Obama Catches Clinton in National Polls; Continues To Poll Better Against McCain

Obama’s victories of the past week appear to be giving him another bump in the polls. The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll shows Obama back within the margin of error after Clinton briefly moved back out to a lead. Today Clinton leads 46% to 44% with a three point margin of error.

I’ve seen criticism of this poll as underestimating Obama’s strength because, due to the smaller sample size of a daily poll, they allow a larger number of people who are less likely to vote. The argument is that Obama has done better than this poll shows because his supporters are more enthusiastic and turn out in higher percentages. (Apparently the votes of those enthusiastic “activists” who attend caucuses do not count according to the Clinton camp.)

If this argument is true, then Obama should do better in larger polls which can be more selective in counting those likely to vote. Regardless of the reason, Obama does even better in two other polls released today. The USA Today/Gallup Poll (yet a different poll from the Gallup organization than the tracking poll above) shows Obama leading  47% to 44%. This is within the poll’s margin of error, but it is notable that this is the first time Obama has led Clinton. Obama beats McCain 50% to 46% while McCain beats Clinton 49% to 48%.

The AP-Ipsos Poll  has Obama leading Clinton 46% to 41% with a 4.3% margin of error. Obama leads McCain 48% to 42% while Clinton leads McCain 46% to 45%.

Considering both the differences in the candidates and the differences in the polls against McCain, Clive Cook sees the choice as obvious for the Democrats:

What makes Mr Obama remarkable is that his message of hope, resonating so powerfully with black America, is cast to every American, regardless of colour, to Democrats and Republicans alike. This is surpassingly important: a man of outstanding intellect and magnetic personality, he is running on a one-nation platform, as though he merely happened to be black. And the best part is, the whole country is paying attention: polls say that he is more electable in November than Mrs Clinton. In a close election, he could make the difference.

Republicans, of course, are bound to dislike his liberalism – but what is there for Democrats to think about? Why are they even having this conversation? They have been waiting an awfully long time for a politician like Mr Obama. If, having come so close, they still manage to nominate Mrs Clinton, I think it is a choice they will regret for years and maybe decades.

Paul Krugman Hates Hate, and Obama, and Obama Supporters

Paul Krugman is at it again. If nothing else, he sure shows that the rules at The New York Times against a columnist endorsing a candidate by name are rather meaningless. Everyone knows he hates Obama. He first backed Edwards but with Edwards out of the race he has become as firmly a member of the Clinton camp as anyone who can openly back a candidate.

Krugman warns that the nation is in danger of becoming “Nixonland” based upon an upcoming book on the subject. Nixonland is “a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win.”

This sure sounds a lot like Bushland. The problem for many Democrats is that this also looks like Clintonland. Krugman claims “most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody.”

As with so many of his recent columns. Krugman gets it backwards here.

It is the Clinton campaign which has resorted to smears and race baiting. It is not that Obama supporters want Obama or nobody. We want somebody who does not resort to the tactics of Nixon and Bush, as Hillary Clinton has. If the tactics of Nixonland are bad, we do not want to support a candidate who engages in such tactics regardless of party. We have not protested the actions of Nixon and Bush only to back a Democratic candidate who practices the same type of dirty politics.

The Clinton campaign has frequently been based upon distortions of the issues, reminiscent of Bush’s campaigns. While Obama discusses the demographic changes which will affect Social Security honestly, Clinton sends out mailers which lie about Obama’s position and Krugman claims that telling the truth on Social Security is repeating a right wing meme.

While both Clinton and Obama support abortion rights, Clinton again resorted to distorting Obama’s record. This led Lorna Brett Howard, the former President of Chicago NOW, to drop her support for Clinton and back Obama.

Obama presented a health care plan which is superior to Clinton’s. Rather than honestly discussing the plans, the Clinton campaign, and Krugman, again relied on distortions by attacking Obama for not including a mandate. What is important is the quality of the plan to improve access to health care to those who want coverage, not whether Clinton can force more people into her plan by making it mandatory. Again Krugman claims that Obama is raising right wing frames, but freedom of choice is hardly a right wing position. Freedom is a fundamental liberal value.

Clinton has adopted the Rove tactic of attacking the opposition at their strongest area by distorting the difference between their views on the Iraq war. This includes dishonestly claiming a false equivalence between the decision to go to war and votes to continue funding the troops after they are at war. Clinton also lied in claiming that Obama had taken his speech opposing the war down from his web site when searches with the Wayback Machine have shown this was not true.

Clinton even tried to make an issue out of Obama making a historically accurate statement about Ronald Reagan and Republican ideas by misquoting Obama and falsely claiming Obama was supporting the Republican ideas he was actually criticizing.

Clinton has attacked Obama by distorting he meaning of voting “present” in the Illinois legislature.

Krugman writes, “What’s particularly saddening is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of ‘Clinton rules’ — the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.” Sorry, such claims no longer hold up. The Clintons have proven themselves to be dishonest in the manner in which they are campaigning. This is not the fault of the media or of a vast right wing conspiracy. This is the fault of the Clintons themselves. The actual venom comes from the Clinton campaign and supporters like Paul Krugman.

What Hillary Clinton Should Do To Survive February

Mark Halperin, who remains forever mired in looking at the horse race in politics and ignoring the big picture, gives a list of 10 Things Clinton Can Do to Survive February, complete with the Rambo Hillary picture above. If I were to give Clinton advice, I might start with ignoring Mark Halperin. His advice is so poor I really cannot decide if this is another example of a poorly written piece by Halperin or if he is being sarcastic in suggesting these things. While I’m not sure if Halperin is serious, I see via Memeorandum that the usual Hillary worshipers including Taylor Marsh do take this seriously. The fact that they see these things as desirable tells a lot about the type of people who support Hillary Clinton.

Some of the items may or may not help. We’ve seen changes in campaign managers help John Kerry and Ronald Reagan in the past, and perhaps it will help Clinton. I’m not so sure of this as the major problems that the Clinton campaign faces is the poor judgment and lack of ethics of their candidate. Beyond that, the campaign faces a major problem since the main reason they have given to vote for Clinton was that she is the inevitable winner. Now that she has fallen behind in delegates won in primaries and caucuses, this argument is lost. It may be too late to convince people of any other reason to vote for her.

When desperate, Clinton has resorted to concentrating on women who will vote for her because she is a women, and trying to scare whites away from voting for Obama. Clinton has already gone as far as she can on gender based voting, and her campaign’s race baiting has failed. That knocks out two of Halperin’s suggestions.

Halperin suggests that she “Keep making the case that caucuses are less democratic and more disenfranchising than primaries.” Matthew Yglesias has done a good job of mocking the Clinton spin on this. Clinton’s excuses for why Obama’s victories don’t count matter less and less the more Obama wins.

Halperin suggests fighting for the Florida and Michigan delegates as well as getting more super delegates. This comes down to stealing the election by changing the rules after the fact, or winning it in the back rooms. Winning either way means lots of angry Democrats, including myself, who will not vote for her in November.

Getting John Edwards’ endorsement will help a little, but his delegates remain free to do what they choose. We’ve seen this year, as in 2004, how little endorsements really matter.

Winning Wisconsin will help, but the question remains how to stop Obama’s momentum. None of this advice will bring about actual victories for Clinton. Clinton might be able to pull in more internet contributions than she did before Super Tuesday. Since she made virtually no effort at this earlier, this is anl area where the campaign can improve, even if they can’t compete with Obama.

Ultimately none of this is likely to work because the Clinton campaign is saddled with a candidate who has been wrong on the issues, and has shown herself to lack the character of someone who deserves to be elected president.

Barack Obama on 60 Minutes


The video of the interview is above. As I previously reported, Obama promises not to use the dishonest campaign tactics typically used by Republicans in recent elections, and used by the Clinton campaign this year.

Asked by Kroft if he will be able to endure attacks from “swift-boating” Republicans who may use his race or his youthful drug use against him, Obama replies, “Whoever wins this Democratic primary…they’re the toughest, baddest candidate on the block. And if I beat Senator Clinton, then I will be more than capable of beating the Republicans. And if I don’t, then she’ll be the nominee and [race or past drug use] will be a moot point.”

But the senator from Illinois vowed not to use such tactics himself to beat Hillary Clinton. Kroft’s question on whether he would pull out any “Clinton skeletons” prompted Obama to say, “We don’t play that. I mean, one of the rules that I laid down very early in this campaign was that we will be fierce competitors but we will have some ground rules. And one of the ground rules for me is that we battle on policy differences, and that if we draw a contrast between Senator Clinton and myself, then it is based on fact,” he tells Kroft.

Then Obama promises, “We’re not going to fabricate things. We’re not going to try to distort or twist her positions.”

Update: CBS has a transcript available here.

Obama’s Experience

ShawdowSD, a diarist at Daily Kos, argues that Barack Obama has more significant experience than Hillary Clinton:

When did experience in corporate or trial law become as relevant to the Presidency as Constitutional and civil rights law, considering that the President is sworn to uphold the Constitution, and needs to do so now more than ever?

When did having experience at the local, state, AND federal level become a throw-away credential in a system of government based on the intricacies and interplay of those hierarchies?

When did being a legislator for longer and at two different levels of government become a sign of less government experience?

When did an International Relations major, four years on the Foreign Relations Committee, and years more living unsecluded in Indonesia become negligible foreign policy experience relative to eight years on Armed Services and secluded trips abroad as first lady?

When did the amount of time served in national political foodfights overcome all these important questions of relevant policy experience for an office as important and pivotal as the Presidency of the United States?

The sad answer all of the above is the same: when Barack Obama ran for President, and people got used to believing what the media repeated everyday.  The extent to which even people here have bought it is more than a bit disconcerting.

All true, plus Obama has made the right decisions on Iraq, on cluster bombs, on needle exchange programs. on health care, on the economy, and on limiting presidential power. Obama has more experience than Clinton, and even if he didn’t I’d rather have the candidate who has been right rather than the candidate whose experience means having made more mistakes.

One Woman Gives Seven Reasons To Support Her Candidate

It is unfortunate that many women are putting aside all rational reasons to support a candidate and are choosing totally based upon gender. Fortunately some women, even those who wish we could have a female president, are putting aside such desires in light of one candidate being the far superior candidate. Dr. Lisa Schirch writes that “I Want a Woman President” but doesn’t let that trump all other considerations:

I too would love to see a woman in the White House – and want my daughter to see that. But far more important than that, in my opinion, is that we elect a President who takes a radically different path than either of the last Bush-Clinton-Bush presidents in the last thirty years. We need a President who radically changes course. I think this election is about the safety of our children in a world that is increasingly dangerous.

Lisa proceeds to discuss seven reasons why she supports Barack Obama. They are excellent reasons (and I could add several more). Some day we will have a woman in the White House, but hopefully not Hillary Clinton. Her poor judgment on several important matters including the Iraq war, the serious flaws in her economic and health care plans, her unwillingness to stand up for principle when she finds it to be unsafe politically, her Nanny State views, her support for increased presidential power, and her adoption of Rove style dishonest campaigning all make her unfit to be president.