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Vindicated McEntee Sounds Off

By Alec MacGillis
Among those breathing a big sigh of relief -- and crowing a bit in vindication -- after Hillary Clinton's victories in Ohio and Texas this week is Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the giant union that endorsed Clinton last fall. A week ago, it looked like AFSCME might be on the verge of again going down with a losing candidate, as it did when it backed Howard Dean four years ago. On top of that, the union was facing an internal rift, with seven of its board members objecting to aggressive radio ads the union had run against Barack Obama.

Now AFSCME's candidate is back in the hunt, and McEntee couldn't be more pleased. In a telephone interview from San Diego, where he is attending the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting this week, McEntee said Tuesday had set Clinton on a path to winning the nomination, had badly undermined Obama's case for being the Democratic standard-bearer, and had made it all the more crucial for Democrats to seat the delegates won by Clinton in Florida and Michigan.

"It was truly a turning point in the election. Her message is really starting to reverberate with the voters, with the populace. I think that the experience factor, the national security factor, all of that is beginning to mold into what is a good campaign and a good way to go into November....She truly demonstrated that she was a fighter and that was what people want," he said. "And some of the gloss is appearing to come off of Senator Obama."

McEntee said Clinton's strength in Ohio had "knocked this idea of [Obama's] electability into a cocked hat." Her winning Ohio should matter far more to Democrats than Obama's wins in red states like Kansas or North Dakota. "A Democrat has to be able to carry Ohio. She demonstrated that she can change it from red to blue," he said. "Not to belittle Alabama or Utah or Nebraska, but these are red of the darkest color." He dismissed Obama's wins in other swing or borderline swing states such as Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin. "I don't see Minnesota being a swing state, and he won Missouri by a feather," he said.

How will Clinton win the nomination when Obama's gap in pledged delegates may be hard to close? "I think Pennsylvania is a big contest and I think she wins it and she picks up some delegates there," he said. "And then of course they've got to sort out Florida and Michigan....Almost two million people voted, [the candidates] all followed the rules and she won it going away....They all treated [Florida] the same, nobody campaigned there, it was almost like a Democratic political laboratory and people made up their mids and voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton."

Should there be a revote? "I don't know if they should have revotes," he said. "The Democratic Party has an obligation to truly settle this on terms that are fair to the people who participated. If they don't satisfy the people of Florida, there is a possibility that we lose Florida" in November.

Beyond that, he said, "we've still got Puerto Rico and the superdelegates as well, put all that together and there are a lot of delegates in flux. It'll be hard for him to get to [a delegate majority] and hard for her too, but when you put that whole package together it's possible for her, sure," he said.

Did he feel any vindication given rival unions that endorsed Obama when it appeared last month like he might be coasting to victory, such as the Teamsters and Service Employees International? "Yeah, we do."

Does he worry that the drawn-out fight for the nomination will hurt the party in the general election? "I think it's called the Democratic Party for a reason, there'll be debate and discussion, but you know, the biggest thing we have going for us is the record of George W. Bush," he said. "If I was John McCain going to have lunch at the White House, I'd ask for take-out rather than go there be with [Bush] with his approval ratings around 29 percent. I don't know about that endorsement at all. The angst created by eight years of George Bush and Dick Cheney will go a long way toward uniting the Democratic Party."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 6, 2008; 5:49 PM ET
 
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Comments

TAH1: Before you repeat things you heard from Hillary you should check your facts. JFK won the general election in 1960 while losing Ohio. If you have been paying attention you would have noticed HRC has a bit of a conflict with honesty. This should be a lesson for you that just because Hillary says something doesn't mean it is true. Sorry for your public humiliation. :>)

Posted by: palerider34 | March 7, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama has won Texas please correct your story!

So far it's just NPR but it's a start. The are finally admitting what was evident late Tuesday night. With 41% of the Texas caucus vote in, Obama's 12 point lead (56/44) is insurmountable.

NPR is reporting a net 3 delegate lead for Obama once all is said and done.

* MaverickModerate's diary :: ::
*

This is how this works, first there is the TX primary:

Clinton won the primary with 51 percent of the popular vote to Obama's 47 percent, according to the Associated Press. Those results earned her 65 delegates to Obama's 61 delegates.

Followed by the TX caucuses:

The state Democratic Party estimates that Obama will come out ahead: 37 pledged delegated to Clinton's 30 delegates

Clinton: 65 + 30 = 95
Obama: 61 + 37 = 98
=======================
Obama wins by 3!

I diaried yesterday that the msm narrative of Clinton winning Texas was false. It may be up to us, to make sure that this narrative must be changed to accurately reflect what really happened. Clinton did NOT have a 3 to 1 victory over Obama, it was a 2 to 2 tossup.

The media loves to jump the gun and sensationalize whenever it looks like there is a good story, such as another Clinton comeback. But in this case it is particularly reprehensible because as of Tuesday night these same results were evident with about 30% of the vote in. If nothing else, instead of illegitimately declaring Clinton the winner, they should have done what they did in Florida in the 2000 general election, wait for the final outcome before they declared the winner.

They jumped the gun and Obama paid the price by appearing to have lost his Mojo. Well I'm delcaring his Mojo is back!

Update: Wow, made the rec list. Thanks to all!!

Update 2 10:52:AM MST A few commenters are trying to make a point that Clinton maintains the popular vote lead in Texas. This is factually incorrect.
According to NPR, more than 1 million voters showed up to caucus.

Let's do a little math (Primary vote totals from ABC News):

TX Primary Result
Clinton 1,459,814
Obama 1,358,785

TX Caucus Result
Not formally tabulated but if we derive from the available totals we have good approximate numbers
Clinton 440,000
Obama 560,000

Grand Popular Vote Totals (Primary + Caucus)
Clinton 1,469,814 + 440,000 = 1,909,814
Obama 1,358,785 + 560,000 = 1,918,785

'nuff said?
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/7/11339/50182/559/471347

Posted by: siren1 | March 7, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

AFSCME rocks.

GAME OVER

Hillary Clinton has proven she can win in the big states that are the must wins for the Dems in November.

If you can't win in Ohio, you can't win the Presidency. In Ohio, Obama outspent Hillary 3 to 1 yet won only FIVE out of 88 counties in Ohio. Ouch. Those five counties were where the black vote was high, Obama getting 86% of the black vote, the only voting group that Obama won.

Obama is unelectable. It's time for him to exit the race.

Posted by: TAH1 | March 7, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The reporter let McEntee off the hook. What does AFSCME have to gain by opposing a pro-working person Senator with a 100% union voting record? Why is AFSCME spending millions of dollars of their members dues money doing attacking Obama? They just announced they were dropping another million into the ALP to run anti-Obama ads in Pennsylvania.

McEntee sits on the DNC. Did he vote for the rules that prevent Florida and Michigan from being seated? I think so. What has changed for him to change his mind now?

Posted by: whatajoker | March 7, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

McEntee got it right. It's always risky to endorse in the primary - but that is when it counts the most. AFSCME's stock would not be very high if they jumped on the band wagon as it crosses the finish line.

I'm for HRC and here's why: In the business world they call it "deliverables" - which is more than delivering an inspiring speech. It means delivering things that can be accomplished quickly and with a reasonable chance of success. We can't hope and talk our way out of a recession or a mortgage crisis. I think Clinton can deliver the leadership we need - from the first day.

American is huge and it can't be turned around on a dime. Those going to the polls with stars in their eyes, rather than with their eyes wide open, are going to be bitterly disappointed.

Posted by: analog.joe | March 7, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Obama adviser Susan Rice said the ability to handle that 3 a.m. crisis phone call is not something that can be acquired "merely by being married to a commander-in-chief."

(Marriage of convenience, I might add)

Posted by: tchanta | March 7, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Some of the gloss is coming off of Hillary's experience card that she keeps trying to play. It seems she could not answer the question of what really makes her able to handle a foreign policy crisis better than Obama? There is a reason for that. She has never handled a foreign policy crisis, and her biggest claim to foreign policy experience is a speech she gave in China. Oh, but that was a speech and she has already said that a speech means nothing, so I guess her foreign policy experience means nothing. Of course she did travel to foreign countries and have tea, but that does not give you any credibility. Laura Bush has done that as well. So I guess Hillary, who has now endorsed McCain as a great commander in chief, must also feel that Laura Bush would be a great commander in chief too. If Obama could only get more tea-time with those foreign leaders, than he could be on par with Laura Bush and Hillary. That is just what he needs. Some sips of tea.

Posted by: goldie2 | March 7, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Cocked hat is racist? Come on. Stop playing the race card. The only doing that is Obama and his wife.

Posted by: deminFLA | March 6, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

That's a fair assumption.

Posted by: zukermand | March 6, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Is this the same group that "didn't" campaign for HRC in Florida? Saw an awful lot of signs with those initials on them, seeking votes for Hillary! Of course, Floridians always play by the rules so I must be wrong.

Posted by: deucebollards | March 6, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

It's like these racists are so racist they just can't stop the rampant racism.

Disgusting racists.

Posted by: zukermand | March 6, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"And some of the gloss is appearing to come off of Senator Obama."

That sounds a little racist, too.

More of the same old racist politics from the racist Clintons? When will it end?

Posted by: zukermand | March 6, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"a cocked hat"?

I don't know what that means, but it sounds like it might be racist.

Posted by: zukermand | March 6, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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