Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday Recap: Dems Battle to a Draw

For over a year now there was immense anticipation of the day that became known as 'Super Duper Tuesday' or 'Tsunami Tuesday'. Pundits over that time have said that with 20+ states voting including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Massachusetts, Georgia, etc that the nominations would essentially be over after the results . As the man in the picture above said, "It ain't over, til its over."

In what has become the greatest campaign and most interesting campaign of my lifetime, the race goes on.

One of my best friends called last night and asked for my take on what happened. After jabbering for 5 minutes he accused me of pulling a 'Hubie Brown'. I said a lot but did not really say anything. The truth is, what happened was the boxing equivalent of a draw. It leaves you with an odd feeling of confusion. Does a tie mean a win for Obama? Does the fact Hillary held off Obama momentum mean she is stronger than she appeared in the last week?

Theres all kinds of spin from both campaigns and the media. Here's my take.
Both candidates had impressive wins and embarrasing losses. While you can't blame Barack Obama for early exit polls released by the Drudge Report and others it sure looked like he would have a huge victory for the night. Polls leading into Tuesday made expectations in the minds of many like me that he would clearly win the night.
Obama had impressive wins in Missouri, Connecticut on momentum, and has kept New Mexico in the 'too close to call' column as of the writing of this post. He showed incredible power in the caucus states like Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota, etc. Exit polls also showed that he closed the gender gap to less than 10 points and was also closer in the black vs white vote.
Hillary survived the polls and posted larger than expected wins in states that were thought to be steamrolling towards Obama. A 10pt win in New Jersey where Obama worked hard the last week. A 10+pt win in California the same day Reuters/CSPAN/Zogby has Obama with a 13point lead. To me the most impressive win was the 15pt triumph in Massachusetts in the face of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Governror Deval Patricks endorsements.

The Obama endorsements may have made things closer in some states but other than Missouri with Claire McCaskill did not take states away from her. Governor Napolitano was not able to bring Arizona into the column and the Clinton edge in the hispanic community proved to be the difference in the night. She won of the Hispanic vote

I thought the both gave great speeched which dwarfed the efforts of the Republicans. Found it entertaining that midway through McCain's speech Obama took the stage and all the networks jumped to go to Obama to dump McCain.

While the MSNBC coverage I watched raved about Obama's speech in particular the line that went, 'we are the ones we've been waiting for'. He continued to show powerful presence and what I liked best, he kept his smoothly combative tone towards Clinton. He knows now after the draw of Super Tuesday, that he has to battle Hillary to beat her. While he is smooth and subtle about it, he has gone after her regularly as of late and he needs to keep doing it.

As good as Obama, I felt that Hillary had her best speech of the campaign last night. Hillary has been getting better at the podium and despite the fact that the craze around Obama had taken over the news, she got on stage and showed she is a major force.

I feel Hillary had the two best lines of the night. Loved the line against the Republican attack machine when she said "I won't let anyone swiftboat this country's future." The fact it was a mild swipe at John Kerry made it even better. It showed an important character trait that many Democrats like about her and thats her willingness to fight the Republicans when they come at her. Obama calls it the 'old style of politics', the Clintons call it the toughness necessary to get things done. Its up to the voters to decide who is more correct.

Hillary also said last night, "My mother, who was born before women could vote, and is watching her daughter on this stage tonight." It was a simple line, but it was a powerful line. I heard noone on any station mention this line after the speech. Here is why it was important in my opinion. The group of voters that Obama has most aggressively gone after from Hillary is women. Oprah, Caroline, Claire McCaskill, Kathleen Sebelius, etc have been working to shrink the gender gap and have been effective. This line was a reminder to women out there the importance of her candidacy. It was the line of the speech, delivered perfectly, and to me the line of the night.

The upcoming primaries will have Obama as the frontrunner and what we have seen is this race is that the worst thing to be in this campaign is the frontrunner. Game on!


Peter said...

Johnny, I like your writing and that you have an outlet. But Today's development from Romney gives even more momentum to MCCain. And I don't think Obama will catch Hillary. But hey, it is good to talk about, and we may see smoke-filled rooms make a resurgence. Wouldn't that be a shocker. Tkae care Cuz.

17 People said...

Haven't covered the Romney exit yet but agree with you there.

As for Obama catching Hillary, wait for the next two weeks he will catch and probably pass her heading into March 4th where she'll win Texas and they'll go to war in Ohio.

Hope you were far away from the tornadoes.