A Two Horse Race

As we get ready to go into February 5th the process has winnowed the choices down to just a few on each side. On the GOP side, its down to three, though John McCain seems to have the upper hand. But more about that in a later post, perhaps.

It's on the Democratic side that things have gotten stark. John Edwards is dropping out today. He's not, apparently signaled his readiness to endorse anyone, so it's not known how this will affect things. It could help Obama or it might not. Edwards has largely drawn his support from white male union folk. The question is, where will they go. If Edwards offers an endorsement, that might help. If he were to endorse Obama, which I hope he'll do, that could be the edge Obama needs.

February 5th will not be decisive, but it could prove to be a catalyst for either candidate. Looking at the map, Obama doesn't need to win either California or New York, he just needs to do well. Besides these states there are lots to pick from. Illinois should give Obama a clear victory. Places like Kansas, Arizona, and that southern tier should provide fertile territory for him as well. New Jersey could be interesting. With support from Ted Kennedy and Duval Patrick, Massachusetts is ripe for the picking and that could overflow into Connecticut. There is also the question of whether Bill Richardson will make an endorsement, and if so, whom? An endorsement of Obama could do wonders for him in the Latino community.

All in all, this is getting interesting. Hillary might have a strong organization and lots of connections, but lately things have been going Barack's way! See you Tuesday at the polls.

Back to John Edwards. I like him and supported him in 2004. I do think his time came and went in the time that passed -- although as John McCain has shown, you never know. I think he will be in some one's cabinet -- indeed, I expect deals are being offered in exchange for his support. So, stay tuned.


A Richardson endorsement of Obama would be helpful. But my sense of things is that he's interested in a cabinet position and, thus, may abstain from an endorsement so as to not alienate either of the prospective nominees.

On a related note, Jimmy Carter's "non-endorsement" of Obama sounded quite a lot like an endorsement to me.


If Al Gore and Bill Richardson were forthcoming with similar "non-endorsements" that would certainly be a big help for Obama.
First, Bob, I hope you are calling all your friends in CA--and especially Latinos--every day between now and Tues. on Obama's behalf. Because Dems have proportional allocation of delegates, if Obama can keep Clinton's margin under 60% in any given district, they split delegates 50/50. He has the momentum, but she probably has the early voting before his momentum.

He doesn't have to win throughout the nation on Tues--just keep from losing--win enough places and keep getting enough delegates that these kind of endorsements can mean something. (Clinton dodged a bullet--the Senate has been too busy for Ted Kennedy to go on the campaign trail for Obama as he has wanted.) So, Obama supporters in all Tues. primaries ought to be engaging in huge GOTV efforts.

Richardson is expected to endorse before the end of the week, but the longer he waits the less helpful it is. He might be waiting, like I think Edwards is, for tomorrow night's debate. Edwards wants to see if Obama is tough enough on poverty and the GOP to keep fighting for the poor. (Incidentally, unlike you, Bob, I was very unimpressed with Edwards in '04.) I think Richardson may be looking to see who will be stronger on stopping the war quickly.

My worry: Clinton vs. McCain--the one Democrat who could lose in this atmosphere vs. the one Republican who could actually win.

(Although if we can't beat a guy promising more wars and fewer jobs, it really is time to become Canadians!)
40% of Edwards supporters responded to a poll saying they "don't know" their second choice. I think the uncertainty is because, although Clinton is surely more of an establishment figure, her healthcare plan is better and for some Edwards people that is the big issue.

Even without an endorsement, Edwards elimination from the race means: 1) All his pledged delegates go to the Convention uncommitted. 2) His superdelegates are now in play for both Clinton and Obama. 3) Both camps will try to get staff and supporters, including both endorsements and supporters from Edwards. Notice that Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), an Edwards supporter, has already switched to Obama--and in a state where he needs Latino support.
4)An Edwards endorsement may come too late to help Obama on Super Tues.--Edwards' numbers had flatlined after Iowa--but if he can keep the delegate count close, it may still help with the next rounds.

BTW, did anyone notice that Nancy Pelosi said she was "mesmerized" by the Kennedy endorsement of Obama? C'mon, Madam Speaker, get on board while there is still time to help with California!

One thing we've seen this election cycle: polls mean little, but early voting favors establishment candidates.
For what it's worth, former Denver mayor Federico Peña has endorsed Obama, an important Hispanic endorsement that will, hopefully, help in Colorado.
Latest polls show Obama closing in on Clinton in almost all Super Tues. states, but early voting and lack of time still favor her. He may win NYC which will poach delegates from her. It's tied in CT and he's closing in fast in MA. Latest polls show her ahead by only 3% in CA(!). He'll probably win Alabama and Georgia, will definitely win Illinois and probably tiny Alaska (in pop. and delegates). He has the lead in KS and is closing in with MO and AZ, but is way behind in MN, NJ, Arkansas (natch!) but now with a slight lead in Colorado. Tuesday is going to be a nail biter, I think.
Edwards dropping out may actually hurt Obama. He could have received enough delegates to keep Hillary from winning. The longer this goes after Super Tues., the better Obama's chances.
I'm feeling good about things. I expect tonight's debate will provide some important insight into the future. Obama's not the best debater -- He's not as concise, but if he can talk to the audience rather than at Hillary, he has a chance of connecting that could prove very helpful. I just wish Wolf Blitzer wasn't the moderator.

If, as I believe the Feb. 5 states break evenly, it could compel some more key endorsements and lots more money. Taking in 32 million in one month is key, especially since most of that comes from folks who've given in small increments -- thus able to give lots more.

John Edwards' absence will be interesting. The question is: will his support among white men turn to Hillary? If so, it could hurt Obama. But we'll see. It could depend on what Edwards does in the next few days. I read where Hillary has been courting him agressively.

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