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. ...
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."
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):
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].
Big hat-tip to Taegan Goddard of Political Wire who just put up a helpful summary of delegate counts, with links:
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. ...
The Obama campaign is happy to welcome everyone to an organizational meeting on Wednesday 2/13 in Hamilton County.
Details after the flip.
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.
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.
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%.
Rally with Hillary Clinton at OSU's French Field House on Thursday, 2/14.
Details after the flip.
Rally with Hillary Clinton at Brush High School in Lyndhurst on Friday 2/15.
Details after the flip.
Nice to see that the Dems aren't going to sit around waiting to be attacked this time. Here is a DNC video ad targeting John McCain on his revisionism about Iraq:
SurveyUSA has released a new Ohio poll taken 2/10 and 2/11 and it shows Hillary Clinton with a big 17 point lead over Barack Obama among likely voters:
Clinton is buoyed by a strong showing among women (62% to 33%), voters over 65 (64% to 30%), Democrats (58% to 37%), whites (62% to 32%), Hispanics (87% to 8%), and those for whom the economy is the top issue (60% to 35%). Obama is statistically tied among males (47% to 46%) but does extremely well among African Americans (73% to 24%) and fairly well among independents (48% to 42%). He is not significantly ahead among voters for whom Iraq is the top issue (48% to 46%).
49% of Clinton supporters say that they could change their minds, compared to 40% for Obama supporters.
This is a very tough poll for the Obama campaign, without a doubt. SurveyUSA is a fairly reliable outfit and the primary is only three weeks away. However, Obama has shown that he can move the numbers dramatically when he comes to a state and starts making personal appearances before large crowds.
UPDATE: Good analysis by Pho, and by Redhorse in the comments. Jerid's efforts to portray this poll as good news for Obama (in comments here and at Pho's place) show that he's letting his support for Obama loosen his grip on reality. It's one thing to support Obama, as Jerid and I both do, it's another to twist the facts beyond all recognition. Obama has a lot of work to do if these numbers are going to shift before OT Tuesday, and if Clinton and her surrogates campaign hard as expected it's a long shot for him to do better than cutting into Clinton's lead.
Here it is -- short and pithy:
Called "Falling Through," it has a populist message about the Bush economy that is perfectly appropriate for Ohio, although according to The Daily Briefing it was not specially made for this state. It is airing across the state starting today.
Bev Campbell (D) and Nancy Garland (D) will address the February meeting of the Franklin County Young Democrats tonight in Columbus. This is a hotly contested primary in a critical Ohio House race.
Details after the flip - h/t DrTruth at BSB
On the heels of his Meet the Bloggers interview and yesterday's five-way debate, Joe Cimperman (D) has produced a new video that pounds Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) on missing votes while he campaigned for president:
The Obama for America campaign invites supporters to meet the campaign staff and learn about ways to help Obama carry Ohio.
Details after the break.
The biggest prize between the three primaries today and OT Tuesday on March 4th is the Dairy State (a week from today), and a poll just out from Public Policy Polling [.pdf] shows Obama defeating Clinton there among Cheeseheads in almost every demographic:
* 50% to 39% among all likely voters;
* 46% to 36% among women and 56% to 35% among men;
* 49% to 41% among whites and 66% to 24% among African Americans;
* 57% to 37% among voters aged 18 to 29;
* 55% to 34% among those most concerned about the Iraq War; and,
* 46% to 44% among self-identified Democrats (a category that Clinton has been winning elsewhere), and a whopping 63% to 25% among independents and 63% to 28% among Republicans.
The only categories where Clinton leads Obama are voters over age 65 (52% to 39%) and voters most concerned about the economy and jobs (47% to 45%) or morality and family values (46% to 30%).
The likely voter screen reflects anticipated heavy turnout among young voters and African-American voters, contributing to Obama's 50% to 39% margin. If the results are weighted to standard turnout instead, Obama's lead is reduced to 46% to 42%.
Wisconsin was something of a question mark, with Hawaii's primary on the same day thought more likely to go Obama's way. This poll makes Obama seem a good bet to go 10-0 in nominating contests between Super Tuesday and OT Tuesday.
Barack Obama was the first to announce a major TV buy in Ohio, but there are signs all around that a major push by Hillary Clinton in Ohio is starting immediately:
* Politics Extra reports that space hero John Glenn will make his endorsement of Clinton with Gov. Ted Strickland in Columbus this afternoon, and the two of them will make appearances around the state tomorrow and Thursday;
* The Daily Briefing says that Chelsea Clinton is speaking at OSU tomorrow and Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware on Thurdsay;
* Hillary herself will be in Youngstown on Thursday and Cleveland on Friday; and,
* Clinton is also starting TV ads in Ohio today.
Representatives for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and OH-02 candidates Steve Black and Victoria Wulsin, will make statements and answer questions from a three-person panel.
Details after the flip.
It's morning in Ohio, the Potomac primaries are today, and OT Tuesday is only three weeks away. Ohio's progressive bloggers, the best in the nation, are pounding out must-read posts on the presidential race:
WLST: On Having a Beer With a Candidate - Jill tees off on Mark Naymik's interesting reaction to Hillary Clinton's endorsement interview with The Plain Dealer ("more comfortable with policy than people ... [n]obody likes a smarty-pants ...") with a criticism of the shallowness of the whole obsession with "who'd you like to have a beer with?" dimension in evaluating candidates. Also, last night she agreed with blogger Morra Arons that for all his newness, Barack Obama has lots of establishment ties and support.
PBD: Calling BS on Mark Penn - Great take-down by Redhorse of Clinton pollster/consultant Mark Penn for saying that Clinton "has consistently shown an electoral resiliency in difficult situations that have made her a winner." What exactly are these tough races that she has won? Also, Redhorse detailed yesterday how the stress of a rough week for Billary is starting to show.
Pho: Consensus on Magnitude of OT Tuesday - Noting reports that superdelegates regard the Ohio and Texas primaries as paramount, Pho says the task before Obama is clear: win Ohio and you should be able to wrap this up; lose here and throw the decision to the superdelegates.
Bellwether: Ghosts On The Ballot - Bill Sloat notes that six candidates now out of the race will appear on the presidential primary ballot in Ohio. Could this affect the outcome?
BSB: High Stakes for STJ and Ted - Russo foresees major embarrassment for Clinton supporters Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Gov. Ted Strickland if the former's 11th Congressional District goes for Obama by 75%-25% or better, based on the trend among African-American voters nationwide, and if that margin tips Ohio into the Obama column.
Plunderbund: Hoping Edwards Endorses Clinton - Obama supporter Eric explains why he now wants John Edwards to give the nod to Clinton.
MCDAC: Evangelicals Voting Democratic - The MCDAC Blog notes that Zogby asked Democratic voters in Missouri and Tennessee if they were Christian evangelicals, and found that they accounted for a fifth of Democratic votes in Missouri and nearly a third in Tennessee.
I just got a robocall from Hillary Clinton, telling me that my absentee ballot should be arriving soon and urging me to vote for her. I imagine that this call will go out to every Democratic voter who sent in an absentee ballot application.
It was a rather slow, measured delivery, sounding very much read-from-a-script, and emphasized "real solutions for our nation and Ohio." She mentioned health care and ending the war in Iraq.
Newsy bits from the battlegrounds, by a blogger who was out of the loop for four days:
OH-02: No Presidential Endorsement by Wulsin & Other News Items - Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) told the Enquirer editorial board today that she hasn't chosen a favorite in the presidential race. Meanwhile, Pho reports that Wulsin is one of only 18 Democratic candidates on a list at Swing State Project of those with cash advantage at year end over a Republican incumbent, $344,315 to $124,857. And blogger Bill Sloat is providing great ongoing coverage of this race. He reported yesterday that underfunded GOP challenger State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) was endorsed by the small-circulation newspaper Christian Citizen, and on Saturday that Wulsin requested the cancellation of the Clermont County OH-02 straw poll because opponent Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) is mourning the passing of his father, retired judge Robert L. Black. The latter story contains interesting comments by Clermont County Democratic Chairman Dave Lane about Black having switched parties:
"My personal view is that any time that a Republican chooses to see the light and join us, well, he is welcome. We should take all the Republicans we can get. I don't hold that against Steve Black. A person who switches parties from Republican to Democrat to run for office, I don't question that at all. ... [Paul] Hackett, he had shadows of Republicanism in his history. There was some history of him switching back and forth."
Wulsin wil speak at a Shawnee Labor Council Meeting on Gallia Street in Portsmouth tonight [2/11] at 7:00 p.m. and at the Brown County Democrats Club Meeting at 509 North Main in Georgetown at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow [2/12].
OH-03: Turner Ethics Questioned - Dave of Into My Own writes today about an important story in Sunday's Dayton Daily News, detailing a questionable $1.5 million no-bid contract awarded by a committee composed of Turner campaign supporters to a small marketing firm owned by his wife, Lori Turner. Dave lists important questions that need answers in light of today's report. The blogger Mr Liberal also wrote about the story today on DailyKos.com.
Meanwhile, David Esrati (D-Dayton) is using his campaign blog to support Barack Obama in the presidential race. I interviewed Jane Mitakides (D) last week (I hope to get that posted tomorrow) and she said she has not picked a favorite candidate yet.
OH-04: Carroll to Give Keynote Speech at Presidents Day Luncheon - Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) will headline the Hardin County Democratic Party's annual President's Day event at Jolene's Cozy Cafe, 507 E. Columbus Street in Kenton, Ohio from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 23rd.
OH-05: Radcliffe Campaigning Hard - Iraq veteran Scott Radcliffe (R-Perrysburg) is giving newly elected Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) a real run for his money if this glowing account of his visit to Van Wert last Friday is any indication. He sounds like a good candidate.
OH-07: Odds and Ends - Bill Conner (D-BEavercreek) will be at a "Meet the Candidate" party this Saturday, February 16th at 5:00 p.m. at the Greene County Democratic Headquarters, 87 E.Main Street in Xenia, Ohio. Dave Woolever (D-Stoutsville) has won his fourth labor endorsement, this time from IATSE Stage Hands Local 12. Dr. Richard Wyderski (D-Beavercreek) has upgraded his campaign site.
UPDATE: OH-10 Debate - Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) was a late addition to the Democratic debate taped for Time Warner yesterday afternoon [2/11]. Anthony Fossaceca, campaign manager for Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland), live-blogged the event here, and Openers has the audio. Time Warner will broadcast the debate repeatedly between now and the primary, first at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow night [2/13] on Channel 15 in Cleveland, Channel 23 in Akron, and Channel 22 elsewhere, and again at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. The candidates will debate again in a sold-out event hosted by the City Club of Cleveland at noon on February 19th, which will be broadcast on Channels 3 and 5 in Cleveland and on public radio WCPN 90.3.
UPDATE: OH-12 Events - Russ Goodwin (D) has his first big fundraising event tonight [2/12] at 5:30 p.m. at the Havana Night Club, 862 N. High Street in Columbus. Rival David Robinson (D) has announced that he will attend a meeting of the Democratic Network of Southeast Delaware County at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 16th at the Community Library, 44 Burrer Drive in Sunbury, Ohio.
UPDATE: OH-16 Candidates Profiled - The Canton Repository published a pair of stories about the candidates on both sides in this high-profile open seat race. Democrats John Boccieri and Mary Cirellia are virtually indistinguishable on the issues, but Boccieri is far ahead in fund-raising and endorsements. Cirelli bashed Boccieri on still living outside the district (he plans to move to Alliance when his daughters are out of school), and Boccieri responded: "Her whole campaign is about where I put my head on a pillow at night," Boccieri said. "My whole campaign is about where people go to work in the morning."
UPDATE: OH-18 Not So Close After All - David at Ohio Valley Politics highlights a story in the Zanesville Times Recorder, revealing that neither ODP Chair Chris Refern nor ORP Deputy Chair Kevin DeWine regard the 0H-18 race as among the most competitive in Ohio. They think that OH-1, OH-2, OH-15 and OH-14 are the competitive ones, not OH-18. This is a huge testament to the fundraising and high visibility of Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), as well as a signal of the relatively low profile of his three GOP opponents and the financial strains on the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Roll Call reports that disgraced and convicted GOP bribe-taker Bob Ney (R) will be released from his minimum security prison later this month, and Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Alex Goepfert is looking forward to seeing him on the campaign trail:
"With John McCain promising voters nothing short of a third term for George Bush, Bob Ney will do an excellent job reminding Ohioans of exactly what the first two terms of the Bush presidency have meant for our state," said Goepfert. "Any word on Tom Noe?"