Barack Obama


The new narrative - Obama surging, McCain struggling

We will wake tomorrow with a new media narrative - Barack Obama surging on the Democratic side, and John McCain stumbling on the Republican side.

With 60 percent in from Maine, Barack leads 57-42 in a state many thought Senator Clinton would win. His wins last night were in 3 different regions and by large margins. He was endorsed today by newspapers in Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, El Paso,and San Antonio. He continues to raise unprecedented amounts of money fueled by an unprecedented number of supporters. He leads John McCain in most early matchups. Today the message coming from the Clinton world was the firing of their campaign manager, and complaints about an NBC correspondent's words (however virtuous this effort is, it is not what a struggling campaign wants to be focusing on).

I explored the nature the Democratic race in this post yesterday.

The Republican story is one of weakness not strength. Mike Huckabee won 2 states last night, and perhaps a third, WA, which is having all sorts of difficultly explaining why it called the race for McCain before the votes were counted. Major GOP leaders like Tom DeLay, James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh have not agreed to support McCain if he wins. McCain has no money, no organization and is being hugged by Bush.

Yesterday, I offered more thoughts on all McCain's challenges here.

Update: Obama wins Maine by a large margin. His remarkable week continues.  And, incredibly, Senator Obama also brings home a Grammy.

Why is CNN showing FL, MI as Clinton states?

Florida and Michigan did not have legitimate elections this year. The candidates did not campaign, run ads, show up. Thus whatever happens with FL and MI, the one thing we know is that the election results this year will not be a factor in determining whether or how delegates get to participate in the Convention itself.

So, why then does CNN have them in the Clinton column tonight? They should fix this for Tuesday night and put them down as undecided states with no winners.

Sun am Update: ABC's This Week this am had FL and MI as uncommitted, as they should be.

Sun pm Update: The New Republic weighs in with a strong editorial challenging the Clinton campaign to quit playing games with Florida and Michigan. This editorial echoes a piece I wrote a few days ago.

Has the Democratic race fundamentally changed?

Some of the news reports following Feb 5th suggested that Clinton had blunted Obama's momentum, a momentum that had Obama gaining 15-20 points in the preceding 2 weeks. I wrote that night that I wasn't sure that this was true - has Hillary blunted the momentum and stopped Obama's forward progress?

Tonight it sure looks like that while Hillary did well last Tuesday night she did not blunt Obama mo. At this moment he is winning Nebraska and Washington, two states with almost no African-American populations by two to one. Two to one. He continues to dramatically outraise her, and continues to get many more significant endorsements from both newspapers and elected officials. A new poll of Virginia out today had him winning by 20 points.

The argument from the Clinton world is that she will rebound from a weak February with strong wins in TX and OH on March 4th. But why do we believe this is the case? If Obama is now equal or ahead in the national polls, and his strong night tonight is replicated on Tuesday, don't we believe that Obama will be even or ahead in Texas and Ohio by the end of the coming week? And don't we believe that if Obama wins these states if could be over? If one candidate begins to emerge as the frontrunner the pressure on the weaker one to end their candidacy will be very intense. At this point - given Obama's momentum and strong wins tonight - it is becoming easier to see a path for an outright Obama win than a Clinton one.

My gut is that this scenerio is becoming the most likely scenerio for resolving the Democratic race. In this year when we've seen record citizen participation in the political process it is hard to imagine the Democrats picking a nominee through the equivalent of a backroom deal. However it happens I believe that it will be the voters who end up picking the Democratic nominee, not the Superdelegates or a
brokered Convention, and right now the voters, ed boards and Democratic leaders are increasingly leaning Obama.

But then again each time Senator Clinton has seemed to be on the ropes she has come back strong. So on we go...

Update: I offer some additional thoughts on the primary process in this new piece by Frank Davies in the San Jose Mercury News.

Sun am Update: In a NYTimes op-ed today. Democratic consultant and process expert Tad Devine makes a powerful case for letting the voters - not a back room deal - pick the Democratic nominee.


"We are the ones we've been waiting for"

I am not a student of Obama's remarkable rhetoric, so perhaps Obama followers will be more familiar with something he said Tuesday night than I am. But it caught my attention, even shook me when he said it. It was in this graph of his remarks Tuesday from Chicago:

"You see, the challenges we face will not be solved with one meeting in one night. It will not be resolved on even a Super Duper Tuesday. Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. We are the hope of those boys who have so little, who've been told that they cannot have what they dream, that they cannot be what they imagine. Yes, they can."

I get chills even now as I write this. It was one of the most powerful things I've ever heard anyone say.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

That part of his speech can be seen one minute into the following video from the Obama campaign:



This is a truly remarkable campaign. Barack is reaching deep, summoning things that need to be summoned for all of us. Whether he wins or loses he has changed American politics, for the better.


Both sides go on to March 4th

Well, what we now know is that both sides will be going on without an actual declared winner till at least March 4th, perhaps longer.

While McCain did well last night, his opponents won a majority of the states in play and I think did well enough to go on through at least March 4th. So on the GOP side we now have a 3 man race, with McCain a wobbly, broke and unlikely frontrunner. The Arizona Senator is now in a precarious position as any loss could end up delivering a terrible blow to his campaign, and we saw last night he is leading but not yet consolidating. There is more drama left on the GOP side.

On the Democratic side we now enter the 3rd phase of the nominating process, the post Feb 5th through March 4th phase. This phase has Clinton and Obama essentially even in the national polls, close in delegates, both deploying strong strategies and issue arguments that have allowed them to win diverse coalitions in all regions of the country.

At this point what may be the greatest difference between them is the far superior Obama virtual network that has become the most powerful and most modern grassroots campaign in Democratic Party history. This people powered political organization was tested and produced on Feb 5th, but will be even more dramatically tested now. Will it continue to produce the money it has this past month? Will it begin to put dramatic pressure on undecided super-delegates and elected officials to choose Obama? Will the campaign challenge its supporters to step up and not just give but play an unprecedented advocacy role, hitting their social networks across the country, matching through their incredible passion the power of the TV ads, to keep creating what I called the other day "a virtuous cycle of participation?" Will this campaign really become not about Barack but about them? And can Hillary match?

Calling Joe Rospars.....

Update: Chris Cillizza has a new story on the Clinton's loaning their campaign $5 million. It is worth a read.

The Dem race is going to be very close tonight

Given how the states are breaking it is going to be very close tonight. My guess is that Senator Clinton comes out ahead in delegates awarded even if Obama ends up winning more states. The big question is whether the perception tomorrow is that she had a strong enough showing to help her replenish her diminishing finances. My guess is that Obama is on track to win enough tonight to keep his momentum and machine going. But will it be enough for her?

As Josh Marshall writes tonight, HRC is once again outperforming the exit polls. Work needs to be done on why this keeps happening. But it is possible that two of her core groups - women and Hispanics - just keep coming in in higher numbers and more for her than any of the models used to project these things.

The role of Hispanics tonight

We will be tracking the Hispanic vote closely tonight. I wrote this piece on the Hispanic vote the other night.

I heard that the early CA exits have Hispanics at 29% of the Democratic primary vote tonight, a record turnout. Increasing evidence that the "sleeping giant" has woken.

Update: Senator Clinton won Hispanics in New York state 74-25. In Illinois Obama only won 52 percent of the Hispanic vote. The exits have Hillary winning the 29% of the CA electorate that was Hispanic tonight 66%-33%. Congrats to Sergio Bendixen and the whole Clinton Hispanic team for this remarkable showing. If Clinton wins CA it will be because of this spread.

The Obama problem with Latinos is not just a problem for the primaries, but if McCain is the Republican nominee it could be a very big problem in the general election.

Syndicate content