The party is already unifying

It has been a long and competitive process.  For many, if not most of us, great passions have been aroused.  In my view, those passions have mostly been aimed at supporting our preferred candidate.  This bodes well for the Democratic party's ability to come together to win the White House.

And, in my view, it is already happening.  You can see it in the two tracking polls.

Rasmussen has shown a close race in recent weeks.  Today's poll shows a marked uptick for Obama, giving him an 8 point lead over Clinton. But, more strikingly is what Rasmussen says about the polling since Tuesday's election:

Two nights of interviews for today's update were completed after the Indiana and North Carolina Primaries. For those two nights on a stand-alone basis, Obama leads Clinton by eleven percentage points. nt/politics/election_20082/2008_presiden tial_election/daily_presidential_trackin g_poll

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Predict here -- How close?

This is a different sort of prediction thread.  I won't ask what percentages the candidates will get in NC and IN, but where they will end up after Tuesday's elections in their delegate quests -- in particular, how close they will get to having a majority of pledged delegates and a majority of overall delegates.

Keep in mind that Indiana awards 72 delegates and North Carolina awards 115 delegates (not including superdelegates).

Pledged delegates
Barack Obama is 133 pledged delegates away from getting a majority of pledged delegates.
Hillary Clinton is 294 pledged delegates away from getting a majority of pledged delegates

Oveall delegates
Barack Obama is 285 delegates away from getting a majority of delegates.
Hillary Clinton is 416 delegates away from getting a majority of delegates.

Since the DNC currently does not include FL and MI, these figures don't either.  Feel free to post your predictions based on the above numbers and the ones with delegates from those states. fl-mi-by-numbers.html presents some interesting FL/MI scenarios.

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What the gas tax issue shows about Clinton

Clinton and her supporters claim that what Clinton offers is in-depth policy knowledge, experience, and the ability to get things done in Washington.

But this gas tax proposal shows some serious weaknesses on her behalf.

First, it demonstrates her lack of leadership abilities when it comes to dealing with Congress.  Today she said that they should vote on the plan, which every expert pans, to show if they're with her or against her.

Would this be her strategy for congressional relations should she become president?  Well, we saw how poorly she managed that with health care under Bill's administration.  HRC ignored Senator Moynihan's advice to create a plan in consultation with Congress. Then Bill said he'd veto a plan that wasn't enough like the one HRC developed.  As a result, all of us lost because nothing was passed.  With Hillary telling Congress to just do what she wants, it sure doesn't look like she's learned anything since.

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What happened in AZ?

Yesterday Arizona met and chose its two add-on superdelegates.  What happened was very surprising -- and should send chills up the spines of those in the Clinton campaign and her supporters.

Now, normally the add-on superdelegates support the winner of the state's primary or caucus, or perhaps split according to the state's vote.

Yesterday Jerome predicted that Clinton would pick up four superdelegates from that day. But that was not to be the case - and AZ was a big part of that story.

NEITHER of the new super-delegates endorsed Clinton. Instead, one endorsed Obama and the other remained neutral.  Terry Goddard, the uncommitted superdelgate, said that he is weeks away from making a decision.

If Clinton can't get even one of these two add-ons in a state  she won, that tells you a lot about her chances of attracting superdelegates in general.

For more information, see -arizona-superdelegate-endorsement/

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They're done with her

Yesterday came the shocking news that a major fund raiser for Clinton -- who had raised about $500,000 for her -- was now supporting and working for Obama.  This fund raiser had longstanding ties to the Clintons, as he was appointed to an ambassadorship by Bill Clinton.

Now it turns out that he was far from alone.  

The Washington Post reports today that tent/article/2008/04/25/AR2008042503707_ pf.html
Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton's early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories. Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March. The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.

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See Obama live in editorial board meeting

I know this isn't much of a diary, but if you go here now 408/Obama_at_the_Star.html
you can watch Barack Obama live at the editorial board meeting of the Indianapolis Star.  I'm not sure, but I think this paper has the largest circulation in Indiana.

These sorts of meetings are important for newspapers endorsement decisions.

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A big endorsement in PA

One of the major papers in Pennsylvania has now issued its endorsement.  The endorsement praises both candidates and sees both as a vast improvement over George W. Bush.  Furthermore, it recognizes that both are historic candidacies. But, in their judgment, Obama is the better candidate.

I'd be the last to argue that newspaper endorsements matter that much.  But they are part of the mix. Having others vouch for you as someone who can step in and serve as president undermines the argument that you are not qualified whether by experience, temperament or policy approach.

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audience dial data - Obama comment

Media companies and political campaigns track responses from different audience segments (or groups of citizens) to ads, speeches and entertainment products.

Check out the responses to Obama to his comments following the "bitter" story breaking. There's audience dial data and a pdf you can read, too. 7/ 7/ReportJ6797.pdf

It looks to me that Obama's response to being criticized for his remarks goes over well with undecideds and even, to some extent, with Clinton supporters.

Thus I'd argue that he has taken the right tack in discussing the remarks and criticisms and reframing them around the points he wants to be central.

Your thoughts are welcome.

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B.Clinton sees bitter signs that don't exist

So it appears that Bill Clinton is claiming that he's seeing signs saying "I'm not bitter" yet a reporter traveling with him hasn't seen any. (see below)

Is Bill lapsing into some "misstatements" like he did last week on Hillary's Bosnia trip? I just don't understand why this brilliant man can't just report what really happened.  I guess seeing signs that didn't exist is better than seeing sniper fire that didn't exist.  Why does Bill Clinton always want to embellish things?

Here's the report: 2008/04/bill-clinton-ke.html
Over seven stops in North Carolina, Clinton said "Everywhere I go there are all these people with signs, saying I'm not bitter - I'm not bitter."

The strong sentiments were appreciated by the crowd, but were not entirely accurate.  During Clinton's seven stops in North Carolina on Saturday there were no "I'm not bitter" signs.  There was a small assortment of people at his later events wearing stickers with the slogan, but many of those sporting the stickers weren't even sure what they meant.

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"Bitter" used in robocalls already

Well, with all this hoopla about Obama's comments, it was bound to come to this.

Not only have both Clintons and Obama and Casey and others spoken out on this. Not only have the Clintons handed out "I'm not bitter" stickers at their rallies.

No, that wasn't enough.  Now there are robocalls -- from the Obama camaign.

As The Page and ABC News reports tonight:

"A robo-call on behalf of the Obama campaign from Mayor John Brenner of York, Pa., says that, "Barack Obama understands us. He's got it right, we are frustrated -- frustrated with polices that enable businesses to leave our community, pensions to be stripped, health care benefits to be taken away and homes foreclosed.  Unlike his opponents, who have been part of the Washington establishment that are out of touch with us, Barack Obama will change Washington.  It is policies that hurt us. He will take on the special interests and fight for us."

What a great candidate! Yes, folks are bitter and frustrated. 81% think the country is on the right track. And yes, we're damn resilient, too, but let's not shove our warranted anger into the closet.  Obama is willing to be honest about how people have gotten shafted in this country and his campaign has shown incredible strength in taking this issue on -- making robocalls on what Clinton thought would be her issue.  Meanwhile, Clinton's complaining about Obama, not speaking to people's real needs, and not promoting herself as a candidate to lead this nation.

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