The LuLac Edition #442, March 18th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: THE PROVERBIAL "HOT POTATO" AND HAZLETON MAYOR LOU BARLETTA.
Hazleton Mayor and candidate in the 11th Congressional District Lou Barletta is inviting the Presidential candidates to his fair city. It seems the Mayor is a tad annoyed that the candidates have by-passed The All American city in favor of stops in Wilkes Barre and Scranton. Barletta says the immigration issue is key in his area and that Hazleton is "ground zero" for that issue in America. Yeah, if I'm a strategist for McCain, I want to send him to Hazleton to remind voters of his stand on illegal immigration that has earned him the enmity of the GOP right. And If I'm running the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and every word and nuance is being parsed by the media, super delegates and everyone with an opinion, of course I'd like to tour the town that had its ordinance overturned in federal court. The immigration issue is a "hot potato" no one wants to touch. All three, McCain, Obama and Clinton don't need the heat now or in the future. Hey, Rudy's available!!!!!
MURTHA BACKS CLINTON
Rep. John P. Murtha has announced his endorsement of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, bringing his clout as a 17-term member of the House and a prominent anti-war Democrat to bear with more than a month until the primary here in his home state."Sen. Clinton is the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy, and the war in Iraq," Murtha wrote in a statement about his decision. Murtha, who represents the 12th district of Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, was an early and sometimes inflammatory critic of the Iraq war. As a retired Marine Corps colonel and the first combat veteran of Vietnam elected to serve in Congress, Murtha's voice on Clinton's behalf could prove especially valuable in both inoculating her from anti-war criticism and bolstering her claim that she is the most qualified to serve as commander-in-chief. That message is the backbone of Clinton's appearances this week.
OBAMA ON RACE
In a ground breaking, from the heart address that has reminded many Deemocrats of John F. Kennedy's meeting with Protestant ministers in Housaton during the 1960 campaign, Senator Barak Obama tacked the issue of race head on in the city of brotherly love. Standing before a row of eight American flags near the building where the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Obama urged the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years.'"
The speech, at the National Constitution Center, was by far the most prominent airing of racial issues in Obama's 13-month campaign to become the first black president. It was prompted by the wider notice his former pastor's racial statements have been receiving in the past week or so.
He said he recognized his race has been a major issue in a campaign that has taken a "particularly divisive turn."
Obama rejected Wright's divisive statements but still embraced the man who brought him to Christianity, officiated at his wedding, baptized his two daughters and inspired the title of his book "The Audacity of Hope."
Obama's chief Democratic rival, said she was glad Obama had given the speech. "Issues of race and gender in America have been complicated throughout our history, and they are complicated in this primary campaign," said Clinton, also campaigning in Philadelphia.
Obama advisers said he wrote the deeply personal speech himself.
GOVERNOR ED'S HEALTH PLAN
The state House approved a new state-subsidized health insurance plan that would cover about 273,000 uninsured adults within five years. The bill is a modified version of Gov. Ed Rendell's Cover All Pennsylvanians. It passed, 118 to 81. The plan was opposed by many Republicans, who called it socialism. It is not everything Mr. Rendell wanted but it is a start and will certainly be debated for the next few months. The new plan would enable people earning less than $32,000 for a family of four to obtain free health insurance. People earning up to $42,000 would pay $40 to $50 per month, and people who earn up to $63,000 could buy coverage at the state's cost.
Subsidized coverage also would be available to small businesses.
In one of the major differences from Rendell's plan, some small businesses would be eligible for grants to help them afford health benefits for their workers. The plan is expected to cost $479 million during the first year. Money would come from several sources, including the surplus in a fund that helps pay doctors' medical malpractice insurance costs, and contributions from the state's four Blue Cross-Blue Shield plans. The biggest contribution was from Capitol Blue Cross.