Striking distance

by Michael O. Allen on May 27, 2008

Obama about to clinch victory, aide says From
(CNN) – Barack Obama will formally capture the Democratic presidential nomination soon after next week’s final primaries, the Illinois senator’s top campaign aide is predicting.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said that after the June 3 primaries in South Dakota and Montana, Obama will “be at the number we need to claim the nomination.”

“We’re very close now,” Axelrod said. “When the primaries end, I think, we’ll be where we need to be. … We’ll be at the number we need to claim the nomination.”

According to CNN’s latest estimate, Obama is now 52 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nomination while Clinton is 246 delegates short of the magic number. There are 86 pledged delegates up for grabs in the remaining three contests. Just over 200 superdelegates also have not publicly declared who they are supporting.

Obama is unlikely to clinch the nomination with pledged delegates alone, but his campaign has said it expects enough superdelegates will declare their support of the Illinois senator soon after the final two primaries.

Axelrod’s comments come two days after Bill Clinton suggested some are trying to “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.

The former president also suggested Sunday that if the New York senator ended the primary season with an edge in the popular vote, it would be a significant development.

“If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote,” said Clinton.

Obama supporters planning DNC counter-protest From
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Supporters of Barack Obama’s presidential bid are planning to demonstrate outside the Saturday meeting in Washington where Democratic officials are slated to debate the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations at the party’s summer convention.

The move comes days after backers of Hillary Clinton’s White House run announced plans to converge on the Washington, D.C. hotel where members of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee are meeting.

“Hillary Clinton’s supporters are going to be bussing in protestors for the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, so it’s critical that we show up for the counter-protest,” wrote on organizer in a post on the Daily Kos Web site Tuesday morning.

Last week, the pro-Clinton Committee to Count Every Vote said it was organizing a day-long May 31 rally outside the RBC meeting.

“Our purpose is not to divide the party or attack the DNC or Senator Obama. Michigan and Florida, however, in addition to Hillary’s strong support nationwide, cannot and must not be dismissed in DNC efforts to unify the party.”

The group said it was organizing buses to carry protestors to the meeting site, and could offer some overnight housing for those who could not afford to pay for accommodations.

Earlier this month, Clinton told a group of bloggers who support her candidacy that she encouraged efforts to lobby the committee.

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Obama uses Daschle to make blue-collar pitch in new SD spot From ,

(CNN)—Barack Obama’s campaign has launched a new ad in South Dakota Tuesday aimed at shoring up his support among the working-class and rural voters that dominate Democratic politics in the state.

In the 30-second spot, former Sen. Tom Daschle says that Obama “is rooted in the same values as most South Dakotans. He has an understanding of America — rural and urban alike.”

The ad also makes an economic appeal to blue-collar voters suffering from the rising cost of food and gas: “Obama understands that squeeze,” says Daschle.

The spot also touts the Illinois senator’s support from two of the state’s top Democrats, Sen. Tim Johnson and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

On Monday, the campaign also hit the airwaves with “Listening,” a one-minute spot featuring portions of his stump speech that has aired in other states throughout the primary season.

South Dakota voters head to the polls in one week, with 23 delegates at stake.

Fidel Castro bashes Obama Cuba policy
HAVANA (AP) — Former President Fidel Castro says Sen. Barack Obama’s plan to maintain Washington’s trade embargo against Cuba will cause hunger and suffering on the island.

In a column published Monday by government-run newspapers, Castro said Obama was “the most-advanced candidate in the presidential race,” but noted that he has not dared to call for altering U.S. policy toward Cuba.

“Obama’s speech can be translated as a formula for hunger for the country,” Castro wrote, referring to Obama’s remarks last week to the influential Cuban American National Foundation in Miami.

Obama said he would maintain the nearly fifty-year-old trade sanctions against Cuba as leverage to push for democratic change on the island. But he also vowed to ease restrictions on Cuban Americans traveling to Cuba and sending money to relatives.

He repeated his willingness to meet with Raul Castro, who in February succeeded his elder brother Fidel to become the nation’s first new leader in 49 years.

Castro said Obama’s proposals for letting well-off Cuban Americans help poorer relatives on the island amounted to “propaganda for consumerism and a way of life that is unsustainable.”

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Boston Globe

Obama signaling he will fight for Western states, The Associated Press – 3 hours ago
LAS CRUCES, NM (AP) – It’s the first event on the first day of a campaign swing through three Western states, and Barack Obama is covering all his bases.
Game on for presidential race in US West United Press International
McCain visit to Colorado underlines state’s importance in election
Las Cruces Sun-NewsLos Angeles TimesThe Press AssociationInternational Herald Tribune
all 335 news articles »
Obama: When (ex-)dictators attack
MSNBC – 2 hours ago
The campaign finally got a favor from one of these rogue leaders the potentially presumptive Dem nominee wants to meet with. Fidel Castro attacked Obama for pledging to keep the embargo in place if elected.
Castro’s Stinging Endorsement New York Times
Obama studies up on Latin America, proposes Cuban dialogue Los Angeles Times
CounterPunchThe Associated PressHuffington PostBoston Globe
all 1,184 news articles »
Obama Speaks with “Deep Humility” on Memorial Day, Washington Post – 17 hours ago
By Karl Vick LAS CRUCES, NM. — Sen.Barack Obama spoke for most of an hour about doing right by America’s veterans without crossing swords with Sen. John McCain, in a carefully measured Memorial Day appearance that kept the focus on the former service
Obama Tells Veterans: ‘I Will Not Let You Down’ ABC News
Obama touts soldiers: 300 hear of vets’ needs, sacrifices El Paso Times
Las Cruces Sun-NewsLas Cruces Sun-News
all 6 news articles »

Sioux City Journal

Obama says won’t guarantee Ahmadinejad a meeting, Reuters – 11 hours ago
By Caren Bohan LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Reuters) – Democrat Barack Obama underscored his willingness to talk to leaders of countries like Iran that are considered US adversaries but said on Monday that does not necessarily mean an audience with Iranian
RNC: Obama’s Iran Reversal Biloxi Sun Herald
Obama Qualifies Stance On Iran Diplomacy Wall Street Journal
GulfNewsThe Associated PressPRESS TVTIME
all 235 news articles »

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