Tags: Obama | VP | Picks

Obama's Top VP Picks: Webb, Strickland; Nancy Reagan, Bloomberg, More

Sunday, 30 Mar 2008 07:10 PM

By Special from Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama's Top VP Choices: Jim Webb, Ted Strickland
2. Rep. Hoekstra: Don't Bow to Muslim Threats
3. GOP Senators Stingy With National Committee
4. Obama 'Borrows' His Campaign Lines
5. Nancy Reagan Snubbed McCain Over Marriage Breakup
6. Bloomberg Leaning Toward Obama Endorsement
7. We Heard: Obama, Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood

 

1. Obama's Top VP Choices: Jim Webb, Ted Strickland

The two leading candidates for the vice presidential slot if Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination are Jim Webb and Ted Strickland, a Washington source close to Democratic party circles tells Newsmax.

Webb, a first-term senator from Virginia, agrees with Obama regarding the war on terror and Iraq. Like Obama, Webb opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, predicting that it would lead to a protracted guerilla war, and later called the invasion "the greatest strategic blunder in modern history."

Webb is considered strong on foreign policy and the military, two areas in which Obama lacks experience. A highly decorated Vietnam War combat veteran, Webb served as secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan.

As a former Republican, Webb could help balance the Democratic ticket and demonstrate Obama's desire to "reach out." And he could swing Virginia — a Red state that usually votes for the GOP — into the Democratic camp.

On the downside, a ticket with two U.S. senators might be seen as undesirable. In that case, the Democrats could turn to Strickland, the popular first-term governor of Ohio.

Strickland, who served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before running for governor, won the 2006 election by garnering 60 percent of the vote against three opponents.

And a Quinnipiac University poll last year showed he had an approval rating in Ohio of 61 percent and a disapproval rating of just 15 percent.

As governor, Strickland has emphasized education and healthcare reform, two issues important to Obama supporters.

He has also been a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, and appeared in a TV ad in Ohio touting her campaign. But that could prove beneficial to the Obama ticket because it might help bridge the gap between his supporters and the Clinton machine.

Most important, Strickland could prove to be the deciding factor in determining the outcome of the presidential vote in Ohio, a crucial battleground state.

Editor's Note:


2. Rep. Hoekstra: Don't Bow to Muslim Threats

The U.S. and the West must not be intimidated into curtailing free speech that might be offensive to radical Muslims, Rep. Peter Hoekstra declares.

In an Op-Ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Hoekstra, R-Mich., cites the example of the anti-Islamic film "Fitna," produced by Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament who has called for the banning of the Quran in the Netherlands.

Because of the film, the Netherlands is bracing for violence from Muslims at home and at embassies in the Middle East.

Wilders' Internet service provider has bowed to the threats and taken down his Web site, although a political party in the Czech Republic agreed to host the video on its Web site, and the Dutch government tried unsuccessfully to convince Wilders not to release the film.

Closer to home, PBS last year tried to suppress "Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center," which was critical of radical jihadists. Fox News agreed to air the film.

And only one major newspaper in the U.S. reprinted any of the controversial 2005 Danish cartoons that mocked Islam and Muslims.

"Free societies hold freedom of speech to be a fundamental human right," writes Rep. Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"We don't silence, jail, or kill people with whom we disagree just because their ideas are offensive or disturbing . . .

"What is particularly disturbing about these assaults against modern society is how the West has reacted with appeasement, willful ignorance, and a lack of journalistic criticism . . .

"I do not defend the right of Geert Wilders to air his film because I agree with it. I expect I will not . . . I defend the right of Mr. Wilders and the media to air this film because free speech is a fundamental right that is the foundation of modern society. Western governments and media outlets cannot allow themselves to be bullied into giving up this precious right due to threats of violence."

Editor's Note:


3. GOP Senators Stingy Wh National Committee

Many Republican senators have given little or nothing to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) even though they have millions of dollars in their campaign accounts.

The committee has asked GOP senators to contribute either by transferring money from their campaign accounts or through fundraising.

But the NRSC chairman, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, told The Hill newspaper that about half of the Senate's 49 Republicans were "not even close" to meeting their goals, which range from $750,000 to $3 million depending on seniority, leadership positions, and committee assignments.

A number of GOP senators have given nothing to the NRSC, including Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Richard Lugar of Indiana, and Olympia Snowe of Maine, despite the fact that they have millions of dollars in their accounts and are not facing re-election.

Specter has reported that he has $4.2 million in his account, and Lugar has $2.2 million, according to The Hill.

Richard Shelby of Alabama, ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, has nearly $13 million in his re-election fund, yet has contributed only $15,000 from his leadership PAC to the NRSC.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), on the other hand, has received large contributions from many senators, and had $32.8 million in cash on hand at the end of February — compared to just $15.3 million for the NRSC.

Dianne Feinstein of California gave the DSCC $250,000 in June, and Ted Kennedy donated $500,000 last year.

Even Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was opposed by the DSCC when he faced Ned Lamont, the official Democratic nominee in the 2006 election, gave the committee $100,000 in December.

Editor's Note:


4. Obama 'Borrows' His Campaign Lines

The Hillary Clinton campaign accused Democratic rival Barack Obama of plagiarism in February for repeating lines uttered earlier by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

But that was far from the only instance in which Obama — widely noted for his eloquence — "borrowed" from other speakers or writers, according to Andrew Ferguson, senior editor of The Weekly Standard.

While campaigning for the governor's post in 2006, Patrick sought to counter his Republican rival's assertion that he lacked experience and substance, but could give a good speech, a charge some critics have leveled at Obama.

Said Patrick: "'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' Just words? 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' Just words? . . . 'I have a dream.' Just words?"

Obama, in an interview with The New Republic published in March, said "words are pretty powerful. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal.' Those are just words? 'I have a dream.' Just words?"

One Obama statement that has become emblematic of his campaign is, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Original? Actually it's the title of a book of essays by Alice Walker, "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For" — which in turn came from a poem published in 1980 by feminist poet June Jordan.

Ferguson, in a Weekly Standard Story titled "The Wit & Wisdom of Barack Obama," points to other Obama utterances — and the sources they echo:

  • Americans "need a president who will tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear." Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro said in 1984: "Leadership is not just telling people what they want to hear, it's telling them what they need to know." And Arnold Schwarzenegger used almost the same language when he ran for governor of California in 2003.
  • "Politics is broken." Bill Bradley said he was leaving the Senate in 1996 because "politics is broken." George W. Bush used those same three words during a 2000 stump speech.
  • "This is a defining moment in our history." Elizabeth Dole said the same thing when her husband ran for president in 1996.
  • "Washington has become a place where politicians spend too much time trying to score political points." Bill Clinton said in 1992 that Washington was a place "people came just to score political points."
  • "We're going to take this country back." Howard Dean in 2004: "We're going to take this country back."
  • "We can disagree without being disagreeable." Gerald Ford used those words in his 1976 campaign against Jimmy Carter.
  • "We will choose unity over division." Jesse Jackson said the same thing in 1992.
  • "We will choose hope over fear." Bill Clinton and John Kerry both used that expression in 2004.
  • "We will choose the future over the past." Al Gore, 1992.

Referring to Obama's speechifying, Ferguson notes: "Obama has had the unbelievable luck to attract listeners who seem to think he's minted it fresh."

Editor's Note:


5. Nancy Reagan Snubbed McCain Over Marriage Breakup

Former first lady Nancy Reagan called Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting John McCain a good friend when she endorsed his candidacy on Tuesday, but relations were not always that cordial between them.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy treated McCain and his first wife Carol like family after McCain returned from captivity in Vietnam. Carol became close with Nancy and even landed a job at the White House, the New York Post reported.

But McCain's split from Carol "caused a change in our relationship," McCain disclosed in his memoir, "Worth the Fighting For."

Nancy was "particularly upset with me and treated me on the few occasions we encountered each other after I came to Congress with a cool correctness that made her displeasure clear."

Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, continued to treat McCain with "typical courtesy and good humor," McCain recalled.

But McCain said he "recovered" his friendship with Nancy and they remain close friends.

Editor's Note:


6. Bloomberg Leaning Toward Obama Endorsement

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's introduction of Barack Obama at a recent speech has sparked speculation that he's leaning toward endorsing Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

This was the second time Bloomberg has appeared with Obama at an event in the past four months, according to CBS News.

Obama on Thursday delivered a speech on the economy at Cooper Union College in Manhattan after Bloomberg's introduction.

Bloomberg, who had considered running for the White House as an independent, has said his endorsement is up for grabs and he hoped the candidates would adopt a bipartisan approach.

In a speech back on February 15, Bloomberg singled out Obama while criticizing others for what he sees as a short-sighted approach to rebuilding the country's infrastructure.

"I don't know whether Senator Obama looked to see what I've been advocating, or not — you have to ask him — but he's doing the right thing," Bloomberg said.

Some observers have even speculated on another scenario — that Bloomberg could run for vice president on the Obama ticket.

Noting "the potential of Obama-Bloomberg," MSNBC reported: "Considering the anti-Israel sentiments being expressed by [Obama's former pastor] Rev. Wright … the idea of a Jewish running mate might end up making more and more sense for Obama as the summer wears on."

Editor's Note:


7. We Heard . . .

THAT tax returns released by the Barack Obama presidential campaign show Obama and his wife Michelle gave less than 1 percent of their total $1.2 million income to charity from 2000 through 2004.

The total for the four years was $10,770, "a lowball figure compared to other politicians," the New York Post reported in a story headlined "Those Stingy Obamas."

The Obamas increased their charitable contributions in 2005, when Barack Obama began receiving sizeable book royalties, and in 2006 they contributed 6.1 percent of their $983,826 Adjusted Gross Income — including a $22,500 donation to controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ.

Here are the year-by-year portions of AGI that went to charity:

2006: 6.1%
2005: 4.7%
2004: 1.2%
2003: 1.4%
2002: 0.4%
2001: 0.5%
2000: 0.9%

Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform noted about the Democrat's "lowball" contributions: "The liberal agenda is never about personal, voluntary generosity. It's about them forcing you to be generous with your money for their causes."

THAT Clint Eastwood isn't too upset that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated him as a member of the state's Park and Recreation Commission.

Schwarzenegger also sacked his wife Maria Shriver's brother Bobby.

In 2005, Shriver, as commission chairman, and Eastwood, as vice chairman, led the panel in its unanimous opposition to a six-lane toll road that would cut through a state park.

Shriver and Eastwood supported a 2006 lawsuit to block the toll road and urged the California Coastal Commission to reject the project, which it did last month.

But Eastwood said "there are no hard feelings" toward Schwarzenegger over the firing.

The "Unforgiven" star told the Los Angeles Times: "I talked to [Shriver] the day we were not reappointed, or as Donald Trump would say, 'You're fired!' We laughed about it, and I said, 'Me? But you're his brother-in-law!' And he said, 'But you're his friend and longtime mentor!'"


Editor's Notes:

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