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Monday, March 03, 2008

Obama Runs 2-Minute TV Ad Across Ohio And Texas: Script And Video Available On The Daily Bellwether

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Click here to view the ad, an appeal for votes with some pointed words about the "obscene influence of lobbyists." The complete text of Obama's script follows:

"For years, we've watched politicians divide us, seen lobbyists put their interests ahead of ours, and heard our leaders tell us what we want to hear, instead of what we need to hear.

"The question you have to ask yourself is this: Who can take can take us in a fundamentally new direction? I'm running to finally solve problems we talk about year after year after year. To end the division, the obscene influence of lobbyists and the politics that value scoring points over making progress. We can't afford more of that -- not this year, not now.

"I've spent my life working for change that's made a real difference in the lives of real people. That's why I passed up a job on Wall Street -- to fight joblessness and poverty on the streets of Chicago when the local steel plant closed. That's why I turned down the corporate law firms to work as a civil right lawyer -- to fight for those who have been denied opportunity. That's why I fought for tough new ethics law in Illinois and Washington -- to cut the power of lobbyists -- and I won. That's why I brought Democrats and Republicans together to provide health care and tax relief to working families. And that's why I opposed this war in Iraq from the start. It wasn't popular, but it was right.

"This country is ready for a leader who will bring us together. That's the only way we're going to win this election. And that's actually how we'll fix health care and make college affordable, become energy independent and end this war.

"I'm reminded every day that I'm not a perfect man. And I won't be a perfect President. But I can promise you this: I will always tell you where I stand and what I think. I will listen to you when we disagree. I will carry your voices to the White House and I will fight for you every day I'm there.

"On Tuesday, help change Washington; let's bring Democrats, Republicans and Independents together, not just to win an election, but to transform a nation."


  1. ~

    Why the GOP Loves Obama

    By: Christopher Ruddy

    Republicans this week are breathing a deep sigh of relief.

    What was seen as a washout for them this coming November — with big losses expected in the House and Senate and a catastrophic loss of the White House — is now shaping up to be less ominous.

    With the Democrats moving to pick Sen. Barack Obama as their nominee, the Republicans see a real opportunity to keep the Oval Office in GOP hands.

    There is no question that the Republicans had viewed Hillary Clinton as the most formidable of the Democratic candidates.

    Story continues below . . .

    During one of the primary debates, Obama suggested that the Republicans were “comfortable” attacking Hillary, suggesting they actually wanted her to be the nominee. Au contraire.

    Republicans were attacking Mrs. Clinton because they believed she would be the nominee. They could hardly foresee Obama’s rise.

    Indeed, she was the Democratic front-runner and hence the focus of their attacks. Now, Obama is discovering that he’s the focus of Republican scrutiny, with John McCain highlighting Obama's accommodationist views with tyrants.

    The glee seen in GOP eyes this week can be chalked up to the clearly visible fault lines shaping up for the November election, a seismic battle between McCain and Obama.

    There are many reasons the GOP would rather face Obama. Here are some of the best reasons:

    — Obama is the risky liberal. Every time the Democrats run a liberal like Obama, who the National Journal reports has a 100 percent liberal voting record, they lose.

    Remember President McGovern, President Dukakis, President Kerry? Mrs. Clinton, however, has been quite clever in her record and rhetoric to come across as more moderate. In New York state she consistently won hardcore Republican districts in her two Senate races.

    A McCain insider told me this week that Obama’s support — for example, for driver's licenses for illegals — is worth at least “five percentage points in the election.” Mrs. Clinton was smart enough to back away from that hot-button issue.

    — Obama energizes Democratic voters. It’s been talked about quite a bit that Obama is a charismatic man who energizes young voters. But young voters notoriously don’t vote.

    Remember all the hoopla in the last election with MTV and its “Vote or Die” campaign to bring out antiwar young voters for President Kerry?

    Indeed, Obama, as the first African-American candidate of a major party, will energize black voters. But don’t the Democrats know that black voters vote as a bloc for them already?

    What does Obama actually bring to the table for Democrats? It’s not clear. Mrs. Clinton, as her longtime critic Dick Morris likes to point out, would have most assuredly energized women voters, especially millions of single moms that have never voted before.

    — Obama’s Latino problem. Clearly Latino or Hispanic voters are shaping up to be the key swing vote in this election, as they have been in recent elections. Some political pundits say George Bush’s come-from-behind win in 2004 was due to the solid 40 percent of Hispanics who voted for him, tipping the election in his favor.

    This year was shaping up to be a terrible year for the GOP vis-à-vis Hispanic voters. But in primary after primary, Obama has had great difficulty winning over Latino voters.

    Even in Illinois, where he beat Hillary to 2 to 1 in the primary, he only captured 52 percent of his home state’s Hispanic vote.

    There are a variety of explanations for Obama’s Latino problem, including the belief there is an ethnic rivalry between Hispanics and blacks. Hispanics would like to see a Latino president in the White House, so the theory goes.

    Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, has done extremely well among Latino voters, perhaps owing to her husband’s likeability among these voters.

    The recent primaries show Obama improving with Hispanic voters. Republicans, however, believe the problem with this key group will persist.

    And then there is John McCain, who is the one Republican who is very well liked by Latino voters. He’s also a strong leader, which Hispanics respect. He’s pro-immigrant. As we all know, McCain joined Ted Kennedy in backing the recent immigration bill.

    There’s little doubt Hillary could keep the Democratic stranglehold on Latino voters. Obama won’t.

    — Obama’s naiveté. Don’t forget, America is still in a war on terror. It is doubtful America will be tempted to go for an untested leader, no matter how charismatic he may be.

    Some have drawn the comparison between Obama and JFK’s election win in 1960 during the height of the Cold War. But the Kennedy-Obama comparison is a weak one. For starters, John Kennedy was a war hero when he was elected president. Obama can make no such claim. Kennedy also had far more Washington experience in Congress and the Senate than Obama.

    JFK also had his well-known father Joe at his side. And Democrats like to forget this, but Kennedy outflanked Nixon on defense issues, arguing that Nixon was too soft on communism. Obama’s dovish complaints about the Bush administration being too hawkish on terror won’t resonate with middle-of-the-road voters.

    With good reason, the GOP is feeling better, finding its second wind as it coalesces around John McCain.

    Despite some differences with the maverick senator, the Republican base will turn out for him. His $12 million fundraising haul for January is just one sign of that.

    But there are many other reasons the GOP is more comfortable with Hillary out of the picture and Obama as the nominee.

    First, Obama will not be able to lay claim to the good economic times of the 1990s that Bill Clinton presided over, as Hillary can. And Obama will be a nightmare for Democrats with swing voters in key states. Take for example the highly influential Cuban-American vote that Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996 — and was the key reason George Bush beat Al Gore.

    The Cuban vote has been moving into the Democratic column but they will not go for Obama because he has clearly stated he will open up relations with Castro.

    Sen. Clinton’s announced Cuba policies take a hard line, which resonates with these voters. And then there are the key Jewish communities in swing states like Florida and Ohio that are already deeply worried about electing Obama to the presidency.

    Obama has talked openly about sitting down — without any preconditions — with Iran’s diabolical leader Ahmadinejad, who just this week referred to Israel as “bacteria” and has said in the past that the Jewish state is a “disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map.”

    With the McCain campaign blanketing key markets with TV ads featuring “independent Democrat” Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Obama will be in deep trouble.

    The Democrats haven’t completely abandoned Hillary. But it sure looks that way.

    There’s an oft-quoted saying that the Democrats “fall in love and Republicans fall in line.”

    After this November, we may have to change that to “Democrats often like to run off the side of a cliff and the Republicans love to watch them.”


  2. ~

    Obama, Being Called a Muslim Is Not a Smear
    by Naomi Klein
    February 28, 2008

    Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

    Sure she did. And George W. Bush put on a fetching Chamato poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his antimalarial African dance routines when he was World Bank prez. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they just look funny. When a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign. And when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.

    The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear." It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrassa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Koran (another lie) and if elected would attach RadioShack speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up).

    So far, Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter.

    Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn't have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign's response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire "Muslim smear": that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama's supporters often say they are being "Swiftboated," casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason.

    Substitute another faith or ethnicity, and you'd expect a very different response. Consider a report from the archives of this magazine. Thirteen years ago, Daniel Singer, The Nation's late, much-missed Europe correspondent, went to Poland to cover a hotly contested presidential election. He reported that the race had descended into an ugly debate over whether one of the candidates, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a closet Jew. The press claimed his mother had been buried in a Jewish cemetery (she was still alive), and a popular TV show aired a skit featuring the Christian candidate dressed as a Hasidic Jew. "What perturbed me," Singer wryly observed, "was that Kwasniewski's lawyers threatened to sue for slander rather than press for an indictment under the law condemning racist propaganda."

    We should expect no less of the Obama campaign. When asked during the Ohio debate about Louis Farrakhan's support for his candidacy, Obama did not hesitate to call Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments "unacceptable and reprehensible." When the turban photo flap came up in the same debate, he used the occasion to say nothing at all.

    Farrakhan's infamous comments about Jews took place twenty-four years ago. The orgy of hate that is "the Muslim smear" is unfolding in real time, and it promises to greatly intensify in a general election. These attacks do not simply "smear Barack's Christian faith," as John Kerry claimed in a campaign mailing. They are an attack on all Muslims, some of whom actually do exercise their rights to cover their heads and send their kids to religious school. Thousands even have the very common name Hussein. All are watching their culture used as a crude bludgeon against Obama, while the candidate who is the symbol of racial harmony fails to defend them. This at a time when US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the Bush Administration's assaults on civil liberties, including dragnet wiretapping, and are facing a documented spike in hate crimes.

    Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity." What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.

    The core of Obama's candidacy is that he alone--who lived in Indonesia as a boy and has an African grandmother--can "repair the world" after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many of whom are convinced that the United States has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; that voting for an Islamic party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fueled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.

    As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state clearly that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalized exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart--it's the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks. The best part is this: unlike ending the Iraq War and closing Guantánamo, standing up to Islamophobia doesn't need to wait until after the election. Obama can use his campaign to start now. Let the repairing begin.

    Postscript: Ari Melber criticized this column, citing a video the Obama campaign has been circulating featuring a minister of Obama's church who makes it clear that while Obama is not a Muslim, there would be nothing wrong with it if he was. I had the same clip sent to me directly from the Obama campaign and wrote this in response: "What I am suggesting needs to be said can only be said by the man himself, just as he has taken brave stances against racism directed at Latinos under the guise of fighting illegal immigration. Do not underestimate the message that his silence is sending, not just in the U.S. but around the world."

    One more thing: now is the time when candidates are most open to pressure. For instance, Hillary Clinton just announced that she will co-sponsor legislation to ban the use of private military companies--exactly one day after my Nation colleague Jeremy Scahill revealed that both Clinton and Obama were poised to let the mercenaries stay in Iraq even if the troops come home. Pushing candidates on the issues during a campaign can have a real impact, so can we please move beyond superfandom? I have also heard from people who think that saying Arabs and Muslims are worthy of exactly the same rights and protections as other minorities is just too high-risk a position for Obama during the campaign. If that's the position, so be it, but don't pretend the campaign is doing something it is not. It is precisely because he has been so strong on other issues of discrimination and racism that his trepidation on this issue leaps out.


  3. You have got to be kidding me.

    I live in a Republican County and every 'pub I know is hoping Hillary wins the Dem nomination.

  4. Obamamania:

    "Good people can vote for evil because the political process spreads the cost of evil to everyone. This serves to both obscure specific evils within the grand scope and façade of government, and also to allow for the devotion of resources to evil in huge disproportion to what people really want to give it. As long as people recognize the authority of government to fund itself on their behalf, the regime will continue." -- Jacob Halbrooks

    "Revivalism from the beginning has only thrived insofar as a single individual is the focus of the devotion of the faithful, and that individual is chosen based on his ability to stir up excitement in his followers. Objective truth and deep sustained intellectual reflection are substituted with shallow rhetoric and easily attained emotional fervor. So, in fact, Obama actually has more in common with Charles Finney than with any former president, in that his views on policy are largely irrelevant to his supporters. In the modern context, Joel Osteen comes to mind. People don't care what he says, so long as he makes them feel good. But what we're witnessing is a sort of resurrection of the Caesar cult. People believe that the government is to be their savior, and they think Obama would make a good messiah." -- Kerry Lewis

    He can walk on H2O, then turn that H2O into a passable American Pale Ale (with the help of a good brewmeister, some malt and Cascade and Centennial hops), then waste that Ale by pouring it on the swooning crowd, bring world peace, brotherhood, end jaywalking and world hunger.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the end-world-hunger thing, and I'm HOPING he uses the loaves and fishes trick.

    Make mine a Neeew-Oileeens-style blackened Orange Roughy, please -- accompanied by said American Pale Ale; and if you would, one of those homemade flat-breads they used to have at Shaw's in Lancaster.

    Thank you very much.


  5. .
    "...I live in a Republican County and every 'pub I know is hoping Hillary wins the Dem nomination. March 03, 2008 10:36 PM"

    You obviously do not live in S.W. Ohio, else the 'fishwRap' would enlighten you with their wRong wingnut whacko elephant dung propaganda !

    They are in bed with the 'black-fist' !

    PATHETIC 'HypocRites'


  6. Blah-blah-blah.

    Hillary & McCain have trouble filling small rooms while Obama fills stadiums.

    They love to cite boring policy details, he pushes the inspirational big picture.

    He has out-organized them and out-smarted them. He is not perfect, they are even less perfect.

    Hillary would re-energize the Republican base-she is the equivalent of putting gay marriage back on the ballot.