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Clinton Ducks the Weathermen Question

| Wed Apr. 23, 2008 11:40 AM EDT

The Hillary Clinton campaign keeps ducking on the Weathermen issue that it tried to use against Barack Obama. First, campaign communications director Howard Wolfson broke a promise to tell reporters what Clinton thought of her husband's 2001 pardon of two Weather Underground radicals who had gone to jail for involvement in violent crimes. Then, yesterday, Clinton herself played dumb when asked about those pardons:

I didn't know anything about it? At what point? The question, though, is, what do you think of those pardons? In this interview, Clinton said, "When you run for president...you know that everything is going to be fair game." So if you're going to blast an opponent for having once held a fundraiser at the apartment of William Ayers, a former Weather Underground radical, you ought to be willing to handle questions regarding your closest campaign adviser's decision to pardon two Weather Underground veterans. That's certainly fair game.

Clarification: Clinton did not issue pardons to the two radicals; he commuted their prison sentences. Media accounts often conflate the two different actions. These two commutations were announced by the White House on January 20, 2001, as part of a long list of almost 140 pardons and commutations, which included the infamous pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich--which was a pardon.

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In PA, Clinton Wins by Holding Her Ohio Base

| Wed Apr. 23, 2008 7:54 AM EDT

Six weeks ago, Hillary Clinton won Ohio by ten percentage points. Tuesday night, she won Ohio's equally bitter neighbor to the east by ten percentage points. The voting blocks she relied upon to win the two states are the same: Hillary Clinton was twice carried to victory by white voters, female voters, and voters lacking a college education. Barack Obama made headway with older voters, but saw young voter turnout drop. He also gained among independents, but fewer of them turned out to the polls. Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania because she successfully defended her base for the six weeks between the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4 and the PA primary Tuesday.

According to CNN exit polls, women were huge for Clinton in both contests. They were 59 percent of Democratic voters in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, and she won 57 percent of female voters in both contests. White women were particularly important for Clinton. In both states, two-thirds of white women voted for her.

Obama could point to a modest five point jump among white men and four point jump among whites overall. It did not help Obama that the white vote in Pennsylvania was slightly larger than it was in Ohio (80 percent to 76 percent), and the black vote slightly smaller.

In Ohio, those lacking a college education went 58-40 for Clinton. In Pennsylvania, the numbers were a nearly identical 58-42. It's hard to then point to correlations in under $50,000/over $50,000 voting groups (often, voters lacking a college degree and voters making less than $50,000 show identical trends, indicating that they are in fact the same voters), because Clinton won both income groups Pennsylvania, as she did in Ohio. White collar Pennsylvanians were no more receptive to Obama than their blue collar counterparts.

Pennsylvania: Clinton Is Alive and Kicking - And Threatening To Tear the Party Apart?

| Wed Apr. 23, 2008 1:42 AM EDT

clinton-standing250x200.jpgThe Democratic contest has been a 50-50 proposition for months now--more precisely, a 51-49 percent endeavor or maybe a 52-48-percent face-off in Barack Obama's favor, according to the pledged delegate count and the popular vote. Hillary Clinton's 9-point win in the Keystone State (which apparently did not net her a significant pickup in pledged delegates) does not change this. In fact, her Pennsylvania triumph does not change the fundamentals of the race. Obama is still on track to end the primaries with a slight edge in pledged delegates. And Clinton is still in the race, clinging tightly to her candidacy and reiterating rationales to stay in the hunt: I have more experience; I'm better prepared to be commander-in-chief; I've withstood the worst of the GOP attack machine; I've won the big states.

Bottom line: It's not over, and the contest is not likely to end anytime soon. At HRC HQ in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's campaign manager, ebulliently declared, "She is taking this all the way to Denver." But many Democratic superdelegates and insiders are hardly enthusiastic about a bitterly fought campaign that trudges through the next nine primaries (which conclude in early June) and then continues, as a media-driven contest of Democrat-on-Democrat sniping, for three months until the convention in Denver at the end of August. The question is, will these Democrats be able to do anything about it?

If Clinton is committed to going the distance, she cannot be stopped. No one--not even those mighty superdelegates--can literally force her out. She cannot win the final primaries by margins large enough to erase Obama's lead in voter-determined delegates. Everyone knows that. But she can keep on challenging Obama, doing well enough--winning some contests or placing a strong second--to justify, at least to herself and her supporters, her continued presence in the race. During that time, she can hope something happens that does alter the landscape (look, evidence that Obama is indeed a secret Muslim!), and she can also lay the groundwork for a post-primaries effort to persuade superdelegates to overturn Obama's narrow victory among pledged delegates. Yet that project can only succeed with successful assaults on Obama. Her path to the nomination depends on one fuel: fierce attacks. She can win the nomination only by tearing down Obama after the voting is done and by threatening party unity.

Clinton Fundraising in Overdrive

| Wed Apr. 23, 2008 12:37 AM EDT

The Clinton campaign is claiming that it has raised nearly $2.5 million since Pennsylvania was declared a Clinton victory earlier tonight. Eighty percent of the donations are from first-time donors. Those are some pretty astonishing numbers.

For all the talk of Obamamania, there is a real excitement behind the Clinton campaign, too. Where were these candidates in 2004?

Exit Polling from Pennsylvania Shows Victory for Clinton

| Tue Apr. 22, 2008 9:12 PM EDT

pennsylvania-map.jpg PHILADELPHIA, PA — I'm at the Park Hyatt in downtown Philadelphia, the location of Hillary Clinton's speech tonight. The networks have the race too close to call, so it will probably be a while before Clinton takes the stage here, or Obama takes the stage in Indiana, where he is spending the night. [Update: Networks call it for Clinton. Margin of victory remains to be seen.]

While we're waiting, let's take a look at some exit polling, shall we? Note that if these are the early exit polls, many voters who headed to their polling places after they got off work are not represented here. For more accurate numbers, wait until the real results roll in. Duh.

As David notes below, women were a stunning 58 percent of all Democratic voters and went for Clinton. Men were just 42 percent of voters and went for Obama. David crunches the numbers and says the final result should be a Clinton win by three points. The spinsters in both campaigns and the talking heads will expend much energy telling us which candidate gets to call that a victory.

Looking at some demographics....

Pennsylvania: Too Close To Call Early--Or Not?

| Tue Apr. 22, 2008 9:07 PM EDT

The polls in Pennsylvania closed a few minutes ago, and CNN and others are reporting that the Obama-Clinton race, according to exit polls, is competitive--that is, too close to call.

But the exit polling, if accurate, indicates a Clinton win--because of the women. The polls show that the electorate was 58 percent female and that the gals voted for Clinton over Obama, 55 to 44 percent. The men--making up a measly 42 percent of the voters--went for Obama over Clinton, 53 to 47 percent, according to the exit polls. If these numbers reflect the real voting, that would mean a narrow Clinton victory, by 3 points.

Already, the Clinton camp is dismissing any interpretation of the margin of victory. A win is a win, Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's campaign manager, said moments ago. Maybe he has that win.

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Earth Day's Shame: Eco-Barbie

| Tue Apr. 22, 2008 8:03 PM EDT

barbie_bcause.jpg

When I first saw the press release about a "green" Mattel collection of accessories called Barbie BCause, I thought it was an April Fool's joke. Mattel's new Barbie line will be released "just in time to celebrate Earth Day in style." Which is pretty ironic, really, given that Barbie dolls themselves are made out of plastic and are packaged in even more plastic. And not the kind of plastic you can throw in the recycling bin, either.

Learn more about Mattel's attempt at greenwashing by reading the rest of this post in Mother Jones's environmental blog, The Blue Marble.

Ahoy, Plastics!

| Tue Apr. 22, 2008 7:50 PM EDT

IMG_0004.jpgAs Mother Jones reported last October, bisphenol A, a chemical used in the production of plastics, is under serious scrutiny for mimicking the role of estrogen. And last Monday, the government's National Toxicology Program released a damning draft brief on the potential endocrine disruptor. As a result, last week saw a number of new companies distance themselves from BPA; most notably the iconic water bottle manufacturer Nalgene will pull bottles made with the chemical. By the end of the week, Canada announced a "precautionary and prudent" ban on the sale of baby bottles with BPA.

One of the issues at hand is that the U.S. alone produces bisphenol A at a staggering rate of billions of pounds per year—2004 saw 2.3 billion pounds produced—for use in nonbiodegradable polycarbonate plastics and epoxy. So even if a few companies, or even a few countries, ban the substance, we still have to deal with an absurd amount of lingering, toxic particles. And since BPA doesn't biodegrade, where does it all go?

Eco-Barbie? Mattel Gives This 'Green' Thingamajig a Whirl

| Tue Apr. 22, 2008 4:50 PM EDT

barbie_bcause.jpg

When I first saw the press release about a "green" Mattel collection of accessories called Barbie BCause, I thought it was an April Fool's joke. Apparently not. Mattel's new "playful and on-trend" collection of hats and bags for young girls will be released "just in time to celebrate Earth Day in style." Which is pretty ironic, really, given that Barbie dolls themselves are made out of plastic and are packaged in even more plastic. And not the kind of plastic you can throw in the recycling bin, either.

Interview with Al Gore's Climate Ad Gurus

| Tue Apr. 22, 2008 4:43 PM EDT

Early this month Vice President Al Gore and a nonprofit climate group launched what they say will be a three-year, $300 million advertising campaign to convince the American public of the need for legislation to address climate change. The campaign, a project of the Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, uses slick national TV ads to encourage people to sign up as online activists. So far, three ads have aired and more than one million people have joined. Mother Jones recently spoke with Alliance spokesman Brian Hardwick.

Mother Jones: How do you think the campaign can make a difference?
Brian Hardwick: This campaign is unprecedented in scale among issue advocacy efforts. In the past, this issue hasn't had the benefit of a commercial-scale campaign. The second thing is, we have available to us all the tools of mobilization that the online space also provides. So we can inspire people and connect with them emotionally though television advertisements but we also have a way to engage people in the movement that we previously didn't have. When we get people to sign up [online], then we turn them into climate activists.

MJ: Who do you hope to reach?
BH: It's really targeted at Americans from all walks of life. That's why we're doing the advertising in a mass way like this. We want to reach people who have been active already on the climate issue, and then those who maybe have changed a light bulb and are driving a hybrid car but don't know what the next step is, and then people who are just becoming aware of the issue. It really is saying to all Americans that doing those things in your personal life are important, but frankly to really solve this it is going to take enough of us coming together and demanding from leaders and business and government that they put the laws in place to ignite a new economy. We need a real shift in public opinion and activism so that we can say to our leaders: we're ready to solve it.