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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

West Virginia Primary Coverage

[Final update] Final West Virginia returns showed Clinton won with 67 percent of the vote, compared with Obama’s 26 percent. John Edwards, who dropped out of the race in January, remained on the ballot and still drew 7 percent.

[Updates below]

Although we reported yesterday that Hillary Clinton is expected to cream Obama in West Virginia today and in Kentucky next week, Obama is the favorite for Oregon which is next week as well.

At the bottom of this post, I will update with the final results of exactly how badly Clinton beats Obama in West Virginia, when the results start coming in, but no matter how bad the beat in WV or Kentucky, it will not catch Clinton up to Obama in delegates, so her only hope is that a large enough win in both Kentucky and West Virginia will cast doubts about Obama's electability in the minds of the superdelegates.

Doubtful, but very large wins, or landslides, in WV and KY will definitely give Hillary the incentive to continue to fight for the Democratic nomination.

The coverage today shows high turnouts expected at the polls in WV.

The news came in yesterday that Democratic supporters, by a majority of 64 percent, think Hillary Clinton should stay in the race, that includes 42 percent of Obama supporters.

Despite Obama's advantage in delegates and popular vote, 64 percent of Democrats in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say Clinton should remain in the race. Even among Obama's supporters, 42 percent say so.

That is followed up today by a USA Today report that shows, to a lesser extent, the same thing. Democrats want the contest to continue.

CNN reports that when polling places opened today they were seeing she held a 40 percent lead over Obama in West Virginia already, which as per their headline, could raise doubts about Obama's overall electability in a general election against John McCain.

According to Bill Schneider, a CNN senior political analyst, "A big Clinton win will send a powerful message that there are a lot of Democrats not yet ready to get on board with Obama."

Personally I am not sure how accurate his assessment is, but the superdelegates do have to take into account how Obama performs and whether they need certain states in November to be able to place a Democrat in the White House and they must ask themselves if he can win those states.

As the long odds to winning the nomination get longer, one thing Clinton continues to do is tout her electability, saying she's the stronger Democratic candidate to go up against McCain, a Republican from Arizona, in November.

Moving right along, the Washington Post is reporting some racial incidents occurring against Obama campaigners, the attitudes being some of what I touched on yesterday.

For all the hope and excitement Obama's candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed -- and unreported -- this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They've been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they've endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can't fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president.

The contrast between the large, adoring crowds Obama draws at public events and the gritty street-level work to win votes is stark. The candidate is largely insulated from the mean-spiritedness that some of his foot soldiers deal with away from the media spotlight.

The article shows some specific incidents, so go read it.

Bottom line, the ugly reality is racism is going to be a large part of how certain segments of society votes and this needs to be taken into account by Democratic leaders.

In this day and age, this shouldn't be a problem but the stark reality is, as wrong as it is on so many IS a problem.

Proving the point spectacularly, you have people like Marietta tavern owner Mike Norman who is selling T-shirts , which features a cartoon chimp Curious George peeling a banana, with "Obama in '08" underneath.

Not helpful at all.

Major hat tip to Townhall, is Paul Begala who is a Clinton supporter saying, "We cannot win with egg heads and African-Americans. OK, that is the Dukakis Coalition, which carried ten states and gave us four years of the first George Bush."

Carol Platt sums it up nicely here:

These incidents are deplorable, awful and totally wrong. Anyone who is refusing to vote for Barack Obama just because he's black is a racist, and should be ashamed. (And how shocking to learn that this is going on in a Democratic primary . . . haven't we always been instructed that the Democrat Party is the party of the enlightened?!).

Back in the realm of reality, it's the sad truth that there will probably be some people who won't vote for Barack just because of his skin color. But there will be many, many more who oppose him because of his leftist policies and his radical associations. It's important to distinguish between the two. And that's not just because it's wrong both to slander all GOP voters by calling them racists and to equate all opposition to Barack with racism per se. It's also important for the sake of the candidate and the campaign itself that the distinction between policy opponents and invidious-motive opponents be grasped

Taylor Marsh touches on that point as well. sure, there will be people that will vote based on the color of Obama's skin, but far more will vote on issues and if they do vote for someone else because they prefer someone elses stand on issues, that doesn't make them racist as well.

It's what Democrats have been missing for decades, right up until Hillary Clinton tapped into it. The first candidate to be able to convince lunch bucket Democrats, which come in all colors and shades (Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, Irish-Scots), that voting your economic interest will actually begin to solve your problems on the way to ending them. But to the elitist numbskulls in the Obama wing of the Democratic party, which includes the knee jerk analysis on most cable networks, if you vote for Clinton you're a racist. Convenient, but clueless.

I have seen this myself in my own comment sections. Anyone that points to Obama's stances that aren't great, or his "misstatements" or outright lies, or his questionable associations with racists himself, is all of a sudden labeled a racist.

That is THEIR form of racism, to scream racist to anyone that has legitimate questions about Obama's character.

They are not helping Obama by doing so either. In November, those are the people that will lose him support but they are too busy screaming RACIST at the top of their lungs to understand what they are doing.

People will vote the way they are going to vote for whatever personal reasons they have, but to lump anyone that doesn't vote for Obama into the "racist" category is simply the most idiotic form of racism I have seen to date.

Remember to check back because as results come in about the WV primary, I will be reporting them.


Polls are closed and Hillary Clinton has been projected to win and the by a decisive measure, exact numbers will be listed when they are in.

News is saying she won almost every demographic group in West Virginia.

Exit polls are out already and you can see the issues people were asked about as they left the polls.

CNN exit polls show severe divisions among Democratic voters. Half of the Democratic voters said they would vote for john McCain if Obama is the candidate.

Almost as many of Hillary Clinton's West Virginia supporters would vote for John McCain as would for Barack Obama, exit polls show.

If Obama were the Democratic nominee, 36 percent of Clinton supporters would vote for him in the fall, the polls found.

But 35 percent said they'd cast their vote for McCain instead.
[Upadte #2] While waiting for the final tally to see how badly Clinton beat Obama in WV, Obama has already released his "spin" as some are calling it.

There is no question that Senator Clinton is going to win by huge margins in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia today and Kentucky next weeks. She has poured resources into both states and she, former President Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton have all campaigned extraordinarily hard there.

Read the whole thing but I focus on that particular sentence and refer to the word spin because of this:

"Given the attempts by our opponent and some in the media to declare this race over, any significant increase in voter turnout, coupled with a decisive Clinton victory, would send a strong message that Democrats remain excited and energized by Hillary's candidacy," the memo says.

More: "In the face of grim poll numbers, the Obama campaign has attempted to dismiss today's outcome despite the fact that Sen. Obama has outspent us on advertising, has more staff in the state, and more than double the number of offices. He has also benefited from the support of the most high-profile endorsers in West Virginia-Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall. By every measure, the Obama campaign has waged an aggressive campaign in the Mountain State."

More money spent, more resources used and news reports are saying Clinton blew him out. She didn't just win and certainly this one win, no matter how huge, will not help her very much in catching up with delegate counts, but the fact that he fought so hard and got nowhere is not a good sign about how these states will vote if he is chosen as the Democratic nominee.

On a side note.... Obama is alienating Democratic Independent groups, seemingly on purpose.

More when the final numbers are in.