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More headlines: Barack Obama on Principles & Values

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Used Hillary's 2001 Senate transition as model

In Feb. 2005, Obama sought Hillary's advice. Obama was impressed with how Clinton handled her transition from the White House to the Senate in 2001. He knew that his megawatt status could prove problematic in a hidebound institution where noses easily went out of joint. He wanted Hillary's assistance in navigating the minefield stretched out before him.

Clinton believed that success in the Senate required the sublimation of the ego (or a credible facsimile thereof). And the advice she offered Obama based on that theory was clear and bullet-point concise: Keep your head down. Avoid the limelight. Get on the right committees. Go to hearings. Do your homework. Build up a substantive portfolio. And never forget the care & feeding of the people who sent you here.

During that first year together in the Senate, Obama would approach her often on the floor (something he did with other colleagues only rarely), and she always took time to chat with him quietly, to try to steer him in the right direction.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p. 24-25 Jan 11, 2010

To Hillary: You didn't run to be vice president

[After Hillary withdrew] only one thing mattered: whether Clinton would be Obama's running mate. Many of Clinton's supporters considered the veep slot Hillary's due.

Clinton's ambivalence at the prospect was deep. If Obama offered her the #2 spot, Hillary DID feel she would have to take it--but mainly to avoid being blamed if she declined and then Obama lost. Hillary found it difficult to muster any enthusiasm for it. "I've already done that job," she said.

Obama's view of the matter was complicated, too. He respected and admired Hillary, but he wondered if she would ever be able to see herself as his subordinate. There was also the issue of the baggage she brought: You can't have three presidents in the White House, Obama told some friends.

Obama indicated he was willing to vet her, but that he was unlikely to pick her. Then, as if to make Clinton feel better, but actually putting the sting in the tail, Obama added, "You didn't run to be vice-president."

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.261 Jan 11, 2010

Bill Ayers is not & will not be involved with my campaign

Q: Sen. McCain, your commercials have included words like “disrespectful,” “dangerous,” “dishonorable,” “he lied.” Your running mate said he “palled around with terrorists.”

McCAIN: On Mr. Ayers: I don’t care about an old washed-up terrorist. But as Sen. Clinton said in her debates with you, we need to know the full extent of that relationship.

OBAMA: Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s campaign over the last 2 or 3 weeks. So let’s get the record straight. Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago. Forty years ago, when I was 8 years old, he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. I have roundly condemned those acts. Ten years ago he served and I served on a school reform board. Other members on that board were University presidents who happen to be a Republican. Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. He has never been involved in this campaign. And he will not advise me in the White House. So that’s Mr. Ayers.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against John McCain Oct 15, 2008

FactCheck: Spoke at ACORN events, as well as court case

The Statement: Sen. Obama, discussing his connections to Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, said “the only involvement I’ve had with ACORN” was representing them in a voter registration case in Illinois.

The Facts:ACORN, a grass-roots community organizing group, faces allegations of filing fraudulent voter registrations in several states. Sen. John McCain, reflecting rising Republican concerns about ACORN, said at the debate “we need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama’s relationship with ACORN.“

While ACORN said Obama ”never organized with or worked for ACORN,“ it does mention other ties. Obama ”accepted two invitations to be an unpaid guest speaker at training for volunteer community leaders organized by Chicago ACORN“ in the early 1990s.

The Verdict:False. Obama’s legal work was his only professional tie to the group, but he also spoke at group events, and his campaign had a contract with a group that worked with ACORN.

Source: CNN FactCheck on 2008 third presidential debate Oct 15, 2008

My associates are Warren Buffet, Paul Volcker, & Sen. Lugar

McCAIN: Sen. Obama chooses to associate with a guy who in 2001 said that he wished he had have bombed more, and he had a long association with him. It’s the fact that all the details need to be known about Sen. Obama’s relationship with them and with ACORN.

OBAMA: Let me tell you who I associate with. On economic policy, I associate with Warren Buffett and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. If I’m interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden or wit Dick Lugar, the Republican ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO. Those are the people, Democrats and Republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House. And the fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against John McCain Oct 15, 2008

Biden has knowledge, long career, and cares

Q: Why is your running mate better suited to become President?

OBAMA: Joe Biden is one of the finest public servants that has served in this country. It’s not just that he has some of the best foreign policy credentials of anybody. It’s also that he has never forgotten where he came from, fighting on behalf of working families, remembering what it’s like to see his father lose his job and go through a downward spiral economically.

McCAIN: Sarah Palin took on a governor who was a member of her own party when she ran for governor. When she was the head of their energy and natural resources board, she saw corruption, she resigned. She’s given money back to the taxpayers. She’s cut the size of government. She negotiated with the oil companies and faced them down.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against John McCain Oct 15, 2008

The Ownership Society really means “you’re on your own”

Why would McCain define middle-class as someone making under $5,000,000 a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations & oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement? It’s not because McCain doesn’t care. It’s because McCain doesn’t get it. He’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy--give more to those with the most and hope prosperity trickles down to everyone else. They call it the Ownership Society, but what it really means is--you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps--even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own. Well, it’s time for them to own their failure.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention Aug 27, 2008

To John McCain: We all put our country first

What I will not do is suggest that McCain take his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism. The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America--they have served the United States of America. So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention Aug 27, 2008

The Republicans make a big election about small things

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing unwanted pregnancies. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the 2n Amendment while keeping AK-47s from criminals. There are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise--where we can find the strength and grace to bridg divides and unite in common effort. If you don’t have any fresh ideas, you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention Aug 27, 2008

Ally Tony Rezko indicted for kickbacks from Gov. Blagojevich

The Chicago Sun-Times identified 15 building projects that Tony Rezko redeveloped while represented by the Chicago law firm during the time Obama was a lawyer working at the firm. All the projects were financial disasters.

Rezko managed 30 projects in total, including 11 that were in Obama's state senate district. Foreclosures followed by abandoned properties are the legacy of the Rezko low-income-housing empire.

The Sun-Times exposed the fact that Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Rezko's successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens. The development, Cottage View Terrace, opened in 2002, providing 97 apartments for low-income senior citizens. The letters appear to contradict statements from Obama that he never did any favors for Rezko.

Rezko was indicted in 2007 on federal charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state business under Gov. Blagojevich.

Source: Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi, p.162-163 Aug 1, 2008

Don't take a chance on me; take a chance on your aspirations

A major contributing cause of Obama's liberal borrowing of previously used political language is Campaign Manager David Axelrod, who appears to have tried out much of Obama's 2008 campaign language in the Deval Patrick gubernatorial campaign in 2006 in Massachusetts.

On Feb. 18, the Clinton campaign charged that a speech by Obama included a passage nearly identical to one in a speech delivered two years earlier by Deval Patrick. That same day, a second video clip was posted on YouTube.com showing Obama copying from yet another Patrick speech, nearly word for word, again without attribution to Patrick.

Patrick said, "I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations." Obama said: "I'm not asking you to take a chance on me. I'm also asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Obama issued a nondenial denial: "Deval and I do trade ideas all the time, and you know, he's occasionally used lines of mine. I used some words of his."

Source: Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi, p.226-227 Aug 1, 2008

GovWatch: Wears flag pin to deflect anti-patriotism critics

Barack Obama said on October 4th 2007, “Right after 9/11, I had a pin. [But] that became a substitute for true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.”

Anybody notice how the American flag pin has become an almost permanent part of Barack Obama’s wardrobe these days? A few months ago, Obama rarely, if ever, wore the flag pin. Then he started wearing a pin occasionally, claiming it’s a matter of personal whim and his choice of outfits. Nowadays, you rarely see Obama without a pin in his lapel. By contrast, John McCain rarely wears a flag pin.

Obama is unconvincing when he claims that his decision on whether or not to wear the flag in his lapel comes down to the suit he is wearing on any particular day. Political campaigns spend untold hours obsessing over such image questions. A more plausible explanation for his embrace of the flag pin is that he wants to defuse the patriotism debate.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis Jun 17, 2008

Suggesting that I plagiarized Deval Patrick is silly

Q: Clinton accused you of plagiarism [of a speech by MA Gov. Deval Patrick]. How do you respond?

A: It’s not a lot of speeches. There are two lines in speeches that I’ve been giving over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been campaigning now for the last 2 years. Patrick is a national co-chairman of my campaign, and suggested an argument that I share, that words are important. Words matter. The implication that they don’t I think diminishes how important it is to speak to the American people directly about making America as good as its promise. Barbara Jordan understood this as well as anybody. That I had plagiarized from somebody who was one of my national co-chairs who gave me the line and suggested that I use it is silly, and this is where we start getting into silly season, in politics, and people start getting discouraged about it. What we shouldn’t be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Don’t seat MI & FL delegates; they’re based on non-campaign

Q: Sen. Clinton won the primary in Massachusetts. Would you urge your superdelegates, such as Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, to follow the will of the people, and back Sen. Clinton at the convention?

A: Well, here’s what I think is important. We’ve got to make sure that whoever wins the most votes, the most states, the most delegates, that they are the nominee [and not] somehow overturned by party insiders.

Q: What do you think should happen, then, to the delegates in Michigan and Florida? Shouldn’t their votes be counted?

A: You know, all we’ve done in this process is to just follow the rules as they’ve been laid out. We abided by the rules that had been set up by the DNC, so we didn’t campaign there.

Q: Is Sen. Clinton trying to change the rules in the middle of the game?

A: It certainly wouldn’t be fair to allocate delegates based on a non-campaign. We did not campaign in those states. So there may be ways that we can manage this--having a caucus for example

Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008

FactCheck: Obama praised GOP for having ideas, not GOP ideas

Clinton attacked Obama for supposedly supporting Republican ideas, saying Obama “has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years.” Obama pushed back, saying he had never endorsed such notions.

Clinton is referring to what Obama told the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal on Jan. 14: “The Republican approach has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, it’s all tax cuts.“

There’s a difference between praising someone for having ideas and praising the idea itself. Obama is doing the former--and just as clearly not doing the latter. He says the GOP approach has ”played itself out,“ for example.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. Debate Jan 21, 2008

Objected to Republican ideas; did not compliment them

CLINTON: Obama has said that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote. They were bad ideas for America. They were ideas like privatizing Social Security, like moving back from a balanced budget and a surplus to deficit and debt. Obama have a lot of money that you want to put into foreign aid, a very worthy program. There is no evidence as to how you would pay for it. It’s important because elections are about the future.

OBAMA I did not compliment Republican ideas. That is not true. What I said was is that Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to. While I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, Clinton was a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart. What I said had nothing to do with their policies.

Source: [Xref Clinton] 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. debate Jan 21, 2008

Made the right decisions that were not politically popular

I opposed legislation that now is being used against me politically to make sure that juveniles were not put in the criminal justice system as adults, even though it was not the smart thing to do politically. It was not smart for me to oppose the war at the start of this war, but I did so because it was the right thing to do. Don’t question the fact that on issue after issue that is important to the American people, I haven’t simply followed, I have led.
Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

On “inexperience”: he wrote policy books that media ignores

The greatest barrier to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has been the attacks on his qualifications by the press. Over and over again, the media damned Obama as inexperienced. [One pundit writes], “He is young, the youngest in the field. He is very inexperienced compared to other candidates.” Another noted, “Obama’s biggest problem may not be that he’s black but that he’s green.”

The idea of Obama as inexperienced was not merely unproven but the opposite of truth. Since the details of Obama’s life have already been extensively covered in his own books, journalists have little new to do except trying to find holes in Obama’s story.

As Obama noted, “I’ve written two very detailed books that give people a pretty good window into my heart and soul. I’ve given policy speeches on just about every important issue.” It was the media that didn’t want to talk about policies, not Obama. Yet in the media spotlight, the horse race always prevails over policy debates.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p. 25-27 Oct 30, 2007

Don’t know if life beyond earth; focus on life here on earth

Q: The three astronauts of Apollo 11 who went to the moon back in 1969, all said that they believe there is life beyond Earth. Do you agree? A: I don’t know. I don’t presume to know. What I know is there is life here on Earth, and we’re not attending to life here on Earth. We’re not taking care of kids who are alive and not getting health care. We’re not taking care of senior citizens who are alive and are seeing their heating prices go up. As president, those are the people I will be attending to first
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

The Plan: Raise Obama’s profile, including African adventure

Obama’s journey to Africa had been planned since early 2005. It was one of the final pieces of The Plan, the two-year outline to keep Obama’s star rising and his political power at its highest ebb. The trip became the focus of enormous media attention.

Since Obama’s election to the US Senate, Kenyans had adopted him as one of their own, and his rapid ascent to political power in the US had made him a living folk hero in the East African nation, especially among his father’s native tribe, the Luo. A beer named for Obama had gone on the Kenyan market (Senator Beer); a school in rural Kenya was named in his honor; and a play based on his Dreams Memoir had been staged at the Kenyan National Theater.

Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.322-325 Aug 14, 2007

Assigned RFK’s Senate desk; invokes RFK regularly

Obama’s youth, energy, and idealism, not to mention his good looks, have inspired comparisons to JFK & RFK.

It is JFK’s younger brother who was a witty, eloquent, dashing, and politically progressive, 40-something freshman junior senator from a large northern industrial state when he ran for president in 1968, to whom Barack is most frequently compared. Bobby Kennedy, who sat at the same desk Obama was assigned when he first sat in the Senate chamber and who was sworn in on January 4, 1965, 40 years to the day before his political descendant, launched his quest as the electorate was despairing under the rising death count of a badly conceived and ill-defined, no-end-in-sight war.

When Obama invokes Kennedy, he sounds as if he could be reading a passage from his own book. “In a nation torn by war and divided against itself, he was able to look us in the eye and tell us that no matter... how persistent the poverty or the racism, no matter how far adrift America strayed, hope would come again.”

Source: Hopes and Dreams, by Steve Dougherty, p. 21-24 Feb 15, 2007

Hopefund PAC donated $500K to Democratic Senate candidates

In 2005, Sen. Barack Obama created Hopefund, a political committee, with the goal of promoting the candidacies of leaders who are committed to changing the course of our nation to ensure the promise of America for future generations. Already, Hopefund has made contributions to Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2006 and helped raise nearly half a million to help the Democrats take back the US Senate. Our activities will not be limited to the US Senate: Hopefund will be our vehicle to help shape the debate for Democrats around the country.
Source: PAC website, HopeFundAmerica.com, “About Barack” Nov 17, 2006

Convention speech understood country yearns for unity

Pro’s and Con’s: He gave the keynote at the 2004 Democratic convention

Pro: He was inspiring.

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America--there is the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America: there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who oppose the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes.
Words that will be long remembered. It is hard to imagine writing a history of this period without referring to this speech because Obama did such a find job of capturing the spirit of national unity.
Source: Should Barack Obama be President, by F. Zimmerman, p. 17 Oct 17, 2006

Unflinching progressive but ok to downstate conservatives

[Obama is] unflinchingly progressive in a state that looks at progressives in a kind of schizophrenic way. People like the late Paul Simon, one of state’s most respected politicians, was also liberal, but he was from a downstate district where most of the voters are generally more conservative. Obama has managed to appeal to this wide range of voters in much the same way that Simon did.
Source: Salim Muwakkil and Amy Goodman, Democracy Now Jul 15, 2004

Be strong or be clever and make peace

My stepfather Lolo said, “Men take advantage of weakness in other men. They’re just like countries in that way. The strong man takes the weak man’s land. He makes the weak man work in his fields. If the weak man’s woman is pretty, the strong man will take her. Which would you rather be? Better to be strong. If you can’t be strong, be clever and make peace with someone who’s strong. But always better to be strong yourself. Always.”
Source: Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama, p. 37 Aug 1, 1996

Wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I was prepared

I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I was prepared to be commander-in-chief. My number one job as president will be to keep the American people safe. I will do whatever is required to accomplish that. I will not hesitate to act against those that would do America harm. That involves maintaining the strongest military on earth, which means that we are training our troops properly and equipping them properly, and putting them on proper rotations. There are an awful lot of families who have been burdened under two and three and four tours because of the poor planning of the current commander-in-chief, and that will end when I am president. It also means using our military wisely. On whether or not to go to war in Iraq, I showed the judgment of a commander-in-chief. Clinton was wrong in her judgments on that. That has significant consequences, because it has diverted attention from Afghanistan where al Qaeda, that killed 3,000 Americans, are stronger now than at any time since 2001.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Emphasis on cooperation and listening to both sides

A major theme running through much of Obama's writing, books and speeches is an emphasis on cooperation. This focus is evident in his campaign style: he is careful not to openly offend those he disagrees with, because he knows he may have to work side-by-side with them in the future to find solutions to our most pressing problems. He tries to keep his debates and disagreements from becoming personal, instead focusing on issues. Once name-calling starts and people break off into sides anticipating a fight, it is very difficult to get them to cooperate later on.

Obama did not invent this persona just for the campaign. People who knew him in law school say that he was always good at listening to all sides and bringing people of disparate views together. In his community organizing work in Chicago, cooperation was the key to getting anything done in his inner city poor neighborhood.

Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p.175-176 Jul 1, 2008

Key issue is McCain following Bush on war & economy

Q: On what three issues will this campaign turn to you?

A: Issue #1, how we’re going to keep America safe. John McCain has a vision that is very similar to George Bush’s. He wants to continue in Iraq on the current course. I believe that we need to begin a process of withdrawal, initiate tougher diplomacy and refocus our attention on Afghanistan. That’s going to be a set of issues.

On the economy. John McCain’s main economic platform is to continue the Bush tax cuts and then to add $300 billion worth of corporate tax breaks that aren’t paid for. And then, you know, I think that the American people are going to have to make some decisions about our personal qualities. Obviously, the presidency is more than just a set of talking points. It has to do with the American people lifting the hood and kicking the tires and seeing who do they trust, who do they think can lead us at this moment in history. And those are more intangible qualities, but, you know, those’ll play into this race as well.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson Jun 4, 2008

Go beyond the divisions so that the government can work

If we can’t inspire the American people to get involved in their government and if we can’t inspire them to go beyond the racial divisions and the religious divisions and the regional divisions that have plagued our politics for so long, then we will continue to see the kind of gridlock and nonperformance in Washington that is resulting in families suffering in very real ways. I’m running for president to start doing something about that suffering, and so are the people who are behind my campaign.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

I have shown the right judgment to lead

I’ve heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon. He ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 men, because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. As a consequence, they didn’t have enough ammunition, they didn’t have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped. That’s a consequence of bad judgment. On going into Iraq originally, I said this is going to distract us from Afghanistan, fan the flames of anti-American sentiment, and cost us billions of dollars and thousands of lives and overstretch our military. I was right. On the question of Pakistan, I’ve said very clearly that we have put all our eggs in the Musharraf basket. That was a mistake. We should be going after al Qaeda and making sure that Pakistan is serious about hunting down terrorists, as well as expanding democracy. I was right.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Labels like “most liberal” prevent problem-solving

Q: You were ranked recently by National Journal as having the most liberal voting record in 2007.

A: Well, an example of why I was rated the most liberal was because I wanted an impartial office of public integrity. Now, I didn’t know that it was a Democratic issue. I thought that was a good government issue that a lot of Republicans would like to see. So that’s the problem with some of these ratings--how they score things. It uses categories that I think don’t make sense to a lot of Americans.

Q: Are you proud of that designation? To be known as the most liberal voting senator?

A: I don’t think you heard what I just said, which is that the designations don’t make sense. This is what I would call old politics. This is the stuff we’re trying to get rid of. Because the problem is, when we start breaking down into conservative & liberal, [that creates nothing but partisanship]. Those old categories don’t work, and they’re preventing us from solving them problems.

Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008

Overcome politics of demonizing opponents

Tonight was Pres. Bush’s last State of the Union, and I do not believe history will judge his administration kindly. But I also believe the failures of the last seven years stem not just from any single policy, but from a broken politics in Washington. A politics that says it’s ok to demonize your political opponents when we should be coming together to solve problems. A politics that puts Wall Street ahead of Main Street, ignoring the reality that our fates are intertwined. And a politics of fear and ideology instead of hope and common sense.

I believe a new kind of politics is possible, and I believe it is necessary. Because the American people can’t afford another four years without health care, decent wages, or an end to this war.

Imagine if next year, the entire nation had a president they could believe in. A president who rallied all Americans around a common purpose. That’s the kind of President we need in this country. And that’s the kind of President I will be.

Source: Response to 2008 State of the Union address Jan 28, 2008

Focus on Iraq, revising presidential power, and healthcare

In the first year of my presidency, I will call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and tell them to in a responsible, careful way end this war in Iraq, bring our combat troops home. I’ll call in my new attorney general to review any executive order that’s been made by bush. We’re going to have an open conversation with all the key players in the health care arena to make sure that we are moving forward on a plan to provide coverage to every single American so we can actually afford it over the long haul.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007

If you join me I promise you we can change America

I am running for president because of what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” We have urgent problems but we’ve seen an administration that is adrift. The American people understand this urgency but they haven’t had the leadership to bring people together, overcome the special interests, and speak honestly about how we are going to solve these problems. I don’t want to wake up four years from now and find out that we got millions more young African American & Latino youth who are in prison as opposed to going to college. I don’t want to wake up & find out that we’ve got millions more Americans without health insurance. I don’t want to find out that we have not made more progress on jobs that pays a living wage. I am standing here because somebody somewhere at some point in time stood up when it was risky, stood up when it was hard, stood up when it wasn’t popular. We have to stand up on behalf of future generations. And if you join me I promise you we can change America.
Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Viral video “I Got a Crush on Obama” by Obama Girl

Ronnie Spector calls herself “Obama Girl.” Her You Tube video “I Got a Crush on Obama” has made her a true fifteen-minute sensation--and that might have been the point, since she told one interviewer that she hadn’t actually decided whether to vote for her man. It may be that she was retained by the same whiz kids in Obama’s camp who designed the viral that placed Hillary Clinton in a grim 1984 setting. Who can say? But whatever her provenance, Obama Girl has her laminate nails on the pulse of America, as she gleefully sings, “You’re into border security/Let’s break this border between you and me.” Inserting herself into a pec-ful photo of the O-Man in his swimming trunks, she declares: “You’re a lover who can fight/You can roar with me tonight.”
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 68 Nov 11, 2007

Apply lessons from both Goldwater and McGovern

Liberals embrace candidates who sound progressive because they run to the left for the primary and then to the right during the general election--and end up undermining any authority they might have. Obama has generally not played this game, and it is part of what makes him different.

Conservatives and liberals have learned different lessons from losing. In 1964, when Barry Goldwater was trounced by Johnson, it actually launched today’s conservative movement that culminated in the election of Reagan In 1972, when McGovern was trounced by Nixon, the progressive movement was dead. Democrats always avoided a progressive agenda. After the miserable failures of Gore and Kerry, progressives have argued that Democrats need to follow the conservative approach post-Goldwater and win by standing for something. Obama is trying to bridge these two approaches, to have integrity and progressive values, while simultaneously presenting a more centrist face that appeals across political boundaries.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.125 Oct 30, 2007

Invites supporters to join him on “This Improbable Quest”

On Feb. 10, 2007, Obama stood in front of cold fans in Springfield, Illinois to announce his presidential plans and invite them to join “this improbable quest.”

Obama’s campaign is improbable, but not because he is black and so little known nationally It seems improbable because it defies the political establishment. Obama is a candidate who urges bipartisanship, who calls for ethics reform and changes in the campaign finance systems, and who speaks in grand terms about transforming American politics.

Obama’s biggest flaw may be that he’s not audacious enough, that he holds his tongue to spare feelings. Obama thinks we need to restore faith in government and hope in the better nature of our fellow citizens. But sometimes he seems unwilling to trust the people enough to tell them what he really thinks. Or perhaps he just doesn’t trust the media to let him engage in honesty without destroying his campaign. Instead, Obama’s first instinct too often is to compromise to reach common ground.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.165 Oct 30, 2007

Resolve “most electable” vs.“most progressive” by being both

There is something satisfying about hearing an uncompromising voice for what you think is right. A noisemaker can draw attention to a problem, but it takes a leader to solve it. So the progressive movement needs both noisemakers & leaders. But we need to avoid the assumption that the noisemakers are the true progressives, & the leaders compromised sell-outs. Noisemakers are easier to find; it’s the leaders who are essential. The genius of Obama is his ability to pursue a progressive agenda in a bipartisa manner, to merge liberalism with practical politics.

For a long time, progressive have been forced in the Democratic primary to choose between pragmatism and idealism, between delectability and values. In 2004, many Democrats made the unfortunate choic of John Kerry over Howard Dean precisely because they though Dean couldn’t be elected. Obama offers an easy resolution to this program, by being both the most electable and the most progressive candidate among the leaders in the Democratic Party.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.166 Oct 30, 2007

Seen as both critical outsider and establishment insider

[His 2004 DNC speech established Obama as] an inspirational leader who could mend the various divisions within the country--racial, political, cultural, spiritual.

Movements to draft him to run for the presidency in 2008 would take hold on the Internet Not since the days of Jack & Bobby Kennedy had a politician captured so quickly the imagination of such a broad array of Americans. And even the Kennedy comparison would not characterize Obama’s fame properly. Not since Ronald Reagan had a politician bee so adept at sharing his own unwavering optimism with a disheartened electorate. Using the broad power of the modern media as his launching pad, Obama would plot a course that catapulted him from little-known state lawmaker to best-selling author to US Senator to national celebrity. A mixture of idealistic and pragmatist, Obama would move almost overnight from a critic of the established political system inside the Beltway to a player within that system. He would represent both outsider and insider.

Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p. 9 Aug 14, 2007

On cover of Time magazine, about his book & presidency

Speculation in the US media over a potential Obama presidential campaign intensified last week as Time magazine published the senator’s photo on its cover beside the headline, “Why Barack Obama Could Be the Next President.” All the major newspapers are meanwhile running reviews of Obama’s new book, The Audacity of Hope, which the author is touting in a series of interviews on American television.

The 45-year-old has done nothing to squelch the growing frenzy. Obama no longer denies interest in joining the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Obama indicated that he will weigh the outcome of the Nov. 7 US congressional elections. A Democratic takeover of both the House & Senate would increase the likelihood of Obama vying with Hillary Clinton for the party’s 2008 nomination. “When the election is over and my book tour is done, I will think about how I can be most useful to the country and how I can reconcile that with being a good dad and a good husband,” Obama told Time.

Source: 2008 speculation by K.Kelly, in “The East African” (Nairobi) Oct 23, 2006

Portrayed as a multiplier instead of a divider

Pro’s and Con’s: Portrayed as a multiplier instead of a divider

This neologism was coined by Robert McElvaine of the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger: “What America needs is a leader who practices the politics of multiplication rather than division. The person who has the greatest potential to be the Multiplier has just returned from a successful visit to Africa and will be speaking Sunday in Iowa: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.”

Pro: America wants a president who will bring us together. The current partisan atmosphere is tiresome. McElvaine is right, we need a unifier.

Con: America voted for President who divided us. In 2004, the majority of us voted for arguably the most divisive president in history.

Pro: A multiplier is electable.

Con: An African-American Multiplier is not electable. McElvaine concedes that a significant fraction of the American electorate would vote against any black candidate.

Source: Should Barack Obama be President, by F. Zimmerman, p. 74-75 Oct 17, 2006

Offer real hope-not blind optimism-to the American people

I’m not talking about blind optimism-the willful ignorance that thinks unemployment or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a mill worker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope. That’s God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; a belief in things not seen; a belief that there are better days ahead. We can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. We can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
Source: Keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 29, 2004

Actions can be seen in 20 years of my public service

Actions do speak louder than words, which is why over the 20 years of my public service I have acted a lot to provide health care to people who didn’t have it, to provide tax breaks to families that needed it, to reform a criminal justice system that had resulted in wrongful convictions, to open up our government and to pass the toughest ethics reform legislation since Watergate, to make sure that we create transparency to make sure that we create transparency in our government so that we know where federal spending is going and it’s not going to a bunch of boondoggles and earmarks that are wasting taxpayer money that could be spent on things like early childhood education. If you talk to those wounded warriors at Walter Reed who, prior to me getting to the Senate, were having to pay for their meals and have to pay for their phone calls to their family while they’re recovering from amputations, they’ve said that I’ve engaged not just in talk, but in action.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Registered 150,000 young Chicago area black voters in 1992

One characteristic of this new generation is a commitment to electoral politics. In 2004, 47% of 18 to 24-year olds voted, compared to only 36% in 2000. This increase of nearly one-third was far higher than the overall increase in voting rates from 60% to 64%.

Obama has already brought in a new generation of voters. He led a movement in Chicago in 1992 that registered 150,000 new voters--mostly African Americans--and helped Carol Moseley Braun narrowly win an election to become the first black woman elected to the Senate. Obama’s appeal to voters disenchanted with conventional politics could bring many new voters into the political process.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p. 16 Oct 30, 2007

Mother attacked for playing with a black girlfriend

One day my grandmother Toot came home to find a crowd of children gathered. As Toot drew closer, she could make out the sounds of mirthless laughter, the contortions of rage & disgust on the children’s faces. The children were chanting, in a high-pitched alternating rhythm: “Nigger lover! Dirty Yankee!” The children scattered when they saw Toot, but not before one of the boys had sent the stone in his hand sailing over the fence. There she saw the cause of all the excitement: my [white] mother and a black girl of about the same age lying side by side in the grass, their heads propped up on their hands in front of one of my mother’s books. The two girls seemed perfectly serene beneath the leafy shade. It was only when Toot opened the gate that she realized the black girl was shaking and my mother’s eyes shone with tears. The girls remained motionless, paralyzed in their fear, until Toot finally leaned down and put her hands on both their heads.
Source: Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama, p. 18 Aug 1, 1996

Lost campaign for US Congress against Bobby Rush in 2000

Obama’s first major political miscalculation was caused by unbridled ambition.

Obama had returned to Chicago from Harvard Law with an eye on the mayor’s office [but Mayor Daley was well-entrenched, so] Obama looked at Congress instead, deciding to challenge Rep. Bobby Rush in the 2000 Democratic primary. To Obama, Rush looked vulnerable [because] Rush had tried to oust Daley in 1998--but he was stomped by the mayor. For this reason, Obama saw Rush as an aging politician ready to be replaced by a younger man with a fresh vision.

“Less than halfway into the campaign, I knew in my bones that I was going to lose,” Obama wrote. Obama lost the election by 30%.

The reason was summed up by one elderly woman who explained to Obama succinctly: “Bobby just ain’t done nothin’ wrong.” Obama said it became clear to him that he had put himself ahead of the electorate, that his own time frame for advancement was not necessarily the same time frame that voters saw for him.

Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.128-129&138-141 Aug 14, 2007

Ryan quits Senate race amid sex scandal allegations

Jack Ryan withdrew from the Illinois Senate race days after sex club allegations in his divorce papers torpedoed his campaign. Ryan issued this statement by e-mail:
It is clear a vigorous debate on the issues could not take place if I remain in the race. What would take place rather is a brutal scorched-earth campaign, the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play.
Illinois Republican Party leaders were to meet to choose a replacement candidate within a week [to oppose Democrat Barack Obama]. Ryan decided to quit when polls taken after his custody documents were released showed he had a slim chance of winning. The Illinois US congressional delegation unanimously decided Ryan should be replaced. Ryan’s fate was sealed after a secret conference call among party leaders. Ryan was accused by his then-wife, television actress Jeri Ryan, of taking her to explicit sex clubs in the 1990s and pressuring her to perform sex acts in public.
Source: UPI in Washington Times Jun 25, 2004

Rev. Wright and flag pins are distractions from real issues

Q: You say a lot of this stuff--Rev. Wright, flag pins--are distractions from the real issues. But for someone like you, who’s a newcomer to the national scene, don’t voters have a legitimate interest in who you are and what your values are?

A: Absolutely. And so the question becomes, how do voters draw conclusions about my values? Do they look at the 20 years in which I have devoted my life to community service? Do they look at how I’ve raised my children? That’s a reflection of my values. I don’t think that the issue of Rev. Wright is illegitimate. I just think that the way it was reported was not a reflection of both that church that I attend and who I am. On flag pins, you know, I’ve worn flag pins in the past. I will wear flag pins in the future. The fact that I said that some politicians use flag pins and then aren’t acting in a particularly patriotic way, for that to somehow be translated into me being antipatriotic or antiflag--I think that is a distraction

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: presidential series Apr 27, 2008

FactCheck: William Ayres never killed anyone with bombs

Clinton exaggerated the violence committed by an Obama acquaintance who had been part of a radical group in the 1960s and 1970s and who refused to apologize for setting bombs. Clinton said, “Sen. Obama served on a board with Mr. William Ayers for a perio of time. And Mr. Ayers... said that he was just sorry they hadn’t done more. And what they did was set bombs and in some instances people died.”

In fact, nobody died as a result of bombings in which Ayers said he participated as part of the Weather Underground. Other members were associated with 5 deaths, but none in which Ayres was present.

Ayers did say “I don’t regret setting bombs” and “I feel we didn’t do enough” regarding the group’s violent protests against the Vietnam War. That was in a NY Times interview that was published the morning of September 11, 2001. Ayers is now a professor of education in Chicago. Obama and Ayers served together for a time on the board of an antipoverty charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, from 1999 to 2002.

Source: FactCheck.org analysis of 2008 Philadelphia primary debate Apr 16, 2008

This candidacy is not just an exercise in affirmative action

In the last couple of weeks the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely o the desire of wild and wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation, and that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Rev. Wright that have caused such controversy and, in some cases, pain. For some, nagging questions remain.

Rev. Wright’s comments were not only wrong, but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity, racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve problems that confront us all.

Source: Speech on Race, in Change We Can Believe In, p.218 Mar 18, 2008

Working together we can move beyond some old racial wounds

We’ve been stuck for years in a racial stalemate. And contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle or with a single candidate, particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction, a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people, that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.

Source: Speech on Race, in Change We Can Believe In, p.226-7 Mar 18, 2008

Clinton earned a great relationship with African-Americans

Q: Do you think Bill Clinton was our 1st black president? A: Clinton did have an enormous affinity with the African-American community, and still does. That’s well earned. I’m always inspired by young men & women who grew up in the South when segregation was still taking place, when the transformations that are still incomplete but at least had begun had not yet begun. To see that transformations in their own lives that is powerful & hopeful, because what it indicates is that people can change.
Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

A Bound Man: inner turmoil of 1960s black nationalism

The post-sixties black identity of “black nationalism” wants black protest to be built into each black person’s sense of self. Depending on our background, being transparently “black” [as demanded by black nationalism] can come at the expense of what is important to us as human beings.

This is the double-bind, the crucible, really, that sets up Barack Obama to become a bound man. On the one hand, he begins life with so many strikes against a transparent black identity that it is almost inevitable that he should long for one. The absent black father, the mixed-race background, the privileged education--all this makes for a kind of identity vacuum. There will be parts of himself that he will not be able to take with him into the black identity he longs for. Barack writes, “If nationalism could deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence.”

Source: A Bound Man, by Shelby Steele, p. 37-39 Dec 4, 2007

Balancing “challenger” for blacks & “bargainer” for whites

White people like Obama a little too much for the comfort of many blacks. How is it possible, the suspicion goes, to stir that much excitement in whites and still be loyal to one’s own people. Blacks know that Obama is giving whites the benefit of the doubt.

No black before Obama has employed the bargainer’s charms in pursuit of so high an office. We are used to black challengers, like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Life-long protesters are not likely to have developed an easy reciprocity with white voters. On the other hand, no one ever asks them if they are black enough.

If, to please blacks, Obama does more challenging, he loses his iconic status with whites. He loses white votes because whites don’t want a challenging Al Sharpton; they want the iconic Negro. If, to please whites, Obama bargains more, he loses votes among blacks--a vital constituency in the Democratic party.

Source: A Bound Man, by Shelby Steele, p.121-123 Dec 4, 2007

Candidacy taken seriously despite his race or because of it?

The key factor that galvanizes people around the idea of Obama for president is, quite simply, that he is black. Take away Obama’s race and he is some relatively anonymous rookie.

What gives people a jolt in their gut about the idea of President Obama is the idea that it would be a ringing symbol that racism no longer rules our land. President Obama might be a substitute for that national apology for slavery that some consider so urgent. Surely a nation with a black president would be one no longer hung up on race.

Or not. Perhaps Obama is being considered as presidential timber not despite his race, but because of it. That is, for all its good intentions, a dehumanization of Obama. What Obama has done is less important than his skin color and what it means. The content of our character is not center stage here. We are a long way from Selma, but not yet where the Rev. King wanted us to be.

Yet, in the grant scheme of things, I will take a little unintended dehumanization over naked bigotry.

Source: Should Barack Obama be President, by F. Zimmerman, p. 5 Oct 17, 2006

Biracial heritage has caused identity crisis

As I imagined myself following Malcolm X’s call, one line in his book stayed me. He spoke of his wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged. I knew that, for Malcolm, that wish would never be incidental. I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction. I was left to wonder what else I would be severing if and when I left my mother at some uncharted border.
Source: Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama, p. 80 Aug 1, 1996

FactCheck: Did not say “I will stand with the Muslims”

Claim: E-mail lists racist passages taken from Barack Obama’s books.

Origins: These cherry-picked statements are presented devoid of context, and some are reworded from the original.

“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

This statement is a rewording of a passage from page 261 of The Audacity of Hope. The original contains no specific mention of “Muslims”:

“In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a mor urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

Source: AdWatch of 2008 campaign emails: analysis by snopes.com Aug 22, 2008

Father rejected Muslim faith and witch doctors of his youth

Ann Dunham met Barack Obama Sr. while she was a freshman and he a graduate student at the University of Hawaii. He must have appeared exotic to her, with his rich, full voice; his Kenyan accent; his chiseled features; and his studied worldliness.

Though he now spent weekends with Ann, listening to jazz, drinking beer, and debating politics and world affairs with their friends, he had only a few years before lived a Kenyan village life, herding goats and submitting to the rituals of a village witch doctor. Now, in the West, he had rejected the Muslim faith of his youth just as he rejected the babblings of all witch doctors. Religion is superstition, he insisted. It falls to man to fashion his own fate and the fate of his nation. This was what he intended to do when he finished school and returned to Kenya.

Things moved quickly for Ann and her new love. Sometime late in the fall of 1960, she conceived a child. Several months into 1961, she and Barack married.

Source: The FAITH of Barack Obama, by Stephen Mansfield, chapter 1 Aug 5, 2008

No madrassa, but was introduced to Islam as a child

The controversy began when Insight magazine asserted that Obama had attended a radical madrassa school in Indonesia, where jihad, or holy war, was taught. CNN refuted Insight's contention that Obama attended a madrassa in his years in Indonesia.

Source: Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi, p. 51 Aug 1, 2008

I joined church to commit to Christ, not to Rev. Wright

Q: What has the controversy over Reverend Jeremiah Wright done to your campaign?

A: Well, obviously it’s distracted us. I mean, we ended up spending a lot of time talking about Reverend Wright instead of talking about the issues. And so it wasn’t welcome. But, you know, I think that the American people understand that when I joined Trinity United Church of Christ, I was committing not to Pastor Wright, I was committing to a church and I was committing to Christ. And it is a wonderful church. It’s a member of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that dates back to the battles around abolition. And, as a consequence, when Rev. Wright, who married me and baptized our children, when I learned of his statements that I found so objectionable, I felt that they didn’t define him. I don’t think Rev. Wright’s [more recent comments] represented well the church. And I had to make a clear statement [against Wright]. Hopefully we’ve been able to put it behind us.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series May 4, 2008

Blacks are angry; but I dissociate myself from Rev. Wright

Q: You made a speech on the subject of race and your former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And you said that you never heard him say from the pulpit the kinds of things that so have offended people [in particular, “God Damn America”].

OBAMA: Rev Wright is somebody who made controversial statements, & I specifically said that those comments were objectionable; they’re not comments that I believe in. And I disassociated myself with them. But the body of Reverend Wright’s work, over the course of 30 years, were not represented in those snippets that were shown on television: the church has done outstanding work in ministries on HIV/AIDS, and prison ministries. So I’ve tried to speak to a broader context, which is that there is anger in the Africa American community that sometimes gets expressed, whether in the barbershop or in the church. That’s true not just in the African American community, but in other communities as well. My candidacy represents the opportunity to move beyond it.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Madrassa myth perpetuated by false email & fabricated story

One shocking story hit the news on Jan. 17, 2007: “Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?” Insight magazine claimed that Obama spent at least 4 years in a so-called madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia. Quickly, a wave of outrage & fear about Obama hit the conservative blogosphere. There was only one problem with this spectacular story: It was a complete fabrication.

[The story was based on an] April 2005 anti-Obama email entitled “The Enemy Within,” which circulated among right-wing circles. CNN sent a correspondent to Indonesia the check on the story. CNN reported that the madrassa “was an ordinary public school Kids ran around in short pants and learned math and science and participated in the Boy Scouts.” One reason the madrassa lie was so convincing can be attributed to the blind hatred of Muslims found on the Far Right.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p. 95-102 Oct 30, 2007

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Barack Obama on other issues:
Incoming Obama Administration:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:Hillary Clinton
HHS:Tom Daschle
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DOC:Judd Gregg
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DOC:Bill Richardson
DoD:Robert Gates
A.G.:Eric Holder
Treas.:Tim Geithner

Former Bush Administration:
Pres.George W. Bush
V.P.Dick Cheney
State:Colin Powell
State:Condi Rice
EPA:Christie Whitman

Former Clinton Administration:
Pres.Bill Clinton
HUD:Andrew Cuomo
V.P.Al Gore
Labor:Robert Reich
A.G.:Janet Reno
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Civil Rights
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Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
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Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
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Principles/Values
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Tax Reform
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