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Endorsement Hierarchy: The Obligatory Endorsement

Regular Fix readers know about our Endorsement Hierarchy chart -- an attempt to rank the importance of endorsements from most to least important.

This chart is constantly being refined as we attempt to provide Fix readers with the definitive list of what matters in the world of endorsements and -- as importantly -- what doesn't.

Late last week we discovered a gaping hole in our chart: the obligatory endorsement.

In the space of 24 hours, Republican Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Thad Cochran (Miss.) all lined up behind the presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

Each one was an obligatory endorsement in its truest form, as all three men would have liked nothing better than to see someone other than McCain emerge as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Cornyn and McCain engaged in one of the most notorious public/private feuds in recent memory during the debate over a comprehensive immigration reform bill. "[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room," McCain told Cornyn, according to's "Capitol Briefing", which first reported the incident.

Cochran, as recently as last month, voiced his reservations about McCain -- telling the Boston Globe that "the thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine," and adding: "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

McConnell and McCain have feuded for years; the two were at daggers drawn for much of the early part of this decade over campaign finance. And, as my colleague Paul Kane reported recently in the Post, McCain came quite close to accusing McConnell of breaking federal law by telling Republican senators that the tobacco industry would provide financial aid for those who voted against McCain's attempt to settle lawsuits against Big Tobacco.

No matter what these three senators said in -- finally -- endorsing their colleague, it's no secret that the reason they got behind him was solely because, with former governor Mitt Romney (Mass.) dropping out last week, it became abundantly clear McCain had virtually sewn up the Republican nomination.

Given that fact, it would have been quite awkward if McConnell, his party's leader in the Senate, or Cochran/Cornyn didn't line up behind him. But, they did so only when all of their other options were exhausted.

How does the obligatory endorsement rank in the hierarchy? Scroll down to find out.

The Endorsement Hierarchy

The Symbolic Endorsement -- The Good: Caroline Kennedy circa 2008. The Bad: Al Gore circa 2004

The State-Specific (Statewide) Endorsement -- The Good: Charlie Crist (2008). The Bad: Deval Patrick (2008)

The Celebrity Endorsement -- The Good: Oprah. The Bad: Sly Stallone.

The Newspaper Endorsement -- The Good: Des Moines Register (2004) The Bad: Des Moines Register (2008)

The State-Specific (Non Statewide) Endorsement -- The Good:Charlie Rangel (2008) The Bad: Raul Grijalva (2008)

The Obligatory Endorsement -- The Good: Not Possible. The Bad: Pretty much all of them.

The Pariah Endorsement: The Good -- Not Possible. The Bad: Joe Lieberman in a Democratic primary (2008)

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 11, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: FixCam Week in Preview: Potomac Primary
Next: Clinton vs. Obama on Electability


A President from muslim background?

Sen. Osama bin Obama will go to Mecca and Medina for prayer

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 12, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"the point is that is unecessary for Rs to use those tactics in order to win. The Dems have made an art form out of identity politics and using sneaky methods to win votes."

right proud, the Bush campaign did nothing of the sort in South Carolina in 2000. Seriously, take the blinders off.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 12, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that should've been WORAM (Well Oiled Republican Attack Machine).

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 12, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Spec, or maybe I shall call you "tator", the point is that is unecessary for Rs to use those tactics in order to win. The Dems have made an art form out of identity politics and using sneaky methods to win votes. Is there any doubt that team Clinton is right this very minute marshalling all of it's lawyerly forces to get the MI and FL delegates reinstated in a proportional manner?

Is there any doubt that, although she constantly invokes the WORAC, it is the Clintons themsleves who will stop at nothing to bring down Obama?

It is unecessary for the Rs to engage in this manner of politicking, and it appears that Romney was, in the end, the instigator and the victim of his own negative campaigning.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 12, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton campaign didn't have a healthcare plan before it felled and they don't have one now. Well to be honest, if everyone is a goverment employee, then the Clinton healthcare plan will work for everyone. Unfortunately some are self employed, independent contractors or work for private employors or small business. Under the Clinton healthcare plan these people would be penalized if they don't pay for their healthcare. This means that most of your family members and friends will have their paychecks garnished. We all know that it doesn't stop there if it is a goverment enforcement. There will be fines and then misdemeanors which is a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony. Why did Ms. Clinton decide on this approach? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Big business, big Corporation call it what you will, they want their money back and in order for Ms. Clinton to get their support in her race to presidency she is giving victory to one side (the healthcare providers) by promising to them that she will have the poeople wages garnished if they continue to give healthcare. Thus allowing her to shout the words "UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE" This is a shady tactic and makes fools out of every american that falls for this trick. The Obama healthcare plan is for the people. Poor people, middle class and rich people can rest assured that there is no tricks or penalties in the Obama healthcare plan. VOTE OBAMA!!

Posted by: cmroots | February 12, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"This is not like the Dem primary, where lying and smearing is necessary to win. The R voters have focused on issues and have chosen accordingly."

right, proud, no "lying and smearing" in the GOP primaries. Good one! LOL

The Washington Post has found plenty of both -- just look for the Pinocchio noses.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 12, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

USMC, Here's a great article that I highly recommend since you seem to like to draw comparisons between candidates of the past and the present.

Lose Now and Win Later?
Don't bet on it.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 12, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

USMC, Thta's your opinion, and you are certainly entitled to it. But you'll start sounding like lylepink soon if you continue to confuse fact with opinion.

The fact remains, as much as ya'll wanted to like Romney, he was a flawed candidate and you know it. Look back at his candidacy in a few years' time and you'll see, he was doomed from the get go for several reasons. Let me qualify those remarks by saying that I would have voted for him if he was the R nominee.

However, if there had been a better alternative to McCain this cycle, he/she would have emerged and led the party to the nomination, but there wasn't. There were only a group of flawed, imperfect candidates and there were legitimate reasons why all of them have fallen by the wayside except Mack and Huck.

This is not like the Dem primary, where lying and smearing is necessary to win. The R voters have focused on issues and have chosen accordingly.

I was merely pointing out that it is our civic American duty to excercise our right to vote, as a reminder and an admonition to those who have foolishly threatened to 'stay home' on election day. THAT is un-American and, frankly, it sounds like nothing more than spoiled children.

(I'm not saying you're one of those; I hope you're not)

I'm also not saying one has to be 100% happy with the choices, but the alternatives are 100% unacceptable and not doing our duty as Americans is equally unacceptable.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 12, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse


See the next thread

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 12, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

proud you probably won't read this,

but you sound like a zealot.

It's "unpatriotic" and "selfish" of me to be unhappy with McCain?

He hasn't locked it up yet. He needs 40% of the available 1215 delegates (462 exactly).

That's going to be a hard thing to do, if Huck pulls out a win in WA, VA, TX, NC, MS, KY, and OH.

PS, Romney never supported withdrawal and you know it. McCain had 10-12 debates to ask him about that interview, but chose not to. 48 hours before FL, he lied.

McCain LIED. To get in the White House. Hello, Hillary?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 12, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

AggieMike, I saw your post on Sunday. I still like MDH and I am glad he is the last one standing aside from McC.

But I prefer McC.
Some things I like about MDH:

He was the only candidate in either party who even questioned the wisdom of the deficit fueled so-called "stimulus" package; and

he is, to me, a most welcome voice on the Christian right.

MDH seems to be genuine - he cares about stewardship of the Earth, and he doesn't carry water for the Wall Street Rs.

I hope he will become the spokesman for the majority of social conservatives for years to come and I hope McC gives him a Cabinet Post; preferably, in my view, HUD or Transportation. Both of these Cabinet posts were afterthoughts during the GWB years. They control funding of infrastructure projects.
I think MDH could make something out of either post and do it right.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 11, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

What about institutional endorsements: unions, interest groups and so forth?

Posted by: ikanouta | February 11, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Better than the Obligatory Endorsement, is the Pre-Emptive Endorsement. It ranks directly above Obligatory, as it is neither good nor bad, but neutral.

All you have to do is state, as early as possible, that you'll support the party nominee. That way you avoid any sticky attachment to anyone in particular. You can think of it as the Teflon Endorsement.

This is especially helpful for those running for office themselves, if they know the likely nominee would hurt them with their constituency. When asked if they support the president-nominee, they simply repeat "As I said at the beginning of this process, I support the party's nominee."

Of course if the nominee turns out to be somone they actually wanted, they can convert the Pre-Emptive Endorsement into a higher-ranking version.

Posted by: TomJx | February 11, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

USMC, The facts are that Romney's own words convicted him, his own record of switching positions and not being courageous enough to take unpopular stands. He was always a business man first, hedging his bets every time.

The voters in FL and elsewhere saw right through his many bipolar statements regarding any number of important issues over the years from when he ran against Ted Kennedy up to now. It was only after Romney spent 10X as much on negative ads against his opponents that some return fire was called for, and although Romney cried foul, it was, again, his own words that entrapped him.

Lets not revisit all of that, though. The important thing now is to support our nominee so that we can ensure progress on the difficult challenges that lie ahead for our country.

The interests of our country demand our selflessness and unity at this juncture. To do otherwise would be un-American and unpatriotic, imo.

Just look at the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan who have voted for the first time in their entire lives because of our efforts to bring them a democratic form of self-government.

What example would we set for them if we cling to selfish desires and jeopardize or even worse, abandon, the electoral process instead of doing our duty to our country first?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse


You ignored my comparison to John Kerry.

Regarding the surge, McCain didn't think it up. And in a purely political act, he tried to take credit for it. And, he lied about Romney in FL. Romney supported it, and MOST Republicans supported it. Don't try to paint him as the architect of, or only believer in, the surge.

Bsimon -- It's easy to pay down the deficit when you let the military decay into a 2nd-tier fighting force, losing at least 25% of its fighting capacity.

Or better yet, when you embrace conservative policies like lowering taxes and supporting free trade.

Take your pick.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, The events of 2001 where we were struck by the worst attack in history on our soil, caused an unprecedented and necessary response which cost and will continue to cost a lot of money. That caused us to realign our priorities reagarding protecting the citizenry long term vs. short term budget balancing. So far, no more attacks on the homeland...a pretty good return on the dollar there, imo.

As zouk correctly states, the dems "love of high taxes, losing wars, big government bureaucracies, corruption, unions, bad education, poor retirment plans, trial lawyers, extreme greens, junk science, and foreign policy of appeasement" is not soemthing that I wish to see revisited.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

proud, your tired litany of dem stereotypes is outdated. For one thing, no candidate is promoting taxpayer-funded universal healthcare. Secondly, tax-and-spend is far superior to borrow-and-spend. Yes, lowered spending is preferred above all, but its clearly unrealistic. Reagan couldn't do it, Bush I couldn't do it & even Bush II couldn't do it - with a GOP Congress. The only guy who's come close was - gasp - Clinton, who actually payed down the debt a bit, during his term. The voters, fortunately, seem to be waking up to the broken promises of fiscal responsibility from the GOP. Perhaps an election loss will inspire that party to refamiliarize itself with real fiscal discipline.

Posted by: bsimon | February 11, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

" I don't think it's fair to call this war a quagmire, by the way"

USMC, Six years to do something that could've been done in 18 months, if done correctly is not exactly a resounding success. What is not fair is asking our military memebers to keep going back on 3 and 4 deployments without leadership in place that is aggressively working to get the Iraqis to self-govern and self-police. I really wish we saw more of that right now under GWB. As you said, it is the most important issue of our time...I wish the admin was acting like it instead of letting it fall to the back burner in his last year.

Also, were it not for the courageous foresight of Rs like Mccain calling for the Petraeus strategy to be implemented, the prevailing politcal winds of a couple years ago would've relegated this effort to the trash bin of history ala' the Vietnam era and completely trashed our legitimacy as a world power, giving AlQaeda the win they were hoping for.

We narrowly averted a debacle thanks to Sen McCain and others who had the courage to stand by their convictions, even when it was not popular. That is leadership. That is what the R ticket in the fall will offer.

The dems will offer higher taxes, bloated social programs, mandated universal healthcare paid for by taxpayers, liberal Suprem court nominees in place for a lifetime appointment.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse



State Rep. Pete Gallego, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, has announced he is endorsing Barack Obama for president. "I made a determination that it's time to pass the mantle on to a new set of folks at the national level," Gallego told the Guardian...

"Obama's life story and his values are so much closer to the Latino community than any candidate other than Bill Richardson," Gallego said.

"Part of what drives me is his life story. It's a fascinating life story. It's more than just the issues, it's his values. I think Hispanics and South Texas should really be able to relate to him."

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 11, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse


Keyoto, making deals with liberals, amnesty, a hot temper and a long memory, etc.

You're telling me THAT won't ruin the country?

McCain understands the war, and for that I can vote for him. It's the most important issue of our time.

But we can't win as an opposition candidate. Kerry was born *NOT* GWB Dec 11, 1943. He ran as *NOT* GWB in 2004, and lost.

McCain is no Hillary, and he's no Obama. But he's also no Reagan.

He can't beat Obama, and that's why this is 1976. I just hope Obama doesn't do too much damage before a real conservative comes along.

Maybe I'm cynical.

PS, I don't think it's fair to call this war a quagmire, by the way. History will see I guess.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

'after a short time they start to stink.'

unpopular occupations tend to be like that too.

Posted by: drindl | February 11, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

BB, Clinton I governed as a moderate when he was governing, that is, and as you may recall, thanks to the R Congress we saw many conservative principles brought to the fore despite Bill's opposition. Welfare-to-work was one example of a great fiscally conservative idea that was popular and effective!

From what she says, her record, and by every other measure, Hillary is no Bill. She is intent on getting mandatory universal healthcare whether anyone likes it or not. That's just one example of a program that would stick around for a long time to come, like fish and houseguests...after a short time they start to stink.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - I wasn't referring to Patrick's opposition in Massachusetts (though the Dems seem to have finally stopped nominating unelectable candidates). Rather, that Patrick's negatives hurt Obama by reminding them of the danger of nominating a neophyte. The steady hand in this particular example would be McCain.

Proud - You're right. The U.S. was clearly ruined for decades by Clinton. Thank goodness we had W to come in a clean up the mess.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 11, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

'The Iraq military should patrol the streets and do the dying. '

It's FIVE YEARS now and almost a TRILLION DOLLARS later. When are these people going to step up to the plate?

I'm sorry, but it's time to stop being the nanny of the world. We can't afford it anymore. We can't go around breaking up all the fights, and putting bandaids on everyone's knees. Our military is overstretched and that makes us vulnerable here. I think it would be nice to put America first for a change.

Posted by: drindl | February 11, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

" if our next president is going to ruin the country"

OMG USMC! I ask you, if McCain had gotten the nomination in 200, do you think we would be in this frickin quagmire in Iraq right now? A McCain presidency will be highly successful, relying on and upholding conservative principles and listening to opposing voices at all times, like those of Colin Powell and Gen Shinseki and other honorable advisors who got thrown overboard because they disagreed with the admin.

Let me remind you, the very same people who oppose McCain now opposed Ronald Reagan at CPAC for being a moderate. THEY are the ones who are out of step with the majority of the R party and America and are what I liek to call "aginners".

Always against something and never FOR anything!

Here's an idea, how about being against liberal big-govt tax-and-spend anti-military democrats! They would ruin the country for decades to come.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

What would be helpful is a well-researched article about the actual effects of endorsements: media, political, Hollywood etc.

My hunch is that the only real difference an endoresement makes is when it comes with feet on the street or cash in the drawer. That's why the mayor of Boston's endorsement was 1000 times more important than the Kenneedy's or Duval's...because it gave Clinton real political leverage.

Seems the 4 women in Californis did nothing to sway the female vote.

But then how are we to know?

Are there journalists who actually research this stuff?

That said, I think Edward's endorsement is meaningless in actual votes because those who supported Edwards are very independent-minded and will not vote based on his recommendation. His delegates are another matter.

If he endorsed Hillary, he would expose himself as a huge hypocrite.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 11, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

PS, Huckabee will win VA and TX (my two loves). I don't think he can go all the way, but I'm still watching him.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Proud -- I absolutely agree -- the alternative, a fresh-faced, do-nothing liberal (or, a snakey, bitter, feminist liberal), is 10X scarier.

I will vote for the R nominee, even if it is John McCain.

But if our next president is going to ruin the country, I'd rather hang that around the neck of the D party.

As the old saying goes, when a Democrat is given a choice between a Democrat and another Democrat, she'll choose a Democrat every time.

This is 1978, and we need a Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, or Mark Sanford in 2012.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

bsimon | February 11, 2008 03:28 PM

If it weren't for the load of oil Iraq has, troops could leave in six months.

The Iraq military should patrol the streets and do the dying. American troops should protect the oil fields and leave as soon as the Iraqi military can protect that themselves too.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 11, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I can see Homeland Security is doing a great job vetting employeees. Here's a Bush Defense Dept analyst just caught for spying for the Chinese, who are the emerging enemy--the one that's actually do long-term damage:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. Defense Department analyst has been arrested and charged with espionage, accused of passing American military secrets to the Chinese government.

Kenneth Wainstein is the assistant attorney general for national security.

Court documents unsealed Monday following arrests in two states identify the defense worker as Gregg William Bergersen, 51, of Alexandria, Virginia.

Bergersen is a weapons systems policy analyst at the Defense Department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency in Arlington, Virginia. He is charged with conspiracy to disclose national defense information illegally to unauthorized individuals.

In an unrelated espionage case, federal authorities in California arrested a former Boeing Co. engineer and charged him with working as an unregistered agent and stealing trade secrets for the Chinese government.

"These two cases plainly represent the magnitude of the threat we face," said Kenneth Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security.

"It's a threat to our national security and to our economic position in the world," he added, "a threat that is posed by the relentless efforts by foreign intelligence services to penetrate our security systems."

Wainstein said the Chinese government is among the most aggressive of foreign powers seeking access to U.S. military and economic secrets.

Posted by: drindl | February 11, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

USMC, These are the measures by which we can determine the outcome of his presidency. These measures such as the ACU rating reflect core beliefs and principles over decades in public service.

Compared that with Obama, whom even General Powell admits we know very little about, and what we do know is extremely liberal.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

PS, I admire his "make-you-famous veto pen". There is always room for self-criticism in the R party.

I don't admire:

Gang of 14
Keating 5 Scandal
Flip-Flop on Tax Cuts
Dirty Politics in FL
Exploitation of Military Service
25+++ Years as Washington Insider

etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

optimyst | February 11, 2008 02:54 PM

66% full steam ahead ain't 100% full blown momentum but look at Hill's decrepit jalopy.

I call it momentum, not big, yet. Texas should do the trick.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 11, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"the idea that we have to "win" a war just because we decided to fight it is asinine."

My position is more nuanced than the alternatives you present.

I think staying and fighting in perpetuity is a mistake. I think leaving and bringing the troops home immediately, without condition, is likewise a mistake.

Therefore, I am looking for new political leadership in the US that will find a solution between the two above options. Perhaps the Biden plan is still a possibility.

Posted by: bsimon | February 11, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm merely suggesting that a "lifetime" rating of a man who has been making deals in Washington since before most privates, corporals, and seargeants I know were born, is not relevant to a conservative who has been watching him for say, the last 5 years.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

'Sorry to nitpick, but "British PM Howard" is actually "former Australian PM Howard".'

who lost, chiefly due to the unpopularity in Australia of the Iraq occupation.

Posted by: drindl | February 11, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Pariah Endorsement? George W. Bush towers over any competition! Too bad for John McCain.

Posted by: crofts | February 11, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

USMC, Ok , what about the last seven years? when the R Congress and GWB went against every fiscally conservative principle...they grossly inflated spending, they didn't cut back in a time of war, and they failed to deliver on the promise of no nation building.

We lost control of Congress in '06 due to these failures, and now you want to chastise the one person who stood valiantly, defiantly against the spending, against the corruption and against the Dems trying to get us to surrender in Iraq? Bucking the party line should've been more common in the last five years, then maybe we wouldn't have a D Congress right now.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

'The Pariah Endorsement:' haveto agree with you bsimon, when 80% of the country thinks it's going in the right direction, why you want an endorsement by the Decider is beyond me.

Full Powell:

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who served under President Bush, said Friday he may not back the GOP presidential nominee in November, telling CNN that "I am keeping my options open at the moment."

"I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life," Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And as I said earlier, I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job for America, whether that candidate is a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent."

Powell also offered praise for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, calling him an "exciting person on the political stage.

"He has energized a lot of people in America," said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. "He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for."

Powell, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the administration in 2004, noted that the next president will need to work to restore America's standing in the world.

"I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years," he said. "A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America.

Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years."'08/

Posted by: drindl | February 11, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Proud -- to suggest that Powell would vote for Obama merely to make history sounds a lot like race-bating. If he votes for Obama, it will be based on ideas.

And quit with the "lifetime" rating. How about his last 5 years? Oh wait, that would be the 4th lowest of all R Senators (mid 70's).

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade: Who was the "steady hand" Patrick ran against? Kerry Healey? Christy Mihos? One of the Democratic primary opponents who he blew out of the water? I think this connection exists only in your mind.

Bsimon: "the war can and should be won even if it shouldn't have been fought in the first place" You really agree with that statement? I know why people like Proud want to ignore why we're in Iraq, but I expected better of you. If the war should not have been fought, if fighting it is not beneficial to our country, and if attempting to win it is detrimental to our budget and international interests, then we should not attempt to "win" the war. We can debate whether those conditions exist, of course. But the idea that we have to "win" a war just because we decided to fight it is asinine.

Posted by: Blarg | February 11, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

optimyst, I'd exchange your #1 with a lead in *all* of the delegate counts. But I may be mistaking momentum with actually being there already...

But the bigger item is that I would agree that Obama isn't there yet. One week ago, we hadn't even been through Super Tuesday yet. The race is changing far too quickly for anyone to get too comfortable.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 11, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to nitpick, but "British PM Howard" is actually "former Australian PM Howard".

Posted by: tjmaness | February 11, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

USMC, I expected to hear Gen.Powell say good things about all of them, considering that his remarks tend to be positive or none at all. I think it's fair to say that he is probably conflicted about his choices...a historic choice to vote for the first viable AA candidate for president, and who also has the most liberal record in the Senate, or to support a like-minded military hawk who has an 82% lifetime rating from the ACU (only a few points lower than Newt) and is a fellow Republican.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Idle thoughts about quantifying "Big Mo."

1) A lead in the most conservative of the media delegate counts, including super delegates.

2) Fundraising superiority.

3) A lead outside the error range in the daily tracking polls.

4) Wins in a majority of the recent contests by clear margins.

5) Signs of stresses in the opponent's campaign.

6) That the trend line in all of the above conditions be clear and favorable.

Thoughts, anyone? By these metrics, Obama still has a way to go. He's still short on #1 & #3.

Posted by: optimyst | February 11, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

BB -- I agree, Romney in 2012 is likely. I've read that even if McCain wins, he probably will not seek re-election. He's only in it for 1 term. That could make the VP pick extra-significant.

Mark -- I watched CP and agree with you. Sorry Proud, he didn't just have nice things to say about McCain.

CC -- Maybe you should write an article about the Washington State GOP shooting Mike Huckabee in the foot. With only 87% of the vote in, with a 200 vote difference, and 1,500 votes yet to be counted (in places favorable to Huckabee), they decided to stop counting and declare McCain the winner.

Does that seem fair to anyone (regardless of who you support)?

Anyone hear about TX Gov. Rick Perry calling Huckster and telling him to drop out? I'm still predicting he will win TX.

And, Rick Perry is (still) a big douche bag (IMHO).

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 11, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Senator Obama said he would like US troops out of Iraq by March 2008."

Who wouldn't?

Posted by: bsimon | February 11, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain-Romney is about as likely as Clinton-Gore II. Lots of bad blood under the table.

Romney ran scorched earth against Huckabee in Iowa and against McCain in New Hampshire. He might have a shot in 2012 if McCain were to lose or, God forbid, die in office.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 11, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, Obama's lofty rhetoric amounts to a souffle' of absolute nonsense when it comes to foriegn policy. I tend to agree with British PM Howard, who has defended his comments about Obama's proposed policies (aka empty rhetoric.

Senator Obama said he would like US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.

Mr Howard responded by saying that if he ran Al Qaeda, he would put a circle around March next year and pray for Senator Obama to win.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - Deval Patrick is a bad endorsement as he reminds everyone of Obama, relatively young, black, and motivating. However, his governorship has been a mixed bag at best. Thus, a DP endorsement reminds everyone of the risk in going for the fresh face rather than the steady hand.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 11, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a democrat, I think Colin Powell's comments deserve careful scrutiny. I trust that the next administration, unlike the current one, will welcome information and advice from all parts of the spectrum and will have policies informed by a careful analysis of the whole array of thought. What a change this will be from the echo chamber of the Bush administration.

I would hope Colin Powell would play a significant role in any of the three possible presidencies of 2009. He deserves a chance to reclaim his place in history after being sullied by his unfortunate association with the likes of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted by: optimyst | February 11, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

proud writes (quotes?):
"...the war can and should be won even if it shouldn't have been fought in the first place--because we're not in the first place; choices must be made from where one stands today, not some imaginary place of the speaker's choosing."

While that statement is true, it also implies that there is only a military solution to the problem in Iraq, which is not the case. The military has been doing the job its been asked to do - and has largely been doing it well. But that does not mean that the military is the best tool - let alone the only tool - that is available to our political leaders to solve the problem.

Fortunately, the majority of candidates who might be our next president appear to realize this. Whether any of them can actually achieve the goals President Bush irrationaly set out to accomplish remains to be seen.

Lastly, it is interesting, to me anyway, that the paragraph I quoted above is totally in tune with what Sen Obama's position is on the war in Iraq, which he has boiled down to the line "We have to be as careful getting out as we were careless going in." He is saying that we can't just 'cut and run' but have to actually consider the consequences of our actions - which we didn't in 2002/2003.

Posted by: bsimon | February 11, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by wpost4112:
"Most important endorsement: the American voter.

Least important: anyone else.

Too tired to write a real article today??"


Take it easy man. I agree that the most important endorsement comes from the American voter but you're absolutely foolish to think that endorsements don't play a role. I don't know how this doesn't constitute being a "real" article, and to be such a critic I'm sure you're not capable of producing anything worth reading. At any rate...

Is there serious talk about Edwards endorsing HRC? And no matter where Edwards goes, where will his endorsement fall in the hierarchy?

Posted by: walterbond | February 11, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza:

ESPN's "13 Levels of Losing" is fun to read and makes sense.

Your "Hierarchy" is not as clear looks irrelevant and a waste of your time.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 11, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Some inconvenient truth...the war can and should be won even if it shouldn't have been fought in the first place--because we're not in the first place; choices must be made from where one stands today, not some imaginary place of the speaker's choosing.

And the promise of speedy withdrawal tells those who fight American soldiers: Hold on a little longer; those you fight will soon leave the field.

A more destructive message can scarcely be imagined.

Both Clinton and Obama speak as though the war is a lost cause. It isn't--unless one of them wins the election and pulls the plug, a scenario that Iran's proxies no doubt await eagerly.

On the R side, The R base wants the country to reacquire control over its southern border, and wants to see the millions of illegal immigrants already here expelled or punished--because anything less rewards them for their violations.

The first goal is both good policy and good politics. The second is a practical impossibility and a political disaster. No American government can afford to track down and expel, fine, or otherwise penalize 12 million of its residents: 17 times the number of convicted felons who enter prison each year.

That much law enforcement is beyond government's capacity--a fact for which conservatives, of all people, should be thankful.

Sometimes, leaders need to say: No, you can't. Problems aren't solved because voters, or the politicians they support, imagine the solutions.

We might start by asking who tells us the truth--even, or especially, when it hurts.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Spectator: McCain would not make a good Secretary or anything else. He's an old man who needs to start looking for a nursing home to live in.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 11, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Most important endorsement: the American voter.

Least important: anyone else.

Too tired to write a real article today??

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 11, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

While proud is not quoting incorrectly,
Powell actually had both kind words and criticism for all three and said all of them had spoken to him and that he was available to all of them and that he was not endorsing anyone at this time. To me, he pointed out the campaign oversimplifications that all three were engaged in and their less well known intent to rely on their diplomatic and military advisors. Transcript is probably available at CNN.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 11, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

That was good of General Powell to clear that up. Did he also explain why he went into the United Nations and presented a false case which got us into this war?

I like Colin Powell and have tremendous respect for his Military service to our country. However, he should take a hard look in the mirror before he criticizes anyone who is trying to fix his mistake, and don't be fooled, he is as much to blame as much as anyone else in that administration is other than the President himself for the situation we as a nation are in right now.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 11, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user"

Obama "ghettoized" (interesting choice of word) himself by admitting to cocaine use? If you say so.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 11, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow, one of the Republican architects of the Iraq War supports the candidate who wants to continue that war! And he dislikes the candidates who want to end the war! Stop the presses!

Posted by: Blarg | February 11, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

you're right proud, McCain would make a great Secretary of Defense. President, not so much.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 11, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse


Bush, definately Pariah to the nation, either Pariah or Symbolic to the R's.

Posted by: cmsore | February 11, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Colin Powell made some very interesting comments yesterday, while weighing in on the candidates with Wolf Blitzer.

Of John McCain, he said "So I think you have to listen very carefully to what the senator said. He knows what he's talking about when he talks about military matters."

On Clinton's plan for Iraq, Powell said: "Well, I have no idea on what basis she is making these statements. Is this based on some military advice she has received from her staff, or -- you know, I don't know what's magic about 60 days and what's magic about one or two brigades a month."

On Obama's plan for Iraq, Powell noted "Well, it's good that he feels strongly enough about the issue that he says what he is going to do, what he is planning to do. But I have found in my many years of service, to set arbitrary dates that don't coincide with the situation on the ground or what actually is happening tends not to be a useful strategy."

So, the total is:

one guy who knows what he's talking about,

one woman who pulls arbitrary numbers out of thin air to satisfy the left,

and one guy whose ideas for being CIC are impractical and not useful in the military setting.

Thank you for clearing that up, General!

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Do not read this if you like Clinton hypocrisy:

[after the Selma speeches]"...Hillary Clinton led Mr. Obama among African-American Democrats by a margin of 62 percent to 34 percent. But once black voters met Mr. Obama and started to gravitate toward him, Bill Clinton and the campaign's other surrogates stopped caring about what African-Americans thought. In an effort to scare off white voters, Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user (by the chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, among others), "the black candidate" (as Clinton strategists told the Associated Press) and Jesse Jackson redux (by Mr. Clinton himself)."

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 11, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of his faults, McCain is almost without doubt the GOP presidential nominee.

I think if he very soon announced Mitt Romney as his running mate that conservatives would rally around the McCain/Romney ticket and immediately gear up for the fight to defeat the Democratic nominee in November.

Posted by: justamere10 | February 11, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes suggests another endorsement category:
"Expect Edwards to endorse Hillary after recievng assurances he will get whatever job he's after from Clinton Inc."

The 'strategic' endorsement...

Posted by: bsimon | February 11, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Where are we putting President Bush's endorsement? Possible categories include:


Perhaps another Fix poll is in order...

Posted by: bsimon | February 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Expect Edwards to endorse Hillary after recievng assurances he will get whatever job he's after from Clinton Inc. Then Prince Albert Gore will endorse Obama largely out of his disdain for the Clintons. What Obama has to worry about is if he gets to far ahead in the race, Clinton Inc. will put a contract on him.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 11, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much all GOPers need to be on the McCain bandwagon by now.

Posted by: parkerfl | February 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I thought a bad endorsement was one that actually hurt the candidate, not just one that was unsuccessful. How was Deval Patrick's endorsement of Obama bad? It didn't make Obama win MA, but it probably helped. (Compare Obama's MA polling numbers from mid-January to the final results.) It certainly didn't hurt Obama. And unless Hillary goes after all the Democrats who didn't endorse her (which is unlikely, to put it mildly), it won't hurt Patrick either. So I don't see how it's an example of a "bad" endorsement.

Posted by: Blarg | February 11, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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