From Evan Sayet
I'm going to state the facts as best I can: Barack Obama is a virtual unknown. He's served less than one term in the United States Senate -- having announced his run for the Presidency before he was even eighteen months in office.
During that time we know almost nothing about his plans --much less what he will actually pursue if he became the most powerful person in human history and even less about what he'll be able to accomplish.
We know he favors "hope" over "fear" (but, of course, so did Neville Chamberlain.) We know he's a big fan of "change" yet change to what we're not quite sure. We know he speaks of being a "uniter" yet whenever the Senate saw efforts at bipartisanship -- such as the "gang of fourteen" -- not only was Obama nowhere to be found, his voting record is the most radical leftist of all US Senators.
While we don't know much more about Obama's plans or accomplishments we DO know the people who helped make him what he is today. We know that he's in bed with mobsters -- his home purchased only with the aid of Tony Rezko. We know that his longtime mentor is a Jew-hater, white-hater and an American hater who holds Louis Farrakhan in the highest regard. We DO know that he's a colleague, friend (and probably more) to unrepentant terrorists like William Ayers.
So, given his lack of experience, his refusal to work with people on the other side of the aisle, his close relationship with hatemongers, murderers and mobsters, just what exactly would it take to get you to question his candidacy and his elevation to the most powerful position in the history of the world?
Is Obama in Trouble?
First Jeremiah Wright, then William Ayers, and lingering in the background is Tony Rezko. Barack Obama has some skeletons in his closet and when you add in recent polls, Tom Elia at The New Editor wonders if Obama is in bigger trouble than anyone thinks:
"The latest CBS News/New York Times poll contains an interesting tidbit (pdf file) about a potential Obama-McCain match-up, particularly considering the tilt of the poll.
According to the poll, "McCain now holds a three-point lead over Obama among women; last month, women gave Obama a 13-point margin."
As a point of comparison, the CNN exit poll after the 2004 presidential election showed Democrat John Kerry winning the women's vote by a three-point margin.
November's a long way off, but if that six-point swing among female voters holds up for McCain, it's a big, big development if Obama is the Dems' nominee."
Elia also notes that Gallup has McCain over Obama by 6 points.
We all know polls can be wrong which is why I have another test: A worried politician often puts his children on display to bolster the campaign. Chelsea Clinton went public on behalf of her mother after Obama became a factor in Iowa. Now it looks like Obama's girls are more involved, and that suggests to me Obama is feeling the heat.
Spinning their own poll
The NY Times starts off by saying most voters are unaffected by the Rev. Wright meltdown and Obama's response, but buried in the story is this:
But nearly half of the voters surveyed, and a substantial part of the Democrats, said Mr. Obama had acted mainly because he thought it would help him politically, rather than because he had serious disagreements with his former pastor. The broader effect of the controversy on Mr. Obama's candidacy among Democratic primary voters was less clear in the poll, but enough of them expressed qualms about Mr. Obama's relationship with Mr. Wright to suggest it could sway a relatively small but potentially important group of voters in the remaining primaries....
Still, the survey suggested that Mr. Obama, of Illinois, had lost much or all of the once-commanding lead he had held over Mrs. Clinton, of New York, among Democratic voters on the question of which of them would be the strongest candidate against Mr. McCain, of Arizona....
In addition the poll appears to be significantly different from the Real Clear Politics averages in a match up with McCain. My guess is that this is the typical NY Times CBS polling which under represents Republicans. Other recent polls have actually shown McCain with a substantial lead and this one comes in like they just polled the members of MoveOn and the immediate families of the Democrat candidates.
Obama's Legacy - "The Carlson Effect"
Newsweek in attempting to show us that it is time to "move on" with the Obama/Wright story screws it up by telling us that Barry, Barack, whatever, was and most likely isn't secure in his person. Going over the history of UCC and how Oprah Winfrey once attended but left in the mid-nineties - before discovering that she was the "Messiah", the writer hopes to draw a distinction between why she left but Obama stayed.
"Friends of Sen. Barack Obama, whose relationship with Wright has rocked his bid for the White House, insist that it would be unfair to compare Winfrey's decision to leave Trinity United with his own decision to stay. "[His] reasons for attending Trinity were totally different,'' said one campaign adviser, who declined to be named discussing the Illinois senator's sentiments. "Early on, he was in search of his identity as an African-American and, more importantly, as an African-American man. Reverend Wright and other male members of the church were instrumental in helping him understand the black experience in America.
Winfrey wasn't going for that. She's secure in her blackness, so that didn't have a hold on her.'' And while Winfrey, who has endorsed Obama and campaigned on his behalf, had long understood the perils of a close association with Wright, friends say she was blindsided by the pastor's personal assault on Obama. "She felt that Wright would never do anything to hurt a man who looked up to him as a father figure," said her close friend. "She also never thought he'd intentionally hurt someone trying to make history and change the lives of so many people."
My, my, a man who doesn't know where he is. Sort of a Carlson, you know the lame but funny character from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, always trying to fit in with "the brothers" only failing miserably.
Clinton and Obama duel over Iran threat
Two days before their next electoral showdown, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton duelled today over their presidential ambitions and her threat to "obliterate" Iran. The bitter Democratic rivals took to the airwaves in the final approach to Wednesday's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, with Senator Obama battling anew to knock his resurgent adversary out of the White House race.
Senator Obama went on NBC bidding to renew his soaring message of hope after a miserable April blighted by racially tinged remarks by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and by questions over his values and patriotism. Explaining his decision now to disown Rev Wright, Senator Obama said the controversial preacher had "put gasoline on the fire" last week with statements that were "fundamentally" at odds with his own vision of the country.
On his patriotism, the African-American Senator Obama said "I will not allow people to challenge mine" in a general election campaign. "I love this country," said the Illinois senator, 46. "It is what I have been fighting for, that America lives up to its values and its ideals."
Senator Clinton, the clear underdog, is still buzzing from her campaign-saving triumph in Pennsylvania last month. The former first lady was back stumping from dawn to midnight, in her latest last stand. "When the process finishes in early June, people can look at all the various factors and decide who will be the strongest candidate," the New York senator, 60, said on ABC News at a town-hall meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.
She said she felt "very comfortable" taking on Republican John McCain in November's presidential election. "I feel like I am going to be able to stand up to Senator McCain," said Senator Clinton, who has promised a "game-changer" on Wednesday, after which only six contests will be left in the Democrats' exhausting nominating marathon.
In the overall race, Senator Obama appears to have a mathematical stranglehold. But Senator Clinton has used recent controversies, such as Reverend Wright, to question his viability in a general election matchup with Senator McCain.
A new Zogby poll gave Senator Obama the lead in North Carolina - 48 per cent to Senator Clinton's 39. But the race in Indiana, a true battleground, was much tighter with him on 43 per cent to her 41, well within the four-point margin of error.
Senator Clinton was asked whether she had any regrets about threatening to "totally obliterate" Iran if it used nuclear weapons against Israel, which prompted Tehran to complain to the United Nations last week. "Why would I have any regrets? I am asked a question about what I would do if Iran attacked our ally, a country that many of us have a great deal of, you know, connection with and feeling for," she said. "I don't think it is time to equivocate about what we would do."
Senator Obama accused Senator Clinton of emulating what he called President George W. Bush's "foreign policy of bluster and sabre-rattling and tough talk". "Israel is an ally of ours, it is the most important ally we have in the region. And there is no doubt that we would act forcefully and appropriately on any attack against (Israel), nuclear or otherwise," he said. "But it is important that we use language that sends a signal to the world community that we're shifting from the sort of cowboy diplomacy, lack of diplomacy, that we've seen out of George Bush."
In a pan-Pacific warmup for Wednesday, Senator Obama eked out a victory in Guam's caucuses by seven votes yesterday, meaning the four pledged delegates up for grabs will likely be shared.
Senator Clinton trails Senator Obama in contests won and elected delegates. Conventional wisdom has it that she needs to win rust-belt Indiana, at least, to keep her improbable comeback bid alive. A double loss would likely spark an exodus of Democratic grandees called "superdelegates" towards Senator Obama, and leave her under intense pressure to quit. But a surprise Clinton win in North Carolina, or a closer-than-expected loss, could cast fresh doubts over Senator Obama's staying power heading into the final Democratic primaries in Montana and South Dakota on June 3.
Senator Obama said the nearly 800 superdelegates would be swayed not by "momentary snapshot polls," but by which candidate "can bring about change in America and can actually govern after the election".
Michelle Obama: Barack has hit boiling point
Barack Obama is struggling to contain his anger and frustration over the constant barrage of questions about his character and judgment, his wife has revealed.
Michelle Obama lifted the lid on the irritation felt by the leading Democrat candidate for the White House at the way anti-American outbursts by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have dogged his campaign. He is said to be itching to turn all his fire on John McCain, the Republican candidate, who is benefiting most from Mr Obama's protracted tussle with Hillary Clinton.
Mrs Obama told a rally in Durham, North Carolina, on Friday that only her husband's desire to change US politics had helped him to control his feelings: "Barack is always thinking three steps ahead - what do we need to do to make change." Her husband was thinking "I can't let my ego, my anger, my frustration get in the way of the ultimate goal," she said. "Barack has been characterised as many things that have nothing to do with who he is."
Senator Obama has known the Rev Wright for more than 20 years, but he was forced to end their friendship last week over repeated claims by his pastor that America was to blame for the 9/11 attacks and for spreading the Aids virus. New polls show the affair may have derailed Mr Obama's chances of sealing a double win in Tuesday's North Carolina and Indiana primary elections, which might have ended Mrs Clinton's hopes. Instead, in just a week, Mrs Clinton has reversed a narrow Obama lead in Indiana and is closing fast in North Carolina, where Mr Obama had hoped for a convincing win.
A poll on Saturday found 58 per cent of voters believe his de-nunciation of the Rev Wright was merely an act of political expediency. The Rasmussen survey found 56 per cent of voters thought it likely that Obama shares some of his pastor's anti-American views.
A senior Democrat strategist privy to Obama's campaign said: "He's sick of the battle against Clinton. He wants to get stuck into McCain. His people have had to remind him that this thing isn't over yet and he needs to focus and put her away." In a press conference on Friday, Mr Obama conceded: "We've had a rough couple of weeks, I won't deny that. I don't think what happened with Rev Wright was helpful."
While Mr Obama retains an almost unassailable three-figure lead in pledged delegates from the round of primary elections, he still needs a strong showing on Tuesday, when the two largest states remaining in the Democratic contest vote, in order to slow Mrs Clinton's momentum - and with it her claims that she is emerging at the 11th hour as the stronger candidate. He needs to split the remaining half-dozen states that have yet to vote with the former First Lady, and to win the backing of at least a third of the remaining 300 undeclared super-delegates to secure the nomination.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, his chief strategist David Axelrod said the trickle of super-delegate endorsements would grow this week. He said Mr Obama had garnered the support of 100 more super-delegates since early February, and added: "You're going to see a lot more of that soon." Mr Axelrod said Mr Obama had been using games of basketball to let off steam. He said the Wright affair had undoubtedly had some impact on voters, but claimed his candidate was ready for the fight ahead. "He has enjoyed the chance to shoot a little ball. I think we're in a good groove," he said. And in a dig at Mrs Clinton and her husband Bill, he said: "We knew from the start of this race that we were taking on the most formidable machine in Democratic politics. "It's in full display right now. She's tenacious and she can multiply her reach because her husband is working just as hard as either of the candidates." .....
Doug Hattaway, a spokesman for Mrs Clinton, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We are surging. This is a big test for Obama. Super-delegates are looking at how the candidates are performing." Yet Mr Obama is still drawing enthusiastic crowds. His supporters made far more noise than Mrs Clinton's as they both addressed the dinner in Raleigh.
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