06/03/2008 - 9:29pm
Drudge has a headline this afternoon reporting, with no story in support, that Hillary is open to the idea of running as Vice President. While this is an obvious move for Barack, it's a more difficult calculation from Hillary's perspective. See the post below for more discussion.

Barack, meanwhile, has his committed Super D's and is the party's de facto nominee:
Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, based on an Associated Press tally of convention delegates, becoming the first black candidate ever to lead his party into a fall campaign for the White House.
While prepared to acknowledge the fact, Hillary isn't ready to give up:
Clinton was ready to concede that her rival had amassed the delegates needed to triumph, according to officials in her campaign. These officials said the New York senator did not intend to suspend or end her candidacy in a speech Tuesday night in New York. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to divulge her plans.
Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll shows Hillary stronger against McCain than Barack. Not that it does her much good, but it does demonstrate, as Super D's flood to Barack, that the party hasn't lost its self-destructive instincts.
The poll found no groundswell among Democrats for Clinton to quit the race: 59 percent say she should continue to campaign. And in what might reflect sympathy as she winds down her presidential bid, her favorability marks among all voters -- 54 percent favorable, 43 percent unfavorable -- are higher than in more than a year.
06/03/2008 - 4:21pm
Why would Hillary want to accept the VP position? If Barack loses with her on the ticket, she's part of the failure, hurting her chances for 2012. If he loses without her:
She could come back and say, "I told you so... and oh, by the way, I won the popular vote." ...Why add insult to injury with a losing VP bid when HRC could easily assume the mantle of "lion of the Senate" from Ted Kennedy? Or, even, perhaps, run in 2012?
That's analysis from Patrick Ruffin at the Next Right, a new blog that's off to a good start. But while making his argument, Ruffini offers the pretext for the counter argument:
Still, Hillary 2012 is unlikely, just as Gore 2004 and Gore 2008 were. If Obama disappoints, they'll probably revert to some safe boring white guy four years hence.
One might argue, then, that Hillary might as well go for the VP slot now, satisfying the party that she's a team player. It could be, if Hillary were to refuse the VP slot, that she'd be viewed as a spoiler, ruining her plans for 2012.

It's hard to imagine that they're not looking at Hillary as a must-do at Obama HQ. As pathetic a candidate as Barack is, he really needs what she brings to the table. That's a ticket that would lead me to believe that a Democratic victory is likely.
06/03/2008 - 2:49pm
Bill Kristol points out an omission in a recent Barack commencement speech that could come back to haunt. It was memorial day weekend, when Barack was filling in for Ted Kennedy at Wesleyan University.

The speech was a predictable call to public service. In it, Barack details -
at some length — the “so many ways to serve” that are available “at this defining moment in our history.” There’s the Peace Corps, there’s renewable energy, there’s education, there’s poverty — there are all kinds of causes you can take up “should you take the path of service.”

But there’s one obvious path of service Obama doesn’t recommend — or even mention: military service. He does mention war twice: “At a time of war, we need you to work for peace.” And, we face “big challenges like war and recession.” But there’s nothing about serving your country in uniform.

Did it not occur to Barack to mention the military as a viable option? Not likely. More realistically, we can assume that he 1) chickened out, not wanting to say anything unpleasant on graduation day, or 2) is philosophically opposed, considering being in the military something other than working for peace.
But at an elite Northeastern college campus, Obama obviously felt no need to disturb the placid atmosphere of easy self-congratulation. He felt no need to remind students of a different kind of public service — one that entails more risks than community organizing. He felt no need to tell the graduating seniors in the lovely groves of Middletown that they should be grateful to their peers who were far away facing dangers on behalf of their country.
Here's the problem - this omission is another piece of the puzzle of "Who is Barack?" Many of the pieces are insignificant when taken in isolation - his refusal to wear a flag pin, his failure to have his hand over his heart at an appropriate moment, his wife's pride in America remarks. But as the puzzle comes together, the picture that is forming is of a radical who feels contempt for what America is.

When the picture becomes clear this fall, will it be one that is acceptable to those casting their votes? David Brooks reminds us today that Barack already has his electoral struggles:
Though voters now prefer Democratic policy positions on most major issues by between 11 and 25 points, Obama has only a 0.7 percent lead over McCain in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. His favorability ratings among independents has dropped from 63 percent to 49 percent since late February.
Why has Barack staggered over the past several weeks?
Since effectively wrapping up the nomination, Barack Obama has lost 7 of the last 13 primaries.
Why can't Barack get average working folk to support him?
Ron Brownstein of the National Journal calculates that Obama did no better among those voters in a late state like Pennsylvania than he did for 26 out of 29 earlier primary states where he lost the working class.
Is he simply the candidate of the elite?
There is something about his magic that resonates powerfully with the well-educated but doesn’t translate with the less-educated. As a result, you get all these odd poll results. Voters agree with Obama’s original position on Iraq, but according to the Pew Research Center, they trust McCain more to handle the issue.
Democrats think that the Wright controversy is behind Barack.
Peter Hart did a focus group for the Annenberg Public Policy Center with independent voters in Virginia that captured reactions you hear all the time. These independent voters were intrigued by Obama’s “change” message, but they knew almost nothing about him except that he used to go to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church.
At the end, it will come down to whether Barack Obama, with his inexperience, his lack of integrity in advancing his career, his bizarre affiliations, and his links to radical anti-Americanism will survive the scrutiny of the general election.

Despite the heavy odds against the GOP this year, the exception will be a McCain victory. I don't know why more people don't see this.
06/03/2008 - 12:06pm
There's talk that McCain's campaign considered, for a time, announcing for president with a pledge to serve only one term. Now that would have out-Baracked Barack:
One Republican close to the campaign said: “It would have been the most selfless act in modern American politics.”
Marc Ambiner writing on the Atlantic's blog, says the idea was considered as a way to differentiate a candidate who couldn't find his footing.

When he formally announced his presidential candidacy last year, Sen. John McCain was inches away from making an unprecedented pledge: if he were elected, he would serve only one term as president.

It could have been an earth-shifting moment for the campaign and the primary. At the time, McCain’s fundraising pace was falling well short of its target and Republicans were not treating McCain as the frontrunner.

Barack's biggest effect on politics may be that everyone will need an "I'm different" gimmick. A way to show that you're flipping the bird to being constricted by convention. This would have been McCain's. But the reasons not to do it were pretty powerful.
Campaign advisers said that, as they discussed the merits of the pledge, the drawbacks were obvious: it might tie McCain’s hand with Congress. It would certainly raise the profile of his heir apparent and vice presidential nominee, who would be treated as a de-facto presidential candidate for McCain’s entire term. And it would draw attention to his age.
06/03/2008 - 2:55am
In it to win it? The latest buzz is that Hillary is holding out for help with her debts:
In a conference call with major donors this afternoon, contributors were told by Harold Ickes, a senior Clinton adviser, that she was unlikely to pull out of the race until the issue of her massive debts was resolved. The New York senator has lent her own campaign at least $11.5 million.
And what does she want from Barack?
Negotiations are understood to be taking place between the Obama and Clinton campaigns about the Illinois senator helping to repay some of the massive debt incurred by his rival. One of Hillary Clinton’s donors said that the former First Lady’s campaign was as much as $40 million in the red.
How about the Vice Presidency?
One source close to a major donor said: “It’s not about the vice-presidency or any other position she might get. It’s about the money – in particular the Clinton family money.” The Obama campaign might have to reach deeply into its well-stocked coffers in order to secure the full support of Mrs Clinton and her husband Bill in the November general election.
Forty million is some serious debt, which may answer the question that people keep asking - why is Hillary not letting go?
After she won Puerto Rico last night, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, was asked if she may challenge the new "magic number" of delegates the Democratic National Committee says is needed to clinch the nomination -- 2,118. "That’s a question we’re going to be considering," Clinton said.
06/02/2008 - 9:40pm
That was the topic Sunday on the Todd Feinburg Show. Listen to a sample here, or hear the whole thing on the 24/7 stream at toddtalk.com.
06/02/2008 - 9:33pm
Body blows to Barack from Senator McCain, who is blocking Barack's attempt to run from his promise to meet personally with foreign leaders like Ahmadinejad during his first year in office:
Obama has called for direct talks with the Iranian regime, an option McCain, R-Ariz., told the annual Washington conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee would be fruitless. “Rather than sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope that we can talk sense into them, we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully but decisively change the path they are on,’’ he told the 7,500 AIPAC delegates from across the country.
The Iran debate provides a great opportunity to attempt to drive a wedge between Barack and Jewish voters, who generally favor the Dems.
At stake for all the candidates is the loyalty of Jewish voters, who often judge candidates at least in part by the fervor of their support for the Jewish state. Though McCain was well received, drawing applause more than 30 times during his half-hour speech, he faces an uphill climb among traditionally Democratic Jewish voters.
Kerry beat Bush among Jewish voters by 3 to 1:
Facing such odds, McCain tried to picture Obama as weak on issues vital to Israel’s security and unwilling to confront Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel’s destruction.
As if working in tandem with McCain, Ahmadinejad reiterated his threats in a speech today:

"I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene," he said.

"Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started."

06/02/2008 - 9:23pm
Hillary is winding down the campaign:
Hillary Rodham Clinton will give her post-primary speech in New York Tuesday night, a rare departure from the campaign trail.
It's been a long wonderful roller coaster. How ironic the ride has been, with Hillary the monster turning into the character so many were rooting for, even while opposing her.
Staffers who have worked for her on he ground in Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana have been invited to attend the event or go home for further instructions, campaign aides said. The New York senator had no other events Tuesday. She planned to address AIPAC Wednesday in Washington.
For Bill Clinton, as usual, it's all about him.

"I want to say also that this may be the last day I'm ever involved in a campaign of this kind," the former president told Clinton supporters in South Dakota, ABC and NBC reported on their news websites.

"I thought I was out of politics, till Hillary decided to run. But it has been one of the greatest honors of my life to go around and campaign for her for president," he added at the start of his stump speech.

What happens next, if anything, is unclear.
"The only real counsel to Hillary is Bill; it's not a wide circle, so we're not sure what they'll do," Newsday quoted one of Clinton's top supporters in New York as saying.
06/02/2008 - 7:36pm
A new study shows that Democrats have spent more than twice as much on advertising than Republicans!
Democratic candidates have spent nearly $135 million on campaign advertising, compared to about $58 million for Republicans, according to the Wisconsin Advertising Project's analysis of data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG.
And Barack Obama's TV exposure has dramatically exceeded everybody else's.
Barack Obama has spent approximately $75 million on TV and other ads, more than the total amount spent by the entire Republican field, while Hillary Clinton has spent more than $46 million, the analysis found.
Now there's some evidence of just what a weak candidate Barack is. He gets his butt kicked by Hillary over the last 3 months of the campaign while outspending her by $29 million on advertising, and he's running about even with John McCain despite having spent more on advertising than all Republicans combined.
06/02/2008 - 7:31pm
This was the theme of the Todd Feinburg Show on Sunday. Listen to a segment here, or hear the whole thing at toddtalk.com.
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