Saturday, July 5, 2008

Does this guy stand for ANYTHING?

Obama to rethink troop pullout policy

BARACK Obama threw a cloud of doubt around his flagship policy yesterday, after the Democratic nominee admitted he was ready to "refine" plans for the withdrawal of all American combat troops within 16 months of taking office. Speaking on a campaign stop in North Dakota, Mr Obama promised to use his forthcoming trip to the Middle East for a "thorough assessment" of whether the "conditions still hold" for his proposed pull-out.

"I've always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed," he said. "And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I'm sure I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies."

Mr Obama has already been accused to tracking to the centre - or even lurching to the right - since clinching his party's nomination last month. He has infuriated liberal activists by supporting legislation for domestic wire-tapping of terror suspects and praising a Supreme Court ruling which struck down a ban on handguns.

He has delivered a hardline speech against Iran, suggested his anti-free trade rhetoric was "over-heated," while going back on an earlier promise to use only strictly-limited public funds in the coming general election campaign.

Although he had made opposition to the war in Iraq his signature issue during his long contest with Hillary Clinton, his campaign had begun to drop hints recently that the inflexible 16-month timetable put at risk the improvement in security earned at great cost in blood and money by the US military.

A report co-authored by Colin Kahl, an Obama adviser, last month argued for a policy of "conditional engagement" by which American troops would remain if the Iraq government made meaningful political progress towards sectarian reconciliation.

John McCain, who this week reshuffled his much-criticised campaign team, has been goading Mr Obama about Iraq by pointing out it is more than two years since the Democrat visited the country. Yesterday a Republican National Committee spokesman said: "There appears to be no issue that Barack Obama is not willing to reverse himself on for the sake of political expedience. Obama's Iraq problem undermines the central premise of his candidacy and shows him to be a typical politician."



Obama flip-flopped on FISA even though not caving in to allow telecom issue was pretty much a signature issue for the netroots, and respected liberals opposed it on constitutional grounds. Russ Feingold called Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 the wiretap program "one of the most intrusive government powers imaginable." As a result, Obama had a minor blog riot on his hands. Jeff Jarvis observed that what followed might be a campaign first, "Barack Obama supporters used his own network to organize a protest against his actions on telecom immunity."

In order to quell the storm, the Obama campaign released a statement from Barack on the website and made three policy staffers available to answer questions in the comments of the campaign's official blogs. If you were worried significant numbers of his supporters would hold him accountable for his brazen reversal, here's the fifth comment in the aforementioned discussion thread:
Thank you Senator Obama for taking the time to respond to the dissent among your supporters. You exceeded my expecations... you continue to inspire me with your frank openness and I'll happily send another donation today after more fully understanding your position, I tend to agree with you 100%....

Given that kind of backing, I'm going to go ahead and guess Obama's not too daunted by any potential backlash from his decision to "refine" his position on Iraq withdrawal either.


Fred Thompson on Obama

Remarks At The National Right to Life Conference, July 3, 2008

First, I would like to thank you for your support in my recent political endeavor. In that business, many are called, but few are chosen. We took a strong stand for the principles we believe in, and together I believe we made a difference in the debate that will ultimately benefit our country. The fact is - I have not changed my mind about any of what we discussed. The issues. Our nation's values. And most important, our principles. And as I watch the presidential campaign I am convinced more than ever of the importance of these principles and I bet you feel the same way.

There has been a lot of talk about the need for change in this country. That is Senator Obama's mantra, of course. And all of the commentators say, "It is a change election." Well, I can understand why the call for change is so powerful considering the pitiful condition that our country is in. We simply have the most prosperous, freest and strongest country in the history of the world. So we can understand why liberal politicians and their supporters see the need for great change.

On a more serious note, we have long recognized the role change plays in lives. Edmund Burke wrote extensively about it in the 18th century. He said that change was inevitable and when properly guided, change was a process of renewal. But it was his opinion that the man who loves change is disqualified from being a reformer because of his lust . to be the agent of change. Remind you of anybody you know?

So it is not change that concerns us - it's change in the wrong direction. And what we may be changing from. This country was founded on certain eternal truths - the lessons of the Scriptures and the wisdom of the ages . the recognition that there is such a thing as human nature that must be taken into account when governing . a respect for tradition and - most fundamentally - the proposition that people are meant to be free.

From these principles a government was formed - a government with its powers separated, checked and balanced, because the Founders knew that power tended to corrupt human beings. In keeping with that, they incorporated into our Constitution a system of Federalism to ensure that there was not too much power concentrated in the central government -a central government that was given certain delineated powers and no others.

From the application of these principles we developed a market economy, the rule of law, a system of trade with other nations, and a strong national defense. From the prosperity, freedom, and strength that came from this system we became a friend and example to all those around the world who aspired to those same things. We won wars, including the Cold War. We helped rebuild our enemies' countries, which enhanced world stability, and which strengthened our own security along the way.

So with that in mind, I'd like to suggest a change for us: Instead of a constant search for the new, exciting and different, let's re-assert the "First Principles" that made this country great. Has freedom, liberty and the strength which guarantees them become outdated? And just what part of our Constitutional framework requires sprucing up or should be abandoned altogether? Those changes that are momentarily popular in elite circles, which would expand our government, weaken our ability to defend ourselves, redefine marriage and life itself, sap our sense of personal responsibility and treat our people as if they were merely a collection of appetites to be fed in an election year . they must be rejected.

These are not changes we can believe in. These are changes we should run away from. Because the ideas behind these endeavors, which have long inspired left-wing politicians around the world, have led to consistently disastrous results.

Unfortunately the greatest agent of change this country has ever seen may be the Supreme Court of the United States -a fact that would astound the Founding Fathers who created it. Last month the Court for the first time in our nation's history took from the elected branches of government the management of enemy combatants held abroad during times of war and gave these combatants the same habeas corpus rights we possess as American citizens.

Then the Court, in another 5-4 decision, overturned a death penalty conviction of a child rapist as a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment. Part of the opinion of the majority was based upon what they perceived as, "the evolving standards of decency" in America. The Court basically concluded we have reached the lofty moral level where a state will not be allowed to execute a child rapist no matter how young the child, no matter the brutality of the assault, or the frequency of the offender's actions.

Logically, this can only mean that, when the Court decides that our moral standards have evolved even further, they will feel free to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. Then, presumably, we will have evolved to the level of decency of Europeans. I am not sure what is more outrageous - holding that a state cannot impose the death penalty for such a heinous crime, the Court's continued reshaping of the Constitution, or that we are governed by a Court's perception of how far our standards of decency have evolved. This is a Court which is apparently unaware that most Americans' consideration would include the child . not just the rapist.

Clearly, this is a Court that is often engaged in what can only be called a "liberal legislative function." And these are legislative activities and outcomes that would never pass in the normal legislative process where you and I have a say in the matter.

I don't know how to put it any plainer: If Senator Obama is elected, he will, through Supreme Court and federal court nominations cause this trend to accelerate. And that will bring about harmful changes in this country that no one in this room will want to see and no one in this room will live long enough to see rectified.

During his brief time in the U.S. Senate, the Senator strongly opposed the nomination of Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. And without a doubt - despite what he may say - he would continue to follow the agenda of those who have enabled his meteoric rise:, the NEA, NARAL, and the remnants of the 1960s radical left that failed then, but sees the opportunity for one last gasp.

I highlight our courts because, second only to national security, the shaping of the federal judiciary is the most significant legacy that the next president is likely to leave-especially these days with such an evenly divided court.

The Court is important. But I want to get back to where we started . our principles. And there is no more important principle than the defense of liberty. and of life. And here, too, Senator Obama has been an agent of change in the wrong direction. For example, in 2002 a federal law, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was signed by President Bush. This act protected babies that survived late-term abortions. Only 15 members of the US House opposed it, and it passed the US Senate unanimously. Even NARAL did not oppose it. That same year as an Illinois legislator, Senator Obama voted against similar legislation that would have given these babies life-saving medical attention. I trust that he is explaining how it is that he is to the left of NARAL on this issue during the "religious outreach" meetings he's been holding of late.

The fact is that at a time when the Supreme Court is in the balance, and America is facing unprecedented national security threats . at a time when rogue nations have or are developing nuclear capabilities . at a time when Russia is increasingly belligerent and China is engaged in a rapid military build-up, the Democratic Party has nominated for president one of the most inexperienced and the most liberal members of the United States Senate. Think George McGovern . without the experience.

On the other hand, we have John McCain. He is strongly supportive of sound constitutionalists on the bench. And he has been consistently pro-life throughout his career. His life experience has prepared him to lead this country in the troubled times we live in today. His life has been one of sacrifice, and he has exhibited the courage to place the interest of his country and his fellow citizens above his own during both times of war and peace.

Recently, Democratic minions, including former General Wesley Clark, have been sent out to denigrate the importance of Senator McCain's honor and courage during times of war. Apparently Team Obama believes that just like timeless principles, character you can depend on is not a particularly important qualification to be President of the United States. They are dead wrong. In light of our country's history and what likely lies ahead, personal honor, courage and integrity are the most important qualifications for a President. I am disappointed that Wes Clark chose to allow himself to be used this way. He really shouldn't have. It too easily invokes the image of a bantam rooster trying to belittle an American eagle.

Even more important to our future than how we view the candidates is how we view ourselves. Do we see our nation as one in decline, populated by helpless victims for whom every misfortune and every economic downturn is a conspiracy against them? Or do we still see that we are a people of free will, willing to accept our responsibilities? Are we a people who - as generations of American before us did - believe that our best days are ahead of us? Will we realize and appreciate what we have and what we have achieved? Will we remember who we are, what we stand for, and what we represent to the world? That we are free people . who respect life . who love liberty.

I believe we will. And for those who have lost sight, there are the the principles we believe in to guide them. We've had them for a long time. And these principles do not change. And will not change. Thank you.


Can Barack Buy the Presidency?


On the money front, how do Sens. Obama and McCain stack up? No contest, it seems. Since the campaign began, Mr. Obama has raised a staggering $295-plus million, versus Mr. McCain's almost $122 million. But that's misleading. Mr. Obama spent a lot to win the nomination. So how much cash did he and his rival have when the general election effectively began in June? As of May 31, Mr. Obama had $43.1 million on hand while Mr. McCain had $31.6 million - a significant but not overwhelming advantage.

There is also the cash raised by the Republican and Democratic National Committees. Each candidate depends on the party committees for certain expenditures - registration, voter identification and get-out-the-vote drives, materials distributed by volunteers, even some advertising. Here, the Republicans had $53.5 million in hand on May 31, versus the Democrats' paltry $4 million. Thus Mr. McCain and the RNC have $38 million more than Mr. Obama and the DNC.

If Mr. Obama maintains his prodigious fund-raising pace, he could overtake Mr. McCain and the RNC. But that's not guaranteed. In May, Mr. Obama raised $23.3 million and the DNC $4.8 million; but Mr. McCain raised $21.5 million and the RNC $24.4 million. Mr. Obama's Internet-driven fund raising may require a renewed sense of urgency, crisis and energy that may be hard to gin up until the race heats up with the conventions in late August.

The savvy Obama team believes they can raise considerably more than the $84 million Mr. McCain will receive by taking public financing in September for the general election. They realize this is likely to be a close, hard-fought contest and they want every advantage - their candidate's previous pledges to take public funds and criticism of money in politics notwithstanding. Then, too, unions will give Mr. Obama an edge. The AFL-CIO has committed $53.4 million for the Democratic nominee, up $6 million from 2004. Other unions will chip in. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee has pledged $50 million.

There are other third-party groups. While the GOP may be seen as the party of Big Money, recent presidential contests have shown that - taking unions, George Soros's wealth, and organizations like MoveOn.Org into consideration - Democrats have a large financial advantage. In 2004, when each side's spending by candidates, national committees and third-party groups was totaled up, Democrats outspent Republicans in the presidential race by $119.4 million.

Mr. Obama has used his money advantage to launch the air war. Starting June 20, Mr. Obama spent $4.3 million for 10 days of a televised, biographical ad covering 18 states. Mr. McCain countered on Monday with roughly $2.1 million for a week of ads in 11 states. Mr. Obama has now volleyed back, expanding his buy to 21 states for two additional weeks at a cost of $15 million - half for his original bio ad and half for a new ad on welfare reform.

But early television may not be as smart as it appears. Is it wise for Mr. Obama to spend almost as much on ads in three weeks in July as he raised in May? His fund raising peaked in February. June's fund-raising numbers, due in mid-July, will show whether his current pace of spending can be sustained. And TV becomes less effective in a general election, since so much free media attention is focused on the presidential candidates, whose actions have a larger impact than ads.

Mr. Obama's ads show he's aware of his vulnerability on two fronts: his liberal values and his meager achievements. Yet he should be more cautious with these weaknesses. His bio ad says he was raised with "values straight from the Kansas heartland," though he grew up in Hawaii. He claims to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate and that he didn't vote on the third in the U.S. Senate. His new ad praises welfare reform, yet he opposed the legislation when a Republican Congress passed and President Clinton signed it.

Mr. Obama may be overreaching by running ads in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota - states Republicans won by comfortable margins in recent years. It would require a shift of between one-sixth and over one-quarter of the vote to win any of them. Shifts that large rarely happen.

Big shifts do occur - witness West Virginia in 2000, which swung more than 20 points between 1996 (when Bill Clinton carried the state) and 2000 (when George W. Bush did) - but these require sharp contrasts on big issues, not just money. Money may be the mother's milk of politics, in Jesse Unruh's famous phrase, but when running for president, money alone can't buy a candidate love. Cash matters, but being a good candidate and right on the issues matters even more.


Obama's foreign policy confusion

A Leftist writer below attempts to predict what Obama will actually do. It is not easy

Obama seems likely to preside over a restoration of the bipartisan consensus that governed foreign policy during the cold war and the 1990s, updated for a post-9/11 world. That conclusion arises from an in-depth examination of the Illinois senator's views as well as dozens of interviews with foreign policy experts, including lengthy exchanges with the core group of Obama's foreign policy team and other participants in his task forces on the military, Iraq and the Middle East. It's also based on a careful review of speeches and position papers, Obama's 2007 article in Foreign Affairs and a key chapter, "The World Beyond Our Borders," in his book The Audacity of Hope. All this suggests there is a gap between Obama's inspirational speeches and the actual policies he supports. "So far, what you're seeing is rhetoric that we can make bold changes in our foreign policy," says John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies. "But when he lays out specifics, it's not as transformational as the rhetoric." Will Marshall, director of the right-leaning Progressive Policy Institute of the Democratic Leadership Council, agrees. "On most of the details, he's aligned with the general Democratic consensus," Marshall says. Says Tom Hayden, the veteran activist and former California state senator, "At best, he will be a gradualist."

Even as he pledges to end the war in Iraq, Obama promises to increase Pentagon spending, boost the size of the Army and Marines, bolster the Special Forces, expand intelligence agencies and maintain the hundreds of US military bases that dot the globe. He supports a muscular multilateralism that includes NATO expansion, and according to the Times of London, his advisers are pushing him to ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on in an Obama administration. Though he is against the idea of the United States imposing democracy abroad, Obama does propose a sweeping nation-building and democracy-promotion program, including strengthening the controversial National Endowment for Democracy and constructing a civil-military apparatus that would deploy to rescue and rebuild failed and failing states in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Because Obama has little foreign policy track record, however (he will be leaving soon on a tour of Europe, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan to burnish his r‚sum‚), it's not easy to decipher his views, beyond his rhetoric and the people he's chosen to advise him. Two questions arise. First, is it possible to extricate Obama's views from those of his advisers? Many of the people surrounding him can be categorized as liberal interventionists, Clinton Administration-era veterans who believe that US military power is central to world security and who don't shy away from the use of soft and hard power, including military force, to deal with less than immediate threats to the United States. More recently, Obama's team has seen the addition of Democratic Party stalwarts, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Defense Secretary William Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn, the promilitary conservative from Georgia. Progressives who are most hopeful about Obama's foreign policy put their faith in the senator's character and innate instincts and, as Cavanagh says, the likelihood that he "will actually listen to foreign leaders he sees." But a team of advisers has a way of calcifying around a candidate once in office. "You find yourself surrounded by brilliant advisers who go all aflutter if you try to change things," says Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information (CDI).

Second, how much of what Obama is saying is simply what he believes he has to say to get elected? It's possible that Obama's positions on, say, the Israeli-Palestinian question are shaped by his goal of winning the votes of hard-line, pro-Israel Jews, or that his support for expanded military spending is designed to counter expected accusations by McCain that he is an appeasement-minded dilettante who hasn't served in the armed forces. But many of Obama's positions are meticulously detailed and go far beyond what might be needed for political expediency. And even if he is adopting these positions to avoid attacks from the right, it raises questions about his willingness to sacrifice principle for expediency.

A great deal of Obama's appeal derives from his optimistic, even idealistic approach to policy-making. Yet his idealism is a two-edged sword. He envisions a world in which the United States helps conquer poverty and disease, and he recognizes that restoring dignity and hope to people in troubled parts of the world will make America safer and more secure. At the same time, some of his more idealistic rhetorical flights echo the sentiments of many neoconservatives and neoliberals, including their tendency to see the world in Manichaean terms. "I dismiss the cynics who say that this new century cannot be another [in which] we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good," Obama proclaimed in an April 2007 address to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "We must lead the world."

Obama's advisers stress that he believes in the inextricable interdependence of the post-cold war world. In a campaign paper, Obama says, "Leadership in this new era begins with the recognition...[that] the security and well-being of each and every American is tied to the security and well-being of those who live beyond our borders.... It must be about recognizing the inherent equality, dignity, and worth of all people." To fight global poverty, he pledges to double foreign aid to $50 billion a year by 2012, and to make "investments in agriculture, infrastructure, and economic growth" in developing countries. He wants to help establish a "global health infrastructure" by 2020 to combat infectious diseases, a "civilian assistance corps" and a streamlined development agency staffed with a "new cadre of development experts," along with a $2 billion global education fund.

With his Kenyan and Indonesian roots, Obama can credibly claim that he has an inherent understanding of the crushing burden that poverty, disease and lack of clean water and education place on Third World populations. And he has said that such abysmal conditions can make angry, oppressed populations susceptible to the appeal of violent extremists.

But Obama may not realize how US involvement abroad, even when well-intentioned, is perceived on the receiving end as heavy-handed meddling. He and his key advisers have embraced a sweeping plan to promote democracy overseas, rebuild failed and failing states and provide aid to dissidents and democrats from Africa and the Middle East to Russia and China. He pledges to "integrate civilian and military capabilities to promote global democracy and development," including the creation of "Mobile Development Teams (MDTs) that bring together personnel from the military, the Pentagon, the State Department and USAID, fully integrating U.S. government efforts in counter-terror, state-building, and post-conflict operations." He would also "establish an expeditionary capability" for non-Pentagon agencies, including the departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury.

Asked which failing states might need attention from Obama, Susan Rice, a former Clinton Administration State Department official who advises the candidate, says, "The list is long. You can start in South Asia and Afghanistan, but there is also Somalia, Yemen, Kenya and the Sahelian countries in Africa." Then, she says, there are countries that, while not yet failing, have weak or poorly formed civil societies. "In countries like Nigeria, where in contrast to Egypt or Saudi Arabia, you are facing a regime that is not strongly averse to political reform, the United States can help to build democratic institutions, a more accountable parliament, a free press and institutions of civil justice."

Even in more resistant countries, such as Egypt and Russia, the United States can still support dissidents and take other pro-democracy steps, says Rice. Asked whether Russia, for instance, would react favorably to such efforts, she says, "No, they would not like it. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be doing it. And we were doing it, until a little while ago. During the Clinton Administration, there was a much more active democracy promotion effort."

Questions also arise about Obama's attitude toward humanitarian intervention. Several of his advisers, including Rice and Tony Lake, President Clinton's National Security Adviser, are strong advocates of using US military force to intervene in cases of severe violations of human rights, including genocide. In 2006 Rice and Lake wrote a Washington Post op-ed demanding a unilateral US "bombing campaign or naval blockade" and even the deployment of ground forces in Sudan to halt the killing in Darfur, and Obama has called for "enforcing a no-fly zone" there. What does that say about Zimbabwe? Burma? Congo? "There is," says Rice, "no cookie-cutter answer to the question of when a situation reaches the level of outrage that justifies intervention." Of course, the United Nations and other international bodies may not endorse multilateral interventions in regional crises, and although Obama has not gone as far as McCain in calling for the creation of a League of Democracies to bypass the UN in such cases, his campaign is debating the idea, according to insiders. Last year Lake co-chaired the Princeton Project on National Security, whose principal recommendation was to create a Concert of Democracies not unlike McCain's league. The strategists most closely identified with the idea are Robert Kagan, a well-known neoconservative, and Ivo Daalder, a Brookings Institution strategist and Obama adviser, who have co-written such a plan.

Indeed, on the issue of the Defense Department and military spending, Obama cedes no ground to McCain. According to CDI's Wheeler, during his years in the Senate Obama never challenged military spending bills in a significant way.

In the Senate and in his presidential campaign, Obama has supported the addition of 65,000 troops to the Army and 27,000 to the Marines. He backed the latest round of NATO enlargement into Eastern Europe, and according to Denis McDonough, his top adviser on foreign policy, he supports granting Membership Action Plans for Ukraine and Georgia; the latter, especially, is considered deeply threatening by the Russian leadership and could undermine negotiations with a resurgent and increasingly self-confident Moscow on a number of critical issues, including Iran and nuclear disarmament. Obama is open to talks that would establish formal ties between NATO, Australia and New Zealand. His call for the expansion of the Special Forces would empower the most aggressively interventionist of the Pentagon's units, and he wants to spend more money on reserve units and the National Guard.

In his Chicago speech last year Obama called for the creation of "a twenty-first-century military to stay on the offensive, from Djibouti to Kandahar." In several areas, Obama has made it clear that he looks forward to bolstering America's capabilities to intervene worldwide. He has called for spending significant new money to add unmanned aerial vehicles to the Air Force, boost electronic warfare capabilities and build more C-17 cargo planes and KC-X refueling aircraft to enhance America's "future ability to extend its global power." Obama also plans to "recapitalize our naval forces" so America can patrol ocean "choke points" to protect oil supplies, and he wants to fund new ships that can "patrol and protect the 'brown' waters of river systems [overseas] and the 'green' waters close to our shores."

Along with his determination to pull combat units out of Iraq, Obama has pledged to beef up the US presence in Afghanistan, promising to add at least two combat brigades to the US-NATO force there. "And that's a floor, not a ceiling," says Rice. He's also said that he'd attack Pakistan unilaterally to take out Al Qaeda-linked forces if there was "actionable intelligence" about their location. It's become part of the Democratic Party catechism to accuse President Bush of letting Al Qaeda off the hook in Afghanistan and Pakistan by sending so many troops to Iraq, as if tens of thousands of soldiers were needed to hunt down bin Laden--and Obama is no exception. Yet escalating America's role in Afghanistan, especially in light of growing tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, could well inflame the violence and undercut Pakistan's ability to deal with the growing Taliban and Al Qaeda presence.

Obama's foreign policy team uniformly dismisses the idea that the Pentagon's bloated budget can be cut, even though, not counting spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has nearly doubled since 2000 and is roughly equal to the military spending of all other countries combined. "Are we or are we not relying on the Pentagon for an increased role? Of course we are," says McDonough. "I don't see how, given the challenges we have on the horizon, we can talk about reducing Pentagon spending." .....

Much more here

Remember, Mean Americans-- We All Need To Sacrifice

Luxury For Me But Not For Thee... ?

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK." -- Senator Barack Obama, Speaking to Mean Americans in Oregon. May 16, 2008

Yes, we all need to sacrifice. Maybe that's why the Obamas chose this Chicago mansion over a different mansion.

And, the Obamas were even given a discount on their $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. We all need to sacrifice.



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