David Kirkpatrick

March 18, 2008

No new Democratic primary vote in Florida

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:33 am

In a blow to Team Clinton, Florida will not re-vote its Democratic primary.

From the link:

WASHINGTON — The Florida Democratic Party chairwoman on Monday officially buried the possibility of redoing the state’s disputed January presidential primary, saying there was no practical or affordable way to conduct a new election.

The chairwoman, Karen L. Thurman, essentially threw up her hands after failing to secure approval for a new election from state officials or the campaigns of Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

She said in a statement late Monday that party officials in Florida had proposed such a plan last week. It was unceremoniously shot down, she said.

March 17, 2008

Obama announces major speech tomorrow

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:53 pm

Obama is planning a speech tomorrow to cover the flap over his ex-pastor and on the issue of race in this campaign. If nothing else a speech directly addressing race should undercut the Clinton strategy of quiet, assumed racism.

As a political team the Clintons’ are certainly compiling quite the track record. In the 90s they completely sold the gay and lesbian community down the river. Now in the late-oughts, they are giving the black community the same treatment.

Anyone who wants to argue the Bob Johnson, Ferraro, et. al., comments were not sanctioned from within the Clinton camp and were not clear statements of racism must be either working for the campaign, be phenomenally deluded, or may just be a tad soft in the head.

From the link:

Barack Obama will give a major speech on “the larger issue of race in this campaign,” he told reporters in Monaca, PA just now.

He was pressed there, as he has been at recent appearances, on statements by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

“I am going to be talking about not just Reverend Wright, but the larger issue of race in this campaign,” he said.

March 14, 2008

Superdelegates to the Democratic Party rescue?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:25 am

This Bloomberg story may provide the clear blueprint to save the Democratic Party from itself since no individuals seem up to the task.

From the first link:

March 14 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama has pulled almost even with Hillary Clinton in endorsements from top elected officials and has cut into her lead among the other superdelegates she’s relying on to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Among the 313 of 796 superdelegates who are members of Congress or governors, Clinton has commitments from 103 and Obama is backed by 96, according to lists supplied by the campaigns. Fifty-three of Obama’s endorsements have come since he won the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, compared with 12 who have aligned with Clinton since then.

“That’s not glacial, that is a remarkable momentum,” Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a superdelegate and Obama supporter, said in an interview. “I don’t think there is anything that will slow that down.”

Someone in party leadership ought to do some serious numbers-crunching (more serious than the various “delegate math” exercises done by the media, and occasionally posted on by me and other bloggers) on what is left in the nomination process and what it will take for Obama to secure the Democratic bid for president. Once that superdelegate magic number is clarified, the party leader should get hard pledges from enough supers to reach the magic number, go to Clinton behind the scenes and ask her to step down or the supers will all go public en masse and publicly, and humiliatingly, end her failing and divisive bid.

It may be a plan along these lines is in place already and will be set into motion after Pennsylvania votes, Clinton wins big as expected and her campaign goes back into the ridiculous “she’s inevitable” mode because of the win.

Here’s more interesting bits from the Bloomberg link:

Both sides agree her chance to win the nomination rests on winning a significant majority of superdelegates because Obama is likely to maintain a lead of at least 150 pledged delegates – - those won in primaries and caucuses — after the last contest is finished. If he does, Clinton, 60, would have to snag more than 70 percent of the remaining 334 or so superdelegates.

And:

Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Obama, unlike Clinton, stands a chance of winning at least part of his state, which has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964 and is one of two states that award some presidential electoral votes by congressional district rather than winner-take-all.

“Obama has coattails in Nebraska,” said Nelson, who endorsed his Senate colleague two months ago. “Our internal polls show he can win one, possibly two, congressional districts.”

And:

The same holds true in Ohio, which Clinton won, and Pennsylvania, where voter surveys say she is leading in the April 22 primary. Polls show Obama does as well or better than Clinton against McCain in those crucial swing states.

In Iowa, a February Des Moines Register poll showed Obama beating McCain 53 percent to 36 percent, while McCain beat Clinton 49 percent to 40 percent.

That is one of the reasons he’s won support from governors in Republican-leaning states, including Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Iowa’s Chet Culver.

March 12, 2008

The latest Democratic nomination math

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:13 pm

This is a solid breakdown from the Daily Kos.

From the link:

But if we’re suddenly going to use the popular vote as a meaningful measure in this campaign, then we should strive to actually count that popular vote best we can. So what I’ll do for caucus states is divide the state delegate percentages (as opposed to pledged delegates) by the total turnout. It’s an inexact science, but it should keep things within an acceptable margin of error.

So for all the other contests:

Obama: 13,025,003
Clinton: 12,421,316

That’s a 603,687-vote advantage for Obama. Now for NV, WA and ME:

     Turnout  Obama %  Clinton %  Popular vote advantageIA:   220,588   38       30        Obama  +17,646
NV:   117,599   45       51        Clinton +7,055
WA:   250,000   68       32        Obama  +90,000
ME:    45,000   59       40        Obama   +8,550

That’s about 56,500109,141 votes, putting Obama’s lead at around 713,000 votes.

That still leaves the Texas caucuses, which haven’t finished reporting out. Turnout for the first 40 percent of precincts reporting is about 500,000. Now that includes some of the more populous precincts, so we can’t just project out. Rather, the estimate I hear bandied around is about 1 million participants. So let’s say the numbers ended up were stuck today — 56-44 Obama — that would mean a gain for Obama of 120,000 in the popular vote.

Suddenly, Obama’s lead is about 780,000 833,000.

Unless Obama suffers an epic collapse, he should end this contest with a lead in the popular vote, a lead in the pledged delegates, and a lead in the number of states won.

Clinton will apparently attempt her coup by super delegates, but that path lies civil war. I doubt the supers are that stupid.

I followed this Daily Kos link from the Daily Dish, and agree with Sullivan. He writes, “Do the Clintons seriously intend to overturn that?” I’m going to guess, yes. Team Clinton honestly thinks she deserves the nomination, even while losing the popular vote, pledged delegates and total states won. It’s becoming almost impossible for Clinton to pass Obama in any of those three areas.

Her campaign has been certifiably full of incompetence, misdirection, obfuscation and even a few outright lies. Hopefully Obama won’t be brought low by these tactics. So far he’s doing more than keeping above the water line.

March 8, 2008

Obama wins Wisconsin

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:31 pm

With 96% reporting according to CNN.com, Obama wins the Wisconsin caucus 59% to 40%.

Not unexpected since Obama has been 12-3 over Clinton in caucuses before today’s vote. I do expect some blowback against Clinton’s negativity from the electorate going forward. All that said, this primary season is an odd animal. Clinton only does well from behind. She falters after any gain.

After this bit of news, I may sit out the general election if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. Now that McCain is associating with the Bush 43 regime, including Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, he’s damaged goods in my eye.

It’s no longer a slogan — a vote for Obama is truly a vote for a wholesale change in US politics. A necessary change.

Update – final tally: Obama 61%, Clinton 38%

March 7, 2008

Obama’s delegate gain in Cali

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:01 pm

This Tuesday California officially certified its primary. In the final tally Clinton lost four delegates and Obama picked up four.

A net gain of eight delegates for Obama in the overall count. As the linked Daily Kos post mentioned, this was never mentioned in the breathless political coverage Tuesday night. Delegate-wise the impact is significant.

March 6, 2008

February Democratic fundraising

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:41 pm

Both Clinton and Obama had stellar fundraising in February. She announced last week something in the ballpark of $35 million. He announced today and bested her by about $20 million with around a $55 million February.

From the Marc Ambinder link above:

By the numbers, Sen. Barack Obama announced today that he has raised more than $54 million for the primaries from a stunning 727,972 contributors — fully 385,101 of whom were new. $45 million was raised online; 90% of the donations were $100 or smaller; 50% was $25 or smaller. The campaign says that a third of the new donors also participated in some sort of volunteer activity for the campaign.

Not to be outdone… ok, to be totally outdone, on a private Clinton campaign conference call for 600 of Hillraisers, the candidate waxed effusively about her (less) impressive February totals — “I don’t know how we could have done any of this without your support,” she said. Actually, most of it was done without their support. $32 million was raised, of which $30 million came from online sources. Clinton was upbeat. She said she had spoken this morning to the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, and looked forward to returning to Pennsylvania, particularly to the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area.

And it looks like the money isn’t slowing down

Florida and Michigan/Democrats and delegates

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:34 pm

There is increasing chatter about the “problem” of the Florida and Michigan votes not seating delegates on the Democratic side after breaking party rules on the timing of the vote.

Talks are heating up about doing something in both states. Florida has been particularly vocal in the last few days. Now it looks like Michigan is about to announce a new caucus to get their votes counted at the convention.

If both states can manage to throw a respectable vote together in short order that helps remove one issue facing this onerous primary.

Clinton staff mental meltdown

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:01 pm

After a successful series of votes on Tuesday it looked like Team Clinton was gaining steam and some media traction.

Then this happens.

From the Politico link:

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, taking the campaign a bit meta on a conference call today, attacked Obama for attacking Clinton, and compared him to a notorious Clinton foe.

“When Senator Obama was confronted with questions over whether he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief and steward of the economy, he chose not to address those questions, but to attack Senator Clinton,” Wolfson said. “I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”

Here’s the Obama campaign response from the same link:

UPDATE: Obama spokesman Bill Burton responds:

It is absurd that after weeks of badgering the media to ‘vet’ Senator Obama, the Clinton campaign believes that they should be held to an entirely different standard. We don’t believe that expecting candidates for the presidency to disclose their tax returns somehow constitutes Ken Starr-tactics, but the kind of transparency and accountability that Americans are looking for and that’s been missing in Washington for far too long. And if Senator Clinton doesn’t think that the Republicans will ask these very same questions, then she’s not as ready to go toe-to-toe with John McCain as she claims.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I doubt anyone is going to look favorably on the Clinton campaign bringing up Kenneth Starr in any capacity. And to compare Obama to Starr is so ridiculous, it would be laughable if weren’t so pathetic.

I see some real blowback with this line of attack. I’m betting the Obama campaign feels like they were just handed a two-by-four full of nails to use and batter Clinton with for a few media cycles.

For more on Clinton’s refusal to turn over tax returns, particularly these last few years of rapid wealth growth and interesting business deals from Bill, check out Sullivan’s take at the Daily Dish.

March 5, 2008

Texas and Ohio voting fallout

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 pm

Larger than expected win in Ohio for Clinton, although smaller than was expected a few weeks ago. Women came out for Clinton in both states.

Texas was as tight as the polls suggested, and Clinton pulled out the popular vote. Full caucus results won’t be in for another several days, but it looks like Obama predictably won that round fairly handily. The result is Obama won Texas pledged delegate-wise.

Here’s a take from Sullivan:

From Kos’s counting, the night barely changes anything in the delegate math. Clinton wins Ohio 73 – 68 and Rhode Island 12 to 8. Obama wins Vermont 9 to 6 and wins Texas by 99 to 94 (because his narrow loss in the primaries is offset by a lop-sided win in the caucuses). These numbers may change a little as full caucus results come in, but not by much. Once all the dust has cleared, Obama’s delegate lead remains. RCPhas it at 1542 for Obama and 1447 for Clinton.

I see no reason why this race shouldn’t continue, and that it shouldn’t continue all the way. As a journalist, this is good news. It’s certainly great copy, as they say on Fleet Street. But I see no way that the Clintons can actually win it without re-opening Michigan and Florida, and shifting the super-delegates by super-human amounts. The result will probably be a slow, Limbaugh-friendly trashing of Obama – because Clinton has only gained traction by attacking him, or raising fears about him, rather than by a positive campaign for herself.

There’s also some polling evidence that Rush Limbaugh’s exhortion for GOPers to cross over and vote for Clinton worked in Texas.

From the linked Hit & Run post:

In the days running up to these last primaries, Rush Limbaugh told his national audience of conservatives to vote in the Democratic race.

I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura. This is too good a soap opera. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, and it’s obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it and don’t have the stomach for it, as you probably know. We’re getting all kinds of memos from the RNC, saying we’re not going to be critical there. Mark McKinnon of McCain’s campaign says he’ll quit if they get critical over Obama. This is the presidency of the United States we’re talking about. I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose. They’re in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it’s all going to stop if Hillary loses. So, yeah, I’m asking people to cross over and, if they can stomach it — I know it’s a difficult thing to do, to vote for a Clinton, but it will sustain this soap opera, and it’s something I think we need. It would be fun, too.

It turned into a pretty hot meme in Texas, and on Monday, while Rush was out, guest host Mark Davis scored an interview with Bill Clinton. Did it work?

And,

It’s a similar story in Texas, where Limbaugh has the most listeners of any of these states. Obama won the Republican vote 52-47, but conservatives (22 percent of all voters, up from 15 percent in the Kerry-Edwards primary) went against Obama. For the first time since Super Tuesday, they were Clinton’s best ideological group: She won them 53-43. And Clinton won 13 percent of the people who said Obama was the most electable candidate.

Ohio didn’t wind up being very close, but Clinton won the Texas primary by about 98,000 votes out of 2.8 million cast. If the exits are right, about 252,000 of those voters were Republicans, and about 618,000 were conservatives. Clinton truly might have won the Texas primary on the backs of Rush Limbaugh listeners.

Even with all the furious spin going on right now, and after Clinton’s best night in a month, her chances of winning the nomination are small. I’ve read this week Obama will announce February fundraising north of $50 million (as compared to Clinton’s already announced $35 million) and possibly a bloc of 50 superdelegate endorsements.

Marc Ambinder goes over the nomination math, and Clinton’s long, long odds, at theAtlantic.com’s new feature, The Current:

Barack Obama’s still-likely nomination owes a debt to John Rawls: the inequalities built into the Democratic delegate selection system benefit the little states and history’s most aggrieved figure — the liberal activist. Let’s say Hillary Clinton romps to victory in Ohio and Texas and Rhode Island. Tens of thousands of extra voters. At most, a few extra delegates. But a win is a win, right? Twenty-four … okay, forty-eight hours later, when the afterglow has faded and the Hill raisers are on vacation, Clinton delegate guru Harold Ickes will sit down at his desk, scratch his chest through the open folds of his shirt, and have the same problem he has right now: Barack Obama’s earned delegate lead is virtually insurmountable.

There are a variety of delegate calculation spreadsheets floating around, and I’ve plugged numbers in all of them, using the red-rosiest scenarios I could contemplate for Clinton. Under a fairly neutral scenario, she needs about 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to catch Obama, assuming she takes half the remaining superdelegates. (A generous assumption, given that his rate of superdelegate acquisition is about four to one right now.) To get 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates, she needs to win about 72 percent of the popular vote in most of the rest of the 18 or so states that haven’t voted. Clinton has won, in truth, nearly as many actual votes as Obama, and most of the biggest states. If merit governed the delegate selection process, Clinton would have an equal claim to the nomination. But merit, in this process, is a lower order principle.

March 4, 2008

Texas caucus report

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:47 pm

Yeah, I’m a bad citizen. I did vote in the Democratic primary which allowed me to participate in the caucus going on right now. I opted against going to the caucus for a number of reasons (mostly household considerations), and I think I may be glad I did.

A friend just phoned from a caucus in Dallas. He described barely controlled pandemonium with a very, very large turnout and only five sign-up sheets provided for the unfortunates who are running the show at his location.

I’d read reports this thing was going to be a mess. Some locations weren’t aware they would be hosting caucuses as late as last week.

The way I look at it, states that always hold caucuses have organization problems. It was a safe bet this primary-plus-caucus in Texas was going to be far less than smooth.

If I hear more about tonight’s events I’ll be adding to this page rather than starting a new post.

Update: Sounds like my friend’s experience was the norm tonight. From The Bastard’s Blog :

My best guess is that more than 200 people were present.  So many people were in attendance because Webb Elementary was hosting two precincts – my precinct, 2148,and our neighbor to the west, 2190.

It was a zoo.  Everybody talked over everybody else.  Precinct 2190 had a microphone, whereas 2148 had no voice augmentation.

It was difficult to hear a damned thing.

We had numbers from the day’s voting in the precinct, but no early voting numbers.  Obama led Clinton by seven votes in 2148, but that was hardly represented in caucus goers.  Obama folks outnumbered Clinton folks by two-to-one in my estimation.

The Obama campaign did a marvelous job mobilizing the base.  I’ve never seen so many Democrats in one place. 

There was a painful absence of leadership.  No clear direction provided, it seemed rather like herding cats.  By eight o’clock we had just begun the proces of signing in.

Others have reported similar circumstances. 

March 1, 2008

It looks like Matthew …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:42 pm

… Yglesias, blogging at theAtlantic.com, thinks Team Clinton has essentially given up.

From the link:

It seems to me that Bill Clinton must have concluded that Hillary Clinton can’t possibly win the nomination at this point, or else it’s hard to see why he would be holding a high-profile event with Frank Giustra at this time. Giustra, the Times reported, is a businessman who Clinton helped get a lucrative contract in Kazakhstan in exchange for a large donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Obama, the civil libertarian

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:00 am

Jeffrey Rosen’s TRB column in the February 27, 2208, New Republic is about how Obama would be the first truly civil libertarian president. That column really sums up what I like about Obama. As a libertarian, civil and fiscal, I don’t agree with a lot of his ideas, but I love his honest and strong civil libertarian bent. After the Bush 43 years this approach to personal liberty and privacy would be a welcome change.

And as far as government spending goes, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess he’d be less “liberal” than Bush. Sure Obama’s spending will focus on different areas than Bush’s, but in pure government expansion it’s almost impossible for Obama, or any other “spend thrift liberal,” to match Bush’s woeful record. Plus an Obama presidency might push the GOP to look deep into the dark night and find a core that seems to be lost in Rovian factions and coalitions. The Rove gloat of creating a generation of GOP rule died, oh, about two or three years in.

All that being said, I sincerely hope Obama wins either Texas or Ohio and forces Clinton out of the Democratic nomination race. Of course that would also involve Clinton conceding with grace. An outcome still in serious doubt at this time.

Here is Rosen’s lede:

If Barack Obama were to win the Democratic nomination and the White House, he would be, among other things, our first civil libertarian president. This is clear not just from his lifetime rating on the ACLU’s scorecard (82 percent compared to John McCain’s 25 percent). It is clear from the fact that civil liberties have been among his most passionate interests–as a constitutional law professor, state legislator, and senator. On the campaign trail, he has been unapologetic about these enthusiasms. In New Hampshire, I heard him end a rousing stump speech by promising the cheering crowd, “We will close Guantánamo, we will restore habeas corpus, we will have a president who will respect and obey the Constitution.” Has a political consultant ever urged a candidate to brandish habeas corpus?

February 29, 2008

If you can’t win …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:30 pm

at the polls, just sue.

 The Clinton campaign has turned into a mass of disorganization and back-biting. They agreed with the DNC to punish Florida and Michigan for moving their primaries up in the calendar, but now push to for those delegates since those votes have become vital for her essentially non-existent hopes.

Clinton has run the “ready to lead on day one” trope over and over, but her campaign has mismanaged a number of issues. She recently said her team has been thinking about Texas from the beginning. Evidence seems to expose her campaign had no planning after Super Tuesday where they thought she’d have the nomination wrapped up.

This looks to be true, because it was found out recently her campaign didn’t understand Texas has a two-part primary-plus-caucus this year. Confusing? Yes. Stupid? Yes, again. But it’s inexcusable for a major campaign not to understand the rules.

Clinton’s “ready to lead on day one” response to this lack of preparation? Threaten to sue and stop the caucus process.

From the linked article:

The Texas Democratic Party warned Thursday that election night caucuses scheduled for Tuesday could be delayed or disrupted after aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton threatened to sue over the party’s complicated delegate selection process.

In a letter sent out late Thursday to both the Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns, Texas Democratic Party lawyer Chad Dunn warned a lawsuit could ruin the Democrats’ effort to re-energize voters just as they are turning out in record numbers.

February 28, 2008

The long knives …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:05 pm

… are already appearing in the Clinton campaign penthouse.

 From TPM Election Central:

More infighting in Camp Hillary? Clinton adviser Harold Ickes seems to stick the knife in Mark Penn in an interview with The New York Observer

“Mark Penn has run this campaign,” said Ickes in a brief phone interview this morning. “Besides Hillary Clinton, he is the single most responsible person for this campaign.“Now, he has been circumscribed to some extent by Maggie Williams,” said Ickes, who then pointed out that that was only a recent development.

When asked about the assertion by one senior Clinton official the campaign was effectively run by committee, diluting Penn’s authority, Ickes was incredulous.

“I don’t know what campaign you’re talking about,” said Ickes. “I have been at meetings where he introduces himself as the campaign’s chief strategist. I’ve heard him call himself that many times, say, ‘I am the chief strategist.’”

Asked if Penn preferred the title of chief strategist to pollster, Ickes said, “Prefer it? He insists on it!”

On top of this, there’s apparently an internal plan for a massive campaign staff walkout if Clinton loses either Texas or Ohio and refuses to concede the nomination.

Obama’s toughness on display

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:45 pm

He’s willing to face up to a controversial political subject (gay rights) in front of a very tough crowd (black evangelicals.)

Here’s a Ben Smith post:

Selling gay rights

Obama’s rally in Beaumont today was the highest-energy of this Texas swing, with a crowd that was about three-quarters black cheering at almost every turn.

An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes — race, gender, etc. — that shouldn’t trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent.

So he took a different tack:

“Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday,” he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers.

“I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian,” he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time.

The moment reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a senior figure in the national gay rights movement, who noted that Obama’s deference to some black Christian discomfort with homosexuality — his refusal to dump the “ex-gay” gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour — angered some gays and lesbians; but conversely, that his ability to sell gay rights in the black church is unique and appealing.

I think gay rights should be a given, but they aren’t. The GOP is very active against gay rights, and almost no politician is willing to touch the subject other than in front of that constituency.

It says a lot about Obama,  the candidate and the man, that he’s willing to bring the topic up over and over again. Even in front of wary, and maybe hostile, crowds.

February 27, 2008

Another superdelegate …

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:32 pm

switches to Obama. This time it’s Representative John Lewis (D-GA).

Update 2/28/08: And another

A Houston state representative — and superdelegate — switches her support from Clinton to Obama.

My colleagues Charles Mahtesian and Richard Cullen have a well-timed story on the pressure facing Clinton’s black supporters like today’s defector, Senfronia Thompson:

The pressure on Clinton’s black supporters to defect has been gradually mounting, rising to the point where some elected officials are being forced to consider whether their backing for Clinton will have adverse consequences for their own political fortunes.

“It’s atmospheric pressure, a change in mood in their communities,” says University of California at Los Angeles political scientist Mark Sawyer, who studies race, ethnicity and politics. “You see people that are going out to vote that have never voted before. Do you want to be on the other side of that?”

February 26, 2008

Clinton’s staff looks wistfully toward the exit

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:51 pm

From the Daily Dish. It looks like Clinton’s staff is already making contingency plans ,,,

After all that wine, demoralized Clinton staffers can’t wait for next week:

Advisers figure that a loss in Texas is as likely as a win in Ohio; a large number of staffers appear to be willing to quit en masse next Wednesday if there’s a split decision and Clinton gives notice that she intends to fight for another month.

February 25, 2008

Clinton campaign goes full slime

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:18 pm

It seems like if you want to go full-out slime in a campaign, it’s a good idea to start when you still have an actual chance of winning.

And, as far as dirty politics go this effort is embarrassingly feeble.
 



CLINTON STAFFERS CIRCULATE 'DRESSED' OBAMA
Mon Feb 25 2008 06:51:00 ET
With a week to go until the Texas and Ohio primaries, stressed Clinton staffers circulated a photo over the weekend of a "dressed" Barack Obama.The photo, taken in 2006, shows the Democrat frontrunner fitted as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya.

The senator was on a five-country tour of Africa.

"Wouldn't we be seeing this on the cover of every magazine if it were HRC?" questioned one campaign staffer, in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

In December, the campaign asked one of its volunteer county coordinators in Iowa to step down after the person forwarded an e-mail falsely stating that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe quickly accused the Clinton campaign Monday of 'shameful offensive fear-mongering' for circulating the snap.

Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams responds: "If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed."

Developing...

EDITOR'S NOTE: Other leaders have worn local costumes:

Stick a fork in the Clinton campaign

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:58 pm

Bob Novak wonders who will break the news to Hillary that it’s over.

From the linked column:

Even before Sen. Barack Obama won his ninth straight contest against Sen. Hillary Clinton, in Wisconsin last Tuesday, wise old heads in the Democratic Party were asking this question: Who will tell her that it’s over, that she cannot win the presidential nomination and that the sooner she leaves the race, the more it will improve the party’s chances of defeating Sen. John McCain in November?

In an ideal though unattainable world, Clinton would have dropped out when it became clear even before Wisconsin that she could not be nominated. The nightmare scenario was that she would win in Wisconsin, claiming a “comeback” that would propel her to narrow victories in Texas and Ohio on March 4. That still would not have cut her a path to the nomination. But telling her then to end her candidacy and avoiding a bloody battle stretching to the party’s national convention in Denver might not have been achievable.

Texas primary poll

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:14 am

Clinton should be shaking in her boots. Looks like Obama’s more than in the hunt.

Obama In Texas

23 Feb 2008 05:27 pm

<!– –>[Patrick Appel]

Closer and closer:

Texas_2

Update from Marc Ambinder:

New CNN Poll Of Texas: Obama Slim Lead

25 Feb 2008 04:01 pm

CNN’s latest poll sampled 761 Democrats in Texas and gives Barack Obama a 50% to 46% lead over Hillary Clinton…. the margin of error is +/- 3.5%.

Update 3/3/08: The poll of polls has Obama in a slight lead, and Clinton suffering a pretty dramatic drop in support. Overall the numbers are still very close.

February 24, 2008

One view of a Clinton White House

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:55 pm

Andrew Sullivan is back, with a vengeance, at the Daily Dish. Here’s a great post on Clinton’s last stand.

In this snippet, Sullivan looks at a possible Clinton White House:

Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people,  an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.

February 21, 2008

I hate for it to seem …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:31 pm

… like I’m piling it on the Clinton campaign today, but here’s an entire post from the Plank exposing just how dead in the water her hopes really are:

That Giant Sucking Sound You’re Hearing . . . . . . is the Clinton campaign. How else to interpret delegatehub.com–the new website the Clintonites have set up to make the case that the rules of the Democratic nomination process should be changed? As Jake Tapper notes:

Among many “facts” they declare are some accurate ones, such as the idea that superdelegates, which in true nomenclatural dexterity they now term “automatic delegates” “are expected to exercise their best judgment in the interests of the nation and the Democratic Party.”

But then comes this juicy non-fact:

“FACT: Florida and Michigan should count, both in the interest of fundamental fairness and honoring the spirit of the Democrats’ 50-state strategy.”

That’s not a fact, that’s an opinion.

Matthew Yglesias gripes:

[T]his sort of bullshit isn’t the kind of thing they need to be wasting their time on. Persuade some people to vote for you!

I agree, but I’m beginning to think that the Clinton campaign might just be incapable of that. I remember after the Steve Glass and Jayson Blair scandals, some people made the argument that if Glass and Blair had put as much effort into their reporting as they did their fabricating, they actually would have been great journalists. But I never bought that line of argument, since real reporting is a lot harder than just making stuff up. I’m starting to wonder if the same lesson doesn’t apply to the Clinton campaign. I mean, coming up with clever arguments and spiffy websites for reporters is a lot easier than organizing a good ground operation or fielding a full slate of delegates. For all the complicated and even psycho-social explanations being offered for Obama’s success, one simple explanation for it may be that his campaign is just outworking hers.

Jason Zengerle 

Posted 11:08 AM | Comments (20) Share this post

Clinton’s campaign in black, white and red

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:04 am

This Politico story covers the serious money problems facing the Clinton campaign heading into a do-or-die stretch for her presidential hopes.

Here’s the intro for the piece. Hit the link above for the entire article:

Hillary Clinton ended January with $7.6 million in debt – not including the $5 million personal loan she gave to her campaign in the run-up to the critical Super Tuesday elections, according to financial reports released Wednesday.

In contrast, Democratic rival Barack Obama’s campaign’s finances continued to be robust.

He reported raising nearly $37 million and spending nearly $31 million. His cash balance was $25 million, of which roughly $20 million can be spent on the primary. He reported a comparatively small $1 million in debts, owed largely to just three vendors.

The January monthly financial disclosure reports glimpse a behind-the-scenes imbalance that has had a significant impact on the primary contest — one that continues in the days leading up to the critical March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio.

As the Clinton campaign scrambles for cash, Obama appears on track to raise more than $30 million again in February.

Political satire Dem-style

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:35 am

If you are an aficionado of political satire, these two pieces on the ongoing Obama/Clinton dust up are must reads.

From Hanlon’s Razor here, and The Private Intellectual here.

Go forth and enjoy …

February 20, 2008

Wisconsin Dem fallout

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:15 pm

Obama wins in a somewhat surprising landslide last night in Wisconsin.

Here’s a bit from Ben Smith:

Senator Barack Obama picked up steam with ninth straight victory in Wisconsin, beating Senator Hillary Clinton in a state where she had no clear excuse for defeat, and leaving her no leeway at all for further major losses.

His win sets the stage for showdowns in Texas and Ohio on March 4, two states Clinton’s supporters acknowledge she must win.

Here in another piece from Politico Clinton’s problems seem to be mounting according to exit poll data. The post says Obama neutralized Clinton’s strength with women voters and “devastated” her with men.

The post goes on to say:

Obama also demonstrated continued improvement with whites, working class Democrats, and rural and suburban voters since Super Tuesday.

He split white women, marking about a 10-point improvement since early February. He also won half of married women, and even won single women. Obama took six in ten white men, a demographic that has shifted between the two candidates throughout the race. His white male support also marked about a 10-point improvement since Super Tuesday.

Regionally, the news was no better for Clinton. Obama won a majority of suburban voters, something Clinton did on Super Tuesday. He split rural voters, whom Clinton had won by about 20 points two weeks ago. Clinton also had won a slight majority of urban voters then. Obama won Wisconsin city dwellers by about a two to one ratio.

Clinton is in serious trouble if Texas is an absolute must-win, and it seriously looks that way. There are signs her team is already spinning for a possible loss in Texas, something that was unthinkable for them very recently.

Her “ready to lead on day one” team has acknowledged they miscounted the way delegates were awarded in the Lone Star State. They over-counted the number of delegates coming from the Latino heavy Valley, an assumed Clinton stronghold, and under-counted the delegates coming from urban Houston and Dallas, two areas of Obama strength.

And that’s not even taking into account the weird primary-plus-caucus of this Texas vote. Obama has excelled in caucuses, and doesn’t seem to be as caught with his pants down, so to speak, as the Clinton campaign on the Texas vote.

At this point I wonder if Clinton is willing to step aside if she loses Texas, or realistically if the vote is even close. Even the worst case scenarios for her campaign that had Obama dominating post-Tsunami Tuesday February didn’t take into account a series of complete blow-outs. It was always guessed with the Democrat’s proportional delegates split, she could hold her own pledged delegate-wise even losing. Instead she’s been losing by close to, or over, 60% in many states.

Obama has the pledged delegates and all the momentum. My guess is after Wisconsin, the mountain just got too high for Clinton. The fat lady hasn’t sung, but she’s done warming up and is standing stage right waiting on her cue.

February 19, 2008

Wisconsin vote

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:04 pm

Polls just closed in Wisconsin and CNN calls the GOP vote for McCain (surprise.) The Democratic side is too close to call, but exit polls indicate Obama has the lead. If he wins Wisconsin that’ll make nine states in a row. That’s some momentum.

I’ll periodically update this page tonight with fresh numbers. As usual, all numbers will come from CNN unless otherwise noted.

Update 8:20 — CNN just projected an Obama win.

9:05 — Right now with 28% of the vote in Obama leads 55% to 44%. If he gets to 60% or higher with all votes in, Clinton should seriously consider conceding tonight. She won’t, of course, and will at least fight on through March 4.

Some serious holes are being punched in her core message right now. She’s running a statistical dead-heat with Obama in Texas, one of her three latest firewall states (Pennsylvania and Ohio round out that trifecta.)

All the big mo is going Obama’s way. The ongoing memes about Clinton are how her campaign resembles Giuliani’s failed efforts by focusing on big states and ignoring smaller states and caucuses. Ouch. Her readiness to lead on day one? She can’t even figure out how the delegates are distributed in Texas. A potential loss her campaign is already spinning in a state she fully expected to win as late as last week.

9:10 — I know other states, namely Washington and Hawaii, are voting today. I don’t have any number for either at the moment. Anyway I bet Obama will get Hawaii 100% to nil. And I’m just barely joking there.

And I know the GOP is voting tonight, too. With a little over 30% of the vote in, Huckabee is pulling over a third of the vote. I’d say conservatives are still involved in a bit of protest voting. Ron Paul is back there, but he’s getting some votes

10:50 86% reporting and Obama’s up to 58%. Considering recent polls had this vote pretty tight, this is a blowout. His numbers are actually rising as more of the vote comes in. The Washington vote looks pretty close, but Obama’s leading there right now.

Huckabee is actually running behind Romney by a hair in Washington.

11:15 — Final update of the night. With almost half the Washington vote in, Obama leads 50% to 47% and will likely take the state. Over at the GOP McCain obviously leads, but Huckabee has taken a tiny lead over Romney for the runner-up slot. Each is pulling 21% of the vote.

Clinton campaign has foot-in-mouth disease

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:30 pm

You can’t blame the Clinton campaign for everything a supporter – or campaign co-chair for that matter – might say, but man …

Here’s a Ben Smith Politico post from yesterday:

February 18, 2008
Read More: Delegates

‘Second-class delegates’

A co-chairman of Hillary’s Michigan campaign and  has a line that’s sure to drive a whole bunch of red state governors up the wall:

“Superdelegates are not second-class delegates,” says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. “The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic.”

Gore as the Dem nominee?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:21 am

Here’s one brokered convention scenario.

(Hat tip: er, really too many to list)

February 18, 2008

Wisconsin votes tomorrow

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:03 pm

Get ready for another Tuesday of voting. Washington and Wisconsin are holding primaries for both the GOP and Democratic Party. Hawaii is having a Dem caucus.

Of course the state to watch is Wisconsin on the Dem side. Polls are running pretty close, with Obama holding a slight edge overall when I last checked. This vote is Clinton’s best hope to avoid a wipeout through post-Tsunami Tuesday February.

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