This week's notebook features items on Obama's middle name, the latest poll results in Ohio and Texas, relatives who stab each other over politics, where the candidates stand on the environment and more.
Quote of Note
"The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics. We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation."
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, addressing the Tennessee Republican Party’s news release about Barack Obama that uses his middle name (Hussein) and claims he’s anti-Israel. The release came on the heels of a controversial speech by conservative radio host Bill Cunningham in which he repeatedly said “Barack Hussein Obama.”
According to news reports, GOP strategist Karl Rove has warned Republicans about using Obama’s full name, and John McCain spoke out against Cunningham’s remarks. What’s your take? Do you think people who are using Obama’s middle name are trying to stir up un-American sentiment? Or is it just innocuous name usage? Let us know.
Political Battle of the Week
You know the campaign season is really heating up when people start stabbing each other over their candidate preferences. According to news reports, a Pennsylvania man who supports Hillary Clinton was charged with felony assault after stabbing his brother-in-law, who supports Barack Obama. The two were arguing about the candidates when the Obama supporter started choking the Clinton supporter, and then the Clinton supporter stabbed the Obama supporter in the abdomen.
With less than a year until we have a new president, we’re getting elegiac about the loss of President Bush. Why? Because none of the presidential candidates can match Bush’s, um, eloquence. As a tribute to W., here are some of our favorite “Bushisms”:
"As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured." -- George W. Bush, on the No Child Left Behind Act, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." — Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000
"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." — Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." — Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004
"I heard somebody say, 'Where's (Nelson) Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas." -- George W. Bush, on the former South African president, who is still very much alive, Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2007
On the Issues: Environment
Political Notebook’s weekly look at where the presidential front-runners stand on key issues.
Hillary Clinton: Clinton proposes a "strategic energy fund" that would be created with oil-company profits to invest in developing and deploying alternative energy sources. While Clinton has called for increased funding of ethanol research, she has voted against biofuel tax incentives and measures mandating higher levels of ethanol use. She is a member of the Senate committee on Environment & Public Works. Would develop a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012. Would focus on international attention to solve the problem of global deforestation. Would focus the mission of the Department of Energy on moving toward energy independence with a new approach to solar, wind, biofuels, hydropower, geothermal and other sources of renewable energy. Would oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildfire Refuge.
Barack Obama: In October 2007, Obama proposed an energy plan that would implement a national emissions cap and require power companies and other industries to pay for their carbon emissions via a "cap and trade" system. His plan also would aim to reduce American dependence on foreign energy by 35 percent by 2030. He also has advocated for the expansion of U.S. ethanol production. In the U.S. Senate, Obama co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act to cap emissions from industrial plants and oil refineries. He supported a January 2007 meeting of a group of evangelicals and climate scientists to advocate measures to prevent global warming. Obama has also called for stricter restrictions on the amount of carbon in fuels and tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars.
Mike Huckabee: Says that "there may be" a human role in climate change and that protecting the environment is a "spiritual issue." He also says that "our responsibility to God means that we have to be good stewards of this Earth, be good caretakers of the natural resources that don't belong to us; we just get to use them." Would pursue all avenues of alternative energy including wind, solar, clean coal and biodiesel. Would propose greenhouse gas emissions be curtailed. Would support drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and increased offshore drilling.
John McCain: As a senator, McCain has worked closely with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) on legislation designed to reduce greenhouse emissions through a market-based system and the development of nuclear, solar and other alternative energy sources. McCain supports federal funding and preservation of national parks, arguing that Americans should take "stewardship" of their "natural heritage." He pledged to toughen automotive fuel standards, cap emissions and join the Kyoto treaty, provided India and China also participate.
Sources: PewForum.org, CNN.com
According to RealClearPolitics.com, which averages national poll results, here are the Republican and Democratic leaders in Texas and Ohio ahead of the states’ March 4 primaries:
Hillary Clinton: 49.3%
Barack Obama: 42.5%
John McCain: 56%
Mike Huckabee: 26.8%
Ron Paul: 6.8%
Barack Obama: 47.6%
Hillary Clinton: 46%
John McCain: 52.5%
Mike Huckabee: 33.8%
Ron Paul: 8.3%
"And my favorite candidate, Ralph Nader, announced he's running for president! Oh, I love Ralph. You know, you can't get rid of him. Every election year he pops up. He's like the herpes of presidential candidates." -- Jay Leno
Better Know a Politician: Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader (born Feb. 27, 1934) is an American attorney, author, lecturer, political activist and currently a candidate in the United States presidential election. Areas of particular concern to Nader are consumer rights, humanitarianism, environmentalism and democratic government. He was the first Arab American presidential candidate in U.S. history.
This is Nader’s fifth run for president (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008). In 1992, he ran as a write-in in both the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic primaries, and other primaries. In 1996 and 2000, he was the nominee of the Green Party; in 2004, he ran as an independent but was also endorsed by the Reform Party. His campaigns have been controversial, with his role in the 2000 election in particular being subject to much debate. Many Democrats accuse Nader of siphoning Democratic votes in key states that potentially might have cost Al Gore the presidency. Nader himself recently stated in a live interview that he actually believes Al Gore won the presidency but that it was "stolen from him ... by the (Florida) Secretary of State and Jeb Bush" and the U.S. Supreme Court. (Wikipedia.org)
This Week in Political History
March 2, 1877 - Just two days before inauguration, the U.S. Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the presidential election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on Nov. 7, 1876.
March 3, 1931 - The United States officially adopts "The Star-Spangled Banner" as its national anthem.
March 4, 1789 - In New York City, the first U.S. Congress meets and declares the new Constitution of the United States is in effect.
March 5, 1861 - The "Stars and Bars" is adopted as the flag of the Confederate States of America.
March 6, 1820 - The Missouri Compromise is signed into law by President James Monroe. The compromise allows Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state but makes the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase territory slavery-free.
March 7, 1965 - In Selma, Ala., state troopers and local law enforcement forcefully break up a group of 600 civil rights marchers. The event was televised and was dubbed Bloody Sunday.
March 8, 1884 - Susan B. Anthony addresses the U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Anthony's argument came 16 years after legislators had first introduced a federal women's suffrage amendment.
GateHouse News Service