Philadelphia "Street Money" As an Issue in Primary Race

Philadelphia apparently has a custom of paying local ward leaders and locals to get out the vote. Obama organizers say he won't do it.

Obama's posture confounds neighborhood political leaders sympathetic to his cause. They caution that if the senator from Illinois withholds money that gubernatorial, mayoral and presidential candidates have willingly paid out for decades, there could be defections to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. And the Clinton campaign, in contrast, will oblige in forking over the money, these ward leaders predict.

"We've heard directly from the Obama organizer who organizes our ward, and he told us it's an entirely volunteer organization and that I should not expect to see anything from the Obama campaign other than ads on TV and the support that volunteers are giving us," said Greg Paulmier, a ward leader in the northwest part of the city.

The Clinton campaign hasn't said whether it will follow the custom, which again, is legal.[More...]

Neither the Clinton nor the Obama campaign would say publicly whether it would comply with Philadelphia's street money customs. But an Obama aide said Thursday that it had never been the campaign's practice to make such payments. Rather, the campaign's focus is to recruit new people drawn to Obama's message, the aide said.

One of his superdelegates puts it this way:

Carol Ann Campbell, a ward leader and Democratic superdelegate who supports Obama, estimated that the amount of street money Obama would need to lay out for election day is $400,000 to $500,000.

"This is a machine city, and ward leaders have to pay their committee people," Campbell said. "Barack Obama's campaign doesn't pay workers, and I guarantee you if they don't put up some money for those street workers, those leaders will most likely take Clinton money. It won't stop him from winning Philadelphia, but he won't come out with the numbers that he needs" to win the state.

Philly isn't the only city with the custom. There's also Chicago, Baltimore, Newark and Los Angeles.

John Kerry paid street money in the hundreds of thousands. So, does Obama look chintzy or should he stick to his principles? And will it cost him in his margin of loss in PA?

Ward leaders say such payments defray expenses such as food and gasoline, and compensate people for a grueling election day.

It is unclear to what extent Obama may suffer at the polls if any part of the city's Democratic apparatus jumps to Clinton.

Obama's strategy in Pennsylvania depends on a strong turnout in the city's black precincts. That way, he can cut into the advantage Clinton has among older and blue-collar voters elsewhere in the state.

Campbell said she could not in good conscience ask people to work for Obama for free. "I'm not going to do that," said Campbell, who heads a coalition of black ward leaders. "There are a lot of poor people here."

Another ward leader puts it this way:

Garry Williams, a ward leader based in north-central Philadelphia, said that he had not heard directly that the Obama campaign was withholding money. But he said payment would be needed. Workers who are in the field for Obama on April 22 will put in days stretching from 12 to 16 hours, he said.

"It's our tradition," Williams said. "You don't come to someone's house and change the rules of someone's house. That's just respect."

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    Is it me... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:01:28 AM EST
    or does this sound like a shake-down?  Custom or not, it sounds real shady.  Pay up or we support the other candidate?  Is this an election of a mafia racket?

    And if I've learned one thing in my life, it's that legal doesn't mean right and illegal doesn't mean wrong.  

    So if (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by badger on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:10:52 AM EST
    David Axelrod makes more than a $million from Obama's campaign, all of the little people should donate their gas, phone minutes, energy for free.

    Why is that? Because they'll get so much more in return from an Obama administration than Axelrod and his friends will?


    Obama always will slap (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:13:52 AM EST
    poor people and old hippies.  Always try to reform them.  It's not that he is against the culture wars, it's that he chose the other side on the wars.  

    That's the kind of chutzpah (none / 0) (#15)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:16:03 AM EST
    I expect from you, Stellaa!  Slapping poor people and old hippies!  

    Huh, he did it today (none / 0) (#89)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:15:44 AM EST
    He slapped poor people and women.  

    I don't get this (none / 0) (#30)
    by Democratic Cat on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:37:57 AM EST
    I pay people who work for me. Volunteers are great, but what's wrong with paying people $50 to spend the day working for you?

    Getting out the vote is a job. You don't even have to suppport a particular candidate to spend a day working for them, knocking on people's doors and asking them if they need a ride to the polls. If you need $50, maybe you'll do it even for a candidate you don't support wholeheartedly. If they expect you to do it for free, then clearly you need to believe in the candidate, but so what?

    I don't much care whether Sen. Obama pays people or relies only on volunteers. Nor do I care whether people volunteer to GOTV or only do it for a candidate that pays them for their work. (After all, I don't begrudge Axelrod/Penn their money; they certainly aren't volunteers and they sure wouldn't work for Obama/Clinton unless they were getting paid.) It all seems morally neutral to me.


    poll workers get paid by the state in Calif. (none / 0) (#35)
    by thereyougo on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:47:56 AM EST
    so why not his campaign that hauls millions of dollars?

    they'll pay up, they can't afford the bad publicity, like the delegate purges.

    Thats not a strong leader.


    Grassroots takes money from candidate! (none / 0) (#50)
    by Fabian on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:24:21 PM EST
    Why not?  Candidate gets money from grassroots and spends it on Teh Media.  I think Investing In The Grassroots is a much, much better idea!

    Griity political political traditions (none / 0) (#39)
    by 1jane on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:51:23 AM EST
    Paying street money is also at tradition in Baltimore, LA, Newark, and Chigago. To end the tradition, candidates must not pay. To all candidates who do not participate in the tradition, good on you.  

    So it's Chicago politics, eh? n/t (1.00 / 0) (#51)
    by Fabian on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:25:10 PM EST
    Obama supporters like to (none / 0) (#86)
    by Fabian on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:00:43 PM EST
    talk about Obama's ability to take the rough and tumble of politics because he cut his teeth on Chicago politics.

    I'm only repeating what I hear.


    Outrage... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:05:36 AM EST
    Why no one does that in Chicago!  The Chicago machine works on Hope and Change.  

    Obama will pay, Hillary will pay like they all paid.  Obama is just grandstanding to his elite liberal friends.  Teach those old style community democrats a lesson.  The creative class volunteers at 12.50 an hour, poor people should not be paid.  

    I agree with the guy who said, why should the tv, radio stations add Josh and Huff Post and all the other Obama sites get the money.  Spread the love.  

    Damned if you do... (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:12:41 AM EST
    Damned if you don't.

    Please someone have the chutzpah to admit that if the campaign agreed to pay, some on this website would decry Obama's hypocrisy but if he doesn't pay, these same people will decry Obama's . . .  hypocrisy.


    Yeah. I'm not for (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by derridog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:17:46 AM EST
    Obama, but I agree with you on this.  What I don't understand is, if this was necessary in Chicago, why he is balking at it now? Is it real (an ethical stance?) or is it another spin cycle meant to cast him in a good light and which he will abandon when the cameras aren't running?  If it's the former, I would respect his willingness to put his success on the line for principle. However, his track record makes me think it's the latter. Hope I'm wrong.

    He didn't do it in Chicago (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:21:18 AM EST
    As far as I know I haven't heard this before, but I may be wrong.

    Chutzpah! (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:22:35 AM EST

    My guess is... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Susie from Philly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:39:16 PM EST
    He figures he's getting the Philadelphia AA vote anyway, he doesn't have to pay for it. He took the same position in South Carolina and won big - but Philadelphia isn't South Carolina, as I think he will learn.

    I don't believe it's principle. Not when you're paying those huge sums to super delegates' campaign funds! He outspent Clinton 3 to 1 on contributions.


    He figured the (none / 0) (#90)
    by NO2WONDERBOY on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:16:39 AM EST
    same (getting the AA vote) in New Orleans. He got great results. Counting on it for PA. will be essential if he wants to make an upset in the percentage distribution in the primary.

    Not true. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:15:28 AM EST
    We know how politics work, we just don't like the pretense of "above politics".  He will pay.  He is like McCain, he throws out the bone to the media, then he does it.  Don't you worry.  

    Thanks for proving my point. (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:22:21 AM EST
    Damned if he does.  Thanks Stellaa for chiming in--exactly what I was referring to.  

    Well, we didn't put him in that position (none / 0) (#22)
    by blogtopus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:22:44 AM EST
    I agree that unless someone proves he's done this elsewhere, we can't make the claim that this is different.

    That said, I think that he's done enough 'politics as usual' in other cities to make his claim that this is in the name of changing politics suspect at best.

    And the fact that if he does do it, we can call him a 'normal politician' is his own doing as well; he set himself up as different, yet has taken very little movement in that direction.


    I think your missing my point... (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:28:06 AM EST
    I agree he put himself in the position of being held to a high standard, however, it's apparent that there are times when whatever decision he makes it can be spun as playing "old politics" or being hypocritical.  This is one of those situations.

    How is it (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by rooge04 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:52:33 AM EST
    a high standard when he is denying poor people and volunteers money to re-imburse them for gas (it ain't cheap these days) and food? He expects everyone to do these things for free and like his 'message.'  Well, messages don't pay the bill at the gas station to get people to the polls.  And he's got no problem shelling out millions for ads but a few thousand dollars for working people working for him, I might add is below him?

    It's not being above anything. Not to mention that maybe he'd get more supporters if he wasn't just expecting his volunteers to be college students with disposable incomes and liberal elites.  The precise reason he will lose PA.


    You're jumping to conclusions. (5.00 / 0) (#55)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:43:25 PM EST
    See my posts below.
    Street money is slush fund money and as such is unregulated.  Furthermore, it goes to ward leaders and churches and could backfire on him if he dispensed it (as his ties to African-American churches could be highlighted as well as his commitment to campaign finance reform.)  

    Except he's probably done it (none / 0) (#58)
    by rooge04 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:48:09 PM EST
    elsewhere (definitely in Chicago) and will do it in PA. He's simply trying to appear above it and when he gets creamed in PA he'll have a reason. This time it will be money and racism, instead of just the one. It's perfectly legal. Soft money is not.  Do not conflate the two.

    You cannot substantiate your claims (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:55:57 PM EST
    He's probably done it elswhere?  Prove it.

    He's simply trying to appear above it?  Prove it.

    It's "perfectly legal", but violates the spirit of campaign finance reform.  I'm sure that's a distinction you can understand.  

    Calling people that do not (none / 0) (#67)
    by rooge04 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:41:22 PM EST
    agree with you stupid or not able to "grasp" campaign finance reform does your candidate no favors, btw. However, the poster below you has heard rumblings of him having done it NJ and if he's from Chicago you can pretty much guarantee he's done it there as well.  Every other politician has done it. And he will too.

    Notice how campaign finance reform doesn't prevent bundlers from making donations in the millions to his campaign. He is attempting to teflon himself against the loss that is coming his way.


    He hasn't done it in Chicago (none / 0) (#80)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:30:39 PM EST
    He didn't do it in South Carolina too.  I'm researching NJ, but I'm not taking an internet rumor as fact.  (I'm in Chicago, btw, have first-hand knowledge of his refusal to do it here).

    And I've never called anyone on this blog stupid, ever.  Period.


    Do you know if this is true? (none / 0) (#88)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:23:06 PM EST
    he told us it's an entirely volunteer organization and that I should not expect to see anything from the Obama campaign other than ads on TV and the support that volunteers are giving us,

    so does this mean all boots on the ground there are volunteers? Nobody there is making money? Not even a per diem?


    Let's get clear on something. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Susie from Philly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:42:17 PM EST
    The whole purpose of endorsements is to be able to piggyback onto that person's street organization and have them deliver the vote from their area.

    So whether you pay the street money directly or you'll willing to let another supporter pay it out of their own funds, you're still taking part in this allegedly corrupt system.

    So drop the halo, willya?


    What a weak argument (none / 0) (#44)
    by ChrisO on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:01:14 PM EST
    I hear this a lot from supporters of both candidates. "If he/she did something different, you'd condemn them for that, too!" Totally speculative, totally unprovable. And anyone who doesn't agree is being dishonest. It's easy to argue when you make up all the rules, isn't it?

    Well, It looks like that (5.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:38:09 PM EST
    when you reduce the issue to one more point instead of thinking about in the broader context of what's happening.  Consider Al Giordano's take on "slush fund street money" and how dispensing it would backfire on Obama for two very distinct reasons:  
    It's a potential public relations nightmare for Obama because it doesn't just traditionally go to ward chairmen, but also to [African-American] church ministers.
    "Street money," traditionally, is not reported: It comes from donors that have maxed out and distributed as cash. One simply does not see the kind of expenditures that one ward heeler suggested in that story - $400,000 to $500,000 for Philadelphia - ever mentioned on FEC filings. The "walking around money" (another common term for it in field lingo) traditionally comes from a slush fund.

    The back and forth on this post demonstrates that many posters are just waiting for a reason to jump down Obama's throat before attempting to grasp an understanding of the issue in its entirety.

    That's funny. (none / 0) (#84)
    by Susie from Philly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:43:33 PM EST
    I know it was reported in the Philadelphia campaign I worked last year.

    Hillary can use my $25.... (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by ineedalife on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:43:16 AM EST
    that I gave from this paycheck to help out someone that took a day off work to drive people to the polls. I'm cool with that.

    Obama may have calculated that he will gain a little in other portions of the state if he doesn't play ball in Philly.

    Or he wants to taint a Hillary win with accusations that she "bought" votes with street money.


    The price of gas alone (none / 0) (#87)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:19:20 PM EST
    is good enough reason to help out volunteers driving folks to the poll, imo.

    I really don't see what the big deal is. If there isn't money coming from other sources, why not have the campaigns pony up to pay folks? It looks stingy when you have so much, imo.


    Very interesting. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:05:38 AM EST
    I'm not sure about this question:

    John Kerry paid street money in the hundreds of thousands. So, does Obama look chintzy or should he stick to his principles?

    I'm not clear if this is an issue of principles or not. Hasn't he paid people in other cities?

    This looks very bad for him. He is willing to spend millions on misleading ads about his oil money, but not a few hundred thousand to appease the local party machine - made up of poor folks and AA, whom he claims to want to help?

    Again, this approach belies his propaganda about his "grassroots" campaign. The fat cats get the $$$, and the poor folks get squat.

    Wow... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:10:43 AM EST
    you win the spin-award.  You should really pursue a career in politics.

    Nah. (none / 0) (#12)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:14:38 AM EST
    Just calling it like I see it.

    He did it elsewhere, why not here? Certainly doesn't look like principle to me.


    Where does it say he did it elsewhere? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:17:15 AM EST
    Please substantiate this claim.

    "It" doesn't say that. (none / 0) (#29)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:34:50 AM EST
    But other posters have sourced and claimed that he's paid volunteers $12.50 in the past.

    What's different about this? Seems bizarre to me.


    It is bizarre (none / 0) (#56)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:44:35 PM EST
    But don't expect an explanation on this site.  Jeralyn didn't dig around to find the rationale behind this decision, which is quite unassailable.  See my posts elsewhere on this thread.

    Doesn't seem to be an actual decision (none / 0) (#60)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:58:12 PM EST
    at the moment.

    We will see how this plays out. I am confident that he will pay, and I don't think it's a big deal. People who are willing to work for their candidate should get some recompense. It's hard work and involves long hours.


    I agree, BUT (none / 0) (#61)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:01:02 PM EST
    it's bundled with several other issues.  Can't just be boiled down to paying the boots on the ground.  It's a clusterf@ck of powerful interests and real people who are working hard for the candidate and it's tricky.

    Sounds like Chicago-style politics to me (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by stillife on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:08:11 AM EST
    as you noted in your post.  Reminds me of the Daley machine when I was growing up (in Obama's neighborhood, Hyde Park).  

    My guess is that the Obama campaign thinks they can get the mostly AA vote in Philadelphia without kowtowing to the local machine, and thus claim some kind of moral high-ground.  

    The more I come to fully understand (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:27:44 AM EST
    many of the traditions of the Democratic primaries, the more realize we are all shady characters ;)

    Either/ Or (none / 0) (#32)
    by felizarte on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:41:24 AM EST
    If you brand everybody who ets paid for election services, then ALL would be "shady" admakers, writers, tv stations, messengers, campaign office workers, etc, etc.  and everything spent for the campaign is considered vote buying.  Perhaps it is.  But then everybody should be branded with that.  But to single out a class of workers and exclude basically the elite . . . well?

    Hey, I said we (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:49:16 AM EST
    That includes me ;)

    I did say 'perhaps' (none / 0) (#72)
    by felizarte on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:20:01 PM EST
    and besides, don't limit it to democrats.

    Could it have to do with the fact that Philly's (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Maria Garcia on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:33:34 AM EST
    ..mayor is a Clinton supporter? In Chicago and  Baltimore, the mayors supported Obama so maybe the people were taken care of by a different machine, just sayin.'

    Internals in the Obama campaign (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by felizarte on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:34:37 AM EST
    must indicate that he will lose even in Philadelphia.  This looks to me as setting up the excuse, just in case.

    I was thinking the same thing (none / 0) (#31)
    by Dave B on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:38:57 AM EST
    And about to make a comment.

    Glad you beat me to it, I'll just give you a rec...


    Are you insane? (none / 0) (#57)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:45:51 PM EST
    He will lose in Philadelphia?  That's one wild, totally speculative and insane statement.  He will win Philadelphia, but probably not the state.  Nothing shocking about it.

    Does that possibility (none / 0) (#66)
    by felizarte on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:41:00 PM EST
    terrify you that you would brand it insane? Let's revisit this after the primary. Then perhaps, just like in one of those shows, you would say, "i'm more insane . . . . "

    It's not that it terrifies me... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:42:47 PM EST
    it's that it has no basis in reality. If I'm wrong, I'll admit it--but the fact that you cannot substantiate the claim with anything but wild speculation that flies in the face of every poll--every single one--says something about who is insane in this dialogue.

    Besides, Mayor Nutter might just prove (none / 0) (#69)
    by felizarte on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:58:32 PM EST
    that he has more clout than Barack Obama in Philadelphia.  If the notion of not paying street workers came from the Obama campaign, it would look ridiculous if later on they decide to pay up.  Then, that would become an even bigger issue.  IMO, it is also an indication of a degree of anxiety in the Obama campaign over the possible results in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole. Maybe it will be a blowout.  At any rate, we only need to wait another two weeks.  

    I think we are being played (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:43:24 AM EST
    Obama is from Chicago. He knows what street money is and he will spread it.

    I am surprised to see people fall for this.

    I Agree (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by BDB on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:53:32 AM EST
    He wants to have an excuse if he loses Pennsylvania, one that makes him look good.  But he'll pay.  With what he's already spending in Pennsylvania, this is nothing.

    This is an example, btw, of why it's ridiculous not to seat Florida and Michigan.  The local and state party have already lost millions of dollars, not to mention the money that would've gone into the local economies through vendor and advertising expenditures.  The idea that if they aren't seated, they won't be punished is ridiculous.  The reason Iowa and NH fight for their place isn't because they love this country so much, it's because of all the money that rolls into them through campaigning.  


    Aha (none / 0) (#49)
    by Lena on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:17:35 PM EST
    And could it also be that by balking at making the payments, a big donor will step in and make them for Obama, thus saving his campaign money and leaving Obama to bask in his principles?

    It's just still odd to me that this story made it to the papers, and I can't figure out if the Obama people wanted this to get out (as an example of their "new kind of politics"), or didn't (to show the public after the fact that he lost Pa. because he wouldn't pay their dirty grubby money games)?


    But then (none / 0) (#37)
    by Lena on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:51:13 AM EST
    why would he do this (i.e. insist that the campaign help must do their work for free)?

    Not paying this money makes his campaign look either naive or incompetent. Plus the Obama election workers must be pissed. Why would he risk this?


    What Makes You Think He Isn't Going to Pay? (none / 0) (#42)
    by BDB on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:55:08 AM EST
    There's no official statement from the campaign.  The story leaves the impression he isn't goiing to pay (and I wonder who those local machinery leaders complaining support?), but there's no absolute commitment not to pay.

    From Jeralyn's Post (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by BDB on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:59:39 AM EST
    Neither the Clinton nor the Obama campaign would say publicly whether it would comply with Philadelphia's street money customs. But an Obama aide said Thursday that it had never been the campaign's practice to make such payments. Rather, the campaign's focus is to recruit new people drawn to Obama's message, the aide said.

    Notice that all the aide says it has never been Obama's practice to make such payments.  There is no commitment not to make them in Philly.  It leaves you with the impression that they aren't going to pay, but never says that.  It's as if the Obama campaign wants people to think something without actually saying it.  It's as if, Obama was a politician or something.


    Not much gets past you (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:08:00 PM EST
    But it sounds so righteous and good and geniune and decent to say NO this time.

    Yes (none / 0) (#48)
    by Steve M on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:16:03 PM EST
    this is so obviously just an attempt to proclaim, very loudly, "look at me, I'm above all that slimy stuff!"

    I seems so unbelieveable (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:18:22 PM EST
    that I'm inclined to agree.

    Hmmm... smacks of lowering expectations... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Exeter on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:10:18 PM EST
    Name a large city in the USA that doesn't pay "tribute" to the local political bosses to rent out their machine for the day. Two points:

    1. This story seems poorly sourced -- the only think I saw of any relevance was that both campaigns have said that they don't comment on the practice.

    2. If indeed, Obama does not participate in this practice and never has -- then why is this a story now?  He's had record turnout from the African American community is large cities, so if this is really his policy, it doesn't seem to be harming him much.

    The source is Carol Campbell... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Susie from Philly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:49:01 PM EST
    A super delegate who's Philadelphia's Al Sharpton -  only without the high moral standards. She's very powerful - and much hated by local progressives.

    Street Money (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by notime4lies on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:25:55 PM EST
    Can't help but wonder if Obama is using "walking money" to help frame a huge loss in Pennsylvania, should that be the case, of course.

    When in Rome (none / 0) (#2)
    by Lahdee on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:04:31 AM EST
    you can question the tradition, fight it or change it later, but if you ignore it you do so at your own peril.

    In my experience some 40 years ago in Philly, you must pay to play.

    This is a local issue (none / 0) (#3)
    by Prabhata on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:05:05 AM EST
    That's important only to the organizers and Obama who wants to make a big deal.  Yawn.

    LOL! I have reason to believe he paid in NJ (none / 0) (#7)
    by goldberry on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:08:53 AM EST
    Don't ask me why I think this.  Let's just say that Obama's camp was paying a lot of people a LOT of money in NJ, especially in areas like Hoboken.  The Clinton camp looked a little stunned by it.
    So now they're starting to protest?  They would NEVER do THAT.  I suspect that the Philly machine looked across the Delaware at all the money spent in NJ and said, "I want some of that".  So why is Obama so stingy all of the sudden?  They can't be short of funds, can they?  I mean, they've been raking in the big bucks, right?  

    I'm asking. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:15:01 AM EST
    Why do you think this?

    Overheard (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by goldberry on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:02:01 PM EST
    inadvertently something I shouldn't have been listening to.  I know that Obama's camp was outspending Clinton's by mega millions in NJ and a lot of that money was going into the hands of people in Hoboken.  
    It was just a fragment of a conversation and I didn't hear much before the person who was talking left the room.  But it was enough to know that Obama was paying people and that Hillary's people were not.  Clinton was on a tight budget in NJ and spent money very frugally.  Maybe they didn't have to spend much in NJ because of its proximity to NY but she was SOOOO outspent in NJ by Obama. And much of the money went into the hands of canvassers and what not in at least Hoboken where the haka he was raising was giving Clinton people the willies.  
    Not that it did him any good.  He lost this state by 10.  

    So rumor. (none / 0) (#54)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:42:00 PM EST
    I'll disregard the rumor.
    But you're last statement belies your puerile grasp of logic.  "Not that it did any good, he lost by ten points."  This would only be true if he would have lost by that same amount, or less, had he not spent the money.  If he made any gain, then the money was well-spent, since the primary selects delegates proportionally.  

    No, not rumor (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by goldberry on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:17:16 PM EST
    Like I said, I overheard something I shouldn't have been listening to.  It would be improper for me to go into too many details because I don't know who the staffer was who was doing the talking or who was on the other end of the phone call.  But let's just say that there were several very panicky phone calls and this person was trying to talk them off the ledge.  The end of the conversation that I heard was clear enough: Obama was spreading money around to individuals in certain parts of the state, one area specifically mentioned was Hoboken.  It sounded like the money Obama was spending was to pay people organizing canvassers and precincts in that area.  There were other areas as well but no other city was mentioned specifically.  The Clinton people calling in were freaking out.  When the staffer saw that I had heard too much, he got up and moved to another room.  
    The NJ Clinton campaign were cautiously optimistic that they would win by several points but it was obvious that they had no idea how much of their lead would be eroded by the HUGE sums of cash Obama was flooding the state in heavily urban areas.  
    As it turns out, they had nothing to worry about.  Their calculations were correct and she won the state handily by 10.  But they were on a tight budget.  Very tight.  They didn't have the resources to buy any machines.  I guess that means that people in NJ voted for her for the best of reasons- because she's the better candidate.  She didn't need to buy anyone's vote.  

    As for logic... (none / 0) (#70)
    by goldberry on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:05:17 PM EST
    ...he still lost NJ.  And there is a case to be made that he has not learned from experience since his campaign still tries to buy states and comes up short.  You probably get more bang for your buck in a caucus state where the number of co-eds you pay to come out for you is disproportionate to the number of typical caucus goers and party regulars.  In a primary state, it appears to be considerably less effective unless the population targeted meets a certain threshold level.  
    It doesn't in NJ or PA.  
    Hmmm, if Obama supporters knew in advance that they were throwing money away in a losing battle in PA, would they continue to send it in?  I wonder...

    This is off-topic (none / 0) (#18)
    by ajain on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:19:30 AM EST
    But - Can someone tell Bill Clinton to calm down?
    I'm not sure whether his latest gaffe is sad or just hilarious, but seriously, what is with the guy?

    I think he's holding back (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edgar08 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:23:03 AM EST
    Some movement is teaming up with Republicans to rewrite his administration as the worst ever, and add in the accusations of racism, and yeah, he's a little PO'd.

    I hope he keeps it up.

    He's not losing any of his base support, and all you're doing is pushing that Clinton base support away from supporting Obama in the GE.


    Proof that Hillary would be a better president (none / 0) (#24)
    by blogtopus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:25:05 AM EST
    Hillary would be less likely to spout off, more even tempered, smarter and probably more skilled politically than her Hubby ever was.

    I can't see how she would be anything but one of the best presidents we've ever had.


    OTopic but Jeralyn could youput a thread up about (none / 0) (#38)
    by thereyougo on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:51:19 AM EST
    the fire at Clinton HQ. In Indiana?

    Really, this gets construed (none / 0) (#46)
    by ChrisO on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:07:05 PM EST
    to sound like it involves bribing voters. It's simply spending money for a lot of workers that are needed on election day. I realize "street money" gives it an unsavory image, but I agree with others. Why are the people at the bottom rung the only ones who shouldn't get paid for their work?

    But instead of defending the practice, the Obama campaign has to grandstand about people being "drawn to their message." I guess this implies that people like Axelrod and Plouffe aren't drawn to the message, or they'd be working for free?

    You're Ill-informed (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:40:11 PM EST
    Do you even know what you're talking about or are you just jumping on the bandwagon?  

    Street-money traditionally comes from unregulated slush-funds that are not subject to FEC limitations.  (Strike one).

    Street-money goes not just to ward chairmans but churches that host and mobilize GOTV activities.  (Strike two).

    Good for Obama and SHAME ON YOU, Jeralyn, for pushing this non-issue.


    Non-Issue? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by daryl herbert on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:19:31 PM EST
    If street money is such a terrible thing, why is this a "non-issue"?

    It sounds like you think this is an issue, and you think Sen. Obama is correct and Sen. Clinton is wrong.

    It also sounds like this story could affect the race's outcome.  Again, that makes it sound like it is an issue.

    Finally, it looks like Sen. Obama is making excuses in advance for poor performance in the race.  In other words, he's trying to claim that the entire state of Pennsylvania is a non-issue.


    Your hysterical reaction is out of proportion (none / 0) (#65)
    by Democratic Cat on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:19:38 PM EST
    Jeralyn posted a story, big deal, it's her blog. I would characterize the overall reaction on this thread as pretty restrained; you seem to be the only one getting all exercised about it. Most here don't seem to think it's a big deal.

    Your comments on a "non-issue" to you (none / 0) (#68)
    by felizarte on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:50:07 PM EST
    has generated much comment.  Don't you think that you have been counterproductive?  As pointed out in many of the posts on this topic, Obama has exhibited no hesitation in paying for many political campaign expenses; why should street canvassers and other miscellaneous service providers be any different? His campaign is definitely not an all-volunteer effort.

    i've driven people (none / 0) (#79)
    by isaac on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:11:10 PM EST
    to the polls in greensboro and distributed walking around money in new orleans and dont have a problem with either.  not doing so in philly would be a huge mistake by the obama campaign.  sounds like a bit of projection on the part of his team, we're doing this cause we, like, believe -- and have trust funds -- so you should too