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The enigma of Barack Obama

  • Gavin Hewitt
  • 19 Oct 08, 04:54 AM GMT

Kansas City, Missouri: Most politicians I have covered betray something; a weakness; a hunger; a passion. We as journalists try to smoke out their demons or insecurities. Barack Obama reveals little.

I watched Barack Obama closely the morning after the final debate. He was in Londonderry, New Hampshire. We were bone-weary after four hours sleep. I was looking for signs of strain after the pressure of 90 minutes in the ring with John McCain. I half expected a slight deflation in the candidate after the high-octane of debating
before 63 million people.

obamalondonderry211ap.jpg

The rain was falling by the time he arrived. He was wearing a casual rain jacket and what I noticed was his walk. There was something jaunty about him. He wasn't cocky but he almost strolled to the stage. Not only had he debated the night before but he had attended a fund-raiser in New York before appearing in New Hampshire.

And that is part of his enigma. At these events he is accessible but unreadable. He shows no strain. He is the effortless politician. After 21 months of speeches and shaking the hands of strangers he seems unhurried and at ease. His pursuit of power does not mark him as it does other politicians.

I remember with President Clinton his need to win you over. At a press conference you had to wait until he looked at you and then you asked your question. You held his gaze and he locked on to you enabling you to ask maybe two or three further questions. You could feel his desire to be liked and admired.

I covered the Kerry campaign. With John Kerry you could sense the sheer effort to be a popular politician. I remember after a brief interview with him, the speed the smile dropped.The famous jaw set rigid as he walked away. Towards the end of the campaign I detected a weariness as he sought to sell himself as an ordinary American.

Gordon Brown, too, finds campaigning difficult. It is not him. The small talk, the easy aside. I have watched him sitting with a group of ordinary people, his arms resting on the table, his hands clasped in front of him. You can almost sense his desire for the event to be over and for him to get back to his papers and his advisers.
His long pursuit of power is never disguised.

Barack Obama is a natural. I remember a few years ago meeting him in Chicago with a few other journalists. In the ballroom, where we talked, he was already turning heads. Way before he ran for the presidency the hands were outstretched, waiting for him.
Back then he was curiously detached from all the attention. He listened to us, he looked down while we spoke. He was intellectually curious. He did not dominate the conversation.

As a candidate he is immensely disciplined. During the second town hall debate the candidates rested on stools between questions. The Obama team had worked out that their candidate looked at his best with one foot resting on the floor, the other on the rung of the stool. The pose breathed assurance, relaxation, a man totally at ease. Having chosen this position he never strayed from it. Just one small example of his attention to detail and his ability to deliver.

During the primaries Hillary Clinton and her team said he was "untested" but it often seemed to me that what they were hinting at was that there was something "unexplained" about him, precisely because he gives so little away. He is on stage every day. He speaks, gives interviews but as to what really drives this extraordinary politician we as watchers, voters cannot be sure.

Comments

  • 1. At 05:42am on 19 Oct 2008, bigsaf wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 05:44am on 19 Oct 2008, wunpawng wrote:

    This blogger has nothing special to say about Mr. Obama. He is just repeating what others have said. Perhaps more like paraphrasing.

    Don't waste your time reading it.

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  • 3. At 05:48am on 19 Oct 2008, tucsonmike wrote:

    That's it, Gavin. Senator Obama is a complete enigma wrapped in a sphinx, to quote Winston Churchill.
    After all this time of campaigning, I am still not sure who he really is.

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  • 4. At 06:07am on 19 Oct 2008, horacemann1 wrote:

    Why does everyone feel this deep need to "know" Barack Obama? Did the electorate obsess about "knowing" Lincoln? Theodore Roosevelt? JFK? FDR? Thomas Jefferson?

    I would suggest that no one in the 18th century, even his friends, knew Thomas Jefferson in the sense of the word we seem compelled to expect of Obama. But Jefferson was a great president -- a genius.

    The man is running for president, not to be our spouse.

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  • 5. At 06:11am on 19 Oct 2008, Grrrlie wrote:

    Barack Obama is extremely intelligent - he is a thinker, not a reactive narcissist like most of the politicians we've been coping with in the USA. And he also has a brilliant wife who is a powerful speaker with a major gift for connecting with her audience. Quite a team for Prez & First lady. And then there are their kids!!!

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  • 6. At 06:36am on 19 Oct 2008, Talleyrand wrote:

    There is no mystery to Obama, in spite of what some think at the begining of the blog. Mr. Hewitt, there is no secret or enigma, as you reveal:
    "As a candidate he is immensely disciplined."

    That discipline in Obama is physical and mental, and is diamtriclly opposite to the narcissism that has become the trademark of so many politicians. He is an authentic personality, he has made it through life from nowhere to high position by faith, rigor and discipline.

    I, as one citizen, applaud that man. He is a terrific role model, far better than most of the sold-out, venal and dishonest creeps who have run the country for the past 30 years. At least two of them were so intellectually challenged, I can only wonder who was doing the actual running.

    Obama's success, his energy combined with high intellect, may well sink him in the last minute. Too many people are envious, unfortunately, and that means they dislike people who are in any way their betters.

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  • 7. At 06:45am on 19 Oct 2008, leonardone wrote:

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  • 8. At 06:59am on 19 Oct 2008, srlclark wrote:

    This is ridiculous. You report that Obama is intelligent, self-disciplined, untiring, competent and not obviously needy, and somehow conclude that these are faults? That they show that people don't know what he is like? Isn't this what he is like?

    This is an election for the Presidency of the United States, not an episode of Big Brother. Would people really prefer someone who was stupid, erratic, exhausted, prone to silly gaffs, and desperately wanting to be "loved"? Really?


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  • 9. At 06:59am on 19 Oct 2008, kilrea wrote:

    "As a candidate he is immensely disciplined."

    One would expect that of any candidate in campaign mode (even Bill Clinton managed that in his public persona).

    However, Obama's "cool," his "restraint" or "discipline," I suggest, has everything to do with race. The metrics for winning don't allow for any sign, stereotypically, of an angry black man.

    Sadly, some white voters have said they can't vote for a black man because they assume he will seek retributive measures to compensate for black oppression. That fear seems groundless to me ~ though it says a great deal about guilt.

    I'm hopeful that the youth vote, in particular, will see Obama as his biracial self ~ & vote post-racial to help move us all into 21st century reality.

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  • 10. At 07:02am on 19 Oct 2008, Mightymouze wrote:

    I agree that Obama is a great man, but I think too many people are voting for his mistique instead of his polices and ability to run a country that dosent want to be reformed. Do you think that everyone knows what will happen when we follow obamas plan? our country as a whole will get poorer. I dont believe that people around the US will like these changes.

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  • 11. At 07:04am on 19 Oct 2008, DeceptivelyHumble wrote:

    There is serious money behind Obama I perceive. He has some powerful behind the secnes backers, who also bankroll the media that swoon over him as if he is the messiah.
    He is the lesser of two evils in my opinion, and has my vote, but I cant help thinking that this is all stage-managed, and that this man's alleged air of confidence might not necessarily be bourne from character, but from knowledge he is privy to, that the gen. public isnt?

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  • 12. At 07:14am on 19 Oct 2008, mobytom2 wrote:

    I, too, have been very impressed by his demeanor. It's more than self-discipline, he strikes me as being very 'centred'. He knows himself well and so has less need to stroke his own ego or have others stroke it. That means he can devote his attention and energy to the campaign, to getting as much advice and information as he can, and then making decisions. He is certainly running a brilliant campaign.

    I hope the US citizens don't decide they want mediocrity as President and incompetence as vice-president or we'll all be in a worse pickle than now. Obama is more the sort of man you need at the helm in a crisis like this one. He'll reach out for top advisors, build consensus in the legislature (hopefully) and I think will do more than a decent job.

    It's a shame that the US didn't go for a different model of government - but they're stuck with the one they've got, with all it's flaws such as vesting so much power in one individual. Bush has really violated the people's trust in this regard - but he's not the first and won't be the last incompetent leader. (I wonder if many Americans like the idea of the President as a parent figure.)

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  • 13. At 07:26am on 19 Oct 2008, Robert Bennett wrote:

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  • 14. At 07:32am on 19 Oct 2008, SanYing wrote:

    Barack did give himself away. No one seems to have noticed he said, "My finest Christmas present was eight hours sleep."

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  • 15. At 07:33am on 19 Oct 2008, Robert Bennett wrote:

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  • 16. At 07:35am on 19 Oct 2008, batmagoo wrote:

    I find this notion of "Who is Barack Obama?" rather silly... Both in the context of this article and in some of the comments posted -- People are like Lemmings, blindly musing over superficial concepts thrown at them in the press... " Who are you," reader? do you even know? Who is the person sleeping next to you every night? Do you know that? Do you know any more after you divorce them? Who is Tony Blair? George Bush? Who is Gordon Brown?
    You believe what you read, here or there - you never know very much, especially when it comes to familiar strangers in the public eye...How can such a stupid question ever be satisfied during a political campaign? Even if you think you know who a candidate is, it is a mere illusion - a delusion - which you seek-out in your hungry craving for a sense of control... Barack Obama is what he is, as far as you are concerned - - A man who prefers to be understated - is that so strange? He seems to be a man who is keenly aware of the fantastic thrust of fate, which is pushing him into history -- he has accepted his role - he is at peace...What more do you need?

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  • 17. At 07:48am on 19 Oct 2008, Robert Bennett wrote:

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  • 18. At 07:54am on 19 Oct 2008, Kim147 wrote:

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  • 19. At 08:00am on 19 Oct 2008, timshel wrote:

    rwbennet: Actually, Obama is quite clear about where he was born and what change he wishes to bring to the country.

    1. Honolulu, Hawaii (you can even see his birth certificate on the official campaign website, if you like.)
    2. Um, universal healthcare, for one? A foreseeable end to the war in Iraq, re-focusing on the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden, tax cuts for the middle class (rather than the wealthiest 1%), focusing on natural energy sources and NOT oil alone, re-financing/re-tooling No Child Left Behind....the list goes on.

    And in terms of your last comment on a certain WWII fascist dictator whose name gets thrown around a lot with obvious disregard for the true atrocities connected with it....that's just ridiculous. Let's leave it at that.

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  • 20. At 08:13am on 19 Oct 2008, Pat wrote:

    obama is driven by the human spirit: urge to have lasting impact, glory and immortality, by making a positive difference. It evidently requires a LOT of sacrifice and planning.
    like it or not, i reckon, he's the man of the future.

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  • 21. At 08:41am on 19 Oct 2008, Richard Savary wrote:

    Personally I think Barack Obama is beyond masterful. Yes, he exudes ease and confidence. Indeed, he reeks of capability and competence. And, yes, he is almost supernaturally calm, and quietly commanding. He is NOT beholden to the corporate community for his success, and THAT is a miracle.

    If there is one thing he has made perfectly clear, it's that he's in this for the good of the "middle class." He seems motivated by a desire to make society right (meaning LEFT), perhaps for the first time ever. His politics ARE more Socialist than any have dared promote in decades, at long last, and he's more like a guru than a politician. We should be thankful.

    He is, perhaps, the one we've been waiting for.

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  • 22. At 08:56am on 19 Oct 2008, muralitastic wrote:

    He has written two books. They are actually quite revealing. He is exactly what McCain says about him: an old fashioned tax and spend liberal. You decide whether that's good or bad.

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  • 23. At 08:59am on 19 Oct 2008, jimoase wrote:

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  • 24. At 09:01am on 19 Oct 2008, FGenas wrote:

    To paraphrase Mr. Webb,
    There is something subtly sinister in your article ...

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  • 25. At 09:04am on 19 Oct 2008, cellosurf wrote:

    there is no enigma: just read his 2 books and you will understand everything

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  • 26. At 09:05am on 19 Oct 2008, FGenas wrote:

    Referring to Mr. Hewitt's article:
    To paraphrase Mr. Webb,
    There is something subtly sinister in your article ...

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  • 27. At 09:11am on 19 Oct 2008, dhimmi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 28. At 09:34am on 19 Oct 2008, mzungumasaai wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt has been "embedded" (to use a phrase familiar to Iraq war-correspondents) with the Obama campaign for some time now, and may suffer from a slight touch of "Stockholm Syndrome": his latest post reads rather more like a hagiography than like a critical analysis.

    Having said that, I agree with almost everything he writes! Obama's style is refreshingly thoughtful, and, well: presidential... After having had to endure for the last 8 years an aging fratboy in the White House, this is a welcome relief indeed. It is also just plain smart strategy to stay cool while McCain gets more and more angry and erratic. While I rarely agreed with him, I nonetheless used to respect McCain. But after observing the mounting visciousness and dishonesty of his campaign during these last few weeks I find it increasingly difficult to suppress a certain degree of "shadenfreude" while watching as it self-destructs!

    Moving beyond discussing style to discussing message for a minute though: how is it possible that McCain can get away with calling Obama's tax plan (increase taxes ONLY for those who are earning more than $250K/yr) "socialism" and "welfare", while his own plans and actions support a government takeover of failing financial institutions? (Of course we shouldn't be surprised: the neocons' poorly-hidden- agenda has always been to privatise the wealth and socialise the debt).

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  • 29. At 09:38am on 19 Oct 2008, Chris wrote:

    It was during my only visit to the US, that I first saw Obama. It was on our hotel room TV, in Boston, in 2004. I called over to my wife, "Darling, come and see this. This guy will be president one day".

    For at least six years, I have also said history will be very harsh with the current President.

    Will I be right on both counts; who knows.

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  • 30. At 09:54am on 19 Oct 2008, Ralph Klemp wrote:

    I am surprised! it is again the 'animal spirits' talking. One thing we have learned in old Italy is to shun emotions, but analyze programs and contents. The real question is, does this guy and his team bring up solutions which are better or worse for my country, me?
    Mr. Berlusconi has a 71% positive rating in Italy now, because he perorms brilliantly and solves the real problems one by one.

    Of course, personality is an important issue when it comes to implementation of solutions, and that is precisely why Barak Obama is the perfect president for crisis times.
    Did you notice? When he speaks You always understand him! compared to George W. that's a great achievment!

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  • 31. At 10:06am on 19 Oct 2008, Alastair wrote:

    It seems human nature to be scared of something that you don't understand. Anyone in power who has an intelligence is feared rather than respected. That fear shows so clearly in the responses to Obama's campaigning. "He's an Arab" etc. there's a well distributed and numerous section of poorly educated US citizens that will never vote for him, but then they're also the least likely to vote for his policies. They're the kind of people who fall for the Palin pally pander and they're the people who put Bush in power. I would rather someone was aloof by nature, than friendly by design like Palin, there's something altogether more sinister about that - a pitbull in sheep's clothing. Mind yer ankles!

    It's about time someone was at the helm who puts people around him of stature rather than family tie and can measure their advice...His values of calm and thoughtfulness spread down to his voters and maybe they'll spread out from there...

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  • 32. At 10:21am on 19 Oct 2008, nestmaster wrote:

    Although I've not gotten the chance to see/hear Barack Obama in person I feel I know Obama well. In a word, Obama is dedicated. He is also deliberate and disciplined. He listens and hears. Obama is trustful, trusting and inspires the same in those working on his campaign. Obama is someone many of us Americans are electing as opposed to someone who is running for election. There is a difference. Obama represents us and leads us. We are electing a leader as opposed to a personality or a politicial point of view. Obama is what is good about us along with a mix if all that we've been exposed to. Obama is an American. He is both one of us and all of us. It was my priviledge to have voted for Barack Obama yesterday by absentee ballot in my home state of Washington.

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  • 33. At 10:23am on 19 Oct 2008, annaray wrote:

    I can see where his enormous energy comes from
    1) he t r u l y loves the American ppl regardless of origin or political ideas and feel at ease and comfortable among them.
    2) he is very very intelligent and understands the American Dream cannot stand as an abstract a b o v e the ppl.
    3) So regulation and fairness in a moderate way is a MUST to s u p p o r t a modern context for the American Dream to serve the ppl.
    This is completely the opposite of the American Dream approach of the GOP where the ideal, the abstract has become primary and demands ppl to serve the ideal
    4) in the dimensions of love what relationships actually are, Obama is a bit shy in his heart and may look aloof sometimes but with dignity
    5) he is in touch with a God which supersedes all culturally defined Gods
    but
    6)
    he maybe a bit too eager to help which may make him look (too?) ambitious

    I would advise him to be a bit more patient


    He is not corrupted by power and arrogance and i truly hope he will stay like that and learns from Gandhi and Mandela how they canceled the immense seduction of power to be smeared by it.

    Then he has the opportunity to become one of the top US presidents of all times for the USA and for a supportive and more happier world around him

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  • 34. At 10:35am on 19 Oct 2008, OneSmallSchlep wrote:

    In part response to No 8:

    "Would people really prefer someone who was stupid, erratic, exhausted, prone to silly gaffs, and desperately wanting to be "loved"? Really?"

    Surely we only need to refer to the last eight years of tenure to answer this question fully in the affirmative. Could it possibly be worse?

    ***

    Perhaps this article is justified in the context of the whole world watching to see if the US voting public make the same catastrophic error of judgement that they have the last two times around?

    From recent memory, perhaps we all know that the result of this election is that we all have something to lose. With policies which on first glances concentrate on the 'WE not ME' factor, delivered capably upon a foundation of emotional intelligence, it maybe possible for this loss to be minimised.

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  • 35. At 10:44am on 19 Oct 2008, Bento-boxer wrote:

    My only advice to Mr Obama would be to secure the services of a competent shirt tailor..the shirts he`s wearing now have collars that make him look like a sickly child.

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  • 36. At 10:51am on 19 Oct 2008, Optomistic2008 wrote:

    I had been an early supporter of Senator Obama, as a new "different" type of politician. But alas, he is proving to be not as advertised. A master of Obfuscation!
    We need answers to questions, not segways as to how the weather is, or finger pointing to distract. And his handlers and other supporters immediately say you are a racist, if you ask for clarification of any statement made by Senator Obama.
    America has come too far to revert back to the middle ages and the all knowing great ones.

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  • 37. At 10:51am on 19 Oct 2008, jon112uk wrote:

    Obama, Obama, Obama

    Yet another item about Obama, linked from the front page.

    Anyone want to have a count of how many items we have had on Obama vs how many on ... what's that other bloke called? The one who's a running mate to Palin...

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  • 38. At 10:55am on 19 Oct 2008, Joe_Pen wrote:

    Mightymouze wrote:
    "...our country as a whole will get poorer."

    This will happen in any case, no matter who will be the next President of the United States.

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  • 39. At 11:05am on 19 Oct 2008, xaxxonjolly wrote:

    I would say that Obama's first book 'Dreams From My Father' gives more away than most politicians give away in a lifetime.

    I would also say the prospect of having an American President who has thought deeply about politics and social issues is very exciting.

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  • 40. At 11:20am on 19 Oct 2008, kennyslim28 wrote:

    Barack Obama is what any just country that believes in democracy needs now to drive its democratic ethos. Nigeria, and other African countries should learn from what is happening inthe USA and bury their prejudices and ethnicity bias to forge ahead in developmental pursuits. The right people should be given the chance to make their input, even as America is about giving to Obama. Obama will, no doubt, make a nice president.

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  • 41. At 11:46am on 19 Oct 2008, nickyagyei wrote:

    Obama is a man we belived and we hape he will bring peacein the world. The man is very cool, not afrid to answer question always in good forum. Keep going on Obama.

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  • 42. At 12:01pm on 19 Oct 2008, badgercourage wrote:

    #31

    "Anyone in power who has an intelligence is feared rather than respected. That fear shows so clearly in the responses to Obama's campaigning. "He's an Arab" etc. there's a well distributed and numerous section of poorly educated US citizens that will never vote for him, but then they're also the least likely to vote for his policies."

    I think this is right. Fear is always more potent an emotion than love or respect.

    Watch Obama's lead shrink as we get nearer polling date. The negative campaigning everyone is saying isn't working probably actually is having an effect on this important section of the electorate.

    It may all depend on challenges to who's allowed to vote and the weather on the day....

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  • 43. At 12:10pm on 19 Oct 2008, Arthur Ngoka wrote:

    Destiny sometimes drives us to perform beyond the expectations of our friends and family, Obama is walking down the corridors of his destiny.

    Obama has an inate sense of purpose, knowing that the odds were against him right from the start, he unlike many other US presidents, asked himself deep questions about his purpose....and I believe his purpose is a desire to effect constructive change and be a solid servant of the people his serves. * Note he is not just a servant of the american electorate, but a servant of the world electorate.

    Power is should be secondary when running an election campaign, he will get accustomed to the power in later years, but for now his poise and his cool, calm and collective demeanor is opening a new chapter in the history of American and world politics.

    He believes he can prosper where others have failed, and he is intelligent enough to fill in the gaps, and that is what counts!!

    Hail Obama! Hail America! Hail Arthur Ngoka!

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  • 44. At 12:11pm on 19 Oct 2008, jimmybucketjoy wrote:

    Obama IS untested ... and I don't care. My younger brother works in a coffee shop, he's not the sharpest tool in the box and is totally untested as a political administrator, but I'd make him leader of the free world over George 'Warmongering-selfserving-lunatic' Bush any day ... because he seems like a nice guy.

    After the disasterous term of Dribbling George I should imagine Americans are graving the kind of change that could only come with removing the Republicans from office. Lord knows the rest of us are.

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  • 45. At 12:38pm on 19 Oct 2008, justjonathan001 wrote:

    I echo some similar comments that have been made.
    This seeming urge to penetrate and probe some supposedly mysterious unknown quality strikes me as pure wishful projection and fantasy that is revealing about those who betray their desire to interpret positive character traits, in a negative vein.

    Perhaps it is the case that Obama IS revealing himself, through his actions; how he reacts in highly tested situations. Let us heed and be impressed by the empirical evidence on show and and see this as a positive mark of Obama's character.

    I find it regrettable that Hewitt, like others, (most probably unwittingly) seek, through overdetermined effort, to cast spurious questions of suspicion on positive attributes meriting praise. Again, this is revealing about Hewitt's psychology - he repeatedly praises Obama but ultimately cannot resist the urge to cast suspicions about Obama that are demonstrably NOT founded on Hewitt's actual experience of Obama.

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  • 46. At 12:48pm on 19 Oct 2008, timtimdotcom wrote:

    Facebook was a woman’s guide to make-up, a skateboard was a foot long piece of 2x4 with a broken rollerskate nailed on the bottom, kids sat on neighborhood street corners and sold kool-aid for 5 cents a cup on a cardboard box, dad worked, mom cooked, and we all looked for commies in the closets and watched Walter Cronkite on washing-machine-sized TV sets. It was America in the early 50’s and I was 4 or 5 years old, an age when memories are emotional in nature and dates and names are fuzzy. I was in a playground with my mother when I wandered over to a small boy with very brown, shiny skin, a huge toothy smile and a head of close cropped, curly black hair. I was fascinated. I remember he giggled as I reached up and ran my hand over his head. The next thing I knew, I was being dragged across the park to a washroom where my mother was scrubbing my hands in ice cold water and scolding me for touching people who could make me sick.

    Children begin their lives walking around with their hearts held out with both hands in front of them. Slowly, as the world impacts on their lives, they learn to hold their hearts concealed behind their backs in one hand while the other hand reaches out in cautious greetings. It is a difficult and painful process to examine one’s own early childhood conditioning, but it is so very helpful and enlightening when you are raising a child of your own.

    Today I live in a European capitol, am married to a woman who was raised in Iran by a father with a social conscience. She grew up feeling the oppressive weight of an unpopular government and Iraqi bombs. We travel often, discuss world problems and have inside “news” stories from friends and relatives in Iran, the US, and a host of other places. We have a young boy with an active mind and we are worried about the future. But recently, we have dared to hope that things might get better, that the “Reign of Error” was coming to an end.

    A few days ago we were watching the last presidential debate on TV. My son did not understand the debate but he was eyeing the candidates with interest. Suddenly, he turned to me and said he wanted to move to the US. When I asked him why, he answered, “Because I want to go to Washington and meet President Obama. I like his head!” I bit back a laugh and the thought of telling my son that he would never get to meet the president because so many others needed his time. Instead I just said, “You know what? I like his head too!”

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  • 47. At 12:50pm on 19 Oct 2008, nobleDonQuixote wrote:

    Hey! The guy's from Krypton. Whaddya expect?

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  • 48. At 1:03pm on 19 Oct 2008, goldonyiboy wrote:

    Senetor Obama is perhaps,the best politician of the 21st century.Being a politician should not be a do or die affair as Mcain wants to make us believe.
    Lokking at Obama gives one the impression of someone vulunteering to Serve,not because he really wants to serve but because he believes things will get worse if he does not intervene.
    I watched the second and 3rd presidential debates.
    What struck me most were his innate abilities to convince his critics,to drive his points home without laying claims to anything,his calmness,and his total adherence to the rules.Loyality should be his second name if you ask me and I just pray that he wins this election.
    He is certainly going to turn things around for the better.

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  • 49. At 1:29pm on 19 Oct 2008, Screener wrote:

    I'm getting sick of liberal puff-pieces on Barack Obama.

    I know the BBC is a deeply, deeply, liberal organisation who in no way think of writing an honest appraisal of the Democratic candidate, let alone a critical one. But this is so shockingly biased I am actually embarrassed for the organisation. Seriously, I don't know where to look with embarrassment. And it angers me that my license fee is paying for this 'leg thrilling' nonsense.

    Sadly, this kind of propaganda works. Puff-pieces like this do have an impact. It goes without saying that the BBC is pulling for Obama, doing all they can to boost him, but this is so blatant it's as if they don't even care about looking impartial any more.

    Let's get one thing clear: I don't dislike Obama. He might make a good president, for all I know. But that's the whole point: no one, including the journalist writing this puff-piece, knows ANYTHING about the guy. He's an unknown. He's had two years political experience, never run any kind of government office such as governor of a state, and some of the people he hangs out with are genuinely worrying.

    Some might say that the fact he has ex-terrorists and racists as friends and mentors is irrelevant. Perhaps it is. But I would like the BBC to look at this more critically, and ask a pointed question here and there. Are we supposed to ignore his connection with Wright and Ayers? Does that not matter?

    I've been through this before with Tony Blair. He promised the Earth, and failed to deliver. Obama looks like he's cut from the same cloth. Are you people so dumb as to believe the hype all over again?

    The fact that he's African American does not give me a warm feeling inside. America and Britain will one day get an African-American president, I'm sure, and they will be as good as anyone else at the job. But is this the right man? A guy with racist and terrorist connections is raising alarm bells with me. While I think he personally may be pretty level-headed, there will be people crawling out of the woodwork that could demand a little tit-for-tat power. The man's past is a liability.


    Perhaps I'll just sit here and wait for a nice puff-piece to appear on John McCain. This is a man I have admired for some time. He's not in the pocket of big business and never has been, and has often been the first to speak out against his party and reach across to the Democrats to deliver difficult Bills. Obama, by the way, has never done such a thing, despite all the rhetoric on 'change.'

    I don't think I'll be holding my breath for the BBC to write anything flattering about McCain, though. That would sully the liberal ivory towers they live in.

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  • 50. At 1:35pm on 19 Oct 2008, dancingpetepark wrote:

    having read his autobiography it think his true motivation lies in a desire to make a positive impact on the world. this is a rare occurrence in polititions

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  • 51. At 2:27pm on 19 Oct 2008, offpat wrote:

    you give yourself away with that one comment, "some of the people he hangs about with..." the worst people he hangs out with are half republicans - the other members of the senate.

    All politicians tend to become corrupted - McCain tried too late to reign in the worst excesses of his own rabid ignoramus loudmouth supporters - agreeing to let them rile up the crowd with racist ignorant rubbish...

    Puff piece or not, Obama is playing this ten times cooler than previous candidates from his own side and a hundred times cooler than the sadly lost Palin & McSame...that is worthy of some blog comment from someone who has been around a few more presidential candidates than anyone commenting here...

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  • 52. At 3:15pm on 19 Oct 2008, jon112uk wrote:

    Obama, Obama, Obama...

    Now there's another item on Obama on the front page - two in one day

    (that just so far today, keep watching)

    Is this just because he is 'african-american', or because he is from the other lot that's not Bush or what?

    Is it a deliberate attempt to influence an election?

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  • 53. At 3:16pm on 19 Oct 2008, U12831485 wrote:

    I second the notions of his calm demeanor being a sign of strength and a refreshing lack of narcism.

    It sets him apart from many other US politicians, who try and create a virtual intimate connection, a fabricated public image which gives the less alert voters that feeling of 'knowing' a candidate.

    It's what used-car salesmen do, in-your-face noise.


    ____

    Fritz Kraut

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  • 54. At 3:17pm on 19 Oct 2008, trebizond wrote:

    In slight response to dpolworth - I sure as hell would prefer to have a President that associated with such people as Bill Ayers, who is now distinguished professor with the University of Illinois at Chicago. The world is never going to be the socialist paradise some people want it, but it certainly can be better than it is now.

    And what's the problem with being liberal? Free from restraint in speech or action, free from prejudice, tolerant, and tending in favour of freedom and democracy?

    Are you stating that you are restrained in speech and action, full of prejudice, intolerant, and in favour of being dictated to by a bunch of neo-cons?

    As a person in his late 20s, we're the generation that was let down by the sell-out of the 60s to greed and baby-boomers. I thought it was too late, and we were heading down the drain - in Obama, it's as if some of the egalitarian spirit of the 60s lives redivivus.

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  • 55. At 3:38pm on 19 Oct 2008, manofpeople wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 56. At 3:40pm on 19 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    Post #3; tucsonmike wrote:"That's it, Gavin. Senator Obama is a complete enigma wrapped in a sphinx, to quote Winston Churchill.

    After all this time of campaigning, I am still not sure who he really is".

    I don't understand these statements. What do you mean? Why are you "still not sure who he really is"? What are you referring to?

    His political affiliation? His race? His nationality? His citizenship status? His age? His right to work in the USA? His sexual preferences? His favourite flavour of icecream? His policies? His economic strategy? His middle name?

    Can you please explain what you're talking about?

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  • 57. At 3:42pm on 19 Oct 2008, ameliehayati wrote:

    I disliked Bento-boxer comment about Obama, as the proverb says:
    did not find any fault in a flower, he said but it's red cheeks.

    I mean you didnt find any bad point about Obama and you focused in the most poinless thing it's of what he wears!

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  • 58. At 4:05pm on 19 Oct 2008, manofpeople wrote:

    With the backdrop of George Bush and his knee jerk policies and decisions, it is no wonder there is couriosity over the next leader of the free world.
    This in itself is not good because by the mere thought, once elected, we have no choice about his decisions, sadly this is not a democracy.

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  • 59. At 4:16pm on 19 Oct 2008, DB wrote:

    dpolwarth, if you do not by now know who Barack Obama is, go and look it up. As you do not trust the BBC, try other sources. As a Chicagoan I encourage you to search through the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Daily Southtown, and various other Chicago and Illinois TV stations, newspapers and blogs (e.g. Capitol Fax, Illinoize). And of course don't forget THOMAS, the US Congress's bill-search website, and also don't forget the Illinois General Assembly website. You'll need those two to look through the legislation Obama has written or sponsored.

    What you'll find is a very active, very successful legislator who in British policy terms stands somewhere in between Old Labour and New Labour but who also has quite a conservative and very anti-revolutionary temperament. He's a Midwestern reform politician in the tradition of people like Robert LaFollette and Eugene McCarthy. And he has a suitable personality for the job; assuming he gets elected, he will be a very rare combination -- very, very intelligent, AND very good at getting on with others, AND focused on the job. Clinton was missing the last feature, Reagan was missing the first feature, Carter and Bush I were missing the second feature, the current president is missing the entire deck of cards, but Obama has it all.

    Also, allow me to summarize a few things.

    1. Obama has held elected office for almost 12 years now -- eight in the Illinois General Assembly representing a district about the same size as a British parliamentary constituency (in this case, the 13th Senate District, which is the Chicago lakefront from downtown south to the Indiana border) that includes a huge mix of different social groups and classes; and now four in the US Senate.

    2. He's done a fair bit in that time; death penalty reform in the state, overcoming huge opposition to require videotaping testimony in capital cases; universal children's health coverage in the state; and in the Senate, the first serious American initiative to stop weapons proliferation from the Soviet Union.

    3. You've had ridiculously biased coverage of the people he associates with. You probably don't know that Jeremiah Wright is a highly decorated military veteran whose infamous YouTube sermon was an allegory quoted ridiculously out of context; you probably don't know that Obama's "association" with Bill Ayers was a local bipartisan school reform effort that also included two university presidents (one of them a big Republican) and Ronald Reagan's close friend and Richard Nixon's former ambassador to London Walter Annenberg, and that Ayers was included for his very considerable expertise on primary and secondary education.

    Lastly the comparison with Blair is simply wrong. Blair never did any of the grassroots organizing that Obama has done; Blair never worked professionally or otherwise with poor people as Obama has done; everything I've heard, including from people who've met Blair, suggests that Blair is, as we'd say in the Midwest, "not the sharpest knife in the drawer"; Obama is also far less inclined to moralize at people than Blair. There's a very great deal of difference between the two.

    Blair has more in common with Bill Clinton than with Barack Obama, but Clinton is still smarter and less out of touch than Blair. Blair, like Clinton, is an incredible narcissist; Obama is probably one of the least narcissistic politicians I've met. Of course, there is no such thing as a non-narcissistic politician, but I'll gladly take minimally narcissistic.

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  • 60. At 4:29pm on 19 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    decisivemoment, I must thank and commend you for your brilliant summary in post #59.

    :)

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  • 61. At 4:48pm on 19 Oct 2008, Drew wrote:

    I'm sorry but you all misquote Winston Churchill's broadcast in October 1939:

    "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."

    The real quotation is perhaps more revealing of Barack Obama and perhaps of America, past, present and future.

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  • 62. At 5:15pm on 19 Oct 2008, demokratos wrote:

    As a non-American citizen who resides under the U.S. sun - on their side of the Atlantic - am I the only person who sees Barack Obama as an AMERO-AFRICAN with familial Islamic roots instead of the hackneyed 'Afro-American' stereotype with all the baggage that that nomen includes?

    Whilst recognising Mr. Obama's personal qualities and capability, my current reservations are about who will come out of the wardrobe firmly attached to his coat-tails?

    Mind you, his push towards an eventual 'Obama-Osama Summit' might get a multitude of problems into the discussion forum on world-cohabitation and peace.

    'Peaceful co-existence ' they used to call it in the 60's with JFK.

    It's about time for another 'In our time' drive, 'Not because it's easy but because it's hard - and it's the right thing to do'.

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  • 63. At 5:22pm on 19 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    #59 I also would like to commend you for this post. A most lucid summary of the facts.

    With Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama I finally begin to relax (although never too much) about my fear of a McCain resurgance.
    Powell was misused horribly by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove gang and his reputation suffered. However he is clearly a man of great dignity who's opinions should be valued by both parties and independents. If he can bring the swing to Obama so much the better.

    As a high profile Republican changes sides any late scaremongering from McCain or screeching from Palin will seem ever more irrelevant as the USA seeks to regain it's standing in the world and it's self-respect back home.

    PAX

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  • 64. At 5:35pm on 19 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    I'm puzzled by all this concern that Obama has "familial islamic roots". Why because some muslims want to blow stuff up should anyone who is remotely associated with Islam be suspect.

    Lots of Northern Irish Catholics blew stuff up in Northern Ireland and Great Britain in the 70s and 80s yet would their children be suspect. Also much of their funding came from US citizens.

    Lots of Germans have parents or grandparents who were card holding members of the Nazi party - are their descendents forever tarred by that.

    And lots of Russians (many of whom have emigrated to the US, Europe and all over) either were themselves or had parents who were very successful under the communist system.

    Barack Obama is a man who has displayed nothing but a desire to make the best for the people of the USA. He has done the leg-work and he deserves the presidency possibly more than any other President as he has risen to these heights despite his ethnicity and despite having a name that can be easily lampooned by scared right-wingers into a fusion of the top boogeymen - Sadaam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

    This guy is spectacular and I hope that Michelle has even more reason to be proud of her country ..... the USA may be stepping boldly into a bright future. McCain and Palin will take us back to the stone age.

    Peace to all

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  • 65. At 5:43pm on 19 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    #55 At 3:38pm on 19 Oct 2008, manofpeople wrote:

    The reason why people feel the need to know Barack Obama, it is simply a trust issue, he is black and his middle name is hussein.



    Sorry, am I really reading this. You don't trust him because he is black!!!!! and because his middle name (which I'm fairly sure he didn't choose) is Hussein, a very common name in Muslim lands ..... read it again HE DIDN'T CHOOSE HIS OWN NAME.

    Now, if he had in the past changed his name and hen tried to cover it up .... no it would still be irrelevent.

    In fact his standing for office with the albatross of that name around his neck shows that he firstly trusts the American people to look beyond shallow and meaningless stereotypes and secondly he believes it is his policies whereby the VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS would be better off.

    And completely by the bym even he if he were Muslim .... duh - they're not all terrorists.

    Are all Christians exactly like Sarah Palin?

    Grrrr

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  • 66. At 5:58pm on 19 Oct 2008, atllady wrote:

    He is good at this because he has perfected it. HE HAS ONLY ACCOMPLISHED RUNNING FOR AN OFFICE IN HIS LIFE......PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.....
    HE HAS NEVER GOVERNED A STATE OR BALANCED A BUDGET...
    AMERICA IS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE IF HE IS ELECTED WITH ALL HIS SOCIALIST VIEWS.

    SO HE IS AN EMPTY SUIT WHO IS GOOD AT TALKING.....

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  • 67. At 6:02pm on 19 Oct 2008, atllady wrote:

    So you don't want to hear what an empty suit is....it is in 5 letters....OBAMA.

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  • 68. At 6:08pm on 19 Oct 2008, atllady wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 69. At 6:16pm on 19 Oct 2008, Magna27 wrote:

    Does the fact that 'we don't know him' indicate that we are just searching for faults that we have not yet found?

    I'm not proposing we do find faults- he's as perfect a candidate for the US top job that I have ever witnessed in my short life.

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  • 70. At 6:20pm on 19 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    Posts #66-68... is this what passes for political debate in the USA now?

    Or was it always thus?

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  • 71. At 6:50pm on 19 Oct 2008, glueonhair wrote:

    Hey People, yes you! all you intellectuals that are smugly posting your expert testimony , absolutely convinced that ONLY you are right? How about trying to see the situation from joe the plumbers (sic)point of view? If McPain is so keen to point out Obama's lack of experience, how come he has a running mate that lacks a modicum of that, or common sense, or taste, or statesperson like ways etc? Not once have i seen or heard, directly or through the press, tasteless and personal jibes against McCain, coming from the Obama camp! As in my view a large section of the American people are part of a potential Jerry Springer audience, with their instant judgements "erm...i won't vote for Obama, as he's um ...an Arab?" In essence i just have the feeling that everyone just cannot believe that their potential saviour is in front of them, quietly and directly addressing the problems that the US has! Of course there is even now a magnum being cocked by some crackhead, and let's hope the Kennedy lessons have been learned! You as US citizens cannot afford to let this candidate be exposed to those dangers, you will need to protect and nurture the one who will do the same for you!Of course if you prefer an angry old man, and a hockey mom? May your God help you!

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  • 72. At 7:47pm on 19 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    Enigma? Yes. Too good to be true. And there lies the rub. There is something that I can't put my finger on. But I am uneasy. Too smooth tongued. He will win and then we and the world will find out. The closet will be opened. I fear that the dark secret will be revealed. The number 666 comes to mind!

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  • 73. At 8:08pm on 19 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    #68 - Atllady.

    Words fail me!

    Nearly.....

    You are a nasty little racist with little understanding of the world and it's history.

    To equate someone with Hitler is playing with fire, as the gloves are off. It is a rubicon moment in any argument and shows you are all out of real ideas.
    The implications in your post made me think of alerting the moderators, but I thought better to leave it and let everyone else see the type of person you are.

    If you actually listened to what he is saying and broke out of your pre-conditioned little bigot-zone you would realise that this man more than many other politicians has the best for the people of the USA in mind.

    It delights me to think how upset your will be on November 5th

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  • 74. At 8:08pm on 19 Oct 2008, dursun wrote:

    Enigma ! What enigma ?
    We have a candidate who's not a cartoon character. Apparently he's to "deep" for ordinary Americans to comprehend.

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  • 75. At 8:21pm on 19 Oct 2008, Richard Naef wrote:

    #55

    The doctor who saved my early born Baby Daughter's life was called Hussein.

    Walker (George Bush's middle name) is very common in anglo saxon societies and quite a few murderers share it.

    In the UK the name McCain is famous for making oven chips.

    Michael Palin is a very fun man.

    All 4 of the above examples should have a much influence on any sensible americans' vote as Mr Obama's middle name.

    I know that most Americans are sensible.

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  • 76. At 8:31pm on 19 Oct 2008, bronzesultan1 wrote:

    I believe this just show what a good, and natural politician he is. Campared to the bullish Mcian he is better.

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  • 77. At 8:57pm on 19 Oct 2008, jvalsson wrote:

    An interesting article indeed!
    But how on earth can you compare a gentleman like Senator Obama to a backstreet bully like Gordon Brown?
    Mr Brown effectively buried Iceland's (a friendly NATO ally) banking industry alive with threats to sue an already near-bankrupt state, and by using anti-terrorism laws to simultaneously seize some of Iceland's UK-based banking assets! Would Sen. Obama have done the same? I don't think so.

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  • 78. At 9:55pm on 19 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    Hello

    I suppose that I might be able to shed some light on U.S. citizens, and the way they think, way out here in the vastness that is the center of North America - the wilderness, if you will.

    I grew up in St, Louis Missouri at the major confluences of "old man river", "the mighty Mo". St. Louis is a very conservative Catholic community, and is heir to the old capital of the Louisiana Territory - under the Spanish, French, and British. In fact there are still some existent British fortifications and French buildings here and there.

    Currently I live on the other side of Missouri, just across the border, in Kansas City. This area is an evangelical protestant stronghold, like... the Maiden Fort of Republicanism. I live, specifically, in Johnson County Kansas. Kansas is the heart and soul, the motherland, of modern Republicanism. Yes, they want to teach "creationism" in the schools here, well... at least a small vocal portion of the electorate does and everybody is kind of forced to go along with it.

    Of course I have, over a lifetime, made extensive contacts in this region, I went to a couple of universities here, etc. I know these people; daily, I hear the racial undertones, the coded comments. Every single day I have to put up with people who think Obama is a muslim terrorist (church email lists). I know who these people are, they are the hundreds of people that I live and work with.

    What they really are: regular folk of all walks of life who claim to be Christians, who despite going to church two to three times a week, and reading their Bibles daily, do not even begin to understand the original intent of the faith. They're bigots. They're greedy. They're afraid. They are material consumers of anything with the brand "idiocy". They are the Taliban of the United States. Yep. I said it, and it's true.

    Now yesterday, I read in the Saturday paper about Barak Obama holding an impromptu rally in downtown Kansas City - I went. Gathered were 75,000 of the most kind hearted and wonderful people. A sea of bright and shining faces. This, on short notice - 75,000... in Kansas City. That same morning in St. Louis, only hours before - 100,000 people, on short notice.

    So, hope is not extinguished after all - even here, deep in the "red states". Rove sowed division, and it took hold in the dark crevices of the crack pot minds - but not the rest of us. There remains the desire to work hard and do the right thing; there is a desire to be fair, and to do right by your fellow man; there is indeed a strong bond of community that cannot be broken by terror; there has already begun - a turning away from the bigotry, the arrogance, and the divisiveness of Republicanism.

    We have hope - and they couldn't kill that.

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  • 79. At 10:00pm on 19 Oct 2008, amexica wrote:

    I think the very qualities you use to describe Obama is what makes him so attractive: his stability, his intelligence, his ability to think on his feet.
    We have little respect for politicians because they are so often power hungry, yet empty of ideas. Obama offers the energy of his youth, the ideology of someone who knows himself, and he is wants to make life better for all of us. Yes, he does remind us of Martin Luther King, Jr. who also took the more difficult road.
    I sense that he is weary of defending himself as being 'dangerous', ' a socialist', and specially of being a black man.
    All of us who recognize his talents must support him; he is asking us to work together for change. Who does not see the need for change in government?

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  • 80. At 10:23pm on 19 Oct 2008, Taxonomics wrote:

    For "enigma" read "otherness".

    What you are trying to say, Gavin, is that this is a guy who - rapid intake of breath - is black but is really impressive.

    Get out and about a bit more. Obama is not alone. There are others like him.

    Stop this vapid rubbish. Leave your baggage behind. And start earning your salary and report issues not rubbish like this.

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  • 81. At 10:32pm on 19 Oct 2008, Taxonomics wrote:

    "He is on stage every day. He speaks, gives interviews but as to what really drives this extraordinary politician we as watchers, voters cannot be sure.

    Gavin - I'm very glad you are not an American voter - this "uncertainy" on your part would - if logic had its way - would mean you would vote for the certainty of a McCain and Palin ticket!

    Thanks for letting us know of the terrible darkness at the heart of the Obama campaign - the fact that Gavin Hewitt does not "know" what drives Obama.

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  • 82. At 10:44pm on 19 Oct 2008, autish wrote:

    The problem with Obama is that in some ways he has no major weakness. He has flaws, ones that he has been quite ready to share in his own books, but no obvious character flaw. He seems to perfect, and that makes people suspicious.

    Yet, to me, he just seems like a measured likable man, who is ambitious but quite normal. I understand but don't share this desire to "know" him. I fear though, he will remain aloof, until we can make a tabloid piece like we did for Clinton.

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  • 83. At 10:46pm on 19 Oct 2008, timohio wrote:

    I find this talk about the enigma of Obama to be faintly silly. He is a highly intelligent man who is reserved in his manner but has a good sense of humor and can laugh at himself (see the YouTube videos about the Al Smith dinner). I like that. It's about time. I've had enough of glad-hander salesmen who are your best friends until they make the sale.

    Now, it really is time for Americans in particular to stop wondering about supposed enigmas and start thinking about what will happen after he is sworn into office. The messes will still be there and Obama can't clean them up all by himself. He's been pretty clear about that. It's going to take a sustained common effort to put things right. So if you vote for the man (and I intend to) walk into that voting booth understanding that you will have to step up to the job, make some sacrifices, and do some things differently. And it's about time.

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  • 84. At 00:18am on 20 Oct 2008, Suzanne B wrote:

    There's no mystery about Senator Obama. What you see is what you get. He has no hidden agenda.

    I can usually tell an empty suit or a pretender from a hundred yards. I never trusted Bush and I was never ensnared by Clinton's too-easy charm. Obama is the real deal. I accept him for who and what he is, and I trust him and his judgment. OK he will have faults - we all do. He is well aware of his and doesn't pretend to be perfect.

    He represents and offers a new kind of politics - if people still don't understand what the change means then they just haven't been paying attention, or they're too scared to let go of what they know to be broken but can't open their squeezed-shut eyes to a better way of doing things.

    So, there are two choices - go for a third Bush term by electing McCain, and watch as America loses what's left of its standing, or help build America up again into the fine country it was and can be again with Obama at the wheel.

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  • 85. At 02:04am on 20 Oct 2008, RustamKhan wrote:

    Obama has shown intelect, charisma, dignity and respect throughout this campaign.

    He has been attacked for non-issue things which he faced with dignity and honour. He has exhibited high standards of a mature politician.

    He will be a great catalyst for much needed change in USa and restore lost respect of USA amongst other nations. He will bring back that lost respect to USA and will be a cause to bring peace in Iraq and Afghaistan by pulling US forces from there.

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  • 86. At 02:23am on 20 Oct 2008, Robert Bennett wrote:

    There are law cases in American Federal Courts today concerning Obama's Birth Certificate(s) and especially the one "posted" on his web site. The ammont of material that has been held back from the public concerning his background is very strange. His own Grandmother says Obama was born in Africa, and she was at his birth! There are serious issues about him becoming an American President. All the false "hero" stuff is very suspect too, because what Obama will really do is unknown. And in the case of someone like Obama, with very little real experience it is obviously troubling to informed citizens. We have all been preached at for 50 years now, on how race should not be an issue in things like this election...and see what we get?

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  • 87. At 03:26am on 20 Oct 2008, fireydonjuan79 wrote:

    Mr. Obama will not only be healthy for our county, but also for the rest of the world.

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  • 88. At 04:24am on 20 Oct 2008, patienceltd wrote:

    Barack Obama has been quite clear all along about what drives him, but it's a message that Americans are distinctly uncomfortable with. He has said, "I am running because of what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” I am running because I do believe there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost here."

    We're deeply suspicious of public figures who espouse a sense of mission or devotion to purpose. History has shown us their great (usually in affirmation of universal human rights) and terrible (usually in devout pursuit of extreme ideologies) legacies in the world.

    Further, many people can't handle a living example of Gandhi's exhortation, "Be the change you want to see in the world." In our narcissism, we squirm at the implication that we're grasping pointlessly after toys and entertainments, wallowing in greed and fear, when we see proof that we could be doing better.

    Whether Barack Obama will maintain the necessary strength of character and vision to lead us all to enact our better selves remains an open question, but as far as I'm concerned, hope is a far more satisfying tool than fear any day of the week.

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  • 89. At 05:26am on 20 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    Post #86; rwbennett wrote:

    "There are law cases in American Federal Courts today concerning Obama's Birth Certificate(s) and especially the one "posted" on his web site".

    False. There are no law cases, and the birth certificate on his site is genuine. (See the article here: http://tinyurl.com/5vrus3).

    "The ammont of material that has been held back from the public concerning his background is very strange".

    False. If you think this is true, give examples please.

    "His own Grandmother says Obama was born in Africa, and she was at his birth!"

    I don't believe that this claim is true. In any case, the state of Hawaii has a birth certificate proving that he was born THERE. So his citizenship is valid; it cannot be argued.

    "There are serious issues about him becoming an American President".

    What issues?

    "All the false "hero" stuff is very suspect too, because what Obama will really do is unknown".

    It is not unknown. He has stated very clearly what he intends to do, and what he intends to do is very sensible, which is precisely why people are voting for him in such large numbers.

    "And in the case of someone like Obama, with very little real experience it is obviously troubling to informed citizens. We have all been preached at for 50 years now, on how race should not be an issue in things like this election...and see what we get?"

    Nonsense. He's had over 12 years in politics; that's far more experience than Sarah Pain by several orders of magnitude. See post #59 in this thread for an excellent summary of Obama's political experience and achievements.

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  • 90. At 06:05am on 20 Oct 2008, smileytm303 wrote:

    Obama is indeed the real thing. He's different from Bush AND from Clinton, and since we've been used to a certain southern charisma and need to be loved in the last two presidents, Obama's intense, intelligent grace and passion without that need to be loved may seem strange. But it is our habituation to the Clinton-Bush vibe that makes it so.

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  • 91. At 06:13am on 20 Oct 2008, WilliamAG wrote:

    Maybe in the fast paced, out of breath societies that we live in, we forget that old rules are sometimes the best to live by. Barack Obama is just a man, just like every other man. Why try to be something he is not.
    He is human, he is not perfect, but he also doesn't try to portray himself as something more. He watches what he says, unlike most people when they are given the opportunity to speak in front of the public, not to appear clean and spotless, but more so that he won't have to back track and "correct" his thoughts and opinions. He doesn't do it for the campaign, at least not entirely. I think most of it is, that he himself is trying to gain peoples trust. Americans have no trust or faith in their politicians. Perhaps people have forgotten that they get what they expect out of their politicians, and he is trying to be, and not to merely appear to be "the right candidate," but also a good candidate for the role of President of the United States. Have people forgotten it is a prestige title that should have requirements that have to be met, and by that I mean that it should take more than your Father being President to get you in. Unfortunately the American Presidency has been seen as a joke these last 8 years in modern history, even by it's own people.
    As America stands now, it's more the "Divided States of America."
    I think he is someone who thinks about what he has to say because he realizes that what he says will be very important, and if anyone has cared to notice, he hasn't necessarily had to backtrack on anything he has ever said. He is a very eloquent man and knows how to speak, how to explain himself, and he does it by confronting accusations, and fear mongering by his opponents directly and by not trying to pull "fast ones" on the public. Sometimes a good defense is no defense at all.
    People have tried to sully his campaign and his person with smear tactics and it really hasn't fazed him because he isn't willing to play those old political games, which I believe his camp realizes most people are just either really tired of watching or have smartened up to. He doesn't treat the voters as dummies, or as people that he needs to manipulate to "win" the presidency, but more so sees them as the people that he will need to help him fix America. I think people just see Mccain more as someone who wants to be the next President and not really someone who wants to fix the current dilemmas facing our world today. If you take a look at his past statements, such as staying in Iraq for 100 years, and the more obvious, getting a female VP as your running mate, not because it was the right decision, but because it might sway all those upset Hillary voters, or because you just want to seem like you want to "make history" in a different way.
    He is campaigning for votes, not because he wants to help you, but merely because it will get him into office. Lest the American public forget that it was his party that got everyone into this global collapse in the first place.

    One man, a President can not fix all the problems we are facing alone. It will take the nation/nations to pull together and see that either together we fix the problem, or divided we all fall, and as we have seen in the last few months, we are all falling, and fast.

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  • 92. At 06:33am on 20 Oct 2008, Parrisia wrote:

    There's something that has changed on Obama just like anyother politician who runs for or hold high office: his hair has started turning grey

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  • 93. At 08:09am on 20 Oct 2008, multicultural_sage wrote:

    Oh Gavin, not you as well.

    This obsession with 'who' he is borders on the pathetic. Read his books!

    He details various aspects of his character, including flaws and his brief cannabis days. Not too mention a detailed account of his family's history and his political beliefs!

    Too say we don't know him is to say he must have lied throughout both of his books. He is known more than any other president or leader. Yes he smooth, and calm, but since when has that been anything new for black guy, people forget that in our prejudiced world it's not enough for a black guy to be just as good or similar to the next white guy, he NEEDS to be better, i.e. smooth, calm (not an angry blackman, etc...)

    Why can't people be honest and stop kidding themselves, the part they don't know about is when they look at him he is BLACK!

    Can we really trust him?

    Grow up, accept that times have changed and believe in hope and the possibility of change!

    (This message is sponsored by Obama '08) joke...

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  • 94. At 09:00am on 20 Oct 2008, Martijn wrote:

    The underlying assumption of this blog seems to be that with Obama, what you see can't possibly be what you get. There has to be a hodden agenda of sorts.
    Why is that? We know what drives McCain: the burning and childish ambition to outdo his daddy and his granddaddy. Apparently Obama isn't driven by such petty ambitions. Is that a bad thing? As a journalist myself I'm sometimes quite annoyed by the way my colleagues go about their job. This entire blog is just a variation on the 'who is Obama?'-whispers that are being spread by the McCain campaign. Let's assume for now, like Colin Powell, that he's a decent politician with the potential to inspire people. If he "secretly" wants to introduce "socialism" to the USA, that's fine by me.

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  • 95. At 09:11am on 20 Oct 2008, Martijn wrote:

    Somerthing I would like to add is that even the last two US presidents whom i politically agreed with, Carter and Clinton, both had a totally unconvinciing public persona in my opinion. Their smiles were always insincere. I won't even mention the Reagans and Bushes of this world, who were totally without substance. Obama is the first politician I have seen in a long time who doesn't appear to be insincere. If he doesn't get bogged down by the day to day politics of the office and if he manages to avoid being assasinated, he might become an American Nelson Mandela.

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  • 96. At 10:17am on 20 Oct 2008, ATULAO wrote:

    I havn't see a politican who so widely admired by people all over the world here in India people were interested in american politics but many are closely following this Election

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  • 97. At 12:17pm on 20 Oct 2008, erankew wrote:

    Its not that hard to pinpoint. Hes an intellectual and hes hard working, add to this, he has the common touch. And he has this because he came up the hard way. Now hes put the difficult days behind him and has had to adopt a sort of cooler than cool demeanour, which is a necessity to be a politician, not just a president. This is the reason he got that "elitist" tag. Everyone knows, hes not an elitist, but its that he understands; inorder to be liked by the masses, you cannot be too much of anything, not too in tune to common values and not too engrossed in the glitz, hes playing a role, and has played it to perfection. To those that inherently dislike/distrust him, thats what it comes down to. No one is truly 100% independent, either you're a little nervous about a black man being president, in which case you see his cool as something to distrust, or you're liberally inclined and would jump at the chance to elect a black man as president and see his cool as just what America needs. This election still depends alot on race, we know that, its time to start admitting it. If his name was anything but barack obama, and if he was white, this would be a landslide year. As it stands, hes probably still going to clinch it, and this despite being black, with a name like obama and being the underdog till very recently. Win or lose, like or dislike, Obama should be respected immensely.

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  • 98. At 1:13pm on 20 Oct 2008, Screener wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 99. At 1:35pm on 20 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    I'm not an American so I don't vote. But I am astonished at this 'love in' with Obama. But then because of the American preoccupation with race and colour and the white liberals falling over each other to plead guilty to being white and demonstrate their reconstruction and rehabilitation into the human race by supporting Obama, who being black must therefore by definition, not be criticised, I understand. It seems that now in America to be black means that you must are above criticism and even the slightest nuance is immediately interpreted as a racial slur and there is a whole industry built on looking for racism. Meanwhile, no such problem with Sarah Palin being white and a Christian and horror of horrors, not one of your liberal kind, but a full blooded Bible believer. Not even a theistic evolutionist. OK to mock her and her beliefs on the smart assed talk shows. But then with an overwhelmingly liberal media what else can you expect? Not that given the chance I would vote for McCain! But can Colin Powell really be serious when he says that it doesn't matter whether Obama is a Muslim or not? I don't know whether he is or not. He say's he is a Christian. But there is a surat in the Koran that allows a Muslim to lie for the greater good of Islam. But it certainly should matter for America, it's founding fathers being Christian, along with it's constitution being based in Christianity and it being still a Christian nation that it's President is not a Muslim. Are you kidding? So Obama? Certainly not an empty suit, but........something not quite right? I never trust a man too good to be true. A Trojan horse I wonder? Just who and what does he really represent?

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  • 100. At 2:30pm on 20 Oct 2008, Rameshchandrasingh wrote:

    I do not think that Hillary's label at Obama as 'untested' is the same as 'unexplained' used by Gevin. Hillary'sr was a completely negative attribute to warn, alianate and scare away American democratic people from Obama. 'Unexplained' is a neutral word and should mean that the qualities and traits of Obama are yet to be put in action. Yes, until he gets to work on his blueprint, he can not explain himself completely. It is something what German philosopher Emanuel Kant has said about the interdependence of 'concepts' and 'percepts': the former without the latter is empty and the latter without the former are blind. We have seen plenty of concepts in Obama. He has less of percepts. But the current American leaders have shown too much percepts and too little of the concepts. That is why American people are turning their attention towards Obama's concepts.

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  • 101. At 5:42pm on 20 Oct 2008, Diala Anthony wrote:

    A "young dark man" will arise as a leader in a Third World country ...

    (2008-2012 WW3 predictions of Nostradamus Century III, Quatrain 60)


    If we substitute 'in' with 'from,' in the quote above, are we looking at him now?

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  • 102. At 6:01pm on 20 Oct 2008, blogbag wrote:

    Totally biased reporting as usual - the BBC is overt in its support for Obama - I think its time we all withhold our license fee as its obviously being used to campaign for Obama. The BBC seem to think he is a god and the little ol Americans should elect him because he pc, right on, liberal and left wing like them. No challenge from the BBC on his dubious funding from the underworld, associations with terrorists, depriving a real civil rights worker from her senate seat, the association with a Pastor who felt 9/11 was justified, the dirty tricks against hilary and of course voting against funding the military. Nor are his high tax and spend plans exposed. In fact who is funding Obamas campaign - ah but that would involve too much work at BBC and it might expose something nasty about him that they don't want to know?

    Isn't it about time we had some objective and challenging reporting from BBC journalists instead of this thinly disguised dummed down, sucking up reporting from these lazy jounalists who obviously can't hide their enthusiasm for this man and their disdain for the nasty, white old man and his illiberal 'pitbull' sidekick.

    BBC you should hang your head in shame.

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  • 103. At 7:13pm on 20 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    99 Royalalbert dock wrote ...

    "I am astonished at this 'love in' with Obama. But then because of the American preoccupation with race and colour and the white liberals falling over each other to plead guilty to being white and demonstrate their reconstruction and rehabilitation into the human race by supporting Obama, who being black must therefore by definition, not be criticised"

    Obama has sound policies for a sustainable future for the USA and a less aggressive outlook to the rest of the world.

    Jesse Jackson was Black - did the same white liberals flood to support him just because of slavery guilt?



    Meanwhile, no such problem with Sarah Palin being white and a Christian and horror of horrors, not one of your liberal kind, but a full blooded Bible believer. Not even a theistic evolutionist. OK to mock her and her beliefs on the smart assed talk shows. But then with an overwhelmingly liberal media what else can you expect?


    "But can Colin Powell really be serious when he says that it doesn't matter whether Obama is a Muslim or not? I don't know whether he is or not. He say's he is a Christian. But there is a surat in the Koran that allows a Muslim to lie for the greater good of Islam"

    So we just assume he lies, and is the mother of all "sleeper agents". How wonderfully selective your reasoning is!



    "But it certainly should matter for America, it's founding fathers being Christian, along with it's constitution being based in Christianity and it being still a Christian nation that it's President is not a Muslim. Are you kidding?"

    Actually it was the Pilgrim Fathers who were Christian - very extreme ones who wanted to live in a theocracy so they left Europe.

    Also the founding Fathers were mainly atheist and deliberately seperated church and state. The ideas of the constitution and rights of man come from 18th century English and French philosophers .... not from the bible.



    "A Trojan horse I wonder? Just who and what does he really represent?"

    Maybe he represents all the people who have been judged by their appearnce, or their name, or what their ancestors did. The people who have not "made it big" in the land of the free. The people who feel that other people less fortunate than themselves deserve a helping hand, and would be happy to pay a bit more tax to see that happen.

    Peace to all.

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  • 104. At 10:21pm on 20 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    Don't know where you are from RomeStu but tsk tsk you obviously don't know your American history. The American founding fathers of the constitution were Christian. As was the basis of the constitution. And you also have no understanding of the meaning of separation of church and state. What it originally said was that the state should not oppress the freedom of the church. The Pilgrim Fathers came to America to escape religious oppression not to establish a theocracy.You really must do better. But then what can we expect from a liberal and probably a card carrying member of the ACLU and probably a atheist and socialist to boot I expect. Obama, sound policies? Really? You mean increase taxes and suck up to Iran.

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  • 105. At 04:41am on 21 Oct 2008, Omahaman wrote:

    Royalalbertdock you quite simply are wrong, the founding fathers were not just Christian. Many were deists believing in the watchmaker take on God, a far cry from what people are talking about when they try and claim that the founders were Christians as it was basicly th atheism/agnosticism of their day. They were not influenced by Christian teachings except in so far as those teachings influenced the enlightenment era philosophy of the day. I would point you towards article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli to support the idea that the founding fathers did not see themselves as founding the nation on Christian principles. And based on your attacks on RomeStu questioning where he is from and accusing him of being a liberal and an atheist i'll just say straight out that I was born and raised in NE and earned a degree in history from a Catholic University so you can take from that what you want.

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  • 106. At 07:04am on 21 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    #104 royalalbertdock

    I can't believe that you are sincere in your lead; that is to say: I mean no offense, but surely you are an educated man, and an Englishman at that, and you would have the world believe that you were short shrifted in your education concerning the great struggles of this historic period that so involved the interests of the British Empire - the 7YW, and the ARW?

    No sir, I cannot believe that you have not read Thomas Paine's "The Age Of Reason"?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Reason

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine

    I believe that you fashion a man of straw... clever field craft indeed, a straw man fashioned in the shape of a red herring!

    Ah ha!

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  • 107. At 07:56am on 21 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    #100 Rameshchandrasingh

    You have described the situation surrounding the Democratic nominee well; we know the Democratic platform, but as in every election and with every candidate we do not know what will be able to be accomplished. It seems to always be a delicate moment leading up to a new president actually taking the seat, and a huge national sigh of relief when the oath is sworn.

    If memory serves me correct - an awful lot in terms of a agenda can be realized. In fact I have seen a wide range of programs: from Apollo to the deregulation of the banking system, from gays and women being tolerated in the foxhole to establishing a strong military boot on the oil supply out of the Gulf.

    One has a sense of what the range of Republican accomplishments over four years would be, but again we do not really know what would be able to be accomplished.

    It is a matter of moving forward through this moment in time confidently - on the educated assumption that all will be as planned.

    I once heard the concept of the stream of time described in terms of a pencil being pushed through a piece of paper, with the stream of history being the pencil, and the plane of the paper the "experienced moment". Time thus existing, as the pencil, both after and prior to this moment - the plane - is the only moment that is "real" to us. One must assume that the future will not be that divergent from our educated predictions.

    Based on what I have seen in my lifetime, we here in the U.S. will enjoy the benefit of some really good leadership in the White House under Obama come next year.

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  • 108. At 08:31am on 21 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    Founding Fathers not Christian? I can't believe what I am reading! And seemingly coming from Americans. But then after decades of a media dominated by secular liberals and the ACLU and has even seen Christian prayer removed from schools it's no wonder. But have you read - In Their Own Words - Founding Fathers and the Bible -Bob Gingrich? Try reeducating yourselves if you are really open to the truth and not just your anti- Christian prejudices. But hang on - doesn't Obama declare himself as a Christian and see his policies as an outworking of his Christianity? Hmmmm!

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  • 109. At 10:41am on 21 Oct 2008, grizeldagruntfuttock wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt's last paragraph seems rather weak. It seems to me that the 'unexplained' is INTEGRITY; a quality much lacking in many, especially power-driven politicians and the bizarrely infantile Bush and McCain.

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  • 110. At 11:17am on 21 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    Integrity? Don't think we have really bottomed out William Ayers and Acorn yet have we? No fan of the BBCs coverage of this election but I think that Gavin Hewitt's 'unexplained' is closer to the mark. Obama? Something is not quite right in Denmark!

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  • 111. At 5:19pm on 21 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    #108 royalalbertdock

    I suppose if I burned all of the books that I own on the subjects of the period in question, frugally, I might be able to stay alive and make it through till January - and thus be prepared in case of the need to rewrite history and reeducate myself. I suppose I would also have to burn all of my Bibles, concordances, and commentaries also as they don't seem to be understood by hardly any of the people that flock to such a banner.

    Let me say this - royalalbertdock, I know where you are mentally as you recommended a specific book title, I can say this with a more than fair degree of certainty - I know where you are. I spent several years attending churches from every denomination across the center of the United States. I joined Seventh Day Adventist churches, Catholic churches, Lutheran churches, Baptist churches, and every type of Evangelical holy roller church that I could find. I spent this time intimately involved in these activities, to include everything from chanting under the mosaics of great basilicas to countless nights riding "shotgun" with a circuit preacher back and forth across the the Western reaches of Kansas and Nebraska and singing joyfully in tiny wooden churches, literally out on the wind swept plains - and this just a small slice of a lifetime of rich religious experience.

    I have met and shaken the hands of many thousands of Christians - I have sat at their tables and have broken bread with them. I have studied both the General History and the Military and Political History of the period, and I have studied Christianity.

    I would humbly suggest that you reeducate yourself. The "liberal media" and ACLU references give you away.

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  • 112. At 6:02pm on 21 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    #110 royalalbertdock

    I fact, the news cycle has been dominated the past 48 hours by continually breaking stories of Republican voter fraud - the National Republican campaign having hired individuals that represent themselves as unaligned or known Democratic organizations, and then while registering voters attempting to persuade them to vote a Republican ticket, or after registering them - altering their cards back at their offices to a Republican advantage, or just throwing them out wholesale.

    Truly despicable.

    Now let's talk about integrity - and what is going on in Denmark :) It happens every election cycle - those silly Republicans with their robo calls, slanders, and injustice. It really makes you wonder about anybody associated with shoring up that failing husk of movement.

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  • 113. At 7:40pm on 21 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    JOCoKansas

    Humbly suggest? Humility and you seem to be distant cousins. Give myself away? I am English and don't live in America. Just an interested but nevertheless informed spectator. I have no interest in exchanging silly Republican or Democrat insults. But who the Pres of the US is will affect me and the rest of the world. The ACLU has always appeared to me to be certainly anti-Christian and a thinly disguised front for communism and certainly does not have the best interests of the USA at it's heart. And you are surely not seriously suggesting that the US media is not predominantly liberal in every sense of the word? You tolerant liberals are all alike though. You can tolerate everything except disaggreement!

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  • 114. At 8:41pm on 21 Oct 2008, PINEAPPLES71 wrote:

    So it looks like Obama is not eligible to be POTUS....

    I think he is going to Hawaii to find out what Andy Martins investigation team has found out......The grandmother story that SKY News is running is an excuse....

    The truth is out and BBC is not covering it yet...Get on it....!!!!






    Obama & DNC Admit All Allegations of Federal Court Lawsuit - Obama’s “Not” Qualified to be President
    Obama Should Immediately Withdraw his Candidacy for President
    For Immediate Release: - 10/21/08 - Complete contact details and pdfs of this press release and motions filed by plaintiff Berg today are at the end of this article

    (Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania – 10/21/08) - Philip J. Berg, Esquire, the Attorney who filed suit against Barack H. Obama challenging Senator Obama’s lack of “qualifications” to serve as President of the United States, announced today that Obama and tbe DNC “ADMITTED”, by way of failure to timely respond to Requests for Admissions, all of the numerous specific requests in the Federal lawsuit. Obama is “NOT QUALIFIED” to be President and therefore Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President and the DNC shall substitute a qualified candidate. The case is Berg v. Obama, No. 08-cv-04083.

    Berg stated that he filed Requests for Admissions on September 15, 2008 with a response by way of answer or objection had to be served within thirty [30] days. No response to the Requests for Admissions was served by way of response or objection. Thus, all of the Admissions directed to Obama and the DNC are deemed “ADMITTED.” Therefore, Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President.

    http://www.obamacrimes.com/index.php/component/content/article/1-main/38-press-release-obama-a-dnc-admit-all-allegations-in-berg-v-obama#comments

    Go to top of page...!!!!


    http://www.pr-inside.com/obama-s-hawai-i-years-the-truth-r869210.htm

    http://www.obamacrimes.com/index.php/component/content/article/1-main/35-interview-with-phil-j-berg



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  • 115. At 8:56pm on 21 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    #104. royalalbertdock wrote:
    "Don't know where you are from RomeStu but tsk tsk you obviously don't know your American history."

    I'm not claiming to be an expert, but have a good working knowledge of US and European history.

    "The American founding fathers of the constitution were Christian. As was the basis of the constitution."

    Omahaman 105 said it very eloquently. Founding fathers were not Christians.

    "You really must do better. But then what can we expect from a liberal and probably a card carrying member of the ACLU and probably a atheist and socialist to boot I expect."

    Wow - that hurts. Sticks and stones!!!
    Where I live "liberal" is a complement!
    Yes, fyi I am an atheist (but not a fundamentalist one)
    If I'm correct "ACLU" is to do with civil liberties - it sounds nice, all that liberty (it means freedom you know)
    Socialist - not at all. Social conscience YES.

    Obama, sound policies? Really? You mean increase taxes and suck up to Iran.

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  • 116. At 01:40am on 22 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    Post #108; royalalbertdock wrote: "Founding Fathers not Christian? I can't believe what I am reading! And seemingly coming from Americans".

    The founding fathers were a mixture of deists, Unitarians, agnostics and freethinkers.

    Quotes from Jefferson:

    "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
    "We discover in the gospels a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstition, fanaticism and fabrication".

    From Franklin:

    "...Some books against Deism fell into my hands... It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."


    From Paine:

    "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."

    From Madison:

    "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."

    From Adams:

    "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."

    From Lincoln:

    "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."

    Washington himself was a deist, as his closest friends and acquaintances openly confirmed.

    The Unites States of America was not founded upon the Christian religion, and its fathers took great care to ensure that this was so. Read Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli.

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  • 117. At 05:00am on 22 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    # 113 royalalbertdock

    I suppose I probably seem bragadocious, and I think that I have an understanding as to why. Is that spelled right? How do they spell that in the U.K?

    I've had friends from all over the world, from every continent - a long list; I'm not bragging, but qualifying, and there is a bit of a difference between people raised where I was raised and many others.

    Not that my situation is better, or worse: out here on the wide open plains of of the U.S.A. you have to live by your wits - "you do for yourself". This is a firmly Republican state, a very conservative state; the only place in the world besides the FATA in which there is a desire to teach "creationism". This is a right to work state; at your place of employment they can fire you without reason, at any time. It's all about a man's handshake - kind of like a "Old West" movie. If you live in a small town there are often few places to work, so if there is a situation at work or at home you have to keep your mouth shut. If you make a mistake and earn a less than desirable reputation, you keep it for life. Physical abuse, violent conflict, and poverty are not uncommon - and a man is judged by his ability to weave his way through this minefield daily and hold his head up.

    That said - if your car breaks down or you skid off the road in one of our howling blizzards, 100 miles from the nearest town, the first person to come by will help. This includes KKK guys, secessionist, ultra conservatives, and all brands of conservatives - all of which I have always been tolerant of; it "comes with the territory".

    I make no apologies for my statements as they are true, but I apologize if I offended you. In fact I strive to be humble; my greatest ambition is to be a good honest, fair, and humble man. I guess I'm not quite there yet. I do drive a twenty year old car and make no pretenses of wealth or power - I hope that helps.

    I as well have no interest in exchanging silly insults, yet I am very much interested in who is elected to my nation's highest political office. I am very interested - and though it would be fun to share my thoughts as I live in the town that this article was written about. I just thought it would be a nice contribution - give it some local color.

    Personally I believe that the UCLA is an organization that promotes fairness and justice - that is a U.S. tenant. There ain't nobody else doing their job. They are in essence, in effect the spirit of the U.S.A., yep. Yes, and I do suggest in the strongest of terms - that the media in the U.S. does lean right, pretty far right.

    I'll give you a bit more some time on my last two points - but right now Bill Clinton is being interviewed on David Letterman. I love that man - another good example of a man who is putting his shoulder to the world's problems.

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  • 118. At 10:28am on 22 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    #117 kansas.....

    Interesting comments. It shows wat diverse place the usa is.


    Just 2 things I'd like to know when you write...
    "Personally I believe that the UCLA is an organization that promotes fairness and justice - that is a U.S. tenant. There ain't nobody else doing their job. They are in essence, in effect the spirit of the U.S.A., yep. Yes, and I do suggest in the strongest of terms - that the media in the U.S. does lean right, pretty far right.

    I'll give you a bit more some time on my last two points - but right now Bill Clinton is being interviewed on David Letterman. I love that man - another good example of a man who is putting his shoulder to the world's problems."

    1) Do you mean the ACLU - not UCLA?

    2) Is Bill or David setting the world to rights?

    Peace (and also levity) to all

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  • 119. At 11:23pm on 22 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    #118 RomeStu

    Yes, I intended to indicate the ACLU - my apologies. It was late at night, maybe even early in the morning, it had been a long day so I probably do come across as less then clear in my thoughts and in my writing structure - not to even mention those pesky details... wow.

    I have to admit: These are long days for me; I was listening to the television in the distant background as I ate my dinner and was typing at the same time - I thus claim fatigue induced dyslexia.

    The show, turned out to be a re-run. It must have been an interview given right after the Democratic primaries; I had not seen it before. Both were seemingly balanced. There was nothing crazy. The guest was very relaxed, yet "presidentially reserved" in his comments.

    To you all: not to seem too self deprecating but, I have never attended any outstanding schools, I certainly was never a Rhodes Scholar, nor did I ever graduate Magna cum Laude - even from a craft class. I think that this is comparatively evident in both the content, structure, and the timbre of my posts. It is obvious that there are some pretty intelligent people that frequent these columns; my hat goes off to all of you all.

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  • 120. At 09:29am on 23 Oct 2008, Wintercity wrote:

    "I agree that Obama is a great man, but I think too many people are voting for his mistique instead of his polices and ability to run a country that dosent want to be reformed. Do you think that everyone knows what will happen when we follow obamas plan? our country as a whole will get poorer. I dont believe that people around the US will like these changes."

    Considering the current crisis, I think whoever is elected will have to go some to beat the record of "empooring" the country (yeah, I know it isn't a word, but it's late...)

    Besides, no matter who gets elected, taxes in the US are going to go up. The bailout money has to come from somewhere.

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  • 121. At 10:18am on 23 Oct 2008, U9238686 wrote:

    Vote for the man who preaches fear or vote for the man who preaches hope..... your choice

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  • 122. At 3:55pm on 23 Oct 2008, eddiepaulwillis wrote:

    I think the writer is being constructive and that's very good and impressive anyway! Obama is highly an intellectual and deserves to be given the mandate to man the US administration. What i have noticed is that, the Republicans always come and destroy the economy and them the Democrats come and clean up the mess. Now it is up to the Us voters to decide for themselves whether they would vote for the republicans to continue messing up the economy or vote for the Democrats to come and clean up the exacerbating mess which has been as a result of failed policies. Dr. Martin Luther King JNR. said "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." All the assaults and insults being metted out to Obama must be measured against what Dr. King said some years back.

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  • 123. At 3:55pm on 23 Oct 2008, eddiepaulwillis wrote:

    I think the writer is being constructive and that's very good and impressive anyway! Obama is highly an intellectual and deserves to be given the mandate to man the US administration. What i have noticed is that, the Republicans always come and destroy the economy and them the Democrats come and clean up the mess. Now it is up to the Us voters to decide for themselves whether they would vote for the republicans to continue messing up the economy or vote for the Democrats to come and clean up the exacerbating mess which has been as a result of failed policies. Dr. Martin Luther King JNR. said "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." All the assaults and insults being meted out to Obama must be measured against what Dr. King said some years back.

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  • 124. At 6:56pm on 23 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    No full marks for spelling on this site eh?

    And a great man? Don't know much about David Letterman - but I assume that's who the poster is refering to? Can't mean Bill ' I never had sex with that woman' - while committing adultery in the Oval office Clinton, surely?
    Now there is a reinterpretation of great!

    And what is this, a blue collar love in of self deprecation between JOCoKansas and RomeStu as to whom is the least educated? OK you guys you both win. Tomorrow I want two paragraphs on false humility.

    Now for all of you ACLU, anti-Christian left wing socialists who can't wait for higher taxes, the redistribution of wealth and a further De-Christianised America. Despite your revisionism of American history concerning the Founding Fathers, where does that put a purported Christian Obama and another of your heroes Dr Martin Luther King Jnr in the scheme of things?

    And I wonder whether it's just Christianity that you reserve your vitriol for, as in Britain, or do you stick your heads above the parapet and attack the increasing influence of Islam and Allah in American life and it's institutions? Separation of church ( mosque ) and state and all that?

    Quite frankly from where I stand, and as a long time admirer of America and it's people, whether it be McCain or Obama, it matters very little in the long run. The unGodly stench of moral decadence that has become America, unless there is a moral revival, you are all going down the tubes.

    I though I would end on a light note!



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  • 125. At 9:13pm on 23 Oct 2008, RomeStu wrote:

    #124 Royalalbertdock....
    "Now for all of you ACLU, anti-Christian left wing socialists who can't wait for higher taxes, the redistribution of wealth and a further De-Christianised America. Despite your revisionism of American history concerning the Founding Fathers, where does that put a purported Christian Obama and another of your heroes Dr Martin Luther King Jnr in the scheme of things?"

    1) I am atheist - not anti-Christian.

    2) left-wing socialists is a tautology - be more concise.

    3) further de-Christianised America .... have you seen how many people go to church in the USA - estimated over 50%. Try Britain for de-Christianised, and we even have a state religion.

    4) Founding Fathers were NOT christian - read post #116.

    5) Obama's Christianity is his own business, and he wisely does not trumpet it.

    6) Dr Martin Luther King was a great man. What's your point here.

    7) ACLU - what does it stand for, and why is that so bad?

    8) higher taxes, if organised properly by the government, mean better public services for all. Anyway Obama is planning to raise taxes only on those earning 250k+ ... they can afford a little extra to help the poor folk!

    I too am a long time admirer of the USA, but I detect no ungodly stench - just the odour of Right Wing Christian hypocrisy.


    You also write "And I wonder whether it's just Christianity that you reserve your vitriol for, as in Britain, or do you stick your heads above the parapet and attack the increasing influence of Islam and Allah in American life and it's institutions? Separation of church ( mosque ) and state and all that?"

    Does Islam really have a pernicious influence in American Life and Institutions?
    I am against any religious influence at any level of government - hence my desire for deeper scrutiny of Sarah Palin's fundamentalist Christian views, which shape her actions in office.

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  • 126. At 01:26am on 24 Oct 2008, JOCoKansas wrote:

    A quick re-cap that leads to the point:

    In #99 royalalbertdock: "But it certainly should matter for America, it's founding fathers being Christian, along with it's constitution being based in Christianity and it being still a Christian nation that it's President is not a Muslim. Are you kidding?"

    In #103 RomeStu: "Actually it was the Pilgrim Fathers who were Christian - very extreme ones who wanted to live in a theocracy so they left Europe. Also the founding Fathers were mainly atheist and deliberately seperated church and state. The ideas of the constitution and rights of man come from 18th century English and French philosophers .... not from the bible."

    In #104 You claimed that RomeStu "didn't know his American History" - that "the American founding fathers of the constitution were Christian".

    In #105 Omahaman further reinforced that you were indeed wrong.

    In #106 I state that you seem quite intelligent, praise you, but call you out on your apparent lack of knowledge on the period and subject in question, again reinforcing with additional references that you were wrong. I further indicate that I suspect that you must merely taking a ideological stance that conforms to a political agenda: "I believe that you fashion a man of straw... clever field craft indeed, a straw man fashioned in the shape of a red herring (referencing the concept of field craft in warfare and the use of ruse - this in the context of political discussion indicating a possible motive for your position).

    In #108 You come back, and devolve into references to "secular liberal dominated media and the ACLU, prayer being removed form schools", and insinuate that RomeStu's position was somehow untenable due to "his anti-Chistian prejudices", and that he should "reeducate himself" - when in fact he was correct. In this same post you recommend a junk history book that is specifically popular with evangelical Christians who adhere to a U.S. Republican ideology; it is similar to creationism in it's scholarship, it's intended audience, and it's intent.

    In #111 I see that book reference and know instantly "where you are mentally" regarding your position. I claim decent knowledge of the subjects surrounding the foundation of The United States of America and qualify myself as well educated on the subject of Christianity - in effect offering a hand. I "humbly" suggested that maybe it was you that should reeducated yourself.

    #113 You make a charge of lack of humility on my part. You go on to claim that you "have no interest in exchanging silly Republican or Democratic insults", and further that the ACLU is anti-Christian, is a front for communism, and that U.S. media is liberal.

    #114 RomeStu claims a decent knowledge of U.S. and European history - restates his position - acknowledges your coded barbs of "liberal, ACLU, atheist, socialist".

    #115 Sankari completely and utterly proves your position as incorrect with the posting of well known quotes by U.S. founding fathers.

    #117 I'm feeling bad for you - I'm also feeling bad about my failure to connect with you, thinking maybe you took offense; I apologize for your perceived lack of humility on my part, which I thought of as the disparity between my comparatively rough hewn environment here in the U.S.A. and what I have always thought of as a more refined U.K. citizenry - you claiming to be English.

    #119 Later, in a separate repartee with another participant, in feeling poorly about a typing error, I apologize - and complement at large the people who frequent this space... yourself included.

    #124 Then wham - despite having your position calmly, and with great compassion, proven incorrect - as well unravelling several of the planetary obfuscations that you kept spinning into it's orbit - from the man who has "no interest in exchanging silly Republican or Democratic insults" - from a man who claims to defend a conservative Christian ideology:

    ...Spelling insults - Republican position insults regarding President Clinton (commonly heard in any Republican circles) - further Republican vs. Democrat positioning - then, more look down dirty words from on high... blue collar... wow, nice - followed by personal insults against myself and another poster who disagreed with you and proved you wrong in a fair and kind manner - blatant claims of educational superiority, as "teacher", after being proven wrong - a lot of standard coded Republican rhetoric - references to personal internal racial issues - references to an "embattled" Christianity and threats from differing belief systems - and the gem... a claim of admiring America followed by the trashing of both it's potential future presidential leaders and then immediately the the reference to "the unGodly stench of moral decadence that has become America" - nice, I guess that's like when people say "well to tell you the truth" followed by an obvious lie... kind of like warning you ahead of time.

    Wow - I'm sorry royalalbertdock...
    but I'm tolerant up to a point, but that is just too much. Sour grapes - and more.

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  • 127. At 08:08am on 24 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    Proven wrong? Hardly.

    Benjamin Franklin: Portrait of Ben Franklin
    “ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech.

    Not Christian eh?

    You admire Dr Martin Luther King Jnr? All he did was rooted in his Christian beliefs.

    JOCoKansas. You're OK. Would like to sit and talk with you but I am afraid that RomeStu is just another typical left winger. Got enough over here.

    By the way just to rattle your chains again and keep you on your toes. I'm a creationist too. Evolution? Give me a break. You need more faith to believe that than to walk on water.



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  • 128. At 11:59am on 24 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    By way of a prolonged PS as I was a bit hurried this morning. Some more quotes. I am aware of the arguments but I would suggest, hard as it is for the atheists to stomach, the preponderence of informed opinion agrees that the Founding fathers were Christian.

    Samuel Adams, cousin of John Adams, is called the "Father of the American Revolution." He incited the Boston Tea Party, signed the Declaration of Independence and called for the first Continental Congress. He said as the Declaration of Independence was being signed, "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come." Samuel Adams also said, "First of all, I ... rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins."


    Benjamin Franklin, considered a deist by many, said, "He who shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of a primitive Christianity, will change the face of the world."

    And Thomas Jefferson, also considered a deist, said, "The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart." Jefferson is even quoted as having said, "I am a Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ." Thomas Jefferson... also said, "The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart."

    George Washington said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

    You may ask what is the point?

    The point being is, that irrespective of whether it's McCain or Obama, there is no politician who has all of the answers. I include Britain in that statement. Another nation, like America, in deep moral turmoil and crisis from which the stench of moral decadence fills the nostrils. A nation that has lost it's moral compass and become steeped in a Godless humanistic wilderness on it's way to nowhere. Dominated by PC liberal thinking where the words tolerance and diversity are merely euphemisms for the bigotry of the left and the 'Brave New World' and 'newspeak' of Big brother.

    The Great in Britain has long gone. In Britain today you can be as tolerant and diverse as you want to be as long as it's not Christian. A nation that, like America, once sent missionaries out, is now in need of missionaries to come in and reintroduce what has been lost. A return to decency, respect and traditional values based upon Christian principles

    So you get Obama. 'The King is dead, long live the King'. That is my point.

    Bush may or may not have got it wrong over Iraq. That's open to debate. But one thing is for sure irrespective - and let me reiterate - as an admirer of America, it's people and what it generally represents - as the leader of the FREE world, the two crises that it faces today is (1) internal moral corruption and, as the rest of the world does (2) the threat of and spread of Islamic fanaticism .

    Only a return to the vision that the Founding Fathers had for the nation will rescue it. Not for the mockery that has replaced it in today's America.






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  • 129. At 12:01pm on 24 Oct 2008, U9238686 wrote:

    It's that kind of mentality that keeps the middle east and religious middle America in their place as the most backward places on earth. You can't both be right but you'll both sit back and cross your arms in blinkered faith with utter refusal to accept anything else, with pure ignorance, hypocrisy and and increase the tension across the world .

    If it wasn't for Islam and Christianity the world would be a far safer and much more harmonious place.

    The president whoever he may be would do well to distance himself from saying that his decisions and actions are rooted in his faith. Christian based actions and preaching will only make the worlds situation worse.

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  • 130. At 12:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, U9238686 wrote:

    Typical Christian talk, we are the best, we hold the answers, the world would be better if you were all just more Christian..... blah blah blah.

    Blinkered and Ignorant..... Christianity has been resonsible for more deaths at war than any other religion.

    Bush said he was sent into Iraq on a mission from god, they arent the kind of value I would like to return to.

    Values of hypocrisy, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and religious control..... no thanks

    Ill take capitalism and financial greed over those "Christian" options anyday of the week.

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  • 131. At 12:28pm on 24 Oct 2008, U9238686 wrote:

    I am not against those who practice any religion. I am against having that religion forced on me, implemented by the leaders of a mulit cultural country and against people like albertdock talking about how theirs is soooo much better..... this kind of talk has lead to some of the worst conflicts in human history.

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  • 132. At 3:51pm on 24 Oct 2008, Leviticus wrote:

    The FlyingHurdler should at least apprise him/herself of the discussion to date and read what has been said before jumping the gun, flying out of the blocks and getting their crotch impaled on the first hurdle of an all to familiar ignorance. YawnZzzzzzzzz!

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  • 133. At 07:10am on 28 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    Post #127; royalalbertdock wrote: "Proven wrong? Hardly.

    Benjamin Franklin: Portrait of Ben Franklin
    ? God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel? ?Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech.

    Not Christian eh?"

    No. Not Christian. Franklin was a Deist. There is nothing uniquely Christian about that quote. Every single word can be agreed by a Deist.

    Here's Franklin's own statement of beliefs, in his own words:

    >>
    Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appealed to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself. In a word, **I soon became a thorough Deist.**
    >>

    Emphasis mine. If you won't believe Franklin, who will you believe?

    Your other quotes were variously irrelevant, misrepresented, and/or taken out of context.

    The evidence of history is against you. The Founding Fathers were largely Deists; products of the European Enlightenment.

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  • 134. At 07:11am on 28 Oct 2008, Sankari wrote:

    Incidentally, for the benefit of royalalbertdock, I should point out that I am a Bible-believing Christian with conservative moral views.

    You cannot accuse me of being leftist, atheist, deist or agnostic.

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  • 135. At 03:40am on 29 Oct 2008, OldSouth wrote:

    Sounds like he 'sends a thrill' up Gavin's leg as well.

    Puhleeeze...

    Himself is a deliberate enigma. Anyone who attempts to look behind the facade and ask a tough question finds himself(Joe the Plumber) or herself (the Florida tv reporter) on the receiving end of an orchestrated attempt to destroy his or her life and privacy. And, it's done with the complicity of governmental agencies!

    I'd be feeling pretty bulletproof myself if I were running a presidential campaign with unlimited money, and no one allowed to ask me a real question.

    Hmm..last guy to pull that off was Richard Nixon. That ended well, don't you think?

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  • 136. At 10:12am on 29 Oct 2008, thoughtsabroad wrote:

    Well for all you doubters out there I believe that Barrack is the best choice and Gavin is merely stating how cool, calm and collected Mr Obama is.....

    He is a far better choice than McCain as McCain is not even happy with the choice he made for his running mate anymore.....

    That speaks volumes to me and I live abroad!

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  • 137. At 09:35am on 30 Oct 2008, U9238686 wrote:

    It's such a shame that Republicans even at this stage still have no decent points to make as to why they should be voted for.

    I have never seen such a pathetic campaign on slurs, criticisms, petty name calling and attacks on the other party.

    Obama is concentrating on the issues and telling you how he is going to improve America, he preaches hope and positive change.

    McCain is telling you how bad Obama is..... man that's an original tactic. He preaches fear and distaster.

    Maybe he should try talking about how he would be a good president over how Obama would be a bad one

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