On our continuing tour of Memories of the ODP Dinner, we next rewind back to the beginning. Redhorse and I drove to Columbus together and rolled into the Vet a little before five. We registered, scoped the scene, ran into Debbie Phillips . . . then we got these:
With our newly minted blogger credentials, we set off to check out the Media Availability Room. Finding rooms at Veteran’s Memorial proved to be a bit of a challenge, so Obama’s turn at the mic was about half over when we got there. Reading over my notes, I’m again taken at how deft he is. For example, he was asked a question about the latest filings in the Scooter Libby case. After the disclaimer that he doesn’t follow the particulars of the case, he runs out the following (I’m paraphrasing from my notes):
What’s clear is that during the run-up to the war, the Administration ran a PR campaign – some of it legal, some of it perhaps illegal. But illegal or not, war should not be spun and our reasons for going to war should not be spun.He takes a case Americans are concerned about and turns it into an indictment of the administration that works independent of how the case actually plays out. Sheer artistry.
Chris Cillizza has been reading the signs to predict who will run in ’08. Despite noting last week that Obama had retained the and is generally flying around the country like a man possessed, this week he keeps Obama off the will-they-run list. He claims to find next-to-no evidence that Obama is “taking substantial steps” toward running.
Probably. But I was struck by Obama’s responses to questions on the topic. First he was asked to “handicap his chances of running.” He declined. Sure, 90% of national figures play coy at this stage, but the answer is not no. Second, he was asked if he has enough experience to be president. Paraphrasing again:
No one has enough experience to be President. I think everyone who gets elected looks around the first day and says “Woah. This is a big country . . . I am humble about what I know I don’t know.”That’s a carefully crafted answer from an accomplished wordsmith paying close attention to how it plays politically. This is a small datum to be sure, but compelling in its way. Maybe he’s getting ready for a Pres. run, or perhaps he’s setting himself up as the obvious veep candidate.
Next up, ODP Chair Chris Redfern and DNC Vice-Chair Susan Turnbull.
This got interesting when the topic turned to election fraud. I asked about RFK Jr.’s Rolling Stone article and what the Dems are doing to secure the vote in November. To say the least, Redfern did not take the cautious approach. He recommended that everyone read the article. He didn’t morph into full-on Stolen Election Guy, but he didn’t change the subject either. He was not shy about quoting some of the stats Kennedy laid out in the piece.
Redfern then launched into a recital of ODP’s voter protection for November. Apparently, the Party has retained or will retain counsel in all 88 counties. Turnbull chimed in that the Ohio problems continue to be Topic A wherever she goes in the country. She says that the DNC plans to have a presence here as well.
Joe Biden was a bit late, so we didn’t get much of him. He gave a preview of his speech, then opened it up. When asked about the possibility of launching investigations if the Dems take a house in November, he became the anti-Pelosi. His “overwhelming recommendation” is not to do it. We have urgent problems, need to reach across the aisle, blah blah. Then the real concern: “I hope Democrats have learned from the Republicans [in the late Nineties.]” Going back to his intro, he says his first message is “Elect, elect, elect.” Presumably his second message is “Don’t overreach, don’t overreach, don’t overreach.”