Obama picks up S.C. Endorsement

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Rutherford endorses Obama 

Representative J. Todd Rutherford

From theStateblog:

State Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, is endorsing U.S. Sen. Barack Obama for president. Rutherford said this afternoon that he had just left a meeting with Obama and “it made up my mind.” It is the first significant endorsement for the Illinois Democrat and came just 90 minutes before Obama’s first appearance in the state as a presidential contender.  

Obama makes another appearance at Claflin University tomorrow before heading back to Washington for a pointless vote on the Iraq Surge.   Any thoughts about what a Skeptical Brotha should ask should he get the chance?

The Whore lands a Sugar Daddy

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NEW YORK, February 14, 2007Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) today announced that Harold E. Ford, Jr., former congressman, Ninth District of Tennessee, will join the company as vice chairman and senior policy advisor, effective March 5. Mr. Ford will advise senior management on domestic policy issues, serve as a member of the firm’s public policy and social responsibility management committee, and support a variety of business development initiatives in the institutional and retail markets. He will report to Greg Fleming, president of the firm’s Global Markets and Investment Banking group, and maintain offices in New York and Nashville.

Mr. Ford was elected to Congress in 1996 at age 26 and served five terms. He sat on the House Budget Committee and the House Committee on Financial Services. In addition, Mr. Ford co-chaired the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus, a bipartisan coalition dedicated to advancing policies to build savings and assets for all Americans, and low-income Americans in particular, and the Community Solutions and Initiatives Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers that seeks to help faith and community-based groups solve social challenges. Earlier this year, he was elected chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the progressive policy and issues advocacy organization, succeeding Iowa Governor Thomas Vilsack, who resigned to take steps in advance of a run for the presidency.

“We are delighted to have a dynamic, energetic visionary like Harold Ford join Merrill Lynch,” said Stan O’Neal, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “At a young age, Harold has excelled in virtually every assignment he has ever taken on, distinguishing himself in the Congress and bringing fresh ideas and solutions to government that transcended partisan politics. We have every expectation that Harold will be equally successful supporting Merrill Lynch in its efforts to pursue new business opportunities and be responsive to the communities we serve around the world.”

“Harold’s experience, enthusiasm and perspective make him a valuable addition to our management team,” said Mr. Fleming. “We look forward to his contributions to Merrill Lynch’s business development efforts and expect to benefit greatly from his government experience and personal insight as we address the public policy implications of our various business activities over the next few years.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the executive team at Merrill Lynch,” said Mr. Ford. “For generations, the Merrill Lynch brand has represented the path to economic opportunity for millions of Americans and citizens the world over. It’s a great tradition that I look forward to helping build on during my tenure with the firm.”

Mr. Ford earned a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Merrill Lynch is one of the world’s leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies with offices in 38 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes and serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Merrill Lynch owns approximately half of BlackRock, one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management companies, with more than $1 trillion in assets under management.

Vilsack chides Obama on Iraq

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Barack Obama

ABCNEWS POLITICAL RADAR

February 16, 2007

ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: Sen. Barack Obama’s, D-Ill., “out by March of ’08” Iraq war position came under criticism Thursday from a Democratic presidential rival who argued that Congress has a “moral responsibility” to immediately cut off funding for U.S. fighting.

Congress has a responsibility to get the U.S. out of Iraq, said former Gov. Tom Vilsack, D-Iowa, “not in March of 2008 — but now.”

Vilsack said that if Congress does not immediately act to cut off funding, the Bush administration will send more troops to Iraq and more Americans will risk dying.

Obama has introduced legislation in the Senate which sets the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by Mar. 31, 2008.

After his Chicago homecoming rally was disrupted earlier this week by protestors holding a sign that read “cut the funding,” Obama said: “We need to bring this war to an end but we need to do it in a way that makes our troops safe.”

VA Gov. Kaine backs Obama

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By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 15, 2007
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RICHMOND, Feb. 14 — Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president Saturday, pledging early support from a Southern Democrat as the Illinois senator begins his campaign for the White House.

Kaine will sign onto Obama’s presidential team ahead of the senator’s appearance at the Virginia Democratic Party’s annual fundraiser Saturday night, according to sources familiar with Kaine’s decision. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they do not want to preempt the formal announcement.

Kaine’s press secretary, Kevin Hall, declined to confirm the governor’s intentions. A spokesman for Obama was not immediately available for comment Wednesday. Asked about Obama, Kaine grinned and said, “It’s going to be a great day Saturday.”

Kaine, who like Obama is a Harvard-educated civil rights lawyer, has made no secret of his admiration for the senator. Obama campaigned for Kaine in 2005 and joined him on the stump last year on behalf of U.S. Sen. James Webb (D). Obama’s mother was from Kansas, where Kaine grew up.

In an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters last month, Kaine praised the other Democrats running for the 2008 presidential nomination as being part of “a deep field.” He spoke effusively about Obama’s personal charisma and abilities.

“Sen. Obama is just in a completely different category than anybody I’ve ever stood on a stage with,” Kaine said in the Jan. 31 interview. “There is just a feeling of, you know, kind of a projection of hope on him from an audience that is just unreal. It’s unreal.”

Kaine said his time on the campaign trail with Obama has convinced him the first-term senator “is a person who has been through experiences that have given him sound judgment.”

Shaun Kenney, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia, said Kaine’s endorsement of Obama would be in keeping with the political principles of both men.

“I don’t think it’s surprising that a governor who has proposed billion-dollar tax increases will endorse one of the most liberal members of the United States Senate,” Kenney said Wednesday.

For Obama, an endorsement by Kaine on Saturday is an early victory in the competition for critical support among the nation’s governors and in the South.

Virginia has for years been a Republican bastion for presidential candidates. But the victories of Kaine, Webb and former governor Mark R. Warner (D) have convinced many in the party that the state could be up for grabs in the 2008 election.

“Pundits might not say it’s a complete tossup,” Kaine said. “I just don’t think it’s a state to be taken for granted. And I don’t think any smart presidential candidate will take it for granted.”

Kaine had declared his intention to support Warner’s presidential bid before his predecessor bowed out of the race late last year. In the recent Post interview, Kaine joked that Warner’s decision opened the floodgates of interest from Democratic candidates.

“I had a complete pass and nobody was bugging me as long as Mark was running,” Kaine said. “Since Mark got out, yeah, people have called me.”

Kaine’s decision to declare his intentions about Obama’s candidacy almost a year before the first presidential primaries departs from recent tradition in Virginia. Warner endorsed Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) just a few days before the Virginia presidential primary, which Kerry won.