Obama Rejects Iraq Invitation From McCain

What is it with John McCain and strolling through Iraq? Last year McCain went to Iraq and claimed, ““even Paris Hilton could ride a bicycle in a bikini through Anbar province.”

Maybe Paris could move around Iraq in a bikini like above and be safe, but only if she traveled as McCain did, “accompanied by 100 American soldiers, 3 Blackhawk helicopters, and 2 Apache gunships on his stroll through a Baghdad market.” He looked more like this:

I guess I shouldn’t complain. Given the choice of Paris Hilton, John McCain, a bikini, and a bullet proof vest, I’m glad that the wardrobe got distributed as it did.

Now McCain has offered to have Barack Obama join him in Iraq, but he wasn’t very polite in his invitation. MaCain said, “He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time.”

Clearly John McCain is as delusional about the meaning of the word “surrender” as he has been about his entire position of supporting this war. Obama turned him down and his campaign issued this statement:

“John McCain’s proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don’t need any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don’t want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer.”

Obama Mixes Up Concentration Camp Names, Right Wing Goes Ballistic


The conservative blogs spent most of the day getting overly excited by the minor gaffe committed by Barack Obama in the video above. While this is expected from the right wing bloggers, I would expect the Republican National Committee to show a little more restraint–if for no other reason than to avoid the embarrassments they must have felt by this afternoon.

Obama stated that an uncle was present at the liberation of Auschwitz in a comment which was not part of his prepared text. Obviously this was an error unless his uncle was part of the Soviet army which actually liberated Auschwitz. The Republican National Committee responded with a statement that, “Obama’s frequent exaggerations and outright distortions raise questions about his judgment and his readiness to lead as commander in chief.”

The RNC could have avoided some humiliation if they had waited for the explanation from Obama’s campaign as reported by Ben Smith:

In fact, campaign spokesman Bill Burton says, his great uncle was a member of the 89th Infantry Division that liberated the Ohrduf camp, part of Buchenwald and, according to the Holocaust Museum, the first concentration camp liberated by U.S. troops.

The soldier in question, Burton said, is Obama’s grandmother’s brother, who’s still alive.

UPDATE: “Senator Obama’s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II – especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald. Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically,” Burton says.

Obama made a mistake in saying Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald. Auschwitz is probably the best known concentration camp and I can certainly understand why it might come to someone’s mind instead of Buchenwald. If he had the time to think about it and go back and edit he would probably have realized that this did not make sense geographically as it was the Russians, not Americans, who were in Poland at the time.

The reality is that people speaking without a prepared speech are going to make mistakes. In the You Tube era we are going to see lots of these mistakes from many politician from every party. Steve M. noted that Ronald Reagan made a comparable misstatement about himself (not even a family member) when he incorrectly “claimed he had photographed the Nazi death camps even though he was never overseas during the war.” I have much more trust in someone running for president who briefly mixed up the names of concentration camps than candidates such as John McCain and Hillary Clinton who have both repeatedly confused the 9/11 terrorist attack with justification for going to war against Iraq.

Medical Secrets Exposed

Damn, almost all of our secrets are exposed here.

By the way, they did miss a few. For example, you should really worry if you go to the ER and the only order given is PBOH. (That’s Pine Box On Hold).

Quote of the Day: VP Choices

“My first thought on the running mate question is that to balance his ticket, Barack Obama should pick a really old white general. Therefore, he should pick Dwight Eisenhower. John McCain, on the other hand, needs to pick someone younger than himself. Therefore, he also should pick Dwight Eisenhower.”

David Brooks

If you don’t like that choice, here’s more suggestions, such as the evil Obama from the mirror universe, Lex Luthor, or Optimus Prime.

Obama’s Delegate Bank

Until the DNC’s rules committee makes a decision on Florida and Michigan we will not know exactly how many delegates are needed to clinch the nomination. Current estimates show Obama only needing about fifty more delegates to clinch the nomination, but that number will change in the next week. Obama appears prepared to  clinch the nomination in early June after the last votes are held. Marc Ambinder reports that Obama has been banking superdelegates who are ready to support him:

Neither the Clinton nor the Obama campaign is clear what the DNC’s rules and bylaws committee will do on May 31; depending upon how or whether they re-allocate delegates, Obama could wind up within to 20 to 30 votes of the nomination — a situation rectifiable by a piddling performance in Puerto RIco, South Dakota and Montana — or more than 100 delegates short, requiring solid performances in those states plus a few dozen superdelegate endorsements to put him over the top.

To prepare for that eventuality, the Obama campaign has, for the first time, really, begun to bank delegates. Sources close to the campaign estimate that as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates have privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5. The campaign is determined that Obama not end the first week in June without securing the support of delegates numbering 2026 — or 2210, as the case may be.

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Obama vs. McCain and Santos vs. Vinick

Peter Funt (son of Allen Funt) sees an analogy between this year’s probable presidential race and the final season of The West Wing:

How’s this for a political plot: Good-looking congressman in his mid-40s, married with two young children, known for his inspirational speeches, comes from far behind to clinch the Democratic nomination and face an older, more experienced centrist Republican. If he wins, he’s America’s first non-Caucasian president.

It’s a drama that plays out each day in the papers and through nonstop cable-TV coverage. But some are beginning to notice that it’s a rerun. The whole thing was broadcast a few years back on NBC’s “The West Wing.”

He even speculates that this isn’t entirely coincidence:

The Santos character was created by Eli Attie, currently co-executive producer of Fox’s “House M.D.,” who spent four years as head speechwriter for Al Gore during the Clinton administration. Gore’s 2000 concession speech was Attie’s final task before seeking a career in television. He joined the “West Wing” writing staff during the third season.

As Attie explained it to me, the Santos-Vinick campaign was invented in mid-2004, about the time Barack Obama gave his acclaimed speech at the Democratic convention. David Axelrod, Attie’s friend and now Obama’s chief strategist, suggested that Obama was a “rock star” politician whose profile was perfect for Attie’s needs. Since NBC had already signed Smits to play the part, the character became Hispanic.

Cato-at-Liberty adds:

Funt left out the part that might make Republicans more optimistic. After the libertarianish Vinick got the Republican nomination, former Democratic strategist Bruno Giannelli went to him and told him that with his image he could win a landslide victory: You, he said, “are exactly where 60 percent of the voters are: Pro-choice, anti-partial birth, pro-death penalty, anti-tax, pro-environment and pro-business, pro-balanced budget.”

They note that Vinick appeared on his way to victory:

After seven years of heroically portraying the honest, decent, liberal President Jed Bartlet–an idealized Bill Clinton who wouldn’t take off his coat, much less his pants, in the Oval Office–they weren’t about to let a crotchety old Republican beat their handsome Hispanic hero. So they conjured up a meltdown in a nuclear power plant that Vinick had supported, and Santos won the election.

If only the Republicans could nominate Arnie Vinick, and avoid an actual nuclear meltdown for the next six months, they might disrupt Peter Funt’s life-imitates-art speculations

Some stories have suggested that the producers actually decided to have Santos win because of the death of John Spencer, resulting in the on-screen death of vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry. They thought it would be too tragic to go out with both this death and a defeat for Santos.

The real limitation to this analogy is that John McCain is no Arnold Vinick. One major difference is that he is not pro-choice. Even worse than the nuclear meltdown on The West Wing, McCain’s chances for victory are greatly reduced by his support for the Iraq war. Even in 2000, when I hoped McCain could beat George Bush for the Republican nomination, I feared he was too hawkish. In contrast Vinick was portrayed as much more sensible on foreign policy and was asked by Santos to be his Secretary of State after the election. In real life we know that Barack Obama will never turn to John McCain for advice on foreign policy.

1992 Race Over Well Before June

When Hillary Clinton recently used a claim that Bill didn’t wrap up the nomination until June to justify remaining in the race we knew she was lying. After all, we saw her lips move in the video, which is all it really takes. Even Bill has contradicted her. Nat the Dem found this line in Bill’s memoir, My Life:

On April 7, we also won in Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. On April 9, Paul Tsongas announced that he would not reenter the race. The fight for the nomination was effectively over.

Singularities and Buckeyballs (Andromeda Strain Part I)

Wow, maybe its the freakiest episode of Lost yet. It’s a Jin episode and in the flash forward he’s working as a scientist in an underground government facility along with people including Jordan from Scrubs. Meanwhile Will (Eric McCormack) is missing Grace but is working as an investigative reporter out of rehab under a different name.

Actually its the first part of the A&E version of The Andromeda Strain but compared to the Michael Crichton novel and original move it is as weird as if it was an episode of Lost. Instead of the relatively hard science of the original we get a singularity or wormhole which presumably brought the alien menace to earth and Buckeyballs, named after Buckminster Fuller. There’s also a lot of simplistic political allusions from the military obviously keeping something secret to Enburtel, a Halliburton like company which is described as “one of President Scott’s largest campaign contributors.”

Despite all its flaws, I can’t wait to see the conclusion tomorrow night. A show doesn’t have to be flawless to be fun. After all, it’s scifi with the fate of the entire human race at stake, and it’s even broadcast in high definition. Being cable, it will probably be rebroadcast many more times. If you missed part one, it will be shown again before part two tomorrow. If you want to watch, definitely watch on cable as opposed to buying the DVD scheduled to come out next week.