Any doubts over whether Hillary Clinton will run for President in 2016 are gone for me. She has joined Twitter, which is a first step for candidates. But her Twitter bio is what is attracting praise and attention:
Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…
A but of humour at her own expense with the pantsuit reference and the TBD a clear hint to watch this space.
There’s more to health than just his fat, Christie retorted this week. He appeared on late night TV smashing a doughnut. Unless the doctor gives him a physical or examines his family history, Christie says Mariano should “shut up”.
But surely the doctor has a point.
It’s true Obama continues to struggle with cigarettes, and that his nicotine addiction could one day spell his end. But one need only look at Christie to know he probably risks a much more sudden departure.
If tax returns, birth certificates and religious leanings are considered fair fodder for Presidential nominees, I don’t think it entirely unreasonable for a pulse to be a prerequisite, too. Being obese might not stop a person doing the job, but being dead would be a hindrance.
David Letterman makes Chris Christie fat jokes almost non-stop, so it was hilarious when Christie went on the show and after a few minutes pulled out a donut and ate it, saying he didn’t realise how long the interview would be. People love someone who can mock themselves.
Christie’s weight and health will be issues if he stands for President. However the chance of Christie departing from office prematurely is hugely overblown by commentators such as Tame.
In January 2017, Christie will be 54, while the current Democratic front runner for her party’s presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, will be 69. It is true that with all other things being equal, compared with normal-weight people like Clinton, very obese people like Christie have an elevated mortality risk. Specifically, the most recent, detailed and sophisticated study of the question, published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people as heavy as Christie have a 29% increase in mortality risk vs. otherwise similar people of normal weight.
Now, 29% may sound like a significant elevation in risk, but let’s compare it with another factor, one that has a vastly more powerful effect than body weight: age.
Government actuarial tables reveal that with all other things being equal, the odds that a 69-year-old woman will die between January 2017 and January 2021 are 115% higher than the odds that a 54-year-old man will die during that four-year period. In other words, age poses almost exactly four times the mortality risk to Hillary Clinton as weight does to Chris Christie, in regard to the chances that either would die during a first presidential term.
So Clinton’s age is four times greater a mortality factor than Christie’s weight. How many pundits will write on the possibility that Clinton would die in office?
The bitter and negative 2012 American presidential election has left few political reputations intact.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney has run a staggering, gaffe-prone campaign, while President Barack Obama is battling a listless economy and a disenchanted Democratic base.
But, through all the attacks ads, missteps and heated controversies, both Bill and Hillary Clinton have emerged with their reputations and status not only intact but greatly enhanced. In a remarkable development, and 12 years since they vacated the White House, the Clintons have rarely seemed more influential or more relevant.
Rather than slipping away into obscurity, Bill Clinton is hitting the campaign trail hard for Obama after his stirring performance at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, overshadowed the President.
During the first debate the words that would most often send the worms upwards were “small businesses”, “jobs” and “Bill Clinton”.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trotting the globe as America’s top diplomat amid feverish speculation that, whichever of Obama or Romney wins on Tuesday, November 6, she will again run for the White House in 2016. That could make her the first female US President and conceivably extend Clintonian domination of US politics to 2024.
I think she will, if Obama wins. Maybe even if he does not.
To my surprise my status as co-chair of The American Politics Appreciation Society got me an invite to the reception for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Around two dozen people there all expressed amazement – not at me being there, but that I was wearing a suit. I explained that if they were the most powerful woman in the world, then I’d might wear a suit for them also.
Audrey Young snapped this photo of my brief conversation with Hillary, which mainly consisted of me saying how popular Chelsea was with those who got to meet her, when she was here in 1999.
Clinton and McCully spoke for around 20 minutes. Clinton is the absolute political professional – excellent at speaking with few notes, and working a room. She of course spent over a year campaigning to be President and came closer than any other woman has to winning that job. A lot of the discussion was about whether she might still manage it – either in 2016 (my theory) or 2012 (the theory of the stupid people who don’t understand a Cabinet Minister can not challenge a President). By 2016 she will be 69, but the US is not so anti older politicians – plus she looks considering younger than she is.
I’m actually more optimistic about Obama’s chances of re-election than most I chatted to there. If the economy improves, his chances will improve. Also the GOP controlled House may overplay its hand and get a backlash. Last but not least the choice of Republican candidate will be crucial.
China has attacked Washington’s call to lift internet censorship and warned the Obama administration to heed alarm bells over trade, Taiwan and Tibet.
China said that US calls for greater internet freedom were harmful to bilateral ties and that the Chinese government banned any form of hacking, in response to a speech by the US Secretary of State.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for China and other authoritarian governments to lift their curbs on citizens’ use of the internet in a speech on Thursday (Friday NZ time).
It was a good speech which is in full here.Also an interesting Q&A.
This is not just about what China do behind their own borders, but the threat they may pose to the greater Internet with state sanctioned cyber attacks.
“A new information curtain is descending across much of the world,” said Clinton, calling growing internet curbs the present-day equivalent of the Berlin Wall, contravening international commitments to free expression.
Clinton also urged Beijing to investigate the complaint about cyber spying from China that Google said targeted it and dozens of other companies, as well as Chinese dissidents.
One of the best parts of the speech was:
As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics. Two months ago, I was in Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The leaders gathered at that ceremony paid tribute to the courageous men and women on the far side of that barrier who made the case against oppression by circulating small pamphlets called samizdat. Now, these leaflets questioned the claims and intentions of dictatorships in the Eastern Bloc and many people paid dearly for distributing them. But their words helped pierce the concrete and concertina wire of the Iron Curtain.
The Berlin Wall symbolized a world divided and it defined an entire era. Today, remnants of that wall sit inside this museum where they belong, and the new iconic infrastructure of our age is the internet. Instead of division, it stands for connection. But even as networks spread to nations around the globe, virtual walls are cropping up in place of visible walls.Some countries have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world’s networks. They’ve expunged words, names, and phrases from search engine results. They have violated the privacy of citizens who engage in non-violent political speech. These actions contravene the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which tells us that all people have the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” With the spread of these restrictive practices, a new information curtain is descending across much of the world. And beyond this partition, viral videos and blog posts are becoming the samizdat of our day.
A speech by itself won’t change anything, but the focus of the US Government at the highest levels is a good thing.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver a major policy address on Internet freedom live from the Newseum in Washington, D.C. January 21, 2010, 9.30am EST, Friday 3.30AM NZ time. Secretary Clinton will lay-out the Administration’s strategy for protecting freedom in the networked age of the 21st Century.
Following her speech, there will be a panel discussion on this issue. To participate, either by watching a high quality video stream of the speech and panel discussion or by submitting questions and comments while viewing go to: http://netfreedom.state.gov. From here, you may choose the high quality video option or the interactive CO.NX room. As always, no password is necessary. Enter as a guest and type the username of your choice.
As we have posted before, New Zealand is currently running for a seat on the 57 member UN Human Rights Council. Elections will be held in May and New Zealand is currently one of three candidates for three vacancies that will come in the Western European and Other Group (WEOG). The other declared candidates are Norway and Belgium.
Now this is not a good thing. The HRC is just as bad as its predecessor that was abolished because it was a repulsive joke. The current Council is more into taking rights away than defending them. It is trying to make it compulsory for countries to ban virulent criticism of religion.
There are signs President Barack Obama may be about to reverse another George W. Bush policy and take a fresh look at the HRC. Bush shunned the Council, arguing it was biased against Israel and ignored flagrant human rights abusers (indeed, many of its members fall into this categrory). However, as part of a campaign to improve the US’s image in the world, Obama seems to be taking a more cautiously supportive line. On 1 March, the US announced it was sending an observer to the Council’s current session, to “use the opportunity to strengthen old partnerships and forge new ones.” Now, UN scuttlebutt suggests that the US might be looking to run for a spot on the Council in the May elections.
This is a golden opportunity.
So far, so good. There is no doubt that the Council can only benefit from having the US actively engaged. But with four candidates for three WEOG spots, someone is going to miss out. The Progressive Realist suggests that the US has already sounded out the Belgians to see if they would step down to let Washington run unopposed. No word on this yet, but is it too cheeky to speculate whether New Zealand might offer to step aside for Washington? From Minister McCully’s point of view, wouldn’t this advance two foreign policy goals: improve relations with the new US administration and get out of the foreign affairs equivalent of a “polar bear hug”?
That would be a brillant move. It is the best of all worlds. We escape having to serve on the Council (imagine the shame as we have to explain vote after vote), the US rejoins it (the only country that can temper it a bit) and Uncle Barack and Aunt Hillary owe us a big favour.
Hopefully McCully will make the offer to withdraw to make room for the US to stand, when he meets Clinton.
Barack Obama campaigned on change, but luckily he didn’t really mean it. Instead of hiring a bunch of inexperienced friends to run the United States, he has appointed dozens of former Clinton Administration staffers and experienced Senators to top jobs.
His most brillant, yet risky, move is to appoint Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (NY Times say she has decided to accept). It unites the Democratic Party, gets his rival out of the Senate, and as an added bonus she’s probably one of the best Democrats for the job.
What is the risk? Well when has anyone ever managed to control Hillary, let alone Bill who is an inevitable part of the package? Will Hillary run her own foreign policy programme or Obama’s? Most likely outcome is his foreign policy will change to be hers. This is not all bad, as that allows him to focus on domestic issues.
But there is that risk of a falling out, which would be explosive. Thinks of Truman sacking MacArthur.
Saturday Night Live did a very funny sketch of Sarah Palin with Hillary Clinton. Tina Fey looks and sound remarkably like Palin and is hilarious. The Clinton actress isn’t anywhere near as close a look, but is also bloody funny. Only five minutes and worth watching.
Oh and if you watch it and wonder what a FLURGE is, check here.
I’m off to the United States Embassy to watch Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. It is going to be an incredible moment, regardless of the fact I don’t like his policies. It is a milestone for the United States to have an African-American candidate for President, when just one generation ago they had segregation.
So offline most of the afternoon, but any breaking news I can blog from my blackberry. I’ve been doing that a lot this week.
I’m at the Embassy next week also for McCain’s speech. He should be announcing his Vice-Presidental candidate over the weekend, which will be fascinating. The choice of Biden doesn’t seem to have changed the polls much. I am picking a big spike after the speech today.
Oh one has to give Bill Clinton full marks in his careful use of language, where he declared Barack Obama the best man for the job of President of the United States. That is, well, just so Clintonian! Both can’t fault either of their speeches.
The NY Times has a fascinating interactive display showing how different demographics in the 50 states voted with Obama and Clinton. They do it for 16 different demographics. I’ve pasted below two of them – for blacks and whites.
The NY Times has also done this map showing support for the two candidates.
You can click on the version above for the full size one.
“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,” she said, dismissing calls to drop out
So the race isn’t over until the first shitshot is fired!
UPDATE: And maybe her Plan B ties into Bill pushing her to be the VP candidate for Obama. Wait long enough and she might still get to be the first female President!
According to Real Clear Politics, Obama now has 1,957 delegates – just 68 short of the magic 2,025. Obama picked up 42 from Oregon and Kentucky to 53 for Clinton.
86 delegates remain from two states and a territory. Clinton will probably pick up more than Obama due to Puerto Rico, but assume 50/50 then that puts Obama to exactly 2,000.
So he needs 25 more super delegates after that. There are 209 yet to pledge so that should not be an issue. His campaign team will deserve to be sacked if on the day of the last primary (3 June) he can not announce two dozen super delegates. And finally it will be over.
Most media organisations are now reporting that Obama now has a lead amongst super-delegates as well as pledged delegates. There is no official site for super delegate counting but I use Real Clear Politics who has it Obama 275 to Clinton 271.
Clinton will probably stay in the race until the last primary, just so every vote counts but her money will now be dried up. Her only hope has been that her attacks on Obama would make him unelectable, and that super delegates would decide it for her. But now he can almost ignore her as he takes aim at McCain.
It is premature to post on the historic nature of Obama’s achievement, until it is official, but it is truly historic.
If Obama picks up half the delegates in the six primaries to go, he will add on 109 to his 1,866 to be at 1,975 – just 50 short of the 2025 he need. I suspect he will have those or get those by the 3rd of June.
The table above shows the 51 states (including DC) which get to vote in the November US election, and who has won each state in the Democratic Primary, and by how much. It is sorted by most to least electoral college votes.
Of the ten biggest states (comprising 256 of the 538 electors) Clinton has won eight, and Obama just two (one his own).
Obama is still highly highly likely to be the Democratic nominee. But his inability to win in the larger states does mean those lingering doubts about him grow. And Clinton is not going anywhere as Maureen Dowd points out:
Now that Hillary has won Pennsylvania, it will take a village to help Obama escape from the suffocating embrace of his rival. Certainly Howard Dean will be of no use steering her to the exit. It’s like Micronesia telling Russia to denuke.
Meanwhile Clinton is going more hawkish than the hawks. Look at this:
Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. ABC News’ Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.
“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” Clinton said. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Hey if MCain wins, maybe she can be Secretary of Defence
Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama finally debate the big issue in the United States – who will be WWE King of the Ring. Great fun – I thought Hillary did best. Of course in NZ we had Raging Bill English actually get into the ring!
The Dom Post reports how a joke told by Hillary Clinton about Helen Clark. She is slightly ahead of her time though by calling Helen the Former PM of NZ:
In what the Labour Party would hope is more ignorance than prophecy, Mrs Clinton described Helen Clark as “former prime minister of New Zealand”.
The gaffe came in a chummy interview with American magazine Newsweek, when journalist Karen Breslau asked Mrs Clinton for a joke: “Here’s a good one. Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand: her opponents have observed that in the event of a nuclear war, the two things that will emerge from the rubble are the cockroaches and Helen Clark.
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer pull no punches. First he asks which controversial statements did Obama sit through without a word of protest. Did they include:
Wright’s assertion from the pulpit that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus “as a means of genocide against people of color”?
Wright’s claim that America was morally responsible for 9/11 — “chickens coming home to roost” — because of, among other crimes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
the charge that the U.S. government (of Franklin Roosevelt, mind you) knew about Pearl Harbor, but lied about it?
the government gives drugs to black people, presumably to enslave and imprison them?
He then attacks the comparison of Rev Wright to his white grandmother who said she was scared of black men who passed her on the street:
“I can no more disown (Wright) than I can my white grandmother.” What exactly was grandma’s offense? Jesse Jackson himself once admitted to the fear he feels from the footsteps of black men on the street. And Harry Truman was known to use epithets for blacks and Jews in private, yet is revered for desegregating the armed forces and recognizing the first Jewish state since Jesus’ time. He never spread racial hatred. Nor did grandma.
Yet Obama compares her to Wright. Does he not see the moral difference between the occasional private expression of the prejudices of one’s time and the use of a public stage to spread racial lies and race hatred?
Krauthammer does get to a key point. There is no comparison between the two. And I wonder how many people listened to those sermons and believed that the US Government invented AIDS to use against black people.
Finally he asks:
If Wright is a man of the past, why would you expose your children to his vitriolic divisiveness? This is a man who curses America and who proclaimed moral satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents at a time when their bodies were still being sought at Ground Zero. It is not just the older congregants who stand and cheer and roar in wild approval of Wright’s rants, but young people as well. Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?
To balance things up, here’s an article on how Hillary Clinton is a active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles which is known as “The Family”. The article alleges The Family has Nazi and fascist links over many decades. I don’t think the allegations are credible somehow.
Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic blogs on the numbers showing how tough it will be for Hillary Clinton to pull back Obama’s lead. He finds that even a rosy scenario has Clinton only reducing Obama’s lead by 60 – 80 delegates.
Keeping Stock blogs a quote from Helen Clark on the sacking of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board:
“But my view is that I don’t really care what the rights and wrongs of what was going on within the board are – I don’t believe that you can run a decent health service for the people of Hawke’s Bay while that is going on.”
I should think the PM should deeply care about the rights and wrongs. The members of the DHB whose reputations are affected by this sacking certainly care.
America moves closer to its first African-American candidate for President, with the latest polls in Texas.
Five polls are out in the two days and only one Shows Clinton ahead (by 4%). The other four have Obama ahead 1% to 6%. So polls are not conclusive but her lead has gone from 12% ahead to narrowly behind which is a bad trend.
It may be getting close to being over for Clinton in primaries. While she will hold on until the Mini Tuesday on the 4th, she has multiple problems:
Five polls out yesterday showed Obama ahead nationally by an average of 7% – the lead ranged from 2% to 16%
Clinton’s lead in Texas has dropped to an average of just 0.7%.
The head to head averages show Obama beating McCain by 5,2% but McCain beating Clinton by 3.6%
On the Republican side, an end is in sight. McCain now has 1,013 delegates of the 1,191 he needs. So around 180 more needed. There are 265 up for grabs on the 4th so he should become the nominee on that day.
UPDATE: Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics analyses the numbers and works out how Clinton can still win – unlikely he says, but not impossible.