AP’s 5 a.m. numbers:
Indiana — 99 percent
x-Hillary Clinton 638,274 – 51 percent
Barack Obama 615,862 – 49 percent
North Carolina — 99 percent
x-Barack Obama 890,695 – 56 percent
Hillary Clinton 657,920 – 42 percent
***Pat Buchanan on MSNBC: “For the Clintons, this is THE NIGHT THE MUSIC DIED. This is the turning point. After this, there is no way to see her getting the nomination.”
Karl Rove on Fox: “We’ve seen, probably, the virtually end of the Democratic primary season and the real start of the general election. … Tonight, we saw gracious talk from both candidates. Both of them complimented each other. Both of them pledged unity. It doesn’t hurt Hillary Clinton to go forward from her with that same kind of tone, and let the process play out till the end of June.”
Mort Kondracke on Fox: “I thought that Bill Clinton’s expression, standing behind Hillary Clinton, said it all: He was sour. There was hardly a smile on his face. He was somber. He looked almost sick. I think the Clinton campaign sees this grand chance for the restoration slipping away right before their very eyes, when they thought that tonight was the chance to score a big victory.”
Carl Bernstein on CNN: “She doesn’t want to go back to the Senate. She wouldn’t be the majority leader because quite frankly a lot of the Democratic senators don’t like her enough.”
At 1 a.m., Wolf Blitz had welcomed “viewers around the world” to CNN Election Center, which was flashing: “WAITING FOR ADDITIONAL VOTES FROM LAKE COUNTY, INDIANA.”
Viewers were treated to an amusing, long phoner in which Wolf and John King grilled Rudy Clay, the hapless mayor of Gary, Ind., about why his slow counts were fouling everything up. Clay, who had no good explanation, held his ground: “We’ve gone over this three or four times, and I could repeat it again.
Andrea Mitchell, in a phoner on MSNBC when Senator Clinton’s plan landed shortly after 2 a.m., called the flight “subdued”: “I think that she is poised – and you heard some of that in her comments tonight – she is poised to throw in her lot with Barack Obama if she thinks it’s without hope. … It was not a victory speech which pummeled her opponent. It certainly was a grace note. …
“I have been told privately that she is prepared to campaign vigorously, enthusiastically … for the ticket if it is topped by Barack Obama. … Now I know there is a theory that she really wants McCain to win, and she wants to go at it again in 2012, and all that. I don’t believe, based on my reporting, that that is the case – if only because she’s looking toward her own legacy and her own legacy as Democrat.”
Jeff Zeleny, after writing the lead of The New York Times (4 cols., 2 lines, all-cap ital.), was the star of MSNBC’s “After Hours,” which had a live jazz trio in-studio:
—For V.P., Obama might pick “one of her strong supporters, to sort of unify people. But I would be surprised if he would ask [Clinton] – so I don’t think we’ll ever find out if she would accept.”
—”I think the first thing they do in the morning is see how much money they raised overnight. … What if a lot of money comes in? She made an appeal to her supporters [in her Indiana remarks]. … All of our predictions have been wrong throughout the last four months.”
The bottom half of the N.Y. Daily News front is: “HIL NEEDS A MIRACLE.”
John Whitesides, Reuters: “Both candidates looked ahead to contests next week in West Virginia and May 20 in Oregon and Kentucky, but Clinton was nearly out of opportunities to change the course of the race.”
AP’s Beth Fouhy’s overnight analysis: “Hillary Rodham Clinton needed a game changer. Instead, it’s almost game over.”
A smart Democrat: “Tell me why she’s not Ralph Nader. We’re in spoiler-land, now.”
(SIOUX FALLS, S.D.) — Former Sen. George McGovern, who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton, is urging her to drop out of the Democratic presidential race.
McGovern said Wednesday he has decided to endorse Barack Obama.
After watching the returns from the North Carolina and Indiana primaries Tuesday night, McGovern says it’s virtually impossible for Clinton to win the nomination.
McGovern says he is calling former President Clinton to tell him of the decision and adds that he remains close friends with the Clintons.
The question that is now astoundingly close to being the most urgent one in the presidential race: Does Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton see a distinction between the good of the Clintons, the good of the Democratic Party, and the good of the country?
On the night that Clinton needed a resounding victory, it was Sen. Barack Obama who emerged on top — and, by bouncing back from the biggest challenge to his candidacy, went a long way toward answering the questions that had left him battered and bruised (not even counting what happened on the basketball court).
Clinton, D-N.Y., lost precious ground in delegates, votes, and momentum — with margins that all-but wiped out her pick-ups from Pennsylvania two weeks ago. They both won a state, but Obama’s was bigger, and was called far earlier; under the Wright-infused circumstances (and given the Clinton Campaign’s intense late efforts) his margin in North Carolina was jaw-dropping, while hers in Indiana was jaw-clenching.
Obama, D-Ill., now needs only about 37 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination, per ABC’s political unit — and he holds a 164-delegate edge before the superdelegate movement we can almost certainly expect the day after his biggest campaign night in months.
“This nomination fight is over,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos said on “Good Morning America” Wednesday. “More superdelegates will come out today for Barack Obama –they will come three, four, five at a time, and this nomination will be locked up. . . . People close to her say that she’s more likely to stay in if she feels cornered in by the party leaders.”
WASHINGTON (AP) – A campaign aide says Hillary Rodham Clinton loaned herself $6.4 million in the past month.
Politically wounded and financially strapped, Clinton plunged back into the presidential campaign Wednesday even as Barack Obama declared that Tuesday’s primary results left him with a “clear path to victory.”
Obama beat Clinton soundly in North Carolina and fell just short in an Indiana cliffhanger, a rebound for the Illinois senator that presented Clinton with fast-dwindling chances to deny him the Democratic presidential nomination.
The loan more than doubles Clinton’s personal investment in her bid for the Democratic nomination. She gave her campaign $5 million earlier this year.
CHICAGO (AP) – Barack Obama’s campaign on Wednesday weighed ways to bring the drawn-out Democratic nominating process to a close while mapping out a strategy that will involve campaigning in battleground states where primaries have already been held.
Obama’s drive to nail down the party nod was buoyed with a double-digit win in North Carolina and a stronger-than-expected run in Indiana, where he almost overcame rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama was expected to compete for the six remaining Democratic contests but to also turn attention to general election states, aides said.
Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain has “run free for some time now” because of Democratic preoccupation with the ongoing primary fight, said Obama strategist David Axelrod. “I don’t think we’re going to spend time solely in primary states,” he said. “We have multiple tasks here.”
The Illinois senator was enjoying a rare down day in his hometown before returning to Washington, D.C., late Wednesday
He was expected to travel later in the week to Oregon, where he appears to hold the advantage, and then head to the Appalachian coal-states of West Virginia and Kentucky, where Clinton seems to have the edge.
Meanwhile, in an e-mail to supporters soliciting contributions, Obama called his North Carolina showing “a decisive victory.”
As for Indiana, “we did much better than all the pundits predicted, despite Republicans changing parties to support Senator Clinton, believing she would be easier for Senator McCain to defeat,” Obama wrote. “Now is the time for each one of us to step up and do what we can to close out this primary.”
Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s money.
The double shot of bad news had one veteran Republican House member worrying aloud that the party’s electoral woes — brought into sharp focus by Woody Jenkins’ loss to Don Cazayoux in Louisiana on Saturday — have the House Republican Conference splitting apart in “everybody for himself” mode.
“There is an attitude that, ‘I better watch out for myself, because nobody else is going to do it,’” the member said. “There are all these different factions out there, everyone is sniping at each other, and we have no real plan. We have a lot of people fighting to be the captain of the lifeboat instead of everybody pulling together.”
In a piece published in Human Events, the Republicans’ onetime captain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, warned his old colleagues that they face “real disaster” on Election Day unless they move immediately to “chart a bold course of real reform” for the country.
And in a closed-door session at the Capitol, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told members that the NRCC doesn’t have enough cash to “save them” in November if they don’t raise enough money or run strong campaigns themselves.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A half-dozen police officers kicked and beat three men pulled from a car during a traffic stop as a TV helicopter taped the confrontation.
The video, shot by WTXF-TV, shows three police cars stopping a car Monday, two days after a city officer was shot to death responding to a bank robbery.
The tape shows about a dozen officers gathering around the vehicle. About a half-dozen officers hold two of the men on the ground. Both are kicked repeatedly, while one is seen being punched; one also appears to be struck with a baton.
The third man is also kicked and ends up on the ground.
“On the surface it certainly does not look good in terms of the amount of force that was used,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. “But we don’t want to rush to judgment.”
The officers were responding to a report of a shooting nearby, police said. It was not immediately clear what preceded the confrontation.
Ramsey said Philadelphia officers have been on edge since Saturday, when Officer Stephen Liczbinski was fatally shot with an assault rifle after a robbery.
Police fatally shot one of the robbery suspects; another was arrested Sunday and a third man is still being sought.
“There is also a lot of heightened emotions since Sgt. Liczbinski was murdered on the streets just Saturday,” Ramsey said.
Liczbinski was the third officer slain on duty in the city in the last two years.
The government has a new approach to border enforcement. Instead of just focusing on people who are entering the country illegally, the Los Angeles Times says federal agents are also arresting undocumented foreigners who are trying to leave the United States.
The paper reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have been stopping vehicles and checking the immigration status of travelers near the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing.
“The illegal immigrants they apprehend are typically turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing,” according to the paper. “Unless they have serious criminal records or numerous immigration violations, most are returned to Mexico within a few hours.”
Officials wouldn’t tell the Times how many people have been picked up during these random sweeps.
(File photo taken Sept. 11, 2007, in Imperial Beach, Calif., by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY.)
Clerics have told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stick to more worldly issues after he was quoted as saying the “hidden imam” of Shiite Islam was directing Iran.Ahmadinejad has always been a devotee of the Mahdi, the twelfth imam of Shiite Islam, who Shiites believe disappeared more than a thousand years ago and who will return one day to usher in a new era of peace and harmony.
But in a speech to theology students broadcast by state television on Monday, Ahmadinejad went further than ever before in emphasising his belief that the Mahdi is playing a critical role in Iran’s day-to-day politics.
“The Imam Mahdi is in charge of the world and we see his hand directing all the affairs of the country,” he said in the speech, which appears to date from last month but has only now been broadcast.
“We must solve Iran’s internal problems as quickly as possible. Time is lacking. A movement has started for us to occupy ourselves with our global responsibilities, which are arriving with great speed.”
Two leading clerics retorted that Ahmadinejad would be better off concentrating on Iran’s social problems — most notably its double-digit inflation — than indulging in such mystical rhetoric.
“If Ahmadinejad wants to say that the hidden imam is supporting the decisions of the government, it is not true,” sniped Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghadam, the spokesman of the conservative Association of Combatant Clerics.
“For sure, the hidden imam does not approve of inflation of 20 percent, the high cost of living and numerous other errors,” he said, according to the Kargozaran daily.
Ali Asghari, a member of the conservative Hezbollah faction in parliament, told the president not to link the management of the country to the imam.
“Ahmadinejad would do better to worry about social problems like inflation … and other terrestrial affairs,” Etemad Melli daily quoted him as saying.
Since becoming president in 2005, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly stated that his government is paving the way for the return of the Mahdi and chided his foes for not believing that his return is imminent.
“The presence of hundreds of Israeli armed soldiers and police forces in the city is clear evidence that Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian city. The Israeli claim of securing religious freedom to worship and to have easy access to the holy places for the followers of the three religions in the city of Jerusalem is a mere propaganda. The suppressive measures of the Israeli forces against peaceful Christian worshippers during Easter are clear contradictions to this claim. These suppressive measures indicate a deliberate form of religious persecution that stems from the extremist religious ideology of God’s chosen people and the rejection of all others (Goyims).”
Greek Orthodox Christian celebrations of Saturday’s Holy Fire and Sunday’s Easter in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem late April were violated and spoiled by aggressive interruptions of Israeli army and police. Instead of Christian worshippers, armed Israeli soldiers crowded the entrance to the Church. Instead of lighted candles, police batons were raised. Instead of musical bands playing their instruments, Israeli soldiers brandished their automatic weapons, and instead of celebrating, Palestinian Christians were confronted by Israeli police thugs, were beaten, and many were arrested.
Since the early hours of the day hundreds of armed Israeli forces descended on the old city of Jerusalem, erected steel barriers closing its gates, established checkpoints within the city’s narrow streets leading to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and installed closed captioned video cameras to monitor worshippers. The Old City was, again, under occupation by Israeli military and police. Palestinian Christian worshippers from West Bank, from Gaza Strip, from 1948 occupied Palestinian cities, and even local Jerusalemite Palestinian Christians were denied access to the church of the Holy Sepulcher and to the St. Jacob Church to celebrate Easter. They were told that they had to obtain a military permit in order pray in the church. Many Christian worshippers, who insisted on performing their religious rights free from any military restrictions as they had done throughout the many past generations, tried to force their way through the Israeli barriers, but were met with savage beating, with tear gassing, and with arrest.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate denounced the Israeli measures denying Christian
worshippers access to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Official spokesman to the
Patriarchate father Issa Misleh said the Patriarchate denounces the measures taken by the
Israeli security forces against Christian worshippers during Holy Saturday celebrations.
Amnesty International today released a report revealing the dire human rights and humanitarian crisis facing the people of Somalia.
The report contains first-hand testimony from scores of traumatised survivors of the conflict, exposing the violations and abuses they have suffered at the hands of a complex mix of perpetrators which include Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops, Ethiopian troops, and various armed groups.
Amnesty International’s Africa Deputy Programme Director Michelle Kagari said: ‘The people of Somalia are being killed, raped, tortured; looting is widespread and entire neighbourhoods are being destroyed.’
Witnesses described to Amnesty International an increasing incidence of Ethiopian troops killing people by what is locally termed ‘slaughtering’ or ‘killing like goats’ – referring to killing by slitting the throat.
Those killed are often left lying in pools of blood in the streets until armed fighters, including snipers, move out of the area and relatives can collect their bodies.
In one case, a 15-year-old girl found her father with his throat cut when she returned home from school after Ethiopian security forces had swept through her neighbourhood.
Other cases in the report include:
A 56-year-old woman from Mogadishu called Haboon said Ethiopian troops had raped her neighbour’s 17-year-old daughter. When the young woman’s 13 and 14 year old brothers tried to protect their sister, the soldiers beat them and gouged out their eyes with a bayonet. The mother fled. It is not known what happened to the boys. This girl is in a coma as a result of the injuries she sustained during the attack.
Qorran, another 56-year-old woman from Mogadishu, described how after her family went to bed, she went out to collect charcoal. While she was out, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at her home, completely destroying it. She said, ‘When I came back, I couldn’t find my house.’ Her husband and sons were all killed in the attack. She told Amnesty International, ‘If grief is going to kill anyone it’s going to kill me.’
Guled, aged 32, who said that he saw his neighbours ‘slaughtered’. Guled said he saw many men whose throats were slit and whose bodies were left in the street. Some had been castrated. He also saw women being raped. In one incident, more than 20 Ethiopian soldiers raped his newly-married neighbour when her husband was not home.
Michelle Kagari continued: ‘The testimony we received strongly suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Somalia – and no one is being held accountable.
‘The human rights and humanitarian situation in Somalia is growing worse by the day. This report represents the voices of ordinary Somalis, and their plea to the international community to take action to end the attacks against them, including those committed by internationally-supported TFG and Ethiopian forces.’