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Battle of Wits: Clinton goes first

From the NYTimes:

In another televised interview, Mrs. Clinton said her close race with Mr. Obama might result in a shared ticket. Speaking on CBS’s Early Show, she said, “Well, that may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on the top of the ticket.” She said her victory in Ohio indicated that the choice should be her.

Oooo, this is fiendishly clever. Here’s what this little blurb was about:

  1. The party is divided and she shows leadership by offering a very reasonable solution.
  2. She is starting to condition the voters to believe that Obama will work under her. That’s also very reasonable. She wins the experience argument and she’s nailed down the states with the big electoral college votes. Her husband’s administration comes with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. She’s a known commodity. She’s been more efficient in her strategy even if Obama has managed to wrack up a lot of delegates through states we don’t have a prayer of getting in November. Plus, recent polls suggest that 2/3 of all Democratic voters did not want her to drop out if she hadn’t won Texas, suggesting we *want* a Clinton/Obama ticket (well, *I* don’t but I’ll take what I can get)
  3. With this idea floating in the voters’ minds, they can more comfortably vote for her knowing they won’t have to sacrifice one for the other and they can tie this up quickly. She should pull in higher margins in the remaining states.
  4. It puts Obama on the defensive. It’s hard to argue with the logic of the solution. All that’s left to decide is who is on top. She beats him on #2 so many voters will find his hesitation to accept such an offer stubborn, petulant and divisive. Clinton can hammer that home by saying that voters want to wrap this up already and concentrate on going after McCain. She boxes him into a corner.
  5. It makes it harder for Obama to go negative on her. If there is a public expectation that he will share her ticket, they will want a show of cooperation and comity from both candidates. On the other hand, she can always say, “I tried to unite the party but he wanted none of it.”

Your turn, Barry.

Barry’s first attempt, from the Politico.

On a joint ticket:
“We are just focused on winning the nomination. That is my focus. I respect Sen. Clinton. She has been a tenacious opponent. It is premature to talk about a joint ticket.”


“I hope people start asking is what exactly is this foreign experience she is claiming,” he said. “Was she handling crises during this period of time? I haven’t seen any evidence that she is more equipped to handle a crisis.

“She made the experience argument and her ability to handle a crisis, so I think it is important to examine that claim and not just allow her to assert it,” he added. “She has made the argument that she is thoroughly vetted. If the suggestion is somehow that on issue of ethics or disclosure or transparency that she is somehow going to have a better record than I have or could (better) withstand Republican attack, then that should be tested.”

“I believe I am in a much stronger position to run against Republicans,” he said.

Hmmmm, not going to do it, Barry. We just don’t see you beating her on foreign policy especially after she had a hand in getting Madeleine Albright appointed SOS. Then, there’s General Wesley Clark, a Clintonista, remember him?

And as for going after SNL, it’s satire, Barry. They only get involved when the level of absurdity in current events reaches a critical threshold. They are equal opportunity ridiculers. Hillary also gets her share of abuse. But the point of the SNL ribbing in the past few weeks was aimed at the media, not you. Lighten up, already.

50 Responses

  1. Gotta be careful about the use of the word “subordinate.” It’ll inflame people we’re trying to draw in. Otherwise I agree with you — it’s a good strategy.

  2. I don’t know if I can stomach Obama on the ticket. Nor do I think it’s smart. The GOP has apparently been poll testing how “low” they can go on race and sex. Whoever wins the nomination is going to need an old white guy.

    But, yeah, shrewd move on her part for now. Rezko and NAFTAgate still have the potential to turn Obama toxic down the road so playing nice now and getting people used to Madame President is smart. Not quite a check mate, but a very offensive move.

  3. I agree that it is a good strategy but you know many of the Obamabots will be angry that she is even insinuating that Obama would want to be associated with her. Hahaha.

    Okay, so this is a bit scary: Survey USA (Which has the most accurate poll I’ve seen in this election season. Forget Zogby) has on their front page a map of the US. You can plug in different candidates and see who ends up the President. Against McCain both Hillary and Obama lose though Hillary wins more states. I think with a combined ticket (with Hillary on top of course) would turn this scenario around. Obama should really think about this after PA. I know it’s hard to settle for VP after coming so close but he needs to do what is best for the party and for our chances of winning in November:

  4. litigatormom: I know what you are saying but that is the perception she needs to create. Maybe subordinate is not a good word. I’ll try to think of another.

    Disnfran: Thanks for the map. Remember though that perceptions can change a lot during a campaign season. I’d give her the edge in debate.

  5. gqmartinez: agreed, particularly with the not being polticially smart. However, I do not see how the politics of identity “problem” we are having can be solved otherwise.

    One question to you (or anyone else who may have an answer). Do you know why the returns of the TX caucuses are so slow? Can the results in the rural caucuses (HC) offset the urban ones (BO) at this point or is it unlikely? I do not know enough about TX and from what I see in other of your posts, you seem to.


  6. Up: I suspect the TX caucus results are simply a matter of logistics. They got overwhelmed in some areas, there were allegations of fraud or improper conduct. Probably a lot of sorting out to do.

  7. riverdaughter: when in the other thread you observed that brevity it the soul of wit, were you sniping at The Precious? Or do I just read too much into your snappy prose?

  8. The NM caucus took over a week to figure out final tallies. The logistics can get absurd if you don’t know what you are doing.

    Re: “identity problem”, I don’t think there really is one for Hillary. Polls show only about 10% of Obama supporters will not support Hillary. Hillary is not unpopular amongst African-Americans from any data I’ve seen. I suspect the anti-Hillary vote is from the John Aravosises, Koses, Bowerses (the SCLB: so-called liberal blogosphere). In Jerome Armstrong’s words, “The wealthy post-graduate male clique of punditry.” Or those that support them. But none of that will matter if Obama tanks and gets boiled down in the corrupt Chicago politics (i.e. Rezko). He doesn’t have to have done anything illegal, but if the media wants to take hiim down, Rezko was reaks much worse than Whitewater and Obama hasn’t been exactly forthcoming on Rezko (the Clinton’s were on WW).

  9. DCD: LOL! it *could* apply to The Precious. But I was referring to Clinton. She needs to keep it short and snappy. I cringed at her SNL moment in last week’s debate. She needs to work on that.

  10. Ay, ay ay…..

    I just went to Ms. Stassinopoulos site and they are still going on and on about BO-isn’ta-Muslim and the BO-isn’t-that-black picture….

    When does the madness end?

  11. rd and gq: thanks for the NM reminder, you both are right, it may take a while

    gq: I do not fully agree with you on your dismissal of “identity” in this race. I lived in Kansas City (MO) for a number of years and can attest to the importance of a good turnout of the AA vote for Democrats in that state.

    If Hillary is the nominee it remains to be seen what the reaction of the AA community will be.

  12. Up: I don’t know. Some obsessive thot pattern was triggered in their brains and they aren’t going to stop until someone switches it off. They are our dirty little secret of the left blogosphere. They’re all into purity.

  13. “They are our dirty little secret of the left blogosphere”


  14. Riverdaughter: I agree, its just that subordinate is a loaded word, for African-Americans, and for women too, for that matter. How often have I paid the price for what I thought was “taking charge” or “showing initiative,” only to discover afterwards that I had been “insubordinate” — not rude, but insufficiently subordinate.

    What we want is a perception that they’re partners, but she’s “the senior partner.” Something like that.

    But let me ask you a question, because this will come up. What do we think about the reverse: an Obama-Clinton ticket? Sort of like Kennedy-Johnson. I think it would be very hard for her to be a number 2, especially since she’d be in her late 60s by the time she could run for president again. But would she do it if she can’t get enough supers before the convention? To avoid a bloody floor fight? I’m torn. It’s not the outcome I want, but I sooooo want to win in November and I am afraid a floor fight in August could damage whoever comes out the winner.

    I guess a lot depends on whether the DNC tries to work something out with MI and FLA. If its not resolved before the convention, I am just afraid all hell is going to break loose, and it will hurt us.

  15. litigatormom: I think I’ve said this before, if I were her, I would not take the VP slot. It would be just another example of a woman doing her boss’ work and not getting the credit for it. In this instance, it would be even more glaringly obvious.
    I’d turn it down if I were her. She has a better reason than he does for taking a pass and staying in the Senate with dignity intact.

  16. I think Tina Fey hurt Senator Obama’s wittle feewings:


    “Mr. Obama said later that he wanted to meet Tina Fey, the comedy writer and actress who was the guest host on ‘Saturday Night Live’ when it all but endorsed Mrs. Clinton.

    ‘Clearly, Tina Fey and I are going to have to have a conversation,’ Mr. Obama said.

  17. DCD: Wow, that would be a faux pas. Is he saying the reason he lost OH and TX is because of Tina Fey? It had nothing to do with the backlash against the pornographic nipple massage by the media? Nothing to do with Hillary’s qualifications? It’s all Tina’s fault? What’s he going to do? Ask her to stop being funny?

    I wouldn’t go there if I were Obama. It looks too much like spiteful pettiness and aggressive behavior towards an entertainer. Bad, bad idea.

  18. Oh no…. Now Sr. Moulitsas HIMSELF is at it.

    Introducing the darker, wider-nosed, less Christian version of BO


  19. riverdaughter: I tend to agree with you. If she stays in the Senate, she’s in a position to have real influence and power going forward.

    Of course, Obamans would probably say the same thing about Obama take the VP spot — despite his relative youth, and the fact that he’d be perfectly positioned to run for president in 2016.

  20. MNSBC has just announced that the governors of FLA and MI — Crist (R-FLA) and Granholm (D-MI) — are “demanding” that their respective states’ delegations be seated at the conventions.

    I wonder why Crist is going this — there is no impact on the Republican side, and he ought to want Florida Democrats to remain alienated and disaffected.

    Is Granholm a Hillary supporter? Unfortunately, Hillary’s equitable claim for seating the MI delegation is much weaker than in FLA, as discussed earlier in another thread.

  21. On UpstateNY link:

    I thought we were supposed to be the reality based community?

    After New Hampshire, the Obama campaign started dredging up race as an issue for the Clintons. I don’t think it’ll work a second time since its basically a boy who cried wolf situation. Still, its something to watch out for because whenever Obama is on the defensive, they use race.

  22. Okay, to my admittedly middle-aged, far-sighted eyes, the “darker” Obama photos don’t look any different to me. If anything they simply look a bit sharper-edged. Nothing at all like what Time did to the OJ photo.

    Or what the dressing room mirrors at Saks do to my hips.

  23. rd, Obama has continually diminished Hillary’s wins. After NH, they claimed voter fraud though non existed. In NV, it was “Elko, NV” that was more important than Hillary decisively winning. FL, MI don’t count. In CA, they tried to play “voting irregularities” (same in NY). In OH, they did the same. I think this is why I will have a very, very hard time voting for him. Rather than sucking it up and admitting failure, he blames someone else (like he has repeatedly thrown staffers under the bus).

    Bush and I may have completely different philosophies, but I find his petulance and not owning up to mistakes to be his biggest downside. It has led him to be arrogant and stubborn. He could have changed course many times, but blames “the press” or other people. Obama shows way too much similarity in this aspect. Even with good judgment–which I don’t what that means from someone who gave one freakin speech–you are bound to make mistakes. Dealing with mistakes and failures is an extremely important characteristic for a leader. Obama just doesn’t admit to anything.

  24. litigatormom: I don’t think Crist and Granholm are doing Hillary any favors. MI needs to do it again and Crist should stay out of it. It’s not his party.

  25. Well, like I said, I didn’t understand exactly where this was coming from, since I agree that MI needs to do it again, and Crist should want alienated Democratic voters.

    The DNC needs to work something out, though.

  26. Litigatormom: my brief cruise around the web seems to show that Granholm is a Clinton supporter. Can’t find an exact quote; just snippets in the google returns. So, at least from her perspective, it seems genuine. And she probably has greater reason to be concerned about cost than the Florida party. Michigan is in tough straits.
    I think insisting on keeping them out is only going to hurt Obama in the end. I would be absolutely opposed to caucuses and especially in Florida where the elderly would have to fight rabid Obamaphiles. There isn’t any reason to do it again in Florida. Just accept it and move on. Because if they are forced to eat another primary, Obama will lose BIG.

  27. Yeah, I think I want a Florida re-vote because Hillary might win bigger than her previous win. Plus, put Michigan and Florida on April 22nd and another triple loss by Obama might be enough to severely cripple him.

    Here’s a comment by BDB on Talk Left that was funny:

    “I’m sure Florida voters will love Obama even more after he makes them vote again because he refused to seat their delegates the first time. I understand Florida democrats absolutely love being repeatedly told that their votes don’t count.”

  28. LOL! Yep, he ought to just give in on this one while he still has some delegates.

  29. I don’t see how this is anything but a win/win for Crist (and McCain). Crist appears to be standing up for the voters of his state by calling on the DNC to seat the delegates (whether he really wants them seated may be a different thing entirely). If they are seated, he appears to have gone to bat for them; if they are not seated, it’s just another example of DNC stupidity and dissing of said voters. Either way, it may make them feel more kindly toward republicans in the GE.

    And am I doing something wrong in accessing the SurveyUSA poll? The one I’m getting says “Data Collected 7/14/06-7/16/06.”

  30. I can’t believe Obama is going to blame Tina Fey and SNL for his loses. He needs to grow a backbone. After months of being the media darling he can’t take one very truthful observation from he SNL writers. The media is bias and he’s had it easier all along. Anyone except for some of the hardcore Obamabots can acknowledge that fact. Obama is so shallow that he can’t take any criticism, “tough questions”, or jokes without having his surrogates attack people or use the race card. It’s getting really old and I can feel the majority of the country getting tired of him too. By the time the general election rolls around no one is going to listen to the boy who cried wolf. Keep complaining Obama. He just ends up looking like the immature, spoiled brat he really is.

  31. In light of NAFTAGate, I can’t imagine that Obama would do very well in a Michigan re-vote either.

    Seriously, did we let the republicans plan our nominating process? Who came up with this system?

  32. DC Democrat–

    I can’t believe Obama actually said “Tina Fey and I are going to have to have a conversation.” His arrogance is just stunning. I’ll bet he thinks he can look Tina in the eye, hypnotize her with his charisma and draw her into the cult. He’d be better off to just lighten up a little and make a joke about the press coverage.

  33. Am I such a terrible person?

    For the last 3 weeks, I have visited only Hillary-friendly blogs, I have skipped all TV, I have skipped all “liberal” talk radio, I haven’t been on TPM, Puffpost, Dailykooks.

    So what am I doing today on my free day?

    I listen to that sophomoric Stephanie Miller

    I listen to that overfed piece of whale blubber Ed Schultz

    I actually listen a little of that disgusting Randi Rhodes

    I visited ALL the blogs I have been skipping over and over

    And you know why: To watch them squirm


    I shall repent later but know things are too good.

  34. DV– I think you’re right that Obama tends to wear on people. I thought he seemed like a nice guy at first too (in 2004), but the more I heard from him and the more I learned about him, the less I liked him. On the other hand, the more I see Hillary and hear her talk, the more I like her as a person and respect her intelligence and competence. I can’t be unique in this. It’s clear that many many Democrats like Hillary and I think Obama is going to grow on people like a fungus rather than in a good way.

    I feel the same way

  36. Boston Boomer:

    I think — hope — Obama was kidding when he said that he had to have a conversation with Tina Fey. I like to think that he is not quite as blinkered as some of his supporters.

    Because he may still wind up being the nominee, and I would hate to think he’s that sensitive to criticism.

    Because if he thinks Hillary has gone negative on him, he doesn’t know the meaning of negative. And McCain, who was apparently one of Obama’s mentors when he first came to the Senate, isn’t going to cut him any slack.

    The really “arrogant” moment for me was Monday, when Obama couldn’t handle a short presser in which he was peppered with questions about Rezko and the NAFTA/Canada debacle. When he tried to walk away, and reporters kept yelling after him, he turned and said, “Hey, guys, come on, i’ve already answered eight questions.”

    Eight questions. How many tough questions has Hillary had to answer in her career — eight MILLION, maybe?

  37. MABlue – “For the last 3 weeks, I have visited only Hillary-friendly blogs, I have skipped all TV, I have skipped all “liberal” talk radio, I haven’t been on TPM, Puffpost, Dailykooks.”

    Omigod! We’re living the exact same life! “Dailykooks” — I love that. May I steal it?

  38. MABlue and MessyMarcy, put me in the same block. Today, I visited dkos, tpm, and those other blogs that I’ve skipped for the longest time.

    BTW, what did Ed Shultz say? I think he predicted an Obama sweep.

  39. Oops, typo, I meant to say put me in the same club. The euphoria of victory is messing with my thinking skills.

  40. Special to MABlue — Politico had a cartoon up earlier about “Schaden-Freudian Psychology”.

    I think it was intended for a Hillary loss … but very enjoyable in today’s news context.

    And I do think Tina Fey may have been the butterfly whose wings flapped and started the hurricane.

  41. John Kerry was on Ed Shultz today and I learned one thing: This guy is a tough fighter… Against Hillary Clinton.

    Bob Shrum has also shown himself to be a very tough campaigner lately… Against Hillary Clinton.

    For those who haven’t noticed: These are the Dem candidate of 04 and his campaign strategist. The 2 losers who ran the worst campaign in my lifetime. Two losers who could not respond to a bogus attack on Kerry’s legitimate war record.

    Now they are out there showing what tough and great fighter they are.

    *ronkseattle, thanks for the cartoon.

  42. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080305/ap_on_el_pr/primary_scramble

    What the heck is Granholm thinking? A caucus in Michigan?

    “Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Clinton supporter, told the Detroit Free Press that Clinton’s victory in Ohio changes “the landscape a bit.” She said it could open the door to a caucus, if it can be privately funded and both candidates agree.”

    I hope its a caucus in name only sort of like New Mexico. I think the legislature has to sign off on a new primary but I’m not too sure about that.

  43. riverdaughter and Boston Boomer: My guess is The Precious was trying to be funny, but his jab at humor really touched at a very sore point with him. I read on Politico today that he said he had called the producer of SNL. He really thinks SNL derailed him.

  44. I love that “The Precious.” Is that riverdaughter’s creation? It’s perfect.

    Anyway, I don’t think The Precious has a very good sense of humor. Hillary does, and she should put it on display a lot more often. If he’s worried about and over the hill comedy show derailing his campaign, he’s in a lot more trouble than I ever suspected.

  45. WTF? Michigan caucus? What is Granholm thinking indeed.

    If Clinton is willing to go for a caucus, I hope her staff figures out how to really organize for one.

  46. It would make no sense for Obama to take the VP slot. He is self-absorbed enough to really think Clinton will lose to McCain, and why would he want any part of that? I’d be happiest if she took Rendell, but he won’t do it (and rightly so–it’s not his idiom, as John Cleese would say), but Edwards or Richardson or (who knows) some more far-out choice like Wyden would do the trick.

  47. Remember Rezko-gate? If Hillary and Barack will join forces in the GE, this scandal might drag them down because it will surely unfold fully in the beginning or middle of the GE. And then what?

  48. Hey guys, I can’t take credit for The Precious. Anglachel came up with that one, although it does seem to fit him perfectly.

  49. I like Wesley Clark for VP. Go Clinton/Clark.

  50. The more I think about a C/O or O/C ticket the more I think that’s what we’re going to end up with. The primary is FUBAR and will effectively be decided by superdelegates. Some fraction of the backers of the losing candidate will see this as illegitimate. Adding their candidate to the ticket may be the only way to overcome that.

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