John Kerry blasts Fiorina for blasting Boxer

Add 2004 Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to the chorus of party, environmental and other voices knocking Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina for her attack this week on incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s national security record.

Fiorina released a television ad Wednesday mocking Boxer’s 2007 identification of climate change as a national security issues. “Terrorism kills, and Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather,” Fiorina says in the ad.

Boxer – who had been letting most of her Republican rivals’ jibes pass without comment as they duke it out in the primary – jumped all over it, as did the California Democratic Party; Media Matters for America; the Truman National Security Project, “training a new generation of progressives to lead on national security;” and now, Kerry.

Kerry’s comments came in an e-mail soliciting contributions both for Truth Fights Back, his committee that’s “restoring truth to the energy and climate change debate,” and for Boxer’s re-election campaign:

John KerryI had to forward this because some things just can’t be allowed to stand in American politics – you have to do more than respond – you have to make the opposition pay for peddling the kind of malarkey that does our country a disservice. I just got this email from my friend Barbara Boxer in California. She’s under attack for telling the truth: that climate change is a national security issue. Her opponent – how predictable! – says Barbara is “worried about the weather.”

Just last week, you probably remember me fighting this fight with some guy from a conservative “think tank.” Now Barbara is fighting it with her Republican opponent, Carly Fiorina. But Carly isn’t just disagreeing with Barbara – she’s mocking the words and findings of the Pentagon, the CIA, analysts in the Bush Administration, generals like Anthony Zinni, Admirals like William Fallon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and, oh, gee, literally hundreds of other national security experts.

Stand up for the truth and hit back in a way that counts: You can click below to give to Barbara’s campaign to help her fight back, and you can click here to help us at TruthFightsBack fight back for the truth everywhere we can.

We’re sending $1 billion a day overseas to feed our oil addiction, repressive states like Iran are using the oil income to fund their schemes, climate change threatens the stability of nations around the globe, and folks like Carly Fiorina talk about the weather. Stand up for a Senate that stands for the truth and debates real issues.

Generals and Admirals stand with Barbara. A bunch of Republican one-line writers stand with Carly. Who are you gonna stand with?

Kerry’s comments aside, the more I think about Fiorina’s ad, the less sense it makes to me. Never mind that it comes from someone who herself said just two years ago that “the issues of climate change and energy independence are inextricably linked,” and also called a cap-and-trade system an effort to “provide the incentives of a private marketplace to encourage people to innovate and also to encourage people to find new ways of reducing their greenhouse emissions. I’m a businessperson, I know that incentives and competition in the private marketplace work.”

No, what bugs me is the ad’s apparent political tone-deafness. She targets Boxer as if she’s already the GOP nominee, yet she’s still tacking pretty far to the right with a stance that’s popular in next week’s primary but probably won’t get her very far with the independent voters she’ll need in order to beat Boxer come November.

True, by calling out Boxer before the primary, Fiorina got Boxer and the rest to respond to her as the presumptive nominee – but that could be what Boxer wants. Fiorina is better-funded than either of her GOP rivals, but a lot of analysts believe Tom Campbell would pose a bigger threat to Boxer by attracting more independents with his somewhat more moderate social stances. “Tom Campbell is Barbara Boxer’s worst nightmare,” Center for Governmental Studies President Bob Stern told the Los Angeles Times this week. And indeed, at least one recent, prominent poll showed Campbell as the only Republican defeating Boxer in a hypothetical November match-up.

Sure, this and other polls show Fiorina surging and Campbell fading in next week’s primary, but Fiorina’s ad might’ve let Boxer go a little way toward choosing her general-election opponent. Only time will tell whom this ad helped the most.


Um, was that an endorsement?

Not quite, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely spoke kindly today of Attorney General Jerry Brown‘s qualifications for, and chances of, succeeding him as governor in 2010.

Schwarzenegger took questions for half an hour from Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel (and did some Teutonic bonding, noting stengel is German for “stick” — my dictionary says it’s actually “stalk” or stem”) before an audience of several hundred during the American Magazine Conference at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel.

Stengel toward the end asked Schwarzenegger who he thinks will get the 2010 Democratic guberntorial nomination. He said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein probably would if she enters the race, but he doubts she’ll do so if Barack Obama wins the White House next month; she’d be more likely to leave behind the Senate senority she has built up — including the Rules and Administration Committee‘s chair — if Congress must work with a McCain Administration.

If DiFi’s not in the race, “Jerry Brown has the best shot at becoming governor,” Schwarzenegger said, noting his extensive experience including two terms as governor, two as Oakland’s mayor and his current stint as California’s top cop. Don’t count out Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner on the Republican side, he added — he’s accomplished and ambitious as well — but Brown has a proven ability to reach across party lines. “I think he is the best choice,” it sounded like Schwarzenegger said in closing.

Gotta wonder how Poizner feels about that.

((UPDATE @ 4:15 P.M.: I guess I misheard it. Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear just sent me a transcript, and here’s the exchange, verbatim:

STENGEL: Who will be the Democratic nominee for governor of California when your term is up?

GOVERNOR: You know, I think the best potential — it depends if Dianne Feinstein comes into the race or not. I think that depends also on who will win the presidency, because if McCain wins the presidency I think that she most likely will leave Washington and will come and run for governor. I think that if Obama wins the presidency she will want to be part of that move and want to stay because of that change, want to stay in Washington, and then Jerry Brown, I think, has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state. And there is Steve Poizner who has also a good shot, who is a Republican and is making his way up right now.

But I think Jerry Brown, because he has been governor twice before in California and he has worked his way back up again from being mayor of Oakland to becoming the Attorney General right now. And he kind of can reach the Republicans and Democrats and bring people together, so I think he has the best shot.))

More from Schwarzenegger’s Q&A, after the jump… Continue Reading


Wednesday’s DNC video highlights

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., moves to halt the roll call and nominate Barack Obama by acclimation:

Former President Bill Clinton:

2004 Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.:

And I’ll update with Joe Biden‘s vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech — and his special unannounced guest — as soon as clean clips are available…

UPDATE @ 10:17 P.M.: Here we are:


‘Kids for Kerry’ founder endorsed Obama

Dunno how I missed this a few weeks ago, but — lucky for me — the JTA didn’t. From Jan. 31:

wexler.jpgThe Jewish 11-year-old who four years ago called for a “timeout” for Dick Cheney endorsed Barack Obama.

Ilana Wexler, of Oakland, Calif., started Kids for Kerry in 2004 to raise support for U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), then the party’s presidential candidate. She brought the Democratic convention to its feet with her reprimand of the vice president, who had used an obscenity in an exchange with a Senate Democrat.

“When our vice president had a disagreement with a Democratic senator, he used a really bad word,” Wexler said then. “If I said that word, I would be put in a timeout. I think he should be put in a timeout.”

Since then, she has been courted by the campaign of U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to head its youth outreach. This week, however, the now 15-year-old Wexler declared her support for Obama, telling CNN that the Illinois senator embodied hope and was the favorite among her friends.

I remember covering Ilana before and during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. From my July 28, 2004 story about her speech:

Ilana ‘s political activism began late last year after her parents — Jonathan, a CPA, and Heidi, a drama therapist — attended an East Bay house party for Teresa Heinz Kerry. Their enthusiasm soaked into Ilana, who then did her own research and concluded Kerry was the right choice; Kids for Kerry soon was launched and took off nationwide after Ilana met the Kerrys in February in San Francisco.

For the past few months, Kids for Kerry and its sister political action committee, Kids4AChange.com, have been nagging adults and raising funds to ensure a Kerry victory in November; Ilana plans to tour several swing states later this summer to spread the word in person. And she has made new friends: Teresa Heinz Kerry herself called Ilana just one week ago today to tell her to start writing a convention speech.

Here’s a clip of Wexler speaking to Air America’s “Clout” host Richard Greene on Feb. 4 about her endorsement of Obama (yes, it’s YouTube, but audio only):


Kennedy, Kerry to stump here for Obama

It’s like Boston on the Pacific!!!

edward-kennedy.jpgU.S. Sen. Edward “Teddy” Kennedy, D-Mass., who endorsed Barack Obama on Monday, will host a town-hall meeting on the candidate’s behalf at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 in Beebe Memorial Cathedral, at 3900 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland; it’s free and open to the public.

And U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., will host a canvass kick-off rally at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Everett Middle School, 450 Church St. in San Francisco — also free and open to the public.

Wanna bet who’s a bigger draw? Opinions vary on the power of political endorsements, but the Kennedy family name could carry weight with several key California constituencies.

For one, younger voters: While making his endorsement Monday, Kennedy said Obama represents the same youthful vigor and generational change that his elder brother, John Kennedy, brought to 1960’s presidential campaign. Yet this endorsement from a Senator who has served since 1962 — only Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has more seniority — also could help quell the concerns of those who believe Obama too inexperienced.

The Obama campaign almost certainly hopes Latinos will recall Robert Kennedy marching with labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, and African Americans, Robert Kennedy’s commitment to civil rights. And Ted Kennedy’s blessing ought to help with organized labor, too.

Obama also has been endorsed by Caroline Kennedy, who is Ted Kennedy’s niece and the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy; the campaign on Wednesday launched a television ad featuring Caroline Kennedy, airing in the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets as well as on national cable.

The Senator’s son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, has endorsed Obama too, but Robert Kennedy Jr. and his sisters, Kerry Kennedy and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, have endorsed Clinton, as has Anthony Kennedy Shriver — another of Ted Kennedy’s nephews, and the youngest brother of California’s first lady, Maria Shriver.

BTW, The Washington Post had an interesting item today about how Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama might’ve had something to do with his personal ire at Hillary Clinton.


VC partners endorse Giuliani, Clinton

kvamme.jpgSilicon Valley mogul E. Floyd Kvamme told reporters on a conference call just now that Rudy Giuliani — who’ll be in the Bay Area early next week — would be the business-friendly president the valley desires.

“The valley is a very globally thinking kind of economy,” he said. “The mayor talks a lot about that… competitiveness in improving our picture.”

Kvamme — a partner emeritus at high-tech venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — said Giuliani wants to roll back government regulation that forces business overseas, but also is “very committed to the whole issue of workforce generation and education… Most of us here in the valley believe that more choice in the (school) system would be good for the system.”

On immigration, “the mayor is the one person who can sort out this issue, because its a big one and he lived in it for a number of years” but also because he understands total, comprehenisve reform may not be the appropriate, immediate goal if Silicon Valley wants to continue attracting the best and brightest from around the world. And on energy, Kvamme said, Giuliani “has recognized that on the electricity front, the cleanest electricity going is nuclear power” and opposes raising taxes on U.S. oil production.

Giuliani is “taking California very seriously — he has been here a ton of times,” Kvamme said. “People are excited about his candidacy and I think he’s going to do extremely well in California.”

doerr.jpgIncidentally, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr and his wife, environmental advocate Ann Doerr, today announced their support of Hillary Clinton, citing her “forward-looking agenda in energy, innovation, healthcare and the economy” and her “experience, judgment and leadership to strengthen America’s standing in the world.”

Just as Kvamme is a longtime GOP figure — high-tech advisory positions in the administrations of President George W. Bush and former Gov. Pete Wilson; a stint as chairman of a Bill Bennett-founded conservative think tank; giving, with his wife, at least $122,000 to Republican causes in the 2004 cycle, $252,000 in 2000 — the Doerrs were big-time Al Gore supporters in ’00 and gave $428,000 to Democratic causes in ’04. John Doerr had endorsed Joe Lieberman in 2003 but quickly fell in line behind John Kerry post-nomination in 2004.