Sen. Ted Stevens declared his innocence Tuesday after his indictment on charges that he concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and services from a company in his home state.
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In the 28-page indictment, Stevens was charged with seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.
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The 84-year-old senator is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is renowned for his prowess in steering federal funds to his vast, sparsely populated state.
Stevens is the oldest Republican senator and second in age only to Sen. Robert Byrd, the 90-year-old Democrat from West Virginia.
He has represented Alaska in Washington since 1968 and is up for re-election in November. He is the longest-serving Republican senator in history.
Before he jumps into Afghanistan with both feet, Obama would be well advised to consult with another group of officers. They are the veterans of the Russian campaign in Afghanistan. Russian officers caution that Afghans cannot be conquered, as the Soviets attempted to do in the 1980s with nearly twice as many troops as NATO and the U.S. now have in the country, and with three times the number of Afghan troops as Karzai can deploy. Afghanistan never fell to the British or Russian empires at the height of the age of colonialism. Conquering the tribal forces of a vast, rugged, thinly populated country proved beyond their powers. It may also well prove beyond the powers even of the energetic and charismatic Obama. In Iraq, he is listening to what the Iraqis want. In Pakistan, he is simply dictating policy in a somewhat bellicose fashion, and ignoring the wishes of those moderate parties whose election he lauded last February.
I Vow To Vote No on Prop 8, a statewide ballot initiative that is intending to amend the California constitution to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same fundamental freedoms that all Californians enjoy. I hereby Vow To Vote No on any constitutional amendment that stands in the way of equality for all.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says “mental distress” should not qualify as a justification for late-term abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights.
In an interview this week with “Relevant,” a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”
Obama then added: “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.”
So much for mental health parity.
h/t Melissa McEwan.
Reporter: You said that mental distress shouldn’t be a reason for late-term abortion?
Obama: “My only point is this — historically I have been a strong believer in a women’s right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family. And it is…I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions.
In the past there has been some fear on the part of people who, not only people who are anti-abortion, but people who may be in the middle, that that means that if a woman just doesn’t feel good then that is an exception. That’s never been the case.
I don’t think that is how it has been interpreted. My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don’t think that’s how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don’t think that’s how the courts have interpreted it and I think that’s important to emphasize and understand.
Update (July 3): Barack Obama replies:
I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to those of you who oppose my decision to support the FISA compromise.
This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn’t have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush’s abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush Administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That’s why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — The presidential campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain on Sunday rejected an invitation for a town-hall-style meeting in Manhattan that had been proposed by ABC News and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.
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Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Obama campaign said, “Both campaigns have indicated that any additional appearances will be open to all networks for broadcast on TV or Internet like the presidential commission debates rather than sponsored by a single network or news organization.”
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, echoed that sentiment, saying, “Both campaigns agree the town hall meetings will be open to press but not sponsored or moderated by the press.
Chicago Tribune (The Swamp):
Barack Obama can take some solace out of Hillary Clinton’s new television ad in Pennsylvania. At least one of her supporters featured in the spot hammering Obama for his small town comments isn’t registered to vote in Pennsylvania.
Clyde Thomas, who sports a goatee in the ad and says, “the good people of Pennsylvania deserve a lot better than what Barack Obama said,” is actually registered in New Jersey. He voted there for Clinton Feb. 5. He only recently moved to Bethlehem, Pa.
Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) on Obama: “I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button. He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.”
Chris Bowers @ OpenLeft:
Ever since the Blue Majority page was launched nearly one year ago, we at Blue Majority knew that we would add the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to the page. In my opinion, Barack Obama has now emerged as the presumptive nominee. With a pledged delegate lead of 162, a popular vote lead of more than 800,000, barring a spectacular collapse and / or a highly unlikely thwarting of the popular vote, Barack Obama will become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. When he reaches 2,024 delegates, which at this point requires only 42.7% of the remaining delegates to be decided, he will control both the credentials committee and the majority of the non-disputed delegates at the floor of the convention. At that point, the only way that Barack Obama loses the nomination is if he decides that Hillary Clinton should be the nominee instead. In other words, Barack Obama has become the presumptive Democratic nominee, and it is time to start supporting him.
Importantly, my rationale for endorsing Barack Obama goes beyond his status as the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination. As a progressive, there are two key ideological markers that I believe make Barack Obama a better choice than Hillary Clinton: the Iraq war and the DLC. First, Barack Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq from the start, and rejected the neoconservative principle of pre-emptive warfare as one of his main reasons for opposing the war. Being able to identify the invasion of Iraq as a colossal mistake makes Barack Obama far more qualified to lead our country than candidates who both were, and still are, unable to recognize why the war was such a bad idea. Comparing Obama’s and Clinton’s statements on the death of 4,000 American soldiers in Iraq, it seems clear that Hillary Clinton still believes in the neoconservative vision for Iraq, while Barack Obama does not. The second ideological marker is the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization formed to push the Democratic Party and the national political debate to the right on a variety of issues. While Hillary Clinton is a member of the DLC’s leadership, Barack Obama has repeated refuses to be associated with the group.
If this is not to be rejected and denounced, the Republicans can have the Clintons.
“The Republican approach I think has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies, when they’re being debated among the presidential candidates, it’s all tax cuts. Well, we’ve done that, we’ve tried it.”
“I have to say, you know, my leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years. That’s not the way I remember the last ten to fifteen years.”
“Her principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas. I’m not making this up, folks.”