Posted: April 23, 2008 6:18 PM
Democrats Focus on Funds, Ind. as Pa. Delegates Divvied
After a six-week campaign slog through Pennsylvania, Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama hit the ground running Wednesday — making a beeline for the May 6 voting state of Indiana.
By June 3, the final nine states and territories will hold Democratic contests, more super delegates will commit and there might be a resolution over what to do about the delegates stripped from Florida and Michigan for not playing by party rules.
After her 9.2-point win in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe reiterated that her campaign believes the contest will not go to the party convention in Denver, Politico reported.
Rather, the Clinton campaign expects the Democratic Party to have a nominee shortly after the final contests on June 3.
But with each passing contest, the chances grow slimmer that Clinton or Obama will win enough delegates to gain the party nomination without the intervention of super delegates - something The Washington Post’s Paul Kane warned about shortly after Super Tuesday.
Of course, both candidates will continue to hound the remaining unpledged super delegates. Each candidate announced one endorsement Wednesday with Obama picking up Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Clinton getting the support of Tennessee Rep. John Tanner, a prominent Blue Dog Democrat.
On Tuesday’s Today show, NBC’s Tim Russert said, “Math is not her most important subject. She likes psychology. She can’t beat Obama in math. … She wants to get in the heads of these [super] delegates and say: I’m a tougher candidate against John McCain. I can win the big states. … You can switch and vote for me.”
But Clinton’s victory in the Keystone State did little to close her pledged-delegate gap with Obama. She won at least 80 pledged delegates compared to at least 66 for Obama, with 12 still to be awarded, according to the Associated Press.
With the Democrats’ campaign clash almost certainly continuing at least through the next contests in Indiana and North Carolina, both campaigns have focused on fundraising. On Wednesday afternoon, McAuliffe announced during an MSNBC interview that the Clinton campaign raised $10 million with 50,000 since polls closed in Pennsylvania, calling it “the biggest day we’ve ever had.” Obama’s campaign reiterated that it was fighting a “two-front war” against attacks from Clinton and presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain.
Regarding the Pennsylvania race, the NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff asked syndicated columnist Mark Shields what was behind the Democratic campaign’s recent negative turn.
He pinned the blame on fatigue.
“What’s behind it is that there are no great substantive issues, differences between the two,” he said. The war was at the beginning, but it seems less so now. And so as a consequence, people on both sides are tired. Their tempers have grown short. Their patience has grown short.”
In a scathing editorial entitled “The Low Road to Victory” on Wednesday, The New York Times editorial board, which endorsed Clinton’s candidacy over Obama’s a few months back, took their state’s senator to task for negative campaigning.
“Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work,” the editorial reads. “It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.”
The editorial chides Obama a bit, saying he is “undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics” by taking her bait.
“It is getting to be time for the super delegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created super delegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box,” the editorial continues. “Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign.”
On Wednesday’s “Today” show, Clinton subtlety courted super delegates, saying they must consider which Democrat would be best positioned to defeat McCain in the fall. She also brushed off negative campaigning, saying “it goes back and forth.”
But David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, told the Times that the structure of the race is not likely to change after Pennsylvania’s delegates are awarded.
“We think this is a flawed exercise, to somehow suggest that performance in primaries is a leading indicator or what would happen in a general election,” he said, adding that Obama had a high favorability rating among Democrats who supported Clinton.
Clinton and Obama are both spending Wednesday rallying voters in Indiana.