Monday, July 09, 2007

GLBT DIGEST July 9, 2007

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Naugle's toilet talk betrays his ignorance and prejudice
July 9, 2007

Mayor Jim Naugle's latest statement about gays and public bathroomsdemonstrates a profound lack of knowledge about a large proportion of thepeople he represents that it is almost frightening. This is 2007 and this isFort Lauderdale. The days when gay men had to resort to using publicbathrooms to meet people like themselves in Southeast Florida have longgone.

Before opening his mouth, it plainly didn't even cross his mind to checkwith the police to see if men having sex in public bathrooms was an issue.Based upon your reporter's conversation with the police spokesman, itclearly is not.

Comments such as Naugle's about gays do not give a good impression of ourcity to those considering either vacationing or, heaven forbid, openingbusinesses in our area. We are lucky to live in a progressive-thinkingcommunity that for the most part accepts and welcomes our community'sdiversity. Various studies have shown that more diverse and acceptingcommunities enjoy higher rates of economic growth and greater prosperity. Ihope that anyone reading Naugle's comments will not treat them asrepresentative of the vast majority of people living and working here.

Based upon Mayor Naugle's grasp of the world in which we live, it can onlybe a matter of time before he suggests imprisoning or burning at the stakethose he believes are possessed by demons - meaning those who areleft-handed. Watch out - you have been warned.

Paul Harris

Wilton Manors


The global resurgence of religious intolerance

From Washington to Baghdad and beyond, religious intolerance is makinga comeback; threatening democracy and human rights.

Peter Tatchell interviews feminist commentator, writer and secularist,Joan Smith. Watch this Talking with Tatchell interview here:

Two centuries after the Enlightenment, religious ignorance,superstition, sectarianism and prejudice are on the rise again.Reason, science, liberalism, democracy, secularism and humanitarianvalues are under attack from fundamentalists within many faiths: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. They want to reassertreligious dogma, authority and control. More and more of these zealotsare prepared to use violence; as evidenced by the growth ofreligious-inspired terrorism.

Liberal and progressive people of faith are on defensive in largeparts of the world; often being eclipsed by the shrill voices ofreligious fanaticism.

Even in a wealthy, well-educated democratic nation like the US, theChristian Right has succeeded in hijacking the Republican Party andthe Presidency, propagandising creationism and sexual abstinence, andsecuring a prohibition on the federal funding of stem cell researchand condom use as a method to prevent HIV.

In Britain, the Church of England bans women bishops, faith schoolstolerate the bullying of lesbian and gay pupils, and religiousextremists have succeeded in closing down the play Behzti andcancelling regional performances of Jerry Springer: The Opera.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Jul. 08, 2007
GAY TRAVEL: Caribbean -- Make sure islands will welcome you

The irresistible lure of tropical breezes, powdery white-sand beaches andturquoise sea is expected to lure upwards of 10 million visitors to theCaribbean this year. But for gay and lesbian travelers, planning a vacationin paradise requires more consideration than tossing flip-flops and a beachhat into a suitcase.

Many islands in this region have shown gay tourists a less-than-sunny sideto their disposition.

In 2004, a Rosie O'Donnell R Family cruise, which caters to gay families,was met by 100 protesters when it stopped in The Bahamas. AmnestyInternational has described Jamaica, where a leading gay activist wasabducted and murdered in 2005, as ''suffering from an appalling level ofhomophobia.'' Last year, two gay men were severely beaten on theFrench/Dutch island of St. Maarten.

The St. Maarten incident notwithstanding, the gay-friendliness of eachCaribbean island often correlates directly to its cultural heritage andpolitics. The most noticeable signs of gay life can be found in Americanterritories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, particularly onSt. Croix. Puerto Rico offers the largest concentration of gay bars (in SanJuan) as well as the opportunity for a quiet gay getaway on the isle ofVieques. French and Dutch-speaking islands also lean toward tolerance. TheFrench West Indies isle of St. Barts may not have any all-gay venues, butit's a popular choice among sophisticated gay travelers. Saba, the tiniestmember of the Netherlands Antilles, frequently welcomes gay and lesbianscuba diving groups.


While the Caribbean lags far behind most of the western world in terms ofopenness toward gay residents and visitors, signs of a sea change are slowlycoming into view. Most prominent is the work of the Curac¸ao Tourism Board,which launched a gay website ( in January 2005 -- theCaribean's first gay marketing campaign.

''We are committed to increasing Curac¸ao's profile as a gay-friendly travel destination, and as a viable alternative in the Caribbean,'' said AndreRojer, a marketing representative with the Curac¸ao Tourism Board.


National Gay News

He Shoots, She Scores

When Mike became Christine, she gave Los Angeles sports fans a courtsideview of gender politics.

For all of its trappings of money, fame, and corruption, professional sportshas a lot to do with character. Avid sports fans seem to respect those whoface up to overwhelming challenge and overcome adversity. So it should notcome as a surprise that readers rose in solidarity when a 23-year veteransports writer announced in the Los Angeles Times that he would return from ashort a woman.



State Ban On Gay Marriage No 'Slam-Dunk'
By WILLIAM MARCH , The Tampa Tribune
Tampa Bay Online
Updated: 12:35 a.m. ET July 8, 2007

TAMPA - As social conservatives gear up to put an antigay marriageconstitutional amendment on the 2008 state ballot, opponents are gearing upa campaign to defeat it.

Their task may not be hopeless, as it has been thought.

Gay marriage bans long have been considered virtually unbeatable at pollsnationwide, particularly in conservative states such as Florida. From 1998through 2006, voters approved the bans in 28 states.

Recently, however, there have been indications that this conventional wisdommay not always hold true.

The 2006 election saw the first-ever defeat of a gay marriage ban, inArizona. Voters at local levels, in city and county referendums, also haveshown an increased willingness to oppose the bans recently, said Universityof South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus.

"They are increasingly not a slam-dunk," she said.

That could be particularly true in Florida, where constitutional amendmentsnow must pass with 60 percent of the popular vote, not just a simplemajority.

Opponents also have received some new ammunition against the measure, fromcourt rulings in other states that the bans can undercut domesticpartnership laws, employee benefits and even laws against domestic violence.

That, they say, shows unintended negative consequences that can arise from agay marriage ban.

The intent of the amendment, advocates say, is simply to put into the state constitution a ban on gay marriage that already exists in state statutes.

The amendment states: "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only oneman and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treatedas marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid orrecognized."

Staying On Message

In Florida, two political action committees have formed to oppose the ban.

One, originating in South Florida, has taken advantage of the region'sconcentration of big-dollar, liberal donors and links to national interestgroups. That group, Florida Red & Blue, won't reveal its fundraising -figures will be public this week - but has told supporters it raised morethan $1 million since its founding this year.

The other, Fairness for All Families, organized mainly by Equality Floridaand its well-known Tampa leader Nadine Smith, is a coalition withorganizations including the National Association for the Advancement ofColored People, churches and retiree groups.

That division into two separate opponent groups could be a drawback. Arizonaactivists said a consistent message pushed by a disciplined organization isessential for opponents of a gay marriage ban to succeed.

"Discipline can be hard for activists," said Arizona State Rep. KyrstenSinema of Arizona Together, which opposed the measure there. "In otherstates, they would bounce back and forth between messages."

Her advice to Floridians: "Raise a lot of money now. Do the research tofigure out a message that works for Floridians. Be disciplined incommunicating that message."

Signature Goal Near

The constitutional amendment petition drive is being conducted by theFlorida Coalition to Protect Marriage, also known by its Web site, It's led by John Stemberger, an Orlando lawyer andnational-level religious conservative activist.

The organization says it has gathered all but 18,000 of the 611,009petitions needed to place the amendment on the November 2008 ballot, and therest will be turned in this summer. So far, state officials have checked andapproved 467,000.

Stemberger wouldn't discuss his group's fundraising, but said he expectsconcerted opposition to the amendment, and that his organization will mountan effective campaign.

Both the pro- and anti-amendment groups, like other political committees inFlorida, will file reports this week detailing their fundraising for thesecond quarter of 2007.

Fairness for All Families will show more than $50,000 raised in the quarterfrom about 600 donors, said board member Gregory Wilson of St. Petersburg, apolitical consultant.

From its founding in 2005, when it began its petition drive, through thefirst three months of 2007, Florida4marriage raised more than $500,000 incash and in-kind contributions - $300,000 of it from the Florida RepublicanParty - and spent about $440,000, according to previous reports.

Gov. Charlie Crist has said he does not favor the party giving any moremoney to the effort, which means it almost certainly won't.

Florida Red & Blue formed after a February gathering in Miami of state andnational supporters of progressive or gay rights causes.

The organization has received $50,000 from the Human Rights Campaign, anational gay rights advocacy group.

Its bipartisan name reflects a board of directors including Republican SouthFlorida businessman Jonathan Kislak, previously campaign finance chairmanfor both Attorney General Bill McCollum and former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw; andDemocrat Bob Farmer, previously treasurer for the John Kerry, Bill Clintonand Michael Dukakis campaigns.

Advocates of the amendment have one big advantage: By and large, majoritiesof voters in Florida and nationwide consistently oppose gay marriage inpolls.

A recent national poll by the Pew Research Center found voters opposed by 57percent to 32 percent; a 2004 poll of state voters by Mason-Dixon Polling &Research for the Tribune found 60 percent opposed.

Plans Of Attack

Even though voters oppose the concept, that may not mean they will vote foran amendment, opponents say.

They intend to argue that the amendment could have sweeping, unintendedconsequences, interfering with legal rights of gay and straight unmarriedcouples, from hospital visitation and health care decisions, even todomestic partner employee benefits.

"This is not about gay marriage," said Stephen Gaskill, a veteran SouthFlorida Democratic operative and Red & Blue spokesman. "This is aboutensuring that people are able to determine their own life choices."

Sinema said the Arizona campaign featured a Tucson retiree couple, "Al andMaxine," both widowed, who live together but don't want to marry because itwould cost Maxine her pension.

The amendment, Sinema said, could have interfered with their rights forhospital visitation and health care decision-making under a domesticregistry program available in Tucson.

The Florida opponents have taken note.

"Arizona was a valuable lesson in process that we have learned from," saidWilson of Fairness for All Families. "People may have strong feelings aboutdifferent lifestyles, but as Americans we find it difficult to supportdiscrimination."

The opponents also note that in several states where gay marriage bans havepassed recently, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia, the favorablevotes were less than the 60 percent needed in Florida.

Stemberger acknowledged the 60 percent requirement is "a challenge."

He also said his side is ready to counter arguments about domestic partnerbenefits and rights, and that the Florida amendment language is notidentical to any other state's.

"What they're going to do is try to scare senior citizens of Florida intothinking the amendment will somehow take away their benefits," he said. "Itwill not. It simply codifies the current law of Florida. It does not preventdomestic partner benefits."

Reporter William March can be reached at (813) 259-7761



Sheehan plans run against Pelosi
Anti-war leader wants House Speaker to begin impeachment process
08:06 PM CDT on Sunday, July 8, 2007
Associated Press

CRAWFORD, Texas - Cindy Sheehan, the fallen soldier's mother who galvanizedthe anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to run against HouseSpeaker Nancy Pelosi unless she moves to oust President Bush in the next twoweeks.

Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as anindependent if Pelosi does not file articles of impeachment against Bush byJuly 23. That's when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington,D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting from the group's warprotest site near Bush's Crawford ranch.

"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,"Sheehan told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to thewar. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a movefor me. I would give her a run for her money."


Thompson had hidden Watergate role
Tapes reveal that Nixon considered him a not-too-bright ally in the Senate investigation.
Published July 8, 2007

WASHINGTON - Fred Thompson gained an image as a tough-minded investigativecounsel for the Senate Watergate Committee. Yet President Richard Nixon andhis top aides viewed the fellow Republican as a willing, if not too bright,ally, according to White House tapes.

Thompson, now preparing a bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, wonfame in 1973 for asking a committee witness the bombshell question thatrevealed Nixon had hidden listening devices and taping equipment in the OvalOffice.

Those tapes show Thompson played a behind-the-scenes role that was verydifferent from his public image three decades ago. He comes across as apartisan willing to cooperate with the White House's effort to discredit thecommittee's star witness.

It was Thompson who tipped off the White House that the Senate committeeknew about the tapes. They eventually cinched Nixon's downfall in thescandal resulting from the break-in at Democratic headquarters in theWatergate complex in Washington and the subsequent White House coverup.

Thompson, then 30, was appointed counsel by his political mentor, TennesseeSen. Howard Baker, the top Republican on the Senate committee. Thompson hadbeen an assistant U.S. attorney in Nashville and had managed Baker'sre-election campaign. Thompson later was a senator himself.

Nixon was disappointed with the selection of Thompson, whom he called "dumbas hell." Nixon did not think Thompson was skilled enough to interrogateunfriendly witnesses and would be outsmarted by the committee's Democraticcounsel.


The Boston Globe

Middle class feels squeeze as rich get richer
By Lisa Von Ahn, Reuters | July 8, 2007
Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class
by Robert H. Frank
University of California Press, $19.95

When the rich get richer, it isn't just the poor who get squeezed, accordingto a new book by income-inequality expert Robert H. Frank.

Skyrocketing pay for the top tier and increasingly conspicuous consumptionin the United States have "raised the cost of achieving goals that mostmiddle-class families regard as basic," Frank writes in "Falling Behind."

Frank, who teaches at Cornell University and has written several books onincome inequality, points to the US housing market as one example of what hecalls an "expenditure cascade."

It begins when the ultrawealthy build bigger homes, prompting the near-richto upgrade, and so on down the income ladder. As a result, the median sizeof a house has increased to more than 2,010 square feet in 2001 from 1,600in 1980 even though median income has barely changed.

That puts pressure on families with children, since school quality is oftenlinked to property values.

"Middle-income families cannot send their children to schools of averagequality now without spending significantly more, in real terms, than in1980," Frank writes.

The expenditure cascade has also engulfed the auto business. Drivers who 20years ago might have been content with a compact car now base their purchaseon the fact they are sharing the road with huge SUVs.

For the nonwealthy, all this takes its toll in the form of longer workinghours and commutes, reduced savings, and higher debt. But Frank sayseveryone suffers because of cutbacks in public services, with rich and pooralike inconvenienced by poorly maintained roads and endangered by inadequateport security.


The New York Times

July 9, 2007
Editorial Observer
Last Term's Winner at the Supreme Court: Judicial Activism

The Supreme Court told Seattle and Louisville, and hundreds more cities andcounties, last month that they have to scrap their integration programs.There is a word for judges who invoke the Constitution to telldemocratically elected officials how to do their jobs: activist.

President Bush, who created the court's conservative majority when heappointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, campaignedagainst activist judges, and promised to nominate judges who would"interpret the law, not try to make law." Largely because of Chief JusticeRoberts and Justice Alito, the court has just completed one of its mostactivist terms in years.

The individuals and groups that have been railing against judicial activismshould be outraged. They are not, though, because their criticism has alwaysbeen of "liberal activist judges." Now we have conservative ones, who usetheir judicial power on behalf of employers who mistreat their workers,tobacco companies, and whites who do not want to be made to go to schoolwith blacks.


The New York Times

July 9, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Health Care Terror

These days terrorism is the first refuge of scoundrels. So when Britishauthorities announced that a ring of Muslim doctors working for the NationalHealth Service was behind the recent failed bomb plot, we should have knownwhat was coming.

"National healthcare: Breeding ground for terror?" read the on-screenheadline, as the Fox News host Neil Cavuto and the commentator Jerry Bowyersolemnly discussed how universal health care promotes terrorism.

While this was crass even by the standards of Bush-era political discourse,Fox was following in a long tradition. For more than 60 years, themedical-industrial complex and its political allies have used scare tacticsto prevent America from following its conscience and making access to healthcare a right for all its citizens.

I say conscience, because the health care issue is, most of all, aboutmorality.

That's what we learn from the overwhelming response to Michael Moore's"Sicko." Health care reformers should, by all means, address the anxietiesof middle-class Americans, their growing and justified fear of findingthemselves uninsured or having their insurers deny coverage when they needit most. But reformers shouldn't focus only on self-interest. They shouldalso appeal to Americans' sense of decency and humanity.


The New York Times

July 9, 2007
Advocate to Offer Magazine Without 2nd Cover

The Advocate, the national gay magazine, is kicking off the covers. That is,the magazine is starting to do away with the extra cover that is placed onthe magazine before it is sealed in a plastic wrapper, concealing itsidentity during shipment.

Its July 3 issue, which features on its cover a gay Marine who is a warveteran, was mailed to most subscribers with a standard address label in thelower left-hand corner, looking like any other magazine delivered by thePostal Service.

Michael Phelps, the publisher of The Advocate, said the new policy ofopenness came about after the magazine polled its readers in April, askingthem if they wanted to continue to receive the magazine in the wrapper ornot.

"The majority no longer wanted the covering," said Mr. Phelps, who waspromoted to publisher of the magazine just a few weeks ago. "For some, theysaid they were environmentally conscious and wanted to cut down on waste.For others, it was more of an out-and-proud issue."


The Washington Post

Edging Away From Inner Circle, Pelosi Asserts Authority
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 9, 2007; A01

In February, only a month after becoming speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosisettled weeks of threats from Rep. John D. Dingell, her blustery Energy andCommerce Committee chairman, by putting in writing her assent to one of hisbig demands -- Pelosi's new Select Committee on Energy Independence andGlobal Warming would not infringe on his power to write legislation as hesaw fit.

Four months later, Dingell (D-Mich.) appeared in the speaker's conferenceroom to walk through a bill that would override California's attempts tocombat global warming by raising fuel efficiency standards, strip theEnvironmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate greenhousegases and promote a controversial effort to turn coal into liquid fuel.

This time, Pelosi was in no mood to mollify Dingell. The bill he wassponsoring, she said, was unacceptable. The environmental costs would be toosevere, the political costs for the Democratic caucus too high, she said.

The two episodes with Dingell illustrate Pelosi's evolution from a somewhattentative political figure reliant on a small circle of advisers to theundisputed leader of the House's fractious Democratic majority.

"Nancy now represents the majority of this caucus, overwhelmingly," saidBarney Frank (Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.


The Washington Post

A Vision to Match the Threat
By Walter Isaacson
Monday, July 9, 2007; A15

Sixty years ago, America faced a new and dangerous global challenge, theexpansionist aims of Soviet communism. This threat arose rather suddenly,and it was clear that it could portend a long struggle.

Our leaders reacted with a burst of creativity. Working across party lines,they created a military alliance, NATO, to counter Soviet aggression. To winthe economic struggle, they formed institutions such as the World Bank andthe International Monetary Fund and programs such as the Marshall Plan. Towin hearts and minds, they created Radio Free Europe and revamped Voice ofAmerica. They defined the struggle clearly and articulated it publicly withthe Truman Doctrine. Then, in such documents as NSC-68, they worked to agreeon the balance of commitments and resources necessary to sustain thisstruggle for as long as it would take to prevail.

This response was conceived and put into place within five years, and overthe course of nine presidencies it eventually led to the fall of the BerlinWall and the collapse of the Soviet state.

Now we are again faced with a new and dangerous global threat, the rise ofjihadist terrorism. But more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, wehave not yet responded with the creativity displayed at the outset of theCold War. Instead, we are either disparaging Cold War institutions or, atbest, tinkering with them to make them play a role for which they were neverdesigned.

With a presidential election approaching, we should push the candidates toprovide some imaginative ideas and a vision that match the creativityexhibited 60 years ago. Here, for example, are proposals they could explore:


The Washington Post

The Wrong Place to Treat Mental Illness
By Marcia Kraft Goin
Sunday, July 8, 2007; B07

Last month the Supreme Court rightly blocked the execution of Scott Panetti,a Texas man who was convicted of a double murder and who suffers fromdelusional schizophrenia. The case drew public attention to the intersectionbetween mental illnesses and executions.

But what about those who are mentally ill and imprisoned but not on deathrow? A national conversation on this issue is urgently needed.

There is a pervasive attitude in this country that such people are gettingwhat they deserve: After all, like Panetti, they are in jail for something.

But did you know that the Los Angeles County Jail houses the largestpsychiatric population in the country? That's not justice. That's emblematicof a national emergency.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

The Los Angeles Times,1,1631472.story?ctrack=6&cset=true

Law firm criticizes Padres over gays
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
July 7, 2007

SAN DIEGO - A national law firm involved with religious issues joined alocal Christian minister Friday in decrying what they termed support by theSan Diego Padres' management for the "homosexual lifestyle."

The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center said the baseball team isencouraging homosexuality by allowing a gay group to attend the Sunday gameat Petco Park featuring the Padres against the Atlanta Braves. At the game,the Padres plan to distribute free floppy hats to children 14 or younger.

"The Padres are playing the part of the Pied Piper leading unsuspectingchildren into the homosexual lifestyle as normal," said Richard Thompson,the group's president and chief counsel.

Ron deHarte, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride, said the lawcenter's concern for children "is just a shield for the homophobic, anti-gaymessage they're trying to get out."

"Gays and children attend games all season and there is no problem," DeHartesaid. "We hear this rhetoric every June and July during pride season."

A Padres spokesman said the team sold a block of tickets to San Diego LGBTPride, one of about 100 business, community and family groups buying ticketsfor the Sunday game. With block sales, the group's name is often shownmomentarily on the electronic scoreboard.

San Diego LGBT Pride, which states its mission as fostering "pride in andrespect for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in SanDiego," is referring to the event on its website as "Out at the Park - SanDiego Pride Night at Petco Park."


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jul. 09, 2007
Erasure offers colorful concert

Erasure took time off from Cyndi Lauper's multiartist gay pride tour, TrueColors, to headline its own colorful show Saturday before about 2,500 fansat downtown Miami's James L. Knight International Center.

The center is looking a bit worn these days, but the sound mix wasexceptional for Erasure's 90-minute set, as well as for the opening act, SanFrancisco newcomers Scissors for Lefty, which threatened to steal the nightfrom the '80s British duo with a frisky, fun 40-minute romp through itscatchy indie album Underhanded Romance.

Twice, Scissors lead singer Bryan Garza told the crowd, ''Thanks for puttingup with a band like us,'' but the apology was unnecessary. The quirkyrockers, made up of two sets of brothers and an uncle, proved a perfectcomplement to the programmed dance music of Erasure.

Erasure -- musician/programmer Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell -- ranthrough the '80s synth-pop hits Oh L'Amour, A Little Respect, Chains ofLove, and much of the new album, Light at the End of the World, seamlesslyblending old and new.

Largely, this feat is due to Erasure's lack of musical development over thedecades. Rather than being a total detriment, however, the duo's knack forcomposing infectious pop hooks, crafted largely by wallflower Clarke,remains its chief attribute. Since Clarke can flawlessly reproduce the dancemusic to sound like the records via the laptop and keyboard he hides behindstage, fans of this melodic style had much reason to leap from their seatsthroughout the concert to dance and satisfy cravings to hear Blue Savannahand Love to Hate You.


Analysis: Cash But Doubts For Obama
by The Associated Press
Posted: July 9, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(New York City) For Barack Obama, the millions of dollars he's raised can'tquite paper over the nagging doubts and growing pains.

The Democratic presidential hopeful recently reported raising $32.5 millionover three months, a staggering haul that shifted focus from the question ofwhether the 45-year-old political phenom is ready for prime time.

The first-term Illinois senator continues to draw large crowds - as he didin Iowa last week - and his message of hope and unity has captivated manyvoters weary of political polarization. The campaign has already attractedmore than 259,000 contributors - a jaw-dropping figure.

But in the weeks before his cash totals were disclosed, the Obama campaignhit a series of rough patches that seemed to highlight his relativeinexperience on the national stage.

-Critics dismissed as somewhat lackluster Obama's performance in threenationally televised debates. One was a civil rights forum in which Obama,the field's only black contender, was expected to shine.


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