An answer for Jeff Taylor – sorta

After the Carolina Tarheels trailed the Kansas Jayhawks as much as 28 points in the final four playoff game the ‘heels eventually lost on Saturday, Jeff Taylor over at The John Locke Foundation’s Meck Deck blog wondered:

That was beyond ugly. Reminded me nothing so much as one of those college bowl beatdowns where you think the two teams are evenly matched and one comes out with their hair on fire and the other…? From the introductions on the Heels seemed subdued, distracted even. Don’t know what caused that, but I’d love to know if a #1 seed ever trailed by 28 points in NCAA game.

While I don’t believe there’s been another #1 seed that has trailed by that many points in a NCAA tourney game, there has been a #3 seed that made it to the final game, only to be dealt the largest margin of loss in NCAA basketball championship game history: My beloved Blue Devils, who lost by 30 points to the #1 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in 1990.

As painful as that was, the following year the revenge-minded Devils traded baskets with the Runnin’ Rebs in the Final Four, and and defeated eventual Charlotte Hornet Larry Johnson and his teammates 79-77. The victory was an oh so awesome redemption.

And then there was this sweet moment year after that:

Sigh … those were the days.

Also in that same post, Jeff references an opinion piece penned by WaPo columnist John Feinstein about Tarheels coach Roy Williams in which Feinstein writes that most Carolina fans “fall into the same right wing political category as Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.” Like Jeff, I wonder where in the world Feinstein got that information, or if he’s just blowing smoke, as my anecdotal evidence tells me just the opposite about his assertion.

BTW, how many Tarheel basketball fans are upset with their coach for his show of support for the Jayhawks last night? Williams, of course, coached for 15 seasons at Kansas, but is also an alum of UNC-CH. If the responses here are any indication, most of the fans didn’t have an issue with it.

The audacity of living beyond your means

4/9 Update: Read more commentary on this story here.
Remember what I wrote earlier today about how visiting Harrisburg, NC was perfect for Ms. Down on Her Country Michelle Obama in terms of how she would try to “relate” to the poor and middle class people who live there, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet, in part, because of a wave of job losses that have hit Cabarrus County over the last several years? Well, I hate to say I Toldjah So, but … :

HARRISBURG, N.C. –Michelle Obama says she and her husband have a better understanding of the everyday challenges facing Americans than do policy makers in Washingon.

The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama campaigned Tuesday at a town hall meeting north of Charlotte. She said the Illinois senator and his family are “not so far away from life that we don’t understand and get it.”

Obama said when she and her husband left law school, the monthly payments on their school loan debt was more than their monthly mortgage payment. She said they only got out of that debt when Barack Obama wrote two best selling books.

Here’s a video clip from the meeting.

Let’s address that last paragraph: “Obama said when she and her husband left law school, the monthly payments on their school loan debt was more than their monthly mortgage payment. She said they only got out of that debt when Barack Obama wrote two best selling books.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind while considering this sob story:

1. His tax returns:

Newly released tax returns offer a glimpse into Barack Obama’s transformation from a state senator making a household income of less than $250,000 just three years ago into a millionaire U.S. senator and best-selling author.

The Obamas’ jointly filed tax returns from 2000 to 2006, released by the campaign Tuesday, show that Obama made a total of $1.6 million in 2005 and 2006 as the author of the best-selling “Dreams of My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.”

2. Barack Obama’s financial status in 2004:

The [late 2004] big book deal may help relieve Obama of some financial concerns. Obama said at the end of July that he had taken out a second mortgage and was worried whether his Senate salary of $158,100 a year would be enough.

He put in three bids for the $1.65 million house he and his family currently reside in in early 2005.

3. Michelle Obama’s income over the last three years:

• • Michelle Obama’s income of $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals. She will get paid less in 2007 because she cut back on her job because of the campaign. She made more in 2005 because of a signing bonus from the U. of C. given when she was promoted to vice president of community and external affairs in January 2005, just as Obama was sworn in as senator.

Tax returns from last year showed her total compensation in 2005 went from $122,000 to $317,000, though the higher figure includes a one-time pension payout and the bonus.

• • Michelle Obama’s income of $51,200 from TreeHouse Foods, where she has been on the board of directors since June 2005.

4. Their pre-US Senate income:

2004: Joint income totaled $207,342 (includes $32,144 to B. Obama from University of Chicago; $53,288 state senator salary and $121,910 for Michelle’s University of Chicago Hospital salary). The couple gave $2,500 in miscellaneous charity contributions.

2003: Joint income totaled $238,327 (includes $64,287 to Barack from University of Chicago; $58,151 state senator salary, and $115,889 for Michelle’s University of Chicago Hospital salary). They gave $3,400 to miscellaneous charities.

2002: Joint income totaled $226,300 (includes $69,287 to Barack from University of Chicago; $58,187 state senator salary and $98,826 for Michelle’s University of Chicago Hospital salary). The couple gave $1,050 to miscellaneous charities.

2001: Joint income totaled $176,965 (no breakdown provided on salary, however this includes $98,158 in “business income” B. Obama reported from side work as an attorney). They gave $1,470 to miscellaneous charities.

2000: Joint income totaled $212,999 (no breakdown provided on salary, however this includes $16,500 in “business income” B. Obama reported from side work as “foundation director/educational speaker”). They gave $2,350 to miscellaneous charities.

I presume at their ages they’ve both been out of law school for roughly 20 years. Yet up until a few years ago they had to take out a second mortgage on their home and had college loan payments that were higher than their mortgage payments. Is it just me, or does it sound like the both of them lived beyond their means for many, many years?

It’s become more and more clear everytime we listen to either Mrs. Obama or the man she claims can “heal this nation” that the both of them think that it’s ok to live beyond your means because Big Government will and should always be there to pay for what you can’t, like your college education, your healthcare, childcare, etc. Personal responsiblity be damned.

Related: Oh no! Has mega-talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s popularity taken a hit as a result of her support for Senator Obama?

Senator Jay Rockefeller on McCain’s Vietnam service (MORE: APOLOGY ISSUED)

The junior Senator from West Virginia, fresh off of endorsing Barack Obama for president, had this to say about the man who will be Obama’s opponent should he get the Dem nomination (via Jake Tapper):

Rockefeller criticized Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee for president. “Senator McCain does have a temper. But today, he speaks in a monotone on the campaign trail.”

Rockefeller believes McCain has become insensitive to many human issues. “McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit.

“What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”

West Virginian Don Surber has the full quote, which was provided by Rockefeller’s office. It reads:

Question: “…I’ve heard stories on his hot anger. Wondering what sort of a stable guy he is, and if you have any impressions.”

Rockefeller: “I do, I’m not sure I want to say them. Serve on Commerce together… he does have a temper. Out on the trail, everything’s sort of been monotone. Everything is tamped down. I don’t think that will survive the general election.

“Frankly, other than hot-button issues like campaign finance reform… he isn’t grounded in issues that affect people. All of a sudden he’s for all the tax cuts he was against. He’s a fighter pilot. He flies at 35,000 feet and drops laser-guided bombs, missiles. He was long gone when they hit. What happened down there, he doesn’t know. That’s unkind, because that’s fighting for your nation and that’s honorable. But you sort of have to care what goes on in the lives of people…. “

Don thinks the complete quote makes a difference in what Rockefeller said. I don’t, but believe the Charleston Gazette should have posted it in its entirety nevertheless. Your thoughts?

Update – 5:03 PM: The Senator has issued an apology:

On Tuesday, Rockefeller issued a statement, saying, “I have deep respect for John McCain’s honorable and noble service to our country. I made an inaccurate and wrong analogy and I have extended my sincere apology to him.

“While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words” he said.


Obama asserts that his VP selection would be “somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I’m not as expert on”

The LA Times Top of the Ticket blog provides us with the Barack Obama quote of the week:

At a closed San Francisco fundraiser Sunday evening, previewed here earlier on the weekend, the Illinois senator, who leads in delegates and the popular vote sounded a little defensive as he fielded a question on what he’s looking for in a running mate when the time comes.

“I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I’m not as expert on,” the senator is quoted on Huffington Post today.

Gosh, where do we start with that one? Ah – he knows:

“I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more commander in chief like.

“Ironically, this is an area — foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain.

“It’s ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be commander in chief,” he continued. “Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world.

“When Sen. Clinton brags, ‘I’ve met leaders from 80 countries — I know what those trips are like! I’ve been on them. You go from….the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then — you go.

“You do that in 80 countries — you don’t know those 80 countries,” Obama claimed in a transcript provided by HuffingtonPost’s Mayhill Flower. “So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa — knowing the leaders is not important — what I know is the people. I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college — I knew what Sunni and Shia was before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

Let me remind everyone that the time he is talking about spending in Indonesia is about four years he spent there admittedly as a child. And regarding that trip to Pakistan:

In 1981, after visiting his mother and sister Maya in Indonesia, Obama went to Pakistan with a friend from college whose family was from there. He was there for about three weeks, staying with his friend’s family in Karachi and visiting Hyderabad as well.

Obama was born in August 1961, so depending on the time of the year he spent those three weeks in Pakistan he was either 19 or 20.

Other reminders: In his three years served so far in the US Senate, he has made one trip to Iraq, one trip to Russia – w/ Senator Dick Lugar, supposedly had a quick meeting with then-PM of the Britain Tony Blair on his way back from Russia, and none to the place he claims we have neglected the most and need to refocus on: Afghanistan. And as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs for over a year now, he has never held a single policy hearing on anything, not Afghanistan, or anywhere else. And about his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who has come under fire about his readiness to be commander-in-chief, missed two of three Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Afghanistan since joining the panel.

Obama has said the U.S. should have stayed focused on fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan while repeatedly criticizing his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) for their votes in favor of a resolution backing the Iraq war.

But since joining Foreign Relations, Obama has missed three meetings on a “new strategy” in Afghanistan, a country he has never visited.

Obama was absent from a January 31 meeting this year, and also was not present for a hearing on Sept. 21, 2006. He did attend a March 8, 2007 hearing on a new Afghanistan strategy.

On Feb. 15, 2007, Obama also missed a committee hearing on U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan.


In his second trip overseas as a sitting senator, Obama was part of a congressional delegation that was scheduled to go to Afghanistan after visiting Iraq. Obama made the Iraq part of the trip but peeled off to visit Jordan and Israel instead of visiting Afghanistan, according to reports published at that time.

This is what Barack Obama is trying to con the American people on when he talks about his “knowledge of the world” (and sadly there are those who have been all too willing to fall for it). Contrast that with Senator McCain’s “knowledge of the world” – which started all the way back to 1958 when he began his service in the Navy. As far as recent “knowledge of the world” goes, in the last few years alone, McCain has visited Iraq eight times to Obama’s one.

That Barack Obama can stand there and assert with a straight face – even amongst a group of his fellow like-minded Democrats – that he has more “knowledge of the world” than John McCain says a lot about his willingness and eagerness to greatly embellish who he is. Not that that should surprise any of us.

In related BO news, MSNBC’s First Read reports that Obama is continuing his lie about McCain’s 100 years in Iraq comment and that Team McCain is firing back. Mary Katharine Ham has video of Obama this morning getting questioned by Today Show co-host Meredith Vieira on his continued distortion of McCain’s remarks.

Michelle Obama, I should note, is in North Carolina today, and the first of her three stops was this morning to Charlotte’s neighbor Harrisburg:

HARRISBURG, N.C. — Michelle Obama made her first campaign stop in North Carolina on Tuesday.

The wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama spoke to working women at the Dixon Academy, discussing some of the issues families in North Carolina are facing, especially in this struggling economy. She also talked about the rising cost of living in the country.

Harrisburg is in Cabarrus County, which has been hard hit by manufacturing job losses over the last several years – including from its third largest employer Phillip Morris, which announced last year that they will be closing their Concord plant (and along with it 2,500 jobs) by 2010, and Pillowtex in Kannapolis, which saw 4,400 jobs vanish in 2003, so it’s the perfect place for Mrs. Obama to visit and share stories with the to poor and middle-income families who are struggling to make ends meet about how she faces “struggles” of her own every day and how only her husband can “fix” their souls.

Pass the Tylenol, please.

Update: Bob Owens takes BO to task for his “world experience” claims as well here, and includes this great 1982 comment McCain made to a candidate running for for a House seat:

“Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

General David Petraeus appears on Capitol Hill for another round

MM is liveblogging the latest round of posturing going on on Capitol Hill from opportunistic politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker prepare to brief congressional ‘leaders’ on where we stand on progress in Iraq.

If you’d like to show your support for the General, here’s a quick easy way to do so. The progress made in Iraq since the start of the surge has been both remarkable and encouraging, and he and our fine military deserve all the kudos we can give to them.

Hillary will get her turn to speak to Gen. Petraeus this morning. Will she take the time to retract her “willing suspension of disbelief” remark she made last September? Don’t hold your breath …