Michelle Obama in Cleveland Tomorrow 2/21

02/21/2008 - 11:30am
02/21/2008 - 12:30pm

As promised, details on the appearance by Michelle Obama in Cleveland on Thursday, 2/21 are after the flip.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

A few quick bulletins from the battlefields:

OH-02: DDN Endorses Wulsin and Brinkman - In the Dayton Daily News today:

As if to show his own toughness, Mr. Black is running a negative campaign against Dr. Wulsin, saying she's been investigated on a medical ethics issue, that she has not released the names of all her donors (the law does not require that for small donors), that she wants more trade with the likes of Armenia (yes, Armenia), and more.

The attacks don't wash. At a certain stage, the claim that the Democrats need a tougher candidate devolves into the claim that Congress needs yet another lawyer, another few-holds-barred warrior. ...

Dr. Wulsin would bring unusual experiences, sensibilities and ability to Washington. In a primary race in which the Democrats do not differ profoundly on the issues, she is the right choice.

They also choose State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) over Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R), writing that the "2nd District and Ohio need to be represented by somebody whose reputation is not connected to such bush-league mistakes" as speaking favorably of nuclear waste, plagiarism, claiming endorsements she doesn't have, attacking Murtha as a coward, etc.

OH-07: Clark County "Approval" Interviews Tonight - The Clark County Democratic party doesn't do endorsements, it does "approvals," which can be extended to more than one candidate. Converted Libertarian Jack Null (D-Fairborn) reportedly disdained the procedure, saying that "this is not Soviet Russia" (?) and the only approval he needs is the signatures on his nominating petitions. *** Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek) has criticized Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) for raising money from lawyers and business people, and for saying favorable things about (and reportedly voting for) popular retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), arguing that these indicate she is not a real Democrat. Neuhardt responds that she is a true-blue Democrat but is a person who can "work across the aisle." *** Former state legislator Ron Hood (R-Ashville) is said to be "winning the sign war" in Greene County. State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) and Dan Harkins (R-Sprinfield) have each sent out mailings. On the Democratic side, Neuhardt is in the process of sending out a series of demographically targeted mailings and has phonebanking underway.

OH-13: Sutton's AED Drive Covered in USA Today - The effort by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) to get automated external defibrillators into schools gets national media exposure.

OH-16: Boccieri Attends Funeral of Steel Worker - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) attended a memorial service this morning honoring Verna Benning, 51, of Carrollton, at the United Steel Workers of America Union Hall. Mrs. Benning, a union member, died of injuries after being struck by a straddle truck at the Timken Gambrinus steel mill on Saturday, January 12, 2008. Senator Boccieri presented the Benning family with a flag flown over the Ohio Statehouse in her honor.

OH-17: Ryan-Heart-Strickland Jobs Plan - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is inspired by Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal to stimulate the economy and create jobs by issuing $1.7 billion in bonds for infrastructure and energy initiatives:

Ryan says the plan is good economic medicine - particularly for the struggling northeast Ohio region - and buys into Strickland's contention that it can create some 80,000 jobs. He made it clear that he wants his region to receive many of those benefits, too.

“I am 100 percent behind this plan and should it end up as a ballot initiative, I will actively campaign for it," Ryan said. "I look forward to working with the governor on the Building Ohio Jobs package and ensuring that northeast Ohio is positioned to capitalize on the program’s benefits."

OH-18: Strickland and Space Announce Medical Center Funding - Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) visited Adena Regional Medical Center yesteday to announce that the State of Ohio has decided to use state and federal dollars to expand training operations there. The money will be be used to purchase training equipment and to supply grant funding for the training of up to 80 students per year to attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through the PACCAR Medical Education Center. The program will offer first access to dislocated workers for this training.

Spouse of Marc Dann to Endorse Obama Today

Just in from the Obama campaign: Alyssa Lenhoff-Dann, local school board member and wife of Attorney General Marc Dann, will appear with Alfre Woodard in Youngstown today and announce her endorsement of Barack Obama today at the opening of the Obama for America Youngstown office. The event will be at 12:45 p.m. at 25 Federal Plaza West in Youngstown.

Zogby Nat'l Poll: Obama Leads Clinton by Whopping 14 Points; Also Strong Against McCain

Zogby released a national poll this morning showing that Obama has surged into a huge 14 point national lead over Hillary Clinton:

52% Obama
38% Clinton

The pollster reports that Obama is cutting into demographic categories that were Clinton's strength:

Obama not only wins big among younger voters, but has also made significant inroads and now leads Clinton among those likely voters ages 50 to 64 - the heart of the Baby Boomers - by a stunning 57% to 29% margin. This is a group of which Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are members. Clinton had shown strength in that age demographic group in earlier surveys. ...

[Obama] having erased Clinton's advantage among female voters, the two are deadlocked at 44%. Among men, Obama leads by a 61% to 32% margin.

Obama's advantage spans most of the ideological spectrum - he leads by 23 points among progressives at the far left end of the political scale; by 16 points among mainline liberals; and by eight points among moderates. Only among the small percentage of likely Democratic voters who consider themselves conservatives does Clinton hold a lead over Obama - leading him by 14 points.

The same poll finds that Obama leads McCain in a head-to-head match-up, while Clinton trails him:

40% McCain
47% Obama

50% McCain
38% Clinton

Obama's superior performance against McCain comes from strong support by voters under age 65, among women and independents. Also, among African Americans, Obama leads McCain 80% to 3% with 18% undecided, but Clinton wins just 58% support among African Americans against McCain, who wins 18% backing.

Obama Campaign: Win Larger Than Expected; Calling Race "Even" is "Lunacy"

I'm on a conference call with Bill Burton, spokesman for Obama for America, and he just said that even they didn't expect the huge 17 point win in Wisconsin. He also called the victory in the Hawai'i caucuses, where Obama got 76% of the vote, "overwhelming."

The Obama campaign calculates that their lead in pledged delegate increased from 141 to 159 as a result of yestedary's contests. Looking ahead to Ohio, if the result here is within 5% the winner will only pick up about 3 net delegates. Burton says Clinton would need to win both Ohio and Texas by huge margins - like 20% - to cut significantly into Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Under the worst case scenario, Obama's camp expects to still be leading by about 150 pledged delegates after OT Tuesday, regardless of whether Clinton ekes out a win in Ohio and/or Texas. She would have to win over 75% of the remaining delegates after that just to pull even. Burton urges the reporters on the call to press the Clinton campaign to explain, state by state and CD by CD, exactly where they think they will come up with the pledged delegates to win.

Burton says that the Clinton camp keeps calling this an even race, and that is "lunacy."

Exit polling in Wisconsin revealed that voters preferred Obama on national security, the economy, and beating the Republican nominee in November. This makes Clinton's new charge that Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief or president on day one, or to take on McCain, ring hollow. Burton says it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a huge difference between how Obama and Clinton will perform in November against John McCain. Obama attracts independents, Clinton does not.

Burton pointed out that Clinton's campaign took a sharply negative turn over the weekend, with negative TV ads, mail pieces, and robocalls, and this was "thoroughly rejected" by the voters.

It has been a long time since Obama has had the luxury of spending a substantial amount of time on the ground in a single state, and Burton says that he is looking forward to a real spirited contest in Ohio over the next fourteen days.

1000's of Students Walk 7 miles to Vote for Obama in TX

Amazing photos:

"On the first day of early voting for the March 4 Texas Primary, students at Prairie View A&M University marched 7.3 miles from the school's Student Center to the Waller County courthouse in Hempstead -- the closest early voting location to the campus."

I imagine the weather will halt most Ohioans from marching outdoors. Still, I hope we see this kind of passion and a big turnout.

If you can, go vote now.

Any registered voter may vote early in person by going to his local county Board of Elections office after absentee ballots are available, usually 35 days before Election Day, and request, receive, and vote his absentee ballot at the office. The last day for in person absentee voting is the day before the election.

For a directory of Boards of Elections, please see:
www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/ElectionsVoter/OhioElections.aspx?Section=boeDir

Democratic Turnout in Wisconsin Was Huge

Even against the background of record turnout elsewhere, this astounds me, because Wisconsin has been evenly divided between Rs and Ds for a while:

Total Democratic vote in Wisconsin: 1,110,702
Total Republican vote in Wisconsin: 409,078

Gore and Kerry won Wisconsin very narrowly. This huge discrepancy is very significant. The independents swarmed to Obama, and that is a very good sign.

Video - Obama in Houston Last Night After Winning Huge in Wisconsin

In case you missed it. Feel the excitement, in two parts:



Alfre Woodard in Ohio for Obama Today and Tomorrow 2/20-21

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Alfre Woodard will appear at Obama events in Warren, Youngstown and Canton today, about which I don't have any details yet. Tomorrow she will headline the grand opening of Barack Obama’s Mansfield office and hold a Women for Obama event in Wooster.

Woodard is in the cast of the hit ABC show “Desperate Housewives” and won Emmys for her work in “The Practice," “Miss Evers’ Boys,” "L.A. Law," and "St. Elsewhere." She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Cross Creek.”
Event details for Thursday after the break.

Boilermakers Union Announcing Endorsement of Obama Today

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers will announce its endorsement of Barack Obama at simultaneous events at 11:00 a.m. today in Cleveland and near Toledo and Chillicothe:

BOILERMAKERS LOCAL 85
319 Glenwood Rd
Rossford, OH 43460

ENDORSEMENT EVENT WITH BOILERMAKERS LOCAL 744
1435 East 13 Street
Cleveland, OH 44114-1827

ENDORSEMENT EVENT WITH BOILERMAKERS LOCAL 105
4561 US Highway 23
Piketon, OH 45661

Dick Gephardt in Warren for Clinton Today 2/20

02/20/2008 - 3:30pm
02/20/2008 - 4:30pm

Former Majority Leader Dick Gephardt will campaign for Hillary Clinton in Youngstown and Warren today, discussing her plan to create jobs and her record of delivering results for working families. The Youngstown event is a factory tour for press only, the Warren event is a public rally 3:30 p.m. at Steelworkers Local #1375, 684 N. Park Ave., Warren, OH 44483.

Three Polls Show Obama Outperforming Clinton Against McCain in Swing States

All from Survey USA:

Iowa

McCain 41%
Obama 51%

McCain 52%
Clinton 41%

Virginia

McCain 45%
Obama 51%

McCain 48%
Clinton 45%

Wisconsin

McCain 42%
Obama 52%

McCain 49%
Clinton 42%

These polls were all taken 2/15-17 and the margin of error is about 4.2%. These are fairly big differences between the candidates. (Okay, it is a stetch calling Virginia a swing state, but it is trending blue.)

Excerpts From Clinton Speech in Youngstown Tonight

In he speech tonight, Hillary Clinton committed herself firmly to continuing to argue that Barack Obama is just about pretty speeches and isn't ready to be president. Here are excerpts distributed by the Clinton campaign:

... This election is not about me or my opponent. It’s about you. Your lives, your dreams, your future.

Right now, too many people are struggling. Working the day shift, the night shift, trying to get by without health care, just one paycheck away from losing their homes. They cannot afford four more years of a president who just doesn’t see or hear them.

They need a president ready on day one to be commander in chief. Ready to manage our economy. And ready to beat the Republicans this November. ...

This is the choice we face:

One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world ...

... One of us has a plan to provide health care for every single American – no one left out ... .

... Finally, one of us has faced serious Republican opposition in the past. And one of us is ready to do it again.

The contrast between me and our likely opponent couldn’t be more stark. John McCain is willing to continue the war in Iraq for 100 years -- I will start bringing troops home in 60 days. He admits he doesn’t understand the economy -- I have a plan to turn our economy around and create five million new jobs. He wants eight years more of the same -- I’ll deliver 21st century solutions to move this country forward again.

Both Senator Obama and I would make history. But only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter and a champion for those who need a voice. That is what I would bring to the White House. That is the choice in this election.

Solid Win For Obama in Wisconsin

It's looking like a formidable win for Obama, perhaps by 8 or 9 points by 17 points- AMAZING. Anything more than five points makes the victory very convincing, and he will exceed that for certain.

Todd Beeton has key exit polling numbers at MyDD:

Women: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%

Families with income under 50,000: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%

Independents: Obama 63%, Clinton 34%

Obama essentially tied Clinton among registered Democrats and padded his margin with independents. However, if these exit poll margins hold up it shows Obama expanding his coalition and eroding the pillars of Clinton's support (other than white women over 50, which remains solid according to exit polling data discussed on MSNBC just now). That has everything to do with Obama's prospects on OT Tuesday in two weeks.

Michelle Obama in Cleveland Thursday 2/21

Barack Obama's campaign announced just now that Michelle Obama will return to the Buckeye State on Thursday, February 21st, to campaign for her husband. Mrs. Obama will host a “Keeping America’s Promise” rally in Cleveland, doors opening at 11:30 a.m., location to be announced.

Clinton and Obama Campaign Contact Information in Cincinnati

This just in from the Hamilton County Democratic Party:

The Hillary Clinton Campaign now has a local phone number and email address that can be used to contact them. They are 404-9788 and swohio4hillary@gmail.com.

The Barack Obama Campaign now has an office at 1524 Madison Rd. 45206. Voice mail can be left at 751-2008 but as of yet there is no live phone #.

SUSA: Obama Cuts Clinton Lead From 17 to 9 Points In One Week

On February 12th, Survey USA had Clinton leading Obama 56% to 39%, but a new poll release today has her ahead 52% to 43%. The biggest change is among men, who went for Obama by one point then and by 16 points now. Cross tabs, analysis, and tracking are here.

One factor has not changed - Obama still leads among likely African-American voters by 73% to 24%. But there is a big swing among moderates - Clinton had led 57% to 39% but now is essentially tied at 48% to 47%.

Gaining eight points in a week is a big swing. I don't expect Obama to continue to gain at that rate, but he will continue to gain. This is going to be very tight.

Fifteen State Legislators Endorse Obama

The Obama for America campaign announced at a press conference today that 15 members of the Ohio General Assembly are supporting Barack Obama:

Sen. Capri Cafaro, Hubbard
Sen. Eric Kearney, Cincinnati
Sen. Tom Roberts, Dayton
Sen. Tom Sawyer, Akron
Sen. Shirley Smith, Cleveland
Rep. Jennifer Brady, Cleveland
Rep. Ted Celeste, Columbus
Rep. Mike Foley, Cleveland
Rep. Robert Hagan, Youngstown
Rep. Tracy Heard, Columbus
Rep. Tom Letson, Warren
Rep. Clayton Luckie, Dayton
Rep. Dan Stewart, Columbus
Rep. Tyrone Yates, Cincinnati
Rep. Sandra Williams, Cleveland
[UPDATE: Rep Vernon Sykes of Akron wasn't listed but is an Obama supporter.]

That essentially ties him with Hillary Clinton, who claimed 14 on the list of endorsements issued last week:

Sen. Ray Miller, Columbus - Senate Minority Leader
Sen. Lance Mason, Cleveland - Minority Whip
Sen. Dale Miller, Cleveland
Rep. Todd Book, McDermott - Ass't Minority Leader
Rep. Steve Dyer, Green
Rep. Eugene Miller, Cleveland
Rep. Barbara Boyd, Cleveland Heights
Rep. Michael DeBose, Cleveland
Rep. Tim DeGeeter, Parma
Rep. Jennifer Garrison, Marietta
Rep. Edna Brown, Toledo
Rep. Matt Szollosi, Oregon
Rep. Linda Bolon, East Palentine
Rep. Ron Gerberry, Austintown

There are 67 Democratic legislators in the two chambers combined, so these two lists represent fewer than half. Comparing the two lists is interesting along several dimensions.
Continued after the break.

Gov. Sebelius in Cincinnati for Obama Wednesday 2/20

02/20/2008 - 2:00pm
02/20/2008 - 3:00pm

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS), daughter of former Ohio Governor John J. Gilligan, will campaign for Barack Obama in Cincinnati on Wednesday. A Cincinnati native, Sebelius is currently serving her second term as Governor of Kansas, having been reelected by a wide margin in 2006.
Details after the break.

Live-Blogging the 10th Congressional District Debate

First up, Joe Cimperman: "Let's not be fooled again," he says. Kucinich is "a show horse, not a work horse." Says he'll work for jobs and development. Touts community service and city council record. Very sharp, forceful.

Barbara Anne Ferris: "We deserve better." Emphasizes local roots, lifetime of service. Peace corps. Has worked in Congress, understand budget process and can "bring federal dollars to the district." More gravitas

Mayor Thomas O'Grady: Nice anecdote about priest at his mayoral inauguration asking him to be blessed with anger, tears, and foolishness - all for laudable purposes. Says he's running because he was unable to do what is needed for his city as a mayor. Touts military experience; points out that he was born in the district. "I am a suburban mayor who is of Cleveland and for Cleveland."

UPDATE: Rosemary Palmer: Leads with death of son in Iraq three years ago. Talks about other problems, like foreclosure crisis. Expands qualification to background as teacher and journalist. She is hoarse today, but is speaking more smoothly and more convincingly than early in the campaign. "I am the candidate who will restore faith in the legislative process."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Our area is at a point where we need to consolidate our strengths." Talks about efforts to save steel production and automotive industry in Cleveland. Stresses opposition to NAFTA (passed before he got to Congress). Trade agreements need to protect workers' rights. Job loss connected directly to trade agreements. Manufacturing base also hurt by health care; he is author of bill to fix health care. "It has been my leadership in Congress that has put health care front and center." Now that's a hell of a claim! Says he has led opposition to the war, emphasizes economic cost. Has a plan to get out of Iraq. "People know that I cannot be bought, and I cannot be bossed." He got louder and louder as he went.

Call & Post Counts Up Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Endorsements

This week's Cleveland edition of the African American-oriented newspaper Call & Post has a front page story on local endorsements in the presidential race (not available online). Here's the gist:

* 2 of 3 county commissioners (Tim Hagan and Peter Lawson Jones) support Obama, while the third (Jimmy Dimora) is neutral.

* Mayor Frank Jackson has not declared an endorsement.

* County prosecutor Bill Mason is "leaning Obama."

* Five of the ten African American members of Cleveland City Council have endorsed Obama (Fannie Lewis, Phyllis Cleveland, Nina Turner, Kevin Conwell, and Obama delegate Sabra Pierce Scott) while two support Clinton (Robert White and Roosevelt Coats) and three are neutral or not yet announced (Mamie Mitchell, Zack Reed, and Kenneth Johnson). One of the Obama supporters, Kevin Conwell, switched from Clinton after polling his constituents.

* Of the other eleven council members, the story mentions only that Dona Brady and Council President Martin Sweeney support Clinton.

That reference to Bill Mason bears watching, as reporter Kathy Wray Coleman notes:

[Some] question whether Mason intends to put his political machine up against that of popular Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the national chairperson of the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign.

UPDATE: While I'm on the topic of Cuyahoga County endorsements, here are the area state legislators claimed by the Clinton camp:

Lance Mason - State Senator - District 25, Minority Whip
Dale Miller - State Senator - District 23
Eugene Miller - State Representative - District 10
Barbara Boyd - State Representative - District 09
Michael DeBose - State Representative - District 12

Predicting OT Tuesday

It's two weeks until the big Ohio showdown. Democrats in Wisconsin and Hawai'i make their choices today. (Hillary Clinton is speaking here in Ohio tonight, so I guess she doesn't expect to pull out a win in the Dairy State, and that primary was considered more winnable for her than the Aloha State.) I know that the last week or two here in Ohio has seemed crazy, but it was as nothing compared to what the next fourteen days will bring.

Folks keep asking me, who do I think will win? I make no bones about it. Although I support Obama, I expect Clinton to get more votes in Ohio than he. But the question becomes, is that a win for her?

Not exactly. I expect Obama to cut sharply into her lead and make it a close race. Call it two or three percentage points. That means that the two candidates will basically share the delegates between them. What Clinton needs to pull ahead in the overall contest is a big win, and I don't see her getting that. I predict that Obama will remain the front runner on the day after OT Tuesday.

I like Clinton. I understand the passion of her supporters. I prefer Obama, but it is not becaause I'm convinced that Clinton would lose the general election or make a poor president. As I watch her and Obama campaign, it seems to me that the character of the contest is determined by two things. One is the fact that the two of them are closely aligned on the issues, at least as to the basics. Like evenly matched mud wrestlers, they are each struggling to find a grip, any grip, on their opponent ... no matter how slight or arguably unfair. Relatively small differences are magnified, turned into implausible negatives, like the specter of Clinton gobbling up paychecks to pay for unwanted health insurance coverage or Obama sitting down at his Oval Office desk next January and discovering that he has no actual ideas in his head.

Obama Campaign Meeting and Results Watch Party Tonight 2/19

02/19/2008 - 7:30pm
02/19/2008 - 9:30pm

Senator Barack Obama’s Ohio campaign will host a Lake County organizational meeting for supporters to learn how to get involved in the campaign’s get out the vote efforts leading up to the March 4th primary. Following the meeting, Obama staff, volunteers and supporters will gather to watch the results of the elections in Wisconsin and Hawaii.
Details after the break.

VIDEO - Obama in Youngstown

Clinton draws big crowds (I couldn't get into her rally in Lyndhurst last week, which drew 2,500), bascially everyone likely to attend such an event comes out for her. Obama draws huge crowds - inlcuding people who are NOT likely to attend such events. In Youngstown he drew a crowd of 6,000 and did not disappoint:


The following courtesy of the Youngstown Vindicator:

Actor Kal Penn in Ohio for Obama Tomorrow

Actor Kal Penn, in the cast of the hit TV show House MD and star of the films The Namesake and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, will campaign for Barack Obama at college events across Ohio on Wednesday, February 20th.
Details after the break.

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