January 28th, 2008
07:04 PM ET
10 years ago

State of the Union audience looking toward next year

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Many of the Democratic members of Congress convening for President Bush's final State of the Union address tonight have already weighed in on his replacement.

Of the Democratic congressional endorsements, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York leads the remaining candidates competing for their party's nomination with 79 viable endorsements. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is in second with 59, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina follows with 16.

Democratic congressional endorsements play an important role in a candidate's ability to secure the party's nomination, beyond any influence they might have with voters. Each Democratic member of Congress gets one vote at the party’s national convention in Denver this August, where the official nominee is elected. These are “superdelegate” votes - independent of their home state's primary or caucus outcomes, which result in the distribution of “pledged” delegates.

To win the nomination, a candidate needs 2,025 of the 4,049 available votes at the convention. There are 286 Democratic members of Congress, including territories. Of those, only 268– about 7 percent of the total convention vote - will have a vote at this year’s convention, because Florida and Michigan have lost their seats due to violations of Democratic Party primary scheduling rules.

Though there is usually a presumptive nominee by each party's conventions at the end of the summer, it’s possible the tight races between the candidates might come down to delegate counts this year.

On the Republican side, John McCain leads with 38 congressional endorsements, though GOP members of Congress do not get to vote at their party's convention this summer.

Some notable endorsements for Sen. Clinton include Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Both are prominent members of the California congressional delegation, where the New York senator is looking to capture many of the state’s 370 delegates on Super Tuesday, February 5.

Sen. Obama has received the backing of both Massachusetts senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. These two prominent members of the Senate could help Obama secure many of the state’s 93 delegates a week from Tuesday as well.

Former Sen. Edwards, who has pledged to stay in the race until a nominee is selected at the convention, has the support of the majority of his home state of North Carolina's Democratic congressional delegation. He also has the backing of Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Next Tuesday, the Democratic candidates will compete for 1,681 pledged delegates across the country, which will help determine the eventual nominee in August.

- CNN's Adam P. Levy
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. kevin from alaska

    Bush and his cronies have made it very clear that the only way to end the War in Iraq before 2008 is to impeach the entire administration. It's time we do it.

    A new Congress was elected in 2006 to end the War in Iraq. Do your job.

    January 29, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. jp/michigan

    CNN is bias. MSNBC Mika and Joe Scarbough play good cop, bad cop with the issuses. When are you going to ask hard questions of Obama?

    January 29, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Joyce from Canada

    I am a Canadian following the US primaries.
    Am a faithful CNN watcher and am completely turned off by the CNN "political analysts" How can a news organization like this be so obviously slanted towards support of Obama?This man can do no wrong !! They overlook everything about his shortcomings.And they pilloried Hilary at every turn. Please go back to balanced reporting folks or you will lose a loyal watcher.

    January 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Tony

    Arguably, the most important economic stimulus is gasoline and interest rate, the latter of which the federal government can easily control. Many economists have debated and have come to various conclusions as the root cause of the current economic situations. Many have contemplated if the current $150 billion economic stimulus package proposed by the President will even have much of an effect on the economy to propel the country out of its current situation. To put it bluntly, oil has replaced the dollar and even gold as the most important currency and commodity, do the math. This is further evident when third-world countries such as Albania refuse to trade in US currency but instead have embraced the euro. Let me preface this by saying that a country that produces nothing can easily be reduced to nothing if it’s not careful. The Unites States have become so dependent upon countries such as China, India and the Middle East countries, for its basic hierarchy of needs such as food, clothes, oil, among other things, which in part is the most evident cause of the current economic situation. To fully understand the current economic situation, it is extremely important to investigate the root cause of the crisis. The price of oil and the value of the American dollar are inversely related. The price of standard crude oil on New York Exchange was under $25 a barrel in September 2003 and has now climbed to over $100 a barrel in January 2008. This is a 400 percent increase in just under five years while the rate of inflation increased an average of 2.6 percent over the last few years. Conversely, the American dollar is at an all time low and is projected to fall even lower. The questions many economists are asking are whether or not this is sustainable and what the future effects are. As far as I can tell, we have already begun to feel the effects of big oil and a cheep dollar, which could have a profound effect on the economy. To put this into perspective, a full-time minimum wage worker receives $234 per week before taxes while at the same time pays an average of $2.85 per gallon for gasoline, or about $60 per week, to get to and from work. In other words, more than 25 percent of the minimum wage worker’s before tax income is spent on gasoline by the time it is received, this is absurd. By the way, this is the same person the government is trying to reach through the economic stimulus package and are the very ones bearing the brunt off the current economic crunch. In order for the economy to rebound, the average prices of gas must be reduced to below $1.85 per gallon, or approximately $63 per barrel. This can be accomplished by implementing governmental controls such as providing retail subsides to reduce the current price of oil, which in turn will put more money in the hands of the average consumer and ultimately strengthen the dollar. This kind of talk is an extremely unpopular argument within the nation’s beltway primarily because most politicians are in the pockets of the big oil lobbyists, but it’s still worth noting.

    January 29, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Jim Kansas

    Dear Beth,

    The Speaker of the House was not reading a novel, she was following along as everyone in the room was in their bound copy of the State of the Union speech that the President was "reading".

    So much for an educated electorate.

    January 29, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Richard, FL

    "I had a great work of poetry censored by CNN- so I ll go to FOX- maybe they will like it"-
    The poetry wasn't great. It wasn't censored by CNN. It was totally false since Nancy Pelosi was reading a copy of the speech, not a novel. And Yes, FOX will probably like it.

    January 29, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. John, NC

    Hillary has the endorsements of Heidi Fleis and Castro.

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. ethan

    i wot to be like you

    January 29, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Narees Breach

    Georg Bush would not know the state of the union if it fell on him.

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. ethan

    ethan ethan i Iove you

    January 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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