Sunday, January 13, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 13, 2008

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New York Times

Republican Candidates Stump in Michigan

Filed at 7:20 a.m. ET
January 13, 2008

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) -- Mitt Romney and John McCain argued about theirconcern for the auto industry, while Mike Huckabee spotlighted hisopposition to abortion, as the Republican presidential contenders campaignedSaturday before Michigan's potentially make-or-break primary.

Romney, seeking a rebound in Tuesday's primary after losing to Huckabee inthe Iowa caucuses and McCain in the New Hampshire primary, made an impromptustop at a General Motors plant near here after 200 layoffs were announcedlast week.

He pledged to make restoring the domestic auto industry -- once the linchpinof Michigan's economy -- a top priority if elected president.

''In some respects, Michigan is like the canary in the mine shaft: WhatMichigan is experiencing, the whole nation will experience unless we fixwhat's happening in Michigan and learn lessons here we can apply across thenation,'' he said in Traverse City amid a fly-around of the state.

Romney's criticism of Washington was a none-too-subtle shot at McCain, anArizona senator who has said that some of Michigan's lost jobs are goneforever. A Detroit News poll released Saturday showed the race a statisticaldead heat, with McCain at 27 percent and Romney at 26 percent. Huckabee wasthird with 19 percent. A Detroit Free Press poll also released for Sundayshowed Romney at 27 percent, McCain at 22 and Huckabee at 16.

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New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: Haven't We Heard This Voice Before?

January 13, 2008

SHE had me at "Well, that hurts my feelings."

One cliché about Hillary Clinton is true. For whatever reason - and it's nocrime - the spontaneous, outgoing person who impresses those who meet heroffstage often evaporates when she steps into the public spotlight. But inthe crucial debate before the New Hampshire primary, the private Clintonpopped out for the first time in the 2008 campaign. She parried a maleinquisitor's questioning of her likability by being, of all things, likable.

Not only did Mrs. Clinton betray some (but not too many) hurt feelings withgenuine humor, she upped the ante by flattering Barack Obama as "verylikable." Which prompted the Illinois senator to match Mrs. Clinton's mosthuman moment to date with the most inhuman of his own. To usefamily-newspaper language, he behaved like a jerk - or, to be more precise,like Rick Lazio, the now-forgotten adversary who cleared Mrs. Clinton's pathto the Senate by boorishly waving a paper in her face during a 2000 debate.

Mr. Obama's grudging "You're likable enough, Hillary" made him look like "anex-husband that was turning over the alimony check," in the formulation ofPaul Begala, a Clinton backer. The moment stood in stark contrast to Mr.Obama's behavior in the corresponding debate just before the Iowa caucuses.There he raised his head high to defend Joe Biden's honor when Mr. Biden wasquestioned about his tic of spouting racial malapropisms.

Whatever the precise impact of the incessant video replays of Mr. Obama's condescension or of Mrs. Clinton's later quasi tears, Tuesday's vote speaksfor itself. In her 2.6 percentage-point, 7,500-vote victory, Mrs. Clintonbeat Mr. Obama among women voters by 12 percentage points only five daysafter he carried them by 5 points in Iowa. As we reopen the gender wars, let's not forget that it's 2008, not 1968. There are actually some men who areoffended by sexist male behavior too. Or by the female misogyny exemplifiedby the South Carolina woman who asked John McCain in November, "How do webeat the bitch?"

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New York Times

Huckabee Splits Young Evangelicals and Old Guard

January 13, 2008

WASHINGTON - Much of the national leadership of the Christian conservativemovement has turned a cold shoulder to the Republican presidential campaignof Mike Huckabee, wary of his populist approach to economic issues and hiscriticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy. But that has onlyfired up Brett and Alex Harris.

The Harris brothers, 19-year-old evangelical authors and speakers who grewup steeped in the conservative Christian movement, are the creators of Huck's Army, an online network that has connected 12,000 Huckabee campaignvolunteers, including several hundred in Michigan, which votes Tuesday, andSouth Carolina, which votes Saturday.

They say they like Mr. Huckabee for the same reason many of their elders donot: "He reaches outside the normal Republican box," Brett Harris said in aninterview from his home near Portland, Ore.

The brothers fell for Mr. Huckabee last August when they saw him drawapplause on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" for explaining that hebelieved in a Christian obligation to care for prenatal "life" and alsoeducation, health care, jobs and other aspects of "life." "It is a new kindof evangelical conservative position," Brett Harris said. Alex Harris added,"And we are not going to have to be embarrassed about him."

Mr. Huckabee, who was a Southern Baptist minister before serving as governorof Arkansas, is the only candidate in the presidential race who identifieshimself as an evangelical. But instead of uniting conservative Christians,his candidacy is threatening to drive a wedge into the movement, potentiallydividing its best-known national leaders from part of their base andupending assumptions that have held the right wing together for the last 30years.

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New York Times

Michigan Voters Wary of Revitalization Talk

January 13, 2008

STANDISH, Mich. - This quiet town, tucked between the thumb and the rest ofthe fingers in Michigan's mitten, feels worlds away from the strugglingautomobile factories of Flint and Detroit. But economic gloom has made itsway here just as it has seeped through so much of this state.

"People come in looking for work, but how could I hire someone to help us?"said Karen Dunn, 55, glancing around her empty coffee shop along Standish'smain thoroughfare. "To help with what?"

In Michigan, where the unemployment rate, 7.4 percent in November, is thehighest in the nation, people say the troubled economy is, by far, the mostimportant issue any leader must address right now.

As they looked to Tuesday's primary, nearly all of about two dozen peopleinterviewed here in recent days said they were relieved to see thepresidential candidates finally speaking of the financial issues thatworried them every day.

But many said they were also deeply skeptical of all the new economicpromises: the sudden release of candidates' revitalization packages, talk ofretraining programs, television commercials pledging help. While the economyseems now to have emerged as an issue among voters nationally, as job growthhas stalled and oil prices hit $100 a barrel, Michigan, where theunemployment rate has been higher than the national average since September2000, has been pondering the situation far longer.

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New York Times

A GOP Numbers Crunch

By George F. Will
Sunday, January 13, 2008; B07

The first year of the 2008 campaign -- think about that -- has clearlyestablished that the Republican Party's prospects are cloudy. In the firsttwo major contests, Mike Huckabee has finished first and third, John McCainfourth and first, Mitt Romney second twice. Rudy Giuliani has been treadingwater, waiting for Florida, which on Jan. 29 will allocate more conventiondelegates (114) than Iowa, Wyoming and New Hampshire combined (92). So,clinging to cliches as to a lifeline, Republicans congratulate themselves onhow evenly the party's strengths, such as they are, are spread among theircandidates.

But although only one-third of 1 percent of the national electorate -- thosewho have participated in the Iowa, Wyoming and New Hampshire nominatingevents -- have spoken, the Democrats have even more reason than they didthree weeks ago to look forward to a rollicking November. RealisticRepublicans are looking for shelter.

Nov. 4 could be their most disagreeable day since Nov. 3, 1964. Actually,this November could be even worse, because in 1964 Barry Goldwater's loss of44 states served a purpose, the ideological reorientation and revitalizationof the party. Which Republican candidate this year could produce a similarlyconstructive loss?

Today, all the usual indicators are dismal for Republicans. If that broadassertion seems counterintuitive, produce a counterexample. The adverseindicators include: shifts in voters' identifications with the two parties(Democrats now 50 percent, Republicans 36 percent); the tendency ofindependents (they favored Democratic candidates by 18 points in 2006); thefact that Democrats hold a majority of congressional seats in states with303 electoral votes; the Democrats' strength and the Republicans' relativeweakness in fundraising; the percentage of Americans who think the countryis on the "wrong track"; the Republicans' enthusiasm deficit relative toDemocrats' embrace of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, one of whom will benominated.

Iowa and New Hampshire were two of the three states (New Mexico was thethird) that changed partisan alignment between 2000 and 2004 -- Iowa turningred, New Hampshire blue. This month, Democratic participation was twice theRepublican participation in Iowa and almost 22 percent higher in NewHampshire. George W. Bush won Iowa by just 0.67 percent of the vote.Whomever the Republicans nominate should assume that he must replace Iowa'sseven electoral votes if he is to reach Bush's 2004 total of 286.

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Washington Post

Will They Play the Race Card?

By Marjorie Valbrun
Sunday, January 13, 2008; B07

I'm scared for Barack Obama, but not for the same reasons that many otherblack voters are. While the possibility of a crazed gunman coming after himdoes worry me, my real fear is grounded in something more probable -- thatHillary Clinton, after her less-than-stellar showing in Iowa and her closecall in New Hampshire, will now go straight for Obama's jugular. Race,whether used subtly or as a blunt weapon, will undoubtedly be a factor.

We saw inklings of it last February in South Carolina, a state rich withblack voters that holds its primary this month. News reports disclosed thatan influential state lawmaker and prominent megachurch minister who hadendorsed Clinton also happened to have a political consulting contract withthe campaign worth some $200,000. Two other black state senators who laterendorsed Clinton have financial ties to the lawmaker on the Clinton payroll.While the Clinton campaign defended the deal as legitimate and said thestate senator was a longtime supporter, it looked to many like a slicker,ostensibly more respectable version of the old political strategy ofspreading "street money" to black preachers to either depress or get out theblack vote.

Last month, William Shaheen, a political surrogate for Clinton, was quotedpublicly peddling concerns about Obama's admitted past drug use andintimating that Republicans -- not, heaven forbid, candidate Clintonherself -- would raise questions about it if Obama was nominated.

Shaheen, who was co-chairman of the New Hampshire campaign but has sinceresigned, told The Post: "It'll be: 'When was the last time? Did you evergive drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?' There are so manyopenings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

What's harder to overcome is the idea that these patently insinceresentiments about Obama -- coming from an experienced political adviserworking for a tightly controlled and heavily scripted campaign -- weren'tpart of a deliberate attempt to paint the Illinois senator as astereotypical black drug dealer.

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Washington Post

The Vote A Son Didn't Get

By David S. Broder
Sunday, January 13, 2008; B07

When George Romney was the Republican governor of Michigan 40 years ago, hislieutenant governor was William Milliken, the personable heir to adepartment store dynasty in Traverse City.

They were partners in a socially progressive, business-oriented stateadministration, notable for its involvement with the economic struggles ofheavily Democratic Detroit.

When Romney challenged Richard Nixon for the GOP presidential nomination in1968, Milliken and his wife, Helen, gave Romney their full support. And whenRomney left the governorship the next year to become Nixon's secretary ofhousing and urban development, Milliken became his successor. He wonelection three times -- serving for a record 14 years as a popular chiefexecutive until he retired in 1983.

When I reached Milliken by phone at his home five days before Tuesday'sMichigan primary, I asked whether he was involved in the current GOPcampaign. "I haven't been," he said, "but I'm about to jump in. I'm waitingfor a phone call from John McCain so I can tell him I'm endorsing him."

Milliken's decision is not a surprise. He did the same thing eight yearsago, when McCain followed up his victory over George W. Bush in NewHampshire by winning Michigan -- the last significant state the Arizonasenator won before the battle turned against him in South Carolina.

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Washington Post

Why Al-Qaeda Is Losing

By Gary Anderson
Sunday, January 13, 2008; B07

The conventional wisdom is that al-Qaeda is making a comeback from its routein Afghanistan. Many point to its success in killing Benazir Bhutto inPakistan and to its support of Islamic insurgents there as evidence. Not so.Al-Qaeda is waning. Its decline has less to do with our success than withthe institutional limitations of the al-Qaeda organization. Simply stated,to know al-Qaeda closely is not to love it.

Everyplace where al-Qaeda has gained some measure of control over a civilianpopulation, it has quickly worn out its welcome. This happened in Kabul andin Anbar province in western Iraq. It may well happen in Pakistan as areaction to the killing of Bhutto.

No one likes to be brutalized and dominated by foreigners. The weakness ofal-Qaeda is that everywhere it goes its people are strangers. This is no wayto build a worldwide caliphate.

We may not be loved in Iraq and Afghanistan, but compared with thedeliberately brutal methods of bin Laden's associates we become a palatablealternative. This is particularly true because, like visiting grandchildren,we will eventually go home.

Bhutto once responded to a friend who was concerned about her safety bysaying, "Muslims don't kill women." She was only partly right; real Muslimsdon't do that, but al-Qaeda does. Its members have killed more Muslimcivilians than have misdirected coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistancombined. The difference is that the Americans and their allies regret andinvestigate such incidents; al-Qaeda plans and celebrates them.

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Washington Post

White House Secrecy Starts to Give
As Congress Intensifies Efforts for Openness, Administration Accedes

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2008; A05

After years of hammering on the walls of secrecy surrounding the Bush WhiteHouse, activists and Congress have begun, slowly, to open some cracks.

A federal magistrate on Tuesday ordered the administration to reveal by thisweek whether it has backup copies of millions of missing White Housee-mails, which may describe decisions related to the Iraq war.

Last month, a federal judge ruled that lists of presidential visitors thatPresident Bush has kept secret are in fact public records.

On New Year's Eve, Bush bowed to lawmakers in his own party and signed abill speeding the release of millions of government documents requested byAmericans under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a measure he hasopposed.

In the waning days of an administration marked by a penchant forconfidentiality, open government groups and Congress have redoubled effortsto ensure that the written record of the Bush presidency is not lost tohistory. They say recent developments show growing irritation with apresident who has used national security concerns to draw a veil over theworkings of the executive branch and to hoard power for the White House.

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Washington Post

U.S. Journalist Is Ordered to Leave Pakistan

By John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, January 13, 2008; A21

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 12 -- An American freelance journalist and scholarbased in Pakistan was ordered to leave the country this week after writingan article that might have been deemed unflattering to the Pakistanigovernment, according to friends, colleagues and a U.S.-based media rightsgroup.

Nicholas Schmidle, a frequent contributor to Slate magazine and a fellowwith the Institute of Current World Affairs in Washington, was served with adeportation notice at his Islamabad home Tuesday night and left Pakistan onFriday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.

Under an arrangement hammered out with Pakistani officials, his departurewould not be recorded as a deportation if he agreed to leave the country,according to a colleague familiar with the deal.

His wife, an American student studying in Islamabad, was asked to leave withhim.

"I am extremely disappointed at being asked to leave Pakistan, where my wifeand I had lived since February 2006," Schmidle said in an e-mail. "We lovethe country, we love the people there, and we hope to be able to go backsoon."

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Miami Herald

Five myths of anti-immigration talk

Posted on Sun, Jan. 13, 2008

It's time to debunk the biggest myths of the antiimmigration movement thathas swept this country over the past two years, and may still have an impacton the 2008 presidential race: that they are not anti-Hispanic nor opposelegal immigration, but are only against ''illegal'' immigration.

Before we get into why most U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls -- withthe exception of Sen. John McCain -- and cable television anti-immigrationcrusaders on CNN and Fox News are deceiving the public with their claim thatthey are only against ''illegal'' immigration, let me tell you what bringsme to address this issue.

Last week, after I wrote about the loss of ''antiimmigration'' candidates inthe New Hampshire primary, I was instantly flooded with more than 100e-mails that almost unanimously criticized me for labeling Republicanhopefuls Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and others as ''anti-immigration''candidates.

They are not ''anti-immigration,'' but anti-''illegal'' immigration, thereaders said, almost in unison. So here goes my respectful response to thisand other big myths of the anti-immigration movement:

. Myth No. 1: ''We are only against illegal immigration. Undocumentedimmigrants should get in line for visas.'' That's deceptive because youcan't demand that people get into line when, for the most part, there is nolie to get into.

While the U.S. labor market is demanding 1.5 million mostly low-skilledimmigrants a year -- and will demand many more in coming years, as the U.S.population becomes increasingly educated -- the current immigration systemallows into the U.S. an average of one million legal immigrants a year, andmost of them are already here.

''There is a huge mismatch between what the U.S. labor market needs and thesupply of immigration visas,'' says Frank Sharry, head of the NationalImmigration Forum, which advocates both secure borders and a path to legalresidence for many of the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the UnitedStates.

On top of that, most anti-immigration groups want to reduce legalimmigration. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), afavorite of radio and cable television Hispanic immigrant-bashing newsshows, wants to reduce legal immigration from the current 1 million a yearto about 300,000, with a 20-year cooling-off period.

. Myth No. 2: ''Anti-immigration advocates are not anti-Hispanic.'' Maybemany aren't, but when was the last time you heard anti-immigrationRepublican hopefuls or cable television talk show hosts lashing out againstillegal immigrants from Canada?

In addition, the escalating immigration hysteria has created an uglyenvironment that affects all Hispanics -- both legal and undocumented -- inmany parts of the country, as recent studies by the Anti-Defamation Leagueand the Southern Poverty Law Center have shown.

''We are seeing more discrimination and harassment,'' says Michele Waslin,of the Immigration Policy Center. ``Anybody who is Hispanic-looking or hasan Hispanic last name is being treated as an undocumented immigrant.''

. Myth No. 3: ''We are a nation of laws, and the law says you have to enterthe country legally.'' Yes, but we are also a nation of immigrants. And, bythe way, nearly half of all undocumented immigrants enter the countrylegally, and overstay their visas.

. Myth No. 4: ''Building a border fence will solve the problem.'' Wrong. Aslong as the per capita income in the United States is five times bigger thanthat of Mexico, and as long as U.S. labor market demands millions oflow-skilled jobs that Americans won't fill, people will jump over the fence,dig tunnels under it or come through Canada.

. Myth No. 5: Those of us who criticize anti-immigration groups are''amnesty'' and ''open borders'' supporters. Baloney. I, for one, supportboth border protection and an earned path to legalization for millions ofundocumented workers who pay taxes and are willing to learn English.

My conclusion: Let's call things by their names, and agree that mostopponents of a comprehensive immigration package are anti-immigration.

The only way to solve the current immigration crisis will be to legalizeundocumented workers who have paid their dues, and to increase economicintegration with Mexico and the rest of Latin America in order to reducepoverty and emigration pressures south of the border. The rest is, for themost part, populist demagoguery.


St. Petersburg Times

McCain's momentum grows toward Florida

By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published January 13, 2008

If John McCain can get through the Michigan and South Carolina primariesTuesday and Saturday, get ready to see him practically move to Floridabefore our Jan. 29 primary. Already a series of fundraising events are linedup, and there's lots of buzz about former supporters for Mitt Romney andFred Thompson looking to jump aboard the McCain team.

"It's the biggest change I've ever seen in a campaign. It's amazing," saidTallahassee lobbyist, buddy-o-Charlie Crist and uber fundraiser BrianBallard, whose phone is ringing with offers of help from people who hadwritten off the Arizona senator as toast. "(Fundraising) events that beforewould have been a strain to raise $35,000 to $50,000 we now think we can do$250,000."

Among the first ship jumpers to McCain? Former Tampa state Rep. SandyMurman, who had been backing Fred Thompson.

Crist might be jumping on that bandwagon

Then there's the prospect of a Crist endorsement. McCain happens to be theonly presidential candidate who campaigned for Crist during thegubernatorial primary against Tom Gallagher.

"The small list of people that really believed that Charlie was not going toendorse McCain has shrunk even further," said Republican consultant RickWilson, noting the Crist allies like Ballard aggressively helping McCain.

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Dallas Morning News

Rosa Brooks: Electability - sex, race and the Gen Y vote
Younger Americans just don't see what the big deal is

09:02 AM CST on Saturday, January 12, 2008

The media just can't stop gushing and clucking and gasping about the "new"candidates in this year's Democratic presidential race. Oh, my gosh, HillaryClinton is female! Barack Obama is, uh, black! Will American voters accept afemale candidate? A black candidate? Are voters more sexist or more racist?What's a bigger problem in America today, sexism or racism?


Simplistic efforts to evaluate whether racism or sexism is "worse" areinherently meaningless. Racism and sexism operate in complex and differentways. We should reflect on the ways in which both have marred our historyand cast shadows over our future, but let's not turn it into a parlor gameabout who's got it worse, women or blacks.

Increasingly, the media obsession with whether Americans will be less likelyto vote for a black man or for a woman is also beside the point - because,to an emerging generation of younger voters, the very terms in which thequestions have been framed no longer make much sense.

Start with race. In the context of the 2008 election, the question, "Wouldyou vote for a black man for president?" takes for granted certainassumptions: that there is a clearly defined category we can label "blackmen," that Mr. Obama fits into that category and that belonging to thatcategory matters.

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Detroit News

Detroit News/WXYZ poll
White, pro-life Protestants likely to dominate Michigan GOP primary

Mark Hornbeck / Detroit News Lansing Bureau
Saturday, January 12, 2008

Voters likely to cast ballots in Tuesday's Michigan Republican primary willtend to be conservative, white, elderly, Protestant, pro-life, male and veryRepublican, according to a Detroit News/WXYZ Action News survey.

Pollster Ed Sarpolus says each of the leading candidates -- Arizona Sen.John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov.Mike Huckabee -- brings a unique set of voters to the polls.

"McCain is getting the moderates and Catholics out, Huckabee brings theyoung moms who like his family values message, Romney brings out theRepublican establishment voters," Sarpolus said.

The poll of 604 likely voters shows a small crossover vote -- only 9 percentof GOP primary voters will be Democrats and 5 percent independents while 83percent will be Republican.

Nearly two-thirds -- 64 percent -- identified themselves as conservatives,and one-quarter said they were moderates.

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USA Today

Romney, Clinton lead Michigan poll

By Chris Christoff and Ben Schmitt, Detroit Free Press

DETROIT - Voters planning to participate in Tuesday's Michigan presidentialprimary favor Mitt Romney and Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a pollreleased Saturday night.

Republican voters whose greatest concern is the economy could give Romney,the former Massachusetts Governor and Bloomfield Hills native, his firstmajor state victory.

In the Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll, Romney leads Sen. JohnMcCain 27% to 22% with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in third place at16%.

Romney, whose father George was Michigan's governor in the 1960s, needs awin here after second place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"I think Republicans will pick a Republican nominee and that's me," Romneysaid Saturday in an interview with the Free Press. Romney also said whilemany Michiganders don't remember his father, "my dad's reputation has lastedlonger than I can easily understand."

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Detroit News

Is race influencing poll numbers?

Eugene Robinson
Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pollsters and pundits were quick to discount race and the so-called "Bradleyeffect" as factors in Barack Obama's narrow loss to Hillary Clinton in theNew Hampshire primary. Given that the same pollsters and pundits (OK, metoo) were so wrong about the outcome, I think we ought to take a closerlook.

The phenomenon is named after the late Tom Bradley, who in 1982 seemedcertain to become the first black governor of California. Pre-election pollsshowed Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, with a double-digit lead over hiswhite opponent, George Deukmejian. But Bradley lost.

Subsequently, several high-profile races involving black candidates followedthe same pattern in which apparent leads somehow evaporated on Election Day.The polls said David Dinkins would beat Rudy Giuliani by more than 10 pointsin the 1989 New York mayoral race; Dinkins ended up winning with 50 percentof the vote to Giuliani's 48 percent. That same year, the polls gave DouglasWilder an 11-point lead over Marshall Coleman in the Virginia governor'srace; Wilder squeaked into office by less than half a percentage point. In1990, the polls said Harvey Gantt would handily defeat incumbent NorthCarolina senator Jesse Helms; Gantt lost, and it wasn't even close.

Was it that voters told pollsters they intended to vote for African-Americancandidates and then, in the privacy of the voting booth, chose whitecandidates instead? Not really. In each of these instances, pre-electionpolls were quite accurate in predicting the black candidate's vote. Whathappened was that the polls greatly underestimated the vote for the whitecandidates. Unusually large numbers of self-described undecided voters endedup making the same decision.

Fast-forward to Tuesday night in New Hampshire, and in broad terms that'swhat happened to Obama: His vote was roughly as predicted by election-evepolls, but Clinton's was dramatically bigger than expected. There are somany caveats, however, that it's impossible to diagnose the "Bradley effect"with any confidence.

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Houston Chronicle

Global audience tunes in to 2008 race
'Great spectacle' is drawing intense coverage much earlier than usual

Washington Post
Jan. 12, 2008, 11:32PM

LONDON - John Mbugua, 56, a taxi driver in Mombasa, Kenya, woke himself at 3a.m. the day of the Iowa caucuses and flipped on CNN. He watched for hours,not understanding precisely what or where Iowa was but thrilled about thevictory of Barack Obama, the first U.S. presidential contender with Kenyanroots.

"I have never been interested in the elections before," Mbugua, who also gotup at 4 a.m. to watch the New Hampshire primary results, said in a telephoneinterview. "But now everybody is watching. Everybody feels that Kenya has astake in the outcome of the U.S. election."

From Mombasa's sandy shores on the Indian Ocean to the hot tubs ofReykjavik, Iceland, the U.S. primary elections are creating unprecedentedinterest and excitement in a global audience that normally doesn't tune inuntil the general election in November.

This year's wide-open primary season has created an eager global audiencethat suddenly knows its Hillary from its Huckabee.

"It's a great spectacle, and people are avidly devouring it," said JeremyO'Grady, editor in chief of the Week, a British magazine. O'Grady said majorBritish newspapers this week alone have devoted more than 87 pages to newsof the U.S. primaries, including 22 front-page stories - exceptionallyintense coverage of a foreign news event. More than 700 correspondents from50 countries covered the Iowa and New Hampshire events.

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Los Angeles Times,1,6399818.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&track=crosspromo


Ouch: Kerry's Obama endorsement a major diss
Also: Bloomberg moves ahead on cross-country polling; Paul's standing hasn'tmoved; and Giuliani? Campaign issues are moving on, with or without him.

January 13, 2008

John Kerry went to John Edwards' home state the other day to endorse someoneelse in the Democratic presidential race: Barack Obama.

A major-league diss? Yes. A surprise? Hardly.

Our colleague James Rainey recently spent time with Kerry to produce a richpiece updating the activities -- and aspirations -- of the 2004 Democraticpresidential nominee. And following Kerry's implicit rejection of Edwards,he offered these thoughts:

Kerry's relationship with Edwards has been strained since early in the lastpresidential race, when the younger and more naturally gifted polthreatened, first, to overtake Kerry during the primaries and, then, toovershadow him in the general election.

Edwards never embraced the traditional role of the VP candidate as attackdog on the opposite ticket, Kerry's team believed. They also felt Edwardsnever deferred to the top of the ticket. "I had to constantly call theirroad show and remind them that Edwards was running for vice president, notpresident," said one top Kerry aide.

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Chicago Tribune,1,738169.story?track=rss

Clinton makes push for Hispanics' support in Nevada
Toe-to-toe fight tries to cool down Obama

By Michael Martinez
Tribune national correspondent
January 13, 2008


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rallied Latino voters andleaders Saturday and sought to make a dent in the union endorsements that sofar have heavily favored her rival Barack Obama.

Clinton and several Latino leaders chose the headquarters of the Sheet MetalWorkers Local 88 to say she understands the growing Hispanic community'spolitical needs. Obama is scheduled to announce Sunday his lineup ofsupporting Latino leaders in California.

"She can make it happen. We can make it happen. You can make it happen.That's the difference in this election," said Henry Cisneros, a formerCabinet member for President Bill Clinton, Sen. Clinton's husband."Adelante, Hillary Clinton!" he added, urging her "forward" in Spanish.

In appealing to Hispanics, Clinton, of New York, pledged improvements ineducation and health care and added that she would seek relief forhomeowners at risk of losing their residences in what she labeled thenation's mortgage crisis.

"You're the fastest growing state but you're also the highest foreclosurerate," Clinton said to about 200 Nevada supporters and precinct captains.

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Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn

Welcome, Mr President, to the Misery You've Created

In eight years Palestinians have seen the bald eagle of enlightened US powerdegenerate into a phoney, biased, cynical lame duck

by Jonathan Steele
Published on Friday, January 11, 2008 by The Guardian/UK

It is a well-deserved irony for George Bush that his first presidentialvisit to Israel coincided this week with the storm of excitement produced bythe unexpected outcome of the two New Hampshire primaries. Nothing couldbetter highlight the irrelevance of the final year of the Bush presidency.

The moment at which an incumbent becomes a lame duck fluctuates in every USadministration, depending on circumstances. The day on which the first votesare cast is traditionally the symbolic date, even though the race has beenunder way in the media for months. This year's riveting contests in NewHampshire certainly proved that true, overshadowing whatever interest therewas in Bush's plans for influencing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Even before the president left Washington, expectations for his visit werelow. His much-trumpeted meeting of Middle Eastern leaders in Annapolis inNovember produced a predictably tinny follow-up. Little happened in thesubsequent six weeks, and it was only courtesy to Bush that impelled EhudOlmert and Mahmoud Abbas to meet again in advance of the president'stouchdown in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and produce the blandest pretence ofprogress. According to Olmert's spokesman, they agreed to "authorise theirnegotiating teams to conduct direct and ongoing negotiations on all the coreissues". Isn't this tautological statement merely a repeat of what they hadalready launched in Annapolis?

Bush's engagement in the world's most intractable dispute is late, piecemealand phoney. Above all, it is one-sided. As Ghassan Khatib, a formerPalestinian minister, remarked this week: "Palestinians agree that in thehistory of the United States, Bush is more biased toward Israel than anyother American president." In any conflict, responsibility for making thelargest concessions always rests on the stronger party, especially when mostof the wrong is on its side. But, despite his rhetoric yesterday, Bush hasnot used Washington's enormous leverage over Israel to end the occupation ofthe West Bank and East Jerusalem.

He has not even applied pressure for an end to the expansion of Israelisettlements or the dismantling of the spider's web of roadblocks that makenormal life for Palestinians impossible. A US plan for benchmarks by whichto judge Israeli progress was quickly abandoned last spring at the firstwhiff of concern by Olmert's government. Occasional state departmentpronouncements disapproving of settlement expansion are not followed bymeasures to reflect US anger when - as happened in Jerusalem again onWednesday - Olmert makes it clear he will continue the illegal constructionof Israeli homes.



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