Please join us for a leadership reception

To benefit
Fairness for All Families
At the magnificent estate of
Brett Tannenbaum and Roby Casey
14 Isla Bahia Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
Thursday, May 15th, 2008
**Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres**
Fairness for All Families is a broad-based statewide coalition working to defeat the 2008 so-called "marriage protection amendment" which threatens to strip away benefits and protections currently offered to a wide variety of Floridians.
Together with your generous support we can safeguard legal protections, health care, and employment benefits for all Floridians.
Mark Adler & Michael Hannah · Michael Albetta · Hon. Elaine Bloom · Sarah Brown
Rabbi Harold Caminker · Kathleen Carr · Mitch Ceasar
Robert DeCamillo and Kenneth Sasser · Pastor Peg Doherty
Howard Forman and Susan Foreman
Ken Gottlieb and School Board Member Jennifer Gottlieb
Marc Hansen · Gary Keating and Richard B. Schultz
Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl and Ted Adcock
Mark LaFontaine · Ron Mills · De Palazzo · Paul Palmer and Tony Sandonato
Dan Pye · Tom Runyan · Bill Schoolman
Brett Tannenbaum and Roby Casey
Please RSVP to 888-496-4255
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Bill Requiring Ultrasounds Before Abortions Fails



A divided state Senate narrowly defeated a bill to require that most women seeking an abortion first be given an opportunity to look at an ultrasound image of the fetus.
The vote Wednesday was 20-20. Without a majority, the measure dies. There are ways a similar idea could resurface, but that is extremely unlikely with the legislative session scheduled to end Friday.
In a tense and emotional debate that went on for about an hour and a half, opponents from both parties said the bill would only create a new impediment to women seeking to end a pregnancy. That could violate U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have said government can't create such undue burdens.
They also argued that ultrasounds make abortions more expensive and therefore the new requirement would fall disproportionately on poor women.
Supporters, however, said the bill (SB 2400) would provide women with more information about a very serious decision. A couple lawmakers said they hoped it would encourage women about to have an abortion to change their minds.
State law already requires an ultrasound before a woman can have an abortion in her second or third trimester of pregnancy. The bill would have extended that to the first trimester.
It also would have added the requirement that the doctor give the woman the opportunity to look at the sonogram, although she could have declined to see it under the bill.
"If she doesn't want to see it, she doesn't have to see it," implored the measure's sponsor, Sen. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Park.
The vote followed several days of behind-the-scenes work by lawmakers on both sides of the issue to persuade a few members who were undecided on the measure. Seven Republicans joined 13 Democrats in voting against the ultrasound requirement. One Democrat, Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, joined 19 Republicans in voting for it.
The House had passed a similar bill in early April, although that measure also had other requirements involving minor girls seeking in court to be allowed to have an abortion without telling their parents. The Senate never seriously considered the House's broader bill, though, with Webster saying it never would have passed the more moderate Senate.
In 2006, about 95,000 pregnancies were terminated in Florida.
Opponents in the Senate argued that ultrasounds don't necessarily serve any medical purpose in a first trimester abortion, and that there aren't any other cases in which the state dictates procedures that doctors must use in various medical situations. That made the measure simply an attempt to coerce women into changing their mind about an abortion, several of them said.
One of the most passionate supporters of the bill, Sen. Ronda Storms, acknowledged that she did indeed hope it would discourage abortions when women look at the sonogram.
"There is something magical about seeing that baby take his little thumb and put it in his mouth and suck his thumb," said Storms, R-Valrico.
Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller was one of several opponents who said he is opposed to abortions, but argued it was a personal moral or religious decision that not everyone shared. But he agreed with Storms about the power of an ultrasound.
Geller recalled seeing the image of his son Mark in an ultrasound when his wife was pregnant and acknowledged it moved him deeply. He said he considered the fetus a child - even calling it by name.
But that was a decision based on his and his wife's deeply held - but personal - religious beliefs, said Geller, D-Cooper City.
"I can't say we should impose our views on the entire state," Geller said.
The bill had been favored by religious groups, including the Florida Catholic Conference.
"This would have allowed truly informed consent," said Mike McCarron, the conference's executive director. "How can we not give them the opportunity to see what is truly at stake in this procedure?"
Several other states have laws requiring ultrasounds before abortions, although they vary on the details such as whether women must view the sonogram.
Several of the seven Republicans who voted against the bill said the issue was one of privacy and freedom from government intrusion. Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said the requirement didn't fit his view of the Republican philosophy of less government.
"This is more government," said King. "It's government intrusion."
Read The House Bill

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message From Commissioner Jacobs: Passing the buck

"Jacobs, Kristin" <> wrote:
From: "Jacobs, Kristin" <>
To: "Jacobs, Kristin" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 10:26:03 -0400
Subject: Passing the buck

I am forwarding two articles which describe what's going on in Tallahassee and the Legislature's efforts to deal with the State's budget. Today's Miami Herald article clearly explains how local municipal and county governments are being squeezed. The second article, from yesterday's Jacksonville Times-Union may seem humorous - unless you consider education key to the future of our economy and state. Tell me what you think. Kristin
Print This Article
Posted on Wed, Apr. 30, 2008

Counties bear the costs of Legislature's 'mandates'

In the waning days of the session, legislators are poised to pass a budget teeming with billions of dollars in cuts -- but also mandates that county and municipal officials say will shift the burden to local taxpayers.
While the budget cuts spending on social service programs, education, and healthcare, a series of other measures likely will cost counties throughout Florida up to $1 billion.
From funding local court programs, to figuring out how to finance recycling initiatives, local leaders say enacting these ''mandates'' will cause a strain on local governments that were already forced to slash their budgets last year by the Legislature.
''If people aren't receiving services, they're not going to ask their state legislator about it,'' said Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina. ``They're going to come to the mayor's office, or their city council, and say that the city is not taking care of their needs.''
Gretchen Harkins, a Broward County lobbyist, said the budget cuts will have a multiplier effect on the county's social services programs because Broward goes further than most other counties to supplement state programs.
For example, a $1.6 million cut from elderly services and $3.18 million less for low-income pregnant women will severely hinder county programs' ability to meet current needs.
''It's going to have a direct impact on the most frail and vulnerable elders,'' Harkins said.
She said that the cuts will allow the county to cover fewer poor, pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid, force it to reduce drug-abuse treatment to hundreds of parents before a court will allow them to regain custody of their children and scale back primary-care health coverage to hundreds of poor working families.
''More people will lose their children and more children will go into the [foster care] system,'' she said. ``These cuts will mean that people will die, or end up in the street.''
Also potentially burdening Miami-Dade and Broward counties is a looming $3 billion upgrade to the counties' waste-water management systems. Miami-Dade and Broward leaders have been fighting a proposal, that is poised to pass this session, that would require the South Florida counties to stop pumping treated sewage into the ocean. The two counties would have until 2025 to upgrade their six water treatment facilities.
''It's good in concept, but who's going to pay for it?'' said Jess McCarty, a Miami-Dade assistant county attorney who monitors legislative issues.
Residents in both counties may actually end up soaking up some of the costs, with an extra $20 tacked on to their water bills, according to a University of Florida study.
For the past seven years the state has passed 471 ''unfunded mandates'' -- bills that require local governments to enact programs, but fail to provide state funds to finance them.
The trend of shifting costs and programs to counties and cites has escalated over the past decade, said Dr. Lance deHaven Smith, a public administration professor at Florida State University. He is conducting a study on the impact of the mandates to local governments.
''To put it in simple terms, you have to keep up with [state mandated road-building programs to keep up with growth], but you don't have to have new playgrounds or libraries,'' deHaven Smith said.
``It's these other programs that start getting squeezed out.''

Print this story
The Florida Times-Union
April 29, 2008

Crist's extreme parsimony will take a big toll on state
The Times-Union
A friend suggested a new state slogan: Florida - Welcome to the new Mississippi.
That would be an insult to Mississippi.
Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature, following a path blazed by Jeb Bush, are positioning Florida in the bottom tier of states when it comes to providing services to the poor, the elderly and children.
Not satisfied that Florida is already a low-tax state, they want taxes to be even lower.
The net result is there isn't enough money to go around.
A shining example of that is the budget deal House and Senate leaders agreed to on Sunday that the Legislature will vote on at the end of this week.
The proposed budget, which will be rubber- stamped, cuts spending for public education by 1.8 percent.
That means the amount of money the state provides for each student will be less than this school year's funding at the same time fixed costs such as health insurance and fuel are rising dramatically.
And that means school districts will have little choice but to lay off teachers and cut programs. Usually the first to go are math, art and physical education.
Here's another state slogan: Florida - Beethoven who?
Another: Florida - Where obesity is the norm.
Sure, the Legislature was dealt a bad budget hand this year. Because of the recession, House Speaker Marco Rubio's assessment of the lousy economy, state revenues are down $5 billion from what legislators thought they would have when they put together last year's budget.
But legislators could have dipped further into the state's rainy day fund to protect education because, folks, it's raining.
Crist and Rubio are pushing a constitutional amendment that will make things even worse.
The amendment is being called a tax swap. If it passes, the property taxes the state requires counties to collect to help pay for schools will be eliminated. To make up for the revenue, a 1 percent increase would be added to the sales tax.
The revenues lost from the property taxes will be about $9 billion. The sales tax increase would bring in about $4 billion.
I'm guessing that even Mississippi students can see that's a problem.
But rest easy, the amendment's supporters say, money to make up the difference will be found.
Services have already been cut, and Crist and Republican legislators choke at any idea of new taxes.
Those are the same people who promised that public education would be "held harmless" with an earlier round of tax cuts.
Didn't happen. Florida - Home of the gullible., (904) 359-4284

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 Obama did himself, the Democratic Party, and the progressive movement a disservice this weekend.
It was a mistake for Obama to go on FOX's Sunday show and treat the experience as if it was a real news interview. Democratic politicians need to understand that FOX is a Republican mouthpiece masquerading as a news outlet. When dealing with FOX, you either burn them or they will burn you.
It's well documented that FOX executives send morning memos to anchors and reporters dictating Republican talking points. In 2006, one said, "Be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents...thrilled at the prospect of a Dem controlled Congress." Robert Greenwald's videos have shown FOX's consistent pattern of smearing Barack Obama, smearing Hillary Clinton, smearing African Americans, and denying global warming.
FOX's power lies not in its audience size – which is puny and consists mostly of unpersuadable voters. Instead, FOX's power comes from tricking politicians and real journalists into treating their "breaking stories" like real news, thereby propelling smears like the Swift Boats and Rev. Wright into the mainstream political dialogue. That's why progressives fought (successfully) last year to deprive FOX of the legitimacy that comes with hosting a Democratic presidential debate. And that's why Democratic politicians should never treat FOX like a real news outlet - including FOX's Sunday show.
Barack Obama's campaign made a promise before this weekend's appearance. They said he would "take Fox on" – inspiring hope among those who watched Bill Clinton in 2006, Chris Dodd in 2007, and progressive activist Lee Camp in 2008 delegitimize FOX on the air. But Obama didn't do that, and he suffered as a result.
Excerpts from Obama's FOX interview:
The interview began with a question about Obama's race – implying that white people won't vote for him. Instead of "taking FOX on" and saying FOX's questions are premised on Republican talking points, Obama simply answered. So, Wallace kept going – asking more than 10 straight race-related questions, all skewed against Obama. (One laughably began with, "I wasn't sure whether I was even going to ask you about your former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but...") One of these rigged questions got Obama to say, "The fact that he is my former pastor I think makes it a legitimate political issue" – resulting in John McCain quoting Obama hours later, hinting to right-wing allies that Rev. Wright is fair game.
FOX also asked a bunch of questions aimed at getting Obama to distance himself from Democrats and progressives. Because Obama didn't "take on" the Republican framing of these questions, Obama was cornered into saying things like, "I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea [than Democrats]" and parroting the right-wing caricature of "Chablis-drinking limousine liberals" and boasting about being "fiercely attacked" by bloggers at Daily Kos.
Enough. Democratic politicians, for your own benefit: stop legitimizing FOX.

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Grassroots Training

This is your chance to make a difference in the lives of all GLBT Americans. 
Register now for Camp Equality in Ft. Lauderdale on May 10 and 11.
This year, Florida has the chance to defeat a vile and divisive ballot measure. This so-called "marriage amendment" would discriminate against all unmarried couples, including gay and lesbian couples. We must tell all Floridians that people like Eric Breidenbaugh and other GLBT Floridians are not second-class citizens. Watch Eric's story »
The Human Rights Campaign will be on the campaign trail every step of the way – and we want you to be a part of it, too.  Join Camp EqualityTM – a weekend-long training session to develop and hone critical campaign skills - in Ft. Lauderdale on May 10-11*.
Whether you are just getting involved in the electoral process or are a campaign professional, Camp EqualityTM can help you learn how to become more effective at advocating for your causes and your candidates.  We will offer two training tracks:
  • Fundamentals Track: Designed to give you the step by step fundamentals necessary to be successful at the grassroots level.  Topics will include: planning, recruitment, volunteer coordinating, event fundraising, earned media, and creating a local activist plan.  You will learn the basic skills that are essential to putting your issue campaign or local committee in the best position to win.
  • Advanced Track: For our more seasoned activist or campaign professionals. This track offers the fundamentals of political campaign management.  During your sessions you will learn advanced techniques of fundraising, field organizing, media relations, volunteer coordination, targeting, candidate relations, and the latest campaign technology.
Registration for Camp EqualityTM is $50 and includes a one-year HRC membership.
* Don't worry about having to cancel your Mother's Day plans, Camp EqualityTM will be over at 3 p.m. on Sunday!

Florida Young Democrats
Paid Political Advertisement sponsored and paid for in-kind by Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036.
Approved by Florida Red and Blue, Inc. and Fairness for All Families.

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Primary: The Race So Far

Unnamed Add-on Delegates 59
Clinton Superdelegates 258
Obama Superdelegates 239
Uncommitted Superdelegates 239

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Huge Super Delegate Pickup By Clinton

Video of endorsement.

In case you're wondering what this means on the wider front, it signals that some are starting to really believe Obama cannot close the deal.
"It's an incredibly strong endorsement because Easley is popular among the blue collar 'Bubba' voters who are Democrats," said David "Mudcat" Saunders, a Democratic consultant who advised former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner on winning rural voters.
Easley had endorsed Edwards for president, but again became a heavily sought superdelegate once Edwards bowed out of the race.
"He's clean in the culture. Easley's wrecked the Charlotte Motor Speedway doing 150 miles per hour, and Bubba likes that," said Saunders, referring to NASCAR fan Easley's 2003 race car crash. "He's a hunter. He's a strong Second Amendment guy. He gives her great cultural validation in the state of North Carolina." ... ..

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Florida Voter Protection Laws in a Nutshell

Available now on Advancement Project's website is the revised 2008 "Florida Voter Protection Laws in a Nutshell" publication. Advancement Project produces these publications as a way to distill complex election law for lawyers, advocates, voter registration campaigns and "Get Out the Vote" campaigns. They combine state election law with state regulations, rules, attorney general opinions, and other election materials to provide a comprehensive interpretation of the law and practices that impact elections. While these publications do not cover every provision of state election law, they highlight those provisions which, in our experience, have most impacted the voting rights of minority voters.
Advancement Project publishes these nutshells with local law firms and lawyers as part of our Voter Protection Program. We encourage our partners to use these legal guides in support of local, on the ground voter protection efforts in advance of Election Day.

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Former Obama friend supports Clinton

One bonus for Barack Obama (D-IL) as he campaigns in Indiana is that so many friends from his home state can just drive across the state line to help him out.
Then again, it's also a short trip for the occasional hometown pol who has been crossed by Obama, such as one featured guest doing the Hoosier tour today.
Joining Chelsea Clinton and other women leaders to campaign for Hillary Clinton today is Alice Palmer, the former state senator who picked Obama to be her successor back in the mid-90s. When she tried to reclaim her spot, though, Obama got her booted from the ballot.
The day of campaigning culminates tonight with a "Women for Hillary" rally in New Albany. The women plan to talk about Clinton's plans for the economy, job creation and the middle class.
Palmer's story is more familiar in our town it is in Indiana, even in the northwest section of Hoosierland that consumes so much of the Chicago news media. Still, the national press has shown an interest in the early account of Obama playing hardball, and Palmer's presence may remind some of them of the story.
Posted from The Swamp

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Janet Reno to headline Adriane Reesey Fundraiser

Adriane Reesey
Democratic Candidate
Broward County Supervisor of Elections invites you
to a
Saturday May 17, 2008
At the Long Key Nature Center
Davie, Florida
Special guest VIP
Janet Reno
Former US Attorney General
                          VIP Social - $250                                                                  4:00pm - 4:30pm
         price includes Reception
Reception only- $100
4:30pm – 6:30pm
Dessert and Coffee
RSVP's Only
Live  performance by Ellen Buckstel, "They lost my vote."
Catering by "Two Ugly Sisters – Ala Cart Catering"
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Adriane Reesey, Democrat for Broward County Supervisor of Elections
The purchase of a ticket for the campaign fundraiser is a contribution to the campaign of Adriane Reesey

DNC to hear Florida Democrats appeals on May 31

TO: DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Members
FROM: Alexis Herman & Jim Roosevelt, Jr., Co-Chairs
DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC)
SUBJECT: Meeting Announcement–May 31, 2008
DATE: April 25, 2008
Realizing that members have very busy schedules, we wanted to notify you as soon as possible that the RBC will meet on Saturday, May 31, 2008 in Washington, D.C. We are asking members to arrive on Friday, May 30, 2008 in time for a private informal dinner with us. While we expect the RBC meeting to last most of the day on Saturday, we are asking members not to make their departure plans until Sunday.
The main item of business on the Committee's agenda will be the consideration of two pending challenges.
We hope you are able to attend this very important RBC meeting. Further information, including meeting agenda and meeting logistics, will be forwarded to you in the near future.
Please note that this is an official meeting of the RBC. Therefore, we would like to remind members of the attendance requirement established in the Bylaws (Article Two, Section 10.(g)). Members who miss three consecutive RBC meetings are deemed to have resigned from the Committee. Registering a proxy, while important for establishing a quorum and assuring your vote is represented, does not count for the purpose of attendance at a meeting.

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DailyKos: Off The Mark

Markos:  Obama has a higher ceiling, he wins states like Minnesota (and Iowa, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, and so on) more easily than Clinton. If "electability" is the measure by which the supers should decide, the numbers are fairly clear. Having better numbers in Florida does Clinton little good if McCain threatens to take away Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Those three states have 37 EVs, to Florida's 27.
First of all, Markos seems to have put Michigan in the Obama column.  On the basis of what?  His strength in labor households?  Working people?  Catholics?
Secondly, yes, those three states have more than Florida's 27, but that's cherry-pickin' your states.  Why doesn't Markos discuss Ohio, where Clinton leads McCain by 5 percentage points and Obama trails by 3?  Or Pennsylvania, where Clinton leads by 6 and Obama by 2?
Obama probably wins Colorado where Hillary doesn't, and possibly Virginia as well.  Stack that up against Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio--or, while we're at it, Massachusetts, where Hillary leads by 16 and Obama by 2, or a slew of smaller states like West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri where Hillary is at least competitive and Obama is not.


Republican Governor Charlie Crist voices opposition of House Health Insurance Plan
"Crist was particularly critical of the House's plan to create Florida Health Choices Inc., a public-private corporation that would administer scaled-down health plans for small businesses." [Palm Beach Post, 4/18/08]
"The House approach, opposed by Crist, would create a so-called "farmers' marketplace" of insurance options -- with the industry setting coverage limits -- that would be available to uninsured workers only through their employers." [Orlando Sentinel Blog, 4/17/08]
Senate unanimously passes Gov. Crist's Cover Florida Plan
"It [SB 2548] passed the Senate unanimously but has been blocked by the more-conservative
House, which is advancing a more insurance-industry- friendly proposal." [Orlando Sentinel, 4/21/08]
"Crist said the corporation, which would be similar to the state's HealthyKids Corp., could add 'another layer in between the people getting the opportunity to get health coverage as soon as possible." [Palm Beach Post, 4/18/08]
"A unanimous nod from the Florida Senate on Wednesday brought Gov. Charlie Crist closer to his goal of offering health insurance to uninsured Floridians." [St. Petersburg Times, 4/17/08]
"At a news conference with medical experts, Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday emphasized the need for the House to follow the Senate's lead and pass his plan for a "market-driven" approach to finding affordable health coverage for the uninsured." [St. Petersburg Times Blog, 4/17/08]
House Democrats join Senate in supporting Governor Crist's Cover Florida Plan
"Crist's champions were not his fellow Republicans but Democrats, chiefly Reps. Loranne
Ausley and Jack Seiler." [St. Petersburg Times Blog, 4/17/08]

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Evolution bill passes Senate


Sen. Ronda Storms evolution-questioning bill just passed the Florida Senate by a tight 21-17 margin. The perenially absent Fort Lauderdale Democratic Sen. Mandy Dawson was, well, absent. But so was the punctilious future Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, who was on the floor right before the vote.
Sen. Gary Siplin of Orlando was the only D vote in favor, while a handful of Republicans voted against it. Check out the vote here

Why Obama Should Drop Out Now

The PA primary demonstrates that the Jeremiah Wright controversy badly hurt Obama. Contrary to the finger wagging New York Times editorial, "The Low Road to Victory," blaming Hillary for daring to wage a winning campaign in Pennsylvania, Obama was undercut mainly by his own severe problems, especially his 20 year relationship with Wright.
We now know that Obama's Philadelphia speech on race in which he refused to disown Wright was not as the media touted a fabulous success but instead a crashing disaster.
Obama's Wright relationship has permanently alienated white working class voters, Catholics and Jews, among others. And the Republicans know it and are preparing for it.
A new 30 second video produced by a shadowy Republican group, which only contains factual footage, no commentary at all, is headed like a torpedo toward the Democratic Party is it nominates Obama. Every superdelegate should watch this video and explain why they would want every Democrat to bear this burden.

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Florida Demands Representation

Florida Demands Representation is circulating petitions to have the Florida Primary counted. You can download petitions to sign and mail in for Florida and a National petition for other states. These petitions will be presented to the DNC in June.

Pass it on!

http://www.floridad emandsrepresenta PETITIONS. html

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -


Simply click on the links below to open and
download the petitions.
Print, sign and mail! It's that easy.

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If Only This Was Obama

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Olbermann’s Interview of Hillary


Superdelegates: Time To Pick a Winner

The superdelegates are going to pick the next Democratic nominee. Winning the General Election against John McCain should be their primary concern.
Let's assume Hillary wins tomorrow in Pennsylvania. Regardless of her margin of victory, superdelegates are still tasked with picking the Democratic nominee. A post by Jeralyn on TalkLeft argues convincingly that Obama would face almost insurmountable odds against McCain. Jeralyn uses William Arnone's analysis of the electoral landscape. Jeralyn says:
First, we need to figure out which of the 20 states are vulnerable to McCain and decide whether Hillary or Obama has a better chance of carrying them. Mr. Arnone says those states are: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Wisconsin, which have a total of 68 electoral votes.
 Kerry won Pennsylvania by only 2% in 2004. Obama's inability to carry large states besides his home state does not bode well for his candidacy.

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Delegates to Dean: Uh! NO

Howard Dean was on Wolf Blitzer's show Friday, and Drudge picked up his admonition to the superdelegates with the splashy headline: "Dean To Delegates: Decide Now." In the interview, Dean says that he wants the superdelegates to begin "voting" now. "We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time," he said. "We've got to know who our nominee is."
Unfortunately for the party, Dean is in no position to tell the superdelegates when to decide. The reason? The chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee carries with it very little political power - certainly not enough to sway superdelegates.
If you listen to Dean's interview, he says that some superdelegates have already "voted," and that he wants the rest to "vote" soon. This is not how the superdelegate system works. Dean knows that, The fact is that the superdelegates have only endorsed candidates so far. They vote in Denver. Not before. What they say today does not necessarily constrain their votes in Denver. So, we should expect that, if the race remains close through the summer, both Obama and Clinton will work to "flip" superdelegates

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The Obama Campaign: Consent of, or Contempt for, the People

Expert guest post by Joseph C. Wilson
originally published on Huffington Post
Senator Obama's ill-conceived remarks likening small town Americans to embittered guns-and-God bigots have triggered a justifiable furor. Not only are the remarks insulting, but also factually incorrect.
As it happens, at the same event in San Francisco, Senator Obama made other remarks, equally startling, insulting our Foreign Service, Intelligence Officers, members of Congress who provide oversight, and friendly governments. Like his comments about small town Americans, Obama demonstrated a cavalier disregard for Americans who every day get up determined to make this a better country, whether running the general store in a small town, or representing our national security interests in a foreign country.
This is what Obama said:
Experience in Washington in not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags, 'I've met leaders from 80 countries,' I know what those trips are like. I've been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There's a group of children who do a native dance. You meet with the C.I.A. station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that with the assistance of USAID has started something. And then you go.
Obama's arrogance and contempt for career professionals in the national security community is palpable. His contempt reminds me of something Bill Kristol, the editor of the right wing war mongering Weekly Standard, said in a debate with me shortly after the launching of the Iraq War in 2003. We were in Midland, Texas, Laura Bush's home town, and Kristol was asked if he had ever spent time in the Middle East region, to which he responded "I've always believed on the ground experience is highly overrated." That callous disregard for professional expertise and experience is, of course, one of the reasons we so badly miscalculated the consequences of our actions in Iraq. That arrogance is no less offensive coming from Senator Obama. And it is no less wrongheaded.
Foreign Service Officers, Intelligence operatives, and USAID development experts carry out the mandate of our government to represent the interests of the United States, to understand the dynamics in a foreign society so as to better advise our own government on policies to be pursued, and work to improve relations between the United States and the country in question. The world is a dangerous and precarious place, and there are serious issues that constantly need to be engaged with foreign governments. It requires hard work and diligence. We ignore or denigrate that work at our peril.
Senator Obama should know better. After all, in his professional capacity as Chairman of the Senate subcommittee responsible for Europe and NATO, he was in charge of ensuring Congressional oversight of the administration's efforts to generate greater NATO support for operations in Afghanistan. The fact that, by his own admission, he was too busy running for president to convene a single meeting of that subcommittee, should not absolve him of responsibility for acquiring at least some understanding of and respect for the work of career professionals who dedicate their lives to the service of their country.
I was one of those public servants for twenty-three years. My colleagues and I, whether in the Foreign Service, the Military or the Central Intelligence Agency, were and are motivated by a commitment to serve the values that have made this country free and secure, values that are enshrined in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In exercising our responsibilities, we were careful to ensure that members of Congress were kept abreast and made partners in our efforts to keep America safe. When they visited our posts, we went out of our way to provide substantive briefings, meetings with senior host government officials, trips to USAID projects so elected representatives could see for themselves what the United States was doing to assist citizens of the recipient country improve their lot in life. And yes, there were cultural events, to broaden the perspectives of the visitors and to show respect for the indigenous culture they were being introduced to. Our goal in this was to ensure that those who represent the American people in Congress better understood what we were doing because more knowledge leads to better decisions. Judgment is not intuitive, as Senator Obama asserts; from my hard-won experience as a Foreign Service Officer, that judgment is learned.
Obama has made plain that he is not bothered in the slightest about belittling the work of Foreign Service and CIA Officers serving overseas, often in dangerous circumstances, any more than he is about denigrating Americans from small towns or blaming democrats in Congress, and especially Hillary Clinton, for George W. Bush's war in Iraq. It was not ironic that he made both comments at the same fundraiser in San Francisco. The contempt is consistent.
Trashing Congress, small town Americans, and career national security professionals, while befriending Jeremiah Wright and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers may be a winning electoral strategy. Who knows? Time will tell. But I suspect that many small town Americans are as offended as my professional colleagues and I by this display of contempt from one who seeks our consent to govern.

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The Media On The Debate

Hillary dominates Philadelphia focus group. "NYDIA HAN: The real take away is this. We now know who won the debate according to our focus group. Take a look. Senator Clinton is the debate winner, at least according to our focus group. 23% believe Senator Obama won while 50% believed Senator Clinton won." [WPVI Post-Debate Analysis, 4/16/08]
ABC News' Rick Klein – 'Clinton is back to the strong presence we saw early in the cycle.' [ABC News Political Radar, 4/16/08]
NBC News' Chuck Todd – Obama 'did not have a good night.' [MSNBC Post-Debate Analysis, 4/16/08]
NBC News' Chuck Todd—Obama's answer on Ayers and the flag 'were simply weak.' "His answer on Ayers and the flag question were simply weak; He seemed unprepared for them; Kinda surprising because he normally has a decent rant against "old politics" and yet "old politics" questions seemed to stump him." [NBC First Read, 4/16/08]
The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder – [T]here's no way Obama could fared worse. [The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, 4/16/08]
Washington Post' Chris Cillizza — Obama 'struggled quite a bit' when asked about Rev. Wright. "…He struggled quite a bit more when asked to answer for Wright, his former pastor." [Washington Post, The Fix, 4/16/08]
New York Times' Katharine Seeyle: Hillary's 'in her element as she goes into details.' "She's becoming expansive, seemingly in her element as she goes into details; Mr. Obama does not look as thrilled to be still standing there." [New York Times, The Caucus, 4/16/08]
Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall – Hillary 'certainly seems more self-assured.' "She certainly seems more self-assured on the Iran question than Obama did. The question of extending an American security umbrella to Israel is very dicey. And he could clearly see he was on delicate territory." [Talking Points Memo, 4/16/08]
Philadelphia Inquirer blog – 'Obama is again less certain, and rambles a bit.' "Obama is again less certain, and rambles a bit when asked about the Washington D.C. gun ban. Gibson asks him to deny that he has ever advocated a complete ban on hand guns in 1996. Obama says no. But whatever the truth, no other answer is possible." [Philadelphia Inquirer Blog, 4/16/08]
NBC News' Matthew Berger – Obama 'tried to have it both ways' with Israel. "Obama's answer on an Iranian attack on Israel tried to seem to have it both ways: highlight his support for Israel but not lock him into treating an attack on Israel like an attack on the U.S. But it may have looked more like a no because it wasn't a firm yes. Clinton's answer seemed more direct." [NBC First Read, 4/16/08]
Surprising, for over a year they have been giving Obama a FREE ride.

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Klein Introduces Bill Ending Blank Checks to Iraq

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Ron Klein (FL-22) today introduced legislation expressing the Sense of House of Representatives that all future funding provided by the United States to the government of Iraq for reconstruction, training for security forces and fuel be provided as a loan, rather than a grant. The legislation also requires the Iraqi government to utilize its own budget surplus for reconstruction projects before reconstruction aid from the United States is spent.
"Whether you support the Iraq war strategy or not, we can all agree that when it comes to the $600 billion in American taxpayer dollars that we have spent over the last five years, enough is enough," Klein said. "The Iraqi government is sitting on the second-largest oil reserve in the world and expecting a multi-billion dollar budget windfall this year, yet the United States continues to finance their reconstruction. This defies common sense. American taxpayers – myself included – are not willing to foot the bill any longer."
Klein's legislation is the House companion to a bipartisan Sense of the Senate resolution introduced last week by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation is a common-sense proposal to require the Iraqi government to take responsibility for investing in the reconstruction of their own country.
"The United States is spending $339 million a day in Iraq, a figure that should stagger the sensibilities of every American," Klein said. "My colleagues and I are standing up to say that we can no longer continue to pour billions into Iraq at the expense of critical priorities here at home. The amount of money we spend in Iraq each day could house 48,000 homeless veterans, hire over 2,000 new Border Patrol guards for a year or give 2.6 million uninsured Americans access to health care. It is time for real fiscal responsibility, and that means ending the blank checks to Iraq."
In addition, the United States spends $153 million every month on fuel in Iraq, at a cost of approximately $3.23 per gallon; Iraqis pay just $1.30 per gallon for fuel. With the price of oil per barrel continuing to rise, the Iraqi government is expecting a budget windfall this year of up to $60 billion, while at the same time, America is facing growing debt and record deficits. If the Iraqi people and Iraqi government want the U.S. military and the American people to continue to support a stabilization effort, they must stand up and pay for it.

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