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  • Barack Hossein Obama

    Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, whose best-selling books and political travels generated huge pressure to run for the White House, joined a crowded Democratic field yesterday, vowing to advance "a different kind of politics" in a campaign that could make him the nation's first African American president.

    Obama, a state legislator just three years ago, announced that he has formed a presidential exploratory committee, accelerating his already rapid emergence in national politics and establishing him as his party's most formidable rival to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the Democratic front-runner. He will formally announce his candidacy on Feb. 10.

    Obama, 45, portrayed his youth and short tenure in Congress as an asset in a statement distributed via Web video and e-mail. "Today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way," the senator declared. "Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions."

    But it is Obama's ethnic profile and life story that set him apart. His late father was a black Kenyan, his mother the white daughter of a Kansas farmer. Obama was born in Hawaii, lived in Indonesia in his youth and was the first African American to be elected Harvard Law Review president. His autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," was published in 1995, nine years before his keynote address electrified the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Another book, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," has been a bestseller since it was published in October.

    "This is an opportunity for a new generation of leaders to step forward to remake America," said Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois and a key Obama ally. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), another up-and-coming black lawmaker, called Obama "the kind of unique transformational candidate who surfaces once in a generation."

    Obama and Clinton are considered the leaders of the Democratic field, but they have plenty of company. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.), the party's 2004 vice presidential nominee, has already announced his candidacy. Others who are lining up include Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack. Former vice president Al Gore could jump in, as could Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), who narrowly lost the presidential election in 2004.

    Obama is expected to spend the next several weeks fundraising, with no trips to early primary or caucus states. Unlike the other candidates except Clinton, Obama should have little trouble raising the $50 million to $100 million necessary to compete in the four states -- Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- that will vote in January 2008.

    During last year's midterm elections, Obama barnstormed the country for Democratic congressional and gubernatorial candidates, collecting more than $4.5 million for his political action committee and building up a national network of donors. He has also built support among the "Net roots" -- the loose affiliation of progressive bloggers and activists who provided much of the financing for former Vermont governor Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign.

    After he was elected to the Senate, Obama vowed to serve out his term. But he opened the door to a 2008 presidential campaign during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in October, saying that, "given the response I've been getting," he would consider the possibility after the midterm elections.

    Despite all the hype about his potential candidacy, some of Obama's closest associates worry that the senator remains untested. After winning a tough Senate primary in 2004, he sailed through the general election, aided by a Republican nominee with extensive personal travails. "There will be bumps; there always are," said one senior Obama adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's going to have to manage expectations and show he has the strength and endurance for the long haul."

    In yesterday's statement, Obama said that his campaign will emphasize traditional Democratic goals such as lowering health-care costs, providing college-tuition assistance and developing new energy sources. He only briefly mentioned the Iraq war, the issue that could well drive the 2008 election. "We're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should never have been waged," Obama said.

    His Iraq views are complicated and could require some tricky navigation in the months ahead. The Senate authorized the war in the fall of 2002, two years before Obama was elected. But although he opposed the conflict from the beginning, he has not endorsed a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops, a position forcefully advocated by Edwards.

    According to his Senate Web site, Obama supports "a phased redeployment of American troops to signal to the government and people of Iraq that ours is not an open-ended commitment." But his unwillingness to set a date has infuriated war opponents, who also fumed last year over Obama's support for the reelection campaign of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of President Bush's strongest allies on Iraq. The Web site called him "O-bomb-a."

    Last week, Obama was quick to criticize Bush's plan to deploy an additional 21,500 troops in Iraq, comparing the move to that of a gambler who increases his bet in a bid to cover his losses. Yet he has refused to back a proposal by some Democrats to require congressional authorization before additional troops are sent to Iraq.

    "We need to look at what options do we have available to constrain the president, to hopefully right the course that we are on right now, but to do so in a way that makes sure that the troops that are on the ground have all the equipment and the resources they need to fulfill their mission and come home safely," Obama said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

    In most matters before the Senate, Obama has maintained a relatively low profile, tending to home-state concerns while promoting narrow causes such as congressional ethics reform, an issue now being debated on the Senate floor. Last year, Senate Democratic leaders asked Obama to help lead the reform charge, and he responded with proposals that went further than many of his colleagues had wanted to go.

    While Obama paints himself as a reform-minded outsider, the small group of senior advisers who will guide his campaign are longtime Washington hands.

    Nearly two-thirds of the Obama inner circle has political roots in the offices of then-Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) or then-Sen. Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.). His staff's long experience in state and national politics should help Obama to compensate for his lack of campaign experience. He has made only a few cursory stops in Iowa, for example, where the first votes of the presidential race are likely to be cast on Jan. 14, 2008, but he has signed up Steve Hildebrand, who ran the Iowa caucus campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore in 2000, and Paul Tewes, Hildebrand's second-in-command in that campaign.

    In New Hampshire, Obama drew a rock-star reception during a Dec. 9 visit. Jim Demers, a longtime party activist who squired Obama around the state for the day, said that his phone has not stopped ringing since, with people seeking to work for the campaign. "People here are excited to see and hear him," said Demers, who said he may volunteer himself.

  • #2
    Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has officially announced his candidacy for the 2008 Presidential election. Obama said that he wanted to "change our politics" at the beginning of a campaign that could be grueling as Senator Hilary Clinton is seen as a possible rival.

    Obama has formed an exploratory committee in order to raise funds as well as to hire staff to see that he wins the Democrat nomination for 2008. Obama will make a formal announcement on February 10 in Illinois, his home state.

    In a video message e-mailed to his supporters, Obama said that the decision to run for Presidency was a profound one and that he had thought long and hard before deciding to start his campaign. "Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions," he added.
    "We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans," he said. Obama becomes the fifth candidate to throw his hat into the ring for a Democrat nomination.

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is yet to make any announcement on her intentions, but has promised to reveal them very soon. It is expected that she will try to become the country's first woman President although staunch Democrat supporters feel she could be too polarizing in a mud fight with Republicans.

    The 45-year-old Obama on the other hand is seen as a fresh face, who could excite the American people's imagination. In his message he said that six years of Republican rule has brought strife to the nation. "Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged," he added.

    His campaign is still in its infancy, but has attracted lots of attention. However the stumbling block could be Clinton. It would be interesting to see what Obama would do if he had to run against her for the nomination.


    • #3
      CNN debunks false report about Obama

      JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Allegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a "madrassa" are not accurate, according to CNN reporting.

      Insight Magazine, which is owned by the same company as The Washington Times, reported on its Web site last week that associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam.

      Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, from 1967 to 1971, with his mother and stepfather and has acknowledged attending a Muslim school, but an aide said it was not a madrassa.

      Insight attributed the information in its article to an unnamed source, who said it was discovered by "researchers connected to Senator Clinton." A spokesman for Clinton, who is also weighing a White House bid, denied that the campaign was the source of the Obama claim.

      He called the story "an obvious right-wing hit job."

      Insight stood by its story in a response posted on its Web site Monday afternoon.

      The Insight article was cited several times Friday on Fox News and was also referenced by the New York Post, The Glenn Beck program on CNN Headline News and a number of political blogs.

      School not a madrassa

      But reporting by CNN in Jakarta, Indonesia and Washington, D.C., shows the allegations that Obama attended a madrassa to be false. CNN dispatched Senior International Correspondent John Vause to Jakarta to investigate.

      He visited the Basuki school, which Obama attended from 1969 to 1971.

      "This is a public school. We don't focus on religion," Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told Vause. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

      Vause reported he saw boys and girls dressed in neat school uniforms playing outside the school, while teachers were dressed in Western-style clothes.

      "I came here to Barack Obama's elementary school in Jakarta looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa ... like the ones that teach hate and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Vause said on the "Situation Room" Monday. "I've been to those madrassas in Pakistan ... this school is nothing like that."

      Vause also interviewed one of Obama's Basuki classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who claims that not a lot has changed at the school since the two men were pupils. Insight reported that Obama's political opponents believed the school promoted Wahhabism, a fundamentalist form of Islam, "and are seeking to prove it."

      "It's not (an) Islamic school. It's general," Winadijanto said. "There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian. ... So that's a mixed school."

      The Obama aide described Fox News' broadcasting of the Insight story "appallingly irresponsible."

      Fox News executive Bill Shine told CNN "Reliable Sources" anchor Howard Kurtz that some of the network's hosts were simply expressing their opinions and repeatedly cited Insight as the source of the allegations.

      Obama has noted in his two books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," that he spent two years in a Muslim school and another two years in a Catholic school while living in Indonesia from age 6 to 10.


      • #4
        Obama calls for new generation of leadership

        SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama launched his 2008 White House run on Saturday with a pledge to end the war in Iraq and bridge the partisan divide that has blocked political progress on issues from energy to health care.

        "I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America," Obama, the only black U.S. senator, said outside the old state capitol building where Abraham Lincoln began his fight against slavery with a famous 1858 speech that declared "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

        Obama, 45, a rising party star who would be the first black U.S. president if elected, told a cheering crowd of supporters who braved sub-freezing temperatures that the United States had overcome many difficult challenges, from gaining independence to the civil war to the Great Depression.

        "Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more -- and it is time for our generation to answer that call," he said.

        Obama's candidacy has intrigued Democrats looking for a fresh face and sparked waves of publicity and grass-roots buzz about the first black presidential candidate seen as having a chance to capture the White House.

        Obama has vaulted quickly into the top tier of a crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders along with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards.

        Five other Democrats are contending for the nomination, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joseph Biden of Delaware.


        • #5
          نه غزه نه لبنان جانم فدای ایران

          «در زندگی زخم*هايی هست که مثل خوره روح را آهسته در انزوا می*خورد و می*تراشد.»
          صادق هدايت؛ بوف کور


          • #6
            Obama's Campaign Takes In $25 Million

            Sen. Barack Obama raised at least $25 million for his presidential campaign in the first quarter of the year, nearly matching Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's record-setting total and making it all but certain that Democrats will face a costly and protracted battle for their party's nomination.

            Collectively, the Democratic candidates raised nearly $80 million in the first quarter, outpacing the Republican field for the first time since the Federal Election Commission began closely tracking such figures in the 1970s. Republicans took in just over $50 million in that same time frame, suggesting that a restive electorate and creative Internet strategies have fundamentally shifted the fundraising landscape for both parties.
            The Illinois Democrat's unexpectedly strong fundraising performance undercuts a principal argument of Clinton's candidacy: that her ability to raise vastly more than her opponents makes her nomination inevitable. The neck-and-neck financial showings also drew fresh attention to the $37 million that Clinton spent on her easy reelection victory in New York last year, money that could have been rolled into her presidential account. Clinton ended up transferring $10 million from the Senate fund to her White House bid.

            Alan Solomont, a Boston philanthropist who oversaw fundraising for Obama in the Northeast, said his candidate's fundraising performance was the result of an "almost spontaneous outpouring" from donors.

            "I'm proud to tell you that, after the first quarter of the campaign, we've exceeded all of our hopes and expectations," Obama said in an e-mail to supporters yesterday, adding that the total is a "measure of just how hungry people are to turn the page on this era of small and destructive politics and repair our American community."

            Obama surpassed Clinton in several areas that could be critical to their competition: He reported donations from 100,000 individuals, double the 50,000 people who gave to the former first lady. More than half of those donors, largely giving in small increments, sent money over the Internet. He raised $6.9 million online, compared with Clinton's $4.2 million. The fact that many Obama donors contributed relatively small amounts also means that he will be able to appeal to those donors for contributions later in the campaign.

            Of Obama's overall receipts, $23.5 million can be used in the primary contests. Clinton officials have refused to disclose how much of her cash will be available under campaign finance rules for the primaries -- rather than designated for the general election and unusable unless she wins the nomination.

            Still, Clinton officials maintained an upbeat tone after Obama's figures were released, saying that being tested could end up serving their candidate well. "Hillary has raised more money than any candidate running for president ever in the first quarter," Terence R. McAuliffe, chairman of Hillary for President, said in an interview yesterday.

            "She's won the first primary -- the money primary -- and now people are going to focus right back on all the issues," McAuliffe said. "We're in a great position. This is going to be a long, drawn-out primary. We're going to have to earn this nomination."

            After letting anticipation about his totals build for several days, Obama's campaign released his figures in a brief news release and did not authorize his fundraising officials to grant interviews. Obama had avoided questions from reporters leading up to the announcement, apparently in the hope of appearing low-key about the financial aspect of a race in which he has promised to run a "different kind of campaign," and to let the numbers speak for themselves.

            Campaigning in New Hampshire on Tuesday, he even expressed distaste for the fundraising grind. Challenged by a voter to explain whether he would be beholden to his donors, Obama said that he had "always tried to curb the influence of money in politics," starting with an ethics bill in the Illinois legislature, but that he could not compete for president without joining the fundraising game.

            "The people who are doing work in Washington cannot finance my campaign," Obama said, noting that he had banned gifts from lobbyists. "Listen, I would love not to have to raise money so I could spend all my time in town hall meetings."

            Although Obama has essentially built his campaign operation from scratch over the past few months, advisers to rivals point out that he has hired skilled fundraising veterans, such as national finance director Julianna Smoot, and has not simply allowed an organic, grass-roots movement to take shape around him.

            Still, the data suggested that Obama's strategy of holding low-dollar events in addition to seven-figure galas has succeeded, at least for now. He held numerous events that cost $25 or $100 per ticket, in an effort to bring in younger, first-time donors who could be tapped for future donations because they had not yet reached the $2,300 limit for contributions to an individual candidate in the primaries.

            Other crucial ingredients to his success were the huge rallies, some of which drew thousands of people, and a significant Internet presence, said Mark Gorenberg, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist on Obama's national finance team.

            "Those rallies drove huge interest from the community, and these people went right home to their computers to donate," Gorenberg said. "These, for the most part, were people who had never been involved before."

            Financier Orin Kramer, who helped oversee the senator's New York fundraising, said that once Obama's campaign became a destination for people fed up with the political process, the calculation was simple: "The population of people previously cynical about politics exceeds the population of those who aren't. If you tap into that population, you're going to get a result like this."

            Clinton, with the help of her husband, former president Bill Clinton, raised about $10 million at large events at the end of the quarter. Clinton and Obama have not specified how much cash they will have remaining to spend when the full financial reports are submitted to the FEC on April 15. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) raised about $15 million in the first quarter, double his total from four years earlier. But advisers to Clinton said they expect the cash-on-hand number to be impressive.

            As for the rest of the Democratic field, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised $6 million; Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) raised $4 million; and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) raised more than $2 million.

            The combined totals represented a paradigm shift: In 1987 and 1999, the last two campaigns in which both parties had competitive presidential primaries, Republicans held a healthy fundraising edge at this stage, according to FEC records. This time, Democrats are ahead by about $30 million.

            "That's a very unusual imbalance," said Michael Toner, a former FEC chairman.

            "I think it bodes well for our prospects," Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf said. "Donors are the leading edge of the opinion elite, and I think voters are going to follow."

            The imbalance also points to a digital divide that separates the two parties, according to Joe Trippi, who served as Howard Dean's campaign manager four years ago. No numbers are available for GOP online fundraising, but Trippi said a concerted effort to build an online infrastructure by Democrats means Republican numbers will not approach the more than $15 million raised by Democrats over the Internet.

            "We built it and they didn't," Trippi said of the Democrats. "Now it's paying big dividends."


            • #7
              Obama security stepped up

              US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has been given secret service protection far earlier in the campaign than any previous candidate following worries about racist threats, officials said.
              Mr Obama, who regularly draws large crowds as he campaigns to become America's first black president, requested the protection himself, the department of homeland security said last night.

              The Homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, authorised this and the secret Service "is now implementing that protection", said Eric Zahren, a secret service spokesman.

              "We're not going to discuss ... any of the deliberations or assessments that went into making that decision," he added.
              He refused to discuss any specific threats against Mr Obama. However, another official, speaking off the record, said there were general concerns about the safety of a prominent black candidate.

              Several concerns had been raised, including some racist discussions on white supremacist websites, the official told the Associated Press newswire.

              Dick Durbin, a Democrat senator, told reporters last night that he had received information several weeks ago, some of it connected to Mr Obama's race, that made him worried for the Democratic candidate's safety.

              Mr Durbin said he approached Senate leaders from both parties several weeks ago and that they took the issue to the secret service.

              "I expressed concern because of my affection for Barack and his family. I've travelled with Obama. I've witnessed enormous crowds," Mr Durbin said. "This is a relief."

              Federal law allows candidates to seek protection if they meet a series of standards, including public prominence as measured by polls and fundraising. However, Mr Obama has been given a secret service detail far earlier than previous candidates, nine months before the first primary votes are cast.

              Ahead of the last election, leading Democrat candidates John Kerry and John Edwards received their protection in February 2004, after the primaries had already started.

              Mr Obama's main challenger for the Democrat ticket this time, Hillary Clinton, already has secret service protection as a former first lady.


              • #8
                سناتور اوباما خواستار آزادی فوری هاله اسفندیاری شد

                سناتور اوباما برای کسب نامزدی حزب خود در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری تلاش می کند
                سناتور براک اوباما از چهره های کلیدی حزب دمکرات آمریکا در بیانیه ای زندانی شدن هاله اسفندیاری محقق ایرانی آمریکایی توسط مقام های جمهوری اسلامی را محکوم کرده و خواستار آزادی فوری وی شده است.
                دکتر هاله اسفندیاری، مدیر برنامه خاورمیانه مرکز مطالعات وودرو ویلسون در واشنگتن، پس از یک اقامت چهار ماهه اجباری در ایران و بازجویی های مکرر توسط وزارت اطلاعات ایران، روز سه شنبه بازداشت و به زندان اوین منتقل شد.

                دولت ایران هنوز به درخواست ها برای آزادی وی واکنش نشان نداده و حتی به بازداشت هاله اسفندیاری اذعان نکرده است.

                براک اوباما سناتور جوان سیاهپوست که برای کسب نامزدی حزب خود در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری 2008 مبارزه می کند در بیانیه ای در این زمینه نوشت: "ایران به تازگی هاله اسفندیاری، محقق برجسته آمریکایی را به زندان انداخته است. خانم اسفندیاری هیچ جرمی مرتکب نشده و بازداشت او قابل توجیه نیست. من از دولت ایران می خواهم فورا و بدون قید و شرط او را آزاد کند تا بتواند نزد خانواده اش بازگردد."

                وی در بخش دیگری از بیانیه اش با اشاره به این که خانم اسفندیاری در چهار ماه و نیم گذشته حق خروج از ایران را نداشته و هدف بازجویی های مکرر در ارتباط با کارش در یکی از محترم ترین موسسات مطالعاتی واشنگتن بوده است، گفت: "بازداشت این محقق 67 ساله که صاحب نوه است نشانگر بی اعتنایی کامل دولت ایران به بنیادی ترین حقوق انسانی است."

                وی نوشت: "خانم اسفندیاری از دیرباز خود را وقف مبادله مسالمت آمیز آراء و اندیشه ها میان مردم آمریکا و ایران کرده است. اگر دولت ایران کوچکترین تمایلی به دیالوگ دارد، می تواند آن را با رها کردن این قهرمان دیالوگ از زندان نشان دهد."

                لی همیلتون رئیس "مرکز بین المللی وودرو ویلسون برای دانشوران" روز سه شنبه خبر بازداشت خانم اسفندیاری مدیر برنامه خاور میانه این موسسه را فاش کرد.

                هاله اسفندیاری اواخر ماه دسامبر برای بازدید از مادر 93 ساله اش به ایران سفر کرد. به گفته خانواده اش او یک هفته بعد، در روز 30 دسامبر، با تاکسی به فرودگاه می رفت که سه مرد نقابدار مسلح تاکسی را متوقف کردند و ساک و کیف دستی خانم اسفندیاری حاوی گذرنامه های ایرانی و آمریکایی او را ربودند.

                به گفته خانواده خانم اسفندیاری چهار روز بعد زمانی که او برای تسلیم تقاضانامه گذرنامه ای تازه به اداره گذرنامه مراجعه کرد از سوی شخصی که بعدا معلوم شد نماینده وزارت اطلاعات است برای "مصاحبه" دعوت شد.

                خانم اسفندیاری که اواخر سال گذشته به ایران رفت دیگر قادر به خروج نبوده است

                به گفته بستگان دکتر اسفندیاری، این سرآغاز یک رشته بازجویی ها بود که برای شش هفته گاه برای چهار روز در هفته ادامه داشت و طول بازجویی ها گاه به روزانه هشت ساعت می رسید. به گفته آقای همیلتون خانم اسفندیاری در مجموع حدودا برای 50 ساعت تحت بازجویی بود.

                موضوع بازجویی ها ظاهرا درباره برنامه های آمریکا برای ایران و همچنین برنامه های مربوط به ایران در مرکز ویلسون، یکی از برجسته ترین مراکز مطالعاتی سیاست خارجی در واشنگتن، بوده است.

                به گفته خانواده خانم اسفندیاری، وی پس از پایان بازجویی ها از حوالی روز 17 فوریه در انتظار دریافت اجازه سفر بود اما برای تقریبا 10 هفته خبری از وزارت کشور نشد تا اینکه هفته گذشته بار دیگر از او درخواست شد به وزارت اطلاعات مراجعه کند و زمانی که صبح روز سه شنبه برای قرار مجدد به آنجا رفت بازداشت شد و به زندان اوین انتقال یافت. وی تنها اجازه یافته است به مادرش تلفن کند و پس از آن دیگراز او خبری نشده است.

                لی همیلتون، نماینده سابق کنگره از حزب دمکرات و از روسای گروه مطالعه عراق، که اکنون رئیس مرکز ویلسون است می گوید چند ماه قبل در روز 20 فوریه طی نامه ای به محمود احمدی نژاد، رئیس جمهور ایران، از وی خواسته بود امکان خروج خانم اسفندیاری را فراهم کند اما می گوید دفتر آقای احمدی نژاد به دریافت نامه اذعان نکرده و به آن پاسخی نداده است.

                لی همیلتون می گوید خانم اسفندیاری به طور کامل به کلیه سوالات ماموران وزارت اطلاعات درباره برنامه های این مرکز پاسخ گفته است و این مرکز در این مدت حجم زیادی اطلاعات درخواستی را به ایران فرستاده است، درحالی که به گفته وی تقریبا تمامی این اطلاعات از طریق وبسایت این مرکز در اختیار عموم است.

                خانواده خانم اسفندیاری می گویند در جریان بازجویی ها، "او ظاهرا تحت فشار قرار گرفت تا اعترافاتی کذب ادا کند یا به دروغ بگوید مرکز وودرو ویلسون در فعالیت هایی دست داشته که در واقع هیچ نقشی در آنها نداشته است."

                به گفته آنها در آخرین تماس پیش از بازداشت، بازجویان بار دیگر از خانم اسفندیاری خواسته اند با آنها "همکاری" کند که وی خودداری کرده است.

                خانم اسفندیاری از بیش از 25 سال پیش ساکن آمریکاست و شهروند این کشور شده است. وی از 9 سال قبل برای مرکز ویلسون کار می کند.


                • #9
                  Obama outpaces rivals in race for contributions

                  WASHINGTON — Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday reported raising a formidable $32.5 million during the past three months, breaking records for a Democratic presidential candidate and demonstrating surging financial strength.

                  The Illinois senator's fundraising total placed him well ahead of his rivals in securing donor support for what is expected to be an extremely costly nominating season.

                  Of Obama's total, $31 million can be used for the primary campaign, half again as much as the $21 million reported by Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. Including primary- and general-election funds, her campaign said it raised "in the range" of $27 million during the quarter.

                  That means Obama has outraised Clinton both during the recent quarter and for the first six months of 2007.

                  While money is just one ingredient in a campaign, Obama's fundraising pace underscores that even though he trails the more established Clinton in national polls, he quickly has created a national base in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

                  It also puts him on a course to match and possibly exceed the resources available to Clinton, who came to the campaign with broad ties to Democratic supporters and a ready-made donor base.

                  The second quarter ended at midnight Saturday, amid a barrage of appeals from the campaigns for last-minute contributions. The candidates must file detailed disclosures by July 15 but are free to release figures earlier, something none of the major Republican candidates did Sunday.

                  In announcing its fundraising totals, the Obama campaign moved to ensure that his success would dominate the political news cycle as Clinton embarked on a three-day tour of Iowa with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. The trip is the first time the Clintons have campaigned together in the state.

                  "Hillary has had a couple of good weeks, but there's nothing like killing momentum for Obama to come in with these unbelievably high fundraising numbers," said Jenny Backus, a Democratic consultant who is not aligned in the presidential contests.

                  Despite the celebrity media coverage Obama has received since he arrived on the national stage in 2004, he is a much less familiar figure to most voters than Clinton is. And the advertising that campaigns traditionally use to introduce voters to a candidate can be expensive.

                  Obama began advertising last week, with two television commercials in Iowa introducing his biography to voters. Clinton has not yet begun advertising.

                  The Obama campaign stressed the breadth of its fundraising support, reporting that more than 154,000 new donors had given during the April-June period for a total donor database of 258,000.

                  "Together, we have built the largest grass-roots campaign in history for this stage of a presidential race," Obama said in a statement.

                  The Clinton campaign had about 60,000 donors in the first quarter, but did not release a total for the past three months.

                  Obama's fundraising receipts were the largest quarterly total ever for a Democratic candidate during an off-election year. President Bush, who raised $35.1 million as an incumbent president during the April-June quarter of 2003, is the only candidate who has exceeded the total.

                  The $32.5 million that Obama reported was a substantial increase from the $25.7 million he raised during the first quarter. Clinton's estimate of approximately $27 million compared with the $26 million she reported during the earlier quarter.

                  Among other Democrats, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina finished third in the fundraising race this quarter, meeting his $9 million goal after a last-minute appeal from his wife, Elizabeth, that played off of controversial remarks by conservative television commentator Ann Coulter. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico was not far behind, raising $7 million for the quarter.

                  Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., raised $3.25 million for the second quarter, giving him $12.25 million this year.

                  On the Republican side, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told his fundraising team Friday that his second quarter fell short of the $21 million he raised in the first quarter, leaving an opening for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to take the second-quarter fundraising lead. Giuliani is expected to announce his numbers today or Tuesday.

                  Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was hoping to finish third, with a total of between $10 million and $15 million.

                  The strategic implications of the fundraising performance were apparent in comments the Obama and Edwards campaigns made.

                  Obama's campaign said the latest fundraising total shows it will have the resources to compete not only in the early states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, but also in a group of more than 20 states expected to hold primaries Feb. 5.

                  "We are on a financial course that will allow us to both fully fund efforts in the early primary and caucus states, and also participate vigorously in all the Feb. 5 contests, including large states like California, New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Missouri," campaign manager David Plouffe wrote on the campaign's Web site.

                  Edwards' deputy campaign manager, Jonathan Prince, said the campaign would concentrate its resources in the earlier states. "The nomination is going to be won or lost in those early states," he said.

                  None of the major candidates released figures on their spending. But each will have to disclose detailed information on expenditures as well as contributions by July 15.


                  • #10
                    By Olesya Vartanyan - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency, said Wednesday his main priority in the fight against terrorism is "to get off the wrong battlefield in Iraq and take the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

                    As president, Obama said he would withdraw American forces from Iraq by the end of March and add at least 7,000 American military personnel to those already in Afghanistan.

                    Obama said he would work to strengthen the role of NATO's forces in Afghanistan. He would also encourage European countries to participate in the same Afghan areas as the American troops do. European countries have restricted their soldiers to certain areas.

                    He also supported strengthening training for Afghanistan's police and army and adding more equipment. Obama said he would increase non-military aid to Afghanistan by $1 billion.

                    Obama said he would "make the hundreds of millions dollars in U.S. military aid Pakistan conditional" to help the government's struggle against al-Qaeda in its territory.

                    But he also added, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."

                    In a black jacket and red neck-tie, Obama presented his foreign policy in the darkened conference room of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The audience included supporters, members of Congress and reporters.

                    He mostly stood still, but pointed his finger when he spoke about what the U.S. government and society should change in foreign policy.

                    He began by saying he supported the release of Haleh Esfandiari, a Wilson Center researcher who has been accused of espionage and imprisoned in Iran. Esfandiara was visiting her mother when she was prevented from leaving the country eight months ago. She has been in prison for nearly three months.

                    Obama pointed out that he was speaking about his foreign policy plans the same week six years after President Bush received a briefing that Osama bin Laden was going to attack the U.S. He said the president took no actions to prevent the attacks that took place just over a month later.

                    To prevent a repeat of such attacks, Obama said he would reform U.S. security institutions. He would provide $5 billion over three years to other countries to support their work preventing terrorist attacks and increasing border protection. He said he would cooperate with the former Soviet Union countries and others to prevent nuclear weapons from being sold to terrorists.

                    Obama said he would create a new "mobile team" that would unite officials from the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development to deploy to regions at risk.

                    He also demanded that the Department of Homeland Security, which was created shortly after Sept. 11, complete a quadrennial review the same way the Pentagon does.

                    Obama would also change national security inside the U.S. by revising the Patriot Act to decrease its effects on most citizens' private lives.

                    He said it is important to create an effective national protection plan that would include only the objects needing high security, such as chemical and energy plants.

                    Obama mentioned several times that the U.S. is not at war against the Muslim world, but only against terrorists. He said he would explain that to other Muslim countries during the first 100 days of his administration in meetings with the main Islamic leaders with whom the U.S. has disagreements.


                    • #11
                      Obama Envisions New Iran Approach

                      Senator Barack Obama says he would “engage in aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran if elected president and would offer economic inducements and a possible promise not to seek “regime change” if Iran stopped meddling in Iraq and cooperated on terrorism and nuclear issues.

                      In an hourlong interview on Wednesday, Mr. Obama made clear that forging a new relationship with Iran would be a major element of a broad effort to stabilize Iraq as he executed a speedy timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops.

                      Mr. Obama said that Iran had been “acting irresponsibly” by supporting Shiite militant groups in Iraq. He also emphasized that Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program and its support for “terrorist activities” were serious concerns.

                      But he asserted that Iran’s support for militant groups in Iraq reflected its anxiety over the Bush administration’s policies in the region, including talk of a possible American military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.

                      Making clear that he planned to talk to Iran without preconditions, Mr. Obama emphasized further that “changes in behavior” by Iran could possibly be rewarded with membership in the World Trade Organization, other economic benefits and security guarantees.

                      “We are willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith,” he said in the interview at his campaign headquarters here. “I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior. And there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior.”

                      In his Democratic presidential bid, Mr. Obama has vigorously sought to distinguish himself on foreign policy from his rivals, particularly Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, by asserting that he would sit down for diplomatic meetings with countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria with no preconditions.

                      The suggestion, which emerged as a flash point in the campaign, has prompted Mrs. Clinton to question whether such an approach would amount to little more than a propaganda victory for the United States’ adversaries and to question the experience of Mr. Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois. Other Democrats, in turn, have criticized Mrs. Clinton for an approach to Iran they call too hawkish, including a vote for a nonbinding resolution describing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran as a terrorist organization.

                      Mr. Obama’s willingness to conduct talks at the highest level with Iran also differs significantly from the Bush administration’s approach.

                      The administration has authorized Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to discuss Iraq with Iranian officials. But the White House has also said it will not engage in high-level talks on other issues unless Iran first suspends its program to enrich uranium. Nor has the Bush administration advertised in detail the possible rewards for a change of Iranian behavior.

                      Through most of the interview, Mr. Obama spoke without referring to notes. At one point near the end of the session, he leaned forward in his chair and looked at a yellow legal pad on the table in front of him, which listed points where he believed he and Mrs. Clinton differ on how to go forward in Iraq.

                      “You don’t want to look backwards, but obviously our general view about this mission as a whole has been very different,” Mr. Obama said. “She missed the strategic interests that should have dictated whether we went to Iraq in the first place or not.”

                      Mrs. Clinton has said that after carrying out major troop withdrawals she would leave a residual force in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, battle other terrorist groups, train the Iraqi Army and deter Iranian intervention.

                      Mr. Obama has also talked about keeping a limited force in Iraq after withdrawing American combat units at the rate of one or two per month. But he insisted in the interview that the mission of his residual force would be more limited than that posited by Mrs. Clinton.

                      Mr. Obama said, for example, that the part of the residual force assigned to counterterrorism might be based outside Iraq. He also emphasized that the residual force would not have the mission of deterring Iranian involvement in Iraq.

                      He said he would commit to training Iraqi security forces only if the Iraqi government engaged in political reconciliation and did not employ the Iraqi Army and the police for sectarian purposes. In any event, he said, American trainers would not be attached with Iraqi units that go in harm’s way.

                      “The trainers are going to have to be provided with missions that don’t put them in vulnerable situations,” he said. “Part of what my goal is is that the trainers are not constantly embedded in combat operations.”

                      Whether such a limited force could effectively influence events in Iraq is an important question. Keeping the part of the force assigned to counterterrorism outside the country raises the issue of whether it could respond in a timely way and without the benefit of the sort of intelligence that is gathered by forces that regularly interact with Iraqi civilians. Nor is it clear how, without keeping some combat forces in the country, the American military might rush to the aid of any trainers if they came under attack.


                      • #12
                        باراک اوباما پیروز کارولینای جنوبی

                        پیروزی در کارولینای جنوبی برای سناتور اوباما اهمیت زیادی دارد
                        با شمارش 98 درصد از آراء رای گیری مقدماتی در کارولینای جنوبی باراک اوباما با 55 درصد آراء در صدر و هیلاری کلینتون با کسب 27 درصد در مقام دوم این ایالت قرار گرفته است. جان ادواردز نامزد دیگر حزب دموکرات با 18 درصد آراء در رتبه سوم است.
                        آقای اوباما در برابر حامیانش که برای پیروزی او گردهم آمده بودند گفت " امشب عیب جویانی که می گفتند آنچه با پیروزی در آیوا آغاز شد توهمی بیش نیست می فهمند که ماجرا شکل دیگریست."

                        خبرنگاران می گویند این پیروزی باعث تقویت روحیه آقای اوباما پیش از رقابت های سه شنبه بزرگ خواهد بود که ده روز دیگر برگزار می شود.

                        دموکرات های ایالت کارولینای جنوبی آمریکا روز شنبه در تازه ترین دور انتخابات مقدماتی که برای تعیین نامزد حزب دموکرات در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری آمریکاست شرکت کردند.

                        روند رای گیری با شور و حال بسیاری همراه بود و مقامات میزان مشارکت در این رای گیری را بی سابقه دانستند.

                        این آخرین رقابت دموکرات ها پیش از رای گیری های مقدماتی در سه شنبه بزرگ است.

                        جمهوری خواهان که رای گیری مقدماتی کارولاینای جنوبی را پشت سر گذاشته اند درحال حاضر خود را برای رای گیری مقدماتی در ایالت فلوریدا آماده می کنند.

                        شنبه صبح با وجود سردی هوا صف های طولانی رای دهندگان در حوزه های رای گیری کارولینای جنوبی تشکیل شده بود.

                        تقویت روحیه

                        آقای اوباما که با چهره گشاده در میان حامیان خود در کلمبیا، پایتخت کارولینای جنوبی حاضر شده بود از امید و اتحاد صحبت کرد و گفت: "انتخاب در این رای گیری درباره جنسیت، مذهب و یا منطقه نیست، درباره فقیر و غنی یا سیاه و سفید هم نیست، درباره گذشته و آینده است."

                        وب سایت اینترنتی خانم کلینتون در بیانیه ای خبر داده که هیلاری کلینتون با رقیب خودتماس گرفته و پیروزی او را تبریک گفته است.

                        در این بیانیه آمده :" حال ما توجه خود را معطوف به میلیون ها آمریکایی می کنیم که صدای خود را در فلوریدا به گوش همه خواهند رساند و 22 ایالت دیگری که روز سه شنبه پنج فوریه رای خواهند داد."

                        خانم کلینتون بخشی از این هفته را به تبلیغات انتخاباتی خارج از ایالت کارولینای جنوبی پرداخت و تلویحا نشان داده بود که توقع پیروزی در این ایالت ندارد.

                        زمانی که نتایج رای گیری کارولینای جنوبی نیز مشخص شد، خانم کلینتون در راه ایالت تنسی، یکی از ایالاتی بود که روز 5 فوریه شاهد رای گیری مقدماتی است.

                        بیل کلینتون رییس جمهوری پیشین آمریکا نیز که به نمایندگی از همسرش در حال تبلیغات انتخاباتی است به گردهمایی حامیان خانم کلینتون در میسوری گفت پیروزی آقای اوباما "منصفانه و عادلانه" بوده است.

                        آقای اوباما در عین حال با اشاره به سه شنبه بزرگ گفت: "تنها 9 روز دیگر نیمی از جمعیت این کشور فرصت خواهند داشت به ما بپیوندند و بگویند ما از این وضعی که در واشنگتن جریان دارد خسته ایم، ما تشنه تغییریم و ما آماده ایم که دوباره ایمان بیاوریم ."

                        رقابت سخت

                        جیمی کوماراسامی که در کارولینای جنوبی است می گوید در پی شکست ها سخت نیوهمشایر و نوادا، این پیروزی برای آقای اوباما مایه قوت قلب است.

                        جان ادواردز، نامزد سوم دموکرات ها زاده همین ایالت است و اگرچه در سال 2004 در رقابت های ریاست جمهوری قبلی در این ایالت پیروز شد اما این بار در مقام سوم این ایالت قرار گرفت.

                        آقای ادورادز در رای گیری مقدماتی آیوا پس از آقای اوباما در جایگاه دوم قرار گرفته بود.

                        هر سه نامزد در طول جریان رای گیری برای حامیان خود صحبت کردند.

                        آقای اوباما در یک کلیسای پروتستان انجیلی، یک دانشکده که اغلب دانشجویان آن سیاه پوستند و نیز یک رستوران حاضر شد.

                        خانم کلینتون و دخترش چلسی نیز در یک مراسم شام حاضر شدند و آقای ادورادز با حضور در رستورانی در مون پلازا از مردم خواست در حوزه های رای گیری حاضر شوند.

                        این رای گیری اولین رای گیری مقدماتی دموکرات ها در جنوب آمریکا بود که سیاه پوستان نقش جدی در آن ایفا می کنند.

                        آقای ادورادز در مقام سوم قرار دارد

                        از سوی دیگر آنگونه که خبرنگار بی بی سی می گوید مبارزه بین دو نامزد اصلی دموکرات ابعادی منفی گرفته است.

                        آقای اوباما هیلاری کلینتون را متهم کرده که برای به دست آوردن رای هر حرفی می زند و پیشتر نیز همسر او، بیل کلینتون رییس جمهوری پیشین آمریکا را به اظهار نظر دروغ درباره خود متهم کرده بود.

                        سناتور هیلاری کلینتون نیز به آقای اوباما گفته مناظره با شخصی که هیچ گاه مسئولیت رای خود را نپذیرفته است بسیار دشوار است.

                        روز پنج شنبه روزنامه نیویورک تایمز رسما از نامزدی هیلاری کلینتون در میان دموکرات ها و جان مک کین در میان جمهوری خواهان حمایت کرد.

                        گردانندگان این روزنامه در یادداشت خود اعلام کردند تحت تاثیر دانایی، هوشمندی و تجربه خانم کلینتون قرار گرفته اند.

                        در این یادداشت آمده :" ایده داشتن اولین رییس جمهوری سیاه پوست در آمریکا باعث خوشحالی است و همینطور چشم انداز حضور اولین رییس جمهوری زن در این کشور، با این همه لزوما " اولین بودن" دلیل انتخاب فردی نمی شود."


                        • #13
                          نامزد حزب دمکرات در انتخابات آتی ریاست جمهوری آمریکا می*گوید برای حل مشکلات منطقه مایل است در صورت ورود به کاخ سفید مستقیماً با ایران وارد مذاکره شود.
                          مجله فرانسوی پاری ماچ درشماره اخیر خود مصاحبه*ای با باراک اوباما، نامزد ریاست جمهوری آمریکا از حزب دمکرات را منتشر کرده است که مورد توجه رسانه*های منطقه، به ویژه روزنامه جروزالم پست در اسرائیل و پرس تی وی در ایران قرار گرفته است.
                          اوباما در حال رقابتی تنگاتنگ با هیلاری کلینتون بر سر کسب نامزدی حزب دمکرات در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری است که درچهارم نوامبر برگزار خواهد شد.
                          اوباما در مصاحبه این نشریه، تاکید کرده است که ما نخواهیم توانست در منطقه ثبات برقرار کنیم بدون آنکه با "دشمنان خود مذاکره کنیم".
                          این در حالی است که اوایل این هفته کاخ سفید رسماً از همنشینی زلمای خلیل زاد، سفیر آمریکا در سازمان ملل با منوچهر متکی، وزیر خارجه و مجتبی هاشمی ثمره، مشاور ارشد رئیس جمهور ایران در یک جلسه مناظره در داووس سوئیس ابراز ناخرسندی کرده است.
                          روزنامه لس*آنجلس تایمز از قول یک سخنگوی وزارت خارجه آمریکا در این باره نوشت که به زلمای خلیل زاد در این باره تذکر داده خواهد شد زیرا حضور وی در این مناظره بدون هماهنگی بوده است.
                          با این حال باراک اوباما در مصاحبه با گزارشگر پاری ماچ در آمریکا گفته است که در صدد ترمیم وجهه آمریکا در جهان و به ویژه در میان مسلمانان است. وی تاکید کرده است: اولویت نخست ما باید پایان بخشیدن به جنگ در عراق باشد. اشغال این کشور ما را در نزد جهانیان با مشکل روبرو ساخته است. ما همچنین باید بازداشتگاه گوانتانامو را تعطیل و امکان محاکمه عادلانه متهمان این بازداشتگاه را فراهم کنیم.
                          باراک اوباما گفته است درصورت رسیدن به ریاست جمهوری آمریکا کنفرانسی با شرکت همه رهبران کشورهای مسلمان برای بررسی دلایل شکاف روز افزون بین جامعه مسلمان و غرب برگزار خواهد کرد و از آنها دعوت خواهد کرد که به مبارزه با تروریسم بپیوندند.
                          اوباما با اشاره به قصور مقامات دولت بوش در مورد مسائلی چون گرمایش زمین و تغییرات آب و هوایی، وعده داد که این مسائل درصورت رسیدن وی به ریاست جمهوری مورد توجه جدی قرار می*گیرد.
                          باراک اوباما در پاسخ به اینکه چگونه از پس رقابت با هیلاری کلینتون برخواهد آمد، گفته است که وی توانایی و شایستگی بیشتری برای ریاست جمهوری دارد و سیاست خارجی و شیوه*های جدید برخورد با مسائل از وجوه تمایز او با کلینتون است.
                          هیلاری کلینتون، دیگر نامزد اصلی حزب دمکرات در سخنرانی*ها و مناظره*های انتخاباتی خود با اعلام حمایت از سیاست مهار ایران، تاکید کرده است که خواهان هیچگونه درگیری نظامی بین ایران و آمریکا نیست، اما باید در قبال "دولتی که حامی تروریسم در جهان است ایستادگی کرد".

                          باراک اوباما و هیلاری کلینتون در مناظره تلویزیونی سی*ان*ان
                          وقتی گزارشگر پاری ماچ از اوباما در باره راه خلاصی آمریکا از عراق پرسید، نامزد حزب دمکرات پاسخ داد: من می*خواهم تا خروج نیروهای آمریکایی از عراق در اولین فرصت ممکن آغاز شود که ممکن است هر ماه یک یا دو تیپ را شامل شود. به این ترتیب تا اواخر سال ۲۰۰۹ نیروهای ما از عراق خارج شده*اند. به این ترتیب ما به عراقی*ها نشان می*دهیم که نمی*خواهیم برای همیشه در عراق باقی بمانیم.
                          در همین حال با تشریک مساعی یکدیگر می*کوشیم تا زمینه مشارکت بین سنی*ها، شیعیان و کردها در دولت عراق را فراهم آوریم.
                          برای ایجاد تغییری آشکار در سیاست خارجی، من مایلم با کشورهایی چون ایران و سوریه مستقیماً وارد مذاکره شوم.
                          ما نمی*توانیم بدون گفتگو با دشمنانمان، در منطقه ثبات برقرار کنیم. وقتی شما با دیگران مواضع کاملاً متعارضی دارید، راه دیگری جز گفتگو باقی نمی*ماند.
                          پاری ماچ از اوباما پرسیده است که شما این شانس را دارید که اولین رئیس جمهور سیاه پوست آمریکا شوید، تجربه شخصی شما از نژاد*پرستی چه بوده است؟
                          اوباما می*گوید: هیچ سیاه*پوست آمریکایی را نمی*توانید پیدا کنید که به نوعی از نژاد*پرستی رنج نبرده باشد. با وجود پبشرفت*هایی که در چهار دهه گذشته صورت گرفته است، هنوز هم مشکلات بسیاری در زمینه بهداشت، حقوق و خدمات اجتماعی در برابر سیاه*پوستان قرار دارد که باید به آنها رسیدگی شود.
                          اوباما در باره نیکلا سارکوزی، رئیس جمهور فرانسه نیز گفته است که او مردی پرانرژی است که به مشکلات فرانسه با نگاهی تازه برخورد می*کند. و اظهار امیدواری کرده است که بار دیگر با سارکوزی پس از کسب پیروزی در نامزدی حزب دمکرات در فرانسه ملاقات کند.
                          باراک اوباما در انتخابات درون حزبی اخیر در کارولینای جنوبی از هیلاری کلینتون پیشی گرفت و با کسب ۵۵ درصد آرای حزب دمکرات در برابر ۲۷ درصد، تاکنون نامزد برتر این حزب شناخته شده است.
                          اوایل هفته جاری ادوارد کندی، برادر جان اف کندی رئیس جمهور فقید آمریکا، از نامزدی اوباما پشتیبانی کرد که به گفته ناظران شانس وی را برای پیروزی در انتخابات درون حزبی در ایالت های دیگر آمریکا در برابر کلینتون بیشتر کرده است.


                          • #14
                            Robed Obama picture ignites row

                            The photo of Barack Obama was taken during a 2006 trip
                            US Democratic front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have traded accusations over a photo of Mr Obama circulating on the internet.
                            The picture, sent to the Drudge Report website, shows Mr Obama wearing traditional African dress during a visit to Kenya in 2006.

                            The Obama camp said it was circulated by Mrs Clinton's staff as a smear. Mrs Clinton's team denied the accusation.

                            The row comes as the rivals campaign for two crucial primaries next week.

                            Analysts say Mrs Clinton needs to win the contests, in Texas and Ohio, to remain in the race to choose the Democratic candidate for November's presidential election.


                            The photograph shows Mr Obama - whose father came from Kenya - wearing a white turban and a white robe presented to him by elders in the north-east of the country.

                            Her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we've seen from either party in this election

                            David Plouffe, Obama campaign chief, accusing the Clinton camp
                            According to the Drudge Report, which published the photograph on Monday, it was circulated by "Clinton staffers".

                            Some Clinton aides have tried in the past to suggest to Democrats that Barack Obama's background might be off-putting to mainstream voters.

                            A campaign volunteer was sacked last year after circulating an email suggesting, falsely, that Mr Obama was a Muslim.

                            But the BBC Justin Webb in Ohio says the photograph - coming at this pivotal moment in the campaign - is being seen by the Obama team as particularly offensive.

                            His campaign manager, David Plouffe, accused Mrs Clinton's aides of "the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we've seen from either party in this election".

                            The accusation was dismissed by Mrs Clinton's campaign manager Maggie Williams.

                            "If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed," she said.

                            "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

                            Mrs Williams did not address the question of whether staffers circulated the photo.


                            • #15
                              Obama Hussein who????????

                              LOL... ay vay Hussein is coming... lol

                              Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.: that is the full name of the junior Senator from Illinois - neither a contrivance nor, at face value, a slur. But John McCain couldn't apologize quickly enough after Bill Cunningham, a conservative talk radio host, warmed up a Cincinnati rally with a few loaded references to "Barack Hussein Obama." Asked afterwards if it was appropriate to use the Senator's middle name, McCain said, "No, it is not. Any comment that is disparaging of either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is totally inappropriate."

                              The pundits were quick to applaud McCain's fatwa against the use of Hussein, and broadcasters began trying to report on the controversy without actually saying the name too much, dancing around the offending word as if they were doing a segment on The Vagina Monologues. In both cases, the word comes off as not quite illicit, but certainly a little taboo.

                              So who gets to say Hussein? At the Oscars, host Jon Stewart took innuendo about as far as it can go, saying that Barack Hussein Obama running today is like a 1940's candidate named Gaydolph Titler. But that reference, served up to a crowd that presumably swoons for Obama, got laughs. So maybe the H-word is more like the N-word: you can say it, but only if you are an initiate. Blacks can use the N-word; Obama supporters can use the H-word.

                              Obama's campaign thanked McCain's for his apology, claiming a victory for the high road. Fine. But McCain might also know that if middle names become fair game, John Sidney McCain III has his own liabilities. Recently, it has been the unmanly middle names that have caused their owners the most political trouble. In 2006, Jim Henry Webb hammered home the fact that his Virginia Senate opponent was actually George Felix Allen - a middle name that conjured up images of Felix Unger, or perhaps the real life Prince Felix of Luxemburg, either one a far cry from the tobacco-chewing good ole boy Allen styled himself as. In the last presidential election, both Bush and Kerry had middle names inherited from elite East Coast families. But Bush's middle name had much more swagger; you'll never see a TV show called Forbes, Texas Ranger.

                              Online, the onomastics are already in high gear. Lefty bloggers, in full Obama rapture, point out that Hussein means "beautiful". One conservative observer insinuated that Obama, as a Christian with a Muslim name, might be marked for death by even our allies in the Islamic world, if they think he converted from Islam (for the record, he was never Muslim). By that ornately twisted logic, though, one might add that it was the martyrdom of Hussein in the year 680, beheaded at Karbala in a clash with the caliphate, that gave rise to 1400 years or so of Sunni/Shi'a violence. So how on earth could Obama be a fair broker in Iraq?

                              The real problem is that if the right wants to start a whispering campaign about the name Hussein, Obama is only helping them. By cutting short the discussion, Obama is banishing his name to the voters' subconscious, where the dark opposites of hope - bigotry and fear - can turn the word over and over again in their minds until November.

                              The same day that Cunningham was dropping H-bombs on Cincinnati, Obama was at the Democratic debate in Cleveland, hastily accepting Hillary Clinton's assertion that she didn't order the leak of a picture of Obama wearing a turban in Kenya. "I think that's something we can set aside," he said.

                              It was a missed opportunity. He could have explained that he has nothing to hide. Explained why there's nothing wrong with him dressing in ceremonial clothes on official visits - like batik Bill in Indonesia in 1994 or headscarf Hillary in Eritrea in 1997. Maybe even explained why his middle name is Hussein - what his heritage means, and what it doesn't mean. In short, to reintroduce himself to those general election voters who are just starting to pay closer attention.

                              No matter what his advisers say, Obama wins nothing by shying away from his differences. After all, Obama is the candidate of change. He should take a cue from McCain's courage on Iraq. Say what you will about McCain, but he knows he's the war candidate. And though may have regretted saying it out loud, McCain clearly accepts that if voters don't buy his vision for the war, he'll lose. It's not too much risk for Obama to stake his campaign on voters' ability to rationally understand the difference between a Hawaii-born Christian and Saddam Hussein, the butcher of Baghdad.

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                              I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
                              I would be pure, for there are those who care;
                              I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
                              I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
                              I would be friend of all—the foe—the friendless;
                              I would be giving and forget the gift;
                              I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
                              I would look up and laugh—and love—and lift.
                              Howard Walter