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Clinton aides hint that now things'll get nasty

While you were sleeping, the chartered jet of the third-place finisher in the Iowa Democratic caucus winged its way from Des Moines to Manchester, N.H. And it sounds like some decisions were made on that plane that may alter the course of that party's presidential race.

At her concession speech in Des Moines on Thursday night, Hillary Clinton was all gracious and determined and smiling. But hours later on that flight someone named Mark Penn, who happens to be her chief political strategist, ominously told a gaggle of reporters, including The Times' Peter Nicholas, that the campaign's focus needs to shift now onto, you might have guessed, someone named Barack Obama.

The Illinois senator happens to be the first-place finisher in those same caucuses and now Clinton, once the inevitable Democratic nominee, is playing catch-up. Things could get nasty with some pretty sharp media contrasts made in coming days, it would seem. "This has been very much a referendum on her,'' said Penn. "And people will take a harder look at the choice and the kind of president who will be needed in these times.''

Penn hinted that the Clinton campaign may be poised to mount a more aggressive campaign in New Hampshire than in Iowa. "Time and again in the Democratic primaries," he said, ...

... "you've seen people latch onto the new, seemingly fresh candidate only to then take a sobering look at the choice they have when it comes down to the end of it. I think you're going to see that again.''

He claimed that Obama's record is comparatively unexplored and he suggested the news media should ask itself about taking a closer look at Obama's history. "Does everyone know everything they need to know about Barack Obama?'' Penn asked. "That's a decision you're going to have to make. I think at this point his record is not very well-known. And she is really well-known. She's fully vetted, fully tested. And I don't think that process has occurred with Barack Obama.''

For weeks now Clinton aides have been threatening on and off the record to use some bad stuff against their chief opponent. First, two of them told conservative columnist Robert Novak that the Clintons had very damaging information on Obama, but they weren't going to use it. Then Billy Shaheen, her New Hampshire co-chair, said that though no Democrat would use Obama's admitted youthful drug use against him, boy, would the Republicans have a field day with that later this year.

Early this morning, Penn told Nicholas that he didn't believe Obama was positioned to win in New Hamsphire, which votes Tuesday. "The only thing Obama has going for him in New Hampshire," Penn added, "is some sense of momentum. Let's see whether or not that sustains itself ... when people really focus in on the choice of picking a president.''

Some adjustments need to be made in the Clinton strategy, Penn admitted. Clinton's strongest appeal in Iowa, he said, was with older voters. Now, she must reach across generational lines. "I think her appeal as we move forward can be broader than it was [in Iowa],'' Penn said. "And I think that will happen.''

The architect of the Clinton campaign claimed that she is still positioned to win the nomination and he sought, as every political strategist would at a time like this, to play down the Iowa setback. "This is a bump in the road," he said. "No question about that. But we're in a very, very strong position to move forward and tackle the challenges that this presents.''

Kinda makes you remember that long internal memo that someone named Mike Henry wrote to Clinton last spring. At the time he was her deputy campaign manager. And he wrote: “My recommendation is to pull completely out of Iowa and spend the money and Senator Clinton’s time on other states. If she walks away from Iowa, she will devalue Iowa — our consistently weakest state.”

At the time the campaign disavowed that leaked document.

But that was last spring. And this is now.

-- Andrew Malcolm

 
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Anyone who has been to an Obama event knows that he and his surrogates spend about half their time bashing Hillary. So the idea that going negative would be a new thing in the Democratic campaign is interesting to me. Why paint the story as if it Hillary's campaign is so horrible for attacking the opponent? Sure, they were in a good position and didn't have to be negative as Obama. But now to turn it against them when Barack has been incredibly negative for so long? Give me a break! Let's be honest and fair.


(Hey, read it again. It's Clinton aides going on the record themselves in this item saying this.)

IOWANS are looking mighty foolish!!!they fell for the oprah sake oil and now the country will judge! they did not research becuase the media has been biased. Obamas change is INEXPERIENCE/RACISM what we do not need!
Truth is "WHEN" OBAMA DID SHOW UP TO VOTE IN SENATE HE VOTED EXACTLY AS CLINTON DID! WHERES THE UNBIASED MEDIA!.
http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2007/mar/29/comparison_of_hillary_and_obama_votes_on_iraq
By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld | bio
Since the comparison of the Iraq positions over the years of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is one of the hottest issues of the campaign, we thought it would be useful to post a comprehensive comparison of all of their votes on everything relating to the Iraq war.
So here it is: A massive compilation of Iraq-related bills — and the votes by Hillary and Obama on them, side by side — beginning in early 2005, when Obama first joined the Senate.
Of the total of 69 votes we compiled — some significant, some not — it turns out that the two differed on only one. You'll see that one in bold on our chart. But let us be clear: We are not posting this to suggest that their earlier difference at the start of the war — their most important difference — should in any way be overshadowed by these similarities. For many, that difference

With great concern, I recall the same kind of undiscerning mass hysteria that we see now in some sectors associated with the rise of Barak Obama, back in 2000 when George W. Bush came out of nowhere and was propped up as the next president. I wish people would slow down a little and really look at what is going on here. Despite his oratory skills and the media having created him as its next "newsworthy" darling, when the next president of the U.S. sits down at the desk, it is going to be another disaster if Barak Obama is sitting there. Barak Obama is simply not prepared to lead the free world. Think people, think! We simply cannot afford to set up another president who is participating in on-the-job-training.

Bye Bye BILLary!

This has been coming for awhile, but no one saw it because in truth the media has been building up Hilliary, not Obama. But, the fact is that Obama is the only canidate that the people demanded run. His campaign was not built on his ego, like the others, it was built on the demands of the people, especially young people. The second clue was how much money he got from small donors, those donations turn into real votes, unlike the huge donations that Hilliary got, which provide fewer votes. The third clue was the internet presence of the Obama supporters who are building him up. The other canidates wish they had that kind of support. Pay attention people, this contest is over.

The Hillary fans are spinning already. Obama spends very little time attacking HIllary, and almost never by name. He takes issue with her policies and approaches. Guess what? It's working!! Isn't it interesting how people in states where both have spent a lot of time turn away from her and toward Obama. What's baffling to me is how Mark Penn thinks more of the same negative attacks will work. If anything that's what hurt her the most. The more mud she threw, the more she dirtied herself. But this is a perfect illustration of why Obama says he should be the choice and not Hillary: how can you do more of the same thing and expect different results? That is, according to psychology texts, one definition of insanity.

Hillary hasn't had an original thought in her head this entire campaign, except for the $5,000 for every baby. Which she quickly dropped. All her other ideas have been stolen from Edwards or Obama. She's even had the audacity to change her campaign signs to be all about "change."

Hillary will be done withnin a month.

The negative Hillary campaign has already started. Her wonks are out in force on the internet. You can recognize their tracks whenever they leave a message because they sound a lot like the first three...all in a row, at the beginning of this comment thread. It's been out in the blogs for a while that her campaign actually pays people to do nothing but fill comment-sections of discussion threads with negatives about Edwards and Obama. They sell fear of Obama and dire warnings instead of attacking his positions on the issues, which is what this election is really about.

The reason Hillary is losing is because people sense she will do or say ANYTHING to become President. At this point she'll self destruct in one of two ways. Either some of her negative campaigning against Obama will sound racist, or someone is going to start throwing negatives back...and mentioning Vincent Foster, Whitewater, and her claims of being a feminist leader while all the while campaigning on the back of her husband's record in office. Let's not forget she refuses to be open and honest and release her records to the public from the Presedential library till AFTER the election. Makes me wonder what she's hiding.

Honestly I'm not a big Obama fan...i like Richardson, but i really dislike Hillary. She's partisan and mean and stubborn (refuses to admit Iraq vote was a mistake). She's a liberal version of George Bush.

No more Clintons or Bushes in the White House please. 20 years is plenty. Lets not make it 28.

This is a great day for America. No doubt the "fun part" of Hillary's campaign will come out as you see in some of the comments of rabid supporters on this blog. Today is America has turned a new page in it's history. Clinton's use of "Rovian" tactics won't work this time. Iowa is NOT the "bump on the road" that her spinners would like us to believe. The vehicle of propaganda is broken. Time to sell it for parts. Folks in Iowa have know her since the early 90's and she's campaigned extremely hard in Iowa. Iowa was the test of whether she could win in a national election and the answer was a resounding NO! She didn't even win her base which was the women voters, Barack took it. This is no fluke. Rudy and McCain can legitimately say they didn't try in Iowa, but not Hillary. We are done with "divider deciders" we've had that for almost two decades. Hillary was correct about one thing in her concession speech last night...she stated it was a great night for Democrats...she's right about that! We clearly have a candidate that speaks to people across the spectrum and does not have to run focus groups to find a position. Her campaign is clearly shaken up. She wasn't even close. 3rd place? John Edwards beat her. Her EMILY's and ATF side organizations couldn't counter the power of the people. Barack will win by a landslide. Last night was the beginning of the end of the Clinton dynasty. The spin machine is a broken record and nobody's listening...Obama '08.

Please do your own investigating, readers. Go to the Hillary site and read her position on issues. Go to the Obama site and ready his position on issues. Read Hillary's books. Read Obama's books. Don't let others' peoples opinions decide your own. Make an investment of your time to find out for yourself. The media has an agenda and slants their representation. All people have opinions and anyone with an opinion wants you to agree with them. People express themselves in ways designed to get you to agree with their opinions.

The worst thing you can do as a voter is let someone else make up your mind.

This is an important election and voting is a sacred right of Americans. Honor those who have died to secure that right for you and spend some time learning FOR YOURSELF who YOU feel is the best candidate. You can find detractors and supporters for every candidate. Even people who are misinforming you sound very believable and informed.

MAKE UP YOUR OWN MINDS AMERICANS!!! DON'T CAVE TO THE MEDIA BIAS AND DEFINITELY DON'T BUY INTO THE VITRIOL YOU SEE ON WEBSITES.

Here we go again , another on the job training. What do people see in Obama. Oprah why dont you take your boy with you and leave us alone.Why do the Democrats like to self distruck, Barack OBama will never win in november no matter what the press will like us to believe.I know that some people want to ease their conscense by votting for Obama so that they will not be accused as racist but this has gone far enough.If Chris Mathews truely believe that America has changed, he should give up his job for a black man because l know of a few who are better than him.The press are jelous of Hillary and cant wait to see her fail.What is it about the Clintons that make the press wet their pants?

I would rather have a president that admited he did drugs like most of us in our youth and with minimal political expereince. If you have 4 more years of the so called expereinced politician nothing will change, with both Republicans and Hillary it will be politics as usual. It is time for a drastic change in this country, and Hillary is not it, a political hag with an ego who wants one thing, power.

You have to be kidding that people are defining who the nomination will go to by Iowa? Not one of the party nominees has won Iowa by the way in the last 4 elections. Obama does not have the experience to deliver in the Oval Office. I believe this country will make a grave mistake by placing their support behind this inexperience.

I am a very firm Democrat and I will never support an Obama ticket...this is a repeat of Bush number 2 with his inexperience. People are voting for Oprah not for Obama and that just makes me Ill that someone who is in the public eye can step in and sway enough people to switch their vote based on nothing solid. ALL I HEAR FROM HIM IS ... "its time for a change" I hear no clear plan on how he thinks he can make that change.

I also am not comfortable with his Islamic schooling background...why has no attention to details like this been made! For christ sake the islamic people believe its perfectly ok to kill people who do not believe as they do and they will be honored in heaven. He was very quick to pronounce the fact he was a "christian" despite the fact he was schooled in an islamic school as a child.

Bush has set this country up for failure in my opinion when the next president takes over and I do not feel Obama is the man who can dig us out of the trenches. Lets hope people don't elect Oprah, I mean Obama over Hillary because if they Democrats chose Him over Her .. the Republicans are a sure win in 2008 elections.

Mark Penn has learned nothing and will just use the same strategy as before: being nasty and racist. Americans don't want that anymore. But he will just not learn. Barack Obama is the best candidate, and even the Clinton-promoters here know it. He has more experience with using good judgement than Clinton and it showed in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Penn will have to deal with his own statements....

http://zennie2005.blogspot.com/2008/01/clinton-campaign-head-mark-penn-says-he.html

Did anyone notice that at Hillary's concession speech, she was claiming the mantle of change (stealing this line from Obama, really). But then as the camera panned out, Hillary was flanked by 1990s figures Madeline Albright and Bill Clinton -- looking old, creaky and battle-worn. (Interesting that Hillary's strongest supporters are 65+ set.) Obama's victory speech, on the other hand, had "fired up, ready to go" young students surrounding him. Also note that Hillary made that (admittedly, humorous -- and perhaps even spontaneous?) crack about Republicans, while Obama invited Republicans to join him, overcoming partisanship. Hillary says she has the "experience," but I don't want to relive this experience.

Obama in '08!

So Hillary wants to out-Romney, Romney. Well, we know how well Romney did in Iowa after out-spending his opponent 20 to 1. Hopefully Hillary will follow a similar strategy in NH to lose mightily against Obama. In the last few years, she has proven herself a betrayer of her principles. She supported the Bush bankruptcy bill that took all the rights from the middle class and gave them to the credit card companies and the banks. She supported the Iraqi War, until it became unpopular. She supported that war resolution against Iran not too long ago. The 70s Hillary would never have voted for the 21st century Hillary. It is unfortunate.

GET FIRED UP AND READY TO GO!! Hillary is history. Obama is the future.

Gee, I have been saying this for MONTHS. Who is this man Obama? and why in the world would we elect him? he has gotten a free pass from the media for 11 months. It is time to go after him. Dig up his past. I want to know what makes this senator with 1 year of experience in the senate think he can be president. And the media needs to start doing its job - not letting Obama have a free ride as it has until now.

KAREN FOR PRESIDENT!!!!

No truer words have ever been said.

To all all Obama/Oprah & Hillary/Bill Haters. :p

Obama may not be perfect. But I do believe he is a brilliant man that will actually reason with the other side as much as possible given the political climate. I believe a Obama- Dodd ticket would mean a very reasoned, effective administration ( throw in Biden for Secretary of State) I believe he is the only candidate that gives this nation a chance to believe in the ideals that many of us want. When I close my eyes and imagine Hillary in the White house I see further division and the country and at best staying put with corporatist policies. When I close my eye and see Barack Obama being sworn in, I see the county moving forward, and taking a step towards changing what many of us envision the America we believe still exists.

John Edwards says some very compelling things, but I know too much about his work in the senate. His new populist message sounds too much like a man trying to create differentiation, but does not believe his own words.

Hillary does not need to be made a villain in all of this. She is just a cog in the big machine we are all tired of dealing with. I can simply put it this way, I do not trust her, but she is not a villain.

This is still a great country, and last night’s election proves just that.

Well, if the writing skills, logic and spelling of the anti-Obama opinions on this page are an indicator of anything, he has my vote. (How can you misspell so many words when the input box here has a spell checker?!)) Islamic schooling, Joe? Are you serious? The scary thing is that you probably are.

What should I infer from the fact that the Obama supporters are so much more articulate and well-reasoned than his detractors? A delta in IQ perhaps?

This election has shown that young people will come out if a candidate inspires them and that candidate is Barack Obama. This Iowa election has also shown that independents support Barack Obama and we need independents to win in November. Independents will not support Clinton. She is the worst nominee for the Democrats. And John Edwards is getting so angry. He doesn't have the temperament to be President. Obama has an even temperament. He is the one we need.

Nights like last night make me proud to be an American. Commenters like Joe make me question that all over again.

(1) "Not one of the party nominees has won Iowa ... in the last 4 elections"? What about Kerry in 2004? Bush and Gore in 2000? Not liking the truth doesn't make it okay to outright lie about it.

(2) "People are voting for Oprah not for Obama"? Oprah doesn't mean much to me - I'm a 27-year-old male - or any of my friends. We're all voting for Obama.

(3) "I also am not comfortable with his Islamic schooling background"? The change will be when racist slurs and other Clinton/Rove campaign machinations like this stop fooling people like you. Obama went to a public school in a secular muslim country; this is no more a muslim school than PS 421 in New York is a Christian school. Just because someone once lived in another country doesn't make him a mujahideen towelhead terrorist.

Finally, the "Obama can't win in November" argument: I have yet to see a hypothetical general election matchup where Obama doesn't do better than Clinton. Half of the country already detests Hillary and always will. See http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/3-0&fp=477ec03d9493cb71&ei=V1h-R7ruKIT2-wHjssGgDQ&url=http%3A//www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/12/29/electability_democrats/&cid=0 for an example.

Nothing new here - the Clintons are nasty and vindictive people who feel entiteld to live in the WHite House. They forgive no one except convicted drug dealers or white collar crime fugitives who have piad for pardons by donating big bucks to the campaign chests. (or to the morally challenged Rodham brothers) How I would love to have Obabama to vote for! I am a white , well-educated. well-to-do woman.of Hillary's age who was happy to see the fake smile frozen on her smug face last night. I had been hoping that this battery-operated robot would fall on her big butt in Iowa.
Her brothers took money for pardons; his has a couple of felony drug convictions,; his Arkansas campaign manager has written that he used state troopers to solicit women for him; and they're both congernital liars as David Geffen has pointed out. He lost me at "smoked but didn't inhale" Please.
I find it weird that Billary supporters yak on about lack of foreign policy experience. They were singing a different tune when Arkansas's good ol' boy Governor was running. Obama has far more experience than Bill ever had. and Hillary's was all by osmosis apparently.
The only foreign policy experience you'd get in Little Rock would be deciding what to serve for brunch if an agricultural delegation from Kazakhstan showed up.
The recent hints dropped that Hill helped resolve the Northern iIeland impassse are ludicrous. WIll she now also take responsibility for dropping the ball in Rwanda?.
Go Obama!

The negative campaign is "GOING TO START"???

What do you call kindergate, racist Muslim and drug dealing smears, playing the gender card? And where has that gotten her but a 30-point drop in the polls in the past two months and a but-whoopin' in Iowa!?

Well, Hillary, I guess a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. Go for it.

But at this point I would expect that the same tactics would have the same result and she will tank.


I just received my overseas absentee ballot and promptly marked it for Barack Obama. America is not about political dynasties; I voted for hope and change and opportunity. David Peck

Hillary's has 50% negatives. So she is a polarizing figure. We need someone who can bring this country together,not divide it. Obama seems to unite the right and the left. Democrats,Repulbicans,and independents all like Obama. H

I can't believe the veiled racist comments about Barack Obama."Oprah why dont you take your boy" All one has to do is LISTEN to the two candidates. Go watch Obama's acceptance speech. The choice is between a failed machine politics and something that has the promise of something new. Remember, Clinton politics has ALWAYS been about Clinton. It has NEVER been about ideas or the party. Shoiuld Clinton get the nomination, she will have NO coat-tails, just like her husband had none. Obama offers the hope of something new. I am a member of the AFT, and I was appalled that they endorsed Clinton. Just imagine what an Obama candidacy and presidency might be like if he DID NOT feel beholden to the labor movement and to the Clintonista machine. Imagine the consternation in corporate boardrooms and union executive offices when they realize that the Democratic nominee didn't need them to win, that they have no hooks in him. We can anticipate new lows in racist, xenophobic attacks from the Clinton surrogates, whether they are Bob Kerrey or a campaign chair in New Hampshire.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the song without the words
And never stops at all.

In this moment of post-Iowa enthusiasm, Obama seems just like Dickinson's bird.

HILLARY'S THEME SONG IS "CAN'T BUY ME LOVE" --With a virtually unlimited campaign war chest, support of the Democratic Establishment, entrenched interests and endorsements galore, the story is that Hillary was a THIRD PLACE FINISHER in Iowa. So what do Mark Penn & the Clintonista's promise New Hampshire and the rest of America? A NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN. You see Hillary cannot win if this campaign is about who and what she is. The Clinton Legacy is largely fictional. Hillary & Bill are American Frauds. For Hillary to win, the Clinton Campaign must suppress voter turnout, alienate the electorate, blur the line between her and the other candidates, sandbag them at every turn, steal their message, triangulate issues and paint Obama as some dangerous inexperienced black man. Make no mistake that in short that is the CLINTON PLAYBOOK. Also further expect a laundry list of promises and policy initatives aimed at every interest group in America. GOOGLE: Clinton Cocaine Mena Arkansas Bimbo Eruptions Bush Connection Vince Foster Suicide Murder Web Hubbell. Hillary used New York as a platform for her Presidential ambitions and will use America for the greater good of her own ambition

I was once one of Hillary's biggest fans, when she was the first lady. Now she has shown an extraordinarily blind arrogance, assured that simply her name and background are enough to be crowned. And her touted "experience"? What has she done independent of her husband? Has she ever shown ANY courage or independent thinking as senator for, er. . ., New York?

Everyone has to think about the larger costs to the country of a HIllary Clinton presidency. We are looking at a QUARTER CENTURY of presidents named only Bush and Clinton. Are we a mature democracy or a 19th century monarchy? Have we not learned our lesson with Bush Jr.? The only thing worse than someone thinking he can inherit political power is an electorate allowing him to do so. No, there's something even worse: An electorate letting it happen again (and again).

We need to clearly think about the nature of "bashing" or "attacking" an opponent. I would suggest that focusing on an opponent;s policies and their positions is not bashing or attacking if there is not a nasty deprecating tone to these comments. Using this standard, I don't think Senator Obama has violated the standard he is espousing.

We will see in the days ahead if Senator Clinton's campaign, and Obama himself, move toward negative, bashing attack ads. I hope not. I want to see a good race without mudslinging.

I certainly do hope the campaigns, in fact, read all these comments (it does seem apparent that they pay people to post the daily "party line"). If Obama's people are reading this thread then they are getting a glimpse of the strategy that We the People can expect to be hearing a great deal of from the Billary camp in the coming weeks...Obama = Bush Jr. That's the line apparently. Well, I also started hearing the rebuttal and, as a long time disfranchised voter activist, I like it better...experienced politicians are what have destroyed this country. People whose political careers mean more to them than the careers of ordinary Americans they are supposed to be serving. Career politicians only serve one constituent...the almighty dollar.

I like Obama. I like the energy and enthusiasm he instills in the young people who have to find a way to rebuild this horrible mess called Amerika. That said, I'm not convinced he's the guy either but not because Billary says so. My prayer is that, going into the convention, there is not a clear winner. After two rounds of balloting and a deadlock, the delegates draft Albert Gore to serve as the Democratic nominee and he selects Obama to run as his VP.

God help us all if we stick with bu$ine$$ as usual...it will be the Fall of the American Empire (which really isn't all that bad thing).

I am not paid by the Clinton campaign to leave comments.

I watched Obama's speech last night, and it sounded great.

Still, I don't think he knows the ways of Washington to be able to make the changes he wants. Hillary does - she is more detailed, more nuanced, more experienced in the "system." If this make me sound like a cynic, so be it. But Obama is a great speaker - it just really bothers me that he would vote "present" so much back in the Illinois legislature.

You'll see on Tuesday - Hillary will be back on top.

So the Borg Queen is going to get nasty, huh? Are we surprised? The woman is desperate...I'll bet she's cussing a blue streak and back to throwing lamps at Bill. The fact is, Obama doesn't need to lead the free world all by himself, he just needs to have the wisdom and courage to pick the very best people he can find to help him. Kennedy did it with The Best and The Brightest, and I think Obama will too. No cronies allowed...although Barack doesn't strike me as the "Crony type", unlike Hilary, who probably has all sorts of unsavory cronies lurking around.

I am an independent who has become a Democrat as a result of George Bush. But under no circustance will I vote for Clinton.This country can do better. Why would the democratic party pick a person who is "HATED" by 40% of the people? She is the only democrat that can lose!!!
When we reward top executives with compensation 500 times the average wage in a company, there is something wrong.Steves Jobs is the exception! The thought of a republican making the supreme court more imbalanced is horrible, but it pales when I think of Hillary and Bill in the White House again! She is a bigger threat than Osama to world peace. If the public can connect to Tiger Woods, then Obama should not be a problem at all.

Too bad Edwards didn't win. He'd make a great VP to Obama, but I can't imagine he'd want to go that route again.

Honestly, what are people afraid about on the Obama drug use issue? All these dire warnings about how Republicans will have a field day with this issue are highly delusional. All Obama has to say, and what he will say, is, something like what Bush said "when I was young and foolish I did young and foolish things. I regret my choices then, and urge people not to make the mistakes I made. America is a forgiving nation. I sinned. I have repented. And by the way, maybe we shouldn't be so harsh on those who are make the drug use mistake and get caught up in the legal system... offer them what every person deserves... a second chance."

He can spin a great narrative of sin and redemption. Really, what are the Repbulicans going to be able to say to that?

Nobody even cares that much about drug use as an issue, and those who do care about it, can be helped to understand it in the sin and redemption framing. This is not only not an Obama disadvantage... it is potentially a defining moment in a debate and potentially a plus for his candidacy. He's just smart of enough to figure that out.

Anyway, time to end dynastic politics..... let's hope Clinton fades fast.

Thank you Karen! Make up you own minds, people. Don't let the media make them up for you. Do your research, know the issues, know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to you. Listen to the candidates speak, watch the debates. Make your OWN choice!

Thank God the American democrats have a real choice for president. I personelly supported John Edwards but Barrack Obama is a good second choice. Any body but Hillary is my option.

Steve: I am trying to determine if you are a Hillary camp paid sock - puppet or getting your info from Fox News.
Obama went to an international school in Indonesia, was never a muslim, nor had no "muslim upbringing".
I am also curious as to those spinning an equivalency between Bush Junior and Obama- how starkly different can two politicians be? On the job training is a requirement for EVERY president- no one has background in running the free world. I personally find quite incredible that Hillary rests on her background as the overseer of state dinners at the white house as a job preparation. What were her official capacities as first lady? We know what happened to the one crack she had on policy from the White house... remember the health care debacle?

I saw Obama's acceptance speech. He's a great orator and a great communicator. He's got this "change"thing down to a science. It's easy to see why people find him to be an attractive candidate. That said, I still don't know what his message is. Platitudes and generalities only go so far.

Sure, the country hates Washington and all it stands for. No question that the system is broken. But, it's still the system. If optimism could carry the day, that would be great. Yet something tells me that it takes a seasoned, experienced, trained mechanic to repair a car and that Washington is no different.

For all her flaws -- and she has plenty -- Hillary has the "manufacturer's certified factory training" to go in there and pull out the broken parts. Obama may be able to do it on instinct alone, but how do we know?

Every time voters send the anti-Washington candidate to the White House -- Jimmy Carter, George W Bush -- they fail to get the job done for the American people. It's just like, is the girl you like to date have what it takes to be a good wife? Obama's a great trophy to take to the dance but plain, drab Hillary seems more like the ultimate keeper.

Joe above, you are a disgusting pig. To insinuate anything about Obama having an "Islamic schooling background' first of all is completely fabricated and false. Second, although I should have known better, I would never have guessed that Clintonistas would be so desperate to rescue their sinking ship as to impugn the integrity and values of such a great man who serves, need I remind you, as a US Senator from Illinois. But more noteworthy, this attempt to interject racism and deep-seated prejudices that are the hallmark of America's other major party, into the Democratic Party process is plain unconscionable. Joe, people like you, attempting to make up lies and false filth about any of our good Democratic candidates, ought to be ashamed.

You are the problem in the Democratic Party, if you are indeed even a Democrat.

Not that Iowa is representative of the entire country, but how could the media, the pundits and the candidates all be so clueless about the mood of the American public? People are tired of the posturing, the nasty sniping and many of us feel like only business interests and the wealthy are being represented.

Hillary seems willing to say anything to get elected, but somehow she fails to get that all her "I'm the most qualified" harping paints her as representing the status quo. Sorry, the coronation Hillary expected didn't happen this time. And if her aides 'get nasty' as the article reports, that is just going to turn even more people off.

It's exactly the same on the other side of the coin; Mitt Romney thought he could buy the nomination, another guy who will say anything to get a vote. But Mitt also comes off as just one more of the poseurs Washington is awash in.

Perhaps everyone involved in this election could take a moment to step out of their shared reality distortion zone and stop reading their own press releases to listen to what the American public actually wants and needs? People are attracted to Senator Obama and Governor Hucabee because they both seem attuned to what people outside the beltway think and are concerned about; jobs, accessible health insurance and integrity in government to name a few.

No matter who ultimately wins, America will be well served if the new President is someone thoughtful and concerned about real people. Over-hyped windbags take note!

Ummm NORMAN Y HSU?

To Joe:

Your comments about your unrest with Obama's Islamic schooling background are somewhat disturbing. Specifically, the following comment: "For christ [sic] sake the islamic [sic] people believe its [sic] perfectly ok to kill people who do not believe as they do and they will be honored in heaven." You may have been made ill by the fact that "people are voting for Oprah not for Obama," but I am made ill not so much by your lack of knowledge about Islam, but more by your willingness to make comments about the religion when you clearly do not know very much about it. Muslims do not believe they will go to heaven for killing those who are not Muslims. Rather, a small group of misguided Muslims believe that. One has to keep in mind that many religious traditions have some blood in their histories, and Christianity, the predominant faith in the USA, is no exception. I say this not to defend religious violence; I believe that killing people because they believe differently from you is a terrible thing. Indeed, looking to the example of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's example of what people should try to be like, shows that people were shocked by how respectful he was of people who chose different belief systems. That claim is one that anyone with any knowledge of Islam can substantiate, and I'm happy to do so if emailed and asked to do such.

My real question here is the following: before making comments about Islam, how many people actually try to learn more about the religion than is presented in the media? How about when you're making your decision of which candidate to vote for? That is an important decision, and represents a fundamental American value: not just to vote, but do so with knowledge about candidates and what you are voting for. Please, rather than making ill-informed comments about religions, try to learn something about the religions. Once you know something about the religion, then feel free to criticize and make comments. Never am I intending to stifle discussion about Islam; I recognize that it's not perfect and that there is much to be discussed. However, it's impossible to do so until people know what they're talking about.

Barak Obama is the real deal, finally a candidate who can stand up to the venemous politics of our time with forcefulness and integrity. It has been a long time since we have seen this, probably since the Kennedy's. We have had other good people enter the political arena (Jimmy Carter), but did not have the forcefulness and strength to unite us, Barak does. I am amazed at the hate a genuine person still generates, as is seen in many of the above comments. Where is the depth, the thoughtfulness, in the above comments? So emotional, and baseless... Let yourself believe in a new day and in the power of the goodness of humanity, that we can unite, and that this is the true answer to our world's problems, not power or experience with "playing politics." Hope, my friends, exists in us all, extinguish your cynicism and fear, and learn to smile with joy once again...

Where in your blog is the so-called "hint" from Hillary's aides? There's no quote or evidence that anyone said this. You reference previous acts and quotes, but nothing about some new strategy of nastiness. It seems that you're manipulating information so you can have a headline that gets a hit online.

After listening to several of Obama's speech's, he reminds me of JFK when he ran for office. JFK was more or less branded the same as Obama is. Too young, no experience, etc. But JFK surrounded himself with very good advisers. Why wouldn't Obama do the same? But this run for office has a long way to go, and trying to decide who is going to win right now is a toss-up.

But it seems like the majority of people, my self included, have had enough of 20 years of the same two family's running this country. We sure need a change, hopefully for the better, and I don't feel that Hilliary will give us much of a change. If by chance she does win, and becomes the first women president, the GOP had better watch out. I'm sure she has some scores to settle.

Yes, no more Clintons or Bushes. There is a status conference on Jan. 15 in the historic civil suit in Los Angeles, Paul v Clinton. She is going to be under oath before the election, and discovery in the case is finally going to reveal an unprecedented campaign finance fraud.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7007109937779036019&pr=goog-sl

Joe, I think you need to become a little more informed before spouted such idiotic nonsense. Maybe you are of the mental level that Oprah's opinion has an effect on you (it seems you would go against something, just because she was for it). You have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Islam. Historically, it has been far more tolerant of others than Christianity. If you are a very firm Democrat, then I hope you are not symbolic of your party. Because if you are, then the moral ambiguity and corruption is the defining characteristic of both parties.

I have only two comments and you can run with it as you please:

1. Hillary is a woman first and if women are naturally entrusted by God to raise our CHILDREN, Hillary can definitely be entrusted to raise OUR NATION.

1. People you are voting for Obama, not Oprah!! Obama is not going to give you a free TV or build you a house.

Poster Joe, why do you say that "Not one of the party nominees has won Iowa by the way in the last 4 elections"? John Kerry, Al Gore, George W. Bush, and Bob Dole all won Iowa and got the nomination. You are either a Republican or a Clinton operative who is terrified of Obama. Hillary is a good person who is going to be the senator from New York until the day she dies. Which is great. Obama has what it takes to lead the country and the world to a better place. God Bless the people of Iowa for choosing him. And remember -- Iowa is 96% white! That means Obama is totally electable. He trounced Clinton and Edwards and will trounce the Republican nominee.

Mark Penn is either intellectually dishonest or truly delusional to believe that New Hampshire is still a media designated 'firewall" for the Clinton campaign. Considering that independants overwhelmingly voted for the Obama campaign in the Iowa causus, that New Hampshire has an open primary that allows independant voters and republicans to vote in the Democratic primaries, and New Hampshire voters tendency to be anti-establishment, Obama should win that primary as well. South Carolina is a lock for the Obama campaign because of the historical significance of him being the first African American president will trump any past loyalty African Americans feel towards Bill Clinton. With the momentum, better organization, equal financial resoureces, and proof of potential support from cross over republican voters and independants in the general election, Feb. 5th will be a sweep for the Obama campaign. The media will still downplay every accomplishment that Obama campaign makes and spin the potential Hillary comeback scenario, but there are no polling trends to support it.

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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