The Washington Times - April 22, 2008, 03:07PM
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Astrid Riecken with ObamaAllison Shelley with ClintonSen. Barack Obama


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TO: Interested Parties\ \ FR: Obama Campaign\ \ RE: The Bar for Clinton in Pennsylvania and Beyond \ \ DA: April 22, 2008\ \ ______________________________________________________________________________\ \ \ \ The Bar for Clinton in Pennsylvania\ \ \ \ With all eyes on today’s contest, one thing is clear: Pennsylvania is considered a state tailor-made for Hillary Clinton, and by rights she should win big. She has family roots in the state, she has the support of the Democratic establishment — including Gov. Rendell’s extensive network — and former President Clinton is fondly remembered.\ \ \ \ Clinton has been leading by large margins in Pennsylvania. In the weeks leading up to the primary, she led by as much as 25 points. They were so confident that their own Pennsylvania spokesman said Clinton would be “unbeatable” in Pennsylvania —regardless of spending by her opponent. [Washington Post, 3/7/08]\ \ \ \ But as he has done in every state, Obama campaigned hard and tapped into the hunger for change at grassroots, looking to pick up as many delegates as possible. Old-fashioned, shoe-leather campaigning, in the face of unrelenting negative attacks from Clinton, substantially closed a once-formidable gap.\ \ \ \ There has been much speculation about what each campaign needs coming out of tonight. The facts, however, are simple.\ \ \ \ Behind in delegates and sporting a 14-30 primary record (not good enough even to make the playoffs in the NBA Eastern Conference), the Clinton campaign needs a blowout victory in Pennsylvania to get any closer to winning the nomination. Even former President Clinton said that only a “big, big victory” will give her the boost she needs.\ \ \ \ The Philadelphia Inquirer observed that there is “consensus” that Clinton has to “take the state big, perhaps by double digits, to be able to claim that she’d won it a way that matters in the overall nomination struggle — given her deficits in both the delegate race and the overall popular vote.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/3/08]\ \ \ \ That’s exactly right. And Clinton’s own supporters have been predicting big wins. Gov. Ed Rendell and Congressman Jack Murtha — no strangers to Pennsylvania politics — have both predicted runaway wins for her. [MTP, 4/6/08, MSNBC, 4/1/08]\ \ \ \ The Clinton campaign has been trying to spin away their earlier confidence and move the goal posts for victory in Pennsylvania. But the bottom line is that if Clinton is going to make meaningful inroads in this race for delegates, she will need a huge margin in Pennsylvania.\ \ \ \ \ \ The Race Beyond Tonight\ \ \ \ Tonight’s outcome is unlikely to change the dynamic of this lengthy primary. Fully three-quarters of the remaining delegates will be selected in states other than Pennsylvania. While there are 158 delegates at stake in today’s primary, there are 157 up for grabs in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries two weeks from today. We expect that by tomorrow morning, the overall structure of the race will remain unchanged — except for the fact that there will be 158 delegates off the table.\ \ \ \ It wouldn’t be surprising if the Clinton campaign once again tries to change the metrics by which the race is measured. They used to stress repeatedly that, in Howard Wolfson\0x2019s words “[t]his is a race for delegates.” [Washington Post, 1/16/08] Recently, they have attempted to shift the focus to the popular vote, and the specious argument that primary wins in big states equate to electoral vote pickups in the general election. They do not.\ \ \ \ Our strategy has always been to gain as many delegates as possible — an important point to remember going forward. If this race had focused on the popular vote, we would have campaigned non-stop in California, for example, and run up our numbers even higher in Obama’s home state of Illinois. But we focused on delegates because, simply, delegates decide the Democratic nominee.\ \ \ \ But even if we were to judge the primary on the popular vote, we anticipate having a comfortable lead when voting in the last nine contests wraps up in June. Obama will continue to gain strength with Democratic superdelegates. He will maintain his position as the best candidate to take on Sen. John McCain. And he will be ready to unite the American people and begin a new chapter in our history.\ \ \ \ We are already organizing vigorously in the remaining contests, opening local offices, canvassing, and engaging voters in this unprecedented campaign. We will have the financial resources we need to be competitive. Our message will be the same one that Obama enunciated 14 months ago and has shared with voters every day since: that the size of the challenges we face has outgrown the smallness of our politics, and this election is our chance to change that.\
To: Interested Parties\ \ From: The Clinton Campaign\ \ Date: April 22, 2008\ \ MEMO: Watch What They Do Not What They Say\ \ \ \ The Obama campaign is attempting to pre-spin the results from tonight’s\ Pennsylvania primary by suggesting that Clinton should — and will —\ win. \ \ \ \ But after the Obama campaign’s “go-for-broke” Pennsylvania strategy,\ after their avalanche of negative ads, negative mailers and negative\ attacks against Clinton, after their record-breaking spending in\ the state, a fundamental question must be asked: Why shouldn’t \ OBAMA win?\ \ \ \ Obama’s supporters — and many pundits — have argued that the\ delegate “math” makes him the prohibitive frontrunner. They have argued\ that Clinton’s chances are slim to none. So if he’s already the\ frontrunner, if he’s had six weeks of unlimited resources to get his\ message out, shouldn’t he be the one expected to win tonight? If not,\ why not?\ \ \ \ As the phrase goes, watch what they do not what they say.\ \ \ \ There’s a reason Obama and his campaign have ratcheted up their\ year-long assault on Clinton’s character and ended the Pennsylvania\ campaign with a flurry of harsh negative attacks. It’s because they know\ that a loss in Pennsylvania will raise troubling questions about his\ candidacy and his ability to take on McCain in the general\ election. And it’s because they know that the race is neck and neck and\ tonight’s contest is a measure of where the campaign stands.\ \ \ \ The reality is this: both candidates need a combination of pledged and\ super delegates to secure the nomination — and either candidate can\ reach the required number. The press and the pundits have repeatedly\ counted Clinton out and she has repeatedly proved them wrong. The\ vote in the bellwether state of Pennsylvania is another head to head\ measure of the two candidates and of the coalition they will put\ together to compete and win in November.\ \ \ \ No amount of spin from the Obama campaign will change that — nor will it\ explain away anything less than a victory by Obama.

Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times