Pennsylvania minus four weeks

As Barack Obama weathers the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy, Hillary Clinton misspeaks. Compare and contrast …

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,114 comments on “Pennsylvania minus four weeks”

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  1. Clinton’s slight of mouth is worrying. It’s a bit hard to mistake whether you experienced sniper fire or not. As if the security organisations of the US would allow the first lady to land in a warzone.

    Damn she likes shooting herself in the foot.

  2. $1127 Diogenes , a few days ago you said Obama lacked judgement in attending
    have you changed your mind ?

    are you seriously suggesting that a Church you attend with your kids with sermons preaching pedophilia , which you privately disagee with , is still OK to attend & if not why use it as an analogy ?

    (the question is not whether by attendance you are a pedophila supporter)

  3. The Big Mo is building. the SDs WILL vote block as a block one way or the other. That is the only fair and intended way. The SDs were created for situation like this.

    How to end the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama standoff.

    One of those is Edward Espinoza, 35, of Long Beach, a member of the Democratic National Committee. He was blunt in a recent conversation with Times’ reporter Peter Nicholas, saying that if the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton lasts through the Democratic National Convention in late August, it would be “devastating’’ for the party.

    At that point, if none of the remaining primaries between now and then has established either Clinton or Obama as the obvious frontrunner (which seems unlikely) and neither has dropped out (even more unlikely), the superdelegates need to “put our weight behind someone’’ to determine the nominee, he said. “There will come a time when we need to step in and bring some closure to it,” said Espinoza, a political and public relations strategist who had backed Bill Richardson but now is uncommitted.

    He added: “We don’t just have an opportunity to put an end to it; we have an obligation to put an end to it.” …………… But we suspect he is giving voice to a growing restiveness among superdelegates — an attitude being promoted most obviously by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. Bredesen, who like Espinoza is uncommitted, appeared on MSNBC today to push his call for a quasi-convention of superdelegates in June (after the Montana and South Dakota votes) to settle “a problem we didn’t expect as a party” — i.e., that the primaries would prove non-conclusive.

  4. Money talks. The thin Lady got a smack while the Fat Lady is just about finishing her make-up.

    Clinton Donors Warn Pelosi on Superdelegates

    A group of major contributors to the Democratic Party sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today calling on her to back away from previous comments and reaffirm that superdelegates should be free to back whichever candidate they believe would be the party’s best nominee. ………. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and one of the organizers of the letter, said the objective was to “to make sure this thing isn’t over till it’s over” and to “send a message to those who want to cut off debate, that that’s not in the best interests of the Democratic Party.”

  5. Finns @ 3,
    I think Obama is already “established as the obvious frontrunner”, isn’t he?
    Sure, it’s close. But he’s clearly ahead, and pretty much certain to stay ahead, on any metric I can think of, except committed SDs where the gap is narrowing dramatically (and in any case he only needs something like 30% of the remaining uncommitteds).
    I was previously in the “Obama will probably win but it’s not over” camp, because I wasn’t sure what the SDs would do. Richardson tipped me over the edge. The “heavy” SDs seem to me to be deciding for Obama, or at least deciding that they won’t do something decisive (which means Obama wins because of his lead in delegates).
    I don’t see how Clinton can win from here, barring the extraordinary.
    From a Dem perspective, let’s just hope the general doesn’t come down to Florida.

  6. Registration in PA, along with the fact that Obama has had no organisation in the State so far, and now has money and 9 unions in the state for him. He’ll doubtless be within 10 of her there:,8599,1725397,00.html

    “Although the final numbers are not yet in, so far registration has swelled 84,801 since the 2006 elections — that’s 11% of the 790,000 people who voted in the 2004 Democratic primary. Last week alone 50,347 people became Democratic voters, according to Pennsylvania’s State Department, bringing the state party’s total to over four million for the first time ever. Since the beginning of the year, 86,711 Republicans and Independents have switched affiliations, and in just the last three weeks 34,104 new voters registered as Democrats. Significantly, 64% of those who changed parties were in the 12 largest counties — urban areas that have large African American and educated white populations, demographics that are Obama’s strength. “I think he has a chance to pull off an upset here,” said Ray Owen, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. “The rates of changes in registration and new registrations indicate that some independents are joining the new voters in registering Democratic.”

  7. Democratic organisations are beginning to accept Obama as presumptive nominee:

    “So today the Blue Majority sites (dKos, Swing State Project, and Open Left) added Barack Obama to our ActBlue fundraising page. All three sites held votes of their readership. Daily Kos passed the super-majority threshold a few weeks ago, SSP and Open Left did it yesterday.

    It’s clear our communities have become heavily pro-Obama, especially as Clinton’s only path to victory is via coup by super delegate and civil war, and she doesn’t give a damn.”

  8. About her war comments, What is hard to understand is how Clinton thought that nobody would notice? Plus the war was over in 1996 when she visited, so it didn’t make much sense.

  9. Another month, another set of awful numbers, and Feb’s durable goods number is lousy:

    Orders for core capital equipment — that is, nondefense, nonaircraft capital equipment — fell 2.6%. Shipments fell 2.1%.

    (Of course the headline figure is only 1.7%, but as all good market watchers know, that ain’t the one that counts).

    The US dollar got whacked again, and the message to the market is that the credit crunch is still well and truly with us (another mulit-billion deal fell over because of it).

    It’s dawning, one month at a time, a recession is here, when the economy is drowning in debt, inflation is well out of the box and home prices are having their biggest falls in living memory.

    Welcome to Greenspan’s legacy, and good luck to whoever inherits it as the next POTUS.

  10. #8 Amigo, you ODs blasted me for quoting the right wingers. You are quoting DailyKos to support your case? gimme a break. you guys are full of the double standard bs.

  11. I think everyone has missed a major point re: Hillary’s ‘Misspeak’… using it to bolster her claim of foregin policy experience!?!?! If being shot at shows foreign policy experience 50 Cent is in the running for Secreatary of State

  12. Interesting Gallup Poll

    From registered Democrats 28% of Clinton supporters and 19% of Obama supporters say they would vote for McCain if the other Democratic candidate got the nomination. From 1992 to 2004 less than 10% of members registered for a party have voted against their candidate. If this statistics comes out to be a reality it would be almost impossible for either Democratic candidate to win in Nov. However due to such a strong battle between the democratic candidates it is possible people are saying they would vote differently to make either choice look better. This is still a bad outcome for either candidate.

  13. Finn, there’s a difference between people using sources such as National Review as a source for news on the Democratic Party and using DailyKOS. Sure, they’re both biased in different ways, but I’d be more inclined to believe Democrats on Democratic Party news rather than neo-cons.

    Stephen: What wasn’t in that poll was the number of Republicans that would switch to the Democratic Party if John McCain was the nominee.

  14. Finns, unlike the sniping of right-wing commentary, which has little to do with the Democratic nomination contest, what I linked to @8 is an organisation run by and for Democratic members, in support of all their candidates. Here is a page of some they are supporting: I could have linked directly to this page, but seeing as you have been having trouble with independent analysis, and seem to be smarting for being called up on using discredited gutter arguments of neo-cons like Bill Kristol, I thought the Kos piece might help.

    ActBlue, the organisation in question, have raised over $350,000 for all the candidates that they are supporting, and today they endorsed, and are starting to raise for Obama. The fact that the link I provided comes from the Daily Kos does not discount the argument that momentum, money and Party apparatus is increasingly moving to Obama.

  15. Finns

    Arguing that a right wing website is as credible as a left wing website, is like arguing that a creation website is equal to an evolution website.

    It is not both sides have a different opinion and they balance out.
    One side is clearly wrong and spouts rubbish. Its up to you whether you want to support that rubbish.

  16. And the best news of the day, Samantha Power will be back on board once Hillary is gone:

    ‘And, to the delight of many in the crowd, she even hinted that she could be part of that hypothetical cabinet. “Because of the kind of campaign that Senator Obama has run,” Power said, “it seemed appropriate for someone of my Irish temper to step aside, at least for a while. We will see what happens there.”‘

  17. In a vain attempt to get the first 100 comments to be vaguely psephological, here are some back of the envelope calculations with “excellent cases” for each candidate. Of course they are not realistic, as a proper look would include the size of the congressional districts in terms of delegates and different polling in different states, but this at least shows the enormity of the task facing Clinton.

    State-by-state figures from realclearpolitics
    superdelegate numbers from demconwatch (who only list a super if they have a media article stated an endorsement, not “leaning towards”).

    Clintons best three “states” so far in terms of proportion of pledged delegates:
    Arkansas 0.771
    American Samoa 0.667
    Oklahoma 0.6315

    Obama’s best three “states”
    Virgin Islands 1
    Idaho 0.833333333
    DC 0.733333333

    If Clinton does as well (in terms of the proportion of delegates) in *all* remaining contests as she did in Oklahoma, she still doesn’t win the pledged delegate total over Obama (which I guess is why the Clinton camp is talking popular vote). She would need to do as well in all the remaining contests as she did in American Samoa (2 out of 3 delegates) to win the pledged delegate total.

    If Obama does as well as he did in DC in all the remaining contests, not only does he win the pledged delegate total, but he wins the nomination with his current superdelegate endorsements.

    (assuming current superdelegate endorsements)
    Obama scenario (as good as DC in all remaining contests)
    Obama 1821
    Clinton 1400
    Obama 2031
    Clinton 1646

    Clinton scenario (as good as Oklahoma in all remaining contests)
    Obama 1615
    Clinton 1606
    Obama 1825
    Clinton 1852

  18. 3 – Finns

    Look what else Phil Bredesen has to say:

    [‘Bredesen also joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in warning that superdelegates should not overturn the outcome from primaries and caucuses.

    If Obama were denied the nomination by Democratic insiders after winning the party’s popular vote, Bredesen said, “There would be hell to pay in the party for a long time to come.” ‘]

  19. If the Democrats think they can let this thing go until June without mortally damaging their presidential prospects – they’re dreamin’

  20. That fundraiser letter to Pelosi is pretty sad. In the week or so since Hillary covened a meeting of her bag-people, those same bag-people have sent out intimidatory public letters to Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi in an attempt to strong arm the Party into endorsing their candidate, threatening otherwise to take their bat and ball and go home. Mature, democratic stuff. For one, it is far too late to be pulling such moves – it just smacks of desparation. Two, it is a completely transparent and hopeless tactic, and does not endear Hillary any further to the SDs who need to make the decision. Three, this lot of pathetic checkbook wanna-be influencers will come crawling back when the chance to be involved in the Obama White house presents itself.

  21. 24 – Grinch

    Back to personal attacks?

    Try opening up that small small bigoted mind of yours and actually critique the argument. I know that goes against the nature of all your narrow minded nonsense that you love to spout, but at least try to elevate yourself above the meaningless rants that govern your pitiful existence.

  22. Greetings fellow Bludgers
    – I can see the war continues (here and in the US).
    And Hillary is trying the strong-arm tactics now. Pathetic.
    If we at PB are getting fed up with this increasingly pointless contest imagine the phones and faxes running hot in the States. I cannot imagine that the party will let this drag on until June as the political fallout is increasing daily. If she won’t go they will push her: I just wonder who gets the lucky job of being the one to tell her. And then to use the wooden stake, as there is no way she will accept this gracefully.

  23. While the media is happy playing he said/she said and who’s pastor passes the patriot test, the train wreck which is the US economy is about to collide with the presidential election, in a big way. First up, the senate, in two committees, is going to haul Treasury and Fed honchos in and lay bare (ah, pun) the Wall Street bailouts, and secondly, Dodd and Obama’s idea to bailout the underwater mortgage holders is going to come up shortly.

    The focus of that fickle beast, the media, is going to get dragged off to the bottom line, and into the ugly cesspool of investment banking, and why the Fed has opened up the world’s biggest pawn shop down on Wall Street.

    Over the last few months, in case it’s skipped anyone’s attention while they were busily engaged watching clips of the Rev Wright on youtube, the financial house of cards, otherwise known as the US financial system, has fallen over in a very big way. Some heavyweights, like one time Reagan advisor and Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein are calling it for the deepest recession since, well, the last really really big one.

    So we’re in a for a show, as the Fed and Treasury get busy explaining why they are suddenly market players, and how come the greatest ‘free market’ in the universe, has virtually siezed up, and why they’ve taken the astonishing step of lending money to non-commercial banks.

    Think of it like this: the casinos are raking it in, money is cheap, these honchos see themselves as lords of the universe (and of course pay themselves accordingly), but suddenly, the music stops, one of their number gets seriously distressed, and the taxpayers are asked to prop them up. But they’re gamblers, the public screams. Yes, replies the Fed, but look how many people are dependent on them, we can’t let them all take a hit.

    And so, we now have the mighty US Fed, holding up the private gambling casinos (otherwise known as ‘investment banks’) with public money, who can come with their tacky plastic chips and exchange them for freshly minted dollar bills whenever they need ‘liquidity’ ie the taxpayer is stumping up for their ‘assets’ which no market in the world will touch with a barge pole.

    By the time we get to November, nobody will even remember who or what the Rev Wright is. By the time we get to November, the US mortgage markets may have been nationalised if the two big ‘government backed’ enterprises fall over completely, (and I wouldn’t be betting that they don’t!).

    Karl Marx is up there, laughing his head off.

  24. The Supers are really caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Firstly they have Clinton who is a fair way behind Mr Obama on pledged delegates. The Supers know Clinton has been the only candidate to consistently win the large swing states, but failed in the marginal/purple electorates except Ohio. Clinton backers tell the world she has executive experience, despite never holding an office and being only First Lady, she has served or will have served 2 terms in the US Senate, achieving relatively little but not making any serious blunders. She’s a divisive candidate and will rally the Republicans but has strong appeal with Latinos and blue collar workers the Democrat base.
    She has a rocky past and there is enough dirt out their to hurt her in a general election, plus there is the Bill Clinton factor.

    In short if the Dems put her up she’ll do well with the Base of the party but risks losing a General Election against McCain.

    Then there is Mr Obama, who is well ahead of Mrs Clinton on pledged delegates thanks mainly due to winning dark Red States that will not go Blue come November and his large wins have been mainly assisted by the ‘black vote’. He has also won swing States/purple States important for a General Election. While he has considerable experience in State politics he has yet to serve a full term as US Senator and it is questionable that he has the executive experience to lead, but one could of argued the case against Mr Rudd and he is now PM.
    If Race becomes an issue at the election, Obama could become a divisive candidate giving his connections to black radical preachers. This would come as a shock to many given that he has strived not to become a divisive candidate but on the other hand he still holds bigger leads among independents. He is strong with the anti-war wing of the party but holds more moderate views on issues like health care (to appease his wealthy backers and independent voters or swinging Republicans).

    On the balance of it Obama would make a better Democrat President than another Clinton. But if he wins the nomination as seems likely given the Dems would slaughter each other if the Supers went against the will of the grassroots he is by no means assured the Presidency as McCain is no ‘political’ push over.

  25. asanque,

    I think I did critique your comment.

    What is so open about your “I’m right, you are wrong, get stuffed”, view of the world.

    You seem to have a problem dealing with different opinions. You really shouldn’t blog while you are frothing at the mouth.

  26. RE McCain –
    there has been virtuall no camapaigning yet to attack McCain in his bid for pOTUS. There is so much ammo there once Obama is free to get on with it,that the Repugs won’t stand a chance in the end. Let the Games Begin!

  27. On the balance of it Obama would make a better Democrat President than another Clinton. But if he wins the nomination as seems likely given the Dems would slaughter each other if the Supers went against the will of the grassroots he is by no means assured the Presidency as McCain is no ‘political’ push over.

    I think Obama’s strategy will be to pick a running mate with real gravitas. My money is on Bill Richardson.

  28. 27 – Glen

    That was a good analysis. The only point I disagree with is the last paragraph. I do not believe Democrats as a whole will view the superdelegates as going against the grassroots by going with the popular vote and most delegates.

  29. Glen,

    Reasonable analysis given the current situation. However, I would differ re the better Dem candidate.

    The Obama supporters want to call off the nomiantion now mainly because they are in front. Hillary is determined to fight on and gain the momentum that might sway the SDs come the convention.

    The fact that the noination hasn’t been declared yet is because the Democrat hard heads have some concerns or misgivings re Obama. Obviously, whether he can win the Presidency will be high on any list.

    I say let the battle continue.

  30. 28 – Grinch

    No wonder your arguments are so infantile, if by calling me a ‘fascist’, you call a critique.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however people are not entitled to their own facts.

    I have no problem dealing with opinion expressed intelligently and to the issue.

    However, your posts are anything but intelligent and always personal.

    That kind of crap is unacceptable behaviour in real life and you are better off trying to get yourself unbanned from the AM stations then posting your trash here.

  31. GG, i must say that the Republicans have a better system of delegate counting. Winner takes all contests ensures a Winner, the Democrat process whilst more ‘democratic’ leaves open situations like these in which no candidate won the nomination and was instead handed it by party heavyweights.

    Say what you will about the Repugs but they do have a far better system IMHO.

  32. Glen,

    My problem with winner takes all is that the Primaries are often 3-corner (at least at first) if not more. And so a candidate with broad support can finsish second all over the place and be completely screwed.

    Maybe they need a hybrid system, 20% of delegates to the winner, last 80% split proportionately.

    I just think they need to condense the time frame. A compltely proportional system will produce a winner by the end…. The problem is that the end is 4 months after the beginning.

  33. Well McCain finished 3rd in Iowa and he went on to win the nomination…it can be done. Yes i agree it makes it hard but at least you dont end up with members of your own side writing the attacks ads of your opponents as Clinton and Obama have done.

  34. Morning all – Did everyone see the latest Rasmussen poll for Pennsylvania shows 10 point advantage only to Clinton? Any narrowing can only be confirmed by more polls, but interesting.

    Re Ferny @ 18 & Pancho @ 22 et al.
    The Clinton strategies … lies, threats … I suspect that the remaining strategic options that Hillary has on her desk now are these:

    “The Curtain Call”
    Bow out now/very soon with as much dignity as she can muster (being covered in excrement) and get behind Obama like a terrier.
    OUTCOME : Democrats win election easily.

    “Skater A”
    Continue the ‘Steven Bradbury’ approach – hang in there behind the pace, and hope Obama falls over. Plus a few lies.
    OUTCOME: Obama wins nom, Dems win election narrowly.

    “Skater B”
    Ramp up the ‘Tonya Harding’ approach – damage Obama as much as possible so supers see him as unelectable.
    OUTCOME: Whoever gets nom, damaged Dems lose the election.

    “Skater C”
    A combination of 2 & 3.
    OUTCOME: Whoever gets nom, damaged Dems lose election by heaps

    “The Sicilian”
    Work feverishly behind the scenes on all super delegates, using threats (including from fundraisers), intimidation, sarcasm, ridicule, bribery and begging so they vote for her en block at a special meeting.
    OUTCOME: Whoever gets the nom, Dems lose election due to party disarray.

    “The Chameleon”
    As with “The Sicilian”, but offer the Obama leaning super delegates a promise to adopt all of Obama’s platform.
    OUTCOME: If she gets the nom, Dems lose election because she is seen as a flake, and due to party disarray.

    “The Medication”
    Start operating in parallel universe in which she is the frontrunner, and she is continually running for cover from sniper fire and aliens, and picking up red phones at all hours.
    OUTCOME: Obama wins election, and she lives the rest of her life in a ‘white house’ of her mind, as an imaginary POTUS, and hurts no-one, as long as she keeps taking the pills.

    “The Escape”
    Ask to be sectioned.
    OUTCOME: Dems with Obama win election handsomely, and she gets the treatment she obviously needs for her confabulation disorder, and has an excuse to drop out without officially losing.

    Barring the Curtain Call, which she will only opt for under threat of an alien probe, I think The Escape is her best option myself.

  35. Primaries are patently insane — The format is a historical curio.
    To my mind, the method of choosing a candidate should be obvious —
    1) You have to be a registered party member on the day the primary campaign starts
    2) You hold an all-on-the-same-day general election, either preferential or amihotornot style, count the votes, and whoever ends up with the largest pile wins. What does this present, cumbersome, expensive, slow system gain anyone?

    For me, the decision is straightforward: I believe Barack Obama to be a person of conviction, who will attempt to govern using his own internal radar. I believe Hillary Clinton to be without conviction, who will allow her own internal radar to be “jammed” by considerations of money, political perception and repaying political debts. I think she’ll engage in flights of populism that bear no relationship to her own beliefs or her view of the best interests of the country, but will simply reflect her desire to be liked.

    In the end, they’re both highly competent, intelligent and astute (and, most importantly, ambitious) politicians – I don’t think either one will be disastrous for the country. I think Obama will be the far superior choice, but I think they’re both preferable to McCain — I’ve been following American politics for more than 15 years and I still don’t truly know what McCain’s core is — The one thing I know most about, his militarism, seems alarmingly unhinged.

  36. # 27 Glen , excellent post although do not agree with every point

    You said if race becomes an issue , well it will be given Obama is ‘black’ and given the Obama has faced no sustained politically savy “subtle” attacks so far at all and McCain’s machine certainly will in buckets

    These savy attacks will include not merely the subtle ‘he is black’ but the subtle type messages he has & still is drawn to the racially divisive on his pastoral teachings despite his words to the contrary. Fear is a powerful political tactic.

    Concurrently these savy attacks but more overtly will include publicly demanding Obama answer all the questions his speech did not answer for example ONLY:
    what were the actual words in the controversail comments he now condemns.

    If Obama evades these questions , his integrity gets questioned & his “change” & new kind of politics/Pollie message is tarnished.
    If Obama declares the Wright controversial words he now condemns , then his Presidential hopes are very small (as the words circularly lead to 2nd para attack

    All of these Pastorgate concurrently also will lead to demonstrating lack of judgement, commonsense like listening to a whacko and lack of values conviction

    Do not expect any of the Obamabots to remotely accept the gross political errors Obama made & failed to adequately OR ‘savy’ address in his speech

    Glen , your ‘howardism’ is sounding more sensible & ‘open’ than ‘Obamabotism’

  37. Hi there jv-
    seems she really only has one reasonable course of action open to her that will do least damage to herself and her party. She won’t of course take this, as she is suffering from Delusions of Grandeur and Entitlement. So it would seem the party will have to do it for her or risk imploding. The only question now is “How Much Longer??”

  38. Jen we all know Clinton will fight this to the Convention even if all her Supers left to Obama. She’s would rather the Dems lose the election if she’s not the Presidential candidate.

  39. Bwena kau kwai, Bludgers,

    “I’ve had it with the Clintons.
    As a New Yorker, I have been proud of Hillary Clinton’s service in the Senate, and I harbor no ill will toward her. If she somehow manages to wrangle the nomination from Obama, I will actively support her general election campaign. But I cannot remain silent any longer while my own senator destroys the Democratic Party, and her own reputation, in a desperate and degrading effort to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
    It’s time for Senator Clinton to act like a leader that I know she can be. Hilary Clinton not only needs to defend Barack Obama, she needs to apologize to him.”

    About a month ago I mentioned the C-word, “character”, with reference to the 1961 film “The Hustler”and its relevance to the Dem nomination battle. Obi’s Philly Address and HRC’s lame and desperate attempt at war heroine status to try and counter it has brought into focus her lack of character for all to witness:

    “The first meeting of Eddie and Fats was about pool. The second, as Bert(Eddie’s manager) correctly predicted, is about character. Bert’s secret is that by “character” he doesn’t mean goodness, honesty or other Boy Scout virtues. He means the snakelike ability to put winning above any other consideration, and to never tempt the odds.”

    As Obi’s speech gained traction among its target audience, Hillary tempted the odds, got caught out, and has been seen to fail the “character” test. She is damaged goods. Her campaign is kaput.

    “Even among women, who are the base of Sen. Clinton’s support, she now is viewed negatively by more voters than positively for the first time in a Journal/NBC poll.”

    My only regret at this definitive moment in the campaign is that I can’t say “suck it up” in German for the benefit of the Der Guten Doktor Carr.

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