Monday, June 25, 2007

Obama's first campaign ads

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Obama leads Dems in SC presidential poll

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Barack Obama leads the Democratic presidential field in South Carolina, while Fred Thompson is challenging Rudy Giuliani for the top spot among Republican contenders, according to a new poll.

Obama, the Illinois senator who has drawn thousands of supporters to recent appearances in this early voting state, had the support of 34 percent of likely Democratic voters, compared to 25 percent for his nearest rival, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. South Carolina native John Edwards, who won the primary here in 2004, garnered only 12 percent of support in the Mason-Dixon poll.

The poll was conducted June 13-15 among 329 likely Democratic and 432 likely Republican primary voters. The poll has a sampling error margin among Democrats of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points and of plus or minus 5 percentage points among Republicans.

Thompson, an actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, had the support of 25 percent of the respondents despite not yet formally declaring his candidacy. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was his closest competition, with 21 percent of support.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has built a strong campaign organization here, had 11 percent. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has garnered considerable endorsements from South Carolina GOP officials, earned only 7 percent.

The results are somewhat surprising because the Republican candidates have been visiting South Carolina for months, while Thompson -- who plans to be in South Carolina next week -- has yet to campaign here this primary season.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

High-Income Blacks Favor Obama

From USA Today:

Democrat Barack Obama is surpassing rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in campaign contributions from areas with blacks of above-average income, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The Illinois senator has received more than double the number of campaign contributions from ZIP codes with sizable concentrations of upper-income blacks than Clinton, according to the analysis of first-quarter campaign records.

Obama collected more than 2,200 donations from ZIP codes that ranked above average in both the share of black households and black household incomes, the analysis found.

Clinton received 1,000 donations from these areas. Overall, Obama raised nearly as much as the New York senator did in the first quarter from all sources.

Polls show the former first lady attracts more support from women and lower-income workers than her party rivals. Obama does better with independents and higher-income voters. The analysis is another sign that economics drives their support as much as race or gender.

Black voters are crucial to choosing a Democratic presidential nominee. In South Carolina, host of an early nominating contest, blacks account for nearly half the voters in the Jan. 29 Democratic primary. Obama is seeking to be his party's first black presidential nominee.

Obama's early success raising money from blacks is a sign of how much he has energized them and the challenge posed to Clinton, who is aggressively courting black voters.

Although blacks "can be excited about and loyal to politicians of other races … people lean toward members of their own group," said Carol Swain, a professor at Vanderbilt University. She said the donor patterns are a "reality check" for Clinton, whose husband was popular among blacks.

Minyon Moore, a senior Clinton adviser, said it was "natural" that Obama would appeal to black donors. "We're not ceding that ground," Moore said. Clinton "has a great deal of support in the African-American community."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign is "proud of the level of support we have achieved from all groups."
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Barack Obama Calls for National Low Carbon Fuel Standard

News release from the Obama Campaign:
Los Angeles, CA- Barack Obama visited a local gas station today that sells bio-fuels to discuss his plan for a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard (NLCFS) to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In January 2007, California Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive order to establish a low carbon fuel standard for transportation fuels sold in California. Obama’s proposal would create a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard based on the California proposal.

“The debate about whether or not climate change is a man-made disaster is over. The question now is what we do about it,” said Senator Barack Obama. “We know that transportation fuels account for a third of America’s global warming pollution. And we know there are fuels available that emit less carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere – fuels like biodiesel and ethanol. To create a mass market for these fuels and ensure they’ll be used more widely, this standard will require that fuel sold in the U.S. contain 5 percent less carbon by 2015 and 10 percent less carbon by 2020.”

Barack Obama believes that the United States needs to take significant steps to fight the causes of climate change and to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

“We also need to ask more of our automakers. We have not improved the fuel efficiency of our cars for over twenty years. That has to change. That’s why I’ve challenged the car companies to more than double the fuel economy over the next twenty years while also helping them address their staggering healthcare costs and providing incentives to re-tool their domestic facilities,” continued Obama.

One important way to use oil more efficiently is for the nation to transition towards fuels that emit less carbon dioxide. Obama’s proposal would require that all transportation fuels sold in the U.S. contain 5 percent less carbon by 2015 and 10 percent less carbon by 2020. By requiring less carbon intensive fuels, this national standard has the following benefits:

1. The market, rather than the government would determine which fuels are used by fuel distributors and blenders to meet the NLCFS. Because biofuels are less carbon-intensive than gasoline, the NLCFS would spur greater production of renewable fuels.
2. The NLCFSwould also create an incentive for the production of more flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on ethanol and more plug-in hybrid vehicles that run on electricity.

The Obama proposal includes a banking and credit trading mechanism to allow providers of cleaner burning fuel to trade allowances to other producers or bank allowances against future carbon reductions.

The estimated impact of the Obama proposal would be dramatic, both in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing dependence on foreign oil. According to one estimate, the NLCFS would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 180 million metric tons in 2020, the equivalent of taking more than 30 million cars off the road and it would also reduce the annual consumption of gasoline derived from foreign oil imports by about 30 billion gallons in 2020.
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Walk for change

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Obama, Thompson gain ground on Clinton, Giuliani

From Bloomberg News Service:
Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are the frontrunners for their parties' presidential nominations, though Fred Thompson has the most momentum on the Republican side and Democrat Barack Obama has the broadest appeal of any candidate.

A new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows Thompson with 21 percent support, trailing only Giuliani, who has 27 percent; Arizona Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney run well behind. Thompson, who has yet to announce his candidacy, beats everyone among self-described conservatives, considered the base of the Republican Party.

"Thompson was able to resonate because the Republicans are not that thrilled with their candidates," said Susan Pinkus, the Los Angeles Times poll director.

Among Democrats, Clinton, 59, is in first place, with 33 percent support, followed by Obama, 45, with 22 percent, and former Vice President Al Gore, who has said he won't be a candidate, with 15 percent. The survey of 1,056 registered voters was conducted June 7 to 10 and has a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

Obama, an Illinois senator and Punahou graduate, is clearly the strongest general-election candidate. He is the only Democrat who beats all three major Republican contenders: Giuliani, McCain and Romney. Clinton runs behind all three Republican contenders in head-to-head match-ups.

Obama also does better than any other Democrat among independent voters who will vote in the Democratic primary, who often are central to electoral success. Moreover, he has more appeal with some Republican voters. For example, 15 percent of Republicans say they would choose Obama in a head-to-head match-up against Giuliani, 63, a former New York City mayor. Just 3 percent of Republican respondents say they would pick Clinton in a similar contest.

The poll shows other areas of strength for Obama. A majority of Democrats say they favor "a candidate who can bridge partisan divides" — a central theme of his campaign — over a candidate "with long experience in government and policy making," a cornerstone of Clinton's self-presentation. Independents voting in the Democratic primary say they favor unity over experience by more than 2-to-1.

In addition, 18 percent of Democratic primary voters say they couldn't vote for Clinton, the highest negative rating of any Democrat. Five percent say they couldn't vote for Obama.

Obama is "a new breed, and I think he can work with other people better than she can," said John Bryan, a 58-year-old retired budget analyst from Springfield, Illinois who favors Obama.

Clinton still does better among core Democrats, according to the poll. While Obama is the first African-American to have a serious chance at winning the Democratic nomination, Clinton runs more than 2-to-1 ahead among minority voters. She also does much better with female voters than the other major candidates, though she isn't nearly as strong with males.

Former Senator John Edwards, 54, who is in third place by a large margin behind the two Democratic frontrunners, has lost almost half his support since the last poll in April. Edwards stands at 8 percent, down from 14 percent two months ago.

When the Republican field is narrowed to the four strongest candidates, it remains largely a two-man race. Giuliani leads with 32 percent, closely followed by Thompson, with 28 percent. McCain, 70, trails with 17 percent, followed by Romney with 14 percent.

Thompson's strength in the Republican Party comes among males, with whom he runs even with Giuliani, and among self- described religious conservatives, where he runs ahead of the pack.

Penny Crider, a 44-year-old bus driver from Livonia, Michigan, says she opposes abortion and likes Thompson partly because he has consistently opposed abortion rights. "His core beliefs have never changed," Crider, a Republican, said in a follow-up interview. "He doesn't flip-flop."

Thompson, 64, a former Republican senator from Tennessee, may also benefit from his fame as a film and television actor. "When I watch him on `Law and Order' I've always loved him," said Al Pepe, a 79-year-old retired electronics manager from Jacksonville, Florida.

"He reminds me of Reagan," said Pepe, a Republican who favors Thompson. "You want to listen to him."

Giuliani appears to derive much of his support from his image as the hero of Sept. 11. A strong majority of poll respondents say national security is more important than social issues, such as abortion, where Giuliani's pro-choice position puts him out of sync with the majority of his party's voters. Giuliani does better with female voters than the other Republican candidates.

McCain's weakening support may stem from several issues, one of which probably is his backing for immigration-overhaul legislation favored by President George W. Bush and many congressional Democrats, and opposed by much of the Republican base. Among the almost one-fifth of Republican primary voters who say immigration is the most important issue facing the county, McCain receives almost no support.

Moreover, his visible support for Bush on immigration and Iraq appears to be paying no political dividends. Among the minority of Republican voters who want the next president to continue Bush's policies, McCain finishes a distant fifth.


In the poll, 22 percent of Republican primary voters say they couldn't vote for McCain, almost twice as many as any other candidate.

In the hypothetical general-election match-ups, Clinton barely loses to McCain and Romney, 60, while trailing Giuliani 49 percent to 39 percent. Edwards runs ahead of Romney and Giuliani and behind McCain.

Obama has a double-digit lead over Romney and McCain. He defeats Giuliani, 46 percent to 41 percent. The Illinois senator runs well among independent voters and self-described moderates.

In a generic test, registered voters, by 49 percent to 41 percent, say they would prefer a Democrat to be the next president. Among the third of the electorate that considers the Iraq war the most important issue, Democrats are favored by a 2-to-1 margin
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The case for Obama

Are the Faux Noise Channel pundits considering a possible Obama presidency? Perhaps they want to suck up now in case there is a "Super Majority" of Democrats in the federal government in 2009. How else can you explain a Faux commentator singing the praises of Barack Obama - without comng right out and endorsing him.

Don't worry, I'll explain it for you. The author is Susan Estrich. She is a lawyer, a professor, and a feminist. Here's what she said over at Faux News.

In recent days, two people I know and respect, from opposite sides of the country and the political spectrum, have asked me (and answered) the same question in the same way.

The question is: Who is going to be the next president of the United States? I always answer, "I don't know," which long experience has taught me has the great advantage of being both true and certain to protect me from being very publicly wrong.

They have not been so timid, or circumspect. And their answer has been the same: Barack Obama. So have their reasons. It is a case worth considering.

It is not because Obama has been so successful as a fundraiser, although that is certainly a reflection of something, given the strengths of the other candidates: Clinton, with her lead in the national polls, her national organization, her magical spouse; Edwards, with the support of the trial lawyers of America, not to mention the advantages of having done this before; and, of course, the sometimes formidable Republicans, who can generally count on the business community to fill their coffers.

And it's certainly not because Obama has the most experience of the field; it's hard to forget that while Hillary and Edwards were in the Senate, and Rudy was at Ground Zero, Obama was in Springfield, Ill., in his first political position, as a member of the Illinois State Legislature.

It's because what he's selling, or saying, if you prefer, makes him so different from the other leading candidates.

He's not out there explaining why he switched his position on this issue and that one; why he voted that way, but would or wouldn't do it again; whether he's sorry or not, was wrong then or right now, would do it differently if he'd known something different that he didn't know or should have known or did or didn't read. He's not talking about how many inches we can move in this direction, about this bill he'll vote for as opposed to that one he didn't, or the other way around, about which compromise he'd make and which he wouldn't.

He's talking about hope and vision and change.

He's talking about a different kind of future and a different idea of politics.

He is telling people, as more than one commentator has called it, "the inconvenient truths," whether to the black community about the need to stop denigrating those who speak well for being too white or the Jewish community about the need to recognize Palestinian suffering.

He is, at a time when people on all sides are disgusted with politics as usual, with all its negativity and toughness, the least political, most positive of all the candidates on both sides.

It goes beyond ideology. It is not, as my old boss and friend Michael Dukakis once said, about competence. It is about hope.

No wonder he is the toast of the blogosphere, which despite its sometimes outsized viciousness, reflects a hunger for a more honest, genuine kind of politics.

If you believe, as I do, and many others do, that the Internet will decide this election in the way that cable news did the 2000 recount (with some help, of course, from the Supreme Court), then he is almost certainly the candidate who best understands that new world, not because he himself is a technical whiz (I'm told he isn't, not at all), but because he shares its spirit and its underlying idealism.

He is, in short, the best first date in American politics certainly since Bill Clinton, and maybe since John Kennedy, a spokesman not so much for a new generation defined by age, but a new way of approaching politics.

Of course, as I explain to my friends, he has a long way to go. He needs to get the second date down. He needs to fill in the blanks. He needs to convince people that in a dangerous world, his idealism is not misplaced; in a world full of evil, his goodness is not weakness. He needs to persuade voters that his inexperience in the realms of conflict and diplomacy do not place him at a disadvantage with the Putins of the world, with the North Koreans and the Islamic fundamentalists and the rest.

It is a tall order, but given my experience with predictions, I'd be the last to say that he can't do it.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Ms Estrich was the first female president/editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review - Barack Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. In addition, Ms. Estrich was the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis in his '88 presidential campaign - Ouch!

Just what are the Faux editors up to?
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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Obama, Thompson enjoy early buzz in this Washington

By David Ammons for the Bellingham Herald:

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON - Barack Obama and Fred Thompson have the early "buzz" among party faithful as Washington slowly joins the nation's long marathon race to pick our presidential finalists.

But that could be fleeting. Neither party has a candidate with clear front-runner status in the Evergreen State - Republican Thompson of "Law & Order" fame hasn't even announced yet and few of the candidates have stumped here. Both parties are blessed - or cursed - with huge fields of presidential wannabes and most candidates are focused on the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Although early picks have been common here, the state's political establishment and grass-roots activists are in no rush to anoint favorites this time around.

In 2004, Democratic movers and shakers here were crazy about Howard Dean and shifted to John Kerry only after Dean's screaming meltdown in Iowa. And the GOP establishment here was very early in backing George W. Bush in 2000. But this time around, the big dogs in both parties are still waiting and watching.

Independent pollster Stuart Elway says despite the 24-7 news coverage of the Campaign '08, most folks in the Northwest won't be paying much attention to presidential politics until the state primary in August reminds them that campaigns and elections are rolling back around.

"It's a different speed we seem to be operating at," says state GOP Chairman Luke Esser.

"Everyone seems to be waiting for it to thin out," and even the biggest political junkies don't seem to be dividing into camps yet, says Democratic campaign expert Terry Thompson.

With the first wide-open race since 1952, the field could take months to shake out, says elections expert Todd Donovan of Western Washington University.

"The average person either has very weakly held preferences or doesn't even know all of these people," Donovan says. "I mean, Chris Dodd? Richardson? Joe Biden? Even Obama? Who's he?"



Even though Washington is often considered a "blue" state and hasn't voted Republican for president since Reagan in '84, it also has an independent streak and is likely to be in play next year.

So far, though, the presidentials are viewing Washington as a mid-sized prize to pursue after the early rush of states vote in caucuses and primaries in January and on Tsunami Tuesday on Feb. 5. Both parties hold caucuses here on Feb. 9 and will follow up with a primary, probably a week or two later.

For now, according to party leaders and independent observers, the field is mushy in Washington.

Some Democratic partisans seem to be star-struck with Obama, the Illinois senator who would be the first black president.

"The only signs and bumper stickers I see around the state are for Obama, and the students on campus are wearing Obama T-shirts," Donovan says.

Obama has been to the Seattle area twice in recent months, drawing large and enthusiastic crowds. The early spike of interest probably bespeaks a hunger for change, and voters seem drawn by Obama's talk of healing the partisan warfare, says Elway.

But others will try for a market share, too, probably combining Washington and Oregon stopovers when they're in the West to court California.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, a frequent visitor here since her husband's first White House bid in 1992, raised about $100,000 in Seattle for her Senate re-election last year and has a wide following. Washington has a strong tradition of backing women, and has a female governor and two female U.S. senators.

Former Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee who helped carry the state, has stumped here and is quite popular in the labor community and among the state's politically active trial lawyers.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has a killer resume and is moving up in Washington, party leaders say.

"In Washington state, from my conversations with people it looks like John Edwards and Barack Obama in the top tier, followed closely by Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson," says state Democratic Chairman Dwight Pelz. "Obama and Edwards seem to be splitting the Dean vote from last time."

Thompson, the Democratic consultant, sees Clinton and Obama are leading the pack, with Edwards a strong third, a view backed up by a recent poll.

Pelz, an early Dean backer in 2004, isn't taking sides now. Neither is Gov. Chris Gregoire, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell or any of the House delegation except for Rep. Adam Smith, who's for Obama.

Asked who he likes, Pelz says, "We have an embarrassment of riches, and the other side just has embarrassments."

A Democratic postscript: Although he seems unlikely to run, former Vice President Al Gore, remains the wild card in the race and would instantly pick up a huge following here, Thompson says.



Republicans, meanwhile, are happy with the dogfight on the Democratic side and most presume that a polarizing Clinton will be nominated. As for their own crop, there's big fascination with Thompson, who won a recent party straw poll and is a darling of talk radio.

"Thompson hasn't been through the fire, but he gets to be the favorite because everyone projects onto him whatever they want to see," Elway says. "They see Ronald Reagan."

"He's got the buzz and the grass roots," says state GOP Chairman Luke Esser. "But there's no getting around the fact that McCain and Romney and Giuliani are all getting organized here."

Elway theorizes that Thompson may win the conservative bloc because the other three have past or present views that raise their hackles, like abortion, gay rights and immigration.

McCain, the earliest to organize here, has visited his fellow westerners many times and former Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Giuliani both plan fundraising visits to the Seattle-Bellevue area later this month.

A media poll showed Giuliani and McCain in front, with Thompson in third and Romney well back, which sounds about right to Esser. But he says that the situation is fluid.

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AP poll: Clinton's margin over Obama eroding slightly

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) - An Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows Hillary Rodham Clinton with twice the support from women as her nearest rival but dwindling strength among men. Her margin over Illinois Senator Barack Obama has eroded slightly since the last AP-Ipsos poll in March.

Clinton, a New York senator, is drawing support from four in 10 women - a block that accounted for 54% of the vote in 2004's key Democratic primaries. One in 3 of her supporters cite her experience, the most among Democrats.

Clinton had 33% in the poll; Obama 21%; former Vice President Al Gore, who so far is not a candidate, 20%; and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

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Obama Hits Streets in Grass-Roots Effort

By Mike Glover for Associated Press:
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama hit the streets Saturday in what he said was an unprecedented grass-roots focus as the campaign for the nomination begins to take shape in a handful of states which hold early tests of strength.

"What we are kicking off this weekend is what we are claiming is the biggest grass-roots canvass, this early, in presidential campaign history," said Obama. "We have people canvassing from New York to San Diego, all across the country."

Obama, a first-term senator from neighboring Illinois, joined about 250 volunteers going door-to-door in heavily Catholic Dubuque, part of an intense focus on grass-roots efforts in Iowa, where precinct caucuses traditionally launch the nominating season.

In all, 1,500 backers were spending the weekend banging on doors in 38 cities across the state, including 150 in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids and 250 in Iowa City, all Democratic strongholds where candidates must build campaign organizations to score well in caucuses next winter.

Most polls have shown Obama among the top tier of candidates in Iowa, and around the country, and he was seeking to add some organizational muscle to his strong poll showings.

"In our history, change has always come from the bottom up," said Obama. "In a presidential campaign we've become so accustomed to TV ads and big money and big fundraisers and debates."

Obama said he would take his case directly to the grass roots, in hopes of developing a mandate for change should he succeed in winning the White House. Media-driven campaigns often don't lead to that kind of change.

"The fact is that is not how change happens," said Obama. "You can elect a president who says all the right things, but if the American people aren't energized and mobilized to put pressure and hold our government officials accountable, then the lobbyists and the special interests will intervene, they will block, they will parry and they will prevent the kind of change that is needed."

If he can succeed in lighting a fire at the grass-roots level, Obama said, all that can change.

"The reason we are canvassing today is to make sure that everybody in Dubuque and across the country understands we're in one of those moments where we can really make a difference."

Obama sought to fire up his backers, speaking from the back of a pickup truck before hitting the streets himself for a little door knocking.

"I hope everybody put on their walking shoes," said Obama, "I hope everybody's ready to get some exercise."

Obama spent more than an hour pounding on doors and chatting on porches, an occasionally comic affair as a couple of dozen reporters and photographers, along with a contingent of security forces and campaign staffers disrupted a quiet neighborhood on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Obama pitched his health care plan and heard worries about soaring gas prices _ prices he said he couldn't fix quickly _ and got a generally positive response.

Obama said his grass-roots effort has convinced him that voters are ready for his message.

"It's a testimony to the degree to which people are so invested in change," said Obama, "They are hungry and they want to turn the page. I can't do it by myself and that's why I'm here today."

Obama has sought to add muscle to his effort with a big staff of field organizers deployed around the state, and aides said he will step up the pace of his campaign visits heading into Iowa's leadoff caucuses.
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

McCain aide will quit if Barack Obama get's the Democratic nod

Not that McCain has a chance of getting the Republican slot, but if he did, and if the Democrats decided to go with Obama, McCain's senior adviser, Mark McKinnon has vowed he will step down. According to Richard Wolfe at Newsweek:
McKinnon, a lifelong Democrat until he decided to team up with Bush, developed a bond with McCain over their shared belief in the need to remain committed to the troops in Iraq. McKinnon helped organize McCain's last book tour and has traveled extensively with the senator, offering media advice to the candidate for much of the last year. But he wrote a memo to the campaign in January, explaining that he would quit if the general election pitted McCain against Obama. McKinnon wrote that while he opposed Obama's policies, especially on Iraq, he felt that the Illinois senator--as an African-American politician--has a unique potential to change the country. Therefore, McKinnon argued, he wanted no part in any efforts to tear down Obama's candidacy. (McKinnon, who has previously told friends he was inspired by Obama's autobiography, refused to comment on the memo, as did Brian Jones, McCain's communications director; Obama's campaign said that the senator had never met McKinnon.)
It's a good thing Wolfe informed us that McKinnon was a lifelong Democrat, otherwise I would be spending wasted time trying to figure out what kind of sneaky trick he was up to by revealing this information.
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Clinton, Obama virtually tied in new poll

From NBC's Mark Murray:
While most national polls show Clinton with a comfortable lead over Obama and the rest of the Democratic field, there's a new USA Today/Gallup poll showing that Clinton and Obama are essentially tied. Obama "bests Clinton by a single percentage point, 30%-29%, if the contest includes former vice president Al Gore. Clinton bests Obama by a single point, 37%-36%, if it doesn't include Gore."

More: "The survey of 310 Democrats and 160 independents who 'lean' Democratic, taken Friday through Sunday, has a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points... Among Democrats alone, Clinton leads Obama by 5 points, 34%-29%. That's a significant narrowing from the USA TODAY Poll taken in mid-May, when she led by 17 points. Among independents, Obama leads by 9 points, 31%-22%."

From what I can tell, they're saying that moderates and independents are starting to surge toward Obama. Any thoughts on why?
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