Politico: Clinton Never Vetted for VP

I'll keep this short and add another iota of information to the dialogue. It's been a while since I've posted, but I think this is worth mentioning: apparently Hillary Clinton was never even vetted for the VP position. Granted these are anonymous sources, and seem to contradict earlier reports, and may end up having egg on my face by the end of the day, but I don't think so.

If true, it's somewhat disappointing since Obama has for a long time been saying Clinton is on the list. Seems like a slight if she wasn't even looked at. Maybe they made previous arrangements shortly after the primaries were over, but why then string along Clinton supporters in the hopes of picking her as VP?

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/080 8/12713.html

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What a Night

Last night was historic on more than one occasion. I got a glimpse of what the coming months will be like. Sen. Obama will lead the Democratic Party with honor and he has earned it. Sen. McCain, the Republican's last, best hope to hold on to any semblance of power in Washington, understands the magnitude of the challenge ahead of him. The battle lines are drawn, and we're about to rumble. You think the last five months have been rough? Well, get ready for the sequel.

First, I was sorely disappointed with the media in general. This was going to be Senator Obama's night, regardless of what Sen. Clinton did. Up to the end, I was disappointed at the way the media handled the events of the day. Breathlessly speculating that Clinton would drop out in exchange for a private assurance that she would be V.P. Donna Brazile (she of the `Obama reach out with an olive branch of splitting Michigan 50-50 and the Clinton folks slapped it away' nonsense) tsk-tsking that `she was disappointed' Clinton didn't concede to her liking. Keith Olbermann taking great pains to point out whenever he could that Sen. Clinton :: gasp :: did not concede! Roland Martin shaking his head in the background whenever Sen. Clinton's name was spoken. Howard Fineman spinning circles around even himself engaging in the most high-flying speculation that I've ever seen (`Clinton doesn't really want to be V.P., but I have it on super-secret Democratic Clinton sources that she wants to be offered the position just to turn around and throw it in his face!'). Get a grip, Howard, for your own good. This kind of nonsense is exactly why the media is the least trusted institution in the country today.

Second, I thought Senator Obama's speech was one of the finest of the campaign. Without a doubt, this was his night. I was actually driving back from a friend's house in the rain and caught all of it on the radio. You know, even on the radio, I could picture him up on the podium, literally living history. He took great pains to go out of his way to effusively praise Sen. Clinton and her supporters. Very classy. If it's not to be Hillary, I am very happy that it is to be Sen. Obama. He proved again tonight why he has earned the support and respect of millions across the country, and why he will be a formidable candidate in November.

Third, all the media nonsense about Clinton not conceding tonight was utter nonsense. Basically what was being said/implied is "Both have run an extremely close, hard-fought campaign, but only Sen. Obama gets to celebrate. Sen. Clinton should say a few words and bow out immediately." Give me a break. Both campaigns were historic. Senator Clinton and her supporters deserve the right to `have their own day' as well. I suspect it will be today or tomorrow, but it will be this week. I fully understand her rationale for wanting to give her supporters due credit. She deserves to go out center stage, not as a side show to Obama's well-earned victory night. She has been an inspiration in her own right, and I fully believe her when she says she will do whatever she can to help unite the Democratic Party.

It was a hell of a night, and I'm still taking it all in. I'm also very, very proud to be a Democrat.

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Fellow Clinton Supporters: Consider This!

I understand today has been a tough day. I really do. I support Clinton, but I've known for a while now that she will not win the nomination. Now that Florida and Michigan have been effectively settled, Hillary has gained a total of about 25 delegates, not including supers (I'm not sure how those will be hashed out).

Now, I've seen many comments from Clinton supporters vowing to take this to the convention, and supporting such a move. I understand things get said in the heat of the moment, but consider this:

Do you really want to prolong this nomination battle over an additional 25 delegates that will NOT win Clinton the nomination?

Because, when you think about it, that's what this is about. I really worry about the damage that will be done to Clinton should she indeed decide to take this to Denver. We simply can't afford to have this kind of schism in the party if we are to defeat Sen. McCain. I seriously think she'll end this next week, as she's already hinted at doing so.

So, I say to my fellow Clinton supporters, please, it's over. Even with MI/FL seated at full strength, we can't win.

Let's not start a war that we will lose even by winning.

I know Obama isn't perfect, but I encourage all of you to really look at what he's saying, and instead of seeing 'the other side' as the enemy as we've done during the primary season, it's now time to look at them as the tremendous asset that they are. They are Democrats, and so are we. Hillary realizes this, Barack realizes this, and so should all of we.

On to November!

Reject/Renounce, Forget, Repeat

Welcome to the 257th edition of `Reject, Renounce, Forget, Repeat'. In what will surely be a ratings blockbuster from now through the election, once again we are bearing witness to the ridiculous game that the media has made a mastery of. And we all know what it is. All campaigns squeeze as much political gain out of it as possible, and still continue to engage in it, even though it's patently ludicrous, and the media knows it. When they're on the receiving end, they denounce the horrible way that they're being taken advantage of.

Step 1) The statement. Someone not officially attached to a campaign makes a controversial statement. The statement is horrible and unconscionable.

Step 2) The tee up... The media and/or rival campaigns pick up on this controversial statement. Both operations' motives are obvious - the media for the salacious story, the rival campaign for the political points.

Step 3) The fanning. The offensive statement is replayed endlessly. Whether it's YouTube, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, etc., is irrelevant and besides the point. As long as the offensive statements are connected with a candidate, that's all that matters.

Step 4) The rejection. The candidate marginally attached to the person who made the offensive statements puts out a statement saying essentially "we regret/renounce/reject said person's statements; we find them offensive; they have no place in this campaign."

Step 5) The pile on. The media or rival campaigns will not let it go at this, of course. While the rival campaigns may engage in a "this isn't enough of a renunciation" game, the media will seem neutral and instead engage in a "Is this enough?" game, giving them endless opportunities to replay/repost the offensive message. If it's deemed a personal offense, it's completely irrelevant if the offended party publicly says they weren't offended or the comments are being blown out of proportion, of course.

Step 6) The absolute repudiation. Under increasing fire, the campaign under attack finally issues a blistering rejection of the person who is offensive. Whatever connections the person actually had to the candidate/campaign is irrelevant.

The latest iteration of this is Rev. Michael Pfleger's comments regarding Hillary Clinton while in Obama's church. Let's analyze this for a second. We're now asking Obama to repudiate someone who gave a guest sermon simply because the guest sermon was given at the candidate's church. This is beyond ridiculous. This is a silly, stupid game, and everyone knows it. Yes, his comments were offensive, and yes, they did offend me a lot. But you know what? I'm smart enough to realize that Pfleger's not connected to Obama and has nothing to do with him. If this isn't the definition of a manufactured story, I don't know what is.

The media's obviously never going to give up this stupid, ridiculous game, and we all know why. It's in their interest to promote a juicy, sexy story as much as possible. But come on, the rest of us know better, and both campaigns know better. Apparently the Clinton campaign is now accusing the Obama campaign of not specifically rejecting Pfleger's comments:

"Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics," Wolfson said late Thursday. "We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn't specifically reject Father's Pflegler's despicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so."

Wolfson, come on, you know better. You've been on the receiving end of this enough times that you should know how it all works. Let's as Democrats be better than this. I don't think Obama should be held responsible for some stupid remarks made by someone simply because he happened to say it at Obama's church. It's just common sense.  


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Celebrating Memorial Day: Get Out of Here!

As this past weekend has shown us, the media is great at one thing: driving ratings, driving stories, driving nonsense, but mostly just driving. As Exhibit "A" I will direct your attention to the Politico article where in a fit of honesty, they described in detail what most of us already suspected -- sometimes it's not the story itself that matters, but how it is perceived. And the media will push whatever angle it wants:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/050 8/10604.html

And of course, everyone once in a while, for "balance", they'll throw the other side of bone. As in, stain everyone equally. Lest you doubt me, just go to the MSNBC home page right now, and what do you find? An article with faux hand-wringing about "Clinton's uneasy return" to the Senate. And an article entitled "Newsweek: Lobbyists in Obama's closet too". What a wonderful media we have, where everyone gets dumped on equally.

To the media, fairness is just making sure everyone suffers equally. Nevermind the Memorial Day events happening throughout the country, all that's important is that eyeballs be glued to the TV. Sensationalism sells, and I fear that the election of 2008 will be marked by a return of that Gilded Age classic, yellow journalism.

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Obama & Race-Based Voting: Exit Poll Data

I wanted to roughly analyze whether racism has been/will be an issue in the fall election. So I combed through CNN's exit polls, and pulled the following data for the question "Is race an important factor in your vote?" Note that this includes "Yes most important factor" and "One of several factors" together. Below is all the states for which the question was asked. I should also note that this obviously is data pulled from the Democratic primary. A general election universe of voters would obviously be more conservative.

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The Countdown: About 75 Superdelegates to Obama Win

Looking past the current wave of momentum, which we have seen all too often change course in a split second, and has been hard to quantify, let's see where we are where it counts. Playing around with the CNN delegate calculator(http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/29/d elegate.counter/):

Assuming the following (which I think would be likely agreed upon as an 'optimistic Clinton scenario'); these are delegate splits:

Guam) Even (2/2)
NC) Obama +5 (60/55)
IN) Clinton +8 (40/32)
WV) Clinton +12 (20/8)
KY) Clinton +21 (36/15)
OR) Obama +6 (29/23)
PR) Clinton +25 (40/15)
MT) Obama +2 (9/7)
SD) Obama +3 (9/6)

Now, given the above, which like I said amounts to what I think is a reasonable optimistic Clinton scenario, that still leaves her short roughly 240 delegates away from the nomination. This includes all future superdelegate endorsements. Obama is only roughly 75 superdelegate endorsements away at this point.

This is worth repeating: even in this optimistic Clinton scenario, Obama needs only reach 75 more superdelegates. At the rate he's been dropping them off, I'd say the time for the Obama campaign to really put up has come. If they can continue the current rate of superdelegate endorsements -- which has only increased with time -- then they may just be able to hunker down and power through, regardless of outside circumstances.

So, from this point, if the above scenario generally holds, Obama needs roughly 75 superdelegates. Clinton needs roughly 230-240. So, from now on, the ratio needs to greatly increase for the Clinton camp to catch up. The countdown is on.

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Rep. Ike Skelton (MO) to Endorse Clinton

Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri will endorse Hillary Clinton for president.

http://www.examiner.com/a-1366133~Rep__I ke_Skelton_endorses_Clinton.html

Much like the delegate results from Feb. 5, Skelton's endorsement splits the Missouri delegation 50-50: 2 for Obama, 2 for Clinton.

Rep. Skelton is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and is considered a voice for rural Democrats.

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Obama Camp's Predictions: Setting the Stage

As the primary contest begins to wind down, I thought it would be good to review, at this point, what the Obama camp's predictions were for the rest of the contest from here on out:

State     Obama     Clinton
NC          53            45
IN          53            46
WV          43            55
KY          42            56
OR          52            47
MT          55            44
SD          57            42
PR          44            55

Now, as we've seen in the past -- especially Ohio and Texas, the camp's been pretty good at predicting not only the vote split but also delegates coming out of the states. Based on this, it seems that Obama's predicting a narrow NC and IN win. Looking at the demos of NC & IN and the voting trends so far, I think he has underestimated his margin in NC & overestimated his margin in IN. Perhaps he's also overestimated in KY & WV; we'll see. OR looks close too.

So while all this talk of Clinton's chances being 'make or break' in NC, it seems that the Obama team was already at that conclusion months ago: An 8% Obama win.

So, I'm going out on a limb: Obama wins NC by 13%.

So what do you all think? What margin will Obama win by, and why? Will the 36-40% African American state Dem. electorate decisively swing this to Obama, or could the large military population -- which Clinton has strongly emphasized in NC -- pull a surprise?

http://www.politicalbase.com/profile/Mar k%20Nickolas/blog/&blogId=1701

Update [2008-4-28 12:23:17 by VAAlex]: My bad, reversed the PR numbers ... they have been fixed.Update [2008-4-28 12:29:59 by VAAlex]:... and the South Dakota numbers have also been fixed. :)

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Updated: Massachusetts General: O51/C55-M39/M36

Oh, how I've been waiting for this poll to come out. I've seen it diaried and have seen brandished a SUSA poll from a weeks back showing Barack Obama leading McCain by 2 points, 48-46. Since this has since become a talking point, let's now look at updated numbers from Rasmussen:

Clinton 55
McCain 36

Obama 51
McCain 39

Now, since we were using one single weeks-old poll to selectively argue that he's not electable in Massachusetts, we can now argue that he is electable in Massachusetts, right? Right?

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_c ontent/politics/election_20082/2008_pres idential_election/massachusetts/election _2008_massachusetts_presidential_electio n

Update [2008-4-25 18:22:45 by VAAlex]:: Thanks to a comment below, I am including trend lines for previous polls. Although the only poll that trends is SUSA, only Rasmussen and SUSA have polled general election in this state. http://www.pollster.com/08-MA-Pres-GE-MvO.php

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