Mojo - February 2008

Bolton Endorses McCain

| Sun Feb. 10, 2008 7:55 AM PST

Shoring up his support among hawks, the John McCain campaign has announced that John Bolton, President Bush's former ambassador to the UN, has endorsed him for president:

U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced that former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has endorsed John McCain for president. Ambassador Bolton issued the following statement on his endorsement:
"John McCain was very active and supportive during my confirmation hearings to be the U.S. Ambassador to the UN. His belief in me at that time was a testament to his courage to fight the liberals in the Senate and vigorously advance American interests at the UN.

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It's Not Over: Is Huckabee the Story?

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 9:22 PM PST

All the networks have let their A-teams go home for the night (bye, Wolf!), but I'm still here. Why? Because it's not clear what Huckabee will accomplish tonight. He's already won Kansas, he's leading in Louisiana by 2 percent with 93 percent of the state reporting, and he's trailing in Washington by 2 percent with 78 percent of the state reporting.

He could come away with one win or three wins. Either way, we've got a real situation on our hands. It looks like most of the voters who voted for Romney are joining the Huckabee folks; Huckabee isn't the true conservative that many Republicans are seeking, but apparently he's conservative enough to serve as the alternative to moderate/maverick John McCain. Looks like a major case of buyer's remorse in the first primaries since John McCain was crowned the presumptive nominee.

If this continues on Tuesday, when Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. vote, it will be a wholesale repudiation of the Republican leaders who are slowly and begrudgingly coming to back John McCain.

So who's backing Huckabee? According to CNN's exit polls out of Louisiana, Huckabee found his most support among regular church-goers, evangelicals, economically minded voters (particularly those who feel the economy is performing poorly), young Republicans, and true hard-core conservatives. Is that a coalition that can come through for Huckabee in the next round? We only have to wait three days to find out.

But more importantly, will it matter? Probably not. According to CNN's calculations, Huckabee can win every single state left on the Republican primary calendar by a 50-40 margin and John McCain will still win the delegate contest. (CNN assumes Ron Paul takes 10 percent, but Washington proves he may do better than that.) This is a lost cause for Huckabee. Will he realize that and let the Republican Party coalesce around McCain? Or will he ride this thing out (he looks like he's having fun, after all) so Republicans have a contest instead of a coronation? And could this have happened if Romney was still in the race splitting the conservative vote with Huckabee?

There are open questions in a Republican race that seemed, just a few days ago, to be all answers.

It's All Over: Obama Takes the Sweep

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 8:15 PM PST

The networks have called Louisiana for Obama. He's won all three states tonight, as expected: Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington. Time to make this a real Saturday night, folks. Prost!

Update: Whoops, I lied. I'm still digging around. Check out the turnout comparisons for the Democrats and the Republicans. With 59 percent of the vote returned in both races, 175,000 votes are in for the Democrats and just 74,000 are in for the Republicans. Yee-haw.

Exit Polls From Louisiana

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 6:56 PM PST

Unlike Nebraska and Washington, Louisiana has some exit polls. Here's what they say on the Democratic side:

Women were a huge percentage of the vote today — 57 percent. Yet, women went for Obama, 54 percent to 45 percent. Obama won every age group except the over-60s, and he did so by very substantial margins.

Folks who make less than $50,000/year went for Obama 54-44. Folks who make more than $50,000/year went for Obama 55-44. There is a saying I've heard that suggests Clinton has "50-50 voters": if you are over 50 years old or you make less than $50,000/year, you'll vote for Clinton. In Louisiana, at least, that's half wrong.

White voters (50 percent of the electorate) went for Clinton 69 percent to 28 percent. Black voters (44 percent of the electorate) went for Obama 86 percent to 14 percent. That's a pretty stark racial divide. Funny enough, though, 77 percent of voters said that race was "not important" when they decide whom to vote for.

Almost half of voters say the economy is the most important issue. Roughly 30 percent said Iraq, and just over 20 percent said health care. These numbers are not matched on the Republican side. There, 33 percent said they prioritize the economy, 21 percent said illegal immigration, 21 percent said terrorism, and 20 percent said Iraq. That would imply that national security issues top the economy as the most important issue. Defying conventional wisdom, however, terrorism voters went for Huckabee while Iraq voters went for McCain. Maybe some folks think a President Huckabee could convince God to stop terrorist missiles in mid air.

Speaking of the Republicans, there's a divide in their party, too. Evangelical voters in Louisiana (56 percent of the electorate tonight) went 58-28 for Huckabee. Non-evangelical voters (44 percent of the electorate) were exactly the opposite, 58-28 for McCain. Oh, and here's another clear dividing line: moderates and folks calling themselves "somewhat conservative" went for McCain. Folks calling themselves "very conservative" went for Huckabee. This McCain fellow has got some work ahead of him.

Obama Wins Nebraska, Washington

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 6:11 PM PST

According to CNN, Obama has Nebraska. With 73 percent of the vote reported, Obama has 69 percent and Hillary Clinton has 31 percent. I'll look for some exit polls.

Also, with 57 percent of the vote reported in Washington state, Obama is ahead 2-to-1: 67 percent to 32 percent. Again, I'll try and hunt down some more info.

Both these outcomes were expected. Keep in mind, however, that this does not mean huge delegate wins for Obama, due to the Democratic Party's rules of delegate apportionment.

Andrew Romano makes a good point over at Newsweek:

Who Are the Expected Winners Tonight?

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 5:24 PM PST

Let me devote one paragraph to the Republicans right here at the beginning, and then I'll likely ignore them for most of the night.

Mike Huckabee won Kansas by a three-to-one margin earlier today, a sign that in deeply conservative parts of the country (particularly those parts with lots of evangelicals) Republicans are not completely on board with McCain. He's got some work to do in winning these people over. That said, his delegate lead is so massive that it would take a miracle for Huckabee to win. Huckabee, knowing this, told the Conservative Political Action Conference today, "I didn't major in math. I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them." Maybe he thinks conservatives will coalesce around him as the alternative to McCain, but I doubt it. He is a social conservative, but isn't really an economic conservative. And he has no foreign policy credentials.

Okay. Republican results will come in for the caucus in Washington and the election in Louisiana. But unless something spectacular happens, I'm going to spend most of this lonely Saturday night blogging about the Dems.

So who has the advantage in the Democratic primaries today?

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Hey, There Are Primaries This Weekend!

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 9:15 AM PST

Thought you were going to get some time off after Super Tuesday? Think again! Tonight Louisiana heads to the polls and Nebraska and Washington head to caucuses. Tomorrow, Maine tries its hand at some caucusing as well. Political experts are expecting a sweep for Obama tonight (the Obama camp is really bad at managing expectations) and a toss up tomorrow. For more info, see this TPM post. I'll have coverage of the election results tonight.

You can find the schedule of the Democratic primaries here, by the way.

GOP: McCain is Chilling, But We'll Vote For Him

| Sat Feb. 9, 2008 8:36 AM PST

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran (R) speaking about John McCain on January 27:

"The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine," Cochran said about McCain by phone. "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran (R) endorsing John McCain on February 8:

"I am supporting John McCain for the Republican nomination for president," Cochran, R-Miss., said in a statement released Thursday.

Mad props to Steve Benen, for catching this and other examples of GOP bandwagoning. We'll see if McCain can win over these folks.

What a Super Week!

| Fri Feb. 8, 2008 6:48 PM PST

Can you recall a more super set of seven days? Sunday gave us the Super Bowl, which lived up to its name for pretty much everyone in the world outside of New England. I mean, everyone loves an underdog, and how great was it that the biggest news of the day wasn't Tom Petty?

And arguably more super than the Super Bowl—a game which is manufactured expressly for entertainment—came just two days later, thanks to boring-old politics! There were no Victoria's Secret ads to lure people to the polls, no Doritos, no promises of perfection.

And yet they came. In droves. Droves so multitudinous that some places clean ran out of ballots. And what drew them? Good old-fashioned Patriotism. The real kind.

Super Tuesday Video: David Corn

| Fri Feb. 8, 2008 6:39 PM PST

David Corn gave San Francisco a special treat on Wednesday with his thoughts on the Democrats' less than decisive Super Tuesday results. Highlights include his music vs. math metaphor, a return to the campaign style of the 70's and the inevitable fatigue that'll likely meet the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Luckily we got the whole show on video: