Archive for June 14th, 2008

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Think Progress: In an interview with GQ magazine yesterday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich compared Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) effort to rally support around his indefinite commitment to staying in Iraq to “what Lincoln had to do in the Civil War“:

QUESTION: How does your background in history influence your political ideas?

GINGRICH: If you think about the current situation, it helps to remember Harry Truman running in 1948, or even Sarkozy in France. Sarkozy distanced himself from Chirac without being hostile. That’s what McCain has to do with Bush. And what McCain is trying to achieve by explaining the dangers of the world to the public is like what Lincoln had to do in the Civil War.

QUESTION: McCain doesn’t exactly have Lincoln’s rhetorical skills.

GINGRICH: In style he’s closer to Truman, who did not have the rhetorical skills, but had passion.

Gingrich, along with a long list of conservatives, have long sought to cast President Bush as Lincoln-like. Now, with Bush heading out of office, they are trying to do the same with McCain.

AP: Senator Barack Obama plans on touring the Illinois community of Quincy to see flooded areas along the Mississippi River for himself. The Democratic presidential candidate is scheduled to visit the area Saturday afternoon to tour the region and help fill sandbags.

Quincy’s 1 of several communities that have been threatened by the rising river waters. Volunteers have been feverishly stacking sandbags around several businesses and the water treatment facility.

Obama and fellow Illinois Senator Dick Durbin earlier this week asked Governor Rod Blagojevich to preemptively declare some counties disaster areas before flooding next week’s expected flooding moves along the river. Blagojevich did that.

MSNBC’s First Read: So you think you know who’s on Obama’s veep short list? Well, think again. According to sources on the Hill, Obama veep vetters — specifically Jim Johnson and Eric Holder — have been asking Dem members of Congress this week their input about potential running mates. The conversations are free-flowing but one name the vetters are inserting in the conversations is one that is not a household name… Ret. Gen. James Jones, the former Marine-turned-NATO Supreme Allied Commander. …

Besides Jones, the other names on the list bandied about with congressional Dems include (and not in any order): Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Ted Strickland, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and Sam Nunn. You’ll notice a few names NOT on this list (that’s not my exclusion — hint hint). Besides Jones, I’m told the two other names that invited extended discussion were Biden and Strickland.

* * *

The Huffington Post recently published profiles on two of the top names on the list: Jim Webb and Kathleen Sebelius. For more on Obama’s veepstakes, check out HuffPost’s rundown list of the pros and cons of the potential vice president candidates.

BarackObama.com: Several Midwest states were flooded this weekend, forcing families to evacuate their homes and leave their communities.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by the floods.

The American Red Cross is providing relief efforts in Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and West Virginia. Almost 1,100 workers have been deployed to help out in the Midwest.

Throughout this campaign, we have seen time and again that when ordinary people act together, they can make a difference.

You can help out now by donating or volunteering at a local shelter. Visit the Red Cross’ website for more information on how to help in your town. Let’s rally together to help those who need us now.

Advocate: The Pew Research Center released new findings on Tuesday in a study gauging the importance of gay marriage as a voting issue among Americans. These findings were compared to opinions collected before the last election in 2004 and again in 2007.

According to the study, gay marriage is going to be a hot-button issue at the polls come November. Interest in gay marriage as a voting issue has increased across the board from October 2007 to May 2008, when the study was conducted, soon after the California supreme court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage.

In the past year, there has been a particular revival of interest in gay marriage among conservative political parties and religious groups. The study reported that the majority of the increase was found among Republicans (up 14% from 2007), Catholics (up 11% from 2007), and white evangelical Protestants (up 10% from 2007).

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AP: Stewart Mott, an eccentric and freethinking philanthropist who helped bankroll the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern, has died. He was 70.

Mott, a scion of a family that helped build General Motors Corp. and established one of the nation’s biggest grantmaking foundations, died of heart failure Thursday night at a hospital near his North Salem home, said Conrad Martin, the executive director of the Stewart Mott Charitable Trust.

Mott had been suffering from lung and throat cancer, Martin said.

I’m a bit sad today, with the unexpected news of Tim Russert’s sudden passing. As a student of politics and journalism, I had great respect for Russert’s ability to take on the topical news of the moment, and be as objective and fair as he was. He was the pinnacle of fair journalism in the American media, with his ridiculously tough grillings of countless politicians and newsmakers.

As a total news junkie, I’m sad that I won’t see him again (for a bit), in what has become an amazing year in politics. I watched with heartbreak today the coverage of Russert’s death. How painful to watch the reactions from Olbermann, Brokaw, Matthews, Fineman, Robinson, Mitchell, Todd. And how poignant to realize, with his deep connection with Big Russ, he left us on Father’s Day Weekend.

I, for one, will miss an incredible journalist and student of politics… A stand-up guy. But most of all, a lover of life.

The Plainsman Politico extends its condolences to his family, the NBC family, and anyone who watches politics, because we’ve been left with a huge vacuum that simply cannot be replaced.

(PS: Go Bills!)

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Political Wire: Mike Huckabee “has signed a one-year deal as a political commentator for Fox News, where he will sound off on a variety of programs,” the Washington Post reports.

“The deal keeps Huckabee in the spotlight as he contemplates a second run in 2012, a tactic perfected by Pat Buchanan, who hosted CNN’s Crossfire between presidential campaigns.”