Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The state of the Democratic presidential race on yet another Super Tuesday

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well, it's finally upon us. Super Tuesday 5... or 8... or 17... or whatever it is. I've lost count.

But it's the day we've been waiting for all primary season, the day we knew was coming, the day of the Kentucky and Oregon primaries.

I'll be live-blogging the results as they come in, keeping an ear or two out for American Idol -- it's Dave vs. Dave! (I'm rooting for Cook) -- but here, as we kick off the day, are some interesting tidbits for your amusement and/or edification:

1) Hillary is still insisting that the race is "nowhere near over," bubbling over with her now-characteristic faux populism, and playing fast and loose with popular-vote totals. Obama may or may not declare victory tonight, but he will likely reach a key milestone once today's results are in: a majority of the pledged delegates. He doesn't yet have enough superdelebates to put him over the top, but he's been trouncing Hillary in superdelegate pick-ups since the first Super Tuesday on February 5.

2) Speaking of superdelegates, Obama has picked up the endorsement of one of the party's long-time leaders, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd: "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."

3) At least Obama doesn't need to bribe superdelegates. It is being reported (and, of course, denied) that Hillary financier Haim Saban offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America in return for two superdelegate endorsements. Another example of trying to win at any cost, it would seem. (And yet, in this case, the cost was clear.)

4) While Obama continues to pick up superdelegates, including Iowa Democratic Chairman Scott Brennan, Hillary continues to embrace, and be embraced by, the vast right-wing conspiracy. Her latest "friend" -- following the likes of Dick Scaife and Rush Limbaugh (whose turn-out-the-vote efforts have no doubt helped her, including in Indiana) -- is none other than Turd Blossom himself, Karl Rove, whose consulting firm has put together electoral maps showing her beating McCain and McCain beating Obama in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups (with many states too close to call). Needless to say, there are problems with such prognosticating. First, the way things are now is not how they will be during the general election campaign, let alone in November. Obama hasn't yet even secured the nomination yet, after all, and he has been subject to attacks from both Hillary and McCain. Let's see how he does once he has the nomination and can focus his attention on McCain. I suspect that he will run an impressive campaign. Second, the states that are too close to call all look good for Obama (with the exception of North Dakota). Third, we Rove may have an ulterior motive here. Like most Republicans, I assume, he would much rather run against Hillary than against Obama. In the end, the maps don't really tell us anything, and yet Hillary has referred to Rove directly in defending her ongoing candidacy.

5) Losing candidacy, that is. The Gallup daily tracking poll has her down to Obama by 16 points, his largest lead yet. (And have I mentioned that he leads Hillary in both pledged delegates and superdelegates, as well as in the popular vote (when you don't play fast and loose with the math)?

6) Warren Buffett must also think the race is over. He had indicated that he would support either Obama or Hillary for president, remaining neutral between them, but he has finally come out for Obama: "I will be very happy if he is elected president. He is my choice."

7) And maybe Patti Solis Doyle does, too. Hillary's close friend and former campaign manager has had talks with David Axelrod, one of Obama's chief strategists, about working for Obama during the general election campaign.

Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more from me and the co-bloggers throughout the day, and, as I mentioned, I'll be back with some live-blogging this evening.

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