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Clinton, Obama Get Cordial Senate Welcomes

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) departs after a senate vote, on the day of the West Virginia primary election, from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, May 13, 2008. (Reuters)

By Shailagh Murray
There are plenty of ways to measure the Democratic presidential race: the delegate math, the popular vote count, states won and lost, the scene on the Senate floor earlier today.

Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton spent about an hour in the chamber voting on energy amendments, a rare joint appearance that was far more relaxed than previous sessions this primary season. By the foot traffic and facial expressions, it was pretty easy to figure out who was winning and who was losing.

Obama glided from colleague to colleague, exchanging laughs and handshakes with all his fellow Democrats and a few Republicans, including John Warner (Va.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Clinton stayed mostly in the front corner, huddling with supporters such as Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).

While Obama sat side by side with Sen. Carl Levin (Mich.), presumably sorting out the delegate mess in Levin's home state, Feinstein adjusted a brooch on Clinton's coral jacket. Obama consulted with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa), then moved on to Senate Minority Leader Richard Durbin (Ill.) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.). Clinton carried on longer conversations with female buddies such as Feinstein, Stabenow and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.).

At one point, Obama made a beeline for Clinton, tapping her on the shoulder while she was talking to Sen. Ken Salazar (Colo.). The two exchanged a few words, and that was the extent of the drama -- Obama continued to mingle with colleagues, cocktail-party style, while Clinton received well-wishers in her corner. There was no tension, no spectacle, no nervous glances across the chamber. Clinton backers approached Obama, and Obama supporters made a point of greeting Clinton.

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.) said Clinton seemed relaxed when he paused to greet her. "It was very civil. Polite and civil," he said of the general mood. "I told her that Chelsea seems like she's really grown. As a parent, that always makes you proud, when you see that in somebody else's child."

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 13, 2008; 4:16 PM ET
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Clinton has always shown her grace throughout this campaign. Obama whines everytime he gets attacked, yet he has attacked her her character such as 'deeply flawed' etc.

Sexism continues to be strong in this country. Just look at the history of people in Congress; they seem to be in this order, white men, then black men, before any women. The fact that Clinton is smart and qualified and yet is so unfairly treated, only confirms that sexism still exists. I am going to write in Clinton as my choice in November if she does not win the nomination.

Posted by: vote4thebest | May 14, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I think, Dems will figure a way to come together soon. After all, Clinton and Obama share almost identical platforms and views on how the future of our country should go.

Voting for McCain would be an aberration.

Posted by: wolf | May 13, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Rush and his stooges will continue to try to game the system, but the funny thing is that it most likely helps us more than not!

We've got strongly vetted candidates now, and the negative news closer to the election will be McCain related.

Thankfully the Republican Grand Failure is coming to an end. McCain wants this failure to continue - do you?

Posted by: Franky | May 13, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

'Ole jake"Hussein"D is neither sheep nor goat - he's an ass.

Posted by: kgb999 | May 13, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse


Feel free to try and quote where I "hate and fear [my] neighbor as if he were an evil disease."

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, JakeD, you're a real Christian. In some twisted alternate universe where Jesus repeatedly exhorted his followers to hate and fear their neighbor as if he were an evil disease.

Posted by: Mark | May 13, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse


You are referring to Phase TWO of "Operation CHAOS" -- we are currently in Phase THREE -- even I voted for Barack HUSSEIN Obama during Phase One ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. Because the Republican vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate."

Ummm.... except that Operation Chaos encouraged republicans to vote for Hillary to lengthen the primary process, so I think you're a bit confused on the details. Obama has done quite well with both independents and jaded conservatives, but nice try.

Posted by: bdiddy | May 13, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton carried on longer conversations with female buddies such as Feinstein, Stabenow and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.)."

How these Senators could converse and be so congenial, instead of giving HRC HELL for "DELIBERATELY" 'race baiting' and splitting the Party is beyond my comprehension. How can these "buddies" NOT GIVE A DAMN about the 'mean and nasty' campaign HRC has run and voice it? Is this type of behavior going to now be the 'acceptable standard' for any congressional, senate and presidential race in the future? I have NO RESPECT for any of the above mentioned females!

Posted by: ObamasLady | May 13, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course I love men (and women) as wonderful creations of the One, True God -- even you FAKE JakeD -- for God so LOVED the world that He sent His One and Only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I like men.

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Article got cut off. Here's the rest:


Then Clinton wandered over to where David Duke, an invitee to the Senate floor by one of his Republican buddies, stood.

"I'm worried, David," Clinton began. "The race baiting doesn't seem to be working for my campaign. What did you proud conservators of our master race DO in the south when people were rising above racism and starting to embrace one another with respect and equality?"

"Well, it's tough. The arrow of history is against us, Hillary. People are starting to see through this stuff. But it doesn't mean we give up the fight. There are plenty of 'bad angels' left in people that folks like us can appeal to. Just keep up the fight babe. I'm sure there's a Willie Horton or two left out there for you to play off of. You just have to find him. Don't give up HOPE."

"Thanks David. I knew I could count on your support."

Then Hillary sauntered off to the Hawk and Dove to down some shots of whatever that stuff is that they drink in the next primary state.

Posted by: Mark | May 13, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

thatsa nice when the bambinos play bravo.

Posted by: old italian grandma | May 13, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

HOPEFULLY, They will be able to write Tripe like this about the Senator's daily activities over the next Year.

With the RINO in there as well!

And how they get to all Kiss Up to the Veep;


See, the GOP Faithful, not the extremely STUPID People running the show right now, are going to ALSO DEMAND, Candidates who LISTEN to our DEMANDS!

Starting with NO AMNESTY! :-(

Hasta la Vista McAmnesty! Take your Pawlenty Crony and your Real Estate scamming Lobbiests WITH YOU!

It's the Mitt and MIKE Show!

Old Man McCain, and his Puppy Pawlenty, RINOs Both, or;

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee? :-)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 13, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and why the hell does a reporter think this sort of conjecture has anything to do with her job, supposedly reporting.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting how both articles, now and Jan 28, describe exactly the same scene, and even with electoral prospects largely reversed, Shailagh Murray manages to not only admire "the glide" both times, but find the same larger meaning.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"There are plenty of ways to measure the Democratic presidential race:"

Heads up! Serious stupid incoming!!

"Obama glided from colleague to colleague, exchanging laughs ...Clinton stayed mostly in the front corner, huddling with supporters"

That sounds familiar...

"A pair of late afternoon Senate votes brought Obama and Clinton together in rare proximity and made for some drama on the Senate floor.

Obama glided from desk to desk and was greeted by his colleagues like a returning prizefighter. ...For most of this lovefest, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton remained out of view, having stepped into the cloakroom during the first vote."

I wonder if Shailagh Murray is a hack of the highest order or if she really just can't get over the way that man "glides", or that woman "crouches".

Well, as Patrick Swayze once said, "No one puts Baby in the corner", and that includes Shailagh Mrray.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Much better article:

The New Republic:

Peter Keating.

Though it's been clear more or less since Super Tuesday that Barack Obama was going to finish the primary season with more delegates than Hillary Clinton, her campaign has relentlessly tried to move the campaign's goalposts, resetting the thresholds needed for victory as suited their needs. And the media more or less had to go along: when Clintonistas claimed that Obama's caucus victories ought to be less important than Hillary's big-state wins, or that Michigan and Florida should count, or that pledged delegates could vote for whomever they like, beat writers duly noted the new flare-ups, and talking heads chewed them over. The narrative of the horse race following her successes in Texas and Ohio on March 4 became a question: "Is there a way she can catch up?" All of which played perfectly into Clinton's down-but-not-out, scrappy-fighter makeover.

Last week, however, Clinton fell short of the expectations her own campaign had set. As Bill Clinton's sickly countenance revealed during Hillary's half-victory/half-concession speech, their campaign finally ran out of spin.

Finally, we're all on the same page about the math involved in the fight for the nomination. Pledged delegates plus superdelegates plus Florida and Michigan plus zero credit for Michigan's uncommitted delegates and John Edwards' supporters - Clinton's fantasy equation - still add up to an Obama lead. The totals under Hillary's best-case scenario: Obama 1942.5, Clinton 1890, according to Democratic Convention Watch. Of course, hope dies hard, and Bill Clinton has been barnstorming West Virginia, telling voters they "will see the earth move" if enough of them show up to lead a miracle comeback for Hillary in the popular vote.

Hillary has had two motivations for staying in the race. One was prudential: Obama really was about as untested as his opponents claim, and there was always a chance that some surprise would trip him up. Yet even when his closet turned out to be hiding the braying carcass of Jeremiah Wright, Obama buckled but did not crumple. The other was psychological: It was impossible for the Clintons, given their massive sense of entitlement as well as their faith in Bill's political expertise, to believe that Hillary essentially lost this campaign before she was fully paying attention to the rules. But the fact that top Clinton officials are arguing now about whether Mark Penn understood proportional representation last year is just the latest sign that they had an irretrievably bad winter.

For all the finger-pointing within her campaign, there has been a heroic aspect to Clinton's resolve. But to extend its fight, her campaign has thrown around a lot of sand, obscuring two important facts that should become much clearer to everybody in the days ahead.

First, superdelegates were never going to trump an Obama nomination by breaking en masse toward Hillary. Calling superdelegates party elders is just another way of saying they are politicians with long records. They want to preserve their own careers, not trigger riots about hijacking the presidential primaries, and maximize their access to the next president. And that means they are subject to the same public pressures and bandwagon-jumping calculations as any other politicians.

Naturally enough, more than 150 superdelegates endorsed Hillary back when she was leading the national polls. Then, as Obama won primaries and caucuses, superdelegates started hopping aboard his campaign, to the point where Obama now holds a narrow lead in their support. The superdelegates who remain uncommitted today are no great profiles in courage; they're mayors and congressmen who didn't want to guess wrong - or, more charitably, who wanted to let voters have their say. Either way, they are submitting to the legitimacy of the popular will as expressed through primaries and caucuses.

The second reality emerging from the (near-)resolution of the Democratic race is that "momentum" is a function of place as much as time. In the weeks following Super Tuesday, Obama looked irresistible as he racked up one victory after another, but in reality, he was on favorable terrain almost everywhere. Then it seemed like he was faltering as he couldn't knock Hillary out in Texas and Rhode Island. Demographics matter; Clinton and Obama spent six weeks and more than $15 million in Pennsylvania without fundamentally altering the dynamics of the vote there.

Recently, the nominating calendar has given Hillary a boost, as she ruthlessly isolated Obama's weaknesses among working-class Catholics, Scotch-Irish, and seniors. The Clinton campaign has used her success in a series of states that happened to be strung together on the schedule to create the impression that she is strong and Obama weak all across the regions that will matter in November. Result: In comparing Clinton and Obama, the media have focused on Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

But it's a big country. Obama leads John McCain in Colorado, Iowa, Washington, and Wisconsin in recent polls, while Hillary is losing those states to the Republican. Obama also outperforms Hillary by seven points in Minnesota and eight in Oregon (where the Democrats are ahead), and by four-and-a-half in Nevada (where McCain leads). He's within striking distance of McCain in North Carolina, as well as Virginia, where Clinton trails by double digits. And scattered polls over the past few months have shown Obama ahead of or close to McCain in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and even Alaska--all states Clinton has no shot at winning. Clinton might make a formidable general-election candidate anyway; her full-throated adoption of right-wing talking points against Obama has been so successful among Appalachians that she could put states such as Kentucky and West Virginia in play. But Clinton always needed to win Ohio and Florida to beat McCain. Obama might not.

Which brings us to the big question confronting each candidate in this new, terminal phase of the nominating race. For Hillary, it's how much she wants to hurt Obama. And when she equated "white Americans" with "hard-working Americans" in attacking Obama last week, she signaled that she's still willing to campaign destructively. As long as Hillary is playing with her knife collection, she can make Obama bleed. Until she puts it away, next-stage questions, such as how the Michigan and Florida delegations will be seated and whether Hillary merits a vice-presidential nod, will go unanswered.

For Obama, the big question is just how much he believes that 2008 isn't just a Democratic year but a realigning election. His safe play would be to aim for a replay of the 2000 and 2004 elections with the national baseline a few points more favorable to the Democrats. Under this scenario, Obama ought to put Hillary or a Clinton surrogate on the ticket and focus on bringing traditionally Democratic and swing states into the fold.

But looking at today's electoral map, Obama knows he has consistently polled very well in the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest, Democratic-leaning swing regions where Hillary's scorched-earth campaign may actually have helped him among progressive whites, and where anti-Bush sentiment is running particularly high. Obama's landslide primary coalitions in Virginia and North Carolina, combined with recent local Democratic successes, could put those states on the table, too. The Southwest and Mountain West trended strongly Democratic in the 2006 elections. And none of these areas is dominated by the kinds of voters who have given Obama so much trouble over Jeremiah Wright. He might well try to sweep them all, dispensing with the calculations and shifts required to win Ohio or Florida and winning with a "new politics" reform coalition of African Americans, white liberals, new voters, anti-war/anti-Washingon independents, and less-enthused Clinton Democrats. Obama's newly-launched voter-registration campaign would play a huge role in this.

That strategy would turn whole swaths of purple and reddish states blue if it works. But it requires a heavy investment in states that aren't used to voting Democratic, and where McCain is currently quite popular. And there probably wouldn't be a Rust Belt to fall back on if it failed.

Which way to turn, and how big a bet to make on fundamental change - that's the argument Donna Brazile and Paul Begala started to have in their televised smackdown last Tuesday night. It's likely to keep us busy all the way to Denver.

Posted by: Elizabeth Gilmore | May 13, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

No punches, hair pulling and spitting.
How how dissapointing.

Posted by: Vincent | May 13, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Someone who loses out financially from this primary is Chelsea. Her year end bonus from her hedge fund employer won't be as big as it could have been. I'm sure she is still proud of her Mom, I would be if I were her.

Posted by: Gator-ron | May 13, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

As much as 30% of Obama's primary, and caucus votes are Republicans trying to choose the weakest democratic candidate for McCain to run against. These Republicans have been gaming the caucuses where it is easier to vote cheat. This is why Obama has not been able to win the BIG! states primaries. Even with Republican vote cheating help.
Hillary Clinton has been out manned, out gunned, and out spent 2 and 3 to 1. Yet Obama has only been able to manage a very tenuous, and questionable tie with Hillary Clinton.
If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. Because the Republican vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate. All of this vote fraud and republican manipulation has made Obama falsely look like a much stronger candidate than he really is. The democratic party needs to fix this outrage. I suggest a Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ticket. Everyone needs to throw all your support to Hillary Clinton NOW! So you can end this outrage against US the voter, and against democracy.

Posted by: It's not to late | May 13, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse


I intend to be right here, but you know what they say about "The best-laid plans of mice and men ..."

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

What kinda broach was it?

A flag pin, maybe?

This article fails to mention what the candidates were wearing. Memorial Day is around the corner and we get no fashion news...

Go back to journalism school!

Posted by: Rene Schwarzenheimer | May 13, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

This needs to be investigated!

Posted by: ashley | May 13, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

We can always count on you, JakeD, to be the first on-line with a sour comment. Will we lose you after the primary is over, or will the fun just be getting started? It will be a relief to, finally, separate the sheep from the goats. Now it will be the D's v. the R's. I don't know which are "sheep" and which are "goats," or which designation is more insulting, but I like our odds this time around.

Posted by: Chuck | May 13, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet it's because she just hasn't chosen to leave yet, which by the way is well within her right, right??

Posted by: Beingsensible | May 13, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

O.K., and the point of this is...

Posted by: Beingsensible | May 13, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Anyone want to make any guesses why Clinton is still running?

I say it's either to save face, given her claims that she's "in it til there's a nominee" or...

Clinton Deadline Looms for Recouping $11 Million Personal Loan

or perhaps...
Hillary Agonistes

Posted by: jencm | May 13, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

A real Kum-Ba-Yah moment ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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