Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Afraid of the Big Bad Fox

What is it with the Democrats and Fox News Channel? Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have now joined former Sen. John Edwards in dissing a debate sponsored by Fox along with — guess who — the Congressional Black Caucus Institute!

The Democratic National Committee has announced six debates for the 2008 season but did not list the Fox debate scheduled for Sept. 23. Instead they are taking part in another CBC debate sponsored by CNN in South Carolina. Reportedly pressure from liberal activists, including Jesse Jackson and, is causing these Democrats to lose their head. Last month another Fox debate was scheduled for August in Nevada but that got the boomerang as well. Congratulations to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who had the wisdom to say the move was “unfortunate,” and to remind his fellow Democrats that Edwards and others participated in two debates Fox sponsored with the CBC during the 2004 primary campaign.


Senator Barack Obama solidified his position as the man with the momentum, money and excitement in the Democratic race for president with his staggering first-quarter filing. Senator Obama raked in $25 million in the first three months of this year — staggering when you consider he was a member of the obscure caucus in the Illinois state legislature just two years ago.

Delving deeper into Obama’s donation disclosure should give those in Senator Clinton’s campaign a serious headache. Senator Clinton received contributions from 50,000 donors to Obama’s 100,000. In fact, Obama had 50,000 Internet donations alone.

Enjoying an Underdog

Why are underdogs such fun? New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is having a great week, and it is far more entertaining than the exhausting Clinton/Obama rivalry marathon we will be subjected to all year. Not only did Richardson raise more money than his second-tier colleagues, Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), but he got President Bush to bless his trip to North Korea, creating an opportunity to remind everyone again that he is the Foreign Policy Stud of the Democratic contest.

Richardson will visit Pyongyang to collect the remains of American troops who died in the Korean War. He will be accompanied by former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi, but it is Richardson's trip — after all, he is the one with an open invitiation to visit and confer with the North Korean government. He has earned his stripes not only as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations but has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the release of political prisoners in Iraq, Cuba and North Korea.

Gingrich message resonates — in English

Newt Gingrich equates bilingual education with “language of living in a ghetto” and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in several languages. While some may not share Gingrich’s use of the word “ghetto,” many overwhelmingly agree with his overall affirmation that the United States should not have to create ballots in any language except English and that other languages should be secondary in schools.

Immigrants infiltrating this country should learn to speak English in order to prosper and thrive here. If you are a U.S. citizen then you should vote as a U.S. citizen in English and English only. Even if someone is highly proficient in two or more languages, his/her so-called communicative competence or ability may not be as balanced.

Bilingual education is another issue for the country to be divided along ethnic lines. It sends the wrong message to immigrants, encouraging them to believe they can live in the U.S. without learning English or conforming to “American” ways.

Gingrich’s observation is on the mark and a necessary step in the preservation of our nation. It is common sense that if you plan to make the good ol’ USA your home, then you must speak her language. Whether you are seeking a right to participate in our democratic process, find work or create small businesses, you must speak English. What sense does it make for us to adapt to someone else’s language to communicate with them in our America? Do you agree with this common-sense idea?

Follow the Money All the Way to the White House!

Isn’t it exciting?

Results of the first presidential primary are in and now we know: not who got the most votes, but who raised the most money.

Hillary Clinton comes in first with an amazing pot of $26 million raised since she announced her candidacy Jan. 20 — setting a new record for presidential fundraising.

Barack Obama gives Hillary a run for her money, with a reported $22 million. Not bad for a guy nobody ever heard of two years ago.

And John Edwards shows he’s a serious candidate too, by weighing in with an impressive $14 million.

McCain's Mirage

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is very expressive. When he does not quite believe what he says, he speaks in a low, droning monotone — as he did at a weekend press conference in which he criticized the American media for its coverage of Iraq and proceeded to tell tales about how he walked comfortably among Iraqis.

Obviously McCain walked among Iraqis for a few moments, surrounded by a hundred American troops on his side, protected by American military helicopters above him.
And this proves what, exactly?

The whole episode was weird, strange and delusional. It illustrates what has gone so wrong with George Bush, with his Iraq policy and with John McCain.

Frontrunners Beware

The political vacuum cleaners are in high gear — pulling in the campaign cash fast and furious. Hillary has amassed $36 million in the first quarter, which includes $10 million left over from her Senate run. Barack Obama will announce soon; his numbers are presumed to be impressive as well. Edwards has nearly doubled the $7.4 million he raised in the first quarter of 2003. Bill Richardson, one of my favorite long-shots, came in with a solid $6 million, with $5 million left in the bank.

Here is my point: A lot of these candidates will raise the funds needed to be competitive through next January. Of course, the super-primary day of Feb. 5, when over half the Democratic delegates may be chosen, poses another set of problems for a cash-strapped campaign.

But my advice right now is beware of frontrunner-itis. The ones with the most money may not be the ones who end up as the nominees. Remember Howard Dean with his $45 million-plus? He didn’t make it out of Iowa. The candidates who are leading in the polls now may fail to keep up the momentum this year or early next.

The Lucky Guy

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is a lucky guy, and human nature makes lucky people very attractive to the rest of us. Before the end of March, just six weeks after formally announcing his bid for the presidency, Obama has won the hugely significant endorsement of Jesse Jackson — a veritable Good Housekeeping seal of approval to many African Americans watching the ’08 race.

Following media reports about his seeming lack of legitimate credentials among black voters and his inability to galvanize a voting bloc Hillary Clinton was supposed to have under lock and key, Obama took to Selma, Ala., several weeks ago on the anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” crossing of the Edmund Pettus bridge to turn things around. Sure, Clinton followed him there; having stepped on his announcement week she sure wasn’t going to let Obama’s rock-star appearance at Bloody Sunday pass without the Big Foot. Obama’s presence generated bursting crowds as he thundered from the pulpit in a newfound southern accent about how the event 42 years ago had basically birthed him, having inspired a black man and white woman to become the parents of Barack Obama. Too bad everyone quickly remembered that he was born three years before Bloody Sunday. When called on it, Obama said he meant that the whole civil rights movement produced him — or something like that.

Fred Thompson: Authenticity and Anti-'Gotcha' Politics Looks Good to Many Democrats

Far be it for me to say anything nice about former Republican Tennessee Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson.

First, he was the chairman of the Government Oversight Committee's 1997 campaign-finance abuse hearings aimed at the Clinton White House — and thus made my life miserable when I served as President Clinton's special counsel in charge of "handling" those hearings and being sure the White House and national political media covered them accurately (I almost say "fair and balanced"). Sen. Thompson was very tough on the Clinton campaign's fundraising practices. And I strongly disagreed with him, at the very least, for not applying the same standard to Republican fundraising practices. (At one point, I must admit, I was flattered when Thompson sarcastically interjected a comment during the televised campaign-finance hearings in the summer of 1997 (I am paraphrasing, but this is close), "This testimony is so significant that even Lanny Davis won't call it 'old news.'")

Questioning the straight talk

Things looked like they couldn’t be worse for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but the story in our newspaper today has made the gloomy last months now seem almost sunny. Bob Cusack reported that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) held several discussions with McCain in 2001 about what Daschle concluded was the legitimate possibility of McCain leaving the GOP and possibly retaining his seniority in a Democratic majority. The story includes denials from the McCain camp about him ever seriously considering leaving his party.

This revelation arrives when McCain has lost his early momentum, lost his frontrunner status, money is thin and his candidacy faces possible challenges from two friends — Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) — and a definite challenge from another friend, Rudy Giuliani. Add to that his status as Poster Man for the Iraq war.