Obama on Rezko deal: It
was a mistake
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama expressed regret late
Friday for his 2005 land purchase from
now-indicted political fundraiser Antoin
"Tony" Rezko in a deal that enlarged the
"I consider this a mistake on my part and I
regret it," Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times
in an exclusive and revealing
question-and-answer exchange about the
In June 2005, Obama and Rezko purchased
adjoining parcels in Kenwood. The state's
junior senator paid $1.65 million for a
Georgian revival mansion, while Rezko paid
$625,000 for the adjacent, undeveloped lot.
Both closed on their properties on the same
Last January, aiming to increase the size
of his sideyard, Obama paid Rezko $104,500 for
a strip of his land.
The transaction occurred at
a time when it was widely
known Tony Rezko was under
investigation by U.S.
Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
and as other Illinois
politicians befriended by
Rezko distanced themselves
In the Sun-Times
Rezko about the two
properties being up for sale
and that Rezko developed an
immediate interest. Obama
did not explain why he
reached out to Rezko given
the developer's growing
Last month, Rezko was
indicted for his role in an
alleged pay-to-play scheme
designed to fatten Gov.
fund. Rezko also was accused
of bilking a creditor.
"With respect to the
purchase of my home, I am
confident that everything
was handled ethically and
above board. But I regret
that while I tried to pay
close attention to the
specific requirements of
ethical conduct, I misgauged
the appearance presented by
my purchase of the
additional land from Mr.
Rezko," Obama said.
"It was simply not good
enough that I paid above the
appraised value for the
strip of land that he sold
me. It was a mistake to have
been engaged with him at all
in this or any other
personal business dealing
that would allow him, or
anyone else, to believe that
he had done me a favor," the
The land deal came up in
a court hearing Friday that
delved into Rezko's
finances. Obama said he has
not been approached by
federal prosecutors about
the transaction nor has
plans to go to them about
Obama and Rezko have been
friends since 1990, and
Obama said the Wilmette
businessman raised as much
as $60,000 for him during
his political career. After
Rezko's indictment, Obama
donated $11,500 to
charity--a total that
represents what Rezko
contributed to the senator's
federal campaign fund.
After the controversy
surfaced on Wednesday, the
Sun-Times presented Obama's
office with a lengthy set of
questions about the land
deal, Obama's relationship
with Rezko and the story's
impact on a potential 2008
bid for the White House.
Here are his responses:
Q: Senator, when did
you first meet Tony Rezko?
How did you become friends?
How often would you meet
with him, and when did you
last speak with him?
A: I had attracted
some media attention when I
was elected the first black
President of the Harvard Law
Review. And while I was in
law school, David Brint, who
was a development partner
with Tony Rezko contacted me
and asked whether I would be
interested in being a
developer. Ultimately, after
discussions in which I met
Mr. Rezko, I said no.
I have probably had lunch
with Rezko once or twice a
year and our spouses may
have gotten together on two
to four occasions in the
time that I have known him.
I last spoke with Tony Rezko
more than six months ago.
Q:. Have you or your
wife participated in any
other transactions of any
kind with Rezko or companies
he owns? Have you or your
wife ever done any legal
work ever for Rezko or his
Q: Has Rezko ever
given you or your family
members gifts of any kind
and, if so, what were they?
Q: The seller of your
house appears to be a doctor
at the University of Chicago
. Do you or your wife know
him? If so, did either of
you ever talk to him about
subdividing the property? If
you ever did discuss the
property with him, when were
A: We did not know
him personally, though my
wife worked in the same
University hospital. The
property was subdivided and
two lots were separately
listed when we first learned
of it. We did not discuss
the property with the
owners; the sale was
negotiated for us by our
Q: Did you approach
Rezko or his wife about the
property, or did they
A: To the best of
my recollection, I told him
about the property, and he
developed an interest,
knowing both the location
and, as I recall, the
developer who had previously
Q: Who was your
Realtor? Did this Realtor
also represent Rita Rezko?
Zeltzerman, who had also
represented me in the
purchase of my prior
property, a condominium, in
Hyde Park. She did not
represent Rita Rezko.
Q: How do you explain
the fact your family
purchased your home the same
day as Rita Rezko bought the
property adjacent to yours?
Was this a coordinated
A: The sellers
required the closing of both
properties at the same time.
As they were moving out of
town, they wished to
conclude the sale of both
The lot was purchased first;
with the purchase of the
house on the adjacent lot,
the closings could proceed
and did, on the same day,
pursuant to the condition
set by the sellers.
Q: Why is it that you
were able to buy your parcel
for $300,000 less than the
asking price, and Rita Rezko
paid full price? Who
negotiated this end of the
deal? Did whoever negotiated
it have any contact with
Rita and Tony Rezko or their
Realtor or lawyer?
A: Our agent
negotiated only with the
seller's agent. As we
understood it, the house had
been listed for some time,
for months, and our offer
was one of two and, as we
understood it, it was the
best offer. The original
listed price was too high
for the market at the time,
and we understood that the
sellers, who were anxious to
move, were prepared to sell
the house for what they paid
for it, which is what they
We were not involved in
the Rezko negotiation of the
price for the adjacent lot.
It was our understanding
that the owners had
received, from another
buyer, an offer for $625,000
and that therefore the
Rezkos could not have
offered or purchased that
lot for less.
Q: Why did you put the
property in a trust?
A: I was advised
that a trust holding would
afford me some privacy,
which was important to me as
I would be commuting from
Washington to Chicago and my
family would spend some part
of most weeks without me.
Q: A Nov. 21,
1999, Chicago Tribune story
indicates the house you
bought "sits on a
quarter-acre lot and will
share a driveway and
entrance gate with a home
next door that has not yet
been built." Is this shared
driveway still in the mix?
Will this require further
negotiations with the Rezkos?
A: The driveway is
not shared with the adjacent
owner. But the resident in
the carriage house in the
back does have an easement
Q: Does it
display a lack of judgment
on your part to be engaging
in real estate deals with
Tony Rezko at a point his
connections to state
government had been reported
to be under federal
A: I've always
held myself to the highest
ethical standards. During
the ten years I have been in
public office, I believe I
have met those standards and
I know that is what people
expect of me. I have also
understood the importance of
With respect to the
purchase of my home, I am
confident that everything
was handled ethically and
But I regret that while I
tried to pay close attention
to the specific requirements
of ethical conduct, I
misgauged the appearance
presented by my purchase of
the additional land from Mr.
Rezko. It was simply not
good enough that I paid
above the appraised value
for the strip of land that
he sold me. It was a mistake
to have been engaged with
him at all in this or any
other personal business
dealing that would allow
him, or anyone else, to
believe that he had done me
a favor. For that reason, I
consider this a mistake on
my part and I regret it.
Throughout my life, I
have put faith in
honestly and learning from
them. And that is what I
will do with this experience
Q: Why did you
not publicly disclose the
transaction after Rezko got
A: At the time, it
didn't strike me as
relevant. I did however
contributions from Rezko to
Q: Have you
been interviewed by federal
investigators about this
transaction or about your
relationship with Rezko? If
not, do you intend to
A: I have not been
interviewed by federal
investigators. I have no
reason to approach them.
Q: Did Rezko or
his companies ever solicit
your support on any matter
involving state or federal
government? Did Al Johnson,
who was trying to get a
casino license along with
Tony Rezko, or Rezko himself
ever discuss casino matters
A: No, I have
never been asked to do
anything to advance his
business interests. In 1999,
when I was a State Senator,
I opposed legislation to
bring a casino to Rosemont
and allow casino gambling at
docked riverboats which news
reports said Al Johnson and
Tony Rezko were interested
in being part of. I never
discussed a casino license
with either of them. I was a
vocal opponent of the
Q: Has this
disclosure about your
relationship with Rezko
changed your thoughts about
a White House run?
A: No. As I have
said, how I can best serve
is something I will think
about after the 2006
election next Tuesday.
Q: Did Rezko
ever discuss with you his
dealings with Stuart Levine,
Christopher Kelly or William
Cellini or the role he was
playing in shaping Gov.
Q: Are the
Obamas the only
beneficiaries of the land
Q: Are you
aware of any efforts by
previous owners to develop
what is now the Rezko lot,
possibly as townhomes?
A: I was not aware
of any prior effort by the
seller to develop the
property, but always
understood the other lot was
to be developed upon sale.
Q: Did Rezko
have an appraisal performed
for the 10-foot strip?
A: I had an
appraisal conducted by
Howard B. Richter &
Associates on November 21,
Q: Was there a
negotiation? Did he have an
asking price, or did he just
say, whatever you think is
A: I proposed to pay on
the basis of
proportionality. Since the
strip composed one-sixth of
the entire lot, I would pay
one-sixth of the purchase
price of the lot. I offered
this to Mr. Rezko and he
Q: How many
fundraisers has Mr. Rezko
hosted for you? Were these
all in his home? How much
would you estimate he has
raised for your campaigns?
A: He hosted one
event at his home in 2003
for my U.S. Senate campaign.
He participated as a member
of a host committee for
several other events. My
best estimate was that he
raised somewhere between
$50,000 and $60,000.
that he used
cocaine as a
maybe a little
blow when you
it. Not smack,
two years ago,
Obama said he
he thought it
people who are
that are far
than mine to
know that you
Tom Maguire and
I are the only
to this. Tom
kids using Obama
as a role model
for casual drug
use; I’m less
that than the
fact that Obama
seems to get
to it. I don’t
hold what he did
against him — I
couldn’t in good
having voted for
Bush despite his
abuse as a
younger man. But
it’s one thing
not to penalize
reward him for
the book could
work to his
“I think it
many of us in
human this way,
you see. More
and he works up
some tears. He
could win 40
Drugs are no
they can be a
and you’ll see.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), poised to announce a White House bid, got a taste of the intense vetting that will take place in a presidential campaign.
The Wednesday edition of the Washington Post ran a page one story about Obama's drug use--pot and cocaine. He wrote about it in his memoir, "Dreams of My Father," published after he finished law school. Drug use was not an issue in his 2004 Senate race, either in the primary or general election.
Obama, on a recent visit to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was asked by Leno about taking drugs.
"Remember, Senator, you are under oath. Did you inhale?"
Replied Obama, "That was the point."
Running for president, though, puts Obama under a microscope.
Maybe wisecrack about drugs should come with a Say No warning, to dilute the joke.
Based on the page one placement by the Post, which will influence the political cable shows, web chatter and derivative columnists, Obama won't be able to get away with dismissing questions about drugs as an "old story," a common damage control tactic.
to read the Post story, click below
This is an excerpt of Lois Romano's story...."It was not so long ago that such blunt admissions would have led to a candidate's undoing, and there is uneasiness in Democratic circles that "Dreams From My Father" will provide a blueprint for negative attacks.
Two decades ago, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was forced to withdraw as a nominee for the Supreme Court after reports surfaced that he had used marijuana while he was a law professor. As a presidential candidate, Bill Clinton thought marijuana use could be enough of a liability in 1992 that he felt compelled to say he had not inhaled. And President Bush has managed to deflect endless gossip about his past by acknowledging that he had an "irresponsible" youth but offering no details.
Through his book, Obama has become the first potential presidential contender to admit trying cocaine."
Obama sets bar for reforming the country
Supporters packed the UIC Pavilion to welcome Sen. Barack Obama for his first visit to Chicago since officially announcing his candidacy for U.S. president.
"Why are we here again?" asked Senator Barack Obama before a cheering crowd at the UIC Pavilion on Sunday.
It was only the day before in Springfield that Obama officially announced his decision to seek out the Democratic position for president in the 2008 election.
Upon speaking in front of his supporters gathered at the Pavilion, he questioned the current state of the nation and explained how he intends to change it.
"The truth is, every four years we go through the same ritual," said Obama.
One such issue in much need of reform according to Obama is that salaries for "ordinary workers" are not increasing.
"Somehow [workers] never seem to get the benefits of this global economy," said Obama.
He also told the crowd about his desire to change this nation's health care system.
"We spend more money on health care than any nation on earth," said Obama.
Obama intends to change the system to provide health care for everyone.
"If we're spending 1.9 trillion dollars a year on health care then there is no reason why we cannot provide health insurance to every single American by the end of the next president's term."
He explained that part of his plan to make this possible is through providing preventative health care for children.
"So instead of having to go to the emergency room, they get treated ahead of time," said Obama.
Among the crowd of supporters, he also discussed new energy uses.
"Energy is an issue that we need to address now...we are sending 8 million dollars a day to the most hostile nations on earth. We are funding both sides of the war on terrorism," said Obama.
His solution for this problem is increasing the fuel efficiency standards and looking into using bio-fuels that can be manufactured by farmers in the United States.
Obama also expressed a desire to make a serious change in the educational system, since children from the U.S. are competing with other children globally, especially in areas of math and science.
"Why is it that our teachers are still one of the underpaid professions in America? We know what works...we know that if we pay teachers more, give them more flexibility, we can also ask more accountability from teachers," said Obama, who intends to provide a "first class, world class education for every child in America."
Addressing issues with the war, Obama called it "a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought."
"We have a responsibility to be as careful coming out as we were careless going in," said Obama, acknowledging the fact that we have national security interests and humanitarian concerns in Iraq.
"The time for us has come to end this engagement in Iraq. We have to have our combat troops out by March 31 of next year...there is only the possibility of a political solution in Iraq, we cannot impose a military solution," said Obama.
"We are going to take back the reigns on our government and we are going to make a change...maybe, just maybe, this campaign can be the vehicle to peoples' hopes and dreams...I want to be a part of this process with you," said Obama in closing.
Many students reacted positively to the popular candidate.
"There were so many young people in the crowd. I think it reflects something that needs to happen in politics; that we need to get more young people involved," said Umair Mamsa, a junior philosophy and political science major who also volunteered at the rally and distributed tickets to students.
"I loved the event...he proved why he would be a great president. He has positions on issues that he isn't afraid to articulate, but he keeps his mind open to other options so that he can do what is best for the American people," Matthew Campuzano, a freshman Latin major.
Oprah Winfrey to Raise Money for O'Bama
By DEANNA BELLANDI
July 17, 2007
Forget the girl of YouTube videos. The real Obama girl is doing her part for the candidate. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey plans to hold a Sept. 8 fundraiser for Democratic hopeful Barack Obama at her palatial estate near Santa Barbara, Calif., according to campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.
Obama has raised more than $58 million for his White House bid. Forbes magazine estimates that Winfrey, the Chicago-based host who boasts a lot more, including a magazine, is worth $1.5 billion.
Obama already enjoys the support of Hollywood moguls like David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Winfrey's fundraiser is another chance for him to tap into money in California, which was his top donor state from April through June with a total take of $4.2 million.
Winfrey is a well-known fan of Obama, calling him "my favorite guy" and "my choice" on CNN's "Larry King Live" last year before he announced he would run for president.
Recently, one of the more popular YouTube videos is Amber Lee Ettinger, aka Obama Girl, in a racy performance titled, "I Got A Crush On Obama."
Yet, when Obama appeared on Oprah's show last year, Winfrey asked him if he would announce a presidential bid on her program.
"I don't think I could say no to you," Obama replied. "Oprah, you're my girl."
Obama: Don't Stay in Iraq Over Genocide
Jul 20 01:34 PM US/Eastern
By PHILIP ELLIOTT
Associated Press Writer
SUNAPEE, N.H. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.
"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now—where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife—which we haven't done," Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea," he said.
Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it's likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.
"Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis," Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. "There's no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there."
The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.
"It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions," he said.
The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush's hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.
"We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they're asking the wrong question," he said. "We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade."
Obama said the answer to Iraq—and other civil conflicts—lies in diplomacy.
"When you have civil conflict like this, military efforts and protective forces can play an important role, especially if they're under an international mandate as opposed to simply a U.S. mandate. But you can't solve the underlying problem at the end of a barrel of a gun," he said. "There's got to be a deliberate and constant diplomatic effort to get the various factions to recognize that they are better off arriving at a peaceful resolution of their conflicts."
The Republican National Committee accused Obama of changing his position on the war.
"Barack Obama can't seem to make up his mind," said Amber Wilkerson, an RNC spokeswoman. "First he says that a quick withdrawal from Iraq would be 'a slap in the face' to the troops, and then he votes to cut funding for our soldiers who are still in harm's way. Americans are looking for principled leadership—not a rookie politician who is pandering to the left wing of his party in an attempt to win an election."
Obama, who has expressed reservations about capital punishment but does not oppose it, said he would support the death penalty for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"The first thing I'd support is his capture, which is something this administration has proved incapable of achieving," Obama said. "I would then, as president, order a trial that observed international standards of due process. At that point, do I think that somebody who killed 3,000 Americans qualifies as someone who has perpetrated heinous crimes, and would qualify for the death penalty. Then yes."
In response to criticism from Republican Mitt Romney, Obama said the former Massachusetts governor was only trying to "score cheap political points" when he told a Colorado audience that Obama wanted sex education for kindergartners.
"All I said was that I support the same laws that exist in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in which local communities and parents can make decisions to provide children with the information they need to deal with sexual predators," Obama said.
Romney on Wednesday targeted Obama for supporting a bill during his term in the Illinois state Senate that would have, among other things, provided age-appropriate sex education for all students.
"How much sex education is age appropriate for a 5-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number," Romney said.
Obama said Romney was wrong to take the shot and incorrect on its basis.
"We have to deal with a coarsening of the culture and the over- sexualization of our young people. Look, I've got two daughters, 9 and 6 years old," Obama told the AP. "Of course, part of the coarsening of that culture is when politicians try to demagogue issues to score cheap political points."
"What we shouldn't do is to try to play a political football with these issues and express them in ways that are honest and truthful," Obama said. "Certainly, what we shouldn't do is engage in hypocrisy."
Romney himself once indicated support for similar programs that Obama supports.
In 2002, Romney told Planned Parenthood in a questionnaire that he also supported age-appropriate sex education. He checked yes to a question that asked: "Do you support the teaching of responsible, age- appropriate, factually accurate health and sexuality education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?"
(This version CORRECTS a quotation in the story by using the word 'magnet' instead of 'magnate.')
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
THE NOTE: Double-Oh Show:
Overflow arenas on tap await Oprah and Obama
By RICK KLEIN with NANCY FLORES
Dec. 7, 2007
To a campaign that's seen everything, toss in the woman who can do anything: Oprah.
There are endorsements, celebrity endorsements -- and then there's Oprah. Ms. Winfrey makes clear that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is one of her favorite things at this white-hot moment of the campaign, with a full weekend scheduled that will bring Obama some glitz, energy, and enthusiasm in all the right places.
No campaign surrogate -- up to and including Bill Clinton and Barbra Streisand -- can do what Oprah is poised to do for a campaign. And consider that Oprah -- unlike the former president -- will introduce voters to her favored candidate who aren't all that familiar with him (or all that convinced he's the right choice).
In South Carolina, an 18,000-person arena has been ditched for the 80,250-capacity football stadium at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
In Iowa, two sites with 11,000-plus capacity have been lined up for the kick-off "Oprah-palooza" rallies on Saturday. "No free cars," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs tells the New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy.
Kennedy: "But the Queen of All Media's first-ever foray into political campaigning is going to be one for the history and political science books, testing the limits of celebrity endorsements and setting primary-season crowd records."
In New Hampshire, Oprah's Sunday night rally is "shaping up to be one of the largest events in New Hampshire Primary history," Scott Brooks writes in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
The campaign has given away some 10,000 tickets, meaning "the crowd size will be comparable to concerts by Justin Timberlake, Aerosmith and Neil Diamond." (Don't forget we're talking about New England.) Verizon Wireless Arena spokesman Jason Perry: "There's that awe factor."
"She's going to electrify the campaign trail -- there's no question about it," ABC's George Stephanopoulos said on "Good Morning America" Thursday.
And how would this be for counter-programming: The Clinton campaign is "considering sending Bill Clinton to South Carolina a day ahead of Oprah Winfrey, to try and counter her effect," Stephanopoulos said.
"While Winfrey has never before endorsed a presidential candidate, her influence as a taste-maker is well-established," Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman writes.
"The Obama campaign's fondest wish is that Winfrey does for their candidate what she has done for products such as the Clarisonic skin-care system, sales of which increased 10-fold in just one week after her endorsement."
Per ABC's Nitya Venkataraman, "Her Midas touch saves names from anonymity, best sellers from dusty storerooms and favorite things from Internet obscurity. But as Winfrey has long chosen abstinence in the arena of political endorsements and campaign-trail theater, her capital remains untested. Until now."
"She's never endorsed a candidate before, so there's no data to compare," Jeffrey Weiss writes in The Dallas Morning News.
"On the other hand, there may be no celebrity more studied and analyzed by marketing and advertising experts. Their consensus: If any celebrity can jiggle the needle for a candidate, Ms. Winfrey is that person."
And Oprah's selling a product who's fairly good at selling himself. Obama's new ad is as simple as it is brilliant: It's an inspiring, rousing 60-second clip from Obama's Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner in Des Moines, perhaps the second-best political speech of Obama's career.
Obama: "I don't want to spend the next year, or the next four years, refighting the same fights we had in the 1990s. I don't want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be president of the United States of America."
"The contrast between Obama's 'movement' and Clinton's traditional campaign operation is implicit in the ad (the New York senator is not mentioned), but it is very real," Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza writes.
"Clinton, by the very nature of her background and candidacy, is not capable of taking advantage of this unique moment in American political history, argues the ad. Only Obama can do it. Turning his campaign into a movement about something more than politics is the best -- and perhaps only -- path for Obama to win the nomination."
This is the kind of contrast Obama has in mind: On Thursday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., called it "a 'mistake' for her Democratic presidential opponents to outline specific plans to shore up the federal Social Security program. Any solution, she said, would come from bipartisan compromise," the Concord Monitor's Sarah Liebowitz writes.
Clinton: "Most of my opponents are more than happy to throw out all their ideas." (Proposing ideas as a presidential candidate? The horror!)
And it's Clinton vs. Obama -- for a Grammy? In case super-duper Tuesday doesn't settle the Democratic nomination on Feb. 5, the Grammy Awards five days later could sort things out: both Obama and former President Bill Clinton have been nominated for the award for Best Spoken Word Album, ABC's Karen Travers writes. (And they'll have to beat former President Jimmy Carter, Maya Angelou, and Alan Alda.)
Grammy or not, the former president is ready to sit in on his wife's Cabinet meetings "only if asked." "And I think it would only be wise if it were on a specific issue. I think it's better for me to give her my advice privately most of the time," Clinton tells ABC's Barbara Walters.
Clinton says he would weigh in if he disagreed with a decision his wife planned to made as president, "but when she made it, I'd do my best to support it . . . I'd keep my mouth shut."
There are some smiling faces in Boston's North End in the wake of The Speech. Facing sky-high expectations, former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., appears to have met them with his address on religion and public life where he played salesman, theologian, family man --
The role he didn't really play was that of Mormon -- he made just one mention of his specific faith. Addressing his personal faith, he said he believes "Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind."
"The passing mention of his Mormonism in his 20-minute speech here at the George Bush Presidential Library underscored just how touchy the issue of Mr. Romney's faith has been since he began running for the Republican nomination," Michael Luo writes in The New York Times.
"He and his aides agonized for months over whether to even give the speech, with those who argued against it saying there was no need to do it because he was doing so well in early voting states, advisers said. But the political dynamic has changed, with Mr. Romney's onetime dominance of the Republican field in Iowa faltering."
He looked and sounded the part: "The speech, delivered with soaring rhetoric and an air of authority, had elements that appealed to those who want a strict separation of church and state and to those who yearn for more religious values in what Romney called 'the public square,' " The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos writes.
"Yet the speech was aimed at neither of those groups -- or any particular coalition or bloc -- but rather at all the people of the United States. With its breadth of spirit, it was the most presidential moment of the 2008 campaign."
It was a deep, complex speech, with varied audiences. "Romney was equally emphatic in arguing that religion has a place in public life," Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post.
"Saying that the doctrine of separation of church and state has been carried too far, he said some people and institutions have pushed to remove 'any acknowledgment of God' from the public domain."
The Speech put all eyes on Romney in a way few other candidates can hope for, making him ABC's Buzz Maker of the Week.
But will it matter?
The Des Moines Register's Shirley Ragsdale: "Most conservative Christian political activists and pastors who studied Mitt Romney's speech on Thursday addressing his Mormon faith agree it was something he had to do.
But few said it was strong enough to change the minds of evangelicals -- a powerful force in Republican politics." Rev. Frank Cook, pastor of Union Park Baptist Church in Des Moines, told Ragsdale that Romney "was doing the Potomac two-step around the issues that concern many evangelicals."
"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech on faith was powerful and convincing, analysts said -- sincere, effective, hit all the right notes," the Los Angeles Times' Miguel Bustillo, Stephanie Simon, and Mark Z. Barabak write.
"But will it help Romney, a Mormon, win over the key voting bloc of conservative Christians? The broad consensus: probably not."
Former Bush faith-based official David Kuo sees a "one-paragraph gaffe" in Romney's efforts to emphasize beliefs he shares with evangelicals.
"In that single paragraph he blew his chance to slam the door on the pastor-in-chief idea because he was, consciously or not, making the theological argument that Mormonism was basically a part of historic Christianity," Kuo writes on his Beliefnet.com blog.
"It is, in the judgment of most liberal and conservative Christian theologians, not a part of historic . . . Christianity."
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. agrees: "With those words, Romney legitimized the most fundamental test being imposed on him in some evangelical Christian quarters. He was telling them he deserved an 'A' on the religious exam they cared about most."
AP's Ron Fournier isn't sure that any speech can address the central concerns about Romney's candidacy: "Beyond explaining or defending his faith, aides said, Romney needed a high-profile event to show that he has a moral and political core that he's not somebody who will say or do anything to get elected."
He highlights this passage: "Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world." Fournier: "This from a man who campaigned for governor of Democratic-leaning Massachusetts as a supporter of abortion rights, gay rights and gun control only to switch sides on those and other issues in time for the GOP presidential race."
And (perhaps interrupting Romney's run of good news) the "sanctuary mansion" storyline grows deeper.
"A Peabody company that painted Mitt Romney's Belmont mansion in recent months is under investigation by state authorities for dodging labor laws and accused of relying on subcontractors that exploited workers, including illegal immigrants," The Boston Globe's Maria Sacchetti and Connie Paige write.
"Romney's association with a second company with a tainted record, including allegations that it, too, relies on the underground economy that uses illegal immigrants, poses an awkward contrast to his increasing calls on the presidential campaign trail to curtail illegal immigration."
ABC's Jake Tapper on the first Mormon presidential candidate, who also happened to be the first Mormon: Joseph Smith.
"Smith directly pushed what he called 'theodemocracy,' the blending of religious belief and democracy. And his campaign was rooted entirely within the church that he founded," Tapper writes.
Timed for Romney's speech, former Bush strategist (and brand-new ABC News political contributor) Matthew Dowd pens his debut blog on the subject of faith and politics.
"As one looks ahead to the primaries and the general election, the candidate who best understands the importance of faith in households across America and ultimately demonstrates authenticity will likely be the one taking the oath of office in January of 2009," Dowd writes.
"In truth, for the average voter, Faith is often a more important factor than any economic calculus. And the high importance that voters place on authenticity when choosing candidate has its roots in an individual voter's spiritual underpinnings."
(More on Dowd's hiring, from The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz.
Dowd is "the latest member of the Bush team to embed himself in the media while their ex-boss still runs the country," Kurtz writes. Says Dowd: "I'm going to try my best to say what the truth is.")
Also in the news:
Hillary Clinton -- astronaut? That was her childhood dream -- until NASA dashed her hopes as a teenager. "They said, 'Be a man.' They said, 'We're not accepting girls.' And I was crushed. I couldn't believe it," Clinton tells ABC's Charlie Gibson for his "Who is?" series.
"To have my government tell me that there was something I couldn't do because I was a girl was shocking to me."
Now that she has a chance to run that very same government . . . "You know, some days -- let's just be honest -- it's scary, the idea of waging this campaign, getting out there, engendering all of the feelings -- pro and con -- that you do, because I'm neither as good, nor as bad, as my supporters and detractors probably think."
Former governor Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., is wrapping up a rough first week as a top-tier candidate. So what's next?
Time's David von Drehle looks at former governor Mike Huckabee's rise -- and his potential ceiling. "No candidate in either party has done more with less this year," he writes.
But "he is devoting precious days to raising cash outside Iowa, making it harder to win converts on the prairie. It is the old flaw in the Iowa breakout strategy: How can anyone survive the abrupt transformation from guerrilla to gorilla?"
USA Today's Fredreka Schouten: "What's unclear is whether Huckabee will have the money to advance his candidacy in New Hampshire's primary Jan. 8 or beyond, if he wins or does well in Iowa."
A rough stretch as well for the national frontrunner -- and the jaunt through his packed closet continues. "Judith Nathan got taxpayer-funded chauffeur services from the NYPD earlier than previously disclosed - even before her affair with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani was revealed, witnesses and sources tell the Daily News," Michael Saul, Heidi Evans, and David Saltonstall report.
"When pressed by The News Thursday, aides to the Republican presidential hopeful conceded that Nathan got police protection 'sporadically' before December 2000 -- the previously acknowledged beginning of her taxpayer-funded detail."
The New York Sun's Nicholas Wapshott sees Giuliani having "lost momentum."
"Mr. Giuliani's personal issues have also worked to smother his appeal as the candidate with a solid record in government most likely to be able to beat Senator Clinton in a general election," he writes.
Could Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., be the beneficiary of the GOP turmoil? "All of that may be prompting Republicans to give Mr. McCain a second look -- particularly in New Hampshire," The Wall Street Journal's June Krunholz writes.
"He recently won the endorsement of the state's largest newspaper. And on a weeklong campaign swing this week, he is drawing capacity crowds at the diners and townhall meetings where much of state's campaigning takes place."
McCain's got the "Straight Talk Express," and former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., has the "Main Street Express."
And both have no shortage of press access. "Last week, the frequent press conferences with Mr. Edwards might have stretched the reporters' limits," Julie Bosman writes in The New York Times. Said Edwards: "This is going to be the shortest press conference ever."
Michael Dukakis is worried that Obama isn't building a stronger ground organization. "He said his wife, Kitty, an Obama supporter and contributor, routinely gets e-mails from the campaign asking her to donate more money, but the e-mails never ask her to volunteer to run a precinct for the campaign," Lisa Wangsness writes in The Boston Globe.
More campaign fodder from the Bush administration: "The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency's custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials," The New York Times' Mark Mazzetti reports.
"The destruction of the tapes raises questions about whether agency officials withheld information from Congress, the courts and the Sept. 11 commission about aspects of the program."
Sorry, Tom Tancredo fans: He'll be the only Republican candidate not on stage at Sunday's Univision debate.
"I do not want to endorse the further Balkanization of American political life," Tancredo, R-Colo., writes in a Miami Herald op-ed.
Ron Paul is full of hot air. Wait -- don't overload the comments section! ABC's Z. Byron Wolf has the report on the Ron Paul blimp.
And don't miss the Glamour magazine's "Power Women" behind the big campaigns (and find out what brand of lip balm Jill Hazelbaker is obsessed with . . . )
"I thought I was well-suited to the time." -- Bill Clinton, on his presidency.
"I would love to see a woman president, I just didn't think it would be her." -- Gennifer Flowers, who's says she's considering supporting Sen. Clinton or Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., whom she calls "smart, sexy, and experienced."
"That just tickles me to death to know that." -- Former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., reminiscing about Howard Dean's Iowa collapse in predicting a late surge for his own candidacy, to Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson.
Bookmark The Note at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=3105288&page=1
Obama says he's ready for White House
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer
WATERLOO, Iowa - Democrat Barack Obama Saturday scoffed at suggestions by President Clinton that the Illinois senator is not ready to be president, and that Obama is running strong in Iowa in part because his home state and Iowa share a border.
"When I was 20 points down, they all thought I was a wonderful guy. Obviously things have changed here in Iowa and elsewhere," Obama said at a press conference Saturday. "If they're suggesting that I, as this 'callow youth,' somehow had a structural advantage in Iowa relative to the Clinton operation and the former president of the United States, that doesn't strike me as a real plausible argument."
Obama is locked in a tight contest with Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards in Iowa less than three weeks before the state's caucuses, which lead off the presidential nominating season. Obama's comments came amid evidence that the former first lady's once-commanding lead in many state polls has vanished and that her campaign is scrambling to restore its footing.
Bill Clinton has emerged as a key surrogate and spokesman for his wife in recent weeks, and planned to return to Iowa to campaign for her this week.
In an interview broadcast Friday on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show," Bill Clinton suggested Obama's experience in public life — he served seven years in the Illinois state legislature before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 — was insufficient.
"I mean, when is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?" Clinton said. "In theory, we could find someone who is a gifted television commentator and let them run."
The former president said voters who chose Obama would be "rolling the dice," and said his state's proximity to Iowa gave him an advantage over Hillary Clinton, a New York senator who grew up in Illinois.
Obama said the former president was simply echoing an argument his wife's campaign had made for months.
"I have the kind of experience the country needs right now," Obama said, noting that Bill Clinton was a relative newcomer to the national stage when he was elected president in 1992.
Obama was also asked about the resignation of a top Clinton adviser who had raised the issue of Obama's use of illegal drugs as a teenager in a newspaper interview last week.
The adviser, Bill Shaheen, stepped down from the campaign after Clinton personally apologized to Obama for Shaheen's comments.
Obama, 46, acknowledged using marijuana and cocaine in his 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father." He told a group of students in New Hampshire last month that his drug use had caused him to "waste a lot of time" during his high school years.
He said he didn't know if voters are willing to accept a presidential candidate's past use of drugs, but he believes most have more pressing concerns.
"I think the average American believes what someone does when they were a teenager, 30 years ago, probably is not relevant to how they are going to be performing as commander in chief or president of the United States," he said.
At a press conference Friday, Clinton noted that her past had been thoroughly explored over her years in public life and that "there are no surprises."
Asked about her comment, Obama said he was satisfied that his own past had been well-documented.
"I've written two books. I've probably been more reported on than any political figure in the country over the last year," Obama said. "I hardly think I've been underexposed during the course of this race."
Obama victory speech: 'Time for change has come'
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said his win in Thursday's Iowa Caucuses was a defining moment in the nation's history.
"They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned," he said. "But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do." The crowd of more than 3,200 people at Des Moines' Hy-Vee Hall roared.
Obama was joined on the stage by his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters.
"We are one nation. We are one people and our time for change has come," he said during a roughly 15-minute speech.
He thanked supporters, volunteers and his staff. He told the crowd that the time has come for a president who will be honest about the challenges the nation faces as well as a leader who will listen to the American people instead of powerful Washington lobbyists.
The Illinois senator also noted his next big challenge: New Hampshire.
"In New Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight, then I will be that president for America," he said.
Obama also expressed gratitude to the people of Iowa.
"Tonight, we are one step closer to that vision of America because of what you did here in Iowa," he said.
He later added: "Years from now, you'll look back and say, this is the moment. This is the place where America remembered what it means to hope."
State Rep. Wayne Ford, a Des Moines Democrat and Obama supporter, celebrated the victory.
"This alleviates all the ideas that we're too white, we're too this or we're too that. This gives us a clear example that the Iowa caucus process should continue," Ford said. "It wasn't about color, it was about his message."
Des Moines resident Toni Urban agreed.
"I think Obama brings a message to the country that no one else could bring and that's something very refreshing," Urban said.
Obama has worked aggressively to win Iowa, starting about 10 months ago. For much of the summer, he held a steady third place in most Iowa polls behind North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Political experts said it would be important for him to more strongly contrast himself with his challengers in order to gain ground.
And Obama did begin to make those comparisons and, gradually, began to move up in the polls.
He said he would meet with leaders of hostile nations without preconditions, unlike Clinton. In recent months, he highlighted contrasts about the Iraq war, noting that he always opposed the war, unlike Clinton and Edwards who voted in 2002 as senators to authorize the fighting. He also emphasized his refusal to take money from federal lobbyists.
In December, he received the endorsement of talk show host Oprah Winfrey, attracting more than 18,000 to a Des Moines event and more than 15,000 in Cedar Rapids.
Obama's Victory Upends His Party's Politics
By Peter Wallsten
The Los Angeles Times
Friday 04 January 2008
Des Moines - Barack Obama's surprisingly convincing win in Iowa on Thursday upended the Democratic presidential race and overturned some of the fundamental assumptions of modern-day American politics.
Voters in an overwhelmingly white state embraced an African American candidate.
Women, given the chance to vote for the first credible female White House hopeful in Hillary Rodham Clinton, voted in larger numbers for a man.
And the Democratic Party's most formidable political machine, drawing on deep-pocket donors and the celebrity of former President Clinton, was beaten by a man who just three years ago held an office no higher than state legislator.
Amid it all, Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, changed the rules of the Iowa caucuses.
Long viewed as an insular process dominated by longtime political activists, Thursday's first-in-the-nation voting event of the 2008 campaign turned out to be a forum for unaffiliated voters and first-time participants to say they were looking for something new and different.
One-fifth of the Democratic caucus participants were independents, according to a media survey taken as voters entered precincts Thursday night - and of them, 41% backed Obama and just 17% opted for Clinton. Moreover, 57% of caucus-goers said it was their first time taking part, and first-time caucus-goers made up two-thirds of Obama's supporters.
Even among Democrats - who Clinton strategists have long argued would be her saving grace - Obama and Clinton essentially tied, winning 32% and 31% respectively.
The entrance survey of 2,136 Democratic caucus participants, called the National Election Poll, was conducted for a consortium of media organizations, including the Los Angeles Times, by Edison/Mitofsky.
The results helped answer a question that has lingered for nearly a year: Would a desire for experience in a time of war outweigh voters' desire for change in national leadership?
According to the media survey of Democratic caucus-goers, just one in five considered experience to be the most important factor, compared to more than half who said an ability to bring "needed change" mattered most. And among those who embraced change, more than half backed Obama while Clinton and John Edwards split most of the rest in that category.
For the New York senator, the results stood as a sharp rebuke by voters to a central argument of her candidacy: that she, more than her rivals, was prepared to assume the responsibilities of the presidency.
Surveys have long found that Clinton, the second-term senator and former first lady, was viewed as the most experienced and best-qualified to lead on matters of national security and war.
But voters instead endorsed Obama's primary argument for "turning the page" in Washington, an argument that essentially painted Clinton as a status quo candidate.
"Change is the driving dynamic of the race, as opposed to who has the most conventional resume or who voters see as the 'strongest leader,' " said David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager.
The results are especially damaging for Edwards, the former North Carolina senator. Even though he barely edged out Clinton for second place the Democratic race is very much a two-person contest, pitting Obama against Clinton.
Edwards was the party's 2004 vice presidential nominee thanks in part to his surprisingly strong second-place finish here in that year's caucuses. But after campaigning in the state nearly nonstop since then, Edwards was thought by some to have the strongest organization and the best chance at victory.
Despite gaining steam in recent weeks with sharply populist attacks on "corporate greed" and lobbyists' power, Edwards on Thursday failed to win his core base of union households and lower-income people.
He placed third among union households, winning 24% of that group, compared to 31% for Clinton and 28% for Obama, according to the entrance survey.
Edwards vowed on Thursday to compete in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and beyond, but strategists for his rivals said they do not view him as a threat, mostly because of his lackluster fundraising and the expenditure limits imposed on his campaign because of his decision to accept public financing.
Clinton, however, has the national support base and resources to forge ahead.
She retains double-digit leads in national polls and in most of the big states that vote in late January and early February.
She has raised more than $100 million and, though her once-daunting lead in New Hampshire has dwindled in recent days, she enjoys advantages there that she did not have in Iowa. It was a stronger-than-expected finish in New Hampshire in 1992 that allowed her husband to declare himself the "Comeback Kid," and strategists say many voters there remain loyal to the Clintons.
One bright spot in Iowa was her strength among older voters, a strength that could help her along the way.
"Of all the candidates, her support is the most solid, and they will be with her come hell or high water," said Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
As a result, the Democratic race has gained more sharply defined contours.
Two Democratic candidates, Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Christopher J. Dodd, both of whom made experience a central pillar of their campaigns, have dropped out. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who touted himself as the most seasoned executive, has been diminished.
Now Clinton will be the sole candidate of experience, and Obama, with Edwards in trouble, can grab the mantle of change.
If voters in other states match the mind-set of Iowa, the Clinton nomination long considered inevitable by top Democratic and Republican strategists could be in serious jeopardy.
She may encounter trouble winning additional donors, while Obama's win is likely to spur more online giving to his campaign.
Polls in other early-voting states, some of which have tightened in recent weeks, could grow even closer.
And Clinton strategists will wonder if she should have taken the advice of an aide who, last year, advised that she skip Iowa.
The aide wrote in an internal memo that competing in the caucuses, with more than 20 states including California making up a decisive national primary on Feb. 5, could "bankrupt the campaign and provide little if any political advantage."
On Thursday, former President Clinton argued in an interview in the downtown Des Moines Starbucks that his wife had to go to Iowa to "show that she could compete everywhere."
The danger for Sen. Clinton is that, instead, it shows the opposite.
OBAMA'S 'YES WE CAN' SPEECH
Barack Obama's speech in New Hampshire
Courtesy of the Obama campaign, here are Barack Obama's remarks from New Hampshire earlier tonight (as prepared for delivery). If I get the text of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards' speeches, I'll post those too.
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama - New Hampshire Primary
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
Nashua, New Hampshire
I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire.
A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we'd have accomplished what we did here tonight. For most of this campaign, we were far behind, and we always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment – in this election – there is something happening in America.
There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport; in Lebanon and Concord come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.
There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit – who have never before participated in politics – turn out in numbers we've never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.
There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common – that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in America.
You can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness – Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that's stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there's no problem we can't solve – no destiny we cannot fulfill.
Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients; workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together; and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair. Not this time. Not now. Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.
We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success. We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness. We can do this with our new majority.
We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return. And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home; we will finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan; we will care for our veterans; we will restore our moral standing in the world; and we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election, it is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.
All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All have good ideas. And all are patriots who serve this country honorably.
But the reason our campaign has always been different is because it's not just about what I will do as President, it's also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.
That's why tonight belongs to you.
It belongs to the organizers and the volunteers and the staff who believed in our improbable journey and rallied so many others to join.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.
We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.
Yes we can.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.
And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.
Exerpted from Obama's speech on Jan 8, 2008, in Lebanon, NH.
Obama, meanwhile, stressed the importance of rousing leadership, saying "we don't need leaders to tell us what we can't do; we need those who can inspire us to do." Responding to characterizations by Clinton that his ideas amount to "false hopes," Obama seemed to compare himself to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
"Is JFK looking up at the moon and saying, 'False hopes, it's too far, reality check, we can't do it?' " Obama said to a crowd of 750 at a Lebanon rally. "Is Dr. King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out over the magnificent crowd, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, saying, 'Sorry guys, false hopes, the dream will die. It can't be done?' "
February 13, 2008
Prophet Of Barack Obama Warns Of Catastrophic US Destruction
By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers
Reports from the United States today are trumpeting the primary election victories of US Senator Barack Obama [pictured top left] as he nears his coronation as the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate and is likely to become the next President of the American People.
More interestingly about these events, for our purposes of discussion, are the Western Media reports describing Senator Obama’s ‘messianic’ appeal to masses of American people seemingly intent upon breaking away from their current War Leaders. So popular to the American people has Senator Obama become that an Internet video promoting his candidacy has become the most popular in history with nearly 4 million views.
However, not to Senator Obama should these American people be looking for their greatest insight into this man, and their future, but rather their attention should be placed upon last centuries great Kenyan Prophet, Johanwa Owalo, the founder of Kenya’s Nomiya Luo Church, and who among the Kenya people of the Luo religion is believed to be a prophet similar to Jesus Christ and Muhammad, and who in 1912 made this horrific prophecy about the United States:
“So far have they [the United States] strayed into wickedness in those [future] times that their destruction has been sealed by my [father]. Their great cities will burn, their crops and cattle will suffer disease and death, their children will perish from diseases never seen upon this Earth, and I reveal to you the greatest [mystery] of all as I have been allowed to see that their [the United States] destruction will come about through the vengeful hands of one of our very own sons.” 
To the greatest accuracy of the Kenyan Prophet Johanwa Owalo’s words we must note the striking coincidence that this nearly 100-year-old prophecy seemingly echoes into our troubled times, Senator Obama does appear to be the fulfillment of this prophecy as he is, indeed, a ‘son’ of the Kenyan Luo tribal religion (a mixture of Christianity and African tribal beliefs) as he was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. (born in Nyanza Province, Kenya, of Luo ethnicity) and Stanley Ann Dunham (who was given her fathers first name).
Even more interesting, perhaps, is that this son of the Kenyan Luo peoples, Barack Obama, is seeking to become the leader of the United States at the exact same time that the Nation of his father is in crisis due to the flawed, and as some say ‘stolen’, election which has plunged the Kenyan people into tribal warfare which has claimed over 1,000 lives, and which many of the of the Luo’s believe is ushering in the times predicted by their Prophet Johanwa Owalo.
One of the questions we must ask ourselves in the light of the messianic rise of Barack Obama, towards the most powerful military/political office in the World, is if the current events of his fathers homeland, Kenya, and when juxtaposed with the prophecies of Johanwa Owalo, are providing us with a vision of the United States future as it too appears to be boarding upon open civil war due to the destruction of its Middle Class and the continued rise to total rulership of its Imperial Class?
Another curious aspect of this new messianic figure Barack Obama, and in the context of the United States Presidential election as a whole, are that the two major American political parties have both fielded candidates whose families pasts included adherents to the practice of polygamy, with the Republican candidate Mitt Romney (currently not campaigning) being an adherent to the Mormon faith (whose mainstream members shun this practice), and Senator Obama, whose father, Barack Obama Sr., and upon his death in 1982 from an automobile accident, left behind 3 wives, 6 sons, and one daughter.
To all of these events herein detailed, and when examined in the context of all of human history, the rise of those deemed to have messianic qualities and/or attributes do indeed presage times of great upheaval and Total World War. For as we have long known, and seen by the examples of Napoleon, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, etc., those who lead Nations, and peoples of Nations, by the strength of their messianic ‘visions’ have left in their historic wake the deaths of hundreds of millions of human beings.
Today a new such messianic figure has arisen on the World stage; his name is Barack Obama, a name that soon all humanity may grow to fear.
 "Visions of the Great Nyasaye, A Study of the Luo Religion in Kenya", Order of Sorcha Faal, Sister Mary McCrea © 1915
© February 13, 2008 EU and US all rights reserved.
[Ed. Note: The United States government actively seeks to find, and silence, any and all opinions about the United States except those coming from authorized government and/or affiliated sources, of which we are not one. No interviews are granted and very little personal information is given about our contributors, or their sources, to protect their safety.]
Obama's plane lands in St. Louis for maintenance
The plane, an MD-80 Midwest charter, experienced a problem maintaining the proper pitch, or control over keeping the nose at the necessary angle, as it was taking off from Chicago, the pilot said.
Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman, said the plane did not declare an emergency, but simply "requested a diversion for mechanical issues they called a flight control problem."
As the plane was being evaluated on the ground here, Obama was reading the paper in the front cabin, but ventured briefly to chat with the press at one point.
"I just thought we'd spice things up a little bit today," Obama said, smiling and joking.
The Illinois senator and a small entourage eventually left the plane and the tarmac to wait out the maintenance at a local hotel; the North Carolina trip was postponed until a future date.
Coincidentally, the candidate's impromptu detour took him to Missouri, a battleground state he hopes to win in the fall. There was no immediate word on how he would spend the rest of the day. He has two fundraisers in Atlanta scheduled for Monday evening.
Upon takeoff from Chicago, passengers had felt the plane dip briefly, causing a stomach-rolling sensation as if being in a roller coaster, but the unexpected movement did not cause visible alarm for the frequent fliers on the plane.
About an hour later, reporters among the 44 passengers on board were made aware of the problem. A flight attendant, who was clearing the aisles, told reporters the plane wasn't heading to North Carolina as planned.
Minutes later, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass came to the back of the plane to inform reporters of a "minor little problem with the airplane" and said the plane would make a precautionary landing in St. Louis.
Then, the pilot came on the overhead speaker and provided more details.
"We detected a little bit of controllability issue in terms of our ability to control the aircraft in the pitch, which is the nose up and nose down mode," announced the pilot, whose name was not released in accordance with Midwest policy.
"The autopilot and the aircraft are just fine. As we descended, whatever was inhibiting our ability has now been rectified. However, just for safety purposes we are going to be stopping in St. Louis and making sure that there's nothing binding our controls. We have full authority of the aircraft. We will not need to brace. It will be a normal landing," he said.
The landing at 9:51 a.m. CDT, was, in fact, normal.
A mechanic was traveling on the plane at the time, and was inspecting the problem on the ground in St. Louis.
Obama, his staff, the Secret Service entourage and the press sat on the plane for over an hour as it was being checked out at Signature Flight Support, a facility which handles private jets, at Lambert Airport.
During his visit with reporters, Obama shook his head "no" when asked if he was worried.
"Anytime a pilot says something's not working the way it's supposed to, then you make sure you tighten your seat belt," Obama said. "Everything seemed under control. The pilots knew what they were doing."
Obama's campaign charter hasn't made a precautionary landing before.
"This is a first," he said, and then returned to the front of the plane to confer with staffers.
Is Obama's candidacy constitutional?
Secrecy over birth certificate, demand for 'natural-born' citizenship cited
Posted: June 10, 2008
9:44 pm Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Bloggers are raising questions about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's qualifications to be U.S. president, because of the secrecy over his birth certificate and the requirement presidents be "natural-born" U.S. citizens.
Jim Geraghty, reporting on the Campaign Spot, a National Review blog, cited the "unlikely" but still circulating rumor that Obama was born not within the United States, but elsewhere, possibly Kenya.
Geraghty defined the concerns most clearly, stating: "If Obama were born outside the United States, one could argue that he would not meet the legal definition of natural-born citizen … because U.S. law at the time of his birth required his natural-born parent (his mother) to have resided in the United States for '10 years, at least [f]ive of which had to be after the age of 16.'"
He then points out Ann Dunham, Obama's mother, was 18 when Obama was born "so she wouldn't have met the requirement of five years after the age of 16."
Geraghty continues: " (Interestingly, apparently there isn't much paperwork on Obama's parents' marriage. 'Obama: From Promise to Power,' page. 27: 'Obama later confessed that he never searched for the government documents on the marriage, although Madelyn (Obama's maternal grandmother) insisted they were legally married.' Also note that Obama's father apparently was not legally divorced from his first wife back in Kenya at the time, a point of contention that ultimately led to their separa
The reports released to date show Obama was born in Honolulu to Barack Hussein Obama Sr., of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Kenya, and Ann Dunham, of Wichita, Kan.
According to FindLaw.com, which is cited by Geraghty, the requirements that were in force from Dec. 24, 1952 to Nov. 13, 1986, encompassing the time of Obama's birth, state, "If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least 10 years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16."
Obama's father, a student sent to the United States from Africa, lived several places in the United States while attending class. He then returned to his homeland. Obama's mother later married another man and moved to Indonesia.
Geraghty said the Obama campaign could "debunk" the rumors about his birth simply by releasing a copy of his birth certificate, but the campaign has so far chosen not to do that.
"The campaign cited the birth certificate in their 'Fact Check' on William Ayers, so presumably, someone in the campaign has access to it," he said.
Hawaii doesn't make public information from birth certificates.
"If the concern of the Obama campaign is that the certificate includes his Social Security number or some other data that could be useful to identity thieves, that information could easily be blocked out and the rest released. (Although I wonder if identity thieves would find Obama a tougher than usual target, since using the name on purchases would almost inevitably bring closer scrutiny.)," Geraghty said.
The Obama campaign repeatedly has declined to respond to WND requests for comment.
The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., already has gone through the same type of challenge, and the U.S. Senate responded with a resolution in April declaring him to be a "'natural born Citizen' under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States."
That article declares that "no person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of president."
McCain was challenged because he was born to two U.S. citizens in the Panama Canal Zone.
According to a report from Michael Dobbs on The Fact Checker, the McCain campaign consulted two leading jurists, Theodore Olsen and Laurence Tribe, and they agreed.
"They argue that McCain is a natural born citizen because the United States exercised sovereignty over the Panama Canal at the time of his birth on August 29, 1936, he was born on a U.S. military base, and both of his parents were U.S. citizens," the report said.
Others say the issue isn't quite that simple, and the matter could be resolved fully only by a constitutional amendment or a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The truth about Barack's birth certificate
Obama Is Not a Natural Born Citizen
Senator Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, after it became a state on August 21st, 1959. Obama became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 00:25:47 +0000
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11:02 AM
Subject: Article on Snopes: Michelle Obama
According to Snopes.com, Princeton was requested to put a 'restriction' on distribution
of any copies of the thesis of Michelle Obama (a/k/a/ Michelle laVaughn Robinson) saying it could not be made available until November 5, 2008 but when it was published on a political website they decided they would lift the restriction.
Subj: Thesis - Michele Obama aka Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
OBAMA'S MILITANT RACISM REVEALED
In her senior thesis at Princeton, Michele Obama, the wife of Barack Obama stated that America was a nation founded on 'crime and hatred'.
Moreover, she stated that whites in America were 'ineradicably racist'. The 1985 thesis, titled 'Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community' was written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.&nb sp;
Michelle Obama stated in her thesis that to 'Whites at Princeton , it often seems as if, to them, she will always be Black first...' However, it was reported by a fellow black classmate, 'If those 'Whites at Princeton ' really saw Michelle as one who always would 'be Black first,' it seems that she gave them that impression'.
Most alarming is Michele Obama's use of the terms 'separationist' and 'integrationist' when describing the views of black people.
Mrs. Obama clearly identifies herself with a 'separationist' view of race.
'By actually working with the Black lower class or within their communities as a result of their ideologies, a separationist may better understand the desperation of their situation and feel more hopeless about a resolution as opposed to an integrationist who is ignorant to their plight.'
Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her 'further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.'
Michele Obama clearly has a chip on her shoulder. Not only does she see separate black and white societies in America , but she elevates black over white in her world.
Here is another passage that is uncomfortable and ominous in meaning: 'There was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the black community, I am obligated to this community and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit the black community first and foremost.'
What is Michelle Obama planning to do with her future resources if she's first lady that will elevate black over white in America ?
The following passage appears to be a call to arms for affirmative action policies that could be the hallmark of an Obama administration.
'Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.'
The conclusion of her thesis is alarming.
Michelle Obama's poll of black alumni concludes that other black students at Princeton do not share her obsession with blackness. But rather than celebrate, she is horrified that black alumni identify with our common American culture more than they value the color of their skin. 'I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and o ccupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.'
Is it no wonder that most black alumni ignored her racist questionnaire?
Only 89 students responded out of 400 who were asked for input.
Michelle Obama does not look into a crowd of Obama supporters and see Americans. She sees black people and white people eternally conflicted with one another.
The thesis provides a trove of Mrs. Obama's thoughts and world view seen through a race-based prism. This is a very divisive view for a potential first lady that would do untold damage to race relations in this country in a Barack Obama
Michelle Obama's intellectually refined racism should give all Americans pause for deep concern.
Now maybe she's changed, but she sure sound s like someone with an axe to grind with America . Will the press let Michelle get a free pass over her obviously racist comment about American whites? I am sure that it will.
PS: We paid for her scholarship.
LINK BACK TO 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
DREAMS OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES - MAIN