It is no secret that Barack Obama’s campaign is on edge about the prospect of losing the support of Democrats who were enthusiastic about the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
A few here or there are not a concern.
But if leading Clinton backers start to join Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman’s “Citizens for McCain” campaign to attract crossover votes for the Republican nominee, that could be a serious matter.
So, is the co-chair of a student group that backed the New York senator’s in the Iowa caucus campaign of last winter a “leading Clinton backer”?
But the Obama camp will not be wanting to see too many more letters like the one that went out this week from the co-chair of the University of Iowa chapter of Students for Hillary Clinton.
Cody Eliff, the co-chair in question, wrote:
Fellow Hillary supporters…
Hillary Clinton, the woman we admire so much, suspended her historic presidential campaign this past weekend to endorse Senator Barack Obama. She did this to obviously keep her promise to the voters to unite behind the nominee.
Hillary Clinton has received the worst treatment of any candidate in recent history in a primary from a largely pro-Obama media and from supposed liberals supporting Senator Obama. There has been rampant sexism and race baiting going on throughout this campaign. Whether it be the call by Keith Olbermann to have a superdelegate take her in to a room and “only he come out”, or when Chris Matthews insisted Hillary Clinton was not elected to her senate seat on merit, but because her husband cheated on her.
Barack Obama’s campaign and some of his supporters have been very dirty in the way they attacked Hillary Clinton this season. She has been labeled a “monster”, “D-Punjab” (for her strong support from the Indian American community), and has several times been compared to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, all of this from Obama surrogates and advisors. We her supporters have witnessed nasty things on the streets here in Iowa City too; We have been labeled racist, we have heard the word “cunt” used to describe our candidate from supposed liberals, and I was actually called a “fag” by a worker on the Obama campaign, in fact a precinct captain.
Senator Obama is unqualified for the job of Commander in Chief. He has said this himself at a press conference after the 2004 election after winning his Illinois seat. He has said he would invade Pakistan if necessary to attack al-Qaeda elements, which is a bad idea seeing how Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is unstable right now. His remarks on Pakistan sparked rioting there last year.
Finally, Senator Obama was not nominated as we see it, but appointed by the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC. He took his name off of the ballot in Michigan in order to pander to voters here in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, and Dennis Kucinich did not. She received over 50% of the vote there and he received zero votes. However, an unprecedented thing happened, the RBC of the DNC took the uncommitted votes of those that did not vote for Hillary and gave them to Senator Obama, votes he DID NOT WIN. And to deepen the wound, they stripped 4 delegates from her and gave them to him. Had this been done right, with her getting her share and him getting his zero, she would have led in pledged delegates and the popular vote (and she still does), and would be the nominee.
Someone who lost all 4 of the big battle ground states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan) and won his delegate lead in caucuses, in red states we will never win in november anyways, will be the nominee. We will put up someone who has been to Iraq once for a photo-op against someone who has a son serving in Iraq and has been there countless times, with Senator Clinton in some instances.
John McCain is an honorable man. He is good personal friends with Hillary Clinton. He is qualified to be president. We do not agree with him on everything, and this is why we urge you to strongly support Democrats up for re-election to congress. He served our country, he is right on immigration, right on global warming, and he voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have banned Marriage Equality.
Nikki (Dziuban, another Students for Hillary leader on the University of Iowa campus) and I have decided that now is a good time to get this overwith. Barring a DREAM TICKET scenario or a scenario in which HILLARY WINS THE NOMINATION, which we see as unlikely at this time, we endorse John McCain for President.
This was a VERY tough decision, those of you that know me know I am extremely passionate about our party. I feel that it has moved away from me. We will not campaign for John McCain, but we will vote for him, and urge others to do the same.
For those of you who just can’t stomach McCain, we suggest you look into Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate. She is an African American woman from Georgia and is a former member of the House.
We think the endorsement will make more impact if it goes to John McCain, but we see Cynthia McKinney as a viable alternative and someone more qualified than Senator Obama to be President having served for longer in Congress.
We know not all will agree with this, and we respect your decisions.
Thanks for your considerations and support for Hillary Clinton.
– Cody and Nikki
Within hours of when Eliff hit the send key on his computer, the letter was a viral phenomenon on the web. And Obama backers were scrambling to respond.
University of Iowa Democrats president Luke Oglesbee quickly dispatched an email announcing that: “The University of Iowa Democrats and College and Young Democrats of Iowa regret the decision of Cody Eliff and Nikki Dziuban to endorse John McCain’s candidacy for President of the United States. The last thing our country needs is another 4 years of broken promises and failed policies given to us by George Bush and John McCain. As our party begins to unite after a historic and exciting contest, we urge all young and collegiate supporters of Senator Clinton to follow her steadfast lead and join us in electing Barack Obama our 44th President this November.”
Does it really matter if some diehard Clintonistas stir up trouble for Obama in Iowa?
Well, consider this: While Iowa is best known as the first-caucus state where Obama and Clinton faced off in January, the November race between Democratic nominee Obama and Republican nominee McCain could be a close one in this battleground state.
In 2000, Democrat Al Gore beat Republican George Bush in Iowa by 4,144 votes — a margin of 0.31 percent, the fourth closest result in the country after Florida, New Mexico and Wisconsin.
In 2004, Republican Bush beat Democrat John Kerry in Iowa by 10,059 votes — a margin of 0.67 percent, the second closest result after Wisconsin.
So, yes, any slippage in Iowa is a concern.
And any broader pattern of movement from the Clinton camp to McCain, McKinney or — most likely — stay-at-home status is something Barack Obama and his team will have to be watching for and, if they are smart, doing everything in their power to avert.