Clinton Holds Seven Point Lead, With Obama Picking Up More Support


The last few days I’ve been watching the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll as Obama has narrowed the gap. Today we see what I had feared would happen with Clinton showing receiving a bump from Edwards leaving the race in the first three day tracking poll completed after Edwards left. Obama remains well ahead of where he was a week ago, but it is disappointing that this is the first day in over a week that he has not moved up at all.

These polls only offer a rough predictor of how things will go on Super Tuesday. All the caveats I discussed yesterday continue to apply. With only a short time until Super Tuesday it remains unclear whether Obama can pass Clinton by then, but he is certainly in striking range. He continues to show signs of receiving new support. The endorsement from La Opinion might help overcome Clinton’s advantage among Latino voters. For the first time since 1972 The Los Angeles Times has endorsed a presidential candidate, supporting Obama:

The U.S. senator from Illinois distinguishes himself as an inspiring leader who cuts through typical internecine campaign bickering and appeals to Americans long weary of divisive and destructive politics. He electrifies young voters, not because he is young but because he embodies the desire to move to the next chapter of the American story. He brings with him deep knowledge of foreign relations and of this nation’s particular struggles with identity and opportunity. His flair for expression, both in print and on the stump, too easily leads observers to forget that Obama is a man not just of style but of substance. He’s a thoughtful student of the Constitution and an experienced lawmaker in his home state and, for the last three years, in the Senate.

The editorial looks at Clinton’s experience but notes that, “experience has value only if it is accompanied by courage and leads to judgment.” Her support for the Iraq war represents an example of Clinton’s lack of judgment:

Nowhere was that judgment more needed than in 2003, when Congress was called upon to accept or reject the disastrous Iraq invasion. Clinton faced a test and failed, joining the stampede as Congress voted to authorize war. At last week’s debate and in previous such sessions, Clinton blamed Bush for abusing the authority she helped to give him, and she has made much of the fact that Obama was not yet in the Senate and didn’t face the same test. But Obama was in public life, saw the danger of the invasion and the consequences of occupation, and he said so. He was right.

There remains a few more days for arguments such as this to bring more voters over to Obama’s side. It does not look like either candidate will be able to win by enough to settle the nomination on Super Tuesday, and the calendar does favor Obama for the remainder of February if he can remain close to Clinton on Tuesday.

Susan Eisenhower Joins Other Republicans in Endorsing Obama

Much as already been written of the symbolism of Caroline and Ted Kennedy, daughter and brother of John F. Kennedy, supporting Barack Obama. Not only is Obama now carrying the torch of the Kennedy years, he has also received the support of the family of the president who preceded Kennedy. Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower, has endorsed Barack Obama for president:

I am not alone in worrying that my generation will fail to do what my grandfather’s did so well: Leave America a better, stronger place than the one it found.

Given the magnitude of these issues and the cost of addressing them, our next president must be able to bring about a sense of national unity and change. As we no longer have the financial resources to address all these problems comprehensively and simultaneously, setting priorities will be essential. With hard work, much can be done.

The biggest barrier to rolling up our sleeves and preparing for a better future is our own apathy, fear or immobility. We have been living in a zero-sum political environment where all heads have been lowered to avert being lopped off by angry, noisy extremists. I am convinced that Barack Obama is the one presidential candidate today who can encourage ordinary Americans to stand straight again; he is a man who can salve our national wounds and both inspire and pursue genuine bipartisan cooperation. Just as important, Obama can assure the world and Americans that this great nation’s impulses are still free, open, fair and broad-minded.

While Eisenhower was a president from an era with plenty of problems of its own, it was an era before our current cultural wars and partisan divides. While there remains talk of Reagan Democrats, there were also Democrats who crossed over in previous elections:

The last time the United States had an open election was 1952. My grandfather was pursued by both political parties and eventually became the Republican nominee. Despite being a charismatic war hero, he did not have an easy ride to the nomination. He went on to win the presidency — with the indispensable help of a “Democrats for Eisenhower” movement. These crossover voters were attracted by his pledge to bring change to Washington and by the prospect that he would unify the nation.

It is in this great tradition of crossover voters that I support Barack Obama’s candidacy for president. If the Democratic Party chooses Obama as its candidate, this lifelong Republican will work to get him elected and encourage him to seek strategic solutions to meet America’s greatest challenges. To be successful, our president will need bipartisan help.

Susan Eisenhower isn’t the only Republican who is supporting Obama. Richard Wolffe has written about Republicans for Obama for Newsweek:

Eisenhower is one of a small but symbolically powerful group of what Obama recently called “Obamacans”—disaffected Republicans who have drifted away from their party just as Eisenhower Democrats did and, more recently, Reagan Democrats in the 1980s. They include lifelong Republican Tricia Moseley, a former staffer for the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, the one-time segregationist from South Carolina. Now a high-school teacher, Moseley says she was attracted to Obama’s positions on education and the economy.

Former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, who anchors MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” says many conservative friends—including Bush officials and evangelical Christians—sent him enthusiastic e-mails after seeing Obama’s post-election speeches in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. “He doesn’t attack Republicans, he doesn’t attack whites and he never seems to draw these dividing lines that Bill Clinton [does],” Scarborough told NEWSWEEK.

Many Democrats support Obama because of his ability to bridge the partisan divide. For some this is because of their own reservations about the current hyper-partisanship, while for others it might simply a pragmatic desire to nominate the candidate who can redraw the red/blue state map in favor of the Democrats.

While Obama represents bridging the partisan gap, Hillary Clinton has become the candidate who represents a return to the old partisan fights. Some of her supporters see this as something favorable, as they attacked Obama for merely mentioning Ronald Reagan in an accurate historical perspective.

Taylor Marsh has become one of the most extreme proponents of Clinton, who attacks Obama at every opportunity with a Rove-style disregard for the validity of the attacks. While Democrats should see it as favorable that a Democratic candidate can bring in Republican votes, Marsh’s response to Obama’s Republican support is “Oh no,” and she searches for a punchline. Those commenting on her blog go along with her idea that obtaining the support from anyone except a die hard Democrat must mean he is betraying their cause. That is a perfect mind set for remaining a minority party forever.