Campaign Notebook

Tens of thousands to see Winfrey, Obama

Winfrey is hitting the trail with Obama. Winfrey is hitting the trail with Obama.
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December 6, 2007

Senator Barack Obama's appearance with Oprah Winfrey at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Sunday night is shaping up to be one of the biggest campaign events in New Hampshire primary history.

Obama's campaign has given away all the free tickets for the 10,000-seat arena, Jen Psaki, campaign spokeswoman, said yesterday.

But that's nothing compared with the crowd expected in Columbia, S.C., for a Obama-Winfrey rally Sunday morning. Yesterday, the Obama campaign announced it had moved the event from Colonial Center, which Psaki said seats about 18,000, to Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina, which has a capacity of more than 80,000.

Winfrey and Obama plan to begin their Iowa tour Saturday.


Obama invokes JFK, issues a 'call to serve'

Barack Obama paid homage yesterday to one of his political heroes, John F. Kennedy, in a major policy speech of the primary campaign.

Addressing students at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Obama issued a "call to serve." He proposed doubling the size of the Peace Corps from 7,800 volunteers to 16,000 by its 50th anniversary in 2011; expanding the size and mission of the AmeriCorps program; engaging retirees in service and volunteer programs; and creating a national online network - modeled on Craigslist - that would connect volunteers to potential service opportunities.

"To restore America's standing, I will call on our greatest resource - not our bombs, guns, or dollars; I will call upon our people," he said.

Rival John Edwards has created a program called One Corps that links campaign organizing with service projects, and Chris Dodd has unveiled a national service program that includes an expansion of the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.


Clinton urges Wall Street to stem tide of foreclosures

Hillary Clinton threatened yesterday to pursue greater regulation of Wall Street unless investors agree to voluntary measures to staunch the flow of mortgage foreclosures.

"Wall Street not only enabled, but often encouraged, reckless lending," she said at Nasdaq.

She wants Wall Street to put a voluntary moratorium of at least 90 days on foreclosures of owner-occupied homes; freeze adjustable-rate loans for five years, or until subprime mortgages can be converted into more affordable loans; and require the mortgage industry to release detailed statistics on the number of mortgages it is modifying to make them more affordable.

Yesterday, fellow Democrat John Edwards also unveiled an expanded prescription for combating the foreclosure crisis. He said interest rates should be frozen or kept low for seven years to help families and the housing market recover.


GOP immigration views face test at Fla. debate

The Republican presidential candidates have mostly been trying to out-tough one another on illegal immigration, but may sing a slightly different tune in their next debate.

They are scheduled to be in Miami on Sunday for a forum hosted and broadcast by Univision, the nation's leading Spanish-language media company.

John McCain told Globe editors yesterday that the rhetoric against illegal immigration could be interpreted as anti-Hispanic. "We Republicans ought to be very careful," said McCain, who was vilified by some in his party for championing an overhaul of immigration policy that failed to get through Congress earlier this year.

Univision postponed its GOP debate this fall after three candidates - Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson - declined invitations. Now, after Mike Huckabee confirmed, the only no-show will be Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, a Univision spokeswoman said yesterday. Debate questions will be asked in Spanish and translated into English for the candidates.

Tancredo - whose campaign is based on tough immigration policy and who has aired hard-hitting TV ads warning about terrorists and Central American gangs coming through porous borders - has said he would never participate in a Spanish-language debate.


Giuliani, Clinton, Edwards unveil new television spots

In the new batch of TV ads unveiled yesterday, Rudy Giuliani reaches for the mantle of Republican icon Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton tries to burnish her commander-in-chief credentials with a little help from a friend, and John Edwards returns to his strident populism.

Giuliani's ad, which will air on local stations in New Hampshire and Boston, suggests that he would bring the same tough-minded attitude as Reagan, whose inauguration forced Iranian mullahs to release hostages at the US Embassy in 1981.

In her latest TV spot in Iowa, Clinton calls on retired General Wesley Clark, a former NATO supreme commander. "I know she has what it takes to end the war in Iraq, avert war with Iran, and restore our country's standing in the world," Clark says.

In his fifth TV ad in New Hampshire, Edwards says that electing a "corporate Democrat" (read Clinton) won't fix a corrupt system in Washington. "We can say as long as we get Democrats in, everything's gonna be OK," he says in a speech shown in the spot. "It's a lie."


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