Contact with Canadians on NAFTA

The story regarding an Obama aide allegedly speaking with the Canadian government is getting even more bizarre. The Globe and Mail has a story reporting that Ian Brodie, chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, first mentioned contact from a presidential candidate regarding NAFTA. However the contact came from an unexpected source (emphasis mine):

At the end of an extended conversation, Mr. Brodie was asked about remarks aimed by the Democratic candidates at Ohio’s anti-NAFTA voters that carried serious economic implications for Canada.

Since 75 per cent of Canadian exports go to the U.S., Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton’s musings about reopening the North American free-trade pact had caused some concern.

Mr. Brodie downplayed those concerns.

“Quite a few people heard it,” said one source in the room.

“He said someone from (Hillary) Clinton’s campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt. . . That someone called us and told us not to worry.”

Government officials did not deny the conversation took place.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign!!??? After Clinton won the Ohio primary, at least partially due to reports suggesting that Obama had made such claims, it turns out the Clinton campaign has been speaking with the Canadians regarding NAFTA. Has Clinton been attacking Obama’s campaign for what she had done? I sure wouldn’t put it past her. Josh Marshall has the same question:

So was Hillary bashing Obama for what her own campaign had done? Did they both do it? Was it all a set up? I think the overarching story here is that friendly governments should not interfere in our elections.

Quote of the Day: “You Can Xerox Your Tax Returns”

“There is no reason she cannot release her 2006 returns. Talk about change you can Xerox. You can Xerox your tax returns. She has been a habitual non-discloser on this and other issues.”
–Obama advisor David Axelrod

The Impact of Tuesday’s Primaries

With the strange ways that delegates are distributed, looking at various estimates from the media, bloggers, and the campaigns it looks like Clinton will probably net between four and ten delegates more than Obama in yesterday’s vote. This would be the only day in which there has been a vote that Clinton received more delegates than Obama.

Various estimates of the impact on the campaign, such as this by Marc Ambinder, show that Clinton will need to receive about sixty percent of the vote in the remaining contests to catch up with Obama in terms of pledged delegates. As some of the upcoming states favor Obama, this means that Clinton will need substantially more that sixty percent in the states that she does win, barring a change in the dynamics of the race which allows Clinton to win big in states where she is note expected to win.

While Obama has an almost insurmountable lead, having failed to deliver the knock out blow this week means that he is also unlikely to pick up enough delegates to clinch the nomination without receiving more support from super delegates. This means that the nomination can come down to political deals among the super delegates. Taegan Goddard argues that the politics, and not the delegate math, will ultimately determine the nomination.

Based upon party rules super delegates are free to vote as they choose, and it would be perfectly legal for Clinton to win the nomination by lobbying support from the super delegates. What party officials must decide is how this will play with the independent voters who have supported Obama, and how much they matter to the future of the party.

The Democratic Party is at a real cross roads here. They can accept the argument that the nominee should be based upon the views of long time Democrats and give the nomination to Clinton. To do so would mean rejecting the support of all the independents and former Republicans who recently began supporting Democrats. Most likely this would return the Democrats to the status of a minority party for yet another generation. Democrats cannot count on winning with their old coalition alone once they no longer have George Bush to run against.

The super delegates can give the nomination to Clinton and risk the consequences. The other alternative is to embrace the support of new Democratic voters and give the nomination to Obama. Certainly there are some Republicans who are voting in the Democratic primaries simply to cause trouble. The bulk of them are voting for Clinton in order to provide McCain with a weaker general election opponent, but some might see this differently and be voting for Obama.

Such trouble makers probably represent a small percentage of independents and former Republicans who are voting in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Based upon the changes in voting trends we have seen since 2006, my bet is that the bulk of the Republicans voting for Obama, and certainly the independents, are doing so because they support Obama and they will vote for Obama in the general election if he is the Democratic nominee. This also means an increased chance that independents will vote for Democrats down ticket, and will vote for Democrats in future elections.

With this nomination battle being so important in determining the future of the Democratic Party, and with there already being questions about the ethics of Clinton’s campaign, it is surprising that Harold Ickes would fall into the trap of discussing the possibility that even pledged delegates are up for grabs in a conference call. This does not mean that he has admitted that the Clinton campaign intends to do this, but is yet another example of their spokespeople saying things which don’t help their campaign. It also didn’t help their campaign when Ickes took a jab at Mark Penn during the conference call. Such signs of disarray in the Clinton camp campaign will only fuel questions as to whether they are any more prepared to fight a general election campaign than they were to fight a primary battle.

Ron Paul’s House Seat Appears Safe

With the major battles between Obama and Clinton yesterday it is easy to overlook other votes taking place. Out in Texas there had been some talk that Ron Paul’s House seat was in danger as he was facing a primary challenge from Chris Peden. While all the vote is not yet in, Reason reports that Paul has an overwhelming lead.

No Democrats have filed to run against Paul in the general election, so winning the Republican nomination should assure his reelection to Congress.

Posted in Politics, Ron Paul. Tags: , . 2 Comments »

It’s 3:00 a.m. And We Have a Crisis

It is 3:00 a.m. and we have a crisis. Hillary Clinton did well enough in Tuesday’s primaries to remain in the race. Clinton won the popular vote in three out of four states after a string of twelve consecutive defeats. This poses a real danger to America.

So far every day that delegates have been awarded, Obama has either won or, as in New Hampshire, tied Clinton. We might not know until the end of the week, and the results of the caucus portion in Texas are tabulated, who won the most delegates.

Obama’s lead in pledged delegates will be approximately the same regardless of who wins the most delegates in Tuesday’s primaries. The math will still show that it is extremely unlikely that Clinton can go into the convention with a majority. Just as after Super Tuesday, we now go into another round of states which favor Obama. If Tom Brokaw’s information is correct, Obama might also be picking up another fifty superdelegates, increasing his overall lead.

One winner tonight was Rush Limbaugh, who urged his listeners to vote for Clinton. The big winner was John McCain. He both clinched the Republican nomination and should benefit from Clinton’s victories. At very least he will still have Hillary Clinton launching more negative attacks to damage Barack Obama. There even remains an outside chance that Clinton could win the nomination, giving McCain a much more beatable general election opponent than Obama.