Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Limbaugh pulls an Imus on Elizabeth Edwards
Three rules for talk radio: never attack disabled children, African-American women college students, or Elizabeth Edwards.

Well, Limbaugh just broke rule #3:



In case you missed that, what El Rushbo said was ... John Edwards stepped out on Elizabeth Edwards "because he found someone ... who would do something with her MOUTH ... besides talk."

Yep. That's what he said. Here's the full quote, courtesy of Media Matters (note that Limbaugh appears to be aware of the mine field he's about to step into, but he jumps in anyway...)
LIMBAUGH: Well, it's -- I mean, at some point, at some point, you gotta exhibit maturity and restraint. You know, and I do that constantly. But -- well, I don't -- look, let me see if I can run you through this and get you to think what I'm thinking without my actually saying it. That might be a pretty big talent if I could do that -- make you think what I'm going to say without my having to say it, therefore if anybody gets in trouble for saying it, you say it.

We know -- we've been told that Elizabeth Edwards is smarter than John Edwards. That's part of the puff pieces on them that we've seen. Ergo, if Elizabeth Edwards is smarter than John Edwards, is it likely that she thinks she knows better than he does what his speeches ought to contain and what kind of things he ought to be doing strategy-wise in the campaign? If she is smarter than he is, could it have been her decision to keep going with the campaign? In other words, could it be that she doesn't shut up? Now, that's as far as I'm going to go.

Well, you're -- Snerdley says he's missing something. If you're missing it, you're going to have to provide it. What are you missing? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

I can't close the loop on it. I can't close the loop on it. I'm on -- you know, I'm in a little quicksand already today talking about how the chicks are giving us boring pictures of the female athletes from the Olympics. Because I know -- you -- the diversity crowd's going to be upset. They're going to -- "Ooh, do you mean the Olympics are just so you guys can ogle wom--" Yes, because we do not care to watch 'em compete. But back to Elizabeth and the Breck Girl.

I'm sorry, my friends, I just -- I can't. It just seems to me that Edwards might be attracted to a woman whose mouth did something other than talk.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: OK, we're back. Ladies and gentleman, my theory that I just explained to you about why -- you know, what could have John Edwards' motivations been to have the affair with Rielle Hunter, given his wife is smarter than he is and probably nagging him a lot about doing this, and he found somebody that did something with her mouth other than talk.

Well I guess he oughta know...

So, will there be consequences? Well let's see... What's the head count of advertisers and stations who have dropped Savage's show since he went after autistic kids? While were at it, how are Don Imus' ratings over on satellite radio? In other words: no. People like Limbaugh and Savage don't get fired, because the people they work for LIKE what they're doing. Most talk radio PDs are "conservatives," whose views of what is too outrageous for broadcast is colored, to say the least, by their political views. Limbaugh just signed a $400 million contract. He won't even be chastised harshly.

In fact, because his listener demo only includes a handful of women who call in on occasion to worship him ... with their mouths ... I'm not even sure he'll lose many advertisers.

Happy Wednesday!


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posted by JReid @ 10:30 PM  
Friday, August 08, 2008
Update: Edwards releases statement
Per Politico (an excerpt):
In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough. ...

... It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help. ...
Well at least he didn't say "I am not gay..."

Meanwhile the Dallas Morning News' religion blog has an interesting flashback.
On June 4, 2007, CNN hosted a candidates' forum where religious questions were the focus. Edwards was asked about sin. Transcript at the jump.
What is the biggest sin you've ever committed? Are you willing -- are you willing to say? You can take a pass, sir, as you know.

EDWARDS: Just between you and me?

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Just between you and me and the 1,300 people in the crowd.

EDWARDS: I'd have a very hard time telling you one thing, one specific sin.

(APPLAUSE)

If I've had a day -- I turn 54 years old this Sunday -- and if I've had a day in my 54 years where I haven't sinned multiple times, I would be amazed. I believe I have. I sin every single day. We are all sinners. We all fall short, which is why we have to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. I can't -- to try to identify one particular sin that was worse or more extreme than the others, the list is too long.

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posted by JReid @ 6:32 PM  
Top 5 people who are glad John Edwards is the top story today
John Edwards' sex life is one of the least interesting stories I can think of off the top of my head. But that doesn't mean that some people out there in the world aren't damned happy he has admitted to cheating on Elizabeth with a blonde filmmaker type lady who has a baby girl that might be his. Let's count them down, in no particular order...

1. John McCain -

McCain dodges a media bullet today (something he's kind of used to at this point) since now that Edwards is the story, no one cares that he has had to return $50,000 in ill-gotten campaign contributions from a Jordanian national who's the business partner of a shady McCain bundler in Florida named Harry Sargeant.

The Post first reported on Sargeant's efforts on behalf of McCain and other political candidates earlier this week. McCain's campaign has credited Sargeant for collecting dozens of $2,300 and $4,600 checks, many of them from ordinary families in California. The manager of several Taco Bell restaurants, an auto mechanic, and the one-time owners of a liquor store all wrote big checks, even though many were not registered to vote.

Sargeant told The New York Times this morning that he at times left the task of collecting the checks to a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba'a. The problem with that is that Abu Naba'a is not an American citizen. According to court records, Abu Naba'a is a dual citizen of Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

The law on this question appears to be unclear, said Fred Wertheimer, a campaign finance expert who runs the advocacy group, Democracy 21.

"There's probably very little law on this," Wertheimer said. "If it is not illegal for a foreign national to bundle checks, it ought to be, since it's illegal for a foreign national to make contributions in the first place."

2. Barack Obama -

Barack is finally taking some time off this week, taking advantage of the Olympics to head to Hawaii on vacation. Maybe now that Edwards is the story (and he's not available to comment on it today,) he can take some time to reduce his media profile and come out fresh before the campaign. Also, the Edwards problem helps to highlight his happy, stable marriage to Michelle -- and if the media cares to make the connection, the extent to which the other adulterous elephant in the room -- John McCain -- can relate to Senator Edwards, since McCain's current marriage is the product of cheating on his wife, and then dumping her for a Paris Hilton-style heiress with issues. (Flashback article of the day: High Infidelity)

3. China -

The Communist government in Beijing has detained White House reporters and staff, deported foreign protesters, and generally clamped down on its own population (but not the smog ... not much they can do about the smog...) during an Olympics that never should have been awarded to them, given their human rights record. The idiots who made that award are probably also breathing a sigh of relief today that at least until the Edwards fever breaks, no one will care what basic human rights they're violating. Instead, the foreigners will focus on bright, shiny objects like their cool architecture and snazzy technological wonders ... rather than on their police state:

The Beijing Olympics are themselves the perfect expression of this hybrid system. Through extraordinary feats of authoritarian governing, the Chinese state has built stunning new stadiums, highways and railways -- all in record time. It has razed whole neighborhoods, lined the streets with trees and flowers and, thanks to an "anti-spitting" campaign, cleaned the sidewalks of saliva. The Communist Party of China even tried to turn the muddy skies blue by ordering heavy industry to cease production for a month -- a sort of government-mandated general strike.

As for those Chinese citizens who might go off-message during the games -- Tibetan activists, human right campaigners, malcontent bloggers -- hundreds have been thrown in jail in recent months. Anyone still harboring protest plans will no doubt be caught on one of Beijing's 300,000 surveillance cameras and promptly nabbed by a security officer; there are reportedly 100,000 of them on Olympics duty.

The goal of all this central planning and spying is not to celebrate the glories of Communism, regardless of what China's governing party calls itself. It is to create the ultimate consumer cocoon for Visa cards, Adidas sneakers, China Mobile cell phones, McDonald's happy meals, Tsingtao beer, and UPS delivery -- to name just a few of the official Olympic sponsors. But the hottest new market of all is the surveillance itself. Unlike the police states of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, China has built a Police State 2.0, an entirely for-profit affair that is the latest frontier for the global Disaster Capitalism Complex.

4. Russia -

Hey, have you heard the one about Russia invading former Soviet captive state Georgia? Probably not, thanks to John Edwards' libido. Just in case, here's the story:
On the day the Olympic Games begin to promote unity and healthy competition between nations, Russia and the breakaway state of Georgia have made more brutal and disastrous headlines. It appears that Russia has invaded Georgia after a series of violent exchanges. Before Russia invaded Georgia, Georgia sent troops to the region of South Ossetia, a region that has been demanding independence from Georgia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After Georgia's attack on South Ossetia, Russia sent troops to strike back at Georgia, putting the two on the brink of war.

Russia's invasion of Georgia is the latest climax of a conflict going back to the end of the Soviet Union. Georgia won it's independence as a result, but South Ossetia wanted it's independence from Georgia. South Ossetia has officially been labeled as a Georgia province, but they have sought to break away from the state.

Russia and Georgia have long conflicted over not only South Ossetia, but over Georgia's desire to be part of NATO. Russia has long opposed these efforts, and has also given support to South Ossetia's separatist forces that are fighting Georgia.
And last, but not least:

5. Hillary Clinton -

I'll bet it feels good to send her thoughts and prayers to some other humiliated wife for a change. And now she can finally klatch with someone other than Chelsea.

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posted by JReid @ 4:36 PM  
Enquirer 1, Edwards 0
John Edwards caught dead to rights, but is this is love child? National Enquirer photo

John Edwards comes clean on the Rielle scandal, though he says, to quote Michael Jackson, "the kid is not my ... daughter..." ABC News got the scoop (after the National Enquirer did the leg work):
John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extramarital affair with a novice filmmaker, the former Senator admitted to

In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.

Edwards said he knew he was not the father based on timing of the baby's birth on February 27, 2008. He said his affair ended too soon for him to have been the father.

A former campaign aide, Andrew Young, has said he was the father of the child.

No, it's not that Andrew Young ...

According to the Enquirer, young Mr. Young, who is married himself, had essentially taken the fall for being the father of Rielle's daughter, knowing it was really Edwards. I haven't been following the story too closely because ... well ... it was from the National Enquirer. Now that Edwards has admitted it, he's in for a media storm of Olympic proportions ... especially since only NBC has to pretend to be interested in the actual Olympics...

And this one includes high drama crap about Enquirer photogs chasing Edwards in and out of a Beverly Hills hotel, Exclusive! pics of Edwards holding the baby, hush money paid to Rielle and soon to come: an outpouring of outrage from Edwards staffers, blowhards on Capitol Hill, Republican campaign operatives etc., and sympathy for Elizabeth Edwards, who has inoperable cancer. It's just too juicy for the MSM to pass up, don't you know. (I'm thinking Fox News should impanel David Vitter and Larry Craig to discuss the ethcandal...)
Edwards supposedly met Hunter at a bar and later hired her to produce campaign videos for him, at a hefty $114,000 fee. He says he told his wife about the affair in 2006, according to ABC News, and in truly cheesy fashion, told Nightline he specifically made sure Elizabeth's cancer was in remission before he got his groove on. Seriously. Of course since then Elizabeth came out of remission, and her cancer is now incurable...

Even worse for the former Senator, from the MSM point of view:

When the National Enquirer first reported the alleged Edwards-Hunter affair last October 11, Edwards, his campaign staff and Hunter vociferously denounced the report.

"The story is false, it's completely untrue, it's ridiculous," Edwards told reporters then.

He repeated his denials just two weeks ago.

Edwards today admitted the National Enquirer was correct when it reported he had visited Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton last month.

The former Senator said his wife had not known about the meeting.

And as you know, the media ... does NOT ... like to be lied to. I'm guessing what finally cornered Edwards was a lawsuit that followed the attempted reporter ambush in Beverly Hills:

NATIONAL ENQUIRER reporters Alan Butterfield and Alexander Hitchen filed a criminal complaint with the Beverly Hills Police Department on Thursday, July 24, charging that hotel security acted unlawfully while the reporters were trying to question the former senator.

Edwards now could be contacted by police to give an eyewitness account of what occurred.

Hotel security tried to stop the reporters from questioning Edwards in the basement of the hotel at approximately 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, July 22 after Edwards came off an elevator and appeared to be attempting to leave the hotel unseen.

His secret mistress Rielle Hunter and her baby were upstairs, and Edwards had just spent hours with them in a secret rendezvous.

As Butterfield and Hitchen tried to question Edwards, he ran down a hallway and ducked into a men's public bathroom. The reporters attempted to follow him in and Edwards pushed the door shut from inside.

I should think that Edwards couldn't have gotten far from that one without talking to authorities, and without somebody leaking to the "real" media.


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posted by JReid @ 3:53 PM  
Monday, June 09, 2008
Obama's secret weapon?
Word on the street (okay, word from Obama) is that Barack will be consulting with none other than Elizabeth Edwards on the issue of healthcare. From ABC News:

... At the first event on his "Change That Works for You" tour, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama was joined by John and Elizabeth Edwards, making known for the first time that he'll enlist Elizabeth Edwards' help in health care policy.

Thirty minutes into his speech, Obama interrupted his prepared remarks and pointed to the wife of his former Democratic rival to declare his intention of her role.

"I'm going to be partnering up with Elizabeth Edwards - we're going to be figuring all this out," Obama said when addressing his proposed reform to the health care system.

And as TPM's Election Central points out, Edwards famously said during the campaign that Obama's health plan wasn't her favorite. She's hugely popular with women, and would make a fantastic surrogate. Particularly since she's no Obamaniac: during the early stages of the campaign when her husband John was still in, Liz famously said that "we can't make John Black. We can't make him a woman," (ahem...) and she never did tell us who she supported, even after her husband endorsed Barack. (Though she did tell us that she liked Hillary's health plan better...) Clearly, Elizabeth can relate to skeptical Hillarettes everywhere.

On a serious note, both the Edwards' are terrific surrogates for Barack. They are an attractive family with a "real woman" (rather than plastic glam --- Cindy...) wife who has real-life health problems, and John has that southern drawl. These two could be Obama's MVPs on the campaign trail.

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posted by JReid @ 5:45 PM  
Friday, June 06, 2008
John Edwards: no Abercrombie and Fitch ticket
Pretty always wins, right? Well, maybe not. John Edwards is saying he doesn't want to be Barack Obama's vp. (He'd rather be Barack Obama's attorney general, anyway...)

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posted by JReid @ 2:35 PM  
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Pretty always wins?
Here's the long-awaited two-shot. Call it the "reverse Miami Vice" ticket, the "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" ticket (h/t to Chris Matthews) or the Abercrombie & Fitch ticket, but some campaign watchers, including my husband Jason, are calling it the future Democratic ticket. I still rank Edwards fourth, behind Chuck Hagel, Jim Webb and Tedd Strickland, but here's the MSNBC write-up on Edwards' equally long-awaited endorsement of Barack Obama. (P.S.: NARAL endorsed Barack today, too.)

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posted by JReid @ 7:53 PM  
Obama veepstakes, round 2
My revised list of Obama veep picks, in order of favorityness:
  1. Chuck Hagel - still the one, as far as I'm concerned. He brings instant bipartisanship, and cross-over appeal. Could he also bring Nebraska? It depends on how pro- or anti-war that state is.
  2. Jim Webb - I still put him at number two, because he has the national security street cred, military macho chips, and potential to deliver his state (VA) that Obama could really use.
  3. Ted Strickland - As I said before: Ohio, Ohio, Ohio.
  4. John Edwards - If the visuals on his Obama endorsement are compelling enough, there could be a drumbeat to draft the former veep candidate once again. He couldn't deliver his home state (South Carolina) or the state he represented in Congress (North Carolina), for John Kerry in 2004, but this isn't 2004, and Barack Obama isn't John Kerry. His big win in NC, and the incredible turnout, particularly among African-Americans, is making that state look a lot more "swing," and beyond that state, Edwards could give Barack overall strength with white men. No small thing: his endorsement today puts him back on the list, big time.
  5. Bob Casey - Better than Ed Rendell in some ways, because he's younger, and he's actually been an Obama pal. His family is legendary in PA, so he could help keep the state in the D column, if the Obama team is worried about it.

    Honorable mention:

  6. Roy Romer - something of a longshot, but Colorado's former three-term governor has a lot to bring to the table. He's a Clinton loyalist, who recently declared her candidacy dead, nonetheless. He was born in Kansas, like Barack's mom, and he ran the school system in L.A., which will make him familiar to Cali fundraisers. If he could put Colorado in the Dem camp, he's of great value.  
Off the list: Janet Napolitano. No sense gambling on trying to grab Arizona.

Possible also-ran: Claire McCaskill. She has been loyal to Barack, and is the potential female running mate candidate with the most oomph. That said, I think Barack needs a man. Preferably a melanin-challenged one, if you know what I mean.

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posted by JReid @ 6:33 PM  
Took you long enough
Does it still matter that at long last, John Edwards is endorsing Barack Obama? Not as much as it would have before North Carolina (or hell, West Virginia, where Edwards got 7 percent of the vote, and where the possibility of campaigning together around the state might have enticed Barack to spend some time and money...) but it doesn't not matter either. In the wake of Obama's rejection by hard-working white Americans (the new, colorful term for racist Appalachian rusticators...) having a good ole' boy in his corner can't hurt.

The endorsement matters in three other ways as well.

- First, it puts the slap to Hillary's claim that her big win in West Virginia is a game changer that will make superdelegates sit up and take notice. They've taken notice, and one of the biggest remaining players has chosen her opponent. And it throws ice cold water all over her "big win."

- It also sends a strong signal to Edwards' natural demographics: union workers, lower middle class whites and southerners, that despite the results in West Virginia, Obama is a.o.k. That could be helpful in Kentucky, and if Obama's numbers improve there, it will put Edwards in a good position with the candidate (just in case he's interested in having a working relationship.)

- Third, Edwards' timing is actually pretty good (assuming it's his timing, and not joint timing with the campaign, which could very well be the case.) He jumps smack dab into the news cycle at the same time most news organizations are busy yanking Hillary's press details, downshifting from the horse race coverage and downplaying the WV effect on this now largely concluded campaign. That means Edwards will get ink for days. Also good for him, good for Obama.

And you've got to figure he took a beating from Elizabeth to get this one to happen, because you KNOW she's a Hillary girl. So you go, John, with your cute self. Way to keep the dream of that reverse Miami Vice ticket alive! Watch for those two-shots. They'll be all over the web tomorrow.

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posted by JReid @ 5:47 PM  
Friday, May 09, 2008
Edwards' non-decision decision
John Edwards on Morning Joe this morning got people talking about whether he has, de facto, endorsed Barack Obama...



The jury's out for me, but I do think he's more likely an Obama guy than not. His wife is probably with Hillary, so he continues to hedge his bets.

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posted by JReid @ 2:07 PM  
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
How John Edwards blew his chance at destiny
Back in January, when he dropped out of the presidential race after failing to win or place in any of the first four contests, John Edwards had a great deal of political capital to spend. He could have thrown his weight behind either of the two front-runners at any time; before "Tsunami Tuesday," before "secondarily Super Tuesday," February 19th, before the big Texas, Ohio or Pennsylvania primaries ... any of those times would have given Edwards major ink. But then, of course, the ink would have run dry, his time in the spotlight would have faded, and he'd be "John Edwards Who?" before you know it.

By holding out until later in the game, Edwards preserved his mystique, and his viability as a possible running mate for the eventual winner.

Not anymore. John Edwards' chance to be a player in the presidential race of 2008 is draining out little by little, as North Carolina voters go to the polls today. You can almost hear the sound of destiny riding off into the sunset.

See, had Edwards, who was born in South Carolina but represented North Carolina in the Senate for one term, come out and endorsed either Barack or Hillary before this week, he would have provided valuable atmospherics to Hillary as a winner, or Barack as a guy white guys with a drawl can hang with, which would have been helpful in Indiana, too. Edwards still has a national constituency, particularly among left wing Democrats, and had he endorsed, he might at least have made Barack's vice presidential short list, or the short list for "poverty czar" in a HRC administration. Not that he would have ultimately made the cut, but making the list would have stretched his 15 minutes a few minutes more.

Instead, Edwards is just an observer of the NC and Indiana primaries, like everybody else.

Perhaps he's holding out to try to be a player at the convention. But with just 19 delegates (which, who knows, could be decisive at this point I guess) and the fact that he failed to carry either of his home states in 2004 as John Kerry's running mate, and the fact that in reality, his political power in North Carolina is about bupkis, about the only real card Edwards and his wife Elizabeth had to play was the endorsement card. Even if they had split their endorsement -- John for Barack, Elizabeth for Hillary -- they would have preserved their news value going into the June cycle. And even with his liabilities (short time in the Senate, rich lawyer with puffy hair persona,) Edwards was a decent choice, at least for the short list, particularly since he has had the experience running as wing man in a national campaign (I used to call Barack-Edwards "the Miami Vice ticket," only with Crockett and Tubbs reversed.)

But now, all that's left are Edwards' faults, and his failure to play his strongest hand when it really counted. And sorry, guys, the People Magazine thing ain't gonna keep you interesting.

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posted by JReid @ 7:52 AM  
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Edwards gives up the ghost
John Edwards is dropping out of the race. Barack Obama has got to be a happy man today. You've got to assume that the vast majority of Edwards' supporters will go his way, even without an explicit endorsement. (On the other hand, Camp Hillary is probably eye-balling Edwards' older, white southern supporters...)

Edwards, whom I admit to calling a "phony" from time to time (although he really does have great hair, and is very handsome in person...) will end his run in appropriate fashion for the way he ran:
The former senator will end his bid during a speech on poverty in New Orleans, where he began his White House campaign in December 2006.

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posted by JReid @ 10:16 AM  
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
35 minutes
That's how long the MSNBC debate hosts, Tim Russert and Brian Williams, went without asking a single substantive question on policy of any of the three Democratic front runners. Instead, we spent a full half hour on the various and sundry ways the candidates -- by virtue of their opponents' race, gender or likability -- have hurt each other's feelings.

Long after both Obama and Clinton had put to rest the racial dust-up, and declared their candidacies to be moving forward, and after poor John Edwards was forced to suffer the indignity of having to answer a ridiculous question that began with, "what's a white man to do..." Russert and Company were still asking pablum questions about why the candidates and their staffs talk so gosh-darn mean about one another.

I'd like to propose a thought experiment: let's hook up electrodes to Tim Russert's body and deliver a significant electric shock to him each time he uses the phrase "do you regret saying..."

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posted by JReid @ 9:47 PM  
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Life's a bitch ... and then you're John McCain
First, his suspiciously Barbara Bush-like mother dissed the Mormon folk (a diss to which the Mitt Romney campaign had the world's dumbest response) ... and now, John McCain plays it less than classy when a supporter goes all trailer park on him. The Carpetbagger Report reports it this way:


Obviously, presidential candidates aren’t responsible for comments made by their supporters. Candidates are, however, responsible for showing a little class. It’s apparently something that John McCain has forgotten.

At a campaign event in South Carolina, a McCain backer stood up to ask the senator, “How do we beat the bitch?”

In response, McCain said, “We have our differences with our Democratic rivals, but I believe in treating people with respect. It’s why I don’t refer to women as ‘bitches,’ even when I disagree with them. I’m sure all of us believe we can debate the serious issues of the day without name-calling and degrading language.”

No, no, I’m just kidding. He actually responded, “That’s an excellent question.”

Stay classy, John.

Meanwhile, looks like the other John that isn't going to be president has gotten himself into the middle of a little push polling scandalette in Iowa (where voters like nice, not "not nice.") The calls that have been received by an unknown number of voters sound like traditional polls, and then ask why Hillary Clinton is "such a weak candidate" followed by several choices. The poll then asks why John Edwards is such a weak candidate, and then gives a number of choices including, incredibly, "should be home with his sick wife." Ouch.

On "Morning Joe" this morning, Scarborough said that an MSNBC campaign embed is saying that the firm that has been linked to the push poll is owned by a guy also known as Edwards' pollster. Not a good look, John.

The Edwards camp is claiming that no, no, it's the Obama camp that's push polling against them in that now Iowa-notorious push poll. From the Edwards blog:
Guess what folks, I just got pushed polled by the Obama campaign. The caller asked for either me or my husband by name. First tip off. The poller said they were with Central Research. Asked the requiste who are you supporting? Who is your second choice?

Then why do you think Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate and gives 3 choices. A) Is a weak general election candidate. B)Is too dependent on lobbyist money. C) Won't bring change.

Then why do do think John Edwards is a weak candidate with 2 choices A) a weak general election candidate because his positions are too liberal B) He should be home with his wife who has cancer.

This is the lowest form of paid campaigning. there is only 1 candidate that hopes to benefit from this call. Obama.

I expect this from the Republicans in the general but for a so-called Democrat to do this the primary is unforgiveable.

Obama is showing his real character. He cannot be trusted and it will be a cold day in Hell before I ever caucus for him. He isn't fit to carry John Edwards shoes let alone be President.
Hm. He sounds almost as nasty as ... well ... John Edwards. Of course, a bit further down, "Doridc" posts an "update" admitting that he or she cannot prove that the Obama camp is responsible for the call.

Meanwhile ... on the other side of the two Americas ... the Obama bloggers are doing their own detective work, posting (without linking to) this post by Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic Monthly blog:
... First, don't be so quick to blame (or credit) Barack Obama's campaign.

Campaign often test negative messages against themselves -- they want to poll their negatives.

Come to think of it, the "negatives" cited by the telephone poll-taker are the Edwards campaign version of HRC's negatives, not the Obama campaign's version of negatives. (An Edwards campaign spokesman chastizes me for the speculation and absolutely denies that the campaign has anything to do with the calls). Or maybe Hillary Clinton might want to test the effectiveness of John Edwards's messaging. Both Clinton's campaign spokesman, Phil Singer, and Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, said their respective campaigns had nothing to do with the calls either.

"Central Research" is the name of the phone farm.

No disbursements have been paid to a firm of that name this cycle or last cycle, so "Central Research" -- a real company based in Arkansas -- is in itself, sort of a front for a front for the guilty campaign.

Here's how it works:

A campaign pays a consulting firm X amount of dollars. It's required to divulge the payment. The consulting firm, in turn, pays Central Research 1/X dollars. Since the consulting firm is a private business, it doesn't have to disclose much about its contracts.

BTW: This might not technically push-polling. Push-polls aren't polls -- they're widely distributed pseudo-polls that are only used to spread negative messages. If these calls turn out to be widely distribured --if, say, 50,000 caucus goers received them -- then, perhaps, they're push-polls. But if only 500 received them, then you're probably looking at a message-testing poll. ...
So who done it, Camp Obama or Camp Clinton? The most interesting analysis so far comes from Taylor Marsh, who traces the origins of the suspect firms to none other than ... Rudy Giuliani. Check it out here.

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posted by JReid @ 8:43 AM  
Monday, October 01, 2007
Dire predictions
John Edwards to Black America: You're all gonna die! (or go to prison...) Really? Nop, John, not really.

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posted by JReid @ 8:36 AM  
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
The Democratic grudge match
The Democratic debate tonight on MSNBC, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, is a wrap. It was by far the most contentious, combative debate so far, and the leading candidates ripped into each other in a way that was almost uncomfortable to watch. Barack took incoming fire from Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden on his comments about invading Pakistan. Hillary took flak from Edwards about being on the cover of Forbes Magazine as the candidate that corporate America is betting on, but she gave it right back, declaring herself the candidate who can win, and who has a history of taking on the wingers. In a nutshell, here's my quick assessment, in order of how well I think they did:

Hillary Clinton - I think she won it again, even though she lost the battle for the crowd with Barack, who had home field advantage. Hillary came off as strong, and as the one on the receiving end, rather than the battering end, of Dem on Dem attacks. Hil needs to watch her upper register when she gets loud to shout over the crowd, but overall, this tiny lady again distinguished herself as the most succinct, the most savvy, the most competent, and the most prepared to be president on the day she enters office.

Joe Biden - Another strong performance. This guy has knowledge to spare, particularly on matters of foreign policy. He did well tonight, even infusing some humor into the debate, i.e., his one word answer to the question of whether he would end no-bid contracts ("Yes.") ... and when he showed a softer side by sympathizing with a woman who lost her husband in the Sago mine, by referring to his own loss of a spouse. This guy would make a hell of a secretary of state.

Barack Obama - I thought he came off as strident, almost to the point of nasty tonight, and far too prone to Democratic fratricide in his quest to topple Hillary Clinton. His constant slaps at Hillary, Dodd and other "Washington insiders" who voted for the war is what he has to do (though they might remind him that since taking office, he has repeatedly voted for the funding of the war,) and he had the hometown crowd in the palm of his hand. But at the end of the day, Chris Dodd was right when he said that Barack was in the wrong for telegraphing his Pakistan policy to the world. Hillary is right on substance, but Barack won the crowd. At the end of the day, when the glow wears off, Hillary will be seen as the more presidential on foreign policy.

Chris Dodd - He's a bit dull, but was good on substance tonight. He still has an image problem, and no shot at being president, but he did well. One caveat: he was one of the worst at not directly answering the questions.

Bill Richardson - Richardson is as dull as dishwater, and he failed to distinguish himself in any way tonight. This guy's timer should have long since run out, but he's still in play, frankly, because Democrats still believe they may have to play the Latino card to win out West.

John Edwards - Edwards probably had the worst performance of the night. He is coming off as increasingly desperate in these contests, flailing out at Hillary's corporate ties (despite being a rich trial lawyer himself), trying to sting his opponents on the war, as if he never voted for it, and pushing his one liner about not taking lobbyist money even when the question was about healthcare. Not a good show, John.

Dennis Kucinich - This guy is a Socialist, pure and simple. He wants to put us all on Medicare, which is insane, he wants to turn the White House into the "workers White House," which sounds suspiciously like "Socialist paradise," and he claims he'd cancel NAFTA and the WTO agreement immediately upon entering office. He sure is animated, though, and I'd have rated him higher than Edwards had he not sounded so insane.

At the end of the day, Barack will probably win the Internet polls, but Hillary will be ahead by another 2 points by week's end.

On the blog front:

MyDD has the open thread going.

The Kos kids prove how far out in left field they are with their online results poll. Obama, Edwards and Kucinich are all beating Hillary so far.

ThinkProgress alum Payson Schwin also liveblogged the debate.

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posted by JReid @ 8:41 PM  
Monday, May 28, 2007
Memorial Day questions
Is it fitting to critize the war in Iraq, or President Bush, on Memorial Day? Or is this a time to, in a non-partisan way, simply honor the fallen and respect the mission they have been sent on by our political leaders?

Columnist Paul A. Morin says today should be a day to honor the fallen without critiquing their mission or their commander in chief:

The families of those killed in war should not be led to believe that their loved ones died for a less-than-worthy cause. They died because they took an oath to defend this nation and its Constitution.

The sacrifice is the same whether it’s for a “popular war” or an unpopular one. Memorial Day should be an occasion to bring Americans together to honor these heroes.
Morin's point was to criticize presidential candidate John Edwards, who has advocated using this day to speak out against the war.

Well, Mr. Morin, allow me to say that that's patently ridiculous. What you're essentially saying is that the families of U.S. troops should be coddled, spun and lied to, because somehow that will make them feel better. Well, tell it to the family of Pat Tillman. The families of U.S. military personnel know more about war and about sacrifice than anyone else in this country, and they know it uniquely, because they alone are bearing the sacrifices of war. They deserve to be treated as adults, and when facts come to light which shed doubt upon the circumstances surrounding their loved ones' deaths, they deserve to know them.

Of course, there are military families who choose to support the president and the war wholeheartedly, because in fact that does give them comfort. That, too, is their right. But there are also families who question the deaths of their loved ones, and they deserve respect, too. Instead, the armchair warriors of the right choose to ridicule them, and even the troops themselves, when they espress dissent or doubt, as "whiners" and "publicity hounds." (See the way they've treated Cindy Sheehan.)

It would also be nice if our armchair warrior friends would speak out as vociferously against the red tape and neglect faced by our young troops when they come home as they do against anti-war protesters. But then again, what do they care. The troops are only useful to them as battering rams. Back home, they're just more welfare charity cases and liabilities.

Today is a day to remember the fallen from all of America's wars. It's also a day to reflect, and I mean really reflect, on why American sends its young, and its best, to war. For good, or for ill.

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posted by JReid @ 9:31 AM  
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Dems debate
LIVEBLOGGING THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE...

Pre-game show: For the Dem debate on MSNBC tonight, each of the 8 candidates has a slightly different mission.

For Hillary ... it's sound presidential

Barack ... live up to the charisma hype (and sound mature enough to be president)

Edwards ... get back the charisma hype

Richardson ... tuck in that neck...

All others ... say something memorable so as not to be blanked out of tomorrow's news cycle

7:00 - Okay, now to the substance. Brian Williams went straight to the war questions, starting with Barack and Hillary.

Barack reiterated that he is proud to have opposed the war from the get-go.

Hillary says as forthrightly as I've heard her that if she knew in 2002 what she knows today she would not have cast her Iraq vote the way she did.

Kucinich says you can't be against the war and continue to fund it.

Richardson says not only would he not vote to continue funding the war in Iraq were he in Congress, but that if he were president, he would push to withdraw all U.S. forces by the end of this calendar year, and use that leverage to push the Iraqis to come to a political settlement.

Chris Dodd talked about his legislation with Russ Feingold that would set a firm deadline to end the war.

Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, who played a role in cutting off funds for the Vietnam war back in the day, got a shot in and called what the Congress is doing "embarassing." He said Congress should pass a law making it "a felony" for the president to remain in Iraq. Gravel, in very animated fashion for an old dude, laid out a tactic he said would force the president's hand: let the Senate Republicans fillibuster and call for a daily cloture vote at high noon to make clear who is keeping us in the war.

Next round, Obama is asked a question by a citizen who has a 19-year-old loved one deployed to Iraq. Obama is asked, what would he consider to be a "mission complete" status in Iraq. Obama so far isn't answering the question, but he did get his "we are one signature away from ending this war" line. He talked about needing 16 votes to override the veto. Short answer: Obama didn't answer the question.

Clinton's turn: Barack is right -- we have to put together the political support within the GOP to join with Dems to bring an end to the war. Easier said than done, and she adds that Bush seems determined not to change course despite the fact that we are losing ground. She ends by saying we need Republican support to finish the job.

Next round: "elephants in the room." This should be good!

Obama first -- "you promised a new kind of politics, so what about questionable ties to a Chicago donor tied to a kickback scheme." Obama: we have thousands of donors, this one engaged in bad behavior and I've denounced it.

Edwards -- "what about those $400 haircuts, paid for out of campaign funds?" -- Paying for the cuts out of campaign funds was a mistake. I'm privileged, yes, but that's not what I come from (cue the "son of a mill worker" shtick.) Actually, I'm being facetious, but Edwards handled it well, telling a good story, and ending that he's running to give others the same chance he's had. He's asked about repping hedge funds, and deftly parried it into a rundown of the lack of healthcare coverage.

In her response, Hillary bigs up the entrepreneurial economy and says that's what makes the country great. She also added a nice kicker that she's proud to represent the New York capital markets, and what we need to do is get back to a Democratic president who can undo the damage done by this president and the prior Republican congress.

Bill Richardson just got called on the carpet for being last in line to call for Alberto Gonzales' resignation. He admitted that he hesitated because Gonzales is Hispanic. Not a good move on the larger stage, hermano. But at least he was being honest.

Chris Dodd (I still can't figure out why this guy is running...) was asked about taking money from big money men. Honestly, he just said it and I've already forgotten what point he made...

Kucinich is doing his anti-war spiel now. He got in a pop culture reference by noting that this is not American Idol. I predict Kucinich will move up in the Moveon poll, but he still needs a pressed suit and a new life goal -- president really isn't on the table.

Joe Biden just got off a good one, giving a one word answer to Brian Williams' question about whether he can control his verbosity: "yes." Williams didn't seem to really believe he wasn't going to say anything else. Clearly, those stints on the Daily Show have helped.

Gravel is on a tear, saying some of the people on stage scare him. This guy is replacing Dennis Kucinich as the crazy uncle on the dais. So who scares you, Senator Gravel? He says the "top tier ones," and he says Biden "has a certain arrogance" and wants to tell the Iraqis what to do. He's now saying "we need to get out." "The entire deaths of Vietnam died in vain, and they're dying in vain this second. You know what's worse than a soldier dying in vain? More soldiers dying in vain..."

Hillary on her unfavorables, and the question of why Republicans are so looking forward to running against her. Hillary says you'd have to ask them. She says she takes it as a perverse form of flattery -- if they weren't worried, they wouldn't be so vitriolic. Hil reminded the audience that she tried for universal healthcare back in the day, and now the country is ready for change. This exchange will make the clips. Good job, Hil.

Next stop: abortion. Williams points out that most Americans polled approved of the SUPCO ruling on partial birth abortion. The question to Edwards: is there a disconnect between the candidates (all of whom are pro-life except Kucinich) and the public. Edwards says no disconnect. The question is whether women's health decisions will be made by women, or by a "bunch of men on the Supreme Court." He says the abortion issue is "extraordinarily difficult" for many people and "we have to show respect for people who have different views on this issue."

Obama, same issue: reiterates the difficulty of the decision, and says "I trust women to make these decisions with their doctors and their family and their clergy." Broader issue: can we move past the things upon which we disagree toward areas of agreement, such as reducing teen pregnancies. Nice parry.

Biden: would you have a Roe litmus test? Biden says he wouldn' t, but he would make sure his nominees shared his values re a right to privacy. Danger zone: Biden said he led the fight to dump Robert Bork. That will be looked up, dude. Also reminds that he opposed Clarence Thomas, Roberts and Scalito. He says the discussion is intellectually dishonest in that the procedure is so rare, but the legal maneuver is a first step toward ending Roe.

Kucinich says he wants to get America together in support of a "culture of life" including prenatal care, universal healthcare, etc., and listen carefully to those who are opposed to abortion. I'm now wondering if Kucinich has changed his mind on abortion (he used to oppose it) or if he's just being deft for the primaries.

Dodd is asked whether he regrets his vote for Roberts on the SUPCO (he's the only one on the dais who voted in favor of him.) Dodd says he's disappointed in Roberts, then he quickly moves on to Alito, and his history of voting pro-life.

7:52 ...

Each candidate is asked to pick a model SUPCO justice:

Richardson - Windsor White (dead), among the living? Ruth Bader GinsbergDodd -- Brennan (dead), GinsbergEdwards -- Ginsberg or Breyer

Clinton, did the government fail those students at VA tech. Yes. She throws in a "Bill" reference, talking about accompanying the then president to Columbine. We need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. During the Clinton administration, that was a goal -- not to curtail gun ownershiprights. The background checks clearly didn't work.

Bill Richardson -- you are currently the NRA's favorite candidate in either party. Did anything about the massacre make you rethink your position on guns? Richardson smartly starts with condolences. He says he's a westerner and a hunter and the Second Amendment is precious in the west. Two big problems here are mental illness, and instant background checks should be properlyfunded at the state and local level. Richardson parries quickly to mental health parity. That NRA thing makes Richardson an even more attractive veep, I think.

Show of hands: how many of you have had a gun in the house: Gravel, Biden, Dodd, Richardson and Kucinich.

Biden: what could the feds have done? Biden's bragging again, saying he was the guy who put 100,000 cops on the street "that the Clinton administration made work so well." Aye, yay, yay! He then says close the gun show loophole, etc. says schools should be able to remove a student deemed dangerous.

Next up, taxes: Edwards is asked which taxes he'd raise. He says he'd get rid of the Bush tax cuts for those making $200K a year or more. Then he does the big dodge. Require employers to coverall employees with healthcare. But what about those tax cuts, dude?

Obama -- have a national pool people can buy into if they don't have health coverage, similar to what members of Congress enjoy. Second, control costs. Obama has statistics, which is good, includingthe rise in Black infant mortality. But weren't we talking about taxes?

Hillary says she tried to put forth a universal healthcare plan and people got scared. She says she's ready to try again. She says save money within the existing system first, before spending new money on new programs.

Richardson called the most strident in opposing tax increases to pay for healthcare. Richardson reminds the room that as a governor, he deals with these issues daily. His healthcare plan: no new bureaucracy, every American shares the costs, focus on prevention, cut out inefficiencies and bureaucracies, better information sharing to save cash, cut out middle men like HMOs between docs and patients. Richardson has clearly carved out the position as the most centrist or conservative guy in the race.

Q from the viewers: Re the ban on SC from the NAACP over the Confederate flag. Why are you guys here?

Biden answers that we're here because we were asked by James Clyburn, and it's better to show off this historically Black college than to walk away from this opportunity.

Barack says the Confederate flag should be put in a museum, that's where it belongs. But we've got really big problems, such as Black infant mortality. Parries to "people are hungry for change." Deft dodge.

Another Q from viewers: biggest professional or personal mistake? Gravel gets it. This should be good. Says he's the senior statesman up there and was beginning to feel like a potted plant. Then he tries to use Ronald Reagan's "youth and inexperience" line to no effect. Kucinich says his biggie was firing the police chief on the 6:00 news when he was mayor of Cleveland. Hillary says not enough time to list all of hers, but ends with "believing the president when he said he'd go to the U.N. on Iraq." Barack says he shouldn't have left the Senate in advance of the Terri Schiavo vote. Biden: overestimating the competence and underestimating the arrogance of the Bush administration. Edwards: voting for the Iraq war. "Unfortunately I'll have to live with that forever. The lesson I learned is to listen to my own judgment". Dodd: voting for the war. Richardson: being too impatient and aggressive, including a push to increase the minimum wage, and instead of pursuing diplomacy, tried to ram it through the legislature. Strange one to choose in a Democratic primary.

Next Q: would you defy the American people if you were president by offering amesty to illegal immigrants? Hillary: says she's for comprehensive reform, letting illegal migrants pay a fine, get in line and become citizens. Nobody else got socked with this one.

To Biden, how can we reverse the American brain drain? Raise teacher pay to get the best teachers in the world.

To Dodd: shouldn't welfare recipients have to pass a drug test? Dodd says we're an overtested society. Let's try a little tenderness.

To Edwards: with oil co profits so high, why is gas so expensive? Edward says we need to address climate change and dependence on foreign oil, focus on new technologies. Edwards isn't really giving me charisma, I have to say.

The candidates are fielding more questions from viewers. I won't recount them all. Kucinich is talking now, about healthcare and his universal plan, no profits for anybody, blah blah blah.

For all comers, one sentence please: "while sitting in the Oval Office on day one of your administration, what's the first thing you want to accomplish?"

Richardson -- get us out of Iraq, day two: Apollo program on energy independence, day three: climate change, day four: day off. That wasn't one sentence, so nobody else got a shot.

Next section will be non-Iraq foreign policy.

Obama is asked who are America's three most important allies. He says EU is most important, and we've made new allies via NATO. He's veered off into Afghanistan now, and I'm not quite sure why... looking east, the center of gravity is shifting to Asia. Japan has been a great ally, but China is rising, though they're not an enemy or a friend. I count two so far. In a follow up, Brian Williams notes that Obama didn't mention Israel. He calls him out on saying "nobody has suffered as much as the Palestinian people." Obama points out that the rest of that sentence was "because of failed Palestinian leadership." He'll get slammed tomorrow by the AIPAC lobby.

Biden? Biggest threats besides Iraq? North Korea, Iran and Putin's tendency to move in a totalitarian direction in Russia. Biden adds that we have to jettison the ideas of preemption and regime change in favor of "prevention" and "conduct change." This administration "is saying give up the weapons that are the only things keeping us from attacking you, and once you do that, we're gonna take you out."

Gravel says we have no enemies. We must start treating other countries as equals. Kucinich should fall on his knees tonight and thank God that this guy was on the dais...

Edwards is asked whether Russia is a friend or foe. He says the government has moved away from democracy under Putin, but we need to ask "how to make America a force for good again." He's having a Princess Di moment, talking about showing U.S. commitment to good things.

Richardson, the only diplomat in the house is asked how he would do things differently with Russia. The governor says he wants to see control of loose nukes, a new policy on Chechnya, stable energy supplies and more democracy. "Being stubborn isn't a foreign policy, and power without focus is blind." He says he would focus on terrorism and nuke proliferation. Richardson sounds great on these issues. Very coherent.

Next, Hil is asked about the Giuliani "vote for me or die" quote, and is asked how Republicans got that "protector" vibe going? She's pointing out the disconnect between rhetoric and reality on port and homeland security, and says the administration hypes the fear, but doesn't deliver. And its foreign policy "has made the world less stable, which ... has a ripple effect on what we're going to face in the future." Hil didn't take the opportunity to attack Rudy directly, interestingly. Maybe she's keeping her eye on New Jersey, the only contestible Blue state, or New York itself?
Dodd is basically reiterating Hillary. No news here.

Show of hands: is there a global war on terror? All hands went up except Edwards, Kucinich and Gravel. But no hands were held very high... Kucinich says that the GWOT has been a pre-text for aggressive war. He says he wants to stop using war as a foreign policy instrument and get rid of all U.S. nukes. Right. Gravel: please save this guy...

Obama: how would you change the U.S. military stance overseas if two U.S. cities were hit by al-Qaida (why two, Brian?) Obama says we need to change our domestic response capabilities, get good intelligence on who carried it out (Williams just said it was al-Qaida...) He's off on not using faulty intel and bluster, and talking to the international community. This was Barack's weakest answer of the night.

Edwards, same Q: Edwards says he'd make sure it was al-Qaida and try to figure out how they got passed us. So far, two answers, no winners. On GWOT, we have more tools than bombs.

Hil: starts her answer "Having been a Senator on 9/11..." nice. Says "a president must move swiftly to retaliate." ... If there were nations who gave aid or assisted the attack, we respond swiftly. Says she supported hitting the Taliban. Says we haven't found Bin Laden. Says "let's focus on who attacked us and let's get 'em." FINALLY, the right answer! Geez...

Impeach Cheney? No hands supporting Kucinich. So is it an appropriate use of time and energy? Kucinich has whipped out his pocket constitution, a la Senator Byrd.

Dodd: for civil unions, not for gay marriage.

Biden: time to get serious on climate change.

Richardson just threw in that he'd have a swift military response to a terror attack. Now on to Castro, Richardson we need to "find ways to deal with a post-democratic Cuba" -- I think he meant a post-Castro Cuba. He said he's opposed to the family visit ban by the Bushies, and says we should reevaluate the embargo. Miami's old school won't like that one...

Senator Mike Gravel is talking again ... he's really nutty...

Kucinich is calling out Barack on saying "all options are on the table" when it comes to Iran. He's saying we have to change energy policies and stop using war as a strategic tactic. Obama responds that it would be a mistake to go to war with Iran, but Iran having nukes would be a threat to us, and they are a major sponsor of terror. We just got our first "let me finish..." Obama is trying to buck up his foreign policy strength quotient. Now Gravel is jumping in ... oh, lord. He says we need to stop "scaring the bejeezus out of" Iran. Okay, he just declared the U.S. the biggest violator of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Yep. Great way to be a credible candidate.

Now, on to who is your moral leader? Edwards is pausing a long time, but says he couldn't identify a single person. He then says he goes to the Lord for counsel, and now mentions his wife as a source of great conscience, his father too is cited as an influence.

Hillary is asked if Wal Mart is a good thing or bad thing overall for America. She says it's a "mixed blessing" -- allows people to stretch their dollars further, but they've raised issues of corporate responsibility re providing healthcare for employees, non-discrimination, etc. She says that the administration and corporate America "don't see middle class Americans." Another winner for Hil.

Biden is asked if the Dems lose a third time, it will be "modern day extinction" for the party, so is there a winner on this stage, putting himself aside? Biden says he sees winners, and says anyone who is "wishing for Hillary is making a mistake ... on the Republican side." Good that he added that last bit.

"Now you can applaud."

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posted by JReid @ 7:08 PM  
Monday, March 26, 2007
Katie Couric gets tough! Channels El Rushbo in scorched earth interview with ... cancer ... victim...
So NOW Katie wants to be a tough minded journalist, asking the hard questions and holding the feet of the powerful to the fire. And the subject of her sharp journalistic lens? Cancer victim Elizabeth Edwards and her husband, former Senator John Edwards. And being the brilliant mind that she is, Katie even managed to include a littany of questions straight from Rush Limbaugh's radio show, without even calling the Fat Man by name! An astute IFilm poster has the medley of Katie-style grilling:



Wow, Katie. You're like ... Edward R. Murrow, only perkier! And don't let those critics get you down... they're just hating on you because you're in fourth place in the news race and they're not. Oh, sorry, is that third?

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posted by JReid @ 9:26 PM  
Friday, March 23, 2007
Scooped!
The media is focusing on the thing that, at the end of the day, matters most to them: the media ... when it comes to the scoop that wasn't re John Edwards future plans as a presidential candidate. But more important than Politico's dropped ball (relying on a single source? Journalism 101: don't do it, but then again, it's not as if this is the first time a journo has gotten something wrong...) is the question of whether Edwards can go the distance, given his wife's condition, and whether soldiering on makes him more noble and presidential, or less. That, and the utterly cynical basic tendencies of what passes for the right these days...

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posted by JReid @ 11:00 AM  
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The Edwards family to soldier on
John Edwards announced today that he will continue his presidential campaign despite the return of his wife Elizabeth's cancer. I'm sure the righties will slam him for it, and claim he's trolling for the sympathy vote. Well, at least he didn't call the press conference to announce he was divorcing Elizabeth, or visit her in the hospital to inform her he's leaving her for his mistress... All I can say, as the daughter of a breast cancer victim who did just what the Edwards' are doing -- got on with her life, until her fight was done, in September of 1986 -- is Godspeed.

BTW... couldn't resist tracking down this wedding photo of the Edwards duo "back in the day." Very cute, no?

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posted by JReid @ 5:02 PM  
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Update: Fox out of the henhouse and into the doghouse
The John Edwards campaign has done themselves proud in Nevada, and has finally forced the issue of Fox News Channel's Republican bias back into the mainstream. Kudos to them and to the members of the blogosphere who successfully yanked FNC out of the Democratic debate this August in Nevada. Here's the email sent to supporters from Team Edwards (specifically from deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince):
You may have heard by now that John Edwards was the first candidate to officially say no to the Fox News debate in Nevada -- and because of the hard work of so many grassroots and netroots Democrats, news is breaking tonight that Fox is out.

Fox has already started striking backat John for saying no. (There's a surprise - Fox attacking a Democrat.) Last night, Roger Ailes - the life-long Republican operative who is now Chairman of Fox News Channel - said that any candidate "who believes he can blacklist any news organization is making a terrible mistake" and "is impeding freedom of speech and free press."

And John's not their only target. Tonight Fox News Vice President David Rhodes is telling news organizations not to get involved in the Nevada Democratic Caucus because of "radical fringe" groups - meaning grassroots Democrats (that would be you) - who objected to Fox's long history of spreading Republican propaganda at the expense of Democratic leaders.

The whole right-wing is getting in on the attack; the Drudge Report is blaring the headline: "War! Dems Pull Out of Fox News Debate."

Enough is enough. It's time to send a clear message to Fox News and their allies that their right-wing talking points and temper tantrums won't go unchallenged anymore - when it comes to what Democrats should do in the Democratic primary, we'll decide - no matter what they report:

Fox News has already proven they have no intention of providing "fair and balanced" coverage of any Democrat in this election. [Emphasis added]

In recent weeks they have run blatant lies about Senator Obama's background. And Fox was only too happy to give Ann Coulter a platform to spew more hate a few days after her bigoted attack on Senator Edwards and the gay community.

Now it's time for Democrats to stand together and send a clear message to Roger Ailes, Fox News and all the rest of them: bias isn't balance, but turning tables is fair.

The truth is, Fox News can "report" whatever they want. And when it works for us, we'll deal with them on our terms. But this campaign is about responsibility and accountability, and we need to send the message to Fox that if they want to be the corporate mouthpiece of the Republican Party more than they want to be an impartial news outlet, they shouldn't expect Democrats to play along.
Good for you, Team Edwards.

Meanwhile, the right wing Las Vegas Review Journal blows the whistle on their own brethren, by labeling Fox News Channel, in relation to Democrats, as "their rivals' messenger." So it's okay if we "socialists" characterize Fox as the GOP's messenger from now on? I'm not sure Roger Ailes would appreciate your candor, Vegas. ... Man, these right wingers are stupid...
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posted by JReid @ 6:14 PM  
Saturday, February 03, 2007
A white guy who gets it
Chris Matthews may not get the point on Joe Biden's presidential run-derailing Obama gaffe, but this guy does. Thanks Dan Gerstein, for proving me wrong. Some of y'all really are savvy on this stuff. Definitely read Gerstein's full post, which you can find here.

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posted by JReid @ 8:28 PM  
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Biden unplugged
Joe Biden thinks Hillary doesn't know what the hell she's talking about on Iraq ... Edwards is a know-nothing ... and Barack Obama is one cleeeeeean Black man. Don't believe me? Here are the quotes from the New York Observer interview. First, on Hillary:
“Everyone in the world knows her,” he said. “Her husband has used every single legitimate tool in his behalf to lock people in, shut people down. Legitimate. And she can’t break out of 30 percent for a choice for Democrats? Where do you want to be? Do you want to be in a place where 100 percent of the Democrats know you? They’ve looked at you for the last three years. And four out of 10 is the max you can get?”
On John Edwards:
Mr. Biden seemed to reserve a special scorn for Mr. Edwards, who suffered from a perceived lack of depth in foreign policy in the Presidential election of 2004.

“I don’t think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about,” Mr. Biden said, when asked about Mr. Edwards’ advocacy of the immediate withdrawal of about 40,000 American troops from Iraq.

“John Edwards wants you and all the Democrats to think, ‘I want us out of there,’ but when you come back and you say, ‘O.K., John’”—here, the word “John” became an accusatory, mocking refrain—“‘what about the chaos that will ensue? Do we have any interest, John, left in the region?’ Well, John will have to answer yes or no. If he says yes, what are they? What are those interests, John? How do you protect those interests, John, if you are completely withdrawn? Are you withdrawn from the region, John? Are you withdrawn from Iraq, John? In what period? So all this stuff is like so much Fluffernutter out there. So for me, what I think you have to do is have a strategic notion. And they may have it—they are just smart enough not to enunciate it.”
And on Barack:
... “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

But—and the “but” was clearly inevitable—he doubts whether American voters are going to elect “a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,” and added: “I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.”

(After the interview with Mr. Biden and shortly before press time, Mr. Obama proposed legislation that would require all American combat brigades to be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of March 2008.)
Ahem.

Want more Biden? Read it!

Update: Hear Biden end the shortest ever presidential campaign for yourself, here!

And below, courtesy of Fox Noise, Smokey Joe tries to clean it up:



Update 2: The Washington Times reports on the trouble in Bidenland.

Al Sharpton says: hey, I take a bath every day! And Rev. Jesse Jackson says, 'you have wounded me, sir!'
Mr. Jackson described Mr. Biden’s remarks to the Observer, which also included critical statements about the Iraq positions of two of his Democratic opponents — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina — as “blabbering bluster.”

A wounded note to his voice, Mr. Jackson pointed out that he had run against Mr. Biden for the 1988 Democratic nomination, and had lasted far longer and drawn more votes than did Mr. Biden. Mr. Biden was forced out in September 1987.

“I am not sure what he means — ask him to explain what he meant,” Mr. Jackson said. “I don’t know whether it was an attempt to diminish what I had done in ’88, or to say Barack is all style and no substance.”

Mr. Sharpton said that when Mr. Biden called him to apologize, Mr. Sharpton started off the conversation reassuring Mr. Biden about his hygienic practices. “I told him I take a bath every day,” Mr. Sharpton said.

No stranger to electoral intrigue, Mr. Sharpton was quick to offer a political motive: That Mr. Biden was drawing distinctions between Mr. Obama and African-American leaders like Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson, to “discredit Mr. Obama with his base.”

Well Joe, you've had your Youtube moment. Now go to Macaca.

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posted by JReid @ 11:00 AM  
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Naming names
John Edwards was good on Stephanopoulos today, and I think his biggest score (besides re-establishing his pretty ... particularly with that lip thing removed...) was naming the Bush-neocon strategy of escalating the war in Iraq not a "surge," as the White House calls it, but rather, the "McCain doctrine." Excellent pre-emptive strike on the probably Republican nominee, who is, after all, the heir apparent to Dubya. Way to stick him with Bush's Iraq policy.

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posted by JReid @ 9:02 PM  
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Quick takes Thursday, December 28
Gerald Ford disagreed with President Bush's decisions regarding Iraq. He told Bob Woodward, but had Woodward pledge not to reveal the information until after his death. Before he died Ford had expressed support for Bush's war.

An American general says "this is no longer our war in Iraq."

Meanwhile, Bob Novak says what I've been saying all along, that John McCain's war stance is hurting him.

The Pentagon is preparing for escalation ... they may have to go through Joe Biden to get it.

Chuck Hagel apparently thinks Bush is out to lunch when it comes to Iraq, where the latest news is on the killing of Moqtada al-Sadr's top deputy.

The Somali government claims victory over Islamists in Mogadishu.

James Brown will lie in state at the Apollo.

Edwards is all in.

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posted by JReid @ 9:35 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
Listen now:


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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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