Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in another hotly-contested round in yesterday’s Mississippi primary. Expected winner Obama racked up another 17 delegates to increase his lead over Clinton 1607 to 1476. Exit polls showed 44% of voters were 60 or older, a demographic Clinton typically captures. Obama also received close to 90% of the black vote.
Clinton was already one step ahead before the results, confident of a Pennsylvania win on April 22. According to the latest Rasmussan poll, she leads Obama 52% to 37% in the state and Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said, "We are going to run a good strong campaign in Pennsylvania…and we look forward to the result."
Pennsylvania’s primary will award 158 delegates, which could give Clinton the staying power she needs to keep her candidacy alive until the Democratic Convention in August.
In the past week, Clinton and Obama have published dueling memos, accusing one another of presenting misleading information to the public. Obama — reacting to the comments by both Bill and Hillary — claimed Clinton is trying to “hoodwink” and “bamboozle” him by speaking of a possible Clinton-Obama ticket while he is in the delegate lead.
Clinton accused Obama of insufficient foreign policy experience while Obama tried to discredit Clinton, saying she has no evidence to prove her own experience. Yesterday, former Clinton administration official Greg Craig said there was “no reason to believe…[Hillary Clinton] was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton administration.”
The most telling comment on this was by a third party, Nobel Peace Prize winner Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, who shared a Nobel for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland. Clinton had claimed an important role in negotiating that agreement. In a report by Toby Harnden of the Telegraph, Trimble dismissed Clinton’s claim, saying, “She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say that was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player.”
Clinton and Obama continued slams on one another’s energy policies, NAFTA positions, budget ideas and foreign policy agenda flooded news wires and reporters’ inboxes yesterday, keeping the heat up in the the Democratic race. The action will almost certainly continue all the way to the convention.
Clinton may lose one super-delegate this week, if New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s scandal with a prostitution ring forces him to resign. And the Democrats’ win in former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s district last weekend probably adds yet another super-delegate to the Obama camp.
Obama had maintained an 11-state winning streak until Clinton swept Texas and Ohio last week. She’s vested optimism in Pennsylvania, but according to the Philadelphia Daily News, her campaign did not file all of the convention delegate candidates. In a race so tightly wound, laziness won’t cut it — especially when Obama was favored to win Mississippi. According to a Real Clear Politics poll average, Obama leads Clinton nationally 48% to 43%.
Blacks make up a majority of voters in Mississippi and Obama reliably captures the majority of the black vote in every state. Though Mississippi’s slim delegate count wasn’t as significant as other states, every number counts.
Clinton or Obama must rack up 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the party’s convention. If neither hits that number, the nomination will ultimately be chosen by the almost 800 super-delegates — elected officials and party leaders who may or may not have made a commitment to vote for a candidate.
The outcome may hinge on whether or not delegates from Florida and Michigan will be either recounted or revoted upon, as both states were deprived of voting delegates by the DNC for violating party rules and holding their primaries early. If those votes are re-instated — as appears unlikely — it would inject 313 delegates back into the count — mostly in Clinton’s favor. If — as appears more likely — the Florida and Michigan primaries are re-run, they will likely not have a decisive effect because they will split delegates under party rules.
In remarks last night following his win, Obama told Chris Matthews on MSNBC, “Our general rule has been we played by the rules throughout. We were told Michigan and Florida wouldn’t count. We said we wouldn’t campaign there. Senator Clinton said the same thing, they wouldn’t count. Now her campaign is suggesting they should.”
While Clinton and Obama nitpick one another on minute differences on socialized healthcare plans, foreign policy alterations and experience jabs, John McCain stands in contrast to both. McCain, the certain Republican nominee, easily grasps the experience mantle, will maintain the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and rejects universal healthcare.
McCain has visited Iraq on several occasions and just announced another trip there. Obama has been once and Clinton, who has been twice, according to an August 2007 report by The Hill.