CLINTON: Clinton picked up the endorsement of the 27,000-member United Farm Workers union Tuesday and said she would return to delegate-heavy California "many, many" times to campaign before February 5, NBC/NJ's Athena Jones notes. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, to shouts of "the union slogan "Si se puede" ("Yes we can"), cited Clinton's experience and her goal of universal healthcare as the reason for endorsing her.
"We have had a chance over the last few months to listen to all the candidates, but it was a unanimous decision among the leadership of the farm worker movement to support the person that we felt was the strongest person and the person with the most experience to take on the task of being president of the United States of America," he said. "When we asked Sen. Clinton to help us in terms of ensuring that farm workers had the rights to citizenship here in this country, she fought with us."
The New York Times' Healy adds that "Clinton does not usually speak in Spanish as she makes overtures to Hispanic voters, and now we have evidence of why… Clinton repeatedly heard the crowd chant 'Si se puede' - a signature political phrase at Hispanic rallies that translates to 'Yes, It Can Be Done!' Politicians usually join in, but Mrs. Clinton refrained from doing so on one, two, and then three occasions; she simply nodded and smiled and said nothing."
"Finally, as the crowd began shouting the phrase again, Mrs. Clinton bellowed into her microphone, 'Si se pueda is right!' Several colleagues who speak better Spanish than I do say that 'pueda' (as opposed to 'puede') has meaning in other contexts, but it does not really make sense in this one. In any event, the crowd was chanting 'si se puede.' The audience made no noticeable fuss over Mrs. Clinton's use of 'pueda,' although they stopped chanting sooner afterward."
EDWARDS: The candidate made the talk show rounds yesterday going on the Tyra Banks show and The Late Show with David Letterman.
OBAMA: Tons of Rezko stories today. The New York Times: "Still, Mr. Obama's relationship with Mr. Rezko remains controversial. In 2005, Mr. Obama bought a strip of land from Mr. Rezko even though the developer was under federal investigation. And while Mr. Obama has not been implicated in any wrongdoing, his campaign announced Saturday that it would give to charity more than $40,000 in past political donations that were linked to Mr. Rezko."
Chicago Sun-Times' Sweet looks at the renewed focus on Obama's ties to Rezko: "There are indications that Clinton and her allies will continue to press Obama on Rezko, especially as the Feb. 5 votes are looming in 22 states and Rezko's trial is near. Meanwhile, Rezko hovers as an issue for Obama if he gets the nomination."
The L.A. Times also does a Rezko story. "Obama campaigns for president as a new kind of politician, less beholden to special interests than his opponents. He and his staff regularly contrast his policy of refusing to accept donations from lobbyists with Clinton's practices. His relationship with Rezko may undermine the power of that claim."
The Chicago Tribune: "Beyond the heated sound bites is a story of a more complex relationship that long boosted Obama's political fortunes but now could prove a campaign liability. For years after Rezko befriended Obama in the early 1990s, he helped bankroll the politician's campaigns. Then, after Obama's election to the U.S. Senate, Rezko engaged him in private financial deals to improve their adjoining South Side properties. Those arrangements became a source of lingering controversy after the Tribune first reported them in November 2006."
"Now Rezko's federal corruption trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 25. As Obama stumps for votes, coverage of the high-profile proceedings could bring fresh, unwelcome reminders for Obama of Rezko's influence in the same Illinois political world that propelled the senator to a serious run at the presidency."
The Boston Globe re-examines the relationship between Obama and real estate developer and fast-food magnate Tony Rezko. "Obama has also been forced to explain how Rezko got tangled in the purchase of the Obama family home and other ties to Rezko, some of them going back more than 15 years. If federal prosecutors are right, his ties to Rezko may mean Obama's campaign unwittingly accepted money generated by illegal activities. Obama, who has an unblemished reputation after 11 years in public office, has been accused of no wrongdoing involving Rezko."
Just how far reaching are those email smears against Barack Obama? Last night, NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan reports, Obama said that his campaign was seeing email smears about him "coming out in waves" and compared the attacks to what John McCain went through in South Carolina in 2000. And almost at the exact same time, an email from John Kerry popped into inboxes calling the attacks against Obama "swiftboating."
"Because there's no doubt if I'm the nominee, I'm gonna be getting a whole bunch of stuff from the other side, that's - you know some people have received these scurrilous emails about me. Just coming out in waves," Obama said. "I mean, John McCain had to go through this in 2000, I'm going through the same thing now," he added. "He's a Muslim. He swore on the Koran. He doesn't pledge allegiance to the flag," Obama went on ticking off the attacks listed in the email.
"This is just nonsense," he said before telling the crowd that he was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, that he took the oath office on his family Bible, and that he often leads the pledge of allegiance in the Senate. Around the same time, an email from John Kerry emailed to Obama supporters said: "As a veteran, it disgusts me that the Swift Boats we loved while we were in uniform on the Mekong Delta have been rendered, in Karl Rove's twisted politics, an ugly verb meaning to lie about someone's character just to win an election… which is why we must stop the Swiftboating, stop the push-polling, stop the front groups, and stop the email chain smears," Kerry wrote.
In one of Kenya's daily newspapers, the Daily Nation, Obama writes an op-ed, calling for calm and an ease of tensions. "The frustrations felt by so many Kenyans are understandable. There is no doubt that much more remains to be done for Kenya to become a more equitable and democratic society. But Kenya has come too far to throw away decades of progress in a storm of violence."