Maryland: Obama and McCain Declared the Winners


Obama is genuinely in the lead for the first time in this election. Before the Maryland prediction was announced, analysts have Obama leading Hillary Clinton by 8 delegates when counting both pledged and committed superdelegates.
His lead is razor thin, but it is a lead. He has momentum. She has changed parts of her campaign team — both Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle and her Deputy Mike Henry. People inside Hillaryland tell me that Doyle and Henry were the ones who designed the plans that failed to take Iowa and all other caucuses seriously. This has been a costly, huge mistake for the Clinton campaign.
For more about the inside shuffling in the Clinton campaign, read Joshua Green’s juicy piece in the Atlantic. I had to wrestle somewhat with the Clinton campaign a couple of days ago on whether Doyle was “fired” or “stepped down.” This is how Joshua Green calls it (now I wish I hadn’t changed my headline!):

For the many people in and around Washington who obsess over the latest machinations in Hillaryland, the firing of Solis Doyle — and she was fired, several insiders confirm — is a big deal, but for reasons somewhat different from what the media coverage has suggested. Her title of “campaign manager” implies a loftier role than the one she actually played. She is the furthest thing from a Rove-like strategic genius (Mark Penn inhabits that role for Hillary), so her leaving doesn’t signify an impending change of strategy, as some reports seem to assume.

Despite the evident momentum Obama has, I worry about the media beginning to slam him for an “absence of detail” that could be painful — we’ll see. Obama is the frontrunner now and leading. Hillary Clinton’s team can come back — but it’s going to be a tough, hard fought trip if they do.

— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Maryland: Obama and McCain Declared the Winners

  1. Lurker says:

    Obama wants to attack Pakistan and McCain wants to bomb Iran.
    And yet you all think that one or the other will restore the Bill of Rights?
    Concentrate on domestic issues?
    Kick Israel and her fan club out of U.S. foreign policy?
    Americans are FOOLS, and almost every post on this thread proves it. And, sorry to say, Steve, you prove it as well.
    We attack in the Middle-East because of the Israel Lobby.
    Obama has threatened to expand that “War on Terror” into South Asia.
    To find one 6’4″ man, Osama Bin Laden, who is on dialysis despite that he’s in a cave somewhere, and despite that Benezir Bhutto said that he was dead, and despite that he was a former CIA operative.
    You truly all suck. Critical thinking in the U.S. is dead.
    The “War on Terror” is a war on Islam brought to you by the kind folks over at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its fellow insane travelers like the “Christian Coalition)
    Obama and McCain are bought and sold by the pro-Israel lobby, as is Hitlery.
    And yet you chose to think that casting a vote for any of the above will make a difference.
    Concentrate on America and DEMAND that your representatives do too.
    Your kids will die if we continue to bomb and kill Muslims and expand this “War on Terror” — and the few of our children who survive will be doomed to a police state.
    Obama, Clinton or McCain — no difference. It’s up to us to demand change. NOW.


  2. DC says:

    We’re talking about the constructive terminations here, and the internal justifications for them (they had no effective caucus plan, apparently; they were bleeding money) — and in that connection I have a question: What in the world was Mark Penn hired to do, if not to effectively manage the caucuses and related money allocations, among other things. You would think he would have been aware of what was going on, and have taken steps to correct any problems. But the terminations/resignations didn’t happen until after Hillary began her losing streak. It seems to me that Doyle and Henry were made the fall guys in this situation, but I could be wrong considering I know next to nothing about campaigns.


  3. JohnH says:

    Worrying “about the media beginning to slam [Obama] for an ‘absence of detail.'” Uh, wouldn’t that be the pot calling the kettle black? Since when has the media ever been concerned with substance and detail (OJ-like cases aside)? I would be amazed if anyone on CNN, MSNBC, or broadcast TV has even gone to Obama’s web site.
    The attacks, when they come, will be personal, nasty and from left field–and totally devoid of substance, i.e. Swift Boating. And true to form, the media won’t notice their lack of substance.


  4. Linda says:

    I happened to hear Jonathan Schell of “The Nation” on Charlie Rose last night talking about nuclear proliferation and the need for a new direction and policy away from preemptive strikes and toward the idea of a world with total nuclear disarmament and redoing the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Schell said that of all the candidates of both parties, only one candidate has that as a goal. I just went to Obama’s website, and it is all there under “foreign policy.”
    The last time (and only time) that this came close to happening was in the mid-1980s when Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev were meeting in Iceland. It is a policy that George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn suggested in an op-ed in the “Wall Street Journal on 1/4/07.
    So that idea was out there bipartisan for the entire past year, and only one candidate of the 15-20 of both parties picked up on it.


  5. Greg says:

    Steve, are you worried that the press will make “lack of substance” (a Clinton and now McCain talking point) an issue? Or do you think that it is a real issue? If the latter, on what basis? His speeches, which at least until very lately did not weave in as much policy detail relatively speaking as does Clinton? Disagreements with the policy details in the various materials he has made available on his website? Something else?


  6. WBlack says:

    “Despite the evident momentum Obama has, I worry about the media beginning to slam him for an “absence of detail” that could be painful — we’ll see.”
    I can see how, listening to Obama’s speeches, one might worry about lack of substance. But no one who has read this document– — can have too many fears.
    The question isn’t whether he’s substantive but whether he can pivot when he needs to into issues-based campaigning. On the basis of this interview with the New York Times — — my expectations are high.


  7. SM says:

    As an Obama supporter I also worry about the media going after him with the oft repeated “lack of substance” tag, but he’s triumphed as a campaigner so far, and he’s held his own in debates, so I’m hoping he’ll be able to put that to bed in relatively short order.
    But with regard to the Atlantic piece Steve Clemons references, this sentence jumped out at me as evidence of the kind of lazy thinking rampant in journalism and which sometimes affects a magazine we expect more from:
    “No one could have predicted Barack Obama’s sudden rise, though the Clinton campaign was slower to recognize it than most.”
    No one could have predicted? Seriously? Was it not obvious during Obama’s 2004 speech that he had strong potential to have a break-out moment once a larger audience started paying attention? Was it not obvious he was a serious threat to Hillary’s “inevitability” as soon as he announced his candidacy? Seems quite predictable to me, and when you think of it that way, it exposes a serious lack of judgment from campaign Hillary.


  8. CTown says:

    The media would certainly strengthen their case that there is a lack of substance if they were to actually read Obamas’ policy positions and be able to offer critical insight of its strengths and weaknesses. Anybody can go to his web site and access this stuff.
    But, instead, they’d rather talk about whether Obama snubbed Hillary at the SOTU. That allows talking heads to show how witty they are. And it takes a lot less work to do.


  9. bob h says:

    “Despite the evident momentum Obama has, I worry about the media beginning to slam him for an “absence of detail” that could be painful — we’ll see.”
    Actually the sooner this occurs the better, because if we are going to go with him, it had better not be on the basis of a free ride from an adulatory press.


  10. ... says:

    it would be nice if it was over when the bitter, angry, old, fat-butt Morrow screams.


  11. Robert Morrow says:

    I am in a pretty good mood tonight, how about you folks. Who says Hillary is going to WIN both Texas and Ohio? And if she does … so what, she could still LOSE the Democratic nomination after winning both of those states.
    Hey, I thought Hillary was an “inevitable” something or another. Didn’t a pair of jokers write an oped piece in the WaPo about a year ago about “The Power of Hillary?”
    Well not only is Hillary not electable, it is turing out she is not NOMINATABLE. So I don’t that that is a very strong candidate.
    However, the Clintons could always play the FELONY card that they have in their playbook, so it is not over until the bitter, angry, old, fat-butt lady screams.


  12. plum says:

    HRC would never be the veep. My bet is on Obama to choose Gov Tim Kaine. The two obviously have a good friendship (Kaine was the first pol outside Illinois to endorse Obama) and — importantly for the Latino vote in the general election — the man speaks Spanish.


  13. jim miller says:

    1. Obama is officially in the lead—hello…he has won twice as many states….she has won 10 states to his 21, plus 15 of his states wins were had with more THAN 60% OF THE VOTE—HRC—1 OVER 60….
    2. Mathmatically almost impossible for HRC to overcome on pledged delegates…..
    3. Mathmatically almost impossible for HRC to overcome states….
    4. Obama has a commanding lead in the popular vote.
    5. Tonight in Virginia, Clinton’s hope, he won every major group except women—-when is the last time a democrat had this broad of a coalition?
    6. HRC ONLY CHANCE: to cheat—-she will flip flop on her original promise not to seat florida and Michigan, she has promised many plum back room jobs to many super-D’s and other insiders(Steve???) …her only chasnce at victory is to steal the election with superdelegate influence….that would be an american nightmare….destroy the democratic coalition while handing the ge to Mack…plus this end around would ignite passions acoss coalitions that has never been witnessed….it’s time for her to do the patriotic gesture and withdraw…mathmatically she cant win the nomination…it’s time to honestly look at the will of the people and respect it.


  14. Jason says:

    Obama may have a rough stretch for a few weeks. Clinton, at a do or die point right now, will be attacking him ferociously in hopes for a win or two in OH and TX. McCain will probably start attacking Obama in earnest (as he did tonight in his victory speech). The media, for a variety of reasons (including perhaps a subconscious desire to not want the Cinton/Obama race to end) will be harsher on him. Usually talking heads like Tucker Carlson start making inane comments, the idea bounces around in the echo chamber and then filters down to reporters.
    He hit front-runner status today, and will have a lot to deal with now because of it.


  15. SomeCallMeTim says:

    Yeah, I can’t see her on the undercard. She’s too big for that, I’d think, and why would anyone install a candidate with a comparable base of power in the VP’s office if he didn’t have to.
    If Obama becomes the nominee–and who knows if he will?–then I hope he picks someone like Sebelius.


  16. Linda says:

    No, I can’t imagine her a VP on any ticket. Can you imagine her just being a very good wonky Senator from NY like Teddy Kennedy though she started much later in life? When she serves as long as Kennedy has, she will be 99 years old. I’d be very happy with that and hope she ends up as the grande dame of a Senate that is at least 50% female. I think that would be better for the country than having her as President.


  17. CTown says:

    The margins of victory that Obama appears to be racking up cannot help but give the Clinton camp some pause moving forward. And yet, I can’t imagine Hillary Clinton being satisfied with being a VP nominee.


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