I Stand With Michelle: Iowa Must And Can Be Won

Coming in second in Iowa is plan B. That is not plan A. Michelle is right.

If we win Iowa, Hillary is history before January is over. We will not have to wait until even February 5.

The stated goal of Obama 2008 is to win Iowa.

As for plan B, we will cross that bridge if and when we get there.

February To September: Little Change

I think we will win Iowa. I really do. I mean, after this rally in New York City, anything is possible.

In The News

Edwards opts for public funding MSNBC
Michelle Obama: Iowa Or Bust CBS News
New Obama line of attack on Clinton
Chicago Sun-Times, United States that she does not have the personality to pass universal health care. ..... can “inspire” people to get things done. .... Obama is opening a new front as he appeals to independents and Republicans to come into the Democratic primary. ..... Here's how Obama bored into Clinton. All the leading Dems have health plans on the table. They are more alike than they are different. Obama said the issue is not who has the plans but “It has to do with who can inspire and mobilize the American people to get it done and open up the process. If it was lonely for Hillary, part of the reason it was lonely, Hillary, was because you closed the door to a lot of potential allies in that process. At that time, 80 percent of Americans already wanted universal health care, but they didn’t feel like they were let into the process.” ...... “He’ll approach major challenges like health care reform the same way he’s approached every challenge he’s faced through two decades of public service –- with an open, transparent process that brings people of differing views together to build a real consensus for change,” Plouffe said. ...... Obama's answer is yet another example of how he is casting himself as the consensus candidate. He has also made an interesting language adjustment. The issue is not his experience, he said. It is his "experiences" that make him ready to lead.
Obama team insists he still can catch Clinton Reuters Obama largely held his fire and stayed above the fray. .... the Illinois senator needed a breakthrough performance to shake up the race for the White House in November 2008. ..... Howard Dean, who was leading the polls at this stage of the 2004 Democratic campaign ...... Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, said Clinton even dodged a question on who she preferred to win the World Series, the Chicago Cubs in her home state of Illinois or the New York Yankees in her adopted state. "I'm a sports fan. I'm not for two teams," Mrs. Edwards said. .... "No one laid a glove on her," said Clinton strategist Mandy Grunwald.
Out of Reach? TIME
Obama Hopes the Kids are Alright Yahoo! News
Clinton Haters Outpace Obama Backers on Facebook
Wired News
Back in Kenya, a 'cousin' plays the Obama card in his electoral quest
International Herald Tribune, France
Obama Watch
Chicago Sun-Times, United States
The Nanny Is for Hillary-Obama
U.S. News & World Report, DC
They Can't Get Enough of Obama In Greenwood, SC
Wall Street Journal

Previewing Tonight's Debate Time The 27 electoral votes at play in the upper Midwest (Iowa, 7, Minnesota, 10, and Wisconsin, 10) are once again going to make these key battleground states. ........ In a campaign in which there are so many debates, a single engagement rarely makes much difference this early in the process. Relatively few will watch a debate on a minor cable network more than three months before the first vote is cast (Sorry, MSNBC). ...... frequent multi-candidate debates freeze a race - helping the front-runner immensely. ..... the first debate of the fall ..... a sense that Clinton is beginning to pull away .... Attacks on women candidates from aggressive men frequently backfire because they create sympathy for the candidate being criticized. ...... Sixty-second answers don't play to his strengths. ..... Obama needs to stop talking biography and agenda and start painting a picture of what an Obama-led America would look like that stands in sharp contrast to what the country would resemble, should any of his opponents prevail. Obama needs to make his effort a crusade, not a traditional campaign. Talking about an America that picks up the mantle of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King (yes they're from a different era but voters know them) is one way forward.

Why Ahmadinejad Loves New York Time Columbia University president Lee Bollinger — clearly stung by criticism of the institution for hosting Ahmadinejad — used his introduction to excoriate the Iranian leader as everything from a "cruel and petty dictator" to "astonishingly uneducated." ........ a national media event, in which the Iranian President had the microphone, unmolested, for the best part of an hour. ..... Ahmadinejad stayed on message, appearing relaxed, reasonable, open, even charismatic. ..... It was pure political jujitsu, using the momentum of your adversaries to your own advantage. ...... Challenged on his statements questioning the Holocaust, for example, Ahmadinejad cleverly turned the issue around, asking, "Why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price for an event they had nothing to do with?" ...... the Iranian President faces reelection in 2009. ...... the breathless television coverage his visit has prompted in the U.S. won't do his domestic prospects any harm.
My Dinner There's Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. ...... a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room. ..... Every year, during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he plots out a media campaign that — in its shrewdness, relentlessness, and quest for attention — would rival Angelina Jolie on a movie junket. ...... In his calm and fluent voice — "dear friends," he calls us — he requests that we not ask questions, but make statements, so that he can react to them in a form of dialogue. ........ Throughout, Ahmadinejad is courtly, preternaturally calm, and fiercely articulate. ...... a half-hour ode to the relationship between man and God ..... He speaks with the quiet zeal of a not-very-flamboyant televangelist. "The pursuit of justice through love and kindness and human dignity can end all conflicts on earth," he says. "Inshallah." ....... In contrast with what he calls the lack of respect and dignity accorded to him at Columbia — where, he says, he found it odd that an academic institution which prizes tolerance would treat him without any — he addresses each person carefully and patiently. ....... Iran has not violated any of the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ahmadinejad says. He has proposed a multilateral uranium enrichment program with different nations, and can't understand why no one has taken up his offer. ........ The US and Iran can play a positive role together in Iraq. "If the US withdraws from Iraq, good things will happen," he says. "I believe that the Iraqi people can rule themselves." ....... In the Middle East, Ahmadinejad says the world must allow the Palestinians to decide their future for themselves: "That is the human solution to sixty years of instability." ...... Ahmadinejad claims there are thirty newspapers published in Iran that are opposed to his government ...... In answer to a question about how he viewed Hitler's legacy, he says, "I view Hitler's role as extremely negative, a despicably dark face." ...... Iran, he says, has never invaded anyone in its history. .... "Mr. Bush is interested in harming Iran. But I believe there are wise politicians in America who will prevent such a war. We hate war. We would not welcome it. But we are prepared for every scenario. Yet I don't think war will happen." ....... still composed ... he bows deeply and heads upstairs.

Witnesses say 3 shot in Myanmar protests Los Angeles Times security forces fired guns ..... Shots were fired after a crowd of 10,000 people, including "so-called monks" ..... the three wounded people were not hurt by gunshots but rather from being caught in a melee. ..... Dissident groups have claimed the casualty count is higher, with as many as five people killed, including Buddhist monks.
How To Spot A Corrupt Nation New York Times no nation is more in the corruption spotlight than Myanmar ...... “unsophisticated former field commanders who seem suspicious of the outside world” ....... the generals have maintained a policy of isolation for their country and have in turn isolated themselves from the population, a bunker within a bunker. ...... another nation tied it because of sheer chaos. Somalia, which spent the past year putting down an Islamist insurgency that at one point took control of the capital, also shares the distinction of the most corrupt government on earth. ...... “We even depend on foreign donors for our salaries.” ...... Somalia seems to be “quietly disintegrating into Africa’s worst humanitarian emergency” — nodded to the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, another nation at the bottom of the corruption list. ...... two front-page perennials: Iraq and Afghanistan
Nepal Party Supports Abolishing Monarchy The Associated Press
Anger at Giuliani 9/11 fundraiser BBC News
Criticism of Ahmadinejad May Help Him at Home
South Asia Scores Poorly on Corruption Index
Voice of America Berlin-based Transparency International ..... ranks military-ruled Burma as tied with the lawless East African country of Somalia as the world's most corrupt states. ..... Bangladesh ranks 162nd and Pakistan is 138th, seven spots below Nepal. ...... Bhutan has slipped compared to previous years, but it is best in the region at 46th. India is tied with China and six other countries at number 72 and ahead of Sri Lanka, which is 94th. ..... the cleanest in terms of public sector wrongdoing are New Zealand, Denmark, and Finland. The United States ranks 20th, between France and Belgium. ....... and here come the multi-nationals with briefcases full of cash
Clinton May Erase Obama's Fund-Raising Edge in Third Quarter Bloomberg both Clinton and Obama are set to report about $20 million in donations during the third quarter ..... Obama raised $33 million to her $27 million in the second quarter and ended up with more cash on hand for the primary elections. His campaign had aimed to be able to outspend her significantly in the last part of 2007 and early next year. ..... ``Everybody's talking about the kind of money we raised,'' Obama said in a speech to labor leaders last month in Iowa. ``We raised it the old-fashioned way -- $5, $10, $25.'' ..... Clinton's lead in the polls and strong performance in candidate debates is helping her with donors and fund-raisers ....... she's run an outstanding campaign ..... his competitive standing in early nominating states such as Iowa. ..... ``He gets better and better on his feet''
Clinton heads into NH debate tonight with big lead Baltimore Sun She is favored by 43 percent of likely Democratic voters in the nation’s first primary state. Trailing are Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 20 percent ...... “Obama is now a lot closer to the pack than he is to Clinton” .... Only 17 percent of the state’s Democratic voters said they have definitely made up their mind on a choice
Clinton Global Initiative Begins The Associated Press former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, tennis star Andre Agassi and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. ...... — poverty relief, global health, and energy and climate change — .... fourth topic is education. ..... More than 857,000 children under 5 years old have gotten access to lifesaving medical treatment like vaccines. .... By the end of 2007, 34 million people will have been treated for neglected tropical diseases. .... More than 3.2 million people in the developing world have gained access to clean energy services.
FACTBOX: Clinton Global Initiative achievements Reuters More than 1,200 people from 72 countries, including 52 current and former heads of state, celebrities, aid workers and company chiefs, will attend the three-day brainstorm session. ...... pay a $15,000, although most charity groups are exempt. ..... During the past two years the initiative has avoided or reduced 20,070,524 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. ..... Three million additional small businesses have gained access to capital through the initiative.
Clinton sets sights on inspiring Asian philanthropy Reuters $10 billion of pledges made in the first two years of his summit. ..... www.mycommitment.org, a database of about one million volunteer groups globally to help people find a way to do good in their own communities. ...... Clinton will also target U.S. university students in a discussion with rock star and activist Bono, comedian Chris Rock and singers Alicia Keys and Shakira, to be aired by MTV. ..... Born out of his frustration while president from 1993 to 2001 at attending conferences that were more talk than action, Clinton has described the initiative as matching "people with ideas and those who have the means to see them through." ....... saw him come in at No. 6 on Vanity Fair magazine's 2007 top 100 power rankings. ...... helping restore America's "inspirational power," which he said was damaged by an overreaction from Washington after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. ...... the America that exports its own fear and paranoia after 9/11 .... In his new book "Giving," Clinton said he hopes to continue the Global Initiative meetings for at least a decade.
Maoists say Nepal army planning coup to save monarchy AFP some analysts saying they are merely afraid of losing a popular vote. ...... Bhattarai said "the experience of revolutionary change elsewhere is that unless you restructure and democratise the army, there is a chance of a coup and the old set-up returning." .... The Maoist number two, an ideologue prone to drifting into lengthy discourses on Marxist-Leninist-Maoist semantics, asserted that his party was nevertheless "sticking by the ceasefire and peace accord." ...... a dark, dank hotel used as the movement's Kathmandu headquarters. ..... "We don't want to chop off his head," he said sternly. "We are not saying he should get out or he should be killed. He should just live like you and me."
Mumbai comes to a halt to welcome victorious Team India Hindustan Times India's main stock market rose to a record level on Wednesday morning, but for once residents of the country's financial capital were on a different high - the whole city poured out in the rain to welcome the Indian cricket team returning home from South Africa with the Twenty20 World Championships trophy. ...... the 30-km route from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport to the Wankhede Stadium. .... Several members of the 1983 World Cup winning squad were on hand to praise their triumphant successors. .... the team was loaded with cheques, shawls, garlands, bouquets, plaques and almost any other memento one could think of. There were no complaints of excess baggage. ...... Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was among those present at the airport to receive the cricketers.
Nonstop LAX-China flight plan stalled Los Angeles Times
US Airways gets Philly-China route San Jose Mercury News
China makes contingency plans for junta's fall
International Herald Tribune As China publicly calls for stability and reconciliation in Myanmar, it is also preparing for the possibility that the current protests could lead to the downfall of the military junta leading its resource-rich neighbor ...... Although China is Myanmar's most important trading partner, investor and strategic ally, Beijing has also maintained discreet links with opponents of its military rulers and tolerates the activity of some of exiled critics on Chinese soil ....... "If Aung San Suu Kyi became the leader of Burma tomorrow, China would be the first country to roll out the red carpet," said Bertil Lintner, an analyst of Myanmar politics based in Thailand. "But they wouldn't like to see it happen." ....... China has firsthand experience of the risks ahead for the junta if it turns to violence. Its governing Communist Party is still feeling the effects of international criticism over the military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989 in Beijing and other cities. ..... a country that has estimated reserves of three trillion cubic meters of natural gas and three billion barrels of crude oil. .... China would also like to keep a pliant government in place to develop strategically important access to the Indian Ocean ...... there is evidence that China has been hedging its bets on political developments in Myanmar for some years. ..... Beijing maintained unofficial contacts with exiled Myanmar opposition groups in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries in a bid to minimize their antagonism and to improve its understanding of political developments. ....... Beijing also tolerated the presence of these groups in Ruili, on the border with Myanmar in Yunnan Province, where some maintain unofficial offices. ..... China has doubts about the junta's survival. .... "One day, they expect the military will no longer be running the place" ..... Beijing wanted Myanmar to move toward "a democracy process that is appropriate for the country ..... it is prepared to use its influence with the junta to ease diplomatic tensions with the United States. ... In June, China arranged in Beijing the highest-level talks between the United States and Myanmar in five years.
China Nudges Myanmar on Protests The Associated Press
China could play crucial role in Myanmar crisis Reuters UK If there is one power that could pressure Myanmar to avoid a bloody crackdown on the country's biggest anti-government protests in 20 years, it is China. ...... wary of any domino effect that political liberalisation on its borders might have ......... "It's in their economic interests to preserve the status quo" .... "Than Shwe will not come under the thumb of any outside power, including the Chinese."
Google eyes Canada rollout of discreet Street View Reuters
Amitabh Bachchan invited to Iran
Study: Firms Should Help Unhappy Workers
The Associated Press Investing in depressed employees — quickly getting them treatment and even offering telephone psychotherapy — can cut absenteeism while improving workers' health ....... Many employers view mental health coverage as a financial black hole ..... spending money on depression is a smart business move .... Employees who got the aggressive intervention worked on average about two weeks more during the yearlong study than those who got the usual care — advice to see their doctor or seek a mental health specialist. ..... savings from more hours worked averaged to about $1,800 per employee. That far exceeds the program's initial $100 to $400 per worker cost. ....... depression takes a hefty toll on the U.S. workplace, affecting about 6 percent of employees each year and costing over $30 billion annually in lost productivity ....... a bill before Congress that would require employers to offer mental health insurance coverage that is equal to that provided for physical illnesses ...... an online screening questionnaire that found signs of depression. ..... "It's not just the right thing to do, it also saves money for the company."

For general, Obama's character befits a commander in chief The Concord Monitor "He's not self-centered, he's reasonable, he's not trying to prove he's tougher than his daddy" ...... Obama's life experience makes up for any deficit. ..... decision-making abilities and judgment are more important than legislative experience. ...... Obama is "head and shoulders above everyone else." ..... Obama has good advisers, including Susan Rice, who was President Bill Clinton's assistant secretary of state for African affairs, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser. ..... Obama's ability to inspire and his toughness ..... Although McPeak believes top military officials still favor the Republican Party, he said they have been turned off by the current administration and would welcome a president like Obama. ....... "Who's had experience the last seven years? Rumsfeld and Cheney. Look how that turned out," Allard said. "What's important is judgment. Can you make the right calls?" ..... "We're getting to the point where fewer and fewer candidates have any real military experience" ...... "Even foreign policy experience - there have been presidents not going into office with much experience." ...... "Reagan seemed to do fine in spite of a lack of experience," Masur said. "I don't think either Bush or Clinton will be remembered as great foreign policy administrations." ....... President Lyndon Johnson had plenty of experience, as vice president, and will not be remembered as a success in Vietnam. ..... "Sometimes, people with a lot of experience don't do well. There are people without a lot of experience who do" ...... Grover Cleveland paid a substitute to fight in his place during the Civil War. ...... "Americans oscillate between their fascination with military characters and their revulsion against them" ..... Obama could be successful in promoting his world experience and judgment ..... "Bush has been Mr. Tough Guy for six years and has been more successful in creating more enemies around the world," Bruno said. "It turns out military power and credentials can only take you so far."