Week in Review: Obama Surges Forward This week presidential hopeful Barack Obama made significant progress in his bid to be the Democratic nominee. Also this week, President Bush promised to veto a farm bill and a housing aid bill.
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Week in Review: Obama Surges Forward

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Week in Review: Obama Surges Forward

Week in Review: Obama Surges Forward

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm John Ydstie. Scott Simon is off getting an honorary degree from Lake Forest College.

This week a narrow win for Senator Hillary Clinton in the Indiana Democratic primary but a big win in North Carolina for Senator Barack Obama. Also, President Bush promises to veto a farm bill and a housing aid bill, and the military junta in Myanmar blocks many cyclone recovery workers.

Senior news analyst Dan Schorr joins us. Hello, Dan.


YDSTIE: So, the primaries - Indiana and North Carolina were this week. Senator Obama won North Carolina by a large margin.

SCHORR: Right.

YDSTIE: The outcome of Indiana was much closer, but Senator Clinton emerged the winner. West Virginia and Nebraska are on Tuesday. What can we expect?

SCHORR: Well, John, you know, the polls indicate that Hillary Clinton will do very well in West Virginia and then probably in Kentucky, which comes the following week. It's all spinning out now more or less now as expected. And I must say that on one point on the count of superdelegates - there's been a change that indicates that now for the first time that Obama has pulled ahead on that.

That was the only figure in which she had a numerical advantage and that's gone too.

YDSTIE: Senator Obama showed up unannounced on the House floor on Thursday. Made quite a scene, I guess.

SCHORR: Yes, well, he's pursuing - he's called now by some, presumptive nominee, he's called frontrunner. Call it what you will. It seems to, in its own way, winding towards one final conclusion and everybody now would be very surprised if it came out differently than the polls indicated.

YDSTIE: It really does all seem to depend on the superdelegates now.

SCHORR: Well, I don't know if it all depends on the superdelegates. What's very important - the superdelegates were the one mathematical figure, as opposed to popular vote, where she had an advantage. Now it appears he's pulled ahead on that. Not terribly important in itself by symbolically very important. She no longer has an arithmetical advantage anywhere.

YDSTIE: Meanwhile up on Capitol Hill, the House and Senate compromised on a farm bill this week. The House also passed a housing bill intended to give some relief to homeowners facing rising interest rates and foreclosures. But the White House says it's opposed to both bills. Is there a compromise that can spare either of these pieces of legislation from a veto?

SCHORR: The farm bill is going to the president's desk and it's up to him now. And if there's to be a compromise it's hard to see how it will be reached. But President Bush is, in the name of fiscal conservatism, is against this big farm bill, which also had a lot of money in it by a way of feeding poor children.

YDSTIE: Food stamps, yeah.

SCHORR: Food stamps, right. Which is the biggest element in this? It's not just bailing out the farmers. It's also people who need to be fed. As to the housing bill, there's this Barney Frank idea, which has gone very well in the House; we don't know yet about the Senate. Apparently the president believes it's too much federal intervention and he's against it.

YDSTIE: Meanwhile onto this very serious situation in Myanmar. The country is still refusing to allow foreign aid workers in to assist the hundreds of thousands of people affected by last weekend's cyclone. The government has agreed to allow a single U.S. cargo plane to deliver aid, but it still is barring aid workers from coming in to help.

Tens of thousands of people are without food and clean water. It's just unthinkable that the government is holding things up this way.

SCHORR: It's mind-boggling, completely mind-boggling, this paranoid regime of a couple of generals putting into dangers hundreds of thousands - I mean, a hundred thousand is estimated already dead and there may be more and a number of millions being put out of houses facing now.

More trouble when you begin to get infection coming from bad water. I mean, this is not the end of it, this is the beginning of it. You know, I must tell you, John, I have followed for many, many years the development of United Nations and League of Nations and what they were based on. And always you could not get a treaty to create the United Nations unless you gave absolute sovereignty to every country.

I think - I shouldn't be making proposals - but I think the time has come for the United Nations to now pass a resolution saying these people will be fed and will be saved. And if that means imposing force by the United Nations in a sovereign country, so be it.

YDSTIE: How about in Russia? Dmitri Medvedev was sworn in as the president but Prime Minister Putin is still around and apparently in charge.

SCHORR: But it was never expected that it would be different. I mean, he has his powers with him in whatever job he chooses to call himself. His new president is his protégé who worked with him for many, many years. And nobody believes that Medvedev is really going to be fully in charge, not while Putin is around.

YDSTIE: Senior news analyst Dan Schorr. Thanks very much, Dan.

SCHORR: My pleasure.

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