In the wake of a loss to Sen. Clinton in the Nevada caucus, the Obama campaign is floating the idea that dubious electoral contrivance may have influenced the results. The first hint came via an email from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe at 3:10 pm.
"We currently have reports of over 200 separate incidents of trouble at caucus sites, including doors being closed up to thirty minutes early, registration forms running out so people were turned away, and ID being requested and checked in a non-uniform fashion," wrote Plouffe. "This is in addition to the Clinton campaign's efforts to confuse voters and call into question the at-large caucus sites which clearly had an affect on turnout at these locations. These kinds of Clinton campaign tactics were part of an entire week's worth of false, divisive, attacks designed to mislead caucus-goers and discredit the caucus itself."
Twenty minutes later Plouffe was on a conference call with reporters, again offering recriminations about possible Election Day shenanigans.
"There have been a lot of reports of issues today," said Plouffe. "Caucus sites being closed at 11:30, a half-hour early; people not being able to register to vote because registration forms had run out; some ID issues... So we are going to collect all that information and we're talking to everybody. You know we had a couple hundred people who contacted us with issues so we want to get to the bottom of that. We'll decide what to do with that once we've done a full review of it."
As Plouffe cast doubt on the accuracy of the caucus results, he also claimed electoral victory. Senator Obama, he argued, actually wound up winning more delegates (13) than Clinton (12).
"On one very important measure, we had a slight lead," said Plouffe. "Just as important as the number is why that is: we showed real strength statewide."
The Associated Press was reporting the numbers flipped, but an AP official on the conference call suggested that Obama's campaign could be right. [Update: The AP has changed its count to reflect a delegate win for Obama, 13-12.]
Earlier in the day, it should be noted, the roles of the two campaigns were completely reversed. Then it was the Clinton's staff, led by former president Bill Clinton, which was charging voter suppression. He said Obama's union supporters were intimidating staffers to back the Illinois Democrat and pressing Clinton supporters not to vote.
So the two candidates have found an area of agreement: the purity of the Nevada caucus is in doubt and they both won.