Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at a "Holidays with Hillary" campaign stop at the Iowa Veterans Home Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007 in Marshalltown, Iowa.
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Whoever receives the Democratic presidential nomination will receive labor's support in the general election. Meanwhile, however, unions are supporting favored candidates. Hillary Clinton — who for a time seemed the clear front-runner — has received the most union support. John Edwards, whose populist message resonates with labor, has also received considerable labor support.

.... But now Mr. Obama has lashed out at Mr. Edwards because two 527s — independent groups that are allowed to support candidates, but are legally forbidden from coordinating directly with their campaigns — are running ads on his rival's behalf. They are, Mr. Obama says, representative of the kind of "special interests" that "have too much influence in Washington."

State of the Unions (update)

Via Halperin's The Page:

Woman's Voice: Healthcare. It's a confusing topic. Especially lately. Everyone's got a plan. But who can make sense of it all? Universal health care where everyone is covered and costs are controlled is within our reach. With all these plans there is one fundamental difference, either everyone is covered or some are left behind. CBS News reports Obama's plan, according to independent experts, leaves as many as 15 million uninsured. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes: Obama's plan would lead to higher premiums by rewarding the irresponsible who don't get covered. The column goes on to say that there is a quote "uncomfortable sense among some health reformers that Mr. Obama just isn't that serious about achieving universal care." Call Senator Obama at 202-224-2854. Tell him we need universal care, not his plan that leaves 15 million behind.

Man's Voice: Paid for by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME dot org. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. AFSCME is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Hmmm, I wonder if all those good liberals who keep emailing me and complaining are going to now go after AFSCME?

I've got some people really upset that I've had the courage, some would say the audacity, to actually vet Mr. Obama on this blog and on my radio show. You know, like drop a dime on his delirious "present" votes. How dare you, read my emails. Seriously, everyone needs to quit taking honest critique of Mr. Obama's policies so personally and realize that I've been doing this since last spring so I'm not about to stop now. I've said from the beginning that he's an ideological light weight, which wasn't going to pass the test with me. This isn't a revelation I've recently come to, like some other blogs that have finally awakened, or other blogs that refuse to at all. In addition, covering Clinton honestly and openly, including her strengths, which are serious, is only fair, especially since many others refuse.

It's good to have well informed friends. Segue to Larry Johnson over at No Quarter:

I favor giving Hillary more coverage at No Quarter for a very simple reason–no other candidate for president in my memory has been subjected to as many vile, baseless attacks as this good woman. You don't have to be a rightwing nut to know or believe some of this garbage. According to these critics Hillary is a murderer, a practicing lesbian who is getting it on with her Saudi chief of staff, a swindler, a cheat, and a coverup artist. Oh yeah, her and Bill employ, so we are told, their own hit squad who run around silencing critics. ... ..

... .. The evil witch, bitch caricature of Hillary is a lie readily embraced by many in America. But it is not the Hillary I have met. I am not a good friend nor a close advisor. And I am not lobbying for a slot in a Clinton Administration. I'm not ready for a pay cut and I like to sleep until 9am. But I have been in her office twice and briefed her on issues concerning terrorism and Iraq. If you had asked me before my first visit in 2005 if she could be president I would have said, "There are two ways–no way and no way in hell". Sadly, much of my initial opinion about Senator Clinton was based on the filth I had heard about her lack of character and private behavior.

The briefing occurred shortly after I had testified on the Hill about the harm done to Valerie Plame. Senator Clinton was aware of my testimony and congratulated me on standing up for Val. The Senator was very gracious, engaging, and charismatic. And she does not have fat legs (the number of guys who have dissed her for not having great gams is obscene). She is an attractive 60-year-old woman. But that was not what stood out for me. She is scary smart.

I was not alone at the briefing–there were two other participants who are well-known experts on the Middle East and Iraq. We had not submitted our briefings in advance. We made our respective presentations and had a genuine, in-depth discussion about viable options. She asked us tough questions and could think on her feet without having to look at notes. She focused on what could be done to achieve U.S. interests in Iraq without bleeding our country's treasury and military.

As we talked about the limits and efficacy of using military assets to go after terrorist targets, the Senator brought up the book, Not a Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor. She did more than bring it up. She described in detail the challenges that special operations military forces actually face on the ground. I was stunned. This is not an easy book to read. It is an excellent work and provides enormous detail on special operations and CIA military activities in Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda. But it is tough sledding for folks not familiar with military terminology. She had it nailed, and it was not a mere pre-planned politician's trick. She knew what she was talking about.

I came out of that meeting and realized I could be seeing the next President. If people could always see the real Hillary she would win in a cake walk. ... ..

Like I said, if you're worried about Clinton's negatives, don't be. They're only going to go down once people see who she is as opposed to what the wingnuts have sold for 15 years.

So a brief note to the crazies, as well as overwrought Hillary haters, who keep emailing me over Clinton. I'm driven to cover the primary race by my own good conscience, clear understanding of the facts, and the race as I see it. That I'm giving the idol worshipers of certain candidates indigestion, or driving people to write --how will I withstand the insults!-- nasty things about me doesn't faze me at all. Have a cocktail and take a chill, because you're wasting your energy. This isn't over yet and those of us who intend the truth be told are in it for that fact alone, which is a reward in and of itself.

Oh, and believe me, I understand that some of you don't like Clinton, fine. You have other choices: Edwards, Biden or Dodd. Don't blame me if your guy isn't on the short list. Like I've been saying for months and months, it's about ideology, baby, and on that I'm not going to budge.

Ho-ho-ho and hang that on your Christmas tree. It's the best you Hillary haters are going to get from me this season.

UPDATE: The Problem with Obama.