Sunday, February 03, 2008

Which endorsements matter?

Obama Wins S.C. Primary; Picks Up Sen. Kennedy Endorsement
Senator Barack Obama is riding a wave of momentum after Saturday’s landslide victory in South Carolina's Democratic primary. On Sunday, former president John F. Kennedy's daughter, Caroline, endorsed Obama in a column in the New York Times titled "A President Like My Father." And today, Senator Ted Kennedy is scheduled to announce his support for the Illinois Senator at a campaign rally at American University in Washington. On Saturday Obama won 55 percent of the vote in South Carolina.
Sen. Obama: "Tonight, the cynics who believed that what began in the snows of Iowa was just an illusion were told a different story by the good people of South Carolina. And in nine days, nine short days, nearly half the nation will have the chance to join us in saying that we are tired of business-as-usual in Washington, we are hungry for change, and we are ready to believe again."
Senator Hillary Clinton placed second with 27 percent. John Edwards, who was born in South Carolina, placed third with 18 percent. On Saturday former President Bill Clinton attempted to downplay Obama's victory.
Bill Clinton: "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in ‘84 and ’88. And he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama's run a good campaign here. He’s run a good campaign everywhere."

So led Democracy Now! headlines on Monday. Apparently their version of Access Hollywood? Who the hell cares what Caroline Kennedy, stern task master, has to say? She's done nothing in public life. But Amy Goodman leads with it. Pay attention to that. Remember it.

On Tuesday DN! went back to the Ted Kennedy well beginning with item five:

Sen. Kennedy Compares Barack Obama to JFK
In campaign news, Senator Ted Kennedy officially announced his endorsement of Barack Obama Monday during a rally attended by thousands in Washington. The Massachusetts Senator compared Obama to his late brother, John F. Kennedy.
Sen. Kennedy: "My friends, I ask you to join in this historical journey to have the courage to choose change. It’s time again for a new generation. It is time for Barack Obama."
Obama thanked Kennedy for backing his campaign.
Sen. Obama: "I know what your support means. I know what a cherished place the Kennedy family holds in the hearts of the American people."
Senator Obama also picked up an endorsement Monday from the Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison.

Now Toni Morrison is news as well. Curiously when Maya Angelou endorsed Hillary Clinton, Amy Goodman didn't think it was worth mentioning on Barack Now! Angelou was worth noting August 27th when she was among the mourners at the service for Max Roach. But when Angelou endorses Hillary, Amy Goodman plays dumb. Even Oprah could note Maya's endorsement. It's just the alleged 'news' program hosted by Amy Goodman which couldn't.

That's a pattern. For instance, interestingly, the children of Robert F. Kennedy endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday [see Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Kerry Kennedy's "Kennedys for Clinton: She stands for Democrats and for the nation, these family members say" (Los Angeles Times)]. Yet, that wasn't worth noting by Amy Goodman all week long. Amy Goodman never noted it, never mentioned it. Caroline Kennedy who has done nothing for the public with her life versus three Kennedy children who have made their lives about public service -- she gets noted, they get silence. Tell us again again about fairness, Amy, strike that pose as a real journalist one more time while we laugh at you.

On Tuesday, Goodman finally decided she needed to mention Tony Rezko for the first time. Repeating, for the first time. And note what she says as well as what she 'balances' it:

Former Obama Fundraiser Antoin Rezko Jailed in Illinois
Meanwhile in Chicago, a federal judge has ordered the jailing of one of Obama's former top fundraisers, Antoin Rezko. Rezko was indicted in 2006 on charges of business fraud and influence peddling but had been free on bond. On Monday a judge revoked bond and ordered him to be held in jail. Rezko has raised as much as $200,000 for Obama since 1996 and helped Obama purchase his home. Last week Senator Hillary Clinton raised Obama's link to Rezko during the debate in South Carolina. Last year one of Hillary Clinton’s top fundraisers -- Norman Hsu -- was arrested for swindling investors. Hsu had raised some $800,000 for Clinton's campaign during a time when he was a fugitive from justice.
Sen. Clinton: I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezco, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.
Wolf Blitzer: I just want to give you a chance, Senator Obama, if you want to respond. Senator Clinton made a serious allegation that you worked for a slumlord. And I wonder if you want to respond.
Sen. Obama: I'm happy to respond. Here's what happened: I was an associate at a law firm that represented a church group that had partnered with this individual to do a project and I did about five hours worth of work on this joint project. That’s what she’s referring to.

Hillary Clinton doesn't have a 17-year-old relationship with Norman Hsu. Bambi's been tight with Rezko for seventeen years. He didn't just have 'help' buying his Chicago mansion, the Rezkos went on to sell Obama part of the land adjoining his home -- land they purchased (at full price) when Obama purchased his home (at a discount). Bambi wouldn't have his home without the Rezko's because no one's going to build anything on that postage stamp lot of land which is why the owner was selling the home and the land together. Had the Rezkos not stepped in to buy the adjoining tiny parcel of land, Obama wouldn't have his mansion. Hillary's not purchased land with Hsu, she's not hired people Hsu recommended, she's not advocated for government contracts going to Hsu. Hsu's just a donor with a dirty background. Obama and Antoin "Tony" Rezko have been tight for 17 years and Obama would not be in the Senate without the help of Rezko.

But Hsu was 'balance' to Goodman's (brief and inaccurate) summary of Rezko. Repeating, that was the only time Goodman or the show have ever mentioned Tony Rezko.

On Wednesday, this was offered:

Gitmo Lawyers Endorse Obama; Rep. Waters Backs Clinton
In other campaign news, Senator Barack Obama has picked up an endorsement from a group of eighty volunteer lawyers for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. In a statement, the attorneys say they see Obama as the best candidate to undo the Bush administration's policies on imprisonment and torture in the so-called war on terror. Meanwhile, Senator Hillary Clinton has received the endorsement of California Congressmember Maxine Waters. Waters is an influential member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

What did Maxine Waters say in her endorsement? That would be Waters who got Amy Goodman her much tauted interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristride. What did she say? The "Gitmo" lawyers are noted. What did Waters say? Her remarks, that Goody wouldn't provide Democracy Now! listeners, viewers and readers with:

"At a time when the economy continues to worsen and so many of my constituents are losing their homes and their jobs, we need someone with the leadership and experience who can step in on day one to tackle the economic challenges our country is facing," said Congresswoman Waters. "The voices of so many struggling families have gone unheard for long enough. Hillary understands the daily challenges that people are facing and she will fight for them everyday she is in the White House."

It's always interesting what doesn't get noted. Democracy Now! is allegedly pro-labor. But when a union endorses Hillary Clinton, Amy Goodman ignores it. January 22nd CNN announced the impending endorsement from the United Farmworkers with a headline of "Clinton to receive major union endorsement."

Here is the United Farm Workers press release on their endorsement (which apparently was never received by Amy Goodman -- however, it was provided to the program):

January 22, 2008: Today in Salinas, California, at an event with more than 2,000 people the United Farm Workers gave its enthusiastic endorsement to Senator Hillary Clinton for President. The UFW represents more than 27,000 farm workers. "After meeting with and talking to the candidates, the UFW board believes Hillary Clinton to be the strongest, most experienced candidate for President of the United States. She will be able to tackle our nation's toughest problems – health care, improving the economy for working people and repairing our country's standing in the world. Senator Clinton has stood with farm workers and immigrants - fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, sponsoring the UFW sponsored AgJOBS and helping 1,800 farm workers sign a union contract with D'Arrigo after 30 years," said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez
The UFW, founded in 1962 by Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and often described as the conscience of the labor movement for its inspiring fights for low wage working families, is the first successful and most influential farm labor union in the United States. Throughout its 40 year history, the UFW has worked to organize farm workers, raise wages and improve working conditions for its members and all farm workers.
“I am very grateful for the UFW’s support,” said Clinton. “You work in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable, and you do it with courage, optimism and determination. I am humbled to have your support -- and you will have mine.”
Hillary has been endorsed by more than a dozen unions representing about 6 million working families nationwide, including: Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Transportation Communications Union; National Association of Letter Carriers; International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; American Federation of Teachers; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; Amalgamated Transit Union; Office and Professional Employees International Union; and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

And in the last few days, Amy Goodman missed another union endorsement. In full, the [PDF format warning] American Nurses Association's press release on that:

The Clinton Campaign today announced the endorsement of the American Nurses Association(ANA). The ANA represents the interests of the nation's 2.9 million registered nurses.
"Too many Americans must do without high quality health care, and this country deserves a president that will make health system reform a priority," said ANA President Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR. "Senator Clinton has shown a commitment to implementing real change in our healthcare system to ensure high quality, affordable and accessible care. She has also recognized the importance of educating, recruiting and retaining RNs, and the need to improve the nurse's work environment which includes addressing safe and appropriate staffing. America's 2.9 million registered nurses represent the largest group of health care professionals. We have long advocated for the critically needed reforms vital to the improvement of health care and will use our power in the voting booth to make healthcare a priority."
"I am honored to have the support of the American Nurses Association," said Clinton. "We owe nurses a great debt of gratitude for the critical role they play every day in providing quality care. As President, I will continue to support efforts to attract and retain qualified nurses, especially in rural and urban areas, and to improve working conditions. I look forward to working with America's nurses to deliver affordable, quality health care to every American."
Hillary has a history of working for America's nurses. In the Senate, Hillary introduced the Nursing Education and Quality of Care Act, which would expand the number of programs that address nursing faculty shortages and increase the supply of nurses in rural areas. As part of the Nurse Reinvestment Act, she helped create grants that expanded nurse Magnet hospitals. Hillary also supported increased funding for both Title VII and Title VIII, which help to address the higher education needs of nurses and nursing faculty. Finally, she has supported programs to attract nurses to the field, including efforts to improve the quality of the working environment for nurses.
Hillary's American Health Choices Plan will cover all Americans and improve health care by providing consumers new choices, lowering costs and improving quality. Under Hillary's plan, Americans who like the insurance they have can keep it and stay with their doctor. But Americans who don't like the coverage they have will be able to pick from the same set of plans Members of Congress choose for themselves. Under Hillary's plan, insurance companies won't be able to deny people coverage for a pre-existing condition and tax credits will ensure that working families never have to pay more than a limited percentage of their income for quality health care. People who change jobs will be able to keep their health care.
ANA has been making presidential endorsements since 1984. The endorsement process includes sending a questionnaire on nursing and health care issues to all of the Democratic and Republican candidates, an invitation to all of the democratic and republican candidates for a personal interview and an online survey of ANA's membership regarding which candidate is most supportive of nursing's agenda.
The ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 2.9 million registered nurses through its 54 constituent member nurses associations. The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on healthcare issues affecting nurses and the public.

It's funny what can and cannot get noted on Democracy Now! which made time on Thursday for this:

Carter Praises Obama Campaign, Criticizes Clinton
Meanwhile former President Jimmy Carter has weighed in on the presidential race. Although he's said he won't endorse a candidate, Carter praised Senator Obama, calling his campaign: "extraordinary and titillating for me and my family." Carter went on to compare Obama's speeches to those of Dr. Martin Luther King and said Obama could likely win some southern states as the Democratic nominee. Carter also said he has spoken to former President Bill Clinton and criticized some of Clinton’s racially-charged comments on the campaign trail.

So Carter didn't endorse? But it's worth including in the headlines while repeatedly ignoring unions and Congress members who do endorse Hillary? Maybe Josh Micah Marsh watches Democracy Now!? That would explain why he typed (January 30th), "It's been quite a dry spell for Hillary on the endorsement front since Iowa. But she just picked up Sen. Patty Murraqy (D-WA)." While it may be natural for Josh Micah Marsh to see unions as non-important endorsements, Goodman sells it differently on her show. Except when they endorse Hillary. As JMM noted, Senator Patty Murray endorsed Hillary Clinton last week. Somehow Amy Goodman never found time to include that. In addition (and JMM notes it in an update to that post), Senator Bill Nelson also endorsed Hillary last week. No surprise, Amy Goodman remained silent on that one as well.

Friday something even more interesting happened. Goodman stated Hillary was answering a question but the clip played wasn't Hillary's answer to that question. Even stranger, when the transcript went up, the moment was 'fixed.' The transcript 'documents' something that never happened on air. Here's the transcript. Note the "*"

Clinton, Obama Hold Final Debate
On the campaign trail, the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates squared off in their final debate last night in Los Angeles. The tone was mostly cordial as the candidates tried to temper criticism of what has been called a rancorous campaign.
Sen. Barack Obama: “I don't think the choice is between black and white or it's about gender or religion. I don't think it's about young or old. I think what is at stake right now is whether we are looking backwards or we are looking forwards. I think it is the past versus the future.”
Senator Hillary Clinton later talked about the importance of replacing a Bush presidency with another Clinton.
Sen. Hillary Clinton: "And you know, it did take a Clinton to clean after the first Bush and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush."
The most heated exchange came over the Iraq war, with Senator Barack Obama criticizing Clinton's 2002 vote to authorize the invasion. Clinton said she and Obama have shared similar positions on the war since Obama came to office. But Obama said it was important to elect a candidate who opposed the war from the beginning. Clinton also defended her vote in favor of the U.S. attack, saying it was in part justified because Saddam Hussein was a "megalomaniac, [who] would not want to compete for attention with Osama bin Laden." At the end of the debate the candidates were asked if they would run as the other’s vice-presidential nominee.

Sen. Obama: "Well, obviously there's a big difference between those two. But, look, let me say this, and I said this at the time: I respect Senator Clinton, I think her service to this country has been extraordinary and I’m glad that we've been walking on this road together and we’re still on that road. We’ve got a lot more road to travel and so I think it’s premature for either of us to start speculating about vice presidents etc. I think it would be premature and presumptuous.”
Sen. Clinton: "Well, I have to agree with everything Barack just said."

That wasn't on the show. It's in the transcript. What actually aired after Goodman declaring "At the end of the debate the candidates were asked if they would run as the other's vice-presidential nominee."

CLINTON: "Well, one thing I think is fair to say, both Barack and I have very passionate spouses...
(OBAMA: We do, no doubt.)
CLINTON: who promote and defend us at every turn.
You know, but the fact is that I'm running for president, and this is my campaign. (APPLAUSE)
And I have made it very clear that I want the campaign to stay focused on the issues that I'm concerned about, the kind of future that I want for our country, the work that I have done for all of these years. And that is what the campaign is about."

That's an interesting glitch. Amy Goodman says she's playing Hillary's answer to whether or not she would run as Obama's vice-president and Goodman wrongly provides a clip that has Hillary stating "I'm running for president." The question she was answering was: "Greg Craig, who was one of your husband's top lawyers campaign can't control the former president now, what will it be like when you're in the White House?" That was what she was answering.

Considering Goody's (bad) track record with regards to fairness let alone Hillary, it's amazing that listeners heard, with Goodman's preface that Clinton was answering about vice-president, "I'm running for president." Goody swore to Lou Dobbs she corrects herself when she's told she's wrong: Goody, you were wrong.

As for what's in the transcript, how did that happen? How did the transcript include something that was never said on air? A transcript, as we understand it, is documenting what was said. It's interesting, however, that the transcript (of a clip never played on air) reduces Clinton to one line.

Since Goody couldn't get it right, here's the CNN transcript with both candidates answers in full:

BLITZER: This will be the last question. It will go to both of you, to Senator Obama first.
The more I speak to Democrats out there -- not only the Democrats here at the Kodak Theatre, but all over the country -- they take a look at the two of you and they see potentially a dream ticket. A dream ticket for the White House.
There may have been some nasty words exchanged or angry words or whatever, but the question is this: Would you consider an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket going down the road?
OBAMA: Well, obviously there's a big difference between those two.
But, look, let me say this. And I said this at the top. I respect Senator Clinton. I think her service to this country has been extraordinary. And I'm glad that we've been walking on this road together and that we are still on that road.
We've got a lot more road to travel. And so I think it's premature for either of us to start speculating about vice presidents, et cetera. I think it would be premature and presumptuous.
I can say this about -- about who I want not just as vice president but as a cabinet member. Part of what I would like to do is restore a sense of what is possible in government.
And that means having people of the greatest excellence and competence. It means people with integrity. It means people with independence, who are willing to say no to me so, so that, you know, no more yes-men or women in the White House.
Because I'm not going to be right on every single issue.
But you know, it is really important, I think, for us also to give the American people this sense, as they are struggling with their mortgages and struggling with their health care and trying to figure out how to get their kids in a school that will teach them and prepare them and equip them for this century, that they get a sense that government's on their side, that government is listening to them, that it's carrying their voices into the White House.
And that's not what's happened over the last seven years. And whether it's my cabinet or it is the lowest federal civil servant out there, I want them to understand they are working for the American people, to help the American people achieve their dreams.
That's the reason I'm running for president of the United States of America.
BLITZER: So, is the answer yes -- it sounds like a yes, that she would be on your short list.
OBAMA: I -- you know, I'm sure Hillary would be on anybody's short list. So.
BLITZER: All right. What about, Senator Clinton, what do you think about a Clinton/Obama, Obama/Clinton ticket?
CLINTON: Well, I have to agree with everything Barack just said.
BLITZER: That means it's a yes, right?
CLINTON: This has been an extraordinary campaign, and I think both of us have been overwhelmed by the response that we have engendered, the kind of enthusiasm and intensity that people feel about each of us. And so, clearly, we are both dedicated to doing the best we can to win the nomination, but there is no doubt we will have a unified Democratic Party.
We will go into the November election prepared to win. And -- and I want to just add that, you know, on Monday night, I'm going to have a national town hall, an interactive town hall. It will be carried on the Hallmark Channel and on my Web site,, because I know you had tens of thousands of questions.
OBAMA: What about my Web site?
CLINTON: Yes. I want your folks to participate, too.
OBAMA: I'm just kidding.
CLINTON: And it's going to be across the country.
Monday night at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 here on the West Coast.
BLITZER: All right. answered, please, log on, turn on, and continue to be part of this really, really exciting election for both of us.
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