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Why Barack’s Mojo With the Gays Can’t Match Hillary’s

Hillary Gay

Why did twice as many gay Democratic voters prefer Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama on Super-Duper Tuesday? Despite Obama's soaring rhetoric of inclusion, according to exit polls, Hillary won the gay vote 63 percent to 29 percent in California and 59 percent to 36 percent in New York. In tony coastal Massachusetts, Obama carried Martha's Vineyard (the Clintons' on-again, off-again summer home), but Hillary tellingly swept Provincetown. The compromises and betrayals of Bill Clinton's presidency ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Defense of Marriage Act, and other more minor offenses) seem to be forgotten or at least forgiven. But this could be as much about fear of Obama as it is belief in Clinton.

Did McCain Win an Edge in More Than Just the Nomination Process?

While it seems increasingly likely that the Democratic nomination won’t be decided until August in a dark back room filled with smoke, secret deals, power plays, bribery, blackmail, maybe some murder, and definitely maniacal laughter, the Republican nominee was pretty much crowned yesterday. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Mitt Romney announced to the crowd that he was bowing out of the race to unify the party and avoid a Democratic surrender to terrorists, throwing one last bone to the base before he departed (until 2012 or 2016). McCain took the stage as the Republican nominee, and he offered an olive branch that was generally well received by the suspicious audience. He’ll move forward with some advantages over his still-feuding Democratic counterparts, but his road to victory is still bumpy and strewn with intractable, cranky conservatives.

Mayor Bloomberg: ‘Hillary Should Pray I Get in the Race’

Hillary Clinton Mayor Bloomberg
Buried in Rush & Molloy's "Side Dish" section today is a totally fun, kinda bitchy tidbit from Mike Bloomberg about Hillary Clinton. At a private event on Wednesday, Bloomberg said he thinks that after Super Tuesday, she's "going to be the nominee." But, he said, "that's not to say she can beat John McCain." Bloomberg and New York's junior senator have been friendly as they've worked together on state issues, but his comments Wednesday seem a little skeptical. Hizzoner couldn't vote in New York on Tuesday because he's now a registered Independent. If he did make a bid for the presidency starting next month, he'd be courting a lot of the outside-the-box, fiscally conscious voters who have been attracted to McCain. "Hillary should pray I get in the race," he cracked, "because that would help her." Ah! Hubris! He's already sounding presidential… Side Dish [NYDN]

Clinton’s Loan to Herself Changes the Game (Updated)

Hillary money
Perhaps the best things in life are free, but those delegates are getting more expensive by the day. News hit that Hillary Clinton has loaned her campaign $5 million from her personal finances and that some of her campaign staff were voluntarily working without pay. Barack Obama is now using the loan as a fund-raising appeal — and, as it turns out, so is Clinton. In a race where every delegate could prove pivotal, the two are now locked in a spiraling fund-raising frenzy of unprecedented scale. If you have a safe or a hollowed-out book, you might want to store your money in there until this thing blows over.

Now We're All Talking About Money, and It’s Awkward

Hill Barack

After Hillary Clinton announced late yesterday that in January she lent $5 million dollars to her own campaign, it got us thinking: If we donated money to her in the last couple of weeks, were we actually just paying her back? Clinton called the loan a wise "investment." Now, we know that she's not going to make, like, a profit on this investment (that would be especially awkward, now that highly placed officials in her campaign are going without pay) unless it's in "political capital." But the loan is estimated to be upwards of 10 percent of her personal wealth, which sets up this weird expectation that she is maybe going to get it back.

Heilemann on the Democrats: What’s Hidden in the Latest Numbers

Obama and Clinton
Like most people professionally preoccupied with the truly mind-blowing race for the Democratic presidential nomination — and even some folks whose fixation on it is purely recreational — I spent all of last night and much of today combing through the reams of numbers coughed up by 22 separate contests that took place on Super Tuesday. The delegate counts. The superdelegate counts. The exit-poll cross tabs. Oy vey.

Heilemann: What McCain Must Do Now

John McCain entered Super-Duper Tuesday with two goals — one obvious and concrete, the other more ephemeral but no less important in the long run. The first of McCain’s aims was to secure enough delegates in the 21 states in which Republicans voted to more or less lock up his party’s nomination. And the second was to win so decisively, so convincingly, that he could turn to the braying, hard-right, anti-McCain caucus and say, in effect: “Hello, people, lookee here, the party has rallied around me; it’s time for you either to get on the bus or shut the fuck up.”

America Plays the Race Card: What It Means for Obama

Obama crowd
If you thought race would disappear from the Democratic campaign after the controversies in South Carolina, you were horribly mistaken. This issue returned with a vengeance after last night’s Super Tuesday returns showed a stark racial divide among voters for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Barack continued to garner around 80 percent of black support, while Hillary took a strong majority of Latino and Asian voters, who turned out to be especially important in California. Whites, however, seemed to split along gender lines, further confusing things. Opinions on all this abound.

Super Tuesday Tells Us This Thing Ain't Over

Hillary and Obama

Good morning! How late did you stay up watching the Super Tuesday results come in? Did you make it to Minnesota? All the way to California? Well, now more than 90 percent of precincts are reported in all the states, and the results are more solid. John McCain has strengthened his lead on the Republican side, winning in nine states and pulling in an estimated 613 delegates. Romney, who won six states, pulled in only 269, and Huckabee, who was stronger last night than many expected, still earned only 190 delegates. On the Democratic side, things were much less clear. Late in the evening, Hillary pulled out a win by 10 percent in the hotly contested California race, putting her state total at eight and her estimated delegate total at 845. Obama won thirteen states and 765 delegates. That's still far short of the 2,025 needed for a win, so we've got a long way to go. Both had strong wins in their home states of New York and Illinois, and the closest races were in New Mexico (still uncalled) and Missouri. Obama's strong showing is going to make the next few weeks very interesting as Hillary tries to hang on to her base. We can't wait! Tears! Red-faced Bill! Badass Michelle! Hope! Change! Day One! Bring it on. Election Index [NYT]

Chris Smith: What New York’s Primary Tells Us About the Race to Come

Hillary wins big in New York. Ho-hum, right? Yet what happened just below the surface today gives fascinating indications of where the Democratic primary race will be going — not just in the next several hours, as California, the largest Super Tuesday prize, is decided, but over the next months, as this complicated, unpredictable, and bitter nominating contest continues to unfold.

Tonight: Blogging the Super Tuesday Results

In honor of the orgy of voting that is going on all over the country today, Daily Intel is staying up late tonight. Really late. Starting at 8:30 p.m., New York columnist Kurt Andersen is going to be live-blogging the primary results. Then, later in the evening, Chris Smith will take a look at voting in our home state and what it means, and John Heilemann will analyze the national results on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the table. So tonight, when you get home from the gym, after your friends have arrived to watch the results and you've ordered pizza and uncorked that magnum of Cavit Pinot Grigio that someone random dragged over, go ahead and log on to Nymag.com. After all, as the hours go on, even Lou Dobbs's voice starts to pound against your eardrums like a Q-tip during a hangover (you know, like Chris Matthews's voice does every day). We'll be quietly examining what today's voting means for the candidates and, more importantly, what it means for you. P.S.: Last night, we were at the Met watching Carmen, and we totally spotted MSNBC's Chuck Todd out of the office, on a date. Slacker!

Super Tuesday: Just the Beginning of a Long, Complex Slog

Clinton and Obama
Super Tuesday wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were expecting a de facto national primary that finally determined our presidential candidates, but while McCain seems to have the Republican nomination locked up, judging from the ever-tighter polls it looks like the Democrats will be slugging it out long after the California returns are finally official tomorrow morning. Both campaigns will try to spin “victories” out of whatever the results actually are, having been steadily lowering expectations in the run-up to today. The media, meanwhile, won't be able to resist favoring one or the other as the winner, but what will they base it on? Who took the most states? Who took the most delegates? Who won the popular vote? Or who beat expectations? Which leaves the most important question of all — where (and when) will this all end?

Happy Super Tuesday: The Candidates’ Last Words

Hillary Barack McCain Romney Huckabee
Of course, tomorrow morning we're probably not going to have learned anything definitive about this year's presidential primary. But that doesn't mean that each major candidate isn't treating Super Tuesday as a do-or-die moment. Late last night and early this morning, each took the opportunity to make a final statement that would be circulated through the press throughout today as people gear up to head to the polls. Here's what they've been saying: • "In my White House, we will know who wears the pantsuits," Hillary Clinton cracked on Letterman's show last night. Sure, it was a joke response to a question from the host about whether husband Bill Clinton would be "going through stuff" while she was busy governing the nation, but it's an important point. Since Bill got a little out-of-control campaigning on her behalf, and since she cried again yesterday, it was important for her to reiterate that she is tough and in charge. [Reuters] • John McCain, meanwhile, stayed on message, saying that both Democratic candidates are clueless on Iraq. He also indicated that he'd set up "arrangements" to leave U.S. troops there permanently. "We've been in Kuwait right next door [to Iraq] for many years," he pointed out. [NYDN]

Voting in Tomorrow’s Democratic Primary Will Be Needlessly Complicated!

You might think that tomorrow you’ll simply be voting for a presidential candidate, but that’s only true for Republicans. When Democrats enter the sacred voting booth, they’ll also be voting for which delegates to send to the party’s national convention. Here’s how it works: Beneath each candidate’s name you’ll see the names of five or six delegates (depending on the concentration of registered Democrats in each district). These delegates are active party members, often state or local elected officials, who have pledged their undying loyalty to their candidate. Unless they represent you or you’re a really big politics nerd, chances are that you won’t have heard of them. Do not panic. You’ll probably just want to vote for the delegates pledged to the candidate you prefer. If you’re the type of person that puts too much thought into things, you could, say, vote for three of Hillary’s delegates and three of Barack’s.

Breaking: Hillary Reemploys ‘The Cry’

Hillary Clinton Crying

Yep, it's official. Hillary Clinton is running to be Crybaby-in-Chief. According to the Tribune Co.'s politics blog, the Swamp, Clinton teared up after a heartfelt introduction by a former colleague at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, where she worked in college. The emotional speech led "Clinton's eyes to fill with tears, which she wiped out of her left eye," reads the report (so clinical). "Well, I said I would not tear up; already we're not exactly on the path," Clinton said immediately after. AHEM. Now, to be fair to Clinton, who after all is human no matter what people say, hearing a tearful tribute to you from a former mentor is exactly the kind of thing that would choke up nearly anybody. But it won't be lost on the press that she happened to cry just on the eve of an important primary vote, and that she happened to do so in a state where she has been losing her edge. After all, she is four points behind Obama in Connecticut in some polls after this weekend. We don't think Hillary was dumb enough to think that crying again would be to her political advantage — the last thing she wants to be seen as is weak. But there's no question that people will say it was a ploy. Come on, lady. You've been through a hell of a lot that was worse than this. At least wait until after tomorrow. If you lose Super Tuesday, then nobody will blame you for crying. Hillary Clinton cries in Connecticut [The Swamp] Earlier: Hillary Clinton: Minority Candidate

Rush & Molloy Still Believe Rupert and Hillary Can Make It, Carr Not As Much

Hillary Clinton Rupert Murdoch
Today in the Daily News, Rush & Molloy attempt to make the case that News Corp. overlord Rupert Murdoch is still on Team Hillary, despite the fact that his New York Post endorsed Barack Obama last week and trashed her in the process. "When it comes to putting money down, Murdoch poured $2,300 – the maximum allowed for a primary race – into her campaign six months ago," the husband-and-wife duo point out. "He gave Obama nothing." But the key phrase in that sentence seems to be "six months ago." Public statements of editorial independence aside, the Post simply doesn't do anything that Rupert Murdoch doesn't want it to do. The official policy of loathing Senator Clinton was reiterated even today, with a masthead editorial attacking both her and her husband. David Carr, in today's Times, seems to see the issue more clearly:
[Clinton] never once appeared before [the Post's editorial board — a customary act of tribute by local politicians — and her lack of deference was duly noted by the paper’s leadership

Obama Might Just Take This Thing

If the Giants' upset victory isn’t enough inspiration for the (former?) underdog Barack Obama, then maybe he’ll gain some confidence from a new slew of polls showing that the once daunting gap between him and Hillary Clinton has now vanished. A CBS/New York Times poll shows a 41-41 dead heat, a USA Today/Gallup poll has Clinton leading by a negligible one point, and a CNN poll puts Obama up by three. The three most recent California polls all show Obama ahead in the delegate-rich state, where up until recently Clinton had enjoyed double-digit leads. Read on to hear the story behind the numbers.

Democratic Debate Has Experts Falling in Love All Over Again

Democratic debate
Last night’s Democratic debate at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles couldn’t have contrasted more highly with Wednesday's Republican debate. Where the Republicans sniped at each other, the Democrats focused on the Republicans (Obama and Clinton referred to John McCain eight times). Obama never accused Clinton of harboring secret right-wing positions, and Clinton never suggested that FDR wouldn’t vote for Obama. For many Democrats, this debate reassured them that either candidate would just be swell. The punditry, however, was duty-bound to dig a little deeper.

2008 Electopedia: Now With Full Obama Flavor

Young Obama
As the election has morphed, so has New York's comprehensive Electopedia. It's now Obamafied! It's got everything you needed to know about the Illinois senator but never thought to ask, like: Who is his worst enemy? How often does he go to church? And just how rich is he? Answers to those questions are already in there for our hometown senator, Hillary Clinton. But now, as battle gets heated (okay, stays heated? Gets scorching?), don't forget to use the handy guide to figure out how they stack up on the issues they don't talk about on TV. 2008 Electopedia

The Rivalry in the Library: Romney and McCain Fight the Dirty Fight

Romney and McCain
Karl Rove writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today that “The Republican race…is a serious debate about serious ideas.” That obviously went to press before last night's Republican debate. And while the event happened in the Reagan Library, in the shadow of the actual Air Force One plane that Reagan once flew on, the shared claims to the Gipper's legacy that have marked the primary campaign thus far gave way to some bruising back-and-forth, particularly, of course, between front-runners John McCain and Mitt Romney. (Mike Huckabee took his place as the new Ron Paul; Ron Paul, well, he was the same old overexcited, barely coherent Ron Paul.) McCain continued to contend that Romney had supported timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. Romney accused McCain of “dirty tricks” and “Washington-style old politics.” McCain hammered Romney for his attack ads and offered him some friendly financial advice: “A lot of it's your own money, you're free to do with what you want to. You can spend it all.” It was great theater (far, far more entertaining than the last debate), but the question remains: Who won?