Obama making plans to attract voters and money for November

Obama making plans to attract voters and money for November


Barack Obama, who hasn”t quite clinched the Democratic nomination, is already laying the groundwork for the November election by recruiting new voters and by providing an avenue for donors to give even more.

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Yesterday, his campaign announced “Vote for Change,” what it described as an unprecedented 50-state voter registration and mobilization drive. The effort will start with at least 83 events across the country on May 10 and has already launched a website.

“If we”re going to push back on the special interests and finally solve the challenges we face, we”re going to need everyone to get involved,” Obama said in a statement.

The campaign takes credit for registering more than 200,000 new Democrats in Pennsylvania, more than 165,000 in North Carolina, and more than 150,000 in Indiana. Obama has won the overwhelming majority of new voters in primaries and caucuses.

Also, Obama”s campaign confirmed yesterday that it is setting up a joint fund-raising committee with the Democratic National Committee, an arrangement that allows donors to write one check to be divided between the candidate and the national party, which can use its share to help the candidate. The contribution limit is $28,500, compared to $2,300 for the general election for donations directly to a candidate.

John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, and the Republican National Committee already have a joint committee. Hillary Clinton does not yet have the same arrangement, usually done for the nominee.


Clinton pushes for more debates

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Hillary Clinton yesterday pressured Barack Obama for debates in both North Carolina and Indiana before their May 6 primaries, saying voters in each state deserve their own.

“I offer that I”ll go anywhere, anytime, and we”ll have that debate as long as Senator Obama would agree to actually meet me,” Clinton said.

Their most recent debate, the 21st of the Democratic race, was last week in Philadelphia. The North Carolina Democratic Party recently dropped plans for a debate that had been set for Sunday after Obama didn”t accept the invitation.

Clinton also met this week with undecided superdelegates, the party leaders and elected officials who will likely decide the nominee. “Her pitch was that she had just had a substantial victory in Pennsylvania and her campaign had raised quite a bit of money because of it,” said Representative Dan Boren of Oklahoma. “There wasn”t a hard push or a hard sell.”

Obama has picked up 83 percent of the superdelegate endorsements since Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, narrowing Clinton”s superdelegate lead to 259-236.


McCain, Huckabee campaign together

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Republican John McCain and former rival Mike Huckabee campaigned together for the first time yesterday, with Huckabee joking that they were so civil as opponents they don”t have to “unsay” any bad things.

Chatting with reporters on his campaign bus, McCain recalled the days when they were relegated to the most distant ends of the podium in the early Republican debates, drawing few questions from moderators. “Governor Huckabee and I had lots of time to chat with each other,” McCain laughed. “We became friends on the campaign trail.”

Huckabee, popular with social conservatives, has been mentioned as a potential running mate for McCain, who needs to shore up his support among conservative Republicans.


Bill Clinton chided for race comments

The highest-ranking African-American in Congress became the latest black leader to scold former president Bill Clinton over his comments and conduct during the campaign.

James Clyburn of South Carolina, the House majority whip, said in yesterday”s New York Times that “black people are incensed” over Clinton”s “bizarre” behavior. While blacks stood by the former president during his impeachment, Clinton”s conduct might have caused an irreparable estrangement, Clyburn said.

Clinton was pilloried for comparing Barack Obama”s sweeping victory in the South Carolina primary to Jesse Jackson”s win there in 1988, a comparison that many black leaders saw as a dismissal of Obama”s historic candidacy. On Monday Clinton told a Philadelphia radio station that the Obama campaign had played the “race card” against him, then later seemed to deny he had said it, even though it was on tape.

Asked about Clyburn”s comments, Obama said yesterday that he does not believe in “irreparable breaches. “I am a big believer in reconciliation and redemption,” he told reporters in Indiana.