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Clinton Advisor Apologizes for Obama Comments

A big mistep by New Hampshire Clinton advisor Michael Sheehan today.

He said voters should study Mr. Obama’s background as they chose a candidate, warning that Republicans would scour for new details about a period of Mr. Obama’s life more than 20 years ago when he admitted using marijuana and cocaine. According to The Post’s Web site, Mr. Shaheen said, “It’ll be: ‘When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?’ There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It’s hard to overcome.”

The most important part of the story:

Clinton spokesman, Phil Singer, said, “These comments were not authorized or condoned by the campaign in any way.”

....In a statement later, Mr. Shaheen said, “I deeply regret the comments I made today, and they were not authorized by the campaign in any way.”

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Chelsea Helps Hillary in Iowa

Hillary Clinton brought her mom and Chelsea to Iowa.

Three generations of Clinton women hit the trail vowing "change across the generations" as Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped up her pitch to the women voters who could hold the key to Iowa's caucuses, which will launch the presidential nominating season in less than four weeks.

Hillary told the crowd her mother lives with her and Bill.

Clinton used the occasion to trot out a plan to bolster long-term care, including a $3,000 tax credit for caregivers, a doubling of the standard deduction for the elderly and a tax credit for purchasing long-term care insurance. She repeatedly pointed to her ability to care for her own mother as she ages.

"I don't think having my mother with me is a burden, I think it's a joy," said Clinton. "It isn't easy to do and a lot of families don't have a lot of options." ...Issues of long-term care and building families will be a focus of her presidency, Clinton said.

More...

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Hillary Brings Mom and Chelsea, Rolls Out Buddy System in Iowa

Update: Chelsea is in Iowa today as well.

*****

While Oprah stumps at two events in Iowa for Obama today, Hillary has her own plan. She'll be bringing her mother to three events and promoting the "buddy system."

More than a mother-daughter act, the appearance was designed to illustrate an urgent point of her campaign: The Buddy. “I wanted to bring a buddy with me!” Mrs. Clinton said. “So I brought my mother, Dorothy Rodham.”

The idea is that women will be more likely to attend a caucus if they have someone to go with.

In her quest to win the caucuses, Mrs. Clinton is working to demystify the curious Iowa process. With women voters her key target, she believes two are more likely to attend together than one would alone.

“We have thousands of women in their 80s and 90s who live alone who want to caucus on the night of Jan. 3,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It’s very inspiring for me for people who want to be there.”

The Washington Post has more on the gender race between Hillary and Obama in Iowa. [More]

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ABC Poll: Clinton Holds N.H. Lead With More Reliable Support

A new ABC News poll shows Hillary Clinton leading in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton is holding off Barack Obama in New Hampshire with a single-digit but seemingly solid lead, scoring more committed and enthusiastic support, higher trust to handle pressing issues and broad margins on leadership, experience and electability.

The chart and numbers are here. (pdf).

Among likely voters in the Democratic primary, Clinton has 35 percent support, Obama 29 percent, John Edwards 17 percent and Bill Richardson 10 percent, with others in the low single digits.

As to why Hillary's support is considered "solid" and "more reliable":

Among those who've definitely decided on their candidate, she leads Obama by a wide 43-28 percent; and among the most enthusiastic likely voters she leads him by 45-24 percent.

Hillary also leads on six of the seven issues polled and has the largest advantage on health care.

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Hillary Comes Out Against Crack-Powder Retroactivity

Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton in Iowa yesterday said she has problems with making the reduction in crack-powder cocaine penalties, minimal as they are, retroactive.

“In principle I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well."

Five other Dems at the forum favor retroactivity:

Her five rivals present on stage — Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich — all said they favor making the shorter sentences retroactive.

Hillary needs to rethink this. As Law Prof Doug Berman says at Sentencing Law and Policy, her position is a huge disappointment. But I'm not convinced Obama's position will result in any future change of the excessive mandatory minimum sentences (as opposed to the minimal guideline reduction) for crack offenses. [More...]

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Hillary Won't Cross Writers' Picket Lines for CBS Debate

Breaking from Huffington Post....

Senator Hillary Clinton, D-NY, announced today that she will forgo CBS News' upcoming presidential debate unless the network can reach a resolution with its striking employees.

"The workers at CBS News have been without a contract for close to two and a half years," the Senator said. "It is my hope that both sides will reach an agreement that results in a secure contract for the workers at CBS News but let me be clear: I will honor the picket line if the workers at CBS News decide to strike."

I hope the other candidates follow her lead on this.

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Hillary Now Opposes Drivers' Licenses for the Undocumented

I'm disappointed to see that Hillary Clinton has now come out against drivers licenses for the undocumented.

Her advisers think this will take the issue "off the table." I think it opens her up to new attacks in tomorrow night's debate for being inconsistent.

She said at the last debate she wasn't particularly familiar with the proposals. I assume she is now. That's what makes her statement so disappointing. I thought that with more information on the issue, she would have seen the wisdom of the plan.

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Newweek Poll : Hillary Maintains Lead Post-Debate

Newsweek today:

In a new NEWSWEEK poll, Hillary Clinton took the heat at this week's Democratic debate and emerged undamaged.

....The New York senator gets 44 percent of the overall Democratic vote, compared to 24 percent for Obama (down a point since NEWSWEEK's August poll) and 12 percent for Edwards (down two points). She is the first choice of 45 percent of self-identified Democrats (compared with 39 percent of Democratic "leaners"). She also trounces Obama among Democratic female voters (48 to 19 percent) and enjoys a marginal lead among male Democratic voters (38 to 32 percent). Obama runs better among younger Democratic voters and minorities.

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Hillary Clinton Opposes Mukasey Confirmation

Hillary Clinton released this statement today, opposing the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General.

We need an Attorney General who has the strength to challenge this Administration when it is wrong, who is committed to reestablishing the independence of the Department of Justice and to restoring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. I am deeply troubled by Judge Mukasey’s continued unwillingness to clearly state his views on torture and unchecked Executive power.

The Attorney General is the chief defender of the rule of law in our country. After Alberto Gonzales's troubled tenure, we cannot send a signal that the next Attorney General in any way condones torture or believes that the President is unconstrained by law. When we leave any doubt about our nation’s policy on torture, we send a terrible message to the rest of the world.

More....

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Happy Birthday, Hillary

Happy Birthday to Hillary Clinton who turns 60 today.

She celebrated last night at a party in New York. Elvis Costello and the Wallflowers provided the music, Billy Crystal was M.C. The event raised $1.5 million.

The latest AP poll numbers make a good birthday present for her. Among Democrats:

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, 43 percent
  • Barack Obama, 22 percent
  • John Edwards, 14 percent
  • Bill Richardson, 6 percent

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Hillary's Visit to Denver

Hillary Clinton came to Denver yesterday. She held a rally at the Auraria campus of Metro State. Big Head Todd and the Monsters played until she arrived. More than 1,000 attended.

The reviews are in and she did very well. She's taking a firmer stand on issues and was well received by the crowd.

Her promises:

She would withdraw the troops from Iraq, create millions of jobs in renewable energy by taking $50 billion in tax subsidies away from Big Oil, create universal pre-kindergarten, forgive more student loans and open up the congressional health care plan to all Americans.

On Bush:

Clinton also took aim at President Bush. She called Hurricane Katrina "a natural disaster turned into a national disgrace. If you had turned the sound off, you wouldn't have believed you were looking at pictures of America."

Increasingly in the campaign, there is only one Hillary for folks to see. (More...)

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Fundraising With the Stars

On 5280.com today I wrote about Hillary's fund-raising success this quarter in Colorado.

Over at HuffPo, there's an article "Hollywood Still Hearts Obama" about how Obama is raking it in with Hollywood stars. Since I already had the link to the FEC stats, I went and checked.

Obama raised $3,724,772.18 in California this past quarter. Hillary raised $4,869,227.82.

How about Beverly Hills zip code 90210? Obama raised 69,102.81. Hillary raised 154,515.00.

The HuffPo article doesn't give totals, just lists some stars' donations but it gives the wrong impression. A better, not to mention more alliterative title would have been "Hollywood Hearts Hillary."

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Obama's Latest Criticism of Hillary Over Kyl- Lieberman Amendment

Barack Obama has an oped today criticizing Hillary Clinton for her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment which designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization.

Obama today also penned an op-ed in The Manchester Union-Leader warning that Congress -- including, notably, rival Hillary Clinton -- has given Bush the pretense to invade Iran by approving a recent Senate amendment. "When you give this president a blank check, you can't be surprised when he cashes it," Obama writes. "I strongly differ with Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was the only Democratic presidential candidate to support this reckless amendment."

But Obama didn't vote against the Amendment, which was a non-binding resolution. He didn't show for the vote. His supporter, Sen. Dick Durbin, voted for the Amendment also. (Roll call vote here.)

If Obama so strongly opposed the Amendment, why didn't he show up, argue against it and cast a "no" vote, instead of staying on the campaign trail?

More....

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Hillary Does Not Support Torture

Update: TPM has the transcript.

*****

Kevin Drum is angry over Hillary's comments on torture. I'm not. Hillary was very clear she opposed torture last year.

From her comments then:

The rule of law cannot be compromised. We must stand for the rule of law before the world, especially when we are under stress and under threat. We must show that we uphold our most profound values.

The bill before us allows the admission into evidence of statements derived through cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation. That sets a dangerous precedent that will endanger our own men and women in uniform overseas. Will our enemies be less likely to surrender? Will informants be less likely to come forward? Will our soldiers be more likely to face torture if captured? Will the information we obtain be less reliable? These are the questions we should be asking. And based on what we know about warfare from listening to those who have fought for our country, the answers do not support this bill. As Lieutenant John F. Kimmons, the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence said, "No good intelligence is going to come from abusive interrogation practices."

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Hillary Unveils Retirement Plan

Hillary Clinton unveiled her retirement plan, American Retirement Accounts, today.

As with her biggest policy plan for universal health insurance, Mrs. Clinton cast her savings proposal in terms of choice: If Americans like their 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts, they can keep those, while those who lack any savings plan will have a chance to start one with government help and save $5,000 a year on a tax-deferred basis.

“Saving in the accounts will be easy — it should not require a Ph.D. to save for retirement,” Mrs. Clinton said.

The Wall St. Journal has more specifics.

As to why it's needed:

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