Where they'll be Tuesday night

Everything you need to know is in these two pieces of information:

1. Hillary Clinton will be in NY on Tuesday night. (Politico)

2. Barack Obama will be in St. Paul, at the site of the Republican convention on Tuesday night. (The Page)

Obama's choice will signal that he is poised to be the nominee and to challenge McCain.

Clinton will have come home after a spirited and competitive nominating campaign.

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Likely blowout in November

Sorry, but this is a short one. I'm off to volunteer for the Obama campaign today.

Before I left, I just had to share this piece which predicts a blowout in November -- for Obama.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/article s/2008/05/the_mccain_blowout_fallacy.htm l

It goes through a number of key states and explains, based on demographics, voting trends, and turnout, how they are likely to go. I hope someone can write a more detailed analysis of it later, but my ride is coming soon.

Best wishes, everyone, for a lovely Friday and Saturday.  

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Carville says Obama will win

James Carville, one of Bill Clinton's top strategists in 1992, an election where Clinton was in third behind Perot and Bush for awhile, says that Obama will win the election.  

In an interview with Greg Sargent
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsm emo.com/2008/05/carville_on_obama_i_thin k_he_w.php

Asked if he thought Obama would beat McCain, Carville said: "I think he will. I think Democrats will win in November...There's a crushing desire for change in this country. No one has seen a party or brand held in such low esteem" than the Republicans.

And what about those working class whites?  Well, for one thing, the composition of the electorate won't be the same as it was in 2004.

Asked about claims that Obama has a problem with non-college whites that could hamper his electability, Carville said that thanks to changes in the electorate, to win Obama merely has to match the performance of Kerry, who underperformed with that group.

"I would argue that if he gets what Kerry got he will still win the election, because the dynamics have changed," Carville said, pointing to likely larger turnout among young voters, African Americans and other demographic changes. Carville joked, however, that he'd be loath to see Obama fall below Kerry's performance.

Carville's analysis of the voting preferences of working class whites dovetails with another analysis of that bloc published today.

As Mark Mellman pointed out
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/opinio n/29mellman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&am p;oref=slogin

Democrats running for president have been losing white, non-college-educated voters since before Mr. Obama was elected to the Illinois legislature. Al Gore and Mr. Kerry each failed to win a majority of this bloc in the general election. With these voters, the size of the losing margin is what matters.

Mr. Gore lost them by 17 percentage points while winning the national popular vote. Mr. Kerry lost them by 23 points and the country by fewer than two and a half points. The last Democrat to win white, non-college voters was Bill Clinton, who carried them by a single point in the three-way races in 1992 and 1996.

By comparison, Mr. Obama is only two percentage points behind John McCain among these voters in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Another recent survey shows him down seven points.

In other words, Mr. Obama is faring better today with the white working class than did either Mr. Gore or Mr. Kerry.

And what about the argument that losing a state in the primary matters in November?  Mellman says

There is no relationship between how candidates perform among any particular group of voters in primaries and how they do with that segment in the general election. In 1992, Bill Clinton lost college-educated voters to Paul Tsongas in the early competitive primaries, but he went on to win that group in November by the largest margin any Democrat ever had. Similarly, John Kerry lost young voters in the competitive primaries in 2004 before going on to win them by a record margin in the general election.

Personally, I think that once Hillary Clinton endorses Obama, his numbers will go up.  And with Obama's phenomenal field operation, the turnout will be high among those who want to turn the page on the Bush administration and want to put a Democrat in the White House.

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Shame

To those who went after Senator Obama the other day by claiming
-- that Buchenwald wasn't as bad as Auschwitz
-- and that Obama lied about what camp it was to impress others,
a member of the 89th Infantry, which liberated the camp, has only word for you: SHAME.

http://www.89infdivww2.org/
"For those who seek to minimize the horrors of Ohrdruf since it was a 'work' camp and not a 'death' camp, we have but one word: shame. Ironically, this argument has been made to us time and time again by various Holocaust-deniers and other pro-Nazi groups. We will let the testimony of survivors and veterans speak for themselves."

It has been recorded that in Ordruf itself the last days were a slaughterhouse. We were shot at, beaten and molested. At every turn went on the destruction of the remaining inmates. Indiscriminant criminal behavior (like the murderers of Oklahoma City some days ago). Some days before the first Americans appeared at the gates of Ordruf, the last retreating Nazi guards managed to execute with hand pistols, literally emptying their last bullets on whomever they encountered leaving them bleeding to death as testified by an American of the 37th Tank Battalion Medical section, 10 a.m. April 4, 1945.

Today I'm privileged thanks to G-d and you gallant fighting men. I'm here to reminisce, and reflect, and experience instant recollections of those moments. Those horrible scenes and that special instance when an Allied soldier outstretched his arm to help me up became my re-entrance, my being re-invited into humanity and restoring my inalienable right to a dignified existence as a human being and as a Jew. Something, which was denied me from September 1939 to the day of liberation in 1945. I had no right to live and survived, out of 80 members of my family, the infernal ordeal of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Ordruf, and its satellite camp Crawinkle and finally Theresinstadt Ghetto-Concentration Camp.  -- Rabbi Murray Kohn

And Obama's great-uncle? Yes, he was there:

Concerning the service of Mr. Charles Payne: C.T. Payne was a soldier in the 89th Infantry Division. He served in the 355th Infantry Regiment, Company K. The 355th Infantry Regiment was the unit to liberate Ohrdruf. Mr. Payne was there.

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The camps

Senator Obama mixed up the names of two concentration camps. He said his relative liberated Auschwitz when instead it was a part of Buchenwald.

Information about Buchenwald, including personal testimonies, photos, maps, and overview information is available from the Holocaust museum herehttp://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lan g=en&ModuleId=10006131

Some on this site have claimed that this was no mix-up, that somehow it was calculated since, the argument goes, Jews would have been more sympathetic to Obama if the camp was Auschwitz, purportedly because that camp is more well-known.

I am a Jew who has relatives who were killed in the Holocaust, with a cousin who was born in a displaced person's camp following the time her parents spent hiding in the woods of Poland, and with an uncle who fled Germany but could not convince the rest of his family to leave; they were murdered by the Nazi regime.

As a Jew, I have to say that no one in the Jewish community would find Obama more sympathetic if they thought Auschwitz was liberated by his great uncle than if they thought it was Buchenwald instead.

It's not like we only know about one of them.  Their names are burned into our memories, along with so many more.  

We know which parts of our family tree were literally burned to a crisp.

We know who hid in the forest or with rescuers.

We know who rose up and resisted.

We know who survived.

We know the many places where it happened. Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Treblinka, Birkenau, Mauthausen, the list goes on and on.

We know which were work camps and which were death camps.

We know where the culling and medical experiments took place.

And we don't give a good G-d damn if someone mixed up a name.

We are grateful of that the camp Obama's great uncle was in was liberated by American troops.

We are grateful that Eisenhower and Patton visited that camp to see it for themselves.

We are grateful that Obama remembers.

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Listen Up - The Superdels are deciding

As an HOMAGE to a diarist who loves to call upon the superdelegates to LISTEN UP and as a means of updating everyone about what the superdelegates have done lately, here's some information:

This weekend's delegate choices
Obama 7
Clinton 0

Obama's superdelegate % over time
29%     January 13
40%     February 17
46%     March 16
48%     April 27
53%     May 25

Number of delegates needed to clinch
[under the rules adopted by the DNC, including Clinton staffer Harold Ickes]
Obama     49
Clinton   246

Look's like there's been a whole lot of deciding going on!

All data from: http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/

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She did, he didn't

Want to understand the last month or so of the nomination campaign? Well, one lens into it is provided by what the candidates did, as compared to two Politico articles about What They Wish They Could Say that were published in APRIL.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/040 8/9564.html
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?u uid=A4B83756-3048-5C12-0041E3B83E0D4634

As a diary on the rec list, citing a Politico story What She Wishes She could Say points out, in April, Clinton wished she could raise questions about Obama's electability.  In particular, Clinton might claim that Obama had problems with blue-collar whites, Hispanics and Jews and that these would persist into the general election.

Guess what? Clinton did that. What Politico said -- on April 13 -- she could do, but was holding back doing, she went ahead and did it.

And Obama?  What was the strategic path not yet taken Politico described?

Well, it was laying bare all the "baggage" of the Clintons, all the issues about their associations that the Republicans would certainly raise.

This includes old issues, like Hillary Clinton's legal career, which includes lots of cases that never got much public attention even during the Whitewater era.

It also includes new ones, like recent stories raising questions about the web of personal and financial associations around Bill Clinton.

There was a January New York Times story, which did not get the attention the reporting deserved, highlighting how this Canadian tycoon and major Bill Clinton benefactor was using his ties to the ex-president to win business with a ruthless dictatorship in Khazakstan.)

There's the Marc Rich situation, who was pardoned by Bill Clinton and who gave money to Hillary's Senate campaign.

And there's family issues.

He has never mentioned her brothers, even though Hugh and Tony Rodham once defied Bill Clinton's own top foreign policy advisers by entering into a strange investment in hazelnuts in the former Soviet republic of Georgia (they later dropped the deal) and Hugh Rodham took large cash payments for trying to broker presidential pardons.

There are political issues as well, such as the disaster the Clinton years were for Democrats in Congress, and the very real problems associated with Hillary's inability to work with others to get health care reform.

The article GOES ON AND ON WITH A LARGE RANGE OF POTENTIAL ISSUES OBAMA COULD HAVE BROUGHT UP.

And guess what -- He's never done it.

Obama has treated Hillary Clinton with kid gloves, by and large.  A certain diarist takes the Clinton approach -- to go there as a sign she's a real fighter.  Personally, I'm glad I'm supporting the candidate who knows that in a fight among friends, an intra-party contest, there are limits.  

I know he's going to after McCain hard -- He's already doing it. And so I'm proud that in January I switched from supporting Clinton to supporting Obama and that soon, unless sometimes very odd happens, he will be our nominee.

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A call to service

I was very young when JFK was killed. But I grew up knowing that he had called America to service.

When I saw Obama speak a few months ago, one of the biggest applause lines was when he said that students should get more financial aid -- but in return they had to do something for others.  People in the audience loved that something was being asked of them.  And it's part of why I support Barack Obama.

Here's a speech he gave today on the subject. Perhaps, no matter which candidate you support, we can have some civil discussion about what he presented.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Wesleyan University Commencement
Sunday, May 25th, 2008
Middletown, CT

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, President Roth, for that generous introduction, and congratulations on your first year at the helm of Wesleyan. Congratulations also to the class of 2008, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your graduation.

I have the distinct honor today of pinch-hitting for one of my personal heroes and a hero to this country, Senator Edward Kennedy. Teddy wanted to be here very much, but as you know, he's had a very long week and is taking some much-needed rest. He called me up a few days ago and I said that I'd be happy to be his stand-in, even if there was no way I could fill his shoes.

I did, however, get the chance to glance at the speech he planned on delivering today, and I'd like to start by passing along a message from him: "To all those praying for my return to good health, I offer my heartfelt thanks. And to any who'd rather have a different result, I say, don't get your hopes up just yet!"

So we know that Ted Kennedy's legendary sense of humor is as strong as ever, and I have no doubt that his equally legendary fighting spirit will carry him through this latest challenge. He is our friend, he is our champion, and we hope and pray for his return to good health.

The topic of his speech today was common for a commencement, but one that nobody could discuss with more authority or inspiration than Ted Kennedy. And that is the topic of service to one's country - a cause that is synonymous with his family's name and their legacy.

I was born the year that his brother John called a generation of Americans to ask their country what they could do. And I came of age at a time when they did it. They were the Peace Corps volunteers who won a generation of goodwill toward America at a time when America's ideals were challenged. They were the teenagers and college students, not much older than you, who watched the Civil Rights Movement unfold on their television sets; who saw the dogs and the fire hoses and the footage of marchers beaten within an inch or their lives; who knew it was probably smarter and safer to stay at home, but still decided to take those Freedom Rides down south - who still decided to march. And because they did, they changed the world.

I bring this up because today, you are about to enter a world that makes it easy to get caught up in the notion that there are actually two different stories at work in our lives.

The first is the story of our everyday cares and concerns - the responsibilities we have to our jobs and our families - the bustle and busyness of what happens in our own life. And the second is the story of what happens in the life of our country - of what happens in the wider world. It's the story you see when you catch a glimpse of the day's headlines or turn on the news at night - a story of big challenges like war and recession; hunger and climate change; injustice and inequality. It's a story that can sometimes seem distant and separate from our own - a destiny to be shaped by forces beyond our control.

And yet, the history of this nation tells us this isn't so. It tells us that we are a people whose destiny has never been written for us, but by us - by generations of men and women, young and old, who have always believed that their story and the American story are not separate, but shared. And for more than two centuries, they have served this country in ways that have forever enriched both.

I say this to you as someone who couldn't be standing here today if not for the service of others, and wouldn't be standing here today if not for the purpose that service gave my own life.

You see, I spent much of my childhood adrift. My father left my mother and I when I was two. When my mother remarried, I lived in Indonesia for a time, but was mostly raised in Hawaii by her and my grandparents from Kansas. My teenage years were filled with more than the usual dose of adolescent rebellion, and I'll admit that I didn't always take myself or my studies very seriously. I realize that none of you can probably relate to this, but there were many times when I wasn't sure where I was going, or what I would do.

But during my first two years of college, perhaps because the values my mother had taught me -hard work, honesty, empathy - had resurfaced after a long hibernation; or perhaps because of the example of wonderful teachers and lasting friends, I began to notice a world beyond myself. I became active in the movement to oppose the apartheid regime of South Africa. I began following the debates in this country about poverty and health care. So that by the time I graduated from college, I was possessed with a crazy idea - that I would work at a grassroots level to bring about change.

I wrote letters to every organization in the country I could think of. And one day, a small group of churches on the South Side of Chicago offered me a job to come work as a community organizer in neighborhoods that had been devastated by steel plant closings. My mother and grandparents wanted me to go to law school. My friends were applying to jobs on Wall Street. Meanwhile, this organization offered me $12,000 a year plus $2,000 for an old, beat-up car.

And I said yes.

Now, I didn't know a soul in Chicago, and I wasn't sure what this community organizing business was all about. I had always been inspired by stories of the Civil Rights Movement and JFK's call to service, but when I got to the South Side, there were no marches, and no soaring speeches. In the shadow of an empty steel plant, there were just a lot of folks who were struggling. And we didn't get very far at first.

I still remember one of the very first meetings we put together to discuss gang violence with a group of community leaders. We waited and waited for people to show up, and finally, a group of older people walked into the hall. And they sat down. And a little old lady raised her hand and asked, "Is this where the bingo game is?"

It wasn't easy, but eventually, we made progress. Day by day, block by block, we brought the community together, and registered new voters, and set up after school programs, and fought for new jobs, and helped people live lives with some measure of dignity.

But I also began to realize that I wasn't just helping other people. Through service, I found a community that embraced me; citizenship that was meaningful; the direction I'd been seeking. Through service, I discovered how my own improbable story fit into the larger story of America.

Each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the years to come. And I say "chance" because you won't have to take it. There's no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America's.

But I hope you don't. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, though you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that debt.

It's because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you'll play in writing the next great chapter in America's story

There are so many ways to serve and so much need at this defining moment in our history. You don't have to be a community organizer or do something crazy like run for President. Right here at Wesleyan, many of you have already volunteered at local schools, contributed to United Way, and even started a program that brings fresh produce to needy families in the area. One hundred and sixty-four graduates of this school have joined the Peace Corps since 2001, and I'm especially proud that two of you are about to leave for my father's homeland of Kenya to bring alternative sources of energy to impoverished areas.

I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country - your future - depends on it. At a time when our security and moral standing depend on winning hearts and minds in the forgotten corners of this world, we need more of you to serve abroad. As President, I intend to grow the Foreign Service, double the Peace Corps over the next few years, and engage the young people of other nations in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity.

At a time when our ice caps are melting and our oceans are rising, we need you to help lead a green revolution. We still have time to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change if we get serious about investing in renewable sources of energy, and if we get a generation of volunteers to work on renewable energy projects, and teach folks about conservation, and help clean up polluted areas; if we send talented engineers and scientists abroad to help developing countries promote clean energy.

At a time when a child in Boston must compete with children in Beijing and Bangalore, we need an army of you to become teachers and principals in schools that this nation cannot afford to give up on. I will pay our educators what they deserve, and give them more support, but I will also ask more of them to be mentors to other teachers, and serve in high-need schools and high-need subject areas like math and science.

At a time when there are children in the city of New Orleans who still spend each night in a lonely trailer, we need more of you to take a weekend or a week off from work, and head down South, and help rebuild. If you can't get the time, volunteer at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your own community. Find an organization that's fighting poverty, or a candidate who promotes policies you believe in, and find a way to help them.

At a time of war, we need you to work for peace. At a time of inequality, we need you to work for opportunity. At a time of so much cynicism and so much doubt, we need you to make us believe again.

Now understand this - believing that change is possible is not the same as being naïve. Go into service with your eyes wide open, for change will not come easily. On the big issues that our nation faces, difficult choices await. We'll have to face some hard truths, and some sacrifice will be required - not only from you individually, but from the nation as a whole.

There is no magic bullet to our energy problems, for example; no perfect energy source - so all of us will have to use the energy sources we have more wisely. Deep-rooted poverty will not be reversed overnight, and will require both money and reform at a time when our federal and state budgets are strapped and Washington is skeptical that reform is possible. Transforming our education system will require not only bold government action, but a change in attitudes among parents and students. Bringing an end to the slaughter in Darfur will involve navigating extremely difficult realities on the ground, even for those with the best of intentions.

And so, should you take the path of service, should you choose to take up one of these causes as your own, know that you'll experience frustrations and failures. Even your successes will be marked by imperfections and unintended consequences. I guarantee you, there will certainly be times when friends or family urge you to pursue more sensible endeavors with more tangible rewards. And there will be times when you are tempted to take their advice.

But I hope you'll remember, during those times of doubt and frustration, that there is nothing naïve about your impulse to change this world. Because all it takes is one act of service - one blow against injustice - to send forth that tiny ripple of hope that Robert Kennedy spoke of.

You know, Ted Kennedy often tells a story about the fifth anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps. He was there, and he asked one of the young Americans why he had chosen to volunteer. And the man replied, "Because it was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country."

I don't know how many of you have been asked that question, but after today, you have no excuses. I am asking you, and if I should have the honor of serving this nation as President, I will be asking again in the coming years. We may disagree on certain issues and positions, but I believe we can be unified in service to a greater good. I intend to make it a cause of my presidency, and I believe with all my heart that this generation is ready, and eager, and up to the challenge.

We will face our share of cynics and doubters. But we always have. I can still remember a conversation I had with an older man all those years ago just before I left for Chicago. He said, "Barack, I'll give you a bit of advice. Forget this community organizing business and do something that's gonna make you some money. You can't change the world, and people won't appreciate you trying. But you've got a nice voice, so you should think about going into television broadcasting. I'm telling you, you've got a future."

Now, he may have been right about the TV thing, but he was wrong about everything else. For that old man has not seen what I have seen. He has not seen the faces of ordinary people the first time they clear a vacant lot or build a new playground or force an unresponsive leader to provide services to their community. He has not seen the face of a child brighten because of an inspiring teacher or mentor. He has not seen scores of young people educate their parents on issues like Darfur, or mobilize the conscience of a nation around the challenge of climate change. He has not seen lines of men and women that wrap around schools and churches, that stretch block after block just so they could make their voices heard, many for the very first time.

And that old man who didn't believe the world could change - who didn't think one person could make a difference - well he certainly didn't know much about the life of Joseph Kennedy's youngest son.

It is rare in this country of ours that a person exists who has touched the lives of nearly every single American without many of us even realizing it. And yet, because of Ted Kennedy, millions of children can see a doctor when they get sick. Mothers and fathers can leave work to spend time with their newborns. Working Americans are paid higher wages, and compensated for overtime, and can keep their health insurance when they change jobs. They are protected from discrimination in the workplace, and those who are born with disabilities can still get an education, and health care, and fair treatment on the job. Our schools are stronger and our colleges are filled with more Americans who can afford it. And I have a feeling that Ted Kennedy is not done just yet.

But surely, if one man can achieve so much and make such a difference in the lives of so many, then each of us can do our part. Surely, if his service and his story can forever shape America's story, then our collective service can shape the destiny of this generation. At the very least, his living example calls each of us to try. That is all I ask of you on this joyous day of new beginnings; that is what Senator Kennedy asks of you as well, and that is how we will keep so much needed work going, and the cause of justice everlasting, and the dream alive for generations to come. Thank you so much to the class of 2008, and congratulations on your graduation.

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Another call for transparency

How can we have reasonable discussion if there isn't basic transparency in the information presented here?

Item 1:

A few weeks ago I called for transparency for the data in compiling electoral vote maps.  

The diary was on the recommended list for more than 24 hours and 93% voted in favor of more information regarding which polls were used, their sample sizes, margins of error, etc.
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/14/1450 42/287

The response from those who keep the maps was that a) They did it that way four years ago and b) The maps are helpful because you can click on them and change who gets what states.  

But:
 a) The internet has changed a lot in the last four years and what was new then is old technology now. While I used to recommend this site to the college students I teach and my friends and colleagues because of the information provided this not my choice for that purpose now. There are, simply put, better sites, for up to date, accurate and transparent information.  Of course that doesn't have to be the case. This site could be as good as the others.
  b) There's no technical reason that I know of as to why the maps can't both be used to show how the overall electoral votes would shift and allow for transparency regarding the data used to support them.

Item 2:

The graph now front-paged which purports to show that Clinton had more votes per pledged delegates than Obama. Besides certain problems posters have pointed out (such as the ridiculous use of a compressed range, an issue I learned about 30 years ago in an Intro Psych class, via the text How to Lie With Statistics and the issue relating to caucus states, etc.), there is no information presented about what vote totals were included.  The lack of transparency presents a problem for discussing in an intellectually honest way.  

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Projections through Puerto Rico

1. Changes in the delegate count for Saturday: Obama 4, Clinton 0.

Obama picked up a GA superdelegate, a WY superdelegate, and an Alaska superdelgate.  In addition to those three, there was a reallocation at the Alaska state convention based on final numbers, so Obama gained one pledged delegate.

Clinton picked up a GA superdelegate, but lost a pledged delegate in the Alaska reallocation, giving her a net of zero for the day.

Source: http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/

2. Further changes over the weekend
-Hawaii choses three delegates at their state convention. These will probably all go to Obama, who handily won the state.

3. Puerto Rico is Sunday, June 1
I must admit that I don't know much about PR politics. However, most think Clinton will win.  There are 55 pledged delegates.  Based on a 55-45 split, Clinton would get 30 delegates, Obama 25.

TOTAL projected AS OF POST-PUERTO RICO
Currently (and this includes today's delegate shifts, described in point 1):
Obama needs 52 delegates to clinch the nomination
Clinton needs 246 to clinch the nomination.

If the numbers in points 2 and three are correct and neither gains any other delegates before PR:
-- Obama would need 52 minus (3+25) or 24 delegates to clinch
-- Clinton would need 246 minus (30) or 216 delegates to clinch

Please note that these are /very/ conservative projections, since there will very likely be other superdelegate endorsements before PR. Also next weekend is Maine's state convention and the add-on will be an Obama supporter, but is not added into the numbers. That said, the number of delegates needed to nominate may very well increase after the Rules committee makes its decision.

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