Thursday, February 21, 2008
It was her admiration for former President Bill Clinton that initially prompted Donna Williams to support Sen. Hillary Clinton's candidacy — but she's now rooting for Sen. Barack Obama.
"I'm excited about Barack. I've been listening to what he has to say, and I like his ideas about inclusion," said Williams, one of about 70 women who attended a "Women for Obama Tea" on Wednesday at the Edward L. "Peel" Coleman Center.
They came to hear award-winning actress Alfre Woodard, who's stumping for Obama, her friend of four years.
… Woodard's first stop in Stark County was at Obama's Canton headquarters at 1800 Cleveland Ave. NW for its official opening.
"It's not just enough to vote for him," she told the standing crowd of 50. "You have to do something."
"I enjoyed her," said Dixie Wadsworth of Minerva, who signed up to volunteer for Obama's campaign. "It was a nice little celebratory kickoff."
James "Shelley" Bishop of Plain Township said he, too, was inspired by Woodard's visit.
"I think it was lovely," he said. "Perfect. Right on time. Canton needed this."
Friday, February 15, 2008
This site has been erected to provide a place of refuge for all those Clinton supporters who have read the handwriting on the wall, and are ready to pledge their support to Senator Barack Obama, for the Democratic nomination for the good of the country.
We here at Clinton Supporters for Obama are not ashamed to say that we love our country, and we believe that the nomination and subsequent election of Senator Barack Obama is inevitable, and that it is time to unite the party and stand behind him to ensure that we take back the White House in November!
Please check back here often for more information on our movement, and for inspiration from your fellow Clinton Supporters for Obama - we love you Hillary - thank you for your efforts and service, but it's time to put our support behind the man who has united this nation, and who will take us into our brighter future as the New American Majority.
Dear Hillary: How to Bow Out Gracefully
I am running for leader of the free world, seeking to replace a deeply unpopular president. I am the spouse of his very successful predecessor. To the extent that my opponents want to make this election a referendum on the 1990s and my husband's administration, we've thought we'd be in good shape. My chief opponent is an unvetted neophyte colleague of mine in the Senate, who probably couldn't tell the difference between Kyrgistan and Uzbekistan. And yet he trounced me in the Iowa caucus, and now some of my advisers are second-guessing my decision to deploy my husband on the campaign trail and tap into people's warm, fuzzy memories of his time in the White House.
Time is running out, and I am not sure what to do. What do you think? My husband was very successful, and I was part of his team. On the other hand, people want change. But there is a personal issue here, too -- I mean, how can I tell my husband he is a liability and needs to lie low? Our marriage has been through a lot, and I don't want to hurt him.
-- Anonymous in New Hampshire
Dear Hillary -- I mean, Anonymous,
Okay, you didn't really write me. But you should have. You need some good advice, not to mention a reality check.
Here's the problem: Americans don't want to see the presidency turned into a dynastic club with two families monopolizing the White House for 30 years or more. (After all, there's always Jeb to follow you.) I know you are qualified in your own right, and you've worked hard to get where you are, and you've been all about change since before Barack Obama was born, etc., etc. But don't you see that what you're trying to pull off is deeply un-American?
One of the disquieting aspects of this campaign is that the dynastic issue is only obliquely raised. You talk about your "experience" in the White House while Obama mocks it, and you both talk of change. You may think your opponents and the press have been rough on you, but I think for the most part you've gotten a pass. Yes, Obama and Edwards talk about moving forward and changing the ways of Washington, but they don't come out and say, "Hey, America -- do we really want to return to dynastic rule? Isn't that one of the main reasons we fought a revolution?"
Your problem, frankly, is that voters are saying that. (Okay, maybe not verbatim. But they feel it in their gut.) As much as this campaign may be about the possibility of electing the first woman or black president, it's also a referendum on whether we want to devalue the presidency, and make it, like plenty of lesser offices around the country, a family business. Your campaign's strategy of preemptively overwhelming opponents by seeming to be the inevitable choice, and your sense of entitlement, only magnify this sense that you see this as a dynastic restoration, not a democratic campaign.
I know what you're thinking: What about George W. Bush? Well, Anonymous in New Hampshire, to quote another president from another dynasty, life is unfair. In fact, Bush's election in 2000 makes it more difficult for you. Two members of the same family as the 41st and 43rd presidents can be deemed a quirk of history; make the 42nd and 44th presidents also related to each other, and it begins to look like the way of the system.
As for your immediate query: It's worth remembering that Bush was savvy by running in 2000 less as the familial heir to Bush than as the political heir to Reagan. I concede that your husband was a very successful president -- far more so than Bush the Elder -- but this talk of whether he should be out there campaigning is irrelevant. More than that, it's insulting to voters, because it's a tactical discussion that ignores the larger point: You are asking Americans to ratify the notion that the White House has become a royal domain, the preserve of dynasties.
And now for the good news: This isn't personal. It's not about whether people like you, or like Bill, or whether they find you competent. Get over all that. Instead, relish these final moments of your first -- and possibly last -- national campaign (and take comfort in the fact that you're still a powerful senator). Enjoy yourself. The next few weeks may be the farewell tour of the Clinton duo on the national stage. Make it a victory lap, not a sour-grapes extravaganza. Don't concede the race before you are ready, and you have every right to stay in at least through Super Tuesday. And by all means, take Bill on the road.
But stay positive about your Democratic opponents. Tell us about your qualifications. Engage in some nostalgia for the '90s -- the oncoming recession helps you. Bash Bush to your heart's content. And when the day comes for you to bow out, do so gracefully. People will applaud you. Let no one say that, when the time came, the Clintons had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the national stage.
[Editor's note: Just to reiterate, Hillary Clinton did not send in this question. She's a little busy today. But you're not too busy -- especially if you've made it this far! We need your advice questions. Send them here.]
Thursday, February 14, 2008
By JEFF ZELENY and PATRICK HEALY
MILWAUKEE — Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention.
“In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” said Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who endorsed Mrs. Clinton last fall. “Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”
Mr. Lewis, who carries great influence among other members of Congress, disclosed his decision in an interview in which he said that as a superdelegate, he could not go against the wishes of the voters of his district, who overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama.
“I’ve been very impressed with the campaign of Senator Obama,” Mr. Lewis said. “He’s getting better and better every single day.”
His comments came as fresh signs emerged that Mrs. Clinton’s support was beginning to erode from some other African-American lawmakers who also serve as superdelegates. Representative David Scott of Georgia, who was among the first to defect, said he, too, would not go against the will of voters in his district.
The developments came on a day in which Mrs. Clinton set out anew to prove that the fight for the Democratic nomination was far from over. Campaigning in Ohio, she pursued a new strategy of biting attack lines against Mr. Obama, while adopting a newly populist tone as she courted blue-collar voters.
Mrs. Clinton also intensified her efforts in Wisconsin, which holds its primary on Tuesday and where she and Mr. Obama now have the first dueling negative television advertisements of the campaign.
In the ads, Mrs. Clinton taunted Mr. Obama for refusing to debate her in Wisconsin. And she and former President Bill Clinton prepared for a new fund-raising blitz to try to counter Mr. Obama’s edge of several million dollars in campaign cash.
Yet even as the Democratic rivals looked ahead to the primaries in Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas, Mr. Lewis said he and other prominent African-American party leaders had been moved by Mr. Obama’s recent victories and his ability to transcend racial and geographic lines.
Though Mr. Lewis had praise for Mrs. Clinton and for her historic candidacy, he said he could decide within days whether to formally endorse Mr. Obama.
He also said he and other lawmakers would meet in the coming days to decide how they intended to weigh into the nominating fight. If neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Obama receive enough pledged delegates to win the nomination, superdelegates like Mr. Lewis may play the deciding role in who wins.
“If I can be used as a mediator, a negotiator or a peacemaker, I’d be happy to step in,” Mr. Lewis said, adding that he intends to speak to both candidates in hopes of ending the race amicably in the next month. “I don’t want to see Mrs. Clinton damaged or Mr. Obama damaged.”
Jay Carson, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said Thursday: “Congressman Lewis is a true American hero, and we have the utmost respect for him and understand the great pressure he faced. And Senator Clinton enjoys incredibly strong support from superdelegates around the country from all regions and races.”
The comments by Mr. Lewis underscored a growing sentiment among some of the party’s black leaders that they should not stand in the way of Mr. Obama’s historic quest for the nomination and should not go against the will of their constituents. As superdelegates, they may have the final say, which is something Mr. Lewis said he feared would weaken Democrats and raise Republicans’ chances of winning the White House.
Still, the Democratic nominating fight clearly has many turns ahead. On Thursday, Mrs. Clinton unleashed the most ambitious mobilization of her forces in weeks, reflecting the intense pressure she is under from Mr. Obama, the political necessity for her of towering performances in the delegate-rich primaries in Ohio and Texas on March 4, and her fresh hope of an upset victory in Wisconsin.
Specifically, Mrs. Clinton is hoping to gain political mileage by turning one of Mr. Obama’s attributes — his oratory — against him. She is warning voters about politicians who give great speeches and make big promises but ultimately do not deliver on them.
“Speeches don’t put food on the table,” Mrs. Clinton said at a General Motors plant in Warren, Ohio, on Thursday morning. “Speeches don’t fill up your tank, or fill your prescription, or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.”
“My opponent gives speeches,” she added. “I offer solutions.”
Mrs. Clinton has been also criticizing Mr. Obama with populist language, saying she would “take on” insurers and credit card companies and “go after” drug companies. She portrayed Mr. Obama as untested on the battlefield against special interests.
If there was a sign of the imbalance in momentum between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama on Thursday, it could be gleaned from Mr. Obama’s travel itinerary. He took a respite from the campaign trail, aides said, so he could spend Valentine’s Day with his family in Chicago before returning to Wisconsin on Friday.
Clinton advisers said Thursday that it was unlikely they would broadcast “horrible nasty negative ads,” in the words of one adviser, and that they were wary of going too negative against Mr. Obama, given what the Clintons say is the news media’s tendency to coddle and protect Mr. Obama and portray the Clintons as an attack machine.
At the same time, Clinton advisers say that the stakes are so high — in Ohio and Texas in particular — that Mrs. Clinton cannot afford to let Mr. Obama gain momentum. In Wisconsin, for instance, Mrs. Clinton is hoping to stave off a blowout — and perhaps even pull off a surprise — by blasting Mr. Obama for refusing to debate her there.
“The last time we debated was in California, and I convincingly won California, which may be why Senator Obama doesn’t want to have a debate in Wisconsin,” Mrs. Clinton said in a telephone conference call with reporters.
Mr. Carson, her spokesman, said she would keep the debate issue alive until Tuesday.
“A refusal to debate one’s primary opponent is always seen by regular voters as being chicken,” he said. “And voters, especially Democratic voters hungry for a general election win, want a candidate who is tough and ready.”
Mr. Obama responded to the attacks with a television spot of his own in Wisconsin.
“After 18 debates, with two more coming, Hillary says Barack Obama is ducking debates?” the advertisement says, showing images from their debates over the last year. “It’s the same old politics, of phony charges and false attacks.”
As Mrs. Clinton was delivering her criticism of Mr. Obama in Ohio, a similar argument was presented to Wisconsin voters by Mr. Clinton, who referred to Mr. Obama as “the excitement of the now.”
“It’s about whether you choose the power of solutions over the power of speeches,” Mr. Clinton told a small gathering of voters in Milwaukee, ticking through a list of his wife’s platforms and accomplishments.
In New Mexico, one of the more than 20 states to hold contests on Feb. 5, the votes were finally counted Thursday, giving Mrs. Clinton a victory and providing more evidence that the contest was far from concluded. She continued to hold a lead among superdelegates, even as a New Jersey official, Christine Samuels, changed her support to Mr. Obama and at least two others went back to being uncommitted.
Jeff Zeleny reported from Milwaukee, and Patrick Healy from Ohio.
An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton, By Erin Kotecki Vest
This is a very hard letter for me to write, so please bear with me.
I’d like to ask you, with all due respect and humility, to step down as a Democratic Candidate for President of the United States.
Please understand this is not because I believe you can not or should not lead this nation. Please understand that I find you qualified, capable, and worthy. Please also understand I want nothing more than to see a female as the leader of the free world. I would be pleased and honored if you were that female.
However I am finding, right or wrong, many citizens of this country seem to react to you on an emotional level. Emotional, not practical. They can’t seem to see your record. They can’t seem to see your policy. They just hear or read “Hillary” and venom or praise spews.
I thought that with your candidacy, would come reason. I thought that you would be able to get a fair shake by main stream media, by voters, by sexists, and by soccer moms. I thought over time people would begin to see that you really are an effective politician.
I was wrong.
Tonight, I’m typing as I watch you speak in El Paso, Texas. I’m sad. There really is no other way to put it-I’m sad.
I truly believed you would be the best person for the job, and I had this nagging thought in the back of my mind that is now at the forefront. The thought that drove me on Super Tuesday to Vote for Senator Obama and the thought that is the driving force as I write tonight: Senator Hillary Clinton divides this country.
It’s not fair. It’s not right. And under just about ANY other circumstance I would go to the mat for you. However we are a wounded and deeply divided nation. We are a nation at war. We are a nation at odds with each-other. It’s ugly. I thought you could get people past it. I really did.
When I told myself it was gender that got people going, I refrained from asking and wanting you to step aside. Simply on principle, I wanted to see you run and win because they said it couldn’t be done. Because it was my belief, this was all about being a girl.
It’s not, and I was wrong.
I firmly believe while the gender issue has given you a handicap I hope we all one day overcome, it is NOT the reason people have a gut reaction to you or your campaign or your legacy.
Enter the Senator from Illinois, and what I think could be your true legacy. If you were to step aside now, shockingly early and shockingly un-Hilllary-like, you could galvanize an entire nation behind your party. If you were to throw your weight, and your tremendous political clout behind Senator Obama you could still change the world and make your mark in a way no one would expect and everyone would admire.
I don’t want to see you throw in the towel because the fight is too hard or the mountain too tall. I am asking you to throw it in because history is on the line. It is not the history either of us expected, however it is an equally important, momentous, earthshaking change in this country we sorely need.
Do something no one would ever expect. Do something extraordinary. Do something that changes politics as usual and changes history.
I could have never predicted having to chose between what my husband called “the lesser of two goods, not the lesser of two evils” when it came time to cast my vote.
It was agonizing.
But in the end, with no major policy difference and valid reasons on BOTH sides, I had to go with the candidate who I thought could best bring our nation back together. Who could cross party lines and gender lines and racial lines.
I wanted it to be you, but it’s not. For some reason you still get people very riled up, and not in the good way.
There is no way around it-it sucks. But after 7 years of nothing but fighting and head shaking and feeling like we’re living in two Americas, I can’t do it again. Not even if my team is in office.
I really hate asking you to do this, but I want you to please step down and let this nation heal.
We’ve been too angry for too long and your history and your name brings a suitcase of anger to the White House front door.
With the full weight of the Clinton name, behind the scenes, your true legacy could be written. With the full weight of the Clinton know-how you could help orchestrate the next chapter in American history where an African-American leads our nation.
It is this time in history your nation needs you.
As nation’s go, ours has never been one to do things the way we predict. Who could have seen when we finally get our first, legitimate, female front runner we’d see our first, legitimate front runner of color?
Our nation and it’s people need you to do what is best for this country. We need you to be true to what you say on the stump and bring us back together.
If you firmly believe that there is still time for you to change the hearts and minds of those rude and stubborn Americans who are voting with their gut when they see “Hillary” on the ballot-then please, prove me wrong. I’ll be at the Democratic National Convention come August and I’ll hold up my Hillary sign loud and proud and fall in line.
But I think you’ve tried. You tried with everything you had to overcome that Clinton-emotional reaction. Here we are, moving into Texas and Ohio and Pennsylvania-and it’s not you winning over hearts and minds, it’s the Senator from Illinois.
Let’s end the division in this country now. Right now. Let’s start with the Democratic Party early and provide a united front against the GOP months ahead of schedule.
Let’s take back this country for the people, with you playing a much different role than you envisioned.
Make history. Make us one. Step down now.
Erin Kotecki Vest
voter, mother, woman, feminist, writer, dreamer, and Hillary fan
(Source: Elizabeth Benjamin, The Daily Politics, NYDailynews.com)
Barack Obama's campaign announced today that New jersey Democratic superdelegate Christine "Roz" Samuels, who had been backing Hillary Clinton but changed her position to "undecided" following the "fairytale" and MLK comments by Clinton and her husband, has formally backed Obama.
This is, as far as I can tell, the closest to Clinton's home state the superdelegates battle has come so far. The bulk of the New York superdelegates are pledged to Clinton, and none of them has jumped ship yet, with most publicly insisting they intend to stick with her to the bitter end.
The statement from Samuels, a member of the Democratic National Committee and executive committee of New Jersey's NAACP, as released by the Obama campaign:
"I now support Barack Obama because he has brought about a new wave of hope and energy to this country, especially among our young people, who represent our future. People want to see change. Barack can help unite this country and help us embrace our diverse nation.
“I am also proud to support Senator Obama because he spoke clearly and forcefully against the war in Iraq from the start. I know he has the leadership to make sure we bring our young men and women home as quickly and carefully as possible, and ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care.”