It was two days ago when Barack Obama clinched the nomination, and yesterday when Hillary Clinton confirmed that she will suspend her campaign and endorse Obama. Newspapers and other media all over Ohio, the nation, and the world are hailing the historic nomination, and the general election is recognized on all sides to be underway in earnest.
Isn't it time to post something acknowledging our new nominee on the Ohio Democratic Party web site?
UPDATE (1:54 p.m.): Better now. The web site now features this item in the news roll instead of the one shown above:
Items of interest:
OH-01 - The campaign site of challenger State Rep. Steve Driehaus has been redesigned and now features a front-page blog authored by campaign manager Melissa Wideman. *** Area Catholic leaders have met with Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) to demand greater U.S. involvement in response to the genocide in Darfur. *** Roll Call took a look at this race on Tuesday (the headline is "Driehaus Says He Can Beat Chabot"), but it is behind a subscription wall - any readers have access?
OH-03 - Today John Mitakides, spouse of challenger Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp), sent out an email to supporters announcing that today is the couple's 26th wedding anniversary. "Although it is a special day for us, Jane is spending it working hard to win her congressional race, so I decided that the best gift I could give her is a little extra help," he writes. "There are so many reasons she deserves to win this race – she is so dedicated, sincere, and just plain smart – but the number one reason is that the people of our community deserve leadership." Help them celebrate by making a donation in any amount - but the amount $26.00 would be a nice gesture!
OH-10 - A local blogger writes that challenger Jim Trakas (R-Independence) has a fund-raiser coming up with potential gubernatorial or senatorial contender John Kasich (R), no information as to when or where.
OH-12 - Challenger David Robinson (D-Columbus) kicks off canvassing efforts in Westerville this Saturday (6/7). Join the candidate at 9:30 a.m. at Panera Bread, 561 South State St., near the intersection of State Street and Cleveland Avenue, and then head out for literature distribution until about noon. Wear your Robinson t-shirt, or you can get one there if you don't have one yet. RSVP by email to JDague-at-Robinson2008.com.
OH-13 - Yesterday Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) managed floor debate on a measure leading to bipartisan passage of H.R. 3021, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, which provides $6.4 billion to modernize and renovate schools across the country in accordance with “green” building standards. Ohio will receive approximately $245 million, which will fund nearly 4,000 new jobs. “This innovative legislation is important because it will simultaneously improve our education system, modernize our buildings and infrastructure to be environmentally sustainable, and create new jobs to grow our economy,” said Rep. Sutton. *** You can download the audio of yesterday's press conference call in which Rep. Sutton joined Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) in supporting the TRADE Act to overhaul U.S. trade policy and existing trade agreements.
OH-15 - Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher will be the guest of honor at a $500-a-plate fundraiser for Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) at a German Village restaurant in Columbus today.
OH-16 - The float created by the campaign of State Sen. John Boccieri (D-Alliance) won the "Most Patriotic" award in the Bethlehem Township parade. "We had a decorated Ford truck and handed out flags," writes campaign blogger GARoach. "John walked in the parade with about five or six staff members and supporters. This is Ralph Regula's home area. Pretty cool, indeed!"
OH-18 - Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), Co-Chair of the Congressional Appalachian Caucus, has called for completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System, citing a new study indicating that such completion would return $3 in economic benefits for every $1 spent by freight flow, reducing travel time, improving safety, and enhancing access to markets. The Dispatch notes that there are 434 miles of highway left to build in the 3,090 system, at an estimated cost of $12 billion over the next 12 years.
Here are three opportunities:
* CQ Politics is kicking off a five-round "VP Madness" tournament with 32 contenders in the bracket;
* Open Left has a straw poll up today, featuring Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Kathleen Sebelius, Sherrod Brown, John Edwards, Jim Webb, Hillary Clinton, and Brian Schweitzer as contenders; and
* A blog called "The Vigil" has a straw poll, with photos of the contenders (does that help?).
If you're looking for input from prognosticators:
* Will Thomas ranks contenders on Huffington Post, with Webb, Clinton, Biden, Richardson, and Schweitzer in the top tier but Sherrod Brown in the second ("worth watching");
* Chicago Sun-Times blogger Lynn Sweet has rankings up, with Gov. Ted Strickland among many names in her top tier;
* Chris Kelly rates the prospects at 23/6; and
* StategyPage.com has VP prediction markets.
CBS has a poll out today showing that Obama is experiencing a significant up-tick against McCain, with Obama now leading nationally 48% to 42% (although the poll has troubling internals like 12% of Democrats saying they'll vote for McCain and McCain leading among independents by 8 points). Looking at current electoral vote predictions there also seems to be a bump:
* The site Electoral-Vote.com had been showing McCain ahead in electoral votes for a long time but now projects Obama with 287 and McCain with 227, leaving 24 too close to call;
* Nate at FiveThirtyEight projects 272.5 electoral votes for Obama and 265 for McCain;
* MyDD's most-recent-poll-in-each-state approach now projects 311 electoral votes for Obama to 227 for McCain, after having shown McCain ahead for a very long time; and
* On Monday, Chris Bowers at Open Left projected 276 electoral votes for Obama and 262 for McCain.
Incidentally, Daniel De Groot has an interesting post at Open Left today in which he analyzes factors other than polling that affect Democratic chances in the key states of Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Overall the indications are positive (e.g., seven out of eight have Democratic governors, five have U.S. Senate races in which the Democrat is favored), but he ranks Ohio as one of the two most worrisome of these states because the GOP controls the General Assembly and dominates the congressional delegation, there is no gubernatorial or U.S. senate race, and the U.S. Senators are split.
UPDATE: Okay, as soon as I posted this I realized that it is too soon to attribute the polling boost to "wrapping up the nomination" -- that's going to be reflected over the next week or so. Call it an end-stage-of-the-nominating-process boost.
I see that Chuck Todd looks at the electoral vote map at First Read this morning and says Obama has "an early edge" because there are many more electoral votes in his "base" states, although if you add "base" and "lean" states the candidates are exactly tied at 200 EV's each:
Base Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NY, RI, VT (153 electoral votes)
Lean Obama: ME, NJ, MN, OR, WA (47 votes)
Toss-up: CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NM, NH, OH, PA, VA, WI (138 votes)
Lean McCain: AR, GA, IN, LA, MS, MO, MT, NE, NC, ND (84 votes)
Base McCain: AL, AK, AZ, ID, KS, KY, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (116 votes)
A quick look at Ohio news and opinion:
* Dann investigation gets wider, deeper - Auditor Mary Taylor says she has received fresh allegations of mispent moey in the AG's office and has cranked up her recently announced audit into a "white-coller crime audit," and the Ohio Elections Commission is investigating almost $50,000 in payments Dann made to friends Leo Jennings and Mary Beth Snyder from his campaign funds last year, much of it after they were on the state payroll, which would be improper if they were paid for doing campaign work on state time or if the campaign money boosted their state salary. And the executive director of the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation testified on Tuesday that Dann threatened the organization with dissolution if it didn't rescind the contract by which it tried to divert $190 million of its funds so the state couldn't take the away for Strickland's jobs and development initiative.
* Newspaper Editors React to Nomination - The Toledo Blade has an editorial today that not only hails the historic significance of Obama's candidacy but praises his insight into policy, his diplomatic skill, and his judgment on foreign policy. The Akron Beacon Journal opines that choosing Clinton as a running mate would be "a dreadful idea." The Enquirer writes that the significance of the Democratic nominating process is that it shows that anyone can compete for the top office, which is "the promise and inviolable right of our democracy" and "all Americans should take pride in the fact that it is a right at last proved true."
* "Why It's Rough to Be Working in Ohio" - That's the headline for U.S. News & World Report columnist Liz Wolgemuth, commenting on the announcements by GM that it will close the SUV plant in Moraine and by DHL that it will cancel it's package handling contract with ABX, putting over 8,000 jobs in Wilmington on the chopping block. She also notes that the Dispatch reported that job losses from lay-offs in the first quarter hit a record 19,423, and that Gov. Strickland is looking into the antitrust implications of DHL's plan to consolidate its package handling operations with rival UPS. Efforts yesterday by Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher to talk DHL out of the change were unsuccessful.
* Environmentalists Pressure Brown on Climate Change Bill - The Environmental Defense Action Fund is running a TV ad calling on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-AVon) to withstand oil company lobbying and support the cap-and-trade climate change bill:
Spokesperson Joanna Kuebler says he strongly supports climate change legislation but "any final climate change bill cannot exacerbate the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs."
* Obama's Chances - The top story in the Dispatch today is an examination of Obama's prospects in Ohio, with Obama superdelegate and former Bill Clinton campaign manager David Wilhelm commenting that it's "hard to see" Obama winning without Ohio although he "clearly expands the map" by putting states like Virginia and Colorado into play, and Obama "fundamentally understands that in Ohio you've got to compete in every patch of the quilt," including rural counties.
* Voters May Have Final Say on Payday Lending - The payday lending industry is gearing up a petition drive to get a referendum on the November ballot to reverse the new 28% interest rate cap.
An email from the Clinton campaign (received at 1:43 a.m.):
I wanted you to be one of the first to know: on Saturday, I will hold an event in Washington D.C. to thank everyone who has supported my campaign. . . .
On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.
I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.
When I decided to run for president, I knew exactly why I was getting into this race: to work hard every day for the millions of Americans who need a voice in the White House.
. . .
I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.
Thank you, Senator.
As State Sen. John Boccieri (D-Alliance) had patiently explained during the primary, when the "carpetbagger" charge was about all that his primary opponent had to say against him, he planned to move into the 16th Congressional District after his children finished their school year. True to his word, the family recently moved into a rented home in Alliance while they sell their New Middletown home. It was a move of only about 30 miles, but it blunts an issue for opponent State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton), who likes to point out that he is a lifelong 16th District resident.
Actually, Stark County blogger Martin Olson points out that Boccieri is thrilled to have Schuring focus on the residence silliness:
[Boccieri] said he hoped that Schuring would continue to obsess about the residence issue. For his part, Boccieri said he would be focusing on the economy, the Iraq war and fixing health care.
Or, as Boccieri campaign blogger GARoach quotes the candidate:
"They are worried about where I lay my head down on the pillow at night, but I'm more worried about where people go to work in the morning."
Olson further writes that he is close to calling Schuring "the Stealth Candidate" because he is developing a trend of not talking. Olson reports that Schuring:
*Failed to appear or send a representative to a Time Warner Cable feature presentation on the OH-16 race, at which Boccieri was represented by Stark County Democratic Party Chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. -- the host mentioned several times that the Schuring campaign was requested to send a representative but declined;
* Failed to take Project Vote Smart's "Political Courage Test", which Boccieri did take; and
* Declined to talk to Olson himself twice.
Sooner or later Schuring is going to have to start answering questions.
From the Dayton Daily News:
Three weeks after being sentenced in two cocaine possession cases, former Springboro City Councilman Michael W. Hemmert will accept a Republican Congressional Medal of Distinction during a two-day celebration in the nation's Capitol culminating in a dinner honoring President George W. Bush.
"I will be attending my second President's Dinner on Wed., June 18, 2008. This is considered the 'Event in Washington, DC' each year," Hemmert said in an e-mail press release.
On May 27, Hemmert, 53, of Springboro, was granted treatment in lieu of conviction on two sets of charges of possession of cocaine and marijuana and a single count of possession of drug paraphernalia during a hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
The guy has to clear the trip with his probation officer. He gave up his city council seat after the police seized marijuana and cocaine at his house during their first raid in mid-February ... then they came back a month later and found more marijuana and cocaine. Why isn't he in jail, instead of planning a trip to D.C. where he will dine with NRCC head Rep. Tom Cole (R) and cruise the Potomac aboard the luxury ship Odyssey III? Well, it's hard to say for sure, but according to the news report "Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel acknowledged Hemmert had helped her raise campaign funds."
According to a senior Clinton advisor, as reported just now by Adam Nagourney in the New York Times.
UPDATE: ABC also has the story.
Regular readers will not be surprised that I think this is fabulous news. The wedding bells will start ringing as early as June 17th.
What wins over the public on marriage equality is actually seeing partners in same sex marriages -- neighbors, co-workers, relatives, friends -- acting like normal married people and not posing any threat to heterosexuals or to the institution of marriage itself. It has to be going on out there in the real world as an everyday phenomenon to gain more widespread acceptance. One just hopes that there is enough time between now and November for the effect to register, since there is going to be a gay marriage ban on the ballot. (Although today's news story indicates that civil rights lawyers have vowed to challenge the ballot measure if it passes.)
Regardless, a Field Poll released last week found that a slim majority of Californians already oppose the constitutional amendment (51% to 43% or 54% to 40% depending on how the question is phrased), and the trend is toward more approval of same sex marriage (it was at 44% in 2006 and 35% in 1985). Gov. Schwarzenegger (R) is not supporting the ballot measure.
One thing that's clear is that the future belongs to acceptance and equality. The California poll found that 68% of the 18-29 age group approve same sex marriage, while 55% of those 65 or older disapprove. If the two big political parties are to be associated with this issue, the more tolerant Democratic attitude has all the upside potential.
Today at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) joined with other legislators and labor leaders to announce his introduction of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act. Joining Sen. Brown as co-sponsors are Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Bob Casey (D-PA).
In brief, the TRADE Act would require a comprehensive review of existing trade agreements, mandate renegotiation of existing trade agreements based on that review, set standards for future trade agreements including labor and environmental protections that apply to workers in other countries and food and product safety standards that protect consumers here at home, and strengthen the role of Congress in setting trade policy (by spelling out what is to be included in trade agreements and how they are to be approved, and by creating a Congressional committee to approve plans for renegotiating trade agreements).
"We want trade, and we want more of it," Sen. Brown said at the press conference, echoing a frequent theme on the campaign trail in Ohio in 2006. "For too long our nation’s trade policy has exploited workers, betrayed middle class families, and destroyed communities. It is time for a trade policy that works for everyone, not just a few."
This is a first-of-its-kind bill, putting into concrete terms the "fair trade" perspective on our national trade policy. The bill is supported by a dozen fair trade groups, and by labor groups including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Communication Workers of America.
UPDATE: Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) has issued a strong statement in support of the TRADE Act:
“The TRADE Act gets to the heart of what I have been talking about since I first began my campaign for Congress and since I first stepped foot into the people’s House. Working families in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District and all across our nation understand that we need a new trade policy. I have seen communities and families devastated by a trade system that shows little regard for fairness or for the concerns of those that it affects. This was the message that we wanted to get across early last year when I helped organize 38 of my freshmen colleagues on a letter stating our strong support for a new trade policy.
Continued after the flip.
I'm very pleased to see Ohio represented in the new Congressional GLBT Equality Caucus, announced today by co-chairs Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
The caucus has 52 members (two of them Republicans) and includes Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp). It is expected to grow, so hopefully there will be more Ohio legislators in it.
The Advocate quotes Baldwin as saying that the new caucus' primary concern this session is "to educate and prepare for major legislative victories" following a change in the White House. Examples of recent legislative initiatives that Bush had said he would veto (although they didn't get that far) are the Matthew Shepard Act expanding hate-crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Co-chair Rep. Baldwin said that she and Rep. Frank expect to use the caucus extensively for briefings and bringing witnesses to hearings on Capitol Hill. In addition, the caucus will serve as an information clearinghouse with a website and listservs to promote awareness about LGBT issues.
A survey taken in 45 GOP-held congressional districts, released by the Carville & Greenberg firm Democracy Corps today, shows strong signs of another wave election for Democrats in November. Across the entire range of districts, all in Republican hands, a generic Democratic challenger leads against the named incumbent by seven points (50% to 43%). Moreover, the survey finds that Democratic party affiliation is up (now at a 5 point advantage) and support among Democrats is more intense.
As to OH-02, however, the news is even better. This is one of only three districts in the survey that is both ranked Tier One (as more winnable) and considered "exurban" in nature. In those three districts combined, a generic Democratic challenger leads the named Republican incumbents by ten points, 52% to 42%. In addition, the three Republican incumbents in those districts have a shockingly low job approval rating of 24%.
Wulsin campaign spokesman Kevin Franck reports that these findings are consistent with what voters are saying out in the district. Having spent the day in Portsmouth with Dr. Wulsin yesterday, Franck reports that even Republican voters are ready for change and want a Representative in Congress who puts Ohio families ahead of petty politics.
The Carville-Greenberg survey is a good sign for other Ohio congressional districts as well. OH-15 and OH-16 are also included in their Tier 1 GOP-held districts, and overall they found a generic Democrat leading the named Republican incumbents in those districts 51% to 42%. OH-01 and OH-14 are included in their Tier 2 GOP-held districts, and among those the overall lead is 50% to 45%.
Now that we have a presumptive Democratic nominee, today is the perfect day to make a statement in support of party unity and resolve about taking back the White House and putting our country back on track. Please join me in making a donation to our new nominee:
UPDATE: And also sign the Democracy for America Unity Action Pledge!
The time has come for Ohio superdelegates to take a stand one way or the other. The contests are over, now is the time to commit.
With the announcement by House Speaker Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) in favor of Obama yesterday, there are six Ohio superdelegates still undeclared. Let them know that it is time to fulfill their role of party leadership by declaring their support today:
State Rep. Chris Redfern
Sen. Sherrod Brown
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Charlie Wilson
Rep. Zack Space
ADDENDUM: Last night, after Clinton failed to concede, Democratic Party leaders Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean issued a joint statement calling on undeclared superdelegates to commit no later than this Friday:
"Democrats must now turn our full attention to the general election. To that end, we are urging all remaining uncommitted super delegates to make their decisions known by Friday of this week so that our party can stand united and begin our march toward reversing the eight years of failed Bush/McCain policies that have weakened our country.
Make the calls.
Thanks to Talking Points Memo, here are video clips of the speeches by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
I watched both speeches in their entirety last night, as well as parts of John McCain's prebuttal. Obama's speech was undeniably a tour-de-force -- inspiring and presidential. Clinton's speech was frankly perplexing. Although she is clearly attempting to marshal her political capital to some end, she seemed determined to torpedo any chance of sharing the ticket with the presumptive nominee. It really sounded like the speech of a winner, or at least one determined not to concede anything to the real winner. I could not believe that she congratulated Obama only for running a great campaign and "what he has accomplished," without acknowledging his clinching the winning margin of delegates, and that she continued to portray herself as the stronger candidate. However, both Democrats displayed so much more vitality and vision than McCain it made his earlier speech seem pathetically stilted and crabbed in comparison.
Quinnipiac University has released a new poll of Ohioans today on a variety of topics, with good news for Democrats generally on Strickland and the Marc Dann mess and terrific news for the paid sick days proposal that is likely to appear on the November ballot and generate substantial interest among Democratic-aligned demographic groups:
* Gov. Ted Strickland retains an excellent job approval rating at 55%/23% despite deep gloom over the economy, with 65% saying that the state economy has deteriorated since he took office.
* Voters approve the proposed Healthy Families Act, which would require companies with more than 25 employees to provide seven paid sick days per year, by a huge margin at 71% to 24%.
* Despite the Dann scandal and resignation, voters are more likely to associate Republicans with corruption than Democrats by 38% to 30%. More voters think the Dann mess is less important than the scandals involving former governor Bob Taft than otherwise (20% to 12%), although a large number (57%) rate them the same.
* Sadly, the English-as-official-language nonsense has huge support (85%) as does the NRA-sought change to the law governing use of deadly force against intruders in a home.
I learned from the campaign of Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) yesterday that a spurious ethics complaint which adversaries had turned into a sleazy assault on her character during the 2006 congressional contest and again during the primary early this year has been closed, hopefully bringing to an end to the despicable and baseless attacks.
Right-wing bloggers had continually flogged the complaint, filed with the State Medical Board of Ohio in 2006 by a little-known Massachusetts-based group that purports to be a medical fraud watchdog. The complaint hung upon the slenderest of reeds -- Dr. Wulsin had performed a literature review in 2004 regarding controversial field testing in Africa by the Cincinnati-based Heimlich Institute of a procedure intended to boost the immune systems of HIV-positive individuals by exposing them to malaria, but did not participate in the testing and was promptly let go when she turned in a report critical of the procedure -- but the complaint was still technically pending during the primary early this year.
Dr. Wulsin's primary opponent Steve Black (D-Indian Hill), desperate at the end of an expensive but sagging campaign, turned the medical complaint into a phenomenally lurid television ad. The macabre scare tactic utterly failed, as Dr. Wulsin defeated Black by 28 points in the three-way contest and garnered over 15,000 more votes than Republican incumbent Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) in the three-way GOP contest in this red-leaning district.
Here is a statement from Wulsin campaign spokesman Kevin Franck, confirming that the ethics complaint is dead in the water:
"Dr. Wulsin voluntarily met with the State Medical Board of Ohio on April 24, 2008 to discuss an anonymous ethics complaint. The Board found that there was no merit whatsoever to the complaint and declined any further action on the issue. These false allegations represented the lowest form of sleazeball politics. Fortunately for the voters of the 2nd district, the truth prevailed."
"The real issue in this campaign is Jean Schmidt. In her first full term in Congress, Schmidt has voted against increasing benefits for American veterans, providing healthcare to poor children and reducing interest rates on student loans. Those are facts worthy of debate."
Dr. Wulsin has a distinguished career of service and leadership in the field of public health, so it is especially gratifying to be able to spread the word that the attacks on her medical ethics were completely groundless.
As part of a national week of “We Are Working America” canvasses, events have been organized for Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland in which elected officials and candidates will meet up with labor leaders and members of the AFL/CIO affiliate organization Working America this Saturday (6/7) to hold rallies and go canvassing door-to-door to discuss issues of concern to working families: health care, good jobs, and turning around the economy. The Cincinnati event will feature Ohio Treasurer Rich Cordray (D-Grove City) and congressional challenger State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill), the Columbus event will include congressional challenger County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus), and in Cleveland the featured elected official is Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland).
Working America was created in 2003 to give workers who don’t have a union on the job the opportunity to engage on economic issues. Since then it has grown to more than 2 million members in every state and and U.S. Territory. In Ohio, Working America expects to reach 800,000 members by Labor Day.
Event details are after the flip, and on the events calendar (right sidebar).
Todd Beeton at MyDD has a press release from the Obama campaign saying that they are now only 12 delegates from clinching, based on the dramatic reversal by Clinton supporter Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) this afternoon.
UPDATE: Chris Bowers reported at Open Left earlier this afternoon that ten Edwards delegates came over to Obama earlier today, leaving him 15 short at that point, and in a position to clinch when the Montana polls close at 10:00 p.m.
2nd UPDATE: I like this bit from Jane Hamsher on Firedoglake, regarding Clinton's comment that she'd be "willing" to serve as the vice presidential candidate:
Ever since Bill let the cat out of the bag, it's been clear that this is what Hillary has been trying to leverage. I've read most of the past few days as Obama's attempts to sew up the nomination such that she doesn't get forced on him, since by all reports he'd rather have a root canal. The slew of "leaks" saying he already has the requisite number of superdelegates looked to be a way to pressure remaining uncommitteds to get while the getting is good. ...
There is no doubt a really aggressive day of hardball politics being played behind the scenes. Sounds like a made-for-TV movie in the making.
Counting up pledged delegates and public and private commitments from superdelegates, the AP has tallied up the numbers and declares that Barack Obama has "effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination."
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton backer Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) says it is over ("I think after the campaigns are wrapped up today, it is in fact a moment of truth”) and says she wants Clinton on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee, and Clinton reportedly told the New York Congressional delegation today that she would be willing to be Obama's running mate.
The invitation for tonight's fundraiser for former bank lobbyist Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington), hosted by the Ohio Bankers League at the tony residence of a former OBL officer in New Albany, states plainly:
Please join the OBL for an evening with State Senator Steve Stivers, Republican Candidate for Congress
Conducted in conjunction with the OBL CEO Symposium ...
And according to the invitation contribution checks are to be returned to the Ohio Bankers League at its Columbus office address.
The Ohio Bankers League is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State as a non-profit corporation. Under Federal Election Commission regulations 2 U.S.C. 441b(a) and 11 CFR 114.2(f), a corporation (including its officers, directors or agents) is prohibited from facilitating or acting as a conduit for contributions, which includes using corporate resources or personnel to plan and carry out fundraisers for federal candidates.
A spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, Alex Goepfert, said in a statement today:
"Career banking lobbyist Steve Stivers is brazenly testing the limits of campaign finance law in order to raise as much money as possible from his lobbyist friends. Trailing in the polls, career lobbyist Steve Stivers is ignoring caution, bending the rules and turning to, as George Bush would put it, his 'base.'"
Stivers tried insisting that he was "never a lobbyist per se" until confronted by the Columbus Dispatch with his signed lobbyist registration form and a list of news reports recounting his lobbying activities on behalf of banks. Now his bank lobbyist friends are so anxious to help his campaign they are bending if not breaking the rules.
Here is the statement:
Ohio House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), an Ohio political powerhouse and a Superdelegate who serves on the Democratic National Committee, announced today she is supporting Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nominee as President of the United States.
"I have spoken to Sen. Obama several times about his ideas for moving our nation past the failed policies of the Bush administration," Leader Beatty said. "I like Sen. Obama's stances on issues important to all Americans, and I am proud that an African-American has the trust and the support of people across all cross-sections of our society in this historic campaign. He has brought energy and an excitement to this race that inspires people, and he is the right person for the job."
Leader Beatty represents a state that voted for Sen. Clinton, but a district that voted for Sen. Obama in the Ohio primary. Beatty is a strong and outspoken advocate who has repeatedly opposed settling this campaign on the Democratic National Convention floor.
When speaking about Sen. Clinton and her campaign, Leader Beatty said, "Especially as a female, I respect the strength she has shown the nation in her historic run for the highest office in the land.
"I vow to work now to ensure that Barack Obama wins our Democratic nomination and, in November, becomes President of the United States."
The other day I went through my list of county officer races for all 27 counties that have 100,000 or more residents and looked for Democratic candidates in county commission races whose victories might result in flipping control of the three-member body from red to blue. Except for Summit County with it's non-statutory form of government (county executive and county council), every Ohio county has three commissioner seats and two of them are up for election in presidential election years like this one.
The idea was to look for Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents, or Democratic candidates for GOP-held open seats, and then check the party affiliation of the commissioner who isn't currently running and the other one who is. I'm not completely confident in the accuracy of my information, but the resulting list is after the flip. (Asterisks indicate incumbents.) I'd appreciate any comments from readers on these races, or correcting any mistakes in my list!
Read on ...
One of my favorite scenes in literature is mid-way through "Desolation Island," the fifth book of the Aubrey/Maturin series of seafaring historical novels, in which Patrick O'Brian protrays what appear to the the final moments of the damaged and badly leaking H.M.S. Leopard: officers run this way and that bawling conflicting orders into the wind and spray, drawing their weapons while some sailors drown in their efforts to join deserters in a longboat and others break into the ship's liquor locker and yet others cower in despair, and quietly the captain retreats to his cabin and opens a bottle of port ...