Richard Wolffe

Stories by Richard Wolffe

  • Obama Feels the Momentum in Dallas

    In Texas, Barack Obama rides the wave of 10 straight victories and prepares for a two-pronged attack on Hillary Clinton.
  • Who Is Michelle Obama?

    She's the one who keeps him real, the one who makes sure running for leader of the free world doesn't go to his head. Michelle's story.
  • The Expectation Gap

    Obama and Clinton each claim they can bring about change. But candidates have been promising that forever, so why should voters buy in this time? A reality check.
  • A Simmering Debate in S.C.

    Family therapists might want to study the two Democratic get-togethers over the last week. Both were nominally about race in America, and  both involved the same three candidates. One became known as the kumbaya conversation, in which the candidates embraced one another's records on civil rights and racial issues. The other was a bloodbath in which the same candidates slashed and sliced their way through one another's reputations, voting records and campaign quotes.In Las Vegas last week Hillary Clinton insisted that Democrats needed to hug each other more and start swinging at the real enemy. "We are so different from the Republicans on all of these issues, in every way that affects the future of the people that we care so much about," she  said. "So I think that it's appropriate on Dr. King's birthday, his actual birthday, to recognize that all of us are here as the result of what he did, all of the sacrifice, including giving his life, along with so many of the other icons that...
  • The Incremental Revolutionary

    The Clintons' line about Obama is that he's all talk and little action—star of 'the biggest fairy tale I have ever seen,' said Bill. So what's the reality?
  • Can Obama Go the Distance?

    An icon of hope, he won't 'kneecap' his foes. But Obama knows what it takes, and how to win.
  • Obama Debunked Doubters

    By winning Iowa, the upstart and historic candidate proved the naysayers wrong.
  • Hillary’s Family Intervention: Is It Too Late?

    Hillary Clinton's ritual end-of-day conference call with senior advisers on Dec. 11 was anything but a normal strategy session. Clinton's aides had just learned of the next day's New York Daily News story (headline: HONEY, I'LL FIX THE CAMPAIGN), about Bill Clinton yelling at his wife's team and the prospect of a campaign staff shake-up. "I want to be really clear about one thing," Clinton said, chuckling, according to a person on the call. "We're not having a shake-up. This is what people do to distract us. We're not going to allow ourselves to get distracted. No one is going anywhere."That pledge may have calmed her aides, but it doesn't change the fact that Clinton's campaign is struggling at an alarmingly late moment before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Last Friday, her team released a cozy TV ad featuring Clinton's mother and daughter in a bid to humanize the candidate and recover in the polls after sustained attacks by Barack Obama and John Edwards. Campaign operatives also plan...
  • Putting On Their Game Faces

    Democratic voters, stung by crushing defeats in 2000 and 2004, may just want a candidate who can win. How Obama and Clinton are each making the case.
  • Barack Strikes Back

    He's still a little uneasy pursuing politics as a game, played to win. But Obama is suiting up now.
  • Lost in the Cornfields

    Is John Edwards in trouble in Iowa? Peg Dunbar thinks so. She signed up as a county chair for Edwards in the northeastern town of Waverly earlier this year, after backing the former senator's campaign in 2004. Now she has changed her mind and switched to Hillary Clinton. "John Edwards has been in Iowa for four and a half years and he's in third place," she says. "He should be in first place. Granted, it's very, very close. But I don't see him going anywhere and I don't go with a loser."Dunbar is one of four county chairs—essential figures in any Iowa campaign—who have backed out since being identified as Edwards chairs in a June press release. Ernie Schiller of Lee County says he's now undecided, Frank Best of Louisa County has switched to Obama and Jody Ewing is supporting Bill Richardson.Iowa voters are notoriously fickle and pick their candidates late in the game. But county chairs are not just any voters. They are the key grass-roots figures who help deliver votes on caucus...
  • The Gospel According to Obama

    During a stop in Tennessee last year, Barack Obama met with a group of black ministers. Among the topics they discussed: gay marriage, which Obama opposes, like most of his audience that day. But Obama challenged the preachers to stop exploiting the issue as a political wedge. "If there's a pastor here who can point out a marriage that has been broken up as a consequence of seeing two men or two women holding hands, then you should tell me," Obama said, "because I haven't seen any evidence of it."Obama recounted the story in August at a Los Angeles debate on gay and lesbian issues, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. But it did him little good last week as the HRC and several bloggers blasted him for inviting gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to headline a campaign event in South Carolina, where Obama is engaged in a close fight with Hillary Clinton for black voters. McClurkin sang at Bill Clinton's 1992 convention and President Bush's in 2004. But he's also reviled in the gay...
  • Notes from the Dept. of Counting Chickens, Hillary Clinton Edition

    It's one thing to believe you have the presidential nomination in the bag several months before the first votes are cast. But what does it say about a campaign when you're ready to celebrate several weeks before a debate?That's what happened today on the Clinton campaign's Website. For a communications team that has a reputation for perfection, the Clinton group made the rookie mistake of posting what looked like a template for local groups to influence their hometown newspapers.Perhaps the best line: "Insert quote from party host here--You can use the talking points on the Club44 web site to help you develop your quote about why you support Hillary Clinton. Ann Lewis will also provide you some guidance on the post-debate conference call."There's nothing like a spontaneous outpouring of support for a candidate, after another successful debate. Complete with talking points, conference calls and developed quotes. Even if the debate in question is to...
  • The Man Without Doubt

    A man with a reputation for secrecy and seclusion, Vice President Dick Cheney has spent the past few months out in public. He campaigned in the midterm elections, traveled to Saudi Arabia to talk security and eulogized former president Gerald Ford. Last week the perjury trial of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby Jr., exposed what Libby's lawyer cast as tensions between aides to Cheney and President George W. Bush during the CIA press leak in 2003. In his first print interview since the GOP lost control of Congress, Cheney spoke to NEWSWEEK's Richard Wolffe. Excerpts: ...
  • Wolffe: Terry McAuliffe’s Mission

    He helped Hillary Clinton raise a stunning amount of money in the third quarter. Can he make sure she carries the Iowa caucus? He's giving it a shot, one small cluster at a time.
  • Wolffe: The Obama Challenge

    The Illinois senator talks obliquely about the Democratic front runner. Time to start scoring some direct hits.
  • Wolffe: Anatomy of a Mini-Bounce

    Republicans were running for cover. Democrats were on the march. The polls were trending against him. How Bush got a bit of his groove back on Iraq—for the moment, anyway.