Monday, February 18, 2008

Hillary's Texas Gambit

If Hillary is still intent on making the case that she is the only Democrat ready to lead "on day one," she might want to start by firing Mark Penn.

It seems her campaign strategist failed to consider the delegate selection rules in Texas before branding that state as a firewall in her efforts to stop Barack Obama's momentum.

Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest.

Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

What Clinton aides discovered is that in certain targeted districts, such as Democratic state Sen. Juan Hinojosa's heavily Hispanic Senate district in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton could win an overwhelming majority of votes but gain only a small edge in delegates. At the same time, a win in the more urban districts in Dallas and Houston -- where Sen. Barack Obama expects to receive significant support -- could yield three or four times as many delegates.

"What it means is, she could win the popular vote and still lose the race for delegates," Hinojosa said yesterday. "This system does not necessarily represent the opinions of the population, and that is a serious problem."
It's bad enough that Texas might not help Hillary to beat Obama in the delegate count. This development makes her look like an amateur.

I guess Penn will have to have another one of his famous conference calls with reporters to spin this latest embarrassment. Probably not a good idea to claim that Texas, along with all those other states Obama won, doesn't matter. Can't wait to hear what he does come up with.