Archive for May 27th, 2008

Political Wire: Marc Ambinder confirms reports that the Obama campaign has “begun to bank delegates.”

“Sources close to the campaign estimate that as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates have privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5. The campaign is determined that Obama not end the first week in June without securing the support of delegates numbering 2026 — or 2210, as the case may be.”

AP: The Libertarian Party yesterday picked former Republican representative Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate after six rounds of balloting.

Barr was victorious over Mary Ruwart, a research scientist who also sought the party’s presidential nominee unsuccessfully in 1983, on the final ballot. The vote was 324 to 276.

He endorsed Wayne Allyn Root, who was eliminated in the fifth round, to be his vice-presidential nominee.

Barr, 59, left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush administration.

The former representative from Georgia said he is in the race to win. “I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler,” he said.

Ballot Access News: Cynthia McKinney now has the support of over 50% of the delegates to the Green Party national convention who have been chosen so far. Although not all state Green Parties have chosen their delegates, most of them have, so it is very likely that she will obtain the nomination. The national convention is July 10-13 in Chicago. This post originally said she had clinched the nomination, but that was not accurate.

TIME: When President George W. Bush appeared before the Israeli Knesset recently and denounced those who appease “terrorists and radicals,” it was seen back home as a swipe against Democratic contender Barack Obama for saying that the U.S. should talk to its enemies. But his audience of Israeli legislators, who interrupted Bush’s speech at least 14 times with thunderclaps of applause, interpreted it otherwise. They saw it as the American President’s unswerving support of the Jewish nation on its 60th anniversary. Nevertheless, under instructions from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel envoys have been carrying out discreet talks with the very “radicals and terrorists” that Bush was warning against in his speech: Syria, the Lebanese militia Hizballah and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Politico: The general co-chairman of John McCain’s presidential campaign, former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), led the charge in 1999 to repeal a Depression-era banking regulation law that Democrat Barack Obama claimed on Thursday contributed significantly to today’s economic turmoil.

Politico: Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan names names in a caustic passage from a forthcoming memoir that accuses President Bush, Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney of being “involved” in his giving the press false information about the CIA leak case.

McClellan’s publisher released three paragraphs from the book “WHAT HAPPENED: Inside the Bush White House and What’s Wrong With Washington.”

Politico:  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.

Among the most explosive revelations in the 341-page book, titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” (Public Affairs, $27.95):

• McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.

• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.

• He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”

• The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

• McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

CNN: Plans for the Phoenix Mars Lander’s second day of activities on Mars have been delayed because of a problem in relaying communications from one of two orbiters relaying commands from Earth, NASA officials said Tuesday.

AP: The Alabama Legislature returned for a special session Tuesday to make another attempt at passing a state education budget and try to salvage the jobs of more than 1,000 laid-off teachers.

Towleroad: Anti-gay attacks on rural Tennessee man continue.

Times Online: Owners of Apple devices such as iPods and iPhones may soon be able to charge them up by leaving them out in the sun.

Apple has filed a patent for a technology which would enable a layer of solar cells to be inserted under a touch-sensitive screen of the sort used in the iPhone.

2008 Democratic Convention Watch: Since Sunday, Obama has picked up four delegates, DNC delegates Nancy Drummond (WY), Brian Schatz (HI), Kari Luna (HI) and James Burns (HI).

Huffington Post:

“Karl Rove saying he’s had nothing to do with firing U.S. Attorneys and nothing to do with my case is like President Bush saying he’s had nothing to do with the war in Iraq because he hasn’t pulled a trigger,” said Siegelman.

“I think Rove is probably the most devious and evil political operative who has been trained to come on to the political scene in certainly the last fifty years,” he said. “I can’t think of anybody in the annals of history who could even rival this man’s pernicious thoughts. It is a lifetime’s work for him… I think he learned two things from Watergate: you don’t need to establish a secret plumbers union at a mid level office in the White House when you can take over Department of Justice and have them do your dirty work for you, and secondly, you don’t leave tapes behind, you destroy evidence.”

From Politics1.com:

McCAIN VEEPSTAKES. Politics1 Exclusive. How interested is Florida Governor Charlie Crist in being John McCain’s VP runningmate? So much so that veteran GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone — who coordinated a few dirty stunts in support of Crist during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign — is quietly peddling a so-called “Charlie Crist sex tape.” That’s what Stone called it during a telephone conversation. And no, it is not a tape of Crist having sex with a guy. In fact, it isn’t even X-rated. The video was seemingly staged to kill the rumors that Crist is gay. Stone claims the tape — which he discussed recently with Politics1, but didn’t show to us (“I’m saving it for the national shows”) — “shows Charlie fooling around in a hotel elevator with his girlfriend … They’re making out.” Adds Stone: “It was captured on a security camera in the elevator” last month. And Stone just conveniently happens to have a copy of the hotel’s elevator surveillance tape, just when Crist’s name is in play for the VP spot. Hmm. As for Crist’s purported girlfriend — presuming it is the same one he took as his date to the White House Correspondents Dinner in DC a few weeks ago — she’s still married (and not to Crist). Disclaimer: Always be skeptical of anything from Stone.

Reuters: Germany unveiled a monument to the tens of thousands of homosexuals persecuted under the Nazis, whose laws were used to prosecute gay men for a generation after World War Two.

Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, who is openly gay, hailed the grey, concrete memorial as a long overdue acknowledgement of the repression of homosexuals, 50,000 of whom were convicted by Nazi courts during Adolf Hitler’s 12-year dictatorship.

“The monument consecrated today is a reminder to us of the horrors of the past and draws our attention to the degree of discrimination that currently exists,” Wowereit said.

AP: Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay who achieved commercial success and critical acclaim with the gender-bending comedy “Tootsie” and the period drama “Out of Africa,” has died. He was 73.

CNN: The Republican National Committee accused Barack Obama Tuesday of a lack of judgment after the Illinois senator mistakenly stated that his uncle helped liberate the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz while serving in the American military during World War II.

In fact, that concentration camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers in 1945.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton released a statement later Tuesday clarifying the remarks, saying the Illinois senator meant to refer to the Buchenwald camp, which American soldiers did liberate. Obama was also apparently referring to his great uncle.

“Senator Obama’s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II – especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald. Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically,” Burton said.