A week ago, a surging Barack Obama looked towards today’s primary races in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont as deal closers — the elections that would send Hillary Clinton packing and seal his drive towards the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Today, with lingering questions about his ties to a corrupt Chicago deal maker and conflicting reports about what his trade adviser may or may not have told the Canadian government, Obama could hit a roadblock on his road to inevitability.

As in past elections, Obama’s chances for another round of primary wins depends heavily on turnout. Early voting in Texas shows signs of a record count and long lines at polling places are expected in the other states but polls in Ohio and the Lone Star state show a race that is deadlocked.

Tracking polls suggest Obama’s race may be stuttering under the glare of increased scrutiny but — as New Hampshire and other states have shown in this unpredictable primary season — polls don’t always predict the final outcome.

Still, Clinton has vowed to stay in the race no matter what happens on Tuesday and she appears to have renewed energy on the campaign trail.

Reports Tom Raum of The Associated Press:

Barack Obama approached Tuesday’s voting in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont as a chance to drive rival Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the Democratic presidential contest for good. Clinton looked at the same contests as a way to end Obama’s streak of 11 straight victories and keep her candidacy alive.

Spending the night in the same Texas city, both expressed confidence in their chances. But both teams acknowledged that split decisions and close votes could prolong the battle for at least another month — or more.

“We know this has been an extraordinary election. It continues to be. We’re working hard to do as well as we can,” said Obama, who planned to await Texas returns in San Antonio.

“I’m just getting warmed up,” Clinton told reporters, a clear sign that she expects to press the campaign on beyond Tuesday no matter the outcome.

She was opening Election Day in Houston, but then heading back to Ohio for more campaign events. She will await results in Columbus before returning to Washington.

Polls show tight races in both Texas and Ohio. The Obama campaign saw Texas as their best opportunity, while the Clinton campaign saw Ohio as theirs. Texas offers 228 delegates, Ohio 164.

“Your voice can win an election,” Obama told a noisy late-night rally in Houston. Repeating a signature election refrain, he shouted: “I have only one question for you: Are you fired up? Ready to go?” When the crowd roared its approval, he added: “Let’s go change the world.”

His wife, Michelle, had a more subdued message for the cheering supporters: “We have a lot of work to do.”

Obama spent Monday campaigning in Texas, emphasizing his readiness to take over as commander in chief.

But he was dogged by allegations that he had overstated his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement to win votes in Ohio; and his ties to Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko on the day that jury selection began in the political corruption trial of the real estate developer and fast-food magnate.

“Tony Rezko was a friend and supporter of mine for many years. These charges are completely unrelated to me, and nobody disputes that,” Obama said at a news conference in San Antonio.

Obama did receive a $10,000 contribution made by a Rezko associate that is mentioned in the indictment. But Obama’s campaign has long since sent the money to charity.

“There’s no dispute that he raised money for us, and there’s no dispute that we’ve tried to get rid of it,” Obama said.

John Whitesides at Reuters writes that Clinton may have slowed Obama’s momentum:

Hillary Clinton gained ground on rival Barack Obama to take a slim lead in Texas and pull even in Ohio before their crucial Democratic presidential showdowns, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Houston Chronicle poll released on Tuesday.

Clinton needs victories in both big-state battles to keep her candidacy alive and halt Obama’s string of 11 consecutive victories in the race to choose the Democratic nominee in November’s presidential election.

The New York senator took a 47 percent to 44 percent lead on Obama in Texas, reversing Obama’s 3-point edge on Monday. The lead was within the margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

The race in Ohio was deadlocked at 44 percent in the polling by Zogby International, a slight gain for Clinton from Obama’s 2-point edge on Monday.

Clinton has hammered the Illinois senator for days over his readiness to be commander in chief and the sincerity of his pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, an unpopular deal in economically hard-hit Ohio where it is believed to have cost the state manufacturing jobs.

The arguments appear to have helped Clinton make inroads with male voters, particularly white and Hispanic men, as Obama’s big early leads among men have dwindled, pollster John Zogby said.

“Her gains have largely been from growth among men,” he said. “It looks like the argument about strength and the questions raised about Obama are paying off.”

For Obama, questions about his relationship with corrupt Chicago real estate developer Tony Rezko continues to raise doubts about his claims as a candidate of change.

Writes Peter Slevin in The Washington Post:

For businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the goal was to get close to politicians who might matter someday. He targeted a raft of up-and-comers, including a young state senator named Barack Obama.

The trial is also expected to fill out the portrait of Rezko, a onetime investor, restaurant owner and Obama fundraiser who contributed to his campaigns and sold the senator from Illinois a piece of property in 2005 on Chicago’s South Side.

Obama is expected to be no more than a footnote to the three-month trial — Rezko allegedly contributed $10,000 in extorted funds to Obama’s campaign — yet Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign has bombarded reporters with Web links and word that the proceedings are beginning.

Searching for an advantage after 11 straight primary losses, Clinton strategists said Obama should be questioned more closely about his relationship with Rezko, who faces a separate trial on charges of swindling $10 million from a financial institution.

For his part, Obama has called the 2005 real estate deal with Rezko’s wife “boneheaded” and has donated to charity $149,585 in contributions linked to Rezko. The campaign said the money came from Rezko, his family and employees, as well as guests at a fundraiser held at his home.

Rezko sought to hire Obama out of Harvard Law School in the early 1990s and later donated to Obama’s successful runs for the Illinois and U.S. senates. They occasionally socialized before Obama first consulted him on the house purchase, but the senator has said he did no favors for Rezko.

Ethics watchdogs in Chicago accept Obama’s account, noting that he was instrumental in passing the strongest state ethics law in 25 years as a freshman state senator. But they have called the real estate deal and his failure to distance himself from Rezko a lapse in judgment.

In 2005, Barack and Michelle Obama and Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought adjacent properties near the University of Chicago. The Obamas bought a $1.65 million home and Rita Rezko the vacant lot next door for $625,000.

The Obamas, wanting a larger yard, later bought one-sixth of the Rezko lot for one-sixth of the price. Obama said in an interview in December 2006, as he prepared to launch his presidential bid, “There’s no doubt I should have seen some red flags in terms of me purchasing a piece of property from him.”

“It wasn’t something we needed to have,” Obama said of the larger yard.

Rezko’s trial, opening on the week of the crucial Ohio and Texas primaries, is also Obama didn’t need to have, along with questions about what one of his senior advisors may or may not have told Canadian officials about the Senator’s “real” stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Writes Nedra Pickler of The Associated Press:

Barack Obama said Monday that his campaign never gave Canada back-channel assurances that his harsh words about the North American Free Trade Agreement were for political show – despite the disclosure of a Canadian memo indicating otherwise.

According to the memo obtained by The Associated Press, Obama’s senior economic adviser told Canadian officials in Chicago that the debate over free trade in the Democratic presidential primary campaign was “political positioning” and that Obama was not really protectionist.

The adviser, Austan Goolsbee, said his comments to those officials were misinterpreted by the author, Joseph DeMora, who works for the Canadian consulate in Chicago and attended the meeting.

In Carrollton, Texas, Obama told reporters: “Nobody reached out to the Canadians to try to assure them of anything.”

Asked why he had appeared to deny a report last week that such a meeting had taken place, Obama said: “That was the information I had at the time.”

The Canadian SNAFU is a rare glitch in the usually smooth-running Obama campaign machine but it could hurt him in both Ohio and Texas where NAFTA are hot button issues. His backtracking on an earlier denial that such a meeting ever took place also races questions on how his campaign will deal with increased media and public scrutiny in a campaign season that seems to never end.


  1. By the way…My Congratulations to Hillary on her victories in Ohio and Vermont..she pulled off something most did not think possible, and at the moment is doing better in Texas than most predicted she would.

    “If theres no wind ya just have to row”

  2. There are several points to review here:

    The Roman Empire took on too much out of the nations they conquered…

    One of the problems of the empire was the fact that Constantine divided it into two parts and moved the capital of the eastern and much richer half to Constantinople. The division left the western empire with such problems as having considerably less wealth, a weaker military, a crumbling civic infrastructure and subject to much greater pressure from various barbarian tribal migrations.

    While the western empire essentially collapsed within a century of the separation – though it would take an additional 60+ years to remove the last artifacts – the eastern half remained powerful and stood guard on the eastern ramparts of Christian Europe for another thousand years. In that millennium – for which the eastern empire paid with its existence – western Europe fended off the encroachment of militant Islamic expansion, survived the centuries of barbarian invasions, regained political stability and provided the algorithm for the intellectual explosion known as the Renaissance.

    It was the Renaissance and its offspring, the Reformation, that has given us the modern world.

    …We are doing the same thing in the Middle East and possibly in South America.

    We have certainly destabilized much of the Arab/Muslim world; however, it should be noted that the Middle East never seems to get past being metastable.

    As to South America, the present squabble seems to be home-grown, the product of regional rivalries, and we should have the good sense to stay out of it.

    Nothing would please me more than to leave you and the other forum alone.

    Previously addressed.

    Go home! You are out of your class here.

    As a duly registered member of this forum, I believe that I am entitled to respond to any post made by any poster, and that I do not require the imprimatur of any other member in order to do so.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  3. It will be hard to convince Obama supporters that he is in anyway corrupt. What won’t be so hard, is planting a seed of doubt in the voters minds, and that what is taking place for the past few days.

    The majority of American voters are not well informed but will simply hear or read headlines and make up their minds as to whom they will support/vote for. The political pundits, party leaders and campaign directors are all keenly aware of this and all use it to their advantge. That’s when and why the Karl Roves of the world get busy and start sowing seeds of doubt…at first subtly, then later by blatent and unmitigated lies (does “The Swift Boaters” or McCains fathering an illegitimate black daughter ring a bell?) The sickening truth is, though mud slinging has always existed, it now plays a major role in the Presidential elections.

    Sandy, you were correct about Matthews on Hard Ball having shown Hillary’s statements she made on 60 minutes several times. I found it mildly surprising since he has always been an Obama supporter but then decided it was problably used to stir things up and use it to his shows advantage as a point of interest. I also thought that perhaps, since he has been so horrible to Hillary, while pro Obama that he may just be covering his ass, knowing full well that Obama has still to face the upcoming torrent of mud that will soon be slung at him. What I found it more interesting was, that Howard Fineman of News Week opined that Hillary would not back out of the race, and that he didn’t think she should, Matthews seemed somewhat perplexed but Finemen’s closing words to him were “I think she will stay in”…this is interesting since I don’t recall him saying this before, and even more so, because News Week just did a piece on the Obama/Rezko connection….Finemens comments even made me think twice to myself..”ummm…maybe he knows more about story than was printed in that piece”

    As for myself, I have been aware of the current rumors for quite while, and have always thought that Obama’s past dealings with Rezko (regardless of why or how minor) were going to rise up, bite him in the butt causing his campaign and himself problems….now, we can just sit back and wait…but If I were Hillary I would never drop out of the race, perhaps suspend the campaign, but never drop out..knowing how fast things can change, once the mud really starts being slung….and that it will positively be slung fast and furious in the coming days and months.

    “Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell”
    ~Shana Alexander

  4. That is sound logic and dynamite introspect,Keith.This has to be the lamest of the lame in terms of choice from the political arena that I’ve ever witnessed ,and you are correct in your assertion that it’s a set-up.Why can’t our cries that it’s truly a one party system be heard Sandra?

  5. If Clinton is making a big deal of Rezko, why isn’t the Obama campaign reminding the press about Hsu?

    Hsu wasn’t just indicted, he’s in jail.

    Obama had to give $165,000 of Rezko donations to charity. Clinton had to give back 5 times as much.

    What’s the Clinton message here? Obama is almost as bad as I am?

  6. Flapsaddle. The Roman Empire took on too much out of the nations they conquered. We are doing the same thing in the Middle East and possibly in South America. Nothing would please me more than to leave you and the other forum alone. Go home! You are out of your class here.

  7. The polls are suspicious. I don’t see how they could change so drastically from day to day. I pay no attention to them.

  8. Perhaps my tongue was a bit far out in my cheek when I wrote that “fair and balanced” for you to understand? I was simply suggesting – in a minimally cynical way – that since our host had been lavishly hectored by some here for allegedly being an Obama shill perhaps they should now reverse course and horse-whip him for being a Clinton shill.

    Of course the RNC was geared up for Clinton! A campaign staff, like a military staff, is always prepared to (re)fight the last war. They will come up with a plan to fight Obama, of that I have no doubt. What remains to be seen is whether or not they are any more effective than was Clinton.

    If I remember my Gibbon correctly, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire was a complex and lengthy matter not tied to the actions of any one emperor; it involved military defeats, economics, citizenship and demographic matters. I think that you overestimate McCain’s ability to cram into what would likely be a single term all of the complex algorithm that engineered the fall of the western empire.

    As to what the reaction would be to your posts on another forum, don’t you think it advisable to leave those matters on that forum and not make them a part of CHB?

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  9. “If McCain is elected our future will be just like the end of the Roman Empire”

    That’s for certain. He’s the candidate MOST LIKELY to start a nuclear war.

  10. Sandra wrote:

    “The election of 2008 shows the desparate need for a third party! The best we can hope for is a change that removes the government from intimidating all of us.”

    Hear hear!

    My biggest concern right now, Sandra, is how (and with whom) the “Republicrats” are planning to stack the Supreme Court with until that third party you and I are BOTH waiting for can get cranked up and running.

  11. T.J. “Fair and Balanced” belongs to Fox News. CHB is debating and discussing all candidates with equal skepticism.

    The RNC is ready to take on Hillary Clinton and certainly not Barak Obama. He speaks for the future and the GOP cannot even think of the future without the One World Order of an American Empire.

    The election of 2008 shows the desparate need for a third party! The best we can hope for is a change that removes the government from intimidating all of us.

    2008 has the possibility of destroying the corruption within the GOP by throwing the bastards out of office. If we succeed the Democrats might just get smart and aim for honesty and integrity. The GOP has been a failure and needs to be removed from being a political party. They set the standard of bad government.

    If McCain is elected our future will be just like the end of the Roman Empire. If I posted this information on Faded, you all would tell me to blow it out my ass. You can’t do that here!

  12. I believe that Obama wins by 8% in Texas. He wins by 2% in Ohio. Zogby is now calling Ohio even as of today. Cold weather improves Baraks chances as it keeps the over 50 years old people away from Hillary Clinton. He wins big in Vermont by 65%. Road Island has done two polls by a major newspaper and they have Barak winning Road Island big. The reason for the big win in Texas is several fold. 400,000 Calls were made by Move-On for Obama this last weekend. Also the Republican cross over vote will favor Obama 3 to 1. Obama has huge advertising and boots on the ground in Texas.

    In Ohio I gave Obama the margin of error and then some. So, he edges Clinton by 2% late night in Ohio.

    Yes, The Bush administration did a lot of damage to our freedoms and Constitution. What dumbfounds me is that Hillary Clinton never took one minuet to carry the freedom/Constitutional banner. After all, Democrats aren’t exempt from the Constitution; are they?

    Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton never had an organized campaign in the first place. Instead She preferred to run a Dukakis style campaign, only running in big states. Obama wins because he reached out and stayed on message. Hillary has her kitchen sink.

    I therefore predict a 4 state sweep for Barak Obama.

  13. “And, as you can see, millions of Americans are buying into it because THEY want it too!”

    Americans want change. They are tired of “the spend and steal” Genuises of propaganda standing in the way of progress.

    We’ve seen it before and we shall see it again. It happens throughout history.

  14. It’s an inevitable and foregone conclusion that in Barack Obama’s past there are choices he’s made which are now fodder for the opposition. I can’t honestly say whether or not Rezko story, the NAFTA story or the pastor story will have any sticking power. My gut feeling is they won’t.

    The RNC playbook on how to defeat a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy has been written, revised and updated for years now. It’s on the shelf just waiting to be implemented. The Hillary Clinton stigma, for some reason, just doesn’t play to a majority of the American people. A Hillary Clinton nomination will result in people voting “against” something instead of “for” something. Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure in national politics. Hillary Clinton will be a candidate who spends more time defending herself and fighting off the accusations rather than articulating the benefits her Presidency will bring the American people. Quite frankly I don’t want to hear about Whitewater anymore, or Monica-gate, or travel-gate, or Vince Foster or her book “It Takes A Village”, or insider stock trading, etceteras.

    Obama is somewhat of an enigma to the Republicans. They’re not quite sure what to make of him or how to attack him. The right-wing machine and their talk show drones have successfully planted in the minds of many Americans the demonization of the Clintons. Only now are they beginning to game plan the means by which they are going to do the same to Obama. Still, advantage Obama.

    Barack Obama offers the Democratic Party the best chance to win back the White House. Barack Obama is inviting Americans to join him in making a clean break from the “politics as usual” mentality. Will he be successful? Maybe, maybe not. He himself readily admits the challenge is monumental. He is the only canididate whose has a core plank in his platform that specifically addresses reform in Washington. And, as you can see, millions of Americans are buying into it because THEY want it too!

  15. In the interest of “balance and fairness”, should not those posters here who have been accusing you of Clinton-bashing and Obama-pimping now do a volte-face and accuse you – with equal validity – of bashing Obama and pimping Clinton?

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  16. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I’m becoming more and more resolute in my plan to vote “none of the above” in the General Election. And it would appear that all of my previous comments about the “Republicrats” are, once again, coming true. They are simply two factions of the same “country club”.

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