Tag: Elections 08

The Speechwriters

We're going to be hearing a lot of clips from the candidates' speeches tomorrow in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. I think we sometimes forget, particularly when we hear a superb one, that the person who wrote it is not the same as the person who delivers it.

Who are these speechwriters? The New York Times had a long profile Friday on Barack Obama's chief speechwriter. He's 26 year old Jon Favreau. They met the night of Obama's 2004 speech in Boston. Favreau, who was then a speechwriter for John Kerry (yes, at 23) heard Obama rehearse the speech backstage and recommended changing a line. One thing led to another, and the next year Favreau was working for Obama. Obama has two other speechwriters, ages 26 and 30.

Favreau spent a lot of time with Obama in the beginning months of the campaign, when things weren't as busy. He's successful because he isn't writing in the abstract, he's channeling his boss.

Mr. Favreau also used this time to master Mr. Obama’s voice. He took down almost everything the senator said and absorbed it. Now, he said, when he sits down to write, he just channels Mr. Obama — his ideas, his sentences, his phrases.

As another speechwriter puts it: [More...]

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Gray Power: Will It Trump Race and the Youth Vote?

CBS News examines the age factor in the Democratic presidential race. Older voters favor Hillary, younger voters favor Obama. African-American voters are expected to favor Obama.

Younger voters turned out in Iowa and African American voters will turn out in South Carolina. But, CBS says, that may not be true for Tsunami Tuesday and that could work against Obama.
Obama’s weak performance so far among older voters substantially increases the odds against him scoring big victories in the slew of states voting on February 5th, "Super Duper Tuesday."

By the numbers: [More...]

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How the National Delegates Will Be Awarded

From all the disparate reports about delegates tonight, I can see I'm not the only one who doesn't understand how the caucus and primary votes translate into delegates locally and then at the national level.

I just came across this article by L. Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College. I have no idea if he's correct or not, but he sounds authoritative. He describes the process for Democrats as follows:

The Democrats allocate delegates in proportion to the vote a candidate receives in a primary or caucus. If Obama gets 60 percent of the votes in a state with 100 delegates, he would get 60 delegates, and the other candidates -- those who surpass a threshold of 15 percent -- will receive the rest, divided according to their vote totals. The strategic implication of this rule is that a candidate should not desert a state simply because he or she will not win it. That candidate still will pick up valuable delegates. Thus, Obama is campaigning in New York and New Jersey and Clinton in Illinois.

On Tsunami Tuesday and superdelegates: [More...]

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