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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3

Here's your question. If the representatives of Florida and Michigan are satisfied with the deal.....

(Kim Frederick shouted after Democratic party officials voted to seat Florida and Michigan delegates with half a vote each, saying the decision had handed the election to John McCain. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times))

(A security guard tries to get Harriet Christian to leave the hall after she started yelling she was going to vote for Sen. John McCain..... (AP Photo/LM Otero))


Per Chuck Todd,
Assuming Clinton and Obama split the remaining 86 delegates at stake in Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana evenly (43 apiece), that would put Sen. Obama 19.5 away from clinching the nomination. (So, for all practical purposes, he would need about 20 superdelegates to hit the magic number.) Clinton would need 195.

(There are about 210 superdelegates left.)

A rumor of a "dignified exit" for Clinton

The Telegraph puts its chit on HHS Secretary or remaining a Senator (with portfolio.)
The former First Lady would get the chance to pilot Mr Obama’s reforms of the American healthcare system if she agrees to clear the path to his nomination as Democratic presidential candidate.

Senior figures in the Obama camp have told Democrat colleagues that the offer to Mrs Clinton of a cabinet post as health secretary or to steer new legislation through the Senate will be a central element of their peace overtures to the New York senator.

There're going to be a bunch of these stories in the coming days with various formulas and postulations. Treat them with the skepticism they deserve.

I think the real story is outside the meeting.....

The photos below are of the pro-Clinton protests outside the DNC this morning. The first was the largest gathering I could find on the wire photos. The second is from earlier in the morning by the folks at Americablog.

But, I think as telling, watch some of the CNN raw footage of the protesters and listen to how few there really are. Looks like maybe 1,000 people...? You would think they could turn out more people than that just from the Washington/Maryland/Virginia area.

Imagine if the Obama folks had called for volunteers and a presence. I would think it would be more than this.

McAuliffe defends the Bush admin against McClellan?

Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe blasts Scott McClellan over a lack of loyalty to the Bush administration....?

Of course, I guess he's also staring at a late summer full of tell all books saying how he screwed up candidate Clinton's campaign.

Picture of the Day - Question

Think about all the pictures you've seen of rapturous Obama supporters and Clinton supporters......

Have you ever seen a passionate McCain supporter, jumping up and down waving their sign?

Even one?

(Sen. John McCain foreground, speaks at a town hall-style meeting at Greendale Martin Luther High School on Thursday, May 29, 2008, in Greendale, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu))

The negotiation for permanent bases in Iraq

Sadr has seized on the negotiations of a "security deal" between the US and the Maliki government. This is good politics for Sadr as it burnishes him as a nationalist and sets up Maliki as a stooge of the US, but the dissatisfaction with this potential deal is deep and broad within Iraq.

As for the negotiations themselves,
The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy and Iraqi officials said they'd been instructed by American officials not to discuss the details.....

"Now Iraq is under Chapter 7 and it does not have full sovereignty so when it makes negotiations with the United States, the results won't be fair," said Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish lawmaker. "When the Americans tell you that we won't remove you from Chapter 7 unless you make this treaty with us, this is a precondition. Why should we pay the price for what Saddam did. Before making the agreement you see all these people rejecting it."

Or maybe this rumory report,
The US has offered bribes to Iraqi MPs to lure them into endorsing a security deal that critics believe would make Iraq a US colony.

Sources in Iraq's parliament told Press TV on Thursday that Washington has offered three-million dollars in bribe to the lawmakers who sign the "framework accord."

This is so unpopular, even the pro-Maliki, pro-US ISCI is speaking against it. (As is Sistani.)

Right now, the rumor is that the US is going to try and get an agreement with Maliki without putting it up for a vote before the Parliament.

The NYTimes has a decent story as well.

Frankenstein's monster awakes in Sunni "awakening" groups

In the potential blowback category, some of the Sunni "awakening" groups are organizing to take on the existing Sunni political and tribal leaders in the next Iraqi provincial elections.

Yes, they're on the payroll and US allies for now, but these are groups that are largely constructed of armed men, broadly former insurgent, who were willing to work for the US for now for money.

This would be the Sunni militias rising to power that the Shia were so worried about.

Is the CIA director playing politics with intelligence?

As I pointed out yesterday, Bush appointed CIA director appeared to make some pretty unsubstantiated claims of success against Al Qaeda (in an election year) in a WaPo interview.

The WaPo runs this down and finds that the Deputy DNI, Donald Kerr disagrees, as do the briefings given to Sen. Rockefeller, the Senate intelligence chair.

Later: The AFP does an even better job listing the questions and questioners over Hayden's rosy assessment.

So, yeah. I would like to know where Hayden finds basis for his public claims of success.

That's what I've been thinking.....

If I had been told my primary wasn't going to count, I probably wouldn't have voted. (A TPM two-fer.)

You would think the groups most likely to vote in a non-counting primary would be the most regular of voters, women, over 65, while the least likely to vote in a primary they were told wouldn't count would be young, irregular, and first time voters.

How would that turnout shape the results of Fla/Mich?

Friday, May 30, 2008

McCain's pattern of factual mistakes on Iraq.

We have another major McCain "misspeaking" about Iraq. First there was that embarrassing slip where he said (several times at several venues) that Iran was arming and training Al Qaeda. Then there was the recent "quiet in Mosul."

Then, yesterday, we have the fairly baldfaced misstatement about troop levels.

(Just off the top of my head, we should probably should add his April mistake over Petraes' purview, his April misstatements about the Basra uprising, and I'm sure there are more.)

These are facts he's getting wrong on his supposed area of expertise.

Of course he thinks we're going to win. He has no idea what's going on.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton jokes with reporters on her campaign plane prior to takeoff from the airport in Rapid City, S.D., Wednesday, May 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola))

McClellan says he'd be "happy" to testify before Congress

I'd love to see the executive privilege battle on this one,
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Friday he would be willing to comply with a possible congressional subpoena to discuss the administration’s handling of pre-war intelligence, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he’d be “happy to talk if I am asked to testify.”

I say you schedule him right after the GOP convention.

She'll never go away...

I fear this outcome tomorrow, too.
Another option, and one which I think is more probable, is that Clinton may well want to continue the quest to seat both delegations fully, but she might not do so as a candidate.

The rumors that just won't die for Charlie Crist

This is pretty funny. There have long been rumors that Charlie Crist is gay, (I have no idea and don't really care,) but as Crist is hoping to be the Republican VP, this poses a problem.

It's enough of an issue that GOP dirty trickster and Crist friend Roger Stone has started circulating a tape of Crist making out with a woman(!!!) to try and disprove the rumors.

Add to it, that this tape is allegedly an elevator surveillance tape. (I'm sure that would be impossible to fake/How did Stone happen to find just this one hotel/elevator surveillance tape?)

Frankly, I don't care whether Crist is gay or not, but the hoops they're jumping through to placate their bigoted voters are pretty funny to me.

Picture of the Day

Because golf would be undignified....

(President Bush and graduate Theodore Shiveley from Plano, Texas, bump chests at the United States Air Force Academy graduation ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colo., Wednesday, May 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))

Making stuff up about Al Qaeda

First we have CIA director Michael Hayden in a WaPo interview saying that we're winning against Al Qaeda (despite the fact that the all the recent officially vetted intelligence reports say otherwise. Remember "reconstituting in safe havens," training camps, recruiting, etc?)

Then, we have this wonderfully anonymously sourced, "Senior US officials," trying to tie Iran to Al Qaeda.
Senior U.S. officials tell ABC News that in recent months there have been secret contacts between the Iranian government and the leadership of al Qaeda. It's a development that has caught the attention of top officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence community.

(If you read the article, the reported "contacts" appear to be anonymous one sided messages by Al Qaeda trying to get some detainees freed. The Iranians are completely ignoring it, so implying the mutuality of "contacts" is pretty deceptive.)

White House and White House appointed national security figures trying to misrepresent facts about Al Qaeda. I guess we can gather that the 2008 election has officially begun.

Later: (Reuters) The Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Donald Kerr, says that although he has no new data or facts to revise the standing Iran NIE, he still talks about "significant concerns over Iran's intentions."

The Clinton hopes for Fla and Michigan are dead.

Just a little note, the Clinton hopes for a full reinstatement of Fla and Michigan are dead. The LATimes quotes three of the Clinton supporters on the Rules and Bylaws Committee saying that the delegations should be halved, and even Harold Ickes is talking about "defections" among Clinton's support.

(Chuck Todd runs through a number of the likely "halving" outcomes.)

And yet, the Clinton supporters plan to go ahead with their images of protest and chaos outside the DNC.

(Perhaps a big, public, screaming conflict, trying to redefine the existing rules, over something that's more or less already decided, would be a fitting end to this campaign.)

Puerto Rico doesn't care?

I'll believe this when I see it, but, wow....
Local elections routinely attract 80 percent of voters. And the Democratic primary is open to all registered voters of whatever party, because Puerto Rico doesn't register voters by party. Nevertheless, electoral officials predict fewer than 25 percent of the 2.3 million registered voters will turn out for Sunday's primary.


From an AP article confirming a Dean, Reid, Pelosi effort to force superdelegates to publicly declare,
"By this time next week, it will all be over, give or take a day," Reid said Thursday.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

There are some very early polling trends that seem to show Obama's support among white women turning negative.

I wonder why that is....?

(A woman holds a sign with a message for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during a campaign event at the Little Wound School in Kyle,S.D., Wednesday, May 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola))

Chinese hackers causing blackouts?

I'm not sure I believe this, but it's floating around today,
Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of U.S. companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to U.S. government officials and computer-security experts.

Also today, (AP) "U.S. authorities are investigating whether Chinese officials secretly copied the contents of a government laptop computer during a visit to China by Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and used the information to try to hack into Commerce computers...."

Don't you dare.....

One of the fallback solutions being pushed by many of the Fla and Michigan pols is that the elected delegates should be halved while the superdelegates should keep their full votes.

I cry "Bullshit!"

The reason this is so screwed up is because the Michigan and Florida superdelegates moved their primaries, but they think they should get off scott free?

Later: Chuck Todd reports this rumored solution. Eixisting Fla elected delegates halved. Mich elected delegates split 50-50 (and halved,) and all superdelegates halved.

Political bits

A group called Women Count PAC (not officially affiliated with the Clinton campaign, but, come on) spent $250,000 to run this ad in newspapers around the country calling for a rally outside the DNC's headquarters for the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting. (They want the image of outrage and chaos. They want it.)

(WaPo) "Obama's campaign sent a mass e-mail to supporters yesterday, urging them not to descend on the event. Plouffe said the campaign could easily muster "thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people" to counter Clinton's turnout, but said he wants to avoid an "unhelpful scene at the close of the nomination fight."

(SFChron) Pelosi makes it clear that, if she has to, she will wade in to decide the primary in late June to prevent it from going to the convention. (She must be sexist.)

(Advocate) Prominent Congressman Jim Clyburn says he will officially endorse on Tuesday 11AM during the last primaries. (Was a Clinton supporter, but revoked after all the uses of race levers. He would be the highest Congressional endorsement thus far.)

(Politico) Rupert Murdoch mulls an endorsement and speaks kindly of Obama.

Ben Smith at Politico digs up an old Bill Clinton quote calling for the party to "unite" behind Dukakis before he held the majority of delegates.

(Time) Another article asking whether McCain can competently manage a big, national campaign.

And, Without anyone talking about it, Obama's now up by about 200 delegates.

Later:(FirstRead) Clinton is scheduling press travel through June 6.

And, Chuck Hagel's wife donated to Obama twice.

Picture of the Day

(Senator Barack Obama listens to a student presentation at the Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts in Thornton, Colorado May 28, 2008. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking))

Yesterday's "attack Iran" story doesn't check out

As I mentioned yesterday, treat the latest "attack Iran" story as rumor.

According to two sources, the second half of the story doesn't check out. Feinstein and Lugar's offices both deny they have been briefed on Iran or that they are planning a joint OpEd.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Looking for a war, any war.......

With the clock winding down, the Bush administration seems to be looking for excuses,
The Bush administration is pressing U.N. inspectors to broaden their search for possible secret nuclear facilities in Syria, hinting that Damascus's nuclear program might be bigger than the single alleged reactor destroyed by Israeli warplanes last year.

Anywhere but where Al Qaeda is, right?

Picture of the Day - 3

Seriously? You're going for this photo op?

(Not that you have a high opinion of yourself....)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Curious point.....

Hotline points out that John Edwards won 14% in Florida. As Edwards has endorsed, do Edwards' delegates go to Obama?

(Clinton 50%, Obama 33%, Edwards 14%)

Clinton's last push, and it's not for the win, but for the legacy

Hillary Clinton appears to be making one last push to superdelegates, issuing a letter to all superdelegates, making stump statements like this one,
"You have to ask yourself who is the stronger candidate?" she continued. "And based on every analysis of every bit of research and every poll that’s been taken and every state that a democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall."

and having her campaign follow up with quotes like these,
"There is a difference between someone who could win and someone who will win," said Clinton senior strategist Howard Wolfson on a conference call with reporters earlier today. "That is an argument superdelegates can understand."

The message is very clear although factually dubious, but as interesting as the message, is the timing.

Reading all this, coupled with the seeming consensus that there is no way the Rules and Bylaws Committee will give the Clinton camp what they want (the consensus seems to be 1/2 representation for Fla and Mich,) it appears Clinton has now shifted into exiting the race. Her arguments seem more about laying the groundwork for an "I told you so," than about winning.

On the bright side, we'll be past the Clinton ego soon. Maybe the daily dramas will soon be gone, too. (and I don't see a Clinton VP.)

Picture of the Day - 2

I suddenly realized I'm gonna have to use all my Clinton photos before next week.

(Former President Bill Clinton pets Nelson, a Saint Bernard, outside a restaurant in Louisville, Ky., May 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Tara Bassett))

Larijani overwhelmingly elected speaker in Iran

In a sign of a possible shift inside Iran, Ahmadinejad's rival, former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is overwhelmingly elected to speaker of the Parliament, 232-31.

Larijani is definitely a conservative, but he's also much more of a realist and internationalist.

Bombing Iran by August

Definitely treat as rumor, but it's out there,
The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

According to this report, the targets would be the IRGC/Quds headquarters and facilities near Iraq. (Part of the justification may be the "sense of the Senate" vote which declared the IRGC a terror organization. Much like the Iraq war, Clinton voted yes.)

Picture of the Day

After very publicly moving a fundraising appearance from public to private to avoid such photos, this photo op still takes place.

(NYTimes) "The senator and Mr. Bush avoided any meaningful public appearance together, planning just the briefest of photo opportunities at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the evening. Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush emerged from opposite sides of their limousine at the airport. They shook hands and waved, and Mr. Bush got on his plane without making a public statement. The joint appearance lasted less than a minute."

I guess the McCain's figured they had to do something, that they couldn't completely ignore the sitting President of their party, but John and Cindy definitely do not look happy about it.

Check out the raw video. By my count they aren't together more than 10 seconds.

Political bits

(MSNBC) "Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s national campaign general co-chair was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy, federal records show."

(Forbes/FT) To add to the stink, "UBS (Gramm's employer) has told members of its former private banking team responsible for rich US clients not to travel to America, the Financial Times reported." (Suggesting "concerns" over a DOJ/SEC investigation.)

(NYTimes) While Obama and Clinton set record fundraising the Democratic Convention, like the DNC, is having big trouble raising money. (Or is it just the long primary....?)

(AP) "Obama competitive against McCain with key voters"

(AP) Everybody's saying that Fla and Mich will likely be halved.

(WSJ) Minnesota Democrats hang up possible McCain VP choice Gov. Pawlenty by setting up a veto of mortgage relief. (Look for the Senate to do the same thing to McCain.)

Cillizza says the Clinton's are trying to build an "I told you so."

And, (Rasmussen) Senate Minority leader McConnell is trailing in the latest Kentucky polling. (Only 67% of McCain voters support him.)


(AP) "Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc has suspended talks on ending its boycott of the Shiite-led government due to a dispute over which positions it would assume, the head of the bloc said Wednesday."

(Reuters) "Anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a mass protest on Friday against negotiations between Washington and Baghdad on keeping U.S. troops in the country beyond 2008."

(AP) "Militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called Tuesday for followers to hold weekly protests against a U.S.-Iraqi security deal..."

More McClellan

Last night we got the first blurbs out of Scott McClellan's new book. Today we get a little more. (NYTimes)
President Bush “convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment,” and has engaged in “self-deception” to justify his political ends....

(Iraq) was not the biggest mistake the Bush White House made. That, he says, was “a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed.”

Drudge has these two unlinked, unsupported subheads, "Explores Bush cocaine rumors... Blistering criticism of Condoleezza Rice..." (Neither of which seem that bad if you read the WaPo version.)

They shoulda gotten him that think tank post, then he wouldn't have to be selling books. But Rove wanted him cast over the side......

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3

(Sen. Barack Obama talks with Francisco Cano, right, and Felicitas Rosel about the Nevada foreclosure crisis at their home in Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday, May 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson))

Little Scotty....

Politico got an early copy of Scott McClellan's book, and he definitely goes "off message" at some points.
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.....

“History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided: that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.”


The last Democratic primary is one week from today.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Sen. Barack Obama receives a honorary degree during the commencement ceremony at Wesleyan University in Middleton, Conn., Sunday, May 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson))

Obama "banks" up to 36 superdelegates

Marc Ambinder cites an Obama campaign source saying that they have begun to "bank" dozens of superdelegates for an announcement June 4 or 5 to put them over the top. (Pretty much a head count for after the last primary.)

And, Axelrod publicly hints at the story saying, "When the primaries end, I think, we'll be where we need to be. ... We'll be at the number we need to claim the nomination."

(Treat the first one more skeptically, but as for Axelrod's comments, the Obama campaign's public statements and estimates of delegates, pledged, super, predictions, etc, have generally been very accurate.)

The next major event is Saturday's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting which will be deciding the Fla./Mich. issues. (I find it impossible to believe this meeting will begin without some sense of the likely outcome, so look for leaks later this week.)

The difference between "undecided" and "undeclared" and why many superdelegates must be growing to hate Hillary Clinton.

At this point in the process, I find it nearly impossible to believe there are that many "undecided" superdelegates left. For the most part, what we have left are superdelegates who have decided between Obama and Clinton, but, for political reasons of their own, have chosen not to publicly declare their intent.

Many of those who have not declared, have not done so because they face a tight reelection or fundraising fight, or, in the case of some of the national or state party figures, see a potential complication of their position or effectiveness were they to pick a side.

The bottom line is that there are many superdelegates who don't want to publicly pick a side in this heated contest even though their minds are already made up. They are just hoping this conflict will go away without them having to pay any cost.

But what's really weird, if you think about it, is that both campaigns have been courting these supers, talking to them in various forms and various voices for at least three months. These campaigns with their superdelegate shops and counters must must have a very good sense within five or ten what the final superdelegate count and distribution will likely be.

So, barring something incredible forcing a surge one way or the other, both campaigns know, they already know, how the final numbers will look, and yet it still goes on.

This is the vacuum in which the Hillary Clinton campaign survives for now. They know that many of these remaining superdelegates will not come forward until forced and are claiming this reticence as indecision, a space in which to continue their campaign, a campaign they almost certainly know they have already lost.

Her campaign subsists on these superdelegates' fears of endangering their own political futures.

So, how do you think those undeclared superdelegates feel about all this? Their hope is to get through all this mess without publicly declaring, to come out the other side without angering anyone, and yet the Clinton campaign goes on, likely forcing them into that public declaration that they have been so long avoiding. This could cost them their seat, job, or office.

How do you think they will feel about Hillary Clinton if she makes them pay that cost?

There are still some 165 elected and DNC superdelegates undeclared.

Picture of the Day

Helloooo, Puerto Rico!!!

(Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as she arrives at the airport to campaign in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico Saturday, May 24, 2008.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola))

The McCain strategy to win the Iraq debate

The McCain camp is swinging big, attacking Obama for not visiting Iraq recently. You figure Obama will very likely take a trip to Iraq after the primary is over, so I would guess this memorable attack is an effort by the McCain camp to diminish that trip as political.
"He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time," the Arizona senator added. "If there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn't had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly."....

Over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of McCain's top surrogates, laid the groundwork for McCain's criticism in a television interview in which he noted Obama's absence from Iraq and floated the idea that Obama and McCain should go together to be briefed by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Their goal seems to be to paint Obama's Iraq position as political expedience rather than the "toughness" and (unpopular) "judgment" of McCain. That's the ground where they want to fight over Iraq. Not right or wrong, but "moral" and "crass political."

They're trying to turn the Iraq debate from a policy issue into a character issue.

Later: (NYTimes) "Senator John McCain stood before hundreds of flag-waving veterans and their families on Monday and vowed not to waver in his support of the Iraq war. “Even,” he said, “if I must stand athwart popular opinion.”.....

Also: McCain goes hardline on N. Korea, blasting the Bush administration for being too soft.

Always bugs me.

As Bush travels to hold three GOP fundraisers, we pay.
In a time-honored practice by presidents on the trail, Bush has scheduled non-campaign events on his three-day, five-state trip, which helps defray the enormous costs of hosting the presidential entourage for which candidates must pay.....

Bush will help raise money in two key swing congressional districts on the trip: New Mexico's open first congressional district and Kansas' third district, where Republicans are trying again to knock out Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore.

Any way to know how much we're paying to help the GOP raise money for McCain and two Congressional candidates?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Picture of the Day - Photo op accomplished

On this Memorial Day morning, news organizations are not headlining with the traditional Memorial Day photos of remembrance of those who died in service to our country. Instead, they are headlining with this photo of Bush participating with the veterans group Rolling Thunder.

Photo op accomplished.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

The hard landing

The NYTimes has an article looking at the environment of a Hillary Clinton return to the Senate.

She'll return as a profile major player, if for no other reason than she now has a giant 50 state fundraising list,
But talk outside the Senate of Mrs. Clinton becoming majority leader is considered truly fanciful within the Senate, where it has also provoked unspoken irritation at the image of Democrats waiting for Mrs. Clinton to swoop in off the campaign to guide her waiting colleagues.

Also, in a WaPo piece on Clinton's quest for a popular vote "win,"
A decision about the fate of delegates from Michigan and Florida could come Saturday, when the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee is scheduled to meet. If either side is dissatisfied with the outcome, the matter will move on to another subcommittee and could take until the end of June to resolve.

That next pertinent subcommittee meeting would be the Credentials Committee on June 29, although I doubt superdelegates, party members, etc would extend that level of patience.

The mumblings from the party folks, even those sympathetic towards Clinton, seem to be pointing to "some kind of sanction" against Fla and Michigan.

Obama +6 superdelegates, Clinton +1

As predicted by CQ almost two months ago, the add-on delegates are breaking to Obama. (The "available" superdelegates number still includes a good number of "add ons" which are not independent agents waiting to make up their minds, but chosen locally for a candidate by the state parties/conventions.)

Yesterday, Obama gets 3 add on superdelegates to Clinton's 1, and today Obama gets 3 more out of Hawaii.

(And, Don't look now, but Obama's up by 190 delegates.)

"If you just let me go to Pyongyang, I'll get you a deal..."

An interesting puff profile of Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill, and his battles, more inside Washington than Pyongyang, to get the nuclear deal with North Korea.

(No, it's not the best deal, but considering the efforts to undermine him at home, it's definitely an achievement.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This is where the Clinton's are....

After saying that a Montana result might win Clinton the race (said in Montana,) Bill Clinton went on to say this,
"She can still be nominated. Don't let anybody kid you," Clinton said as the crowd of several hundred cheered. "All these superdelegates that have said they're for this one or that one or the other, they can all flip. So you do matter."

Seriously, Montana is gonna make 100 superdelegates flip?

Also: Hillary Clinton submits an editorial explaining the assassination comment and why she continues to run, "I am running because I still believe I can win on the merits."

But here's the weird thing. This editorial, which you would think would be a big deal, gets placed in the NYDailyNews, not the NYTimes, WaPo, etc. Curious, eh?

Picture of the Day

I'm out for a good part of the day (beach), so I thought I'd leave you with this for contemplation.

(Supporters of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama wait before a town hall meeting at the B'Nai Tora Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, May 22, 2008. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria))