Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March Votes Over

The March delegate contests are over. They began with a bang, with Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio, and Texas voting, then Wyoming, and finally Mississippi. Final count? Clinton won 203 and Obama 205. Yep, all that drama for a 2 vote lead. Meanwhile California recounted and four more superdelegates declared, giving Obama another four votes in each case. Clinton did succeed in taking the momentum away from Obama. She managed to spin the loss of half her twenty point lead in Ohio, and her early wins in Texas -- a state she lost! -- into the perception that she was back on track to winning the nomination. The final state count was Rhode Island and Ohio for Clinton; Vermont, Texas, Wyoming, and Mississippi for Obama.

There won't be another vote until Pennsylvania on April 22 and until then everyone will be focused on the campaigning itself. Clinton has been more adept at controlling the media spin, but recently she has seen her foreign policy "experience" questioned. Last week CNN "fact checked" her foreign policy claims. It talks of her claims regarding Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and China, raised some questions about Bosnia and China, but wasn't particularly critical. As someone of Scots-Irish descent, I myself was a little surprised by the role she claims for Northern Ireland. I don't recall her having any role at all, and, it turned out, for good reason. David Trimble, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to find peace there, called her claims "A wee bit silly." He went on to say, "I don't want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player." Her claims about Bosnia have also come under attack. This time from the comedian Sinbad, who accompanied her on the trip. Clinton has spoken of the trip as a dangerous experience, but Sinbad remembers it as a USO tour. "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'" They were joined on the tour by Sheryl Crow.

During the Ohio campaign Clinton got a lot of mileage in the anti-free trade state by claiming that Obama was secretly assuring Canada that his talk of re-opening NAFTA was just campaigning. Ottawa is investigating the diplomatic leak behind the controversy and the CBC has this summary of events. Interestingly, this controversy started with Clinton's people assuring Canada that their rhetoric was all campaigning!

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