Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet column: Obama superdelgate hunters huddle Wednesday. Scoop: David Wilhelm, Bill Clinton campaign manager, for Obama.

| 12 Comments


WASHINGTON — Sometime tonight, after the House and Senate finish voting, members of Congress who are backing Barack Obama’s presidential bid will huddle in the Capitol Hill living room of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to map strategy to capture more superdelegates for the Illinois senator.

Obama’s top congressional superdelegate wranglers will aim to be there: On the House side, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is handling the Senate portfolio. Mike Robertson, Obama’s delegate and congressional relations coordinator, is also expected to be on hand.

They will go over lists of possible recruits broken down by state, region and by particular interests. Superdelegates are elected officials — all Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, many state and local officials —who automatically have a vote at the Democratic nominating convention in Denver.

Many past and present Democratic party officials are also superdelegates, such as former Democratic National Committee Chairman David Wilhelm, who today is expected to declare his support for Obama. Wilhelm, who managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential bid, moved from Chicago to Bexley, Ohio, near Columbus, and was a strategist for Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) until he dropped out.

Though Obama thumped Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, the delegate vote may be close if Clinton prevails in the March 4 contests in the delegate-rich states of Texas and Ohio. That’s why the spotlight is on the 796 superdelegates — though there are two vacancies, with the recent deaths of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and former Cook County Board President John Stroger.

Obama has a campaign-within-a-campaign targeting the superdelegates, with Matt Nugen, the national political director, and Jeff Berman, the national director of delegate operations and ballot access, keeping tabs as campaign chief David Plouffe oversees the process, parceling out who calls whom.

Clinton’s superdelegate drive is being run by Harold Ickes, a longtime strategist for the Clintons who is known for his mastery of Democratic National Committee rules. Obama superdelegate calls are being made by former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.); Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.); Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.); Iowa Gov. Chet Culver; Virginia Gov. Tom Kaine and Michelle Obama. Obama himself phones when needed.

The members of Congress are special targets for Clinton and Obama because they are known names in their states and each one that Obama — or Clinton — lands contributes to momentum. The two dozen or so Obama lawmakers meeting at DeLauro’s tonight have a simple agenda in this insider contest: figure out what buttons to push to move their undecided colleagues into the Obama ranks.

12 Comments

The media elites are going to be giving Obama the once over very soon. I don't think it's going to be pretty, either.
The conservative media has been slow to do anti-Obama stories, but that has changed bigtime...Tony Blankely in today's Townhall, for example. He reveals what a Clintonista told him about dirt they have on Obama.
The New Republic had a scathing piece yesterday on Obama, much to the chagrin of its readers.
Then there is this from yesterday's Weekly Standard. I'm not unhappy about this, but it might come as a shock to his fans.
Obama Unplugged-Lost without a Teleprompter

Obama is a ray of hope for not only America but the whole world. He has cast a magic spell on the teeming millions of planet earth. At a time when the world is ravaged by war, despair and hopelessness Obama is seen all over the globe as a messiah, a prophet, a beacon of change for righteousness, justice, fairness and honesty irrespective of race, class, creed, religion or for that matter any divide.

Obama does not belong to the US only. He belongs to mankind. And it is only America that produces charismatic gigantic presidents like Thomas Jefforson and JFK and Bill Clinton!

Rove on FOX: Texas intricacies favor Obama

Karl Rove, appearing on FOX News last night 2/12, commented on the Democratic primary in Texas.
He stated that delegates were apportioned by district, a la CA I presume, and allocated a number of delegates per district based on number of voters in each district.
This is important why? Because Obama should win (with the outsize percentage numbers needed to really gain a delegate edge) two big city (Dallas & Houston) districts with heavy black voter concentrations.
What I think he was implying is that if Hillary generally wins Texas at a 58% to 42% clip but Obama wins the large city vote 70% to 30%, BO's likely to blunt the delegate result of such a Clinton win and he could end up with the most delegates.
Postscript: Apparently primary delegates meet to select state delegates after election, caucus style, then national delegates, caucus style, all of which processes favor OBAMA.

You know those trey stupid socialistic European countries that provide safety nets for their citizens? They're kicking our butts.

As a NEW American this will be my first time to vote and what I don't understand is why are you bothering to have the general public cast a vote when the result is being decided by superdelegates ? We are not voting for superdelegates, we are voting for the candidate we choose. If our votes don't matter then why have us all waste our time going to vote ?
Andy

I know it makes for good drama, but the Supers are not going to decide this election, the voters are.

The math says that Hillary has to win 60% of the remaining delegates to pull even with Obama. Barring an unprecedented catastrophic collapse by Obama, that is simply not gonna happen. she's not even trying to get votes anywhere except OH and TX. And every time Obama blows her out in a state like he has in the past 8 contests, that 60% figure goes up. After next week, if Obama wins big again, that 60% number will quickly become 65% - or higher. In other words, I believe she should conced after next week, to save face for the Clinton name and for the Democratic Party.

So long as the unpledged super delegates follow the will of the voters - which they better if they do not want to tear the entire party apart from within - then Obama is going to be the nominee.

Not many noticed.

Obama got his Grammy.

Hillary got a message.

It "Makes Me Wonder", "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" will you be "Gone Gone Gone"?

You're no "Future Baby Mama"; you're the "Pretender" on your "Confessions Tour", "Daydreamin'"

"Imaginary Animals"; "Made in America" on a "Lost Highway"

You and your "Stupid Boy"

"Funk This"

It is astonishing to me that Joe Lieberman is a Super Delegate in
the democratic primary. Properly, he is a republican, and a rather bitter turncoat, besides. With Sup Deles you get a scramble to maintain power in the party, not to express voter choice.

Obama has been Teflon regarding his seamy background in Chicago politics re: Rezko. The subsidized rehabs in Obama's district all were trashed by Rezko, but as patron of Obama, nothing was done to stop this. Along with his terrible judgement regarding real estate sweetheart land deal with neighbor Rezko, Obama has avoided answering many questions from SunTimes and others.

I cannot understand why this corrupt man who soon comes to trial would not reflect on Obama's behavior re: slmlord Rezko along with Allison Davis [of O's lawfirm's] behavior and then ultimate joining Rezmar as partner. This stuff stinks to high heaven, yet you remain one of very few who have questioned Obama's record which is far from Mr Inspirational's claims to purity, hope, etc.

How the elders and wheelers of Democratic party and super delegates can hope to hide this until they secure nomination for Obama is a mystery. The GOP will make mincemeat of this and his Kenya relative, etc....but by then he has the nomination. Or are things so bad that Obama will be given an "OJ PASS" and flummox the GOP as he counters "racism". This is a mess. Keeping Florida delegates out of this will cause real problems for Dem Party.

Jan from Amherst... don't you think if there was any "there" there with Obama the Clintons would have dropped it after Iowa when he spoiled their "Inevitablity Tour '08"? Get over it. The dirt in this campaign all belongs to the Clintons.

habrow2... Joe Lieberman is an independent. He is not a Democrat and no longer a superdelegate. No need to be astonished any longer.

Norris -- Rezko is much ado about nothing. In order to get somewhere with a story like that you need two things absent in this case -- 1. a clear showing of material financial benefit to the politician; and 2. a corresponding benefit to the donor. You don't get in trouble because someone you know is an alleged crook. Your reference to OJ and "Kenya" are very unfortunate frankly racist. It is a shame you can't look at the facts and past your own apparent prejudices, to think clearly about the Rezko situation.

Bill Kurtis' documentary: "HUD: America's slumlord" from 1994 deserves a review. The practice of 'developers' linked to the Chicago Democratic machine trashing HUD properties for profit is shameul. The DNC needs to make certain that Rezko and Sen. Obama had nothing to do with this. There were scrupulous, liberal buyers who refused to profit from the sell-out of the Cabrini Green neighborhood, among others.

These prophet comments are just amazing. We'd be scared if Obama was a Republican.

Hillary is the practical choice. Keep underestimating her.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 12, 2008 11:24 PM.

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