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California Polls Are Closed. Let the Cheers and Nail Biting Begin

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 11:20 PM EST

SAN JOSE, CA — At 7:55, a woman with a kid in her lap and a phone in her hand turned to her friend and said, "Let me get this last call in." She looked at the clock. "Well, it's too late. They can't go to the polls now." She set down her phone and picked up a granola bar. And with that, Campaign Obama began drawing to a close.

Neaby, two Latino guys stood talking. One wore a faux hawk, the other a suit. "In two minutes, Obama wins California," the guy with the faux hawk said. If Obama does, it will be in large because Spanish-speaking Obama supporters cut into Clinton's lead among Latinos. This morning no Latino campaign workers were here, and phone bank workers had to hang up on people who didn't speak English. But roughly ten percent of the people crowded into the HQ right now are Latino, and many have been working for weeks in their communities to support Obama.

Now, as people are gathered around giving end-of-the-trail speeches, I'm impressed by the crowd's diversity. I see old and young; black, brown and white; headscarves, neckties, and hoodies. People are having fun. It helps that Obama's name is infinitely cheerable. The latest innovation is a cheer that begins with everyone squatting while letting out a long, low "O" sound, slowly rising, and busting out with a "Bama!" A woman sitting next to me said to her friend: "The energy is just amazing."

Alright folks. I have to secure a place to sleep in San Jose. I'll be back in about an hour, and then here into the small of the night.

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Up to the Minute Delegate Counts; Plus Late States

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 11:17 PM EST

WASHINGTON D.C. — Here are some states that have been called late by the networks.

- Arizona for McCain and Clinton
- North Dakota for Romney
- Idaho for Obama
- Minnesota for Romney and Obama

According to NBC's Chuck Todd, the delegate totals from the states so far (which includes more or less everything important but California) look like this:

Obama: 594 delegates
Clinton: 546 delegates

McCain: 400-650 delegates
Romney: 170-428 delegates

On the Democratic side, Obama has won more states than Clinton (with particularly strong luck in small states and caucus states), but Clinton has won larger states. California is still the big kahuna.

Romney, Huckabee Stay in Race; Democrats Rejoice

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 10:35 PM EST

NEW YORK, NY — With the Democratic campaign likely to continue after tonight, some left-leaning commentators feared that the Republicans would unify around John McCain far before the Democrats picked their nominee. But in speeches tonight both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney vowed (using very strong language) to fight until the end. Romney actually said, "It's time for the politicians to leave Washington and for we the people to take over." Romney will continue to be that raging populist he has so recently become, apparently.

This is great news for whoever becomes the Democratic nominee for president. It indicates that many in the GOP still have their doubts about their choice. It also means that Romney will continues to air negative ads about McCain, forcing McCain to spend time, money, and energy defending himself. Barring a surprise withdrawal from the race, we'll have both a Democratic and a Republican race that will go on for a few more weeks.

California: More on Reports of Ballot Shortages and Confused Indies

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 10:26 PM EST

SAN JOSE, CA — I just got off the phone with California Democratic Party spokesman Bob Mulholland, who confirmed that the party has experienced ballot shortages in some places. "The good news is people want to vote on the Democratic ballot," he said. "The bad news is some of these places are running out of ballots." Even so, the shortages have been isolated he said. Polls will stay open until people have the chance to vote, and they can cast ballots on blank sheets of paper if need be.

I also asked Mulholland about the reports of independent voters not being given Democratic ballots, which has been a major concern of Obama people here today. About 10 to 12 percent of Democratic ballots cast in California today are predicted to come from independents, who favor Obama by a significant margin. (The GOP does not allow indies to vote in its primary but the Democrats do). Mulholland said independents received emails and sample ballots informing them of their rights. "All of our poll workers have been instructed to give them a Democratic ballot if they ask," he said. "Has that happened every time? No. But the independent voter has to have some responsiblity (to ask for one) too."

Meanwhile, here in Obama HQ in San Jose, things are crazy. It's standing room only, it's cheers for each state (sometimes prematurely), it's hand wringing and genuflecting over Utah. "Come on everybody, send Utah your feelings," a girl in fatigues shouted. "Send Utah your love!"

New State Totals for Each Candidate

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 9:58 PM EST

WASHINGTON D.C. — Here you go. Remember, state wins mean nothing on the Democratic side. We need to wait until Chuck Todd or some other politico's politico calculate the delegates on a district by district basis. Those delegates are listed in parenthesis.

Democrats

Hillary Clinton:
New Jersey (127)
New York (281)
Massachusetts (121)
Oklahoma (47)
Tennessee (85)
Arkansas (47)

Barack Obama:
Illinois (185)
Georgia (103)
Alabama (60)
Delaware (23)
North Dakota (21)
Utah (29)
Kansas (41)
Connecticut (60)
Minnesota (88)

Mike Gravel:
None, but he's still in the race!!

Republicans

John McCain:
New York (101)
Illinois (70)
New Jersey (52)
Connecticut (30)
Oklahoma (41)
Delaware (18)

Romney:
Massachusetts (43)
Utah (36)

Huckabee:
Alabama (48)
Arkansas (34)
West Virginia (30)
Georgia (72)

In his speech tonight, Huckabee claimed that this is a two-man race, and he's in it. Meaning that Romney's win in his home state of Massachusetts and in Mormon-heavy Utah aren't worth anything. That's a bit of spin that will probably be as effective as John Edwards' post-Iowa claim that he and Obama were the only real contenders left in the Democratic race.

Massachusetts: A Good Sign for Clinton?

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 9:30 PM EST

CHICAGO, IL — Let's remember that the only thing--the only thing--that matters tonight is what the final delegate count is when all the votes are tallied. Still, I know, people cannot resist looking for signs. If you're one of those people, there's Massachusetts. Clinton is in the lead there. Her campaign has already sent out an email calling it the upset of the night. After all, both its senators--including that Teddy Kennedy fellow--and its governor had endorsed Obama. And the state is full of upscale liberals--the types of Democrats who go for Obama. If Clinton does win here, that might provide the Obama camp pause.

The exit polls in Massachusetts show that women made up 58 percent of the Democratic turn-out, and Clinton won 57 percent of this vote. That's the model for Clinton. If the gals come out, and the guys stay home, she wins.

UPDATE: CNN has called Massachusetts for Clinton. "A big, big win" for Clinton, says Wolf Blitzer. It sure is an interesting one.

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Democratic Party is Running Out of Ballots in Parts of California

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 9:22 PM EST

SAN JOSE, CA — In a sign of how huge turnout is in parts of the state, the Democratic Party is running out of ballots. The Obama campaign tells me this is a problem in Stockton and Fresno, and San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. In the latter two places, some eight to ten polling places have reported shortages, Luke McGowan, Obama's deputy regional field director there, says. The Democratic Party has told him voters will be allowed to fill out blank ballots, writing in their choices, he says. He does not have information for other parts of the state, so I can't yet tell you how big the problem is. There's only an hour and a half left to vote in California, so any glitches must be fixed fast (unless the polls stay open longer). I'll post on this again if I find out more.

Hillary Clinton Cleaning Up in the Northeast

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 9:18 PM EST

WASHINGTON D.C. — Hillary Clinton has won Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey so far tonight. New Jersey and New York were easy wins for Clinton, while Massachusetts was more hotly contested. Clinton consistently held a lead there, but it was shrunk in recent weeks by the endorsements of Governor Deval Patrick and Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. An impressive win for Clitnon in the Bay State.

One point about McCain's victories that I'll admit I stole from the MSNBC broadcast crew: all of his wins tonight are coming in blue states. Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough seem to think this means horrible things for McCain's chances in the general election. I don't really get it.

Changing Climate Requires Change in Water Planning

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 9:11 PM EST

flood.jpg Guess what? The past is no longer a reliable base on which to plan the future of water management. So says a prominent group of hydrologists and climatologists writing in Science. The group calls for fundamental changes to the science behind water planning and policy.

Managers currently operate on the premise that historical patterns can be counted on to continue. But human-induced changes to Earth's climate are shifting the averages and extremes for rainfall, snowfall, evaporation, and stream flows. These are crucial factors in planning for floods or droughts, in choosing the size of water reservoirs, and in deciding how much water to allocate for residential, industrial and agricultural uses. Even with an aggressive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, warming will persist and global water patterns will continue to show never-before-seen behavior.

"Our best current estimates are that water availability will increase substantially in northern Eurasia, Alaska, Canada and some tropical regions, and decrease substantially in southern Europe, the Middle East, southern Africa and southwestern North America," said lead author Christopher Milly, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Drying regions will likely also experience more frequent droughts.

Meet the New Bill Richardson!!

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 8:40 PM EST

WASHINGTON D.C. — MSNBC just showed a quick clip of Bill Richardson, who is appearing for an interview in the next few minutes. He has a beard and is deeply, deeply tanned. He looks like a Bond villain. I'll try to have a photo ASAP.

Update: Got the photo. It's low on quality but high on awesome.

richardson.jpg