Clinton Sees New Race; Obama Talks Tough
Clinton Sees New Race, Obama Toughens Rhetoric: The AP is reporting that both Democratic candidates adopted new campaign postures Wednesday:
Hillary Rodham Clinton declared Wednesday that her primary victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island had reordered the Democratic presidential race in her favor. A resilient Barack Obama countered with fresh pledges of support from superdelegates and said his lead remained intact.
One day after his worst showing in a month, Obama blamed negative attacks by the former first lady for his defeats and quickly made good on a promise to sharpen his criticism of her.
Obama Superdelegates: An Obama co-chair in Missouri claims previous reports about Obama is about to receive new superdelegate support are correct:
Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Sen. Barack Obama's Missouri co-chairman and pledged Obama superdelegate, said Obama will gain the support of 50 undecided Democratic superdelegates later this week, according to the Columbia Missourian.
Said Clay: "She (Sen. Clinton) will not make up those numbers. This race is over."
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw first reported yesterday that Obama had about 50 secretly committed superdelegates.
McCain Loses To Obama And Clinton In National Poll: via the Washington Post
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) kicks off his general-election campaign trailing both potential Democratic nominees in hypothetical matchups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) leads McCain, who captured the delegates needed to claim the Republican nomination Tuesday night, by 12 percentage points among all adults in the poll; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) holds a six-point lead over the GOP nominee. Both Democrats are buoyed by moderates and independents when going head to head with McCain and benefit from sustained negative public assessments of President Bush and the war in Iraq.
DNC Lays Down The Law Over Michigan And Florida: Howard Dean said the following in response to statements by the Florida and Michigan governors that they would be open to a new round of voting:
We're glad to hear that the Governors of Michigan and Florida are willing to lend their weight to help resolve this issue. As we've said all along, we strongly encourage the Michigan and Florida state parties to follow the rules, so today's public overtures are good news. The rules, which were agreed to by the full DNC including representatives from Florida and Michigan over 18 months ago, allow for two options. First, either state can choose to resubmit a plan and run a party process to select delegates to the convention; second, they can wait until this summer and appeal to the Convention Credentials Committee, which determines and resolves any outstanding questions about the seating of delegates. We look forward to receiving their proposals should they decide to submit new delegate selection plans and will review those plans at that time. The Democratic Nominee will be determined in accordance with party rules, and out of respect for the presidential campaigns and the states that did not violate party rules, we are not going to change the rules in the middle of the game.
Through all the speculation, we should also remember the overwhelming enthusiasm and turnout that we have already seen, and respect the voters of the twelve states and territories who have yet to have their say.
Clinton's Pennsylvania/Superdelegate Plan: Clinton's Advisers say she can win over remaining superdelegates with a Pennsylvania victory, all while the campaign was still acknowledging they were at a mathematical disadvantage, according to The New York Times:
She also believes that a strong showing in Pennsylvania, which has 188 delegates at stake, could set up a powerful one-two punch two weeks later in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, which have a combined 218 delegates. Her team believes she has an especially good shot at winning Indiana, where the state's influential Democratic senator, Evan Bayh, a former two-term governor, was one of Mrs. Clinton's earliest supporters.
Clinton advisers acknowledged on Wednesday that the delegate arithmetic still has them at a disadvantage; Mr. Obama has 1,456.5 delegates to Mrs. Clinton's 1,370, and the upcoming primaries will award delegates proportionally to both the winner and the loser. That will have the effect making each candidate inch toward the 2,025 delegates needed for the nomination.
The Politico is reporting that the Democrats are facing a long brawl:
For months, Democrats have congratulated themselves on an embarrassment of riches: Two larger-than-life politicians, both potential history-makers who symbolize the party's celebration of diversity. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both won admiration from lots of people backing the other candidate.
Well, forget all that.
The up-with-people phase of this contest is over. The clear-the-benches phase has begun -- a brawl that now is more likely than not to continue until the Democratic nomination in late August.
Bush Gets Behind McCain: The Democrats are at war with each other as President George W. Bush is throwing his support behind John McCain in an effort to unify the party:
The endorsement highlighted how the early resolution of the Republican race could benefit Mr McCain by giving the party more time to rally behind its nominee. While the Democrats continue to wage an expensive and divisive battle to decide their candidate, the Republicans are already looking ahead to the general election.
Mr McCain said he hoped to campaign with Mr Bush as much as the president's schedule allowed, although most experts predict the president will be used sparingly and only in conservative strongholds. Mr Bush's main role is likely to be helping raise campaign cash by attending fundraising events and mobilizing his powerful network of wealthy allies.
According to The Politico, some superdelegates in Ohio are now playing hardball with the candidates:
Flexing their new power to determine the Democratic presidential nomination, a bloc of Ohio superdelegates is withholding endorsements from Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton until one or the other offers a concrete proposal to protect American jobs, two Ohio Democrats told Politico Wednesday.
The apparent deal among Ohioans is the first evidence of superdelegates' banding together and seeking concessions from the presidential candidates in return for votes at the convention. It's a practice that could become more common after Clinton's victories in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday put her back on solid footing in her race against Obama and ensured that the battle for superdelegates will continue for many weeks to come.