Dramatically highlighting his contrasts with Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders used his speech to the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night to make his sharpest and most aggressive critiques of the Democratic front-runner thus far.
The dinner is considered the marquee event of the Democratic presidential campaign circuit, attracting more than 6,600 party activists this year in the state that holds the nation’s first nominating contest. It has a history of shaking up races and knocking front-runners off their perch, as it did to Clinton in 2007 when then-Sen. Barack Obama wowed crowds here.
Clinton came into the event riding a wave of momentum built up after two weeks of non-stop victories and seemed relaxed when she took the stage. While she and challenger Martin O’Malley – who was hoping for a breakout performance – largely stuck to their stump speeches, Sanders threw out his script. It was an especially notable departure for someone who has given roughly the same speech for 40 years.
Without mentioning her by name, Sanders fired off a series of back-to-back jabs clearly aimed at the weakest parts of Clinton’s resume as he portrayed himself as the true progressive in the race who “will govern based on principle not poll numbers.”
On the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Clinton recently opposed, Sanders said he was there first. “I did not support it yesterday. I do not support it today. And I will not support it tomorrow,” he said. “It is not now, nor has it ever been, the gold standard of trade agreements.”
The artist Ai Weiwei has vowed to find a way to accept the offers of donations of Lego bricks from all over the the world, and use them to make a work of art in Australia, after the Danish toy company refused to sell him a bulk order on political grounds, a move he denounced as “an act of censorship and discrimination”.
Tony Blair has moved to prepare the ground for the publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war by offering a qualified apology for the use of misleading intelligence and the failure to prepare for the aftermath of the invasion.
In an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, the former British prime minister declined to apologise for the war itself and defended armed intervention in 2003, pointing to the current civil war in Syria to highlight the dangers of inaction.
Blair, who will be aware of what Sir John Chilcot is planning to say about him in the long-awaited report into the Iraq war, moved to pre-empt its criticisms in an interview with CNN. He told Zakaria: “I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.
“I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”
But Blair made clear that he still felt he made the right decision in backing the US invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. He said: “I find it hard to apologise for removing Saddam.”
Blair also made light of the claims that he should stand trial on war crimes charges and defended his policy of what he used to describe as liberal interventionism. He contrasted what he described as “my ‘crime’” – the removal of Saddam – and the civil war in Syria.
“We have stood back and we, in the west, bear responsibility for this – Europe most of all. We’ve done nothing. That’s a judgment of history I’m prepared to have.”
Blair indicated that he saw merit in the argument that the Iraq war was to blame for the rise of Islamic State (Isis). “I think there are elements of truth in that,” he said when asked whether the Iraq invasion had been the “principal cause” of the rise of Isis.
In 1989, Bill Cosby published a book called Love and Marriage, a memoir-cum-relationship-manual following on from his titles on fatherhood and aging, and ahead of his book on how to be black in America. The publication of Come On, People, in which he told African Americans they could overcome racism if they’d only pull up their trousers and stop listening to gangsta rap, was until last year his most controversial episode.
How quaint it seems now – to dislike the man for the slant of his politics.
Since then, more than 40 women have come forward with claims that Cosby sexually assaulted them, and everything the actor has ever said or done has been called into question as a front for his alleged career as an abuser.
And so we return to Love and Marriage: once a celebrity spin-off of weak jokes and padded anecdotes is now a text to mine for slip-ups that might reveal something – anything – closer to what we might imagine to be Cosby’s real interior life. A dull book is made suddenly fascinating.
A more than week-long student protest over college tuition hikes continues in South Africa. On Thursday, thousands of students marched on the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress in Johannesburg. South African President Jacob Zuma has pledged to meet with student leaders and university heads to discuss protesters’ demands. Under the banner “fees must fall,” the demonstrations are among South Africa’s largest since the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.