early and often

Superdelegates Still Thinking, But About What?

Obama, Clinton

In this dream, Clinton and Obama are embarrassed to discover that they’re not wearing any pants.Photo: Getty Images

Though Hillary Clinton, as we wrote yesterday, is enjoying a surge against Barack Obama and making big gains in state and national polls, the ultimate resolution of this primary race will still fall upon the superdelegates. Yeah, we’ve been talking about them for about three months, longer than we would have liked, but they’re a patient, pensive bunch it seems — or maybe they’re just milking their time in the spotlight for as long as possible. But it does appear the approximately 285 remaining uncommitted superdelegates have a lot to think about — things like electability, money, their districts, and their own reelection prospects.

• Mike Madden and Walter Shapiro write that the remaining uncommitted superdelegates are “desperate for conclusive proof” about who is the strongest, most electable candidate against John McCain and are simply waiting until all the votes are cast to try and figure out who that is. [Salon]

• Karen Tumulty says that, in reality, the important superdelegate endorsement yesterday wasn’t Joe Andrew but Indiana representative Baron Hill. Why? Hill is facing one of the toughest reelection campaigns in the country and has likely alienated Indiana senator Evan Bayh, a Clinton supporter, by endorsing Obama. The fact that he decided to back Obama anyway is “a sign that Democrats down the ballot still see Obama as the stronger candidate.” [Swampland/Time]

• Adam Nagourney and Carl Hulse report good news for Obama: Most uncommitted superdelegates share Obama’s view that they should base their decisions on who leads in the delegate count and not on perceived electability. [NYT]

• Marc Ambinder looks at the two different spins the campaigns are putting on the superdelegate situation: The Obama campaign points out that he’s gaining two superdelegates for every one Clinton wins, none have switched from Obama to Clinton, and the superdelegates realize that the long race is hurting the party. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign claims that 75 percent of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates represent white, working-class districts, and if they didn’t “come out for Obama when he was winning,” then “they surely won’t support him when he’s losing.” [Atlantic]

• Zvika Krieger has come to the realization that there’s nothing wrong with superdelegates overturning the “voters’ choice.” People who voted in early primaries didn’t cast their ballots with all the knowledge that the superdelegates now possess — for example, on Reverend Wright. The longer the campaign drags on, the more of an “up-to-date portrait of the candidates the superdelegates have,” giving them much more information than most of the voters. [Stump/New Republic]

• Josh Marshall wonders if one incentive for remaining uncommitted is fund-raising: When you endorse one candidate, you inevitably piss off supporters, major donors, and bundlers of the other candidate, so it might be best to stay on the sidelines and alienate no one. [Talking Points Memo]

• Rick Klein and Mike Elmore write that Clinton will need the superdelegates not only to “wait for her case to play out” but then also to offer an “utter and total rejection of the Democratic frontrunner.” [Note/ABC News]

• Sam Stein reports that an African-American advocacy group, Color of Change, is working on a petition to warn the superdelegates that there will be a “political price to pay” if they overturn the popular will. They can expect to hold some political persuasion because they are playing into the same fears that already exist among the superdelegates. [Huffington Post] —Dan Amira

Related: Heilemann on Obama’s Sister Souljah Moment
Bill Clinton Versus Jeremiah Wright: Which Loose Cannon Is Louder?

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Superdelegates Still Thinking, But About What?