Clinton in Ohio Election Night, Obama in Texas

Signaling their expectations, the Clinton campaign announced yesterday that she will be in Columbus when election results come in tomorrow night (location not yet revealed), while Obama stays in Texas. Polls have suggested that Obama's doing a little better in Texas than here, and NPR reported this morning that Obama aides privately said Obama has "a real good chance" in Texas (campaign speak for expecting to win).

"Arcade Fire" to play Obama events at Beachland and Stuart's Opera House

Dave at Left of Ohio beat to the punch on this one. The indie band "Arcade Fire" is going to play two free Obama events in Ohio and at two of my favorite venues. I'm hoping that the gigs will be PACKED so that more progressives get a chance to experience two very COOL venues.

Tomorrow night, Sunday March 2, 2008, they play at Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, which is just north of Athens. Then they'll be at the Beachland Ballroom Monday night (March 3, 2008) on the east side of Cleveland in the North Collinwood neighborhood.

Here's the email message I received from Tim Peacock (the manager at Stuart's):

Members of Internationally known band, Arcade Fire will be performing at , this Sunday night, tomorrow night, March 2nd at 7:00 p.m., for FREE!

This event is being put on by Arcade Fire and the Barack Obama campaign. Stuart's Opera House is a non-partisan venue that the organizers are renting. Regardless of how it happening, we are extremely excited to have members of the Arcade Fire on our stage, wow! Here is their press release:

"Win Butler, Will Butler, Regine Chassagne, Jeremy Gara, and Sarah Neufeld of the Arcade Fire will be playing a free concert on Sunday, March 2nd at in Nelsonville, Ohio in support of Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination. The show is at 7 p.m., first come first serve.

Though known as a Canadian band, Win and Will were born and raised in the U.S. (and spent their formative years in Texas), Regine is a dual citizen whose dad served in Vietnam, and Jeremy Gara and Sarah Neufeld are just a really nice Canadians who like playing music and are sick of explaining to Americans what universal health care means."

Stuart’s is a restored Victorian era theater in downtown Nelsonville and a FANTASTIC venue. It's one of the best small performance spaces in our region. And even though we live at the diagonal opposite end of Ohio, we still make the trip down whenever we can. GREAT music, LOW prices, wonderful atmosphere. We’ve gone there to see performers such as Karan Casey, 2007 Grammy winner Tim O’Brien, John Doyle and Liz Carroll, Richard Thompson, Steve Earle, Balfa Toujours (an INCREDIBLE Cajun band) and the Del McCoury Band.

Upcoming shows include Richie Havens, The Cherryholmes Family and Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.

The Beachland is also a super venue. I've been to the Ballroom to see bands like Railroad Earth, and Donna The Buffalo (I'm a member of "The Herd") and the smaller Tavern room to see acoustic acts, like John and Liz.

It's so cool that we are finally starting to develop a circuit of independent venues in the Buckeye state, including places like the Kent Stage over in Kent, and the superb CityFolk events in Dayton.

Because of my kids' upcoming musical, I have to miss the incredible Irish band Dervish, at the Victoria Theater in Dayton. If you are in that area on Friday March 14, do not miss it!

Votes for Edwards, Thompson, and Romney Will Be Counted

Terry Orlander reports in The Plain Dealer today of the five presidential dropouts on the ballot, votes for two (Dennis Kucinich and Rudy Giuliani) will not be counted, but votes for the other three (John Edwards, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson) will be tallied because they never formally withdrew from the primary. The latter three are eligible to be awarded delegates if they win 15% of the vote in any congressional district.

Before you laugh, consider that the Ohio Poll released on February 25th showed Edwards with 19% support in southeastern Ohio (he was at 9% statewide). That part of the state includes all or most of the 6th and 18th congressional districts. On the GOP side, the poll showed Romney with 17% support in central Ohio (also 9% statewide). That region presumably includes all or much of the 7th, 12th, and 15th districts. If those voters don't switch their allegiance, Edwards and Romney could actually pick up delegates.

New M-D and Zogby Ohio Polls: Obama and Clinton in Statistical Tie

The latest polling shows the Ohio primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama deadlocked just three days before the vote.

A Mason-Dixon poll taken February 27-29 for The Plain Dealer finds the gap between the candidates right at the 4 point margin of error:

47% Clinton
43% Obama

This poll shows Obama leading among African American voters by 83% to 8%, notably higher than the approximately 75% to 20% ratio reflected in other recent polls.

A poll released today by Zogby International, commissioned by Reuters, C-SPAN, and the Houston Chroncle, has the race exactly even (figures in parens from two days ago):

45% (44%) Clinton
45% (42%) Obama
1% (1%) Gravel
3% (5%) Someone Else
6% (9%) Not Sure

The latter poll has a margin of error of 3.8 ponts. It shows the "someone else/undecided" voters breaking decidedly for Obama over the last few days.

Pollster John Zogby comments on the tight race:

"In Ohio, Obama continued his march to catch Clinton in the race there, erasing her two-point lead in yesterday's tracking poll. The two are now tied - down to the tenth of a percent. As is the case in Texas, Obama leads in the big Democratic cities – Ohio’s Cleveland and Columbus, now the biggest city in Ohio where thousands of unionized state government employees live. Clinton's strength remains in the more rural areas, and among Catholics, an important demographic group in Ohio.

Gravel Lawsuit Against Pro-Clinton Group Dismissed

As I reported a week ago, attorney Subodh Chandra has filed a Federal Election Commission compaint against the pro-Clinton outside group American Leadership Project, charging that it is a political advocacy group subject to a registration requirement under the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. However, the FEC has lacked the necessary quorum to take official action on complaints since New Year's Day because Congress is deadlocked over four pending nominations to the FEC by George Bush.

I learned this morning that an attorney for Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel, Jared Beck of Florida, filed a federal lawsuit against ALP in Toledo alleging that it is a political committee subject to registration with the FEC, and seeking an injunction against ALP airing ads that promote Clinton. Beck argued in support of the lawsuit that Gravel should be excused from filing the otherwise mandatory complaint with the FEC because the lack of a quorum there renders any such administrative filing futile.

Alas for Gravel, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary didn't buy the argument. In a seven-page order issued yesterday, the judge ruled that it has no jurisdiction in the matter:

Plaintiff cannot avoid the FEC by taking a shortcut through the federal courts, even if Plaintiff believes the required statutory procedure will take him nowhere. Congress has made it clear where he must start his journey, and that is at the steps of the FEC, not the Toledo courthouse.

No word yet on whether Gravel will appeal the ruling.

Video - Jack Nicholson Endorsement of Clinton

I think this video is a riot:



Nicholson had in fact endorsed her. He announced it in a call to the "Rick Dees in the Morning Show" on Los Angeles’ MOVIN’ 93.9 FM on February 4th.

Clinton Campaign To Narrow Focus to Ohio?

Yesterday Clinton campaign advisors told reporters that "they believe unless Obama sweeps Ohio and Texas, as well as the smaller contests in Rhode Island and Vermont, that is a signal from Democratic voters that Clinton should stay in the presidential nomination race," a big turnabout from the comment by Bill Clinton ten days ago that "a loss in Texas or Ohio would likely doom her candidacy."

If Clinton's famous Ohio-Texas firewall is shrinking, which of the states is now the "must-win" primary for the Clinton campaign? Poll averages at Pollster.com show Clinton now trailing 48.4% to 44.2% in Texas, but hanging on in Ohio 49.5% to 42.3%. That suggests we may see a shift of resources here, if it's true that pulling out one big win is now Clinton's bottom line for staying in the race.

Hillary Clinton in Cleveland 3/2

03/02/2008 - 8:15pm
03/02/2008 - 9:15pm

Join Hillary Clinton in a "Solutions for America" Rally in Cleveland this Sunday, March 2nd.
Details after the break.

Obama in Westerville 3/2

03/02/2008 - 12:00pm
03/02/2008 - 2:00pm

The Obama campaign has announced that Senator Obama will hold a town hall meeting in Westerville on Sunday, March 2nd.

Details after the flip.

Cincinnati Enquirer Endorses Obama

The editors praise both candidates but choose Obama for his health plan and his potential to cross the partisan divide:

[I]t is Obama's ability to reach beyond the partisan divide and gather in support that prompts The Enquirer to give him our endorsement ...

The true differences on policy between Obama and Clinton - on Iraq, on trade and a host of other issues, are narrow.

On health care, we prefer his approach of lowering costs rather than mandating participation. ...

Obama has been on the national stage for a relatively short time, but in that time he has demonstrated an ability and a willingness to work with others. He does not waste time demonizing those with different views. ...

But perhaps Obama's most impressive achievement so far is the excitement he has engendered in the political process itself. ...

Obama has an undeniable appeal that is attracting people of divergent backgrounds. He seems able to find ways to work even with people who don't share his views.

We believe that of the two, he has the better chance at quickly creating the working coalitions that would allow for the progress a new administration will need in dealing with the issues at hand.

The Enquirer joins The Plain Dealer and The Toledo Blade as major Ohio papers endorsing Obama. The Akron Beacon Journal endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Is Bill Clinton Campaigning for Barack?


Counting Votes

USA Today's story about problems the experts see coming due to unbelievable turnout for this cycle's election is only a backdrop for the nightmare expected election night this Tuesday in Ohio and Texas, and possibly nationwide come November.

"The biggest problem during the primary season has been too many voters," says Doug Chapin, director of electionline.org, which tracks voting issues. "Time and time again, the problem has been turnout being up higher than even the most optimistic projection."

Right on cue, Ohio Daily Blog reports that turnout will be huge.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner had a conference call with reporters today (reported on Openers , The Daily Briefing, and Politics Extra) in which she forecast a 52% voter turnout. That is vastly greater to turnout in the 30% to 35% range for the last three presidential primaries (when Ohio's vote was not nearly so important). It is about the same as the 53.2% turnout in the 2006 general election and about 19% less than the record-breaking 2004 general election turnout.

The USA Today article tells us where the trouble spots should be, including:

In Ohio, which has faced myriad ballot-box problems in recent years, the Cleveland area will test new optical-scan paper ballots in next Tuesday's primary; officials may not finish counting until midday Wednesday.

So, how's that going?  If you guessed badly, you win.

Weekend Obama Canvassing Details

After the flip ...

Two Polls Diverge: One Shows Clinton Ahead, The Other Nearly Tied

Fox News:

46% Clinton
38% Obama

Rasmussen Reports (figures in parens from 2/25):

47% (48%) Clinton
45% (43%) Obama

New Will.I.Am Obama Video

We are the ones...


Voter Turnout Will Be Huge

[UPDATED to add info from Politics Extra.]

It looks like Ohio is set to follow a lot of other states in producing an enormous voter turnout in Tuesday's primary, at least on the Democratic side where the contest is close.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner had a conference call with reporters today (reported on Openers , The Daily Briefing, and Politics Extra) in which she forecast a 52% voter turnout. That is vastly greater to turnout in the 30% to 35% range for the last three presidential primaries (when Ohio's vote was not nearly so important). It is about the same as the 53.2% turnout in the 2006 general election and about 19% less than the record-breaking 2004 general election turnout.

Other notable points:

* "Brunner said as many as one-fifth of the roughly 4 million voters expected to cast votes in Tuesday's primary will do so by absentee ballot, or at least 800,000 voters. The previous record for absentee ballots cast was 707,856 in the 2006 general election."

* "Brunner [said] the demand for absentee ballots suggests high interest. As an example, she said the Montgomery County Board of Elections was deluged with absentee ballot requests after Democratic candidate Barack Obama spoke to 15,000 people at a Dayton rally. (At the Obama events I've attended the speakers always stress early voting, and it appears to be working.)

50 State Blog Network Roundup

Fresh and hand-picked blog posts from across the nation:

California
   Karen Bass will become the new Speaker of the Assembly. She will team with Senator Darrell Steinberg to lead the California legislature for the next two years. She is the first female Democrat to lead the Assembly.

New York
   Daily Gotham reports on endorsements in a Congressional race beginning to heat up in New York's 13th District. This one is all that stands between us and a free-of-republican-Congressmen New York City.

Continued after the break.

ARG Poll: Obama Cuts Clinton Lead From 10 to 5 Points in Four Days

In another sign of Obama's momentum, a poll just released by American Research Group shows Clinton's lead has been chopped in half in just the last four days (figures in parens are from the 2/25 ARG poll):

50% (49%) Clinton
45% (39%) Obama
2% (4%) Someone Else
3% (8%) Undecided

Comparing the two polls, it appears that 7% of the voters moved from "Someone Else/Undecided" to the two candidates, and those voters broke 6-to-1 in favor of Obama. If that trend were to continue these polls suggest the race would be extremely close, but there are not quite enough undecided voters remaining to give Obama the lead.

The four-day period between the polls included the debate on Tuesday night -- do you think that was an important factor in the shift?

The poll included 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4 points.

Obama Responds with National Security Ad Featuring Gen. McPeak

The Obama campaign counters Clinton on national security with a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praising Obama's judgment about Iraq:


Clinton's New National Security Ad

Here is the controversial new national security ad from the Clinton campaign, essentially arguing that your children sleeping in their beds may be unsafe if Hillary Clinton isn't in the White House to answer the crisis phone at 3:00 a.m.:


The ad gets slammed in this recommended diary at DailyKos, calling it the "nuclear option," a "fear-bomb," wondering why Clinton is "writing ads for John McCain," and guessing that if she doesn't win the nomination she is hoping that Democrats lose in November so she can "run against McCain or whoever in 2012." Atrios compares it to the 2004 Bush/Cheney ad with scary wolves running through the snow. Marc Ambinder writes that it is "bound to evoke comparisons to LBJ's "Daisy" ad and Walter Mondale's "Red Phone" ads," calls it arguably her "best ... argument ... against Obama," and notes that it has taken her 13 months to make this argument so explicitly.

On a conference call today, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said that Clinton already had her "red phone" moment, and she blew it by voting to authorize the war in Iraq.

New Ohio Endorsement List From Obama Campaign Has 150 Elected Officials

Reproduced after the break is a newly updated list of endorsements of Obama by elected officials in Ohio, now standing at 150.

Obama Campaign Update from David Plouffe

I just got off a conference call with David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama for America. He responded to comments by Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson, and others in the Clinton campaign that Obama and Clinton will be tied (or Clinton will be ahead) after March 4th. Plouffe says that Obama is now leading by 162 delegates overall, and Clinton would need huge wins to change that, so they expect to have substantially the same lead after Tuesday.

If Ohio is a very close race (5% or less), the winner will net only a handful of delegates, and the Obama campaign hopes to gain as many just in Vermont. He also looks forward to Mississippi and Wyoming and predicts that Obama will gain more delegates there than Clinton will gain overall on Tuesday.

Plouffe said that the Clinton campaign's "one goal" was to "erode our delegate lead," and they are going to fail. If the delegate situation does not change dramatically on Tuesday, Clinton would have to win 74% of the remaining available delegates to catch up, and that is not going to happen. If Obama's delegate lead doesn't drop below 100 on Tuesday, then Clinton has "no avenue to the nomination."

Looking at contests around the county, Plouffe said that they consistently show "huge leads have turned into close contests," and Plouffe thinks "we are in very good shape heading into next Tuesday," although the Clinton campaign is "obviously raising lots of money and putting lots of TV ads out there." He continued that "we started out as serious underdogs and we have been clawing our way up - Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island will all be close" despite earlier Clinton leads in the range of 20 points.

"Women's Voices" Contest to Honor Female Bloggers

In celebration of Women's History Month, "Women's Voices. Women Vote" is honoring women in the blogosphere, through our Women's Voices Making History contest. They are inviting people to nominate their favorite female bloggers through March 21st.
Details after the flip.

TGIF Jokes

"But seriously how about that John McCain? John McCain looks like a guy whose head you can barely see over the steering wheel. ... John McCain looks like the guy who picks up his TV remote when the phone rings. … John McCain looks like the guy who has to be told to close his robe. ... John McCain looks like the guy who thinks the nurses are stealing his stuff. 'Dad, why would they take your socks? It doesn't make sense.'" --David Letterman

"You all know Senator Larry Craig, America's favorite restroom enthusiast, we call him. He announced he is taking applications for summer interns to work in his office. ... Isn't that unbelievable? Would you want that on your resume? 'I served under Larry Craig.' All interviews will be conducted in stall number three, I believe. You just wait and he'll push some papers under the door." --Jay Leno

"They have debated so much that they are now debating about debating. Did you see this? A lot of this debate was about the power of words. Hillary said, 'Actions speak louder than words,' Then Obama said, 'Words can speak as loud as actions.' And then McCain said, 'Speak louder!'" --Bill Maher

"This is exciting news. Southern Methodist University announced that they will be the home of George W. Bush's presidential library. This will be the first presidential library to be made up entirely of small, shiny objects. In fact, I understand right now, they're building a shelf for the book." --Jay Leno

"Democrats do have an historic race going. Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama. Normally, when you see a black man or a woman president an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty. How will we know it's the future? Silver unitards, that can't be all?" - John Stewart at the Oscars

Enjoy your weekend!

Stephanie Tubbs Jones: Won't Change Just Because "Wind Has Changed"

On the "Sound of Ideas" show on WCPN just now, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones defended her endorsement of Hillary Clinton as based strictly on qualifications. She said that in politics, your word is all that you have, and that she will not deviate from her 2006 decision to support Clinton. "If I were to change my position just because the wind has changed," she said, "What would people think of that?"

Tubbs Jones acknowledged that Obama has said that his campaign is not about race, but pointed out that for many of his followers it is very much about electing an African American. She bristled at Obama's invocation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in speeches, pointing out that Dr. King's message was to judge people not on the color of their skin.

After Tubbs Jones remarked that Obama is an "excellent candidate," she was asked if she thought that the two of them (Clinton and Obama) could run together. "Absolutely they could," she replied, "They could definitely run together."

UPDATE: Discussing Clinton's performance in Tuesday's debate, Tubbs Jones said that it reflected "frustration" on her part that the media has failed to draw out the distinctions between the candidates.

2nd UPDATE: Rep. Tubbs Jones also discusses her determination to stick with Hillary Clinton in an essay published today on TheRoot.com, an interesting new online magazine focusing on black perspectives:

In late 2006, I made the choice to support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, long before Sen. Barack Obama or even Hillary herself had declared their candidacies. ...

When I made the decision to contest the counting of the electoral votes from Ohio following the 2004 election, a move that was highly criticized by the Republican Party and even by some in the Democratic Party, Hillary stood with me and joined me in introducing groundbreaking election reform legislation ...

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