Travelin' With Barack

four years ago, wisconsin was howard dean's last stand.  considered the most favorable state to dean on the schedule after new hampshire, the dean nation buckled up to crash the gates.  travelling with barack, there's a whole other vibe.  there's some storming going on, but it's no last stand.

barack started out friday quite solemn.  his first words were about he tragedy in dekalb and how senseless the violence was, speaking of the need for "determination to do whatever it takes to eradicate this violence from our streets, from our schools, from our neighborhoods, and our cities." then he went on to talk about the economy, the dominant theme (for barack) in wisconsin, using it to pivot to his promise to change our current political quagmire.  he accused hillary of being in the "business as usual business."

after the doors for the press conference closed, despite the fact that we were at least a floor down, and almost a street block away, the crowd above us was making themselves known.  o-bam-ah!   o-bam-ah!  yes we can!  yes we can!  i started to think i was in the wrong place.  the fun was clearly upstairs.  regardless, i had committed to doing the press thing today, so here i was.

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Wolfson and Axelrod: Debating over Debates

Below is an exchange between Howard Wolfson (Team Hillary) and David Axelrod (Team Obama) during Newshour. The gist of the exchang is basically this: Wolfson alleges that Obama doesn't want to debate Clinton in Wisconsin because he's leading in Wisconsi and is fine with debates in Ohio and Texas because he's behind in both those states. Axelrod's argument is that there's been so many debates already, why do another one and also that Obama prefers to campaign directly to the people. Wolfson then trips up Axelrod, here:

<JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me bring up debates. Your camp is criticizing the Obama camp for not agreeing to a debate in Wisconsin. There have already been 18 debates; there are two more that are scheduled. Why are debates so important at this point?</p>

HOWARD WOLFSON: Well, we've only had one one-on-one debate, and it had enormous ratings. It proved to be enormously helpful to the people of California and everyone who voted on Super Tuesday in making a good judgment about who to vote for.

Senator Obama is happy to debate in states where he is behind, Texas and Ohio. He does not want to debate in a state where he is ahead, Wisconsin. There's nothing more old about politics than that.

We think that the people of Wisconsin deserve to have a debate in their state. Senator Obama refuses. He does not want to discuss the issues where he differs with Senator Hillary Clinton face-to-face in a state where he's behind. I'm sorry, a state where he's ahead.

JUDY WOODRUFF: David Axelrod?

DAVID AXELROD: I think it's a curious thing, because Howard just said we had one one-on-one debate in California where we were well behind.

HOWARD WOLFSON: That was my point.

DAVID AXELROD: And we ended up basically surging in that state and tying on Election Day based on that debate. It doesn't matter where we debate, Howard. Those eight million people who watched that debate were watching all over the country.>

So basically, Axelrod agrees that when Obama is behind, he has no problems with debates and he also agrees that debates help the candidate who is trailing.

So Wolfson was right, Obama's not debating in Wisconsin because he's leading in that race...which, admittedly, I think is a fair political strategy but it reeks of politics as usual. And therein lies my problem with Obama -- I call it Obama-hubris. He presents himself as this figure who is above politics, an anti-politician if you will, who will bring an end to politics as usual, but when you get past the soaring rhetoric, what you get is, well...politics as usual.

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Clinton Ads in Wisconsin Put Pressure On Obama

Hillary Clinton isn't letting up in her assault on the airwaves on Barack Obama for not agreeing to debate in Wisconsin before the state's Tuesday primary.

Her campaign launched its second TV attack ad this week, and this one uses the classic contrast ad device of using their two photos and also slaps Obama on other issues.

"Barack Obama still won't agree to debate in Wisconsin," the narrator says. "And now he's hiding behind false attack ads. Maybe he doesn't want to explain why his healthcare plan leaves out 15 million people and Hillary's covers everyone. Or why he voted to pass billions in Bush giveaways to the oil companies, but Hillary didn't. Or why he said he might raise the retirement age and cut benefits for Social Security. But Hillary won't.

"Why won't Barack Obama debate these differences?" the announcer concludes. "Wisconsin deserves better."

Latest polls show Hillary closing the gap in Wisconsin.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iuypM 0fHL7WjvFC5zvGCFLGb53CQD8UR1E080

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Weighing Hawaii and Wisconsin.

To all Obama supporters
For the past few days I have been hearing how Hawaii could possibly go for Clinton for the following reasons: Senator Inouye has endorsed Clinton, therefore the Hawaii Democratic machine favors Clinton. Clinton surrogate Chelsea has hit the state.
Well both factors are negated by the fact that Representative Neil Abercrombie (one of the two representatives Hawaii has, and the one that represents the entire city on Honolulu)  endorsed Obama and is much more out spoken about his endorsement than Inouye is about his. And Obama has a bigger surrogate, his half sitter, who has lived and worked in Hawaii her entire life, and has been working for Obama in Hawaii ever since he started his presidential campaign.
In no shape or form does Hawaii look good for Clinton, and the following articles would seem to give force to that opinion.

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/p bcs.dll/article?AID=/20080210/NEWS05/802 100359/1001/NEWS05
http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/p bcs.dll/article?AID=200880213045
http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/p bcs.dll/article?AID=2008802140354

But I am not saying focus all of your attention onto Wisconsin, just most of it.
Wisconsin is 4 times the prize that Hawaii is, so at best I can see Obama walking away from Hawaii with 15 delegates, but in Wisconsin he could obtain as many as 55 or 60 delegates depending on how strongly he wins in Wisconsin. Seeing how Texas will either be a delegate tie for Obama, or possibly even a popular victory for him, Wisconsin is the state that could put him over the top in the long run.
But all means work Hawaii, but lets make Wisconsin the final nail in Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign grave.
Hillary Clinton will do a great job for us in the Senate for the next 20 to 30 years (or longer), will keep President Obama on the straight and narrow in regards to Universal Health Care, and I have no doubt that within the next 20 years we will have a woman president (my hopes are on McCaskill in 2016). Hillary Clinton doesn't have to be the first woman president, and we would be better served by a woman president that is not nearly as polarizing and divisive as Hillary Clinton is.

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Hillary Strikes Back In New Wis. T.V. Ad

Today, Wisconsin for Hillary launched two new 30-second television ads statewide.  The ad "Deserves" responds to Senator Barack Obama's false attack ad and asks Sen. Obama why he has not agreed to debate in Wisconsin. The second ad entitled "Rebuild" reaffirms Hillary's commitment to rebuild the middle class.

The new ads come four days before Wisconsin residents head to the polls on February 19th.

To watch "Deserves," please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQKle81Ri fk

To watch "Rebuild" please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuwUNRSQr EY

Following is the script for "Deserves":

Announcer:"Barack Obama still won't agree to debate in Wisconsin.

And now he's hiding behind false attack ads.

Maybe he doesn't want to explain why his health care plan leaves out 15 million people and Hillary's covers everyone.

Or why he voted to pass billions in Bush giveaways to the oil companies, but Hillary didn't.

Or why he said he might raise the retirement age and cut benefits  for social security.   But Hillary won't.

Why wont Barack Obama debate these differences?

Wisconsin deserves better.

Hillary Clinton:"I'm Hillary Clinton and I approved this message

BACKUP:
The ScriptThe Facts
Barack Obama still won't agree to debate in Wisconsin.

Screen: Barack Obama still won't agree to debate in Wisconsin.
A.P. Headline: 'Sen. Clinton accepts debate at Marquette, no word on Obama' [Associated Press, 2/9/08]
And now he's hiding behind false attack ads.

Maybe he doesn't want to explain why his health care plan leaves out 15 million people and Hillary's covers everyone.

Screen: Obama's health care plan leaves out 15 million out. [New America Foundation, 12/6/07]  Hillary's plan covers everyone.
New America Foundation: 'Even with other cost saving measures and a child mandate, we think that it is very likely that a least 15 million American would remain uninsured.'"Recent estimates suggest that a plan with uniform generous subsidies but without a mandate would cover no more than one-half of the uninsured in the U.S. Even with other cost-saving measures and a child mandate, we think that it is very likely that at least 15 million Americans would remain uninsured." [New America Foundation, Policy Brief, 12/06/07]

FactCheck.org: Experts agree Obama's plan would leave 15 million to 26 million uncovered."Obama is being misleading when he says his proposal would 'cover everyone.' It would make coverage available to all, but experts we consulted estimate that 15 million to 26 million wouldn't take it up unless required to do so." [FactCheck.org, 2/15/08]

Or why he voted to pass billions in Bush giveaways to the oil companies, but Hillary didn't.

Screen:Obama voted to pass billions in Bush giveaways to the oil companies. [HR 6, 7/20/05] Hillary didn't.
Obama voted for Bush's 2005 energy bill that contained $6 billion in oil and gas subsidies. [HR 6, Votes #212 and #213, 7/29/05; Public Citizen, 8/2005]
Or why he said he might raise the retirement age and cut benefits for social security.  But Hillary won't.

Screen: Obama might raise the retirement age and cut benefits for social security. [ABC News, 5/17/07] Hillary won't.
Obama: 'Everything should be on the table.' Stephanopoulos: You've also said that with Social Security everything should be on the table.
Obama: Yes.

Stephanopoulos: Raising the retirement age?

Obama: Everything should be on the table.

Stephanopoulos: Raising payroll taxes?

Obama: Everything should be on the table. I think we should approach it the same way Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan did back in 1983. They came together, I don't want to lay out my preferences beforehand, but what I know is that Social Security is solvable. It is not as difficult a problem as we're going to have with Medicaid and Medicare. ["This Week," 5/13/07]


Obama says 'everything has to be on the table' and he would make 'benefit and tax changes' to Social Security."I will work in a bipartisan way to maintain Social Security's solvency for future generations. I believe everything has to be on the table that is genuinely intended to strengthen the program. We can close the gap with an equitable mix of benefit and tax changes similar to those recommended by the bipartisan Greenspan Commission in 1983." [washingtonpost.com]

Why won't Barack Obama debate these differences?

Wisconsin deserves better.

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