February 29th, 2008
11:29 AM ET

Texas Hispanics Focus on Obama

The night before the CNN-Univision Democratic presidential debate in Austin, Texas, a group of Hispanic democrats, aged 35 and older, participated in focus groups in Houston.  They watched political ads featuring Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and questioned the details behind Obama’s “change” message. Specifically, the Hispanic men, who were interviewed separately from the women, pondered if Obama was telling people what they wanted to hear or was there something more.


Leslie Sanchez book- Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans need each other

To these Tejano voters, health care remained a top priority, not immigration reform, which according to a couple of the group’s participants whom I interviewed, was a surprise to the moderator. She asked whether Obama’s health care plan, which reportedly fails to insure 15 million people, would kill their support for his candidacy, and if celebrity endorsements (the likes of comedian George Lopez) would influence their vote.  Neither point proved important.  It is interesting to note that George Lopez stumped yesterday in El Paso.   (See it here)

More importantly, the group was energized by another issue. Assuming Barack Obama became the party’s presidential nominee, how could a man who never so much as served in the National Guard compete against a Prisoner of War (John McCain)? Their answer: not well. A third of the respondents were military veterans.For the participants in the focus group, and one may suspect for the larger electorate, a conflict exists between ethnic identity and service in the military.

In a state where Republican candidates and Mexican American voters have built a strong alliance around issues of defense and national security, these opposing sentiments foreshadow a conflict for conservative Hispanic Democrats, particularly veterans, that could create problems for Democrats nationally.

– Leslie Sanchez, Impacto Group LLC

Filed under: Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
February 29th, 2008
06:38 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks, it is FRIDAY!!! AND only four more days until we know who the Democratic nominee will be...or will we? Polls are close in the two big states, Texas and Ohio, but most show Hillary with and edge in Ohio. So check out Raw Politics for all the latest... In our Top Stories this morning, the United Kingdom has decided to pull Prince Harry out of Afghanistan...how was this kept so secret for so long? And is there more being wasted money in Irag? We are Keeping Them Honest... PLUS, are Victoria Secret models getting TOO sexy? I will take the fifth on that one.... So grab your coffee and take a long at today's headlines....

Top Stories
U.K pulls Harry...
Prince Harry is to be pulled out of Afghanistan immediately amid fears for his safety after news of his deployment was made public, the British defense ministry said Friday.

Media kept Harry assignment quiet, why?
Prince Harry has been fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan for 10 weeks, his presence there kept secret until Thursday in a remarkable deal between the British military and news media.

Chemical Ali to be executed...
The Iraqi presidency has approved the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majeed who earned the nickname "Chemical Ali" for his role in a chemical weapons attack on on Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s, a member of the Iraqi parliament told CNN on Friday.

Deadly toxin found...
Police in Las Vegas, Nevada, are investigating the discovery of ricin at a hotel room on Thursday

Raw Politics
GOP decries use of "Hussein"
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced on Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party's use of Barack Obama's full name in a recent news release questioning the Illinois senator's commitment to Israel.

Bush takes swipe at Obama...
Setting aside his stated reluctance to enter the presidential campaign, President Bush on Thursday strongly criticized Barack Obama's expressed readiness to meet with foreign leaders cast as tyrants, warning that such discussions "can be extremely counterproductive" and "send the wrong signal."

McCain's birth place called into question...
Senator John McCain said Thursday that he had no concerns about his meeting the constitutional qualifications for the presidency because of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone. A Democratic colleague said she wanted to remove even a trace of doubt.

Campaign cash...
Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each had a record-breaking month of fund-raising in February, bringing in more than $80 million combined, but with Mr. Obama again far outraising Mrs. Clinton.

Huge voter turnout expected in Texas...
Anita Dawkins has never voted early. But there she was Wednesday, a 48-year old homemaker, or “domestic engineer,” as Ms. Dawkins called herself, lining up outside the Barbara Bush branch Library in this fast-growing northern Houston suburb “to beat the crowds” and cast her primary ballot for Senator Barack Obama.

Texas Republicans for Obama?
One of Sen. Barack Obama's surest applause lines comes about halfway into his standard stump speech. It goes like this: "They whisper to me. They say, 'Barack, I'm a Republican, but I support you.' And I say, "Thank you. Why are we whispering?"

Crime & Punishment
The softer side of Drew Peterson?
Before appearing on NBC's "Today" show Thursday, Drew Peterson had a conversation with his recently hired publicist: Maybe it was time for the public to see another side of Drew.

International fugitive caught...
An international fugitive accused of killing his wife in New Zealand, stuffing her body into the trunk of a car and then abandoning the couple's 3-year-old daughter at a train station last year has been captured in the U.S. state of Georgia, authorities said.

Keeping Them Honest
Dead police officers still on the payroll...
Iraq's government has spent millions of dollars on "phantom" police officers who left the force or died, but whose names remained on department payrolls while others illegally pocketed their salaries

Blood thinner linked to more deaths...
Amid indications that more people may have died or been harmed after being given a brand of the blood thinner heparin, federal drug regulators said Thursday that they had found “potential deficiencies” at a Chinese plant that supplied much of the active ingredient for the drug.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Victoria Secret TOO sexy?
Maybe it was the lusty mannequins in its stores, the massage oil on its shelves or the overabundance of cleavage on the glittery runway of its annual TV fashion show. But yesterday, Victoria Secret chief executive Sharen J. Turney acknowledged that the chain had gotten "too sexy."

Man dies while rescuing cat from tree...
A 27-year-old man died Wednesday afternoon when he fell 35 to 40 feet from a tree while trying to rescue his neighbor's cat, according to the Orange Fire Department.

Staying in Iraq to help...
The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home." But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

February 29th, 2008
12:24 AM ET

Blog from the Back Row

I learned something new tonight in the control room. Two new things actually. I learned the meaning of the Australian words galah and drongo.

These are words that our Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware used on the air at the top of the program while discussing the story of Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan.  We found the words and Michael's delivery so interesting and amusing (even though we had no idea what they meant) that we decided to make that :09 soundbite our "Shot of the Day" at the end of the program. And it was my job to make that happen.

Isolating the soundbite and having the tape cut and turned around in 30 minutes was the easy part. Finding out what the words meant was a little trickier.

To do this I called our international assignment desk and had them transfer me to Michael's field producer in Baghdad, Tommy Evans. No, I wasn't calling for details on troop levels or the progress of the government on deciding how to divide oil revenue or how locals viewed the upcoming U.S. presidential election. I was calling for clarification on the definition and the correct usage of the words galah and drongo.

Tommy found this all very amusing but dutifully got a precise definition and an acceptable sentence usage from Michael.

  • galah : a type of bird, slang for idiot, as in "you guys are acting like a mob of galahs"
  • drongo: also a bird, also slang for idiot, as in "don't be such a bloody drongo" 

It's healthy to have a good laugh every now and again, even if you are working in a war zone. Thanks for being a good sport Tommy.

– Sean Yates, Sr. Producer, AC360 

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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