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LibertyNewsprint com 2-22-08

LibertyNewsprint com 2-22-08

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Your "Click and Print" Newspaper
Your "Click and Print" Newspaper

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Published by: Liberty Newspost Corp. on Feb 23, 2008
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Your Click and Print NewspaperLibertyNewsprint.com OC Edition21/02/08 - 22/02/08
Obama Wins; Hillary Hits Homer in 9th Inning
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/22/2008 1:00:00 AM
Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, Debates, 2008 PresidentMyvery brief analysis of tonight'sDemocratic debate in Texas: HillaryClinton missed several goldenopportunities, and Barack Obamaheld his own. With her lead in Texasnarrowing, and her struggle to windelegates increasingly steep, HillaryClinton needed a knockout, or neededObama to fall on his face. That didn'thappen, so this is a win for Obama.However, Hillary so badly outclassedBarack on that final question that itmakes the earlier missedopportunities that much more glaring.Worst of all was her invocation of thebogus plagiarism charge. AfterSenator Obama had thoroughlydismantled the argument, she tried tolaunch a sound bite, saying, "That'snot change you can believe in, that'schange you can Xerox."Not only did the crowd boo her, butshe wasted a chance to blunt thedamage done by a week of negativecampaigning by surrogates. Sheshould have repudiated the plagiarismclaim, and reinforced her "solutions,not speeches" argument. It wouldhave been a classy move that wouldhave allowed her to capitalize on herlater gains.Her performance on that lastquestion, however, was so superb,and so powerful as the last word inthe debate, that she could have gainedreal ground if not for the missteps.This is what I was talking about whenI said, "Let Hillary be Hillary"Update: Here's the video of that lastquestion. After the jump, a little moreanalysis the morning after.Neither candidate really answered thequestion asked, which was to name acrisis that had tested them. Obamagave a meandering autobiography,and said the whole thing was his test.Hillary made a relaxed crack aboutweathering crises in the first Clintonera, then spoke very movingly aboutwounded veterans, and finished bysaying that whatever she goesthrough is nothing compared to thetroubles of ordinary Americans. Atriumph.The moments that fell flattest werethose that were obviously based oncampaign talking points, like bringingup Chris Matthews' ambush of Kirk Watson. It is a shame for Hillary,because Obama scored lots of pointsagainst McCain, another area Hillarycould have done better on.Here was Hillary's weakest moment,her "Xerox" comment.On the question of earmarks, Hillarytook a novel approach, but Obamawins the point anyway.She elects to answer a differentquestion, a popular technique, but amissed opportunity given the strengthof Obama's answer. Again, thisanswer seems to have been crafted bystrategists rather than emanating froman authentic place. She needed toaddress the earmarks specifically, anddidn't.Hillary came off really well in areaswhere she essentially agreed withObama, as with the economy. Heranswer is relaxed and assured, andshe really shines on this one.In an area where I believe Obama isweaker, he carries the point byeffectively countering Hillary'sanecdotal flourishes. By the way,where is her Secret Service detail? Itsounds like people are constantlygrabbing her arm, or clutching herhand, on the campaign trail.Hillary missed a huge opportunity,almost as huge as the "Xerox"misstep, with this question.Her silence on the question of Obama's readiness was deafening.She should have started by saying,"Of course I think he's ready, but I'mreadier, more qualified." She couldhave even made a joke about Obamabeing ready to be "a heartbeat away."Although she didn't say he wasn'tready, which would have been amajor blunder, she could have scoredmajor class points here.It seems clear to me that the thing thattripped her up here was the din of strategists and talking points in herear. It's a shame, because if she picksup even one of those missed points, Ithink it tips this debate in her favor.I hope that, if Hillary doesn't comeback to win the nomination, that sheends up on the ticket with Obama. Ialso hope that the next time she runsfor office, she gets rid of her currentstrategists and hires me. It will be theeasiest paycheck I ever earn. "LetHillary be Hillary."Permalink | Email this | LinkingBlogs | Comments
CIA Comes Clean on Rendition Flights
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/21/2008 9:30:00 AM
Filed under: President Bush, BushAdministration, Investigations,TerrorCIA Director Gen. MichaelHayden admitted in an address toagency employees Thursday that theagency did use British territory torefuel two jets on so-called renditionflights in 2002. The CIA hadpreviously told the Britishgovernment that it had not used anyBritish territory, airspace, or landingsite in the controversial program.Hayden said that that information had"turned out to be wrong."Extraordinary rendition is a oncesecret program initiated under theClinton Administration in which high-value terrorist or other suspects areflown aboard government ownedplanes to a third country forinterrogation either by the CIA or bythe intelligence services of thedestination country. Critics chargethat, especially since the September11th attacks, the program has beenused to take captured terrorists toplaces where they can be tortured orotherwise treated in a manner notconsistent with U.S. law. The Britishterritory now acknowledged to havebeen used is the small Indian Oceanisland of Diego Garcia, which ishome to a large British air base thathas seen U.S. bombers take off foraction in Iraq and Afghanistan.Hayden's message to employees wascontrite."The refueling, conducted more thanfive years ago, lasted just a shorttime, but it happened. That we foundthis mistake ourselves, and that webrought it to the attention of theBritish government, in no waychanges or excuses the reality that wewere in the wrong. An importantaspect of intelligence work,inherently urgent, complex, anduncertain, is to take responsibility forerrors and to learn from them."Hayden maintained that the CIA didnot hold or interrogate the twoprisoners involved on Diego Garcia.He further asserted that the two menwere not imprisoned by the CIA in itsformerly secret black sites program.One of the men is now being held atGuantanamo Bay, Cuba, although itis unclear whether he was transferredthere by the CIA or was picked upagain at a later date.The revelation is sure to cause someconsternation for the BushAdministration as the presidentreturns from his triumphant tour of Africa. Democrats in Congress havebeen pressing the Administration onits policies in the war on terror, fromwiretapping, to alleged torture, toGuantanamo Bay detainee rights.This new information seems likemore grist for the investigations mill,and some committee or other is sureto open an inquiry when Congressreturns from its President's Dayrecess next week. It may alsocomplicate Bush Administrationefforts to get an extension of theForeign Intelligence Surveillance Actpassed. That law lapsed last week, asDemocrats in the House refused tobring a bipartisan Senate bill to thefloor for a vote, despite majoritysupport for it. With the perceptionthat the Bush Administration has notbeen completely forthcoming aboutits activities in fighting terrorism athome and abroad, Congress will beloathe to extend it any more powers,or to validate previously utilizedmethods.Permalink | Email this | LinkingBlogs | Comments
EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Gunning for Texas Votes
By Mo Rocca (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/21/2008 10:00:00 AM
Filed under: Hillary ClintonIt's apolitical reality: Hillary Clinton mustwin Texas if she wants thenomination.If you don't think Hillary knows this,then check out what she's been doingthe last few days..Permalink | Email this | LinkingBlogs | Comments
 
2Your Click and Print Newspaper
Debate Live Wire - Dems Face Off in Texas
By Liza Porteus Viana (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/21/2008 1:30:00 PM
Filed under: Hillary Clinton,Democrats, Barack Obama, Debates,2008 PresidentHillary Clinton andBarack Obama faced off in Texastonight for the first of two debatesbetween the Democratic presidentialhopefuls before the March 4primaries in two battleground states.The debate, sponsored by CNN,Univision and the Texas DemocraticParty, served as a good chance forClinton - who has lost the last 11primaries and caucuses in a row toObama - to try to get back some of her mojo. Obama sputtered a little bitat first but gained momentum thesecond round, exhibiting thateloquent confidence his supportersknow and love. Clinton stayed strongand got in the last word, talking abouthow her personal struggles show she'sa fighter. There weren't too manyfireworks, but there was a sparklerhere and there.8:04 p.m.: Clinton - wearing a black pants suit - is "just delighted" to beback in Austin, where she registeredvoters as a young politico. 350,000kids in Texas get health care everymonth, because she helped start theChildren's Health Insurance Program- vets do too. A lot's been done, butshe still wants to "take on the toughissues that face us now."8:09: Obama - wearing a black suitwith red tie - says he and Clintonhave been "friends before thiscampaign started, we'll be friendsafter this." Goes through his usualmessage, adding that, "Washington isa place where good ideas go to die"because of the "stranglehold"lobbyists and special interests haveon the agenda and political bickering.So far, the two are playing nice andnot giving each other the evil eye.8:13: Univision chief Jorge Ramoskicks off Q&A asking whether, aspresident, they would sit down withthe new Cuban president at leastonce. "I would be ready to reach outand work with a new Cubangovernment" once it proves it'swilling to change, Clinton says.Obama (who has previously said hewould meet with leaders of Cuba,Iran, North Korea), says: "I wouldmeet without preconditions, butSenator Clinton is right" in that thereshould be preparations made, such asfreeing political prisoners. "I do think it's important for the United Statesnot just to talk to its friends, but alsoto talk to its enemies."Some would call that "diplomacy" -something we could probably use alittle bit more of these days.Both quote JFK about negotiating infear. Clinton says U.S. needs to opentalks with Iran, says "era of preemption and arrogance" of theBush administration is over.(applause) Obama says meeting withthe American president should not bea "privilege that has to be earned" byforeign leaders.8:22: How do the candidates differ intheir plan to manage the nation'seconomy? Obama says you don'tneed an economist or the FederalReserve to tell the American peoplethe economy is trouble, they've "beenstruggling a long time." End the Bushtax cuts, shut down tax havens,implement good trade standards toprevent toys with lead paint on themfrom getting into our kids' mouths.8:26: How will Clinton be ready totackle the economy differently fromObama on "Day One," if elected?Well, for one, it's time to take focusoff those upper tax-bracket citizensand zoom in on the middle class."The wealthy and the well connectedfor the past seven years, and I think it's time the rest of America had apresident to work for you." CNNmoderator Campbell Brown has tocut her off as she tries to forge aheadto end Bush's "war on science" andother issues.So far, Clinton seems to be on a roll,while Obama isn't showing useverything he's got.8:30: Would you put a halt to theillegal immigration raids going on inthe U.S. if elected? Clinton wouldunless an "egregious offense" isinvolved. After all, kids shouldn't beleft alone when their illegalimmigrant parents are hauled away.Promises to introduce path tolegalization within 100 days of takingoffice. Obama says those who want tostay have to pay back taxes and get tothe back of the line. Bush has been"too obsessed with Iraq" to improverelations with Mexico.8:35: Would you commit to speed upconstruction of the border fence orhalt it? (Both candidates voted infavor of the fence.) "There is a smartway to protect our borders and thereis a dumb way to protect ourborders," Clinton says, and the wayit's going now for sure is the dumbway, putting the fence throughuniversities and peoples' yards. Dittofor Obama, who adds that the U.S.needs to pass the DREAM Act, whichwould allow illegal immigrantstudents to pay in-state tuition to statecolleges under certain conditions.8:42: What about English as thenational language? Clinton saysEnglish should be our "unifying"language but it's "not appropriate" itbe made the official language. Thatsomehow discriminates against non-English speakers. Obama sayseveryone should learn English butAmerican students should learn asecond language.8:46: Commercial break 8:49: Enough of this polite back-and-forth. Does Clinton think Obama is"all hat and no cattle?" Clinton saysshe offers "solutions" to voters - justlook at her 35-year record. She was"somewhat amused" recently when anObama supporter couldn't think of anaccomplishment of his (ka-pow!)."Actions speak louder than words,and I offer that," she says.8:53: Obama, starting to warm up,fires back in the first interestingmoment of the night (he's left-handed, by the way, and there's a fanoff-camera somewhere that keepsblowing his notes everywhere). "Ihave acted a lot" in the last 20 years,passing ethics reform legislation,provide tax breaks to the needy,reform the criminal justice system, hesays. Clinton has a "fine record," buther recent theme of "let's get real"seems to insinuate his campaignworkers are "somehow delusional" inthinking their man can win. "Thethinking is somehow they're beingduped," he says, but his string of winsand endorsements of late proveotherwise.8:56: Time to bring up the wholeplagiarism issue we couldn't escapethis week. Clinton's camp accusedObama of stealing a governor's wordsin his speeches without due credit.This for sure is only an issue becauseObama's stellar oratorical skills seemto put supporters in some kind of trance. "This is where we start gettinginto silly season of politics," he says,giving himself a pat on the back forhis "pretty good" speeches. Clintonhas weird-looking big smile on herface now, which turns into some sortof a grimace before she responds:"It's not change you can believe in,it's change you can Xerox."9:06: Commercial break 9:10: Clinton is asked a questionabout Iraq but won't let the previoushealth care question go that Obamagot to answer before commercial. Insupport of universal health care,Clinton touts some ideas of JohnEdwards (is that her way of trying toget his endorsement?) Obama: Metoo! Me too! I wanna talk abouthealth care more. This goes back andforth several times.9:15: What does Clinton mean whenshe says Obama doesn't haveexperience to be an effectivecommander-in-chief and effectivelydeal with Iraq? Clinton doesn't wantto talk about him, she wants to talk about her own experience, and abouthow our embassies are being burntdown around the world. "I amprepared and ready on Day One." Butduhhh, Obama wouldn't be running if he didn't think he could wear thecommander-in-chief hat, says he willend the "poor planning" carried outby Bush re: Iraq, takes the veryexpected swipe at Clinton for givingBush the authorization to invade.9:21: Is Iraq better off now becauseof the surge? Clinton says Iraqigovernment hasn't moved fast enoughto get on its own feet and take controlof the country while the surge is inforce. She wants plan to beginwithdrawing troops within 60 days of taking office, stop giving those Iraqisa "blank check." Obama, whoopposed the surge, says it will bemuch easier for the candidateopposed to invading Iraq in the firstplace face off with John McCain inthe general election.9:26: Commercial break 9:31: We're back. Little bit moreabout secrecy, earmarks,economy...(yawn)9:35: What if the delegate-basedsystem produces a different nomineethan who the people want? "I think itwill sort itself out" and the Democratswill be united heading into theirNovember victory, Clinton says.Obama says he and Clinton have beenworking their tail off, so the primariesand caucuses and the will of thevoters should count. Then veersslightly off topic about how nobodythinks Washington listens to them.(Hold it, isn't the writers' strike over?Does that mean I'm missing newepisodes of "The Office" and "30Rock" right now?)9:38: Candidates are asked todescribe a moment of crisis in theirlives when they were the most tested.Obama's been raised by a singlemom, worked on the South Side of Chicago, helped further civil-rightsissues - he's a tested uniter. How doesthat fare against Clinton's response?"I think everybody here knows I'velived through some crises and somechallenging moments in my life."(Loud cheers, applause at how thatdarn philandering husband of hersbrought her world crashing down, yetshe's still standing.) How does shekeep going every day? Those hitsshe's taken are nothing to those shesays the average American faces justto get by every day, or what thatyoung soldier with half of his facedisfigured from a roadside bomb isdealing with.9:42: Obama and Clinton share atender moment and shake hands whenClinton says she's "honored" to behere with him. Slightly awkwardmoment as the candidates get astanding ovation and appear to notknow if the debate is over. But it is,and Clinton got the last word.Chelsea comes out to stand with hermom.No big new political points reallyscored by either candidate, but theaudience loved both of them. Is therea Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clintonticket in the future?Meanwhile, a Washington Post-ABCNews poll out today shows Clintonand Obama running neck-and-neck inTexas (48-47 percent, respectively)but gives the New York senator aslight lead (50-43 percent) over heropponent in Ohio. Read moreanalysis of the poll here. ACNN/Opinion Research Poll alsoshows Clinton and Obama in astatistical dead heat in Texas, where193 Democratic delegates are up forgrabs. Politico offers a good storyabout the challenges both candidatesface in wooing Hispanic voters there.Permalink | Email this | LinkingBlogs | Comments
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3Your Click and Print Newspaper
Times Responds to Iseman-Gate Questions
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/21/2008 9:58:00 AM
Filed under: John McCain, 2008President, Scandal, MediaTheimplications of the New York Times'quasi-bombshell of a story from lastnight are swirling around the politicalworld, and The Political Machine,like the brown part of a vat of  journalistic fudge-ripple. I, like many,wondered on what ethical groundsThe Times published the anonymousimplication of a perception of aromantic relationship. I posed myquestions to the New York Times'editorial staff. More on that later.I spoke briefly with former Edwardscampaign strategist Joe Trippi earliertoday on an unrelated matter, and hehad some interesting comments onthis story.After the jump, I'll give you Trippi'stake, a little more background, and I'lltell you what, if anything, the NewYork Times had to say forthemselves.First off, here's what Joe Trippi hadto say:TC: If you were running McCain'scampaign, how would you handle thisstory?JT: Well, it doesn't seem like much of a story. I think they're handling it justfine. This story is such a 180 fromwhat the public knows about McCainthat, unless there's a lot of evidence toback it up, they're not going tobelieve it. It's sort of the reverse of the question-planting thing forHillary. That didn't hurt her too muchbecause it kind of confirmedsomething that people alreadythought they knew about her.Of course, if there ends up beingmore to this story, if some kind of proof emerges, then it's over forMcCain.Meanwhile, (if nothing else comesout), this could actually help McCain,with the Republicans saying, "See,the ultra-liberal NY Times issmearing our guy." It could rally theRepublicans around McCain, withouthurting him with Democrats orindependents.This assessment is certainly beingborne out so far, with nearly universalpuzzlement, if not condemnation, of the Times article's compliance withbasic journalistic principles, andMcCain issuing a complete denial.Of course, anti-McCain posters onour message boards are alreadyconflating this with stories aboutMcCain's first marriage, which JayAllbritton detailed earlier this week.In fact, in a case of a weird sort of prescience, on the eve of this story,The Political Machine ran a storycalled, "The Worst You Can SayAbout: John McCain", debunkingsmears against the candidate, and aHot Seat poll entitled, "Is the mediabeing too soft on John McCain?"According to Cenk Uygur, the answeris yes, and the Times held the storybecause they're fraidy-cats.The John McCain-Vicki Iseman storyis not the first article the New York Times has held back for politicalreasons. They have now done this onat least three occasions:1. The original FISA story on how theBush administration was not gettingwarrants for wiretaps inside theUnited States.2. The original story in 2004 thatshowed Osama bin Laden was hidingin Pakistan, not Afghanistan.3. The McCain-Iseman story.We had James Risen, the writer of the first two stories on our show back in 2005 and he admitted that theyheld the Bin Laden story until afterthe 2004 election because the NewYork Times didn't want to "getcaught up in the politics of it."Another way of stating that is thatthey were afraid of being called theliberal media by Republicans. Afterdecades of being chastised for beingliberal, they have become gun-shy. Inthis McCain story, they also held off until they were about to outed byother news agencies as sitting on thestory.A review of the Times' ownConfidential News Sources Policydoesn't provide much cover:Confidential sources must have directknowledge of the information theyare giving us - or they must be theauthorized representatives of anauthority, known to us, who has suchknowledge.We do not grant anonymity to peoplewho are engaged in speculation,unless the very act of speculating isnewsworthy and can be clearlylabeled for what it is.I don't see how this situationqualifies. The sources were notspeculating, they were drawing aconclusion based on facts that they,or The Times, did not share. Withouta named source, or specific detailscorroborated by the 2 unnamedsources, how can a reader begin to judge the credibility of theirconclusion?Here are the questions that I sent toThe New York Times:I am interested to know the thoughtprocess behind publishing theanonymous material, which isbasically an allegation of anallegation.If the two sources had observedspecific behaviors that led them tobelieve there was an affair, why notprint those details?Did these sources provide thosedetails?If the sources did not provide them,what is your ethical basis for printingthat?Why did the paper hold the story inDecember, and why publish it now?Conservative bloggers are allegingthat you released the story now toinfluence the election. How do yourespond to that?This just in, a statement from NewYork Times Executive Editor BillKeller: On the substance, we think the story speaks for itself. On thetiming, our policy is, we publishstories when they are ready."Ready" means the facts have beennailed down to our satisfaction, thesubjects have all been given a full andfair chance to respond, and thereporting has been written up with allthe proper context and caveats. Thisstory was no exception. It was a longtime in the works. It reached my desk late Tuesday afternoon. After a finaledit and a routine check by ourlawyers, we published it. I guess thatall depends on what your definition of "Ready" is. I'm glad they took theseveral hours to mull over myquestions carefully and then send methe same statement they gaveeveryone else today.Slate's Jack Shafer offers what is, inmy view, a pretty weak, andsomewhat ironic, defense of theTimes. Essentially, he likens thepiece to a sandwich, with the meatbeing the story's historical view of McCain's seeming hypocrisy onethics, stuffed inside a thin pita of poorly-sourced innuendo, but themeat makes it OK, especially in lightof McCain's self-styled image as theethics crusader.So far, I've yet to encounter a singlecritique that faults the article for itsportrayal of McCain's eccentric andself-serving ideas about politicalethics. McCain thoroughly soiledhimself in the "Keating Five" savingsand loan scandal in the 1980s, whichthe article accurately condenses.Although McCain has devoted muchof his post-Keating career to thepolicing of political ethics, the articlenotes, he's often strayed from the pathof righteousness. When accused of skirting ethical standards, he usuallypleads guilty in an embarrassed,hangdog fashion, as the Times
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