Monday, April 14, 2008

Other Items

Six months ago, Capt. Robert Przybylski's whereabouts were a mystery.
On Oct. 10, the Baumholder-based company commander inexplicably went absent without leave, confounding the local authorities, who launched a series of radio and TV announcements on American Forces Network in the hope of persuading the captain to return home. Przybylski, who eventually did turn himself in, now stands accused of desertion.
But months after being charged, his case remains in legal limbo. No Article 32 has been held. Furthermore, Army officials in Europe would not say whether the captain is still in Baumholder or has taken residence someplace else. It also was unclear if Przybylski is performing any type of job while he awaits a court date.

The above is from John Vandiver's "No reason given for delaying officer's Article 32" (Stars and Stripes) who has covered the story of Robert Przybylski repeatedly and he was last noted here on November 25th:

Robert Przbylski is another unknown (noted here and here and here and here). He is an Army captain and he went missing in early October from his base in Germany. As the military was about to move from the AWOL classification to deserter, he turned himself in. John Vandiver (Stars and Stripes) reports today that Przbylski has "retained defense counsel" and is refusing to speak to the press (something his father -- a retired military officer -- did throughout his son's disappearance). Vandiver notes that the military has not announced whether they will charage Przbylski with being AWOL (or any other charge or charges) and reminds: " Last week The Associated Press reported that soldiers are deserting at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. "

Turning to the topic in all this morning's e-mails I've been able to read so far, Barack Obama's comments attacking Small Town America. We'll note Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Unity Campaign" from yesterday for anyone who missed the story.


Joni notes Hans Nichols and Kristin Jensen's "Clinton Says Obama's `Bitter' Remark Repeats Errors" (Bloomberg News):

Clinton has said the comments showed Obama was out of touch with some segments of the U.S. population and expanded that last night to a larger electoral issue.
"You know, the Democratic Party, to be very blunt about it, has been viewed as a party that didn't understand and respect the values and the way of life of so many of our fellow Americans," Clinton said. "We had two very good men and men of faith run for president in 2000 and 2004. But large segments of the electorate concluded that they did not really understand or relate to or frankly respect their ways of life."

From ABC News' (Eloise Harper reporting on ABC's blog):

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., took the opportunity to capitalize on her rivals comments that people in small towns are "bitter" for the third day in a row.
Speaking to reporters outside some homes in Scranton, Pennsylvannia where she has family roots and today was greeted by many supporters holding signs and offering encouragement. She made the argument that Sen. Barack Obama's comments could cost the party the election and that the party has been seen as out of touch by male candidates in the past. Clinton also criticized Obama for not "owning up to his remarks."
Clinton was asked if this moment was her opening in the race – the one that she has been looking for. Clinton responded saying,"I think what’s important about this is that Senator Obama has not owned up to what he said, and taken accountability for it you. You know, first said he was right and attacked me for raising his remarks and referencing them. Then he admitted he may have said what he said in artfully. And now he's deeply apologized if he offended anyone. But what people are looking for is an explanation."


Lloyd notes Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post):

"Since this whole discussion started over Senator Obama's remarks, Democrats have reached out to me to say that we can't afford for people to believe that the Democratic Party is elitist and out of touch," Clinton told reporters in a news conference in Scranton, Pa. She added, "His comments were elitist and divisive and the Democratic Party has been unfortunately viewed by many people over the last decade as being elitist and out of touch. We have waged elections over that."
She said Obama needed to address this comments further, adding "what people are looking for is an explanation, what does he really believe."
Obama yesterday suggested that he had been inartful in describing people who live in small towns in American as people who "cling" to religion, guns and sentiments that are opposed to immigration and free trade because they are "bitter" over economic conditions. And he expressed regret over the remark, which he made last week to supporters at a San Francisco fundraiser.
But Clinton would not let up. Her campaign arranged for her go door-to-door and greet people here, where Clinton has now stopped three times over the last month to stump, never forgetting to remind voters here father grew up here.

Fernando Suarez (CBS News) notes:

During a press conference today, Hillary Clinton expanded on her concerns over remarks Barack Obama made where he suggested middle class Americans were "bitter" over their current economic status. Today Clinton warned voters that Democrats have lost past elections because their party has been viewed as elitist.
"The Democratic Party has been unfortunately viewed by many people over the last decades as being elitist and out of touch," Clinton said standing under a carport on a street lined with supporters in Scranton.
Clinton went on to say that voters "don't have to think back too far to remember that good men running for president were viewed as being elitist and out of touch with the values and lives of millions of Americans." Clinton was referring to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who in 2004 was painted as an elitist liberal by the Republicans.
Obama's remarks have created an opening for Clinton to cast herself as the candidate for the middle class. "We have been working very hard to make it clear that we have millions of Democrats who are church going and gun owning and we are tired of having Republicans, and frankly our own Democrats, give any ammunition to Republicans," she said. "What happens then is that Republicans take advantage of the situation."

Mike Dorning (Chicago Tribune) reports on the Sunday Chat & Chew reactions:

The controversy over Barack Obama's comments about "bitter" feelings among the people of small-town America s provoked plenty of chatter among political consultants and pundits on Sunday morning chat shows.
Democratic Party political consultant James Carville channeled Ricky Ricardo on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"He's going to have to do some more explaining about this," declared Carville, a Hillary Clinton ally
"It's big," conservative columnist George Will said on ABC's "This Week," arguing that it crystallizes doubts about Obama. "Is he condescending? Is he out of touch?"
[. . .]
Appearing on Meet the Press, Republican strategists Mike Murphy and Mary Matalin previewed lines of attack that the comments may fuel in the general election, arguing they enable Republicans to focus attention on divisions within the Democratic Party between cultural liberals and socially conservative white working-class voters.
"The damage here is that what he said accurately reflects the current Democratic Party," Matalin said. "It's more affluent. It' more liberal, that's the way it's moving. He was saying this to San Francisco Democrats, rich San Francisco Democrats."
"This is a general election nightmare," she added.

KDKA's Paul Martino got reactions from the Pittsburgh area:

In local small towns like Oakdale, many people say they were just hearing about Obama's comments and the reaction was mixed.
"It's a right to own a gun. You have every right in the world to own a gun," said Oakdale resident Mike Smith. "He's got no right to take that away from anybody."
Local teacher, Joe Welch, of South Fayette Township, says he is an undecided Democratic voter, but adds that Obama's remarks may sway him now to vote for Senator Hillary Clinton.
"I don't want to make an instant reaction here, but this is something I'll take into consideration," said Welch. "Religion and personal freedoms, that's something that should be taken into consideration."

The Obama campaign has called Hillary shameful which is typical of that campaign. Obama makes the mistake in public -- it surfaces (and, note, his supporters were laughing at his characterization of Small Town Americans and Obama was lapping up the moment and thrilled that he'd tickled them) -- and instead of addressing it, it's blame Hillary. Did Hillary make you say it, Bambi? Does she control your mouth?

Hillary Clinton's campaign issued this statement of response via Phil Signer:

For months, Barack Obama and his campaign have relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton's character and integrity by using Republican talking points from the 1990s. The shame is his.
Sen. Clinton does know better -- she knows better than to condescend and talk down to voters like Senator Obama did. Senator Obama’s outburst won't change the fact that he has embraced his characterization of the millions of Americans who live in small towns.

Bambi surrogates woke up Monday surprised to find out that this hasn't gone away. At I MARRIED FOR MONEY, I STAYED FOR POWER, I'M SINGLE NOW BECAUSE HE GOT TIRED OF HIDING IN THE CLOSET, (aka At Least Baby Jane Holzer Knew She Was A Socialite) they're yet again attempting to tell America, "You know what, what he said actually isn't wrong. And let me tell you why . . ."

It was wrong. It was wrong to say. It was offensive. He's not running to be spiritual advisor to the nation or social critic. He's running for a presidential nomination and he needs votes and support for that. [Added: Bob Shrum made the point noting Bambi "not running for sociologist in chief on Meet The Press, Kyle notes. Here for text, here for streaming.] When he elects to run off voters, that's a HUGE mistake. In fairness, he didn't expect it to get out. He just thought he and some big moneyed backers could have a few private laughs at Small Town America's expense. He didn't mean to offend Small Town America with the remarks because he honestly doubted they'd ever find out. Remember, he loves you . . . until you leave the room.

What can you say? His Chicken Sop for the Soul doesn't go down easy.

Maybe who could claim that his remarks were 'just words'? Let's drop back to Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Just Words"


It's one thing after another with that 'unity' campaign.

Eddie notes Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Compassion Forum at Messiah College" ( for Sunday:

Previewing Today: Hillary attends the Bipartisan Presidential Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, PA after canvassing in Scranton, PA and Drexel Hill, PA. For more information on the Forum, visit its website here and read CNN's coverage here.

Defense Jobs in Indiana: At an AM General plant with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) in Mishewaka, IN yesterday, Hillary outlined a " keep more military-related manufacturing in the United States, calling it an economic and security priority." She then toured the Magnaquench facilities in Valparaiso, IN. One supporter said: "Hillary is a combination of intelligence, fortitude and integrity .... (and will) bring us back out of this recession." Read more here and here.

Hillary Hoists To Hoosiers: Hillary "showed her Midwestern roots" when visiting a local pizzeria with Indiana mayors David Uran and Tom McDermott, Jr. With the "packed restaurant look[ing] on," Mayor Uran toasted Hillary and said, "Let's raise our glasses to the next president of the United States" Read more.

If You Read One Thing Today: Geoff Garin, the campaign's Chief Strategist, had this to say about Sen. Obama's recent mischaracterizations of Pennsylvanians: "These are the kinds of attitudes that have created a gulf between Democrats and lots of small-town and heartland voters that we've been working very, very hard to bridge…I saw Senator Obama's comments as a step backward to building those kinds of bridges." Read more.

Support from PA Mayors: On a conference call yesterday, PA Mayors supporting Hillary discussed Sen. Obama’s comments mischaracterizing Pennsylvanians. Mayor Steve Reed of Harrisburg, PA said this: "I'm supporting Hillary Clinton. I do so without hesitation. Her roots are in Pennsylvania. She understands the people of this state. She understands small town values. She’d make a terrific president. She'll bring us together." Read more and more.

In Case You Missed It: Hillary responded to Sen. Obama's mischaracterizations of Pennsylvanians at a campaign stop in Indianapolis, IN yesterday: "Americans are fair-minded and good-hearted people. We have ups and downs. We face challenges and problems. But our views are rooted in real values, and they should be respected." Watch here.

On Tap: On Monday, Hillary will attend a forum about manufacturing sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) in Pittsburgh, PA. She will deliver remarks at the Philadelphia County Democratic Dinner and will host a "Solutions for the Pennsylvania Economy" rally in Bristol, PA.

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