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August 11, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.


As July started, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton met with the FBI to discuss the private e-mail server she used as Secretary of State. A few days later, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference where he announced that charges would not be appropriate against Clinton. He noted, however, that Clinton had acted carelessly in installing a private e-mail server for State business and had risked compromising State secrets. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the lack of charges in the case showed “the system is totally rigged!” Polls from the early part of the month gave Clinton a slight lead in the race. She led the July 4 Real Clear Politics average 44.9% to 40.3%. At this time, media interest in the running-mate selections of Trump and Clinton intensified. The Washington Post speculated that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were the leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate. However, other reports pointed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, who confirmed he would accept the position if asked. Trump commented that ten names were on the shortlist including some not mentioned in the media. In later days, General Michael Flynn was floated as a possibility in reports. Gingrich, Flynn, and Pence were apparently finalists for the position, with Pence believed to be the favorite. For the Democrats, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro received mention as potential running mates for Clinton, but the shortlist reportedly included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Trump speaks at a July Iowa rally with Mike Pence’s name affixed to his logo
Image: Max Goldberg (flickr).

On July 7, Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and met with Republican members from the House of Representatives and Senate. During the meeting, Trump reportedly told the attendees if they did not support his candidacy, they were, in effect, supporting Clinton. Trump agreed to allow his former rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to speak at the convention, but he did not secure an endorsement from Cruz. The next day, both Trump and Clinton canceled campaign events as an African American shooter in Dallas killed five police officers. Trump’s state chairman in Virginia blamed the shooting on Clinton and others “who label police as racists.” In the aftermath, Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate.” Ahead of its convention, the GOP platform committee approved a socially conservative platform that opposed same-sex marriage and identified pornography as a “public health crisis.” The convention’s host, Ohio governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival of Trump, would not endorse Trump and claimed through a spokesman that Trump had asked Kasich join the presidential ticket in May, but Kasich had declined. Trump’s spokesman denied the claim. Another former rival, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said he might vote for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of Trump. On the other side, Hillary Clinton’s principle rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped his campaign and officially endorsed Clinton. Clinton also seemingly received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Trump “a faker” and wondered why he has “gotten away” with not releasing his tax returns. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned whether the country was “well served” with a Supreme Court justice openly discussing her political views. Trump referred to Ginsburg’s comments as “highly inappropriate.” Ginsburg later apologized.

Trump announced he would officially name his running mate on July 15. Though Pence was the favorite to receive the nod, Trump met with Senator Jeff Sessions, and had additional meetings with Christie and Gingrich. According to multiple news reports, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and financier Sheldon Adelson all tried to convince Trump to select Gingrich, while campaign manager Paul Manafort favored Pence, and pollster Tony Fabrizio wanted Flynn. CNN reported Trump had offered the position to Pence, who accepted. According to NBC, the purported leak of the news had left Trump “seething.” Due to the July 14 attack in Nice, France, Trump postponed the planned announcement. Both CNN and NBC reported Trump was looking for ways to get out of the selection of Pence. The campaign denied the report. The New York Times alleged the Pence selection was revisited because Christie had begged the campaign to reconsider its decision and replace Pence with himself. On July 15, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had selected Pence. Through the selection, Trump said he hoped to unify the party. Manafort said the ticket would appeal to former supporters of Sanders. As the GOP convention approached, Manafort declared the #NeverTrump movement “gone,” as the GOP rules committee voted not to unbind delegates. Clinton announced she would reveal her vice presidential selection after the GOP convention. The Washington Post tapped Vilsack as the favorite.


Trump with Pence
Image: VOA.

As the GOP convention began in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trailed Clinton in the July 18 Real Clear Politics average 40.6% to 43.8%. Although Ohio was hosting the convention, the state’s delegates were not placed in the front as is tradition. This was believed to be punishment for Governor Kasich’s refusal to endorse Trump or attend the convention. Manafort called Kasich’s absence a “big mistake” and “embarrassing [to] his state.” With the release of the lineup of speakers showing many members of Trump’s family, former RNC chairman Michael Steele called the convention “a [Trump] family affair.”

On the opening day, on the floor of the convention at Quicken Loans Arena, anti-Trump delegates unsuccessfully attempted to force a roll call vote on the convention rules. Protests outside were relatively minor with only 24 arrests throughout the entire convention. During the convention speeches, delegates frequently chanted “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. Patricia Smith, mother of diplomat Sean Smith who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack, blamed Clinton for her son’s death and exclaimed, “Hillary belongs in prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” In his speech, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented Clinton “would go to jail” if he were allowed to prosecute her. In the prime-time opening-night speech, Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that initially received acclaim. However, this changed once the media pointed out some lines were nearly identical to those from the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Image: Erik Drost.

The Trump campaign spent most of the second day of the convention explaining away the plagiarism flap as speechwriter Meredith McIver took the blame for the passages and offered to quit. Trump requested she remain. Trump officially received the presidential nomination on the second day of the convention and Pence received the vice-presidential nomination. Christie delivered a speech in which he held a mock trial prosecuting Clinton in absentia before the delegates. He was followed with prime-time speeches by Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

View from the floor of the Convention
Image: VOA.

On the third day, The New York Times released a transcript of an interview with Trump in which he criticized NATO and questioned whether the US should honor the treaty if member nations do not contribute their share of funds. Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they disagreed with Trump’s comments. Disagreements seeped into the convention as well when Cruz gave a speech in which he did not endorse Trump. When his refusal became evident, a chorus of boos erupted from the delegates, continuing until he left the stage. The speech overshadowed that of Pence who accepted the vice-presidential nomination later that night. Cruz received almost universal condemnation from prominent Republicans. However, Gingrich, who spoke after Trump’s son Eric, who followed Cruz, commented he did not take the speech to show a lack of support for Trump. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. claimed it had helped Republicans unite behind Trump.

On the last day of the convention, after a formal introduction from Ivanka, Trump accepted the GOP nomination and delivered, CNN noted, the longest nominee acceptance speech in 40 years. In the speech, Trump emphasized “law and order”, and referenced his proposals of building a wall along the southern border and banning immigration from nations with a history of terrorism. Trump described the legacy of his opponent Clinton as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” President Barack Obama criticized the speech, accusing Trump of basing it on fear and inaccurately painting a bleak portrait of the nation. Nevertheless, a CNN/ORC instant poll showed 57% of respondents who watched the speech received it favorably and 56% were more likely to vote for Trump. According to pundit Joe Trippi, the speech and overall convention provided the GOP with about a 5.9% bounce in the polls, one point higher than the average. Most polls at this time showed Trump leading Clinton.

A day after the convention, Clinton announced her vice-presidential selection. The New York Times had reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, wanted Clinton to pick Senator Tim Kaine. Indeed, she named Kaine, a centrist from Virginia, as her running mate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Clinton-Kaine a “failed Democrat status quo” ticket.


Pro-Bernie Sanders protests of the DNC
Image: Becker1999.

Ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wikileaks released nearly 20 thousand hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. The e-mails showed favoritism of Clinton within the DNC and revealed plans to diminish the Sanders campaign. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as a result. Initially, she was to gavel-in the convention, but after a highly negative reception from her home state Florida delegation before the convention, she was replaced with DNC Secretary Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Media reports and the Clinton campaign itself blamed Russia for the hacking and leaking of e-mails. The DNC issued an apology to Sanders. Sanders urged his supporters not to protest on the floor of the convention. He was booed upon reiterating his support for Clinton before a group of delegates. Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein invited Sanders to meet with her, but Sanders declined. Via Twitter, Trump said Sanders had “sold out.”

View of the floor of the DNC
Image: JefParker.

On the first day of the convention, the first speakers received boos upon mentioning Clinton with the crowd erupting into chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Count our votes!” As the convention continued, the protests died down inside Wells Fargo Center, but continued outside. Overall, a total of 103 citations were issued in lieu of arrests, while the Secret Service arrested eleven. As the convention moved along, commentators oddly noted a common theme of “American exceptionalism” in speeches and more religious references than at the RNC. On the first night, Michelle Obama addressed the convention in a well received speech. She did not mention Trump by name, but referenced his slogan in proclaiming, “don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!” She heaped praise upon Clinton, whom she called a leader “guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.” She was followed by the keynote speaker Elizabeth Warren, who opened a blistering attack on Trump, accusing him of defrauding people. Sanders spoke. He expressed disappointment in the outcome of the primaries but heralded the “historical accomplishments” of his movement and urged his followers to get behind Clinton.

Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination
Image: VOA.

In a historic moment on the second day, Clinton officially received the Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party. That night, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, addressed the convention, discussing his relationship with his wife and highlighting her accomplishments. Before the convention convened on the third day, Trump held a press conference. Referencing the DNC hack leak, he remarked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The Clinton campaign attacked Trump for “actively encourag[ing] a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” though Trump claimed he was merely joking. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commented in an interview that he timed the release of the hacked e-mails to hurt Clinton in the election.

On the third day, after a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, addressed the convention. He formally endorsed Clinton and referred to Trump as a “con,” arguing, “[t]he richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy.” Later, Kaine officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination. President Obama followed with a speech to wrap up the third day. He argued that no one, himself included, was “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” He accused Trump of offering “no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.”

On the final day, Chelsea Clinton spoke and introduced her mother, Hillary Clinton, who accepted the Democratic nomination. During her speech, Clinton laid out policy proposals and attacked Trump for making some of his products overseas. In addition, she argued that Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton’s speech was deemed a success. A CNN instant poll revealed 71% of viewers had a favorable opinion of the speech with 60% more likely to vote for her after watching. Although Trump’s speech received higher television ratings, Clinton overtook Trump in post-convention polls.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Image: VOA.

Press coverage of Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by an earlier speech from Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim couple whose son died in Iraq in 2004. The speech set off a back-and-forth between Trump and Khan that lasted several days. With his wife at his side on the convention stage, Khizr Khan delivered a stinging attack on Trump for his earlier proposal to ban Muslim immigration and wondered whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. Trump responded, attacking Khizr for his comments and questioning whether Khizr’s wife remained silent during the speech because she was not allowed to speak. Trump’s comments were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Khizr labeled Trump “void of decency” and accused him of having a “dark heart.” Ghazala responded with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she attributed her silence at the convention to grief.

As July came to a close, Trump had additional setbacks. First, he mistakenly asserted that no Russian troops were currently in Ukraine. Second, he made an unsupported claim that the NFL had complained to him about the presidential debate schedule coinciding with NFL games. Nevertheless, Trump received some positive news with the announcement that Julian Assange had “extremely interesting” information on Clinton that had yet to be released through Wikileaks. In the July 31 Real Clear Politics average, Clinton, who had just received the endorsement of billionaire Mark Cuban, held a 1.1% lead over Trump .

Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees[]

Two candidates who each previously spoke with Wikinews have both announced their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian Darcy Richardson and businessman Rocky De La Fuente each decided to seek the nomination in July. Both have previously run for president as Democrats.

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century
Darcy Richardson on the Reform Party

Richardson, a veteran of third-party politics, sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 and briefly vied for the Reform Party presidential nomination that same year. He is the author of “The Others” anthology, covering third-party candidates, and has written books on such political topics as the 1968 presidential election and the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and recently, Bernie Sanders. He served as campaign manager during McCarthy’s 1988 presidential bid. In addition, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980, and was the Consumer Party’s 1988 nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In 2010, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has a history within the Reform Party beyond his 2012 run. He participated in the party’s 1996 and 2000 mail-in primaries, was part of the 2004 nominating conference calls, donated to candidates nominated by the party, and contributed to the Reform National Committee. Richardson says Reform Party Secretary Nicholas Hensley encouraged him to enter the 2016 race. As the nominee, he plans to spread the party message through television, radio, and speaking engagements.

“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, says Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”

De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate, at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is current attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews’, ballot access expert Richard Winger encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.

Rocky De La Fuente in January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Darcy Richardson in 2010
Image: Darcy Richardson.

According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguishes himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.

Richardson’s preferred running mate, activist Thomas Knapp, founder of the now-defunct Boston Tea Party, draws an even greater contrast between Richardson and De La Fuente.

“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”

“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”

De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.

The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by paleoconservative icon Pat Buchanan, who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. Ted Weill won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.

The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.

“I was approached about entering the contest very recently”, says Richardson. “I plan to support whatever ticket the party nominates.”

Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech[]

Congressman Tancredo
Image: United States Congress.

As Senator Ted Cruz delivered his much-discussed speech before the Republican National Convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, watched with disappointment. In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Tancredo argued that Cruz’s refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the speech, which prompted what was perhaps one of the most negative crowd reactions to a convention speech in recent memory, was a mistake.

“He needs to realize and appreciate the bigger picture”, said Tancredo about Cruz, “[y]ou can still hate Donald Trump for the things he says [but] he has to recognize what will happen to the country if the Supreme Court is under the control of Hillary Clinton.”

Ted Cruz delivering his convention speech
Image: VOA.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, endorsed Cruz in January, writing an op-ed for in which he touted Cruz as an outsider and “the real deal.” Tancredo himself ran for president in 2008 as an outsider Republican, focusing on securing the U.S.–Mexico border and enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Notably, during his campaign, Tancredo had a September 2007 interview with Wikinews.

Cruz’s speech affected more than just Tancredo’s opinion. Though some praised the speech as principled and politically astute — including Hillary Clinton, who tweeted “vote your conscience”, repeating what Cruz had said — many prominent Republicans offered rebukes. Former Congressman Joe Walsh called for a Texas Republican to “primary” Cruz in 2018, when his Senate seat goes up for re-election, as a consequence for not honoring the GOP endorsement pledge. Chris Christie described Cruz as “selfish” for refusing to endorse. Congressman Peter King called Cruz an “asshole”, a term which RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said was apt. Polls from before and after the speech showed Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans fall from 60% to 33%.

Addressing the backlash, Cruz defended his decision, arguing “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” Moreover, he claimed the GOP endorsement pledge “was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi [his wife], that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father”.

The attacks Cruz refers to are Trump’s re-tweeting in March of a graphic comparing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a glamour shot of Melania Trump, as well as Trump’s mention last May of a National Enquirer report connecting Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Tancredo said he believes the issues facing the nation are “more important than [Cruz’s] personal feelings about his wife or father.” He maintained that Cruz “could have avoided the problem and ‘lived with himself’ by passing on the invitation to speak. Apparently the few minutes still in the spotlight was too alluring”.

A new view on Cruz was not Tancredo’s only takeaway from July’s convention. He appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech as well, calling it the “[b]est I’ve heard from him”.

Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker[]

Before Hillary Clinton’s historic moment on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, as she became the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major US political party, another woman, much younger than Clinton, made history of her own. Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party’s national convention when she spoke before the Democratic National Convention. Wikinews contacted McBride to find out more about her groundbreaking speech.

Sarah McBride
Image: Human Rights Campaign.

McBride, a native of Delaware in her mid-20s, came out as a transgender woman during her term at American University as student body president. Before HRC, an LGBT lobbying group, McBride was employed by the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, and was the first openly transgender woman to intern at the White House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT activist group Equality Delaware, through which she successfully lobbied the legislature of Delaware to expand the state’s anti-discrimination and hate-crimes acts to include gender identity and expression.

During her convention speech, McBride discussed her relationship with a transgender man, Andrew, who continued LGBT activism despite having terminal cancer. McBride married the man just a few days before his death. McBride’s speech received widespread coverage with feature stories from Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Daily Mail, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Rolling Stone, New York, and others.

With Wikinews, McBride discusses the speech, her experience at the convention, and any future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you find out the DNC wanted you to speak at the convention? What were your initial thoughts?

McBride: I found out that I was speaking about a week before the convention started. The Congressional LGBT Caucus was granted six minutes on the main stage of the convention and they decided that they wanted to dedicate half of that time to having a transgender person speak, breaking that barrier of finally having an openly trans speaker at a major party convention. When I found out, I was excited, nervous, and honored. Throughout the week leading up to the convention and during the week of the convention, my main thought was that I wanted to do the trans community proud and do them justice.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you prepare for the speech and what did it feel like to deliver it before millions of people?

McBride: For the last few years, much of my advocacy has been about telling my personal story and weaving it in to the larger effort for LGBTQ equality. In writing my speech for the DNC, I took some of the themes, thoughts, and experiences that I’ve spoken about before and condensed them for the speech. During the week of the convention, I didn’t have much time to really focus on the upcoming speech. Instead, I went from interview to interview, talking with various outlets about this opportunity and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ people.
Standing on the stage and delivering my remarks was one of the most empowering and inspiring experiences of my life. While I was nervous beforehand, once I got on the stage and started speaking, I felt calm and determined to utilize those three minutes to effectively speak to the audience, both in and out of the arena. Throughout the speech and right afterward, I kept on thinking about a young transgender person in North Carolina who may be watching, who is wondering whether this country has a place for them too, and hoping that my speech could give that person, and anyone like them, just a little comfort and hope that things are changing, that they matter, and that their dreams and identity are not mutually exclusive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What did you hope to achieve with the speech and what reaction have you received thus far?

McBride: I really hoped to drive two major points home. The first was that there is a lot of unfinished work for the LGBTQ equality movement and that Hillary Clinton is the champion and fighter we need to deliver the change so many of us still need. The second point was that I wanted to reinforce that behind this national conversation on transgender rights, are real people who hurt when we are mocked, who hurt when we are discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and fairness.
The energy in the arena was palpable as I stood on stage and I hope that the trans community could see and hear the love in that space. [The] response was and has been overwhelming and heartening. I hope that my speech helped open some hearts and change some minds, even if it was just one person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Other than the speech, how was your experience at the convention?

McBride: This was the first convention I had ever attended and needless to say it was an incredible experience. Watching the first woman nominee of a major party stand up and accept the nomination of her party for President of the United States was a sight and experience I will never forget. I feel so lucky to have witnessed so much history in Philadelphia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png After participating in the convention, do you personally have any interest in pursuing political office?

McBride: I’ve always been interested in politics and government and I definitely plan on returning to my home state of Delaware at some point, but I don’t know if running for office is ever in my future. Right now, I’m incredibly focused on contributing whatever I can to push equality forward for LGBTQ people and if there is anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that making long term plans is usually a pretty fruitless exercise.

Related articles[]


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 9, 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, September 2012

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The following is the eleventh in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: Wikinews chronicles three of the lesser-known speakers at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a controversial pastor and write-in candidate talks to Wikinews about the unrest in the Middle East, and the ballot-qualified American Third Position Party (A3P) presidential nominee travels to Iran to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


September opened with the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the convention’s first night, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address, the first Hispanic-American to do so. He discussed the communitarian spirit of the United States and reflected on how his mother “fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.” The speech was compared to Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and garnered speculation that he would seek higher political office. First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke that night, discussing her husband on a personal level. On the second day, a ruckus ensued as Democrats moved to re-include “God” and support of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in the party’s official platform after removal of the items drew criticism leading up to the convention. That night, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke and Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren each spoke before former President Bill Clinton took the stage to deliver a lengthy, policy-filled speech. In it, Clinton defended Obama’s economic policies, arguing that no previous president, including himself, could have fostered complete recovery this soon in the same economic climate. He concluded that the election was ultimately a choice between the “winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society” of the Republicans and the “we’re-all-in-this-together society” of Obama. On the final night, Vice president Joe Biden spoke before President Obama addressed the convention to officially accept the party’s nomination. In his acceptance speech, Obama asked voters to allow his administration to “finish what we started”, arguing “it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades” and Republicans offer only policies that have previously failed.

Castro delivers the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Image: DemConvention2012.

Foreign policy emerged as a major campaign issue after the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya came under attack on September 11, resulting in the deaths of four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Allegedly, the attacks were the result of protests against a YouTube video trailer for the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, which the Obama administration condemned in the aftermath of the attacks. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for the response, arguing he “was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions.” An Obama spokesman expressed “shock” at Romney’s response, accusing him of “launch[ing] a political attack”. Shortly thereafter, Romney also criticized Obama for being unable to find time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama then had an hour-long phone conversation with Netanyahu. Later in the month, Netanyahu appeared before the United Nations General Assembly with a cartoon of a bomb, voiced his concerns that Iran would attain enough enriched uranium to make a bomb by the summer of 2013, and called on the world to act. Obama and Romney each spoke with Netanyahu. Each candidate expressed similar sentiment in favor of further sanctions against Iran.

In mid-September, Romney received negative publicity after the magazine Mother Jones released a video of a fundraiser at which Romney alleged, “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … [because they] are dependent upon government”. He then said his “job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan distanced himself from the remarks, which he labeled as “inelegant”. Obama remarked in response, “We don’t want an inside job in Washington, we want change in Washington…It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.” The Romney campaign hoped to shift focus from the video to newly-emerged 1998 footage of Obama in which he advocates redistribution of wealth. Additionally, Romney released his 2011 tax returns, as promised earlier in the year. The returns showed he paid $1.95 million out of the $13.7 million he earned on investments. However, less positive news continued for the campaign as September came to a close. Paul Ryan received boos while discussing the proposed repeal of Obamacare during a speech before an AARP forum, which President Obama also addressed. Plus, Obama increased his lead in the polls with Gallup showing a six point Obama advantage, 50 percent to 44 percent in a September 26 poll, up from the 46 percent to 46 percent tie prior to the publication of the Romney video.

Nevertheless, Obama was not the only candidate rising in the polls at the end of September. Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, rose to six percent support in a late September Reason-Rupe poll, up from the 4.3 percent showing earlier in a JZ Analytics poll. The Johnson campaign also increased activity. With the presidential debates looming, the campaign filed suit against the Commission for Presidential Debates, alleging anti-trust practices for denying access to third party candidates. With many polls still excluding Johnson at the end of September, Obama led Romney 48.7 to 44.6 in the September 30 RealClearPolitics polling average.

Lesser-known DNC speakers discuss their experience

While San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke, and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren all formally introduced themselves to the national audience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, they were not the only figures to do so. Small business owner Bill Butcher, firefighter Doug Stern, and mother Stacey Lihn were among the “everyday people” the party invited to address the convention and the nation. Wikinews reached out to these three to learn more about their DNC experience and the process of the convention.

Port City Brewing Company owner Bill Butcher.
Image: Bill Butcher.

Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, says he received the invitation after the Democratic Party found him online while searching for someone who had started a small business during the administration and benefited from its policies. Butcher was able to establish Port City Brewing after obtaining a loan through the SBA loan program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The Stimulus).

In preparation for his speech, Butcher worked with Obama speechwriters and rehearsed the morning before. Though he admits to being nervous, he discovered that fellow speakers backstage felt similarly. To break the ice, Butcher opened his speech with a joke, apologizing to the audience for not handing out free beer. He then turned to policy, defending Obama as “a president who’s on my side … [who has] kept middle class taxes low…[and] has fought for small-business owners”. According to Butcher, the speech was received positively, even among his Republican friends, who felt it “cool” that their buddy had addressed the DNC.

Fire fighter Doug Stern.
Image: Doug Stern.

Like Butcher, Stern, a firefighter and member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), also received bipartisan praise for his speech. As a union advocate for the repeal of Ohio SB 5, which limited the collective bargaining rights of Ohio‘s public employees, Stern feels the party selected him due to his visibility. Because he received word of the invitation just days before the event, Stern did not have much time to prepare. Rather, he viewed YouTube videos of Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Ronald Reagan to find the right style for delivery. Nevertheless, according to Stern, the best input came from his twelve-year-old son, who advised him that delivering a DNC speech was not such a big deal, since “you give speeches all the time.”

In the speech, Stern introduced himself as a former Republican, but held that as a member of the middle class and as a public employee, the “party left people like me.” He applauded the Obama administration for continuing federal grants to fire fighters, and characterized Obama as someone who “respects middle-class workers like me and my family.” Fellow fire fighters, including those of different political stripes, commended Stern on his remarks, and about a week after the speech, Stern met President Obama in Cincinnati, where he received congratulations. Despite the recognition from his peers and presidential praise, the reception of Stern’s son was paramount. While watching a line from the speech replayed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the 12-year-old admitted to his father that despite his previous comments, speaking at the DNC was “pretty cool.”

Stacey Lihn with her daughter Zoe at the Democratic National Convention.
Image: Caleb Lihn.

Similarly, for Lihn, the night held a special significance due to her family. Lihn, a mother of two daughters one of whom, Zoe, suffers from a congenital heart defect, previously worked with the Obama campaign in March to produce a video documenting how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had helped her family pay for her daughter’s medical expenses. Looking for someone to discuss health care reform at the convention, the video’s producer called Lihn and invited her to speak.

Like Butcher, she rehearsed her speech in the morning prior, finding this to be more emotional than the actual delivery itself. In the heartfelt speech delivered with her husband and daughter onstage, Lihn articulated her appreciation of Obamacare and the fear that the election of Mitt Romney and possible repeal of Obamacare would prevent needed care for her daughter. After the speech, Lihn embraced First Lady Michelle Obama in what she fondly recalls as “a genuine hug — mother to mother.” Others appreciated the speech as well. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian wrote that it was not only “one of the most moving moments of the Democratic national convention … [but] possibly of the entire 2012 presidential race”.

For Lihn, despite the acclaim, she was simply speaking as one of many: “Our story is but one of thousands and I knew that, standing up on stage speaking, that I was speaking for all of the parents who’ve walked in my shoes. I felt the strength of the many babies born with Zoe’s heart condition who weren’t as fortunate as she and passed away before the age of two. I support the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and will continue to do so for those whose voices cannot be heard.”

Wikinews interviews write-in candidate connected to Middle East turmoil

Pastor Terry Jones in March 2011.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Wikinews caught up with Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida. Jones, a write-in candidate for president, is best known for his anti-Islamic activism, which has sparked protests across the Muslim world.

Jones leads an anti-Islam march in Washington, DC.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Jones first gained notice in 2010, after threatening to burn a Koran at Ground Zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The announcement prompted protests in the Middle East, causing President Obama to request that Jones not partake in the activity. He obliged, but later burned a Koran in March 2011, leading to violent protests in Afghanistan including an attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Mazar-i-Sharif, which killed at least 30 people.

Recently, Jones has received mention for promoting the film Innocence of Muslims, whose trailer allegedly inflamed riots in Egypt and Libya on September 11 due to its portrayal of Muhammad. During the riots, the American embassies in the two nations were breached, leading to the deaths of four Americans in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Jones told The Daily Caller he had remained in contact with the film’s director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was jailed September 28 on charges of violating probation. Jones’s involvement with the film has led to warrants for his arrest in Egypt, where authorities want to try him for insults to Islam, spreading lies, and harming national unity. Death is a possible penalty for such offenses. Nevertheless, Jones holds that Egypt “would definitely be better advised to put Muhammad on trial.”

With Wikinews, Jones discusses ballot access, the Innocence of Muslims, and how he would handle the riots in Egypt and Libya as president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIn which states have you attempted to gain ballot access?

Pastor Jones: Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Oregon, Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on the film trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims? Should the filmmaker bear any responsibility for the anti-American protests across the Muslim world?

Pastor Jones: According to many Islamic experts that I have talked to, and the studies that I have done myself, the trailer is very accurate. Muhammad led a very perverted life and a very violent life. On his deathbed in 632, he gave the command to his followers to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of all unbelievers. That is what Islam has been doing for the last fourteen hundred years, killing, murdering and raping anyone that dares to have a different opinion or follow a different religion.
Absolutely not. In fact, what we have done is we have again demonstrated that Islam in its roots, in its foundation is a violent religion. The Koran is a very violent book. It promotes violence. As I said, Muhammad led a very violent life. In the last ten years of his life he had seventy-eight raids on other villages where he killed innocent people, civilians. It was not even an act of war. It was simply genocide. It was simply the killing of anyone who disagreed with him. It is the time that America and the world stands up and sees the dangers of Islam, the dangers of radical Islam.
As far as we are concerned, as far as our efforts are concerned, we are going to continue to press forward. We are going to continue to raise an awareness of the dangers of radical Islam. The western world must stop appeasing Islam or Islam will continue its acts of terror.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is your response to President Obama’s reaction to the protests and attacks on the U.S. embassies? Was Governor Romney’s criticism of that reaction appropriate? If you were president, how would you respond to the events?

Pastor Jones: President Obama is an absolute disaster. As president, he bears some of the responsibility for what is going on right now in the Islamic world. President Obama has shown himself to be pro-Islam, pro-Muslim Brotherhood. Since the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over in Egypt, situations for minorities and Christians have gotten much, much worse. We know that President Obama favors Islam. He appeases Islam. He has welcomed CAIR into the White House. CAIR is nothing more than a suit-and-tie terrorist organization. President Obama and his appeasing of Islam has only given them a green light, opened up the door for them to feel as though they can attack our embassies and feel that absolutely nothing will be done. Even now as he has spent $70,000 of American taxpayers’ money to run ads in Pakistan appeasing the Islamic radical community, he definitely bears a responsibility.
Governor Romney, or anyone’s criticism, of President Obama’s presidency concerning Islam, his economic policies, and many of his policies whether it is immigration or same-sex marriage are indeed justified.
If I were president, my response would be much harsher to the Islamic community. I believe that we should close our embassies in Muslim and Koran controlled countries immediately. We should pull our people out of those countries. We in the west must realize that Islam is not compatible with western society. It is not compatible with western thinking because Islam is missing the basic elements of a free western society. Those elements are freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. Islam has continued to prove over and over and over again that it does not tolerate any criticism of Muhammad, the Koran, or Sharia. It has absolutely no tolerance of any other religion. Because of its past history and the past fruits of the religion, Islam and western society cannot coexist. This is why we should close all embassies in Koran and Islam controlled and dominated countries.

A3P nominee meets with the President of Iran

Filmmaker Merlin Miller, the presidential nominee of the American Third Position Party (A3P), attended a film festival in Tehran, Iran early in September, during which he spoke to an audience that included Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After the speech, Ahmadinejad invited Miller to a private meeting, which lasted about twenty minutes. This was the first time a U.S. presidential candidate met with Ahmadinejad, a controversial figure who has called for the dissolution of Israel, questioned the validity of the Holocaust, and spurred Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and Israel allege is not for peaceful purposes.

Merlin Miller shakes hands with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Image: Merlin Miller.

In contrast to such allegations, Miller tells Wikinews that his impression of Ahmadinejad was as “a humble man who deeply cares about promoting truths and the best for his people — including peace.” During the meeting, he gave Ahmadinejad a copy of his 2001 film Jericho and his book Our Vision for America. According to Miller, Ahmadinejad wanted it to be communicated to the American people that “Globalists and Zionists falsely portray Iran, as they seek conflict between nations” and that Iran actually desires peace. Miller says that though Ahmadinejad probably did not know much about the specific A3P presidential campaign and platform, he was “aware of the how Zionist interests control our two major political parties” and “was intrigued that alternative voices in America are starting to challenge the injustices of our current political system and the propaganda of our mainstream media.”

The A3P, which was founded in 2010, is among those “alternative voices”. Its program calls for a tougher approach to crime, economic nationalism, higher education standards, environmentalism, strengthening of the family unit, a non-interventionist foreign policy, opposition to “third world” immigration, border security, and preservation of “white identity”.

Critics such as the Southern Poverty Law Center accuse the A3P of being a white supremacist organization, a charge that Miller denies. Miller appeared on Iran’s Press TV, and discussed the use of the term on his Wikipedia profile, which he claimed to have unsuccessfully attempted to change. He argued that the label likely stemmed from his “criticism of Zionism, of Jewish control of [the U.S.] media, [and] of [the U.S.] foreign policy, which is Israel first”.

Miller and the A3P have attained ballot access in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Colorado, and have additionally qualified for write-in status in Maryland and West Virginia.


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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June 6, 2012

Disney to implement junk food advertising restrictions

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

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In the United States, The Walt Disney Company has announced its intentions to prohibit junk food adverts from being shown during programming on their television and radio channels, as well as on the Internet.

US First Lady Michelle Obama described the move as “a game changer for the health of our children”, adding: “[F]or years, people told us that no matter what we did to get our kids to eat well and exercise, we would never solve our childhood obesity crisis until companies changed the way that they sell food to our children. We all know the conventional wisdom about that”. With this annoucement, the company “turned that conventional wisdom on its head,” she said.

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December 24, 2009

U.S. Senate passes landmark health care reform bill

U.S. Senate passes landmark health care reform bill

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

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The United States Senate has approved a hard-fought measure to overhaul the health care system. The vote will be followed by the difficult process of reconciling the Senate-passed bill with one approved by the House of Representatives, in order to get a final measure to President Barack Obama.

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“The yeas are 60, the nays are 39. H.R. 3590 as amended, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is passed,” Vice President Joe Biden announced. Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky did not show up for the vote leading to the 39 nays. Mike Reynard, a spokesman for Bunning, said in an e-mail that “The senator had family commitments.”

The vice president presided over the Senate at the time of the vote in his role as President of the United States Senate.

As expected, Republicans voted against the bill while all Democrats and two Independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, voted for it.

At an estimated $87 billion, the measure would expand health insurance coverage to about 30 million more Americans currently without it, and create new private insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, to expand choice.

And, like the slightly more expensive measure passed by the House of Representatives, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, it would end a practice by private insurance companies of denying coverage to individuals with existing health problems.

Both the Senate and House measures would require nearly all Americans to purchase some form of insurance, while lower-income Americans would receive help from federal government subsidies.

Cquote1.svg This is a victory because we have affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely a privilege for the select few. Cquote2.svg

—Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

In remarks before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada, said opponents had done everything they could to prevent the vote from taking place.

Speaking to reporters, Reid and others hailed the vote as a victory and a major step toward providing millions more Americans with access to health care. “This is a victory because we have affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely a privilege for the select few,” Reid said.

Reid and others including Robert Byrd, the 92-year-old Democrat from West Virginia, paid tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died this past August after spending decades of his career in the Senate pursuing health care reform.

When casting his vote Byrd said, “Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy. Aye.”

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Kennedy, watched the proceedings from the Senate visitor’s gallery, as did Representative John Dingell, Democrat from Michigan, who has been a long time advocate of health care reform and who sponsored and introduced the House version of the health care reform bill.

In the final hours of debate on the Senate bill, Republicans asserted it would be ineffective and add sharply to the U.S. budget deficit.

Cquote1.svg Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy. Aye. Cquote2.svg

—Senator Robert Byrd

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican from Alabama said of the bill, “This legislation may have a great vision, it may have a great idea about trying to make the system work better. But it does not. These are huge costs [and] it’s not financially sound.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to defeat the bill when the Senate reconvenes in January saying, “This fight is not over. This fight is long from over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law.”

Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine who helped approved the Senate Finance Committee‘s version of health care reform, the America’s Healthy Future Act, earlier in the year and who remarked she may not vote on the final bill, said, “I was extremely disappointed,” noting that when the Democrats reached their needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, “there was zero opportunity to amend the bill or modify it, and Democrats had no incentive to reach across the aisle.”

Ahead are difficult negotiations with the House of Representatives to craft a final bill President Obama would sign into law. These talks, which will formally get under way early in the new year, will take place amid anger among many liberal House Democrats the Senate bill failed to contain a government-run public health insurance option.

Cquote1.svg This fight is not over. This fight is long from over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law. Cquote2.svg

—Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

Members of the House Progressive Caucus have vowed to fight to keep this public option in any final legislation that emerges, along with other provisions they say are needed to protect lower and middle-income Americans and hold insurance companies accountable.

In a statement, the Democratic chairmen of three key House committees said while there are clear differences between House and Senate bills, both will bring fundamental health care coverage to millions who are currently uninsured.

Obama administration officials have been quoted as saying they anticipate negotiations on a final bill would not be complete until after the President’s State of the Union Address in January, and could slip even later into the new year.

Cquote1.svg If passed, this will be the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s. Cquote2.svg

—President Barack Obama

President Obama issued a statement to the press in the State Dining Room in the White House saying that the vote is “legislation that brings us toward the end of a nearly century-long struggle to reform America’s health care system.”

He also pointed out the bill’s strengths, noting, “The reform bill that passed the Senate this morning, like the House bill, includes the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition. They will no longer be able to drop your coverage when you get sick. No longer will you have to pay unlimited amounts out of your own pocket for the treatments you need. And you’ll be able to appeal unfair decisions by insurance companies to an independent party.”

He also noted how historic the bill is, saying, “If passed, this will be the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s.”

Obama noted the potential social impact, saying, “It’s the impact reform will have on Americans who no longer have to go without a checkup or prescriptions that they need because they can’t afford them; on families who no longer have to worry that a single illness will send them into financial ruin; and on businesses that will no longer face exorbitant insurance rates that hamper their competitiveness.”

Obama afterwards made phone calls to various Senators and other people, including Victoria Kennedy and David Turner of Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Turner had his health insurance rescinded in January of last year, after his insurance company went back into his record and alleged that he failed to disclose his full medical record at the time he applied for coverage. Turner was First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest during her husband’s speech to a joint session of Congress on health care reform back in September.



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January 18, 2009

Obama\’s Inaugural Celebration \”We are One\” attracts 400,000

Obama’s Inaugural Celebration “We are One” attracts 400,000

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008 United States Presidential Election
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Barack Obama and Michelle Obama enter down the steps of the Memorial

At 2 P.M. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., approximately 400,000 people attended H.B.O.’s presentation of Barack Obama’s inaugural kick off concert called “We are One“. The concert featured many musicians including Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and U2. The show featured other high profile celebrities in between performances reading and reflecting on the significance of Barack’s Inauguration on the 20th. Near the end, President-Elect Barack Obama went on the steps and gave a speech.
Throughout most of the songs, several different large choirs provided back up vocals and harmony, as well as a full orchestra below the stage. The bald Eagle, the national bird of the United States was displayed several times and allowed to fly within its trainers arm range as a symbol of patriotism and pride. The entire event is expected to be funded with donations gathered by Obama’s inaugural committee.
On January 19, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden hosted the “Kids’ Inaugural: We Are the Future” concert at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Musical performers include Disney television and pop stars Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. The show was broadcast live on Disney Channel and on Radio Disney.

Cquote1.svg Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King, and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character’s content. Cquote2.svg

—–Barack Obama

Inauguration Lineup
Performer(s) Act
Master Sergeant Caleb B. Green III The Star-Spangled Banner
Denzel Washington Homage to the leaders given
Bruce Springsteen “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen
Laura Linney and Martin Luther King III F.D.R and John F. Kennedy
Mary J. Blige “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell Referencing Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Robert Kennedy
Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
Tom Hanks Tribute to Abraham Lincoln
Marisa Tomei Quoting Ronald Reagan
James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles “Shower the People” by James Taylor
Joe Biden Speech
John Mellencamp “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
Queen Latifah Referencing Marian Anderson
Josh Groban and Heather Headley “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”
Kal Pen and George Lopez Quotes Dwight Eisenhower and Barbara Jordan
Herbie Hancock, and Sheryl Crow “One Love” by Bob Marley
Tiger Woods Dedicating the Armed Forces
Renee Fleming “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
Jack Black and Rosario Dawson Tribute to Theodore Roosevelt
Garth Brooks “American Pie” by Don McLean
Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker Referencing John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner
Usher, Stevie Wonder and Shakira “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder
Samuel L. Jackson Referencing Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.
U2 “Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2
Barack Obama Speech: Voices Calling for Change
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen “This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie
Beyonce “America the Beautiful”

See also

  • Barack Obama 2009 Presidential Inauguration



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November 5, 2008

Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States

Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
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2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories
  • 9 March 2012: Super Tuesday 2012: ‘Joe the Plumber’ wins GOP congressional primary
  • 23 March 2010: Non-profit ACORN plans to shut down
  • 11 January 2010: US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid criticized over “Negro” comments
  • 22 July 2009: Former U.S. Presidential candidate Gene Amondson dies following a stroke
  • 22 January 2009: Photo source for Barack Obama presidential campaign “HOPE” poster discovered

The 2008 Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, 47, is projected to win at least 349 electoral votes, more than enough to clinch the Presidency of the United States. Obama is the first African American to be elected President in U.S. history. His Republican opponent, Arizona senator John McCain is projected to win at least 173 electoral votes. McCain has phoned Obama to concede the election. Obama officially became the President-elect when John McCain issued his concession speech shortly after 9:00PM Mountain Time.

President-elect Barack Obama.
Image: United States Senate.

The Electoral College will officially elect Obama on December 15 and he will be inaugurated as the 44th President on January 20, 2009 at noon.

“We have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken and spoken clearly. This is an historic election and I realize the significance this has for African-Americans […] Let there be no reason now, for any American should fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth,” said McCain at a final event in Arizona.

Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. from Kenya and Ann Dunham from Wichita, Kansas. He grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from high school in 1979 and attended Occidental College and Columbia University, receiving his B.A. in political science in 1983. Afterwards he moved to Chicago and worked as a community organizer.

He enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1988, became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude in 1991. He returned to Chicago, lecturing at the University of Chicago and practicing as a civil rights attorney.

He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1997, and became the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Illinois in March 2004. The following July, he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, catapulting him into the national spotlight.

He won election to the U.S. Senate with 70% of the vote. On February 20, 2007 he announced his candidacy for President and clinched the Democratic nomination on June 3, 2008, after a tense primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Obama is married to Michelle née Robinson, with whom he has two daughters.

Victory speech

At 05:00 UTC, Obama commemorated his victory with a speech to thousands in Chicago. He launched the speech by stating that his victory shows the power of democracy, the people and the United States. He then stated that people voted for him because “people believe this time must be different.”

The new president-elect then praised the McCain campaign team for their work, before stating that the time for change has come.

Obama then thanked people for their work in ensuring the victory. He thanked his family, and said that even though his grandmother has passed away, she would be watching his victory from heaven. He also thanked his campaign organizer, chief strategist and staff members who ensured his victory in this election. Obama then thanked the people who have donated or volunteered for his campaign.

The new leader then said that an Obama government is a government of the people, for the people and by the people, before warning that there would be a long steep road ahead for his office, and stating that all his goals may not even be achieved in one term.

He then pledged to be honest as leader before stating that the victory is not change, but an opportunity for change, and that people must work to achieve this in this “new dawn of American leadership.”He added, “change is coming to America” while speaking in front of 65,000 people.


2008 Electoral College Map

This is a tally of all of the polls closed so far.

  • ECV = Electoral College votes
  • Nebraska divides its electoral votes by congressional district. Obama won one electoral vote from Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district.
  • Popular vote totals are unofficial.
Candidate Votes % States led National ECV
Barack Obama (Democrat) Symbol kept vote.svg 67,900,840 52.8% 27+DC+NE-02* 365
John McCain (Republican) 59,042,932 45.9% 22 173
Ralph Nader (Independent) 698,798 0.6% 0 0
Bob Barr (Libertarian) 511,324 0.4% 0 0
Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) 181,818 0.1% 0 0
Cynthia McKinney (Green) 152,811 0.1% 0 0
Alan Keyes (Independent) 41,748 0.1% 0 0
Other candidates 163,986 0.1% 0 0
Total 128,702,976 100% 50 + DC 538

National turnout:

Electoral College Overview

McCain (far left) and Obama (far right) participate in a bipartisan meeting with President Bush and members of Congress, regarding the proposed bailout of U.S. financial system, September 25, 2008.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and Joe Biden at the United States Vice Presidential announcement on August 23, 2008 in Springfield, Illinois.

State EC votes Winner
Alabama 9 McCain
Alaska 3 McCain
Arizona 10 McCain
Arkansas 6 McCain
California 55 Obama
Colorado 9 Obama
Connecticut 7 Obama
Delaware 3 Obama
D.C. 3 Obama
Florida 27 Obama
Georgia 15 McCain
Hawaii 4 Obama
Idaho 4 McCain
Illinois 21 Obama
Indiana 11 Obama
Iowa 7 Obama
Kansas 6 Mccain
Kentucky 8 McCain
Louisiana 9 McCain
Maine 4 Obama
Maryland 10 Obama
Massachusetts 12 Obama
Michigan 17 Obama
Minnesota 10 Obama
Mississippi 6 McCain
Missouri 11 Too close
Montana 3 McCain
Nebraska 5 McCain
Nevada 5 Obama
New Hampshire 4 Obama
New Jersey 15 Obama
New Mexico 5 Obama
New York 31 Obama
North Carolina 15 Obama
North Dakota 3 McCain
Ohio 20 Obama
Oklahoma 7 Mccain
Oregon 7 Obama
Pennsylvania 21 Obama
Rhode Island 4 Obama
South Carolina 8 McCain
South Dakota 3 McCain
Tennessee 11 McCain
Texas 34 McCain
Utah 5 McCain
Vermont 3 Obama
Virginia 13 Obama
Washington 11 Obama
West Virginia 5 McCain
Wisconsin 10 Obama
Wyoming 3 McCain


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Some information contained in this article was obtained from television, radio, or live webcast sources. Reporter’s notes and the broadcast source details are available at the collaboration page.

External links


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August 21, 2008

US Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones dies at age 58

US Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones dies at age 58

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

United States congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, representing Cleveland, Ohio died on August 20, 2008 following a brain aneurysm.

Jones was observed by police driving erratically on the evening of August 19, 2008. When police approached her car, they found her unresponsive. She was rushed to Huron Hospital in East Cleveland, where she remained overnight. She never regained consciousness. Jones died the following day, at 6:12pm EDT (UTC-4).

Stephanie Tubbs Jones leaves behind a son, Mervyn Leroy Jones II. Her husband of 27 years died in 2003.

Senator Barack Obama issued a statement: “Michelle and I are saddened to hear today’s news about Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. She is a passionate and tireless advocate for the people of Cleveland and a devoted public servant for all Americans. We send our heartfelt prayers to Stephanie and her family at this very difficult time.”

The mayor of Cleveland released the following statement prior to Jones’ passing: “My thoughts and prayers are with Stephanie and her family. I have known the Congresswoman for my entire political career and for several years prior to taking public office. She has supported me professionally and has been a loyal friend. As a public servant, she has stood firm with, and for, so many of us and I am asking everyone to take a moment to pray that she makes a full recovery.”

From 1991 to 1999, she was the prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. She was both the first female and the first African American to hold this office.

Jones had served in the United States House of Representatives since 1999 and was currently the co-chair of the Democratic National Committee. She was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from Ohio.



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July 15, 2008

New Yorker\’s Obama cover sparks outrage

New Yorker’s Obama cover sparks outrage – Wikinews, the free news source

New Yorker’s Obama cover sparks outrage

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
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2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories

The New Yorker’s July 21, 2008 cover illustration by Barry Blitt.

Controversy surrounds a cartoon on the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine, which portrays United States Presidential contender Barack Obama and his wife Michelle as terrorists.

In the cartoon, Obama dons a robe and turban, while Michelle is dressed in fatigues and carries a gun. The two are in the Oval Office giving each other a fist bump, a greeting which one Fox News Channel commentator has previously called a “terrorist fist jab”, while an American flag burns in the fireplace in the background.

The New Yorker indicated that Barry Blitt’s cartoon was intended to lampoon “the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” Editor David Remnick noted that satire is a useful tool in bringing sensitive issues to people’s attention.

Statements from both Obama’s campaign office and that of prospective Republican candidate John McCain, however, have condemned the cover as “tasteless and offensive”.

The publication continues to defend its position that the cover is a work of satire.

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June 1, 2008

Obama withdraws from Trinity United Church

Obama withdraws from Trinity United Church

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
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2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories

Presidential candidate Barack Obama

Jeremiah Wright in 1998.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama withdrew from his church of twenty years, where his affiliation had become a political issue following a revelation of controversial comments made by former pastor Jeremiah Wright. His exit from the church’s congregation came as media reports revealed that guest speaker of the church and Catholic priest Reverend Michael Pfleger went on a tirade on the pulpit declaring that Hillary Clinton believed she was entitled to the Democratic presidential nomination because she is white.

Obama had been criticized since March 2008 when media reports showed his longtime pastor declaring on the Sunday following the September 11 attacks that the violence was a result of America’s support of “state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans.” Many more were appalled when Wright declared “God damn America” in a later sermon.

The pastor had an impact on Obama earlier in his life, and was once described as his spiritual guide. He married Obama and his wife Michelle, and baptized their two children. It was Wright’s sermon that influenced Obama to write his biographical book The Audacity of Hope. Obama remained a member of the church following the reports but separated himself from the comments in a speech on race entitled A More Perfect Union delivered on March 18, 2008.

Despite the speech, polls early in May revealed that Obama’s favorability fell from 50 to 45% because of Wright’s comments. Wright had resigned his post yet the criticism remained. The final piece in Obama’s eventual exit from the church came when Reverend Pfleger, a friend of Obama, mocked Hillary Clinton during a sermon stating, “‘I’m Bill’s wife, I’m white and this is mine’…And then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,’ and she said, ‘Oh, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!'”

In his announcement that he was leaving the church, Obama remarked, “I make this decision with sadness…This is where I found Jesus Christ, where we were married, where our children were baptized. We are proud of the extraordinary works of that church…I’m not denouncing the church, and I’m not interested in people who want me to denounce the church.”

Cquote1.svg I make this decision with sadness…We are proud of the extraordinary works of that church Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama



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May 30, 2008

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, May 2008

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, May 2008

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Friday, May 30, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
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2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories
  • 9 March 2012: Super Tuesday 2012: ‘Joe the Plumber’ wins GOP congressional primary
  • 23 March 2010: Non-profit ACORN plans to shut down
  • 11 January 2010: US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid criticized over “Negro” comments
  • 22 July 2009: Former U.S. Presidential candidate Gene Amondson dies following a stroke
  • 22 January 2009: Photo source for Barack Obama presidential campaign “HOPE” poster discovered

In May 2008, the candidates of the United States presidential election campaigned and faced questions on as wide ranging issues as assassination, Hitler and the death of one’s political career. The month more clearly showed who the Democratic Party candidate would be, and potentially narrowed the field for the Vice-Presidential race in the Republican Party. A third-party candidate also emerged who could potentially change the outcome of the election.

  • Hillary Clinton won the Kentucky and West Virginia Primaries by a wide margin and narrowly won in Indiana despite calls from prominent Democrats for her to drop out of the race after heavy losses in the North Carolina and Oregon primaries.
  • Barack Obama’s victories in North Carolina and Oregon propelled him to large leads in the delegate count, and he picked up new superdelegates at a higher rate than Hillary Clinton, including the endorsement of former candidate John Edwards. Members of the press including George Stephanopoulos and Tim Russert declared Obama as the Democratic candidate with Russert asserting “We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it.”
  • Hillary Clinton continued her push to count the delegates from Florida and Michigan where she won, but whose votes were not being counted because of the state’s breach of DNC rules by holding the primaries too early. Barack Obama was not on the ballots when these states held their primaries.
  • A series of gaffes by the candidates included Barack Obama stating that he had visited 57 states, and Hillary Clinton declaring that anything could happen in the election in June stating “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California”. The former, persuaded columnist Michelle Malkin to publish an article “Gaffe machine” that chronicled campaign gaffes made by Obama as a candidate. The latter, was perceived by some as alluding to the possibility that Obama could be assassinated as Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Potential Vice presidential candidate Bobby Jindal

  • Presumptive nominee John McCain attacked Barack Obama over his comments that compared the Soviet Union to the threat of Iran, describing the latter as a “tiny” threat. McCain stated that Obama had exhibited “inexperience and reckless judgment” in his assessment. Obama responded by stating “that the Soviet Union had the ability to destroy the world several times over, had satellites spanning the globe, had huge masses of conventional military power, all directed at destroying us.” The back and forth followed a debate between President Bush and Obama over Bush’s assessment that Obama’s position to talk to Iran was representative of appeasement.
  • Media reports surfaced of McCain supporter and preacher John Hagee’s comments from 2007 that “the force and fear of Hitler’s Nazis drove the Jewish people back to the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have: Israel.” McCain immediately rejected the endorsement of Hagee after hearing reports of the comments.
  • John McCain’s search for a running mate continued as the senator invited three candidates to his ranch in Arizona. McCain invited former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Florida governor Charlie Crist, and the youngest governor in the nation, Indian-American Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. The invitations led to speculation that the McCain campaign had narrowed the vice-presidential nomination search to the three.
Third Parties
  • At the Libertarian Party convention, former GOP Congressman Bob Barr was nominated as the party’s presidential nominee on its sixth ballot. Wayne Allyn Root was named his running mate. Barr had entered the race two weeks prior to the nomination and was considered to be a possible spoiler for the Republicans in November because of Barr’s conservative positions.
  • Also at the Libertarian Party convention, former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel ended his political career after losing on the fourth ballot. He stated, “From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it’s no big deal. I’m a writer, I’m a lecturer, I’m going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I’m going to push those issues until the day I die.”


Editor’s Note

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail… is a monthly article about the campaign events during the past month. The title is based on the series of articles written by journalist Hunter S. Thompson and compiled into a publication entitled Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.


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