CBS’s Chen: Obama Oregon Win ‘Enormous Day in American Politics’
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Julie Chen took the relatively obscure milestone of Obama winning Tuesday’s Oregon primary, thereby getting the majority of pledged delegates, and declared that it was: "An enormous day in American politics as Barack Obama inches closer to his dream."
In a later report, correspondent Dean Reynolds also spoke of Obama closing in on the nomination: "...it was a melancholy moment for Senator Clinton because Barack Obama is that much closer to his goal." At the beginning of the 7:30am half hour co-host Harry Smith acted as if Obama had already reached the 2025 delegates needed to clinch the nomination: "...the big headline is that last night Senator Obama well surpassed the number that he needed to claim that he has a majority of pledged delegates. Only three primaries are left, but they may not really matter at this point, so as the Democratic race begins to wind down, let's get some analysis of how the delegate count has played out..."
Smith then talked to CBS political analyst Jeff Greenfield about Obama’s strategy for overtaking Hillary Clinton. While describing how effective the Obama campaign has been at gaining the majority of delegates, Smith and Greenfield did eventually offer some more sober political analysis:
GREENFIELD: No nominee of either party in the last 40 years has won after having lost so many big states like this. So he's got his work cut out for him.
SMITH: Indeed. Maybe the hard part is really just about to start for him. We'll find out.
Here are the full transcripts of the 7:00am and 7:30am segments:
JULIE CHEN: Celebration and tears. An enormous day in American politics as Barack Obama inches closer to his dream.
BARACK OBAMA: And you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America.
HARRY SMITH: And Dean Reynolds has the latest on yesterday's Democratic primaries. And that's where we begin this morning. Dean's in Chicago. Good morning Dean.
DEAN REYNOLDS: Good morning, Harry. Well, despite her big win last night in Kentucky, it was a melancholy moment for Senator Clinton because Barack Obama is that much closer to his goal. In Iowa, a general election battleground state, whose caucus Obama won back in January, he was modest, but elated.
BARACK OBAMA: How's it going, Iowa?
REYNOLDS: He raised $31 million last month, and the delegate harvest from Oregon and Kentucky Tuesday night puts him in the driver's seat and on the right road.
OBAMA: We have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America.
REYNOLDS: For Clinton, who raised $22 million in April, Kentucky provided a late boost from all the working class support that she's enjoyed in the past, but mathematically the win appears too late. Whatever the spin she puts on it.
HILLARY CLINTON: Tonight we've achieved an important victory. Why do millions keep turning out to vote in the face of nay sayers and skeptics?
REYNOLDS: Both candidates took a moment to pay tribute to Democratic Party legend Edward Kennedy, who's battling brain cancer.
CLINTON: He's been with us for our fights, and we're with him now in his.
OBAMA: Let us lift his spirits tonight by letting Ted Kennedy know that we are thinking of him, that we are praying for him, that we are standing with him.
REYNOLDS: And both candidates will be heading to the same state later today. Another battleground state, the sunshine state of Florida. Harry.
SMITH: Dean Reynolds in Chicago this morning. Thanks.
HARRY SMITH: Let's take a closer look at the results of yesterday's Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by more than 2-1 in Kentucky, but Obama won handily over Clinton in Oregon. However, the big headline is that last night Senator Obama well surpassed the number that he needed to claim that he has a majority of pledged delegates. Only three primaries are left, but they may not really matter at this point, so as the Democratic race begins to wind down, let's get some analysis of how the delegate count has played out, and back with us again.
JEFF GREENFIELD: Just in the nick of time.
SMITH: CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield. Good morning again, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Good morning. Harry, as we know now Obama's the all but certain nominee of this party. Why? Because his team understood the rules of the game and focused on caucus states where his huge majorities actually gave him more net delegates than did Clinton's wins in many big states. For instance, let's take a look. Clinton won a net of 17 pledged delegates by winning the Massachusetts primary, but in the Colorado caucuses, Obama got a net of 18 delegates. Clinton netted only seven delegates by winning Ohio's primary, but Obama netted 12 delegates by dominating the much smaller state of Ohio [Idaho] and its caucuses. Hillary's Pennsylvania win, big headlines. Got her 11 delegates. Obama's win in the Kansas caucuses netted him 14, and Hillary's New Jersey primary win, a major industrial state, got her only a net of 11 delegates, while Obama's Minnesota caucus win netted him 24. This is how Obama won the majority of pledged delegates, which, in turn, is convincing superdelegates to come to him. The Clinton campaign simply didn't focus on the field they were playing in.
SMITH: Exactly. The game that was actually being played so to speak.
SMITH: So interesting, because she was the presumptive frontrunner.
SMITH: He walks in, says here's this strategy to get to -- get to this place, no one was really even thinking of, it seemed.
GREENFIELD: That's exactly right. They simply outgamed them, which doesn't mean, by the way, that by apparently coming very close to the Democratic nomination they don't have problems.
SMITH: Let's talk about this for a second because from the standpoint of momentum and everything else, she says in her speech last night 'I will have won more votes as a nominee than anybody else,' and she's collected so many of those votes in places like West Virginia, in Kentucky, in blue collar sections of Pennsylvania and Ohio which poses what kind of a problem for Barack Obama.
GREENFIELD: Well, if Democrats traditionally don't get out their core Democratic vote, the vaunted white working class vote, in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, they don't win a majority of electoral votes, and there's a slice of those votes, sort of the Appalachian part of America, where Obama has done terribly. If he can't win those votes for whatever reason, he's got to go back to those core Democrats, the labor folks, the white working class folks, the Catholic voters, older voters, and say 'I'm with you too, I'm not the latte drinker in this race.'
SMITH: Right, right. And where is he today, as it turns out? He has gone to --
GREENFIELD: Well, by some coincidence he's in Florida. A state where he didn't campaign in because that primary was ruled out of bounds by the Democratic National Committee. No nominee of either party in the last 40 years has won after having lost so many big states like this. So he's got his work cut out for him.
SMITH: Indeed. Maybe the hard part is really just about to start for him. We'll find out. Jeff Greenfield, as always, thank you so much.