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Obama's MTV/MySpace Forum

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) repeatedly sought to draw contrast between himself and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) on issues ranging from next steps in Iran to attitudes toward torture in an hour-long presidential forum sponsored by MTV and MySpace.com.

Days after pledging to more aggressively draw contrasts with Clinton, Obama asserted that he could do so without sacrificing the "politics of hope" that has fueled his rapid rise in national politics. Obama argued that politicians owed it to voters to honestly discuss their differences on policy but to avoid any personal attacks.

Obama addressed a wide range of topics during the dialogue, which was livestreamed on MTV.com and MySpace.com and will be rebroadcast on MTV tonight. Questions asked by students from Coe College -- a small school in eastern Iowa -- ranged from Obama's plans for the military over the next decade to how he would reform the "No Child Left Behind" act to his view on Net neutrality.

Obama followed his hour-long conversation with a rally on the school's quad where he argued that political change (from ending segregation to ending the Vietnam war) had been led by young people. His speech drew loud cheers from the several hundred attendees.

The Fix, who had the unique opportunity to co-moderate the forum, is off the airport for a series of flights back to Washington. If you caught Obama live on the web, feel free to offer your own thoughts about his performance in the comments section below. If not, check out the show tonight on MTV at 7 and then give us your review. We'd love to hear from you.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 29, 2007; 4:10 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama in Spotlight at Today's MySpace/MTV Forum
Next: Mitt and Judd: Perfect Together

Comments

Pretty nice site, wants to see much more on it! :)

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People should respect this space by writing whats relevant to the forum.. not their personal agenda. Being a doctor, there is fact in what OBAMA said about HIV. The most common disease in HIV/AIDS patients is TB which is transmitted airborne. If you remember the lawyer who too a flight and aused havoc. To makes things worse aircraft circulation is cycled and so higher is the rate of transmission. I hope Obama had that vision when he answered. I THINK HE DID A SPLENDID JOB. Now Hillary, the queen of establishment and media will come and twist everyone's arms. Lets see what she will do to kill competition.

Posted by: paulchacko | October 30, 2007 3:04 AM | Report abuse

response to: (kingofzouk | October 29, 2007 06:11 PM)

You're a little bit funny. I think they call it "the pot calling the kettle black."

Posted by: con_crusher | October 29, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

response to: (RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 08:37 PM)

Great post. I share your sentiments. When RepubTards can't win debates and have no fresh ideas, they attack. Republicans are little bit funny. They're all virtually neck-and-neck, yet instead of defining themselves, they attack Hillary. Took a page out of the Rover's attack tactics.

Posted by: con_crusher | October 29, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be a naysayer, but Obama isn't electable in a general election. He should drop out and let Hillary save her money.

Posted by: con_crusher | October 29, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Great, it is the Two Stooges Show again.

Posted by: roo_P | October 29, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

People like me who want serious discussion are going to go elsewhere if we have to keep sifting through post after post from "rufus" and "zouk" etc. I don't believe in censorship,"

Obviously you do believe in censorship, you just asked for it. Gop doublethink. "I don't bad mouth people, BUT". Frickin republcains.

As to you rpoint. you don't want converation. You want to propogate and parrot gop talking points freely. What good is that. If you people wanted to post you would post. What you would rather do is attack leftist's. you've got nothing so you point the finger.

Please leave if you don't want to blog here. No one is forcing you to come here. I a merely taking advantage of a blog that no one is using. Why waste it. Challege me if you are so inclined. If not post your posts. But don't whine about censorship. You will never be happy until we are reagan clones. Never going to happen. this is america. We have freedom. good luck with your agenda, slencing teh left. The right seems o be much more successful than me. I can't get one fascist silenced, but the right sure can get patriots and truth speakers silenced. What has america become? Everything is upsidedown

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
a couple of points about the forum itself:

--look at the colors used in the charts. the light and dark green are backwards and give a false impression to someone doing a quick look through.

--during the Edwards forum, there were regular opportunities to rate whether he was answering the questions but today I think there was only one. Overall, it seemed like a much more softball-question forum than with Edwards.

On the substance of his responses, am I the only one whose WTF radar went off when Obama said that we have to deal with HIV/AIDS in sub-saharan Africa, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because diseases get on a plane and get to America within about 10 hours.

Aside from that fact that people not diseases get on planes and that the people in Africa most affected by HIV/AIDS are destitute and aren't getting on any airplanes soon, talk about getting folks all cranked up over immigration, again! HIV/AIDS is not transmitted by people on airplanes but by a person's behavior or unregulated blood transfusions.

The only reason I can think of for Obama's comment is that he is ill-informed or resorting to Republican scare tactics, neither of which is reassuring.

Posted by: edgery | October 29, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Obama has yet to thrash Clinton because he may want to be considered for a position in her cabinet should she win.

Also being a relatively young pol, he seems wise not to offend the Clintons at this early stage in his career. He can lose and fight another day, but if he gets on the bad side of the Clintons, his career could be impacted over the long term.

Any feedback?

Posted by: a_wainer | October 29, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Chris...

What is the point of registration if someone isn't going to moderate these forums? People like me who want serious discussion are going to go elsewhere if we have to keep sifting through post after post from "rufus" and "zouk" etc. I don't believe in censorship, but there should be forum rules... like posting on topic. Your I.T guys are capable of blocking IP addresses from registering, and these morons should get 2 warnings and then be banned.

Lets have these forums become legitimate discussions once more, instead of the gathering place of fools and idiots who waste our time.

You are doing a great job CC... but it is being tainted by these clowns. Please fix the fix... lest your dedicated readers go elsewhere.

Tony

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Posted by: creativeknl | October 29, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"The fact that the White House dispatched to Iraq a pure political hack -- the former Bush/Cheney '04 communications official -- to incorporate into the U.S. military those communications techniques is obvious evidence of the White House's deliberate effort to politicize the military's war communications. "

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

understand now proud?

"As the lead counsel in the AT&T case, Cindy Cohn, explained in the interview I conducted with her two weeks ago:

We brought the case only against AT&T because AT&T has an independent duty to you, its customers, to protect your privacy. This is a very old duty, and if you know the history of the FISA law, you'll know that it was adopted as a result of some very deep work done by the Church Committee in Congress, that revealed that Western Union and the telegraph companies were making a copy of all telegraphs going into and outside the U.S. and delivering them to the Government.

So this was one of the big outrages uncovered by the Church Committee -- in addition to the rampant surveillance of people like Martin Luther King.

As a result of this, Congress very wisely decided that it wasn't sufficient to simply prevent the Government from listening in on your calls - they had to create an independent duty for the telecom carries not to participate in illegal surveillance.

So they are strictly forbidden from handing over your communications and communications records to the Government without proper legal process.

"

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"Fred Hiatt's concern over "costly litigation" for AT&T and Verizon
(updated below)

Of all the dumb and dishonest arguments in favor of telecom amnesty -- and there are many -- the dumbest and most dishonest is that it is unfair to subject telecoms to the "high costs" of defending against these lawsuits. It should come as no surprise, then, that this is the principal argument The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt advances today in his latest call for telecom amnesty:

As we have said, we do not believe that these companies should be held hostage to costly litigation in what is essentially a complaint about administration activities.
In 2005, the total revenue of Verizon -- from telephone services alone -- was $75 billion. ATT's total 2006 revenue was $63 billion. Whatever the "costs" of defending these lawsuits are, it is a minscule -- really undetectable -- amount to these companies. Whatever the telecoms' motives are in wanting amnesty for their lawbreaking, being relieved from "costly litigation" has nothing to do with it.

Trite pseudo-populist rhetoric about the "high costs" of litigation might work when it comes to lawsuits against small businesses or individuals. There, attorneys fees and other expenses really do make lawsuits expensive to defend. But they still have to go to court to prove they did nothing wrong. That is what it means to live under "the rule of law."

And telecom lawsuits could be "costly" if telecoms are found -- without any good faith basis -- to have broken the law and/or violated the constitutional rights of their customers. But to claim that telecoms like AT&T or Verizon -- whose revenues are measured in the tens of billions of dollars -- care in the slightest about "litigation costs" from a single set of lawsuits is just preposterous, really just a stupid thing to say.
"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/29/right_wing_blogs/

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I do agree with you proud in regards to one thing. Meth cocaine and heroine are scorges that need to be dealt with and should be crimes.

But the TREATEMENT should not be a system which forces our brothers and sisters to not live a criminal life. Current system makes these people worse and more violent. I have worked in the rehabilitation feild for a short time. To many mental walls and games, for me. I'll all peace and love all the time.

We have workers. He have people. They are just not clones and slaves, they are not republcian lackies. (meaning clean "chrisitan" white people)

Free the political prisoners from jail. Take the criminals money source, get them in the system. We can fix the problems that face us. But it has to be as ONE nation, not two.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Go elswhere. I don't post for you anymore. I post for others. People who actually care abou their country. Not people who gloat about the expensive things they buy at the cost of the blood of my brothers and sisters. And you mock me? And I should feel sorry for you? Nope.

The r's have some sell-outs in the democratic party, there is no disputing that. But like I've said here. The 06 election was the beginning. The fascists will be swept out of congress. Regardless of party. Unlike you dittoheads us liberals hold our "leaders" to some account. you wouldn't know nothing about that. No, not AN election. From now to 2012, the goal is removing liars and fascists. Removing bribe takers. Removing teh saboturs and the divide and conquer. It may take elections up to 12. But we'll get their. You old fascists living by old rules are dying out. The future is mine, and those like me.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"You lied your way into power." I am not a Dem. I didn't fall for those false campaign promises.

so in your delusional world is the entire government fascist or just the Rs. Last I checked the Dems were in control of congress. Are they the fascists or the beginning of the reversion from fascism? how can you defeat facsism in an election?

i know logic isn't your strong suit Dufas but your rants are getting more and more tiresome. Give it a rest, say something interesting or go elsewhere. this blog is about new ideas and modern events. Blathering the same drivel day after day is dull. blather some new drivel for a change.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 29, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

When I say the government will fall, don't take me wrong. I obviously love my country. I do not love the government that has been imposed on us through lies the last 15 years, and before.

This shell of a government will be replaced by a real funtioning government. the gop is invested in the defeat of america. And they think they will win the future sabotaging teh country? I beg to differ.

Zouk, how is the dollar? how is the housing market. How is the stock market going to do? How is the world viewing us right now?

It is you that are indenial, sir. Living in a cave created for you by liars and propogandsits. Good luck witht hat yacht. I hope you sink. One less lying fascist in the world

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

There is no democracy with democratic socialism. We are not a democracy now, zouk. our government was stolen from us. Fear allowed this. the red scare of the fifites. The cold war. the iran sistuation of the 80's.

you fascists took our government. We are now a dictatorship. A fascist dictatorship.

You governmetn WILL fall. Good. The coutnry the founding fathers created is coming back. The people who hate freedom are obviouosly scard of this. they will lose all power. That is the point. The power shift from the fascist gop and their dem operatives. To ALL POWER BACK TO THE PEOPLE.

It has been said democracy can't exist without democracic solicalism. The founders knew these, though their was no word as "socailism" back then. But the constitution shows their direct link to the age of enlightenment.

Be scared zouk. Your parties facist reing is over. But you must aknowlegde that many people will be rejoicing when we get our country back. you people stole it zouk. The country is not yours. You lied your way into power. Soon the coutnry will go back to the people. Much to the fascists shagrin

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I did see that. He also said the Dems don't have it together. but i think that is what many want to say because of a general malaise. the way the press tilts things, how could you not. In fact the Rs have a very highly qualified slate of candidates - a very succesful mayor, a governor, businessman and Olympic savior, an ex Senator and TV icon, a war hero with vast experience and others. the issues have emerged and are being discussed. the errors of the last few years have been nicely corrected and bush learns from his mistakes. He corrects them. hillary won't even admit one was ever made. the Dems have railroaded themselves into another unelectable candidate. the Rs have tested the waters and are slowly deciding. Once the choice is made, the money will pour in. we are careful shoppers, not like the hollywood types who contribute so they can get an invite to the party this week.

The classic capitalism vs socialism is in the air. the nanny-state vs the ownership state. the question of whether you can buy the office, either outright or through promises of rewards to voters. this has long been predicted to be the downfall of democracy, i think going back to toqueville? I am personally very happy with the way things are playing out. we are winning the war, the economy is buzzing along, the housing bubble is not being over-reacted to. I am so happy I am going to go yacht shopping.

I think the sentiment from 2006 was way over played by the press and exhibited soemthing called base-rate neglect - the idea that the President loses seats in every 6 year election. It means nothing for the next election. the Dems are busy demonstrating that they can't handle governing and make make the Rs look golden before too long.

but there are a certain number of tortured souls who are immune to the facts and to the reality of the world around them. you know who I mean. they will vote D no matter what.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 29, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Fred Hiatt's concern over "costly litigation" for AT&T and Verizon
(updated below)

Of all the dumb and dishonest arguments in favor of telecom amnesty -- and there are many -- the dumbest and most dishonest is that it is unfair to subject telecoms to the "high costs" of defending against these lawsuits. It should come as no surprise, then, that this is the principal argument The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt advances today in his latest call for telecom amnesty:

As we have said, we do not believe that these companies should be held hostage to costly litigation in what is essentially a complaint about administration activities."

Jail time for criminals proud. How many years must I wait? I think if I am waiting for criminals to go to jail, I'll be waiting a very long time. Hypocrite fascists.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Congradulations on helping to ruin the country proud. With is more important to you? your country? Or one blog?

And I didn't ruin it. you people are just fascist cowards. you are free to post. But you would rather attack me and my ideas. BEcause all you people got is what rush and fox tell you. Zero thoughts of your own, no originality. Slaves. Dittoheads. Post your posts. I don't feel sorry for you at all. You ruined my country killed my brothers and mock me. Should I feel sorry for you? I don't.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

You must weigh the good with the bad. It's not worth it. Legalize it. 41 billion. We could end world hunger the world three times over. Priorities people. priorites. Stop waging war and locking up you rown people for nothing.

And proud. Criminals go to jail? Law breakers see jail time? What coutnry are you living in?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

koz, Have you read this opinion piece by Michael Barone?

Wanted: A Narrative
When there's no life in the party.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YWM1NTI1OTJlOTM4MzZjMDllNjVkNDYxM2NhMGUyNjg=

Maybe after the primaries we'll get it together.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 29, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Weed is a plant that grow in the ground. Nothing is added liek the other real drugs you mentioned, proud. How can you make a nature plant given by god as a drug? How? Why did proabition fail, but not a nature substance? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

You can't tax a plant. So instead they spend billions fighting it for personal profit. Without regard for the costs.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The only ones who are profitting off the war on drugs are drug dealers like you proud. Drug dealers are the only ones winning. Afganistan is making more herion now than ever before. During the war on drugs the bush's brought the drugs in from south america so they could fight it. Much like they are bringing the terrorists here to fight them. All for money. And the criminals are making fortunes. That is the gop plan. So you can say it's us vs them.

I am not involved in this. simple econimcs. Take away the illegals way to make money. they are forced to get a job. That is how you get them in the open.

But talking the word from a drug dealer about why drugs are bad is pretty funny, no.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Me thinks rufas' house is the destination of many of those products.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 29, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Posts your posts, old man drug ealer who wants to profit off drugs like you rbush buddies. Post you rposts. Don't peanut gallery me with wisecracks. Post your posts. No one is stopping you.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Not locking up yours and my people for nothing."

Wrong again dufas. People get jail time for breaking the law.

"And illegalizing weed IN AMERICA costs us over 41 billion"

Incorrect dufas. The cost of fighting illegal drug traficking is also for cocaine, heroin, illegal Rx drugs, ecstasy, methamphetamine, etc etc. not just pot , these drugs are a huge scourge on society. Your simplistic view of things is laughable were it not so repetitive and boring.

Congratulations on ruining another thread.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 29, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Sen Obama.

I appreciate your stance on Fox. Thank you for not legigtimizing them. Are they really news? What can we do to expose the conflict in interests in "news"? If a staion is in with a pirticular party are they still reporting news? No, they are then propogandists. If they are taking money for certain industries, like oil and drug, should their "news" be under more scrutiny? Conflict of interest?

Didn't news compaines have to show they would beneift the country? If so how is Fox on the air? How was the fairness doctrine, which I'm for, legal from the 40's to the 80's , but now it's illegal because the right-wing attack puppets make millions off using their platform lying and misleading the elderly daily for profit?

Should Fox have press creditials, or should they be treated like common pappazzi or the national enquier. If so, they should be stripped of their press creditals and not be meeting with governmetn officails. Would you people meet with the weekly world news? Why not? They would misrepsent you and your words, right? how is that differant from the propogandists at fox "news"?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Obama.

In terms of illegal immagration. It is not as hard as it appears.

1. Check for id's and green cards for residence. (like americans do)

2. Check for id or green card at job, like americans do

3. Check for id for social programs.

4. Legalize weed so the coyote's have no income other than number 2 and 3. In the process we save the american tax payers over 41 billion. Free up jails. Free up police to go after real criminals. Stop the smuggling over the border, as much.
What would they smuggle? How would they get money, other than working for american companies? They couldn't and would be forced to return and do the process legally.

Just suggestions to help overtake hillary and differinciate yourself.

Bush 41's war on drugs was a war on the poor. They brought in drugs to fight them, like 43 is bringing in terror to fight it. All for $$$$$$$$$$. Let's referse the war on drugs. Rather than bogging down the system putting people in jail, let's fight the real cause of the problem. Poverty. Not locking up yours and my people for nothing. Other than $$$$$$$$


Just a suggestion. HAs nothing to do with me. Simple econmics. If you can end world hunger for 12 billion a year. And illegalizing weed IN AMERICA costs us over 41 billion. We could end hunger the world three times over if the gop cult stopped it's attack on america and americans.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Obama.

You recently took a stand agaisnt granting retroactive immunity to the law breaking telecom's. That is great, why have laws if they can be changed at the whine of big business.

Having said that, why do you not take this same stance in the matter of illegal immagration? Granting them all amnesty is retroactive immunity. If you were to get on the right side of immagration, you would surpass hillary.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Sen Obama.

How is it the right is free to lie and propogate daily for profit, yet everyone on the left is silenced almost routinly. once the same standard is applied to the right, they whine and cry about free speech. How about leveling the playing feild for both sides. Not silencing the left and getting the right blowhorns by the government and even the military feeding the right-wing attack dogs.

Sorry but I must include this for illustration. You people know this is my boy, greenwald. This is not ok. Sorry for the long post. I got to get this out there.

"A bizarre, unsolicited e-mail from Gen. Petraeus' spokesman
(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV - Update V - Update VI - Update VII)

I received this morning an unsolicited email from Col. Steven A. Boylan, the Public Affairs Officer and personal spokesman for Gen. David G. Petraeus (see UPDATE III below). The subject line of the email -- which I am publishing in full, unedited form here -- is "The growing link between the U.S. military and right-wing media and blogs," which is the title of the post I wrote earlier this week regarding the politicization of the Army in Iraq, as evidenced by its constant coordination with, and leaking to, the likes of Matt Drudge, The Weekly Standard, and the most extremist right-wing blogs -- in the TNR/Beauchamp case and also more generally.

I had a prior e-mail exchange with Col. Boylan several months ago when I requested an interview with Gen. Petraeus after he had granted an exclusive interview to far-right partisan Hugh Hewitt (author of the 2006 prescient tract: Painting the Map Red: The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority). In terms of whether the U.S. Army under Petraeus and Boylan is, in fact, becoming a political actor, I'll let multiple passages from Boylan's email to me this morning speak for itself:

The issues of accuracy, context, and proper characterization is something that perhaps you could do a little research and would assume you are aware of as a trained lawyer.

I do enjoy reading your diatribes as they provide comic relief here in Iraq. The amount of pure fiction is incredible. Since a great deal of this post is just opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinions, I will not address those even though they are shall we say -- based on few if any facts. That does surprise me with your training as a lawyer, but we will leave those jokes to another day. . . .

You are either too lazy to do the research on the topics to gain the facts, or you are providing purposeful misinformation -- much like a propagandist. . . .

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a little actual research on your part would have shown that [Cheney P.R. aide Steve Schmidt] is actually not here, but that would contradict your conspiracy theory. . . . .

I am curious as to when you think the media relations or operations changed here in Iraq. I in fact do know exactly the day and time that it changed and want to see if you are even in the same ballpark as reality. . . .

For the third matter concerning the Beauchamp investigation and the documents that were leaked -- it is very unfortunate that they were -- but the documents are not secret or classified. So, there is your third major error in fact. Good thing you are not a journalist. . . .

As for working in secret with only certain media is laughable. The wide swatch of media engagements is by far the most diverse it could be. But you might not think it that way since we chose not to do an interview with you. You are not a journalist nor do you have any journalistic ethical standards as we found out from the last time I engaged with you.

As we quickly found out, you published our email conversation without asking, without permission -- just another case in point to illustrate your lack of standards and ethics. You may recall that a 30-minute interview was conducted with the program that you claim to be a contributor. So instead of doing the interview with you, we went with the real talent, Alan Colmes. . . .

I invite you to come see for yourself and go anywhere in Iraq you want, go see what our forces are doing, go see what the other coalition forces are doing, go hang out with the reporters outside the International Zone since that is where they live and work and see for yourself what ground truth is so that you can be better informed. But that would take something you probably don't have.

Steve

Steven A. Boylan

Colonel, US Army

Public Affairs Officer

Everyone can decide for themselves if that sounds more like an apolitical, professional military officer or an overwrought right-wing blogger throwing around all sorts of angry, politically charged invective. Whatever else is true, it is rather odd that this was the sort of rhetoric Col. Boylan chose to invoke in service of his apparent goal of proving that there is nothing politicized about the U.S. military in Iraq.

As for the specifics of Col. Boylan's claims, such as they are, I'll simply note the following:

(1) Col. Boylan does not deny the central point of my post, because he cannot: namely, throughout the Beauchamp matter, the U.S. Army has copied almost exactly the standard model used by the Republican Party's political arm in trying to manage news for domestic consumption: namely, they deny access to the relevant information only they possess while selectively leaking it to the most extremist and partisan elements of the right-wing noise machine: in this case, the Drudge Report, Weekly Standard, and right-wing blogs.

As TNR's Franklin Foer wrote on Friday, the documents leaked by the Army to Drudge were the very same documents which TNR had repeatedly tried to obtain, but was denied access to them by the U.S. Army. As Foer documents, that is a continuation of a pattern that has repeated itself throughout this "controversy": namely, the Army blocks TNR from obtaining key information and then proceeds to leak it selectively to the most partisan appendages of the right-wing noise machine. That behavior, which Col. Boylan does not deny, by itself is rather compelling -- and self-evidently disturbing -- evidence of how politicized at least certain factions within the U.S. Army have become.

(2) Col. Boylan also does not deny, indeed says nothing about, the other vital piece of evidence I cited, one I believe to be even far more troubling than anything they have done in the Beauchamp case. Specifically, after months of boisterous accusations from right-wing bloggers such as Michelle Malkin and Charles Johnson that AP photojournalist Bilal Hussein's coverage of the war was sympathetic to Terrorists, the U.S. military detained the AP journalist with no charges (and, a year-and-a-half later, continues to detain him with no charges), refused to provide any information about this to the press (even including AP), but then leaked news of his detention to Michelle Malkin, who then blogged about it.

The evidence for all of this is abundant and was all linked in my original post. Those matters are far more significant and serious than any of the petty insults Col. Boylan hurled in his email, and I wish he had chosen to address those matters instead.

(3) As for Boylan's complaint that I published the prior emails we exchanged without his permission, that is nothing short of bizarre, though quite revealing. I'm not Tim Russert; therefore, I don't consider discussions with government officials presumptively confidential, to be used only if they give me permission. I honor (though try to avoid entering into) explicit agreements to keep communications off-the-record, but since Col. Boylan never requested that and I never agreed to that, it is absurd to suggest that I had some obligation to keep our communications secret.

We communicated as part of a matter of public interest about which I was writing -- namely, Gen. Petreaus' selection of blatant right-wing hacks as his interviewers. Of course I was going to write about the communications I had with his spokesman on that issue -- that was the whole point of my writing to him -- and unlike Tim Russert, I don't write about things I learn only after I first obtain the permission of government and military officials. The fact that Boylan expects journalists (or anyone else) to keep what he says a secret unless he gives permission speaks volumes about the state of our "political press."

(4) Most of Col. Boylan's claims of inaccuracy in what I wrote are grounded in his invention of "facts" that I did not assert. I never, for instance, said that Steve Schmidt (the Bush/Cheney P.R. flack and ex-Cheney "communications" aide) was currently on staff with the U.S. military in Iraq. Rather, I linked to an interview given to Hugh Hewitt by Mike Allen of The Politico, in which Allen reported that it was Schmidt who was sent to Iraq to improve the political efficacy of the U.S. military's war communications in Iraq:

HH: Why don't they put [Steve Schmidt] in charge of war message management, because the Bush White House is just not good at this.

MA: Right, and this is part of the talent drain that's occurring in this White House -

HH: Yeah.

MA: - because as you know, Steve was a very high official in the Vice President's office -

HH: Right.

MA: And he also went over to Iraq to look at the communications capabilities, and he came back with a number of recommendations about even some of the logistical things to help people get those stories out. Now I think the military's getting smarter about it, as you know. . . .

HH: Yeah.

MA: The military organized the O'Hanlon-Pollack tour, and I didn't know until I read your interview with Mike O'Hanlon that they'd had an interview with General Petraeus . . . .

HH: Right.

MA: That had not been reported before. That was very fascinating. But I think that shows you that the military's getting better at this.

The fact that the White House dispatched to Iraq a pure political hack -- the former Bush/Cheney '04 communications official -- to incorporate into the U.S. military those communications techniques is obvious evidence of the White House's deliberate effort to politicize the military's war communications.

Similarly, my reference to Gen. Bergner was linked to a report by The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin -- entitled "Bush's Baghdad Mouthpiece" -- which documents the numerous ways in which the claims of the U.S. military in Iraq have become more political ever since Bergner was dispatched by the White House to take over the military's messaging machine. While casting all sorts of aspersions about "inaccuracies," Boylan denies none of that, choosing instead to attack and deny statements I never made.

Many people, including myself, have documented in detail the palpably increased politicization of the military's war claims this year, ever since the "surge" began under Gen. Petraeus and former White House aide Gen. Bergner took over its communications arm. In this space, I have written about the incomparably propagandistic one-hour exclusive "interview" which Petraeus gave to Fox News' Brit Hume when he was in Washington to testify, as well as what Sen. Jim Webb calls (along with others) the highly coordinated "dog and pony shows" Gen. Petreaus has spent much time performing for the likes of Michael O'Hanlon. Moreover, Gen. Petraeus received a stern warning from GOP Sen. John Warner earlier this year for having made (with Joe Lieberman's prodding) blatantly political and inappropriate statements while testifying.

The leaks by someone in Col. Boylan's Army of highly sensitive documents to Matt Drudge is an extremely serious matter. The same is true for similar, prior leaks -- including ones containing apparently false information -- to The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb, along with "exclusive interviews" given by the Army about Beauchamp to the hardest-core partisan right-wing bloggers.

I'm hardly the only one to observe that this behavior smacks of the sort of politicization that has infected all of our government agencies under this administration -- an infection that is far more disturbing and dangerous when the politicized arm in question is the U.S. military. As Think Progress reported the other day, the military had even been providing conference calls and other briefing sessions seemingly reserved exclusively for right-wing, pro-war bloggers (at least until TP's report). At Harper's, both Scott Horton and Ken Silverstein have previously detailed similar, highly inappropriate political steps taken this year by the U.S. military in Iraq.

I would think Col. Boylan would have more important matters to attend to than writing me emails about how Alan Colmes is the "real talent" and how I lack the balls to go visit him in Iraq -- beginning with finding out who has been working secretly with right-wing outlets in the Beauchamp and Bilal Hussein matters, if he does not already know. The linchpin of a republic under civilian rule -- as well as faith in the armed services by a cross-section of Americans -- is an apolitical military. Like all other branches of the government intended to be apolitical, this linchpin is eroding under this administration, and that ought to be of far greater concern to Boylan and Petraeus than hurling petty insults.

UPDATE: For obvious reasons, several commenters have questioned the authenticity of the e-mail. The email address from which it was sent is the same (iraq.centcom.mil) email address as Col. Boylan used to send his prior emails (not knowing if that address is public or private, I didn't include it in the full e-mail I published in order to prevent him from receiving a deluge of emails).

Additionally, all of the adornments (titles and pre-programmed signature lines and the like) and formatting are identical. Most convincingly (to me), Col. Boylan has, as I noticed during my prior email exchange with him, a -- how shall we say? -- idiosyncratic grammatical style that is quite recognizable though difficult to replicate, and the e-mail I received this morning -- from start to finish -- is written in exactly that style. I don't see any reason at all to doubt its authenticity.

UPDATE II: If you are well-versed in analyzing IP addresses, email headers and the like, please email me (GGreenwald@salon.com).

UPDATE III: The following email exchange has now ensued with Col. Boylan:

GG to Col. Boylan:

Col. Boylan - Could you just confirm that this email [email forwarded] is authentic, written by and sent from you?

Thanks -

Glenn Greenwald

Col. Boylan to GG:
Glenn,

Interesting email and no. Why do you ask?

Steven

GG to Col. Boylan:
Only because it comes from your email address, is written in your name, and bears all of the same distinguishing features as the last emails you sent to me:

steven.boylan@iraq.centcom.mil

Did you really not notice that?

Col. Boylan to GG:
Well, since they were on the web, not surprising. If you do a search on the web, you will also see that I have been a victim of identity theft of late in Vermont and at least two other places trying to rent property and that person identified themselves as me and thankfully the State Police were able to get in touch with me about it while I am sitting here in Baghdad.
GG to Col. Boylan:
Well isn't it of great concern to you that someone is able to send out emails using your military email address? Do you plan to look into that?

And you labelled the email I recieved "interesting." What does that mean? Do you agree with its content, have any comments about it?

I'll post more as I receive it. Anyone who would like to have forwarded to them a copy of the email I received originally can email me and I will send it. It contains exactly the same header information as Col. Boylan's emails to me from several months ago (Boylan, Steven COL MNF-I CMD GRP CG PAO (steven.boylan@iraq.centcom.mil) and, when one hits "reply," it sends to his email address. None of that was published "on the web," at least not by me. He seems awfully indifferent about the fact that someone is impersonating him, sending email from what certainly appears to be his official military email address.

Independently, all of my points regarding the politicization of the military still stand, and I'm happy for the opportunity to have written again about this under-discussed topic. If the email I received is not, in fact, from Col. Boylan, then the parts of this post regarding him specifically (and there were very few such parts) would obviously be retracted. But the substantive points about the behavior of the U.S. Army in the Beauchamp and other matters would not be altered in the slightest.

UPDATE IV: After a crash course in tracing email headers and IP addresses and the like, the following appears to be the tracking information for the original email I received this morning from the email Col. Boylan is claiming is fake:

Return-Path:

Received: from 02exbhizn02.iraq.centcom.mil

(02exbhizn02.iraq.centcom.mil [214.13.200.111]) by rich.salon.com (8.12.11/8.12.11) with ESMTP id l9SBFSff004148 for ;

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 04:15:36 -0700

Received: from INTZEXEBHIZN01.iraq.centcom.mil ([10.70.20.11]) by 02exbhizn02.iraq.centcom.mil with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 14:15:05 +0300 Received: from INTZEXEVSIZN02.iraq.centcom.mil ([10.70.20.16]) by INTZEXEBHIZN01.iraq.centcom.mil with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 14:15:05 +0300

From: "Boylan, Steven COL MNF-I CMD GRP CG PAO"

To: (ggreenwald@salon.com)

X-OriginalArrivalTime: 28 Oct 2007 11:15:05.0804 (UTC) FILETIME=[CAF430C0:01C81953]

The IP address -- 10.70.20.11 -- does not appear to be recognizable from various IP locator programs. Time zones appear to be different, but the IP address on the original email I received matches the IP address used to send to me the following: (a) the emails today from Col. Boylan denying that the original email was his; (b) the emails I received back in July from Col. Boylan regarding an interview with Gen. Petraeus; and (c) the forms sent to me [at Col. Boylan's request (though not at mine)] for a Media Embed Credentials form. All three of those sets of emails came from the same IP address -- 10.70.20.11 -- as the original email I received today, so clearly that is an IP address used by the U.S. military in Iraq.

Here is the tracking information from the emails sent to me from Col. Boylan today denying the authenticity of the original email, which matches the prior ones I received from him back in July:

Return-Path: (steven.boylan@iraq.centcom.mil)

Received: from 02exbhizn02.iraq.centcom.mil (02exbhizn02.iraq.centcom.mil [214.13.200.111]) by rich.salon.com (8.12.11/8.12.11) with ESMTP id l9SFwT1S017514

for (ggreenwald@salon.com); Sun, 28 Oct 2007 08:58:33 -0700

Received: from INTZEXEBHIZN01.iraq.centcom.mil ([10.70.20.11]) by 02exbhizn02.iraq.centcom.mil with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 18:58:11 +0300

Received: from INTZEXEVSIZN02.iraq.centcom.mil ([10.70.20.16]) by INTZEXEBHIZN01.iraq.centcom.mil with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 18:58:11 +0300 Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 18:58:11 +0300

The IP addresses appear to be the same. There's a whole industry of IP address theories around and I'm the last person who is going to claim any expertise in that. I have no basis for claiming or suggesting that Col. Boylan is being anything but truthful in denying that he sent this email this morning. But all appearances -- including the IP address -- had the mark of authenticity, and I posted all relevant information, including his denials, as soon as I received them.

Finally, I received this email from Col. Boylan as I was writing this:

I am interested in this issue. What I am doing about it does not concern you. Interesting is what I find it.

Whether I agree with what the email says or not is not an issue I wish to discuss with you, as I decided after our last exchange that I would not take the time or efforts to engage with you.

Is there a reason why you posted this?

I'll just note again that he seems awfully blithe about the fact that someone is sending around emails in his name. Maybe he'd be willing to discuss with someone else the fact that someone seems to be sending out emails under his name, with his e-mail address, using his IP address. And the hostile attitude he is projecting here (which wasn't actually expressed this way in the last exchange I had with him back in July) does not seem all that different from -- actually, it seems quite similar to -- the original email which began today's process.

I'll continue to post all relevant information, from Col. Boylan and otherwise, and let everyone make up their own minds.

UPDATE V: The full, unedited email headers for every email I have ever received from Col. Boylan and/or MNF-Iraq is now published here. The IP address on each email is the same.

UPDATE VI: Several commenters and emailers have questioned whether Col. Boylan ever clearly denied having written the first email. To rectify that, I sent him the following email:

Just to be clear, since a lot of people are writing to say that it isn't: you do deny that you had anything to do with the sending of that first email that I sent to you at the start of this process today?
I have not received any reply, but will post one if and when I receive it.

UPDATE VII: Peter Boothe, a PhD student in the University of Oregon Computer Science Department, specializing in Internet topology, has published an analysis of the email tracking information and "conclude[d] that these two emails [the "fake" one and the real one] were written by the same person. Or, someone has hacked into the military infrastructure in an effort to discredit this one Colonel by sending cranky emails to bloggers. But one of the two, certainly."

I have received numerous emails from people with varying degrees of IP expertise, and there are numerous comments, suggesting the same thing. Some say that the information is inconclusive, but most reach the same conclusion Boothe has reached. I have nowhere near the knowledge necessary to form an opinion on any of that and offer this solely in the interest of enabling everyone to make up their own mind.

On a different note, John Cole highlights the key point here that should not be lost. Independent of the authenticity of the first email, Col. Boylan's subsequent emails to me were snide, hostile and nonresponsive ("What I am doing about it does not concern you"). Whatever else one might think about the views I have expressed, I don't think anyone can say I was anything but professional and civil in all of my interactions with him, yet his responses today were roughly the same as the ones encountered by The New Republic: arrogant and obstructionist stonewalling (Franklin Foer noted "a months-long pattern by which the Army has leaked information and misinformation to conservative bloggers while failing to help us with simple requests for documents").

As Cole notes, that behavior stands in stark contrast to the extremely eager and cooperative conduct in which they engage when passing on information to the right-wing blogs and pundits whose political views are apparently aligned with theirs. That takes us back to the first and most important point -- the U.S. military, which has an obligation to conduct itself apolitically and professionally, appears in many cases to be doing exactly the opposite.

-- Glenn Greenwald

"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/29/right_wing_blogs/

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 29, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Did you ask him about immigration matters, considering that that's his weakest spot? A series of pointed questions about his policies could effectively end his candidacy. Given the "editorial guidelines" at the WaPo, I'm going to guess that you either didn't ask him about that or if you did your question was designed only to enable him to replay his standard speech.

As for net neutrality, that weak question - one that Obama had *alredy answered in 2006* - was brought to you courtesy of Moveon.org, as described here:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/007180.html

Why bother asking Obama to answer a question he's already answered?

I'll bet if I looked through old copies of Pravda I'd find Politburo members being asked tougher questions than any "reporters" have managed to ask during any of the "debates".

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | October 29, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

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