Friday, June 20, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - June 20, 2008

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New York Times
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-The Two Obamas
Barack Obama is no liberal goo-goo. Republicans keep calling him naïve. Butnaïve is the last word I'd use to describe him. [...] He's the mosteffectively political creature we've seen in decades. Even Bill Clinton wasn't smart enough to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce politics.

-After a decade of shouting, "Follow the water!" in its exploration of Mars,NASA can finally say that one of its spacecraft has reached out, touchedwater ice and scooped it up.

Washington Post
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-A False Moderate?
It was not quite a Roger Mudd moment, but it was close. Mudd, you might recall, posed a simple question to Ted Kennedy in 1979: "Why do you want to be president?" Kennedy's vague, unprepared answer raised serious questions about his candidacy. Recently, Jake Tapper of ABC News asked a similarly blunt question of Barack Obama: "Have you ever worked across the aisle in such a way that entailed a political risk for yourself?" Obama's response is worth quoting in full: "Well, look, when I was doing ethics reform legislation, for example, that wasn't popular with Democrats or Republicans. So any time that you actually try to get something done in Washington, it entails some political risks. But I think the basic principle which you pointed out is that I have consistently said, when it comes to solving problems, like nuclear proliferation or reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington, that I don't approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective."

-The Small-Donor Fallacy
Not long ago, Sen. Barack Obama criticized special-interest lobbies that"use their money and influence to stop us from reforming health care orinvesting in renewable energy for yet another four years." He has said thathis army of small donors constitutes "a parallel public financing system,"one in which ordinary voters "will have as much access and influence overthe course of our campaign" as that "traditionally reserved for the wealthyand the powerful."

-McCain's Oil Epiphany
Gas is $4 a gallon. Oil is $135 a barrel and rising. We import two-thirds ofour oil, sending hundreds of billions of dollars to the likes of Russia,Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. And yet we voluntarily prohibit ourselves fromeven exploring huge domestic reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

-A Better Surveillance Law
Congress shows it still knows how to reach a compromise in the national interest. CONGRESSIONAL leaders of both parties should be commended for drafting legislation that brings the country's surveillance laws into the 21st century while protecting civil liberties and preserving important national security prerogatives. The bill is scheduled to be voted on today in the House, and it deserves to pass.

-The Politics of Spare Change
Even $85 million wasn't enough to get Barack Obama to keep his promise.
BARACK OBAMA isn't abandoning his pledge to take public financing for thegeneral election campaign because it's in his political interest. Certainlynot. He isn't about to become the first candidate since Watergate to run anelection fueled entirely with private money because he will be able to raisefar more that way than the mere $85 million he'd get if he stuck to hispromise -- and with which his Republican opponent, John McCain, will have tomake do. No, Mr. Obama, or so he would have you believe, is forgoing themoney because he is so committed to public financing. Really, it hurts himmore than it hurts Fred Wertheimer.

-Obama to Reject Public Funds for Election
Sen. Barack Obama reversed his pledge to seek public financing in thegeneral election yesterday, a move that drew criticism from adversaries andallies alike but could provide him with a significant spending advantageover Republican rival John McCain.

Pew Research center
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-Politics Goes Viral Online
A new Pew Internet & American Life project report finds that already in thiscampaign season, more Americans -- 46% -- have gone online to get politicalnews and campaign information than in all of 2004. Large numbers of peopleare not only going online to learn about the campaigns, but are also takingan active role in spreading news and information about their candidate ofchoice or the race in general. Read more

-What Limits Remain on Government Funding of Religious Groups andActivities?
A look at the implications of a recent Supreme Court case that permits
executive agencies to fund religious groups and activities without fear ofconstitutional litigation. Read more

-U.S. Worries Rise About Loss of Global Respect
A new Pew survey finds that seven-in-ten Americans -- now including amajority of Republicans -- see the loss of international respect for thenation as a major problem. Islamic extremist groups remain the largestperceived threat to America followed by nuclear programs in Iran and NorthKorea. Read more

-Gas Prices Pump Up Economic Interest
As economic news continues to register at an almost record level with thepublic, no other issue gets close to the level of attention accorded theprice of oil and gas. Fully 72% of Americans say it is the economic orfiscal problem they've heard the most about. Read more

-Campaign Spouses: Public Hears More Negatives About Michelle than Cindy
While opinions about both potential First Ladies are mostly positive, Mrs.Obama has emerged as a more high profile and controversial spouse than Mrs.McCain. Read more

-In a relatively light week of campaign coverage, attention focused onpolicy differences. Still, a fair amount of attention was also paid to somecontroversies and gaffes. Read more

-Daily Number
43% - Torture Justified
More than four in ten Americans (43%) say that the use of torture can bejustified to gain key information sometimes (31%) or often (12%). Check backevery weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Drilling for Answers
Will we find the oil we need offshore?
Houston-There's something about the heavy air here that puts visions ofdrilling in the mind. On Tuesday, John McCain, who came to pander to thelocal oil industry, called for a reversal of the 27 year ban on offshoredrilling. (President Bush echoed it today), and threw in a plea to drill inthe Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for good measures). After two days here,chatting with people in the oil industry, and with the many locals whobenefit from it, I was ready to wade into the waters off of Boca Raton,Florida, and start prospecting for black gold.

-Nation's mayors gathering in Miami for conference
Obama, favored among group, slated to speak
They govern 85 percent of the U.S. population, but the nation's mayors willonly hear from one presidential candidate during their annual gathering thatbegins today in Miami.,0,5102960.story?track=rss Tying offshore drilling to price perks 'foolish'
When Sen. John McCain dropped his energy bombshell, calling for the federal government to lift restrictions on offshore drilling for oil, he began bynoting the high price of gas these days. "With gasoline running at morethan four bucks a gallon, many do not have the luxury of waiting on thefar-off plans of futurists and politicians," McCain said in a speech onTuesday in the oil hub of Houston.

-Ecological impact: Where offshore drilling goes, beaches suffer
Stephen Leatherman has seen every kind of beach in America, and he reallylikes the ones in Florida. The man known as Dr. Beach usually ranks themamong the prettiest in America. This year he picked Pinellas County's ownCaladesi Island as No. 1. If oil companies start drilling in the easternGulf of Mexico, that's likely to change. "We've got some of the finest,whitest sand in the world," said Leatherman, a professor at FloridaInternational University in Miami. "Oil doesn't seem to go with that. Thiscould lower the value of our beaches."

-Florida's Gov. Drill: Crist's flip-flop on offshore exploitation isindefensible
It should go down as one of the more mercenary flip-flops in the state'shistory. With his eyes on John McCain's ticket as a running mate, Gov.Charlie Crist on Wednesday fell behind McCain's push for ending themoratorium on oil drilling along Florida's coastline after years of favoringthe ban without conditions. McCain was himself capitulating to the oil andgas industry, having backed the ban previously.

-Obama team weighs Nunn, Edwards as running mates
Barack Obama's search team considers John Edwards and Sam Nunn as potentialrunning mates Former Sens. John Edwards and Sam Nunn are on a list of potential runningmates for Democrat Barack Obama, a congresswoman said Thursday, one dayafter she met with the team Obama has reviewing possible candidates.

-Most say US on wrong track: AP-Ipsos poll
Wherever the nation should be headed, this isn't it. The number of
Americans who believe the country is moving in the wrong direction has risensharply, to nearly eight in ten, amid soaring food and gas prices, fallinghome values and unending war. Just 17 percent say the country is going inthe right direction, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.

-Obama Backed by Sierra Club And, in a Shift, AFSCME
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and theSierra Club announced separately yesterday that they would endorse BarackObama for president.

-McCain stumps strategists by playing up his unpopular stance on free trade
The candidate may be trying to show that his convictions about NAFTA areindependent of public opinion or that rival Barack Obama is 'irresponsible'to oppose the policy.,0,411692.story

-Poll on presidential spouses finds an edge for Obama
Less well-known, Cindy McCain to take to TV today
One is the Ivy League-educated, outspoken spouse who draws criticism like amagnet. The other is the very practiced, very rich second wife who keeps alower profile. In the battle of potential presidential spouses, MichelleObama, despite the attacks on her, is viewed more favorably by Americans,while Cindy McCain is less well-known, according to a poll out yesterday.


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