Exclusive: Election 2008 – Getting Down to Business

by WALTER ANDERSON June 4, 2008

The Last Primary Hurrah

The primary season is finally over, and the nation can breathe a sigh of relief and gird its loins for the general election in what's being billed as the longest presidential election in the nation's history. Hillary Clinton beat rival Barack Obama in the June 3rd Puerto Rico primary by a two to one margin, and last night South Dakota and Montana weighed in with their votes.

Fox News called the South Dakota primary for Clinton early in the evening, with Clinton edging out Obama with more than a 10 point margin. Here are some of the exit poll stats from South Dakota, courtesy of Fox News:

83% SD Democrats said race not a factor; 15% said it was

77% said Clinton shared their values; 68% said Obama shared their values

61% of late deciders voted for Clinton; 39% for Obama

Seniors voted for Clinton 65/35; young voters went for Obama 65/35

Low income voters voted for Clinton 61/39

49% want change while only 23% are looking for experience

47% said Clinton attacked Obama unfairly; 37% said Obama attacked Clinton unfairly

Obama captured 48% of the male vote and 43% of the female vote

37% said Obama leaving his church was important

Of those who say the economy affects them greatly (37%) they voted for Clinton 57/43

70% said Obama is honest; 69% said Clinton is honest

When asked about the nomination process, 55% felt energized by the long primary, while 39% believe it has divided the party.

Yet winning South Dakota wasn't quite enough for Clinton, as Obama won not only Montana but the primary. As of this writing, it is projected that Obama will have at least 2,134 delegates over Clinton's 1,919 (2,118 are needed to clinch the Democrat nomination.

Here are some of the exit poll stats from Montana, courtesy of Fox News:

69% of Montana Democrats said Obama shares their values; 65% said Clinton shares them

71% said Obama is honest while only 54% said Clinton was honest

70% would be satisfied with Obama as the nominee; 66% would be satisfied with Clinton

53% said Clinton attacked Obama unfairly; 35% said Obama attacked Clinton unfairly

Obama garnered 61% of the male vote and 50% of the female vote

54% are looking for change; 19% are looking for experience

45% of late deciders voted for Clinton; 43% for Obama

When asked about the nomination process, 46% of Montana Democrats feel energized and about that same number feels that the party has been divided.

Clinton's speech to supporters did not reflect any kind of concession, other than to congratulate the Obama campaign for their efforts during the primary process. It mainly focused on her accomplishments during the primary. Does the Clinton campaign really have a "secret" video tape of Michelle Obama trashing white people? Or is this just a rumor started with the hopes of scotching Obama's fortunes among the superdelegates and possibly the voting public? The next few days will tell.

And now, back to the races!

Medic!

Several days ago, the McCain crew released 1,173 pages of the Senator's medical records (that is only about 300 less pages than Hillary's 1993 national healthcare proposal!) covering the last eight years. It appears he is cancer-free, has a strong heart and is generally in good health. Media representatives that reviewed the records make the case that he is healthy enough to be President of The United States and that his 72 years of age should not be a problem. Like many Americans, he does take medication to control his high cholesterol and as a former smoker, he kicked the habit 28 years ago at age 44. (His mental health was not investigated or quoted that I know of.)

A search on the Internet using "release of medical records" and the name of Obama or Hillary Clinton turned up little except that in the case of Obama. His people say he is still not the nominee (while acting as though he is) and until such time as he is, they refuse to divulge his records. In the case of Hillary Clinton, there doesn't seem to be any public information available.

The VP Parade

During the recent Memorial Day weekend, John McCain had three possible contenders for the position of his running mate as guests at his Arizona ranch. The rumors are running rampant that this was an interview process for the position, with McCain doing his own interviews. Those invited were:

  • Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and Republican contender for the nomination; often mentioned by the pundits as a highly possible choice for a running mate. Romney is a very successful businessman with a family that has been heavily involved in politics. His Mormonism could be a positive or a negative, as we saw in the primary. Plus, it's important to remember there was quite a bit of animosity between the two during the primary, so the likelihood of Romney being chosen is on the slim side. Still, stranger things have happened.
  • Charlie Crist, the governor of Florida, who endorsed McCain early on. Some say that endorsement was the catalyst that made McCain win Florida's primary. Crist is also a lawyer who has been attorney general of Florida and is a former Florida state senator.
  • Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana who was recently elected to his first term and is extremely popular among his constituents. According to what I've read, this comes as somewhat of a surprise not only because of his Indian heritage but because he is only 36 years old and the youngest governor currently serving in the United States. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for four years until elected governor, and he could be useful in helping capture part of the minority vote for McCain. His solid conservative credentials also make him a good choice.


I also think that McCain needs to pick:

  • A running mate who can ease the tension that is coming from the Republican base by being a strong conservative - or at least one who is further to the right than McCain is.
  • A running mate who is younger. It does not necessarily have to be a substantial age difference but one that would balance out McCain's 72 years.
  • A running mate who, if McCain decided to only stay in for one term, would be schooled and ready to step up to the election plate.
  • A running mate who would be an offset to either a female opponent or (more likely) a black opponent.
  • A running mate who would have background in "running something." Romney, Crist and Jindal all have gubernatorial experience.
  • A running mate who can bring substantial donations into the campaign coffers.
  • A running mate who the opposition can't discredit on the basis of wrong-doing or personal problems (unwanted baggage).


Romney, Crist and Jindal all have some or all of these qualities, but for now it's just a fun guessing game. The game ends when the running mate is chosen and it isn't the one YOU would have picked. Then pundits and voters will have the fun of second guessing why McCain picked who he did and eventually rationalize the choice - or not.

(Other rumored possibilities for McCain's short list are Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Alaska governor Sarah Palin.)

Thus far, Hillary Clinton has given no indication as to whom she would pick. This is likely due to her just trying to stay in the race. Why pick out the prom dress if you haven't been asked yet?

Barack Obama, as seen in published reports, has appointed John Kerry's former VP interviewer, Jim Johnson, to start vetting potential choices. Johnson was previously the CEO of Fannie Mae and is a close friend of Obama's. Recently, several names have been mentioned as candidates:

  • Delaware Sen. Joe Biden could bring years of government service and experience, especially his expertise in foreign relations and the judiciary, to the table.
  • Former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn. Nunn would serve to somewhat balance Obama's far Left stance as Nunn is a conservative Democrat who, at times, has seemed more like a Republican. He was also chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.
  • Former senator and U. S. congressman from Maine, William Cohen, who was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Defense. Cohen is a lawyer and is a Republican who, while in the Senate, seemed to vote more with his liberal counterparts than with his party. He is married to a black woman who was a commentator on BET who, it has been, said is a "Hillary clone." While a Senator he served as best man for John McCain's second marriage.
  • Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana has a career in state and federal politics dating back over 22 years. He has unsuccessfully attempted a run at the presidency and is currently a Hillary Clinton supporter. While governor of Indiana he was considered a fiscal conservative who engineered the largest tax cut in Indiana's history.
  • Hillary Clinton, currently a senator and Obama's chief rival for the nomination. I simply don't think this will ever happen. See my last article for more on this topic.


Other possible considerations put forth by the pundits include Arizona governor Janet Napolitano, Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Chris Dodd from Connecticut (who was the first to drop out of the current Democrat primary race), Virginia Sen. Jim Webb or former vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Obama could also look to others from outside the Democrat Party such as New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (an Independent) or Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who is a Republican, but a strong critic of the war in Iraq.

The process for choosing a running mate is extremely secret at this time in the campaign, and so it's interesting to look into the who's and why's for each potential candidate. In some elections the running mate meant virtually nothing as to the electability of the president. However, in this election, it could have great bearing on the outcome.

Remember to try and learn as much as possible about the candidates before you make your decision.

Until next time...


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