Obama News Roundup

We’re one day away from Barack Obama’s visit to Portland, with thousands of supporters slated to attend. To catch you up to speed, here’s a news roundup from the Obama campaign over the past several days.

Throughout the campaign, Obama has often been cast as inexperienced compared to some of his main rivals such as Hilary Clinton or John Edwards. During an Iowa event yesterday, Obama fought back, arguing he had more relevant experience than either of the other candidates.

From the Des Moines Register:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has been more successful as a legislator than Hillary Clinton or John Edwards.

"I've passed more bills, I'm sure, than either of them. Certainly on the state legislative level," Obama said in response to an audience member's question on whether he has enough experience to be president.

Obama was a state senator in Illinois between 1997 and 2004 before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Clinton was reelected last year for a second term as a U.S. senator from New York. Edwards was elected as a North Carolina senator in November of 1998 and did not seek reelection after his first six-year term. His campaign staff said Obama was referring to his work in the Illinois Legislature and the U.S. Senate but did not offer any details of how many Obama-sponsored bills have passed.

At another event, Obama argued that he would be more successful in enacting a universal healthcare system than Clinton’s failed attempt in 1993.

From the Associated Press:

Democrat Barack Obama promised Wednesday an open process to enact universal health care, saying he has learned from the mistakes of rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's failed health care reform effort of 1993.

Obama said Clinton's effort as first lady failed largely because most of the planning was done in secret and there was little effort to build political support. That left the final product vulnerable to an assault from drug and insurance companies that eventually doomed the effort.

"We will convene an open process which the American people will be watching," Obama told about 50 people at an informal coffee. "What the president can do is shine a spotlight on the process and (involve) the American people and keep the pressure on and that is something that didn't happen. In many ways it didn't happen in '93."

The Boston Globe reports on Obama’s newly unveiled government ethics reform plan, which centers on restricting lobbyists’ influence and making their efforts more transparent:

Obama said his plan would build on reforms he has supported as a U.S. senator. It would create a central database giving the public access to lobbying reports, ethics records and campaign finance filings. It would also expand lobbying disclosure rules to include lobbyists seeking government contracts and presidential pardons, and enforce congressional lobbying laws and ethics rules through an independent entity. Government contractors would be required to report money spent on lobbying and campaign contributions.

"When I am president, we will close the revolving door between public service and lobbying, ban all gifts from registered lobbyists, and end the abuse of no-bid contracts and the appointment of political cronies," he said.

"Too often the American people don't know who Washington is working for, and when they find out, they don't like what they hear. A task force on energy policy made up of big oil companies. Health care and prescription drug legislation written by industry lobbyists. No-bid contracts for Katrina recovery lobbied for by the firm that bears the name of the governor of Mississippi. No-bid contracts in Iraq for Halliburton, a company that the vice president used to run," he said.

It has certainly been a busy week for the Senator. Discuss.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Don't you love the presidential pardon part! I don't think the "front runner" is going to step up and match that challenge.

    Obama really wants to bring about transparency in government at all levels, even though that will limit traditional executive power in some respects by exposing it to public scrutiny under the light of day.

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    Experience is nice, but far from everything. Vastly more important is proven, sound judgement. And that Obama has in spades over his rivals, particularly Hillary and to a lessor extent Edwards (who is my #2 choice).

    Obama got it right on Iraq... the FIRST time.

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    I won't repeat the bulk of what I posted about Obama under Charlie's previous post, but on judgment:

    Obama may have had it right on Iraq in 2002, but he's got it wrong now. He has essentially the same prevaricating, triangulating posture as Clinton. He's doing far to much posturing to prove his so-called toughness to be trusted.

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    He has essentially the same prevaricating, triangulating posture as Clinton. He's doing far to much posturing to prove his so-called toughness to be trusted.

    I agree. The more I've listened to both of them speak, the more I have moved from "leans Obama" to "leans Edwards".

    We are in the midst of a Constitutional crisis; a war that has cost us immeasurably in terms of human life and billions in treasury; a world where MNC's control our political process and economic policy; we are lagging behind other nations in terms of our commitment to education, health care, and economic development; and the nation remains as divided as I have seen it.

    Now is not the time for timidity, prevarication, or spin. We need people who will step forward and take bold action to change the direction of this country.

    I supported Obama, largely based on the speech that he gave at the 2004 DNC convention. Until he returns to that level, I will continue to move into Edwards' camp.

    I am tired of leadership that refuses to lead.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Chris, go back and read "Hillary's War" which you can find on the NY Times website magazine and then tell me if you think Obama is the same. She was in favor of "staying the course" until relatively recently.

    There is no "triangulation" by Obama. He wants us out of Iraq and has a plan to do that.

    Do you think that any Dem will get elected if they do not talk tough against terrorism? I read your deal about Obama "invading" Pakistan, that was very misleading. Any and all candidates running--Yes I even read Edwards say the same thing in an interview--will state on the record that they would go into Pakistan IF NECESSARY to nail Osama Bin Laden if they had "actionable intelligence". Those are 2 big ifs by the way. But I really don't buy your misleading arguments.

    Did you see the headlines this afternoon about another OBL video tape on the way? We can fully expect that to continue all the way to November of 2008 and any Dem who is not willing to talk tough will not be elected. This is unfortunate, but true.

    And Sal, no one understands are constitutional crises better than Barack Obama who spent 10 years as a Constitutional Law professor. He wants to shut down Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus among other things. He has a very high level of respect for our Constitution which is an important reason why he's running for President.

  • scott in NE (unverified)

    Does anyone have info about the timing of the Obama event on Friday? The Oregonian says the Doors OPen at 8, but other things I've read say the event starts at 8...I know that political events can often start late...but would like to know how early I should arrive. Thanks (and love the site!).

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Scott, if this is anything like Seattle, then it would be best to arrive early if you want to get decent seat. The big rally is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

  • Jimmie (unverified)

    Last election I voted for John Edwards. I didn't agree with all of his policies but I felt he was the best leader between he and Kerry. Kerry had more experience than Edwards but of the two I thought Edwards had shown better leadership up to that point in both of their lives.

    IMO The problem with Edwards is that he can't beat a republican candidate because he can't draw independent voters, he can't even draw national security issue democrats. As VP on the Kerry ticket I was very dissappointed in his draw down south. He didn't even deliver his home state. I don't want to bash him because I like him and I voted for him. The problem is that most of his positions on issues like health care sound good but couldn't be accomplished by him given his contituency.

    Because of this I'm beginning to look more favorably at the Obama campaign. To win the dem nomination it's going to take something of the likes of which we haven't seen in our generation of American politics. The Clinton machine just chews up people. I'm not going to get into Clinton bashing here, but I just don't think our country needs a circus in the White House especially at this critical point in our history. That's what the republicans will remind us of everyday if she is nominated and I think the country would reject her presidency.

    Obama is inexperienced in excutive type leadership as he was not a Governor. So when I look at the candidates the only one who really stands out on the experience issue is Bill Richardson. He's probably the most qualified candidate for the presidency in the race on either side but from looking at the way the field is lining up he's not a viable option in my final consideration,(electability).

    So it comes down to Clinton, Edwards or Obama. Clinton....not what the country needs, to polarizing. Edwards.....has lost to the republicans in an election before and couldn't carry his home state in that election, some policies are not realistic they lack a certain common sense reasoning that'll be need to get these issues resolved. Obama......black man running for president of the USA, that's a big one.

    A friend of mines reminds me that he's half white too so I should just vote for the white half if that's my hang up. But it's not my hang up. I'm just not so sure that my fellow americans can come to the same conclusion that seems to be staring intelligent voters in the face. And if they do come to that conclusion will they ignore the human tendency to stick with your own kind? I know there are plenty americans who can and will vote for a racially mixed candidate. And that most of those who wouldn't vote for a candidate base on color wouldn't vote democratic anyway. And the democrats votes lost because of a black/white candidate would easily be compensated for by this particular candidate's draw of independents and a supposedly energized black voter base. Althought that black base is somewhat disillusioned in the dem primary poll basically 50/50 between Clinton and Obama. In the general that would probably be more like 85% vote for Obama.

    Then there is the youth vote. Obama is polling good with the youth vote but Edwards and Clinton are not far behind. So the decision for me seems appearent but he hasn't closed the deal. If I see a change in him that would lead me to doubt he is who he say he is, he'll lose my vote. Like I supported Edwards before, now I'm leaning towards voting for Obama because he looking like the best leader between the two. Like before with Edwards, I don't agree with all of his policies but If he turns out to be the man he projects himself to be he could actually do something good for this country.

    In the end it's an amazing thing to think but it seems we will vote a black man......half black man into the White House. And spare me the civil rights cries it's not about civil rights, It's about electing the person who going to make changes in Washington. He may be half black but he's half white too and it won't mean a anything unless he does what he's promising and hold these corrupt politians in Washington accountable for ruining our government. Hopefully he'll be wise enough to see what a great move it would be to make sure Senator Edwards plays a major role in his administration should he win.

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