Front Row: How Clinton can win: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted April 8, 2008 1:58 PM
The Swamp


by Doyle McManus

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has had more than a couple of rough weeks. She got caught red-handed embellishing memories of a visit to Bosnia. She belatedly coughed up eight years of tax returns which showed why she waited so long : $109 million is an impressive amount of income, even for an ex-president.

And she had to semi-fire her top campaign strategist after he enraged labor unions -- a bedrock chunk of her constituency – by lobbying for a trade deal with Colombia. Clinton opposes the deal; her aide, Mark Penn, was in the pay of the Colombian government. Ouch.

And that’s not all. A steady drip of superdelegates is trickling toward Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)., and more than one poll suggests that Obama is gaining ground in Pennsylvania. No wonder so many of the pundits – including my learned colleagues Mike Tackett and Paul West, right here on Front Row – assert that the Democratic nomination is slipping from Sen. Clinton’s grasp.

Well, maybe. But it’s still not beyond her reach. A stumble by Obama, an unexpected break or two for Clinton, and Hillary could be the front-runner again.

You doubt? Then surf right over to the L.A. Times’s nifty new Democratic Delegate Counter and see for yourself.

Here’s what I mean. Right now, Clinton is behind in the Associated Press’s unofficial count of delegates by about 130 – a little more than three percent of the number of delegates at the convention. (The AP gives her 1,500 delegates to Obama’s 1,632; a candidate needs 2025 to win.)

Let’s say Clinton wins Pennsylvania and Indiana solidly, the same way she won Ohio, the state in between. (Or, for that matter, California and New York). That gets her to about 1,630 delegates and narrows the gap to less than 100. (To keep it simple, I’ll just keep track of a running total here; you can play along with the sliders on the delegate counter and keep me honest.)

North Carolina is where the New York senator is going to need to catch a big break. Let’s give the state to Obama, but cut his margin to a whisker. Then Clinton wins West Virginia and Kentucky handily; Obama wins Oregon, but with his momentum slowed, his margin’s not huge. Delegate count at this point: Clinton 1745, Obama 1823.

Now comes the second big break Clinton needs to catch: Puerto Rico. It’s not a state, its citizens can’t vote in the general election, but it’s got 55 delegates, and that’s more than Oregon. Nobody knows how Puerto Ricans will vote; they’ve never had a presidential primary before. But Clinton has done well among Latinos in Florida and the Southwest, and Puerto Rico’s ties to the mainland are with New York and Florida, both Clinton strongholds. Let’s give her Puerto Rico by a landslide. Clinton 1783, Obama 1840.

That leaves only Montana and South Dakota. Split ‘em evenly. Clinton 1799, Obama 1855 – a gap of only 56 delegates.

Which brings us to the final act. Remember Florida and Michigan? Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean says he knows he’ll have to seat their delegations at the convention, even though those two states broke the rules and held their primaries earlier than they were supposed to. If the Florida and Michigan delegates are seated and allowed to vote, Clinton surges to … parity! Clinton 1983, Obama 1983. At which point it all comes down to the superdelegates.

Well, I never said it was going to be easy. Can Clinton catch all of those breaks, culminating in full votes for all her Florida and Michigan delegates? Probably not. But if you don’t like these numbers, head for the Delegate Counter and try your own.

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This is exactly the kind of math that Clinton is doing. As Mr. Spock would say (with an eyebrow raised):...."thats highly illogical". Bullet dodging Clinton is dreaming about Rambo and Rocky. While she is sleeping, the phone is ringing at 3am...and its Monica.

Geez... What a scary scenario...

Since when did we become non-humans. We all make mistakes, as voters, look who we put in our White House, presently, or as politicians and their workers. How gullible can we get about our politicians? They are made from the same fabric as we are! Democrat or Republican, we make mistakes. The trick is not to make too many and the ones we do make, may they not be too serious. I have heard parents refer to their children as "little monkeys". Come on, let's not make gods or aristocrats out of our politicians or their representatives.

Neither can win without the super delegates. Most are elected officials. Hold them responsible.

Too many ifs. Obviously, you've been hanging out with Hillary a little too long. I will be the next president if and if and if and if...

Don't we already have a liar in the White House? Why would we want another one? But beyond that, it must be a Democrat, or we will lose the Supreme Court completely. Two more conservatives and we can kiss our Republic goodbye for the next 20-30 years.

All these "ifs".

What if Clinton had won Mississippi? What if Clinton had won Wisconsin? What if Obama comes out and admits he's a terrorist?

We can come up with all these "what if's" that favor Clinton, but instead of looking at all these what ifs, lets look at reality.

well, even if she does win all the states she will still be behind in delegates leaving the superdelegates....but there is a flaw there too, obama has been picking up about 1 superdelegate per day, clinton has had a net loss or only a gain of 5 depending on what you have read.....her donations are down, and her backing has gone to Obama......yes hillary could win, but you would probably have better luck finding a unicorn....or unless you can find something else wrong with obama, becuase the pastor thing did not do any damage.....


Puerto Rico right now is for Hillary. As a puertorrican that I am, I also have to say that the candidate that do something to solve the political status of the island will have a step ahead to win the primary in the island. Hillary and Obama have both the opportunity to support the senate bill S.1936 which is designed to solve the political status of the island. None of them has sponsored this bill. John McCain is a co sponsor of this bill which was presented by Sen. Ken Salazar (D).

have any of you ever read "OBAMA'S LAUNDRY LIST OF LIES" ? You really should; if you're pro-Clinton, you'll find it invigorating; if you're pro Obama, you'll find it enlightening.

And should you be a member of the press, you might find it very very interesting... or not.

I agree 100% with treetracker. Do we really need a pathetic greedy liar like obama in the whitehouse? We will be better off electing osama!

I don't see how the Democratic Party can easily make hostile their most loyal base, the black community. Not to mention the huge amount of money Barack gets donated to him consistently plus the new Democratic registered voters of whom many are young.

I volunteer and I can see first hand the enthusiasm and passion the Obama supporters are. All races, ages, both genders. Its incredible. If Obama doesn't get this nomination I'm convinced alot of these people will not vote for Hillary. The will either become turned off completely and stay home or some will vote for McCain.

Dean will never seat the Michigan delegates. Obama wasn't even on the ballot BECAUSE HE FOLLOWED THE RULES. MI and FL are out...period. Funny how they were so greedy to move up their primary dates, yet it's now the later primary states that are deciding the candidacy.

She should try devine intervention. Other than that...welcome back to the Senate Mrs Clinton. Nice to have you back.

Sooner or later the house of cards that is Obama will all fall down and either Clinton (and the people) will benefit or McCain.

People should support who they want, but they should be informed. Honesty, Obama has the longest, most serious list of outright lies of any of the candidates, from Treehouse foods, to Rezko, to his legislative record, to his family history.

Play by the rules, as far as I know the candidates agreed to not campaign in MI or FL and only one did. Obama ran TV ads in Florida. As for Michigan, both candidate put their finger in the wind, and acted according to their support. Obama didn't have any so he removed his name from the ballot to make the case he and his supporters are making now.

So love the hope and change and yes we can if you will, but don't say he plays by the rules or is honest because both of those things have been widely documented as false.

You are wrong on this one Kevin H. If you like Hillary that is fine, this is America and we can support anyone we want, but you don't have to lie or create hypotheticals to put her in the whitehouse.

I live in Florida and know for a fact she came here and campaigned. I also know she plainly said MI and FL should not count but then left her name on the ballot. She did not have more support in MI than Obama hence her getting only 35% of the vote when she was the only choice. 65% of MI voters opted against her.

The Clintons are master liars who change the facts to suit their aims. it is clear she will not win the nomination but she would rather drag the party through hell and weaken Sen. Obama so she can try again in 4 years. It is plain to see despite all the what if scenarios that her loyal supporters are clinging to because ultimately they cannot accept a Black man being president.

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