Obama May Be Targeted: He's Soft on Crime

  Obama May Be Targeted: He's Soft on Crime

Posted by CN Staff on May 15, 2008 at 08:17:55 PT
By Heidi Przybyla 

Washington, D.C. -- The Republicans are facing an uphill battle against a fresh-faced Democrat for a third term in the White House, and they are reaching for a familiar playbook: crime. It worked in 1988; it will be tried again in 2008.With Illinois Senator Barack Obama almost certain to be the Democratic nominee, Republican groups are focusing on his vulnerabilities. They are highlighting some of his votes during his eight years in the Illinois state legislature, from opposing extending the death penalty for gang members to refusing to back restrictions on porn shops and saying he supports the ``decriminalization'' of marijuana.
``I would be amazed if crime was not used extensively to show how out of step this guy is with the mainstream of America,'' said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican strategist unaffiliated with the campaign of the party's presumptive nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain. Fabrizio said Obama's crime votes, in particular, were ``something visceral.''``If McCain's people and Republicans run the right campaign against Barack Obama, John McCain can win in a landslide,'' Fabrizio said.The Obama campaign said the charges are unfounded and the candidate has been consistently tough on crime. Illinois Record  As a state senator, Obama's campaign said, the candidate sponsored laws to remove the statute of limitations for first- degree murder and to extend it for sexual assault; to protect victims of domestic violence; to increase penalties on drunk drivers and white-collar crime, and to protect victims' rights.Obama, 46, also worked on legislation to crack down on sex offenders and drug dealers and repeatedly voted to lengthen sentences for criminals, the campaign said. He also supported measures to address gang violence.Republicans are trying to ``distract, deflect and distort the record,'' said David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, and the effort is ``destined to fail.''``It's not going to deflect attention from the fact that Senator McCain is carrying the tattered banner of the Bush administration on economic matters and foreign policy,'' Axelrod said. `Stark Contrast'   McCain, 71, has yet to raise the crime issue, though Tucker Bounds, a campaign spokesman, said his ``record will stand in stark contrast to either of the potential Democratic nominees for president.''Meanwhile, Republican surrogates, mainly independent groups, are resurrecting the strategy that sunk former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential bid. Floyd Brown, creator of ads that played to racial fears and portrayed Dukakis as soft on crime, recently produced an ad that attacks Obama's 2001 vote against a bill that would have made gang members eligible for the death penalty.Brown's 1988 ad against Dukakis, who lost to Republican George H.W. Bush after failing to quell concerns that he was weak on crime, focused on a Massachusetts parolee, Willie Horton, who committed armed robbery and rape. The current spot recounts the stories of three Chicago residents murdered by gangs. `Republican Trick'   ``They're trying to use the old Republican trick of law and order and crime as code words for race,'' said Leonard Steinhorn, a political communications expert at American University in Washington who was a volunteer speechwriter for Dukakis. ``If it's going to succeed with any cohort, it's the cohort of older Americans because they're the ones who have the most outdated racial attitudes.''Depending on how far the activists take the issue, McCain may have to distance himself, Steinhorn said.Even some Republicans said the strategy has its limits.``Those issues won't work in this election,'' said John Weaver, a former senior adviser to McCain. ``In a change election in a country that's in a recession and in a war, issues like that tend to be not as important.''Much of the crime material comes from research compiled for former Illinois Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan, whose 2004 campaign against Obama collapsed after lurid details about his marriage were unsealed in divorce court.  State Senate Votes  The research cites Obama's 2001 vote against a bill restricting ``adult-use'' establishments near schools, churches and homes; and his failure to support tougher laws against sex offenders. Obama said at the time the adult-use issue was a local zoning matter and that the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act would deny due process.In 2004, Obama said the U.S. should ``re-think and decriminalize our marijuana laws'' though he didn't support legalization. Obama has also said he believes too many first- time, non-violent drug offenders are being sent to prison.Other items include Obama's 2001 vote against extending the death penalty to murders committed by gang members. The state's Republican governor vetoed the bill, calling it ``misdirected,'' and Obama said Illinois already had ``sufficient laws on the books'' that made gang members subject to the death penalty.Limey Nargelenas, deputy director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said Obama isn't weak on crime. The candidate, he said, broke with the majority of Democrats in the state Senate by supporting legislation allowing retired police officers to carry firearms.``Democrats tend to be more liberal,'' said Nargelenas, a Republican. ``But with Senator Obama, we found he takes a look at the issue and looks at both sides.''Complete Title: Obama May Be Targeted By Charges He's Soft on CrimeSource: (USA)Author: Heidi PrzybylaPublished: May 15, 2008Copyright: 2008 Bloomberg L.P. Contact: hprzybyla bloomberg.netWebsite: Articles: Next President Might Be Gentler on Pot Clubs Exhibits Honesty About Drug Use

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Comment #22 posted by rchandar on May 23, 2008 at 13:46:11 PT:
fabrizio wrong. as in, "dead wrong." None of this will make it a "McCain landslide". None of it.All Obama would have to do is embrace one facet of Hillary Clinton's social policy platform: a new "crime bill" that would put another 100,000 cops on the streets. and all this talk about being "soft" would be washed away.In truth, it is good that we're having this discussion so early. Obama could then reconcile human/civil rights issues with those of security. But I don't think this will sink his campaign, matter of fact I'm sure it will be mainly meaningless.Think Again, Fabrizio.--rchandar
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on May 18, 2008 at 16:05:36 PT
I just watched the Rally in Portland. This was the biggest rally ever. Go Oregon! 
Largest Crowd Yet: 75,000 Rally in Portland
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 15:47:22 PT
Thank you so much. Have a great weekend. I just watched Big Brown win the Preakness. Maybe this year we will have a Triple Crown winner. 
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Comment #19 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 17, 2008 at 15:18:06 PT
FoM, Dedication for You
To show my platonic affection of course: a great day! You know I am, click!
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 09:51:03 PT
I agree. God bless this young and on fire younger generation. They must have learned something from their progressive parents and grandparents. They will fulfill our destiny.
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Comment #17 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 17, 2008 at 09:41:33 PT
I will have to give the younger generation some credit. They seem to be accomplishing things that our generation just sucked up. Kudos to the new people of earth.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 07:28:35 PT
I can't imagine anyone voting for McCain. He is too old and angry. Age matters to me since older people have a hard time relating to the young generation and it is their future. He also has had serious health issue that are a major concern.Go Obama!
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Comment #15 posted by ezrydn on May 17, 2008 at 07:12:54 PT
Drug Trafficker for President???
Let's face it, alcohol is a drug. A drug that causes upward of 440,000 lives lost per year. If all things were equall, that would mean that, at least, 8800 died in Arizona.The largest alcohol distribution organization (cartel) in the state is owned and run by the McCains.We've all heard about gun manufacturers being held liable for gun-related deaths. Why not the alcohol distributors?Jump ahead for a moment to a "McCain Presidency." Do you, for one moment, believe that he would allow another drug to take away from his family business? Even if it were being held in a blind trust??? Of course NOT! He's already said he's "blind" to any medical documentation. Must have been the Apple Jack he made while in Hanoi.Why is America so hell-bent on putting a known drug trafficker in the White House? He no more supports any sort of decrim than the Mexican cartels do. And rightly so and for the same reasons. Would you jepordize YOUR family's income? Do you actually think he's so responsible that he would? He has a vested interest in keeping Prohibition III going.
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Comment #14 posted by museman on May 16, 2008 at 15:53:41 PT
hey repugs and prohibs
You better hope he's "soft on crime" because folks are starting to wake up to who the real criminals are;...YOU!
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Comment #13 posted by overwhelmSam on May 16, 2008 at 05:58:03 PT
Call'em Marijuana Racists
You marijuana racists! That's a good tag that will stick on the marijuana haters. Johnny P. you sir are a MARIJUANA RACISTS scum. (Technically, we are more of a community than a single race, but Marijuana Community Haters just doesn't have the same zing.)
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 16, 2008 at 05:41:50 PT
I believe the times are changin' Obama really likes Dylan's music. He is a wise person and Lord knows we need someone with good common sense. Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin' (Studio Recording)
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Comment #11 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 16, 2008 at 05:32:26 PT
Rebublicans' New Job
Sit around and criticize the Democrats. And that's fine with me, as long as they do not hold any position of power in our government. Yes Obama will change the marijuana laws forever, and anyone who can't stomach this change, can refer to their second amendment and use their own hand gun on themselves. It's great when the trash (arijuana racist) takes itself out.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 16, 2008 at 05:18:46 PT
john wayne
Maybe if you read this article you might get a sense of how Senator Obama is. I never liked Bill Clinton and didn't vote for him. I believe Obama tries very hard to be honest and fair. Old Friends Recall Obama's Years in LA, NY
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Comment #9 posted by john wayne on May 16, 2008 at 00:47:23 PT
What exactly is BO's stance on the drug war? I would like to be hopeful but I remember Bill Clinton all too well.
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Comment #8 posted by NikoKun on May 15, 2008 at 22:15:40 PT
Soft on crime?
No... way off... Smart on drug policy is more like it.Being or not being soft on crime, has nothing to do with this.
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Comment #7 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 15, 2008 at 18:48:16 PT
Way Wrong Answer!
People actually support the decriminalization of marijuana and the old vote is not in charge anymore.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 15, 2008 at 15:34:28 PT

Question For Obama From Willamette Week
May 14, 2008Would you stop the DEA's raids on Oregon medical marijuana growers? I would because I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism. The way I want to approach the issue of medical marijuana is to base it on science, and if there is sound science that supports the use of medical marijuana and if it is controlled and prescribed in a way that other medicine is prescribed, then it's something that I think we should consider.Complete Article:
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Comment #5 posted by ezrydn on May 15, 2008 at 12:29:59 PT

OUT OF STEP? Think again, Tony!
``I would be amazed if crime was not used extensively to show how out of step this guy is with the mainstream of America,'' said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican strategist.Well, Mr.Fabrizio, I seriously don't think that "mainstream" America marches to the same GOOSESTEP cadence that your party does.Where do Republicans get the "more of the same" with nothing to show for it? My response to McCain is "WHY?" He won't answer that question. Republicans don't like Obama for one simple reason: his banner declaring "CHANGE," which they can't visualize as anything other than "change for the worse." Republicans don't know and they're afraid BECAUSE they don't know. They can keep their hypotheticals. Show me reality! There's no reason to reopen the Hanoi Hilton!
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Comment #4 posted by mykeyb420 on May 15, 2008 at 11:35:44 PT

Then lets go after McCain for:
 100 year war   12 Billion a month,
 Loving Gw Bush for all this time and now he is trying to distance himself, (FLIP FLOPPER)
 Short Temper,,WAY TOO OLD, ( to be president of the US )
Hey McCain,,where were you 8 years ago??
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 15, 2008 at 10:20:33 PT

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on May 15, 2008 at 10:17:04 PT

It's like the Karma Police are finally on their way.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 15, 2008 at 08:19:23 PT

Marijuana Issue
The RNC might have opened a can of worms.
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