Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ Category

Hillary Will Win FL–Will the US Notice?
January 29, 2008

The Clintonistas are out on the talk-show rounds, arguing that her expected FL win will be a big story. Cong. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) contended on MSNBC that Florida will be the first big and diverse state to weigh in on the Democratic contest, and therefore, its verdict carries weight.
Fair enough–IO, NH, NV, and SC are small. Michigan has voted, but only Hillary’s name was on the ballot there.
In Florida, she’ll almost certainly roll up a lopsided win. All the latest polls show her up 20 points. None of them were taken after Barack Obama’s big SC win, or after the big names in the Kennedy clan proclaimed the Illinois Senator the rightful heir to JFK’s New Frontier legacy.
But Monday’s Quinnipiac poll makes it appear the Clinton votes in FL are pretty firm. 82% of her supporters here say there’s little or no chance they’ll change their minds. Only 69% of Obama’s FL backers are similarly firmed up.
Certainly, the announcement that Clinton will hold her primary-night party at the Signature Grand in Davie is a clear sign she expects to win, and wants to focus attention on Florida, after 4-1/2 months of avoiding public appearances here like the plague.
She’s after a coast-to-coast platform to proclaim her win, to proclaim FL’s long-neglected Democratic votes now have real significance. Will pundits and headline-writers across the country be impressed?
It seems unlikely. Almost all the pre-primary coverage of Florida focusses on the incredibly tight race between John McCain and Mitt Romney. When I asked NBC’s Tim Russert about the significance of a Hillary win (we had Russert on a Sunday-morning special on the primary), he repeated the prevailing pundit wisdom on the subject– that FL’s Dems are taking part in a meaningless “beauty contest” that will give the Clinton campaign no boost, heading into the 22 primaries on caucuses on February 5th.
Indeed, the only way the Democratic result here might get major media attention is if Obama comes within 10-points of Clinton. An unexpectedly close tally might lead to a spate of “momentum” stories about the Obama campaign.
Clearly, the Clinton folks think that’s a remote prospect, so she’ll be here to claim her moment in the FL sun.


Prediction– The Pledge Will Hold
January 16, 2008

The Democratic contenders have stayed out of Florida, under their pledge to punish Florida’s against-the-rules re-scheduling of its primary (FL, essentially, performed what we called “cutsies” back in grade school, cutting in the primary line before Super Tuesday, Feb 5th).
Now, the Obama campaign is muttering by leaked memo that Hillary’s people may be about to go back on the pledge. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that won’t happen.
Here’s why– the race here doesn’t seem to be close. The Quinnipiac poll this week had Clinton 20-points up on Obama. She doesn’t need to come here to win.
He doesn’t need to break the pledge and come here either, because a loss in FL can be dismissed by the Obama people as– “Hey, we didn’t compete in Florida– no biggie.” Look how little buzz Hillary got for winning Michigan last night– her serious opponents weren’t even on the ballot there.
But where it is close– really close– is Nevada, which holds its caucuses soon. And South Carolina, which votes on the 26th (three days before FL does) is also not a runaway– polls there show a substantial but not insurmountable lead for Obama there.
And in NV & SC, voters take that pledge thing seriously. When Obama said hello to some reporters who’d gathered outside a FL fundraiser a few months back, a Las Vegas paper did a serious piece questioning whether he’d broken the pledge. Those early states want to keep their place in line, and want to see FL punished for “cutsies”.
So– put yourself in Hillary’s place. Will you risk losing a couple of points in the next couple of states– where things are close and crucial– to come here and try to pad your 20-point lead? Winning in NV will help her more in Florida, in terms of momentum and excitement, than holding a couple of events on Miami Beach.
True– the Clinton campaign looked into holding a low-$, big crowd fundraiser at the Miami Beach Convention Ctr. just before our primary. That was apparently the source of the Obama campaign’s concerns.
But even such a fundraiser– technically legal under the Pledge– would not play well in all-important NV & SC. So Hillary will do a pair of under-the-radar, no-press-allowed events on Miami Beach this weekend… tucking away another $750,000 but not actually meeting anyone Floridians for free, or singing to anyone but the choir.

Kerry Endorses Obama– Quick Thoughts
January 10, 2008

John Kerry backs Barack Obama, declaring “Who better than Barack Obama to turn a new page in American politics?” History gives one pause in describing it as a big boost for Obama.
Think back, four years ago. The immediate past Democratic nominee, Al Gore, endorsed the insurgent campaign of that year– Howard Dean’s, which imploded just a few days later.
This announcement would also seem to confirm the widely-reported tensions within the Kerry-Edwards ticket, four years ago.
Meanwhile, I note that Al Gore’s running mate of ’00, Joe Lieberman, is said to be headed to Florida to campaign for– not Obama, not Clinton, not Edwards– but John McCain.
Lieberman, of course, is now an independent. He was put on the ticket in ’00, at least in part, on the theory he could galvanize Jewish voters, and visited FL often, trying to do that (a little more galvanization, and Lieberman might be finishing up his 2d term as VP). He may well return to some of the same FL condos he worked 8 years ago, trying to do a little galvanizing this time for Republican McCain.
Meanwhile, the FL endorsement all Republican contenders are panting for MAY be forthcoming. Gov. Charlie Crist now says he might endorse someone before the primary on the 29th. Or maybe not– the Gov’s still being coy about it.
They’ve all courted Crist and his 60%+ approval rating. Just today, Rudy Giuliani endorsed the concept of a National Catastrophe Fund, which could help spread the risk from national disasters like hurricanse among several states. The National CAT Fund is high on Crist’s list of priorities.

Obama’s FL Visit– Pt 2
October 2, 2007

A follow–up on yesterday’s post on Obama’s phantom campaign visit– even his modest and not very content-filled interaction with FL reporters may get him into hot water with voters in early-primary states who resent Florida’s attempt to leap-frog ahead in the process.
Check out the article in the Las Vegas paper this morning…..

Barack’s Here– Who Knew?
October 1, 2007

Sen. Barack Obama is in town today. His schedule says only “No Public Events”, but you can be sure that means the Senator is raising money for his bid to be the Democratic Presidential nominee.
A month ago– heck, even a week ago– the Obama campaign would have combined a behind-closed-doors fund-raiser with a public event or two, to get the Senator on the 6 PM news, expressing his concern about immigration or hurricane insurance or the Everglades. But that was then, and this is now.
The national Democrats’ ban on Florida campaigning took effect Saturday, and Obama signed the pledge that he won’t do any campaigning here.
So I’m not expecting my calls to the local Obama folks to be returned any time soon, especially after reading the St. Pete Times comical account of their attempt to ask the Senator questions aoutside his fundraiser in Tampa last night. Their very able Political Editor, Adam Smith, recounted his conversation this way:

Me: “Senator, what’s your position on a national cat fund!” (No Response) Senator, can we talk to you about the Everglades!. (No response, only uncomfortable silence from everyone in shouting distance) Senator! If you’ll only talk to people writing $1,000 checks, why should Florida Democrats support you?! (More silence) Will you take any questions!?”
Obama (shouting back): “Why are you yelling?”
Me: “Because you won’t let me talk to you! Will you talk about a national cat fund!?”
Obama: “I’m not allowed to talk to the press, guys!”
Me: “Isn’t it up to you?!”
Obama: “Nope!”
Me: “Aren’t you the guy trying to lead the country?!”
Obama: “I signed a pledge!”
Me: “Why?! (Silence) Why!?”
And then Barack Obama hopped in his SUV and departed…

Since fundraising is one area specifically exempted from the DNC’s Florida campaigning ban, I’m still expecting that some Democrats are going to hold low-dollar “fundraisers” open to media coverage. But it looks like actual Q & A on issues most vital to Floridians is out.