RUSH: Remember, folks, as far as the Hawkeye Cauci goes — and even to a certain extent the New Hampshire primary, but particularly Iowa — many of the Democrat presidential candidates believe that December 23rd is the lock-in day. If you haven’t got your support locked in by then, it’s going to be a little late. Students are going home and then coming back for the cauci. They’re not going to be in Iowa when you’re there campaigning. During the holidays, people, they abandon normalcy just like at Thanksgiving. Families travel all over the place; other people come in and visit. But it’s just not the same. So a lot of candidates think — particularly the Obama group, and I’m sure Mrs. Clinton does, too — that they gotta get it locking in by December 23rd. They have to shore up their support, and whatever the numbers are on December 23rd, they think, ‘Ah, it’s pretty close to what it’s going to end up being.’
So that’s why this last-minute push, and, as part of that: ‘Members of Congress will hold a conference call TODAY, Thursday, December 20, to discuss a New York Times article published today, detailing Senator Barack Obama’s present votes while in the Illinois State Senate.’ Now, why would members of Congress hold a conference call to discuss a New York Times story detailing Barack Obama’s present votes while in the Illinois State Senate? He just voted present. He didn’t vote yes or no, or yea or nay, just present. He didn’t want to take a position. Now, what could possibly be behind this? At first glance you may say, ‘Oh, my gosh, the members of Congress are trying to figure out how to protect Obama.’ Ah, ah, ah, folks! It’s Team Clinton trying to take one more jab here before things get locked in, and they’re not only doing that. Try this from ABC News:
‘Clinton Launches Obama Attack Web Sites — ABC News has learned that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has registered the names of two Web sites with the express goal of attacking … Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. It’s the first time this election cycle a presidential campaign has launched a Web site with the express purpose of of [sic] launching serious criticisms on a rival.’ The names of the websites: ‘Votingpresent.com and Votingpresent.org are domains hosted by the same IP address as official Clinton Web sites, such as TheHillaryIKnow.com, which was launched with much fanfare this week.’ (laughing) VotingPresent.com. When I read this story, do you know what went through my mind? That cackle! That little cackle, and then Hillary saying (Wicked Witch of the West impression), ‘I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little lapdog Oprah, too.’ (laughter) I thought of the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. Folks, I tell you, this is not what Iowans want, according to Zogby information. They don’t like this kind of stuff. Here’s Bob Kerrey. Bob Kerrey went out and apologized, sent Obama an apology letter today for all this Muslim stuff, thereby keeping it alive. (laughing)
RUSH: This morning on Good Morning America, the Clinton, Inc., assault on Barack Obama: ABC lines up to carry out the assault. Co-host Chris Cuomo is interviewing Obama, and Chris Cuomo says, ‘So, one of the questions that pops up this morning: You’ve been a critic of Hillary Clinton for not having a definite stand on the issues. Well, it turns out that you voted present as opposed to yes or no over 100 times as a state legislator. One vote in particular I want to talk to you about, the bill was about trying juveniles as adults. You voted present instead of no. Were you playing politics,’ Obama?
OBAMA: No, a- as — as the newspaper points out, this was a standard practice in Illinois. Uh, you oftentimes would strategically vote present because you were still negotiating a bill, uh, or because there was some element in the bill that was unconstitutional, uh, or had problems that needed to be tweaked, and it was a signal that you would send to the sponsor of the bill that you were willing to work with them —
RUSH: Right. Right. Yeah.
OBAMA: — to try to make the bill better.
CUOMO: I understand that more than 4,000 votes, we’re talking about about 130 present votes. When you put yourself out there as the agent of change, that you won’t play politics as usual, and then the explanation for why you vote present is inside politics, is that sending a mixed message?
OBAMA: No, it wasn’t inside politics. This was, uh, particular strategies in order to improve legislation that had, uh, an impact on my constituents.
RUSH: It sounds perfectly plausible to me. It sounds like Obama was very even-tempered in that answer. It seems also very obvious to me that ABC, hearing about the Clinton, Inc., attack on Obama, said, ‘Hey, we’re here, and we’ll help.’ It looks like they got the contract that the Clintons have put out on Obama, because there’s even more we got coming up later.
RUSH: Wes in Winnie, Texas, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hello. Merry Christmas, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: My point is this. I think that the Clinton camp better be very careful with how they handle Obama. He’s coming off very well. In fact, it appears that he’s smarter than the world’s smartest woman.
RUSH: You mean the way he’s dealing with this criticism?
CALLER: The way he’s dealing with the criticism, the example you played that they asked him about his voting record.
CALLER: And I don’t know if I believe it or not, but he was smooth. I mean, I don’t know if he prepared, but he was ready, and then yesterday he responded to a criticism of Hillary saying he had no experience, and his comment was —
CALLER: — ‘Well, you know, she wasn’t actually secretary of the Treasury, either.’
RUSH: Yeah, I thought the same thing about this. Number 27. Let’s listen to this here, folks, because this is a clip from Good Morning America today, Chris Cuomo saying to Barack Obama, ‘One of the questions that pops up this morning,’ I wonder how. ‘You’ve been a critic of Hillary Clinton for not having a definite stand on issues. It turns out that you voted present as opposed to yes or no over 100 times as a state legislator. One vote in particular I want to talk to you about. The bill was about trying juveniles as adults. You voted present instead of voting no. Were you playing politics?’
OBAMA: No, as the newspaper points up, this was a standard practice in Illinois. You oftentimes would strategically vote present because you were still negotiating a bill, or because there was some element in the bill that was unconstitutional or had problems that needed to be tweaked and it was a signal that you would send to the sponsor of the bill that you were willing to work with them to try to make the bill better.
CUOMO: I understand that more than 4,000 votes we’re talking about about 130 present votes. When you put yourself out there as the agent of change, that you won’t play politics as usual and then the explanation for why you vote present is inside politics, is that sending a mixed message?
OBAMA: No, it wasn’t inside politics. This was particular strategies in order to improve legislation that had, uh, an impact on my constituents.
RUSH: Now, I gotta tell you something. That was cool. That was calm, not panicked. He wasn’t angry. He didn’t say, ‘No!’ There was no snide comment, ‘Well, I wonder why you’re asking me about this now? I wonder who could have put this information out there?’ He just answered it as well as, ah, standard operating procedure. I don’t know whether he’s telling the truth or not. It doesn’t matter here, because it just buried the whole issue. That answer, the way he dealt with it, I have to say, was very good — and Wes from Winnie, Texas, was exactly right. Speaking of Obama: ‘Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey has apologized to Barack Obama…’ Do you know how many people are apologizing to Obama? There seem to be all kinds of people apologizing to Obama now. Who else apologized to Obama? Oh! Billy Shaheen apologized to Obama and then quit the campaign. By the way, this Shaheen guy, the ‘cocaine’ and the ‘Obama might be selling drugs’ guy, he wasn’t just a cochair in New Hampshire. He was a national cochair for Hillary’s campaign. National cochair! Yeah, and Hillary apologized to Obama. Well, she says so.
You know, there’s a number of ways of apologizing. ‘Obama, that will never happen again,’ and Hillary comes out and says she apologized. Did she use the words, ‘I’m sorry. I feel horrible that that happened’? We don’t know. We have to take her word for it. It’s a tough charge. Obama has accepted all these apologies. Now Bob Kerrey is out there apologizing ‘for any unintentional insult he committed by raising the Democratic presidential candidate’s Muslim heritage while endorsing rival candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Kerrey sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday, lauding the Illinois senator’s qualifications to be president and saying that he never meant to harm his candidacy. Kerrey told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he sent the letter on his own and had not spoken to Clinton or her campaign about the comments he made Sunday in Iowa. ‘What I found myself getting into in Iowa — and it was my own fault — it was the wrong moment to do it and it was insulting,’ Kerrey told the AP. ‘I meant no disrespect at all.” So the references to Obama’s Muslim heritage continue being whisked through the wind by the Bob Kerrey apology.