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Superdelegates

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Florida and Michigan, Resolved.

With architect of the DNC rules turned Clinton apparachik Harold Ickes playing dead-ender to the hilt, the Rules & Bylaws Committee decides to seat Michigan and Florida as half-delegates. (However irate the stark raving Clintonites, even the former President has suggested recently — in private — that this compromise made the most sense.) For those keeping score, this makes the new delegate threshold 2118, which, if all goes well, puts Obama in striking range to end the primary season officially on Tuesday night (in Montana and South Dakota.)

Helping him pass the threshold, of course, will be the superdelegates, who have continued their trend toward Obama during my moving week. Since the last update, according to DemConWatch, Obama has picked up fifteen supers to Clinton’s four, and word is the rest of the “undecideds” are just waiting for the word to break for our nominee. At long last, it’s over, folks.

Jeepers Veepers.

After Sen. Clinton gets toxic and ridiculous over Michigan and Florida — In a clear attempt to poison the well (and fire up the smoke machine), she compared the DNC’s decision to adhere to the rules she herself agreed to (when it suited her) to Election 2000, Zimbabwe, and the civil rights movement — her aides, fundraisers, and husband try to foist Sen. Clinton as Obama’s veep. But Rural Votes’ Al Giordano says hold up: “The Field can now confirm, based on multiple sources, something that both campaigns publicly deny: that Senator Clinton has directly told Senator Obama that she wants to be his vice presidential nominee, and that Senator Obama politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably said ‘no.’ Obama is going to pick his own running mate based on his own criteria and vetting process.

In the meantime, regarding delegates: Obama picked up two more Edwards delegates and supers Pilar Lujan (GU) and Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA) crossed paths switching (Lujan to Clinton, Cardoza to Obama.) Also for Obama since the last update: Rep. Jim Costa (CA), Rep. Joe Courtney (CT), and DNC members Scott Brennan (IA), Jenny Greenleaf (OR), and Wayne Dowdy (MS). (In the meantime, Clinton picked up 2 more UADs from Ohio and Massachusetts.) Thus, the most recent tally: Obama +7, Clinton +2. Sen. Obama is now 57 delegates away from the (current) magic number of 2025.

Full Circle. | The “VSC.”

“Tonight, Iowa, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.” After winning Oregon 59-41 (with 94% reporting) and, uh, doing less well in Kentucky (although I was heartened to see he took Louisville), Sen. Obama returns to Iowa with a majority of the pledged delegates, thus effectively sealing up the nomination.

It looks like Sen. Clinton has decided to hang around a few more weeks nonetheless (in part, it seems, to expose the “vast sexist conspiracy” which caused her not to contest caucus states or come up with a plan past Super Tuesday), but the focus for Team Obama is now clearly on John McCain and the GOP. “‘I will leave it up to Senator McCain to explain to the American people whether his policies and positions represent long-held convictions or Washington calculations,’ Obama’s remarks continued, ‘but the one thing they don’t represent is change.’

Update: By way of The Late Adopter and sententiae et clamores, The Village Voice‘s Allison Benedikt puts the lie to Sen. Clinton’s grappling with sexism of late: “Currently pregnant with the next generation, let me just say this: There is no greater wish that a mother can have for her daughter than that she will exploit poor people, obliterate Iran, and win rigged class president elections, Putin-style. (Mom, I won 100 percent of the vote!)…This War on Women is just like the War on Christmas: imaginary.”

Rounding the last corner.

Welcome from the land of boxes, and, if you live in Kentucky or Oregon, please consider voting for Barack Obama today. I expect updates will be sparser than usual this week on account of my imminent move, but, to catch up on recent electoral goings-on: Since the last super update, Sen. Obama has picked up the endorsement of Sen. Robert Byrd, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (GU), DNC members Greg Pecoraro (MD), Larry Gates (KS), Blake Johnson (AK), Dwight Pelz (WA), and Cindy Spanyers (AK), and 3 UADs (2 in California, 1 in Kansas). (In the meantime, Sen. Clinton has picked up 3 Cali UADs.)

So, that’s Clinton +3, Obama + 10 and Warren Buffett. The upshot being, however much tiptoeing is going on at the moment, Sen. Obama should wrap this thing up for good tonight when he takes 50% +1 of the pledged delegates. And there will be much rejoicing.

Finger-Pointin’ Time.

“Many answers fell into a handful of broad themes we’ve been hearing for months now. (She shouldn’t have run as an incumbent. She should have paid more attention to caucus states. She should have kept Bill chained in the basement at Whitehaven with a case of cheese curls and a stack of dirty movies.) Others had a distinct score-settling flavor…But whether personal or clinical, new or familiar, the critiques are all the more striking for having come directly from those neck-deep in the action. So, here it is, an elegy for Hillary ’08, written by some of those who have worked tirelessly to keep it alive.” Now that reality has finally set in, TNR’s Michelle Cottle gets residents of Hillaryland to ruminate on what went wrong. Among the more telling:

  • There was not any plan in place from beginning to end on how to win the nomination. It was, ‘Win Iowa.’ There was not the experience level, and, frankly, the management ability, to create a whole plan to get to the magical delegate number.

  • Hillary assembled a team thin on presidential campaign experience that confused discipline with insularity; they didn’t know what they didn’t know and were too arrogant to ask at a time early enough in the process when it could have made a difference

  • We would just cringe. Ugh. Such an out-of-touch corporate run kind of campaign–exactly what you’d expect from Mark Penn.

  • [Bill’s] behavior that started off in Iowa, carried on in New Hampshire, and culminated in South Carolina really was the beginning of the end. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he just kind of imploded. I think, if I had to look back on it, it became more about him than about her. It really was destructive overall.

  • Mark Penn and Mandy Grunwald dismissed the possibility of youth turning out heavily in Iowa for Obama, saying on the record after the Jefferson-Jackson dinner ‘They don’t look like caucus-goers.’

    In related news, Sen. Obama picks up another super, Rep. Pete Stark of CA.

  • Team Obama Waxing.

    Another day of endorsements for Sen. Obama: In today’s batch so far, we have the inimitable Rep. Henry Waxman (CA), Reps. Jim McDermott (WA) and Howard Berman (CA), and DNC member Larry Cohen (DC).

    In addition, yesterday’s Edwards endorsement brings in 6 of Edwards’ pledged 19 delegates (so far), as well as the endorsement of the United Steelworkers. For those playing at home, the Thursday count thus far: Obama +10.

    Update: It now looks like eight Edwards delegates have defected, and word is a recanvass in NC has given one of Clinton’s delegates to Obama. So, today’s new count: Obama +13, Clinton -1.

    Obama gets SEC’ers, NARAL…and a Millworker’s Son.

    While I’ve been packing things today, a few more key endorsements: First up, three former SEC heads back Obama. “‘Each of us has been committed to prudent economic policy and effective financial regulation for many years,’ they said in a joint statement along with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, also an Obama supporter. ‘We believe Senator Obama can provide the positive leadership and judgment needed to take us to a stronger and more secure economic future.’

    Then, much to the consternation of Emily’s List, NARAL gets behind the senator: “Today, we are proud to put our organization’s grassroots and political support behind the pro-choice candidate whom we believe will secure the Democratic nomination and advance to the general election. That candidate is Sen. Obama.

    And, tonight in Grand Rapids, it looks like John Edwards will come off the fence at last and officially endorse Obama. (Edwards is not a super, but he does still have 19 pledged delegates credited to him.) Well, it’d have been nice to see this a few months ago, of course, and now that People pledge just looks ridiculous. But, hey, better late than never.

    Update:: Hmm. No sign of Elizabeth. Also, Edwards’ best line tonight (although the crowd didn’t seem to get it): “I still want my jet-ski.”

    Appalachian Sting. | Childers of the Revolution.

    As expected, Sen. Clinton wins the Mountain State handily, taking West Virginia 67%-26%, with 7% For Edwards. (Her main key to victory: The 71% of the WV electorate without a college degree broke for her 71%-29%.) But, alas for Sen. Clinton’s hopes for a miracle comeback, this is basically the equivalent of a garbagetime touchdown. And, worse still for Team Clinton, a new poll has Sen. Obama up 20 in the significantly larger state of Oregon, and the supers continue to move toward the presumptive nominee regardless. Today’s haul thus far: Obama +3.5. (Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN), DNC member Awais Kaleel, OK State Senator Mike Morgan, WI State Sen. Lena Taylor, and Dem Abroad Christine Marques against a Tennessee UAD for Clinton.)

    The night’s big political news, however, happened down in Mississippi. In an upset that has stunned and demoralized the RNC, Democrat Travis Childers wins a special election going away, 54-46%, in a strong-conservative district that voted 62-37% for Dubya in 2004. Childers is not only the third Dem to win a safe-GOP district in recent months (following Bill Foster in IL and Don Cazayoux in LA), he was also explicitly painted as an elitist pro-Wright, prObama Dem by the Mississippi GOP. So how’s that for an electability argument? (To be fair, Dick Cheney also showed up to stump for Childers’ opponent…that might’ve helped us too.)

    With all due respect to the Magnolia State, if the Republicans’ tired culture-war strategy didn’t play in the most conservative parts of Ole Miss, it’s not going to play anywhere this year…not even in West Virginia.

    He’s Super, Thanks for Asking.

    Well, West Virginia and Kentucky may not be on board, but the supers are continuing to flock to Sen. Obama en masse. Recent pickups: Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI), Reps. Harry Mitchell (AZ) and Tom Allen (ME), UAD Dave Regan (OH), and DNC members Crystal Strait (CA), Dolly Strazar (HI), Keith Roark (ID), Carol Burke (VI) and Kevin Rodriguez (VI). (Rodriguez is a switch, so that cancels out either Clinton’s Mass. UAD or Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (TX). The final tally since last update: Obama +9, Clinton +1, meaning, by everyone’s count, Obama is now in the super lead.

    Update: Tuesday morning brings another slew of supers to Obama: UAD Mayor Ray Nagin (LA) of Katrina fame, Rep. Joe Donnelly (IN), former Governor Roy Romer (CO), and DNC member Anita Bonds (DC). And, in a cruel irony given their earlier stated strategy to peel them off, the Clinton camp lost a pledged delegate this morning: Jack Johnson (MD). The morning tally: Obama +5, Clinton -1…that should help to salve tonight’s probable 12-delegate pickup for HRC.

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