Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Speech

Well...even I have to say, as hard on Hillary as I have been, she said what she needed to say tonight. Highlights:

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.

I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President.

I'm hoping what she had to say got through to her supporters like these.
The last place Kathy Archuleta could have ever imagined she'd spend the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, was at a happy hour sponsored by the Republican Party.

But the 54-year-old Democrat joined several other Hillary Clinton supporters, along with volunteers and officials from John McCain's campaign, at a Happy Hour for Hillary.

The event, sponsored by the Republican National Committee and approved by the McCain campaign, was a chance for McCain and Clinton supporters to come together for one cause: their opposition to Barack Obama's candidacy.

These are the folks that both Hillary and Obama have to reach. These are the folks that do not understand what McSame in the White house will mean.
Archuleta, who hails from Denver, has been a registered Democrat all her life -- until now.

"I'm a registered Republican ... for the first time in my voting life," Archuleta said. "No Obama for me. I'm voting for John McCain."

"He reminds me of what the Jimmy Carter era was like. ... If they think Jimmy Carter had it bad, just wait if Obama gets into the White House. That will be bad news in so many ways," she added.

Obama's relative lack of experience in national politics -- long seen as his Achilles heel -- was something that Clinton supporters, Republicans and independents attending the happy hour rallied behind.

"His lack of experience has been demonstrated so painfully every time he opens his mouth just about. ... You cannot have good judgment without experience; that's how you get it," said 58-year-old Marnie Delano of New York.

These are the people Hillary had to reach tonight. Here's what she had to say:
Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.

Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
Here, Hillary is telling her supporters what I've been trying to say all along. Whoever is in charge the next four years is going to be facing some ruthless problems. It's bigger than Barack Obama being the first black president or Hillary being the first woman President or even McCain (and yes I use his proper name to make a point) being the oldest elected President. All of that is nothing next to the point we're going to need a real President, not another Bush, in the White House. There is some brutally scary stuff out there folks. The bad times, the REALLY bad times, are going to be upon us very soon. Things aren't ever going to be the same, we can't go back, only forward.

Your choice going forward is between McCain and Obama. Think very carefully why you are voting, and why you are voting for one of them. A vote out of anger is still one vote. A vote out of months of weighing the pros and cons is still one vote. too, but you owe it to yourself and your country to vote. Whatever you do, at least do that. Vote FOR something, not against someone.

I plan to vote for Barack Obama, even though my vote in the state of Kentucky will not help him here. Kentucky will be carried by John McCain almost certainly, he's likely to win the Bluegrass State by the largest margin McCain will get in his column in 2008. But I can say I voted FOR Obama when I honestly believed the country needed somebody like him.

Don't vote against Obama. Don't vote against McCain. Vote FOR something. You owe it to yourself. The politics of Against have ruled this country for far too long.

Hillary said what she needed to say. I'm hoping now that everyone will do what they need to do.

Will you?

Special Comment Is Special

And now, a Special Comment.

Look folks, I know a lot of you like Hillary. I would still like to believe that Hillary Clinton wants to see Barack Obama president, because the prospect of John Sidney Volcano McSame there makes me physically ill.

How you feel about Hillary is actually irrelevant to the question at hand. The question at hand is "As a voter, who do you want to see in the White House, Barack Obama or John McSame?" If you are angry at Obama for winning and not picking her as his VP, you still have to ask yourself that question. Four years is a lot of time for one man to do a metric shit-ton of damage to our country. I've seen accusations of sexism and misogyny a-flyin, but the stark reality is Hillary Clinton will not win this election.

My advice is this: if you think Barack Obama in the White House represents the pinnacle of misogyny and sexism, and that you wish to punish the Democrats by voting against Barack Obama for that express purpose, please enjoy the results of four years of John McSame being able to give executive orders, appoint federal judges, sign and veto bills, make cabinet and administration appointments, and most likely pick a Supreme Court justice or two.

You ain't seen nothin yet like what will happen to your rights if McSame and the GOP get their way for another four years. Or actually, you have. You've seen more than a few major Supreme Court cases just barely go 5-4 in favor of traditional liberalism and the expansion of personal rights, as opposed to the Roberts/Alito/Thomas/Scalia view of unlimited executive power. Think about it.

It's gut check time. Either you believe in the Democrats and what they stand for and you'll vote Obama, or you believe in the GOP and what they have stood for since Reagan and vote for McSame...or you believe in nothing and you won't vote at all.

Choose wisely.

Wouldn't You Prefer A Nice Game Of Chess?

The FAA computers have sprung a bit of a leak. It's a small one, just the kind of thing that paralyzes every major airport in the country for an afternoon.
Every major airport in the United States was experiencing flight delays Tuesday afternoon because of a communications breakdown at a Federal Aviation Administration facility, the administration said.

The facility south of Atlanta was having problems processing data, requiring that all flight-plan information be processed through a facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The two facilities process all flight plans for commercial and general aviation flights in the United States, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

The administration said there are no radar outages and said they have not lost contact with any planes. The planes currently in the air have flight plans and should arrive safely at their destinations, said CNN aviation expert Miles O'Brien.

"This is really not a safety issue, this is an aggravation issue," O'Brien said.

Airline passengers may have more delays ahead of them.

"This has potential as time goes on to turn into a much bigger mess," O'Brien said.
But hey, all those FAA budget cuts were needed, not to mention dumping all those billions into making sure we're not bringing plastic bottles onto airplanes.

Or you know, maybe this happened on purpose, but nobody's going to confirm anything like that.

Somebody Put The Big Dog Outside

...because he's crapping all over the nice carpet in the living room.
Bill Clinton appeared to undermine Sen. Barack Obama again Tuesday.

The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.

He said: "Suppose you're a voter, and you've got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don't think that candidate can deliver on anything at all. Candidate Y you agree with on about half the issues, but he can deliver. Which candidate are you going to vote for?"

Then, perhaps mindful of how his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken, Clinton added after a pause: "This has nothing to do with what's going on now."

The comments are unlikely to be taken as an innocent mistake by those Democrats who continue to be angry with the former president for, they say, not supporting the Illinois senator wholeheartedly, if not implicitly undercutting him.

There's a valid argument that Eric Boehlert brings up at Media Matters that the whole Big Dog 'n' Hill vs Obama is just a ploy for the Village to help the GOP.

Fact: Many in the press have portrayed Clinton's planned convention address, as well as the fact that her name is being placed into nomination, as an unprecedented, heavy-handed power grab.

Fact: It's not. In years past, Democratic candidates who won lots of primaries and accumulated hundreds of delegates (sorry, Howard Dean and Bill Bradley) have always been allowed to address the convention and very often place their name into nomination. It's the norm. It's expected. It's a formality.

This newly manufactured media attack on Clinton is just the latest in a long line of press grenades thrown her way this year. But this time, she's not the only victim, because the media's concocted story line is being used to unfairly skewer Barack Obama, too.

Consider New York magazine: "Obama Agrees to Roll-Call Vote for Clinton. Does That Make Him a Sissy?"

What's so startling in watching the coverage of the Clinton convention-speech story has been the complete ignorance displayed about how previous Democratic conventions have dealt with runners-up like Clinton. It's either complete ignorance or the media's strong desire to painstakingly avoid any historical context, which, in turn, allows the press to mislead news consumers into thinking Clinton's appearance (as well as the gracious invitation extended by Obama) represents something unique and unusual. Something newsworthy.

And while that's certainly very true, there's really no excuse for Bill Clinton to still be saying stuff like this especially when the media is looking for any reason to go "AHA! THE DEMOCRATS ARE HOPELESSLY BROKEN AND SPLIT!"

Bill Clinton knows better than to say something like this and not expect it to be taken in the worst possible context. But he's doing it anyway. Think about that.


The Clintonistas will never, ever stop attacking Barack Obama. They will never forgive him. They will never forget. They will hate him forever.

The work of the next phase of Clinton's career has been going on doggedly, and often with little notice, since she suspended her campaign on June 7. She's been a campaign emissary for Obama to the Sheet Metal Workers union; to Hispanics and others in New Mexico and Nevada; to older women in South Florida who still haven't quite accepted the loss of what for some of them may be their last chance to see a woman elected president. The speech Clinton made in departing from the race was, among Democratic activists, "probably the most seen, talked about, buzzed about speech of the campaign," says Mike Lux, a consultant for Democratic interest groups and an Obama supporter. It went over well, even among Obama loyalists.

That tends to be how Clinton does things. The public Clinton doesn't usually show hints of the private pain that burns inside.

The same cannot be said of some of her supporters, who can be expected to stage at least a few demonstrations of their fury at the outcome of the race and at what they perceive as repeated displays of disrespect that Obama has shown their hero. It is not lost on them that in selecting Joe Biden as his running mate, Obama chose a Washington insider who voted in favor of the Iraq war -- two of the sustained attacks on Clinton that Obama used to devastating effect during the primaries.

The television cameras will linger on angry and tearful Clinton delegates in the convention crowd. The commentators will no doubt take this as a demonstration of disunity -- and not a few will, of course, blame Clinton.

But it is usually the job of the party nominee to build unity once a vanquished rival has conceded and made the right gestures. Unless the loser happens to be a woman. Then it's just like high school, and she must do the work.

The sad truth is there is nothing Barack Obama can do that will redeem him in the eyes of a generation of Democrat women. They will never let this slide, and they are patient. In making sure he fails in 2008, they believe the party will turn to Hillary in 2012 and they will be proven right all along.

And until the Democrats realize that there is a cancer growing in the heart of the party, they won't understand why they lost this November.

Biden's Record

Any US Senator who has been in Washington for 36 years is going to have a decidedly mixed record. In Joe Biden's case, there's some real good he's done, and there's some pretty disgusting stuff he's pulled. First, the good: Joe Biden played a pivotal role in getting the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed.

It may be hard to remember now, but widespread awareness of domestic violence--and how to deal with it--is a relatively new phenomenon. As late as the early 1990s, many communities had no domestic violence shelters at all, while those that did couldn't fund them adequately. And neither law enforcement nor the judicial system were prepared to deal with the special nature of domestic violence. If a woman who’d been battered or raped went to the police, she was frequently lucky if she got sympathy--let alone experts trained in how to handle such cases, go after perpetrators, and counsel the victims. “At that time there were no victim rights and [somebody] had to witness an act of violence in order to prosecute it,” says Judy Ellis, now executive director of First Step, a domestic violence program based in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. “The criminal justice system lacked information and training on the dynamics of domestic violence and its effects on the family.”

VAWA changed all of that. It cracked down on interstate stalking, set standards for the collection and use of evidence in abuse cases, and set up a national domestic violence hotline. No less important, VAWA poured money into local communities for the creation of new prevention and treatment initiatives. In Detroit, according to Ellis, a VAWA grant allowed local authorities to hire prosecutors, police officers. and counselors specifically trained to deal with domestic violence. It also paid for outreach programs into non-English speaking communities, where many victims had no idea of their rights--or the resources now available to them.

I do remember this bill getting passed, but I failed to realize the guy behind the scenes on this was Joe Biden.

So what did Biden have to do with all of that? Everything. Biden had been promoting a domestic violence bill starting in the early 1990s, and although it didn’t go far at first, he kept at it, finally getting his chance in 1994, once Bill Clinton became president and began pushing for a crime bill. Even then, it was a tough sell. Critics, led by Republican Senator Robert Dole, thought the '94 crime bill was bloated with unnecessary spending and demanded cuts from it--including the $1.6 billion over six years set aside for VAWA. But Biden held firm and, eventually, got his way. “You can sponsor a bill, but if you just sponsor a bill and let it sit there, that’s nothing,” says Pat Reuss, a longtime activist who was one of the measure's chief advocates in Washington. “He shepherded it. He made sure it happened. He assigned staff to it, gave them carte blanche to do with they needed, they spent days and nights on it.”

And Biden’s stewardship didn’t end with the bill’s passage. In 1996, when President Clinton signed the welfare reform bill, Biden made sure that victims of domestic violence got an extra six months to exhaust welfare benefits. When the law was up for reauthorization in 2000, he won even more funding for it. Although the courts would end up striking down one part of VAWA’s legal reforms, and although it would occasionally rankle right-wingers, the program’s bipartisan support grew over the years. In 2006, President Bush signed its second reauthorization.

And while Biden certainly deserves credit for that, he's also got to take the hit on one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed (one partially responsible for the subprime mess we're in now) the odious 2005 bankruptcy bill. Even worse, now news has come to light this week that Biden's son Hunter got $400k from MBNA, Delaware's largest employer and the corporate financial kingpin that owned Biden's vote on the issue.

Biden's son, Hunter, received the fees from MBNA Corp. from 2001 to 2005 for consulting work on online banking issues. Aides to Obama, who announced Biden as his vice-presidential running mate on Saturday, said the younger Biden, who is a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, never lobbied for MBNA and that there was nothing improper about the payments.

Biden's support for the bankruptcy changes, signed into law in 2005, puts him at odds with Obama of Illinois, who opposed the bill and has criticized the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, for supporting it.

In late 1996, MBNA (which was bought in 2006 by Bank of America), hired the younger of Biden's two sons, Robert Hunter Biden, known as Hunter, who had just graduated from Yale Law School, as a lawyer. The company promoted Biden to senior vice president by early 1998. And after the younger Biden worked at the Commerce Department on electronic commerce issues from 1998 to 2001, MBNA hired him back on a monthly consulting contract, aides said.

Consumer advocates say that Sen. Biden was one of the first Democratic leaders to support the bankruptcy bill, and he voted for it four times – in 1998, 2000, 2001 and in March 2005, when its final version passed the Senate by a vote of 74-25.

You win some, you lose some after almost four decades in the Senate, but it's important to know who you're voting for.

The Man Has A Point

Why the hell isn't this story front-page news? McSame is only 6 points up in his home state of Arizona and has been steadily losing support there for 12 months now. But Obama is the one in trouble? (h/t AmericaBlog)
Let's just, for a moment, imagine the polls in Illinois showed Obama only ahead of McCain by 5 or 6 points. That would cause a frenzy in the political punditry. A frenzy. The latest poll in Illinois showed Obama leading by a 15 point margin: 55% - 40%.

McCain, on the other hand, is only ahead by 6 points: 47% - 41%. He's not even breaking 50% and barely breaking 45%. That's why John McCain has to campaign in his home state. Arizona is the place where McCain has most of his houses. The people who know him best don't really like him.
But of course, McSame being up 6 points is good for McSame. Obama being up 15 points in his home state is proof that he's losing. The Village has spoken.

And Just In Case You Were Feeling Good About Democrats In General

...The AP comes along to take a big crap in the punchbowl.
Two weeks after a devastating revelation sent her husband into political exile, Elizabeth Edwards isn't getting the steady sympathy usually afforded to a woman scorned.

Instead, she's faced criticism from dedicated Democrats who think she was too willing to keep the affair a secret to help John Edwards' political ambitions, as well as her own.

At a time when she was expected to hold a prominent role in pushing an agenda of improved health care for Americans, she stands silent. While fellow Democrats converge in Denver, Colorado, to nominate Barack Obama for president, Edwards remains in seclusion in North Carolina.

It seems an odd way to treat a woman with incurable cancer wronged by a cheating husband, the latest in a series of deep hardships in life that includes the death of a teenage son.

But some former followers have questioned the recklessness of keeping the affair under wraps even though her husband -- a former U.S. senator, two-time presidential candidate and the 2004 vice presidential nominee -- said he confessed the affair in 2006, before the campaign began in earnest the next year.

"I think she's complicit," said Brad Crone, a Raleigh-based Democratic consultant. "Obviously, she knew. While she's the victim, she clearly didn't stand in the way of the cover-up."

Of course it's an odd way to treat a woman with incurable cancer. But let's use her to attack the Democrats during their convention anyway. After all, she brought this upon herself, right?

Look, no matter how you feel about John Edwards and Elizabeth, they're not at the convention. They're not the nominee and spouse. They have pretty much nothing to do with the deal because Edwards long ago released his delegates (unlike Hillary).

But hey, talking about them not being at the convention and trying to bring them up in order to attack said convention is par for the course from the Village.

It Smacks Of Desperation, It Does

Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon argues that the wingnuts are so completely out of ammunition that they are resorting to (and I kid you not) going to the Planned Parenthood clinics in the Denver area and having protests proclaiming Democrats are genocidal racists for trying to convince women of color to have abortions, thus killing off all their race.
Mostly, it’s a distraction. One thread that’s interesting is how they’re picking their targets for abuse. The African-American Caucus was targeted for disruption, as was the interfaith prayer service. In other words, they’re targeting black delegates and religious delegates for abuse, though I have little doubt that they think they’re “educating” people by yelling at them. As if there’s a single person in America who is unaware of the parameters of this discussion. Which goes to show that the targets of anti-choice protests are assumed to be especially stupid by anti-choicers. Why black people and religious people especially? There’s a host of complex reasons, but it boils down to this---anti-choicers feel like they are entitled to dominate and control those two groups of people, as well as women. (Yes, I’m aware there’s significant overlap between these three groups, but that just makes it worse. If you’re a black Christian woman, they probably think they get to set your alarm clock for you and monitor your underwear purchases.)

Michelle Malkin especially thinks that you are stupid. Her entire career is built on exploiting racist anxieties in white people and she trucks with white supremacists, but all of a sudden she expects you to think she’s a great spokeswoman for racial harmony. She’s so against abortion she sucked up her nerve and spoke to actual non-white anti-choice protesters to bolster the bizarre claims of anti-choicers that reproductive rights especially hurt women of color. Considering that black and Hispanic women use abortion just like white women, I’m hard-pressed to understand why it would somehow be better for these women would be better off being sent to back alley butchers. The slim bit of evidence that anti-choicers cling to in these assertions is the fact that black women have a disproportionate number of abortions---so the conclusion is that Planned Parenthood is out to get black people.
Because as we all know, the modern GOP has a long history of helping people of color over the last 50 years.

This kind of thing really bothers me. I'm strongly against abortion personally, but it's my choice to be against it. Your choice may differ and I may not agree with it. But you still have the choice because the law says you do, and quite frankly we have enough bad laws on the books over the years that have told one group or another "you don't have a choice." Would the world be a better place without as many abortions? Sure. Would it be better to make them illegal in every single case? That's equally barbaric.

To use that as a weapon against the Democrats accusing them of mass genocide when the same wingnuts gleefully spread the gospel of purging the country of Hispanics and purging the world of Muslims? Not going to work.

Rove Jujitsu 101

This just in, the neocons think Joe Biden's foreign policy expertise is actually his biggest problem and he's a complete pussy because he hasn't nuked Iran yet.
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is well versed in policy debates and carefully choreographed trips. But his record on the Islamic Republic of Iran -- perhaps the chief national security threat facing the next president -- suggests a persistent and dangerous judgment deficit. Biden's unyielding pursuit of "engagement" with Iran for more than a decade has made it easier for Tehran to pursue its nuclear program, while his partisan obsession with thwarting the Bush administration has led him to oppose tough sanctions against hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Pay attention class, this is classic Karl Rove Jujitsu 101: A Democrat's biggest strength is their actual weakness, and a Republican's biggest weakness is their most powerful asset.

In this case, Joe Biden will be equated to all of George Bush's foreign policy failures and blamed for them because he was unable to stop Bush from making the mistakes in the first place, while John McSame will represent a bold new direction of repeating all of Bush's mistakes and finding a way to make to make them much, much worse.

David Brooks Is Helping Like A Big Boy

...helping himself to the back o' my hand.

Some sages are saying that Obama needs to get specific. He needs to lay out concrete plans and legislative agendas. Apparently, having nominated Obama, they really want a replay of the Dukakis campaign.

Others say he needs to describe his experience in government better, to make Americans comfortable with him as chief executive. Apparently, having nominated Obama, they want him to run as Chris Dodd.

Still others say he needs to be a scrappy class warrior defending the middle class against the depredations of the rich overlords with their multiple homes. Apparently, for these people it wasn’t enough that they got to live through Al Gore’s “people versus the powerful” campaign just once. They want to relive the joy again and again.

And yet there are still others who say Obama needs to get bare-knuckled. He needs to hammer McCain above the belt and below. Apparently, these people have decided that having nominated Obama, the party needs to be led by Michael Moore.

The words fly, the quotes are given, campaign aides are pulled aside. It’s like a Greatest Misses compilation of every Democratic campaign idea ever conceived.

Obama should just remain as a cheerful smile, a faceless cipher. Specifics are too complicated for American voters, and so is conflict. Just vote for the face, stupid!

At the core, Obama’s best message has always been this: He is unconnected with the tired old fights that constrict our politics. He is in tune with a new era. He has very little experience but a lot of potential. He does not have big achievements, but he is authentically the sort of person who emerges in a multicultural, globalized age. He is therefore naturally in step with the problems that will confront us in the years to come.

So as I’m trying to measure the effectiveness of this convention, I’ll be jotting down a little minus mark every time I hear a theme that muddies that image. I’ll jot down a minus every time I hear the old class conflict, and the old culture war themes. I’ll jot down a minus when I see the old Bush obsession rearing its head, which is not part of his natural persona. I’ll write a demerit every time I hear the rich played off against the poor, undercutting Obama’s One America dream.

I’ll put a plus down every time a speaker says that McCain is a good man who happens to be out of step with the times. I’ll put a plus down every time a speaker says that a multipolar world demands a softer international touch. I’ll put a plus down when a speaker says the old free market policies worked fine in the 20th century, but no longer seem to be working today. These are arguments that reinforce Obama’s identity as a 21st-century man.

It's odd how while Brooks complains about the Democrats trying to infect Obama with their old fight and old battles, the version of Obama he wants to see is the same spineless jelly blob of passive bipartisan bullshit he's been pushing on the Dems since Bush got into office: Stop picking on Bush and his lawbreaking! Stop causing conflicts and let the GOP have their way! Roll over on anything the GOP wants you to do!

Brooks is wrong. He wants Obama to be somebody else: Jimmy Carter. Demerits all around.

About That Plot Against Obama...

Yeah, you knew I was going to spend some more time on this story today.
A law-enforcement official familiar with the investigation has told NEWSWEEK that three men are now under arrest in connection with an inquiry into a possible plot to kill Barack Obama. The official, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said the three men presently face firearms and drug charges filed by police and prosecutors in Arapahoe County, in the Denver suburbs. The FBI and the Secret Service are deeply involved in the investigation, although no federal charges have been filed to date. The official added that it was unclear at present how real the plot was; further investigation could prove that it was an empty threat, or that the suspects were flakes or loudmouths.

News of the alleged plot was first reported by the local CBS affiliate in Denver and the Rocky Mountain News. The local reports said the investigation was opened after local police in Aurora, Colo., which is located in Arapahoe County, made a traffic stop and discovered two rifles and methamphetamine. Authorities subsequently went to the Cherry Creek Hotel and knocked at the door of a guest in the middle of the night; the guest jumped out of his sixth-floor window but was subsequently recaptured. The man allegedly said something about Obama to authorities, but it could not be ascertained what comments were made, the reports said. Earlier today, I asked federal authorities about the FBI presence at the hotel last night, but officials declined to comment. Tonight, authorities in Aurora and Arapahoe County also couldn't be reached for comment.

Monday evening, the U. S. Attorney's office in Denver issued the following statement confirming an unspecified number of arrests. "This is a methamphetamine and firearms case that arose from a traffic stop made by an Aurora Police officer," the statement read. "Firearms and methamphetamine were seized, and a number of individuals are in state custody. The matter continues to be under investigation. We'll provide more information as it becomes available." A law enforcement source said that prosecutors plan to file federal drug and gun charges against the suspects on Tuesday.

Wednesday evening, the FBI confirmed the identity of one of the suspects: Tharin Robert Gartrell. A source familiar with the investigation said that Gartrell and the other two suspects were believed to be white supremacists. The real question now is whether the men were in position to carry out any kind of threats against the candidate—or whether they were trying to impress girlfriends, the source said. The Obama campaign declined comment, referring reporters to the U.S. attorney's statement.

Steven D at BooMan Tribune notes that a CBS affiliate in Denver has investigated this further and come up with some pretty shocking stuff.
One of those suspects spoke exclusively to CBS4 investigative reporter Brian Maass from inside the Denver City Jail late Monday night and said his friends had discussed killing Obama.

"So your friends were saying threatening things about Obama?" Maass asked.

"Yeah," Nathan Johnson replied.

"It sounded like they didn't want him to be president?"

"Yeah," Johnson said.

Maass reported earlier Monday that one of the suspects told authorities they were "going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle ... sighted at 750 yards."

Law enforcement sources told Maass that one of the suspects "was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative."

The story began emerging Sunday morning when Aurora police arrested Tharin Gartrell, 28. He was driving a rented pickup truck in an erratic manner, according to sources.

Sources told CBS4 police found two high-powered, scoped rifles in the car along with camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, wigs, a bulletproof vest, a spotting scope, licenses in the names of other people and 44 grams of methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.
Well, honestly, is anyone surprised at this? Do you think that this will be the last time it happens? How many other crackpots out there, fueled by hate radio's open racism and violent rhetoric, are waiting to become famous by taking out America's Uppity Next President?

This story's getting almost no play in the media this morning. But of course there's plenty of news about all those dirty f'ckin hippies running around getting maced in Denver.

But irrelevant is not how the protesters will be portrayed by a media that has been salivating over the possible disruption of the Democratic convention -- by angry, broom-riding succubi! -- for weeks. Never mind that there were probably no more than 50 shouting PUMAs. Never mind that every national political convention in modern history becomes a locus for vocal agitators. Never mind that over the weekend, antiwar protests had been larger. Never mind that in three days in Denver I had not spotted a single PUMA or Hillary protester until I found where Chris Matthews was broadcasting. Never mind the guy in the toilet outfit. To hear Matthews, and the talking heads at CNN tell it, these demonstrators were "ground zero" in a rift that could potentially destroy the Democratic Party and ruin its national convention.

This scene was pretty much the worst nightmare of the women I had spoken to earlier in the morning at the Unconventional Women program, devoted to exploring the current climate for women in politics. At the Buell theater, mentions of Hillary Clinton, as well as a clip from her stirring concession speech, were met with enthusiastic applause and some light cheering, but nothing resembling disruptive anger. In truth, most of the current or former Clinton loyalists could not be more different from the afternoon's demonstrators, but they will likely be tarred with the same hysterical brush.

"There is such a fear of women coming into power, that when they protest, they are given more weight," said Marie Wilson, head of the White House Project, before speaking as part of the Unconventional Women's programming, acknowledging the likelihood of protest. "Just the fact of women saying they support their candidate and want to make their voices heard sounds more scary than it would be if it were guys. That's just part of backlash. But come on. When women gather around a water fountain, men get scared. People oughta just chill."

And now some perspective: when you talk about fear of a woman leading the country, it's not leading to people being arrested with rifles and plans to kill Hillary. Just sayin'.

It's wonderful that the discussion on gender and politics can lead to a frank and powerful dialogue that advances the rights of women across the country, and Hillary has been a beneficial part of it. We need to have that same discussion on race.

All it's going to take is one of these douchebags getting lucky once.


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