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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Speaking in San Antonio, Obama congratulated Clinton for her wins, but added, 'We know this, no matter what happens tonight, we have nearly the same delegate lead we had this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination,'" the Sun-Times reports.

The delegate math is one of the biggest lines of baloney that the media has bought into . . . because it doesn't matter who finishes the primary season with more delegates. The nomination doesn't go to the candidate in the lead, it goes to the candidate who secures 2,025 delegates.

And Obama is nearly as unlikely to get there as Clinton. Beyond that, a delegate lead of under a hundred out of 2,000 surely doesn't close the deal, as opposed to, say, a candidate with 1,800 delegates and another with 500.

To further complicate matters, Obama is likely to take Wyoming and Mississippi next, while Clinton is likely to take Pennsylvania and Indiana. Beyond that, the remaining run of states favor Obama - because those states are generally small and red.

Perhaps new contests in Michigan and Florida could settle things. Or party leaders might put Clinton and Obama in a room and order up a unity ticket. And it's almost impossible to imagine Obama getting top billing under that sort of arrangement.

There's plenty of campaign left.

Paging Tina Fey!
Did Hillary Clinton rebound on Tuesday night because she was willing to do "everything, truly everything" to win?

Of course not. Unless you are the Tribune's Michael Tackett channeling the Obama campaign's talking points.

"Her strategy was built on a foundation of contradiction," Tackett writes in the paper's big front-page analysis, repeating, for example, the notion that she "opposed the trade agreement that was considered a signature achievement of her husband's presidency."

Tackett ignores evidence supporting Clinton's claims of skepticism about NAFTA while soft-pedaling the Obama campaign's forked tongue on trade.

"She shed her serious side and mugged on Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show to change her image," Tackett continues.

Saturday Night Live's media criticism had far more impact than Clinton's appearance on that and other shows. And did those appearances really change her image? (Funny, every time Clinton follows the pundits' advice "show her human side," the pundits turn around and rail at her for it, accusing her of insincerity.)

Then Tackett writes that "After accusing Obama of plagiarizing speeches, she used an ad strikingly similar to one Walter Mondale ran in 1984 about a dreaded late-night phone call."

That pairing is a bit of a stretch.

But not as much as this:

"Her campaign invoked Obama's association with developer Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, a man also in possession of his own grip-and-grin photo with then-First Lady Hillary and President Bill Clinton."

As if there's an equivalency there. Tony Rezko is a man Barack Obama has described as his political godfather; today the Tribune editorial page states once again that Obama has "never submitted to a full vetting of his ties" to him.

There is no such relationship between Rezko and the Clintons; the photo - likely leaked to Matt Drudge by the Obama campaign - might as well have been taken on a White House tour for all we know.

And the final ridiculousness offered up by a major metropolitan newspaper's Election Night analysis:

"And, in an interview on 60 Minutes, she even seemed to hedge on the question of whether she believed Obama might be a Muslim."

Oy. And she paroled Willie Horton, claimed she invented the Internet, and betrayed her Swift Boat unit!

If anyone should be taken to task, it's 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft. Let's go to the transcript (via Media Matters).

KROFT: You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?

CLINTON: Of course not. I mean, that's - you know, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.

KROFT: And you said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim.

CLINTON: Right. Right.

KROFT: You don't believe that he's a Muslim -

CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? There's no -

KROFT: - or implying, right?

CLINTON: No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.

KROFT: It's just scurrilous -

CLINTON: Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time.

So there you have it. But political journalists are so eager to validate their pre-conceived narratives that they'll wedge squares into holes.

(I'm saddened to report that one of our city's gems, Carol Marin, fell for this too, writing this morning that "Clinton needs to never again reprise her insincere 60 Minutes answer that Obama is not a Muslim 'as far as I know.' It's foul play."

(Oh Carol! No! But I still love you!)

Now back to Tackett.

"The Obama campaign could credibly argue that the contests in four states did nothing to alter the reality of delegate math that suggests it is not possible for Clinton to win the nomination without being put over the top by party elders and insiders known as 'superdelegates.'"

The reality of the delegate math suggests it is not possible for Obama to win the nomination without being put over the top by party elders and insiders known as superdelegates either. But apparently you aren't supposed to know that.

"It is doubtful that this argument will push Clinton out of the race anytime soon."

She's so stubborn! She'll do anything!

Of course, the Obama campaign was peddling a line before Tuesday night that Clinton should drop out after losing 11 straight contests. Does anyone seriously think now that she should have quit?

Let the process play out. Let every state have their say. And let Obama finally face his vetting. If he does eventually win the nomination, he'll be the better for it.


"It's 3 a.m. The phone rings. It's Dr. Evil, and he's holding the world hostage for . . . one million dollars!"

And other new "3 a.m." ads you can expect to see soon.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Witty words matter.


Posted on March 5, 2008

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - Yes On Vouchers For After-School Programs.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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