Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory announced his endorsement of Barack Obama at today’s “Keeping America’s Promise” Rally at the University of Cincinnati. Mayor Mallory is a Superdelegate and will cast his vote for Obama at the Democratic Convention in Denver this summer. He joins fellow Ohio Superdelegates Sonny Nardi and David Wilhelm in supporting Senator Obama.
“Barack Obama is inspiring and exciting people in Cincinnati in way I haven’t seen before, bringing new people into the political process because they believe in his message that when we come together, anything is possible,” Mayor Mallory said. “We know the challenges we face are steep—finally providing a quality education for every child; making sure that every American has health care. But we also know that with the right leadership, we can put the partisanship and the special interests aside and finally make progress again for working people. I’m endorsing Barack Obama today for the same reason that so many Cincinnatians are supporting him: because we know he’s the candidate who can bring about the change we need.”
Mallory joins African American big city mayors Mike Coleman of Columbus, Frank Jackson of Cleveland, and Jay Williams of Youngstown in supporting Obama.
At the press orientation and preview for tomorrow night's debate at Cleveland State University, ODP Chair and superdelegate Chris Redfern called the event "the most important debate so far" as we build up to "what looks like the most important primary." Both candidates "understand that Ohio is essential to their success, not only in the primary election but also in the general election." He also said that "whoever wins Ohio will win the nomination," although he immediately qualified that statement somewhat:
If Hillary Clinton wins in Ohio and shows success in Texas, then that shows her a path to the nomination. ... If Obama wins here and in Texas, then he will be the nominee.
He also reiterated that he will remain neutral through the course of the campaign. "Hell, I want to make it interesting," he added. However, he said, he is aware that every word he utters will be dissected by bloggers in an attempt to divine which way he is leaning.
At a press availability outside the arena at the Wolstein Convocation Center, Redfern spoke to reporters along with CSU President Michael Schwartz, WKYC President and General Manager Brooke Spectorsky, and NBC Debate Producer Phil Alongi. They described the incredible scramble to get this event pulled together in just 14 days. Valerie McCall, speaking for Mayor Frank Jackson, said that he "could not be more eager to support something that will be a defining moment not just in the election but in history." But Redfern is the one who really put it out there. "If they had all of the debates here in Ohio, that would be the best, saving everybody a lot of time and energy," he said, "since we all know that Ohio will be the most important state in the election."
"Hillary Clinton is in big trouble," said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in the polling memo. "As recently as a week ago many polls in the state were showing her with around a 20 point lead. The race is trending heavily toward Obama and time is on his side with another eight day before the voting."
Rumors that former John Edwards support, Ohio Blogger Mark Adams finally getting off the fence and deciding to reject Hillary's advances (and cookies, even the chocolate chip ones) was the deciding factor in beginning this groundswell of support for the Illinois Senator cannot be confirmed.
Jane Mitakides (D-Dayton) is on the air:
Here is the script:
[Jane Mitakides:] This election is about change and a future of opportunity for all Americans.
As a member of the St. Elizabeth Development Board, I fought government policies that denied healthcare to families who left welfare for work.
Now, I’m ready to fight for jobs, fair trade, and education.
Let’s end the era of no-bid contracts and work towards real solutions.
I’m Jane Mitakides and I approved this message because I believe real change starts with us.
It wasn't her unapologetic stance on the Iraq War, now or then. Truthfully, the moment any of us signed on to support John Kerry, we gave Hillary a pass on her vote for the AUMF, even if we reserved the right to nit-pick her votes to fund the war. It's not the triangulation, or Bill's clumsy rants on her behalf. It's not the two-faces of her flag-burning position, or health-care mandates.
It's the fucking lies about the economy, stupid.
"The notion that you can selectively pick what you take credit for and then run away from what isn't politically convenient, that doesn't make sense," Obama said. "If she suggested she had nothing to do with economic policy in the Clinton White House, then it would not be fair for me to bring it up but as you know, that's not the claim that she is making."
For her to insist that NAFTA not only was a bad idea, but that her wise counsel against it was ignored by her husband which allows her to take credit for much of the good from Bill Clinton's administration while distancing herself from one of it's most glaring examples of right-leaning policy mistakes -- only to be reminded that she herself includes it as something in her record of accomplishments to which she stands proud -- is a lesson in cherry picking.
David Sirota found the money quote from a 2002 speech Hillary Clinton gave to the DLC (the Republican wing of the Democratic Party):
"We all know the record of the DLC, the Progressive Policy Institute and, of course, the Clinton-Gore Administration. The economic recovery plan stands first and foremost as a testament to both good ideas and political courage. National service. The Brady Bill. Family Leave. NAFTA. Investment in science and technology. New markets. Charter schools. The Earned Income Tax Credit. The welfare to work partnership. The COPS program. The SAFER program. All of these came out of some very fundamental ideas about what would work. The results speak for themselves. Those ideas were converted into policies programs that literally changed millions of lives and, I argue, changed America."
I'll not argue with her that much of this was good, very good in fact. But here in the Rust Belt, NAFTA is a four letter word (a testament to our economic condition, not the educational system). She knows it, which is why, as the Ohio primary looms and the Pennsylvania primary looks increasingly like a contest she might not even get to, the last thing she wants around her neck is a trade deal so many of us here have concluded is responsible for wiping out what once was one of the most economically prosperous regions in the country.
A poll just released by Quinnipiac University shows Hillary Clinton leading among likely Democratic voters in Ohio by eleven points (numbers in parens are from February 14th):
51% (55%) Clinton
40% (34%) Obama
This result shows Obama cutting into Clinton's once formidable lead, but still with far to go one week before OT Tuesday.
Obama leads 68% to 20% among African American voters in Ohio, while Clinton leads among whites 59% to 33%. Clinton retains a strong lead among women at 53% to 36%, but her previous lead of 46% to 41% among college-educated voters has completely flipped -- Obama now has a huge 58% to 36% lead in that category.
Ohio voters disapprove of the job President Bush is doing by 69% to 28%, his lowest score ever in the state. A majority (65%) say the U.S. economy is in a recession, although a lesser majority (56%) say that their own personal finances are "excellent" or "good."
Voters also say that going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do (62% to 31%).
This poll was taken February 18 - 23. There were 741 likely Democratic primary voters interviewed, with a margin of error of 3.6 points.
Here is a great video mashup of Hillary Clinton's moment of harmony in last Thursday's debate with her tirade against Obama since, highlighting the central difficulty with her strategy of attacking Obama harshly enough to slow his momentum while trying to maintain her like-ability:
A new Ohio Poll just released by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati has Barack Obama trailing Hillary Clinton by eight points:
Among likely Democratic voters, the most important issues are economy/jobs (41%), health care/health insurance (25%) and the war in Iraq/Iraq policy (16%). Clinton's lead is 5 points among economy/jobs voters, 13 points among health care/health insurance voters, and 8 points among Iraq voters.
Clinton leads among women 52% to 34%, Obama leads among men 45% to 42%. Obama leads among African Americans 75% to 22%, Clinton leads among whites 51% to 34%.
Clinton leads Obama by 14 points in Northeast Ohio, 24 points in Northwest Ohio, and 20 points in Southeast Ohio. Obama leads Obama by 21 points in Central Ohio and 2 points in Southwest Ohio.
The poll also shows McCain far ahead Huckabee on the GOP side at 55% to 20%.
The poll sample on the Democratic side was 529 likely voters, interviewed February 21 to 24, and the poll has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.
Barack Obama will host a “KEEPING AMERICA’S PROMISE” rally in Dayton on Monday, February 25th
Details after the flip.
Join Hillary Clinton for a "Solutions for the American Economy" Town Hall in Lorain on Tuesday, February 26th.
Details after the flip.
I got a robocall from Hillary Clinton tonight. This time she was angry, railing at Barack Obama's "dishonest" mailers about trade policy. She told me that she's the one who will have a "trade prosecutor," not Barack Obama.
"I have a plan," she declared. "My opponent does not. Ohio needs solutions, not distortions."
No more Ms. Nice.
Suddenly it all clicked into place. Her entire Ohio strategy is now based on convincing us that Obama is dishonest and untrustworthy. She's filled with righteous anger at his deceptions, and she expects us feel it too.
In a conference call with reporters today, communications director Howard Wolfson and Ohio director Robby Mook pretty much laid it out. Noting that Obama had criticized John Edwards in Iowa last December for failing to intervene when an independent 527 group run by his 2004 campaign manager bought air time for pro-Edwards ads, the two of them castigated Obama over a United Food and Commercial Workers ad buy set to begin on Tuesday in Ohio, with no apparent protest from Obama. "Barack Obama has a pattern of making statements and promises and walking away from them," Wolfson declared. His "promises are not followed through with action." It's "not about principles for Barack Obama, it's about politics." Barack Obama is "running on promises of strength and the strength of his promises." Voters "need to know that when they choose a president he will follow through on his promises." But Obama is not "consistent in his leadership." (Yes, they said all that.)
To paraphrase Click and Clack The Tappet Brothers (the guys from Car Talk on NPR):
Even though every time I do it, Jeff questions his sanity for ever giving a nut like me posting privileges, sometimes on the weekends, I just gotta get away from politics for a minute and kick back with some great music.
I've heard that after their sold-out reunion concerts, Led Zep is going on tour this fall. Here is a VERY different take on "Whole Lotta Love" with John Paul Jones on mandolin (I would KILL for that F-5 he's playing), jamming with the Duhks at Merlefest last year. That's super wunderkind Casey Driessen sitting in on fiddle. Who says "country" music is all about beer and pickup trucks? Wait till ya see this one!
Congressional candidate David Robinson (D) is calling voter's attention to the following video, which he says "gets at the heart of what motivates me to run for Congress":
The Cincinnati Enquirer today gave the nod to Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) over Steve Black (D):
[Wulsin] has grown in her understanding of the district and its needs in each of her three attempts for the office. ... Given how close she came last time in the traditionally Republican district, we believe she deserves the shot.
Wulsin clearly shows that she has been learning the nuances of the far-flung district ... . "The district is diverse, but the issues are more similar than different. The economy and health care are killing us," she said. ...
Wulsin is a public health physician who ... is uniquely qualified to understand the workings of the United States health care system, its failings and what changes can realistically be made to improve it. ...
The editors are highly critical of Black's negative campaigning, calling his attacks "based more on innuendo than fact." One of the charges is that Wulsin's "one-time work reviewing malarial therapy for AIDS experiments for the Heimlich Institute" was "unethical," an unsubstantiated allegation left over from the 2006 campaign that a Cincinnati blogger is attempting to resuscitate.
An excellent field report by Redhorse, which among other things resolves some ambiguity about the presidential preferences of Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) and State Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) -- the former is not in the Clinton camp, as perhaps suggested by her acknowledgment of his presence at a recent rally, and the latter is firmly in the Obama camp.
A Minnesota resident whose outlandish drugs-and-sex allegation against Barack Obama got a half a million views on YouTube since mid-Janury, and who recently filed a civil rights lawsuit against the candidate, has failed the polygraph test that a prominent sleaze-news site paid him $10,000 to take. Although it was a close call whether to mention this nonsense at all, I decided that drawing attention to the negative polygraph result may be helpful in putting the rumor down for good.
Sen. Barack Obama met privately with Jewish leaders in northeastern Ohio this morning to discuss his candidacy for president. At the meeting, Obama reportedly responded to three concerns put to him by the Jewish leaders.
First, Obama was asked to put to rest questions about his religion, i.e., to state unequivocally that he is a Christian and not a Muslim. This Obama did, explaining once again that his middle name "Hussein" is from his grandfather and does not reflect his faith, and that he is in fact a devout Christian.
Second, Obama was questioned about his failure to denounce remarks by the minister of his church, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., that are favorable to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, notorious for his extremely anti-Semitic statements. I don't have the precise wording, but Obama reportedly responded by comparing the situation at his church to a family that has an aging uncle who says embarrassing things at family gatherings, but is not challenged face-to-face because he is a relative and is elderly. Obama reportedly said that his minister is near retirement and Obama does not feel it is appropriate in the minister's final days to say negative things about him in public.
Here is audio of Obama's speech last night, about 48 minutes total:
I hope to update this post with some excerpts and observations a little later.
UPDATE: Here is a video clip of the last four minutes of the speech -- acoustics are lousy, but it conveys the atmosphere and crowd enthusiasm at the event:
Here are photographs from the rally for Barack Obama at the Cleveland Convention Center last night. I was in the press section with digital camera, tripod, laptop, and audiorecorder. There were more than 6,000 cheering, applauding, sign-waving Ohioans out in the public seating (including blogger Scott Bakalar). One section in the balcony was jammed with noisy purple-shirted SEIU members. The crowd seemed heavily although not predominantly African American. A section for dignitaries included a host of area elected officials and the political bigwigs.
Long before Obama spoke the crowd had broken into spontaneous chants of "We want change!" and "Yes we can!" (and of course, The Wave). It had elements of a rock concert, a religious revival, and a sporting event as well as a political rally.
It didn't seem to me that Barack Obama was at his best last night. It was his second huge rally of the night, perhaps he was tired. It didn't help that the acoustics weren't great - sometimes I had a hard time making out what he was saying. He prowled restlessly around a small stage, often with one hand in a pocket, no notes or teleprompter in evidence, sounding themes now mostly familiar from televised campaign events. He seemed confident but a little subdued. But this crowd brought it's own enthusiasm and adoration with it - the candidate simply didn't need to reach for oratorical heights to inspire them. They roared, they cheered, they drowned him out at times.
The Geauga County Democratic Party and the Geauga Democratic Women's Caucus are hosting a Primary Candidates Forum this afternoon. David Wilhelm, the campaign maager for Bill Clinton in 1992 and now a superdelegate supporting Barack Obama, will speak for his candidate. Candidates in congressional (OH-14), judicial, and county Democratic primaries will also speak.
What a joke. Here is the announcement, on NBC's "Meet the Press" this morning:
His campaign themes sound like Kucinich 2.0.
Here is his campaign site, if you are interested.
Subodh Chandra, a former candidate for Ohio Attorney General and voting rights activist/attorney, has filed a complaint with the FEC on behalf of several low-income Ohioans who have donated what they could afford to Barack Obama, alleging that the recently-formed 527 group American Leadership Project is in violation of the McCain-Feingold law on registration and contribution limitations for political advocacy. The group commenced with an initial buy for pro-Clinton ads in Ohio last week, although it has since been reported that the group has not reserved any additional broadcast time.
The complaint can be downloaded here [pdf]. In general, the law requires groups to register and comply with contribution restrictions if they engages in "electioneering communications" and raise more than a minimal threshhold of funds ($1,000). The Obama campaign has previously contended that the group is in fact engaging in express advocacy, and the group responded with a response arguing that its efforts are permissible. This complaint contends that even if the TV ads don't qualify as "electioneering communcations" (which is not conceded), the group's public statements and fund-raising communications establish that it is a political advocacy group subject to the law's requirements.
At the Michelle Obama rally on Thursday it was obvious how her message of hope as overcoming fear and despair had special resonance for African American members of the audience. Although she spoke of restoring hope to the struggling middle class in general terms, when she talked of the significance of Obama becoming president as conveying that "anything is possible," the subtext of overcoming racial barriers was eloquent and powerful. I noticed Arnold Pinckney, an advisor to Rev. Jesse Jackson at the time of his presidential bid as well as a mentor to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland), beaming and applauding as he stood near the podium.
In an important pair of stories in the Plain Dealer today, reporters Mark Naymik and Margaret Bernstein detail just how effectively this message is spreading through the African American community in Cleveland, effectively neutralizing the strong support for Hillary Clinton by Rep. Tubbs Jones, the city's most prominent Black elected official. Obama's campaign has become in effect an extension of the civil rights movement, creating an irresistible tide of support.
Naymik attended a rally on Friday at the Antioch Baptist Church with "hundreds of voters, elected officials, influential ministers and activists." Bernstein attended a Sunday service at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church presided over by Rev. Otis Moss Jr., who served under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a regional director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where "the flavor and fervor of the civil rights movement hung heavy in the air."
Come see Barack Obama at a "Keeping America's Promise" rally in Dayton on Monday 2/25, doors opening at 4:00 p.m.
Details after the flip.
Come see Barack Obama at a "Keeping America's Promise" rally at the University of Cincinnati on Monday, 2/5, doors opening at noon.
Details after the flip.