Obama’s ‘Committed Christian’ mailer

Take a look at this mailer the Obama campaign is sending to Kentucky voters in advance of that state’s May 20 primary:


It’s very much like a mailer Obama used in South Carolina back in January. It certainly seems to be the candidate’s attempt to dispel lingering myths about him being a Muslim, and to have socially conservative Christian Democrats rally to him.

Remember the hue and cry — per Associated Press (via CBS News), the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, USA Today and about six billion blogs — when Mike Huckabee ran this TV ad last Christmas with the cruciform image in the background?

So, were both Huckabee and Obama over the line, or one and not the other, or neither?


Random thoughts on Pennsylvania’s primary

senatorclinton.jpgWith only a few precincts outstanding at this hour, the Associated Press shows Hillary Clinton with 55 percent of Pennyslvania’s Democratic vote — it was a closed primary, no independents allowed — and Barack Obama with 45 percent; that’s 80 pledged delegates for Clinton, 66 for Obama, 12 more yet to be awarded.

So, the new delegate totals seem to be:

  • Obama — 1,481 pledged + 233 superdelegates = 1,714 total
  • Clinton — 1,331 pledged + 258 superdelegates = 1,589 total
  • CNN asks whether Clinton’s Pennsylvania victory came soon enough to save her candidacy: “Clinton told supporters in her victory speech that ‘the tide has turned.’ It’s more like she’s slowed the wave of momentum that appeared ready to carry Obama to the party’s nomination.”

    The win certainly seemed to have given Clinton at least some degree of financial boost; Bloomberg reports her campaign claiming to have raised $2.5 million after the polls closed last night. In context, however, not much of that will be left after she pays her debts: Obama started the month with $42.5 million available while Clinton had about $8 million on hand but $10.3 million in unpaid bills.

    obama.jpgClinton’s campaign put out a bulletin today noting “more people have voted for Hillary than any other candidate… Estimates vary slightly, but according to Real Clear Politics, Hillary has received 15,095,663 votes to Sen. Obama’s 14,973,720, a margin of more than 120,000 votes… This count includes certified vote totals in Florida and Michigan.” That would be the two states where Democratic candidates agreed not to campaign because they bucked the party’s rules by setting their primaries too early; Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan. Even counting Florida but not Michigan, Obama’s still in the popular-vote lead.

    So now it’s on to the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. Real Clear Politics’ averages of several polls shows Clinton with a slim lead in Indiana and Obama with a comfortable lead in North Carolina. Nationwide, it’s Obama by 10 percentage points. Watch for all those numbers to change somewhat as yesterday’s results sink in.

    And Time magazine says “the real winner of the Democratic race in Pennsylvania is John McCain. The most significant number coming out of Tuesday night wasn’t Clinton’s 10 point margin of victory, but 43. That’s the percentage of Clinton voters who say they would stay home or vote for McCain if Obama is the party’s nominee in November.” But that doesn’t account for the more than a quarter of Republican voters in yesterday’s election who voted against McCain, picking Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee instead. True, there wasn’t a lot of impetus for McCain supporters to flock to the polls yesterday because he’s already the presumptive nominee; still, when 27 percent of those who did show up vote against the guy, you’ve gotta wonder how many of those people will vote against him or just stay home in November.


    John McCain’s speech to CPAC

    Shortly after Mitt Romney used his address to the Conservative Political Action Committee to announce the suspension of his presidential campaign, John McCain addressed the very same crowd, reportedly drawing both cheers and boos.

    mccain.jpgAll I ask of any American, conservative, moderate, independent, or enlightened Democrat, is to judge my record as a whole, and accept that I am not in the habit of making promises to my country that I do not intend to keep. I hope I have proven that in my life even to my critics. Then vote for or against me based on that record, my qualifications for the office, and the direction where I plainly state I intend to lead our country. If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for President, I will offer Americans, in what will be a very challenging and spirited contest, a clearly conservative approach to governing. I will make my case to voters, no matter what state they reside in, in the same way. I will not obscure my positions from voters who I fear might not share them. I will stand on my convictions, my conservative convictions, and trust in the good sense of the voters, and in my confidence that conservative principles still appeal t o a majority of Americans, Republicans, Independents and Reagan Democrats.

    Hmm, sounds almost like a nomination acceptance speech… quick, someone call Mike Huckabee!

    Complete text, after the jump… Continue Reading


    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.


    How powerful is Arnold’s endorsement?

    Oh, sure, he’s the governator, an international superstar, a guy who made a mockery of Democrats’ voter registration edge twice. The Associated Press story says Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of John McCain tomorrow in Los Angeles is “giving a certain boost to the Republican presidential front-runner six days before California’s high-prize primary” and is “yet another setback for Mitt Romney.”

    But consider a few things:

      (1.)Survey USA says the governor’s approval rating is at 47 percent, after having lingered in the 50s for all but one month since his November 2006 re-election. (The Field Poll put that number considerably higher in December, at 60 percent, so maybe this isn’t much of a consideration; on the other hand, that was before we were staring at a $14.5 billion deficit and 10 percent across-the-board budget cuts.)
      (2.)The California Republican primary is closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote — no independents. And although this is a presidential year and turnout is expected to be high, closed party primaries tend to represent that party’s true believers, the ideological core, and less so the moderates. Yet both Schwarzenegger and McCain have made careers out of trying to secure not only their own party’s voters, but unaffiliated ones as well. (Of course, a closed primary didn’t seem to stop McCain from clinching Florida.)
      (3.)Some elements of the Republican Party are not so happy with Schwarzenegger right now. He has endorsed Proposition 93, the term-limits reform measure on next week’s ballot which his party staunchly opposes. He favors abortion rights, and although he has twice vetoed gay marriage, he has signed a slew of bills granting rights to domestic partners. Some have never been happy with his choice of advisers, including a Democratic chief of staff. Remember, Arnold Schwarzenegger has never had to win a Republican primary — he was elected in the raucous recall of 2003, and had no primary challenger in 2006.

    Do I believe Schwarznegger will bring some votes McCain’s way? Yes. I’m quite sure any candidate would prefer to have this endorsement rather than see an opponent get it.

    I also believe McCain will win in California; the latest polls show he has a substantial lead over Romney and Mike Huckabee, and most of the people who were planning on voting for Rudy Giuliani are more likely to migrate to McCain than to either of the others. California’s GOP primary isn’t winner-take-all — rather than the statewide popular vote winner getting all of the state’s delegates, the candidates are competing in each and every Congressional district; the winner in each district gets three delegates — that’s 159 — and then the statewide winner gets 11 more. I’m sure Romney and maybe even Huckabee might walk off with a few, but I’m betting McCain will get the lion’s share.

    All I’m sayin’ is, maybe Arnold isn’t the powerful people-mover he once was — maybe his endorsement is far from making a big difference.


    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.