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This is Bearly Political

Hilliary Clinton will be dancing her way to the White House in 2012


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McCain Girl, McCain Hulk and Obama Girl are featured in this Women of YouTube podcast from movio.com. Yes, we really are that sexy funny


The Real Real Clinton Obama Phone Call

By: Devon Branch
BarelyPolitical Uncovers the leaked phone call between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Bill's apology is sometimes awkward, but always funny. The two are mostly complimentary and even a little "gay." 

Since then, it's been great to see how the presidential campaigns have tried to keep up with the pace of new media, announcing their candidacies online . . . and sometimes making horrible (and funny) gaffes. The campaigns generated internet...

2008 Web Video Odyssey Part Deux

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For July 4, the folks at PoliticsTV have come up with this amazing, thoroughly empowering tribute to Obama Girl and all things politically comedic:


2008's Best Campaign Web Videos So Far -Pt 2."Obama Girl, the Empire Strikes Barack, Barocky, Young Hillary Clinton, and It's Raining McCain to name a few have all been funny, user-generated editions to the presidential campaign.

Bill Clintons Secret Call to Barack Obama

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In this exclusive, "leaked" footage from jimghenderson, we see what Barack Obama and Bill Clinton really talked about in their formerly secret phone call.

Filled with references to Clinton's 1990s dalliances, slang, and tang, Clinton talks about such serious topics as vice-presidential candidates, Monica Lewinsky, and Obama Girl. Throughout the exchange, Obama cooly refuses to...




Sex, lobbying and media debates

February 21, 2008 

US elections 2008: The reporting of a titillating scandal may have the perverse effect of helping John McCain and hurting Hillary Clinton


For the last 24 hours Washington has been aflutter with the most titillating scandal this swampy city has seen in some time. For those inured to the Beltway bubble's siren songs, the issue at hand is a front page New York Times story (published this morning but posted online last night) that alleges Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, had an improper relationship with a lobbyist named Vicki Iseman in 1999.

By February of that year, says the story: "The Senator's advisers had grown so concerned the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene." McCain has roundly denounced the paper, his wife Cindy pronounced herself "disappointed" with the New York Times, the left has questioned why the paper has so little beyond hearsay in the actual story, and right wing commentators have rushed in to chastise the "liberal media" for trying to sully an American hero. 

Why this story is important - and why it's not - explains a lot about the unique hot house environment of American politics: our prurient and puritan ways. In the end, when this settles down, there will be likely be one winner - Barack Obama - for reasons I'll detail momentarily. And the person it hurts most? Hillary Clinton. 

Politicians and sex go together like beans and cornbread - US history is filled with salacious rumors about this pol or that president. The twentieth century alone is juicy enough - from FDR's relationship with his wife's secretary (Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd) to JFK and LBJ's boundless dalliances, to those shot down before their time - Gary Hart comes quickly to mind, the poor Senator whose presidential hopes were dashed during the 1988 presidential race when Donna Rice was photographed sitting in his lap on a yacht. And then, of course, there was Bill. But we'll get back to Bill. 

The conservative right has made sexual impropriety a part of their general package of approved immorality. Extramarital sex goes along with Darwinism (evolution), gay rights and abortion in their lists of the things that are unchristian and therefore un-American. But a subset of that list of no-nos for conservatives, which might have given this story a possibly a secondary impact on Senator McCain, is campaign finance reform. 

McCain is now best known in DC as an independent and unsulliable maverick, the kind of guy who (and you hear this phrase a lot) stuck his thumb in the eye of the Republican mainstream for years. But he's also most often associated with campaign finance legislation and his tireless campaign for campaign finance reform. But McCain's fervor is that of a convert. In 1991 he was investigated for his role in theKeating Five, the savings and loan scandal that cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. It's old news here, but today's New York Times story gave it a new airing - both because it calls into question McCain's relationship to his lobbyists (whether in bed or out) and because it reminds everyone of a less black and white time in his personal political history.

It would be more difficult for him had this story broken elsewhere. But the right has chosen to make this a battle between conservatives and liberals. This is the "liberal media" demonising McCain - and every conservative, even those who felt McCain wasn't nearly worthy of the Republican platform, has rushed to tell MSNBC and CNN that is a liberal smear.

Even Rush Limbaugh, who has mocked the senator (even going so far as to make hostage jokes about him back in 2004), came to his defense. "This is what you get when you walk across the aisle and try to make these people your friends. I'm not surprised in the least that the Times would try to take out John McCain," the uber-conservative radio host said today.

It's a pivot - it repositions this story not as a question about campaign finance or sex, both of which could get the only viable Republican candidate in trouble with the base of the party, but one where it is only the so-called "reality-based community" (liberals) versus everyone else (conservatives). It casts immediate doubt on the Times story, and anything else the paper of record says going forward. If conservatives continue to rally to him in this way, the New York Times may have, inadvertently, done more to bind the fractured Republican Party together than tear it apart. Even so there will be those who wonder. 

Which brings us back to the Democrats. Why? Because tonight the Dems square off face to face in a debate before the big contests of Texas and Ohio - two electoral battles Hillary Clinton can't afford to lose. Breaking today, this scandal does two things: first it drew - and continues to draw - focus away from tonight's debate, thus drastically reducing the likelihood Clinton can halt Obama's momentum. Second, and more importantly, there is nothing that sexual peccadilloes remind voters of than Hillary's erstwhile life partner, President Bill Clinton. Sex and the White House? Everything pales in comparison to Monica. And that doesn't help Hillary one bit.

So: John McCain = victim to rally around, Hillary Clinton = forever tied to that philandering husband. And Barack Obama? Stands alone.

For more blogs on the US elections, click here.

McCain Hits Back With Donor Plea

Fund-Raising Appeals 
Cast Candidate as Victim; 
Defense Goes on Offensive
By LAURA MECKLER and SUSAN DAVIS
February 22, 2008; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- John McCain's attempt to portray himself as a reformer taking on entrenched interests faced a high-profile challenge amid widespread coverage of allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee and his allies went on the offense as they dismissed the charges -- published in the New York Times and picked up widely yesterday by news organizations. His campaign and the Republican National Committee each sent fund-raising appeals portraying Mr. McCain as the victim of an unfair story.

Mr. McCain answered the charges directly in a morning news conference in Ohio, and his supporters fanned out over TV and radio talk shows to defend the Arizona senator and accuse the newspaper of pressing an agenda. "I'm very disappointed in the article. It's not true," he said.

More than most politicians, Mr. McCain has built his image as a straight-talking crusader unafraid to take on moneyed interests. But a months-long presidential campaign was sure to rough up his image. His Democratic counterparts have also faced increased scrutiny. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama faces questions as his onetime fund-raiser, Antoin Rezko, faces a criminal trial in Chicago.

The New York Times story, first published Wednesday on its Web site, said McCain aides had urged the senator and lobbyist Vicki Iseman to steer clear of one another prior to his unsuccessful 2000 presidential run. It said that aides suspected a romantic relationship, something that both Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman denied. The report also said Mr. McCain wrote government regulators on behalf of one of Ms. Iseman's clients.

At a news conference in Toledo with his wife, Cindy, by his side, Mr. McCain emphatically denied a romantic relationship, describing Ms. Iseman as a friend.

"I've served this nation honorably for more than half a century," he said. "At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust."

The story comes as Mr. McCain is trying to win over skeptical social conservatives. But it may not be particularly damaging, said Charmaine Yoest, a vice president at the Washington-based Family Research Council Action. "Questions of character are ones that values voters pay attention to. They'll be looking at the story but so far there doesn't seem to be a lot of there there."

Some prominent conservatives who have been highly critical of Mr. McCain as he emerged at the top of the Republican pack were prompted yesterday to rally to his defense for the first time this year.

"What is the lesson? The lesson is liberals are to be defeated," conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh said on air yesterday. "You cannot welcome their media members on your bus and get all cozy with them and expect eternal love from them."

One of Mr. McCain's top advisers, Charlie Black, said the campaign planned to move beyond the story after its aggressive response yesterday morning. By yesterday afternoon, Mr. McCain was refusing to answer further questions, canceling a news conference scheduled after he toured a Ford Motor Co. factory in Wayne, Mich.

Meantime, the campaign tried to turn the story into an advantage with a fund-raising appeal to supporters. "Well, here we go. We could expect attacks were coming; as soon as John McCain appeared to be locking up the Republican nomination, the liberal establishment and their allies at the New York Times have gone on the attack," wrote campaign manager Rick Davis. The Republican National Committee issued a similar appeal.

Neither mentioned that the Times editorial page endorsed Mr. McCain for the Republican nomination.

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said in a statement that "the story speaks for itself" and denied that the story was timed for any political purpose.


Write to Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com and Susan Davis atsusan.davis@wsj.com

John McCain disputed a New York Times article suggesting he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist and that he showed favoritism to one of her clients.

 

AFP/GETTY IMAGES/File Photo: Democratic presidential candidate Sen.
 Hillary Clinton speaks at a "Low Dollar" fundraiser at Hunter College.

AFP/GETTY IMAGES/File Photo: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at a "Low Dollar" fundraiser at Hunter College...

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Clinton attacks Obama ahead of debate


By Steve Holland Thu Feb 21, 5:13 PM ET

LAREDO, Texas (Reuters) - Democrat Hillary Clinton on Thursday questioned rivalBarack Obama's readiness to serve as commander in chief and his ability to win the White House as the two presidential contenders prepared for a crucial debate

The Thursday night showdown in Austin, Texas, gives Clinton a chance to halt Obama's momentum and turn around a Democratic presidential fight that has shifted decisively in the Illinois senator's favor after his streak of 10 straight victories.

"I want you to think, 'Who do you want to have in the White House answering the phone at 3 o'clock in the morning when some crisis breaks out around the world?"' Clinton asked a heavily Hispanic crowd at a rally in downtown Laredo.

"'Who is best prepared to be commander in chief on day one?"' she added, pushing her latest line of attack on Obama in their hard-fought duel to be the Democratic candidate in November's presidential election.

In the Republican race, front-runner John McCain dismissed a New York Times report suggesting he had a close and possibly romantic relationship with a female lobbyist nine years ago who represented companies that did business with the Senate committee he led.

The newspaper reported his aides became concerned the potentially embarrassing conflict of interest could harm his ultimately failed presidential bid in 2000. The Arizona senator told reporters in Toledo, Ohio, the article was "not true."

"At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust or make a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest and would favor any one or any organization," McCain said.

McCain aides and allies launched a counter-attack on the Times, with his campaign manager Rick Davis telling supporters the story was part of an "unsourced hit-and-run smear campaign."

McCain has an almost insurmountable lead in the Republican race over his last major rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has refused to give up until McCain has enough convention delegates to clinch the nomination.

Obama has taken control of the Democratic race after winning 10 consecutive contests by wide margins. Clinton needs to win March 4 contests in Ohio and Texas if she hopes to block Obama's march to the nomination.

Obama has a growing lead in pledged convention delegates who will choose the Democratic candidate at the August convention. The latest count by MSNBC gives Obama 1,168 to Clinton's 1,018.

OBAMA WINS DEMOCRATS ABROAD

Obama picked up more good news on Thursday with word he had won primary voting among Democrats who live abroad. Obama won about 66 percent of the vote and Clinton 33 percent.

Democrats in 164 countries participated in the primary, voting by Internet, mail and in person between February 5 and February 12, organizers said. Obama won 2.5 delegates and Clinton 2 delegates in the voting.

Obama also won the endorsement of the Change to Win labor federation, an umbrella group representing seven unions -- including four that already backed him. The other three abstained, including the United Farm Workers, who support Clinton.

The debate on Thursday night will give Clinton a broad public stage to try to begin her comeback, and she has cranked up her recent attacks on Obama as she searches for a message that works.

"I want you to think, 'Who is best able to stand on a stage with Senator John McCainto make a case to elect a Democrat?"' Clinton told the crowd in Laredo in south Texas on the Mexican border, where she is counting on strong support from Hispanics.

The New York senator and former first lady said she had learned from her husband,former President Bill Clinton, how difficult the job could be. She also kept up her criticism of Obama's high-flying rhetoric as lacking in real-world substance.

"We need to have someone who is prepared with solutions to our problems, not just speeches," she said.

Obama has managed to gain an increasing share of Clinton's core voting blocs of blue-collar and low-income workers while cutting into her margins with Hispanics.

The two big states of Ohio and Texas, with a combined total of 334 delegates at stake on March 4, have plenty of both. Clinton strategists have targeted the two states as good environments for her economic message. Rhode Island and Vermontalso vote on March 4.

Obama, in Austin to prepare for the debate, visited the stadium and football facilities for the University of Texas Longhorns. The Texas football coach, Mack Brown, scolded a reporter who tried to ask Obama about McCain and lobbyists.

"Coach solved that one, didn't he?" Obama said.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Jason Szep; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by David Wiessler)

(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http://blogs.reuters.com/trail08/)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at a "Low Dollar" fundraiser at Hunter College on February 20, 2008 in New York City. Clinton's flagging presidential campaign faced a crucial test in a televised debate with her Democratic rival Barack Obama, who is riding high after winning 11 nominating battles in a row.(AFP/GETTY IMAGES/File/Mario Tama)
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks 
at a "Low Dollar" fundraiser at Hunter College...

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Clinton: 

Obama 'change you can Xerox'

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

AUSTIN, Texas - Hillary Rodham Clinton accused presidential rival Barack Obama of political plagiarism Thursday night, but drew boos from a Democratic debate audience when she ridiculed him as the candidate of "change you can Xerox."

Obama dismissed the charge out of hand, then turned the jeers to applause when he countered, "What we shouldn't be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up."

The exchange marked an unusually pointed moment in an otherwise civil encounter in the days before March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio — contests that even some of Clinton's supporters say she must win to sustain her campaign for the White House.

The former first lady has lost 11 straight primaries and caucuses, and trails her rival in convention delegates. Obama has won a pair of big union endorsements in the past two days.

In a university auditorium in the heart of Texas, the two rivals agreed that high-tech surveillance measures are preferable to construction of a fence to curtail illegal immigration.

They disagreed on the proper response to a change in government in Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro's resignation. Clinton said she would refuse to sit down with incoming President Raul Castro until he implements political and economic reforms. Obama said he would meet "without preconditions," but added the U.S. agenda for such a session would include human rights in the Communist island nation.

They also sparred frequently about health care, a core issue of the campaign.

Clinton said repeatedly that Obama's plan would leave 15 million Americans uncovered.

But he, in turn, accused the former first lady of mishandling the issue by working in secrecy when her husband was in the White House.

"I'm going to do things differently," he said. "We can have great plans, but if we don't change how the politics is working in Washington, then neither of our plans are going to happen."

Clinton was combative and complimentary by turns, and reflected on her well-known personal struggles in the debate's final moments.

"Everyone here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life," she said — a thinly veiled but clear reference to her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment. But she added that nothing she had been through matched the everyday struggles of voters.

Then, offering unprompted praise to her rival, the one-time front-runner said, "No matter what happens in this contest, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama."

Both candidates were plainly popular with the debate audience. During one break someone in the crowd shouted "Si se puede," Spanish for Obama's trademark phrase, "Yes we can."

Clinton largely sidestepped a question about so-called superdelegates, members of Congress, governors and party leaders who were not picked in primaries and caucuses. She said the issue would sort itself out, and "we'll have a unified Democratic party" for the fall campaign.

But Obama, who has won more primaries and caucuses said the contests must "count for something ... that the will of the voters ... is what ultimately will determine who our next nominee is going to be."

Clinton went into the debate needing a change in the course of the campaign, and waited patiently for an opening to try to diminish her rival, seated inches away on the stage. "I think you can tell from the first 45 minutes Senator Obama and I have a lot in common," she said.

Barely pausing for breath, she went on to say there were differences.

First, she said she had seen a supporter of Obama interviewed on television recently, and unable to name a single accomplishment the Illinois senator had on his record.

"Words are important and words matter but actions speak louder than words," she said.

Obama agreed with that, then noted that Clinton lately had been urging voters to turn against him by saying, "let's get real."

"And the implication is that the people who've been voting for me or are involved in my campaign are somehow delusional," Obama said.

Clinton also raised Obama's use in his campaign speeches of words first uttered by his friend, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

"If your candidacy is going to be about words then they should be your own words," she said. "...Lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."

The debate audience booed.

Obama said the entire controversy was evidence of a "silly season" that the public finds dispiriting. Besides, he said of his speeches at one point, "I've got to admit, some of them are pretty good."

The two rivals sat next to one another in swivel chairs in a University of Texasauditorium for the 90-minute debate, one in a dwindling number of opportunities for the former first lady to chart a new course in the presidential race.

She has lost 11 straight primaries and caucuses to Obama — including an overseas competition for support among Americans living aboard — and has fallen behind in the chase for the number of delegates needed to become the presidential nominee.

Obama's strong showing has made him the man to beat in a historic struggle between a black man and a white woman, and even former President Bill Clinton has said his wife must win both Ohio and Texas early next month to preserve her candidacy. New polls show Texas a dead heat, and give Clinton a lead in Ohio, but far smaller than the one she held in recent weeks.

Rhode Island and Vermont also vote on March 4, but offer far fewer delegates and have drawn less attention.

The encounter was the 19th in an episodic series of debates and forums, a run that has ranged from highly civilized to hotly confrontational.

The last time the two met, in Los Angeles, they sat side by side and disagreed politely. But in an earlier encounter last month, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., each accused the other of repeatedly and deliberately distorting the truth for political gain in a highly personal, finger-wagging showdown.

In The Associated Press' delegate count Thursday, Obama had 1,358.5 to 1,264 for Clinton. It takes 2,025 delegates to claim the nomination at this summer's convention.

In a further sign of his growing strength, Obama won the endorsement during the day of the Change to Win labor federation, which claims 6 million members. The Teamsters union announced its support for Obama on Wednesday.

The debate was sponsored by CNN, Univision and the Texas Democratic Party.



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McCain tangles with Obama over campaign money

Wed Feb 20, 5:02 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Republican presidential front-runner John McCainaccused Democrat Barack Obama on Wednesday of rolling back on a pledge to limit himself to public money in November's presidential election. 

Obama is raising as much as $1 million day, generating a big money advantage over both McCain and Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton in what is expected to be the costliest U.S. presidential election ever.

Obama, an Illinois senator, pledged in February last year to accept public financing and its accompanying spending limit of an estimated $85 million in the general election race if he wins the nomination and his Republican opponent agreed to limits too.

"I committed to public financing," McCain told a news conference. "He committed to public financing. It is not more complicated than that ... I'll keep my word. I want him to keep his."

As he has scored back-to-back wins in nominating contests, Obama has refused to recommit while moving steadily ahead of Clinton in the race to become theDemocratic presidential nominee in the election.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton countered that McCain was in no position to raise the issue.

"John McCain is in no place to question anyone on pledges when he abandoned the latest campaign finance reform efforts in order to run for the Republican nomination and went back on his commitment to take public financing for the primary election this year," Burton said.

He was referring to McCain's refusal to back current reform legislation on Capitol Hill and to reports that the Arizona senator's cash-strapped campaign had borrowed $1 million by pledging to enter the primaries public financing system if his bid for the presidency faltered.

In his news conference, McCain, who has all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination, seized on a report in USA Today that quoted Obama as saying: "It would be presumptuous of me to say now that I'm locking myself into something when I don't even know if the other side is going to agree to it."

"That's Washington double speak," McCain said. "That's why the American people are so cynical about us in Washington."

The expected high cost of the White House campaign, which could easily surpass the nearly $300 million raised by President George W. Bush in 2004, has made it enticing to opt out of public financing and avoid its spending limits.

The Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group, estimates each nominee will need to raise at least $500 million to compete in November's election.

McCain's campaign was nearly derailed last summer by lackluster fundraising, but he has picked up the pace lately. According to a filing with the Federal Election Commission, McCain raised $11.7 million in January, more than he raised in the previous three months combined.

Obama raised $32 million and Clinton raised $14 million in January, their campaigns said. Both candidates must submit official fundraising reports to the FEC by midnight.

The public financing system was created in the 1970s after the Watergate scandalrevealed the extent of campaign financing shenanigans and ended with the resignation of Republican President Richard Nixon.

McCain is the author of a prominent law that limits money in politics, angering some conservatives in his party who regard the law as a violation of free speech rights.

(Additional reporting by


Clinton or Obama? Gender less important to young voters.


By ALEXANDRA Marks Thu Feb 21

New York - Cory Atkins isn't swayed by Obama-mania. 

The Massachusetts state lawmaker is a loyal supporter of Hillary Rodham Clintonbecause "she's been through all of the fights I've been through as a woman."

Casey Atkins, the state rep's daughter, is in Barack Obama's camp because of his "more inclusive view of things, his message of uniting people."

As for what that difference says about women: "That's the paradox of our success," quips Representative Atkins.

How the women's vote is breaking this Democratic primary season is proving to be pivotal, as Mr. Obama racks up wins in part on the basis of white female voters jumping into his camp. In Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, he won almost as many women's votes as Mrs. Clinton did – it was a statistical tie, exit polls show. In earlier primaries, by contrast, Clinton held a 20 percentage-point edge with female voters – and older women, such as Representative Atkins, were pillars of that support.

But in a trend apparent since the 2006 midterm elections, when female candidates didn't fare as well with younger women voters as they did with their mothers, gender is losing its importance to many women in the "Gen X" and "Gen Y" sets.

"For baby-boomer women and older women, [Clinton's candidacy] is very historic," says pollster Celinda Lake. "Younger women tend to be more impressed with someone of their generation and someone who's African-American. Gender is just not as salient to them. They want candidates to prove to them that they are good."

As a result, women voters have gained clout in the volatile Democratic nominating race, as each campaign fights for their allegiance, experts say. Many expect that to hold true in the general election, too.

"Women will determine the president this year. They're the battleground right now in the primaries, and they're going to be the battleground in the general election," says Ms. Lake. "For Democrats, the lesson [for November] is that you have to have women more enthusiastic about you than men are [excited] about the Republican, or you're going to lose."

Settling on a candidate can be an arduous mental process for any voter, but many women are finding that the historic nature of the 2008 presidential campaign is making the choice particularly difficult.

Linda Purdy of Moretown, Vt. describes it as both "exhilarating and agonizing." For the first time in her life, she says, the Democratic Party's two remaining contenders for the nomination are not white men.

Ms. Purdy, who was born at the end of the baby boom, finds the idea of the first female president very appealing, and she admires Clinton. But so is the idea of electing the first African-American president, and she finds Obama inspiring. She likes Clinton's healthcare plan and Obama's stance against the war.

"I finally realized that I didn't want to look at gender or race. I wanted to vote for the person who was the most capable of running the country," she says. But Purdy admits to looking at national polls – and in that analysis, gender did end up playing a role in her decision.

"I've come to the conclusion that this country isn't ready for a female president," she says. "I think Barack Obama has a much better chance of winning in the general election, and so I've decided to vote for him."

Baby boomer Davia Temin, a management expert in New York, is just as adamant that Clinton has the best chance of defeating the Republican nominee and is better prepared to lead the country.

"I run a company, and before that I was a very senior executive in corporate America, and I respect what it takes to run large and small institutions – not just to inspire them but to lead them and manage them in the right way," she says. "From all of Hillary's accomplishments and intelligence and track record, she's the only one out there capable of doing this."

But for Chela Sullivan, a social worker in her late 20s who lives in Phoenix, the Iraq war was a deciding factor, not experience. She says she didn't like Clinton's vote on the war or the way she's handled her explanation for it.

"I would absolutely want a woman president if I felt like they were the best choice," she says. "But I just don't think Hillary is the best choice. For me it's just not about gender."

Such diverse and strong opinions among women show, according to political analysts, that the choice of a candidate remains a personal and complex matter.

"It's more complicated than early projections indicated, because there's more to people's political world view and how they view others than race and gender," says Margie Omero, founder of Momentum Analysis, a Democratic polling firm. "Those are big, obviously, but there are other things."

It's those other things, as well as race and gender, that are making this political race a win-win proposition for Clinton supporter Cory Atkins.

"As a Democrat, I am just so proud of our field this political season," she says. "It's always better to have too many choices of wonderful people than not a good candidate at all. As a party, I think we can't lose."






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Firm in Florida election fiasco earns millions from files on foreigners

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,949709,00.html

Oliver Burkeman in Washington and Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Monday May 5, 2003
The Guardian
 

A data-gathering company that was embroiled in the Florida 2000 election fiasco is being paid millions of dollars by the Bush administration to collect detailed personal information on the populations of foreign countries, enraging several governments who say the records may have been illegally obtained.

US government purchasing documents show that the company, ChoicePoint, received at least $11m (£6.86m) from the department of justice last year to supply data - mainly on Latin Americans - that included names and addresses, occupations, dates of birth, passport numbers and "physical description". Even tax records and blood groups are reportedly included. 

Nicaraguan police have raided two offices suspected of providing the information. The revelations threaten to shatter public trust in electoral institutions, especially in Mexico, where the government has begun an investigation.

The controversy is not the first to engulf ChoicePoint. The company's subsidiary, Database Technologies, was responsible for bungling an overhaul of Florida's voter registration records, with the result that thousands of people, disproportionately black, were disenfranchised in the 2000 election. Had they been able to vote, they might have swung the state, and thus the presidency, for Al Gore, who lost in Florida by a few hundred votes.

Legal experts in the US and Mexico said ChoicePoint could be liable for prosecution if those who supplied it with the personal information could be proven to have broken local laws. That raises the possibility that any person whose data was accessible to American officials could take legal action against the US government.

"Anybody who felt they were affected by this could take the US government to court," said Julio Tellez, an expert in Mexican information legislation at the Tec de Monterrey University. "We could all do it ... We are not prepared to sell our intimacies for a fistful of dollars."

How the US is using the information remains mysterious, although its focus on Latin America suggests obvious applications in targeting illegal immigrants. Whatever the reasons, its commitment to ChoicePoint is long-term: last year's $11m payment was part of a contract worth $67m that runs until 2005.

ChoicePoint denied breaking any laws. "All information collected by ChoicePoint on foreign citizens is obtained legally from public agencies or private vendors," it said. It also denied purchasing "election registry information" from Mexico. 

Clinton team braced for Obama to take the lead



February votes could see symbolic moment in delegate race 

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Saturday February 9, 2008
The Guardian
 

Hillary Clinton's campaign team is bracing for Barack Obama to take the lead later this month for the first time in the battle for the all-important delegates who will decide the Democratic nomination.

The race looks poised to swing his way after a series of votes, beginning today with caucuses in Washington state, Nebraska and the Virgin Islands and a primary in Louisiana.

The Clinton campaign team anticipates that she will lose her lead in the delegate count this month but is banking on her regaining the lead in the mega-states of Texas and Ohio on March 4 and Pennsylvania on April 22. It will be psychologically and symbolically important for Obama to take the lead after trailing for so long, albeit not by much. He is already ahead of his rival in fundraising.

The Clinton campaign is expected to change its tack following the emergence of John McCain as the likely Republican adversary. The Clinton camp is expected to argue that she is better placed to deal with McCain on security and economics. Her team is also expected to bring up a testy exchange of letters between McCain and Obama in 2006. McCain accused Obama of backtracking on a promise to support him over a bill to restrict lobbying. He accused Obama of "self-interested partisan posturing". Obama responded to say he was "puzzled" by McCain's outburst.

"It was sad to watch," said a Clinton campaign source. "He has no idea how to deal with McCain."

The two are seeking to win 2,025 delegates, the magic number that would give them a majority of delegates at the party convention in August where the Democratic nominee for the November presidential election will be chosen.

The final tally of delegates has still not been allocated after Super Tuesday. The 2008 Democratic Convention Watch website yesterday gave Clinton a total of 862 elected delegates to Obama's 883. But when super-delegates - the 700-plus members of Congress, governors and others who automatically have a vote at the conventions - are taken into account, she has 1,065 and Obama 996.

Clinton's team expects Obama to take a bigger share at some point this month. After this weekend, Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC vote on Tuesday and Wisconsin and Hawaii on February 19.

There is growing concern in the Democratic party that the two could exhaust one another, deplete funds and damage one another with day-to-day criticism at a time when the Republicans have more or less settled on John McCain.

But the Republicans are by no means united behind their candidate, and President George Bush intervened in the race for the first time yesterday to call on his divided party to back the nominee, though without naming McCain.

Many conservative Republicans are openly hostile towards McCain because of his moderate stance on immigration and his willingness to work with Democrats in the senate.

While McCain will distance himself from the unpopular president in the run-up to the November election, Bush's endorsement could help overcome the hostility of the Republican base towards him. He needs those Republican activists to work for him in the November election.

At a glance

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are fighting to secure 2,025 delegates, the figure that would bring a majority at the party convention in August, where the Democratic nomination will be made for November's election.

At stake in the coming days:

Today Washington state, 97 delegates; Louisiana 66; Nebraska 31; Virgin Islands 3

Tomorrow Maine 34

Tuesday Virginia 101; Maryland 99; Washington DC 38

February 19 Wisconsin 92; Hawaii 29

The figures below for Clinton and Obama include delegates elected over the last month, and "superdelegates" - members of Congress, governors and others with an automatic vote.




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Way clear for McCain as Romney quits, saying country comes first



· Democratic victory would be a 'surrender to terror' 
· Huckabee still in race but may become running mate
 

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Friday February 8, 2008
The Guardian
 

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has withdrawn from the Republican presidential race
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Photograph: LM Otero/AP
 


John McCain effectively secured the Republican presidential nomination yesterday when his main rival, Mitt Romney, near to tears, dropped out of the race. Only one person now stands between McCain and the US presidency: the Democratic choice for the November election.

McCain now has a huge advantage over the Democrats, with potentially months to campaign for the White House as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama exhaust themselves in their battle for their party's nomination.

Romney, who spent more than $36m (£18m) of his own money on the campaign but failed to make a breakthrough on Super Tuesday, said he was standing aside for the sake of the party. Speaking at the annual meeting of thousands of conservative Republican activists in Washington, he said he wanted to give McCain a chance to begin campaigning early for the election. He suggested that if Clinton or Obama were to win, US safety would be at stake.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," he said.

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose ... but I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country."

Referring to the Democratic party's contenders, Romney said: "Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. The consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child's play."

He acknowledged disagreements with McCain, but said: "I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden and on eliminating al-Qaida and terror."

His departure from the race leaves McCain facing only Mike Huckabee, the Baptist pastor and former governor of Arkansas, who has done well in the south, but has limited appeal elsewhere in the country. The chances are that Huckabee will eventually join McCain as his running mate.

Also left in the race is Ron Paul, but he has made a minimal impact on the Republican nomination process.

Romney struggled in the race partly because of his lack of charisma, the loss of part of his natural support on the right to Huckabee, and suspicion among Christian evangelicals about his Mormonism. He also fought a mainly negative campaign.

Romney made his announcement at the Conservative Political Action Conference, made up mainly of hardcore Republicans. The deep divisions in the party were exposed at the conference. When, almost three hours later, McCain was introduced, about a fifth of those present loudly booed him.

In contrast, Romney, a social and fiscal conservative, received five standing ovations. McCain's relatively moderate views on immigration and opposition to some of President George Bush's tax cuts have aroused hostility among Republican activists.

David O'Connell, 22, a student and Romney supporter from Texas, said McCain "has demonstrated time and time again a willingness to abandon his conservative principles to become popular with the far left in the Senate, such as Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton".

Romney's pullout came despite McCain failing to win a majority of conservative voters in almost every Super Tuesday state, other than Connecticut.

On Tuesday night Romney, who has an estimated $230m fortune, had said he would fight on, though he was far behind McCain in the battle for delegates.

Costly campaign

Romney may have been the wealthiest candidate in the presidential race, but the campaign has proved a severe drain on his personal finances.

The Washington Post, which reported that the Romney camp had spent $1.16m (£590,000) for each delegate it secured, calculated that it would have cost Romney about $1.3bn (£670m) to win the Republican party nomination. That means that he must have spent about $341m on the 294 delegates he won over - a sizeable chunk of his personal fortune, which is thought to stretch to as much as $500m.

By the end of last year he had already spent more than $37m of his own money on the campaign.

Republican campaign workers apparently devised a scale to measure the amount of money a candidate spends on each delegate won: the Gramm-o-meter. The system take its name from Phil Gramm, a former Texas senator who had 10 delegates to show for $25m spent in 1996.


How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008 (Paperback)
by Bob Fitrakis (Author), Harvey Wasserman (Author)




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2 election workers get 18 months for rigging presidential recount

 Criminal Prosecution |Elections | Evidence

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND (AP) — A judge suspicious of more corruption pressed two former election board workers to tell what they know and then sentenced them today to the maximum 18 months in prison for rigging the 2004 presidential election recount to make their job easier.

“I can’t help but feel there’s more to this story,” said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Corrigan, who allowed the women to remain free on bond pending appeal. Some of their friends and relatives sobbed as the judge imposed the sentence.

The judge repeatedly asked Jacqueline Maiden, 60, an election coordinator who was the Cuyahoga County board’s third-highest ranking employee, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer, 40, if higher-ups in the board had directed the recount rigging.

“It seems unlikely your supervisors wouldn’t know,” the judge prodded.

The women, standing side by side, said they had cooperated with a state investigation of the elections board in Ohio’s most populous county. The board has been a lightning rod for critics wary since Ohio gave the 2004 election to President Bush.

“This big conspiracy, it’s not there,” Dreamer said. She said she wasn’t protecting anyone at the board and had been truthful in the investigation.

Maiden said she wouldn’t lie, even to protect someone. “I’ve never tried to do anything underhanded,” she said.

But the judge sounded skeptical. “Telling the whole truth, that’s what’s important,” Corrigan said. “I’m not convinced you’ve done that.”

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, appointed as an outside investigator to look into the election board in Cleveland, told that judge that the women had been uncooperative in the investigation and appealed for prison time for both.

“The defendants have never come clean,” he said.

Prosecutors said the employees broke the law when they worked behind closed doors three days before the Dec. 16, 2004, recount to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand so they could avoid a lengthier, more expensive hand recount of all votes.

Baxter criticized the outspoken support for the women from Robert Bennett, the election board chairman and head of the Republican Party in Ohio. Endorsing such criminal behavior is “amazing, it’s astounding,” according to Baxter, who didn’t indicate if the investigation might lead to more charges.

Bennett said later in response that the prosecution was politically motivated and directed against Michael Vu — who quit as board director last month — and said he felt any errors by Maiden, a Democrat, or Dreamer, a Republican, were inadvertent.

“If they made mistakes, they were honest mistakes. They are not criminals and for anybody to paint them as criminals is a travesty of justice,” Bennett said. He knew of no criminal wrongdoing at the board run by himself, another Republican and two Democrats, he said.

Each defendant was convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee.

Maiden and Dreamer also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty. Both were acquitted of five other charges, and a co-defendant who was an assistant manager of the ballot department was acquitted of all seven counts.

Ohio gave Bush the electoral votes he needed to defeat Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the election and hold on to the White House in 2004. Kerry beat Bush in Democratic Cuyahoga County 448,486 to 221,606.

The prosecutor did not claim the rigged recount affected the outcome of the election — Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county recount.

The judge rejected a motion for a new trial on the defense claim that official election duties are the responsibility of election board members, not employees.

From 
January 19, 2008

Bill Clinton accuses Obama-backed union of vote rigging


(Jae C Hong/AP)

Bill Clinton at the Mirage Casino: he told workers that the Culinary Workers Union was forcing members to vote Obama

Bill Clinton today accused the union backing Barack Obama of illegally blocking its workers from backing his wife in an orchestrated campaign of "voter suppression" in Nevada's Democratic caucuses.

Mr Clinton, who spent 90 minutes at the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas today shaking voters' hands, was told by several workers that their union, which has backed Mr Obama, has told them they could not register to vote unless they supported the Illinois senator.

Mr Obama was endorsed by the Culinary Workers' Union, the biggest and most powerful trade organisation in Nevada. It carries particular clout in the casinos along the Las Vegas Strip.

Mr Clinton said: "They [the workers in the union] were told to sign up by Wednesday, and told it had to be for Obama, and if they had not signed up, that they had to wait until November to wait for Hillary." He told The Times: "It's really interesting that on the eve of Martin Luther King day we are seeing voter suppression. 

He added: "There is a lot of voter suppression going on. Are you getting this?"

The Clintons maintain that caucus sites opened in nine casinos so that employees did not have to leave work to vote gave Mr Obama an unfair advantage because most cleaners, kitchen staff and bell-hops belong to the Culinary Union.

In recent days there have been allegations of the unions intimidating its largely Hispanic membership to back Mr Obama. Mrs Clinton's victory came with large Hispanic support and after many of the union's members broke with their leadership to back the former First Lady.

Outside the Mirage's caucus site, a vast ballroom near the casino floor, Mr Clinton met two dozen culinary union members who said that they were refusing to bow to pressure and were supporting his wife. Several told the former President that they did not think they could vote because they were not voting for Mr Obama.

Francesca Santiago, a casino porter at the Mirage, and a Puerto Rican, told The Times: "The union told everyone that they had to vote for Obama. They didn't tell us we could vote for Clinton. They told us if we registered, we had to go for Obama. The unions said we had to registering advance for Obama."

A spokesman for the Culinary Workers' Union told The Times: "We made it very clear to all the members that they could caucus for any candidate they wanted to, but that the leadership supported Obama."

But inside the caucus site, there were chaotic scenes, with Mr Obama's union supporters facing off against Mrs Clinton's backers. Many of the former First Lady's supporters had defied their union to back her.

As voters entered the caucus site, having registered, they were being physically pushed and pulled in both directions by Clinton and Obama supporters to join their camps. The noise was deafening as both sides aggressively screamed their candidate's name. One union member supporting Mr Obama said of the workers who had defected to Mrs Clinton: "We are going to deal with them when we get back to our respective hotels." Mr Clinton told a group of workers that it was illegal to stop members voting for his wife.

"They've been telling me that if they didn't sign up for Obama they couldn't caucus," he told the workers. "They can't do that", he added, and urged them to vote.

Mr Clinton's comments came before news of his wife's victory, and would clearly have been part of the campaign's post-vote spin if the former First Lady has been defeated. 

think what Bill Clinton has done for America and part of the world is great, but I also think he does injustice to himself and his legacy by attacking Obama and speaking so harshly of him. He should let his wife speak for herself and her campaign - I thought she wanted to be President??

jon shawn, london,

Sick Willie is such a drama queen! He's always whining about something. I still can't believe that he ever got elected, much less reelected. It doesn't say much for our country!

Ace, Salem, OR

Once more, old Bill Clinton has proven what a hypocrite he really is. Voter suppression is something he should be familiar with as he has kept very silent about media biased and blatant non-coverage of Dr Ron Paul who is running as a candidate for Presidency. Hilary has got all the support she needs including biased media.

Ian, London, UK

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_

americas/us_elections/article3217097.ece

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Would range voting reduce election fraud?

http://rangevoting.org/LessFraud.html

(skip to conclusions)

Election fraud has been rampant throughout US history

Ohio 2004: As Rolling Stone's comprehensive report shows, there was a systematic conspiracy to heavily manipulate the vote in the critical state of Ohio to favor Bush in the 2004 Bush-Kerry presidential election. (Some of this is also discussed more briefly and concretely on our own page and some more Ohio stories are here.) I do not know if the resulting dishonest totals were enough to swing the election, but they certainly produced an effect of the necessary order of magnitude.

The manipulation methods used were similar to (but probably even more extensive and blatant than) those used in Florida 2000, where the dishonest biases definitely were far more than enough to (and did) swing the election to Bush and away from Gore.

It is interesting that the Rolling Stone piece was written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, whose uncle also won his presidency with the aid of massive fraud in 1960 that swung Illinois into his column. And RFK Jr's father RFK was instrumental in covering up that fraud by (as US Attorney General – RFK having been appointed by JFK despite never having tried a case in a courtroom and with as his main "qualification" being that he'd worked for the rabid anticommunist alcoholic nut job Senator Joseph McCarthy) shutting down all federal investigation into election fraud charges. After JFK was assassinated, his presidency went to Lyndon Johnson, whose entire career rested on the ultra-massive election fraud of his first senatorial "victory." In fact Johnson's 1948 Texas senatorial victory may have been the single most massive and blatant election fraud in all of American history and there is absolutely no question Johnson honestly lost. [It is described in many sources including R.A.Caro's biography of LBJ.]

We highly recommend Gumbel's book about US election fraud throughout history. Here's a few press articles about the Florida 2000 Felons list and another and here's one about the New Hampshire phone-bank jamming contract also described inwikipedia.

Election fraud been the direct cause of some democracies simply ending

India 1975: In June 1975 the High Court of Allahabad found sitting Prime Minister Indira Gandhi guilty of employing a government servant in her election campaign and Congress Party work, which constituted election fraud. So the court ordered her removed from her seat in Parliament and banned from running in elections for six years.

Gandhi refused to resign, declared a state of emergency, granted herself extraordinary powers including eventually the right to make decrees while bypassing parliament, launched a massive crackdown on civil liberties and political opposition including jailing political rivals and journalists (thousands in all), cutting off electricity to opposition newspapers, and dissolving opposition-controlled state legislatures. After 19 months she fortunately restored democracy and unjailed her opponents, operating under the delusion that she would be lauded and re-elected. She was immediately crushingly defeated.

Costa Rica's 1948 Civil War, which led to a new government in 1949 (with a new constitution, and awarding the vote to Blacks and women) started with allegations of election fraud and with the sitting government refusing to accept the election result.

Those cases of election fraud ended comparatively happily. But other cases were not so happy.

Nigeria 1965: same scenario led to a civil war in 1965 followed by military rule interspersed with brief periods of pseudo-democracy for the next 34 years.

So it is very important to get rid of election fraud; not only does it hurt democracy, it (and even mere allegations of it) can destroy it utterly.

Why does election fraud keep persisting that everybody knows about? Why don't its victims, at least, protest, publicize, and investigate it?

After Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960 in an election in which his loss in Illinois and probably his popular-vote loss US-wide was definitely the result of fraud, and his loss in Texas also contained fraud which may have been enough to swing that state, (e.g. Fannin County cast 6138 votes, 75% for Kennedy, despite only 4895 people being on the rolls; In Angelina County, in one precinct, only 86 people voted yet the final tally was Kennedy 147, Nixon 24), and Illinois and Texas combined would have been enough to elect Nixon president – Nixon did not challenge the results. Nixon was dissuaded from doing so by Eisenhower, who threatened to disown Nixon if he pursued the matter. Nixon, who greeted guests at a 1960 party with the line "we were robbed," viewed this as Eisenhower once more stabbing him in the back, but realized he had no chance of success. (Eisenhower had to suffer having Nixon as his Vice President and disliked him.) So Nixon dropped his plans to fight and acted as though the reason was his personal "unselfish gracious nobility" and because he was a "good sport," not a "sore loser," but the true story was revealed later – and also the true story of Nixon's "nobility" with Watergate and the Nixon tapes. According to Nixon's friend and biographer Ralph De Toledano (conservative Newsweek and later National Review journalist) Nixon falsely claimed that it was he, not Eisenhower, who was the one "nobly and self-sacrificingly" deciding on restraint, despite Eisenhower who was mad as hell and wanted to challenge. "This was the first time I ever caught Nixon in a lie," said Toledano, who recounted the true story in the 1969 update of his Nixon biography. But it would not be the last!

Some Republicans did pursue challenges "independently" of Nixon, but they were easily quashed. E.g. in Cook County Illionois, Judge John M. Karns, a Daley crony, quashed 677 indictments. (Ironically, Gore's campaign chief in 2000 was Daley's son; Daley had been the presumed chief architect of the fraudulent Kennedy victory in Illinois in 1960.) There were nevertheless several convicted and jailed. Many of the cheating methods could not be corrected by a recount, reported by the Chicago Tribune as "once an election has been stolen in Cook County, it stays stolen."

Similarly, it is very interesting how the Democrats in 2004 and 2000 were extremely tame about complaining about these manipulations and exposing them. Incredibly, it was the Libertarian and Green parties who asked for – and paid for – an Ohio recount but not the Democrats!! (And they later correctly noted that the recount they got was unsatisfactory and broke Ohio's own laws about how to do recounts, and hence demanded another recount, but they never got one. Bet you didn't hear much of that story in the US press, did you? Usual US media shutout of third parties.) And yes, the Democrats did take it to the supreme court in 2000 and lost, but their argument was very carefully constructednot to mention the main massive forms of manipulation, and only to be about incredibly minor nonsense like hanging chads as though it all was just an innocent counting mistake which could be corrected by carefully examining some chads.

Why the perpetual amazing lack of protest and investigation? We have a theoryabout that.

We believe this is because both the Republicans and Democrats benefit very heavily from a rigged and crooked system, they both use similar election manipulation techniques, and so they both do not want to rock the boat and endanger their cushy98% predictable re-elections by illuminating and reforming the system. Sure they'd each like to beat the other – but that is a secondary priority.

If that theory is correct, then election reform will never come from the Republocratduopoly that is forced upon us by plurality voting. But it therefore will be very aided if the US adopts range voting and thus gets rid of cushy 98% predictability and duopoly, while at the same time beneficially reducing both ballot spoilage and the effectiveness of gerrymandering.

Not convinced of our "conspiracy theory"? OK, consider the outrageous 2003 gerrymander of Texas conducted by DeLay and the Republicans to ensure themselves control of the US House. The Democrats did protest that, but notice how carefully their protest was phrased. Did they object to gerrymandering per se?NOOOO! That was fine. In fact, the Democrats previously had gerrymandered Texas themselves, although less radically than the GOP did it the other way. Check the before and after maps (jpg) of the Texan gerrymander. The Democrats merely objected to the gerrymandering being done not in a census year! Hey! Bad! That broke the unwritten contract, the unwritten rules of the gerrymandering game! But abolishing thievery itself? Of course not. We would not even consider that. Our problem is merely its timing.

Still not convinced? OK, consider the fact that, after the Ohio 2004 loss for Kerry in the presence of massive pro-Bush manipulation, only one Democrat senator – which it all it would have taken – was willing to say boo (and in 2000, zero were). That is, the few House Democrats in the "Congressional Black Caucus" (including John Conyers) called the Ohio results into question, whereupon it would have taken just a single senator to stand with them to trigger a House and Senate floor debate and investigation over the Ohio irregularities. They had also conducted an effort after the previous 2000 election to refuse to certify the electoral college vote for Bush. One by one, the lawmakers strode to the House well to challenge the vote, but in each case, an impassive Vice President Al Gore denied their motions, noting that they needed at least one senator's official sanction to mount a formal protest. In the Gore case, every single Senator, unanimously, refused. And it is not as though the Democrats and Kerry were unprepared for or ignorant of all this, and this also was not because every single Democratic Senator believed Ohio was just fine and dandy. E.g, here is one of them venting: "It was terrible," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. "People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct -- it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I'm terribly disheartened."

This non-protest and non-investigation was plainly (and this was not disputed) anorganized decision by the Democratic party leadership. And the reason for that decision? Because they were not "sore losers"? No, I do not think so. That was merely the cover story. The reality was, this was an excellent opportunity to put the spotlight on election abuses and to cause reform, and this was the single time maximally far ahead of the next election and hence such that any sore-loser image would have maximal time to be dissipated by factual evidence. So there simply was never going to be any better time and opportunity for the Democrats to push for election reform, but they intentionally and unanimously chose not to. So you can be sure they aren't going to push for it at some worse time and worse opportunity.

So have a nice day, those of you who regard the USA as a "democracy" – for you, ignorance is indeed bliss.

Conclusions

Elections in the USA are highly manipulated by a number of methods including gerrymandering, massively biased registration procedures, illegal "caging," massively biased removals from voting rolls, "accidental" misdirection of voters, and massively biased allocation of and mode-setting of voting machines, among others. Election fraud/manipulation is known to have altered at least two US presidential elections (Bush-Gore 2000 and Hayes-Tilden 1876), clearly swung Illinois to Kennedy in 1960, and may have swung Ohio to Bush in 2004. This is not even counting massive "Jim Crow" measures in the early 1900s which systematically almost entirely stripped Southern Blacks of their voting rights and gave the Democratic party five decades of permanent 1-party rule throughout the South. Election fraud not only alters election results, it has destroyed entire countries and led to lasting dictatorship and/or war. The protests of those defeated by election fraud and/or manipulation have been incredibly faint in the USA. Why? Our theory is that bothsides continually benefit heavily from the same election-rigging techniques and any protest – and most election reform more generally (and investigations leading toward it) such as abolishing gerrymandering – is therefore counterproductive for both sides and hence is not undertaken. If this theory is correct, then range voting, by eliminating 2-party domination, will have a hugely beneficial effect on election fraud in the USA.


Ron Paul and Barack Obama targeted in New Hampshire rigging

http://socialjustis.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/were-ron-paul-and-barack
-obama-targeted-for-new-hampshire-rigging/

The Italians are, at this moment, reporting election rigging in America; specifically, New Hampshire. Michael Carmichael, of Planetary Movement, used the headline, It wasn’t a miracle - Hillary won via a rigged vote and recalls how New Hampshire received ‘a massive amount of negative publicity’ after the scandalous 2000 presidential elections.

Il Giornale have argued that Ron Paul in fact finished third among GOP candidates, and not fifth, as the computerized voting system revealed. Barack Obama was also mentioned by Il Giornale as a target for this round of election rigging.

As it has been pointed out many times before, the US is not the foremost authority on election security. America is ripe with political corruption and with so many backs to scratch after each political win, it’s no wonder.

A Brief History of Computerized Election Fraud in America
by Victoria Collier
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
25 October 2003




Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"
--Thomas Jefferson

One Machine to Rule Them All

Thanks in part to the recent Bush approved Help America Vote Act (HAVA), squadrons of shiny new Touch Screen Trojan horses are being rolled into precincts across America. Not, as we are told, to make voting easier or more accurate, or to help disabled people vote privately, or to save America from the dangers of hanging chad and butterfly ballots -- no. The real reason America is being flooded with billions of dollars worth of paperless computerized voting machines is so that no one willever again be able to prove vote fraud.

These machines are not just unverifiable, they are secretly programmed (their software is not open to scrutiny by election officials or computer experts), equipped with modems, accessible by computer, telephone, and satellite. They are the final product of decades of work by the election rigging industry. When they are installed in every precinct in America, our elections will finally become completely meaningless, nothing more than charades behind which criminal thugs will wield the power of this nation.

That is the plan for America. But there's a glitch.

The blatant and multi-faceted fraud of the 2000 election -- in which the ultimate poster boy for corporate corruption stole the highest seat in the nation -- woke the American people from their dangerous slumber. The issue of election fraud is now smoldering in the minds of millions. Of course the Touch Screens were immediately offered as the solution to all our voting problems, but thanks to the wonderful work of many new computerized vote fraud researchers, most notably Bev Harris (author of Black Box Voting), Americans are quickly recognizing that the "solution" is worse than the problem.

Despite the best propaganda efforts of corrupt voting machine corporations like Diebold and ES&S, even those with the worst butterfly ballot jitters are coming to understand that destroying the ballot altogether, erasing any verifiable record of the vote count and making a recount impossible, is not the answer to our problems. And, as the Touch Screen systems continue to openly malfunction, increasing numbers of voters will begin doubting their safety and accuracy.

It's becoming clear to Americans that, just like the aftermath of the Enron scandal, no real government reform is forthcoming in the area of election security. The news is out that the same company that was used in Florida to purge voter rolls of millions of African American votes is now being hired by other states across the country for the same job. As you will soon see, many of our Boards of Elections and Secretary's of State will continue to blindly defend their collusion with shadowy corporations, and spending billions of tax-payer dollars on unreliable machines that patently subvert the democratic process. Why? Because they have sold out. They have been bought by corporate interests. It happened a long time ago.

As political events at home and around the world continue to unfold in one devastating disaster after another, our cry for honest elections will only grow louder. The movement toward real election reform, and what will, in the end, amount to a revolution by the American people, is only just beginning.

We the People are responsible for taking back the control of our democratic process. No one else will do it for us. We cannot afford to be naïve, or uneducated, at this time in history. In order to fully understand the extent of the corruption we are dealing with, and to avoid making dangerous mistakes based on ignorance, we must understand the history, and the power structure, behind vote fraud in America.


Votescam: The Stealing of America 

"One of the most mysterious, low-profile, covert, shadowy, questionable 
mechanisms of American democracy is the American vote count."
--Votescam

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/BHoCEFiA.html

http://www.truthout.com/docs_03/102503C.shtml


I grew up with two men who spent twenty-five years investigating vote fraud in America: James and Kenneth Collier, my father and uncle.

Their book, Votescam: The Stealing of America was published in 1992 and immediately banned by the major book chains, which listed the book as "out of print" and actively worked to prevent its sale. Votescam chronicles the Collier brother's groundbreaking investigation into America's multi-billion dollar election rigging industry, and the corporate government and media officials who control it.

Before the 2000 election, Votescam was widely read (thanks to independent bookstores and the Internet) by the minority of Americans still engaged in the political process, mostly members of independent and third parties trying to break the chokehold of the two party system. The corporate media will not give their causes or their candidates adequate press coverage -- if any. This censorship alone effectively controls the first stages of our political races. If a candidate can't get T.V. coverage, he or she has little chance of even making it out the gate. These citizens were not surprised to learn that the media has been complicit in rigging the final stages of our elections -- our vote counting and the reporting of results -- for decades.


Down the Rabbit Hole

The Votescam investigation began in 1970, in -- surprise!-- Dade County, Florida, where Ken ran for Congress (with Jim as his campaign manager) against Claude Pepper, the "Father of Social Security."

The Colliers were researching a book they were writing for Dell Publishing titled: "Running Through the System: Ballots Not Bullets", an idea born from their involvement in the social upheaval of the sixties.

Jim and Ken proposed that if our Declaration of IndependenceConstitution and Bill of Rights were indeed the rule of the land, real change could be made in America by working within the system -- more effectively, and much more safely, than waging bloody revolution in the streets.

Putting their ideals, love of country, and political savvy to the test, the Colliers began their grassroots Congressional campaign -- and discovered exactly why the bullet, not the ballot, was being used to change the power structure in America.

Ken was rigged out of the election through a vote scam, which the Colliers later discovered was used throughout the country for decades. It went like this: The local newscaster would announce during the broadcast of election returns that election "computer has broken down." Instead of giving official returns from the County courthouse, the networks would be running vote "projections" for the rest of the night.

Jim and Ken, who had garnered 30 percent of the vote and were excited about running again, noticed that when the vote totals came back on the screen after the announcement, they had mysteriously lost 15 percentage points. They didn't get another vote for the rest of the night.

This piqued their interest.

When they examined the "official" election results from the Secretary of State's office for the September primary, October run-off and November final election in Dade County, the record listed a total of 141,000 votes cast for the Governors race -- in each election. The exact same number of total votes were cast for three elections with a different number of candidates running each time. The same identical figures were listed for the Senate race -- 122,000 votes cast in the primary, run-off and final election.

This, of course, is a statistical impossibility.

When they compared the "official" vote results with a print-out of the vote "projections" broadcast by the TV networks on the final election night, they found that Channel 4 had "projected" with near perfect accuracy the results of 40 races with 250 candidates only 4 minutes after the polls closed. Channel 7 came even closer; at 9:31 pm, they "projected" the final vote total for a race at 96,499 votes. When the Colliers checked the "official" number . . . it was also 96,499.

"In hockey, they call that a hat trick," the Colliers write. "In politics, we call it a fix."

The networks then made the astonishing claim that the results from a single voting machine somewhere in Dade County were run through a computer program in order to get these vote projections.

Elton Davis was the computer programmer responsible for the magic formula that could convert one machine's vote results into near perfect projected vote totals for 40 races and 250 candidates. When Jim and Ken confronted Davis in his office at the University of Miami, he responded: "You'll never prove it, now get out."

Finally the networks claimed that members of the League of Women Voters were out in the field on election night, calling in vote totals to Channels 4 and 7.

When the Colliers confronted the head of the League, Joyce Deiffenderfer, she admitted that there were no LWV members out in the field that night. She broke down crying, saying "I don't want to get caught up in this thing."

But there's more.

According to the print-out of the TV network's election night "projections," the networks were not receiving any actual voting results at any time during their broadcast, but had been using their own projections from the moment the polls closed. When they claimed that the courthouse computer had broken down, and they would no longer be reporting actual vote totals, they were lying. They had never been reporting actual vote totals.

However, the final shoe dropped months later when an official press release appeared from Dade data processing chief, Leonard White, which stated emphatically: The county computer at the courthouse was never down, and it was never slow.

This was the beginning.

The Collier brothers had slammed their boat into the tip of a giant iceberg. As they continued to investigate, they were horrified to discover vote fraud collusion among key individuals in every branch and on every level of the American political system. Those who were not benefiting from the fraud were too afraid to fight it. Their search for justice led to dead-ends. Their lives were threatened, they were vilified as conspiracy theorists by the mainstream press, Dell publishing cancelled their book contract . . . and yet they persevered.

The next quarter century was spent compiling a wealth of FBI documented evidence proving that elections in the United States have come under the tight control of a handful of powerful and corrupt people: Secretaries of State, Election Supervisors, Judges, owners and editors of the major media outlets, voting equipment corporations, and assorted key members of the elections establishment, including the League of Woman Voters. These groups have assured the dominance of the two party system, unfettered corporate control over government, and media censorship of issues most important to the American people, including the cover-up of vote fraud evidence.

"Now we understand why things have gone so terribly wrong in this country. It's due to the corrupted vote. It is the stolen vote that perpetuates corrupt city, state and federal governments. When those corrupt power brokers in your town weed out that up-and-coming politician, they are looking for a person who is willing to `play ball.' Politics is `playing ball.' Suddenly you find property decisions going against nature; land and water needed for the perpetuation of life on our earth suddenly disappear. A handful of developers get richer while the land, and the quality of life, get poorer."
--Votescam

Jim and Ken both died young during the 90's, as heroes to many thousands who read their book and heard them speak on the radio and at political meetings across the country. They helped to guide individuals and groups working for clean elections in their communities -- some of them fighting against the first wave of computerized voting machines.

The Collier's last hope was that Votescam would be used as evidence in a serious Congressional investigation into election fraud, if we should ever see the day. Many people still in power have yet to be held accountable for their role in aiding and abetting vote fraud. I'll give you two important examples.

When the famous Miami lawyer Ellis Rubin agreed to be Ombudsman for the original Votescam evidence, he brought it to the Florida assistant State Attorney at the time, Janet Reno. The evidence included the shaved wheels of lever voting machines, forged canvass sheets (the sheets that poll workers sign to verify the final vote count), and pre-printed vote tally sheets that were used in conjunction with a lever machine vote rigging device called the Printomatic.

Reno refused to prosecute, claiming falsely that the statue of limitations had run out on the crime. Years later, Rubin would tell my father that behind closed doors Reno had stated that she could not prosecute. Why? Because she would bring down many of the most powerful people in the state.

Would the 2000 election fiasco in Florida have been avoided if Reno had agreed to do her job thirty years earlier and root out the vote fraud thieves?

Another notable Votescam criminal can now be found sitting on the bench of the highest court in the nation. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, while still a Federal Appeals Judge, single handedly destroyed what would have been an historic lawsuit filed against Justice Department lawyer Craig Donsanto, who had refused to prosecute the extensive vote fraud evidence brought to him by the Colliers. The evidence included videotape of the League of Women voters tampering with ballots in a closed door vote "counting" session. The women were illegally punching holes in already cast ballots. When confronted by Jim and Ken, just minutes before the two were bodily thrown from the building (which they had snuck into), the women claimed they were only trying to remove . . . the hanging chad.

Votescam states, "Because the League of Women Voters has about it a perfume of volunteerism and do-goodism, the fact that it is actually a political club with a political agenda and a hungry treasury is shrouded by the false myth that it is a reliable Election Day watchdog."

It's no surprise to me that the League of Women Voters has recently come out strongly in favor of the diabolical ballot-less Touch Screen machines.

And even less shocking was the role Antonin Scalia played so willingly in the selection of George W. Bush to office.


The Rise of Resistance/ Knowledge is Power

"Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the 
truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong."
--Thomas Jefferson

Thanks to the 2000 fiasco, election reform is now growing as a public battle cry . . . but who is leading the army?

This is a question that every American has the responsibility to ask.

Various individuals and groups are seeking to guide the reform process, including politicians, government officials, voting machine companies, computer experts, activists, and members of the elections establishment. It is very safe to assume they do not all mean well. Many have agendas of their own, some obvious, others hidden.

Many are corrupt, others are ignorant.

And some, who have the very best interests of America at heart, are in the difficult position of having to make serious and potentially damaging compromises in their quest for safe elections, in order to push the issue in Washington.

Before I explore this issue in more depth, I'd like to offer a brief list of important lessons learned from twenty-five years of fighting vote fraud in the trenches.

  1. If there is any conceivable way to tamper with or rig an election -- someone will attempt it. This includes average citizens as well as officials charged with protecting the process. 

  2. Every voting system is open to tampering, but paper ballots counted in public are the easiest system to protect and monitor. (It's estimated that only 2% of Americans still vote on a hand-counted paper ballot). 

  3. Secret vote counting is illegal. Remember: counting them faster is not a justification for counting them secretly. 

  4. When machines began to take over our vote counting systems, election rigging became an exciting new national industry. 

  5. Lever machines were the first to appear, and they were riggable in a number of ways. One could rig the lever machine itself, or, much more easily, the electronic scanning machines that counted the ballots. (See the Votescam video for footage of ballot rigging under the supervision of both parties and the Dade County Election Supervisor). 

  6. Computerized voting machines are the easiest to rig. Their software is not open to public scrutiny, or the scrutiny of Election Supervisors (rendering their title meaningless). There are nearly infinite ways to program the machines to count votes fraudulently. Since they are accessible by modem, they can be controlled from a remote, centralized location. 

  7. Voting machine companies operate with no federal oversight, certification process, standards or restrictions. Controlling members of some of the most powerful voting machine corporations are convicted criminals, some are politicians with obvious conflicts of interests, others are not even American citizens. Just two companies -- Election Systems and Software (ES&S) andDiebold Voting Systems -- now control about 80% of the vote count in the U.S. 

  8. Vote fraud on a statewide and national scale is not possible without the complicity of (among others) corrupt Election Supervisors, Secretaries of State, Judges, voting machine corporations, and top officials of the major media outlets. 

  9. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have been complicit in vote rigging for decades, to their mutual benefit. Vote rigging is NOT a partisan issue (though recent evidence suggests Republicans might be gaining the upper hand in the race to control our elections). 

  10. The corporate major media networks play a vital role in perpetrating and covering up vote fraud. Media methods of vote rigging are explored in theVotescam book, including the role of Voter News Service (VNS). (VNS was a consortium of all the major media outlets. It recently closed up shop and scurried off into the shadows, but for decades, under two different corporate names, it controlled the compilation and dissemination of national vote totals, with the power to alter the reported results. The networks have actually not competed for vote totals, as they claim to have done, since 1965. They got all their numbers from VNS, which operated behind an iron curtain of secrecy. Any questions regarding their operation were met with the ubiquitous response: "This is not a proper area of inquiry." Most people erroneously thought they were simply a polling organization, though no evidence of their supposedly massive polling operation could be found by investigators). See my interview with Bill Headline, former head of VNS, athttp://www.votescam.com/articles.php 

  11. Election Day media polls are untrustworthy at best, and very likely fabricated to influence voter decisions and to support phony vote results.

Now that I've provided the minimal context for understanding the current threats we face, we can begin to talk about strategies to win back the control of our government.

Not all strategies currently on the table are acceptable. Do not take anyone's word on the reform that is needed. Do not cede your power to government officials and so-called experts any longer. Educate yourself. It's up to us, the American people, to decide what strategies to support, and our goal must not fall short of what will truly restore democracy to this sinking nation.


The Nuts and Bolts of Computerized Voting

The gravest error of judgment these days comes from those vote reformers who honestly believe that the answer to the butterfly ballot and hanging chad problems in the 2000 election is to embrace the ballot-less computerized voting machine.

Let's make this clear. These machines are nothing but Trojan horses built by and for election thieves. With the ballot-less computer, there is no way to recount, no way to prove any discrepancy, inaccuracy or fraud. Just the fact that companies like ES&S,Diebold, and Sequoia would even make a ballot-less machine should be cause for a Congressional investigation. (There are also many other reasons to investigate them. For a detailed examination of these sinister corporations, check outwww.blackboxvoting.org.)

That said, the next error of judgment comes from those who believe that all we need to make computerized voting machines safe is a paper receipt.

Many intelligent, well-intentioned and hard working vote reformers are supporting HR 2239, proposed by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), requiring all computerized voting machines to produce a receipt for each individual voter. While I support the effort that has gone into creating this bill, and I recognize the monumental struggle it will face in Congress, I am unable to support it at this time, for many reasons. The first of which is that, while calling much needed attention to the dangers of ballot-less machines, this legislation does not require actually hand-counting the receipts altogether in each election.

Why is this a serious problem?

First of all, individual receipts are meaningless. They're worth nothing if not counted altogether. A person's vote might be verified by the slip of paper, but that person has no idea whether the computer accurately tallied her vote along with all the other votes. The final count still takes place inside the infamous computerized "black box," beyond the reach of public scrutiny. An individual receipt in no way guarantees the safety of the final vote count. It is at best a meaningless gesture that I am deeply afraid will provide an extremely false sense of security for voters.

As for recounting disputed elections, the obvious question is, which ones? Every election is in dispute when counted by a secretly programmed, modem-equipped computer!

Most of the supporters of this bill agree that the receipts should be counted across the board in each election, which would be the equivalent of a good old-fashioned paper ballot count. But so far there is little incentive to demand that the provision be added because it won't get any support in Congress. What does this mean? Are we interested in actually making our elections safe, accurate and verifiable, or are we willing to play political ball to the point where we lose sight of our goal completely?

I am told that perhaps, over time, the legislation will be strengthened. But history has repeatedly shown that as a bill makes its way through Washington channels, its effectiveness is more often than not watered down. Whatever teeth it might have to begin with get filed into nubs that have no strength to tear into corruption.

HR 2239 proposes surprise "random" recounts, where a small percentage of jurisdictions are chosen for verification in each election. Unfortunately, this is completely inadequate. Individual machines can be manipulated, and election thieves can buy off the people in charge of the random recount. Anyone who thinks that is far fetched or impossible is very new to this issue.

And what if discrepancies are found? Then everyone will call foul -- rightly so -- a glut of confused and disputed recounts will ensue, and the entire elections machine will become hopelessly tangled in its own mechanized parts. Meanwhile every election criminal in the country will descend like vultures on the chaos.

Folks, let's look at this honestly. We are already deep into a horrible and expensive mess that could all be avoided by skipping the computerized middleman and simply counting paper ballots.


Paper Ballots - A Radical Idea

The last, and to my mind, most grave error of judgment comes from those who think that returning to a hand-counted paper ballot system is somehow impossible, that we can't go back to a simple process that works once we've stupidly and recklessly abandoned it.

I don't know about you, but that strikes me as an extremely dangerous perspective.

An MIT/Cal Tech study done in 2001 shows that manually counted paper ballots are the most accurate system out of the 5 systems used in the last 4 presidential elections. They are totally verifiable, and first-world nations across the globe still use them, including Canada which counted their last presidential election in four hours. And yet I am told repeatedly by vote reformers that there is no hope of America ever returning to paper ballots because too much money has been spent on the machines, and because the public is being sold on their benefits. My argument is that the public must be immediately educated on their dangers -- that should be the top priority of every serious vote reformer in the country.

My argument is that we should stop playing ball with these corrupt voting machine corporations and the sold-out government officials who support them.

My argument is that we should remember we're Americans -- we don't ask forpermission to secure our own freedom. We should take these Trojan horses and burn them in the public square before our whole damn country crumbles before our eyes!

But all this debate is misleading.

The bottom line is that a computerized vote count is a secret vote count -- and that's illegal. Technology cannot supercede the constitutional and mandatory provisions of election law, which require open and verifiable elections. There is no way to do a public vote count with computers.

Listen, here's my idea. After the public Touch-Screen bonfire (we really need more community minded events, don't you think?), we should march to our Secretary of State's office and demand the restoration of a hand-counted paper ballot system.

Picture it. Millions of citizens marching on the gates of power, demanding their keys back. It would be a quick, effective, non-violent, American Revolution. And I think it's long overdue.

The fact is, with a well-designed ballot and see-through boxes (to prevent stuffing) the paper system can be simple, user-friendly, and fosters community-based democratic participation. High school kids, even children, used to count the ballots in America. We must have a strong, diverse presence of citizen watchdog groups to oversee the count, along with poll workers. The only election officials who are truly independent, who represent the interests of all parties in an election, are the poll watchers. The count must be done by hand, in public, video-taped, aired live on television, and the results posted on the precinct wall -- just like they used to be. Ballots should be counted on the same day as the voting takes place, making it much more difficult to alter ballots.

But that is not enough to ensure the safety of the election.

Intense, multi-faceted scrutiny and public awareness must surround every step of the process, not just the activities at the precinct. Otherwise ballot boxes tend to disappear on the way to the county courthouse, or arrive with their locks broken. Election "officials" will be waiting with new locks, to replace the broken ones (ballot box seals are also made by multiple suppliers, making duplicate numbered seals easy to obtain).The reported vote totals tend to change mysteriously when a secret corporate media consortium is in charge of reporting them. If anyone disputes the numbers, the same centralized media can assure the charges are never investigated or reported by the press. Election officials and Secretaries of State can manipulate or withhold the final election results to prevent citizens from proving fraud, and rotten Judges can throw out vote fraud lawsuits.

I promise you, all of this can and will happen -- it has been happening for decades -- if the public as a whole is asleep and only a few good men and women are on the watch.

Hand counted paper ballots and eternal vigilance are the only hope left for us. The corporate fascists are taking over, and we will never depose them non-violently as long as they control our elections.

 

Victoria Collier directs a non-profit organization focused on building sustainable living systems that work on the personal, community and global levels. A long time writer and political activist, she continues to educate the public on the subject of vote fraud in place of her father and uncle. She is the editor of www.votescam.com. Victoria is available for interviews and can be reached at 1-866-280-9090 and ateditor@votescam.com


Clinton’s Inevitability 

and the 2008 Elections

http://whitehouser.com/elections/rhetoric-and-propaganda-2008-elections/
Published by Fred Soto• December 27th, 2007

2008 U.S. Elections - Manipulation and Coercion Of the Masses

There are many ways to rig an election and ensure that one candidate is favored over another. For example, it’s possible to manipulate — illegally — machines to favor a candidate, use voter caging tactics to deny ordinary citizens their voting rights, gerrymandering and redistricting plans split the votes of already disenfranchised groups. Finally, as in California, partisan organizations or parties might attempt to destroy the voting (electoral) system in order to “steal an election”.

One of the more subtle and destructive forms of “rigging” an election occurs in the arena of public opinion. It’s rarely studied or denounced because it isn’t a form of manipulation that can be easily spotted or stopped. Planting seeds of doubt or “inevitability” are a political strategist’s best friend.

the diabolical genius of Karl Rove and GOP political strategists

In 1999, the GOP was angling for Evangelical Christians because of the events that helped bring down Clinton’s presidency. The issue of infidelity and “lying” to America about it was an impossible hurdle for Clinton to overcome, but he was ending his second term in office so the faith was used to convince Americans to reach out to God.

It was a subtle form of manipulation, a fair one at that. People just ‘felt’ like steering right was the only way to go as the 2000 elections approached. I can’t say with certainty that most Americans who voted for Bush arrived at that conclusion on their own. It’s possible they were subtly guided by the rhetoric that took place in the public discourse.

Nationalism - God and Country Turned the Election in 2004

Again, this subtle war on independent thinking took Americans by storm and John Kerry’s campaign was derailed by the same people that hanged Bill Clinton in 2000. I’m not going to argue whether they were right or wrong, the point of this is the genius (and danger) of political manipulation.

With genius comes serious consequences, however, because it’s possible to out-think yourself if you aren’t careful. As a political strategist, when you’ve figured out how to manipulate people, what is to stop you from doing it again and again? What happens when you start believing your own subtle deceptions? Let’s take a look at what is going on in the public opinion right now. I think it’s important that people understand how they are being manipulated, if ever so subtly. The following segment requires critical thinking and creativity, but it isn’t difficult to follow if you’ve been paying attention to politics and the players that make it all happen.

Hillary Clinton’s Candidacy Was Sabotaged Long Ago

Inevitability

Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is one of the best examples of the diabolical genius of Karl Rove. For some people, this will seem “obvious” or “out there”, while other’s may experience a “Eureka!” moment. The point, however, is that manipulation ishappening and it is working out well for the GOP, all things considered.

How do you destroy a candidate that wields the Clinton name. Regardless of whether you loved or hated Bill Clinton, if you are a political strategist that needs to end the Clinton campaign what is the best way to do it?

Answer: Plant a self-destructing mechanism in the minds of the general public.

Karl Rove was the first strategist that I heard planting the seeds of destruction in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. First, he publicly reached out to Hillary Clinton and then dropped a political bombshell when he declared Hillary Clinton our next President. Analysts and journalists ate this stuff up and the American people have bought into the inevitability campaign. Soon after this happened, President Bush was quick to declare Hillary Clinton future President.

The worst possible endorsement for ANY Democrat to have is an endorsement from President Bush. Couple that with “Rudy Giuliani can defeat Hillary Clinton” rhetoric and you have a sure GOP win — or so they thought. The problem with inevitability, as Karl Rove knows, is that the only thing inevitable about elections is uncertainty, confusion, propaganda and manipulation in the months that come before the primaries arrive.

Understanding “Inevitability” - Why would a Republican declare a Democrat as inevitable, especially when that Democrat happens to be Hillary Clinton? The conservative blogs were all over inevitability when it started, it was a brilliant move because it got everyone talking about Hillary Clinton. The Master of Puppets, Mr. Rove was no doubt sleeping with a smile on his face, because he knew what inevitability was going to do to the political discourse. It’s manipulation at its finest and yes, it IS genius.

What inevitability did:

  1. It created an illusion of victory and this helped give Hillary Clinton a false sense of hope that she would win the primary and election with ease. Clinton was strong and even brilliant during the debates, but Barack Obama was no fool and in the end, it worked against Clinton who spent so much time campaigning against the phantom GOP candidate. She never distinguished herself from her Democratic rivals.
  2. Triangulation is impossible to achieve when you are declared future President. Expectations were very high and Hillary Clinton allowed herself to believe that she was in-fact inevitable. Karl Rove knows well how triangulation made Bill Clinton the best American -politician- there ever was. Hillary Clinton almost pulled the strategy off herself until she tripped over issues of immigration that are NOT easy to answer if you sit in the center and do the dance.
  3. When you’re at the top, the only way to go is down! Clinton hasn’t been able to recover from the overwhelming expectations placed on her by the GOP and DNC. Her inability to please both sides with her ’safe’ answers was inevitable, hence making the “inevitability” label something more of a snare than a boost for her campaign.
  4. Hillary Clinton’s inevitability was destined for failure because nobody likes a cocky favorite. Republican and Democratic opponents were poised to go after her the moment she fell from her perch. Our nation isn’t a huge fan of certainty come election time. Inevitability gave Americans a reason to despise Hillary Clinton. While she didn’t entirely earn the villain tag, she was deprived the role of the underdog going into 2008. Hillary Clinton’s biggest crime was acting like a politician, Karl Rove was betting on it and the GOP won as a result.

Political manipulation is how the game is played and Clinton allowed herself to be snared by rhetoric. The worst thing going forward for the GOP and Karl Rove is Hillary Clinton wins. Rove can then say “you see, I was right about Clinton’s inevitability!” However, if she loses, everything will go as planned. It’s like when you bet against your team to win the Super Bowl. It’s easier to reason that “Well, if I lose the bet at least my team wins and I’ll be happy, but if I win the bet, my team loses, but I have something to show for it!”

Same thing happened with inevitability, it was the bait and the public fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, she fell for it too. Up to this point, not a single political analyst has brought this issue to light and I think it’s a testament to how far America has fallen with respect to political discourse and independent thinking. Then again, maybe people are too lazy to think about how and why people do the things they do, especially when they seem to defy all logic.

Finally, once all of the political sparring has taken place, the negative response to ‘inevitability’ closes the deal. Republicans are put in a fight or flight situation and it inspires them to spew the “Anyone but Clinton” rhetoric. Meanwhile they wear their “Bush Clinton Bush Clinton… JUST SAY NO in 2008? t-shirts and even encourage Democrats to look elsewhere. e.g. The latest political spin is how the Republicans love Barack Obama and are secretly hoping he wins so that they can vote for him.(Rolls eyes) In politics, irrational moves should always be looked upon with a skeptical eye, they are very likely calculated and intended to produce a result.

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January 28, Michael Tomasky: Ted Kennedy's endorsement helps Barack Obama win over two critical groups: Latinos and older Democratic voters

The new JFK
January 28, Theodore Sorensen: Barack Obama is the political heir to my former boss, John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Kill Bill
January 27, Michael Tomasky: Barack Obama's rout of the Clintons in South Carolina shows the former president was bad news for Hillary

The madness of King Clinton
January 24, Niall Stanage: There is method to the anger being displayed by the former president

Golden State worrier
January 23, Michael Tomasky: If Barack Obama wants to win the Democratic nomination, he must foil Hillary Clinton in California

Election 2008 on Comment is free

The candidates

More on the candidates: Hillary Clinton | John Edwards | Rudy Giuliani | Mike Huckabee | John McCain | Barack Obama | Mitt Romney | Fred Thompson

Hillary Clinton

Maya Angelou's poem in praise of Hillary
January 20: Asked by The Observer for her thoughts, one of America's most admired writers urges people to elect a second President Clinton and 'help make this country wonderful'

Clinton back in pole position
January 20: Clinton takes 50% of the vote, Obama 45% and Edwards poor third on 4% 
Video: Hillary on the stump, part 2
More on Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama

Obama's supporting act turns into star attraction
January 19: A high-achieving lawyer from a poor Chicago background, the Illinois senator's wife is a big draw for her husband's supporters - and a thorn in the side of his Democratic rivals

Kerry snubs Edwards by backing Obama
January 11: Endorsement is slap in the face to Clinton and his vice-presidential running mate in 2004 
More on Barack Obama

John Edwards

Third candidate on the ropes
January 21: John Edwards returns to his home state of South Carolina, hoping for a rebirth of his campaign

Edwards burns the midnight oil
January 8: Presidential candidates often call on America to 'wake up' but John Edwards is bringing that message to voters literally 
In pictures: Edwards campaigns
More on John Edwards

Mike Huckabee

Martial arts star kicks his way into the political limelight
January 20: The presidential primaries have thrown up almost constant shocks and surprises. But there is one thing that stunned everyone in politics: the unexpected impact of Chuck Norris

Huckabee wields guitars and Chuck Norris in campaign push
January 8: Mike Huckabee closes his bid for New Hampshire primary with a rally featuring the martial arts star and a rock jam session 
More on Mike Huckabee

Mitt Romney

Romney's hot streak continues in Nevada
January 20: Commanding lead in the caucuses over his rivals for the Republican nomination

Romney back after Michigan win
January 16: Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, has won the primary election in Michigan 
More on Mitt Romney

John McCain

McCain looks to Florida
January 22: South Carolina gives him commanding lead

McCain victory lays to rest ghosts of eight years ago 
January 20: Republican field remains too muddled to pin on John McCain the title of frontrunner 
Michael Tomasky: Follow the leader
More on John McCain

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani faces Florida freefall
January 25: Former clear favourite challenged by John McCain and Mitt Romney

Giuliani rues tactics as poll lead slumps
January 20: He decided to sit out the first Republican primaries and start his run for the White House in Florida. But the polls suggest he may have blundered 
More on Rudy Giuliani

In pictures
A Clinton worker tries to get the message across in New Hampshire All the presidential hopefuls
See the candidates out on the campaign trail
Republican party presidential candidates (l-r) John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo gather on stage before their debate in Johnston, Iowa. Debate in Des Moines
Republicans make their last appearance together before the caucus
Republican US presidential hopeful Gov. Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee in Iowa
Capitalising on his new-found support, the former Arkansas governor tours the first caucusing state 
Bumblebee, rises to the top on a wing and a prayer
Democratic presidential hopeful, the former senator John Edwards On the road with Edwards
The man Newsweek calls 'The Sleeper' takes his campaign to the people

08.02.08   Way clear for McCain as Romney quits, saying country comes first
08.02.08   Obama takes command in cash battle by raising $7m in two days
07.02.08   State of play
07.02.08   A triple whammy of soft power sees the world in thrall to Super Tuesday
07.02.08   Dividing lines clearer as race, sex and age factors come into play
07.02.08   Obama leads money race with $7m raised in 24 hours
06.02.08   For Democrats Abroad, the biggest contest in years
06.02.08   Clinton and Obama face fight to finish
06.02.08   Results reveal a fragmented Republican party
06.02.08   Democrats hunt for delegates goes on
06.02.08   Super Tuesday at a glance
06.02.08   Romney vows to stay in Republican race
06.02.08   Huckabee celebrates five victories
06.02.08   Clinton beams but campaign goes on
06.02.08   Realistic Obama campaign steels for tough days ahead



Comment
07.02.08  A triple whammy of soft power sees the world in thrall to Super Tuesday
28.01.08  Hillary's biggest asset? Now Bill is looking like a liability
21.01.08  Republicans lack consensus, but their Democrat rivals lack content
31.12.07  This is the most important election of our lifetime
28.11.07  Oprah's guy for president
07.09.07  Cheats can now prosper in the new lovey dovey world of US politics
25.07.07  TV is bad, but it's still king
02.05.07  A slur and an outrage
09.04.07  Failure for these women could haunt a generation of female politicians
04.04.07  At last, the race to lead America is a talent contest
05.03.07  The web works for the grassroots, but political power still lies with the few
16.02.07  Regardless of Cameron and Obama, leadership is still a pretty closed field
14.02.07  Once the most beloved country in the world, the US is now the most hated
05.02.07  Obsessed by personalities, they've forgotten what democracy is for
27.01.07  The myth of McCain

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An Electronic Journal of 
the U.S. Department of State
October 2004

 About This Issue    
 What's In Play    
 Where They Stand    
 How It Happens    
 Resources    
 Masthead    


Well...

by Armed Liberal

That didn't work so well.

It's Clinton in a relative landslide here in California. The overall race today is advantage - somewhat - Clinton. This presents a host of pretty interesting problems.Ed Morrisey summarized one serious one - which is that Hillary's institutional advantage with the Party machinery will play strongly to her advantage in getting the nomination, leaving the Obama fans who are serious about change feeling somewhat out in the cold.

The structure of Hillary's victories tonight - winning big in the bluest of blue states, and losing in the states that might be a tossup - emphasize her weakness as a general election candidate. Again - how is it, in the face of an unpopular war and a much-derided Administration - that the Democrats risk losing?

I have, of course, some ideas...

http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/cat_usa_elections.php

So Who In The Wide World Of Sports Am I Going To Vote For?

by Armed Liberal

Well, as a registered Democrat (sorry, all you folks who tell me I should just give up and go Republican), my ballot will really have two choices on it.

After thinking long and hard about it, I'm going to vote for Obama. Here's why.


read the rest! »

t's McCain

by Armed Liberal

Romney suspends his campaign....

I'm dying to see how that goes over at CPAC.


Mo' Ronery

by Armed Liberal

AJ Strata has a very good post up on the issues I'm debating w/commenter Chris below.

What does this all mean? Well the American people are leading the surge away from the hyper-partisans and the muck-raking, purity wars. Not only were the parties raging against each other - they had turned on the moderate middle and attacked with visceral hate towards anyone who could ’sell out’ and reach compromise. And of course the support for both sides of the aisle tanked as each end of the spectrum tried to see who could denigrate the midstream voters the most.

read the rest! »

Apaches Overhead

by Armed Liberal

I forgot - Bush is speaking about two miles from my house today...I'll try and get pictures of Marine One when it goes overhead...


BushTorrance.jpg


No, Politics Ain't Beanbag

by Armed Liberal

Sitting in an East Coast hotel watching TV (I actually may have to get TV at home for this election...) I'm thinking a bit about the election (note: I haven't given up on my point that long-war hawks may want to consider voting Democratic - I'll go back to this soon).

And I wanted to highlight the point Jonathan Chait made in the LA Times today - 'Is the right right on the Clintons?'. As I note in the title, politics ain't beanbag, and to me the fact that the Clintons can play as rough as anyone isn't - necessarily - a bad thing. I don't know about you, but I don't want a shrinking violet as President.

But - I'm more concerned about our toxic domestic politics, and I need to see some kind of uplifting vision balancing the ruthlessness. And I'm watching Hillary talk, and what I don't see - is enough vision to counter the sharp elbows.

Oh my God - CN just cut away from Hillary's speech...I wonder what that means? Interesting inside baseball...they didn't cut away from Obama's... I guess he is the media's darling.

But you know what - I was kind of done with her generic stump speech anyway. Maybe they are just good at judging audience reaction.

So here's the problem. I want to support a Democrat, if I possibly can. But you know, I don't think I can support Hillary. Now she may be able to leverage the racial divide in the vote in South Carolina (Obama didn't break 35% of the white vote - again) into white backlash against Obama, as some commentators have suggested.

But I really, truly wonder if she can win the general election. This isn't a new question. She's hated, and you have to wonder why it is that she is so polarizing. Well, the gracelessness of the speech I just watched - where she had a chance to say more than a passing congratulation to Obama - is a good start. People in the public eye, at some point reveal their real character. We're seeing Hillary's.

So I wonder if she can win the race, and to be honest - I now wonder if she should.

How in the world are the Democrats in this situation today? How is it not going to be a coronation for the Democratic candidate?

Interesting...for me, I'm waiting to see where my opinions will lead me in the general - if Obama's weak (sadly very weak) national security policies will tip me to the GOP,or if my belief in the long-term benefit of giving the Democrats ownership of the problem outweighs those concerns. See K-Lo at the Corner for a counter.

The Crow Is Back In The Freezer

by Armed Liberal

The first numbers are up from the Democratic recount in New Hampshire, and I did some fast calculations on it (you can download the Excel file here).

Basic results:

With 74.7% of the total vote counted (107,906 of 144,362), a total of 922 votes were changed (.85%). With 75.9% of Hillary's vote recounted (45,912 of 60,503), a total of 305 votes changed for a net change of +25 votes. With 73.0% of Obama's vote recounted (36,566 of 50,081), a total of 152 votes changed for a net change of +10 votes.

At this point, I don't see a way - absent massive swings in very few districts - for this to change the result, and what isn't apparent is the widespread shallow difference that would be suggested by the 'Diebold Effect' we talked about in the polls.

My email bulletin from Brad yesterday was headlined:

[BradBlogAlert] NH "Chain of Custody" Disaster;%7.5 Error Rate in Nashua;MUCH MORE...

Yes, one precinct in Nashua (Row 80) did show a 7.4% swing for Hillary. But like the NY Times, outside the context of all the numbers, the number is meaningless.Note that in one district in Manchester, there was a 10% increase in votes for Hillary (row 64) - matched by a 10% increase for Obama. At this point, it's an academically interesting project to analyze the errors and look at the outlier districts. But we're talking about 130 votes out of 144,000.

That won't stop the hysterics from claiming that the election was illegitimate or stolen. But it does explain why I was angry enough to use invective, and why I remain angry at people who devalue the hard work to do to secure elections.

I'll do a longer post on why calm certainty matters soon.

Note: If someone has time to cross-reference the precincts in the spreadsheet withthis list of precincts that used Diebold machines, it'd be fun...

Update: Added link to SoS results...

Update 2: After running through the two counties above, Kucinich has pulled the plug and isn't going to fund any more counting. If more data is posted, I'll add it to the table. 

Race And Democratic Politics

by Armed Liberal

In light of the contremps between Obama and Hillary last week, I thought I'd unearthan old Armed Liberal post:

CONVERSATION STOPPERS

One of my best friends spent years as a community organizer for parks in New York City. She is a fountain of funny stories and 'on-the-ground' political wisdom, and one of her truisms is: dog doo ends all meetings.

That is to say, much like Godwin's Law, as soon as dog waste is brought up, the meeting is effectively over. The room divides, the tempers get hot, and constructive discussion flies out the window.


read the rest! »

Start Sauteeing The Crow

by Armed Liberal

As irritated as I was at Brad Friedman for coming out of the gate with what I saw as a conclusion unsupported by specific evidence, I fully share his discomfort with the current technology and processes used in voting in New Hampshire.

Now, the first rigorous study I've seen of the voter data has come out - and it supports him. Chris Chatham at 'Developing Intelligence' writes:

To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the "diebold effect" on Hillary's votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables, with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.

Go read the whole thing.

Kucinich is paying for a recount (the questionable machines were optical scanners, not DVR touchscreens - in which case no recount would be possible). If there were material discrepancies, the 'Vince Foster was murdered' crowd are going to have a field day, and the Democratic nominating process will be more fun than the first episode of the Sopranos.


· I May Actually Resubscribe to the LA Times
· Happy Birthday abu muquama!
· Dipshit.
· UFOs over Britain: more ominous than you think
· Irish Joke: Battle of the Bars
· Rightroots Satori
· Unity
· Straw Men
· Randy Simmons
· It's McCain
· Some New Blogs of Note
· Super Tuesday 2008: Line of the Night
· No on 93, Indeed.
· Well...
· Super Tuesday 2008: Polling Station Anecdote






igged USA Elections Exposed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEzY2tnwExs



YouTube - Rigged USA Elections Exposed

Computer Programmer testifies that Tom Feeney (Speaker of the ...
12 min -

Rated 4.9 out of 5.0


www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEzY2tnwExs

About the USA > U.S. Government > Elections

Foreign Press Center: 2008 Elections · The Green Papers: GeneralElection USA 2008 · Outline of U.S. Government: The Role of the Citizen CD ...
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About the USA > U.S. Government > Elections

Foreign Press Center: 2008 Elections · The Green Papers: GeneralElection USA 2008 · Outline of U.S. Government: The Role of the Citizen CD ...
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Voting and ElectionsUSA.gov

USA.gov: Voting and Elections -- Learn about voting, elections, and campaign laws; register to vote; volunteer with elections...
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US elections 2008 | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Deadline USA Election blogging from Guardian America · Deadline USA · Interactive All you need to know about Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ...
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Elections - "Information USA" - U.S. Dept. of State, International Information Programs -- Congressional Research Reports ...
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USA Today: Campaigns & Elections

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Talking US Elections

Not being in New Hampshire, I'm going through US elections withdrawal so I decided to have a conversation with my friends on the World Wide Web. Discuss

Kevin Anderson



Latest blog posts

Barack Obama by lindsayg5218

I don't necessarily support Obama, I was at an event with my class and was taking pictures for the school newspaper. 
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/usa/2008/01/talking_us_elections.html

Hillary's in the basement,

Mixing up campaign rhetoric 
She's on the pavement 
Talking 'bout her time in gub'ment

I'll stop there before I offend my own Bob Dylan fan sensibilities. But, being in London, not in New Hampshire, I'm going through news junkie withdrawal. However, through the magic of the internet, I can sate my need to obsess over the primaries. I've been trying out a new video conversation service called Seesmic. Cathy Brooks of Seesmic told me that they have people from 40 countries using the service. I noticed that some of the folks there were talking about the US Elections, and I wondered if they were willing to open that conversation up to us here on Deadline USA so I asked them.

The response has been slightly overwhelming. I'm going to be adding some of their video comments here, and I'll be feeding back your comments here to them. I am going to try to get a few invites to Seesmic if you want to join the conversation there. However, if you want to join the conversation here, leave a text comment or leave a a link to your video response on your favourite video service. You can paste the full URL into a comment, and I'll add those to the posts as well.

Read on for more video comments and please leave a few of your own. In 48 hours, the New Hampshire primaries '08 edition will be history. Give us your predictions. Tell us why you chose the candidate you're backing. And hey New Hampshire, which way is the wind blowing up there?

But first a lok back at the Iowa caucuses from Elisabeth McLaury Lewin. She worked at her caucus, and she gives a great insight into how the caucuses work and also the thinking of her fellow Democrats in Des Moines. Read on for more responses and feel free to leave your own. I'll be asking follow up questions over the next few days. Feel free to leave a comment or post a video response on your favourite video sharing site.

Technorati Tags: 

To kick things off, I've got a comment from Deek here in London who noticed that his American friends on the internet saw the Obama wave before the media.


Do you feel more plugged in politically by being on the internet? Some Ron Paul supporters don't think so after his disappointing showing in Iowa. Where do you get your political news?

0746am EST: Dan Patterson with TalkRadioNews.com gave me the inspiration to try this experiment. He was up bright in early at 5am in New Hampshire at 'radio row'. He gives a little insight behind the scenes into what it's like to cover the primary in New Hampshire.


They've just finished an interview with Dennis Kuccinich, who Seesmic user Documentally says is "the only politician in America who has the ear of the liberal side of things. Everything else seems to be playing out on auto-pilot."

Here's an interesting comment from Gia, a Democrat ex-pat living in London. She opens with a little explanation on how the primaries and caucuses work and then explains that she just wants a Democrat who can win.

For Democrats in the US, does 'electability' out-weigh issues in the primaries? Are you screening the candidates closely for their stand on the issues or will you cede a bit on the issues if you think they will win?

1220 EST Update: James and Ewan talk about the length and cost of the US elections. To respond to James, I think that lobbying is one issue and soft money a slightly different issue. The McCain-Feingold act tried to curb the influence of soft money, money that is not governed by donation rules as opposed to 'hard money'. One thing I would say is that internet donations have increased the role of smaller, individual donations, and candidates often tout these as a measure of the broadness of their support. But, yes, the elections go on forever, and if you live in Iowa and New Hampshire, they really never stop. Candidates often start testing the water in those states almost immediately after the last election ends, especially with this election in which you have neither a standing president or his vice president running.

One of the most interesting responses thus far has come from Bob Stewart in Kennebunk Maine. They border on New Hampshire, and most of their television stations cover both Maine and New Hampshire. He says: "I have typically been a conservative voter, but I'm absolutely on the fence." Many of the messages of non-conservative candidates are resonating with him, much to his surprise, he says. More from Bob in Maine and others in the US as the conversation continues.


Comments

view profile

Nigel Stewart  Pro User  says:

Nice one.
Posted 5 weeks ago. ( permalink )

view profile

SweetJen34  Pro User  says:

** This was voted ahit from Hit, Miss or Maybe **
Posted 3 weeks ago. ( permalink )

view profile

navycrackerjack74  Pro User  says:

** This was voted a Hit from Hit, Miss or Maybe **
Posted 3 weeks ago. ( permalink )

view profile

deplaqer  Pro User  says:

This was voted a Maybe from Hit, Miss or Maybe 

I am distracted by the light in the background, but I like the way it reflects off of Barack.
Posted 3 weeks ago. ( permalink )

view profile

Barack Obama is my homeboy says:

That's an incredible photo of Obama.. Great angle, lighting, etc.. very Dramatic.
Posted 2 weeks ago. ( permalink )

view profile

jamesgrayking  Pro User  says:

Great shot, this'll be a very cool thing to have taken when you look back on it in years to come!
Posted 6 days ago. ( permalink )

view profile

jamesgrayking  Pro User  says:

Forgot the score!

Score _8_/10 (from the Score Me! group)
Posted 6 days ago. ( permalink )

view profile

Rolye  Pro User  says:

Score _8_/10 (from the Score Me! group)
Posted 6 days ago. ( permalink )

view profile

mosselmaniac says:

Very nice shot. Nice timing.

Score 8/10 (from the Score Me! group)
Posted 6 days ago. ( permalink )

view profile

meaning_of_light says:

Nicely done.

Score 9/10 (from the Score Me! group)
Posted 6 days ago. ( permalink )

view profile

TheArtfulBadger  Pro User  says:

Score 10/10 (from the Score Me! group)

Almost faultless (IMHO) - congratulations!!!!
Posted 6 days ago. ( permalink )



Presidential Elections
The United States Constitution stipulates that a presidential election is to be held once every fourth year. The process of electing a president and vice-president, however, begins long before election day.

The nominating process within the political parties officially begins with the first state primaries and caucuses, which usually occur in the month of February of the election year. These primaries and caucuses choose slates of delegates (usually pledged to support particular candidates) to represent the state at the national party conventions.

At the national party conventions, traditionally held in the summer, the delegates from the states cast votes to select the party's candidate for president.

On election day -- the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of an election year -- every citizen of legal age who has taken the steps necessary in his or her state to meet the voting requirements (such as registering to vote) has an opportunity to vote. However, the president is not formally chosen by direct popular vote. The constitution calls for a process of indirect popular election known as the electoral college.

The Electoral College
The political parties (or independent candidates) in each state submit to the chief election official a list of electors pledged to their candidate for president and equal in number to the state's electoral vote. Each state is allocated a number of electors equal to the number of its U.S. senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. representatives. 

Following election day, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, these electors assemble in their state capitals, cast their ballots, and officially select the next president. As a rule, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a state wins all of that state's electors (except in Maine and Nebraska). The president-elect and vice president-elect take the oath of office and are inaugurated on January 20th.

Congressional Elections
The Congress is divided into two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

The Senate is composed of two members from each state, as provided by the Constitution. Its current membership is 100. Senators are elected to serve six-year terms; every two years one third of the Senate is up for reelection. Before 1913, senators were chosen by their state legislatures, as the Founding Fathers believed that since the senators represented the state, the state legislature should elect them. The 17th amendment to the constitution changed this procedure, mandating that senators be elected directly by the voters of their state.

When the first Congress met in 1789, there were 59 members of the House of Representatives. As the number of states increased and the population grew, the number of representatives increased significantly. A law passed in 1911 fixed the size of the House of Representatives at 435 members. Members of the House are up for reelection every two years. The number of representatives in each state depends upon its population as reported in the nation's most recent census. Each state is divided into a corresponding number of congressional districts. There is a representative for every congressional district, elected by the voters residing in that district.

State and Local Government
Like the national government, state governments have three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial; these are roughly equivalent in function and scope to their national counterparts. The chief executive of a state is the governor, elected by popular vote, typically for a four-year term (although in a few states the term is two years). Except for Nebraska, which has a single legislative body, all states have a bicameral legislature, with the upper house usually called the Senate and the lower house called the House of Representatives, the House of Delegates, or the General Assembly.

Types of city governments vary widely across the nation. However, almost all have some kind of central council, elected by the voters, and an executive officer, assisted by various department heads, to manage the city's affairs.

See also:
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Report: Voter turnout records broken

By ANN SANNER, Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON - Voters came out in record numbers in about half the states that have voted in presidential primaries so far, according to an analysis Wednesday.

Turnout among Republicans on Super Tuesday toppled a 20-year record in Alabama, according to the report issued by American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate. More than 16 percent of those eligible voted in the GOP race, compared with about 7 percent in 1988.

The report's findings were based on unofficial results from the primaries held through Tuesday. Caucuses and California primary results were excluded.

Alabama had 58,000 new voters sign up in the three months leading up to Tuesday's race, just one sign of newfound interest in a primary that used to be held in June and had little or no significance.

In Georgia, Democrats came out in droves to support Barack Obama, breaking a more than 30-year-old turnout record. More than 16 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls Tuesday, compared with less than 15 percent in 1976.

"We are likely to see more records broken until the contests are decided, which in the Democratic Party's case, at least may last until their convention," said Curtis Gans, the center's director who performed the analysis.

About 14 million people voted in the Democratic primaries this year compared with the slightly more than 10 million who voted in GOP primaries, according to the analysis.

Twenty states have held Democratic and Republican primaries so far.

Here are some of the report's findings:

_Democratic primaries in 12 states set records. They are Alabama, Arizona,Connecticut, Georgia, IllinoisMassachusettsMissouriNew HampshireNew Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Utah.

_Republican primaries in 11 states saw their highest percentages of voter turnout ever. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, OklahomaTennessee and Utah.

_Combining party turnouts, the highest percentage of eligible voters showing up this year came in New Hampshire — 52 percent.

_Among the record-setting states, New York primaries had the lowest percentage of people voting with just more than 18 percent of all those eligible casting votes.

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Feb 6, 2008 Hillary Clinton (Chris Hondros/Getty Images); John McCain (AP); Barack Obama (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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United States Republican presidential candidates, 2008


This article lists both declared and potential Republican candidates for the President of the United States in the 2008 election.

In accordance with the 22nd Amendment, incumbent President George W. Bush will not be eligible for re-election in 2008, and Vice President Dick Cheney has not sought the nomination and will not run for President.[1] Since both are Republicans, the field is clear.

Total delegates so far projected: 208
Other delegates yet to be assigned: 2,172
Total number of delegates: 2,380
Delegates required for nomination: 1,191
States already polled: 7 (IowaWyomingNew HampshireMichiganNevadaSouth CarolinaFlorida)
States yet to be polled: 43
Also to be polled: District of Columbia
Next State(s) in contest:
February 2nd, Maine, Republican closed caucus
February 5th, Super Tuesday, 21 states, 1069 delegates[2]

2008 Republican presidential primaries delegate count
As of January 292008


Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas

(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee, born August 241955, in Hope, Arkansas, served as Governor of Arkansas for over 10 years. Huckabee has announced he will seek the Presidency in the 2008 presidential election.[3] He has made several trips to important primary states, including a four-day trip to New Hampshire in August 2006. His campaign has been focused largely on Iowa for the Ames Straw Poll on August 112007 He announced that he would be running in 2008 on NBC's Meet the Press television show with Tim Russert.[4] and has since made three appearances on Comedy Central's The Colbert ReportThe Today Show on NBC and many appearances on CNNFox News Channel, and MSNBC regarding the 2008 presidential election. He was declared the victor of the January 32008 Iowa caucus.[5]


Alan Keyes, former Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

(Campaign site)

Alan Keyes, born August 71950, in New York City, filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission on September 142007.[6] He served as Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations under President Ronald Reagan, and served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 1985 to 1987. He is currently on the ballot in 25 states.[7] He participated in Republican debates on September 17[8] and December 12.[9] If elected, Keyes would be the first African-American to hold the office of president, as well as the second Roman Catholic after John F. Kennedy. Keyes supports an amendment against gay marraige.[10] Keyes stated he would not have gone to war in Iraq[11], but also said that the war was justified[12] and defended President Bush's decision in on of his 2004 debates with Obama[13]. He has stated that troops should stay in Iraq [14] but also said that he would have turned over operations to the UN.[15] However, Keyes has stated that even while he was an Ambassador there, he was not a supporter of the United Nations[16].




Senator John McCain

(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of John McCain

John McCain, born August 291936, in the U.S.-controlled Panama Canal Zone, Senator from Arizona. Often characterized as a Republican maverick in the Senate, he is well-known. In 2000, he failed in his attempt to deny George W. Bush the Republican nomination: McCain continued his ultimately unsuccessful campaign long after the other Republican candidates had united behind Bush.

McCain's bipartisan compromise on judicial nominations and his strong support ofcampaign finance reform have drawn the ire of many groups,[17] many of which have vowed to work against any McCain campaigns for the Republican nomination in 2008. However, he has a strong stance on many issues and economically falls more along the lines of traditional "fiscal conservatism." These factors, along with his commitment to the War on Terror (including Iraq) have boosted his popularity amongst conservatives since 2004, when he emphasized these traits while stumping for Republican candidates.

On November 15, 2006, McCain announced that he would form an exploratory committee.

On the Late Show with David Letterman on February 282007, Sen. John McCain announced he will seek the GOP presidential nomination, and made a formal announcement on April 252007.



Representative Ron Paul (Campaign site

See also: Political positions of Ron Paul

Ron Paul, born August 201935, in Green TreePennsylvania, is a long time U.S. Representative from Texas with a strong constitutionalist and libertarian voting record. Nicknamed "Dr. No" for his opposition to tax increases and spending bills, Paul has chastened his fellow Republicans for abandoning the party's commitment to limited government, and for helping to create an unsustainable national debt now in the trillions of dollars.[18] Paul seeks to "reinstate the Constitution and restore theRepublic."[19]

On January 112007, Paul filed papers to form an exploratory committee for the2008 presidential race.[20][21] He formally declared his candidacy 12 March 2007 as a guest on Washington Journal on C-SPAN.[22][23] Paul ran for President as aLibertarian nearly two decades ago. He is opposed to the Iraq War and had the distinction of being one of only seven Republican congressmen who voted againstIraq War authorization in October 2002. He has also opposed George W. Bush and the majority of Republican congressmen on many other issues, including thePATRIOT Act.

On February 202007, Paul's exploratory committee posted on YouTube a formal video of him explaining his reason for running.[24]

Paul did well in Republican straw polls, has broken fundraising records, and has placed second in the Nevada ,Louisiana caucuses, and Maine Republican caucuses. Paul also received 10% in Iowa, 7% in New Hampshire, 6% in Michigan, under 4% in South Carolina, 3% in Florida and last in Wyoming.


Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts

(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, born March 121947, in Michigan, is former Governor ofMassachusetts; he did not seek a second term in November 2006. Romney has made numerous trips to primary states such as South CarolinaMichigan, and New Hampshire, during recent years. Romney is running on his record as co-founder ofBain Capital, the CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and his record as Governor of Massachusetts. Although he ran as a moderate for the office of Governor of Massachusetts and during his failed Senate bid in 1994, he supported more conservative positions as his term progressed. Romney formed a presidential exploratory committee on January 3, 2007, the day he left the governor's office.[25]

On January 9, Romney raised $6.5 million in his first fundraiser, beating both Giuliani and McCain's fundraising efforts ($1 and $2 million respectively).

Romney has already received major endorsements, including that of former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.

Romney officially announced his candidacy on February 13 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.[26][27]



Other candidates


The following candidates have filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).


Withdrawn from seeking nomination

Candidates who have withdrawn their candidacies


Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City (Campaign site
See also: Political positions of Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, born May 281944, in New York, former mayor of New York City. Giuliani said on October 2, 2005, that he would look at the possibility of running for President. On November 13, 2006, he announced that he was forming an exploratory committee. He has led several state and nationwide polls for the Republican nomination and the general election, and has been mentioned by many media sources as a possible candidate since the 9/11 attacks and a speech to the 2004 Republican Convention.[47] (See polls below) Giuliani is pro-choice, and supports a type of civil union between same sex couples and agrees for legal and medical reasons that same sex relationships should get the same rights under the law. He also believes in strong restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms and agrees with harsh punishment for illegal weapons or non permitted weapons. While opinions differ, some think that these positions could help him, should he secure the nomination, in the general election; others question whether the Republican base would support a nominee with Giuliani's social positions. On February 52007, Giuliani unofficially entered the race for the 2008 U.S. presidential election by filing a "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission, but legally keeping him at the same level as he was while running an exploratory committee.[48] On February 15, Giuliani officially announced that he was running on CNN's Larry King Live show.[49] If elected, Giuliani would be the first Italian-American to hold the office of president, as well as the second Roman Catholic after John F. Kennedy. Giuliani finished third in the Florida primary on January 29, 2008. The next day he withdrew and endorsed John McCain.[50]


Senator Sam Brownback

Sam Brownback, born September 121956, in Kansas, senior Senator from that state. In April 2005, the Associated Press reported that Brownback, who is little known outside his home state, "is using a network of social conservatives and Christian activists to raise his profile" in such battleground states as Iowa and New Hampshire. He is well known for his social and fiscal conservative record, such as opposing abortion and instituting a flat tax alternative to the current IRS Code. He was also instrumental in Congress' bestowing the Congressional Medal upon Mother Teresa. In his own words, "The core of my being is to rebuild the family and renew the culture." On December 4, 2006, Brownback announced that he would form anexploratory committee.[51] On January 20, 2007, Brownback officially announced his candidacy.[52] Of his campaign, Brownback has said, "I'm a son of a farmer from Kansas ... I still think anybody can be president. I don't think you have to show up with $100 million to do it. ... I'm the tortoise in the race. And I don't like how the race starts; I like how it ends up."[53] Brownback was one of three who raised his hand in the May 3, 2007, Republican candidates debate when asked "Is there anybody on the stage who does not believe in evolution?". [54] Brownback officially withdrew from the presidential race on October 19, 2007, and has since then endorsed John McCain. [55]





Jim Gilmore former Governor of Virginia

Draft Jim Gilmore for President group was formed in August of 2006, encouraging former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore to run for president after he was seen traveling to the presidential primary states. In November 2006, Gilmore told ABC News that a 2008 presidential run was one of several possibilities he is considering.[56] On December 19, 2006, Gilmore announced he was forming an exploratory committee for a presidential candidacy.[57] Gilmore announced on December 20, 2006, that he would launch his exploratory committee on January 2, 2007.[58] Perhaps hoping to mirror the surprising 2004 campaign of DemocratHoward Dean, another former governor with little national recognition when he entered the race, Gilmore declared that he represents "the Republican wing of the Republican Party" echoing the popular Dean quotation. Gilmore declared his candidacy from the Des Moines, Iowa GOP headquarters on April 262007. Gilmore, however, raised a mere $380,000 in the first half of 2007, which he cited as a reason why he withdrew from the contest on July 14, 2007. [42]


Representative Duncan Hunter

See also: Political positions of Duncan Hunter

Duncan Hunter, born May 311948, in Riverside, California, U.S. Representative from that state and former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Hunter formally announced his presidential candidacy in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on January 25, 2007. He is known for his strong stance against illegal immigration, and opposition to free trade agreements like North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization.[59] He introduced H.R. 552, The Right to Life Act, "to implement equal protection . . . for the right to life of each born and preborn human person"; it has over 100 co-sponsors. Hunter withdrew from the race on January 192008 after a poor showing in the Nevada Republican caucuses.[60] He has since then endorsed Mike Huckabee.[61]


Representative Tom Tancredo

Main article: Tom Tancredo presidential campaign, 2008

Tom Tancredo, born December 201945, in Colorado, U.S. Representative from that state and leading advocate for more restrictive immigration policies. On April 2, 2007, Rep. Tancredo announced his official candidacy on Iowa talk radio station 1040 WHO. Tancredo has a dedicated grassroots following among paleoconservatives. He has visited early Presidential primary states such as New Hampshire, Michigan and Iowa to begin building popular support and has polled favorably amongst grassroots Republicans. Tancredo announced on January 16, 2007, that he was forming an exploratory committee.[62] Tancredo was one of three who raised his hand in the May 3, 2007, Republican candidates debate when asked "Is there anybody on the stage who does not believe in evolution?"."[63] On December 20, 2007, Tancredo withdrew from the race and endorsed Mitt Romney. [64]



Fred Thompson, former Senator of Tennessee
See also: Political positions of Fred Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson, born August 191942, former Senator from Tennessee and actor, best known for playing D.A. Arthur Branch on Law & Order. There was speculation that Thompson would run for Governor of Tennessee in 2006, but he declined to run against the popular Governor Phil Bredesen. On March 11, 2007, Thompson said "I'm giving some thought to it. Going to leave the door open. A lot of people think it's late already. I don't really think it is, although the rules of the game have changed somewhat. ... I think people are somewhat disillusioned. I think a lot of people are cynical out there. I think they're looking for something different." [65]On June 1, Thompson announced he had established a preliminary campaign committee, thus taking his first formal step toward an official presidential bid. [66]On September 5, he officially entered the presidential race.[67] On January 22, 2008 he dropped out of the race.[68]


Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin

Tommy Thompson, born November 191941, in Elroy, Wisconsin, is the former four-term Governor of Wisconsin and was Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He recently announced interest in the 2008 nomination and, on December 15, 2006, announced that he had formed an exploratory committee.[69] He officially announced his candidacy on April 1, 2007.[70] After a poor showing in the August 11 Iowa Straw Poll, Tommy Thompson announced on the following day that he is withdrawing from the race, and has since endorsed Rudy Giuliani.

Declined to seek nomination


George Allen, former Senator
George Allen, was the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election.[71], in a survey of 175 Washington insiders conducted byNational Journal's "The Hotline" and released April 292005.

Prior to his November loss to Jim Webb in the 2006 Virginia senatorial race, Allen had traveled a number of times to Iowa — the first state with a presidential caucus — and New Hampshire — the first state with a presidential primary). He had been widely assumed to be preparing a run for president.[72] On December 102006, Allen gave an interview[73] in which he stated that he would not seek the 2008 nomination.


Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida

Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida; his family connections and history indicate that he may be next in line to continue the Bush family legacy, although his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, has stated that he will not seek the 2008 Republican nomination, and many analysts state that he would be a natural frontrunner for the Vice President slot on the Republican ticket. On January 27, 2007, as the keynote speaker at the National Review Institute's Conservative Summit in Washington, D.C., Bush denied rumors that he would run for President in 2008, but “when questioned did not rule out running as a vice presidential candidate.”[74]


Vice President Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney, current Vice President of the United States, has asserted his intent to not seek the 2008 nomination several times throughout the presidency of George W. Bush. In an interview on Face the Nation, Cheney said, "I've taken the Sherman statement. 'If nominated, I will not run, If elected, I won't serve,'"[75]


Bill Frist, former Senate Majority Leader

Former Senator from Tennessee and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist stated on November 292006 that he does not intend to seek the nomination but wants to go back to practicing medicine.[76]


Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House

Newt Gingrich was the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and former U.S. Representative from Georgia. According to the Associated Press, "The former House speaker who led Republicans to power a decade ago said he soon will visit Iowa and New Hampshire to promote his book, try to influence public policy and keep his political options alive." The AP reported him as saying "Anything seems possible," including a White House race. Gingrich first explicitly suggested he may run in 2008 on October 13, 2005, saying "There are circumstances where I will run", elaborating that such circumstances would be if no other candidate champions the major platform ideas that Gingrich advocates. However, he has since then said that the odds of his becoming a candidate are 4-to-1 against.[77] However, on September 20, Gingrich said that he would consider running for president if his supporters could raise $30 million in pledges by the end of October.[78] On September 29, 2007, Gingrich's spokesman Rick Tyler announced that Gingrich would not run for president.[79]


Senator Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel is the senior US Senator from Nebraska; however, he swore a pledge to only serve two terms, and thus will not be running for re-election to the Senate in 2008. According to NPR, Hagel was considering a Presidential campaign in 2005. [80]There were also a number of Draft Hagel blogs and groups online.[81] On March 12, 2007, Hagel made a statement on his political future, in which he kept open the possibility to enter the presidential race later in the year.[82] Despite being a fairly conservative Republican, he would have had to deal with elements of the party faithful due to his criticism of President Bush over the war in Iraq. It is widely thought that Senator Hagel would have had trouble emerging from the shadow of John McCain, as they are both outspoken Vietnam veterans. On September 10, 2007, Hagel announced that he would not seek the nomination.[83]


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, currently the Secretary of State, said in March 2005 on Meet the Press[84], and elsewhere, that she doesn't intend to run for President, but can't rule it out. In an August 8-10, 2005, Republican primary poll in Iowa, Rice came in first with 30 percent, beating McCain and Giuliani, who each got about 15 percent. In October 2005, Condi vs. Hillary, a book by political commentator Dick Morris, discussing Rice as the Republican candidate, was published.


Governor Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina; popular with fiscal conservatives, but has said he does not intend to run. Sanford professes to be a firm supporter of limited government, and many pundits have described his views as being libertarian in nature. There are several Internet-based groups trying to convince him to run for President in 2008. However, on November 72006, he said that his gubernatorial race at that point would be his last campaign, win or lose.[85]


Rick Santorum, former Senator

Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania; A number of polls had mentioned him as a potential Republican candidate. Once he lost his seat to his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., a run for the Presidency became decidedly less likely and on November 172006, in regard to a Presidential bid, he stated "Absolutely, positively not. Absolutely not, my wife would throw me out of the house if I do anything in '08."[86]



United States Democratic presidential candidates, 2008

This article contains lists of people associated with the 2008 Democratic Party Primaries for the 2008 United States Presidential Election.

Active candidates with national campaigns

These have filed (or announced plans to file) with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton, born October 261947, in Illinois, U.S. Senator from New York and former First Lady of the United States. Clinton announced the formation of her exploratory committee on January 202007, with a post on her website.[1] She has delivered several speeches intended to reach out to moderates, according to analysts. She has also been holding fundraising meetings, including meeting with women from Massachusetts, a key constituency of potential rival and 2004 nomineeJohn Kerry; however, these activities are consistent with the lead up to a campaign for re-election to her Senate seat in 2006. If elected, Clinton would be the first female president. Clinton announced on January 202007, that she will run in 2008 (the same day she announced the formation of an exploratory committee). She has filed the official paperwork for an exploratory committee.[2] She placed first in theNew Hampshire primary on January 82008 and placed first in the Nevada caucuseson January 19 but fell one delegate short of Barack Obama. She placed first in theFlorida primary on January 292008, but was awarded no delegates, due to a prior ruling of the party unseating the state representatives because of the early date.

Former Senator Mike Gravel
(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel, born May 131930, in SpringfieldMassachusetts. U.S. Senator fromAlaska from 1969 to 1981 and an active candidate for Vice President in 1972. He is most known for playing a key role in ending the draft during the Vietnam Warthrough the release of the Pentagon Papers and through staging a one-man filibusterfor 5 months. He is also notable for advocating a guaranteed annual income, which he termed a "citizen's wage," of US$5,000 per person, regardless of whether the person worked. On April 132006, Gravel announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. His policy announcements to date include support for direct democracyFairTax, and withdrawal from Iraq. Mike Gravel filed with the FEC in April according to various news sources.[3][4] The FEC's site has listed his reports since July.[5] MSNBC incorrectly reported that Gravel had dropped out of the race onJanuary 32008 after a poor performance in the Iowa caucuses. His website confirmed that he is still in the race.

  • Alaska State Representative: 1962–1966 (Speaker: 1965–1966)
  • U.S. Senator from Alaska: 1969–1981
 Senator Barack Obama
(Campaign site
See also: Political positions of Barack Obama

Barack Obama, born August 41961, in HonoluluHawaii, U.S. Senator from Illinois. A "draft Obama" movement began with his well-received 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address. Obama was the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, a political event favored by presidential hopefuls in the lead-up to the Iowa caucus. He was endorsed by talk show host Oprah Winfrey in2006.[6] Various recent opinion polls have seen Obama trailing only Hillary Clinton in several polls.[7] If elected, he would become the first African-American President of the United States. Obama announced on February 102007, that he will run in 2008. He has filed the official paperwork.[8] Obama placed first in the January 32008 Iowa caucuses, followed by Edwards and Clinton. He has also placed first in the January 262008 South Carolina primary.

  • Illinois State Senator: 1996–2004
  • U.S. Senator from Illinois: 2005–Present

Other candidates


The following people have filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC):


Withdrawn from seeking nomination


Senator Joe Biden

(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Joe Biden

Joe Biden, born November 161942, in ScrantonPennsylvania, U.S. Senator fromDelaware and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, although he ceased active campaigning in 1987, before the first primaries. Biden first hinted that he might run in 2008 in a December 82004, radio interview with host Don Imus, saying: "I'm going to proceed as if I'm going to run." Biden had repeatedly stated his intention to run, and did so as early as 21 March 2006. Biden's Federal Leadership PAC is "Unite Our States", which tracks Biden's public appearances and policy positions. On 7 January 2007, when asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "Are you running for President?" he responded, "I am running for President." He also said he planned to create an exploratory committee by the end of the month.[29][30][31] On January 31, 2007, he officially signed the papers with the FEC to run for president. He dropped out of the race on January 32008 after a poor performance in the Iowa caucus.


Senator Chris Dodd

(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Chris Dodd

Christopher Dodd, was born May 271944, in Willimantic, Connecticut and is a five-term U.S. Senator from that state. Dodd was reported to be a likely contender for the Democratic Vice President slot on John Kerry's ticket in 2004. In May 2006, Dodd said he has "decided to do all the things that are necessary to prepare to seek the presidency in 2008", including hiring staff, raising money and traveling around the country in the next few months to enlist support.[32] On Jan. 11, 2007, Dodd announced his Presidential candidacy on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show with Don Imus.[33] As a result of unpromising results in the Iowa Caucus on January 3,2008, Dodd dropped out of the race for presidency.

 Former Senator John Edwards
(Campaign site

See also: Political positions of John Edwards

John Edwards, born June 101953 in South Carolina, is a former U.S. Senator fromNorth Carolina. As a 2004 presidential candidate, Edwards was famed for his populist message in his "Two Americas" speech and also for his optimistic, positive attitude. This was evidenced by his refusal to attack his opponents. In the primaries, Sen. Edwards had strong come-from-behind showings in the crucial states of Iowa,OklahomaVirginiaTennesseeWisconsin, and Georgia. On February 52005, Edwards spoke at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's fundraising dinner. OnAugust 182005, Edwards traveled to Waterloo, Iowa, to deliver an address to theIowa AFL-CIO, a potential key supporter in the Iowa caucuses. On December 26,2006, Edwards formally announced his candidacy.[34] On January 302008, Edwards ended his bid for the Presidency[35]


Representative Dennis Kucinich

(Campaign site)


Representative Dennis Kucinich

(Campaign site)

See also: Political positions of Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich, born October 81946, in ClevelandOhio. Ohio Congressman, former Mayor of Cleveland, and 2004 Democratic primary candidate. Dennis Kucinich is known by many as "The Peace Candidate", having received the 2003 Gandhi Peace Award. Kucinich opposed the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act. Under Kucinich's plan, United Nations peace-keepers would go to Iraq if the Iraqi citizens desire their presence. The Congressman re-introduced legislation to create a United States Department of Peace via HR 808 on February 5, 2007. He is currently campaigning to end the war in Iraq by cutting off funding, if such measures are necessary. He is in support of peaceful diplomatic relations with Iran, and all nations. Kucinich has received many awards praising his courage and work for peace.[36][37] OnDecember 122006, Kucinich announced his candidacy at an event at Cleveland's City Hall.[38] He withdrew from the race on January 25th, and turned his focus to his re-election for his congressional seat. [39]


Governor Bill Richardson (Campaign site

See also: Political positions of Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson, born November 151947, in Pasadena, California, Governor of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the United NationsSecretary of Energy and U.S. Representative. After reportedly informing party leaders in February 2005 of his intention to run for president, on December 72006, Richardson said "I am running" during his response to a prospective question about the 2008 presidential election byFox News, however he later retracted the decision and said he would make an official decision by January. On May 212007, he officially declared his candidacy.[40] OnJanuary 92008 he pulled out of the race.[41]


Former Governor Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack, born December 131950, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniaformer Governor of Iowa, Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Many suspected Vilsack was high on the list of potential running mates for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. In 2005, Vilsack established Heartland PAC,[42] a political action committee aimed at electing Democratic Governors and other statewide candidates. Unlike the PACs of potential candidates, Heartland PAC is not a federal PAC and can not contribute to federal candidates. He filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for President on November 92006.[43] He dropped out of the race on 23 February 2007 citing fundraising woes. He has since given his support to Hillary Rodham Clinton.[44][45]

Declined to seek nomination


Senator Evan Bayh
Evan Bayh, born December 261955Indiana, former two-term Governor and currently a second-term U.S. Senator from that state. In February 2005, Bayh renamed his Federal Leadership PAC the All America PAC and hired a new veteran staff with experience on the 2004 campaigns of John Kerry and Wesley Clark for President and Tom Daschle for senate. Although the "Friends of Evan Bayh" draft committee filed papers with the FEC to form a presidential exploratory committee onDecember 52006, he announced on December 162006 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for President, and since then has endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton.[46]
General Wesley Clark (Ret.)

Wesley Clark, born December 231944, in Illinois, from Arkansas, a Vietnam warveteran, a retired United States Army four-star general and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He graduated first in his class from West Point. Clark is traveling widely through his Federal Leadership PAC WesPAC,[47] and is a commentator on MSNBC, while grassroots campaigns for Clark have become active on the internet.[48] Clark was a 2004 Presidential candidate as well, narrowly winning the Oklahoma primary. During a January 17, 2007, speech given to a local UAW group in Alabama and posted on YouTube, Clark stated "when I run, I'll be the national security candidate." [49] He endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton on September 15, 2007, seemingly ruling out a future run, though making him a frontrunner to be Senator Clinton's running-mate, should she win the Democratic nomination.


Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader

Tom Daschle, born December 91947, in South Dakota, former U.S. Senator from that state. He set up a new political action committee and planned a Jefferson-Jackson Day speech in the politically pivotal state of Iowa. Daschle has transferred $500,000 into the new Federal Leadership PAC, New Leadership for America.[50] In July 2005, Daschle said he was not planning a rematch against his successor John Thune in 2010, and he told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper that he was seriously considering a run and would not "rule out the possibility of an official announcement in the near future." However, on December 22006, Daschle announced he would not run for President in 2008, and has since thrown his support behind Barack Obama's campaign.[51]
Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont
Howard Dean, born November 171947, in New York, former Governor of Vermont. Howard Dean is the current DNC Chairman, and was a candidate for the nomination in 2004. Dean said if he won the DNC Chairmanship he would not run for president and, since he won, has often repeated this.[52]
Senator Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold, born March 21953, in Wisconsin, U.S. Senator from that state. Announced to a meeting of the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia CountyFlorida, in January 2005 that he was considering a run for the nomination, and would decide after "going around the country" to campaign for fellow Democrats running for other offices.[53]His Federal Leadership PAC is the Progressive Patriots Fund,[54] which financed his travels around the country.[55] In early March 2005, his Senate campaign registered the domain name for the website www.russfeingold08.com as well as the .org and .net versions.[56][57][58] Later that month, he took a listening trip to Alabama.[59] In early April 2005, Feingold announced that he would be divorcing his second wife, a move which some analysts believe could diminish his chances of winning the presidential nomination. On August 172005, Feingold became the first U.S. Senator to publicly support a firm date for withdrawal from the Iraq War,[60] suggestingDecember 312006, as a reasonable date. Although Feingold's stance was generally criticized by other Democratic senators, including Biden and Clinton, his support in nonscientific internet polls of party activists jumped. In December 2005, when he led the Senate campaign against the renewal of the Patriot Act his support among party activists further intensified. Following the overwhelming resonance for his anti-war and bi-partisan rule of law positions in the 2006 Congressional elections, Feingold commented that the legislative victory "pushes me in both directions," and "he could make a decision on a presidential run before the end of the year".[61] However, on November 12, 2006, Feingold ruled out a 2008 presidential candidacy,[55] but has stated he is willing to consider an offer from the eventual nominee for the vice presidency.[62] Feingold has stated that his first choice for president in 2008 would be someone who voted against the war in Iraq, and failing that, his second choice would be someone who wasn't in Congress but spoke out against the war at the time. He also said he would "be happy" if Barack Obama or Al Gore ran, but stated he was not offering an endorsement.[63]
Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States

Al Gore, born in Washington, D.C., is the former U.S. Vice President, and was the2000 Democratic nominee, winning the popular vote. Gore is not a declared candidate in the 2008 presidential election. However, he has not rejected the possibility of future involvement in politics.[64] The prospect of a Gore candidacy was thus a topic of public discussion and speculation.[65][66] There were also grassrootsdraft campaigns. A grassroots group in New Hampshire considered a write-in campaign for the New Hampshire primary on 8 January 2008[67] The campaign was halted, however. [68] Previous grassroot groups in California [69] and New York[70]attempted to convince him to run. There were also draft campaigns via websites.[71][72][73][74][75]

The release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 increased Gore's popularity among progressives.[76] After it was nominated for an academy award, Donna Brazile, Gore's campaign chairwoman from the 2000 campaign stated during a speech onJanuary 312007, at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that, "Wait tillOscar night, I tell people: 'I'm dating. I haven't fallen in love yet. On Oscar night, if Al Gore has slimmed down 25 or 30 pounds, Lord knows.'"[77] The meaning of these remarks became clearer when on award night, while in attendance and acting as a presenter for an award, Gore began a speech that seemed to be leading up to an announcement that he would run for president. However, background music drowned him out and he was escorted offstage, implying it was a rehearsed gag.[78]

A nationwide Gallup poll of 485 Democrats and Democratic leaners in mid-November 2007 showed Gore receiving 17% of the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary, second to Hillary Clinton, tied with Barack Obama, and ahead of John Edwards. A previous 29 June 2007 article in the The Guardian cited a poll conducted "in New Hampshire by 7News and Suffolk University" that found that if Gore "were to seek the Democratic nomination, 29% of Mrs. Clinton's backers would switch their support to him [...] when defections from other candidates are factored in, the man who controversially lost to Mr. Bush in the 2000 election takes command of the field, with 32% support."[79]An even earlier April 2007 Quinnipiac University poll of 504 registered Democrats in New Jersey showed Gore receiving 12% of the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary, in third place behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.[80] However, all of the polls which indicated that Al Gore would not be the leading Democratic candidate were all conducted before his Nobel Prize. The US has never had a presidential candidate who has already won a Nobel Prize. While he never officially said he was not going to seek nomination, it is now impossible for him to because of the deadline.


Senator John Kerry

John Kerry, born December 111943, in DenverColorado, is the U.S. Senator fromMassachusetts, and the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. On March 12005, Kerry created a new Federal Leadership PAC named Keeping America's Promise.[81]Dan Payne, a Democratic strategist, told the Washington Post that "This is the kind of thing he has to do" in order to run for president again in 2008.[82] Through Keeping America's Promise, Kerry boasts to have raised or given away over $14 million to nearly 300 progressive candidates, committees or causes.[83] Kerry told CNN, with respect to a run in 2008, "it's crazy to be thinking about it now" but went on to say that "I'll make my judgment when the time comes and I don't care what history says."[84] However, there was a controversy on October 302006, over a speech made by Kerry at Pasadena City College. Future implications of his comments are still unclear, however Kerry himself claimed the incident will have little bearing on 2008 and that he will make a decision in early 2007.[85] On January 24, 2007, Kerry announced that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2008.[86] Kerry and his JohnKerry.com e-mail list was also a supporter of Al Gore's recent house parties across the United States to spread information about global warming. In a letter e-mailed from JohnKerry.com, Kerry stated: "When strong leaders like Al Gore step forward to educate and organize people around vitally important issues, they deserve our full support."[87] Since, he has endorsed SenatorBarack Obama.
  • U.S. Senator from Massachusetts: 1985-Present
  • Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts: 1983-1985

Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton, of New YorkPentecostal minister, civil rights activist, former candidate for mayor of New York and for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from New York, and candidate for the 2004 nomination. When asked about 2008, he replied, "Don't get Hillary mad at me."[88] He was one of the first candidates to enter the 2004 race, but thus far he has said nothing more about 2008. His 2004 campaign was not a great success. He never got more than 10% of the vote in any state, although he did get 20% in the District of Columbia.[89] There are still unresolved campaign-finance issues left over from that campaign. In January 2007, when asked if he was considering running in 2008, Sharpton said "I don't hear any reason not to," adding, "we'll see over the next couple of months." [90] 

On April 22007, Sharpton announced that he won't get into the 2008 presidential race this time. "I am not going to run." [4]




Mark Warner, former Governor of Virginia

Mark Warner, born December 151954, former Governor of Virginia. As a successful Governor from a "red state" (barred from serving consecutive terms by state law) and popular within the party, it was highly anticipated that Warner would mount a Presidential bid. While it was ruled out by Warner himself in October[91], news that he was considering a bid was confirmed by colleague Dan Conley in December[92]. With Governor Warner's fund-raising capabilities and his potential as a vice presidential candidate, it was possible that Warner would still play a significant role in the campaign, until he became a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Candidates
Actual
pledged delegates
(67 of 137 total)

Delegate statistics:

  • Total pledged delegates assigned: 92
  • Total unpledged delegates, and pledged delegates yet to be assigned: 3957
  • Total number of delegates: 4049 (796 unpledged "superdelegates" and 3,253 pledged elected delegates)
  • Delegates required for nomination: 2025
  • States already polled: 4 (IowaNew HampshireMichiganNevadaSouth CarolinaFlorida)
  • States yet to be polled: 46
  • Other electorates to be polled: District of Columbia, American Samoa, Democrats abroad, Guam, US Virgin Islands[93]




Presidency 2008

dennis kucinich pollsdennis kucinich pollshillary clinton pollsjohn edwards pollsbarack obama polls

ron paul pollsrudy giuliani pollsjohn mccain pollsmitt romney pollsfred thompson pollsmike huckabee polls

For the first time since 1928, both major parties will have open contests for the Presidential nomination without a sitting President or Vice President in the running. Politics1 presents a "first look" at those people being mentioned as possible, likely, speculative, or draft candidates for President in 2008.

United States presidential election, 2004

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