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Obama Vice Presidential Team Staffs Up

The identity of Barack Obama's vice presidential running mate remains a closely-guarded secret but his campaign is already making preparations at the staff level to be ready when the choice is made.

Kathleen McGlynn, who was former senator John Edwards (N.C.) chief of staff during his most recent presidential race, is joining Obama's team as vice presidential deputy chief of staff and David Wade, a long time aide to Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), will be the traveling press person for the eventual veep nominee.

McGlynn is widely respected in Democratic circles. She was charged with any number of tasks during the Edwards campaign -- perhaps the most important of which was handling Elizabeth Edwards' role in the campaign, good training for her future job with Obama.

Wade has spent the better part of the last four years on planes as the ever-present press flack for Kerry. Following the Massachusetts Senator's defeat in 2004, Wade returned to Kerry's official office.

The staff moves signal that Obama is putting the pieces in place to hit the ground running when a decision is made about his vice president. Obama has huddled with his vice presidential vetters twice this week -- meetings that have set off rumors that a pick might be imminent. (The Fix' s own reporting on the veepstakes suggests no choice is in the immediate offing.)

Both McGlynn and Wade will report to Patti Solis Doyle, the former campaign manager of Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid and now the head of Obama's soon-to-be vice presidential effort.

Solis Doyle is also the subject of a profile this morning by the Post's own Lois Romano that is well worth reading.

Writes Romano:

"In Washington, proximity to power is power, and on the February day Solis Doyle was replaced, she experienced one of the more rapid -- and extraordinary -- free falls in American politics. She was immediately shut out of the inner circle and cut loose. She was accused of squandering millions of campaign dollars, of being holed up in her corner office watching soap operas as the campaign collapsed, of being an imperious leader who perpetuated a tense and joyless atmosphere -- all of which she denies.

'It's really sad and discouraging and revolting at times,' Solis Doyle, 42, says over lunch one recent day. 'I have to tell you, I was surprised by the vitriol towards me. I think I'm a good person.'"

Other tidbits:

* Solis Doyle and Clinton have not spoken since Feb. 10.

* Solis Doyle cried the day Clinton dropped out of the race. "She said we are moving on, and we cannot waste time with the what-ifs," Solis Doyle said of her former patron.

* The relationship between former President Bill Clinton and Solis Doyle was less than rosy. Romano reports that when Bill Clinton stopped by his wife's Iowa caucus headquarters -- at which Solis Doyle was working -- she stayed in her office for almost an hour before coming out to greet the former chief executive. Solis Doyle insisted no snub was intended.

Make sure to read the whole thing. It's a fascinating portrait of the rise, fall and rising again of a campaign operative.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 30, 2008; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Veepstakes  
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Next: McCain's Risky Ad Strategy

Comments

37th and O Streets, we get it--now that you have scattered your news several times on every blog you can find. Perhaps now that that's done, you could comment upon the post.

Posted by: DCH | July 31, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

37th&OStreet was way out in front on this issue:

From today's Washington Post:


By Juliet Eilperin and Jonathan Weisman
Raising a politically-explosive issue for the first time this election, Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this morning of invoking the specter of race in order to bolster his electoral prospects.

The charge came in reaction to comments the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had made at three separate stops in Missouri Wednesday, where Obama suggested Republicans were trying to scare voters away from him.

"So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," he told voters in Springfield. "You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky. That's essentially the argument they're making."

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis countered this morning with a terse but harsh statement: "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."


.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | July 31, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

37th&OStreet was way out in front on this issue:

From today's Washington Post:


By Juliet Eilperin and Jonathan Weisman
Raising a politically-explosive issue for the first time this election, Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this morning of invoking the specter of race in order to bolster his electoral prospects.

The charge came in reaction to comments the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had made at three separate stops in Missouri Wednesday, where Obama suggested Republicans were trying to scare voters away from him.

"So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," he told voters in Springfield. "You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky. That's essentially the argument they're making."

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis countered this morning with a terse but harsh statement: "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."


.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | July 31, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The Obama ad is much more effective than the McCain ad. He should run with it. As I watched Jim Lair last night I knew that McCain had crossed the line. The problem is even McCain does not believe these claims. I was thinking the time was now to accept McCain's offer for town hall debates. This ad is great. Obama should run it until election day. The Obama campaign can raise a 100 million in August if they send out an email asking to finance it to run on the Olympics'.

Posted by: bradcpa | July 31, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Michael, this post was supposed to be about new staff to the Obama campaign. I am interested in the choice of Kathleen McGlynn who was with the Edwards both in 2004 and most recently as chief of staff. I do NOT think Edwards is on the short list for VP but wonder if there is some role intended for him in the Obama campaign. Of all the other candidates, his message was the most like Obama's. Perhaps Attorney General?

Posted by: DCH | July 31, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

If obama doesn't choose kaine for his vp choice, then he is not as smart as I thought he was. If he wants to get back the reagan democrats/hillary supporters, he needs kaine. All he has to do is choose kaine and the election is over the day after, he publishes the interview charlie rose had with kaine on youtube, and gives the pundits a section of the interview on how kaine came into politics to be put on the cable shows. if every single registerd voter (dem/repblicn) watches that interview, then the race is practically over, and mcain should go back to congress. What an impressive man Kaine is. YES WE KAINE!!!!

Posted by: gabu | July 30, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

geeze I thought this post was about the VP staff.

first "Surge" I don't want to hear any more crap about the surge working until those who are touting this admit to the worst foreign policy decision in at least 50yrs that it was a mistake to go in period.

Troops overseas

we cannot have troops in a Muslim country to them it's a new crusade.

Whether we have reached bench marks or not is debatable but what is not in question

unless some of you republicans are willing to send your sons and daughters into the military to keep these troop levels and add
10 to 20k in Afhganistan.

Posted by: Michael Templer | July 30, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris,
Interesting pro and cons about Bayh.

How about something on Wesley Clark? I keep comparing each name leaked with him and so far can't find anyone that surpasses his unique skillset and fit with Obama.

His only weakness--never holding elective office--may not even be a negative since it makes him both "insider and outsider". Plus, he has more real-world leadership and administrative experience than anyone else on the list.

I hope a profile of Clark is in the offing.

Posted by: Julie from LA | July 30, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"If the surge has worked & political progress has been made - why are we still there?

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 4:19 PM

Fair enough question but not cognizent of history.

answer - we never leave. we are still in Germany, Japan, Bosnia, Turkey,....."


______________


Ok, if you are comparing Iraq to those other places, you are just insane. I guess being a Bush fan already puts you in that category, so its just a slight nudge in that direction, but still. You'd do better to not take talking points from Dick Cheney. Sure, you'd get some cheers at a NRA and Bible meeting, but among people who know what they're talking about, you just seem like an idiot.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

If the surge has worked & political progress has been made - why are we still there?

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 4:19 PM

Fair enough question but not cognizent of history.

answer - we never leave. we are still in Germany, Japan, Bosnia, Turkey,.....

We do draw down eventually - most usually when a different front opens up. there is no real military reason to keep troops in the CONUS anymore. they are best used somewhere else. where do you think the Navy is these days?

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 30, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama's trip abroad did little to alter the presidential race.
(CNN) -- It was a weeklong trip that drew blanket media coverage and sharp criticism from Republicans, but Barack Obama's recent tour abroad did little to alter the standing of the presidential race, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows.

According to the survey -- the first national poll conducted entirely after the Democratic presidential candidate's trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Europe -- the race for the White House has remained virtually unchanged since late June, with Obama holding a 51-44 percent edge over Sen. John McCain. In a similar poll conducted one month ago, Obama held a 5-point lead over the senator from Arizona , 50-45 percent.


http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/07/30/poll-shows-obamas-trip-didnt-change-race

Posted by: why cant mcsame close the deal? | July 30, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

If the surge has worked & political progress has been made - why are we still there?
--------------------------------------

Why is it republicans never speak on the fact that we have 80,000 Iraqis on our payroll not to shoot at us? We(U.S. taxpayers) pay $800,000 every single day to these former insurgents. When the surge started the violence increased dramatically. Once Petreaus forked over the cash. The violence magically stopped. So is it the surge or the splurge.

Posted by: why are we in Iraq? | July 30, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

zouk writes
"Only one problem with your view simple simon - the facts. Troops have started to come home. Political progress has been made"

If the surge has worked & political progress has been made - why are we still there?

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 4:19 PM

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

three little letters OIL

Posted by: the real reason | July 30, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

zouk writes
"Only one problem with your view simple simon - the facts. Troops have started to come home. Political progress has been made"

If the surge has worked & political progress has been made - why are we still there?

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

oops... posted in wrong comment section. I'll attribute that to old age!

Posted by: dean again | July 30, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I understand John McCain's military experience. But as a military member of the Modern Whig Party, I have to ask how can sit back and implicity refer to himself as an "American hero." Strikes me that a true hero would be modest and shy away from such references. Another short-sighted attempt for McCain. I liked much better the John McCain of 2000.

http://www.modernwhig.org
The Modern Whig Party -- For the rest of us

Posted by: Dean | July 30, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

As long as I have admired Hillary Clinton the Senator, there do waft back from time to time whiffs of the other Hillary. I confess to being relieved not to feel obliged to defend the one who sent her long-time friend packing via e-mail.

In the meantime, It is telling that the Obama team have reached out to so many campaigns for ideas and energy. I expect any day now to see Carville pop his head out and say "I was just kidding, Barry, I really DO like you, but I just CAN'T support anyone who'd hire me!"

Posted by: DCH | July 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Keep an Eye on This Democratic Machine Scandal in Ohio

If, on Election Night 2008, the race comes down to Ohio, and if the Democratic turnout in Cuyahoga County is not quite what Team Obama was counting on, remember this little-noticed late July story:

The public-corruption investigation that paralyzed Cuyahoga County government Monday unraveled the political and business ties of the county's most powerful and colorful players: Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Auditor Frank Russo.

The federal investigation centers on allegations that they traded jobs and contracts for thousands of dollars of free improvements to their homes and properties.

The investigation went public when nearly 200 agents from the FBI and IRS simultaneously raided county offices, businesses and homes at 9 a.m.

The operation was so broad that the FBI brought in agents from Pittsburgh and used three U-Haul trucks to take away cartons of documents and other items. Dimora and Russo, who have spent their political careers in the limelight, stayed out of sight all day and were not available for comment.

The nearly inseparable duo built a Democratic machine by hiring friends and allies, which is the subject of a continuing Plain Dealer investigative series. And the two have helped the party control every elected office in the county for decades, partly through Dimora's role as county Democratic Party chairman.

But the investigation could end their control and hasten efforts under way by the legislature and governor to consolidate the county's elected offices.

A local reader notes, Obama must carry Cuyahoga County by record numbers to win Ohio, and contends that county employees help party get-out-the-vote efforts. Looks like the Democratic machine may have other, more pressing worries beyond GOTV now...

Posted by: doom for dems | July 30, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Only one problem with your view simple simon - the facts. Troops have started to come home. Political progress has been made, even more than the Pelosi congress. the rate of egress is not determined by a politicians campaign promise, it is determined by the ground situation.
what is it with Liberals and undeniable facts?

for example - the surge failed despite its success
the earth is warming despite the cooling
we must retreat even if we're winning
we must fix the economy by raising taxes
German reggae fans indicate success
etc....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

zouk posting as anonymous coward writes
"I guess in simple simon's world, the effort in Iraq has been to no effect whatsoever. pretty much the same as last year."

No. But has it had the intended affect? No. The intended effect, of the surge, was to create peace to foster Iraqi political solutions. Peace in Iraq should mean that 1) your people aren't getting killed every day and 2) our part-time military, i.e. Nat'l Guard & Reserves, can end their deployments & return home to their families & civilian lives. Instead, we have the Bush-McCain team trying to both claim success and a need to keep our troops in Iraq indefinitely. That doesn't make sense to me. That sounds more like the analogy that mnteng referenced about the mythological greek figure who keeps pushing a rock up a hill, only to see it roll back down - so he starts again.

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to sign this post. So sorry!

"ignorant coward
sphinctator2
LOUD and DUMB


these are the monikers of Spectator2 aqa Loudon voter. He seems to have some sort of personality disorder.

snObama is the voice of the candidate with the filter turned off.

kingofzouk is one of the only voices of reason on this blog.

Posted by: | July 30, 2008 2:52 PM"

Posted by: ignorant coward | July 30, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If Obama goes with Tim Kaine, McCain wins...

Wait. Stop. What's Bob Barr up to today?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I can tell you if he picks Kaine as VP ...and Mccain picks ridge...I would go with McCain.

Posted by: dl | July 30, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

scrivener

I am sure you are right on his excessive hubris but I also think ...well 2 things...it comes with the territory (all of them outside of Hillary were modest at the beginning but if you become the leader then you kind of have asurge of ego) you have to have hubris to run for President. but secondly I can not imagine how hard it is to keep it in check when the world is chanting...screaming for America to elect you (don't kid your self...McCain's hubris comes out in his temper but if he was younger he would be an egomaniac...c'mon...like Bill Clinton...although Obama seems to be handling and more importantly using it better than Bill Clinton did)

so I think it is kind of a non-issue unless he suddenly has it effecting his choices...like picking a VP that is more about his own comfort and ego than for the good of the country...but to be honest I am hoping that does not happen...the VP pick will be a big sign of who he is as President.

Posted by: dl | July 30, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

ignorant coward
sphinctator2
LOUD and DUMB


these are the monikers of Spectator2 aqa Loudon voter. He seems to have some sort of personality disorder.

snObama is the voice of the candidate with the filter turned off.

kingofzouk is one of the only voices of reason on this blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

NRO is reporting that Kaine just canceled traveling plans.

That's the way they were able to predict Edwards four years ago.

Posted by: info | July 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

What does this list mean to you?

kingofzouk
snObama
ignorant coward
sphinctator2
LOUD and DUMB
lib reality

Posted by: John McCain | July 30, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I am for campaign finance reform...unless it costs me money.

I am for gun control....unless it costs me votes.

I am for rev Wright....unless he gets in my way.

I am against the surge....unless it works.

I am will visit the military wounded....unless a big crowd forms elsewhere.

I am the candidate of judgment......unless you examine me too closely.

I will change politics as usual.....with the usual politics.

I am clearly the choice of the world....except for that pesky US election.

I want to lower energy costs....but we will not drill, we will not nuke, we will not do anything except spend spend spend.

I decry budget deficits.....but have a big spending plan of my own in the trillions.

Let me clear up all my past statements.....by saying something opposite.

I am ready to make hard decisions......by voting present.

Posted by: snObama | July 30, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

NOW WE ENDEAVOR TO PSYCHOANALYZE BARACK...

bsimon:


Dodd's got a conscience and he sticks to his principles. And he can talk tough; remember how he called out Hillary at that Philly debate?

Dodd is Obama's best chance to redeem himself with his base, many of whom are disillusioned over his vacillations and flip-flops on core issues such as FISA/wiretapping/telecom immunity, handgun control, etc.

But I fear that Obama is incapable of realizing what he needs to do. Like apologize for his excessive hubris, and promise to try to be more humble -- you know, sort of like how he talked to God in that Wailing Wall prayer.

I have a theory about why Obama acts so egotistically. I think he fears success, and is engaging in self-sabotage. I think he recognizes his excessive hubris, but just can't help himself because he is afraid.

That is an understandable human emotion. Perhaps he should publicly recognize that he's allowed his super-ego to override his id. Maybe he should talk about this, and make something of an apology to his supporters (which is what he seemed to be doing in his Wailing Wall "tokel").

I'm no Dr. Freud; but that's the most beneficent reading I can offer for his self-defeating behavior.

Posted by: scrivener | July 30, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Whatever you think of McCain, he's not in it for the glory."

Say WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???????????

Posted by: Doug in NYC | July 30, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow, yet another anonymous rightie poster trying to criticize Obama for flip-flops. You right-wingers are amazing. You guys have taken he art of "projecting" to a new level.

Posted by: PeixeGato | July 30, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The latest blow to the Government's apocalyptic prophet is news from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute that there is more ice than normal in the Arctic waters north of the Svalbard archipelago. According to the Barents Observer there are open areas in this area in most years during July - but this year the area is covered by ice.

Obama declared he was always in favor of ice all along. al gore made a nasty face and continued to pocket the money anyway.

Posted by: lib reality | July 30, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse


Where's Weisman? Has the Post sent him to the sidelines for th rest of the year?
Or could it be true that he may have gone to a Washington underground garage, carrying a flower pot, to meet with McCain adviers?
And have he and Milbank received calls yet from Fournier saying, 'Keep up the good work?'

Posted by: Jack Conway | July 30, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey DDAWD: You are wrong when you say none of the benchmarks have been met. How can you say such a thing? When you look at the facts, 3 of the 18 benchmarks have been met. Tell me you can't be proud of a performance like that. I mean, back in my days in school, if I had scored 3/18 on a test, I oculd hold that test up high with a proud beaming smile, knowing that I had made significant progress from that time I got 0/18.

Oh, how wonerful life would be if we could all be successful by getting 3 out of 18 right. Unfortunately, such such an achievement was, and STIL IS, a FAILING GRADE!

So I guess by that definition, the surge failed the test, no?

Posted by: PeixeGato | July 30, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

the surge was such a failure, I want to do it again in Afghanistan.

Posted by: snObama | July 30, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

-- "American Tune" By Paul Simon

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

scrivener

I loved Dodd in person in a q and a and I loved Biden in person because both were obviously extremely adept at the issues...but I have to tell you that when I saw Obama in q and a's as well he rivaled them... not quite all the way but amazingly close for someone who has had as short of a career as he has had.

the problem with Dodd is the President in times like we are in now...needs to inspire...as stupid as it sounds...he does... and Dodd doesn't inspire.

and to be honest he is a quieter, less exciting ...less feisty version of Biden.

so he would be good as a VP but right now I think we need people in the white house that are telling people to get up off their...a##es. whether people don't like it or not.

and one needs to do it nicely and one needs to say "get up off your a##!"

those are the tickets that win...

Good cops bad cops...
clinton (bad cop) gore (good cop)
Bush (good cop) cheney (bad cop)
reagan (bad cop) bush sr (good cop)

Obama needs a bad cop.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:

To extend the analogy to its illogical conclusion ...

Bringing peace to the ME by force = Sisyphean rock-pushing.

Posted by: mnteng | July 30, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess in simple simon's world, the effort in Iraq has been to no effect whatsoever. pretty much the same as last year.

despite all evidence to the contrary. Let me guess one step further, you see no problem with Obama's flip flops and multiple views of every subject.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I like the analogy, bsimon.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

and you are the reason that Obama needs to choose a VP that is good for the country not just for him to win.

Obama needs to be able to choose the "resource" candidate as he said he wanted...not the candidate that doesn't outshine him on knowledge.

Posted by: dl | July 30, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:

You should know that I was a former supporter of Obama. Now I'm disillusioned and need to be convinced this guy stands for something and isn't just a self-aggrandizing opportunist.

If I feel this way, how about Joe Sixpack sitting on the barstool at the local joint? The guy who's saying, "Barack Obama. Didn't he forget something? Like, THE ELECTION?"

Whatever you think of McCain, he's not in it for the glory.

If voters think Obama is the glory-seeker and McCain is not, McCain wins by default.

This election won't be decided on the issues. This election is a referendum on Barack Obama. That's just the way it is.

How else to explain McCain's slight lead in the Gallup tracking poll in light of his less than stellar campaign effort to date?

I'm waiting to be convinced. I feel it may be a futile wait.

Libs may have backed the wrong horse. Singer Paul Simon knew best; he backed Dodd. And Simon's the guy who wrote "American Tune," as plaintive a lament over lost glory as you'll ever hear.

Posted by: scrivener | July 30, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

anonymous coward likely to be zouk wrote
"the last month the UN verified that 15 of 18 benchmarks were met."

Not true.

The White House (not the UN) reported in early June that the Iraqis have made 'satisfactory effort' on 15 of 18 benchmarks. They did not define what 'satisfactory effort' entails, nor did they describe any progress (or lack thereof) towards achieving the benchmarks.

Effort = pushing on a rock
Progress = moving a rock

For some rocks, you can push and push until you're blue in the face, but still make no progress.

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

scriviner writes
"perhaps my comments are colored by my sense that Obama is a controlling egomaniac who has bedazzled frustrated and easily beguiled liberal/progressives with his lofty but insubstantial rhetoric, and his embrace of the personality cult as strategy."

Perhaps.

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

chris If you don't mind to help out DDAWD
I copied and pasted this below from the Council on Foreign Relations website...

it is a summation of the benchmarks

there has been varying progress but for the most part DDAWD is right the benchmarks have not been met...in fact I think one has been met...the debaathification laws issue but event hat is now causing problems that are simmering to start another civil war conflict...

do not let anyone be fooled ...Iraq is quiet because there are lots of US guns on the ground...we have no idea if any progress really has happened that the surge was supposed to achieve...

here is the paste from CFR.org

What are the specific benchmarks laid out?

Experts say the benchmarks range in specificity and achievability. They include reaching an agreement on the status of Kirkuk, meeting certain economic criteria like a targeted annual growth, and reducing subsidies on energy and food, which cost Iraq's economy roughly $11 billion per year, according to the Iraq Study Group. But the most-discussed benchmarks include:

* Holding provincial elections. Because Sunnis mostly boycotted December 2005 provincial elections, local governments are primarily dominated by Shiites in the south and center and Kurds in the north. The Bush administration has pushed the Shiite-led government to hold fresh elections at the local level to reverse this imbalance, allow a Sunni buy-in, and pave the way toward greater reconciliation. The law was one of three slated for passage in February 2008, but stalemate within Iraq's presidency council sent the measure back to parliament for retooling, where progress won't come easily (AP). "The biggest challenge ahead of us is the provincial elections law," said Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, speaker of Iraq's Council of Representatives.
* Passage of oil revenue-sharing law. An oil law drafted in February 2007, as this Backgrounder outlines, has left Iraq's leaders bitterly divided. It has drawn criticisms from Iraq's Sunnis, who prefer a stronger role for the central government, and from Kurds, who prefer a stronger role for the regional authorities. The majority Shiites have sought to mollify the Sunnis by keeping control of Iraq's oil sector in Baghdad, not the provinces. Most of Iraq's oil rests in the Kurdish north or Shiite south, not in the Sunni heartland. The role of outside investors, classification of old versus new oil fields, and details on how oil revenues would be distributed also remains unsettled--though oil money is being distributed as part of Iraq's annual budget.
* Reversal of de-Baathification laws. The Iraqi parliament passed the Justice and Accountability Law on January 12, 2008, clearing the way for an estimated thirty-thousand low-ranking ex-Baathists to return to public life. The law also allowed some party members to collect pensions. But some Sunnis argue the law has made matters worse for them by opening the door to federal prosecution, barring top-ranking officials from regaining jobs, and restricting former Saddam security forces from reintegration. The drive to rescind de-Baathification laws was part of a larger effort to make constitutional concessions to minority groups like Sunni Arabs.
* Amending Iraq's constitution. The Sunnis favor an amendment to stanch the formal breakup of Iraq into regional states divided along sectarian lines. They fear the Shiites will seek a federal state in the south modeled along the lines of Iraqi Kurdistan, which would cut into the Sunnis' share of political power and revenue. But the amendment process is purposefully difficult, says Nathan Brown, an Islamic legal scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. To change the document, the Iraqi parliament must first form a committee, which then proposes a package of amendments. Next, the parliament votes on the amendments as a package, not individually, and this requires a simple majority. If passed, the bloc of amendments must then win approval from the public in a nationwide referendum, requiring two-thirds approval from at least three of Iraq's eighteen provinces. "[The system's] structured so that the constitution will not develop significant changes," Brown says.
* Spending of reconstruction funds. One benchmark is the fair distribution across the country's provinces and various ethnic groups of $10 billion in Iraqi reconstruction funds, as allocated in the Iraqi government's budget. The monies are aimed at building infrastructure, improving services, and creating jobs for all Iraqis, but parliament cannot agree on how to equitably disperse the funds. "It's hard for the central government to get out of Baghdad and out of the Green Zone and move things ahead," says Frederick D. Barton, co-director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' post-conflict reconstruction project. He says the easiest way to distribute aid quickly across ethnic lines is to tie it to education or home-improvement funds but that hasn't been done in Iraq. A January 2008 Congressional Research Service report (PDF) notes that Iraqis spent about 4.5 percent of the $10 billion as of August 2007; an additional $13 billion was added to the 2008 budget. Yet some U.S. lawmakers remain wary of Iraqis' accounting. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), and John Warner (R-VA), have called for an audit into how Iraq is spending it oil profits (NYT).
* Other measures: Two bright spots for Iraq's government came on February 13, 2008, with the passage of an annual budget ($48 billion) and another provision allowing limited amnesty for detainees in Iraqi custody. The Bush administration, which has lobbied hard for political progress, praised the actions. "There is still much important work ahead for the people of Iraq and their government," the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said in a joint statement with the U.S. military. "Nevertheless, today's legislative actions reflect a significant commitment to address important issues and find political bases on which to move forward."

What happens if Baghdad fails to meet these benchmarks?

The consequences of failure remain unclear. Some Democratic lawmakers have pushed for a freezing of aid funds to Iraq, while others have sought a more rapid withdrawal, or redeployment, of troops. White House officials say performance benchmarks should not be linked to troop deployments and reconstruction aid disbursements--that is, the consequences of Iraqi inaction should not include imposing limits on the ability of U.S. military leaders or the president to carry out the war. But as Exum points out, "Having benchmarks is worthless unless you have consequences." Lang, formerly of the Defense Intelligence Agency, says, the trouble is that Iraqis do not believe there will be serious consequences if they fail to achieve these benchmarks. "Iraqis are every bit as smart as we are," he says. "Realistically they can figure out that the chances we would pull the plug and leave is just about zero." Similar U.S.-imposed benchmarks set for the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War achieved little, he add

Posted by: dl | July 30, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

ddawd - I understand that anything that reflects positively on bush or Republicans must be read very carefully as there is most certainly some trick or spin involved.

On the other hand, there is no need to even read anything that Obama puts out. I can summarize it for you in three words: hope, change and BS.

We always knew that Libs were the party of unthinking and propoganda, but it is beginning to get ridiculous. Even the WaPo has figured it out. I can only guess that you devoted Libs won't (figure it out) until at least the day after your losing the election. but as usual you will blame it on chicanery or racism or stealing or some such fragile post-partum depression mimicary.

too bad. until you figure out "what is wrong with this list" your results will not change. how do you explain the record low approval of the Pelosi congress - VRWC???

Is it even remotely a possibility that your policies are all washed up?

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 30, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

McGovern - beaten by Nixon
Mondale - beaten by Reagan
Dukakis - beaten by GHWBush
Gore - beaten by GWBush
Kerry - beaten by GWBush

Wow, our track record SUCKS. Perhaps only Reagan can be considered at least a sort of good president. Given what we know now, which column would you rather have had as our presidents?

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The "List" below means, with the exception of Obama, that in America, the better man doesn't always win.

Posted by: Doug in NYC | July 30, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"ddawd - you seem to be the typical obama supporter. avoiding any and all facts that are contrary to your kumbaya world view. the last month the UN verified that 15 of 18 benchmarks were met. but perhaps you know better sitting at your desk."

Go back and re-read this "verification". Read it carefully.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

that list means
"one of these things is not like the other...one of these things is going to win"

unless he picks Kaine.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

What does this list mean to you?

McGovern
Mondale
Dukakis
Gore
Kerry
Obama

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Did Milbank Get it Wrong? [Greg Pollowitz]

Jake Tapper reports:

Republicans and others are jumping on the quote as evidence of Obama's more egoistic impulses, but other Democrats in the room today suggest that the quote is out of context and twists Obama's meaning to mean the complete opposite of what he was saying.

"His entire point of that riff was that the campaign is NOT about him," says a House Democratic staffer. The Post "left out the important first half of the sentence which was something along the lines of 'it has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. Its about America. I have just become a symbol.'"

Other staffers with whom I spoke back that up, and a Democratic Congressman who isn't a particular fan of Obama agrees, saying that Obama preceded that quote with something along the lines of, 'Those people in Germany weren't excited about me. They were excited by the prospect of America getting back to being all it could be.'"

To me, this is worse. Obama is a symbol of getting America back to being all it could be -- as defined by 200,000 screaming Germans?

Posted by: we protested Reagan, we cheer Obambi | July 30, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

MarkinAustin:

I accept your analysis to a point. I still say a strong VP candidate would want a say in the selection of his/her press spokesperson and chief of staff.

You are correct that it's campaign mode; perhaps my comments are colored by my sense that Obama is a controlling egomaniac who has bedazzled frustrated and easily beguiled liberal/progressives with his lofty but insubstantial rhetoric, and his embrace of the personality cult as strategy.

His tap-dancing on the issues fits into this narrative -- as does the revealing profile in the NY Times this morning of his 12 years as a law professor.

This guy is starting to scare me, I'm sorry. If he picks a "probie" as his running mate, I'm stepping up the call for Hillary to save the party from what is looking more and more like another defeat that shouldn't have been.

But yeah, I'll give him a pass on doing the down-staff VP hiring even before the running mate steps through the door... I just wonder whether it's an indicator that he's going with a "probie" as his running mate and not a seasoned pro.

Until I see this guy taking some firm stands for a "change," I will continue to harbor reservations about the depth of Obama's core principles.

"VIGILANTE INJUSTICE": LEARN ABOUT
STATE-SUPPORTED DOMESTIC TERRORISM:


http://www.nowpublic.com/world/get-political-vic-livingston-opinion-expose-state-supported-vigilante-squads-doing-domestic-terrorism

Posted by: scrivener | July 30, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

So, the University of Chicago offered to give Obama tenure after he had taught there for several years without producing any scholarship. It would be interesting if someone from the press were to interrogate Chicago's faculty and dean about this. How often do they tenure someone without scholarship? Why was it done in this case? Was there any dissent on this supposedly 'conservative' faculty? Etc.

Posted by: the AA professor | July 30, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I sure am glad I am getting that new higher minimum wage that turned out to be the only promise kept by Pelosi. except that I am now hoping for extended unemployment benefits instead.

I am looking forward to more of this from the next administration.

Posted by: bennigans employee | July 30, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi in Cloud CooCooLand: "I have always loved longitude,
I love latitude; it's in the stars. But longitude, it's about time. ...
Time and clocks and all the rest of that have always been a fascination for me."

Posted by: Pelosi Galore | July 30, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

ddawd - you seem to be the typical obama supporter. avoiding any and all facts that are contrary to your kumbaya world view. the last month the UN verified that 15 of 18 benchmarks were met. but perhaps you know better sitting at your desk.

vote Arugula!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Ben,

Thanks for your intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking comments.

Posted by: BigRed | July 30, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

and Chris

I agree with the other posters here...Milbank needs to make some kind of statement about how misleading his article was...you know it's bad when even a couple of guys on Fox said something about it.

They said misleading but acknowledged how Milbank was shoddy in the jounalism sector.

that's a gaffe.

Posted by: dl | July 30, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Mark - the pay scale of campaign workers is a world of difference from government salaries.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

jansjay

change with no history of judgement on Presidential issues is not Obama's strength...

Obama's strength is a history of correct judgement on presidential issues... not change

Change is the mood that the country yearns for from Bush... it is not the reason they choose their specific commander in chief.

if you want to accentuate his "strength" Kaine doesn't come close. You need the guy the rest of America feels could help him make the change...

that is absolutely not somebody who is an unknown...

and if you think the last year and a half was tough...just wait for the next three months...McCain has not gotten tough yet really

Obama needs a fighter or an attack dog...

and you know what happens when a candidate who isn't use to being an attack dog suddenly tries to be... gaffes...big ones.

Posted by: dl | July 30, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"answer: it did, and I always said it would, except when I didn't. which was mostly. my voters don't care about facts. I am the hannah Montana candidate. cue the lights and special effects. roll the teleprompter."

Um, the surge didn't work. None of the benchmarks have been met. Not one.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I would much prefer Bayh or Sebelius. Kaine's resume is short, and Biden just makes too many gaffes. But I wouldn't be unhappy with any of them. I feel quite good about how the VP stacks up next to Romney or Pawlenty or Portman.

Posted by: John M. | July 30, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Today Milbank cut out the first part of an Obama quote to trash him."

He also had this line...

""Another reason for Obama's confidence -- the press -- is also an unfaithful partner. The Project for Excellence in Journalism reported yesterday that Obama dominated the news media's attention for a seventh straight week."


He fails to mention that this same report says that the coverage has been largely negative.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Ok, we all know you loathe the Clintons and were just trying to be clever in your own special way, but let's get real here. Monica Lewinsky might have been the most willing participant in sexual activity to ever walk the face of the earth. "

I know, because she seduced Bill Clinton. She tied him to his oval office chair, put a gun to his head, and made him rub a cigar on her naughty bits.

You look at that picture of Patti Solis-Doyle accompanying the article and tell me that she doesn't look Lewinsky-esque (though not as chunky).

Posted by: bondjedi | July 30, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

ddawd - I guess that eliminates what he said in your petite mind.

Obama - did the surge work?

answer: it did, and I always said it would, except when I didn't. which was mostly. my voters don't care about facts. I am the hannah Montana candidate. cue the lights and special effects. roll the teleprompter.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

bsimon has history and common sense on his side, Scrivener. The VP nominee does not engage in a separate campaign from that of the Prez nominee; it is a single campaign coordinated from the top, usually by operatives like Solis-Doyle, [or Rick Davis, for McC].

These are not the policy people, administrators, and lawyers who make up the eventual governing teams. Those teams will have all different names and be chosen by their immediate bosses, the P and VP.

The Carville/Axelrod/Solis types will go back to K Street, or Chicago PR mills.

Historically, I think Karl Rove was the exception: the campaign guru who stayed on in a policy position. But even here,
Libby, Addington, and the others in Cheney's office were nowhere to be seen during the GWB campaigns run by Rove.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Unlike his party's presumptive nominee, O'Hanlon has admitted publicly and repeatedly that his expert opinions on the surge's inevitable failure turned out to be spectacularly wrong. Why his candidate can't do the same is more than a mystery. It is deeply troubling."

Conservatives love to trot this guy out. Oooh, a Democrat who is pro-surge. This guy has always been a cheerleader for the war. Basically a Joseph Lieberman.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Back in March, Obama spoke in Wisconsin. "People question if words matter," he thundered. "Words do matter. Words challenge us to reach higher. Words are a catalyst for change and words motivate us to chase our dreams." Obama was wrong. When it comes to his campaign, words don't matter in the slightest. Obama could perform mime, and his followers would applaud wildly. All that matters is the Obama persona. And that persona doesn't rely on words, ideas or policies. It relies on stupidity. And where his followers are concerned, stupidity is in no short supply.

Posted by: ben | July 30, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Pass the Arugula. Vote Obama.

You Say Corrupt Land Deal. I Say Creative Financing. Potaytoe, Potahtoe. Vote Obama

Watch the Oceans Recede. Watch the World Make Peace. And Watch As I Saw This Woman In Half! Vote Obama.

Fooling All of the People All of the Time. Vote Obama.

Cut Military Funding. Dictators Are Nice. Vote Obama.

Posted by: ben | July 30, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

When Experience, Knowledge and Honor Just Aren't Good Enough. Vote Obama.

Hope. Change. And All That Other BS. Vote Obama.

More Experience Than a Fifth Grader. Vote Obama.

Posted by: ben | July 30, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I know this because I wanted to run off to Tahiti with bubba. I even offered the cigar treatment.

Posted by: sphinctator2 | July 30, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Chris feel about working for a paper that is full of lying aholes.

Today Milbank cut out the first part of an Obama quote to trash him.

Why don't you address that Chris. You work with lying aholes.

Does the Washington Post have their own room reserved in hell because you will all be going there.

Say hi to Rove and Bush when you are burning. K.

Posted by: Ken | July 30, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

bonjedi: "She probably hid from Bubba because she didn't want the intern treatment."

Ok, we all know you loathe the Clintons and were just trying to be clever in your own special way, but let's get real here. Monica Lewinsky might have been the most willing participant in sexual activity to ever walk the face of the earth. This young woman would have run off to Tahiti with Bubba had he suggested it. And there's little doubt that she suggested it herself.

Posted by: Spectator2 | July 30, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking Kaine will be a big mistake. What does he do for Obama's perceived "experience" problem?

Posted by: matt | July 30, 2008 12:16 PM

===========================================

Perhaps but then again all of the other top veep candidates have shortcomings. I think Kaine is the best choice as he has been one of the longest most outspoken propponents for an Obama presidency.

While Kaine won't do much for Obama's "experience" issues he will put a stamp on Obama's most well known platform -Change,"a new kind of Washington"

I prefer the proactive choice of selecting someone who highlights your strengths over someone who eliminates your negatives.

Posted by: jansjay | July 30, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:

I beg to differ. Now, perhaps the Obama VP people already have vetted the staff selections with their candidate, assuming he/she already has been chosen.

But if they haven't, it's a prescription for poor management. These staffers who were announced today aren't "temps." Were do you get the notion that the veep, if elected, will have the license to toss these folks in favor of his/her own picks?

No, on this one, I think it's unwise -- unless, as I said, the VP selection panel already has vetted these hires with the chosen running mate.

Let me add that Obama sorely needs an experienced hand as his running mate, and not a newbie like Tim Kaine. I think Chris Dodd would help him the most, but with this guy's hubris, it looks like he may go with someone he can control. That wouldn't be Dodd or Webb or Biden or anyone with a record of accomplishment and some brass.

So I'm thinking it's going to be Kaine or Bayh or Sebelius -- choices which aren't going to help cure his shortcomings in the experience/adult supervision category.

If he goes with a relatively inexperienced running mate, or a bland centrist like Bayh, he gives Hillary just one more good reason to mount that convention putsch that millions of Dems are hoping for -- now more than ever, as they have seen the real Obama spread his tailfeathers.

Posted by: scrivener | July 30, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Consistency has its virtues, but good judgment must count for more. Obama won his party's nomination because he was against the Iraq war from the very beginning. This, he insisted, proved that what he might lack in experience, he made up for in superior judgment. However, current events on the ground prove that Obama was simply wrong about the surge, and is deeply reluctant to admit it. Poor judgment and intransigence is merely embarrassing in a Presidential candidate; it could be fatal in a Commander in Chief.

John Dickerson, chief political correspondent at Slate.com (hardly a hotbed of pro-McCain enthusiasms) asked pointedly:

"If Obama was wrong about the tactical gains that would be made by the new strategy and wrong about how the Iraqi political leaders would react, can his larger theory about how Iraqis will respond to a troop pullout remain intact? Perhaps, but he has the burden of explanation. Does he elide contradictions, claim they're irrelevant, and generally spin? In his interview with NBC's Brian Williams, he suggested that he'd always said the surge would decrease violence in Iraq. That's not just spin. It's not true."

Michael E. O'Hanlon, a Democratic defense analyst at the Brookings Institution, has confessed that he's "livid" about Obama's continued insistence on a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq by 2010:

"To say you're going to get out on a certain schedule -- regardless of what the Iraqis do, regardless of what our enemies do, regardless of what is happening on the ground -- is the height of absurdity. I'm not going to go to the next level of invective and say he shouldn't be president. I'll leave that to someone else."

Unlike his party's presumptive nominee, O'Hanlon has admitted publicly and repeatedly that his expert opinions on the surge's inevitable failure turned out to be spectacularly wrong. Why his candidate can't do the same is more than a mystery. It is deeply troubling.

Posted by: Kathy | July 30, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking Kaine will be a big mistake. What does he do for Obama's perceived "experience" problem?

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | July 30, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

To "enews reference":

Never heard of anyone waiting until week's end to release a story, unless they are trying to bury the story. This basic rule applies even moreso on a nice summer weekend, when few are paying attention.

That's kinda PR 101, isn't it?

Posted by: scrivener | July 30, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

She probably hid from Bubba because she didn't want the intern treatment.

Posted by: bondjedi | July 30, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

scrivener, you're not thinking the situation through. From the VP candidate's perspective, (s)he can hit the ground running - no time is wasted finding, interviewing & hiring staff. The VP candidate's job isn't to start introducing their own policy & positions into the campaign - it is to support the Presidential candidate's policies & positions & likely to perform as the most vocal critic of the opposition. (S)he will likely be tasked with selecting their own staff, should they win the election.

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

MANAGING FROM THE VERY TOP DOWN: A SURE WAY TO BREED INEFFECTIVENESS AND RESENTMENT?

Um... isn't there something wrong with this picture -- something that once again fits the neo-Obama narrative of "presumptuous"?

What kind of executive (and that's what a VP is, after all?) wants his staff picked by his superior even before he or she is chosen for the job?

Doesn't such a preemptive arrangement signal that the "boss" (if Obama ever gets to that point in places other than in his own mind) is insecure, and has a need to control his underlings to the point of choosing THEIR underlings?

And what kind of executive would accept such an arrangement going in? I can see the job desciption: "Only lackeys need apply."

I know of an editor who was hired for a position and got a big surprise on his first day: the person who hired him already had chosen key members of his staff. From day one, the tone was set: the editor was powerless, and the people who reported to him knew it -- because they were hired by HIS boss even before he got to town.

Chris, I don't think this is the norm in any well-managed operation, political ops included. What say you? I know you don't respond to your postings, but I'm curious: Didn't this thought cross your mind when you wrote this?

Posted by: scrivener | July 30, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I think he will make an announcement shortly...possibly doing it to carry the weekend news... http://www.enewsreference.wordpress.com

Posted by: eNews Reference | July 30, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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