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Clinton Hangs On, Obama Drops in Polls, With Negative Media Attention

Aka Obama’s Sour Apples to Apples, Part Four

Between late February and mid-April, voters in nine states that should/could be “Democratic” in the 2008 Presidential Election were exposed to a considerable amount of negative informative concerning both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The negative information had little impact on how Hillary Clinton was regarded when compared to John McCain. But it has had a major impact on their perception of Barack Obama, and on the perception of the relative merits of Obama and McCain.

Overall, the worst that can be said about Clinton is the negative press attention has resulted in more previously undecided voters in certain demographic categories expressing a preference for McCain rather than for Clinton. But Obama is not merely losing “undecided” voters in most demographic categories because of negative media coverage, a significant percentage of voters who had supported Obama over McCain have switched their preferences.

The impact of negative media stories can be seen in the changes in the support of White voters for both candidates in hypothetical match-ups against McCain, and the margins among White voters in those match-ups. Clinton gained support among White voters overall, but her margins against McCain declined in that demographic as more previously undecided voters expressed a preference for McCain. Obama, on the other hand, saw a decrease in White voter support, and his margins against McCain among White voters dropped precipitously.

These conclusions are drawn from an “apples to apples” comparison of Survey USA polling done April 11-13 in nine states (California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin) with similar polling done in late February as part the SUSA 50 state poll (conducted Feb. 26-28).

This is the third of a multipart series examining the polling data in these states. Part One provided an overview of the polling results, and showed how Clinton was doing better than Obama in 8 of those 9 states. Part Two provided an overview of key demographic categories, and took a close look at male and female voters. Part Three examined “Party Identification” and “Ideological” demographic breakdowns, with an emphasis on the “Independent” and “Moderate” subcategories. Part Four will look at the media context in which these changes took place, and examine the impact of “new” information on Clinton and Obama in the White voter demographic.


In order to understand the differences that appear in the late February and mid-April polling of the Clinton v McCain and Obama v McCain match-ups, it is necessary to consider the media environment prior to the February poll, and what that environment looked like between the two polls.

In late February, Obama was at a high point; having won 11 straight post Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses. Texas polls (and the media) were suggesting that Obama would win in Texas, and perhaps even in Ohio. Up until that point, Obama had received very little in the way of negative media attention and scrutiny, while Clinton was a constant target of attacks in the media.

But between the two polls, a number of significant events for the campaigns took place. On the whole, negative media attention and scrutiny was focused on Obama during the first three weeks after the February poll was taken, but that focus shifted to Clinton in the weeks prior to the mid-April poll.

    · Hillary Clinton released her “3 AM” ad on February 29th.
    · The Rezko trial began on March 6th and increased scrutiny of Obama’s relationship with Rezko was not far behind.
    · The “Jeremiah Wright” controversy erupted --ABC was the first broadcast network to feature the story, on March 13th
    · Clinton’s “appointment calendar” from her years as First Lady was released on March 19th
    · The “phantom Bosnian snipers” story received a great deal of media attention, beginning around March 21st.
    · Clinton released her tax returns on April 4th.

All of this information was being digested by voters in the time between the two polls. In addition, stories about Obama’s “bitter/clinging” remarks at a San Francisco fundraiser were gaining currency just as the April poll was being taken – the “bitter/clinging” story first appeared on April 11th, the first of the three days of April polling.

In other words, between the two polls, the media was full of stories raising questions about the character and experience of both Clinton and Obama. Clinton has weathered these storms – despite all the negative press that was concentrated close to the mid-April polls, Clinton’s average margins against McCain held firm. But the questions raised in early March about Obama’s character and experience had a strong negative impact on his margins against McCain.

    Late Feb  mid-April    Late Feb  mid-April  
CA	10%	13%	     11%	7%
IA	-5%	-6%	      9%	7%
MA	18%	15%	      7%	2%
MN	 4%	 1%	      7%	6%
MO	-4%	 1%	     -6%       -8%
NM	 0%	-3%	      7%       -6%
OH	10%	11%	     10%       -2%
OR	-5%	 1%	      8%	9%
WI	 4%	 0%	     11%	5%
AVG    3.6%    3.7%	    7.1%      2.2%


    Clinton was behind McCain in 3 states in February, and in 2 in April. Obama was trailing McCain in 1 state in February, and 3 in April.
    · Clinton maintained the double digit leads she held in three states (CA, MA, OH). In the three states that Obama had double digits leads in February, those leads declined to the single digits in 2 states (CA, MI), and in one state Obama is now trailing McCain (OH)
CA	  3%	    -4%
IA	 -1%	    -2%
MA	 -3%	    -5%
MN	 -3%	    -1%
MO	  5%	    -2%
NM	 -3%	   -13%
OH	  1%	   -12%
OR	  6%	     1%
WI	 -4%	    -6%
*AVG*	0.1%	  -4.9%
    · Clinton gained ground against McCain in 4 states by +1% (Ohio) +3% (California), +5%, and +6% (Oregon). Obama gained ground against McCain in only one state (Oregon), and only by +1%.
    · Clinton lost ground to McCain in 5 states by –1% (Iowa), -3% (Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico), and –4% (Wisconsin). Obama lost ground to McCain in 8 of 9 states, by –1% (Minnesota), -2% (Iowa, Missouri), -4% (California), -5% (Massachusetts), -6% (Wisconsin), -12% (Ohio), and –13% (New Mexico).

There is only one conclusion that can be reached from this data – Hillary Clinton is far less vulnerable to negative media messages than Barack Obama. Voters seem to treat negative media attention about Clinton as ambient, albeit unpleasant, noise – it’s just the same people saying the same things about Clinton that they’ve been saying for years. While negative information about Clinton may be reinforcing impressions about her, it does not appear to be changing many people’s minds. Absent some “blockbuster” revelation about Clinton, her support appears firm, and because her negative public image stands in stark contrast to what people see when they focus on the “real” Hillary Clinton, she has strong potential to increase her support and improve her margins against McCain.

But Obama’s support is “soft”, and he is extremely vulnerable to negative media attention. Voters do not really know who Barack Obama is, and what he really stands for and believes, and all the information about Obama is “new” to most voters. Information that raises questions about his readiness for the Presidency, his character, and his political philosophy has had a major impact on people’s views of Obama, especially when they are comparing Obama to McCain. Negative information about Obama is likely to lead to continued deterioration of Obama’s overall support and his margins against McCain.


While the purpose of this study is to compare shifts in support between late February and mid-April for Clinton and Obama when matched against McCain, it is important to keep in mind that, while Survey USA’s methodology was the same, the population samples are not identical. Differences in Party Identification and Ideology should have the most impact on the overall support and margins for Clinton and Obama when they are matched against McCain, rather than in changes in Clinton’s and Obama’s relative support and margins. Nevertheless, changes in the sample may have some impact on how well Clinton and Obama do relative to each other among White voters when each is matched against McCain. (e.g. given the GOP “Southern Strategy”, changes in the percentages of Republican voters could have an impact on the percentage of White voters who will not vote for Obama based solely on his race.)

Chart D-0
Chart D-0 shows the changes in the relative percentages of Democrats and Republicans, and Liberals and Conservatives, in each of the 9 states (and on average.) It should be noted that the chart describes the relationship between the parties/ and deologies, and that “More Democratic” can mean merely that fewer Republicans and more “Independents” were part of the April sample.

    · California – Less Republican/Conservative (more Independents and Moderates)
    · Iowa – More Republican and more Liberal (fewer Democrats and Independents, more Liberals)
    · Massachusetts – Less Republican, More Liberal (more Democrats, Independents, and Liberals)
    · Minnesota – More Democratic, less Conservative (fewer Republicans and Conservatives, more Democrats and Moderates)
    · Missouri – Less Republican, more Liberal (more Independents, fewer Moderates)
    · New Mexico – More Conservative (fewer Moderates)
    · Ohio – More Republican and Conservative (fewer Moderates)
    · Oregon – More Democratic and Liberal (fewer Moderates)
    · Wisconsin – Less Republican, more Liberal (more Independents and Moderates)
    · NINE STATE AVERAGES – Republicans –0.8%, Democrats +0.1%, Independents +1.4%, Conservative +0.6%, Liberals +3.0%, Moderates –1.3%


Overall Clinton outperformed Obama among White voters between late February and mid-April in the nine “Democratic should/can win” states surveyed. Clinton gained support among White voters, while Obama lost support. But both lost ground among White voters to McCain – with Obama losing far more ground than did Clinton.

Chart D-1

    · Clinton gains White voter support in 5 states, but in only 2 (MO, +3%, OR +6%) is the increase in support at least +3%.
    · Obama gains while voter support in 3 states, but only in Oregon (+5%) does he gain 3 points or more among White voters.
    · Clinton loses White voter support in 2 states, but only in New Mexico (-5%) is that loss more than -2%.
    · Obama loses White voter support in six states, including 4 where the loss is -3% or more (CA -9%, NM –12%, OH –8%, WI –4%)

Chart D-2

    · In terms of gaining addition support from White voters during the six week period, Obama outperformed Clinton in only one of 9 states – Massachusetts, and the difference there was less than 3%.
    · Clinton outperformed Obama by 3% or more in terms of White voter support in 5 states: California (10 points better, Clinton +1%, Obama –9%), New Mexico (7 points better, Clinton –5%, Obama –12%), Ohio (10 points better, Clinton +2%, Obama –8%), and Wisconsin (4 points better, Clinton unchanged, Obama –4%).
    · Clinton had a nine state average gain in White voter support of +0.8%, while Obama had an average net loss of White voter support of –3.2%.
    · In late February, Obama had more support than Clinton among White voters in these states by an average of 1.9% (Clinton 45.2%, Obama 47.1%). By mid-April, Clinton had 2.1% more support among White voters (Clinton 46.0%, Obama 43.9%).


Although Clinton gained and Obama lost White voter support between late February and mid-April, both lost ground with White voters when matched against McCain as previously undecided White voters made up their minds. But Clinton’s margin losses were far less severe than Obama’s.
Chart D-3

    · Clinton lost ground against McCain among White voters in 7 of 9 states, and in 4 state the loss was –3% or more: California (–5 points, from +3% to –2%), Massachusetts (-6 points, from +15% to +9%), Minnesota (-3 points, from +2% to –1%), and New Mexico (-12 points, from –14% to –26%).
    · Clinton gained ground among White voters in 2 states, Missouri (+4 points, from –7% to –3%) and Oregon (+9 points, from –4% to +5%).

Chart D-4

    · Obama’s margins among White voters improved in only one state, Oregon, by 6 points (from +3% to +9%).
    · Obama margin’s among White voters declined by 3% or more in 6 of the 9 states: California (-21 points, from +10% to –11%), Iowa (-4 points, from +10% to +6%), Minnesota (-3 points, from +5% to +2%), New Mexico (-27 points, from a tie to –27%), Ohio (-18 points, from +5% to –13%), and Wisconsin (-10 points, from +11% to +1%).

Clinton’s 9 state average margins against McCain among White voters declined by –2.1 points (from –0.44% to –2.55%.

Obana’s average margins decline much more severely, by –8.8 points (from +3.7% to –5.1%); Obama had been leading McCain overall among White voters in February in these 9 states, but was losing to McCain by mid-April.

    · Clinton’s average margin loss (-2.1%) was less than the average reduction in undecided White voters(-3.2%) in Clinton v McCain.
    · Obama’s average margin loss (-8.8%) was more than three times the average reduction in undecided White voters (-2.3%) in Obama v McCain.
    · In late February, McCain lead Obama among White voters in only 1 of 9 states. In mid-April, McCain beat Obama among White voters in 4 states.
    · In February, Obama’s average margin among White voters was higher than Clinton’s (Obama +3.7%, Clinton –0.4%). By mid-April, Clinton was doing better than Obama among White voters (Obama –5.1%, Clinton –2.6%).

In the period between February 26-28 and April 11-13, the myth of Barack Obama hit the wall of reality. The significant decline in White voter support is mirrored in his significant loss of overall support (see Part One), loss of support among both men and women (see Part Two), loss of support among Liberals and Moderates, and the extraordinary level of decline in the support of “Independents” (see Part Three).

During the same period, Hillary Clinton showed her staying power. Her numbers among White voters can best be described as “mixed, but stable overall”, reflecting the mixed results with varying demographic groups, and stability of her margins against McCain.

While these nine states cannot tell us what is going on in the other 41, they do represent states that Democrats need to win, or at least be competitive in, for the November election, and they are the kinds of states that Democratic Party super-delegates have to keep their eye on when deciding whom to support for the Democratic nomination.

Chart D-5 shows the “two-survey” average demographic breakdown for “White”, “Black”, “Hispanic”, and “Other” voters. Unfortunately, most of the nine states surveyed had relatively small percentages of non-White (“Black”, “Hispanic”, and “Other”). This results in completely unreliable data for non-White demographic groups in most cases (e.g. the survey data shows Obama going from having 73% of the “Black” vote in Iowa to only having 47% of the Black vote in mid-April. This is highly unlikely, and probably the result of the extremely small sample of Black voters from Iowa.)

Chart D-5
But there are sufficient non-White voters in two states in each category to do an “apples to apples” comparison. But because of the relatively small sample sizes, these numbers cannot be considered authoritative.

Chart D-6

    · Both Clinton and Obama increased their African American support in Missouri (Clinton +2%, Obama +3%) and Ohio (Clinton +9%, Obama +12%), with Obama showing greater gains in support in both states.
    · Both Clinton and Obama showed small losses (-1%) in support among Hispanics in New Mexico. In California, Clinton shows a slight increase (+3%) in Hispanic support, while Obama saw a significant increase in support (+13%) among Hispanic voters.
    · In California, where the “Other” category consists mostly of Asian-Americans, Clinton gained support (+9%) while Obama lost support (-7%)
    · In New Mexico, where the “Other category consists mostly of Indigenous/Native Americans, Clinton’s support was unchanged, while Obama lost support (-9%)

Chart D-7

    · Both Clinton and Obama saw slight decreases in their margins against McCain among African Americans in Missouri. In Ohio, Clinton’s margin increased by +7% against McCain, while Obama’s margin improved even more (+22%).
    · Among Hispanic voters in California, Clinton saw an increase in her margin against McCain (+5%) while Obama’s margin improved substantially (+22%). In New Mexico, Both Clinton’s (+1%) and Obama’s (+2%) margin among Hispanics saw a small increase.
    · In California, Clinton saw a significant improvement (+29 points) in her “Other” (primarily Asian American) margins, going from –12% to +17%., Obama’s advantage over McCain in this category decreased by –5 points (from +16% to +11%).
    · In New Mexico, Clinton’s margin in the “Other” (primarily Indigenous/Native Americans) category declined slightly (by –2 points, from –23% to –25%), while Obama’s margin deteriorated significantly (by –26 points, from –2% to –28%.)

Data tables used for this post can be found at

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Not well, but still.

From watching the numbers move around, Paul, what do you think? In the general, which of the two has a better chance of picking up ground against McCain with the newly desirable WM minority? On their own merits, assuming they both choose an equally appealing VP?

Thanks again, thoughtful analysis as always. Big gift to have you posting here.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

won't be to pick up support among white males, it will be to avoid losing it.

and I think that Clinton had a definite edge in that department - if for no other reason than she has less to lose! :-)

Obama's problem is that he "expands the map" not just by putting into play "likely Red" states, but also putting into play "likely Blue" states. By putting the likely Blue states into play, he loses any advantage to be gained in expanding the map; as the nominee, he'd have to spend far more time and effort securing states that Dems shouldn't have to worry about than Clinton would, and won't be able to exploit the possibilities in some "likely Red" states as a result.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I developed my media anti-toxin theory, first developed in January. That Hillary is a media anti-toxin, immune from the poison directed her way by the media and, IMO, that's a more useful thing to be because it doesn't depend on the media's goodwill.

I heartily endorse Paul's analysis and not just because it seems to support my anti-toxin theory. Although it does.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Was trying for that positive mental attitude thing. It is, as you say, a slightly different set of problems for each of them, but while I feel more comfortable with Clinton than with Obama I am trying to keep an open mind - just in case.

In pushing around the electoral college for next fall (why wait) I keep coming up with the same results for both of them; the borderline states break the same whether it's mysogeny or racism. He may win by smaller margins, but I keep getting the same wins with either candidate - and the same losses. A very, very close thing it appears to be right now.

Glass half full.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

In pushing around the electoral college for next fall (why wait) I keep coming up with the same results for both of them; the borderline states break the same whether it’s mysogeny or racism. He may win by smaller margins, but I keep getting the same wins with either candidate - and the same losses. A very, very close thing it appears to be right now.

I can see Obama winning in states like Iowa and perhaps Colorado when Clinton wouldn't (there was a poll done in all these states in mid-march as well -- in the states with few AA voter, Obama's numbers declined very little) but he would probably lose in Ohio (a definite Dem pickup if Clinton is the nominee) and puts states like PA and even NJ at risk (not to mention CA and MA).

so I'm curious about which 'borderline" states you think both will win...

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Everybody seems to have their own list of “swing” states. For my own poking around, these are the states that were +/- 5% in 2004 with no adjustment for events since then:


In those states with things all staying the same as they are today (economy putters slightly downward but no meltdown, Iraq stays a mess but no huge Tet-like event, Bush does not attack any more countries, al-Qaeda does not attack on US soil) I see both of them winning PA, OH, MI, MN, WI, and OR. Different from your list but there you go; no fun otherwise.

A lot of the poll info we're seeing now is pretty skewed by emotion and I expect places like PA, NJ and MA coming solidly back to D even with Obama; confronted with McCain, those voters will make the right choice. I don't think either Dem wins Iowa right now, or CO. CA is solid Dem, period; there is no functional Republican party in CA now, total disarray, and even Ahnold is on the ropes; the R brand is trashed here.

An interesting state is West Virginia. The Clintons are wildly popular and she wins it easily but Obama, what with those “bitter, clingy” people up in the hills, struggles in polls. Reading the WV newspapers, however, I get a sense of growing economic unhappiness, even fear; if Obama is the nominee and the Clintons will campaign with him – and they will – I think they can make it OK for clingybitter people to vote for a black man, for the sake of their pocketbook.

Early days, and George Bush has never seen a situation he couldn’t make worse. With six months left he could hand the election to the Dems regardless of who’s running.

tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

AP Poll: Clinton leads McCain by 9 points

"Hillary Rodham Clinton now leads John McCain by 9 points in a head-to-head presidential matchup, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that bolsters her argument that she is more electable than Democratic rival Barack Obama. Obama and Republican McCain are running about even.

The survey released Monday gives the New York senator and former first lady a fresh talking point as she works to raise much-needed campaign cash and persuade pivotal undecided superdelegates to side with her in the drawn-out Democratic primary fight.

Helped by independents, young people and seniors, Clinton gained ground this month in a hypothetical match with Sen. McCain, the GOP nominee-in-waiting. She now leads McCain, 50 percent to 41 percent, while Obama remains virtually tied with McCain, 46 percent to 44 percent.

Both Democrats were roughly even with McCain in the previous poll about three weeks ago.

Since then, Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary, raising questions anew about whether Obama can attract broad swaths of voters needed to triumph in such big states come the fall when the Democratic nominee will go up against McCain. At the same time, Obama was thrown on the defensive by his comment that residents of small-town America were bitter. The Illinois senator also continued to deal with the controversial remarks of his longtime Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"I don't think there's any question that over the last three weeks her stature has improved," said Harrison Hickman, a Democratic pollster unaligned in the primary. He attributed Clinton's gains to people moving from the "infatuation stage" of choosing the candidate they like the most to a "decision-making stage" where they determine who would make the best president."

Submitted by lambert on

(Hat tip, VastLeft...)

Because that's what "moving from the infatuation stage" translates to, eh?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

RMC's picture
Submitted by RMC on

This is - sorry - mostly a croc of turtle do-do.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

It's just fact that Obama is far less known, and far more vulnerable to negative attention than both Clinton and McCain--and with the GOP now defining him negatively as well as his own terribly damaging and insulting comments about voters, it's no surprise.

tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

In response at another site to someone saying how drepressing it is that the "Clinton-Obama" brawl might damage Dem chances to beat McCain, I wrote the following:

Well there we agree. I find it intensely depressing as well. The difference is that I put the blame for the damage to the Democrats chances largely in the Obama camp. (I don't think, for example, that an Edwards-Clinton brawl would have played out in the same way.) And that I think being clear-eyed about who and what has caused the damage is a required first step to repairing it.

It was the Obama camp who decided that the way to the nomination was to run against the party's working class base, label the Clintons as racist, lump the Clinton years in with the Bush administration, repeat evey Wingnut meme against the Clintons, and appeal to post-partisanship by looking back fondly on the 80s and RWR.

Now I think he almost certainly HAD to do all that to have a shot at the nomination. Back when everyone was running on policies and positive statements, Clinton had almost half the black vote. Obama had to paint the Clinton as racists, had to concentrate on small Red states, had to divide and conquer. (Unlike Edwards, who could simply have offered a straight "I'm more progressive contrast" to Hillary, something Obama, not being more progressive, couldn't do. But Obama's mere presence in the race created a media narrative with no room for Edwards, and he was effectively sidelined.)

But that he had to run the race he did is exactly why Obama never had any business running for the top spot in the first place. (Again, initially I though he must be running for Veep.) His entire campaign only makes sense if they assumed all along that ANY Dem could beat ANY Gopper this round, so it didn't matter how much damage they did in the primaries; getting the nomination was the same as winning in the fall. Obama said as much when he said that of course Hillary voters WOULD vote for him.

Oops. It turns out they may not, that the damage he has done actually matters, and that what should have been a sure thing might not be. It turns out running against the majority of your own party, and smearing the last Democratic President may not the way to unite the party behind you. It turns out Unity aimed only at Republicans but not fellow Democrats might not be such a smart idea after all. Who could have known?

Well, anyone really. Whatever one may think of the idea of Obama as President, it has been clear for months that his campaign was not looking beyond August.

Again, I agree this is all depressing. But the responsbility for this reality lies mostly (not entirely, but mostly) with Obama and his supporters. And simply ignoring that (as I believe you are) is not the path to avoiding President McCain.

Submitted by lambert on

Obama shouldn't be rewarded for smearing the Clintons as racist. That's the ultimate in negative campaigning. The misogyny and Hillary hate by the OFB aren't helping either.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Just as the reports out of Texas indicated Obama supporters were less likely to vote in down ticket races than Clinton supporters, PPP's polling in NC show that Obama supporters appear to be less interested in down ticket races. From PPP's blog:

-I pointed this trend out last week but it continues to be true- Clinton supporters seem to be much more tuned in to the rest of the ballot than Obama supporters. In the Senate race 49% of Obama supporters are undecided while just 38% of Clinton supporters are. In some of the other races the differences are even more vast- 70% of Obama supporters for Insurance Commissioner to 52% of Clinton supporters for instance. This phenomenon is probably a result of Obama bringing new people into politics who might not follow or be that interested in the other races.

It seems to me very speculative to presume that all those new Obama voters will care about or show support for down ticket Dems.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

by the GOP in multiple states bec of Obama, which i hope Superdelegates are aware's like 4 or 5 states already where local and state candidates are being negatively shackled to Obama.

and what Ted said--Obama knew what he had to do and where he could run and where he couldn't--which makes all this blaming of voters now so much worse.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

voting Clinton, so of course they're voting downticket too--regular Democratic voters vote the whole ticket as a rule--Obama never even encourages anything beyond just voting for him alone.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Jimmy72. Whew. Let me just calm down before I respond to your bullshit.

The National Press Club needs the approval an entire committee before it invites someone. Her supporter but was one person on the committee.

Read this from the NPC:

“The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has become a news-making public figure. The National Press Club is a forum for hearing from and asking questions of newsworthy individuals. Therefore, as president of the National Press Club, I invited Wright to speak. It’s as simple as that.

“The mountain of news coverage generated from yesterday’s event suggests this was a good idea and in keeping with our traditions.

“Those traditions include vetting potential speakers through our Speakers Committee which is made up of Press Club members. In March the committee decided to invite Rev. Wright (who had been suggested as a speaker two years ago. At that time, the committee did not pursue him as a guest).

“The formal invitation from the president was sent to Wright. Barbara Reynolds, a member of the Speakers Committee, was asked to coordinate the event because she knew Wright or had a contact in his church.

“It is our practice to assign a speaker/potential speaker to a committee member who has a contact with that person. Among the organizer’s duties are serving as the Press Club point of contact for the speaker/speaker’s organization, writing the press release about the event, inviting Club members to sit at the head table, sitting next to the guest at the head table, and drafting an introduction for the president.

“Let me re-emphasize that the people who are invited to address a Press Club luncheon receive their invitations because of their news value. We do not in any way try to advance or impair a candidate’s campaign. The Rev. Wright became newsworthy in the context of the Clinton-Obama campaign. The National Press Club wishes to hear from and question newsworthy people. Therefore, Wright was invited to be a speaker.”

Besides, Wright didn't have to accept. Wright merely repeated the same controversial sermons as before and no one forced Obama to seek out Wright as his personal spiritual mentor for over 20 years, praise him publicly over the years, or defend him during The Speech, claiming his as a member of his family.

Submitted by lambert on

... would take care of the Committee.

What's wrong with you, Davidson?

UPDATE eRiposte has a fine post on the nonsense the "paranoid holdouts" in the OFB are pushing on this, complete with "Mind Control" riff! Great minds...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.