Line of Attack


Next week marks the unofficial start of the presidential primary campaigns, what will be a breakneck pace of fund-raising and politicking at least until January (not that it hasn’t gone on already).

There’s already been much speculation of how seriously Barack Obama’s campaign will challenge Hillary Clinton, especially when it comes to Obama’s “experience” issue.

On Saturday, before a hip crowd at Falcon Restaurant, Obama’s new California Campaign director Mitchell Schwartz perhaps offered a preview of harsh rhetoric to come when he “took the gloves off” and focused on Clinton’s experience. He cited her stint in the late 1980s on the Wal Mart board of directors, “While they perfected the art of denying health care and retirement benefits for their workers.”

Schwartz continued, “In the 1990s, she headed the health care task force. She couldn’t get anything through a Democratically controlled Congress. We had all of Congress and not one piece of legislation got through. Now there are more uniusured Americans that ever. Because of that debacle, we lost Congress, and I was there. I was working for the Clinton administration at the time. We lost Congress, there were a bunch of investigations, it led to impeachment and we wasted the last bunch of years of the Clinton administration. Now let’s go to this decade. She voted to authorize the war in October of 2002. She didn’t read the National Intelligence Estimate. This was something that was available to all 100 senators. And in fact it was so important that Bob Graham, who was the chairman of the intelligence committee then, he’s a conservative Democrat, he read the report… and it convinced him to vote against it. She didn’t bother reading it.”

He added, “Experience without judgment leads to Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.”

Schwartz then noted, “Barack Obama, when he takes office in 2009 will be older than JFK and older than Bill Clinton (at their inaugurals). He will have served in government for more time than Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.”

Many in the crowd were young industry professionals, part of a new fund-raising and organizing group called Generation Obama. Saturday marked the kickoff of such groups across the country.

Clinton’s California spokesperson, Luis Vizcaino, had this response: “Senator Obama says he wants to change politics but attacking other Democrats in the face of falling poll numbers screams status quo. The reality is that Senator Clinton has been a change advocate for over 35 years and has the strength and experience to make change happen starting on day one of her presidency.”

More photos from the event at 008 the Movement.

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    Delivered on 26 October 2002 in Chicago at Federal Plaza at an anti Iraq war rally organized by the ANSWER coalition.
    Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.
    The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil.
    I don’t oppose all wars.
    My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.
    I don’t oppose all wars.
    After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
    I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
    What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
    That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
    Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.
    He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
    I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
    So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.
    You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.
    You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.
    You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.
    Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
    The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not – we will not – travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.
    Retrieved from “”

  2. Barack Obama’s “Inexperience”
    As Senator Barack Obama seeks the presidency, some have accused him of “inexperience.” I, too, have commented on his scanty experience in military and foreign affairs.
    Compared to the political warhorses running against him, Obama seems young. The media give the impression that he first sprang on the political scene in 2004, when he gave his now-famous keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.
    But impressions are not facts. Every once in a while, it’s good to take a “reality check.”
    Experience in the abstract does not matter. The only eligible national figure who has real and substantial experience in the military, diplomatic corps and Cabinet, as well as demonstrated good judgment, is Colin Powell; and he’s not running. What matters is how Obama compares with his fellow candidates and previous presidents.
    Obama’s chief political rival is Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. By the time of the next presidential election, she will have been a United States Senator for eight years—her only elective office. Obama will have been a United States Senator for four years and an Illinois state senator for eight. His political experience thus compares well with Senator Clinton’s, although Sen. Clinton has the edge in national experience. Senator Clinton also has the derivative experience of having lived in the White House during her husband’s eight years as president, as well as her leadership of an ineffective health-case task force.
    Senators Clinton and Obama share a key weakness: lack of substantial experience in military, diplomatic and foreign affairs. This weakness is important but is shared by all the leading candidates with the exception of John McCain. Both Clinton and Obama have some relevant senatorial experience—Clinton on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Obama on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    These facts show little salient difference in experience between the two candidates. Clinton has the edge in years in national elective office; Obama has the edge in total years in elective office, number of elective offices held and number of elections won. Senator Clinton’s experience as first lady has marginal relevance to today’s challenges, for today’s chief issues—terrorism at home, global warming, energy independence, the tradeoff between security and civil rights, and international competitiveness—were hardly on the radar screen on President Clinton’s watch. The failure of Senator Clinton’s health-care task force and the widespread ridicule it received qualifies as relevant experience only in a negative sense. Therefore the choice between Senators Clinton and Obama must rest on matters other than their respective resumes.
    Now let’s look at actual presidents. Following is a table comparing Barack Obama’s experience in higher political office with the experiences of five presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush, and the experience of Senator Clinton:
    Pre-Presidential Experience of Selected Presidents and Candidates: Total Years in State Legislature or Higher Elected Office Prior to Assuming Presidency
    President State Legislature Governorship U.S. House U.S. Senate Age at Inauguration Inaugural Year
    Abraham Lincoln 8 0 2 0 51 1861
    John F. Kennedy 0 0 6 8 43 1961
    Jimmy Carter 4 6 0 0 52 1977
    Ronald Reagan 0 8 0 0 70 1981
    George W. Bush 0 6 0 0 54 2001
    Barack Obama* 8 0 0 4* 47* 2009*
    Hillary Rodham Clinton* 0 0 0 8* 61* 2009*
    * If elected president in 2008.
    As this table shows, Obama’s “inexperience” is a myth. He is right in the mainstream of all five presidents listed. At twelve years, his experience in elective office would beat all but John Kennedy’s. (The table omits experience in lower, unofficial and nongovernmental offices, such as Carter’s extensive service on county boards and commissions, Reagan’s service as President of the Screen Actors Guild, Obama’s experience in community organizing, and Senator Clinton’s experience as first lady.)
    Obama is also in the mainstream of the five presidents with regard to age. On assuming office he would be four years older than John Kennedy. He would be right in the middle of the collective inaugural ages of Lincoln, Kennedy, Carter and George W. Bush.
    In only one respect is Obama’s experience “light.” Unlike Carter, Reagan, and the younger Bush, Obama has never governed a state. But in this respect he is like Lincoln—our greatest president—and like Kennedy, one of our most inspiring and beloved leaders.
    The president’s most important role is not commanding the army or balancing the budget, but sensing the spirit and needs of the times and leading the nation to act accordingly. Washington felt the spirit of a new nation and saw it through its difficult birth pangs. Lincoln saw the moral wrong and economic waste of slavery and abolished it, preserving and enhancing our diverse nation in the process. Teddy Roosevelt saw our rise to power and increased our strength, while preserving economic liberty at home with his “trust-busting.” Franklin Roosevelt preserved economic liberty with a “new deal” for everyone; then he saw the rising menace of totalitarian militarism abroad and met it just in time. Ronald Reagan sensed the error and decay of the worldwide Communist movement and gave it the coup de grace.
    When we consider our greatest presidents, we don’t think of their “executive skills.” What we revere is their ability to see farther than the rest of us—to use their charisma and political skill to inspire and nudge us to do the right thing. Our greatest presidents, Lincoln and FDR, goaded and inspired us to do what we had to do despite great inertia and resistance. Lincoln led us to fight our bloodiest war in order to preserve our union, rid ourselves of the scourge of slavery and bring our Jeffersonian ideals to life. Roosevelt led an isolationist nation to meet history’s greatest challenge of oppressive military tyranny.
    These leaders were great not because they had the technical skills of a modern CEO. None of the current crop of candidates does, without exception. What these leaders had was an extraordinary ability to push us in the right direction although the path was steep.
    Despite all the grievous errors of the last six years, we are still the world’s leader and beacon of hope. Any president worthy of the name must be able to relight that beacon and rekindle the hope. The vast upwelling of support for Obama suggests that ordinary people have read his book, The Audacity of Hope, and believe he can do just that. Does cautious and methodical Senator Clinton, who took four years to “triangulate” her position on the War in Iraq, have the same ability to inspire?
    What matters most in the next election is intelligence, vision and perspective. The threat of terrorism is real and important, but even it is not our greatest threat. In their times, the threats of Nazi and Imperial Japanese militarism and of Communist expansionism and the Soviet nuclear arsenal were far more serious.
    Our greatest threat today is our own physical and moral decline. Our roads, bridges, and industrial infrastructure are crumbling. We are losing ground to international rivals in energy, in scientific, medical and technical research, in industry, and in education. We have already lost the first position in providing universal high-speed access to the very Internet that we created. Our best and brightest minds increasingly seek jobs not as scientists, engineers, builders, doctors, and inventors, but instead as investment bankers, stock brokers and lawyers. There they use their brains and skill to “invent” new forms of financial instruments. They devise intricate ways to deprive their elders of promised, hard-earned pensions without violating the letter of the law.
    We can no longer protect our people and major cities from natural disasters, and we are doing virtually nothing to stop the global warming that threatens to increase them. We expect the least privileged among us to fight, for money, wars that the most privileged will not fight for duty, honor, or country. Sometimes it seems as if we have turned our economic engine of capitalism into a juggernaut of heedless, amoral greed. Clearly we have lost our way.
    Over all these signs of moral decline lies the pall of deep social divisions. The rich are retreating to gated communities, while the poor fester in inner cities. Many people want to deport and punish the immigrants who prepare their food, take care of their yards and children, and do all the other work too hard and dirty for the native-born to do. And a rising tide of true believers seeks to solve all of these real and pressing problems by taking ancient scriptures literally.
    If the polls are right, the Republican Party is now seriously considering nominating for president a man who has held no office higher than mayor. John McCain—a war hero, respected senator, and widely acknowledged moral leader—is losing to a man largely unknown outside of New York City, except for effective action during the year after September 11. These facts show how desperate we are for good leadership.
    The people sense all this. They understand that we are in a deep national moral crisis, and not just about Iraq. They want a president who can lead us out.
    Against these real needs of our times, small differences in political experience measured by years in office are meaningless. Obama measures up to recent presidents—and one of our greatest—on this count. But what matters is whether he can be the great leader for whom the nation yearns.
    The campaign of the coming year will test whether Obama can realize the promise of his book. If he can, his political resume will not and should not matter.
    Obama is smart enough to appoint good people to fill the gaps in his own experience, including gaps in military and foreign affairs. He is also realistic enough to follow the advice of experts—not political hacks—where he is the amateur. Those traits alone would have saved us the pain of Iraq.
    Obama’s experience compares well with that of his chief Democratic rival, exceeds the experience of the current Republican front-runner, and measures up on the scale of history. So now let’s talk about his intelligence, vision, charisma and perspective. Let’s discuss our dire need for good leadership. Let’s see whether Obama is strong enough to pull us all out of the deep hole dug by the one who sits in the big office now.

  3. I think many of us are tired of division politics.
    It does none of us any good.
    We need politicians who want to do the real business of we the people.
    Will honesty win ?
    It will if WE are honest.
    If many of us continue seeking a winner versus honesty we all lose.
    “”People who own races horses try to own all the ponies in the race. That way they can’t lose, while the masses in the stands losa at the hands of these owners””
    For many many years thats is what the group Bilderberg has done and so we the people in the stands can’t see the bigger picture and most of us get taken to the cleaners.
    I am tired of being controlled and the only way we can win is to not play their game and elect a president who isn’t controlled by the powers to be.
    In my research of facts i have found that kerry
    edwards were also bilderberg candidates (as were Bill
    Clinton and Al Gore) and with edwards pushing far left
    and hillary pushing far right as they both play in the
    democratic field, Edwards is just trying to break down
    voters who would otherwise join Barack in his campaign
    but i think eventually that tactic will falter. Barack
    who is not in the middle, but in the Truth, will, with
    his ability to unite versus using division, bring him
    to a positive finish.
    Its just up to us to educate the citizenry to this
    understanding and we should do so in the same Fashion
    as Barack has taught us.
    I am Barack Obama you are Barack Obama we are Barack
    please understand yes we all have our own personal
    issues but we need to look at the bigger world picture
    and how for over 50 yrs the USA has been guided by the
    You might think in terms of your local community and
    how presidents have affected your life and well i
    understand that but you need to see barack is looking
    at the world picture firstly then he will be able to
    help local issues in our communities.
    a few blogs i wrote you might want to read
    IRAQ WAR Background who is fighting + why = how Barack
    Can bring Peace
    “When we change presidents, it is understood to mean
    that the voters are ordering a change in national
    policy. Since 1945, three different Republicans have
    occupied the White House for 16 years, and four
    democrats have held this most powerful post for 17yrs
    “Somebody Had to Speak Out. If Not Me, Who?” – Maj.
    Gen. John Batiste Fired by CBS News for Anti-Iraq War
    about Baracks knowledge on Pakistan:
    read july 25 senate CFR statement
    Here you will see how torn Barack was during the last
    He had Hillarys niave statement and he also had to
    deal with the REAL TRUTH
    That lead him to SAY THE RIGHT THING
    and that wasn’t good for POLLS
    We all have heard last Month that Bush says we are
    close to being attacked again here in the U. S. A.
    I just read the 9-11 commission report.
    page 397 at the bottom you will read about their
    concern with A.Q. Khan
    “”Pakistan Loosens Some Restrictions on Disgraced
    Nuclear Scientist””
    July 3, 2007
    Pakistan has eased some
    restrictions on the disgraced scientist Abdul Qadeer
    Khan, the developer of the country’s nuclear bomb, who
    confessed to having run an illicit global
    July 18, 2007, Wednesday
    New intelligence estimate
    released by White House shows Bush administration
    strategy for fighting Osama bin Laden’s leadership of
    Al Qaeda in Pakistan has failed, forcing adminstration
    to consider more aggressive measures; ,
    Bob Fertik says on July 18, 2007 – 12:12pm.
    That Bush has lost the ability to deal with Al Qaeda
    in Pakistan.
    Pakistan’s Future: Building Democracy, or Fueling
    Extremism? – Statement Before the Senate Committee On
    Foreign Relations Washington, DC JULY 25TH 2007

  4. Oh yea thats right Bill Clinton passed the 1994 crime
    bill that removed
    pell grants for prisoners
    Federal Crime Bill
    By Paul Wright
    On September 13, 1994, Bill Clinton signed the final
    version of the
    bill into law. The same week congress passed the crime
    bill it also
    the “Bank Reform Bill.” Included in this law is a
    provision which will
    prevent the government from pursuing negligence cases
    against the
    individuals who caused the collapse of the savings and
    loan industry
    (mainly by looting the institutions they were
    entrusted to run or that
    they owned). Thus, it is apparent that “crime” isn’t
    the issue, the
    is who steals what from whom. The mood of congress was
    by Senator Joe Biden, an admitted plagiarist, who said
    “If someone came
    the floor and said we should barb wire the ankles of
    anyone who
    I think it would pass.”
    Officially titled the “Violent Crime Control and Law
    Enforcement Act of
    1994,” the final version of the bill is 120 pages
    long. It contains
    administrative amendments to existing laws,
    clarifications, etc. in
    addition to its substantive portions.
    This law abolished Pell grants for prisoners. The
    federal Pell Grant
    created in 1965 by Senator Claiborne Pell, D-RI, to
    aid low income
    students for college. The 1965 bill stated that no
    qualifying low
    persons would be excluded, prisoners were specifically
    mentioned in the
    bill and were intended to be included in the grant
    program. Media
    insinuated that prisoners were taking advantage of the
    opportunity for
    Grants because of an oversight in the original Pell
    Grant Bill that
    to specifically exclude them.
    The $6.3 billion program is considered a
    quasi-entitlement, says the
    Department of Education, and receives whatever funding
    is necessary for
    grants to all income eligible persons. Of that $6.3
    billion in the most
    recent fiscal year, a total of $35 million was
    allotted for prisoners.
    Most of that amount was in the form of federal aid
    paid not directly to
    individual prisoners, but in the form of payments to
    state programs
    designed to provide educational services to their
    prison inmates. The
    million allotted to prisoners represents less than six
    tenths of 1
    of the $6.3 billion total. Political rhetoric has
    propelled the myth
    the money wasted on prisoner Pell Grants will now be
    used to provide
    assistance to more worthy recipients in the community.
    The truth of the
    matter is that the $35 million saved won’t stay in the
    It will be retained by the U.S. Treasury (presumably
    to help pay for
    $9.8 billion earmarked for construction of more

  5. Todd Smyth says:

    Hillary has passed about 5 substantial bills period. That’s it.
    • Extend period of unemployment assistance to victims of 9/11
    • Pay for city projects in response to 9/11
    • Assist landmine victims in other countries
    • Assist family caregivers in accessing affordable respite care
    • Designate part of the National Forest System in Puerto Rico as protected in the Wilderness Preservation System

  6. Democracy Now!: Clinton Campaign’s Corporate & GOP Ties.
    YOUTUBE video
    Link =
    DemocracynowDOTorg transcripts::
    Link =
    A new expose in The Nation magazine finds that while Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is publicly trying to win support of unions in her presidential campaign, behind the scenes she is being advised by a team of strategists closely affiliated with unionbusters, GOP operatives and conservative media. We speak with the reporter who broke the story. [includes rush transcript]

  7. The clintons on Children welfare reform
    Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
    Children’s Defense Fund’s Marian Wright Edelman Calls
    on Congress &
    Administration to Help the Country’s Nine Million
    Children Without
    AMY GOODMAN: Marian Wright Edelman, we just heard
    Hillary Rodham Clinton. She used to be the head of the board of the Children’s Defense Fund, of
    the organization that you founded. But you were
    extremely critical of the Clintons. I mean, when President Clinton signed off on the, well,
    so-called welfare reform bill, you said, “His
    signature on this pernicious bill makes a mockery of his pledge not to hurt children.” So what are
    your hopes right now for these Democrats? And what are your thoughts about Hillary Rodham Clinton?
    MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Well, you know, Hillary Clinton is an old friend, but they are not friends in politics.

  8. ItsTimeToTurnThePage says:

    It’s about time somebody started telling the truth about Sen. Cinton’s
    Sen. Clinton has less experience than Sen. Obama. Sen. Clinton has BAD judgment. Sen. Clinton has a record of failure.
    Sen. Clinton is too divisive. Sen. Clinton cannot be trusted.
    For these reasons, she is not worthy of being elected President of the United States.

  9. Lamont says:

    I agree with Mr Schwartz about Sen.Clinton, and the Clintons of the 90’s it was a trouble time. Authorizing a 2002 war that has cost many young men, and women, lives which could have been prevented if some of them like Sen.Hilary, would have read the report. So i ask. Where is the experience that she has but putting us, america in a war.

  10. David says:

    The relevant differences between Obama and Hillary do not include the number of years each has served in the Senate. (They are both newbies there, compared to Dodd and Biden.) The key differences are whether they are qualified, given all of their background and experience, and what they would do. Also relevant is whether they can win — and just as much, whether they exhibit the kind of personality and leadership style that will wear well in office, and enable them to truly lead the nation into a new era.

  11. Schwartz’s comments are typical liberal blabberings — to say that Obama would have more government experience than Hillary Clinton IF he became President (a BIG if) is nothing more than an attempt to pull a fast one over Democrats. Being a State Senator can not prepare a person for the office of President. If experience in ANY office of government were the criteria for experience to be President of the U.S., then I know many Mayors who have more government experience than Obama. Does that mean they qualify to be President? Probably not.

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