Is This “No More Rudy” Tuesday?

The Republican primary in Florida is playing a major role in their nomination battle. After a period in which a different candidate appeared to be winning every week, the race now appears to be down to McCain vs. Romney. Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter have dropped out, with Hunter endorsing Huckabee. Huckabee appears to have a ceiling on his support which will keep him from winning the nomination. Rudy Giuliani’s strategy was to use a win in Florida to propel him to victories on Super Tuesday.

The problem with Rudy’s strategy is that candidates who do not win early are generally not taken seriously in the subsequent contests. Wesley Clark might have doomed his 2004 campaign from the start by not entering into the Iowa caucus. This year Giuliani’s support has gradually eroded, with the final polls showing him in a distant third place. He’s in a tight battle for third with Huckabee, but at least he appears to be on the way to a rare victory over Ron Paul.

Giuliani has predicted that the winner of today’s primary will win the Republican nomination and hinted he might drop out if he doesn’t wn. He might be right about the importance of Florida, especially if McCain or Romney is able to achieve a decisive victory over the other which provides a bounce for next week. Today’s primary, along with big states on Super Tuesday, are winner take all events. Even a string of narrow victories could give one candidate an insurmountable lead in delegates.

With the entire race possibly depending upon today’s results, the race between McCain and Romney became more heated. It even resembled the Democratic race in one respect. McCain pulled a Clinton in distorting Romney’s position, similar to the manner in which Clinton has been distorting many of Obama’s positions in her attacks. McCain distorted an answer from Romney in an interview from last April to claim that Romney supported a deadline to get out of Iraq.

Many conservatives have become upset with McCain for this tactic, similar to how many Democrats have protested the smear campaign launched by the Clintons. I wonder if this could be the start of a trend away from acceptance of this type of campaigning. The real test will be to see if this tactic can be kept out of the general election when there aren’t members of one’s own party who are as likely to be offended. In this case it was particularly strange for McCain to resort to this type of dishonesty. I wouldn’t think McCain would have much difficulty blowing out Romney in a debate over foreign policy. Sure, McCain is crazy to call for remaining in Iraq for one hundred years, but this is a debate before a Republican audience. If Giuliani is really knocked out after today, it is also possible McCain will benefit further from Republicans voters who are concentrating on their view of national security.

The Pettiness of Clinton Supporters

The pettiness of the Clinton supporters continues. In December the Clinton campaign attacked Obama based upon papers written in kindergarten and third grade. Some Clinton supporters responded to the endorsement of Obama by Caroline and Ted Kennedy by trashing JFK. The New York Chapter of NOW declared Senator Kennedy’s endorsement was the ultimate betrayal in an absurd statement which suggests that it is sexist to oppose a woman candidate regardless of the comparative merits of the candidates. To bring things into perspective, I would replay this video in which Lorna Brett Howard, the former President of Chicago NOW (National Organization of Women) discusses how she changed her support from Clinton to Obama after finding that Clinton was sending out mailers lying about Obama’s position on choice:


I have also posted two additional videos by Lorna Brett Howard which discuss how Obama has been a a critical advocate in the fight to preserve choice. She also states how Obama is one hundred percent pro-choice and one hundred percent honest.

Last night Clinton supporters came up with another ridiculous attack as they allege that Obama snubbed Clinton during the State of the Union when apparently there was no snub intended:

Obama chief strato-man Axelrod said The Snub wasn’t a snub, but simply a matter of Obama dealing with the “awkwardness” of the day and wanting to give Kennedy and Clinton a private moment.

Even if there was a snub, it wouldn’t be totally unexpected that Obama wouldn’t feel very comfortable around someone who has been repeatedly lying about his statements and record. This is hardly the basis for deciding upon a president. Besides, Obama has experienced being snubbed by Clinton in the past, as noted in this news report from last August:

The relationship began to change, according to several Democrats who are friendly to both senators, when Mr. Obama began musing aloud about a presidential bid. The day he opened his exploratory committee, several Senate observers said, he extended his hand and said hello on the Senate floor. She breezed by him, offering a cool stare.

It appears that it is only Hillary Clinton that Obama does not get along with well. In a discussion of whether Richardson will endorse one of the remaining candidates this story is told of how Obama saved Richardson at one of the debates:

“I had just been asked a question — I don’t remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn’t going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, ‘So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?’ But I wasn’t paying any attention! I was about to say, ‘Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t listening.’ But I wasn’t about to say I wasn’t listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, ‘Katrina. Katrina.’ The question was on Katrina! So I said, ‘On Katrina, my policy . . .’ Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, ‘Obama, that was good of you to do that.'”

Richardson says that if he does endorse one of the candidates he will have his answer by the end of the week. The question is whether he will ignore his history with the Clintons in making an endorsement. He leaves his endorsement open in saying:

“If I do endorse, it’s going to be a gut feeling. It’s not going to be about statistics, about past ties,” Richardson said. “I’ve been on the campaign trail with both of them. I feel that I know them. I feel I know the issues. I feel I know what makes them both tick.”

Hillary Clinton Continues To Defy Party in Florida


Hillary Clinton continues to defy the agreements not to campaign in Michigan and Florida after the two states broke party rules by moving up their primaries. Clinton left her name on the Michigan ballot after other candidates including Obama and Richardson had their names removed. She has been claiming a victory despite running unopposed, and has been seeking to have the delegates seated despite. Clinton has repeatedly been making public statements to court the Florida vote and will be appearing at a fund raiser in Florida tonight. Signs promoting Clinton such as the one above are appearing in the state.

It is possible Clinton isn’t breaking the letter of the agreement but she is certainly breaking the spirit of the agreement. Clinton fails to realize that character has become a major issue in this election. Americans are getting tired of political leaders who skirt the rules in such manners.

As with the dishonesty seen in many of her recent statements, this type of action raises the question of how she would behave if elected president. We have experienced a president who also takes liberties with the truth and pushes to increase presidential power at every opportunity. Hillary Clinton might sincerely she is acting to do good, but I fear that she will be unable to resist using, and even expanding upon, the increased powers available to the next president. We need a president who can be trusted to resist these temptations and play entirely within the rules.

Obama Picks Up Support of Super Delegate

Despite Hillary Clinton’s attempts to play fast and loose with party rules regarding the Florida primary, it is Barack Obama who is picking up a delegate today. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, a super delegate previously backing Edwards, is shifting to Obama:

Grijalva cited Obama’s electability and his intention to “fundamentally change the rules of the game” in Washington, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press in advance of a planned Tuesday conference call with reporters.L

The third-term congressman, whose southern Arizona district includes Yuma and parts of Tucson, is the second prominent Arizona Democrat to endorse Obama in the immediate run-up to the state’s Feb. 5 presidential primary.

Gov. Janet Napolitano endorsed Obama on Jan. 11 after being courted by Obama and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. Since then, Napolitano has campaigned for Obama in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Clinton has led Obama and Edwards in the first of two recent polls but the margin between Clinton and Obama decreased in the second.

Grijalva had endorsed Edwards on May 3, saying the former senator from North Carolina “has shown principled leadership on the way in Iraq and on economic opportunity in America.”

In the statement explaining his switch to Obama, Grijalva said it “was not a repudiation of Senator Edwards, rather the understanding that Senator Barack Obama is the future.”

“The best opportunity to win in November rests with Senator Obama,” Grijalva added. “I am proud to support Senator Obama as we move forward toward the nomination. This election is not merely about moving the pieces around in Washington D.C., but to fundamentally change the rules of the game. I am proud to help Senator Obama work toward that change.”

While Obama has won the most committed delegates in the primaries and caucuses to date, Clinton has a lead when the preferences of super delegates are included in the count. This shift demonstrates that early support from a super delegate does not ensure a vote at the convention. Clinton received more support from super delegates early, when she appeared to be the inevitable winner. With momentum moving in Obama’s direction, and with many Democratic leaders upset by the tactics being used by the Clintons, I would not be surprised if more super delegates wind up backing Obama.