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TOP OF THE TICKET / DON FREDERICK AN ANDREW MALCOLM

Obama aide frugal on economy

August 27, 2008|DON FREDERICK AND ANDREW MALCOLM

'Clearly, the economy is an issue," says Heather Higginbottom, domestic policy director for Barack Obama.

But the first months of an Obama administration, she said during a panel discussion Tuesday at a downtown Denver hotel, would:

* "Responsibly" end the war in Iraq.

* Push for comprehensive healthcare reform.

* Launch a similar effort on the energy front, with an aim of eliminating U.S. dependence on foreign oil and tackling climate change in a more aggressive way.

Some Democrats -- increasingly worried about the apparent closeness of the presidential race -- may have wanted Higginbottom to emphasize the economy just a wee bit more.

Later, Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a panelist who had not yet arrived at the forum when Higginbottom held forth, tellingly named first a middle-class tax cut when asked what an Obama administration could accomplish that would make for a bright midterm election for Democrats in 2010.

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Allred wears her Clinton pride

Leave it to the media-savvy (some would say media-obsessed) Gloria Allred to find a way to dramatically publicize her discontent as a disgruntled Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter at Barack Obama's convention.

Allred, a Los Angeles lawyer and a member of the California delegation at the confab, told The Times' John Mitchell that she was fed up with delegation leaders rebuffing her efforts to give Clinton her due.

She said she had wanted to honor Clinton's "historic candidacy" in an address to fellow delegates at their Tuesday morning breakfast, but was turned down. She wanted to meet with other Clinton delegates privately, but was refused.

So, no surprise, Allred decided to take her case to the media.

She tied a cloth napkin around her mouth and distributed a flier asking the question: "Why is Gloria being gagged?"

Later, she said she wanted to "fight for Obama, but first I want to honor the votes that were cast for Clinton."

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One more time for 3 a.m. crisis ad

That new bewitching hour in political circles -- 3 a.m. -- once again is anchoring an ad. And in it, John McCain once again is using Hillary Rodham Clinton's words to diminish Barack Obama.

Back in the late winter -- when Clinton faced do-or-die primaries in Ohio and Texas -- her strategist Mark Penn came up with the idea of a spot built around a 3 a.m. crisis call coming into the White House as a way to raise doubts about Obama's readiness for the big job.

That fits the McCain attack strategy to a T.

His campaign used the 3 a.m. concept in a previous spot targeting Obama; in the new ad featuring that pesky predawn call, one of Clinton's more acerbic cracks about him is recycled.

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Excerpted from The Times' political blog Top of the Ticket, at www.latimes.com/topofthe ticket.

Frederick reported from Denver; Malcolm reported from Los Angeles.

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