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Hotline's Latest Edition / SUPERDELEGATES

On The Pick-It Fence

April 28, 2008

The latest New York Times survey of superdelegates finds that Hillary Clinton "holds a 16-person edge that slices" into Barack Obama's "overall lead in delegates. And those 478 superdelegates who have declared their allegiances show no signs of switching sides as the primary calendar proceeds toward" its 6/3 conclusion.

Clinton supporter/SC DNCer Donald Fowler: "It's sort of like what you would have heard at the Super Bowl at the end of the third quarter. Patriot fans are anxious and optimistic, and Giant fans are hopeful and a little bit more anxious. But the game is not over. ... We're still behind and we've got a lot to do to catch up. She's playing games now where she has to win them all."

In meetings with superdelegates, there was a "clear sentiment" that "the way [the primary] is resolved" would be "crucial." Uncommitted Rep. Rahm Emanuel(D-IL): "The way the loser loses will determine whether the winner wins in November."


Obama supporter/NC Rep. David Price was a member of the Hunt Commission, which created the superdelegate system in the early '80s. Price: "It is tempting to pick each other's words apart and concentrate on lesser matters. That does become irritating and wear on voters. But we will get past it."

"What appears to worry him more is the idea, advanced" by the Clinton camp, "that the superdelegates have the authority to be the final arbiters in the Clinton-Obama race. He said the superdelegates should intervene only in extraordinary circumstances that do not now exist."

Price: "The fact is that the unpledged delegate group was added not to be kingmakers or queenmakers but simply to give each state a few extra slots without having to sign in blood for a presidential candidate or run against their own constituents. I don't think anyone thought this would be the decisive voting bloc, let alone overturn a popular verdict" (Rohter/Hulse, New York Times, 4/26).

The Envelope, Please!

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann write, "[A]fter all the states have voted" on 6/4, DNC Chair Howard Dean "should call for an ad hoc superdelegate primary. He should mail out ballots to all the superdelegates, to be returned" by 6/15, "so the party can settle on its nominee before summer starts."

"Al Gore, John Edwards, Nancy Pelosi and other party notables should join the call: Vote for whomever you want, but vote" by 6/15. "Further delay is a luxury for the superdelegates, but choosing a candidate in June is a necessity" for the Dems.

"After tallying the ballots" on 6/15, "Dean should announce the results. One candidate would almost certainly pass the threshold (2,025 delegates) needed for nomination. The other would face enormous pressure to withdraw -- rather than keep on fighting in hopes of changing enough delegates' minds" (New York Post, 4/28).

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