.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

From an AP article looking at the last push in Pennsylvania.
The primary Tuesday follows a month-long hiatus in voting, a gap the candidates filled in large measure by sullying each other.

Picture of the Day

(Sen. John McCain pays for a slice of pizza at Verrazano Pizza during a campaign stop in the Brooklyn borough in New York, April 10, 2008. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton))

The GOP financing strategy

With a lack of fire and small donations from "the base," it sounds like the GOP is trying to compensate by tapping their big donors.
The (McCain) campaign has set up a hybrid campaign committee that will allow individual donors to contribute roughly $70,000 to Mr. McCain’s election efforts, far more than the $2,300 maximum that can be given to a general election campaign.

Only $2,300 of the money would go directly to the campaign committee, $28,500 would go to the national committee, and nearly $40,000 would be divided among the state parties of four crucial states: Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

: (NationalJournal) It sounds like Karl Rove is trying to organize the GOP's 527 structure, coordinating the donors, the targets, and the strategy.


(NYTimes) The US has been installing those giant concrete barriers in Sadr City to try and create a safe area to stop mortar fire on the Green Zone. "During a tour of several streets in the Mahdi-controlled area on Friday, it was clear that concrete blast walls erected elsewhere in Sadr City had been moved or knocked down."

(AP) The fighting is active in Sadr City.

(Reuters) "Iraqi troops cordoned off the Basra office of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's followers on Friday and prevented them holding prayers in a move that seems sure to inflame tensions."

(Reuters) "A group of al Qaeda bombers has slipped into Baghdad to carry out a wave of car bombs and suicide attacks, the U.S. military said on Friday."

(Independent) An article about the intra-Sunni fighting between the pro-US militias and insurgents.

Observation: Although the true cross sectarian killing has diminished, the intra-sectarian violence has risen appreciably, Sunni on Sunni, Shia on Shia. (Is that progress or do they just go back to sectarian war once these are settled out?)

All over the place (link post) going into Pa.

There seems to be another growing wave of "Clinton can't win." (AP: Analysis: Time, Delegate Math Working Against Clinton, JoeKlein/Time)

And there seems to be a little evidence that alot of insiders are beginning to feel that it's over (or needs to be.) Howard Dean yesterday. CQ informal Congressional Insiders poll.

I think alot of it has to do with the Clinton camp trying to go negative. It doesn't seem to have worked.
Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are both sustaining dents and dings from their lengthy presidential fight. The former first lady is clearly suffering more as Democratic voters no longer see her as the party's strongest contender for the White House.

The superdelegates seem unmoved as well, (NYTimes) Superdelegates unswayed by Clinton's attacks.

However, despite all the apparent movement on the national front, Pa. is still a Clinton win, and I would point again to Chuck Todd's observation from a couple days ago about the Pa. polling.
There's a pattern that ought to worry Obama: He is consistently sitting in the low 40s in the state(Pa.) In fact, his range is strikingly consistent, while Clinton's number is all over the map -- from the mid-40s to mid-50s. Does Obama have a ceiling in Pennsylvania? And does this mean a five-point lead for Clinton in these new polls today could quickly turn into a 15-point one if undecideds move en masse to Clinton?"

The CW seems to be that Clinton needs to win Pa. by at least 10, and that could happen. It's not unrealistic that Clinton could win Pa. handily, close the popular vote gap by a bit, and still come away with only a relatively small pledged delegate gain.

And then, two weeks later, Indiana's a functional tie and Obama blows out in NC, erasing any Pa. gains.

So, where would we be then? Right where we are now, except with no big states left.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

(Associated article.)

Heavyweight Obama endorsements

Robert Reich endorses Obama. (Another former Clintonista coming out for Obama. He cites negative Pa. ads and general negative tone as his tipping point.)

Obama also picked up the endorsements of foreign policy heavyweights Sam Nunn and David Boren.

Also: (FirstRead) "NBC News has adjusted the pledged delegate count in Ohio, adding one for Obama and subtracting one for Clinton. "

Later: (CNN) Clinton picks up 3 "add-on" superdelegates.

On "vetting"

I woke up this morning thinking about the Clinton campaign's claims that they're helping Obama by "vetting" him now.

Maybe, but I also see the very real possibility that they're souring his introduction to voters. Obama is still a fairly unknown to alot of voters, and stressing all his negatives now "introduces" him as those negatives.

Yes, the Republicans will definitely hit all the same points, but it's a big difference as to whether that's a voter's first impression or something laid on top of an image the Obama campaign got out there first.

For instance, look at John McCain. He's able to walk around and talk about the issues he wants, setting the tone and impression of his character, and his positives are going up.

It would all be very different if there was a realistic way she could win the nomination.

(The bar for survival seems to be a "double digit" win in Pa.)

Picture of the Day

(Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton returns from a commercial break during the debate at the National Constitution Center, Wednesday, April 16, 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))


(AP) Another report of an Iraqi Army company abandoning positions under fire in Sadr City.

(CSM) More confirmation that alot of the bombings in Iraq are targeting the US run Sunni militias.

(WaPo) Same thing. Insurgents targeting US run Sunni militias.

(McClatchy) "The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute."

(WSJ) The US begins freeing more than 10,000 prisoners. (A concession to the Sunnis.)

(AP) "Al-Qaida's No. 2 said in an audiotape released Friday that the United States will lose whether it stays in Iraq or withdraws, and he sneered that President Bush just wants to pass the problem on to his successor....."

(NYTimes) The US continues building walls in Sadr City.

And, (WashTimes) Kurds and Iraqi gov't agree on oil revenue distribution? (This is WashTimes so be skeptical.)

One theory on the Basra disaster

I thought this was very interesting (although it's not really sourced.)
What Petraeus did not reveal is that al-Maliki was deliberately upsetting a Petraeus plan to put US and British forces into Basra for a months-long operation to eliminate the Mahdi Army from the city.

According to this, Cheney's visit did spawn this action, but not as intended. After that meeting, Maliki had decided to short circuit the US plan.
When the Basra operation became an obvious disaster, however, Washington officials began to question al-Maliki's motives..... one official told the Washington Post's Peter Baker they were comparing conspiracy theories about why al-Maliki had acted so precipitously.

Although that comment was not explained, it clearly implied that al-Maliki was deliberately undermining the US objective of eliminating the Mahdi Army by using US and British troops.

Bush administration suspicions of al-Maliki's intentions could not have been eased by the fact that a delegation of pro-government parties traveled to Iran to ask the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to negotiate a ceasefire with the Mahdi Army. That ploy move, which did result in a tenuous ceasefire, raised the possibility that al-Maliki intended from the beginning that the outcome of the Basra operation would be a new agreement that would prevent the deployment of US and British troops to fight the Mahdi Army during the summer.

So, according to this, the goal was to keep the US and British from taking on a major anti-Mahdi operation. Why? To keep the US/British from reestablishing in the region? Was it fear that such an operation would tip the Shia away from Maliki and more towards Sadr?

What lies ahead.

Think about how many of these young men and women will never get over this war.
Roughly one in five U.S. troops is suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an equal number have suffered brain injuries, a new study estimates.

Only about half of them have sought treatment, says the study released Thursday by the Rand Corp.

A recently completed survey showed 18.5% — or 300,000 people — said they have symptoms of depression or PTSD, the researchers said. Nineteen% — or 320,000 — suffered head injuries ranging from mild concussions to penetrating head wounds.

Those two groups may overlap, but still, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of soldiers walking around without treatment, at least one hundred big high schools full, and some percentage of them will never recover.

Now, let's talk about flag lapel pins, because that's what's important.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

(Reuters) "Republican presidential candidate John McCain is attempting to reassure Americans that "I detest war" even as he strongly backs the current U.S. war strategy in Iraq."

(John McCain during a roundtable of local business owners at a campaign stop in New York, April 10, 2008. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters))

So, where are the superdelegates?

A NYTimes story for tomorrow, "Superdelegates unswayed by Clinton's attacks."

(CNN) Howard Dean on CNN starts cranking up the pressure, “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”

FirstRead has a look at two relatively minor uncommitted delegates in Missouri and the pressure they're facing.

We'll have to wait and see, but Obama's gaining a few supers right now and Clinton isn't. She needs to win the uncommitteds big (like 75%) to have any claim on the nomination. (Of course, the Clinton camp may be holding some back to unveil following Pa.)

Anyway, we're back to this, and the pressure is building.

Political bits

(FirstRead) Obama was waffling on whether or not to participate in the NC debate. Last night may have sealed it.

(CNN) A big sample Gallup poll through Apr 15 shows both Dems generally win the "swing states" against McCain. (Overall Clinton does a little worse in the true red and blue states.)

(Politico) McCain readies unorthodox campaign. GOP grumbles. (Has a candidate ever won a major office by relying on "free media"?)

(FirstRead) "Obama picked up an Oklahoma superdelegate, add-on Reggie Whitten. Clinton now leads in superdelegates 257-235. Since Sunday, Obama has picked up five supers to Clinton’s zero. With his three elected superdelegate pick-ups yesterday, Obama has moved past Clinton among the group (U.S. Senators, Reps and governors): 96-94. In the overall count now, Obama leads by 142 (1,651-1,509).

(WaPo) One more superdelegate to Obama. (Switches from Clinton.)

(CNN) Obama gets a GOP endorsement from William D. Ruckelshaus, fired in the Saturday Night Massacre because he wouldn't carry out Nixon's orders.

(ThePage) Obama feels comfortable enough to set this goalpost: "If we can win in North Carolina, I bet we can wrap up this nomination.”

(WSJBlog) Regarding both Clinton and Obama and the Weather Underground. "That’s where Democrats — both party officials and voters — should probably be concerned, when their two presidential candidates are now fighting over which one’s ties, however tenuous, to domestic terrorist groups is more damaging."

And, Obama line of the day: After complaining about the "gotcha" nature of the debate last night, "And I’ve got to say Sen. Clinton looked in her element...."

Picture of the Day

Because this election is about important things....

(A U.S. Army soldier from B Company, First Squadron, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment touches the helmet, rifle and dog tags belonging to Cpl. Jason Kazarick during a memorial service for three soldiers in Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, April 16, 2008. Cpl. Kazarick was killed in combat in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City on April 7, along with Sgt. Michael Lilly; Staff Sgt. Joseph Gamboa died on March 25.
(AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo))

A second look at that fleeing Iraqi unit

Yesterday, the NYTimes had a story on an Iraqi unit in Sadr City who fled the action.

Today the NYTimes gives a voice to the Iraqi commander involved. He claims he was taking a "long overdue" 3 day break.
He had not been paid in two months and was overwhelmed by the problems of commanding his company..... He was considering not going back to the fight in Sadr City......

The captain who left his men on Tuesday said that even away from the battle, he was not able to escape his army burdens. He said his phone rang incessantly. His men had called from the front line saying that, once again, they had run out of ammunition and they pleaded for help.....

Then his phone had rung again, he said. It was the Mahdi Army militia, the group his men were fighting, on the line.

“We know where you live,” they had told him.

“If they come to my house, they can kill my whole family,” he said.

On the phone they had read a roster of names of the men in his battalion. “I don’t even have access to that,” he said. “They could only have gotten it from my senior commanders.....

He said most of his men had only two 30-round ammunition magazines each, magazines that sell for less than $12 on the streets of Baghdad.....

His company was below half-strength and shrinking by the day. It was down to 70 men from a normal roster of 150. Five had been wounded in the past week, others had been lent to another company. And then there was the desertion problem, made worse by the threatening phone calls from the Mahdi Army to his men......

As much as he did not want to leave his men, he was not sure he would return to them.

“It is very hard; I’m thinking of resigning,” he said.

It does sound like he abandoned his men, but who would want that job?

Unpaid, undermanned, and underarmed, very real threats to your family, and always looking both up and down the command structure to see who is looking to put a bullet in your back.


Maybe Hillary Clinton's goal in all the negative is to drive down turnout from first time voters, irregular voters, and independent/party switchers?

If only the everytime Democratic primary voters show up (skewing elderly and women,) she does relatively better in percentage terms.

Of course, reducing turnout would also likely reduce the amount of popular vote gain she carries forward for her later argument.

But, she does have to win Pa by X margin to even be allowed to continue, so, maybe that's what this is all about.

(Of course, negativity also plays against Clinton in the broader sense as it increases the pressure on her to get out. How different would it be if she'd left after Texas/Ohio?)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

From what I've read, I think I made the right choice to not watch the debate. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

See you tomorrow.

Political bits

(TPM) Source: Hillary TV Ad Campaign Is Now 100% Negative In Most Pennsylvania Markets. (We're down to this.)

(MorningCall) One of the supporters in that negative ad run by Clinton is actually registered to vote in New Jersey, not Pa.

HuffPo has a second hand hearsay account of Hillary Clinton saying "Screw 'em" about the white middle class voters from back in 1995. (Timed to the debate?)

(ThePage) Halperin has a collection of observations showing the "bitter" comments didn't catch on.

(Politico) Murtha says McCain is too old like him. (The twist is that McCain said Murtha was too old to be rational back in the 2005 war debate.)

And, (WSJBlog) Obama picked up three more superdelegates today, two from NC and one from Indiana.

(NBC now has the superdelegate count at Clinton only +23.)

A good point

(FirstRead) "...There's a pattern that ought to worry Obama: He is consistently sitting in the low 40s in the state(Pa.) In fact, his range is strikingly consistent, while Clinton's number is all over the map -- from the mid-40s to mid-50s. Does Obama have a ceiling in Pennsylvania? And does this mean a five-point lead for Clinton in these new polls today could quickly turn into a 15-point one if undecideds move en masse to Clinton?"

Picture of the Day

They really need an opponent.

(Advisers to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain watch as press secretary Brooke Buchanan tosses an orange down the aisle during a bowling game on board the campaign charter airplane, Friday, April 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer))


Well, after almost a week of breathless coverage of the whole "bitter" thing, the early evidence coming in seems to be that next to no one not on TV gives a damn about this latest "controversy." Obama is holding up in polling, both in Pa and nationally. (LATimes, Local poll, Quinnipiac, Rasmussen and Gallup national tracking.) So, what was all that for?

Looking at the ABC/WaPo poll released today, Obama's relative electability has shot way up, and Clinton's personal ratings have gone down.

This week gave the impression of the Clinton campaign throwing everything as hard as they can at Obama, and yet he came out of it the same, if not better than she did. I think we have to ask the question of whether this latest flareup may mark the end of the Clinton hopes. She spent alot of her capital on this, and doesn't appear to have gained anything.

Where is the Clinton number for next Tuesday. In the wake of all this, how big a win does she now need to prove her case?

Any evidence that this week helped her among superdelegates?

There's a debate tonight.

The Maliki/US divergence

A very interesting article by Robert Reid (AP) looking at the split between the US and the Maliki government regarding how to deal with Sadr.

I think the bottom line comes down to the differing priorities. The Maliki government needs to defeat Sadr to maintain their hold on power while the US has an interest in keeping the Sadr door open in case the Maliki government loses power.

Maybe that's why the Maliki government charged into Basra without full US consult/planning. Maybe the Maliki government doesn't believe/trust that the US is a fully firm ally.

Their interests are different which puts them in a slightly oppositional stance where they're not fully cooperating as much as trying to influence and draw the other into their course of action.

So, how does that play out?

Iran's terrorist problem

Two days ago I wrote a post pointing out that the Iranians have a terrorist problem, too, several groups with varying agendas coming across their borders and conducting destabilizing and sometimes violent acts. The LATimes has a nice look at the groups in question. (If you're not registered at the LATimes, look here.)

The upshot is that the Iranians believe/blame the US for the actions/protection of many of these groups, most operating out of Iraq.

So, when you're asking the Iranians to get out of Iraq, from their perspective, you're asking them to give up what they see as crossborder safe havens to groups that want to attack their country.

Not trying to defend Iran's actions, just offering some perspective. From the Iranian side, it looks alot like several versions of the Turks and the PKK.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

(Senator Barack Obama, seen here about to board a plane at Dulles International Aiport in Chantilly, Virginia. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand))


With the revelation that Cindy McCain's "family recipes" were stolen word for word from the Food Network....
Cindy McCain's special recipe for filet mignon.

1. Turn in direction of Consuela.
2. Say "I would like filet mignon".
3. Emphasized "NOW!"
4. Wait 10 minutes.
5. Enjoy

It made me laugh.

Those pesky pledged delegates

CQ has a breakdown of how they pledged delegates will be allocated out of Pa district by district. Short version: Clinton will barely edge Obama in pledged delegates.

(Also: Is it a sign that Bill Clinton is asking for donations from the crowds at his appearances?)

Picture of the Day

(ABC) "At 39 months in the doghouse, George W. Bush has surpassed Harry Truman's record as the postwar president to linger longest without majority public approval.

Bush hasn't received majority approval for his work in office in ABC News/Washington Post polls since Jan. 16, 2005..."

(Yes, that would be four days before Bush's second inaugural.)

(President Bush makes remarks to the press during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, April 14,2008.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert))

Political bits

Maybe the most important thing Hillary Clinton has accomplished in this latest scuffle is that she's (at least temporarily) killed any discussion of "hope." (But has all this raised expectations on her in Pa? Does she now "have to" win by more?)

(YouTube) An outside Dem group runs the general election ad against McCain I've been waiting to see, Bush and McCain speaking the exact same words on the economy. (This whole McCain/Obama race changes as soon as the Dems turn all focus on tying him to Bush.)

(HuffPo) Cindy McCain's "family recipes" from the McCain website are lifted word for word from the Food Network. (Really, take a three second look.)

(AP) Condoleezza Rice tries to rule out a McCain VP slot. (I always thought this was garbage. Imagine the questions she'd face on the trail. Torture, Iraq, Cheney.....)

(PoliticalWire) Quinnipiac in Pa. Clinton +6. "There was no noticeable movement in the matchup in polling April 12 - 13, following widespread media reports on Sen. Obama's 'bitter' comments."


(AP) Two car bombs targeted restaurants in Baquba and Ramadi killing at least 50. (Seems to indicate Sunni groups. No word on who, if anyone were the targets.)

(Reuters) "The anti-U.S. movement of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is now Iraq's main humanitarian organization helping needy Iraqis, a relief group said in a report that is certain to cause concern in Washington."

And, (AP) "US, Iraq far apart on security pacts" (Just throwing this in because technically, the UN mandate for the US to stay in Iraq ends at the end of this year, and trying to force anything through parliament on a timetable, especially a pro-US forces agreement, is going to be very tricky.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sidenote - Real, committed racism

You know that Republican Congressman who called Obama "boy" and then apologized for it today?

Rep. Geoff Davis is only 49 years old!!!!

It's not like he's some old Strom Thurmond coot. This guy would have graduated college around 1981.

And while the Dems continue to fight amongst themselves....

McCain gets another free pass on a rather significant Iraq mistake.

Picture of the Day - 2

Sen. John McCain stands with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the start of a campaign event Thursday, April 10, 2008, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Iran has a terrorist problem, too.

I thought this was an interesting post at the Mother Jones blog speculating that Saturday's mosque blast in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz might represent some Sunni/Al Qaeda blowback from Iran's operations supporting the Shia militias in Iraq. (although I'm not sure I fully agree with the blanket Al Qaeda tie in.)

Iran has several groups targeting them, Kurdish groups and the MEK working out of northern and central Iraq as well as the Baluch terrorists Jundallah in the south (Sunni, Wahabi, but not directly Al Qaeda) which ABC reported a year ago had US ties and support.

I just thought it was interesting and never gets talked about.

Political bits

Josh Marshall makes the point that everybody complaining about Obama's comments on lower middle class voters are worth millions, politicians and TV pundits from New York and Washington.

(CNN) Hillary Clinton gets groans, jeers, and boos from a crowd in Pittsburgh when she brings it up again.

(Politico) Yes, deep south Republican Congressman Geoff Davis did call Obama "boy." ("An aide to Davis, Jeremy Hughes, declined to comment on the remark, and didn't dispute the accuracy of the quote.")

(FirstRead) "We have received word that Davis has delivered -- or is about to -- a letter of apology to Obama's Senate office."

(Politico) A small picket line of Union members (50-60) showed up outside the DNC headquarters to protest Fla and Michigan. (If you're going to fake grass roots, you need to fake bigger than that.)

(Politico) Is it really smart for Clinton to be taking shots at Al Gore over "elitism?"

Drudge claims that McCain is pulling for Clinton and told his perplexed staff to go soft on the Bosnia thing to help her out.

And the talked about piece today seems to be "Is John McCain Bob Dole?"


(Reuters) "Iraq's cabinet has agreed a draft law on provincial elections that bans any party from the polls if they have militias, officials said on Sunday..." (All political parties in Iraq have militias. Maliki is trying to find another way to ban Sadr from the elections he'd likely win.)

(AP) Petraeus has been "quietly" visiting Iraq's US friendly Sunni neighbors looking for cooperation. (Condi Rice's job?)

(Aswataliraq) The US has started partitioning parts of Sadr City with those giant concrete barriers. (Unlike some areas, I'm quite sure the Sadr Cityites don't want these barriers there.)

(Reuters) Fighting resumes in Sadr City.

(Reuters) "Iraq will seek parliamentary approval for a strategic agreement being negotiated with the United States even though it expects heated debate over the deal...."

(NYTimes) Iraq has fired 1,300 soldiers and policemen who refused to fight against the Mahdi Army in Basra. ("including 37 senior police officers up to the rank of brigadier general.")

(AFP) Kurdish rebels inside Iraq threaten to "carry out bombings against Iranian forces" inside Iran. (The Iranians see the US as protecting the Kurds and the MEK inside Iraq, groups that are terrorists to the Iranians.)

Picture of the Day

So, now I'm supposed to believe that Hillary Clinton, of all people, is the shot drinking, gun loving, church going candidate?

The Obama campaign is trying to turn this overextension back onto Clinton and her credibility. (AP/FirstRead/CNN/video)
"Hillary Clinton is out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday. She's packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better. That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton."

Reporters, too: (CNN) "After a weekend spent making direct appeals to gun owners and church goers, Hillary Clinton said Sunday a query about the last time she fired a gun or attended church services "is not a relevant question in this debate”...."

From what should have been a clean winning issue, the Clinton camp may have campaigned itself, at least partially, into an evaluation on her credibility. Unbelievable.

Later: (Politico) "Senator Obama's campaign says he plans to use a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors to turn the tables on the question of who is most in touch with the American people." (Targeting mostly McCain.)

Backchannel nuclear discussions with Iran

We kinda knew/hoped this had to be going on, but it's still nice to know that even the crazy Bush administration is maintaining unofficial backchannel contacts with Iran over the nuclear issues.

(AP) Iran abruptly cancels meeting with IAEA.

A cure for cancer

Way off my usual blogging path, but I found this 60 Minutes article on possibly "burning out" some cancers through radio/microwaves pretty interesting.

Still years off, still problems ahead, but interesting.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

If you didn't see it,

SNL may have decided that being so pro-Clinton wasn't good for their demographic. Take a minute. It will make you laugh.

Political bits

The Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows Clinton +1. (Movement was before this current "bitter" flareup.) Gallup tracking Obama +9.

(NYTimes) Alberto Gonzales can't find a law firm that wants to put his name on their letterhead.

(Politico) McCain is using his staff and donor/email list to help Giuliani retire his campaign debt?

(ThinkProgress) The White House is holding a dinner in honor of the Pope and his visit that the Pope is not attending.

Later: (CNN) "Hillary Clinton said Sunday a query about the last time she fired a gun or attended church services "is not a relevant question in this debate” over Barack Obama’s recent comments on small town Americans......

And, I think the talked about piece will be this Politico piece making all the Clinton camp's "Obama is unelectable" points. for them. (I'm sure the Clinton camp was more than happy to provide Politico the powerpoint slides.)

One of the great PR coups of the Clinton campaign has been to frame the electability argument as only whether or not Obama is electable, with unquestioned assumption that Clinton is electable.