David Kirkpatrick

June 7, 2008

Clinton is officially out

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:59 pm

She held her concession speech today and formally put her full support behind Obama.

From the link:

Hillary Rodham Clinton ended her historic campaign for the presidency on Saturday and told supporters to unite behind rival Barack Obama, closing out a race that was as grueling as it was groundbreaking.

The former first lady, who as recently as Tuesday declared herself the strongest candidate, gave Obama an unqualified endorsement and pivoted from her role as determined foe to absolute ally.

“The way to continue our fight now to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States,” she said in a speech before cheering supporters packed into the ornate National Building Museum, not far from the White House she longed to govern from.

“Today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me,” the New York senator said in her 28-minute address.

Some may quibble at her use of the word “suspend” instead of saying she’s dropping out of the race. Marc Ambinder blogging at the Atlantic is way ahead of you.

Here’s the linked post from two days ago:

A note on terminology: some news outlets will report that Clinton will “suspend” her campaign; others may report that she will “concede” to Obama; other will report that she is “dropping out.”

It’s ok to use “dropping out.”

She doesn’t officially lose her delegates until they vote for someone else at the convention, so she could always jump back in. There’s no paper you sign that magically waives away your delegates, and there will be plenty of them, I’d bet, who, if you ask them next week, insist they’ll vote for Hillary.

But there’s no need to parse … aides and advisers say that she’s conceding the race and endorsing Obama.

After Friday, virtually all of the staff will be gone. Not furloughed, but gone. Clinton will have conceded the race by Saturday, will have endorsed Obama, and will stop campaigning. For her, the race is over.

If Clinton does for some reason use the word “suspend,” instead of some more final word, it will be a rhetoric feint, one that is sure to further anger the Obama campaign.

June 5, 2008

Clinton didn’t “lose,” Obama won

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:35 pm

Lost in all the hoopla and debate whether Obama securing the Democratic nomination is the biggest political upset in US history (probably not, by the way) and post-mortems dissecting how Clinton squandered the election away is the fact Obama won by running a very efficient and effective campaign starting way back (take a look at this chart)

Yeah, she lost. And there were a lot of blunders along the way, but let’s not lose sight that someone was there, pressing hard. Without that pressure strategic blunders wouldn’t matter near as much, and some tactical errors might not have even been made without a threat requiring some action or reaction.

It looks like things are finally going to focus on the general election now that Clinton has announced a Saturday event to offically concedeto Obama and offer her complete support for his presidential run.

From the very first link up there in graf one:

So the real story, which the Post and the Los Angeles Times detail nicely in their separate ways, is that Obama won by winning, not by Clinton losing.

June 3, 2008

Montana and South Dakota vote

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:52 pm

The last two states vote tonight in the Democratic primary. The Associated Press has already declared the nomination for Obama,but depending on where your numbers are coming from Obama needs in the ballpark of ten delegates from tonight’s two votes.

He’s expected to win both states and even though not a lot of delegates are at stake he should pass the official delegate count to officially win the Democratic nomination. I’ll periodically update the results as they come in and probably add links to blogosphere commentary on the occasion. Congratulations to Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee this year.

This early link is from Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish celebrating the end of the Clinton era ( … at least for now).

Numbers from updates will come from CNN or CNN.com unless otherwise noted.

Update 7:00 pm — And, of course, the GOP is voting in New Mexico. I’m sure turnout will be huge for that primary.

Update 8:40 — In something of a surprise (to me at least, maybe I read some earlier predictions incorrectly) with 26% reporting in South Dakota, CNN calls the state for Clinton. She leads 56 to 44. Obama is predicted to pick up five delegates if this differential holds out.

McCain is still pulling a bit under three quarters of the GOP vote at 72%. The protest votes are still out there.

No results from Montana.

Update 9:10 — No significant change in South Dakota. With no votes in, but the polls closed, CNN calls Montana for Obama and a projected eight delegates. Obama is the nominee.

Clinton finished her speech a bit ago. It lacked a crucial element — she congratulagted Obama on the “race he ran,” not on the race he “won.” She’s not completely conceding at this moment. I’m sure this sits well with the Democratic braintrust.

Some of the cable news talking heads mention rumors that she’s waiting after a “one-on-one” meeting with Obama that she’s demanding immediately occur. I think her leverage other than as a complete vindictive spoiler at this point is nil. The reality is Team Clinton has lost the race, and lost a lot more along the way — things such as the respect of the electorate, clout within the Democratic Party and the legacy of the 42nd president.

I expect the blogosphere to really cut loose on Hillary after this speech. She’s already been rumored to demand to be asked for the veep position so she can turn it down, but added the caveat it better not go to another woman. (Hat tip: Daily Kos for that link)

Really just a pathetic end to Hillary’s campaign.

Quite a triumph for Obama, the United State’s first black presidential candidate to serve as his party’s nominee. It should be a fun summer and fall leading up to the election in November.

Update 10:10 — South Dakota 76% in; Clinton 56, Obama 44. Montana 4% in; Obama 58, Clinton 39.

Ron Paul is pulling 13% in New Mexico and 16% in South Dakota. That is a true GOP protest vote.

If you want to consider the official opening salvos of the general campaign McCain and Obama’s speeches tonight, GOPers may have a few nightmares when they restlessly lay their heads down for the night. I think there will be a dramatic realization in the two presidential options once these two get on stage together. McCain will likely come off as old and shrunken (Obama has quite a few inches in height on him) where Obama will be youthful and commanding. Especially if viewed in high definition.

Also get ready for an onslaught of McCain commercials featuring Hillary stating McCain would be a better president than Obama. One little rhetorical gift she handed the GOP over this drawn-out primary. A primary she effectively lost during the month of February.

Update 10:30 — No change in South Dakota numbers-wise. Not much in Montana either. It is amazing the Democratic primary made it to the final votes before any candidate clinched. All McCain’s serious competitors dropped out long before he technically won the nomination by delegate count, but I’m certain the GOP race would be fully determined long before today.

More reactions from the net: here’s two from the Nation Review Online, one from Lisa Schiffren and one from Jonah Goldberg.

Update 10:50 — South Dakota with 91% in; Clinton 55, Obama 45. Montana with 12% in; Obama 55, Clinton 42, and “no preference” 3. This is the last numbers update for the night. Well fought and there is a winner after all these months of voting.

A reaction from Andrew Sullivan:


If I needed reassurance that this man is the most formidable force in American politics today, his speech tonight confirmed it. It was shrewd – with an artful positioning on Iraq. It was graceful – with respect for McCain’s service and Clinton’s tenacity. It was brutal – in turning around McCain’s Iraq visit meme to domestic economic woes. It was patriotic – in its evocation of Gettysburg and the Second World War. It was outer-directed: not for Obama the recourse to self-satisfied identity politics of the kind used by the Clintons because they often have nothing else. It was moving. I thought I even saw some suggestions of tears as he remembered his grandmother. It was also rhetorically more powerful than McCain – not by a small amount but by a mile. Put McCain’s speech against Obama’s – and this was a wipe-out. Not a victory. A wipe-out. Rhetorically, they are simply not in the same league. And if the contrast tonight between McCain and Obama holds for the rest of the campaign, McCain is facing a defeat of historic proportions.

One more thing: with McCain’s and Clinton’s speeches, you could not forget the politics of it. With Obama, you forgot about that at times. You actually lifted your eyes a little and believed a little and hoped a little.

Yes, he can. And anyone who under-estimates that will regret it.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty.)


Associated Press gives Obama the nod

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:29 pm

The Associated Press has already declared Obama the Democratic nominee for president this year.

From the link:

Obama sealed his victory based on primary elections, state Democratic caucuses and delegates’ public declarations as well as support from 22 delegates and “superdelegates” who privately confirmed their intentions to The Associated Press. It takes 2,118 delegates to clinch the nomination.

May 20, 2008

Kentucky and Oregon vote

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:44 pm

Actually if I understand things correctly, Oregon is just announcing the result of a mail-in vote. At any rate, Kentucky — being in the East — will announce first. The most compelling question of the night is whether Obama will gain a permanent majority of pledge delegates from his Kentucky result (it’ll be a loss, but by how much is the question) or will he have to wait until Oregon announces to reach that milestone.

In early returns from Kentucky, Clinton has already been declared the winner. 34% reporting, Clinton stands at 55 and Obama at 41.

Update 7:40 pm — In Kentucky, with 86% reporting: Clinton 65, Obama 31. Falling out about what was expected. It’ll be interesting to see how the Oregon vote turns out.

Update 8:55 —  99% reporting in Kentucky: Clinton 65, Obama 30. Obama’s projected to get 14 delegates in the state. I believe that is one short of securing the pledged majority.

Update 10:05 — Oregon reporting with 11% in, Obama 63, Clinton 37

Update 11:00 — Oregeon 51% reporting, Obama 58, Clinton 42

Update 12:30 am — Last update. Oregon 68% reporting, Obama 58, Clinton 42

Obama takes an unassailable lead in pledged delegates tonight. Clinton made some headway in the non-counting total popular vote. It’s been over for a long time now, but at this point it’s official — Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president this year. Time to focus on the general election from here on out.

May 13, 2008

West Virginia votes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:22 pm

Only one update for this story. Already called for Clinton, and she might win this state by 50 points or more. This result has been expected for some time.

In the meantime, Obama is picking supers, and even some of Clinton’s pledged delegates. Depending on your source, he needs somewhere in the range of 150 or so to clinch.

I don’t have a link handy, but there’s some chatter that Clinton will ride out tonight and win handily in the upcoming Kentucky vote then drop out of the race. It’s expected Obama will pass the magic number based on superdelegates by that time. She goes out on a strong note, he doesn’t have to campaign too hard in states he was always going to lose — good for all involved.

May 9, 2008

The final nail in Team Clinton’s coffin

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:08 pm

Rasmussen is no longer polling the Democratic nomination race.

From the link:

At the moment, Senator Clinton’s team is busily trying to convince Superdelegates and pundits that she is more electable than Barack Obama. For reasons discussed in a separate article, it doesn’t matter. Even if every single Superdelegate was convinced that the former First Lady is somewhat more electable than Obama, that is not enough of a reason to deny him the nomination.

With this in mind, Rasmussen Reports will soon end our daily tracking of the Democratic race and focus exclusively on the general election competition between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Barring something totally unforeseen, that is the choice American voters will have before them in November. While we have not firmly decided upon a final day for tracking the Democratic race, it is coming soon.

May 8, 2008

Clinton’s 5 key mistakes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:26 pm

Here’s an interesting Time.com article on the five main mistakes committed by Team Clinton leading to Obama’s Democratic nomination win.

The short version:

1. She misjudged the mood
2. She didn’t master the rules
3. She underestimated the caucus states
4. She relied on old money
5. She never counted on a long haul

May 6, 2008

Indiana and North Carolina vote

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:21 pm

The last big delegate day has arrived — both Indiana and North Carolina are voting. Early predictions have Obama winning North Carolina handily (and maybe by double digits) and Indiana too close to statistically call. A total of 172 pledged delegates are at stake in the two primaries.

I’ll periodically update the results. Unless otherwise noted all numbers are from CNN and CNN.com.

Update 6:26 pm — This is pretty funny from Matt Yglesias at Atlantic.com:

I should make an official prediction about tonight, right? Well, clearly the universe is conspiring to make this primary last as long as possible. So what’s going to happen is that (of course) Clinton will win Indiana and Obama will win North Carolina. But Clinton will win Indiana by a larger margin than Obama wins North Carolina, and Clinton’s supporters will note in somber tones that Obama lost the white vote in NC. At the same time, because NC has substantially more delegates than Indiana, Obama will actually make a small gain in net delegates causing his supporters (i.e. me) to become further enraged at Clinton’s refusal to admit that she’s lost and the press’ insistence on indulging the idea that there’s real doubt about the ultimate outcome.

In very early returns from Indiana, Clinton leads 57-43 with 16% reporting. McCain is getting 75% of the GOP vote.

Update 6:49 pm — With officially 0% reporting Obama leads North Carolina 65-32 and CNN is already calling the state for Obama. Clinton is holding steady at 57-43 in Indiana with 28% reporting. No call for that state just yet.

Update 7:33 pm — Switching to NYT for numbers since CNN.com is pretty much non-loading at this point. They break it out to tenth, so I will too.

North Carolina with 11% reporting: Obama 64, Clinton 34.4

Indiana with 47% reporting: Clinton 55.3, Obama 44.7. interestingly, these numbers have been slowly tightening and the NW, including Gary, an expected Obama stronghold, has yet to report.

Update 8:11pm — Both states are tightening a bit, but Obama’s completely blowing Clinton out of the water in NC. His gap-closing in Indiana has to have Team Clinton very concerned. It’s the longest of shots, but he could win that state.

NC with 27% reporting: Obama 60.7, Clinton 37.5

Indiana with 68% reporting (and no call yet): Clinton 53, Obama 47.1

Update 9:11 pm — NC 66% in, Obama 56.1, Clinton 41.8; Indiana 79% in, Clinton 51.9, Obama 48.1

Update 10:19 pm — Final update of the night. Indiana remains uncalled becuase of Lake County in the northwest. Right now with 86% reporting Clinton holds a narrow margin of 51.8-48.2. It’s a long shot, but it’s possible Obama could squeeze a tiny victory with strong numbers from the not-yet-reporting county. However you slice it, this is hard blow for Clinton.

In North Carolina Obama’s lead is holding around the numbers from an hour ago. 92% in, he leads 56.1-41.7


April 30, 2008

Here’s one blog that places the blame …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:05 pm

… for this vicious Democratic primary squarely on the shoulders of the superdelegates.

I have to admit I’ve pretty much stopped blogging the election for the time being. I’m among many who has become sick and tired of the debacle the Democratic party is throwing at the electorate. I’m just glad I’m not a partisan Democrat, otherwise I’d probably just lay in bed with a towel over my head until the supers come to their senses and hand the deserved victory to Obama.

The destructiveness of Team Clinton combined with her previous nemeses on the hard right is amazing to me.

From the link:

For most of this campaign, the Democratic Party has been unified by optimism that our eventual nominee would trounce the Republican candidate in November, 2008. That began to change towards the end of February, when the contest between Senators Clinton and Obama began to turn sharply negative.

The media and the Clinton campaign deserve their share of blame for this. And Obama is not perfect, either. But the people who deserve the most blame are the superdelegates, for it is their indecision that has made this mess possible in the first place.

Since late February, it has been clear that the Clinton campaign’s only hope for victory rested in their hands. Over the past two months, the soleuncertainty about the campaign has been whether or not superdelegates will stage a coup against the voters.

At any point during the last two months, superdelegates could have made it clear that they would support the will of voters. Instead, by declaring their indecision, they provided Clinton with a new rationale for her campaign. Effectively, they encouraged her coup attempt. It was if they said to her: if you can prove to us that Barack Obama is unelectable, we will overturn the judgment of voters.


It is now clear just how foolish and unwise the superdelegates were for offering Clinton such a destructive path to the nomination, for she has tried to meet it with unrestrained vigor. Two months later, a party that was once unified is now divided. The septuagenarian Republican presidential candidate who devised the Iraq war strategy and wants to stay there for one hundred years is leading or tied in most polls.
(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

April 24, 2008

Markos adds his two cents …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:12 am

… on the state of the current Democratic situation. Along with a lot of poll information.

The summation?

So remind me again how is Clinton “more electable” against McCain than Obama?

She’s lost more contests to Obama than she’s won. She’s raised less money than he has. She fares poorer in the polling against McCain than he does. She trails in the popular vote.

And somehow, despite the fact she runs behind Obama in the general, the supers are supposed to overturn the will of the primary electorate and spur intra-party civil war on her behalf? Is she really that narcissistic?

Apparently so.

April 23, 2008

Andrew Sullivan sees …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:59 pm

no relief for Democrats in the coming weeks.

From the link:

Bill Clinton directly accusesthe Obama campaign of hostility to working class voters. When you see the brutal politics the Clintons are still eagerly deploying, you have to believe this will go to the convention. The Clintons are prepared to use any argument, any Republican tactic, and any social or cultural division to stay in the game. By tactically morphing into Rove Republicans, they are deliberately pivoting off a myth about Obama to make him unelectable. I think the idea that they will withdraw when Obama reaches the actual number of delegates required for the nomination is a myth. They will insist on having their say at the convention and changing the votes of pledged delegates if they need to. This is their party, in their minds. Obama has no right to lead it. Until he waits his turn and the Clintons give their blessing.

April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania votes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:16 pm

Finally, the dry spell is over and Pennsylvania has voted.

All numbers from CNN.com and CNN.

Earlier with 15% reporting the state was already called for Clinton holding a six point lead 53-47. Penn is a state Clinton needs to win by double digits to truly remain viable. Doesn’t mean there’s any chance of her dropping out without that margin, but a nine-point, or less, win is essentially a loss.

Update 9:20 pm — 61 percent in, Clinton leads by eight points 54% to Obama’s 46%. If this differential holds he’ll have erased about twelve points off his deficit in Penn in around two months. Clinton lead by a solid 20 percent before the Texas and Ohio vote in early March.

Update 9:50 pm — 79% in, Clinton reaches the double digit threshold 55-45. According to CNN exit polling suggested something tighter than eight points. Looks more movement is possible, or the exit polls were off as usual.

Update 10:15 pm — 87 % in, holding at 55-45 for Clinton.

Over at the GOP vote, there’s still some anti-McCain protest voting going on. Ron Paul has 16% and Mike Huckabee 12% of the vote.

This’ll be the last update unless the Democratic numbers significantly move one direction or the other.

April 6, 2008

Team Clinton …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:48 pm

loses its coach. Mark Penn quit the campaign today after a weeklong controversy about his moonlighting.

From the link:

Mark Penn, the architect of much of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, has been replaced as the campaign’s chief strategist in the wake of revelations that he lobbied on behalf of a trade treaty with Colombia that Mrs. Clinton opposes.

After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign.

Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign’s strategic message team going forward.

Mr. Penn, who has been associated with Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton for a dozen years, has come under withering criticism for continuing to consult with clients as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, the international lobbying and public relations firm.

He has also been held responsible for the flawed electoral strategy considered partly responsible for Mrs. Clinton’s difficult political position, trailing Senator Barack Obama by more than a hundred delegates and with a very narrow path to winning the Democratic nomination.

In a terse statement, Maggie Williams, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, said, “After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign.”


April 2, 2008

Bill’s all jacked up

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:32 pm

Intense anger is never a sign of confidence.

From the Daily Dish:

The San Francisco Chronicle on Bill’s tirade at a super delegate meeting:

…as the group moved together for the perfunctory photo, Rachel Binah, a former Richardson delegate who now supports Hillary Clinton, told Bill how “sorry” she was to have heard former Clinton campaign manager James Carville call Richardson a “Judas” for backing Obama.

It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade.

“Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that,” a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.

The former president then went on a tirade that ran from the media’s unfair treatment of Hillary to questions about the fairness of the votes in state caucuses that voted for Obama. It ended with him asking delegates to imagine what the reaction would be if Obama was trailing by just 1 percent and people were telling him to drop out.

“It was very, very intense,” said one attendee. “Not at all like the Bill of earlier campaigns.”

April 1, 2008

Breaking news …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:19 am

Clinton drops out of race!

(April fools. Sorry for getting your hopes up.)

March 30, 2008

Clinton thinks she’s playing basketball

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:18 pm

The teaser on this NYT story was something along the lines of, “Game’s not over, Clinton supporters agree.”

I guess they’re leaving out the fact it’s quite late in the fourth, she’s down by double-digits, has no fouls to give and worse, is in serious foul trouble herself. So yes, it’s not “over.” But she’s losing the game barring some magic officiating.

Hey, maybe Clinton knows she’s paid the refs off for this game and is still waiting for the bribe to go into effect …

From the link:

In the height of basketball season, here in the heart of basketball country, it was perhaps inevitable that the state of the Democratic presidential race would be boiled down in championship terminology.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York stood in center court, with basketball hoops on all sides, as she offered up a sporting metaphor.

“You know, we are in the fourth quarter and it is a close contest. We are running up and down. We are taking shots,” Mrs. Clinton said, speaking over a crescendo of applause. “And in the next months, we’re going to have 10 more contests, from Indiana to Pennsylvania — all the way to Puerto Rico! Millions of people will have a chance to have their voices heard and their votes counted.”

The point? This game is not over.

March 28, 2008

Bob Casey endorses Obama

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:09 pm

Bob Casey, a senator from Pennsylvania, has endorsed Obama. Clinton is expected to win Pennsylvania by a very wide (read — around 20%) margin, and her beyond slim hopes rest on that outcome.

If Obama keeps that victory within single digits she’s done. If he were to win Penn, she would pretty much have to drop out of the race. At this point I’m not sure she’d do it, but either scenario is ballgame for Obama. Clinton’s Bosnia “misstatement” has caused her much more damage than it seemed at first blush.

In related news, the kitchen sink/toilet bowl strategy is not working in the least. According to Gallup’s national poll, on March 23 they were basically in a statistical dead heat at around 47%. Obama’s been steadily trending upwards since then and leads 50-42 in the latest poll. (Hit this link for a Daily Dish post and the rolling poll.)

From the first link:

In a surprise move, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has endorsed Senator Barack Obama in advance of the April 22 Democratic primary. Mr. Casey had said he would remain neutral in the race in part because he wanted to help broker a reconciliation between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton afterward.

“I believe in my heart that there is one person who’s uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama.” Mr. Casey said during a rally in Pittsburgh Friday.

“I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America,” he said.

Mr. Casey is going against the grain in his state, where polls show Mrs. Clinton ahead by at least 12 percentage points and where she has the endorsement of most of the state’s major Democratic figures.

Clinton supporters threaten Pelosi

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:53 am

I agree with Matt Yglesias here:

I have to say that I doubt threatening Nancy Pelosi to take their toys and go home if she doesn’t urge superdelegates to do what they want is really the smartest way for Hillary Clinton supporters to try to win this election. It sort of re-enforces the case that the Clintons and their close allies are selfish people willing and ready to destroy the party in order to maintain control over it.

Update: Another take on the same topic, this time from Noam Scheiber at the New Republic blog, “The Plank.”

From the link:

Via Avi Zenilman, the crew over at First Read makes a great point about that heavy-handed letter from Hillary’s rich donors to Nancy Pelosi:

Shakedown: Why didn’t the Clinton campaign get superdelegates to sign on to that letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi rather than donors? Doesn’t this letter coming only from major donors make it look like a threat or a shakedown? Wouldn’t this letter coming from fellow superdelegates have had more impact? One Dem operative who doesn’t have a horse in this fight reminds us: “Members of Congress — who are superdelegates — make up the DCCC. Threatening the DCCC is essentially threatening the very superdelegates HRC’s trying to court. The HRC donor letter will just push undeclared superdelegates in Congress leaning toward Obama to endorse him sooner. It also reinforces the notion that the Clintons will destroy the party to win the WH. I just don’t get it.”

I don’t get it either. The obvious answer is that Hillary couldn’t find any superdelegates to sign on to such a letter. But maybe the campaign had something in mind that we’re just not seeing.

March 25, 2008

David Brooks joins …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:47 pm

… the pundits sticking a fork in the Clinton campaign. It really is amazing she refuses to step aside.

From the linked column:

In short, Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects continue to dim. The door is closing. Night is coming. The end, however, is not near.

Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance.

Five percent.

Let’s take a look at what she’s going to put her party through for the sake of that 5 percent chance: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

March 22, 2008

Even Clinton’s staff knows the end is near

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:52 am

I have no idea why Clinton is continuing to campaign and tear the Democratic Party asunder. Even her staff hears the fat lady beginning to sing.

From the link:

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.

March 18, 2008

No new Democratic primary vote in Michigan

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:16 pm

Joining the news out of Florida yesterday, it looks like Michigan will not conduct a new vote to try and seat delegates to the Democratic convention.

From the link:

Lansing (WWJ)  — It’s appearing more and more likely there will not be a re-do of the Democratic presidential primary election.  WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports state Senate Democrats came out of a closed door meeting Tuesday morning and said there are not enough votes to approve a re-do.  

Legislative approval is necessary for a re-vote to happen. 

Speaking live on WWJ, Skubick said it would take a “miracle” to have the re-do approved, but he added it’s still possible. 

There has been no comment from the Michigan Democratic Party.  A spokesman said they are waiting to see what the legislature does. 

Obama’s race speech

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:55 pm

I haven’t heard the Obama speech on race today, but from the online reactions it sounds like he totally killed. I really didn’t expect less of him on this topic.

My guess is he knew he’d be giving some variant of this speech during the campaign. Maybe it was going to come in a concession to the nominee, maybe during a victory speech when accepting the nomination, or maybe — as is turned to be — his race speech pulled double duty both explaining his spiritual life and controversial spiritual adviser and acknowledging the role race is playing in this campaign.

He couldn’t give a victory speech just yet, but he did need to set the tone for the general election to counter Team Clinton’s death throes and its ridiculous kitchen sink/toilet bowl strategy.

This speech has most likely been part of his plan from the point he decided to run for president. It’s a tricky subject and it was going to be very important to make the speech, not only at the right time, but to make sure it was successful. I think he accomplished both goals.

From the NYT:

Senator Barack Obama renewed his objection to the controversial statements delivered by the longtime pastor of his Chicago church, but declared in a speech here Tuesday that it was time for America to “move beyond some of our old racial wounds.”

“It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years,” Mr. Obama said. “Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy — particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.”
In an address at the National Constitution Center, a building steeped in the nation’s historic symbolism, Mr. Obama delivered a sweeping assessment of race in America. It was the most extensive speech of his presidential campaign devoted to race and unity, a moment his advisers conceded presented one of the biggest tests of his candidacy.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan’s take over at the Daily Dish. He’s become a very vocal supporter of Obama’s over the last few months:

Alas, I cannot give a more considered response right now as I have to get on the road. But I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.

And it was a reflection of faith – deep, hopeful, transcending faith in the promises of the Gospels. And it was about America – its unique promise, its historic purpose, and our duty to take up the burden to perfect this union – today, in our time, in our way.

I have never felt more convinced that this man’s candidacy – not this man, his candidacy – and what he can bring us to achieve – is an historic opportunity. This was a testing; and he did not merely pass it by uttering safe bromides. He addressed the intimate, painful love he has for an imperfect and sometimes embittered man. And how that love enables him to see that man’s faults and pain as well as his promise. This is what my faith is about. It is what the Gospels are about. This is a candidate who does not merely speak as a Christian. He acts like a Christian.

Bill Clinton once said that everything bad in America can be rectified by what is good in America. He was right – and Obama takes that to a new level. And does it with the deepest darkest wound in this country’s history.

I love this country. I don’t remember loving it or hoping more from it than today.

Head here for more reactions from the blogosphere and my part three take here.

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 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.


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.”


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 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.

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