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McCain Should Be 'Feared', Writer Says

By    |   Sunday, 10 February 2008 07:02 PM EST

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. McCain Should Be Feared, Writer Says
2. McCain-Romney Rancor Dates Back to Olympics
3. Obama Wants Plane Conversations Off the Record
4. George Soros Funding New Liberal Advocacy Group
5. Freshman Democrats Face Money Woes
6. We Heard: Hillary, John Mellencamp, Michael Savage

1. McCain Should Be Feared, Writer Says

Presidential hopeful John McCain is being billed as the Republican that liberals can live with, but his credentials as a "bipartisan progressive" are in fact a "lazy, hazy myth," according to liberal pundit Johann Hari.

"The truth is that McCain is the candidate we should most fear," writes Hari, a columnist for The Independent in Britain, in an article that appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Not only is he to the right of Bush on a whole range of subjects, he is also the Republican candidate most likely to dispense with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama."

Hari writes of McCain: "Rage seems to be at the core of his personality. Describing his own childhood, McCain has written: 'At the smallest provocation I would go off into a mad frenzy, and then suddenly crash to the floor unconscious. When I got angry I held my breath until I blacked out.'"

McCain has distinguished himself as an uber-hawk on foreign policy, according to Hari, who is on the editorial board of The Liberal magazine.

"To give a brief smorgasbord of his views: At a recent rally, he sang 'bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran,' to the tune of the Beach Boys' 'Barbara Ann.' He says North Korea should be threatened with 'extinction.'

"McCain has mostly opposed using U.S. power for humanitarian goals, jeering at proposals to intervene in Rwanda or Bosnia . . .

"So why do so many nice liberals have a weak spot for McCain? Well, to his credit, he doesn't hate immigrants: He proposed a program to legalize the 12 million undocumented workers in the U.S. He sincerely opposes torture, as a survivor of it himself. He has apologized for denying global warming and now advocates a cap on greenhouse gas emissions but only if China and India can also be locked into the system."

Hari concludes: "These sprinklings of sanity — onto a very extreme program — are enough for a superficial, glib press to present McCain as 'bipartisan' and 'centrist.'"

Editor's Note:

2. McCain-Romney Rancor Dates Back to Olympics

The acrimony that developed between John McCain and Mitt Romney cannot be blamed simply on the heated primary campaign for the GOP presidential nomination — the two Republicans were at odds years ago over the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Romney took over operation of the then financially strapped Olympics in Salt Lake City in February 1999, and set out to enlist new corporate sponsors and fix a large budget shortfall.

Then in September 2000, McCain spoke on the Senate floor against what he called the "staggering" cost the federal government faced in helping stage the Games.

"The American taxpayer is being shaken down to the tune of nearly a billion and a half dollars," McCain declared.

He vowed to "do everything in my power" to delay or kill "this pork-barrel spending," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Romney responded by arguing that taxpayers would need to provide only $250 million, and said he was "quite confident" the Games would receive the funding they needed.

In early 2001, McCain sought to shift $30 million from the Treasury Department, earmarked for law enforcement personnel at the Olympics, to the Pentagon, but the measure was defeated.

Romney, in his 2004 book "Turnaround," wrote that McCain and others in the Senate were threatening to revoke the tax deductibility of corporate sponsorship, which would "nail the coffin of the Salt Lake Olympics and future Games."

The clash over Olympics spending, "which dragged on for two years, helps explain some of the acrimony that now characterizes the race between the two front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination," the Times observed.

In the end, the federal tab — not including construction or improvement of highways, transit systems, and other infrastructure — totaled about $400 million, and the Games were a financial success.

Editor's Note:

3. Obama Wants Plane Conversations Off the Record

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has touched off a dispute with the press by insisting that conversations he has with reporters on his campaign plane are off the record.

The issue arose during a Feb. 2 flight when Obama entered the press section of his plane and began speaking with several reporters, including Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times.

"When Obama noticed that the red lights of the journalists' recorders were on, including Zeleny's, he said that the conversation was off the record," reported.

Zeleny protested that he couldn't take the conversation off the record. Obama answered a few more questions and returned to the front of the plane.

"In my view, whenever he comes back on the plane to talk to reporters, he is on the record," Zeleny told

"We're not on the plane, in my view, to have private talks with presidential candidates. We're here to report what they are saying and give our readers a better idea of their campaigns and their candidacies."

But Jen Psaki, the Obama campaign's traveling press secretary, responded: "There has never been a press corps in the history of our nation that got as many interviews as they wanted."

Obama's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has also said at times that a conversation at the back of her plane is off the record, although more recently her campaign said those talks would now be on the record.

Editor's Note:

4. George Soros Funding New Liberal Advocacy Group

Billionaire financier George Soros is contributing $2.5 million to a new political organization that promotes Democratic causes in the 2008 elections.

A year-end campaign report filed with the IRS and uncovered by The New York Times confirmed an earlier Newsmax report disclosing that the group, Fund for America, was organized by Taco Bell heir Rob McKay, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, and Anna Burger of the Service Employees International Union.

The SEIU matched Soros' contribution.

Newsmax reported in November that the liberal activists had joined forces to form the so-called 527 group — named for a section of the tax code that allows such an organization to attempt to influence elections as long as it discloses donors and expenses.

Fund for America is expected to air television ads and take other political action designed to help Democrats win the White House and retain control of Congress, Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times reported.

The organization will also focus on direct mail and door-to-door canvassing.

Editor's Note:

5. Freshman Democrats Face Money Woes

Several first-term Democrats in the House of Representatives have fallen behind their Republican opponents in fundraising as they battle for re-election.

Chris Carney of Pennsylvania raised $230,000 in the fourth quarter of last year, while one of his potential GOP rivals, businessman Dan Meuser, raised $390,000.

Nick Lampson of Texas raised more than $120,000, but four of his prospective Republican opponents took in more than that in the last quarter.

Steve Kagen of Wisconsin was outraised by Republican John Gard, and GOP challenger Jeb Bradley, a former congressman, topped Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, The Hill newspaper reported.

"After finishing last year on a high note with two special election wins, Republicans are growing increasingly energized," said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "With the election year upon us, we are confident that this committee and our candidates will continue to prove that we will have the necessary resources to compete and win in the fall."

On the Republican side, a number of incumbents fell behind their Democratic challengers in fundraising in the fourth quarter, including Don Young of Alaska, Sam Graves of Missouri, Dave Reichert of Washington, and Tom Feeney of Florida.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT Hillary Clinton was likely taken by surprise when her old friend Caroline Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination two weeks ago.

Just last August at a Clinton fundraiser in Martha's Vineyard, Caroline, her husband Ed Schlossberg and their three teenage children "were all there, front and center, supporting her," a source told the New York Post's "Page Six" column.

"We hear Caroline's children pressured her into supporting Obama."

THAT John Mellencamp's reps have asked John McCain to stop playing the rocker's songs at campaign rallies.

Mellencamp's songs "Our Country" and "Pink Houses" have boomed out over the loudspeakers at some recent McCain rallies, Rolling Stone reports.

Mellencamp is an ardent Democrat and supported John Edwards before he dropped out of the race.

THAT Michael Savage has extended his contract with Talk Radio Network as his ratings continue to soar across the country.

Savage's show "The Savage Nation" is now the third most popular radio talk show, according to Talkers Magazine.

"We are proud to extend Michael Savage's contract," said Mark Masters, CEO of Talk Radio Network.

"Michael is always challenging the audience and himself. I think this is the main reason he continues top be a ratings juggernaut, coast to coast."

Savage was the recipient of Talkers Magazine's Freedom of Speech Award for 2007.

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. McCain Should Be Feared, Writer Says2. McCain-Romney Rancor Dates Back to Olympics3. Obama Wants Plane Conversations Off the Record4. George Soros Funding New Liberal Advocacy Group5. Freshman Democrats Face Money Woes6. We...
Sunday, 10 February 2008 07:02 PM
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