Obama fights false links to Islam

For Barack Obama, it is an ember that he has doused time and again, only to see it flicker anew: links to Islam fanned by false rumors, innuendo and association. Obama and his campaign reacted strongly this week when a photo of him in Kenyan tribal garb began spreading on the Internet.

And the praise he received Sunday from Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan prompted pointed questions — during Tuesday night’s presidential debate and also in a private meeting over the weekend with Jewish leaders in Cleveland.

Bloomberg not running for President

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has squashed the notion of running for president this year, declaring that he will not seek the White House but might put his support behind another candidate who embraces bipartisan governing.

Is the media biased against Hillary Clinton?

Are media outlets biased against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton due to her gender? It’s an open question and one I’m not prepared to answer. But Tuesday night’s debate in Cleveland certainly blew open some angles for examination.

First, there’s the time question: Who got more of it? According to The New York Times Web site’s Democratic debate analysis page, Clinton spoke for 30:43 while Sen. Barack Obama spoke for 38:17 (the moderators spoke for 16 minutes). So Obama was allowed some 25 percent more critical time on-camera.

Nader has every right to run for President

Bloggers already are deriding him as the second coming of Harold Stassen. Democrats, who accused him of swinging the 2000 election to the Republicans, now dismiss him as a crank.

Isn’t it interesting how many political pundits presume to tell Ralph Nader he shouldn’t run for president? I don’t recall anyone proffering such sage advice to candidates from either of the “major” parties.

Who will win the race to the bottom?

Because you can’t keep a good democracy down — and it hasn’t been for want of official effort the past seven years — the presidential election campaign has generated extraordinary excitement. But some Americans feel slighted as they sit in the heartland with steam issuing from their ears while listening to their favorite cranks on TV and radio.

I speak, of course, of America’s moron community, that large group of dyspeptics who include dopes, mopes and the chronically befuddled. This uncomprehending crew are always the happiest when made the angriest by some ridiculous issue.

Civil rights leader dumps Clinton

Civil rights leader John Lewis has dropped his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid in favor of Barack Obama.

Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Atlanta, is the most prominent black leader to defect from Clinton’s campaign in the face of near-majority black support for Obama in recent voting. He also is a superdelegate who gets a vote at this summer’s national convention in Denver.

Clinton backtracks on tax returns

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says she won’t release her tax returns until she has the Democratic presidential nomination in hand, and not before tax filing time comes in mid-April.

Clinton argued for openness Tuesday night during her latest debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama.

“I will release my tax returns,” Clinton said during the debate. “I have consistently said I will do that once I become the nominee, or even earlier.”

Clinton on Russian leader: ‘Whatever’

U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who has argued she would be stronger on foreign policy than rival Barack Obama, stumbled over the name of the likely new Russian president on Tuesday while predicting he would not be an independent leader.

When asked at a debate whether she knew the name of the certain successor to President Vladimir Putin — Dmitry Medvedev — Clinton struggled to get it out.

“Medvedev — whatever,” she finally said.

Obama, who fielded a second question on the issue, did not pronounce the name.

Debate unlikely to change anything

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are making their final pitches to voters in Ohio and Texas, must-win contests for Clinton, after a mostly somber and policy-filled debate that seemed unlikely to alter the political calculus of the race.

In sometimes testy exchanges, the two sparred over health care, the war in Iraq and trade, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement which was negotiated in her husband’s first term — but is seen by labor and other critics as a chief culprit in the loss of manufacturing jobs in Ohio and other industrial Midwestern states.

Time to close the deal

By now we are all on a first-name basis. Hillary and Barack have joined us in our living rooms night after night, hoping to close the deal in very different ways.

Barack Obama has steadily pushed his optimistic one-word theme: “Change.”