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Primary Positioning

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Eager to be able to claim victory in Michigan and Ohio, Hillary Clinton's campaign is aggressively pushing Barack Obama to reach an agreement for a re-vote in those states, whose primaries earlier this year did not count because they moved up their dates in violation of Democratic Party rules.

"In my view, there are two options: honor the results or hold new primary elections," Clinton said at U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce conference in Washington. "I don't see any other solutions that are fair and honor the commitment that 2.5 million voters made. ... We have a basic obligation to make every vote in America count, and I hope that Senator Obama's campaign will join me in working to make that happen."

Her campaign also publicly released a letter from campaign manager Maggie Williams to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, in which Williams said "we hope that your campaign will join us in our efforts to ensure that these votes are counted."

Obama, in an interview on MSNBC yesterday, said he supported efforts to make sure that the delegates from the states are seated at the Democratic National Committee but did not say how that should happen. Plouffe this morning in a conference call questioned whether mail-in ballots, one of the proposed ways to redo the primaries, would actually work.

Clinton's campaign is trying to make the case that wins in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan would show her winning four key swing states, making her the most electable candidate.

Obama's camp does not agree.

"The Clinton Campaign would like to focus your attention only on Pennsylvania -- a state in which they have already declared that they are "unbeatable," Plouffe wrote in a memo to reporters and supporters. "But Pennsylvania is only one of 10 remaining contests, each important in terms of allocating delegates and ultimately deciding who [our] nominee will be. Senator Obama campaigned in Pennsylvania yesterday and will do so again later this week, but he will also campaign aggressively in the other upcoming states -- he will travel to other upcoming states in the very near future."

"The key is not who wins the states that the Clinton campaign thinks are important," he continued. "Throughout this entire process, they have cherry-picked states, diminished caucuses, and moved the goal posts to create a shifting, twisted rationale for why they should win the nomination despite winning fewer primaries, fewer states, fewer delegates, and fewer votes."

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, responded "the path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania, so if Barack Obama can't win there, how will he the general election?"

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 12, 2008; 1:51 PM ET
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