Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Archive for January, 2008

The Florida exit polls, Edwards leaving & Super Tuesday

I’ve seen some Obama supporters post the following results from the Florida exit polls, about people who decided the last month, week, three days and final day:

In the last month: Obama wins 47-40
In the last week: Obama wins 39-31
In the last three days: Obama wins 46-38
The last day: Clinton wins 34-30

They are trying to make the case that late deciders went for Obama and had there been true campaigning there he might have won, or had a narrower loss.

I have several responses to this.

First, look at what the trends were:

The trend was clearly going Hillary’s way for a long time, and just getting stronger over time.

I know that Obama supporters are desperately searching for some positive spin in the Florida exit poll numbers – which show practically every demographic supporting Hillary (which bodes poorly for Obama on Super Tuesday) – but just the fact that people who decided the last few days (except for people who decided on the last day) went to Obama by a slim margin is really grasping at straws.

The alternative argument is simply that Clinton supporters like her, decided early, and stuck with her.

And remember, it was only Obama who had TV ads showing in Florida the last week – not Clinton. Had both had TV ads running, who knows what that would have done to the last-minute deciders.

Yes, I am a Hillary supporter. I’ve made that clear here. But I do think an objective look at the demographics and exit polls in Florida, and the demographics and most-recent polls for Super Tuesday give the overwhelming odds to Hillary winning the vast majority of the Super Tuesday primaries. I think that is just objective reality, regardless of what you think of the two candidates.

On top of that, the latest LA Times polls shows that 40% of Edwards supporters 2nd choice is Hillary and 25% for Obama. So Edwards leaving the race will probably mean things break even more towards Hillary on Tuesday.


Hillary wins Florida!

Hillary’s vote numbers in Florida are fantastic, no matter what happens to the actual delegates! (Everything thinks they will eventually get seated at the convention though – nobody wants to antagonize Florida for the general election.)

Even Obama has admitted that you can’t “ignore” the Democratic voters of Florida.

The exit polls were very revealing:

* While more white voters supported Hillary and more black voters supported Obama, the percentage of black voters supporting Hillary was higher than the percentage of white voters supporting Obama.

* Latin-American voters supported Hillary over Obama 2-to-1.

* Overall, Hillary seems to have received more votes that Obama and Edwards combined, with an 18% lead over Obama (as of this writing – that might change as the night goes on.)

And this is even with Obama TV ads being broadcast throughout Florida (even though there was a no campaign pledge from all the candidates).

This cannot bode well for the Obama campaign going into Super Tuesday. According to CNN, if you look at the state-by-state demographics, Clinton is likely to overwhelmingly win in almost all the states.

The momentum is clearly back in Hillary’s favor!


The Stepford Response

Kathleen Sebelius, the Governor of Kansas, stared glassy eyed into the camera and delivered a monotone, bland, kumbaya Democratic response to George Bush’s final State of the Union Speech.

“Join us, Mr. President” she emotionlessly implored. Riiight. Where has she been these past 7 years?

The bottom line is that the U.S. electorate is fairly split down the middle. Elections are about getting enough people in office who agree with you to accomplish goals you think are important. Like universal health care.

Conservative Republicans are against such things. So we need a president and congress with more votes then the Republicans have, so we can pass the legislation we need to get things done.

We don’t want to compromise away on something like universal health care.

If Obama wants to stake his campaign on “getting along with everybody” vs Hillary’s “let’s take a strong stand and actually get things done” then I am behind Hillary all the way!


Hillary’s wide-spread support

It’s interesting that according to the Daily News that even though John Kerry and now Ted Kennedy and also Caroline Kennedy and even Gov. Duval all support Obama that Hillary is leading in the Massachusetts polls over Obama 59% to 22% (with 11% for Edwards)!

The polls are very promising. Hillary has wide leads in 9 out of 11 Super Tuesday states.

I am feeling very very good going into Florida and Super Tuesday!


Some thoughtful questions for Obama supporters

If anybody is interested in a thoughtful reply I would be interested in hearing from Obama supporters. I don’t want to get into arguments or attacks or listen to people demonize the Clintons or refer to “Hillary” as “Billary”. But I am interested in a thoughtful discussion, if anybody else is similarly inclined!

Here are some of the things that still have me supporting Clinton rather than Obama:

(1) The issue of greatest concern to me is health care and health insurance for everybody. I honestly believe that the only way of achieving this is for universally-mandated health insurance. If everybody is not in the pool, most economists agree that the system would not be affordable for all. There would be insurance company cherry-picking, and huge costs associated with providing emergency care for the remaining uninsured – like there is now. I just happen to agree with both Clinton and Edwards that this is something really needing “shared responsibility” on the part of all citizens. I think it is a matter of legitimate disagreement with Obama, who is not as progressive on this issue as Clinton is.

(2) Obama portrays himself as being on a “higher moral plane” than the other candidates. But I’ve seen some of his tactics over the last few weeks and I have to say he seems just like any other politician in wiggling around his past positions and throwing out attacks (for example, the “Walmart director” jab at the S.C. debate, or failing to denounce the Spanish-language radio ads in Nevada). Yes, I think the Clinton campaign unfairly twisted what Obama was saying about Reagan and his “ideas”. I disagree with Clinton’s tactics there. But I also think Obama has unfairly demonized the Clintons and has failed to give credit to the previous Clinton administration for all its good ideas. By demonizing the Clintons and ignoring the good things done in the 1990s, I think Obama is buying into the Republican arguments of the past, and that bothers me.

(3) I don’t really understand the “Change” message of Obama’s campaign. Hasn’t Hillary Clinton also worked for, and achieved, a lot of positive change over the last 35 years? Hasn’t she also shown that she can work across the aisle with Republicans in the Senate and in upstate New York? Doesn’t Obama have a message that doesn’t involve demonizing Hillary?

Like I said, this is not an “attack” message. I think Senator Obama is a fine candidate. I myself would like to see a Clinton Obama or Obama Clinton ticket if they could work past their antagonistic history.

But I do still have reservations about Obama.

Doug Lerner
Saint Louis

Bill Clinton giving good speech in Missouri

CNN was showing Bill Clinton’s speech in Independence, Missouri for a while. He was gracious about Obama’s South Carolina victory, summarized all the good works his organization is doing since he left office, summarized all the great things Hillary has done for 35 years now and went into details about what the important issues of the day are and why Hillary would make a fantastic president.

If this is an indication of his new role in the campaign I think he will be very effective!


I’m moving into unity mode

While I enjoyed the give and take between the Clinton and Obama campaigns as much as anybody, I sense that the time has arrived when all of us should be moving towards unity, and begin looking towards November.

Whatever happens in South Carolina tomorrow, I think the general sense of things is that Clinton is ahead and will most likely garner enough support on Super Tuesday so that even if the nomination is not locked by February 5th, that Hillary will have enough momentum to make it clear that everybody should start consolidating their support around her, and begin the process of healing campaign wounds.

I think a lot of racial and gender issues, which always lie beneath the surface, bubbled to the top over the last couple of weeks. And everybody let off some steam. I’m hoping it was like a lover’s quarrel, and that afterwards everybody can move forward with a more honest, and better understanding of each other.

I think Hillary is a better candidate. I think she is more experienced, has a better position on the issues I am most concerned about (such as universal health insurance) and is incredibly smart. I don’t think Obama is a horrible person by any means. Maybe he would even make a great running mate – time will tell.

In the meantime, I hope we can start moving towards unity.


Obama urged to renounce group’s ads

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Full article at

Obama urged to renounce groups’ ads

Carla Marinucci,Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Political Writers
Thursday, January 24, 2008
(01-24) 18:18 PST —

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama – who has criticized Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards for benefiting from “independent expenditure” and political action committees – is taking heat because some of the same kind of organizations are now spending money, organizing and putting up TV ads on his behalf in the Bay Area.
These types of independent organizations aren’t illegal as long as they do not act in a coordinated way with the campaign. But critics say Obama is being hypocritical in denouncing Edwards’ connection with “527” independent expenditure groups while not demanding that ones supporting him stop.

The New York Times endorses Hillary!

This part of the endorsement was very important, and I hope Hillary herself reads it and takes it to heart:

—from the New York Times endorsement—

As strongly as we back her candidacy, we urge Mrs. Clinton to take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign. It is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or for Mrs. Clinton, who is often tagged as divisive, in part because of bitter feeling about her husband’s administration and the so-called permanent campaign. (Indeed, Bill Clinton’s overheated comments are feeding those resentments, and could do long-term damage to her candidacy if he continues this way.)

We know that she is capable of both uniting and leading. We saw her going town by town through New York in 2000, including places where Clinton-bashing was a popular sport. She won over skeptical voters and then delivered on her promises and handily won re-election in 2006.

Mrs. Clinton must now do the same job with a broad range of America’s voters. She will have to let Americans see her power to listen and lead, but she won’t be able to do it town by town.

When we endorsed Mrs. Clinton in 2006, we were certain she would continue to be a great senator, but since her higher ambitions were evident, we wondered if she could present herself as a leader to the nation.

Her ideas, her comeback in New Hampshire and strong showing in Nevada, her new openness to explaining herself and not just her programs, and her abiding, powerful intellect show she is fully capable of doing just that. She is the best choice for the Democratic Party as it tries to regain the White House.

The campaign is getting tense

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what Bill Clinton and Hillary have in mind the last few days.

Of course it is important to set the record straight, and to make sure that Obama’s record undergoes as much scrutiny as Hillary’s. But I’m a bit afraid that things are digressing from the real issues of the day – and that both campaigns are doing a lot of damage to each other. Remember – the fall election is coming up too!

On the other hand, the Clintons are experienced and savvy campaigners. One thought I have is that maybe they are stirring things up in South Carolina as a “feint” so that Obama’s campaign spends a lot of time and energy there while Hillary is all over the February 5th states lining up massive amounts of delegates. If that is the case, it is just clever politics.

And we do want the cleverest person to win, right? 🙂


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