Women’s group plans to endorse Clinton
NEW YORK (AP) — The political arm of NOW, the National Organization for Women, will endorse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid on Wednesday, according to Democratic officials familiar with the plan.
Clinton will join NOW president Kim Gandy to accept the endorsement, which will take place at Washington’s Sewell-Belmont House, the historic home of the National Women’s Party.
“The NOW PAC is excited to close out Women’s History Month with news that’s sure to energize women’s rights supporters across the country,” Gandy said in an e-mail statement.
Clinton, a New York senator, has made a deliberate pitch to women voters since launching her White House bid in January. Earlier this month, her campaign unveiled “Women for Hillary,” an effort to recruit women voters to talk up Clinton’s candidacy to other women. A separate, Web-based component targeting younger women, http://www.icanbepresident.com , is another part of the outreach effort.
Clinton advisers point to 2004, when about 9 million more women than men voted in the general election.
Founded in 1966 by activist Betty Friedan, NOW is one of the oldest and best-known feminist advocacy groups in the country.
NEW YORK (AP) – Democrat Barack Obama has picked up the endorsement of Sheila C. Johnson, the ex-wife of media pioneer Robert Johnson who is backing rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid.
“Barack Obama’s campaign of change brings hope to America,” Sheila Johnson said in a statement Tuesday, praising, among other things, the Illinois senator’s opposition to the Iraq war. She also announced she will co-host a luncheon fundraiser for Obama in Washington April 19.
Robert and Sheila Johnson co-founded Black Entertainment Television in 1980 and sold it to Viacom for $3 billion in 2000, making them among the few black billionaires in the United States. The couple divorced in 2002.
Sheila Johnson now runs Salamander Hospitality, a resort and retail chain, and is president of the Washington Mystics basketball team.
Her spokeswoman, Martine Charles, said Johnson has supported both Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton in the past but shifted her allegiance to Obama after meeting with him to discuss issues facing the next president.
“She was really taken with him and thinks he has a fresh perspective on how to bring change to the country,” Charles said.
Asked whether her former husband’s decision to back Clinton had any bearing on Sheila Johnson’s decision, Charles demurred.
“She’s a woman who thinks for herself,” Charles said.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is running ads on conservative talk radio shows in a direct appeal to the Republican voters who could determine the fate of his presidential campaign.
The 30-second spots are airing during Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows, popular broadcasts with the conservative base of the GOP. The campaign would not reveal the cost of the ad campaign but said the ads were running nationwide.
Giuliani is leading the Republican field in national polls of Republicans. But he is still viewed with apprehension by social conservatives over his past support for abortion rights, domestic partnership benefits for gay couples and gun-control measures.
The radio ad avoids those subjects.
“My campaign is about leadership and optimism,” he says in the ad. “We need strong leadership to stay on offense in the war against terrorists. We need supply side policies and reduced government spending – fiscal discipline – to keep the economy growing.”
The ad directs listeners to his new Web site, JoinRudy2008.com.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – One of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top supporters says if the Democrat wins the White House, he wants to be part of her team negotiating peace in the Middle East.
Bill Shaheen, a second-generation Lebanese American, last week joined Clinton as co-chairman of her national and state campaigns. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that reports that he withheld his endorsement until he was promised an ambassadorship were wrong.
“Did she promise (an ambassadorship)? No,” Shaheen said. “That’s not how I work. I don’t think Senator Clinton is thinking that far down the road and I would be disappointed if she was.”
Shaheen met with bloggers after a news conference announcing his endorsement last week. One blog, GreenMountainPolitics1, quoted Shaheen as saying Clinton promised to make him her Middle East envoy.
“The only thing I made Hillary promise in return for helping on her campaign is that she will send me over to the Middle East to help her work for peace in the region,” blogger Chris Stewart quoted Shaheen as saying.
In an interview Tuesday, Stewart said Shaheen never used the word “ambassador.”
The blog BlueHampshire quoted Shaheen as saying: “I said if I do all this for you, I only want one thing: I want to be on that team that brings peace to the Middle East. I believe in it. I don’t need to get paid. I just want to be on that team.”
Mike Caulfield, who posted the BlueHampshire entry, said his quotes are accurate and Shaheen did not say Clinton had made any promises.
“My impression is that he was not presenting it as a quid pro quo,” Caulfield said. “He never said anything about what Hillary said back to that.”
Shaheen helped run Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign in 1976 and went to the Palestinian territories last year as an election monitor for the Carter Center. Shaheen, whose wife served three terms as governor, is considered one of New Hampshire’s political kingmakers and helped run the New Hampshire campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is endorsing John Edwards in his presidential bid.
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., said in a statement released by the campaign that Edwards is “the kind of man I want as my president.” Obey, who has served in Congress for nearly 40 years, cited Edwards’ initiative on health care, education and Social Security.
Edwards said in the statement that he was honored to have Obey’s support.
“Dave is a good friend and a true leader on the important issues facing our country – improving our schools, guaranteeing quality, affordable health care and protecting our natural resources,” said the former North Carolina senator.
Associated Press Writer Philip Elliott in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.