It's been a while since I poked my nose in here, but I just wanted to give my thought's about Bloomberg:
As a Long Island Ny'ker working in NYC, I (as many NY'ker's ) felt Bloomberg was a pompous, arrogant and condescending individual. However, that changed over time and once I (and many others) saw the changes he implemented, our feelings turned. When I look back at why I didn't like him, it was my ignorance which didn't allow meto see the forest through the trees...after all he had banned smoking in the city and that was just wrong because I was a smoker. And let's face it, ifya can't trust The Doctors and Santa, who can ya trust? In my opinion ya can trust Michael Bloomberg, that's who. While sitting back and letting my thought's flow through my slightly toasted brain cells, it dawned on me "the guy is doing a pretty good job in the city, and he's got a cool few billion, maybe he knows a little more than I do?". Well I have to make a Dr's appt. and start my Christmas list, so until next time kids I bid you farewell.
Maybe you read about some of this in Saturday's Blue Radar. Apparently, lobbyists are opening their wallets for the Governor from New Mexico. The problem is he just cannot resist the temptation.
So does Bill Richardson have the judgment to be president? You decide, based on this AP analysis:
Among the contributions to Richardson:
_ About $30,400 fromexecutives and a state lobbyist for the media and entertainmentcompany, Lionsgate. The state offers tax incentives and interest-freeloans for films shot in New Mexico. Lionsgate has done severalproductions in the state and the company is planning a studio nearAlbuquerque.
_ Nearly $25,000 from executives, officers and statelobbyists for ValueOptions, which has a contract to manage mentalhealth and substance abuse services for the state. The chairman of thecompany, Ron Dozoretz, and his wife, Beth, each contributed the maximumamount of $4,600 to Richardson and hosted a fundraiser for him earlierthis year. They are friends of Richardson, according to a campaignspokesman. The Virginia-based company won the state contract in 2005after a competitive bidding process.
_ About $19,700 fromexecutives, lobbyists and a PAC of the state's largest electricutility, Public Service Company of New Mexico. Richardson used one ofthe utility's lobbyists as an on-loan staffer during this year'slegislative session. The lobbyist didn't receive a state salary andremained on the utility's payroll while he worked in the governor'soffice from mid-November until April. However, the arrangement didn'tviolate any laws, according to the state's attorney general.
_About $16,000 came from executives, a state lobbyist and a politicalaction committee affiliated with the GEO Group Inc., which was paid $41million by the state last year for housing inmates in its privatelyoperated prisons in New Mexico. The state started using theFlorida-based company's prisons before Richardson took office. However,another GEO-operated prison is under construction and the state plansto house inmates in it. The Richardson administration contracted withthe company in 2005 to manage a long-term care and rehabilitationmedical center.
No wonder he defended Hillary in the last debate. Richardson is endorsing the same closed-government mindset by relying on the special interests to fund his candidacy.
When you say, "Look how great it was during the 90s," and then refuse to release your records from that time, you cannot expect to get off easy. On immigration, on Iraq, Iran and Social Security, both John Edwards and Barack Obama finally took a stand. As I write this, many of the pundits are writing that Obama won the debate. I would say that overall John Edwards got the edge -- although barely. He was much more forceful, and came across as the more charismatic one. Obama was strong as well, and had a moment when he physically turned towards Clinton and accused her of doublespeak. Both Edwards and Obama were very strong. Hillary Clinton played rope-a-dope, and survived only because of how far ahead she is in the polls.
Here's my debate rankings:
John Edwards: The line directed at Hillary, "We should be in tell the truth mode," pretty much summed up how Edwards confronted Hillary without hesitation.
Barack Obama: Close, but not first place. Took Hillary to task on Social Security, the former First Lady's double-talk on immigration and schooled her on Iran.
Dennis Kucinich: As one commenter on this site wrote, if Barack Obama took the positions that Kurinich took in this debate (with the exception of the UFO answer), he would be winning in the polls.
Hillary Clinton: Clearly on the defensive the entire time. Not an implosion. But her Washington establishment roots and history of lying was exposed.
Chris Dodd: Much stronger than his other debate performances -- but that's not really saying much.
Joe Biden: Nothing doing there.
Bill Richardson: Not really impressive at all. He defended Hillary Clinton, which was not smart because he needed to create a distinction with her.
One more note. You can thank Hillary Clinton and all the other Senators who voted for the Iran bill for the recent spike in oil.
Welcome to The Blue State's coverage of the Halloween week Democratic debate from Philadelphia, which runs two hours. We are experiencing temporary difficulties with our chat window, and do apologize. As a last ditch effort, I will live blog it. Just keep pressing refresh for updates. Feel free to comment as well:
And so concludes our live blog. Sorry again about the chat window not working. But we made the most out of it. We will definitely fix those technical difficulties beforehand next time. SO WHO WON THE DEBATE?
11:02: Barack Obama will be Mitt Romney for Halloween.
10:58: Why is Russert asking if there is life on other planets?
10:57: Kucinich says he saw a UFO (No joke!)
10:55: Obama and Edwards are double-teaming Hillary on the former First Lady's answer about drivers licenses for illegal immigrants.
10:50: Obama on air travel: "This is a problem that has been building for a long time" ever since deregulation took place. "Anyone that has been flying commercial has known that service has gone down."
10:47: Obama says the reimbursement systemz for Medicaid and Medicare are not working properly.
10:40: Pretty much every candidate feels that children need to go to school longer. Edwards proposed that children's health care should be free.
10:33: KUCINICH: It is time for the Democrats to move on the issue of impeachment.
10:22: The moderators are now focusing almost entirely on domestic issues. Each of the candidates are given 30 seconds.
10:18: Edwards explained that America can be patriotic about other things in America besides war.
10:17: Edwards says he would use the arm of the Justice Department to investigate price-gouging on the part of oil companies.
10:12: They are on their second of two commercial breaks.
10:11: Obama says he is not fearful of Mitt Romney's swift boating of Obama's name.
10:09: Clinton claims there is little difference between herself and Obama on Social Security. However, there actually is a difference. Obama wants to raise the Social Security tax cap from $97,000 to $200,000.
10:07: Obama accuses Clinton is giving convoluted answers on Social Security. OBAMA: "I am not fearful to have a debate about this (social security) with Rudolph Giuliani."
10:01: Biden is slamming Giuliani, saying that he is not qualified to be president. As far as what Giuliani ever talkes about, it's always "a noun, a verb and 9/11."
9:59: Edwards again was strong, saying that we are not going to look our children in the eye and hand this mess over to them.
9:51: Edwards had a few great lines -- confronting Clinton on her defense industry connections. Furthermore, Edwards courageously said that the 2008 race isn't about any of them. It is about the next generation of children being better off than their parents. Excellent!
9:49: I just got back into the room as Obama laid the smack down on Hillary for not releasing records, and prolonging the secrecy of the Bush Administration. And then now Edwards is laying into her. Edwards says that if you want the status quo, then vote for Clinton.
9:39: Commercial intermission. I'm taking a quick break.
9:38: CLINTON: "I stand for ending the war in Iraq, and bringing our troops home." (That's spin.)
9:36: EDWARDS: "We should be in tell the truth mode." Edwards is really slamming Clinton!
9:34: CLINTON: "We've got to get the Iraqi government to understand its obligations, because there is no military solution."
9:31: Kucinich calls for the US to fully participate in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
9:30: Richardson wants an international agreement that we use diplomacy first. RICHARDSON: "I went head-to-head with Saddam Hussein. ...I've done it (diplomacy)."
9:28: Chris Dodd says Pakistan more dangerous than Iran, especially if Pakistan falls.
9:26: BIDEN: "President's make wise decisions" based on "the situation they find themselves in the world."
9:24: CLINTON: "I intend to do everything I can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb." She was then challenged by Russert.
9:23: KUCINICH: "We need to reject" war against Iran. "There is no basis for it whatsoever....When you say all options are on the table, you are licensing President Bush." (Excellent, Kucinich!!!)
9:21: RICHARDSON: "I am the only one up on this stage that has negotiated with a foreign country." Kucinich interrupted in response, "That's not true."
9:19: Edwards slamming Clinton, asking, "Has anyone read this thing?" -- pertaining to the Iran vote.
9:18: Clinton is defending her Iran vote, saying that it gives Bush "carrots and sticks" to confront Iran.
9:18: CLINTON: "We will not permit him (Bush) to go take offensive action against Iran."
9:16: OBAMA: "This kind of resolution (Iran war resolution) sends the wrong message" to the world.
9:15: BIDEN: The Administration's actions have "driven underground every moderate in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
The Des Moines Register newspaper came out with new numbers from Iowa. 10/7 results (5/21 results):
Likely Democratic Caucus-goers
Hillary Clinton - 29% (21%) John Edwards - 23% (29%) Barack Obama - 22% (23%) Bill Richardson - 8% (10%) Joe Biden - 5% (3%) Dennis Kucinich - 1% (2%) Chris Dodd 1% (0%) Mike Gravel 0% (1%)
If I were John Edwards, I'd be worried. His performance this morning on Meet the Press helped him some. In reality though, he needs more donations in order to compete. Hillary Clinton would be fine with Edwards winning Iowa, because the former North Carolina Senator lacks the funds to compete in all the other states. In just five months, as you see above, Edwards' support depreciated by six points.
As for Obama, he hasn't gone anywhere. His campaign might want to think about courting female voters. Nationally, Obama trails Clinton by 40 points among women. It's not much better in Iowa. Also, what Iowa voters are looking for out of the Illinois Senator is proof that he would win in a general election. If he appears electable, Iowa Democrats will consider him.
In a much anticipated foreign policy speech at Georgetown University, Bill Richardson helped himself by taking a position that most Democratic activists agree with, and could vault him up a notch in Iowa and New Hampshire. More importantly, if he does become a top-tier candidate, his popular view on the war may force Obama, Hillary and Edwards to take a more dovish position. Richardson is the only major candidate in either party with a clear plan to get all troops out of Iraq.
Here is what I think was the best part of his speech today. He starts with the issue of military contractors:
We must also remove the private mercenaries. As President, I will no longer privatize and outsource American security!By utilizing contractors who are not subject to the rules of war or theregulations of armed forces, George Bush has further underminedAmerica's reputation and global leadership.
And then he zeroed in on the other contenders:
After seven years of this Administration, we have come to expect thatGeorge Bush will make the wrong call on the important issues.
However, I expected more -- much more -- from my fellow Democrats in this race.
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have said we have towait and see how things go before we can know how many troops to bringout and how quickly. I say there has been enough waiting and seeing. Ifyou haven't seen enough to know that we need to get all the troops outthen you aren't watching the same war that I and the rest of Americaare seeing. I don't think just changing the mission is enough -- weneed to end the war.
Lastly, he exposed the fact that Clinton's Iraq plan would leave troops in Iraq for up to nine years:
Senator Clinton has reportedly said thatshe might well have troops still in Iraq at the end of a second term --9 years from now. Senator Obama and John Edwards are unwilling tocommit to removing all of the troops by the end of their first term --that's 5 years from now. I am opposed to 5 years or 9 years or any moreyears of our troops dying. My colleagues are wrong.
Military analysts have said that Senator Clinton's plan could require leaving up to 75,000 troops in Iraq.
That's changing the mission, not ending the war.
Maybe a question for Edwards, Obama and Hillary in the next debate should be how would leaving ANY combat troops in Iraq help our overall situation AT ALL? I want to listen to them try and defend that.
Obama is probably the closest to Richardson's position. However, for Obama, it's not enough to say, "I was against the war before it started." The past is history. What do you want to do now? How would keeping US combat troops in Iraq decrease terrorist recruitment throughout the world over the next generation? Answer it, please.
In related news, Time Magazine's Karen Tumulty explains that with the retirement of Republican Pete Domenici in Mexico, Bill Richardson could possibly decide to withdraw from the presidential race and run for that Senate seat instead.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will detail a plan today to rebuildAmerican diplomacy while reshaping the U.S. military with 50,000additional troops and slashing $57 billion annually from Pentagonweapons programs.
"Restoring Americanleadership means abandoning rogue cowboy diplomacy. It means giving upthe idea of stubbornness as a foreign policy," he said. "It meansrestoring those American principles which once allowed us to build thealliances which defeated the Nazis and crumbled the Soviet Union."
Richardsonsaid Wednesday in an interview with The Des Moines Register that hewants to reduce the Pentagon's budget and modernize the military byeliminating what he describes as Cold War weapons systems designed tofight a long-extinct Soviet empire. Some of the savings would be usedto bolster the military, but most of the money would be redirected todomestic programs, such as health care and education, he said.
If the Republicans really believe this is a 'new kind of war,' then as Richardson hinted, we should start acting like it. Why are we building a missile defense system when the last thing we need is a new arms race with Russia and China? Why did Bush nominate a Cold War era Russian specialist to head the State Department, when the top security concerns of the 21st century are terrorism and unstable rogue states?
Lastly, keep in mind that Richardson is the only Democratic candidate proposing a balanced budget amendment, which the European Union has in its constitution. No wonder Europe's currency is stable, unlike ours.
We are entering the home stretch before the first primary contests. Third quarter fundraising totals will come out after Friday at a time of each campaign's choosing. John Edwards and Barack Obama are competing to pick up the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) endorsement. Three days ago, Hillary Clinton turned it up a notch and appeared on all five Sunday talk shows. This is the real deal, folks.
Tonight's debate is by far the most critical of any others thus far. Not only do we have about 100 days until the first vote, but this debate happens to be in New Hampshire, which is likely to leapfrog Nevada and vote second. Analysts are expecting a large viewing audience tonight in the Granite State. With a lot on the line, here is what each of the major candidates must do:
Hillary Clinton: Don't mess up. You coasted through the five news shows on Sunday unscathed. Good job. Now here comes a harder test. This is a field of candidates know you are the front-runner, and will do anything to pick you apart as a Washington insider. So take the hits, but don't take any rhetorical risks. This debate is yours to lose.
Barack Obama: Think aggressive and think big. This is the one downside of branding yourself as above the typical political discourse. Sometimes you have to get your feet muddy and play hardball. Tonight is one of those nights. In a new CNN poll, Obama trails Clinton by 20 points. The deficit was only 9 points in July. Obama must be aggressive. So how do you do that against the Clintons? Think big -- which is everything the Clintons are. Think in terms of big ideas. Play to your strengths by wowing people with your charisma. Remind New Hampshire voters what they liked about you in 2004 and earlier this year during your Chicago announcement. It's time to step it up, or get out of the way and let someone else take on Hillary.
John Edwards: Be the anti-Hillary candidate. For Edwards, this debate should not be about Hillary Clinton -- it should be about Barack Obama. The SEIU stopped short of endorsing Edwards because they were worried about whether he was better suited than Obama to beat Hillary. With that endorsement hanging in the balance, Edwards will need to make the case that he, not Obama, is the most viable alternative to the former First Lady.
Bill Richardson: Think big and loosen up. People know about his resume and his position on Iraq. What people don't know is what kind of person he is, and what kind of political philosophy he would implement. Richardson also needs to show some passion, and not come across as too polished. He is a western Senator, and he should look like it. Loosen up a bit too while you are at it. Tell some jokes, and at least try to mean them this time.
Joe Biden: Don't yell. People know you are passionate about foreign policy. But show that same passion on other issues too. And while you are at it, stop yelling -- it's not very presidential. Voters have been waiting for him to show a softer side. Like Richardson, show voters what kind of person you are.
The debate starts at 9 PM ET. Don't forget to join us for the live chat. Yap away with fellow progressives as you watch the debate on television.
Generally speaking, in the state of Iowa, Obama has the support of younger voters, including a significant pocket of voters between 50 and 60. Edwards is strongest among middle-aged, blue collared workers, especially if they are in unions. Hillary wins out among voters 60 and older, especially those already retired. In the end, that older voting block is the most important:
While older voters are traditionally the most active, they dominate inthe early voting state of Iowa. About 64 percent of those whoparticipated in the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucus were at least 50 yearsold, according to the state party.
Clearly, Obama has room for improvement:
A University of Iowa poll in August found Obama, a senator fromIllinois, ahead among voters under age 60, but voters over 60 preferredClinton by a wide margin and Obama fell to fourth place, behind formerSen. Edwards and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Social Security. Prescription drug costs. International diplomacy. Leadership. Obama needs to do a better job of explaining to voters how his so-called good judgment translates into strong leadership on these issues, which concern that pivotal voting block. He can't just complain about the Washington establishment. That generic talking point strikes a strong chord with young voters, but not necessarily with all progressives. Some Democrats like the system in Washington, think the system has been hijacked by the far-right, and believe that a Washington insider like Hillary is the only person capable of taking it back.
John Edwards and Bill Richardson, however, are in a tough predicament right now because Obama and Clinton are sucking up all the airtime. But remember, Iowa voters will look at Edwards and Richardson too, maybe even Biden as well, during the final month. When Gravel, Dodd and Kucinich are no longer a factor, the five major candidates will have the spotlight on them, and Iowa voters will see for themselves who would make the best president.