The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Clinton-Obama
Animosity Overshadows Campaign

Barack Obama
sought to distance himself Wednesday from a contributor who
faces fraud and extortion charges, links his rival Hillary
Rodham Clinton has seized upon in their increasingly
nasty race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton raised
Obama's relationship with Antoin ''Tony'' Rezko during an
acrimonious Democratic debate Monday night, as the
escalating invective between the two front-runners
threatens to overshadow their efforts to cast
themselves as the candidates best suited to fix a faltering
U.S. economy.

Republican
candidates seized on America's financial worries to tout
their own economic credentials as a wide-open
presidential nomination contest moves forward.

Both the
Democratic front-runners have criticized President George W.
Bush's proposed economic stimulus plan while offering their
own alternatives. But the escalating animosity between
them has focused attention on personality, not policy.

Obama said
Wednesday he had no indication of any problems when he
accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from
Rezko.

''My relationship
is, he was somebody who I knew and had been a supporter
for many years, he was somebody who had supported a wide
range of candidates all throughout Illinois,'' Obama
said in an interview with CBS television's Early
Show.
''Nobody had an inkling that he was involved
in any problems. When those problems were discovered, we
returned money from him that had been contributed.''

Rezko faces a
February 25 trial on charges of fraud, attempted extortion,
and money laundering for allegedly plotting to get campaign
money and payoffs from firms seeking to do business
before two state boards.

Obama's name has
not come up in connection with any of the corruption
charges swirling around Rezko. The Democratic candidate has
given to charity about $37,000 in contributions to his
Senate campaign and political action committee that
were linked to Rezko.

During the
weekend, Obama gave to charity more than $40,000 in past
political contributions linked to Rezko. None of the money
was for his current presidential bid.

Meanwhile,
Clinton won an endorsement Wednesday from Pennsylvania
governor Ed Rendell, a key nod in a delegate-rich state.

The Clinton vs.
Obama feud in a historic race pitting a black man against
a woman for the party's presidential nomination comes as the
Democrats next turn to Saturday's primary in South
Carolina -- a state where unemployment recently spiked
at 6.6%.

The battle there
is particularly important for Obama, the surprise winner
in the leadoff Iowa caucuses, as about half the Democratic
electorate is black.

Former North
Carolina senator John Edwards, who acknowledged that he
got his ''butt kicked'' last week in Nevada, has staked his
fading hopes on South Carolina, the state where he was
born and whose primary he won in 2004. He won the
endorsement of one of the state's largest unions, the
Communications Workers of America, as he gave details of an
economic plan his campaign said would offer the
state's struggling economy $1.5 billion in relief.

On the Republican
side, Sen. John McCain of Arizona stalked rival Rudy
Giuliani on his home turf in New York, a state once seen as
an easy win for the former New York City mayor who has
campaigned heavily on his leadership during and after
the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

But recent polls
now show McCain even with or leading Giuliani in New
York, with its rich prize of 101 convention delegates up for
grabs in the February 5 round of primaries across 22
states that will go a long way toward settling the
battle for the party's nomination.

McCain called for
calm in response to the recession fears: ''Financial
events raise the urgency of cutting taxes and pro-growth
policies in the United States .... but with the right
leadership and pro-growth policies the economy can
weather this upheaval.''

The former
Vietnam prisoner of war was endorsed Wednesday by retired
Army general H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

''Sen. John
McCain has served our country with honor in war and in
peace,'' Schwarzkopf, who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991
Persian Gulf war, said in a statement released by the
campaign. ''He has demonstrated the type of courageous
leadership our country sorely needs at this time.''

The Republican
field narrowed Tuesday as ex–TV star and former
Tennessee senator Fred Thompson quit after a series of
poor finishes in early voting states, capped by South
Carolina's party primary last Saturday, when he
finished third in a state that he said he needed to win.

Even with
Thompson's exit, the Republican race remains fragmented, as
three candidates -- McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee
-- have split the spoils in contests that netted three
different winners in six states.

Millionaire
businessman Mitt Romney continued his campaign in Florida,
arguing that his business experience makes him the only
candidate who can turn around the U.S. economy. The
former Massachusetts governor unveiled a new backdrop
reading ''Economic Turnaround'' a few hours after the
Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, cut interest rates
by 0.75% and the stock market opened sharply lower on
recession fears.

Clinton, in a
news conference in Washington, urged President Bush to
extend a proposed economic stimulus program estimated at
$140 billion to $150 billion to include millions of
lower-income families who do not earn enough to pay
federal income taxes.

Bush and the
Republicans have insisted that the plan include tax rebates
only for taxpayers and business tax cuts.

Obama on Tuesday
also proposed tax rebates for all working families, even
non–income tax payers, and to all pensioners
receiving Social Security checks. (AP)

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