3 Winners?

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Last night I listened to three hours of election results — including the NPR special — as I painted my new bedroom (you're jealous, I know — painting is so darn fun!). About halfway through the third wall I stopped short: McCain had earned enough of the vote to be declared the Republican nominee for president. Not very surprising. But what is surprising is that it took so long to reach this conclusion... and that we may have to wait until the Democratic convention in the end of August to find out who their nominee is. The other thing that surprised me about last night is how much I enjoyed Huckabee's gracious concession speech. It contained two lovely anecdotes, one about Kansas City Royal George Brett and another about Colonel William Barret Travis at the Alamo; and while they certainly weren't new, I found myself listening to every word. In today's news special, we'll talk all about last night, and all about what's next. What are your reactions to last night's results?

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I'm a Democrat and an Obama supporter.

I think that it may be in everyone's best interest, Sen. Obama's included, for him to cede the nomination to Sen. Clinton and fight for a VP spot. There are several reasons I think this might be in the best interest of all Democrats. For starters, having a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket would combine two candidates who have very ardent and active supporters, and I think you might get a lot more Democrats excited for the general election than if only one of them was on the ticket. Second, age is an issue. Sen. Obama would be a lot better positioned to run for president in four or eight years, whereas Sen. Clinton would be getting a bit old for it at that point. Serving time as VP would also serve to assuage those who feel (correctly or not) that Sen. Obama is somewhat lacking in national experience. Also, Obama's campaign seems to be starting to founder upon some of the really hard criticisms, and I would really hate to see Obama take the Kerry route in the general election.

Lastly, I think that a move like this would cement Obama's position as a consensus candidate rather than divisive figure. Making a personal sacrifice to try to bring together the party in the face of a uniting Republican party would further endear him, in my opinion, to moderates and independents. It would further help prevent voters in Florida and Michigan from being/feeling alienated. I would really like to see Sen. Obama as president, but in the long run it may actually be better for his chances to back off for now.

Sent by Brenton Clark | 2:10 PM | 3-5-2008

So say it is found that McCain is clearly in violation of FEC regulations with regard to the republican primaries?

So what?

What kind of penalty does he get? Does he have to stand 5 yards from the microphone at the next debate? Does he pay a fine? He'll just go raise more money and pay it. The FEC can't take his campaign off the air, can they?

What is the enforcement mechanism?

Sent by Ralph | 2:16 PM | 3-5-2008

Hillary barely won Texas. It had been said several times leading up to the contest there she needed 60% of the vote or more to make it a true victory. She won by a margin of 4%. She needed to win Ohio by the high percentage mark. There she did better with a 10% edge. So yeah she won, but she didn't WIN, which is what she needed to do.

There is evidence that she won by going negative, a potentially dangerous strategy for her to use. Along with her supposed "35 years of experience" comes 35 years of baggage. The person with the most baggage, tends to be the best target. Yes, there are things in Obama's past she can be used against him, there are buckets of stuff he can hurl against her. Does she really want to air that dirty laundry now? If she does win the nomination, it will be used against her. Before you say it, yes, it can be used against Obama as well.

We Democrats should realize that there are some Republicans out there that are enjoying this right. They think it's fun to watch the two contenders rip apart each other. they know full well that not only are they fighting themselves, but also have to battle McCain as well. This is a time to for the party to sit down and figure out who has the best chance to win against McCain in the general and devote all resources to that aim. Now is not a time for ego.

Sent by ecotopian | 2:35 PM | 3-5-2008

Bigges mistake in the Clinton Strategy is failing to remind the short minded among us that Bill Clinton ran as an outsider who would bring change.

He was NAIVE and hit a wall until he learned how to deal with D.C.

I will continue to support Hillary through Puerto Rico (how cool for them to matter) But want to give a shout out to Cynthia Mckinney You go girl!

Sent by Scott L. Sammons | 2:38 PM | 3-5-2008

This Primary season ought to remind the nation of what the Clintons have to offer. Shamelessly distorted reality and insistence on their point of view to the point of absurdity. Let me paraphrase Hillary.."it doesn't matter that I lost 11 in a row..it doesn't matter that I have fewer delegates...it's all me baby..I got the states that 'matter!' ..reminds me of her husband earnestly lying to the Federal Grand Jury about Monica.
They seek power by all means and shamelessly. Enough already. Get rid of them. Go Obama!

Sent by MO | 2:44 PM | 3-5-2008

I am a registered democrat. If Clinton wins the nomination without a majority of the pledge delegates, the next day I will be an independent with the intent of voting for Nader.

Sent by Keith Gargus | 2:53 PM | 3-5-2008

I am already upset that my preferred candidate John Edwards, was no longer available to use my vote in Mass. This situation was due to a flawed system that allows but a few states to select a few potential candidates. I voted for Obama.
Now it appears that my vote might be overridden by a few "super delegates" Is this a republic?

Sent by Jim Keiper | 2:55 PM | 3-5-2008

If I could place Obama in my favorite position it would be Secretary of State. I like Gen. Wesley Clark as V.P.
Thanks Geraldine Ferarro

Sent by Scott L. Sammons | 2:55 PM | 3-5-2008

Neal Conan:
Hillary Clinton DID NOT campaign in Florida. Barack Obama, on the other hand, ran a NATIONAL CABLE TV AD which also ran in Florida the week before the Florida primary, claiming that he could not run the ad without running it in Florida. All Hillary Clinton did was have a victory rally in Florida after she won by an overwhelming majority. Stop trying to spin it that Hillary broke the rules, when it is very clear that Barack did.

Sent by mjr17 | 2:55 PM | 3-5-2008

I resent Ferraro's comment that it is ridiculous to let "Republicans" vote in a Democratic primary. Political affiliation is not like race; it can be change and for many people it does over time. Sure some people will game the system and we cannot control why anyone votes (apparently including super delegates.) Democracy is messy!

Sent by Carol | 2:57 PM | 3-5-2008

I wanted to share an opinion on Geraldine Ferraro's comments from this Wednesday show. Her justification for allowing Super-Delegates to overturn the product of the general primary results, should the general primary produce an obvious candidate, is absurd. To discount the opinions and ballets of republican voters, who choose to vote democrat, is to disregard the votes of American citizens. How jaded and partisan can one be? Are we then to believe Geraldine would maintain her position if Hillary won the general primary, and Super Delegates cast votes for Obama based on a belief that he would have a higher probability of defeating McCain in the Presidential election? There are many ways to justify the marginalization of the voting public in any election, but I can see only intelligence and a firm belief in democracy as an adequate vaccine from such an argument, no matter how seductive it may be. It is unfortunate for Hillary to have such an individual as Geraldine Ferraro speak on her behalf.

I also have found it curious that she aligns a Republican strategy for victory with voting for Obama in primaries, as many forecasts of the presidential election have drawn the conclusion that Obama would be a much stronger contender against John McCain, as opposed to a Clinton/McCain contest. I'm definitely no political strategist as to understand endorsing your stronger competition, but if this plan is what the RNC has determined will yield success, I don't believe the DNC (or the American public, for that matter) have much to worry about.

Sent by Blake Hill | 4:02 PM | 3-5-2008

Your guest mentioned that John McCain has the loyalty of the military; this
makes him sound like Musharraf of Pakistan and is not an appropriate
recommendation for a presidential candidate in the United States. As far as I'm
aware, the military does not have a political role in our democratic republic.

Ann Woods
Littleton, Colorado

Sent by Ann Woods | 4:15 PM | 3-5-2008

I couldn't disagree more with Ms. Ferraro. Obama has inspired a movement among
young independent, Democratic and cross-over Republican voters. There is a very
real possibility that these voters will become, once again, completely
disenchanted with the process if Clinton becomes the candidate.

Ann Woods
LIttleton, Colorado

Sent by Ann Woods | 4:17 PM | 3-5-2008

If the super delegates vote against the general public vote, I will switch my vote to Ralph Nadar.
This IS a republic.

Sent by Grant Therkildsen | 4:24 PM | 3-5-2008

I think it would be great if President H. R. Clinton would appoint Obama to the supreme court. He'd be great in that position.

Sent by Susan H. | 5:16 PM | 3-5-2008

Being a voter in California, we have not seen many of the recent campaign ads run by either Sen. Clinton or by Sen. Obama. The only one that the press seems to have picked-up on this week is the "Phone call at 3 am" by Clinton which was also mentioned in today's program by your host Mr. Conan. In fairness to the issue of running negative campaigns, I think that Mr. Conan or Mr Elving should have challenged Sen. Obama's Campaign Manager for his repeated, and very negative, accusations that Sen Clinton's strategy was to run a "scorched earth campaign"...! Again, the Obama campaign seemed to get off scott free when they say that they are all for one thing (Positive and hope-filled ideas)... and then turn around and do exactly the opposite (Go instantly negative about Sen. Clinton when given the opportunity)....
This is not the way to inspire voters... young or old.

Sent by Robert H | 5:28 PM | 3-5-2008

G. Ferraro's defense of the superdelegate lunacy from such an intelligent woman shows the power of self-deception rooted in political loyalty. There are only two possible outcomes this year:
1.) The superdelegates will confirm the choice of the primary voters in which case they are irrelevant and should not exist in the first place.
2.) They will overturn the choice of the primary voters and give the nomination to the second place candidate. Anyone right minded person knows just how unfair this would be, but if Mrs. Ferraro is still confused she should ask Al Gore.

Sent by Jim Robbins | 5:35 PM | 3-5-2008

My god!!! Geraldine Ferraro is the reason we are worried about super delegates!!!! Such arrogance!! Why waste millions on elections, if we, the people, are not qualified to choose our candidate. Just have the "Super Delegates" choose. But then we couldn't call our elections democratic, could we?

Sent by Carla Jaenicke | 5:42 PM | 3-5-2008

I am an Obama supporter. Like many others on this blog and elsewhere, I am extremely upset that the voice and will of the people - the voters - can be over-ridden by a very select minority. If this does indeed happen, I can't wait for the litany of criticism that will fall on the DNC. The justifications presented by the panelists on today's show just don't make sense in a democratic system. I would hope that the party leaders, weighing the circumstances that we are currently in with a near dead-heat race, would make the decision to get rid of the superdelegates altogether and let stand the voice of the people. Whoever has the most pledged delegates at the time of the convention should receive the nomination.

Sent by David | 8:56 PM | 3-5-2008

Wow. Harold Ickes said some very troubling things today on your show. He doesn't think that the popular vote from the primaries and caucuses should determine the nominee. What are we having them for then? Thank goodness he didn't win the DNC chairmanship. The system would be rigged with him in charge.

Sent by Norm Henderson | 9:09 PM | 3-5-2008

After the election was taken from the Democrats in the year 2000 - I just shook my head in wonderment! How did we let that happen? And.. if one tried to talk about it, people acted like it was boring! Better to forget about it. I think that we were all ashamed that it happened in our democracy, just as we were ashamed of Abu Garieb. These things were anti-American!

I heard Geraldine Ferraro's RANT about superdelegates on NPR today. Apparently they are going to save us from ourselves, and select our nominee based upon their superior knowledge? view of the world? whatever. Geraldine made it quite clear that we (the Democratic public) are not intelligent enough to know what we are doing if we support Obama, and she claims that people like Lewis, or Kennedy, superdelegates who are responding to the desires of their constituency, just don't get it!

Well, we heard it here first, folks, loud and clear. So I don't think we should sit back and talk about how we're going to punish people (who?) by
voting for Nader or becoming independents, or whatever. I think we should start contacting people and asking them to find a way to listen to Geraldine Ferraro's rant on NPR on 3/6/2008. Write to your Democratic Congressmen and Senators (they are probably superdelegates) and tell them that you are upset and you don't like it! Tell your friends at work! Tell everybody who will listen. I've already emailed Nancy Pelosi by going to her Speaker of the House web site, and I've sent an email to Ted Kennedy's web site. Let's not just sit back and let people walk over us this time! Let Obama's campaign know too! He's been hinting that this was happening, but we need to have someone from the campaign listen to Geraldine, and maybe they can run an ad about it!

Well, it's been a big day. I'm going to check my blood pressure!

Sent by Patricia E Cook | 9:53 PM | 3-5-2008

Did anybody else notice that Ms Ferraro made a rather glaring mistake or mistatement regarding Rush Limbaugh and republican voters? She said Rush was urging Republicans to get out and vote for Obama. Apparently she never listens to Rush - I get his show every evening on the Armed Forces Radio here in Tokyo - and although I disagree with everything his says and his politics I often listen. He has been urging listeners to go out and vote for Hillary. He wants her to either be the candidate because she is good for him to beat up on or to bloody Obama for good...

I googled 'Ferraro NPR Rush Limbaugh Texas primaries Hillary Obama' and found no comments on this obvious mistake (or intentional mistruth)

Sent by Richard Jones | 1:46 AM | 3-6-2008

Thanks for the great show Neal!
I was very disappointed in Ms. Geraldine Ferarro's reporting of false information. There has been a major trend in the deliberate spread of false information by callers and guest supporters of Hiliary Clinton. I think it's important to challenge such people on the air as part of NPR's ethical standards.

It is false that Florida Democrates had no option in moving up their primary. They were given the option by the Republican governor to hold a separate Democratic Primary in keeping with the DNC rules. Florida complained that turn-out will be low if they follow DNC rules. These politicans were interviewed several times but refused to follow the rules, actually SAYING on public T.V. that the DNC would never punish them because they are too important to the party. There were multiple negotiations down to the last minute between the DNC and Florida.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/election2008/story/19883.html

As a senior party official Ms. Geraldine Ferarro is very well aware of this truth. It is dishonorable of her to pass on false information to the public.

False Claim #2: that conservative talk shows like Rush encouraged his republican listeners to vote for Obama because he is easier to beat.

Fact check: Rush told Republicans to vote for and help elect Hiliary Clinton because this will make sure that the right-wing voters show up on election day. Obama has been classy and avoided bringing up Clintons numerous financial scandals and the fact that the Clintons sold out the poor and middle class during the 8 years of their previous tenor.

I really hope that NPR can protect its self from being used by Clinton callers and Campaign staff to spread false rumors.
As proven by Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem's disreputable attack on Senator McCain's tragic time as a torture victim, honesty and integrity has no place in the Hiliary campaign.

http://www.observer.com/2008/stumping-clinton-steinem-says-mccains-p-o-w-cred-overrated

Sent by S.B. Mart | 2:27 AM | 3-6-2008

mm. I wonder

Sent by After | 3:13 AM | 3-6-2008

Do we really want the EXPERIENCE of an impeached Clinton administration, and ALL the experience WE have from that mess taking us into the future where global crisis, economic crisis, peak oil, and two wars are run by the likes of "middle management" - the mentality that Hillary (a brillant woman but nonetheless, middle management mentality)has to offer? We need a visionary. Heh, if you can't see it, you can't accomplish it! All Hillary can see is Bill's rolodex and a phone ready to throw offers, deals, threats - power and control. Same ole' same ole'!Heh, Hillary, you embody the patriarchial ideals that have brought us near global collapse more than any of the candidates. Stop cookin' up mud pies to throw and show us YOUR vision. Let's hear inspiration and hope come out of your pie-hole!
Obama, fight back.... she has the baggage, drown her with it and let's get going!!!!!!!!!

Sent by Kim Ashley, Nevada City, California | 5:52 AM | 3-6-2008

There is a simple and fair solution to the Michigan and Florida delgate counts. The DNC should reduce the number of delegates it would take to secure the nomination the number of MI and FL delegates that won't be allowed to vote. Follow this example: Total delegates = 4049 - 156(MI) - 210(FL) = 3683. Divide 3683 by 2 and you get 1842 DELEGATES NOW NEEDED to secure the nomination instead of the current 2025. The 2025 is no longer attainable by either candidate because there has not been a blowout by either candidate. If you take Michigan and Florida's delegates away - you must subtract them from the total needed to win the nomination.

I am a Michigan Democrat and realize we have been disenfranchised by our state government's decision to change the primary date. I have moved beyond that point however, and will only be maddened further if this issue is not resolved in a fair and equitable manner.

Sent by Thomas | 11:38 AM | 3-6-2008

The resurgence of Hillary? Not to be to cynical, but is this just the product of 24/7 constant news coverage and the need to produce interesting stories? Several weeks ago Obama was trailing double digits in Texas and Ohio. If you look at the final results, Hillary took Tx by only 3 pts, and Ohio by ~10. I see this as further indication of Obama's resurgence. He made up a ton of ground in 2 states that just weeks ago were considered "Clinton firewalls" and dominant "clinton states". Plus, Obama looks to have taken the TX caucus.

Sent by Jay | 11:48 AM | 3-6-2008