News and Notes: Presidential Race
There's a lot happening in the White House derby today:
- Clinton Will Attend 2/21 Forum
- CNN is reporting that Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has agreed to participate in the February 21 candidates forum in Nevada. Richardson, Vilsack, Dodd, Biden and Gravel have already committed to the event.
- Obama Won't Accept Public Funds
- Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will join Clinton, former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in opting out of the public campaign financing system for the primary and general election campaigns. Obama and Edwards have also indicated that they will not accept contributions from lobbyists or political action committees. UPDATE: Ben Smith writes on Politico.com that the media reports are not correct. Obama simply asked the Federal Election Commission for an advisory opinion about whether he could accept private campaign contributions now that would not be allowed if he accepted public financing, and then return those contributions in the event he elected to do so.
- Clinton Can Win
- So wrote noted political prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg in a lengthy post on his blog, reprinted from Roll Call, in which he analyzes polling data and the strengths and weaknesses of various candidates. He isn't predicting a victory, just ruling out the prevalent notion that Clinton is not capable of defeating a strong Republican opponent.
- Accusers of Bloggers for Edwards Shouldn't Talk
- The MSM has given big play to the accusation drummed up by Catholic League president Bill Donohue and blogger Michelle Malkin that two bloggers recently hired by former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) should be fired as "vulgar, trash-talking bigots" for having used profane language while objecting to the positions of the Roman Catholic Church on women's reproductive rights in past blog posts. However, as Media Matters, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Browner Hamlin point out today, Donohue has his own history of trash-talking and bigotry, and so do bloggers who now work for Republican frontrunner John McCain. UPDATE: Salon is reporting that the Edwards bloggers have been fired, but Chris Bowers of MyDD doubts whether that report is accurate. Stay tuned. 2nd UPDATE: Still no comment from the Edwards campaign. Meanwhile, this Donohue character is really awful. Atrios reports that he told a gathering of right-wing Christian evangelists that lesbians are "something I'd expect to see in an asylum, frankly." And this is the guy who the New York Times portrays as speaking for all Catholics in objecting to Edwards' bloggers?
- Giuliani's Support Doesn't Work Wonders
- Hotline notes that Rudy Giuliani bragged in a Fox News Channel interview about how hard he has worked to support GOP candidates around the country, but the record of those candidates is not very impressive. Giuliani-backed candidates went a combined 32-43 in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and the candidate that Giuliani backed in a special election for the New York State Senate yesterday lost as well.
- Romney's Policy Speech is First Step Toward Announcement
- Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) gave a speech to a friendly business audience at the Detroit Economic Club today, promoting permanent tax cuts, portable health insurance and free trade. He has a strong base in Michigan because his father, who also ran for president, was governor there in the 1960s. Today's speech will be followed by an appearance at the Michigan Republican convention in Grand Rapids this weekend and the official announcment of his candidacy at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn next Tuesday.