Sunday, August 31, 2008

He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them

We checked the accuracy of Obama's speech accepting the Democratic nomination, and noted the following:

Obama said he could "pay for every dime" of his spending and tax cut proposals "by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens." That's wrong - his proposed tax increases on upper-income individuals are key components of paying for his program, as well. And his plan, like McCain's, would leave the U.S. facing big budget deficits, according to independent experts.

He twisted McCain's words about Afghanistan, saying, "When John McCain said we could just 'muddle through' in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources." Actually, McCain said in 2003 we "may" muddle through, and he recently also called for more troops there.

He said McCain would fail to lower taxes for 100 million Americans while his own plan would cut taxes for 95 percent of "working" families. But an independent analysis puts the number who would see no benefit from McCain's plan at 66 million and finds that Obama's plan would benefit 81 percent of all households when retirees and those without children are figured in.

Obama asked why McCain would "define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year"? Actually, McCain meant that comment as a joke, getting a laugh and following up by saying, "But seriously ..."

Obama noted that McCain's health care plan would "tax people's benefits" but didn't say that it also would provide up to a $5,000 tax credit for families.

He said McCain, far from being a maverick who's "broken with his party," has voted to support Bush policies 90 percent of the time. True enough, but by the same measure Obama has voted with fellow Democrats in the Senate 97 percent of the time.

Obama said "average family income" went down $2,000 under Bush, which isn't correct. An aide said he was really talking only about "working" families and not retired couples. And - math teachers, please note - he meant median (or midpoint) and not really the mean or average. Median family income actually has inched up slightly under Bush.

More here

More fact-checking of Obama

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama makes history tonight, but mars his speech with a few errors. Let's run it through the fact-checker.

1. "Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to."

FACT: His father went back to his wife and son in Kenya and had little to do with Obama, while his mother married his stepfather and they moved to Indonesia.

2. "But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change."

FACT: True. Logic does not follow that McCain has poor judgment. Considering Bush was re-elected by a majority - a re-election feat no Democrat has enjoyed since FDR - shows that perhaps the American public agreed with Bush most of teh time, at least through his first 4 years.

3. "You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country."

FACT: True.

4. "Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it."

FACT: His vice presidential candidate has a son who is a lobbyist.

5. "I will cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class."

FACT: Under George Walker Bush the number of working Americans who pay no federal income tax rose from 29 million to 45 million, or roughly 30% of all people who work. It is doubtful that he could eliminate taxes for another 90 million earners to raise that percentage to 95%. And they would still have to pay FICA, and with the employer match, that is 15% of one's pay.

6. "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan."

FACT: He called for withdrawing our troops unilaterally by March 31, 2008, despite the agreement by most observers that this would devastate Iraq and according to a New York Times editorial which advocated this position, possibly genocide. That's hardly responsible. By the way, the war is over. We won. Iraqis want us to drive home safely. Please tell Obama.


Great theater but Obama is still a long way from clinching it

At different times over the last few days in Denver I have wondered whether, instead of watching a crucial meeting of the main opposition party of the world's leading power, I had wandered in on a soap opera, a poor Hollywood film, or a dire reality TV show. It is still hard to decide. Indeed, after Barack Obama's rally in front of 85,000 people on Thursday it might also have been classed as an extended rock concert. No-one can dispute that the finale was a spectacle: but, as such, it symbolised a triumph of style over substance that had been apparent during every session of the convention during the week and, indeed, in the whole 19 months of the Obama presidential campaign. This said a lot about Sen Obama's abilities, or those of his speechwriters and spin doctors, to play an already compliant audience like the proverbial violin. It said little or nothing about his fitness to govern, or to attract the support of the so-far non-compliant.

The event in the Broncos' stadium was certainly an apotheosis of display, theatre and at times unrestrained and self-indulgent emotion. It seemed to have only a passing connection with politics. Mr Obama's speech was a masterpiece of manipulation: it added precious few clues about how he would restore the fortunes of a country that is very much not at ease with itself. Worse, in an uncertain world, it offered little evidence of why he is equipped to deal with some of the lethal challenges that could at any time confront America. The candidate's combination of old-fashioned oratorical skill, film-star looks, and determination to put his personality and "story" at the front of his approach to politics certainly seems to appeal to his party: but it is entirely shallow, and typical of the American left's confusion, or conflation, of stature with celebrity.

As the near hysteria in the stadium suggested, this hardly mattered to the Democratic faithful. All week at their convention they have sat and listened to one pile of flannel after another about "change", which can mean whatever it wants to the person who utters the word and to anyone hearing it. The real question is whether America's tens of millions of undecided voters will have been swayed by anything they might have seen, heard or read from Denver this week. It seems, it must be said, pretty unlikely.

As Mr Obama came out to speak on Thursday night a poll gave him a sudden six-point lead over his Republican rival, John McCain. This "convention bounce" is a long-recognised phenomenon of election politics in America; Sen McCain may well get his own this time next week. If so, it would suggest that the last eight weeks of the campaign will settle it, rather than anything that might happen at either convention. The three televised debates between the two candidates could be crucial in this regard, not least because Mr Obama will find it hard to come through even one of them without giving his electorate a clear idea of his policies.

The impression created this week was not one of a unified America going bravely into the future that Mr Obama talked about: it was one divided on rudimentary levels on class grounds, in which (as used to be the case in the old Labour party) the working man and woman are there to be revered and looked after and the rich (which most Democrats seem to agree is anyone on a salary of more than $250,000 a year) are there to pay for it. Mr Obama's good ol' boy running mate, Joe Biden, unwittingly emphasised these divisions in his speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination, and again in his impromptu appearance before the Obama speech. Mr Biden seems to be occupying the constitutional position in American politics that used to be filled in Britain by John Prescott: he is designed to be at the right hand of an elitist, slightly effete head of government and to be charged with mentioning, in every speech he makes, how wonderful blue-collar workers are. The inference that all other Americans are there to pay taxes for these people's benefit is something the Republicans need to get after next week, and continually until the election.

The Democrats themselves remain divided between the predominantly black, young and professional people whose happiness now seems to depend on Mr Obama winning, and the older, blue collar, white and more female supporters who remain unreconciled to the defeat of Hillary Clinton. For all the Clintons' pleas for unity, the party seems determined to remain profoundly sectarian. But it also remains profoundly superficial in its approach to politics, in love with the sound of its own voice but with little of note to articulate with it. We still don't really know what Mr Obama is going to change, how he is going to change it, and to what. And we can't tell that he has a clue what to do with uppity Iranians, aggressive Russians or any other threat to his country's security. As such, he has left himself open to sustained attack by his opponents - and therefore has by no means won this election yet.

More here

Where's the outrage?

Several thoughts have come to mind watching the Democratic National Convention this week that I haven't seen expressed any where at the moment. The most obvious to me is the lack of control Barack Obama appears to have with the convention as a whole. There is little message coming out of the convention and where is the outrage about the job President Bush has done the past eight years? Democrats have created a separate industry in criticizing republicans and specifically President Bush and yet few references this week.

While there are a few signs indicating that John McCain is just more of the Bush administration, few democrats really believe it. Especially, since McCain has always been their favorite republican and they know he has increased Zantac sells among us.

An example of the lack of control is where the keynote speech Tuesday night by the former Governor of Virginia was moved earlier in the evening because the Governor refused to put in some critical lines about McCain. If Obama were in control of this convention, then speech content would long have been settled. Obama is also quick to say he hasn't 'vetted' the speech former President Bill Clinton will give either. Obama is forgetting that this convention is about sending a message to Americans why this inexperienced politician should be elected President of the United States. May be this lack of message is because there isn't a good reason why Americans should put him in charge?

Monday night's performance which included Michelle Obama was another missed opportunity. As a conservative republican who always enjoys watching the propaganda of the democratic convention, this one has been a snoozer.

Another observation I have is Hillary Clinton's speech and the video that preceded her onto the stage Tuesdsay night. Was I the only one to notice that the brief showing of Bill Clinton in the video was to identify him as 'Hillary's husband.' There were numerous photos in the slide show of Hillary and Chelsea but not the three of them on the campaign trail. I'm certainly no fan of the disgraced President but I did find it interesting he had such a minimal role in a video highlighting Hillary's political career. Have we forgotten the 'two for one' speeches during the 1992 campaign? Does Hillary have a political career without Bill? The answer is clearly no.

Another indication that Obama is not in control of his party was the strange but interesting comment the former President gave in a speech earlier in the day. Paraphrasing, Bill Clinton identified two candidates, an apparent reference to Obama and McCain, and said 'candidate X' couldn't deliver on his promises and 'candidate Y' could. He then said his analogy didn't refer to current circumstances but the comparison could not have been more clearer.

I think the former President's analogy echoes comments that Hillary Clinton and even Joe Biden made during the primary season: That Obama isn't experienced or qualified to be President of the United States.

The next President will be faced with increasing tensions around the world with the war in Iraq; nuclear missiles in Iran; Russia in Georgia and threatening Poland; as well as the movement of radical islam around the world. Have you heard even a mention of any of this? If you didn't know that U.S. troops are committed around the world, you would have little knowledge of it at the convention. You would know they oppose a war, but you wouldn't have a clue what the conflict is about.

The future President will also deal with a major banking crisis, slowing down of the economy, and artificial shortening of the oil supply. While you have heard some about the economy, you haven't heard any clear message about how the Democrats are going to fix it. Perhaps their lack of a coherent plan makes it imperative that they omit any discussion of a plan?

If Obama, who is supposed to be the candidate that will bring a nation together, cannot even bring his own party together then he lacks the skill to be President. If Obama, cannot control the message coming out of Denver, then he lacks the ability to control a message coming out of Washington to the rest of the world.


Hillary Supporters for McCain

West Virginia Democrats aren't warming up to Obama. And now they know the VP picks, it should be a slam dunk for McCain. Hillary has been very vocal about "glass ceings" but the GOP can say: "There's no glass ceiling in the Republican Party"

West Virginia's registered Democrats, like their cousins in western Pennsylvania and eastern and southern Ohio, are having a hard time fitting anywhere within Barack Obama's vision of the Democratic party. "Obama and his message just do not gel with me," said Mark Lamp as he climbed into his utility truck. Lamp, 47, from neighboring Weirton, is a registered Democrat who voted for Clinton in the May primary. "My first problem with him is taxes, the second is experience," he explained.

Lamp has worked in construction all of his life, and the company he works for builds houses in the tri-state area. "We have been busy all year." He sees very few signs of the economy or gas prices hurting him, and they are not what drives his vote. "I vote leadership. That is why I voted for Hillary and why I will vote McCain."

Al Gore failed to connect with West Virginia voters in 2000--the state had gone Democratic since Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign. John Kerry carried that tradition forward by only getting 43 percent of the vote in 2004. All signs are pointing to Obama facing similar numbers. "I will admit we have an uphill battle," said Tom Vogel, West Virginia's Democratic state party executive director, "but I haven't given up yet."

"West Virginia went big for Hillary Clinton in this spring's primary," admits Vogel. "They love her, and they loved her husband." Vogel's field director Derek Scarbro says part of the problem Obama has is the same problem that any national Democrat has coming to West Virginia: "West Virginians have to get to know you and develop a relationship with you."

Getting to know Obama may be a problem. Once thought to be a battleground state, all indications are that West Virginia is off Obama's campaign map. Turn on the television today and you won't find any Obama ads running, and he has no trips to the state planned in the immediate future. (Sources within the campaign say they are keeping their eye on the state.)

West Virginia is still home to the Jacksonian Democrats, those descendants of Scots-Irish immigrants who vote God, country, and guns, and have a stronger than average distrust of government. They are white, lower middle-class union members who work hard, play by the rules, have faith in God and a hefty dose of patriotism. In a change election when the country goes one way, a few states always trend the other. Kansas went Republican during the liberal trend of the 1960s, and West Virginia may go conservative during the liberal swing of today.

In a state that has just one area code (in Jackson County everyone shares the same exchange, so when you ask for a number they only give you the last four digits), the geopolitical breakdown is monolithic. The only section that has proven liberal Democratic is the eastern panhandle which is fast becoming a suburb of Washington, D.C.

But from the southern coalfields to the northern panhandle (which is really southwestern Pennsylvania, and Catholic Democrat country) you are entering the land that the national Democratic party forgot.


Obama could be worse. He shows some leaning towards the center

Comment from a Libertarian site:

There are no disciples of small government in the Democratic Party, and Barack Obama fits right in. His economic program is based on the assumption that the economy is to the president what a marionette is to a puppeteer, requiring his direction and responding to his every wish.

Anyone partial to free markets, restrained government, fiscal discipline and light taxation approaches a Democratic nominee's economic platform with trepidation, expecting one fright after another. Obama does not disappoint.

He offers a long list of things the federal government should be doing to rearrange the nation's productive sector-paying U.S. automakers to build fuel-efficient vehicles, confiscating allegedly excessive oil profits, and spending hundreds of billions to create jobs in environmental and infrastructure industries. Democrats have not given up their basic faith that the market, while useful, is always in need of Washington's whip hand.

In his windfall profits tax plan, Obama puts aside the troublesome fact that the last time we tried it, at the behest of President Carter, the tax yielded far less revenue than projected while reducing domestic energy production. And if Detroit didn't bother to invest in fuel-efficient cars when Honda and Toyota did, why should it get a $4 billion reward for its failure?

But saying a Democrat believes in big government is like saying that Chicago winters are cold-true, but inadequate. Some winters are more bone-chilling than others, and some Democrats are worse than others. There are grounds for gloom with Obama, as there would be with anyone nominated by the party of FDR and LBJ. But there are some reasons to hope he will be less bad than most:

-He's liberal, but not that liberal. Contrary to the famous National Journal ranking that put him most leftward in the entire Senate, another study found he is really the 11th-most liberal. In the primaries, when Democratic candidates are under the most pressure to veer left, he insisted on hewing closer to the economic center than Hillary Clinton or John Edwards-even when it exposed him to charges that he didn't support the holy grail of universal health care.

Obama did pander to the left's phobia about globalization by villainizing the North American Free Trade Agreement. But as soon as he had the nomination locked up, he confessed to Fortune magazine that his NAFTA rhetoric had been "overheated and amplified."

Organized labor howled about "corporate influence" when Obama hired Jason Furman as his chief economic adviser. Among Furman's sins is his longtime association with Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who pushed President Clinton to emphasize deficit reduction rather than big new spending programs.

-He's open to evidence. The New York Times recently reported that Obama "likes experts, and his choice of advisers stems in part from his interest in empirical research." Nobel laureate economist James Heckman of the University of Chicago, who was asked for input on education policy by Obama's advisers, told the Times, "I've never worked with a campaign that was more interested in what the research shows."

That would be a change not only from more doctrinaire liberals but also from the Bush administration, which has never been exactly obsessed with real-world data. If Obama were a true believer, he wouldn't care so much about evidence.

Boston College political scientist Alan Wolfe says, "Ideologues don't need that information, or want it, because they know what they want to do." Ask yourself: Is there any conceivable evidence that would cause George W. Bush to question the wisdom of tax cuts?

-He's not enchanted with the big-government model. On health care, Obama opposed Clinton's proposal to require every American to buy health insurance, preferring to offer subsidies and then let individuals decide. He balked when she said all adjustable mortgage rates should be frozen for five years-with Obama's campaign quoting an expert who said, accurately, that it would be "disastrous."

He's far less suspicious of the operations of markets than most people in his party. And when was the last time a Democratic nominee openly worried about corporate tax burdens? Furman has said that if some loopholes can be closed, Obama "would like to cut the corporate tax rate."

Those who favor a less expensive and less expansive federal government will find plenty to complain about should Obama become president. For consolation, they can try chanting this mantra: It could be worse.



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Democrat rivalries just papered over

Leftists are driven by hate and they have always hated one-another most of all

By Maureen Dowd

I've been to a lot of conventions, and there's always something gratifyingly weird that happens. Dan Quayle acting like a Dancing Hamster. Teresa Heinz Kerry reprising Blanche DuBois. Dick Morris getting nabbed triangulating between a hooker and toes. But this Democratic convention has a vibe so weird and jittery, so at odds with the early thrilling, fairy dust feel of the Obama revolution, that I had to consult Mike Murphy, the peppery Republican strategist and former McCain guru. "What is that feeling in the air?" I asked him.

"Submerged hate," he promptly replied.

There were a lot of bitter Clinton associates, fund-raisers and supporters wandering the halls, spewing vindictiveness, complaining of slights, scheming about Hillary's roll call and plotting trouble, with some in the Clinton coterie dissing Obama by planning early departures, before the nominee even speaks. At a press conference with New York reporters on Monday, Hillary looked as if she were straining at the bit to announce her 2012 exploratory committee. "Remember, 18 million people voted for me, 18 million people, give or take, voted for Barack," she said, while making a faux pro-Obama point. She keeps acting as if her delegates are out of her control, when she's been privately egging on people to keep her dream alive as long as possible, no matter what the cost to Obama.

Hillary also said she was happy about the choice of Joe Biden because he added "intensity" to the ticket. Ouch. She added insult to injury by coming out Tuesday night looking great in a blazing orange pantsuit and teaching the precocious pup Obama something about intensity and message. She thanked her "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits," and slyly noted that Obama would enact her health care plan rather than his.

She offered the electrifying fight that the limpid Obama has not - setting off paranoia among some Democrats that they had chosen the wrong nominee or that Obama had chosen the wrong running mate. "It makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together in the Twin Cities because these days they are awfully hard to tell apart," she said.

Afterward, some of her supporters began crying, as they were interviewed by reporters, saying that her speech had proved that she would make a better president than Obama. And, as one said, she would only give him "two months" to prove himself. Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, compared Obama to the passive-aggressive Adlai Stevenson and told The Washington Post that Obama gives six-minute answers and "is not exactly the easiest guy in the world to identify with."

At a meeting of the Democratic women's caucus Tuesday, 74-year-old Carol Anderson of Vancouver, Wash., a former Hillary volunteer, stood in the back of the room in a Hillary T-shirt and hat signed by Hillary and "Nobama" button and booed every time any of the women speakers mentioned Obama's name. She's voting for McCain and had nothing nice to say about the Obamas. What about the kids, I asked. "Adorable," she agreed. Well, I said, Michelle raised them. "I think her mother does," Anderson shot back, adding: "I wonder if Michelle would give the Queen one of her little knuckle punches?"

Bill's pals said he was still gnawing at his many grievances against the younger version of himself he has to praise Wednesday night; the latest one being that the Obama folks, like all winners, wanted control over Bill's speech, so that he did not give a paean to himself and his economic record, which is what he wanted to do, because he was incensed that Obama said a couple critical things about his administration during a heated campaign. Finally, Obama had to give in on Monday and say he would allow the ex-president to do exactly as he likes, which is what he usually does anyhow.

Obama's pacification of Bill made his supporters depressed and anxious that he was going to be a weaker candidate than they had hoped and fearful that, as in Obama's favorite movie, "The Godfather," every time Democrats try to get away, the Clintons pull them back in.

And Democrats have begun internalizing the criticisms of Hillary and John McCain about Obama's rock-star prowess, worrying that the Invesco Field extravaganza Thursday, with Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, will just add to the celebrity cachet that Democrats have somehow been shamed into seeing as a negative.

So that added to the weird mood at the convention, with some Democrats nitpicking Obama's appearance, after Michelle's knock-out speech and the fabulously cute girls, with a reassuring white family in a town he couldn't remember at one point. They wondered why he wasn't wearing a tie, fearing he looked too young, and second-guessed Michelle's green dress, wondering if it clashed with the blue stage, and fretted that there wasn't a speaker Monday night attacking McCain and yelling about gas prices. "I'm telling you, man," said one top Democrat, "it's something about our party, the shtetl mentality."


Barack Obama's same-old political promises

Barack Obama is as skilled an orator as any politician in recent American history. With 75,000 adoring supporters cheering him along on Thursday night, his acceptance speech was always guaranteed to be a triumph. He could have read out the contents of the Denver metropolitan phone book and the crowd would have gone wild. So what mattered about his performance was not the inevitably enthusiastic reaction from the loyal Democrats gathered in Denver's Invesco Field, but how far it advanced his presidential campaign with a more doubtful public watching at home.

That was why his speech last night was very different from the sort of lyrical orations that have characterised his campaign so far. It was a much more traditional political speech, less lofty, more focused, less general talk of hope and more old-fashioned bashing of the opposition.

As a result, it risked undermining Senator Obama's message so far that he stands for a different kind of politics, one able to transcend political divisions. While it addressed many of the problems that have weakened his campaign in recent weeks, it may in the end have done some new damage: perhaps Senator Obama is just another politician after all.

In this set-piece event he was trying to meet several objectives. His first job was to introduce himself. As astonishing as it may sound, given that he has been running for president for 20 months, most Americans still don't really know much about Senator Obama. The television audience - at an estimated 30 million or more - would be the largest that had ever seen him, and for the vast majority of them it was an opportunity to size up this man who has emerged onto the political scene so suddenly.

He spent much time talking about his background and his roots and emphasising of course that it was a true, if not a typical American story. In the process he was trying to show empathy with ordinary Americans. His campaign has been criticized as being bloodless, aloof, too vague for a country which many people feel has lost its way. So on Thursday night he skillfully interwove his own life story with the struggles of ordinary Americans. "I see in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbour, marched in Patton's army," he said.

He was also eager to attack John McCain, his Republican opponent, demonstrating that the Democratic candidate can go in for the kill if he needs to. He repeated the now familiar Republican claim that Sen McCain was campaigning for George Bush's third term. It's a favourite Democratic talking point to note that as a senator, John McCain has voted with President Bush 90 per cent of the time. "Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right ninety per cent of the times."

Senator Obama also sought to allay fears he lacks the experience and stature necessary to be commander-in-chief. He insisted that his decision to oppose the Iraq war and his support for stronger US efforts in Afghanistan qualified him to be a better commander-in-chief than his opponent.

In all of these objectives, Senator Obama doubtless went some way towards reassuring voters. But the biggest weakness of the speech may have been in its very attempt to address the criticism that his campaign lacks substance. Senator Obama has been urged to talk less in general terms about change and more about what policies he would pursue in office. On Thursday night he certainly delivered. He reeled off a long and at times numbing list of policies he would implement: tax reductions for working families, tax increases for companies that move operations overseas, support for clean-energy technologies, more money for education, a plan for health care coverage for all Americans.

The first problem with this list is not its newness but its familiarity. It is the same old promises politicians - especially those of the left - have made for decades. The second problem with this list is that if it were ever to be implemented it would cost a fortune in taxes. Senator Obama promises to avoid that with the usual politician's claim that he will wipe out wasteful spending in government. This is bogus and rather than restoring faith in politics as Senator Obama pledges, it only increases cynicism about politics. The gap between Senator Obama's promises and the reality of politics in America may be getting too wide.


Biden's Bishop Will not Permit Him, Even if Elected VP, to Speak at Catholic Schools

In an interview with Bob Krebs, the Communications Director for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, to which Senator Joseph Biden belongs, Krebs confirmed that Biden's Bishop will not permit the Senator even if elected Vice President of the United States of America to speak at Catholic schools.

When asked for the Bishop's take on Senator Biden and his stand in favor of abortion, Krebs directed to Bishop Michael Saltarelli's 2004 statement on 'Catholics in Political Life' which, said Krebs, "very plainly states Bishop's position in this matter." In that document Bishop Saltarelli notes that, in line with the US Bishops Conference policy, "Our Catholic institutions will not honor Catholic politicians who take pro-abortion legislative positions or invite them to speak at our functions or schools." called the diocesan communications director a second time to ask if that specific ban on speaking at Catholic schools or Catholic functions would apply to Biden, even if he became the Vice President. Krebs replied, "I would say that as long as Senator Biden's stated position on abortion remains the same then it would apply to Senator Biden whether he was a Senator or the Vice President of any type of public figure."

In the same 2004 document, Bishop Saltarelli singled out Catholic politicians like Biden who claim a personal opposition to abortion but that they could not impose their faith's beliefs on others. Wrote the Bishop: "No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: 'I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.' Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: 'I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.'" In the document, Bishop Saltarelli does not rule out refusing communion to pro-abortion politicians but does say that he much prefers "active engagement and dialogue". He notes that he does not expect priests and others administering communion to withhold it from politicians. "That is ultimately my responsibility," he said.

The Associated Press reports that Biden received Communion last Sunday at his local parish of St. Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Greenville, Delaware. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput commented to AP that Biden should not present himself for Communion given his public support for abortion. Biden "has admirable qualities to his public service," Chaput said in his statement. "But his record of support for so-called abortion 'rights,' while mixed at times, is seriously wrong. I certainly presume his good will and integrity - and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion, if he supports a false 'right' to abortion."


'Obama plans to disarm U.S.!'

Candidate pledges on YouTube clip to gut military spending, research

A video the Barack Obama campaign produced last year to solicit the endorsement of an Iowa-based advocacy group has generated more than 3 million page views on YouTube, fueled by chain e-mails claiming the clip is evidence the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee intends to disarm the U.S.. Florida's St. Petersburg Times received an e-mail that warned of Obama's plan to "unilaterally disarm our nation" and stated, "You do not have to check Snopes to determine if this is true or false. ... Watch and listen to Obama's own words."

WND also received an e-mail suggesting the Democratic National Committee is supposedly pressuring YouTube to remove the video clip before it leaks out to too many viewers and damages Obama's chances of winning the presidency.

The video, however, was originally posted on YouTube by the Obama campaign itself on Oct. 22, 2007, and has been seen – in its various repeat appearances on the site – well over 3 million times.

Does it give evidence of a plan to disarm the U.S.? In the clip, Obama pledges to "cut tens of billions of dollars" in defense spending, "cut investments" in missile defense systems and "slow our development of future combat systems." You can view the candidate's promises in his own words and full context below:

In addition to budget cuts and curtailing weapons research and development, Obama concludes the video by pledging to refrain from developing new nuclear weapons, to negotiate with Russia to take intercontinental missiles "off hair-trigger alert" and to "achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals." Whether such promises constitute an endangering level of disarmament or not is a subject hotly debated on YouTube itself. One viewer commented, "How will you 'protect the American people' without a powerful defence (sic)? R & D is mandatory to keep ahead of the threats, and develop new and better ways to support and protect our troops when they go in harms (sic) way." Another viewer agreed with Obama's plan, saying, "Wow. So that's where all my money is going. . Man we are over-kill when it come (sic) to producing a lot of weapons for this country."

Obama originally made the video clip to garner the endorsement of Caucus4Priorities, an Iowa-based group that would likely agree with the latter viewer that advocates shifting federal funds from defense spending to social programs. The Democratic candidate thanked the group in the video's opening remarks. The video was made last October as Obama was attempting to win Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus. Obama pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to win the caucus but lost the Caucus4Priorities endorsement, as the organization backed Edwards instead.


Juan Williams' Plea To Obama

Juan Williams has an eloquent - although, I'm afraid, futile - plea to Obama to, finally, "take a stand" on race issues. After paying hopeful homage to the promise he sees in Obama's biracial background, Williams writes:
Yet given this central racial dynamic, it is incredible that on any issue of racial consequence Mr. Obama has become a stealth candidate. It is arguably smart politics not to focus on potentially controversial racial issues when you are a black man running in an election with an electorate that is more than 75% white. But how is it possible that Mr. Obama, as he rises to claim the mantle of Dr. King before 75,000 people and a national TV audience of millions here tonight, remains a mystery on the most important civil rights issues of our day?

Mr. Obama is nowhere man when it comes time to speak out on reforming big city public schools, with their criminally high dropout rates for minority children. He apparently refuses to do it for fear that supporting vouchers or doing anything to strengthen charter schools will alienate vote-rich unions. His rare references to the critical argument over affirmative action -- an issue that is on several state ballots this fall -- give both opponents and supporters reason to think he might be on their side. He has had little if anything to say about the persistent 25% poverty rate in black America.

The only speech Mr. Obama has given on race came after his minister's racist rants became public. In that celebrated talk he defended Rev. Jeremiah Wright, while at the same time distancing himself from the rants. That quick escape did not work, because Rev. Wright continued to spew vitriol - threatening the campaign with questions about whether Mr. Obama subscribed to the same angry, anti-American views. It was only rational for voters to ask how he could have kept silent in the face of the minister's sermons over 20 years.

Time and again, the man who draws so openly on King's legacy refuses to sacrifice an iota of possible political support by taking a principled stand on matters of racial justice that King said are matters of right and wrong. Instead, Obama makes cryptic or general comments that leave his position on important racial issues ambiguous or unknown.

This plea, as I say, is eloquent, but it is also, I believe, based on a sense of Obama that derives much more from hope than clear analysis. On the most fundamantal "matter of right and wrong" that are at issue today - whether it is fitting and proper for the state to treat some people better and others worse because of their race - Obama's position is neither ambiguous nor unknown.

Williams' hopes and pleas to the contrary notwithstanding, Obama has been far more clear and uncompromising on this issue than on just about anything else: from his time in the Illinois legislature until today (we'll see about tonight's speech), he has never encountered a race preference policy or program that he opposes. And he has supported these programs actively, not passively. For example, he went into Michigan and made an ad opposing the ultimately successful Michigan Civil Rights Inititative, and he has made it clear that he opposes similar initiatives that would prohibit race preferences that will be on the ballots of several states this fall.

One of the reasons Williams' plea sounds so forlorn is that he's been making it, to no avail, for so long. Last fall, for example, he endorsed Obama in a New York Times OpEd, arguing, based on his ever-present hope but no evidence, that Obama "is asking voters to move with him beyond race and beyond the civil rights movement to a politics of shared values." As I wrote at the time, criticizing that piece,
Perhaps Williams is right. Perhaps Obama does represent the Great White, or Black, hope of moving beyond race. But at this point in the race I'm afraid that Obama may be speaking "color lines" rather than providing a bridge across the color line and hence that Williams may be engaging more in wishful thinking than astute analysis....

I believe there is a way that Williams could be right, that there is an opening for a black politician to appeal to blacks and whites to unite around shared values, but so far I have not been convinced that Obama is willing or able to do that, although there have been one or two encouraging hints. One of the most fundamental values that blacks and whites share, at least on one level, is a lingering attachment to the principle that has been discarded both by black "civil rights" leaders and white elites in academia, the media, and large corporations: the old core value holding that people should be treated "without regard" to race, creed, color, or national origin. (I continue to wait, in vain, for the day some brave journalist will ask Democratic presidential candidates whether or not they believe in that principle.) ....

I believe "shared values" do indeed provide a bridge that can unite the races, but, so far at least, it has proved to be a bridge too far for Obama to cross.

Let's see whether he crosses it tonight in his speech to the masses from the set that looks like a Greek or Roman temple. Don't hold your breath.


Gallup: Obama Losing Support Among Conservative Democrats

The Gallup daily tracking poll indicates that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been losing support among conservative Democrats as his presidential race with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has tightened into a dead heat.

In June, according to Gallup, Obama enjoyed the support of 71 percent of conservative Democrats. As of August 24, according to the same poll, Obama's support among conservative Democrats had dropped 8 points to 63 percent.

At the same time, Obama has also been losing support among moderate and liberal Republicans. In June, Obama had the support of 10 percent of Republicans. In mid-July, that support was up to 11 percent. As of August 24, according to the Gallup tracking poll, however, only 7 percent of Republicans said they supported Obama.

"Within the Democratic Party, Obama's losses are primarily evident among the relatively small group that describes its political views as conservative," said Gallup's poll analysis by Lydia Saad. "The 63% of conservative Democrats supporting Obama over McCain in Aug. 18-24 polling is the lowest Obama has earned since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June."

"The 78% of Democrats backing Obama from Aug. 18-24 ties for the lowest seen since early June," said the poll analysis. "The 7% of Republicans for Obama is the lowest to date (since the start of Gallup Poll Daily tracking of the Obama-McCain race in March)."

In the overall race, according to the Gallup daily tracking poll through August 26, Obama leads McCain 45 percent to 44 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 points.



Friday, August 29, 2008

Convention notes from Peggy Noonan

As for Bill Clinton's speech, halfway through I thought: The Master has arrived. Crazy Bill, the red-faced Rageaholic, was somewhere else. This was Deft Political Pro Bill doing what no one had been able to do up to this point at the convention, and that is make the case for Barack Obama. He lambasted the foe, asserted Obama's growth on the trail, argued that he was the right man for the job and did that as a man who once held that job and is remembered, at least in terms of domestic policy and at least by half the country, as having done it pretty darn well. He gave his full imprimatur to a crowd that believes he has an imprimatur to give. As Clinton spoke a friend IM'd, "What is this, the Clinton convention?" The fact is, until both Clintons spoke, it was. Now oddly enough it isn't. Now eyes turn, and finally, to Obama. This was one of the great tee-ups.

The Hillary speech was the best of her career. Toward Obama she was exactly as gracious as she is capable of being. Mrs. Clinton's speeches are rarely notable for great lines but this one had a number of them. "It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart." KAPOW. We'll be hearing more of that one. "Sisterhood of the travelling pantsuits" - funny and self aware. She normally doesn't use the teleprompter - actually it's rare for her to use one -- but last night she did, and she proved herself the most gifted pol on the prompter in current political history.

Her statement from the floor during the rollcall? Fabulous. The decision to put Obama over the top and ask for acclamation? Masterly. Mrs. Clinton's actions this week have been pivotal not only for Obama, but for her. She showed herself capable of appearing to put party first. I also believe she has come to appreciate both emotionally and intellectually The Importance of Being Teddy. She will not be the president of the United States the next four years, but she can ease herself into the role of Teddy Kennedy-esque fighter for her issues in the Senate. And that I think is exactly where she means to go, and what she means to be. And that, for her, is a brilliant move. Really: brilliant. Here's one reason: Teddy is, throughout his party, beloved. Beloved would be something very new for Hillary.

The general thinking among thinking journalists, as opposed to journalists who merely follow the journalistic line of the day, is that the change of venue Thursday night to Invesco Field, and the huge, open air Obama acceptance speech of the biggest and possibly craziest gambles of this or any other presidential campaign of the modern era. Everyone can define what can go wrong, and no one can quite define what "great move" would look like. It has every possibility of looking like a Nuremberg rally; it has too many variables to guarantee a good tv picture; the set, the Athenian columns, looks hokey; big crowds can get in the way of subtle oratory. My own added thought is that speeches are delicate; they're words in the air, and when you've got a ceiling the words can sort of go up to that ceiling and come back down again. But words said into an open air stadium.can just get lost in echoes, and misheard phrases. People working the technical end of the event are talking about poor coordination, unclear planning, and a Democratic National Committee that just doesn't seem capable of decisive and sophisticated thinking.

So: this all does seem very much a gamble. At a Time magazine event Wednesday afternoon, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe suggested the power of the stadium event is in this: it's meant to be a metaphor for the openness and inclusiveness that has marked the Obama campaign. Open stadium, 60,000 people - "we're opening this up to average Americans." We'll see. In my experience when political professionals start talking metaphors there's usually good reason to get nervous. (Questions: how many of the 60,000 will be Coloradans? Are a lot of the tickets going to out of staters? Are they paying for tickets? Is the Mile High event actually a fundraiser? What's the top ticket going for?)

More on Plouffe. Here are things he said. "It's gonna be a close election. If anything breaks it will break late." "There are 18 states we're focusing on." McCain has a woman problem because "if he's elected, Roe versus Wade will be outlawed." McCain's campaign has an "intensity deficit." "One thing we never run into out there is a John McCain field organization." If McCain's vice presidential nominee is Mitt Romney, "They're doubling down on out-of-touch." Plouffe talked a lot about increasing the turnout of registered voters who did not vote in 2004. He spoke a lot about winning or losing various states on the margins. This elicited a rather piercing question from Mike Murphy. He said that in his experience as a political strategist, when the talk turns to things like winning states by upping the share of registered voters who missed the last election, that talk is usually indicative of a message deficit. Plouffe didn't really have an answer.

We all tend to see this campaign as the endless campaign. It started right after the '06 election, was in full gear in '07, has reached party resolutions the past few months, and now the general election is off and going. But Plouffe said something that reminded me the endless campaign is nearing its ending. A lot of people start voting in 40 days, with absentee ballots. Forty days! This thing really is going to end.

Michelle Obama's speech was solid, but not a home run. First impression: She is so beautiful. Beautifully dressed, beautifully groomed, confident, smiling, a compelling person. But her speech seemed to me more the speech of a candidate, and not a candidate's spouse. It was full of problems and issues. I continue to be of the Dennis Thatcher School of Political Spouses: Let the candidate do the seriousness of the issues, you do the excellence of the candidate. This is old fashioned but nonetheless I think still applicable. It has made Laura Bush (with a few forays into relatively anodyne policy questions) the most popular First Lady in modern American political history.

Another problem with the Michelle speech. In order to paint both her professional life and her husband's, and in order to communicate what she feels is his singular compassion, she had to paint an America that is darker, sadder, grimmer, than most Americans experience their country to be. And this of course is an incomplete picture, an incorrectly weighted picture. Sadness and struggle are part of life, but so are guts and verve and achievement and success and hardiness and.triumph. Democrats always get this wrong. Republicans get it wrong too, but in a different way.

Democrats in the end speak most of, and seem to hold the most sympathy for, the beset-upon single mother without medical coverage for her children, and the soldier back from the war who needs more help with post-traumatic stress disorder. They express the most sympathy for the needy, the yearning, the marginalized and unwell. For those, in short, who need more help from the government, meaning from the government's treasury, meaning the money got from taxpayers. Who happen, also, to be a generally beset-upon group.

Democrats show little expressed sympathy for those who work to make the money the government taxes to help the beset-upon mother and the soldier and the kids. They express little sympathy for the middle-aged woman who owns a small dry cleaner and employs six people and is, actually, day to day, stressed and depressed from the burden of state, local and federal taxes, and regulations, and lawsuits, and meetings with the accountant, and complaints as to insufficient or incorrect efforts to meet guidelines regarding various employee/employer rules and regulations. At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don't dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.

Neither party ever gets it quite right, the balance between the taxed and the needy, the suffering of one sort and the suffering of another. You might say that in this both parties are equally cold and equally warm, only to two different classes of citizens.

By the way, the best line of the convention so far? Ted Strickland of Ohio, when he echoed the 1988 Democratic convention joke about George H.W. Bush, that he was born on third and thought he hit a triple. Strickland said of George W. Bush that he was born on third and then stole second. It didn't get much attention in any of the commentary, but it's all people were talking about in the bars of Denver that night.

I'll end with Ted Kennedy's speech. It was a small masterpiece of generosity. Not only that he showed up, not only that he spoke, but that with every right to speak of himself and his career, with every right to speak about his family and his memories and the lessons he's learned and the great things he's seen, with all the right to dwell on those things he produced: a speech about Barack Obama. Telling America to vote for him. How classy was that? Very.


Assessing Biden: Snore

I don't think I've ever heard a more predictable speech by a candidate on a major party ticket. That's not quite the same as a bad speech, but I'm reminded of a joke I heard from Obama about two years ago. "We've reached the point where everything that needs to be said has been said, but not everyone who needs to say it has said it." The predictable pudding that lacked a theme:
America has never had it worse, nevermind the "malaise" and hostage crisis of the Carter years, the chaos of the late 60s, the Great Depression, the Civil War... an increase in the median income, an unchanged, and a drop in the uninsured in the past year are additional signs of impending irreversible catastrophe.

George W. Bush and John McCain are the same.

We have no allies anymore. Only electing Obama will make the world love us again.

The surge didn't happen. Iraq is endless chaos. Obama's 16 month withdrawal plan will fix everything.

Community organizing on the South Side is perfect training to be president. A nuclear weapons bill that passed by unanimous consent is the major legislative accomplishment of our time.

There was nothing in this speech that was surprising. Nothing that Biden hasn't said a thousand times before. If you've been covering him since the beginning of this race, this was every one of Biden's campaign speeches put in a blender, with some of his surrogate work he's done since Obama won the nomination thrown in for spice.

I suppose if someone in America had never encountered Joe Biden before, they might have liked his combativeness. I've liked it at times in the past. But tonight, Biden was... reheated leftovers.

UPDATE: Hey, when the whole Biden brood was up on stage, was the lobbyist son up there, too? He certainly wasn't mentioned.


As nation watches Denver, Obama campaign muscles Chicago station over ex-radical Ayres

In a surprising attempt to stifle broadcast criticism of its candidate, the presidential campaign of freshman Illinois senator Barack Obama is organizing supporters to confront Chicago's WGN radio station for having a critic of the Illinois Democrat on its main evening discussion program.
"WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears," Obama's campaign wrote in an e-mail sent to supporters. "He's currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. (Wednesday night) pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers."

Kurtz, a conservative writer, recently wrote an article for the National Review that examined Obama's ties to Ayers, a former 1960s radical who helped found a protest group that advocated violence. The magazine was blocked in its initial attempts to obtain records from the University of Illinois at Chicago regarding the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school reform project that Obama chaired and Ayers co-founded. As The Ticket reported here, the school later reserved its position and opened the records Tuesday. Media organizations are poring over scores of boxes of documents to study the Obama-Ayres relationship, which the senator has described as merely casual.

Obama's campaign is urging supporters to call the radio station to complain. "Tell WGN that.... by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse," the note said. WGN, like the Chicago Tribune and The Times, is owned by Tribune Co. As a clear-channel station at 720 on the AM dial, WGN's signal reaches dozens of states. Such efforts to prevent programs often backfire by calling even more public attention to the controversy.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves," the note continued. "At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies."

Zack Christenson, executive producer of the longrunning interview program "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenburg," said the response from Obama supporters was strong. Rosenberg like Ayres is a college professor. "I would say this is the biggest response we've ever got from a campaign or a candidate," said Christenson. "This is really unprecedented with the show, the way that people are flooding the calls and our email boxes."

Christenson also stressed that the Obama campaign was invited to send a representative to appear on the show to balance the discussion of the newly-opened documents. But the campaign headquarters just down Michigan Avenue from the station refused the request. This is not the first time Obama's organization has sought to steer supporters to influence a broadcast outlet airing criticism.


Colour isn't the problem for Obama

THE arrest in Denver of some gun-toting, meth-fuelled white supremacists supposedly bent on assassinating Barack Obama neatly fits a narrative that has considerable appeal for many observers of the 2008 campaign. There's a common view among Democrats and their supporters in the media that the reason Obama is struggling to gain a lead in the polls in what should be a banner year for the Democrats is simple: racism.

Four-fifths of Americans say the US is on the wrong track, the Republicans in Congress are heading for a setback of historic proportions, and the desire for political change is palpable. But Obama is running neck and neck with John McCain. And it's clear from the polls that his big problem is among working-class white voters (ie rednecks). QED: a black man can't get elected president.

There are a lot of things wrong with this idea besides the tone of patronising metropolitan elitism. No one doubts there are Americans for whom a candidate's race is enough to disqualify them from the presidency. But there is no reason to think such influence in this election is decisive. For one thing, the Democratic candidate's race is an advantage in some respects. Two large demographic groups whose turnout in presidential elections is notoriously low - blacks and young people - look certain to vote for Obama in November in larger numbers than they have ever voted before. That might be enough to counterbalance the racist vote.

The racism argument also forgets that the majority of white working-class voters have not voted for Democratic candidates for decades. Since Ronald Reagan swung blue-collar voters behind him in 1980, no Democrat has won a majority of that vote. In fact, Obama is faring the same among white voters without a college education as John Kerry did in 2004, at 38 per cent, the latest poll average shows.

However, given the changes in the relative strength of the two parties in the past four years, he should be doing better. So why isn't he? Part of the answer is provided in a new study of voters in one of the most closely scrutinised places in the US. Stanley Greenberg is the Democratic pollster who broke new ground in the study of voting behaviour with an analysis of the Reagan Democrats in Macomb County, Michigan, in the 1980s. White blue-collar voters in this Detroit suburb voted two-to-one for Reagan in 1984.

In his analysis, based on focus groups with former Democratic voters, Greenberg found race was a significant factor among these white working-class voters. They interpreted Democratic calls for economic fairness in the 1980s as a veiled plan to channel government money towards African-Americans and they strongly disapproved. Greenberg was influential later in crafting Bill Clinton's "New Democratic" message of personal responsibility alongside economic fairness, which won over the Reagan Democrats.

Greenberg returned to Macomb County last month to gauge opinion about Obama. He found high levels of dissatisfaction with the state of the country but a surprising degree of doubt about the Democratic nominee. He was winning the support of only half those who said they thought the country was on the wrong track.

Race clearly played a part with some voters. But according to Greenberg, colour is less of an issue than it was in the 1980s. "Macomb voters do not seem to be voting predominantly on race," the study concludes. Instead, Obama faces two problems. The first is his failure to connect with voters on their economic anxieties. This seems to be a result of his decision to campaign on the loftier goals of change and renewal, and not on unemployment and falling wages.

The other concern was doubt about Obama's suitability to be commander-in-chief. Macomb voters are more focused on national security today than they were 25 years ago, and they worry about Obama's inexperience. They also express doubts about his patriotism, often citing the anti-US remarks of his pastor in Chicago, Jeremiah Wright. In short, Obama's biggest problems lie in his own perceived political weaknesses, not in the colour of his skin.


Has He Lost His Mind?
"Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos' National Football League team plays.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor."

The Berlin folly -- in English.

The Superbowl Halftime Show -- without the game.

What's the finish? Maybe Obama's got Zhang Yimou to do the hidden-rope trick, and have him lifted, Beijing-style, to the heavens when he's done. Will he reappear three days later at the Bird's Nest?

Or maybe he'll just do a Napoleon and coronate himself. By the time Napoleon made himself emperor, he had won the Battles of Lodi, of Arcole, of Rivoli, of the Pyramids and of Marengo. And had promugulated the Napoleonic Code. He had yet to write a single autobiography


Change 'Till You Barf!

By Alan Caruba

In the run-up to the opening of the Democrat convention Monday evening, I listened to the usual Democrat politicians being interviewed on the Sunday shows and it did not take long until it occurred to me that I was, in fact, watching a group of automatons who had been programmed to say 'change' as often as possible.

It was nauseating. It will be nauseating. If I could get the Democrat National Committee to send me a dollar for every time the word 'change' will be uttered between now and the end of the convention, I will be able to retire in comfort.

All elections are about change. That is to say, the party in power wants its supporters to vote against change, i.e., to elect its candidates to further its agenda, and the party out of power wants its supporters to vote the current rascals out so the Great Work of America can be transferred to their greedy hands.

Let us understand that what passes for government in Washington, D.C. is entirely devoted to dividing up the money that taxes and other levies accrue to that drained swamp. The party in power, the majority, gets to spend the money to the benefit of its constituents and special interests. The minority party is mostly just flat out of luck.

It has far less to do with governance than simple piracy, extortion, and connivance.

Sen. Barack Obama, a man who has possibly spent less time in the Senate chambers than previous elected members who had the misfortune of dying soon after taking office or possibly en route, has managed up to now to wage a brilliant campaign based solely on 'change.'

He has fashioned himself into a messiah who is going to chase the money changers from the sacred halls of Congress, banish the lobbyists, and 'require' Americans to lose weight, drive smaller cars or take the bus, end our dependence on anything and everything made from oil, blah, blah, blah. And, oh yes, pay more taxes.

The Obama version of 'change' may not sit well with voters as they begin to contemplate it between now and Election Day.

Indeed, several nights of listening to Democrats rant about 'change' may just produce a reaction quite contrary to their expectations and their assumptions.

Primary among those assumptions is that the voters are so dumb that, if you repeat the same phrases over and over again, those idiot voters will march like zombies to the polls and pull the Democrat levers. Underestimating the intelligence of voters is always a bad idea.

I have no idea what the Republican convention will sound like, but my guess is that it will be a far more low-key affair and one that actually deals with reality as opposed to trying to convince voters that the nation is in a 'Depression', that Osama bin Laden will quit trying to destroy America, and that if we just talk nicely with Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, Mamoud Amadinejad and the host of other gangsters running a big chunk of the world, they will accommodate us.

I am pretty sure we will not hear Democrats tell us that part of the change they want is to give more money to the United Nations as Sen. Obama proposes. We will not hear about drilling for the billions of barrels of domestic oil we have or utilizing the nation's century's worth of coal.

Whoever is elected the next President of the United States is going to face the kind of 'change' that no one, not the candidates and not the voters, can possibly anticipate. It will be along the lines of the change that occurred on 9/11. It will be the kind of change that a Category Five hurricane produces. It will be an economy struggling to revive from the unanticipated change inflicted by feckless, greedy banking and lending institutions.

The only change I want is someone old enough and wise enough to know that and with the steely courage to deal with it.



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bill says wonderboy can't deliver

He almost says: Vote McCain!

Hours before former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took center stage Tuesday night in Denver to offer words of healing for the Democratic Party, her husband was detonating what could be interpreted as another blast at presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Speaking at a forum of ex-world leaders less than a mile from the site of the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton drew an analogy that had many wondering whether the former president had made peace with the idea of an Obama candidacy. “Suppose for example you’re a voter and you have candidate X and you have candidate Y,” Clinton said. “Candidate X agrees with you on everything but you don’t think that person can deliver on anything. Candidate Y disagrees with you on half the issues but you believe that on the other half, the candidate will be able to deliver.”

“This is the kind of question that I predict — and this hsteeleas nothing to do with what’s going on now — but I am just saying if you look at 5, 10, 15 years from now, you may actually see this delivery issue become a serious issue in Democratic debates because it is so hard to figure out how to turn good intentions into real changes in the lives of the people we represent.”

Whether Clinton, who for 20 years has been the star of the Democratic Party, intended the analogy to represent a futuristic look at presidential politics, its relevance to the current candidacies of Republican John McCain and Obama were unmistakable.

More here

Fighting back against Obama's thugs

Like all Leftists, Obama believes that any criticism of him is improper and illegitimate

Here is the ad Barack Obama doesn’t want you to see. Pass it on. I cannot stress enough how outrageous the Obama campaign’s attempt to silence the creators of the Ayers ad is. Mr. Hope and Change is applying Chicago-style mafia tactics to intimidate those who want to alert the nation to Obama’s troubling ties to, and longtime relationship with, the unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist.

Obama’s lawyers and minions are playing hardball with TV stations that have dared to air the ad. They have the gall to champion campaign finance integrity — even as Obama has just admitted hiding payments to his Chicago cronies at ACORN.

The Obama campaign can’t cite anything false or defamatory about the ad because it is accurate and truthful. This intimidation campaign is of a piece with the left-wing MoveOn effort to bully GOP donors. Remember?

I’ve just obtained the response of the group running the ads that Obama doesn’t want you to see:

American Issues Project Responds to Obama Campaign's Efforts to Compel TV Stations, Government to Censor Ad. Obama team fails to convince stations to kill ad in spite of threats, harassment and false claims

Washington, DC - August 26, 2008 - The Barack Obama campaign has resorted to a campaign of intimidation and legal threats to convince television stations and the federal government to force off the air an ad by the American Issues Project detailing the link between Sen. Obama and remorseless domestic terrorist William Ayers.

The Obama campaign has been contacting stations running American Issues Project's ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot. The Obama campaign also sent a letter yesterday to the Department of Justice asking the government to investigate American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors. With no success on either front, the campaign has begun running its own ad in response. Notably, this ad fails to dispute a single fact in the American Issues Project's initial ad.

"The Obama campaign knows it can't argue the facts of the link between Obama and Ayers, so it is instead resorting to a desperate campaign of intimidation and legal threats," said Ed Martin, American Issues Project's president. "The scary question this raises is if Barack Obama demonstrates this little regard for free speech from his opponents during the campaign, what could the American people expect from him as a president?" "The tremendous amount of time, money and effort the campaign is expending to run its own ads on the Ayers controversy and dispatch its hired guns all over the country - during the Democratic convention - speaks to the fear they must have that this issue is resonating with American voters."

American Issues Project sent a letter today to the Department of Justice responding to the Obama campaign's claims. Key points from the letter:

AIP is organized as a qualified nonprofit corporation as that term is defined in the regulations of the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") 11 C.F.R. 114.10. As such, AIP enjoys the protections of the provisions of the Supreme Court's decision more than twenty years ago in FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Inc., 589 F. Supp. 646 (D. Mass. 1984), aff’d, 769 F.2d 13 (1st Cir. 1985), aff’d, 479 U.S. 238 (1986).

AIP complies with each and every one of the provisions outlined by the Supreme Court in the MCFL case, as well as the regulations of the FEC promulgated subsequently…

Counsel for the Obama Campaign is undoubtedly fully knowledgeable of the reporting and compliance responsibilities of qualified nonprofit corporations, such as NARAL-Pro Choice America ("NARAL"), an organization that, ironically, also claims protection as an entity described in Massachusetts Citizens for Life v. FEC…

AIP functions in exactly the same manner as NARAL and any other qualified nonprofit corporation. NARAL has made substantial independent expenditures in opposition to Sen. McCain's presidential candidacy during the 2008 election cycle and continuing through the present time. Yet, no objection to those expenditures has been raised by the Obama campaign.

Surely we have not come to a point where the government and its agencies are used to protect presidential candidates from citizens' speech, essentially destroying the very purpose, meaning and historical essence of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The full text of the letter is available at: The American Issues Project's ad began airing Thursday, August 21, and will continue through the Democratic Convention. An electronic version of the ad and full documentation of all statements made are available at American Issues Project's website:

About American Issues Project

American Issues Project is a 501(c)4 organization representing a coalition of conservative activists committed to raising important issues that deserve deeper examination given their impact on policy and politics. In accordance with federal law, American Issues Project only solicits and accepts contributions from individuals and not from any business corporation. For more information, visit:

Spread the ad far and wide. Will they come after bloggers next? Shut us up? No, they can’t.


The lastest Obamology from Taranto

Something seemed to us just a bit off about Michelle Obama's speech. Here's what we mean:
You know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

Could it really be that these pieties were what first "struck" Michelle about Barack? Not to take anything away from the admirable values Mrs. Obama describes, but does a woman really fall in love with a man because his mother struggles to pay the bills, or because he believes in the value of hard work? You can easily imagine a woman talking about a man she's been dating, enumerating this same list of admirable qualities and then concluding: "But I don't love him," or "But somehow, it just doesn't click." There is an even more abstract quality to Mrs. Obama's professions of love for America:
All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do--that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope. That is why I love this country.

She loves her country because of the thread that runs through the journey where the current meets the tide? Sorry, but this just doesn't ring true.

The most commonplace observation about Mrs. Obama's speech has been that she had to say she loves America, because other things she's said--most notably, "For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm proud of my country"--have left that in doubt. (Indeed, her comments about America are so downbeat that some wag has started a blog called Michelle Obama Suicide Watch.) But then we remembered a comment Mrs. Obama made about a year ago in an interview with Glamour:
"We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and Dad isn't there--because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him. But we cuddle up and we talk about everything from what is a period to the big topic of when we get a dog: what kind?"

Maybe Mrs. Obama just expresses affection in the somewhat unusual idiom of the putdown. America is snore-y and stinky, and I love it! This can easily be misunderstood, and the political professionals know it, so they gave her a speech that expressed straightforward admiration of her husband and her country. It was probably a wise choice, even if it rang slightly false.

After her speech, Mrs. Obama brought her two daughters onstage. The younger one, Sasha, seemed scared at first but quickly warmed up. Mr. Obama, appearing through the magic of television, had a senior moment, first saying he was in Kansas City and then in St. Louis. "What city are you in, Daddy?" Sasha asked (video here). Turns out it was Kansas City. Thus did Sasha Obama steal the show, ending a carefully scripted evening on a spontaneous note.

Putting On Ayers

"Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire's efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads," Politico reports:
Obama's campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the "American Issues Project," the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign--and tens of thousands of supporters--also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks. Obama has also launched his own response ad, directly addressing Simmons' attempt to link him to domestic terror.

You can watch the original ad, on Obama's longtime friendship with here. The Obama campaign also put out its own ad, and Commentary's Jennifer Rubin has the script:
Obama: I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message.

Announcer: With all our problems, why is John McCain talking about the '60s, trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers? McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers' crimes, committed when Obama was just 8 years old. Let's talk about standing up for America today. John McCain wants to spend $10 Billion a month in Iraq, tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, selling out American workers. John McCain, just more of the same.

McCain actually wasn't talking about Ayers; this was an independent ad. But the Obama ad afforded the campaign an opportunity to do just that:
A McCain spokesman fired back: "The fact that Barack Obama chose to launch his political career at the home of an unrepentant terrorist raises more questions about his judgment than any ad ever could. And the fact that he's launching his own convention by defending his long association with a man who says he didn't bomb enough U.S. targets tells us more about Barack Obama than any of tonight's speeches will."

This is just bizarre. Obama is just drawing more attention to his association with Ayers--and this point seems so obvious, it's hard to believe it's just a rookie mistake. If we were conspiracy-minded, we'd suspect some secret Hillary Clinton supporter put the Obama campaign up to this.

A Man, a Plan, a Canal . . .

Yesterday we cited an Associated Press report that Joe Biden got the call inviting him to be Barack Obama's running mate while undergoing a root canal. It turns out that a later AP report corrected the record: It was Biden's wife who was having a root canal. We regret the error, though probably not as much as Mrs. Biden does.


Maybe It Should Have Been McCain-Biden

Some observers are beginning to wonder why Barack Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate considering the praise he has heaped on John McCain over the years. From the Politico.

Within three hours of the announcement that Joe Biden would be Barack Obama's vice presidential running mate, their Republican rival John McCain was up with a striking ad highlighting Biden's praise for McCain.

And there's plenty more where that came from. Republicans have at their disposal a long trail of Biden quotes speaking fondly of - and affiliating himself with - McCain.

The Delaware Democrat and the Arizona Republican have served in the Senate together for more than two decades. And Biden, a prolific talker, has rattled off in recent years a string of testimonials to McCain's character and stances that the GOP can be expected to roll out to undercut Biden's critiques of McCain.

Biden has called McCain a personal hero and proclaimed that he would run on a McCain ticket. Perhaps more substantively, Biden has praised McCain's stances on climate change and troop levels in Iraq and has acknowledged that McCain's approach to foreign policy differs from President Bush's - all assertions that fly in the face of lines of attack that Obama has been pursuing against McCain.

This only makes the Obama campaign's job tougher as they try to paint McCain as a Bush clone and try to explain what Biden meant when he praised his felow Senator.


Barack Obama's 'message being lost' amid convention noise

Even the Democrats don't know what the message is

Somewhere in the midst of all the razzmatazz, security scares and psycho-babble about the Clintons' state of mind, Barack Obama has an important message. The trouble, say some worried Democrats, is it's not getting through. The Democratic Convention in Denver has already been compared with the last one, when more time was devoted to giving a feel-good personal biography of the party's candidate, John Kerry, than attacking the Republicans.

Yesterday the first carefully choreographed steps were taken towards unity with Hillary Clinton, ahead of her big speech to the convention last night, when she appeared with Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives Speaker, and Mr Obama's wife, Michelle, to "celebrate the power of Democratic women". The former First Lady was given a rapturous reception by delegates at the Emily's List event, where she told them that they had work to do in "putting more cracks into that glass ceiling" at the White House so that "one day it will completely shatter".

Her appearance, on the 88th anniversary of women's suffrage in America, was in front of many of her most devoted female followers, whose opposition to Mr Obama has hardened in recent weeks over reports that Mr Obama had snubbed her for the vice-presidency and virtually disregarded the huge vote she achieved in the primaries.

Knowing that her own political future could be damaged if she is seen as a divisive figure within the party, Mrs Clinton told them that Mr Obama and his running mate, Senator Joe Biden, "will champion the causes we care most about" in the White House. She said: "We need all those who knocked on doors and made phone calls for me - and got into arguments from time to time - to work as hard for Barack Obama as you worked for me." She also paid tribute to Mrs Obama in a reference to the controversial 3am phone-call advertisement that she ran in the primary campaign. "If the President is not exactly on our side," she said, "call Michelle Obama and we will have someone answering that phone!"

Mrs Obama, in her own speech, sought to stamp on rumours that she dislikes Mrs Clinton by thanking her for the "open and gracious" advice on becoming a first lady. She said that Mrs Clinton's candidacy had destroyed the stereotypes and perceptions that women could not run for president. "That is over, those days are gone," she said.

Inside the Pepsi Centre, where the convention is being held, the atmosphere remains a mixture of a theme park gift shop and a sales conference. Hawaiian delegates wear flower necklaces, Texans sport cheap cowboy hats, Alaskans are in what look like embroidered Eskimo tunics. The men in suits are too busy flicking business cards at each other to listen to most speeches. Every 20 minutes or so, a live band strikes up and everybody gets up to dance or wave their placards.

The big star on Monday was Senator Edward Kennedy, who arrived on stage eight weeks after undergoing surgery for a brain tumour. Delegates were shown spine-tingling images of the Kennedy brothers before the liberal lion, with patches of hair missing in his famous white thatch, brought the convention to its feet with a vow that he would be in the Senate to see "the torch passed again to a new generation of Americans" at Mr Obama's inauguration.

Mrs Obama spoke with a softer voice than usual and smiled shyly at the end of her sentences, as she reassured sceptical voters that her family shared American middle-class values. She played down her career as a top lawyer and emphasised her role as mother and wife, relating a touching anecdote about Mr Obama driving their new-born baby daughter back from hospital, "inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously in the rear-view mirror".

Despite the show of unity, the first night reviews, especially from Clinton loyalists, were grim. James Carville, Bill Clinton's campaign strategist, did little to conceal his disdain, saying: "If this party has a message, it's done a heck of a job of hiding it." Even Mr Obama's supporters suggested that it was time for him to start "the second wave of this campaign".



How does one properly describe another who would - for purely selfish political reasons and with deliberation - intentionally refuse a thirsty child water or a hungry child food? More specifically, what does one call a lawmaker who would condemn to death the child survivor of a botched abortion by permitting doctors to refuse that child, once born alive, potentially life-saving medical treatment and nutrition? A number of things come to mind. Mr. President isn't one of them.

Based on National Journal's vote ratings - an objectively tallied assessment of congressional voting records - Barack Obama has properly earned the dubious distinction as the single most liberal Senator in Congress during his brief, albeit overstayed, tenure. But a cursory review of his words, deeds and associations reveals that this ivory-towered Harvard boy is no run-of-the-mill lefty. He's an extremist among extremists.

Put aside for a moment some of the highly suspect (even criminal) characters within Obama's circle of friends, such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and Tony Resko. Forget the many anti-American sentiments to which prospective first lady Michelle Obama has given voice. And ignore, for now, the socialist, peacenik, positions Obama holds on a host of fiscal, social and national security-related issues. Instead, for the sake of brevity, take a look at Obama's demonstrably radical stance on just one issue: abortion.

Last year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in Gonzales v. Carhart the federal ban on the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. Congress overwhelmingly passed the ban in 2003. Even some of the most liberal members of Congress experienced unexplained fits of common sense, voting for the ban in the face of angry demands from mouth-foaming feminists.

Although the American Medical Association has determined that partial-birth abortion is never necessary under any circumstances, Obama threw a hissy, nonetheless, after the opinion came down. While deriding the Court for its ruling, he whined, "For the first time in Gonzales versus Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on abortions with criminal penalties for doctors."

So what, exactly, did the ban ban? What "hard-won right" - as he later called partial-birth abortion - was Obama so steadfast to preserve?

During a partial-birth abortion, the abortionist pulls a fully developed, fully "viable" child - often kicking and thrashing - feet first from her mother's womb, leaving only the top of her head in the birth canal. He then stabs her through the skull with scissors or some other sharp object, piercing her brain until her kicking and moving about suddenly and violently jerk to a halt. Her brains are then sucked out - collapsing her skull - and her now limp and lifeless body is tossed aside like so much garbage.

Again, medical science has determined that this horrific practice, which is nothing short of infanticide, is never necessary. But Barack Hussein Obama - the man who would be President - doesn't see it that way. He called the partial-birth abortion ban, "a concerted effort to roll back the hard-won rights of American women."

Although Obama's love affair with partial-birth abortion has served to chip away at his finely polished veneer, his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) has revealed to the world that backward extremism permeates his marrow. BAIPA very simply requires that when a baby survives an attempted abortion - when she is "born alive" - further attempts to kill her must immediately cease, and steps must be taken to ensure her health and well-being. Makes sense, right?

Not to Barack Obama. While serving in the Illinois state senate, he led the fight against a state version of Born Alive that was substantively identical to the federal BAIPA. In 2002, BAIPA passed the U.S. Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support; yet, Obama vehemently opposed its Illinois twin. This places him on the furthest fringe of pro-abortion extremes. The man's devotion to the pro-abortion industry is so fixed that he would rather allow the murder of newborn babies than give an inch to the sanctity of human life.

When called on the carpet in 2004 for his complicity in facilitating infanticide, Obama began an extensive cover-up, accusing those who exposed the scandal of lying. But in recent days, based on documentary evidence unearthed by the National Right to Life Committee, the Obama campaign has been forced to admit that it was Obama, in fact, who had been lying all along. He not only led the charge to allow the continued practice of infanticide in Illinois, he carried the flag.

During his recent "not-ready-for-primetime" appearance at Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback forum, Obama was asked at what point "a baby gets human rights." His answer was shocking: "Well, uh, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or, uh, a scientific perspective, uh, answering that question with specificity, uh, you know, is, is, uh, above my pay grade," said Obama.

What?! Above my pay grade? And this man wants to be the leader of the free world? Even the most ardent pro-abortion wactivist would have likely said that a baby gets human rights as soon as it's born, right? But Obama couldn't say that. His opposition to Born Alive proves he doesn't believe it. And if he had said it, he'd have been called on it. Well, I'm calling him on it anyway.

So, we now add a new word with a dual definition to our modern political lexicon: Obamacide. It means, 1) Killing the newborn survivor of a botched abortion through a deliberate act of omission; and, 2) That which a nation commits upon itself by electing one who would allow such a thing.


Majority of voters dislike Obama's version of 'family' values

Poll: Americans back man-woman marriage, also believe life commences at conception

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama is solidly out of step with the majority of likely voters who define marriage as only one man and one woman and believe that life begins at conception, according to a new WND/Zogby poll. Obama has lobbied intensely for "equal rights" for all Americans, including same-sex couples, to be married and has promised virtually unlimited abortion on demand as one of his first priorities in the Oval Office.

Those positions have sent a conflicting message to the Christians and evangelicals he's tried to lure into his camp with outreaches that have included the independent "Matthew 25 Network" project. A Pew Research poll just a week ago revealed "no significant gains" for Obama among the important category of white evangelical voters.

The newest WND/Zogby poll results assessing the 2008 election showed 58.3 percent would support "a ballot measure in your state" limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Another 36.2 percent would oppose the plan. The survey questioned 1,099 likely voters from Aug. 22-24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

Currently Massachusetts and California both allow same-sex "marriage" for both residents and non-residents, meaning duos can travel to those states, get "married," then return to their homes with their marriage license. California's plan, however, is facing a vote of the people in November, since more than 1.1 million voters signed petitions demanding it be put on the ballot.

The new poll also found 59 percent believe human life begins at conception, 16.8 percent think it begins when the baby can survive outside the womb with medical assistance, and 17.2 said life begins at birth.

In contrast, Obama, as an Illinois state senator, opposed a measure to protect babies who survive abortion procedures, because, among other reasons, it would be too burdensome on abortionists.

Joshua DuBois, who has worked on Obama's "faith outreach," says the campaign is dedicated to reaching "people of faith broadly and trying to bridge religious divides." His goal has been to pry loose the GOP's hold on white churchgoers.

While the campaign has been ""reaching out" to those voters, Obama's open disagreement with evangelical leaders on homosexual marriage and abortion apparently hasn't softened. A recent report card from the Campaign for Children and Families described Obama's "unrepudiated positions" of support for homosexual "marriage," teaching homosexuality to school children and adoption by homosexuals.

Obama in June told a homosexual activist group he opposes the "divisive and discriminatory efforts" to install in the California constitution a definition of marriage limiting it to one man and one woman, the report card says.

His wife, Michelle, told the Democratic National Commmittee's "Gay" and Lesbian Leadership Council, "Barack has made crystal clear his commitment to ensuring full equality for LGBT couples . that's why he opposes all divisive and discriminatory constitutuional amendments, whether it's a proposed amendment to the California and Florida constitutions or the U.S. Constitution."

But the WND/Zogby poll showed support for one-man-one-woman marriage among all regions of the country, all education levels and all age and economic groups. Essentially the support for same-sex "marriages" was confined to people who never attend church and subscribe to a more progressive or liberal mindset.

Likewise with abortion, respondents said they would oppose 55.3-to-27.7 percent a president who does not know when life begins. The question referenced Obama's recent response at a campaign appearance with GOP candidate Sen. John McCain at pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. Obama told Warren determining when life begins was "above my pay grade."

More here