/

ATTN DNC: IS THIS THE BEST YOU GOT?

Posted by: The Wiser Voter | May 23, 2008 3:31 PM

Yes, for Obama to assume leadership on this issue would be wonderful as you have said, BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, Hillary would take advantage; she is cunning and we never know what she has up her sleeve and how she will use it against Obama; so he compromises and she shafts him. If I were Obama I would be wary as well.

Posted by: lasublime | May 23, 2008 3:30 PM

SMD:

I think that's fair, if not split all 50/50 where all states are represented, but also serving as a penalty.

We definitely need a fair solution given the circumstances...

Posted by: Obama2008 | May 23, 2008 3:17 PM

SMD:

How about 50% of the Michigan "regular" delegates based on an average of the polling in that State for the 10-day prior to the primary?

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 3:05 PM

The fair way to solve this is as follows:

Michigan:
Obama was not on the Michigan ballot so no voting delegates can possibly count. Allow the Super delegates to be seated and vote their conscience.

Florida:
Allow half the voting delegates to be seated and the Super delegates. This still punishes FL for the early primary, but is a generous compromise to Clinton.

This is more than fair to Clinton w/out having Obama lose face.

Posted by: SMD | May 23, 2008 2:56 PM

I thought the new co-chairs of the Rules Committee were Sunita Leeds, Mary Rose Oakar and David Walters???

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 2:46 PM

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