Looking back, there was a lot going on this past week so it is hard to decide what was really important...although, we'll try. Vote in the poll to the right and let everyone know what you think what the top story of the week was.
DEMOCRATIC DEBATE & AFTERMATH The Pennsylvania Primary is less than a week ago, so ABC did their best to help the PA voters get in-depth knowledge of how the candidates come across on the issues...NOT! ABC Newshas been ripped apart left and right (or should I say, left and left? ha! ha!) for the questions they presented to Clinton and Obama.
Who Lost the Debate? Moderators, Many Say Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, the moderators of Wednesday night’s presidential debate on ABC, became the subject of a fierce and somewhat unexpected debate themselves on Thursday, as viewers, bloggers and television critics lamented what they described as an opportunity lost: a chance to ask the two candidates for the Democratic nomination substantive questions early and often. >> Jacques Steinberg The New York Times
Even though message boards have been mostly negative, give ABC Newscredit. Even they covered the aftermath of what happened and addressed it during a newscast (click here to go the the video).
POPE BENEDICT XVI VISITS USA The Pope's first visit to the United States comes as our country is in the midst of selecting the next President. It is interesting to compare how President Bush has been treated during his tenure, a spiritual person who has often been criticized for the way he shows his faith, with this election cycle. It is the first time I can remember Presidential political forums that were about faith, spirituality and religion...only. I hope the next President feels that they do not have to hide who they are or what they believe.
Pope: America needs to be a land of hope for all Pope Benedict XVI presided over a Mass celebrated in 10 languages Thursday, calling the United States a land of opportunity and hope but decrying that the nation's promise has been left unfulfilled for some. >> Victor L. Simpson My Way News
Not to be outdone, The Daily Show with Jon Stewarthad their own unique take on the Pope's visit (NOTE: certain individuals may find some of the content in the video offensive. You have been warned. If you do not want to watch, click here for an alternative video. Seriously - don't blame me later.)
Answer: They are the only two times that the magazine's cover border has not been red.
Significant? Perhaps. But that's not really the story that is making this a big news item.
Iwo Jima Veterans Blast Time's 'Special Environmental Issue' Cover For only the second time in 85 years, Time magazine abandoned the traditional red border it uses on its cover. The occasion – to push more global warming alarmism. The cover of the April 21 issue of Time took the famous Iwo Jima photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the Marines raising the American flag and replaced the flag with a tree. The cover story by Bryan Walsh calls green “the new red, white and blue.” >> Jeff Poor Business & Media Institute
In a political year where even a Republican President is (somewhat) addressing environmental concerns, it is just disheartening to see an effort get lost in a storm of political correctness. Maybe Time did mess up, but I have to believe they did not do it with the thought of offending the soldiers.
Other nominees for story of the week:
McCain's economic plan
Lieberman to speak at Republican Convention?
Colbert in Pennsylvania
Remember to vote in the poll in the right to select your story of the week, and share your comments with others.
Pennsylvania Primary: 4 days away Election Day: 200 days away
Let's see if you find a pattern with the following...
Obama Raises More than $40 Million The Obama campaign has issued a press release saying it raised more than $40 million in March. This amount is less than the $55 million it raised it February -- but it's still a significant haul. >> MSNBC
Hillary Raises $20 Million in March The AP is reporting -- and First Read has confirmed with a campaign source -- that Clinton raised $20 million in March, about half of Obama's haul for the month. Still, as the AP notes, it is Clinton's second-best monthly performance. >> MSNBC
Obama close to Bush record The "over $40 million" the Obama campaign says it raised in March would put the total contributions the Illinois senator has raised in his presidential campaign at approximately $234 million — enough to surpass both the $200 million mark as well as the $215 million that 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry raised for that presidential primary season (then the Democratic record). >> CNN
Jane Fonda: 'Obama!' Jane Fonda, the actress and ardent anti-Vietnam war advocate who visited North Vietnam during those hostilities, has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president. >> Chicago Tribune
Carter Hints at Support for Obama Former President Carter wouldn't quite say it, but he left little doubt this week about who he'd like to see in the White House next year. >> Breitbart
Why the Democratic race could end in North Carolina The end could be near. Or the endgame, at least, of a surprisingly drawn-out Democratic presidential contest. Four months and 42 states after the opening Iowa caucuses, the primary in North Carolina on May 6 now looms as a pivotal final showdown between Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. >> USAToday
Speaking of North Carolina, here is a look at the latest polling that shows Obama slowly pulling away...
Not to worry Clinton-backers - here are the numbers from Pennsylvania that show Clinton maintaining her lead (once again, see if you can find the trend - here's a hint, in a March 16 poll, Clinton led 56-30)...
Some good news, however, for the Clinton campaign...
DNC stance surprises campaigns The Democratic National Committee said Tuesday that Florida and Michigan members will be seated on the three standing committees — including the critical Credentials Committee—at the party’s 2008 national convention, a position that could affect the selection of the Democratic nominee. >> Politico
Just when things are looking up, something always happens...
Clinton Denies Saying Obama 'Cannot Win' ABC News Eloise Harper Reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., denies she told Governor Bill Richardson, D-N.M., that her Democratic nomination rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., "cannot win" a general election against presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. >> ABC News
At least one thing about this election is certain...
John Edwards says would not accept VP nomination Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said on Thursday he would not accept the nomination for U.S. vice president as he did four years ago. >> Reuters
I'm taking a two-minute break from the local candidate responses because of what happened today. An event like a Presidential visit deserves some comment, but it will be featured for only a brief amount of time in order to make sure that all the local candidates get the same amount (or close to it) of 'airtime' (I would hate for anyone to accuse me of being biased - - next stop, SNL).
Before today, some of my friends and colleagues asked me what I was going to say about President Clinton's visit, and I told them "not much". At this point in the primary season, I could recite most of the points he was going to raise (although mentioning flooding and students loans could be considered as smart politics or pandering to the audience - depending whether you like him or not). I really don't have many comments about the President's message, not because I don't have anything to say (if you've read this blog before, you know better), but because I had other things to worry about.
As part of my job at the University, I was on the team responsible for making sure the event was recorded from every possible angle. Specifically, we had two video cameras and one photographer doing their best to make sure we did not miss anything...and let me tell you, my team did an OUTSTANDING job!
It was great watching my group stand alongside the media outlets from Findlay, Toledo and a few national organizations. The Clinton campaign organizers treated our group the same way they did traditional media outlets, and it was nice to see students excited about this unique opportunity.
No matter your politics, there is something special about a President visiting your city...double special because it was happening where I work. But ultimately, for me at least, it was more exciting to stand there and watch the event unfold than listen to the words being spoken.
Knowing how this was pulled together, it is a credit to all parties involved that these events occur. The logistics are mind-numbing, and when you factor in that this happens from city-to-city-to-city, it is a small miracle (and a credit to organizers, hosts and media) that everything comes off without a hitch.
Watching the crowd waiting outside in the snow, just itching to come in...seeing how the stage is set and cables are run...seeing how the media get ready...seeing VIPs restless with anticipation...the small rumblings in the crowd as the clock nears the announced time...the building excitement as the introductory speakers get through their remarks...the roar from the crowd that crashes down on you when the President comes into view...it was great to see how it came to be.
Now, I admit that I did not vote for the President in either election, but that did not stop me from appreciating the history of the event. My wife and I made sure that our daughters would attend (only my youngest came because the other had important school work to complete) because it is not every day a (former) President comes to Findlay (and even rarer for a Democrat).The bottom line...it was a great event.
If you want to find out more about this visit, it is bound to be in all the papers, and there is this little thing called the Internet that has places to find out more
Tonight is the last time we will hear a SOTU address from President George W Bush. Besides comments we will hear about Iraq, immigration and the economy, all eyes (and cameras) will be on Senators Obama (and Kennedy), Clinton and McCain (and Lieberman).
It is under a year until we will have a new President, and tonight's event is as much about the future as it is the present. Stay tuned for a few comments about what happens along the way, and what sort of political tension we can see from those running for GWB's office.
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McCain decided to stay in Florida and campaign. I wonder how many times that will be mentioned during the pre and post-game?
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Kemp Dirkthorne, Secretary of the Interior, drew the short straw and remained behind at the White House in case someone did the unthinkable and wiped out the Capitol.
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An early plea to keep the Presidential election civil (to paraphrase). How about the events leading up to the nominations? Let's start small and go from there.
Our economy is undergoing a period of uncertainty.- the first 'duh' statement of the night so far.
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If we could just get rid of earmarks, we might have a balanced budget every year (or run a surplus). GWB is gonna veto anything with these additions? Well, it was a nice thought - too bad he waited until his last months to do anything about this.
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What is going to help those families living paycheck-to-paycheck? They aren't going to receive help from HOPE because they have probably already missed a payment or two along the way.
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Six years ago, we came together to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, and today no one can deny its results. I really thought this statement was going to get booed out of the building, but there wasn't a peep. Ask the NEA what they think about this.
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And to open the doors of these schools to more children, I ask you to support a new $300 million program called Pell Grants for Kids. How about getting more money into the public school system in general. Perhaps with all those earmarks you are going to veto?
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Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil. But wait until I leave office and cash in everything I put into a blind trust before entering office.
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I'm sorry, but some of these comments write themselves. It is hard to take any speech seriously when we know that over the next year, Congress is not going to let him pass any major legislation.
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There are two other pressing challenges that I have raised repeatedly before this body, and that this body has failed to address: entitlement spending and immigration. No wonder McCain stayed away...he wants no part of this discussion. It's a good thing he is in Florida where this won't be an issue.
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We are engaged in the defining ideological struggle of the 21st century. That is a very bold statement to make, yet one that makes sense for what has happened since September 2001. I don't think that anyone can refute that (worldwide) war, famine, disease and global warming are top issues. Yet until it affects us so close to home, we do not take major steps toward combating the issue.
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Our military and civilians in Iraq are performing with courage and distinction, and they have the gratitude of our whole Nation. I just stood up and applauded at this statement...I hope you did as well.
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And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our Nation. And I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops. If you are Clinton or Obama, after all the fighting they have done over this issue, what will they do now? With political cover (meaning that any budget increase without their votes counting), expect them to vote no (or 'present' - lol!).
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A free Iraq will deny al Qaida a safe haven. A free Iraq will show millions across the Middle East that a future of liberty is possible. And a free Iraq will be a friend of America, a partner in fighting terror, and a source of stability in a dangerous part of the world. A free Iraq will keep the oil flowing.
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This month in Ramallah and Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of this year. If he could pull that off, will it offset all the bad feelings that Iraq brought about? When you think of President Carter, do you think more about the peace treaty or inflation and high gas prices? Discuss amongst yourselves.
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Does each party give a handout to the representatives telling them when to sit, politely clap or to stand and cheer?
Last few paragraphs. (Cue the stirring music and get the tissues ready)
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I call on the Congress to enact the reforms recommended by Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, so we can improve the system of care for our wounded warriors and help them build lives of hope, promise, and dignity. Absolutely!!! With some additional proposals that would help military spouses and their children, this is the type of thing everyone should be able to support.
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Final paragraph for posterity...
By trusting the people, our Founders wagered that a great and noble Nation could be built on the liberty that resides in the hearts of all men and women. By trusting the people, succeeding generations transformed our fragile young democracy into the most powerful Nation on earth and a beacon of hope for millions. And so long as we continue to trust the people, our Nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the State of our Union will remain strong. So tonight, with confidence in freedom's power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to do their business. God bless America.
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Not a real inspiring speech, and not much in the way of real specifics. It was a politically safe speech, perhaps because he wants some cooperation in his final few months. I wonder if he is going to let Congress set the domestic agenda while he concentrates on foreign policy (especially that peace treaty).
Since the approval ratings for both the President, and Congress, continue to remain near all-time lows, it is clear that Americans are not thrilled with how our government is doing the people's business. Let's hope that over the next year, we can actually see these groups working together to achieve everything we NEED done.