Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: The Pennsylvania Report

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Pennsylvania Report


*Election results *PA county by county results map

Analysis: Long slog ahead for Democrats

By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Staff

PHILADELPHIA -- Barack Obama didn't get the most votes. He didn't deliver a knockout punch. And he didn't make many inroads into such crucial constituencies as white women and Catholics.

Hillary Clinton got the most votes, but based on the early returns may not have gotten enough to seriously dent Obama's lead in the elected delegates or the popular vote.

The Pennsylvania primary -- one of the tensest and hardest-fought political duels in history -- ended with a seemingly unspectacular result: Clinton doing about what she'd been expected to do -- win solidly, but not overwhelmingly -- and Obama performing decently enough.

The winner was Clinton, giving her the chance to fight on, but the clear losers were those who were hoping for a definitive result from this primary season.

"While [Clinton] clearly won, the difference in delegate count and vote count may not end up being all that compelling," said Dartmouth College political scientist Linda Fowler, noting that the Democratic Party's system of allocating delegates by percentage of the vote won in each congressional district favors Obama, who ran up huge margins in predominantly black districts.

"Clinton did well despite being outspent by Obama, but the fact is that this state was made-to-order for her demographically," Fowler added.

Indeed, Pennsylvania is the third-oldest state, and Clinton has done better with older voters than younger ones. It also has a large white working class, including many Catholics, and Clinton has dominated those groups as well.

Coming into Pennsylvania, Clinton's campaign had two goals: Winning enough of a victory to help close the gap in the popular vote nationally, and raising doubts about Obama's ability to win big industrial states.

Going into the primary, Obama led the national popular vote by roughly 700,000, not counting Florida and Michigan, whose primaries were shunned by the Democratic National Committee for jumping ahead of the prescribed schedule.

Obama took his name off the ballot in Michigan, so Clinton's victory there didn't say much about the relative strength of the two of them. But both names were on the Florida ballot, and Clinton won by almost 300,000 votes. If Florida were included in the tally, Obama's lead going into Pennsylvania was little more than 400,000.

If Clinton's margin of victory stayed where it was when the networks called the election for her -- about 8 percentage points -- she'd end up carving at most 180,000 votes off Obama's lead, drawing her closer but perhaps not close enough. Obama leads in the polls in the next-largest state yet to vote, North Carolina.

The popular vote is crucial to Clinton because Obama, who has scored better in low-voting caucuses in small states, is unlikely to lose his lead in elected delegates. Thus, when both candidates woo the roughly 300 undecided superdelegates -- the party leaders who will provide the decisive margin -- Obama will claim that he has won the most delegates and therefore should be crowned the nominee. Clinton's only chance to undercut him is to point out that she actually won more votes.

"This looks like the Democratic party leaders' worst dream -- a Clinton margin not large enough to put her in a strong position to carry on and an Obama vote not large enough to end things," said University of Pennsylvania political scientist Donald F. Kettl, in an emailed response. ``This is going to continue on, and put the party into the tough job of finding the endgame."

Indeed, Clinton may not have succeeded in her second goal of raising enough doubts about Obama to transform the race -- but some doubts remain. Obama's comment about the bitterness of working-class voters, made two weeks ago, may have or may not have affected the result -- but they put the spotlight on his weakness among that voting group.

Tonight's results didn't reassure anyone that Obama can win that crucial voting bloc against Republican John McCain.

The next primaries, two weeks from now in North Carolina and Indiana, will now assume the same importance as Pennsylvania -- a chance for Obama to address his weaknesses and Clinton to show greater strength.

Both Democratic candidates still have a lot of work ahead.

Obama looks to next contests

Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor April 22, 2008 10:53 PM

Barack Obama, who lost in Pennsylvania tonight, put the best face on the result and looked ahead to the next showdown in Indiana in two weeks.

He congratulated Hillary Clinton on her victory and thanked his supporters in Pennsylvania. "She ran a terrific race," he said.

But he said he closed the gap in the Keystone State. "They thought we were going to be blown out," he said.

Obama also said he inspired thousands of new voters. "It is those new voters who will lead our party to victory in November," he told supporters at a rally in Evansville, Ind. He has a town hall set for Wednesday in New Albany, Ind.

He reminded his backers of his campaign's core message of change, which he said can get lost in tit-for-tat politics of the campaign.

"We’re not here to talk about change for change’s sake, but because our families, our communities, and our country desperately need it," he said. "We’re here because we can’t afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing for another four years. We can’t afford to play the same Washington games with the same Washington players and expect a different result."

Clinton declares victory, asks for money

Analysis: With Pa. win, Clinton survives for yet another day

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton survived yet another day.

There will be little time for celebration, though. Time and money are running out.

Her win Tuesday in the large and important swing state of Pennsylvania was hard-fought. Barack Obama's well-funded effort to shut her down did not reach its ultimate goal of a surprise upset.

But Clinton now faces a dwindling number of contests, and she's at a steep financial disadvantage.

Obama already is spending twice as much on ads airing in North Carolina and Indiana, the two states that come up next with primaries on May 6. He's even advertising in Oregon, a state that he should win, where voting by mail begins in the first week of May.

He can afford to shower every contest with campaign dollars from the $42 million he had at the beginning of April, while Clinton is in debt. She'll have to either persuade donors to give her more money to sustain her long-shot bid or float herself another multimillion- dollar loan.

In Pennsylvania, Clinton won with the support of whites, women and older voters, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks.

Underscoring the race's excitement, more than one in 10 voters Tuesday had registered with the state's Democratic party since the beginning of the year. And about six in 10 of them were voting for Obama.

Some voters had a hard time making up their minds. About a quarter of the day's voters reported having made their minds up within the past week, and about six in 10 of them backed Clinton.

Of the states left, the biggest prize is North Carolina, a state that both sides are predicting Obama will win. Clinton dispatched one of her top state organizers, California and Texas veteran Ace Smith, to North Carolina in an effort to get every vote she can. Smith told reporters last week that getting the percentage spread within single digits would be a victory for Clinton. Obama's also expected to win Oregon and South Dakota.

So where can she look for victory? West Virginia and Kentucky are likely Clinton wins, but they offer less than 100 delegates combined. She also has a chance in Guam, Puerto Rico, Montana and Indiana. But none of them are likely to give her a big enough margin to put her over Obama.

To win, she needs to convince voters that Obama is not electable in November even though he's ahead in the delegate race.

She needs a big influx of cash.

She needs a shocking change of fortune.

Nedra Pickler covers the Democratic presidential campaign for The Associated Press.

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania victory means that the Democratic Party's eventual nominee will be badly bruised and could have a tough time rallying the party in the fall.

Clinton on Tuesday once again failed to do well among young and African-American voters, who are growing increasingly alienated from the New York senator. She won with some harsh tactics - too harsh for a lot of Barack Obama supporters.

Obama, on the other hand, stumbled badly. He outspent Clinton by an estimated 3 to 1. He had six weeks since the last primary to ingratiate himself with people he's had a hard time wooing: blue-collar Whites, small-town residents and older women. Instead, he once again lost the White vote handily and couldn't put his opponent away.

The momentum that seemed so strong in February, when Obama won 11 contests in a row and seemed on the verge of knocking Clinton out of the race, was all but gone Tuesday.

Also gone, or at least fading, was the feeling among Democratic voters on both sides that either candidate was ultimately acceptable.

While Democrats remain angry over the Iraq war, the economy and President Bush, they've grown less inclined to accept their favorite candidate's Democratic opponent as a prospective president.

The deepening Clinton-Obama schism became more pronounced after last Wednesday's Philadelphia debate.

Obama backers insisted that their man was treated unfairly when the Illinois senator was asked about his relationship with his former pastor and 60s-era radical Willliam Ayers. They argued that Obama did the right thing by staying gentle in his explanations.

Clinton folks saw the performance differently. They were disturbed that Obama didn't put more distance between himself and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has suggested that past U.S. actions were partly responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and that the HIV virus was a government plot against people of color.

If Obama gets the nomination, lots of Clinton backers said, they'd give presumptive Republican nominee John McCain a look.

Obama backers said the same, should Clinton be the nominee.

"I love Obama," said Aimee Brace, a housewife who switched her registration to Democrat. "He has a real down-to-earth way. If Clinton gets it, I don't know what I'd do. I'd be lost."

Democratic leaders sensed this increasing rupture between the Clinton and Obama camps, and in recent days they've pleaded with the superdelegates who control about 20 percent of the convention votes, and with them, the balance of power.

"I need them to say who they're for, starting now," party Chairman Howard Dean said of the superdelegates last week. "We've got to know who our nominee is."

The surest way to have gotten a quick decision would have been if Obama had won Pennsylvania. That would have instantly dispelled the notion that he lacks appeal in a big diverse state and restore the aura that made him a star in an array of states as different as Vermont, Minnesota, Virginia and Louisiana this winter.

By Wednesday, this thinking went, the media would have been declaring the race all but over and the superdelegates would have had a fresh reason to leap on the Obama bandwagon. He'd be officially anointed this generation's John F. Kennedy, ready to inspire the masses with his vision and vigor.

Instead, the verdict Wednesday will remain the same: Pennsylvania joins the roster of Clinton wins that stretches from Massachusetts and New Jersey on the East Coast to Texas and Ohio in the middle and California in the West.

But Clinton still can't break Obama's hold on Black and young voters. He won 92 percent of the Black vote, according to exit polls, and between 56 percent and 58 percent of voters under 45.

Similarly, however, Obama can't shake that a lot of Whites are uncomfortable with a Black as president, as exit polls showed him losing the White vote by 60-40 percent - a consistent trend in recent primaries.

Yet Clinton's harsh campaign may be turning Obama's flaws into open wounds that prove difficult to heal by November.

And so, the party is left again in a stalemate without apparent end.

The campaigns now head for May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. North Carolina, where roughly 40 percent of the Democratic voters are Black, is expected to be solid Obama territory, but Indiana promises to be less predictable.

The two camps will undoubtedly paint the state as a make-or-break affair, but it offers only 72 delegates. With 2,025 needed to nominate, Indiana's an unlikely game-changer.

So on a day when the Democratic race remains muddled, this much is clear: Obama remains the favorite for the nomination, but it's not a comfortable lead.

*Election results *PA county by county results map

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s solid victory in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election was built on the support of the voters who have been most loyal to her so far and bolstered her argument that the race should go on.

It will become clearer only in the days and weeks ahead whether Mrs. Clinton’s performance was good enough to allow her to raise the money she needs to remain competitive. It also remains unclear whether she will be able to attract the superdelegates necessary to overcome Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s persistent and substantial lead in pledged delegates.

Mrs. Clinton won at least 66 Pennsylvania delegates to the party’s national convention to at least 57 for Mr. Obama, with 35 still to be awarded, according to an analysis of election returns by The Associated Press.

That leaves Mr. Obama ahead by 130 delegates overall, which includes committed superdelegates, according to the AP.That’s not much different than his delegate edge before Tuesday.

“I still question whether it shifts any of the fundamentals we had before Pennsylvania,” said Christopher Borick, Ph.D., a political scientist and pollster at Muhlenberg College. “It’s almost as if we’re still in a state of purgatory. ... I don’t know if, in the big picture, much has changed.”

The money issue is likely to be key as the election heads into Indiana and North Carolina for primaries May 6. Mr. Obama has about five times as much money left as Mrs. Clinton — about $40 million to about $8 million. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign also carried about $10.3 million in debt heading into this month.

Mrs. Clinton acknowledged the money problem in accepting victory in Philadelphia, urging voters to go to her Web site and contribute.

“Because the future of this campaign is in your hands,” Mrs. Clinton said to cheers of “Yes, we will.”

Blue collar boost

She won the backing of voters from blue-collar backgrounds, Catholics, voters with less than a college education, whites, women, older voters, especially senior citizens, gun owners and people who saw the economy and health care as the most important issues.

“She has been in the White House with her husband, and I just really think she has what it takes because she really knows the job,” said the Rev. Anita Jordan, 53, of Clarks Summit, after voting for Mrs. Clinton.

“I have to confess, the Clinton years were good years ... and you just hope that they can bring that magic back.”

By region, Mrs. Clinton dominated everywhere except in southeastern Pennsylvania, where Mr. Obama fell short of the margins that twice propelled Gov. Ed Rendell to victories in the governor’s race.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama won the backing of men, blacks, college graduates, younger voters and people who thought the Iraq war is the most important issue.

“I feel he’s new politics, whereas she’s old politics, and I think we need to get away from that,” said Lasha Wyman, 18, a Scranton High School student and first-time voter. “We’ve done old, and history is repeating itself a little too much. I feel like it’s time for a change ... I like him because he’s younger and I just like him better.”

The demographic breakdown mirrored pre-election polls.

“It held almost to a ‘T’ what you’d expect,” said Dr. Borick, the pollster.

Victory beat polls

Mrs. Clinton’s 10-percentage-point margin was larger than the 5 or 6 percentage points in most recent polls. Exit polls show she won the support of 11 of every 20 voters who made up their minds in the last three days.

But her Pennsylvania performance kept in doubt whether Mr. Obama can appeal enough to the voters she won, who form a large chunk of the traditional base of the Democratic Party, and allows her to fight on.

The results of exit polls of 2,140 respondents statewide by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for The Associated Press and other media outlets was almost identical to pre-election polling that hinted Mrs. Clinton would win.

The exit poll showed:

Mrs. Clinton won the support of 11 of every 20 women. Mr. Obama won the male vote by 7 percentage points.

Mr. Obama dominated the youngest voters, winning six of 10. But they again made up the smallest percentage of voters. The older the voter, the more likely Mrs. Clinton got the vote, winning six of 10 votes from those 60 and older.

Mrs. Clinton won the backing of almost six of 10 voters with no college degree, while Mr. Obama won only slightly more than half the vote of college graduates.

Mrs. Clinton won gun-owning households by a 3-to-2 margin. They split the vote among households with no guns.

Voters with an income of less than $50,000 went to Mrs. Clinton by an 11-to-9 margin. They were even among households that earn more than that.

Eleven of 20 voters who see the economy and health care as key issues voted for Mrs. Clinton while Mr. Obama had the same margin among voters who view the Iraq war as the top issue.

Mr. Obama won the vote of nine of 10 black voters while Mrs. Clinton won six of 10 white voters.

Catholic voters, who make up about 30 percent of the state’s population, went for Mrs. Clinton by a 7-to-3 margin.

SHARI SANGER, staff writer, contributed to this report.

Keystone House Races, Eclipsed in Tuesday’s Primary, Will Emerge This Fall

By Greg Giroux, CQ Staff

The campaigns for the congressional primaries held Tuesday in Pennsylvania were overshadowed by the donnybrook Democratic presidential primary between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama . But the consequences of those House nomination contests will be felt this fall in a state that will host some of the year’s most competitive races for Congress.

It is easy to figure why Pennsylvania is again a hotbed for House races as it was in 2006. Four of the 30 seats Democrats wrested from Republicans nationally in their successful drive for a House majority were in Pennsylvania, and the GOP is staging bids to recapture three of them that CQ Politics rates as competitive. But Democratic strategists, who are striving aggressively across the nation to expand upon their 2006 gains, are running takeover bids in four of the Pennsylvania districts that the Republicans still hold.

The most dispositive primary Tuesday was in the north-central 5th District, a Republican stronghold where six-term GOP Rep. John E. Peterson left the seat open to retire at the end of the current Congress. The likelihood of strong job security for the Republican nominee drew a crowded field in which Glenn Thompson, a health care professional and Republican activist, emerged on top. Although he received a plurality of just 19 percent of the Republican primary vote, his win installs him as the strong front-runner for the November contest to succeed Peterson.

Republican challengers. Of the places where the Republicans are seeking to take back seats from freshman Democrats, their most vigorous challenge is likely to be in the 10th District. Businessman Chris Hackett narrowly won the Republican nomination in this mostly conservative swath of northeastern and east-central Pennsylvania, where he will oppose Democratic Rep. Christopher Carney .

In nearly complete returns, Hackett had 52 percent of the vote against another businessman, Dan Meuser, in a contest that saw hard-hitting attacks and substantial personal spending from both candidates. Hackett was backed by some conservative groups in Washington because of his support for a system of personal savings accounts under Social Security and his outright opposition to appropriations earmarks.

Carney, a political scientist and former Pentagon consultant, won the seat in 2006 over Republican Rep. Don Sherwood, who was badly damaged by a sex scandal. The Democrat is seeking re-election in a district where 60 percent of the voters backed President Bush in 2004. Only two districts taken over by Democrats in 2006 gave Bush a higher share of their votes two years earlier.

But Carney is well-funded, with $966,000 in his campaign account as of April 2, and probably won’t shy from pointing out differences between his record and that of the more liberal Democratic leadership.

The candidate matchups for the Republicans’ other key takeover bids in Pennsylvania were predetermined and simply confirmed by the primaries. In the western 4th District, Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire and Republican former Rep. Melissa A. Hart will compete in a rematch of their 2006 contest. Altmire, a health association executive, took 52 percent that year to quash Hart’s bid for a fourth term.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick J. Murphy will be opposed by Republican Tom Manion, in the 8th District, which is dominated by Bucks County north of Philadelphia. It is a race in which both candidates are indelibly and personally linked to the ongoing Iraq War. Murphy, who unseated one-term Republican Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick in 2006, is the only Iraq War veteran in Congress. Manion is a retired Marine Corps colonel whose son died while serving in Iraq last year.

Republican strategists have been heavily promoting what appears a longshot bid against 12-term Democratic Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski by Lou Barletta, a local mayor and a vigorous opponent of illegal immigration, in the 11th District, which includes Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and other territory in northeastern Pennsylvania. The two men were opponents in 2002, when Kanjorski won by 14 percentage points, the closest race of his career.

Republican officials say Barletta will be a better candidate than he was six years ago, pointing to some nationwide attention he has received for his effort to curb illegal immigration in his community. Democratic officials note, though, that Barletta’s first-quarter fundraising was underwhelming. He raised $185,000 and had $154,000 remaining as of April 2, while Kanjorski had more than $1.8 million left in his campaign account after collecting $453,000 in this year’s first quarter.

Democratic Takeover Targets. In two districts — the 3rd and the 18th — Democrats selected nominees in multi-candidate primaries to oppose Republican incumbents who faced meager Democratic opposition in 2006.

Businesswoman Kathy Dahlkemper will oppose seven-term Republican Rep. Phil English after topping a four-candidate Democratic field in the 3rd District, which takes in Erie and other territory in northwestern Pennsylvania. Dahlkemper, the director of the Lake Erie Arboretum, had 45 percent of the vote in a race that also included Kyle Foust (26 percent), an elected councilman in Erie County; Tom Myers, a lawyer (19 percent); and Mike Waltner (11 percent), a community outreach worker.

In the 18th District, which takes in areas west, south and east of Pittsburgh, Democrats nominated businessman Steve O’Donnell to oppose three-term Republican Rep. Tim Murphy . O’Donnell had 45 percent of the vote in a race in which his chief competitor was Beth Hafer, a government consultant who had 41 percent.

Murphy in 2006 took 58 percent of the vote against Democrat Chad Kluko, and Democrats say O’Donnell can run more strongly in a district that has a conservative but ancestrally Democratic orientation.

There were no party primaries across the state in the 6th District near Philadelphia, where three-term Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach will be challenged by Democratic businessman Bob Roggio. Gerlach could qualify for the ironic nickname “Landslide Jim,” as he has won all three of his elections with just 51 percent of the vote and a 2 percentage-point margin. That history suggests another close race for Gerlach, whose suburban and exurban district is one of eight nationwide that voted Democratic for president in 2004 but is represented in the House by a Republican.

But Gerlach’s 2006 defeat of Democratic lawyer Lois Murphy — whom he also beat in 2004 — demonstrated his formidable political skills in an election year that was terrible for Republicans in Pennsylvania and across the nation. And Roggio, though now described by party officials as a competitive challenger, was far from the first candidate choice of Democratic officials.

The November matchup also was preset in the 15th, a politically competitive district in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley where two-term Republican Rep. Charlie Dent will face Democrat Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, a Democratic activist and former candidate for mayor of Allentown. Democratic officials hope she can give Dent more of a race than the 2004 and 2006 challengers, who ran weak campaigns.

Taking the 5th. One Pennsylvania primary almost certainly determined a berth in the next Congress: the nine-candidate Republican contest in the open 5th District. Thompson got a boost toward his close plurality win from a late endorsement by Republican incumbent Peterson. Thompson narrowly overcame three personally wealthy GOP candidates: Derek A. Walker, a financial consultant who garnered 17 percent; Matt Shaner, a real estate developer, who also got 17 percent; and Jeff Stroehmann, a businessman and former local township supervisor, who netted 14 percent.

Thompson will be a heavy favorite against Democratic nominee Mark McCracken, an elected commissioner in Clearfield County, which is in the southern part of the district. He had 41 percent of the vote in a field that included Bill Cahir (35 percent), a journalist and Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War; and Rick Vilello (24 percent), the mayor of Lock Haven. But Thompson will have to work to unify the Republican Party after winning with such a small portion of the vote.

Contact the writer: bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.comw

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