Homestretch Strategies

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The results from yesterday's primaries are in: Senator Obama won North Carolina, and Senator Clinton won Indiana. But Obama increased his lead in pledged delegates, and former Clinton supporter Senator George McGovern has called for her to drop out of the race. So was yesterday a critical turn in the race, or just one more bend along the path to nomination?

Clinton is expected to perform well in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico, and Obama is predicted to win Oregon, Montana and South Dakota. So where do their campaigns go from here? NPR political Junkie Ken Rudin joins us to give us his insight. We'll also hear from Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Gore-Lieberman in 2000, and Glen Bolger, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies.

Pretend you're an undecided superdelegate — what do you need to hear from the candidates at this point?



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If I were a super delegate what would convince me to vote for Obama is his moral rudder. After a president that doesn't care about the constitution, geneva conventions or the UN, we need someone who respects agreements and rules even in his/her disadvantage. Clinton's constant apply fuzzy math to the delegate count quite frankly make her look more Macchiavellian every day.

Sent by Joris | 2:28 PM | 5-7-2008

I am 49 years old, and grew up with the expectation that the Democratic Party is the champion of women and minorities. During this election process I feel the Democratic Party, with a few notable exceptions present at your show today, have ignored women's achievements in the Presidential Primary and done little to promote our participation in the Presidential Primary. Although I have faithfully followed the Democratic Party until now, the noticeable bias of most "balanced" media outlets and Democratic Leaders has left me with more questions than answers, more angst than satisfaction, and quite frankly, a woman without a party. I am not alone.

Sent by Laura Zappia | 2:34 PM | 5-7-2008

It is rather galling to me that Sen. George McGovern has the temerity--that ANYONE would have the temerity to 'order' Hillary Clinton out of the race 'for the good of the bla bla..."
Clearly what needs to occur is a negotion. Hillary deserves a respectful meeting with Barack Obama and his pr apparatus, outside of the fawning news media (particularly MSNBC and Christ Matthews after yesterday's performance at, of all places, the John F. Kennedy School of Government).
The media performance regarding Hillary is the under-riding reason, I believe, why so many women have voted for Clinton.
The Obama campaign has successfully blamed Hillary EVERY time that Obama's vetting process went forward.
I think now is the time to review a March 16, 2008 article in the New York Times.

Sent by Lisa Barr | 2:36 PM | 5-7-2008

Please...comments like "If we take the election away from Barack Obama, the African American Community will be angry" (not a direct quote)--that is such a misunderstanding of the situation. News to you: more white people have voted for Barack Obama than black people. How do you think us white people will feel if the election is taken out of the hands of the winner of primaries & caucases? There seems to be an assumption that white Obama supporters would be just fine with that. Are you serious? I just put in blood, sweat and tears to Obama's campaign here in NC, and I'm really proud that he won here. But you assume that I would be fine if his clear win is taken away --because Hillary is white?
Also, this is seriously misunderstanding black people. I'm curious about people who make these you talk to African Americans? Do you know them? Or do you make generalized statements based on a generalized understanding?

Sent by Gina Gambony, NC | 2:37 PM | 5-7-2008

I'm concerned that in discussions where the length of the primary season comes up and the potential damage that could be done to the eventual democratic nominee, the impression is left that it is Clinton who is responsible for this so-called damage.

In fact, the manner in which the Democrats manage this process should bear the blame. Proportional allocation and caucuses - and Democrats failure to resolve the Florida and Michigan fiasco all have resulted in where we are today. My growing frustration with the inability of the Party to manage an evenhanded process has caused me to change my life- long Democratic affiliation to Independent.

If the Super delegates hand this over to Senator Obama, I believe they will all be holding their breath until November hoping that the other shoe doesn't fall.

That's what happens when the Party promotes an inexperienced, unvetted candidate. People are then free rightly or wrongly to project their fears and prejudices on this essentially blank canvas.

Sent by Cathy Ubaldino | 2:37 PM | 5-7-2008

Donna Brazile lied while lecturing us about "honesty in politics." She said that Hillary's gas tax relief would take money from the Highway Trust Fund. That is a lie because Hillary has made it very clear -- and Ms. Brazile clearly knows it -- that she would pay for it with a windfall profits tax on oil companies. How can Brazile lie like that, so blatantly? How can you, NPR (the media outlet I used to trust) allow her to get away with a lie like that? You're in a position to know the truth, yet you allowed her to get away with a lie.

This primary season has taught me that we live in a deeply corrupt society where the media have taken over the sacred role of the U.S. citizen when it comes to picking a president, and where public figures (including the Democrats and media outlets I used to trust) lie routinely. I'm deeply ashamed of all our media, but especially you, NPR and PBS, for the overt bias you have shown in favor of one particular presidential candidate, and against the other and your complete unwillingness to report and comment objectively. I would rather listen to Sports Talk Radio or Fox TV than to you. And I have news for Ms. Brazile: I would not vote for her candidate (and believe me her preference is clear even if she does claim, disingenuously, that she is "undeclared") if he were the last Democrat on earth. Like many of the media who favor him, he is a misogynist and a manipulator who cares only for himself, not for the people he is asking to serve. I will be sitting this one out or voting for Ralph Nader.

Sent by Heather Collins | 2:54 PM | 5-7-2008

Why does no one mention the obvious reverse racism of 99% - 100% of blacks voting for Sen Obama? I am sure if 99% of whites voted for SSen Clinton people would be screaming bloody murder!

Sent by James Jones | 3:07 PM | 5-7-2008

I wonder if Hillary Clinton lusts for the Presidency so greatly that she would quit the Democratic Party and become an independent candidate like Liberman did? That way she could keep campaigning (just to be absurd or out of habit), stick it to O'Bama and his constituents, stick it to the pledge delegates, stick it to the super-delegates, and especially stick it to Howard Dean and the Democratic party who failed to 'give' her the nomination. I wouldn't put it past her.

Sent by MO | 3:27 PM | 5-7-2008

I'm desperate to hear a reasoned, logical explanation for how *either* democratic candidate remains crippled in the Nov. General election after such record turnouts and new Democratic Party registrations through the primaries. I *do* have my preference in candidates, but fail to see how the primary results, and the respective PRIMARY "shortfalls" of each candidate (particularly Obama with "blue collar, less educated" voters) automatically translates into those voters turning their backs on the 99% of a virtually identical platform to vote for John McCain (once an "opponent" with a virtually identical platform is no longer on the ballot). All the hand wringing seems ludicrous in light of 2-1/3-1 voter turnout in the primaries on the Republican side (not to mention all *their* acrimony over McCain until their party's die was cast).

Take my state of PA: 2.3 million Democratic votes vs. less than 750K on the Republican side. Even if a full 50% of Clinton supporters defected, Obama still would nearly lap McCain in total votes ... and that's without the full bore, people on the ground campaigning of the general election with Obama's far deeper campaign pockets.

Bottom line: If all the bloviating talking heads insist on repeating the same shallow talking points over and over, can't we *at least* get an explanation about the math and logic of their illogical mantra? PLEASE!??!?!?!

Sent by Mark D. Moss | 3:42 PM | 5-7-2008

It was not "the vast Right-wing conspiracy" that brought down HRC, it was her own kind. The voters are leaving HRC (and her like-minded supporters) behind as she continues her campaign against GWB getting a "third term in office".

How stupid does she really think the voters are? She still campaigns as though it were 1999.

What started as funny, has no turned into a pathetic and sad attempt to linger on and remain relevent.

I feel sorry for her.

She should quit now and save her dignity! Maybe should could be Nadar's running mate?

Sent by Harold | 3:45 PM | 5-7-2008

Did anyone notice that during Sen. Obama's victory speech in Raleigh, NC that ther was not one Black American in the crowd behind him? Odd seeing that the Black vote was what won it for him.

Sent by Paul | 3:53 PM | 5-7-2008

Even if Obama turns out to be the Muslim, black-separatist that he is rumored to be; he's still a better choice than Hillary far.
Even if he does Rhodesia-ize the U.S.A. and give slave ancestors 'reparations.'

Sent by Sue S. | 4:20 PM | 5-7-2008

There is not much left in the kitchen to throw, maybe some cutlery and a pepper shaker. Senator Clinton's dwindling lead in Indiana was not just her fault nor Obama's. Voters in Indiana had to be a little leary of the fraught suggestion of a "Gas Tax Holiday". Especially when it was being touted simultaneously by Senator McCain and then later in the week prior to the Primary, George W. Bush gave a half-hearted endorsement of the idea also.

Sent by Jason R. Mihaere | 5:36 AM | 5-8-2008

Let's settle this gas tax holiday business once and for all. Senator Clinton has proposed a 3 month federal gas tax holiday this summer, to be paid for with a windfall tax on oil company profits. Senator Clinton is not president this summer. Even if she could push a gas tax relief bill through a completely disinterested Congress, and the oil companies were generous enough not to take advantage of consumers and simply continue to raise prices, there would be no windfall profits tax because President Bush would veto any windfall profits tax legislation to cross his desk. The gas tax holiday is political pandering at it's finest.

Senator Clinton's entire campaign now rests on this pitiful, and somewhat offensive argument that while Obama supporters will support her in a general election, her supporters, "hard working white voters," will not support Obama in a general election. Since the difference between Senators Clinton and Obama on the issues is miniscule, there can only be a limited number of reasons why that could be. I would hope that a political party claiming to be progressive and inclusive would be beyond that type of thinking. But if there truly is a significant segment of the Democratic electorate who would rather vote for the white man with a viewpoint completely opposite to them on nearly ever issue, (supreme court justices, health care, trade agreements, etc...) than vote for the black guy whom agrees with them on nearly ever issue, then perhaps the Democratic Party deserves to lose this election.

Sent by Mark Burrell | 2:21 PM | 5-8-2008

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