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Republicans, Democrats, and Now Ralph Nader: The Race Stays Interesting
Over the weekend Hillary Clinton dispelled any notions that she was ready to concede defeat and slink away into the night by lambasting Barack Obama for his allegedly dishonest critiques of her positions on health care and NAFTA. Mike Huckabee isn’t done either — he skewered his own reluctance to leave the race on Saturday Night Live. Plus, Ralph Nader somehow thinks it’s a good idea to run again. And while the primary landscape is still shifting, many people are already strategizing about the general election.
Cindy McCain, Meet Everyone. Everyone, Meet Cindy McCain.
John McCain’s presidential campaign is rather desperately lacking for youth and glamour. It badly needs to soften the affect of the Senator’s grim hawkishness without soft-pedaling his national-security credentials. And in the last 48 hours, it has had to find a defense against the New York Times’ semi-allegations that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist who had business before his Senate Commerce Committee. Almost by accident, one answer has emerged to all these conundrums: Cindy McCain.
Hillary or Obama Getting the Nomination Would Be ‘Like A Rat Running a French Restaurant’
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The ‘Times’ McCain Debacle: Just What Huckabee Has Been Waiting For?
Hooo boy! The Times really opened up a box of bees when they published their insinuating John McCain story late last night. If you haven't seen it, it concerns McCain's high-horse attitude toward ethics, which may have been compromised in part by a close, perhaps romantic relationship with attractive lobbyist Vicki Iseman during McCain's first run for president eight years ago. The paper (using a half-dozen reporters and thousands of words) described confrontations that staffers had with both McCain and Iseman to stop what appeared to be an inappropriate intimacy. By late last evening, political blogs and news programs were exploding with reactions. McCain's camp was outraged at what they called a "smear." It quickly surfaced that there had been a long period of debate inside the Times as to when to publish the piece, and whether to do it at all. The McCain camp claimed that the paper ran with it after hearing that The New Republic was going to publish a story about the infighting at the paper over its inflammatory contents. Some critics even went so far as to speculate that the liberal Times wanted to wait until the Republicans had a presumptive nominee before blowing a hole in his candidacy. Woweee. Whether any of this affects McCain remains to be seen (we cannot wait for the smackdown that Cindy McCain is bound to lay down today). But the scandal addresses something that's been itching us in the back of our heads for a long time: Why the heck is Mike Huckabee still in this race?
McCain Anoints Obama As His Rival, Obama Accepts
Pundits on Obama’s New Wins and the Tricks Up Clinton’s Sleeve
Heilemann: Clinton to Bring the Hammer Down After Her Wisconsin Drubbing
The cheeseheads have spoken. And the message they delivered in the Democratic primary in Wisconsin was loud and unequivocal. There are fancier (or gentler) ways of interpreting it, but what the hearty souls who braved the subfreezing temperatures to cast their votes from Milwaukee to Menomonie announced was this: Virginia and Maryland weren’t anomalies; Barack Obama has the Big Mo; and Hillary Clinton is close to being forced from the stage by another lady — the fat one who likes to sing.
Discerning or Desperate? Clinton Accuses Obama of ‘Plagiarism’
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spent Presidents' Day weekend bickering. Clinton's campaign called out Obama for “plagiarizing” Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick in one of his recent speeches; Obama admits he should have credited Patrick but says that the two are good friends who often discuss speech-making ideas (Patrick has come out in Obama’s defense). The accusation either marks a new level of pettiness for Clinton (whose campaign, by the way, now admits they will probably go after Obama's pledged delegates) or a valid critique of Obama’s honesty. Whether the issue will be on primary voters' minds today remains to be seen, but as always, the pundits have plenty to say about it.
Hillary Eyes Obama's Pledged Delegates
Forget the battle over superdelegates; the Clinton campaign has decided to turn regular delegates into wild cards. Though the handful of citizens that you vote for on primary day are "pledged" to a candidate, they are not bound to vote for that candidate at the convention. "Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot," writes Roger Simon on Politico.com. "This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened." A senior Clinton campaign official confirmed to him that "as we get closer to the convention, if it is a stalemate, everybody will be going after everybody’s delegates All the rules will be going out the window." This is going to sound baaaaad to voters who went through the trouble of pulling the lever for each delegate under their chosen candidate's name, thinking that they were selecting people who would automatically help his or her cause. Also, after Hillary's well-publicized efforts to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida (where she won handily) at the convention even though they were punished by the DNC, this is going to come off as particularly underhanded. The Clinton official who says that "everybody will be going after everybody's delegates" may be correct. But the fact that we're hearing about Clinton considering it first is going to reflect poorly on her. It just sounds like she's playing dirty. This is where Barack Obama's high-school-basketball years are coming in to his advantage. As anyone who has ever played ball knows, if you're going to steal the ball by fouling an opposing player, you don't announce it to the refs before you do it. Clinton Targets Pledged Delegates [Politico]
Should Superdelegates Follow the ‘Will of the People’? Or, Uh, Not?
Is Clinton Really Sunk? The Pundits Weigh In
Heilemann: Hillary's Bleak Outlook
Clinton: Pulling a Rudy or Sure to Bounce Back?
New York's Superdelegates: Who Are They, and What Are They Going to Do?
Pundits Size Up Obama and the Sweet Magic of Momentum
MSNBC’s David Shuster Maybe Shouldn’t Have Called Chelsea Clinton a Whore
Why Barack’s Mojo With the Gays Can’t Match Hillary’s
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?
Mayor Bloomberg: ‘Hillary Should Pray I Get in the Race’