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Clinton's Primary Gift


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to a family tell their story during a campaign stop at the Fair River Oaks Council in Dayton, Ohio, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008. (AP.)

By Dan Balz
Among the costliest decisions made by Hillary Clinton's campaign this year was the choice to largely cede caucus states to Barack Obama. It is one that, in retrospect, baffles Democratic strategists and, even more so, the operatives in Obama's campaign.

Like Obama, Clinton threw everything possible into the Iowa caucuses, spending somewhere between $20 million and $25 million in what turned out to be a losing effort. The experience seemed to sour the Clintons on caucuses -- she has repeatedly disparaged the caucus process in public remarks -- and ever since her campaign has largely ignored them in favor of states with primaries.

By doing so, Clinton's campaign has given away a surprisingly large chunk of delegates to Obama. If the Democratic race is all about delegates, as the Clinton campaign declared shortly after New Hampshire, the decision has given Obama an unexpected gift.

Here is a simple way to understand the consequences of that decision. Take two states that held contests on Feb. 5, big New Jersey, with 107 pledged delegates at stake, and tiny Idaho, with just 18 delegates up for grabs that day.

Clinton won New Jersey's primary and grabbed headlines for doing so early on the night of Feb. 5, while Obama won Idaho's caucuses long after many viewers had gone to bed. But in the battle for delegates, Obama came out more than even. Because of the rules of proportionality, Clinton netted just 11 delegates over Obama from her New Jersey victory while Obama netted 12 over Clinton by winning Idaho.

That pattern held through other caucus states on Feb. 5 and Feb. 9, as Obama rolled up substantial margins over Clinton and, as a result, harvested delegates in numbers that belied the relatively small size of some of the states.

Eight states held caucuses during that period -- Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Washington -- and together awarded 305 pledged delegates. By the calculations of the Obama campaign, the split out of those states is roughly 209 for their candidate to 96 for Clinton -- a net advantage of 113 delegates.

After his big victories in Maryland, Virginia and the District on Tuesday, Obama has the overall delegate lead, including the superdelegates, and a larger advantage among the pledged delegates that are awarded on the basis of primary and caucus results. Most of this margin comes from his performance in the caucus states.

There are two important features of the Democrats' sometimes incomprehensible system. The first is that, because of proportionality, it is difficult for any candidate in a close race to gain much of an advantage. Winning states can still mean splitting delegates almost 50-50. But the flip side of this is that once someone gains even a relatively small lead, it becomes more and more difficult for the trailing candidate to catch up.

Clinton is now faced with that difficult mathematical challenge. She will need big margins in upcoming states to make up ground in the delegate battle. A 52-48 split in Ohio on March 4 will net her only about five more delegates than Obama picks up. A 60-40 victory in Ohio would give Clinton about 30 more delegates than Obama. In Texas, a 55-45 split would gain Clinton about 19 more than Obama -- although the Texas rules are so convoluted that those numbers might overstate the difference.

Why the Clinton campaign made this decision is not clear, and I've been unable, today, to get a good answer as to what happened and why. Was it a lack of money? The fact that Obama had more grass-roots support and therefore volunteers in some of those states to help organize for the caucuses? Did the Clinton campaign see more attractive opportunities elsewhere? Or was it simply an oversight?

It was the Clinton campaign that first made Feb. 5 a test of delegates, rather than the number of states won. That may have been sensible with the knowledge that Obama was likely to win some of the red states with contests that day, but, in retrospect, it seems to have disregarded the rules for awarding delegates. Whatever the reason, it has come back to haunt the campaign.

Obama's campaign now seeks to make Ohio and Texas tests of Clinton's margin. They argue that she not only must win those states but win by margins big enough to make substantial progress in the delegate hunt.

The Clinton campaign may be satisfied for now with victories, hoping that by defeating Obama even by a narrow margin that it will change the narrative of the Democratic race, give pause to other voters and especially give pause to those superdelegates needed to help Clinton win the nomination.

Clinton's team also will press harder to seat the delegations from Florida and Michigan on the theory that she will grab the lion's share of those delegates, but that could be an ugly fight that party leaders hope to avoid -- and it's unlikely to be resolved without some adjustment in the delegate split that would come out of the results of those states.

Ultimately the fine points of delegate allocation may have little to do with how this nomination is decided. Obama victories in Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas could go a long way to settling the dispute, but Ohio and Texas in particular appear so competitive that neither campaign can take them for granted.

Clinton has decided to spend more time in Wisconsin between now and Tuesday, a clear recognition that another lopsided Obama victory only compounds her problems of the past week. Her campaign appears to have learned that lesson after seeing Obama run away with the contests after Feb. 5. But the Clinton campaign has paid a high price for its failure to contest the caucuses on Feb. 5 and its apparent inability to pour the necessary resources into contests last Saturday and Tuesday.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 14, 2008; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Dan Balz's Take , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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Comments

to onestring:

Please start that rioting at 425 Klondike Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314.

I'd be ecstatic if you did, so I could beat the living sh*t out of you...lol

Posted by: hotnuke1965 | February 16, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

There was no gift. What there was was recognition from Hillary that many people do not want to publicy proclaim their support for her. Not exactly the candidate to bring in new voters, fire everybody up, and defeat the R's.--Who, by the way, are uniting right now.

Posted by: gmundenat | February 15, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hillary has 35 years experience?

Don't make me laugh. She has faced fewer elections than Obama. Counting her hubby's experience as hers should be an insult to every woman, who would rather accomplish things on her own. Also, would you accept surgery from a surgeon's wife or add his experience to hers? Then why we add Bill's experience to Hillary?

Also the experience factor should be a negative, rather than a positive in Hilda's case. The country was more divided, scandalized and embarrassed than ever under Bill's rule. If that is "experience," Obama is better off without it.

Posted by: DrSubtle | February 15, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

March 5 2008

Clintons: RIP

Posted by: sthorat | February 14, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Every speech he gives, he quotes someone but the idiots don't realize it is someone else and think WOW. He often quotes Alice Walker. What a guy?

He has more to worry about than plagiarism

http://www.taylormarsh.com/archives_view.php?id=26871

Posted by: mjno | February 14, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama vs. McCain
by shiva8
02/14/2008, 9:37 PM #
Rate this topic Delete Favorites Reply
The nation has never faced such a clear, stark contrast in determining the next President. Barack Obama is the President of the future, energizing, uplifting & uniting all Americans in pursuit of virtue as a nation that will restore our reputation in the world. Whereas McCain depicts the ancient face of the past- warmongering, imperialistic, endless occupation in the Middle East, failed fiscal policies, a right wing reactionary social agenda, and the continuation of the Bush disasterous regime.

We have the opportunity to turn the page on a viciously polarized, dysfunctional twenty year Bush/Clinton reign that has wrought an unprecedented division in our nation. McCain is nothing more than a Bush surrogate that will ensure more of the same.

It is time to reject the status quo in Washington and look to a great, shining future. Have courage in your convictions, embrace the empowerment of change, and make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

"We are what we have been waiting for..."

Robert J. Luciano- Atlanta, GA

Posted by: ccoblas | February 14, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me is if Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama everyone will have to back pedal on the Hillary Clinton voted for the war nonsense in 2002. That's why he's just holding back and teasing. It's shameful what he is doing and frankly cowardly of him. He need's do make his endorsement and let the chips fall where they may. If Barack Obama doesn't want another "Brotha" to endorse him let him openly refuse him in public.

The fact is General, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell pointed out those "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION" to Congress, the United Nation and yes the Senate where guess what Senator Hillary Clinton was and guess who wasn't there ~GRIN~ Brack Obama.

Yes, wasn't it YOU Barack who said that you didn't know what you would have actually voted when you gave your interview in the New Yorker Magazine in October 2006? You said you weren't in the Senate and didn't actually have access to the intelligence and therefore seeing it would have possibly led you to a much different conclusion.

So if General, Secretary of State Colin Powell who you want as a person to endorse you believed George Bush and you said yourself in your book on page 294 in Audacity to Hope and in the interview in 2006 that you honestly didn't know how you'd vote how can we believe you?

NO YOU CAN'T BARACK, NO YOU CAN'T BARACK

YOU'RE GONNA LOSE BARACK
YOU'RE GONNA LOSE BARACK

Oh by the way we have mandatory automobile insurance and they don't garnishee for that. You're a liar!

Oh by the way Hillary said in May 2007 that she would eliminate tax credits for corporations that moved jobs out of the country to strenthen NAFTA.

Oh and you voted for Vice President Dick Cheney's energy bill in 2005 because your biggest supporter is EXXON MOBILE AND EXALON WHICH IS A NUCLEAR ENERGY COMPANY. That's why you weakened your bill that would have stopped nuclear leaking into the environment. Remember the park ranger there that found it and you said you introduced legislation.

THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACTIONS AND WORDS BARACK AND YOU ARE ALL WORDS AND NO ACTION.

You're full of hot air!

How is your good friend David Rockefellar these days? Is he giving money through his organization to people to contribute to your campaign? Is Opran spreading the love? You can't buy an election eventually it gets found out like that girl that got paid in my precinct for coming and caucusing for you! It eventually gets found out!

Posted by: UWBizKid | February 14, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the plagiarism charge ..
I am a republican turned independent who eagerly watched the hollywood debate a few weeks ago. I was taken aback by Obama's parroting of Hillary's answers on many questions. He also kept using the pronoun "we" (as in he and Hillary) as he talked about issues. I had assumed that as a gifted speaker he would also be a skilled debater. It turns out, he can make stirring high-concept speeches, but he really hasn't been serving in national office long enough to know our incredibly complex issues well enough. Sure, he has a huge document available online outlining his policies, but I now wonder where those ideas came from. I think voters will have to realize that Obama will in fact be a roll of the dice. It may depend on whether you are a gambling man/woman come November if he is nominated.

Posted by: jedipotential | February 14, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that all arguments in support of Hillary refuse to recognize that the Party self-anointed her candidacy... and now that she's forced to care about the process she's failing. Add to this her campaign has been run poorly, and this is not the fault of a biased press, but again an arrogant machine that thinks all progressives naturally belong to the democratic herd. Bush has been horrid, we can all agree on this, yet Hillary Clinton is quite simply the least appealing Democratic candidate I could have imagined. I simply CANNOT vote for her.

Posted by: twofeathers50 | February 14, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Apologies, my second sentence should have said: "I'm just saying that if he runs in 2012/2016 I would be happier"

Posted by: anthonyrimell | February 14, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

BethesdaMd, what an interestng piece. I am not dictating when BHO runs, I'm just saying that if he runs then I owuld be happpier - which I thought was my democrtatic right. Note: I'm not calling him shrill names, I'm not questioning his loyalty, and I did say that if he wins the nomination I will be happy to see him go on and win the election itself. Perhaps you didn't see that, or perhaps you are showing my very point - that Obama may be talking unity but at least some of his supporters are not showing that approach.

At this time the people are still speaking. HRC has a right to stay in the race. OOr are you telling me that if BHO was losing at present you as ne of his supporters would be telling him to stand aside.

Lets see how the race goes. That's what I saying. Let's remember that we ALL have to unite behind the ultimate victor - whoever she or he may be. And lets stop pretending that HRC is doing the dividing here. Your very own postings here show that hysterical diviseness is not the sole purvey of ermias.kifle

Posted by: anthonyrimell | February 14, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is an amazing woman, but she trails in the polls because of incompetent campaign managers. If she had someone like Karl Rove, minus all the scandals, Obama doesn't stand a chance.

Posted by: demoniclight | February 14, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

did anyone notice that there was no primary day barack obama came behind in the delegate count?Iowa(more), New Hampshire(draw), Nevada(more),Super Tuesday States(More),and 8-0 states(far far ahead). Let's hope that this trend will only continue!

Posted by: pesiah | February 14, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

anthonyrimell: If the Clintons are so loyal to the Democratic party, they should listen to the voters and accept the decision of the voters. That can't be so hard now can it? Of course it would take a certain level of grace an class so I understand how difficult this must be for Clinton and her supporters to admit the possibility that we have a much better candidate who can actually win the general election without Hillory Clinton's divising politics... Just look at how much she had divided her OWN PARTY!

Also who are you to dictate when Obama should run for President? he is running now and he has run a far better campaign than Clinton. He offers better solutions and most importantly he is honest and can answer a question.

Hillary Clinton has yet to apologize or admit she made a mistake voting for the war. The only thing she seems to care about is what is good for Hillory Clinton.

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I find it funny how Hillary supporters are really arguing her false ability to win the general election. Hillary has won every state that she was PREDICTED to win, outside of that, she's also LOST states that she were predicted to win. Couple that with the fact that she has not won MUCH in middle american...you CANNOT win the general election off of NY, CA & FL...sorry folks. Those believing that she is electable, needs to wake up and smell the roses.

She miscalculated her campaign and the wishes of the majority of Dem's/american people. She arrogantly believed that she would win the nomination without putting for a serious effort. She then(as history showed) allowed her husband to becomce the forefront a her campaign(you know the one where she claims that she wants to be judged on her own merit) and let "Slick Willy" shoot a whole in the floor of her boat by interjecting race into the presidential run.

So now can someone please explain to me where the judement of someone who voted, YES, for the war, ALLOWED her busband to "to get a-head" of her while being 1st lady and now screwed her again in SC w/the race card. Then, had the brilliant idea to ignore the caucuses and the "smaller states"...

Tell me who's judgement is...well, sort of "shaky"...

Hillary is not likeable...not for being a woman, but for being the person she's always been, cold and not being able to use better judgement. The amount of support will only get stronger once they see a Clinton-esque b-line move made toward the white house. The Dem party will SURELY be FINISHED, should Billary win the nomination.

Knite

Posted by: dknite94 | February 14, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

wwtt: ROFL!

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear Sen. McCain,

I am really worried that you have 60 lobbyists bundling your money for you. It makes me worried that you might have a relapse like you did a few years ago with the Keating 5 S&L scandal. What happened to your "straight-talk" on campaign finance reform? Or how about your pledge to take public financing during the general election? You completely threw that pledge out the window when it seemed expedient to change course.

I am also worried about the 100 year war you are proposing -- that is just plain crazy -- even by the standards of our party.

I am worried about your flip-flops on immigration and Bush's tax cut.

You're statement about how you don't really understand economic policy was also troubling.

Did I mention that you will be 80 years old by the year 2016? You sure are vigorous now, but can you really sustain the energy level necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the most demanding job in the world?

Sincerely,
The GOP

Posted by: JPRS | February 14, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

jmfromdc
quote:
"...there were 237,762 "uncommited" votes in Mi that were probably BO & JE voters. If you divide those proportionately between BO & JE the way it has broken down in other states and award delegates that way it might cool tempers down some and allow FL & MI voters to be included in an extremely important nomination race."
end quote:

And how many 'uncommitted' voters just didn't bother to vote? How many democratic voters in Florida took a pass on a meaningless primary?

If it comes down to it, a redo caucus is the only solution fair to everyone.

Posted by: Absolute_0-K | February 14, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

BethesadaMD: please stop with the insidious attacks on the character of HRC.

You ought to know for a fact that if she loses this race the Clintons will still campaign for the Demcratic nominee: she has said as much, reminding everyone that regardless of whether it is a man or a woman on the ballot in November people need to vote Democrat. I have yet to hear BHO say the same.

The Clintons have been loyal members of the Democratic party: I cannot understand why others who claim to be members of that same party treat her with this level of approbum.

I like BHO. I beleive he should, be the Democratic Nominee in 2012/2016. Then I believe he will be ready. And what's more, if the memberhip of the Democratic Party ultimately choose him I will be disappointed but still happy to see him go on and hopefully win in November. A number of other Hilary supporters have consistently said said the same. I have yet to see one BHO supporter say the same . Most have been abusive, and a number have said they will not vote or will even vote Republican if HRC is the nominee. This is not uniting talk.

And ermias. kifle: please go away. You do no-one any credit. No-one wants to have your support.

Posted by: anthonyrimell | February 14, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Dear Hillary,

I am writing to express my deep concern for our party, and indeed, the country. I am a young 46 year old black man with no experience and no solutions, only cheap talk, and you were there with 35 years of experience and God knows you were a ready candidate on DAY ONE. How did I even get this far? And more importantly, if I can even get this far, I am really worried what that McCain dude with all his experience (and he white man!) going to do to you? He going to kick your butt. What we going to do???

Your Friend and Fellow Traveller
Barack

Posted by: wwtt | February 14, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The DNC has only themselves to blame when it comes to the Fl & MI primaries and the super delegates. The RNC didn't nuke their "naughty states" , they just reduced the number of delegates by half in those states. As far as I can tell niether BO or HC broke the "rules" in either state. BO and JE removed themselves from the ballot in Mi (a bit short sighted I'd say),but there were 237,762 "uncommited" votes in Mi that were probably BO & JE voters. If you divide those proportionately between BO & JE the way it has broken down in other states and award delagates that way it might cool tempers down some and allow FL & MI voters to be included in an extremely important nomination race. A do-over will cost the DNC way too much money and reduced what they have to spend on the election. The super delagate debacle is a bit harder to deal with but we aren't there yet so why doesn't everybody show some patience, calm down and wait to see how the primaries shake out.

Posted by: jmfromdc | February 14, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The candidates' campaigns show anyone what the candidate will do and how they will do it if they win.

HRC is an insider. Her administration will be insiders working for other insiders. It's just who she is at age 60.

Her campaign reeks of contempt for her rivals and the electorate. You can expect the same attitude by Pres. Hillary vis a vis her critics and the public.

Posted by: mnjam | February 14, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton says:

"As president, I will continue to stand up for New Mexico and will hit the ground running on day one to bring about real change."

I don't know about running on day one but apparently she has hit the ground. LOL!

I hope Hillary Clinton knows that the only way Hillary Clinton is going to win the general Election is if she wins the Primary fairly. If she wins it against the wishes of the citizens, she will not only have to fight McCain but about half the Democratic party in the general election!

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Barack Obama does not take money from lobbyist and PACs tells me that the establishment is not truly supporting him.

If Barack wins the presidency things are going to be different in Washington. The lobbyist/PACs will have to focus all their attention on Congress. I hope the congressmen are exposed by Obama.


Who really control our government the people or the lobbyist/PACs?

As for Randell, I hope the Blacks and Whites make him pay for calling his citizens ignorant racist. Liberals and I am one, are very subtle with their racism. I notice how they always say "Poor blacks" can't make it without us white people. I hear it all the time.

Many of the Randell types don't want to see Barack As president because then many of the liberal sterotypes would be shattered.

It's a new day America. We are going to prove the Randells wrong.

Posted by: OneFreeMan | February 14, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is attacking Obama as being merely an orator - would she have don the same to Abraham Lincoln?....
http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/02/15/lincoln-less-gettysburg/

Posted by: glclark4750 | February 14, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

What is really anoying about the Michigan primary is that Obama and Edwards did have a campaign against Hillary. People were told to vote non-committed. The plan was to make Hillary look bad when there were more non-committed votes than there were votes for Hillary. Obama got fooled though because Hillary overwhelmingly got more votes than non-committed votes.

One thing you can bet though is that had there been more non-committed votes than votes for Hillary, the Obama camp would have used it as a means to humiliate Hillary.

We should play by the rules, but we should play by ALL of the rules. If the Michigan and Florida votes don't count because the rule was that they would not, then it follows that the super delegate votes should count because when the rules state that they do.

Which way do Obama supporters want it? Do you want to break the rules and allow the Michigan and Florida votes to count or do you want them excluded? If you want them excluded because that was the rule, then you should agree that we must follow the rules when it comes to counting the super delegates.

Posted by: cjones210 | February 14, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Dear Hillary,

I am writing to express my sincere apology. The McCain folks caught me plagerizing your idea on the economy, and your folks sent out the email on the McCain study. (Believe me, I know when the money runs tight, we got to use any material wherever we can find it, but I digress...)
Yes, plagerizing IS your idea (or was it Bill's? but no matter, it is all in the Clinton family), and I should never use it. I know you called it triangulation, but I should be smart enough to know it is the same thing. So I apologize. I will never do it again.
Your Friend and Fellow Traveller
Barack

Posted by: wwtt | February 14, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I understand that Clinton finally won the New Mexico caucus by some 1,700 votes. I guess she will be in favor of caucuses now.. LOL

quote:
"I am so proud to have earned the support of New Mexicans from across the state," Clinton said in a written statement. "New Mexicans want real solutions to our nations challenges. As president, I will continue to stand up for New Mexico and will hit the ground running on day one to bring about real change."
end quote:

Everywhere you see "New Mexico" or "New Mexicans" above just substitue "State Name Here".

Posted by: Absolute_0-K | February 14, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

JVM: The Clintons and their supporter are just sore losers with no grace or class. They can't play fair even with their OWN PEOPLE. I have a bad feeling that the Clintons are going to cannibalize the democratic party for their selfish entitlement.

If this Primary goes to Queen Hillary against the wishes of the people, I am going to vote for McCain and I am not alone. I will active campaign for the not-Hillary candidate as there is no way that I'm going to allow this country to be run by someone who was appointed President by corrupt party insiders without morals.

And I am a Democrat!!! If this is what she has done to the Democratic party, can you imagine what a bad President she will be when she has to work with Republicans?

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Those complaining about the CAUCUS SYSTEM might want to look at our JURY SYSTEM. Would they suggest that jurors not discuss and consider evidence together ?? Isn't this a strong part of our American judiciary system? Caucuses sound much like this to me.

Isn't there an old saying, something like - " I know what I think, don't bother me with facts"

JVM

Posted by: jvmurrell | February 14, 2008 05:48 PM

Excellent observation.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | February 14, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Kifle, Betam tasazinaleh. Lezich le leba agizeh izih afihin mekfetih ...Asedabi

Posted by: kuku | February 14, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the answer, onestring. So that's THREE votes "Yes" for rioting if Obama loses -- anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons assumed that by relying on just the old Dem base less the African Americans who they managed to alienate, they could just slide into victory.

They never anticipated having to have a grassroots field operation because they assumed that unions and local political machines would deliver for them. Instead, Obama managed to energize a growing base of grassroot support and had in place technology which allowed volunteers to help phone bank and organize from their homes.

Arrogance and incompetence has crippled the Clinton's campaign not to mention weak messaging. How is Hillary's "Experience" argument going to trump McCain who has years more experience?

Posted by: Jeanne1 | February 14, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Those complaining about the CAUCUS SYSTEM might want to look at our JURY SYSTEM. Would they suggest that jurors not discuss and consider evidence together ?? Isn't this a strong part of our American judiciary system? Caucuses sound much like this to me.

Isn't there an old saying, something like - " I know what I think, don't bother me with facts"

JVM

Posted by: jvmurrell | February 14, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"Why the Clinton campaign made this decision is not clear, and I've been unable, today, to get a good answer as to what happened and why. Was it a lack of money? The fact that Obama had more grass-roots support and therefore volunteers in some of those states to help organize for the caucuses? Did the Clinton campaign see more attractive opportunities elsewhere? Or was it simply an oversight?"

The answer here is partly grass roots enthusiasm. Partly it's due to the fact that the Obama campaign has invested in field offices while the Clinton campaign has mostly relied on a top-down approach. The top-down approach works pretty well in states where there is an established party structure, but it doesn't work so well in places where Democrats have a less developed infrastructure.

Even looking at the case of Nevada, Clinton won in Clark County where she enjoyed a great deal of establishment support. She was walloped in the rest of the state where the Obama campaign made a real attempt at outreach and took the time to build a ground infrastructure.

Even in Virginia -- compare the number of field offices that the Obama campaign had to those that the Clinton campaign had. They had no presence within a 5 mile radius of their national election headquarters in Arlington, VA on election day.

They have spent too much money on consultants and catch-phrases and too little on ground organization -- especially in places where they have to build from scratch.

I think Clinton will probably be OK in Ohio where she enjoys establishment support. She can tap into existing networks that people like Gov. Strickland have created. However, looking at Texas, this is a classic case of an area where there is only regional party infrastructure -- but no state wide infrastructure. There still is quite a bit of time left, but I would not be surprised to see Obama make a strong showing in Texas on March 4th.

Posted by: JPRS | February 14, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Dear Hillary,
Regarding your man in Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell, I know he is an OK dude, he would never think just because I am black, that I would be in anyway less qualified to be President.
But the problem is really those other dumb white folks that, god knows why, would hold such a view, and so to get their votes, he has endorsed you. He must be right, because he did win last time with a 20% margin, and I am sure all the black folks voted against him because they were too dumb to vote on issues and not race.
I wish you the best of luck as we go forward, but, if by chance I should win the nomination, can you please tell Gov. Rendell that I do have a white mother? This way maybe half of those white folks would vote for me?
Your Friend and Fellow Traveller,
Barack

Posted by: wwtt | February 14, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama is talk shop. Hillary is a battle fatigued politico. That's all the difference there is. It will be much easier for the Dem old boys to manipulate Obama than Clinton. that's one reason why the Kerries and Kenndies are backing him.

Posted by: ssensharma | February 14, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

mcgish: Good point! Her Majesty, Queen Hillary of America feels that she can change the rules whenever she wants to with her sleazy, vindictive, and dishonest politics.

When she is on the verge of loosing the election fair and square, she now wants to twist the arms of party insiders so she can have her coronation. Where does she think this is; RUSSIA?

How can she stand for democracy when she's now trying to get a few corrupt and selfish party insiders to override the election, as voted for by the citizens of this country? I am so disgusted!

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ovwong | February 14, 2008 05:06 PM "I mean really folks...I'm just stunned at the number of weirdos (comspiracy theorists) that posts in these forums. Are there that many wackos in this beautiful country?"

ovwong,perhaps you should double check who is the wacko in this case. Usually, fear to learn the truth about issues make people react calling everyone a wacko.

Ovwong, if you are reacting to my posting concerned about the picture of Che Guevara in one of Senator Obama's campaign office, please know that the word is that Senator Obama sympathizes with dictators.

http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/?p=11949

Maru Angarita
My blog is: http://maruangarita.blogspot.com/

Posted by: MaruAngarita | February 14, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

YET ANOTHER LACK OF JUDGMENT. BUT...IF SHE HAD KNOWN WHAT SHE KNOWS NOW, ....

SORRY, GOVERNING WITH HINDSIGHT HAS NOT YET BEEN INVENTED. CAN'T AFFORD ANOTHER WAR, ANOTHER MISTAKE...

ELECT OBAMA=SOUND JUDGMENT.

Posted by: kuku | February 14, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Complain about caucuses after this election cycle. This is a mute point as everyone knew the rules and Obama has played by those rules. The Clintons are vastly more responsible for setting up these rules than Obama is. These are Hillary's rules that Obama is playing by.

Posted by: mcgish | February 14, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If Clinton wins both Ohio and Texas by 60/40 margins, not likely, she will barely make up half of Obama's delegate lead, not including Hawaii and Wisconsin. If Obama wins TX, OH or PA, Clinton is done. If she wins all three by small margins, she's done. End of story.

Posted by: thecrisis | February 14, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama voted yes for cheney's energy bill. Remember the bill the Dem are jumping high and low to know who was in meeting when it was drafted. That was worse than voting for the war. because there was no if or buts about what it meant like the war's bill.
Posted by: munaa9 | February 14, 2008 04:30 PM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
George W. Bush took our nation to WAR.

There is no higher duty for any President than taking this country to WAR.

None!

On that critical issue - more critical than any other...

Clinton voted YES.

Now if she believes that we should have gone to war...like many, many patriotic Republicans and millions of Americans...all she has to do is say so.

But she won't.

The truth is sometimes very simple. There is but one explanation.

She voted YES to position herself for this election cycle.

That is an act of personal cowardice and her deceit since then disqualifies her from the highest office in the land where she would have the power to try it again.

She is a good legislator - and in the Senate, Bill is kept at bay.

She blew her shot at the White house by stepping over the line beyond cunning...

And, now - still fearful of McCain's attack - she steadfastly refuses to admit that her vote was a mistake -(unlike John Edwards who is an honest man).

WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER PERSON IN OUR WHITE HOUSE THAT CANNOT ADMIT A MISTAKE.

Clinton must be denied the nomination.

Further, here is a brief excerpt from a speech made last August by our next Commander-in-Chief

Remarks of Senator Obama: The War We Need to Win
Washington, DC | August 01, 2007


After 9/11, our calling was to write a new chapter in the American story. To devise new strategies and build new alliances, to secure our homeland and safeguard our values, and to serve a just cause abroad. We were ready. Americans were united. Friends around the world stood shoulder to shoulder with us. We had the might and moral-suasion that was the legacy of generations of Americans. The tide of history seemed poised to turn, once again, toward hope.

But then everything changed.

We did not finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We did not develop new capabilities to defeat a new enemy, or launch a comprehensive strategy to dry up the terrorists' base of support. We did not reaffirm our basic values, or secure our homeland.

Instead, we got a color-coded politics of fear. Patriotism as the possession of one political party. The diplomacy of refusing to talk to other countries. A rigid 20th century ideology that insisted that the 21st century's stateless terrorism could be defeated through the invasion and occupation of a state. A deliberate strategy to misrepresent 9/11 to sell a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

And so, a little more than a year after that bright September day, I was in the streets of Chicago again, this time speaking at a rally in opposition to war in Iraq. I did not oppose all wars, I said. I was a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan. But I said I could not support "a dumb war, a rash war" in Iraq. I worried about a " U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences" in the heart of the Muslim world. I pleaded that we "finish the fight with bin Ladin and al Qaeda."

The political winds were blowing in a different direction. The President was determined to go to war. There was just one obstacle: the U.S. Congress. Nine days after I spoke, that obstacle was removed. Congress rubber-stamped the rush to war, giving the President the broad and open-ended authority he uses to this day. With that vote, Congress became co-author of a catastrophic war. And we went off to fight on the wrong battlefield, with no appreciation of how many enemies we would create, and no plan for how to get out.

.....

Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared. And today, that security is most threatened by the al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary in the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.

Al Qaeda terrorists train, travel, and maintain global communications in this safe-haven. The Taliban pursues a hit and run strategy, striking in Afghanistan, then skulking across the border to safety.

This is the wild frontier of our globalized world. There are wind-swept deserts and cave-dotted mountains. There are tribes that see borders as nothing more than lines on a map, and governments as forces that come and go. There are blood ties deeper than alliances of convenience, and pockets of extremism that follow religion to violence. It's a tough place.

But that is no excuse. There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard.

As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.

I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.

....

Beyond Pakistan, there is a core of terrorists -- probably in the tens of thousands -- who have made their choice to attack America. So the second step in my strategy will be to build our capacity and our partnerships to track down, capture or kill terrorists around the world, and to deny them the world's most dangerous weapons.

I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America. This requires a broader set of capabilities, as outlined in the Army and Marine Corps's new counter-insurgency manual. I will ensure that our military becomes more stealth, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. We need to recruit, train, and equip our armed forces to better target terrorists, and to help foreign militaries to do the same. This must include a program to bolster our ability to speak different languages, understand different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.

To succeed, we must improve our civilian capacity. The finest military in the world is adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. But it cannot counter insurgent and terrorist threats without civilian counterparts who can carry out economic and political reconstruction missions -- sometimes in dangerous places. As President, I will strengthen these civilian capacities, recruiting our best and brightest to take on this challenge. I will increase both the numbers and capabilities of our diplomats, development experts, and other civilians who can work alongside our military. We can't just say there is no military solution to these problems. We need to integrate all aspects of American might.

One component of this integrated approach will be new Mobile Development Teams that bring together personnel from the State Department, the Pentagon, and USAID. These teams will work with civil society and local governments to make an immediate impact in peoples' lives, and to turn the tide against extremism. Where people are most vulnerable, where the light of hope has grown dark, and where we are in a position to make a real difference in advancing security and opportunity -- that is where these teams will go.

I will also strengthen our intelligence. This is about more than an organizational chart. We need leadership that forces our agencies to share information, and leadership that never -- ever -- twists the facts to support bad policies. But we must also build our capacity to better collect and analyze information, and to carry out operations to disrupt terrorist plots and break up terrorist networks.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

For those who honestly do not know Obama's positions on the entire range of issues confronting our country...start on his Web site or just Google his name and the issue.

For those of you who are just angry about Hillary....deal with it.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | February 14, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Senator Barack Obama reminds of Hugo Chavez in the late 1990s when he was running for president. I am concerned about Senator Obama's plans to talk to dictators, et al. And, why is a picture of Che Guevara in one of Senator Obama's campaign offices as shown in this link?"

***********

Maybe because that was taken in Houston where there is a large Hispanic electorate and if you have done your homework, Che Guevara was/is very popular with progressive minded Hispanics from all countries. However, it doesn't imply that there is a direct correlation to Obama position or believes. The more likely explanation is that it came from a enthusiastic Hispanic volunteer.

I mean really folks...I'm just stunned at the number of weirdos (comspiracy theorists) that posts in these forums. Are there that many wackos in this beautiful country?

Posted by: ovwong | February 14, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Any vote must be confidential. In a primary a vote is indeed confidential. Unfortunately in a caucus everyone sees every other person's support. Thus a caucus is not democratic at all. If we really care about the people's will, let us redo the primaries in Michigan, Florida and every state that held a democratic caucus.
We have enough time to repoll and conduct primaries everywhere.

Posted by: ibramsha19 | February 14, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

ELECT OBAMA
YOUNG,HONEST, SINCERE AND VITAL
HE'S GOT THE GOODS.

THE QUALITY AND CHARISMA
TO GET THIS COUNTRY
OUT OF THE WOODS

In respect for all those who have died and suffered because of the pre-emptive war on Iraq, contribute to the Obama campaign today and please, Vote O!

Posted by: maddymappo | February 14, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

This stuff is so rediculous to read because very few people are able to look at the other candidate or their own with any kind of balance. Both of these candidates have enormous strengths and weaknesses. It might be helpful to sit down and make a real assessment of their positives and negatives. It's like watching a bunch five year olds fight over whose ball is better. If both balls bounce then who cares. You all are dumb.

Posted by: clint403 | February 14, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Senator Barack Obama reminds of Hugo Chavez in the late 1990s when he was running for president. I am concerned about Senator Obama's plans to talk to dictators, et al. And, why is a picture of Che Guevara in one of Senator Obama's campaign offices as shown in this link?

http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/?p=11949

Posted by: MaruAngarita | February 14, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

JakeD...

Yes! this 46 year old white male will RIOT IN THE STREETS if superdelagates steal the election from Obama, and FLOUT the will of the electorate.

Then I will go out and vote AGAINST the opaque, lobbiest-owned lawyer named hillary!

Note that she is running a dishonest campaign? Feeding McCain attack lines to use? Refusing to remove her name from the ballot when all the other dem candidates did as they were asked by the party? Trying to shove "her turn" down our throats? Misrepresenting his policies and record? Taking every dime offered by any lobbiest?

That's what would-be crooked politicians do in an election.

VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA!

Posted by: onestring | February 14, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

If this whole thing would have played out according to the Clinton plan, she would be in commanding lead and we would be united behind her. That would have been very good for us Democrats. I, for one, would have been ecstatic.
But one way or another, she and her campaign blew it, blew the name recognition, all the good will toward Bill's 8 year in office, all the money she was able to raise early. She and her campaign really need to take responsibility for even letting Obama get to this point.
I personally voted for Obama because I recognize competence when I see it, (and don't call us "bots", millions of "more highly educated voters" are not all dreamy-eyed). If I was Clinton, I would right now be calling on my 35 years of experience and try to right this campaign.

Posted by: wwtt | February 14, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is planning to spend more time in Wisconsin? Say what? A few days ago, her campaign said that she would show up in the state on Saturday, and her current plan is still to show up on Saturday. When Wisconsin is really the only race on the schedule for three weeks (besides Hawaii, in which Clinton has no chance), spending all of three days there is not much time at all, and it doesn't appear that Clinton has adjusted her previous schedule, either. This sounds like spin from the Clinton campaign in response to Wisconsin newspapers complaining that Clinton is ignoring the state, which is mostly true.

Posted by: blert | February 14, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

This is how the Clinton camp operates until the people hear the words of a real candidate, then their undertones of racism and division fall under the onslaught of hope, unity, and a better tomorrow! Check it! It sucks to be on the wrong side of such an amazing social movement. America Rocks! Can you smell what Barack is cookin'? Goodbye relics!

Typical:

Governor says some Pennsylvanians likely to vote against a black man
A Clinton supporter, Edward G. Rendell cites his huge win over Republican challenger and former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann in 2006. A spokesman says he meant no offense.
From the Associated Press
February 13, 2008

HARRISBURG, PA. -- Gov. Edward G. Rendell, one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's most visible supporters, said that some white Pennsylvanians are likely to vote against her rival, Barack Obama, because he is black.

"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African American candidate," Rendell told the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in remarks that appeared in Tuesday's paper.

To buttress his point, Rendell cited his 2006 reelection campaign, in which he defeated Republican challenger Lynn Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, by a margin of 20 percentage points.

Rendell, chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2000 and previously Philadelphia's mayor, endorsed Clinton on Jan. 23.

Pennsylvania holds its primary April 22.

Later Tuesday, Rendell's spokesman said the governor did not mean to offend anyone.

Posted by: frank | February 14, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

peterdc, responding to all of your straw-man arguments would be a waste of time, but regarding your comments about swing states:

You overlooked Colorado as a possible swing state. It was won decisively by Obama 67% to 32%. The State voted for Clinton in 1992, but it went red in 1996.

Hillary, simply dismisses Louisiana as another example of the "a proud electorate". In other words, Obama only beat her there because of the African-American vote. That is a dismissive, divisive, oversimplification of the turnout for Obama. Louisiana is another swing state that voted for Clinton in 1992 and 1996, but has voted for Bush in 2000 and in 2004

Clinton won Tennessee, which could be a swing State. However, if Obama were the democratic nominee, most of those same moderate democrats who voted for HRC might vote for Obama in the General Election.

HRC won Arizona, but they will probably go with their Senator, just as Arkansas will probably go for their former first-lady HRC. Arkansas is a state that Clinton would probably swing that Obama most likely would not. It has six electoral votes.

I think Obama would have a good shot at swinging Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia and Nevada where Obama won more delegates in more counties.

There is one important swing state that remains unresolved, and that would be Florida. They do seem to have more than their fair share of election problems down there. Maybe they will have a caucus redo before Denver.

The point is that the Clinton supporters argument that Obama has only won deep red states that will go GOP in the General Election doesn't hold up to close scrutiny.

Posted by: Absolute_0-K | February 14, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama voted yes for cheney's energy bill. Remember the bill the Dem are jumping high and low to know who was in meeting when it was drafted. That was worse than voting for the war. because there was no if or buts about what it meant like the war's bill. So my money on he would have voted yes to the war if was senator at the time.
I hope she has the guts to run anyway. Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that whole dems primaries was manipulated by ROVE from the looks of it so far it could be

Posted by: munaa9 | February 14, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Excellent article!
I think that while Hillary may have been roughly equal candidate, her campaign strategies have not been good.
She has not managed her money well.
She has not developed as compelling a message. Her ads are weak.
And as this article point out she has not effectively channelled her resources to maximize her delegate count.

Posted by: sanjay08544 | February 14, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

peterdc wrote:

"What we need to win this are Catholics, white women, and hispanics to join the basic democratic coalition and Hillary has a beter chance of getting those."

You've highlighted exactly why Hillary will lose - cold, calculating, divide and conquer politics. So I suppose Hillary wants to be president of all of the Hispanics, Catholics and white women in CA, NY, TX and OH? Give me a break.

BO is reaching out to every state, and every demographic in each state. He's not just going to the "black cities" or "wealthy, white counties," he's going EVERYWHERE and giving EVERYONE the same attention. Uniting America to win the white house is a much better plan than cherry picking amongst certain groups to get there. I know, I know. That's not the way politics is usually done, but that's why its called CHANGE.

Posted by: hikaya | February 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

jsherm45

actually - Obama ran a federal ad and it ran in Florida, Hillary did not.

actually - voters in those states did vote and they expressed their choice, Hillary did not decide for them who they wanted

vote for the democratic nominee, they are alike and Hillary must be pretty sharp for Obama to be stealing her plans

Posted by: lndlouis | February 14, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"caucuses can be highly undemocratic. They eliminate the secret ballot, forcing voters to declare their loyalties publicly, and are thus vulnerable to intimidation and manipulation. "

So... People will only vote for Sen Clinton if they don't have to do it in public?

Regarding the 'democraticness' of caucuses, it is helpful to point out that the original democracies, on which ours is based, were in ancient Greece, where citizens regularly met in public to debate the merits of various proposals. To argue that caucuses are undemocratic is to redefine the meaning of the word.

Posted by: bsimon | February 14, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

This was posted as a comment by a certain ernias.kifle (yes the person who posted the FIRST comment on this blog post) somewhere else on the WaPo (post on "Clinton Makes a Play for Wisconsin"):

*** BEGIN QUOTE
No to Islam !!!
Muslim Candidate
If Obama win woman cover their hair in America!!!

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 02:44 PM
*** END QUOTE

I guess that says it all. No need to argue with that person about Obama. It is pointless.

Posted by: gwc_67 | February 14, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

ermias.kifle: Plagerism? I wish W. would please plagerize some ideas of others,... Biden, Richardson, Shinsecki? His intransigence has made a 7 day war into a 5 year war and McCain is going to make it a 100 year war, so, PLEASE, go ahead and plagerize.
In governing a country, you take the best idea there is and use it. That would be non-egotistical. Besides, we know going in there really isn't all that much difference policy-wise between Clinton and Obama anyway.
Finally, plagerism? Can we say Triangulation?

Posted by: wwtt | February 14, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Infuriatingly, the man who messed up Clinton's campaign is the supposed consultant genius, Mark Penn. Another highly paid hack, turning a democratic campaign into a death march, and running away with millions of dollars. It amazes me that Hillary did not get rid of the man after Iowa. When is the Democratic party going to learn that it is differently organized from the Republican party, and high priced consultants are usually an ill fit to successful Democratic campaigns?

Posted by: rgathman | February 14, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

jack9, your argument and the logic behind it is quite flawed. Florida and Michigan failed to abide by the rules set by the DNC (whether there was mischief-making by the poobahs of these states, whatever). The Democratic candidates pledged to abide by whatever decision made by the DNC to sanction the Florida and Michigan for holding primaries out of turn. Somewhere, Hillary reneged on her word (nothing new there) while Edwards and Obama kept their pledges.

Now Hillary is in the gunfight of her political career (versus the GOP hacks who ran against her for the Senate seat) against a highly organized and motivated Obama camp, she wants to change the rules to a favorable outcome for her. No, you don't change the rules in any game, be it sports or politics, in mid-stream when you are losing. So how you arrived to your premise is quite unclear (save for bias on your part).

If the DNC seat the delegates from Michigan and/or Florida, it will be because another primary and/or caucus was held so everyone has a equal shot to win by the same rules. Otherwise, as BethesdaMd notes, there will be a blood intra-party civil war and we will say, "President McCain" as a result.

Posted by: meldupree | February 14, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it can fairly be described as a 'gift' or an 'oversight' on the part of the Clinton campaign. The reality is that even with the huge dollars collected by both candidates, there are practicable limits on where and how they can spend their money. Senator Clinton chose to focus on the big delegate states of NY, NJ & CA, which is a reasonable strategy, given the historical significance of those states on the process. The Obama strategy was different, and is it turned out, very effective. Future candidates for the Dem nomination will likely adjust their strategies accordingly.

Posted by: bsimon | February 14, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

If rather than it being an oversight, Clinton had the simplistic view that only large states mattered due to a lack of mathematical understanding, I fear she would also oversimplify issues she faces as president.

Posted by: lyrenbrown | February 14, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ermias.kifle
quote:
Dan Balz, why don't you write about Obama's PLAGIARISM?
"Obama's plan today is the most shameless piece of potential plagiarism that I have ever seen," McCain economic advisor Kevin Hassett said."
end quote:

Here are some additional quotes from that very same article that puts things into better focus:

quote:
The New York senator's campaign said she proposed a national infrastructure bank in August and that Obama's energy plan is a rehash of hers.

The Obama campaign responded that his bank proposal is better than hers and that he introduced his energy plan before hers.

"John McCain started attacking me on economic policy, which I thought was flattering. It makes clear that he knows who his opponent is going to be, and I am looking forward to a great debate on the issues with John McCain," Obama told a crowd at the Waukeshaw County fairgrounds in Wisconsin.

end quote:


Posted by: Absolute_0-K | February 14, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

For one thing, caucuses can be highly undemocratic. They eliminate the secret ballot, forcing voters to declare their loyalties publicly, and are thus vulnerable to intimidation and manipulation. They also shut out many citizens who have to work during caucus times. If you can't show up at a specific hour, you can't vote -- a particular problem for people with fixed shifts, including many of the working poor. (The supposedly democratic caucuses can also discriminate, as happened to Sabbath-observant Jews who couldn't get to Nevada's Saturday caucuses.) And there are usually no absentee ballots, of course.

Posted by: lndlouis | February 14, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

ermias,

Ante??..
translation: pls Ermy, mind ur business or even better do some research... dont turn on ur neighbor wendime

Posted by: sent.msgs | February 14, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

peterdc: Hillary Clinton has only herself to blame for her arrogance in only competing in the "big states." It is typical of Hillary Clinton supporters to blame everyone but themselves for their sleazy politics that cost them votes, delegates, and eventually an election.

By the way, winning OH, TX, and PA (even if she manages to win them) does not make Hillary Clinton queen of the United States. Obama will still have the most number of states won, the most number of people who had won (popular vote), AND the most number of pledged delegates win (electoral vote). What part of this don't you understand?

At the end of this I hope she has enough class to bow our gracefully. Knowing Hillary Clinton, she's probably going to destroy the Democratic party because she lost due to her vindictive and sleazy politics.

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

According to James Carville, Hillary must win ALL THREE (Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania), or she is out. Two out of three, he thinks, would not be enough to catch up.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | February 14, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I am all for counting MI and FL but if we are going to count votes or delegates let's have a fair election. Obama did not take part in MI because of the decision of the Democratic party that Hillary Clinton also agreed to.

How sleazy, and underhanded must Hillary Clinton be to now come and want to have FL and MI counted? Does she think we are stupid? If you want to count votes, let' have an election where both candidates are on the ballet!

Can Hillary Clinton possibly do more to turn of any more Democrats with her vindictive politics?

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

i am forever amazed at the Obama supporters and the Hillary haters.

The Obama supporters think that no one should question their candidate about anything. No issue from Rezko to "present" votes to not having a Universal Health Care proposal is open to discussion according to them. When I ask my friends why they are voting for Obama they tell me he is inspirational. When I agree with them and ask OK what has he done with that inspiration- they draw a blank. When i question what he has done to stop the war after his first speech-they have nothing to say. When I ask them what his plans are that are differnt from Clinton's to get our troops out of Iraq- they have nothing to say. When I ask them what in his background or experience leads them to think he can be an effective President- they go back to the fact that he is inspirational.

It is kind of funny if the future of the country and the world weren't potentially dependent on who we elect. Jesus was a Messiah but we are still fighting about religion. Messiahs no matter how inspirational don't stop wars, fix economies or the planet. To do that you need someone who knows how to get the work done and has done it. Someone who knows the intricacies of legislation and how to work the levers of power. We saw with George Bush and Jimmy Carter how when you don't know that you have either a failed Presidency like Carters or a total disaster like Bush has had.

Then there are the Hillary haters. They can't have an intelligent conversation becasue their preconcieved notions get in the way. They are so biased that it usually isn't worth the effort to talk with them. They sputter about Jim Foster, Monica Lewinsky, and all kinds of convoluted theories. When you suggest that the Republicans spent litterally hundreds of millions of dollars and countless years investigating Hillary all they found was that Bill Clinton had some affairs. Then the woman Hillary haters tell you they hate her becasue she didn't leave him. I think with them its jealousy that they haven't stayed in a marriage and she has.

What was it Erica Jong said, "Hillary found her soulmate with Bill, it took me three marriages".

The reality is that the Clinton campaign could have been better but the press has been so biased that it most likely wouldn't have made much difference till now. Hillary has a great chance of winning Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania and if she does it will be hard to deny her the nomination as she will have won all the states dems need to win the Presidency with. The string of victories Obama has in the Dakotas, Utah, Montana, etc won't help as McCain will win those anyway. And if we look at independents voting in the Democratic primaries they vote about evenly for Clinton and Obama. What we need to win this are Catholics, white women, and hispanics to join the basic democratic coalition and Hillary has a beter chance of getting those. She will win every state that Kerry won and most likely add Florida, Arkansas and Ohio. That will add up to a Democrat in the White House.

Posted by: peterdc | February 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

ermias.kifle is plagiarizing the Republican National Cow

Posted by: livin_n_the_city | February 14, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Does the Clinton team understand the Democratic party rules? All I read about her campaigning in Texas is that she is hitting the Latino areas hard, but I also read that all the Democratic delegates in Texas are in the black and university areas. The Clinton team does understand that winning Texas like they won Nevada is not a recipe for success?

And now she wants to come to Wisconsin, a bit late and over the biggest NASCAR weekend of the year. While Wisconsin is a small NASCAR state, the 50th running of the Daytona 500 attracts exactly the demographic of voter she claims to do best with. Is she really trying to win?

Posted by: caribis | February 14, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

No Michigan and Florida do not reflect the peoples will. Just one person's will. One person who will lose anyway. Obama was not even on the Michigan ballot. If people knew these races counted, she would have lost.

Posted by: jsherm45 | February 14, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

To return to the question of caucuses...
perhaps despite best efforts, the caucus dynamic is not favorable to female candidates. Remember everything HRC wins is a first for women.
Certainly the caucus states are primarily Republican. John Kerry got a grand total of 23 electoral votes in the numerous caucus states Obama has won so far.
As Democrats have proven many times, you can win the nomination but lose the electoral college.

Posted by: ballybay | February 14, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, if this is now an official Clinton attack I'd like as evidenced by the salon quote I'd like for it to go to the fact checker for research. Needs to check that:

a) Haslett actually said that and its not falsely attributed to him by the Clintons and

b) The accusations have any semblense of reality.

Posted by: cmsore | February 14, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama's supporters want to scrap super-delegates because its "not the will of the people". Why then not seat the delegates from Mich. and Flor.??? Aren't those equally the will of the people in contrast to the system of the DNC. Same argument.

Posted by: jack9 | February 14, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

To those who still champion a Clinton candidacy --

Please explain to this old retired independent voter how you can say that Hillary's experience and grasp of the facts and management accumen square with her record in this contest?

Really -- this is not a trick question.

Can you suspend for one moment your earnest support for the first genuine woman candidate for the U.S. Presidency, and explain to me (us) the evidence you see of Hillary's competence in political strategy, human resource management, fiscal prudence, issue focus, organizational precision, self-control, responsiveness to changing conditions and sensitivity to the voters beyond her rapidly narrowing constituency base?

Again...this is not a trick question.

Listen - I'm the father of five daughters. I want to see a woman in the White House - someday...but not this woman.

Her experience seems not to translate to competence in leadership.

Your ball.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | February 14, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton has decided to spend more time in Wisconsin between now and Tuesday, a clear recognition that another lopsided Obama victory only compounds her problems of the past week."

That strategy may not serve her well. Although it is impossible to tell from the available data, it appears that a factor in Obama's winning VA by a larger margin MD (where he was more heavily favored) is that Clinton tried to contest VA and thus pumped up the turnout and Obama margins in VA. The same could very well happen in WI.

Your observations on the likely outcome of the delegate count in Texas are well made. Students of the Texas allocation system have analyzed it an concluded that Obama is likely to pull more delegates than Clinton even if Clinton were to win the "popular" vote.

Posted by: Stonecreek | February 14, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Stop arguing with this idiot about plagiarism. It's pointless and just playing into their hands.

Posted by: jsherm45 | February 14, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The reason is she expected the nomination would be handed to her as the former President's wife. Pride cometh before a fall. Now in her speeches you can just feel her fuming at the stupid voters who can't see deserves this and they are taking it away from her. Cry, baby, cry.

Posted by: jsherm45 | February 14, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hillary has stolen virtually every theme and idea proposed by the Obama campaign in her ever-evolving, chaotic and undisciplined run. You name it and she's stolen it. Remember when she came out as the agent of change? Now she claims to be running a movement. She even said she was fired up and ready to go. She's changed her stump speech to mimic and emulate and virtually plagiarize the themes and rhetorical style common to Obama's. She's suddenly discovered Internet fundraising and the netroots. Need I go on? The only thief here is Hillary and her dishonest and cynical campaign. She will say anything and steal any idea to win votes.

Posted by: mcgish | February 14, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr Ermias wrote...

" I remember Mrs. Clinton saying shared prosperity and I remember the bill that she introduced in August for infrastructure."

The "shared prosperity" economic plan sounds like a novel idea coming from a multi Millionaire.

But could you please elaborate on the Bill for infrastructure for me?? That is if you can remember..

Posted by: berhe | February 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's new pitch to veterans of Texas is remarkably like benefits that appear on Obama's website.

Posted by: FirstMouse | February 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I do not see anyway that Obama would take someone's idea and portay it as his own. If you have not read his last book please do so ermias. Then you will understand how his mindset works.

please look back track records before jumping to goosing. Nice try anyway!

Posted by: miloam2001 | February 14, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing about that "quote" from the McCain Camp...it's being distributed by the Clinton Camp:

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/02/13/clinton_mccain/index.html

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | February 14, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah.. Obama is a plagiarist. not like McCain who writes all his own speeches and always comes up with original ideas straight from his gut. And Hillary, who always walks the line she knows is right regardless of what it might mean for her political career. Yeah.. not like them..

Posted by: desaparecidokb | February 14, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Kifle, your gender bigotry clouds your judgment. The McCain camp is desperate to face Clinton instead of Obama in November and is simply doing what it can to help her along.

Posted by: TheRagingModerate | February 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I do not know about the Primary but there is no way Hillary Clinton is going to win the general election. Way too many people will not support her.

I have a warning for all the super delegates and the Democratic Party. If Obama wins the most number of votes AND the most number of states AND the most number of pledged delegates, be VERY careful if you plan on having the super delegates anoint Hillary Clinton the queen of the United States ignoring the will of the constituents of the party. If this happens, there will be a civil war within the Democratic party and a large number of people who voted for Obama (more than 50% of the Democrats) will NOT vote for Hillary under these circumstances and some of them may even vote fr McCain.

I am a Maryland Democrat but I believe in Democracy and fairness. If Hillary Clinton wins the most number of pledged delegates fair and square I will vote for her in the general election. If the part insiders make her the candidate ignoring the will of the people (what is this, Russia?), I may just vote for McCain out of utter disgust. This wold essentially mean the end of the Democratic party and she will become the Ralph Nader of 2008.

Play fair or it will be the end of the Democratic party.

Remember the outcome of this is not meant to be a CORONATION for a queen but a presidential candidate for an INAUGURATION.

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

So the extraordinary and intimidating Clinton Political Machine (you know, the one even the Republicans were afraid of) decided they didn't need to contest nearly half the country -- the big states are what matter, after all -- and now they are pushing the story to whoever will listen that those "small" states don't count. You can almost see them stomping their feet, clenching their fists and letting out a whine: "No fair!"

Let's just say this incident again reflects HRC's poor judgment. Iraq -- supposedly trusted Bush (this is the most generous interpretation of her vote). Bankruptcy Bill -- voted for it but glad it didn't pass. Iran -- trusted Bush (again). Presidential Campaign -- lead an arrogant campaign that decided not to contest half the country, assumed it would all be over by Feb 5 (at the LATEST), and is now pulling every dirty trick in the book to "win" an election she is currently losing. JUDGMENT. Is this the kind of judgment we want in the White House?

Posted by: cmss1 | February 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I doubt it because

1. No link
2. Posted by a poster who clearly believe the smear campaigns of the radical muslim plant email campaign.
3. Posted by a poster who repeatedly race baits.
4. Sourced to McCain's campaign- what, Hillary's campaign is so incompetent that they don't bother to read their opponents publically available documents nor do the remember their own candidates past speeches and legislation?
5. Sourced to McCain's campaign- the Republican machine has been known to make blatant distortions in the last few years.
6. It requires me to believe that Hillary actually bothered to submit legislation in the senate instead of ear-marking and pandering which seems to be her pattern.

Am I missing a seven?

Posted by: cmsore | February 14, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

As usual, Dan Balz has his hand on the pulse of the campaigns and he articulates the angst the Clinton campaign must be dealing with as Barack Obama and his team have so brilliantly out-strategized them. Clinton's miscalculations, firings, money troubles, etc. just reinforce how well-organized Obama's campaign is!

Posted by: ksusan | February 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

ermais, would that be the same woman genius who flunked the D.C. bar? There are a lot of words to describe HRC, but genius is not one of them, regardless of what her philandering husband is willing to say to get her elected. In fact, assuming that one would be coronated refusing to complete in a multitude of states actually strikes me as egocentric behavior you assign to another. But hey, I give you credit for acknowledging that the attack originated from a shill for McCain.

Posted by: liberalboxxi | February 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Clinton voted for the war and indeed help sell the war to the American public. She should have also told her husband to bud out this entire campaign, arguing the people should judge her on her own merits and not his. Those were also contributing factors to her lack of inevitability. But somehow, i think the Clintons will get their way (dirty way). They will try to count the Michigan and Florida primaries. If they do, i would suggest that half the democratic party should stay home in November.

Posted by: AB68 | February 14, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

So what's your point ermias.kifle? --If, for the sake of argument, it's carbon-copy of Hillary's plan, wheres the beef? This isn't school, there no such thing a plagiarism in campaigning, and if you think Hillary's plan is a good plan, what's your gripe?

Posted by: max | February 14, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Time for a patented "Hillary reality break," kifle.

Exactly what makes Hillary Clinton a "genius woman", please?

Blowing through $120 million in campaign funds and ending up in 2nd place in both delegates *and* number of states won?

She's competent. She's successful. She's no pushover.

But a genius? Far, far from it.

Posted by: jerichozwilson | February 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Will there be riots if Obama loses the election?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

God Bless the United Red/Blue/White States of America!!!

Please elect Barak Obama, President of the United States...

and... HRC, president of new york and california if you'd like...

Posted by: sudduthr | February 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Nice argument, ermias. I know that I look to John McCain's campaign advisers when I want a clean, unbiased take on Obama. Have you noticed which candidate McCain cares enough about to criticize lately? But yeah, blame sexism.

Posted by: priestd | February 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so you're believing a McCain hack regarding the alleged plagiarism? Gee, wonder why a McCain backer might have said that. Cuz she and McCain are "friends"?

Highly doubtful. The R's are terrified of Obama, simply because of the raw number of voters he can turn out across the board. The only way the R's can come close on turnout, and therefor the election, is to energize the base, and we all know how the R base feels about Billary.

Plus, if you do some research of your own, you find that Obama first touted these programs on his website long before Hillary was even talking about them. So the idea stealing is untrue on its face.

Posted by: kyle.halmrast | February 14, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Dan Balz, why don't you write about Obama's PLAGIARISM?
Obama gets away with everything. This proves that an egocentric man is greater than a genius woman. I love it that the media doesn't cover this detail until someone brings it up.

"Obama's plan today is the most shameless piece of potential plagiarism that I have ever seen," McCain economic advisor Kevin Hassett said.

"He basically took Clinton's words and Clinton's policies and called them his own," Hassett said. "If I were a professor I'd give him an F and try to get him kicked out of school for something this terrible ... I remember Mrs. Clinton saying shared prosperity and I remember the bill that she introduced in August for infrastructure. The fact is these are things Obama has taken as his own without crediting the source of the ideas which was Mrs. Clinton."

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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