New Quinnipiac Ohio Poll Shows Clinton Leading Obama by 21 Points

On the heels of the SUSA poll two days ago that showed Clinton 17 points ahead, a new poll released by Quinnipiac University today shows Clinton leading Obama among likely primary voters in Ohio by 21 points:

55% Clinton
34% Obama

A Quinnipiac poll taken in early December showed Clinton with a 26 point lead (45% to 19%), so Obama has gained some ground since then.

In head-to-head matchups with McCain, both candidates are essentially tied: Clinton 43%/McCain 44%, Obama 40%/McCain 42%.

At this stage of the game, Clinton has a very big lead over Obama among women (56% to 30%) but also leads by 10 points among men (52% to 42%). Obama leads 64% to 17% among African American voters.

Pollster Peter Brown notes in the release that voters see the economy as a larger issue than Iraq, that the demographics in Ohio are very favorable to Clinton ("If Clinton can't win the primary [in Ohio], it is very difficult to see how she stops Obama"), and that Obama has shown the ability to close similarly large gaps in other states ("Clinton must fend off another last-minute Obama surge in the Buckeye State").

Obama Yard Signs In The Works

I just learned that the Obama campaign in Ohio is acquiring and distributing yard signs to local offices (which they are still in the process of opening). They hope that signs will be available at the local offices in about three or four days.

The campaign says that the best way to locate your local office is through the web site.

Yard signs are also available from the online Obama shop, but due to the huge demand they are currently on back order.

Redfern on MSNBC Today 2/14

Tune in to MSNBC at 10:15am and 2:30pm today to hear ODP Chair Chris Redfern talk about the upcoming Ohio primary and "the issues that matter most to Democratic voters," per a press release from the party. (This appearance was bumped from yesterday.)

Obama Canvassing & Phonebanking in Columbus 2/16

02/16/2008 - 9:00am
02/16/2008 - 6:00pm

The Obama for America campaign is having a kickoff canvassing and phonebanking event this Saturday, February 16th at the new Obama campaign office in Columbus. Starts at 9:00 a.m. and you can show up all day.

They are located on 193 E Rich St. (map). Telephone will be 614-224-8600 once they get their phone line installed.
They need volunteers, donations, food, office supplies, etc.

Obama Kickoff Canvass & Office Opening 2/16

02/16/2008 - 10:00am
02/16/2008 - 2:00pm

The Cleveland Kickoff Canvass happens Saturday morning at 10:00 in the new Obama for America office in Cleveland:

815 Superior Avenue East (corner of E. 9th)
Suite 100
Cleveland, OH 44114 (map)

Rally for Obama in Cleveland 2/15

02/15/2008 - 5:00pm
02/15/2008 - 6:00pm

There will be a large volunteer rally for the Obama for America campaign at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 15th, at the Antioch Baptist Church, East 89th Street and Cedar Avenue in Cleveland. Click here for a map.

Obama and Clinton on Obama's NAFTA Attack

My post yesterday with images of the NAFTA attack mailer sent out by Barack Obama's campaign was picked up by political reporter Scott Helman writing on the Boston Globe blog Political Intelligence. Helman asks of the mailer, is it "a fair shot or a cheap shot?" He notes that Hillary Clinton did not use the actual word "boon" in describing NAFTA -- that word was taken from a paraphrase published in Newsday.

Helman helpfully points to justification for the attack at Obama's campaign site, and a rebuttal at Clinton's site. Obama points out that Clinton referred to NAFTA as a "success" in her memoir, that a report on a speech she gave in Texas in 1996 quoted her as praising the "widespread benefits" it would bring to the region, and that reporters at Bloomberg News and the San Francisco Chronicle recently described her as having changed her position on trade (the latter called it a "flip-flop"). For her part, Clinton accuses Obama of consistently fabricating quotes, cites a National Journal report that called Obama the presidential candidate most likely to support further trade liberalization, points out two examples of Obama votes that appear to support trade liberalization, attacks his criticism that her call for a "time out" on trade deals is vague, and reasserts several proposals she has made for stricter trade policy.

ODP revamps website, changes platform

The Ohio Democratic Party website has a new look and feel. They have dropped the Blue Utopia system (based out of Seattle) in favor of the Kintera system (home offices in San Diego, CA, as I recall.) The last Ohio political website which used Kintera, that I recall was when Eric Fingerhut ran for the US. Senate.

These outfits provide a bundled mix of services such as template based web design, web hosting, CMS (content management system) and online contribution processing.

So what do you think of the new site so far?

Recently, ODP had been promoting Blue Utopia to candidates and had arranged for special discount rates for Ohio Democrats who went with them. For example, they host the Ohio House Democratic Caucus website. Before that, ODP had used and promoted the Orchid for Change system, which I really hated.

In other Ohio Democratic web developments, State Senator John Boccieri has rebuilt his website for OH-16 using DCS Online Communications out of D.C.

Michelle Obama in Ohio Friday 2/15

The Daily Briefing is reporting that Michelle Obama (AP photo at right) will campaign on Friday in Columbus and Cincinnati, details yet to be announced.

Clinton as GOP's Preferred Opponent

Howard Wilkinson of the Enquirer writes today (at some length) about the "worst-kept secret" of the Ohio primary, i.e., that Ohio Republicans want Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, hoping that she'll unite their fractured party and energize their dispirited voters. The response in defense of Clinton comes from supporters Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper and Gov. Ted Stickland:

“Republicans have been throwing everything they can at Hillary Clinton for years now," Pepper said. “I don’t know what more they can say that is going to drive more people away from her. It’s all been said. You either like her or you don’t.”

But Obama, Pepper said, has yet to be a target of the Republican “attack machine.”

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, another high-profile Clinton supporter, agreed.

“There will be venom directed at whoever the Democratic candidate is," Strickland said. ”John Kerry, a war hero who was portrayed as someone who somehow didn’t bleed enough to earn his medals, I mean, give me a break.

Carville thinks Ohio could end it for Hillary

Today in Orlando, James Carville stated it could end very soon for Hillary..

On the chances of Hillary Clinton, the candidate he is advising:

"She’s behind. Make no mistake. If she lose either Texas or Ohio, this thing is done."

I think she has to do more than win. I think she'll have to dominate both to overcome Obamas' surge. If she get's a big win, perhaps, she can pull it off and regain momentum. If not, I think it is all over.

What do you think?

Chelsea Clinton at CSU and U of Akron Tomorrow 2/14

Per the Dayton Daily News blog Politics:

Chelsea Clinton will attend rallies at 10:45 a.m. at Cleveland State University on Thursday, Feb. 14, and at the University of Akron at 1:15 p.m. later that day.

Don't know where specifically, but you can probably just look for the media trucks, crowds, and banners.

UPDATE: DDN has better info on the CSU event, which will feature Bill as well as Chelsea:

Bill and Chelsea Clinton will be at the University Center Atrium tomorrow from 11am-12noon for a live question and answer session. A meet and greet is being sponsored by the CSU Student Government Assn.

Excerpts From Major Obama Speech on Economic Policy

Barack Obama launched a major campaign focus on trade and economic policy with a speech in Janesville, Wisconsin today, and Mark Halperin at Time has excerpts (h/t to Sirota at DKos). Here are the highlights:

We are not standing on the brink of recession due to forces beyond our control. The fallout from the housing crisis that’s cost jobs and wiped out savings was not an inevitable part of the business cycle. It was a failure of leadership and imagination in Washington ...

It’s a Washington where decades of trade deals like NAFTA and China have been signed with plenty of protections for corporations and their profits, but none for our environment or our workers ...

It’s a Washington where politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged – a war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week ...

I’m laying out a comprehensive agenda [that] focuses on three broad economic challenges that the next President must address – the current housing crisis; the cost crisis facing the middle-class and those struggling to join it; and the need to create millions of good jobs right here in America ...

I’m proposing a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will invest $60 billion over ten years. This investment will multiply into almost half a trillion dollars of additional infrastructure spending and generate nearly two million new jobs – many of them in the construction industry that’s been hard hit by this housing crisis. ...

Redfern on Boehner and Voinovich Endorsements: With Friends Like These ...

ODP sends out a good one:

John McCain announced the endorsement of Ohio Republican and House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, a man who described John McCain's immigration plan as a "piece of %$*!." Boehner's lukewarm nod for Senator McCain comes on the heels of another mixed bag endorsement from Ohio Senator George Voinovich, who recently told the Cincinnati Enquirer that McCain was "sorely lacking in management experience."

"John McCain's two biggest Ohio supporters have informed us that the Senator can't manage and that his ideas are garbage," said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. "Despite his shameless pandering to the far right and promises of a third Bush term, John McCain's doubletalk is clearly alienating everyone, even members of his own base."

Someone should start keeping a numbered list of all the contradictions and gaffes as McCain tries to patch over his differences with the Republican base.

Former Campaign Manager for Bill Clinton Endorses Obama

Openers reported this morning that David Wilhelm, national manager of former President Clinton's 1992 campaign, will endorse Barack Obama today. Wilhelm was later the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is currently a superdelegate.

Wilhelm says that "Obama can build a coalition of Democrats, independents and Republicans needed to win the general election."

This is good political theater, given Wilhelm's Clinton connection, but probably won't have much street-level impact with ordinary Ohioans. Look for more Ohio-targeted endorsements to follow, from both camps.

UPDATE: Joe Hallett has more at The Daily Briefing:

“I honor the president and my participation in his campaign very very much,” Wilhelm said. “This is a different time and a different choice. Some of my very closest friends in life, let alone politics, are managing and running and advising the Obama campaign.”

Wilhelm [said] Obama's nomination appears inevitable after his big victories in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia last night.

Wilhelm ... decided to announce his endorsement roughly three weeks before Ohio's March 4 primary "because “it's time for superdelegates to begin to ratify the choice of Democratic primary voters." He said Clinton would need to win 70 percent of the remaining delegates at stake in order to draw even among pledged delegates "and I think that is highly unlikely.” ...

Sherrod Brown Has Advice for Obama and Clinton

At the end of a press conference call on another matter, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) was asked about the presidential race. He said that he spoke to Obama yesterday "about issues that affect the middle class - job creation, trade policy, and rebuilding our infrastructure."

Warming to his theme, he said that what we need is "one big idea on economic policy." That idea is to "rebuild the middle class" by repairing our infrastructure, developing alternative energy as a new growth industry, and changing our trade policy. "I know that you can win on this issue in Ohio," he said, referring to his own populist economic campaign in 2006.

"I'm not satisfied that either candidate is quite there yet on trade, alternative energy and manufacturing policy," Brown continued. Obama and Clinton are a lot closer than McCain, however. He predicted that "we will begin to see Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton connect with middle class voters" on rebuilding the middle class and turning around Ohio. "The candidate that builds an economic policy around one big idea of rebuilding the middle class will win the nomination and the general election."

Brown confirmed that he will not make an endorsement before the March 4th primary, saying that "it's for the people to decide."

Obama Mailer Slams Clinton on NAFTA

I just received my first mailer of the presidential race and it's a doozy. "Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA," it declares. "A little more than a year ago, Hillary Clinton thought NAFTA was a 'boon' to the economy," it continues (citing a 9/11/06 item in Newsday). And, "Hillary Clinton was not with Ohio when our jobs were on the line. Why should we be with her now?"

The piece targets not just Clinton's record on trade but her credibility. It says that she is "changing her tune" now that she's campaigning in places like Ohio, but when Obama says he will fix broken trade deals "we can believe him."

Here are images of the mailer (continuing after the flip):

Sen. Brown: Bush Budget Fails Rural Ohio

In a conference call that will begin shortly, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) will discuss a five-page study just released by his office that details the crushing impact of Bush's proposed budget cuts on Ohio's rural communities. Forty-eight out of Ohio's 88 counties are considered rural and they have much higher unemployment and lower high school graduation rates than the urban counties, some shockingly so. “With faltering infrastructure, disappearing jobs, underfunded schools, and spotty access to health care, rural communities are fighting an uphill battle without the federal support they need,” Brown says of his findings.

The Bush budget proposes to terminate 19 established rural economic development programs, slash rural health programs by $154 million, cut funding for state and local law enforcement (which hurts rural counties that are struggling to combat increased illegal drug trafficking), and freeze education discretionary spending at 1.4% less than what is needed just to keep up with inflation.

I'll update with additional info after the call. The report can be downloaded here [.pdf].

Helpful List of Delegate Counts, with Links

Big hat-tip to Taegan Goddard of Political Wire who just put up a helpful summary of delegate counts, with links:

NBC: Obama 1,078, Clinton 969
CBS: Obama 1,242, Clinton 1,175
ABC: Obama 1,232, Clinton 1,205
CNN: Obama 1,215, Clinton 1,190
AP: Obama 1,223, Clinton 1,198

Clinton Superdelegates Poised to Defect?

Wow. From an AP's Ron Fournier:

Top Democrats, including some inside Hillary Clinton's campaign, say many party leaders - the so-called superdelegates - won't hesitate to ditch the former New York senator for Barack Obama if her political problems persist. Their loyalty to the first couple is built on shaky ground.

"If (Barack) Obama continues to win .... the whole raison d'etre for her campaign falls apart and we'll see people running from her campaign like rats on a ship," said Democratic strategist Jim Duffy, who is not aligned with either campaign.

Obama looks to be riding a 10-win streak after next Tuesday's contests in Wisconsin and Hawaii. That will make 25 out of 37. The majority of superdelegates who have indicated support one way or the other are in the Clinton column, but Fournier describes many who won't necesarily stay there:

Some are labor leaders still angry that Bill Clinton championed the North American Free Trade Agreement as part of his centrist agenda. ...

Some served in Congress when the Clintons dismissed their advice on health care reform in 1993. Some called her a bully at the time. ...

Some are senators who had to defend Clinton for lying to the country about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Some are allies of former Vice President Al Gore who still believe the Lewinsky scandal cost him the presidency in 2000.

Some are House members (or former House members) who still blame Clinton for Republicans seizing control of the House in 1994. ...

Organizational Meeting for Obama in Cincinnati 2/13

02/13/2008 - 6:00pm
02/13/2008 - 8:00pm

The Obama campaign is happy to welcome everyone to an organizational meeting on Wednesday 2/13 in Hamilton County.
Details after the flip.

OH-07: Mitchel Denounces Corruption Involving DeWine, Hobson, Austria and Local Officials

Congressional candidate John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek) is distributing a scathing op-ed piece he has written that accuses former U.S. senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville), retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), endorsed successor candidate State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) and his spouse, and a variety of local GOP officials of a long history of cronyism and a recent corrupt scheme that involves steering a no-bid contract to Hobson campaign contributors, which incident Mitchel equates with the corrupt activity that has landed former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) in federal prison. He has been demanding a full investigation, which he accuses local GOP officials of resisting in order to conceal the conflicts of interests and influence peddling that have occurred.

This is fascinating reading and these allegations may form a big part of the backdrop to this congressional race.
Full text after the break.

Chelsea Clinton in Cincinnati 2/13

02/13/2008 - 7:30pm
02/13/2008 - 8:30pm

All Clinton volunteers and supporters are invited to join young professionals as they welcome Chelsea Clinton to Sully's in Cincinnati.
Details after the flip.

OH House-99: Distel (D) May Get Turnpike Post

There's an article in the metro section of the Plain Dealer today (can't find an online counterpart) reporting that the executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, Gary Suhadolnik, is retiring this spring and the commission will select a replacement in March. George Distel (D-Conneaut), the term-limited incumbent in the 99th Ohio House District, is the front-runner to take Suhadolnik's place, and he says that he is "delighted at the opportunity."

If Distel steps down, his likely replacement is Deborah Newcomb (D-Conneaut), who replaced Distel as county commissioner and is now running to replace him as state representative. Running as an incumbent will help Newcomb against car dealer Tom Nizen (R-Jefferson), whom Newcomb defeated in her last re-election campaign for commissioner by 54% to 46%.

Hillary Clinton in Columbus 2/14

02/14/2008 - 6:00pm
02/14/2008 - 7:00pm

Rally with Hillary Clinton at OSU's French Field House on Thursday, 2/14.
Details after the flip.

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