Monday, March 24, 2008

On the Minds of Superdelegates 9

this is my 9th in the series "what's on the minds of superdelegates?"
it's important to know who these people are and what they're thinking because they WILL decide who the nominee will be. will they be fair?
this super is super and isn't falling for all the media garbage:
Uncommitted superdelegate Jay Parmley, former head of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, says race relations are important but that it won't affect his vote at the convention. "I do not for a minute believe that he agrees with the comments his pastor made. [So] that's not going to tip me one way or the other," he said.
clinton's got a lot of convincing to do says this super:
Superdelegates say they are listening. But the cold, hard numbers facing Clinton are daunting.

"If you're a superdelegate, why would you do anything else but follow the will of the people?" said U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, an uncommitted superdelegate from Pennsylvania who has fielded five calls from Sen. Clinton or her husband in the past couple of weeks.

"Clinton's argument is superdelegates are experienced, and you're supposed to exercise your judgment. But boy, it's going to be really difficult for me, if Obama's ahead on all other counts, to go the other way."

wait and see for this one:
Jon Ausman, an uncommitted Democratic National Committee member from Tallahassee, said he thinks many superdelegates will wait until the last minute because of lingering doubts about who is the stronger candidate.

To him the most important consideration is who will help Democrats win more congressional and state legislative seats, and that seems to be Obama. But Ausman is sympathetic to Clinton's arguments.

"I really don't know what I'm going to do on this one,'' said Ausman, who will be one of Florida's 26 superdelegates if the state's delegation is seated in Denver. "I don't want to get into buyer's remorse as with John Kerry, when all of a sudden he's getting Swiftboated and he's gone."

more wait and see:
"I, as a lot of people, certainly have been tuned into all the controversy about Obama's minister, and you hear the delegates talking about it, and you hear both sides — it'll blow over, no it won't blow over, it's too big a thing, and so on and so forth," said Muriel K. Offerman, a DNC member and uncommitted superdelegate from Cary, N.C., who heard from Sen. Clinton last week.

"I don't know that it's changed much. And Obama came back with a very strong statement. It's a few weeks yet, so who knows what else might come up."

Clinton will find it much easier to make her case to the superdelegates if she manages to narrow Obama's lead in total votes and pledged delegates, which are allocated according to the results of primaries and caucuses.

Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton by 168, but his lead drops to 121 when committed superdelegates are factored in, according to the Associated Press. A total of 2,024 delegates are needed to win the nomination.

"I can't imagine if there's a 150-delegate lead (for Obama) that the superdelegates are going to break so strongly for Clinton that Clinton would be the nominee," said U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., an uncommitted superdelegate. "If it's 25 to 50, that's essentially a tie — that means they went through the whole process, and came out with a tie.

"And who knows what the public perceptions will be at that point, what the polling will be, what more we will have learned about the candidates."

how indiana's supers are feeling:

Northwest Indiana has three such superdelegates, who may vote for whomever they chose when the party meets in Denver: Former East Chicago mayor and longtime Democratic National Committee member Robert A. Pastrick, and U.S. Reps. Pete Visclosky and Joe Donnelly.

Pastrick, who has been accorded superdelegate status for two decades, received daily calls and e-mails at his Mexican vacation home from candidates seeking his support -- the first time he can recall anyone asking outside the convention floor in 30 years.

"It's been pretty constant," said Pastrick on Friday, after returning from a Thursday campaign rally for Clinton in Anderson. "Usually, Indiana's primary is so late, it doesn't matter. And superdelegates aren't often a factor."

Pastrick gives no indication to the media or Obama supporters that he is wavering in his support of Clinton, whom he endorsed shortly after she announced her candidacy.
Visclosky said he is "firmly, completely, absolutely uncommitted," and hasn't even attended a party convention since 1992. As a result, he has been courted aggressively, if cordially, by both camps. Asked if this spring is an interesting time to be a superdelegate, Visclosky admitted: "It's an interesting phenomenon that my sparkling personality has finally taken hold."

"I am being contacted by the campaigns, and surrogates, friends and acquaintances. No one is engaging in any hard sell. I would describe it as touching gloves," he said.

Donnelly, in an e-mail response to questions from the Post-Tribune, offered the following:

"Ultimately, I will support whomever I think would best serve our country as president.

"In reaching that decision, I will take into consideration a number of factors including, but not limited to, the pledged delegate count, the popular vote, how the respective nominees fared in Indiana and the 2nd District and where each stands on issues of importance to north central Indiana.

"More than anything, I'm pleased that Indiana will have a say in choosing the Democratic Party's presidential nominee."

Since super-delegates' endorsement isn't really binding until they vote in August, will the region's three superdelegates consider the results of the May 6 primary when they make their choice?

Party rules may dictate they can vote on their own, but a popular vote determines the rest and many have argued the only democratic way forward for the Democrats is for superdelegates to vote with their constituents.

Visclosky will continue to weigh his options and is listening closely to the candidates' evolving stances on the Iraq War and the economy.

"I do reserve the right to make my own informed judgment," Visclosky said.

And Pastrick will keep his own counsel as well, it would appear.

"I feel I'd have to do what the state really feels ... there's a lot of considerations there," he said. "I don't think you can cross that bridge until you come to it."

Q&A with super who floated the idea of a superdelegate primary of sorts:

Q: So as a superdelegate, you have suggested a very interesting plan which would involve the superdelegates having their own convention. How would that work?
Bredesen: Well, my concern is that we're going to get to the point of the convention having wasted the summer, having a very divisive convention, and trying to go into the election with a divided party and two months to go. At that point, after the primaries are over on June 3, there is really nothing left but the superdelegates. And what I'm saying is that they need to step up -- I'm one of them -- act our age and make a choice, and let the party get on with it. I think the way to do that and make it happen is to actually call them together -- not in a convention with all the hoopla and the sideshows and so on -- but in a businesslike meeting somewhere they can get to over a weekend, and maybe hear from the candidates and get people on the record. Let's get a nominee and move on, and concentrate on winning this election.
Q: By doing that, wouldn't those superdelegates be acting on their own judgment rather than on the popular votes or the number of delegates?
Bredesen: I don't think so. First of all, I absolutely believe that superdelegates are designed to exercise some independent judgment, and certainly the popular vote across the country and in their own states is one of the elements that would enter into that judgment. But come June 3, the rest of that is a done deal. You know what the popular vote is at that point, you know what the delegate counts are at that point. My point is that at that point you have all the information you're going to have.
Q: Senator [Barack] Obama is slipping in the polls now, the national polls. Do you think that, as some [Hillary] Clinton supporters are saying today, that this is an indication that he might be vulnerable in the general election because of the controversy over Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright?
Bredesen: Well, look, the controversy over Reverend Wright, anyone can see, has not helped him. I think there is no question it has hurt him. But this is a process that has been going on for over a year. There have been ups and downs in the polls before –- the issue du jour, the issue of the week and so on. I think he's the recipient of the negative headlines this week, but I think that stuff will go up and down. I think the premium and the benefit of having a nominee and starting to heal the wounds and close ranks in June really outweighs any little tiny bit of additional information you'd get by going through the whole summer. I want to win this election.
Q: So what criteria are you using right now as you try to make up your own mind?
Bredesen: I think, from my standpoint, I'm genuinely undecided. I'm interested in, first of all, what people in my state think. Senator Clinton won the state fairly handily. I'm also interested, as you come in later, in what's happening nationally and, obviously, at the moment, Senator Obama is ahead in the popular vote nationally. I really think just trying to make a good choice and find the right, electable person is something that the superdelegates -- that is what it was designed for. If it had been simply to parrot what went on in your state, they wouldn't be superdelegates. They would be pledged delegates based on the vote totals in the state.
In my case, Obama is ahead nationally and Hillary Clinton won Tennessee -- what's the popular vote for me? We have a number of unpledged superdelegates. Is it a winner-take-all? Are all of them supposed to go with the popular vote winner, or are we supposed to divide ourselves up like the rest of the delegates? I think it really was intended, for better or for worse, that we exercise some independent judgment here.

Q: And finally, back to this controversy that has seemed to affect Obama's standing in the national polls. Do you think, that this Reverend Wright issue -- yourself as a superdelegate looking at this -- has raised questions about whether he can win a general election?
Bredesen: I think it certainly -- I can speak for Tennessee -- it certainly has not been a positive in Tennessee. It has raised some questions in Tennessee. It is difficult to know -- we're in the first week of any sort of discussion of this and, believe me, anybody in politics knows that things can change dramatically over the course of days and weeks and certainly months. So I don't know how it will all play out. It has not been a good week for him. Mrs. Clinton has also had some weeks that were not good for her, and will probably have more for each of them before this is all over.

montana super holding onto his vote:

Former U.S. Sen. John Melcher says he is keeping his key superdelegate vote neutral in the race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Melcher is 1 of 8 such delegates in Montana who can vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose. Others include Gov. Brian Schweitzer and U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester.

Melcher said Friday that he may decide to endorse someone before the primary season ends. Other Montana superdelegates have largely promised to wait until after the state's June 3 primary.

supers making money off the campaigns. i didn't know this could happen. does this mean they support the hand that feeds them?:

Because of their interest in politics, campaign officials have said it is not surprising that some might be involved in campaign work; the party has no rules prohibiting campaigns from paying superdelegates.

The firm owned by former Rhode Island Democratic state chairman and superdelegate Mark Weiner took in $678,000 from the Clinton campaign for supplying campaign products such as bumper stickers and yard signs. His firm, Financial Innovations, has been paid more than $1.5 million over the course of the campaign, according to the reports.

Factotum Productions, a Massachusetts business run by Clinton superdelegate Gus Bickford, was paid $8,000 in November for consulting that started the day he endorsed Clinton. Payments continued in February, to the tune of another $11,000. The campaign also made payments to Kathleen Healy, based at the same Westford, Mass., address as Factotum.

The Clinton campaign has paid the marketing firm run by a third superdelegate, Steve Grossman, about $3,000 for printing costs. The campaign owes the firm another $18,000, the FEC filing shows.

On the Minds of Superdelegates 1
On the Minds of Superdelegates 2
On the Minds of Superdelegates 3
On the Minds of Superdelegates 4
On the Minds of Superdelegates 5
On the Minds of Superdelegates 6
On the Minds of Superdelegates 7
On the Minds of Superdelegates 8