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 May, 2008


 Fact Checking Hillary Clinton's Math

Well, it’s clear that this election that they’re having is not going to count for anything.
Sen. Hillary Clinton speaking on National Public Radio regarding the Michigan primary election, October 11th, 2007

Hillary’s New Math
By Al Owens

Hillary Clinton was busily taking her victory lap after her impressive 41 point West Virginia win last Tuesday, when she looked down and realized she hadn’t really picked up any ground – she was on a treadmill.

On Wednesday, Clinton rushed to TV Land to lecture network anchors (and uncommitted superdelegates) with the claim the race for the Democratic nomination still isn’t over.

She let them know her huge victory in West Virginia is a strong indication that the numbers DO lie. That simple addition is, I guess, some form of witchcraft.
At the same time, Barack Obama wasn’t exactly relying on Hester Prynne to make his point. He called on John Edwards, in what would be the single most brilliant masterstroke of this long, long, long, (I think I was a teenager when this thing started) presidential campaign.

So while Clinton won big in West Virginia (I’d like to think of that state as Morgantown in the north, Charleston in the south, with rural Pennsylvania in the middle), Obama won even bigger with a coveted endorsement from a former vice-presidential and presidential candidate John Edwards.

No wonder why Obama had seemed unfazed by the previous day’s drubbing. He had a trump card in his pocket and he played it to perfection.

It is events like these that make me fall off my chaise lounge.

I watched as the pundits and Clinton operatives, who’d called into question Obama’s apparent hold on the Democratic nomination, freeze in mid-sentences and try to convince everybody the Edwards endorsement wasn’t a haymaker. Believe me, it was.

For weeks, Edwards has appeared on TV talk shows playing coy about his choice for the nomination. While superdelegates have steadily been drifting in Obama’s direction, he’s remained on the sideline.

Yet, the day after Clinton made some headway in popular votes, and with 12 or so delegates, Edwards made his move. It wasn’t a good day for Team Clinton.

Oh but Clinton still clings to the belief that Florida and Michigan should still count in the popular vote.

She may have a stronger argument about counting Florida’s votes, than Michigan’s. Especially since she said she didn’t feel Michigan should count last October.
I look at Michigan this way. There’s no doubt Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer of all time. That’s despite the fact that his record was only 56-5.

I would imagine, though, he’d still be fighting and he’d be undefeated if the night before every one of his scheduled bouts he’d appear in the ring and the judges would simply award him unanimous decisions – without him having to throw a punch.

That’s exactly what Hillary Clinton seems to be saying about her primary “win” in Michigan. She appeared on the ballot, without any real opposition, and the voters gave her a unanimous decision – so now she feels she’s entitled to all of those votes.

But wait. Clinton campaign chief, Terry McAuliffe, has come up with a new and even more tortured pathway to the coronation of his candidate - the popular vote that would include Puerto Rico. If, as McAuliffe repeats Ad nauseam, Clinton wins the popular vote in Puerto Rico on June 1st, that should be included in the nomination ciphering.

Somebody forgot to tell McAuliffe and Hillary that Puerto Ricans don’t vote in the general election – so nobody is going to buy that argument but them.

If their votes count, then Obama should be able to count Magic Kingdom votes.

So you’d have to wonder where all of this new math is leading.

The Clinton machine was supposed to be the most skilled in modern political history. It’s now more than 20 million dollars in debt and is rapidly running out of new (and I might add hilarious) ways to forestall the inevitable.

Back in February, when it was considered the nomination was still likely to go to Clinton, her campaign began making noise about the importance of the superdelegates.

Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director, claimed that a concerted effort would be made to enlist their support. “We don't make distinctions when it comes to elected officials (superdelegates),'' Wolfson said. He added, "We are interested in acquiring delegates, period.”

Of course Clinton was leading in the superdelegate count at the time, so such statements seemed logical.

Well, as they say, that was then - this is now. The superdelegates continue to march toward Obama, and in some cases, away from Clinton. Obama now has the lion’s share of them, so why not try a new yardstick? Or should I say a new yardstick-a-day.

Somebody somewhere should step up and tell the Clinton campaign that nobody can kick a field goal if they place the goalposts on a flatbed truck and move them everyday.

That just won’t work.