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Clinton Campaign: "Obama Must Win All States"

Clinton Campaign: "Obama Must Win All States on March 4"

By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Austin, Texas - Huh? That's what Clinton's campaign is saying, talk about lowering expectations.

For almost a month, the Clinton campaign has been pointing to March 4 as its "firewall." It pretty much wrote off its chances of winning any of the last 11 contests, citing built-in advantages for Obama. As March 4 nears, we are starting to hear the same excuses from the Clinton campaign.

In a memo sent to the media, the Clinton campaign said the same thing it has been saying for a month, "we were out spent two to one". Someone needs to tell Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson excuses only work a couple of times, not 15 times in a row. The being outspent and doing better than expected argument is best for a candidate who isn't well-heeled. Three months ago, Senator Clinton was the "inevitable" nominee, and had the best funding. So, to be outspent is a sign of weakness for her.

Here is the memo the Clinton campaign sent to the media:

To: Interested Parties
From: The Clinton Campaign
Date: Friday, February 29, 2008
RE: Obama Must-Wins

The media has anointed Barack Obama the presumptive nominee and he's playing the part.

With an eleven state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Obama campaign and its allies are outspending us two to one in paid media and have sent more staff into the March 4 states. In fact, when all is totaled, Senator Obama and his allies have outspent Senator Clinton by a margin of $18.4 million to $9.2 million on advertising in the four states that are voting next Tuesday.

Senator Obama has campaigned hard in these states. He has spent time meeting editorial boards, courting endorsers, holding rallies, and - of course - making speeches.

If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there's a problem.

Should Senator Obama fail to score decisive victories with all of the resources and effort he is bringing to bear, the message will be clear:

Democrats, the majority of whom have favored Hillary in the primary contests held to date, have their doubts about Senator Obama and are having second thoughts about him as a prospective standard-bearer.

This is clearly an attempt to move the goal posts back for Obama. The political reality is Senator Clinton must win Texas and Ohio, and win them by a lot. Obama leads by 160 delegates among those allotted by the voting to date. For Clinton to make that up she needs 60 percent of the vote in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A win by Obama in any of those three states will make it nearly impossible for Clinton to catch him.

Texas Air War

On Friday, Senator Clinton started airing a commercial that attempted to argue her experience in foreign policy makes her the best candidate to handle a crisis. It didn't take long for Senator Obama to counter with an ad that argues his superior judgment makes him the better candidate to handle a crisis.

Throughout the campaign, Senator Clinton has attempted to argue her experience prepares her to be "president on day one," but that argument has successfully been countered by Senator Obama's argument that its more important to be "right on day one."

Clinton has not been able to put her vote to authorize the war in Iraq behind her. In his ad, Senator Obama pointed to Clinton's judgment on the war as the reason he would be the one most capable to handle a crisis.

Clinton's Ad:

Obama's Ad:


The Clinton campaign had a great month, raising 36 million dollars, but the Obama campaign has announced it has raised significantly more. In good news for the Democrats, the all but assured Republican presidential nominee John McCain only raised 12 million dollars in February.

The Democratic fund-raising numbers should make Republicans very nervous. Democratic donors may have contributed more than $80 million in a single month. The Obama campaign boasts over one million donors, an unprecedented number. Most of these contributions have come in small amounts, leaving the donors room to contribute more under campaign finance laws.

If all of Obama's donors maxed out, which they won't ... he could raise 2 billion dollars.

The bottom line is, if Obama wins Texas or Ohio, he will be the nominee. If he loses these narrowly and holds on to the pledged delegate lead, super delegates will flock to him because he is expanding the base of the party. His fund-raising and impressive campaign organization is another factor they can't ignore.


Scott Galindez is Truthout's Washington, DC Bureau Chief.

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