Law School Discussion

Presidential Hopeful ...

Re: Presidential Hopeful ...
« Reply #280 on: October 09, 2008, 01:09:12 PM »

Palin is really the heart and soul of McCain's candidacy at this point. She fired back immediately to Obama camp. She defended her claim that Barack Obama "pals around with terrorists," saying the Democratic presidential nominee's association with a 1960s radical is an issue that is "fair to talk about." Obama has denounced the radical views and actions of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground group during the Vietnam era. On Sunday, he dismissed the criticism from the McCain campaign, leveled by Palin, as "smears" meant to distract voters from real problems such as the troubled economy. Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, launched the attack Saturday, repeating it at 3 different events and signaling a new strategy by John McCain's presidential campaign to go after Obama's character.

During her stop in California, Palin was asked about an Associated Press analysis that said her charge about Ayers was unsubstantiated, a point made by other news organizations, and the criticism carried a "racially tinged subtext that McCain may come to regret. The Associated Press is wrong," Palin said. "The comments are about an association that has been known but hasn't been talked about, and I think it's fair to talk about where Barack Obama kicked off his political career, in the guy's living room." In fact, Obama was questioned about Ayers during a prime-time Democratic debate against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton prior to April's Pennsylvania primary. Palin, recharged after last week's debate, is animating the party's conservative wing with harsh attacks against Obama. She's courting high-dollar donors for campaign cash. And she is looking to wrestle away women and independent voters from the Democrats.

King asked Obama about the McCain camp bringing up her husband's ties to William Ayers. Ayers was a founding member of the Weather Underground, a 1960s radical group known for bombings of police stations, the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. Ayers is a university professor who lives on the South Side of Chicago, where Obama cut his political teeth. Michelle Obama said her husband served on a Chicago education board with Ayers. "I don't know anyone in Chicago who is heavily involved in education policy who doesn't know Bill Ayers," she said. "But, you know, again I go back to the point that, you know, the American people aren't asking these questions." "You don't think it affects the campaign?" King asked. "You know, I think that we've been in this for 20 months and people have gotten to know Barack. He's written a book, books have been written about him. He, like all of the other candidates have been thoroughly vetted. And I think people know Barack Obama. They know his heart, they know his spirit, and the thing that I just encourage people is to judge Barack and judge all of these candidates based on what they do, their actions, their character, what they do in their lives rather than what somebody [else] did when they were 8"

Re: Presidential Hopeful My @ # ! * i n g Ass ..
« Reply #281 on: October 09, 2008, 08:54:07 PM »

Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. Except the highs hadn't been about me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory. I had discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. And if the high didn't solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bull and cheap moralism.

"I had learned not to care," he wrote. "I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.  Not smack, though ..."

-- From "Dreams from My Father," by Barack Obama, p. 87 Aug 1, 1996

A prominent surrogate for John McCain on Thursday raised Barack Obama's admitted cocaine use as a teenager and said the Illinois senator should speak candidly about it to the American people. Speaking to Dennis Miller, a comedian and conservative radio talk show host, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said Obama should be more forthright about his background and what he called his "very extreme" record. "He ought to admit, 'You know, I've got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street. I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I'm back at the center,'" Keating, a co-chair of McCain's campaign, said Obama should tell voters. "I mean, I understand the big picture of America. But he hasn't done that."

McCain Co-Chair Calls Obama "A Guy Of The Street," Raises Drug Use
« Reply #282 on: October 14, 2008, 08:01:33 PM »

A prominent surrogate for John McCain on Thursday raised Barack Obama's admitted cocaine use as a teenager and said the Illinois senator should speak candidly about it to the American people. Speaking to Dennis Miller, a comedian and conservative radio talk show host, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said Obama should be more forthright about his background and what he called his "very extreme" record. "He ought to admit, 'You know, I've got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street. I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I'm back at the center,'" Keating, a co-chair of McCain's campaign, said Obama should tell voters. "I mean, I understand the big picture of America. But he hasn't done that."

McCain Co-Chair Calls Obama "A Guy Of The Street," Raises Drug Use

Here it is the whole statement:

MILLER: It's the most liberal, let's just say that. We're talking to Frank Keating, former Oklahoma Governor, John McCain supporter. Frank, let's just say, it's the most liberal. The thing that bothers me the most about all this with Barack Obama is not the -- I know he's the most liberal guy. You know, I know he's gotten this close to the White House and I know most people don't realize he's probably the most liberal senator we have. The thing that bothers me the most is I recognize the obfuscation and the smoke and mirrors as Clinton-esque. When I hear him reduce Ayers to "this is a guy who lives in my neighborhood" or Rev. Wright, "I was there 500 times and never saw him." The acts themselves don't bother me as he's starting to treat me like an idiot too when he's blowing this smoke my way. He ought to just come clean and say, "listen, I came up through Chicago, you make some errors there." I'd almost be able to absolve it more easily then.

Bear Stearns Fat Cats Cashed Out at the Top
« Reply #283 on: October 17, 2008, 03:10:37 PM »

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac takeover expected

The two mortgage finance companies doled out $174-million over the past 10 years to Washington lobbyists, report says.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- When it came to buying influence in Washington, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were among Corporate America's biggest spenders. The two mortgage giants paid $174 million to lobbyists over the past 10 years to ensure the political climate would remain friendly to growing the mortgage business - even as the housing bubble began showing signs of bursting, according to a report by the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group. "They tied up almost every lobbying firm in Washington, whether they used them or not, over the past several years," said Joshua Rosner, a financial analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. and long-time critic of both companies.

Freddie Mac spent over $94.8-million on lobbyists since 1998, making it the nation's 12th-largest lobbying client, while Fannie Mae bought $79.5-million of influence, the 20th biggest spender, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. "They wanted to fend off regulation of their enterprises," said Massie Ritsch of the Center. Until recent months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac largely succeeded in that effort - functioning with relatively little oversight as they aggressively grew their portfolio of mortgages to try to increase earnings.

Campaign contributions bought influence as well, including donations to the presidential candidates. Obama is the No. 3 recipient of Fannie and Freddie campaign dollars, having collected $123,000 from the companies since he first ran for the Senate in 2004, according to the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics. The former chief executive of Fannie Mae, James Johnson, was the original head of Obama's vice presidential search team. Johnson resigned from Obama's campaign amid controversy over discounted home loans he had received. McCain has received $19,000 from the two companies in the past ten years. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, formerly led the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy group for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's mortgage businesses.

"We had the Keating 5" said Rosner, referring to McCain and 4 other senators who had supported the head of the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association nearly 20 years ago. "This is closer to the Keating 535," added Rosner referring to all members of Congress. "Those legislators who have cost shareholders, preferred shareholders and taxpayers potentially hundreds of billions of dollars, I think we ought to hold them accountable." Regulators, in taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are suspending the companies' efforts to buy influence. "All political activities, including all lobbying, will be halted immediately," said James Lockhart, head of the new Federal Housing Finance Agency that will oversee the companies. While Fannie and Freddie are now in a government conservatorship, it will remain for Congress to decide the companies' ultimate fate.

One of the few critics of Fannie and Freddie, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., called Monday for the mortgage companies to be restructured and lose their government backing. "For years, these two mortgage giants have used taxpayer guarantees to gain enormous profits and lobby Congress to look the other way while they failed homeowners," said DeMint. "These mortgage giants must be broken up and forced to survive in the marketplace without taxpayer guarantees," he added. "Allowing them to survive into the future with explicit government backing will only bring more harm to American homeowners and greater debt to American taxpayers."

Bear Stearns Fat Cats Cashed Out at the Top

BOSTON -- Wall Street bank Bear Stearns is right at the heart of the subprime mortgage meltdown. It's reeling from massive, multibillion-dollar losses at two hedge funds. And every investor who has watched the stock collapse from more than $172 to just $117.78 in a few months is probably kicking himself for not selling at least some back at the peak, before the crisis hit.

4 savvy investors did just that. Step forward, Alan Greenberg, Sam Molinaro, James Cayne and Warren Spector. Who are they?

Top honchos at ... Bear Stearns. (Or they were: Spector has now left in a management shake-up. The others remain.) Between them, the 4 quietly cashed out more than $57 million worth of company stock before the crisis hit. The executives saved themselves nearly $16 million by their astutely timed sales, which were disclosed in a series of public filings. Those losses got passed on to the unlucky outside investors who bought the stock. Bear Stearns declined to comment. These executives did nothing wrong. Many of the stock sales were made as share options came due at the end of 2006. Certain executives had made similar big trades in previous years. The trades were made several months before problems surfaced at the company's hedge funds in May. Furthermore, Bear Stearns executives are still holding plenty of stock in the company. Nonetheless, their timing last winter was notable for its good fortune, if nothing else. Once again it shows that company insiders seem to prove pretty good at knowing when their own stock is overvalued and when the future risks do not justify the price.

The facts?

Between the end of November 2006 and the end of March this year, former Bear Stearns boss -- and current executive committee chairman -- Greenberg sold 179,277 shares at an average price of about $161, raising a total of $28.8 million. Today the value of those shares has collapsed by $7.7 million to just $21.1 million. After deducting his stock option costs, Greenberg made $17.7 million in profits before tax. Had he waited till now to sell the shares, he would have made just $10 million. Nice work if you can get it, as they say.

Greenberg was not alone. Between December last year and the end of March, the now-ousted co-president Warren Spector dumped 116,255 shares at an average price of $164, raising a total of $19.1 million. The value of those shares today: just $13.7 million. After option expenses, Spector made $16.4 million. That's $5.4 million more than he would have made if he had waited. Last December chairman and CEO James Cayne cashed out 46,415 shares at around $165, raising $7.6 million Value today? 2 million dollars less. And Samuel Molinaro, the chief financial officer who just got promoted to chief operating officer thanks to the company's financial crisis, saved himself more than $400,000 by selling shares last December for $1.5 million instead of waiting until now.

It is, perhaps, a shame that Bear Stearns' two disastrous hedge funds didn't prove as nimble and astute in their trading as the guys at the top. Instead, they were caught holding junk mortgage paper as default rates soared. Stock sales weren't the only way top executives at Bear Stearns pocketed a fortune even as they sailed the Titanic straight at the iceberg. Company filings reveal that Bear Stearns also awarded a staggering $140 million in bonuses to top executives last year. And by good fortune, just over half of those bonuses were paid in cash rather than in the company's fast-shrinking shares.

Re: Presidential Hopeful ...
« Reply #284 on: October 18, 2008, 02:27:14 PM »

Excuse me, but what relation do Soros's businesses bear with Obama's candidacy and the like?

"It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of God, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out."

"Next to my fantasies about being God, I also have very strong fantasies of being mad."

"The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States... and we must puncture the bubble of American supremacy."

"I am basically there to make money. I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of what I do."

Even the most liberal Democrats try to shun the man born György Schwartz, who prefers to go by George Soros, and who has in fact said these loony things. Every Democrat with a dram of dignity, or an alternative, publicly distances himself from Soros. Everyone but Obama.

Soros desperately wants a President he can put on the mantle. Just as he divorced his first wife as soon as he was wealthy enough to get a trophy wife, then divorced the second for an even younger hottie, he wants a trophy President. To have "someone in the Oval" who will "take his calls" and treat him with the respect that has so far eluded him outside of the financial world. Just as Obama showed no compunction about hopping into bed with, and seeking favors from Tony Rezko, the real estate developer who was under indictment at the time, Obama has been perfectly willing to be Soros's trophy President-to-be. In December 2006, Obama and Soros met in the latter's New York office one last time. What they discussed? Just one month later, Obama announced the creation of a Presidential exploratory committee. If 2004 is any indication, Soros will spend 100,000 times as much as he is personally allowed by law to get Obama elected. Some $200 million has been funneled through campaign finance law skirting groups to ensure a liberal victory. And if Soros determines that $200 million is simply not enough, he could easily spend double or triple that and never see a dent in his $7 billion bank account.

Two burrs in a Donkey's tale

Obama has made a big show of his support for Jewish concerns, a difficult task given his many past associations with anti-Semites in the US and abroad. As well, being a modern Democrat requires viewing the Israelis and Palestinians as equal partners in Mideast violence and failed peace initiatives. Soros is a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust by pretending to be Aryan. He has said many loony things in his life and admitted to being "quite rabid" in his political views. So when he accuses American Jews of fomenting anti-Semitism, he should be ignored. But he's not.

One of Obama's long-time chief advisers is a fellow named Robert Malley. While working for Obama, Malley penned a number of articles together with an adviser to former PLO leader Yasser Arafat. They praised the community-building work of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and directly blamed Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000. Malley's assertions have been denounced by everyone from President Clinton to the Republican leadership, as it was obvious to all participants and spectators alike that the peace talks failed when Arafat turned down an offer for a Palestinian state and instead launched a bloody intifada against the Jewish state. When the Jewish media discovered that Malley was advising Obama on Mideast policy, the * & ^ % hit the fan. Even the Leftstream Media joined in questioning Malley's views, so caustic and anti-Semitic were his views. Obama promptly fired Malley, who just as promptly went to work at the Soros-funded International Crisis Group, where he serves as Middle East and North Africa Program Director. Malley will remain there, presumably, until such time that he might be able to go to work in an Obama State Department and, unfettered by the need to appease Jewish voters, resume his Israel-bashing.

A Soros surprise?

Soros knows that his views are radical, and unacceptable to many Americans. He knows voters can be fickle in the privacy of the voting booth. He knows his handpicked candidate is green. May he not do something to have influence again and to play out his mad delusion of "being God"? Soros made his billions betting on the hard work of others. He never built anything, never created anything, he just gambled on the genius of others. And he did it well. He also managed to collapse the entire economy of England, and was found guilty of insider trading, stock manipulation, and trading fraud. But somewhere along the way, he decided that the capitalist world that had been so good to him, shouldn't be so good for others. He wrote: "I am not so optimistic about capitalism... it is built on false foundations..." and then, "The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States... we must puncture the bubble of American supremacy."

That Soros is a hypocrite and loon is obvious. He admits it himself. That he is capable of acting on his hypocrisy is equally obvious, and dangerous. Soros has been shorting the US dollar in global currency markets for several years, aggressively working to devalue the dollar. He has helped devalue the dollar 30% in this decade alone. What would happen if Soros and highly-placed currency speculators all hit the currency markets in one coordinated strike? Enter George Soros and a conspiracy of Asian and European currency traders, all hitting the currency markets on the same day, and crashing the dollar, sending Wall Street into a panic. The Dow could easily plunge 800-1,500 points as investors fear that the financial good times are finally over and the economy hopelessly lost. Without Soros, Obama would probably be running for Mayor of Chicago.

Re: Presidential Hopeful ...
« Reply #285 on: October 20, 2008, 06:43:09 PM »

"It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of God, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out."

"Next to my fantasies about being God, I also have very strong fantasies of being mad."

Well, if you see these two in perspective, accounting for irony and the like, they don't look that bad...

Sentimental Journey
« Reply #286 on: October 23, 2008, 02:29:50 PM »

Obama calls his grandparents who put a roof above his head "white folks"

Stop the crap! He'll even pay a visit to his grandmother in midst of the campaign:

Sentimental Journey: Obama's Bond with His Grandmother

Barack Obama with his grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham in New York City, where Obama attended Columbia University. The Senator is canceling nearly all of his campaign events to fly to Hawaii to visit Madelyn Dunham, 86, who is suddenly ill

"She poured everything she had into me." — Barack Obama

Barack Obama has said that his biggest mistake was not being at his mother's side when she died of cancer in Hawaii in 1995 at the age of 52. His first book, "Dreams from My Father," had come out only 4 months before, and he was starting his first campaign, for the Illinois state senate. Her death came quickly, and he didn't make it back in time. So it makes sense that now he would do things differently. Just two weeks before Election Day, Obama has decided to leave his campaign to be by his grandmother's side in Honolulu for two days later this week. Madelyn Dunham, 86, is gravely ill, although the campaign has not released details about her condition. Dunham is Obama's last living parental figure, and by his own accounts, she played as big a role in his upbringing as his mother did. In fact, since Dunham has declined to do interviews since the campaign began, most of what we know about her is from Obama himself, who referenced her in two of the most important speeches of his career.

On March 18 in Philadelphia, Obama attempted to defend his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, by talking about another complicated relationship: "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." Then this summer, Obama talked about his grandmother again when he accepted his party's nomination in Denver. "She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well."

Obama never really knew his biological father, who died in a car crash in Kenya in 1982, and his grandfather died in 1992, three years before his mother. But Obama's grandmother has always been there. She took care of Obama when he was 10 and returned to Hawaii to attend school while his mother spent a few years continuing her anthropological research in Indonesia. At the time, his grandparents helped Obama get a scholarship to Punahou, an élite prep school on the island. All three of them lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment on Beretania Street in Honolulu. Dunham's nickname in the family was Toot, short for Tutu, which means "Grandparent" in Hawaiian. Her role as the family rock predated Obama. She had her first and only child, Obama's mother, when she was 20 and living in Kansas. Her husband had wanted a boy, so they named the girl Stanley, after him. Over the next two decades, Dunham moved at least 5 times — always in pursuit of her husband's next adventure as a salesman. They went to California, Texas, Washington and finally settled in Hawaii.

Obama's birth does not appear to have been planned. His mother and father met at the University of Hawaii and got married when she was already pregnant. To help provide for the new baby, Obama's grandmother, who did not have a college degree, got a job as a secretary at a bank. For more than two decades, she got up at 5 a.m., put on a suit and took the bus to work, arriving first at the office. Eventually — and much more slowly than her male counterparts — she advanced and was promoted to vice president. She earned more money than her husband, and her job became a "source of delicacy and bitterness" for the couple, Obama wrote in Dreams. Dunham was motivated by "the needs of her grandchildren and the stoicism of her ancestors," he wrote. "So long as you kids do well, Bar," she would tell him, "that's all that really matters." Since the campaign began, Dunham has watched her grandson on TV from her apartment, avidly following his campaign. This week, for two days at least, the candidate will come to watch her.,8599,1852589,00.html

Palin 'going rogue'
« Reply #287 on: October 26, 2008, 05:30:36 PM »

CNN had a piece today about Palin 'going rogue,' as appears to have been suggested by several McCain advisers, becoming increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue." A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to "bust free" of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out. McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls -- recorded messages often used to attack a candidate's opponent -- "irritating" even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan. A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom." A Palin associate defended her, saying that she is "not good at process questions" and that her comments on Michigan and the robocalls were answers to process questions. But this Palin source acknowledged that Palin is trying to take more control of her message, pointing to last week's impromptu news conference on a Colorado tarmac.

Re: Palin 'going rogue'
« Reply #288 on: October 27, 2008, 12:33:46 PM »

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

Only the second meaning of "diva" would be in line with what you say. Remember: the first meaning is "a principal female singer in an opera or concert organization" :)

The Diagnosis: "Stable"
« Reply #289 on: October 27, 2008, 07:46:55 PM »

McCain is too old and sick -- McCain has had 4 melanomas removed in the last 15 years: on his left shoulder in 1993, on his temple and upper left arm in 2000 and on his nose in 2002. The most dangerous was the one removed from his temple in 2000, classified by his doctors as an invasive melanoma, stage IIA, on a standard scale that makes stage IV the most serious. The 2000 surgery left McCain not only with a puffy jaw but also with a scar down his neck. It will kill him come election day.

The medical overview comes a week after Republican rival John McCain allowed some reporters access to his voluminous health records.

Although he hasn't had a physical in 16 months, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been in "excellent health" and is medically fit to serve as president, his longtime doctor wrote in a letter released by the campaign Thursday. Still, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "With no surgery or hospital stays, this is a complete summary of his doctor visits and medical records for the past 2 decades." The letter, written by Dr. David L. Scheiner of Chicago, noted that Obama, 46, had a family history of cancer. His mother died of ovarian cancer and a grandfather of prostate cancer. A prostate-specific antigen test -- generally recommended annually for men over 45 who are African American or otherwise at a high risk of prostate cancer, and often suggested annually for other men over 50 -- detected no issues for Obama. The campaign did not say when he is expected to be screened again.

The Illinois senator has smoked intermittently over the years, Scheiner wrote in the overview, but is now "using Nicorette gum with success. His build was lean and muscular with no excess body fat," Scheiner said, based on Obama's last physical, conducted Jan. 15, 2007. "His physical examination was completely normal." The brief letter contrasted with Sen. John McCain's decision to let a selected group of reporters spend 3 hours with about 1,200 pages of health records last week. The records showed that McCain, 71, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, is in good health, although he has a 15-year history of skin cancers, including a minor case in February, and has had bouts with precancerous polyps in his colon, kidney cysts and bladder stones.

A POW lucky enough to make it out alive is always examined by psychiatrists and other doctors, and those examinations continue for several years. In John McCain's case they took place between 1973 and 1984, and are proving two decades later to be a godsend. For when his political enemies began whispering that his 5 1/2 years in prison had made the presidential candidate emotionally unstable, McCain had mounds of paperwork to prove otherwise. Last week his campaign staff allowed TIME to review those records -- roughly 1,500 pages of them. The upshot: not only has McCain never displayed signs of a psychological disorder, but also in many cases his doctors' reports read more glowingly about his mind than McCain's best-selling autobiography. Wrote a doctor in 1974: "Patient is a very intelligent, ambitious, competitive, intellectually curious, caring person."

The most revealing reports are from the early years. In March 1973, two weeks after McCain's release, a psychiatrist deems his "emotional status" to be "stable" and says McCain has an "overdeveloped superego," or sense of conscience and morality, and an "unrealistically high" need for achievement. "He may tend to expect too much of himself and take it hard when/if things don't go as planned." Imprisonment seems to have cured one of McCain's problems as well: as one who had long sought to escape the shadow of his famous Navy father, McCain "feels his experience and performance as a POW have finally permitted this to happen," according to his 1974 evaluation. McCain also tells a psychiatrist that among the benefits of his POW experience "he learned to control his temper better, to not become angry over insignificant things." Included in the records is a 1984 IQ test. His score, 133, would rank him among the most intelligent Presidents in history.

There are a few unflattering disclosures. References are made to McCain's "histrionic pattern of personality adjustment" or "mildly hysterical traits," but the technical terms sound more dramatic than they really are. In essence, the doctors were saying McCain was prone to emotional excitability. But they said he could control it. The campaign blotted out most references to his feelings about his family during the years when his first marriage was unraveling. Most of the documents pertain to the wreck of a body McCain brought back from Vietnam, specifically the five or so shattered bones that had either gone untreated or were mistreated by his captors.

In recent years, McCain has had several skin cancers removed from his face and shoulders. But the report from a 1980 physical included a potentially embarrassing mention of what the doctor believed to be "herpetic lesions" on his genitals. Navy doctors who reviewed his records in the past few weeks, however, say McCain has never had a recurrence of the lesions, making it "very unlikely" he actually suffered from herpes. That McCain felt compelled to release all this information is testimony to two things: first, to the power of the whispered allegations against him; and, second, to McCain's instinct for candor. At a holiday party last Friday night, McCain joked about how the moderators at last week's debate seemed obsessed with his temper. "They kept asking, 'Are you crazy? Are you crazy?'" Answer: No crazier than anyone else who would run for President.

--By James Carney/Washington,9171,992860,00.html