May 19th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Analysis: Obama ready for fall fight

Obama has been focusing lately on campaigning in general election states.

Obama has been focusing lately on campaigning in general election states.

WASHINGTON DC (CNN)– He’s not declaring victory in the Democratic primaries, but if you listen to Barack Obama, you get a clear sense he’s more than ready for a fall fight with John McCain.

“Everybody is surprised that I am standing here. Lets face it, nobody thought a 46 year old black guy named Barack Obama was going to be the Democratic nominee. The reason this has worked is because of you. You decided you wanted to take your government back and that is what we are going to be fighting for all the way through November,” the Senator from Illinois told the crowd at a rally in Oregon Sunday.

An interesting choice of words from a candidate who lately has been careful to not proclaim victory in his long and bitter battle with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

But there’s more.

"Senator Clinton and I have had a terrific contest and she has been a formidable candidate,” Obama said Sunday while being questioned by reporters. The slip into the past tense is telling.

Obama’s choice of where he holds primary night campaign rallies is also a sign that he’s looking ahead to the general election.

Last Tuesday, as Clinton was racking up a landslide victory in the West Virginia primary, Obama held a campaign event in Missouri, which long ago held its primary. But Missouri is what’s known as a battleground or swing state, a state that could go either way in the general election. Tuesday Obama’s holds a rally in Iowa, which kicked off the primary season with its caucuses on January 3rd. Obama won that contest, helping to propel him to Democratic frontrunner status. Iowa is also another battleground state (President Bush took the state by 10,000 votes in 2004) that the Democrats would love to win this November.

Obama will also point out Tuesday night the he’s won half of the total number of pledged delegates. There are 3,253 pledged delegates and Obama, even if he has a poor showing in the Kentucky and Oregon primaries, he should easily top the 1,627 delegates needed to make that claim. Pledged delegates are those won by the candidates in the primary and caucus contests, as opposed to 795 super delegates, whose votes are not tied to any primary or caucus results. Super delegates are Democratic governors, members of Congress and party officials.

While winning half of the pledged delegates is nice, the number he needs to reach to clinch the nomination is 2,026.

Since neither candidate is expected to win that many delegates by the end of the primary season on June 3rd, it’s going to come down to the super delegates to put either Obama or Clinton over the top.

“You know, we thought it (Iowa) was a terrific way to kind of bring things full circle. We still have some contests left, but if Kentucky and Oregon go as we hope, then we think we will have a majority of pledged delegates at that point, and that's a pretty significant mark. That means that after contests in every state, or almost every state and the territories that we are we have received the majority of the delegates that are assigned by voters,” Obama told reporters Sunday.

But even though he leads Clinton in delegates won, states won, and the popular vote in the primary and caucus contests held so far this campaign season, Obama says Tuesday’s declaration in Iowa doesn’t mean the primary battle’s over.

"It doesn't mean we declare victory because I won't be the nominee until we have enough, a combination of both pledged delegates and super delegates to hit the mark. But what it does mean is that voters have given us the majority of delegates that they can assign. And obviously that is what this primary and caucus process is about,” said Obama.

And Obama’s campaign for the primaries continues. He’s spending Monday in Montana, which along with South Dakota, closes out the primary calendar on June third.

If the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination is almost over, no one’s telling Clinton.

Campaigning in Kentucky Monday, Clinton said “I’m going to make [my case] until we have a nominee, but we’re not going to have one today and we’re not going to have one tomorrow and we’re not going to have one the next day.”

She continues to make her argument that she leads in the popular vote, saying “right now, more people have voted for me than have voted for my opponent. More people have voted for me than for anybody ever running for president before. So we have a very close contest.”

But there’s some creative math at work here. For Clinton to have the lead in the popular vote, primary states but not caucus states are counted. And the popular vote totals in Florida and Michigan are also counted. And since Obama’s name wasn’t on the Michigan ballot, he would receive no votes in that state’s contest. The problem with this equation is that neither Florida nor Michigan’s results are being counted right now by the Democratic Party, since both states broke party rules by moving their primaries up to January.

Clinton’s other argument is that she’s won the states that matter and that she would stack up stronger against John McCain come November.

“The states I’ve won total 300 electoral votes. If we had the same rules as the Republicans I would be nominee right now. We have different rules so what we’ve got to figure out is who can win 270 electoral votes. My opponent has won states totaling 217 electoral votes. Now we both have won some states that are going to be hard for us to win in the fall like TX and OK. But I still have a cushion if you look at all the states that I have won and take out those that may not be in our column come the fall. My opponent has 217 electoral votes from places like Alaska and Idaho and Utah and Kansas and Nebraska and many of his votes and his delegates come from caucus states which have a relatively low turnout,” Clinton told voters in Kentucky Monday.

So far both of Clinton’s arguments appear to be falling on deaf ears. And it’s doubtful that Tuesday’s results in Kentucky and Oregon will change the shape of the race.

soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. FAT LADY SINGING LOUD !!!

    Carmen,

    If he can beat Bill, Hill, Chelsea, McBush, Bush, Karl Rove and that bald headed goulish imp, Carvelle...he can do ANYTHING !!!!

    GO BARACK GO !!!!.

    lol...hillary supporters...hehe..you guys are funny..heheh.

    May 19, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. DannyCali

    Obama you ready but you going to lose in general election. Look if we re-vote in all states I don't think that you going to get this far Obama. If Hillary drop out and run for other party I think she going to beat both of you
    and McCain for sure. The game just start right now and you already can't
    handle it so how you going to handle until end and how you going to win
    in general election? You said you going to lay off you wife but GOP not
    going to let you because she going to become a first lady. So, my question is at the first 20 years what's your religion? because you just be a Christian or faith for only 20 years.

    May 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. silence do good

    "46 year old black guy" – how nice to see the RACE CARD once again today. This is going to get so old by Nov.

    Of course any mention of a woman candidate is silly and out of touch somehow.

    Welcome to the Boys' Club.

    May 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. sam okoko

    I had a lot of respect for HRC, but what she's doing is pathetic! First she claims that if this was the Republican party she could have won the nomination.....so, why don't she join the Republicans and save us the headache? Now she's taking Karl Rove's dubious analysis that shows that HRC will be stronger candidate than McCain as a reason for her staying in the race...C'on, give me a break! This is a desperate woman. she needs to go and join the Repubs.

    May 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. Anne

    Are we better off now then we were 8 years ago? No. Obama can win because this country wants change.

    May 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Cary from Deleware

    Oh, is the woos spouting off again? His IQ is about as high as his bowling score. Now he says nobody can criticize Michelle. Well, if you don't want her criticized, keep her home. You can't have it both ways.

    And by the way, if she's not proud of her country, how about giving us back the $4.5 million she took out of our economy last year.

    May 19, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Tom, ALBUQUERQUE, NM

    CLEAR AND SIMPLE, OBAMA WILL LOSE IN NOVEMBER, HE WILL TAKE HE DEMOCRATS TO A STINGING AND UNNECESSARY DEFEAT. THE MISOGYNISTIC ATTITUDE DISPLAYED BY PARTY ELDERS WILL COME TO HAUNT THEM.

    May 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I'm not about to go for NObama. The repub hate machine is by far undermined by the democrats. Nobama will lead this country right to the blacks front door!

    May 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. Susan

    He is a little too sure of himself. Like he has been for a long time......'star struck'. He will really be if he wins the democratic nominee.

    May 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. sam okoko

    I had a lot of respect for HRC, but what she's doing is pathetic! First she claims that if this was the Republican party she could have won the nomination…..so, why don't she join the Republicans and save us the headache? Now she's taking Karl Rove's dubious analysis that shows that HRC will be stronger candidate than McCain as a reason for her staying in the race…C'on, give me a break! This is a desperate woman. she needs to go and join the Repubs.

    May 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. mj

    Of course he can win! he has cut his teeth on the primary and is ready for the general election.

    May 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Hillary in 08

    McCains gonna run away with this one.
    Wait and see. We'll se if the Black vote can get Homeboy elected President. Every democrat I know iwill vote Repub, if this guy is the nominee. We needs someone in office that loves this country.

    Go Hillary!!!
    Go MCCain!!!

    May 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Linned

    For those of you on the blog calling Senator Obama arrogant – isn't there a difference between arrogant and confidence. If Senator Clinton had the higher number of pledged delegates and the "real" number of popular votes as recognized by the DNC – I am confident that all of Senator Obama's supporters would be supporting Senator Clinton.

    May 19, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  14. Generation X

    Democrats this is a warning that Republicans are on here blogging as Hillary or Obama supporters. Republicans it will not work, we Democrats will walk on you to get into the White House. By the way, tell your boy, Rush, NOT THIS TIME!!! LOL

    May 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. Joe Reg

    No more Bush republicans Mcain.

    America has had enough.

    America wants a change in direction.

    Obama is the candidate for change.

    Go Obama go!!!

    May 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Jamaal Kansas

    This Race been over get yhose republicans barack get rm obama 08

    May 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  17. Finally Decided

    Posts on this forum are anonymous since you cannot verify the ID of posters. There are a lot of Karl Rove impostors who are getting under the skin of Hillary and Obama supporters. Any Democrat who falls for that is naive. Obama himself has not disrespected Hillary so why should you be mad at an anonymous post when the loser will be the Democratic Party and not the Ccndidates?
    If we fall for this and give McBush the green light to ruin this country we have only ouselves to blame. Do not forget that the candidates can afford gas at $20 /gallon but we can't so we lose if you mess up your vote for McBush!

    May 19, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. Shut up already

    Hillary supporters shut up already . I myself am tired of hearing that if not Hillary then Mccain . And you call yourselves Democrats . It's obvious that from what we read in these blogs you weren't going to vote for Barack anyway . So just like your candidate please go away . You all are acting like little sore losers . It was a fair race and the American people picked the best candidate . So here it is . If you are that dumb to vote for Mccain because Hillary didn't win . Then that's where you need to take your vote . The rest of us real Democrats are gearing up for the general election . So either stand with us are be on the other side because as for me i'm ready to focus my energy on the real opposition . John Mccain and the old Washington political system of fear mongering and lies .

    Democrats 08 Obama or Clinton

    May 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  19. Texas Trail Dog

    CNN POLLS ARE FULL OF BULLCRAP. OBAMA HAS A 4% LEAD IN OREGON.

    OREGON VOTERS – GO TO LARRY SINCLAIR transcript AND YOUNG ON YAHOO.COM BEFORE YOU VOTE.

    May 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. gary

    THIS IS A DISGUSTING FIXED RACE. AMERICA WILL SUFFER THE CONSIQUENCES IF O.B. GETS ELECTED. THEY WANT TO BE BIAS AGAINST HRC BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN. THEY RATHER HAVE A BLACK CON MAN THATS UNQUALIFIED AND HAS NO TRACK RECORD. THE ENDORSERS AND SUPER DELIGATES ARE ONLY GOING TO OBAMA BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID OF HRC . SHE IS THE BEST CANIDATE TO WIN NOV. AND MAKE A GREAT PRESIDENT. NOW WE CAN VOTE FOR MC CAIN. THE MEDIA AND O.B. SUPPORTERS ALONG WITH THE DNC HAS DONE NOTHING BUT KICK HRC AROUND AND HATE TOWARD BOTH CLINTONS. WHAT COMES AROUND GO'S AROUND. CROOKED RACE. O.B. HAS DONE NOTHING FOR US . HRC HAS FAUGHT FOR US JUST LIKE SHE ALWAYS WILL. AMERICA GETS WHAT THEY DESERVE.

    May 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Shiloh Everett

    Superdelegates need to end this. Hillary is going negitive and being divisive. Obama is clearly the nominee so they need to move toward him now and give it to him before May 31. Then seat MI amd FL any way the DNC sees fit. He will win regardless, so let's avoid the convention fracas that will devide the party and ultimately lose our chances in Nov. Hillary supporters need to get on board and realize the need to do this. Put the country first. Come together now or we we all suffer the consequence of Republican agenda.

    May 19, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  22. L Jeanne

    At what point did electing a woman for president, at all costs, become an end in itself?
    I want the cadidate who would have conceded rather than allow these endless vanity elections (with confetti showers but 20 million in the red), as millions vote on a false premise, as if it were a viable choice, as if their vote could influence the outcome.
    It’s time to move forward for the common good. This is not about dissing a fellow sister; it’s about a campaign derailed by megalomaniac-delusion run amok.
    Hillary, let’s pretend we’re grown-ups. Just concede nobly and begin using your energy to help Obama, your party and our country.

    May 19, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. JG from MA

    Think he can't win in november?

    THAN DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO CHANGE THAT, RATHER THAN REFUSE TO VOTE FOR HIM!!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Don in Florida

    The rules are the rules. If in the beginning everyone was told that its only the electoral states counted in the primary then I would say that ms. clinton won. However, its the won with the most pledged delegates that will win. And please Sen. Clinton stop trying to count the Fl. and Mi primaries as voted. (The only fair way is to split them right down the middle including the popular vote for both states) That's very underhanded and seems like you're trying to change the rules to win. I have much respect for you but not if you try to win by cheating. I taught my children better then that and i truly believe its beneath you to do that also.

    May 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. White female voter

    I fail to understand the logic of those Clinton supporters who claim that she is more electable. If that were the case how come she is trailing Obama in the contest for votes from fellow Democrats.
    This country will benefit from a break from the Bush/Clinton dynasties and for the first time in years we will have a First Family in the White House that will do us proud.

    May 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
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