Present

Be sure to read Abner Mikva’s defense of Obama’s present votes. An excerpt:

Senator Hillary Clinton should probably be forgiven for not remembering the course on the state Constitution that she would have had to take as an eighth grader in Illinois. But had she remembered it, she would have known that Senator Barack Obama was not ducking his responsibility in the Illinois Senate when he voted “present” on many issues.
Unlike Congress and the legislatures of most other states, each chamber of the Illinois Legislature requires a “constitutional majority” to pass a bill. The state Senate has 59 members, so it takes 30 affirmative votes. This makes a “present” vote the same as a no. If a bill receives 29 votes, but the rest of the senators vote “present,” it fails.

Even if Senator Clinton does not remember the constitutional majority requirement in Illinois, one of her advisers might have explained it to her. When I was White House counsel, President Clinton frequently reminded me that he had taught constitutional law before he ran for public office. I would hope that he would assume that another constitutional scholar — Barack Obama — would be aware of his voting responsibilities as a state legislator.

In Soviet Russia, whole thing reads you. Mikva, as he alludes to in the last paragraph, was Bill Clinton’s White House counsel from 1994 to 1995; he’s hardly some knee-jerk Clinton-basher. He just thinks Hillary ought to know the basics of how government works in Illinois before slamming Obama on the matter. At this point, her and others’ attacks on the matter say more about their own ignorance than about Obama’s record.

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