Thursday, April 17, 2008

There was no pardon, Barack (Ava and C.I.)

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you'll have to -- (applause) -- (inaudible).
I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the
Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He's never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."
An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?

SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about.
This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George. The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions. Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those either. So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow -- somehow their ideas could be attributed to me -- I think the American people are smarter than that. They're not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn't.

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think that is a fair general statement, but I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position.
And if I'm not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York, and I would hope to every American, because they were published on 9/11 and he said that he was just sorry they hadn't done more. And what they did was set bombs and in some instances people died. So it is -- you know, I think it is, again, an issue that people will be asking about. And I have no doubt -- I know Senator Obama's a good man and I respect him greatly but I think that this is an issue that certainly the Republicans will be raising.
And it goes to this larger set of concerns about, you know, how we are going to run against John McCain. You know, I wish the Republicans would apologize for the disaster of the Bush-Cheney years and not run anybody, just say that it's time for the Democrats to go back into the White House. (Laughter, applause.)
Unfortunately, they don't seem to be willing to do that. So we know that they're going to be out there, full force. And you know, I've been in this arena for a long time. I have a lot of baggage, and everybody has rummaged through it for years. (Laughter.) And so therefore, I have, you know, an opportunity to come to this campaign with a very strong conviction and feeling that I will be able to withstand whatever the Republican sends our way.

SENATOR OBAMA: I'm going to have to respond to this just really quickly, but by Senator Clinton's own vetting standards, I don't think she would make it, since President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act than me --


MR. GIBSON: Please.

SENATOR OBAMA: -- than me serving on a board with somebody for actions that he did 40 years ago.

We (Ava and C.I.) are looking at the e-mails. The big topic is the debate. Jim's already asked us (Sunday night) to include it in the TV piece this coming Sunday. [ADDED, Jim note. We have e-mails at Third asking about the commentary. I know Ava and C.I. are going to include Canterbury's Law in their commentary. It concludes the season Friday night on Fox. They strongly recommend this show.] So we're limited. Add to that the fact that Rebecca's called a roundtable for Friday (that we'll both be participating in) and this may be a topic there as well. We would prefer not to state and re-state ourselves and are doing this as a joint-entry in case we need to pull from it (for the TV commentary). First, Katharine Q. Seelye (New York Times) and Glenn Kessler (Washington Post) live blogged the debate. We would recommend both and note that Seelye's live blogging of the 2004 general election debates picked up many themes that would emerge later -- as opposed to in the immediate aftermath of the debate (and emerge among voters, not among the chattering class). Whether you agree or disagree with their takes in partial or in full, both are worth reading. Second, Elaine, Kat, Ruth, Marcia, Mike, Rebecca and Wally & Cedric (joint-post on the last two) have covered the debate for this community. So be sure to reference that as well. If you saw it, Barack Obama lost to Hillary Clinton and lost big. Or as Bambi might say, "I . . . uh . . . have an . . . uh . . . answer . . . somewhere . . . you will . . . uh . . . see." How to approach it for Third?

We're honestly not sure. We're going to be tired and hopefully the fact checks will have been done (though, granted, one of Bambi's biggest lies will probably slide). We will note here that when someone is pardoned by a president, they are thought to have shown remorse. But Linda Evans (of Weather Underground, not Dynasty) did not receive a pardon. The sentence she was serving was commuted by Bill Clinton. Susan Rosenberg was not pardoned, her sentence was commuted. You can click here to for the Justice Department list.

As president, Barack or Hillary will have to make many decisions and that will include looking at whether or not sentences are or are not fair. You can see what both women were convicted for. Bill Clinton made the right decision. Ourselves, we would have pardoned them. It's a very complex issue that can't be a soundbyte for ourselves. Others feel differently and that is their right. Unlike The Nation magazine, we haven't attacked Bill Ayers or Bernardine Dohrn. Bill Ayers is a very sweet man. People who don't know him have no reason to believe that and we aren't saying that they should (believe what you want). But Barack Obama wants to call Ayers' actions "detestable". Does "detestable" have an expiration date?

If Barack finds the actions "detestable" and if Ayers has no remorse for them (he has no remorse) then why would Obama elect to befriend him? (Obama is down playing the relationship.) Bill Clinton, as president, looked at the sentencing of various individuals. Some had their sentences commuted, some didn't. He made a decision about sentencing as president. That was his role, that was his job.

There was no requirement that Barack Obama hang with someone he found "detestable." We don't think Bill Ayers is "detestable." We think he is a kindly person. But if Barack thinks Bill Ayers' actions were "detestable" and since Ayers shows no remorse for those actions, why has Barack spent so many years hanging with him?

It is a fair question. Barack's labeled the actions detestable. Marc Cooper grasps what's going on here and that's why he brings up a summer job of Hillary's and tries to smear her with it. That law firm did nothing illegal and it's a sign of how disgusting Marc Cooper is, was and forever will be that he wants to smear the dead (but who hasn't he smeared in this decade). He wants to do that because Obama's in trouble. That's Obama's own trouble and he'll have to own it. He refuses to get honest. No one's fault but his own.

Gregg Mitchell's sobbing in public, boo-hoo, unfair! Grow the hell up. Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos asked about what was in the news. They didn't explore all topics, no. Those were news topics (Wright, Bosnia, Ayers). They may not be your choice (they weren't our choice) but they are news. Barack stood there looking like a slow-witted idiot, stumbling around for an answer. Boo-hoo. Grow the hell up.

It's amazing that Mitchell (and the queen of Panhandle Media Amy Goodman -- whose latest clip-job is polluting bookstores everywhere) wants to pretend that these topics are off limit. Where was the concern earlier? Oh, it was there. It was there when it was Wright. Whenever anything hurts Prince Bambi, the cry babies whine. They didn't care that Jesse Jackson Jr. LIED and SMEARED her. They didn't rush out their fact check on that. They were happy to chuckle (especially the disgusting Amy Goodman) then. They were happy to chuckle over Bosnia. It's a little too damn late to start whining, "These aren't stories." People have run with them non-stop and it's been Snark City whenever it was time to 'chuckle' at Hillary Clinton. All the losers amplified it. They didn't call out Real Media then. It's too late in the game. Those were news stories and George and Charlie did some things wrong but pressing candidates about topics that have been in the news was not wrong.

Bambi lost and his motley crew of Republicans, closeted Communists, et al are crying and stomping their feet. Get over it. As Elaine notes, Barack Obama onstage next to John McCain is the only thing that can humanize McCain.

Note the following.

Paul West's "Obama on defensive in debate with Clinton" (Baltimore Sun) opens with

Democratic front-runner Barack Obama was repeatedly thrown on the defensive last night in a television debate that spotlighted campaign gaffes, his association with a controversial former pastor and a '60s radical, and his reluctance to wear a flag pin in his lapel.

The flag lapel pin came up in a question from a voter. While Mike Littwin (Rocky Mountain News) offers this:

Barack Obama likes to say he can take a punch. Well, he got his chance to test the theory Wednesday night.
And the strange thing is not that he was knocked back on his heels - although he was, repeatedly.
The strange thing is that, somehow, he never seemed to see a single punch coming. He was stunned - maybe out on his feet. That's the best explanation I can come up with.

Barack Obama was repeatedly put on the defensive Wednesday night in the debate with Hillary Clinton, as both Democratic presidential candidates were questioned about the barrage of controversies that have dogged them in recent weeks, from Obama's "bitter" voters comment to Clinton's false claims of coming under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996.

Trina posted yesterday because she wanted to share a video documenting some of the smears against Hillary and against women.

The New York Times transcript of the debate is here (single page option).

Noting Christian Hill's "AWOL soldier returned to postArmy: Desertion up 80 percent since start of Iraq War" (The Olympian).

Pfc. Steven J. Arceneaux, 28, is back on duty with his unit as his chain of command decides whether to punish him. Possible sanctions include loss of pay, a demotion, a dishonorable discharge or jail time.
His arrest comes as the number of active-duty soldiers who have deserted the Army has increased 80 percent since the start of the Iraq War five years ago, according to the Army. The figure represents less than 1 percent of its active-duty force.
Immediately following his arrest, Arceneaux told a Louisiana television reporter that he had his reasons for leaving but could not discuss them.
"There are things that happened that no one really knows about, but I'm just going to leave it at that," he said, according to the report posted on the Web site of KTBS-TV in Shreveport, La.

Closing with Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: In Her Element" (

The Reviews Are In: After last night’s debate in Philadelphia, Hillary was described as "the winner," having a "strong presence,' and "in her element." Read more.

State of the Race: Howard Wolfson and Phil Singer assess the State of the Race on a 10am ET conference call with reporters this morning.

Previewing Today in PA: Hillary and Chelsea host a conversation with families in Haverford, PA and host a Block Party outside the Mayfair Diner in Philadelphia. Hillary also appears on Comedy Central’s the Colbert Report at 11:30pm ET tonight.

Young Democrats For Hillary: The editorial board of University of Pennsylvania's The Daily Pennsylvanian endorsed Hillary. " ready to lead this nation now. A successful champion for change...[she] has the ability to turn policy into reality." Read More.

On The Air In Indiana: The Clinton campaign unveiled a new ad in Indiana that highlights Hillary’s commitment to protect American defense manufacturing jobs. Watch here. Read more.

Endorsement Watch: The Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association (OPCMIA) endorsed Hillary. OPCMIA President Pat Finley said: “We need a leader with Hillary Clinton’s ability to turn around the economy and rebuild the middle class.” Salsa icon Willie Colon also endorsed Hillary: "Clinton is more qualified than any other candidate to represent residents of Puerto Rico. 'Hillary has been on the side of our families for over 35 years.'" Read more and more.

Speaking Out: Darrin McCormick, Mayor of Williamson, WV, described Sen. Obama’s comments about Americans in small towns as "demeaning" and "fe[lt] like all Americans will feel the same way." Read More.

In Case You Missed It: "ABC News' Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., maintained at Wednesday's ABC News debate in Philadelphia that his handwriting does not appear on a 1996 questionnaire stating support for a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns. The Democratic presidential frontrunner made this claim even though a copy of the original document suggests otherwise." Read more.

On Tap: Hillary will visit North Carolina on Friday to participate in a conversation with Dr. Maya Angelou at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem.

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