Mr. and Mrs. Obama Go On Offensive Against Hillary

We've covered most of the stuff in this new Telegraph article about how Barack and Michelle Obama have attacked Hillary Clinton this week.

There's one comment by Barack Obama I missed though. Criticizing Hillary's statements in the last debate about the bankruptcy bill, he says:

He then poured ridicule on Mrs Clinton for saying in the debate that she had voted for a bankruptcy bill but "I was happy that it never became law".

Mr Obama could not conceal his mirth as he said: "What does that mean? No seriously, what does that mean? If you didn’t want to see it passed, then you can vote against it! People don’t say what they mean."

This from the guy who voted "present" on at least 86 bills?

An examination of Illinois records shows at least 36 times when Mr. Obama was either the only state senator to vote present or was part of a group of six or fewer to vote that way. In more than 50 votes, he seemed to be acting in concert with other Democrats as part of a strategy.

What a joke. No wonder he laughed as he said it.

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    The Obama's Penchant For The Race Card (none / 0) (#1)
    by JoeCHI on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:16:39 PM EST
    The Obama's LOVE playing the race card.

    Race (none / 0) (#2)
    by athyrio on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:21:43 PM EST
    I don't think I have ever seen the race card played so many times as Obama does....I am glad the Clintons have stopped responding to it...Shows more class...

    So by (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:58:14 PM EST
    pointing out that it is a bit strange to vote for something, and then hope it doesn't become law, Obama is "playing the race card?"

    Or was it by voting present in the Illinois senate?

    Or by your def is. simply being black enough to qualify as the "race card?"

    Please explain to me the rational for your comment in this post?


    no (none / 0) (#12)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:01:09 PM EST
    read the freakin article.

    I did, (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:05:07 PM EST
    but where in the article do they "play the race card?"

    I aint playing that game (none / 0) (#15)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:09:55 PM EST
    with you tonight. Get it or dont get it - whatever. Sorry pal -

    but I  still like Austin. :-)


    Good to hear (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:13:36 PM EST
    you don't need to defend comments you didn't make :-P

    you dont want to learn anything (none / 0) (#19)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:20:45 PM EST
    so why should I bother?  It inst interesting for me to have to explain the obvious and you seem to groove on wasting time.

    jgarza (none / 0) (#33)
    by Judith on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 10:43:00 AM EST
    I sure hope you try to learn something from Bill Moyers' comments re HRC MLK/LBJ non-event.  You will find he says everything I did.  So I dont need to "defend" myself to you - I will jkust point to Moyers comments on the topic.

    But No, Seriously, (none / 0) (#3)
    by converse on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:23:15 PM EST
    what does that mean?  Vote for a bill, then say your happy it never became law?  Seriously.

    did you read the whole article you cite? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Satya1 on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:26:58 PM EST
    Pam Sutherland, president of Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, said Mr. Obama was one of the senators with a strong stand for abortion rights whom the organization approached about using the strategy. Ms. Sutherland said the Republicans were trying to force Democrats from conservative districts to register politically controversial no votes.

    Ms. Sutherland said Mr. Obama had initially resisted the strategy because he wanted to vote against the anti-abortion measures.

    "He said, `I'm opposed to this,'" she recalled.

    But the organization argued that a present vote would be difficult for Republicans to use in campaign literature against Democrats from moderate and conservative districts who favored abortion rights.

    Lisa Madigan, the Illinois attorney general who was in the Illinois Senate with Mr. Obama from 1998 through 2002, said she and Mr. Obama voted present on the anti-abortion bills.

    "It's just plain wrong to imply that voting present reflected a lack of leadership," Ms. Madigan said. "In fact, it was the exact opposite."

    Most of these votes were either tactical legislative moves to give other legislators cover or opposition based on some reasonable legal grounds.  I'm not going to dig up an answer for every single "present" vote but the NYT article gives a plausible reason for many of them.

    Right off of his web site (none / 0) (#8)
    by PlayInPeoria on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:43:37 PM EST
    His web site has the same rebutal.

    But the Sen Obama can NOT vote "present" or "be absent" as President. He has to take a stand.

    I also would like to know how this fits in with his "UNITY" message. Does he unite by just not voting?


    So you think (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:51:23 PM EST
    that it is showing leadership to vote for something and then hope it doesn't pass?

    Is she going to sign bills into law, and hope that the supreme court shows the leadership to stop them?


    I did not (none / 0) (#11)
    by PlayInPeoria on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:59:17 PM EST

    that it is showing leadership to vote for something and then hope it doesn't pass?

    I didn't say anything about Sen Clinton. I was talking about Sen Obama.

    So you want to compare the "36 votes" to the "1 vote"?


    she didnt say (none / 0) (#13)
    by athyrio on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:04:48 PM EST
    that Reagan was one of her favorite presidents...Has been corrected....

    David Cutler, the co-owner of Salmon Press Newspapers, released the following statement:

    The question posed was originally what portraits would you hang in the White House if you were President and as the dialogue progressed, who are the presidents you admire most?

    She [Sen. Clinton] listed several presidents that she admired and mentioned she liked Reagan's communication skills. She did not say Reagan was her favorite President. She didn't say anything close to that.


    Being (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:12:08 PM EST
    personally involved in Planned Parenthood, I think it is wise for politicians to follow PP's recommendations if they want to protect choice.

    And yes not voting for something, even 36 times is far better than voting for a terrible bill that will destroy middle class Americans financial livelihood.

    And it isn't just one bad vote

    Kyle/Leberman, authorization of military force in Iraq.

    And since she claims credit for BIll presidency i think it is fair to bring up all the bad bills he signed into law.  DOMA being my least favorite.


    Well (none / 0) (#20)
    by PlayInPeoria on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:26:21 PM EST
    I think that the subject of those 36 votes is important. A series of Obama's "present" of "no" votes were on abortion.

    I am pro-choice. This is an important voting issue with me.

    Yes, Sen should not have "hoped it would not pass", but that is not an item that will change my vote.


    you have completely (none / 0) (#22)
    by Satya1 on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:10:36 PM EST
    misunderstood what the "present" votes mean.  They count as no votes and they were used tactically to defeat a bad bill.  Do you think it would have been better if Sen. Obama had voted no only to have the bill get passed?

    IF you are truly pro-choice then (none / 0) (#26)
    by Satya1 on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:41:58 PM EST
    I think you would want to do some research on this.  Because if as I advocate (as mentioned in the NYT article) that Sen. Obama used "present" votes in a tactical effort to beat bad anti-choice bills, then there are some serious consequences for you:
    1. you will want to take a closer look at Sen. Obama's AND Sen. Clinton's record more closely.
    2. you will need to ask yourself if you can support a candidate such as Sen. Clinton that sent the misinformation to Dem voters via mailers and email and continues to repeat it through the web.  Either her campaign is completely naive about Illinois legislative process or they deliberately lied about the dedicated efforts of a strong pro-choice legislator.

    By the way the "present" vote smear was a campaign tactic used against Obama in 2004.  The Clinton campaign must believe in recycling.  This link is a repost of a March 19, 2004 blog by Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune:

    "Criticizing Obama on the basis of `present' votes indicates you don't have a great understanding of the process," said Thom Mannard, director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

    Or you are willing to pretend you don't to score cheap political points.

    There's dirt here all right. It's all over the hands of those pointing the finger.

    2004 he ran (none / 0) (#32)
    by PlayInPeoria on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 07:25:00 AM EST
    against some one from Maryland that the Reps brought into Illinois. He easily won.

    He also used the same tactics. He didn't give much substance ... just fluff. That adds fuel to his "present" votes. Back in 2004 he had such a lead it didn't hurt him. Now it does.

    I also know this is something unique in Illinois pol. But I still don't like the tactics. I believe this is really a "passive" way of getting around conflict. And conflict is NOT a dirty word. It is the way to come up with the best solutions for all concerned.


    Obama's spell (none / 0) (#5)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:40:45 PM EST
    IMO Obama is doing a good job of helping me to identify who is susceptible to propaganda methods, specifically "rhetorical affect control", and who is not. Roughly speaking, the former find Obama's high-flying rhetoric inspiring, exhilirating, and believe that Obama might be able to instill civic virtue in the citizenry by means of his rhetoric, and so transform the nation for the better, while the latter do not.

    It's fine if people want to vote for Obama, that's not a problem; I might do so on Minnesota caucus day. However, I want to make susceptible people aware of what is happening to them, so they can become less susceptible to "rhetorical affect control" generally (and they can gain this immunity whether they like it or not).

    When Rhetorical Affect Control (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:10:47 PM EST
    is rewarded by victory, why would a politician choose another method?

    so why would you vote for him? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 08:42:38 PM EST
    This is sad (none / 0) (#21)
    by Rojas on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 10:38:19 PM EST
    That backruptcy bill was bad. And she voted for essentially the same version that became law.


    The Law (none / 0) (#23)
    by BDB on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:11:34 PM EST
    She voted against the one that became law.  As she said at the debate, she - like John Edwards - regretted her initial vote.

    Nonsense (none / 0) (#27)
    by Rojas on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:00:48 AM EST
    She didn't even bother to vote. Edwards was no longer in the Senate. Talk about bad republican ideas. This one will screw millions.

    Her husband was in the hospital having (none / 0) (#28)
    by Teresa on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:05:19 AM EST
    heart surgery. She announced her opposition before the vote, though.

    Right (none / 0) (#29)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:48:06 AM EST
    Sorry, I forgot that she couldn't vote because of Bill's surgery.  I just remembered that she had opposed it.

    Wasn't there a minimum wage hike or something attached to the first bill?  I seem to recall that that's what killed it.  But clearly my memory on this issue is suspect.


    Once again, She was for it (none / 0) (#31)
    by Rojas on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 02:01:45 AM EST
    and then she was against it.
    How does this fighter with the 35 years of fighting for the "Democratic values" keep ending up on the wrong side, the anti-progressive side, of big structural issues.
    She's the Rosana Rosanadana of republican ideas.

    oh cut it out (none / 0) (#34)
    by Judith on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 10:44:56 AM EST
    that nonsense is for the GOP. She is referring to 2 different bills - if that is too complicated for you to follow I sure hope you dont have a drivers license.

    Once again, nonsense (none / 0) (#35)
    by Rojas on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:35:20 PM EST
    The bill was essentially the same. Her original opposition was putting the credit card componies on an equal footing as child support and alimony.
    Read her statement on the 2001 bill.

    Again what this is about is her History of beocoming a proponent of the worst republican ideas if it helps her politicaly.

    This is a history Elizabeth Warren can speak to with some authority.

    So it was one thing for Mrs. Clinton to be First Lady and not running for office and tell President Clinton what she felt about this bill. And then very different for Senator Clinton who had to get political contributions and run her—her campaign—she voted differently. Now I wanna be fair in this story.

    Mrs. Clinton, in a much more secure position—as Senator a couple of years later—when the bill came up once again—Senator Clinton was not there—the day of the vote. It was the day that President Clinton, you may remember, had heart surgery. But she issued a very strong press release condemning the bill and I assume if she had been there that she would have voted against it. I—I tell my story not to try to thump Senator Clinton but the story is important because it's a reminder of how money talks in Washington

    Present (none / 0) (#24)
    by BDB on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:12:53 PM EST
    I've long thought the Planned Parenthood story was crap, but even if you accept it there are still a number of votes where he was the only one or one of only a few to vote present.  The one time he tried to explain it, he was terrible.  I hope he comes up with a better answer if he's the nominee.

    Actually he has explained (none / 0) (#25)
    by Satya1 on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:31:19 PM EST
    this numerous times and the detail of the explanation depends on which version you read or look at.  If you're really concerned you could go to his campaign factcheck page.  It's not that hard to do.  I visit Obama's and Clinton's fact check pages frequently.

    The NYT article in the link above also contains explanations on other "present" votes.  I don't think I should have to copy the whole article in a comment in order to get people to read the whole article.

    When a number of these insinuations about the "present" vote have already been clearly shown to be crap, I think it is time to ask the Clinton campaign to come up with something a little more substantive than vague smears.


    I Know He Has Explained It (none / 0) (#30)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 12:57:20 AM EST
    I simply do not believe him or Planned Parenthood.  Other legislators do not remember such a strategy.  And even if there was such a strategy, it makes no sense for Obama to have participated in the "present' voting since he was from a safe district.  Indeed, he should've been one of the folks voting on the merits to protect those whose districts were more at risk.  

    His explanation on why he was the only Senator to vote "present" on the bill related to sex shops and schools, previously discussed here at TalkLeft, makes even less sense.  The bill was clearly not unconstitutional and, even if it somehow was, then the proper vote on a bill you think is unconstitutional is no, not present.

    I know he has explanations for his present votes and some of those explanations - like voting present as a block with other Dems on budget issues - make complete sense.  Others do not hold water.   For some of his votes, the only explanation that makes any sense is that Obama was simply practicing political CYA.


    you may not believe Obama or Sutherland (none / 0) (#36)
    by Satya1 on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 07:38:59 PM EST
    but it also means you don't believe IL Atty Gen. Lisa Madigan and 5 others.  Here is what Katie Wheeler believes:

    Katie Wheeler, a former state senator, said the Clinton campaign had not given her background information about Obama's record on abortion rights when it asked her to sign the letter calling him weak on the issue, and said that, as a result, she did not understand the context of the votes that the letter was attacking him over.

    "It should never have gotten to the point where anyone thought Obama was not pro-choice," said Wheeler, a founder of the New Hampshire chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "I don't think the Clinton campaign should have done that. It was divisive and unnecessary...I think it was a mistake and I've spoken to the national [Clinton campaign] and told them it caused problems in New Hampshire, and am hoping they won't do it again."