Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cancel My Subscription!

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One thing that has become very clear during this primary season is that the traditional media often seems to conspire both to push the storyline they want people to accept, and to avoid alternative storylines that they want people to ignore.

This time, they are pushing the “Is America ready to elect a black man?” storyline and steering clear of the “Is America ready to elect a man who promises to continue the domestic and foreign policy course set by the most disastrous president we’ve ever had?” storyline.

It’s been going on for quite a while, but it recently became personal when I picked up my local newspaper on the day after the Pennsylvania primary to see the picture above next to the headline “Is it a Matter of Race?”The front page also prominently featured this story by Adam Nagourney of the NYT, and a story featuring local superdelegates who say they now see the race between Obama and Clinton as a virtual tie.

It was the last straw!

I folded up the front page of the paper and stuck it in an envelope with the following letter that I wrote to the publisher:
Dear Publisher

A newspaper is supposed to inform, educate and entertain readers, not spread propaganda intended to sway public opinion. However, your coverage of the Pennsylvania primary results, particularly this choice of photo and headline, seems clearly in line with a national media effort to cast an expected Clinton win as evidence of Obama’s lost support and possibly fatal flaws as a candidate.

It is complete bullshit, and I resent having paid for such a slanted view that implies the race has somehow “turned around,” and that it is now basically a tie between the two candidates.

Furthermore, I find it ridiculous that the Press Democrat allowed a local superdelegate like Lynn Woolsey to spout a careful evasion like “the Democrats have two great candidates,” without asking her to reconcile her often stated anti-war position with her support for Clinton, who recently talked about “obliterating Iran” with nuclear weapons, and has implied that McCain would make a better president than her Democratic opponent!

Or allowing Rachel Binah to say she was planning to switch to supporting Obama if he had won Pennsylvania (which was like saying she’d switch if she saw a flying pig), without asking her why she didn’t switch when Obama won 12 primaries in a row in February, and then won more delegates in Clinton’s “firewall” State of Texas!

I’ve been a subscriber for 25 years, but I can no longer continue to rely on this kind of shoddy reporting and biased presentation to help me understand what’s going on in the world. Please cancel my subscription.


To be fair, I should point out that I have considered canceling before, for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that I usually get my news from the web before things appear in the newspaper anyway. However, I kept a tradition of reading the newspaper alive, I suppose, because there was never a "straw" heavy enough to justify such a strong statement.

Until now!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

McCain Reveals VP Choice Designed to Highlight His Youthful Vigor!

Ok, so this is just the first thing that came to mind when I came across this image.

McCain may not actually make this particular strategic move; He may decide to go ahead and follow earlier reports that he would pick Condoleeza Rice to highlight his straight-talking integrity!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Lynn Woolsey

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Dear Rep Woolsey,

I recently wrote to you regarding my concerns about your ongoing support of Hillary Clinton, despite her comments suggesting that John “100 years in Iraq” McCain would be a better president than Barack Obama.

I was concerned because I did not understand how a vocal critic of the Iraq war would support a candidate who voted to authorize that war, and who voted for a measure that brings us closer to a similar war in Iran, over a candidate who did neither of those things and who got a significant majority of votes from her own constituents.

Your response was appreciated, although you maintained that you continue to support Senator Clinton, because you indicated that your support would not cause you to vote to overturn the will of the voters, in the form of a back room deal, if Senator Clinton doesn’t win the majority of pledged delegates.

I am writing again now, after Senator Clinton’s recent remarks about “obliterating Iran” with nuclear weapons, and after increasingly negative attacks on the patriotism and character of a fellow Democrat that are hurting the ability of either of them to win against John McCain.

Representative Woolsey, at this point, it has become clear that Senator Clinton has no chance to catch Senator Obama in the pledged delegate race. She will not win the nomination without a “back room deal” centered on arguments that the voters should be disregarded in favor of some other rationale than the one both candidates agreed to at the beginning of the race.

Considering that you have already admitted that your conscience won’t allow you to overturn the votes of the American public, and that Senator Clinton is taking a path that is rapidly destroying the potential for unity in the Democratic Party and increasing the chances of a McCain victory with endless war in sight, I implore you to reconsider your formal support of Senator Clinton.

Otherwise, in my view, you might as well resign from the Out-Of-Iraq Caucus, because your lack of action seems to show more concern for Senator Clinton’s ego than for actually getting out of Iraq, or avoiding getting into another Iraq, or worse, in Iran!



(By the way, I also sent a signed copy of this letter to Woolsey's office via snail mail)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Conservative Talking Asses are Headholes!

You might ask, “What does this title mean anyway?”

To which I would say, “It means at least as much as the talking points spouted by the two idiots sandwiching Lawrence O’Donnell in this clip from Verdict, with Dan Abrams!"

Frankly, the idea of Abrams and his crew of pompous blowhards trying to create another scandal out of Rev. Wright’s comment that “He’s a pastor and Obama’s a politician” makes me want to bash in my TV screen with a baseball bat!

At least O’Donnell seems to show the appropriate level of disdain for the vile slime being spewed by the other three!

Seriously, the American media needs to be completely “obliterated” and then reconstructed! If we could just send in some Special Forces to airlift out a few straight talkers like Olbermann, Maddow and O’Donnell, I’d say we should start the bombing tomorrow!

OK, just had to get that out of my system. Carry on!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

YouTube is Sending Bill Clinton the Way of the Dinosaur!

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Bill Clinton’s political success has been largely based on a supreme ability to say anything with a straight face and a charmingly likeable demeanor. It never mattered if what he said one day was the exact opposite of what he had said the day before, because he always seemed to believe, deep in his heart of hearts, that everything that he was saying was absolutely true.

All Bill Clinton had to do was suggest that he “knew it in his bones,” no matter what it was, and even if he had previously said it wasn’t, and the masses would believe him. Not everyone, of course, but enough to make him an icon in the Democratic Party, giving him the ability to command huge fees for speaking engagements, and creating such interest in his books that he was able to accumulate $109 million in income since leaving the White House.

But Bill Clinton was always one to say whatever he needed to say, true or not, to get what he wanted. People believed him, not because of the facts, but because of his political skill and likability. And because it wasn’t easy to put the conflicting things he had said side by side to show much of it was self-serving bullshit!

Yet here is a perfect example of how the age of YouTube is unveiling Clinton for being the manipulator he’s always been. On one day, Clinton accuses Barack Obama of “playing the race card” against him, and on the very next day, he says he never said it!

Ten years ago, he might have been able to get away with such a tactic. He would have smiled and said something like “You know me! Y’all know I wouldn’t really say that. I have an office in Harlem, you know,” and people would willingly accept that the original statement had never happened.

Now, it’s in front of them, plain as day, and Bill Clinton merely looks like a liar!

The ironic thing is that Barack Obama has the same kind of political skills as Bill Clinton. Take a look at the end of this clip from his appearance on The Daily Show:

Tell me that you wouldn’t be excited and hopeful about seeing Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, even if Obama had told you the day before that Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians didn’t exist!

The difference between Clinton and Obama is that Obama understands that the new information age prohibits using the skills of persuasive charm and natural likability to spread lies. It isn’t enough to sound compelling, when the facts are immediately available at everyone’s fingertips.

That’s why you won’t see Obama saying one thing to appeal to liberals, and another conflicting thing to appeal to moderates and independents. He knows that the information age requires that he use his political skills to advance a consistent understanding of what he truly believes, and to inspire everyone to get on board. In today’s world, as a public figure, the only way not to get caught lying is to tell the truth or keep your mouth shut!

But Bill Clinton is from an era that is increasingly incompatible with the modern world. In today’s world, if you don’t use the political skills of charm and natural likability for good - to advance what is real and honest - being charming and likeable is about as valuable as having razor sharp teeth and large spikes on your tail while trying to survive a meteor shower!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Clinton Must Win North Carolina - Period!!!

With all the Spin from the Clinton Campaign after last nights Pennsylvania primary victory - all I hear today is how Indiana is the next big test. Isn't it really North Carolina? The pundits and the Clinton's managed to make Pennsylvania Obama's big test and they're spinning out of control that the 9.6% margin of victory shows that Obama can't win the big states. In her words "the tide is turning". Well lets just see about that. Hillary was up 20 points in Pennsylvania, she owned the Pennsylvania Democratic machine, had family ties to the state and the voter demographics all favored her. Despite all that - Obama was able to cut that lead in half.

I think Obama's camp needs to try and change the media focus from Indiana to North Carolina. If the tide is truly turning - then Hillary will close the gap and win in the Tar Heel State.

That is the metric that the Obama campaign needs to insist upon - because what is really happening - is the tide is still cresting - and Hillary and her campaign are simply treading water!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hillary Says "The Tide is Turning"

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Hillary leads her supporters in a celebratory chorus of Y.M.C.A.!

With a 10 point win in Pennsylvania, the Clinton campaign says that everything is different now – that the tide is turning and Barack Obama’s momentum is going to recede.

But when the delegates are divided up, the change in Obama’s lead is going to be less like the shifting tide of an ocean and more like evaporation from a lake – right before the rainstorm hits that will be the North Carolina primary!

[Update 1] While most media outlets are showing this to be a 55% to 45% win for Clinton, the actual spread with only a couple of Philadelphia (ie: probably Obama) precincts to report is 9.6%.

How long before we start hearing the media pundits talking about how superdelegates have to begin wondering why Hillary couldn't "stop the bleeding" with a double digit victory in a state that was considered "Clinton Country?" I know, sorry I asked!

[Update 2] And by "stop the bleeding," I mean stopping the migration of superdelegates to Obama!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cindy McCain’s Company Caught Stealing Beer Recipe From Punk Bassist!

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Apparently, John McCain has been forced to remove the “McCain family recipes” that they pilfered from the Food Network from his website.

That’s a good first step, but it’s not enough!

Cindy McCain is also Chairman of the Board for one of the largest Anheuser Busch distributorships in the country. Sure, she’s retracted the evidence of stealing recipes from Rachel Ray (while blaming it on an intern!) But when is she going to stop marketing beer made from a recipe pilfered from this song by former Minutemen and Firehose bassist, Mike Watt?

(YouTube embedding disabled, so you’ll need to click through to the video of the song.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Who’s Out of Touch With Small Town Pennsylvania?

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With The Boss recently announcing his endorsement of Barack Obama, I can’t help but “compare and contrast” (to steal Hillary’s favorite pastime) the fact that just a little over a week ago was Hillary’s big Elton John benefit concert.

I wonder which musical icon best expresses the hopes and dreams (or lack thereof) of rural working class Pennsylvanians?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Screw ABC! Obama Still Clinches on May 20, 2008!

Despite George Snuffleupagus’ and Charles (or was it John?) Gibson’s best efforts in Wednesday’s debate at tarnishing Barack Obama and shifting momentum to Hillary Clinton, it just isn’t going to matter!

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According to this nifty chart courtesy of The Jed Report, the magic number for Barack Obama clinching the pledged delegate race is 1627, and he’s now only 209 delegates short of that mark. According to Obama’s generally conservative count, he’s actually picked up two more delegates during certification, so he’s only 207 short.

With all of the posturing from the Clinton camp about making the case that super-delegates should choose her anyway based on electibility, there is no evidence to suggest that she would fare better against John McCain than Obama would.

Wednesday’s debate, steered by the ABC moderators into a rehashing of old tired Republican talking points that have been co-opted to serve Hillary Clinton need for a miracle, amounts to little more than the corporate media establishment farting into a strong headwind of change!

So here’s where May 20, 2008 comes in! Early in the race, the Obama campaign released a spreadsheet with their state by state projections. None of the hand wringing by Obama opponents in recent weeks, as one “campaign ending (non) story" after another resulted in a consistent plateau in Obama’s poll numbers and a steady decline in Hillary’s, suggests reason to expect the early projections from the Obama campaign to be far from accurate.

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Based on these projections, Obama would get another 177 pledged delegates by May 6 in Pennsylvania, Guam, Indiana and North Carolina, leaving him only 30 delegates shy of the magic number. Give him another 13 for W. Virginia a week later and he’s down to needing only 17 out of a possible 103 pledged delegates in Kentucky and Oregon on May 20.

Even if he comes up 7 or 8 delegates short of his projections in the earlier states, he still would only need about half of his projected totals on May 20 to clinch the pledged delegate race on that day!

And at that point: It. Is. Over!

I recently spoke to a good friend who is pretty well connected to a number of influential members of the California legislature. He told me that the general feeling among party insiders is that many uncommitted SDs are just waiting for political cover to bolt to Obama. And clinching the pledged delegate race is about as perfect a reason to move as a democratic politician could hope for!

Even beyond the undecided SDs, I know there are SDs currently included in the tally of Hillary endorsers - who will not overturn the pledged delegate leader! My own Congresswoman is among them, having written a letter to me and probably others, flatly stating as much.

Once the pledged delegate race is clinched, Hillary’s support will dry up faster than a slug in a sunny parking lot!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Too Much Transparency?

Apparently Hillary’s “My Pennsylvania” fundraising drive was a little too revealing for her campaign to continue showing the results. After early returns showed a meager pace unlikely to reach its goals, they’ve replaced the itemized progress chart with this stylized logo asking donors simply to:

“Tell us where to put your dollars?”

Interesting change of strategy! I’m not even a supporter, but I’ve got a huge jar of pennies that I’ve been saving for the last 15 years that I’m willing to donate . . . if you’ll put them where I tell you to put them!

Monday, April 14, 2008

It’s 3 AM!

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Your kids are safe in bed. There’s a phone ringing in the White House. Do you want it to be answered by a president you just did shots with?

This has got to be the most ridiculous episode of pandering I’ve seen in a long time! After running a campaign based on assertions of being the only one with the experience to be “ready on day one,” Hillary was out trying to prove she was one of the common folk by slamming down shots of Crown Royal and chugging beers, hopefully something she’d be disciplined enough to avoid on day zero!

Frankly, after 7 years of George W. Bush, the whole “president you’d like to have a beer with” thing has probably run its course, even with the average small town Pennsylvanian, but Hillary apparently didn’t get the memo.

She’s busy trying to show that just because you made $109 million in the last seven years doesn’t mean you can’t party down with the townies. Somebody should have passed her a joint, just to see if she would inhale!

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Steady, Hillary, steady. Just drink the one in the middle!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hillary’s Campaign Swirls Around John!

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That would be Elton John, who may have saved Hillary Clinton’s ability to run TV ads, despite the lackluster performance of her “My Pennsylvania” fundraising drive.

Shown above in an earlier photo, apparently trying to show solidarity of hair color with Hillary’s core supporters, John’s benefit concert on Wednesday was reported to have raised $2.5 million – the exact amount of her fundraising goal for TV ads for the Pennsylvania primary.

I couldn’t find any video of the concert, so I’ll just have to settle for this clip of Elton practicing his upcoming introduction of Hillary, presumably while traveling through the airport on the way to the performance.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All Ready to Air, But With No One to Pick up the Tab!

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Apparently the Clinton campaign is all set with a series of new TV ads ready to run in advance of the Pennsylvania Primary.

But there’s one small problem! I already wrote about Hillary’s new marketing campaign, in which supporters get to choose where their donations go. After nearly a week of collecting donations under this program, Hillary’s donors apparently prefer door hangers and yard signs to television advertising.

They reached or approached Hillary’s goals for those low cost forms of advertising within the week, but have only contributed 16% of her goal for TV ads. At the current pace (which has slowed from getting 8% of the goal on the first day, to only another 8% over the next 5 days), she won’t come close by the date of the Pennsylvania primary.

As you can see from this chart showing the results for the first 6 days in each category, which includes a trend line for TV ads (based on donations after the first day), Hillary will only get to spend about 32% of her goal for TV ads by April 22.

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That is, unless her goal included production costs and she won’t be able to run them at all without resorting to the Mitt Romney school of “drunken sailor” campaigning!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

John Conyers Wants to Put Yoo on the Hot Seat!

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(Believe me, it was all I could do to resist using my alternate title, “Conyers Wants to F**k Yoo Up!”)

This has the potential to be one of the more compelling Congressional hearings in quite some time. It’s one thing to have to thread the needle of avoiding perjury without embarrassing yourself or causing political problems for your bosses in the Bush administration, but it’s quite another to have to thread the much smaller needle of avoiding statements that can be used against you in a war crimes trial!

Switching gears, it’s obvious that the “Big Game” between Cal and Stanford hasn’t had much riding on it for a few years, just a rare chance for each team to get a win! But forget about that! With Yoo on the faculty at Cal-Berkeley, and with Condi Rice set to return to Stanford at the end of Bush’s second term, the two schools can have a Battle Royale to see which one can be the first to have a faculty member indicted for war crimes (OK, it wasn’t really a different gear!)

Finally, remember when John Conyers was forced by the GOP majority to hold hearings in unusual places like a capitol basement? Well, he’s in the majority now, so he can probably hold hearings anywhere he wants. But for old times’ sake, I think this is a good opportunity to try scheduling something unusual again – like holding the hearings on Yoo’s torture memos somewhere in the Netherlands so that Yoo can be lured across the border. I hear they have some nice basements in The Hague! (Yeah, same gear again! I’m ridin’ a one-speed when it comes to John Yoo!)

[Update] Shit, meet Fan! Or, probably not!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Argument Underlying all the Other Arguments for Obama

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I recently came across this post from the blog of Mark Andreessen, founder of Netscape and an Obama supporter. It’s a description of an early meeting with Obama, in which he recites an argument that Barack hasn’t used enough, in my estimation, during the primary campaign.
Before I close, let me share (what) he said at the time -- early 2007 -- on the topic of whether he's ready.

We asked him directly, how concerned should we be that you haven't had meaningful experience as an executive -- as a manager and leader of people?

He said, watch how I run my campaign -- you'll see my leadership skills in action.
Looking back at the campaign so far, it is clear that this one line completely obliterates not only Hillary’s entire “ready on day one” argument, but also her current “coup by superdelegate” strategy!

Monday, April 07, 2008

How Large Are Your Chances?

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I’ve recently read several accounts of Condoleezza Rice’s lobbying efforts toward being John McCain’s VP choice, and I thought “Oh, please let it happen!”

Sure, there are the obvious reasons, like solidifying the issue of “competence” as a part the race, and cementing McCain’s ties to the Bush administration.

There’s even the slightly more subtle reason that it would disarm, or at least balance out, any reluctance of some voters to choose Obama out of purely racist considerations.

But my favorite of all is that it would likely prevent Hillary Clinton from secretly trying to undermine Obama’s candidacy in favor of a McCain victory, since that would put Rice just a heartbeat of an old guy away from stealing her dream to become the first woman president!

Cartoon of the Day

Saturday, April 05, 2008

More Clinton Marketing Magic

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On Friday, the Clinton campaign released tax records showing that Bill and Hillary made about $109 million since Bill left the White House in 2000.

On the same day, the campaign revealed a new fundraising scheme:
Supporters will be notified about MyPA today through an email from Hillary announcing the program. By visiting, supporters can choose from six different areas to support the campaign: TV airtime; online ads; radio spots; signs; vans; and door hangers. Supporters can mix and match how much they want to put towards each item and then "check out" like an online wedding registry.
Oooh, what fun; Sounds just like shopping!

Of course, the promised e-mail makes it was clear that Hillary doesn’t see the irony in begging for money from her blue collar, working class, supporters on the same day she revealed making an average of $13.5 million per year over the last eight years. To put it in perspective, if you take the total earnings during that period for the median American worker, and then round it to the nearest multiple of one million, you still get zero!

Yet, here’s Hillary, essentially asking people to keep skipping meals to keep her campaign going:
This campaign is your campaign. Every single day I think about how much I owe to your generosity and hard work. I wouldn’t be where I am now without your support. So I want to make sure you have a say in how your money is spent. We face an opponent who is outspending us by as much as 4 to 1 - - I need your help now.

Click here to visit MyPA, make a contribution and tell us where to put your dollars in our campaign to win Pennsylvania! I need your help to win in Pennsylvania and the races beyond. Your commitment and your investment are absolutely critical. I cannot win without your help.

I hope you'll show your support now and tell us exactly where you want your money spent in our Pennsylvania campaign.
Well, just for fun, I clicked MyPA to see what I would find, and apparently supporters don’t think paying for television ads is nearly as much fun as paying for van rentals or paper door hangers!

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But something seems missing. I don’t think Hillary is giving her supporters the full shopping experience, so I’ve taken the liberty of modifying the contribution choices. Perhaps some of her supporters actually want their hard earned money to go toward the other major Clinton campaign expense: sleazy consultant fees!

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Hillary’s Cutting Edge New Ad

Simply brilliant!

If you live in North Carolina, you can now ask Hillary any question you want, and she will come back and give you an answer "here on TV!" I’d be reluctant to ask, simply because I have better things to do that sit around watching television until she returns!

And what about people who are not tech savvy enough to ask their question via the internet? Perhaps she could have them fax their questions and she can respond by telegraph. Or maybe they could send their questions via carrier pigeon and she can answer with smoke signals.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why Hillary Should Not Have Compared Herself to Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa?

In this video, Hillary Clinton tries to score points with Pennsylvania voters by invoking comparisons between herself and a famous fictional character from Philly. Here are my top ten reasons why she shouldn’t have compared herself to Rocky Balboa:

10. Rocky ends his first title fight by losing to a black guy!

9. Stallone already endorsed John McCain!

8. During the course of playing Rocky, Stallone went from winning an Oscar to being the “punch line” of a joke about bad acting!

7. Unflattering reminder of relationship to an overly excitable big dog!

6. She’s already established she’s more like Rambo!

5. Nobody wants five sequels to the Hillary campaign!

4. “Yo” not an appropriate greeting for 3 AM calls to the White House!

3. Human Growth Hormone can actually turn you into a “monster!”

2. Reminds voters how much better her campaign would be if managed by Burgess Meredith!

And the number one reason why Hillary Clinton should not have compared herself to Rocky Balboa:

1. A boxer who “never gets up” is even worse than bowling a 37!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bill Richardson Puts Gollum in His Place!

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Score a victory for integrity over blind loyalty! Bill Richardson has authored an op-ed in the Washington Post that blasts James Carville for criticizing his endorsement of Barack Obama. Here’s my favorite line:
Carville and others say that I owe President Clinton's wife my endorsement because he gave me two jobs. Would someone who worked for Carville then owe his wife, Mary Matalin, similar loyalty in her professional pursuits? Do the people now attacking me recall that I ran for president, albeit unsuccessfully, against Sen. Clinton? Was that also an act of disloyalty?
He later wraps it all up with a classy restatement of his reason for endorsing Obama over Clinton that pretty much sums up the whole primary race in a nutshell:
I do not believe that the truth will keep Carville and others from attacking me. I can only say that we need to move on from the politics of personal insult and attacks. That era, personified by Carville and his ilk, has passed and I believe we must end the rancor and partisanship that has mired Washington in gridlock. In my view, Sen. Obama represents our best hope of replacing division with unity. That is why, out of loyalty to my country, I endorse him for president.