Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Candidate I'll Be Supporting for President

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 599

Since starting this blog this past January, I’ve had the opportunity to meet, or at least shake hands with, every candidate in the Democratic field who has made a visit to Iowa. I’ve heard their ideas, or at least their rhetoric. I’ve had a chance to see how they perform in front of crowds large and small. I’m as star-struck by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as moved by the personal story of John Edwards, as impressed by the résumé of Bill Richardson, and appreciative of the Senate careers of Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, as anybody. I’ve heard the policy speeches on Iraq and health care, climate change and energy. I’ve been on the conference calls with the candidates, and heard them make the case about why they are uniquely qualified to lead the United States at this critical moment in history. I’ve watched the debates. I’ve sized them up, weighed the pros and cons, scrutinized their records. I’ve looked them in the eye, and taken the temperature of the fire in their bellies.

I now have to face the question of whether the time has come to declare support for one candidate above the others.

I’m happy to say this is not an easy choice to make. The Democratic roster this cycle is arguably the most impressive ever fielded by the party. Any one of the candidates I mention above could legitimately serve as president, and would do a better job of it than any Republican candidate this cycle, and, I need hardly say, the current incumbent. And, to an unusual degree, they all will have a future in national politics and running for the White House again after the 2008 election is over. In my view, however, one stands above the rest on experience, on leadership, on political courage, on character and integrity, and the strength of the ideas they have brought to this campaign.

Today, I am proud to announce that I support (insert name here) for President of the United States.

Okay, so I’ve been playing with you a little bit in this post. But I do have a serious point to make. While a number of others in the Iowa Democratic blogosphere have already thrown their support to a given candidate, or at least voted one or more off the island, I think it’s too early to jump quite yet. This is not only because we still have many months to go before caucus night, but also – and perhaps more to the point – because I haven’t actually seen what I think is the best shot from any of the candidates. Not yet. The candidates and their staffs are all out there working hard, and none of them, I’m convinced, is in this for any other reason than to win. But the day when the message, the moment and the candidate click together to lock in not just my approval, not just my respect, but my gut-level conviction that no one else but they will do as my choice for president, has yet to arrive.

So here’s my point, made to both the candidates and their staffs: there are more undecideds here in Iowa than you may think. And we’re waiting. On you. To win us over.

Keep coming to Iowa. Keep working hard. And then find the moment when you go beyond the ordinary day-to-day of the campaign, and show us greatness. Show us greatness on experience, on leadership, on political courage, on character and integrity, and the strength of the ideas you bring to this campaign. And I promise you, when that moment comes, we will, in our blogs, in our letters to the editor, in our canvassing, phone banking, fundraising, event attendance, and every other campaign capacity you can think of, show greatness right back to you.

And that is how we will win, both in Iowa next January, and across the country the following November.

A moment yet to come. A moment that will be. I can’t wait!


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dodd to Introduce Iraq Redeployment Legislation

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 600

At 4:00 CDT today, Chris Dodd will be doing a live blog event over at FireDogLake to discuss his plans to introduce an amendment to the upcoming Defense Authorization bill that would end American military involvement in Iraq. According to a press release from the Dodd campaign, the ammendment will:

  • Immediately begin redeployment of U.S. combat troops.
  • Set a firm deadline for completing redeployment by March 31, 2008.
  • Provide no additional funding for combat operations after March 31, 2008.
  • Hold the Bush Administration accountable during the redeployment period by requiring the Secretary of Defense to regularly report to Congress on the drawdown of forces.
  • Institute measures that would make funding within the redeployment period contingent on the progress of phased redeployment.
  • Restore the readiness of the military, Reserves and National Guard by transferring portions of monies that would have been available for combat activities.

"The current policy in Iraq has left us less secure and left our standing in the world in tatters. That is why we have to continue the fight to change course," Dodd said in a press release issued by the campaign. "The Dodd Amendment will improve accountability, provide a timetable for the Iraqi government to get its house in order, and safely and responsibly redeploy our troops and bring them home. Now is the time to responsibly bring an end to our involvement in another country's civil war while rebuilding our Reserve and Guard units."

Should be an interesting on-line event, so check it out. Again that's 4:00 CDT today at FireDogLake.


Richardson on Energy: “Change Fast, or Sink Slowly”

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 600

Meant to get this done a before heading off on vacation a couple of weeks ago, but haven't got around to it until now. Better late than never.

Like Hillary Clinton before him, New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Bill Richardson on May 17 called for an "Apollo" program on energy, expanding on the points I heard him address at last month's Polk County Spring Dinner.

Richardson's proposal aims to combine reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions to achieve specific targets tied to the year 2020. In practical terms, the plan consists of three main aspects:
I - Reduce US Oil Consumption
II - Increase Efficiency for Electrical Producers
III - Reduce Carbon Emissions by at Least 20% by 2020

Here are the specifics. Get your wonk hat on!

I - Reduce US Oil Consumption
Current US oil consumption is 21 million barrels per day; Richardson’s plan would seek to reduce this by at least 6 million barrels per day by the year 2020 through implementation of the following measures:
• Save 2 million barrels per day through widespread adoption of pure electric and low oil-consuming plug-in electrical passenger vehicles, with fuel efficiency up to 100 mpg . Richardson’s plan envisions “significant” rebates to consumers who purchase these vehicles, and support for manufacturers.
• Save up to 3 million barrels per day by increasing fuel efficiency standards for conventional cars and light trucks to 50 mpg by 2020.
• Save up to 2 million barrels per day through use of low-carbon alternative fuels; according to Richardson, this would also reduce the carbon impact from liquid fuels up to 30% by 2020.
• Save 1 million barrels per day through improved fuel economy for trains, trucks, ships and planes and non-transportation sectors.

According to Richardson, these measures will reduce America’s percentage of imported oil consumed from 65% to 10%.

II - Increase Efficiency for Electrical Producers
• Richardson’s plan calls for the renewable content of electrical production to be increased to 30% of all production by 2020 and 50% by 2050, through implementation of the following measures:
• Retire older, less efficient power plants
• Replace older plants with plants that utilize wind, solar, geothermal and biomass
• Legislation requiring 20% increase in electricity production by 2020

III - Reduce Carbon Emissions by at Least 20% by 2020
• Market-based cap-and trade system for carbon emissions, which means, under Richardson’s plan, that carbon-emitting factories will be required to produce 20% less carbon output by 2020. “It’s like musical chairs for carbon,” Richardson says. “By 2050 there will be 90% fewer chairs.”
• Expanded use of “carbon-clean coal”

There’s a lot to like about Richardson’s plan: it’s measurable, it recognizes the interdependence between energy and climate policy, it capitalizes on America’s strengths in science and technology, and it would help change our status from an energy dinosaur to what Richardson called a “beacon of the new energy future.” But there is one aspect of the plan, in my view, that calls for a bit of debate, and that is basing the carbon emissions reduction targets on a cap-and-trade system, versus an outright carbon tax as called for by Chris Dodd in his own energy plan. Both have advantages, in that cap-and-trade creates capital-driven incentives to reduce carbon emissions, and a carbon tax, as Dodd has said, would remove the last incentive for unrestricted carbon emissions – it’s cheaper. I’d like to see a bit more discussion of these two approaches and their respective merits as the campaign progresses.

Overall, though, these are the types of ideas that allow Richardson to display the practical advantages of his résumé, and that’s got to play well for his campaign. He’s riding a bounce in the polls driven by his “job interview” ads; it’s up to Governor Richardson now to build on that momentum by delivering a greatly improved performance in next week’s debate.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

For What It's Worth

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 613

The SF278 financial disclosure reports for (most of) the presidential candidates are in, and the news, as usual, isn't really news: the person you support for President - from whatever side of the aisle - is rich as Croesus, probably.

Here are some candidate net worth highlights gleaned from the filings:

Edwards: $22 - $62 million
Giuliani: $20 - $70 million
Richardson: $3.5 - $10.1 million
Brownback: $3.3 - $8.7 million
Dodd: $1.5 - $3.5 million
Hunter: $1 - $2.4 million
Obama: $456,000 - $1,140,000
Huckabee: $350,000 - $900,000
Biden: $62,000 - $428,000

By some stunning coincidence, those candidates expected to report the highest financial worth have all filed with the F.E.C. for 45 day extensions on completing their disclosure reports:
Romney: expected to report $190 - $250 million
Clinton: expected to report at least $50 million
McCain: expected to report at least $15 million

Historically, American voters tend to view wealth among their political leaders with indulgence, and, golly-gee-gosh Zelda, we all know a million dollars isn't what it used to be. But there's also tension in the public mind between tolerance for wealth among political leaders and contempt for the way that same wealth separates "them" from "us." The Edwards haircut thing and Giuliani's missteps in setting up a campaign event at an Iowa farm earlier this month are but the latest examples of this, and one needn't look very hard to find lots of others.

So, whether Democrat or Republican, we'll glance over these figures with a mixture of suspicion, pride, envy, and bemusement. And then we'll move on to other things, as is probably wise. From our first president, a landed aristocrat, to the current occupant at 1600, Americans usually don't let great personal wealth cloud our view of who we'll vote in to the highest office in the land. And isn't that broad minded of us?


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm Just Saying

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 614

Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota is in Des Moines this weekend. And he's not even running for President.

Among other things, Daschle will be delivering a speech Friday night at the Temple for the Performing Arts downtown on the future of American national security. Then, on Saturday, Daschle will be the featured speaker at the "grand opening" of Barack Obama's Iowa HQ over in the East Village at 12 noon. Never mind that the Des Moines HQ has been up and running since, what, March? February, maybe? The main point for Saturday is that it's about introductions. Introduction of Obama to Iowans? Hardly needed, since I think just about every Democrat in the state has crammed one gym or another to crane their necks around the TV cameras for a gander at Barack. Introduction of Tom Daschle to Iowans? Could be. But Tom Daschle is not running for President.

So here's the thing: Obama/Daschle 2008?

I'm just saying.


Richardson to Unveil Energy Proposals

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 614

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will make what his campaign is touting as a "major policy address" on energy tomorrow in a speech to the New America Foundation at the Washington Hilton in D.C.

Since one of Richardson's past jobs was Secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration, his proposals should be interesting. At a speech in Des Moines last month, Richardson proposed a 10-year "Apollo program" to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy; one feature of the plan would be a 40 mpg target for automobiles, which Richardson said would in itself completely eliminate the need to import oil from abroad. We'll see what he has to add to that tomorrow.

I'll also be on a conference call with Richardson following the speech, so check back for updates after noontime tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Richardson Takes "Presidential Job Interview" Show on the Road

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 615

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson announced plans today to campaign in Southeastern Iowa. In an original and very clever twist, Richardson is billing the campaign appearances as "Presidential Job Interviews," building on the buzz generated by the ad campaign he launched last week.

In addition to campaign stops in the Council Bluffs area, Governor Richardson is also scheduled to deliver the keynote address to the Young Democrats of America Spring 2007 National Conference on Friday, May 18, in Omaha, Nebraska. Here's the schedule, as released by Richardson's campaign:

Friday, May 18th
Keynote Address to Young Democrats of America Spring 2007 National Conference
7 P.M. @ Marriott Hotel
10220 Regency Circle, Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, May 19th
MontgomeryCountyPresidential Job Interview
10:15 A.M.@ Kate & Lainie’s Coffee House
322 E. Coolbaugh, Red Oak, Iowa

Fremont & Page Counties Presidential Job Interview
12:00 P.M.@ Depot Deli and Lounge
101 North Railroad Ave., Shenandoah, Iowa

MillsCountyPresidential Job Interview
2:15 P.M.@ Log Cabin BBQ
204 Sharp Street, Glenwood, Iowa

PottawattamieCountyPresidential Job Interview
4:15 P.M.@ Residence of Kevin Burr
540 Coronado Circle, Carter Lake, Iowa


Chris Dodd Goes on the Air

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 615

Following Bill Richardson and John Edwards, Chris Dodd today launched campaign ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. The topic: Iraq.

Like, duh.

Here's the script for the first spot, a 30-second ad called "Civil":

CHRIS DODD: Half measures won't stop this president from continuing our involvement in Iraq's civil war. That's why I'm fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the President's blank check and set a timetable to bring our troops home.

Unfortunately, my colleagues running for President have not joined me. I'm Chris Dodd. I'm running for President. I approved this message because we can't simply wait for a new President. We should have the conviction to stand up to this one.

OK, so I guess the kidding around is just about over for Dodd. I've been seeing stuff coming out from his campaign about calling the other candidates to find out where they stand on Feingold-Reid (or, as the campaign started referring to it, "Feingold-Reid-Dodd"), calling on them to sign on as co-sponsors, even the (desperately needed) update to Dodd's website. But this is a pretty in your face move, and it looks like Dodd is swinging at everybody: Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Richardson, even Biden, who's no slouch when it comes to pushing the administration on ending the war.

According to Campaign Policy Director Amos Hochstein, Dodd's stance on Iraq as embodied in his support for Feingold-Reid offers a "clear difference" between his position and those of the other candidates. After hearing the campaign's pitch on this on a conference call today, I'm still not convinced. I've heard variations on the "redeploy troops by March 31, 2008" from Obama, Clinton and Biden; this puts Dodd squarely in the mix here, aligning him with his Senate colleagues against the "get the troops out now" stance of Edwards, Kuchinich and Gravel. Bill Richardson's position is somewhere in between, not calling for an immediate pullout, but proposing the redeployment be completed by the end of 2007, rather than March 2008.

That said, I think this is the right time for Dodd to make this kind of move: the fundraising process stories have receded, the top three candidates are playing so safe that they're in danger of atrophy, and Dodd has an opportunity to use these ads for two purposes: first, to generate some much needed name recognition in Iowa and New Hampshire, and second, to promote his Iraq policy and draw distinctions between his proposals and those of the others in the Democratic field.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Live Blogging: John Edwards Conference Call

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 618

(All times CDT)

11:20 AM - dialing in...

11:21 - connected...funky hold muzak...

11:24 - received a few comments from others who had been invited to the call, but found all available slots were full by the time they RSVP' I'll try to make this the next best thing to being there...

11:28 - how much do musicians get paid for recording muzak, anyway? and what about the royalties?...jus' wonderin'....

11:30 - okay, should be any time now...

11:35 - um...ditto....

11:38 - call is beginning..Jonathon Prince introducing...Edwards is finishing up a commencement address in New Hampshire...

11:39 - new website launched just now

11:40 - effort to support the troops and end the war...reclaim patriotism from President Bush and the GOP over the Memorial Day weekend

11:41 - a Marine corporal who fought in Falluja, Iraq will introduce Edwards in a minute...

11:44: Prince says best way to support the troops is to end the war now...

11:45: Marine named Alex is beginning the introduction...Iraq has deteriorated...troops can only protect themselves, not the population...there is no higher form of patriotism than to speak out for what you believe...the right thing to do is end the war...

11:46 - Edwards is on now....

11:46 - this is an opportunity to be an American, a citizen and a patriot...patriotism has been misused by the president to justify everything he's done in Iraq, civil liberties abuses, etc....time for ordinary Americans to take action right now to reclaim patriotism...

11:48 - need people's voices to be heard...more important than politics...must stop a president who believes that he can do no wrong...our power is to rally America around the troops and end he war....

11:50 - call concludes with Prince urging callers to sign up at the new website and get involved in planning and joining events around the country over the Memorial Day weekend...

11:51 - and we're done! Thanks for tuning in.



John Edwards: "Exciting and Important Announcement"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 619

I've received an invite to be on a conference call with John Edwards tomorrow at 11:30 AM CDT. The topic? Here's what the invite from the candidate says about that:

"Tomorrow I'm making an exciting and important announcement about our next big step together and I want you to hear about it directly from me."

I love a mystery. I'll try my hand at live blogging the call, so tune in around 11:30 tomorrow morning to see what all this is about.


Thursday, May 10, 2007


Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 620

Yesterday, a right-wing Iowa blog called Krusty Konservative put up its last post announcing it was ceasing publication, the result, it said, of "blackmail and extortion" directed against the blog's anonymous author.

Since Krusty didn't give any details about the "blackmail and extortion" that prompted him to withdraw his blog, no one can verify the real story here. Certainly, many of my fellow bloggers on the blue side of the political divide will be glad to bid Krusty adieu, regardless. But if threats made against him and others were the reason Krusty closed up shop, bloggers on both the left and right should be alarmed and should stand together in protest against it.

I disagree with everything Krusty's blog espoused. But he has every right to voice his opinions, just as those of us who disagreed with him have the right to raise our voices in opposition. It is a sad, dispiriting day when a blog - especially a political blog - is forced to cease operation due to "blackmail and extortion." Because the threat isn't limited to one blogger that I happen to despise; the threat is to free expression itself.

I make no apology for saying this: this is America, and no one - NO ONE - should be compelled out of fear to abandon their right of free political expression. I oppose this happening to Krusty Konservative this time because I don't want it to happen to Iowa True Blue, or Common Iowan, or John Deeth, or Essential Estrogen, or Bleeding Heartland, or, dare I say it, iPol, the next time. We all have a stake in this, and if it is true that "blackmail and extortion" forced a political blog into silence, then we are all a little less free today.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Pallin' With Al?

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 622

I am a great disbeliever in political coincidence. Hence, my interest was immediately piqued when an email from Al Gore came fluttering into my inbox a few minutes ago.

Ostensibly, Gore was writing to praise/promote John and Teresa Kerry's book This Moment on Earth. But the email shifts about halfway through into a pitch to sign up at Al Gore's website, and an appeal to...well, I'll just quote some excerpts:

"Right now our nation is ready to cross the tipping point beyond which our leaders will be forced to take real action to solve the climate crisis. However, in order to cross that threshold it is going to take a sufficient expression of political will.

Most of our Representatives in Washington know there is no longer a debate about the fact that the climate crisis is real -- and they know the serious consequences our planet faces if we fail to act. Political will is a renewable resource, and enough already exists to start solving this crisis. We just have to communicate that forcefully to the political leaders of our country...The most powerful way to realize that change is through the activism of the American people.

That is why a few months ago I began building a movement at Already we have grown to a community of more than 550,000. In order to ultimately succeed we will need to grow even bigger.

I urge you to join me in working for change...Together, we can create a better tomorrow for our Earth if we seize this vital moment."

"Political will," "a movement...we have grown to more 550,000...we will need to grow even bigger...join me in working for change..." These are all phrases that have no direct connection to a political campaign; the avowed intent of the email is to promote a community of activists on climate change. Except...there's a presidential election next year, there is no indication that anyone is running away with the Democratic nomination at this point, and Al Gore just happens to send out an email soliciting people to sign up at his website...which, in case you hadn't noticed, is not called, or, or anything environmentally related. The website is

All of this proves nothing. But it suggests much. Mostly, it says Al Gore is doing nothing to discourage speculation that he's going to get into this thing. It got my attention, and, I'd be willing to bet, that of more than a few senior people in Democratic campaign offices this afternoon.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Call Tom Harkin: 202-224-3254

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 623

Tom Harkin's phones will be ringing today. From the inbox today, this note from

"Democrats in Congress are currently working on a new Iraq bill that they're going to send to the president after he vetoed the last one. There is a lot of pressure on them right now to weaken the restrictions on the president.

Some news reports suggest that final bill may not include a deadline to end the occupation in Iraq and instead include a set of benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet. We have to make clear that benchmarks alone are not enough to end the war.

It's really important that Democrats hear from their constituents today. Can you call Sen. Harkin and tell him to stand firm against President Bush and demand concrete action to end the war—not just symbolic benchmarks?

Here's where to call:

Senator Tom Harkin

Phone: 202-224-3254

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

Democrats need to keep up the fight against President Bush on Iraq right now. They have the people behind them—more than 60 percent of the country backs their proposals to bring our troops home. Even Congressional Republicans are starting to abandon the president on the war. John Boehner, the minority leader in the House said yesterday that Republican support for the president would not last.
While setting benchmarks to measure the Iraqi government's progress is a good step, they aren't enough to end the war. There must be consequences if the benchmarks aren't met and Congress must begin bringing our troops home from the mess in Iraq.

The voters elected Democrats to power to end the war. Now is the time for them to stand up and fight the president for real accountability on the war.

The next few days are critical. Please call Sen. Harkin and tell him that you're counting on them to stand up to President Bush and end this war.

Thanks for all you do,

–Nita, Justin, Tom, Carrie and the Political Action Team"

I haven't heard that Harkin is wavering on Iraq after the veto, but it never hurts to tell public officials what you want. Give Senator Harkin a call and use the link above to report the result. It's another way to make your voice heard.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Free Ride for Edwards on Iraq?

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 628

John Edwards today put up an ad in the D.C. market (and on YouTube) to urge Congress (and the four senators in it who are competing with him for the nomination) to stand up against the administration and vote to override President Bush's veto. All the other candidates have probably been thinking along the same lines about this, but today Chris Dodd came right out and said it:

"As Senator Dodd was the first candidate to support the Reid-Feingold measure, we agree that Democrats in the Senate should stand up to a President who stubbornly refuses to change his failed policy in Iraq," said [Dodd spokesperson] Christy Setzer. "We wish that Senator Edwards was still in the Senate for this important fight."

Setzer added: "If we can't get his vote in the Senate, of course we would welcome Senator Edwards ' support for Senator Dodd's plan, which would safely re-deploy our troops and bring an end to this war within one year rather than the incremental eighteen-month approach he has proposed."

In other words, Dodd is calling Edwards out for throwing stones at him (and Clinton, Obama and Biden into the bargain) from the sidelines while not putting any skin in the fight himself. All well and good, Dodd is evidently saying, to vote to authorize the war and then cop a mea culpa for it after leaving office (and any electoral responsibility for the consequences), but what are you actually in a position to do about the war, not after you're elected president, but right now?

Does Chris Dodd have a point? Maybe so. John Edwards knew before releasing this ad what everyone else knows, too: that with but few exceptions, Democrats in Congress would vote to override the veto. That was never in question, and to put up an ad that suggests otherwise was disingenuous and unfair.

But there is a larger point, and episodes like this one cause me to wonder whether Dodd, or Edwards, or anyone else in the field sees it: regardless of past actions on the war and the numerous apologies meant to assuage responsibility for them, the fight now is about curbing President Bush's ability to do further harm to the interests of the United States and the entire world. Sniping over the airwaves won't get this done. Every Democratic candidate for President should - and does - vigorously oppose this war and seeks to bring it to an end. There are different ideas about how best to do that, but that discussion must not be allowed to distract from the challenge at hand: rising above the political temptations of the moment in order to deliver a responsible way out of the historic tragedy of our Iraq misadventure. Let's keep our eye on the ball.


Candidate Reactions to Bush's Veto

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 628

Skipped around the web today to find out what the Democratic candidates for President are saying in the aftermath of President Bush's veto yesterday of the Iraq funding bill. Here's what I found, in alphabetical order.


"At a time when the country needs real leadership the most, President Bush continues to practice the politics of division.
There was room to work with the Democrats and Congress to give our troops the money they need and the American people the plan they expect to end the war in Iraq.
But the President slammed the door shut on cooperation and compromise.
The fact is - Democrats sent the President every dollar he requested for our troops and then some. And we sent him a plan to bring this war to a responsible end, instead of continuing it with no end in sight. That's what the American people want.
The President's veto demonstrates that he is totally out of touch with the needs of our troops, the hopes of our people and the interests of our country.
The President has repeatedly turned his back on our military. He took us to war unnecessarily without letting the weapons inspectors finish their work. He took us to war without a plan to stabilize Iraq. He took us to war without enough troops, without the right equipment for the troops we sent, or the proper care for those who came home wounded.
Now, by continuing this war indefinitely, he is sending soldiers back on third and fourth tours; extending the time they spend in Iraq; abolishing the practice of keeping them home for a year between tours; and diverting the National Guard and Reserve from critical missions here at home.
Nothing is more outrageous than the President's claim that those who criticize his conduct of the war are undermining our troops or emboldening the enemy.
That's the one mission his failed policy has accomplished."

"With his veto today, President Bush has made it clear that he is standing in the way of ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. The nation is ready for the President to stop disregarding the will of the American people and to work with Democrats on a funding bill that will enable us to begin redeploying our troops. He has a chance to do just that when he meets with the Democratic leadership tomorrow.
It has been four years since the President declared an end to major combat operations. It is my hope that the President will approach this next round of talks in good faith.
I am also disappointed that with his veto, the President has taken us back a step in meeting the homeland security needs of our high-threat cities like New York City and vetoed $35 million in additional funding under the Urban Area Security Initiative.
In addition, with his veto, the President has shirked his responsibility to address the growing health needs affecting those exposed to the toxic air around Ground Zero in the wake of 9/11 and vetoed $50 million in funding for 9/11 health, which would not only have helped provide treatment to those affected in the New York metro area, but also to responders from all over the country who are suffering from 9/11 health effects. This funding would have helped meet immediate health needs and allow 9/11 health programs to continue operating. Despite the President's actions today, I will continue to fight, along with my colleagues in the New York delegation, to secure the federal commitment and funding required to meet 9/11 health needs in the long-term.
The President has also chosen to veto critical legislation that would have ended the practice of giving Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contractors bonuses for incomplete or sub-par work, thereby saving taxpayers millions of dollars."

Dodd: Nothing that I could find. Not on his campaign website. Not on his Senate website.

*crickets chirping*

"Today, President Bush vetoed a bill that supports our troops and ends the war in Iraq that he declared won four years ago.
"Four years ago he flew onto the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln under a 'Mission Accomplished' banner to declare victory in Iraq. Today, all the photo ops in the world can't hide the truth - the war is still raging, and the president's mismanagement of Iraq is still dead wrong. Our troops have done everything they were asked and deserve a hero's welcome. Instead, they remain in harm's way; Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists; and we're no closer to a permanent political solution than we were four years ago.
But one thing has changed: The American people have given Congress a mission to end the war - but that mission hasn't been accomplished yet.
Congress needs to stand firm and strong. Congress should answer the president's veto by sending him another bill with a timetable for withdrawal. And if he vetoes that one, Congress should send him another and another until we end this war and bring our troops home.
There is no military solution to the conflict in Iraq - only a political solution. The Iraqi people need to take responsibility for their own country. Under my plan, we would cap funding at 100,000 troops to stop the McCain Doctrine of escalation and force an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops, followed by a complete withdrawal in 12-18 months. Now is not the time for political calculation, it is the time for political courage. Every person who is against this war needs to speak out, so together we can bring an end to the quagmire that is Iraq."

"With one stroke of his pen, President Bush has stubbornly ignored the will of the American people, the majority of Congress and, most disturbingly, the realities on the ground in Iraq. Now we call upon our Republican colleagues in Congress to help override this veto and acknowledge what the President will not – that there is no military solution to a political conflict that lies at the heart of this civil war. Only the Iraqi leadership can make peace, and the best way to pressure them to do so is still a phased withdrawal of American forces with the goal of removing all combat troops from Iraq by March 30th, 2008. It is time to end this war so we can bring our troops home and redeploy our forces to help fight the broader struggle against terrorism and other threats of this new century."

"The President is defying the will of the American people so it is time for Congress to take action that cannot be vetoed," said Governor Bill Richardson. "It is clear to all but the President that no military solution remains in Iraq. Mr. President, stubbornness is not foreign policy. The death of more than 100 U.S. soldiers there last month underscores the need to withdraw our brave men and women now. To continue with more of the same is not a strategy, it is a tragedy. The only solution is strong diplomacy and real political progress led by the Iraqis. Our troops have performed bravely, with honor and sacrifice, but it is time to get them out of the crossfire of a civil war. We need to redeploy all of our forces out of Iraq leaving no residual forces. Al Qaeda and other anti-American forces benefit from our continued presence in Iraq- it enables them to portray the US as imperialist occupiers- we need to deprive them of that propaganda. The truth is our enemies want us mired and bleeding in Iraq rather than fighting the real war against the real terrorists who attacked this country on 9/11."

There's also good read about this in today's Washington Post.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Des Moines Anti-War Rally May 2, 5:00 PM

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 629

From the inbox today, this note from MoveOn:

"Congress is about to send an important bill to the White House—it would require the president to start bringing our troops home from Iraq this year. President Bush has said repeatedly he's going to veto it. It's outrageous. Most Americans support a timeline and he's standing in the way.

This will be a pivotal moment on Iraq—it's not clear what Congress or the president will do after the veto. We need to make clear that President Bush is really vetoing the will of the American people. And we need to tell Congress to hold firm.

There are already more than 200 rallies planned and it's really important to turn out in big numbers to get our message across. There is one right near you in Des Moines. Can you make it tomorrow?

Here are the details:

Outside the Downtown Library

Wednesday, May 2 2007, 5:00 PM


If this event doesn't work for you, click below to search for another rally near you:

Four years ago today, President Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. Now there is a plan on the table that will finally start bringing our troops home—but the president is going to veto it. By doing so, he's vetoing the will of the people.

Congress has two options on how to respond—they can either cave to the president's pressure or stand strong and demand accountability from him on Iraq. Members of Congress are going to be gauging public reaction in the next few days to decide which path they'll follow.

There's also a fun twist to these rallies: We'll be using noisemakers to demonstrate that President Bush and Congress cannot ignore us any longer—our voices must be heard.

As Senator Feingold recently wrote:

By carrying out his veto threat, the President will mark yet another sad day in the history of this war. But that veto should be seen as a rallying cry for the vast majority of Americans who believe that the time has come to again stand up, and stand together, with one voice, and demand a policy that makes sense—one that puts our country and our national security first. A policy that makes America safer, not weaker.

Now is the time to take a strong stand against the president's reckless policy in Iraq. Together, we'll show the media and Congress that we won't stand for another blank check for the president on the war. Can you join us?

Click below to search for a rally near you."

So click on the links to RSVP, or find an event near you. Stand up, make your voice heard, send a message.


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