By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann on March 5, 2008

Published in the New York Post on March 5, 2008.

With big wins in Ohio and Texas last night, Hillary Clinton has finally broken her losing streak and sent a clear message to Barack Obama: I’m not getting out.

For the Illinois senator, the meaning of the primaries is clear – he has to get tough. Hillary can still win this nomination. The proportional representation system of allocating delegates chosen by primaries and caucuses mutes the impact of the popular vote.

By the time the Texas caucuses are fully counted, Obama may have maintained or even expanded his delegate lead, despite Hillary’s victories in three out of four states.

Among the remaining 600 delegates to be chosen, Obama should be able to add to his lead.

But there remain 800 superdelegates, each entitled to a full vote. No matter if Obama leads among elected delegates, they can still deliver the nomination to Hillary.

Do they dare?

If Clinton is able to score a series of popular-vote victories in these late primaries, she could lay the basis for an appeal to the superdelegates to disregard the results of January and February and look instead at her success in the later contests.

The battle of Hillary is over. The battle of Obama has begun.

The question of his readiness and experience looms ever larger in the minds of the media and of voters.

Her red-phone ad, citing her supposedly superior readiness to be commander in chief, evidently cut deeply among the electorate.

It’s time that Obama counters her strategy by hitting back. His lofty politics of hope will avail him little in the aggressive, rough-and-tumble world of modern politics.

He’s got to spell out the special-interest connections that stigmatize Hillary as the tool of the lobbyists.

He must underscore the need for her to release her tax returns for 2007 and 2006 to show the source of her new-found wealth.

He’s got to learn to trade blows with the Clintons, the best counterpunchers in the business.

Looming above the primaries is the specter of the unseated delegations from Michigan – chosen in a primary with only Hillary’s name on the ballot – and Florida.

Obama needs to stop her gathering momentum by shedding his ingenue status and fighting hard for the nomination his previous victories have earned him.

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Please leave a comment below - I would love to hear what you think! Thanks, Dick
C both acted out that a it would be fair to split the cost.

Dick, what is it every election that drives the Dems to screw up their chances to win?

  • bolafson on March 6, 2008 8:59 am

    On re-opening NAFTA the people of Ohio were duped by both candidates. The US would not be that stupid. First, on the basis of environmental standards, working conditions(all workers have health care) and wages(min wages across Cda are higher) Canada is better off than the US. Second, this time around Canada has the trump card in its oil and gas exports to the US. China is lobbying Canada very hard to sell its oil and gas to them. Third, Canada would very much like to get to the table to re-open the dispute mechanism. An area where they have lost out to the US in the past. It was perhaps good politics but would be stupid policy. The issues the candidates raise would be very applicable to trade agreements with Mexico, China and South American companies and their would be very effective policy.

    The real blunder was for Obama’s peopel to meet with any Canadian official. Nothing but downside there. … and HRC jumped on it.

    Also, I was surprised that neither candidate got specific about companies that outsourced Ohio jobs and at the same time took tax breaks.

    Obama so far has been a quick study. He should take a look at how McCain handled his shots. Specifically the lobbist/sex issue and the vitriolic attack by Cunningham on Obama. He fired off with a very quick, clear and decisive response and the issues were behind him quickly. Obama needs a “counterpunch” team. He also could learn from HRC how to instantly spin a negative situation quickly into an advantage. She nailed him on the NAFTA issue.

    He may want to keep to the high road but there could learn from Kerry’s failure to respond decisively to the swift boat issue and in trying to avoid any negative approach. I would have thought Obama would have learned something from Chicago politics … I hope so. HRC is very vulnerable on disclosure of the Clinton’s joint income and contributions to Bill’s foundations. Obama should also attack HRC on non-dislosure of her agenda’s from the Clinton years. Just hanging around and having tea isn’t real foreign policy experience. Travelling to 80 countries is clear evidence of having a good time but without the agendas we don’t know what real work was done by her.

  • synthiasutton on March 6, 2008 9:14 am

    If Florida and Michigan decide to be represented,all the candidated would have to be represented again. How could that possibly be fair to the past drop outs from the race that don’t have the advantage of the last serveral weeks of campaigning?

  • synthiasutton on March 6, 2008 9:34 am

    I believe the Clintons have not disclosed their tax returns because people will find out that they didn’t actually loan themselves the 5 ML for Hillary’s campaign, but somebody else did.
    Dick, Please bring up Hillary’s representation of the Black Panthers years ago.
    I don’t really mind if Clinton wins the nominee because she’s not able to unite the party (she only for Hillary) and therefore less likely to win the general election. But I really don’t know how long I can stand listening to her. I also don’t know why the democratic party can’t see the writing on the wall. If they think Bill’s moral behavior was bad as President… he’ll have more opportunity for mischief this time.

  • dem4dm on March 6, 2008 10:26 am

    To Tide: I believe the 2025 total delegates needed to win the Dem nomination is already reduced by excluding the MI and FL delegate count. The normal magic number would be approx. 2200.

  • Mercedes on March 6, 2008 2:10 pm

    One can not help recognize the shift in the right wing Republican media against Barack Obama (Fox News/ and many previous radio show hosts now on CNN Headline news)their fangs descended and their tongues whip about scenting the air with racial and religious animosity, while President Bush joined in on Hillary’s talking points against Obama, McCain re-repeating Hillary’s talking points and virtually ignoring Hillary. Hillary happily attacking Obama by using the same campaign techniques she has complained the Republicans have used against the Clintons while still claiming to be a victim at every turn.

    In addition, the entire media, yes even MSNBC and CNN, seemed to shift negatively towards Obama ensuring a wonderful story for their stations to cover. With this pounding and re-pounding on Obama’s possible lack of trustworthiness to be inferred by his race and/or religion began to spread like an infection. The alliance between Hillary and the Republican establishment, and its right wing radio talk show hosts/ Fox News members combined with the other media converged to create the Perfect Political Storm. All would benefit from the single act of destroying Barack Obama’s candidacy.

    What are the benefits for the respective parties?

    The republican establishment and it’s right wing members would benefit from Hillary pulling ahead. Assuring the democratic party’s exhaustion of campaign funds and self destruction resulting from a continued negative campaign even if only engaged by Hillary. Time to introduce McCain in a more positive light. The right wing republican party news media and talk show hosts benefit as do the rest of the media by ensuring a continuation of a campaign that gets them great ratings.
    Hillary, well, she is willing to win at any cost.

    One stupid rookie mistake by the Obama team regarding the NAFTA memo and their response to it set loose the building infection created by Hillary, the republican establishment and the right wing faction and the media and served as justification for those already infected to act upon their racial and religious prejudices. Awe, here was real proof that Obama was not trustworthy. The truth is that even without this mistake Obama would have lost as he did because the perfect political storm was allowed to converge without much resistance or notice from his campaign.

    The Democratic National Party needs to wake up because Obama is retooling. He has to retool and take no prisoners. It is no longer his responsibility to maintain the party cohesiveness as the DNC has taken no action to muzzle Hillary. I think Barack Obama must let go of trying to avoid fracturing the democratic party because it is not his concern even despite the DNC’s abdication of their responsibility to the party. Obama only weakens his appearance when being too polite to Hillary in circumstances where she is clearly undeserving.

    It is time to take all the questions first in debates if not specifically assigned, to forcefully interrupt and not take no for an answer, talk over the other candidate and keep on talking. Taxes releases to be called for, white water to be revisited, the entire show should be open. Obama has to bring it! and, bring it Now. Time to stop worrying about the Democratic Party because, clearly, it needs a good house cleaning. Take her down Obama or you have handed the to the barn keys to the Fox.

  • tide on March 7, 2008 1:50 am

    To dem4dm:

    Thanks. The 2025 figure was the first one I had heard about months ago and I didn’t know that the Florida/Michigan silliness had been taken into account.

    I do find it humorous that the leadership is now talking about the “right” of the people in those two states to have their votes counted. Why should we have any sympathy for folks who KNEW the party would not seat the delegates but went ahead and voted anyway? What were they thinking?