Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

I saw at Iowa Independent that Hillary Clinton's former pollster and adviser, Mark Penn, is claiming there could have been a "different outcome" in Iowa if John Edwards had been out of the race.

My conversations with hundreds of Edwards supporters suggested that many preferred Barack Obama or one of the longshot Democratic contenders to Clinton. David Redlawsk has data to back up my anecdotes:

University of Iowa political science professor David Redlawsk conducted a caucus night survey on second choices. "We asked people `If your candidate is not viable, what will you do?' 82 percent of Edwards supporters said they would support another candidate and 18 percent would not," said Redlawsk. "When we asked which candidate they would then support, 32 percent said Clinton and 51 percent said Obama. Had this actually happened statewide, Obama would have been even further ahead of Clinton."

"As the campaign progressed few Edwards people gave any indication that Clinton was their second choice," said Redlawsk [...].

I stand by my contention that given the Obama campaign's almost unlimited resources and well-executed strategy, there is little Clinton or Edwards could have done differently to win the Iowa caucuses.

After the jump I have a poll about the worst strategic error Clinton's campaign made thanks to bad advice from people like Penn.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Iowa Caucuses, John Edwards, Mark Penn (all tags)



Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Just sort of intuitively you would think that Edwards and Obama would be splitting the anti-establishment vote, at least at that point.  Equally intuitively you would expect Mark Penn to give lots of reasons why Hillary Clinton's loss was the result of quirky factors outside of his control so that people will hire him again.  He's not exactly a neutral party or a historian here.

Anyway, I put "other".  It took her until Ohio to think of giving people a reason to vote for her other than "I'm default".  I suppose that's another way of saying that she shouldn't have run on experience, but I hate that cliche of "running on experience in a change election."  I think the point is that running on experience presupposes that people already have another reason to vote for you.  Nobody gets elected on experience alone, ever.

by Jess81 2009-05-03 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Oh also, does your poll take her war vote as a given?  Because if not for that, there's no anti-hillary vote.

by Jess81 2009-05-03 06:08PM | 0 recs
my poll takes her war vote as a given

because I'm interested in what she could have done differently in 2007/2008. Her war vote was not something she could have changed by that point.

To some extent I agree that her war vote created the space for an Obama. On the other hand, plenty of Democrats would have been "anybody but Clinton" even if she had been against the war.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Yeah, her vote for the war is one reason that would have kept me from Clinton.

I was an Edwards supporter mainly because his healthcare (and poverty) plans seemed the best.

But I also didn't think much of Hillary's healthcare formulation.

Although I'm that middle-aged woman who was supposed to be a Hillary Puma, I could see past her entitlement.

I reluctantly went Obama -- and he's still single-payer adverse -- but became a convert to the message of change and hope.

And he seemed less the corporatist than Hillary (I can only hope that's true.)

by judybrowni 2009-05-03 06:22PM | 0 recs
I don't think Obama is less corporatist

than Hillary, although many people thought he was during the primaries.

Edwards moved Hillary to the left on health care. I liked her plan better than Obama's.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 06:30PM | 0 recs
Health Care Plans... ?

I'm a single-payer supporter too, but I have to say, I didn't see any substantive differences between the health care plans Clinton, Obama and Edwards offered.

After Edwards dropped out, there was that skirmish over mandates, but nothing really substantive.

by potus2020 2009-05-03 09:24PM | 0 recs
I vote all of the above.

I don't think there is one single error.  I think it was a combination of things that sunk that campaign, from not skipping to Iowa to not being able to deal with other caucus states to not being able to handle a protracted campaign, etc.  It was a strategic failure of epic proportions.

I think even her war vote could have been dealt with had she run a completely different campaign.

by auboy2006 2009-05-03 06:56PM | 0 recs
she handled the protracted campaign well

once she had time to regroup. Her problem was that 10 primaries came too quickly after Super Tuesday for her to build any organization in those states. I couldn't believe the way she came back and cleaned Obama's clock in Ohio after losing so many primaries and caucuses in February.

They simply never banked on having to compete after February 5.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: she handled the protracted campaign well

True, but I think that the 2008 Democratic Primary was more about how well (or badly) candidates on the other guys turf, rather than how well did on thier own. Obama did a lot better in places that he shouldn't have. Hillary did as expected in all the places she should have done well, but she didn't break out on Obama's home turf, like Va, NC  or the southeast.
Ohio and W. Virginia was never going to go for Obama because of the demographics.

But not planning for post-Super Tuesday primaries  was a monumental error of arrogance.

by xodus1914 2009-05-04 06:14AM | 0 recs
If you recall

According to some accounts, Mark Penn was unaware that delegates were awarded proportionately in the California primary. Harold Ickes was one of the architects of that system when it was implemented in 1972. It illustrates the horrible lack of internal communication going on within that crew.

by KoolJeffrey 2009-05-04 02:37PM | 0 recs
IIn the runup to Iowa

I think there was one key mistake: Clinton's in debate flip flop on drivers liscenses for undocumented workers.

That did hurt.

Having said that, Clinton never got over 40 in Iowa.  Her ceiling was just too low in that state.  

by fladem 2009-05-04 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

There COULD have been a different outcome if Edwards HAD BEEN OUT OF THE RACE - that's what he said - that's a lot different than who is your second choice on caucus night.

About 1/3 of Iowa democrats would have been up for grabs - they could have gone to Hillary, they could have gone to Obama, or they could have migrated to another candidate, like Biden.  Without Edwards, these committed supporters would have courted for months by another candidate, and would have been up for grabs.  This diary doesn't even consider the dynamics of a caucus goers' second choice - trying to stop the alleged front-runner from winning so your candidate has a better chance, or in this case, giving Edwards a boost by pushing Hillary into third.  That dynamic would not exist if Edwards had not been in the race.

These primary battles months after the fact are getting old.  Fact is, Obama ran the best campaign we have seen in our lifetimes - almost perfect, and he's one of those once in a generation candidates.  He deserves more of the credit for how it all worked out than trying to blame Hillary or Penn, for that matter.

by alamedadem 2009-05-03 07:00PM | 0 recs
I went over lots of what-ifs

in the diary I linked to above. Yes, the Edwards supporters would have been up for grabs for months if he'd been out of the race, but relatively few of them would even have considered Clinton.

I agree with you that Obama and the people who ran his Iowa campaign deserve most of the credit for how things turned out in Iowa. Obama is very talented and ran an almost-perfect campaign here. Given his lack of big mistakes and the success of his new-voter strategy (which I thought would flop), I do not see any way that Obama could have been beaten in Iowa. The Clinton and Edwards campaigns could have done some things better, but I don't think they could have beaten Obama here.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

I'd buy that Obama is a once in a lifetime president before I buy that his primary campaign was "almost perfect." He barely won.

I disagree with some of his economic policies but Obama is as deft a president as I've seen in the fourty years I've been following politics. Reagan's 1980 campaign was closer to a perfect campaign ("I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!"). Clinton's 1992 campaign overcame much greater obstacles, both in the primary and in the general, and so in terms of political ability was better than Obama's.

by souvarine 2009-05-03 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Bill didn't face a candidate of Hillary's stature and institutional support in '92 - not Brown or Tsongas matched Hillary.  Obama needed to run a perfect campaign to win - and he did.  Except for a few gaffes, what mistakes did he make?  I was a Hillary supporter and waited for him to collapse under the pressure - neither he nor his campaign ever did.

by alamedadem 2009-05-03 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

True, there was no establishment candidate in 1992 (they were all terrified of running against Bush), but Clinton was not nearly as well known as Obama (or Brown or Tsongas) and had to overcome much larger deficits, repeatedly. And neither compares to Reagan's 1980 campaign operation, evil though they were.

Obama biggest mistake was failing to come up with a primary message to peel off Clinton voters. He had a hard time with Hispanic and working class Democrats, and he didn't figure out how to connect with them in the primaries. His biggest tactical error was highlighting race after NH and before NC, the African American vote had already solidified behind him and the tactic interfered with his strategic goal of peeling off Clinton voters. And he really needed to peel off Clinton voters, if Clinton had done a little better in the caucus states he would have been out of luck.

by souvarine 2009-05-03 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Sort of ignoring the racial overtones Bill spouted off first.   If anyone injected race, it was Bill Clinton.

by 30000Fine 2009-05-03 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

The Hillary Clinton campaign made plenty of errors, some statements by Bill Clinton among them. But I think desmoinesdem is pointing to the fundamental problem with her campaign.

by souvarine 2009-05-04 03:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

You're begging the question.  With Bill Clinton it's an atypical error, with Obama it's a fundamental part of his campaign.  If you look at it that way then it's easy to predict the type of conclusions you're going to draw.

Anyway, people were genuinely pissed off at Bill Clinton - his remark came after a bunch of similarly themed ones from other surrogates so at that point it was hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Laying all of that at the feet of Obama is again, begging the question - if he can force Bill Clinton to say things then obviously he could have chosen a better fight to pick with the Clinton campaign, but you're assuming a whole lot.

by Jess81 2009-05-04 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Obama ran a much better campaign than Hillary Clinton, and made very few errors. Highlighting the use of race, as an issue, between the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries was one of the few errors he made.

Remember the timeline of this specific instance, Bill Clinton mentioned Jackson on the morning of the SC primary, that was after a series of statements and memos from the Obama campaign and surrogates implying that the Clinton campaign was using race and that her supporters responded to race. One cannot blame the statement Bill Clinton made for actions the Obama campaign took prior to it.

Bill Clinton is responsible for his own words, and they were stupid in this case. Hillary Clinton was responsible for managing her surrogates, including Bill. Hillary Clinton created her own problems, and those problems gave Obama the opening he needed to win. The winning opening for Obama, in my opinion, was the strategic vacuum in caucus states. The way Obama took advantage of the mistakes Hillary Clinton's campaign made around race hurt him more than it hurt her, again in my opinion.

The more interesting question is whether a more union oriented message from Obama could have put him in a more dominant position in the primary, and whether that was too much of an ideological sacrifice for him.

by souvarine 2009-05-04 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

He won w/o "peeling off" Hillary voters.  BTW, most of weren't about to peeled off from someone we fervently believed in.  Obama found a way to win by growing the voter pool without having to do any "peeling."  This was far better strategy for the long-term growth of the party.  I can't see how this is a mistake.  I didn't like it at the time, but now I am grateful.

by alamedadem 2009-05-03 11:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

You are correct. At the end of the day, Obama went out and got his votes, while Hillary solidified hers. When Change is in the air, the former's strategy is will beat out the latter's because it grows the Party. Self identified Republicans are at a all-time low right now. The reason is because of the guy with big ears.

by xodus1914 2009-05-04 07:07AM | 0 recs
Obama took down

the biggest name in the Democratic Party.  In '92 the big names decided not to enter the race (see Mario Cuomo).

Obama's primary campaign was the best I have seen in my lifetime.

I kept on waiting for Obama to make his mistake.  I am SURE both Clinton and McCain were waiting and he never did.

by fladem 2009-05-04 07:47AM | 0 recs
Barely winning

was in itself a perfect campaign.

by DTOzone 2009-05-03 09:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Barely winning

That was deep, and probably went over a lot of people's heads.


by xodus1914 2009-05-04 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Clinton blew it by failing to build an organization in the caucus states. If she had won Iowa it would still have been a close race. Penn refuses to accept his central strategic error, which he repeated by doubling down on Super Tuesday.

If you believe Chris Hughes, Obama's organization in the caucus states was a lucky accident. One that the campaign was smart enough to take advantage of. People in the Clinton campaign pushed for dedicating ground resources to the caucus states, but ultimately Clinton chose Penn's direction.

by souvarine 2009-05-03 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

I think Edwards DID affect the race and here is why.  He helped Obama in making many points against the establishment.   Obama couldn't have done it by himself since he was a newcomer to the stage.   When Edwards was echoing similiar sentiments, given Edwards prior VP run, it made Obama's statement ring louder.

I still don't think that is what caused Hillary's downfall.   It came down to caucus vs. primary.   Hillary didn't organize too well when it came to caucus's.   Also the whole Michigan/Florida situation was a Democratic mistake that in the future I am 100%positive punishing delegates and voters will never be an option regardless of whether a particular state violates calendar rules.

I am don't support a National Primary as that would favor the establishment in most cases.  I do support a regional primary that is divided into a March primary for one region and ends with the last region of July primary.

I support the elimination of the un-democratic caucus.   Those are often poorly participated in and allow them to represent an entire state is not as effective as voting in the booth.

As a form of compromise....I also feel removing the impact of superdelegates is the right thing to do.  

by newmexicodem 2009-05-03 07:13PM | 0 recs
I also prefer primaries to caucuses

and think that at the very least the caucus system needs major reforms. Actually, I would prefer to ban caucuses for the purpose of presidential selection.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 09:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I also prefer primaries to caucuses

I am in favor of a dual system.  A ballot place, with facilities for caucusing for those who choose to do so.

by lojasmo 2009-05-03 09:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I also prefer primaries to caucuses

The problem with that is that I don't want to pay for an election for something that has been ruled by courts to be a "private organization". Certainly I don't want to pay for GOP primaries.

Now actual caucus reform (as what goes on in a caucus) would be something worth exploring.  However, I think using the Sec. of State budget to run a statewide primary in a cash strapped state like AZ would be silly given where the law and the public policy perception of political parties is.

by AZphilosopher 2009-05-04 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Obama was very lucky in many respects.

1) New kid on the block. Untainted by Washington.

  1. Not there for the Iraq vote. Does anyone think that Obama, the career minded politician that he is, wouldn't have voted for the war?
  2. Iraq was a mess in early on but the issue faded with time. Had Iraq not been an issue, I doubt that his support would have been so galvanizing.
  3. Sold bi-partisanship when it still could be sold. Try and sell that now.
  4. Michigan and Florida. Had states not created the calendar mess then that would have favored Clinton. She would have won those states and had the momentum to least blunt some of the caucus wins by Obama. Still Clinton was competitive until Indiana and North Carolina.
  5. Clinton's early hubris worked to Obama's advantage. Only when Clinton had to fight for her political life did she start to shine.
  6. He carried the AA vote 9 to 1. That's a built-in constituency that went a long way in the primaries. Clinton did counter with Hispanics winning them 3:2 but Hispanics are not as critical a voting bloc. I have to double check but the only three groups Obama won in the primaries consistently were AAs, under 30 and those who earn over $75K.

The above should not be taken to imply that Obama did not run a very well managed campaign. He did. He is also remarkable politician with good instincts. I mean at age 46 to decide that he can see a path to the White House having been in the Senate just two years is indeed remarkable. His talents speak for themselves.

As an Edwards guy, I can say honestly that if Edwards had not been in the race I would have supported Dennis Kucinich or Joe Biden albeit for very different reasons. I did not care for Clinton until after NH and I didn't like Obama until he told Joe the Plumber it was time to spread the wealth.

And to be candid, I think Obama has been a better President than he was a candidate. At least he's not out on the White House lawn with Donnie McClurkin.

In looking back on the sad tale that is John Edwards who in the end seems to be destined to end up as a minor footnote in American history, I'll say this, I am grateful to him because he pulled both Clinton and Obama to the left. That is the legacy of John Edwards.

Good post.

by Charles Lemos 2009-05-03 08:16PM | 0 recs
I agree with just about everything

you said. There's no doubt in my mind that Obama would have voted for the AUMF if he'd been in the Senate in 2002--just like he voted for various war funding bills in the Senate, after campaigning against giving Bush a "blank check" in Iraq.

But even with various lucky circumstances, Obama needed to run an almost perfect campaign to win, and he did. As I discussed in this diary, most experienced politicos in Iowa thought Obama had little chance here, based on previous efforts to mobilize new caucus-goers and the results of statewide canvasses the Clinton and Edwards campaigns conducted in the summer of 2007. Obama's campaign needed to make the voter universe larger than anyone thought possible. They also had outstanding outreach to key Democratic-leaning interest groups, and it paid off.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 09:42PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree with just about everything

And I forgot to mention that e word. Ethanol. Hence that very disturbing vote for the Bush Cheney Energy Bill.

by Charles Lemos 2009-05-03 10:24PM | 0 recs
don't forget c for coal

Illinois is a big coal state, and that's another reason why Obama voted for Bush's energy bill.

I was really annoyed that the other campaigns did not do more to educate environmentalists about Obama's vote for the Bush energy bill.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-04 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree with just about everything

But you are right. Obama did expand the electorate. Part of that is solely attributable to his persona.

by Charles Lemos 2009-05-03 10:26PM | 0 recs
I don't think

Obama would have voted for the AUMF, but it's a question you can debate.  

Obama's strength was that he plain inspired people.  It allowed him to build an organization, and gave him an enourmous edge in money that would prove on Super Tuesday in the Caucus to arguably be decisive.

The Clinton campaign did what every front running campaign has done inh my lifetime: waste money on expensive people like Penn who aren't worth what they make, and then if they fail to deliver the early knock out blow they are left with a significant resource disadvantage.  

by fladem 2009-05-04 08:06AM | 0 recs
There is little

evidence to support the idea that Clinton would have won Michigan.  Her caucus performance was actually quite weak.  

The single most important point about the primary fight is continually missed.

When Iowa and NH were fought, the number one issue was Iraq.  When the latter primaries were fought, the number one issue was the economy.  

Had the economy faded 4 months earlier, the Clinton AUMF vote would not have had the significance it did because the focus would have been on the economy.  

by fladem 2009-05-04 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

I actually don't see Hillary Clinton winning Michigan.  Obama won all the neighboring states, the Democratic party in Michigan is dominated by Detroit, and it's got a history of voting for anti-establishment candidates.

You also don't have the, um, cultural issues that you do in a place like Ohio.

by Jess81 2009-05-04 11:51AM | 0 recs
Michigan would've been 50-50

and would've hinged on turnout. Obama clearly would have dominated Detroit and Ann Arbor, Clinton likely would have dominated Oakland County and the wealthy suburbs...then what matters is who wins the rest of the state and that is up in question. Clinton would rural Indiana and Ohio, Obama won more rural parts of Wisconsin.

by DTOzone 2009-05-04 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

A friend of mine is the ED of the Ohio Democratic party, so I have to take issue with you here. He and Jeremy Bird did an incredible job mobilizing Ohio voters for Obama, and down ticket for Dems, specifically in the more rural areas of the state. Obama won 89% of Dems, comparable to Kerry's 90% in 2004, but Obama expanded Dems from 35% to 39% of the electorate, giving him a solid win in Ohio. Obviously not as good as the 93% of Dems Obama and Kerry got in Michigan, but solid and expanded Democratic support for Obama.

Now, what "cultural issues" do you think Ohio Democrats have with Obama?

by souvarine 2009-05-04 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Also don't forget about the economy.

The primaries were all about Iraq and who voted for what.

Once the economy tanked in the Fall, no one really cared about Iraq anymore.

If the primary debate was focused on domestic issues and the economy.  I am sure Hillary would have milked her husband's success during the 90s.

by newmexicodem 2009-05-03 08:23PM | 0 recs
I do not agree

that the primaries were all about Iraq. I think that gave Obama his early opening, but there was a lot more to his superior branding/marketing than Iraq.

The Obama campaign had outstanding outreach to interest groups. Whatever your pet issue was, Obama had field organizers working to convince you that he had a plan to make a difference on the things you cared about.

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-03 09:45PM | 0 recs
Mark Penn is Right

...if Hillary scoops up Edwards team, replacing Penn, and thus running a far better campaign.

That would have made a big difference in this race.

by January 20 2009-05-04 03:19AM | 0 recs
You think Joe Trippi

HELPED Edwards?

I don't agree with that at all.

by fladem 2009-05-04 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: You think Joe Trippi

I think you miss my smartalecy sarcasm.  I'm saying that anyone would have been an improvement over Penn, and tossing in a bit of hoisting on his own petard, I'm snarkily suggesting that Penn's dream scenario could be most effective if it includes dumping Penn.

I'm not a big Trippi fan, but could he have been worse than Penn?

by January 20 2009-05-04 12:10PM | 0 recs
HRC's mistake

was hiring and sticking with Penn in the first place.  She tied her campaign to a raving egomaniac who could not work well with others and whose arrogance was so enormous that he devised a "strategy," if you want to call it that, which did not attend to the basic rules.  The fact that his game plan was built around winner take all primaries, as opposed to proportional distribution of delegates, indicates nothing less than severe malpractice.

Penn made many mistakes.  HRC's biggest mistake lay in hiring and relying on Penn.  Campaigns are imperfect predictors for the administrations they foreshadow.  But they are often all we have to go on with non-incumbents.  What Penn's "strategies" and persona indicated about how an HRC administration would look scared me.  The contrast with Obama's campaign was extreme.  There were of course other positives that drew me into Obama's camp.  But HRC's campaign seemed tragically flawed.

And of course Obama was lucky on a range of accounts.  No one wins the presidency without a sequence of fortunate circumstances mixed with smart moves, just like winning the world series in baseball.  You can be good and you can be lucky.  Generally the winner is both.  Obama did a lot right and Clinton did much wrong.  Obama got lucky on several counts, and Clinton had some unfair things against her.  That's how history works.  

One of the most appealing things about Obama the candidate and Obama as President is the way his confidence and humility seem to convey a deep understanding of the fact that he cannot control everything but he's not afraid to try things and take responsibility when they don't pan out, and readjust.  He projects serenity and determination, a creativity that is not hampered by acceptance of fallibility.  That came across in his campaign.  Given the arrogance of the Cheney/Bush regime, that's exactly what people craved.  It's not what HRC's campaign offered the electorate at all.

by Strummerson 2009-05-04 04:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

I voted other for all of the above.

no caucus strategy, no plan after super tuesday (or $$), running general election strategy - it all added to the reason she lost the delegate race. If her campaign actually had a plan for all of this who knows what would have happened, who knows what would have happened had she had a strategy for FL/MI. If Edwards was out of the race, I don't think that would have helped her in Iowa, but did help her later on. When it was HRC vs BO from March onward - she was winning most of the states, so maybe had it always been HRC vs BO she might have done better - but not in Iowa (imo) - maybe she would have picked up more of Edwards supporters in SC (for example) or won by a bigger margin in NH or NV - but what difference does it really make?

The long and winding road to the end of the primary was riddled in missteps by Penn and others on her team. Had she actually had $$$$ in Feb and a plan for after Super Tues, then she could have (perhaps) slowed down Obama's 11 or 12 straight wins.

Lastly, the fact that the bigwigs in the DEM party (pelosi, brazile, dean) all supported obama and not her also hurt she. She may have had alot of local support (sestak, tubbs-jones, etc) but the media talked to the DEM leaders and the media was never on her side either. So that did not help her either.

I think, in the end, she is proud of the fact that she had the most votes and in the end, that is what is impressive in spite of everything. It is, why people like me hung in there until the BITTER end thinking - maybe - the delegate committee (whatever they were called) on FL/MI or something along the line would break in her favor or that the SD's would see this and stay in her camp. But they listen to the DEM leaders and it is what it is.

Edwards being in or out would not have changed the shitty way in which her campaign was run (thank you mark penn), so ultimately would not have changed the outcome.

by nikkid 2009-05-04 06:56AM | 0 recs
The bottom line

in Iowa is that Clinton never got over 40.  The only way she could win is for the other candidates to split the vote.  

I don't think she could ignore Iowa (front runners don't get to skip primaries).  

I do think her message was the wrong one (she kept making the wrong experience argument).  Nonetheless, as long as Iraq was the dominant issue, her vote on the AUMF was an enourmous handicap.  

Based on my conversation with people in Iowa, if Edwards wasn't in the race, I think one of the other candidates might have emerged to join the top tier.  I am not sure who that would have been, but I came away from the caucus I worked thinking that it might have been Biden.  

by fladem 2009-05-04 07:56AM | 0 recs
I agree

The typical Edwards supporter wasn't happy with Clinton or Obama. I had a lot of people on the fence between Edwards and Richardson, or Edwards and Biden. Without Edwards in the race perhaps one of the second-tier candidates would have emerged.

Speaking of which, yesterday I had a real blast from the past--saw a woman wearing a "Chris Dodd for President" t-shirt!

by desmoinesdem 2009-05-04 08:07AM | 0 recs
An honest question...

...did Edwards voters see him as viable or was it more like a protest vote a "This is what the party should be worried about" type of thing?  

Did the VP debate give anybody pause about Edwards?

Honestly, he was closer to my views than either of the big 2 but I viewed him as non-viable.

by AZphilosopher 2009-05-04 08:14AM | 0 recs
In Iowa

he was definately in the top tier (he did, after all, beat Clinton).  I am not so sure he was ever really a major player in New Hampshire.

by fladem 2009-05-04 09:32AM | 0 recs
And I write

while drking coffee out of my IAF sponsored Dodd Coffie Cup.  

Richardson cam close to breaking out in both NH and Iowa at one, but in some ways he was a mess.

by fladem 2009-05-04 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Earlier personification of the Not-Hillary vote could have indeed changed the strategic equation. It would have allowed the race to develop into the Obama/Clinton race earlier. Once the Not-Hillary vote was converted into the Obama vote, she had a solid opponent to contrast. After that point almost everyone agrees her campaign was better.

Probably even more important the campaign Penn designed wouldn't have counted on Edwards.

by Judeling 2009-05-04 09:49AM | 0 recs
Bit off Topic

But, John really did dig himself quite a deep hole: 009/04/03/edwards/index.html

Very lucky the Obama campaign stayed clear of John, he showed his judgement to be fatally flawed for a politician who lived through the Clinton era.

by WashStateBlue 2009-05-04 11:24AM | 0 recs
Bit off Topic

But, John really did dig himself quite a deep hole: 009/04/03/edwards/index.html

Very lucky the Obama campaign stayed clear of John, he showed his judgement to be fatally flawed for a politician who lived through the Clinton era.

by WashStateBlue 2009-05-04 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Mark Penn is wrong again (w/poll)

Obama's strength was that he plain inspired people. It allowed him to build an organization, and gave him an enourmous edge in money that would prove on Super Tuesday in the Caucus to arguably be decisive.

by Robert CJ 2009-05-22 09:26PM | 0 recs


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