NDN Blog

Obama pulls a rabbit out of the hat

The Hartford Courant is reporting that Senator Chris Dodd (along with his white hare) is expected to endorse Barack Obama. From the article:

WASHINGTON - After a prolonged silence through most of the primary season, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd is rejoining the presidential race on somebody else's team - Sen. Barack Obama's.

The Connecticut senator, whose own presidential campaign failed to draw enough attention to propel him past the first contest in Iowa, is expected to announce his endorsement of Obama this morning, according to a Democratic official close to Dodd. He'll then campaign with Obama in Ohio.

Update: Dodd just sent the following e-mail to his list announcing his endorsement:

We have been through a lot in this past year and your friendship and support have meant so much to me. That is why I wanted to let you know of my decision to endorse a Democratic candidate for President - and that I have decided to support Barack Obama.

We all understand how much is at stake in this election and that it is more important than ever that we put a Democrat in the White House.

And while both of our Party's remaining candidates are extremely talented and would make excellent commanders-in-chief, I am throwing my support to the candidate who I believe will open the most eyes to our shared Democratic vision.

I'm deeply proud to be the first 2008 Democratic presidential candidate to endorse Barack Obama. He is ready to be President. And I am ready to support him - to work with him and for him and help elect him our 44th President.

Put simply, I believe Barack Obama is uniquely qualified to help us face this housing crisis, create good jobs, strengthen America's families in this 21st century global economy, unite the world against terrorism and end the war in Iraq - and perhaps most importantly, call the American people to shared service and sacrifice. In this campaign, he has drawn millions of voters into politics for the first time in their lives and shown us that we are united by so much more than that which divides us.

That is why I believe the time has come for Democrats to come together as a Party and focus on winning the general election. The stakes are too high not to.

The last seven years have been as difficult as any I can remember. More than ever, we need a President who will inspire us to take part in the political process and change our country's path.

Today, when we need it most, we are hearing a new call from Barack Obama. And I hope you, like me, will answer it in the affirmative.

Please get involved in Barack Obama's campaign now: http://action.barackobama.com/doddsupporters

A Moment of Transformation - new updates

A Moment of Transformation?
A look at just how big a change may be coming to politics, America and the world

Top Experts coming together for this day-long event on March 12th in
Washington D.C. to discuss how multiple transformations in America
and the world could be catalyzed by a transformation in politics

The political world is in a moment of transformation with many unprecedented developments rapidly coming together amidst widespread calls for deep, systemic change. But our politics is part of a larger series of transformations happening in many fields across America and the world.

Come to a day-long gathering in Washington D.C. on March 12th where NDN and the New Politics Institute bring together leading thinkers and experts as they lay out the potential for transformative change in their fields and talk about the implications for politics and governing:

  • On the unprecedented evolution of the global economy into one increasingly integrated whole, join Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, author of the new book, Futurecast: How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change the Way You Live and Work.
  • On the vast array of practical, ready-to-implement new technologies and efficient practices to green the economy, join Amory Lovins, the famous head of the Rocky Mountain Institute and author of Winning the Oil Endgame.
  • On one big, bold initiative about how to quickly scale up an overhaul
    of transportation from gas-powered to electric, join entrepreneur Shai Agassi, founder of Project Better Place.
  • On game-changing government policies, join Elaine Kamarck, soon
    to be co-chair of the Climate Task Force, a new organization bringing
    business and environmentalists together around the most effective ways
    to address climate change.
  • On the new emerging world order, particularly the rise of the 21st century Asian powers of China and India, join Orville Schell, author of nine books on China and Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society.
  • On the massive demographic shifts going on in America, such as the rise of the young Millennial Generation, join Morley Winograd and Michael Hais, coauthors of a brand new book, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics.
  • On how these transformations in the private sector and civil society
    may or may not be catalyzed through politics and enacted by government,
    join a top panel of big picture political journalists, among them Matt Bai of the New York Time’s Sunday Magazine and John Heilemann, who writes for New York Magazine and formerly worked for Wired magazine.
  • On how all of this is integrated together and impacts politics, join hosts Simon Rosenberg, NDN President, and Peter Leyden, Director of the New Politics Institute.

The day will be organized around a series of relatively short presentations and discussion with the audience all integrated around the overarching theme of what’s really possible after this historic election in 2008. With all the talk on the campaign trail about change and transformation, what will it really mean to governing in the years ahead?

Come to this March 12th gathering and find out. Be sure to spread the word to all those who may be interested. The entire event is free and open to all, and includes lunch and a cocktail party. So RSVP today, invite your friends on Facebook, and forward this e-mail along to your network.

Date: March 12th, 10:00am - 6:00pm
Location: Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
RSVP: Click here to RSVP

If you have questions about the event, contact Courtney Markey at 202-544-9200 or email at cmarkey@ndn.org.

Today: The Uncharted Political Terrain of Campaign '08 with Trippi, Walter

Reminder: we're holding an event this afternoon to reflect on - and perhaps make sense - of this extraordinary Presidential cycle. At the luncheon we will hear from Joe Trippi, just back as chief strategist with John Edward’s Presidential campaign, talk about how different the 2008 campaign is from that of 2004, when he headed Howard Dean’s historic campaign for the Presidency. Trippi will be joined by Simon Rosenberg, NDN’s President, Amy Walter, editor-in-chief of the Hotline at National Journal as well as Andres Ramirez, NDN’s Vice President for Hispanic Programs who has been tracking the all important Hispanic vote this year. New Politics Institute Director Peter Leyden will moderate this free-wheeling conversation with these speakers over lunch next Wednesday.

The Uncharted Political Terrain of Campaign '08
Wednesday, February 20
12:30 - 2:00PM ET
The Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom
520 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Click here to RSVP. For more information, please contact Courtney Markey at (202) 544-9200 or cmarkey@ndn.org.

Fidel Castro steps down

After 49 years, Fidel Castro is stepping down. From the Miami Herald:

Saying he is no longer healthy enough to hold office, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has announced he will not seek reelection after 49 years in power and nearly 19 months sidelined by illness, marking the first official step in a long-awaited succession in the island's leadership.

''It would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer,'' the 81-year-old Castro wrote in a letter published in Tuesday's editions of Cuban newspapers. ``This I say devoid of all drama.''

Castro's not-unexpected announcement came just days before the Cuban National Assembly meets Sunday to select members and president of its Council of State. The president of the council is the official ruler of Cuba -- and that's been Castro since the council was established in 1976.

Our statement from 2006 when Fidel's failing health led to a transfer of power still has relevance today:

The current situation in Cuba could be the beginning of a tremendous opportunity for the Cuban people as the world anticipates the end of Fidel Castro's oppressive rule. We should proceed with cautious optimism about the possibilities in store not only for the people of Cuba but also of the Cuban exile community who have long awaited a moment like this. A transition to a democratic Cuba will not only greatly benefit the Cuban people but also will help provide much needed long-term stability for all of Latin America.

As many of you know, NDN has long advocated for a new approach to Cuba policy that eases restrictions on family travel and sending remittances to the island. In August, 2007, Senator Obama traveled to Little Havana and adopted that same approach, which you can learn more about in our poll from October, 2006. For more on our work on Cuba, check out the video below of a Forum we held in February, 2007 called After Fidel: A New Day for America's Relations with Cuba and Latin America?

Update: For those of you who are wondering how this news could affect the 2008 campaign, check out this Newsweek article by Fareed Zakaria. In it, Zakaria highlights the inherent differences between the Cuba policies of Senators Clinton and Obama. Given the news above, focusing on those differences could give the campaign an interesting twist in the coming days and weeks.

The NDN Blog A-Team expands!

For all of you NDN Blog readers, I'm sure you've noticed the increase in content of late. If you haven't, shame on you! Seriously though, it's not that the usuals are posting more. We've just brought more of the NDN team to the blog!

I'll re-post this on Monday with photos so you can see how ridiculously good looking we are, but in the meantime you can see the names of the new additions to the NDN Blog's A-Team below. As always, I encourage you to keep checking back. These fine folks will
be having a much more visible presence on the blog in the days ahead.

Note: By clicking a name, you will be directed to that person's recent posts.

Andres Ramirez, Vice President for Hispanic Programs and rising video blogger

Michael Moynihan, NDN Fellow, Director of NDN's Green Project

David O'Donnell, Deputy Development Director

Courtney Markey, Events Associate

Mike Salamon, Assistant to the President

Aaron Jacobs-Smith, NPI Associate

Andrew Scott, Intern

Sarah Mathews, Intern (rising blogger)

Aaron Gotlib, Intern (rising blogger)

Oliver Gilbert, Intern

Quick '08 Update

- Finally, a result in New Mexico! Hillary Clinton has been declared the victor in the New Mexico Democratic Caucus. According to Michelle Obama, it won't take this long to figure out who will win Ohio.

- We've been blogging on the Economic policies of Senators Clinton and Obama quite a bit, but so we don't hurt the print media's feelings, check out this analysis from the Washington Post. To recap, our analysis is here, here and here.

- As we already noted, SEIU International has endorsed Senator Obama. Also, in case you missed it, Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain yesterday, freeing up his delegates for the Senator from Arizona.

- George H.W. Bush is expected to endorse John McCain. However, Rush Limbaugh still isn't convinced...

- Annette John-Hall from the Philadelphia Inquirer sat down with Philly Mayor Michael Nutter to ask him why he endorsed Senator Clinton, despite being a public official with similar platforms and talents as Senator Obama.

- Fresh off the heels of the switch made by Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Ron Brownstein from the National Journal takes a look at whether Barack Obama's ability to attract endorsements will be enough in the race for Superdelegates.

- The Houston Chronicle takes a look at some recent polling in Texas. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Senator Clinton continues to challenge Senator Obama over debates, while Mike Huckabee seeks support among conservatives.

- The Huffington Post analyzes the state of the Edwards endorsement in its open thread. Speaking of, feel free to tell us who think Edwards will endorse by voting in our poll.

- Cincinnatti voters were able to were able to discuss economics with Senator Clinton as she enjoyed some of Ohio's infamous Skyline Chili. (More from the LA Times.) Meanwhile, Dan Balz considers, in hindsight, whether or not the Senator's strategy of not focusing more on Caucus States was a good idea.

- It seems as if Slate isn't very concerned with answering the question the Economist asked of Senator Obama, opting instead to further Obamania with the nifty widget below dubbed the unabridged Encyclopedia Baracktannica. Thanks to Aaron for the head's up on this!

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

SEIU 4 Obama?

CNN is reporting that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is "poised to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President." According to CNN:

Three sources familiar with the deliberations said union leaders met via conference call Thursday to deliberate on the endorsement issue. These sources, speaking to CNN on condition of anonymity, said Obama was the overwhelming choice of the union's state and national leadership.

While I'm hesitant to put major weight behind anything anymore, SEIU has to be seen as a positive for Obama, particularly within the upcoming primary states. Another positive for Obama is that the likelihood of John Edwards endorsing Sen. Clinton, given all he did to court SEIU local and national leadership as a candidate, would seem more farfetched if the SEIU endorsement is real. Though I guess with all the twists and turns thus far, anything is still possible...

Update: SEIU has endorsed Obama. From the AP:

Sen. Barack Obama won the support Friday of the 1.9-million member Service Employees International Union, his second endorsement in as many days from large labor organizations and a fresh sign of momentum in the Democratic presidential race with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"There has never been a fight in Illinois or a fight in the nation where our members have not asked Barack Obama for assistance and he has not done everything he could to help us," Andy Stern, the union's president, told reporters in announcing the decision.

Stern said that in the months since union leaders met with several Democratic candidates last fall, "the excitement has been building and building for Obama."

Happy Valentine's Day - Hallmark style

With the help of a few new Hallmark cards, I wanted to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day.

Al Gore President Bush
"Is it global warming in here, or is it just you?" "My arrows are weapons of mass seduction! Happy Valentine's Day."

Hillary goes after Obama in WI ad

(via Greg Sargent at TPM)

In perhaps the first example of the Maggie Williams era, Hillary Clinton went up on air in Wisconsin with a TV ad that goes after Barack Obama's view on having more debates:

Bush-McCain Republicans

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I've ever heard this before. During his speech in Madison, Wisconsin, Barack Obama altered a familiar line from his stump speech ever so slightly: that Democrats don't need to look tough on National Security by voting like "Bush-McCain Republicans".

As Simon pointed out, we know what happens when people are aligned with President Bush. So it's no wonder Obama is taking that line, which I'm sure we'll see more of in the days and weeks ahead.

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