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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bill Clinton in New Mexico for Hillary: Video

Video from KNME of Bill Clinton's rally at UNM's Johnson Center in Albuquerque can be found here.

Before holding a $2,300 per person private fundraiser for Hillary in Santa Fe this morning, Bill Clinton stopped in to wave to lawmakers and the public gallery in the House Chamber at the capitol. He made no public remarks at the Roundhouse. Later, he headed to Albuquerque for an afternoon rally for his wife at UNM's Johnson Center. The former president was in the City Different the same day the Santa Fe New Mexican endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Clinton vs. Obama
Yesterday, Bill Clinton was in Denver speaking to a crowd of 2,300 at the University of Denver. Earlier in the day, at the same spot, Barack Obama spoke to a jam-packed rally that filled the 10,000+ seats to capacity and overflowed into several adjacent rooms. See here and here. Obama, Caroline Kennedy and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano were also in Phoenix yesterday, where 13,000+ people crammed into an arena.

In an amazing feat, the Obama campaign raised more than $32 million this month alone, adding about 170,000 new donors. The Clinton campaign hasn't released any recent numbers.

Obama is now in a statistical dead heat with Clinton in Colorado. The latest polling there has Obama at 34%, Hillary at 32% and Edwards, who left the race yesterday, at 17% -- with 14% undecided. The most recent polling in California has Clinton clinging to a 3 point lead -- another statistical tie. This one may well go down to the wire.

January 31, 2008 at 04:23 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary | Permalink | Comments (13)

Update On NM Health Care Reform Bills

From Health Security for New Mexicans:
The Health House and Government Affairs Committee voted to pass the Health Security Act out of committee this morning. The vote was unanimous, with two members (Rep. Bandy and Rep. Fox-Young) not present. Rep. Heaton joined other committee members in voting for the Health Security Act -- thank you so much for all your phone calls to him and to other members of this committee.

The Health Security Act now goes on to the House Judiciary Committee and will probably be heard next week. We'll let you know when a hearing is scheduled. The Health Security Act on the Senate side has not yet been scheduled in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, but we expect it will be heard next week as well.

The Governor and Health Solutions
The governor is extremely upset about what happened to his bill, Health Solutions, in the House Health and Government Affairs Committee yesterday. (The committee heavily amended the bill, removing the requirement that people buy insurance, removing the requirement that businesses pay into an insurance fund, and stripping the Health Coverage Authority of regulatory power.)

During the governor's press conference yesterday, he said he was going to "turn up the heat" on legislators. He had some harsh words for the House Health and Government Affairs Committee, as well as for the House Appropriations Committee, which is still going through the budget process and has not had a chance to act on most of the bills before it. We thought you might like to read his remarks in full, so here they are.

Governor Richardson's Remarks at Wednesday's Press Conference

I said before the session started that the focus would be on health care, health care, health care.

Up until today, we saw very little action on an issue that New Mexicans want resolved.

And now, after months and months of work and compromise, a single committee in the House unraveled our best chance at a comprehensive health care plan for all New Mexicans. The misguided amendments adopted by the House Health and Governmental Affairs Committee effectively kill the concept of universal health care. And if the members of that committee think this is over, they are sorely mistaken.

I now call on the Appropriations Committee to restore the bill to its original form, and send it to the full House for an up-or-down vote.

Do you think the 400,000 uninsured New Mexicans care that legislators think this issue is too difficult to handle in a short, 30-day session? No, they don't.

Do you think New Mexicans care about the political makeup of the authority that oversees this new system? No they don't.

Do you think New Mexicans care if their legislators have an election this year and would rather not make any big decisions? No, they don't.

They care -- and I care -- that they don't have access to affordable health care, period. That's what this debate is about. Frankly, that's what this session is about. Or it should be.

After carefully studying different options for universal health care, we crafted a fiscally responsible and comprehensive plan during the past year that removes barriers against those with pre-existing conditions and provides for participation by all New Mexicans.

We worked with everyone involved during that time to improve the bill and be ready for a robust debate during the legislative session. We also made the first move toward reaching a compromise last week -- in an effort to get the bill moving.

The people of New Mexico won't stand for us to complete this session without passing comprehensive health care coverage bill. They don't want excuses. And they don't want more studies. We need to act.

Unfunded Healthcare Initiatives:

Another critical concern we have heard from providers and others is the lack of appropriate funding to attract physicians, especially to rural areas of the state.

Yet, the Appropriations Committee failed to fund several important programs that help us recruit and retain physicians, as well as cover more people, including children, under Medicaid.

The Appropriations Committee failed to fund:

  • $10.7 million for the base Medicaid budget
  • $8.8 million to enroll additional children in Medicaid
  • $3.5 million for the healthcare workforce
  • $220,000 for Telehealth
  • $830,000 for PTSD funding for our veterans returning from war
  • $750,000 for Native American health care services
  • $1.3 million for the Health Care Authority

We have two short weeks to get this right. I am not giving up on this issue. In fact, I am ready to turn up the heat on those legislators who think they can get away with doing nothing for the people who elected them.

January 31, 2008 at 03:27 PM in Healthcare, NM Legislature 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

(Video & Photos) Ted Kennedy Packs Hispanic Center Rally for Obama

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Sen. Kennedy stumps for Obama

Sen. Ted Kennedy led a raucus rally for the Barack Obama for President campaign this morning at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The crowd packed Salon Ortega, and wound down the hallway and out of the building, to hear Sen. Kennedy's stump speech for Obama. You can watch video of the speech (and Gene Grant getting a Kennedy prediction for the Super Bowl) at the KNME website. Here's coverage by the Albuquerque Tribune.

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Patsy Madrid & husband endorse Obama

There were also enthusiastic introductions by local politicos like former NM Attorney General Patricia Madrid, State Treasurer James Lewis and State Senate candidate Eric Griego who have formally endorsed Obama.

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Obama supporters Miss Smith, Sen. Ted Kennedy after event

It was one of many spirited pep rallies in the February 5th Super Tuesday states in recent days for the surging campaign. Fired up -- ready to go. After his speech, Sen. Kennedy headed up north to appear at another Obama event today at 1:30 PM at Santa Fe Community College in the Jemez One Room.


Sen. Kennedy: Thumbs up for Obama, big day Tuesday


Eric Griego & Miss Smith (93-years-young) want change

The video clips above were taken after the Albuquerque event. See below the fold for more photos from the rally.

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State Treasurer James Lewis interviewed on endorsing Obama

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Overflow crowd at Salon Ortega

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Packed room at National Hispanic Cultural Center

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Miss Smith and Sen. Kennedy

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One of Obama's young fans

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New Mexicans for Obama

Click on photos for larger images. All photos by M.E. Broderick. To see our previous coverage of the 2008 presidential primaries, visit our archive.

January 31, 2008 at 01:12 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (5)

Guest Blog: Brian Colón on NM Presidential Preference Caucus

ColonThis is a guest blog by Brian S. Colón, who chairs the Democratic Party of New Mexico. If you have a few hours to spare, please consider volunteering to help with the Caucus.

Dear New Mexico Democrats,
The New Mexico Presidential Preference Caucus is just days away! With 184 voting locations around New Mexico, we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. The Democratic Party of New Mexico needs your help! If you are interested in volunteering over the next few days to make this event as successful as possible, please contact us at 505-830-3650 to volunteer.

Next Tuesday, February 5th, New Mexico Democrats will have an opportunity to choose a nominee for President and take the first affirmative step this year towards ending eight years of a Republican White House. 

I encourage you to help with New Mexico’s turnout and vote at a Caucus Site on February 5th. Voting will be held between Noon and 7 PM. Remember that although this is called a “Caucus” this is actually just like a regular election in which you will cast a secret ballot vote for the Democratic nominee for president.

To find your caucus voting site, visit our website at www.nmdemocrats.org and click on Feb 5th Caucus Voting Sites. The list is organized by County and you will need to know your registered precinct. If you need to find out the voting precinct where you are registered, you can locate this on your voter card or you can call our Albuquerque Headquarters at (505) 830-3650.

Again, DPNM will need many volunteers to help with counting absentee ballots, receiving results from around the State on Caucus Day, answering phones, and preparing materials for Caucus Day. Please volunteer a few hours of your time to change New Mexico and our country for decades to come!

Best regards,
Brian S. Colón
Chairman, Democratic Party of New Mexico

This is a guest blog by Brian S. Colón, who chairs the Democratic Party of New Mexico. If you'd like to submit a post for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

January 31, 2008 at 11:53 AM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Democratic Party, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM-01: Important Endorsement for Heinrich from Fire Fighters

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Click on image for larger version.

On Tuesday, January 29, 2008, Albuquerque Area Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 224) and the International Association of Fire Fighters formally endorsed Martin Heinrich's campaign for Congress in NM-01. Joined by scores of Fire Fighters sporting "Fire Fighters for Martin Heinrich t-shirts," IAFF Local 224 President Diego Arencón formally announced the endorsement.

President Arencón said, "Martin Heinrich is a strong and effective leader. On the city council, he always stood up for Albuquerque's Fire Fighters and made sure that we had the resources we needed to keep New Mexicans safe. I know that Martin Heinrich will stand up for our Fire Fighters and our safety in the Congress. IAFF Local 244 urges all Fire Fighters and all New Mexicans to support Martin Heinrich in his campaign to bring real change to Washington."

An early and enthusiastic endorsement of Heinrich by the international and local fire fighters union (IAFF and Local 224) is a major coup by the campaign. In years past the union endorsed Rep. Heather Wilson. They switched to Patricia Madrid in 2006, but did so very late in her general election campaign.

It's notable that the union decided to offer their endorsement during the primary election cycle this time, with several other Dems vying for the nomination. It also demonstrates that they evidently don't think much of the candidates on the Republican side -- Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White and State Sen. Joe Carrero. The union's early endorsement should translate into significant donations and lots of help canvassing and phone banking as Heinrich pursues the Dem nomination.

Accepting the Fire Fighters' endorsement, Martin Heinrich said, "Congress has an obligation to make sure our first responders have the resources they need to keep us safe and effectively respond to emergencies. I am pleased to have the support of New Mexico's Fire Fighters in my campaign to bring real change to Washington."

The IAFF is the third major union to endorse Heinrich. AFSCME and UFCW have previously endorsed Martin Heinrich for Congress. Click to see the campaign's other endorsements.

Heinrich is a part of the local netroots True Blue New Mexico fundraising campaign.

For our previous coverage of the 2008 NM-01 Congressional race, visit our archive. The other Democrats in the NM-01 primary race are Michelle Lujan Grisham and Robert Pidcock.

January 31, 2008 at 10:00 AM in NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Confirmed: Obama in Albuquerque & Santa Fe Friday

Economic Summit with Barack Obama
This Friday, February 1st, Barack Obama will be in Albuquerque, NM for a special Economic Summit at the Albuquerque Convention Center.  Doors open at 11:30 AM. You must get a free ticket.

Get Details and RSVP here: http://NewMexico.BarackObama.com/Albuquerque.

Rally with Barack Obama in Santa Fe
This Friday, February 1st, Barack Obama will be in Santa Fe for a special rally at the Witter Fitness Center Gymnasium at the Santa Fe Community College.  Doors open at 5 PM. You get a free ticket.

Get Details and RSVP here: http://NewMexico.BarackObama.com/SantaFe.

January 30, 2008 at 05:30 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary | Permalink | Comments (7)

Confirmed: Ted Kennedy in Albuquerque & Santa Fe Tomorrow for Obama

From Obama New Mexico: Tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) will host "Change We Can Believe In" community gatherings in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Senator Kennedy will discuss with New Mexico voters why Barack Obama is the only candidate who can bring change we can believe in. Join us for one of these very special events.

Albuquerque: Salón Ortega, National Hispanic Cultural Center, doors open 10:00 AM. Get Details and RSVP for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s trip to Albuquerque

Santa Fe: Jemez Room One, Santa Fe Community College, doors open 1:30 PM. Get Details and RSVP for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s trip to Santa Fe

Details on NM appearances by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are still not confirmed. Bill Clinton will rally for Hillary in Albuquerque the same day Kennedy will be in town.

January 30, 2008 at 02:55 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM-01: New Heinrich Video On Protecting Our Liberties

Check out the great new video by NM-01 Congressional candidate Martin Heinrich. Heinrich stands with other Democrats with spine who are aren't afraid to defend the Constitution, our civil liberties and the rule of law in these dangerous times. He's critical of those on both sides of the aisle who've taken the path of least resistance by going along with Bush on the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping and other serious threats to our freedom. It's really satisfying to see that Heinrich is right out front taking a firm stand on this issue, while others cower in the corner more fearful of garnering criticism than of seeing our democracy trashed.

I'm not the only one impressed. See today's coverage of the video by Matt Stoller on Open Left. Excerpt:

Glenn Greenwald has gone over all the legislation passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, including the Patriot Act, the authorization for the war in Iraq, the FISA legislation, Kyl-Lieberman, the Military Commissions Act, condemning Moveon, etc.  What we have in DC is bipartisanship, elites getting along to take away our rights and to move us towards an authoritarian state. 

Now it's relatively easy to make these arguments as a blogger or an outsider critic.  It is extremely difficult to do it as Heinrich is doing it, as a leading candidate in a Congressional district who is seeking support from the political institutions he is criticizing ... It seems to me that Heinrich is actually using his campaign to lead, and he will hopefully be one of a group of Democrats injecting new blood into a now morally bankrupt Congress.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon, one our most respected national bloggers, also posted today about the need for more Democrats to take a real stand on issues like these, and used Heinrich's video as an example:

Leaving aside how shallow and, shall we say, unserious is this endless chirping for more "bipartisanship" -- as though it's a magic feel-good formula for resolving actual policy differences -- it's hard to imagine how there could possibly be any more "bipartisanship" in Washington even if that were the only goal. Other than formally disbanding as a party -- or granting a permanent proxy of their collective vote to Mitch McConnell -- how could Congressional Democrats possibly be more accommodating than they already are?

... This superb ad, from Martin Heinrich, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st District of New Mexico, makes the point about as well as a political advertisement can make a point -- is it really that difficult for other Democrats to convey this message?

If we want to elect "more and better Democrats," we need to step up to the plate now and support Martin and other candidates like him with our donations of time and money, no matter how small. Click to donate to Heinrich's campaign and to volunteer a few hours of your time. If we don't stand behind our strong candidates now, we can't complain about weak Dems dominating the Party in the future.

Heinrich is a part of the True Blue New Mexico fundraising campaign.

For our previous coverage of the 2008 NM-01 Congressional race, visit our archive.

January 30, 2008 at 02:27 PM in Civil Liberties, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tonight On We The People: Martin Heinrich

WE THE PEOPLE
Guest: Martin Heinrich, Democratic Candidate
New Mexico First Congressional District
Watch - Think - Call-in! (505) 346-1633
New Day and Time: Wednesday, January 30th, 6 PM
Albuquerque Comcast Cable Channel 27

Not a cable subscriber? Watch simultaneously on your high-speed computer: http://www.quote-unquote.org. Click for Channel 27s Media Stream ---> down the page on the Right.

WE THE PEOPLE is an innovative call-in television show looking for TRUTH and TRANSPARENCY in local, state, and federal governments. THANKS FOR WATCHING! Mickey Bock, Host; Judith Binder, Producer.

January 30, 2008 at 12:23 PM in Media, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

(Updated) Latest Rumors on Obama, Kennedy Visits to New Mexico

UPDATE 2:45PM: Ted Kennedy will also rally for Obama at Santa Fe Community College at 1:30PM on January 31. Click for more info.
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UPDATE 1:00 PM: I just got word from the Obama campaign confirming that Sen. Ted Kennedy will rally for the campaign on Thursday, January 31, at 10:30 AM at Salon Ortega at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Doors open at 10:00 AM. Nothing firm yet on the other possible events mentioned below.
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According to a knowledgeable source, the Obama campaign's advance team landed in Albuquerque last night to scout locations for events in Albuquerque and Santa Fe on Friday, February 1st. The team is expected to seek sites at or near college facilities that can accommodate the large crowds expected for the events. Early word is that Obama may appear on his own at the Albuquerque event, and that Sen. Ted Kennedy may possibly join him at the Santa Fe rally. Of course none of this is confirmed or official. Keep checking the Obama New Mexico site for updates.

Clearly, Obama is devoting significant resources to organizing in New Mexico. The campaign is opening a fourth field office in the state today, in Shiprock, and is reaching out strongly to the Navajo Nation. Obama also has offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces.

"Our support and organization in Shiprock reflects Senator Obama's strong commitment to tribal communities, including the Navajo people throughout New Mexico," said Carlos Monje, state director for Obama's campaign.

According to the latest Gallup polling, Obama's support is jumping nationwide:

Barack Obama has cut the gap with Hillary Clinton to 6 percentage points among Democrats nationally in the Gallup Poll Daily tracking three-day average, and interviewing conducted Tuesday night shows the gap between the two candidates is within a few points. Obama's position has been strengthening on a day-by-day basis. As recently as Jan. 18-20, Clinton led Obama by 20 points.

Clinton's lead in the three-day average is now 42% to Obama's 36%. John Edwards, who dropped out of the race today after Gallup conducted these interviews, ended his quest for the presidency with 12% support.

Here's a graph showing recent trends in Gallup's polling:

Graph
Click on image for larger version.

January 30, 2008 at 10:58 AM in 2008 Presidential Primary | Permalink | Comments (2)

(Updated) Edwards to Quit Prez Race Today

Edwards
Edwards campaigns in Seneca NC last week, where he was born

UPDATE: See below the fold for video of the speech.
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John Edwards will withdraw from the race for the Democratic nomination for president today at 11 AM MST during a speech in New Orleans, where he began his campaign. His top advisors have said he won't endorse another candidate today. Elizabeth Edwards and their three children will be at his side for the speech. Afterwards, Edwards will work with Habitat for Humanity at their New Orleans rebuilding project called Musicians' Village.

From the beginning, Edwards' platform was the most progressive and populist of the top-tier Dem candidates. Refusing to take money from lobbyists and PACs, his campaign operated with significantly less funding than the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and received much less coverage by the traditional media. A number of his positions on issues were eventually adopted by the Dem frontrunners. According to an AP story by Nedra Pickler:


Edwards Speech Today in New Orleans

With that, Edwards' campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago - with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden.

Edwards burst out of the starting gate with a flurry of progressive policy ideas - he was the first to offer a plan for universal health care, the first to call on Congress to pull funding for the war, and he led the charge that lobbyists have too much power in Washington and need to be reigned in.

Now the question is whether Edwards' supporters will move primarily to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. If he decides to endorse another candidate it will most likely be Obama given Edwards' labeling of himself and Obama as agents of change while dubbing Clinton a force for the status quo. Edwards' numbers have generally been in the teens in national polling.

January 30, 2008 at 09:42 AM in 2008 Presidential Primary | Permalink | Comments (5)

Obama, Heinrich, Wivottt Winners of Sandoval County Dem Straw Poll

The Sandoval County Democratic Club and the Sandoval County Democratic Women's Club co-hosted a Straw Poll at a gathering last night in Rio Rancho. About 150 people attended.

In the presidential nomination poll, Javier Gonzales, the Chairman of New Mexico Highlands University's Board of Regents, spoke in support of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Former State Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim spoke on behalf of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Obama beat Clinton by a 50-41 margin, while John Edwards finished third with 28 votes.

Martin Heinrich won the Straw Poll for NM-01 Congressional candidates with 83% of the vote. Michelle Lujan Grisham was second with five votes. In the NM-03 Congressional candidate poll, Don Wiviott won by a margin of 51-34 with Ben R. Lujan coming in second. The Wiviott campaign issued this statement about their win:

“I’m encouraged by the support I received in Sandoval County, one of the largest counties in the district. It is clear that Democrats are ready for a change from the “business as usual” politics of Washington,” Wiviott said. “I’ve spent my life promoting responsible clean energy solutions and creating jobs. I will fight for communities in northern New Mexico—both urban and rural—creating a place where our families can succeed and our children can get a great education, good paying jobs, and raise their families.”

Over the last two decades, Wiviott has built a successful New Mexico-based business and established himself as one of the nation’s leading “green builders.” His projects in Santa Fe, like the Lofts, have helped create jobs, grow the economy and protect New Mexico’s precious natural resources. 

The Third Congressional District contains all of San Juan, Mora, Colfax, Union, Harding, Curry, Roosevelt, Los Alamos, Taos, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Quay, and most of Santa Fe, Sandoval, and McKinley counties. 

If you're a bit confused about who's running for our three open Congressional seats and one open U.S. Senate seat, check out New Mexico FBIHOP's easy reference.

January 30, 2008 at 01:12 AM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Democratic Party, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)