NOW & Obama's "present" abortion votes

There's a lot of back-and-forth between Clinton and Obama going on, but the offensive seems to all be on Clinton's side. From going after Obama for using his PAC as a slush fund to early state politicians after he's announced his candidacy (that's the legal difference Obamafans), poking fun at Obama's Kindergarten to 3rd grade ambition to be President (Edwards has joined in: "I have to confess," Mr. Edwards said, "when I was in third grade, I wanted to be two things. I wanted to be a cowboy, and I wanted to be Superman." The audience roared.), and now, more potently, over Obama's non-committal to abortion rights while he was a state senator.

From Illinois Now:

During Senator Obama's 2004 senate campaign, the Illinois NOW PAC did not recommend the endorsement of Obama for U.S. Senate because he refused to stand up for a woman's right to choose and repeatedly voted `present' on important legislation.

As a State Senator, Barack Obama voted `present' on seven abortion bills, including a ban on 'partial birth abortion,' two parental notification laws and three 'born alive' bills.  In each case, the right vote was clear, but Senator Obama chose political cover over standing and fighting for his convictions.

"When we needed someone to take a stand, Senator Obama took a pass," said Grabenhofer. "He wasn't there for us then and we don't expect him to be now."

It's not surprising that NOW is going to try and help Clinton; afterall, they have endorsed Clinton. But the opening provided by Obama's "present" votes on abortion in the State Senate of Illinois gives them substantive issues to move beyond being pro-Clinton to being anti-Obama.

I would expect that we see NOW get involved with this in the early states, particularly since Obama's rationale for the 'present' votes isn't particularly believable.

The Chicago Tribune provides more of a context behind the 'present' votes by Obama:

Perhaps nothing illustrated Obama's calculating style more than his approach to abortion. The state Senate voted 14 times on various abortion restrictions during his tenure. Half the time, Obama voted "present."

He said it was a strategy agreed to by abortion-rights advocates to insulate Democrats from political backlash in more conservative areas. But Obama's Hyde Park district was one of the state's most liberal.

...Legislators face an array of sensitive topics, but few pack the emotional and political wallop of abortion. Obama has long publicly promoted his support for abortion rights, but his voting record in Springfield is not simple to read.

Obama said he sought compromise with abortion opponents, but they balked. As a fallback, he said he worked out an arrangement with abortion-rights advocates to encourage Democrats to vote "present" on some bills if they feared a "no"would look insensitive and endanger their re-election.

But few of the other Democrats who voted "present" on abortion bills recall such a strategy. And, like Obama, they weren't politically vulnerable.

Obama's rationale for voting 'present', lacking plausibility, is probably more simple:
Obama's friend Link offered another reason for the strategy: to protect those with plans for higher office. A "present" vote helped "if you have aspirations of doing something else in politics," Link said, "and I think [Obama] looked at it in that regard."
It's single-issue politics and not particularly helpful to a big tent strategy, but among democratic primary & caucus voters, particularly women, it seems like a pretty big opening for groups like NOW and Emily's List to go after Obama.

Update [2007-12-5 11:14:18 by Jerome Armstrong]: The Chicago NOW director doesn’t like this Clinton argument against Obama, but the entire statewide organization is behind it. The argument aside, the substance of voting "present" is enough ammo for the attack to work for certain voters.

Tags: abortion, NOW, obama (all tags)



Re: NOW & Obama's abortion votes

NOW is totally off the wall.

They recently refused to support the school teacher in Sudan over the teddy bear incident.

A few years ago they supported punishing a boy who stole a kiss from a girl for sexual harassment.  The boy was 6 years old.

This is feminism going crazy.

by interguru 2007-12-05 05:29AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama's

Chicago Tribune:

Obama, however, was in a safe district and never faced a serious challenge for his legislative seat. He had no need to shy from hard-line stands on gun control and abortion rights. He actually took such stands frequently and is now highly praised by advocates for both causes.

Why would he then vote "present" instead of a resounding "no" on certain bills advanced by lawmakers opposed to abortion rights?

"To provide cover for other Democrats who were shaky on the issue in an effort to convince them not to vote `yes,'" Sutherland said. "The idea is to recruit a group to vote `present' that includes legislators who are clearly right with the issue."

Sutherland said this tactic makes the "present" vote look less like a hedge or a cop-out and more like a constitutional concern or other high-minded qualm.

She pointed to the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 2001, a bill requiring that an adult family member be notified 48 hours in advance when a minor seeks an abortion.

Obama's "present" vote on that bill is one Hull is attacking him for in a flier decorated with rubber duckies.

Sutherland just laughs. "We also had [Democratic Senate leader] Emil Jones, [current Atty. Gen.] Lisa Madigan, Miguel del Valle, Rickey Hendon and other very strong pro-choice legislators voting `present' on that one," she said. "It was all done to pull `present' votes off the fence."

Obama confirmed Sutherland's account of the legislative strategy and said, "No one was more active to beat back those bills than I was."

"Criticizing Obama on the basis of `present' votes indicates you don't have a great understanding of the process," said Thom Mannard, director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Or you are willing to pretend you don't to score cheap political points.

There's dirt here all right. It's all over the hands of those pointing the finger. umnists_ezorn/2007/12/ ml

Sutherland is Pam Sutherland, Planned Parenthood's chief lobbyist in Springfield.

by Piuma 2007-12-05 05:30AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama's

That's a pretty good defense.

by wahoopaul 2007-12-05 05:43AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama's

This is interesting information. I'd long counted those present votes against Obama and no one had ever defended him before now. My estimation of Barack has just gone up though I still retain serious concerns about him - CTL, Nuclear, Trade, SS, etc.

by Quinton 2007-12-05 06:18AM | 0 recs

So what you are saying is that corrupt Illinois lobbyists support Obama?

by hwc 2007-12-05 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyists?

Yep. Planned Parenthood sure is basically a criminal slush fund.

by Englishlefty 2007-12-05 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama's

I find Obama's defense with respect to the abortion votes to be very, very convincing.  Anyone who claims at this point not to understand the strategy of voting "present" in hopes of building a coalition to defeat the bill is either pretending or none too swift.

However, my understanding is that Obama's history of "present" votes extends beyond just the issue of abortion, in contexts where the above strategy wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.  Does anyone have something to say about those other votes?

by Steve M 2007-12-05 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama's

and this just explained one bill out of seven. even with this defense having to do so 50% of the time is a bit much.

Personally I think it was just a regular trade-off. He give them their cover. and he kept hishis chances for higher office intact without compromising his ideals. It looks more like political savvy to me then being morally dubious. I've got plenty of doubts about him, but this isn't one of them.

by Ernst 2007-12-06 04:16AM | 0 recs
I'll say it again

Obama - not different.

Just another smooth talking, fast walking poll trying to fool people into voting for him.

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-05 05:31AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

Brilliant piece of analysis.  Extremely thoughtful and substantive.  As a follow up, perhaps you can call Obama a "jerk" who "smells bad" and is a "stupid face."  That would contribute as much to the dialogue.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 05:44AM | 0 recs
I think it says a lot

Obama has shown us over and over again that Obama the pol doesn't match up with Obama the carefully scripted, slickly packaged Presidential candidate.

Whether it is using his PAC as a slush fund after railing against PACs and money in politics.  

Whether it is projecting his clean, holier than thou image, despite shady stock deals, a questionable home purchase, and shady dealing with a shady Chicago developer.

Whether it is saying he is willing to take tough stands and them dodging votes in the Senate, and having one of the highest %'s of "present" votes in the IL Senate during his tenure (again dodging tough yes or no votes on issues such as abortion).

Whether is hyping a different type of politics and then crawling down in the mud and issuing hit pieces (think D-Punjab for instance).  

Obama is a fake.  He is a poser.  

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-05 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: I think it says a lot

Hmmm, so basically he's a "fraud" because he's only 10x more honest and straight forward than Senator Clinton rather than 100x?  Your right, your comment does say a lot -- although about you rather than Senator Obama.

Oh, and since Obama is so terrible I assume you will be voting for Rudy or Mike Huckabee if Clinton doesn't win the nomination, right?  Talk about taking hyperbole to a new level.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 07:08AM | 0 recs
He is no more honest than Clinton

Nor any less.

He is just another pol.

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-05 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

Yes calling somebody normal and regular in his trade is the same as insulting him.

get real.

by Ernst 2007-12-06 04:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

Here's what I'll say again -

Read this article: umnists_ezorn/2007/12/ ml

Then you can admit that you're wrong.

by Elise 2007-12-05 08:54AM | 0 recs
NOW in early states

I would expect that we see NOW get involved with this in the early states, particularly since Obama's rationale for the 'present' votes isn't particularly believable.

In Nevada, the state chapter as well as Southern Nevada local chapter are neutral and all their officers have stated they will remain neutral.

NOW is a 501(c)3 and should not be making political endorsements. NOW PAC is a federal PAC and endorsed Clinton. Some state chapters, such as apparently Illinois, have a PAC as well. But in those states where the NOW chapter does not have a PAC, such as Nevada, if you expect to see them "get involved," you're asking them to violate their tax-exempt status.

by desmoulins 2007-12-05 05:37AM | 0 recs

Why are you surprised to see the National Organization of Woman actively supporting Hillary?

As a Woman for Obama this might help explain his side:

The campaign is heating up, and Hillary Clinton is resorting to old-school political attacks in a last-ditch effort to slow Barack Obama's growing momentum.

Now they're trying to attack Barack Obama's 100% pro-choice record.

Today's attack was delivered by Ellen Malcolm, President of EMILY's List - which has endorsed Senator Clinton and is spending millions on an Independent Expenditure campaign to try to get her elected. Malcolm called into question Barack's commitment to protect women's rights by pointing to old votes on a few politically motivated bills in the Illinois Senate. What Malcolm failed to point out was that Barack cast these votes as part of a strategy employed by pro-choice leaders in Illinois.  That's why so many top pro-choice leaders were outraged by the attack and immediately defended Barack's record of leadership on this important issue.

Not only is Senator Clinton's claim another baseless, desperate attempt on her campaign's part to distort Barack's record, but this tactic does nothing more than divide the pro-choice community at a time when we need to work together to elect a pro-choice candidate for president.

But don't take our word for it.  Read what leaders in the pro-choice community - who have worked side by side with Senator Obama - had to say about the latest Clinton attacks:

"I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton and an EMILY's List donor, but this line of attack is unacceptable.  While I was the president of Chicago National Organization for Women, Senator Obama worked closely with us, could not have been more supportive of a woman¹s right to choose, and there was no bigger champion in Illinois on our issues.  What¹s important is that the candidates do not cannibalize each other on issues we all agree about because we need to win in November." Lorna Brett, former president of Chicago NOW

"During his years in the state legislature, Barack Obama was a strong and consistent supporter of women's reproductive rights. He worked hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood in developing and executing strategies to make sure that women had access to reproductive health care.  I also want to thank him for standing up with us in the effort to open the Aurora clinic and for his introduction of legislation guaranteeing access to low-cost birth control.  Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area has proudly endorsed Barack throughout his entire political career."  Steve Trombley, CEO & President, Planned Parenthood/Chicago Action

"The present votes Obama took at that time, along with many other pro-choice legislators, were 'no' votes to bad bills being used for political gain.  We asked Senator Obama and other strong supporters of choice to vote present to encourage Senators facing tough re-elections to make the right choice by voting present, instead of caving to political pressure and voting for these bad bills.  In the Illinois State Senate, Obama showed leadership, compassion and a true commitment to reproductive health care. The Republican Senate President at the time constantly used anti-abortion bills to pigeon-hole Democrats so that he could target them with misleading mailers during campaign season.  It was a tactic that was about politics, not policy - and Obama didn't let them get away with it."  Pam Sutherland, President & CEO of Illinois Planned Parenthood Council

"Senator Obama is one of America's strongest and most loyal defenders of women's rights on issues of reproductive health care. I've contributed to EMILY's List in the past ­ but I never will again, because I¹m so disappointed in their decision to launch these unfair, false attacks on behalf of Senator Clinton¹s campaign."  Libby Slappey, a former 13-year board member of Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa.

Even Ellen Malcolm has praised Barack as recently as last year, after Barack gave the keynote speech at the annual Emily's List Luncheon.  In a letter to Barack, Malcolm writes:

Senator Obama,

Thank you so much for helping to make the 2006 EMILY's List Majority Council Conference such a great success. Our Majority Council members told me again and again how energized they were to hear directly from you and how much they appreciated your spending time with us.

You truly inspired our members and reminded them why they support our work to elect dynamic pro-choice Democratic women ­ especially after hearing you speak about how you're fighting to make change happen.

I appreciate your commitment to EMILY's List. Here's to victory in November!

Warmest regards, Ellen R. Malcolm, President

Handwritten: "You were terrific and really lit a fire with our members!

Thanks so much!!"

These attacks are not going away any time soon. Let's be sure to remind ourselves and our friends about what a fighter Senator Obama has been for the pro-choice community.

Barack has a 100% pro-choice vote rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

He was the ONLY U.S. Senator who helped raise funds in 2006 to successfully repeal a South Dakota law that banned abortions.  Senator Clinton refused to help in the effort. In fact, even EMILY'S List refused to help repeal the ban in South Dakota.

Senator Obama is the only candidate for President who rose in support of Illinois Planned Parenthood when their new Aurora clinic faced a threatened shut-down.

When Congress failed to pass a law to require insurance plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptives, Obama supported a successful law to provide that requirement in Illinois.

He recently co-sponsored a bill with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to make birth control more affordable for low-income and college age women after changes in federal law led to a skyrocketing new costs.

Please share this information with your friends and colleagues. Let's make sure that these kinds of divisive, baseless attacks don't go unanswered.

by aiko 2007-12-05 05:40AM | 0 recs

Funny how none of those statements are present in the original post, even though other articles I've read have covered the responses to Clinton's baseless charges.

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 05:43AM | 0 recs
what do you expect. Jerome can't help himself. He's not the biggest fan of Obama.
by rapcetera 2007-12-05 06:47AM | 0 recs

he did not have the balls to vote correctly   just like missing votes in the senate  or voting when the issue is already settled    this is the great leader to get something done   the man man with little or no convictions

by marketingman 2007-12-05 07:11AM | 0 recs

"The present votes Obama took at that time, along with many other pro-choice legislators, were 'no' votes to bad bills being used for political gain."

This is straight out of 1984. Only in some bizarro world of political triangulation is a "present" vote a "no" vote. Utter BS. A "no" vote would have been a "no" vote.

Senator Clinton has not triangulated on his issue. She had consistently voted "NO" on bad abortion bills.

A President cannot vote "present".

by hwc 2007-12-05 07:41AM | 0 recs

and "if you're not with us you're against us".

It's that kind of simple minded thinking that got us into Iraq. Oh yea! --- Clinton voted for that too.

by JoeCoaster 2007-12-05 08:23AM | 0 recs
This Post is BS


Chicago NOW's director Lorna Brett, who has endorsed CLINTON, has confirmed that the "present" votes were part of a strategy devised by pro-choice groups.  I think it is hugely irresponsible to not even mention that in your post.  Here's a link to an article that contains her statement. 04/emilys-list-goes-after-obamas-leader ship-on-choice

Also, I would note that nobody seems to be alleging that Obama has ever been anything but proudly pro-choice.  If this was him hedging on the issue, please explain to me what the benefit to these votes is if you consistely trumpet the fact that you're pro-choice.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 05:41AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

But I thought Anti-Hillary posters said that being "calculating" and "coping out" on important votes was a bad thing. He might have had a reason,allegedly, but that does not make it a GOOD reason

by world dictator 2007-12-05 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

He has a 100% career rating from NARAL and the head of the local pro-choice organization that's now attacking him has said that Obama's was executing a strategy designed with the pro-choice organizations.  If that's not a "good" reason for his actions, what in gods name is?

Moreover, help me understand how any of this calls into question Obama's pro-choice credentials?  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

non responsive. Try again

by world dictator 2007-12-05 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

Triangulation by any other name is still triangulation.

by hwc 2007-12-05 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

Your comment makes no sense.  Obama took the action that the advocacy groups in the state, who are dedicated to nothing but choice and fighting for reproductive choice, wanted him to take.  How exactly is that "triangulation?"  

By the way, IF you are a Hillary supporter your triangulation charge is particularly  hysterical.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

Wait, now I remember who you are.  Not only are you a Hillary supporter, you like to refer to Senator Obama as "Barrack Hussein Obama."  OK, I won't bother responding anymore.  That kind of not so subtle bigotry doesn't deserve any attention.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

you like to refer to Senator Obama as "Barrack Hussein Obama."

I really don't understand how that is an attack; lol.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-12-05 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

This is probably the result of not having my afternoon coffee yet,  but I'm not sure if you're joking around or are seriously saying its cool to trumpet the GOP's endless use of Obama's middle name.  If it's the former, I apologize in advance for being too prickly.  If it's the latter, I'm baffled.  

Regardless, I'd love to hear you weigh in on the substance of this story.  Put in context, it seems pretty clear that there's nothing to these attacks.  If you disagree, I'd like to understand why.  Even when I'm annoyed by what you write I appreciate your insight.

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

There's substance in the vote as "present" on the issue. I get that there's a reason why, even though it's not that compelling given who also voted present were in blue areas, but that's just a defensive posture. The vote opens up Obama to being attacked and defending himself.

The whole middle name thing is nonsense. How is it an attack?  What is his campaign going to do-- order that the opposition stop using his middle name?

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-12-05 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

Agree to disagree about the abortion stuff I suppose.  

As far as the middle name thing goes, however, I think you're completely wrong.  In the context of whispering campaigns about Obama being muslim and the media's past willingness to report that he was educated in a madras, I think it is more than a bit fishy that HRC supporters (along with Rush) feel compelled to endlessly repeat his middle name.  

Obviously folks are free to say whatever they want, but I don't see any rationale for using Obama's full name other than trying to connect him to the vile rumors that are out there.  What other explanation is there?

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

It is not coincidental that the supporters on this site do it and the now there is the county chair caught putting out a smear. It's coming from the top.

by Piuma 2007-12-05 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

I try to be fair, so I'm not going to say that the Clinton campaign itself is engaging in that kind of smear.  But I certainly think that supporters know what they're doing when they use Obama's middle name.  And that's ashame, b/c we're all Democrats at the end of the day.

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

The strategy which you seem to be advocating -that mentioning his middle name is the equivalent of a smear- is not smart at all. It'd be much better to just accept it and confront the use, rather than attempt to limit the expression. This is just one more example to me of how Obama would be the worst general nominee we could get out of the '08 crop-- I don't think the Obama campaign is so lame to argue this, but that they provide no leadership in the talkingpoints to their supporters just begs for this non-issue stuff to become a fiasco. They are all about centralized message, and have no strategy in place to disseminate a decentralized message campaign. In that regard, both the Clinton and Edwards campaign are much better positioned to win in '08.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-12-05 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

Explain to me what purpose using his full name serves, other than trying to tie Obama to the ugly rumors that have been spread against him Jerome.  Here's a hint -- there isn't one.  I fully expect the GOP to use this line of atack, but think it's pretty pitiful that supporters of other DEMOCRATS are stooping to this level.  The fact that you don't seem to think that's objectionable is pretty sad to me, but you're entitled to your opinion I suppose.  

As far as Obama being the weakest GE candidate, time will tell.  In the mean time, it's probably time for you to clue us all in on who your supporting.  Obama is rather obviously not your choice.  Like many Hillary supporters, should I mark you down as voting for Rudy or Huckabee if Obama wins?  

by HSTruman 2007-12-06 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

Seriously?  Maybe the Washington Post can explain it to you:

IT'S BECOME a fad among some conservatives to refer to the junior senator from Illinois by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama. This would be merely juvenile if it weren't so contemptible. Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers, on "Hardball," was one of the early adopters of this sleazy tactic. "Count me down as somebody who underestimates Barack Hussein Obama," he said. Radio host Rush Limbaugh, demonstrating his usual maturity, got a chuckle out of the senator's allegedly oversized ears, calling him "Barack Hussein Odumbo." And Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council issued this e-mail alert: "Joining an already glutted field of hopefuls, Sen. Barack Hussein Obama (D-Ill.) announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic nomination yesterday."


Mr. Obama has never tried to hide his past or his family name: He has written about being educated at a predominantly Muslim school. His father, a non-practicing Muslim, was Barack Hussein Obama Sr. His grandmother is Sara Hussein Obama.

The senator, however, does not use his middle name. Those who take pains to insert it when referring to him are trying, none too subtly, to stir up scary images of menacing terrorists and evil dictators. They embarrass only themselves.

by Steve M 2007-12-05 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: This Post is BS

True. and I've also said as much. but it is the same as with bullying. If they see that they get a rise out of you they'll keep doing it. and if you start complaining yourself the audiance will find you pathetic and weak.

Bullying is about dominance. complainers are subs. If somebody tries to bully you you either hit them right across the face or you bully them back. Ignoring it won't help but won't actively make it worse. complaining about it here on mydd is no big deal, but as a tactic in the general it would be disasterous.

by Ernst 2007-12-06 04:35AM | 0 recs
Does this undermine the Oprah visit?

Very important observation, Jerome. The important gain Obama has made in the last month has been his improved performance among older women voters. Potentially, this issue and the "Obama is weak on abortion" line-of-attack plays directly into Clinton's great strength as a feminist icon. And it mitigates some of the momentum coming from the Oprah visit.

by blueflorida 2007-12-05 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Does this undermine the Oprah visit?

Read the above comments, you idiot.

by wahoopaul 2007-12-05 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Does this undermine the Oprah visit?


by blueflorida 2007-12-05 05:54AM | 0 recs
you wish.
not happening.
by rapcetera 2007-12-05 06:50AM | 0 recs
Jerome - this post is pathetic

You can't even provide context? Read the Obama response...........

by wahoopaul 2007-12-05 05:46AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obam

It would have taken you 10 minutes to debunk your post. Ten lousy minutes to determine that Obama is not only pro-choice but he is an active advocate for a woman's right to choose.

by aiko 2007-12-05 05:58AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obam

And yet the post doesn't contain any context.  Strange, to say the least.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 06:02AM | 0 recs
Let's set the record straight

Obama was the keynote speaker at an Emily's list dinner in May 2006. heon06

I don't think Emily's List think would even think about inviting someone who is not a strong supporter of theirs to headline such an important event.

This latest missive is so far from factual. We all know politics is behind these latest attempts to discredit Obama. Ask yourself, why wasn't Obama attacked earlier this year by Emily's List or NOW when he entered the race? In fact, Obama's speech to Emily's List earlier this year was judged the most well-received by its members.

Maybe this should clue you in why the last minute attacks on Obama are now descending:

by rosebowl 2007-12-05 06:01AM | 0 recs
Jerome and Obama

Leave it to Jerome to baselessly attack Obama without the full context.

This is a weekly feature here, isn't it? Jerome's two minutes of hate against Obama?

by Kal 2007-12-05 06:28AM | 0 recs

one month to go it's hit Obama time, why do you even make a pretext of being a nuetral observer Jerome?

by nevadadem 2007-12-05 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: re

are you proud of his lack of BALLS

by marketingman 2007-12-05 07:14AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama

The "Present" strategy was a pretty well known fact in Illinois politics. In fact, I heard of it before I even heard of Barack Obama (though admittedly, I was a little late to that party).

Thus, even though you may personally find Obama's explanation lacking, it wouldn't have taken you too long to discover that it's true.

(It would have taken a little longer to find out that Obama killed later versions of these bils when he was a committee chair, but that is true, as well.)

I hate getting into personal attacks here, but that post was just a little Klein-esque in its willful misunderstanding of legislative realities.

by Colbycakes 2007-12-05 06:53AM | 0 recs
Obama versus Keys

Keep in mind that the Illinois National Organization for Women PAC refused to endorse Obama over Alan Keys.

That's a pretty ringing non-endorsement.

by hwc 2007-12-05 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama versus Keys

I think you're getting your talking points mixed up here.

Attack Obama for weakness and vacillating, sure. Having read through the comments, I'm not sure I believe it, but since you're looking for an attack opportunity, it's your best bet.

Attacking him by claiming his policies on women are the same as Alan Keyes' is just retarded.

by Englishlefty 2007-12-05 10:48AM | 0 recs

Describing it as a press conference gone awry would be putting it mildly. Before the start of the NPR debate yesterday afternoon, the Clinton campaign arranged for Ellen Malcolm, the head of Emily's List, to hold a press conference with reporters.

Malcolm took the podium and argued that Clinton was the only candidate in this race who had stood up when it was tough, especially on women's issues. She said that Clinton -- standing up to the Bush Administration -- had led the fight to get the FDA to approve the Plan B contraceptive. She also cited the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts as a time when Clinton had been the strongest voice against his nomination, taking the floor and giving a passionate speech on why his nomination threatened Roe vs. Wade.

But the minute Malcolm stopped speaking, she was hit by questions from reporters armed with info sent out by the Obama campaign. Malcolm hadn't mentioned Obama by name, but she said that those who vote "present" at tough times don't show a true commitment to leadership -- referring to Obama's "present" votes on some anti-abortion measures while serving in the Illinois state Senate. But reporters asked Malcolm why the head of the Illinois Planned Parenthood had said in the Los Angeles Times that Obama was getting in trouble for a "present"-vote strategy that the pro-choice group had devised. Malcolm repeated the quote from the Chicago Tribune, which said that Obama's seat had not been in jeopardy unlike other vulnerable Democrats.

But she didn't have an answer for what came next.

Referencing the battle Planned Parenthood had waged in South Dakota to repeal a law that had banned all abortions in the state, Malcolm was asked why Clinton had done nothing to help support that effort. Obama had sent money and written a letter in support of the group. The head of the South Dakota Planned Parenthood had called Clinton's silence on the issue "mystifying."

Malcolm sidestepped the question, raised Clinton's speech on the Senate floor again, and said that her example then had shown true leadership. Obama only had one sentence on Roe in his floor statement in comparison on Roberts' nomination, Malcolm said. Both senators voted against confirming the chief justice.

by aiko 2007-12-05 07:03AM | 0 recs

Any of the folks attacking Obama have a response to this?  Good lord, this really is a ridiculous non-story.  I respect everyone's right to pick the candidate they like best, but resorting to this kind of fact twisting in a DEMOCRATIC primary is simply absurd.  Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are all strong supporters of choice.  To pretend otherwise is just ridiculous.  

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 07:15AM | 0 recs

Sure. I have a response. I don't vote for Democrats who won't stand up and vote "NO" on bad abortion bills.

by hwc 2007-12-05 07:42AM | 0 recs

Including when the pro-choice organizations in the state have instructed them to do so?  Ha, interesting perspective.  Are you allergic to facts, or do you just not care about them?

by HSTruman 2007-12-05 08:02AM | 0 recs

So you would rather Obama vote NO and the anti-abortion bill pass?

It's was smart political STRATEGY that kept bad bills from being passed.... but don't let that stop you from playing "Rush Limbaugh" on this.

by JoeCoaster 2007-12-05 08:32AM | 0 recs
I don't blame Jerome or the Clintons
Obama just expanded his lead in Iowa. strategic vision who showed them just tied at 29% now has Obama up at 32% with Edwards and Clinton tied at 25% Clinton is in a free fall. heres the link: 2/05/obama_opens_wider_lead_in_iowa_huck abee_tops_romney.html
by rapcetera 2007-12-05 07:03AM | 0 recs
emily's list can suck it

emily's list lost credibility with me when they supported the now out of office republican nancy johnson, credited with doing more than anybody for maintaining the status quo on healthcare.

bill curry on democracy now :...and Christopher Murphy challenging Nancy Johnson, the architect of our modern healthcare system, in the Fifth Congressional District, these are exciting races. They're all in a dead heat. And frankly--

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, Nancy Johnson is the architect of the modern healthcare system?

BILL CURRY: Well, in a very real way, Nancy Johnson has been the single most influential member of her party in Washington on healthcare for the quarter century that she sat in Congress. She chairs the Subcommittee on Healthcare at Ways and Means. And it would actually--if you were to simply say, "Who is the living American who has most given us this debacle of a health system?" it's hard to imagine who, other than Nancy Johnson, you would suggest for that honor. Again, it's like the experience argument, you know: how do you feel that's working? he_battle_for_congress_can_lamont

what the hell was emily's list doing empowering congresspeople responsible for preventing healthcare reform?

by jello 2007-12-05 07:05AM | 0 recs
hillary & santorum

the clintons didn't help the matter, either, when they characterized abortion as something that should be legal and "rare" - which framed it as negative from the onset, setting it up as something to be opposed.

hillary, herself, has some explaining to do:

With Santorum, Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act; she didn't back off even after Republican senators such as Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter pulled their names from the bill citing concerns that the measure would protect those refusing to perform key aspects of their jobs--say, pharmacists who won't fill birth control prescriptions, or police officers who won't guard abortion clinics. 2007/09/hillarys-prayer-3.html

by jello 2007-12-05 07:18AM | 0 recs
try again

That's the whole point, there is no substance to these attacks.  And that's why they haven't and won't get anywhere.

And that "slush fund" (to help fellow Democrats) seems to bother you a lot more than the FEC.

by mboehm 2007-12-05 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: try again

Jerome, (or should I call you Nero?), Rome is burning! Blinded by your your deranged hatred for Senator Obama, you don't seem to have taken notice that your braintrust has left your site; only a few, like SteveM, remain.  Political erudites have been replaced by dorm room sycophants who treat this site more like a candidate fan club than a political blog of record.  Rather than elevate the discourse and restore credibility, you all too willing to help further dumb it down by lobbing absolutely stupid political cheap shots against Senator Obama.  Going after someone with a solid pro-choice record is as head-scratching as the "most disciplined and professional politician in decades" unearthing grade school writings to attack a chief rival. Just as it was reported in the Atlantic yesterday that the Clinton Campaign's hatred of Senator Obama is making them irrational, the same can be said for you.

Reading desparate posts like your's and Taylor Marsh's reminds me of that scene from Chris Rock's movie in which White America learns that a Black man (Chris Rock) is about to be elected President and start running and screaming in mass to the polls.  

While your irrational posts are entertaining, they truly beneath this site--it used to be.

by Dee 2007-12-05 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: try again

excellent comment

by bluedavid 2007-12-05 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: try again

You are too kind.  Well, to me at least. :)

by Steve M 2007-12-05 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: try again

Personally I keep going here less and less because of the "Political erudites have been replaced by dorm room sycophants who treat this site more like a candidate fan club than a political blog of record."

I just don't think jeromes negative posts on Obama are to blame but more the people who will not stand for any treadment of their candidate as less then saintly.

by Ernst 2007-12-06 05:00AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama's

I find this post to be fox news-esque in its ability to state selected facts in such a way as to communicate the opposite of their actual implications.  Generally, I expect much better from this site, but maybe i shouldn't any more.

by bluedavid 2007-12-05 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama

For the record, I'm undecided and don't support any particular candidate (yet).

I've seen both sides of the arguments about the "present" votes. But this whole story sounds eerily familiar. There is the missing of votes on Iran and MoveOn resolutions.

If Obama was that concerned about the Iran resolution, wouldn't he have voted against it? He sits on the committee and as far as I know I haven't heard anything about Obama speaking out against it in committee as the bill was being written or on the floor before it came for a vote. Does anyone have more info on this?

And as for the portion of the resolution branding the Revolutionary Guards a "terrorist organization," didn't Obama sign on to a similar legislation that never made it to the floor?

Either this avoidance of votes is masterful or it is simply another politician and politics as usual.

by scriberal 2007-12-05 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama

is this the vote you mean?

russert to obama on meet the press:

MR. RUSSERT:  I want to talk about Iran, because there's been a discussion about a vote she cast that you mentioned earlier.  Back in March there was a resolution in the Senate, and here's what it said:  "The Secretary of State should designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization." And you voted for that. e/3/

by jello 2007-12-05 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama

Thanks for looking it up. I also found another interesting piece on the issue -- 2007/10/11/did-obama-skip-the-iran-vote/

by scriberal 2007-12-05 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: NOW & Obama

good one.

maybe it was just me, but i couldn't open the site. had to google, then click on cache in order to get in.

by jello 2007-12-05 01:38PM | 0 recs


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