Barack Obama: Mission Accomplished

Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics’ HorseRaceBlog has a question:

So, here’s my question. What happens to “It’s Over” if Clinton pulls a 40-point victory in West Virginia on Tuesday, then follows it up a week later with a 30-point victory in Kentucky? If these states turn out in the same margins that states since March 4th have averaged, that would imply a net of about 290,000 votes for Clinton. That puts her within striking distance of a reasonable popular vote victory. “Over” will be over as we turn our attention to Puerto Rico.

There are good reasons not to take Puerto Rico lightly, even though the press has continued to do exactly that. I would note: (a) Puerto Ricans vote in large numbers (2 million in the last gubernatorial election); (b) Puerto Ricans have never had this important a role in United States presidential politics; (c) Puerto Rico’s politics is focused at least partially on how (if at all) to adjust its relationship with the United States; (d) Puerto Rico’s is an open primary, and the residents of the Commonwealth, who are United States citizens, do not see themselves as Republicans or Democrats.

The inference I draw is that Puerto Ricans could turn out in huge numbers. If they do, and they swing for Clinton in a sizeable way, the popular vote lead could swing, too. Add 290,000 votes from West Virginia and Kentucky to 250,000 votes from Puerto Rico, account for expected losses in Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, and you get Clinton leading in many popular vote counts, some of which are really quite valid. If she has one of those leads when the final votes are counted on June 3rd, the race will go on to the convention.

[Jay also provides an updated toy to play with.]

Swing State Democrats Have An Answer:

The decision about who to support to be our Party’s nominee is not one that any of us should take lightly. We haven’t. But, after giving this important decision a great deal of thought, we are convinced that Hillary Clinton has the vision, skills and commitment to make the changes our country needs. As Democrats who have run and won in competitive Congressional districts and battleground states, we believe that Hillary is best positioned to successfully lead the Democratic ticket in districts and states like ours around the country.

As you know, Hillary has racked up victories in bellwether states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and now Indiana that are absolutely vital to winning the White House and maintaining our Congressional majority in the fall. Hillary has won the big battleground states by connecting with voters whose support we must have to win the general election. Her victories in Pennsylvania and Indiana were all the more impressive after being outspent by as much as two or three to one.

Pennsylvania was not just a victory for Hillary Clinton. It was also a wake- up call for superdelegates, forcing us to ask ourselves two essential questions: 1) Which candidate can carry the magic 270 electoral votes to win in the fall? 2) Which candidate is most likely to help our fellow Democrats in down-ballot races? We believe the answer to both of these questions is Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton has a request and a promise:

Today, in every way that I know how, I am expressing my personal determination to keep forging forward in this campaign.

After our come-from-behind victory in Indiana, there are just 28 days of voting left. But we’ve never campaigned with the stakes as high or the time as short as they will be over the next four weeks.

And with you by my side, I’m going to keep fighting for what I believe in until every voter has had his or her say.

From the very beginning, you and I have counted on one another, working through every challenge and seizing every opportunity. That’s not just the way our campaign works. That’s the way America works.

As we enter the final four weeks of this contest, let’s keep working our hearts out.

Contribute now to keep moving our campaign forward.

In six days, we have the chance to show our strength in West Virginia. If you’ll stand with me, it’s an opportunity I intend to make the most of.

There’s no question about it — we’ve got to make every one of these next 28 days count — starting with today.

Contribute now, and let’s keep winning together.

As we’ve told each other time and time again. There will be good days and not so good days in the course of this campaign. But there will never be a day that we can’t count on one another.

As we enter the final 28 days of voting, I know you’ll give it everything you’ve got. And you know I will do the same.

Thanks for being such a wonderful friend and ally,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barack Obama, as usual, has a Bushism:

Not long after the polls close in the May 20 Kentucky and Oregon primaries, Barack Obama plans to declare victory in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And, until at least May 31 and perhaps longer, Hillary Clinton’s campaign plans to dispute it.

It’s a train wreck waiting to happen, with one candidate claiming to be the nominee while the other vigorously denies it, all predicated on an argument over what exactly constitutes the finish line of the primary race.

The Obama campaign agrees with the Democratic National Committee, which pegs a winning majority at 2,025 pledged delegates and superdelegates–a figure that excludes the penalized Florida and Michigan delegations. The Clinton campaign, on the other hand, insists the winner will need 2,209 to cinch the nomination–a tally that includes Florida and Michigan.

“We don’t accept 2,025. It is not the real number because that does not include Florida and Michigan,” said Howard Wolfson, one of Clinton’s two chief strategists. “It’s a phony number.”

Wolfson said they intend to contest the DNC’s 2,025 number “every day,” as well as any declaration of victory made by Obama based upon that number, because it does not include Florida and Michigan. [snip]

Obama will not reach the 2,025 magic number on May 20. Rather, on that date he is all but certain to hit a different threshold–1,627 pledged delegates, which would constitute a winning majority among the 3,253 total pledged delegates if Florida and Michigan are not included.

On May 20 we’re going to declare victory,” said an Obama senior advisor who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, adding that after those contests they will be “the ones with the most pledged delegates and the most popular votes.”

The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet in Washington on May 31, 2008 to try to resolve the mess Howard Dean and they have made. The meeting is supposed to be open to the public.

Howard Wolfson, of the Hillary Campaign, has the last word:

“You can declare mission accomplished but that doesn’t mean that the mission has actually been accomplished,” Wolfson said.

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