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Obama Wins the Green Mountains

Updated: 8:25 p.m.
By Rachel Dry
Of all the predictions ventured about what would happen as the votes were tallied today, perhaps the easiest call to make was that Barack Obama would triumph in the Green Mountain State.

No more than 15 minutes after the polls closed in Vermont, it was clear the Illinois senator had won.

The big question: Will he get the more than 64 percent of the vote needed for a 10-5 delegate split? Eric Davis, a former political science professor at Middlebury College and a close observer of Vermont politics, said that going into the election, Obama was pretty much assured to win "handily" and that the only question was by how much.

"The Obama campaign in Vermont was better organized and had more volunteer enthusiasm," Davis said.

He noted that Vermont's open primary meant many independents who might have voted for Sen. John McCain -- all but assured of his party's nomination -- walked in today to cast their vote for Obama. Obama also appeared to outspend Sen. Hillary Clinton by roughly two to one, Davis said, judging by radio and television advertising. More than independent enthusiasm and spending though, was the issue of the war in Iraq. "Clinton's vote on the war issue hurts her in Vermont," Davis said.

Antiwar sentiment is strong in the state. At the Brattleboro town meeting today, residents voted 2,012 to 1,795 to approve a measure that calls for the indictment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for "crimes against" the Constitution. If Bush or Cheney were to set foot in the town -- a first for Bush, as Vermont is the one state in the country he has not visited during his term -- the Brattleboro police would be directed to arrest and extradite him.

In addition to the pledged delegates he picks up with his win, Obama has five of the six Vermont superdelegates and swept the unofficial race for frozen treat manufacturers: He had the support of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of the beloved Vermont export Ben & Jerry's.

Did the ice cream vote put him (even more) over the edge in the end?

Results are inconclusive.

Caitlin Turndorf, 21, answering the phone just before 7 p.m. at the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop on Church Street in Burlington, Vt., said she hadn't been at work that long. But so far, she hadn't seen any election day regalia or Obama campaign signs, and the patrons gathering seemed more interested in ice cream than in the man the ice cream makers were supporting.

Turndorf herself, a Maine native, skipped the vote, even though she is registered in Vermont. "My sister was visiting today, so with my day off I spent time with her. But if I had voted, I would have voted for Obama," she said.

She then politely excused herself to deal with a line of customers forming to buy ice cream even though it was 30 degrees in Burlington and a winter storm warning was in effect.

"It's Vermont. People don't care how cold it is," she said.

By Washington Post editors  |  March 4, 2008; 7:36 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Primaries , The Democrats  
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For those who missed it, the rising cost of fuel is yet another sign of a Bush Cheney Mission Accomplished. What mission was that you ask? Why the mission was to create record profits for Bush's old oil buddies and Cheny's old corporate buddies. Why do they think the Bush administration went all the way to the supreme court and invoked executive privilege to keep Cheney's secret deals a secret? So when someone tells you Bush's legacy is just torture and lying about it you tell them: hogwash. For the first time in history an American president has started a war for the sole purpose of raising corporate and oil profits and it worked! There's your legacy! In my humble opinion.

Posted by: michael.skinner | March 5, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Why should Hillary get out? I'm an Independent for Obama, and I'm not arguing that she should get out, because it's a forgone conclusion that she will not.

But if I was a Democratic Party stalwart, I would be concerned about a situation in which niether candidate gets the critical number of delegates, and Hillary goes on to the convention in Denver, behind in the popular vote, behind in the pledged delegate count, behind in the superdelegate count, and relies on picking up delegates and superdelegates at the state level, including but not limited to FL and MI.

Posted by: ErikW65 | March 4, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary Clinton is a major candidate," Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) said. "She has every right to stay in the race if she chooses to do so."

If she wins Texas AND Ohio, why should she get out?

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

It's clear that Hillary will not be conceding like Huckabee tonight. She will use extra-democratic means if necessary to achieve her ends.

Posted by: ErikW65 | March 4, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse


Jesus (or, in the original Aramaic, YESHUA) is indeed Christian enough for me -- I do not "hate" anyone either -- to clarify, in your opinion, is it "bigoted hate mongering" to to use prior Presidents' middle names (or is that just as to African-American Presidents from here on out)?

William JEFFERSON Clinton
Ronald WILSON Reagan
James EARL Carter
Gerald RUDOLPH Ford, Jr.
Richard MILHOUS Nixon
Lyndon BAINES Johnson

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary stays in after tonight, she will be remembered as this election cycle's version of Ralph Nader in 2000.

Time to move on ...

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | March 4, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey JakeD - Is Jesus Christian enough for you, or do you hate him because he's Jewish?

You are so weak with the bigoted hate mongering of an American citizen who is smarter, more successful, and more important to our nation than you'll ever be - but has a foreign middle name.

We all get your point straight out of the wack-job, wing-nut conspiracy theory blogesphere. Say, that's a good place for you to post in the future! Good for you!

Posted by: onestring | March 4, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

With 18% of towns reporting, Obama's got 60% of the Dem vote. If he gets 64%, then the delegate split is 10 for Obama, 5 for Clinton.

Posted by: ErikW65 | March 4, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Early reports have it that Brattelboro has voted to arrest Bush and Cheney for war crimes, perjury, and obstruction of justice if they step foot in Vermont.

Posted by: ErikW65 | March 4, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I've been listening to some live public radio here in Vermont, and the support for Sen. Obama has been strong, and across the board. Vopters over 65, especially, to hear that they get it, that's cool.

I just heard a female correspondent say "and Obama picked up women in Vermont!" Oops!

Posted by: ErikW65 | March 4, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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