Wednesday, April 9

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

GREG PIERCE, WASH TIMES "What were the odds that a top Obama adviser, and then the top Clinton adviser, would find themselves in trouble with their respective campaigns over the issue of trade?" Byron York writes at National Review Online. "Pretty good, actually. Next to race, trade has become the most explosive issue in the Democratic presidential contest. And especially at a time when Hillary Clinton is trying to build on her win in Ohio with a last-chance victory in Pennsylvania," Mr. York said. "It's no accident that Austan Goolsbee, the top Obama adviser who told Canadian officials not to worry about Obama's anti-NAFTA posturing, became an issue during the campaign in economically troubled Ohio. And it's no accident that Mark Penn, the top Clinton strategist who has been demoted over his private-business promotion of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, has found himself in hot water in the midst of campaigning in Pennsylvania. The two controversies point up one central fact: Many staffers and surrogates, in both campaigns, simply don't believe what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are saying about NAFTA, and free trade in general, on the campaign trail. But they can't say so. 'A lot of them are free traders, but during the Democratic primaries they stay in the closet,' one Democratic strategist who is not affiliated with either campaign told me Monday. 'More the Clinton campaign than the Obama campaign, but probably both.' "

RAW STORY The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter, which will arrive in bookstores next month, reports an angry exchange between McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop. . . Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days. The man who was known as "McNasty" in high school has erupted in foul-languaged tirades at political foes and congressional colleagues more-or-less throughout his career, and his quickness to anger has been an issue on the presidential campaign trail as evidence of his fury has surfaced. As Schecter notes, McCain's rage is not limited to the political spectrum, and even his family cannot be spared the brute force of his anger.

AP Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist apologized Friday for meeting with Colombian officials pushing a free trade agreement that the presidential candidate opposes. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the strategist, Mark Penn, met Monday with Colombia's ambassador to the United States. Clinton advisers said Penn's meetings were not connected to the campaign, but part of his job as chief executive of the lobbying and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller Worldwide. But a Clinton adviser said the candidate was not happy to learn about the meeting, and Penn issued a statement expressing regrets. "The meeting was an error in judgment that will not be repeated and I am sorry for it," Penn said in a written statement. "The senator's well-known opposition to this trade deal is clear and was not discussed."

POLITICO Howell Raines said tonight that Bill Clinton has engaged in a subtle race-baiting campaign against Barack Obama. "He has sought to, in a low key way, remind people, 'Hey, this guy is black,'" Raines said of Clinton during a panel discussion at a journalism awards banquet sponsored by The Week magazine. As editorial page editor of the New York Times in the 90s, Raines frequently penned scathing attacks on the former president. . . "Absolute fatigue with Bill Clinton is [Hillary's] biggest liability right now," he declared.

MUZZLE WATCH Ynet reports: as part of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry’s efforts to bring over prominent US writers, US-based group Solomon Project is providing prominent left wing bloggers and progressive leaders like Tom Matzzie (formerly of MoveOn) and Daily Kos editor David Waldman all-expenses paid trips to Israel.

BOSTON GLOBE - [Vermont] Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed the Legislature's latest effort to limit the influence of big money in politics, as well as an instant-runoff voting bill. Douglas said his veto of the campaign finance bill was mainly due to his opposition to a provision limiting the amounts political parties can donate to campaigns. The legislation set a limit of $30,000 per election cycle on party contributions to gubernatorial candidates, lower limits for lesser offices.

ACCORDING TO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL a 1995 Chicago Tribune article reported that Obama had "bluntly noted" that if he were white, "he would simply be one of nine freshman senators almost certainly without a multi-million-dollar book deal and a shred of celebrity. Nor would he have been elected at all." Obama added: "I was not a child of the civil rights movement. I was a beneficiary of the civil rights movement.". . . Guess they better fire that guy from the Clinton campaign for saying such outrageous things about her opponent.

BEFORE OBAMA WAS FAMOUS

THE COZY BACK STORY OF THE CLINTONS AND COLOMBIA

BALLOT ACCESS The Illinois Green Party will have candidates for the U.S. House in 14 of the 19 districts this year. Some were nominated in the party’s primary in February, and others were nominated by party meetings. There are normally few minor party and independent candidates for the U.S. House in Illinois. Illinois requires petitions for independent candidates, and for the nominees of unqualified parties, equal to 5% of the last vote cast. Comparing the states on how minor and new parties get on the ballot for U.S. House, Illinois has the second most difficult law in the U.S., after Georgia. For independents, The Green slate of 14 U.S. House candidates is the largest number any party (other than the Democratic and Republican Parties) has run in Illinois since 1924. In 1924, when Illinois had 25 districts plus two at-large U.S. House members, there were 24 Socialist candidates.

THE ILLINOIS GREEN PARTY also expects to have some 60 candidates for offices across the state.

HILLARY CLINTON & WALMART