0

Hillary’s back, neither gone nor forgotten

Hillary Clinton will be making her first big Bay Area appearance since dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination this Thursday morning, as she addresses the national convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. (Al Gore is speaking there Wednesday, but that’s completely closed to the press – what gives?)

Later Thursday, she’ll be feted at a private “unity” fundraiser in Los Altos Hills, organized through Barack Obama‘s campaign and aimed at retiring her campaign debt; the requested contribution is $500. Former Menlo Park Mayor Gail Slocum had this to say in announcing the fundraiser on Obama’s blog:

“I was originally an Edwards supporter/fundraiser, and I’m keeping the big picture strategy in mind here for electing Barack: The RNC and McCain have about a $40 million advantage over our side’s combined funds on hand as of the end of June. Without the strongest possible enthusiastic support from Hillary’s and all the candidates’ fundraising and organizing leaders over the next 3 1/2 months, we will not realistically be able to run a winning 50-state Presidential campaign (as well as widen Dem margins in Congress). I am also mindful that Hillary’s debt is owed to many small business people who provided campaign services. Finally, Hillary has kept her promise to support Barack and urge her supporters to do so too, and this is a concrete way to say thank you. We need unity now to win and show McCain that they can’t divide us this time.

Plus, on a more personal level, I plan to bring our 9 year old daughter to meet Hillary and witness personally the remarkable leader who made women’s history this year and has already influenced our daughter’s perspectives greatly “Mommy, WHEN I’m President, I’ll…”).

1

Obama leads statewide student mock vote

Preliminary results of the 2008 MyVote California student mock election — involving more than 240,000 students from 450 middle and high schools across the state — show Barack Obama and John McCain are the picks of the next generation of voters.

Launched in November by Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, MyVote California is a hands-on civic engagement project for high school students that culminated in the statewide mock election, held this week.

bowen.gif“The MyVote mock election wasn’t just about taking the political pulse of California students; it was about engaging them in our democracy,” Bowen said in a news release. “I wanted to see how students would feel about issues that would directly affect their lives and their wallets, which is why MyVote included three simulated ballot initiatives dealing with issues that legislators are actually grappling with today.”

Students received one ballot that listed all 48 of the candidates certified for this election; the students then chose only one candidate. Students had the option of voting for a candidate in any of the state’s six recognized political parties, and apparently tilted heavily toward the Democratic side.

Barack Obama got 35.1 percent of the total presidential vote (27,845 votes, which is 55.6 percent of those who voted Democratic); Hillary Clinton got 22.5 percent of the total (17,813, or 35.6 percent of Democratic voters); and John Edwards got 3.7 percent of the total (2,945, or 5.9 percent of the Democratic voters).

John McCain got 4.8 percent of the total vote (3,773 votes, or 29.9 percent of those voting Republican); Mike Huckabee got 3.6 percent of the total (2,822 votes, or 20.1 percent of the Republican voters); and Rudy Giuliani got 3.0 percent of the total (2,345 votes, or 15.2 percent of the Republican voters).

The first ballot measure asked, “Should the registration fee that every car or truck owner is required to pay each year be based, in part, on the amount of pollution the vehicle emits?” The results: 45 percent (28,341) said yes, while 55 percent (34,665) said no.

The second ballot measure asked, “Should every eligible citizen be required to vote?” The results: 40.4 percent (25,232) said yes, while 59.6 percent (37,204) said no.

And the third ballot measure asked, “Should people who use e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging and the social networks to bully or harass others be allowed to do so as part of their constitutionally protected right to free speech?” The results: 41.4 percent (26,474) said yes, while 58.6 percent (37,529) said no.

“Some California high school seniors will cast their first ballots next week and many more students will become voters by the November general election,” Bowen said. “The MyVote mock election gives the next generation of California voters hands-on exposure to our democracy, and I hope they’re inspired to make voting the habit of a lifetime.’’

These preliminary results are based on returns from 280 of the 450 schools participating in MyVote. Complete Mock Election results are available on the Secretary of State’s MyVote California Web site, and will be updated as schools report their results.

20

Edwards fans should flock to Clinton, Dellums says

Supporters of John Edwards seeking a new candidate following his withdrawal from the presidential race today should look to Hillary Clinton “based on substance and merit,” Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said this morning.

Dellums, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk spent Thursday barnstorming Oakland, Sacramento and Los Angeles on Clinton’s behalf. They started the day at Merritt College, where they were briefed on a green jobs training program before addressing the press.

dellums.jpgDellums said he was impressed in 2004 by Edwards’ “courageous” and “articulate” focus on narrowing the divide between America’s haves and have-nots, “and it is my view that Senator Clinton has done exactly the same thing.” By embracing the ideas and recognizing the needs of America’s mayors, as well as by deeming “untenable, unconscionable and un-American” the continued racial disparities in education, ecomomic opportunity and other areas, Clinton has distinguished herself “based on merit, based on substance, based on clear ideas,” he said.

“Too much of this campaign has been about issues that are not issues,” he said.

Newsom said the mayors chose to highlight the green jobs training program Monday because it’s working to better working families’ lives, protect the environment and conserve energy, and “that’s the spirit of the Clinton campaign… She understands the importance of taking these ideals and working together to make progress.”

Dellums chimed in that “jobs are the byproduct of a society’s commitment to solve other problems,” be it environmental protection and energy conservation, or crumbling infrastructure, or inadequate health care, or affordable housing. “And guess what: You can’t export these jobs. They all have to be done in the United States.”

Clinton in October named Dellums chairman of her campaign’s urban policy committee.

Villaraigosa was asked why Latinos should support Clinton when only Obama has expressed support for granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. He replied that Clinton “has a strong record in support of immigration reform” which would include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but that Latinos “don’t define ourselves by just one issue… We make decisions based on the totality of issues and experiences.”

2

John Edwards withdraws, too

This just in from CNN:

edwards.jpgFormer Sen. John Edwards is dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, CNN has learned.

Edwards has told top advisers about his decision. It is expected he will announce it at a speech in New Orleans, Louisiana, at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Edwards had amassed 26 delegates in the race for the Democratic nomination.

New Orleans is the same city in which Edwards declared his run to be the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.

Edwards’ campaign Web site said he was to deliver an address on poverty and work on a Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Edwards has trailed former first lady Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the early primaries, including a third-place finish in Tuesday’s Florida primary, with 14 percent of the votes. He also came in third in key races in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

An Edwards aide said that he does not plan to endorse either Clinton or Obama, at this time, but he may do so in the future.

And then there were two. Well, three if you count Mike Gravel.

14

Campaigns heat up in California

One week to go… and here they all come!

Former U.S. Senator and 2000 Democratic presidential primary candidate Bill Bradley is stopping by Barack Obama‘s San Francisco campaign office this afternoon to rally the troops.

Hillary Clinton got an endorsement today from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, a notable boost from someone with the credibility to blunt accusations of racial politics lingering from South Carolina. Clinton also is launching a new Spanish language television ad in markets up and down the state today. (UPDATE @ 2:54 P.M. TUESDAY: Obama has a new Spanish-language ad, too.)

John McCain today rolled out his California leadership team, headed up by former Secretary of State Bill Jones and including GOP VIPs such as Fresno Mayor Alan Autry; Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca; former state Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte; Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River; former Reps. Doug Ose and Steve Kuykendall; and others. McCain will be in California on Thursday raising funds: a $1,000-a-plate breakfast at the Omni Hotel in San Francisco, and a $2,300-a-head evening reception in Los Angeles.

Mike Huckabee will address the Commonwealth Club of California at noon Thursday in San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.

John Edwards will be in Los Angeles on Friday, joining striking Writers Guild members on a picket line at midday before taking part (with Clinton and Obama, of course) in the CNN/LA Times/Politico.com Democratic candidates’ debate that evening. And at 9:45 a.m. Friday, he’ll hold a “special community event” at San Jose State University’s Barret Ballroom.

0

Brace yourselves for the next four weeks…

…because you’re gonna be phone-banked, direct-mailed, door-knocked, robo-called and television-advertised like never before until our Feb. 5 presidential primary election.

Democrat Hillary Clinton‘s win over Barack Obama (39 percent to 36 percent, with John Edwards a distant third at 17 percent) in New Hampshire last night — unexpected by all the polls conducted in recent days — along with Republican John McCain‘s more predictable foreseeable victory means this race is wide open, with the Nevada caucuses coming Jan. 19, the South Carolina primary Jan. 26, the Florida primary Jan. 29 and the nearly two dozen states holding elections Feb. 5. And the spin is in full tilt-a-whirl mode now.

“Coming off an impressive win in Iowa and taking the once inevitable frontrunner down to the wire in her firewall state, it is clear that Obama is well-positioned to become the next President of the United States,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said this morning.

“Momentum is clearly in our side,” said Clinton national campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe. “Voters across the country are going to see what New Hampshire voters saw.”

How’s it stacking up? Nevada’s polls, now way out of date, showed Clinton way ahead, but Obama today picked up the endorsement of the state’s Service Employees International Union and later today might get the nod from the more politically powerful Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas — endorsements which could be key in getting voters out to the caucus sites. Those same outdated polls showed Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney — neither of whom did well in Iowa or New Hampshire — in a dead heat, but don’t bet on that being the case when the votes are counted.

In South Carolina, recent polls have shown Obama leading Clinton with Edwards a distant third — but so did New Hampshire’s. You’ve gotta wonder if the Bradley effect — the idea that white voters are quicker to say they’ll vote for a non-white candidate than to actually cast the ballot — will play an even more profound role in South Carolina than in New Hampshire. On the GOP side, polls show Mike Huckabee doing well there (perhaps on the strength of that state’s concentration of evangelical Christian voters) but watch for McCain, buoyed by New Hampshire, to stage a surge here.

Then comes Florida, where Clinton and Rudy Giuliani seem to rule their roosts. And after that: Feb. 5, when California, New York and Illinois will lead a slew of other states in effectively picking the nominees.

So we’re gonna get all that attention we craved, in spades. The Obama campaign will be holding a news conference outside San Francisco City Hall later today to announce a new list of endorsements, including House Education & Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez. Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will be out working the Mission District for Clinton. Game on!