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Obama to New Hampshire *** Updated x3 ***

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2006

[Updated and bumped to the top for discussion purposes.]

Lynn Sweet looks at the tea leaves.

Considering a 2008 White House bid, Sen. Barack Obama will visit New Hampshire, an early presidential primary state, on Dec. 10. Before going to New Hampshire, Obama, an Illinois Democrat, has strategic trips to the West and East coasts on his calendar:

• Obama will hit New York on Monday to keynote a children’s charity event. In return, he was offered control of the distribution of $1 million worth of new products to charitable agencies across the nation. However Obama attorney Bob Bauer said that he declined the offer and “we are not taking control of the gift.”

• In California on Friday, Obama will take a seat on Jay Leno’s couch on the “Tonight Show.” […]

Obama has been to Iowa three times. But he has never set foot in New Hampshire, a state where voters are used to personal contact before they make up their minds on whom to support.

I’ve asked this question before, but it deserves a repeat today. Do you think Obama is in this thing or not?

*** UPDATE *** The pushback against Obama’s efforts to recruit evangelicals is apparently intensifying.

Barack Obama’s efforts to reach out to evanglical Christians in preparation for his possible Presidential campaign is running into very stiff resistance from the Christian right. As the Chicago Tribune reported recently, Obama is set to attend a huge evangelical gathering in California on Dec. 1, at the invitation of megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical superstar who wrote The Purpose-Driven Life. Analysts have interpreted Obama’s scheduled appearance as a sign he’s working much harder than Dems ordinarily do to win over Evangelicals.

But the appearance is now provoking an intense backlash from leaders of the Christian right. They are calling on Warren to disinvite Obama from the event because of his liberal positions, especially abortion rights — or as one of those leaders put it, Obama’s support of “the murder of babies in the womb.” […]

For instance, an open letter from a group of Christian-Right figures — including Phylis Schlafly, Tim Wildmon and others — criticizes the invitiation by citing Obama’s pro-choice stance and his support for condom distribution in answer to the AIDS epidemic, “not chaste behavior as directed by the Bible.” The letter ends, “No, Mr. Warren, Mr. Obama, we will never work with those can support the murder of babies in the womb.

The National Clergy Council also issued a press release about Obama recently.

“Senator Obama’s policies represent the antithesis of biblical ethics and morality, not to mention supreme American values,” said the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), president of the National Clergy Council and chair of the Committee on Church and Society for the Evangelical Church Alliance, America’s oldest association of Evangelical ministers. […]

“If Pastor Warren cannot find the courage to rescind his invitation to Senator Obama, he must at least make clear through a public statement that the Senator’s support of abortion stands in contradiction to what the Bible teaches and what the Christian Church has historically taught on the sanctity of life,” said Rev. Schenck.

*** UPDATE 2 *** While we’re on the subject, Insight Magazine has a piece about how Hillary Clinton’s people are worried about an Obama run.

The worst-case scenario, the sources said, would be a Clinton-Obama slugfest in the South, where the New York senator would seek support from black voters who had backed her husband more than a decade ago. But Clinton advisers don’t believe she could compete against Mr. Obama in the black community, which comprises nearly 50 percent of the Democratic vote in the South.

“I can envision Hillary working out a deal with Obama in which he becomes a leading ally and even promised a major Cabinet post,” the strategist said. “The last thing Hillary wants is to face a popular black candidate for the Democratic nomination.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** As if on cue, the AP has a new story about the controversy over Obama’s upcoming appearance at the megachurch, “Megapastor defends invitation to Democratic Sen. Obama.”

“Our goal has been to put people together who normally won’t even speak to each other,'’ the Saddleback statement said. “We do not expect all participants in the Summit discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs. However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by evangelicals alone. It will take the cooperation of all government, business, NGOs and the church.'’

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 9:39 am:

    Of course he is, and it is a good thing for us.

    He’ll announce January 1, 2007. Although, I think that January 20 would be a better date, being that it is exactly 2 years before his inaguaration.


  2. - Justice - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 9:42 am:

    It’s great to put a horse in the race but not one that runs fast out of the gate and is beaten down the home stretch by strength and experience. The real players are silently moving forward with a planned strategy, big bucks, and back room deals devised over time. Early substantial exposure of a newcomer on the scene is designed to show everyone who he or she is, then the innuendos and rumors are put into play. Obama will likely burn out early, or his many trips and guest appearances will reveal the chinks in his armor. Either way, old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill. No doubt the pictures of Obama and Rezko will surface as will the pictures of Rezko in cuffs. It’s a brutal game, it takes money, it takes loyalties, and it takes at least some small record of accomplishment for the benefit of the people. Perhaps later?


  3. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 9:51 am:

    The third book in his contract is due in 2008. He’s planned for this at least since signing the deal in 2004.


  4. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 10:19 am:

    He has been a senator for two years and already has two books out about his life? Just how self-enamoured is this guy?

    Now he wants to walk on water with supposedly “godly people”? Sheesh!

    In the third book about himself, will he announce that he is the new messiah?

    Just how arrogant can this guy be? He thinks he is moral and just, AND pro-choice? His social policies are absolutely 20th Century. Obama has nothing new to say, he just seems delighted by his ability to present his worn-out ideas in new cuddly language. What a fake!

    The MSM is reporting on the extremists Obama is rousing and thus innoculating Barak from future questions by insinuating that only extremists oppose him.

    My message to Obama is - Get over yourself! You work for us. Try to get some jobs done first - then pretend you’re presidential.

    My message to the MSM is - stop building up Obama like he is something special. Until he starts producing real results, no press time for pretty boy!


  5. - Bubs - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 10:27 am:

    Obamamania feels the first cold blasts of reality. Just wait until Winter Hurricane Hillary decides to visit.


  6. - Leroy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 10:34 am:

    Easy VanillaMan…Obama may be the one who unites us all together, and finally brings balance to the Force, just as the prophecies of lore spoke of.

    And then won’t *you* look stupid?


  7. - chalkline - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 10:36 am:

    The self appointed Christian leadership has started their campaign against Obama. Most likely at the direction of Karl Rove. They must think Obama is running and has a real shot at winning. That’s why they’re taking their hits at him now. They think they can get him out early. These jokers need to be straighened out. Their self righteous politicing is failing. Their promises were broken. From here on out their trys at smearing will backfire and only help the people they are trying to smear. Go Obama.


  8. - Snark - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 10:41 am:

    I think you’ve got your link wrong, that bit comes from TPM Cafe here.

    Also, as many people point out there in comments and I agree with, you can’t fault Barack for being willing to reach out and open a dialogue with a group that has only been hearing one point of view, and that happens to divide the far right, well then even better.


  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 10:47 am:

    Thanks, Snark. Link fixed.


  10. - ZC - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:03 am:

    I think at this point we’d have to assume Obama has got the bug.

    That said, he’s too smart a guy not to realize this nomination is _not_ his for the taking. And so while I would bet on Obama jumping in at this point, an “I’m not running” announcement - and some backroom deal with Hillary - remains a valid possibility too.

    Who knows, is the bottom line. Odds favor him in. And good for him, trying to expand the Democratic tent a bit. Committed pro-life types will (understandably) dislike what Obama is doing, but as the Dakota vote just showed this midterm, they remain in the minority.


  11. - NW burbs - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:06 am:

    The folks at Illinois Review continue to fall all over themselves as their discussion of Sen. Obama continues to devolve. He’s been called everything from “evil” to a promoter of graphic sex ed to a disturbing Soviet-sympathiser…

    The conservatives hate him already, a clear sign they fear him and his honesty.


  12. - Snark - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:08 am:

    Since you brought up the south, and it was a much discussed region after the 04 presidential loss and then again in the context of the House after 06, an Obama candidacy coupled with a massive voter registration drive in the south could alter the dynamics of souther politics for some time.

    African Americans make up about 12% of the population nationally and 15% in Illinois and we have all seen how the Democratic party has fared in statwide elections in Illinois in the last 10 years. Yet they have not had the same success in the south. Look at the African American population percentages in these southern states: Alabama 26%, Georgia almost 29%, Missisippi 36%, North Carolina 21%, South Carolina 29%. (Source: US Census)

    You’d have to think that Howard Dean and his 50 state strategy is salivating at the thought to put the south in play. An Obama candidacy and the resulting enthusiasm would do more to legitimize his strategy and move him ahead in his war with the James Carville wing of the party.

    An Obama candidacy brings a lot to the table.


  13. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:21 am:

    He’s in.

    Well put NW burbs.

    Does anyone else find the Christian right’s demonizing of Obama as pathetic and amusing as I do?


  14. - HoosierDaddy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:37 am:

    The one who “unites us” and “brings balance to the force?” Ok, Yoda, er, Leroy. But doncha think that’s what some of the Christian Right, especially the premillenial crowd is afraid of? Google “obama” and “antichrist” for gits and shiggles.


  15. - jerry - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:39 am:

    The so-called ‘religious’ right will try to tear down anyone on the Dem side of the aisle. I’m sure Obama realizes this and will just brush it off. People like schafly are extremists and dinosaurs, and are best ignored. It is amusing though.

    Obama’s totally in. I don’t see him winning the nomination though. He’ll make a nice running mate, though. Preferably for Al Gore or John Edwards.

    If the winner of the nomination goes too negative against him, goes personal, he should clearly spurn them though. I have a feeling that Hillary’s people may try to do that, being the triangulator that she is.

    And his lack of Washington insider-ness may be just the cure for this country’s ills.


  16. - jerry - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:40 am:

    oh, and hey, he’s already got one of the most valuable endorsements you could have in the bag: Oprah’s.

    I don’t think that anyone should underestimate the value of that endorsement.


  17. - jerry - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:42 am:

    I have no doubt what would show up Hoosier. I’m sure the racist/pseudo-religious whacko ultra-right is going ballistic over this candidacy.

    I don’t doubt that they call him Hussein-Osama or some such crap. Best not to give the nutcases any heed. Their only candidate is Sam Brownback, and he stands a snowball’s chance.


  18. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:51 am:

    When his cronies on the hired truck scandal and his neighbor rezko gets to the national press that will slow him down.He needs to cut back on the ego kool aid.Being in the national spotlight is a whole new world compared to the Chicago fix-it machine.


  19. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 12:08 pm:

    The best part of Obambi’s pre-run for Prez is the fits it’s giving Hill and Bill, who were already picking out the furniture they were planning to move back into the White House.

    The other best part is Blago left back in the yucky political dust while a mediocre do-nothing state senator flashes past him into the presidential primaries.


  20. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 12:19 pm:

    Listen, I voted for Obama. But he isn’t producing. He isn’t saying anything real. He is not a moderate. He is playing a game, constantly selling himself as some kind of new sage, but he is still an empty sack.

    He’s pretty, thats all so far - John Edwards as a multi-culti goodie-goodie. All hat - no cattle. No experience - no legislation - no moderation - just books about himself and pretty PR ops. Big Woo.

    Start delivering Obama, you haven’t earned the accolades you are getting from the air-head press.


  21. - swede - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 1:06 pm:

    Iraq is in an all out civil war. See it and accept it for what it is. The situation is to say the least horrible. Obama was in the forefront early in his protestations of going to war. Were the other “potential” dem candidates? I don’t think so. I think the american people, especially democrats, still will see the war as a key issue in 2 years. On this point alone, I see Obama as a very credible candidate regardless of his experience which I agree is lacking. I think he has the potential to win.


  22. - Pat Collins - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 1:11 pm:

    dumping on the Prince

    Maybe, just MAYBE, its that conservatives are VERY tired of “bi-partasinship” meaning “some dumb conservative flies high cover for a standard liberal program”?

    True bi-partisan ship and “reach out” means a TWO way street. Show me an example where Obama has given up anything? He wants you to get on his train, but what do you get?

    It’s like Bush caving into Kennedy on school reform, amnesty, etc.

    All give, no get.


  23. - Angie - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 3:29 pm:

    What, as if there wasn’t a religious Right trying to nose into politics over a nation that consists of more people than just Christian Evangelicals, now the Left is getting high, mighty, and holy, too?

    Shouldn’t Jerry Falwell, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and United Church of Christ-affiliated lefties like Obama be spending more time preaching their gospels IN an actual church for a change?

    No offense to folks who choose to participate in organized religion on their own time, outside of wanting to drag the rest of us along with you when we’re not into it, but seriously here. Where on Earth do these folks find the time to attend a sermon what with all of that politicking going on?


  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 3:41 pm:

    Newsweek has a great story about the growing rift within the evangelical coalition, An Evangelical Identity Crisis:

    “through the geographical heart of the country runs a fault line that is increasingly dividing evangelical Christians in America in the first years of the 21st century, revealing the movement to be more complex, and more interesting, than the usual caricatures suggest.”


  25. - Levois - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 5:48 pm:

    Obama is in this for the experience. He isn’t in it to win, but to build a network and gain the experience so that he might be able to do this in the future. Who knows that could be between 6 or 10 years from now.


  26. - NW burbs - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 6:21 pm:

    An open letter to all the Obama-haters this thread is drawing out…

    Why do you people constantly ignore what he has already accomplished in DC in less than 2 years and as a member of the minority party?

    Dick Lugar (he’s a Republican by the way, also something of a realist) has taken him under his wing re foreign affairs.

    And Obama and Sen. Tom Coburn (he’s another Republican, don’cha know) sponsored the Truth in Pork bill which was passed.

    I thought conservatives were supposed to be for fiscal responsibility and honest government, just like Sen. Obama. Maybe conservatives have given that up in their quest for hatred.

    I’d say 4 years or so of Senate experience is just enough to run for President. He knows his way around but won’t be set in those K Street ways.

    After all, a certain governor from Texas had nothing to show for his time in the guv’s mansion except more pollution and more questionable state executions than any previous Texas governor… and he was sort of elected president 6 years ago.


  27. - Angie - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 8:13 pm:

    We don’t “hate” Obama at all, just that everyone is going all weak-kneed and blushing over him like some kind of mad teenage crush (Rich likened the press adulation to women screaming at a Beatles concert back in the day), but in truth, he hasn’t done a ton of stuff that is all that significant outside of him being charismatic.

    Is this what we get to decide between? Good looks or a bunch of crooks?

    Pssst. Senator Obama, DO something significant.

    I recommend he work closely with Lisa Madigan on her push to drag these so-called non-profit hospitals that “terrorize” the working poor/uninsured into line, seeing as they enjoy nice tax breaks. Have the audacity to DO something. We already know the guy looks sharp. Takes more than that, though.


  28. - values matter - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:06 pm:

    Anyone who’s serious keeps David Axelrod on board to compete in Iowa. Axelrod helped then-State Sen. Tom Vilsack stage a come-from-behind win in the 1998 governor’s race and then another win in 2002. If Obama runs, look for some significant strength building in Iowa, despite John Edwards big lead in the Hawkeye State polls.


  29. - fredbyrdd - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 11:29 pm:

    Let’s boil it down: Chicks dig the guy. (Re: Oprah) That leaves it up to the right wingers and the rest of the male species to duke it out. He knows that. The scrum has already begun. The election showed us that the country isn’t moving to the right. Hillary ought to be a’scared.


  30. - beowulf - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 7:33 am:

    As the old saying goes, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Barack Obamma is most definitely going for the Presidency. He is a very smart guy. However, he is just starting to screw up and make political plunders as he undergoes the political learning curve. None have been fatal but they may have a cumulative effect when he finally runs for Presidential office.

    Barack got a light dusting of dirt on himself with his real estate dealings with Rezko.
    Then, he dismayed and lost credibility with many Illinois Independent and GOP swing-voters when he endorsed Todd Stroger for President of the Cook County Board. Barack’s ambition to please the Illinois and Cool County Democrat Party took precedence over his conviction of what is right and wrong. That hurt him as far as his Illinois base of support. The smart thing for Obama to have done would have been to stay out of the Todd Stroger political fiasco. His ambition trumped his sense of doing that which was ethical. Big mistake! His Todd Stroger endorsement will come back to haunt him when he runs for higher political office.


  31. - David P. Graf - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 7:38 am:

    With all the talk about Obama, it’s a shame that someone as solid as Senator Richard Lugar doesn’t have a chance at all of becoming President. With little more charisma than that of a boiled potato, he’s not exciting enough for the media.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* State Journal-Register endorses Rauner "with reservations"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker campaign lawyer hints at defamation suit, claims campaign was never served
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* Musical Interlude: Try (just a little bit harder)
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