PHAWKER EXCLUSIVE: Inside Bill Clinton’s Smokeless Backroom Meeting With Philly Democrat Party Bosses


azq.jpgBY AMY Z. QUINN Phawker is receiving reports from some of the city’s Democratic Ward Leaders, who gathered this morning to hear a pitch from former President Bill Clinton on behalf of his wife in anticipation of Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary.

According to sources who just left the meeting, attended by Mayor Nutter and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, both of whom have publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, the former president gave a passionate pitch for his wife’s candidacy for president, but ward leaders voted to defer making an official endorsement until they have a chance to hear from both candidates in person.

Fifth District Ward Leader Michael Boyle, who represents parts of Center City, said Sens. Obama and Clinton willclintonidhitit.jpg be invited to address the city Dems’ Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, to be held April 14.

“I think the plan is to invite the both of them, and I think the thinking is that they should both be there,” Boyle told Phawker after the meeting.

Obama’s pitchman today was U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who, like Pres. Clinton, fielded questions from the assembled ward leaders, many of whom sported buttons advertising their support for Obama or Clinton. “There was a question about will (Obama) man up when the right-wing attack machine goes up against him,” said one ward leader, who asked not to be identified by name but described himself as “an Obama guy.”

Boyle said it’s a legitimate question for both candidates, but he thinks either will be up for it. “Republicans are going to scare people, which is what they do best,” he said.

Still, despite the hard sell from both candidates’ camps — nobody’s losing sight of November. “No matter who wins (the nomination), everybody in that room is going to be 150 percent behind them,” one ward leader said. “There’s nobody who doesn’t like both of them, and everybody at the end of the day is going to be on the same team.”

At the meeting, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, head of the city’s Democratic Committee, described himself as a superdelegate who remains uncommitted to either Obama or Clinton.

frankensteincropped.jpgRELATED: A senior foreign policy adviser and close friend of Senator Barack Obama said today that she was resigning from the campaign, after she apologized for referring to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as “a monster.” Samantha Power, a professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, made the comment during an interview in London with The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper. She derided Mrs. Clinton as a desperate candidate who is “stooping to anything,” according to the newspaper’s account. “With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser to the Obama campaign effective today,” Ms. Power said in a statement released by the campaign. “Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor, and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months.” MORE

RELATED: The spring before his wife began her White House campaign, former President Bill Clinton earnedbushclintondecidesepia_1.jpg $700,000 for his foundation by selling stock that he had been given from an Internet search company that was co-founded by a convicted felon and backed by the Chinese government, public records show. Mr. Clinton had gotten the non-publicly traded stock from Accoona Corp. back in 2004 as a gift for giving a speech at a company event. He landed the windfall by selling the 200,000 shares to an undisclosed buyer in May 2006, commanding $3.50 a share at a time when the company was reporting millions of dollars of losses, according to interviews. A spokesman for the William J. Clinton Foundation declined to identify the buyer who was willing to pay so much for a struggling company’s stock, saying only that the transaction was handled by a securities broker. It occurred seven months before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her bid to run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. MORE

mccaingry2.jpgMCCMADMAN? You’ve heard about his penchant for bellicose rhetoric, whether appropriating a Beach Boys song in threatening to bomb Iran or telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that he doesn’t care what he thinks about American plans to install missiles in Eastern Europe. And you’ve heard, no doubt, about McCain’s stubbornness. “No dissent, no opinion to the contrary, however reasonable, will be entertained,” says Larry Wilkerson, a retired army colonel who was former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s top aide. “Hardheaded is another way to say it. Arrogant is another way to say it. Hubristic is another way to say it. Too proud for his own good is another way to say it. It’s a quality about him that disturbs me.” But what you may not have heard is an extended critique of the kind of Commander in Chief that Captain McCain might be. To combat what he likes to call “the transcendent challenge [of] radical Islamic extremism,” McCain is drawing up plans for a new set of global institutions, from a potent covert operations unit to a “League of Democracies” that can bypass the balky United Nations, from an expanded NATO that will bump up against Russian interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus to a revived US unilateralism that will engage in “rogue state rollback” against his version of the “axis of evil.” In all, it’s a new apparatus designed to carry the “war on terror” deep into thetorture.jpg twenty-first century. [via THE NATION]

BUSHIE DE SADE: The White House says President Bush will veto legislation on Saturday that would have barred the CIA from using waterboarding — a technique that simulates drowning — and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects. Bush has said the bill would harm the government’s ability to prevent future attacks. Supporters of the legislation argue that it preserves the United States’ right to collect critical intelligence while boosting the country’s moral standing abroad. “The bill would take away one of the most valuable tools on the war on terror, the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives,” deputy White House press secretary Tony Fratto said Friday. The bill would restrict the CIA to using only the 19 interrogation techniques listed in the Army field manual. The legislation would bar the CIA from using waterboarding, sensory deprivation or other coercive methods to break a prisoner who refuses to answer questions. Those practices were banned by the military in 2006, but the president wants the harsh interrogation methods to be a part of the CIA’s toolbox.

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