Posted tagged ‘Campaign’

Barack Obama Announces National Security Team

December 1, 2008

No surprises here. President-elect Barack Obama announced early this morning that Robert Gates would remain as defense secretary, making President Bush’s Pentagon chief his own as he seeks to wind down the U.S. role in Iraq.

Obama also, as anticipated, picked former Democrat and campaign rival Hillary Clinton as his choice for secretary of state.

From the Associated Press:

At a news conference, Obama also introduced retired Marine Gen. James Jones as White House national security adviser, former Justice Department official Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security.

The announcements rounded out the top tier of the team that will advise the incoming chief executive on foreign and national security issues in an era marked by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorism around the globe.

“The time has come for a new beginning, a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century,” Obama said as his Cabinet picks stood behind him on a flag-draped stage.

“We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships.”

Obama said his appointees “share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world.”

Gates’ presence in Chicago made him a visible symbol of the transition in power from the Bush administration to one headed by Obama.

The president-elect, reprising a campaign vow, said he would give the military a new mission as soon as he takes office: “responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.” He did not mention his oft-repeated pledge to withdraw most U.S. combat troops within 16 months.

He also appointed campaign foreign policy aide Susan Rice as his ambassador to the United Nations. Obama said he would make her a member of the Cabinet, an increase in stature from the Bush era.

Obama’s announcements marked a shift in emphasis, after a spate of appointments last week for his economic team.

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Sarah Palin May Run for High Office Again in the Future

November 11, 2008

Get ready Tina Fey, you’re work may be needed again! Alaska Governor Sarah Palin says she wouldn’t hesitate to run for the presidency in four years if it’s God’s will, even though she never thought Campaign 2008 would be “as brutal a ride as it turned out to be.”

From the Associated Press:

In a series of interviews in the wake of last Tuesday’s elections, Palin said she had no problem with Republican presidential nominee John McCain, but that she resents rumors she said were spread about her and her family by the Arizona Republican’s aides. She emphatically denied that she was a drag on the GOP ticket.

“I think the economic collapse had a heckuva lot more to do with the campaign’s collapse than me personally,” the governor said in an interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

Palin also said “There were a lot of times I wanted to shout out, ‘Hey, wait a minute, it’s not true.’ It’s pretty brutal.”

Nevertheless, the relatively obscure governor of Alaska, whose selection for the ticket by McCain last August brought excitement — and controversy — to the 2008 campaign, said she would be eager to do it all again under the right circumstances.

“I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door,” Palin said in an interview with Fox News on Monday. “And if there is an open door in ’12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I’ll plow through that door.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Palin said she neither wanted nor asked for the $150,000-plus wardrobe the Republican Party bankrolled, and thought the issue was an odd one at the end of the campaign, considering “what is going on in the world today.”

Why Proposition 8 Passed in California…

November 7, 2008

There are a lot of people who continue to fight the outcome of the vote on this issue on Tuesday night in California. The question on half the state’s mind is this: Why did voters pass this proposition in quite possibly the most liberal state in the nation? John Cloud of TIME Magazine has written an interesting piece which discusses what happened over the final few weeks of the campaign to cause a shift in the vote.

From TIME:

Nov. 4 may have been a joyous day for liberals, but it wasn’t a great day for lesbians and gays. Three big states – Arizona, California and Florida – voted to change their constitutions to define marriage as a heterosexuals-only institution. The losses cut deep on the gay side. Arizona had rejected just such a constitutional amendment only two years ago. It had been the first and only state to have rebuffed a constitutional ban on marriage equality. In Florida, where the law requires constitutional amendments to win by 60%, a marriage amendment passed with disturbing ease, 62.1% to 37.9%.

And then there was California. Gay strategists working for marriage equality in this election cycle had focused most of their attention on that state. Losing there dims hopes that shimmered brightly just a few weeks ago – hopes that in an Obama America, straight people would be willing to let gay people have the basic right to equality in their personal relationships. It appears not.

The California vote was close but not razor-thin: as of 10 a.m. P.T., with 96.4% of precincts reporting, gays had lost 52.2% to 47.8%. Obama did not suffer the much-discussed “Bradley effect” this year, but it appears that gay people were afflicted by some version of it. As of late October, a Field Poll found that the pro-gay side was winning 49% to 44%, with 7% undecided. But gays could not quite make it to 49% on Election Day, meaning a few people may have been unwilling to tell pollsters that they intended to vote against equal marriage rights.

Gays are used to losing these constitutional amendment battles – as I said, Arizona was the only exception – but gay activists cannot claim they didn’t have the money to wage the California fight. According to an analysis of the most recent reports from the California secretary of state, the pro-equality side raised an astonishing $43.6 million, compared with just $29.8 million for those who succeeded in keeping gays from marrying. The money the gay side raised is surprising for two reasons: first, the cash-Hoover known as the Obama campaign was sucking down millions of dollars a day from the nation’s liberals. Many gays expected it to be difficult to raise money to fight Proposition 8 and its plan to outlaw same-sex marriage from Democrats eager to give to Obama and to the outside 527 groups supporting him. As recently as August, one of the nation’s top gay political givers told me that he expected the gay side to raise no more than $25 million.

A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means – he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys – who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. “It was a decision we made very prayerfully,” Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee’s Jennifer Garza. “Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

You could argue that marriage equality has little to do with children, but Patterson seemed to speak to Californians’ inchoate phobias about gays and kids. On the Friday before the Bee story appeared, a group of San Francisco first-graders was taken to city hall to see their lesbian teacher marry her partner. Apparently the field trip was a parent’s idea – not the teacher’s – but the optics of the event were terrible for the gay side. It seemed like so much indoctrination.

That news came around the same time the pro-amendment forces were running a devastating ad showing a self-satisfied San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom shouting wild-eyed at a rally that same-sex marriage was inevitable “whether you like it or not.” The announcer then said darkly, “It’s no longer about tolerance. Acceptance of gay marriage is now mandatory.” Many fence sitters were turned off by Newsom’s arrogance; blogger Andrew Sullivan attributed mid-October polls against the gay side to the “Newsom effect.”

Gays came back in some polls, but they couldn’t pull out a win. Part of the reason is that Obama inspired unprecedented numbers of African Americans to vote. Polls show that black voters are more likely to attend church than whites and less likely to be comfortable with equality for gay people. According to CNN, African Americans voted against marriage equality by a wide margin, 69% to 31%. High turnout of African Americans in Florida probably help explain that state’s lopsided vote to ban same-sex weddings.

Same Sex Marriage in Limbo After California Voters Pass Proposition 8

November 6, 2008

As has been expected for the past 24 hours, California voters have passed Proposition 8, therefore banning same-sex marriage in the state.

From CNN:

California’s secretary of state late Tuesday released semi-official results showing Proposition 8 had passed 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent. CNN has not officially called the result one way or the other.

On Wednesday protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles to voice their opposition to the potential ban. And there are at least three legal challenges to it now pending in court.

Kiran Chetry of CNN’s “American Morning” spoke Thursday with the program’s legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, about the issue.

Chetry: California’s attorney general says that the constitutional amendment is not retroactive, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says he will continue to marry people until someone sues him to stop. So what does Prop 8 mean first of all to people who want to get married in the state of California?

Hostin: Well, we already know in Los Angeles they are no longer issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. So in Los Angeles, it’s a no go. In San Francisco, as you mentioned, the mayor is saying, “We’re still going to be doing it.” So for people that aren’t married yet, it’s really legal limbo.

Chetry: All right. And what about people who from the time that they allowed same-sex marriage, this was in May until November, some 18,000 couples decided they were going to do it. What happens to them? Is their marriage still valid?

Hostin: It’s still valid right now. But really they are also in a legal limbo. The bottom line it’s all over the place. The law is really unclear here.

Last night, I was poring over these legal papers. I was also discussing this with a lot of law professors, a lot of different lawyers, and everyone is all over the place. Some folks said, you know, the bottom line is when you look at the language of Proposition 8, it is very clear that it was meant to be retroactive and that means that all the marriages will be invalidated.

Then another law professor that I spoke to said that is absolutely fundamentally ridiculous. The bottom line is this is a fundamental right that was given to couples and this is a right that is not going to be given away. I think we’re going to see a lot of litigation here, Kiran, and the bottom line is everyone is in a legal, legal limbo.

Chetry: It’s very interesting the grounds for which they are challenging. At least in one of these lawsuits they said that it was a constitutional revision rather than an amendment. And that means it would need two-thirds approval of the House in the legislature. So do we think it could go to the state house in California as well as being fought in the courts?

Hostin: I really think this is going to be a legal issue. I think this is going to go before the California Supreme Court. And we already know as you mentioned that there are three cases pending before the California Supreme Court. And what is interesting to note is that it’s the very same court that allowed these marriages in the first place.

And so, my guess is that that court is going to weigh in, probably reinstitute the right to marry for same-sex couples and then that’s going to be likely based on the U.S. Constitution and our Supreme Court is going to weigh in.

What is I think extremely interesting here is that we now know that we have a president-elect, Obama. He’s going to get the opportunity likely to appoint Supreme Court justices. So we don’t even know which type of court or the makeup of the court that will hear this. But I think the Supreme Court will likely weigh in on this issue.

Chetry: This was such a hot button issue in the state. More spending on either side, $35 million, $37 million on both sides.

Hostin: Yes.

Chetry: It was the highest funded campaign on any state ballot.

Hostin: That’s right.

Chetry: They say it trumped every other campaign except the presidential.

Hostin: People care about this issue. I mean, they’re talking about discrimination, equal protection. It’s an issue that’s a hotbed issue.

We also know, Kiran, that in Arizona and Florida that this ban was implemented. And so, you know, it’s all over the place. People care about this issue, and this is an issue that is really present. And I think that it’s something that, we, of course, have to watch because we’re talking about equal protection, we’re talking about discrimination. People care about these issues.

John McCain Concedes Defeat to Barack Obama

November 5, 2008

In a poignant concession speech to his followers in Arizona, Republican Senator John McCain has conceded the 2008 Presidential election to his opponent, Democrat Barack Obama.

From MSNBC:

Barack Obama, a 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, shattered more than 200 years of history Tuesday night by winning election as the first African-American president in the history of the United States, according to projections by NBC News.

Obama reached the 270 electoral votes he needed for election at 11 p.m. ET, when NBC News projected that he would win California, Washington and Oregon. The Associated Press reported shortly after 11 p.m. that Obama’s opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, had called Obama to offer his congratulations.

Campaigning as a technocratic agent of change in Washington pathbreaking civil rights figure, Obama swept to victory over McCain , whose running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was seeking to become the nation’s first female vice president.

From CNN:

Sen. John McCain on Tuesday urged all Americans to join him in congratulating Sen. Barack Obama on his projected victory in the presidential election.

“I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face,” McCain said before his supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much, and tonight, I remain her servant,” he said.

McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, was standing with him, but she did not speak.

McCain called Obama to congratulate him, Obama’s campaign said.

Obama thanked McCain for his graciousness and said he had waged a tough race.

President Bush also called Obama to congratulate him.

With his projected win, Obama will become the nation’s 44th president and its first African-American leader.

Barack Obama’s Grandma Passes Away at 86

November 4, 2008

Senator Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died following a bout with cancer at the age of 86. Obama has spoken about his grandmother many, many times during the campaign, talking about what an important person she was in his youth and how she struggled against the glass ceiling in her own career.

Associated Press

Credit: Associated Press

From CNN:

“She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility,” a statement by Senator Obama and sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said.

“She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.”

Obama and Soetoro-Ng asked that donations be made for the search for a cure for cancer in lieu of flowers. A small private ceremony will be held “at a later date.”

Dunham passed away peacefully at her home shortly before midnight Sunday night (5 a.m. ET), campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told CNN. She said Obama learned of her death around 8 a.m.

The Democratic presidential candidate left the campaign trail on October 23 and flew to Honolulu, Hawaii, to spend the day with Dunham, whose health deteriorated after she suffered a broken hip.

His wife, Michelle Obama, filled in for him at events in Columbus and Akron, Ohio, on October 24.

Reuters

Credit: Reuters

From Reuters:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama‘s grandmother died of cancer, he said in a statement on Monday, a little more than a week after he interrupted the White House campaign to say goodbye to her in Hawaii.

Dunham, 86, helped raise Obama from the age of 10 while his mother was working in Indonesia, and Obama took an emotional 22-hour trip to Hawaii to visit her on October 23 and 24.

Obama said afterward his grandmother had been flooded with cards, flowers and well-wishes from around the country, and he regularly thanked crowds at his campaign rallies for their prayers.

“Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes and prayers during this difficult time,” the statement said.

“It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date,” the statement said.

Dunham had followed Obama’s presidential bid with great interest, and her death comes one day before U.S. voters will render their verdict in the race between Obama and Republican John McCain.

New Poll Shows Barack Obama Supporters Excited, McCain Supporters Not So Much

November 1, 2008

While 43 percent of the Democrat Barack Obama’s backers said they are excited over the campaign, just 13 percent of McCain’s said so, according to a new survey of adults, conducted by Knowledge Networks. The findings show that six in 10 Obama supporters said the race interests them, compared to just four out of 10 backing McCain. 52 percent of McCain supporters said the campaign has left them frustrated, compared to only 30 percent of Obama’s.

From the Associated Press:

That smiling guy walking down the street? Odds are he’s a Barack Obama backer. The grouchy looking one? Don’t ask, and don’t necessarily count on him to vote on Tuesday, either.

More John McCain supporters feel glum about the presidential campaign while more of Obama’s are charged up over it, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll released Saturday.

The survey shows McCain backers have become increasingly upset in recent weeks, a period that has seen Obama take a firm lead in many polls. One expert says the contrasting moods could affect how likely the two candidates’ supporters are to vote on Election Day, possibly dampening McCain’s turnout while boosting Obama’s.