Biden stepped aside from campaigning after the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, 2008




Barack Obama

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Junior Senator, Illinois
Term of office:
January 2005–Present
Political party: Democratic
Born: August 4, 1961
Honolulu, Hawaii

This might not be true:
See below

Spouse: Michelle Obama

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (born August 4, 1961) is the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois. He received international media coverage for his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, delivered while he was still an Illinois State Senator. That same year, he was elected to the United States Senate.

Obama won the open Senate seat while on leave from the University of Chicago Law School where he was Lecturer on Constitutional Law. He is the only African American currently serving in the U.S. Senate, the fifth in U.S. history, the third since Reconstruction, and only the second Democrat. Obama won the election with 70% of the vote, with 27% of the vote going to his opponent Alan Keyes. He is junior senator to Richard Durbin. Obama is married to Michelle Obama, a Chicago native. They have two daughters: Malia (born 1999) and Sasha (born 2001).

Early life

Barack Obama was born at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii to Harvard-educated economist Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a native of Kenya, and Shirley Ann Dunham, of Wichita, Kansas. At the time of Obama's birth, both his parents were students at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Barack initially followed his Muslim father's religion, but later converted to Christianity.

Of his years in Hawaii, Obama has written, "The irony is that my decision to work in politics, and to pursue such a career in a big Mainland city, in some sense grows out of my Hawaiian upbringing, and the ideal that Hawaii still represents in my mind."

When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father eventually returned to Kenya, and he saw his son only once more before his death in 1982. Ann Obama then married his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro (d. Mar 2, 1993), another East-West Center student (MA Geography 1962) from Indonesia. In his early childhood while growing up with his mother, Barack used the name 'Barry'. The family then moved to Jakarta, where Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng was born. When Obama was ten he returned to Hawaii under the care of his grandparents, (Madelyn Dunham) and later his mother, for the better educational opportunities. He was enrolled in the fifth grade at Punahou School, where he graduated with honors in 1978


College and career

Upon finishing high school, Obama studied for two years at Occidental College, before transferring to Columbia College at Columbia University. There he majored in political science, with a specialization in international relations. Upon graduation, he worked for a year at Business International Corporation (now part of The Economist Group), a company that provided international business information to corporate clients. He then moved to Chicago, where he took up community organizing in the Altgeld Gardens housing project on the city's South Side. It was during his time spent here that Obama converted to Christianity and joined the Trinity United Church of Christ.

He left Chicago for three years to study law at Harvard University, where he was elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude. While working one summer at a corporate law firm in 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson, then an associate attorney at the firm; he married her in 1992.

After law school, he returned to serving as a community organizer in Chicago. Obama organized an aggressive voter registration effort that registered over 100,000 voters and aided in the election of President Bill Clinton and Senator Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Soon after, he joined a local civil rights law firm, and he became a lecturer of constitutional law at the University of Chicago.


Illinois General Assembly

In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate from the south side neighborhood of Hyde Park, in Chicago. He served as chairman of the Public Health and Welfare Committee when the Democrats regained control of the chamber. The Chicago Tribune called him "one of the General Assembly's most impressive members."

Regarded as a staunch liberal during his tenure in the legislature, he helped to author a state Earned Income Tax Credit that provided benefits to the working poor. He also worked for legislation that would cover residents who could not afford health insurance. Speaking up for leading gay and lesbian advocacy groups, he successfully helped pass bills to increase funding for AIDS prevention and care programs.

In 2000, he ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for Illinois' 1st Congressional district against incumbent Representative Bobby Rush. Rush had suggested during the campaign that Obama "wasn't black enough" for the position. Rush received 61% of the vote, while Obama received 30%. [1]

After the loss, Obama rededicated his efforts to the state Senate. He authored one of the most progressive death penalty reform laws in the nation, under the guidance of former U.S. Senator Paul Simon. He also pushed through legislation that would force insurance companies to cover routine mammograms.

Though known as a principled liberal, Obama was highly regarded for his ability to build coalitions and persuade opponents. He engineered the unanimous passage in the Senate of several pieces of progressive legislation, and in one instance, successfully convinced the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Rifle Association to endorse a bill they had previously opposed.


Senate Campaign - Primary

In 2004, Obama ran for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, who chose not to run for re-election. In the Democratic primary, he trailed business tycoon Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes. However, Hull was soon embroiled by allegations of domestic abuse. Obama's name recognition increased, and he won the endorsements of four Illinois congressmen, as well as those of many progressive leaders such as former DNC chairman David Wilhelm.

In the final weeks of the campaign, Obama picked up steam due to favorable media coverage; a strong advertising campaign, designed by David Axelrod, that featured the images of Democratic luminaries such as the late U.S. Senator Paul M. Simon and the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington; the support of Simon's daughter; and the endorsement of most of the state's major papers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. In the March primary, he won more support than the other six candidates combined, earning 52% of the vote.


Senate Campaign - General

Barack Obama joins his wife Michelle and U.S. Senator Richard Durbin for a parade on Independence Day 2004 in Wheaton, Illinois.

Obama then squared off against Jack Ryan, the winner of the Republican primary. Ryan trailed Obama in early polls, with Obama opening up a twenty point lead after the media reported that Ryan had assigned an aide to track Obama's appearances. As the campaign progressed, a lawsuit brought by the Chicago Tribune and ABC-owned station (WLS-TV) led to a California court's opening child custody files from Ryan's divorce with actress Jeri Ryan. In those files, she alleged that he had taken her to sex clubs in several cities, intending for them to have sex in public. Although the sensational nature made the revelations fodder for tabloid and television programs specializing in such stories, the files were also newsworthy because Ryan had insisted to Republican leaders that there was nothing damaging in them. As a result, many Republicans questioned Ryan's integrity following the release, and he dropped out of the race on June 25, 2004, leaving Obama without an opponent.

Finding a replacement for Ryan proved challenging for the Illinois GOP, as a number of potential candidates, including former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka, declined to run. The state party's chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka eventually announced two possible replacements, both of whom were African-American: Alan Keyes, a former state department official and radio commentator from Maryland, and Andrea Barthwell, a former DEA official.

After much deliberation, Keyes was chosen, and he officially accepted the nomination on August 8, 2004. Keyes had gained much attention as a conservative firebrand in his unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. The nomination was widely viewed as a victory for the more conservative wing of the party, and a loss for the more moderate Topinka.

Keyes, a conservative Republican running in Democratic Illinois, faced an uphill battle, especially because Obama had built up his name recognition and popularity across the state, and because Keyes had few ties to Illinois political leaders. During the time when Obama had no opponent, he had campaigned throughout the more conservative downstate regions that would have served as the base for the Republican nominee. A Marylander, Keyes had established legal residency in Calumet City, Illinois with the nomination, the only requirement to run for office.

Obama ran the most successful Senate campaign for a non-incumbent in 2004, and was so far ahead in polls that he soon began to campaign outside of Illinois in support of other Democratic candidates. He gave large sums of campaign funds to other candidates and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and sent many of his volunteers to work on other races, including that of Congresswoman Melissa Bean who defeated Phil Crane in that year's election. Obama and Keyes differed on many issues including school vouchers, which Keyes supported and Obama fought against, and higher taxes, which Obama supported and Keyes was against. Obama's huge early lead, the general Democratic dominance of Illinois, and Keyes' controversial statements helped Obama win handily in the general election, receiving 70% of the popular vote to Keyes's 27%.


Keynote address


Calling himself a "skinny kid with a funny name", Obama delivers the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Obama was chosen to deliver a keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.

His speech outlined his own family's pursuit of the American Dream, and his belief in a 'generous America'. His maternal grandfather, after serving in World War II, was the beneficiary of the New Deal's FHA and GI Bill and had high hopes for their daughter, because, as Obama said, "in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential". But he charged that "we have more work to do" for people who are not able to realize the American Dream, maintaining that self responsibility is an important component and people "don't expect government to solve all their problems".

He criticized the Bush administration for not supporting troops in Iraq. He spoke of an enlisted Marine, Corporal Seamus Ahern from East Moline, Illinois, asking, "Are we serving Seamus as well as he was serving us?" He continued:

When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

Finally he spoke for national unity: "Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." Perhaps the most often quoted sound bite followed: "We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States, and yes, we've got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq."


Senate career

Obama addresses the First Year Student Convocation at Boston College.

Obama was sworn in as a Senator on January 4, 2005. He ranked 99th out of 100 Senators in terms of official seniority (greater seniority brings greater privileges in the Senate), ranking ahead of only new fellow freshman Democrat Ken Salazar of Colorado. In his first few months in office, Obama drew praise by his perceived attempts to avoid the limelight and devote large amounts of effort to being a Senator; a Washington Post article spread an anecdote of Obama refusing an upgrade to first-class on a flight home. Obama also drew criticism from some on the left for his vote in favor of making Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State. In March of 2005, Obama announced that he was forming his own PAC, a move not usually undertaken until several years into a politician's career.

In late March 2005, Obama announced his first proposed Senate bill, the Higher Education Opportunity through Pell Grant Expansion Act of 2005 (HOPE Act), which aims to raise the maximum amount of Pell Grant awards to help assist American college students with paying for their tuition. Obama announced the bill at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and said, "Everywhere I go, I hear the same story: 'We work hard, we pay our bills, we put away savings, but we just don't know if it's going to be enough when that tuition bill comes.'" [2]

The April 18, 2005 issue of TIME magazine listed the 100 most influential people in the world. Obama was included on the list under the section of 'Leaders and Revolutionaries' for his high-profile entrance to federal politics [3] and his popularity within the Democratic Party. British journal the New Statesman listed Obama as one of 10 people who will change the world in its October 2005 edition.

In the early days of debate in Washington over establishing private accounts for Social Security, Obama stood by his party when he delivered a speech on April 26, 2005 to the National Press Club, entitled "A Hope To Fulfill." In this speech, he pointed to the original ideas of social welfare that Franklin D. Roosevelt had in mind when crafting the Social Security program as part of the New Deal.

During the August Recess of 2005 as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), the chairman of that committee, and Senator Obama went on a strategic trip to Russia to inspect the nuclear facilities there and were detained for three hours at an airport in the city of Perm, near the Ural Mountains, during their departure for Ukraine, where they were scheduled to meet the President and the Speaker of the House of Ukraine. The Russian government quickly apologized, saying it "regret[ted] the misunderstanding that arose."

As evidence of both the appeal and standing of Senator Obama on a national scale, former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton enlisted Obama to join them in New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Chicago Tribune reported President Clinton's office as saying that Obama was "an important voice during this tragedy given that so many victims are African-American." Despite this, Obama voted against the Coburn Amendment shifting funding from the controversial Gravina Island Bridge, popularly known as the "Bridge to Nowhere", to Katrina Hurricane Relief.[4] The Senator supports funding Katrina relief with money from other sources, including rolling back recent tax cuts insofar as they affect the taxes of the wealthy.[5].[6]

In May 2006, Obama campaigned to maintain a $0.54 per gallon tariff on imported ethanol. Obama justified the tariff by joining Senator Durbin in stating that "ethanol imports are neither necessary nor a practical response to current gasoline prices," arguing instead that domestic ethanol production is sufficient and expanding.[7]

Also in May of 2006, Obama campaigned to reform immigration law to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented workers currently in the United States through a system of fines and back taxes, learning English, satisfying a work requirement, and passing a background check.[8] Obama also called for greater security on the border with Mexico. [9]

In June 2006, Obama campaigned against making recent, temporary estate tax cuts permanent, calling the cuts a "Paris Hilton" tax break for "billionaire heirs and heiresses". [10]. On June 8, 2006, Obama was one of fourty-one Senators who successfully voted to prevent a Republican bill to eliminate or shrink taxes on inherited estates from advancing in the Senate.[11]

On September 8, 2005 Barack Obama began a podcast downloadable from his website. The podcasts appear about once a week.

According to a February 2006 poll by Survey USA, Obama is tied for the second highest approval rating among United States Senators at 71% approval[12].


First trip to the Middle East

On January 4, 2006 Barack Obama left for his first trip to the Middle East along with a congressional delegation that included Evan Bayh, Kit Bond, and Harold Ford Jr. His trip included visits to Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, and the Palestinian territories.

In Kuwait and Iraq, Obama visited with the troops. While in Iraq Obama stated, "there is not going to be a military solution" and that the challenge of the new government is "figuring out how minority rights are protected." While in Israel Obama met with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. A meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had been cancelled due to his stroke. After meeting with the Foreign Minister, Obama stated "Israel has to figure out what the next steps are, if in fact Prime Minister Sharon does not recover in a way that allows him to move into the government."

While in the Palestinian territories, Obama met with the successor to the late Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas. At a meeting with Palestinian students Obama relayed the message to Abbas that the U.S. would never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounces its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel.[13]


Presidential Ambitions

Although he has been in the Senate for less than two years, Obama's name keeps coming up as a potential Democratic candidate for the 2008 Presidential elections. While neither affirming his candidacy nor putting off the possibility altogether, Obama is said to be keeping his options open. [1] However, Obama has claimed that he intends to finish out his senate term and will not run for the presidency in 2008.


Obama's autobiography Dreams from My Father was published in 1995 and re-released in 2004 with a few new features. As of June 2005 the re-released paperback had been on The New York Times non-fiction best seller list for more than forty weeks. The audio book edition earned Obama a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album on February 8, 2006.

In December 2004, Obama made a $1.9 million deal for three books.[2] The first is to be published in 2006, and will discuss his political convictions. The second is a children's book to be co-written with his wife Michelle and their two young daughters, with profits going to charity. The content of the third book has not been announced.





  1. ^ "Obama's Profile Has Democrats Taking Notice: Popular Senator Is Mentioned as 2008 Contender", Charles Babington, Washington Post, June 18, 2006, Page A01
  2. ^ See

External links

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Barack Obama

  U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
2005 – present
Served alongside: Richard Durbin
Illinois Congressional Delegation currently serving in the United States Congress
Senators : Richard Durbin (D), Barack Obama (D)
Representative(s) : Bobby Rush (D), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D), Dan Lipinski (D), Luis Gutiérrez (D), Rahm Emanuel (D), Henry Hyde (R), Danny K. Davis (D), Melissa Bean (D), Jan Schakowsky (D), Mark Kirk (R), Jerry Weller (R), Jerry Costello (D), Judy Biggert (R), Dennis Hastert (R), Timothy V. Johnson (R), Donald A. Manzullo (R), Lane Evans (D), Ray LaHood (R), John Shimkus (R)


Current members of the United States Senate
AL: Shelby (R), Sessions (R)
AK: Stevens (R), Murkowski (R)
AZ: McCain (R), Kyl (R)
AR: Lincoln (D), Pryor (D)
CA: Feinstein (D), Boxer (D)
CO: Allard (R), Salazar (D)
CT: Dodd (D), Lieberman (D)
DE: Biden (D), Carper (D)
FL: Nelson (D), Martinez (R)
GA: Chambliss (R), Isakson (R)
HI: Inouye (D), Akaka (D)
ID: Craig (R), Crapo (R)
IL: Durbin (D), Obama (D)
IN: Lugar (R), Bayh (D)
IA: Grassley (R), Harkin (D)
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Republican | Democrat | Independent


Sen. Obama Will Consider 2008 White House Run

WASHINGTON (Oct. 22, 2006) - Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged Sunday he was considering a run for president in 2008, backing off previous statements that he would not do so.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said he could no longer stand by his previous statements that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress. He is two years into his term.

The Illinois Democrat said he could no longer stand by the statements he made after his 2004 election and earlier this year that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress. He said he would not make a decision until after the Nov. 7 elections.

"That was how I was thinking at that time," said Obama, when asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" about his previous statements.

"Given the response I've been getting the last several months, I have thought about the possibility" although not with any seriousness or depth, he said. "My focus is on '06. ... After November 7, I'll sit down and consider it."

Obama was largely unknown outside Illinois when he burst onto the national scene with a widely acclaimed address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

In recent weeks, his political stock has been rising as a potentially viable centrist candidate for president in 2008 after former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announced earlier this month that he was bowing out of the race.

In a recent issue of Time magazine, Obama's face fills the cover next to the headline, "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President." He is currently on a tour promoting his latest book, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

On Sunday, Obama dismissed notions that he might not be ready to run for president because of his limited experience in national politics. He agreed the job requires a "certain soberness and seriousness" and "can't be something you pursue on the basis of vanity and ambition."

"I'm not sure anyone is ready to be president before they're president," Obama said. "I trust the judgment of the American people.

"We have a long and vigorous process. Should I decide to run, if I ever decide to, I'll be confident that I'll be run through the pages pretty well," Obama said.

10/22/06 10:37 EDT

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.


Posted on 08/11/2004 2:14:13 PM PDT by
<> Gelato

Columnist Says Barack Obama 'Lied To The American People;'
Asks Publisher to Withdraw Obama's Book

Tuesday August 10, 9:22 pm ET

NEW YORK, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ --'s independent contrarian columnist, Andy Martin, will publish a column and hold simultaneous news conferences in New York and London on Wednesday, August 11th to disclose he believes Barack Obama is a political fraud who "lied to the American people." Martin has asked Crown Books to stop sales of Obama's book because of its fraudulent content. Martin says Obama may be a threat to the Jewish community.


New York:
Time/date: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 11:00 A.M.
Location: Northeast Corner of Fifth Avenue and 65th
Street (Temple Emanu-El)

Time/date: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 4:00 P.M.
Location: 2 Dryden Mansions, Queens Club Gardens London W14

"I feel sad having to expose Barack Obama," says Martin, "but the man is a complete fraud. The truth is going to surprise, and disappoint, and outrage many people who were drawn to him. He has lied to the American people, and he has sought to misrepresent his own heritage.

"Obama's life story is vastly different from the one he portrays. My point: if he will lie about his mother and father, what else is he lying about? Can we expect 'bimbo eruptions?'

"Fiction: Obama stated in his Convention speech: 'My father ... grew up herding goats.' The 'goat herder' claim has been repeated endlessly. It is a lie. Fact: Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama was a prominent and wealthy farmer. His son, Obama's father, was a child of privilege, not privation. He was an outstanding student, not a herdsman.

"Fiction: Obama was given an 'African' name. Fact: Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion. I am a strong supporter of the Muslim community, and I believe Muslims have been scapegoated. Obama has a great opportunity to be forthright. Instead, he has treated his Muslim heritage as a dark secret.

His grandfather was named 'Hussein.' That is an Arabic-Muslim, not African, name. Hussein was a devout Muslim and named his son, Barack Senior, 'Baraka.' Baraka is an Arabic word meaning 'blessed.' Baraka comes out of the Koran and Arabic, not Africa.

"Barack Senior was also a devoted Muslim, and also chose a Muslim name for his son, our own Barack Obama, Junior. Again, his name was an Arabic and Koranic.

Obama has spent a lifetime running from his family heritage and religious heritage. Would his father have given his son a Koranic name if the father was not a devout Muslim? Obama's stepfather was also a Muslim. Obama will be the first Muslim-heritage senator; he should be proud of that fact. There is nothing to be ashamed of in any of the three great Abrahamic religions.

"Fiction: Obama Senior was a harmless student 'immigrant' who came to the United States only to study. Fact: Obama was part of one of the most corrupt and violent organizations in Africa: the Kenyatta regime. Obama's father ran back to Kenya soon after the British left. It is likely Obama's father had Mau Mau sympathies or connections, or he would not have been welcomed into the murderous inner circle of rapists, murderers, and arsonists. I believe Obama's secret shame at his family history of rape, murder and arson is what
actualizes him. Our research is not yet complete. We are seeking to examine British colonial records. Our investigation to date has drawn on information on three continents.

"And what about Obama's beloved Kenyan brothers and sisters? None of his family was invited to Boston to share his prominence. Are his relatives being kept in the closet? Where are they? More secrecy, more prevarication.

"It is time for Barack Obama to stop presenting a fantasy to the American people. We are forgiving and many would still support him. It may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel. His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles where Obama now enjoys support," Martin states.

"Our investigation is continuing. In he meantime, Crown Books should stop selling Obama's novelization of his life. We have asked Crown to do that. Obama is living a lie."

RESOURCES: Martin's columns at (Govt & Politics); E-mail:

Source: Andy Martin Worldwide Communications



A Different Kind of Politics?

Sen. Barack Obama believes America is ready to move beyond extreme partisan debates. Could he be the candidate to lead the way?

Charlie Neibergall / AP

Obama: ‘There is a hunger right now for America coming together’

By Howard Fineman
Sept 25, 2006

On the campaign trail this fall, no one is a bigger draw—especially for young voters—than Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. Of mixed racial and religious heritage, the 45-year-old Harvard Law School graduate strikes many Americans as a one-man answer to both the "clash of civilizations" and the Red-Blue chasm in America. Last week he spoke to a packed house at a event hosted by Georgetown University students in regal Gaston Hall—a favorite venue for Democrats trying out ideas for presidential campaigns. In the green room afterward, Obama sat down with NEWSWEEK chief political correspondent Howard Fineman. Obama, who has been in the Senate for less than two years, did not slam the door on what would be a daring 2008 bid. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: Your grandfather was Muslim, but you are a Christian. What did you think of the pope’s original comments about Islam and how the reaction played out?
Barack Obama: Well, I think that we live in a time where there are enormous religious sensitivities, and I have no doubt that the pope did not intend to offend the Muslim faith any more than many of us sometimes say things in a different context that aren’t intended to cause offense. But I think all of us, particularly religious leaders, have to be mindful that there are a lot of sensitivities out there. Now, the flip side is that there are those in the Muslim community who are looking to take offense and are constantly on the lookout for anything that would indicate that the West is somehow antagonistic toward Islam.

Did he say anything that he needed to apologize for?
You know, I leave it up to the pope. He made an apology and I wouldn’t challenge his judgment on it.

Did you read what he said?
I read what he said. And, as I said, I think he is mindful that he did not want to cause offense or pain, and to the extent that he did, I think he felt it necessary to apologize. My point, I guess is that all sides in the current environment have to be very careful how we talk about faith. I gave a speech recently in which I said that Democrats, for example, should not be afraid to talk about faith. But I think we’ve got to do so in a way that admits the possibility that we are not always right, that our particular faith may not have all the monopoly on truth, and we’ve got to be able to listen to other people. You know I think one of the trends we are seeing right now, and which I think is causing so much political grief both domestically and internationally, is that absolutism has become sort of the flavor of the day.

Have you read the Qur'an?
I can’t say that I have read all of it.

Have you read enough of it to have an opinion as to whether Islam is what the 14th-century Byzantine emperor said in his argument that it was, in other words, a religion of violent conquest?

I think there are so many different interpretations of Islam as there are so many different interpretations of Christianity, that to somehow fix or define a religion based on one particular reading of the text is a mistake.

Why did you call your new book “The Audacity of Hope”? Why is hope audacious?

Because we live in some tough times. Because when you look around the world you see crisis in Darfur, you see conflagrations in the Middle East, you see political polarization at home, you’ve got environmental crisis, 46 million without health insurance, inner-city children that are trapped in despair. So you know I think it is easy sometimes to say that there is nothing much we can do about it. And you know that the title is a line that I got from a sermon my pastor gave once, which made the point that sometimes it’s easier to be cynical and give up hope. But part of our character as a nation has been a sense of optimism, a sense that we can overcome.

The reaction you get around the country is remarkable. Why are people reacting to you the way they are?
It’s always hard to stand outside yourself and know what it is that people are reacting to. Some of it is just dumb luck. I was elected based on a campaign that was positive and that was hopeful, and somehow it worked and it was multiracial and I got votes from farmers and I got votes from suburbanites and inner-city blacks. And I think that there is a hunger right now for America coming together, and my campaign sort of captured that wave, and I expressed it as best I could during my speech in the 2004 election and that seemed to resonate. It probably says less about me than an indication that people want a different kind of politics.

Is it fair to say that you are a human embodiment of the kind of unity you think people are hungering for?
I don’t know that I am a human embodiment of it. I think that probably it helps that I’ve got pieces of everybody in me.

If your name were Joe Smith, mightn’t there be less enthusiasm?
You never know. The original assumption was that I could never win an election statewide with a name like Barack Obama. I actually write in the new book about a political consultant in Chicago who had originally been interested in me running statewide [who met] with me right after 9/11 and [said,] “There’s a picture of [Osama] bin Laden on the magazine cover. Boy, this is really bad for you.”

But the paradox is that you’ve got this moment, this “dumb luck” to be seen by some as a vehicle for hope, but of course it’s not that simple.

These issues are never simple. One thing I’m proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues.

But it’s just the opposite, isn’t it?

You know, that’s the kind of thing that is hard to tell. It’s very hard to speculate on what’s going on. But let’s take some other examples. Deval Patrick’s victory in Massachusetts. He’s a dear friend, and I endorsed him early and campaigned for him early, and I think he embodies a different kind of politics.

You’d better mention Rep. Harold Ford, for the Senate in Tennessee, or you are going to get in a lot of trouble with Don Imus.

I was just going to mention him. I did a fund-raiser for him in New York two days ago. In the black community there are people like Ford and Patrick and [Mayor] Cory Booker Newark. But it’s also in the white community. You look at somebody like [gubernatorial candidate] Eliot Spitzer, who is doing terrific work in New York. And at the other end of the geographical arena you’ve got people like Gov. [Brian] Schweitzer in Montana. What you just get a sense of is that there is a political transition that is going to happen nationally, where people try to break out of some of the conservative-liberal sharp divisions.

Do you worry that people are piling too many expectations and hopes on you? Some people seem to say, “OK, there is an easy answer, it’s Barack Obama.”

I go back to the quote from the speech I just gave: Justice [Louis] Brandeis saying that “the most important office in a democracy is that of citizen.” I come from a community-organizing background and a civil-rights background. I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.

What is the current formulation of your answer to the question, "Are you running for president in 2008?"
I’ve said I wasn’t the day after I was elected [to the Senate]. That was almost two years ago. There is nothing so far that has changed my mind.

So under no circumstances would you seek or accept the 2008 Democratic nomination?
I am not prepared to say that I could never change my mind on something, but, at this juncture, I have no intentions of running.

Someone I know played basketball with you at Harvard Law School, and he complimented you on your game. He said you ran the floor and shared the ball. How would you describe your game?

I was a slasher—somewhere between Allen Iverson and LeBron James, but keep in mind that the gym in law school was pretty short, shorter than regulation. The last time I played was actually in Djibouti, with [U.S.] troops. I was terrific for the first five minutes.

© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.

Obama: On Faith and Politics. And Alan Keyes.
Sen. Barack Obama this morning talks about religion and says Democrats need to better acknowledge the power of faith.

Here's his speech.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

Call to Renewal Keynote Address

Washington, DC

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Good morning. I appreciate the opportunity to speak here at the Call to Renewal’s Building a Covenant for a New America conference, and I’d like to congratulate you all on the thoughtful presentations you’ve given so far about poverty and justice in America. I think all of us would affirm that caring for the poor finds root in all of our religious traditions – certainly that’s true for my own.

But today I’d like to talk about the connection between religion and politics and perhaps offer some thoughts about how we can sort through some of the often bitter arguments over this issue over the last several years.

I do so because, as you all know, we can affirm the importance of poverty in the Bible and discuss the religious call to environmental stewardship all we want, but it won’t have an impact if we don’t tackle head-on the mutual suspicion that sometimes exists between religious America and secular America.

For me, this need was illustrated during my 2004 race for the U.S. Senate. My opponent, Alan Keyes, was well-versed in the Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson style of rhetoric that often labels progressives as both immoral and godless.

Indeed, towards the end of the campaign, Mr. Keyes said that, “Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama. Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has behaved in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved.”

Now, I was urged by some of my liberal supporters not to take this statement seriously. To them, Mr. Keyes was an extremist, his arguments not worth entertaining.

What they didn’t understand, however, was that I had to take him seriously. For he claimed to speak for my religion – he claimed knowledge of certain truths.

Mr. Obama says he’s a Christian, he would say, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination.

Mr. Obama says he’s a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life.

What would my supporters have me say? That a literalist reading of the Bible was folly? That Mr. Keyes, a Roman Catholic, should ignore the teachings of the Pope?

Unwilling to go there, I answered with the typically liberal response in some debates – namely, that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can’t impose my religious views on another, that I was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois.

But Mr. Keyes implicit accusation that I was not a true Christian nagged at me, and I was also aware that my answer didn’t adequately address the role my faith has in guiding my own values and beliefs.

My dilemma was by no means unique. In a way, it reflected the broader debate we’ve been having in this country for the last thirty years over the role of religion in politics.

For some time now, there has been plenty of talk among pundits and pollsters that the political divide in this country has fallen sharply along religious lines. Indeed, the single biggest “gap” in party affiliation among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called Red States and those who reside in Blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don’t.

Conservative leaders, from Falwell and Robertson to Karl Rove and Ralph Reed, have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design.

Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that – regardless of our personal beliefs – constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst, some liberals dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word “Christian” describes one’s political opponents, not people of faith.

Such strategies of avoidance may work for progressives when the opponent is Alan Keyes. But over the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people, and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.

We first need to understand that Americans are a religious people. 90 percent of us believe in God, 70 percent affiliate themselves with an organized religion, 38 percent call themselves committed Christians, and substantially more people believe in angels than do those who believe in evolution.

This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that’s deeper than that – a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause.

Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily round – dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, flying to a business meeting, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets – and coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness, is not enough.

They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. They’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them – that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway towards nothingness.

I speak from experience here. I was not raised in a particularly religious household. My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just two, was Muslim but as an adult became an atheist. My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, I did too.

It wasn’t until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma.

The Christians who I worked with recognized themselves in me; they saw that I knew their Book and shared their values and sang their songs. But they sensed a part of me that remained removed, detached, an observer in their midst. In time, I too came to realize that something was missing – that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart and alone.

If not for the particular attributes of the historically black church, I may have accepted this fate. But as the months passed in Chicago, I found myself drawn to the church.

For one thing, I believed and still believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change, a power made real by some of the leaders here today. Because of its past, the black church understands in an intimate way the Biblical call to feed the hungry and cloth the naked and challenge powers and principalities. And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; it is an active, palpable agent in the world. It is a source of hope.

And perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship, the grounding of faith in struggle, that the church offered me a second insight: that faith doesn’t mean that you don’t have doubts. You need to come to church precisely because you are of this world, not apart from it; you need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away – because you are human and need an ally in your difficult journey.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.

The path I traveled has been shared by millions upon millions of Americans – evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike; some since birth, others at a turning point in their lives. It is not something they set apart from the rest of their beliefs and values. In fact, it is often what drives them.

This is why, if we truly hope to speak to people where they’re at – to communicate our hopes and values in a way that’s relevant to their own – we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse.

Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome – others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.

In other words, if we don’t reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, Jerry Falwell’s and Pat Robertson’s will continue to hold sway.

More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical – if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice. Imagine Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address without reference to “the judgments of the Lord,” or King’s I Have a Dream speech without reference to “all of God’s children.” Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.

Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical. Our fear of getting “preachy” may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.

After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness – in the imperfections of man.

Solving these problems will require changes in government policy; it will also require changes in hearts and minds. I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturer’s lobby – but I also believe that when a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we have a problem of morality; there’s a hole in that young man’s heart – a hole that government programs alone cannot fix.

I believe in vigorous enforcement of our non-discrimination laws; but I also believe that a transformation of conscience and a genuine commitment to diversity on the part of the nation’s CEOs can bring quicker results than a battalion of lawyers.

I think we should put more of our tax dollars into educating poor girls and boys, and give them the information about contraception that can prevent unwanted pregnancies, lower abortion rates, and help assure that that every child is loved and cherished. But my bible tells me that if we train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. I think faith and guidance can help fortify a young woman’s sense of self, a young man’s sense of responsibility, and a sense of reverence all young people for the act of sexual intimacy.

I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious terminology. Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith – the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps – off rhythm – to the gospel choir.

But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize the overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of “thou” and not just “I,” resonates in religious congregations across the country. And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of America’s renewal.

Some of this is already beginning to happen. Pastors like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes are wielding their enormous influences to confront AIDS, Third World debt relief, and the genocide in Darfur. Religious thinkers and activists like my friend Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo are lifting up the Biblical injunction to help the poor as a means of mobilizing Christians against budget cuts to social programs and growing inequality. National denominations have shown themselves as a force on Capitol Hill, on issues such as immigration and the federal budget. And across the country, individual churches like my own are sponsoring day care programs, building senior centers, helping ex-offenders reclaim their lives, and rebuilding our gulf coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

To build on these still-tentative partnerships between the religious and secular worlds will take work – a lot more work than we’ve done so far. The tensions and suspicions on each side of the religious divide will have to be squarely addressed, and each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration.

While I’ve already laid out some of the work that progressives need to do on this, I that the conservative leaders of the Religious Right will need to acknowledge a few things as well.

For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. That during our founding, it was not the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of this separation; it was the persecuted religious minorities, Baptists like John Leland, who were most concerned that any state-sponsored religion might hinder their ability to practice their faith.

Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who’s Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Levitacus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage so radical that it’s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

This may be difficult for those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.

Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God’s test of devotion.

But it’s fair to say that if any of us saw a twenty-first century Abraham raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know, be it common laws or basic reason.

Finally, any reconciliation between faith and democratic pluralism requires some sense of proportion.

This goes for both sides.

Even those who claim the Bible’s inerrancy make distinctions between Scriptural edicts, a sense that some passages – the Ten Commandments, say, or a belief in Christ’s divinity – are central to Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life.

The American people intuitively understand this, which is why the majority of Catholics practice birth control and some of those opposed to gay marriage nevertheless are opposed to a Constitutional amendment to ban it. Religious leadership need not accept such wisdom in counseling their flocks, but they should recognize this wisdom in their politics.

But a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation – context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase “under God;” I certainly didn’t. Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats. And one can envision certain faith-based programs – targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers – that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems.

So we all have some work to do here. But I am hopeful that we can bridge the gaps that exist and overcome the prejudices each of us bring to this debate. And I have faith that millions of believing Americans want that to happen. No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool to attack and belittle and divide – they’re tired of hearing folks deliver more screed than sermon. Because in the end, that’s not how they think about faith in their own lives.

So let me end with another interaction I had during my campaign. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination in my U.S. Senate race, I received an email from a doctor at the University of Chicago Medical School that said the following:

“Congratulations on your overwhelming and inspiring primary win. I was happy to vote for you, and I will tell you that I am seriously considering voting for you in the general election. I write to express my concerns that may, in the end, prevent me from supporting you.”

The doctor described himself as a Christian who understood his commitments to be “totalizing.” His faith led him to a strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage, although he said that his faith also led him to question the idolatry of the free market and quick resort to militarism that seemed to characterize much of President Bush’s foreign policy.

But the reason the doctor was considering not voting for me was not simply my position on abortion. Rather, he had read an entry that my campaign had posted on my website, which suggested that I would fight “right wing ideologues who want to take away a woman’s right to choose.” He went on to write:

“I sense that you have a strong sense of justice…and I also sense that you are a fair minded person with a high regard for reason…Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded….You know that we enter times that are fraught with possibilities for good and for harm, times when we are struggling to make sense of a common polity in the context of plurality, when we are unsure of what grounds we have for making any claims that involve others…I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words.”

I checked my web-site and found the offending words. My staff had written them to summarize my pro-choice position during the Democratic primary, at a time when some of my opponents were questioning my commitment to protect Roe v. Wade.

Re-reading the doctor’s letter, though, I felt a pang of shame. It is people like him who are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They may not change their positions, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in reasonable terms – those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.

I wrote back to the doctor and thanked him for his advice. The next day, I circulated the email to my staff and changed the language on my website to state in clear but simple terms my pro-choice position. And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own – a prayer that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.

It is a prayer I still say for America today – a hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It’s a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come. Thank you.

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

Barack Obama: 'I Inhaled — That Was The Point'

That was what Illinois Senator Barack Obama, currently on a book tour that may or may not segue into a run for the 2008 presidency, said to New Yorker editor David Remnick this afternoon at the American Magazine Conference, after Remnick asked Obama whether or not his admission of drug use in the book would become problematic if he does, if fact, run for president.

The softspoken Obama, who during an appearance on Meet The Press yesterday admitted he would consider a run for the White House, openly criticized the Bush administration in front of 500 or so magazine executives during a wide-ranging, 45-minute discussion, occasionally with Remnick's prodding. "This is the most ideologically driven administration in my memory, so obstinate in resisting facts, dissenting opinions ... [They entered the White House] with a set of preconcieved notions." Obama said. "I think this administration has done great damage to this country."

"I wouldn't fit in with this administration [because I think] actually being informed is a good basis for policy," Obama said to laughter. "OK, that's a low-blow."

Obama was particularly critical of the war in Iraq. "We've used up so much political capital [in Iraq]," adding that it is "going to take the current military the same amount of time it took the military to recover from Vietnam."

After some lighthearted grilling, Obama said Remnick "sounds nicer in his columns, but turns out to be somewhat of a prickly guy."

Remnick, who at this point could be considered the President of the United States of Magazines, forced Obama to address the topic of religion. "It's not 'faith' if you are absolutely certain," Obama said, noting that he didn't believe his lack of "faith" would hurt him a national election. "Evolution is more grounded in my experience than angels."

Throughout the interview, Obama expressed doubt about his willingness to put his family through the scrutiny of a presidential race. "My wife would be leading the bandwagon for me to be running for president ... if I was married to someone else."

When asked if the White House would be a plac e worth inheriting in 2009, Obama said, "There are a lot of problems to clean up, and nopt a lot of resources to work with." He added that the first agenda of a new president should be to "stabilize and extricate ourselves" from Iraq.

FishbowlNY will be blogging live this week from the American Magazine Conference — the annual pow-wow of high-powered magazine executives — at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. Check back often for our extended coverage.

FishbowlNY's AMC 2006 Coverage:


Posted by Dylan

Sen. Obama: Iraq withdrawal should begin in 2007

POSTED: 5:08 p.m. EST, November 20, 2006
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama called Monday for U.S. troops to start leaving Iraq in 2007, arguing that the threat of an American pullout is the best leverage Washington has left in the conflict.

"The time for waiting in Iraq is over. It is time to change our policy," said Obama, a freshman Democrat from Illinois touted as a possible national candidate in 2008.

"It is time to give Iraqis their country back, and it is time to refocus America's efforts on the wider struggle yet to be won."

Obama's speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs came as the debate over Iraq policy has heated up in Washington, with policy makers making proposals that range from a phased withdrawal that begin in four to six months to an increase in troop strength.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the Pentagon is preparing three policy options: one that increased troop levels in Iraq to bring stability to the country (dubbed "go big"), that that maintains the current levels over a longer period ("go long"), and one that begins a phrased withdrawal ("go home"). (Full story)

Obama said conditions in Iraq have deteriorated over the past year as the U.S. death toll has climbed toward the 2,900 mark.

He said the November 7 midterm elections -- when Democrats won control of both houses of Congress for the upcoming session -- were a call for a "realistic" strategy, not one "driven by ideology and politics."

"Only through this phased redeployment can we send a clear message to the Iraqi factions that the U.S. is not going to hold together this country indefinitely -- that it will be up to them to form a viable government that can effectively run and secure Iraq," Obama said.

Some of the troops now in Iraq should be sent to Afghanistan, where he said the Iraq war has had "disastrous consequences" for the battle against the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Furthermore, he said, the Iraq war has hurt American support for international engagement and damaged public trust in the government.

Obama called last year for a limited pullout of American troops from Iraq, but said it is now necessary for that withdrawal to begin in 2007.

"I refuse to accept the possibility that I will have to come back a year from now and say the same thing," he said.

"There have been too many speeches. There have been too many excuses. There have been too many flag-draped coffins, and there have been too many heartbroken families."

Veiled criticism of McCain

The potential presidential hopeful also offered what appeared to be veiled criticism at possible White House rival Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's call to send more troops to Iraq.

"While some have proposed escalating this war by adding thousands of more troops, there is little reason to believe that this will achieve [victory]," Obama said.

"It's not clear that these troop levels are sustainable for a significant period of time, and according to our commanders on the ground, adding American forces will only relieve the Iraqis from doing more on their own."

On Sunday, McCain said on ABC's "This Week" that the current U.S. forces in Iraq are are "fighting and dying for a failed policy" and said an increase in force levels are necessary to stabilize the security situation in the country.

A withdrawal of U.S. forces, McCain said would lead to chaos in the region.

"The consequences of failure are so severe that I will exhaust every possibility to try to fix this situation. Because it's not the end when American troops leave. The battleground shifts, and we'll be fighting them again," McCain said.

"You read Zarqawi, and you read bin Laden. ... It's not just Iraq that they're interested in. It's the region, and then us."

Obama said the withdrawal of American combat troops could be coupled with a stepped-up effort to train Iraqi troops, with more special-operations units working as advisers with Iraqi forces.

He said a Democratic-run Congress would take a closer look at where the $20 billion-plus in U.S. reconstruction funds have been spent, proposing to link continued aid to progress toward an Iraqi political settlement.

He said any effort to settle the conflict should include talks with Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran, which he said are "by far the biggest beneficiary" of the 2003 invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein.

"We know these countries want us to fail, and we should remain steadfast in our opposition to their support of terrorism and Iran's nuclear ambitions," Obama said.

"But neither Iran nor Syria want to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region -- and within their own countries."

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.

Was Obama’s Speech on Iraq a Sign of His Presidential Aspirations? Pundits Have Their Say

Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2006

While many black Americans are speculating whether Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will run for president in 2008, Obama used his celebrity pulpit this week to outline his views on the war in Iraq and criticize President George W. Bush for ordering a "misguided" military campaign.

In his speech Monday to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Obama said the U.S. should end its "coddling" of the Iraqi government by beginning a reduction of troops in the next four to six months.

"Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes," Obama told members of the council. "And all the troops in the world won't be able to force Shia, Sunni and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences and forge a lasting peace."

"And now, after three long years of watching the same back and forth in Washington, the American people have sent a clear message that the days of using the war on terror as a political football are over," Obama said, "That policy-by-slogan will no longer pass as an acceptable form of debate in this country. 'Mission Accomplished,' 'cut and run,' 'stay the course' -- the American people have determined that all these phrases have become meaningless in the face of a conflict that grows more deadly and chaotic with each passing day, a conflict that has only increased the terrorist threat it was supposed to help contain."

Three years ago, Obama was little-known, a black state senator from Illinois with an interesting family history and impressive academic credentials. Now polls show Obama as the top alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the early chase for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Neither senator has announced an intention to run.

Several black political observers said Tuesday it’s probably too early to tell if Obama is running for president even though he seems to have stepped-up his criticism of Bush and the war in Iraq. The timing, some said, is also a result of the Democrats regaining control of the House and Senate during this month’s mid-term elections.

"[Obama's] always been aggressive and consistent in what he believes," Craig Kirby, a senior advisor to former Virginia Governor Marc Warner, told Tuesday. "He’s was aggressive as a state senator; he was aggressive when running for the U.S. Senate, and he’s aggressive now. He’s smart to speak the Council on Global Affairs. He’s just handling his politics. I don’t think we should read too much into this speech right now."

Donna Brazile told Tuesday that regarding Obama, the American public has an "insatiable appetite for someone new and different."

But the question many people are asking is this: Is America ready for a black president?

New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch questioned if Obama has actually lived the black experience.

"If Barack Obama makes it all the way to becoming the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, a feat he says he may attempt, a much more complex understanding of the difference between color and ethnic identity will be upon us for the very first time," Crouch wrote in a recent column.

"So when black Americans refer to Obama as 'one of us,' I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book, 'The Audacity of Hope,' Obama makes it clear that, while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own -- nor has he lived the life of a black American," said Crouch.

In a recent essay for The Washington Informer, Ron Walters, a political science professor at The University of Maryland, Walters wondered about Obama’s views on racism and black Americans.

"While Obama looks good now, they also know that he has no military experience, no administrative experience, scant legislative experience in the Senate and, thus, little time to build a record of accomplishments. So, for now, the most that he offers is charisma and a personal story that many feel reflects the leadership needed in the future of a more diverse American society," Walters wrote.

"In this examination, the attitude of blacks will be important, and I have yet to hear Barack Obama make a series of tough speeches on the nature of American racism or offer creative solutions that begin to resolve the critical economic, social and political issues that still plague Black America," he wrote.

So is Obama running? Better yet, should he? 

"Barack Obama should run for president ...  bama is a new kind of politician," writes New York Times columnist David Brooks.

"The subtext is a journalistic hunger for a young, attractive black candidate who somehow seems to transcend race," Howard Kurtz wrote in The Washington Post last month. "Not since the media establishment tried to draft Colin Powell for president in 1995 have reporters, columnists and talk show hosts so openly swooned over a potential White House occupant."

According to the Chicago Tribune, "Substantively, Obama's talk to the council was not markedly different from the one he gave there a year ago. He echoed many of the themes of that speech -- as well as from his highly publicized new book, 'The Audacity of Hope.' Politically, the plan he embraced positions him alongside many centrist Democrats in Congress who are calling for a slow and careful withdrawal of troops, rather than a quick exit or a build-up of military personnel in Iraq."

Meanwhile, several high-profile dignitaries this week joined Obama in criticizing the war in Iraq.

Former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger, who regularly advises President Bush on Iraq, said today that a full military victory is no longer possible there. With this, he joined a growing number of leading conservatives openly challenging the administration's conduct of the war and positive forecasts for it.

"If you mean, by 'military victory,' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," Mr. Kissinger told BBC News.

In Washington, a leading Republican supporter of the war, Senator John McCain of Arizona, said American troops in Iraq were "fighting and dying for a failed policy."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that the United States was "trapped in Iraq," and urged Washington to carefully consider when would be the best time to pull out so the withdrawal does not lead to further violence.

"The United States in a way is trapped in Iraq," Annan said. "It cannot stay, and it cannot leave. There are those who maintain that its presence is a problem and there are those who say that if it leaves precipitously, the situation will get worse."

In the meantime, while the nation speculates about Obama’s political aspirations, the Illinois senator continues to speak out.

"2,867 Americans have now died in this war," Obama said in his Monday speech.

"Thousands more have suffered wounds that will last a lifetime. Iraq is descending into chaos based on ethnic divisions that were around long before American troops arrived." Obama said.

"The conflict has left us distracted from containing the world’s growing threats -- in North Korea, in Iran, and in Afghanistan. And a report by our own intelligence agencies has concluded that al Qaeda is successfully using the war in Iraq to recruit a new generation of terrorists for its war on America."


Associated Press contributed to this story.

Obama on Rezko deal: It was a mistake

November 5, 2006

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 senator's yard.

"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 transaction.

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 day.

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 from him.

In the Sun-Times interview, Obama acknowledged approaching 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 problems.

Last month, Rezko was indicted for his role in an alleged pay-to-play scheme designed to fatten Gov. Blagojevich's political 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 senator said.

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 it.

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 companies?

A: No.

Q: Has Rezko ever given you or your family members gifts of any kind and, if so, what were they?

A: No.

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 those conversations?

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 agent.

Q: Did you approach Rezko or his wife about the property, or did they approach you?

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 purchased it.

Q: Who was your Realtor? Did this Realtor also represent Rita Rezko?

A: Miriam 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 purchase?

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 properties simultaneously. 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 did.

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 over it.

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 investigation?

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 appearances.

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. 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 confronting experiences honestly and learning from them. And that is what I will do with this experience as well.

Q: Why did you not publicly disclose the transaction after Rezko got indicted?

A: At the time, it didn't strike me as relevant. I did however donate campaign contributions from Rezko to charity.

Q: Have you been interviewed by federal investigators about this transaction or about your relationship with Rezko? If not, do you intend to approach them?

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 with you?

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 legislation. (

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. Blagojevich's administration?

A: No.

Q: Are the Obamas the only beneficiaries of the land trust?

A: Yes.

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, 2005.

Q: Was there a negotiation? Did he have an asking price, or did he just say, whatever you think is fair?

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 accepted it.

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.

Obama: I used coke

posted at 2:03 pm on January 3, 2007 by Allahpundit
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Years ago:

In the book, Obama acknowledges that he used cocaine as a high school student but rejected heroin. “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though,” he says.

In an interview during his Senate race two years ago, Obama said he admitted using drugs because he thought it was important for “young people who are already in circumstances that are far more difficult than mine to know that you can make mistakes and still recover.

Apparently Tom Maguire and I are the only two right-wing bloggers who aren’t ostentatiously indifferent to this. Tom doesn’t want kids using Obama as a role model for casual drug use; I’m less concerned about that than the fact that Obama seems to get political benefits from admitting to it. I don’t hold what he did against him — I couldn’t in good conscience, having voted for Bush despite his alcoholism and his rumored drug abuse as a younger man. But it’s one thing not to penalize someone who’s contrite and another to reward him for the transgression. E.g.,

Obama’s supporters said his admissions in the book could work to his advantage.

“I think it will be received as refreshing,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Obama’s fellow Democrat from Illinois. “If you compare similar books, many of us in the political business tend to have selective memories.”

He’s more human this way, you see. More honest and “real.” Wait ’til Barbara Walters finally interviews him and he works up some tears. He could win 40 states.

Drugs are no laughing matter, people. Although they can be a giggling matter. Watch this educational film about spiders and you’ll see.

Obama's cocaine, pot use: Does it matter in White House bid?

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."


Christian News and Media Agency

For Immediate Release

The Obama Muslim Shell Game: Catholic School Docs Show Obama Registered As Muslim

To: News Assignment Desk

Media Contact:
Bill Wilson at

2007-01-30 -- [WDC News Post] -- WASH—Jan 25—DJNS —Associated Press has revealed that Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Democratic candidate for President of the United States, attend a Catholic school in Indonesia registered as a Muslim, further clouding the issue of where Obama was schooled in Indonesia and when. Obama, by his own admission in books that he has written, has said that he attended a Catholic school and a Muslim school while living in Indonesia with his atheist mother and Muslim stepfather. But now that Fox News reported that Obama may have been indoctrinated in Islamic teachings while attending the Muslim school in Indonesia , he and his handlers have gone spinning the story to the news media, and their stories do not match up.

Obama is claiming that the allegations by Fox are "scurrilous" and that he believes people "recognize that the notion that me going to school in Indonesia for two years at a public school there at the age of 7 and 8 is probably not going to be endangering in some way the people of America." Associated Press is reporting that the Muslim school Obama attended is a public school, open to people of all faiths—this according to the spokesman for Indonesia's Ministry of Religious affairs who goes only by the name of "Sutopo." Records show that Obama attended a Catholic school first and then the Muslim school. When he was ten years old, he moved to Hawaii and attended a private secular school.

There are many holes in Obama's story. First, if he attended the Muslim school when he was seven and eight, which school did he attend when he was nine and ten, if he first attended the Catholic school? There appears to be a gap in his education or a miscommunication about what school he attended and when he attended it. Associated Press reports that Obama's mother relocated to Indonesia from 1967-71 after marrying Obama's Muslim step-father—who Obama claims was no longer Muslim, but an atheist. The Catholic school, Fransiskus Assisis, where Obama first attended school, enrollment documents, however, show Obama enrolled as a Muslim, the religion of his stepfather.

Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs says he isn't sure why the Catholic school document had Obama listed as a Muslim. Gibbs told AP, "Senator Obama has never been a Muslim." While the spokesman is denying that Obama was never a Muslim, Obama, himself, has not publicly said he was never and is not now a Muslim.

What can Americans expect of a Muslim-educated Obama? AP writes of its interviews at the Muslim school in Indonesia, "Those tied to the school say they are proud to have had a student like Obama, and hope that, if he is elected president, his ties to Indonesia will broaden his world perspective and his views on religion." Indonesia is home to some of the most radical Islamic schools in the world. And Obama's identity is yet to be revealed as the confusing doubletalk hides the real Barack Hussein Obama, Democratic candidate for President of the United States .

"And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity."-- Jeremiah 9:5

WDC Media Public Relations. 1-877-862-3600.

Obama sets bar for reforming the country

Rosie Czech

Issue date: 2/12/07


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.

Media Credit: Jamison Nash

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


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
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

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,"'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 -- and politician.

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 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 . . . )

The kicker:

"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.

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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'

January 4, 2008

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.



Tuesday, January 8, 2008

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.” [1]

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.

[1] "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

Barack Obam

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, 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.”

This is Obama's "birth certficate" from his own website:

Check it out. Does it look a little fishy to you? You don't need to compare it to a real Hawaiian birth certificate to see that it's fake. The typing is obviously done on a modern computer, there is no mandatory raised seal, no signature from the state registrar. Birth Certificates cannot be sent electronically, therefore the fact that there are no creases is also a red flag. Now wanna see where this came from? Right from the photobucket of a DailyKos blogger. He created a template for a Hawaiian Birth Certificate, here it is with just the place and time of birth, before putting in Obama's information.


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,   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


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.