Fighting shape

Many in the media have been critical of Barack Obama, suggesting that he wasn’t tough enough to battle the GOP in the fall. They cited his unwillingness to attack Hillary Clinton as an example.

Obama, however, did not want to alienate Hillary’s supporters. He got tough at times, but he often held back, knowing he would need her supporters in the fall.

With McCain, Obama is not holding back. He’s still running a generally positive campaign, but he’s showing he’s more than willing to go toe-to-toe with McCain on foreign policy and other isuues.

The latest scuffles involves McCain’s mistatement shere he claimed that our troops in Iraq were down to pre-surge levels. That was incorrect. Troop levels are 20,000 above pre-surge levels. McCain, however, would not acknowledge that he mispoke.

McCain has been hammering Obama for not visiting Iraq, so Obama took this opportunity to go after McCain.

We all misspeak sometimes. I’ve done it myself. So on such a basic, factual error, you’d think that Senator McCain would just admit that he made a mistake and move on. But he couldn’t do that. Instead, he dug in. And the disturbing thing is that we’ve seen this movie before — a leader who pursues the wrong course, who is unwilling to change course, who ignores the evidence. Now, just like George Bush, John McCain refused to admit that he made a mistake. And that’s exactly the kind of leadership that we’ve had through more than five years of fighting a war that should’ve never been authorized, and should’ve never been waged.

We don’t need more leaders who can’t admit they’ve made a mistake, even when it’s about something as fundamental as how many young Americans are serving in harm’s way.

This is great stuff. McCain was gaining traction with the issue of Obama’s visits to Iraq, but then he makes a fundamental mistatement about troop levels and is unwilling to correct himself. And then Obama hammers him. Get ready for more of the same.

Sam Nunn for VP?

He might be Obama’s best choice.

Scott McClellan speaks

This guy looked like such a fool when he was press secretary, mostly because he was such a terrible liar. His attempts to avoid answering questions were pathetic. Now we know why. Basically, the man has a brain and a soul.

With his new book, he comes clean and tells the truth about the Bush White House. Some former colleagues have criticized him for not speaking up back then. His response was very credible – at the time he gave Bush and his team the benefit of the doubt. Now he knows they were not telling the truth. Here’s McClellan on the Today show.

Right wing nuts strike again

This is hilarious.

Dunkin Donuts has pulled a commercial featuring pitchwoman Rachael Ray wearing a scarf because Michelle Malkin and other conservative observers thought the scarf looked too much like a keffiyeh, what Malkin describes as “the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad.”

Another lobbyist connection for the McCain campaign

The McCain campaign has lost numerous advisors who turned out to be lobbyists for foreign government and various corporations. Now it appears that Phil Graham, McCain’s economics advisor, was a lobbyist for Swiss bank UBS at the same time he was advising McCain on how to deal with the mortgage crisis. UBS has serious exposure in the area. Now it looks like McCain has some exposure as well.

McClellan blasts the Bush administration

Another former Bush insider turns on the Bush administration. In an incredible memoir, former press secretary Scott McClellan doesn’t pull any punches, discussing how the Bush administration was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.

Anyone who was paying attention during the Bush presidency knew that McClellan was feeding the press and the American people incorrect information for years. Frankly, he wasn’t very good at it.

Again, Bush will go down as one of the worst presidents in American history. With this book, Scott McClellan helps to tell the sad story.

Obama goes after the Cuban-American vote

It’s refreshing to see a Democratic nominee who isn’t afraid to speak his mind about Cuba. Most Democrats run scared on this issue, but they always lose this vote to the GOP. The views in the Cuban-American community are changing, particularly among the young who question the policies that have changed mothing in Cuba.

Obama engaged McCain on this issue by promising to ease travel restrictions and the ability to transfer money.

Obama said he would maintain the existing trade embargo to use as leverage for winning Democratic change in the Communist island nation. But he said he would immediately allow “unlimited family travel and remittances to the island.”

“It’s time to let Cuban-Americans see their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers. It’s time to let Cuban-American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime,” he said.

This change will be very popular, even among older, more conservative Cuban-Americans who resent the tough travel restrictions. Obama has a tough road ahead of him in Florida, but this policy battle will help. Also, expect him to hit McCain hard later in the campaign on Social Security privatization.

State polls are starting to move in Obama’s direction

With the latest poll in Ohio showing an Obama lead over McCain, Kos takes a look at how the electoral map is shaping up for November. So far, things look good for Obama.

Clinton won’t go away

This is all playing out as expected, but it doesn’t make Hillary Clinton any less annoying. Her speeches are a little more gracious than before, but her shameless claims that she is winning the popular vote, a calculation one gets to only by counting Michigan and giving Obama ZERO votes for Michigan, is just pathetic.

The press is hyperventilating, trying to explain how the party is trying not to offend her by proclaiming that the race is over. At some point the issue becomes how much she is willing to offend the rest of the party.

There’s no reason to be concerned. She’s finished. But I still wish she would just go away.

Pity party

Peggy Noonan blasts today’s pathetic Republican Party. She’s not saying anything new. She just has a way with words, and her essay sums up the problems nicely.

These problems, however, have been apparent for years, and even Peggy has been late to the party. In Kansas in 2006, old Republicans bolted from the party and won seats as Democrats.

The Republicans deserve to get crushed in the fall. If that happens, it will be the best possible result for the party (and the country).

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