Blogs

Bill Clinton to Continue Attacking Obama '08 for Acting Like Clinton '92

| Fri Jan. 25, 2008 11:41 AM EST

Patrick Healy writes in the New York Times that the Clintons feel the Bill-as-attack-dog strategy ("sphincter-like") is working, and needs to be continued.

Advisers to Sen. Hillary Clinton have concluded that Bill Clinton's aggressive politicking against Sen. Barack Obama is resonating with voters, and they intend to keep him on the campaign trail in a major role after the South Carolina primary.
The Clinton team has decided that the benefits of having Bill Clinton challenge Obama so forcefully, over Iraq and Obama's record and statements, are worth the trade-offs of potentially overshadowing Hillary Clinton at times, undermining his reputation as a statesman and raising the question among voters about whether they are putting him in the White House as much as her.

Much more after the jump...

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Debra Dickerson Awesome on the Colbert Report (Again)

| Fri Jan. 25, 2008 5:13 AM EST

Debra Dickerson on ColbertAs promised, Mother Jones' own Debra Dickerson dropped by Stephen Colbert's show last night, and, as usual, held her own against the onslaught of satire. Two important things came out of her appearance, I think: a) the entrance into the lexicon of "sphincter-like" as probably the best description of Bill Clinton's recent purple-faced anti-Obama sputtering (let's hope it catches on) and b) the fact that she may be one of a handful of people in the universe who can actually beat Mr. Colbert at his own game, getting some actual content in there with the laugh lines and even having the last word. Plus Colbert's line about "I couldn't get away with that with my hair" seemed a little dumb, didn't it? Anyway, by the end he put his head down on his desk in an apparent acknowledgement of defeat.

To read all of Debra's writing for motherjones.com, click here.

You can't embed video from the Comedy Central website, but here's a direct link to the segment, although it opens a new window and you have to watch a Navy Seals ad to get to it.

GOPers Debate (Nicely) in Florida; Here Are the Whoppers of the Night

| Fri Jan. 25, 2008 12:31 AM EST

At Thursday night's Republican presidential debate, the GOP contenders did their best not to make any news. No one attacked anyone; no one disagreed on any major policy matter--except regarding a proposal to establish a national catastrophic insurance fund that would back up private insurance firms. (Rudy Giuliani, playing to Florida homeowners, voiced his support for it; Mitt Romney supported the general notion; John McCain attacked legislation that would set up such a fund as a $200 billion boondoggle.) Generally, the candidates made up a chorus for tax cuts and fighting--make that, winning--the Iraq war. (Then there was Ron Paul.) At times, the candidates hailed their rivals. It was so.... un-Democratic. No nastiness--even though McCain and Romney, essentially tied for first place in the Florida polls, have been hurling negative ads at each other. (A Romney ad assails McCain for flip-flopping on tax cuts; a McCain spot blasts Romney for...flip-flopping on tax cuts. McCain is actually comparing Romney to John Kerry.)

If you were forced to pick a winner--and in the absence of policy disputes, the debate was all about the horse race--you'd probably have to choose Romney, who seemed quasi-commanding and who this night, for some reason, looked more like Hollywood's idea of a president than usual. But no candidate hurt his own prospects. That doesn't mean, though, they didn't come out with some whoppers. Here's a sampling:

* Moderator Tim Russert asked McCain about a comment McCain had supposedly made--"I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated"--and McCain shot back, "I don't know where you got that quote from; I'm very well-versed in economics." Well, McCain did tell the Baltimore Sun, "The issue of economics is something that I've really never understood as well as I should." So much for being "well-versed."

Blinded by McCain, Michelle Malkin Misreads MoJo

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 9:16 PM EST

Michelle Malkin, my old sparring partner at Fox News, ought to reread my colleague Jonathan Stein's dispatch on the feverish McCain hatred among right-wing commentators (including Malkin). On her blog, Malkin cites the article as--a-ha!--yet more proof of the "left-wing media's love affair" with Senator John McCain. But in the piece, Stein shows McCain no affection. He merely reports on the rage McCain triggers among conservative leaders, writers, and bloggers, noting that this gang, already upset with McCain's recent success in the GOP primaries, will go ballistic if he does well in Florida and--gasp!--on Supersaturated Tuesday. Her item confirms the point of the piece: McCain sure pushes these guys and gals over the edge. And consider this: McCain is the only major Republican party candidate who's done any heavy-lifting in support of George W. Bush's war in Iraq. Yet he gets no love from these war cheerleaders. What ingrates.

Growing Up Online, and Still Bored

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 8:54 PM EST

Teens and parents from a New Jersey suburb deconstruct the ups and downs of social networking sites in Frontline's latest report, Growing Up Online, which premiered on PBS this week.

The piece weaves together a handful of stories about how the Internet has tweaked family dynamics and how teens communicate with each other. With 90% or more of teens nationwide online, one mom calls cyberspace the "new wild west" for young people. One high school history teacher says that "walking into a classroom without any multimedia is like walking into a desert." Another teacher admits she's landed on the wrong side of the digital divide: "My time is over. This is not for me. It's not the educational arena that I entered into."

Movie Music Madness

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 7:50 PM EST

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Best-picture Oscar nominations this year have gone to a compelling and diverse group of films that, for the most part, earned them: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood. For me, the soundtracks or scores to three of these films in particular helped make them as great as they are. Here are a few examples:

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MPAA Accidentally (On Purpose?) Exaggerated Impact of Piracy

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 7:43 PM EST

mojo-photo-mpaa.jpgHey, remember the MPAA? The Motion Picture Association of America? Well, like their buddies in the RIAA, they've been using every tactic they can think of to fight illegal downloading of movies, especially on college campuses; that includes lobbying lawmakers to sanction educational institutions on whose intertubes the naughty downloading was done. But it turns out the numbers they used as the basis for their claims were a wee bit exaggerated. The MPAA just revealed (pdf link) that a 2005 study which claimed that "44% of the motion picture industry's domestic losses were attributable to piracy by college students" was, erm, a mistake:

Saddam Gambled And Lost, Says FBI Agent

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 6:28 PM EST

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Saddam Hussein played up his mythical WMD stockpile in the belief that the U.S. would not invade, according to George Piro, an FBI agent who interrogated him after his December 2003 capture. Apparently, he was convinced that the U.S. would only drop a few bombs, not send in ground troops. He'd survived a similar air attack in 1998, he told Piro, and thought he could do it again. But why, you ask? He wanted to keep up his tough-guy image. "For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam," Piro says. "He thought that would prevent the Iranians from re-invading Iraq." Piro will appear on 60 Minutes this Sunday.

Franz Ferdinand Hoping for Comeback

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 4:41 PM EST

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So much can change in four years. Your approval ratings can drop 20 points, your hair can turn gray, or your band can go from worldwide domination to leftfield footnotes. In 2004, Franz Ferdinand could do no wrong: their nervous, aggressive dance-rock embodied the wary times, the neo-Soviet album art suddenly seemed fresh again, and they sure looked good in those tight-cut suits. While proclaiming they only got into music to "make girls dance," their lyrics contained unexpected depths. "Michael" turned into a gay anthem, and the inescapable stomper "Take Me Out" turned out to be about lovers as snipers, daring each other to pull the trigger: "I know I won't be leaving here / with you." The song's stunning musical twist, an exhilarating deceleration from new wave to hip-hop speed, seemed to hint at previously unexplored regions of rock innovation.

Michelle vs. Bill: In the Democratic Race, the Spouses Go at It

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 4:22 PM EST

Can Michelle Obama take down Bill Clinton?

Well, can she at least exploit the spouse of her spouse's chief rival to raise money for her own spouse?

On Thursday afternoon, the Obama campaign sent out a fundraising appeal signed by Barack Obama's wife that uses Bill Clinton's recent swipes at Senator Obama as its main get-out-your-checkbooks motivator. She writes:

We knew getting into this race that Barack would be competing with Senator Clinton and President Clinton at the same time.