Friday, October 26, 2007

If Not Obama, Buffett?

Warren Buffett for President? That's Barack Obama's favorite non-candidate. Over the last few months in interviews at its offices, the Des Moines Register has asked the 2008 candidates from both parties a series of the same questions, including such off-beat inquires as what contemporary person, other than themselves, they think would be a good president and what country they would live in if not America.

Obama said Buffett, who has raised money for both the Illinois Senator and Hillary Clinton but not chosen which one he will back, "has a wonderful gift of analyzing a lot of complex information." Other candidates made even more surprising choices, naming some of their campaign rivals. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani named Colin Powell, but said if he were not running, he would back John McCain. Sen. Joe Biden praised Sen. Chris Dodd and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, two of his rivals, along with former Senator and 2000 Democratic candidate Bill Bradley.

The man famous for "straight-talk," McCain, wouldn't name anyone (though he did express admiration for Ronald Reagan), nor would Clinton or former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Dodd didn't return the favor to Biden, instead going with an answer that sounded like a pander to Iowa voters, the state's long-time Sen. Tom Harkin. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney all but admitted he would not be his party's first choice if another man had a different last name, Jeb Bush, who Romney called a "fabulous governor."

Clinton, who in recent weeks has deemed even questions about federal policy as too "hypothetical" for her to answer, wouldn't budge on which foreign country she would live in. She said all her life she had been "obsessed" with American and wouldn't do well in another country. Obama, McCain and Giuliani all named Great Britain, although the latter also named the homeland of his ancestors, Italy. If Giuliani does indeed set sail for England, he must have a plan to get his health care elsewhere--he has called Britain's system "socialized medicine" and promised to stop anything similar from coming to the United States.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

’80s Plot to Hit Giuliani? Mob Experts Doubt It

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: October 26, 2007

For reasons that ought to be obvious, the leaders of the city’s organized crime families have never shown much fondness for federal prosecutors. And with a crime-fighter like Rudolph W. Giuliani — who boasts of applying particular zeal to organized crime cases while winning more than 4,000 convictions as the United States attorney in Manhattan from 1983 to 1989 — the Mafia might not even mind seeing him dead.

But while a discussion along those lines was revealed during testimony in the trial of a retired F.B.I. supervisor this week, the proposition might not have been as simple as gathering the five family bosses for a show of hands on that ballot measure.

“The Sicilian Mafia killed Italian judicial magistrates and police officers, and the American Mafia didn’t do that,” Andrew McCarthy, an organized crime prosecutor who worked with Mr. Giuliani, said in a telephone interview. “In the United States, their general M.O. was that killing prosecutors and cops could do nothing but bring harm.”

To be sure, law enforcement was and is a dangerous vocation. In a 2006 report, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 40 percent of state prosecutors had received threats in the previous year. Three percent had been assaulted, as had 6 percent of their assistants. In cities with more than a million people, 84 percent of state prosecutors had received threats. The report did not address threats to federal prosecutors.

McCain Hits Clinton in 2nd Woodstock Ad

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful John McCain criticized Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposal for a Woodstock museum as wasteful spending in a new television ad that started on Friday.

In the ad — McCain's second new one in a week — the Arizona senator touts his record fighting such spending and repeats his mocking of the Clinton's failed effort to spend $1 million for a museum in Bethel, N.Y., site of the August 1969 rock festival.

"John McCain says if you want to relive Woodstock, buy the record," an announcer says in the 30-second spot.

The ad also hits Clinton, a New York senator, as a product of the 1960s culture, while McCain spent time as a Vietnam prisoner of war.

"It was a cultural event that defined a generation, worthy of fond memories," an announcer says. "But worthy of a million of your tax dollars to build a museum? Hillary Clinton thinks so."

McCain's campaign has focused its criticism on spending run amok as what is wrong in Washington. The ad also points to McCain's record fighting such spending.

"He's been cutting wasteful spending for more than 20 years," the announcer says. "That's why Citizens Against Government Waste calls John McCain a taxpayer hero."

The theme echoes one McCain started airing on Thursday, contrasting images of Woodstock with his years as a Vietnam POW. It included McCain's first punch line based on the Woodstock museum, spoken during Sunday's Fox News Channel debate.

"Now my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time," he said, referring to being held prisoner in North Vietnam.

That ad, however, prompted a request from Fox News Channel to stop airing it because the cable network bars candidates from using debate clips in ads. The network filed a cease and desist letter to McCain, who rejected their request.

A McCain aide said the new ad has nothing to do with a Fox News Channel request. Both ads will continue in New Hampshire.

Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand offered the same response she had to the first ad.

"Again, Senator McCain should focus more on explaining to New Hampshire voters why he supported the fiscally irresponsible Bush policies that squandered a federal surplus and left us with the largest deficit in American history," Strand said.