Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘John Edwards

Clinton, Assassination, and More

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Olbermann had a “Special Comment” tonight on Clinton’s assassination gaffe:

For what it’s worth I think Olbermann’s outrage is pretty well-founded. I’m obviously no fan of the Clintons, but it’s bad enough to continue her quixotic campaign secretly hoping that something horrible happens to Obama so she gets to be the nominee after all—far worse to actually say it and remove all doubt. This was a Freudian slip, not an incitement to violence, and it certainly wasn’t anything she ever intended to say—but it unnecessarily invokes the grim specter of assassination that many Obama supporters have felt haunted by since Iowa. As she is the person who currently stands to most directly gain from such a disaster, her bringing it up seems, at best, unseemly. At best.

This may blow over, or she may have to soon end her campaign over this. We’ll have to wait and see what the media does with it over the weekend. Her non-apology apology certainly didn’t help.

In other primary news, The Field reports a surge of California superdelegates shifting to Obama—note this happened before the gaffe—as well as the tantalizing possibility that I may soon be forced to take back all the nasty things I’ve said about John Edwards.

And kos has the polling that suggests John McCain’s viability as a candidate against Obama may have been significantly overrated.

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May 24, 2008 at 3:10 am


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As everyone with a TV already knows, at long last Edwards has endorsed Obama, the latest signal that the Democratic primary is over. I don’t have much else to say about this, except to say that it’s a moment I’ve been expecting a long, long, long, while. I’m glad Edwards finally got off the pot, though if this wasn’t a deliberate post-W.V. strategy I’m amazed it took him this long to finally do it, and I have to say I’ve lost almost all of the respect I once had for Edwards in the meantime.

Still, there’s a definitely Kennedy vibe from the pictures in this MyDD thread, and I must admit, it fills me with something a little bit like hope…

I guess what I’m saying is, give him Attorney General, I won’t stand in the way.

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May 15, 2008 at 1:41 am

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Mini-Super Tuesday Predictions

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A few predictions for Mini-Super Tuesday and after.

1) Obama will take Vermont handily and Texas comparatively narrowly. He’ll lose Ohio by about the same margin as he won Texas, maybe a little more, and he’ll lose Rhode Island by a little less than his margin of victory in Vermont.

2) Having beautifully managed the expectations game, again, Clinton will successfully spin this functional tie into a big victory. The long-awaited Obama media backlash will begin in earnest: Why can’t Obama seal the deal?

2a) As usual, nobody will remember that she was ahead by huge margins in all these states just a few weeks ago; or that everybody, including her own campaign, has said she needs to win both states by big margins to even have a chance at the nomination; or that with these sorts of slim margins there’s really no way for her to ever catch up in the delegate count.

3) Pennsylvania will be declared by acclimation to be the final really final Judgment Day.

3a) Accordingly, the now-expected chorus that Clinton drop out won’t actually materialize. Gore in particular will remain silent. Edwards may misread Mini-Super Tuesday as “the turning of the tide” for Hillary and decide to endorse her, thereby destroying his last shred of credibility for all time. Richardson may finally endorse Obama now that it can’t actually do Obama any good, but I think he’ll probably continue to be a chicken.

4) The race will finally come to an end on April 22nd after Obama wins Pennsylvania, most likely by double digits.

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March 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Morning After Politics Minute

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Noam Scheiber at TNR writes about “the redemption of Ted Kennedy”—as if anyone who was seriously paying attention to this race could have ever denied the big effect Kennedy had and continues to have—as well as echoing the consensus here that John Edwards has plainly missed his moment:

Now that pretty much every last Edwards supporter has decamped for Obama, does anyone think Edwards is getting them back for Hillary? Does anyone think Obama would feel indebted if Edwards were to come his way?

Meanwhile, at TPM, I see that Rudy Giuliani’s campaign managed has given his official seal of approval to the Clinton strategy:

“Clearly, she has had success in larger states and there are a whole bunch of delegates at stake on March 4,” Mr. DuHaime said. “They are not trying to figure out who can win the most states; they are trying to figure out who can win the most delegates.”

John Marshall rightly calls it a kiss of death.

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February 13, 2008 at 1:37 pm

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News Flashes

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The big news tonight is Maine, which is coming in unexpectedly strong for Obama. With 44% now 59% of the precincts reporting, it’s Obama 57, Clinton 42.

…the numbers haven’t been updated in nearly an hour, but the AP has called Maine for Obama. 5-0! Onward to Tuesday. Here’s the Baltimore Sun endorsement.

… Obama 58, Clinton 41, now with 70% in. Another blowout.

Here’s a neat Google map of the results that have already come in and their intensity of support either way.

As I mentioned earlier today, this was Clinton’s best chance for a win before March, so this is very bad news for her.

There are a few other interesting stories tonight, as well. First is the news that Clinton’s campaign manager has resigned. (More here.) There’s also more buzz surrounding Edwards—Clinton met with him in Chapel Hill today and Obama is meeting with him tomorrow. (More.) Personally, I think Edwards waited too long and that now his endorsement won’t have much impact; still, I’ll be glad for Obama to have it. Anxiety over mandates or no, I see no way that Edwards can endorse Clinton and retain any credibility at all, so I really don’t think he will.

Meanwhile, Obama has just won a Grammy award over former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Case Western Reserve Purple Monkey Dishwasher E. coli University Graduation Speaker ’02 Maya Angelou. And Alan Alda. Next up, an Oscar, and after that a Nobel Peace Prize can’t be far behind.

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February 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Where’s Gore? Where’s Edwards?

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Given the track record of my previous baseless Al Gore speculation—he’ll run; he’ll declare after he wins the Nobel; he’ll endorse Obama early; he’ll endorse Obama before Super Tuesday; he’ll endorse Obama soon after Super Tuesday—it may be of interest that I’ve come to a new conclusion to explain what Al Gore’s doing. I think the Obama camp has decided that the value of a Gore endorsement in any particular contest, especially from this point on, is relatively marginal—so better to hold him in reserve in case it becomes necessary to fight over superdelegates, at which time he can emerge as a previously uncommitted elder statesman throwing his weight behind the people’s choice.

(Again, given my track record on this point, I guess we can now expect a Gore endorsement of Hillary Clinton later in the week. But this is what I think must be going on.)

I have no clue what the thinking is with Edwards. Does the Obama camp think that he is best saved for use as a surrogate in Ohio, Texas, or Pennsylvania? Could Edwards really be genuinely conflicted over which of Obama or Clinton better serves the poverty-centered politics he describes as the cause of his life? I find the latter hypothesis rather hard to accept.

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February 10, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Good News/Bad News

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Obama’s up in Connecticut and tied in Alabama (good news!), but it’s looking increasingly likely that my optimistic predictions regarding Richardson, Edwards, and Gore may not actually come to pass (bad news!). Still hoping…

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February 1, 2008 at 8:23 pm

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Random Political Prediction

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I don’t usually do this, but let me throw out a random political prediction about something I’ve seen a lot of people talking about today: I think John Edwards will endorse Barack Obama for president this week, probably on Friday.

Rationale: There’s no other reason for Edwards to randomly drop out out of nowhere unless he’s decided that his presence in the race hands the election to Clinton. Pulling out today of all days seems calculated to rob Clinton of any mojo she might have received from the Florida non-victory; I’ve also read that he notified Obama yesterday and Clinton only this morning.

Given all this, why not endorse? As noted in the earlier post, Obama seems happy about something. Two days of speculation prime the pump, and then Edwards pulls the trigger on Friday after the debate, guaranteeing Obama positive press all weekend and on the Sunday news shows.

(His non-presence at the debate, and the delayed endorsement, are also both good news for Obama, as together they take the “They’re ganging up on me!” sympathy card off the table.)

As I saw noted on another thread, somewhere or another on the internets, the Obama homepage doesn’t list any scheduled events between now and February 2. Thursday’s the debate; what’s he doing Friday?

Contra Shankar, I also don’t think the Richardson endorsement is all that unlikely—though I wouldn’t bet on it.

The last person standing is Al Gore, who I still think endorses Obama by Super Tuesday—if I’m right, it’ll be leaked Sunday and made official Monday.

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January 30, 2008 at 11:22 pm

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Edwards Out! (UPDATED)

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Edwards out! Holy smokes; I didn’t see this coming at all. It’s tough to say who this benefits, either nationally or on a state-by-state basis—but given the way Edwards has generally acted and what he claims to deeply believe my guess is that he wouldn’t have done this before Super Tuesday unless it would benefit Obama. (Attorney General Edwards, don’tcha know.)

More links soon, once I see how people are getting a handle on this…

UPDATE: No endorsement at the moment, apparently, but it’s hard to imagine that sticking until Tuesday. Given the way he’s run his campaign and especially his statements after New Hampshire, a Hillary endorsement would completely undercut his entire persona—I don’t see that happening. But an Obama endorsement seems likely, especially after the now-incredibly-crucial debate on Thursday. What better way to guarantee a lot of free, positive press on Sunday? (Besides Al, of course.)

The Obama statement, already out, throws fuel on that purely speculative fire.

UPDATE 2: Check out also this statement from the Obama campaign last night, honing his rhetoric about building a working majority into a stark, one-on-one comparison with Clinton over who can beat John McCain:

It’s time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him in voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like; and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed.

We need to offer the American people a clear contrast on national security, and when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party, that’s exactly what I will do. Talking tough and tallying up your years in Washington is no substitute for judgment, and courage, and clear plans. It’s not enough to say you’ll be ready from Day One – you have to be right from Day One.

UPDATE 3: Obama last night on Nightline:

Asked if he’s looking for a deal with Edwards,

Obama: “I have spoken to John Edwards.”

Moran: “About that?”

Obama: “No. Just generally about the campaign. I don’t want to go into the details of the conversation we’ve had. But look, John’s running a terrific campaign. He’s still competitive in a number of states coming up on Super Tuesday. I think his attitude, like the rest of us, is he’s going after as many delegates as he can get.”

Moran: “But that sounds like a non-denial denial. Did you tell you’d like his endorsement?”

Obama: “That I can say unequivocally. I’d like Hillary Clinton’s endorsement. Then we can start concentrating on the endorsement.”

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January 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm

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Victory! *UPDATED*

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The cable networks call it for Barack literally ten seconds after the polls close. More later, including a handful of pictures from today—for now feast on the results, including exit polls that hint at a huge victory for Obama and trouble for Clinton as the race goes on…

Be back soon.

UPDATED: Just jumping back online to say that everything tonight cuts against the race narrative the Clintons have spent the last three weeks building. Marc Ambinder notes that not only was Obama “close enough” in the white vote, but it also appears that he and Edwards Clinton tied for white males. Meanwhile turnout was apparently massive, with many new voters. This is all very, very good. I don’t know how the Clintons right the ship this week, though I imagine whatever they attempt will be disgraceful.

UPDATE 2: Thank God Edwards hasn’t left the race yet.

UPDATE 3: As Shankar pointed out regarding the already-infamous Jesse Jackson remark in the comments, the Clintons have basically decided to just come out and admit their plan:

Clinton campaign strategists denied any intentional effort to stir the racial debate. But they said they believe the fallout has had the effect of branding Obama as “the black candidate,” a tag that could hurt him outside the South.

I was talking about this earlier today, and I really think that the race-baiting strategy is at the point where it now begins to boomerang on them. Here’s why: very few people in America want to be racist. Race-baiting in politics can be effective when it’s subtle and deniable; be too blatant about it, though, and you begin to incentivize voters to vote for Obama just to prove they (and the country) aren’t racist after all. If the Clintons weren’t already past that point, I think they blew by it tonight.

The margin of victory is hovering around 2-to-1, by the way; at 95% reporting it’s 55 to 26. The delegate margin may be even higher. This is another unbelievably historic night.

UPDATE 4: Here’s the text of the victory speech, another home run. Here’s YouTube:

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January 27, 2008 at 12:02 am

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Just One Obama Link

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After badly blowing the public relations battle in both New Hampshire and Nevada, Obama’s people seem to have finally caught on to how to play the expectations game. Beyond merely trying to set expectations low, I have to think the potential Edwards surge I blogged earlier has something to do with the Clinton camp’s renewed under-the-radar efforts in South Carolina—they absolutely don’t want a third-place finish going into Super Tuesday.

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January 24, 2008 at 4:49 pm

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DemocratFilter: Startling Poll Results!

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Zogby’s daily tracking poll has Edwards spiking sharply in South Carolina—probably partly on the strength of a very good performance in Monday’s debate—with indications that he could even finish ahead of Clinton on Saturday.

Edwards, meanwhile, has had his second good day since the Monday night CNN debate, in which he delivered a strong performance. He hit 19% support on Tuesday alone and then 27% support on Wednesday alone. And, on Wednesday alone, he pulled ahead of Clinton overall. He has pulled ahead among whites.

This result would throw a major monkeywrench into the Clinton plan to spin away what is likely to be a big victory margin for Obama in South Carolina by claiming he only won the state on the strength on the black vote.

I welcome this greatly.

It’s been a bad week for the Clinton campaign overall, I think, with way too many stories about Bill, and Obama finally just coming out and saying what everybody already knows:

Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page.

Meanwhile, as one of my commenters noticed last night, The Onion reports that Bill has decided to go ahead and run himself.

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January 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

It’s On

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As best as I can tell, the purpose of tonight’s debate was to make a Clinton/Obama ticket utterly impossible. My God. That was a bloodbath. I think Obama held his own, John Edwards couldn’t decide whether or not he was above the pettiness, and Clinton just looked nasty and small—she got booed twice—but on this subject I’m notoriously biased.

Video via TPM.

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January 22, 2008 at 3:07 am

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Ugh, looks like Clinton won. My prediction for next week is still a significant Obama victory in South Carolina—hard to see that not happening—followed by Edwards dropping out and presumably endorsing Obama, for whatever it’s worth.

No clue at all how this affects the possibility of a Gore endorsement before Super Tuesday, which is Obama’s other major potential ace in the hole…

UGHDATE: Double ugh.

UGHDATE 2: Watch this story: the Obama campaign is talking about widespread election irregularities.

We currently have reports of over 200 separate incidents of trouble at caucus sites, including doors being closed up to thirty minutes early, registration forms running out so people were turned away, and ID being requested and checked in a non-uniform fashion. This is in addition to the Clinton campaign’s efforts to confuse voters and call into question the at-large caucus sites which clearly had an affect on turnout at these locations. These kinds of Clinton campaign tactics were part of an entire week’s worth of false, divisive, attacks designed to mislead caucus-goers and discredit the caucus itself.

True or not, this seems like exactly the wrong thing to say after a close loss—but what do I know. In any event, it looks like maybe he doesn’t want to be vice president after all…

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January 19, 2008 at 9:03 pm

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Obama’s Plan

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Drudge has the memo from David Plouffe on the next four weeks of Obamania:

Coming off an impressive win in Iowa and taking the once inevitable frontrunner down to the wire in her firewall state, it is clear that Obama is well-positioned to become the next President of the United States. As the people of Iowa and New Hampshire demonstrated, the American people desperately want change they can believe in. Barack Obama is the candidate to deliver that change by bringing people together, standing up to the special interests, and telling people what they need to know.

Our campaign now turns its focus squarely to Nevada and South Carolina, and February 5th. Today, we kick off the next phase of our campaign in New Jersey, an important February 5th state.


In the 4th Quarter of 2007, our campaign raised $23.5 million – over $22.5 million of which is for the primary election. In that quarter, we added 111,000 new donors for a total of 475,000 donors in 2007.

In the first 8 days of 2008, we raised over $8 million and gained 35,000 new donors. Since midnight last night, we have raised another $500,000 online. We continue to build a grassroots movement that makes us best-positioned to compete financially in the primaries and caucuses coming up…

It couldn’t hurt to add to that total, if you can.

I’m still smarting from last night—it was something of a “reality check” for my “false hopes”—but I honestly think the long-term prognosis is still good. The media feeding frenzy in the last week drove expectations totally out of control, obscuring the fact that the actual news for Obama in the last seven days has been overwhelmingly good—true, the Obama team wasn’t able to get the knockout, but they probably weren’t ever going to be able to. But it’s certainly not as if they’ve been knocked out themselves.

Not incidentally, my love/hate relationship with John Edwards is tilting strongly towards “hate” again. I admire the man and I admire especially the way in which he’s moved the rhetoric in the Democratic primary to the left, but his chances of securing the nomination are rapidly approaching the fantastic and I see no reason for him to stay in other than ego. We’ve been down this road with Nader enough times, haven’t we? The sooner he drops out, the sooner the “change” ticket is able to coalesce around the only anti-Clinton with a chance of winning the nomination.

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January 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm

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