Black Superdelegates Report Pressure to Vote for Obama

First Missouri and California. Now Ohio.

While some African American superdelegates have switched to Obama, others who support Hillary say they are receiving pressure they don't appreciate and are holding firm.

African-American superdelegates said Thursday that they’ll stand up against threats, intimidation and “Uncle Tom” smears rather than switch their support from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama.

“African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom.

In Ohio, some superdelegates are angry:[More...]

But other African-American politicians find the shifting loyalties disturbing. Video Watch how race may be a factor in this year's election »

"With all due respect to my colleagues, whoever you are, I firmly believe if you don't have loyalty and integrity, what do you have? ... I am a woman of my word. I will not leave her," said Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

Neither will California Rep. Diane Watson, though she said she's received not only pressure, but also threatening e-mails. "We can disagree. But I don't think that's a cause for viciousness and for launching a campaign against me," Watson said.

The pressured superdelegates don't think it's the Obama campaign who is applying the pressure but groups of his supporters, like members of Color for Change. While Color for Change says it hasn't endorsed Obama, check out the sample letter linked to on their home page that they suggest writing to members of the Black Caucus:

Dear Congressional Black Caucus Member,

Over the last several weeks, voters in CBC districts have spoken with clarity about their choice for President—they overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. But the clear mandate they've laid down is threatened by those in your ranks who as superdelegates may break away from their constituents to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The Congressional Black Caucus has worked hard to protect the political voice of Black Americans. You took the lead in 2000 and 2004, insisting that all votes be counted and that they count. Using your status as a superdelegate in 2008 to undermine the people's will would be a tragic reversal.

I'm writing to ask that you use your power as a superdelegate to amplify the voice of the informed, engaged, and diverse electorate in your district and across Black America, not silence it. I urge you to make it clear that as a superdelegate, you will support the voters' will.

We deserve elections determined by the electorate, not by insiders. And we need you to stand with us, as we speak in a strong voice about who we wish to see as the Democratic nominee.

My position on the superdelegates has been and remains, the rules are they can vote their conscience and don't have to vote the way their state or district voters did. They can apply the brakes if they think that's needed.

I don't like the system, but those are the rules. You don't change rules after the horses have left the gate. You change them for the next election.

Democrats who don't like the superdelegate rules should get on Democratic committees that make the rules and work to change them - for next time.

I don't see why Independents and Democrats for a Day should have a bigger voice in who becomes our nominee than superdelegates, who are committed and respected Democrats.

In those states where Independents and Dems for A Day pushed a candidate to victory, to require the superdelegates to follow the will of the voters would give those with the least commitment to the Democratic party the greatest say.

My solution for the future would be closed Democratic primaries in all states and no superdelegates. But those aren't the rules we have now. For this year, voters should stop pressuring the superdelegates and let them make up their own minds.

Big Tent Democrat expressed his views on the superdelegates earlier today.

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    When the co-chair of Obama's campaign (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by p lukasiak on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:07:52 PM EST
    The pressured superdelegates don't think it's the Obama campaign who is putting the pressure on but groups of his supporters

    When Jesse Jackson Jr, cochair of Obama's campaign, is pressuring black superdelegates by asking if [paraphrase] "you want to be the one person who keeps an African American from becoming President", you don't need to have the "campaign" putting pressure on the delegates, Obama's supporers get the message loud and clear.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:13:53 PM EST
    This whole message came from the Obama campaign. And as we've been seeing, his supporters take his messages and then go to the extremes with them. It also doesn't help when we have groups and supposed progressive blogs urging their readers and supporters to use these kinds of tactics.

    Right. Ugly behavior is encouraged when the leader (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by derridog on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:59:39 PM EST
    says nothing to stop it. You have to give John McCain credit the other day for doing that very thing, very publicly, at the risk of further alienating the fringe rightwingers, who already don't like him.

    Obama has carefully groomed his image of being above the fray, but his campaign manager and other surrogates appear to have no line they won't cross in order to get him elected, including using race and fascist pressure tactics against those who disagree with them.  It reminds me of how Bush Jr. sent all those Congressional staffers down to Florida to beat on the doors and intimidate the officials who were doing the recount for Bush/Gore.

    This stuff is scary.  I don't know if I can support someone who encourages this kind of thing in his followers.  


    Yes AND (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by PlayInPeoria on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:03:49 PM EST
    Sen Obama can control down to the FONT that goes on his campaign signs.... but has no control over his supporters.

    May be he should pay more attention to what his supporters are doing .... and stop worrying about campaign signs.


    G-d, I remember that (none / 0) (#97)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:07:41 PM EST
    I was watching the news intently during 2000 and watched when the busloads of scary Republicans beat down the doors of the recount.  It was SERIOUSLY whacked out, and I thought there would be blood.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#123)
    by wrkn129 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 11:14:21 PM EST
    Despite what Obama says, this is about race. If he is truly about unity, he should denounce (and reject?:=0) this type of behavior from his staff and supporters and tell them to stop. Obama spouts flowery verbage about changing politics and the way things are done in Washington but his campaign is politics as usual with these kinds of tactics and the half-truths about Clinton and her health plan and NAFTA, etc. I'm not saying the Clinton campaign is any different, but she's not out giving inspirational speeches about change at the level that Obama is. His whole campaign is very hypocritical. This race has become very concerning.

    What happened to JJ jr.? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:18:21 PM EST
    Since he lost weight, he seems to think he's Huey Newton.

    Again, (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by NJDem on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:12:01 PM EST
    where is the outraged!  This is so ridiculous, but the MSM won't touch it?  (I think Tucker may have, but I've stopped watching msnbc).  

    HRC has had to fire staffers and volunteer's who offend, but not one person from the BO camp--whether it's the one who came up with "D-Punjab" or JJJr. strong-arming/pressuring super-d's.  

    This double standard is driving me nuts!

    Excuse me, (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by NJDem on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:49:24 PM EST
    Chelsea had coffee with the guy for 20 minutes--she didn't threaten anyone.  Can't you tell the difference?  

    And if you want to talk about "buying" politicians, BO has given 4 times as much to SD than Clinton.  Damn those pesky facts...

    Pesky facts (none / 0) (#49)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:27:16 PM EST
    also say that most of the candidates Obama's PAC gave money to endorsed Clinton, while most of the money Clinton gave went to candidates that have pledged to her. Darn those pesky facts.

    If that's true, then (none / 0) (#98)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:09:37 PM EST
    good.  The superdelegates ARE doing their jobs, then.

    I don't see the problem (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by s5 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:50:21 PM EST
    No one is holding a gun to anyone's head, nor is anyone suggesting any penalties, beyond the normal consequences of social pressure. Yes, the rules say that superdelegates can vote for whomever they want, but that doesn't conflict with the idea that people have the right to try and persuade each other.

    There's nothing sacred about someone's "conscience" or "opinion", not even that of a superdelegate. Skins have really been getting thin during this election if we're expected to be outraged over politicians getting a few tense phone calls.

    If you don't like what's happening, it's the direct consequence of our superdelegate system. When an election is close, the pressure gets put on those with the most power to push the decision either way. That's why "swing states" get bombarded with campaign ads and well-meaning out of state friends and relatives urgently making phone calls. This is no different.

    I agree that the superdelegates should vote for whomever they want, but I also don't have any problem with them being under intense pressure and public scrutiny.

    How do you feel about (none / 0) (#27)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:00:30 PM EST
    'intense pressure and public scrutiny' on your neighbors, family, friends?

    That is why most people would not even consider running for office...and a major reason why those who could attend their caucuses, choose not to and prefer to cast their secret ballot in a primary.


    If my neighbors, family, friends (none / 0) (#42)
    by s5 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:16:03 PM EST
    held public office, then I would expect pressure and public scrutiny on them. People who can't handle public scrutiny shouldn't enter public service. That's a feature of democracy: that the people who make decisions on our behalf have to worry about what we think. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Certainly pols should expect (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by JohnS on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:27:24 PM EST
    "pressure and public scrutiny."

    But do  you think being called an "Uncle Tom" for not supporting the nominee who happens to be your race, or getting threatening letters and emails qualifies as "pressure and public scrutiny?"


    Do you acknowledge the difference (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:40:04 PM EST
    between pressure and public scrutiny and harrassment?

    In my local county, it has reached that level over land-use regulations.  It is vicious, threatening and unrelenting and drives good, thoughtful people away in droves...leaving the defense to the usual few of us who fight back.  Although the Obama supporters turned out en mass for the caucuses, none of them show up to support their 3 Democratic County Commissioners where the rubber meets the road.

    Too busy starring in the national street theatre production of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, I guess.  No time left over for actual political action in their own front yard.


    Is there an example of something over the line? (none / 0) (#110)
    by Knocienz on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 07:07:58 PM EST
    I'm sure there have been a few comments that went over the line, but what I've seen reminds me of the periodic complaints from media folks about being 'verbally attacked' when bloggers call them hacks.

    If there is stalking or threats, then there should be prosecutions, but if this is simply, "vote the way I tell you to or I and my friends won't vote for you" then the super-d's are complaining over nothing.


    What Kind of Argument is it (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:02:58 PM EST
    that something works both ways? If it's wrong it's wrong.

    How is Chelsea Clinton calling SuperDelagates some kind of pressure? And as far as I know candidates are allowed to call and talk to Superdelegates in order to try to get their vote. It's the threats and intimidation that is being condemned.

    Threats and voter intimidation (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:06:37 PM EST
    are always wrong in my value system.  But then, I'm a Democrat.

    Wrong Is Wrong? (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:08:51 PM EST
    I think that you will have a full time job calling out wrongs when it comes to exercising political pressure.

    Tavis Smiley (5.00 / 5) (#85)
    by wasabi on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:27:55 PM EST
    Tavis Smiley said his family (mother, siblings) were beig harrassed and he personally received death threats.
    There are definately people out there who don't understand limits.

    I hate to say it (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by blogtopus on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 07:52:30 PM EST
    Maybe someone already has, but in the AA community this is a pretty common thing to do, accuse someone of being an 'Uncle Tom' when they are doing something that may be sensible but not catering directly to the AA community. I've seen this firsthand to family members and watched their friends and the 'community' attack them for not being 'black enough'. Whatever that means.

    I'm sick of seeing talented and intelligent people of ALL races being held back by racist members of their own communities who accuse them of being race traitors. It's a disgusting move.

    Stephanie Tubbs Jones (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by zyx on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 10:01:31 PM EST
    Congresswoman and superdelegate from Ohio, was on the PBS New Hour last night.  She doesn't seem like someone who would intimidate easily, but she also said that she was out and about in her district and wasn't getting much negativity (though she just seems like such an upbeat person, I'm not sure she'd readily admit to it).  Anyway, she is a GREAT Clinton supporter and it was really pretty fun to see her.  She was paired with the mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, and Obama supporter, but she kind of stole the segment from him.

    It's on the website
    "Ohio's Democratic Power Players Offer Competing Support"

    Considering The Heat (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:10:10 PM EST
    Generated by this competition, it does not seem surprising. I would not be surprised to see activist Hillary supporters putting less than civil pressure on superdelegates who are voting for Obama.

    NOW certainly wrote Kennedy a nasty letter for his endorsement, which I am sure he did not appreciate either.

    oh please. (none / 0) (#7)
    by ajain on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:15:32 PM EST
    Hardly the same as robocalls, planting challengers, calling American civil rights heros names.
    Atleast NOW did what it did in the open. It was not an undergrond operation to threaten leaders.

    How does one "plant" a challenger? (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:18:35 PM EST
    Stinks (none / 0) (#86)
    by john5750 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:34:46 PM EST
    This whole TX election stinks.

    There's the votes AND caucuses.

    The Hillary delegates being threatened.

    The McCain Repubs voting for Obama to keep   Hillary out.

    TX needs to change their election process.


    Not planting, THREATENING that there will be. (none / 0) (#100)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:14:57 PM EST

    Like this:

    Hutchins, 30, said Lewis' October endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race, while the 5th District largely supported Barack Obama, was a factor in his decision to challenge Lewis. "That presented some problems for many of us," Hutchins said.

    Now let's see if Hutchins backs off now that Lewis caved in.


    Whatever You Say (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:21:31 PM EST
    Many people are tying their race or gender politics to this runoff. All I am saying is that it would not surprise me in the least that similar things are going on on the other side.

    Do you think Hillary supporters are less ruthless than Obama supporters? If so maybe that is why they are down.

    To me it seems politics as usual. I am not sure what the Superdelegates expected, but they should have expected this kind of nastiness.


    But apparently race trumps gender because... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:29:22 PM EST
    ...female African American superdelegates seem to be getting the same pressure to switch to Obama. I guess I'm lucky that it isn't Richardson vs. Hillary at this point because I might be getting pressure to switch to Richardson because of ethnic identity...as it is I am getting pressure from family and friends to switch to Obama and I have the fallback of saying I want to support a woman and that gives me some cover with them...but they are family.

    I Agree (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:39:39 PM EST
    Race usually trumps gender. But usually the white race holds the trump card in this sort of thing. It makes sense that we would hear more complaints of pressure from AA's being pressured than Whites being pressured to change from supporting Obama.

    its not the pressure (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by p lukasiak on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:47:12 PM EST
    ...its the argument being used to pressure AA superdelegates.

    I have no problem with either campaign doing what it can to influence the decision of superdelegates in an appropriate fashion.  

    But just imagine if Terry McCauliffe were to call up Claire McCaskill and say "do you wnat to be the one person who denies a white woman the chance to be President?"


    I Dunno (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:56:09 PM EST
    I find it hard to believe that HRC supporters would act as badly as OHB supporters. More likely that 'white' would be left out of the hypothetical conversation you propose, at least the first time around.

    Correction (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:57:28 PM EST
    I find it hard to believe that HRC supporters would not act as badly as OHB supporters.

    Well, I think you were right the first time. (none / 0) (#30)
    by derridog on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:02:00 PM EST
    I don't think Hillary supporters are threatening people.

    Why's That? (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:04:42 PM EST
    Could it be because you support HRC?

    Derridog (none / 0) (#83)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:09:21 PM EST
    no profanity here. Or insults or personal attacks. Your comment after this one was deleted. And that applies to other blogs as well as people. We keep it civil here, and on topic.

    Jeralyn, I'm so sorry but I think you misread (none / 0) (#99)
    by derridog on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:10:39 PM EST
    my post. Please go back and read it again. I wasn't using profanity against anyone. I was quoting the kinds of things misogynist words and attacks that  I had read on other supposedly progressive blogs against Hillary and her followers. I was trying to say that neither Edwards' nor Clinton's followers did that.  I only hear that kind of thing from the Obama camp and, when if first started to happen I was truly shocked!

    Taylor Marsh says she gets this all the time.  Sometimes she posts the vile things that people say to her because of her Hillary support and those words and worse are in there.


    And "we will fund a challenger (none / 0) (#92)
    by Cream City on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:32:44 PM EST
    for your seat, some sweet young thing . . . and how is that approval rating decline doing, Claire?"

    That Is One Primary Challenge I Would Get (none / 0) (#102)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:27:41 PM EST
    behind in a second and it has nothing to do with who she endorsed for president. I'd max out on contributions to whoever challenged her in 2012.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#20)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:51:12 PM EST
    Race still trumps gender and the 'white race' already played the trump card when they cynically drafted Obama and set this all in motion...caring not where it led.

    Thanks Teddy, John, Tom, Dick (and Harry, if there is one).


    Maybe (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by Lil on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:31:09 PM EST
    but Barack gets a pass as a unity candidate and there's a perception out there that he and his camp would never stoop this this type of thing...being for unity and all. At the same time there's a perception that Hillary is a baracuda who will do anything to win. In reality isn't that true for all the candidates, that they'll do just about anything to win (not everything in reality; I'm sure there'd be some limits)

    One word (none / 0) (#3)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:11:54 PM EST
    thuggish behavior...

    (whoops, that was two words).

    But NOW (none / 0) (#6)
    by NJDem on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:14:32 PM EST
    didn't threaten to have someone run against him.  They expressed their anger in an over-the-top way, but there were no threats.  

    For the record, I would be just as out-raged if NOW threatened female supporter's of BO in the name of feminism.

    They have (none / 0) (#45)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:21:27 PM EST
    already done this (well, at least one local chapter has), for the record.

    No, Illinois NOW did not threaten (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Cream City on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:34:50 PM EST
    any women -- they released a researched and cogent summary of their reasons for lack of endorsement of Obama (and not for the first time, btw; they would not endorse him for Senate, either). And when there were more questions, they released an even more researched and cogent summary of their reasons. Have you read them? If so, where did you see threats against anyone? I didn't.

    New York NOW did (none / 0) (#114)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 08:22:55 PM EST
    they released a really nasty statement about anyone that supported Obama.

    ?Anyone? (none / 0) (#119)
    by PlayInPeoria on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 09:17:07 PM EST
    If by anyone you mean Ted Kennedy ... then yes.

    If by anyone you mean entire supporters of Sen Obama in NY... I think you are exaggerating.


    Ah, that one -- but you didn't read it (none / 0) (#122)
    by Cream City on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 10:46:32 PM EST
    either, clearly, since you misstate it. Please do a little work and research and read first, Andrewmm.

    It wasn't NOW (none / 0) (#96)
    by echinopsia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:43:03 PM EST
    It wasn't the national organization that issued the press release calling Kennedy out. It was the NY chapter. The NOW national organization has disavowed and disagreed with that press release.

    Shocking!!!! (none / 0) (#9)
    by coigue on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:20:46 PM EST
    I am shocked I tell you. Superdelegates getting pressured in a close election?

    I wonder if the white delegates are getting pressured.

    What is this world coming to?

    Colgue, what are your answers to your questions (none / 0) (#12)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:29:40 PM EST
    I can't think (none / 0) (#37)
    by coigue on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:06:19 PM EST
    I can hardly breathe from concern about this shocking revelation.

    Do you think the Clintons might be doing it too?



    Well there is a certain hypocrisy in this... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:31:24 PM EST
    ...since, as I recall, a few weeks ago Chelsea Clinton was getting bashed for talking to super delagates.

    I was shocked by that too!!!! (none / 0) (#36)
    by coigue on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:05:01 PM EST
    OMG....politics.. I think I am going to faint!

    Yeah, what threats do you think Chelsea made? (none / 0) (#89)
    by echinopsia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:11:44 PM EST
    "Vote for my mom or I'll...!"

    Yes. (none / 0) (#21)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:54:07 PM EST
    There is a campaign in WA State to pressure all the delegates (mostly white) not committed to Obama to 'support the people's choice' from the caucuses...ignoring the primary, of course.  It's open, public and blatent.

    Works both ways (none / 0) (#14)
    by mmakana1 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:32:38 PM EST
    Why doesn't anyone ever respond to this issue by citing the examples of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Patrick Deval...all of whom are superdelegates from the state of Massachusetts which voted overwhelmingly for Clinton in a true primary. Yet all of them openly support and campaign (and even unwittingly sometimes write speeches) for Obama. None of them would dream of voting for Hillary Clinton. It works both ways, doesn't it? Ain't nobody pressurizing them to switch, are they? They will vote their conscience and preference, as should every other superdelegate.

    I can pretty much guarantee (none / 0) (#63)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:44:24 PM EST
    that Clinton's campaign was on the phone the day after MA primary with any Mass superdelegates that they thought might waver, using just that argument.

    Why can't they stay bought? (none / 0) (#16)
    by fiver5 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:41:15 PM EST
    This is an outrage!  Obama is pressuring super-delegates to vote for him?!  Hillary would never do such a thing.  But Chelsea would.

    Why can't you stick to the story? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by JohnS on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:58:51 PM EST
    Why assume Hillary or her supporters have been threatening SDs? I'm fairly certain the media would have reported on it by now if your supposition is correct. After, she is a Clinton and we know how the media feels about the Clintons.

    The Only Way The Media (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:01:19 PM EST
    Would be able to report on it would be if the SD's complained publicly about it. The fact that they have not does not rule out that it is not happening.

    I like evidence-basec commentary. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by MarkL on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:03:34 PM EST
    There's been plenty of stories (none / 0) (#47)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:25:24 PM EST
    of all of the behind-the-scene pitches that superdelegates get from the campaigns. Both campaigns have dedicated "superdelegate relationship managers" and the major surrogates of both routinely make calls to already-committed superdelegates and to ones that they think they might be able to get to switch.

    However, at this point, most of Clinton's efforts are probably going into keeping more of her already-committed delegates from flipping, and Obama is probably working hard to flip the ones where his team thinks they have a good shot.


    If you produced one of those stories, (none / 0) (#48)
    by MarkL on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:27:01 PM EST
    that would be evidence.

    Here is a good one (none / 0) (#58)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:38:41 PM EST
    but there are plenty of other ones out there.


    The high-profile supporters will also play key roles in the backroom battle over superdelegates, also known as unpledged delegates. Mainly members of Congress, governors, party elders and grass-roots activists, they are free to back any candidate they choose. Clinton, former president Bill Clinton (a superdelegate himself) and their allies have been working aggressively for months to court the superdelegates, drawing on old loyalties to open a huge advantage for the senator from New York in total delegates amassed.
    Numerous lawmakers said in interviews that Clinton and her husband have intensified their superdelegate lobbying efforts in recent days. "It's always great to hear from people," laughed Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.), a highly coveted uncommitted as both a superdelegate and an icon of the antiwar left. Feingold said that, overall, he has had more contact with Obama's campaign, "but the Clinton side has been picking up." He said he is likely to wait until after Feb. 5 before deciding whether to endorse anyone.

    Three of the biggest remaining targets for endorsements are former Democratic candidates Richardson, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.). Both senators said they had heard from the former president in recent days. "They're all calling. Barack's calling; she's calling," said Dodd, who is still on the fence.

    Key phrase: (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by echinopsia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:16:02 PM EST
    have been working aggressively for months to court the superdelegates, drawing on old loyalties

    Court. As opposed to pressure, threaten, blackmail.

    Personally, I'd prefer to be courted. I'd prefer to ignore or call the cops on people who would pressure, threaten, or blackmail.

    Who's divisive? Who is the one who'll do anything to win?


    Don't go to trial (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:03:54 PM EST
    with that evidence.

    Ah yes, that scary, scary Chelsea. nt (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:10:07 PM EST
    Again (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Lil on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:35:49 PM EST
    the issue is Clinton et.al was hammered for Chelsea calling delegates, while it seems some in the Obama camp think threats and name calling is ok and the same thing. Making a sales pitch for your candidate or even pressuring is not the same as threats.  And if both sides are doing it, don't you agree that Obama should take some heat for it too?

    Matin Luther King Jr. must be spinning in his (none / 0) (#23)
    by athyrio on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:57:17 PM EST
    grave....He wanted a world where "people are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character".....

    Yes. Well, Obama's character is the whole (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by derridog on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:03:17 PM EST
    problem for me.

    You dare to raise the question... (none / 0) (#29)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:01:54 PM EST
    "Who would MLK vote for?!?"



    Why on earth, any reasonable person would (none / 0) (#41)
    by athyrio on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:12:23 PM EST
    think that a candidate, who has had nothing but good press, running against a candidate that has received nothing but bad press, would be a shoo-in for the general election is beyond me, because when you add the really bad press that is coming soon, watch out..The polls will go crazy....plus pencil in the fact that the majority of registered democrats are still supporting the bad press candidate and WOW....

    Bcause (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:17:06 PM EST
    Why on earth, any reasonable person would think that a candidate, who has had nothing but good press, running against a candidate that has received nothing but bad press, would be a shoo-in for the general election...

    People are sick of the GOP. HRC or OHB will be a shoo-in regardless of the press. THe fact that OHB will never get as bad press as HRC gets, may give him an advantage to draw in more Democratic voters which equals more Democratic reps in Congress.

    Squeaky I like you but I beg to differ (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by athyrio on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:25:13 PM EST
    about the fact the Obama will not get the bad press that Hillary gets....I think you might be in for quite a shock on that subject...Ask John Kerry or Al Gore, how it felt to be crucified in the press....The GOP and the media will go after him as well....IMO...Time will tell....BTD keeps saying that the media darling status of Obama is key to his success and I agree, but I don't see it happening.....We got a taste of it from NBC the other night....It will get down and dirty fast as soon as Hillary is out of the game....which is why I keep saying, why on earth wouldn't you want Hillary in there as a buffer until convention...makes sense to me....

    I Disagree (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:31:14 PM EST
    Sure he is going to get bad press but nothing like HRC has and will continue to get. Obama plays it as an Aristocrat of sorts. He is elegant and lets the press feel like royal handmaidens. HRC is solidly middle class and the press winds up feeling dirty.

    This will not change imo, and that is not to say OBH will go unscathed.


    a bit of a class snobbery there Squeaky.... (none / 0) (#53)
    by athyrio on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:33:48 PM EST
    nothing dirty about the middle class....

    Exactly (none / 0) (#59)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:39:25 PM EST
    But not on my part. It is the press, especially the DC press, who feels the need to be royal handmaidens, not me. It is idiotic, but go figure. They should all move to Saudi Arabia.

    The question is (none / 0) (#64)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:44:40 PM EST
    Why would you want to be an enabler of such a system and such a candidate?  Doesn't your support for Obama reinforce the bad behavior you identify?

    BTW, do you have kids?


    Support For Obama? (none / 0) (#68)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:47:26 PM EST
    Just because I am not a cultist doesn't mean that I did not pull the lever for HRC.



    Well, color me confused... (none / 0) (#74)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:56:03 PM EST

    I personally see nothing aristocratic about (none / 0) (#65)
    by athyrio on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:44:51 PM EST
    Obama and his family....He seems to me like a "wanna be" fella whose wife tries to dress alot like Jacqueline Kennedy...That, to me at least, comes off as a bit sad....JFK and Jackie had alot of class and I have always admired them...To me Hillary has alot of class too as she on all occasions is quite gracious...Obama comes across to me as a bit petulant...

    There YOu Go (none / 0) (#73)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:53:43 PM EST
    He seems to me like a "wanna be" fella whose wife tries to dress alot like Jacqueline Kennedy...

    The press loves that kind of posturing. HRC is classy in a middle class kind of way, but could never pull off acting like Jackie O.

    Oddly enough playing the aristocrat, is 'feminine'. Obama is more 'feminine' than HRC. Same with rock stars. I always thought it ironic that Elvis the Pelivs, super sex symbol, was really super feminine, make-up, glitter, etc.


    Yeah, but (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by echinopsia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:33:33 PM EST
    could never pull off acting like Jackie O.

    Why on earth should she, or should she want to? She's been first lady, and she was a fine one (if Michelle Obama wants a role model she could do alot worse than Hillary)

    There aren't too many role models for Hillary in acting like a former woman president, now are there?

    She's breaking new ground here, blazing a new trail. She doesn't have predecessors to emulate, nor should she. Anyone who comes after will be looking to her example.

    I think running as herself is far more admirable than trying to act like MLK, JFK, RFK, WJC and Jesus all rolled into one because he either doesn't know who he is or figures we wouldn't like who he is.


    I do think I see the influence (none / 0) (#95)
    by Cream City on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:39:52 PM EST
    of Ferraro in HRC's new hairstyle (and it works well for her, too) -- although not nearly as much as the Jackie makeover of the Other Obama. Ferraro never wore pantsuits on the presidential campaign, but MObama somehow found pink '60s suits ala Jackie K.

    Image. It's everything. (none / 0) (#75)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:58:18 PM EST
    Where is Andy Warhol when we need him?

    Oh, right...


    Then when didn't they like Kerry? (none / 0) (#72)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:53:28 PM EST
    What (none / 0) (#103)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:30:39 PM EST
    Obama plays it as an Aristocrat of sorts.

    Which is exactly what we don't need as Prez.


    Why's That? (none / 0) (#105)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:56:40 PM EST
    Got something against aristocrats? Did you hate JFK's style too?

    You Obama folk (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 05:11:46 PM EST
    really need to cut it with the comparisons of Obama to JFK.  JFK was a war hero and had served 13 years in the U.S. Congress before he ran for President.  He voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1957.  What did Obama do in the U.S. Congress?  Neglected his duty towards the committee that he really, really wanted the job heading because he was "too busy campaigning for President".

    Dude (none / 0) (#107)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 05:16:45 PM EST
    I voted for HRC. But I am not a cultist like you.

    How is sticking to facts (none / 0) (#108)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 05:23:30 PM EST

    Because You (none / 0) (#125)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 11:31:20 AM EST
    Immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was comparing OHB to JFK. Most HRC cultists scream for blood when OHB and JFK are mentioned in close proximity.

    I was not making a comparison as you saw it. I was arguing the point about press love for those who act like aristocrats. Particularly I was pointing out that JFK was looooved by the press, because he acted like an aristocrat and had Jackie O to back him up.


    Squeaky doesn't want to believe it (none / 0) (#55)
    by JohnS on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:36:05 PM EST
    so (s)he won't believe it, despite 20+ years of evidence to the contrary. The press treats Dems and the GOP differently. Newspaper reporters and editors FEAR the GOP and it shows. Cable shows kowtow to the preferences of their corporate masters. In election 2000, Russert and MTP had a direct line to the oppo research dept at the RCN.

    The press has only begun to work on Obama.


    Whoops (none / 0) (#56)
    by JohnS on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:37:40 PM EST
    that should have read RNC. The other is merely a cable provider.

    WTF? (none / 0) (#62)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:41:57 PM EST
    You do not have to convince me on that point. This thread is not about the GOP.

    Whaddya mean WTF? (none / 0) (#70)
    by JohnS on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:50:31 PM EST
    What's this that you wrote all about then?

    People are sick of the GOP. HRC or OHB will be a shoo-in regardless of the press. THe fact that OHB will never get as bad press as HRC gets, may give him an advantage to draw in more Democratic voters which equals more Democratic reps in Congress.

    Neither dem is gonna be a shoo in.


    OK (none / 0) (#76)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:58:57 PM EST
    I missed your point. Perhaps I was just being a bit too rhetorical. Certainly it will be a fight, but I do not see either Dem candidate having less advantage considering the evil and corruption the  GOP has unleashed on all Americans.

    Lewis was pressured (none / 0) (#57)
    by Saul on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:37:57 PM EST
    just like Cleaver.  Lewis was also concerned for his political life.  Here is NPR interview with Cleaver on how he is being threatned. You can listen to it.


    That's what Cleaver says (none / 0) (#61)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:40:59 PM EST
    but is there any independent evidence? He's neither unbiased nor a news source.

    He's lying? And ummm..... (none / 0) (#67)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:46:52 PM EST
    he's "not a news source?"



    He's not a news source (none / 0) (#77)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:02:27 PM EST
    about what is happening to John Lewis. I think Lewis' actions speak for themselves in this case.

    Well, OK...but reread the title of (none / 0) (#82)
    by oldpro on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:06:00 PM EST
    this diary...

    Sure (none / 0) (#84)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:09:57 PM EST
    but in the article in the post that I was responding to was largely sourced by statements by Cleaver about what is happening to other superdelegates, including him repeating rumors of things that might or might not be happening.

    All I'm asking for is some independent information about those things that might or might not be happening rather than taking it as gospel from one of Clinton's key surrogates.


    Oh, I get it. (none / 0) (#104)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:35:11 PM EST
    Black superdelegate Sticking by Clinton = Key Clinton Surrogate, must be lying.

    Black superdelegate Switching from Clinton to Obama = Word of G-d and Gospel of Hope, has always been a bastion of truth and fact.

    Dude, you need to get real.


    "Dude" -- I think not (none / 0) (#115)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 08:25:19 PM EST
    All I'm asking for is some independent evidence of coercion from someone besides a key Clinton supporter. Is that too much to ask for? I doubt you'd take Ted Kennedy's word about a misdeed by Clinton.

    Why would (none / 0) (#118)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 09:13:45 PM EST
    I take Kennedy's word about a misdeed from Clinton?  No, see I trust my old homestaters and the Boston Globe on that one.  The guy is a backstabber.  When he faced trouble in his homestate (MY homestate, BTW), who were the ones who were there to help him out?  The Clintons.  And because Ted was p*ssed off about the Clinton comments that were PERCEIVED and pushed by the Obama campaign to be "lessening of JFK's legacy", he turned around and gave his support to Obama before Super Tuesday--fat lot of good THAT did in Massachusetts, which should tell you just how much Kennedy's word is worth in his own state.  The only reason why he hasn't been voted out of office and that he'll probably fossilize into that Senate chair is because now there's no one to replace him.

    why would he lie about it? (none / 0) (#69)
    by RalphB on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:49:17 PM EST
    if the person involved first hand is not a news source, what's your definition?   Matt Drudge?

    See the above clarification (none / 0) (#80)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:03:48 PM EST
    sorry for the confusion.

    My God (none / 0) (#71)
    by Saul on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:51:44 PM EST
    man he's a victim of the pressure, who has experienced it and he's telling you what happen to him.  He would testify to it probably under oath. I would say a victim of his credentials is very much a news source.

    To clarify (none / 0) (#79)
    by andrewwm on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 02:03:29 PM EST
    I meant that he is not a news source on what kinds of pressure John Lewis is facing, not the pressure he himself is facing. He's just repeating rumors on that one.

    Obsessions (none / 0) (#66)
    by jarober on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:45:30 PM EST
    Remind me again which of the two parties is utterly obsessed with race?

    I started liking both Hillary & Obama (none / 0) (#90)
    by john5750 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:13:55 PM EST
    I didn't care which one won.  But now I'm tired of seeing Obama continually lie about Hillary's record, her Healthcare plan, and her stand on issues, etc.

    I don't like his involvement with Rezko and the millions he has taken from the Iraqi billionaire.  The more I hear the more I don't like him, which is why I'm voting for Hillary.  We already know everything about her.  And, I want her to fix the economy just like Bill did.


    Ok, stop (none / 0) (#116)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 09:08:19 PM EST
    There's no evidence Obama took millions or any money from an Iraqi Billionaire. If you are talking about Auchi, it's Rezko and Auchi who had financial dealings.

    There seems to be a question about whether a company of Auchi's donated to a 2005 Obama fundraiser, but that's not millions and it's not evidence of wrong-doing by Obama.


    What is this constant reference to rules (none / 0) (#87)
    by Tano on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:03:19 PM EST
    being changed?

    Superdelegates can vote for whom they want.


    It is wholly another matter to try to persuade someone to vote a certain way. The letter that is excerpted in the main post is very respectful, and contains no threat. It is an attempt to persuade that superdel to do a certain thing. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. The very fact that they appeal to the superdel to vote a certain way is relfective of the acceptance of the rule that the superdel can decide.

    I find that sort of pressure put on Black (none / 0) (#88)
    by DemBillC on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:10:55 PM EST
    superdelagates to be extremely Racist.

    How is this just making the "news" now? (none / 0) (#101)
    by BrandingIron on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 04:20:31 PM EST

    It's been in the news since around Valentine's Day, at least.  Comments from Emanuel Cleaver, especially.  Was this previously posted here at TL/did I miss something?

    squeaky, if you truly (none / 0) (#109)
    by cpinva on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 06:29:08 PM EST
    believe that sen. obama, should he be the dem. nominee, will not get the kind of treatment afforded both gore and kerry, then you are in need of serious professional help. i'm not sure which profession, but one of them.

    trust me, as soon as he's out of the convention gate, they will start to maul him. since he has a relatively unknown past, for the average person, it's ripe for the 527 pickings. then there's the actual GOP. by the time they get done with him, you won't recognize him as the same guy that was nominated.

    this is where sen. clinton does hold a distinct advantage; she's been dealing with this for close to 20 years, and there isn't much new for them to go after.

    They Are Equal (none / 0) (#124)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 12:55:01 AM EST
    As far as I am concerned. I pulled the lever for HRC, but I believe OHB is as good a contender. We will see. If the media goes ape-sh*t on Obama I think it will blow up in their face.

    Of course the best ticket, I agree with BTD, is HRC and OHB, in any order.

    America is sick of GOP. Either will defeat them, with or without the MSM support.


    "attack machine" (none / 0) (#111)
    by diogenes on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 07:33:13 PM EST
    The Clinton attack machine is a lot more ruthless than the remnants of the GOP machine.  If Obama can survive Hillary and her minions, he'll do fine.  

    The One Who Has (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by AmyinSC on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 09:48:59 PM EST
    Been doing the attacking is OBAMA, not Clinton.  He has been attacking her in his speeches, all the while throwing out his Hope and Change.  He completely nullified their agreement to run a positive campaign.  Whenever she has tried to call him on it, he becomes arrogant and condescending.

    As to the subject at hand, as I understand it, Jesse Jackson, Jr. has told AA congresspeople that they needed to line up behind Obama, and if they DIDN'T vote for him, they could expect a young challenger to their seats.  Apparently, that is what happened with Lewis - a 30 yr old minister was going to run against him.  I guess since he drove that knife into Hillary's back, the 30 yr old has dropped any challenge.

    And that's strong-arming.  I haven't heard ONE example of Clinton doing this - and this is exactly the kind of thing BO supporters and th media have done - thrown out some totally false accusation without ANY foundation to diminish and demean.  Meanwhile, the FACTS are there to demonstrate some pretty underhanded tactics from the Obama camp (no doubt, those Chicago politics coming into play, like his getting everyone else off the ballot when he first ran so he ran UNOPPOSED.  Nice.).


    "pressure" (none / 0) (#112)
    by diogenes on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 07:35:40 PM EST
    Black superdelegates, many of whom have been elected in their districts solely because of the color of their skin by fellow blacks, shouldn't be surprised if some blacks want them to be loyal in the same way.  The black superdelegates who have won elections in majority white districts can see things differently.

    in counting every vote.  You can take the statement: "I don't see why Independents and Democrats for a Day should have a bigger voice in who becomes our nominee than superdelegates, who are committed and respected Democrats" and simply change a few words to read:
    "I don't see why everyday "uninformed" voters should have a bigger voice in who becomes our nominee than superdelegates, who are already insiders beholden to the washington power structure." I feel no sympathy for those "pressured" to vote for their own constituents' choice.  If they chose to stand up to their own neighbors they will certainly be hammered down in the next election.  Sticking with HRC will have its price in the next election.

    Race (none / 0) (#126)
    by amde on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:26:19 PM EST
    it is about race. or at least thats what obama is trying to make it out to be. I live in a border city and work for HRC campaign, we get a call from an 84 yr old mexican american woman complaining that obama's campaign has been calling and harassing her to vote for him because hes a minority just like us and if we dont "stick together" then we'll be left out by the whites. Im tired of the hispanic or 'latino'(as ppl refer to us) community being used as some sort of leverage. We have NO alliances to anyone. we dont care what color you are. we just want to raise above the poverty line. --His campaigns inner workings here in El Paso, TX are distrustful, distastful, and racist. Its racist to pressure someone to vote soley based on race.

    I'm not sure if anyone is still following this (none / 0) (#127)
    by ChrisO on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:32:57 PM EST
    but to me the two big issues are 1) the fact that Obama seems to think it's only legitimate to play the race card when he's the one doing it. Having his supporters threaten the superdelegates based on race is despicable, particularly since he has felt free to slander the Clinton's as racists and 2) the whole notion thast Obama is bringing new people to the party is predicated on the fact that he has to win. His camp seems to think that the nomination goes to the person with the most delegates, whether they've reached the threshold or not. And they're using extortionist tactics, claiming that if Clinton gets the nomination despite having fewer delegates, it will "tear the party apart." By which they mean, they will tear the party apart by refusing to support the nominee, all the while blaming the Clnton campaign  for "forcing them out." It's great to see young people involved, but we're being fed this notion that we have to run the entire nominating process in such a way that it won't hurt the feelings of people who have been Democrats for about a month.