Currently viewing the tag: "John Edwards"

Suddenly there were only two. John Edwards is ending his long campaign to be President. This heightens the suspense as Super Tuesday next week becomes a head to head match of Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama.

Some 40% of the delegates will be decided next week as 20 states hold primaries and caucuses. Some states will be pivotal – like California and New York which have large numbers of delegates at stake.

John Edwards brought a strong voice to his campaign to speak for ending poverty in America and getting public control back from corporate America’s domination of our government under the Bush Republicans.

Edwards called both Obama and Clinton to tell them of his decision and to urge that they include adressing poverty in their campaigns.

Edwards is flying to New Orleans where he will be making a major speech later today. He is not going to endorse another candidate at this point.

Who benefits most by Edwards leaving the race. The Fix notes that polling in Florida leave the issue a tossup:

Exit polling conducted yesterday in Florida suggests that Edwards supporters are equally inclined to back Obama and Clinton. Forty seven percent of Edwards backers in Florida said they would be “satisfied” with Clinton as the nominee
with 13 percent saying they would be “very satisfied”. A similar 47 percent said they would be “satisfied” with Obama as the party’s standard bearer with 19 percent saying they would be “very satisfied”. Those trends were affirmed by exit poll data from South Carolina’s primary on Jan. 26 as more than six in 10 Edwards supporters said they would be satisfied with either Clinton or Obama as the nominee.”

see also Washington Post -“John Edwards to Quit Presidential Race

The big loser in the Florida Primary Vote is Rudy Giuliani who is coming in a tepid third place in the Republican Primary. McCain is receiving 36% of the vote to Romney at 31% to Giuliani at 15% and Huckabee at 13%. Florida is a winner take all state for the Republicans and McCain is picking up 57 delegates. This is with 94% of the vote counted.

Because Florida moved it’s Primary early against the Democratic Party rules no delegates are being awarded now although that could change at the convention. Meanwhile, despite the Democratic candidates pledge to not campaign in Florida, their names were still on the ballot and Hillary Clinton is decisively beating Obama and Edwards. She has 49.5% of the votes to Obama’s 32.9% to Edwards 14.4%.

So what does Clinton’s win in Florida mean?

Now the Democratic politically correct thing to say is that Clinton’s win doesn’t count but Obama assumes that at his peril. The media likewise discounts it. While the delegates aren’t there now, Clinton still won the vote and I believe the win is as significant as Obama’s win in South Carolina.

Voters turned out and made a choice. With national media attention and coverage of the campaigns these days, voters were well aware of who they were voting for, whether the candidates physically campaigned in the state or not.

The same goes for the Michigan Primary. Clinton’s name was on the ballot there, while Obama and Edwards were not. The national party withdrew the delegates from Michigan because they went early like Florida did. But voters had a choice and they voted. If they choose Obama or Edwards instead of Clinton, they had to vote uncommitted. Clinton won 55.3% of the Michigan Democratic vote while uncommitted received 40%.

So by my calculation, Clinton has won the vote in four states – New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and Florida. Obama has won the vote in Iowa and South Carolina. Collectively Clinton has garnered more votes than Obama in total. A rough estimate is that Clinton has received about 1.54 million votes total to Obama’s 1.25 million votes. This is a ballpark figure only – an estimate based on a couple of extrapolations from delegate counts in Iowa and Nevada and giving Obama 2/3 of the uncommitted vote in Michigan.

All this is to say that its a close race and if votes split similarly on February 5th, and delegates likewise, we’re in for the long haul. Both candidates are running hard and no one has scored a knockout punch yet in the Democrat’s race. February 5th could change all that since Super Tuesday has over 20 states voting and over 40% of the total delegates at stake for both parties.

With 90% of the caucuses reporting, Democratic voters in Nevada have given Hillary Clinton another win. Barrack Obama came in second with John Edwards a distant third. This is the third state Clinton has won, if you include the vote in Michigan, where the candidates did not campaign .

Hillary Rodham Clinton……….5,308 delegates…….. 50.8%

Barack Obama ……………………4711 delegates ……… 45.1%

John Edwards………………………. 393 delegates ……….. 3.8 %

Uncommitted…………………………. 31 delegates ……….. 0.3%

Dennis J. Kucinich …………………….5 delegates …………0.0 %

90% reporting Updated 6:08 PM ET Results from politics.nytimes.com.

As in Iowa, Demorats are not releasing actual vote totals for candidates but only releasing the final delegates elected at the precinct level. This distorts the actual vote count each candidate received. Meanwhile the Republicans are releasing the actual vote totals. It seems like the Democrats are not being open on the actual results and are trying to manipulate the results by only partially reporting them.

Hillary Clinton has continued the family tradition of the comeback kid – beating Barrack Obama in the New Hampshire Primary tonight. With 85% of the vote tallied, Hillary Clinton has a lead of 39% (94,999 votes) to Barrack Obama’s 37% (88,903 votes). Clinton has been declared the winner. source NY Times.

MSNBC reports that with 88% of the vote counted, Clinton has 99,590 votes (39%) to Obama’s 92,749 votes (36%).

CBS NEWS reports that with 268 of 301 precincts the following:

Hillary Clinton 99,863 (39%)
Barrack Obama 93,033 (37%)
John Edwards 43,100 (17%)
Bill Richardson 11,656 (5%)

Reaction in the media after many of them wrote her off and she trailed by as much as 10% in the polls is interesting.

NY Times “Clinton Stuns Obama

Seattle Times “Clinton, McCain Pull off Upsets in New Hampshire

Seattle PI “Clinton and McCain pull off upsets in NH

NPR “Clinton Surprises Obama in Tight Democratic Race

PBS “Clinton’s New Hampshire Win Defies Predictions, McCain Makes Comeback

Next up is the Democrats are :

January 15, 2008 Michigan Primary

January 19, 2008 Nevada Caucus

Jan 26, 2008 South Carolina Primary

January 29, 2008 Florida Primary

All this leads up to Super Tuesday when some 1688 delegates will be selected. Seventeen primaries will be held: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Democrats Abroad, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Seven states will hold caucuses: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota.

If the candidates thought Iowa and New Hampshire were hectic, they and the public are in for a wild ride. What has happened so far is a small prelude to Super Tuesday Feb 5, 2008.

With 63% of the vote counted Senator Hillary Clinton still leads Senator Barrack Obama by 39% to 36%. Results posted on the NY Times website at 7:23 PM Pacific Time show the same margin separating the candidates as was posted at 6:23 PM Pacific Time with 39% of the votes counted..

Hillary Clinton …….65,129 (39%)
Barrack Obama ….60,766 (36%)
John Edwards …….28,066 (17%)
Bill Richardson …….7,952 (5%)

Click on the NY Times website above to see the most current results.

With 39% of the votes being reported, the New York Times reports that Senator Clinton is leading Senator Obama by 39% to 36%. Clinton has 37,037 votes to Obama’s 34,196. John Edwards is in third with 17% (15,715 votes). Richardson has 5% (4,399 votes).

It is still too early to call what has become a tight race and a potential comeback for Hillary Clinton. These results are as reported at 9:23 PM ET or 6:23 PM Pacific Time.

Senator John McCain has been called the winner over Mitt Romney. McCain has 37% (26,158 votes) to Romney’s 30% (20,792). Huckabee has 12%, Giuliani 9%, and Paul 8%.

See more complete results at NY Times as they are updated.

Yes the headline is correct. And only 3.69% of Iowa’s registered voters turned out for John Edwards and only 3.66% for Hillary Clinton. The Iowa caucus system is a crazy system for picking a new President. As the New York Times notes today in an editorial entitled “Let it Start Now“; now is a good time to look forward and work for a better process next time.

The Iowa Secretary of State’s website listed some 1,922,235 active registered voters as of 1/3/2008. This number was the total based on figures for each Congressional District.

The Iowa Caucus results as released by the Iowa State Democratic Party are not actual vote totals or a tally of votes cast for specific candidates. According to the Washington Post Instead of reporting the actual number of caucus voters, the Iowa Democratic Party releases an estimated number of delegates to the state party convention that each candidate will receive based on their proportional support in the caucuses

Accordingly the Iowa State Democratic Party reported that Barrack Obama received 37.57% of the delegates, John Edwards 29.75% and Hillary Clinton 29.47%. These are the adjusted figures after delegates realigned their votes if their candidate did not meet a minimum 15% threshold figure to qualify for a delegate.

According to the Iowa State Democratic Party some 239,000 voters participated in the Democratic caucuses and some 115,000 voters participated in the Republican caucus.

So overall some 363,000 of Iowa’s 1,922,235 active registered voters participated in the caucuses. This is equal to 18.9% of all the registered voters.

Iowa does register people by party. From the Secretary of State figures there were 575,949 registered Republicans, 605,052 registered Democrats and 741,231 registered Independents.

The result is that some 39.5% of registered Democrats and 20% of registered Republicans participated in the caucuses. Overall participation was significantly higher than in previous caucuses.

Iowa does allow same day party registration so people could register at the caucuses on Jan 3rd. This law actually just went into effect on Jan 1, 2008. I do not know how many actually took advantage of this, but news reports attributed an active effort by some of the candidates to draw new voters into the caucuses process. Barrack Obama made a strong effort to appeal to independents to participate in the Democratic caucus and was successful.

Even so the results when viewed in the context of overall voter participation of 363,000 caucuses attendees out of 1,922,235 active registered voters gives a participation rate of only 18.9%.

And the initial figures I gave above showed that only about 4.67% of Iowa voters wound up supporting Barrack Obama. (239,000 x 37.58% / 1,922,235 = 89,818 voters for Obama/1,922,235 total voters = 4.67% of total voters supporting Obama in the Iowa caucuses.)

The same calculation for Edwards showed him receiving the support of about 3.69% of Iowa voters and Clinton receiving support from about 3.66% of Iowa voters.

Obama won Iowa by the rules in play and is to be congratulated as are Edwards and Clinton for their strong showing.

The point I want to make is that even so, the caucuses are a limiting process in selecting candidates. The numbers support this in that participation levels are much lower than with Presidential Primaries and there is no absentee ballot voting for those that can’t attend because they have to work or are disabled or are in the military or are out of state for work or vacation or school. Caucus rules for Iowa only allowed you to vote if you were physically present.

The race for President is far from over. Iowa’s process and voter makeup is far from ideal in gaging how a candidate will fare in the national November 2008 election. The way the selection process is this year, Feb 5th will be the biggest test facing the viability of the candidates remaining at that time. Over 20 states, including New York, California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Jersey will vote that day.

Between now and Feb 5, 2008, voters in New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina and Florida will vote. You can track the list of state, dates and results at the New York Times Election Guide page.

To date Barack Obama has raised some $75 million in his quest for the Presidency. Hillary Clinton has raised $63 million – some $12 million less.

Much hoopla is being raised about the fact that Clinton raised some $3 million more in the third quarter numbers through September 30th than Obama did. The New York Times claims in its headline that “Clinton Steals Obama’s Fund Raising Thunder” But one can look at these numbers in different ways. Hillary’s figure go from $20 million to $22 million to $23 million for the three quarters of this year. Pretty consistent numbers.

Barack’s number go from $25 million to $31 million to $19 million. In my mind $19 million is pretty close to $22 million. A shift in momentum -maybe but he is keeping pace with Hillary despite lower third quarter numbers and is still the overall leader in fundraising. In addition he has some 140,000 more new donors than Hillary does.

In reality both candidates are to be commended for their strong campaigns, reaching out to new donors and continuing to show fundraising strength. Individual donors are limited to $2100 for the primary election. An additional $2100 individual contribution can be made for the general election. Both Obama and Clinton have raised additional cash (beyond the figures reported above for the primary) which can only be used for the general election. Whoever loses will have to return these funds to the donors.

When all is said and done, summer is a hard time for any candidate to raise money. The remaining quarter before the caucuses and primaries start in January will be a real measure of whether a significant change has taken place. Once the primaries and caucuses start all bets are off as voting results will skew fundraising momentum day to day.

CNN politics reports that John Edwards came in third in fundraising with $7 million raised for the third quarter. Bill Richardson reports that he raised $5.2 million.

Official 3Q fundraising reports for all candidates are due on October 15th and are filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

In truth the public deserves better reporting than the current system requires. All candidates should be required to file monthly reports rather than quarterly reports. Washington State has had monthly reporting for a number of years, with reports due by the 10th of each month. See Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

Monthly reporting would give the public quicker access to campaign finance records and more accountability on who’s supporting campaigns.

Two weeks ago Indiana Senator Evan Bayh announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for President in 2008. I watched him on one of the Sunday news programs and wondered where the fire in the belly was. Well now the fire is definitely out. He has decided not to run according to today’s Washington Post.

One reason – after spending two years and raising some $5 million dollars – a trip to New Hampshire netted small crowds while Senator Barack Obama coming to New Hampshire packed in the crowds.

As Bayh said, ‘”The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath,” Bayh said in the statement. He added that beyond the question of “whether there were too many Goliaths or whether I’m just not the right David,” his chances were slim.

Democrat Bayh joins two other Democrats, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Wisconsin Senator Russell Feingold, in withdrawing from the 2008 Presidential race.

Meanwhile Democrat and former Senator John Edwards says he will make an announcement before the end of the year. When Senator Edwards was in Seattle at the beginning of December he said he had truly not made up his mind. He did a book signing at the University Bookstore on Dec 2, 2006 and acknowledged that he had to make a decision soon.

Edwards acknowledged that it was a mistake when he voted for the Iraq War. I would say that the mistake was voting to give Bush carte blanche, another President might have used the vote more seriously to get international involvement in resolving the situation. He called the present choices bad and worse.

When asked by a precocious 9 year old in the audience what the first thing he would do as President, Edwards noted that there were a lot of important things that needed to be dealt with like energy independence, health care and poverty. But he said the single biggest project was to “restore America’s ability to lead the world.”

Edwards said we live in a dangerous, chaotic world. He said if we look at the last 6 years it is clear that “raw power alone doesn’t make you a leader.”

The 9 year old responded that Edwards sounded like Jimmy Carter, who said “make peace, not war”.

And this is where I lost Edwards, because Edwards told the boy he was correct but he would add that in order to have the ability to lead the world, the world would have to see us as a moral country. We would have to be a defender of human rights, not an offender. Edwards said America was a light when he was growing up but that is not the case today.

Edwards said the world needs to see our better angels. He said the President needs to travel to other parts of the world and both listen and speak to people – show them that we care. We have an enormous responsibility to the world according to Edwards because we are the richest nation in the world.

Why did I lose Edwards here? Maybe its because it sounded pretty paternalistic and messianic. Was he trying to atone for Bush’s mistakes and his when he voted to support Bush on Iraq. Senator Fullbright years ago called it the arrogance of power – that America knows what is best for everyone else. Edwards vision of the President and America leading the world was what got us into Iraq.

I don’t support terrorism or the use of violence to achieve political ends. And I don’t support what some have distorted the Islamic religion to say, that makes women non-citizens and that kills teachers and doctors and other to further their power. The problems are real and the threats are real. I just don’t think we need another foreign policy that makes America a leader.
What we need is a President that respects other nations and their sovereignty. We need to be a nation among nations, not an angel leading others in the world.

We can do more to lead the world by setting a good example and getting our own house in order like by becoming energy self sufficient and not make countries whose internal and external polices we disagree with, wealthy from our money by buying their oil. Bush is making this country economically unstable by both expending our capital and human lives on someone else’s civil war and by sending American capital to other nations for products like oil that we could do without if we change our profligate ways.

The world and the US would be much more secure if instead of spending the billions we spent in Iraq for war, we had it for energy independence within our own nation. Having higher fuel efficiency standards which Bush opposed would help. Increasing energy efficiency would help. Building green buildings would help. More windmills would help. Solar energy.

Maybe I’m over reacting. You tell me. I know Edwards is a good man and that he cares but I hope Edwards gets a better spin on what he sees the Presidency is about before the next time a 9 year old asks him what the first thing is that he would do as President. The vision thing is important.

Edwards’ book unfortunately doesn’t help explain Edwards much since it is a book of essays he edited. The book is called “Home: The Blueprints of our Lives” It is not a vision for a future America or the world as seen by John Edwards. It does not tell us how to get out of Iraq or how to end terrorism around the world or how to feed kids or provide for a good education or eradicate disease. And that is what we need to hear about now from someone who wants to be President.

We don’t need a drinking buddy for President like Bush sold many people on – we need someone willing to lead and propose solutions and answers to real problems facing America and the world.

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