Obama in Westerville 3/2

03/02/2008 - 12:00pm
03/02/2008 - 2:00pm

The Obama campaign has announced that Senator Obama will hold a town hall meeting in Westerville on Sunday, March 2nd.

Details after the flip.

Cincinnati Enquirer Endorses Obama

The editors praise both candidates but choose Obama for his health plan and his potential to cross the partisan divide:

[I]t is Obama's ability to reach beyond the partisan divide and gather in support that prompts The Enquirer to give him our endorsement ...

The true differences on policy between Obama and Clinton - on Iraq, on trade and a host of other issues, are narrow.

On health care, we prefer his approach of lowering costs rather than mandating participation. ...

Obama has been on the national stage for a relatively short time, but in that time he has demonstrated an ability and a willingness to work with others. He does not waste time demonizing those with different views. ...

But perhaps Obama's most impressive achievement so far is the excitement he has engendered in the political process itself. ...

Obama has an undeniable appeal that is attracting people of divergent backgrounds. He seems able to find ways to work even with people who don't share his views.

We believe that of the two, he has the better chance at quickly creating the working coalitions that would allow for the progress a new administration will need in dealing with the issues at hand.

The Enquirer joins The Plain Dealer and The Toledo Blade as major Ohio papers endorsing Obama. The Akron Beacon Journal endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Is Bill Clinton Campaigning for Barack?

Counting Votes

USA Today's story about problems the experts see coming due to unbelievable turnout for this cycle's election is only a backdrop for the nightmare expected election night this Tuesday in Ohio and Texas, and possibly nationwide come November.

"The biggest problem during the primary season has been too many voters," says Doug Chapin, director of electionline.org, which tracks voting issues. "Time and time again, the problem has been turnout being up higher than even the most optimistic projection."

Right on cue, Ohio Daily Blog reports that turnout will be huge.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner had a conference call with reporters today (reported on Openers , The Daily Briefing, and Politics Extra) in which she forecast a 52% voter turnout. That is vastly greater to turnout in the 30% to 35% range for the last three presidential primaries (when Ohio's vote was not nearly so important). It is about the same as the 53.2% turnout in the 2006 general election and about 19% less than the record-breaking 2004 general election turnout.

The USA Today article tells us where the trouble spots should be, including:

In Ohio, which has faced myriad ballot-box problems in recent years, the Cleveland area will test new optical-scan paper ballots in next Tuesday's primary; officials may not finish counting until midday Wednesday.

So, how's that going?  If you guessed badly, you win.

Weekend Obama Canvassing Details

After the flip ...

Two Polls Diverge: One Shows Clinton Ahead, The Other Nearly Tied

Fox News:

46% Clinton
38% Obama

Rasmussen Reports (figures in parens from 2/25):

47% (48%) Clinton
45% (43%) Obama

New Will.I.Am Obama Video

We are the ones...

Voter Turnout Will Be Huge

[UPDATED to add info from Politics Extra.]

It looks like Ohio is set to follow a lot of other states in producing an enormous voter turnout in Tuesday's primary, at least on the Democratic side where the contest is close.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner had a conference call with reporters today (reported on Openers , The Daily Briefing, and Politics Extra) in which she forecast a 52% voter turnout. That is vastly greater to turnout in the 30% to 35% range for the last three presidential primaries (when Ohio's vote was not nearly so important). It is about the same as the 53.2% turnout in the 2006 general election and about 19% less than the record-breaking 2004 general election turnout.

Other notable points:

* "Brunner said as many as one-fifth of the roughly 4 million voters expected to cast votes in Tuesday's primary will do so by absentee ballot, or at least 800,000 voters. The previous record for absentee ballots cast was 707,856 in the 2006 general election."

* "Brunner [said] the demand for absentee ballots suggests high interest. As an example, she said the Montgomery County Board of Elections was deluged with absentee ballot requests after Democratic candidate Barack Obama spoke to 15,000 people at a Dayton rally. (At the Obama events I've attended the speakers always stress early voting, and it appears to be working.)

50 State Blog Network Roundup

Fresh and hand-picked blog posts from across the nation:

   Karen Bass will become the new Speaker of the Assembly. She will team with Senator Darrell Steinberg to lead the California legislature for the next two years. She is the first female Democrat to lead the Assembly.

New York
   Daily Gotham reports on endorsements in a Congressional race beginning to heat up in New York's 13th District. This one is all that stands between us and a free-of-republican-Congressmen New York City.

Continued after the break.

ARG Poll: Obama Cuts Clinton Lead From 10 to 5 Points in Four Days

In another sign of Obama's momentum, a poll just released by American Research Group shows Clinton's lead has been chopped in half in just the last four days (figures in parens are from the 2/25 ARG poll):

50% (49%) Clinton
45% (39%) Obama
2% (4%) Someone Else
3% (8%) Undecided

Comparing the two polls, it appears that 7% of the voters moved from "Someone Else/Undecided" to the two candidates, and those voters broke 6-to-1 in favor of Obama. If that trend were to continue these polls suggest the race would be extremely close, but there are not quite enough undecided voters remaining to give Obama the lead.

The four-day period between the polls included the debate on Tuesday night -- do you think that was an important factor in the shift?

The poll included 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4 points.

Obama Responds with National Security Ad Featuring Gen. McPeak

The Obama campaign counters Clinton on national security with a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praising Obama's judgment about Iraq:

Clinton's New National Security Ad

Here is the controversial new national security ad from the Clinton campaign, essentially arguing that your children sleeping in their beds may be unsafe if Hillary Clinton isn't in the White House to answer the crisis phone at 3:00 a.m.:

The ad gets slammed in this recommended diary at DailyKos, calling it the "nuclear option," a "fear-bomb," wondering why Clinton is "writing ads for John McCain," and guessing that if she doesn't win the nomination she is hoping that Democrats lose in November so she can "run against McCain or whoever in 2012." Atrios compares it to the 2004 Bush/Cheney ad with scary wolves running through the snow. Marc Ambinder writes that it is "bound to evoke comparisons to LBJ's "Daisy" ad and Walter Mondale's "Red Phone" ads," calls it arguably her "best ... argument ... against Obama," and notes that it has taken her 13 months to make this argument so explicitly.

On a conference call today, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said that Clinton already had her "red phone" moment, and she blew it by voting to authorize the war in Iraq.

New Ohio Endorsement List From Obama Campaign Has 150 Elected Officials

Reproduced after the break is a newly updated list of endorsements of Obama by elected officials in Ohio, now standing at 150.

Obama Campaign Update from David Plouffe

I just got off a conference call with David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama for America. He responded to comments by Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson, and others in the Clinton campaign that Obama and Clinton will be tied (or Clinton will be ahead) after March 4th. Plouffe says that Obama is now leading by 162 delegates overall, and Clinton would need huge wins to change that, so they expect to have substantially the same lead after Tuesday.

If Ohio is a very close race (5% or less), the winner will net only a handful of delegates, and the Obama campaign hopes to gain as many just in Vermont. He also looks forward to Mississippi and Wyoming and predicts that Obama will gain more delegates there than Clinton will gain overall on Tuesday.

Plouffe said that the Clinton campaign's "one goal" was to "erode our delegate lead," and they are going to fail. If the delegate situation does not change dramatically on Tuesday, Clinton would have to win 74% of the remaining available delegates to catch up, and that is not going to happen. If Obama's delegate lead doesn't drop below 100 on Tuesday, then Clinton has "no avenue to the nomination."

Looking at contests around the county, Plouffe said that they consistently show "huge leads have turned into close contests," and Plouffe thinks "we are in very good shape heading into next Tuesday," although the Clinton campaign is "obviously raising lots of money and putting lots of TV ads out there." He continued that "we started out as serious underdogs and we have been clawing our way up - Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island will all be close" despite earlier Clinton leads in the range of 20 points.

"Women's Voices" Contest to Honor Female Bloggers

In celebration of Women's History Month, "Women's Voices. Women Vote" is honoring women in the blogosphere, through our Women's Voices Making History contest. They are inviting people to nominate their favorite female bloggers through March 21st.
Details after the flip.

TGIF Jokes

"But seriously how about that John McCain? John McCain looks like a guy whose head you can barely see over the steering wheel. ... John McCain looks like the guy who picks up his TV remote when the phone rings. … John McCain looks like the guy who has to be told to close his robe. ... John McCain looks like the guy who thinks the nurses are stealing his stuff. 'Dad, why would they take your socks? It doesn't make sense.'" --David Letterman

"You all know Senator Larry Craig, America's favorite restroom enthusiast, we call him. He announced he is taking applications for summer interns to work in his office. ... Isn't that unbelievable? Would you want that on your resume? 'I served under Larry Craig.' All interviews will be conducted in stall number three, I believe. You just wait and he'll push some papers under the door." --Jay Leno

"They have debated so much that they are now debating about debating. Did you see this? A lot of this debate was about the power of words. Hillary said, 'Actions speak louder than words,' Then Obama said, 'Words can speak as loud as actions.' And then McCain said, 'Speak louder!'" --Bill Maher

"This is exciting news. Southern Methodist University announced that they will be the home of George W. Bush's presidential library. This will be the first presidential library to be made up entirely of small, shiny objects. In fact, I understand right now, they're building a shelf for the book." --Jay Leno

"Democrats do have an historic race going. Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama. Normally, when you see a black man or a woman president an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty. How will we know it's the future? Silver unitards, that can't be all?" - John Stewart at the Oscars

Enjoy your weekend!

Stephanie Tubbs Jones: Won't Change Just Because "Wind Has Changed"

On the "Sound of Ideas" show on WCPN just now, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones defended her endorsement of Hillary Clinton as based strictly on qualifications. She said that in politics, your word is all that you have, and that she will not deviate from her 2006 decision to support Clinton. "If I were to change my position just because the wind has changed," she said, "What would people think of that?"

Tubbs Jones acknowledged that Obama has said that his campaign is not about race, but pointed out that for many of his followers it is very much about electing an African American. She bristled at Obama's invocation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in speeches, pointing out that Dr. King's message was to judge people not on the color of their skin.

After Tubbs Jones remarked that Obama is an "excellent candidate," she was asked if she thought that the two of them (Clinton and Obama) could run together. "Absolutely they could," she replied, "They could definitely run together."

UPDATE: Discussing Clinton's performance in Tuesday's debate, Tubbs Jones said that it reflected "frustration" on her part that the media has failed to draw out the distinctions between the candidates.

2nd UPDATE: Rep. Tubbs Jones also discusses her determination to stick with Hillary Clinton in an essay published today on TheRoot.com, an interesting new online magazine focusing on black perspectives:

In late 2006, I made the choice to support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, long before Sen. Barack Obama or even Hillary herself had declared their candidacies. ...

When I made the decision to contest the counting of the electoral votes from Ohio following the 2004 election, a move that was highly criticized by the Republican Party and even by some in the Democratic Party, Hillary stood with me and joined me in introducing groundbreaking election reform legislation ...

TV Ad: Strickland Lays It On The Line for Clinton

Gov. Ted Strickland, still popular although not quite as much as previously, expends political capital in this explicit effort to infuse some of his mojo to Hillary Clinton:

Strickland portrays Clinton as a fighter, a person of faith, and a person who cares. This is a strong commercial and I expect it to help Clinton, especially in the southeast part of the state where Strickland walks on water. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I doubt that this ad will have much overall impact in Ohio as Obama continues to dominate the airwaves and Strickland's support is already well known in the state. In other words, helpful but not likely to change many minds.

Zogby Poll: Obama and Clinton Tied in Ohio

A new poll by Zogby International for Reuters, C-SPAN, and the Houston Chronicle shows the race virtually tied in Ohio:

44% Clinton
42% Obama
1% Gravel
5% Other
9% Unsure

Although Clinton is a statistically insignificant two points ahead, the pollster suggests that the trends actually give Obama the upper hand, with undecided voters more likely to go his way:

[Clinton's] strength stems from the same demographic groups that carried her to victories earlier in the campaign, but the trend appears to favor Obama, as late deciders are more likely to support him over her, the survey shows, and 9% of Ohio Democrats say they have yet to make up their minds. ...

Among those who made up their minds "more than a month ago," Clinton leads 63% to 37%. Obama leads by margins as big among those who made up their minds less than a month ago, a week ago, and within the past few days. In the same vein, Clinton leads by 6 among those who have already voted.

The pollster also surveyed Texas, where Obama leads Clinton by 48% to 42%. On the GOP side, McCain has a solid lead in both statates, 62% to 19% in Ohio and 53% to 27% in Texas.

Other recent polls have shown the Democratic race in Ohio tightening, but this is the first to point to a victory for Obama rather than a close race still favoring Clinton. The cross-tabs are similar to other recent polls:

Clinton leads among Democrats, women, voters over 50, and everywhere outside the three big cities. She also leads among Catholics, voters in union households, and moderates. Obama leads among voters under 50, especially those under 30, and among liberals.

As to the Ohio Democratic results, the poll included 708 likely voters and has a margin of error of of 3.8 points.

Rep. Tubbs Jones: Sticking With Clinton Even If Obama Wins Ohio

The Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reports that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) will stand by Hillary Clinton as long as she is in the race, even if Ohio and her own district go against her in Tuesday's primary:

[Superdelegate Tubbs Jones] says she will stick with Clinton even if Obama wins Ohio and Tubbs Jones' 11th congressional district on Tuesday. ...

... Tubbs Jones says as long as Clinton is in the race she remains by her side.

"I am a woman who has been in politics 26 years. All you have is your word," said Tubbs Jones, noting she committed to Clinton early on and has long been friends with Clinton. "I have chosen her (Clinton) based on her background and experience."

Rep. Tubbs Jones, co-chair of Clinton's national campaign, is the first female African American member of Congress from Ohio and is a revered figure in the northeast Ohio black community. However, recent polls shows three-quarters of African American likely Democratic voters favoring Obama. The 11th Congressional Distict is 56% African American.

Clinton Angling for Edwards Endorsement?

Hillary Clinton is campaigning in southeast Ohio today, where she is focusing on combating poverty. Poverty is prevalent in the hard-hit Appalachian region of the state, and low-income white voters are key to Clinton's chances in the Ohio primary. However, Amy Chozick suggests in a Wall Street Journal story today that her emphasis on poverty may also reflect Clinton's hope of obtaining the endorsement of John Edwards:

Poverty hasn't been a dominant issue in the campaign since the withdrawal of former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Mr. Edwards hasn't endorsed a candidate, and both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama have been courting his supporters. "He made poverty a centerpiece in his campaign, and it needs to be a priority," Sen. Clinton has said of Mr. Edwards.

There is also an important tactical reason to focus on southeast Ohio. The 6th and 18th congressional districts have an odd number of delegates, so the winner of 51% or more of the vote in each of those districts scores a net gain of one delegate. Districts with an even number of delegates require a tally of nearly 60% of the vote to avoid splitting the delegates evenly.

UPDATE: Canadian Report on Obama Aide's NAFTA Statement Debunked

UPDATE: After I posted the following account of a disturbing report about a conversation between a senior Obama aide and the Canadian ambassador about NAFTA, the Canadian embassy issued a statement denying the report (h/t Ben Smith at Politico):

A spokesman for the Canadian Embassy to the United States, Tristan Landry, flatly denied the CTV report that a senior Obama aide had told the Canadian ambassador not to take seriously Obama's denunciations of Nafta.

"None of the presidential campaigns have called either the Ambassador or any of the officials here to raise Nafta," Landry said.

The Obama campaign has also issued a strong statement:

“The news reports on Obama's position on NAFTA are inaccurate and in no way represent Senator Obama’s consistent position on trade. When Senator Obama says that he will forcefully act to make NAFTA a better deal for American workers, he means it. Both Canada and Mexico should know that, as president, Barack Obama will do what it takes to create and protect American jobs and strengthen the American economy -- that includes amending NAFTA to include labor and environmental standards. We are currently reaching out to the Canadian embassy to correct this inaccuracy,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Original post:

A Canadian national television network reported last night that a senior campaign aide for Barack Obama contacted the Canadian ambassador and told him that Obama would be taking "heavy swings" against NAFTA while he campaigned in Ohio, but it was "campaign rhetoric" that should not be "taken seriously":

Video - Obama's Reply to McCain in Columbus Yesterday

If Barack Obama wins the nomination, how effective will he be in fending off attacks by John McCain? Yesterday's rally in Columbus provided a sneak peek preview:

Locations for Obama Canvassing Today

The Obama campaign has announced a statewide door-to-door canvassing campaign to being today. Locations for Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, and Youngstown after the break.

Rep. Cummings (D-MD) and Singer Avant Headline Obama Fund-Raiser in Cleveland Area 3/2

03/02/2008 - 2:00pm
03/02/2008 - 5:00pm

R&B singer-songwriter Avant, a Cleveland native who records on the Geffen label, will host a fund-raising event for Barack Obama at his home in Solon this Sunday (3/2) at 2:00 pm, at which Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) will be a featured guest.
Details after the break.

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