Saturday, January 31, 2004
January was the second deadliest month for U.S. soldiers in Iraq since President Bush declared the end of major combat operations in May, according to a Knight Ridder review. The continuing high casualty count brings into question Bush administration assertions that conditions in Iraq are improving, and could provide ammunition to Democratic presidential candidates who are critical of the war effort.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 6:42 PM
At a Philadelphia retreat, President Bush gently urged Congressional Republicans to back his election-year agenda while stressing his commitment to fiscal restraint.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 5:26 PM
Over the last year, the Houston-based Halliburton oil services company has been accused of multimillion dollar overcharges and kickbacks linked to its ever-expanding Pentagon portfolio, one that some Bush administration critics suggest the company has built through White House connections. Whether the charges of cronyism have merit, they promise to resonate throughout this election year.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 4:56 PM
"Tanner '88," a satirical miniseries about a make-believe presidential candidate on the real-life 1988 campaign trail, remains amazingly fresh after 16 years, although it seems downright genteel in today's ever-harsher political climate. It begins airing Tuesday on the Sundance Channel.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 10:32 AM
Friday, January 30, 2004
The Rev. Al Sharpton, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards concentrated their campaigning Friday exclusively on South Carolina, one of seven states that will hold primaries or caucuses Tuesday. Edwards attended a community breakfast, a candidate forum, a rally and another rally before ending the day at a concert by Hootie and the Blowfish.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 7:20 PM
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman continued his nationwide search for "Joe-mentum" in New Castle, Del., where he talked to members of a senior bowling league.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 3:18 PM
What did New Hampshire voters do when they saw a political ad on television? Fifteen percent changed the channel, 14 percent ignored it and 1 percent used a digital video-recording system such as TiVo to fast-forward past it, according to the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey (margin of error: 2 percentage points). Sixty-eight percent said they actually watched the darn things.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 2:07 PM
Those who do watch advertisements won't see one by the progressive political group MoveOn.org during Sunday's Super Bowl. CBS, which is carrying the game, refuses to run the group's ad criticizing President Bush. The spot depicts children working in adult jobs, in factories and driving trucks, to argue that the huge federal deficit is a bill that will come due on our children's watch. "I wasn't surprised CBS declined. It just isn't the sort of thing that plays in the Super Bowl," said Greg Clausen, the executive director of Chicago-based C-K Media, an advertising agency. "And frankly, I think it worked out just fine for MoveOn.org. They got the 'banned in Boston' effect. They were publicly rejected by CBS, and they still have their $2.3 million."
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 12:56 PM
The Communications Workers of America, the nation's largest communications and media union, is endorsing Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. CWA President Morton Bahr said in a statement, "It is becoming increasingly clear that Senator Kerry is the strongest candidate to carry the party's banner and reclaim the White House from an administration that listens solely to the corporate and wealthy elites at the expense of working families."
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 11:25 AM
John Kerry will win the public support today of U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, adding a major Florida name to the list of prominent black leaders embracing the new front-runner. Meek said he will stump for Kerry in South Carolina, where as much as half of the Democratic electorate is expected to be black.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 7:33 AM
Thursday night's debate at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., was the only one scheduled before Tuesday's primary and caucus voting in seven states. Here's The State newspaper's take on how close the candidates came to hitting their marks.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 6:22 AM
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Having emptied itself of Democratic presidential candidates, New Hampshire played host Thursday to a GOP candidate: President Bush, who came to Merrimack to discuss the economy. The state is seen by Bush political advisers as a crucial prize despite its relatively small cache of four electoral votes.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 6:10 PM
After Rep. James Clyburn, one of South Carolina's leading black politicians, announced his endorsement of John Kerry in Columbia, S.C., on Thursday, Kerry recalled the fish fries he's enjoyed in Clyburn's company. "I've had some good times with him learning how to talk over the loud noise in the garage" at the fish fry, said Kerry, "and dance a bit late at night and have some mighty good fish, too." Snorted Clyburn: "I wouldn't call that dancin'." When the audience stopped laughing, Kerry added, "I thought for a white guy I showed some rhythm."
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 5:48 PM
Bill Clinton couldn't stay on the sidelines any longer. On Thursday, the former president came to Capitol Hill to counsel Senate Democrats on how to fashion their message this election year. Clinton reminded senators that the nation enjoyed budget surpluses under a Democratic White House, not in the 12 years prior to his administration or the four years since. Of budget deficits, Clinton said, "It's fun in the short run, but it is a recipe for disaster." Reporters asked Clinton about the Democratic presidential hopefuls. He was positive about the "electability" of Kerry but shied away from a full-throated endorsement.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 4:55 PM
With Missouri being the big prize in the Feb. 3 Democratic primaries and caucuses, it's no wonder John Kerry visited St. Louis first after winning New Hampshire. But not forgetting South Carolina, another Feb. 3 primary state, Kerry wore a blue silk tie dotted with little palm trees. South Carolina, after all, is the Palmetto State. By Thursday morning, he was in the land of palms. With his momentum and high poll numbers, he may have been feeling a little predatory. The tie of the day? Sharks.
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 1:57 PM
New Hampshire's Democratic voters know the presidential candidates' backgrounds better than Democrats nationwide, according to the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey. Of course, they had the candidates on their doorsteps for weeks. Eighty-five percent in New Hampshire know that John Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran, but only 42 percent nationwide know that. Ninety-two percent know Howard Dean is a former Vermont governor, but only 53 percent nationwide. Pollsters didn't need to ask who's heard about "The Scream."
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 12:28 PM
Now that the Democratic presidential race has turned south, where voters are more conservative than in New Hampshire, retired Gen. Wesley Clark's stump speech is changing. He spends less time talking about Iraq or terrorism and more about bread-and-butter issues, such as education, health insurance and tax reform. Aides are calling this week the "True Values" tour, and Clark is speaking more forcefully than in the past about religion. "I can quote the Scriptures," he says. "I know what each book says, and I've got my favorites, too."
posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 10:16 AM
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