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Women Are The New Black In the 2008 Presidential Campaigns

If it's fashionable for the 2008 presidential candidates to highlight their advocacy on behalf of women, Bill Richardson is haute-couture.

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Democratic Candidates Debate HIV Prevention

The Democratic candidates debated domestic issues Thursday night, in front of a primarily African-American audience. Michel Martin asked the candidates about their plans for HIV/AIDS prevention.

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Giuliani Won’t Defend Roe: GOP Leans Right

Rudy Giuliani can't say strict constructionist too often lately as he turns his back on his pro-choice record saying it would be okay to repeal Roe v. Wade.

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Stumping John McCain

Last Friday, reporters managed to stump 2008 presidential hopeful John McCain. What tough topic caused the senator to pause awkwardly and stumble for an answer? Iraq? No … Poverty? Try again … Healthcare? Getting closer … Contraception? Bingo! Specifically, whether contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV and should they be publicly funded.

Now, this should be a no-brainer. Honestly, anyone who has been through sex ed should know that condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection. Oh wait … except that abstinence-only education gets tons of funding (while comprehensive sex ed gets none) and so it is prevalent in our nation's schools despite the fact that it doesn't teach kids medically accurate information, it doesn't teach them how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and abstinence-only programs actually spread misinformation and religious dogma. Well, don't worry—McCain is also confused about his position on sexuality education. After a long pause, he decided that he thinks he supports the president's policy.

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Redefining Spineless: Mitt Romney on Abortion

Mitt Romney makes me sick, and not just because he hasn't stopped hating on my home state of Massachusetts since he shed the governor's mantle in favor of a shiny new presidential hopeful suit. I'm sorry, but the man has no integrity, and if so-called "values voters" wind up voting him into office, then we will finally have definitive proof that they do not know what the word "values" means.

A quick review of the flip-flopping—more worthy of a freshly caught fish than a man who honestly believes he has the credibility to run for president—that has characterized Romney's political career. Our story begins in 1994, during an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate. During a debate with staunchly pro-choice opponent Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Romney made the following statements on abortion:

"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country."

"We should sustain and support [Roe v. Wade] and the right of a woman to make that choice."

"I do not impose my beliefs on other people."

"You will not see me wavering on that."

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Battle for Elites: Fewer “Virgins” Among 2008 Contenders

Here's an idea for Campaign 2008 …. Tivo the whole thing so you can fast forward past the boring parts. Like the Oscars, this campaign runs the risk of people tuning out too soon. This past week, from Hollywood to the Christian Right, its been a battle for the Elites, and more evidence that the cultural extremes are out of touch with reality.

At least the Oscars only lasts for one day. The campaign news gets recycled through multiple news casts, trying to make something out of nothing, like those interesting, but useless, Pilobus performances at the "green" Oscars. We salute the National Resources Defense Council's efforts to use the Oscars to promote more "green practices" knowing that every little bit helps, but not even Scorsese could have directed Leonardo DiCaprio's "green" lines to pass the laugh test amidst all the excess that is Oscar night. Al Gore and the triumph that An Inconvenient Truth is, was an authentic dose of reality against a backdrop of extravagance.

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Kate Michelman on Why She Supports Edwards

Presidential candidate announcements in the U.S., like the sunrise, seem to come just about every day. The positioning of the consultants, advisors and chattering classes is proving as interesting as the announcements. Case in point, Former NARAL CEO Kate Michelman is interviewed today on Salon about her position as a Senior Advisor to John Edwards. Check out the interview here.

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Generation Next Shows Shifts on Social Issues Among Evangelical Youth

Generational attitudes about sexuality and reproductive health are shifting among evangelical youth in one of the most interesting trends to watch in terms of future politics and policy. According to a research study from Baylor University and a recent series of reports by Judy Woodruff on The NewsHour, young adults are trending more faithful and more compassionate in terms of public policy than their parents. Woodruff will host a PBS special about Generation Next this Friday, January 12 at 9:00 p.m. (ET).

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Ad Astra Per Aspera: A Star Turns Red Kansas Blue

To the stars through difficulties is the Kansas state motto. One star has been steadily rising in Kansas, leading her party and state through difficulties often brought on by social conservative ideologues and an agenda that distracts many politicians from doing what they were elected to do, govern. Governor Kathleen Sebelius, winning her second term in a cake-walk, is a bona fide national leader with accomplishments forged of collaboration and pragmatism. She did that without dodging or compromising her beliefs on difficult social issues in red state Kansas. As an unapologetic pro-choice Catholic, she places social issues in the larger context of issues that genuinely matter to the vast majority of people, like education, the economy and health care. But she does not ignore them.

Sebelius does not define herself by focusing on social issues. She starts from a place of inclusion and collaboration, understanding that America is a pluralistic democracy that must have space within the law for people to make private decisions based on individual beliefs and values. She makes government work not by forcing her beliefs on others, but by respectfully disagreeing where she must, and reminding people she was elected to serve all Kansans.

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Obama, Clinton, Rice, and McCain – ‘08 Can’t Wait

The "marble ceiling" that has kept women and people of color out of the highest offices of leadership in the land is crumbling, at long last. Much of the 2008 speculation has centered on Sen. Hillary Clinton and wondering if America is ready for a woman to be elected President. But long before 2008, Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi will ascend to third in line of succession to the Presidency. If conservatives are going to use the potential of Speaker Pelosi as a scare tactic to rally their base, then they will have to accept her election as an undeniable statement by "The People's House," that we are ready.

Breaking the marble ceiling may be about more than just women in 2008. Since most marble (in DC at least) is white, this historic moment now has pundits offering an arcane and false choice between America being ready for Madame President or a President of Color? Why not both?

Illinois Senator Barack Obama is one reason Democrats will regain the majority this midterm election, his pitch perfect message and American Dream story is one of healing, intelligence, faith and grace at a time of GOP dissembling, war, and vulgarity.

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