OH-14: O'Neill (D) Undergoes Successful Bypass Surgery

Former appellate judge and congressional candidate Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) underwent cardiac bypass surgery at Hillcrest Hospital this morning after routine tests yesterday found blockages in three of his arteries.

Doctors called the surgery successful and predicted a rapid recovery:

“We have every reason to believe that Bill should be able to make a full recovery and should be back on the campaign trail very soon,” said Mark Rood, M.D., O’Neill’s physician. Rood said that catching these blockages early is a blessing. “We expect Bill to come out of this just as strong and vibrant, perhaps even more strong and vibrant, as he was before he came to see me.”

O’Neill, 60, was upbeat before surgery.

“I am fortunate to be in the hands of some of the best heart doctors in the world,” he said of his colleagues at Hillcrest. “I can’t help but be reminded of how lucky I am to have access to the care I need at such a crucial time in my life, and how there are thousands of men and women in this country who aren’t as fortunate.”

Campaign manager Toby Fallsgraff expects O’Neill to be back on the trail full time by his birthday, May 6:

"He also wanted me to let everyone know that, though he might be on the sidelines for the next few weeks, the campaign is moving forward because, as he put it, the changes we need in Washington are even more urgent than this surgery.”

The St. Patrick's Day Brunch that I wrote about yesterday will still take place on Sunday, but now it is a "Get Well Bill!" event as well as a celebration of his primary victory:

St. Patrick's Day Brunch
Sunday, March 16, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
James Catering, 29717 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe

$25 corned beef lunch (beer and pop included)

All Eyes On Mississippi

They're voting in Mississippi, where polls show Obama up by double digits over Clinton. For good local coverage, go to the Cotton Mouth Blog. There's an "I Voted" thread for Mississipians here - so far nobody is reporting any voting problems.

Two open congressional seats and a U.S. Senate contest are also on the ballot. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that turnout of 125,000 to 150,000 is expected, up from 100,000 in the 2004 presidential primary, and although Mississippi does not require a declaration of party affiliation there probably won't be a lot of cross-over voting due to the congressional primaries being on the ballot.

Taegen Goddard points out this item at First Read, noting that Mississippi is one of three southern states that an Obama nomination arguably could put into play in the general election, the others being Georgia and Alabama. A big showing by Obama today (more than 15%?) would bolster that argument.

UPDATE: Here is a detailed, district-by-district delegate analysis of Mississippi, ending with a prediction of a 20 to 13 delegate split in favor of Obama, but perhaps as big as 23 to 10.

Legislation to Ban LGBT Discrimination in Ohio Introduced

Today at 10:30 a.m. in the Ohio Statehouse, term-limited State Rep. Jon Peterson (R-Delaware), State Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus), and State Sen. Dale Miller (D-Columbus) will announce the introduction of new legislation to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protection will extend to housing, employment, and public accommodations (such as restaurants). Lynne Bowman, Equality Ohio Executive Director, and Jimmie Beall, who lost school job when discovered she was a lesbian, will also attend.

Hallelujah. It's about time we drag Ohio into the 21st century.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, twenty states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York. Ohio competes with those states as a destination for businesses and for desirable employees. More than 460 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than 2,600 private companies, colleges and universities, nonprofits and unions in the United States have adopted anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation, and a 2006 Gallup poll found that 85% of Americans oppose workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Recommended Post on Spitzergate

There's no defending Spitzer's conduct, but Jane Hamsher asks some excellent questions about how this case was developed, and who knew about it and when.

It's 4:00 P.M. In The White House, And A Lobbyist Is On The Phone ...

... who do you want answering that call?

Surge in Provisional Ballots Could Trigger Severe Criticism of Election Process

This could become a very big story in Ohio, depending on what is revealed in the coming days.

The Secretary of State has not yet released information on the number of provisional ballots cast in last Tuesday's primary election, despite the fact that county boards of elections were legally required to report that information by last Wednesday morning. Word is leaking out that the numbers will be very large indeed. Election law expert Dan Tokaji writes on the excellent Equal Vote Blog that provisional ballots in Franklin County may top 6%:

I have learned that a large number of provisional ballots were cast in Franklin County (Columbus area) on Tuesday. The total reported turnout was 299,688, but I'm told that there are approximately 20,000 additional provisional ballots that have yet to be verified or counted. If that's correct, it means that around 6.25% of Franklin County voters cast a provisional ballot. That's a lot.

That would continue an upward trend from the 2.8% provisionals cast in 2004 and a higher proportion in 2006.

Paid Sick Days Proposal Very Popular in New Poll

A ballot issue likely to wind up on the general election ballot would require employers with 25 or more workers to allow full-time employees to earn 7 paid sick days per year. A poll of 2,082 Republicans and 2,308 Democrats conducted February 21-29 was released by the Columbus Dispatch today, and it shows major support for the proposal.

Among Democrats a total of 76% favor the ballot issue (43% strongly), and among Republican 45% favor it (16% strongly). That compares to 15% and 44% opposed, respectively, and about 10% undecided in each group. Independents were not polled.

Gov. Strickland's proposal to issue bonds to pay for a jobs and economic stimulus package, which could also be on the ballot, fared less well, with 54% of Democrats and 25% of Republicans in favor.

The paid sick days issue could be a big deal as far as driving Democratic voters to the polls, much like the minimum wage issue passed in 2006.

Video - "American Cities '08" Asks Questions of Presidential Candidates

The National League of Cities today launched "American Cities '08, the Road to the White House Runs Through America's Hometowns," a focused effort to raise the voice and concerns of cities in the ongoing presidential campaign. The campaign includes a web site and other resources like video, buttons, and traditional printed publications. The whole idea is to ask tough questions of the presidential candidates and identify seven core policy areas where cities will seek a two-way partnership with the federal government instead of the usual trickle-down attitude.

Here is an initial video that makes the case for a focused urban policy at the federal level and asks some very tough questions of candidates and voters:

Seven out of 10 Americans live in cities and towns in this country. Energy independence, global warming, internet access, infrastructure, affordable housing, poverty, economic opportunity, comprehensive immigration reform, public safety -- these are all areas that are critical to our cities and require support from the federal government.

Gov. Spitzer (D-NY) Admits Involvement With Prostitution Ring, Will Resign

The New York Times broke the story today that Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) has admitted to some level of involvement with a high-priced prostitution ring and scheduled a press conference for 2:15 p.m. It's now 3:01 and no press conference yet.

This is truly shocking in view of Spitzer's singular reputation for cracking down on corruption and organized crime. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) seems to have survived an allegation of frequenting a prostitute, but Spitzer will be held to an entirely different standard. On a comment board on the Time site, the vast majority of commenters are calling for Spitzer's resignation.

UPDATE: Spitzer apologized to his family and to the public "for acting in a way that violated his obligation to his family" and said that he needs to take "time to regain the trust of his family." He said that he acted in a way that was a disappointment to himself and fell short of what the public should expect. He didn't address whether he is resigning but said he would say more later. He didn't take questions.

He also said that politics is not about individuals but about issues and what is best for the public. That might be a signal that he is thinking of trying to fight the scandal.

2nd UPDATE: MSNBC claims that it's sources say Spitzer will resign. The Lieutenant Governor of New York is David Paterson (D), an interesting and widely admired man. He was born legally blind and was an assistant district attorney before he became a state senator. He would become the first African American governor of New York if Spitzer resigns. [And, obviously, the first legally blind governor of any state.]

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

Bulletins from the battlegrounds:

OH-01: Chabot Staffer Used Official E-Mail to Help Oberweis Campaign - The Hill reports that Chabot staffer Matthew Lillibridge used his official government email account to forward an e-mail requesting phonebanking assistance for IL-14 candidate Jim Oberweis (R), apparently in violation of House rules against using House resources for campaign purposes. “It raises questions as to what other activities are taking place in Congressman Steve Chabot’s office on the taxpayer’s dime,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) said. It also raises questions about the priorities in Chabot's office. "Steve Chabot was elected to represent the interests of his Ohio constituents, not the Bush administration, the National Republican Congressional Committee or dairy magnates from Illinois," wrote Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Alex Goepfert in an email today. "It might be a good idea if Steve Chabot's office spent a little less time meddling in Illinois congressional races and a little more time focusing on the issues that Ohioans care about." Chabot spokesman George Cecala apologized for the incident on Friday.

Meanwhile, opponent Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) is irritated that Sen. Gary Cates (R-West Chester) has introduced a plan to change redistricting (now that the GOP is in danger of losing control of the system) that mirrors a Driehaus proposal which fell on deaf ears in 2005. "You can't have a redistricting plan that is just supported by one party. It's not going to fly," Driehaus said. "Republicans had a chance to address redistricting (and) failed to do so because they were in power. Now that they are beginning to see some of that power fade in the state of Ohio, they are again engaging in political gamesmanship when it comes to redistricting."

OH-02: Black Says He Underestimated Number of Voters - In a story in the Kentucky-based Community Press, unsuccessful primary candidate Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) blamed his loss in part on his campaign anticipating about 35,000 voters. After Super Tuesday, the estimate was raised to 86,000. (Actual voting in the congressional primary was 94,946.) "That presented a virtually insurmountable challenge for a first-time candidate," Black told the newspaper. He also said that he may run again, "under the right set of circumstances."

Primary winner Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) will march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cincinnati from 1:00 to 2:30 this Saturday, and on March 20th there will be a fund-raiser for Wulsin with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at 11:00 am at a private home. Contact the campaign at 513-233-4180 or victory@wulsinforcongress.com for details.

OH-03: Mitakides At Morton Fundraiser Tomorrow - Jane Mitakides (D) will attend a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser for 35th District state representative candidate Charles Morgan (D) tomorrow night (working on getting location for that), and the Montgomery County Democratic Party "Frolic for Funds" next Tuesday, March 18th at the Dayton Convention Center, 220 E. 5th Street.

David Esrati (D-Dayton), who finished third with 12% of the vote, is mum on whether he'll run next time, but he's very interested in improving the information about candidates in future races. He notes that twice as many voters left the congressional primary race blank as voted for him, which bothers him more than losing.

OH-06: Wilson Has The Power - David Potts notes that Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) has jumped from 290th to 179th in the ranking of most powerful members of Congress at Congress.org, which Wilson attributes to his spot on the Financial Services Committee. House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) is the top House member from Ohio in 6th place, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) is the top Ohio Democratic House member at 58th. Wilson is far ahead of fellow Ohio first-termers Zack Space (D-Dover) at 241st and Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) at 266th.

Although he didn't send out a press release about it, Wilson was ranked right about in the middle of the liberal-to-conservative scale by the National Journal (his composite score of 55.2% means he is more liberal that that proportion of his colleagues), which helps him deflect criticism that he is too liberal for his rural district.

OH-07: Weak DDN Endorsement of Austria Helps Neuhardt - The Dayton Daily News issued one of the most double-edged endorsements ever when they gave the nod to State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) in the GOP primary, writing that retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) "did not serve his district well" in selecting Austria as his successor. Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) plans to make use of it in her campaign, as reflected in this statement on her campaign site:

"In November Ohio voters will have a clear choice for Congress. Washington is not working for Ohio families. It's time for a change and to end the partisan bickering. Steve Austria is a career politician who newspapers have said ‘is not a good choice' and has ‘no compelling record.' I am someone who has real life experience and someone who will never give up fighting for change and to get our economy moving again."

Meanwhile, runner-up Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek), who fell short in his bid to run a second time, says on his website that will not run again, although he intends to keep his site going to "get national exposure" for his ideas.

OH-03: Interview With Jane Mitakides

Early last month I had a long talk with Jane Mitakides (D) about her campaign for Congress in the 3rd Ohio Congressional District. I was unable to get this interview transcribed and published before the primary election as I intended, but now with all of that distraction ended it is the prefect time to get acquainted with this candidate, who has the experience, the resources, and the energy to run a strong race in a district that is trending blue, although held by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) since 2003.

[UPDATE: Dave of Into My Own is a big fan of Jane Mitakides and is blogging "full bore" about her race. He has set up this ActBlue link for readers to contribute to her campaign.]

YDS: I'm delighted to have this opportunity to talk to you because I think the 3rd District is an exciting opportunity for the Democrats and you are an exciting candidate. So I want to ask you a few questions to introduce you to readers of my blog. How far back does your interest in politics go?

JM: The first campaign headquarters I ever set foot in my life was John F. Kennedy for President in 1960. I was just a child and my mother was volunteering down there and she took me with her. It was long before word processors and she would address postcards and letters and things and let me put the stamps on them. So I was pretty sure that I had single-handedly gotten John Kennedy elected. [laughter] So, I have always been involved. I think that as an adult one of the first major races I was involved with was Al Gore for President 1988. I still have those buttons and bumper stickers.

YDS: Uh huh.

JM: My grandfather was a judge in Tennessee. There was just this tradition of involvement and service in my family.

YDS: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

JM: I was born here in Dayton. My first home was here in the city. I've lived around this area almost all of my life. I lived in Cincinnati for about two and a half years, and I lived in New York for about a year.

YDS: That's fantastic about John F. Kennedy. My father was in the Navy so I grew up in the usual ports of call, one of which was Newport, Rhode Island, while it was Kennedy's "Summer White House." I remember seeing him when I was six and it was an electrifying experience.

JM: I remember that my mother took me to hear him speak from the steps of the courthouse here in Dayton. It occurred to someone that it had been exactly 100 years since Abraham Lincoln had come to Dayton campaigning in 1860 and had spoken from the courthouse, so they had found old photos and built a platform in much the same place and manner. Of course, no one knew at the time all of the various tragic parallels that would eventually be drawn between the two of those two presidents.

OH-11: Tubbs Jones Named "Player of the Week"

Ben Pershing of the "Capitol Briefing" blog at the Washington Post has named Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) his "Player of the Week," based mostly on Hillary Clinton winning Ohio with Tubbs Jones as one of her staunchest supporters. Pershing doesn't mention that her district went for Obama 70% to 30%, although he appears to be very impressed that Tubbs Jones stuck with Clinton when "the chips appeared to be down" and civil rights icon John Lewis (D-GA) "made big news" by switching, and even mentions speculation that she might face a primary challenge over her unwavering support.

Tubbs Jones' decision to stick with Clinton doesn't suprise me at all. Tubbs Jones is closer to Clinton than Lewis and is a national co-chair for her campaign. The other notion -- that she may face a serious primary challenge -- is totally far-fetched. Although there is grumbling on the ground about Tubbs Jones' choice (I know, I've received some email about it), she is still widely revered in the district and even among her detractors her actions are viewed in terms of the positive traits of loyalty and keeping her word. (This is no accident, either. Tubbs Jones made a variety of appearances and published an essay explaining her actions in those terms.) Sticking with Clinton may have cost her some goodwill among some supporters, but changing direction would have cost her as well. If she were to be challenged in a primary it wouldn't happen until the next cycle, when passions have cooled. I really can't see it happening.

[video two-fer] Me and my ballot; seniors are doing it for themselves

This video shows my polling location, it's not so busy-ness when I was there and what the Ohio ballot looked like in Cuyahoga County.

This video explains the voting options available to senior citizens who reside at a Beachwood residential care apartment. At the end, the staffer speaking tells us who she will vote for and why.

Many thanks to the polling location's hospitality (I showed the person in charge a copy of the SOS's media guide info) and the Wiggins Place folks.

Bill Foster (D IL-14) Wins 53% To 47

A major victory in Denny Hastert's old seat!


Obama Ahead in Big-Turnout WY Caucuses; Good Polling for Foster (D) in IL-14

Huge turnout and dominance by Obama in caucuses continue to be the story line as Wyoming awards 12 delegates today:

Obama led Clinton 56% to 42% percent with 8 of 23 counties reporting.

... Obama has outperformed Clinton in caucuses — winning 12 to her three ...

... During the first caucuses of the day, it appeared the state's Democrats were showing up in record numbers. In 2004, a mere 675 people statewide took part in the caucuses.

In Sweetwater County, more than 500 people crowded into a high school auditorium and another 500 were lined up to get inside.

"I'm worried about where we're going to put them all. But I guess everybody's got the same problem," said Joyce Corcoran, a local party official. "So far we're OK. But man, they keep coming." ...

In Cheyenne, scores of late arrivers were turned away when party officials stopped allowing people to get in line at 11 a.m. EST. ...

In Casper, home of the state party's headquarters, hundreds were lined up at the site of the Natrona County caucus. The location was a hotel meeting room with a capacity of 500. ...

"We'll have to put 'em in the grass after a while," said Bob Warburton, a local party official.

There is a results thread on MyDD.com, the most recent entry on which indicates that a 7-5 delegate split looks likely.

In the other voting going on today, a special election in the IL-14 district of retired GOP leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL), a poll released by reliable pollster Survey USA a few days ago showed the Democrat ahead in a close race (4.4 margin of error):

52% Foster (D)
45% Oberweis (R)
3% Undecided

It's all about whose supporters turn out in the snow today.

Dem candidate Bob Belovich's website for run at Ohio House 17th live; JoshMandel.com "under construction"

Robert S. Belovich is the Democratic candidate for the Ohio House 17th district seat. Republican Josh Mandel won that seat in 2006.

Belovich's website has gone live and you can view it here at Bobbelovich.com. It looks very nice right now and I hope he works (or has other working) to keep it current - that's one of the top things locals need to do on their sites. That, and raise money with them, I would think.

His first news item is this:

Bob outpaced the Republican incumbent in the March 4 primary. According to the unofficial tally of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, 15305 voters cast their ballots for Bob Belovich, while the Republican incumbent received 8695 votes cast.

Mandel's campaign website indicates that it is "under construction."

As I've written before, Mandel's staff who have been taking care of business since August 2007, when he volunteered to return to Iraq, have been very good in following up with me whenever I've had questions. This is particularly true when it comes to the Wireless 911 issue.

However, as good as this communication has been, Mandel has voted very infrequently with the way I would like my house district representative to vote, and for that reason, I look forward to learning more about the Democratic candidate, Belovich.

If you live in the 17th, I hope you will check out the candidates and comment on this race. I would love to see a debate between the candidates, for example.

McCain Surrounds Himself With Bushies, Now Including Karl Rove

Politico reports that Bush's brain Karl Rove and Bush's hatchet man Ken Mehlman have hooked up with the McCain camp as unpaid advisors, joining other Bushies like attack dog Steve Schmidt and media strategist Mark MacKinnon. Bush advisors Dan Bartlett and Sara Taylor are anxious to join as well.

And what kind of campaign are they creating? It looks like they're going to run a national security-slash-terrorism campaign as they try to sell America on a third term for Bush policies. Here is the 2 minute introductory ad the campaign has created, all of it focused on military heroism and saber-rattling:

A 2004-style campaign based on fear of terrorism will fail. Period.

Actress in Clinton Red Phone Ad is Obama Volunteer

This is too rich. The Clinton "red phone" ad used 8-year-old stock footage (perfectly legally) and the sleeping girl in the bed is a voting-age active Obama supporter, who'd like to get together with Obama and do a counter-ad:

(h/t Renee in Ohio at BSB)

Calling Hillary a Monster ‘Offensive,’ ....

Calling Hillary a Monster ‘Offensive,’ Monsters Say

Prominent Miscreants Outraged Over Remark

An Obama campaign aide’s remarks in which she called Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) a “monster” have ignited a firestorm of controversy among monsters across the U.S., prominent monsters confirmed today.

Calling Hillary Clinton a monster is “odious and offensive to monsters everywhere,” said Tracy Klujian, the executive director of the Monster Anti-Defamation League, a group that monitors unflattering portrayals of monsters and miscreants in the media.

“As monsters, we are subject to defamation and stereotyping on a daily basis,” Mr. Klujian said. “But being lumped together with Hillary Clinton is really a low blow.”

Mr. Klujian said that he was pleased that the Obama aide had resigned over the “monster” remark, but said that “more work will need to be done” if the Illinois senator is to mend fences with the monster community.

“We monsters count for as much as five percent of the vote in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Klujian said. “And that number is even higher in Pittsburgh.”

Perhaps in an effort to steer clear of the controversy, Sen. Clinton herself dodged the issue of whether or not Sen. Obama is a monster in an upcoming interview on “Sixty Minutes.”

“He’s not a monster as far as I know,” she told Steve Kroft in an interview to air this Sunday. “I mean, I take him on the basis of what he says, and, you know, if he says he’s not a monster, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.”

Elsewhere, Rep. Ron Paul said that he is dropping out of the G.O.P. race, but would continue to run for president of Earth II.

Humor from the Borowitz Report

OH-02: Wulsin Comments on Cross-Over Support, Including Bob McEwen

Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) was on the FireDogLake blog for an online chat the day after her primary victory over Steve Black and had some interesting things to say about cross-over support, and specifically from former GOP candidate Bob McEwen (highlighted):

The sentiment here at WFC is very positive. Not only did we defeat Black, we earned almost 15,000 more votes than Schmidt did. And that is well over the 2,500-some votes she beat me by in ‘06!
I hope to carry the Democratic banner all the way to DC! ...

Speaking of turn-out - in our so-called Republican district - we had thousands more Dems than Repubs vote. (I’ll get Josh to send the #s.) I look forward to calculating the previous “Is” and “Rs” who chose those “D” ballots yesterday, and asking them to GOTV for me in November. ...

I hear over and over again the disappointment Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District constituents have in Schmidt. She voted repeatedly against SCHIP (children’s health care); college loans; VA benefits; mortgage reform - and these are issues that folks comment on all the time. The $$$ to Iraq needs to be spent here in southern Ohio - and the people feel it. ...


OH-18: National Journal Puts Space In The Middle

Earlier today I wrote about the Cook Political Report moving OH-18 into the "Likely Democratic" category, and noted that Space earned it through fund-raising, visibilty, and case work. Another important factor is his voting record, which has caused me and other progressives to cringe at times but caused the National Journal to rate Space almost exactly in the middle on the liberal-to-conservative scale. On economic issues Space was graded more liberal than 54% of other house members, but on social and foreign policy he placed right in the middle at 50%. Overall, there are 212 members ranked more liberal and 218 more conservative.

Space will use this rating to deflect the inevitable attack ads that try to equate him with Nancy Pelosi, as indicated in his press release today:

“My constituents do not need statistics to prove what they already know – I am their independent voice in Congress,” Space said. “I pride myself in working for the best interests of my district – not a political party – and I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish this Congress.”

“In the 18th Congressional District, people are not looking for a Democrat or a Republican, and they are not looking for an ideologue. They want a moderate, independent Ohioan who will fight for them every day. I am proud to do that, and I am proud of this ranking,” Space continued.

This ranking won't satisfy everyone in his district, which has a significant conservative lean, but being a called a centrist is still very helpful to him.

McCain Loses Cool with Reporter

Did he ever have any cool? Oh, yeah maybe back during the Jazz Age :-)

Anyways, Mc "INeedA" Cain freaked out on a reporter today. Given his reputation for easily blowing his lid, I'd expect to see the the angry and impatient side of McCain come out more frequently as we near the general.

"Senator John McCain grew agitated Friday with a New York Times reporter who asked about his 2004 conversation with then-Democratic nominee John Kerry about McCain possibly running as Kerry’s vice presidential nominee."

Does anyone really think an aging hot head would make a good president?

Obama Fires Advisor Who Called Clinton a "Monster"

Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard and a Pulitzer Prize winner, has resigned after giving a newspaper interview in which she bad-mouthed Hillary Clinton:

"We f***d up in Ohio," Power told the Scotsman newspaper ...

"In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Power was quoted as saying.

"She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything," Power said.

"You just look at her and think 'Ergh.'"

Power apologized, but the Clinton campaign pounced all over it, really piling it on:

"Personal attacks are not the way to convince voters that you are capable of being the president of the United States," said congresswoman Nita Lowey, who called the drama a "test" for Obama.

"We call on Senator Obama to make it clear that Samantha Power should not be part of this campaign."

Another Clinton backer, congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz added: "going down in the gutter like that and engaging in grade school name calling is distasteful and inappropriate."

Within hours Power had resigned and Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the candidate "decries such characterizations which have no place in this campaign."

This comes one day after the Clinton campaign deflected Obama's call for disclosure of Clinton's tax returns and donors to the Clinton presidential library by comparing Obama to Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr. No one called for the spokesman, Howard Wolfson, to resign. Power should have satisfied herself with comparing Clinton to an actual person, Karl Rove perhaps, because that's acceptable and "monster" isn't.

When my misbehaving brothers and I were little our parents sometimes called us "little monsters." We called on them to resign but it didn't do any good.

UPDATE: In my initial draft of this post I went on to compare the Clinton campaign's response to classic GOP strategy under Karl Rove: seize on a word or phrase that sounds bad, feign over-the-top outrage, demand an apology, generate a bad news cycle for the opposition, all completely unrelated to the issues. I decided that was too over-the-top, but I see that Josh Marshall and his readers are all over it:

Can't believe that Samantha Power actually resigned. This is the type of phony "controversy" the GOP/Karl Rove uses to their advantage. Josh famously called it the "bitch slap" theory of politics, and Clinton is using the same playbook. Obama needed to send a signal that these types of fake outrages won't play, but by her quick resigntation, the bitch slap is alive and well.



43% of White Ohio Evangelicals Voted Democratic

Bill Hershey reports on an exit poll of white evangelical Christians in Tuesday's primary that's an eye opener:

57% Republican ballot
43% Democratic ballot

Republican votes:

42% Huckabee
41% McCain

Democratic votes:

57% Clinton
35% Obama

The poll also found that a majority of evangelical Christian voters care about a much wider range of issues than abortion and gay marriage:

[54%] support a broader agenda that [includes] ending poverty, protecting the environment and combating HIV/AIDS, as compared to 39% that would rather stick to the more limited agenda.

Three times as many white evangelical voters ranked jobs and the economy as the most important issue - 42 % - than those who ranked abortion and same-sex marriage most important - 14%.

Back in 2004, 78% of white evangelical Christians voted for Bush. Times have changed. They are still an important group of voters for the GOP, but they aren't the monolithic bloc that they were before, and we can expect a substantial number to vote Democratic.

Strickland Blasts Kennedy Over 1980 Race

A reader alerted me to this sizzling bit from The Other Paper:

On Tuesday night, [just before Clinton's victory party,] Strickland had gotten himself worked up answering questions about Barack Obama’s delegate lead. He was railing against “undemocratic” caucuses ... and “pundits” who have prematurely crowned [Obama] as the inevitable nominee.

[Then] he added that [Ted Kennedy] suggested, “We’ve gotta bring this to an end because of party unity.”

“I remember when Ted Kennedy ran against a sitting Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, and he took it all the way all the way to the Democratic convention,” Strickland said, trembling with anger.

“And on the last night of the convention, the big question that all the media was talking about was: Will Senator Kennedy be willing to go up on the platform with Jimmy Carter? And he did, and he humiliated Carter because he didn’t want to shake his hand, and Carter followed him around on that stage trying to get him to shake his hand. Now Ted Kennedy comes to us and says Senator Clinton needs to get out of this in early March for party unity?”

Strickland went on to blame Kennedy’s 1980 challenge for the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

“So I don’t want to hear any lectures from Ted Kennedy about party unity, you know. I’ll remind him about what happened.”

Strickland said he's going to put it into a letter to Kennedy.

Just because Kennedy did it in 1980 doesn't make it right, however. Today Pho highlighted this excellent piece by Jonathon Chait in The New Republic, titled "Go Already! Hillary Clinton, Fratricidal Maniac," spelling out how flawed and destructive her "plan" for winning the nomination really is:

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