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Both Hillary And Obama Claim Lead In Votes

From those guardians of the Democrat Party at the New York Times:

As Time Runs Short, Clinton Claims Lead in Popular Vote

May 20, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is entering the Kentucky and Oregon primaries on Tuesday with one of the most pugnacious political messages of her campaign: That she is ahead in the national popular vote when all votes are counted, including from the unsanctioned primaries in Michigan and Florida, and that party leaders who have a vote as super-delegates should reflect this level of appeal.

This argument is of a piece with Mrs. Clinton’s increasingly populist image, as a fighter on behalf of average people, but it is also a debatable claim: Most tallies of the national popular vote put Mr. Obama in the lead, especially when Michigan and Florida are not counted.

Mr. Obama has declared his own lead in the national vote and is solidly ahead in the overall delegate count, and he intends to use the results of the Kentucky and Oregon primaries to declare on Tuesday night that he has secured a majority of the pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses.

While that does not guarantee the nomination, his campaign argues that it is an important moment and crucial for superdelegates to consider as well…

The arguments over the cold math of the nomination contest will play out against a backdrop of two states that are likely to show once more the divisions in the Democratic electorate that have been exposed in this two-candidate contest: Mr. Obama is expected to win the primary in Oregon, a largely white state with a fairly liberal Democratic base, while Mrs. Clinton is expected to win in Kentucky, which has a strong working-class vote.

Mrs. Clinton won a commanding victory last Tuesday in neighboring West Virginia, where racial considerations emerged as an unusually evident factor for some Democratic voters, according to exit polls. Both Clinton and Obama advisers say they are unsure if this will happen again in Kentucky, but they do not rule it out; Clinton advisers add that they believe race was a relatively small factor in the West Virginia vote…

Mrs. Clinton has sounded almost like a professor of political science on the trail, explaining how the popular vote should be calculated by her lights, as she did before an audience in Kentucky on Monday.

“I believe that with your help we will send a message to this country because right now more people have voted for me than have voted for my opponent,” she said. “More people have voted for me than for anybody ever running for president before. So we have a very close contest for votes, for delegates, and this is nowhere near over. None of us is going to have the number of delegates we’re going to need to get to the nomination, although I understand my opponent and his supporters are going to claim that.

“The fact is we have to include Michigan and Florida — we cannot claim that we have a nominee based on 48 states, particularly two states that are so important for us to win in the fall,” Mrs. Clinton said.

If all states with popular vote totals are counted — which would exclude four caucus states that have not released numbers — Mrs. Clinton would lead Mr. Obama by more than 26,000 votes out of more than 33 million cast. By other calculations, Mr. Obama is ahead in the popular vote

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has declared his own lead in the national vote by factoring out the Michigan and Florida contests, since the Democratic Party did not approve them, none of the candidates campaigned there, and Mr. Obama took himself off the ballot in Michigan.

His advisers argue that Mrs. Clinton’s claim of a popular vote lead is intellectually dishonest — and note that it echoes recent statements by none other than Karl Rove, President Bush’s former political adviser, who has argued that Mrs. Clinton would be a stronger opponent this fall against Senator John McCain in the electoral college contest…

The irony of this all shaping up to sound like very much the Democrats’ (false) claims of stolen elections past.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, May 19th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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