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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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July 1, 2008 2:46 PM

Bill Gates for VP?

Posted by David Postman

Now heading to his leisure years, Microsoft's Bill Gates was named a longshot choice for a place on the national ticket in a review by Politico of reasonably viable, yet most unconventional picks.

Several Republicans and even some moderate Democrats called the Microsoft founder John McCain's dream running mate. Gates could position McCain as a trusted voice on the economy and his multi-billion dollar commitment to charitable giving could soften up the campaign's image.

And there's no question he could help scare up a few dollars. In 2006, Gates convinced billionaire investor Warren Buffett to give $31 billion to the Gates Foundation.

There's just one little hitch: he seems to favor the Democrats these days. While Gates has given generously to both parties (including $2,000 to McCain in 2003) and advocated for a broad swath of policies over the years, in this cycle he's contributed $2,300 to both Dems, and nothing to McCain.

Gates' inclusion may be a sign that sooner or later everybody's name will appear on a list of potential running mates for Barack Obama and John McCain. But until until my name pops up, I'll agree to believe that Gates is an actual viable choice.

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July 1, 2008 8:42 AM

Burner said to get pressure from pro-Israel group

Posted by David Postman

According to Matt Stoller, Democrat Darcy Burner says she’s being pressured to stay away from J Street,
a new PAC that calls itself the “the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.”

On Friday, I was on the phone with Darcy Burner, who told me that she got a call from people affiliated with the conservative Jewish political group AIPAC. They told her to distance herself from the new pro-peace group J Street, which they said is full of radical leftists who believe in capitulation to the forces of the Arab world who would overrun and destroy Israel. Like most conservative arguments, it is utter nonsense backed up by a political threat designed to suppress alternative legitimate political views. ...

AIPAC's people are backing Darcy's opponent, Dave Reichert, so if they are calling her up and arguing with her, it shows just how confident they are politically at intimidating the opposition. A J Street endorsement is clearly a very risky and scary thing to take, because you'll bring down the wrath of a powerful and well-organized group.

J Street recently took out a full-page ad in the New York Times. It criticized American groups that support Israel when it goes to war, but not during recent diplomatic efforts between Israel and Hamas and Israel and Syria:

If Israel had gone to war this week, established pro-Israel organizations would have rallied to its side. There would have been ads, press releases, fundraising appeals and political speeches. Let’s have the courage to support Israel loudly and clearly when it pursues security through diplomacy.

RELATED: Burner's house was seriously damaged in a fire this morning. She and her family were in the home at the time, said spokesman Sandeep Kaushik, but got out unhurt. More on the fire here. We'll wait until another day to talk to her about J Street.

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Recent entries

Jul 1, 08 - 02:46 PM
Bill Gates for VP?

Jul 1, 08 - 08:42 AM
Burner said to get pressure from pro-Israel group

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