Yesterday and today, Republicans John McCain and Mike Huckabee both stood up for Barack Obama concerning his relationship with controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. On Morning Joe today, Huckabee candidly said, "Obama handled this about as well as anybody could." He laid out his argument pretty simply:
"You can't hold the candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do," Huckabee says. "It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what ... Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell, or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable, years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon. Sermons, after all, are rarely written word for word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say 'Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that.'"
Whoa, that sounds like a pretty firm defense.
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As you probably already know, but perhaps haven't been much thinking about, Barack Obama won the Mississippi primary last night. It was a big win, something like 60 percent to 37 percent. Clinton didn't make much of an effort in the state, so she probably didn't take the loss too hard — for a woman who claims to want to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations so that every Democratic voter can feel like he's been listened to, she's certainly been ignoring a large amount of them. But the exit-poll numbers indicate a few surprises. For one thing, Hillary Clinton received the lion's share of crossover votes (Republican voters who vote in the Democratic primary), which is a first — every other time crossover voting has been included, Obama has trumped her with this group. But this time, Hillary took them 3 to 1. Obama took 90 percent of the black vote, and Hillary did better than usual with the white vote, which Politico's Ben Smith chalks up to the attitudes of southern white voters. And finally, Obama won either five or seven delegates more than Hillary did last night, depending on who is counting. This effectively erases any ground she may have gained after her big wins last Tuesday.
We will now return to our round-the-clock Eliot Spitzer hookapalooza coverage.
Mississippi Crossovers [Talking Points Memo]
Mississippi Delegates [Politico]
The Magnolia State Stats [Stumper/Newsweek]
Obama Wins In Mississippi [NYT]
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Eliot Spitzer is still holed up in his apartment in New York, where he and his wife, Silda, have been conferring with advisers since last night. He's weighing his options, and deciding whether to resign. Meanwhile, on the outside, the politicians and the media have descended into exactly the kind of feeding frenzy you would expect:
• The Post reports that State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno held back from reveling in his great rival's fall: "I feel very badly for the governor's wife, for his children," he said. "The important thing for the people of New York State is that people in office do the right thing."
• According to CNN, Republican state senators and assemblymen (and some Democrats) are aggressively calling for his resignation. So is the Republican Governors Association.
• If Spitzer doesn't resign before a deadline set by state Republicans, they've vowed to begin impeachment proceedings, reports WCBS.
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John McCain is coming to New York next Tuesday for a giant fund-raiser to power his national campaign, reports Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News. It sounds like it's going to be a doozy — the host committee includes Henry Kissinger, Alfonse D'Amato, Woody Johnson, Georgette Mosbacher, and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain. Tickets are either $1,000 or $2,300 per person (get it? The most you can donate to one candidate?), and it will take place at the Plaza. So glamorous. But let's get down to business (literally). How many billionaires will be in attendance? And how many billions do they represent? From Forbes.com's most recent list, we count five: Henry Kravis (the world's 178th-richest man, worth $5.5 billion), Ray Dalio (worth $4 billion), Louis Bacon (worth $1.7 billion), Marc Rowan (worth $1.5 billion), and Robert Fisher ($1.4 billion). That's a total of over $14 billion in the room with the Republican presidential nominee. There are several dozen other multimillionaires on the list, plus Lord knows how many buying tickets — so we'll conservatively push that number over the $15 billion barrier. At first, we wondered how on earth any of the Democrats could get that much money into one room. And then we remembered that all Hillary needs to do is have Warren Buffet hold another fund-raiser, and she'd be in the company of quadruple that amount. Nobody else would even need to show up.
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