Hillary Rodham Clinton

Clinton on Social Security: Is That A Fact?

Friday, October 26th, 2007

tice.jpgWe recently examined the GOP presidential candidates’ positions on Social Security, as revealed in a recent debate, and found them less than wholly impressive, although Fred Thompson scored a few points for candor.

The Democrats have been debating Social Security’s problems, too.

At a September 20 debate in Davenport, Iowa on Health Care and Financial Security, five Democrats (not including Barack Obama) took on the entitlements challenge.

One of the more provocative moments came when frontrunner Hillary Clinton charged that the Bush administration’s fiscal irresponsibility has cost Social Security 14 years of solvency — that is, brought the date when the Social Security Trust Fund is expected to be exhausted 14 years nearer.

Here’s the clip:

Watch the whole debate here. The Clinton statement is at 39:00 if you’d like to see it in context.

It’s a very strong claim — that Bush and congressional Republicans have shortened the life of the Social Security Trust Fund through irresponsibility and taking money out of the fund to finance the Iraq war and tax cuts for the rich.

Trouble is, it’s misleading at best.

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Come again? I don’t think I heard you quite right.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

tice.jpgHere’s an unusual New York Times piece that says something about the art and science of polling, something about public attitudes on Iraq, and something about journalists’ attitudes.

The gist of it is that the New York Times/CBS News poll got a survey result earlier this month that surprised journalists at the two organizations. In a poll that was largely concerned with Hillary Clinton they asked some now routine questions about the Iraq war and saw an increase in the percentage of Americans who believe the original invasion was the right thing to do.

So surprised and doubtful were they that they did a second poll. The poll keepers wondered if including the Iraq invasion question in a poll about Clinton might have influenced the answers somehow.

But the second poll, free of extraneous influences, confirmed the first, and also found a drop in the number of people who think the war is going badly.

A few observations and questions:

There’s nothing unlikely about these pollsters’ suspicion about what might have gone wrong. That the proximity of certain questions can influence respondents’ answers to other questions is a constant challenge and hazard in polling, particularly polling on issues, as opposed to horse race election polls.

Chances are, such influences happen pretty often — inadvertantly in quality polls, and maybe not so inadvertantly in advocacy group polls. Most of the time, though, the result won’t be an outcome that stands out as inexplicable. But poll consumers should keep the risk in mind.

What could explain even a modest change for the better in Americans’ feelings about the war? Confidence in Petraeus? Reports that the surge is having some success in some parts of Iraq? Something in the war debate in the developing presidential race or on Capitol Hill? Whether the questions matter of course will depend on whether additional polls confirm any change in attitudes.

Does it reveal anything notable about journalists’ predispositions that this result –a slight improvement in attitudes toward the war — seemed so very odd and unlikely that they went to the unusual effort and cost of double checking their poll? Or would any careful observer have been surprised by the result?

Well, that was different

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Let’s toss it open for some post-debate debate. A couple questions to address:

The format Fun? Distracting from the candidates? Is that good or bad?

Edwards Passionate or straining? Anybody understand his position on gay marriage, or the role of religion in his thinking?

Clinton How impressive is her developing easy-going, unassuming style? Has she finessed her war position? Why the rejection of the liberal label? Is she playing the front-runner position well?

Obama Confident and articulate, but is he making the case that he’s the better choice than Clinton? Nuclear power?

The rest Anybody making a move?

Guestposter Bob von Sternberg: From Iowa, where else, dueling anti-war messages from Obama and Clinton

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

vonste.jpgJust when Iowans figured it was safe to venture out and not risk tripping over a presidential candidate, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama returned and almost tripped over each other.

Just days after Obama, Clinton and no fewer than six other presidential aspirants spent the July 4 holiday week furiously stumping across the state, the two leading Democrats were back in downtown Des Moines this morning, delivering what their campaigns called major policy speeches, barely a mile apart from each other.

Clinton’s address, titled her “Plan to End the War in Iraq ashillary_clinton.jpg President,” contained these declarations:

“Our message to the President is clear. It is time to begin ending this war – not next year, not next month – but today.”

“We have heard for years now that as the Iraqis stand up, our troops will stand down. Every year, we hear about how next year they may start coming home. Now we are hearing a new version of that yet again from the President as he has more troops in Iraq than ever and the Iraqi government is more fractured and ineffective than ever.”

“Well, the right strategy before the surge and post-escalation is the same: start bringing home America’s troops now.”

obama.jpgObama’s speech, billed as the “Economic Impact of the Iraq War,” included these highlights:

“It will be enormously difficult to invest in jobs and opportunity until we stop spending $275 million a day on this war in Iraq.

“When I opposed this war before it began in 2002, I was about to run for the United States Senate and I knew it wasn’t the politically popular position. But I believed then and still do that being a leader means that you’d better do what’s right and leave the politics aside, because there are no do-overs on an issue as important as war.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the campaigns had been aware of the timing and location of the rival’s speech.

Bob von Sternberg

Obama’s $32 million take your breath away

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Barack Obama is a money raising wonder, havingobama.jpg brought in $32.5 million in the second quarter of the year.

He is making Hillary Clinton’s fearsome fundraising machine ($27 million) look a bit old fashioned and frail.

And John Edwards ($9 million)? The Republicans (not yet talking)? They can only hope that the electability issues waiting down the road for Obama and Clinton will ultimately matter more than the ability to amass a war chest.

Hillary Clinton coming to town

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Sen. Hillary Clinton will bring her campaign for president (excuse me, make that her exploratory campaign) to Minneapolis June 1 for a $1,000 a plate fund-raising dinner at the Minneapolis Club.

hillary_clinton.jpgThe invitation to the event also provides a glimpse of the co-chairs and vice-chairs of Minnesotans for Hillary, a list that includes quite a few names notable for politics, money or both, to wit:

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