Sunday, February 24, 2008

If a Hillary Screams in the Forest...

Al G. at the Field has some amazing numbers on the relative sizes of crowds that Obama and Hillary are getting in Texas and Ohio. Yesterday Obama spoke to 6,000 people in Cleveland. Clinton spoke the day before to 2,500. Obama spoke to another 6,000 in Akron, where he got the endorsement of a former mayor and state rep. Clinton in the larger city of Cinncinatti drew 1500. She drew the same number in Dayton, and 3000 in Toledo, where Obama is holding another huge rally today.

But the real extremes are in Texas. Obama spoke to 19,000 in Houston, Hillary to 600. (To be fair, this was apparently an event scheduled at the last minute. But even that tells you something.)

Al thinks this might be why Hillary shouted, "Enough with the speeches and big rallies!" in her "shame on you" speech Saturday. Today she's out and out mocking Obama's speeches. But how many people are listening?

The crowds Obama is getting in Texas aren't the only indication of how he's doing there. Early voting in districts where he is expected to do well is up by astounding percentages--in some places, 8 or 9 times what it was in 2004. This alone has caused a Houston Chronicle columnist to predict that Obama will win the state.

A couple of interesting polls revealed today which are likely to be noted by super-delegates: A Des Moines Register poll shows Obama carrying the state of Iowa in the general election against McCain by a huge margin: 53% to 36%. But Hillary would lose to McCain by nine points. And a Rasmussen poll that shows Hillary losing New Mexico by 12 points, but Obama tied with McCain. This is a state Hillary won by a few hundred votes in the Super Tuesday primary.

I saw a story somewhere about the Clinton campaign that had them really worried about carrying Texas. They can start worrying about Pennsylvania, too, if they get that far. Word is that the Philadelphia Building Trades Council is set to endorse Obama tomorrow. The Boston Globe report adds that: On Friday, Obama campaign announced that it had received the support of Leon Lynch, a Pittsburgh-area superdelegate and former vice president of the United Steelworkers of America, which had previously supported John Edwards.

The Globe reporter concludes that "In many cases, labor’s leadership is trying to catch up with a membership that is marching into the Obama camp," led by younger members. The significance is what the Globe calls "growing support for Obama among the building trades -- key operators in the upcoming Ohio and Pennsylvania primaries -- has begun to create a labor coalition that offsets Hillary Clinton’s strength among public-employees unions. "

Oh, and Ralph Nader announced today he's running for President. Obama, who as a young man once worked for a Nader-affliated organization in Harlem, had this to say:

"I think anybody has the right to vote [run?] for president if they file sufficient papers. And I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage of the vote going to another candidate's not going to make any difference."

When reporters reminded Obamathat Nader had said some not-so nice things about him, Obama replied:"He had called me and I think reached out to my campaign. My sense is that Mr. Nader is somebody who if you're -- don't listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you're not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work. Now, and by the way, I have to say that historically, he is a singular figure in American politics and has done as much as just about anybody on behalf of consumers. So in many ways, he is a heroic figure and I don't mean to diminish him, but I do think there's a sense now that um, you know if somebody's not hewn to the Ralph Nader agenda then you, you must be lacking in some way."

In the department of better late than ever comes these Words from Hillary Clinton has criticized Barack Obama for ``lifting whole passages'' in his speeches, an act her campaign has called plagiarism. The Illinois senator says the charges are ``silly,'' and intellectual-property experts agree.

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