Richardson’s Endorsement: Slow Motion Replay of Iowa Caucus Dealmaking

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bill richardson.jpg
Bill Richardson has now endorsed Barack Obama’s presidential bid.
I guess the evening with President Bill Clinton watching a hockey match didn’t do enough to twin over the interest of the New Mexico governor. Of the presidential candidates, Senator Chris Dodd endorsed Obama first. Joe Biden and John Edwards remain uncommitted. And I have no idea whether Kucinich or Mike Gravel have endorsed Obama, or if he’d like to admit it if they did.
But this is turning into a slow motion replay of the second choice moves the night of the Iowa Caucuses — in which none of the presidential campaigns agreed to a “deal” with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
But before Obama supporters get too intoxicated with that all against one metaphor — the Clinton campaign franchise is still standing and competing vigorously. And has even since Iowa.
My point here is that the Clinton political operation is huge — and as one well-known political pundit recently told me — “I’m having to finally accept that Hillary Clinton has supporters who really, really want and like her.” This was in a setting where a number of top tier journalists were admitting their sins of bias in the early season coverage of the campaigns.
Of course, the same is obviously true about Obama’s political challenge. His supporters are crusaders are not want to compromise. However, to get to an end to this duel, one side is going to have to negotiate an outcome with the other.
Richardson’s endorsement, Edwards’ endorsement — perhaps even an endorsement from Al Gore — provides an edge here and there — but not a definitive end.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

32 comments on “Richardson’s Endorsement: Slow Motion Replay of Iowa Caucus Dealmaking

  1. Dumass says:

    Re the endorsement/vote of Bill “superdelegate” Richardson, I guess the Obama campaign/supporters aren’t real sticklers at being consistent on the “superdelegates should vote for the cndidate that carried their state primary/caucus” “rule”… Didn’t Senator Clinton win New Mexico (albeit by a very narrow margin).

    Reply

  2. Roger Wehage says:

    Has anyone given a thought that maybe the primary reason
    Richardson endorsed Obama is that Barack was the only candidate
    who treated Bill like a human being.

    Reply

  3. Mr.Murder says:

    Obama’s campaign religious advisor/former operative on religious matters has disapproval ratings off the charts.
    Their 20 year relationship appears to concern a lot of undecideds as well.

    Reply

  4. Tahoe Editor says:

    ME = Middle East
    BO oddly injected some AIPAC pandering of his own in his “historic speech on race in America,” positing that Israel bears little responsibility for the ME conflict and that “radical Islam” is the true culprit.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-ostertag/the-limits-of-obamas-rac_b_92688.html

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  5. Carroll says:

    Posted by Will Bower Mar 21, 5:01PM – Link
    Norm.
    Carroll.
    What do you mean when you say “the ME”?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am talking about her lack of morality and Americanism in the Isr-Pal conflict. Her position on that is strictly pandering to her jewish/zionist supporters. if she will sell out to those freaks on that she will sell out anyone and anything for her personal ambitions.
    And her attitude about relations with other ME countries. Evidently she has deluded herself that most of the rest of the universe still gives a rat’s ass about our declining super powers.
    She won’t talk to our “so called” enemies? That suits our “real” enemies just fine. How stupid. What hubris.
    Hillary strikes me more and more as someone who doesn’t know how to use power, who will abuse it like Bush has done and like McWar would like the opportunity to do.
    There is a little too much Hillary in Hillary and not enough America.
    It’s a shame really she has this fatal flaw because there are other talents she has that I like.

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  6. susan says:

    Clinton Campaign: We Only Have 1 in 10 Shot at Nomination
    This is rather remarkable. Apparently in conversations with The Politico’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, the Clinton campaign now believes that it has a 1 in 10 shot — at best — at ending up with the nomination. Take a look:
    One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.
    Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.
    Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.
    People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.
    As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.
    In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe. [emphasis added]
    It’s not often in politics that you see this kind of blunt admission from a campaign — particularly one that has generally been disciplined enough to stay on message for the last year or more. This statement cannot merely be written off as an attempt to lower expectations, which the Clinton campaign tends to be adept at. Unlike individual contests in which a candidate’s performance is lined up against expectations, on that final ballot at the Democratic convention in August the thing that really matters is who can marshal the support of 2,025 delegates (or whatever the benchmark is by that point as it could shift as a result of how and whether delegates from Michigan and Florida are seated). There’s no lowering expectations there, there’s only winning or losing.
    Now I’m not one to say that Clinton should drop out because it’s nearly mathematically impossible for her to reach the magic number of 2,025. If she wants to stay in the race, I believe she certainly has the right. Yet at the same time, if her key campaign staff understands what the situation is — that she has, at best, a 10 percent shot at the nomination now, as they put it — is it really worth it to try to so tarnish the candidate who has the remaining 90 percent shot at the nomination while at the same time bolstering John McCain’s national security credentials?
    http://www.mydd.com/

    Reply

  7. Will Bower says:

    Norm.
    Limbaugh and Coulter have both said they’d suppoer Clinton in a Clinton/McCain matchup.
    Carroll.
    What do you mean when you say “the ME”?
    As for proxies, have we already forgotten about Ms. Power in Scotland?
    And what of the free-ride Obama is being given in regard to the -lie- he told all of America? One week he says that he had never attended a controverisal speech by Reverend Wright… and then, buried in the eventful speech he gave this week, he -admits- to having been to said sermons. Where are the cries of dishonesty and/or hypocrisy and/or dirty politics?
    Not to mention that the Clinton campaign had *nothing* to do with Obama’s biggest scandal to date, nor have they done anything to perpetuate it. And yet still the Obama camp feels compelled to release it’s photo of Bill Clinton and Reverend Wright.
    Brokaw.
    Are you only able to debate all these things by insulting the other side? Again, that isn’t quite the tone I thought your candidate was asking of all of us.

    Reply

  8. Former Clinton Spear Carrier says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/reactions-to-a-tough-deci_b_92785.html
    Given the delegate math, she can only win this by a combination of fear-mongering attacks and behind the scenes deals with superdelegates. That would be terrible for our party, and for the entire progressive movement.
    The reaction since my endorsement post has been really interesting. No surprise at all, I got shots across the bow by people connected to Hillary’s campaign about my name being mud, etc. Hey, it’s politics, I get that and expected it.

    Reply

  9. Kathleen says:

    Steve… I’m offended by your dissing of Congressman Kucinich and former Senator Mike Gravel. Kucinch has been the one who has been right all along, never supporting this criminal war in our name, in any way, unlike our illustrious candidates. Senator Mike Gravel accomplished more in publishing the Pentagon Papers and ending the draft than either of the two candidates whom you think might not want his endorsement.
    How CW of you.

    Reply

  10. For Frank Schaeffer says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/this-good-friday-let-us-_b_92645.html
    Excerpts:
    Bitterness as a way of life marches forward on the left as well as the right. I read the responses from Clinton supporters (on various websites) also damning Obama’s speech as “just words.” Some of the Clinton people sounded even more cynical than Kessler and Ingraham.
    Obama is the chef who opens a new restaurant and serves honest good and beautifully prepared food made of the most wholesome ingredients only to have the food critic pan his offerings as “all too ordinary.” “Where,” asks the seen-it-all jaded bored critic, “are the calf’s brains marinated in truffle-soaked baby duck’s testicles?”
    Obama is not Jesus. Obama makes mistakes. He is rightly self-deprecating. Nevertheless, imperfect as he is, Obama is offering America a fresh start. There is more decent intelligent authenticity in his little finger than the Clintons will ever know. There is more kind wisdom in Obama than in all our sneering bloodsucking moronic media combined. But we have imbibed detritus for so long that when clean food is offered we can’t taste it.
    This isn’t about politics. I’m a fifty-five year old white man who has been a conservative all my life. I’ve been a right wing Republican activist. I’m a big fan of the military. If Obama can reach out to me he can reach out to anyone. He can win in November.
    Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of “CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It

    Reply

  11. norm says:

    will…
    i just don’t think you are taking into the account the full breadth of the irrational hate for hillary. it’s totally irrational…but that won’t make it go away…especially when fanned by the likes of hannity/limbaugh/coulter and their parrots.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    At first I was drawn to Hillary.
    But then Hillary first disappointed me with her moral hypocrisy on the ME.
    Then she upset me with her smear by proxies on Obama.
    She was losing in a fair fight so she went for dirt. This isn’t being tough, this is being a dirt bag.
    I have had enough of dirt bag politicans in the WH.
    I have been full circle in this nomination contest but I am thru with the Clintonian dirt bag trash style of politics.
    Dsigusting.

    Reply

  13. tom brokaw says:

    will bower,
    return to earth and call your therapist…my friend you are delusional…game over she will be out within the week….currently bargaining…

    Reply

  14. Will Bower says:

    Norm. I continue to focus my attention on -the- key constituency within -the- bell-weather state: the Independent women of Ohio. \
    Yes, I’m acting as a handicapper when I do this, but, if the math — and history — follows, if Hillary can win that constituency from McCain in November — which I think she can — then it would follow that the White House could very well be hers.

    Reply

  15. Tahoe Editor says:

    Edwards placed a distant 3rd in his own back yard. His “I want to give everyone below the poverty line the opportunity to buy $400 haircuts” message is out of this world.
    Richardson came off equally incompetent in the debates, desperately in need of a hearing aid.
    I wonder how the Obamaniacs are going to turn Clinton being an “albatross” into “please can everyone who supports her now support us?”
    One of Barack’s more obnoxious and foolish remarks in this campaign, second to his “my-racist-gramma-is-a-typical-white-person” gaffe:
    “I’m confident that I will get her votes if I’m the nominee; it’s not clear that she would get the votes I got if she were the nominee.”

    Reply

  16. norm says:

    will…i think you completely underestimate the ability of clinton to unify the party…the republican party. clinton will not be elected president. if she is the nominee the best we can hope for is a veto proof majorities in congress.

    Reply

  17. latina_in_texas says:

    There’s no understanding of the Latino vote when it comes to the mainstream media. Overwhelmingly in favor of Sen. Obama, it is assumed that by partnering with Gov. Richards, the Latino vote will turn in his favor.
    Wrong. First, out of the estimated 44 million Latinos in the US, an estimated 20 million are illegals, and therefore, not allowed to vote. According to the Pew Center for Hispanic Research, a mere 17 million are legal citizens, and therefore, registered voters. The rest are either minors or legal residents, who are not entitled to cast a vote.
    Second, the Latino vote is as diverse as the composition of it. Not all Mexican-Americans will vote for Obama even if Richards is his running mate. The Cuban and most of the Central American vote will go to John McCain.
    Third, Obama will be pestered till the elections because of his close relationship with racists like Wright, and others. This will not go away since he chose to put the blame on everbody, their neighbors and their dogs, but the culprits. Nobody stays in a church spewing hate for 20 years if they are not part of it.
    As more revelations on this respect come to light, his skillful oratory will be less effective. After all, his slogan of leadership, unity, hope and all the other beautiful words he uses to address his campaign events are starting to sound hollow in view of his deeds. Also, his social progessive agenda and political leanings will be subject to a closer scrutiny, even though the mainstream media will try to ignore it and divert it.
    His race speech was rethorically beautiful but raised more questions about his character and judgement than answers.

    Reply

  18. Will Bower says:

    Leo. To be more specific, I’m talking about what seems to be a majority of the Obama-supporters here on Steve’s blog. Just go over the past few posts pertaining to the election and read the language they use.
    And I would contend that the first low-handed attack of the season was when the Obama camp attacked Hillary for her rightful praise of LBJ as being racist and an insult to MLK.
    Norm. If Obama has -any- chance at pulling off a win in the General (which I don’t think he does), he would -have- to win back the Latino vote. It seems to be that Obama/Richardson might be his last hope of doing that against McCain.

    Reply

  19. norm says:

    i wonder what, or if, richardson was promised in exchange for his endorsment? vp? sec. of state?having him on the ticket would present an interesting foil to mc-bush in the southwest. speaking of mc-bush the statement above that he is “…running around the world looking like a statesman…’ is comical. while i’m sure that ws his intent he has only succeeded in looking like a bungling old man.

    Reply

  20. leo says:

    “Why is it that — whilst Obama is campaigning on a pledge of hope and unity — his online -supporters- seem to be some the rudest and most vitriolic.”
    Will, I think you’re mischaracterising “Obama supporters.”
    Hillary’s campaign tactics are (by necessity) misleading, dishonest, and cynical (the kitchen sink defense was their idea, not mine).
    I came to support Obama only after Hillary began her attacks (on the media), I guess I find that the nature of the Clinton campaign motivates me.

    Reply

  21. Will Bower says:

    “Im” — I have not once said anything negative about Reverend Wright. I’m simply saying that this controversy is the beginning of the end for Obama’s chances at the White House.
    Brokaw — For all of your items… Clinton can still win the nomination. Fact.
    Everyone — Why is it that — whilst Obama is campaigning on a pledge of hope and unity — his online -supporters- seem to be some the rudest and most vitriolic.

    Reply

  22. leo says:

    “a setting where a number of top tier journalists were admitting their sins of bias”
    Well lets see, you’ve got the Democratic establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, with a powerful campaign (that even you admit Steve), plenty of money, leading in the polls, and presumptive primary winner (can’t say the Clinton campaign didn’t believe this)… and they’re winging about the press (and getting David Shuster taken off the air, in Putinesque excess).
    The press wasn’t out of line, the Clinton’s were. It was a campaign tactic, and it worked; they don’t deserve sympathy for it, though I’m sure we’ll hear these cries of complaint from the Clinton camp again (just hopefully not for the next 4 years!).

    Reply

  23. tom brokaw says:

    stop drinking the clinton koolaid
    1. she has been mathematically eliminated in pledged delegates/total contests won/popular vote…FACT!!!
    2. She has retreated to her upstate new york home…dealmaking for withdrawl..this window may have closed with the “southern strategy” swiftboat…
    3. other shoe to drop in passport gate…..pay close attention as the dots get connected….servers/printer reports/emails/phone records/haed drives are difficult to spin but the attempt will be pure clintonian…
    HRC was right, the skys did open and done came the angels and away she went…
    Time to set aside fantasy of a clinton nomination and unite behind Nominee Obama…mcbush is already spinning al qaeda/iran bull…many are disappointed but the facts are the facts….SD’s will move en mass to BO if Clinton continues…even in the mark penn spun diluted version of reality hrc still has a close to 60% negative of being untrustworthy(taken after wright)the sd’s understand she is not viable…on to the general…

    Reply

  24. leemortimer says:

    Nobody has said it’s a “definitive end.”

    Reply

  25. lm says:

    will bower — how about if you actually watch more than the Wright
    sound bite before you shoot off your mouth — here, I’ll even do
    you a favor and provide a link to the two key videos….
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/20/224958/631/841/481
    227
    do you have the decency to watch them and then come back here
    and truthfully discuss the context of Wrights statements?

    Reply

  26. ... says:

    Note to Will Bower and all those subscribing to that style of analysis. Check your facts. Do some math. Look at the big picture. You’re wrong on all three. Microtrends are valuable but worthless without complementary assessment of the macrotrends.

    Reply

  27. Will Bower says:

    DigDug.
    Underrepresenting caucus voters?
    As we saw in Texas, one candidate can win the popular vote whilst another can win the caucus. Caucuses -themselves- are what undermine Democratic principles.
    And yes, after Reverend Wright, a Clinton/Obama ticket -is- a nightmare… for Clinton.

    Reply

  28. carsick says:

    I’m not a big believer that endorsements have much impact.
    On the other hand, if you look how the two campaigns have been managed, that does mean something.
    The HRC campaign looks like a messy desk and on the whole, Obama, the newcomer, seems to have put together a well oiled machine.

    Reply

  29. digdug says:

    Richardson’s endorsement is influential, as he is.
    One would think, considering his primary area of interest being
    foreign policy, Steve Clemons would be talking about
    Richardson’s foreign-policy experience and work as a roving
    diplomat who has sat down and talked with all manner of friends
    and foes. As well, his place as a prominent superdelegate may
    prove influential with other uncommitted supers. Instead he
    seems to be downplaying such things in hopes of a
    “compromise”. The compromise being the “dream ticket”.
    Which is in reality a nightmare, Cinton being a large albatross to
    overcome in the general election.
    I think Richardson’s endorsement is going to be part of a
    continual upping of pressure on Clinton to drop out. She’s
    behind, no matter how passionate some of her supporters are.
    There are equally passionate Obama supporters (“crusaders” as
    Clemons negatively paints them), and there are *more* of them.
    She cannot conceivably surpass Obama’s lead in delegates. She
    will likely not even get much closer, and may fall a bit further
    behind. Clinton is making a big deal of popular vote, even
    though it is irrelevant in the election as it underreports caucus
    voters I believe. Either way, she will likely remain significantly
    behind in the popular vote as well.
    I think we’ll see more of this as things continue on, as more
    supers and party officials pressure Clinton to drop out in the
    interest of lining up behind our inevitable nominee in Obama
    (/snark), and getting everyone to work on defeating McCain.
    Richardson’s endorsement is significant.

    Reply

  30. Will Bower says:

    Dan.
    Bill Richardson is not the voice who can or will end this.
    After Al Gore’s endorsement of Howard Dean in ’04, he should be careful whom he endorses this time ’round.
    Now, John Edwards? -He- could be the voice to do what you propose. And if he doesn’t step up to the plate, then -perhaps- Jimmy Carter.
    Again, though, all those Super Delegates need to realize that — if it’s an Obama-McCain election in November, the Electoral map will wind up redder than it has been since 1988.

    Reply

  31. Dan Kervick says:

    Actually, I suspect a Gore endorsement would be a huge, and likely game-ending event in this race.
    Democratic party leaders have to be very concerned about the fact that the head-to-head polls have been moving in McCain’s direction since he wrapped up the nomination, while the Democrats are still beating each other up, and doing significant damage to each other. The Democratic race, which has been going for about 14 months now, has stalled out with a divided message and divided polity, while McCain is running around the world looking like a statesman. The Democrats need to start mounting a unified campaign against John McCain – NOW. Can the party really endure another month, or more, of this debilitating cycle as we wait for Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina and Oregon – and beyond?
    I can’t believe party leaders are just going to let this thing drag on to late April, May or beyond. At some point they have to grasp the urgency of recognizing that they now have a nominee and it is time to unite behind him. With the no-go results this week in Michigan and Florida, and the New York Times delegate analysis painting the picture, that’s even clear now than it was before. Some event – possibly this Richardson endorsement, but maybe something else – is going to be the little nudge that moves sizeable numbers of undecided superdelegates to declare for Obama and produces the final stampede.

    Reply

  32. Will Bower says:

    The Party of Kerry, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern, and Humphry looks as if it is becoming dangerously close to becoming the party of Obama.
    The one Democrat to get elected — and re-elected — to the White House in the last *68* years? A Clinton. And the Party is becoming dangerously close to kicking it’s only winning ticket to the floor.
    I know most of you here don’t need this history lesson, but I just needed to express just how amazing it is to me as to how terrible the Democratic party has become in picking it’s candidates.
    Are they really going to do this to themselves again?

    Reply

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