Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: “Meet the Press

“Fox News Sunday” and “Meet the Press” Debate Florida and Michigan “Do-Over(s)”

 Sunday, March 9th “Fox News” and “Meet the Press” Debate   Florida, Michigan Do-Over

     The Sunday morning news programs were focused on the Obama/Clinton face-off…again. It was only a matter of time before Hillary Clinton would begin focusing on trying to seat Florida and Michigan delegates, who were previously denied delegates to punish them for moving their primaries up. Britt Hume, on Fox News Sunday, interviewed 2 SuperDelegates, both named Debbie.

    One was Debbie Dingell (no, I’m not making that name up), a SuperDelegate from Michigan and a Democratic National Committee member. The other was Debbie Wassermann Schulz, a Super-Delegate from Florida. The conversation focused on “do-overs” and “firehouse primaries” and any number of means by which the Democratic Party can seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan who were supposed to be being punished for their actions by not being seated.

    Expense of a special election is, of course, at issue. The cost of a special election is estimated to run about $30 million dollars and all kinds of people are stepping up to the plate to make suggestions as to how a special election might now be financed, from James Carville to Governor Ed Rendell (D, PA) to Dr. Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

     Without Michigan’s and Florida’s votes factored in, Barack Obama has a popular vote total of 13,318,906 to Hillary Clinton’s 12,690,404, but if Florida and Michigan are factored back in, the count becomes 13,895,120 for Obama to 13,889,699 for Hillary, according to Fox News Sunday’s poll. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard commented, “She’s (Clinton’s) gonna’ have to have a majority of the popular vote, because she’s not gonna’ have a majority of the delegate vote, even if she wins in these electable contests between now and the convention…They’re gonna’ do something in Michigan and Florida, and it’s up to Hillary Clinton to get ahead in the popular vote, because, otherwise, she’s not gonna’ be the nominee.” The other contributors, Mara Liasson of NPR, Juan Williams, also of NPR, and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard agreed that, “These delegates re going to be seated. The only question is, ‘How are they gonna’ be counted?'”

    All the expert commentators noted Obama’s difficult position in the matter. Obviously, Hillary is desperately trying to lobby for changing the rules, since she needs an “overtime” to win, but where is the advantage for Obama? There is none, but he runs the risk of being seen as trying to disenfranchise voters in Florida and Michigan if he isn’t supportive of these recent efforts asking for a “do-over.”

     Juan Williams put it this way, “I don’t see how he (Obama) can avoid, in essence, giving in to what Hillary Clinton wants.”

     Fred Barnes, on the other hand, said, “Barack Obama obeyed the rules that the Democratic Party set down.  He didn’t participate in these primaries.  You cannot have an outcome that is fair to Barack Obama.  It’s gonna’ be unfair to him, because, without these two states, he’s ahead, he wins the nomination.”

     Britt Humes asked, “How likely is it that she can still come from behind to beat him (Obama)?” Fred Barnes responded, “Well, I’d say that she’s the underdog and, in these 11 states coming up, she is going to have to do well.”  The graphic displayed showed Obama with 1,578 delegates versus Hillary Clinton’s 1,468 delegates.

    The talk after that turned to the Super Delegates and how they would behave in the event that Hillary Clinton limps into Denver behind in both popular and delegate count. Said Kristol, “You cannot be behind in both Super Delegates and popular vote and win.” This truth seems to be self-evident. Juan Williams commented on the electability issue, with Obama having won 25 states and the District of Columbia while Clinton has won in only 14. There are 9 remaining states.

     Later on Sunday morning, on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on NBC, commentators Lester Holt and Jenna Wolf discussed the way things have been going, with Obama picking up 45 Super Delegates since Super Tuesday, while Hillary Clinton has lost 6 of them.  Current standing as the candidates head into Pennsylvania on April 22nd and move past Mississippi’s vote on March 12 show 1374 delegates for Obama, with Clinton at 1232, a 142 lead for Barack Obama.  In terms of the popular vote, Obama commands 49% of it, while Hillary Clinton has 47% of the popular vote. There are still 599 delegates to be chosen.

   One of the most interesting exchanges of the morning occurred with Tim Russert moderating a lively discussion between  Senator Tom Daschle (D, SD) and Governor Ed Rendell (D, PA), about what anointing Hillary Clinton as the nominee might do to the young voters and the ethnic voters who have supported Barack Obama in his quest. If Hillary Clinton is announced as the nominee, despite Obama’s having beaten her, fair and square, in almost every way imaginable, what kind of message will that send to America, the youth of America, and the rest of the world.

   Russert put the question this way: “Should the candidate who has won the most electoral votes be the nominee?”

     Daschle answered, “Absolutely. I don’t see how we could possibly do anything else but say that we respect the wishes of the people who have voted. And what would it say to the world and to the country if we overturned the will of those people who have voted. It would be a travesty for the party and for the country.”

     Daschle referenced a poll that was just taken that showed Barack Obama winning, nationwide.  Said Daschle, “It doesn’t matter who’s at the top of the ticket. The Democratic nominee is gonna’ be in a very commanding position in New York and California and I think we can even put Texas into play this year.”

     Governor Ed Rendell (D, PA), a Hillary Clinton supporter, tried to suggest that Hillary Clinton deserves to be the nominee because she could win in the big states that count, reasoning that was offensive to not only Daschle, but also the residents of all the other states that aren’t Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida or Michigan.  Rendell, saying, “She’s clearly the strongest candidate in the states we have to take, also offended by suggesting that caucuses were not democratic, because shift workers and older residents couldn’t vote by absentee ballot.

     Russert seemed incredulous as he asked Rendell, “So, the Iowa caucuses and the Nevada caucuses were undemocratic?” Rendell answered, “Yes,” which prompted Tom Daschle, an Obama supporter, to say, “Well, Tim, first of all, I think it will come as a real shock to Iowa and Nevada votes that they don’t have a Democratic process.  I thin it’s very democratic.  I don’t concede that point at all.”

     As an Iowan, born and bred, I was happy to hear South Dakota’s Senator stick up for us.  The conversation went on about “do overs” and whether they should be primaries or caucuses or even mail-in ballots.

    Daschle said, “There are, as we have to address, a lot of issues with primaries as well, but the bottom line is that we all agreed to play by the rules and one campaign, now, has broken those rules and has decided not to abide by them, and our campaign has decided to abide by those rules.  We recognize that these are 2 very important states and we are committed to working something out.  We’ll be competitive, whatever it is.  If there’s a fair approach that can be worked out, we’re for it, we’ll work for it, we’ll do it.  But it has to be fair and it has to be worked out in concert with the parties and we have to abide, as much as possible, with the rules that everybody worked out six months ago.”

    Stay tuned for further developments in this very messy situation.

“Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation” Handicap the Presidential Race

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Debate in Austin, TexasOn Sunday, March 3rd‘s versions of “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press” expert political commentators filled us in on how this year’s race for the Presidential nomination is playing out. A bi-partisan mixture of Republican and Democratic strategists had the opportunity to put in their two cents’ worth. This is how it sounded.

     Republican strategist Mike Murphy, a guest on “Meet the Press”, said, “I’ll make a cash money bet right now on Obama.” There were no takers. Murphy backed up his bet with the information that, even if Hillary wins in both Texas and Ohio, she would have to win 70% of the votes in the 12 states that remain, which represent 611 delegates. (Most of those states, for the curious, are: Oregon, Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Mississippi, Guam and Puerto Rico, which has 63 delegates.)

     Bob Schrum—famous for his soaring speech work for the Democrats—commented, “You cannot go into this convention and not have some moral claim.” James Carville, the bald strategist to both Bill and Hillary, who appeared on “Meet the Press” alongside his Republican strategist wife Mary Matalin, said, “Nobody in the world can look at these polls and predict with any accuracy.” He did acknowledge, however, that he agreed with Bill Clinton, who told Texas voters during a campaign rally for his wife in Beaumont, Texas, “If you don’t deliver for her, I don’t think she can (win). It’s on your backs.” Carville agreed with his former boss, saying, “You gotta’ win something.”

     Mary Matalin, his Republican spouse, laughed at most of the comments made about the continuing Democratic death struggle on “Meet the Press”, ultimately commenting, “It’s so khumbaya that they (the Democrats) can’t pick a nominee.”

     Countered her Republican counterpart Murphy, “Turnout is his (Obama’s) demographic. The thing I’d be watching on Election Day is turnout. He creates a turnout demographic that is very powerful.  My gut tells me he’s gonna’ take ‘em both (Ohio and Texas), and that’ll be the end.”

     Democratic strategist and speechwriter “Schrummie” (Bob Schrum) interjected, “What we’re really seeing is a generational struggle inside the Democratic party.” He went on to liken Hillary to the Beach Boys when the Beatles came to America.  The analogies were flying thick and fast. At one point, Obama was even compared to the hula hoop craze! Is it a fad? Will it last? What about staying power?

    There was a lot of scrutiny of the latest ads that Hillary and Obama are running. The ads show a phone call coming in to a home with sleeping children in the dead of night. Hillary answers the pre-dawn ringing phone, dressed to the teeth (my husband wondered why she wouldn’t be in her nightgown, a valid Republican observation). The implication: a crisis call was coming in. Who is most qualified to answer it?

     Obama immediately countered this Mark Penn-designed ad with one that used the same imagery, but underscored his judgment as being sounder, as he had been against the Iraq War since the beginning. Carville categorized both ads as “fair.” Then the experts began picking them apart, saying that the origin of such a ringing telephone ad goes all the way back to Walter Mondale in 1984, running against Gary Hart and using an image of a red phone. (Boy! Did that phone look dated!) The problem, the strategists said, is that the “red phone” fear message has become a bit of a cliché. The implication:  this cliché charge is also true of Hillary’s entire campaign.

     Next came some finger pointing. “Mark Penn has called the strategy in this campaign, dominated it.” This from Jason Horowitz’s New York Observer newspaper article titled “Ickes: Blame Penn.” As her chief strategist, Penn actually wrote the current phone call ad.

    There were moments of mirth. After the phone ad began appearing in Texas and Ohio, someone asked Hillary during a campaign stop to give an example of a time when she had to handle a crisis phone call. There was apparently not a lot of thought given beforehand to this particular question arising.  The best answer the campaign spokesman came up with was,  “She’s on the Armed Services Committee.” Said Democrat Schrum, laughing, “You know the only crisis on the Armed Services Committee is when John McCain loses his temper.” Republican Murphy, laughing, added, “The only crisis call she (Hillary) might get is from Texas.”

     Chuck Todd, the NBC News Political Director was quoted  (“Meet the Press”) this way, “According to our delegate math, Clinton winning both Ohio and Texas by 52% – 48% would net her a combined 5-6 delegates.  Yet, toss in a potential Obama landslide in Vermont, and then her next March 4th haul could be as little as 2-5 delegates.”

    On “Face the Nation” Governor Bill Richardson was interviewed, as was former candidate Senator Chris Dodd (D, Connecticut), who noted that “If experience is the sole criteria, it should be Joe Biden and me,” something he said more than once on the campaign trail in Iowa. Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, a Clinton supporter, was interviewed onscreen as well, and commented, “We’re hiring someone to do the toughest job in the country, and a big part of that job is being Commander-in-Chief. Intelligence people report renewed attacks. It’s a risky world. We need someone with the seasoning and the ability to be Commander-in-Chief. It’s a dangerous world.”

     Chris Dodd (D, CT), who has endorsed Obama, countered with, “This is a person (Obama) eminently qualified to lead. It’s not, as they say, just about who answers that phone, but about what they say.” For those of us who have heard Hillary Clinton’s shrill tone of voice, we might add, “and it’s about HOW that individual speaks when they answer.”

    From Santa Fe, New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson on” Face the Nation”, who has endorsed neither candidate, weighed in with, “I am legitimately torn (between the candidates),” saying, “The concern that I have is that the bickering is going on too long. D-Day is Tuesday. I want to see us, after Tuesday, come together and move towards the general election.” He added, “McCain cannot be taken for granted.” Richardson noted, “We haven’t elected a Senator in over 40 years. I guess we’re going to this time.”

    Many charts and graphs were used to reinforce points being made. To share just a few: In Ohio, Clinton attracts just 38% of men under 50, while Obama gets 52%. Hillary gets the vote of 54% of those over 50 in Ohio, while Obama gets only 36% of those over 50. By race (in Ohio) Obama claims the vote of 86% of African-Americans (to Clinton’s 6%), while 62% of Hispanics favor Clinton, compared to only 30% for Obama. (“Meet the Press” graphic).

     As to Super Delegates, those much-discussed 800, the change since February 5th has seen Obama pick up 38, while Clinton has lost 6, giving Obama a 111-vote lead. In a Pew Foundation Poll shown on “Meet the Press”, when asked whether a candidate was “very likable,” “somewhat likable” or “not likable,” Obama was judged “Very likable” by 50% to Clinton’s 26% and McCain’s 21%. In the “somewhat” range, the split was 35% for Obama, to 37% for Clinton, to 55% for McCain. In the dreaded “Not Likable” category, Hillary scored 33%, while McCain was at 18% and Obama at 10%.

     Republican strategist Mike Murphy on “Meet the Press,” commenting on the general election, said, “We’ve got the one different kind of Republican this year who can go to the center, and a lot of the Obama stuff—the energy behind his campaign, other than the war—is stuff John McCain built his reputation on and frankly has shown a lot more courage on than Barack Obama ever has. He’ll (McCain’ll) co-opt that middle space and beat him on experience and leadership.”

     All agreed that, if Obama were to be elected, it would “set the Conservative movement back 50 years.”

     In another interesting bit, respondents to a CNBC Current State of the Economy survey (“Meet the Press”) were asked to respond with one word to the three remaining candidates in the race. The responses to each candidate and the word used most frequently follows:


            Old                                55

            Honest                          32

            Experienced                29       

            Patriot                          21

            Conservative               14

            Hero                              13

            Liberal                          12


            Inexperienced              45       

            Charismatic                   32

            Intelligent                      25

            Change                            23

            Inspirational                  14

            Young                              12

            New                                  11


            Experienced                 34

            Strong                           16

            Untrustworthy            16

            Intelligent                     15

            Smart                             14

            Determined                   12

            Rhymes with

            “witch”                             11

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