Obama within reach of nomination

Barack Obama’s wave of superdelegate endorsements puts him within reach of the Democratic presidential nomination by the end of the primary season on June 3 — even if he loses half of the remaining six contests.

The Illinois senator has picked up 26 superdelegates in the past week. At that pace, he will reach the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination — 2,025 — in the next three weeks, when delegates from the remaining primaries are included.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s best chance to slow Obama is to move the goal posts. She will get that chance May 31 when the Democratic National Committee’s rules panel considers proposals to seat the delegates that had been stripped from Florida and Michigan. Those two states violated national party rules by holding their primaries in January and lost their delegates.

“Michigan and Florida are key to it,” Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director, said Monday.

Obama picked up four superdelegates Monday, including Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Rep. Tom Allen of Maine.

Allen, a six-term congressman who is running for the Senate, said the time has come for a “graceful end” to the nomination fight.

“I believe the process of reconciliation, the process of unifying this party, should begin sooner rather than later,” Allen said. “It should begin in May and not in June.”

Obama has 1,871.5 delegates, including endorsements from party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Clinton has 1,697, according to the latest tally by The Associated Press. That leaves Obama just 153.5 delegates short of the number needed to win the nomination at the party’s national convention this August in Denver.

There are 217 delegates at stake in the six remaining primaries, in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota. Even if Clinton wins most of those delegates, Obama could reach the magic number by the time South Dakota and Montana vote on June 3.

Obama has been careful not to declare himself the nominee prematurely, even as his campaign focuses increasingly on Republican Sen. John McCain. Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, has outlined a strategy for winning the nomination that extends beyond the end of the primaries.

The battle might not last that long.

For Clinton to have a shot, she needs several things to fall her way, including the remaining superdelegates. Obama has claimed more than 80 percent of the superdelegates since Super Tuesday on Feb. 5. He now leads in states won, pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses and superdelegate endorsements.

He erased her longtime advantage in superdelegates this weekend and now leads 281-271.5. Some 200 undecided superdelegates remain, with an additional 42 still to be selected at state party conventions and meetings throughout the spring. Superdelegates are party leaders who attend the convention as delegates by virtue of their positions, and are not selected in primaries and caucuses.

Clinton desperately needs to have the delegates from Michigan and Florida seated in a way that greatly benefits her.

“It would be helpful,” Wolfson acknowledged.

The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee voted to strip all the delegates from Florida and Michigan because they violated party rules by holding primaries before Feb. 5. The same panel will consider reinstating them.

Under the votes cast in January, Clinton would have won most of the delegates in both states. However, neither candidate campaigned in either state and Obama had his name removed from the ballot in Michigan.

Reinstating all the delegates and superdelegates would increase the number needed to claim the nomination to 2,209, perhaps extending the campaign. But even under the best scenario for Clinton, Obama would still be left with a lead of about 100 delegates, with fewer than 300 superdelegates left to be claimed.

“We need to do well everywhere,” Wolfson said. “Our hope is that superdelegates will look at the results in some of these states and recognize that Senator Clinton would be the best nominee against John McCain.”


(Associated Press Writer Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.)


  1. Sandra Price

    There is a massive movement coming after the Democrats bring in Obama. The GOP under the research done by Rush Limbaugh to prove Obama is a spy for Islam. This is another Rove action to get McCain elected. I believe it will work. They tried the racist card and found some resistance but the Muslim card is waiting to be dealt. It has already started and talk radio throws the first card out.

    The GOP is absolutely desperate to replace Bush with McCain and the GOP has destroyed many good candidates when they refused to bend to their power. This time they aim at “a black Musim” and shows me that it is long overdue to dump this entire political movement.

    Hell, I’m no Democrat but I am an American who will never allow this kind of treatment to another American no matter the color of his skin. I’m taking on my own personal friends on this issue and it hurts.

  2. Flapsaddle

    Barring a catastrophic rearrangement of the deck-chairs, the GOP/McCain team can now concentrate its efforts on defeating Obama. If one makes the analogy to a “deep battle” strategy, it will be interesting to see how they choose to parse both the issues and the various demographics necessary to win.

    The major issue will doubtlessly be economic. Depending on which set of economists you talk to, the diagnosis is that we are in a recessionary cycle and the debate is over how deep and how long. But the day-to day effects require no experts to tell people what is happening: Gasoline approaching $4/gallon, food priced beginning to climb rapidly, the housing market in disarray and still no answer for the health-care problem. The strategy will – naturally – be to blame the Democrats since they breakdown manifested itself on their watch.

    The war question will be full of heat, light and sound, but of little substance. Obama has essentially indicated that he will not cut and run if elected, so the strategy will be to see who can appear most patriotic in their need to “support the troops.”

    The GOP probably do not have to worry about the so-called “religious right”, as they have generally gotten them locked in. Hillary Clinton’s campaign energized them, but now they need to be persuaded to stay energized against the same degree of enthusiasm by many traditional Democrats for the Obama campaign. The problem is not to keep them from voting Democrat, the problem is to keep them from not voting.

    Forget the feminists, because the GOP never gets them any way. The target female voter audience here will be what have been called the “soccer moms” in past elections, women who do not identify with the young or old feminists and who tend to be more socially conservative.

    Forget the black vote and the so-called “intellectuals” as well. They are pathologically Democrat anyway, and even more so with a black candidate leading the charge. Kiss the Latin vote largely bye-bye, except for the Cuban voters of southern Florida since they tend to be socially conservative.

    The young may not be much of a problem either. Their passion often tends to flame out post-primary, and they will either vote Democrat or – more likely – not vote at all.

    The real GOP demographic target in the voter Venn diagram will be those so-called poor, ignorant whites – the ones who rallied to Clinton in Pennsylvania and Indiana, and who will carry her to substantial victories in West Virginia and Kentucky. This element, more politely referred to as whites at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, is the one that progressively deserted the Democrats in the 60s and 70s and handed the GOP five presidencies in six elections and the first control of the House in 50 years.

    The Clinton campaign did a lot of Rove’s work for him. In the voting analysis and in the themes hit on by Clinton the candidate and Clinton the husband, it is obvious who the numerically smaller GOP must encourage to cross over in order to assure a McCain win.

    The main fun is just beginning, and their is still plenty of popcorn for every one.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  3. Sandra Price

    The fun is just beginning which is what I would expect from you. I tend to look at the future with more serious eyes. Are we going to lose any chance at a black President? I resent this uneducated white women’s vote that you love to spout. I know of few in my world who wants to assure a McCain win. We poor white trash can see the truth of McCain and the horrors of another Clinton. I’ve dealt with Barr in the past and only Paul would get me to vote Republican. I fear McCain more than I care to say as he epitomizes all that is wrong in America.

    You are back to tap dancing looking for popcorn as usual. You do nobody any good.

  4. Roadapple00

    The democrats need to review electability again. I am hearing more and more people say “If Obama wins, I will vote for McCain”. Do we want another republican?

  5. Flapsaddle

    The power-brokers of the party are in an unenviable position. They have to acknowledge, at least implicitly, that racism is alive and well in their party, and whichever candidate gets the nod will leave another big chunk disappointed and angry.

    So, they are faced with a Solomonic decision of how to cut the baby in half without killing it because each “mother” is too concerned with its own interests to think of the larger issue.

    The great irony here is that the party that damned the 2000 election as being decided by an elite panel may now have to make exactly the same decision.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  6. DejaVuAllOver

    I agree with Sandra. The redneck GOP will stop at nothing to get Obama out, or worse. A simple argument (even simple enough for rednecks) I’ve used goes something like this, and even some rednecks seem to buy it:

    Find me an African American with no Muslim ancestors and I’ll show you a white Evangelical from Kansas who’s had a reverse Michael Jackson…….

    Be careful, though. I play in music in bars, and I’m used to ducking!

  7. Don Quixote and Company

    Maybe so, Roadapple. The pundits keep talking about the working class circle around the Penn-Ohio-Indy et al area. Fine if you want to forget the whole South. I hope that the Supes do reach back and pull ole Hillary up. Just like you suggest. It’s about time that the lesson gets learned. So when she loses South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennesee, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, then yall can kick up your heels. She will proudly boast that she won Indiana (she won’t), Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida (she won’t), Texas (she won’t) She keeps referring to the past, that in order to win you need to win the swing states…let’s look at the blue and red map from the last two elections, without the South there won’t be a Hillary victory. In the South they will vote against Hillary, not vote for McCain. Take a look. She won’t talk about this of course…selective memory I guess.