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Obama Prepares for Fight With McCain

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) is broadening his communications staff in order to deal with the two-front war in which he currently finds himself. The Illinois senator is caught between a lingering primary fight with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and a pending general election battle against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The two new additions -- Anita Dunn and Hari Sevugan -- are a mix of old and new for Obama.

Dunn, a media consultant, has long been close to many within Obama's inner circle and is a former manager of Hopefund -- Obama's political action committee.

Dunn will serve as a senior adviser on "strategic communications", according to a source within the campaign. She joins Dan Pfeiffer, Pete Rouse and Steve Hildebrand -- all veterans of former senator Tom Daschle's (D-S.D.) political operation who are now with Obama. (Daschle, himself, is also an Obama backer.)

Pfeiffer and Dunn were part of Sen. Evan Bayh's inner circle when the Indiana Senator was considering a run for president. Bayh dropped his candidacy in late 2006 and went on to endorse Clinton.

Sevugan, who will join the Obama press shop as a spokesman, comes to the campaign after serving as communications director for Sen. Chris Dodd's (Conn.) presidential bid earlier this year. Sevugan spent the 2006 election as communications director for the successful gubernatorial campaign of Martin O'Malley (Md.) and the year before was policy director for Gov. Tim Kaine (Va.)

The hires, Obama insiders were quick to note, are additive and do little to change the overall communications structure. Pfeiffer will still manage the day-to-day communications operation, while Robert Gibbs will be the traveling press secretary and Bill Burton will continue to serve as the national spokesperson.

The staff additions are a recognition of the unique challenge before Obama.

As the leader in terms of pledged delegates and raw vote in the Democratic nomination contest, Obama is the clear favorite for the party's nod. And yet, he is not likely to be able to claim the nomination from Clinton before the end of the primary season on June 3 -- and perhaps even later than that.

Even as he continues to mix it up on a daily basis with Clinton, however, Obama (and his staff) need to keep one eye on McCain in order to ensure that the Republican nominee is not allowed a free shot at defining the Illinois Senator.

In most elections, these hires would surely have waited until Obama was the nominee. But, there will be far less time for Obama (or Clinton) to prepare for the general election than in most recent campaigns and the staffing up for November must begin even as the nomination fight proceeds without an obvious end.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 8, 2008; 6:01 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Perhaps Senator Obama feels he knows and understands the world better than Senator McCain becauses he can keep the Shiites and the Sunnis straight with out Joe Lieberman whispering in his ear who's who.

Posted by: mvers | April 10, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I think this move by Obama just enforces the widely held opinion that he is cocky and deluded. To say that he has more experience in foreign policy than either Clinton or McCain is delusional. The man will mentally implode before your very eyes before it's over, a victim of trying to keep all of his stories and ego in check, and he will stutter all the way back to Chicago.

Posted by: McCainocrat | April 9, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

*WOW*
The news this week talks about Hillary having steel balls ... and flexing to demonstrate that fact more as her campaign fails ...

Compare that to Obama's brilliant campaign running against THE CLINTON MACHINE - both Bill and Hill - and McCain as well.

Now you tell me that doesn't trump anything Hill might have!

Posted by: DinSea | April 8, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Jac13,
I agree. Biden is the logical and best choice for Obama. On a side note, grahamcristhuckabeeromneygiulianipawlenty is missing Palin and (maybe) Rice.

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Dave! and Leichtman (belatedly) -

My preferred vp choice for Obama is Biden. Yes, he occasionally suffers from foot-in-mouth syndrome, but his for-pol/nat-sec credentials are unassailable, and he'd do very well in a debate with grahamcristhuckabeeromneygiulianipawlenty.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Dave! and Leichtman (belatedly) -

My preferred vp choice for Obama is Biden. Yes, he occasionally suffers from foot-in-mouth syndrome, but his for-pol/nat-sec credentials are unassailable, and he'd do very well in a debate with grahamcristhuckabeeromneygiulianipawlenty.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

For Hillary supporters who keep saying they will vote for McCain - Please read this and remember how important it is for a Democrat to win!
10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."4

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0--yes, zero--from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

John McCain is not who the Washington press corps make him out to be.

Posted by: sheridan1 | April 8, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"Newt would be a great choice for multiple reason, not the least of which is the enduring respect for him on the right"

Yes, the right seems to have a particular fondness for guys who dump their wives and kids, particularly the old and sick ones. Social darwinism, I guess.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,
I'd take a Biden foreign policy over a Clark one eight days of the week. I find Biden histerical, in a good way. As a conservative, I could sleep at night with Biden heading US foreign policy and that is not necessarily because I agree with him on everything, but because he is competent without being arrogant, realistic and pragmatic, thoughtful and pretty smart. Clark strikes me as just smart.

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

But if that is the aspect Obama is going for, why not pick the best and go with Biden?

Posted by: Dave! |
-------------------
While I like most of his positions he is not that strong on a national level, as seen in his own attempts at the run for President. He has also put his foot in his mouth several times. Though I loved his joke on Rudy, 'There's only three things he mentions in a sentence -- a noun, a verb, and 9/11.'

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Bayh would be a good gesture to HC and her supporters, Biden the grown up choice, but Bayh a better choice for a HC ticket. Sorry jac13 but Indiana won't be in play under any circumstances.(very very doubtful a campaign would even spend money there) Voters in presidential elections pick from the top. Edwards did zero to help JK in N. Carolina.
Not to start an argument but Clark ran an absolutely horrible campaign in '04. Military men except for Ike, don't make great politicans. Richardson would be viewed as a thumb in the eye to all HC supporters imho.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

As someone that enthusiatically supports, works with and promotes MoveOn.org, I don't fully see how Clark could be considered a "fence-mender" (unlike Obama, I find him partisan in tone a lot of the time). He also has the hot-headed/rub people the wrong way trait in him. That aside, I think he would be a good Obama pick for the nat sec aspect he supposedly would bring. But if that is the aspect Obama is going for, why not pick the best and go with Biden?

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

I agree that Clark would be a good pick, not just for fence-mending but also for nat. sec., although Bayh could be an interesting choice, too. Might put IN in play in the general.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

svre that last post was rather bizarre but as they say c'est la vie.

Since you post of my obsesssion re: old stories this one is less than 24 hours old. The Obama team and media got their hit and run but no one here wishes to retract what was supposedly a monumental story at least for a 24 hr. Obama news cycle. We see the hit and run but we don't see the retraction here, why not? Can we get a full report from this family since the Clinton campaign was slammed here yesterday repeatedly by Obama supporters regarding this story, or do we just move on when we point out misinformation as long as that disinformation demeans HC?

"Russell Berman writes in the New York Sun. At least's Clinton's healthcare story was true -- partially, it seems. The woman whose story Clinton has recounted numerous times was in fact admitted to the hospital in question (despite Clinton's description of the events), but "[Trina] Bechtel did not get care at another hospital that wanted a $100 pre-payment before seeing her, according to the young woman's aunt, Lisa Casto," The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut reports.

ABC's Jake Tapper: "A closer examination of the story Clinton was originally told indicates that while Clinton erred slightly in relaying the tragic tale, that doesn't mean it's not fundamentally true"

-abc the note-

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Assuming Obama gets the nomination, I'm curious to see whether he tries to mend fences with the Clinton wing of the party with a VP pick.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 1:49 PM
--------------------------
I think the obvious choice for that is Wesley Clark, fills in his week defense side.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, last anon post on NOT Webb was me.

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

patrick and bsimon and jac13,
I too live in VA and utterly detest Jim Webb, whose picture falls under 'rude' and 'obnoxious' in the dictionary. Obama needs someone that is in the "work together/reach across party lines" mode - the partisan, pompous, hot-headed Webb does not fall under that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

jac-
I agree Webb wouldn't be a good pick. I ignored the pairing earlier, as it wasn't germaine to my response.

Assuming Obama gets the nomination, I'm curious to see whether he tries to mend fences with the Clinton wing of the party with a VP pick.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I meant in my earlier post Chris Cilliza or SV, the blog is medicre, and now the standard here might be partial amnesia,

Posted by: Amanda | April 8, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Andrew are you bored? Or it is a slow news day for you, that is why it is going to be when the democratic contest is over, i hope it is over soon. How about you go and find some other stuff to smack at Barack, or keep doing your double standard job

Posted by: Amanda | April 8, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Patrick and bsimon -

I live in Va and I love Jim Webb, but I think as a first-termer he's not a wise choice -- Obama needs some gray hair on the ticket, and preferably some foreign-policy national security heft (Biden? Richardson?). Besides, Webb may be too outspoken and unpredictable.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

leichtman -

If you are agreeing with other posters, why address your comments to me by name?

To clarify, that is what I find insulting: projecting the view of others onto me. You can learn what I think from my posts. I try to express myself clearly and succinctly. You are free to argue with me all day long about anything I say; just don't make me the defender of other people's posts.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely Patrick. Barbour I believe was once head of the RNC and is beloved by the cultural right. Since McCain already covers the military credentials Barbour would perfectly fit the good old boy slot,and could claim he turned Miss around after Katrina but would definitely turn off moderates. That selection Patrick would communicate that the straight talk moderate road was not the one McCain was taking. It would mean that McCain would not ne in the seed to campaign in Ga, Louisiana or anywhere in the south which they likely will not need to do with or without Barbour. But Barbour is certainly a very interesting thought. Would anyone though really want to be reminded of katrina and Brownie patrick?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Linsay Graham, he's like by the base and red states. Another I'm surprised not to see mentioned more is Haley Barbour.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Linsay Graham still seems like the logical John McCain suckup from age, to his southern conservative credentials, to his singing the same song about Iraq. Immigration doesn't sound like the big campaign issue it was a year ago.

Ben Nelson did a great job asking Crocker why Wolfowitz's promise in 2002 to have Iraq oil reserves be used to pay for their training as a loan should go into effect right now and not just be another empty promise while Americans endure $109 oil prices.

HC repeated her question about Iraq passing a resolution to tie the next president's hands for us to remain in Iraq in 2009 that I hope that Sen Obama will agree is so wrong on so many different levels and how out outrageous an executive order or signing statement confirming that should be looked upon by all US Senators. Will Obama supporters here today agree with that primise by HC?

Leichtman

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"how would Obama/Webb stack up against McCain/Gingrich in your neck of the woods?"

In MN, specifically, the likelihood of the state turning red is infinitessimally small, independant of the candidates.

Generally though, I think Newt has been preparing to be the guy that steps in & reshapes the party that is rapidly coming undone as the Bush admin winds down. I understand his latest book is about how conservatives can establish credibility in the environmental debate, among other things (i.e. admit man-caused climate change is not a hoax). My guess is he's looking to nudge the party back towards moderation in order to boost appeal to swing voters, rather than relying on a 'strange bedfellows' coalition of extremists on social policy, fiscal policy & military policy.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

boko, Newt would be a great choice for multiple reason, not the least of which is the enduring respect for him on the right. And, his American Solutions ideas and efforts have been well recieved across the board and reflect his deep committment to making the country better for the future.

Here's the website if anyone doesn't know about his recent work:

http://www.americansolutions.com/


About Obama's comments, apparently he blogged on HuffPo last night. In answer to the VP question, he wrote "I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more commander in chief-like. Ironically, this is an area -- foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain,".


I said earlier how I think this is a ridiculous claim to attempt to make wrt McCain, but it is the first we've heard of where his mind is at on this topic.


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 8, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't see either picking Webb, since he is first term and his seat would be hard to win back.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, have you heard of anything he has said about this recently? I know he ruled out running for pres. itself last fall... and I think in order to be successful as a VP he would have to be better able to work across party lines. Whether or not McCain wins, it will be a Democratic Congress he'll have to work with, and I don't think voters will be as patient with partisans this time around.

just a hypothetical - how would Obama/Webb stack up against McCain/Gingrich in your neck of the woods?

Posted by: bokonon13 | April 8, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

bokonon13 writes
"Of course, [the Newt] might still be a too-polarizing figure for the middle..."

Maybe, and maybe not. Compared to the polarization since he left, Newt's legacy almost looks like the (mythical) good old days when everyone got along. I wouldn't be surprised if Newt were on the short list.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Mark, sorry to hear about your daughter's friend and drummer. While I don't have as much experience with Europe and Europeans as I'm sure you do, the few times I have been over there I have had the sense that while some Europeans (I was primarily in London and Germany) are more progressive and comfortable with difference than some Americans, there are many who are not.
Having said that, I hope your daughter's band will continue going strong, probably after some time off so that the drummer can heal physically and psychologically. I followed the web link you posted about a month ago and was quite impressed. Have they played in the US before, and do they plan to again? I think I still have a few (not close and not many) contacts in the Boston music scene if they are interested in pursuing gigs up here.

Posted by: bokonon13 | April 8, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

proud, what hints did he drop last night? I have not yet heard anything about that.
I don't think Wes Clark would bring much to the ticket other than resume - listening to him speak is like watching paint dry.
While I am admittedly not a political professional, my choice right now for Barack would be Jim Webb of VA, but we'll see.

As far as Hillary goes, if she is the nominee I do NOT see Obama accepting the #2 with her. Too much has been said for that to happen. (and I do NOT think the 1st Bush signing up with Reagan after accusing him of "voodoo economics" is a relevant example - that was a policy difference, whereas this has been just petty...)

And who do you like for McCain? It seems to me that he has a fine line to walk between attracting independents and solidifying his hard-core conservative support. I don't know so well what names have been discussed on the R side... Crist is apparently a no go(?) and what about Lindsay Graham?

Actually - as a veteran of the '90s, I can't believe I am mentioning this, but - didn't Newt Gingrich indicate some interest? Agree with him or not - and I usually don't - he is by far one of the Republicans whose thinking I can at least respect. Of course, he might still be a too-polarizing figure for the middle...

Posted by: bokonon13 | April 8, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

jac I just agreed with what I have read here from many Obama supporters. over the last 10 days. That HC is toast and that Obama is now poised to win in Pa now. Chris even suggests that Sen Bayh may now be moving (with his new communications staff) towards Obama so you should also agree that Sen Obama should now take Indiana as well. You call that an insult?
Incidentally the NY Times political section on monday reported that Sen Obama's schedule of not campaigning in Pa this week may mean that they do not agree that Sen Obama will now win in Pa. and disappoint you.

sarcasm equals insults?

Seriously, I reserved my DC hotel room in 1992 a year out so seriously the Obama supporters need to start their inauguration plans now. Thank goodness we understood what an 18 per centage point lead meant in 1988.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you jac13
******************************************

We Obama supporters should not get overconfident. Hillary is still the favorite to win PA. Hillary has most of the PA Democratic establishment (Rendell and others) in her corner as well as support among a familiar demographic, white working-class voters.

Only 2 to 3 months ago Hillary was leading by 15 to 20 pts over Obama in PA. Now polls show Obama polling within 9pts of Hillary. I'm not expecting Obama to win PA (nor is the main stream media) over Hillary, but if he loses to Hillary by less than 9pts, shows some erosion of Hillary's base support and PA has record turnout, the media will portray this contest as a draw.

If Obama somehow wins PA then the nomination process will be over for Hillary.

Posted by: AJ | April 8, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Boko -

The gig was great fun! Back in the UK,their drummer, Obaro, the Nigerian PhD candidate in neurology at Bristol, was beaten severely Monday morning in what appears to be a racial incident. He has a broken jaw, missing wisdom teeth, and a concussion - he was kicked repeatedly in the head. He will recover. Bristol is a working class city with a big university in the west of the UK, near Wales. My kids live in Bath, 12mi east of Bristol.

Apparently there will not be a PM candidate of partial African ancestry in the UK any time soon. Obaro is a great guy and we are all praying for him.
--------------------
Listening to Susan Collins questioning and her speech pattern seems more halting. I admire the woman and worry that she has MS or a similar disorder. Anyone know?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 8, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

bokonon13

My feeling is that the Dems gain more than half of the 29 seats in Congress and a few more in the Senate, but agree not a filibuster-proof number.

While I am in no way a 'Clinton' lover, I have to admit the luster has worn a bit with Obama. When I first heard him speak at the 2004 convention I was very impressed, as I was with most of his speeches afterwards.

His first strike was last October with his stance on several homophobic preachers who were doing fundraisers for him in SC. Then of course is the recent Rev. Wright, and I know he's not running for office, but he sat in that church for 20 years and lied at first about hearing him do so. Once you lie to me you lose trust, something that has also been a problem with the Clintons and McCain.

I know we are not electing Saints but it would be nice to not have to hold my nose for once.

As for VP picks, I do not see them doing so until the voting ends in June. You may hear some leaks to test support or steal heaedlines, but no formal mention.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

hey boko- IMHO, Sen. Obama won't make any public pronouncements other than what hehas already hinted at last night about the VP choice. I guess Wes Clark is off the list, from what he posted on HuffPo.

Hillary has already stated that Obama would be her VP, and that would probably be her only path to victory in the unlikely event that the superdelegates select her as the nominee.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 8, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Non-signer (I assume leichtman) -

I don't appreciate your sarcasm. It generates more heat than light. Insults are not helpful, either.

I ascribe no significance to the Obama campaign's scheduling of the candidate. There are 10 contests left and, although I have a high opinion of Obama's abilities, I don't think he's mastered being two places at once.

This campaign has reminded me to take nothing for granted -- and I don't think Obama or his people are doing so, either.

Finally, I don't know who my "minions" are but I don't appreciate your lumping with all the other posters who support Obama, reasonable and otherwise. I speak for myself as I assume you do.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

greetings all - glad to be able to post after what has been a crazy couple of months. Patrick in NYC, I do not share your support of Hillary, but I agree that the Supreme Court is and will be a key consideration in November. What do you think will happen in Congress? I emphatically do not think the Democrats will be filibuster-proof in the Senate, so the person choosing the nominees will be crucial.

Mark, rock chalk. It was a good game, although I will admit that I was rooting for Memphis. Don't know if you saw this question where I posted it elsewhere, but how was your daughter's show at SxSW?

and to any and everyone, how soon do you think Obama and/or Clinton will feel comfortable publicly mentioning the names of potential running mates? On one hand, it might look presumptuous before August, but on the other hand, and on-topic, whoever the nominee is will need to begin the general election campaign well before the convention.

Posted by: bokonon13 | April 8, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama supporters should feel absolutely convinced that it is all over. Sen Obama has announced as much jac by deciding not to campaign in Pa this week. Not only hss he caught HC in Pa but your supporters this week predict he will win not only in Pa, but also will win covincingly in W Va Ky, and Indiana. You definitely need to forget about the general election as well jac and you and your minions should now start booking your rooms for the inauguration. You all have now convinced me that Sen Obama will not only close the gap in Pa but is now poised to win it going away. We are now in total agreement jac

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

bsimon -

"Perhaps that is because you don't want to."

I was about to post almost the exact same thing. There's a lot of "wish-is-father-to-the-thought" in both sides' posts.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

leichtman -

As I wrote above, I'm not so sure Obama will win in PA. In fact, he probably won't. I do think it will be closer than everybody was thinking a week or so ago, and HRC's margin may not be enough for her to make any headway in delegates or popular vote, certainly once NC and IN vote. I don't know who will win IN but I think it will be close either way. From what I've heard and read, each candidate has his/her strong areas and they may balance each other out.

I've thought for a long time that after PA, IN and NC the candidates would find themselves pretty much where they are now in delegate/popular-vote count, i.e., PA is closer than expected and the bizarre delegate-allocation rules produce a delegate draw or a close HRC advantage; BHO wins handily in NC, canceling any HRC PA pop-vote advantage; and one of them wins IN by fewer than 5 points.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

lylepink writes
"The EC votes is what I have been looking at these past few days and I can find no way for Obama to win, if he is the Dem nominee."


Perhaps that is because you don't want to.

.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Fellow Obama supporters -

Let's not get overconfident here. The two weeks left until PA is an eternity in politics. Katty Kaye pointed out on Chris Matthews on Sunday that HRC has often done well in this campaign when she's been seen as a victim/underdog, and therefore Obama should not want to move ahead of her in the PA polls (if he's going to) until much later. Yes, Obama is moving up smartly now -- but he was also doing so in TX and OH before the kitchen-sink/3:00-am s--t hit the fan. Those of us who support him should do what he and his campaign are doing: keep our eye on the ball, keep plugging, and keep the message consistent. If he gets within 5 points or so in PA, he will exceed the expectations set up by the Clinton campaign, and that should be good enough. If by some long shot he actually wins PA, that should be the ball game -- but I sure wouldn't bet the rent against the always-resilient and increasingly desperate Clintons.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The EC votes is what I have been looking at these past few days and I can find no way for Obama to win, if he is the Dem nominee. I am like a lot of Hillary supporters that will never vote for the guy after what has come out, and I think there is so much more being held back that should be reported now, but will only come out when it is to late.

Posted by: lylepink | April 8, 2008 10:35 AM
----------------------
While I do think the press and the public at large are in a love fest with him, I don't think there is any 'smoking gun' with Obama. If he has any real skeletons in his closet they would have been dug out by now.

As for us Hillary supporters not voting for Obama, that is just a lot of sour grapes from adults acting like 5 year olds. If I don't get my way I'm taking my toys and going home, or holding my breath until I turn blue.

With the thought of McSenile picking Supremes, the base will come out. November is a lifetime away.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

sorry for the typos on my pda

How do we go from Sevugan and Dunn joining Sen Obama now suggesting that Sen Bayh may also now be moving towards Sen Obama?

Chris to be balanced with that ridiculous suggestion you should also post Sen Bayh's very forceful tv commercial for HC now running throughout Indiana.

Again by how large a margin should we now expect Sen Obama to win both Pa and Indiana?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Sen Obama says "Ironically, this is an area -- foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain,"

Ironically, Senator Obama makes himself look even more like a rookie by making these ridiculous claims. He "knows more" and "understands the world better". Based on.....? Having gone to kindergarten in Indonesia?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 8, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

With Obama closing the gap in Pennsylvania and widening his lead in North Carolina, the Democratic primary is all but over. Still, expect Hillary and her ethically-challenged campaign to pull some stunt on April 21st and again May 5th. The more she tries to trash Obama, the slimmer her chances for a political future of her own.

Posted by: bam | April 8, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I am an svreader sock puppet, which is why our posts sound the same.

Posted by: lylepink | April 8, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Incidentally Chris could Obama's hiring of Sevugan and Dunn from Indiana also be explained by something as innocent as that Indiana polling currently shows Sen Obama taking a major drubbing from Hoosiers which wouldn't help his bio that you now endorse that it is time for him to start measuring for curtains. Have you spoken with Sen Bahy and asked him why he is touring Indiana with HC and be featured proclaiming HC strength and leadership since you have concluded there is now evidence he too may be leaning towards Sen Obama. Did Sevugan and Dunn forward that memo to you sir?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

WWII illustrates that you never want to go to a two front war until you are confident you have the first front under control. I am beginning to think that the momentum behind Obama will lead Clinton to laydown her weapons prior to the convention because she will be exhausted physically and financially. I was much surprised when Ed Rendell on Meet the Press said 4-9 pt HIllary victory in PA. That would not be enough to give Hillary much of a boost.

As for what Obama" organization implies about a White House mgmt - I think it really depends on who he takes with him into the administration as key advisors - thus it would help to really get the skinny on his inner circle

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure McCain needs to even dignify Sen Obama's absurd claim with a response."

There is another name for John McCain's foreign policy experience. It is called "Joe Lieberman standing behind you, whispering in your ear."

Posted by: bondjedi | April 8, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The EC votes is what I have been looking at these past few days and I can find no way for Obama to win, if he is the Dem nominee. I am like a lot of Hillary supporters that will never vote for the guy after what has come out, and I think there is so much more being held back that should be reported now, but will only come out when it is to late.

Posted by: lylepink | April 8, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Ouch. Wait until Clinton's free trade lies start to sink in in PA.

"Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows--for the third time in four days--Barack Obama with a double digit lead in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Obama now attracts 51% of the vote while Hillary Clinton earns 40%. That's the lowest total ever recorded for Clinton since the contest became a two-person race.

Obama's support has now been at or above 50% for four straight days. Prior to this stretch, he had reached the 50% level just once in more than a year of daily tracking polls (see recent daily results). Obama's gains appear to be more than just statistical noise and actually reflect a modest shift in the campaign nationally.

Today at noon Eastern, Rasmussen Reports will release new polling data for the Pennsylvania Primary. Just over a month ago, Clinton had a wide lead in the Keystone State. That lead declined steadily until it tumbled to five percentage points a week ago. In North Carolina, the trend is also moving in Obama's direction. It now appears that Clinton's only remaining path to the nomination is for Obama to make a mistake. Rasmussen Markets data now gives Obama an 85.5 % chance to win the Democratic nomination. "

Posted by: equaltime | April 8, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Obama, or one of his vaunted advisors, blogged on HuffPo last night, asserting that he has more foriegn policy experience than John McCain. That is laughable.

I guess his idea of the new kind of politics is one where you make up your own facts and lie about your opponent's statements and experience. Where you insist that you know more than everybody, and if they doubt it, then they are using a bludgeon or are racist.


"I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more commander in chief-like. Ironically, this is an area -- foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain," Obama reportedly said.

Clinton countered this morning: "This is, you know, kind of hard to square with his failure ever to have a single policy hearing on the only responsibility he was given, chairing the European and NATO subcommittee on the Foreign Relations Committee."


I'm not sure McCain needs to even dignify Sen Obama's absurd claim with a response.


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 8, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"incidentally drw the number is 697,000 without Fla Michigan or Pa. Not the 800,000 no posted here yesterday or your 750,000 according to CBS numbers so if you want to lecture about accuracy check your own numbers."

More lie-chtman crying. Hey, that 697,000 is a lot bigger margin than the one you made up last week -- what gives? Do you want to cop to your spin now, or do we have to go back and quote your absurd claim that Obama had a slim lead of less than 100k? I thought not. Caw caw caw caw caw!

Also, I note that you are not such a fan of posting poll results anymore, now that Obama has resumed his pasting of Hillary.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 8, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

For all this talk about McCain stealing the Dems' thunder, the fact remains that, due to the media focusing on Obama's history-making run and Hillary's lies and ineptitude, Macko is garnering the same amount of ink as a third party candidate. He is more of a Eugene Debs/Strom Thurmond/George Wallace/Ross Perot figure, in terms of how many people are paying attention to him.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 8, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

How do we go from Pfeiffer and Dunn joining Sen Obama. meaning Sen Baye moving towards him?

Chris have you bothered to watch HC's newest Indiana commercials? Guess what svr they feature Bayh championing HC's strength and leadership. How does that equate Sen Bayh's moving towards Sen Obama. All it proves is that Sen Obma has run out of ideas on how to spend his money. And why have you refused to post MSNBC's retraction of the Ohio healthcare story or are we back to a one sided Obama lovefest.

Obama supporters now claim he will win Pa Chris, by how large a margin should we expect now?

' Both commentators point out that a campaign presages the kind of administration a candidate will have if he/she is elected. '

That is exactly what we received from Karl Rove and W so I hope that analogy you keep posting is incorrect'

incidentally drw the number is 697,000 without Fla Michigan or Pa. Not the 800,000 no posted here yesterday or your 750,000 according to CBS numbers so if you want to lecture about accuracy check your own numbers.

Back to the Iraqi enablers show today.

Leichtman

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

General Petraeus' testimony before Congress is expected to halt troop cuts in July, what is your assessment of the Iraq war?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2049

.

Posted by: Jeff, Austin TX | April 8, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I fear that in the end, the very people that she claims to be her base, the poor, uneducated, blue collar workers will suffer the most in another four years of republican control. The Supreme Court will be packed by conservative judges if the democrats lose. HRC is the best friend that the republican party has these days.

Posted by: DRW | April 8, 2008 9:43 AM
---------------------------------
Sorry to disagree but the sky is not falling, there is nothing wrong, as Obama himself says, in this race 'playing' itself out. The Democrats will come out and support the party in November. McCain is the best that the GOP could spit out, pretty sad. While the Democrats have two strong canidates.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 8, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Dave, exactly. My concern as a left communitarian is that we as a community, as a nation, take care of the least and the lost in a way that promotes strong, self-reliant individuals, strong families, and strong local communities.

If those unmet needs can be met by organized or even ad hoc non-governmental groups, that's absolutely wonderful. Where both markets and NGOs fail, there's a role for government (preferably as local as possible) in facilitating solutions. But we do have to take care of folks who need help. It's good to hear folks on the right saying thata too. When we start saying 'yes' to each other's good ideas, good things might happen.

Posted by: novamatt | April 8, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

This article speaks to the dangers of HRC's continuing "fight" to wrest the nomination away from BHO and her supporters who claim that HRC should stay in the race till the last vote is counted in the primary states.

Money, resources and time that should be being spent on winning the white house for the democrats is being directed in playing out this nomination process that HRC CAN mathematically win with about as much a chance as Nader CAN win the general election.

I find it disappointing that many of HRC's supporters have bought in to her campaigns shameless misrepresentation of her actual chances to win.

I see it written on these posts all the time - "there are 43 million votes in ten states yet to count!" Uh, no, there are not. There are 43 million people who live in the remaining states and, based on this years turnout figures, about 10% of that number will be voting in the primary. So HRC, who is behind by 750,000 votes, is going to make up that number our of 4.3 million votes? Again, is it possible? Yeah, just like Nader is going to with the general.

HRC's vanity, ego or whatever you want to call it, refuses to honestly assess the situation - a trait that I thought that the current president had the market cornered on. She continues to deceive her supporters by changing the definition of winning ("it is the popular vote!" no, wait, it is the electoral map of the states!").

I fear that in the end, the very people that she claims to be her base, the poor, uneducated, blue collar workers will suffer the most in another four years of republican control. The Supreme Court will be packed by conservative judges if the democrats lose. HRC is the best friend that the republican party has these days.

Posted by: DRW | April 8, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

novamatt, thanks for the reprint of the McCain speech. That's the side of him that reassures me he's not totally sold out to the neocons & theocrats.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Chris writes
"In most elections, these hires would surely have waited until Obama was the nominee."

One angle you don't touch on, Chris, is that this is another sign to the superdelegates that Obama is not only better organized, but better funded. While the Clinton campaign (allegedly) struggles to remain competitive & find money to stay in the race into June, the Obama campaign is calmly adding resources & getting ready for the general - while continuing their effective campaign in the primary.

Posted by: bsimon | April 8, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I think it is probably a smart move by Obama. He certainly has the money to be able to do this. The concern would be if this will dilute his message and if there would be a let up in intensity on Clinton that would allow her to linger longer than if he went full bore on her. I think this could be a pivotal strategic decision that might decide the 2008 election.

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA, proven coward and non-patriotic US Senator when faced with HATE AMERICA speech, is NON_ELECTABLE to our PROVEN PATRIOT JOHN MC CAIN!

Posted by: Sean McM | April 8, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Clinton would drop out if the media would report with more honesty the fact that the campaign is over and that Obama has won.

Perhaps by being the first to do this, the WaPo could win another Pulitzer?

Posted by: KLB | April 8, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This move is overdue. Obama has been talking about having to campaign on two fronts for some time. His recent speech in North Dakota was full campaign mode. While his delivery wasn't always as smooth as we are accustomed to, the content was compelling. As for Sen. McCain, Obama has the resources to wage a two front campaign. If he raises $40M a month between now and the Convention that is nearly $200. More than enough to define himself and counter John McCain's attacks. In fact, it might be enough to make accepting federal financing of the fall campaign a safe bet.

Posted by: dwelch | April 8, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

P.S. - Beinart's actually in the W Post and Simon is online at Politico.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

This points up something that appears to be emerging as a big positive for Obama (witness today's online pieces by Peter Beinart and Roger Simon) -- the well-organized and effective campaign he is running. Both commentators point out that a campaign presages the kind of administration a candidate will have if he/she is elected. No more need be said about the disaster that is the SS Clinton; and McCain's electoral success, against what in retrospect looks like a weak field, shouldn't obscure his iffy stewardship of his campaign, with its near-death experience last summer and its continuing lackluster fundraising (even the $15m last month was 1/4 what the Dems raised).

This is -- and should be -- a big talking point for Obama.

Posted by: jac13 | April 8, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

novamatt - "Communitarianism, w00t. Very nice to hear from the Republican nominee."

That was good to hear. This is the conservative correlation to smaller government that many conservatives tend to ignore or at least not speak about. If on one hand, conservatives want the federal government to do less and preach self-reliance, then conservatives need to pick up the slack, as it were, since problems still exist that need to be addressed regardless of federal intervention. I think McCain capsulated it well.

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

PS... before some pathetic spell-checking freak corrects me, the typo of "no" instead of "know" was added for authenticity.

Posted by: Chris Cillizza | April 8, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

How many candidates have had to fight like they were in BOTH a nomination and a general-election fight? Some voters question Obama's inexperience, but this is more proof that the candidate is smart and strategic.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I just want to take this opportunity to apologize for any hints of pro-Clinton bias in my blogs.

I would also like to say that although people here call me "CC", my closest friends no me as "SV".

Yes, I hereby out myself as svreader.

No Pulitzer for me.

Posted by: Chris Cillizza | April 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

This is a smart move for Obama and I think it signals the fact that he thinks that he will win Pennslyvania in two weeks. After that the Superdelegate wave will start to crest and Hillary will bow out after losing NC and Indiana.

The fact that Evan Bayh's folks are coming over is an interesting development. He always seemed to me to be the front runner for VP for Senator Clinton if she won. I wonder if by hiring his former staffers Obama is starting the courting of Hillary's supporters too.

Posted by: Andy R | April 8, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

So Obama will have September and October to campaign against McCain, plus try to convince Hillary's supporters that she was wrong about him. Does Hillary really think she'll be rewarded with the nomination in 2012 for throwing the race to the Republicans in 2008?

Posted by: aleks | April 8, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff from McCain from his speech at Annapolis last week:

----

I'm a conservative, and I believe it is a very healthy thing for Americans to be skeptical about the purposes and practices of public officials. We shouldn't expect too much from government -- nor should it expect too much from us. Self-reliance -- not foisting our responsibilities off on others -- is the ethic that made America great.

But when healthy skepticism sours into corrosive cynicism, our expectations of our government become reduced to the delivery of services. And to some people the expectations of liberty are reduced to the right to choose among competing brands of designer coffee.

What is lost is, in a word, citizenship. For too many Americans, the idea of good citizenship does not extend beyond walking into a voting booth every two or four years and pulling a lever. And too few Americans demand of themselves even that first obligation of self-government.

But citizenship properly understood is what Ronald Reagan was talking about when he said that Americans "are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around." Citizenship is not just the imposition of the mundane duties of democracy. Nor is it the unqualified entitlement to the protections and services of the state.

Citizenship thrives in the communal spaces where government is absent. Anywhere Americans come together to govern their lives and their communities -- in families, churches, synagogues, museums, symphonies, the Little League, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Salvation Army or the VFW -- they are exercising their citizenship.

Citizenship is defined by countless acts of love, kindness and courage that have no witness or heraldry and are especially commendable because they are unrecorded.

Although it exists apart from government, citizenship is the habits and institutions that preserve democracy. It is the ways, small and large, we come together to govern ourselves. Citizenship is the responsible exercise of freedom, and is indispensable to the proper functioning of a democracy. ...

Love of country, my friends, is another way of saying love of your fellow countrymen -- a truth I learned a long time ago in a country very different from ours.

That is the good cause that summons every American to service. If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you are disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. I hope more Americans would consider enlisting in our Armed Forces. I hope more would consider running for public office or working in federal, state and local governments. But there are many public causes where your service can make our country a stronger, better one than we inherited. Wherever there is a hungry child, a great cause exists. Where there is an illiterate adult, a great cause exists. Wherever there are people who are denied the basic rights of Man, a great cause exists. Wherever there is suffering, a great cause exists.

----

Communitarianism, w00t. Very nice to hear from the Republican nominee.

Posted by: novamatt | April 8, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for this note, Chris.

Please fix the sign-in process.

Congrats to the WaPo for its well deserved Pulitzers.

Congrats to the Kansas Jayhawks.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 8, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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