Obama Closing In On Clinton For Support of Super Delegates

Obama has had a lead over Clinton among pledged delegates, leaving Clinton to hope for the support of enough super delegates to give her the nomination. Clinton picked up an early lead among super delegates before the primaries began, allowing her to claim an overall delegate lead during the early weeks of the race. As the race has gone on, far more of the super delegates have committed to Obama than Clinton. Obama now has almost as many super delegates among those who are elected to office than Clinton:

Among the 313 of 796 superdelegates who are members of Congress or governors, Clinton has commitments from 103 and Obama is backed by 96, according to lists supplied by the campaigns. Fifty-three of Obama’s endorsements have come since he won the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, compared with 12 who have aligned with Clinton since then.

What is particularly significant is the fact that virtually all of these super delegates who committed after the Iowa caucus went to Clinton. Clinton only has a lead of seven among the super delegates elected to office. Among all super delegates, which includes party officials along with those who are super delegates due to having been elected to office, Clinton leads Obama by 249 to 212, which is far short of what is needed to overcome Obama’s lead in pledged delegates.

Currently Clinton trails by around 150 pledged delegates. She is expected to pick up more delegates than Obama in Pennsylvania, but this gain will probably be offset by victories for Obama in other small states.  Clinton would then need to pick up seventy percent of the remaining uncommitted super delegates to win the nomination, which does not appear to be likely to happen.

Former Clinton Foreign Policy Adviser: Hillary Clinton’s Claims of Experience Are Overstated

Greg Craig, a senior foreign policy to Bill Clinton and now an adviser to Barack Obama was interviewed by National Journal and was asked about Hillary Clinton’s claims to experience in foreign policy. During the interview he summed up the limitations to her experience:

The point that I am making is that her claims of the nature of that experience are overstated. The fact is she did not sit in on national security meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the situation room. She conducted no negotiations. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy. She did not have her own national security staff.

ABC News Posts The Latest Suppressed Pentagon Papers

I had no doubt that it wouldn’t be long before the Pentagon study showing that there was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda would be available on line, despite the attempts of the Bush administration to prevent this. ABC News has obtained a copy and has posted it on line here (pdf file).

Spitzer Being Investigated for Using Campaign Funds In Meetings With Prostitutes

Things might be looking worse for Spitzer. While there was never any doubt that he could not survive politically, it is not yet clear as to what legal charges he will face. If this was limited to a victimless crime such as prostitution, and even if there was some technically illegal movement of his personal funds to try to hide this, there might not be much drive for prosecution. We have a totally different situation if this involves funds beyond his personal funds. The New York Times reports that he is being investigated for having illegally used campaign funds:

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Gov. Eliot Spitzer used campaign funds in connection with his meetings with prostitutes, including payments for hotels or ground transportation, three people with knowledge of the investigation said.

Prosecutors have asked the governor’s lawyers about the travel arrangements for three trips, including his Feb. 13 rendezvous with a prostitute at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan has also asked about the governor’s use of car services during trips to Washington…

If campaign money was involved, it would expand the scope of a criminal inquiry, because it is illegal to use campaign money for personal expenses. Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, has championed a campaign finance reform proposal for much of his tenure and often excoriated Republicans, saying their fund-raising practices were responsible for the “haze and smog surrounding the capital.”

Several people involved in the campaign said on Thursday that they did not believe campaign money had been misused. Jonathan Rosen, a spokesman for Spitzer 2010, the governor’s campaign committee, and the Excelsior Committee, his political action committee, said neither organization had received subpoenas from federal authorities.

Pennsylvania Polls Debunk Clinton Electability Argument

Noam Scheiber has presented some additional evidence to debunk Clinton’s big state argument, which I discussed yesterday. Clinton argues that her victories over Obama in certain big swing states means she would have a better chance in the general election. While she does cherry pick her examples to make this case, for the sake of argument we’ll ignore Obama’s numerous victories in battleground states and once again just look at the lack of correlation between victory in a primary and winning a state in the general election.

Clinton’s argument is fallacious as there is no correlation between how one does in a primary and the general election since we are looking at such different populations of voters. Often the loser of a primary actually has a better shot at winning the state in the general election because, even if they are weaker among the party faithful voting in a primary, they can appeal to a wider range of voters. Scheiber demonstrates this point with polling data out of Pennsylvania.

The polls show Clinton leading Obama by eighteen points in Pennsylvania. Clinton’s big state argument would use this to predict a victory that she has a better chance of winning the state in the general election. At the moment both actually trail John McCain, but Obama’s deficit is three points compared to a six point deficit for Clinton. Just as I argued yesterday, Clinton’s big state argument just does not hold up.