Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Obama Bullish; Clinton Looks to March

Out of curiosity, I called an old friend of mine who is the former head of a local Republican City Committee to get a feel on the lay of the land from the GOP perspective after yesterday’s primaries. We served on the City Committee together for almost 8 years and ended up talking for over an hour and a half. While my friend is a conservative but not a social conservative. My friend thinks that McCain will be the nominee for the GOP, not that various factions in that party will be all that happy about that result.
While my friend not surprisingly tried to argue why I should “rethink my position” and come back to the GOP fold, my friend also wanted to know why I am supporting Obama. I explained my views and reasoning, we discussed health care issues and other issues at length and it was a cordial conversation even if we did not agree on everything. My friend wasn’t happy When I mentioned Hillary, the response was that Hillary as the Democrat nominee would do more to reunite the fractious GOP than anything else. Like GOP pundits, my friend is almost hoping Hillary is the Democrat nominee if only because Hillary will be the trick needed to get otherwise disaffected members of the GOP out to the polls come November. Thus, my thoughts on Hillary’s unifying effect for the GOP were yet again confirmed.

Despite Hillary’s wins in New York and California, I still believe that Obama is the better candidate to go up against McCain. Moreover, I believe he may be in a position to gain more traction over the next rest of the month based on the latest Yahoo News story ( which confirms that Hillary has had to make a loan to her own campaign. In fact, I believe in Obama so strongly that I am meeting with the local Obama field organizer tomorrow and will offer the use of my office phone lines for making get out the vote calls. Here are some highlights from the Yahoo News article:

WASHINGTON - Super Tuesday's mixed outcome has set up at least four weeks of frenzied delegate hunting for Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, pitting his well-financed all-terrain campaign against her big-state strategy. In a sign of Obama's growing financial advantage, Clinton acknowledged Wednesday that she loaned her campaign $5 million late last month as Obama was outraising and outspending her heading into Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests. Some senior staffers on her campaign also are voluntarily forgoing paychecks as the campaign heads into the next round of contests. Buoyed by strong fundraising and a primary calendar in February that plays to his strengths, Obama plans a campaign blitz through a series of states holding contests this weekend and will compete to win primaries in the Mid-Atlantic next week and Hawaii and Wisconsin the following week.

Clinton's personal loan illustrated her financial disadvantage and her desire to pick her targets with care. She sent an e-mail appeal to donors Wednesday seeking $3 million in three days — an effort, that if successful, would match the fundraising rate Obama averaged for the entire month of January. Obama, riding a wave of fundraising both from large donors and small Internet contributors, raised a stunning $32 million in January. Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said last week the Clinton campaign raised only $13.5 million for the month. The $5 million loan was in addition to that amount, Wolfson said. Clinton advisers were stunned by Obama's January fundraising and have marveled at his ability to raise small-dollar amounts from a vast field of donors.

Privately, her strategists also have largely written off her chances of winning the so-called Potomac primary Feb. 9, given the large black populations in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. They also played down her chances in the following week's major primaries — Hawaii, where Obama grew up, and Wisconsin, which has virtually sealed the nomination for other Democrats in years past. Wisconsin's Democratic electorate is largely liberal and college educated, and its open primary allows independents to vote — all factors that favor Obama. Clinton faces significant fundraising obstacles ahead, raising the possibility that she might have to dip into the family's wealth again. The Clinton's financial disclosures, which reveal only broad ranges of assets, place their wealth between $10 million to $50 million.

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