July 12, 2010: Financial Regulation Overhaul Set to Pass & Obama meets with Benjamin Netanyahu

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

The President & Senate Democratic Leaders before final votes on Wall Street Reform, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/13/10

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Obama White House tries to turn around bad poll numbers: The polls aren’t looking good for President Obama. ABC News says 51% would prefer to see a Republican Congress elected in November, as a check on Obama. A CBS News poll says only 13% of Americans say Obama’s economic plan has helped them personally…. – USA Today, 7-14-10
  • After 18 months of Obama, Americans already feeling fonder of Dick Cheney, less so of Al Gore: The new Gallup Poll, released overnight, shows that a near-majority of Americans now views almost-president Gore unfavorably (49%), while 44% are favorable, down 14 points since his Nobel Prize glory days of 2007. As the most recent former White House No. 2, Cheney had the most to improve in favorable ratings. And, actually, he did improve the most in the opinion of surveyed Americans.
    Cheney’s robust unfavorable rating melted 11 points during the past 18 months of the Democrat duo of Obama-Biden to 52% now. While the Republican’s favorables surged from their low point of 30% all the way up to an impressive 36% now. That’s a stunning 20% improvement. LAT, 7-14-10
  • VP Favorable Ratings: Gore Down; Cheney, Biden Flat Americans more negative than positive toward Gore, Cheney: Americans’ current views of former Vice President Al Gore have become significantly more negative compared with three years ago, and are among the worst for him in more than a decade. The July 8-11 Gallup poll, finding 44% of Americans viewing Gore favorably and 49% unfavorably, was conducted after the announcement that he and his wife were separating, and amid a police investigation into allegations that he committed sexual assault in 2006. Gallup last measured Gore’s image in October 2007, after he was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, when 58% of Americans had a favorable view of him. All three party groups are less favorable toward Gore now compared with 2007, though his rating has declined more among Republicans (from 32% to 16%) and independents (from 57% to 43%) than among Democrats (from 79% to 72%)… – Gallop.com, 7-14-10
  • Poll finds Pennsylvania Senate race in dead heat: Pennsylvania’s Senate race is dead even, with Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey both drawing 43% of support in a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
    At this point in the race, momentum appears to be on Sestak’s side. He was down 2 percentage points in May and 8 percentage points in an April survey by Quinnipiac.
    “Congressman Joe Sestak, a decided underdog who knocked off U.S. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, has now closed an 8-point gap in the last three months to tie Pat Toomey,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement…. – USA Today, 7-14-10
  • Crist leads 3-way Senate race in Florida: Florida Governor Charlie Crist holds a narrow edge over Republican Marco Rubio in a three-way Senate race dominated by economic worries, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
    Crist, who left the Republican Party to run as an independent after Rubio mounted a primary challenge against him, leads Rubio 35 percent to 28 percent. Democrat Kendrick Meek trails with 17 percent less than four months before the November election for the open Senate seat.
    Crist holds a similar 34 to 29 percent edge over Rubio in a three-way race against Democrat Jeff Greene, who is locked in a tough party primary fight with Meek. The Florida primary will be held August 24.
    In the race to succeed Crist as governor, Republican Rick Scott leads Democrat Alex Sink by 34 percent to 31 percent. But Sink leads slightly, 31 percent to 30 percent, when matched against Republican Bill McCollum. McCollum and Scott are waging a bitter Republican primary race…. – Reuters, 7-13-10

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Shakes Hand with Jacob Lew, His Nominee for OMB   Director

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

  • Obama enlists Bill Clinton’s aid on economy: U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to lift sagging confidence in his economic stewardship by enlisting the help of predecessor Bill Clinton, as a leading business group issued a scathing critique of the administration’s policies… – Reuters, 7-14-10
  • Major banking bill faces final vote this week: President Barack Obama on Tuesday secured the 60 votes he needs in the Senate to pass a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations, all but ensuring that he soon will sign into law one of the top initiatives of his presidency. With the votes in hand to overcome Republican delaying tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday took steps to end debate on the bill Thursday, setting the stage for final passage perhaps later in the day. The House already has passed the bill.
    “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses, it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he prodded the Senate to act quickly…. – AP, 7-14-10
  • White House Official: Recovery Act Has Created 3 Mln Jobs: The Obama administration’s stimulus push has saved or created about 3 million jobs and is on track to save an additional 500,000 by the end of the year, according to a new report by President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers…. – WSJ, 7-14-10
  • For Obama, more on legislative priorities: President Barack Obama is discussing legislative priorities with Democratic congressional leaders for a second day Wednesday. The president met with the Senate Democratic leadership on Tuesday. On Wednesday it’s the House Democrats’ turn. Obama is getting the meetings in before Congress takes its August break…. – AP, 7-14-10
  • Sarah Palin rebuts NAACP charge of Tea Party racism: Using her favored and unorthodox means of communicating with nearly 2 million followers via her Facebook page, Sarah Palin Tuesday night expressed sadness over an as yet unpublished NAACP convention resolution accusing Tea Party activists of tolerating racist elements in their midst. The former Republican governor of Alaska, who appears to be positioning herself for a possible run at the 2012 GOP presidential nomination using the disgruntled Tea Party’s concerns over expanding and fiscally irresponsible government as a major portion of her base, said:
    I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow “racists.” The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand. – 7-14-10
  • As NAACP aims to stay in national debate, charge of tea party racism draws fire: One thing is clear as the NAACP gathers this week for its 101st annual meeting: The civil rights organization is intent on being seen as still relevant. Even former Alaska governor Sarah Palin sent out a Twitter message and posted a statement on her Facebook page, helping to make the NAACP convention a hot topic on conservative Web sites. She condemned the organization’s passage of a resolution denouncing what it called “racist elements” within the “tea party” movement…. – WaPo, 7-14-10
  • Pelosi, White House Feud Over Gibbs’ House Prediction: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the driving force behind the Obama agenda in Congress, sharply criticized White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during a closed-door House Democratic caucus meeting late Tuesday, according to Democratic sources.
    Pelosi, irked since Sunday by what she and other top Democrats considered Gibbs’ careless and dismissive comments that Democrats could lose their House majority this November, upbraided a top White House aide as she knocked Gibbs’ unwelcome handicapping of House races.
    “How could he [Gibbs] know what’s going on in our districts?” Pelosi said, according to Democrats who attended the meeting. “Some may weigh his words more closely than others. We have made our disagreements known to the White House.”… – Fox News, 7-14-10
  • Obama To Nominate Former Clinton Official To Head OMB: President Barack Obama plans to nominate a former Clinton administration official to head the Office of Management and Budget, which is grappling with how to best reduce a $1.4 trillion deficit while the economy is on shaky ground. Obama will nominate Jacob Lew, who ran OMB from 1998 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton… WSJ, 7-13-10
  • Nelson ensures 60 votes for bank regulation bill: All but clearing the way for passage of financial regulations, conservative Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Tuesday he will vote for the sweeping overhaul of banking. His support ensures the legislation now has 60 votes to clear the Senate and land on President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. The House passed the bill last month.
    “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses , it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he announced his nomination of Jacob Lew to be the new director of the White House budget office…. – AP, 7-13-10
  • Senior Republican wins weeklong delay on Kagan: The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed scheduled action Tuesday to send Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate for confirmation, setting a panel vote for next week.
    Republicans insisted on the delay, saying they needed more time to review Kagan’s written answers to questions they posed to her after her confirmation hearings, and to inquire still further into how she would behave as a justice…. – AP, 7-13-10
  • NAACP to vote on controversial resolution condemning ‘tea party’ supporters: Members of the NAACP will vote Tuesday on a resolution that condemns what the group calls “explicitly racist behavior” by supporters of the “tea party.” The resolution, which is expected to pass, pits the civil rights group against the conservative grass-roots movement, which has repeatedly denied allegations of racism…. – WaPo, 7-13-10
  • Obama looks to Bush’s worldwide strategy on AIDS: President Barack Obama is trying to bring home some of the much-lauded strategies his predecessor used to fight AIDS around the world. The national strategy for combatting HIV and AIDS the Obama administration released Tuesday credits the Bush-era international campaign against AIDS for setting clear targets and ensuring a variety of agencies and groups worked together smoothly to achieve them…. – AP, 7-13-10
  • US should better define, counter Islamic extremism: The Obama administration’s recent move to drop rhetorical references to Islamic radicalism is drawing fire in a new report warning the decision ignores the role religion can play in motivating terrorists. Several prominent counterterror experts are challenging the administration’s shift in its recently unveiled National Security Strategy, saying the terror threat should be defined in order to fight it. The question of how to frame the conflict against al-Qaida and other terrorists poses a knotty problem. The U.S. is trying to mend fences with Muslim communities while toughening its strikes against militant groups. In the report, scheduled to be released this week, counterterrorism experts from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argue that the U.S. could clearly articulate the threat from radical Islamic extremists “without denigrating the Islamic religion in any way.” President Barack Obama has argued that words matter, and administration officials have said that the use of inflammatory descriptions linking Islam to the terror threat feed the enemy’s propaganda and may alienate moderate Muslims in the U.S…. – AP, 7-12-10
  • Congress returns from recess to even more of the same: Congress will return this week from the July 4th recess to a pile of unfinished business. Yes, the same might be said of every Congress returning from every recess since lawmakers wore wigs and tights. But this time it could be a big problem, especially for the party in power. When Barack Obama took office and the Democrats took control of Washington, they made ambitious promises about how much they’d get done, with or without Republican help. Now, with relatively few working days left before the November midterm elections (in part because lawmakers granted themselves another long break beginning at the end of July), they might not be able to convince skeptical, frustrated voters that they delivered — and that they deserve to stay in charge…. – WaPo, 7-11-10
  • U.S. might launch 2nd suit against Arizona immigration law, Holder says: 2nd lawsuit weighed on immigration law. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Sunday that if the federal government does not stop Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect, it might launch a second legal challenge to combat any racial profiling that occurs. The Obama administration is suing Arizona over the law, set to take effect July 29, which would make it a state crime for someone to be in the country illegally. During “lawful stops,” local law enforcement officers will be required to question people about their immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they might be illegal immigrants. WaPo, 7-11-10
  • Governors: Obama’s Immigration Suit Is ‘Toxic’: Democratic governors expressed “grave” concerns to White House officials this weekend about the Obama administration’s suit against Arizona’s new immigration law, warning it could cost the party in crucial elections this fall, The New York Times reported late Sunday. The closed-door meeting took place at the National Governors Association in Boston on Saturday, according to two unnamed governors who spoke to the Times. “Universally the governors are saying, ‘We’ve got to talk about jobs, and all of a sudden we have immigration going on,'” Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, was quoted as saying. “It is such a toxic subject, such an important time for Democrats.” The Arizona law, which is facing a U.S. Justice Department challenge, requires police to question people about their immigration status while enforcing other laws if there’s reason to suspect someone is in the country illegally….. – Fox News, 7-12-10
  • With votes looming, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan plays it cool: With committee and floor votes beginning this week on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, skeptical lawmakers could not resist the opportunity to search for a weak point that might provoke last-minute controversy. Six Republican senators submitted questions that produced 74 pages of written responses from Kagan. In ritual form, her answers — released Friday — were finely sanded to avoid any clamor. Kagan carefully hewed to the themes she struck at last month’s hearings: In cases in which she voiced opinion, she said, it was that of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she once worked…. – WaPo, 7-10-10
  • Obama changes VA rule to help vets get stress disorder aid: War-zone veterans will no longer have to submit specific evidence to get benefits and treatment for post-traumatic stress….- LAT, 7-11-10
  • PM: Israel-US alliance strong: “The alliance between Israel and the US is stable and strong. It has the support of the American administration and people,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Sunday. Netanyahu said that he reiterated to Obama “Israel’s desire to proceed immediately to direct negotiations with the PA, with the goal being to advance the diplomatic process and try to reach a peace agreement.”… – JPost, 7-11-10
  • Governors avoid debate on Arizona’s immigration law: The topic’s not on their convention agenda, but it’s on everyone’s mind as demonstrators rally nearby…. – LAT, 7-11-10
  • No full Social Security benefits until age 70?: Young Americans might not get full Social Security retirement benefits until they reach age 70 if some trial balloons that prominent lawmakers of both parties are floating become law. No one who’s slated to receive benefits in the next decade or two is likely to be affected, but there’s a gentle, growing and unusually bipartisan push to raise the retirement age for full Social Security benefits for people born in the 1960s and after. The suggestions are being taken seriously after decades when they were politically impossible because officials – and, increasingly, their constituents – are confronting the inescapable challenge of the nation’s enormous debt…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 7-11-10
  • Obama turns a corner on Middle East peace: Two bits of good news emerged during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brief visit to Washington this week: First, that Netanyahu and President Barack Obama publicly reaffirmed the strength of U.S.-Israeli relations, and, second, that Netanyahu said he expects direct talks with the Palestinians to begin soon. Both items suggest a maturing of the Obama administration’s foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East, and may even portend real results soon. Israel has been participating in indirect negotiations with the Palestinians through former Sen. George Mitchell since Obama named him a special envoy last year…. – Detroit Free Press, 7-10-10
  • In spy swap, agents were pawns in a practiced game: In the rapid-fire spy swap, the United States and Russia worked together as only old enemies could. Less than two weeks after the FBI broke the spy ring in a counterintelligence operation cultivated for a decade, 10 Russian secret agents caught in the U.S. are back in Russia, four convicted of spying for the West have been pardoned and released by Moscow, and bilateral relations appear on track again. In describing how the swap unfolded, U.S. officials made clear that even before the arrests, Washington wanted not only to take down a spy network but to move beyond the provocative moment…. – AP, 7-10-10
  • U.S.-Russia spy swap is complete: The speed of the exchange has some wondering what was behind the deal…. – LAT, 7-9-10
  • Going Nuclear: Romney vs. Obama (and Kerry): Yesterday Mitt Romney blasted Barack Obama via a Washington Post op-ed denouncing Obama’s nuclear Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia as the president’s “worst foreign policy mistake yet.” Romney complains that the Russians “badly out-negotiated” Obama and came out with a decided strategic advantage in the treaty, including the power to walk away from the treaty if the U.S. presses too far ahead with missile defense systems. Today, John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, hit back at Romney (also in the Post), calling his argument “baloney,” and tossing in some tart insults:
    I have nothing against Massachusetts politicians running for president. But the world’s most important elected office carries responsibilities, including the duty to check your facts even if you’re in a footrace to the right against Sarah Palin. More than that, you need to understand that when it comes to nuclear danger, the nation’s security is more important than scoring cheap political points…. – Time, 7-7-10
  • Relief well drilling ahead of schedule: While workers keep drilling the wells, the battle over President Barack Obama’s effort to suspend deepwater drilling moves Thursday to a federal appeals court in Louisiana. Oral arguments in a case that challenged the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling start in the afternoon in New Orleans. An advocacy group called Alliance for Justice made a pre-emptive strike against the court on Wednesday. It released a scathing report alleging that many appeals court judges have extensive ties to the oil industry, including the three-judge panel that will preside over the drilling ban hearing. As the case proceeds, others hope the seas will be calm enough for vessels to return to cleaning up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. CNN, 7-8-10
  • Department of Justice seeks injunction against Arizona immigration law: In a lawsuit filed July 6 in federal court in Arizona, the U.S. Department of Justice made good on its promise to challenge Arizona’s immigration law. Arizona law S.B. 1070, due to take effect July 29, was challenged on the basis that it unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, accoridng to a July 6 news release from the Department of Justice.
    In the brief, the administration said that “the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country,” the release said.
    The Department of Justice has requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of the law, the news release said. The department believes law’s operation will cause irreparable harm, the release said.
    “Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in the news release. “But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country’s safety.” The Packer, 7-6-10
  • President Obama wants injunction to stall Arizona’s controversial new immigration law: The Obama administration sued Arizona on Tuesday to kill, or at least stall, the state’s hotly disputed new law allowing local cops to target suspected illegal immigrants. In seeking an injunction to block the law from going into effect July 29, Attorney General Eric Holder said he sympathized with Arizonans and others who are “frustrated with illegal immigration.”
    But “setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility,” Holder declared, and “seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.” His lawsuit said it’s also flat-out unconstitutional, usurping federal power to control the borders…. – NY Daily News, 7-7-10
  • Obama trying carrot, not stick, on Netanyahu: Netanyahu got off easy in Washington: He left strengthened by Obama and without having to make any real concessions. Haaretz, 7-7-10
  • Obama Bypassing Senate for New Medicare Chief: Obama to use a recess appointment to put a new director in place for Medicare and Medicaid… – ABC News, 7-7-10
  • Obama Returns to Missouri, Site of Slim 2008 Loss: For some in President Obama’s White House, Missouri remains the state that got away, nearly two years after his election. Mr. Obama was the first Democrat since 1964 to win Indiana and the first since 1976 to win North Carolina. But his loss in Missouri by the narrowest of slivers (fewer than 4,000 votes) was of special disappointment. After all, the state has sided with the winner of the presidential race in nearly every election in the past century. Who would wish to be remembered for breaking that sort of trend? Now, even as President Obama juggles a barrage of dire matters, relatively calm Missouri seems to continue to carry some particular attention for the White House. This week, Mr. Obama will be in the state again, raising money in a competitive Senate campaign in a challenging political season for Democrats…. – NYT, 7-6-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Outsider Wins Alabama GOP Gov Nomination: Self-described outsider Robert Bentley won Alabama’s Republican nomination for governor Tuesday night over establishment candidate Bradley Byrne with a strong showing in rural areas.
    In the unofficial count, Bentley had 56 percent of the vote to Byrne’s 44 percent with 83 percent of the precincts reporting. Bryne ran strong in the state’s four big counties, but Bentley outperformed Byrne in small counties, including areas where Tim James and Roy Moore did well when they ran third and fourth in the June 1 Republican primary…. – AP, 7-14-10
  • GOP candidate Angle rallies GOP against Reid: U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Friday denounced Majority Leader Harry Reid as a “desperate man” who was distorting her conservative record while ignoring a state that leads the nation in joblessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies. A day after President Barack Obama delivered a mocking indictment of her candidacy at a rally in Las Vegas, Angle accused the president and Reid of pushing billions of dollars in stimulus spending while Nevada struggles with “an economy that is a disaster.”… – AP, 7-10-10
  • Democrats digging harder than ever for dirt on Republicans: The Democratic Party is moving faster and more aggressively than in previous election years to dig up unflattering details about Republican challengers. In House races from New Jersey to Ohio to California, Democratic operatives are seizing on evidence of GOP candidates’ unpaid income taxes, property tax breaks and ties to financial firms that received taxpayer bailout money…. – WaPo, 7-6-10
  • Once a withdrawn teen, SC man now takes on senator: Alvin Greene earned the nickname “turtle” in high school — a quiet, withdrawn boy who was smart when he applied himself but rarely took a chance and tried to put himself in comfortable situations. Nearly four weeks ago, the 32-year-old unemployed military veteran turned South Carolina’s political scene upside down when he won the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. And unlike that high school student, he’s taking a big chance: running against powerhouse Republican Sen. Jim DeMint…. – AP, 7-6-10
  • Poll: Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown in virtual tie: California’s race for governor is a dead heat, as Republican Meg Whitman’s massive advertising blitz coupled with Democrat Jerry Brown’s lo-fi campaign have raised doubts about Brown and cut his lead among Latino voters and other key Democratic constituencies, a Field Poll released today shows.
    Brown leads Whitman 44 to 43 percent in the poll, with 13 percent undecided, according to Field’s survey of 1,005 likely voters. The poll, conducted June 22 to July 5, has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.
    But billionaire Whitman’s relentless advertising campaign has helped sour voters’ views of Brown, with 40 percent holding an unfavorable opinion of him – up from 25 percent in March 2009. Still, 42 percent view him favorably…. – SF Chronicle, 7-6-10
  • Feingold faces unexpectedly tough race: Add Russ Feingold to the list of Senate Democrats who find themselves in unexpectedly tough races, the latest evidence of the GOP’s success in widening the playing field that President Barack Obama’s party has to defend.
    The Wisconsin Democrat faces a wealthy political newcomer with early backing from tea party activists in a state that has many independent voters and is known for doing its own thing. Likely GOP nominee Ron Johnson is running an outsider’s campaign in a year that seems to favor outsiders…. – AP, 7-6-10
  • McCain’s Immigration Shift: ‘Many’ Should Be Sent Back: A lot has changed since 2007, when John McCain was the #1 immigration compromiser in the U.S. Senate, leading the way with a large, bipartisan bill that would have given illegal immigrants an opportunity to become U.S. citizens while beefing up border security….
    Now, McCain finds himself in a different political situation, and so does the immigration issue. McCain lost the 2008 election, during which he was sharply criticized as an immigration liberal by his GOP primary rivals, and he’s facing a primary challenge from Tea-Party-style candidate J.D. Hayworth. As a national issue, immigration has heated up after Arizona passed its new law and as a drug war has raged in Mexico…. – The Atlantic, 7-6-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/9/10

  • Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach: Remarks by the President in Selection of Jack Lew to be Director of OMB: Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I’m grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality, particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.
    What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again, by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of 8 million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth.
    Now, as we finish our work on Wall Street reform, we’re also mindful that we’ve got significant work to do when it comes to reforming our government and reducing our deficit.
    This reform is good for families. It’s good for businesses. It’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week….. – WH, 7-13-10
  • President Obama & President Fernandez Meet on Trade, Drug-Trafficking, and HaitiWH, 7-12-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Announces Changes to Help Veterans with PTSD Receive the Benefits They Need
    Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address July 10, 2010
    …Today, we’ve made it clear up and down the chain of command that folks should seek help if they need it. In fact, we’ve expanded mental health counseling and services for our vets.
    But for years, many veterans with PTSD who have tried to seek benefits – veterans of today’s wars and earlier wars – have often found themselves stymied. They’ve been required to produce evidence proving that a specific event caused their PTSD. And that practice has kept the vast majority of those with PTSD who served in non-combat roles, but who still waged war, from getting the care they need.
    Well, I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application. And I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.
    So we’re changing the way things are done.
    On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs, led by Secretary Ric Shinseki, will begin making it easier for a veteran with PTSD to get the benefits he or she needs.
    This is a long-overdue step that will help veterans not just of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, but generations of their brave predecessors who proudly served and sacrificed in all our wars.
    It’s a step that proves America will always be here for our veterans, just as they’ve been there for us. We won’t let them down. We take care of our own. And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, that’s what we’re going to keep doing. WH, 7-10-10
  • Treasury Secretary Geithner on Wall Street Reform: “All Americans Have a Stake in Reforms”: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared on PBS NewsHour last night to discuss, among other items, the financial reform bill that is awaiting final passage by the Senate when they return from recess next week. In his conversation with NewsHour host Jim Lehrer, Secretary Geithner expressed confidence that the Congress will soon deliver a strong bill to President Obama’s desk… – WH, 7-7-10
  • Obama thanks Europe for renewing anti-terrorist financing program: The United States welcomes today’s decision by the European Parliament to join the Council and Commission of the European Union in approving a revised agreement between the United States and the European Union on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data for the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). We look forward to the Council’s completion of the process, allowing the agreement to enter into force on August 1, 2010, thus fully restoring this important counterterrorism tool and resuming the sharing of investigative data that has been suspended since January 2010. The threat of terrorism faced by the United States and the European Union continues and, with this agreement, all of our citizens will be safer.
    The TFTP has provided critical investigative leads — more than 1,550 to EU Member States — since its creation after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. These leads have aided countries around the world in preventing or investigating many of the past decade’s most visible and violent terrorist attacks and attempted attacks, including Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005), the liquids bomb plot against transatlantic aircraft (2006), New York’s John F. Kennedy airport (2007), Germany (2007), Mumbai (2008), and Jakarta (2009).
    This new, legally binding agreement reflects significant additional data privacy safeguards but still retains the effectiveness and integrity of this indispensable counterterrorism program.
    Protecting privacy and civil liberties is a top priority of the Obama Administration. We are determined to protect citizens of all nations while also upholding fundamental rights, using every legitimate tool available to combat terrorism that is consistent with our laws and principles. – USA Today, 7-8-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Allan Lichtman: Scholar’s “13 Keys” Predict Another Obama Win: Although the next presidential election is 28 months away, President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 is nearly guaranteed despite former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s prediction that Obama has only a 20 percent chance, according to American University Professor Allan Lichtman. Lichtman’s “13 Keys” system predicts the outcome of the popular vote based on the performance of the party and not the use of candidate preference polls, campaign tactics, or events…. – American University, 7-14-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Sarah Palin likes government too: During a speech at an event called “Freedom Fest,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin warned Tea Party activists that while government spending was a bad thing, conservatives should not go too far and start calling for reductions in the military budget.
    While Palin told the crowd in Norfolk, Virginia, “Something has to be done urgently to stop the out-of-control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine,” she also told them, “We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military.”
    Palin’s speech touched on a historic problem for the conservative movement. Ever since conservatives embraced a hawkish stance toward national security policy in the early Cold War in the late 1940s and started to challenge Democrats for not being tough enough, national security has always been the poison pill for anti-government conservatism.
    Despite all their rhetoric about the dangers of government intervention and the virtues of private markets, conservatives have rather consistently supported an expansion of the government when it comes to national security….
    But when it comes to Republicans, Palin’s recent comments at the conservative rally show why voters should take right-wing arguments about the dangers of government with a grain of salt. While conservative activists like to talk about a choice between big government and small government, the real debate is over what kinds of government we must have, what our priorities should be, and where our federal money should be directed…. – CNN, 7-12-10
  • The Bush Tax Cuts and the Deficit Myth: Runaway government spending, not declining tax revenues, is the reason the U.S. faces dramatic budget shortfalls for years to come…. – WSJ, 7-14-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton “Bringing down the House? Why is the White House warning of a Republican takeover of Congress?”: If the White House starts to talk about the other party gaining control of Congress or about how terrible midterms usually are, then they are trying to manage expectations. The White House has depended on the Democratic House to move its legislative agenda. Having votes on Capitol Hill is better than a foil and the perception of weakness…. – Politico, 7-12-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama’s ‘we’ philosophy collides with capitalism’s ‘me’: Business leaders accuse President of using failures of a few to justify expansion of government regulatory authority…
    For McGill University political historian Gil Troy, Mr. Obama’s attacks on business put him well within a presidential tradition that goes back at least as far as Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. But they also betray his particular world view and a career spent entirely outside the private sector.
    “Not only does Barack Obama lack corporate experience, but his defining experiences were as a community organizer, public interest lawyer and law lecturer,” Prof. Troy said in an interview. “That puts him ideologically, structurally and professionally in opposition to business.”
    Mr. Obama, Mr. Troy continued, is “trying to convince Americans of the efficacy of government. He’s enough of a [Ronald] Reagan baby to know that is not necessarily the easiest sell to make. So, if [the economic crisis] is not a God-given opportunity, it’s at least a Goldman Sachs-given opportunity to make that sell.”… – Globe & Mail, 7-9-10
  • Republicans should embrace Paul Ryan’s Road Map: For now, the road map has a relatively small but growing cheering section. A dozen House members have endorsed it. Sen. Jim DeMint praised it in his book “Saving Freedom.” Jeb Bush likes it. On CNN last week, economic historian Niall Ferguson called Ryan “a serious thinker on the Republican right who’s prepared to grapple with these issues of fiscal sustainability and come up with a plan.”… – Washington Examiner, 7-11-10
  • Kennedy’s clout could grow on high court: David Garrow, a Cambridge University historian who has written about the court, said the 74-year-old Kennedy already writes a disproportionate share of the court’s big decisions and will have even more chances to do so now because he can assign opinions to himself…. – AP, 7-11-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Senate bill to repeal health reform lacks backing from Republican leaders: “Unified party positions are better than divided party positions,” Julian Zelizer, a congressional expert at Princeton University, said in an e-mail. “When the GOP is not all on board with legislation,” he added, Democrats can argue “Republicans calling for repeal are on the wrong track.”
    “Equally important, in an age of party unity, when divisions like this emerge it suggests [what] pollsters are saying: there is support for the healthcare bill in red America,” he said. The Hill, 7-5-10

President Barack Obama Talks with President Leonel Fernandez of   the Dominican Republic Following Their Meeting in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama talks with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic following their meeting in the Oval Office July 12, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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December 6, 2009: President Obama Focuses on the Economy, Max Baucus Scandal and Sarah Palin at the Gridiron Dinner

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

The President at West Point

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Unexpected drop in jobless rate sparks optimism: Two years of steep job cuts all but ended last month, unexpectedly pulling down the unemployment rate and raising hopes for a lasting economic recovery. Federal figures released Friday showed that the rate fell from 10.2 percent in October to 10 percent…. And the so-called underemployment rate, counting part-time workers who want full-time jobs and laid-off workers who have given up their job hunt, also fell, from 17.5 percent in October to 17.2 percent…. – AP, 12-4-09

THE HEADLINES….

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  • Sarah Palin speech: The view’s better from inside the bus than under it: The lines began forming Saturday morning outside the Sioux Falls Barnes & Noble bookstore, fully 35 hours before former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was to arrive there to sign her new book, “Going Rogue.”… – LAT, 12-6-09
  • What Sarah Palin had to say at Saturday’s Gridiron dinner: Look at it this way, Sarah Palin told a Washington journalists’ dinner Saturday night: If Joe Biden had lost, he’d be peddling a book today titled, “Going Rogaine.” Biden, of course, is now vice president (and with a head of thinning hair), while Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, stopped in Washington Saturday to promote her book, “Going Rogue,” and entertain the Gridiron Club, a group of veteran Washington reporters and bureau chiefs at their annual winter dinner…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 12-6-09
  • Obama: Efforts aimed at economy’s long-term health: The U.S. is emerging from an “economic storm,” President Barack Obama says, pledging new ways to put people back on the payroll after a painful recession. Readying a job creation proposal he plans to send to Congress in the coming week, the president said in his radio and Internet address Saturday that he’s focused on building an economy “that continues to make real the promise of America for generations to come.”…
    In a Washington speech Tuesday, Obama is likely to endorse expanding a program that gives people cash incentives to fix up their homes with energy-saving materials, according to administration officials….
    “So that we don’t face another crisis like this again, I’m determined to meet our responsibility to do what we know will strengthen our economy in the long run,” Obama said in his address. AP, 12-5-09
  • Senate debates health care, rejects GOP amendment: Senate Republicans failed Saturday to eliminate $42.1 billion in cuts to Medicare home health care service in the health care bill. The 53-41 vote shot down a motion offered by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Nebraska, that would have sent Majority Leader Harry Reid’s sweeping $848 billion reform plan back to committee with instructions to remove all home health care cuts. Johanns objected to the cuts, saying that the services “help some of the most vulnerable Americans.”… – CNN, 12-5-09
  • Baucus Nominated Girlfriend for Post, Aide Says: A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus says the Montana Democrat was in a romantic relationship with the woman he nominated for U.S. attorney…. – AP/NYT, 12-5-09
  • Obama shifts Copenhagen travel plans to boost climate change deal: US president bows to international pressure to join other world leaders in crunch negotiating sessions. Barack Obama has bowed to international appeals for America to demonstrate commitment to action on global warming, and said he will join other world leaders for the crunch negotiating sessions of the Copenhagen climate change summit.
    The White House, in a statement from the press secretary, Robert Gibbs, last night said Obama would adjust his original travel schedule… “The president believes that continued US leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference on December 18th,” the statement said. “There are still outstanding issues that must be negotiated for an agreement to be reached, but this decision reflects the president’s commitment to doing all he can to pursue a positive outcome.”… – Guardian UK, 12-4-09
  • Climategate? What Climategate? Congressional Democrats are Climategate deniers: The scandal involving leaked or purloined emails from the Climatic Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia finally reached Capitol Hill this week, but not in the way you’d expect. Democratic committee chairmen ignored the evidence of scientific skullduggery at the influential research unit, even as its head Phil Jones stepped aside this week to make way for an investigation.
    Senator Barbara Boxer, chair of the Environment Committee, did rouse herself to comment on the emails, saying their release should be treated as a criminal matter. “You call it ‘Climategate’; I call it ‘Email-theft-gate,'” she said. “Part of our looking at this will be looking at a criminal activity which could have well been coordinated.”… – WSJ, 12-4-09
  • Palin arrives to cheering crowd at Fort Hood: A cheering crowd has greeted former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at Fort Hood in Texas. About 1,250 fans showed up to get signed copies of Palin’s book, “Going Rogue.” Because of limited space, only about 250 people were allowed in the food court building to see the former Alaska governor…. – AP, 12-4-09
  • Senate preserves long-term care program: The Senate on Friday turned back a Republican effort to eliminate a long-term care insurance program to help seniors and the disabled, saving the plan once championed by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in its health overhaul bill. But the vote exposed the difficulties Democratic leaders face in persuading their own moderates to remain united behind sweeping legislation they hope to deliver to President Barack Obama. Eleven Democrats voted with Republicans, who warned that the new program would turn into a drain on the federal budget. Republicans fell short in a bid to strike the long-term care plan on a 51-47 vote. They needed 60 votes to prevail…. – AP, 12-4-09
  • Obama, lawmakers target bailout fund for jobs bill: President Barack Obama’s options for spurring job growth may be limited by out-of-control budget deficits, but he is warming to moves by his congressional allies for a jobs-boosting bill. Taking his defense of the economy on the road, the president scheduled appearances Friday in Pennsylvania to showcase innovative businesses following Thursday’s White House jobs forum. That event combined cheerleading and brainstorming as Obama exhorted more than 100 CEOs, academics, small business and union leaders and local officials to focus on new ways to get businesses hiring again…. – AP, 12-4-09
  • Allegedly green Obama lights National Christmas Tree, leaves them on: It was Barack Obama’s first time. But tonight for the 86th year in a row, a U.S. president turned on the lights of the national Christmas tree, a 40-foot Colorado spruce near the White House. Claiming to be technologically challenged, the BlackBerry-loving, 48-year-old president asked his daughters, Sasha and Malia, to help press the ceremonial button that lit up the tree planted on the Ellipse way back in 1978. In those days Obama was only 17 and an aging Vice President Joe Biden was already in the second of a gazillion terms as a senator from Delaware. “Watson, come here!” the 44th president exclaimed. No, just kidding. He actually exclaimed, “It worked!”… – LAT, 12-3-09
  • Senate Democrats push ahead on health bill: They pass an amendment requiring insurers to cover women’s preventive care and screenings, and reject McCain’s bid to restore proposed cuts in what Medicare pays out… – LAT, 12-3-09
  • Senate Breaks Health Stalemate; First Votes Today: At the end of a third day of Senate debate over sweeping health care legislation, Democrats and Republicans said Wednesday night that they had broken an impasse over the seemingly simple question of how and when to vote on the first amendments. But even as lawmakers announced an agreement to begin voting Thursday, Democrats accused Republicans of stalling debate and obstructing the legislation…. – NYT, 12-2-09
  • Obama shifts White House spotlight to unemployment: President Barack Obama turns his attention on Thursday from Afghanistan to the battle against unemployment which has sapped his popularity and may shape his political future. Obama is hosting a forum with business leaders at the White House to discuss how to boost jobs after U.S. unemployment hit a 26-year peak of 10.2 percent in October. But the gathering has been dismissed by critics as a public relations exercise. The president’s public approval ratings have dipped as joblessness has grown, alarming members of his Democratic party who face congressional elections next year. Republicans say his economic recoveries policies have failed to deliver…. – Reuters, 12-2-09
  • Obama rejoining economic debate with jobs summit: Under pressure from Republicans and an impatient public to fix the sputtering economic recovery, President Barack Obama is refocusing on this politically potent issue by talking job creation with business and labor leaders at the White House…. Administration officials are hoping Thursday’s jobs forum, an Obama trip to Pennsylvania on Friday and a major economic speech on Tuesday will help counter Republican critics who contend the administration’s economic recovery efforts have failed and its oversight of the $787 billion stimulus package has been inadequate…. – AP, 12-3-09
  • Old Clemency May Be Issue for Huckabee: When Mike Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister then serving as governor of Arkansas, granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons nine years ago, he cited his age: Mr. Clemmons was 16 when he began the crime spree for which he was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison… – NYT, 12-1-09
  • Palin reaches the 1 million mark: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s memoir ‘Going Rogue’ has sold more than one million copies after debuting only two weeks ago, her publisher Harper Collins tells CNN….- CNN, 12-1-09
  • Tempers rise as Senate moves toward health vote: A Republican senator asserted Tuesday during a rancorous floor debate that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will shorten the lives of America’s seniors by cutting Medicare. “I have a message for you: You’re going to die sooner,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., an obstetrician- turned-lawmaker…. – AP, 12-1-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President delivers the Weekly Address

  • Obama Pledges to Put More Americans Back to Work: In his weekly radio and Internet address, the U.S. president said Saturday he will ‘focus every single day’ on building the economy and getting people into productive jobs. VOA, 12-5-09
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Says Employment Trends Are Improving; But Remains Focused on Job Creation Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address Saturday, December 5, 2009: History tells us this is usually what happens with recessions – even as the economy grows, it takes time for jobs to follow. But the folks who have been looking for work without any luck for months and, in some cases, years, can’t wait any longer. For them, I’m determined to do everything I can to accelerate our progress so we’re actually adding jobs again….
    And that’s exactly what I’m working to give them. In the coming days, I’ll be unveiling additional ideas aimed at accelerating job growth and hiring as we emerge from this economic storm.
    And so that we don’t face another crisis like this again, I’m determined to meet our responsibility to do what we know will strengthen our economy in the long-run. That’s why I’m not going to let up in my efforts to reform our health care system; to give our children the best education in the world; to promote the jobs of tomorrow and energy independence by investing in a clean energy economy; and to deal with the mounting federal debt…. – WH, 12-5-09
  • President Obama’s remarks at National Christmas Tree, as provided by the White House: THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Washington, D.C. (Applause.) I want to, first of all, thank Secretary Salazar for not only the kind introduction, but the extraordinary work he is doing in preserving the incredible bounty and natural resources of this country. I want to thank all those involved in helping to organize this great event. Thank you to….
    …Randy Jackson, and all the performers putting on an incredible show. I told Sasha we’re not on American Idol — (laughter) — no singing. (Laughter.)
    I also want to thank Neal Mulholland, Jon Jarvis, and Peggy O’Dell from the National Park Service for being with us, and all the Park Service employees who’ve worked so hard to put this event together — give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) And I want to thank my outstanding Vice President and his gorgeous granddaughters — Joe Biden. Stand up, Joe. (Applause.)
    In 1923, the Washington, D.C. Public Schools wrote a letter to the White House asking if they could put up a Christmas tree on the South Lawn. And First Lady Grace Coolidge said they could use the Ellipse. (Laughter.) And in the eight decades since -– in times of war and peace, hardship and joy –- Americans from every corner of this nation have gathered here to share in the holiday spirit.
    Tonight, we celebrate a story that is as beautiful as it is simple. The story of a child born far from home to parents guided only by faith, but who would ultimately spread a message that has endured for more than 2,000 years -– that no matter who we are or where we are from, we are each called to love one another as brother and sister.
    While this story may be a Christian one, its lesson is universal. It speaks to the hope we share as a people. And it represents a tradition that we celebrate as a country –- a tradition that has come to represent more than any one holiday or religion, but a season of brotherhood and generosity to our fellow citizens.
    It’s that spirit of unity that we must remember as we light the National Christmas Tree –- a tree that will shine its light far beyond our city and our shores to every American around the world.
    And that’s why tonight our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women who will be spending this holiday far from home –- the mothers and fathers, the sons and daughters of our military who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. We will be thinking of you and praying for you during this holiday season.
    And let’s also remember our neighbors who are struggling here at home -– those who’ve lost a job or a home; a friend or a loved one — because even though it’s easy to focus on receiving at this time of year, it’s often in the simple act of giving that we find the greatest happiness.
    So on behalf of Michelle and Malia and Sasha and my mother-in-law, Mama Robinson — I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May you go out with joy, and be led forth in peace.
    And now, to the serious business of pressing the button and lighting this beautiful tree. (Applause.) So, guys, come up here. I need some assistance. I’m technologically challenged and I might not get this right. So we’re going to do a countdown, starting from five. Everybody has got to help me out here. Five, four, three, two, one — ho! (Applause.) It worked! LAT, 12-3-09

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Historians comment on Obama role as consoler in chief: In the days ahead, Obama must master those moments to sustain support for the war in Afghanistan, says Jerald Podair, a history professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Grief is the one part of a president’s job that cannot be spun. It must be personal and come from the heart,” Podair says. Yet the cool and cerebral Obama is not known for opening his heart, Podair says… … If Obama bungles a public occasion for mourning, he can permanently damage his ability to lead, some historians say…. – CNN (12-4-09)
  • Max Boot: Despite some questions, Obama’s Afghan policy is sound Given time, his strategy should work. But will there be time, and what about ‘winning’?: President Obama’s Afghanistan policy raises some serious questions (more on those in a moment), but to see why it has a decent chance of working, it helps to visit the town of Nawa in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand River Valley. I was there in October and found that 1,000 Marines who had arrived during the summer had already made substantial strides. When the Marines got there, Nawa was practically a ghost town…..
    At the same time, our troops must work to build up Afghanistan’s security forces. Yet another missing element in Obama’s speech was the lack of a specific commitment to expand the Afghan security forces, but there is little doubt that this is our only responsible exit strategy. Before the Afghans can take the lead, however, our troops must first reduce the enemy’s toughest strongholds. That process begins in Marjah. – LAT, 12-3-09
  • Andrew J. Bacevich: Obama’s folly: Rather than trying to salvage Bush’s policy in Afghanistan, the president should show real courage and just pull the plug. Which is the greater folly: To fancy that war offers an easy solution to vexing problems, or, knowing otherwise, to opt for war anyway?
    In the wake of 9/11, American statecraft emphasized the first approach: President George W. Bush embarked on a “global war” to eliminate violent jihadism. President Obama now seems intent on pursuing the second approach: Through military escalation in Afghanistan, he seeks to “finish the job” that Bush began there, then all but abandoned.
    Through war, Bush set out to transform the greater Middle East. Despite immense expenditures of blood and treasure, that effort failed. In choosing Obama rather than John McCain to succeed Bush, the American people acknowledged that failure as definitive. Obama’s election was to mark a new beginning, an opportunity to “reset” America’s approach to the world…. – LAT, 12-3-09

Election Day History: 1980-2008

Past Elections

Ronald Reagan, 40th President (1981-1989)

1980

President-elect Ronald Reagan gives the thumbs-up sign in this ...

Nov. 5, 1980: President-elect Ronald Reagan gives the thumbs-up sign, as he leaves the podium after addressing supporters at his Los Angeles election headquarters. Reagan had a solid win over incumbent Jimmy Carter.

(AP Photo)

1984

Nov. 6, 1984: President Ronald Reagan gives a thumbs-up to supporters at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles as he celebrates his re-election, with first lady Nancy Reagan at his side. Reagan’s win over Walter Mondale, 525 to 13 in the electoral vote and 59 percent to 41 percent in popular votes, was unquestionably a landslide election.

(AP Photo/File)

George H.W. Bush, 41st President (1989-1993)

1988

In this Nov. 9, 1988 file photo, President-elect George H. W. ...
Nov. 9, 1988: President-elect George H. W. Bush holds his hands up to acknowledge the crowds applause, and ask them to allow him to continue his speech during his victory rally with grandson, George P. Bush, right, and son, George W. Bush, left, in Houston, Texas. Bush trounced Michael Dukakis 426-111 in the electoral vote, but the popular vote was closer, 53 percent to 46 percent.

(AP Photo/File)

Bill Clinton, 42nd President (1993-2001)

1992

President-elect Bill Clinton reaches into a crowd of supporters ...

Nov. 3, 1992: President-elect Bill Clinton reaches into a crowd of supporters as his wife Hillary and Tipper Gore, right, cheer at the Old State House in Little Rock, Arkansas, after Clinton defeated President Bush in a landslide election.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

1996

Nov. 5 1996: President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore raise their hands in front of the Old State House during an election night celebration in Little Rock, Ark., after winning a landslide re-election victory against Republican Robert Dole.

(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

George W. Bush, 43rd President (2001-2009)

2000

This is the fourth, and final, edition of the Wednesday, Nov. ...

This is the fourth, and final, edition of the Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2000, issue of the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. The newspaper printed four different front pages throughout the night in order to keep up with the changing election results between presidential candidates Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. The votes were too close to call in Florida leaving the state’s electoral votes and the entire election up in the air. After several recounts, and a court battle Al Gore finally conceded on December 13 2000. The Vice President had won the popular vote, but with Florida counted George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote and the election.  (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman)

2004

President Bush shakes hands with Vice President Dick Cheney ...

Nov. 3, 2004: President Bush shakes hands with Vice President Dick Cheney as the President’s daughter Jenna, center, looks on during a victory rally after winning reelection against the Democratic ticket, Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington.

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Barack Obama, 44th President (2009-)

2008

U.S. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden ...

November 4 2008: U.S. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) walks with his mother Jean (C) and his wife Jill (L) after casting their votes in the U.S. presidential election at the Tatnall School near Wilmington, Delaware. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (Reuters, USA)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., ...

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and his wife Michelle, cast their votes at a polling place in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.

Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah ...

Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin votes Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, at Wasilla City Hall in Wasilla, Alaska. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ), ...

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ), his wife Cindy (C) and his son Jack (R) drop off their ballots at their polling place in Phoenix, Arizona November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (Reuters. USA)

The Obamas on Election Night

behind the scenes on election night

The shots were taken by David Katz, Mr Obama’s longtime official photographer, who was given unrivalled access to the candidate and his team Photo: DAVID KATZ

Obama wins the Presidency!

Election victory dominates world's front pages

An internet user created the montage from front pages compiled by newseum.org

Democratic Convention Day 4: August 28, 2008

Day 4 Schedule

Thursday, August 28: Change You Can Believe In

On Thursday night, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the Convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the Convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination. Obama will communicate the urgency of the moment, highlight the struggles Americans are facing and call on Americans to come together to change the course of our nation.

Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. will address the Convention on Thursday night. – DemConvention.com

Highlights:

  • August 28, 2008: Barack Obama to woo nation 45 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech … Biden tells Democratic convention needs more than a good soldier, reference to McCain … Clinton delivers strong endorsement for Obama while passing torch. – AP, 8-28-08Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Denver to help provide counterattacks against the Democratic Party convention, canceled participation in a news conference and other appearances, a Republican official said. – Reuters, 8-28-08
The Bidens and Obamas receive the crowds cheers Thursday at the end of the Democratic National Convention. (USA Today)

The Bidens and Obamas receive the crowd’s cheers Thursday at the end of the Democratic National Convention. (USA Today)

Stats & In the News…

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

  • Years Later, Lewis Watches History Being Made – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Obama Readies for Historic Speech; From MLK ‘I Have a Dream’ to ‘Yes We Can’ First Black Major Party Nominee Speaks on Martin Luther King March Anniversary – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Democrats Becoming Obama’s Party – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Glenn Beck: Commentary: Keeping my distance from the Democrats – CNN, 8-28-08
  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: Well, a truly historic night, one whose symbolic power is going to reverberate around the nation. Barack Obama has really catapulted America into its 21st-century multi-cultural future, really whether Americans are ready for that or not. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: You know, I think the lack of a balloon drop wasn’t the only unconventional thing about this speech. I think it was a remarkable speech for one thing, I think, in some ways, it sacrificed eloquence of the conventional variety for electability. This was someone who, as Judy has said, was putting meat on the bones, defining what change means to people sitting around the kitchen table, but also he talked about eliminating obsolescent government programs, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Over and over, he talked about the search for common ground on issues that have been so divisive — abortion, gun control, gay rights — and implicit in all that is the search for a more civil, more workable, if you will, kind of government. It’s going to be very difficult, it seems to me, for people to pin him with the label of conventional liberal or maybe conventional Democrat. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian Yep. You know, Jim, we were talking earlier about John Kennedy’s amazing acceptance speech in 1960. I listened to Barack Obama tonight; I think this one was better. He told you exactly what he’s going to do, point by point, told you who he is, and also didn’t do the cheap thing, trying to sort of make himself into something he’s not. This line where he said, “I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office, I don’t fit the typical pedigree,” 9 out of 10 politicians wouldn’t have done — 9 out of 10 would not have done that. It gives you a sense of who this man is. I think it’s going to be a very powerful help with his campaign. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama’s Oratory Skills: “He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good,” said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter. “He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage – all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event.” – Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on “Panel says Chicago forged Obama’s political skill”: Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House. “If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn’t help too much; same with governorships,” he said. – Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama’s Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich – …”Jimmy Carter, his famous ‘malaise’ speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter’s argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter’s warning and embraced Reagan’s promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice. “That’s the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts.” – The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on “Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch”: Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King’s words come true. “Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder,” Black said. – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: Penial Joseph picked Bill Clinton’s 1992 address in New York when he argued that the party needed a “new covenant” with America: “What Clinton offers in 1992 in terms of rhetorical eloquence and political genius is this notion that the Democratic Party can still help poor people but it’s going to have to do this on a much smaller scale,” Joseph said. “He talks about we need a leaner government and not a meaner government.” PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: For Richard Norton Smith, Adlai Stevenson set the gold standard for Democratic convention speeches with his 1952 speech in Chicago. After delivering a well-received welcoming speech, Stevenson was selected as the party’s presidential candidate two days later. It is that acceptance speech that Norton Smith said electrified millions of Americans listening to their radios back home: “He used words in a way that no one had heard before. There was an urbanity, there was a wit, there was a sense of the ridiculous about the political process. And it was all about challenging the American people. Stevenson said, “better lose an election than mislead the American people.” Norton Smith said. “Stevenson raised the bar.” – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Douglas Brinkley on “Decades Later, John Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’ Speech Echoes”: “The Obama campaign has been purposely modeling its acceptance speech after J.F.K. in 1960,” said Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, “and we’ll soon see whether the content on Thursday is another nod to Camelot.” – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Obama outdoor speech echoes JFK’s 1960 move – USA Today, 8-27-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Bill Clinton had key moment”: I sure do, Jim. This was a great, big night for the Democrats and a huge help to this ticket. Bill Clinton gave one of his best speeches, including the seven words that Hillary Clinton did not quite speak last night. He said, “Barack Obama is ready to be president.” That’s going to be a great help to those who are going to cite Hillary’s words from earlier in the primary campaign against her. You also saw one of the reasons why Joe Biden is on this ticket. You know, vice presidents, like Hubert Humphrey in 1964, that convention, went after Barry Goldwater. Fritz Mondale, whom you interviewed earlier this evening, Jim, in 1976, brought the house down at the Carter convention by saying, “We’ve had the worst scandal in our history, Watergate, and this nominee, Gerald Ford, pardoned the guy who did it.”And, of course, Al Gore in 1992, “What time is it? It’s time for them to go.” And the interesting thing, finally, Jim, is that Joe Biden showed sort of an ironic and interesting sense of history, because when he kept on saying, “Do you want change or more of the same?”, who’s slogan was that? It was Bill Clinton’s in 1992. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on Joe Biden: Well, it’s funny. Like Michael, I saw the ghost of Hubert Humphrey in this hall tonight, you know? We’ve heard this week from Kennedy Democrats, and Clinton Democrats, and Obama Democrats, and tonight was Hubert’s night. I mean, this was one-part classic populism and one-part the politics of joy. But it was also something else. It was very interesting. This was a values speech. This was a character speech. And it does indicate that this is a party that is going to go after values voters, with which they have not always been terribly successful in some recent elections. That, in itself, it seems to me makes it significant. And it also really, I think, ups the ante for Senator McCain who has, I guess, about two days in which to decide who he wants to pit in that vice presidential debate against the man we heard tonight. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download

The Speeches….

  • Hillary Clinton’s Statement: Barack Obama’s speech tonight laid out his specific, bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children’s future.His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain. Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face: revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world. I am proud to support Senator Obama, our next President of the United States and Joe Biden, our next Vice President of the United States.
  • Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech:To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.
    Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

    Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest — a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

    To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Malia and Sasha — I love you so much, and I’m so proud of you.

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

    It is that promise that has always set this country apart — that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

    That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women — students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive….

    Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention. (CNN)

    Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention. (CNN)

    Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land — enough! This moment — this election — is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”…

    But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives — on health care and education and the economy — Sen. McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers — the man who wrote his economic plan — was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

    A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and they give back and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

    Now, I don’t believe that Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

    It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it….

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Partys nomination for President (CNN)

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for President (CNN)

    Now, I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

    What is that American promise?

    It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

    It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

    Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves — protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology.

    Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

    That’s the promise of America — the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

    That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

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

    America, now is not the time for small plans.

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

    Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

    Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

    Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

    And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons….

    For while Sen. McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

    And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

    That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

    You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice — but that is not the change that America needs.

    We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy….

    But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.

    The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America — they have served the United States of America.

    So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

    America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose. That’s what we have to restore.

    We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America’s promise — the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

    I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

    You make a big election about small things…

    I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

    But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s about you. It’s about you.

    For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us — that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it — because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

    America, this is one of those moments.

    I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it….

    You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

    Instead, it is that American spirit — that American promise — that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

    That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours — a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

    And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

    The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

    But what the people heard instead — people of every creed and color, from every walk of life — is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

    “We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination on Thursday night in Denver.  (NYT)

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination on Thursday night in Denver. (NYT)

    America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise — that American promise — and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

    Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

  • McCain to extend his congratulations to Obama in special ad“Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day.” McCain also says in reference to the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘ I Have a Dream’ speech. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.”
  • Al Gore’s Convention Speech :The question facing us simply put is: Will we seize this opportunity for a change?That’s why I came here tonight to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.
    Al Gore invoked his failed bid for the White House Thursday as he encouraged voters to choose Obama.  (CNN)

    Al Gore invoked his failed bid for the White House Thursday as he encouraged voters to choose Obama. (CNN)

    Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity, and some assumed we would continue with both, no matter the outcome.

    But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn’t matter.

    Take it from me. If it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq; we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him.

    We wouldn’t be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we’d be fighting for middle-income families.
    We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution; we’d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

    And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving the climate crisis.

    Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them.

    The same policies, those policies, all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous….

    Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world. And scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions.

    We are facing a planetary emergency, which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve ever experienced in the history of humankind.

    Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledges the crowds applause before his speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field on Wednesday evening.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledges the crowd’s applause before his speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field on Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    In spite of John McCain’s past record of open-mindedness and leadership on the climate crisis, he has now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution. And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other two great challenges facing our nation: reviving our economy and strengthening our national security. The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

    Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to invest in American innovation. Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison, our most famous inventor, said, quote, “I would put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power,” he continued. “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

    Well, now, in 2008, we have everything we need to start using the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation, and efficiency to solve the climate crisis, everything, that is, except a president in the White House who inspires us to believe, “Yes, we can.”

    And we know how to fix that….

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

     

    So what can we do about it? We can carry Barack Obama’s message of hope and change to every family in America and pledge that we’ll be there for him, not only in the heat of this election, but in the aftermath, as we put his agenda to work for our country.

    We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain.

    After they wrecked our economy, it’s time for a change. After they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it’s time for a change.

    After they abandoned the principle first laid down by General George Washington, when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would bring, in his words, “shame, disgrace and ruin” to our nation, it’s time for a change.

    When as many as three Supreme Court justices could be appointed in the first term of the next president, and John McCain promises to appoint more Scalias and Thomases and end a woman’s right to choose, it is time for a change….

    In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition.

    Barack Obama had the experience and wisdom to oppose a popular war based on faulty premises.

    His leadership experience has given him a unique capacity to inspire hope in the promise of the American dream of a boundless future.

    His experience has also given him genuine respect for different views and humility in the face of complex realities that cannot be squeezed into the narrow compartments of ideology.

    His experience has taught him something that career politicians often overlook: that inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.

    And the extraordinary strength of his personal character — and that of his wonderful wife, Michelle — who gave such a magnificent address and will be such a wonderful first lady for our country — their strength of character is grounded in the strengths of the American community.

    Barack Obama’s vision and his voice represent the best of America. His life experience embodies the essence of our motto, “E pluribus unum (NYSE:UNM),” out of many, one. That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens that pervade our modern political culture.

    It is that common American identity which Barack Obama exemplifies, heart and soul, that enables us as Americans to speak with moral authority to all of the peoples of the world, to inspire hope that we as human beings can transcend our limitations to redeem the promise of human freedom.

    Late this evening, our convention will end with a benediction. As we bow in reverence, remember the words of the old proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.” And then let us leave here tonight and take that message of hope from Denver to every corner of our land, and do everything we can to serve our nation, our world, and our children and their future, by electing Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson:Is anyone here going to miss Dick Cheney? … John McCain is the first candidate in history who thinks he can win by telling voters they are not thinking for themselves….Fellow citizens, I am not known as a quiet man. But I hope you will allow me, for a moment, to bring quiet to this great hall. Because at a time when young men and women are dying for our country overseas, America faces a question worthy of silent reflection. And the American people are watching to see how we answer it. What is the best measure of a person’s capacity to protect this country? There are often moments of great importance that go unnoticed in the unruly course of history….
    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ran for Democratic presidential candidate before endorsing Obama. (CNN)

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ran for Democratic presidential candidate before endorsing Obama. (CNN)

    And ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe it’s time to finish the job and get bin Laden. We don’t need another four years of more of the same. It’s time for the change America needs. This is the judgment and vision of Barack Obama. This is the preparation he has to be President of the United States. And this is the man we need to return our country into the goodwill of other nations and the grace of history.

  • DNC Chairman Howard Dean:But we had hope. A plan: “Show up.” We knew if we knocked on doors and told people what we believe, they would respect us and vote for us. That’s exactly what you did. And because you did, today, our party competes in all 50 states. Today, we are a party that took back Congressional seats in Louisiana and Mississippi, and we’re gonna win in Virginia and Alaska. Today, ours is a party that had 35 million Americans vote in our primaries. Today, our party knows that power grows from the grassroots up….I know exactly how many houses I own. … John McCain is a yes man.
  • Virginia Gov. Tim KaineWhat an honor to be here on this powerful night! What an honor to speak not just to those gathered here in Denver but to homes across America-and not just those owned by John McCain.Looking out at this crowd and feeling the energy, I can tell you this: We are making history.I am here tonight not just as the governor of Virginia who knows the people of my state need a better partner in White House, not just as a Democrat who is tired of politics as usual, but most importantly as an American who wants to see American values guiding our country again.

    For eight years we’ve seen what happens when a president lets Washington values become more important than American values. Gas prices skyrocket when the White House lets oil companies call the shots. Our children are left behind when an administration cares more about sound bites than sound schools. And middle-class families are left to fend for themselves to save their jobs, their homes, and their grasp on the American dream.

    Maybe for John McCain the American dream means seven houses-and if that’s your America, John McCain is your candidate. But for the rest of us, the American dream means one home-in a safe neighborhood, with good schools and good health care and a little money left over every month to go out for dinner and save for the future.

    Does that seem like too much to ask? John McCain thinks it is.

    He’ll keep answering to the special interests and Washington lobbyists-we’re ready for leadership that answers to us. And the leader who will deliver the change we need is Barack Obama….

    If we put our faith into action, we can move mountains.

    We can move the mountains of negativity and division and gridlock.

    We can move the mountains of special interests and business as usual.

    We can move the mountains of hopelessness that surround too many of our people and communities.

    Does anybody here have a little faith tonight? Is anybody here ready to move those mountains?

    Starting right here in the Mile High City, we will put our faith into action; we will reject the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain; we will elect Barack Obama our next president.

    In the words of the gospel hymn-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me again-“move mountain.”

    Mountain, get out of our way!

  • Luis Gutierrez, Congressman from Illinois:When Martin Luther King saw people facing injustice, he did not wait for others to act — he changed the way we treat each other. If you want change, it is time for Latinos, and for immigrants to rally behind the next president of the United States, Barack Obama.
  • Mark Udall, a Senate candidate from ColoradoIt’s fitting that the change we need in Washington starts here in the Rocky Mountain West. In the spirit of the West, we can move forward, but it’s going to take leaders who are strong enough to stand up for what’s right, bold enough to bring new ideas and sweep away the worst of Washington’s old ways. Leaders like Barack Obama.
  • Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.:I was there that day when Dr. King delivered his historic speech before an audience of more than 250,000. I am the last remaining speaker from the March on Washington, and I was there
    Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Obamas nomination was a down payment on Martin Luther King Jr.s dream. (CNN)

    Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Obama’s nomination was a “down payment” on Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. (CNN)

    when Dr. King urged this nation to lay down the burden of discrimination and segregation and move toward the creation of a more perfect union….We’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go. We’ve come a long way, but we must march again. On November 4th, we must march in every state, in every city, in every village, in every hamlet; we must march to the ballot box. We must march like we have never marched before to elect the next President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama.

    For those of us who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or who in the years that followed may have lost hope, this moment is a testament to the power and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. It is a testament to the ability of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. It is a testament to the promise of America.

    Tonight, we have put together a tribute to the man and his message. Let us take a moment to reflect on the legacy and the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. on this 45th anniversary of the historic march on Washington.

  • Martin Luther King’s son, Martin Luther King III, echoed those sentiments and described “the majesty” of his father’s dream:On this day, exactly 45 years ago, my father stood on the National Mall in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed, ‘I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ Let us give our nation a leader who has heard this clarion call and will help us achieve the change.
Celebration after Barack Obamas acceptance speech (CNN)

Celebration after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (CNN)

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, with Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, faced a crowd of nearly 80,000 people on Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver.  (NYT)

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, with Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, faced a crowd of nearly 80,000 people on Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

June 23, 2008: Campaign Financing & Future First Ladies in the Spotlight

Reprinted from HNN

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    The week that was….

  • June 16, 2008: Former Vice President Al Gore endorses Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination.
  • June 17, 2008: Obama reached the million mark in Facebook supporters. That is more supporters than any other page on the most popular social network site.
    A McCain adviser claims “Senator Obama is a perfect manifestation of a September 10th mind-set. … He does not understand the nature of the enemies we face.”
  • June 18, 2008: Barack Obama said in bring Osama bin Laden to justice he would not allow him to become a martyr. “First of all, I think there is an executive order out on Osama bin Laden’s head. And if I’m president, and we have the opportunity to capture him, we may not be able to capture him alive.”
    McCain disccussed energy issues and ways to reduce depency on foreign oil, which would include construction of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030 and $2 billion “to make clean coal a reality.”
  • June 19, 2008: Barak Obama opted-out of the public campaign financing system. Previously Obama claimed he would use the system if Republican John McCain decided to use it. McCain visits flood ridden Iowa despite Gov. Chet Culver request to cancel the campaign visit.
  • June 20, 2008: Barack Obama is considering Former Senators John Edwards and Sam Nunn as potential running mates, former Vice-President Al Gore is also being mentioned.
  • June 21, 2008: Obama criticized McCain for opposing federal flood prevention programs and spending on levees. The issue is in the spotlight since areas of the Mid-West are still flooded from tornadoes and heavy rains that swept through the area. While McCain critized Obama’s opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • The Stats

  • A Quinnipiac University poll found that Obama leads in the three critical states; Florida (47 percent to 43 percent), Ohio (48 percent to 42 percent), and Pennsylvania (52 percent to 40 percent).
  • Michelle Obama is viewed more favorably by voters than Cindy McCain, 48 percent to 39 percent ABC News, 6-18-08
  • Unfavorable view by voters: Obama 29 percent vs. McCain 25 percent – ABC News, 6-18-08
  • Historians Comments:

  • Betty Koed, assistant historian of the Senate:
    Mr. Obama’s Washington He wants to change the culture there. But it’s hard to fix a place you’ve never really known. – Newsweek, 6-30-08
  • Victor Davis Hanson Obama promises to bring change — but what kind?
    By this point in the presidential campaign, the public knows that a charismatic Barack Obama wants sweeping “change.” While the national media have often fallen hard for the Illinois senator’s rhetoric — MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said he felt a “thrill going up my leg” during an Obama speech — exactly what kind of change can Obama bring if he’s elected in November?…

    Overall, Obama’s announced policies are sounding pretty much the same old, same old once promised by candidates like George McGovern, Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale, Al Gore and John Kerry. Of course, a return to the standard big- government nostrums of the past may well be what the angry voters want after 20 years of the Bushes and Clintons.

    But it is not a novel agenda, much less championed by a post-racial, post-political emissary.

    So what are the Democrats thinking? That a mesmerizing, path-breaking African-American candidate — coupled with Bush exhaustion — will overcome past public skepticism of Northern presidential Democratic candidates, traditional liberal agendas and Obama’s own relative lack of experience.

    In other words, we should count on hope rather than change. – Fresno Bee, 6-22-08

  • John Hope Franklin Calls Obama Success “Amazing” – NPR, 6-20-08
  • John Hope Franklin on an Obama Presidency Esteemed historian reacts to a historic race, one he never believed he would witness in his lifetime:
    “Franklin reminisces about how his mother encouraged him as a youngster to tell people he wanted to become “the first Negro president of the United States.” He says the phrase then seemed “so far-fetched, so incredible that we used to really have fun just saying it.”

    “He has shown an ability to bridge the divides in our society and unite people behind his agenda for change,” he said in his mid April endorsement of Obama. – TheRoot.com, 6-19-08 Video of the Interview

  • Robert Mutch, a campaign-finance historian on “Obama Opts Out of Public Funding for His Campaign”:
    “I’m very much in favor of public financing. However, the existing public-financing law has been flawed from the start. The main problem with the public-financing system for nearly the last 30 years is that it became too easy to get around it.” – Christian Science Monitor, 6-19-08
  • Myra Gutin, a first lady historian at New Jersey’s Rider University and author of the 1989 book “The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the 20th Century” on ” Michelle Obama Makes Appeal to Women Voters, Co-Hosts ‘The View’ Potential First Lady Attempts to Soften Image as Husband Fights for Critical Votes “:
    “She needs to relax, show she has a sense of humor and is someone who can laugh at herself. I see Michelle Obama taking advantage of more of the opportunities of the White House, making speeches on causes important to her, and see Cindy McCain taking on a more traditional, supportive spouse role.” – ABC News, 6-18-08
  • Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University on “Race for first lady”: Top Picks : Race for first lady : CTV Newsnet: Gil Troy, presidential historian With five months till the presidential election, the spotlight is now on the political wives. Both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama are trying to court the public but have stereotypes working against them. – CTV NewsNet, 6-18-08
  • Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a first ladies historian on “Michelle Obama preps for general election close-up”:
    Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a first ladies historian, said it’s important for Michelle Obama to define herself before others define her. “One comment made off-hand … might be easily misinterpreted by the opposition,” he said. – CNN, 6-18-08
  • Allan Lichtman: The (Non-Electoral) Case for the Obama-Clinton Ticket – Britannica Blog, 6-17-08
  • Bruce Bartlett: Election 2008: Obamacons: Conservatives That Support Obama – NPR, 6-13-08
  • On the Campaign Trail….

    Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Predicting that Ohio and the Presidency will go to Barack Obama, June 21, 2008
    “Barack Obama is the nominee of our party. He is a bright, committed, energizing young leader. I met with him yesterday in Chicago and I pledged to him then, as I had previously, that I will work my heart out for him and that Ohio will work her heart out for him.”

    Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: A Metropolitan Strategy for America’s Future, June, 21, 2008 This is something of a homecoming for me. Because while I stand here today as a candidate for President of the United States, I will never forget that the most important experience in my life came when I was doing what you do each day – working at the local level to bring about change in our communities….

    And it’s precisely because you’re on the front lines in our communities that you know what happens when Washington fails to do its job. It may be easy for some in Washington to remain out of touch with the consequences of the decisions that are made there – but not you….

    And just the other day, Senator McCain traveled to Iowa to express his sympathies for the victims of the recent flooding. I’m sure they appreciated the sentiment, but they probably would have appreciated it more if he hadn’t voted against funding for levees and flood control programs, which he seems to consider pork. Well, we do have to reform budget earmarks, cut genuine pork, and dispense with unnecessary spending, as we confront a budget crisis left by the most fiscally irresponsible administration in modern times….

    But understand – while the change we seek will require major investments by a more accountable government, it will not come from government alone. Washington can’t solve all our problems. The statehouse can’t solve all our problems. City Hall can’t solve all our problems. It goes back to what I learned as a community organizer all those years ago – that change in this country comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom up. Change starts at a level that’s even closer to the people than our mayors – it starts in our homes. It starts in our families. It starts by raising our children right, by turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; by going to those parent-teacher conferences and helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example. It starts by being good neighbors and good citizens who are willing to volunteer in our communities – to keep them clean, to keep them safe, and to serve as mentors and teachers to all of our children.

    That’s where change begins. That’s how we’ll bring about change in our neighborhoods. And if change comes to our neighborhoods, then change will come to our cities. And if change comes to our cities, then change will come to our regions. And if change comes to our regions, then I truly believe change will come to every corner of this country we love.

    Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker in a statement for the McCain campaign on Barack Obama’s Decision not to use Federal Campaign Funding, June 19, 2008 “Today, Barack Obma has revealed himself to be just another typical politician who will do and say whatever is most expedient for Barack Obama. The true test of a candidate for president is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people. Barack Obama has failed that test today, and his reversal of his promise to participate in the public financing system undermines his call for a new type of politics.”

    Remarks By John McCain On Energy Security, June 17, 2008

    I first addressed this issue at the outset of my primary campaign. And in just that time — a little more than a year — the price of a barrel of oil has more than doubled. And the price of a gallon of gas in America stands at more than four dollars. Yesterday, a barrel of oil cost about 134 dollars. And various oil ministers and investment firms have confidently informed us that soon we can expect to pay 200 dollars for every barrel, and as much as seven dollars for every gallon of gas. That may come as good news in Moscow, Riyadh, or Caracas, where economic growth and rising oil prices are more or less the same thing. But their oil prosperity is our energy vulnerability. And the jobs, family budgets, and futures of the American people should not depend on the whims of foreign powers. Oil and gasoline are the most vital of all commodities in a modern economy. Their price affects the cost of things even more basic and essential. America’s dependence on foreign oil is a matter of large and far-reaching consequences — none of them good….

    The next president must be willing to break with the energy policies not just of the current Administration, but the administrations that preceded it, and lead a great national campaign to achieve energy security for America. So in the days ahead I plan to return to the subject in a series of discussions to explain my reform agenda. And I will set forth a strategy to free America once and for all from our strategic dependence on foreign oil.

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