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August 21st, 2008
01:21 PM ET

Where's Obama's Passion?

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Editor’s note: See Joe Klein discuss the latest developments on the campaign trail, tonight on AC360° 10p ET.

Joe Klein
AC360° Contributor
TIME columnist

A few days before Barack Obama was to announce his choice for Vice President, he was asked at a North Carolina town meeting what qualities he wanted in a running mate. He wandered through a derisive, if desultory, critique of Dick Cheney, then switched gears. "I want somebody ... who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now," he said. "I want somebody who is mad right now that people are losing their jobs." And I immediately thought, Uh-oh.

Memories of John Kerry in 2004 came flooding back, of how he tended to describe his feelings rather than experience them, of how he suddenly—and unconvincingly—started to say he was "angry" about this or that when his consultants told him that Howard Dean's anger about the war in Iraq was hitting home with voters. And then, in the general election, Kerry kept repeating the word strength rather than demonstrating it. Clearly, Obama's consultants have given him similar advice, that he was on the short end of a passion gap—that it was time for emo. A day earlier, he had said wage disparities between genders made his "blood boil."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Joe Klein • Raw Politics
August 21st, 2008
01:04 PM ET

Pakistan's political upheaval – joy and fear in the streets

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Octavia Nasr | BIO
CNN senior editor for Arab affairs

Musharraf’s resignation brings concern, ridicule and jubilation to the Arab world. It just depends on who you ask.

Two bomb blasts at a weapons factory in Pakistan killed at least 70 people Thursday. A grim reminder of how fragile the political and security situations are. Arab media saw in the dual bombings not just breaking news to lead their broadcasts and editorial pages but an opportunity to continue their focus on Pakistan and the region after Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf’s resignation on Monday did not shock many people in the Arab world. In fact, editorials had been speculating for weeks about HOW Musharraf will exit the political scene.

Arab editorials dissected the story from all angles. In examining “Where Musharraf went wrong,” columnist Abdel Rahman Rashed of the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV station concluded that “since he took power, Musharraf never gained the credibility and respect of his people as a strong leader who can run the country.”

Abdallah Iskandar of the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper expressed his concern about who will protect Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in Musharraf’s absence. In his editorial, he writes, “Musharraf saw himself as the savior who will prevent the country from deteriorating on several fronts. Particularly concerning to him was the escalation internally. There was no guarantee that things won’t get into chaos… leading to the fall of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons into the hands of the radicals and extremists.” Iskandar concludes that Pakistan “rejected its savior when he joined forces with the US and joined the war on terror… This led him to fight his own people; it made him look as if he participated in a war on Islam.”
FULL POST


Filed under: Global 360° • Octavia Nasr
August 21st, 2008
12:43 PM ET

Dems jump on McCain's house gaffe

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a leading contender in the Barack Obama veepstakes, talks with CNN's John Roberts.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a leading contender in the Barack Obama veepstakes, talks with CNN's John Roberts.

Rebecca Sinderbrand
CNN Associate Political Editor

Democrats jumped on a comment by John McCain that seemed to suggest he was unsure of how many homes he owned – the latest move in a series of attacks designed to paint the presumptive Republican nominee as wealthy and out-of-touch with ordinary Americans.

“I understand Senator McCain was asked yesterday this question: ‘how many houses do you own?’ And he couldn't answer that question,” Virginia Governor and VP contender Tim Kaine told CNN’s John Roberts in an interview on American Morning. “He couldn't count high enough to know how many houses he owns

“We have Americans struggling, with foreclosures skyrocketing in Virginia and elsewhere, gas prices, jobs slowing down and the deficit at a record level. We have to have somebody who can change the direction of this economy. John McCain won't do it, but Barack Obama understands the new economy and he will...”

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Filed under: Raw Politics
August 21st, 2008
12:26 PM ET

Remembering Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones

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Editor's Note: Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives, died Wednesday after suffering brain hemorrhaging caused by an aneurysm, medical officials said. The Following is and editorial on Congresswoman Jones from Cleveland's The Plain Dealer:

If a public servant's value can be mea sured by strength of personality alone, then Stephanie Tubbs Jones was priceless. Whether she was visiting an East Side senior center, a downtown boardroom or a Democratic rally in rural South Carolina, Tubbs Jones brought along a personal electricity that few politicians could match.

She was smart, energetic and committed to Cleveland and the people of the 11th Congressional District. Some elected officials endure the political side of the job; Tubbs Jones embraced it. She loved the handshakes and hugs, the speeches and the cheers – perhaps because she knew how amazing it was that the daughter of a factory worker and skycap might grow up to be a judge, a county prosecutor and a five-term member of Congress.

 "I have no illusions about myself," Tubbs Jones told Plain Dealer reporter Fran Henry in 1995. "It could all go up in a puff of smoke. I'll never lose sight of that..."

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Filed under: 360° Radar
August 21st, 2008
08:49 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Questions for the candidates

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Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

G’morning folks!!

Barack Obama’s lead in the national polls has slipped from 9% to 1% in CNN’s poll of polls. What's going on?

One Democratic insider calls it “the August curse.”

For several elections in a row, the Democratic presidential candidate has faded in the polls in late summer. Why? Well, they get wonky, they don’t make news, and they get pegged as “liberal elitists.”

Obama is the latest in a series of Democratic candidates who – rather than go in for the kill as Karl Rove has cleverly led Republicans to do – has tried to offer an uplifting vision. In doing so, they have failed to watch their flanks, and the GOP attacks coming from all sides. And they end up sounding more professors than commanders in chief.

There may be a good reason for that. Obama, Gore and Dukakis all have actually been professors, and MTV once made the professorial John Kerry a “surprise professor” for one of its “Stand-ins.”

And what do professors do? They lecture. They gently try to lead a group toward enlightenment. They don’t generally attack. And they don’t win elections.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barclay Palmer • The Buzz
August 21st, 2008
08:39 AM ET

McCain's choice: Go maverick, or conservative?

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Ed Henry
White House Correspondent

 
Watched CNN's excellent documentary "McCain Revealed," which showed the many times in his life the Republican presidential candidate has decided to "move on," as John King put it, to the next challenge.

John McCain is facing another big fork in the road now: Should he go with his gut and pick a good friend like Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman or moderate Republican Tom Ridge as his running mate?

Such a move would underline McCain's efforts to project a maverick image. But it also might shake up the race too much for the liking of conservatives, who are not keen on the fact that Lieberman and Ridge both support abortion rights.
FULL POST


Filed under: Ed Henry • John McCain • Raw Politics
August 21st, 2008
08:12 AM ET

Deadlock in the presidential race

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/22/campaign.wrap/art.obamamccain.gi.jpg]Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst

After sporting a lead of up to 9 percent weeks ago, Barack Obama now leads John McCain by just one point in CNN’s poll of polls.

Why is the race now so close? For the same reason the Democratic primaries were: McCain is following the Hillary Clinton playbook. Remember her controversial 3 A.M. ad? This month, we had a 3 A.M. moment. Russia invaded Georgia, and John McCain touted his experience and military expertise saying:

“…and in the term of the next President, skillful handling of such a crisis could be the difference between temporary hardship and far-reaching disaster.”

Obama on the other hand emphasized his judgment.

“The next commander-in-chief is going to have to exercise the best possible judgment in getting us through these difficult times.”

Who do the voters think is better qualified to deal with Russia? FULL POST

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