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Obama's Strategy to Avoid a Convention Fight

By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- Before Sen. Barack Obama added Wisconsin and Hawaii to his winning streak, he declined a chance to encourage Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to drop out of the race. But in answering a reporter's question in Ohio, he laid out his view of how he could become the last candidate standing -- months ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

In short, the idea is to win so many delegates that the Democratic leadership presses Clinton to concede, even if she retains a mathematical possibility of winning in Denver. One goal of the strategy is to avoid the fight the Clinton campaign has promised over appointed superdelegates and the ghost delegates from Michigan and Florida, where the Democrats did not campaign.

"I would not presume to tell her when to get out of the race. This is still a close race," Obama told reporters on Monday after touring a titanium plant in Niles, Ohio.

"Our hope is that we continue to do well and that as we add more pledged delegates, that more and more folks within the Democratic Party start saying that, you know, I can provide the leadership and bring the party together in order for us to win in November."

Obama's staff, of course, is beginning to argue that Obama's 10-contest winning streak and his lead in pledged delegates already makes it virtually impossible for Clinton to win, even with victories in Ohio and Texas on March 4 and Pennsylvania on April 22.

Not only would she need decisive victories there, strategists contend, she would need to do far better than expected in places like Mississippi and Wyoming that offer her few advantages.

Campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters this morning that Obama has a "wide, wide lead. The Clinton campaign keeps saying the race is essentially tied. That's just lunacy."

Not that the Obama campaign plans to slow down in advance of the Ohio and Texas primaries, where Clinton by all accounts must fight to save her candidacy. David Axelrod, Obama's senior strategist, admitted last week that even after eight consecutive victories, Team Obama's ears were ringing with the warnings bells of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire is where voters on Jan. 8 defied the polls and gave Clinton a victory -- just when many Obama supporters, starry-eyed after his solid win in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, thought he might skate to the Democratic nomination. These days, Obama is sending the message to voters and his army of staff and volunteers that he needs to beat Clinton decisively to get where he wants to go.

"I think that she has been the favorite in this race," Obama said. "You know, it's like boxing: When you're the challenger, you don't win on points."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 20, 2008; 1:18 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Another Bleak Wednesday for Clinton
Next: McCain Calls Obama 'Naive'


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Posted by: alfjf | February 22, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Didn't anyone see today's papers? In New Jersey 4 counties report hacked voting machines that took Hillary's votes and moved them to Obamas' side! The machine's computer results DO NOT MATCH THE PAPER BALLOTS!
Now how many other states did this happen in????
Forget about Fla. and Mich. -THIS IS BIG!!

Posted by: alfjf | February 22, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Voting for anyone because of their race or gender is as stupid as not voting for them for the same reasons. I will not be voting for Obama because he is full of it, not because he is black. I will not be voting for Hillary because she never admitted she made a mistake in voting to go into Iraq. Obama is an empty suit and the sheep are following. Hillary does have a great deal of experience but it would probably be more of the same. We will either have to just plug our noses when we vote or not vote at all. When will the ballots have a "none of the above" column so we can still do our "civic duty" and vote, but just not vote for anyone on the ballot?

Posted by: groovey411 | February 22, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The state of OH do not vote for Davis Duke kind of people.
Mrs Obama is a RACIST!


She is so angry, I will get her pregnant

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 21, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Stan2, You say that you would invest in a company if Hillary was the CEO but not if Obama was? Well then go ahead and make her a CEO, but America is not a company and we don't need a CEO. We are not trying to maximize profits by keeping wages and benefits low and we are not trying to artificially jack up a stock price so the rich can bail-out with their golden parachutes leaving the country to crash and burn. Make her your CEO and we'll make Obama our president where benefiting all and not just the ownership class will be a priority.

Posted by: wingnutjeff | February 21, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's strengths are not realized in the Senate. Writing legislation is not like running a government. She has the ability to really explain the details of what her people are planning. Obama's Senate career has been too concerned with writing law, rather than talking about it. It is as if he thinks the American People are too stupid to get into the intracacies of individual bills. Clinton knows better. She know that the American people will admire her detailed plans for the future, rather than trying to get people motivated. She can relate the details to the American people while she has her subordinates do the motivational work. Hillary Clinton can run the entire government, but it seems that Barack Obama only want to motivate other people to run it for him. He want to get out of details and concentrate on the big picture. How lazy can you get! Since Obama is good at writing law, why should he take an executive position? The President of the United States is just an administrative post, after all, isn't it? It needs a hard task manager to oversee people, and make sure they get things right. Obama? Obama thinks that just because he's writen a lot of laws that he should know something about the way it works. He thinks that the President should work to motivate people that he has absolutely no power over to come up with their own solutions. Hillary knows better! She can do it all for us, and we don't need to worry about one little thing!

Posted by: UrbanHillbilly | February 21, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

The difference is this. Clinton just lists what she plans to do in a dull unexciting way. Obama does the list but ALSO inspires, for he has the intelligence to realize that without inspiration you CANNOT motivate anyone.

Because Hillary can't or won't inspire, she resorts to knocking Obama for being inspiring and doesn't give him credit for his list. She seems oblivious of the fact that you have to inspire and excite your listeners to motivate them into offering you support, not just make campaign promises.

She's also indirectly calling his voters stupid. Obama doesn't do that. He gives people a choice. "Vote for me if you want change, vote for Hillary if you want more of the same." Unlike Hillary, he is respectful of her supporters and doesn't insult their intelligence.

Posted by: simonc | February 21, 2008 1:21 AM | Report abuse

After MONTHS of being relentlessly PUMMELED by Hiilary's "inevitability" and all the arrogance from her campaign and her supporters on forums such as these, i have to admit i find all this rather amusing. Hillary and her supporters sure get loud and nasty when they're losing.

Hillary is the least experienced candidate who entered this season's primary race, next to John Edwards (no offense to Edwards). She is losing this race, as she should. She is totally unqualified, and the reason her attacks aren't working on Obama is because in just a few clicks on your computer, you can find the truth- that HER attacks are unfounded- in fact, they're "empty rhetoric".

Posted by: julieds | February 21, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Clintoon did not defy the polls in New Hampshire, the election was stolen for her. In every single precinct where the votes were counted by hand, Obama won. In every single precinct where the votes were counted by election fraud machines, Hillary won.

Of course, the election fraud overseers would not let any recount proceed properly, thus hiding the truth of the stolen election in New Hampshire.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | February 21, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Let's look at FACTS.
Virtually ALL the Obama people who have posted here are engaging in hate politics, attacking Hillary Clinton, not once on policies, but all on sheer personal terms. Obama says he's offering change. How is all the hate politics by Obama's minions any evidence of a change?
And then there are all the "Independents" posting comments. These are crossover REPUBLICANS, folks. They may be posturing as Obama supporters now, but come November, they'll be voting for McCain.
Then there is the "rebuttal" to the MSNBC coverage yesterday, where a Texas State Senator representing the Obama campaign could not name for Chris Matthews ONE SINGLE THING Obama has accomplished while in the Senate. Let's look at that post a little closer...
Of 52 bills introduced by Senator Obama, only 2 resolutions got passed:
1. One to put Rosa Parks on a postage stamp, a CONCURRENT resolution that passed the Senate only, but did not pass the House; 2. One honoring black mayor Carl Stokes; and 3. one designating July 12, 2007 as "National Summer Learning Day." That's 52 attempts and not one serious accomplishment, like passing a BILL -- not just a commemorative resolution -- among them.
You Obama people just keep it up. I'm going to vote for the Democrat regardless. But when John McCain is sworn in on January 20, 2009, you'll have only yourselves to blame.

Posted by: guru | February 20, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell, there isn't much difference between the policies that both present. The big difference that I see is in who they are and how they go about accomplishing their goals. If I can coin Hillary in that regard I would say she is "us against them" kind of person. The "us" being the Democrats and within the Democrats those that support her campaign, and within that camp those that have shown log term loyalty. Obama on the other hand is "Together we can do anything" kind of guy. He is about brining as many people as he could in his comp and focusing this collective attention to the issue at hand. In this regard, he is more inclusive and new converts are always welcome.

While this doesn't seem a lot on the surface, it is a fundamental break to how politics has been done in the past. If you notice, the politics of the past few decades has been "us against them" and in its worst mutation it takes the form of "take no prisoner" approach. The only people that this kind of politics benefits are mediocre politicians who are myopic in their ability to see the big picture. These politicians exaggerate small differences between people to secure their hold to power. Of course the consequence of this style of politics can be seen all over the place. You can attribute every major issue that faces our country to this shortcoming.

It is time for politics of unity and Obama stands tall in this regard. We all need to take a shift in the way we look at politics. We really need to get that we need each other and that the most urgent needs of this country will not be addressed without this shift in awareness. We are not going to remain the world leader for much longer without this shift. It is time to stop bickering and rallying around the candidate that has already articulated this need.

Posted by: Sirack | February 20, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

The DNC is obligated to take this primary to the convention if not candidate receives 2025 delegates... Hey, that's the way works "pea-brains!"

If the Democratic Party is afraid that somehow its voters don't have the "chutzpah" for this... then maybe you should take another look at the Constitution and our history.

Americans our an interesting lot, for sure. They'll get through this one way or the other... And , please don't use the Republicans as an excuse to dump Obama or Hillary. That's ridiculous!

Obama and his supporters love good theater and the media appreciates his willingness to help them and their advertisers (multi-national corporations) more ways than one... This is a fact jack!

In the corporate world we call him "backroom barry" ... :)

Posted by: randymk1 | February 20, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Do you think the "theory" of Creationism/Intelligent Design should be taught alongside Evolution?

Will you continue America's strong support for Taiwan in the face of Chinese agression?

Will you continue America's strong support for Israel against aggression from Hezbollah, Hamas and its Arab neighbors, and do you think Palestinian suicide bombers are terrorists or "Freedom Fighters".

Will you eliminate the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule for military service and hire back those desperately needed translators that were fired because they were gay?

Will you immediately reinstate Habeas Corpus?

Will you immediately stop the FBI, or any other governmental agency from spying on American citzens without a warrant?

Under what conditions would you condone the torture of a living creature, man or beast?

Do you believe in a Constitutional "Right to Privacy"

Do you believe in a Constitutional separation of Church and State?

Will you sign the Kyoto accord?

How do you plan to maintain US participation in NAFTA yet prevent further domestic job erosion and the continuing transfer of manufacturing and technology to foreign countries?

What is your long term strategy vis-a-viz China? Many believe that if we maintain our present course, that China will overtake the US economically in less than 25 years. As that result becomes universally apparent, China's political influence on world affairs will approach then exceed our own.

As our economic growth slows and our national debt grows, while that of China's grows at a truly alarming rate, it is inevitable that the dollar will be supplanted by either the Euro or the Yuan. Our military supremacy will suffer sooner rather than later, because even now, we cannot afford the cost. As China's influence throughout the world grows and America's diminishes, we will find it necessary to slowly retreat from many, if not every, military base on foreign territory. How will you eliminate the deficit, and when do you hope to begin reducing the debt and with it the horrendous interest we are paying on it, while at the same time, stimulating our sluggish economy?

Posted by: stan2 | February 20, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Agree with saintsubversive, not just because I support Obama. I like Obama/Richardson (God look how Lieberman turned out, advocating preemptive strikes against Iran etc..)-Richardson looks to have a good healthy attitude, a good sense of humor and real self-deprecation etc..

Posted by: jack | February 20, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Stan2, your response to my comments demonstrate that you either didn't read my post or didn't pay attention. And you are continuing to voice the myth that Obama is all words without action and substance.

Actually, Obama's record in the Senate shows far more accomplishment in 3 years than Hillary's in 7.

You also demonstrate a distorted perspective on "my profession" as pastor. The role of a pastor, especially in recent years, is not one of words only but requires much hard work and leadership ability. Your comments are a bit patronizing in supposedly "reducing" Obama to the role of a pastor--a role that you evidently know little about.

Obama is not a pastor, though he is quite capable in talking and writing about the application of faith principles to public life. Obama is a leader, with experience as a civil rights attorney, a community organizer, a professor of Constitutional law (very useful experience after the Bush Administration's attempts to throw the Constitution away), a state senator, and a U.S. Senator. (Hillary's "35 years of experience" amounts to her 7 years in the Senate plus her years as an attorney and somehow counting her years as First Lady--a primarily symbolic role--in Arkansas and the White House. Her "experience" advantage over Obama is another myth.)

I probably would not want to hire Obama as a CEO of a business either. Business is not his field, any more than being a pastor is. His field is law, community organizing, and government. We've had 8 horrible years of business CEO leadership in the White House already--President and Vice-President, selling our country out to the oil companies, Halliburton, etc. We don't need more of that.

And neither I nor Obama ever said it doesn't take hard work to be President. My point was that it takes more than hard work. It takes leadership. Since you like the business model, I would encourage you to read Steven Covey's THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE and read up on the latest insights on what makes a good leader. An effective leader is not the one who tries to do all the work. An effective leader casts vision, inspires and motivates people, empowers people under his or her leadership to achieve their goals, and delegates authority and responsibility for getting the job done. That's why Obama's superior campaign organization has overwhelmed Hillary in spite of her huge head start and superior name recognition, etc. His ground organization reflects the work of a true leader and, in a short time, gained the organizational advantage. Hillary's advantages played out in places where she was organized very early on (such as New York and Arkansas) and where there were huge amounts of early voting before Obama had a chance to build his organization and become known (such as California--and Florida, where he did not campaign at all).

If you want to compare leadership ability, look at the financial management and organizational efficiency of each campaign. Hillary had to bail her campaign out using her own personal wealth. She has repeatedly changed her message and now had to change key campaign management personnel. Obama has raised money effectively and run a smooth and consistent campaign. If her campaign can't get the job done, in spite of huge advantages and a huge head start, how will she get the job done as President.

Oh, and the one significant piece of experience I can think of Hillary having in the federal government is a failed attempt to pass healthcare reform during the Clinton Administration. She has made healthcare her primary platform issue, but it was her primary failure. Why? Because she played the same old Washington games in the same old ways, with no chance at all of breaking through the gridlock.

You see, "experience" can be just as much an empty platitude as Hillary would have people believe Obama's "change" message is.

Posted by: PastorGene | February 20, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama gives good speeches, ones that affect people in positive ways. Many see leadership qualities in him that they would like in a president.

Some, though, are very bothered by his eloquence to the extent they feel compelled to draw spurious conclusions. They think someone so eloquent must certainly be fake or shallow. They tune out his substantive message because they must in order to maintain that belief. Or they cast suspicion on his supporters, who they feel must be gullible dupes who care nothing about issues. That is silly.

It's true that in choosing candidates, often people see what they want to see and disregard mountains of contradictory information. But who is doing that now? Frankly, I think it is the Clinton/McCain supporters.

It is a bit of a leap from Obama's current position as a Junior Senator to the presidency. That is a vailid point. But this style vs. substance claim is nonsense. The man has the goods, the whole package, which is a rare thing. He could do great things for this country. And I'm going with it. Call me gullible.

Posted by: MShaughn | February 20, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"The reason why Hillary supporters don't believe Obama has substance is because they don't take the time to hear the substance. It's not entirely their fault. I blame the media in part, because most of the media is always showing the inspirational message part of Obama's campaign. For a person who doesn't use or have access to the internet, the only way some people can get better access to Obama's entire stump speech full of inspiring rhetoric and policy details is to watch it on C-SPAN channel.

Obama in 08!

Obama in 08!"

Are you even reading what you are writing?
You are contradicting yourself. It's kinda hard to hear all the policy detail isn't it when you are partying hard at the Obama camp. It's all one big party after another. No wonder it attracts so many younger people. How many young people do you know that will spend their time watching C-Span 1 or C-Span 2?

Posted by: Aeldas | February 20, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The only state that Hillary Clinton can convincingly win is the State of Denial. Even if she can cheat her way to winning the Democratic nomination through going back on her commitments on Michigan and Florida and by brow-beating insiders within the Democratic elite to back her, even if she can manage that she will lose the race for President.

She scores pathetically against McCain. Not just because she has alienated every independent and every Republican voter but because if she gets the nomination she will have alienated a sizable number of Democrat leaning voters as well. Someone in the Democratic leadership needs to have a very serious conversation with her to hammer home the point that she has lost and her stubbornness and arrogant assumption she can somehow turn things around is going to cost the Democrats the election. She should instead of continuing the smear tactics and petty bitterness she so clearly exudes be sucking up to Obama like crazy drop for the race and grovel for the VP slot. She's used to being second to the President (which is pretty much what most of her "experience" amounts to) so would be good in the role. Also Obama would feel safer from assassination attempts because no one would kill him knowing Hillary would get the job (of course excluding Hillary - no one knows just how low the Clintons would sink to get a win).

Suck it up Hillary and get over it while you have a shred of dignity left.

Posted by: chunkylimey | February 20, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody even care that Obama is the Anti-Christ??????

Posted by: joanthebaptist1 | February 20, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

While I support Obama, I do not agree that it is time for Hillary Clinton to get out of the race. While the momentum is overwhelmingly with Obama, and Clinton has a real uphill battle at this point, the possibility of her regaining momentum and winning the nomination still exists.

That being said--March 4 could be the death blow. The Clinton campaign (similar to the Rudy Giuliani failed Florida strategy) has staked everything on Ohio and Texas and stated that she must win both of them. Most strategists say she must, in fact, win both of them and Pennsylvania and win big. So if she does not in fact win both Texas and Ohio, I believe then will be the time to end her campaign and spare the Democratic Party a fruitless and damaging divisive convention fight.

The Clinton campaign has continued to put forth excuses for its losses: Those were caucus states and not really representative. Those were African-American states where Obama had the advantage. We didn't campaign there. Etc., etc. None of those excuses fit Wisconsin--a Midwestern industrial state with few African Americans, with a primary rather than a caucus, and where Obama dug deeply into the demographics (even splitting women's votes almost equally) considered to be advantageous to Clinton. I have not heard how yet how her campaign might spin the Wisconsin loss. Paul Begala didn't try but admitted it was a serious loss and blow to the Clinton campaign.

But if Clinton's so-called "firewall" in Texas and Ohio does not hold, then indeed the handwriting is on the wall, and it seems she would have to admit that.

So let's wait and see. Either Clinton's campaign will gain new life or will be dealt a death blow on March 4--less than two weeks away and in plenty of time to avoid all the frightening convention scenarios. The question is: If she loses Texas or Ohio, which she has acknowledged as must wins for her, will she have the grace of Giuliani after his loss in Florida and put the good of the party and the country above her own ambitions. We'll see.

Posted by: PastorGene | February 20, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama will win hands down in case no one believed it before, the truth is slowly unravelling. One of the best youtube videos I came across of Obama today is here- it truly speaks the unspoken

Posted by: ambalab | February 20, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear Pastor Gene: My point is that Obama would make a far better Pastor than he would a President. If I were asked to invest in a company that planned on hiring Obama as CEO, I would decline. I would happily invest in one headed by Hillary.
If you think good ideas and oratory are all that's needed, it's only because that's your own personal experience. But that's only true in your profession. Hard work, is what is needed to properly run an organization as unwieldy as the US Government. That's why we're in the mess we're in now. Bush admitted being president is hard. Unfortunately, he hasn't the brains or the will to accomplish it and should never have been given that responsibility. Everyone knew it. His record was there to see. But he seemed like such a nice guy, and what's more, he promossed to be a uniter. So they voted for him.
No, Hillary is not exciting, and yes, she's got thick ankles, but she's brilliant, clever, and dedicated to a brighter America. And she's not afraid of hard work.
FYI, I'm not an Obama hater. I strongly prefer Hillary, but should Obama win the popularity contest he is running, I'll certainly get behind him to defeat McCain (or any of the candidates the GOP might have selected).

Posted by: stan2 | February 20, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Are we commenting on this article or people just come here to trade jabs?
Anyways, mathematically Clinton can still win. Realistically, she can't. Most certainly she will not win the pledged delegates. She won't even come close with FL and MI. If they seat them, they will give Obama the 45% undecided of MI and give him all the rest of FL, that's nothing. John Edwards will give him those 26 delegates too in case this happens.
Still she still needs the super delegates to go her way by 200 margin.
Now, if you THINK that Obama will win more pledged delegates and go to convention and have this thing taken away, YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND, PERIOD.

Posted by: al_164_1999 | February 20, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton has been telling America that she is the most qualified candidate for president based on her 'record,' which she says includes her eight years in the "White House as First Lady - or 'co-president' - and her seven years in the Senate. Here is a reminder of what that record includes: - As First Lady, Hillary assumed authority over Health Care Reform, a process that cost the taxpayers over $13 million. She told both Bill Bradley and Patrick Moynihan, key votes needed to pass her legislation, that she would 'demonize' anyone who opposed it. But it was opposed; she couldn't even get it to a vote in a Congress controlled by her own party. (And in the next election, her party lost control of both the House and Senate.) - Hillary assumed authority over selecting a female Attorney General. Her first two recommendations, Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, were forced to withdraw their names from consideration. She then chose Janet Reno. Janet Reno has since been described by Bill himself as 'my worst mistake.' - Hillary recommended Lani Guanier for head of the Civil Rights Commission. When Guanier's radical views became known, her name had to be withdrawn. - Hillary recommended her former law partners, Web Hubbell, Vince Foster, and William Kennedy for positions in the Justice Department, White House staff, and the Treasury, respectively. Hubbell was later imprisoned, Foster committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign. Hillary also recommended a close friend of the Clintons, Craig Livingstone, for the position of director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of up to 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies ("Filegate") and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, both Hillary and her husband denied knowing him. FBI agent Dennis Sculimbrene confirmed in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1996, both the drug use and Hillary's involvement in hiring Livingstone. After that, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office, after serving seven presidents for over thirty years. - In order to open "slots" in the White House for her friends the Thomasons (to whom millions of dollars in travel contracts could be awarded), Hillary had the entire staff of the White House Travel Office fired; they were reported to the FBI for 'gross mismanagement.

Her strategic and tactical errors in managing her current campaign, her first "real" executive experience together with her Karl Rovian tactics to steal the nomination surely foreshadows how little an administration under her leadership would differ little from that of G.W.Bush.

Posted by: carmen188 | February 20, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Last month Bill O'Reilly started a campaign to "Derail the Hillary Train". Last week, Rush Limbaugh asked Texas Republicans to vote for Obama in the primary.
So, who do you think the GOP prefers to run against?

Posted by: stan2 | February 20, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I think it is time for Senator Hilary Clinton to go out of the race because she sees that Senator Obama can better bit Mc Cain in the General Election. Senator Hilary counts mostly on superdelegates to catch Senator Obama and she is unable to rallie the people behind her. She has to make a resonable decision and be a fair looser as to go out of the race.

Posted by: jfrancky | February 20, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Stan2, you are right about the irrationality of the Clinton haters. But equally irrational is your Obama-hating. And your reductionistic assessment of Obama's legislative accomplishments is blatantly racist.

I'm so tired of the Clinton campaign spin that people keep repeating (now McCain also) about Obama being all words and empty rhetoric. Anyone who believes this is not paying attention to Obama's policy speeches and certainly has not read any of his writings. In his book THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, Obama gives a very thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned analysis of the history of American politics during the 20th and into the 21st centuries and how we came to the point of ideological and partisan paralysis that characterizes Washington today. He also demonstrates how out of step all of that is with the average people in America, who want solutions rather than constant "us vs. them" bickering, and he points out the need and the way to move beyond that to a government that actually works.

Contrary to the Clinton supporters' spin, Obama does not naively expect that the Republicans (or even the most partisan Democrats, for that matter) will simply "play nice" and join hands with the rest. Instead, Obama's method for uniting our country around a common purpose starts with a mindset of problem-solving rather than ideology and includes mobilizing average Americans to put pressure on their leaders to deal with the real problems rather than playing Washington games.

That's called community organizing, which is a part of Obama's EXPERIENCE that is very relevant to the way he will govern and which is also a big part of his campaign success in overcoming the overwhelming advantages of Hillary Clinton and overtaking and surpassing her. That's what he's talking about when he refers to "bottom up" leadership as opposed to "top down." People who are familiar with the latest leadership principles and with community organizing know about these things.

Hillary Clinton's language is, "I'll WORK HARD to get the things you want for you." Obama's language is, "I'll be a leader who will empower you to work together for change." Hillary is a bureaucrat who believes that if you just work hard enough, you'll eventually get the job done, naively ignoring how hard the forces of resistance and opposition will also be working. Obama is a leader who knows that you only change things by empowering the people and changing the process itself. It's like Jim Wallis said: In Washington you have a bunch of politicians sticking a wet finger up in the air to see what direction the wind of opinion is blowing, so they'll know what to do. (And which direction the political wind is blowing depends on which groups you're listening to.) Then Wallis says that the way to change things is that you have to change the direction of the (political) wind. Hillary is stuck working with the prevailing winds that are already in place. Obama wants to change the direction of the political winds, so that real and substantive change can happen.

Obama said it well last night in Houston. The problem is not a lack of good ideas. The problem is that Washington has become a place where good ideas come to die.

Folks, stop repeating the empty rhetoric that says Obama is empty rhetoric. Do something really radical for American politics. Go and actually READ what Obama has written, and then you'll see the substance! All the speeches can do, for any candidate, is to cast vision, promote campaign themes and images, and hit the most general points. (Hillary's talk about her "experience" and "ready to lead from day one" are also slogans, not policy.) Few people care to listen to a full-blown detailed policy speech, which would take hours. Learn to READ! Visit Obama's website and read the issue papers. Read THE AUDACITY OF HOPE. If you'll stop spinning and do the reading and research, then you'll find the substance.

Posted by: PastorGene | February 20, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Saintsubversive, I think you are on the money. I am not crazy about him but I think he is the best choice I am aware of. If it were realistic politically Michael Bloomberg would be my choice.

Posted by: Gator-ron | February 20, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: akbriskwood | February 20, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I am not sold on Mr. Obama's charisma and great speaking skills. Yes he has great vision and I'm certain that he has a great political future. My only problem is that most African-Americans I talk to are voting for him for the wrong reason-his color, if I ask them about anyone of his positons they can't give me any details about them. I keep hearing-"Don't you want to be a part of history"-well I'm making history with every vote that I cast. I'm not going to insult anybody here, I just want to say that we all have to vote for who we think can do the best job-and make an informed decision about who YOU are voting for. One last thing, I have also spoken to a lot of Obama supporters who agree that even though they voted for him they don't really believe he's really going to be able to deliver on all of the glorious promises that he's making....I mean think about it...the political system in Wash DC isn't perfect and took years to get to get in the state that it's in now. Does everyone really believe that Mr. Obama will be able to just come in like a lone ranger and just change things in 3yrs(the last year will be spend running for the next term).....To Be Continued...

Posted by: squarebiz | February 20, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Regarding ladyvet's copy-n-paste list of Obama's accomplishments, I've looked at a couple.

Regarding the Citizenship Promotion Act, see this:

The title makes it sound like such a wonderful bill, but a closer look reveals that it would give money to groups that would probably have unsavory agendas and might include groups with links to foreign governments. Some of those unsavory groups endorsed the bill.

Regarding the "Nuclear Release Notice Act", even the MSM has discussed how bogus that was:

Reviewing the others is left as an exercise.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 20, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

That was well put. It no longer matters what any one of us wants. It is now more obvious that the people's choice is Obama. After March 4, it's time for the superdelegates to confirm. It is going to require political leaders to show courage, the kind that has been lacking since the Democrats took congress and is lacking after you have the "experience" of which Sen. Clinton is so proud.

For the sake of the party and for reasons of gender politics, I hope Nancy Pelosi will take leadership of this situation. I think she is someone who is up to the task.

Posted by: Gator-ron | February 20, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Thank you ladyvet for posting the plain facts about Obama's record. It's so sad when uneducated and/or lazy folks make judgements solely based on what the media tells them to think. Informed citizens for Obama!!

Posted by: | February 20, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't you have a KKK meeting to go to?

Posted by: ednyo2000 | February 20, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Ps. to bigots like "Hgogo" I would say, please keep the infantile "Hussein Obama" snipes going, itll be a sure road to failure for your ilk (as if youll need your chances lessened even more with Madman McCainiac as your nominee). Keep stealing lines from Fox News (Im sure you say "homicide bombers" too and consider yourself a "dittohead").

Fortunately, the majority of us are a little too mature to follow your racist lead, but we sure will relish watching you lose on November 5th (which will be my 45th birthday, and your frustration and anger at your landslide loss to a man with the middle name of "Hussein" will be the best present that Ill receive).

Posted by: saintsubversive | February 20, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Super" delegates will make sure the droves of provisional new Democrats (PNDs) that Sen. Obama is coaxing to the polls feel welcome...that is, if these political leaders truly care about their Party and its future.

Posted by: FirstMouse | February 20, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

A big philosophical difference between Obama and Clinton that I never hear anybody talk about is their views on how government should operate. Clinton says that she is the best person to MANAGE the economy while Obama talks more about helping the working class through economic struggles through smart regulation and legislation. No candidate should want to manage the economy as that is a recipe for disaster. The most obvious Clinton policy example is her plan to freeze mortgage rates for 5 years which Obama has properly pointed would be a bad idea. All pundits say there is essentially no difference in policy between the two Dems but how Clinton and Obama would confront the complexities of our economy is a major philosophical difference.

Posted by: Retina | February 20, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

George Bush was not a great Govenor.

He was a screw up then as he is now.

Everything he has touched has failed.

He is a privledged child that should have never been able to become PRESIDENT.

He has never "worked a day in his life"

"C" student - with a fake MBA.

Posted by: 1morething | February 20, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I am an independent and, like the majority of my fellow independents, I will be supporting Obama (I wouldnt vote for Hillary on her best day).

My hope is that he will choose Bill Richardson for his running mate, as he was my first choice for the nomination. An Obama / Richardson ticket will be a sure winner.

Posted by: saintsubversive | February 20, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Is experience in senate or as governor or number of years in washington make a good president. Offcourse not.

George W Bush was a great governor
"tort reform, increased education funding, set higher standards for schools, and reformed the criminal justice system. $2 billion tax-cut plan,pro-business fiscal conservative" in TEXAS
How could he do so bad as a president if the experience argument is right. He did great in debates too.

He had the best senior staff around still managed to do more wrongs than what is the success fomula for a president.?

Posted by: pk_here | February 20, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama has not started a CULT.
It's a movement. The Movement of people who are SICK AND TIRED of politics as usual.

No one is a zombie - but all of us that support him have several things in common:

1. We are all human beings
2. We are sick of the Red vs Blue States
3 We want a country that can do better
4. We all know are tired of being scared
to death and terrorized for 7 yrs.
5. We need a President that can inspire
us all to believe that we can be and do

Clinton offers more of the same - Catty - Back Biting - You Against Them Politics.

Can our country come together for once -- there is a lot to fix.

Our Kids need a better world.

McClain - is TOOO DAMN OLD. He is can only talk about the past! He can not talk about the future - without flip flopping on the things he stood for 5 years ago.
And we have not forgotten about him and the KEATING 5 and the S&L debacle.

2 years ago - McCain was Bush's worst nightmare - now they are acting like they have made up and kissed. The American public has not forgotten those STINGING acqusations McCain said about BUSH. Now he is trying to distance himself from them.

WE DO NOT NEED 4 more years of FIGHTING against each other which is what McCain and CLINTON both offer.

WE ARE ALL SICK OF IT - if that's a CULT.


Posted by: 1morething | February 20, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

People voted for the Shrub on the same basis they are now voting for Obummer, someone to "rescue them" not someone who can actually do the job, because that wuold be Hillary .. and they will get they what they vote for... and once again if he wins the administation will be a disgrace among nations in the world....

Posted by: Swannie2 | February 20, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

That extensive list of legislation introduced by Obama is impressive. It certainly does prove he IS "black enough".

I'm sad that many Democrats have been taken in by the Right Wing. The persistant attacks on Bill Clinton during his presidency (and to a lesser extent, Hillary) resulted in nothing substantial, but the publicity surrounding the constant accusations (like Bill Killed Vince Foster) seem to have had a lasting effect. Democrats who say they hate Hillary can't give a coherent reason for why they feel that way. I truly believe it's a remnant of the Ken Starr era.

History is full of despots who were able to move vast numbers by sheer oratory.

Personally, I am very wary of charismatic "leaders". I see in the Obama movement something akin to a cult. If he were to become a TV Evangelist, I have little doubt that he would fast become the most successful (and by that I mean, the wealthiest) of them all.

Posted by: stan2 | February 20, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's face reality. Obama has won 10 primaries in a row, by large margins. He's won almost twice as many states. That's called momentum. That's called being the front runner. That's almost called having it all sewn up. Clnton could never imagine not having it all sewn up after Feb 5th. She had no plan. Nothing on the ground in Texas. No plan to get delegates registered in PA. She still can't believe it. Hilary, this isn't about you! This is about who will lead the Democratic Party into the future after 30 years of divisiveness and the last 7 years of destruction by the Republicans.

Congratulations to Obama for a masterful campaign, superb organization on the ground, for energizing the party and bringing in millions of new voters. It's time for Hilary to graciously throw her support being Obama and get ready to send the 100 year war Republicans into the political wilderness for a generation.
Stop the Drama! Vote Obama!!

Posted by: thebobbob | February 20, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's my gal!

Gerald Clough

Posted by: driveindead | February 20, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

To LonewackoDotCom | February 20, 2008 01:41 PM , Oh please, Obama is not that state senator who appeared on msnbc last nite. Please read ladyvet | February 20, 2008 02:08 PM 's comments for Obama's accomplishments. He can succintly talk about what he's done. Your write-up sounds like you are focusing on the gaffe made by the state senator. Make no mistake: THAT GUY IS NO OBAMA!!!! OBAMA KNOWS HIS RECORD AND HE'S GOT MANY. So don't think that he'll go mute if journalists ask him about his record. You need to clearly separate things in your mind and put things in order before you go to your keyboard.

Posted by: ftroit | February 20, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The only people still pushing Hillary now are the right Hillary who see her as an easy target in November.

Read between the lines in the pro-Clinton comments, these are not Democrats.

Posted by: dcwsano | February 20, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It is still close, in theory, yet reality is slowly setting in:

The Home Stretch- Hillary's Personal Alamo:

She better make her move and fast.

Posted by: davidmwe | February 20, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It appears to me as an Independent that there are two strategies here; Clinton's winning thru division or Obama's winning thru unity.

I do not pretend to speak for any other Independents or Progressives, but I have had enough divisive politics over the past few years to last me a lifetime.

I'm voting for Obama.

Posted by: info | February 20, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The reason why Hillary supporters don't believe Obama has substance is because they don't take the time to hear the substance. It's not entirely their fault. I blame the media in part, because most of the media is always showing the inspirational message part of Obama's campaign. For a person who doesn't use or have access to the internet, the only way some people can get better access to Obama's entire stump speech full of inspiring rhetoric and policy details is to watch it on C-SPAN channel.

Obama in 08!

Obama in 08!

Posted by: ajtiger92 | February 20, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Here's what he's done in the 110th Congress, albeit while spending TONs of time on the campaign trail. Note that this list doesn't include his most important accomplishments of
1) Ethics Reform
2)Securing loose nuclear weapons from terrorists
3) Transparency in Government (
4)Immigration reform-working on politically difficult subject to secure meaningful reform- did not ultimately pass

Dec 19, 2007
S. 2519: Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2007
Dec 7, 2007
S. 2433: Global Poverty Act of 2007
Dec 6, 2007
S. 2428: National STEM Scholarship Database Act
Nov 16, 2007
S. 2392: National STEM Scholarship Database Act
Nov 13, 2007
S. 2347: Prevention Through Affordable Access Act
Nov 8, 2007
S. 2330: Veterans Homelessness Prevention Act
Oct 24, 2007
S. 2227: Success in the Middle Act of 2007
Oct 24, 2007
S. 2224: Nuclear Release Notice Act of 2007
Oct 18, 2007
S. 2202: Renewable Fuel Standard Extension Act of 2007
Oct 4, 2007
S. 2147: Security Contractor Accountability Act of 2007
Oct 3, 2007
S. 2132: A bill to prohibit the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of children's products that contain lead, and for other purposes.
Sep 27, 2007
S. 2111: Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act
Sep 18, 2007
S. 2066: Back to School: Improving Standards for Nutrition and Physical Education in Schools Act of 2007
Sep 12, 2007
S. 2044: Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act of 2007
Sep 6, 2007
S. 2030: A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require reporting relating to bundled contributions made by persons other than registered lobbyists.
Aug 3, 2007
S. 1989: Pigford Claims Remedy Act of 2007
Aug 2, 2007
S. 1977: Nuclear Weapons Threat Reduction Act of 2007
Jul 26, 2007
S. 1885: Military Family Job Protection Act
Jul 25, 2007
S. 1873: Improving Emergency Medical Care and Response Act of 2007
Jul 19, 2007
S. 1824: Hospital Quality Report Card Act of 2007
Jul 19, 2007
S. 1818: Missing Mercury in Manufacturing Monitoring and Mitigation Act
Jul 19, 2007
S. 1817: A bill to ensure proper administration of the discharge of members of the Armed Forces for personality disorder, and for other purposes.
Jul 18, 2007
S. 1811: Lead Poisoning Reduction Act of 2007
Jul 16, 2007
S. 1790: Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2007
Jun 27, 2007
S. 1713: A bill to provide for the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp in honor of Rosa Parks.
Jun 7, 2007
S. 1574: Teaching Residency Act
May 24, 2007
S. 1513: Predominantly Black Institution Act of 2007
May 17, 2007
S. 1430: Iran Sanctions Enabling Act
May 14, 2007
S. 1389: Climate Change Education Act
May 7, 2007
S. 1324: National Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Act of 2007
May 3, 2007
S. 1306: Lead Free Toys Act of 2007
May 2, 2007
S. 1271: Homecoming Enhancement Research and Oversight (HERO) Act
Apr 25, 2007
S. 1222: STOP FRAUD Act
Apr 20, 2007
S. 1181: Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act
Apr 18, 2007
S. 1151: Health Care for Hybrids Act
Apr 10, 2007
S. 1084: Homes for Heroes Act of 2007
Mar 29, 2007
S. 1068: Healthy Communities Act of 2007
Mar 29, 2007
S. 1067: Healthy Places Act of 2007
Mar 23, 2007
S. 976: Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2007
Mar 15, 2007
S. 906: Mercury Market Minimization Act of 2007
Mar 8, 2007
S. 823: Microbicide Development Act
Mar 7, 2007
S. 795: Citizenship Promotion Act of 2007
Mar 6, 2007
S. 768: Fuel Economy Reform Act
Mar 6, 2007
S. 767: Fuel Economy Reform Act
Mar 1, 2007
S. 737: Voter Advocate and Democracy Index Act of 2007
Feb 28, 2007
S. 713: Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act of 2007
Feb 27, 2007
S. 692: VA Hospital Quality Report Card Act of 2007
Feb 16, 2007
S. 674: Transparency and Accountability in Military and Security Contracting Act of 2007
Scheduled for Debate
Oct 4, 2007
S. 453: Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007
Jan 30, 2007
S. 433: Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007
Jan 4, 2007
S. 133: American Fuels Act of 2007
Jan 4, 2007
S. 117: Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act of 2007
Jan 4, 2007
S. 116: STEP UP ACT OF 2007
Jan 4, 2007
S. 115: Oil SENSE Act
Jan 4, 2007
S. 114: Innovation Districts for School Improvement Act
Sep 17, 2007
S.Con.Res. 46: A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
Sep 12, 2007
S.Con.Res. 44: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that a commemorative postage stamp should be issued honoring Rosa Louise McCauley Parks.
Passed Senate
Jun 26, 2007
S.Con.Res. 25: A concurrent resolution condemning the recent violent actions of the Government of Zimbabwe against peaceful opposition party activists and members of civil society.
Jan 31, 2007
S.Con.Res. 5: A concurrent resolution honoring the life of Percy Lavon Julian, a pioneer in the field of organic chemistry and the first and only African-American chemist to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.
Nov 1, 2007
S.J.Res. 23: A joint resolution clarifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law.
Nov 15, 2007
S.Res. 383: A resolution honoring and recognizing the achievements of Carl Stokes, the first African-American mayor of a major American city, in the 40th year since his election as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.
Passed Senate
Jul 13, 2007
S.Res. 268: A resolution designating July 12, 2007, as "National Summer Learning Day".
Passed Senate
Mar 28, 2007
S.Res. 133: A resolution celebrating the life of Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson.

Photo from the Congressional Pictorial Directory.
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Posted by: ladyvet | February 20, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Hussein Obama is so evil. You guys are cheated by him, by his color and words. He is a druggy and speculator.

Posted by: hgogo | February 20, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Seems like a better strategy than trying to get FL & MI delegates seated.

Posted by: bsimon | February 20, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

It bothers me that poeple still believe Obama offers no specifics when in fact he offers many. I guess poeple are still buying what the Clintons' are selling, and they're selling lies.

Posted by: amcruz2001 | February 20, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Preaching hope, inspiration, change, with no substance, no specifics, no media challenge, and media fawning, Obama is instructive of how demagogues rise to power to inflict horrors on humanity.

If Hillary Clinton does not get the Democratic nomination, I hope she will stay on the sidelines and let Obama crash and burn in November.

Posted by: crat3 | February 20, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If Obama gets more delegates, is time going to stand still until the convention? No, he's going to still be out there making appearances and talking to reporters.

And, if those reporters start asking him real questions about his policies, pointing out all the hugely obvious flaws in his policies, then Clinton might re-emerge as the choice.

Obviously, "reporters" like Peter "Ebullient" Slevin aren't going to ask those questions, but that doesn't preclude Hillary fans from pressing Obama on issues like this and then uploading his respone to Youtube:

Even Hillary wouldn't go that far, and I don't think Obama's going to be so glib if someone presses him on that issue.

Note also that one of Obama's reps met with Mexico's prez on his recent visit to the U.S.

Apparently to Obama the border is just a line on a map.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 20, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Earth to Clintons: It's over.

Do the math. Even if Hilliary wins Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, she still will not catch Obama in pledged delegates. The only way she wins is to try to get super delagates by offering them jobs (bribes) and getting the Michigan and Florida delagates she previously agreed not to pursue (who is the flip-flopper?)

If she tries this, it will blow apart the party and it will mean a certain loss in november.

The choice is Obama or McCain. It is time for Hilliary to drop out for the good of the party and the country.

Posted by: dcwsano | February 20, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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