Saturday, January 26, 2008

Barack Obama Wins South Carolina Primary!!!

According to the Associated Press news wire, Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton in a racially-charged South Carolina primary, regaining much-needed campaign momentum with the help of black voters in the prelude to next month's coast-to-coast presidential nomination competition in which nearly half the U.S. states will vote.

Former Sen. John Edwards, who has yet to win any of the early state contests, was running third, a sharp setback in his native state where he triumphed in his 2004 vice presidential campaign.

Landslide margins among black voters fueled Obama to his win, allowing him to overcome the edge that Clinton and Edwards had among whites in the first Southern state where the Democrats competed.

South Carolina's Democratic race was particularly significant for Obama, who is aiming to become the U.S.'s first black president, because it was the first contest in which blacks were expected to factor large in the outcome.

Blacks accounted for about half of the voters, according to polling place interviews, and four out of five supported Obama. Black women turned out in particularly large numbers. Obama, the first-term Illinois senator, got a quarter of the white vote while Clinton and Edwards split the rest.

"The choice in this election is not about regions or religions or genders," Obama said at a boisterous victory rally. "It's not about rich versus poor, young versus old and it's not about black versus white. It's about the past versus the future."

An exultant Obama said his overwhelming win in South Carolina disproved notions that Democratic voters are deeply divided along racial lines.

"We have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of Americans we've seen in a long, long time," Obama said. "You can see it in the faces here tonight. They are young and old; rich and poor. They are black and white; Latino, Asian and Native American."

The audience chanted "Yes we can" as Obama continued on with his victory speech in a primary that shattered turnout records.

The victory was Obama's first since he won the kickoff Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady, scored an upset in the New Hampshire primary a few days later. They split the Nevada caucuses, she winning the turnout race, he gaining a one-delegate margin. In an historic race, she hopes to become the first woman to occupy the White House, and Obama is the strongest black contender in history.

'They wanted something different'
The South Carolina primary marked the end of the first phase of the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, a series of single-state contests that winnowed the field, conferred co-front-runner status on Clinton and Obama but had relatively few delegates at stake.

That all changes in 10 days' time, when New York, Illinois and California are among the 15 states holding primaries in a virtual nationwide primary. Another seven states and American Samoa will hold Democratic caucuses on the same day.

"South Carolina voters rejected the politics of the past and they wanted something different," said Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Obama.

Clinton issued a statement saying she had called Obama to congratulate him on his victory. She quickly turned her focus to the primaries ahead. "For those who have lost their job or their home or their health care, I will focus on the solutions needed to move this country forward," she said.

Democrats clash in South Carolina
All three contenders campaigned in South Carolina on primary day, but only Obama and Edwards arranged to speak to supporters after the polls closed. Clinton decided to fly to Tennessee, one of the Feb. 5 states, leaving as the polls were closing.

After playing a muted role in the earlier contests, the issue of race dominated an incendiary week that included a shift in strategy for Obama, a remarkably bitter debate and fresh scrutiny of the former president's role in his wife's campaign.

Each side accused the other of playing the race card, sparking a controversy that frequently involved Bill Clinton.

"They are getting votes, to be sure, because of their race or gender. That's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance of winning here," former President Clinton said at one stop as he campaigned for his wife, strongly suggesting that blacks would not support a white alternative to Obama.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well it looks like Obama will stand up to most bullies. Ed Smith's commercial is aired on the Comedy Channel. Thats how stupid he looks, and that's how funny it is. He can't even speak english that good. His reading is about as good as Henderson Yarbrough and that is on a 6th grade level.

Smart Democrats said...

IN the wake of George W. Bush, even a miracle might not be enough for the Republicans to hold on to the White House in 2008. But what about two miracles? The new year’s twin resurrections of Bill Clinton and John McCain, should they not evaporate, at last give the G.O.P. a highly plausible route to victory.

Amazingly, neither party seems to fully recognize the contours of the road map. In the Democrats’ case, the full-throttle emergence of Billary, the joint Clinton candidacy, is measured mainly within the narrow confines of the short-term horse race: Do Bill Clinton’s red-faced eruptions and fact-challenged rants enhance or diminish his wife as a woman and a candidate?

Absent from this debate is any sober recognition that a Hillary Clinton nomination, if it happens, will send the Democrats into the general election with a new and huge peril that may well dwarf the current wars over race, gender and who said what about Ronald Reagan.

What has gone unspoken is this: Up until this moment, Hillary has successfully deflected rough questions about Bill by saying, “I’m running on my own” or, as she snapped at Barack Obama in the last debate, “Well, I’m here; he’s not.” This sleight of hand became officially inoperative once her husband became a co-candidate, even to the point of taking over entirely when she vacated South Carolina last week. With “two for the price of one” back as the unabashed modus operandi, both Clintons are in play.

For the Republicans, that means not just a double dose of the one steroid, Clinton hatred, that might yet restore their party’s unity but also two fat targets. Mrs. Clinton repeatedly talks of how she’s been “vetted” and that “there are no surprises” left to be mined by her opponents. On the “Today” show Friday, she joked that the Republican attacks “are just so old.” So far. Now that Mr. Clinton is ubiquitous, not only is his past back on the table but his post-presidency must be vetted as well. To get a taste of what surprises may be in store, you need merely revisit the Bill Clinton questions that Hillary Clinton has avoided to date.

Asked by Tim Russert at a September debate whether the Clinton presidential library and foundation would disclose the identities of its donors during the campaign, Mrs. Clinton said it wasn’t up to her. “What’s your recommendation?” Mr. Russert countered. Mrs. Clinton replied: “Well, I don’t talk about my private conversations with my husband, but I’m sure he’d be happy to consider that.”

Not so happy, as it turns out. The names still have not been made public.

Just before the holidays, investigative reporters at both The Washington Post and The New York Times tried to find out why, with no help from the Clintons. The Post uncovered a plethora of foreign contributors, led by Saudi Arabia. The Times found an overlap between library benefactors and Hillary Clinton campaign donors, some of whom might have an agenda with a new Clinton administration. (Much as one early library supporter, Marc Rich’s ex-wife, Denise, had an agenda with the last one.) “The vast scale of these secret fund-raising operations presents enormous opportunities for abuse,” said Representative Henry Waxman, the California Democrat whose legislation to force disclosure passed overwhelmingly in the House but remains stalled in the Senate.

The Post and Times reporters couldn’t unlock all the secrets. The unanswered questions could keep them and their competitors busy until Nov. 4. Mr. Clinton’s increased centrality to the campaign will also give The Wall Street Journal a greater news peg to continue its reportorial forays into the unraveling financial partnership between Mr. Clinton and the swashbuckling billionaire Ron Burkle.

At “Little Rock’s Fort Knox,” as the Clinton library has been nicknamed by frustrated researchers, it’s not merely the heavy-hitting contributors who are under wraps. Even by the glacial processing standards of the National Archives, the Clintons’ White House papers have emerged slowly, in part because Bill Clinton exercised his right to insist that all communications between him and his wife be “considered for withholding” until 2012.

When Mrs. Clinton was asked by Mr. Russert at an October debate if she would lift that restriction, she again escaped by passing the buck to her husband: “Well, that’s not my decision to make.” Well, if her candidacy is to be as completely vetted as she guarantees, the time for the other half of Billary to make that decision is here.

The credibility of a major Clinton campaign plank, health care, depends on it. In that same debate, Mrs. Clinton told Mr. Russert that “all of the records, as far as I know, about what we did with health care” are “already available.” As Michael Isikoff of Newsweek reported weeks later, this is a bit off; he found that 3,022,030 health care documents were still held hostage. Whatever the pace of the processing, the gatekeeper charged with approving each document’s release is the longtime Clinton loyalist Bruce Lindsey.

People don’t change. Bill Clinton, having always lived on the edge, is back on the precipice. When he repeatedly complains that the press has given Mr. Obama a free ride and over-investigated the Clintons, he seems to be tempting the fates, given all the reporting still to be done on his post-presidential business. When he says, as he did on Monday, that “whatever I do should be totally transparent,” it’s almost as if he’s setting himself up for a fall. There’s little more transparency at “Little Rock’s Fort Knox” than there is at Giuliani Partners.

“The Republicans are not going to have any compunctions about asking anybody anything,” Mrs. Clinton lectured Mr. Obama. Maybe so, but Republicans are smart enough not to start asking until after she has secured the nomination.

Not all Republicans are smart enough, however, to recognize the value of John McCain should Mrs. Clinton emerge as the nominee. He’s a bazooka aimed at most every rationale she’s offered for her candidacy.

In a McCain vs. Billary race, the Democrats will sacrifice the most highly desired commodity by the entire electorate, change; the party will be mired in déjà 1990s all over again. Mrs. Clinton’s spiel about being “tested” by her “35 years of experience” won’t fly either. The moment she attempts it, Mr. McCain will run an ad about how he was being tested when those 35 years began, in 1973. It was that spring when he emerged from five-plus years of incarceration at the Hanoi Hilton while Billary was still bivouacked at Yale Law School. And can Mrs. Clinton presume to sell herself as best equipped to be commander in chief “on Day One” when opposing an actual commander and war hero? I don’t think so.

Foreign policy issue No. 1, withdrawal from Iraq, should be a slam-dunk for any Democrat. Even the audience at Thursday’s G.O.P. debate in Boca Raton cheered Ron Paul’s antiwar sentiments. But Mrs. Clinton’s case is undermined by her record. She voted for the war, just as Mr. McCain did, in 2002 and was still defending it in February 2005, when she announced from the Green Zone that much of Iraq was “functioning quite well. ” Only in November 2005 did she express the serious misgivings long pervasive in her own party. When Mr. McCain accuses her of now advocating “surrender” out of political expediency, her flip-flopping will back him up.

Billary can’t even run against the vast right-wing conspiracy if Mr. McCain is the opponent. Rush Limbaugh and Tom DeLay hate Mr. McCain as much as they hate the Clintons. And they hate him for the same reasons Mr. McCain wins over independents and occasional Democrats: his sporadic (and often mild) departures from conservative orthodoxy on immigration and campaign finance reform, torture, tax cuts, climate change and the godliness of Pat Robertson. Since Mr. McCain doesn’t kick reporters like dogs, as the Clintons do, he will no doubt continue to enjoy an advantage, however unfair, with the press pack on the Straight Talk Express.

Even so, Mr. McCain hasn’t yet won a clear majority of Republican voters in any G.O.P. contest. He’s depended on the kindness of independent voters. Tuesday’s Florida primary, which is open exclusively to Republicans, is his crucial test. If he fails, his party remains in chaos and Mitt Romney could still inherit the earth.

That would be a miracle for the Democrats, but they can hardly count on it. If Mr. Obama has not met an unexpected Waterloo in South Carolina — this column went to press before Saturday’s vote — the party needs him to stop whining about the Clintons’ attacks, regain his wit and return to playing offense. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, he would unambiguously represent change in a race with any Republican. If he vanquishes Billary, he’ll have an even stronger argument to take into battle against a warrior like Mr. McCain.

If Mr. Obama doesn’t fight, no one else will. Few national Democratic leaders have the courage to stand up to the Clintons. Even in defeat, Mr. Obama may at least help wake up a party slipping into denial. Any Democrat who seriously thinks that Bill will fade away if Hillary wins the nomination — let alone that the Clintons will escape being fully vetted — is a Democrat who, as the man said, believes in fairy tales.

Caroline Kennedy said...

A President Like My Father
By CAROLINE KENNEDY
OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

vanilla man from westchester said...

Said by Bill Clinton and Don Sloan today in Columbia, SC: "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in '84 and '88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here."

Bu8t everyone knows the truth, a black can't win a national election,because whites won't ever,ever vote for a black in such a high position.We whites know better, look at Maywood,Detroit,Bellwood,Africa and every other places blacks run,there all destroyed!
Whites would rather vote for a white serial killer than for a black.Period.End of story.

Anonymous said...

To Vanilla man from Westchester: To hell with you and the rest of the fucking clansmen in this country. You're just mad because Billiary lost in South Carolina and that is why the media shut everything down. They had their speeches ready to talk about Obama losing. Ha HA Ah, he won!! And he won big!! In case you did not know Bellwood, Africa and Maywood are all run by WHITES!!!