Saturday, February 9, 2008

Writers' strike news?

CNN reports that there may be a break in the writers' strike and that it may be over as soon as Monday.


Now, when is 24 coming back?

Larry King

I forgot to mention earlier that I saw a preview for Larry King's show this weekend ... it's an encore of the show he did with Bill Maher earlier this week.

King had Michael Moore ("the irrepressible Michael Moore," to use the language from King's programs exactly) and Bill Maher on during the same week? What is it, Looney Week?

I want to see King's viewership numbers from this week when they are released.

John King

I hardly know what to talk about first, that John King just said John McCain needs to be Gumby or that Mike Huckabee has won primaries in states that don't matter.

On the first point, pundits were commenting on the apparent continued distemperment that Christian voters have with regard to McCain. King said, "What McCain needs to do, and it may be impossible for anyone other than Gumby, is reach to the left while holding on to the right" or something like that.

Gumby makes presidential political history.

(Actually, I think some people would prefer to vote for Gumby than the folks who are left -- on either side.)

On the second point, the crew was talking about why Huckabee is not getting out of the race quite yet. As long as he's winning, they opined, why get out? And as Huckabee himself pointed out earlier, why should he listen to people saying he should get out -- especially when those people (read: Texas Gov. Rick Perry) are McCain supporters?

Then King started talking about the so-called "Potomac Primaries" (or, as Gloria Borger calls them, the "Beltway Primaries") and how McCain should do much better there because the number of evangelical voters will drop significantly. His next comment was something along the lines of, "When McCain starts losing in primaries that matter, then we'll have something to talk about."

I'm not sure what he meant by that comment, but I'm pretty sure the folks in Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia wouldn't like it much.

Preview of the general election

Folks, if you're watching Obama's speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, what you're seeing is a little preview of the general election. We didn't get to see much of Hillary Clinton's speech to this group a couple of hours ago, so we don't know how much of this ground she covered. But Obama is out to prove to Virginia Democrats tonight that he has what it takes to take it to John McCain.

He's covered all the hot topics of this campaign; notably, the war in Iraq, health care reform, energy policy, college affordability and the economy.

On that last part, Obama mentioned the "Bush-McCain tax cuts" and talked about how "the wheels came off the Straight Talk Express."

He even came after McCain on McCain's biggest asset -- foreign policy -- and he's coming with both barrels. Defending his controversial position about reopening diplomatic channels with foreign countries like Iran, Obama quoted JFK, arguably the Democratic Party's greatest modern hero. It's an example of what makes Obama so smart. He structures his arguments not only by disparaging the other side's position, but also by bolstering his own. It's a powerful -- and effective -- combination.

This is like watching a boxer try to make weight before a big fight. Obama's taking the general election stump speech out for a spin, kicking its tires and getting a feel for its rate of acceleration. From the looks of the turnout across the nation and they way people react to him, he'd better get comfortable in the driver's seat.

Jefferson-Jackson update

Barack Obama is taking the podium at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, Va., where Hillary Clinton spoke about two hours ago. The crowd had a polite and even slightly enthusiastic reception for her. But ... they are going crazy for Obama.

CNN's Candy Crowley, reporting live from the dinner, is basically shouting into the microphone; still, she is barely audible.

This crowd is whipped up, and it's all because of Obama.

**Update: Obama has also been called as the winner of the contest in the USVI. I wonder if he'll plan a thank-you trip there ...?

Viewer challenge

OK, guys ... it's viewer challenge time.

The challenge is to listen to CNN and find something positive that Jeffrey Toobin says about the GOP -- either any of the candidates or Republicans in general. Let me know when you hear it.

For Toobin, just being liberal isn't enough. It seems the real joy for him is in being anti-Republican.

Obama wins Louisiana

I was watching the race, but Obama takes LA. Hillary is 0-for-3 on the night.

But remember, it's about delegates, not state wins ... lucky for her.

88 wins!!

Welcome back to Victory Lane, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ... It's been too long.

But judging from the dominance tonight, it looks like it will be a familiar place for you this year.

YES!! Things are right in the NASCAR world again!


Hey, what's with that big white space on the pie chart breakdown for the results from Washington? Are those voters who just dropped out rather than caucus for one of the other three GOP candidates? It would be nice if they'd tell us.

Campbell Brown ...

... is annoying.


The map now has Google Map function. It is incredible to see satellite images of New Orleans -- and the blue tarps and vacant neighborhoods of the Ninth Ward.

What a sobering sight!

Whoo hoo!

John King and the CNN election map have appeared! Excellent!

Election history is so much easier this way, don't you think?

Oh no!

I missed an accident on the shootout. Man!! But at least the 88 is out front.

Polls close in Louisiana in just a couple of minutes. We'll know more about the so-called Huckabee surge -- like whether it's real -- in just a little while.

Hindsight is 20-20

I am seriously conflicted: Election returns on the cable news networks versus the Bud Shootout on Fox.

I should have let my husband talk me in to that picture-in-picture feature when we were looking for a new TV. If only I had considered another application for that technology than football!

Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

Hillary Clinton is pumping up the crowd at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, Va. Jefferson-Jackson is the annual fundraising event for the Democratic party at the local levels throughout the country.

It's early on in her remarks. She's delivering red meat to the Democratic faithful. CNN's split-screen coverage shows her husband, former president Bill Clinton, speaking simultaneously at an event in Blacksburg, Va.

This dinner is remarkable in that it is the only place where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be in the same place at the same time before Virginia's primary on Tuesday. It will be interesting to hear how -- and whether -- either tries to campaign against the other at before these party loyalists, or whether they will stick to campaigning against the Republicans.


CNN has called the state of Washington for Barack Obama. With 48 percent of precincts reporting, he has 67 percent to Clinton's 32 percent.

Keep in mind, though, that in the Democratic nomination process, delegates are awarded proportionally; as such, the winner of a state may not necessarily win the majority of the delegates there (Nevada is a good example; Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in that state, but because of the way the delegates broke down, Obama actually came out of the state with one more delegate than she).

Boogity boogity boogity ...

Let's go racin', boys!!

NASCAR is officially back in action in 2008. The green flag waves in Daytona, and MAN! Those cars look good under the lights!!

Go 88!!


CNN has called Nebraska for Barack Obama. With 73 percent of precincts reporting, Obama has 69 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 31 percent.

If the returns from Washington state are any indication, it's shaping up to be a good night for Obama.


OK, I'm back after an afternoon of errands and getting my daughters ready to go out with their dad to Daddy-Daughter Date Night. It's a neat thing our community does to acknowledge and celebrate the special bond between daddies and their little girls. My eldest girl ended up staying home with a fever, but my middle girl was dressed to the nines and walked out the door holding her daddy's hand. I got some nice pictures and will try to put them up in a little while.

So you know by now that Mike Huckabee won Kansas .... and by "won," I mean "ran away with." Huckabee won what CNN is calling "the reddest of red states" by more than two to one over John McCain. The pundits are now trying to figure out what this means: Could it be that conservatives who had been with Romney are not quite ready to accept McCain as the presumptive GOP nominee?

Huckabee gave a tremendous speech this afternoon that I'm going to try to find and post here.

(Wait: Wolf Blitzer just asked Huckabee whether he is "embarrassing" the party. Geez. Huckabee is making mincemeat of that answer.)

Anyway, the pundits have noted that Huckabee has begun to draw distinctions between himself and McCain -- done cordially, but done just the same. Only one thing is clear: It's going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

Saturday's presidential action ... and the return of NASCAR!!

Hey y'all,

Here's a breakdown of today's presidential action from east to west, courtesy of Citizen Jane Politics (

  • Louisiana presidential primary: This is a closed primary; independents will stay home. Picture ID is required to vote, and polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.
  • Kansas Republican caucuses: Participants must have registered Republican by Jan. 25th to participate, and caucusing begins at 10 a.m.
  • Nebraska Democratic caucuses: Voters can register at the caucus. Caucusing starts as early as 8 a.m. or as late as 7 p.m., depending on the county.
  • Washington State Democratic caucuses: Caucusing begins at 1 p.m. PST, and voters can register or change their party affiliation at the caucus site.

If I was covering elections for any of the major networks, I would have requested travel to today's most intriguing election site: The U.S. Virgin Islands. USVI Democrats began caucusing at 11 a.m. local time. Caucuses will take place at Gertrude’s Restaurant on St. Croix, in Charlotte Amalie High School modular classroom 2 on St. Thomas and at Julius Sprauve School on St. John.

I honeymooned in the USVI and was blown away by its beauty. Sometimes, in politics, you have to make sacrifices; I'm pretty sure I would throw myself on the altar to cover this caucus. IT would be worth the trip to be able to spend the time between network hookups trying to remember to drive on the left side of the road.

As if our usual election fun wasn't enough, tonight will feature the return of the NASCAR boys for the 2008 season ... FINALLY! Tune in at 7 p.m. CST for the Budweiser Shootout ... it's always a great time!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Dobson resurfaces

Well, well, well ... Dr. James Dobson is back.

Fox News Channel's Fin Gomez, embedded with the Mike Huckabee campaign, reports tonight that Dobson has endorsed Huckabee for president.

"(Huckabee's) unwavering positions on the social issues, notably the institution of marriage, the importance of faith and the sanctity of human life, resonate deeply with me and with many others," Dobson said in a statement.

(Um, just not deeply enough to get involved before now, I guess.)

Dobson's endorsement, he said, is made on his own behalf and not in the name of Focus on the Family, adding that it "comes in the wake of my statement on Super Tuesday that I could not vote for Sen. John McCain, even if he goes on to win the Republican nomination. His record on the institution of the family and other conservative issues makes his candidacy a matter of conscience and concern for me."

He did not endorse earlier, he said, because Romney and Huckabee were both "pro-family candidates whom I could support, but I was reluctant to choose between them."

You can read the entire statement here:

Regular readers of my column know how I feel about these kinds of endorsements ( Suffice it to say that Huckabee would do well for himself to be wary of this development. I would argue that it would behoove him to ignore it altogether. After all, if Dobson really believed in Huckabee and wanted to help him, wouldn't he have made the choice earlier on when, theoretically, it could have made the most difference? Huckabee has managed to win six states without his help. Even Dobson acknowledges now that his support may not mean much: "Obviously, the governor faces an uphill struggle, given the delegates already committed to Sen. McCain..."

The bottom line is that because Dobson wouldn't make a stand earlier, his stand isn't worth much now. But Dobson would rather make a weak endorsement late than be left out of the party.

Put another way, with friends like these, Huckabee won't need any enemies.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I hate Charter

One final word before I turn in (and by word, I meant topic):

There's been a lot of ruckus in my area lately about the service -- or lack thereof -- of Charter Communications. Everyone, it seems, is complaining about the lack of competition for cable. To make a long story short, the lack of competition is not the result of a franchise agreement executed by any cities, but more a function of restrictive regulations at the federal level. The cities are working on it, but it seems there is little they can do.

All that to say that since midnight, my cable has gone out -- twice.

If this had happened on Sunday night during the Super Bowl, when some 97 million were watching the Giants upset the Patriots, I don't think we'd be worrying much about Charter anymore.

But hey!

Super Tuesday is MY Super Bowl!!

Charter ... grrr. Tomorrow's to-do list starts with "Find contact information for the FCC."

P.S. By one more topic, I meant two more ... an update on the Democratic race in New Mexico: With 54 percent of the vote counted, Hillary Clinton has eked out a two-point lead on Barack Obama.

What's next?

So it's time to look at what's next. Here are some things to watch in the wake of Super Tuesday:

  • Can John McCain parlay wins in nine states out of the 21 holding GOP contests today into true frontrunner status? What will he -- or won't he -- say in a major speech to CPAC, a major conservative organization, to assuage their concerns about his conservatism?
  • Will Mike Huckabee now call on Mitt Romney to get out of the GOP race, since he is fracturing the conservative vote?
  • How much more $$$$$ will Romney pour into his effort to be president?
  • What will happen to the Democratic delegates stripped from Michigan and Florida? Hillary pledged to fight to have them seated, the decision made by the DNC last year notwithstanding.

Next contests, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, include the Louisiana primaries and Wyoming caucuses for both parties, Kansas caucuses for Republicans and caucuses for Nebraska Democrats. Democrats in Maine will follow with their caucuses a day later, then primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia take place on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Had enough yet?

Bringing up the rear

The last contest to be counted on Super Tuesday is the Democratic contest in New Mexico (Republicans won't hold their primary there until June 3). With 38 percent of the votes in, Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton by about 400 votes. NM has a closed primary and will award its 26 delegates proportionally.

Fredricka Whitfield ...

Fredricka Whitfield arrives to co-anchor the 2 a.m. EST hour with T.J. Holmes ...

... Suddenly, I'm craving a tangerine.

I looked for a picture of her outfit but couldn't find a web cast on CNN's web site. But trust me ... think tangerine, and you're close.

I didn't know they made clothes in that color.

Romney wins Alaska

Mitt Romney has won Alaska and will take his portion of the state's 26 delegates from its caucuses.

Missouri finally is called ...

... for Barack Obama.

What a squeaker! Obama wins Missouri by 10,000 votes out of approximately 820,000 cast. It appears that he won only six or so counties out of more than 110. Obama will pick up his portion of the 72 delegates from the state's open primary ... but that's only 6 delegates to Clinton's 15.

Ugghhh ...

Larry King just promoted his show tomorrow night, when he will host "the irrepressible Michael Moore."

I can't wait to not tune in.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Obama wins Alaska

CNN has called Alaska for Barack Obama, who will take his share of the state's 13 delegates from its caucus there today.

Gloria Borger

I bet you're wondering why I don't just change the channel if Paul Begala annoys me so much. The answer is Gloria Borger. She's as bright and incisive as he is arrogant and presumptuous. Check out Gloria's CNN anchor page here:

You can read some of her work for US News & World Report here:

I wish Paul Begala would check it out.

Paul Begala

I've been a bit too busy to mention it, but ..


The guy is about as self-aggrandizing as he is patronizing. And for CNN to have a pundit commenting on races who is affiliated with a candidate still in the race (Begala supports Hillary Clinton), it's insane!

Almost as insane as Paul Begala.

McCain wins Missouri ... and the GOP finally gets its frontrunner

John McCain has won Missouri, a huge win in an open-primary state where McCain will take all of the state's 55 delegates.

In the last 20 minutes, McCain has taken California and Missouri. These are huge wins, figuratively and practically, and they do finally provide clarity to the GOP's nomination process. What a tremendous missed opportunity for McCain in that he didn't hold out to greet supporters after these wins were announced! He would have had the knockout punch he had been looking for, if only he had been able to stride across the stage to deliver a victory speech on the heels of victories in California and Missouri, among the other states -- and there were a bunch -- that he won tonight. What a difference it would have made in his speech, which ended up being described as more of an "exortation" than a frontrunner speech!

California counted

John McCain takes the Golden State for the GOP, while Hillary Clinton wins California on the Democratic side.

McCain will take the state's 170 winner-take-all delegates by congressional districts from the state's closed primary. Clinton wins her share of the 370 delegates from the state's modified closed primary, where "unaffiliated" voters may participate.

Lou Dobbs hits a homer

You may already know that CNN's Lou Dobbs isn't one of my favorite pundits. But he's scored points with me for a masterful phrase he created out of a line from former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Asked whether the results of Super Tuesday provide clarity for or further muddle the GOP race, Fleischer discussed Mike Huckabee's unexpected success tonight and then said, "It's a mess."

Without hesitation, Dobbs jumped in and said, "But it's a splendid mess, Ari, because it is looking like the presidential nomination process is going to have a chance to work the way it should." (Or something close to that.)

The "splendid mess" line is one for the ages. And that it was spoken by a guy who, a couple of weeks ago, was stuck on the phrase "political savant," makes it all the more remarkable.


You've heard of bellwether states: contests that serve as microcosms of the larger election and that, theoretically, foreshadow the overall result. It's been said that South Carolina is a bellwether state for the Republican party; no candidate has won the GOP presidential nomination without winning in the Palmetto State.

But Missouri may be the bellwether of the bellwether states. On an evening where most of the candidates can make a case for having had a good night, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, Missouri is still too close to call -- for either party.

What's going on in Missouri is truly a microcosm of the larger presidential race: Unpredictable and unprecedented. It's impossible to look away.

Hillary wins Arizona

CNN has called Arizona for Hillary Clinton. She will take her portion of the state's 56 delegates from the state's closed primary.

Obama speaks

Barack Obama took the stage as the first results from California began to trickle in. Again, I have to wonder about the timing; if you're planning to hit the evening news cycles, it's too late, but it's too early to deliver news of success from out west. Anyway, Obama gave an average speech by his standards, which is to say it was a better than average speech in relative terms.

I will note at this point something I heard a pundit say a couple of weeks ago: Notice, if you will, the signs for the other candidates. They all bear the name of the candidate. But Obama's signs are different. His signs say, "CHANGE we can believe in." Some versions say "Obama 08" beneath "CHANGE." Any thoughts? Is this psychological campaign warfare a conscious decision to affirmatively place the word "change" so prominently or a conscious decision to place Obama's name so inconspicuously?

This is, on par, one of the weaker speeches I've heard from Obama. He is falling into the same trap that Hillary did, lambasting Republicans in general, failing to distinguish congressional Republicans from Main Street Republicans. Theoretically, Obama has more room for error with independents and moderate Republicans, because he doesn't carry the same entrenched negatives that Hillary does. But with every primary and caucus contest, the general election draws that much closer, and he'll need the votes of those Republicans who sent those congressional GOPers to Washington.

Here's the Obama I'm used to hearing, the dreamer, the idealist, who speaks in broad terms that inspire and enthuse the audience. He's at his best when he attacks cynicism and reaches out to those who have yet to join the Obama-nation.

At latest count, 11 states have been called for Obama. FNC's Major Garrett explained the evolution of expectation among the Obama camp. Throughout the weekend and even into the morning, Obama spokespeople sought to diminish expectations, saying publicly that the campaign would consider it a good night if Obama was able to "keep it close" in delegates. Later in the afternoon, the campaign reached out to media representatives and felt comfortable enough about exit polls and turnout that they put a number -- 100 -- on what "keeping it close" meant. If Obama finished Super Tuesday within 100 delegates of Hillary, it would be a success. Finally, just a few hours ago --

SIDEBAR -- This may be my favorite Obama line yet: "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change we seek." Wow.

-- the campaign reached out a third time to media reps, saying that the campaign's internal calculations showed that it was possible -- and maybe even likely -- that Obama could draw even, and perhaps even surpass, Clinton in delegates for the night.

Obama wraps up his speech with the "Yes, we can" refrain that is perfect for his message that appeals to American idealism and optimism. The crowd is worked into a frenzy and is only too happy to oblige as Obama leaves the stage with the entreaty, "Let's go to work."

It's impressive. You have to admit it.

McCain speaks

John McCain delivered a low-key address to supporters in Phoenix. There was nothing remarkable about the speech, other than perhaps the tip of the hat to fellow GOP candidate Mike Huckabee. McCain pledged to continue to work to prove that the faith conservatives have in him is not misplaced.

McCain's closing remarks were scuttled for the opening remarks of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who is the last of the five major candidates to speak tonight.

Romney takes Minnesota

Mitt Romney made it four wins with a victory in the open caucus state of Minnesota, where the state's 38 delegates will be apportioned through a complicated process. It's worth noting that Romney was polling at five percent in September, behind Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson, before he started devoting resources to the state.

Everyone wants to get in on the action

While we're awaiting first numbers from the Big Enchilada, I'll ask you the campaign manager question of the night:

FNC's Greta van Susteran reported earlier that 881 inmates at the L.A. County Jail requested absentee ballots. (I'll leave out the joke about them not being able to make it to the polls today.) The question is, if your candidiate wins the L.A. County Jail, is that something you put in the fundraising letter to your supporters?

Put another way, is a win a win when you're talking about inmates?

Romney wins ND

CNN calls North Dakota for Mitt Romney, who will take his share of the state's 23 delegates from its closed caucuses. That's three for Mitt tonight, including Massachusetts, where he was governor, and Utah, the center of his Mormon faith.

Hillary speaks

Hillary Clinton gave a decent speech to supporters ahead of the poll closures in California. She hit on traditional Democratic issues, including unions, "green-collar workers," health care and others. The best line was something to the effect of, "I won't let anyone Swift-boat this campaign," closely followed by a line to the effect of, "I see an America where when young people sign up to serve our country, we sign up to serve them, too" (pitching her so-called GI Bill of Rights).

What I don't understand is why she is taking swipes at Republicans. She needs to work on her crossover appeal if she's going to win the general election. The last time I checked, she didn't exactly have the best numbers among even moderate GOP faithful. Not all Republicans believe that the Bush tax cuts should be re-enacted, nor that climate change should be ignored. Approaches like this are why her negatives are through the roof with Republican voters.

A story broke yesterday about Clinton's hire of an image consultant, whom she paid $7,000 to help her with speech and mannerisms. It's obvious that the money was worth it. She's less shrieky and more measured; not nearly as lyric as Obama, but then again, who is?

Her speechwriter should get a raise, though.

McCain wins Arizona

As expected, John McCain holds serve in Arizona, winning the closed primary and walking away with the state's 50 delegates in the winner-take-all contest.

Huckabee wins two more

CNN has called Tennessee and Georgia for Mike Huckabee.

Georgia has an open primary and 69 delegates, 30 of which are winner-take-all and 39 of which are winner-take-all by congressional district. Tennessee also has an open primary and will award its 52 delegates proportionally.

If there is a down side for Huckabee tonight, it's that although he has six wins to this point, they are states where delegates are awarded proportionally. McCain's wins have included a handful of winner-take-all states, so he's getting a lot of bang for his buck -- in addition to the proportional delegates in states he didn't win.

Romney speaks

Romney speaks to cheering supporters and vows to stay in the race, regardless of tonight's outcome. It's impossible to know how many delegates we'll get, he told the group. FNC's Brit Hume called it a "pretty peppy speech." :)

As a former campaign manager, I think it's a tactical error to send Romney to the podium before California closes. Right now, he only has wins in Utah and Massachusetts, both expected, to his credit; later, he may be able to claim victories in Montana and Colorado. He has also closed the gap quickly in California; a win there would actually lend credibility to much of what he's saying about remaining a viable candidate. Why send him out now, when he doesn't have much to celebrate, when he might have a lot to -- rightly -- celebrate later?

Unless it's because they want to make the 11 o'clock news segments on the East Coast, which is most likely the explanation for the early appearance.

Three for Obama

CNN has called Kansas, Connecticut and Minnesota for Barack Obama.

Kansas and Connecticut have closed primaries and proportionally award their 32 and 48 delegates, respectively, while Minnesota has an open primary and will award its 72 delegates proportionally.

Huckabee speaks to supporters

Huckabee just wrapped up a speech in front of ebullient supporters in Little Rock. For the past several weeks, the media has told us that the GOP contest is a two-man race, he told supporters, referring to the contention by Mitt Romney that the contest is effectively between John McCain and himself.

"Maybe it is," Huckabee said to cheers.

This former Baptist minister wrapped his speech in biblical language:

"Sometimes, one small, smooth stone is even more effective than a whole lot of armor ... the widow's mite has more effectiveness than all the gold in the world," he said.

"We're getting there, folks, we're getting there."

When Huckabee took the stage, only two states had been called for him. But he could win four others before the night is over.

Huckabee may end up being the tortoise to the frontrunners' hare by the time we reach St. Paul.

North Dakota

Obama wins North Dakota, and he'll take his share of the state's 13 delegates awarded proportionally from the state's open caucus.


McCain wins Oklahoma, where he'll take at least 23 of the state's 38 delegates (the balance are distributed proportionally by congressional district). OK offered a closed primary. What was that again about GOP voters not being willing to support McCain?


Utah goes for Mitt Romney, who will take all 33 delegates awarded in the primary open to GOP and Independent voters there. Pundits are calling Utah "the Mormon state" and noting that Romney also spent significant time in Salt Lake City during the Winter Olympics in 2002.


Pundits on FNC have staked out the position that Romney needs to win California tonight to remain in the race. He is not doing as well as his campaign had hoped in Southern states. What do you think? Is the Golden State a must-win for Romney?


The tornado outbreak in Tennessee is getting ugly. CNN reports that 86 people have been injured and there is significant property damage south of Memphis. There are reports of fatalities. The storm is headed for Nashville.

Regarding our observation earlier about how the weather will affect Tennessee's results, the Tennessee secretary of state has released a statement confirming that he was forced to close some polling places early because of the impending weather.


CNN calls Alabama for Barack Obama with 24 percent of the vote counted. As noted earlier, Alabama holds an open primary. At stake were 52 delegates, which will be awarded proportionally.

Voting at the Best Western

Timeout from national politics for a moment to tell you about my experience today.

Took my little girls with me to vote in the Alabama primary this afternoon. We arrived just after 5 at the Best Western. Business was brisk, but service was efficient, delivered under the watchful eye of the county elections supervisor, who was standing conspicuously nearby. I asked about turnout percentage across the county, and he said he stood by his pre-election day prediction of 25 to 30 percent. But he said he expects 55 percent or more to turn out in November.

My six-year-old traced the line I drew to indicate my choice for president as my three-year-old watched. If that doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing will!

Here we are outside the polling place before going in to do our civic duty.

I also want you to know that my six-year-old can name all the major candidates by first and last name and party affiliation.

I am such a proud mama!!

New York GOP

John McCain wins New York and take all of its 98 delegates, awarded in a closed primary.


OK, my first thought upon seeing that Ron Paul leads Minnesota's GOP primary with 38 percent to Romney's 25 was, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"

But then I realized that it was 0 percent reporting. Minnesotans, I still have faith in you.


Hillary Clinton wins Massachusetts and her share of the 93 delegates awarded in the "modified" primary, in which unaffiliated voters can participate. Clinton held on tow in despite the Kennedy endorsements, which helped Obama close the gap from 12 points to six in the last 10 days.


Obama wins Delaware and his share of the 15 delegates awarded in the closed primary there. It's interesting to note that Clinton led the entire Democratic field with 41 percent last fall.


As expected, Hillary holds serve in New York and will win the lion's share of the 281 delegates there.

New York

New York is one of the states where polls will close in three minutes.

The big enchilada: 232 delegates, awarded proportionally in NY's closed primary. Clinton is nearly assured a win, but the question for analysts will be how Obama did throughout NY.

I can't wait to see John King's map with the county-by-county breakdown.

Delaware projection

John McCain wins Delaware, a winner-take-all, closed primary state with 18 delegates.

Master of the Obvious

CNN's John King gets the MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS award. He's using that awesome map to analyze Georgia returns, and he circled the metro Atlanta area, telling viewers, "Romney can win by winning where the votes are."

There are a few of you out there (you know who you are) who know the MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS is a special superlative for me. John King is a MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS.

Alabama update

Something's going on with FNC's coverage of the Alabama GOP contest. They had called it for Huckabee a while ago, but CNN now shows McCain with a one-point lead over Huckabee.

Also, Obama leads Clinton in early Alabama returns, 72 to 27 with 9 percent of precincts reporting.


If you're a visual learner like me, you'll appreciate this image from to put the sheer magnitude of today's action into perspective:

Red states hold Republican contests today, blue states hold Democratic contests, and states in purple host both.

7:36 p.m.

... And we're within a half hour of poll closures in another set of states.


CNN has called Tennessee for Hillary Clinton. Tennessee has an open primary with 68 delegates at stake, which will be awarded proportionally.


Former governor Mike Huckabee wins Arkansas, as expected. ARK has an open primary where 31 delegates will be apportioned among the candidates.

Also as expected, Hillary Clinton wins Arkansas and her portion of the 35 delegates apportioned there. Clinton, of course, is a former first lady of the state.

Alabama projection

FNC has projected that Mike Huckabee will win Alabama. AL has an open primary that will award 45 delegates. The winner will take all if he draws 50 percent of the vote; otherwise, the delegates will be awarded proportionally by congressional district.

One note here: The returns are split at 33 between Huckabee and McCain, but FNC has called the state. No explanation for the apparent leap of faith the desk is making here.

Karl Rove

Hey, I didn't know Karl Rove was going to offer punditry on Fox News Channel! All riiight!!

Getting primary results from him is like talking to Michaelangelo about how the Sistine Chapel worked out.

James Dobson

Focus on the Family's founder appeared on Laura Ingraham's radio show today and apparently made a series of attacks on John McCain. He ended up saying that he could not vote for McCain as a matter of conscience.

I don't have time to tell you how much this Dobson's comments sicken me. But I did have time a couple of months ago. So if you have time, check out two posts on the companion blog to this one:

Huckabee... retaining a slim lead in early returns from Georgia.

New Jersey for McCain

McCain wins New Jersey and its 52 delegates. NJ's primary was open to Republicans and Independents. This is one of the few states where Giuliani's endorsement of McCain may have made a difference: the former New York mayor held a double-digit lead over McCain before he withdrew from the GOP contest last week after a disappointing showing in the Sunshine State.

First projections

No surprises in early projections ...

McCain wins Connecticut ... CT had a closed primary, and McCain will take all of the state's 27 delegates. McCain made good on late polls that showed him with a comfortable lead.

McCain also wins Illinois, which awards 57 delegates today and 10 more at a state convention in June.

Romney takes Massachusetts, taking his portion of the 40 delegates awarded there. CNN's John King is asking why McCain spent any time in Massachusetts. If McCain drops what is expected to be a tight contest in California to Romney later tonight, you'll be hearing that question a whole lot more.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama takes his home state of Illinois and his portion of the 153 delegates awarded from the open primary there.

Hillary Clinton wins Oklahoma and her portion of 38 delegates awarded there.


WHOO HOO ... projections are coming at the top of the hour! I can hardly wait!

All this could mean is that there are runaways in the states to be projected. Who will benefit?

Bad weather in Tennessee

It turns out that the weathermen (and women) were right. A tornado has touched down south of Memphis, Tenn., and there are reports of power outages throughout the area. No word on how this will affect:

  • Status (read: retention) of votes already cast;
  • Status of machines and backup systems;
  • How long the power might be out; and
  • Whether voting hours will be extended to accomodate for the lost time.

This is important because Tennessee is, of course, home to former GOP candidate Fred Thompson; Thompson held a one-point lead on Mike Huckabee before dropping out. Huckabee is the presumptive favorite in Tennessee, but late polls showed John McCain closing the gap.

Tennessee has an open primary, and its 52 delegates will be awarded proportionally.

Gang up on McCain

You've certainly heard by now the active campaign against John McCain being waged by the consumnate professionals of CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO. There is an argument being advanced that the only reason Mike Huckabee remains in the race is to siphon votes away from Mitt Romney.

If the "bedfellows" argument is such a sign of trouble (you know, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Lieberman, McCain-Feingold), I have just one question: How does it make those CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO hosts feel when their argument is being advanced by Jeffrey Toobin, arguably the most anti-Republican pundit not on MSNBC (Paul Begala would be his competition)?

I'm just wondering.

Me too, me too!!

Apparently, the thrill of Super Tuesday is more than just a media creation. CNN reported this afternoon that by midday Tuesday, officials in that state reported that more than 400 Virginians had shown up at their polling places to cast their ballots in the presidential preference primary.

The only problem is, Virginia's primary is Feb. 12.

I hope they come back next Tuesday.

Parsing the results

There's no time like the present to mention one of my election pet peeves: the ridiculous micro-parsing of exit polls. Who did women support? Men? Blacks? Conservatives? People who attend church once a week? Who got the David Letterman vote?

Give me a break.

I've always known that pollsters make big money splitting up statistics like this. In Florida, it was called "microtargeting." But it just hit me a couple of weeks ago, in the run-up to the South Carolina primary on the Democratic side, how counterproductive such actions are to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. So much for the colorblind society!

More on that later. I'm now distracted by the annoying voice of Paul Begala. Blech, it's going to be a long night.

Obama wins Georgia

It didn't take much time at all for the pundits to call Georgia for Barack Obama. Perhaps it had a little something to do with the black voters in that state: 88 percent of African-Americans, according to CNN's exit polling, went for Obama, compared to 11 percent for Hillary Clinton. This bests a Public Policy Polling survey that showed Obama leading among blacks with 73 percent.

Georgia apportions its delegates proportionally, so Obama won't get all 87 delegates at stake there. But it's a good start for the senator from Illinois.


Why does CNN have a Brit -- and a Brit who sounds like he needs to switch to decaf -- covering the election in California? This sweet elderly lady looks a bit freaked out by Mr. A Bit Too Excited. Now he's telling her she "flehrrrr-ted, flehrrrrr-ted SHAMELESSLY" with another candidate.

Ugh. Richard Quest is this guy's name. Now he's talking to her about tablecloths that she's returning to her church. OH! He just ripped them out of her plastic shopping bag. She looks like she'd like to whack him with a cane.

Note to CNN: Even though the writers' strike has left your entertainment reporters with nothing else to do, it's a bad idea to try to cross them over into hard news coverage. This guy is a good example of someone who is a bit too Hollywood half-baked to be of any use anywhere else.

Dow diving

Voters across 24 states are headed to the polls to pick their presidential candidates ... meanwhile, the Dow is tanking. Down 284 points at mid-day ... yikes!

Ooh, CNN is going to spotlight "corporate backers" in its next segment. Now, THIS is the untold story of American politics ... money in the system. Just ask Ann Romney. She's watched her hubby pour


of the family's fortune into being president.

I don't want anyone with that kind of judgment anywhere NEAR the football!

Super Tuesday! YESS!!!!

Ah, Super Tuesday ... the good stuff for political junkies everywhere. Only on Election Night in November can we addicts wallow in a special frenzied pace that is frenetic even by 24-hour cable news standards!

Coverage started at 5 a.m. EST, and pundits wasted no time in getting revved up. CNN had an entire segment about the anger of the right-wing radio gods (little 'g,' even though they would probably refer to themselves with the big 'G') against John McCain and their determination to derail what appears to be his path to the GOP nomination.

CNN's health reporter, DR. SANJAY GUPTA, is pitching in by breaking down the candidates' health care plans (and by candidates, I mean the Democratic candidates, because the GOP candidates have apparently decided -- to their detriment -- that health care access and affordability is not a pressing issue in the United States).

Even the weather people are getting into the act! Meterologists, normally left out of all the fun, are tying their forecasts about storms across the mid-South to an ALERT to voters in Tennessee and Missouri: GET AND AND VOTE EARLY, because you may not be able to do so later!

SUPER TUESDAY ... the political junkie's crack! Yee-haw!!