The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


With Reporters Grounded, Obama and Clinton Hold Competing Conference Calls

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Clinton officials tried to pre-empt the Obama campaign on Tuesday with a conference call timed an hour ahead of a major endorsement announcement by their rivals.

But the timing was off -- leaving the two campaigns holding dueling press conferences at precisely the same time.

Fortunately, we had two phones.

On line 1: several Clinton backers from so-called "red" states, vouching for her electability in hard-to-win parts of the country.

On line 2: Sen. Barack Obama himself, with Rep. Carol Shea Porter, the Democrat who surprisingly won New Hampshire's 1st district in the last midterms. Her endorsement means that Obama now has the backing of both the state's House members.

"There wasn't a pundit in Washington who predicted she was going to win," Obama said of his latest supporter. "The winds of change are in the air in Barack Obama," said Shea Porter.

The Clinton campaign call was designed to underscore a new finding in a CBS/New York Times poll (PDF), that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is more "electable" than Obama. "I am very comfortable with Sen. Clinton being electable," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, said.

"Another thing that's so important is the ability to connect in rural America," said Dustin McDaniel, the attorney general of Arkansas, who said he had seen people with pick-up trucks in his state covering up their old George W. Bush bumper stickers with Hillary Clinton ones.

"I think Hillary Clinton has the best chance of being electable in swing parts of the country," Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said.

On his call, Obama took several questions, including one about electability. He said that his numbers nationally do not reflect what is happening in early voting states, either in terms of his electability or his popularity overall. "When you ask voters in those early states that are now familiar with my record, her record, other candidates' records, you see a very different result," Obama said. His call ended at 2:16 Eastern Standard Time. The Clinton call ended a few minutes later. But not before the Clinton campaign issued a statement declaring that he was "forced to defend electability."

--Anne E. Kornblut

Posted at 3:21 PM ET on Dec 11, 2007
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Obama inspires me. I'm a middle aged white man and I have a VERY comfortable life.

I trust Obama's judgment. If Obama asked me to pick up a rifle and go to war. I would, because I know it would be just.

Posted by: DanFromTX | December 12, 2007 12:18 PM

Why wasn't Sen. Clinton on the conference call? Why does Sen. Clinton avoid the press at all costs? Why won't Sen. Clinton answer the press' questions? Why won't Sen. Clinton release her First Lady papers?

Was Sen. Clinton too busy dealing with campaign staffers engaging in dirty politics like the emails they've been sending out lying about Sen. Obama's religion?

I always knew those emails came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. There should be a heavy price to pay for Sen. Clinton engaging in religious hatred.

Sen. Clinton's campaign disparaged an entire religion.

Posted by: ItsTimeToTurnThePage | December 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Barack Obama is not and has never been a Muslim. Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ.

This post above is the copied and pasted text of an e-mail that has been circulating among partisans who are either personally midlead or seeking to purposely mislead others.

Learn more:

Posted by: keithferg | December 12, 2007 10:51 AM



I am surprised that you have not done your homework.
We checked this out on "". It is factual.
Check for yourself.

Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U.S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack
Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita, Kansas.
Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When
Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His
father returned to Kenya . His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia.? When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to
Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is
a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a
Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school."

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that he is no longer Muslim.

Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and
that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the
senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother,
Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was
enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta .

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by
the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a
CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, as all of our other public officials, but instead the Koran.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected
presidential candidacy.

The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US
from the inside out, what better way to start than at
the highest evel - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!!

Would you want this man leading our country?...... NOT ME!!!

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 12, 2007 7:46 AM

Jade said what I was going to. electability is a non argument. What is electability? people voting for you and so, how is Obama not electable while Clinton is. Both have had the most votes in their respective races to win. So when Clinton says Obama is not electable it's just so much beltway word games.

Posted by: vwcat | December 11, 2007 11:02 PM

Usually Ms. Kornblut, in my opinion, is quite biased against Senator Clinton both in her column and on Hardball. So perhaps this is bringing some balance.

Senator Clinton, I believe, is the more electable because experience in federal government matters. Although Obama had 8 years in state government dealing with state issues, he has only been in the U.S. senate for 3 years. He also was practically handed that seat because Alan Keyes (one of the most right wing politicos imaginable) was his opponent.
Senator Clinton has had 8 years in the U.S. Senate (been elected twice) and represents over 6 million more people in her state.
And although Obama supporters like to pretend that her experience as first lady does not mean anything, the Senator surely understands the executive branch better having been a participant and contributor to policy. And for whatever failures she may have had, Senator Clinton has learned and is the better for it. Her new healthcare plan will succeed because she learned from mistakes in the 90s and has been willing to rethink her approach to the topic.
Obama is a rookie. Maybe he will be qualified one day to be president, but at this time he simply hasn't the experience or gravitas for that office.

Posted by: Rob6 | December 11, 2007 10:25 PM

"Electability" is vaporware. Meaningless. any candidate is electable if people cast a vote for them. There is no measure that accurately predicts who is electable.

More damaging for Clinton is "baggage check." And she's over the weight limit. Not one single poll to date has probed the Clintons' scandal-filled "co-presidency" with its impact on voters. Clinton has name recognition, but what we do know is that she also possesses the highest negatives of any candidate.

Hillary is loaded down with the baggage of Clinton in Arkansas (Whitewater, Rose Law Firm, billing records, questionable financial transactions, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, bimbo eruptions) and the baggage of Clinton in the White House (all of the above plus Monica, Travelgate, Filegate, Ken Starr, the vast right wing conspiracy, failed healthcare, NAFTA, Newt Gringrich and the Contract with America, gridlock... and that list goes on).

The ads that can be created from "vast right wing conspiracy" and "didn't have sexual relations with that woman" and "depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" and Hillary in her pink suit motoring down to testify before the grand jury. The 527s must be salivating like crazy. Since that is her "Living History," she will not be able to re-write it to her advantage.

Ultimately, the candidate who grasps the imagination of the country, will be the one who is elected. Even Dubya had voters imagining sitting down to have a beer with the guy. A dumb reason to elect him, but voters did.

Hillary needs to stop counting her chickens before they hatch. It won't be her.

Posted by: jade7243 | December 11, 2007 5:48 PM

Anne Kornblutt writes
"The Clinton campaign call was designed to underscore a new finding in a CBS/New York Times poll (PDF), that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is more "electable" than Obama."

Did anyone ask the campaign why she does the worst of the Dem front-runners against the GOP frontrunners in head-to-head polls? Her campaign is pushing poll data of 'likely Dem primary voters' but ignoring the polls that include likely general election voters. Shouldn't the press press her campaign on this discrepancy?

Posted by: bsimon | December 11, 2007 5:13 PM

Experience and electability, Senator Obama has both.

As a Illinois State Senator, he helped to deliver the first significant campaign finance reform law in Illinois in 25 years. He brought law enforcement groups around to back legislation requiring that homicide interrogations be taped and helped bring about passage of the state's first racial-profiling law. He was a chief sponsor of a law enhancing tax credits for the working poor, played a central role in negotiations over welfare reform and successfully pushed for increasing child care subsidies (NYT, 7/30/07). As a Chicago community organizer, he notched accomplishments ranging from job-training programs to a successful attempt to improve city services at the Altgeld Gardens housing project, chaired a voter-registration drive that helped carry Illinois for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992 and led an effort to acquire state money for a dropout prevention program that still operates today (any Obama bio you can find online).

In the U.S. Senate, he's gained national and global experience co-sponsoring legislation with Democrats and Republicans alike, and from sitting on the Foreign Relations Committee, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committe on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

So, for those of you allowing your "head" to tell you that Senator Obama can't win because of the tired, ill-conceived arguments that he's not experienced enough or tough enough, just do the math. Obama has more elected years in office than HRC and more practical years working in the community at a grassroots level on issues affecting everyday Americans. His stated aggressive policies towards terrorism along with his forward-thinking diplomacy approach were once ridiculed and then embraced by foreign policy experts, military officials and candidates alike ("google" and do the research). And considering that Obama's weathered HRC's petty, below-the-belt and comical attacks on him with flying colors (kindergarten essays?! Come on!), I think it's safe to say that he's more than capable of withstanding any right-wing Republican shots.

Here's the bottomline that folks should be focusing on. Can HRC get elected with her high negatives? Yes, but it won't be with a 50+1 majority but more than likely something closer to a 46-43 edge at best. With that kind of deficient win, HRC will not be able to govern or lead effectively because of the animus and distrust she generates from those "red states" and the other side of the isle that will bog down the legislative process in even nastier partisanship. That's why Obama's maturity, intelligence, vision, and skills as a proven leader, coupled with his broader appeal over that of HRC and Obama's lack of combustible "political baggage" in comparison to HRC will allow him to do just as he says as President of the United States... bring both sides of the aisle and independents together to address and find solutions for the vital issues facing our country.


Posted by: Eyzwidopn | December 11, 2007 4:42 PM

I just love how Hillary continues to be "unavailable" to reporters.
She's just as secretive as Bush.

Hillary will have a pretty tough time claiming she's the most electable when she can't even win her own primaries.

And do her supporters just not even look at the national general election polls? Hillary loses to Huckabee, for cryin' out loud, and her nagatives have reached an all time high!

As far as Experience goes, what good is experience if you don't make the right choices?

Obama has been right on the major foreign policy issues of our time, AND has more experience than Hillary.

Regardless of race, Obama is the best candidate.

Not only does Obama offer americans hope and inspiration, he has the best background and experience for today's international woes.

Obama has held elected office for 11 years (four more than Hillary). Obama sponsored over 820 bills while serving in the Illinois senate (serving 8 years, from 1996-2004). He authored the most sweeping ethics reform bill passed into Illinois law in over 20 years. He sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform and promoted increased subsidies for child care. Obama also led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped.

In 2002 Obama spoke out publicly against the war in Iraq, saying he does not oppose all war, just dumb wars, and proceeded to accurately predict the quagmire of Iraq.

Obama was elected to the United States senate in 2004. In his first year (before he decided to run for president) he authored 152 bills, and co-sponsored another 427. These included the Coburn-Obama government Transparency Act of 2006 (signed into law by Bush), The Lugar-Obama initiatives (working with republican, Richard Lugar) aimed at nuclear non-proliferation and conventional weapons threat reduction. He is one of only 2 lawmakers sponsoring a campaign finance reform bill that currently sits in the senate. There are 890 bills in Obama's name since he entered the Senate. He has Cosponsored 1096.

Obama currently serves on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans' Affairs.

Obama has a degree in International Relations, a Law degree, and taught constitutional law for 10 years.

Obama 08!

Posted by: julieds | December 11, 2007 4:35 PM

Anne Kornblut, could you be any more biased? I've read many of your articles over the past several months, and it is quite clear which candidate you support and which one you are trying to submarine (not very subtly, I might add). I would enjoy your articles so much more if you could please remain professional and try to keep your personal opinions to yourself. Sadly, so few journalists follow this rule anymore.

Posted by: sapark_98 | December 11, 2007 4:34 PM

avraamjack, Instead of clicking on your link, I was first shocked that you would described the Clinton Administration that way. Then, I emailed Washington Post about it. I hope they delete that trash talk.

Posted by: pinechee | December 11, 2007 4:18 PM



It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where assaulting, torturing and murdering people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan and Nazi Party.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you:

Posted by: avraamjack | December 11, 2007 3:52 PM

I'm from New Hampshire and own up to being a Clinton supporter.

Rep. Carol Shea Porter is a great rep, but poll-wise, she's having some difficulties with her own re-election campaign.

In addition, I just don't believe the two House freshmen ("freshpersons"??) (and, btw, I really like them both) quite add up to Jeanne Shaheen's husband heading up Clinton's NH campaign and Kathy Sullivan and Dr. Lynch endorsing her.

If you're a political junkie, it's heaven in NH right now. Luckily, we're all political junkies.

Posted by: freespeak | December 11, 2007 3:50 PM

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