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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is Clinton writing off Wisconsin?

"Thank you, Wisconsin. Good night. There will be no encore."
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has scaled back her Wisconsin campaign schedule by a full day, and is now planning to leave the state after Monday morning instead of Tuesday morning.

There are two ways to read ths. Either she doesn't think she can win/gain anymore in Wisconsin, or she's coming down here to try and focus on Texas.

The answer is probably a balance between the two.

She only arrived in Wisconsin today.

Later, and definitely related, Obama added a day to his Wisconsin campaign. (Last paragraph.)

(Hillary Clinton waves to the audience following her speech to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's annual Founder's Day dinner in Milwaukee, February 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson))

Political bits

(AP) Seems to be a growing number of these "angry McCain" stories listing his past known outbursts and questioning whether he has the temperament to be president.

(Politico) The SEIU is planning on spending $5 million in Texas and Ohio alone. (GOTV? That seems like alot of money without TV.)

(Politico) Clinton surrogate Harold Ickes says on a conference call that he expects Clinton to have the nomination wrapped up by June 7. (They're still trying to buy time.)

In FirstRead's version, Ickes seems to be saying she's going to win every state left.

The same FirstRead post also notes the continuing Clinton efforts to get the media to refer to "superdelegates" as "automatic delegates."
The effort to change the terms journalists use to refer to the superdelegates was particularly interesting as a political ploy. The word "automatic" has implications that would seem to fit well with the arguments the Clinton camp has been making, namely that superdelegates should exercise their independent judgment.

(TPM) DNC Chair Howard Dean issues a straight down the middle memo on how superdelegates should vote. ("Their role is to exercise their best judgment in the interests of the nation and of the Democratic Party.")

(Gallup) Look at the trendlines on the Gallup daily tracking poll. (Fairly useless for alot of reasons, but Clinton's highpoint was Super Tuesday?)

(TPM) Obama outspending Clinton in Wisconsin. (FirstRead) She hasn't even been to Wisconsin until today.

(ABCNews) "Speaking about Wisconsin, a Clinton adviser told ABC News on Friday, "I don't expect her to win but you never know."

And, This very bizarre video (Reuters?) of fainting incidents at Obama rallies.

Picture of the Day - 2

A consensus is emerging on superdelegates

Interesting article in the NYTimes reporting that Al Gore is emerging as the central figure in the debate over Democratic superdelegates. The short version is that he's leading the consensus that the superdelegates to remain neutral for now and eventually cast their votes based on the voting.

With Howard Dean tied up in the mess over Florida and Michigan, Al Gore is probably the only credible figure to lead this discussion.

Here's the most challenging bit, near the end.
Several senior officials cautioned that the party elders had not yet determined whether superdelegates should be urged to cast their votes for the candidate who has the most delegates, or the one who won their state or Congressional district, or the winner of the popular vote. Because Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton might lead in different categories, the question is a vital one.

There may end up being a meaningful difference between who won the state/district, delegate count, or popular vote, but, I think it's notable that not a single one of these party insiders or "elders" proposes the current Clinton spin, that superdelegates are somehow obligated to ignore the people's vote.

The bottom line is that a consensus appears to be building that would seem to shoot down the Clinton argument, meaning she has to win this thing through the voting. (How weird is it I have to write that sentence?)

The next question is Florida and Michigan. Most of the quotes I've seen from neutrals tend to echo what Ms. Pelosi says in this article, "the nomination should not be decided by delegates from Florida and Michigan allocated on the basis of voting in primaries there last month."

I think the Dem insiders are hoping a winner will be clear enough that Michigan and Florida won't matter, but neither of these states as they stand will be allowed to change the outcome.

Oh, and also it appears there will be no Edwards endorsement
At a private dinner that Mr. Edwards, a former senator, held at his home last Saturday for a dozen close friends, he said he had spoken recently with Mr. Gore about the benefits of neutrality, someone who was at the dinner said. ....Mr. Edwards said he intended to remain on the fence for the time being, the person said.

(So, was "Edwards endorsing Clinton" a campaign pushed rumor?)

Picture of the Day

(Supporters cheer for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama during a rally Friday, Feb. 15, 2008, in Oshkosh, Wis. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer))

Friday, February 15, 2008

Holy Crap!

I'm sure the threats weren't as explicit as this article suggests, but still..... Holy Crap!
Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

It has Prince Bandar's (aka Bandar Bush's) fingerprints all over it.
He (Prince Bandar) faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.....

But a paper trail set out in court showed that days after Bandar flew to London to lobby the government, Blair had written to the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, and the SFO was pressed to halt its investigation.


Political bits

Let's start off with Texas polling for everyone!

Rasmussen shows Clinton +16 with a whole lot of undecided and wobbly voters. ARG shows a pretty unbelievable Obama +6. My guess is that it's right about in the middle, Clinton +6-8. (I'll do a "my sense of Texas" post a couple days after Wisconsin, but I think Texas men will go to Obama more than the polling and there will be lots of crossover voting. Outside the core Democratic party, there's alot of anti-Clinton in Texas. Alot.)

Rasmussen also has Obama at a slim +4 in Wisconsin.

(Politico) The SEIU is not only endorsing Obama, but "the chatter" is that they're planning a big "independent expenditure" for him.

(CNN) "In a conference call with reporters, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said the union would immediately begin help mobilize its members and resources on the ground in Wisconsin, which votes on Tuesday."

(TheTrail) Did prominent black superdelegate John Lewis change his mind about switching from Clinton to Obama?

(USAToday) The NYTimes reporter who printed it said Lewis "unequivocally" said he was switching. (Right now, Rep. John Lewis can't be reached for comment!)

(Politico) Even Barack Obama can't get Rep. Lewis on the phone!

Bloomberg pushes a story on a very tenuous link between Obama and someone tied to the Weathermen from the 60's, even though the article says there's nothing there. (It's not like Mike Bloomberg wants to run against Hillary Clinton....)

On the Republican side, CQ has an interesting article with lots of tepid statements of support for McCain.

Newsweek has a behind the scenes look at the Romney endorsement. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with kneecapping Huckabee before 2012.)

And, I'm going to lay out the possibility that Huckabee could do very well in Texas (assuming he doesn't drop out.) Texas is BIG evangelical, McCain's getting no enthusiasm, and I'm hearing alot of Republicans talking about crossing over.

Picture of the Day

(Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's top campaign strategist. (Getty))

What are the priorities here?

Josh Marshall's very eloquent blame of Mark Penn spawned a stray thought.

Have you noticed how much time and effort the Clinton campaign staff has spent on the past, trying to explain their losses? It's almost like the staff is more concerned with protecting their reputations rather than spinning their candidate forward into victories.

What's the value of that backward revisionism? What's the cost in credibility versus the benefit to the candidate? At this point, no one's buying it.

Perhaps one of the most telling moments of the campaign was when Mark Penn took the night off on the eve of the Potomac Primaries to hold a book signing.


Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson at a congressional hearing yesterday,
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) asked about home foreclosures and the "subprime crisis."

Replied Paulson: "I didn't create this problem.".....

Paulson must have known he sounded off key, because toward the end he seasoned his remarks with disclaimers such as "I don't mean to be overly complacent" and "I don't mean to sound heartless."


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Current campaign mantra

The prevailing mantra of campaign analysts right now appears to be that Hillary Clinton's "difficulties" are the byproduct of a poorly run campaign. They were so confident they would win by Super Tuesday that they didn't have enough organization in place in the post Feb 5 states. (Examples: WaPo, NYTimes, Time.)

I think this narrative seriously understates the successes of the Obama campaign. It also serves to give Clinton a clean slate restart because now, now they're going to get serious.

This is about the best possible explanation for their candidate. See, it wasn't her fault. It was the campaign. (and how could we expect her to know what's going on in her campaign....)

This is just another way to minimize losses. It's no wonder all the articles pushing this thesis contain supporting quotes from "campaign insiders."

Sorry, I'm just getting tired of all the spin.

Picture of the Day - 2

Fists clenched? Is it that painful?

And, notice that McCain had to go to Boston for this. Mitt wasn't coming to him.

(Sen. John McCain listens as his former rival Mitt Romney speaks at a news conference in Boston, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008, where Romney announced his endorsement of McCain.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert))

More Clinton good news

(Kos) Clinton is polling a healthy lead in Ohio and Pennsylvania. (My bet is Texas will show her with a lead, but smaller.)

And, come to find out, she won New Mexico. (It's only a difference of one delegate, but she needed a win.)

The other way, the national SEIU may soon endorse Obama.
(For whatever endorsements are worth, he got the UFCW, too.)

And, one superdelegate moves from Clinton to Obama, and another talks of it.

Putting 2 and 2 and 2 together on Iran

I don't remember where, but there was a recent report that the Iranians and Americans had come to something of an understanding, the Iranians would rein in their actions in Iraq in exchange for the US lowering the temperature on the nuclear charges.

If that was the case, it appears to have broken down.

(AP) "The U.S. has recently shared new intelligence with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make a bomb, diplomats said Thursday."

(Reuters) "Iran is testing an advanced centrifuge at its Nations nuclear complex, diplomats said on Wednesday...." (Today's WaPo version is more inflammatory.)

(Reuters) "Iran has postponed a fourth round of talks with the United States in Baghdad on improving security in Iraq, giving no reason for the delay, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Thursday."

Worth watching.

Gossipy, Rumory, but Clinton fans buck up

ABC reports that John Edwards is "seriously considering supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the sharp criticism he leveled at her on the campaign trail, according to former aides and advisers."

There're some "people close" to Edwards saying he might sit it out, and others saying "he is eager to play a major role in the race."

I don't think it really affects the delegate count (they're under no obligation,) but it could be something of a momentum changer and that's what Clinton sorely needs right now.

Treat this as rumory at this point, but something to watch.

Later: What I would call feeding the speculation.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton trashed an array of corporate interests in an economic speech in Ohio Thursday, vowing that as president she would go after oil, credit-card, insurance, pharmaceutical, investment, and loan firms.

I think it's in her campaign's interest to feed this Edwards rumor. It's probably a good avenue into the Ohio/Wisconsin labor vote.

Picture of the Day

It's official. "If asked to speak at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., this summer, Mr. Lieberman said he will." (WSJ)

Happy Valentine's Day.

(Sen. John McCain is surrounded by staff and supporters as they monitor the Super Tuesday election returns at his home in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia))

: Going the other way, Lincoln Chafee endorses Obama.

Political bits

Analysis pieces by the WaPo, NYTimes, NYTimes. Perhaps the most interesting is the last one which looks at at some of the Clinton campaign's miscalculations, where and when they chose to spend money, for instance.

(WSJ) Two groups of wealthy Clinton backers are looking into forming 527's to try and help her out.

(Boston) Howard Wolfson, Clinton's communications director, says that they will win by superdelegates if they have to and will not concede if faced with losing the state delegates. (Pretty much has to say this or it gives the appearance of giving up.)

Do I believe the WSJ when it talks about a major Clinton campaign "blowup" last week?

(CNN) Huckabee takes a paid speech in the Caymans. (Continuing his campaign is paying off. - Which prominent Republican moneyman paid to get him out of the country?)

And, I am suddenly getting swamped with an Obama ad on heathcare. (Houston, Texas) Saw it twice on the cable networks yesterday and three times during reruns that demo white male under 40.

Clinton targets everyone, Obama targets demographics

While Clinton appears to be trying to undermine Obama across the board,
"I am in the solutions business. My opponent is in the promises business," she told a rally of 2,000 in McAllen, Texas.

Obama seems to be focusing more on specific demographics, like this most recent series of attacks trying to tie her (through her husband) to the economic "uncertainties."
"We are not standing on the brink of recession due to forces beyond our control," said Obama in a speech at a General Motors assembly plant in Wisconsin.

"It was a failure of leadership and imagination in Washington -- the culmination of decades of decisions that were made or put off without regard to the realities of a global economy and the growing inequality it produced."

He's also been pulling some old quotes of hers about NAFTA obviously targeting the union and factory workers in Wisconsin and Ohio.

I guess it's the relative difference in their situations. She needs a sea change while he needs to chip into her a little.

Later: The first part of this Howard Kurtz piece argues that with Obama as frontrunner, the media might begin to give him "frontrunner" scrutiny. Might that make the attacks on "hope" more effective?


(AP) Al Qaeda in Iraq has called for attacks against Israel. (This is often a lowpoint rallying cry of Islamic terror groups needing money and recruits.)

(Reuters) "Iran has postponed a fourth round of talks with the United States in Baghdad on improving security in Iraq, giving no reason for the delay."

(UPI) "Coalition forces in Iraq plan to increase their presence in Baghdad neighborhoods, The Armed Forces Press Service reported Wednesday."

(Reuters) "U.S. forces should keep withdrawing from Iraq this year without a pause, Iraq's national security adviser said on Wednesday, disagreeing with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates."

(AFP) An eyeopening story about Christian fundamentalism in the Iraq theater.

Ahhh... To be a dictator....

Musharraf says that the electons he is holding to reelect himself will be "free, fair, transparent and peaceful."

And if you question that, you will be met with force. "They should not be under any illusion that they will bring people to the streets after the election. Nothing of that sort will be allowed.... In this situation of extremism and terrorism, no agitation, anarchy or chaos can be acceptable."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Big Iraq news (or maybe not)

Boy, the headline sounds alot better than the story.

The headline is that the Iraqi parliament dislodged the logjam by horsetrading and passing three very contentious bills together: a budget (disputes over the Kurdish share,) a Federalism bill (allows the Shia to form a S. Iraq superstate,) and an amnesty bill(freeing thousands of Sunnis from custody.)

In theory, this could be big news, but I have that creeping feeling.
The parliamentary success was clouded because many of the most contentious details were simply postponed, raising the possibility that the accord could again break into rancorous factional disputes in future debates on the same issues.

We'll have to wait and see.

Later: Juan Cole has some analysis.

Picture of the Day - 2

Obama toured the UAW plant in Janesville, Wis. today and got this photo op hug from one of the workers.

But take a look at the photos of the speech. Not exactly "fired up." (All photos AP: Rick Bowmer)

Later: Apparently it was an intentionally toned down policy speech.

(Like buying a ticket to a Rolling Stones concert only to hear them say, "Everything tonight will be off the new album.)

Political bits II - (Busy day)

How much of an impact would an Edwards endorsement of Clinton make about now?

(WSJBlog) Is it a good idea for the Obama camp to be making arguments of delegate inevitability?

(Firstread) Chuck Todd echoes the difficulty of Clinton's task saying she'll have to win 55%-60% of the remaining delegates.

(Politico) The Clinton campaign will finally start playing "small states" after March 4, setting up field offices in Wyoming, Montana, etc. (Too late?)

(YouTube) Clinton is running a new ad "calling out" Obama for refusing a debate before Wisconsin.

(AP) From a very slanted, anti-Clinton piece by Ron Fournier on the AP, do I believe this?
Could that be why Bill Richardson, a former U.N. secretary and energy secretary in the Clinton administration, refused to endorse her even after an angry call from the former president? "What," Bill Clinton reportedly asked Richardson, "isn't two Cabinet posts enough?"

And, I didn't know "Up with People" was still around.

(Right now, all the Political bits I come across are pro-Obama. If you can find me something credible and plausible that's pro-Clinton, I'll happily include it.)

Quote of the Day

Imad Mughnieh, a Hezbullah "official," was killed in a carbombing in Syria. Obviously the first finger of blame goes towards Israel, although at this point who did it is far from established. It could've been Hezbullah itself, the US, Syria, or god knows who.

But the quote of the day is from a CIA officer asked whether the US might be responsible,
About one thing, the former CIA officer was sure: "I know goddamn well we didn't do it. Because it's too good of an operation. If we did it, it would be fifteen years in the making, and there'd be video surveillance from Washington....I'm serious. It's fucking ludicrous."

Funny at first. Less so when you think about the implications.

Picture of the Day - 2

To honor Black History Month, George Bush got himself some backup singers.

(President Bush, center, thanks members of the singing group The Temptations, after they performed at the celebration of African American History Month, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds))

Will there be a reconsideration of Obama? Will Clinton get an underdog bump?

After New Hampshire, before South Carolina, when it looked like Hillary Clinton was in a groove to win the nomination, I wrote a post asking if there was going to be some moment of reconsideration of her as a frontrunner.

Now, just three weeks later, I'm writing the same post the other way around. As Obama begins to be perceived as the frontrunner Is there going to be some moment when Dems look around and ask themselves, "Is Obama really the guy?"

Political bits

(Politico) The McCain camp is growing increasingly testy about Huckabee staying in the race and making them look bad. (Maybe Huckabee's not running for VP, but for "conservative symbol." That pays pretty darn well.)

(CNN) Huckabee vows to stay in race.

(CNN/WaPo) I didn't notice, but, no, Clinton didn't congratulate Obama on his wins. Didn't even mention them.

(CNN) Clinton's deputy campaign manager resigns. (I also read somewhere that she's seriously beefing up her internet staff. Fundraising?)

(WaPo) Another national Republican figure is running down Obama. (Again, the question is whether they're trying to lay groundwork or help Clinton.)

(Politico) I don't buy this argument as significant, "Obama is now 102,000 votes ahead of all Republicans combined." (Look, the Dem turnout is impressive, but Republicans aren't going to turn out with the same passion to ratify John McCain.)

Also, A whole lot is being made about Obama "reaching into" Clinton's demographics last night. Was yesterday a landslide because he reached into those groups, or does the polling show him "reaching in" because it was a landslide?

I guess the answer to that question is what decides the election.

And, Last, I definitely fall into the camp that says superdelegates will not define this election. They will end up ratifying the popular vote.

Just too damn funny.......

In the NYTimes, after they got done swooning over Obama's wins,
Mike DuHaime, a Republican consultant who managed Rudolph W. Giuliani’s campaign, said Mrs. Clinton was making the right decisions in trying to make the most of her strengths.

“Clearly, she has had success in larger states and there are a whole bunch of delegates at stake on March 4,” Mr. DuHaime said. “They are not trying to figure out who can win the most states; they are trying to figure out who can win the most delegates.”

That's right. Rudy Giuliani's campaign manager is praising the wisdom of skipping all those troublesome little states to wait for Florida.... erm, Texas.

Too funny.

(Later: They appear to have pulled that quote from the article. TPM has it, too. I wonder who complained?)

Picture of the Day

Yes, I do think that's an Obama tshirt over Clinton's shoulder tonight.

(If it were a GOP rally, he'd be dragged out and beaten.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3

What has two thumbs and wanks for John McCain?

Political bits

(PostGazette) Did Clinton endorser and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell really say, "You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate." (HT to Anonymous.)

(SUSA) Clinton leads by 17 in Ohio.

(Bloomberg) A look ahead to Wisconsin.

Politico has the Obama campaign talking down their prospects in Wisconsin while citing the likelihood that he'll do pretty well.

(WSJBlog) Will McCain give up his Senate seat?

(CNN) The Huckabee press bus symbolically runs out of gas.

And, Dirty letters written by friends:

People around (not directly involved in) the Obama campaign write some pretty nasty emails trying to paint the firing of Patti Solis Doyle as some kind of attack by Clinton on the Hispanic community. (Dirty)

(Politico) The chairman of the NAACP has written a letter that the Clinton campaign wishes it could've written itself trying to push for the inclusion of Florida and Michigan as their tallies stand today. (Somehow a revote would disenfranchise them?)


(BBC) Pakistan nuclear staff go missing. (Not as bad as it sounds, they were surveying "mineral deposits." They weren't enrichment specialists. Just a kidnapping.)

(SameArticle) "The technicians went missing on the same day as Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin, was reportedly abducted in the same region."

(NYTimes) The ceasefire in Waziristan with Taleban figure and Bhutto killer Baitullah Mehsud is understandably raising concerns.

(CNN) A Russian bomber twice "buzzed" a US aircraft carrier.

In Iraq, (AP) "Al-Qaida in Iraq appears to have regained some footing with a series of high-profile and deadly bombings over the past two weeks and a sabotage blast Monday that may leave parts of northern Iraq without electricity until next week."

(TheAge) The carbombs yesterday in Baghdad seem to be part of that campaign, targeting a meeting of US and Sunni militia leaders from Anbar.

And, (Reuters) "Iraq's government faces collapse unless lingering disputes over this year's budget can be resolved, the parliamentary speaker warned on Monday, after attempts to pass the bill broke down again."

Gonna piss somebody off with this one......

In explaining its losses, the Clinton campaign has repeatedly pointed to black voters, (CNN) Hillary Clinton: "in the case of Louisiana, you know, a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand."

It's funny, though, I've never once seen them explain away a loss due to Obama's other big winning demographic, "better educated voters."

I guess it's harder to obliquely discount college degrees with the implication that they're unable to think for themselves.

(Per the Clinton campaign, we should mentally discount all black voters. (Maybe if we considered them as 3/5 of a voter.....))

(Sorry. I'm just getting sick of the repeated use of race, and you just know it's coming out again tonight.)

Picture of the Day

(A young supporter of US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama cheers during a rally in Alexandria, Virginia February 10, 2008.(Carlos Barria/Reuters))

Desperate not to let torture get the cases thrown out

Regarding the six detainees charged with 9/11.
FBI and military interrogators who began work with the suspects in late 2006 called themselves the "Clean Team," and set as their goal collecting of virtually the same information the CIA had obtained from five of the six through duress at secret prisons.

To ensure that the data would not be tainted by allegations of torture or illegal coercion, the FBI and military team won the suspects' trust over the past 16 months by using time-tested rapport-building techniques, the officials said.

Imagine how this reads if the interrogating power wasn't our country, but Iran, Russia, or Zimbabwe.

"After torturing the detainees in secret locations for months, the Russians/Iranians/Mugabe brought the detainees to an official prison where they reconfessed their crimes....."

Monday, February 11, 2008

A body blow assessment of the Clinton campaign from the NYTimes.

A Drudge flash says the NYTimes is running a story tomorrow on concern and disquiet around the Clinton campaign that it might be slipping away.

Later: Here's the NYTimes piece. It sounds like an effort by the Clinton campaign to try and "freeze" the situation as it is today. They feel the tide and want to hold back the ocean.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday.

Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, superdelegates and other supporters; several said afterward that she had sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas.

They also said that they had not been especially soothed, and that they believed she might be on a losing streak that could jeopardize her competitiveness in those states.

But I think the most significant thing in the article is this,
Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend.

Some said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, might ultimately “go with the flow,” in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.

That's the key. I doubt if any of these people would come forward and publicly defect, but as I've been saying for awhile, in the end, the superdelegates will end up ratifying the popular vote.

(This revelation will also have the effect of pressuring the networks to start pulling superdelegates out of their published horse race tallies making Obama look further ahead.)

More: The money woes continue, "Obama fund-raisers say he is taking in roughly $1 million a day, while Clinton fund-raisers say she is taking in about half of that, mostly online."

And, "In a sign of Texas’s importance, she plans to fly there Tuesday, even though Wisconsin votes next week." (She's going to the Valley and El Paso, all incredibly Hispanic areas.)

And, among outside supporters, it sounds like a hard line is being drawn at Texas/Ohio, and it's a pretty high bar.
“They are looking way too much at Florida, Michigan and McCain, because all three won’t matter if she doesn’t blow Obama away in Texas and Ohio,” said a Democrat who is both a Clinton superdelegate and major donor, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of campaign strategy. “Obama has momentum that has to be stopped by March 4.”

She has to "blow Obama away in Texas and Ohio" to satisfy?

This is a hell of an article to get on a big primary day. While the talking heads are filling airtime waiting on results, this is all they will be talking about.

She needs some good news badly.

Picture of the Day - 3

According to SUSA, Huckabee's closed 20 points in Virginia?

(Mike Huckabee speaking at the University of Maryland in College Park, Feb. 9, 2008. (AFP/Jim Watson))

Political bits

First, Regarding the possible Edwards endorsement, Everyone seems to be rewriting the history of the New Hampshire primary. John Edwards was not attacking Hillary Clinton out of some friendship with Obama as many people are writing, but was attacking her because he believed a NH loss would knock her out of the race leaving him alone to run against Obama.

(ThePage) Obama meeting with Edwards rescheduled?

(FirstRead's version) "the Obama campaign told us to talk to the Edwards camp." (???)

(CNN's version reads even less positive for Obama.)

So, am I reading in all this that Edwards may be leaning towards Clinton?

Obama's pulled ahead in the national polls. (AP) 46/41. (Gallup) 47/44. (Meaningless and just at outside MoE, but he's been trailing in these polls all year.)

(WSJBlog) The RNC is offering six different free Valentine's Day "e-cards" bashing Clinton and Obama. (Not that they're trying to collect emails or anything.)

(CNN) Panderbear - Clinton calls for DC voting rights.

And, If you saw the will.i.am pro-Obama video, you have to see this, a parody that focuses on McCain.

Later: (TPM) John Glenn to endorse Hillary Clinton.

(Politico) Panderbear II - Obama said Virginia Gov/early endorser Tim Kaine is "somebody who is on my short list to have a role in my administration."

Clinton's "Giuliani problem."

Here are the top political headlines this morning:

(AP) Obama basks in crowds, momentum, (Reuters) Obama rides momentum before "Potomac Primaries" (AFP) Clinton shakes up campaign, reeling from losses, (NYTimes) Maine to Obama; Clinton Replaces Campaign Leader, (WaPo) Clinton Replaces Top Aide Amid Losses, (USAToday) As Obama cruises, Clinton retools campaign.

Clinton looks to be facing three weeks of ugly headlines leading into her now must win states of Ohio and Texas. Is she now facing the "Giuliani problem?"

Later: Is Obama starting to sound a little cocky to anyone else?

Picture of the Day - 2

I love this photo.

(A supporter of Hillary Clinton attends a town hall meeting in Tacoma, Washington February 8, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

Musharraf faces a landslide?

In our favorite disaster of a client state,
A week before Pakistanis vote in parliamentary elections, President Pervez Musharraf's popularity has hit an all-time low and opposition parties seem capable of a landslide victory that could jeopardize his efforts to cling to power, according to a poll to be released Monday.

Also in Pakistan, it appears Mansoor Dadullah has been critically wounded at a border crossing.

And, Six Lashkar e-Tayyiba members were arrested plotting an attack on Mumbay's stock exchange.

If Iowa was a primary rather than a caucus.......

Caucuses are funny things. They tend to select the candidate with the more passionate support not necessarily the broadest support, hence the strength of Obama and Huckabee in caucuses.

This morning I'm wondering where we would be today if Iowa had held primaries rather than caucuses. Would Obama be where he is today? Huckabee? It could've been a very different world.

Picture of the Day

(Barack Obama greets supporters following a Stand For Change rally Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, in Virginia Beach, Va.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer))

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Huckabee challenges the Washington caucus

It's one thing for Huckabee to continue his cute and Quixotic campaign, but at some point, everyone realizes that Quixote is simply delusional, and sending lawyers up to Washington State to challenge the results may be that point.

Of course, what really went down in Washington state is pretty ugly and incredible. Really, take a look.

Picture of the Day - 2

Hitting newsstands Monday.

Do the Republicans want to run against Clinton?

Maybe they're just trying to lay some groundwork, but when the GOP chairman and President Bush both attack Obama's experience in the same 12 hours with no equivalent attack on Clinton, it sure smells like the GOP bigwigs have decided they want to help shape the Dem race.

Edwards holds court

According to The Page, Hillary Clinton met with John Edwards on Thursday, Barack Obama is meeting with him Monday.

Negotiating the better deal? Trying to guage who will carry his issues?

(Is meeting Clinton first significant?)

Update: Per TPM an Edwards aide says, "There's a greater than 50% chance he will endorse," (and it sounds like he's leaning Obama.)

Clinton fires her campaign manager

Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle leaves the Clinton campaign. (This isn't the top strategist. This is the person in charge of all the day to day stuff.)

Trying to lay the losses off on Patti Solis Doyle?

Clinton losing. (Not really, but it sure does feel that way.)

After Super Tuesday I was focusing on the spin and momentum rather than the precise result because that's how this thing is going to end.

If the polls were frozen right now, the vote totals throughout the rest of the primaries would leave the two of them dead tied going into the convention, but I wonder if that's how it will play out.

Right now, Clinton is winning Texas and Ohio on March 4, but with the calendar laid out the way it is, it looks very possible that Obama could sweep through the rest of this month and you have to wonder if the Clinton camp can "manage expectations" for three solid weeks.

Maine's caucuses today will be absolutely crucial. It's probably Clinton's best chance to claim a win in the entire rest of February. If I were them, I'd spend every nickel I have hiring taxis to take women to caucus.

The other available avenue would be to corral lots of superdelegates, but, thinking what I do about politicians, I find it hard to believe that large numbers will take the gamble of publicly committing to either side at this point.

The bottom line is that the "feel" of the campaign is potentially slipping away. Momentum matters, and the Clinton campaign will have to find some or blunt Obama's because Texas and Ohio aren't voting today and their polls will likely shift in sympathy with the "feel" of the campaign.

Maine today is huge.

(And, yes, you should read alot into Clinton's repeated defense of superdelegates.)

Update: It looks like Obama will win Maine comfortably.

Say it to my face.....

Robert Gates is peddling that same two tiered alliance, "end of NATO" crap in Germany.

Picture of the Day - A bad, bad, bad, bad night.

(Sen. John McCain speaking at a GOP dinner Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, in Halethorpe, Md. (AP Photo/Rob Carr))

How in the world does John McCain do this badly in his debut as frontrunner in the primaries?

It's not about Mike Huckabee although he will try to claim it.

I don't even know what to say. It's mindboggling.

Later: How can he look America in the eye after 76% of his own party voted against him in Kansas, 74% voted against him in Washington, and 58% voted against him in Louisiana?