QUESTION: JUST HOW CRIMINALLY RACIST AND SLEAZY ARE THE RIGHT WING REPUBLICAN ATTACKS ON THE OBAMAS GOING TO GET?
ANSWER: AS VICIOUS AND DEADLY AS WHITE AMERICAN RACISM HAS ALWAYS BEEN TOWARD AFRICAN AMERICANS...
June 12, 2008
Fox Forced to Address Michelle Obama Headline
By JIM RUTENBERG
For the third time in less than three weeks, Fox News Channel has had to acknowledge using poor judgment through inappropriate references to Senator Barack Obama.
The network has released a statement saying it should not have referred to Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, as “Obama’s Baby Mama,’’ as it did on Wednesday in an on-screen headline commonly called a “chyron.”
“A producer on the program exercised poor judgment in using this chyron
during the segment,” Bill Shine, a Fox News senior vice president, said in a statement.
The chyron appeared during a discussion between the conservative columnist Michelle Malkin and the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly about political attacks against Mrs. Obama. It read in full, “Outraged Liberals: Stop picking on Obama’s baby mama!” It was first publicized on Wednesday by Alex Koppelman of Salon.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term as one “chiefly in African-American usage” that refers to, “The mother of a man’s child, who is not his wife nor (in most cases) his current or exclusive partner.”
Earlier this week, the Fox News anchor E.D. Hill had apologized for raising the possibility that the Obamas affectionate fist bump during the senator’s victory rally in St. Paul on June 3 was “a terrorist fist jab.’’ Two weeks prior, the Fox News analyst Liz Trotta said she regretted making a joke about a possible assassination of Mr. Obama.
Her mea culpa followed that of former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas a week earlier after he made a similar crack at a gathering of the National Rifle Association.
In other news, Fox News Channel announced today that it was hiring Mr. Huckabee as a contributor.
To All Americans (and ESPECIALLY white, Latino, and Asian American citizens in this country):
ARE YOU GOING TO PUBLICLY SPEAK OUT AGAINST THESE KIND OF BLATANT CHARACTER ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS AND VICIOUS, RACIST LIES IN SUPPORT OF THE OBAMA FAMILY'S HUMANITY-- OR SIMPLY SIT BACK AND DO NOTHING?
Michelle Obama becomes GOP target
By: Carrie Budoff Brown
June 13, 2008
It’s less than a week into the general election campaign, but already Michelle Obama is a Republican target.
Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger leveled the first blow, introducing Republican John McCain’s wife at a fundraiser this week as someone who is “proud of her country, not just once but always.” Obama wasn’t mentioned by name, but the audience got it.
The dig signaled the start of what Democrats expect will be a concerted effort to cast Michelle Obama — and, by extension, Barack Obama — as an unpatriotic radical. It also pointed out the urgency to define Michelle Obama to general election voters before the opposition goes too far in doing it for her, strategists said.
“We live now in an era where everything and everyone is fair game,” said Douglas E. Schoen, who was a pollster and adviser to former President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2000. “It is certainly the case that Teresa Heinz Kerry was probably not an asset in John Kerry’s campaign, at least publicly, and the jury is still out on how the public will view Michelle Obama.”
Despite being a steady presence at her husband’s side on primary election nights, and sitting for occasional media interviews, Michelle Obama remains an unfamiliar figure to most voters, strategists said. When she campaigned in recent months, it was almost always alone and in small settings. The most sustained attention she received on cable news shows was for her controversial February statement leaving the impression that she wasn’t proud of her country until this year.
“There is no reason to expect her to have a brand. But the campaign needs to start doing that,” said Erik Smith, a Democratic strategist and aide to former Rep. Richard Gephardt during his 2004 presidential campaign. “Defining Michelle Obama goes a long way in defining Barack Obama. I am sure it is a campaign priority.”
Indeed, when the campaign launched a website today to combat rumors about Barack Obama's patriotism, his religion and his family, the first entry dealt with his wife.
Other efforts are on tap. She joins the candidate Friday for a roundtable in Ohio with senior citizens and appears as a guest host next week on "The View," the popular daytime talk show, giving her access to friendly, high-profile platforms. Campaign aides said they are “staffing up across the board,” including for Michelle Obama — a move that Schoen said reflects the need to “manage the image and utterances of the spouse.”
The heightened scrutiny “requires a level of staffing and attention to detail that goes beyond what spouses have typically gotten,” Schoen said.
Most voters likely won't decide which candidate to support based on wives. Only 22 percent of respondents in a Rasmussen Reports survey released Wednesday said their perception of the spouse is very important to how they vote. But the more people learn about her, the more people understand her husband, strategists said.
The Rasmussen survey showed Michelle Obama, at this point, as a more polarizing figure than Cindy McCain. Forty-eight percent of voters hold a favorable impression of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s spouse, while 42 percent view her unfavorably, including a “startling” 25 percent with a very unfavorable opinion, Rasmussen wrote in its release.
Cindy McCain earned a favorable assessment from 49 percent of voters and an unfavorable review from 29 percent, including 10 percent who held a very unfavorable opinion.
Michelle Obama receives lower ratings than first lady Laura Bush did during the 2004 campaign but fares better than did Heinz Kerry, whose numbers dropped as Election Day drew closer. Obama is drawing comparisons to another presidential spouse: Hillary Rodham Clinton, who, like Obama, was 44 years old, was Ivy League-educated, earned more money than her husband and raised a child in the spotlight. Clinton also became a lightening rod for the conservative right.
But unlike 1992, the debate isn’t a proxy battle about the traditional bounds for women. Obama, to a greater degree than Clinton, makes her family life the centerpiece of her public image, talking frequently about family-work life balance and her two young daughters.
This time, the criticism is rooted in a combustible mix of race and patriotism.
The Obama campaign and PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking website, have debunked chain e-mails in the last month claiming she advocated racial separatism in her college thesis. Long the domain of rumors about her husband, the e-mails also focused on her February remark: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.”
Michelle Obama later clarified her statement, saying that her pride was in the political process and that she was “absolutely” always proud of the country.
The Tennessee Republican Party picked up on the remark, however, and posted a Web video last month that juxtaposed her statement with average voters claiming pride in their country.
The video reaped considerable national media attention and drew a sharp response from Barack Obama (“Lay off my wife,” he said at the time). He did the same last week when he was forced to respond to rumors of a video showing his wife using a derogatory term for white people.
“There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails, and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,” Barack Obama said to a reporter who asked about the purported video, for which there is no evidence to support its existence. “That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.”
His comments followed a month of chatter from conservative pundits that the video's release was imminent. The fact that Barack Obama was personally pressed on the matter is said to be a reason why the campaign launched the website, which states on the front page: "No Such Tape Exists."
Chris Lehane, a veteran of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, said the Obama campaign faces a choice similar to the one they faced with Hillary Clinton. As she, too, became a target of Republicans, “we made the decision to put her out there and not go into the bunker,” Lehane said.
The campaign gave her “an entire support system,” including more than a dozen aides, he said. By the late summer, attacks on Hillary Clinton at the Republican National Convention backfired as polls showed the criticism had turned off moderate and independent voters.
“They are going to try to make her a focal point of the campaign,” Lehane said of Michelle Obama. The McCain campaign will likely avoid attacks, but independent expenditure groups “will take selectively used phrases, manipulate and exploit them.”
The biggest concern for McCain, said a Republican media consultant, “will be controlling renegade county chairmen and people who have a tendency to be less disciplined about the right thing to say."
“This is an area where people have to be extremely careful," said John Brabender, who is serving as an informal adviser to the McCain campaign. "Voters have grown to believe that spouses are often well off-limits.”
Campaign aides said they expect Michelle Obama to maintain her schedule of several days a week on the campaign trail, at least until her daughters finish the school year. They view her as Barack Obama’s best character witness, introducing him as a father and a husband, and making connections with other women, particularly as the campaign attempts to lock down Clinton voters.
Tucker Bounds, a McCain spokesman, said the Arizona senator is “committed to running a respectful campaign” that is focused on the issues. Bounds, however, did not respond to a request for comment on Eagleburger’s remark.
“She is more likely to be an issue during the slow summer months than the real campaign after Labor Day,” Brabender said. “It is a distraction that campaigns can just not afford.”
© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC
Just how sleazy and criminal is the Republican attack on Obama going to get? GUESS....
Rezko: Feds pushed for dirt on Obama
By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 6/12/08
Rezko was a prominent fundraiser for Obama’s campaigns for state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate, though not for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Imprisoned Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko has accused federal prosecutors of improperly pressuring him to implicate Barack Obama in a corruption case.
In a letter to the U.S. District judge who presided over his trial, Rezko, who was convicted this month of 16 corruption-related counts, including fraud and money laundering, called prosecutors “overzealous.” And he singled out what he said were their efforts to get him to turn on Obama, an Illinois senator and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“They are pressuring me to tell them the ‘wrong’ things that I supposedly know about Gov. Blagojevich and Sen. Obama,” Rezko wrote in an undated letter released by the court this week. “I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the governor or the senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. I will take what comes my way, but I will never hurt innocent people.”
Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago, wouldn't comment on Rezko's allegation.
Rezko was a prominent fundraiser for Obama’s campaigns for state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate, though not for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Though Obama was not implicated in any wrongdoing in the Rezko case, his name was mentioned sporadically during Rezko’s trial.
Obama’s campaign released a statement after the letter was made public, stressing that Obama hasn’t been accused of “any improper action or conduct involving Tony Rezko” and reiterating that he hasn’t been contacted for an interview or for any information about Rezko. “Nothing in this letter indicates anything to the contrary.”
Still, Republicans have seized on the relationship between the two, which includes a real estate deal that enlarged the Obama’s Chicago homestead, to question Obama’s judgment.
Blagojevich — who, like Obama, staked out an image as a political reformer — repeatedly found himself the subject of plenty of unwanted scrutiny during the trial, which prosecutors used to detail a complicated pay-to-play scheme involving state government boards and commissions.
Chicago media have reported that Rezko is being pressured to cooperate with ongoing investigations of Blagojevich’s campaign and administration.
But Rezko’s lawyer, Joe Duffy, told the Chicago Tribune that he did not know of any investigation into Obama’s dealings with Rezko.
“I'm not aware of any impropriety related to Rezko and Obama,” Duffy told the Tribune. "At no point has the government ever asked me a single question about Obama or any wrongdoing involving Rezko and Obama."
It’s not uncommon for prosecutors to try to get defendants to implicate more powerful or wealthy officials, said Stan Brand, who has represented scores of public officials both in private practice and as legal counsel to the U.S. House.
“Prosecutors are always interested in trading up,” Brand said. “They put subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle pressure on people.”
But proving that “they’ve actually crossed an ethical line and asked this guy to embellish or shade the truth in a way that’s helpful to them in some other case,” Brand said, is “a very difficult case to make absent some express coercion, which is very rare.”
The letter, apparently written during the two-month trial, was actually a plea to allow Rezko to see his family.
But its allegations about pressure to implicate Obama will surely give ammunition to partisans on both sides.
For Democrats, Rezko’s claim dovetails with allegations that the Department of Justice targeted high-profile Democrats.
For Republicans, it will be used to suggest Obama’s relationship with Rezko drew warranted federal scrutiny.
This is the actual country and world we live in...Don't forget that...PASS THE WORD...
June 5, 2008
Secret Service Detains Artist Over ‘Assassination’ Exhibit
By SEWELL CHAN
New York City police detectives and Secret Service agents briefly detained and questioned an artist on Wednesday morning as he installed an exhibition with the title, “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama.”
The artist, Yazmany Arboleda, tried to set up the exhibition in a vacant storefront at 264 West 40th Street in Midtown Manhattan, and had finished stenciling letters of the title on the plate glass windows at street level.
The police and Secret Service agents arrived about 9:30 a.m., and building workers quickly covered over the title with large sheets of brown paper and masking tape.
At first, police officers would not permit Mr. Arboleda to speak with reporters. But later, Mr. Arboleda, 27, talked about his exhibition in an interview.
“It’s art,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be harmful. It’s about character assassination — about how Obama and Hillary have been portrayed by the media.”
Mr. Arboleda said the exhibition was to open on Thursday and run all day. The interview ended abruptly as Mr. Arboleda was led to the Midtown South police precinct station for questioning.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m., Mr. Arboleda called reporters to say he had been released. “The Secret Service had to do a whole questionnaire with me,” he said. “It was about an hour of questioning. They asked if I owned guns, if I was a violent person, if I had ever been institutionalized.”
Mr. Arboleda said he answered “no” to the questions. Nonetheless, he said, the Secret Service asked him to take down the exhibition’s title from the window.
“I’m renting that space; the space was allocated for an exhibition, and it’s my right to put those words up,” he said. “They said it could incite someone to do something crazy, like break the window. It’s terrible, because they’re violating my rights. If someone breaks a window, they’re committing a crime.”
He added: “The exhibition is supposed to be about character assassination. It’s philosophical and metaphorical.”
Eric Joza, the manager of the 40th Street building, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, said of Mr. Arboleda: “I had no idea what he was going to do. All I knew is that he was an artist and was going to use the store.”
Special Agent Eric P. Zahren, a spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, emphasized in a telephone interview that the agency was not seeking to shut down the show.
“We did not shut down that exhibit or request that anybody else shut it down,” Agent Zahren said. “This was brought to our attention, we went out there and had a conversation with the individual, but we did not shut it down.”
Speaking to reporters around noon, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Mr. Arboleda had been questioned because the police wanted to determine his motives. “Obviously, they could be interpreted as advocating harm to protectees,” Mr. Kelly said. “Both of the senators, of course, are now being provided Secret Service protection.”
According to Web sites on Mr. Arboleda’s shows, including Yazmany.com, he was born in Boston in 1981 and lives in New York City. His family moved to Medellín, Colombia, shortly after he was born, and lived there until 1992. He holds a master’s degree in architecture and has been trained in photography, painting, fashion design and graphic design.
Comments touching on assassination during this political season have hit a nerve, and the safety of Senator Obama, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, has been an issue. When he was assigned Secret Service coverage in May 2007, it was the earliest point in a campaign that a candidate had been given protection.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company