Leaked DNC Email & Choice Of Time Kaine Show It Is Time For DemExit

DNC Sanders Religious Views

The two big stories of the past day provide the same message–the Democratic Party is no longer a suitable home for liberals and progressives. The latest batch of leaked DNC emails via Wikileak shows what we already knew: rather than staying neutral as they should have, the DNC was rigging the system to support Hillary Clinton. Particularly disturbing was the manner in which they contemplated using Bernie Sanders’ religion against him, insulting both Jews and atheists. The DNC email also shows, as did some of Hillary Clinton’s email, how the Clinton campaign and its allies have manipulated the press.

This was hardly the first sign that the nomination process was unfairly tilted to support Clinton. As I discussed in April, Sanders has had to deal with party rules which have made it difficult for insurgent candidates to win since George McGovern won the nomination. Party leaders subsequently thought the party was best off with moderate candidates who do well in the south despite significant changes in the country since 1972. The use of super delegates, restrictions on independents voting in may states, and front loading of southern primaries make it harder for insurgent candidates to win. Plus the Democratic Party showed even more favoritism this year, including with the debate schedule, failing to release the popular vote in Iowa, as was done eight years ago, which Sanders very likely won, Harry Reid’s actions in Nevada, and changing rules on contributions from lobbyists to help Clinton.

While Hillary Clinton has tried to pretend to be a progressive at times, her choice of Tim Kaine as running mate shows again that she remains a DLC Democrat who opposes liberal values. As The Hill reports:

The moderate Democrat has backed abortion restrictions; supported fast-track authority for a controversial Pacific Rim trade deal; and just this week joined a push to deregulate some of the nation’s largest banks — all positions that are anathema to the liberals being wooed by the Clinton team heading into November.

Bloomberg adds:

In selecting Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia over progressive favorites like as Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Clinton is partnering with a lawmaker whose stances on finance and trade policies have sparked backlash from some of her most persistent critics…

Kaine was also one of 70 senators supporting a bipartisan effort to urge the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ease some rules on smaller banks and credit unions. His vote in favor of giving the Obama administration more leeway in sealing a trade deal with 12 Pacific Rim nations also has rankled progressives.

His “support for fast-track authority for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership and recent backing of bank deregulation will make our work more difficult,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee. He said he was referring to efforts to unite the “political revolution with the Democratic establishment to defeat Trump.”

The choice of a supporter of Wall Street deregulation and trade deals such as TPP plays right into Donald Tump’s hands, shortly after he made an appeal for Sanders supporters to vote for him. It also provides more reason for liberals to consider Jill Stein as opposed to voting for Clinton. Both Kaine and Clinton are preferable to the Republicans on abortion, but that is not enough. Neither recognizes it as a woman’s right as true liberals do and therefore, while they would keep abortion generally legal, they are also willing to compromise and accept restrictions. Clinton’s idea of keeping abortion rare not only stigmatizes women who have chosen to have an abortion, but also plays into Republican hands in making it harder to obtain abortions. Again, they are better than Republicans on this issue, but not good enough. If this was the only issue I could live with them, but there are other issues where they are far worse.

The Democratic Party is looking far more like a DLC, or Republican-lite, Party, unwilling to promote liberal goals. Instead we risk a return of the triangulation and moves to the right seen under Bill Clinton. We had enough problems with DLC policies under Bill Clinton. The dangers under Hillary Clinton are now far worse as she supports an expansion of the warfare/surveillance state which has grown out of control since the Bush years.

AP Finds Proof That Clinton Lied In Email Obtained Through FOIA Request

Clinton Email

The coverup is worse than the crime in politics, and in Hillary Clinton’s case the lies might be her undoing. It was clear during her press conference on her use of a private email server that she was lying, and fact checkers quickly debunked many of her claims. Her justification for using a private server because of not wanting to use two email devices never sounded plausible considering that it was quickly established that she stated in recent interviews that she was using two devices, and that while Secretary of State she had shown her use of a large purse which contained other electronic gadgets. AP has now showed that Clinton was lying and had carried two devices for email while Secretary of State:

Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account…

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said early Tuesday that the secretary used her iPad from time to time, primarily to read news clippings…

The emails obtained by AP stem from several public-records requests filed with the State Department, starting in 2010. Most were unfulfilled until this week, when the State Department said it could find only four messages that met the search terms of one such request.

Earlier this month, AP sued the department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including those provided by the department this week.

It has also been demonstrated that Clinton was in violation of the rules in effect in 2009 despite her claims of not having broken the rules. Last Friday it was revealed that Clinton has erased the server.

Both the revelations of Clinton’s violation of rules related to government transparency, and her dishonest handling of the matter, have many questioning the wisdom of letting Clinton walking into the nomination unopposed. For example, H.A. Goodman wrote the following in a post on the challenge from Martin O’Malley (which I wrote about yesterday):

…it’s important to note that recent polls stating Hillary Clinton enjoys advantages over the competition were taken before “Emailgate” evolved into a contentious issue. For example, a Gallup Poll titled Clinton Favorability Among Dems Better Than Last Campaign reads, “Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 2-4, 2015.” Since March 2, the scandal mushroomed, so perhaps it’s time for a paradigm shift within the Democratic Party. People like Martin O’Malley, Elizabeth Warren, Jim Webb, and Tim Kaine are just as capable of getting 270 Electoral Votes in 2016, and none of them own their own server.

Not Ready To Settle For Hillary

Not Ready Hillary

Tim Kaine is getting some publicity for saying he is ready for Hillary. I wonder if it is an early application for the vice presidential spot.

I’m not ready for Hillary, first because we have a major election coming up this November. Democrats need to concentrate on that, not 2016.

I’m also not ready to settle for Hillary. Sure, her nomination looks inevitable, but 2016 is still a long time away. She is unlikely to make the same mistakes which allowed Obama to beat her in 2008, but there is the possibility that she will make new mistakes. At the moment there doesn’t seem anyone credible to challenge her, but new Democratic leaders just might emerge while campaigning this fall. While the attacks are pure partisan nonsense, it is also possible that the Republican witch hunt on Benghazi might make her decide it just isn’t worth it to run.

I’m still hoping that the Democrats could do better and find a candidate who stands for something beyond inevitability and being the first woman president. If we want a woman candidate, I’d certainly consider Elizabeth Warren before Hillary Clinton. I’d have to take a closer look before endorsing her (and that would be premature to consider when she denies plans to run). She has received favorable publicity for a variety of reasons. Perhaps what interests me the most about her is that she once said “I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets.” She now is a Democrat because of realizing that is not true. It is impossible to truly be a supporter of a free market economy and vote for Republicans, whose agenda is to destroy the market economy, along with the middle class, in order to transfer the nation’s wealth to a tiny plutocracy.

At very least, can’t the Democrats come up with a candidate who wasn’t a cheerleader for the Iraq war, one of the biggest mistakes in our history?

There is no doubt, considering how extreme the Republican Party is, and how disastrous their policies are for individual liberty, economic prosperity, and our national security, that if Hillary is the candidate I will hold my nose and vote for her as the clear lesser evil. On the other hand, amusing that Republican defeat is otherwise assured, should our two party system only give us a choice between a Clinton and a Bush, I just might take a look at the Green Party.

Update: Rand Paul Could Shake Up An Election Against Hillary Clinton

The Biggest Loser of 2012: Karl Rove

The failure of Super PACs such as Karl Rove’s  American Crossroads to accomplish anything with all the money they spent is leading to criticism from Republicans who fail to realize the problem is the message along with the messengers. Americans were not going to be fooled into blaming Obama for the recession caused by George Bush and failed Republican economic ideas. Nor will Americans accept the morally repulsive message from Republicans on social issues. Despite all the fears among Democrats that the money edge for Republicans would put them at a disadvantage, the Super PACs were a spectacular failure on the national level:

A study by the Sunlight Foundation found that just 1.29 percent of the nearly $104 million it spent in the general election ended with the desired result. In addition to spending $85 million to defeat Mr. Obama and $6.5 million to support Mitt Romney, the group spent millions more opposing Democratic Senate candidates Bill Nelson in Florida, Jon Tester in Montana, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and Tim Kaine in Virginia – all of whom won. The only candidates it supported who won were Republicans Deb Fisher in Nebraska and Dean Heller in Nevada, who the group spent a combined $1.3 million to support.

The return for American Crossroads’ sister group, Crossroads GPS, was not much better. Crossroads GPS, which keeps its donors secret, saw a 14 percent return on the $70 million it spent. Another conservative outside group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saw just a 6.9 percent return on its $33 million in spending. The National Rifle Association’s return on its nearly $12 million in spending: 0.81 percent.

While the Super PACs were a failure at the national level, Norm Ornstein did warn in an interview with Terry Gross that conservative groups are having success taking over state governments were their massive infusion of money is a bigger factor.

Years ago Richard Viguerie was the genius behind Republican strategy–using direct mail to bring in votes and donations. Of course that was a different era. More recently Karl Rove became the supposed genius behind Republican strategy, with his Super PAC American Crossroads, looking like a bigger player than the Republican party. Now Richard Viguerie is writing off both Karl Rove and the Republican leadership:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions and other Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012 should be replaced with leaders more in tune with the grassroots of the conservative base of the Party.

Likewise, in any logical universe, establishment Republican consultants such as Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, Romney campaign senior advisor Stewart Stevens and pollster Neil Newhouse would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again — and no one would give a dime to their ineffective Super PACs, such as American Crossroads.

This year Republicans did try to use more modern techniques than direct mail. Their attempt  at using computer technology was a total failure. A diary at Red State  cited unnamed Romney staffers who blamed Republican political consultants for this failure:

They say that the truth is the consultants essentially used the Romney campaign as a money making scheme, forcing employees to spin false data as truth in order to paint a rosy picture of a successful campaign as a form of job security.

Zac Moffatt, Digital Director for the Romney campaign, was specifically named as having “built a nest egg for himself and co-founder of Targeted Victory, Mike Beach,” and that they “didn’t get social” media and ignored objections from other consultants and staffers in the campaign.

In other words, the Romney consultants used the Romney campaign in essentially the same way many Republicans use government when they have a chance.

The Final Two Week Drill For Team Obama

After the inspirational campaign of 2008, the Obama reelection campaign was a let down. Considering the dire consequence of a Romney victory to the nation, Obama supporters generally tolerated the campaign based upon attacking Romney as long as it was working, but it was not the type of campaign most of us really wanted to see. Few people were going to second guess the campaign as long as Obama had a secure lead, but it seemed like Obama should be doing more to respond to the Republican attacks and doing more to say why voters should vote for him as opposed to against Romney. Now that we are in the final two weeks with Obama clinging on to a slim lead in the battleground states, the campaign has begun to do these things:

Over the weekend, after seeing yet another ad blaming Obama for the economic conditions created by the Republicans, I suggested on Facebook that the Obama campaign should run an ad with “Bill Clinton placing the blame on Bush for crashing the economy, the GOP House for obstructing recovery, and crediting Obama for keeping us out of a full fledged depression.”

“The stuff some folks are saying about President Obama sound kind of familiar. The same people said my ideas destroyed jobs—they called me every name in the book.”

“Well we created 22 million new jobs and turned deficits into surpluses.”

“President Obama’s got it right. We should invest in the middle class, education and innovation. And pay down our debt with spending restraint and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. Sound familiar?”

They did this slightly different, tying Clinton’s ad into another ad released this week, spelling out Obama’s plan for the economy, but they did see the value in having Clinton do such an ad. Of course there is no reason why Clinton couldn’t do additional ads now that he has backed Obama’s policies.

The ad above reiterates what Obama has already been saying, but putting it together in one place helps counter Romney’s claim that Obama does not have a plan for his second term. The new ad was accompanied by a booklet on Obama’s Blueprint for America’s Future.

In the final two weeks, the ground game is receiving more attention. Molly Boll described how this gives Obama an advantage. The Field-Office Gap is far more important than the Bayonet-Gap of the third debate.

While Obama’s office in Sterling is one of more than 800 across the country — concentrated, of course, in the swing states — Romney commands less than half that number, about 300 locations. In the swing states, the gap is stark. Here’s the numerical comparison in what are generally considered the top three swing states — Ohio, Florida and Virginia:

But the difference isn’t just quantitative, it’s qualitative. I visited Obama and Romney field offices in three swing states — Ohio, Colorado and Virginia — dropping in unannounced at random times to see what I could see. There were some consistent, and telling, differences.

Obama’s office suite in Sterling was in an office park next to a dentist’s office. The front window was plastered with Obama-Biden signs, the door was propped open, and the stink bugs that plague Virginia in the fall crawled over stacks of literature — fliers for Senate candidate Tim Kaine, Obama bumper stickers — piled on a table near the front reception desk. In rooms in front and back, volunteers made calls on cell phones, while in the interior, field staffers hunched over computers. One wall was covered with a sheet of paper where people had scrawled responses to the prompt, “I Support the President Because…”, while another wall held a precinct-by-precinct list of neighborhood team leaders’ email addresses.

Only about a mile down the road was the Republican office, a cavernous, unfinished space on the back side of a strip mall next to a Sleepy’s mattress outlet. On one side of the room, under a Gadsden flag (“Don’t tread on me”) and a poster of Sarah Palin on a horse, two long tables of land-line telephones were arrayed. Most of the signs, literature, and buttons on display were for the local Republican congressman, Frank Wolf. A volunteer in a Wolf for Congress T-shirt was directing traffic, sort of — no one really seemed to be in charge and there were no paid staff present, though there were several elderly volunteers wandering in and out. The man in the T-shirt allowed me to survey the room but not walk around, and was unable to refer me to anyone from the Romney campaign or coordinated party effort.

These basic characteristics were repeated in all the offices I visited: The Obama offices were devoted almost entirely to the president’s reelection; the Republican offices were devoted almost entirely to local candidates, with little presence for Romney. In Greenwood Village, Colorado, I walked in past a handwritten sign reading “WE ARE OUT OF ROMNEY YARD SIGNS,” then had a nice chat with a staffer for Rep. Mike Coffman. In Canton, Ohio, the small GOP storefront was dominated by “Win With Jim!” signs for Rep. Jim Renacci. Obama’s nearest offices in both places were all Obama. In Canton, a clutch of yard signs for Sen. Sherrod Brown leaned against a wall, but table after table was filled with Obama lit — Veterans for Obama, Women for Obama, Latinos for Obama, and so on. The Obama campaign uses cell phones exclusively, while the Republicans use Internet-based land line phones programmed to make voter calls. Every Obama office has an “I Support the President Because…” wall, covered with earnest paeans to Obamacare and the like.

Even many Republicans realize they are at a disadvantage:

Some Republicans admit that the ground game is a weakness for the party. In Colorado, one top GOP consultant who has worked on presidential campaigns told me he mentally added 2 to 4 points to Obama’s polls in the state based on superior organization.

David Gergen also sees the ground game as an advantage for Obama:

Coming into a 14-day scramble, Obama can now rely upon an additional weapon in his arsenal: a strong ground game. Because it drove away any potential challengers in the Democratic primaries, his Chicago team not only got the jump on the GOP in advertising this past summer, but also constructed what appears to be a superior field organization.

In the pivotal state of Ohio, for example, the Obama campaign has three times as many offices, often captained by experienced young people. By contrast, a major Republican figure in the state, throwing up his hands, told me that the Romney field team looked like a high school civics class. The Romney team heartily disagrees, of course; we’ll just have to wait and see.

Contacting the voters directly might be one reason for Obama’s big lead among early voters:

The latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds President Obama had a lead of 53% to 42% among the 17% of the surveyed registered voters who said they had already cast their vote.

In the crucial swing state of Ohio, a new Time poll finds Obama holds a two-to-one lead over Romney among those who have voted early, 60% to 30%.

Ads and the ground game should dominate the final two weeks. Interviews are less likely to play a part. It looks like Romney might not give further interviews (but BuzzFeed did reveal how Romney looks so tan). Even Obama was initially reluctant to release the content of his interview with the Des Moines Register, but did ultimately release the transcript. Obama started with the same message in the ad and booklet mentioned above:

Obviously, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last four years. A lot of it was responding to the most severe economic emergency we’ve had since the Great Depression. And whether it was saving the auto industry, stabilizing the financial system, making sure that we got into a growth mode again and started putting people back to work, we have made real progress.

But people are obviously still hurting in a lot of parts of the country. And that’s why last night I tried to reiterate a very specific plan that we’ve put forward to make sure that the economy is growing, we’re bringing down our deficit, and we’re creating jobs.

So, number one, I’m very interested in continuing to build on the work that we did not just in the auto industry but some of the other industrial sectors, bringing manufacturing back to our shores; changing our tax code to reward companies that are investing here. There is a real sense that companies are starting to make decisions about insourcing, and some modest incentives I think can make a real difference in terms of us seeing continued manufacturing growth, which obviously has huge ramifications throughout the economy, including in the service sector of the economy.

Number two, education, which has obviously been a priority for us over the last four years — I want to build on what we’ve done with Race to the Top, but really focus on STEM education — math, science, technology, computer science. And part of that is helping states to hire teachers with the highest standards and training in these subjects so we can start making sure that our kids are catching up to some of the other industrialized world.

Two million more slots in community colleges that allows our workers to retrain, but also young people who may not want to go to a four-year college, making sure that the training they’re receiving is actually for jobs that are out there right now. And we want to continue to work — building on the progress we’ve done over the last four years — to keep tuition low for those who do attend either a two-year or a four-year college.

Number three, controlling our own energy. This obviously is of interest to Iowa. Our support of biofuels, our support of wind energy has created thousands of jobs in Iowa. But even more importantly, this is going to be the race to the future. The country that controls new sources of energy, not just the traditional sources, is going to have a huge competitive advantage 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now.

So in addition to doubling our fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks, what we want to do is make sure that we’re producing new technologies here — long-lasting batteries, making sure that we are developing the wind and solar and other energy sources that may provide us a breakthrough. In the meantime, we’re still producing oil and natural gas at a record pace, but we’ve got to start preparing for the future. And as I said, it creates jobs right now in Iowa.

Number four, I want to reduce our deficit. It’s got to be done in a balanced way. I’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending. I’m willing to do more. I’m willing to cut more, and I’m willing to work with Democrats and Republicans when it comes to making some adjustments that bring down the cost of our health care programs, which obviously are the biggest drivers of our deficit.

But nobody who looks at the numbers thinks it’s realistic for us to actually reduce our deficit in a serious way without also having some revenue. And we’ve identified tax rates going up to the Clinton rates for income above $250,000; making some adjustments in terms of the corporate tax side that could actually bring down the corporate tax overall, but broaden the base and close some loopholes. That would be good for our economy, and it would be good for reducing our deficit.

And finally, using some of the war savings to put people back to work on infrastructure — roads, bridges. We’ve fallen behind in that area. And we can — this deferred maintenance, we can put people to work, back, right now, and at the same time make sure that our economy is more competitive over the long term.

So that’s sort of a summary of the things I want to accomplish to create jobs and economic growth. Obviously, there are other items on the agenda. We need to get immigration reform done, and I’m fully committed to doing that. I think there’s still more work on the energy efficiency side that we can do — helping to retrofit our buildings, schools, hospitals, so that they’re energy efficient — because if we achieved efficiencies at the level of, let’s say, Japan, we could actually cut our power bill by about 20-25 percent, and that would have the added benefit of taking a whole bunch of carbon out of the atmosphere.

So there are some things that we can do, but obviously the key focus is making sure that the economy is growing. That will facilitate all the other work that we do.

A Good Day for Some, Bad Day for Others

Sunday was a good day for Al Franken as the state election board told CNN they were prepared to certify that Franken has won the recount for the Senate seat by a margin of 255 votes. Sunday was also a good day for Tim Kaine, who has been picked to head the DNC.

In addition to Norm Coleman, who is still expected to challenge the loss of his Senate seat in the courts, Sunday was also a bad day for Bill Richardson, who has withdrawn his nomination to be Secretary of Commerce as a grand jury investigates donors who won a lucrative state contract.

John McCain, Big Ideas, and Big Lies

Think Progress comments on how Bobby Jindal, appearing on Meet the Press, was unable to cite any big ideas which John McCain has had. It is actually unfair to say that John McCain has no big ideas. Making people pay even more of their health care costs out of their pocket might not be a good idea, but it is a big idea. Staying in Iraq for one hundred years is insane, but also might qualify as a big idea. Perhaps giving even bigger tax cuts to the top one tenth of one percent than George Bush gave them might also be considered a big idea. It must be tough acting as a surrogate for a candidate who has nothing but bad ideas.

I was actually bothered far more by another one of Jindal’s answers. He attacked Obama by repeating all the same lies about Obama’s tax plans which have been repeatedly debunked, including twice by Factcheck (here and here.) Host David Gregory let this go by without a follow up question. Instead he asked Tim Kaine a different question. As Obama’s surrogate, I wish that Kaine had responded to Jindal’s untrue statements as opposed to only responding to the question he was asked.

Swing States and the VP Choice

I see, via Memeorandum, that Clinton-supporter Big Tent Democrat has a different take on the swing state polls than I have. While I think that such polls mean very little this far out, I would take Obama’s lead as a positive sign. Big Tent Democrat sees this as a negative sign because he believes his support in Florida and Ohio will continue to fall as he won’t pick Clinton as his running mate. At least  he does believe Obama will win the election due taking Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado.

The American Spectator finds some logic to his view:

Brilliant, and inarguably true. A large percentage of voters who now say they support Obama haven’t been paying close enough attention to notice the clear indications that he’s not even seriously considering Hillary as his running mate.

These voters quite naturally assume that, after such a close-fought contest, Hillary has earned the right to be on the ticket. They haven’t noticed Obama’s comments and furious vetting efforts that show he’s seeking an ABC (“Anyone But Clinton”) running mate, with most speculation centering on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. And when it is finally announced that Hillary won’t be on the ticket, it’s going to be a huge jolt, one that many will perceive as a purposeful insult to the former First Lady.

I’m not too concerned about the fall from the previous month since, as Nate Silver points out, the overall trend for Obama in these states has been positive. These numbers are going to continue to go up and down between now and November, and I won’t be concerned about small one month changes along the way.

It is certainly possible that Obama could lose both Ohio and Florida, but if so it won’t be because of his vice presidential choice. Most people vote based upon president, not the vice-presidential choice. The choice has far more downside risk from making a bad selection than the ability to help a candidate.

While many voters might not yet realize that Obama is not considering Clinton, those who care that much about whether Clinton is on the ticket certainly are paying attention. Despite the noise being made by the kooks in the PUMA movement, they represent only a small number of voters who are correctly being ignored by Democratic leaders and others as a handful of nuts who are out of touch with reality. Leaving Clinton off the ticket might lose the votes of a handful of such voters who are willing to risk returning to the age of shirt hanger abortions, but most Clinton voters will vote for Obama. Even before Clinton left the race, polls were showing that large numbers of people who had voted for Clinton in the early primary states preferred Obama after seeing how the race played out.

Even if he is risking the loss of some votes by choosing someone else, Clinton’s negatives would cost the ticket far more votes than she could pick up. The Republicans will bring up every scandal which Obama was not willing to bring up during the campaign. Choosing Clinton would alienate indepenents and Republicans considering Obama, giving McCain a huge boost. Most important of all, it was made quite clear by her conduct during the primaries that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

John Kerry Accuses Bill Clinton of Abusing the Truth

The National Journal has interviewed John Kerry. When asked about the attacks from the Clinton campaign, Kerry replied, “Well, I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it’s been over the top. Things have been said about Barack Obama‘s positions that are just plain untrue.” Kerry also discussed Obama’s experience noting, “Barack Obama has more legislative experience than either of his two opponents.” The full transcript of the interview follows:
Q: I’d like to introduce Sen. John Kerry, former Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, United States senator now. Welcome, Sen. Kerry.

Kerry: Good morning, glad to be with you. Thank you.

Q: So, senator, you have endorsed Barack Obama, and this week, of course, the campaign was absolutely consumed with these charges and counter-charges, and it seemed to many of us that Obama’s message about hope and change was pretty much drowned out. What happened, here?

Kerry: Well, I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it’s been over the top. Things have been said about Barack Obama‘s positions that are just plain untrue. It was said in Nevada, it’s been said about Social Security, it’s been said about Yucca Mountain, and it’s been said in South Carolina. I think it’s very unfortunate, but I think the voters can see through that. When somebody’s coming on strong and they are growing, people get a little frantic, and I think people have seen this sort of franticness in the air, if you will.My sense is, Barack Obama offers a better opportunity to pull America together than any other candidate in the race. If you look at the fact that the governor of Arizona, a red state, Gov. Janet Napolitano, has endorsed Barack Obama, former governor and now senator, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, red state, has endorsed Barack Obama. The two senators from North Dakota and South Dakota, the Democratic senators, have endorsed Barack Obama. Claire McCaskill, the senator from Missouri, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, was asked the question, “Can a Democrat carry Virginia?” And his answer was, “the right Democrat,” and then he endorsed Barack Obama.

So, I think Barack Obama has the ability to pull the nation together, to offer the kind of inspired leadership that we need to tackle some very serious problems, and to make America stronger in the world. And that’s why I’m for him.

Q: Let’s just go back to what you said right at the beginning. So you are saying, then, that former President [Bill] Clinton is the one who has been abusing the truth?

Kerry: I think there has been an overreach with respect to what Barack Obama has said and when he said it, and I think it’s been unfortunate, but I don’t think we ought to spend our time there. I think people want to focus on what are you doing to do to get my health care, what are you going to do to get my job?I think that Barack Obama, for instance, has a stimulus plan that is important to the workers of South Carolina and to the rest of the country. Because, first of all, it’s smart. It’s not going to be a long-term budget increase, it’s going to be a temporary one; it’s targeted to the middle class; it’s targeted to poor families who need the relief. But it also provides money to business investment — business incentive in order to help create the jobs we need to move the Economy and he focuses also on the sub-prime housing crisis, which I personally believe is one of the single most important components of restoring confidence in the Economy.

Q: Of course, Hillary Clinton is running a very focused campaign on the economy and now certainly her own stimulus plan was criticized by some but she has former President Clinton’s Economic record to run on, how does he push back against that, that’s a very powerful asset that she has.

Kerry: Sure it is, but people again need to be able to distinguish. Look, I supported the programs, a lot of things that we did in the 1990s, but I think everyone understands we had a technology boom in the 1990s which was unprecedented, and everybody benefited from that. We made some tough decisions and we ought to be proud of them, about the budget and the deficit. But the fact is, that was not Hillary Clinton making those decisions. It was a different team, at a different time.In fact, Barack Obama has more legislative experience than either of his two opponents. He served eight years in the Illinois legislature and now several in the United States Senate, in total, he has more legislative years. And if you look back in history, Abraham Lincoln had only two years in the United States Congress, and then he lost. He was sent back to Illinois in shame, ran for the United States Senate, lost his race for the Senate, then was nominated to be the leader of his party. And he became, arguably, our greatest president in history. So I think you have to look at the breadth of experience, and the type of experience.

You know, I look at Barack Obama: He’s older than Bill Clinton was Bill Clinton became president. He’s older than John Kennedy was, he’s older than Teddy Roosevelt was and he has a broad experience and has proven his ability through his campaign to be able to lead and to pull people together. And again, I go back to what I just said — look at the coalition he is building: Nebraska, Arizona, Virginia, Missouri, North and South Dakota. These are the states where we need to build that kind of new coalition, and I think he’s attracting independents and Republicans and Democrats who are fed up with the way things have been. We gotta change.

Q: Just a couple quick questions, because you made such interesting points here, senator. The consensus seems to be now though that, for whatever reason, Barack Obama is now identified as the “black candidate.” How did that happen?

Kerry: Well, if it happened, I’m not sure that that is accurate at all, and I don’t necessarily accept it. But to whatever degree that has been injected here, it has been injected, frankly, by the other campaign, and I think it’s unfortunate, but I just don’t accept that. And I think the people that are supporting him is evidence of that.I don’t look at Barack Obama and see a black candidate. I see an inspiring, young, American United States senator — that’s what I see — who happens also to be African American. Just as Hillary happens also to be a woman, and just as John Edwards happens also to be a white. So what? What you look at– I mean, this is the test of this race.

Are we the country we say we are? Are we the country that holds certain truths to be self-evident, words which incidentally were written by a 33-year-old named Thomas Jefferson. You know, are we the country that judges people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin — words that were written by Martin Luther King when he was about 34 years old.

So the fact is that, to whatever degree that issue has been put in this race, I think this is a moment for Americans to prove it doesn’t matter anymore, and we’re beyond that. And that’s one of the transformative aspects of this candidacy that I find so appealing and so important to the nation and to the world. If we can elect Barack Obama, the message to the world about who we are, what we believe and what the possibilities are in America, are extraordinary.

Q: Well, very strong case made, certainly, on behalf of your candidate. Thank you so much, Sen. John Kerry. I hope you can join us again.

Kerry: It’s a pleasure to be with you. Thank you very much.