The Obama campaign counters Clinton on national security with a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praising Obama's judgment about Iraq:
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.:
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.
Reproduced after the break is a newly updated list of endorsements of Obama by elected officials in Ohio, now standing at 150.
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.
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.
"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!
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 ...
Gov. Ted Strickland, still popular although not quite as much as previously, expends political capital in this explicit effort to infuse some of his mojo to Hillary Clinton:
Strickland portrays Clinton as a fighter, a person of faith, and a person who cares. This is a strong commercial and I expect it to help Clinton, especially in the southeast part of the state where Strickland walks on water. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I doubt that this ad will have much overall impact in Ohio as Obama continues to dominate the airwaves and Strickland's support is already well known in the state. In other words, helpful but not likely to change many minds.
A new poll by Zogby International for Reuters, C-SPAN, and the Houston Chronicle shows the race virtually tied in Ohio:
Although Clinton is a statistically insignificant two points ahead, the pollster suggests that the trends actually give Obama the upper hand, with undecided voters more likely to go his way:
[Clinton's] strength stems from the same demographic groups that carried her to victories earlier in the campaign, but the trend appears to favor Obama, as late deciders are more likely to support him over her, the survey shows, and 9% of Ohio Democrats say they have yet to make up their minds. ...
Among those who made up their minds "more than a month ago," Clinton leads 63% to 37%. Obama leads by margins as big among those who made up their minds less than a month ago, a week ago, and within the past few days. In the same vein, Clinton leads by 6 among those who have already voted.
The pollster also surveyed Texas, where Obama leads Clinton by 48% to 42%. On the GOP side, McCain has a solid lead in both statates, 62% to 19% in Ohio and 53% to 27% in Texas.
Other recent polls have shown the Democratic race in Ohio tightening, but this is the first to point to a victory for Obama rather than a close race still favoring Clinton. The cross-tabs are similar to other recent polls:
Clinton leads among Democrats, women, voters over 50, and everywhere outside the three big cities. She also leads among Catholics, voters in union households, and moderates. Obama leads among voters under 50, especially those under 30, and among liberals.
As to the Ohio Democratic results, the poll included 708 likely voters and has a margin of error of of 3.8 points.
The Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reports that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) will stand by Hillary Clinton as long as she is in the race, even if Ohio and her own district go against her in Tuesday's primary:
[Superdelegate Tubbs Jones] says she will stick with Clinton even if Obama wins Ohio and Tubbs Jones' 11th congressional district on Tuesday. ...
... Tubbs Jones says as long as Clinton is in the race she remains by her side.
"I am a woman who has been in politics 26 years. All you have is your word," said Tubbs Jones, noting she committed to Clinton early on and has long been friends with Clinton. "I have chosen her (Clinton) based on her background and experience."
Rep. Tubbs Jones, co-chair of Clinton's national campaign, is the first female African American member of Congress from Ohio and is a revered figure in the northeast Ohio black community. However, recent polls shows three-quarters of African American likely Democratic voters favoring Obama. The 11th Congressional Distict is 56% African American.
Hillary Clinton is campaigning in southeast Ohio today, where she is focusing on combating poverty. Poverty is prevalent in the hard-hit Appalachian region of the state, and low-income white voters are key to Clinton's chances in the Ohio primary. However, Amy Chozick suggests in a Wall Street Journal story today that her emphasis on poverty may also reflect Clinton's hope of obtaining the endorsement of John Edwards:
Poverty hasn't been a dominant issue in the campaign since the withdrawal of former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Mr. Edwards hasn't endorsed a candidate, and both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama have been courting his supporters. "He made poverty a centerpiece in his campaign, and it needs to be a priority," Sen. Clinton has said of Mr. Edwards.
There is also an important tactical reason to focus on southeast Ohio. The 6th and 18th congressional districts have an odd number of delegates, so the winner of 51% or more of the vote in each of those districts scores a net gain of one delegate. Districts with an even number of delegates require a tally of nearly 60% of the vote to avoid splitting the delegates evenly.
UPDATE: After I posted the following account of a disturbing report about a conversation between a senior Obama aide and the Canadian ambassador about NAFTA, the Canadian embassy issued a statement denying the report (h/t Ben Smith at Politico):
A spokesman for the Canadian Embassy to the United States, Tristan Landry, flatly denied the CTV report that a senior Obama aide had told the Canadian ambassador not to take seriously Obama's denunciations of Nafta.
"None of the presidential campaigns have called either the Ambassador or any of the officials here to raise Nafta," Landry said.
The Obama campaign has also issued a strong statement:
“The news reports on Obama's position on NAFTA are inaccurate and in no way represent Senator Obama’s consistent position on trade. When Senator Obama says that he will forcefully act to make NAFTA a better deal for American workers, he means it. Both Canada and Mexico should know that, as president, Barack Obama will do what it takes to create and protect American jobs and strengthen the American economy -- that includes amending NAFTA to include labor and environmental standards. We are currently reaching out to the Canadian embassy to correct this inaccuracy,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
A Canadian national television network reported last night that a senior campaign aide for Barack Obama contacted the Canadian ambassador and told him that Obama would be taking "heavy swings" against NAFTA while he campaigned in Ohio, but it was "campaign rhetoric" that should not be "taken seriously":
If Barack Obama wins the nomination, how effective will he be in fending off attacks by John McCain? Yesterday's rally in Columbus provided a sneak peek preview:
The Obama campaign has announced a statewide door-to-door canvassing campaign to being today. Locations for Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, and Youngstown after the break.
R&B singer-songwriter Avant, a Cleveland native who records on the Geffen label, will host a fund-raising event for Barack Obama at his home in Solon this Sunday (3/2) at 2:00 pm, at which Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) will be a featured guest.
Details after the break.
This video is a stirring statement by William J. Rausch of Marengo, Ohio explaining why he is supporting Barack Obama, and also a reflection of the excitement that is building around this election all parts of Ohio:
The Toledo Blade has come out with an endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president in the Ohio Democratic Primary Election.
However, they "hedge their bets" by going on to say that "We are not yet ready to say who we will endorse in November." I have always questioned the whole point of newspapers and other media outlets who endorse in both parties before a primary election.
And although not unexpected, this has to be seen as a disappointment for those northwest Ohio Democrats, such as State Senator Teresa Fedor who have been campaigning for Senator Clinton.
As a side note, this comes too late to impact the decision of what I think will turn out to be record numbers of voters who have already cast their ballots. Wood County Democratic Party chair Mike Zickar has indicated that this may be the first election in recent memory where Democrats request more absentee or early ballots than Republicans in Wood county, where typically the older GOP supporters have traditionally dominated absentee voting.
"The times they are a changin'"
UPDATE: Here are some highlights of what the Blade editorial board had to say. -Jeff
[W]e believe that Mr. Obama's inspiring life story, keen intellect, strong but quiet confidence, ready grasp of public policy issues, and his fresh and optimistic world view are what America needs after eight years of an administration that repeatedly has shown open contempt for the American people and for the Constitution.
Join state and national NOW leaders for an "I'm Ready for Hillary Party" in Cincinnati with NOW leaders on Sunday, March 2, 2008.
Details after the flip.
The Foreign Policy Leadership Council & The 500 Club invite you and your guests to an Insider's Lunch with Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Advisors in Cinncinnati on Thursday, February 28th.
Details after the flip.
Scary message -- will it be you?
In case you are wondering about that 15 million figure, here is a useful report at FactCheck.org that calls it "a dubious statistic." Bottom line, Clinton's plan "would likely lead to somewhat higher levels of coverage" than Obama's, but there isn't a solid basis to say it's fifteen million, and some studies "find only a small discrepancy between the types of plans" that the two are proposing. The candidates' plans are actually a little too vague for the experts to make solid calculations.
Clinton got the 15 million number from a particular column in The New Republic last spring, but it was an estimate rather than a "hard and fast calculation."
UPDATE: A reader points out this newer post at FactCheck.org on the candidates' claims about their health plans, which I missed when I wrote the original post. It is perhaps harsher on Obama than Clinton, and is more supportive of Clinton's claim about 15 million people going without coverage under Obama's plan.
The Obama campaign has announced three ads that will run in Ohio. Here is one, called "Plan," about his economic plan:
The next one, "Quiet," is about energy policy and previously ran in New Hampshire; the anecdote is familiar from Obama's stump speech:
The last one, "Cost," is about NAFTA. It doesn't appear to be on YouTube yet but can be viewed here. It contains the statement that Obama is "the only candidate to have always opposed NAFTA," certain to provoke more feuding about the candidates' respective records on opposing the treaty.
Bumped to the top - Let's make this a great fundraiser for WVKO! -- Paul
National radio talk show host Stephanie Miller is going to be making an appearance in Columbus on Saturday, March 1st.
The event will take place from 5pm to 10pm at:
The Makoy Center
5462 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 43026
(Click Here For A Map)
Tickets to this event are $25 per person, $40 per couple.
To learn more and to find out how to order your tickets online, visit the WVKO website here.
This is a fundraising event to support the management of WVKO who have gone to great expense to bring Progressive radio back to central Ohio. It is critical that we support this station so progressives can have their voices represented on the radio.
Please buy your tickets today!
The Obama for America campaign got good news from outside Ohio today:
* Civil rights icon and superdelegate Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) has officially switched from supporting Clinton to supporting Obama, confirming a premature report in the New York Times last week.
* Superdelegate Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announced his support for Obama today, identifying trade policy as the principal reason. "Senator Obama has never felt ... that NAFTA was good for America," Dorgan said. "He and I feel the same way. We both believe in trade and plenty of it. We just insist it that it be fair to our country — the rules be fair."
* A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that Clinton's lead over Obama in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (April 22nd primary) has shrunk from 16 points two weeks ago (52% to 36%) to just six (49% to 43%).
Everyone did a great job covering the debate. There is so much blog coverage that it almost seems pointless to add another full diary so I think I'll just bullet point some of the things those of us with tickets were able to experience that others may not have:
- Pre-Debate Banter - At the reception, the food was good, and the excitement level was high. There were so many familiar faces (a theme through out the night), it seemed like every prominent democrat in Ohio was there. The banter was excited but reserved, no one really wanted to rock the boat and the "2 great candidates" meme was repeated often. Occasionally, people made friendly pokes at the candidates with remarks like: "the wheels are going to come off the O'train" and "this was Hillary's last stand".
- The Rule - The rule that "we were not to display our support for a candidate during the debate" was repeated over and over. First, in a letter we recieved last week, then in the program, and in every speech from everyone involved (ODP, CSU, MSNBC) leading up to the debate. We were told that this could hurt our preferred candidate and the broadcast because MSNBC will try to edit that stuff out (making the telecast seem jerky) and in the end, it will just throw your candidate off. Still, When Hillary made "the pillow" remark everyone gasped and boos could be heard from the bleachers. From that moment on, people seemed less concerned with following the rules. People readily laughed at Obamas jokes and sadly, people laughed at some of Hillary' more sillier attacks.
I think Hillarys' supporters did hurt her when they applauded loudly during Hillarys' comment on being the first women candidate. The applause kinda cut off her longer point and seemed kinda cheap. It was like she was asking us to "applause if you are a female". I don't think that was her intent but it played out like that after the applause interupted her. In review, I think the Hillary supporters just wanted something to applause loudly about since the crowd seemed to be favoring Obama.
- Celebrities! - Welcome to the E! portion of my debate round up. Several celebrities came to the debate and all were extremely kind and accessible. Celebrities at the event included, Fisher Stevens, Timothy Hutton, Matthew Modine, Harold Perrineau and my personal favorite Dennis Haysbert.
Michelle Obama returns to Ohio to hold five public rallies in two days. If you have not heard her speak you should. She is terrific.
Details after the flip.