It’s official — President-elect Barack Obama has picked his former primary rival, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to serve as his Secretary of State, America’s top diplomat and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence.
Any thoughts on the pros and cons of this appointment? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
We all knew Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is headed to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, today for a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
But, look out — Oakland’s getting into the swing-state blitz, too. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums departs Saturday morning for Tampa, Fla., where he’s to do some early-voting and get-out-the-vote appearances Sunday on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Dellums, you’ll recall, had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary; she named him chairman of her campaign’s urban policy committee. It’s not surprising he’s giving his all to make sure any Democrat wins the White House, though some might find it surprising that he’s jetting out of Oakland for the weekend before city residents vote on Measure NN — a parcel tax to pay for hiring more police officers — which he helped put on the ballot…
Lee speaks out on poverty, AIDS: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, spoke today at a Poverty Prayer vigil in Washington, D.C.: “With the help and guidance of the faith community we can as a Congress, and a country, seize this opportunity to finally and truly address the needs of our most vulnerable. Record enrollment for food stamps and increasing demand at community food banks and homeless shelters have stretched our communities’ social safety nets to their breaking point. Because 37 million Americans living in poverty is 37 million too many. Because 47 million Americans without access to healthcare is 47 million too many. And yet again, our minority communities bear the greatest burden. 31.6 percent Hispanic children under 5 and an astounding 40.7 percent of African American children under 5 grow up under the shadow of poverty. That is why we have gathered here today, because working together we will change all that. We, as a nation, must commit to breaking this cycle of poverty.”
Also, Lee has followed up her call for a national AIDS strategy by introducing a resolution to that effect in cooperation with U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. Said Lee: “The sobering new statistics on HIV and AIDS in the United States show that this disease continues to take a heavy toll right here at home –particularly in minority communities. It is unacceptable that we are not doing more to address the epidemic in populations where infections rates are highest.”
Woolsey blasts DC gun amendment: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, had harsh words today for a proposal to lift some gun-control provisions for Washington, D.C. She said an amendment offered by Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., to H.R. 6842, the National Capital Security and Safety Act — a bill revising DC’s gun laws to comply with the Supreme Court’s repeal of the city’s handgun ban — would repeal the District’s semi-automatic weapons ban and registration requirements, letting people who’ve been convicted of some crimes, committed to mental institutions or are under 21 buy firearms. Said Woolsey: “Allowing people to go out and buy a gun the day after they are released from a mental institution is reckless, not reasonable. Putting in their hands the same weapons that killed 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech and 13 students and teachers at Columbine is reckless, not reasonable. Removing the requirement that they register these guns is reckless, not reasonable. I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this amendment because the safety of every person who steps foot in this city depends on it.”
Stark wants Medicare truth in advertising: House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Fremont, wrote yesterday to Kerry Weems, Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging strict enforcment of newly released final and interim rules for marketing of private Medicare Advantage plans and Part D drug plans. Said Stark: “Given the insurance companies’ propensity to put their needs ahead of seniors and people with disabilities, it’s important that CMS take the steps needed to ensure truth in MA and Part D advertising. However, given that the Inspector General just recently pointed out CMS’s failure to enforce existing regulations, we’ll be paying close attention to make sure these new regulations are more than just another press release.”
In other news, Stark today announced his selection of Fremont’s Rodney Clark, executive director of Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, to receive a 2008 Angels in Adoption award sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute; this lets members of Congress honor individuals from their community who enrich the lives of foster children and orphans. Said Stark: “Each day, through the work Mr. Clark does, he positively impacts the lives of foster children, orphans, and children in at-risk families. He is helping to ensure that all children in our community are kept safe, are provided the tools needed to thrive and become healthy, educated, and productive adults.”
I struggled with whether to even write about this, lest I lend a lie undue credence.
Yes, I called it a lie. I know politicians and reporters often avoid the “L-word” when describing false political statements, preferring to call them “spin” or “exaggerations” or “mistruths” or some other euphemism.
But this idea the McCain/Palin campaign is pushing, that Barack Obama was referring to Sarah Palin when he spoke of “putting lipstick on a pig,” is just simply a lie.
If “lie” seems too strong, and you absolutely must have a euphemism, try “tripe,” “bull” or “a load of crap.” Obama clearly was talking about McCain’s policies.
Was it inappropriate for Obama to use the “lipstick on a pig” metaphor at all? John McCain certainly didn’t think it was inappropriate when he was talking about Hillary Clinton’s health-care platform last year.
And yet, because Sarah Palin said the word “lipstick” last week and Obama said the word “lipstick” this week, McCain/Palin churned out this ad so the conservative blogosphere could tremble with outrage that Obama is so “sexist.” I got an e-mail moments ago from Mike Huckabee’s PAC:
“Last night, while on Hannity & Colmes I cut Barack Obama some slack on his reference to ‘lipstick on a pig.’ Now I personally don’t think he was referring to Gov. Palin, but if he was he should apologize immediately.”
Gee, how big of him to “cut Barack Obama some slack.” And how passive-aggressive of him to immediately suggest an apology might be in order.
Moments before Huckabee’s e-mail, I got an e-mail from McCain-Palin looking to raise funds in reaction to “the shameful attacks Senator Obama and his liberal allies have launched against our vice presidential nominee.”
Voters should realize that what’s truly shameful is lying about what was said, and then trying to raise money on the lie.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more items to this blog challenging lies told on the campaign trail. I will try to confine myself to lies told by the campaigns themselves, not their proxies, and I will actively seek those lies on both sides of the aisle; if you have one you think I should address, feel free to tell me.
But I’ll tell you quite frankly, most of the whoppers I’ve seen in this presidential campaign so far have come from McCain/Palin, from matters of policy to political track records to made-up silliness like this “Lipstickgate.” And I will reject any accusations of partisanship leveled against me simply for setting the record straight.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain‘s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is fascinating any way you cut it.
Palin is extremely popular in her state, enjoying approval ratings that’ve ranged as high as 80 to 90 percent. In a state beset by other Republicans’ scandals, she has made ethics and earmark-slashing — even her fellow Republicans’ earmarks — the cornerstones of her administration. Palin opposes abortion choice; supports capital punishment; opposes same-sex marriage but issued a veto which effectively granted benefits to same-sex partners of state employees; and is a lifetime National Rifle Association member. She’s a mother of five, the eldest of whom is in the Army and scheduled to ship out to Iraq next month, and the youngest of whom was born just this April with Down syndrome.
A chief GOP criticism of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama — who was a state Senator for seven years and now a U.S. Senator for less than four — is that he’s too inexperienced to be president. Yet McCain has picked a running mate who’s younger than Obama and whose experience consists of four years as a citycouncilman and six as mayor of a town of 6,700 people (roughly two-thirds the size of Emeryville for all us East Bay folks), and now less than two years as Alaska’s governor.
Clearly part of McCain’s calculus in choosing Palin is the hope that she’ll attract female voters — be they Democrats, independents or Republicans — who are still irked that Hillary Clinton didn’t win the Democratic nomination. And in trying to pull those Democrats and independents, he’s putting faith in the idea that gender will trump policy in these voters’ hearts and minds. Perhaps he’s also hoping that having a 44-year-old running mate will balance voters’ concerns about his own age (again, happy 72nd birthday, Senator).
Oakland attorney Meredith Brown, a Hillary Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention, sent me a dispatch in the wee hours of this morning saying she was extremely impressed with Michelle Obama‘s speech Monday night: “Michelle made us love her. People cried and cheered as if Michelle was running for president. Now we, as Democrats, delegates, women and mothers are invested in the Obama family.”
Oakland attorney Meredith Brown, the Democratic National Convention delegate whom I quoted last week as hoping Hillary Clinton would be Barack Obama‘s vice presidential pick, is now in Denver and sent me some early observations a few minutes ago: “Hillary supporters at the convention are concerned that the Republican Party is interpreting strident support for Clinton as a rejection of Obama. Many women are recounting experiences with reporters questioning their proud display of the Hillary tee shirts that they have worn for the last 8 months.”