"Split Decision"

During its coverage last night, the MSNBC anchors and panelists were the most reality-based about what the results meant for the endgame of the Democratic nomination so it's funny to see their new promo for Countdown adopt the Clinton formulation of what happened, calling it a Split Decision.

ANNOUNCER: Sometimes victory's a two-way street.

HILLARY CLINTON: Thanks to you it's full speed onto the White House.

BARACK OBAMA: We answer with one voice: Yes we can.

ANNOUNCER: Now after the latest Clinton/Obama split decision, Keith asks, "where does this road end?"

Which tells me that as far as MSNBC, and perhaps the media at large, is concerned, a tipping point did not occur last night. Or at least they feel that they can continue to credibly claim the nomination battle has legs so they can continue to attract huge ratings for at least the next two Tuesday nights. To this extent, the media may end up being among Hillary's greatest allies in enabling her continued pursuit of the nomination. The reason: Florida and Michigan.

As Mike Viqueira put it on Hardball earlier today:

As we know, her fading hopes do hang on whether or not some arrangement can be made to seat those delegates in a way that's in her favor.

And as proof that this now continues on, Viqueira went on:

On the House side, the tipping point after Indiana that a lot of people were looking for in terms of superdelegates doesn't appear to be here yet. Haven't seen a lot of movement. Senator Obama has picked up some superdelegates, about four across the country.

He then went on to tout the announcements that Reps. Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth would support the candidate who won their districts and that was Hillary Clinton.

Assuming this "it's all about Florida and Michigan" narrative wins out, it would seem the next obvious benchmark in this campaign will be May 31st when the DNC's Rules Committee will meet to settle the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations. The Obama campaign's new willingness to compromise on seating these delegates tells me that they no longer feel a compromise would be a factor in either the delegate count or the popular vote, although I don't see them conceding everything Hillary is asking for. But no doubt the Obama campaign would like this to be over before then, say on May 20th when he's likely to cross the majority of pledged delegates threshold. Look for the Obama campaign to push that as a new metric of "winning." Neither of these campaigns has the monopoly on trying to redefine what it means to win.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton (all tags)

Comments

54 Comments

Re: "Split Decision"

Actually I think the Clinton formulation is tiebreak.

Whatever.  MI& FL should get representation.  Hopefully the two campaigns and DNC can work it out.

by bosdcla14 2008-05-07 03:27PM | 0 recs
The MSM really doesn't want this thing to end.

Their ratings are too good, and they're having too much fun speculating.

by sricki 2008-05-07 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Well, reality was nice while it lasted...  albeit very briefly...

by LordMike 2008-05-07 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Yup - back to the "She's still in it and can win" theme...This is really sad.

by RockvilleLiberal2 2008-05-07 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

You know, it's fine to continue on this way; however, for the life of me I cannot any longer figure out a scenario where she can get the nomination.  Not popular vote, not pledged delegates, not supers, not any kind of split with Florida and Michigan, I just cannot.  There are, I think, 6 more primaries, which will pretty much go half and half.  She has, right now, I think 11 or 12 more supers than he does.  He has a substantial lead in pledged delegates.  He is doing as well or better than she is in the national polls.  

I would just like someone to explain what, outside of seating MI and FL as is with absolutely no compromise and probably taking down the Party with that, would make her victory possible.  

Before last night I thought maybe, maybe, there was a chance that a disastrous loss for him in both states might turn the race towards her in a meaningful way.  Now I am just not sure that anything can.  When I hear her supporters discussing this campaign as if we were still post Iowa and she had sustained one largely symbolic loss, I really can't quite absorb where they are coming from.  This is not said dismissively or mockingly, I just cannot get my brain around what the plan is now that would allow her to become the nominee.

by mady 2008-05-07 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Wait a Minute!

Well your not convinced of anything. And to dismiss the Clinton and their supporters logic as if it has no legs and is ludicrous is just as insulting. What is your logic with the remaining 6 contest. Let's break it down.

1)She is poised to win both Kentucky and West Virginia in an absolute landslide, how do you suppose that is going to look for the "so called" presumptive nominee.

2)She is going to win Puerto Rico and pick up a lion's share of those 55 delegates. Since more than 1million people will vote in the primary, she is likely to have hundreds of thousands of more votes than will he.

3) Thinking or expecting Obama to win in Oregon, SD and Montana is'nt too practicle. Oregon votes by mail and how those people will vote is anyones guess. Unlike Oregon, SD and Montana are comprised of mostly rural areas and very conservative voters. Clinton has just as good a chance of winning there as he does. Furthermore, these are primary contests not caucuses.

4) Clinton was endorsed by more than 50 local and state representatives in Oregon yesterday and was also endorsed by the Salem Statesman Journal.

Therefore, she could conceivably win the popular vote after June 3rd including Florida and Michigan. The only way she couldn't win is if the supers decide to nominate the candidate with the most pledged delegates. However, some of these supers have indicated they would be willing to vote for Hillary if she could somehow get the delegate count down to a roughly 100 or less difference, which is not out of the question.

by steve468 2008-05-07 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Wait a Minute!

Therefore, she could conceivably win the popular vote after June 3rd including Florida and Michigan. The only way she couldn't win is if the supers decide to nominate the candidate with the most pledged delegates. However, some of these supers have indicated they would be willing to vote for Hillary if she could somehow get the delegate count down to a roughly 100 or less difference, which is not out of the question.

-----------------

"Some"

But even if they break for clinton 3:2, Obama still wins.

And given that they've been breaking for OBAMA 3:1  over the past month or two, I doubt that will happen.

by beholderseye 2008-05-07 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Wait a Minute!

Okay, but whether you doubt it will happen is different from saying there's no conceivable way it will happen.

I think this election is pretty much played out, but the last thing we need is to be bickering over whether Hillary has a 10% or 1% or 0% chance.  If it won't happen, then quit worrying and be a little more patient.

by Steve M 2008-05-07 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Wait a Minute!

If she wins all the remaining states, including "hers" by a landslide, I would say the supers should reconsider because it would indicate a sea change.  But there is no information that would make that seem even vaguely likely.  

By the way, I am simply stating the race as I see it, I am not trying to be dismissive and am open to being convinced, I just have not found the argument that convinces me.  

by mady 2008-05-07 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Wait a Minute!

Regarding Oregon:

"Those people" will vote for Obama by 10 percent or more.

by anoregonreader 2008-05-07 04:16PM | 0 recs
To the people thinking Florida and Michigan

will change anything, please stop deluding yourself. We need your support and continuing to try to find some sort of rationale behind Clinton's near-impossible path to victory is to help.

Florida will be seated at the same penalty as republicans, 50% delegates, it won't change anything.

Even if Michigan is seated as is (which it likely wont be), Obama's gotten almost enough delegates to match his popular vote % in the state. Then, if you take into account that they will probably be half seated, then that is down the chute too, not a game changer by any means.

The number will be between the Obama number and Hillary number, but Hillary has ensured that she will NOT win the popular vote or the pledged delegate race.

Just please... save your money for the general. We DEMOCRATS will need to pull together and end this then. McCain is about to be turned on by Hillary AND Obama, and it wont be pretty for him.

by beholderseye 2008-05-07 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

This is just the media looking out for their pocketbooks.  I remember the exact same dynamic from way back in New Hampshire, when the Clinton-haters in the media were having a blast chortling over her impending demise... then suddenly a light went on, and they realized if the race ended no one would be watching.  Suddenly they were all about the neck-and-neck horse race.

I think people should take a step back and see how the string gets played out from here.

by Steve M 2008-05-07 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

The MSM would love the bloodletting to continue.

However, Nancy Pelosi doesn't and she is sitting on the biggest group of Supers.

She is the Chairwoman of the convention, maybe the ONLY time she will do this.

Believe me, messages are being sent, this campaign is going to be MUCH friendlier at the top, even if provacatuers like Wolfson are still stirring up the pot....

Wolf, Keith, Russert?  

They would rather have a ball-game to talk about then watching a slow motion victory lap for Obama.

by WashStateBlue 2008-05-07 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Who is going to tell Hillary she lost with them getting their heads chopped off?  Off with their heads!  LOL.

by Spanky 2008-05-07 03:39PM | 0 recs
The media has an agenda

and it's so clear.  They want this race to go on forever because it's good for their ratings.  When Clinton was in front, Obama got beaming press coverage because the thought of Clinton cruising to the nomination was a dreadful scenario in terms of viewership.  Who wants to watch one candidate win all the primaries and snatch the nomination in a few weeks?  When Obama was close to closing it out, the press jumped all over Wright, Ayers, and other "scandals" and tried to portray Clinton as neck and neck.  They will try and make this race, and the general race look as competitive as possible despite the realities.

Remember, the media is not pro-Clinton and it's not pro-Obama, it's pro-money.

by jkfp2004 2008-05-07 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The media has an agenda

I agree - though it's important to point out that Clinton has NEVER been in the lead, not one single day of the election.

by Lawyerish 2008-05-07 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The media has an agenda

Wasn't she in the lead on Feb. 6th?

by VAAlex 2008-05-07 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The media has an agenda

Not in pledged delegates.

Remember that S-D's are not bound - I know I've seen some Clintonites making that argument, lol - and therefore shouldn't really be counted as 'in the lead.'  Something about chickens and hatching.

by Lawyerish 2008-05-07 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The media has an agenda

She was way ahead... right up until the first votes were counted.

by AllergicToBS 2008-05-07 04:44PM | 0 recs
It's not the "New" metric, Todd

It's the SAME METRIC that it's been for months.  It's been 2025 since the candidates ALL AGREED to strip the states of their delegates!  Including Clinton!

   Howard Wolfson, January 26:
    [WOLFSON MEMO] This remains a delegate fight, with 1,681 delegates at stake on February 5th, and 2,025 needed to secure the nomination -- and we are ahead in that fight.

   Howard Wolfson, February 12:
    "We don't think either candidate will be able to get 2,025 delegates without the superdelegates," Wolfson said during Monday's briefing, a prediction that may come down to whether Clinton can stem Obama's February momentum by taking the majority of Texas's and Ohio's 389 delegates on March 4 (Vermont and Rhode Island also hold contests that day).

   Howard Wolfson, February 13:
    "Superdelegates are supposed to vote their conscience. ... That's essentially what my friend David Axelrod said on the Today show. ... No one is going to win the nomination without them. Our goal is to get to 2025 delegates. " - Howard Wolfson

et cetera

Now that Hillary cannot possibly win if 2025 is the number, you and her campaign seek to pretend that the past simply didn't happen; and act as if there is a whole new set of rules, a new set of goals that must be reached.  This is truly demeaning to you, Todd.  It is a transparent attempt to steal the election from the person who is winning it.  It's sad.

by Lawyerish 2008-05-07 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not the "New" metric, Todd

Bingo.  Wrote just what I was going to write.

2025 has been the metric since Iowa, Todd.  And getting the most pledged delegates has been a legitimate (though not the ultimate) metric for nearly as long.

Don't equate Hillary's 2209 pipe dream spin with the metric that's been tossed around for months.

by The Great Gatsby 2008-05-07 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not the "New" metric, Todd

News! Dean has not confirmed the number 2025 and left the door open on that. So I wouldn't count your chickens yet!

by steve468 2008-05-07 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not the "New" metric, Todd

News!  She can't win even at 2209 or whatever number she comes up with this week....

by LordMike 2008-05-07 03:54PM | 0 recs
Dean has not confirmed the number 2025

That's because, unlike Terry McAuliffe, he's a scrupulously impartial DNC chair. And, unlike Clinton (take your pick which), he's a scrupulously honest politician.

by Kobi 2008-05-07 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

It's pretty obvious at this point that Hillary cannot win.  I want her to, but she won't. I think it's time we all had a reality check and start figuring out ways to beat John McCain instead of each other and other Democrats. I want whoever is the nominee to steamroll into the White House on a tidal wave of support from 85% of the country,-- the sane majority.  We can't do that if we're split and still po'd about this.

We only have a few weeks to go but I think it's time for our minds to start accepting that the candidate we back might not win, but to make the priority preventing McCain from winning. That's more important than anyone's hurt feelings about who they are supporting. Remember when this thing started everyone was saying how Hillary and Obama are basically the same -- well, they still are.  Either one will beat McCain if we get behind them. Time for unity. The world is depending on us to defeat McCain, and I mean that literally.

by shellius 2008-05-07 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Obama supporters won most of the uncommitted delegates out of Michigan, in the event that they are seated (and they will be, once we have a nominee).  Even seating both states as is won't be enough to make it a close race until Hillary starts picking up more superdelegates than Obama.  The most likely scenario is 50% off both states (as the GOP did), and Obama can declare victory once Montana and South Dakota vote.

The media has been pushing this neck and neck storyline for weeks now even though it was clear Obama got too far ahead in February to be stopped.  It's all about the ratings.

by Skaje 2008-05-07 03:47PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

How convenient. Just blame it all on the media. Did you ever think for a minute that the DNC and the political hotdogs brought this on themselves. Having this stupid way of electing a nominee.

by steve468 2008-05-07 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

It's the way it's always been done.

by Skaje 2008-05-07 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Eh, it's actually probably good for us in the long run.  There will be some sort of accommodation, the voters in those states will receive some love, and this will make it easier for the Dem nominee (in all likelihood Obama) in the fall.

by rfahey22 2008-05-07 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

I gave money to Shuler and Ellsworth... well no more of that. They are perfectly within their rights to do so, but I'm going to focus on Dems in tight districts who supported Obama before I get to the Clinton backers.

by MNPundit 2008-05-07 04:03PM | 0 recs
The notion that Senator Obama would be

willing to "compromise" on seating FL's and MI's delegates when he feels it will no longer affect his chances at winning the nomination tells me everything I need to know about his feelings for the voters of those states.

by Rumarhazzit 2008-05-07 04:15PM | 0 recs
Crocodile tears

And when Hillary thought she didn't need them and agreed to 'disenfrachise' FL & MI what did that tell you about how she felt for the voters in those states?

What a fraud. Does she think that the record of what she said before she realized she didn't have a prayer without FL & MI would magically disappear?

by hankg 2008-05-07 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

I saw Tim Russert on NBC News this evening with charts and numbers showing how Clinton can't win even with MI and FL. I think that's the narrative now.

by Becky G 2008-05-07 04:20PM | 0 recs
Does Todd know he was quoted on MSNBC today?

That's right. Several "prominent" bloggers were. And this is what they quoted from last night's thread...

The upshot is that there is no way to spin away what happened tonight: Senator Clinton had a really bad night and Senator Obama had a phenomenal one. It's impossible to overstate the significance of what he accomplished, not only considering what he's overcome over the past three weeks but also considering how decisively he denied Clinton what she needed to continue to have a credible path to the nomination. To put it plainly, tonight was her final shot and she needed to win Indiana by 8-10% and to lose NC by 1-3%; in other words she needed to do about 10% better in each state than she did in order to keep Michigan and Florida relevant and the popular vote in play for superdelegates. Unfortunately, she was unable to do either. Zogby was right this time and Survey USA...and I...were wrong.

Which leads me to the conclusion, sadly, that I no longer see a real path to victory for Hillary Clinton and I now believe Barack Obama will be the nominee of our party.

I can only wonder what has happened in the past 18 hours for him to change his tune 180˚?

by Kobi 2008-05-07 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Clinton now defines her "house" in history.  Put aside her pride and work hard for Obama, or be the narcissist I think she is and accomidate division.  We all wait and wonder.

by moondancer 2008-05-07 04:43PM | 0 recs
Today's Countdown

just ended.  Olbermann made it pretty clear that he thinks Hillary will or at least should exit soon, and he specifically called out the 'split decision' spin being pushed by the Clinton camp as ludicrous.  

I'm pretty sure the people who make these promos are different from those who actually make the shows.

by semiquaver 2008-05-07 05:07PM | 0 recs
My very own "Split Decision"

I split from MSNBC.

No more Tweety.  No more Olbermann.  

I have gained two full hours in my day.

Priceless.

by Radiowalla 2008-05-07 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: My very own "Split Decision"

"I have gained two full hours in my day."

Which you now give to Hume and O'Reilly instead?

by Kobi 2008-05-07 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Hey, I was a Clinton supporter
And was very lukewarm on Obama -
But the fact remains that HRC needed to win out -
Run the table - if you will.

She didn't do that.
It's done.
Over.
Fini.

by johnnygunn 2008-05-07 06:09PM | 0 recs
Why would you say that?

Except to be unpleasant?

No, Kobi, I don't watch Hume or O'Reilly.  I've been fighting them for years.  I was one of the original posters on Mediawhoresonline.

by Radiowalla 2008-05-07 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why would you say that?

Because Olbermann is fighting the media whores and right wing terrorists every day.

He quit his original gig at MSNBC because he refused to join the lynch mob against Bill Clinton. Then he came back and was the first (and is still the only) journalist with a TV program to call Bush out into the open.

Just last year he was accused by Obama's people of being in the tank for Hillary.

What's happened since then to make him call the Clintons out too? They have not only cozied up to the very wingnuts who sought to destroy them (and everything progressive along with them) that caused Olbermann to quit his job in their behalf, they have emulated the very gutter tactics against Obama that were used against them by their new wingnut friends.

So let me ask you in turn, if you were an original poster at mediawhores, how can you now cozy up to a candidate who cozies up to the very worst of the mediawhores -- Murdock, Scaife, Limbaugh, O'Reilly -- while dissing the one corporate news journalist who openly stands against them?

by Kobi 2008-05-07 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

2025? Forget it. It's now a hurdle of 3000 for Obama, 2000 for her. The supers understand that big whole numbers like these are easier to understand, and thus more electable. It's the new metric. Why can't Obama seal the deal?

Also, the West Virginia primary, Hillary is expected to net  44% of the vote, will be a landslide, since 44 is now the largest number anyone can think of, it's basically "X+1" with X being whatever Obama has right now.

The primary is no longer scheduled for Tuesday. Instead, it'll be on the newly created 8th day, Hillarday. Biblically, Hillerday is the day God looked upon the universe, saw that it was Good, but not Good enough, and handed the reins over to Hillary for a day. She's THAT experienced.

This election will clearly last until August... that is, if there still was an August. There is Hughust, named after her brother, a month that more adequatly represents the "big" months, the months that really count if you're calculating the sun's "radioactability."

Of course, at the Hillary Clinvention in Denver, Clintorado, delegates from from Florodham and Michelseagan will have to be seated, their delegates being what's needed to push Clinton and her V.P nominee (a mirror constantly facing herself) over the top and on to victory in NoYouCan'tVember.

I'm sure the superdelegates... excuse me, Automatic Hillaryrodhamclintogates will factor this all in an decide accordingly.

by Lettuce 2008-05-07 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Does she have no shame. The HillBillary Campaign released a memo to Obama asking whether he is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. I have my own version of that memo addressed to Hillary - asking whether she is ready to be President. http://angryafrican.net/2008/03/13/a-mem o-to-hillbillary-please-dont/

by Angry African 2008-05-07 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Well, it may be time for Hillary to give up.  It was a great fight and I'm sad to admit that we live in a very sexist era.

Oh well, on to Ron Paul!  I will not vote for Obama.  I already dropped out of the Democratic Party today because they are the most undemocratic party ever.  

The only thing keeping the party together was Hillary.  Now that she's gone... I'm gone too.

by ceojuliej 2008-05-07 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

don't let the door hit you on the way out.

by JDF 2008-05-07 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Todd! Are you taking it back? You no longer believe Obama is the nominee? You were being so reasonable this morning.

by wasder 2008-05-07 08:31PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Perhaps when he wrote the diary late last night he was so depressed he couldn't help but be completely honest with himself and everyone else. Then today's new spin from Camp Hillary revived him.

by Kobi 2008-05-07 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

People, people, people,

Clinton cannot win (without overturning pledged delegates and popular vote) EVEN if you include Michigan and Florida.

http://the-independent13.blogspot.com/20 08/03/clinton-vs-obama-stats.html

by tomanderson13 2008-05-07 09:42PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Hillary supporter Rep. Charles Rangel was just on CNN saying she should keep fighting as long as she has a chance to win. When Anderson Cooper asked him under what circumstances she could possibly win he replied, "I don't know..."

At this point Hillary and her campaign are like a fighter who is already knocked out cold, but still staggering on his feet. Obama could blow on her and she'd fall, but I'm guessing he wants to let her leave with dignity.

And that may be his only big mistake depending on whether she and her campaign decide to finish with dignity or pull Obama and the party down with her.

by Kobi 2008-05-07 09:52PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

I've been kind so far, but I can't hold back on this one.

You.  Are.  Insane.

Do you really believe Obama is moving goalposts?  His campaign has only had 1 metric and it will continue to only ever have 1 metric:  2025.

Clinton moves goalposts.  Clinton has complete ownership on the insane twists of the day.  She spins and spins and spins.

If the DNC decides its now 2210 or whatever, Obama will obide by that and still win.  Your psychotic reinterpretation and regurgitation of Clinton spin doesn't do anybody any good, especially the Democratic party.

by RichardC 2008-05-07 09:57PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

Having watched Countdown tonight I can honestly say that Todd's thought that "this whole thing is over" narrative is gone does not comport with what was said during Keith Olbermann's broadcast.  All they talked about was when Clinton conceded, not whether there was a real contest left.

by True Independent 2008-05-07 10:01PM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

So Obama picked up four delegates, not exactly a tsunami of support.

Hillary picked up Heath Shuler.  Not bad, considering the whipping that she took.

by notime4lies 2008-05-08 04:11AM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

As you undoubtedly know, Shuler did not endorse Hillary based on any personal view that he held, or any positive outlook on her chances for the nomination.

Prior to Tuesday, he said he would vote for the winner of his district.. a rural NC area.  

He was really just ducking responsibility because he can't afford to irritate any part of his fragile coalition in 'enemy' territory.

by Wayward Son 2008-05-08 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: "Split Decision"

I don't think the "split decision" spin is working.  The Time Magazine cover of Obama dismisses Clinton's candidacy.  NYT headline today: "As support fades, Clinton Focuses on Next Contest."  And on the jump page:  "For the Democrats, Signs of a Possible Changing of the Guard" (about the Clinton Era "coming to an end") and on the same page, "TV's Pundits Pronounce Judgment:  It's Over."  The NY Post headline (under a photo of Clinton) said it all:  "Toast".  

by Headlight 2008-05-08 04:19AM | 0 recs

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