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Now Entering a New Phase of a Neverending Contest?

After 16 months and 54 contests, Barack Obama has clinched the number of delegates needed to win the nomination. He gave a stirring, uplifting speech to a raucous crowd of some 18,000 in St. Paul, Minnesota—taking the fight to the city where the Republicans will hold their convention in September—but Hillary Clinton has not yet conceded or endorsed him. Speaking to a fervent crowd of supporters in the basement of Baruch College in New York City, Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe introduced her as “the next president of the United States,” and Hillary claimed, “Thanks so much to South Dakota. You had the last word,” when Montana voters were still pulling the levers.

Hillary’s Assassination Dream: ‘An X-ray of a Very Dark Soul’

Through this long primary campaign season we have not had much to say about Hillary Clinton, but after her RFK assassination remarks to the Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader, we cannot stay silent. This is an outrage. It is sickening—especially as the 40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination approaches—and to say this just days after the announcement of Senator Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor? There is no excuse for this kind of talk. This is not the first time she has invoked the spectre of assassination. Her meaning is not being misconstrued or ‘taken out of context’: It’s very plain: She is cold-bloodedly anticipating that ‘something might happen,’ and if it does, she’ll be around to pick up the nomination.

Tribute and Prayers for Senator Kennedy

Senator Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama on Jan. 28 in an appearance with Caroline Kennedy and Rep. Patrick Kennedy at American University, Washington, D.C. Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/New York Times.

What This Election’s About . . . And How the Thin Man of Steel Wins

Election 2008 is shaping up to be a contest between those who want America’s wars to go on indefinitely, and those who want to scale down the violence, restore a more cooperative international order, and focus on urgent, long-ignored domestic needs. The man they are vying to succeed, while addressing members of the Knesset in Jerusalem on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding, took a moment to violate a long-standing custom of not engaging in domestic politics while on foreign soil.

Edwards Endorses Obama (At Last!)

We were wondering if we would ever have the pleasure of seeing John Edwards’s endorsement of Barack Obama. And yes, we were grumbling impatiently and muttering ‘What’s taking him so damn long?’ But now we think maybe he has a good sense of timing after all. This endorsement feels well worth the wait. After Hillary’s big win in West Virginia, supported by that important demographic where Obama’s been falling short, John Edwards’s support is welcome indeed.

Omigod! Infinite Iraqi Freedom! We’re Never Leaving!

As reported in The Guardian (UK), which has seen a confidential draft agreement covering the future of U.S. forces in Iraq, the U.S. has plans for an indefinite stay there. The agreement is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorizes the U.S. “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security” without a time limit.

‘Surrounded by Water’ Now at Historic New Orleans Collection

In New Orleans last week we visited an excellent exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street, “Surrounded by Water: New Orleans, the Mississippi River & Lake Pontchartrain.” As usual with the HNOC, you get the best of archival maps and photographs of Louisiana with detailed explanations, a French Quarter-cum-Oxford University Press approach to any subject they take up.

In Honor of the Dead

Four thousand and counting. And the Bush administration plans to maintain troop levels at their current numbers. To pull out now, they tell us, would dishonor the sacrifice of those who have already fallen.

Feeling No Pain: Your Representative Democracy at Work

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with White House correspondent Martha Raddatz aired on March 19, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, Vice President Dick Cheney revealed once again how closely he listens to public opinion.

Ignorance, Gaffes, and ‘Myopia’: Josh Marshall Calls McCain ‘Unfit for Duty’

On the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Iraq War, Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo explains why the American public should have no confidence in the foreign policy ‘authority’ of Senator John McCain—and the Democratic candidates shouldn’t give him any credit, either. McCain does not possess the expertise or geostrategic vision he likes to think he has. (Boldface added for emphasis.)

Five Years of Operation Iraqi Freedom

This picture of a U.S. soldier in the Korengal Valley in the Eastern province of Afghanistan shows the traumatized exhaustion felt most acutely by soldiers in the field in Afghanistan and Iraq after years of war—but also by the American public.

How Many Republicans Is Obama Running Against?

TPM Cafe reader “57andFemale” has written a powerful rant against the Clinton campaign’s race tactics and tepid ‘regrets’ of Geraldine Ferraro’s well-publicized outpourings. (Original spellings are retained.) HillaryMcCain ‘mindmeld’ composites by Mike Ferry of 2millionth web log, inspired by Driftglass.