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The Obama-Edwards Summit: What it means

obama_flies.jpgFrom ABC News Political Radar, Obama and Edwards Sit Down in North Carolina, the post describes a meeting presumably to talk about an Edwards endorsement. Hmmmm, of course, Obama would benefit greatly from an Edwards endorsement but why? Why not just ask John to remain uncommitted until after March 4? That way, no one benefits and both have to earn delegates the old fashioned way- in the voting booth.

Unless, Obama can’t win votes that way.

Bear with me. I think I’ve mentioned before that Obama is spending money like it’s going out of style. His pattern is to go to the inner city and drum up support among the African-American population. (BTW, this is not a racist comment, it’s just an observation based on that staple of all political campaigns- vote counting.). But he can’t convert the money to a win in states where the African-American vote doesn’t reach a critical mass. In bigger, more diverse states, the African-American vote is more dilute. So, what does he have left in the primary schedule? He has a lot of large, diverse states without a critical mass of his core constituent voters. He needs to capture the working class guys in WI, OH and PA. So, he petitions Edwards for his endorsement. Probably really, REALLY pleads for an endorsement. But the Edwards endorsement will not get him the votes he needs. Why?

Because somewhere on the web, there is an article that shows that populist Edwards, that candidate for the little guy, was the champion for the middle class and elite Democratic regulars. Yep, populist Edwards was really backed by guys like Paul Krugman not Jake the Plumber. It may be one of the reasons he flamed this time out. For some reason, he couldn’t capture the people he wanted to help. Those people are voting for Hillary.

So, what this is telling me is that Obama might be a cocky frontrunner but he’s in deep @#$% in the states he needs to sew this up. I expect the meeting between Clinton and Edwards was somewhat different. More along the lines of, “We’d really appreciate your support, your people mean a lot to us and you know that as far as policy goes, you can count on us to carry your banner in the White House. But if you can’t endorse now, we understand. Maybe you can let things play out and think the matter over after March 4. If there’s anything you need, John, please give us a call. We’re always available.”

Betcha Obama’s meeting involved a lot more sweat.

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23 Responses

  1. You need to take your meds! Hillary would sell her soul to the devil to win. It was widely reported even before Edwards dropped out that he wanted a meeting with the Obama camp about cutting a deal and Obama said NO. Hillary had a meeting- this was back in January. You need to get to the pharmacy quick!!

  2. Hey, thanks for the reminder! I really do need to check my meds.
    But I’m pretty sure about this. The idea has been gelling in my head for a couple of days now. Obama will have a very difficult time winning the rest of the remaining states, especially in the Rust Belt. The only prayer he has is if he gets a bit of a bump from WI with an Edwards endorsement. It keeps the perception going of momentum. But if WI gets put into Hillary’s column or if it’s really close, then she’s not dead yet and you Obamaphiles are going to start freaking out. Because in OH, TX and PA, she’s ahead. ;-)
    I think you guys are going to have to face it that she will most likely be our nominee. Despite the hype and the bad press. You might have to at least entertain the idea. Why not start now? Just repeat, “President Hillary Clinton” ten times tonight before you go to sleep. Then it won’t be so traumatic when it happens.
    Thanks for playing.

  3. I was hoping both Edwards and Gore would assume the role of elder statesmen of the party and not take sides in this grotesque farce by which we are determining our nominee. In fact, I was also hoping that whoever finally won would select Edwards as the veep nominee.

    We should keep in mind, however, that in addition to your analysis, there’s another possibility — Obama is a master at putting misinformation out there that gets corrected only after it is too late to matter, if corrected at all. He had a meeting with Edwards — that is all we know to be true. But will any of us be shocked when tomorrow morning the “story” in the MSM and the Obamablogs (they all do just the one story) is that “Edwards will be endorsing Obama any minute now.” He’ll then get all the favorable press from an Edwards endorsement, and no one in the media will ever bother to mention it if it never comes to pass. They did that with the John Lewis story — the last coverage I saw on that was some idiot on CBS saying Lewis was apparently still backing Hillary, but “we don’t know how long that will last.” In other words, okay, the story we put out was false, but “it could happen.” Our news is being reported by Judy Tenuta (sorry, spelling?).

    And then there’s the tale he told to the Iowans regarding his legislation to regulate the nuclear industry. Now it comes to light that he either flat-out lied or is so incompetent he doesn’t know the fate of his own legislation. But is this being widely reported? No.

    Then there’s the matter of him getting more delegates in Nevada than Hillary in spite of her winning the popular vote there. I swear that I read somewhere this story was false — that his campaign had put out this misinformation, the AP picked it up and reported it as fact, and everybody else repeated it in spite of the fact that the delegate count there was either evenly split or she actually got one more. Since not even God herself knows how these delegates are being counted, who knows what the real story is? But I guarantee you this — most people, based on the press coverage, think his wonderfulness won Nevada.

    So, I hope at this point Edwards either makes an endorsement or announces that he’s not going to make one at all, because if he doesn’t say anything Obama will make the announcement for him and claim one anyway.

  4. Marcy: Good point. You are so right about misinformation. Of course, our side did that too with Richardson. I don’t think he actually endorsed Hillary but watching the superbowl with the big dawg could be seen as a passive endorsement. In any case, NPR reported it as an endorsement.
    But yes, Obama’s campaign is very good at framing his wins in the best possible light even if they are less meaningful than Hillary’s and the media just eats it up.

  5. the suspense is KillinG me.

  6. I must listen to NPR more often. The only coverage I saw on the Richardson thing was that he had not endorsed after watching the game with Bill so it was interpreted as a slap in the face to the Clintons.

  7. I’d heard he had, then he hadn’t. But there was enuf of the superbowl with the big dawg glamour that he might as well have. Like I said, you don’t do that two days before Super Tuesday unless you want to passively endorse. Perception is reality.
    Somehow, I don’t think Edwards is going to endorse Obama before WI. The news cycle would be too short to get much of a bang for the buck, unless Obama is counting on undecideds who are fickle folk and will make up their minds based on the last voice they heard. I could be wrong but I think that WI is going to be very close for Obama. Hillary’s got to be the last one whispering in their ears as they pull the curtain closed. The only thing that could swing the last remaining percent to Obama is an Edwards endorsement.

  8. hey – which state do you think an endorsement from Edwards would help Obama most?

    I am really curious about who he will pick – but dont you think his suporters will have already made a choice by now?

  9. The key to stopping Clinton is to keep the momentum going. Because if he loses WI, the media will hiccup a little and have to figure out a way to spin it for him. But the hiccup will be noticeable to everyone expecting Hillary’s campaign to collapse at any moment. (It’s really funny when you think about it. She won some HUGE states on SuperTuesday and prior and she’s a failure? Her campaign is in crisis because she is adapting to a changing electoral landscape? Jeez, I thought that was something successful organizms did to survive.{
    Anyway, I think it’s got to be WI in order to keep the momentum up. But he can’t rely on Edwards. It seems to me that Obama has used up all his endorsements like time outs in a football game. Now the clock is ticking in earnest and all that’s left are Edwards and Gore. I’m assuming that if Gore liked either one of them sufficiently, he would have endorsed by now. But he’s probably waiting for Hillary to prove herself and ditch the hubris and he might not quite have that Obama thing going for him. So that leaves Edwards. Edwards is not stupid. He can count the votes. He knows that Obama is going to have a lot of problems this fall. So, does Edwards help Obama knowing that his support will be of minimal value or does he wait until he can see which way the wind is blowing? Because if he endorses Obama and Hillary ends up winning, Edwards will have to find a new line of work. There won’t be anything in it for him. To be quite honest, as much as there has been written about how any of the three would be indistinguishable from each other, Edwards and Obama really do not see eye to eye on some core Democratic principles.
    For all we know, Obama went to North Carolina to talk Edwards out of endorsing Clinton.
    Where was I? Oh, yeah, he needs WI. This is a perception game and he needs to be perceived as having a huge unstoppable movement behind him.
    He doesn’t but that’s what he needs.

  10. Rverdaughter that’s a great comment. I have absolutely no sense of WI – I dont want to tick any Edwards people off, but I think he’d be wasting his shot if he did it now. I think he wants a tad more fanfare for his buck….but that is just my guess. Plus, it looks too close to call for WI so what if he endorses and the person loses? Eew. Better to endorse when you know they are gonna win or you look baaad…like the Kennedy’s. Was that funny or what?

    Of course, he could endorse tomorrow.

  11. Judith, if it’s really close in WI and there are a large number of undecideds (last time I checked, it was about 11%) that looks like an excellent pick up state for Hillary. WI is a former rust belt state. Think Laverne and Shirley if you go back that far. It’s a lot of working class stiffs whose industries have seen better days. What they’re looking for is an economic solution. They probably remember the Big Dawg fondly which is why he started making more prominent campaign appearances. He is her best weapon because his administration comes with a quality seal of approval. He knows good government. AND here’s the tipoff that Obama knows he has a problem: he announced an economic plan this week. He got busted for it looking like a rip off of Hillary’s but the truth is in WI, it’s the economy stupid and he knows it. His AA population is concentrated in only a few areas like Milwaukee and Madison. To be honest, I’d think he’d have an easier time in OH with many more big cities like Toledo, Cleveland, Cinncinnatti and Columbus. But then there’s that whole working stiff thing again there with the closing factories and depressed economy and Republicans dumping taxes onto the little guy, Obama really HAS transcended race in a way. But he hasn’t been able to transcend class. And when I look at him, I see upper middle class Harvard educated, not working stiff. Hillary will get their vote because of the Big Dawg and because she’s always been a champion of things they care about like healthcare and education and, yes, even terrorism. She’s not pretending that it isn’t a problem. She’s just proposing a rational response to it. Voters who have been conditioned by years of fearmongering may not believe Bush any more but they don’t want to hear that there is no problem at all, Frankly, they don’t believe it.
    What was your question? Jeez, it’s like stream of consciousness after awhile. I’m in danger of going all Faulkner on you.

  12. This is a nice post. As a former Edwards supporter, now Hillary Supporter, I REALLY like it. It won’t change anything for me if Edwards nominates Obama….Except maybe to tarnish my feelings for him…..

  13. (cough)

    An Edwards endorsement of Obama would only tarnish my feelings of Edwards…

  14. Riverdaughter – I like Faulkner so no worries. :-)

    Very helpful comment – I didnt know there were 11% undecideds. They usually swing her way at the last minuto so no wonder Obama didnt want a debate there. Ha! I think the good people of WI would really be listening,

    Based on what you say it does sound like an endorsement of HRC from Edwards right now would be very helpful for her…well tomorrow IS another day!

  15. Katiebird: Pleased to meet you!

  16. Judith: I’d just as soon Edwards bided his time. Even though the primary season is protracted, it makes her a more legitimate candidate. She will have fought hard for it. Nothing was handed to her. All the better for Hillary. And down the line, I think that Edwards and Gore will recognize that in her and endorse her. I see this primary season as a trial by fire for her but as the old saying goes, “What does not kill you makes you stronger” She is shedding her reserve and becoming a better campaigner. We always knew she was smart but I think she is starting to realize that the people she wants to help want to help her too.
    It’s a good thing and I am very happy about it.

  17. I sincerely think she is the best choice to get work done asap. I hope the good people of WI agree with me.

  18. riverdaughter, I’m pleased to meet you too. I’m very grateful to have found your blog. It was just in time: I finally had to delete 4 longtime bookmarks last night.

    And I’m sorry that I didn’t more directly address your post. The thing is I like your scenarios. I just hope that he does endorse Hillary.

    I’ve been thinking about the money too. Judging by what we saw in Kansas, he’s spending a heck of a lot of money.

  19. I took most of the weekend off of politics and blogs, but tonight I’ve been out and about catching up.

    Wanted to let you all know that Matt Stoller over at OpenLeft made yet another ridiculous post about the the motives of “women voters” , this time in WIsconsin. If anyone is so inclined, you can check it out here:
    Wisconsin Women and Clinton

    http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3988

    I gave him heck for it in the comments. I couldn’t believe how lame his theory was.

    btw, I agree that Edwards should not endorse anyone at this point as I can’t see that it would do anything for him this early in the process. Also from an economic point of view it wouldn’t make sense for him to endorse Obama. Obama’s economic advisors are much more corporate friendly than worker friendly… and are to the right of Hillary’s economic policies. Lots of articles out there about that right now. But it seems that policies and history take a back seat to personality, momentum, and hype.

  20. Dragoneyes: I read that post and your reply and you are sooo right. I’ve lost all respect for Stoller who became a single-issue voter. He made the same dumb mistake many Obamaphilesdo when selecting Obama: assigning a value to a missing data point. Obama never had to vote for the IWR. People who are givinvg him credit for being anti-war are basing that vote on a speech and nothing else. Obama rarely demonstrates the courage of his convictions with a vote one wy or another,
    And your right about other issues being just as important. Am I going to give universal healthcare just because I hated her IWR vote?
    Ummm, no. But Matt would.

  21. Is that the only photograph of Obama and Edwards’ meeting? It looks like the photographer was leaning out of a helicopter. The thought bubble above Edwards says “Darn it. I was hoping that they would have to use a satellite photo.

    Maybe Obama was hoping for a photo op with Edwards. Edwards is too smart to be used like this. It would be easy for Obama to use such a photo and imply that Edwards endorsed him.

    I think Obama me Edwards to get a Kodak moment.

  22. For me, if only it could be Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, together, with Bill Clinton and Al Gore behind them. The four of them could actually DO SOMETHING! I swear.

    Obama’s arrogance and emptiness are stupefying.

    John Edwards for Vice President!

    Now to check out that bazillion dollar scary post above. O God.

  23. [...] was willing to work with Edwards to get his policies enacted. I think I might have mentioned this about a month ago in what I thought might be the summary of how both campaigns approached Edwards and why an [...]

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