Politics

It just wasn’t in the cards

In politics, as in poker, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.

That could explain why the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., has decided not to stock a new set of satirical playing cards that portray Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as a less-than-flattering “ace of spades.”

The library’s gift shop has stocked California artist Peter Green’s “Politicards” for several years now. The 2004 edition still is a brisk seller, store manager Connie Fails reports.

Rudy explains shift on firearms

Rudy Giuliani, who sued firearms manufacturers and called for tough gun control as New York’s mayor, said Tuesday the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a recent court ruling framed his current defense of a right to own guns.

“You have to look at all of these issues in light of the different concerns that now exist, which is terrorism, the terrorists’ war on us,” the Republican presidential contender told The Associated Press in an interview. He also mentioned immigration and border security.

Supremes will examine voter ID

A voter seeking to cast a ballot is first told to produce a photo ID. Is that intimidation or a prudent safeguard against election fraud?

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it intends to decide, stepping into a controversy that blends race, partisan politics and the Constitution.

Officially, the justices said they would consider a challenge to the constitutionality of an Indiana law. But several other states have enacted various forms of voter ID legislation in the past five years, and the court’s ruling could affect them, as well.

Edwards fouls his own nest

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who made his fortune as a trial lawyer, says attorneys should have to show their medical malpractice cases have merit before filing them.

He also said attorneys with a history of frivolous suits should be barred from filing new cases.

Edwards’ proposal is similar to “certificates of merit” laws that have been adopted in several states in recent years. Those laws usually require that an independent doctor assert the validity of a malpractice case before it is filed.

Service union delays endorsement

The Service Employees International Union has postponed its presidential endorsement until next month, underscoring divisions within the powerful labor group over front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, sentimental favorite John Edwards and latest star Barack Obama.

Each of the top-tier candidates has support within the 1.8-million member union that includes janitors, hotel workers and truck drivers. SEIU backing is one of the most important labor endorsements available, with the organization donating more than $25 million, mostly to Democratic candidates, since 1989.

Bricklayers back Hillary

The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers endorsed Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for president Monday, saying she had the best chance to win.

“Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to deliver the change America needs,” union president John J. Flynn said. “After years of an administration that has turned its back on working families, we need a president whose priorities are our priorities.”

Flynn said the union’s executive council voted unanimously to endorse Clinton and that the New York senator was the clear winner in a poll of members.

Follow the money

Presidential campaigns are hoarding money for a coming advertising blitz — mostly in Iowa and New Hampshire — during the final three months of the year on airwaves already saturated with candidate commercials.

The candidates are in the midst of a last-minute fundraising push, eager to have significant amounts of cash on hand by Sunday, the end of the third quarter and a milestone for measuring financial strength.

Defamation dilutes discourse

While negative political advertising has been around since the beginning of the republic, MoveOn.org seems to have cut some new ground for meanness and ratcheted up the incivility level more than a notch or two, as if it weren’t high enough already. Probably not since Lyndon Johnson’s vicious attempt to portray Barry Goldwater as a threat to nuclear sanity has there been a more controversial attack on a public official than the one implying Gen. David Petraeus has betrayed the nation.

Online ‘mashup’ draws 1 million viewers

An experimental online “mashup” — a build-your-own Democratic presidential debate — attracted more than 1 million viewers in the past 10 days, many of them young people drawn to the interactivity of the Internet.

But the most popular participant was not a candidate.

Comedian Bill Maher, who asked one of four questions posed to each of the eight candidates, attracted viewers 42 percent of the time. He quizzed the hopefuls about the Ten Commandments, marijuana legalization, the relative dangers of sugar, coal dust and terrorism, and the climate-changing impact of cows.

Independents leaning Democratic

Michael Brooks is exactly the kind of voter the Republican Party can ill afford to lose. But in a foreboding omen for 2008, it may have already done just that.

The auto parts store worker from St. Charles, Mo., says he used to be a Republican but felt abandoned and is now an independent.

“For some reason or other, they didn’t seem to be for the masses anymore,” said Brooks, 59, citing a lack of help for middle-income earners. He said he voted for George W. Bush in 2000, thinking the Republican was “more middle of the road, for the people. Obviously I was incorrect.”