Saturday, June 07, 2008

Race for the White House- 6/7/08

At long last, the general election to elect the 44th President of the United States appears to be upon us.

While Hillary Clinton's solid win in South Dakota suprised many and continued a trend of the late contests breaking in her favor, Barack Obama's sizeable victory in Montana along with continued superdelegate endorsements put him over the top in terms of clinching the nomination. On Tuesday evening, Clinton gave a somewhat ambigious statement in regards to her intent for the remainder of the race, but this afternoon, she formally suspended her campaign and threw her support to Obama. While her statement in support of her former rival was forceful, one could not help but notice that the mixed reactions of both cheers and boos from the Clinton faithful at her final Washington D.C. rally. Now, the next phase of the game for Hillary appears to be trying to convince Obama to put her on the ticket as her Vice Presidential runningmate. However, one could speculate for pages on end (and perhaps I will do that in the near future) as to if she really wants to be asked or if she would prefer being seen as being "snubbed." There are a plethora of scenarios that could shed some light into many possible motivations as it relates to the Clintons in this 2008 campaign and in future ones as well, but nobody can really know for sure.

It is widely expected that Obama, the first African-American Presidential nominee in American history, will receive at least a temporary bump in the polls, in the wake of his historic achievement, positive media coverage, and the appearance of a united party behind him. He gave a stemwinder (if not overly dramatic) speech on Tuesday evening, upon clinching the nomination, and it was contrasted in stark terms with a speech presumptive Republican nominee John McCain had given earlier that evening, before a much smaller-by-design crowd, but a speech in which McCain seemed to be off his game as it related to reading it off the teleprompter.

Perhaps seizing on the likelihood of falling several points behind, McCain has now challenged Obama to a series of town-hall meetings starting this month. Such a set of events would be absolutely unprecedented in political history. The Obama campaign has expressed interest, but has been noncommital thus far, talking instead about some sort of format that would more resemble the Lincoln-Douglas debates (which were actually just a series of very long candidate speeches) of 1858.

If such a town-hall debate, even if just one of them, comes about in the near future, it will receive an incredible amount of attention, but for now, it was probably politically wise for McCain to be seen as suggesting something bold and forcing the Obama camp to respond.

In the meantime, there will be months of questions surrounding who each candidate will select for their Vice Presidential runningmate, if McCain is too old, if Obama is too inexperienced, if McCain is too much like President Bush, if Obama is truly the most liberal Senator in the nation, if McCain can unite the conservative base, if Obama can bring working class white women into the fold, who is trusted more on Iraq, who is trusted more on the economy, who has demonstrated more political independence throughout their career, etc. etc. etc.

As Fox News says, "The Race is On!"


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