Live Blog Of Bill Clinton Event In Madison, Wisconsin (February 14, 2008)

[Re-published from This liveblog on MyDD will be updated periodically. For the latest please visit the active liveblog at]

Today, Bill Clinton is campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Madison, Wisconsin.  He's scheduled to speak at 2:15 CST.  I'll be live blogging.

1:15: Alright, I'm here and I have my press credentials.  He's speaking at the UW Stock Pavilion.  It's probably worth noting that there are animal feces on the floor (not a lot, but enough to make the place smell a bit and certainly enough to mess up one's shoes, like mine for instance).  This is an especially sour point for me because I was forced to throw out my soda before taking my seat in the press area.  Apparently, poop is okay, but Coke Zero is just going to create too much of a mess.

1:30: Apparently, President Truman spoke here during his campaign for reelection.  I wonder if it was smelly/messy back then.

1:50: They're still seating people.  An inordinate amount of effort appears to be going into the locations of where people stand/stand.

2:12: And the seating continues. As of now, it's just about halfway filled with some people on the floor in front of the stage. So, I'd say there are about 1100-1300 people right now.

2:16:"A Change Will Do You Good" is blaring from the speakers. Something tells me, this is not the song they want to be playing at events for Hillary Clinton.

2:18: And now, they are playing Obama's entrance music - U2's "City Of Blinding Lights." This was certainly not an accident. And this is the kind of silly lame stuff that people criticize the Clintons for.

2:21: Some woman takes the podium. I have no idea who she is (and neither does anyone else in the press area). She talks about tomorrow being Susan B. Anthony's birthday and then goes on to explain why she is supporting Hllary Clinton.

2:23: The speaker notes that "Hillary represents the kind of change we need to get our country back on track." Hmm...okay...

2:26: She criticizes Republicans for cutting assistance to energy, then goes on to say "you don't need to be from Wisconsin to know that people need heat," which is just a very ironic statement given that this building isn't heated and it's freezing.

2:30: Congresswoman Hilda Solis takes the podium. She's from California. She begins, "Bienvenidos! That means welcome in Spanish." Then she starts a chant "What do we want!?" The crowd, obviously confused, did not respond. So she helps them by saying, "Hillary Clinton!" She goes on, "When do we want it?!" Again, only a few responses. She tries another cycle of the chant, but quickly moves into her speech. And explains that she's campaigning in Wisconsin because she believes in Hillary Clinton.

2:37: Solis makes a reference to the low turnout in Milwaukee. She says that there was a right wing radio host, who she didn't name, that was apparently telling people that the event was canceled or postponed. I should note that this event, which is in Madison, has about 2,000 people; I'll get a more precise figure in a bit.

2:43: Some silly girl in the audience keeps inexplicably screaming "Hillary!"

2:44: Bill Clinton takes the podium. The crowd is roars. He begins by talking about Solis' district and how it's comprised of Latinos and African Americans. Someone in the crowd shouts "YEA!," there's an awkward pause, Bill says "huh?" and then moves on with his speech.

2:48: Bill Clinton talks about the founders and their desire to create a more perfect union. And how Hillary believes in their vision, even though, at the time neither she nor Obama would have been allowed to participate in the founding because only white men were allowed to.

2:50: He talks about the recession that most people are beginning to feel. Asks the crowd to compare these past 7 years, with the 90s. Then goes on enumerate some economic problems: growth rates, job rates, types of jobs. Already, this speech has more substance than Obama's speech the preceding night. (I'm not saying one is necessarily better than the other, I'm just saying is all).

2:53: Asks the crowd to raise their hand if they know someone without health insurance. Tells everyone to look around. And then says that this question couldn't even be asked in any other wealthy country around the the world.

2:55: Launches into a discussion about the context in which this election is taking place. It's taking place in the context of: the Iraq war, an international community that's angry with us, climate changes and an economic downturn in the United States. After discussing each of those issues a bit, some more than others, he goes on to remind voters that their decision must be made in the context of these issues. Then offers a calculus for making that decision (not before complimenting the other Democratic primary contenders first, including those that have dropped out).

2:59: Begins his response against Obama's movement of change for change's sake. Argues that it seems a bit unfair to eliminate someone solely because they were part of the struggle during the 90s.

3:00: Asks "how would you define success?" Then offers Hillary's considerations for this question: 1) Will the American people be better off after I leave than when I started?; 2) Will the children and grandchildren of people be better off?; 3) Will the rest of the world respect us more?

3:02: Begins the biographical discussion of Hillary. Notes her decision to stay at law school an extra year in order to fight for children's rights. He forgot what he wanted to say for a second and says to himself, "I've forgotten what I wanted to say." Then provides some context for the children's issue that Hillary was fighting for at the time. This speech is substantive.

3:06: References Hillary's work in the Irish peace process. Notes how when the Irish leaders recently came to Washington to thank Bush for his support, they also requested Hillary be present.

3:09: Continuing with the 'Hillary is a doer' discussion, Pres. Clinton talks about a conversation he recently had with a "crusty Republican," who indicated that he'll have to vote for Hillary because she's the only person that's ever "done something."

3:10: References her work against PCBs, for increased health benefits for national guardsman and a few other things. Challenges: 'you can say that these things don't mean anything, but they do'

3:11: Now, onto climate change and Hillary's plans to combat climate change, while also creating green collar jobs.

[Continued at]

There's more...

2008 Campaign Weekly Roundup (February 4-8, 2008)

[Republished from]

A roundup for February 3-8 on the Democratic side...

  • Super Tuesday Results:
    • Hillary Clinton won Arizona, Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
    • Barack Obama won Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah.
    • The winner of New Mexico is yet to be determined, but with 99% of precincts reporting Hillary Clinton is currently ahead by 1,123 votes.
  • Delegate Standings Projections (including superdelegates):
    • Hillary Clinton: 1076
    • Barack Obama: 1006
  • The Obama campaign has stepped up its argument that if Hillary Clinton is the nominee elected Democratic officials in conservative areas may suffer from a backlash by sending out a mailer that blames the Clintons for Democratic losses between during the 90's and the 2000 election.
  • The Clinton campaign clashes with MSNBC and just two days after TPM asks"Is Obama Being Hurt By MSNBC And His Other Media Worshippers?"
  • Debatarama: Hillary Clinton challenges Obama to a debate a week (including one on Fox News) between now and March 4.  After some back forth, the campaigns eventually agreed to hold two debates - one in Ohio and one in Texas.
  • Obama campaign pushes for the release of Hillary Clinton's tax returns.  When pressed on this issue during a press conference call, Clinton Communications Director obfuscated by asking "When will Senator Obama release the complete details of his relationship with Tony Rezko?"
  • Barack Obama picks up Washington's Governor Chris Gregoire; Clinton gets Rep. Norm Dicks.
  • Fund Race: Following reports that Hillary Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million dollars, the Obama campaign used this information to kick off a fundraising blitz, which the Clinton campaign countered.  Now that the dust has cleared, the totals so far since Super Tuesday show Obama with an edge, but Hillary Clinton isn't getting blown away:
    • Barack Obama: Over $7.5 million (figures disclosed yesterday, so this number is sure to be higher now)
    • Hillary Clinton: About $8 million; 75,000 new donors (figures disclosed today)
  • Bill Clinton promises to be nice going forward, clarifies his role in a Hillary Clinton administration; JW criticizes.

A roundup for February 3-8 on the Republican side...

  • Super Tuesday Results:
    • John McCain won Arizona, California, Connecticu, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Oklahoma.
    • Mitt Romney won Alaska, Colorad, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Utah.
    • Mike Huckabee won Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia.
  • Delegate Standing Projections:
    • John McCain: 724
    • Mitt Romney: 281
    • Mike Huckabee: 196
    • Ron Paul: 14
  • Mitt Romney suspended his presidential campaign on February 6 and noted that he was motivated in part out of concern that continuing his quest would help get Obama or Clinton elected, which would mean surrender to terrorists (Romney's argument).
  • Fred Thompson endorsed John McCain and called on the rest of the party to get behind McCain.
  • Mike Huckabee promises to carry on with his campaign and demonstrated his commitment to the trail by appearing as a guest on the Tyra Banks Show (you have respect anyone that wants something so bad that they're willing to sit across from Tyra for an hour...shudder).
  • James Dobson backed Mike Huckabee; Huckabee's connection to televangelist Kenneth Copeland are likely to be the subject of a Senate investigation into Copeland's ministry (we blogged about Huckabee's connection to Copeland in late January).
  • Ron Paul's blimp was grounded after being vandalized.
  • Question: Ron Paul making a third party run?  Answer: No.
  • Cindy McCain taken to task on her "grudge list" among other things.

There's more...'s Live Blog of South Carolina CNN / CBC Democratic Debate (January 21, 2007)

[Re-published from We will update this post on Donklephant periodically, but for the latest check out the live blog at]

5:51: The debate starts at 8 pm tonight on CNN. It's been a yin/yang sort of day, with the candidates making nice over Martin Luther King while Obama calls Bill Clinton a liar, more or less. Lucky us, we have master of the subtle Wolf Blitzer to guide us through the minefield. Also, note that Clinton might be pressed on reports that she's not going to be back in South Carolina after tonight until Friday.

5:59: One other thing; thankfully, we're Kucinich-free tonight as well. He's not a viable contender at this point, so spare me the whining.

7:40: Back. To commenters, the debate is streaming on Right now Howard Dean is addressing the audience. Presumably, he's not scheming to steal their delegates. (But he also is not addressing a silly emerging controversy that is completely his fault.)

7:42: Rules of the debate. Apparently the Secret Service did not allow any cell phones or pagers into the building. CNN is also excited to show America the candidates walking onto the stage, citing transparency. Hey, they're CNN, they do dumb crap like show candidates walking instead of debating or talking policy. The first half of the debate is a podium debate with rules, and the second half is candidates seated with 'no rules'! CNN is sadly excited about having no rules (if they are so excited, why not do the whole debate in that format?).

7:46: CNN cannot find Wolf. I'm serious. With any luck, he's lost and we'll get a real moderator.

7:47: CNN presses for applause on 40 members of Congress showing up. Well, they're not busy doing anything else, there's no excuse to not be there.

7:48: The CNN Washington Bureau Chief says his Blackberry is going off, and a disembodied voice demands that he get applause; he's run out of things to talk about, and a member of the audience demands he start telling jokes.

7:50: They found Blitzer. Damnit.

7:52: Blitzer says it is fun, and his fourth debate. He introduces himself. Apparently he "did not make it up for the first Gulf War" and it is his real name. This is absurd.

There's more...

The Presidential Politics of Yucca Mountain

[Re-published from]

Hillary Clinton has vowed to end the Yucca Mountain project if she were elected, and followed that up with a call for hearings on the subject, although there's controversy that she was not present for past hearings on the subject.

She issued the following statement on Yucca in May this year:

"I have long opposed storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. This latest attempt to push forward development of the project is particularly reckless, as it aims to increase spending and begin construction on the site prior to license approval. There are far too many unanswered questions about both the geology of the site and integrity of the science to support the decision to store waste at Yucca at all - let alone to justify accelerating the site's development.

Senator Clinton also said, "Continued attempts to push this misguided project forward are both disappointing and irresponsible. As President, I will work with the scientific community to examine all options for safe, secure storage of nuclear waste as part of a comprehensive national energy policy."

John Edwards voted for the Yucca Mountain site in the Senate, but backed away from the vote when he was named VP in 2004. Take this article from July 2004:
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., spoke with Edwards and Kerry shortly after the announcement and said he received assurances that Edwards would defer to Kerry's Yucca stance. Kerry has pledged that the mountain 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas will not hold a repository if he is elected president.

"I've spoken to both of them today," Reid said. "John Edwards is totally on board on nuclear waste. He is committed to having no nuclear waste dump in Nevada."

In 2000, Edwards voted against a bill for temporary storage of waste at Yucca. That bill passed and then President Bill Clinton vetoed it. Edwards then voted to override Clinton's veto. In 2002, he voted for the permanent repository.

"Remember, he voted with us and this was a big issue in North Carolina," Reid said, referring to the Tar Heel state's nuclear power plants. "He said to me on the floor (for the 2000 override), 'If you need me, I'll be with you,' and I said, 'Well, we've got enough votes now.' ''

Barack Obama has opposed Yucca by calling for regional dumping sites for the nuclear waste, but also argued against storing too much waste in Illinois, which has 11 nuclear power plants. In addition, Obama has ties to a nuclear energy company with significant interest in nuclear development. Take this article from May:
Obama has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nation's largest nuclear power operator. Exelon Corp. is the second-largest contributor to Obama's presidential campaign, after financial services company UBS, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Exelon executives and employees have given $161,000 to Obama's presidential bid. He's received an additional $86,000 since 1998 from Exelon's political action committee, employees and predecessor, Commonwealth Edison. Obama got money from the company in his 1998 bid for the Illinois state Senate and for his failed 2000 congressional campaign. Exelon also donated to Obama's PAC and his successful 2004 U.S. Senate bid.

Someone donating that much cash wants an ear in the White House. So what does Exelon Chief Executive Officer John Rowe want? Fortune magazine, in a May 15, 2006, article titled "Meet Mr. Nuke," details Rowe's call to solve the waste problem before additional nuclear power plants are built. "We have to be able to look the public in the eye and say, 'If we build a plant, here's where the waste will go,' " Rowe told Fortune.

The Yucca Mountain Project is the "linchpin" to solving the waste problem and building new plants, Rowe told U.S. News and World Report for an Oct. 22, 2006, article, "Mired in Yucca muck." Rowe is co-chairman of the National Commission on Energy Policy, a privately funded advocacy group formed in the aftermath of Dick Cheney's secret energy task force. Rowe is also on the board of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

If it were just Rowe's support, or just the donations, or just the Domenici letter, Obama might be able to successfully play the Edwards card to Democratic caucus voters. Iraq, health care and education still trump Yucca Mountain among Nevadans. But having that combination of money, the executive's advocacy and a letter the candidate wrote could definitely tip the scales.

Maybe that's why Obama didn't bring up Yucca Mountain during his big public rally in Las Vegas in February.

The Obama campaign said Monday the candidate did not accept money from Exelon's lobbyists. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the letter shows Obama "doesn't believe any state should be burdened with storing the waste from others as long as the state has a storage site to deal with its own waste."

And that's not even considering the politician with the most history with Yucca Mountain - Bill Richardson, who dealt with the issue as Secretary of Energy for Bill Clinton. Take this blog post from a Nevada journalist:
Richardson is also the Democrat with the most Yucca Mountain baggage to deal with. Under his tenure as head of the Department of Energy, the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain progressed past several milestones. While he was secretary, Richardson approved the $3.1 billion contract with Bechtel for work on the project and the DOE issued a controversial report validating Yucca Mountain's suitability for the project. But Richardson was spared from making the final recommendation on the site. (That was left to the Bush administration.) Although the project progressed under Richardson, he hasn't exactly been a Yucca cheerleader. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Tony Batt, Richardson had a solid record voting against the project while he was a member of Congress. As energy secretary, Richardson demanded an inspector general's investigation when questions arose over whether the DOE's scientific study was designed to sell the project to Congress. Richardson also backed President Clinton's veto of a bill that would have approved Yucca Mountain as the temporary storage site for nuclear waste.

Richardson has tried to make the issue moot politically, such as this statement:
He also spoke about specific Nevada issues. Richardson told reporters he agreed with a recent statement by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., that the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste facility is dead. But he added, "The Bush Administration tries to revive it every year."

It would be more than a little interesting if Clinton was not hurt by the Yucca Mountain policy of Bill Clinton but Richardson is. It seems unlikely, though, that any of the Democrats will advocate anything significant at Yucca Mountain.

Republicans by and large support using Yucca Mountain as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Fred Thompson voted in favor of Yucca while in the Senate, and his new campaign manager in waiting Spencer Abraham has been said to have been fervent on the issue.

Republicans, such as John McCain, who have been in Congress have similar records.

The two leading candidates who have not served in Congress, Giuliani and Romney, are trying to leverage that into hinting at not supporting Yucca.

Giuliani, for instance, said the following in March:

Giuliani said he was aware of the safety concerns with the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain and "somebody would have to take a good look at that."

When pressed, he did not rule out the repository, however.

"One of the things you've got to be real careful about with nuclear power is you've got to make sure it's really, really safe," he said. "Frankly, some of the problems that have occurred with Yucca Mountain are matters of grave concern, so you'd have to take a good look at that."

Those concerns should not kill the nuclear power industry, he said.

"We're going to have to find a way to expand nuclear power, because it's one of the ways in which we can give ourselves (energy) independence and also not have it impact on the environment, on pollution, global warming, the things that concern people," he said.

Mitt Romney has been dodging Yucca questions for the most part, answering questions about nearly everything else a week ago in a Nevada stop except Yucca.

In a stop yesterday, Romney talked about Yucca, but said little:

Campaigning Tuesday in Nevada, Romney dodged questions about his stance on the construction of a nuclear waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The state and most of its voters oppose the project at Yucca Mountain.

The former Massachusetts governor suggested that he might be sympathetic to their fight, but he fell short of taking a firm stance.

``I'm a federalist, I believe in the authority of states, and clearly Nevadans have a lot to say about this and other policies,'' Romney told reporters in Las Vegas.

``My position is I'm not going to do anything that puts the health or well-being of Nevadans at risk,'' he said. ``It's something I'm going to look at further as the results of the study that's ongoing are provided.''

Right now, Yucca does not seem to be the hot button issue in Nevada. But it's looming right beneath the surface, and if any event happens with energy policy, it could easily become the issue, either in the primary or general election.

There's more...

Pay No Attention To This "Controversy"

Visitors to the Drudge Report right now are greeted with a large headline that Michelle Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for the way she ran her house. It's taken from this article in the Chicago Sun-Times which is incredibly complimentary towards her. The paragraph in question was almost an aside, saying:

At another stop, in Atlantic, Michelle said she travels with her husband in part "to model what it means to have family values," adding "if you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House." She didn't elaborate, but it could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons.

I would not have read Clinton into these comments had I read them without the commentary. It justs seems really out of place for what I've seen from Michelle Obama, who often talks about her own home life on the trail. Sure enough, Barack Obama said as much as soon as anyone asked him if the comments were about Clinton:
In a just-concluded conference call, Obama responded to the suggestion that his wife was slamming the Clintons. "She wasn't making any reference to that," he said. "If anybody who's been listening to Michelle on the stump, she's talked about the importance of family, and the need for our family to make sure that we're thinking about our kids during the process of this campaign. And she's repeated that in every stump speech. So, you know, there are no references beyond her point that we've had an administration that talks a lot about family values, but doesn't follow through on it, and part of the challenge for us in this campaign is making sure that we are talking the talk but also walking the walk. That's all it was referring to, and as I said, that's been a standard aspect of her speech for a long time.

TPM Cafe has the transcript of the line in question:
That one of the most important things that we need to know about the next President of the United States is, is he somebody that shares our values? Is he somebody that respects family? Is a good and decent person? So our view was that, if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can'’t run the White House. So, so we’'ve adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he’s traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I’'m home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere, but they don’t care. They just know that I was at home to tuck them in at night, and it keeps them grounded, and, and children, the children in our country have to know that they come first. And our girls do and that’s why we’re doing this. We’re in this race for not just our children, but all of our children.

The facts seem to be in alignment that this isn't about how Hillary Clinton runs her house.

There's more...


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