Saturday, February 16, 2008

Presidential campaign cash in Alabama

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the Lee County's top campaign money winner through Jan. 31, according to FEC reports and CNN. Clinton had raised $19,200 locally through the end of January, but now-defunct Democratic candidate John Edwards had led the way with most dollars raised statewide with $444,231.

Friday, February 15, 2008

McCain is a liber- ... I mean, never mind!

So ... Mitt Romney's come around to John McCain. From CNN:

Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced Thursday that he is backing Sen. John McCain in his bid for the Oval Office.

"I am honored today to give my full support to Sen. McCain's candidacy for the presidency of the United States," Romney said in a joint news conference with Sen. McCain by his side ...

One source said Romney wants to endorse McCain "in the interest of healing."

Healing, right. And let's remind ourselves, shall we, of why that "healing" is necessary. From Newsday:

Yesterday's endorsement apparently did not come easily, after McCain and Romney slashed each other with charges of duplicity, flip-flopping and being too "liberal."

Romney and McCain both noted their past battle as they sought to put it behind them.

"In the thick of the fight, it's easy to lose sight of your opponent's finer qualities," said Romney, who waited a week after his emotional withdrawal to make the announcement.

"But in the case of Senator John McCain, I could never quite do that," Romney said. "Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated, the caliber of the man was apparent."

McCain and Romney had a seriously contentious relationship during the campaign. There were times when the Arizona senator could barely mask his downright contempt for the former Massachusetts governor. And there were times when he didn't bother to try.

As for Romney himself, it's no secret that although he has noted McCain's experience as a POW and introduced him Thursday as a "true American hero," he also believes McCain to be a traitor to true conservatism -- at least, that's what he said in his campaign commercials when the two were rivals.

What precipitated this change of heart? Romney's statements Thursday are at pointed odds with statements he made about McCain before Super Tuesday. So that begs the question: when was Romney distoring McCain -- during the campaign, or on the stage Thursday?

Or both?

Thursday, February 14, 2008


If you've been wondering what it is about Barack Obama that is such a big deal, I have a video clip for you.

This is a clip from an appearance Obama made in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday following his sweep of the so-called Potomac Primaries on Tuesday.

Obamacans, he explains at about 2:09 into the clip, are Republicans for Obama.

Watch this clip. I bet you won't be able to keep a straight face, no matter who you support.

This is one reason that Obama has done so well for himself during the presidential campaign. He connects with people.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Three for the show

A sweep of the so-called mid-Atlantic primaries (Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia) today have made Barack Obama the official frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

Also, presumptive GOP nominee John McCain survived a scare from Mike Huckabee in the Commonwealth of Virginia to score three wins and close in on the 1,191 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination.

The evening's losers, Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee, insist that the losses aren't as weighty as it may seem. Clinton campaigned tonight in Texas, a March 4 state, seeming to add credibility to pundits' speculation that she will go through the rest of February without scoring any victories. Clinton's senior campaign officials have sought to quell such speculation by reminding donors and volunteers that although she may not win any states, she will be picking up delegates even in loss, an important distinction that will keep her competitive until March 4.

As for Huckabee, he maintains that he will stay in the race to give Republican voters a choice until one candidate -- presumably McCain -- amasses the necessary delegates to sew up the nomination.

In this weekend's column, we'll consider Clinton's strategy of looking ahead to March 4. In comments, give me a feel for how you think that strategy will play out.

What is a delegate, and why does it matter?

Political strategists on both sides of the Democratic primary have begun to quietly discuss the ever-increasing possibility that the nomination process could be a long and protracted one. If you're at all unclear about what delegates are and why they matter more than the popular vote, get up to speed now so that you'll be able to make sense of the stories to come. CNN's interactive (read: colorful and clickable, not at all like your high school civics book) Delegate Explainer is a great place to start.

Once you have a handle on delegates, we can discuss that mystical curiosity of democracy known as SUPERDELEGATES. Look for that in coming days (unless, of course, you are one, in which case Chelsea Clinton may be calling you for breakfast).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Break out the brooms

Barack Obama made it 5-for-5 Sunday with a win in the Maine caucuses (,, completing a sweep of the weekend's primary action.

That led Hillary Clinton to break out a broom of her own: She swept out campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and replaced her with longtime adviser Maggie Williams. Clinton herself put on a brave face while discussing the change with national media: the move wasn't indicative of any sea change in the campaign, she said; it was just a natural progression because this had already been a long campaign.

Privately, though, Clinton campaign staffers intimate that the change had been in the works since the former first lady's defeat in Iowa, and it was just a matter of time until it happened. Over the weekend, it appeared that Williams began to step up and take control; after that, all that remained was the official announcement.

This happened against a backdrop of a new awareness that top level advisers began to have about the campaign's financial and structural disarray. The volunteer base is not what it should be at this point; the campaign is strapped for cash; internally, some staffers were still going to Doyle for direction while others had already begun to take marching orders from Williams.

All this led, predictably, to what the New York Times reports in its Tuesday editions: that Clinton had a conference call Monday with "donors, superdelegates and other supporters" wherein she struggled to convince them that "the nomination is not slipping away from her"

The concern among Clinton faithful is understandable. Pundits -- and the campaign itself -- fully predict Obama to sweep Tuesday's so-called Potomac Primaries in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. In fact, it could be March 4 before Clinton sees another victory. And while she will still be earning delegates in states Obama wins (as long as she registers at least 15 percent support in those states, as she presumably will), the concern is about the tsunami of support, victories and momentum Obama will be riding in to contests in Texas and Ohio on March 4.

Talking heads discussed tonight how Rudy Giuliani's strategy of Florida as a firewall after losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina failed him. I noted in a column last month that it's difficult to remain in the national consciousness as a winner if you aren't winning for a month or more. That hurt Giuliani, to be left out of the national conversation as a winner for three weeks headed in to Florida. It remains to be seen whether Clinton can take that risky formula and will success out of it on March 4.