Sioux Falls Argus Leader endorses Hillary Clinton

The Argus Leader –whose interview with her yielded the controversial RFK assassination soundbite– today endorsed Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama for the Democratic race. And surprise, surprise, they endorsed McCain for the Republicans.

They had some nice things to say about her command of the issues:

Her mastery of complex policy detail is broad and deep, and her experience as a senator and former first lady matches that.

as well as her character:

Her resilience and determination never should be questioned. She has met or overcome every challenge or roadblock in her way, and there have been many. Her determination to carry the nomination process through to its real conclusion has perhaps earned her a grudging respect from those who would never support her.

Clinton might not win this race. In fact, it’s a long shot. But whatever some might say, the race is not over, and her name is on the ballot. Win or lose, she’s also the best Democratic candidate for South Dakota.

The big South Dakota issue seems to be ethanol. Hillary’s interview with the Argus Leader was pretty impressive–I admit to playing it over and over–and not just to get the transcript right, but because the policy questions were interesting. A lot of those policy questions turned up in the paper’s endorsement. They weren’t thrilled with Hillary’s assessment of corn–a major South Dakota cash crop–as a minor player in the ethanol game, but agreed that she was probably right. Her stances on Native American issues and partnering university research with industry also drew comment. South Dakota has always placed a high priority on education. It’s universities are top notch and brains are one of it’s biggest and least recognized exports. The high school students back then, instead of saying “outa sight”, used to say “outa state”–recognizing the probable location of their potential opportunities.

The Argus Leader is a major paper in the state, not to mention that they have always had the best Sunday funnies, in color….Blondie, Dick Tracy, Lil Abner, Orphan Annie, Peanuts… It will be read by many in the region, not just in Sioux Falls.

I was browsing some Clintonista websites yesterday: hillaryis44, hillaryclintonforum, hillaryresponders, and one of them, I forget which one, had Hillary’s Sioux Falls interview playing as the soundtrack. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen.

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Hillary supporters at the Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade Take it to the Street

“That is the parade I marched in every year as a Brownie/Girl Scout or just as a kid who decorated her bike!”, says Hillary Clinton of the Memorial Day parade in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Some Hillary supporters met at Park Ridge on Monday to cheer the Memorial Day parade and wave their Hillary signs. During the parade they looked in vain for superdelegate Jan Schakowsky who had brazenly and flagrantly endorsed Hillary’s opponent, then turned up in Hillary’s own home town for the parade.

At the end of the parade, the Hillary supporters were so overcome with the spirit of the event,–and with not having seen Representative Schakowsky during the parade–that they took to the streets, intending to march past the reviewing stand.

As a police squad car moved up behind them, they moved to the side of the street to let it pass. But after some initial confusion it was clear the squad car intended to bring up the end of the parade. “Take the street,” he urged. “Take the street. We’ll worry about a parade permit later….. I’ve got your rear.”

Take the street they did, to much cheering by the locals–except for one curmudgeon who insisted Hillary had already had eight years as president.

The complete set of unedited photos is uploaded |here|.

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Phantom Jan Schakowsky evaporates from Hillary’s home town Park Ridge Memorial Day parade

Hillary Clinton’s supporters were in good spirits for the Memorial day parade in Hillary’s home town of Park Ridge in Illinois last weekend–except for one thing. Jan Schakowsky.

That would be superdelegate Jan Schakowsky, jan schakowsky with hornsas in U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky who represents the Illinois 9th district. Every time the nice weather and friendly smalltown parade threatened to put them in a good mood, they remembered Jan Schakowsky. Oh, yes, they were on the lookout for her.

Jan Schakowsky was going to be in the parade, it was rumored. How dare superdelegate Jan Schakowky come here, right to Hillary’s very home town, after endorsing Hillary’s opponent in the presidential race. The same Jan Schakowsky who has spoken out so strongly for having more women in public office.

But the elusive Jan Shakowsky was one step ahead of the rumors all day. It was rumored she was going to be on the reviewing stand. Hillary’s supporters took to the streets at the end of the parade, hoping to see her at the reviewing stand. But the peripatetic Jan Shakowsky was not there. Yes, she had been marching in the parade behind a certain vehicle for most of the route. Yes, someone confirmed she had been standing right there at the bottom of the steps. She must have gone thataway. Where?–fumed Hillary’s supporters. But Jan Shakowsky had another engagement and was already out of Dodge. Almost as if she knew.

The Black and White Hillary Icon Poster

You’ve seen all the street poster art for Obama. Interesting stuff visually, even if you aren’t into Soviet-era and totalitarian propaganda art and the “Obey” posse trademark.

Well, I’ve decided it’s time for Hillary to get some of her own street cred.

So here’s the iconic Hillary. To see everything that’s available with this design, check out the Hillary Icon shop.

You can get t-shirts, buttons, magnets, dog shirts, and yes, a 16 X 20 poster, in case you want to go for a little stroll some night and decorate your home town. Google a good wheat paste recipe, and oh, yes, do be sure to check your local ordinances before putting up anything.

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Assassination! Assassination! Eeeek! Now, what was the question again?

The continuing fervor over Hillary Clinton’s mention of the RFK assassination puzzles me. I have already pointed out that it is not the Clinton campaign that is spreading cries of “Assassination!” all over the mainstream media. I don’t think it’s the McCain people either.

And I certainly interpreted the RFK assassination reference as a memory key about primary election dates for those of us who lived through those troubling days of losing JFK, RFK, and MLK, our cultural heroes of the sixties. The Argus Leader editors interpreted it that way too. So did RFK’s son. The memory of those times is something that ties us boomers together.

Why then was the Obama camp excited enough to issue a press release? And send their own reporters to the taping of the Olberman hissy fit at MSNBC? And have their main media consultant hand carry the Olberman videotape to the other mainstream news sources on a three day weekend.  And have their candidate mention Robert Keennedy several times in a commencement speech–isn’t he supposed to be worried or something?  Why are the obamabots going ape in the online forums?

Possible reasons:

Possibility #1: Obama and is genuinely concerned that he will be the target of an assassin.

But ALL the candidates have been threatened. McCain by immigration foes, Obama by white supremacists, and Clinton by an O’Reilly blogger. And those are only the threats that have been made public. The secret service probably has a drawer full of them.

So what would make Obama think he owns the assassination trademark?

And if Obama was really so concerned about the dangers of publicity, why didn’t they go quietly to the FBI, or to Hillary’s camp and ask her privately to stop–after all, the RFK reference has been a staple in her canned remarks for some time. Why issue a public press release?

Possibility #2: The Obama camp is threatened by what Clinton was saying and wants to take attention away from it, like a mother bird that pretends to be wounded in order to lure predators away from the nest of hatchlings . “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”, they say. “The real show is up here”. “Assassination!” “Assassination!”

So what was Hillary Clinton saying, again? Well, she makes a pretty good case against the people who are trying to strong-arm her into dropping out of the race.

Hillary was saying…

Hillary Clinton is ahead in the popular vote, depending on how you count Michigan and Florida, and she claims more people have voted for her in the primary than have ever before voted.

Hillary Clinton says she can win the electoral college. She has a map. She says that an aggregation of polls, leaked from Karl Rove’s office, shows Clinton beating McCain, and McCain beating Obama. She says she does well in states with primaries, while her opponent does well in states with caucuses where activists, not ordinary voters, control the outcome. “It’s not the math”, she says. “It’s the map”.

And then there’s those superdelegates. Their whole reason for existing is to save the Democratic party from another embarrassment like the 1972 election, where McGovern carried only two states. Show me your map of how Obama can win the electoral college, Hillary tells the superdelegates.

So another more ominous scenario emerges. For the sake of party unity, Obama could have quietly supported Clinton–who a year ago was the heir-apparent to the Democratic nomination–and gotten the VP slot for himself. But he decided instead it was his year to make a bid for the presidency. What if he has put himself forward before all his ducks are in a row? What if he is successful in winning the superdelegates, but not the electoral college? The first black man to run for the presidency, and he ends up splitting the Democratic party and losing to McCain? Not a good scenario for the Democrats or for Obama. Oh, he’d keep his senate seat. Maybe they could even give him Nancy Pelosi’s chair.

But the Republicans would be laughing–all the way to the bank—again.

The Clinton camp claims that every time a pundit publicly calls for Hillary to leave the race, her contributions start to dry up. She has until August for her campaign to repay her $20 million personal loan.

You would think that if she is really toast, as her opponent claims, that he would just leave her alone and let her try to recoup her loses. But they aren’t doing that. The Obama camp is fighting, and fighting hard. Assassin, schmassassin.

In the meantime, Hillary continues to gain speed while being outspent three to one, four to one, five to one.

“Assassination!”

“Assassination!”

“Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain!”

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Assassination in context–transcript: Hillary Clinton interview with Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board

The following is a transcript of an interview with Hillary Clinton and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board on Friday May 23, 2008. This fifteen minute segment contains the “assassination” reference as well as a discussion of why Clinton stays in the race and her strategy for winning the general election.

The tape segment can be downloaded from the Argus Leader |here|.

I understand it’s customary to “clean up” the vocalized pauses and crosstalk that occurs in normal conversation to make a transcript more readable, but since there has been some controversy about whether certain comments in this interview “open a door wide into the soul” of Senator Clinton, I have left them in for accuracy and for the amusement of any soul-augurers.

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HILLARY CLINTON: I think, if you look at this campaign, ahh, starting in late February, moving forward, ahh, I’ve done much better, ahh..The longer this campaign has gone on, the better I’ve done…which I think is an interesting observation. I lead in the popular vote. More people have voted for me, not only more than my opponent, but more have voted for me than, ahhh, anyone who’s ever run for the nomination of a political party in our country, ahh, and…there are a lot of people who really believe in me and support me because they think I would be the best president. And I think…

Having the campaign go on until the people in South Dakota actually get to vote, ah, is a very important part of democracy. I readily accepted Senator McGovern’s offer that Senator Obama and I appear side by side. I have accepted that. I have urged that. I think that the people of South Dakota deserve it. He doesn’t seem to want to debate me or even appear on the same stage with me, which I think is kind of strange since he’s certainly have to do that in the fall, I would expect, if he is our nominee. Ahhh, so, I feel very good about my campaign, I’m very grateful for the support that I’ve received against pretty daunting, ahh, ahh, you know, mountains to climb, ahh, because people have been declaring it over for many months, and…voters seem to have a different idea and keep coming out and voting for me and… I hope to do well here in South Dakota.

ARGUS LEADER: The reports this morning and over night were that, uh, your campaign had certain contacts or overatures to Mr. Obama’s campaign in, …in the past 24 hours, and were working on some sort of deal for your exit.

HILLARY CLINTON: That’s flatly untrue. Flatly, completely…untrue.

ARGUS LEADER: No discussions at all?

HILLARY CLINTON: No discussions at all. At ALL. And…now, I can’t speak for the seventeen million people who voted for me, uh, uh, I have a lot of supporters, uh, but it is flatly untrue, and it is not anything I am entertaining. It is nothing I have planned. It is nothing I am prepared to engage in. I am still, you know, vigorously, uh, you know, campaigning. I am happy to be here, looking forward to campaign here, going to Puerto Rico tomorrow. I expect to be back here before the election.

But this is part of an ongoing effort, to, you know, end this before it’s over, and you know I’m very heartened by, you know the strong support that I’ve shown in Kentucky and West Virginia just in the last two weeks, ah, they sure don’t think it’s over. The people who are here in South Dakota looking forward to vote–they don’t think it’s over and I sure don’t think it’s over.

Neither of us has the number of delegates needed to be the nominee, and every time they declare it, it doesn’t make it so. Neither of us do, and I’ve never seen anything like this. I mean, I have perhaps a long enough memory that, uh, many people who finished a rather distant second behind nominees, ahh, went all the way to the convention. I remember very well 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, where some who had contested in the primaries, you know, were determined to carry their case to the convention. I’m ahead in the popular vote. Less than two hundred delegates separate us out of four thousand four hundred. Michigan and Florida are not resolved. No one has the nomination. So I would look to the , uh, uh, camp of my opponent for the source of those stories.

ARGUS LEADER: Well, I was just going to ask. One presumes…

HILLARY CLINTON: (laughs)

ARGUS LEADER: (crosstalk)….where it originates…

HILLARY CLINTON: I think so. But that’s been the pattern for quite some time now. I’m…Honestly, I just believe that this is the most important job in the world. It’s the toughest job in the world. You should be willing to campaign for every vote. You should be willing to debate any time, any where. I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition, ahhh, where we find ourselves and,…I have been willing to do all of that, during the entire process, and people have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa, ahh…

ARGUS LEADER: Why?….

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t know,…

ARGUS LEADER: ….why?…..

HILLARY CLINTON: ….I don’t know….I don’t …I find it curious, because…it is unprecedented in history. I don’t understand it, you know between my opponent and his camp and some in the media there has been this…urgency to end this, and you know, I … historically that makes no sense, so I find it a bit of a mystery..

ARGUS LEADER: You don’t buy the unity argument?

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t. (crosstalk)….because again I’ve been around long enough, uh,… my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary, uhhh..somewhere in the middle of June..

ARGUS LEADER: …June…

HILLARY CLINTON: (crosstalk)…right?… We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June, in California, ah, I…I just don’t understand it. There’s lots of speculation about why it is, but ah,…

ARGUS LEADER: What’s your speculation?

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, I don’t know. I…I…I find it curious and I don’t want to, uh, attribute (laughs) motives or uh, strategies to people because I don’t really know…ahhh…but it is a historical curiosity to me.

ARGUS LEADER: Does that have anything to do with gender?

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t know that either, I don’t know. You know, I’m not one to speculate on that because I …I think that uh, I want to be judged on my own merits and I think I am. But, uh, others have.

ARGUS LEADER: It sounds like what you’re saying, then, to those who are looking forward to voting on June 3 is that there will be a competitive race on the day that they vote.

HILLARY CLINTON: That’s right, that’s right,…well, if I have anything to do with it….

ARGUS LEADER: (laughs)

HILLARY CLINTON: And the other thing that I want South Dakotans to really think hard about is…winning in November. The electoral map is…the target here. And consistently over the last weeks, I have had a considerable lead, in that electoral college calculation, over my opponent, and…

A source that is perhaps suspect to all of us as Democrats, but seems to have a pretty good track record, Karl Rove does a rolling assessment, and ABC News got a hold of his maps and his calculation last week, and it coincides with everything that I’ve seen from every other source. If the election were held today, I would win. I would beat McCain, and McCain would defeat Senator Obama. I was just in Florida…. Every poll for the last three, four months,… I defeat Senator McCain, McCain defeats Obama. In the battleground states that we have to win, and in the anchor states that any Democrat must win, ah, I’m ahead. So if South Dakotans are concerned, as I am, that we place our best candidate, our stronger candidate, against Senator McCain in the fall, the evidence is overwhelming.

Now if you look at the states that I have won, it totals 300 electoral votes, give or take. Now some of those states a Democrat is not likely to win. We can compete, but it’s tough. But states that I’ve won that I know I can win, like Arkansas, and West Virginia, like Kentucky, like Florida, like Ohio–where again I defeat McCain, and McCain defeats Obama–are states that we have to win, if we’re going to be successful. Senator Obama has won states totalling about two hundred seventeen electoral votes, far below the threshold of what we need–two hundred seventy–and the Rove analysis, which is, as I understand it, a calculation based on every public poll available, because there’s a theory that apparently he subscribes to, as do others, that any one poll is not as good as averaging all polls. And polls within individual states that are done locally, as well as national polls that go into those states, will give you a better picture.

HILLARY CLINTON: Now does that mean that my opponent can’t win? Of course not. But does it mean, based on what we know now, if you were a South Dakotan who would your better bet be, to actually win the White House? It would be me. And I think that that’s a very important piece of information. And it’s one of the reasons that I am competing and continuing to compete because my goal here is to win in November. I respect Senator McCain. He’s a friend of mine. But I do not believe he has the right ideas for our country, and I do not believe he should be the president after George Bush. It would be like a continuation–economically, and in Iraq–of Bush’s policies. So I think Democrats need to think very carefully about this vote in South Dakota.

ARGUS LEADER: Are you saying that you don’t think Obama can win?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I’m saying he can win..

ARGUS LEADER: …the states you’ve been in…so strong in…

HILLARY CLINTON: I’m saying …

ARGUS LEADER: Ohio, ….

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, let me say it this way

ARGUS LEADER: West Virginia…

HILLARY CLINTON: Based on the evidence now, and the the margin of my victory over McCain and McCain’s victory over Obama, he will have a much harder time. Of course he can win. Anything can happen in politics.

ARGUS LEADER: If he were the nominee, would you campaign for him in those states?

HILLARY CLINTON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I have said I would do anything and everything I am asked to do. I am a Democrat, and an Amercian, and I think the damage that George Bush has done to our country is considerable, therefore we must have a democratic president. I think the odds are greater that I woud be that president than my opponent. That doesn’t mean he can’t win, that doesn’t mean I won’t move heaven and earth and do everything I can, if he is the nominee, to help him win. But I ..I’m a real believer in evidence-based decision making, and if you look at the evidence, as this campaign has gone on, I’ve gotten stronger and stronger. If you look at where I get my votes, it’s primarily from primaries, and that’s where I get my delegates. If you look at where he gets his, it’s primarily from caucuses, which are not representative and are largely uh, driven by the most activist members of our party . I believe I have a stronger base to build on, to acheive victory in the electoral college, uh, and I’m going to do everything I can do to make that case. If I make it, I will be the nominee and I will win. If I’m not successful making it, I will do everything I can to elect a Democratic president.

ARGUS LEADER: It sounds like your strategy to win is essentially… rests now on Michigan and Florida.

HILLARY CLINTON: No, Neither of us has the delagates we need.

ARGUS LEADER: Well, he’s closer than you are.

HILLARY CLINTON: He’s slightly closer than I am. Slightly. I mean, less than 200 out of 4400. One of us has to get to 2, 210, and neither of us is near there yet. He keeps saying “oh, but I’ve gotten to two thousand twenty-five”, but that excludes Michigan and Florida. I don’t think it’s smart for us to have a nominee based on 48 instead of 50 states. Hopefully Michigan and Florida will be resolved on May 31st, when the DNC rules committee meets. But even then, we still have to convince superdelegates. Now, superdelegates are in this process for a purpose. Their task is to exercise independent judgment. And the independent judgment they should exercise is: who is the stronger candidate to win in the fall. And if they exercise that independent judgment, they should look at all the evidence, and they should make their conclusion. I’m waiting to see the electoral map that leads my opponent to the 270 delegate number. That’s all I ask, and that’s what a superdelegate should ask. Show me the map. It’s not the math, it’s the map. And I can show you the map about how I’d put together a majority of 70 electoral votes.

ARGUS LEADER: In your mind what would a fair resolution to seating the Michigan and Florida delegates?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, in my mind, it would be fully seating the delegate, and here’s why, Even…though…they moved their dates, I think there were extenuating circumstances for both. The case is clearer for Florida. Florida has a Republican governor, a Republican legislature, and I mean huuugge majorities in both, not just a close divide. They determined they were going to set their date to benefit Republican candidates, and Democrats really had no choice in the matter. They could have said “we’re going to be pure, we’re not going to participate”–they never could have afforded to run a primary in Florida. That would be…prohibitive. So they did go along with it. But I think there were very understandable reasons why they did. And..1.7 million people showed up. It was a totally level playing field. We were all on the ballot. There was little or no campaigning, so nobody was in there. The voters took it very seriously because they thought it was important, and they voted. And the idea that voters should be punished, for what was, at worst, an acquiescence…

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UPDATE: The Argus Leader has a transcript available–without all the “unmm’s” and “you know’s” that conversational speech has. Unfortunately it’s not in HTML form–you have to download it and open it with Word. So you can’t read it if you’re in the public library and you can’t read it if you don’t have word on your computer. The link to download is at the upper right corner of the page |here|.

Updated Update: I have gotten a Microsoft Word program running (curse Word 2007/Vista!) and have downloaded and posted the transcript from the Argus Leader |here|.

The Race and Gender Split: videos, cartoons and a pocket guide to Obamabots

It started with a rumor that the Obama campaign was hiring 400 bloggers to woo Hillary’s online supporters.

Clinton supporters, already unhappy about misogyny in the mainstream media, were not amused. Said Cannonfire

“Obama volunteers are being told to ratchet down the anti-Hillary hate, because someone in the campaign realizes Hillary Clinton supporters are not very likely to support Obama if he becomes the nominee. Which means, of course, that Obama controlled the Hillary-hate in the first place. His was the hand on the spigot.”

The hate in the blogosphere has been palpable, perpetrated by anonymous bloggers identifying themselves as Obama supporters who pasted the same misogynistic hate messages and Obama campaign chants in the comment sections of political articles. Clinton supporters have dubbed them “obamabots”.

Like a battered wife, they’ll be back.

Says Lavender Liberal:

Notice something? For about three days after his supporters declared Barack Obama the “presumptive nominee”… the constant bashing… suddenly subsided, to be replaced by sickeningly cloying calls for “unity” and “graciousness,” ’cause, after all, “we’re all Democrats.”

Why did the obamabots stop posting their cut and paste messages? Could it be, as Lavender Liberal suggests, that

“The Big Giant Head at Obama Central texted new marching orders to the cell phones (or perhaps directly into the brain-chip implants) of all Obamaniacs simultaneously”?

Or maybe it was encoded into the Edwards endorsement of Obama ? The bots were watching all the news services–we know they were following the speech, because they were posting nasty messages whenever a news service didn’t publish something about the Edwards endorsement instantaneously enough for their demands. When Edwards mentioned Hillary Clinton’s name, about 1:20 minutes into the speech, there were boos all around. Then Edwards made the “we are a stronger party, because Hillary Clinton is a Democrat” comments. Then the obambots stopped pasting their venom.

The Lavender Liberal, bracing for the expected change in online tactics, created a pocket guide, based on the cycle of domestic violence model:

Another Hillary forum prints its own unprintable reply below the fold (NSFW). One visitor posts a link to Jo Jo singing “Too little, too late”, another to Carole King’s “It’s too late baby”. Some blogs–and radio stations–are talking about a Obama boycott, a boycott of NBC, and whether to vote for McCain or write-in Hillary’s name. Many are expressing disappointment over NARAL, an organization that Hillary Clinton took some political heat for in giving them her support in 1999.

At Hillaryresponders.com they are planning a DC rally for the May 31 rules committee and chatting about a million woman march on the Democratic convention in Denver. A new video from GeekLove08 declares “Make your vote count, vote Republican”, and includes scenes from the riot-torn 1968 Democratic Convention. The names of Howard Dean and Donna Brazile are invoked over and over, and not in a good way.

Even the political blogs have become divided. One poster who reports an abundance of “obamatons” on Huffington Post says any comments favorable to Clinton are taken down by a moderator within an hour of posting. MoveOn is said to be a huge fundraising machine for Obama.

Probably the most sensible thing that has been said all week came from Bill Clinton talking informally after a campaign event. He said we not only need to unite the nation with regards to race and gender, but also by income and geographical location.

And don’t forget the earlier–and in my opinion the best–video mashup of political campaign hate and anti-woman vitriol. The soundtrack has Hillary’s China speech about the value of women.